Hippie Cat, Horned Cat

“If you’re going to San Francisco / Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair…”

Lyrics from “San Francisco” by Scott McKenzie

Oh the decisions we must make during the Halloween season.  What to be…a faerie, cat lady, a hippie or a devil?  Lucky for me who loves to dress in costume, I got to be my top two choices:  a faerie and a cat lady.  Lexington and Bobcat watched with intrigue as I crafted a flower faerie costume that I wore to one of the most sensational soirees I’ve ever attended.  The theme was “Samhain” the ancient Celtic celebration of harvest and those who’ve passed (which eventually became Halloween as we know it today).  The gathering of witches, wizards, Vikings, elves and faeries was held in a rustic outdoor canyon setting in Laguna Beach.  I felt as though I’d been transported back to the days of Lords and Ladies, to a time when people believed in magic.

On Halloween day, I transformed myself into my alter ego, Cat Lady and had fun at the office acting the part by threatening co-workers with my claws.

Yet, the hippie and devil costume ideas would be not be dismissed.  After all, I had Lexington and Bobcat who would of course partake the dress-up-in-costume Halloween ritual. At first Bobcat resisted.  He just wanted to hang out with his new friends who took-up residence on the sofa during the month of October.

Lexington, although not eager to become a flower child, agreed to participate in the costume ritual, and in his tie-dye and flowers, looked like he could have been seen at Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love.

Bobcat, not wanting to be left out and knowing that he was at times, a little devil without the horns, thought it might be fun, for a moment, to be a devil with horns.

The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats had a Halloween party for the volunteers—or was it really for the cats?

But a month before Halloween, cats and dogs were already in costume at the 23rd Annual Pet Parade & Chili Cook-Off, a fundraiser established by the Laguna Board of Realtors Charitable Assistance Fund.  Blue Bell was selected as one of the beneficiaries and had a booth at the event to promote its purpose, which I ran with two other volunteers.  This dog-centric event was graced with the presence of two cat participants, Cody, a Blue Bell resident and Rolo, cat companion of Elizabeth and Cole who adopted him while at CatCon this summer.  Cody handled being in a crowd with cautious curiosity.  Rolo, the epitome of a cool cat thrived among the event-goers.  The fact that he was completely at ease wearing a cowboy costume also spoke volumes to his laid-back purr-sonality. Both cats entered the contest, and Cody, festive in a sport t-shirt thrilled us all by winning first place for most gorgeous senior.

Rolo didn’t place in the contest, but he got plenty of adoration and as far as I’m concerned, a cat that wears cowboy boots is a winner despite the judges’ lack of sensibilities.

And despite the initial “rolling of the eyes” by my two felines when I suggested they get costumed-up with me, they were secretly into it…

 

 

 

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The Snotty-Nosed Cat

“I didn’t know dogs and cats could get colds…” said a co-worker to me the other day in response to my comment about Lexington having a bad snotty nose.

His nose started to run again in this photo–don’t worry I didn’t take photos of the really gross nose runs.

Yes, indeed, cats get colds as evidenced by Lexington’s snot-crusted right nostril and cheek, and runny right eye, and his dodging the nose wipes like a stubborn little boy who would rather endure a runny nose than have his mother clean it for him.  “Seriously, Lex, you want to have snot on your face?” I said while struggling to wipe.  If only he understood the words “blow into the tissue”. After a weekend of this it was time for a vet visit.

He jumped off the sofa after enough of the nose wiping.

Ten days after being diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and receiving a long-acting antibiotic shot, Lexington finally recovered from the cold.  While he was fighting the infection, I switched from using a tissue to a warm-watered washcloth, which he tolerated much better—he actually held still as I gently pressed the warm cloth on his cheek and wiped his little nose.  A few times after I’d gotten him nice and clean with the washcloth, he “kissed” my hand then looked at me straight in the eye as he let out a soft “meow”, his way of thanking me for helping him feel better.

 

Animals get many of the sicknesses that we humans get, including cancer, which Lexington is also fighting and for the moment, winning.

 

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Beach Cats and Sawdust Summers

Labor Day has come and gone, tourists left town and kids are back in school. That’s it—summer is officially over despite what the calendar says. And despite living two blocks from the beach, this cat lady spent more time in Laguna Canyon (or just “the canyon” as locals call it) over these past couple months. When it comes to my favorite outdoor place to be, I used to think of myself as only a beach person. I spent many childhood summers hanging out at the beaches of Newport and Huntington.  I eventually made the beach my home, landing an apartment on Lido Isle in Newport Beach.  It was a charming little place built in 1941 and was part of a triplex situated on the small strand of beach facing the harbor.

This is where my crazy cat lady identity manifested, as I became known by the kids in the neighborhood as “the-lady-who-walks-her-cats”.  On several occasions these kids watched with marked curiosity, my former feline compadres, Punkie and Frankie walk with me on the sidewalk running parallel to the shore, which lead to a boat dock.  Frankie would follow me onto the dock where we would sit together and watch the boats go by.  Punkie would either stroll back home, or take a seat in the sand and wait for us. These adventurous cats also accompanied me on the beach, sitting next to me while I read or took in the view.  I was fondly called “crazy cat lady” by the couple next door; only the “crazy” part wasn’t about having too many cats.  You just don’t see too many gals strolling along the shore with cats dutifully trailing behind them.

Frankie and Punkie
Frankie
Cat Lady sans cats but you get the idea. This is where they would sit with me, and in the background is the walkway leading to the dock in the far upper right corner.

Early morning at the dock. If only I had a photo of me and Frankie on it.

But after I moved to a neighborhood bordering Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, a preservation area of Laguna Canyon, I found myself going for hikes more than walks along the shore.  I was captivated by the canyon’s ancient rock formations, lush foliage and the scent of sage scrub and soon became enamored with my new earthy environment—and I’m still struck by its beauty.  

View of the canyon from Nix Nature Center after attending a presentation on birds of prey, where I met a couple of owls and a redtail hawk.

I also find beauty in the canyon off the hiking trails.   During the summer months I commune in the canyon while browsing through mini art galleries and listening to live music at an enchanted place called the Sawdust Festival.  The Sawdust, or “The Dust” as they called it back in the day came to be in the late 1960s by a group of artists who rebelled against the traditional juried art show in town and created their own distinctive and funky haven to show and sell their artistic wares.  The Sawdust’s rustic venue and flower child vibe that still lingers makes this place truly magical.  

Cat Lady and artist Shamus

Woodstock Day at Sawdust, singer/songwriters Kurtis Gentile and Alisa Eisenberg revive popular tunes from 1969.

The Heretics bringing back favorite songs from the ’60s through ’90s

Missiles of October rock the Sawdust

Blue grass melodies by The Salty Sweets

And the crowd goes wild on closing day of Sawdust.

I still love watching waves crash onto the shore and feel of sand under my feet, but to hike among sycamore trees and escape to a place where canyon walls harbor timeless creativity completely feeds my soul and keeps calling me back.

If only I could bring the cats.

 

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