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.







Save-the-Planet Cleaning

So, it’s time for my weekly cleaning. Not really a big fan of cleaning, and am about ready to eschew the domestic thing altogether for a cave in the woods. Or a small trailer. (Road trip!!!! Who wants to come?)

So, yes, I do try to use non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning supplies and methods, even though it feels so ineffective–like I’m just sitting back and watching us humans destroy the world. (Barely any rain during NM’s monsoon season–but there’s no such thing as climate change, of course. :-p)

Though, the skeptic in me is a little distrustful of the whole “greenwashing” movement of supposed eco-friendly cleaners out there. And some have been bought out by the same makers of toxic cleaning projects.

So, I am transitioning into using white vinegar for cleaning everything from floors to surfaces. You can put fresh herbs into a big bottle of vinegar to give it an extra smell. Or a hippie/new-age cleansing of your livespace.

Other stuff I use for now:

Ecover Floor Soap

Ecover Pink Geranium Dish Soap (no mocking allowed *laugh*)

Ecos Lemongrass Laundry Soap

Okay, off to green clean!



Old vs. New: Preserving the Past, or Time to Let Go?

From National Treasure (

Riley Poole: For the record, Ben, I like the house.
Ben Gates: You know, I chose this estate because in 1812 Charles Carroll met…
Riley Poole: Yeah, someone that did something in history and had fun. Great. Wonderful.
[puts on a pair of sunglasses and starts the car]
Riley Poole: Could have had a bigger house.
[drives away]

By now, many of you might know that I fall on the preservation side of things. I get so annoyed with the couples on House Hunters who all parrot the same thing: “brand-new house”, “open floor plan”, “stainless steel appliances” etc, etc.; just so they can make believe they are some sort of suburban-based royalty. Or the expats who move to another country, yet they want a house “just like we had back in America”. Then why didn’t they stay the “f” in America? Why even bother moving to a new country, if you’re not going to immerse yourself in the local environment?!?! GO HOME!

Yes, shows like House Hunters and House Hunters International are staged, but it really does seem to reflect the mentality of people out there, these days. I just don’t understand it, and I don’t even want to understand it, truthfully. It’s one area that I’m just not willing to be open-minded about. Why do people want a house that looks like every other house–a house with zero character, no stories, no history, no ghosts, no distinctive charm?!?! It’s a complete mystery to me–leaves me baffled to no end.

From Doctor Who‘s “Blink” episode (

Kathy Nightingale: What did you come here for, anyway?
Sally Sparrow: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy Nightingale: What’s good about sad?
Sally Sparrow: It’s happy for deep people.

Myself, I love vintage furniture, and whenever I can, I try to furnish my livespace with family hand-me-downs and vintage (or not-so-vintage) items from thrift & antique stores, and garage sales. One of my “cherished illusions” is to have a vintage home that I can save and restore–preferably one with a bit of land that has lots of old trees and other tangly growth on it.

For wishful-thinking fun, I often browse this website, looking for amazing properties I wish I could afford. See any lovelies you want to add to your wish list, blog readers?

Despite the $$$ issue, owning a house probably wouldn’t be practical for my lifestyle, but I can still dream. In the meantime, I’m checking out vintage apartments in my potential “move-to” locales that are just amazing. Art Deco, Victorian, Colonial–you’d be surprised at what’s out there! Try a search for historic or vintage apartments and your locale, and see what rental properties might be available in your area of the world!

So, where do the rest of you bloggers/blog readers out there fall on the preservation spectrum? Old fixer-upper, or brand-new McMansion? Thrift stores, or Walmart? Please share comments below!