Friday, June 12, 2009

Gandalf returns

Gandalf returns. It sounds like a fourth book for The Lord of the Rings, but it's not. Gandalf returns is simply the happy truth I find myself in today. After nearly two years gone and more than a year and a half since we last laid eyes on each other, tonight we were reunited. This picture may seem rather ordinary, but that's Gandalf sitting in my lap. And for me, after all this time, that makes it extraordinary.

Technically, Gandalf arrived yesterday but she was so traumatized by the long flight and two car rides that I didn't stay long. She was very apprehensive and flighty. I gave her some space to settle in. Tonight I went over to visit. (Gandalf is staying with my good friends Doris & Dave until Mom and Dad arrive to move into their new place.) When I arrived, I headed down into the basement and called out to her. Gandalf instantly appeared.

I wondered if she would remember me but as soon as I picked her up she started rubbing our faces together and I soon realized I had not been forgotten.

We stood there for a while, reacquainting ourselves. I tried to get some pics but have you ever tried to work a camera with an enthusiastic cat in the other hand? I quickly gave up on that and focused on the feline love frenzy instead. I think it's safe to say she was pleased to see me.

I sat down with a book and within moments she was back in my lap as if no time had passed at all. Her fur is still warm silk beneath my fingers and before long I could hear the gentle thunder of her purring. I may have purred a little myself. We sat and I read. Gandalf was never out of my sight, never strayed more than a few inches away. Even when she moved to the arm of the chair, she left a paw resting on my leg. Just in case I got any ideas about leaving.
Eventually I did need to go home and under much protest made my escape. Don't worry little one, I'll be back. In the meantime you're being well taken care of and before you know it the moving truck will have come and gone and we can get you settled back in with Mom and Dad. Welcome home my little Fleeg. I missed you too.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

best cities to be single

The US Census has created a list that reveals the best cities in the US for singles of either sex. I'm thinking road trip?I like the comment one other blogger made, "San Francisco: 65,000 more single men that women. It’s possible there’s a little more going on than the census reveals in that stat."

I wonder if there's a Canadian version of this somwhere?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


After almost two years, I get Gandalf back on Thursday. I went into Petsmart today to kit her out and realized all of the things I have carefully closeted away in her absence. I have not, not once, stepped foot in a pet store and the scent of it as soon as I walked in the door was both wonderfully and horribly familiar. As I walked the aisles, it hit me: I get to go back. I get to be one of them again. Smiling, I rolled words around my mouth that I have not uttered, even in a whisper, since she left. Her name, and her pet names. Silly things that used to make me smile. I lifted them carefully from the places where I had stored them. I peeled back the tissue paper of dusty memories and held them in my hands. I said, "hello".

Gandalf won't be living with me -- I still have a landlord who is violently, deathly, allergic to cats. She will continue to live with my parents, but they are moving to Chilliwack next week. And in their benevolence, they have decided to bring her with them. As I was driving home tonight with a trunk full of cat paraphernalia and my first ever guilt purchase -- a fur-lined cat bed -- sitting on the seat beside me I had a moment of insight. What on earth must it be like to be a non-custodial parent?

I remember the day I realized that Gandalf could not come with me. In a fit of melodrama I lay face down on my bed and cried my eyes out. And she is only a cat. True she's my cat, and I do love her, but she is only a cat. She's not a person. Dear God in heaven, what must it be like to put your child on a plane and send them to the other parent? Do they have places they cannot go because it hurts too much? Do they have a whole vocabulary that gets stored away until the blessed day when they are custodial once again? Sending a cat away is only the barest shadow of what it must feel like to live without a child. I said a prayer tonight for all the parents, thousands of them, who have to live in half a world, with half a heart while the beating half of it lives away from them. I wish that no one ever had to know what that feels like.

Custodial is such a wonderful word. And come Thursday I can say two more delicious words, "welcome home".

Sunday, June 07, 2009

congratulations Amanda!

This weekend Amanda became a high school graduate. I was so honored to get to be in the room at watch it happen. I was one proud Auntie (and not one of the Moms as the man beside me asked...). There were some great speeches (unusual for a grad) and then a lot of walking across the stage and collecting of diplomas. All in all it was a great celebration. Congratulations Amanda and rest of the class of '09.

It is impossible to speak of graduation without including a quote or two, so here you go:

“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” J. Pierpont Morgan

and these lines, from one of my all time favorite poems, Autumn Journal:

Sleep to the sound of running water tomorrow will be cross, however deep.
Tonight we sleep on the banks of the Rubicon.
There will be time to audit the accounts later.
There will be sunshine later
And the equation will come out at last. ~ Louis MacNiece