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An extraordinary time

The past couple weeks, since I last wrote, has been an extraordinary time, gang. So much beauty, even though some of it has been bittersweet.

After I last posted about the kittens, one of them died. I tried to look on it as simply Mother Nature, the whole process. Huckleberry didn't seem fazed by it at all, so I tried to follow her lead, although it was tough. More than a little heartbreaking. I finally got up the courage to take the dead kitten away from her little nest, take it out back and bury it in the nearly frozen ground. But I soon discovered, through a convoluted series of events that I won't even go into here, that Tom -- the other female in my trio of rescued kittens -- had also had a litter of kittens at the same time. So, yes, I have had seven newborn kittens in the house. In addition to the six other cats who live here.

To say it has been surreal is an understatement. But also what an extraordinary amount of joy, gang. As they have grown and opened their eyes and started to just barely move around a bit, they are the most beautiful little creatures I have ever seen.

Right after the kittens were born -- on the first day of spring, in fact -- a favorite uncle of mine died. It was not tragic, because he was nearly 100 years old. An auspicious day, in my opinion, to go off to the next big adventure. However, it was still bittersweet. When he and my aunt were both still alive, and back when I lived in New York City, they would come visit me and we would have the very best times.  It is kind of hard to believe all of that is over. Every bit of it, in fact, because even New York City has changed so much since those days that it is almost unrecognizable.

Then I got a text message from my sister the other day that if I wanted to say goodbye to my grandmother, I needed to drive down there immediately. (This is my biological family.) My grandmother was also very old, although nowhere near 100. But she'd had a long, full life. I don't know that she would have described it as "fulfilling" but certainly full and long. So I tried like crazy to rearrange my schedule and I got down there to say goodbye. She did indeed die the next night -- this past Thursday. The trip itself was kind of amazing because it was a really gorgeous spring day, and I made the drive down there with a very old friend of mine. (She's not old, we've just known each other for 41 years.) We had the very best time, oddly enough -- considering the circumstances. It was a sort of homecoming for both of us. The first time I met my grandmother -- in the spring of 1986 -- this same friend had been with me. So it was rather fitting and nice that she would be with me when I went to tell my grandmother goodbye.

This grandmother and I did not get along too well for many, many years. She had some issues with/about my biological dad. You know how sometimes people force you "to choose"? Oh well. But it was still nice to be there in her hospice room with both of my uncles, my biological mom, my sister, and of course my grandmother -- it was the first time all of us had been in the same room together, ever. It was a very special, poignant, beautiful feeling. Then I had to turn around and drive back home. But my friend and I shared some wonderful memories about those first years that I knew my grandmother -- a fried catfish dinner that was superb -- my friend was also at the dinner. In fact, she and another close friend of ours was there, along with my grandmother and her husband, Wayne; my Aunt Dot and my Uncle Jim were both still alive, too. It was a really sunny summer evening, and Wayne had caught the catfish fresh that afternoon. We were all sitting around my Aunt Dot's small kitchen table, having the time of our lives as the sun went down in a small Ohio town. A memory so perfect it is preserved in my mind as one of my very happiest memories. I was 27.

Well, throughout all this these last two weeks, I was also still in school full-time, also out looking at houses that I might want to buy since, by this time next year, I'll be in a whole new world; and I've been working like crazy as three more former clients popped up out of nowhere -- I've also been teaching and editing. And still writing that fantastic screenplay with my co-writer, Kevin, in Brooklyn. Going to church. Celebrating Easter with the little girl I mentor. And on top of that, other personal stuff is going on that is very challenging in a couple different areas of my life. I now rely on melatonin to get any sleep whatsoever, my life is so in overdrive...

Yes, in short, an extraordinary time. 

All right, in closing, I leave you with a few photos from the past couple weeks! Thanks for visiting, gang.

A few photos of Huckleberry and her kittens over 2 weeks' time.

The only photo so far of Tommy and one of her kittens. They live in the insulated cat house out in my sun room.