Cats · Good Living

i want to be like my cat

cat

 

i want to be like rose.

my husband got her from a customer as a cute little kitty. they put her in a box and he left for an hour ride home on 2 major highways. no sooner was he on the first highway then the little fur ball burst out of the box, onto the dash, then onto the truck floor.

“shoot,” he thought,  “this will be a great ride home!” he was sweeping at the floor with his big hands in a furtive attempt to grab the beast, while trying to keep his eyes on the road, it was much like a drunk trying to capture a chicken. presently, the little thing crawled onto the seat after catching her claws on the edge of it and swinging wildly. she looked up at him as if to say, “don’t ever try to put me in a box again.”  he found himself apologizing sheepishly. she made the high leap onto his lap and slept their the rest of the way.

we all fell in love with her immediately. her gorgeous maine coon coat, black with chestnut highlights, glowed in the light.

this was almost 2 years ago. she’s taught me many lessons in that time.

  1. sleep. a lot. day and night if you must
  2. hunt with the best of them, keeping your area clean of all vermin
  3. leave special gifts for those you love, especially in unexpected places where they won’t miss them
  4. if you have mats in your fur that you are inefficient at untangling, allow the people to comb them out. it’s good for you and for them
  5.  hide around corners from time to time and pounce people, just for kicks
  6. tear across the room like a banshee from time to time, climb walls, and swing furniture
  7. sleep wherever you want: on a couch, on their pillow, on a lap…
  8. take delight in the little things. you don’t need expensive things to enjoy life
  9. know your people and love them a lot. brush up against them. purr at them. push what they are doing out of your way and make yourself comfortable there
  10. if people mess with you, ignore them. then hiss. then draw your claws, swipe them across the face, and teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/inefficient/

 

Christian · Intimacy · Personal Growth · Relationships

Deep Waters

depths

Have you ever said or done something in the spur of the moment and thought, “Wow! Where did that come from?”

The other day I sat with a brilliant group of people I love and discussed this wonderful proverb: “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Proverbs 20:5.

In it, “purposes” pertains to plans.  Anatomically, the heart refers to the “hollow, pump-like organ of blood circulation, composed mainly of rhythmically contractile smooth muscle, located in the chest…”. In many ancient cultures, including the Hebrews, the heart refers to the very soul of who we are. It also refers to our will – our inclinations and our appetites; as well as our emotions; and our understanding.

Is it fair to state that the purposes of a persons heart are as deep, mysterious, and unsearchable as ‘waters’? I emphatically say, “Yes!” The fish is the last to see the water. My own heart can be  enigmatic even to me. What a graphic metaphor! Deep waters conjure up images of the unknown, of wrinkled creatures with savage fangs lurking for a killing. Many a relationship has gone sour at the unleashing of this monster in a partner who, at first blush, seemed as attractive as gentle pool on a hot day. Unfortunately too many are foolhardy enough to plunge into deep waters without the skills to navigate them.

There is nothing like a relationship, on any level, let alone an intimate one, to bring out the purposes of ones heart. Being herd creatures, we long to know and to be known. (https://thukumainen.wordpress.com/2017/10/20/meant-to-belong-to-a-herd/) How difficult this is when we harbor recesses of ourselves that even we don’t know! If we think it is easy to understand people, we are wrong. Even people we have known for decades are still capable of surprising us. Even when we’ve heard all their stories and know “all about them”.

We all harbor things in our hearts that no one else knows – positive and negative. Those may be fears, dreams, resentments, habits, past actions, and various other aspects of who we are. These  are borne in the deep dark recesses of our hearts and are sometimes invisible even to the bearer. We guard them carefully there and they are well trained in not surfacing. We consciously and unconsciously feed them and tend to them. We know how to quell them when they thrash about wildly in the murky depths.

This arduous internal work is attained while externally we look rather well put together. My sister in law tells me of Sheila at her work who regularly breaks down and cries “the ugly cry. ” Full out loud and dramatic – in a professional workplace surrounded by hundreds of people. That’s messed up. We recoil at people who fall apart in our presence. We need them to contain themselves, or keep it together. We don’t have to be as theatrical as Sheila either. Meanwhile the monster grows and grows in the dark.

Intimacy is “a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of” another person. Blessed and few are  relationships where people are on the road to being completely known and completely knowing the other person. This can take a lifetime. Many of us have felt the thrill of sharing our hearts with another and still being loved and accepted. I would define intimacy as the gift of being with “one who has insight” to draw out the purposes of our hearts. This can be God, a parent, a friend, a spouse, or any other significant other. 

