The Guard Post

Shedding new light on a geopolitical hotspot, confronting the myth of a war between a cat and two blackbirds.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

CIS

Feeling like a fraud? Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Like your friends are going to discover you’re a fraud? Research has shown that cats experience impostor feelings. Cat Impostor Syndrome (CIS) refers to an internal experience of believing that a cat is not as competent as other cats perceive the cat to be. While this definition is usually narrowly applied to intelligence and achievement, it has links to perfectionism and the social context.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Beware

Forewarned is forearmed. I decided to place a warning sign at the entrance of the garden so that unexpected visitors know which hazards are waiting for them. A cat under the influence of illicit drugs like catnip may suddenly and unexpectedly act very weird and threatening.

Meanwhile, Jimi’s chilling out on a rock. Unfortunately, the negotiations with the blackbirds ended in a stalemate.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Snow On a Tuesday

And you may ask yourself, “Where is that beautiful spring?” Last week I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I was drinking coffee outside in the garden. Today I’m wearing winter clothes. It’s cold. It’s snowing. O Spring where art thou?

Jimi keeps checking out all the special places in the garden, just like Mr. Bowie did. While walking on this high gabion wall he can spy on the neighbours.

Meanwhile, I declared war on those pesky blackbirds. Each morning, they keep destroying our catnip plantation. Jimi’s also kind of in a foul mood. We need to take some action asap…

A few days ago I came across this remarkable phenomena of nature. This tree fungus is called Tonderzwam Fomes fomentarius. According to a specialised website this is lethal for the birch in a long term. I’m always enjoying my daily walks in the nature. There are always new things to discover. While walking is the most underrated form of exercise, it improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, creates less stress on joints and reduces pain. And when you get back home there’s always chocolate and an espresso waiting for you…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

High On a Monday

Catnip is the healing of a cat nation. Jimi was willingly to help me with the fresh catnip plants. He knows alcohol depresses the nervous system but catnip and chocolate does not! 

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

One Fine Day

Letting the days go by. It’s been a while since a wrote a post. I’m still busy with getting everything about my Dad’s passing officially in order. I was shocked to see all those papers required by the government. But it seems I’m almost at the end of an unpleasant task.

Last week I had one, no, a few fine days. I watched the latest Spike Lee film, David Byrne’s American Utopia, a concert film from a critically acclaimed Broadway performance. The film includes several songs from Talking Heads and David Byrne’s solo career. David Byrne is joined by 11 musicians, singers and dancers from around the globe. I also enjoyed the brief monologues from David Byrne when he addresses various sociopolitical topics from police brutality, immigration and climate change. After watching a few songs you want to jump up, dance and sing with the musicians on your TV. This concert film makes me feel good, every time. David Byrne’s American Utopia calls on all of us to think, connect and dance. The musical masterpiece is thought provoking and gives us exactly what we need today. Something to celebrate life.

And you may ask yourself, “Where is that beautiful cat?” Well, Jimi’s doing fine and enjoys his walks in the garden. Last year he always seemed to be anxious outside. But recently, it seems he got used to the environment. And I love the moments in the morning, when he jumps up the table and asks to play with him.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Flore

How to warm you up on cold winter days. After a few days of hesitation, Jimi decided it was time to go outside and check out the garden covered in snow. Much to my surprise, he was enjoying his walks and soon he was following the tracks of the sparrows and blackbirds in the snow. As you probably know, I don’t like the winter but I do enjoy my daily walks in the snow.

Thank goodness I found a good recipe for these cold days. I just bought the latest CD from Gabriel Rios, ‘Flore’. Gabriel Rios (born 1978 in San Juan, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican-Belgian singer songwriter currently residing in Belgium and New York. It’s his 5th studio album and a pecan to the music of Latin America and the Caribbean. It’s a Latin album made in isolation and exile, not only because it was birthed during last year’s pandemic, but because it finds Rios looking back from afar, maybe for the first time, to what remains of his past and his roots. More specifically, these are songs that go back to both his father and grandfather’s youth; songs they would have loved to hear him sing. Feel free to check out this warm album of a great musician. (Info from Sony Music)

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Just When I Thought…

“Just when I thought I was out (of the winter), they pull me back in!” – Michael Corleone

First snow of the winter. More snow coming. Just when I thought spring’s around the corner, I woke up in winter…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

A New Routine

‘What if I fall? Oh but my darling: what if you fly?’ – Erin Hanson

Life goes on. I feel that I am ready picking up where we left off then. My Dad passed away about a month ago. We had an intimate ceremony with only 15 people, due to the Covid-19 measures. But I received a lot of messages, phone calls, postcards of people paying respect to my Dad. He was loved by so many people… I still feel an emptiness in my life without him. And pain. Sorrow… But life goes on as normal, but quieter and greyer than usual.

