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Maozer

*MAOZER , THE DREAM POLICE,  THE AMAZING OUIJA BOARD

I won’t lie. I’ve had a lot of pets that I loved, but Maozer was my favorite cat. Everyone has a favorite pet of all time, and he was mine. He was the last of my cat’s three kittens born a long time ago. I was living alone at the time, well not actually alone. It was Maozer and me. That was until I decided to move into a new apartment with my boyfriend and of course Maozer had to come along.

The very first night we stayed in our new partment, Maozer cried. He not only cried, he cried all night with his exasperating gutteral cry that sounded just like his name -Maooooo. He never cried like that in the eight years I had him. I tried to tempt him with his favorite food. A treat. I held him. Played with him. Nothing stopped his crying. It was incessant and so loud and constant I thought my new neighbors would definitely complain.

So sometime in the early morning hours, with total lack of sleep and his continuous Maaaaaooo.  I blindly just reflexively opened the door and let him outside. As soon as it happened I got woke and realized what I just did. This was a new place. A new neighborhood. He had never been here. He didn’t go outside. I willingly opened the door and let him out. I raced outside, canvassed the entire area. He was gone. Our first romantic day in our new apartment and I was devastated and depressed.

We wandered everywhere with friends calling his name. Nothing. I called every animal hospital in the area. No sign of him. We lived near a wooded gully where raccoons, other cats, dogs could harm him. I was beside myself with guilt and fear. Nothing was working.

So, what would a desperate psychic do? Bring out her trusty old Ouija Board, used since you were twelve and ask the spirit you’ve consciously known as a spiritual guide for help.  This is exactly what happened.

ME (in desperation) Will I ever see him again?”

SPIRIT (calmly) “He will return by 9 0’clock.”

What? What kind of answer was that? Cat’s can’t tell time that way. Neither do spirits. It was getting dark. It was winter cold. My cat was out there, freezing and hungry and lost because of me.

No matter what or how I asked, the Spirit kept spelling: “He will return by 9 o’clock.”  I was tired, forlorn and inconsolable, too upset to trust this.

Since we just moved in, we had no phone connection yet (this was before cell phones), so my boyfriend went to his office to make some calls and probably to get away from the depressing atmosphere surrounding him. In his absence, I like a Pavlovian dog periodically opened the door, peered into the dark, and called, “Mazoer!” Nothing stirred in the cold night air. Where was he? Had someone taken him in? Was he hurt? Hungry? I’d never forgive myself.

Hours must have passed after I finally settled on the floor, a pillow under my head near the front door in case I heard a sound and fell sleep. I don’t know how long I slept, but a sudden noise from the apartment upstairs woke me with a start. Groggy, without thinking I automatically opened the door to robotically call his name.

“Maozer!”

I felt something pass across my feet. When I looked down I saw him casually walk inside and head for the kitchen and food. In my wild frenzy, I picked Maozer up and held him close to make sure he was real. Make sure I wasn’t dreaming. He was here. He was safe. He found his way back.

I looked at the clock. It was nine o’clock.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

From Maozer (in Spirit now)

Spirit Friends and Me

 

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FLYING HIGH!

Thunderbirds

So, he wanted to go see the Thunderbird Jets put on an air show at an airport about a 45-minute drive North. He bought tickets early for the yearly event. Really good tickets. He even bought a camera on eBay to take better photos since this was his third time seeing the show. I had gone once. It was thrilling, but didn’t want to go again. He couldn’t get anyone else to go and I felt bad for him, but I strongly felt I shouldn’t go. He was fine. This way he could have more freedom to enjoy what he loved – flying. All good.  Well, not exactly.

I was surprised when he told me he would go later that day, since the Thunderbirds were the last act in the air show. I remembered that, but did not know the timing of it all. He had the tickets. The VIP tickets and VIP parking. He would know best, right?

As he was pulling his car out of the driveway the words ‘This is going to be a fiasco’ were as clear as day in my head. That was all I knew… until he called me about an hour later to tell me the air show had already started before he arrived. He was now on a road to get to the airport that was closed because of… you guessed it… the air show already started. As he was talking to me on his cell, complaining about not getting into the airport to see the Thunderbirds, he started to shout “There they are! They just flew overhead!” I could hear the planes fly by. Now they were flying overhead to get back to the airport but he had nowhere to park or stop to see them perform except catching glimpses of them through his windshield. I heard them swoosh back and forth several times between the sound of his frustrated voice.

