Sunday, December 22, 2013

Shifting and Drifting

Wind in my hair
Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music
Adrenaline surge....
Red Barchetta, Rush

This song is in honor of my uncle, Dr. Edward Kernick, who left this plane on December 21, 2013. 

Eddie and Mary Lou (my mom), November 1994, Baltimore, Maryland

There are many dimensions to my Uncle Ed, none of which I could adequately address. He will be sorely missed. 

One thing Uncle Ed enjoyed were cars.  I too had an affinity for cars when I was younger. For me, they were part of a fashion statement I'm sure, because I couldn't tell you one fact about anything under-the-hood. But I did appreciate the difference between the types of cars we drove and nice sports cars. One of my dearest memories is going for rides w/Uncle Eddie in whatever sports coupe he happened to own during our annual family visits to Pittsburgh. He loved taking me for a spin, and talking about the performance features of the car. We never went far or very fast, but I had such a marvelous time. 

I am picturing him driving down a long, windy road in whatever roadster he enjoyed the most. Feeling the wind in his hair. Racing to join those who departed ahead of him at the fireside. Just like the song says.

Thank you for everything you did for us Uncle Eddie. You were a gentle man, you and your brothers Bill and Jim, models for generations to come. 

Peace to my cousins and their children, and especially to my lovely Aunt Betty, who was his most trusted and loving companion. Above all, peace to you Uncle Ed. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Warehouse Wednesday: Valentina's Update

Hey everyone, Valentina comin' at ya on a Wednesday.

We've been (we hope noticeably) absent since Thanksgiving. It's been busy again in the warehouse apartment.

First of all, I am going to have to update you on my trip to Vet at the Barn. I'm not ready to share the entire experience yet, but suffice it to say I was carried in my "box" to the appointment. I am not a fan of long car rides, but I had to endure 1 hour to meet Dr. Bea, and then over an hour driving back home. The good news is I get special fish shaped treats to eat every day now. I did hear something about "losing weight," but I've chosen to ignore that until swimsuit season is upon me.

Secondly, Z-Girl comes home from work almost every day with boxes. You may not be aware, but I love *love* cardboard boxes. So this is like a party every time she walks in the door. A few days ago, she arrived with several deliveries that smelled quite tempting.

Turns out, these were indeed filled with cat food. Earmarked for other kitties.

What the h....

She opened a box, viewed the contents and then closed it back up. *But*, she didn't use tape. Naturally, when I knew she was fast asleep, I went to work. As a chief inspector for the FBI (Feline Bureau of Investigation), I had my paws full. I jumped on top of the box and managed to open it. But then I was challenged by the brown paper blocking me from the treasure. Fear not, I worked my way around that minor distraction, got to the bag and chewed through it, revealing hard, crunchy food. Lots of it.

But, Z-Girl busted me the next day. She has effectively blocked me from that box and then removed the other two from the apartment entirely. Foiled again!

According to what I've managed to hear Z-Girl say, Dr. Holly (our favorite veterinarian) is fostering a few kittens. So two boxes of kitten formula are going to her. The rest is going to feed the feral colony here in the 'hood. Puck and his gang of felines.

I'm still not clear why I can't have some of the food. I mean, just a few morsels. What's the harm in that? I am happy to share, I just want to taste...

That's all I've got for right now. Z-Girl will give you more updates on the outside feral kitties soon.

This is Valentina, over and out.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sundays should be easy...

Hi there! This is Lulu, coming back to the blog! Hooray!

This is me w/my mama Bessie, on an Easy Sunday summer of 2011. Our floors are concrete, so they may look dirty but that's just the way they look after being cleaned and polished! 

It's Sunday. This is supposed to be fun day, right?

Well, Z-Girl informed us last night that she has to go to the Mall today. She explained that at this time of year, that prospect isn't so much fun. She said that she isn't finished her Christmas shopping and she said to put our paws together and hope for a peaceful and successful entrance and exit.

Meanwhile, we'll window gaze at the snow that fell all day yesterday. Honestly, this morning it doesn't look nearly as beautiful but I for one have a job to do, and that's to take inventory of everything I can see through these windows.

We hope that where ever you are it's safe and comfy and maybe you are listening to music, or spending time with people you enjoy.

This is Lulu, over and out!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Giving

Happy Thursday, everyone. This is Coco "Cranky Pants" Chanel.

With Z-Girl. Photography by Wendy Ploger.

I know that today is a day the people in the US call Thanksgiving. Taking off work, preparing a turkey meal, spending time with people who fill your heart with love (and likely some anxiety). Thinking about the things for which you are grateful.

Maybe I missed something, but shouldn't this be *every day*? Perhaps it's just the practical cat in me, but I can't see why a whole holiday is needed to be thankful.

Valentina: Coco, that's not what Z-Girl said. She said it's a special day of thanks. Not the only day to give thanks.

Coco: Whatever. As I was saying, being thankful is something we seek to acknowledge every day in the warehouse apartment. So we wanted to share with our readers those things that we honor regularly. Sometimes in the morning, when Z-Girl is fixing five plates of wet food and three bowls of dry food, she recites her top of mind list for that day. Or, as we hunker down for lights out at night--Z-Girl will speak about something ordinary that we should hold close in our hearts. Here's a smattering:

The moonlight that spills through the windows and all over the floor, especially during the cold months. It's glorious.

The colorful skies we see through those same windows.
Lulu: I love to gaze out the windows all times of day or night!

Coco: Warm piles of fresh laundry.

The no-flea, no ear-mite policy of living indoors.

Contract work that meant Z-Girl could work from home for 3 days out of the week for 8 months this year.

All the very talented cat and dog bloggers we've met virtually this past year.

Z-Girl's parents. They give us support when we need it. They even bought me a nifty bed that Bessie and Lulu now sleep in every day.

The fact that friends who have had serious health struggles this year are doing well and are strong. Z-Girl loves her friends. A lot. 

Valentina: Tulle. I love tulle.
Lulu: Me too, I love tulle too!

Manhattan: The warehouse apartment. We all love it. Concrete floors for sliding and running.
Bessie: Flokati rugs.
Lulu: I like those too, Mama Bessie!
Valentina: I have my own.

Coco: Okay, not a contest Vali. Just a list.

Shoes. Z-Girl likes them for one reason, and all of us are fascinated by them for entirely different reasons.
Cardboard boxes.
My Queen Sheba tent. 
The Big Red Chair.
The Long White Dining Room Table.
Art. We have a collection from the talented artists in the neighborhood. It's fancy.
The fact that my coat has beautiful, one-of-a-kind swirls on it.

