Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Selfies: Coco

Coco here.
It's Sunday Selfies, and I understand there was a request to see me and my swirly coat. It is very beautiful.

It's true. I am too sexy for this bed.

This was taken a few years ago and while you can see how distinct some of my markings are you can't really see the swirls on my side. You can see my Painted Trunk and the Big Red Chair in the background, though.

When I was a kitten everyone was fascinated with my swirls. This is me at my Auntie Stacy's house in Owings Mills, MD in November of 2008. I'm on Z-Girl's car. 

This offers a better view of my coat. I'm not a fan of the camera. Z-Girl has a video of me as a kitten where I give it my best Alec Baldwin: smacked it right out of her hand which resulted in a pricey repair. You'd think she would have learned but, no. She continues to take photos although she usually gets me while I'm sleeping.

Speaking of sleeping, the Squeedunk gang is taking it easy today while Z-Girl attempts a longer run than she has completed in about 4 years. I have a feeling she will be curled up on the couch when she returns.

Coco out.

We are participating in a blog hop hosted by our friends at The Cat at on My Head. Hop on over to see other Sunday selfies!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friday Fragments and Caturday

Hi everyone, this is Valentina.

As you know, we are preparing for some more furniture shuffling and Miss Andrea is drafting the next phase of the cat shelf installation around the windows and Z-Girl's desk. Over the course of the past year we've accomplished much. Yet some days it can feel like we have far to go...

Z-Girl has taken inventory of books and paperwork that were carefully tucked on a bookcase in the front of the apartment. They will be packed up and stored while she rearranges old and new furniture.

Leafed within a journal given to her back in 2002 Z-Girl found two cards and a typed letter. Her reflections as she shared them with me follow. I was helping her with the task of packing  (cardboard boxes were involved after all...)

...I can remember attempting to journal back in 2002. Several wise people suggested that I write about the emotions I was experiencing during the days and weeks immediately following Joey's death. Finally in 2004 I entered something inside the bound book gifted to me. A few phrases from my first try:
~my heart hurts as my pen skims this page
~why didn't I help you?
~I feel stuck

The next time I wrote is Christmas Day, 2004. This is after I had run the Marine Corps Marathon for the first time (October 31, 2004)
~I wish you would visit me
~I wish that you could have joined me to run the marathon, or at least been there to run across the finish line
~I miss you.

The last entry is 8 days after the third anniversary of Joey's death, 5/27/05. I say:
~I feel that I've failed you by not memorializing you in written word.
~Some days I expect you to come bounding through the door to sit beside me.

These are snippets of the emotional journey that Z-Girl documented. The typed letter she uncovered was from Joey written during one of the down periods of their relationship, when he was starting to succumb more fully to his addictions. Sobriety was brief and the battles longer, more arduous. One of the cards was the last handwritten sentiment from him--he sent it for her 37th birthday while he was in rehab. In both the typed letter and the card he shares his love for her. That remains the brightest part of his legacy. Love.

Z-Girl likes to draw parallels...and here is what she concluded yesterday:

Like a mosaic these beautiful fragments can be pieced together to form a comforting memorial quilt. I consciously folded special items from Joey into books to be revisited when I needed to see his handwriting or read the simple words I love you, Laura. As for my own pen to paper thoughts--I held my emotions at bay because expressing them made some people in my life uncomfortable. I've recovered from that concern. Sharing helps me and it helps others. It's an emancipation. And it feels authentic.

The parallel: the process of redecorating my apartment. Shelf by shelf, new items replacing those that have completed their purpose. There's joy and some emotion. As the pieces come together, a creative vision is realized. A living space that I can enjoy with the Squeedunk gang, and is welcoming to our guests. One where my memorial quilt is displayed through color and texture and art. And a place where I can also fully embrace my love of all five cats by incorporating their needs into the flow and structure of the decor. This too has been liberating. I held back for a long time, feeling that I shouldn't spend the time or effort in a rental. Another recovery: I'm living HERE. NOW. And I love this declaration.