May we aspire to have the insight (skill, intelligence, understanding) to effectively navigate and draw out the purposes of the hearts of those we are blessed to have in our lives. That involves time, active listening, investing in people, compassion, and grace. We must hold each other’s hearts gently. May we have the courage to help them sight, catch, land, and slay their monsters. May we row them along in their dreams and aspirations. May we dare

 

 

Bibliography:

  1. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/heart?s=t retrieved March 21, 2018
  2. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/intimacy?s=t retrieved March 21, 2018

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/blush/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/invisible/

 

Africa · Childhood · Drunks · Kenya · Kiambu · Memoires · Short story · We've All Done It

A letter to Miki

Happy birthday Miki,

I remember when I turned 8, a long time ago.

I didn’t say much to adults.  I learned not to attract attention and to try and stay out of their way. Children weren’t supposed to say much. I was a wee little thing, the smallest in my class. I loved my friends and school and laughed a lot. They called me fun-size!

At the Four Corners that marked the halfway point of my long walk home after school was an open air market. Women spread out their  lesos on the red dirt and laid their wares on them, mostly succulent tropical fruit.

I carried a huge orange backpack that my brother Mick had given me and wore braces on my teeth. People stared at me and shameless women would say, “Look at that minikin with a massive bag and wires in her teeth.” One loud woman said it every day! She was enormous and wore a dirty wrinkled headscarf to contain and hide her lumpy unkempt hair, which stuck out the edges as though it was trying to run away from her.  Who could blame it? She chewed on sugar cane and loudly slurped its sweet juice. She stared at me unabashedly and unintelligently, the way a black cow stares vacantly at passers by beyond a fence as she chews the cud.

I would never buy sugar cane from her. Not this minikin! Her space was dirty and unkempt like her hair. She spit her dry sugar cane fibers right on the ground and the ants had a party. With the shilling that mum had given me that morning, I would buy a mango from the lady two lesos down . If Jane Munio walked home with me, we would stop at Mrs. Kimana’s grocery shop and buy a strawberry sweet to suck on the rest of the way home. We would lick our dry lips with the delicious syrup and slurp our sweet at the annoying lady.

“Greet you mother for me,” Mrs. Kimana would say with a warm smile when I stepped up to the worn concrete step, gawking and salivating at the row of pretty sweets in large glass jars. I stood on tippy-toe and streeeetched to hand her my shilling when I made my choice.  She always gave me an extra sweet. A cheap one with no wrapping on it. I would eat that one first. Sometimes she’d say, “That’s a very big rucksack for a small girl.” I’d smile and cover my mouth in a futile attempt to hide my braces, that were as discreet as I had the orange backpack in my mouth. She never said I had wires in my teeth. I seldom remembered to greet  mum and Mrs. Kimana would chide me gently when she came to visit mum and learned I didn’t deliver her greetings.

Sometimes it would rain hard and Mrs. Kimana would let us shelter under the canopy at her shop. The monsoon rain only dumped for a few minutes at a time. Like a sudden plague of frogs, people would scamper in all directions, jumping over puddles that formed in the potholes in the street. Stylish women strutting down the road one minute, set aside all dignity at the first raindrop and scurried as if for their lives to find cover so their hair didn’t get wet. Some even took off their tight high heels, grabbed their skirts, and ran to join the crowd under a tree or Mrs. Kimana’s cover. I weasled my way to the back of the crowd to make room, though I didn’t occupy much, and to avoid statements like, “If that little girl didn’t have such a big bag we could fit two more people here.”

Jane and I would looked at each with glee as we relished our sweets. Sometimes we took them out of our mouths and held them in our hands in joyful disbelief at their intense goodness. Such goodness as had to be tasted AND seen. We showed them to each other in wonder and studied each others. Sometimes we looked at each other knowingly, wide-eyed, and without words, traded the sticky mess in our dirty palms. More wide-eyed our jaws dropped at the intoxicating blend of flavors. We finished off the sacred ritual by licking the remaining syrup on our hands. That. was. amazing!

When the rain abated, we would thank Mrs. Kimana and attempt, unsuccessfully, to walk  lightly on the red mud and not get it all over our light blue and white checkered school uniform. Little rivulets would flow and we hopped over those and the puddles, giggling delightedly. I still remember the fresh smell of the charged air. Sometimes thunder would roll in the distance and Jane and I would scream and bolt when the loud lightning cracked.

We held sticky hands and crossed the busy road then unconsciously slowed our pace and stopped. We leered curiously at Mr. Washington’s property. At the front was a small butchery. The butcher hacked away expertly at the carcass that hung from the hook in the rafters, his long sharp machete  glistening like the lightning, and flashing back and forth as fast. His torn white coat was covered in black and red blood stains and he didn’t bother to shoo the flies feasting on the goat meat in the afternoon heat. The sticky tape on the ceiling was dotted with mostly dead flies, like raisins. Some were still buzzing, determined to get away from the trap if they had to leave their six legs on it.  He held a thin home-made cigarette in his mouth and sang loudly through the side of his mouth, like Popeye, accompanying music from a static-y bright green radio behind the counter.

