Tag Archives: Cat

An Award-Winning Book!

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

Frontier Town
6245 E. Cave Creek Rd.
Cave Creek, AZ 85331
Get Directions »

Description of Event:

Home Fur Good Holiday Festival will be held on December 12th, 2015. Hours: 10:00am – 3:00pm


castle promotional cover




Filed under Arizona, Book Award, Book promotion, Cats and Other Animals, Doll God, Dolls, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing

Doll God is a Finalist!

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:


castle promotional cover

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.

My sweet cat


Filed under Arizona, Book Award, Book promotion, Doll God, Dolls, poems about dolls, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing

Pay Attention: What Makes a Good Poem

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]

by Christopher Smart

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.

For he is the servant of the Living God, duly and daily serving him.

For at the first glance of the glory of God in the East he worships in his way.

For is this done by wreathing his body seven times round with elegant quickness.

For then he leaps up to catch the musk, which is the blessing of God upon his prayer.

For he rolls upon prank to work it in.

For having done duty and received blessing he begins to consider himself.

For this he performs in ten degrees.

For first he looks upon his forepaws to see if they are clean.

For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there.

For thirdly he works it upon stretch with the forepaws extended.

For fourthly he sharpens his paws by wood.

For fifthly he washes himself.

For sixthly he rolls upon wash.

For seventhly he fleas himself, that he may not be interrupted upon the beat.

For eighthly he rubs himself against a post.

For ninthly he looks up for his instructions.

For tenthly he goes in quest of food.

For having considered God and himself he will consider his neighbor.

For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.

For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.

For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.

For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.

For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.

For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.

For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.

For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.

For he is of the tribe of Tiger.

For the Cherub Cat is a term of the Angel Tiger.

For he has the subtlety and hissing of a serpent, which in goodness he suppresses.

For he will not do destruction if he is well-fed, neither will he spit without provocation.

For he purrs in thankfulness when God tells him he’s a good Cat.

For he is an instrument for the children to learn benevolence upon.

For every house is incomplete without him, and a blessing is lacking in the spirit.

For the Lord commanded Moses concerning the cats at the departure of the Children of Israel

from Egypt.

For every family had one cat at least in the bag.

For the English Cats are the best in Europe.

For he is the cleanest in the use of his forepaws of any quadruped.

For the dexterity of his defense is an instance of the love of God to him exceedingly.

For he is the quickest to his mark of any creature.

For he is tenacious of his point.

For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery.

For he knows that God is his Saviour.

For there is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest.

For there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion.

For he is of the Lord’s poor, and so indeed is he called by benevolence perpetually–Poor Jeoffry!

poor Jeoffry! the rat has bit thy throat.

For I bless the name of the Lord Jesus that Jeoffry is better.

For the divine spirit comes about his body to sustain it in complete cat.

For his tongue is exceeding pure so that it has in purity what it wants in music.

For he is docile and can learn certain things.

For he can sit up with gravity, which is patience upon approbation.

For he can fetch and carry, which is patience in employment.

For he can jump over a stick, which is patience upon proof positive.

For he can spraggle upon waggle at the word of command.

For he can jump from an eminence into his master’s bosom.

For he can catch the cork and toss it again.

For he is hated by the hypocrite and miser.

For the former is afraid of detection.

For the latter refuses the charge.

For he camels his back to bear the first notion of business.

For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself neatly.

For he made a great figure in Egypt for his signal services.

For he killed the Icneumon rat, very pernicious by land.

For his ears are so acute that they sting again.

For from this proceeds the passing quickness of his attention.

For by stroking of him I have found out electricity.

For I perceived God’s light about him both wax and fire.

For the electrical fire is the spiritual substance which God sends from heaven to sustain the

bodies both of man and beast.

For God has blessed him in the variety of his movements.

For, though he cannot fly, he is an excellent clamberer.

For his motions upon the face of the earth are more than any other quadruped.

For he can tread to all the measures upon the music.

For he can swim for life.

For he can creep.

For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.

For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.


Source of the poem


Filed under Essay, Nonfiction, Poetry, Writing

Millions of Cats

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.”


Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Essay, Memoir, Nonfiction, Photographs