A beautiful mosaic.

Z-Girl wants all of you to know her memorial quilt has ALL of life's pieces in its tapestry. Font Hill, CHS, Hood, Ellicott City, New York City and Jersey City. It's all the great people met along the path of life--teachers, friends, family and the good times and even the tough times survived together. It's a big, comfy blanket.

This is the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Inspirational on so many levels.

We'll continue to share our memories and our current adventures here on Squeedunk.

Thanks everyone for joining us. Wherever you are today, may it be a comfortable Caturday.  Ponder the fragments and construct your mosaic.

Valentina, over and out.

This is me, back in 2009 enjoying a day when Z-Girl brought out feather boas. Yea, she has feather boas...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Plan A and Plan B

It's Coco here.

Plan A looked like this:

Z-Girl to Maryland with some furniture for Aunt Julie on Thursday (today).
Friday, New Furniture delivery to the Warehouse apartment (all part of the Warehouse Redecorating project).
Saturday and Sunday, reorganize clothes, books; polish the front room floors.

Plan B looks like this:

Z-Girl is not going to Maryland today. The extreme weather coupled with other factors delayed the trip.
The New Furniture delivery originally scheduled for (tomorrow) Friday is postponed to Tuesday.
Saturday and Sunday, some sort of reorganizing will take place. Not really sure what or how, but Z-Girl is making piles all over the place.

And...I don't want to tell her, but Valentina is going to the VET on Monday. Yup. She's going back to the specialist to have her EGC evaluated and also determine if she will be scheduled for the the big, bad allergy testing. Z-Girl is trying to keep this under wraps so by all means, don't let on that you know anything.

The Big Red Chair will depart when Z-Girl reschedules the furniture haul to Maryland. I'll be upset, but that's Valentina's favorite perch. She will be down right mad.

Still with her baby blue eyes, Valentina in mid 2009 amidst the pink tulle on the Big Red Chair.

You just can't have a Plan A. There must always be a Plan B in place.

We will continue to enjoy the current furniture arrangement until the Plan B disruption on Tuesday. Methinks that Z-Girl may want to craft a Plan C.

Z-Girl thinks she is so funny catching Manhattan trying to snuggle near me when I curled up on the Big Red Chair. Everything is nice and messy here. Must have been a sheet changing day...November 2014

That is all.
Coco, over and out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Spay and Neuter

Hi, this is Bessie.
It's Wordless Wednesday but we wanted to be sure to share a blog post from our friends at Zee and Zoey's Chronicles. This one is about the importance of spay and neuter. Click here to learn more.

We know the month is almost over, but it's never too late to educate humans. Thanks Deb Barnes for allowing us to share your graphic.

Z-Girl spends time feeding and assisting in the rescue and rehoming of feral and semi feral cats in our neighborhood. As a rescued kitty I urge you to please read this informative blog post to learn more. Together, we can make a difference.

Me with Lulu, early 2011

Bessie, out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two Tuxedo Toosday: The Manhattan Project

Hi everyone, it's Manhattan.

That's me, on the new shelf that was installed so I can more easily access the cool white cat shelves.

Here I am on the shelves back in September when they were first installed. I'm the only one who likes to climb on them, so far...

Six years ago I was rescued and we've sorta talked about this on the blog but have not divulged the entire story. So I've asked Z-Girl to help me craft this post.

Z-Girl: I remember being worried about you Manhattan. You had not come out for food for a week. It was February 2010, and I had been helping Aunt Nat feed you and your buddy Black Jack for about 5 months.

Manhattan: I was not able to come out to get my food. There were about 4 or 5 other kitties in the colony and I was the youngest. For those who have to fight to survive there is often a sacrifice that's made. And because I was small and unaware of the ways of the street, the circle decided that I would be given up as food for the predator attacking the colony.

