Shrimp treats

Pinky knows what those rustling noises mean. I am getting her two big shrimp out of the bag in the freezer. Before they are in the microwave to defrost, she has taken her place on the counter. Chopping the shrimp requires agility to keep ahead of her as I move from counter to counter to stovetop until the feast is ready. Watching her eat brings out every drop of the one-fourth Italian in me. “Mangia, mangia,” I say, beaming, my hands clasped over my stomach. It is a satisfaction life seldom affords the average cook.

The treat was intended to be once a week. That proved difficult. It seemed a long stretch to me, too. I spaced the treat to five days, then three days. Now it is every second day. This is where we stand, my last stand.

At the substitute, a teaspoon of ice cream mashed in my hand, she turns her back, though she does not leave the kitchen. It is a comment on lack of shrimp, but there is room to negotiate. I dab a little ice cream on her nose, which she licks clean. She moves a few inches away, and I dab some more ice cream. Finally, she turns and grudgingly approaches my cupped hand. In a few seconds, my palm is licked dry. I know I have spoiled her, yet still I smile like a fool. “Spoil” is a relative word: Pinky does not have to attend college, get a job, or move out on her own.


Sweet clarinet

We had a band come to entertain us at Lake Park where I live. The band was composed of 30 components of brass, clarinet, piano, flute, and an enthusiastic timpanist. Some of the musicians were elderly, others looking to be high school youngsters.

We stood for the opening Stars and Stripes (I did not kneel), and they were then off to a selection of Souza marches and the famous Elephant Walk. The brass overwhelmed the ensemble at times, the wind instruments uncoordinated once in a while, but we had nothing to do but simply enjoy it all.

And then….the conductor took his clarinet and gave a bluesy, smart performance that told me he was a sly old professional. He was so good that I yearned to know what famous bands he had performed in.

Kudos to all musicians!

Cat dreams

On cool nap days, Pinky lies bundled up and tucked in. Her back is to me. I poke her in the hip and say, “Come on, gimme a leg,” and she does. She sticks out a leg for me to hold.

And on another cool day, my one exposed hand was cold and I nudged her with it and said playfully, “Get this one under, too, please.” Before I knew it, she had swept that hand into her warm, furry haven.

Sometimes I awake to a sensation of a light touch across my face. It is Pinky, her back to me, as her tail sweeps back and forth.

I like to slide my feet under the blanket, under her, and bounce, hard, while singing, from South Pacific, “Talk about the moon, talk about the stars.” She hangs tight, her tail whipping about for balance.

One time at night she placed all four paws in my hand. I thought muzzily about this. Between dreams I mused about this cat who came into my life.

Why did she come to my door and look inside if she didn’t know me and was scared of me? Why follow me for days and days until that turning point when she spoke her piece?

Why did Loaner come inside and, without having been courted, show me such sweetness?



Bird bath

Sometimes Pinky chooses to sleep in a drawer. I have not allowed her into my lingerie drawer, therefore she is more curious about that one. Often I am careless about shutting the drawers fully. One day I find her sitting amid a mound of my underwear, as she pulls more out through the gap with a hooked paw. Instead of chasing her away, I sit down and watch to see how long she persists. Pinky continues happily until she can no longer reach anything then, bored, she ambles off.

Some evenings she comes inside to the dining room, eyes my lap momentarily, then goes to the kitchen for a bite to eat. Afterward, she trots quickly back outside. I know she is headed for a drink from the bird bath. I don’t know why she prefers the bird bath to her own water bowl. Which means I must scrub the bird bath every day.

Likewise, I trot to the bathroom and rush back to my chair and put up my feet, just in time, as she comes around the corner and jumps onto my lap. I can plan ahead as well as she can. She lies lengthwise, belly up, and I go to work on her. She is content if I only hold her legs. Those half-closed green eyes tell me so.

Cat napping

I have read that cats nap 18 hours a day. Since the advent of Pinky I seem to be napping almost that many hours along with her. What can I say – she is irresistible as a napping companion. She has ways of letting me know she is ready for a snooze by staring at me, jumping on and off my lap, or circling my chair. My book is steaming ahead, but I answer the summons and shut down.

Pinky’s attitude of repose is an art form, toes are tucked behind my ears, her arms pointed skyward above her head. The world is our tiny domain. I read for a while before I doze off. How long does not matter. I don’t even hear the telephone ring.

My friends have learned to call me in the evening. Being retired and accountable to no one, I have no cares about time. Besides, I need to make up for my erratic nights and Pinky’s reveille calls.

When we wake up we both str-e-e-tch and produce prodigious yawns. If it is still morning, I get up to see about lunch. If it is evening, the TV news can wait. The news will reach me soon enough.


There’s a dog I know on the hiking trail at Montclair who has an interesting story. His owner told me that he (the dog) found a crow’s nest one day and ate the eggs. Next day, and for weeks afterward a flurry of crows dive bombed and attacked the dog. Crows are among the most intelligent birds, as the poor dog found out.

And this: I watched a DVD of a stage production of Oklahoma recently starring Hugh Jackman as Curly. It was a British production and I was astounded at Jackman’s singing voice. Most of you might know he can sing but all I have known about him was his few acting roles where he didn’t sing and lately as Wolverine with the blades in his knuckles. It was the most stupendous performance by the entire cast. Their cornpone accents were so thick you had to marvel. Kudos to the British actors!


The horror goes on in northern California, the seven fires roaring into communities and wiping them out. More than 2000 homes and buildings have gone up in flames, 17 people have been killed. My great nephews there have been evacuated and are staying with friends.

And the firefighters don’t seem to be able to get a handle on it all. This is beginning to sound worse than the Oakland Hills fire in 1991 when the fire crept close to our home and we prepared to evacuate. In that one 2500 homes went up in flames and 25 people died.

Please let everyone be safe.