Facets of Lucy

Looking at the various side of a life


Pride Goeth Before the Fall

Ginger 7

“Who’s teaching who?”, Ginger asks.

Who needs an alarm when you have a cat?  Awake at dawn or the first sound of morning outside and your cat is ready to go.  You feel your covers pull back a little at a time as he kneads the bedding like a ball of dough.  No response from you?  He creeps up the covers,  purring with contentment in his task.  Is it the paw he kneads into your neck?  Does he climb on your pillow only to settle in with that same happy purr as he begins to part your hair for you?  Yes, there’s nothing like a cat to get you out of bed.

Well, after 16 years of these glorious awakenings, my husband and I taught our cat to sleep outside our door.  How do you teach a 16-year-old cat?  I think we just got lucky. We’re not that smart.  Proof to follow.


Ginger preparing for bed.

We fell into this lucky change of fortune.  One night, a Saturday night, one when we planned to sleep in, the cat was relentless.  As I moved through the next day, I saw a fleece blanket we weren’t using.  A light bulb went off, and I folded it nicely and put it outside our bedroom door.  That night, Ginger jumped on our bed as usual, tucked us in – well actually, he was climbing around us, kneading us so that we buried ourselves under the covers- then walked to the middle of the bed, bathed and called it a night.  I was still reading so let him stay a bit.  Then before I went to bed, I picked him up and put him on the fleece blanket outside the door, said good night and shut our door.  He stayed!  And he didn’t scratch at the door or begin his pitiful “meows” until the alarm went off.  We couldn’t believe it. We repeated the process the next night, and the next and it held!  Only when College Girl and College Boy came home for the holidays did it not fail – their biorhythms didn’t support our bedtimes.  But as soon as they went back to school, Ginger went back to his bed.

Ginger and Quilt cropped

Even Ginger is laughing at us.

Okay, I suppose we got a little cocky, having taught an old cat new tricks.  Maybe it was that, maybe we were just sleepy.  But yesterday morning, Ginger woke with the alarm and began scratching the door to come in (we’re still working on that).  I told him to stop and he did.  But then, I heard it, the knock of the familiar.  You know the one when you arrive at family’s or a good friend’s house?  “Knock, knock, knock-knock-knock, pause, KNOCK, KNOCK.”  I couldn’t believe it.  Now that’s a cool trick.  My husband who was prepping for work, popped his head around the corner to ask, “Did you hear that?”.  “Well”, I said, “If he learned that cool trick, we should let him in”.  So my husband opened the door, only to find our adult son, a married homeowner who lives 20 minutes away, standing there.  He had dropped by to pick something up on the way to work, let himself in, but knocked so as not to scare us.  We looked at each other and burst out laughing.  Of course, the damn cat hadn’t learned that fancy knock!  My husband said, “This doesn’t have to leave this room”.   But I disagreed.  In the light of day, no one would think their cat was that smart.  Just remember not to ask either one of us to make any vital decisions before 6:15 am.

But hey, did I tell you we taught our cat to sleep outside our door?  Pretty cool, huh?



Lucky Number?

A few days ago, I went to a store to purchase the software to use to file our taxes.  The price on the package was $74.99.  I groaned but carried it to the register.  When the clerk scanned it, the price on the register came up as $69.99.  She noticed the difference and re-scanned it, then went in to the wider system to find out why the price difference existed.  She couldn’t find any backup for the higher price on the tag.  Finally, she rang it up at $69.99 which reduced even further with the instant rebate offered.

Then today, I went to a sporting goods store to buy a Valentine’s gift for my beloved husband.  I found the item I wanted and the price was right – $39.99.  I had a $15 coupon so the price would actually only be about $25, a great deal.  So I went up to the register and waited for my turn.  Finally, the clerk reached for my item and rang it up  – at $69.99, which is the price in their system.  She called a manager over and he declared that the price tag wasn’t one of theirs, as if I carried around a price tag maker in my purse.  He called back to the department and asked them to check the price on the items still on the shelf.  They did and all the bags were priced at $39.99.  He okayed the transaction and I walked out even happier with my purchase than before.

