Tag Archives: kittens

A mish-mash of heartache

I know, it’s been forever since I’ve been able to get to this blog.  This month has just barreled along.  Every project imaginable seeming to intersect with one another, so that I have had way too much to do and am getting not a whole lot completed. Yet.

Still no official word on how much my mortgage has been pre-approved for, so this limbo I’ve been living in for one whole year now is really getting tiresome.  [Read: Depressing.] Now that I know for sure that I have to move again, I really, really, REALLY want to just move and unpack my boxes, take a look at all my cool STUFF once again, and start living my life.  Books, movies, music, furniture — there’s so much of my stuff that I’d like to have access to! And, yes, photo albums.

This weekend marks not only what would have been Tom Petty’s 67th birthday — (if you live in a cave, perhaps you don’t know that Tom Petty suddenly died a couple weeks ago) —

Tom Petty, as he looked a zillion years ago, on his first album cover; an album I bought when I was a wee bonny lass; an album I still have somewhere in deep storage and can’t get at…

But also, this weekend marks the anniversary of the death of my very best friend in all of life and the world as we knew it. Paul died 18 years ago tomorrow, and I am astounded that 18 years can disappear in the wink of eye. What went by even more quickly, gentle readers, were the 22 years that he and I were best friends.

I cannot imagine that I am old enough to have a best friend who has been dead for 18 years. And, no insults intended for any folks I know who are still alive, however, life has simply been pretty empty without him in it.

I knew it would be that way the day he died. That everything would be a little less beautiful from then on. He was so funny, so talented, so adventurous, so compassionate, kind, caring. And he always had my back. He was the living definition of a best friend. (We met in the high school drama department. He built our high school theater sets. He went on to work in the movies as a set designer/set builder.)

Anyway. I was hoping to find a digital photo of him to post here today, but alas, I could not find one. And ALL of my tons of non-digital photos of him are packed away in boxes that are in deep storage, too. So frustrating.  I want my life back.

However, while searching through tons of flash drives for possible JPEGS of Paul, I found a ton of other photos that broke my heart. So it’s been a  rough morning. But cathartic, too, I suppose.

Earlier this month would have been John Lennon’s 77th birthday, had he not been murdered, 37 years ago, only a handful of weeks after I had moved to New York City.  John Lennon was my very first hero, from the time I was 10 years old. I found this lovely photo of him on a flash drive:

John Lennon with son, Julian.

I also found 2 rather different photos of myself taken by my dear, departed friend Paul:

Me, on the porch of Paul’s beach house in North Carolina, when he was working on the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.
Me, in the bedroom of my East Village apartment, in 1984, when Paul was visiting from DC for Thanksgiving. I’m a spry 24-year-old here.

I also found a digital photo of a photo from my long-ago wedding. Hard to remember that I used to not have a ton of silver hair…

And hard to believe we’ve been divorced now for 14 years, after having been together for 11 years before that. But we’ve managed to stay friends…

And a few years before one of my alleged “friends” turned out to be the most awesome b*tch, EVER, I used to have fond memories of Paris. I no longer have fond memories of Paris, so it was startling to discover these photos on a flash drive and to recall that I once loved Paris. From my first trip to Paris, when I was so happy:

Looking down at the street from my friend’s apartment on the Left Bank, late at night. I can still hear the laughter and the clanking dishes coming up from that cafe.
Her cottage in the country was right on the river. here’s a shot of her boat…
And — if you can believe how lovely this is!– the weeping willows at the edge of her yard, right on the river.

It was a strange feeling, to recall that I had once loved Paris. I guess it’s time to reclaim parts of my life from people who totally suck. What do you think, gang?

