Noll on Tending Memories

Memories sometimes fade and pass out of all consciousness when we do not attend to them.

One such memory was forgotten. It had strayed over too much time.

But it was not lost.

There, in the cardboard box from her youth, was the artwork from her father's friend; made especially for her, a lover of cats.

Removed from it's original frame years ago - for reasons now unknown - the sketch of a kitten lay between mementos from England, greeting cards her dad had designed, photos from school.

The sight of this forgotten drawing, brought back memories and, a melancholy refrain crept in:

....."Let your memory lead you. Open up, enter in..."

Now the memory, lives again.
Drawing by Joe Vukich


Noll Spies on Luigi

"Bearla! Bearla!
I wove my bear, I wove my bear,
I luva-dova-wuva my bear"
Knead, Knead, Knead, Knead.
"My fuzzy-wuzza-nookie bear."
"SHhhh...Bearla, someone is coming..."

"Ahem......Say, anyone know what this bear is doing out in the hallway?"

"Whew Bearla....that was close. We stopped just in time."


Noll's Window Views on a Sunday Morn

Pardon me....Do you have any Grey Poupon?

Could someone give Uncle Keaks a boost?

Every cat has its place in the universe,
especially on a sunny Sunday morn.


Noll's 100 Yard Dash Record SMASHED!

Saturday was truly an idyllic day.

After I grew tired of resting on the violets beneath the purple plum, I meowed for relocation.

We started our customary half circle stroll around the rock garden. The moss pink is almost in full bloom....nice, nice. The peonies and purple irises are gaining height every day....good, good. The freshly mowed grass smelled especially delicious so I paused for some deep breathing. Next, I slowly nibbled a couple of tall blades that had escaped the mower's blades.
As always, my progress was labored and deliberate. One does not rush idling. Except when one is tricked.

My Own dropped my lead and said to me "There it is Nollie."

She was referring to the vegetable garden of course.....with all it's unobstructed dirt.

Pick em up, put em down, pick em up, put em down.....my little legs lifted me off the ground like a hovercraft. A hundred yards in 5 seconds. A NEW WORLD RECORD! The crowd went WILD!
In celebration, I rolled left, I rolled right. I closed my eyes and stretched to my full length....ah....my precious dirt.
Her shadow came to rest over me. I opened my left eye.
There she stood, smiling and nodding.
I had been duped yet again....but it was all good.


Noll Finds Tiggy in Drowsy Land

Today was an exceptional day. Unseasonably warm. A steady breeze. The morning sun strong and bright. The dirt fragrant and dry. The catnip at its finest.

Tiggy and Squeaker rolled and lolled in the little patch by the cellar door while I hunkered down amongst the violets and shade. Sun, warmth, the scent of catmint...there was no escape. In a matter of minutes, the drowsies overcame both Tiggy and Squeaker.

I can't say for sure, but I think Tiggy was "hugging" his catnip pillow.


Noll Explains How Tiggy Earns His Keep

Each cat, according to his talents, has specific responsibilities. You might call them chores. We prefer to call them our 'avocations.'

Luigi, Tiggy, Squeaker and I share the obvious, cat-specific avocation of "Smoochie Boys!"
Enough said.

I am the "Head Gardener," "Speech Maker," "Fitness Instructor" (Someone has to walk Her!), "Blog Inspirer", etcetera, etcetera.

Squeaker, as you might recall, is the "Stairway Troll." He does some other things too, but I can't recall what.

Luigi is "Grandma's Dawg" and our "Resident First-Alert, There's Someone at the DOOR: Quick! Hide! Expert."

Tiggy is "Mouser-in-Chief" and "The Wardrobe Master" (He's a huge fan of Project Runway, btw). Here's Tiggy preparing a "Casual Friday: Ready-to-Wear" business separate for My Own.

Your work blouse smells OK. Let me see though. Ah, it needs a few more toenail snags and some fur clumps.

Noll in Repose

Having completed my evening constitutional,
I am the picture of contentment.
Now, I can sleep, perchance to dream of dirt rolling, scent sniffings,
face rubbings and spritzing the bushes.


