Monthly Archives: November 2014

We Are Cat Whisperers

black catAt first, the stray wouldn’t enter the house, no matter how much we sucked up to him. With winter coming on, we cooed and clucked, administered ear rubs on demand and fed him daily outside the front door. He would lace into the food like a bulemic, but any sudden movement or noise caused panic and a zippy departure. Such a pretty thing, too, with a full tail and everything (our previous cat was a manx).

After a couple of months of this yes-I-will, no-I-won’t behaviour, we didn’t expect the little guy to stay, so we didn’t get creative about a name – we just called him “Blackie”. Original, I know. We decided he must have a home, but figured that if he did, they sure weren’t letting him in much. He came to us morning and night, hanging about, auditioning us for his new owners. We were happy to oblige but remained daunted by his high expectations.

Then – lo and behold – one day he pranced into the garage – aka our smoking lounge. Sharpening his claws on the right front car tire, he leaped onto the hood of our Chevy Tracker and cleaned himself up a bit. Then he matter-of-factly climbed over the rear view mirror into the car, settling down on the driver’s side for a snooze. My husband and I stared in wild surmise. This was great progress! We felt like cat whisperers, so far had the little guy come with his trust issues. Filled with pride, we encouraged more of same by leaving the car window down and making sure Blackie could exit the garage when a leaf moved unexpectedly.

We must have passed the garage test too because he was soon lacing into his food on the warm side of the front door. We opened it one morning to find him pressed up against it, eager for entry. We felt the thrill of victory once more and plopped down his bowl by the front hall closet, careful to maintain all ear-scrubbing and easy-exit practices.

And then – wonder of wonders – days later, he pushed through our cat door and ate in the kitchen! Once or twice he even climbed up for a cat nap on our family room sofa. The “sudden movement” rule still applied, however, causing him to bolt for the cat door at the smallest provocation. But we knew we’d won.

Now he’s ours, just in time for winter. Instead of huddling under a car on cold nights, he now stretches out beside our older cat on the bed and hardly moves as we come and go. We love him dearly, happy to have him boss us around on a permanent basis.

We’re back! Those of you who recall the 2002 issues of this quirky family newsletter will no doubt thrill at its recurrence here.

Formerly known as The Limewood Picayune and Penance, the newsletter has a new name. Now called The Limewood Blat, our new name sounds punchier. In fact, it sounds like a cat horking up a hairball. This perfectly captures the spirit of the newsletter.

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The Blat prints news of our family in a very silly manner. You may recognize yourself in these pages. If so, drop us a line of pathetic gratitude. If you have news about yourself or your family, please submit to the editor (no payment). Remember, no story is too small for inclusion.

While The Blat is a public blog, nobody out there really cares, so you can air your family news with impunity, safe from Fox News or Twitter. Or Bill Maher. Or even Facebook.

Please note that the stories which appear are random; attempts will be made to include everyone, but creative genius cannot be constrained. Like Fox News – and the soon-to-be Fox News North if the CRTC has its way – we are not bound to any true representation of people or events.

So send us your family news and we will promise to distort it.

See you in the funny papers…this one, to be exact.

The Editor

We’re Killing the Language

Well, “killing” is a bit strong. Seriously maiming, perhaps, and only in my own mind. I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to language purity. As a retired English teacher, I come by it honestly. I do know that language is supposed to evolve, but it’s alarming to me how quickly things catch hold and bloody well take over now.

Consider the current overuse of “for”. Suddenly it’s the go-to preposition for all kinds of verbs that never used it before. We used to “get excited about” a project, a party, a new job, or a baby, but now we’re “excited for” these things. We’re suddenly “glad for the rain” when we should be “glad about the rain”. And we’re “sad for” a loss, not “sad about” it. Or “happy for tomorrow’s picnic” instead of “happy about” it.

In short, we’ve transferred the usage of “for” from people to events, all done with one or two mistaken posts on social media or a couple of recurring lines in a TV series (maybe). So where we’ve always seen correct usage when we were “excited for her” or “glad for Tom” or ‘”happy for them” (people), we’ve now conflated the usage with events.

I have a theory about the origins of all this. It began when one or two people began saying “sorry for your loss” instead of the usual “sorry about your loss”. The floodgates soon opened. Now we ALL express sorrow “for” others’ losses, and I wince every time I hear it.

