The Way Home?

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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?).

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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.

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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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portland, Oregon

So, I went to Portland (Oregon) specifically to check it out, as a more (liberal/accepting/tolerant/alternative/progressive) place to live (over conservative Sarasota).

I didn’t have too much time there, and didn’t go with the intention of being a tourist. But, I did get some photos. My favourite place(s) were the Japanese gardens and the rose gardens. Even if I don’t move there, I’d definitely love to go back!

(All photos taken by me–copyright disclaimer)

Japanese Gardens and Rose Gardens:

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On the Portland Streets:

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Some of you might recognize this submarine, the USS Blueback. It’s at OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. https://www.omsi.edu/ You can take a tour of the inside as well. It’s rad!

(Hint: “Most things in here don’t react too well to bullets.”) Yes, it’s that very one.

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Solomon’s Castle in Florida

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(All photos taken by me–copyright disclaimer)

Solomon’s Castle is a quirky place to visit…it houses an art gallery and there’s a restaurant on the “Boat in the Moat”. The gallery showcases art by local artist Howard Solomon, who creates his pieces from reclaimed and recycled materials. Solomon’s Castle itself needs no imaginative enhancement–it’s a shiny silver re-creation of a castle. You can even spend the night in the east tower of the castle, in the “Blue Moon Room”. For the outdoorsy type, there’s gardens and a nature path to explore. Admission is reasonable, making it a good candidate for a day trip if you’re local.

Solomon’s Castle web page.

http://www.solomonscastle.org/