I especially am thankful that Dr. Joyce, who rescued me and my siblings, didn't allow the first person who adopted me to give me to the Humane Society when she realized she was allergic to cats.No, Joyce took me back and found Z-Girl through one of her employees, so this is where I landed. 

We all have stories about how we came to be who and where we are. And whoever and wherever and whatever that is, be happy. Life's about chasing sunbeams and eating treats. Taking naps and purring. If you get caught up in the pursuit of a happiness that isn't authentic, you'll need one day out of the year to think about all the good around you. Why not do it every day, like we do?

Thank you for stopping by. And for reading and posting when you do. Have a great Thanksgiving holiday. Let your gratitude and your charity extend past today. It just feels right.
Valentina, in Mr. Robert's art bowl and on the Long White Dining Room Table (which is allegedly off limits). Well, was off limits.

This is Coco. Over and Out.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bessie on Wordless Wednesday

I'm Bessie.
It's Wordless Wednesday and since I don't typically have much to say, it's a purr-fect day for my first post.

I generally am a Master of Camouflage, making it difficult for my beautiful fur to show. I prefer to curl up on darker colored items. Lulu (my daughter) and I do love our flokati rug, though....

Maybe I'll write another post. Maybe I'll pose for another photo. We'll see. I prefer mystery...

Lulu: Say hi for me, mama!
Bessie: I think you just did, little girl...

This is Bessie, over and out.

We are participating in the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop, our very first!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Two Tuxedo Toosday: Tulle

Hey everyone! Valentina here!

Manhattan: I'm here too, Valentina. Remember: it's Two Tuxedo. That's us. Me and you.

Valentina: Right. (Is it me, or is everyone overly sensitive about me and this blog thing?)

Anyway, there's something else I've been wanting to share with all of our readers. It's part of how our apartment was deemed the Princess Palace. The secret is tulle.

That's me, posing with my baby blues, back in 2009. On the now famous red chair that Z-Girl argued with Saturday night...

The story goes something like this. Z-Girl moved into the warehouse apartment back in June 2006.

Because she is into the Shabby Chic look and didn't quite know what she wanted to do for window dressings by her bed area, she bought a bunch of tulle and filled the windows with it to help absorb light until shades arrived. Then, she moved the tulle so it acted like valences in the bedroom windows, and found netted panels for curtains in the living room (kinda tulle-like themselves).

In 2008, after Coco came to live here, she discovered some tulle draped over Mercedes (she is a Bunnies By the Bay bunny, back when they made things for grown ups).
(Look how little Coco was in this picture...)

Coco quickly found that tulle has multiple properties. When sitting on a concrete surface, if you are a kitten, you can run, slide and you'll surf. You can also can get under it, and it becomes and invisibility cloak. The world looks so nice peering through pink tulle. And, if you bunch it up, it's nice and soft.

When I arrived, I followed everything Coco did (she is my half sister, you know). I have been known to drag a 9 foot long piece of tulle from one end of the apartment to the other. (Sometimes, a cat has to do what a cat has to do to ensure the decor is suitable).

Now Z-Girl has tulle draped all around the apartment for us. Lulu also loves tulle. Manhattan and Bessie don't hate it but they don't seem to love it like Coco, Lulu and me. Some people have been overheard saying that tulle isn't a grown up way to decorate an apartment.

Little do they know this doesn't bother Z-Girl. She kinda has done things her own way when it comes to fashion and style, all her life. Even before Madonna made it cool.

Other people love the whimsical nature of our surroundings. From the Sticks painted furniture, to the colorful walls and black and white stripped base boards, to the silly tulle that is mostly for us cats but still adorns the windows (along with fashionable sheers that we are not supposed to chew through...), it really is a Princess Palace. 5 feline princesses and one human princess.

And hey...Shabby Chic is up for interpretation, right? I mean, it's a good thing she likes Shabby Chic cuz we have shredded the maybe a little more Shabby than Chic...

The non tulle sheers that had peep holes, compliments of Lulu and me. They were replaced earlier this year...this is me, contemplating a straight jump up...

We love it here. And we love having you read about our mis-adventures within the 14 foot walls and concrete floors of our warehouse Princess Palace...

This is Valentina, over and out.

Monday, November 25, 2013

An eye and a heart

The paradox of living in Jersey City, for me...the incredible art. Painted on the sides of buildings.

This one, with it's movement and color, I found to be striking.

This is Z-Girl, over and out...


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Coco on Easy Sunday...

Hello, This is Coco.

I love Sunday. Today was a beautiful one, starting with the moonlight spilling on the concrete floors as the night turned to dawn.

Then lots of activity (Z-Girl is always bustling about on a Sunday), and today I was able to help. As she tried with all her might to replace the red chair slipcover she removed to launder last week, I sat on the chair. Naturally. I grew bored of that and moved to my painted trunk.

Then Uncle Robert had to come upstairs and HE was able to get the slipcover over the curved arms [I won't mention that Z-Girl had a flat-out argument with the chair last night, because that would be embarrassing. For me.]. Then I went back to sleep on the back of the chair. Because that's what I do. I mean, isn't everything supposed to be covered in cat fur?

Z-Girl has some laundry piled I suppose this means I'll have something warm to snuggle on soon.

Coco, over and out.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Easy Sunday: Lulu's Voice

Ok. Hi, I'm Lulu.
Wait, is this thing on?

Valentina: Yes, Lulu. Go ahead.

Lulu: Okay. So I'm Lulu. I'm the 5th of the Squeedunk Cats and I've never written a post. Truth is, most people don't know I'm here because I retreat under the bed when someone new enters the apartment. My Mama, who Z-Girl calls Bessie, investigates and tells me if it is safe or if I need to stay nestled in my favorite under the bed nook.

But I have a lot to say and I think it's about time that someone not Valentina  else told a few stories.

That's me, at almost 3 months. The butterscotch on my paw earns me extra treats. I don't know why...

Z-Girl was asked to give a photo of one of us to Miss Leah, who does a YouTube [and TV] segment called Who's On Deck. Miss Leah interviewed animal communicator and author, Gail Thackray. Gail looked at pictures of cats and dogs Leah presented to her, and gave information from each pet. Z-Girl submitted my photo, I am a YouTube star now and my message for Z-Girl is here. There is a grey cat called Lulu in the segment too, so look for me around the 7:54 mark.

