Monday, January 28, 2008

First Anniversary

The Lady in Red takes a bath

One year ago today, on January 28, 2007, my old friend, the Lady in Red, took up residence in her forever home, a stray no more.

After more than half a year of intensive veterinary and home care (thanks again to all those who helped to defray the costs!), she recovered from all illnesses and now lives happily with her human companion. She runs, plays, washes, cuddles and eats well—in short, she does all the things that healthy cats do. And she gets lots and lots of love.

The Lady in Red is not young. We figure that she must be at least thirteen years old by now, since we knew her for roughly ten years when she was still living in the park and she was fully grown when we first met her. She’s a bit white around the muzzle, but as far as I can tell, that is the only sign of age that she has. I have it on good authority that at least several times a day she plays with her toy mice, leaping and pouncing and catching them between her paws like a kitten. I also hear that she can leap to some pretty high places.

I am privileged to be able to visit her and take pictures. The one above shows her in her blanket nest, giving herself a bath—something she could not do when she got so sick a year ago. But I’m told that since her recovery, she washes so much that she needs regular doses of hairball remedy—a minor problem, yes, but a “healthy” one.

There is just one sad note in all of this. My dear friend Bev, who died suddenly last Saturday morning, followed the Lady in Red’s progress regularly and provided a lot of helpful advice during the more difficult points. Last week, I planned to celebrate the Lady’s first anniversary in her forever home with Bev somehow, even if only with a phone call. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

But I hope that wherever Bev is, she knows, and I hope it makes her smile.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


On 9/11, Bev phoned me. When I told her that I was worried sick about my family in the New York area, she said, “Come over.” We hung out that night, had dinner and talked as we watched the developments on the news.

When our mutual friend Larry died two years later, Bev was the one who called to tell me. “Come over,” she said, and we spent the afternoon together, sharing memories about him.

When Bev, who worked at the zoo, was hand-raising a leopard cub, I said I’d love to see him. “Come over,” she said, after making me promise not to touch any animals on the way, since the cub’s immune system hadn’t developed yet.

Whenever I needed help, Bev always seemed to know, even when I hadn’t said anything. The phone call or IM would come: “Come over.” And we would hang out, and eat, and talk.

We spoke over IM yesterday, and then she had to go. She was in the middle of an on-line writers’ meeting and had to pay attention.

A few minutes later, I put up yesterday’s cat post and sent her the link. She typed back: “Lovely.”

It was the last word I would ever hear from her. I just found out tonight that she’s gone.

I want to go over to Bev’s to hang out and talk and process this.

And I can’t.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Table for Two

Two tabby cats on a table

Roast me a wren to start with.
Then: Brisket of Basilisk Treat.
My breakfast is “on the house”?
What a curious place to eat!
There’s no accounting for customs.
My tastes are simple and few,
a fat mole smothered in starlight
and a heavenly nine-mouse stew.

(From “The King of Cats Orders an Early Breakfast” in A Visit to William Blake’s Inn by Nancy Willard. New York: 1981.)

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cold. Cold. Cold.

How cold is it?

It’s so cold that a few days ago, when I was baking pita bread in the kitchen, wearing three layers (the top one a bulky sweater) and with the oven temp at 550 degrees F, mixing, kneading and rolling out dough, I didn't even break a sweat. (I was comfortably warm after all that, though, so I’m not complaining.)

With the price of heating fuel so high, our monthly building maintenance fee has gone through the roof. And that’s only for four hours of heat per day! I’d just like to give up the central heating and do it myself. I’m sure it would be cheaper.

Fortunately, I’m fine. My little heater is doing an excellent job of keeping the place cozy. I’ve put a deep bowl of water in front of it to keep the air from getting too dry.

But two people in Israel have already died of hypothermia, one in the south and one in the central region.

This cold snap is due to end in approximately two days. Do I hear one? Do I hear none?

It’s at times like these when I use the old sense-memory exercises we used to do in acting class. For much of the year, it is very hot here, blazingly, relentlessly hot. So I’m trying to recreate the feeling as much as possible.

Hey, it can’t hurt.

Besides, I have an audition this evening, so it’s good to keep my hand in.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Fairness? Not Here

A rainy day at the Western Wall last week.

Space inequity at the Western Wall

Note the size of the men’s and women’s sections, respectively.

Also, note that the men’s section looks pretty sparsely populated. This is because there is a great deal of indoor space, directly facing the Western Wall, just to the left of the men’s section, where the men can take shelter from the sun and rain and still be able to touch the Wall. The only indoor space for women that faces the Wall directly is a tiny room up a flight of stairs on the right-hand side. Which is why the women are exposed to the elements all year round in the small outdoor space allotted to them.

By the way, the divider between the men’s and women’s sections was recently bolted into place so that it cannot be shifted.

To the best of my knowledge, nothing in Jewish law mandates this inequity.

Sound fair?

I didn’t think so.

More Jerusalem Cats

Here are several photographs from a cat colony I saw downtown last week.

Dignity? Yeah, right.

Downtown cat colony

Dignity restored, four times over.

Downtown cat colony

See my pretty white spots!

Black cat with white spots

A clean tuxedo of the Old City:

Old City tuxedo

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

RIP, Frisky

Frisky, Laurence Simon’s fluffy, gentle cat, passed away last night.

My condolences to Laurence and Gina and Nardo. I will miss seeing Frisky on the catcams.

Rest well, Professor.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Saw a lovely tux the other day and got some pics. Here are three of the best ones:

Fast blur through the clover...

Tux in clover

Time to wash up!

Washing up

What’s black, white and furry, with a splash of pink?

Coming up for air

The Friday Ark. The Carnival of the Cats.