A lonesome trek around Cape Cod

….and so I arrived at the B&B, was welcomed and shown a pleasant bedroom by the owner couple. I then, armed with a map, ventured out to explore. The wooded terrain was what I expected….until the strip mall. I supposed it was efficient to cluster stores all together rather than have them spread out here and there, but I might as well have been in a nameless suburb for all that. No doubt I suffered from the outsider’s romantic vision of a Cape Cod of crashing waves and an intimate village, which I did eventually encounter.

First, though, I found my way to the Kennedy compound at Hyannisport. That done, I strolled along the town street, and for lunch had lobster. Lobster lobster lobster was my diet for the next three days. Next, I took the ferry to Nantucket; either there or Martha’s Vineyard, but Nantucket’s whaling history drew me. The waters leading there looked very eastern, unfamiliar, rough. I walked up and down Nantucket’s cobbled streets, had lunch, walked some more, and wondered what the hell I was doing there. It started to rain heavily. For the sound of a friendly voice, I called my neighbors in California and could have wept to hear them say my name. On the return trip, the passengers called out excitedly on sighting sea lions on rocks. I stayed in my seat.

Bulletin about Bijou: His coat is full and shiny now and he is climbing trees. In an effort to keep him around longer than I managed with Mojo, I am imposing curfew at 6 p.m. and meow as he might, he stays indoors until morning. (That’s his yellow yarn ball he is wrestling with)

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Bijou and Halloween

He is that color, all black with green eyes and you may be sure I am keeping him inside next week. At 10 weeks he wants to be outside in the back all day and will not come inside willingly. It amuses me that he will come to me from any part of the house when I call his name. Mojo too learned his own name early in life. And now his toys have been handed down to Bijou. That hurts — how it hurts, to call him Mojo by mistake. Although he does not yet know how to operate the cat door, I plan to lock it at night, which may keep him safe a little bit longer.

A Halloween memory: I went to Boston to visit a friend late in the year 1998 after Renato died, and she took me to Salem, a place that played up its witchy history for all it was worth. We took in a brief, staged enactment of a witch trial, then walked around in the basement to look into cells where effigies of women awaiting trial stared at us through the bars.

My friend apologized later for the kitsch she had exposed me to, but I assured her I didn’t mind at all. All of it was interesting, no matter the corniness. Then she took me to Lexington, and there I fell in love with the town. It was that time of year, when giant gold-red oak leaves covered the town greens, and I admired the statue of the Minuteman and handsome two-story homes. It was American history served up imposingly for this immigrant from the West Coast and other countries.

When we took leave of each other I drove down to Cape Cod, and I waved as I sped past the sign “Plymouth Rock”. So much to see, and only a few days in which to see it.

Back to Bijou, I am not sure whether I am writing his chronicle here or will do so properly as “Bijou’s Way”, like “Meow’s Way” and “Mojo’s Way”. The latter was published in Australia; “Meow’s Way” won the Animals Book Awards. May my sore heart hope Bijou will be around a long time?

Bijou — kitten conniptions

Mine, that is.
Yesterday he would Not. Eat. Not a single bite of his wet food mixed with kibble that up to then he gobbled up and asked for more. At an estimated 9-1/2 weeks it was time to wean him and I had been doling out the powdered milk in smaller and smaller doses until it was all gone, so there was no milk to go with his solid food yesterday morning.

It was because of the milk, I thought. He won’t eat without having his milk first. At 11 a.m. I tried again. Nope. Anxious by now, I watched him closely. He was busy playing with his catnip toys, didn’t appear sick. At 5 p.m. I tried him with a fresh serving of wet food and kibble. He didn’t even go near it. This was worth a call to the vet. I spoke to Dineen there, who suggested I mix milk with his other food. She said the little “stinker” was forcing my hand. I got in the car and drove down the hill to Pet Express and bought some more powdered milk.

Did he leap at it and declare our contretemps over? He took a few laps and went somewhere else. Beside myself by now, I called the vet’s office again. Dineen said to bring him in if he still wouldn’t eat in the morning, and not to worry, that he would be all right. But I won’t be, I told her.

This morning at our usual breakfast hour of 5:15 (there is no retirement and sleep-ins when one has cats, especially Loaner who jumps up on me and pats my face over and over until I surrender) I served Bijou–omitting the milk just to see if that was the issue about eating–a smaller portion of wet food and kibble. Without hesitation, the little monster ate half of it then went off to play. It was as if he had handed me a tank of oxygen; I had not realized I had stopped breathing for the past 24 hours.

An hour later, after my own breakfast, he ate the rest of his without quibble (no kibble quibble. Sorry!). As usual, he went downstairs with me for litter box duty and then outside to the backyard. He climbs this little shrub and looks exactly like a miniature bear climbing a miniature tree.

I have no idea why he wouldn’t eat for an entire day the day before. It wasn’t because of the milk, and he was plenty energetic so it wasn’t because he didn’t feel well.