That may lead you to ask the question about *my* rescue, right? I mean, Z-Girl has talked about the rescues from Super Storm Sandy but when Mama Bessie, my brother (now known as the Captain and living with someone else) and I were rescued, Z-Girl regaled everyone with stories about us for over a month. We lived in a hole at the base of a warehouse here in the PAD. Mama Bessie would go out and get food for us. She found Aunt Nat, who fed her, and then naturally that meant Z-Girl followed.

I'll come back and talk about my rescue sometime. Once you watch the Who's On Deck video, you'll at least know what I have to say about it.

With my Mama Bessie, we are two peas in a pod.

Gail explains to everyone that I'm still looking for my role and my spot, and that's very true. The other Squeedunk Cats don't necessarily love me, but I keep trying. Z-Girl says they are jealous. I don't know why. I just want to play. Oh, and I want to help! That's why I wanted to share my voice. To tell you about Mo and Larry.

They are two boys that Aunt Nat rescued immediately after Super Storm Sandy. One brother has already been placed. Curly. He's really happy. Mo and Larry are still in boarding, and are in need of a foster home. They've learned a lot while at Simply Cats Hotel, but it's time to take the next jump and  live with humans 24/7. Sure, they know a litter box, and hide from the vacuum cleaner. Yet they are still shy and need some helpful hands from a foster guardian who can give them even more confidence so they can be adopted. They should stay together, like Mama Bessie and me. Like PB&J, we go together. Rama-lama and all that.

Larry and Mo, looking at the outside world from inside Simply Cats Hotel.

Larry and Mo are almost two years old, neutered, negative and very healthy. They've been extremely well cared for by Miss Sue at Simply Cats. Her boarding facility isn't really meant for long-term stays. So, Aunt Nat and Z-Girl want to move them to the next phase to help them find furrever homes.

Who knows? Aunt Nat's boyfriend, Mr. Phil, he sells flokati rugs. Maybe whoever adopts Mo and Larry will get a small flokati rug for them. Mama Bessie and I love our flokatis.

Valentina: Uh, Lulu, I have one too.

Lulu: I know Valentina. TRUST ME, I know.

Well, if you want to foster, then you should contact Z-Girl.

How do you turn this thing OFF?

Valentina: Just say over and out.

Lulu: Oh. Okay. OVER AND OUT.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Two Tuxedo Toosday: Where have all the pigeons gone?

Valentina is on the BLOG people!

I have some news.

First, we've decided to change the spelling of our Two Tuxedo Tuesday posts to be Two Tuxedo Toosday. We hope you know that we know the correct spelling. This is a blog. And we are cats. So anything goes.

Second, with all the activity INSIDE the warehouse apartment, I've neglected to report to you what is happening OUTSIDE the warehouse apartment. It has had serious consequences on the Fab Five.

You see, we live in a neighborhood in Jersey City, New Jersey that has a variety of old warehouses. Some of them not fully utilized, some of them completely refurbished, some totally unused. Across from our 10 story building was a Manischewitz production site that was built in 1932. I don't really know about the details, but when Z-Girl moved to Jersey City, it was not in use. By people.

On the other hand, the underbelly of that building and our building served as homes for feral cats and opossum while the rooftop was a playground for my very favorite kitty TV stars, pigeons.

Manhattan: Hey, Valentina, are you going to mention that I used to live under our building?

Manhattan at the vet after her rescue from under 150 Bay, February 2010

Valentina: Manhattan, please, I'm in the middle of a story. Geesh.

Anyway, Z-Girl blogged about our pigeon watching previously. You can read her musings here.
This construction, unwanted by all the artists and certainly the feral cats in the hood, has completely disrupted the playground for the pigeons.

This means I have no bird entertainment. No pigeons on the Manishewitz building means no pigeons coming by to hang out on our window ledge. No more sitting completely still while chattering. Nada. It's maddening.

Instead, we are subjected daily to the sound of construction and the sight of cranes and bulldozers. And these aren't cranes with feathers. These are big, ugly steel cranes that make a lot of unnecessary noise.

The beginning of the madness, Jersey City, 2013

Every day, Lulu wakes up and gets in the window near Z-Girl's bed, and watches all the workers show up. I think she has a clipboard and takes attendance. Once the buzz and hum of the equipment starts, none of us are too interested in window lounging. Oh, we still do it because it's our duty to keep a close watch on the changes. But gone are the mornings of looking for the birds.

I miss them so.

Tuxedo Window Lounge, 2011

This is Valentina, Over and Out.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Peace is always beautiful
~Walt Whitman

Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.
~Albert Einstein

Love and peace are eternal.
~John Lennon

BlogBlast for Peace
November 4, 2013
Laura and the Squeedunk Cats
Coco, Valentina, Manhattan, Bessie & Lulu

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Our first outing, thanks BlogPaws!

Hi everyone, Valentina here.

Z-Girl signed up for BlogPaws Conference, 2014. She mentioned something like, "Vegas Baby" when she hit send on the entry form. Whatever that means.

Now she is connected to all kinds of cool pet bloggers, and has a lot more information about events and educational information. She's really into that kinda thing. You know, socializing and learning.

She found out that there was a going to be a giveaway--yes, free food sample giveaway--in Hoboken today. That's two train stops from Jersey City. So, she got herself ready and strolled down to Hoboken Pet on 5th and Washington.

There she was greeted by Jordan, from Royal Canin. She asked him a few question. Mostly, she talked about *me*, which is why I get to write about the chat.

Jordan, talking ingredients...

Z-Girl: Jordan, I'm curious how the people at RC know what to put in their cat and dog food formulas for different breeds, and why that's important?

Jordan: We at Royal Canin are "stubbornly scientific" about pet nutrition. We have veterinarians and researchers who track the typical health issues that certain breeds are more likely to have (e.g., hip dysplasia or cardiac problems in older dogs) and formulate the food to have ingredients that are known to help ease those conditions, and in some cases avoid them. (read more about our science based nutrition here).

Z-Girl: Wow, so you don't just make food that you think dogs and cats will find tasty, you think about their health--like we pet owners do!

Jordan: Yes, we do! We even think about the size and density of the kibble. This is important especially for breeds that typically eat too fast, or have smaller jaws (for example).

Z-Girl: I have 5 cats, Jordan. Can you believe it?

Jordan: Wow! That's great! Do any of them eat Royal Canin?