I want to thank you with all my heart. All your heartwarming comments made me feel better and helped me get through these empty and sad days. I sincerely apologise for not replying to your comments. I guess I also missed some of your posts on your blogs. But I will try to catch up…

Jimi helped me to get through the dark days of January. Every day he took a few minutes to sit down by the photograph of my Dad. It made me feel good. But one day, Jimi was very disappointed because there were only vegetables and no shrimps (for him) on my sandwich.

There were also some good days last month. After waiting for 3 months, finally, a big box arrived from the U.S. of A. containing a Sequential Prophet-5 synthesizer. Just like I mentioned in an older post about the ARP 2600 synth, the Prophet-5 synth was also very high on my bucket list and I didn’t expect to get one. Sequential introduced new versions of the old model in 2020. The Prophet-5 is an analog synthesizer designed in 1978 by Dave Smith and John Bowen and was the first fully programmable polyphonic synthesizer.

So yes, life goes on, it’s a cliché and it sounds trite. I will find a new routine and get used to it. But it will take some time. Please stay safe and healthy.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

‘Count your blessings. And if life is difficult, count them louder.’ – Roger Scruton

Real Happiness

Happiness is only real when we share (food). I love shrimp croquettes a lot, they are simultaneously crispy and soft. I prefer to eat them with French fries. Jimi is wild about shrimps too, it’s his favourite human food. So while I was having lunch, he was patiently waiting for his portion… And afterwards we had a delicious dessert…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Ice Ice Jimi

Looking for ice cream. A cat making eye contact can mean anything from “You don’t exist to me” to “I want food, human!”. What is the most intelligent way of responding to a cat who won’t stop giving you the mean Clint ‘Dirty Harry’ Eastwood stare? What is the best way to look confident and relaxed? Saying “no” is one thing, but getting the cat to listen is another. Just give your cat what he wants… and join him for ice cream. Even if it’s a dark and winter day.

I feel the ice cream move under my paws
I feel the sky tumbling down
I feel my heart start to trembling
Whenever ice cream’s around

“I Feel the Earth Move” – Carole King

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

About My Dad (and Jimi)

Update about my dad. My dad is living in a retirement home for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It was a very hard decision we had to make, especially in these Covid-19 times… He stayed one week in isolation and was tested twice for Covid-19. Thank goodness the results were negative. Since last week he can move around free in this home and have contact with other inhabitants. I moved some furniture, pictures and photographs from his apartment to his new room. It looks like he’s still living in his apartment. Right now it seems he’s happy in his new environment. The staff are wonderful and devoted people. I really believe and hope he’s going to have some good years ahead…

The evenings are very difficult for my dad, he doesn’t like darkness. I’m keeping a lot of lights on and keeps him company until it’s bedtime. We’re watching football (soccer) on tv and he really enjoys this time with me.

I know it’s a hard time for me, but I still feel like there’s a lot of good in this world. Professional people told me I need at least 3 weeks to get used to this new situation. For the first time in my life I’m having lunch and dinner alone by myself. Due to the Covid-19 measurers, I can’t invite family or friends to my home. But Jimi seems to be very happy now we’re sharing more time together. Yesterday, he was faced with a difficult choice to pick the right box.

I want to thank you with all my heart. All your heartwarming comments made me feel better and helped me get through these hard times. I sincerely apologise for not replying to your comments.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

About My Dad

Update. As you probably noticed, it’s very quiet on the HoB blog. I won’t be posting a lot in the near future due to the health situation of my dad. Last weeks/months, his health has been deteriorating and his isolated way of living (due to the Covid-19 situation) aggravates dementia. Dad needs supervision 24 hours a day. We are doing everything to find good help and support but it’s very difficult because of the pandemic. I will keep you informed.  

Jimi is doing well but he misses me a lot because I’m spending a lot of time with my dad. A few days ago Jimi went AWOL because I didn’t close the front door. Thank goodness he returned back home after 5 hours.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 situation is even worse than during the first wave early this year. Our country is going in lockdown mode for at least six weeks. Thank you so much, you selfish idiots ignoring all the rules and instructions. Shame on you! 

One more thing… For my American friends and followers, please be wise and do the right thing.

