Moxie’s Birthday, or How to Party Like You’re Six Years Old

I celebrated a birthday this weekend. It wasn’t a milestone birthday, so I didn’t plan any big celebrations – instead, I stayed home and continued to focus on getting better after a nasty bout of the flu, which I like to think of as the zombie virus from Hades.

I made the comment to a friend that after picking up cough syrup at the pharmacy I felt as if I were six years old, and it got me thinking: what would a six year old do on her birthday? Here’s what I came up with:

How to Party Like You’re Six Years Old

Starring Moxie, Ippie and Rooney

party, birthday, cat ears, leopard print cat ears

Every good party must include some sort of hat. I put on my cat ears.

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They fit perfectly. Now it’s time to party.

Pick up the cat to show off to your friends how much she loves you.

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My kitty cat Ippie is so pretty and soft!

When she meows in irritation from how you’re holding her and squirms out of your arms, act like you totally meant to put her down anyway, because you have to go take your cough medicine now.

icky medicine

I don’t want to take my medicine right now.

Because you’re grown, you can put your cough medicine in a shot glass. But because you are grown, you also know that the medicine delivery method will not make the medicine taste any better.

It smells funny. I don't want to take it.

It smells funny. I don’t want to take it.

cough medicine, medicine, taste

That medicine was gross. I want to scrape it off my tongue.

Because you are grown, you can have a chaser after your medicine.

cough medicine, medicine, root beer, taste

I’m gonna drink some root beer to get the taste of icky medicine out of my mouth.

root beer, birthday, party

Mmmm, root beer makes everything better.

Show off the birthday card you got in the mail from your grandma. She sent you a letter, too, but you’ll read that later.

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I got a card and a bookmark from my grandma!

Now it’s time to have one, JUST ONE, of your birthday cupcakes. Because you are grown, you picked them out and purchased them yourself at the neighborhood gluten-free bakery. You’re not supposed to eat gluten anymore because it makes your stomach hurt, but sometimes you still do it when no one’s watching.

birthday, party, cupcakes, gluten free cupcakes

I have TWO cupcakes! One is blueberry vanilla and the other is chocolate.

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I am going to eat my blueberry vanilla cupcake first.

blueberry, vanilla, cupcake, gluten free

It’s really good! I like it!

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I ate the blueberries on top of the frosting. They were good.

Now it’s time for some party activities. You break out the coloring book and crayons because coloring is fun and you’re really good at it.

crayon, coloring, coloring book, birthday, party

I need the right color crayon for Cinderella’s hair. I think goldenrod would work.

coloring, crayons, coloring book, concentrating

Sometimes when I’m concentrating real hard I stick out my tongue. It helps a lot when I’m trying to stay inside the lines.

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Rooney kitty jumped up where I was coloring and made me mess up!

crying, Rooney, cat, coloring, crayons, coloring book

I didn’t want to mess up my picture! I was coloring it for YOU!

pouting, pout, birthday, party

I’m going to pout now.

When you really were six, Jennifer McCloskey would steal the gold and silver crayons because she said they were real and you and her little brother & sister weren’t worthy of using them. She left you with copper, and even though you were only six years old, you still knew copper wasn’t worth crap. Because you are grown now, you use the gold and silver crayons WHENEVER YOU DAMN WELL PLEASE.

gold crayon, silver crayon, crayons, coloring

I have the gold and silver crayons, Jennifer. So nyah nyah nyah.

Ippie, cat, crayons, coloring, coloring book

Now Ippie wants to mess with my crayons.

Ippie, cat, crayons, coloring, coloring book

No Ippie! Bad kitty! Leave my crayons alone!

You get a surprise phone call from your best friend Deena who couldn’t make it to your party. Because she is grown, she is in Atlantic City with her boyfriend.

birthday, best friend, party

My best friend called me to say happy birthday!

My best friend tells the funniest stories. She got sick on grape soda! And then she ate Chinese food! She is funny!

My best friend tells the funniest stories. She got sick on grape soda! And then she ate Chinese food! She is funny!

coloring, coloring book, crayons

I finished my coloring! Do you like it?

Now it’s time for some dancing.

The party is almost over, so it’s time to sing “Happy Birthday” and have another cupcake.

birthday, party, chocolate cupcake, gluten free

It’s time to sing happy birthday!

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Make a wish! But don’t tell anybody or it won’t come true!

birthday, wish, candle, party

I blew out the candle all by myself!