Z-Girl: Not yet. I want to know if I should try to safely transition them from their current diet to a Royal Canin diet. Specifically, I have one kitty [that's me!!!! she's going to say me....] Valentina, who is over grooming herself. I suspect she may have allergies. What do you think about that, and can RC offer a variety that is hypo-allergenic?

Jordan: Let's get Natasha to weigh in here...
 Natasha Feduick is from Garden City Animal Hospital, Long Island, NY

Natasha: Well, allergies are quite common and also quite difficult, especially in a multi-cat household. Difficult because everyone has to go along with the plan. (Longer conversation. They lost me when they were referring to "cats" and not "Valentina"). What I recommend is that you take the RC Special variety as your sample, and offer it to Valentina. She may be telling you with her recent food choices what she is allergic to. If you find that she is still over grooming, you may want to switch her to a novel protein diet.

Z-Girl: Okay, Jordan and Natasha, I got a lot of great information today. I am very excited to take home the samples to the Squeedunk Cats and try it out!

Jordan: Remember what I told you about transitioning them with a mixture of old and new food, so you don't cause stomach upset. Also keep in mind Valentina's allergies may not be entirely food based, but certainly a good diet, with a formulation that cares for how a cat processes the proteins and carbs, are going to help. Let me know if I can answer more questions for you, Laura!

Z-Girl gets the Royal Canin Goodie Bag!

(Please note: The interview is not told in exact quotes, but instead my cat interpretation of what was said--which really was just too much talk about things other than me, or me playing with one of my bird/wand toys...Natasha explained a lot about allergies, and Z-Girl recommends talking to your vet if you have questions. I know she will be talking to Dr. Holly more about me...sigh...)

So here's what I have to say about Royal Canin, so far:

1) The name is Royal Canin. Royal. Come on, you gotta love a pet food that has the name Royal in it, right?
2) It smells good.
3) The kibble is a nice size and it makes a good *crunch* noise when I eat it.
4) Royal Canin has nice people like Jordan working to educate pet guardians like Z-Girl on a beautiful Saturday, when he probably should have been out running or playing basketball. Or whatever he likes to do on a sunny day.
5) Great retailers like Hoboken Pet sponsor the good people of Royal Canin to educate the public.

I know. If I were David Letterman, it would be the Top Ten Reasons and I'd have counted backwards. I don't have a staff of writers like he does. I do this all on my own, people.

Coco checked out the bag right away. She thought the conversation was about her weight (oh, there may have been some talk of that, but we won't discuss it today...)

Coco checks out the goodie bag...(uh, yea, we aren't supposed to be on the dining room table but....)

Well folks, that's it for now...

This is Valentina, over and OUT!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Valentina here, folks.

The Squeedunk Cats want to wish you a Happy Halloween. We don't get dressed up, and we don't have trick or treaters that come to our door. Yet, we know this is a fun and festive time for humans and pets alike.

Z-Girl told me today about two kitties she lived with once upon a time. Punkin was an orange tabby boy, and the other was Chaucer, a black boy. Punkin was a stray kitty who found my Nana Lou (that's Z-Girls mama) and decided he wanted to live in her house. Nana Lou already had three kitties, and Papa Joe didn't want more.

That didn't stop my Nana. She went out in the snow one day and the snow was so deep that when he tried to run toward her it looked like he was swimming. He came into the garage. And then the laundry room. And then, once Top Cat Pyewacket gave the OK, the rest of the house. He was a pale orange tabby and had beautiful, thick fur. Sweet as can be, Z-Girl says.

Chaucer came along a little later, when all three of the other kitties had departed for the Rainbow Bridge. Punkin was not used to being alone. He didn't really care for it too much. Baby Chaucer came in and ended that loneliness. They were buddies for life. 

Z-Girl says that this time of year reminds her of her two boys: One named for the gourd of the season and the other the poster cat of Halloween. Both of them unwanted by someone, but oh, so loved by the Zaccardi family.

The chase, backyard of 9007 Furrow, 1995

Although both have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, they live on in Z-Girl's heart. When she went through the dozens of family photo albums this summer, she found so many beautiful pictures of them together. 

Here is Z-Girl with Chaucer and his very first pumpkin. (Note the pumpkins on Z-Girl's shoes...yikes!)

Chaucer checks out his very own pumpkin, 1995

We'll share more photos and stories about them in future posts. They were a great duo. 

Peace, my baby boys, Laura

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bricks and Mortar

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. About buildings. You know. Houses. Schools. Apartments. Malls. That kind of thing.

For one, as Valentina explained in her post on Tuesday, I've had a few walls re-painted, the floors polished, some art work re-arranged. And I have been slowly assimilating belongings that I acquired during the sale of our family home. This move spurred a lot, and I mean a lot, of pondering about these spaces where I've spent significant time throughout my life journey thus far.

A few years back, in talking with a good friend about the sale of his childhood home, he told me, "Laura, it's just a house". He didn't say this in an off putting manner. Not at all. The sale of the house followed his father's passing, and his mother's inability to manage a very large, beautiful home by herself. Certainly he was sad, but he stressed that the memories that were made there would be with him forever. They are of happy days and, life shaping events. And he encouraged me to keep this in mind as I looked down the road toward the inevitable move out our family would undertake.

Scarlet's Porch, 9007 Furrow Avenue

Secondly, three weeks ago I went to my 30 year high school reunion. An event I helped plan. For those of you reading this post who know me, you are well aware that I'm not able to take on a task like this without addressing it with absolute passion. So as the date approached, I spent more time looking through my yearbooks, scrapbooks and  photo albums, and some recent treasures I uncovered in my parent's attic (I saved so many items from my childhood, I'm not sure if it's amazing or pathetic).

Drama, CHS Style (back when we silk screened our posters!)

I haven't stumbled on this article yet, but do remember our class sponsor, Ms. Elaine Alfano-Wizda, writing a letter to our class that appeared in our senior newsletter. She received word that her high school had burned down. Somehow, and I can't remember the details (did they sell them? auction them?), she ended up with a brick from her former school. This, Elaine explained, was the only tangible evidence of her HS that remained.

A brick.

But is that the only evidence of the HS experience? And, how does moving from one place to another impact us, deep in the recesses of our minds?

Centennial High School, Ellicott City, MD

I ask this question as I watch news reports here in NY and NJ about the 1 year aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. People who were evacuated from their homes, not able to return for months. Some not able to ever return. The bricks and mortar of their life quite literally washed away.

