March 06, 2007

Very Good News, and Very Bad News

The very good news first. My two beloved feline companions -- Fidele (the French word meaning "faithful friend"; Fidele is named after the hero's cat in this wonderful novel, A Tale of the Wind, by one of the two closest friends in my life to date), a very sweet (and occasionally ornery) girl who wandered up to my door and into my heart 13 years ago, when she was only about four months old (apparently abandoned by some entirely rotten human being), and Cyrano, an angelic boy who's now 8-1/2 -- have a new sister. Her name is Wendy, and she's about 10 years old. She had been fed by a couple of neighbors for many years, and lived as an outdoor cat. The neighbors moved away...and just left her here, to be fed by another neighbor. But she had no company at all (the neighbors who moved had spent an hour or two a day with her while they lived here), and she seemed completely miserable.

So I took her to the vet, to make sure she was healthy before bringing her home to the two other kids. And Wendy is fine, thank the gods. She's been here for almost a month, and is very comfortable now in the bedroom. She rarely comes into the living room, where Fidele and Cyrano hang out (and where I write). The three of them are slowly beginning to tolerate each other, but it's going to take a while. Since Wendy spent almost all of her life as an outdoor cat, I think just becoming an indoor cat must be an enormous trauma for her. (Now that she has a home, I'm not about to let her outside in the middle of Los Angeles. It's much too dangerous out there; in fact, Wendy's brother, who lived outside with her, got killed by a car only about six months ago.) So I'm finally learning how to be patient, and I'm simply giving all of them as much time and love as they need. And Wendy is incredibly loving. She sleeps on top of me for much of the night, and nuzzles up against me all the time. It wakes me up now and then, but I can't say I mind a bit. :>))

I had thought of taking Wendy to the vet for several weeks, and I was only able to afford it because of the great generosity of a number of you in response to the entry I now not-so-fondly refer to as the "let me rip out my bloody guts and roll around in them for a while" post. Wendy's visit and all the tests cost $215. And now that she's here, I need to take Fidele and Cyrano in too, to get their shots up to date and make sure they're otherwise all right (which they seem to be, a few minor problems over the past year aside). That was the money I was going to use to finally get a broadband connection and television, the lack of which I mentioned in the earlier post. I can't say it was a difficult choice at all: wonderful cats versus more internet speed and TV? Not even close.

That's the good news. The bad news is, I'm afraid, very bad indeed. One of my two sisters has just been diagnosed with a very serious illness. Because she and other family members read my blog periodically, I don't want to say more than they would prefer, so I'll skip the particulars. Suffice it to say that it doesn't get much more serious than this. I'll need to go up to Berkeley/Oakland in a week or two; both my sisters and their families live there. I expect I'll need to make a few more trips there over the next couple of months.

Since it's only L.A. to Berkeley/Oakland, it's not very expensive. Thanks to your great kindness, I have enough money to pay next month's rent, plus a few hundred dollars to live on until then. (Your donations obviously went toward February and March rent, and paid off some accumulated bills as well.) Basically, the money I spend to visit them will come out of the April rent, which puts me roughly back in the territory of that post from hell. So, yes, I'm unfortunately asking for even very small donations you might be able to make; hopefully, people who didn't donate before might chip in $5 or $10. Those of you who have been so wonderfully generous already: please ignore this! Most of you know from the earlier post how much I loathe this business, but I obviously don't have a choice in these circumstances.

On my behalf, I will say that I think the writing has been going pretty well over the last month. In large part, that too has been because of your generosity: not worrying about where the next meal is coming from or if the electricity will be turned off tends to make it infinitely easier to focus on the writing, which is often very demanding in light of the kinds of subjects I cover. I have a great deal of writing planned, and I'm in the middle of drafts of several essays right now. So, only if you are able to and if it's not a hassle in any way at all, I would be enormously grateful for any contributions you would consider making, in any amount at all.

I think I'll go play with the kids for a little while, and I'll be back this evening or tomorrow morning. Many thanks to everyone for your extraordinary kindness and consideration, as always.