Xena is never more than a foot from me unless she’s sleeping, eating or overseeing the other cats. She stares into my eyes, occasionally taking hold of my hand to lick it, rubbing against me, purring. Last night, she decided to make over my hair, gently arranging it the way she thought it should be. She’s our largest, strongest cat, a gorgeous tabby with clear bullseyes and totally symmetrical. She was a street cat who has grown more and more affectionate as she matures. The vet said she is the biggest female cat she’s ever had as a patient. Xena’s not a lap cat, although she tries to be—she’s just too big. Mostly she has to content herself with sitting as close beside me as possible. She sits next to my computer, but unlike Mingus, for instance, when she crosses in front of me, she never steps on a key. She gets on my vanity and manages to navigate to wherever she wants to go without knocking anything over. She reminds me of my wonderful Colette, one of the first cats Woody and I had together – another big Amazon. Colette actually liked the scent of one of my perfumes and would ever so carefully rub against it so that she’d smell like the perfume. It was French but I’ve forgotten the name.
Cats are so enormously individual. The more you put into them, the more you get of their personalities and the more affectionate they are. Schwartzie, the youngest, is most obsessed with the tree. All the cats lie under it, but every morning, there are a number of ‘kills’ including certain ornaments he removes just about every day. He is very careful and rather affectionate with his favorites. He hasn’t broken anything. In particular, there’s a kitten in a soft woven red stocking that he takes down every night. Sometimes again during the day. He cuddles with it. Rolls around the floor holding it.
Woody and I started cooking for the party Thursday, the day before. I made my triple chocolate pie and started a dilled potato salad with green beans. He cooked two lobsters for the mac and cheese and roasted a turkey breast that I made turkey salad with on Friday. Melenie came from Easthampton the morning of the party to cook with me. My ankle is still bad, but Friday morning, a lace up ankle boot to stabilize a badly sprained ankle, but with the help of the awkward boot, I was able to do my full share of the cooking.
The party was one of the best ever that we’ve given. I even met two poets from the Fine Arts Work Center who came with Sophia and Ann. Three people didn’t make it, one of whom I’m a little worried about as his health has been shaky. The other two were turned off myi the weather. We had 28 at the party and much good food. Melenie and I made chickpea feta salad, an Italian potato and bean salad, a curried turkey salad, Swedish meatballs and a great lobster mac and cheese. I had made a triple chocolate pie the day before. We had four cheese and Woody made a noodle kugel. We of course had our gravlax. People brought many goodies. Dale made little pastry cups full of chicken pate and both Janets brought great dishes. Sophia made a very rich buche de noel and Wilderness made a great tangerine cake. People usually leave by 9:30 [I told people to come @ 6:30; Woody told people to come @ 6 pm] except for a couple like Gigi who always helps clean up, but this time people styed till after 11. I couldn’t do this party without Melenie. That was especially true this time as I can’t stand much. I have to do everything perched on a high stool so I can reach the counters.
The advertised storm gave us a bit of wind and a lot of rain but nothing like what the weathermen said we would endure. Today is cloudy but dry and with very light wind.