I watched the same thing happen with the expression “I couldn’t care less”. Once, in Grade 7, my girlfriend arbitrarily changed it to “I could care less”, and the expression took off. It went viral in the days before computers, so I guess that disproves my theory about social media. My friend’s original sin became the norm, and it doesn’t even make sense. If I “could care less”, doesn’t that mean that I still care a little bit? Of course it does! And yet we want it to mean that we don’t care at all. Logic, people, logic!

Grrr – told you I was a curmudgeon.

Tell Me No Lies

I’ve been kicking around this planet for 66 years now, and I’m pretty clear on most things. So, all you salespeople and whatnot, don’t go lying to me any more.

Like “your call is important to us”. I know damned well it isn’t. If it were, you’d be answering it instead of making me wait 20 minutes or suggesting I call back. You’d have to be pretty important to me for that to happen. I get even, though. I suspect you’re recording during the canned ads, so I curse you out and complain about bad service. That sometimes brings you running. Or maybe it’s just a coincidence.

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And you TV guys – don’t tell me that Swiffer feather thing works. Yeah, like I’m going to poke around a shelf with rags on a stick and believe those nasty old dust balls will disappear? I don’t think so! Come to think of it, who would ever “dry dust” in the first place? I need a cloth and some Pledge, at the very least. Or a spray-treated sock.

No price-fixing among gas companies, you say. You must be kidding. Those guys are on the blower to one another every morning, yet I’m supposed to believe that the Competition Act isn’t being violated daily in Canada? Quebec charged a slew of station owners $10,000 each back in 2012. Maybe the other 9 provinces and 3 territories could get it together at some point. Yes, and pigs may fly. Nobody wants to take on the oil companies, and NAFTA probably prohibits it anyway.

Oh….and those lumps you grocers peddle as “fresh fruit” these days. Irradiation blasts get rid of insects, but delay ripening. Permanently, it seems. One corporate website admits that “Papaya is subjected to temperatures of 117° for up to four hours. This results in premature wrinkling due to water loss.” Oh joy. And thanks to refrigerated shipping, peaches are like apples now. I haven’t had a tasty one in years. And when did anyone last find a semi-soft avocado? They’re like bullets – could be used in small cannons.  U.S. law says that “Boxes or cartons of fruit must be enclosed in sealed, refrigerated containers of the type commonly used by the maritime or commercial trucking industry.” Maritime?? Ever see the ice they pack around fish? No wonder our watermelons are mushy.

Enough lies! I’m not buying them any more….literally.

Deer in the Headlights

Posted on June 24, 2014 by Marg Nelsondeer

Millenials think we old timers are ga-ga. To them we’re slow. Touched in the head. Little do they know that they, too, tend to drag their mental feet on occasion. As an over-60, I frequently get a “deer-in-the-headlights” (DITHL) look from young store clerks who cannot deal with a coherent senior. Normal conversation is suddenly lost to them. They expect only “grandmother behaviour”. You know…shuffling, flustering, old-lady shoes, and many “oh dears!”. When none of that happens, they’re floored.

It’s not a 2nd language problem, either. That I could forgive. After all, who among us doesn’t cope well with diverse cultures nowadays? And who hasn’t struggled to communicate in a language other than her own? No, I’m talking about home-grown youngsters here, fluent but fatuous. There’s something about us older folks that causes that DITHL look to come over them. Psychologists should study it.

So what’s the worst thing they do? Faced with an non-Alzheimered senior, these young clerks either stare blankly or repeat everything, no matter what you say to them.  Usually they do both. Don’t believe me? Try asking your twenty-something store clerk any question that is slightly out-of-the-box and see what happens. They will not be able to answer.

“Do you have this item in pink?” I asked one scrub-faced little thing.

Her reaction? DITHL (deer-in-the-headlights staring).

“These items are all on sale,” she finally blurted.

“I know that. Do they come in pink?”

More DITHL. “Hello?” I said.

“You can pay less for all items on this table,” she burbled.

“Yes, but do you have any in pink?”

“Pardon me?” Her response of last resort.

“D-o    y-o-u     h-a-v-e     a-n-y     i-n     p-i-n-k?” Speaking slowly now.

Still more DITHL. I began to wonder if I had cockroaches coming out of my ears, like that alien in MIB (the first one).

I finally gave up. I was getting annoyed. And besides, I didn’t really need the damned sales item anyway.