Noll's Varying Shades

Like a portrait,
formed through increments of
shadow and light,
Noll's shades vary.
Were he human,
Noll would often find himself in "time out,"
for being garrulous and pouty.
Then, given a hug for being
As charming as a suitor,
As comical as a clown,
As sensitive as a poet,
As daring as a skydiver.
He is a complicated cat.
Though it seems illogical,
Noll's shades blend together perfectly
like the shading strokes of an artist.
Taken as a whole, Noll is a masterpiece.
"Portrait of a Woman," a pencil drawing by C. N. Hillman, 1999

Noll's Pitcher

The collar is on....
Noll waiting for the photographer
to put the camera away
and get the leash out.


Noll Wishes You a "Happy Day of Earth"

Today is the day set aside to remind us to be gentle.

Gentle to the Earth.
Her trees dripping like confectioner's icing - white and sugar pink - some the blush color of a wedding cake rosette. Her trees delicate to the sight, sweet to the smell.

Her Dutchman's breeches pulling up their little pant-shaped flowers through the leaf litter - fern like leaves unfolding around the rich, butter-cream colored blooms. Quietly stating, "We have returned."

Her stately blue herons along the Olentangy, each at their designate fishing hole. Still. Patient in the wait, as the murky waters rush by. The slow rhythm of life beating out separate from the bustling world of men.

Here and there, the Bradford pear strews its white petals like confetti in the air and on the ground; as if to say - 'Hooray!'

"Hooray," for the Earth that brings us green things; things on wings, the wind, the water and the melodies of life.


Noll on Passing Over the Stairway Troll

As of late, Uncle Keaks has been acting like the troll under the bridge.
Except it's not so much a bridge as it is stairs.
But it's the best visual I can give you.
Verily, like the Billy Goats Gruff, in order to pass by, one must pass over; as in the next step down or up depending on which way you're going; cause he ain't moving! We cats are nimble enough. The humans are another matter.
Now, you could blithely rejoin with:
Keekerwee, Keekerwee
Let me pass by
Pretty please, pretty please
There's a crunchy
Temptation in it for thee.
But he's a little hard of hearing, so save your breath.
Forcibly nudging Keaks off works 30% of the time. The other 70% gets you on to the next step - because that is as far as he'll move. The 70% factor is typically in play if your hands are full of laundry. Nudging also provokes biting 15% of the time. However, since he is more feisty in the morning, biting occurs 35% more often when the nudge is between 6:00 AM and 8:00 AM. So, unless you're quick with the mathematics, don't employ the nudging strategy. Just remember:
Keaks is like a slinky except he's got no slink.
Instead, treat the troll situation like a game of chess and execute d7 to e4.
Pick up and move the "White King" down seven and over 4.
Oh, and since you're near the pantry now, a treat would be nice.


Noll Shares His Talents with Tiggy

Tiggy performing Act I of "A Prelude to a Smooch"

All who encounter me, 'Noll the Magnificent,' know me to be a performance artist. Moi, tres artist!

Oui, I am the master of emotion, facial expressions, and body language. And, I am gracious. Gracious enough to share my enormous talents with brother Tiggy. Tiggy is, for the most part, an astute understudy.
This evening, as daylight diminished, Tiggy and I practiced the soft look. The soft look is, essentially, speaking Love through the eyes. As you know, cat eyes are a universe unto themselves. All who gaze into our glistening orbs of energy and light are captivated by their everyday power. But, the soft look - now that gets you....ANYTHING....YOU....WANT.

Soft looks also garner lots of smooches.

Noll's Award from "A Wizard & an Angel"

I hope I am doing this correctly.

I received a "Kreativ Blogger Award" from those two cute tuxedo cats, Kirby and Angel. Their blog is "A Wizard and an Angel." I am to list the 6 things that make me happy and six blogs I want to receive this award. Here goes:

My Six Happy Things:
1.) My Nip Patch
2.) Being invited to the CATBLOGOSPHERE ;)
3.) Grandma's comfy chair (especially if she's in it)
4.) My times in the garden
5.) Wrestling with Tiggy before breakfast
6.) Sleeping in the sunshine

Six Blogs I want to receive this award:
1.) Ruda's Rustic Ranch
2.) Lilacs and Cats
3.) Cybersibes - Star & Jack
4.) Meezer Tails (I love dancing with ya Billy Sweet Feets!)
5.) Mr. Tuck's Neighborhood
6.) The Kitty Gazette


Noll Remembers Simba

The drawing of a kitten was the last thing My Own saw at night. It was the first thing she saw at day break. Her father had drawn it. Somehow, he had known.
For years, My Own reflected on the kitten with the eyes that seemed to stare back at her with love.

