The Way Home?

Cricket helping her mom copy-edit.

Last Tuesday, my cat Cricket died. She was about 20 or so years old. I got to be with her all day and into the evening, at least. My little Queen Bee.

She was the last of 12 (13?) critters in my animal family. I kinda lost count of how many critters I had, because, well, I can’t count too good. *wry laugh* I started doing rescue work, and ended up with a lot of new animal friends. (<—sucker).

Cats: Sid, Nancy, Forest aka Loki, Lettuce, Smelly Cat, Cricket. Rabbits: Rowan and Charlotte, plus a guinea pig named Bubble Piggy, and an (also adopted) hamster named Russia. And some fish and a couple of captive-bred leopard geckos I got from a herp expo. I’ve got a gazillion pictures I could post, and about that many more on actual film. Want to see? Nope? Fair enough. (Maybe just one more?).

Cricket and (Diva!) Lettuce.

Care to hear about the million and one things that made them all the best critter companions ever? I didn’t think so.

It goes without saying that I miss them so much. All of them. Even Smelly Cat, the old stray who showed up on my doorstep crying pitifully, being outrageously skinny, and in the end stages of renal failure. (And, yes, he looked just his more famous counterpart!)

Cricket had to be everywhere I was in the house, so not having her around is just beyond comprehension. About half the time, I don’t even believe that she’s gone.

I always made a joke of the fact that my livespace belonged to my animals, not me. One of my animal rescue colleagues came over one day, and told me that when she died, she wanted to be reincarnated as one of my pets. But, with all of them gone now, I realize that my living in a house was a lot more than just making sure that my animal friends had a plethora of toys, litter boxes, gourmet food, comfy beds, hidey-holes, playpens (for the rabbits and guinea pigs), and the majority of  my own bed space.

Cricket hiding out until her mom came home.


Any house, apartment, etc.  was, and is, expressly for my animal family. Now I’m sitting here in this current too-empty house, and wondering what the point is of living in one place, surrounded by four walls. It’s basically a fancy container to hold all my stuff. Even after all the downsizing I’ve been doing, I still have so much crap. I can’t bear to donate all of their cat beds and toys and food bowls and kitty crates for travelling.

A long time ago, I dreamt of my beloved cat Sid…one of those cats that’s almost like a soulmate…and he was waiting for me by the ocean.

I think of that spot all the time now. In my quiet house as I stare at all my crap I can’t bring myself to get rid of, but at the same time, wish I could just set fire to.

I stare at one of my pictures by Landon Richmond. The one of a little girl in a red-and-black scorched apocalyptic-looking world, using a phone booth. The text in the print says “Can I come home now?”

And I want so badly to go home. But I don’t have anybody to call. Or anyplace to go. Or any money, for that matter. So, every night, right before I go to sleep, I visit that spot by that grey, stormy ocean, with a garden and a forest and lots of magic and magical creatures and definitely some wild horses. And Sid there, still waiting, by the salt-frosted roses.

And everybody else warm and happy and fat and non-smelly in the dappled-sun garden.

I didn’t want to make this into a blog about how much I miss all my critter babies.

I just wanted to put out into the universe somehow that I hope to see them all again. Even in this disjointed blog entry. To finally have a place that feels real. A place that’s safe, where everything makes sense, and a place that I actually belong. I just want that place to exist, somewhere, in some dimension out there.

I’m waiting, too.

Cricket waiting patiently for the toy mouse to pop out of the cheese.







End of a Very Long Week…


I planned to write something on Wednesday, but my usual muse-in-my-dreams hasn’t been making an appearance lately. And, truthfully, I’ve been a little too weary and introspective to cultivate contact. (I miss you, my talisman…)

Tuesday: I kept getting a little shock that it was only Tuesday. It felt like days and days had gone by. And it was not even Hump Day.

But, Groundhog Day!!! It’s one of my fav holidays, after Halloween. It’s on my bucket list to go here (Damn you, Andie McDowell and Bill Murray! LOL)

I got called into school a lot for work, which was awesome! I’m dreading the upcoming bills with their resultant sticker shock, due to some unexpected expenses, but hopefully I get enough sub jobs to cover it.

I’m still trying to work out the details of my poetry book for publication. Been going back and forth between publishing with CreateSpace and bookbaby. Think I’m falling on the bookbaby side. Seems a lot less complex and more straightforward, especially since it’s “just” a book of poetry.

Still working out the cover art deal.

A WONDERFUL physics/science teacher at the schools I sub at was nice enough to give me feedback on the physics terms I’m using to set the theme of my poems. Here’s a shout out to you, even though I can’t list you by name for confidentiality reasons. Hopefully things will work out so I can give you credit in my poetry book when it gets published. A big thanks from the Chaos Realm!

I was very excited to receive permission within a day or two of submitting my permission request from the wonderful staffer over at the University of Chicago Press to use their definitions from the Glossary of Astronomy and Astrophysics in my poetry book.  I’ve always loved the University of Chicago Press’ publications, but now I’m officially a fan!

Thursday: I had to go to the dreaded dentist. But, since I have the best, most patient, and gentle dentist(s) in the whole world, it was a survivable experience. No cavities! Yay for me!

Still hoping for some exciting new opportunities on the job front.

Oh, and *drum roll* I FOUND JEANS THAT FIT. They do not gap at the waist, and they don’t reveal my Wonder Woman underroos/butt crack when I’m trying to look my age on the outside. (Well, actually, I knew about them already, but they were on sale and they fit my little-waist-but-junk-in-the-trunk body.) Whee!