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I’m gonna eat the frosting first because it’s my birthday.

birthday, party, chocolate cupcake, gluten free

The frosting is good. Now I’m gonna eat the cake part.

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It’s a really good cupcake!

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I have chocolate frosting on my finger! Hee hee!

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Thanks for coming to my birthday party! I hope you’ll come next year too!

Taking the Long Way Around

Since I was a kid, I have always gotten a little maudlin in the week leading up to my birthday. Mentally I was on track to be feted and honored in spectacular ways, showered with adoration and gifts. Then the actual day would arrive and it was always a letdown. Celebrations never seemed big or grandiose enough. Presents fell short in some way: it was the wrong color or size, it was a book/movie/record I already owned, it showed that the giver had no sense of my likes and dislikes. Someone would attempt to surprise me and the control freak in me would get upset. One year I caught my high school friends starting to decorate my locker and I demanded they stop. I still remember the hurt, disappointed looks they gave me.

I still struggle with pre-birthday depression. Now that Momcat is gone, my grief over losing her too soon is added to my emotional cocktail of regret, disappointment, and anger. I try to fight it and get excited about my birthday, make plans to do fun things. But sometimes you cannot fight the mean reds: they demand attention, a few tears, maybe an extra hour or two curled up in bed.

The thing about the mean reds is that they are based on fear, as Holly Golightly tells us. The frustrating part is that a trip to Tiffany doesn’t always make the fear go away. What I’ve found over the last year, though, is that the really awesome thing about getting to forty is my growing acceptance of what is and what should never be (to quote Led Zeppelin). Releasing my fear is an ongoing process, but  when combined with my ever-growing awareness that time is fleeting, it’s much easier to release those fears.

Last year I said that being fully engaged and present in every moment is the best gift I can give myself. I still believe that. And over the past year I have learned that it’s very unhelpful to beat myself up for all the moments when I have been afraid to stretch myself. What is helpful is to go do the big scary thing, whatever that might be, and accept the fact that the worst thing that can happen is nothing. It’s very much like Dorothy pulling aside the curtain and discovering the wizard is just a little man with a big machine.

Over the past few days I have been thinking a lot about this song by the Dixie Chicks. T-Wizzle gave me this CD and I listened to it many times in my car as I drove to a job I hated. This song has even more relevance to me now, because I have taken the long way to get where I am at today. And you know what? With all its struggles and fears, I like it here. I like it a lot.

Everything Must Change

Three years ago today, I got reduced to part-time hours at my office job. At the time I was relieved to not be completely laid off, but still frustrated that I wouldn’t be making as much money. I told my boss, “This is a blessing because now I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.”

I didn’t know what the next year held in store for me. Because by November 15 of 2009, my grandfather, his second wife, and Momcat had all died.

Grandpa and his wife died within 24 hours of each other in January. They had been married for a little over 10 years, I think, and had a lot of affection for each other. They traveled a lot and stayed fairly healthy up to the last year of their lives. Grandpa had just turned 95 about a month earlier.

Momcat was another story. She’d been in poor health for years, with autoimmune disorders and other ailments affecting her as well as chronic anxiety and depression. In September of 2009 she fell and broke her arm. Then she got pneumonia, had a heart attack in the hospital, and in early October she died at a rehabilitation facility from what the doctors suspect was a pulmonary embolism. She was 66, just shy of turning 67.

Since then, the holidays have been tough for me. To be frank, the last 4 months of the year are hard. Remember that TV show “Quantum Leap”, where the scientist would go back in time to alter events? There’s a part of me that wishes I could go back to that moment right before Momcat broke her arm. Or do you watch “Fringe”, where there’s an alternate universe that looks very much like this one, right down to the inhabitants? Sometimes I wish I could get to that alternate universe and spend time with Momcat again.

But I’m here, in this universe and without the means to bend time or travel through it. And it’s really hard sometimes. The last few weeks have been particularly stressful, probably because it was the second anniversary of her death and this Sunday would have been the umpteenth anniversary of her 38th birthday. I’m making it through as best I can. Some days are easier than others.

I titled this post after a song by Paul Young, who was big in the 80s. Because as much as I dislike change sometimes, especially when it means people I love are no longer in this world, I’m still aware that change is a part of this silly, mysterious, crazy, sad, scary, wonderful, amazing thing called life.

It Was Forty Years Ago Today

I’ve been reflecting on many things as I enter my fourth decade on the planet. I never thought this is where I’d wind up: living in Northern CA, woefully underemployed, single, and way fatter than I should be.