Beyond the butchery was our real object of interest. Loud rhythmic music was coming from a bar. It was a large, dimly lit room from which the odious stench of stale beer emanated. It was a smell we knew was putrid but couldn’t help raising our noses to get a small whiff of. It was horrid, just like the day before. It was helped only by the waft of roasting goat meat.

We leaned in and saw people in various stages of drunkenness and ogled at what they were doing. We stretched our necks wondering who we might recognize. We were especially entranced with drunk women. Patrons staggered about, their eyes at half mast. We thought it was so funny to watch their bobble-heads lolling sluggishly over their limp bodies, their eyes tracking four seconds behind as they ordered yet another Tusker. Their speech slurred and incomprehensible like they had rocks in their mouth.

We lived to see a drunk person staggering out of the building and maybe falling. Or to hear one attempt to give a speech, their wagging forefinger pontificating in slow motion. This was to punctuate a very important point which they surprisingly forgot partway through their discourse. They stood in a stupor, leaning too far to one side and swaying dangerously,  hoping the important point would come back to them. It never did. “Anyway,” they would say, their heavy head suddenly jolting forward, opening their eyes very wide and staring at their hand that was still in the air, as though wondering what it was doing up there.

“What are you looking at?” the butcher would shatter our shenanigans, scaring us out of our skins. We screamed like little school girls and ran, scared silly, as though all the drunks were chasing us, and I would think, “I really need a smaller bag.”

I wonder what kind of mischief you’ll get into on your short walk home, Miki. Eight is a wonderful age. Cherish your friends.

I love you dearly,

Aunty Hannah.

In memory of my precious bosom buddy Jane Muniu who died too young. I thank God for your sweet short life.

Tusker

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/wrinkle/

Insomnia · Musings · Poetry · Sleeplessness

Dreaming Right About Now

IMG_20180315_035532567.jpg

I’d rather be dreaming but I don’t know how

It was all going great till I had to pee

I’ve had Melatonin and Sleepy Time Tea

My work pile’s  a mile high and awaits only me

I’d rather be dreaming right about now.

 

I’d rather be dreaming, heavy hangs the brow

but a rogue thought sparked and a fire it stoked

and all the peace and quiet, is successfully provoked

though I chased it down, and wrestled it, its mercy I invoked

I’d rather be dreaming, but I don’t know how.

 

I’d rather be dreaming right about now

Seems 2 AM was ten hours ago, and now 3:56.

I lie here exhausted, I’ve emptied my bag of tricks,

Send a man to the moon, but this I can’t fix

I’d rather be dreaming… so heavy hangs the brow…

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/provoke/

African · Christian · Faith · Kenyan · Kikuyu · Legacy · Musings · Poetry

Ngauga

Ngarana Tata Wangarî wa Magû,

Augire atîrî,

“Angîkorwo ndûrî Jesû,

Ndûrî kîndû ûrî.

Angîkorwo ndûi Jesu,

Ndûri kîrîa ûî.”

Naniî ngauga,

“Angîkorwo nîûrî Jesû,

Ndûrî kîndû ûtarî.

Angîkorwo nîûî Jesû,

Ndûrî kîndû ûtoî.”

(Calling all Kikuyus: It is lamentable that many Kikuyu are unable to read in their native tongue. I aim to increase Kikuyu readership by composing, inspiring and collecting new, provocative works in that beautiful language. Wangari wa Ngara)

image

Mûbete: A young Kikuyu woman in traditional garb.

(Image from https://mukuyu.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/wpid-wp-1422208502982.jpeg?w=630 Retrieved 3/14/18)

 

Aging · Caregiving · Dad · Daughters · Elderly · Family · Grief · Relationships · sad · Short story · Tribe

The One You’re With

I’ve heard it said that if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

The two captivating desires of elderly residents I’ve cared for over the years have been to be in their own home and to have family visit everyday and care for them. They are almost obsessive desires. My job security rests on the fact that these two desires can’t be met. It’s fascinating to me that while they wish their loved ones were caring for them, I too have a secret desire: to be back home caring for my elderly father. Unfortunately today is not the day for that dream to come true.

The ironic flip side of that coin is that while these residents love their family members dearly, the majority of them, when it comes down to it, wouldn’t really want their family taking care of them. I’ve heard the lines: She’s so impatient… She’d rather die than wipe my butt… He’s always been so selfish… She’s so rough…. They are actually grateful that the family isn’t caring for them.

