Yes you can complain about the weather but

You can complain, commiserate with other locals but after that you just suck it up – or write silly poetry.

black cat at laptop

Mr. Snuggles asking for some #caturday affection – or more Fancy Feast

It was early on Saturday morning and I was preparing to venture out for the day. The cats were fed and one took to her favourite spot for an after-breakfast nap. The other took to my lap for attention and to commiserate about the sh*tty weekend weather  forecast.

I took to writing a humorous ditty about the weather, cats and menopause memory.

He comes to warm his balcony toes, 
and bless me with >^..^< his cold, wet nose.
The weather forecast looks a mess,
I swear I don’t know how to dress!
Rain gear, layers and boots by chance?
As long as I don’t forget my pants.

TAJ April 14, 2018

Hope you liked that. You might also like a recent post at Deep Blonde Thoughts where I opine about the state of Ottawa’s public transportation services. If you’re a bus mouse like me, you can surely relate.

Thanks for dropping by and not waking the Tabby.



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Adapting to change

It took a while for Miss Geneva to warm up to the new arrival.

She shares my preferences for keeping things calm and unchanged.

After that upset last month with the contractors, I didn’t want to cause the cats more stress. I figure this recent change was a positive one, adding comfort and colour to our humble home.

After the sniff test, she soon became acquainted with the quilt I added as a throw on her futon, her window perch.

tabby cat on quilt on futon

Miss Geneva chattering at birds

You can read about how this quilt came into our home, a result of me pushing my limits with social anxieties last month.

That’s about all the writing I have done lately. How about you?

Thanks for dropping by – and not disturbing the Tabby.


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It all started when I noticed a strange smell

I was relieved that my downstairs neighbours did not blame me for their apartment dripping with water last week.

On a related note, most of my writing activities lately have been polite emails to my landlord, and instructional signs to ensure the comfort of my feline roommates.

door sign for the landlord and contractors

My front door sign for the landlord and contractors

It started a couple of weeks ago when I noticed an odor lingering in the master bedroom’s powder room.

After repeated visits from the workmen to locate the smell and apply unrelated fixes, it became stressful knowing strangers were in my home while I was away. Also, when I would arrive home after work, I had to go on a search for the cats. They also do not like loud noises and strangers in the home.

In wanting to make sure my darlings had the run of the apartment, I placed postit notes on bedroom doors and the inside passage between sections. I even posted a sign on the front door for the workers to see on the way out.

door sign for contractors

Another sign for the contractors, on the way out

Finally, the smell went away after the workers replaced the flange / gasket thingie under the toilet. In the process though, and I assume after they turned the water off then on again, one of the water pipes burst.

My neighbours soon experienced water gushing into their powder room and along the ceiling in their common areas. They called the landlord. Yikes!

The coordinator sent me an email that there was a “leaking issue” and could I please not use the powder room over the weekend. Sure…

When I arrived home after a Saturday outing, I noticed holes cut in my powder room wall. I assumed they needed to do that to locate the leaky pipe.

The workers had used my good broom to sweep up debris. I itched to make another sign but decided it was best just to hide it and leave the “old broom” accessible for their next visit.

The repair work in my apartment is done, the holes are patched and painted over. I think I’ll wait until the long weekend to clean up and relocate my toiletries. I am lucky in that I have the main bathroom to perform my ablutions. It’s a minor inconvenience considering what my neighbours have experienced!

Thanks for dropping by. If you have time, take a gander at the page for my 2011 novel. If not, here’s a picture of a cat.

Black cat in front of laptop

Mr. Snuggles asking for Second Breakfast



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Cats and Dogs

The furry roommates were suspicious about my housecleaning efforts last weekend.

Perhaps they were concerned by all the talk of The Year of the Dog.

cats in play structure hidie box

Cats hiding in their room


I reassured them that we would not allow a drooling dog live in our home yet I wanted to make preparations for the arrival of the lunar new year and the Year of the Dog on February 16th. I did this by performing a winter cleanup, a ceremonial cleanse according to a local Feng Shui Master’s advice.

In addition to writing things out as a form of therapy, I embrace and respect Feng Shui as the art of living in a clean, harmonious space. It also helps to break up the winter blahs and pull me out of the winter blues.

Illustration for Year of the Dog

Illustration for Year of the Dog by Gisele

If you are familiar with my 2011 novel, you will understand my attraction to the Chinese Zodiac since my Muskoka childhood. Although I did not grow up in the same culture where they use this occasion to honour deities and ancestors, I find the Lunar New Year a good opportunity to cleanse, freshen one’s living space – and head space.

Black cat at iPad on table

Snuggles wants to make sure we have a dog-proof plan

So… how are you celebrating the Lunar New Year?