Funny thing is, I feel so far from 40 that it’s shocking. This morning I woke up early, all excited and giggly, just as I did when I was still in the single digits. When a birthday meant a pizza party with your friend at Shakey‘s or cake and ice cream at Farrell’s, the drum pounding loudly and the sirens blaring as the servers rushed to your table with a blazing confection. When you’d finally get to unwrap the growing pile of presents sitting at the end of the dining room table, including a couple brown parcels from family who live far away. When the day felt so full of fun and the year ahead full of promise and opportunity.

I’m glad I feel so ecstatic and hopeful today, as opposed to the mood swings over the last couple months that I’ve been chalking up to a mid-life crisis. But as frustrating and painful as those moments of “what am I doing with my life, what does it all mean” have been, they have also forced me to be honest with myself about what the last forty years have brought me.

I’m not in a serious relationship, but I’m much more clear with my boundaries and I’m not tolerating bullshit from anyone I date the way I used to do.

I don’t have a full-time job, but I’ve gotten to work in several industries I was interested in, and I learned a lot about my abilities as a writer and publicist as a result.

Momcat is gone, and I hate that she’s not here for my big 4-0. I wonder if she would be teasing me or saying “You’re going to have to pick another age because I’m still 48.” But we were able to work out our issues several years before she died, and I am very grateful for that.

Out of all the eureka moments, the biggest epiphany to date has been in learning the value of the moment. Over the last six months my mind flashes back to experiences from my youth, my marriage, my career. I watch these memories flicker across my mental cinema and at times I long to recapture certain events on a more sensory level: the taste of Momcat’s cooking, the smell of Maryland air after a spring rainstorm, the sound of the Atlantic  crashing into me as I try to stay on Deena’s raft. Sometimes the effort of slipping back into those memories physically hurts. I worry that I didn’t appreciate those moments as much as I should have; that I wasn’t as present as I could have been.

Going forward, I want to remember this, that being fully engaged and present in every moment is the best gift I can give myself. I suspect awareness is also a Fountain of Youth, but I have yet to discover whether this is true. If my grandfather were still living, he’d likely say to me today, “You’re not over Fool’s Hill yet.” Nope, and you know what? That’s fine with me.

Happy Birthday T-Wizzle!

One thing I’m definitely very thankful and grateful for this year would be my friends. And the one friend who has been instrumental in getting me out of my own head is the lovely T-Wizzle. Today not only happens to be Thanksgiving, it also is her birthday. So please join me in wishing her many blessings for the year ahead…and let’s take a look at some of T-Wizzle’s favorite things.

My girl T-Wizzle loves her some technology, and this year she’s been obsessed with the new Dell Mini laptops. Last I recall, she was still drooling over them but didn’t think they were going to impact her productivity as much as she had originally fantasized. But if someone put one in her hot little hands I know she wouldn’t turn it down.

In keeping with the technology theme, let’s talk about T-Wizzle’s smartphone, the Treo 680. She loves this phone and has tricked it out with so many third-party apps and cool things that I can no longer keep track. The phone is on its last legs but because it does everything she wants it to do, T-Wizzle is having a hard time selecting the next phone worthy of her love and affection.

Another gadget much adored by T-Wizzle is her Zune MP3 player. I don’t remember which model she has, but she is a big fan of Zune products. She got particularly excited recently when she saw someone else with one, as these aren’t the most sought-after players for some reason (cough-iPod taking over the world-cough).

Lest people think she is all about the gadgets, think again. T-Wizzle is a fashion conscious young woman who also loves a great bargain. This is why I think she’s such a fan of Forever 21. I’ve gone in that store on a few occasions and I just don’t get the fascination – nor do I get the need for a clothing store to sound like a freakin’ nightclub, but whatever. I will tag along with her to Forever 21, though, if only to make sure she stays entertained while shopping.

Another fashion favorite of T-Wizzle’s is Vera Bradley, known for her vibrantly colored designs for handbags and accessories as well as home decor. The prints are really bright and fun – two words I would also use to describe T-Wizzle’s personality. I think this picture is of one of her favorite prints, Pink Melon, but I can’t be certain. I’m sure she’ll tell me later.

T-Wizzle is also a big fan of office supplies and productivity products. On the top of her list is Franklin Covey – she’s relied on their planners and software for a long time. She’s taught me a lot about goal setting based on what she learned from attending FC seminars and classes. We joke that FC is a cult and I think it’s actually true. Recently I started reading Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and realized that T-Wizzle had been quoting that book to me for years.

