To all of you out there owned by a cat(s)

Please share with me, if you would, if you know why a finicky cat, who turns his nose up at his dinner, and walks away from the dish with a disgusted “meow”…

…gobbles it up, as long as you stand over him. Seriously. I’m standing here, on top of him, reaching to send an email from my laptop on the counter while returning a text on my phone. He inhales his food. The second I walk away, he stops eating and starts complaining. As long as I remain here, looming over him, he eats. It seems like it’s more about mommy labor involved in the dinner (my dedication to my “mommy craft,” as it were) vs. the actual tastiness of the dinner.

I think someone said, once (?!), that cats are low maintenance. They clearly weren’t owned by one.

Or two.

::sigh::

I lost a friend

She passed away on Thursday, but I found out this afternoon through a Facebook post. I still can’t quite believe it – we had just emailed each other a week or so ago.

It breaks my heart that I never felt her leave.

She was wry and clever and pragmatic and sarcastic. She was brave and tough and resourceful. She cared fiercely about so many things and for so many people. She was a warrior who’d battled and bettered stomach cancer for years through Chinese herbs and acupuncture. Pancreatic cancer stole her: a recent diagnosis so quickly, heart-breakingly fast, it ripped her from here before she could best it too.

It must have caught her in some chance moment when she was weary of fighting.

She loved music and art and books and reading. She could brew beer. She made gorgeous jewelry – incredibly detailed, exquisite pieces of precious metal wire and gemstones. I’m so fortunate to have so many of them; gifts over years of our friendship. She inspired me to make jewelry myself, giving me one of my few and most-valued creative outlets.

She lived largely and intensely and vibrantly and sometimes quietly and softly and sadly. She told amazing tales of her days in the music industry. She was a buddy of U2’s Bono and for a while, I think, worked for Billy Bob Thornton and Bridget Fonda. Her sister knew the Doors and she recounted meeting Jim Morrison with her as a little girl. There was a story with Dennis Hopper and that one time with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the pasta. Her celebrities tales were always funny and appropriate and natural, without the slightest hint of pretension. To her, they were just minor characters in her richly-lived narrative.

She was a wonderful cat momma. She loved her fur babies, Hadrian, Skorri and Skúfr, with all of her heart. Skúfr, the youngest of her cats, was frequently ill as a kitten and she often struggled to pay his vet bills, sacrificing necessities to bring him home from yet another emergency visit. I never heard her once complain; she was always deeply grateful to have pulled him through, to have him with her a little longer.

She had a sorrow that you could sometimes see shadowing her, a loneliness she carried loosely on her shoulders, like an unwanted but needed shawl.

Wherever she wandered – San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, Arizona – she grew a family of friends about her, like a garden of flowers, Artists, writers, musicians, animal lovers; ordinary people, extraordinary humans like her.

She was one of my family of friends.

She and I first met on an author’s listserv back in the late nineties, and somehow fell into a deep and lasting camaraderie with each other and three others from the group – all brilliant, sharp, and hysterically funny women, scattered across the US.

I cherish those memories, that time and them to this day.

I cherish you and I miss you, Synde Korman, today and always. I will remember you and our friendship and your stories and laughter and kindness for all of my life. I would send you energy biscuits, as I always did when you were feeling low, but you won’t need them anymore.

Speed you on your Path, my friend. Be filled with love and light and free of pain.

Bydd i ti ddychwelyd.