Thursday, August 05, 2010

Fate or Insanity--You Be the Judge

Ever since Elvis died almost 2 years ago, people have been forwarding me news of kitties who need a home. Although they were all cute, I never felt the pull. Audrey seemed kind of happy to be a single kitty and, as I've said before, I am a strong believer in animal fate. When the pet that is meant to be yours comes along, it will be clear.

In late May, Neilson and I were walking to the subway in his neighborhood and came across a real sweet kitty. He came right up to us and we petted him for a long time. We debated whether he was a stray. He was dirty and little skinny--but not emaciated and had no fear of humans and was sitting in front of the stoop of a townhouse. It was hard to leave him, but we didn't want to steal someone's pet. Also, did Audrey really want another cat? Neilson contacted one of the neighborhood cat ladies, Vivian, who didn't know about him, suggesting he wasn't a stray. (She and her partner in cat care keep pretty close tabs on the feline population of Vinegar Hill). So that was a relief.

May 2010

But then Vivian called Neilson a month later, right when I was in the middle of my NEH workshop. The cat was a stray and was now living in her basement. (She has a lot of cats, so he couldn't stay in her apartment). He was very affectionate--thus she had named him Romeo.

I felt so torn. If it has just been me, no question--he would come home with me. But what about Audrey? Also I was going to be in and out of town all of July. I talked it over with Tracie, who was, reasonably, most concerned about Audrey. Vivian suggested I could take Romeo home and give things a try--but we all know it is very unlikely I would be able to give a kitty away. We called a few times to set up a visit, but never when Vivian was home, and she always called when I couldn't come over. I kept hoping we would hear Romeo had a found a great home, thus ending my dilemma.

Our last call went unreturned for over a week, when Neilson got a call from Linda, the other cat lady. She told him Romeo was now in a shelter--a no-kill shelter, but still depressing. It was Kitty-Kind, which adopts cats out of the Petco on Union Square--and if any of you have seen those animals, you know they do not look happy. This was upsetting news. Linda did say she knew someone who was thinking of adopting him, but when Neilson talked to that woman (Susan), it didn't sound likely. She already had a lot of cats and is a cat rescue lady herself. I eventually went online to see if Romeo was listed on the shelter's website. I half-hoped he would be available/half-hoped he had been adopted. I saw this picture:

Not a chipper kitty.

I sent an e-mail to see if he had been adopted that went unreturned. So yesterday, I went up to Union Square to see if he was there. And he was. Sweet as ever, but not happy at all in his little cage. So unhappy that it was noted on his "chart." So at this point, you can probably guess where this is going. I filled out the initial paperwork--there was supposed to be an interview and screening process, so I assumed it would be a week or so before I knew if he was coming home. But after I explained the whole seeing him on the street story, the woman in charge decided he could just come home with me that night. But she suggested I "foster with intent to adopt" in case it doesn't work with Audrey. (I asked how he was with other cats and was told he is "deferential." He lived on the street for at least a month or two in a neighborhood full of feral cats and had no evidence of being in a fight).

He is really a calm guy. There was some mewing when he was first put in the cage and while I waited on the street for a taxi. But as soon as we were moving, he settled right down. And there has been no hiding under the furniture, hissing, etc. I have changed his name to Dugan, which is my great, great grandmother's maiden name. (Neilson's neighborhood was originally named Vinegar Hill to attract Irish immigrants, so it seemed appropriate.)

Dugan and Audrey have not actually met yet. The newcomer is upstairs. I wanted to give him some time to adjust--plus, I think he might have a little cold and want that to clear up. I'm hoping he and Audrey make friends or at least are willing to be peaceful companions. I think it will be ok--while Audrey, in someways, seems to like being a single kitty, she also gets incredibly lonely when I'm away (even just at work) and often looks a little bored. And if worse comes to worse, we can always have an upstairs/downstairs situation, with each kitty having his and her own apartment. (Yes, I realize that is obnoxious).

I tried to outrun pet fate, but it proved impossible. I took some cute pictures of him last night, but seem to have misplaced my camera somewhere in my apartment. As soon as I find it, be ready for the deluge.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sarah and Andy on Flickr.

Originally uploaded by Red Peonies
I've loaded the pictures of Sarah and Andy's wedding that John put together on a CD onto flickr. We all look a little younger.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Gay Street

Visiting the old haunts.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

GO...Baby Go Go

A good friend of mine and her mother, Katie Winchester Wylonis and Margaret Winchester, have started a new toy company, Little Sib. The company' s mission is to create gender balanced toys that appeal to both boys and girls. Their first product line, Baby GoGo is in production and available for purchase.