Well, there’s a flip side to my desire too. Dad is difficult. And demanding. And selfish. He has to be the boss and things have to go his way. He is loud and has the worst boundaries in the world. It’s a good thing he has a great sense of humor and can take a good jab when he goes too far.

AND he raised me. I don’t necessarily owe him, seeing as I didn’t ask to be born and raised, but I remember he put himself out repeatedly, faithfully, deeply (did I say loudly?), so that I had the best I possibly could. I remember all  that demonstrated consistently from the time I was knee high to that mountain of a man. He was on time for my appointments, present for my rehearsals and performances, involved in my education, drove me to college hours away so he’d see where I’d be.

And when I boarded a plane to fly across the world, he held me close and told me I was strong, and the Lord was with me, and that he’d be praying for me. And when I graduated he flew 10,000 miles to see for himself the first of his children to receive a university degree. He spent the whole time jet-lagging and trying to work out the cramps in his long legs from the long trip, and finally on the great graduation morning, he landed in the hospital with pneumonia. When he wasn’t kidding with and bossing the nurses, he was apologizing for missing my big day.

Two weeks later he walked me down the aisle and held me close again, and reminded me I was strong, and the Lord was with me, and he’d be praying for me. And that he was ever so proud of me.

We talk on the phone a couple times a month. I call him Daddy Blue. He calls me Mummy Blue. ( See the story behind the Blue https://wordpress.com/post/thukumainen.wordpress.com/3729). Four years later he flew to my grad school graduation and was ever so proud. He wore his favorite blue shirt, strutted like a peacock, spoke louder than normal, and looked so handsome.

IMG_20180312_111121135.jpg

I think I’m his favorite and he doesn’t know he’s my favorite. He’s my first thought when I wake up in the night. I think of him throughout my day. So why am I not there checking his medications as he takes them, slowly massaging his stump, holding his barf bag when he needs it, and sitting in on his doctors appointments? Why am I not there trimming his nails, reading Psalms to him, soaking in his amazing wisdom, and laughing at his fabulous stories?

Why am I here instead, doing your mother’s pretty nails, massaging her stump, hearing her awesome stories for the hundredth time, making her favorite dessert, looking through her picture books, and tucking her in at night with the pink and purple blanket just the way she likes it, with the little pillow over the long pillow angled just so?

I can only pray that the one who’s caring for dad knows he likes the lighter sheet off to the side so he can pull it over him if it gets cold at night and water set close to but not blocking the clock. And that wherever you are, you are taking the time to help the lady get across the street, or telling the kids that little Teddy doesn’t want them pushing his wheelchair any more. Or that you’re checking books out diligently at the library where you work, and teaching class in a fun and engaging way. That you’re being extra humane as you pick up the garbage on your work route, raise your babies at home, and as you do brain surgery on your patients, or fill tanks with gas, do landscaping, or adjudicate cases.

All this while I am with the one who would rather be with you; while I can’t be with the one I would rather be with. That’s the way of the Global Tribe.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/captivating/

Caregiving · Lies

Soggy Diaper

One might think I’m turning into a crusty caregiver, but truth be told, this applies more to the more abled than those I get to care for…

 

no bs

Your China-made faux fur is no American-mink

Attempting a straight-faced most pathetic dupe.

You have me cross-eyed with your doublethink

Don’t tell me you farted when what you did was poop!

 

Your phenomenal performance is a lousy lip sync.

You’re spinning excuses & tall-tales in a loop.

But you’re poor at Herculian attempts to hoodwink,

Don’t tell me you farted when what you did was poop!

 

Why won’t it pass, this horrendous stink?

Someone is shovelling it, scoop after scoop.

Fancy footwork, smooth talk, complete with a wink,

Don’t tell me you farted when what you did was poop!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fact/

 

 

Attraction · Hopelessness · Marriage · Relationships

And Then There’s Us

They sit there giggling,

staring into each others eyes,

whispering empty nothings.

 

They talk easily  for hours on end

obviously relishing each others company.

 

And then there’s us.

 

They take on life together,

tackle trouble and relinquish it.

Determined, sure, secure.

 

And then there’s…

 

Us wondering, doubting, struggling.

Choosing to stay,

in this, the mature work of intimacy,

when the spark is gone.

On a path lit by growth upon difficult growth,

and depth of love.

So at the end of the day,

there will be…

Us.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/typical/

Image retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/115756652898140750/?utm_campaign=category_rp&e_t=e2c1795b1a9f4211a13a7dec9bee49f3&utm_content=115756652898140750&utm_source=31&utm_term=16&utm_medium=2012 on March 7th, 2018