Check them out via the J. Peterman company here.

I still haven’t done my edits for my mystery novel. Bad writer.

Oh, and for Valentine’s Day, why not consider giving love to a shelter animal in need of a home? Petfinder makes it easy to search for pets in your area!




The Real-Life Westeros Wolves…


“A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf.”― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

(A Chaos Fairy translation: Wolves aren’t pets.)

So, visiting this place is definitely on my bucket list, now that I live in New Mexico.

Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary

I think it would be worth a road trip (or a plane/boat/Tardis trip!), don’t you?

The Westeros Pack

If you can’t visit, you can always support them from afar.



Give a Cat A Forever Home on National Cat Day!

It’s NATIONAL CAT DAY! Technically, this is my “Writing Wednesday” blog, but I co-opted it for the holiday!

My senior girls, adopted from Sarasota County Animal Services!


Plenty of amazing cats, like mine, are languishing in shelters, waiting for a forever home with a loving family! Black cats are the hardest to adopt out, for some silly superstitious reason. I know my black cat is completely awesome!

Here’s some tips to help you find, and live with, the cat(s) of your dreams!

1. That cute little kitten may not be the best choice for you and your lifestyle. Kittens are cute, but they can be very mischievous and rambunctious, and can definitely make your life a little more chaotic. I, for one, much prefer older cats (with the right care, cats can live into their late teens/early twenties) as they are more settled and calm. Older cats are already established in their behavior–what you see is usually what you get, and they are often less maintenance. Even cats as old as mine (14+) can still be playful and quirky. The staff at the shelter can help you find the right cat for your lifestyle.

2. Adopt a pair of cats–giving them more stimulation and companionship when you’re not there. True, cats don’t always mesh well together, but most shelters usually know, and post, whether the cat you are looking for should be the lone cat in a household, or other things, like if the cat is good with children.

3. Be patient. Cats might take a while to adapt to their new environment, and may take some extra work on your part to help make their environment more comfortable for them. Just because they evidence some negative behavior in the beginning does not mean that the situation is hopeless and that the only solution is take the cat back to the shelter. The shelter, animal behaviorists, and even your vet (if it’s a good one) will have advice on how to help the cat make the transition from the shelter to its new home. (Just found this great article:

4. Keep your cat indoors. While it’s tempting to let your cat run wild and free in nature, it’s not always the best choice. Once they get the taste of the outdoors, it’s a hard habit to break and can create some behavior problems when they come indoors. Plus, cats allowed to roam free face a lot of dangers: getting run over, fleas and parasites, diseases–not to mention the impact they have on the local wildlife. Outdoor cats kill an estimated six million songbirds a year in the US alone. In my town, a lot of pets (cats and dogs) routinely disappear. I’ve been told from people in the animal rescue business a couple of accepted theories–that the pets are either taken and sold to nearby labs for animal testing, or, dog fighters pay people to scour neighbourhoods and steal people’s pets (even taking them from fenced yards), which are then used as “bait” animals for their illegal, underground dog fights. They also get into fights with wildlife like raccoons, possums, or other cats that are let out to roam wild by irresponsible owners, which racks up vet bills.

5. Do not have your cat declawed. It’s a cruel surgery that is actually an amputation, and tends to create a whole slew of behavior problems and behavior changes. Imagine if you were getting your nails done at a salon and the staff cut off the top third of your fingers instead of just trimming the nail. There are effective alternative solutions to declawing–ask the shelter and your vet for options.

6. PLEASE make sure you are willing to commit to the long-term responsibility of caring for an animal. My cats require special (i.e. expensive) food, and even routine vet care can get expensive if you aren’t prepared for it. SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS! PREVENT OVERPOPULATION of discarded pets.

7. If you can’t adopt an animal, no worries! There are plenty of other ways to help out shelter animals. Many local shelters desperately need volunteers, foster families, and/or donations of supplies, and, yes, of money. Check with your local shelter and animal rescue for ways to get involved.

8. If you are looking for a particular kind of cat, Petfinder ( can help you find adoptable animals via their comprehensive database search. Many shelters end up with “breed” cats because the owners have adopted them as a fashion statement and then dump the poor critters when they no longer wanted them. Some shelters may even be willing to bring the cat to you, via a network of volunteer transporters. (Beware of purebred cats from breeders, they may come from the feline equivalent of “puppy mills” and may have lots of health problems due to inbreeding. They may also lack the socialization that many cats benefit from when they are in a shelter or rescue environment. Also, a specific breed may not be an indicator of the cat’s personality, or it may be. For example, Abyssinians may be high energy and get into anything and everything, which may not suit you if you are looking for a cat to curl up on your lap while you read a book or watch TV.) My favourite is the garden-variety domestic shorthair cat (especially black cats), but I would place the emphasis more on personality rather than looks or breed type, when it comes to adopting a cat.

Local links for shelters with adoptable animals in the Sarasota/Bradenton area (and one in North Carolina, just because it’s so damn awesome, and some in New Mexico, where I used to live!):

National Site

Sarasota, Florida:

Bradenton, Florida:

Cullowhee, North Carolina (I went to school here–well, when I wasn’t rescuing abandoned animals, with the help of this shelter, and the local animal services):

A couple from New Mexico (Espanola and Santa Fe):