"Baby GoGo™ by Little Sib reinvents the baby doll for the 21st century. Baby GoGo™ is a modern doll, appropriate for a boy or a girl to play with. Baby GoGo™ is a baby doll like most children today - bright and on the move. The Baby GoGo™ line includes stories, outfits and accessories featuring rich, contemporary colors that children will recognize from their own wardrobes and surroundings. Baby GoGo™ is a 13" doll,appropriate for toddlers and preschool age children.
Baby GoGo's adventures are beautifully documented in a series of full color storybooks, to be released with a companion outfit and/or accessory. The first book, Baby GoGo™ Goes Home, tells children the story of Baby GoGo™ leaving the hospital after being born and meeting siblings for the first time! The book comes packaged with Baby GoGo™ dressed in our sleepytime outfit and a cozy, soft blankie. Baby GoGo™ offers children, parents, and grandparents a fresh new look at the baby doll, an old and faithful friend."

Please visit the website and spread the word.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I am Free Enterprise contest

My friend Jen's husband has made a video for the I Am Free Enterprise contest. The 25 videos with the most views go onto the next round. As you can see, his has a certain family death march approach to life.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Texas Trip

Over the weekend, Neilson and I went to San Antonio and Austin. I gave a paper at a conference and we visited friends in Austin and Molly and Jerry in SA. Molly's house is adorable and looks much like Culkin houses everywhere. Highlights included a visit to the Lady Bird Johnson wildlife flower preserve and comparing breakfast tacos. More pictures on Flickr.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Project Runway commentary on Slate

As everyone knows, I love Project Runway and I also like reading endless post-mortems of the show on various blogs. I'm also a fan of some of the Slate podcasts, like Project Runway filled with characters you love to hate. Thrilling discovery- one of Slate's blogs has a post-show chat after Project Runway featuring many of my most loved and hated Slate journalists. Read the analysis of last night's episode here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Macjournal is Neato!

This is plug for Macjournal, a cool app I picked up last weekend. If you write at all, or need to take notes, this is a great app for managing musings, scribbles and major opuses in a single organized place. MAC and CNET each give it a rave.

CNET say: “MacJournal gives you a fairly intuitive, feel-good interface (especially its green-text-on-black, full-screen writing mode), and a ton of tools for organizing your thoughts and words, including a built-in calendar, good search function, a system of nested entries and journals, and keyword tags, labels, priorities, and other opportunities for annotation. You can include nearly any sort of content, from movies to PDFs to podcasts, and bloggers will like that its formatting translates well to HTML, with support for TypePad, Blogger, LiveJournal, and more. You also get password protection and encryption, integration with Apple's Mail, and a wide variety of export options, such as PDF, HTML, Word, and even iPod Notes.”

Further descriptions and reviews are found here and here.

There is a 15-day free trial and it costs 39.95 but I got it as part of a MAC bundle that was very cheap so just keep an eye out for deals.

BTW: I posted this entry for Red Peonies directly from Macjournal.


10 things to do each day to unclutter

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bode Miller

A friend alerted me to this clip of Bode Miller skiing in an earlier race. It is just this kind of thing that makes him great.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

For People Who Love Olympic Figure Skating and Being on Their Computers

So those of you who really like Olympic figure skating and being on your computers might be interested in the project Neilson's department at NBC is working on called "You Be The Judge." It is an interactive online tool that allows you to score the different elements of the figure skater's performance, as the judges would. You can do it while watching the performances as they are broadcast, or later, while watching on them DVR, or while watching them at Find out the details here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Belated Happy New Year

Neilson and I didn't quite get our new year's video ready in time, but here is our belated best wishes for a happy 2010 to everyone. Or an early happy Chinese New Year.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

It's Like He's Seeing Their Talking Points in Bullet Time

I wanted to embed the video of Jon Stewart's coverage of Obama talking to the Republicans on Friday--but I can't get the embedding to work. Follow the link instead.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Times to start charging for digital editions

The New York Times is going to start charging readers in 2011 if they read over a limit.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martha Stewart Cat Show

Last week, Martha Stewart had an entire show dedicated to cats and the wonder of having one as a pet. You can watch the show online.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Jody and I had a great time on our recent trip to Oswego. There was a ton of snow, which always cheers me up. We ordered food from Cananle's, had a beer at Greene's, had a beer at King Arthur's, bought books at the River's End, and visited Mrs. Morrison, among other traditional Oswego activities. Audrey accompanied us and she loved exploring the house.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Elise on Ice

My friend artist Elise Engler is blogging about her NSF funded Artist in Residency gig in Antarctica. Read Elise on Ice!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Monday, January 04, 2010

First Stew

Neilson and I had a little dinner party, in honor of a visit of one of his best friends from college who was visiting from Chicago. I used the occasion to break in my new Le Creuset dutch oven, a very generous gift from my parents for Christmas. I made this balsamic beef stew recipe from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook Simple Suppers. It was a bit hit, if I do say so myself.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Christmas of Animal Clackers and Batman

Originally uploaded by neilsonabeel
Neilson posted his pictures of the Denver Christmas festivities on Flickr as well.