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Halloween, Early

Another evening in my bark-a-lounger; I’m re-watching “Phantom of the Opera” while singing and soaring . . . Purrsnikitty and Tabitha have had quite a day, chewing the weather stripping around my doors, polishing their tiny kitten incisors on electrical wires and trying to lick the glue I have put down to secure a floor tile they’ve managed to pry loose.

Part of their evening antics include scaring the wits out of each other. With their backs arched, I sing, “Jellicle cats come out at night, Jellicle cats are such a fright!” (Truffle hated it when I sang. These kids seem to like it.)

My eyes return to the phantom, when I hear a blood curdling scream akin to a cougar’s. I’m ready to call the cops when I realize the sound is actually coming from Tabby - sweet, tiny, silent Tabby. She is reacting to a ghostly apparition (or is that redundant?). Purr has gotten her head into one of the handles of a plastic white bag that has ballooned up, making her look three times her size.

Tabby is so freaked out that her body has narrowed to a post card, giving her arched back more prominence, and her tail looks like a bottle brush. She is threatening, screaming and pronging up and down like a deer: The perfect caricature of the hysterical Halloween cat.

“Tabby, honey, it’s not Halloween yet,” I say. “It’s just your sister. Cool it.”

It takes a good 20 minutes of talking her down, as a very baffled Purr backs away and the bag deflates. For the rest of the evening, schiz-kitty jumps at every sound.

When the Greeks invented the word “ hystera,” which means “womb,” they must have had female felines in mind . . .

Arm Chair Tours: P.G. Kodak Moments

P.G., how do I love thee? Let me count thy ways . . . I am, again, walking the streets that crisscross from the sea to the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce. About 16th Street, I spy a hopscotch drawn in chalk on the sidewalk. Of course, I have to jump it.

I inhale the tender scent of pink and purple sweet peas – old-fashioned flowers, like the hollyhocks that crown the white picket fences here. More picket fences than you can shake a stick at, in fact.

Chinese lanterns dance in the breeze, and I am awed by the ingenious way people are restoring the board and batten houses and retaining the Victorian flavor that makes P.G. “the most romantic town in the West” (Remember the “Life” article? That’s what we were dubbed.)

A few months ago, I was horrified when I saw the “pink house” (locals know this landmark board and batten home, on a narrow tent lot, tiny as a postage stamp and half as wide) being demolished. Or so I thought. Today my heart swells with appreciation as I see a perfectly finished second story painted the same baby pink, with matching gingerbread trim and stained glass windows. One of P.G.’s treasures maintained, it serves as a reminder of good taste and minimalism.

As I drift with the butterflies and dragonflies, and stop to talk with a peach patched cat lolling on its sunny porch, I take note of the ages of these homes. The Pacific Grove Heritage Society plaque is quite a badge to wear, and I count back 120 years on some of these grand dames. Others verge on their centennials.

I grab a handful of anise plant, crush it in my hand, inhale, and remember black licorice whips we sucked on in childhood on a carefree summer day. The black whips were, of course, interspersed with red ones, Pixie Stiks and dip Kool Aid (dry mix with sugar – no water, stir, lick finger, dip finger, lick finger, tongue turns red, purple, green, what have you). . .

I finally do something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m having all these Kodak moments, so I might as well get my digital camera and start shooting roofs. New York’s may have pizzazz, but in my estimation, P.G. has one of the most charming skylines in the nation.

Stunned by the sun’s rare appearance, I gaze at pointed, gabled and gingerbread roofs that poke into a robin’s egg blue sky. One house has the sharpest point in the area and, I assume, a fabulous attic. Many of the roofs are adorned by weather vanes, such as ships and trumpeting angels. Lace curtains billow against second story windowsills of other homes.

I love the colors of these painted ladies. Some creative combinations include as many as five trim tones.

A few blocks later, a little dog leaps one of the small picket fences and chases me while snarling and barking up a storm. Meanwhile, my hair stands on end just like my Halloween cats. Rudely snapped out of my reverie, I decide to wrap up my walk. I make a mental note to bring pepper spray or a milk bone next time . . .

StarWords News/Inspiration

At last! StarWords is due to be shipped in September. Guess what date? The 11th. This is either a curse or very lucky, depending on how you look at it. Someone told me long ago that a black cat crossing your path is good luck, and ever since I’ve said that to myself when it happens, albeit, with a tinge of fear. (I am referring to the emergency number “911” as I will not joke about the catastrophic 9/11 event.)

I called a friend to relay a litany of apprehensions: will I be ready for it? There’s a party to plan, I have to learn about shipping and mailing, taxes, work up speeches, workshops, etc.

“Susan, you’re supposed to be happy about this,” she says, so wise, so maddening.

“You don’t get it,” I say. “It’s not just like this is a hobby for me. I intend to make a business of StarWords Enterprises & Publishing and I’m on the brink of the unknown here. Some days I’m ecstatic about it and others I’m freaked out – just like Tabby.”

“Susan, you need to stay centered and believe that you will be guided just as you have all along. Getting high always swings to low. Stay in the middle.”

Oh, yeah, I forgot about moderation.

At any rate, providing the creek don’t rise and the bridge don’t fall; and a Loch Ness monster doesn’t attack the boat from China, the books should arrive mid-October. So stay tuned for one heck of a wing ding (party, hootenanny, book signing, whatever) to celebrate with my sponsors and any celebrities I can get to star at the event.



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