And then I also found this photo. This was the beginning of the feral cat madness! Here are Tom, Huckleberry, and Becky, on the swing in the backyard of my old house. This was when the 3 were stray kittens, abandoned by a neighbor who moved away and simply left them. The kittens began living in my backyard. In this photo, I hadn’t been able to trap them yet. This was before they had a truckload of un-adoptable feral kittens in my basement.  Yes, before my life was overtaken by the lovely 8 cats who now allow me to live with them (actually, I love them dearly):

Tom, Huckleberry, and Becky enjoying the great outdoors, as wild, untamed kittens! I think was in early fall of 2012.

I also found quite a big bunch of digital photos from the old house, back when the house & yard were beautiful, before the developers contracted to buy it (and never did, after dragging it on for 3 1/2 years) and then the house fell to pieces. Such a sad, sad thing for me. But here, again — I never allow myself to think of the old house, because it became such a nightmare of heartache for me. To suddenly see these photos of how lovely it was before it all fell to ruin. It awoke all those feelings I had buried away of how much I had loved that house.

Of course the saddest part was, that Bunny died the day after we moved from the old house and moved into the current rental that I’m in.

And that was exactly one year ago.

So this weekend also marks the first anniversary of Bunny’s death. I miss her so much.

A selfie of me and Bunny at the old house. I can’t remember which one of us snapped the candid shot! Probably me, since Bunny almost never had her phone with her.

Oh gosh. Well, all right. Life goes on, regardless of how happy I am, or often am not, about that idea.

However. On the happy front, a long-time friend of mine in NYC, Iris N. Schwartz, has a new book out! Keep glued to this blog for a great Q & A that I did with her earlier this month, in support of her new book.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, gang. And keep in mind that time freakin’ FLIES, so love the heck out of whatever and whoever you love while it’s all still vibrantly alive in front of you. A word to the wise is sufficient, as the saying goes.

Thanks for visiting. See ya.

 

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R.I.P. Cleo & Charlie

Loyal readers of this lofty blog will no doubt recall that I have written here many times over the years of my good friend Val in Brooklyn, who pens the Paws for Thought Comic strip.

She & I have been great friends since 1982, and we are collaborating on an illustrated mystery book series, The Miracle Cats. The first installment will be titled The Miracle Cats and the Case of the Purloined Passport.  We started working on the book well over a year ago. It was going quite well until all sorts of tragedies and extreme challenges began popping up in both our lives, including numerous deaths, and so the writing/illustrating of the book went down to slower than a snail’s pace.

Well, earlier this week, another tragedy struck! 2 of Val’s cats died in the same afternoon.  Charlie had been diagnosed with cancer about one year ago. In fact, my cat, Fluffy, was diagnosed with cancer a month or so after Charlie had been, but Charlie outlived Fluffy by 5 months.

Val and I have a long history of adopting and/or rescuing cats. In fact, way back in 1983, Val rescued a little black & white kitten who lived around the train tracks in Long Island City, out in Queens, NY, where Val lived back then. Val brought the kitten to live with me in my apartment in Manhattan. I named her Kitty, and she was a sickly kitty, but she lived to be 18 years old! And a very dear companion to me. She passed on December 13th, 2001.

Anyway. I digress. Val rescued Charlie as a teeny kitten. In fact, she rescued his whole family! Cleo, the mom, had 2 tiny kittens (Charlie and Pickles) and I believe they were all sort of sickly,  barely surviving under a freeway overpass in Brooklyn. This was 15 years ago. And, although Charlie was expected to die at any moment because of the cancer, his mom, Cleo, who seemed fine and healthy, wound up dying suddenly on the same afternoon as Charlie did. Completely unexpected and so very sad. Losing 2 furry friends in one day, and of course, leaving a 3rd cat, Charlie’s sibling, Pickles, to mourn the sudden loss of a whole family.

Val has several other cats, as well as a rescued dog, and many ferals that come and go in her backyard sanctuary in Brooklyn, yet it is still so sad to lose any members of our families, regardless of how many critters there are! My heart goes out to all of them.

One of these days, things will finally calm down. The clouds will pass, the sun will shine, and we’ll finally finish creating The Miracle Cats! But in the meantime, we ponder the loss and the very meaning of life, even as life goes on. Thanks for visiting, gang.