So, he got to see the Thunderbirds fly after all, but not in optimum circumstances or conditions, and had no photos to show… Oh, did I tell you he got lost coming home…What a fiasco.

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TAXI !!! 

 We were about to leave Manhattan during rush hour on a sweltering, I mean SWELTERING summer day – Do I have your sympathy yet? Thermometers were off the charts rising toward 98 degrees and the sidewalks in Manhattan screamed HOTTER! Needless to say, everyone was beyond a bad mood.

So, we’re driving down a side street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side hoping to get out of Manhattan as fast as possible when the car overheated. I mean smoke billowed out from under that hood as if a fire breathing dragon dived in there and wasn’t leaving. SCARY!

Obviously, we pulled over to the sidewalk where of course there is NO parking. Actually, there is no parking anywhere unless you double park/blocking traffic, park in front of a fire hydrant, park where there are no parking/standing signs, and the meter cops are not friendly- especially not on a HOT day.  Stressed enough? Well, from insult to heat seeking injury I was elected to sit on the hot sidewalk by the car to keep the Parking Gestapo at bay should they arrive while the owner/driver nervously paced in the shade and talking on the phone to make arrangements for a mechanic to stare down the fire breathing dragon lurking under the still steaming car hood. At this point, I didn’t know who was steaming more, the dragon or me.

After my third BIG GULP bottle of cold water, I was sitting on the sidewalk trying to ignore the sweat pouring off me by watching air-conditioned cars edge bumper to bumper past me in the street. While seated a random thought popped into my head… ‘I wonder if my friend that I haven’t seen in years since he moved to Brooklyn is still driving a cab? Hmmm, how he was doing… I wondered…

As if on cue, the air-conditioned taxi he drove came down the street toward Columbus Ave and stopped in traffic directly in front of me. As if in a dream, I rose from my heated sidewalk throne and slowly walked to his inert taxi stuck in traffic. I tapped on his closed window, he turned, I waved. Astonished to see me, he rolled down the window. Before we could utter a word, horns honked – the definition of a New York minute – traffic moved and he drove away.  …Be careful what you wish for on a hot NYC afternoon.

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BIRTHDAY WISHES

So today is my birthday… the beginning of my birthday week. What did I want? Simple things today…t people sending good wishes and love. That warmed my heart. flowers and birthday cake, presents. All good.

But what did I really want?  To take a walk in beautiful sunshine. Although it rained and was cloudy yesterday, the sun came out in the morning and there was a slight breeze as I walked parallel to the river, greeted by people I knew, enjoying the day and then as I thought I’d like a sign, a natural sign just for me for the day….and stopped. There,  right where I was walking was a beautiful doe. We stared at each other and she moved closer. I thought, thanks, have some food on me…. and so she did.

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THE CAT CAME BACK…

Lily and Boo

So, these are my cats. I won’t post a photo of the cat I’m about to describe because that cat was merely visiting and not mine at all.

It was early spring. The leaves weren’t on the trees just yet. I live near a water gully with lots of trees. It’s very private there except for wandering deer, possums, raccoons, etc. No people. So it was odd to see a woman and her teenage daughter traipsing around the trees there. I knew that sometimes kids played or took a shortcut home through the gully to neighboring streets, but that was rare. These people seemed to be looking for something.

Standing on my back porch, I watched until they ventured within hearing range toward me. The woman told me she was looking for her lost cat. Her daughter was crying. It seemed the cat escaped its carrier at the vet’s office down the road and now her cat was missing.  No one had seen it in the neighborhood, including me. I told her I would be on the lookout for her cat. What does your cat look like?  She didn’t answer as her daughter was already in her car, so she offered to drop off a flyer- she ran out of them while posting around the area. I told her to just knock on my door and I’d be glad to have a flyer and be on the lookout for her cat. Too upset to talk anymore they left. Not knowing even what color fur her cat had, I reconciled that I’d know the details soon enough.

She never came back. Stray cats came and went in the gully, most of them feral like the striped tomcat most people in the neighborhood fed, and I soon forgot about the lost cat.

Spring turned into summer and the days became hot while I tended my backyard garden. Cats and maybe a passing deer and squirrels were not uncommon in the gully especially at night.

Until one afternoon.

It was probably close to the end of the day when seemingly out of nowhere a cat ambled across my porch while I was sitting there admiring my flowers. This is that woman’s cat, just popped into my brain. The thought was fleeting. I didn’t even remember what the woman looked like, let alone how to contact her. And had no idea about her cat. What if it wasn’t her cat? Maybe the cat was just new in the neighborhood. People were always moving in and out of places. No. this was her cat.

