Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007
Dear Diary:

"Pygmies," he fumes. "I am surrounded by mental midgets."

Oh, I know, technically cats can't talk. But Binky, well Binky can make his thoughts perfectly clear.

Binky has been carefully training us for the last year or so. We get him his food, he turns his nose up at it and then he runs expectantly to the door to be let outside. He is let outside. Once outside he usually kills something of a rodential nature and eats it, thus pointing out that he could get along perfectly well without us.

In Binky's world, he's just hanging around out of pity for the poor mentally challenged humans.

Fine.

Binky would be shocked to hear this, but occasionally our needs trump his. Ever since the birdfeeders went back up not only have we had a surfeit of songbirds and rodents, we've also had a re-appearance of the wild turkeys. I love watching these huge critters saunter out of the woods into our yard where they make short work of the seeds the other birds have pitched out of our feeders on to the ground.

If I open a door or window, though, to let Binky out, then the turkeys disappear. They get spooked by the noise and motion. So I don't let him out. Binky interprets this as sheer stupidity on my part because, after all, he has trained me on the routine.

Food goes into bowl. Food is ostentatiously snubbed. Human opens door. Cat blows past human, gets on with cat's infinitely more important life. This is the way the universe should unfold every morning in BinkyWorld.

Joining me at the window watching the turkeys only serves to aggravate the cat even more. After all, in his mind, there's a lot of eating in one of them there turkeys.

Does Binky remember the buttal abscess and sizable vet bills that went along with his last attempt to take down a wild turkey? No, no he does not. In Binky's world, he is the alpha predator, top of the food chain, a veritable Rambo. He's not afraid of no stinkin' turkey.

It is going to be a long winter involving a lot of snippy behaviour from a very cranky gray cat.

I'm doing my best not to take this personally.

I bought a scanner about a month ago and have spent every moment of my free time sorting through boxes and boxes of photographs. Some are my late in-laws', some belong to the spousal unit's older brother, some are ours and I've even tapped my nieces for contributions.

After a lot of winnowing, I've scanned about 500 now, and will burn them on CD's as a Christmas gift to the spousal unit's family. The oldest picture is over 100 years ago. Some are as recent as last spring.

It's a past that's mine, yet not mine. After all, I only came into this family 33 years ago. I'm not a member by blood, I'm a member by marriage. Yet all these people and the choices they've made certainly have affected my life.

Sunday dinner.One picture I go back to again and again. This blurry picture taken about 25 years ago totally captures the feeling of the dinners my mom-in-law held every Sunday. My daughter is the one swinging like a monkey from the back of the chair. She and her cousins spent at least one day a week wrapped in the raucous affection of extended family. I am grateful that it happened, saddened that it is over.

It was just about a year ago that we all came to realize that my mom-in-law probably wouldn't pull a rabbit out of her hat, that we were in the final weeks of her life. Going through these old pictures has been surprisingly therapeutic.

What I hope to do here is to seed memories through all the generations of the family, give the children of my daughters' generation the chance to see their parents and grandparents through all the stages of their lives. It would be sweet and wonderful if they add their own children into this, extend the human river onward.

There have been lots of great memories brought back, lots of unexpected laughs. Can I just say that I'm unspeakably grateful that the spousal unit grew into his ears because the ones he had as a child—let's just say he was breathtakingly close to being a human kite.

There have been more than a few tears. The loss of my mother-in-law has profoundly changed everything and looking over these pictures only brings that home. Family was everything to her and to say that she made a production out of Christmas really doesn't begin to convey what a fuss she made out of that holiday. Preparations began more than a month in advance, with enough Christmas goodies produced to feed a small village.

She died on the day that meant everything to her. Christmas will always have the shadow of her death off in one corner of it.

I've been terrifically touched by the e-mails and comments from some of my three loyal readers worried about my well-being. Thank you all for your kindness. This photo project turned into a time for introspection, for doing a little mental sorting and decluttering, and somehow I didn't have a lot to say for a while.

That is never a bad thing, eh?

--Marn

Mileage on the Marnometer: 428.34 milesTen percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Ten percent there rubber duck.Half way there

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2007: 500 miles


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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -


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