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
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
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 . . .
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
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
“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.