Thursday, October 9, 2008

Up to my ears in cat stuff....

This is me, painting kitty faces on little kids at a recent festival in Warwick, New York.

I keep getting e-mails from people saying, "Are you all right?" I tell them, "Yeah, I'm just busy! I'll write a letter soon!" Looking at the date of my last post, I guess I've been saying that too long. I think at first, I was just too exhausted from all the stuff about Mom and clearing out her house to even think about writing, and that was soon combined with a computer crash, followed by a busy summer that found me doing something for the cat shelter almost every weekend, and on top of THAT, my new and wonderful job. So I'll take these in reverse order.


Back in early March, when things were really awful, my friend Lindy told me that angels had told her I shouldn't worry about money, because a fabulous job was going to drop into my lap on the same day as my unemployment ran out. Lindy has been exploring her spiritual side, and I like to be supportive, so I thanked her heartily for her good wishes. Then darn, if she wasn't right! I got an e-mail out of nowhere from Charles Rock. He is an attorney, looking for a managing paralegal to run his office, just across the river from where I live. He's not your average attorney (before becoming a lawyer he was a professional classical guitarist, who performed all over the place) but he has had a successful practice, suing doctors, but now he has decided to switch gears and focus on cases that he thinks have some underlying social importance, like lead-poisoning of children. He also decided he didn't want to work with grumpy people anymore, so he farmed out most of his old cases and hired an all-new staff!

He didn't hire me for the manager job--instead, he asked me if I'd like to work as an attorney. I didn't think I'd really want to do that again, but I find I am enjoying it. I forgot how much I like to do legal writing--figuring out arguments to get around obstacles and then finding the right case law and the right language to beat the opposition into a pile of blubbering jelly! Ha! I now fearlessly stride into courtrooms and act like I know what I'm doing. I am still struggling a bit, getting used to a completely different court system and a very complicated computer case-management system, but Charles is completely supportive. I love the other extremely competent women (Yeah! He only hired women!) in the office--Liz, Chrissy and Jenny. It takes me just minutes to get to work, I can take time off when I need it, and the work we do suits my values.


During the summer the cat shelter ( carries on fund-raising activities at festivals. I make things to sell, like magnets, pins and earrings, and I make a nice pot of change painting kitty and puppy faces on little kids. It seems I have something going on almost every weekend. That is winding down somewhat, but I am the chairman of the annual auction, in November. Our basement is filling up with donations, and I just finished making 30 centerpieces for the tables. The cat calendar I designed was finally produced, and Mom's favorite cat, Popcorn, is Mr. February. Doing this stuff for the cats took on a different importance when we couldn't find homes for three of Mom's kitties, and had to bring them to New York, to the shelter. The picture I (I think!) put on the blog is one of me, at the shleter, holding her beautiful Pussyfoots. I'm glad to say that Foggie was adopted a few weeks ago, and sorry to say that Mousie (her very old cat) has left ths earth.
I enjoy doing things for the cats, because in some way, I feel I'm doing it for my Mom and for other old ladies out there who are worried about what will happen to their little friends when they can't take care of them anymore.


About a week ago I made another trip to Michigan, to help my brothers make the final decisions about what to do with stuff in Mom's house. I was a little surprised to find I am not melancholy about the house. I hope someone with kids will buy it--it is certainly magical to be able to grow up in a house on a river. The real eatate market has tanked so badly, and the house is not in particularly good shape, it is evident to anyone entering it that cats used to live there, and also, Mom painted it a very LOUD yellow and green, that will not suit the tastes of very many people. It will sell for much less than it's worth, if it sells before the bank forecloses on the reverse mortgage.  Maybe someone will even tear it down.
If so, that will be too bad.  It really is pretty, and I love all the wilderness that grows around it. Mom wrote a wonderful essay about it, called "Sacred Ground."  But where she connected the river and the land and the house to her "dear little ghosts," I have discovered that all those memories reside in me, and I can say good-bye to the place they were born.