So, the price $69,99 has shown up twice in a week, in transactions where the price was disputed.  In both cases, I ended up paying less than that amount. How odd is that?  Here’s the question:  Should I play the lottery with my 4 lucky numbers- 6, 9, 9 and 9?


Why I Should Have Gotten a Dog

It was a dark and stormy night. No, really; it was.  The thunderstorms had started in the early evening and had progressed in intensity.  The rain came down in buckets and the lightening was almost as breath-taking as the thunder which followed so quickly on its heels that there was no doubt that the storm was sitting overhead.

My husband and I were safely and comfortably sitting in the family room, watching TV and beginning to make slow progress towards going to bed.  About 10 pm, the phone rang.  I’ve never met a parent who didn’t start at the sound of a phone ringing in the night, believing in their core that no good news comes at night.  In this case, luckily, it was a son away at college who simply had a car maintenance issue for his dad.

As they spoke, I began to hear our cat, Ginger, crying at the back door.  Like most cats he can’t stand to be wet, and actually expects us to dry him off with a towel if he comes in from the rain.  I stood up and walked into the kitchen, grabbing a towel that I could use to dry him off and reached over to open the door for him.  He slipped inside quickly and was as drenched as I expected, but then I noticed something more – he had a rabbit in his mouth! Frantic at the idea of my soaking wet cat deciding to eat his prey on my white carpet, I screamed and shouted to my husband that Ginger had brought something in the house.  He explained to our son and hung up to help with the situation.

Obviously, our first goal was to get the cat and his meal back outside before Ginger settled in to eat. He wasn’t having any of that idea and we played round robin with the cat through the kitchen, around to the family room, behind the sofa in the living room WHERE THE RABBIT GOT LOOSE.  Okay, so our second goal was not to let the rabbit run free through the house and to capture it before the cat did. Now this rabbit was a good nine inches long and he was quicker than us.  I have to admit that it was at about this time that we began to see the hilarity in our situation.

So while we were competing with our cat to re-catch the rabbit and laughing, I got my hands on the cat and put him in the garage so at least we didn’t have to fight him for his prize.  And just as I shut the garage door, my husband managed to chase the bunny into our laundry room – where I was, having just shut the door to the garage – in just a pair of socks.  The bunny ran from Hubby OVER MY FEET!!!  Well, I qualified for the next Olympics in the “Leaping to the Top of the Washer” event  and that got us rolling again.  My husband finally, cheered on by his wife still holding down the washer, managed to box the bunny and get it outside.

Or did he?  He came in saying, “I did get it, right?”  He didn’t feel like the box had the heft he thought it would.  So what did he do?  He let the cat back in to hunt for and make sure the rabbit was out.  No kidding!  The cat smelled around and then lay down to bathe and nap so we figured the rabbit was out.

By the way, I want you to know that our cat is 16 YEARS OLD!!  But he’s obviously in good health.

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Rest Stops Along Virginia Highways (Really!)

I talked about starting a blog for quite awhile before I actually put my toe in.  When my adult children asked what my topic was going to be, I told them (jokingly) that I was going to rate rest stops along Virginia highways.  Our last governor had, in a warped sense of cost-cutting, closed them for awhile but our new governor opened them back up.  So, while I fully recognize that this is hardly a rollicking fun topic, I accept the family dare that I actually blog about this topic.

Both rest stops depicted today are along Interstate I-81.  This first one is heading southbond at mile marker 199.  It isn’t the largest rest stop there is, but it does have some green space to walk your dog or stretch your legs, picnic tables if anyone does that anymore and lovely flowers.

For the added benefit of shocking my children, I include a shot of inside the restroom.

The second rest stop is again on Interstate I-81 northbound, about 40 miles before the intersection with Interstate I-66 leading into the Washington, DC area.


As a final nod to my original blog “concept”, I need to rate these two rest stops.  Both were clean but I rate the northbound rest stop higher for a couple of reasons. First, it had plenty of parking for both cars and trucks. Its grounds are beautiful and scenic and more spacious than the other stop.  And lastly, for some reasons, the stops heading north are farther apart than the ones on the southbound side.  I’m sure more people are grateful to the sign at the northbound stop.