Third, but not last in the labyrinth of my mind...thoughts switch over to my fantasy of having a sanctuary for kitties. A no-kill living situation where we could help the feral population and the misunderstood non-lap cats in my urban area. This fantasy requires a building, for starters.

Bricks and mortar. Home. Shared spaces. This is the concept I'm trying to harmonize, keeping memories in my heart and my feet in motion.

This morning, I awoke to hearing what sounded like my father's footsteps. I thought I was at 9007 Furrow Avenue for a few, confusing and unsettling seconds as dawn broke through my warehouse apartment windows. Unsettling only because I know I don't belong in that house anymore....

Bay Street, Jersey City

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Two Tuxedo Tuesday: We're BACK

Hey everyone!
This is Valentina, and it's been awhile. So Z-Girl said that she has some stuff she wants to write about but that it would be best for me to kick things off. And I'll just tell ya there's been a lot of change happening.

For starters, in September, the really nice guy named Jim came and painted three more walls. We went from two purple walls and one sort of yucky pinkish wall to three slightly different purple walls. This purple is warmer and we all like it.

Then most of the concrete floors were polished and that's always fun for us, because the floors are like an ice rink. We play with plastic water bottle caps as if they were hockey pucks and it makes running and sliding on tulle easier.

After that, Z-Girl went to Pittsburgh and helped her mom and dad move into their new house and get their kitty out of boarding and unpack. Then, she came home and started a new contract assignment. Newsflash: she goes into an office EVERY day. No more work from home Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays. We are NOT happy about that...

A week later, someone came and put a bigger, shinier TV and soundbar on the wall. Z-Girl plays music or talking from the TV characters using her phone. It's confusing to me where all the wires are for me to chew on, but I'll figure it out.

Then there was this reunion thing that Z-Girl kept talking about. 30 years or something. I'm sure she'll fill you in...

Oh and some artwork got moved around. All in all, none of this is a big deal but apparently took time away from blogging. But we are BACK.

Hey! It's Manhattan here. I am gonna wrap this post with something that Z-Girl has on a little plaque she brought from her parent's attic. She says her mama gave it to her when she was a young girl. I like what it says. And I think it made Z-Girl tear up just a little when she found it.

Is it so small a thing
To have enjoyed the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done?

So that's it for Two Tuxedo Tuesday! Y'all come back now, ya hear???

Sunday, September 1, 2013

An Open Letter to My Friends

Hi folks, Valentina here...we interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to bring some blog posts from Z-Girl. We've told her it's okay to write about her personal experiences of late...we'll be back soon.

Just so you remember how cute I am.

To my friends,
Let me preface this by saying first and foremost thank you to all people in my life with the label of friend. To me, time and  distance don't matter so much as sincerity, and in the vestiges of my youth found carefully tucked away in shoe boxes (letters), in scrapbooks, or simply saved in larger boxes--I discovered thousands of proof points that I am indeed a very fortunate person with loyal friendships-- my definition of love everlasting.

I'll also say, to those inclined to reply to this blog post publicly or privately, with words of "it will all be okay," or "everything will work out," or what I've found to be the least helpful phrase "move on", please don't. I don't need to hear those words. This is the beginning of multiple posts about this life transition I'm facing, and I share it from my heart. The worst thing you can do is pour salt on these emotions with commentary that serves no purpose (in my opinion). Say it to the wind, but don't say it to me.

So many memories have danced through my mind since June, when my dad made the announcement that he bought a new place in Pittsburgh. This meant putting our MD area family home of almost 30 years on the market. This is a paradox, and as some of you may know I continue to be fascinated with the paradox. In my rational, logical mind I know this move from the Ellicott City home is necessary. Situated on an acre of land, three stories and 5 bedrooms, it's just too much for my mom and dad to maintain. It is need of a facelift and some TLC on so many fronts. But the gravity of the entire situation--the move out of the house and the move to Western PA, coupled with my mother's rapidly declining condition--are a lot to take at one time.

For this post, I want to thank all of the people who have offered help. Those who came and hauled furniture and trash to the dump, or stood at the foot of the ladder while I emptied out two attics. Who wrapped fragile items and packed boxes. Maybe instead you are a friend who checks in on me regularly via text to see how I am. Or one who rides the train with me to work, and listens with a thoughtful ear. Or calls me while commuting,  just for a chat. Perhaps you too are going through something similar, so you offer support and acknowledgement. The list goes on. I just want you to know, each of you--I couldn't have made it through these last 6 weeks without your helping hands and open hearts. Thank you. Sincerely.

And then....
I think somewhere in a fantasy, at the point we would prepare to move out of Furrow Avenue, there would be time to strategically go through the countless boxes of letters I archived. All the items my mom saved from our childhood, all the family treasures she so lovingly preserved. The reality though is that quick decisions have to be made: charity pile, trash pile, save pile. I lost a lot of sleep after discarding scads of hand written letters from the 70s and 80s. Even after the piles were sorted, I could reach my hand into the garbage bag and pull out something worth seeing again. Like the postcard my Grandma K wrote to me after we purchased the Yamaha piano:

Dear Laura,
I hope that you will practice the piano every day. Playing piano is one of the nicest things a young lady can do.

I have hours of work to do to make sense of what I now own. To digest what I trashed. To accept all that is happening--beyond the memories, and into the here and now. The tears keep flowing. I know this is normal, and really, not uncommon for many of those who may be reading this post. I ask that you keep in mind, we each experience these life events in our own peculiar way. 

My upcoming posts will present my perspective. As they say--take what you like, leave the rest. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two Tuxedo Tuesday and the Good Doctor

Hey everyone, Valentina here.

I'm here to tell you, this entire month has been upside town, topsy turvy.

First, we had company. Company not particularly fond of us, our fur, or our routine. This company was here twice.

And Z-Girl keeps getting that stupid blue bag out of the closet, packing it and leaving us in the hands of cat sitters. Personally, I like everyone who comes in to the apartment but I can promise you I'm the only one.

But today was the kicker. Dr. Holly came to the apartment. And I was tricked into coming down the hall to say hello, only to be captured and hauled into the bathroom.

I will spare you the details of my exam. It was not fun. Apparently, I have a few things going on:

1) Eosinophilic granulmas, which I've been diagnosed as having before. My bottom lip swells up and it looks very puffy. But I still eat (hey, I've gained a pound since last year...)
2) I'm over licking the fur on my tummy and now on my back left leg, on the outside. Dr. Holly thinks this is stress.

Well, Dr., wouldn't YOU be stressed if your routine was so wonky that you just never knew from day to day if someone will play Da Bird with you? Feed you treats? Snuggle?

