That’s right: my “baby” is an award-winning book. Doll God won the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award in its category. I can’t help but say WOOHOO!
And if I do say so myself, this book makes a great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and [insert your holiday of choice] gift.
I’ll be donating some autographed copies for the raffle at the Holiday Festival that the animal shelter is participating in, so if you’re in the Phoenix area, you can pick one up that way! Or you can click the book to get to Amazon.
Home Fur Good Holiday Festival Cave Creek, AZ: December 12, 2015
Yesterday I opened an email listing the Finalists for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and dismally scrolled through it, sure that Doll God was overlooked.
But it WASN’T! It’s a Finalist! That was really wonderful news to get at the end of the week. Buy it here haha:
A week that has been a little rough. Remember my dear Nakana I brought home from the shelter two months ago? Suddenly her liver values have jumped dramatically. That apparently is BAD in cats. More tests on Monday . . . . Please send prayers or good vibes for her, if you are willing.
Have you ever felt so totally alive and present in that one particular moment that you realized how rare a feeling it was?
According to Donald Revell in his book The Art of Attention, this moment comes to us through paying “attention.” He says that “Attention is a question of entirety, of being wholly present.”
On noting how a good poem can cause the reader to feel concern for an injured bird, though the poem was written years before (and the bird, if it existed, has long since died), Revell says, “it’s wonderful to be drawn to attend what I am reading so entirely that even the most ephemeral presents are Present to me and matters of concern.”
As I read Revell’s thoughts, I knew what he meant about poems that are so attentive that they make me attentive as a reader.
Here is an example of a poem (part of a longer poem, really), which was written between 1759 and 1763, and shows such attention to a pet cat that I sense Jeoffry the cat is still alive today. And he is, in my own four cats. I do watch them attentively :).
Jubilate Agno, Fragment B, [For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry]
I feel like talking about cats today. It’s true that I’m always posting here about writing and stories and art and nature. But my four cats* are important to me, and I interact with them a lot. Interact means pet, kiss on the mug, talk to, and talk for. The latter two go something like this:
Mom, I’m hungry again.
Sweetie, you’re not hungry. You just think you want food. What you want is a big hug.
Mom, I don’t want one right now. Mom, stop! You’re slobbering on my fur and I just bathed!
Ooh ooh ooh, Mom lubs you!
Oddly, both my cats and I have high-pitched new-mom-type voices.
In addition to Macavity, Pear Blossom, Felix, and Tiger, both my kids have cats–one each.
The other day my son sent me a video of his kitten dreaming. Meesker, a solid black spunky boy, lies on his back to sleep. In the video, he was eating and licking his chops–obviously dreaming of a delicious meal. Hilarious. This is the kitten who walks on a leash.
My daughter and her cat are living with us temporarily while she (not the cat) performs in a regional show. The cat, Izzie, is a good-natured sweetheart. My daughter rescued her right after she (daughter, not the cat) graduated from college, three years ago. Four days after they got to our house this summer, she had a lump removed from her (the cat this time) lip which turned out to be Mast Cell Cancer. She (still the cat) will have to be examined regularly because once a cat has this type of tumor she can get another . . . and another.
One week later, my 2nd oldest, Pear, a tuxedo lap cat, had her dental cleaning. The vet and I both decided to remove a teeny tiny little pimple on her nose. It was so small the vet couldn’t use stitches and had to glue the skin. It turned out she had Spindle Cell Cancer. The margins were clean, so she should be fine. My husband thought he’d be funny and called her Scarface a few days later, but I hid the coffee until he asked her forgiveness.
My oldest, Mac, is a darling. At least to me. He’s a master of intimidation, but he’s also a huge orange and white tabby whose beauty lures humans in for a touch, even if they are afraid. And with good reason.
Felix, my brown tabby, and Tiger, my calico, have been featured in previous posts. I wrote about Felix in “Unease in the Desert,” a story about living in the desert at night. In “How and Why I Don’t Know Science,” I showed off a photo of the simply marvelous Miss Tiger.
The only problem with cats is they don’t mix well with just anyone or anything. I used to have finches for pets. No more birds for me since I became a (crazy) cat lady. I had a lovely pet rat named Nutmeg Noodles; she slept on the back of my neck, under my hair. I can’t have any more rats–just in case. And my husband used to get me flowers for every birthday, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day. But my cats like to eat poisonous flowers–and so many of the florist flowers, even Baby’s Breath, are toxic to cats.
Luckily, roses and orchids are non-toxic to cats. Here is a beautiful orchid a friend sent me for my birthday a month and a half ago–still blooming radiantly. My cousin raises orchids in Arkansas, and I can’t help but wonder if this is one of his. He’s got cats, too.
* I have 4 cats, not millions. But I love that Wanda Gag picture book Millions of Cats: “Millions and billions and trillions of cats.”