April A to Z

The blog of storyteller and folklorist Dr. Zalka Csenge Virág introduced me to the concept of A to Z blogging– in a 30-day month, you can take one day off per week and still cover the alphabet at one letter per day.

Blog posts are work! But I made some drawings for April, in the medium I find easiest and least intimidating, which is blue non-repro pencil followed by fine-tip Sharpie marker, on 3×5 cards. My favorite was back at letter C, on a day I was busy and tired and dashed it off as quickly as possible:

Sketch of a glaring cat, in black marker on a white index card

Here’s the whole batch. I may do another round in June… maybe writing three-sentence stories?
layout 26 index cards with marker drawings (the subjects are a-z, starting with anenomes and ending with zinnias)


Three on the Third, January 2015 Edition

I’m trying to streamline the spiral-notebook-to-blog process for images, via my phone and Google Drive and the WordPress interface. Not sure how much progress I’ve made, but it means you get to see my Three on the Third comics, which I haven’t done in I don’t know HOW long. Dedicated to J with admiration for how she’s (singlehandedly?) kept it going!
3onthe3rd 2015 01 01
[Sad Little Kitty Noises: A Lesson. “meow..arowr…” What I thought would happen: purrrr, purrrrrr, purrrrz. What really happened: scratch scratch, lick lick lick lick, “wet foooood!”]
3onthe3rd 2015 01 02
[Critter Control. 8:00 a.m.: “Hello, we have a catch in our roof trap. I think it’s a squirrel. Okay thanks bye! (Good, it was voicemail.)” 1:30 p.m.: “If the squirrel’s not gone when we get back, should I call? I mean, it gets dark at four something.” Later: “It’s the ‘service completed’ email. It was a rat. That’s…four rats? One more rat and rats are free.”]
3 on the 3rd comic January 2015 Nutella the Big Jar
[Nutella: The Big Jar. One person on sofa: nomnomnom. Both people on sofa: nomnomnom. “Wha…oops, I went to put this away. Do you want it back?” “No, here’s the lid.” “I guess technically it was a joint present.” “Yeah.” “Heh.” “Heh.” “It’s better to just think of it as yours.”]


I’ve come to think of September as the month of critters, though I didn’t notice it til after Sang and I spent a September backpacking, and the camp critters saw us as their Last Hope after the summer car camping season was over. So far this year:

  • the Charming Little Roommate needed her flea stuff for the first time since spring.
  • the spiders are spinning across every path and doorway, and will spend the next weeks getting bigger and bigger.
  • yellow jackets come to investigate our lunches when we eat in the brick plaza on campus.
  • surprised a rat in the basement and ordered a trap for it, as Simone does not seem interested. (Of course, Sang thinks Simone brought it inside in the first place and then got bored and skipped off.)
  • Just got back from a face-off with Max the Horrible Cat. I had a broom, but brandishing it makes him engage and advance toward me, hissing. I went back to the house for the squirt bottle. I don’t really understand why a little water in the face is worse than the threat of being clobbered with a broom, but I’m grateful something dissuades him. He is the worst cat.

On the plus side, there’s a nice chorus of crickets tonight.

Happy Easter!

coffee and peeps
coffee and peeps
He is risen
coffee and peeps

Simone, who is hardly ever interested in human food, took a peep by the neck and shook it to death, then shredded its head. She is still enjoying playing with the body, except when it gets stuck on her claw.

It’s a sunny weekend in Portland! Sanguinity and I did our hiking yesterday in the Gorge, a walk at Gillette Lake on the Washington side. It was uncrowded, probably because it features power lines and clearcuts rather than stunning waterfalls. But plenty of beauty and interest including garter snakes sunning on the hillside, a lizard, perfect trilliums in the woods, and retrievers launching themselves into the water after sticks. Sang read me three chapters of Kidnapped while we lounged on the moss.


Simone brought a rat in. We had the most enchanting exasperating half-hour hunting it in the living room. At one point I had it cornered behind an end-table, with an additional barricade of books stacked against the gap. I couldn’t decide what tool or container to use to reach it down there, and I considered leaving it there while I went to pick up sanguinity from work. But then there was a little rustling noise and I looked down to see the rat scaling the stack of books, using impressive chimneying technique.

I managed to encourage it, with a broomstick, to crawl into a plastic wastebasket I held at the gap. Then I overturned the wastebasket and scooted it across the floor to the door. I put the cat in another room, opened the door, and slid the wastebasket across the threshold. As soon as there was a gap, the rat slipped out, crossed the porch, and disappeared under the steps.

I’d pinched the rat’s tail and made it cry, and apparently scared it badly (there was a little puddle on the floor where I’d had the wastebasket), but otherwise it seemed in good shape. If it’s true that cats bring home only a quarter of their prey, perhaps Simone has caught about eight rodents now. I am instituting a policy of inspections before opening the door for her. Can’t believe I let her waltz in with it.

And one meeting every month will be a potluck.

“At this morning’s team meeting,” I told sanguinity yesterday, “we did an icebreaker for fun, even though we all know each other.”

“You tell me these things just to horrify me,” she said.
Last night when I was rummaging around in the bottom kitchen drawer, aka “the drug drawer” (also home of extension cords and light bulbs), Simone the cat was very keen on supervising. A few minutes later, sanguinity saw her stretching up to pat at the drawers some more. Sang opened the next drawer up, which is the tea drawer. Simone hopped in and started excavating boxes of tea. She was serious and methodical: she wanted this one gone, and then that one. She made herself a space big enough to sit in, which I thought was maybe her objective although she still seemed a bit dissatisfied. Then I made her get out, and I put the tea back and shut the drawer. She started a campaign to get into the cabinet next to the drawers.

“Do you think there’s a mouse in there somewhere?” sanguinity said. I thought uneasily of Lily and the stove.

The mystery was solved when I made myself a cup of Super Relaxing Tea.
Relaxing Tea
I’ve been buying this at Asian supermarkets since long before FuBonn, and it is serious stuff– once Jenny had a cup at lunch and barely made it the ten blocks home on her bike before a nap came on.
I was sipping and watching TV when I noticed Simone rubbing her face all over my discarded teabag on the coaster. She picked it up and carried it into her cardboard box. Sang went to the kitchen and confirmed– catnip is the second ingredient.

Four Minute Diary

I peeked in at Lynda Barry’s Tumblr, which I’d sort of forgotten about for awhile, and read about the four-minute diary:

Why is it so hard to keep a diary?


Keeping a diary is much easier if you limit your writing to four minutes each day: two minutes spent writing a list of what you remember from the day before and then two minutes making a list of things you saw.

Her post included a video you can use to time the four minutes, but I didn’t. Also, I misremembered about the second list and wrote what I did, not what I saw. Still, I wrote. Yesterday:

  • I stood at the kitchen counter shelling fava beans onto a plate and listened to the radio.
  • I gave Simone some “mixed grill” wet food, and she was all excited about it and jumped up onto the counter before I could put the dish on the floor, but then she didn’t finish it.
  • I played a round of Farm Hustle, and watched Sherlock vids with Sang before bed.