So, I was good. Oh, I had to hiss and swat once just to be sure everyone knows I'm not a push over. But I didn't need to do more than that to make my point.

So now I get pill pocket treats twice a day!

Z Girl wants me to tell you that she's been super busy going through things at her parent's house. So many things, so many memories. She went to high school before there were mobile phones and texting. So she has boxes and boxes and boxes of letters from friends. She said she cried when she came across some items, but not a bad cry. A good one.

All I know is whenever she comes back from these trips lately, she has bags of things to put away...sigh...

Manhattan is busy running around like a maniac, so she won't be adding anything to today's post.

Peace everyone.
Valentina, over and out.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


This is Coco.

I waited. Patiently, I waited.

August 8th came and went. Z Girl, nowhere to be found.

No tuna cake. No tiara. No cat nip laced flowers. Nada.

August 8th was my 5th birthday, and I really thought that someone would have remembered. That someone of course would be Z Girl.

Last night, as she was playing with us she exclaimed, "Coco, you're 5!" Where are the balloons? The multiple laser lights for me to chase? Why are all of these cats still here in MY apartment?

Doesn't a girl turning 5 mean ANYTHING to anyone???

 This shot was taken my first full day w/Z Girl, September 11, 2008. Adorable, right?

This is the money shot. This is the picture that was circulated when I needed a home. And Z Girl fell for it. I still sleep like this, by the way...

Hey, Choupette (Karl Lagerfeld's cat) has her own iPad. I was way ahead of the curve asking for my own Mac back in 08...Here, I can be seen screening my photos for Facebook.

That's all... Coco Chanel, over and out...

Happy Belated Birthday to my beautiful little baby Coco. All 14 pounds of you and your gorgeous swirly coat.
Even though you can appear to be unfriendly, I know it's because you only want to be with me....and I love you for that!!!

~Z Girl

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday, Tuesday

Hello everyone...Valentina here...

I seem to be the only one in this apartment concerned about the blog.

Z Girl keeps making trips to Maryland. Packing up Nana Lou and Papa Joe's stuff so they can make a move. It's lonely when she goes but then she comes back and everything is back to normal.

These trips seem to be impeding with her ability to write, so here I am just to make sure there's a post.

Today, it's a rainy Tuesday. She's working from home, and we are dutifully napping in our various favorite spots around the warehouse apartment.

I personally like work from home days, because that means we get to spend more time together. That's great for me.

Manhattan is napping so she would prefer not to blog today. Geesh.

Rainy days and Tuesdays. Not very musical.

This is Vali, over and out....

A picture of me (laying down) and Manhattan in the window, surveying the hood.

Z Girl's Note: I too am concerned about the blog. Much to say, but I can't find the proper words or the time. It will just happen. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my work from home days with the girls.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Two Tuxedo Tuesday: We're Back...

What is HAPPENING people?

This is Valentina.
This whole "working for a living" thing that Z Girl has been engrossed in has posed many problems for us. Well, for me specifically.

I have a lot to say, you know. And, given that it's been so long that I've been able to post here on this blog-thing, I've forgotten much of the fascinating facts about my life that I wanted to share with you.

In my time away, I've destroyed multiple Da Bird replacements; one room in the apartment was painted (and boy, was THAT a off the walls and drop cloths all over the furniture); a new coffee table has appeared; and Bessie and Lulu are making their way around the apartment even more these days. I continue my attempts at reigning them in but they are clever, those two.

Z-Girl has left us for a trip to Maryland. As she explains it, her Mom and Dad are moving to a place called Pittsburgh, and she is helping them with packing their house. That doesn't sound like fun. Well, wait, does it involve cardboard boxes? If it does, I retract my statement...

Hey everyone this is Manhattan.

All I know is that Z Girl was at that work place A LOT in June and early July. And I personally don't like those periods because I require special attention at various points in the day. So I was *starved* for affection for about 6 weeks.

It's all good now, except she up and left us again for a few days. Wait til she gets home...I will march all over the keyboard and sit on her while she tries to type.

And, Coco had a few teeth extracted. Valentina forgot to mention that right at the tail end of the work frenzy, Coco had to go to the vet. The good Dr. Hatch cleaned her teeth and said three had to come out. She smelled funny for a few days so Valentina hissed at her. I love Coco so I didn't hiss. I just flicked my tail a lot.

But back to the story...this is why I'm not big on the vet. I mean really, can you trust someone who removes a few of your teeth while you are sleeping?

We both hope you are having a fantastic Tuxedo Tuesday. It's pretty cool for us, given the whole Tuxedo thing.

This is Valentina and Manhattan saying: over and out....

Would you buy a calendar with this Wendy Ploger photo of ME (Valentina)? Well, you can. I'll be the May 5 cat of the day in 2014.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cinna and the Hunger Games

This post was supposed to be the Grace of Goodbye. That one is still under construction, deep in the recesses of my mind. Today's thoughts are with a special cat formerly known as Curly, and now Cinna....

Super Storm Sandy was an event I'll not soon forget. I've written about it multiple times, so there's no need to re-state my perspective on the hours and days during and immediately following the floods. The beacon of light that shines through are the feline lives we were able to save after the fact.

Three brothers, living in a lot across the street from my building, were among the multiple rescues made in November and December of 2012. They've been living safely in a fantastic boarding facility, with a woman who has dedicated her entire self to the care of cats. We couldn't have asked for a better option, given that they lived outside and were subjected to winter's cold, summer's heat, and all the horrors of being feral cats--dogs who have owners that think chasing cats is sport; cars; broken bottles; no place to curl up comfortably and sleep; and parasites, just to name a few. They are comfortable, well fed, and socialized.

Cinna is a lover, and the woman that cares for him every day has said she will cry a river when he's adopted. Follows her everywhere. He is a charming boy, and truly ready for a home. While he's a happy cat in his boarding situation, we know that he will be even happier when he can have a human or humans who will devote love and attention to him.

The names Larry, Mo and Curly seemed easy enough when Nat hauled 3 to the vet for initial check ups. This was not the first choice for names--as I had been thinking names from the book and movie The Hunger Games would be fitting for this team who had to brave the outdoor conditions, never knowing for sure what was on the agenda for the day. Help arriving, but not always when needed. Food and water available but not necessarily on demand.

If we had room in our homes for all the rescues, we'd do it. There is a limit, and that limit doesn't stop us from our re-homing efforts. One day, a sanctuary. Until then, the mission is clear: placement.