As her 10th year approached, he ask her what she wanted for her birthday. Steeling for the apology, My Own replied, "A kitten."
To her surprise, he said "Yes."
Thus it was. On her 10th birthday, My Own received a meezer. A seal-point Siamese her sister named 'Simba.'
Eyes slightly crossed, the color of sapphire. Lovable. Silken. Very sick. A kitty with distemper; who ate a half a boiled lamb kidney for breakfast each morning as prescribed by the vet to make him strong again - a prescription that would become a life-long habit.
A playful pouncer. A stalker and a talker. A somersaulter. A jumper. A cat who walked on a leash. A cat who once walked across a wet painting and left a trail of paw prints. A cat who napped under the blue spruce trees in a makeshift tent. The sight of which earned him the nickname "Pashe Boomsky." A hugging, 'carry me around,' cat.
Her first cat. The cat whose fur soaked up her tears when Spotty dog died.
The cat who would head our line of succession.
The realization of her father's drawing. Her beloved, Simba.

Original photo by A. Szabo, digitally enhanced.


Noll Reads from the "Sea Liloquy" Collection

There are oceans inside a shell
and shells inside an ocean,

Each awakens in the other a beauty
lessened by the absence of one.

by Kareen
Copyrighted 1979, Image 5th edition

Noll Has a Nautical Day

This morning, the sun shone brightly through the bay window. The warm rays stretched below deck to the carpet under the table where all hands had gathered. Uncle Keaks lay soaking up the early morning sunshine. His rhythmic, heavy breathing rocking me to sleep.

The transcend into Nirvana was at hand, when, Uncle Keaks was abruptly scooped up and stuffed into the box with the handle on top.

It is not a happy place, that box.

An hour later, Keaks was back, smelling funny. And, I was not amused.

Uncle Keaks had been to the place of odd occurrences: where a light is beamed into your eyes, where your lips are peeled back, where your tummy is rubbed like a ball of dough, where your buttocks smart from a sharp prick.

And that's if you're lucky. Sometimes, it's an all day affair. Then, it's days before that smell wears off.

So, instead of an enjoyable little morning snooze, today I listed like a ship.

I realize, it wasn't me who was stuffed into the box, violated and made stinky. Trust me though, it may as well have been me. That smell tilted me. I heard little voices cry "heave - ho!" I hissed. I moaned. I had an out-of-body experience.

My therapy included hours in the garden, a handful of fresh catnip and generous amounts of affection well into early evening. I have no choice but to retire early. The blanket is pulled tight over my woozy head.

Uncle Keaks still stinks.


Noll Enjoys a Rainy Day

Whether it's rainy days and Mondays,
Or it's raining, pouring cats and dogs;
If chanting "rain, rain go away" doesn't work,
Realize, into each life, some rain must fall.

Then, burrow deep under a soft, warm blanket
and let rain patter be your day-passing lullaby.


Noll Awaits the Hummingbird

The rhythm of nature is a comfort.
The rhythm of nature is a joy.
And the whirring sound of the hummingbird,
Plies my interest
Like a wind-up catnip toy!

Soon, it will come. Pushed north by the April winds. Flashing iridescent ruby throat, rudder-like tail; hovering in suspended animation. Its wings a blur. Its tiny "cheep, cheep" before an abrupt directional change. A quick sip of sugar water. Then, "zip, zip," another sip. One or two more aerial lifts before turbo-charging away. Over, and over again it does its sipping dance.

The rhythm of nature gladdens my heart.

In springtime, when, once again, we suddenly meet, it is hard to say whose heart beats faster: Mine, or the hummingbird's.


Noll Offers Good Friday Thoughts

Joyous is the field of yellow, cream-colored daffodil.
Happy is the Easter chick, fluffy and newborn.
Blissful are the fruit trees puffy white or powder pink.
Glorious is the goldfinch, his golden hue reborn.
Faithful are the Spring Beauties flecking pale the forest floor.
Worthy is the Lamb.