To learn how my cleansing and reorganizing efforts turned out, you can read the details at my pen name’s blog.

Thanks for dropping by!


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Winter is sucking and blowing

January is almost over.

I feel gratitude for the weekends, volunteer opportunities and family outings. I am tired of the hurdles and obstacles of getting around the city.


bench in a bus shelter surrounded by snow

Winter bus shelter experience

I am thankful for the weekend break, for a visit from one of my adult children.

I am not pleased with the whiny cat who does not understand that 4:30 a.m. is too early to get me up on a Saturday.


He almost looks thankful for the breakfast service. Either that or he’s glad to warm up his balcony toes on my lap.

At least February is coming soon as is the refreshing promise of the Lunar New Year. Wander over to the Year of the Rabbit blog for hopeful readings:

One consolation of being dragged out of bed early is  witnessing with awe the stages of a winter sunrise.

winter sunrise

Winter sunrise

Thanks for dropping by. Have a nice weekend.




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Writing pleas about bags in trees

My recent writing activities included a poem about a plastic bag stuck in a nearby tree. 

The sight of bags and other litter stuck in trees makes me sad. How about you?

Oh plastic bag in nearby tree,

How my disappointment hangs with thee.

You yank and waggle in the blowing snow.

How I wish you would just let go!

Let go! Let go, I beg of you,

Because you’re ruining my ****ing view!

Poem - plastic bag stuck in tree

Poem – plastic bag stuck in tree

Last year, one of the offspring helped me remove a bag from one of the trees. I had purchased a 12 foot tree trimming pole just for that task. It worked. This time though, the bag was out of reach.

Writing this poem helped me express and share my frustration. People thought it was clever and funny. It was. It was but I still felt sad about the spoiled view, the symbolic, careless disrespect for nature.

My next writing task was an email to my landlord while I took a sick day from work. A combination of disrupted sleep due to car alarms sounding unnecessarily during the night and the sight of this bag inspired me to use my words, my power of persuasion through writing.

It worked. By the next evening, one of the landlord’s groundskeepers had removed the bag from the tree.

When I opened the blinds the next morning, Miss Geneva and I were pleased to see that the bag was gone.

Tabby cat on window seat

Miss Geneva Tabby on her window perch

This confirms that you can use your writing skills to entertain, to elicit feelings AND encourage action. Of course, I promptly sent a follow-up message with a big “thank you” to the landlord and crew.

Thanks for dropping by.


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Strokes of finesse in painting a poem

As part of my lifelong learning activities, I recently attended Sumi-e painting classes.

This was just an introductory level to learning the nuances of preparing one’s ink, wetting the brush and applying just the right pressure when stroking the rice paper.

According to this source, Sumi-e is like “writing a painting” or “painting a poem”. I like that. 

First, our instructor provided us with ample practice time to learn the different strokes, how to correct the ink’s darkness, how to keep the brush tip in the correct shape. She also reminded us about the importance of keeping quiet during the lessons.

After practicing the strokes, we learned the Kanji character for the Moon.

Ink on rice paper calligraphy practice - Moon

Ink on rice paper calligraphy practice – Moon

Now, you will find differing opinions on how the moon character should be drawn. Some say the two horizontal lines should touch the vertical ones on both sides. The way we learned it, they don’t.

Brush and ink practice on rice paper

Brush and ink practice

During the second week’s lesson, we learned how to paint the chrysanthemum, a highly revered flower in China and Japan. Different colours hold different meanings.

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum black ink on rice paper

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum black ink on rice paper

I was tickled and proud to receive the instructor’s stamp of approval.

Despite the late end times and having to wait for buses home, I enjoyed the classes, the opportunity to learn new techniques – and socialize with other students. Hence the instructor reminding us to keep quiet…

Black cat in front of iPad with Sumi-e painting

Mr. Snuggles critiques my first Sumi-e painting

The cats seemed concerned that I was not home in time to serve their soft food dinner and they had to suffer with the bowls of Senior dry bits.

During the third lesson, we learned how to apply colour to our brush (from basic water colours) and blend it in with the black ink – or choose to apply it as a wash.

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum paintin with colour

Sumi-e Chrysanthemum with colour

Once again, I was tickled to receive the instructor’s stamp of approval 🙂

I look forward to practicing at home this fall and winter, perhaps applying some techniques to that children’s book idea that has been simmering, to blend with some of the other illustration attempts.

Cat on couch resting with plants and painting in background

Tabby cat resting on couch with sumi-e painting and plants in the background

Here are many tutorial videos to learn Sumi-e. I appreciated learning with an instructor in a small class. I might just sign up again.

Thanks for dropping by – and not disturbing the Tabby.




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