Miles Got Jesus

I’m not a terribly religious person. Too often, we seem to use religion as an excuse to berate, hate, stereotype, shut down, and exclude, but that’s a whole other conversation…or a presidential tweet, whatever.

With that in mind, I, unfortunately, hesitated to take Paint By Numbers Jesus when my sister and I went on the last raid of Gpa and Gma’s house before the auction. We were in the middle of Great Grandma’s room, the spare bedroom now, surrounded by open boxes waiting for bidders. I held the painting which was so much bigger than I remembered it being when it was on the wall, with the frame it measures 35 x 18 inches or about two Miles long, and tried to visualize where it could go in my house. I didn’t know why I wanted it other than Gma had painted it, and the kitsch value was off the charts. The mythology of Paint By Numbers Jesus says that Gma spent hours and hours meticulously working on filling in those numbers. There was no cell service to debate it with MomBert and my sister was hesitant to give a firm “yes.” We were both certain there was a smaller painting somewhere, but only found a velvet clown that clearly belonged in someone else’s house, not ours!

So I bypassed Paint By Numbers Jesus in favor of smaller sewing implements, some play dress-up jewelry, a pocket knife, and a cast iron weiner dog that was always at the front door.


Miles has a lot to consider here.

Gpa passed in August of 2017, but it took his children another year to argue about paperwork, possessions, and land before the auction was set for the house, contents, and a section of property. (Advice to those thinking about their descendants and what you want to have happen after you die, do not put faith in the “better natures” of your survivors and their willingness to “do the right thing.” Verbalized wishes mean squat, put it in the will. The end.)

When our father asked us if there was anything we wanted post auction, I inquired about Jesus. Miraculously, Paint By Numbers Jesus survived the auction! Not sure about the clown. I graciously suggested that he put a bow on Jesus and hand it to me at Christmas. I thought this was a no-brainer because it would be free and zero effort on his part, things he loves.

I did not get Jesus at Christmas. Whole bunch of fucking irony there.

Since there were no offers to just go get Jesus from wherever he was being stored- presumably NOT in a climate controlled, art friendly environment- I reiterated that I would like Jesus and, hey, my birthday was just around the corner! Alas the Amazon gift card I received could not purchase Paint By Numbers Jesus.

This is how it goes with our father. Things that you thought you agreed to, things that should be simple or straightforward, things that seem to be standard in other people’s relationships, become negotiations, traps, hostage situations with moments of begging layered with a coating of bullshit  because you want something that he has whether it’s informational, material, or Paint By Numbers Jesus forbid monetary. The newest fun game every visit is to ask us what we want to inherit while our stepmother chants from the sidelines that we don’t need to worry, that all the paperwork will be in place, and us kids (which includes her children as well) will be equally taken care of! No matter what we respond to him with, whether serious or sarcastic (with that tiny grain of truth), he laughs. During the latest round of this, I said I wanted Jesus. Dad went with his standard ploy of “not remembering” where the thing I wanted was, but relaying how many hours Gma spent working on it.

However about an hour and one trap later, I was invited to meet him to pick up Jesus. He literally waited until I left his house, and was driving out of town to call my cell and suggest this hand off. Jesus was hanging off a wagon handle in a large storage barn along with the other unsold items….and the dirt, mice, birds, weather, and mud daubers that were building tubed nests on EVERYTHING. It was exactly the environment where I expected to find Jesus eight months after hesitating to carry him away.

Paint By Numbers Jesus was my co-pilot home. Those in the know applauded the “I got Jesus!” text messages. Miles was more concerned than thrilled. When I told him the name of the painting, he was like “LAST SUPPER! WTF?! That’s no good!” His concerns for food outweigh concerns for relationships, art, and religion.




Our Fourth started with explosions, shrapnel, and screaming, which is a bit dramatic, but true nonetheless.

I slept too late having forgot an alarm and was still in a foggy dream state when I opened the microwave door and watched myself slow motion fumble a Fiestaware heart of newly warmed, wet cat food.

The exploding pottery sent Olivia and Birdie flying as Miles and Sookie froze mid bites. I also froze as I felt warmth spread across one bare foot—it was cat food not blood—and regretted not getting dressed beyond underwear. I safely maneuvered to some flip flops only to turn and find Miles unfrozen and ready to investigate pottery sprinkled lumps of cat food with his mouth. So the screaming began.

If there is food involved, the only thing that will get his furry behind hustling is me screaming at the top of my lungs. He is not starved. He is fed regularly, and he did not need to ingest food topped with tiny ceramic bits! Sookie, in a weird moment of obstinance or bravery, more or less said fuck this noise and continued to eat her breakfast from her usual under the cabinet spot. Unfortunately, she was out a few minutes later trying to suck up food particles and got the same yelling treatment as Miles.


I suspect that I will be finding oddly located cat food crusties for weeks. The food looked like a blood spatter lab that our forensic class does every year. There were manageable lumps, but also a wide arc of minuscule fragments. The same could be said for the pieces of my former Fiestaware small heart bowl. This meant the dreaded vacuum!


