This cat now has a permanent home with us.

Sam and I recently adopted a cat.    We lost Josephine in November of 2016 and in recent months I started to pine for pet. I follow a cat rescue that focuses on cats with special needs called Philly Kitty.   A few weeks ago I saw this post:

Her profile information made me laugh a lot. Her name is Monkey.  Her foster mom brought her to our house over Easter weekend and she is still here.  It’s hard not to think about Josephine with another cat around, but they are very different and it’s fun to learn about her personality.

Let’s talk about the name Monkey.  I did not love it at first. I always liked human names for pets, so I advocated changing her name to Stormy Daniels. Sam liked the name Monkey and it grew on me, so it looks like we are keeping the name Monkey. My sister hates the name Monkey. She told us that her pre-adolescent female patients refer to the vagina as a “monkey”. This is a funny a weird anecdote that is I’ve learned is commonplace in the healthcare field. Well I do not hate the name Monkey, but I do hate the idea of adults being too nervous to say the word vagina.

There is a cat named Monkey living at our house.   She is sweet and playful.   She has a penchant for leaping on our feet at night.  She does not meow a lot.  She likes to crawl under the covers. In short, she is a fantastic addition to our home. I hope that she is here for a long time to come.

Monkey, welcome to our home.

Ptown for my birthday.

We went up to Provincetown for my birthday a few weeks ago. The weather was complete shit, but it was a great trip. We cashed in some of my Amtrak upgrades and took the Acela from Philadelphia to Boston in the first class carriage. We spent the 5 hour trip reading the Sunday Times, eating some decent train food, and having more than a couple of drinks. From Boston we took the ferry across the cape and made our way to our bed and breakfast.

It rained a lot while we were there, but I really like being on the water when the weather is terrible. It is a good reminder about the power of mother nature.  When a storm you cannot even see starts whipping the water into a frenzy it inspires awe and fear.

We hiked 8 miles that ended with a delicious lunch at the Canteen. Ptown has plenty of fine dining options, but the Canteen is my favorite place to eat. It can’t get any better than seafood and beer at a shared picnic table. Sam had the banh mi and I had the fish and chips. Both dishes were really good. That evening we went to the Shipwreck Lounge for happy hour. The bartender made an excellent old fashioned. It was raining, cold, and overcast outside. I was sitting inside on a comfortable leather couch, next to the love of my life, with an expertly crafted cocktail in my hand. It was a great birthday.

While at the bar, I overheard an incredible conversation. There was an older gay guy on his cell phone wearing a fur coat.  Here is what I heard:

“How are you? … Oh, just sitting up here on the cape. … I wasn’t sure if you were pissed at me. … That soap just wipes right off of the mirror. … Oh good, most people hate me after something like that. … Come on up.”

He then hung up and went back to his drink. I instantly imagined a scenario that got him to this call. I think he spent some time at a friend’s house and when he left, he wrote a crass note on the mirror in bar soap. I wonder what he wrote? I am sure he thought it was a hilarious joke. Who would do something like that?

As soon as I wrote that last sentence, I slumped. I am pretty sure I would do something like that. I was probably more likely to do that in the past than I am today, but sometimes if you have a joke you just have to tell it. His was a joke that had to land after he had left and in the soap and mirror medium. The setup to punchline ratio seems off.

Sounds like this joke did not work. I guess I wouldn’t do precisely “that,” but the behavior is all too familiar.  Enough, about this weird one sided conversation I overheard on a dark and stormy evening.

When we made it back to Boston we visited the public library so that we could see the public murals.  It’s very beautiful and I recommend it. We had lunch at a place called the Saltie Girl. It’s a delicious seafood restaurant. I loved the crudo dish we had at first. I ordered the seafood pasta (stop carb judging, it was my birthday trip!) and was disappointed. First let me say that the meal was delicious, BUT it was wrong. The dish was listed as a bucatini, but it was a spaghetti. I like spaghetti, but I love bucatini. Do you know why I love it? Hollow noodle means more surface area for sauce to be on.  It’s a perfect noodle. Did I say anything? No, I did not. The pasta was handmade and delicious. I just have strong opinions about pasta shapes and Saltie GIrl missed the mark.

I had a lovely birthday trip. Boston has traumatized me on more than one occasion in the past, but I think we are actually starting to get along.