I softly called the cat to me, not wanting to scare it. It was scrawny, but friendly. I quickly fed it and gave it water. It was famished. While it ate a second helping, I took one of our cat carriers and put the food and the cat inside it, not wanting it to run away.

I knew a person that used to work at the vet’s office down the road. Was she still working there? I called and she answered. She worked there part-time now and was just leaving. I asked her if she remembered the missing cat last spring. Was it ever found? She wasn’t sure. Was the cat orange? She wasn’t sure.  She thought the cat was orange. It was big and fat, she remembered. This cat definitely wasn’t big or fat. Was I caging someone else’s cat?  Maybe someone was missing this cat now?

Still going by my strong feeling, I drove the cat to the vet’s office. She thought it might be the cat, but still wasn’t sure, but offered to call the woman.  I told her I’d leave the cat with her only for a few hours, feeling guilty about keeping a cat that might already be missed by some other family.

The woman called me after she left the vet’s office with her two children. Although the cat was thin, they knew it was their cat. It even answered to her name. Having given up hope after such a long time she was so grateful, she offered me a reward. The fact that her cat was finally home was reward enough.

 

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SIGNS

It was around eight o’clock in the evening so many years ago, yet I remember it as vividly as if it just happened.  Just out of college I drove to a guy’s apartment to spend some  time with him. Driving down country roads in my VW bug, I noticed so many dead animals – nothing uncommon unfortunately for that time of year. It was spring and animal mating season and cars did not mix, but it seemed like many to catch my attention.

I hung out with the guy, and left around two a.m. as I had to get up early the next morning. Already sleepy, I got into my car and instead of driving back to the main country road, I turned up his street and kept driving knowing I took a wrong turn.  What? Frustrated and cranky over wasting so much  time I slowly turned around, and finally headed on my way home to my warm bed.

As I started down the main road again – about a mile along the way I saw a light swaying waist high in the in the distance. Odd. There were no streetlights, just this wavering light in the middle of the road. As I approached I could see a man, holding his shoulder and the light as if to stop me. I pulled alongside him and to my right were two cars, a lot bigger than mine crushed into each other. I couldn’t tell if there were others inside the cars in the dark.

He told me there had just been an accident and to please go for help.  Before I could utter a word or park my car to help him, a police car, with siren wailing followed by an ambulance arrived. The policeman waved me on and, shaken by the experience I left.

As I drove the remaining dark roads traveled earlier, I realized had I not turned the wrong way and continued driving for those five or ten minutes I would probably have arrived at the approximate time the accident occurred.  Shaken awake, I began to notice not one dead animal on the roads where there were so many, hours ago as I safely made my way home.

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The Mysterious Hunt for Japanese Salad Dressing

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I admit I was restless. It was a Sunday afternoon and it seemed everyone wanted to stay home, read the paper or a book, or binge watch TV. It was too cold to really be outside, but I had a bad case of cabin fever so I decided to take a ride. And for some reason all that morning I felt compelled to see about this marketplace in another town.

I’d received emails about it for months and passed it once when I took a wrong turn returning home, but really had no interest other than if someone was going there and I had nothing to do maybe I’d explore what it was about.

Today it was my mission for some random reason. So, wanting to take a ride I chose it as a first destination. Riding by the river was relaxing. Being away from people today was a gift. I just rode in silence, enjoying myself and now I had a destination. At first I passed it,  not realizing exactly where or what it was- it seemed so small.

I finally parked my car and went inside. It was quaint enough with homemade desserts and shelves with herbal teas. Seemed like different vendors  selling different foods in a quasi-European marketplace. As I wandered around, I thought I’d venture onto a natural food store about a half hour away and pick up some Japanese salad dressing someone I love was really wanting and never had time to buy it since the distance always seemed like an inconvenience. iToday, the sky was the limit. That spontaneously became my second destination after I left here.

I stepped into a second room filled with tables of food and stopped. There was the guy who sold the Japanese salad dressing standing behind a table. Now that dressing was only sold some days at the local farmer’s market if you were lucky  to find him or at that natural food market I was planning to visit.  It was touch and go as far as procuring this Japanese salad dressing. And there it was.

He was just as surprised to see me and quickly informed me that they were starting to close the market. I was just in time.  I quickly bought a few bottles of dressing and he threw in some edamame spread before leaving. Thrilled with being so directly guided I drove away, and with more free time I headed to the river contemplate my next adventure.

river    Oh yes, I took a picture of this tree across the street from the market, just because it was starkly beautiful.

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