Z-Girl: We didn't know what was going on but we had a sense that it wasn't favorable. I asked the Super of my building to keep his eye out for you. He stopped me on a Monday and said that he heard a cat howling under the building (his office was directly over the entrance to the sub-basement). Immediately I knew that you were in danger. Aunt Nat agreed and we put a plan into place to locate you.

Manhattan: I was injured. And very hungry.

Z-Girl:  Thursday of that week Aunt Nat put on her Cat Saving uniform and together with the Super at 150, entered the damp and muddy basement of the building. I received a call just as I was leaving work: "Laura, we found her! She's hurt but she's here!" It was Jerome calling--he was with Natalie. I arrived about an hour later to find Aunt Nat negotiating with you to go into a kitty carry box.

Manhattan: I was telling her how hungry I was and that I was uncomfortable. But I was more afraid of that box!

Z-Girl: You had one visible injury on your side. We were determined not to leave you there one more day, but had to secure a trap and anchovies. With our mission defined, the three of us agreed to meet again 2 hours later to put The Manhattan Project into action.

Manhattan: I didn't make it easy. I wouldn't go in the trap. Not even for the anchovies. Then Aunt Nat put the fish on a piece of cardboard and it looked like it wasn't in the trap. With all the other cats watching us I finally gave in to the food.

Z-Girl: You left out the part where you ran to a different part of the basement, causing us to have to crawl on our bellies to get to you. Remember?

Manhattan: Oh, yea. I remember. I said I didn't make it easy.

Z-Girl: Aunt Nat had to rig the trap so that you were at the entrance then kicked the cage over. You fell backwards and the door shut.

Manhattan: I was very scared.

At the emergency vet, February 2010

Z-Girl: We took you to the emergency vet who told us you were bouncing off the walls. Not figuratively either. She asked for permission to sedate you in order to conduct an examination. I stayed for a few hours, until they were able to flush the wound and administer some medication. They didn't want to keep you overnight but we convinced them you had to stay.

The next evening, we moved you to a local vet hospital. The attending vet made another discovery: a second wound.

Manhattan: This is the one that almost ended my life, right?

Z-Girl: Yes! It was a bite wound that went through your whole body. I was in shock and  so grateful that Dr. M was able to diagnose the full extent of your injuries. She planned to do emergency surgery Saturday morning.
I waited anxiously for the call about your status that morning. When the Dr. called and said, "Manhattan is out of surgery and resting comfortably," I started to cry! I was relieved. She told me that the bite was significant but luckily none of your organs were impacted.

Manhattan: Then they put me in a cage with a hot water bottle and lots of tubes, right?

Z-Girl: That's right! And I brought a blanket, a tee shirt that smelled like Coco, Valentina and me along with a soft Piglet to keep you snuggly in the cage.

Manhattan: I didn't like that cage.

Z-Girl: Because the life saving surgery took a little longer than expected, Dr. M was not able to spay you at the same time. She did so a few days later. You were there for a total of 10 days!

Z-Girl came to sit with me every evening after work, and again on the weekends. She brought treats and worked on gaining my trust. I didn't like that stupid cone, either.

I remember when Aunt Nat and I picked you up and brought you home. We were overjoyed that you would finally be living with me.

Manhattan: Coco wasn't happy. 

Z-Girl: No, she was really unhappy as a matter of fact. For safety purposes I put you in the bathroom to recover. And in the middle of the night you would howl. Thankfully you allowed me to pet and comfort you.

All stitched up and recovering in the Warehouse bathroom, late February/early March 2010.

I was happy to see Coco, though. And Valentina. Seeing kitties in the apartment helped me to feel even more secure that things were going to be okay.

Z-Girl: You recovered well and simultaneously adjusted to life as an indoor kitty. The TV, the dishwasher and the phone ringing startled you for about two weeks and then you were fine. To my delight you followed me when I came home from work. You swished at my feet so I would pick you up for a quick snuggle. 