If you or anyone you know is interested in a cat, Cinna is ready to meet you.

Contact me if you have questions. Or ideas. We'd love to make a placement by Labor Day!

Saturday, July 20, 2013



Was there a choice when I saw this photo of Valentina, in April of 2009? I don't think so. It's the perfect view for this week's Photo Hunt--even though a bit late...

Yes, friends. It's time to get back to the blog, to the basics, to the truth.

I'm oh, so grateful that if I had to be away from my faithful readers, it was because the universe was giving me what I needed: WORK...

Next post will be the Grace of Goodbye...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Hiatus Nearly Over

This whole working-for-a-living thing hit like a tsunami. It is just now abating.

I've had no time to write, be creative, consider the voice of the Squeedunk cats, or think about anything other than the basics for over a month.

So many things have happened that deserve commentary. Both in the world at large, and on my own little planet. We'll get to that in future posts.

This is Manhattan after her capture while recovering, back in 2010. She turned 4 earlier this month.

And Lulu, right after having ear mites removed and getting flea powder, at 5 weeks old. Another July baby, turned 2 this month. Precious.

And Bessie, her mama--we don't know for sure when she was born but estimates are 1 year when we caught her back in July of 2011. So for the sake of having birthdays for everyone, I say she's a July baby.

Coco will be 5 August 8. So I've got 5 years old, 2 @ 4 years, a 3 year old and a 2 year old...still playful and full of fire, all of them.

They've made this crazy, wacked out work schedule tolerable. Thank Cod.

We'll be back to regularly scheduled programming real soon. Y'all come back now...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Easy Sunday you say?

What's so easy about a few days of over 90 degree heat with no air conditioner?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The blog posts have slowed down considerably and my working hours have increased in direct proportion. Given what I do...typing on the laptop is just not an option after reviewing and editing PowerPoints, Excel sheets and Word documents all day. Never mind the administrative work of calendar invites and e-mails.

No complaints about having a job, and one that is keeping me busy and challenged. I love that part of it. The part I don't like is the sheer exhaustion I feel and my inability to develop the blog.

After all, the Squeedunk gang has a lot to say.

For today, their main message is DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS OPPRESSIVE HEAT, so I think a visit to Home Depot is in order. I've asked for repairs on the Heating/AC unit in my living room since October; and in my bedroom since March. I've put an urgent plea in today. If it goes unanswered, then I will have to ladder up to the chain to the owner.

I personally love the weather, I just need some cool air flowing through my space.

In other news, the construction has commenced across the street from my building. My windows will overlook the scene, until the ugly complex is completed. So there's every chance I'll start looking to leave here anyway. Sad, but true. The 150 Bay chapter may be closing for me shortly.

But you've heard me say that before.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Comedy and The Tragedy of Eleven

These go to eleven.

Famous quote from This is Spinal Tap. And that's funny, right? Funny quote, funny movie. Comedy.

But today is eleven. These years, they now add up to eleven. And that feels heavy.

There's no denying my sadness. For a change on this anniversary, I thought I'd shift from the tragedy of the circumstances of losing Joey, and write about the lighthearted aspects of his personality.

For example, the fact that he had an uncanny ability to repeat movie lines verbatim, with the same delivery the actor used. One early favorite between us was from The Pope of Greenwich Village, Mickey Rourke to Daryl Hannah. They are discussing dinner, and she offers to cook. Mickey says, "you CAN'T cook". I would giggle every time we'd talk about preparing a meal and he would use that one liner on me. I tried a few times to start making something to eat and he would shoo me out of the kitchen saying, "seeing you in the kitchen makes me nervous, Laura..." Then we'd both laugh.

One of our rituals was watching Saturday Night Live together, because it was HIS ritual. I can STILL hear him laughing so hard he could barely breathe when Will Farrell and Christopher Walken performed the Blue Oyster Cult Behind The Music skit featuring the now famous  more cowbell dialogue.

Hearing his laugh was infectious, would spur me to laugh harder and then the skits or movie quotations would become part of our off the cuff banter. Joey's talent for retaining quotations and pulling them out was then, and remains to this day, unparalleled in my world. Caddy Shack, Saturday Night Fever, Forrest Gump, When Harry Met Sally, Let it Ride, Office Space, the list goes on. He was like a walking IMDb repository.

One conversation we had two months before his death is still etched in my memory, as if he were standing in front of me last week. We both knew he was on a downward spiral. He was scared. I felt helpless. He took my hand and said, "Laura, if something happens to me, you have to promise me you won't let them say the I was the guy who could have had so much," and tears immediately appeared in both our eyes. This has been an impossible promise to keep. Because he was the guy with great possibilities. Out beyond the addictions and the chaos that would swirl around when he was in peril, there was the beautiful, funny and more than likable character of Joey V.

I finally went to see Silver Linings Playbook. Joey loved De Niro, and I think that he would have not only enjoyed the movie, but in particular the dance competition scene, where Pat Sr. is watching the football game on TV in the lobby of the hotel and then runs to see Pat Jr. and Tiffany perform their less than stellar, but still a "5" dance...I imagined him sitting next to me laughing. In particular my guess is he would have connected to the intricacy and detail in the scene where the bet was devised. As tragic as the gambling addiction was for him, and it was...I've given myself permission to see the comedy in these fictional scenes.

It's good to have this ability now, to be able to laugh without crying. I still have grief waves. Yesterday I walked into ShopRite and "No Sugar Tonight" was playing. It did bring forth a few tears. But then a smile--because I can remember driving around our hometown singing these songs, and then laughing. Because it was fun. It was just plain fun.

For those of you reading this blog entry who knew Joey, think about that great smile, those beautiful blue eyes, his penchant for enjoying the tiniest detail of a moment. Remember the good times together. Allow his story to help save others, and keep the loving Joey V close to your heart. After we strip away the tragedy of his passing, what remains is his essence. His unlimited capacity to laugh, his kindness, and of course, cool. The very definition of cool personified.

Here's to you, Joey. I promise to think beyond what I was doing eleven years ago in this moment, and focus instead on all the gifts born out of our time together. And to laugh today. I may cry, but I will also laugh....

The comedy and the tragedy of ELEVEN.

Joey and the gang, fishing on Wireless, MD Tuna Tournament, 1999

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Happy Mother's Day, to all the wonderful women who have been and continue to be part of my life.

Some of you are aunts or teachers or coaches or guides and have nurtured me on my path...