Cleo and Charlie, in the early years.
Cleo and Charlie, in the early years.

 

So much stuff going on!

Holy Moly. What a terrifically jam-packed couple of weeks it’s been, and I don’t mean that in the best way. Although, overall, everything is great.

First off — so what did you think of the Mad Men finale? I wasn’t completely sure how I felt, so I watched it twice. I came to the conclusion that each of the characters resolved in ways that were realistic to the characters overall, and that everyone, except Betty, of course, has a reasonably happy ending. More importantly, it felt as if the characters’ lives were going on into a palpable future that we as TV-viewers can only dream about… So even though I felt deflated after watching the final episode, I think that was only because I was sad to see it end.

Although kudos for closing with that killer Coke commercial! I vividly recall sitting in my family room one evening when I was 11 years old and seeing that Coke commercial on TV for the first time. I was blown away by it, as was most of America…

Hands down, the most stressful part of these past couple weeks was when my beloved cat, Doris (photo above) went missing for 8 long days!! She was one of the semi-feral kittens born in my basement 2 years ago and had never been outside in her life. Somehow, she got out and I couldn’t find her and it was beyond stressful and heartbreaking and exhausting.

Through the help of many kind cat rescuers online, I learned how to find and catch a terrified, extremely timid semi-feral cat.  I tell you, they hide right under our noses, but indeed, as I was emphatically guaranteed by the professional lost-cat trappers, we can’t see them but they are there! They’re watching us, but are too terrified to come out of hiding until the wee small hours of the morning. The whole adventure was maddening. I was out in my dark backyard, in my red Wellies and my cotton nightgown, at 4 a.m. for several incredibly humid days running, catching glimpses of her but to no avail!!

But I finally trapped her at 5:09 a.m. this past Monday morning — in a humane trap — and brought her back into the fold.

Other more upbeat things: School is going incredibly great. I still don’t know if I can keep up this notion of being back in school with homework to do every single day, but so far, I am loving it. There’s honestly no reason for me to still be in school, I’m already an ordained minister with a degree in Pastoral Ministry. However, for now, it keeps my mind off this never-ending limbo of “when will I move back to NY?”

Appropriately enough, though, through some “miracle,” I am on vacation from school this week. Just in time to take on a new web content client who needed help with new content “yesterday” (it required a ton of research & writing immediately). That was turned in this morning, and now I have to draft two killer 500-word essays for a writer’s lab I seriously want to get into, and the deadline is June 1st.

The staged reading in NYC of my screenplay Tell My Bones: The Helen LaFrance Story is still moving ahead. It is going to happen SOON, gang. As in “the next few weeks.” And — I’ve been asked to be the Narrator, so I will be on stage with the actors, instead of lounging around stress-free in the audience. But I am super excited and I hope all of you can get to NYC and attend!! Yay!!

Okay, well, I guess that’s my update for right now. I gotta get crackin’ on those 500-word essays. I hope you’re having a wonderful month of May, wherever you are and whatever’s been going on in your world. Thanks for visiting, folks. See ya!!

 

Such a Wonderful Morning

Before my Skype session with Kevin, I decided to go out and take a walk. It was a really beautiful morning and I had actually slept a full 8 hours during the night.

It was one of those mornings where I awoke feeling full of energy and happy and singing to the cats.  I don’t know if they prefer when I wake-up that way, but I sure do. It beats being awake at 2 AM and not being able to get back to sleep — a thing I did twice last week.

I took my walk down to the creek and brought some bread along with me in order to feed the ducks. It was only about 7:30, so I was the only person there. I took some photos for you with my iPhone:

Long shot of the waterfall on the creek
Long shot of the waterfall on the creek. The creek is filled with ducks.
Those white dots beyond the waterfall are white ducks
Those white dots beyond the waterfall are white ducks
Mallards in among the rocks
Mallards in among the rocks

All in all, if you would like to actually see the many ducks I was feeding, you should probably just go to the creek yourselves because my ability to take good photos is not that great!