No worries though. Everyone has now been re-fed including me, and returned to their natural state of lounging.

I hate to tell them that there will be more booms tonight. Please keep animals safe inside; they don’t enjoy explosions even when there are food particles.



This is not a product placement situation.

This is me overcompensating because the crud has invaded my nose, ears, throat, and is making in roads on my chest; and I discovered that I only own 3 cough drops! I must have cleansed all the ancient drops in a fit of tidiness.

Tidying does no good if you don’t own cough drops when you desperately need them.

Like going to the store hungry, it suddenly all seemed like a good idea! Will this make my ears go back to normal hearing? Will this one make me able to sleep for more than three hours?! Oh, this was a sad basket of groceries yet no one commented. Professionalism I guess.

I’m hoping the Cloraseptic stuff is the solution to not choking to death on a cough drop in my sleep. Shut up! You know you’ve done it and a cough drop is the only way to hold the aching throat and sleep snot at bay. That and sleeping with a Kleenex shoved up one nostril to plug the “sneaky drip.” I had a cat who would get annoyed with my slow motivation to get up and feed him, so he’d yank out the Kleenex. It worked.

** Not pictured: magnificently large bottle of Jameson for pairing with the tea and honey.

My Dead Cat is in a Calendar!!

So my dead cat is in calendar. That’s not weird, right?

Once upon a time I used to buy page-a-day calendars because they were adorable and the scrap paper came in handy at home and work before all my lists ended up in my phone. I gravitated towards ones like Cuteness Overload which was a variety of animals being…CUTE and featured the word “squeeee” in many of its captions. I would also grab cat based dailies like Cat Fancy, the very literal Cat-A-Day and,of course, The Bad Cat calendar. The Bad Cat calendar was strictly for home use as some of its captioning was a bit too bad for school, hilarious but bad.

All of those calendars came with a submission form so that your pet could potentially appear in the next calendar. In fact, one year early in our relationship Bella Luna appeared in both the Cat Fancy and Cat-A-Day daily calendars. She was such a super model.

Certainly I must have submitted other pictures to other calendars over the years which would explain my mail. Workman Publishing has no idea how weird they could make me feel. I had literally just come in from running errands, one of which was to buy 50% off calendars. I stood in Barnes & Noble debating over the last copy of Bad Cat an hour earlier. Now this!

That letter took a bit of contemplation before it made sense. Cosmo has been dead since 2009. So for at least 10 years whatever photo I submitted has been sifting around their offices, maybe physically, maybe digitally. I don’t know! I had no idea what my cat’s posthumous calendar appearance would look like!

Of course, I had to buy the damned calendar now!

Face palm. Eye roll. My poor Cosmo Cat! Immortalized as Yoda. Could be worse.

That was October 2008, a year before kitty cancer. I was hemming up parts of the costume for a friend’s pug and Cosmo wanted to be in the middle of it all. Modeling was the best way he could help. May the Force be with you.

Take a Hike


Sharon Woods: Winter Hike Series

This weekend Ohio decided that it was winter. Weather apps flashed scary red triangles. Everyone ran to the grocery store Friday night. Life went on.

By hiking time Saturday morning, it was cold; but the snow was only a constant dusting slowly accumulating into something bigger. I had thought that the temperature drop and the threat of snow might weed out the hikers, but I still had to park .6 mile (yes, I measured when I drove out) away from the starting point. I definitely got three plus miles in walking.

I used Saturday’s hike as an opportunity to test drive my winter hiking fashion find. The good people at swear it’s a dress, and on their stick thin models I was willing to believe that claim. On me, it’s a glorified Snuggie and I love it. Hooded, giant kangaroo pocket, and maxi length with slits up the side just in case I really want to put on dress boots and pretend I’m dressed for work. It’s also a million percent polyester, so it just generates its own heat. This “dress” completely solved the problem where everything covered by my coat is warm, but the wind still blows up under the back side of the coat, chilling my butt. I assure you my booty was toasty.





Saturday’s hike ended with a cup of bean soup and a cornbread muffin. It’s a simple thing but the treat at the end of each hike is gratifying. The volunteers and rangers are helpful and happy, and there’s usually a fire to cuddle around. I took a hot chocolate for my hike back to my car.


Prairie Oaks Metro Park

By today, Sunday, the snow really did come in as predicted. I think we got about 4-5 inches. However, the roads were clear for the afternoon hike, and the park was packed with people. The most evident non-human life were the geese in the middle of the lake yelling about all the dogs on the walk, and some vibrant lichen on a bridge.



I don’t know how to ski, but I suspect that cross country skis would have been really handy today. Even before the 2 o’clock start time, the snow on the paths was solidly packed and slick. I spent my alleged 3 miles (I think it was longer) slipping, penguin walking in little shuffles, and trying to jump into unpacked snow on the sides without also slipping into a lake.

It was a hungry, cold relief to make it to the end. The Prairie Oaks hike always makes a really thick chicken noodle soup, and from the looks of the crock pots, Adventure Buddy and I got the last two steaming, glorious cups.

Only 10 more hikes to go.