We are seeing the vet Tuesday for a progress checkup on his ringworm. All his other ailments are cured. I don’t know who to see about my own rash, which I have self-diagnosed as hives (urticaria), due to stress and San Gennaro knows what else. It isn’t ringworm, according to pictures on the Internet, and doesn’t behave like it, and Loaner isn’t showing signs of it. Maybe, just maybe, our lives will get back to normal, whatever that means, by Thanksgiving.

The Trump, Carson and all the emojinis

All those others in their single-digit standings trailing the top GOP two seem to have nothing but their millions of Citizens United contributions sustaining them. Certainly, their personal appeal has been less than significant in the polls.

I have a brochure setting out the names of donors, how much, and to whom they contributed. It’s interesting and perhaps enlightening. Here are a few:

Robert Mercer, Co-chief executive of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge-fund management company, contributed $11.3 million to Ted Cruz (98%), Bobby Jindal (2%) and Carly Fiorina (less than 1%).

Farris Wilks, Co-founder of Frac Tech, a hydraulic fracturing and oilfield services company, donated $5 million to Ted Cruz.

Joann Wilks, wife of Farris Wilks, Homemaker, donated $5 million to Ted Cruz.

Dan Wilks, Co-founder of Frac Tech, a hydraulic fracturing and oilfield services company, $2.5 million to Ted Cruz.

Staci Wilks, Vice President of Wilks Brothers LLC, wife of Dan Wilks, $2.5 million to Ted Cruz.

Larry Ellison, former CEO of Oracle Corporation, $3 million to Marco Rubio.

A. Jerrold Perenchio, former chairman and chief executive of Univision, $1.7 million to Carly Fiorina (94%), Jeb Bush (6%), Chris Christie (less than 1%).

Bernard Marcus, Co-founder of Home Depot, $1.6 million to Jeb Bush (62%), Scott Walker 37%).

And this:

Ronald Cameron, President and chief executive of Mountaire, an Arkansas-based poultry company, $3 million to Mike Huckabee (99%) and Chris Christie (less than 1%).

Ray Bradbury’s month

When I could not go to school during one or another of conflicts in Shanghai, I stayed home and read. Shanghai had thousands of refugees from other conflicts in Europe and one, a Russian emigre, ran an English-language lending library. When the British and Americans departed Shanghai, Mihail found himself with a houseful of books and no borrowers. I forget how I knew him, but I wound up benefiting from his misfortune. He allowed me to take out any number of books I wanted and as often as I wanted, all free of charge.

Ray Bradbury was one of my discoveries. My nose was so deeply buried in his stories that whenever the American warplanes roared overhead to bomb parts of the city, I had to be dragged to the family’s improvised air raid shelter. As soon as the All Clear sounded, I was back at Ray Bradbury. The month of October belonged to him. He summoned up autumnal scenarios and spirit wraiths and windblown leaves that changed colors as they scuttered along the earth, and I remained immersed in the strange lands he conjured up until I was fully grown and then beyond.

Imagine, then, my awe at actually seeing and hearing the man himself at the Asilomar Writers Conference! A mild-appearing man with more than a hint of blarney in him, he recounted a visit to Ireland, where he heard (he swore) a banshee’s eerie call, which he delivered with suitable Gaelic theatrics. I could not stop smiling. He might have noticed, I don’t know.
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Bijou is bundled up on my lap asleep after his bath with special (“For Dogs, Cats and Horses”) shampoo. His treatment for ringworm continues for another three weeks. The boy is growing fast, eats so much his belly is the biggest part of him. He will eat only wet food but I have begun seeding it with kibble. This kitten so far refuses to be weaned though the vet tells me it should be accomplished at eight weeks. But this little guys wants his milk when he wants it. Ray Bradbury, help!

The Raising of Bijou

He weighs all of about two lbs. now and has overcome a couple of the conditions that bothered him. The bruised leg is well, and so are his eyes. But — there is always a but in life — his tests read positive for ringworm, which I am told is highly contagious. For almost a week now I have been washing his little head and ears and shoulders, drying them, then applying Lamisil anti-fungal cream. It is not much of a struggle to hold him in place while doing all this, and he will let out a cry of protest now and then. Unfair, as usual. To supplement this, he starts taking pills today.

I yearn to cuddle him and he yearns for me as well. His favorite place is on the back of my neck under my hair. Before the skin business became known he would stay there while I sat at this screen. It is as well Loaner has not yet taken to licking him, perhaps because he doesn’t smell right, plastered with Lamisil as he is these days.

My hands are washed so much they feel like wallboard; if the ringworm wanted to move onto me the mere washing of hands will be insufficient. And then there is Loaner….

Bijou’s fixation on water continues. He naps against the water dish and drinks frequently. I have made a pad for him in the bathroom where he spends many of the night hours. Either there, or on my shoes or slippers. I could weep when I see him playing with Mojo’s toys, and yesterday he surprised me by crunching down on the yarn ball I had tied to string at the end of a dowel, and pelting off with it to his stash in the bedroom. Attached to the other end, I went with him.

When he is all well, I will cuddle him as he has never been before. That’s a promise.