Cats and Kiddos

I’ve spent my life mothering cats, not children; however, I’ve always easily connected with kids. In my previous home the neighborhood kids often stopped by for a visit if I was in the front yard gardening or hanging with my cats. Maybe it’s my child-like exuberance, or the fact I had cats they could play with. For instance, one morning as I was getting ready to dash off to my paralegal job I heard the doorbell ring. I opened the front door to see a toddler holding a blanket and a couple five-year-olds who wanted to know if my cat Topper could come out to play. Topper was the neighborhood mascot and everyone adored him. He could often be found lounging by the community pool soaking up attention of sunbathers and swimmers.


I recently did a reading of Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon at the Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club to a group of preschoolers. It had been a while since I interacted with kids—I nervously wondered how I’d be received.

I got settled in and after the initial chatter of them telling me about their cats and how they also look at the full moon, I had them hooked by Chapter 3. The room was silent except for the sound of me reading. I looked up as I showed the illustration of Topper and Lexington meeting the barn owl in the canyon, and the kiddos were wide-eyed and fully engaged.  My nervousness turned to joy.

This week I participated on a Career & College Day panel at Lowell Elementary School to speak about my unique career path to becoming an author and about my children’s book. Upon arrival I was ushered into a small auditorium by counselors, Eva and Maria who organized the event. I sat in a chair next to my fellow panelist, a flight attendant. As I looked across the room, I saw Leilani, the teacher who invited me to speak, waving a copy of my book, which she got so that she could read it to her students. Then in an organized fashion, in came the second and third graders who sat in neat rows on the floor before the stage. I was introduced by the principal and up to the stage I went before about 150 kiddos. I scanned the audience as I grinned and thanked them for having me. Several girls sported cat-ear headbands. The cat-ladies-in-training in the audience made me feel at home (along with the impeccable hospitality of the staff). But could I hold their attention?

Curious as kittens, the kiddos enthusiastically asked questions throughout my presentation. Many kids expressed their affection for felines, and a handful wanted to be writers. Some asked questions about my book, my cats, and several demanded that I write another book about the cat I have in my life now.

I’m still basking the afterglow of this remarkable experience. My heart is so full.
A big THANK YOU to Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club and Lowell Elementary!


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A Book is Born

My long-time dream of making a book has come true. When I was a kid, I used to make books for my parents. I’d write stories, illustrate them then staple the pages together. And now I have a book that’s “real”, published by FriesenPress, a project that’s been in the making since 2008. That’s a long gestation period, but worth the wait.

It all started one night while gazing at the full moon on my deck while holding Lexington. Clouds moved in and covered the moon, which caused the question I asked of Lexington, “What happened to the moon? It disappeared!”

Find out what happened to the moon through the adventures of Topper and Lexington in Two Cats, a Mermaid and the Disappearing Moon. For those of you who’ve been following my blog since 2014, you know these characters and their mother, Miss Bella. I’ve kept these beloveds alive in this story, capturing their personalities as they explore the canyons and coves of Laguna Beach trying to find the brilliant full moon that’s oddly, disappeared from the night sky.

Topper and Lexington

Miss Bella

Although the story targets kiddos, let’s face it we’re all 6-year-olds at heart. Your kids and grandkids will love it, but go pour a cup of tea or glass of wine and escape into a magical world that actually exists. Mother Nature is pretty amazing. Check out my new page, “My Children’s Book” for the details!

And what does Samantha Jo think…?

As she helps me open the boxes of books, I can hear her whisper, “Mama…this is really cool, but when are you going to make a book about me?”

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Learning Living Loving

It’s times like these you learn to live again
It’s times like these you give and give again
It’s times like these you learn to love again

Lyrics from “Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters

I awoke on Sunday, January 15th feeling a little restless, but wasn’t sure why.  I’d slept well, Samantha was curled up in a blanket-lined basket a few feet from the bed and it was Sunday—a day of doing what I pleased. Why did I feel heavy-hearted? I made coffee, settled into the cozy chair with the organic French Roast in my favorite owl mug and watched the dark predawn sky become light gray through the French windows. It was still lightly raining. Samantha was sprawled out by the small round ottoman on which my feet rested. I chuckled as I watched her watching me. She was so happy, and so at peace.

Then it occurred to me: January 15th was the two-year anniversary of Bobcat’s passing. I mentally time traveled back to that day in 2021, his last day with me, two weeks before my cancer surgery. He was a major source of strength for me during my cancer battle, never leaving my lap, or my side.

Bobcat comforted me and kept me smiling, even laughing during some of the darkest moments. I recall wondering how I was going to manage without him; dreading coming home from the hospital several days after surgery to an empty cottage.

I lit a candle in Bobcat’s honor, said out loud that I loved and missed him, hoping that he could somehow hear me from Heaven then brushed off the heavy feeling as I got on with my morning. As I washed the breakfast dishes, the song “Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters came to mind. The chorus looped through my thoughts while I placed the clean, wet dishes onto the dish-drying rack. Now I needed to hear the song–for real, not just in my head. I asked Alexa to play it and I watched, on YouTube, an emotional Dave Grohl belt it out through tears during the tribute to Taylor Hawkins concert.

Music can bring light to situations. My cancer battle, the loss of Bobcat, although tough and heartbreaking, those times made me learn to live again. Then Samantha Jo came into my life, and I learned to love again, and Samantha gave me reason to give, and give again.

Watch/listen to “Times Like These” sung by Live Lounge Allstars (BBC Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge), a moving  performance of 24 musicians  during the COVID lockdown, which raised funds for various charities.


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