But what a peaceful morning. I walked about 3 miles, then came back home in time to call Kevin in New York and to wake him and tell him it was time to Skype!

Now I am finishing up my final paper for the Church Administration class in school. I am not sorry to see this class end, gang. It has not been my favorite, by any stretch. And after this, I only have two more courses and I graduate. That equals 10 weeks left of school, with two week-long breaks thrown in. I will graduate right before Christmas, most likely Magna Cum Laude.

I had the best phone conference last evening with the actress in NYC — the one I am doing 2, and possibly 3, theater productions with in the coming year(s). Wow, what a great conversation. I cannot wait for this show to be edited and ready for production, because I want all of you to go to New York City and see it!! It is going to be such a great show!

Okay. Back to the final paper for class, then the 2-hour telecourse on screenplay rewrites , then hopefully the rest of the weekend off. We shall see how that pans out.

Hope you are having a terrific Saturday, gang, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. Get out there and feed some ducks, all right? Thanks for visiting! See ya.

Apparently cats also feed ducks!!
Apparently cats also feed ducks!!

Hot town, summer in the city!

Or so the saying goes about New York.  I bring it up for a reason!

The same actress that I am writing the Pearl Bailey play for (or “for whom I am writing the Pearl Bailey play”) has hired me to do some extensive editing on another play that she is involved in — another one-woman musical.  And part of the arrangement is that she will need me to attend rehearsals in New York City no less than three times between now and a nano-second from now!

Well, now until “the end of September,” which feels like a nano-second because I am still in school full-time, still working various part-time jobs, working at the church now, too, and beginning that two-month course on pastoral care for the terminally ill and the bereaved, etc., on Monday.

Oh, yeah, and revising the TV pilot — I’m kind of, sort of hoping I can get most of that done this week and next. I plan to accomplish that by way of a process that’s called: believing in miracles!!!

Anyway, I am so excited. My airfare and hotel bills are paid for.  So I just sort of show up and help them make magic, then fly back home. I can’t imagine anything I will enjoy more. (Oh, perhaps the opportunity to see that guy I was in love with light years ago because he lives in the vicinity…)

Life just gets better and better and better, gang.  It makes me want to regale you with — tah dah!! — a photo of a cat!! Oh —here’s one!!

Huckleberry with Skipperdee!
Huckleberry with Skipperdee!

Skipperdee was one of only two kittens who actually got adopted last summer. He was just a born “people cat” from day one. Luckily he was adopted by a friend here in town so I still get to visit him. He is such a wonderful cat!

He was named after one of the characters in the Eloise books, btw.  Here he is under my friend’s coffee table a few weeks ago.

Skipperdee today
Skipperdee today

Oh man, this was cool!

Some of you know that I am working on a one-woman musical play about Pearl Bailey for an actress in New York City, and I am sort of at an impasse with the script.

I’m not totally worried because every script, or novel, or short story, or memoir I’ve ever written has been full of impasses that I eventually worked through. Yet while one is happening, it sometimes seems oddly permanent. There will never be anything more than these few pages, etc., etc.

I’ve been a professional writer now for 33 years already, so on some level I know that no block is permanent unless I decide it’s permanent, but this little 12 minute audio on youtube, from an Abraham Hicks workshop, really did something fantastic to my psyche just now.

If you’re blocking anything, or just need inspiration for a terrific energy flow, give it a listen. 12 fun minutes that will be wisely spent!

Have a great Sunday, wherever you are. (I have been to church already, and later today, a friend is taking me to see the final performance of the Monty Python reunion being broadcast live from London today as an early birthday present! So while I’m sitting here waiting for the festivities to unfold, I’m staring at some rather empty pages of the soon-to-be manifested play…)

Okay, onward, gang!! Thanks for visiting today! See ya.

[Tommy and her 3 babes, this time, last summer.]When we were very young...

When we were very young…