Manhattan: And now, I snuggle often, right?

Z-Girl: Every day. And every day I tell you how happy I am that I don't have to search for you in the inclement weather, or worry that you are under siege by another animal. After all, I had fallen in love with you the first time I ever saw you...

Manhattan: I am glad we shared my story. Maybe someone will be inspired to rescue a kitty in need. Do you think, Z-Girl?

Z-Girl: Yes. I've had a few friends who have adopted a rescue kitty or two, citing our story. It's encouraging. 

Manhattan: Then our work is done! 

This is Manhattan, over and out.

Muddy shoes and clothes after the rescue. February 2010

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Musings from Lulu

Hi everyone, this is Lulu.

It's been super cold here in Jersey City. Z-Girl says it's been cold in a lot of other places too. Our thoughts are of the domestic animals that have no home and must endure extreme weather with little to no shelter. Aunt Natalie did a lot of research this weekend to find battery powered heating pads to set up in the cat houses she has in place for the colony. No luck. So the kitties got extra straw and some flokati rugs to snuggle in, and as of this morning everyone came out for extra food and water. Z-Girl and Aunt Natalie were very relieved, but remain vigilant about the welfare of the colony.

Z-Girl is busily talking about more changes in the Warehouse apartment. She emptied out the chest of drawers that sits by the window last weekend. This is where my comfy cat bed resides. The words Craig's List have come up a few times. I don't understand the connection but she often says things that I don't initially comprehend and then *poof* we have strangers in the apartment making noise and painting walls, hanging shelves, or measuring fabric.

I've also heard her discussing renting a truck to drive to Maryland. She asked Uncle Robert if he would help load the Red Chair and ottoman onto the truck, along with the OTHER dresser in the bedroom and some odds and ends she has in her storage unit. The truck will deliver all of these things to her sister who is moving in to a new apartment this week.
The Red Chair and ottoman, before the major living room re-arrangement.

Right now the Red Chair is in the front of the apartment AKA Valentina's designated area. I don't know that Vali is yet aware how all of this will impact her room.

Here are some other things I know:

The Red Chair delivery will take place Thursday.
On Friday, a new armoire and dresser will arrive here in the Warehouse apartment.
We are waiting for the new cover for the sofa, and then the new chairs will get different slipcovers.
Apparently all the upholstered furniture needs to be covered in plastic to prevent scratching. For some reason scratching furniture is not permitted (although the furniture tells a different story).

But the biggest update is mine:

That's me getting my treats from the cat shelves!

I am now climbing on the cat wall! Hooray me!

There are a total of 6 shelves to climb on each side of the closet to reach the Top Ledge. Manhattan is the only one of us who has made it that far...

Here is Manhattan, on the right side of the climbing wall. I prefer the left side so far...

I'm thinking about making the summit. Z-Girl has seen me as far up as shelf #4 on the left side of the wall. I rub my face on shelf #5. One has to be sure the shelf is sturdy. Since the initial installation I've spent many hours studying the layout and size of each step.

I'm enjoying my day curled up next to my Mama Bessie, catching warmth from the sunlight streaming through the windows. The construction next door to us is currently not as disruptive as it was for many months so afternoon naps are peaceful.

Lulu out.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Selfies with Valentina

Hi Everyone,
Vali here...

It's a lazy Sunday. Well, kinda. Mr. Ian came over to patch and repair the holes in the cat wall around the closet, so it looks finished. And he built a better step to the Great White Cat Shelves. It's on the wall and the paint is still drying. Z-Girl says that she will try to get Manhattan to test it for us later tonight.

In the meantime, I'm busy looking for comfortable spots and participating in the #Sunday Selfies Blog Hop hosted by Cat on My Head...

Take it easy. We expect ice and slush here in the PAD tomorrow. Yuck.

Valentina, over and out.