Be safe, careful and take care, my friends.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

A Big, Big Box

Another odyssey. I went to Antwerp to pick up a big, very big box that contained an ARP 2600 synthesizer. Finally, after waiting for 8 months the synth arrived.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Jimi’s Odyssey, the ARP 2600 was the last synth on my bucket list I really wanted to have in my studio set-up. The ARP 2600 is a semi-modular analog subtractive audio synthesizer, designed by Dennis Colin for Alan R Pearlman, and manufactured by his company, ARP Instruments, Inc. in 1972. Unfortunately, the company was declared bankruptcy in May 1981. In 2015, some ARP instruments were revived by Korg. On January 10, 2020, Korg Inc. of Japan reissued a one-time-only limited production run of the ARP 2600 as the ARP 2600 FS, a faithful reproduction of the original 1972 gray version. With a little luck and a lot of patience I was able to buy one.

Jimi (and especially his shadow) seemed to be interested in the big flight case that came with the synth. Maybe he can use it to build a fortified castle. It looks like we both will have a lot of fun the next days…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

PS: I hate hate hate the new WP Block editor!

Sunshine Boy

Remembering Mr. Bowie. Given the traumatic nature of 9/11, it’s not surprising that this event, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, affects a lot people every year, all over the world. For me there’s also an additional heavy feeling. Today, a year ago, Mr. Bowie passed away peacefully after fighting an aggressive blood cancer and kidney problems.

I am honoured and privileged to have spent 10 years of my life knowing and having Bowie as my beloved friend. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.

I know you’re listening out there, somewhere. Forever in my heart, my sweet sunshine boy.

This Is Not My Beautiful House!

Jimi’s check-up visit. Medical care is as essential for your cat as it is for you. It’s a good idea to get a checkup for your cat once a year. Jimi was due for his first annual checkup today. All went well. Jimi is in top condition – though the vet told me I got to keep an eye on his weight.

For many cats, a veterinary visit is a stressful experience. Mr. Bowie was always relaxed and enjoyed the car rides. But Jimi was so stressed, the poor boy. He was so happy to be back home.

And you may find yourself
In another part of the world
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?

“Once In A Lifetime” – Talking Heads

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Not On Speaking Terms

Oops… Jimi is not on speaking terms with me. Why? Well, I completely forgot it was his birthday yesterday. He’s two years old now. I’m so sorry, my furry friend… Happy birthday!

Actually, we don’t know the exact date of birth. The local vet in the shelter estimated Jimi was born early September 2018 and wrote down ‘2018, September 1’ in the Date of Birth box on the registration papers.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Older Bodies

Older bodies need longer to mend. I’m feeling a bit down lately. My right foot is healing well but very slowly. Unfortunately, my left foot is showing the same injury since a few days ago. It’s already 3 weeks I’m stuck in my house. It seems healing gets harder as we age. I’m trying to compensate it with daily fresh fruits and vegetables. I also added food supplements to my diet with extra vitamins and minerals. But I got to be patient and take it easy the next month. I’m happy to be still able to check out how my Dad is doing in these weird Covid-19 times. 

Thank goodness I can spend some time in the studio, although it’s very hot (no airco and having a heatwave). Jimi keeps asking me to play with him but that’s very difficult for me right now. I can only throw away some bouncing balls. 

I’m also very lucky to have Jimi by my side. He’s keeping an eye on me and counts the chocolates each day to see if I’m not taking an overdose. I have to pay him with extra yoghurt and vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Fracture

Bummer. Right now I’m the kid with the crutches. I spent some time in the hospital today due to some problems with my right foot. After a botscan they saw a stress fracture, tiny cracks in the bone. Most stress fractures are caused by overuse and repetitive activity. I need to take it easy the next 4 weeks so no more walks in the nature. That’s not a big problem; we’re still living in a lockdown (light) system and having another heatwave. So bring on the ice cream…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

Lose Your Head

Lose (one’s) head. To lose one’s composure and act emotionally or irrationally.

Lose your head. COMMON If you lose your head, you panic and do not remain calm in a difficult situation.

Nah, I don’t think Jimi lost his head…

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

 

CIA

CIA. Cat Intelligence-agency (C.I.A.) field offices have to find a delicate balance between blending in and providing adequate security for the humans. Jimi is very good in blending in while I’m reading the newspaper and having my morning espresso.

Meanwhile, this part of the world is going in the wrong direction due to the rising Covid-19 infections. The National Security Council closely monitor the situation and we’re looking at new reinforced measures. 

Enjoy this beautiful day, my friends, wherever you are. Peace, love and understanding.

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