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???