Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday with the cats

Barry and I are the kind of people who are a little too involved with our cats, having never had children. (I was hoping to spend a lot of time with my nephew, now five, but my brother moved farther and farther away and is now in Rhode Island, so I'm lucky if I see Walter once a year). We've gone from two cats when we first moved in (one mine, one his) to five at one point (too many) and have kind of settled on three as a good number.

Our oldest now is Xena, generally called Miss Xena, who is about 14 and is black/grey tabby and white. I saw her in a pet store when she was about three months, and loved the spot on her nose. She is the fussiest and more like what non-cat people expect of cats. She will be picked up and petted only when she feels like it, and will meow endlessly in the morning for food. (My friend Susana used to say that cats think of us as "can openers with legs.") She's a little stout and heavy, like a cinderblock with fur.

Middle cat is Lolly, about 7 years old. She is a very lovely calico. I spotted her at a street fair, where someone who does cat rescue had a table. I saw this tiny little calico pom-pom in a cage full of kittens, and fell immediately in love. We were actually at the street fair with Barry's cousins from Denmark, and after we parted with them, I asked to go back to the street fair. I tried to point out the kitten to him, and took a leaflet from the woman. I called her two days later and said, "I don't think I can live without that little calico kitten." She said, "Oh, you mean Lolly, She's climbing up and giving me kissed right now." So we set up a meet n'greet the next weekend, when she was tabling in front of the Barnes & Noble near Lincoln Center. We got to hold her and I brought a camera. (If I can ever find the right drivers for my scanner, I'll try to post them.) So we took her home a couple of weeks later, when she was about nine weeks. Barry lost his job soon after and was unemployed for about seven months, during which time he and Lolly fell much in love, so she's really a Daddy's girl, though she affectionate toward me as well. She's small and fluffy and light.

We ended up with a Mommy's girl when Barry took on a cat from a workmate who had to give her up. Samantha, a tabby/tortie, was renamed Tiggy, and she and I were inseparable. After about three years, though, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and went to take The Big Nap. I cried a lot, I have to say. So a couple of months later, I was walking past a local vet who had a cage in the window with two black kittens. So I went in, the assistant said "It's a boy and a girl, but most of us like the girl better." So I held the girl, and Maya, at about three months, came home with me. She's now about a bit old and heading to be a biggish cat, longer than Xena and bulking up. She has a tiny patch of white at her crotch which cat people call a "speedo." She's heavy and velvety and luckily decided she was Mommy's girl. She comes when I call her and her favorite toy is an ice cube.

This Facebook thing is really crazy -- lots of old friends and friends of friends and all kinds of widgets and gadgets. My husband mostly uses it for music stuff but my circle has a lot of talkers and readers and writers, as well as a finagle of folkies (I just made that up, a la murder of crows et al). I have a strange group of friends -- a few people from my high school who left before graduation for one reason or another, friends of friends that I know from my teen years, my former closest friend's estranged musical partner.

It's hard when old friends fall by the wayside. I had one who could not admit she was an alcoholic when I was deep into recovery; when I last ran into her, she acted very superior because she was active in AA and I wasn't. (I went daily for about five years and pretty much stopped making meetings after eight years. I have 23 years without a drink now.) It's a shame because I met her when I was about 13 and she's one of the funniest and smartest women I've ever known. But I know about that immersion-in-AA period; I used to be scared of non-program people when I was first sober. Some people never grow out of it, which is how I lost the best friend I met in the rooms. He just got deeper and deeper into it. Barry and I ran into him at DiFara Pizza a few years back, and he was with a sponsee. I just don't see spending all your free time on recovery stuff forever. They say that AA is "a bridge back to life," so I got back to life. Dating within the rooms is also a horror, but I'll get to that another time.

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