Just 1 Cat

A Cat a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

Charlie lives in the local flower shop across from the Broadway G train station. I stop in to see him every time I take the green line. Usually it requires a turn or two through the store to find him, fast asleep under a giant plant, hidden in one dark corner or another. He is a big, friendly guy, but when he’s asleep, there is no getting through to him—he is thoroughly unresponsive.  So, I pat Charlie’s head and move along to catch my train, leaving him to slumber on in peace amid the flowers.

His name is Chihuahua. As I was photographing him, the proprietor, who you can see in one of the photos, came bustling out of the store scolding him, calling him back home to the bodega.   

Image courtesy of Patrick, who spotted this stunner along his Meals-On-Wheels delivery route in Bushwick. 

Image courtesy of Patrick, who spotted this stunner along his Meals-On-Wheels delivery route in Bushwick. 

Wishing you an autumn full of knitted blankets, cats, and candy corn.  I tried to swear off naps this week, but then the weather got chilly and Oliver looked so cozy all curled up on the couch, and I found myself avowing, as I slipped beneath my comforter: “If napping is wrong, I don’t WANT to be right…”  ZZZzzzzz 

Avocado is officially the universe’s best food!  Even cats love it.  Seriously, this cutie was going to town!

Avocado is officially the universe’s best food!  Even cats love it.  Seriously, this cutie was going to town!

My older sister Zoe developed wanderlust at a young age and since then she’s visited Ecuador, Turkey, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico… (Tell me Zoe, am I forgetting a few countries?!)  Years ago I recall her encouraging (a mild word for it, actually; a true travel convert, her tone was closer to admonishment) my father, who had never been abroad, to hop on a doggone plane already.  His response was to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, who once wrote: “Traveling is a fool’s paradise.”  Well, times have changed!  In the past 2 years, my father has traveled twice to Japan and once to India, escorting students in the seminars he teaches on Japanese and Indian literature and culture (as you may have inferred from the Emerson-quoting, he is an English teacher).  This past summer, my mother accompanied him on his second sojourn to Japan.  They showed me beautiful photographs of strange forests and enchanting temples and the Kyoto alley cats pictured above (my mother tells me that the bottles in the final picture were placed there to keep cats from peeing on the property!  The streets there are kept absolutely pristine—I have to wonder what Japanese tourists would make of Bushwick, yikes!).  I was mesmerized.  You see, I’ve never been abroad and I desperately want to go, but I guess I haven’t yet found the opportunity.  I have a recurring dream that I’m in a new country.  Exotic architecture and wild new landscapes unfold around me, and I can’t believe it, I’m finally abroad.  In the latest dream, my sister was with me and I asked her to snap my photograph at the moment of our arrival.  I struck a joyous pose, thinking, I’ve crossed over, my feet are on foreign soil.  I’ve finally done it!  I awoke later (minutes, hours?  Dream-time is impossible to parse…) in my Brooklyn apartment, to ordinary American sun and the man across the street tuning his radio to Golden Oldies again…  But the point is, I’m so happy my father decided to give traveling a go after all, and he has truly loved the experience, especially getting to know Japanese culture and some of the language.  And I vow someday to join him, to join Zoe, my mother, my other sister, Phoebe, who’s been to China and Germany and Italy and Texas—which might as well be its own nation—and who was actually detained once in Russia, and God knows!  Someday I will join the hallowed ranks of World Travelers. 

Below is the full Emerson quote, for your reference.  It’s basically a variation on “Wherever you go, there you are,” and I find these sentiments consoling when I’m lamenting my lack of travel experience.

 “Traveling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. At home I dream that at Naples, at Rome, I can be intoxicated with beauty, and lose my sadness. I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea, and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from. I seek the Vatican, and the palaces. I affect to be intoxicated with sights and suggestions, but I am not intoxicated. My giant goes with me wherever I go.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

In honor of the impending weekend, I’ll share a simple cocktail recipe with you. Pour desired amount of vodka into your favorite glass and top off with blue Gatorade (results pictured above; I used Skyy.). Add yellow or red Gatorade for a fun change of hue (green & purple, respectively). Share with a friend! I’ve created one other original recipe in my day, which I call The Christmas Salad: spinach, red bell pepper, avocado, and feta cheese (red and green provide the X-mas colors, and the feta evokes snow!). OK, that’s the extent of my food blogging!   

This sweet king of the soda bottles in a corner deli proved the brightest spot in a gloomy early September week day.  A man perched on a milk crate, eating his lunch in the corner, tried to assist my photography efforts, calling to the cat to “Look over there, look over there!” and the counter clerk told me the animal was all mine if I wanted.  Two kindergarten age girls ran in while their mom was distracted by a cell phone conversation and the braver girl poured sugar from the coffee stand into both of their palms, and they promptly devoured it.  My boyfriend said he believes I’m the most cat-loving person in America who doesn’t personally own a cat, and I can say with some confidence that he is probably right.  If anyone wants to challenge me for the title, please get in touch.   


Much like this cat, the blog isn’t dead, it only appears to be.  Thank God, right?  Especially in regards to the animal.  I felt awkward, on a residential Bushwick street, snapping photos of a cat splayed out beside a garbage can, catching his August afternoon Zzzs…I imagined explaining to anyone who asked, “Oh I’m sorry, the thing is, I’m a cat blogger.”  I’m back.

If Oliver wants your attention and affection, by God he will implement a strategic plan to obtain it.  (Implement, strategic, plan, obtain…I’m afraid I have begun utilizing these words excessively because I’m working on a grant-writing project where this sort of jargon is called for…’Utilizing’—there’s another.)  That might mean climbing into your lap and nosing your novel out of range, obscuring your view of the laptop screen, or settling right down upon the newspaper you’re reading.  Obviously I don’t mind; I love the guy!  Anyhow, on the day I took these pictures, he had been languishing comfortably in my lap when I regretfully excused myself from the bedroom to grab a glass of water.  When I returned, the clever gentleman had situated himself serenely atop my laptop keyboard, treating the whole mechanism as a conveniently cat-sized chair!  Clearly he had a message: you can’t get rid of me that easy, dammit; I’ll command your complete attention by totally seizing this strange machine you’re always so freakin’ fascinated by…Operation: Occupy Laptop.  Upon closer inspection, I noted that Oliver’s orange corpus was depressing certain keys, sending a desperate message into the Google Maps text box I’d left open, and as he adjusted his positioning slightly, the keys changed.  Below is an excerpt from Oliver’s admittedly verbose missive.  Contemporary poetry?  Please interpret: