Last Year’s Greatest Hits Countdown: Number One

2020 was an awful year. In addition to dealing with the pandemic we also had to say goodbye to our sweet cat Scout who’d been our loving companion for 17 years. Losing her was such a blow, and we still miss her so much it hurts.

But we found our crazy Gracie cat, and she’s the topic of my most liked post of the year, It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

Peace, people.

Long Awaited Sequel to Cat in the Hat

We’re calling it “Cat in the Lap.” It’s a simple tale of a contented cat staking out her territory on a cold, rainy winter day. That’s it. No chaos. Just peace.

Proof that Crazy Gracie doesn’t run amok 24/7

Peace, people!

Scout’s Honor Publishing

One of the sweetest surprises associated with self publishing was discovering that I got to create a name for my own publishing company. When my editor, Rachel Carrera told me to start thinking of a name for my enterprise I jotted down several possible titles, including “Scout’s Honor,” for our recently deceased cat, Scout, but thought I’d go with “Praying for Eyebrowz” in keeping with my blog’s title.

Then I spoke with my daughter, Ashley. When I told her about getting to christen my publishing company the first words out of her mouth were, “Scout’s Honor.” And that sealed it.

Scout was my co-writer, but died before we published.

For Christmas, Ashley had a friend design a logo for me. I cried when I first saw it. Studly Doright cried when he held it.

My photo doesn’t do it justice.

Now for a shameless attempt to encourage you to buy my book if you haven’t already:

Peace, people!

Life With Gracie

Gracie, our newish rescue kitty is a joy. She loves me like I’m the greatest thing since filleted tuna, following my every move, and plunking down beside me in dramatic fashion when I have the audacity to sit.

Gracie watching me apply makeup.

She has a tendency to be loquacious and we exchange banter back and forth throughout the day. I’m fairly certain her vocabulary is larger than mine. In addition to her sweet “mew-mews,” Gracie grunts. These vocalizations sound like a combination of a dog’s bark and a pig’s oink, but they only occur when she’s jumping off of or onto some piece of furniture, as if she’s giving each leap her all.

Gracie is ultra jealous of our electronic devices and always finds a way to insert herself between the device and her human. If I want to write a blog post I essentially have to hide for a bit; although, this cartoonist might be on to something:

She is precious, though. As she’s settled in to our household she’s become much more relaxed. She even took a break from being my constant companion yesterday to hang out with a couple of snow people, allowing me to write this.

Innocent? Nah.

Please don’t be fooled by her sweet face. The crazy Gracie is still there. She’s just learning to hide it better. Like the Hulk, only cuter.

Peace, people!

Smarty Claws

Gracie, our new cat, seems to be a smart girl. Today she figured out how to open the door to the hutch where her treats are stored.

When I confronted her she was nonchalant.

No worries, Mom!

Last night she brought me a package of treats. She meowed conversationally until I opened the package for her. I’m sure she thinks I’m rather dense.

Still, she loves to snuggle with her not so bright human. Can’t beat having a sweet kitty on your lap on an autumn night.

Peace, people!

“Type A” Cat

Last week I took Gracie, our new cat, to visit the vet. The rescue organization we’d adopted her from had already given her the necessary vaccinations and even microchipped her. So this was just an introductory visit.

Sweet, crazy Gracie did not enjoy the experience, and I’m certain neither the vet or the vet tech did either. My cuddly, lovable cat went absolutely ballistic.

Do not be fooled.

I came away with a bite. The vet sustained a couple of scratches. The vet tech cowered in a corner. It was not fun.

When we finally managed to get her pinned down, the vet looked her over and said she appeared healthy, but she noticed that Gracie’s back twitched, and she asked me about her toilet and grooming behaviors.

Now, Gracie takes her grooming seriously. Sometimes her grooming sessions take thirty minutes or more and she repeats the session many times a day. When she potties she takes up to ten minutes to cover up her waste, often returning to the box just to make sure she can neither see nor smell the poo or pee. She is fastidious.

She also scratches herself quite often. My first concern was fleas, but if she’d had any when she arrived in our home they’ve long been eradicated.

I told all of this to the vet and she said, “Your cat has a Type A personality,” but she went on to say that Gracie also has Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome, also known as Rolling Skin Syndrome.

Apparently in some cats the condition can result in self-mutilation! Thankfully our Gracie doesn’t seem to be incapacitated by the syndrome, and ninety percent of the time she’s very laid-back. We’re trying some pheromone diffusers to calm her rather than resorting to any prescription medications that could have nasty side effects of their own.

Gracie is such a loving cat. In the mornings she hops into bed with me and makes a dramatic flop onto my chest as if to say, “I missed you, Mom!” She follows up with a great many kitty kisses and gentle pats to my face. She’s not going to let herself be defined by any old diagnosis.

Between baths.
Helping me write this.

Peace, people!

While the Cat’s Awake

There might’ve been some hijinks going on after lights out last night. I’m no detective, but it appears the cat had a case of the munchies. Bag torn open. Kibble on the floor. Feline in question acting all casual, like, “Mom, this is how I always have my breakfast,” when I know darned good and well it’s not.

Yep. I think this is an open and shut case.

Book her, Danno.

Peace, people.

Helen and Home

Studly Doright and I took a couple of days and drove north through Georgia. We’d planned on going to Dillard, but at the last moment decided to stop in Helen instead.

Helen, GA

“Nestled in the hills of northeast Georgia, lies the German Alpine city of Helen. … The city leaders decided to resurrect their community as a Bavarian alpine town, which became mandated through a change in zoning. Beginning in 1969, Helen adopted a classic south-German style, that today is present on most buildings.”—

Helen is a charming tourist destination with plenty of good restaurants and drinking establishments. There’s a water park and an alpine coaster, carriage rides and lots of little shops. Studly and I walked a bazillion miles exploring the town before checking into a cabin on the banks of the Chattahoochie River. Then we walked a bazillion miles more.

Studly tried on a Peaky Blinders style hat. He wouldn’t buy it even though I thought he looked quite handsome.
The view from our cabin.
My lovely mother-in-law’s name is Helen. We sent her this photo.
Who are those masked folks?
The Chattahoochie gurgles along merrily through the downtown area.

We’d still planned on driving to Dillard to stay Thursday night and drive home on Friday, but the cat sitter related that our new kitty, Gracie, hadn’t made an appearance during his last two visits. We became worried, and returned home on Thursday.

The minute I walked through the door and called her name, Gracie came running, meowing and needing to be held. She’s barely left my side since we got home.

We’ll have other opportunities to visit Dillard, Georgia. Our kitty needed us more right now.

Peace, people!

Indiana Jones and the Restless Cat

Indiana Jones keeps watch over me every night.

He sits on my bookcase/nightstand, prepared to take on whatever evil comes my way. Except for snakes. He hates snakes.

Last night, though, Indy met a foe for which he was not prepared—a restless cat. I heard Gracie as she investigated the objects on the nightstand. Apparently she didn’t think it was time to go to bed, so first she knocked around an ink pen until it tumbled to the floor, then she tried to squeeze behind the books, causing them to tumble like dominoes.

After I straightened and reinforced the books, I noticed that Indy was in a perilous predicament—heels over head above a cavernous chasm!

How will our hero survive this situation?

It’s not looking good.

Peace, people!