Monthly Archives: November 2020

Feline Foibles

My big black cat, Frankie, is just a little bit crazy these days. He still has his own “scaredy-cat” habits, running out his cat door the minute a stranger enters “his” house. Or escaping out his door as soon as I come into the laundry room to feed him in the morning. I always say, “Wait, Frankie! I am going to feed you! With your special paté!” It doesn’t do any good. He comes back pretty quickly, but insists that I let him in through the sliding glass door – just a few feet from his cat door.

            Recently my contrary cat has added some new peculiarities. I can often be found on the couch in the family room, working on my computer, reading or watching TV. Frankie will be sitting on the floor in the kitchen, staring at me. I can tell by his expression that he is getting ready for action, and I look away, pretending I don’t see him. “Oh, boy, here he comes,” I say, as he runs at top speed towards me, jumps on the couch and right into my lap. Oh, he knows there is loving to be had here, because I absentmindedly pet him the whole time he is here. So he will plop himself on me and stay until I have to get up to do something. But he never ran like that before. He does this more on days after he was out all night, because he misses me, but lately he has been staying out every night. His newfound “attack” is kind of sweet, and not a problem, except that I am getting a kink in my neck from looking at my computer sideways. Frankie is a big cat; he takes up all the room on my lap.

            I have also caught him slinking, walking slowly close to the floor. He is more likely to do that when a storm is approaching, and thunder and lightning are present, but he looks so funny he makes me laugh. He will not let me calm him until he is ready; he will come to me. But he will let me dry him if he comes in wet, because that is like petting.

            Lately, he has been compulsively washing, making me wonder if I should take him to the vet, but I want to wait and see if he stops eating or develops any other strange behavior.

            Frankie is a talker. If he meows, I will meow back, trying to duplicate the particular sound. He will meow again, so I will too. This can go on for some time. Right now he is expressing displeasure with me, I believe, because I was away for four days last week. He is giving me the business; I think he will get over that soon.

            I prefer to have Frankie in at night for a couple of reasons: it is safer for him, and he cannot bring in critters. I solved the critter problem by preventing his access to his cat door after dark. That means I have to let him in or out the sliding glass door. If he’s got a critter in his mouth, he is not coming in! He still loves to be outside, day or night, but at least he is not waking me up to show me his latest “catch.” I have to admit I sleep better without him, since he insists on sleeping right up against me, and I worry about disturbing him when I turn over. Not a problem when he’s out, so lately I have been sleeping very well!

            My kitty had a tenuous relationship with my late husband. Jerry always said Frankie didn’t love him, but Jerry didn’t know how to talk to him, refusing to talk baby talk, which Frankie always responds to. Jerry was really a “dog” guy, expecting slavish devotion. That is not Frankie, or any other cat I’m aware of.

            Frankie has a benign thyroid tumor. To keep it from growing, I have to give him liquid medicine from a plunger twice a day. I sandwich the medicine between two small spoonfuls of paté and he gobbles it up. He also eats dry food, but he loves his paté, and his thyroid tumor is not growing.

            Frankie has been a pleasant companion for me during these last months without Jerry. It makes me happy that I am not totally alone, and have a pet to love. Some days I never see him, some days he hangs around. Whenever he decides to grace me with his company, my day is a little bit brighter.

Frankie keeping my seat warm

Finding Joy

This morning I woke up to silent darkness, as I do every day. But this day was different. I slipped quietly out of the bedroom, so as not to wake my roommate. I found my way in the dark to the slider opening to the small balcony outside our beachfront apartment on the 15th floor. The cool air and wind blew in, and I closed the door quickly. No sitting outside early today!

            My writers’ group and I, four of us, are off on retreat in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Far from the cares and worries of the pandemic at home, we have come to write, to shop, to have fun and just to be together. Right now, I am smiling, because the others have gone to walk on the beach and I am alone, perfect for writing! I have already had my beach walk this morning.

            Time for reflection reminds me to look at all the joys in my life, things I take for granted every day, but which I cherish when I think about them. Appreciation. I am compelled to tell people of the joy they bring me by being part of my life. I do believe grief has made me vulnerable, so these feelings are new for me. I have always enjoyed my friends, but I never appreciated them in quite this way. A joy to hold onto.

            Yesterday I told the other women in the writers’ group that I feel they have rescued me from the inmost depths of my loneliness since my husband died eight months ago, right before the pandemic hit. Just to be around people who know me and care about me takes me a long way to wholeness.  

String paintings created
at the beach: Pam, Diane, Polly and Diana

          In addition, my book club has been meeting once a month outdoors for several months; we have been friends for years and it lifts my spirits just to be with them. There are nine of us regulars, and I smile and bask in the warm feelings.

            My daughter, Stacy, has always been a blessing in my life, holding a place in my heart for her alone. I also value my relationships with my four siblings, though we are scattered and rarely see each other. I cherish all my family, those who were mine and those who were Jerry’s. We have a history of caring for each other, and they have been loving to me throughout. All of them are mine now.

            I am a second-time widow now, but I have loved two wonderful men who loved me back, and I knew it. How can I not be thankful for that? I will always cherish those memories.

            In addition to the people in my life who make me happy is the joy I derive from writing my blog. It brings purpose and direction to my life and contributes immensely to my wellbeing and sense of identity, feeling wholly myself.

            I am in good health, something else to celebrate. I come from long-lived families on both sides, making me likely to live a long time. Not sure if that is such a good thing!

            I could mention the small pleasures I have found in my daily routine of living alone with my big black cat, Frankie. It grounds me and gives me hope that my solitary life will truly become joyful for me.

            I am hoping more joy will seep into me while I am here. If I look at the whole of my life, I can find more things to appreciate. I believe there are adventures ahead of me, and that thought is tantalizing. I need to be open to welcome my future story. I know it will be filled with joy.

Working on blog

View from our apartment
Sunrise from the lifeguard stand,
last morning