Some of you are my friends who have allowed me to be a part of your family, in some way, where I've witnessed your evolution into motherhood.

But only one of you is my mom. Only one of you held my hands when I was in elementary school and asked at the end of the school day, "did these little hands work hard today?" Only one of you taught me how to love kitties, and all animals.

Only one of you devoted her adult life to being the best mom she could be to Julie and me.

I love you Mom.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Easy Does It

May has become a month of paradox for me. Kicking off the month with my birthday used to mean that I owned the whole 31 days on the calendar, reserved for celebrating me. The upturn in weather, the availability of trees and flowers in bloom accented the special treats that could await for me, brought by friends or happy circumstance.

Then I graduated from college, and the Month of Laura came to a screeching halt. But, the tradition of mom making my favorite dinner and friends gathering to go out for drinks, or join me for cake, marched on for many years.

Over time, mom has stopped making tomato quiche, or ravioli using my grandmother's recipe for sauce. Friends have kids and in-laws and other obligations that keep them from consistently being available to celebrate with me.

And, the month is now the anniversary of Joey's passing. This marks 11 years, and speaking from a calender day standpoint, 2013 mirrors 2002-- so May 19 falls on a Sunday. A date that hallmarks for me a loss so great I for a long time believed it was a burden I would be unable to properly carry.

Sundays with Joey, during the calm and sober parts of our life together, meant watching golf (or football), and him making pizza for my family. It was something we both really enjoyed. Okay, let me rephrase that: I didn't ENJOY watching sports, so I read or cleaned or got caught up on phone calls, occasionally watching the end of a golf tournament. But the pizza making part I did LOVE...watching him cut up vegetables, make the dough and then the pie, and turn all of it into edible art. I was his assistant. Not allowed to do anything material to make the meal but always offering company and acting as the clean up crew.

Then Sundays became the day he died. For a few years, I had difficulty addressing Sunday with a desire to anything other than reflect upon my loss.

With proper grief therapy and personal permission, I was able to heal the raw emotion surrounding his passing. It's a scar, something that is always there. It can flare up and hurt at predictable and unpredictable intervals.

This year, I find myself recalling what I was doing 11 years ago on this Sunday. I went to see Joey for the last time at Father Martin's Ashley. He was released a few days later. And then the final downward spiral began, culminating in his death. No matter how many times I replay those last days with him, it doesn't change the outcome. It has served to help solidify my conviction on some important life tenets. One of them is to enjoy something from each day, because life will change in an instant. And you can never be sure that the change will be for the better.

Cut to 2008, and the arrival of Coco Chanel in my life. Unplanned. Unprepared and unsettled, and recently unemployed at the time I had no idea how I was going to make being a cat owner work. Coco didn't know any of that. All she knew was she was welcomed into a home that didn't involve a cage, a vet's office, or being tossed from place to place. One person to love her. And so each day had new hope embedded in it as I watched her grow, her eyes change from baby blue to yellow/green. Together we blazed a new trail, and Sundays have evolved into our lazy, easy days. Except I suppose when I was marathon training...

Coco, September 11, 2008. She still thinks she is that teeny.

Anyway, a long post for what is called Easy Sunday. I'm glad to have my girls show me that surviving difficult circumstances is something to feel good about. Sure, the scar is ever present. I never want to forget Joey, our journey, all the lessons I've learned along the way. Yet I know his wish for me would be to love these kitties and take good care of them. Take good care of me. Be a faithful friend. A loving daughter and sister, cousin, niece...not be so hard on myself when I make the multitude of mistakes I make each day. To just relax.

So Joey V, I dedicate this Easy Sunday to you. I'll be back to write about you again on your anniversary. Today will be about remembering Pizza Sundays...

Joey, New Year's Eve 2000 at the Migliore's house.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Photo Hunt *UNDER*

So what? We are late?

Do you care???

Yea, I know. This has been a very heavily Valentina focused blog lately.
Valentina under the feathers.

Let's just say she really has the highest potential to Tweet or have a Facebook page.

Easy Sunday should be just that. Easy.

Feathers, y'all. It's what's for breakfast.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Baby Photos

Hey people, This is Valentina...
Z Girl went to Maryland this weekend and came home with some of her baby pictures.

This got her to thinking about OUR baby photos....and so I get to go first:

Do you know that when she saw this picture, she fell in love with me? But she STILL thought she wasn't supposed to take me.

Maybe it was this picture that did her in:

Cuz here you can see that my paws have uneven white markings on the front. Those are my siblings, they all went to good homes.

I really was adorable, you have to admit...and now...I'm 4!
That's all I've got for this Monday...

Valentina, over and out...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Some mothers of human children have jewelry made using the birthstone of their offspring to proudly wear.

I don't have kids. Well, I have fur-kids. And so my gimmick is to buy fragrances named after each of the cats.

So far, three:

Mademoiselle Coco Chanel (by Coco Chanel), Valentina (by Valentino), and Manhattan (by Bond No. 9).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Two Tuxedos Tuesday: Frisky, Four and Fabulous...Happy Birthday, Valentina!

Hi blogger-people, THIS IS VALENTINA...

In case you didn't recognize me, this is my first solo photograph. Z-Girl took this of me when she brought me home in May of 2009. Look at my engagement with the camera. It's unparalleled. I know. I'm beautiful.

I'm also 4. I don't really know what that means but Z-Girl keeps saying it.

Manhattan turns 4 in a few months too, so I'm told. That means I won't be the only one with 4 attached to my name. Thankfully. I don't know if I can handle the expectations all on my own, so I'll be glad to share the title with Manhattan.

Manhattan: You go first, I'll just follow behind.

Valentina: You are the definition of a copy-cat, Manhattan. *sigh*

On the day that photo was taken, I was really happy to be carried in to the warehouse apartment to find Coco waiting by the Big Red Chair. She wasn't very happy, but I didn't care. I rushed to see her. She looked so much like my cat mama. Z-Girl says that's because Coco's cat mama is the same as mine. That makes us half sisters.

I was then, and still am, the ham-bone of the Squeedunk cats. Check this out:

Z-Girl invited a very talented photographer, Wendy Ploger, to do a photo shoot back in 2010. Naturally, my job was to be as cute as possible and I think I succeeded.

This is me thinking about climbing up the window. I know I can find a way...

Manhattan: Happy Birthday, Tuxedo Sister! 

Valentina: Thanks, M. I sure hope this 4 thing works out in my favor...

This is Valentina, over and out.