Bijou, a cat to reckon with

He was a character, that one. Our tussles of will power always came around curfew, when he would emerge (sometimes) from the brush around the neighbor’s downhill fence. He knew my call, all right, and success depended on how willful he was behaving.

He would flop and wiggle, as much as saying “I don’t wanna go in!” get up and walk a few more steps, then flop again. I let him repeat this routine until I felt there were no more flop/wiggles in store and he would bolt back through the fence. Then I gathered him up and bore him to the patio door where he made one final attempt to wiggle free of my arms.

Once inside, he went to check in with big sister Loaner, visit his food bowl, watch his show NatGeoWild and at night come to settle under my chin with mighty purrings.

How I miss him.


Home of my heart


Thirty-six years and more in one house have to count for something. Here is where I went hiking in the woods across the street, spotted pheasants, was visited by raccoons, saw a mountain lion, and socialized with the neighbors’ cats and dogs.

The view across the Bay was another privilege. On a clear evening I could see the fireworks at Crissy Field in San Francisco, and I watched ships come in seemingly escorted by sailboats on blue water. My neighbors have been friends; we celebrated with block parties and our Neighborhood Association with its network endeavored to protect us from crime.

There was love in this house. The walls might tell you so.

Editor’s Choice

I had completed writing the book and went about placing it with a publisher. After about three months of sending it around I hit at last, at Marron in NYC. The said the story charmed them, the heroine most sympatica — I hurried ahead of their letter and found the inevitable disclaimers. It seemed they wanted Cole to be African-Brazilian and Linden to be African-American, and they would consider publication on receipt of the modifications.

It wasn’t that simple. One cannot simply change the racial make-up of characters in a book with strokes of the keyboard. There is family to consider, life’s experiences, thoughts, insights and all the mental array that goes into building a person.

Well, I attacked the task, burying my head and being aware that Renato was feeding me between morning and dusk. Anxiously he brought me cooling drinks. My computer called it quits and we bought another one. Finally, finally, I was done. I packed the manuscript off and waited. The answer did not require much time to reach me. Marron Publishing had gone out of business.

Cat STILL in closet

It looks as though the closet is going to be her permanent hiding place. She does come out when I call, but I get that I have to have a strong reason to do so, such as mealtimes. I had been wondering where she would go whenever the housekeeper came but yesterday there was no doubt for Loaner. She retreated to the closet.

There are plenty of pets in the building, all under 30 lbs in weight, as the rule allows. There is one tiny French poodle named Pierre, who frisks about in the hall while waiting, with his very tall hooman, for the elevator. Another hooman has a little carriage for her dog who has arthritis. They go outside with the dog riding in the carriage.

These are the poignant sights that one encounters in this building; not least, the fact that Loaner has lost the sight in her right eye and is 14 years old.

Cat in the closet

Loaner, as expected, took the move to these new digs hard. She is hiding in the closet for lack of any other private places. At least she comes out to eat, though not very much. At night she climbs onto my stomach, ensuring that I toss about for hours before collapsing into sleep.

My Mac got connected only yesterday and there are a host of little things that don’t work including other distractions, like the bathroom sink being stopped up, dead power outlets, and masses of paper stuff that I felt I couldn’t do without.

The view across the street features a partial slice of Lake Merritt; the other side faces tall buildings. At night its lighted windows remind me of a thousand night lights, sort of comforting.