Noll's Haiku

Pink moon waxing:
a fur cocoon waiting
in the dark hall.


Noll & the Paparazzi

Much to my amusement, I have perfected the pretense of rebuking the local paparazzi.

It was inevitable; when even the tight spot between the asparagus and succulents didn't hinder the resident photog. Turnaround is fair play.

It must be these baby blues that transforms My Own into a human snake; slithering, sneaking on her belly to get within inches of me, her irresistible quarry, and that perfect shot.

As unnerving as it might seem, I never lose control of the situation. For her, I feign chagrin. For her, I display a mere measure of displeasure. I make her work for these Caribbean-colored eyes.

Encroach upon my space? My eyes close in reflexive meditation. Here’s the downcast look of boredom. Or, a sideways glance as if something caught my attention. Oops, I turned my head unexpectedly. What? You did not want a profile? My bad.

Always, when the chase is on, I become an alluring carnival game. And, always, I control the opportunity and outcome. Step up, take a chance. Try. Fail. Reload. Repeat. Until at last, I permit moment and success to entwine.

Timed manipulation is like photographic composition - balance is crucial. And the paparazzi, though slightly soiled, is no worst for wear.


Noll's Tale of Whoa Turns to Woe!

Whilst I was walking My Own around last night, we happened upon the catnip patch. "Whoa" I commanded. And, she obeyed. In control, I took my leisure. I nibbled around the edges. Sniffed for foreign smells. Got tangled in last year's growth. Unfortunately, I took a little too long. Whilst I lingered, the wheels in her head had been turning.

Without missing a beat, she pulled clippers from her pocket. Standing in front of the patch (my catnip patch), she declared, "No time like the present."

So quickly I went from "WHOA" to "WOE!"

I dare say, My Own is cleverly fast. I watched in shock and awe as leaves, grass and catnip stalks all ended up in the same unceremonious heap!

A thunderclap exploded in my brain as I realized
it was all going into the compost pile.

Whatever happened to waste not want nip?


Noll Remembers Gizmo

Nature, like man, sometimes weeps for gladness - Benjamin Disreali
Cousin Gizmo was a “Kitty from Heaven” (see post: Noll Explains “Kitties from Heaven”.) And, as Heaven’s special envoy, Gizmo knew exactly when and where he needed to be.

The sound came from a distance. Among the weeds, the little black kitten shifted his dirty body. He knew it was time. As the noise approached, he craned his neck and stretched his scraggy shoulders above the tall strands. He needed to be noticed at the precise moment. The tall stranger had merely to glance at the weedy verge now. And, he did! The motor slowed; a wisp of road dust drifted up. The door opened and a soft call beckoned. Sporting a torn upper lip, the black kitten meowed and accepted the ride without hesitation.

At the rustic ranch, my auntie cleaned his matted fur and treated his wound. Never again would his bloated belly know a hollow gnaw. Never again would he sleep alone. The top of her pillow belonged to him.

The curved scar meandering through his whiskers blossomed into his beauty mark. The 'whistling-booger' way he breathed through his nose would forever bring a smile and a laugh to all who encountered him.

Like me, he was a cat with three names: Gizzie-mo/Coco-mo, Snutzy-Doodles (for that nose whistle) and, simply, Gizzie.

A friend to Wolfie the husky, Gimzo was a champion foil ball fetcher. Just like a dog, he chased and fetched. A water baby, Gizmo could not resist sticking his paws under the water running in the sink; usually, encroaching upon the way of human grooming, but always a welcomed distraction. A lover, Gizmo could not contain his paws – always touching, patting the face that presented it self.

Thirteen and a half years after stretching tall to be noticed on the side of the road, when his heart was full of love and his kidneys could take in no more of life, Gizmo went to the bridge.
That day, as raindrops (or, were they teardrops?) fell on his shoulders, Gizmo passed over rainbow bridge into light. At the foot of the bridge, he met a fuzzy button of a kitten coming from Heaven’s gate.

It is a magical thing when animal and human walk together sharing understanding and convergence. Once upon a time, in a rustic country ranch, did a cat and two humans walk in the shadow of the rainbow.
Said Gizmo to the kitten now known as Stuey, “Go now, straight over this bridge, pass the woods to the clearing, and mew from the bottom of your soul. There, magic will find you."