Thanks for indulging me if you’ve read this far.  And, to my kids, what else do you doubt I’d really do?

And shouldn’t the title have really been “Potty Talk”?  Oh, well.


Fresh From the Pages of History: My Personal Journal

I’ve kept a diary off and on through my life and, every once in a while, its fun to skim through the pages.  Some of my childhood posts during my parents’ divorce are heart-breaking, some entries from when I was raising my children are exhausting and others are just fun to find.  I don’t know how to categorize this one, maybe something like “Well, aren’t we all glad we planned for this?” or “My world was supposed to end and all I got was this lousy champagne flute.”

                                                                                       New Years Eve
                                                                                       Actually 1:43 a.m.
                                                                                       New Years Day, 2000

It wasn’t Armageddon.  There were no major Y2K glitches.  So far, no terrorists have struck.  Planes have taken off and landed and the power is still on.  So much for all the hype.

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Fresh From the Pages of History: And You Have Issues With Your Parents?

Photo Source: Wikopedia

If you haven’t already had the pleasure, meet Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of King George II, and father of King George III.    On November 1, 1738, the General Assembly of the Colony of Virginia passed an act establishing and naming two counties in honor of him and his wife, the Princess Augusta.  As I make my way through the book I inherited from my great, great grandmother and my grandfather, “The Annals of Augusta County”, this piece of history did not exactly grab me ; that is, until I noticed the long note and poem at the bottom of the page.  What I read sent me looking for a source which could explain.  I found this link which shared some insight.

Unfortunately his mother and father, George II and Queen Caroline, hated Fred.

Queen Caroline is reported as saying ‘Our first-born is the greatest ass, the greatest liar, the greatest canaille (Definition: one of the lowest class of people)  and the greatest beast in the world, and we heartily wish he was out of it’.

‘My God’, she said, ‘popularity always makes me sick, but Fretz’s popularity makes me vomit’. Not a case of ‘motherly love’ then!

His father, George, suggested that perhaps ‘Fretz might be a Wechselbag, or changeling’.

When in 1737 Queen Caroline lay dying, George refused to let Fretz say goodbye to his mother, and Caroline was said to be very thankful.

She said ‘At last I shall have one comfort in having my eyes eternally closed, I shall never have to see that monster again’.

Frederick didn’t live to a good old age as he died in 1751 after being struck on the head with a cricket-ball.

His son, the future George III, who was a teenager at the time, was genuinely unhappy when his father died. He said ‘I feel something here’ (putting his hand on his heart) ‘just as I did when I saw two workmen fall from the scaffold at Kew’.

Makes you want to go hug your parents, doesn’t it?

Oh, and the note and long poem at the bottom of the page?  An epigram (defined as is a brief, interesting, memorable, and sometimes surprising or satirical statement) which was written and became popular when he died.

Here lies Prince Fred,
Who was alive and now is dead:
Had it been his Father,
I had much rather;
Had it been his brother,
Sooner than any other;
Had it been his sister;
There’s no one would have missed her;
Had it been his whole generation,
Best of all for the Nation;
But since it’s only Fred,
There’s no more to be said.

At least his wife missed him, right?  Not so much.  The rest of the notes states that her reputation suffered after her husband died, as she was accused on “undue intimacy” with her confidential adviser.

After you hug your parents, kiss your spouse.  Poor Fred!

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Stuck in Neutral

Do you remember this little ditty from autograph books long ago?

Can’t think
Brain numb,
Won’t come.

No ink,
Bad pen.
Best wishes,

I can relate to the above little rhyme not having posted in at least three days.  I can’t tell if it’s brain freeze or brain over-activity.  I have three or four drafts started, lists of topics, photos labeled and ready to take on a life of their own.  The WordPress blogging community hasn’t felt my absence because I haven’t been away.  I’ve enjoyed finding new as well as old (to me) bloggers and have loved the humor, the poignancy, the art and the photography.  I’ve probably posted more comments in the last few days than I normally would.

So, not knowing what else to do, I learned (I think) to create a poll.  Help me out and let me know what option is best.

Waiting for Your Advice