Josephine’s Ashes

I am not a spiritual person. I do not believe in an afterlife, and I do not have the patience needed to entertain the ideas of metaphysics. I only tell you this to open up one of my final posts about my friend and former pet Josephine. The vet ended her life at the end of November in 2016 and we had her cremated. The vet called us a few weeks later and gave us the urn full of her ashes.

Sam and I were not interested in keeping her ashes with us, but we both wanted to say good bye to her one last time. We decided to split her ashes between two sites. At our house, she loved sitting under the raspberry bush in our garden. It’s winter now, so the raspberry bush is pruned low to the ground. We dug a hole in the ground at the center of the bush and we both poured half of her ashes into the soil. She loved the space a lot, and we wanted her to be in a place she loved for a very long time.

The second half of her ashes were spread in Kruger National Park in South Africa. Yes, Josephine was a cat that was adopted from a shelter in Philadelphia. I know that she was not a lion, but Sam and I always said that she had a fierceness in her eyes. I sound delusional, but we used to laugh a lot about how domestication never bred the mightiness of a lion out of her.

We were on safari in Kruger for 3 nights this month. Every night we saw a pride of lions. There were 5 mothers and 12 cubs of varying ages. I was close enough to see their eyes and watch the cubs fall on their sides playing with their siblings. Sure, I was transferring my memories of Josephine to these noble cats, but when I saw them, I saw my cat.

On our last night, Sam and I walked onto the deck of our cabin and shared a few memories of Josephine. Our cabin sat on a dry river bed, that had not been full in 4 years. It had started to rain earlier that day, but the earth was so dry the river bed could not even puddle. We poured her ashes over our deck and the wind picked them up and spread them far and thin across the river bed. We smiled, hugged, reminisced about her and went to bed.

img_2034The next morning, we woke up to a real shock. The river bed was completely full. The rain had increased over the night. There were no signs of any ashes, as they had been swept deep into Kruger Park. The safari guide told us, we were very lucky to see the river as it is very rare, and he had never seen it in his time. I am not someone who needs to find meaning in coincidence, but I am someone who can enjoy and appreciate one.

When we die, I do not think much happens, but I find solace in knowing my friend’s ashes are where I think she would have wanted them to be. Some are under a bush in the last home of her life. The others are spread across the original home that she never knew, but the one she always allowed to show through the veil of modernity and domestication.

Dealings with tumblefurs

For those of you who do not know, I have a cat. Her name is Josephine. I got her in August of 2011. This is a picture of her.


She is surly and not a particularly nice cat. She meows a lot and occasionally bites. She has been shedding a lot this summer. I brush her, I vacuum, and I brush her some more, and then start vacuuming again. I cannot keep up with the fur tumbleweeds in my house. I decided to call the local pet groomer for and he told me that he could get me in on Sunday at 11 am.

She is not the most loving pet on a good day. Your imagination shouldn’t need to shift gears to grasp how pissed off she was when I put her in the cat carrier. Well we jumped in the car and headed to the 5 star yelp groomer near my house.

Of course, there are other cats and even dogs in the shop. She instantly starts hissing at the other cats. Once the groomer takes her out of the cat carrie, he looks at me incredulously and says “Wow, she seems grumpy,” in the most stereotypical prissy gay voice you can conjure up.

Of course she is grumpy there is a big dog standing next to the table. A dog so big it can look her in the eye while she is standing on a table and he is on all fours on the floor.

“She is not really used to other animals, sorry,” I respond.

“Well, this IS a pet store. Of course there are other animals around,” the groomer says in the peevish voice he could muster.

We talk for 5 minutes and he says he will not shave her. He admits she does need to be groomed, but she is just too surly to be shaved that morning. He told me to come back when the place shuts down one night (is he hitting on me?) and he’ll shave her then when everyone, animals and staff, are gone. I was angry at Josephine for being a grouch, I was angry at him for being a wuss, and then I turn around and see Samer carrying Josephine near other cats so that he could hear her hiss.


Cat, why can’t you be normal? Groomer, I am paying you (way more than I want) to do this, I can’t imagine any cat is cool with being shaved, can you just do your job? BF, can you just stop harassing the pet that I am now hating on?

I never took the groomer up on the offer about coming back, Right now Josephine is sitting next me while I write this post and I am staring at a single hair glomming on to the screen of my laptop.