People who know Maine Coon cats often think Perry is part Maine Coon. It’s his face shape, the tiny tufts on the tips of his ears, his long fluffy tail, and his affectionate, intelligent, and very chatty personality. So when I was feeling really bad about losing Pear, Felix, and Izzie, I bought a DNA test for Perry as a present for myself.
DNA tests for dogs always made more sense to me than ones for cats. There is such a wide variety of dog breeds, and it can help to know what the needs are, depending on what combination of breeds make up your mutt. DNA tests for people make a lot of sense for me because I love family history and genealogy, plus I’m such a Nancy Drew that I like investigating things. The gardener calls me “Sherlock.” That is in addition to all the other nicknames.
So maybe it’s that curious streak thoroughfare that runs through me that made me want to see the results for Perry.
Soon after the kit arrived, I gathered Perry’s spit, packaged it up, and sent it off. This is the activation notice I got on the website for Wisdom Panel, the company I used.
I was prepared to wait for a month or two because that’s how long it took for human and dog DNA I’ve sent in. But I got the results in just a couple of weeks.
This is a Maine coon cat, by the way, so you can see what they look like.
You could have knocked me over with a cat sneeze when I took a look at Perry’s breed mixture.
81% American Domestic cat. That’s not surprising. But wait. The next breed listed is NOT Maine Coon. He’s 11% Sphynx cat!!!!!!! 11% means that one of his great-grandparents was a Sphynx.
Sphynx cats are bald!!! They are extremely intelligent and are also one of the most dog-like cats in personality. So now we know where Perry gets his neediness :).
More information from Perry’s DNA suggests that he is white and one other color, has a long tail, and is long-haired. The best part of the test is that he tested negative for the 49 health issues that Wisdom Panel tests for. He happens to be blood type A like his human mama and papa.
Now he can relax! Perry says HAPPY HANUKKAH on this first day of Hanukkah!
Almost exactly a year ago I pulled The Destroyer from the Wild Unknown tarot deck. Yesterday it was time to pull another card. My life has taken some shifts this year, and I wanted to see from what angle I should examine it all.
This time I pulled another really important card: The Mother.
I love the art on this card: nest, rope/snake, cupping hand, egg, pearl. WOW!
The Mother is represented in traditional tarot by The Empress card, but in this tarot deck, The Mother is more akin to the Mother archetype. Perhaps even The Earth Mother archetype.
Positive aspects: Feminine energy and power. Benign. One’s inner mother. Of the earth. Abundance. Creation. Sustenance.
But one’s inner mother develops when a child is developing. Is your inner mother nurturing and supportive or critical and judgmental?
Why did I draw this card at this time in my life? That is what I will be exploring over the holidays. I do know that seeing this card gives me peace.
If you live in the U.S., may you have a peaceful Thanksgiving! Otherwise, make it a special (peaceful) week anyway.
2021 is a weird writing period for me. I am awaiting presales of my new poetry book in May (release is scheduled for September 2022). I have sent out my memoir to see what happens to it. That will probably take a long time. Then I have 3 essays that are taking forever to be published–in fact, one of them, I don’t know if it will be published or not as I’ve lost contact with the journal’s editor. Maybe I should send the piece out again. I’ve been waiting on a few poem publications. And I stopped writing. That doesn’t usually happen to me.
I think it has to do with waiting on these books. I feel disoriented and unfocused.
Luckily, my creativity group is working on two books by Eric Maisel that I think will help. We are reading Unleashing the Artist and doing exercises in The Creative Workbook for Coaches and Creatives. For the first exercise, we listed all the creative projects that we have going on–either in process or imagined. Then we had to assign values as to how important they were. That was eye-opening. Give it a try!
I wrote a book review of a new poetry book this weekend and sent it off to a journal. And I have one more review I committed to for December. Then I have to say NO for awhile. I do not know how anybody can tackle NaNoWriMo in November because of the holidays. That blows my mind to even think about it! If you are doing it, you are probably not reading this right now.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Gauffrau on the publication of her new book. I’ve reviewed it below, and Liz will be responding to comments today!
Her new poetry collection, Grief Songs, is a deeply personal and yet universally appealing memoir in poems and photographs. The focus is on the nuclear family that Gauffreau was born into: her mother, father, brother George, and herself. Most of the poems are tankas.
Click on the cover image to purchase at Amazon.
A tanka is a Japanese syllabic poetry form consisting of five lines, 5/7/5/7/7. Like Haiku, these poems use economy of language to create an image, often from nature, and usually express emotions of love or loss. Because of the way phrases and images are “set” one after another in tankas and the short length of the poem, tankas create an impressionistic art that requires an active, rather than passive, reader.
The title plays upon the meaning of tanka as “short song,” as well as the elegiac aspect of the project. After the epigraph, Gauffreau lists the names and dates of her three relatives in headstone fashion. In this way, the reader understands the others have all passed. The book’s structure is remarkable in that each tanka is mirrored by a family photograph. Photos really are a perfect pairing with tankas because they provide another dimension to an elliptical form.
In “Boy Scout Badge,” we see a photo on the left of George and Daddy standing together on a dirt road. The tanka to the right reads:
walk a dusty road
no badge without proof
Daddy matched him step for step
hot August sun beating down
We meet here a father who is partially responsible for his son’s success. He has to walk that same long distance as his son in the heat so that George can prove he deserves his merit badge.
Later on, in “Yearbook,” a teen George with the long hair of the 70s leans against the Coke machine at school. On the next page, we
see George strike a pose
Coke machine, casual lean
no caption needed
George Gauffreau enjoys a Coke
classmate, friend, brother, deceased
The succinct nature of the tanka only gives away the poet’s grief at her brother’s early death with that one word “deceased” piggybacked onto “classmate, friend, brother.” Also notice the long O sound repeated in the first four lines. Then that fifth and devastating line differs markedly in sound.
“Family Reunion,” the penultimate poem of the collection, shows a family group photo paired with:
we did not expect
Indian summer so soon
early morning sun
haze lifts, mountain range appears
but only for a moment
In classic tanka style, this poem focuses on a season, a glimpse, one image, but in so doing tells us a lot about love and loss. The mountain range appears “but only for a moment,” just as our families are together for what seems later on to be merely a “moment” in time. We are lucky to have these reunions when we can because before too long, we will have family members to mourn.
Elizabeth Gauffreau’s heartfelt poetry can be enjoyed by poetry newbies and aficionados alike.
Elizabeth Gauffreau writes fiction and poetry with a strong connection to family and place. Recent publications include Woven Tale Press, Dash, Pinyon, Aji, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, and Evening Street Review. Her debut novel, Telling Sonny, was published in 2018. Learn more about her work at http://lizgauffreau.com.
Today begins Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. If you’re not familiar with the holiday you might think it strange to greet someone with “Feliz Dia de los Muertos,” but the special day is one for celebration.
You already saw the nicho I made for the cats, but when I was preparing the box, I actually prepared two at once. After the cat nicho was done, I thought I would make one (or an ofrenda, although the religious connotation of that makes it not quite the right word as I am not Catholic) for loved ones in heaven of the gardener and myself.
So Feliz Dia de los Muertos!
Guess who is visiting this week? My mom!!! First time I’ve seen her in two years!!!!