In the same way I’ve always been intrigued by Marie Antoinette, T-Wizzle is taken with Eva Peron. She’s read books about her, watched documentaries, and is a HUGE fan of the musical Evita. Stand back, Buenos Aires!

The 5-Minute Update

This whole full-time job thing really interferes with my blogging time, I must say. Several people have given me flak for not writing more – you know who you are (cough-T-wizzle-cough).

Until that magic moment when I actually focus on creating more time to blog, here’s a quick rundown of what’s been going on.

1. I am doing well, thanks for asking.
2. New Orleans was a lot of fun. The Voodoo Music Experience was fantastic – R.E.M.’s show was incredible, Stone Temple Pilots and Nine Inch Nails were great, Erykah Badu was awesome. I have now used up all my synonyms for “damn good” in this post.
3. I am now in a carpool that has saved my sanity. Still bussing it from time to time – will probably do so tonight as I got to the office quite early – but it’s not as much anymore.
4. I plan on buying a car by the end of the month.
5. I am still working on my new blog, Mass Transit Tales. I’m hoping to get the core of it posted by the end of this year. If you’d like to submit a story that is inspiring, humorous without being snarky and involves riding the bus/train/subway/trolley, please send it to editors at masstransittales dot com.

And now for a quick shout out:

To all you veterans out there, thanks for all you’ve done for the U.S.A. I hope President-elect Obama does right by you and gets you the medical and financial assistance you need.

To Aunt Gigi, happy birthday! She’s a big lover of Spode Christmas Tree dinnerware (see below), office supplies, party planning and enjoying life. May the next year be full of wonderful blessings for you, Gigi. I’ll see you at Christmas – and this year, I am going to blog about the Spode.

Happy Birthday Moxie!

Yep, that’s right, kids, it’s my birthday. And since I did this for Momcat and Pops, I might as well keep up the tradition and do a list of some of my favorite things. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’re probably already familiar with some of these things. For the Moxie neophytes, take notes. There will be a test later.

I have been studying astrology and Tarot for 8 years. I find both disciplines to be incredibly fascinating and a great tool for self-awareness. I love analyzing astrology charts for other people, as well as reading Tarot cards for them. Anyone who’s into Tarot will tell you that there are tons of Tarot card and oracle decks on the market, and that it’s very tempting to just keep accruing decks. I have four oracle decks and four Tarot decks – and yes, I want more. Sue me.

I grew up in a very diverse town and went to school with a number of Indian kids. As such, I attended parties at the homes of my Indian classmates and had my fair share of curries, raita, mango chutney, and other classic Indian dishes. Nowadays I consider an Indian brunch buffet to be a smorgasbord of comfort food. Bring on the vegetarian samosas and the chicken tikka masala!

I admit it, I love this movie. Yes, yes, it’s got a stupid plot and lame dialogue, but dear god, it’s Olivia Newton-John! She’s a muse and she’s inspiring the guy with the ugly hair to go be creative! You have to believe we are magic! You just have to!

I have this weird addiction to office supplies. Paper, pens, notebooks, clips, day planners, binders, Post-It notes, folders…it all makes me drool with delight. Walking through Staples or Office Depot is therapeutic to me. Aunt Gigi has a similar office supply addiction, and as a result she has given me some of the funkiest, coolest file folders, notepads, and pens. My favorite thing so far is the file folder that says “It’s Good to Be the Queen.” Hell yeah!

Featured on TLC’s “Miami Ink,” Chris Nunez is part owner of a tattoo shop and a bar in Miami. When I see him on TV, I get slack-jawed and giggly and stupid. Just writing about him makes me feel a little loopy. I love the dark, mysterious-looking guys, which as we now know can be my Achilles heel.

Karaoke is another form of therapy for me. I love attention, so it’s only fitting that I love to get up in front of people and do something, anything, to make them look at me. Fortunately I have a decent enough voice that I can belt out “Lady Marmalade” and not have people pay me to shut up. While I have yet to buy my own karaoke CDs, I do have a spreadsheet on my Palm TX with all the songs I like to sing, broken down by venue and/or karaoke DJ. God bless technology.

Happy Birthday Pops

Today is Pops’ birthday. He’s celebrating down south with family and having a great time. Just like I did for Momcat, here are a few of his favorite things.

Baseball is extremely important to Pops. He actually plays in several over-50 leagues, and manages his own team (see angry rooster above – that’s his team’s mascot) of old guys that love to run around and play ball. His favorite professional team is the Detroit Tigers, but he will go to see major league games anywhere there’s a ballpark. While I was growing up, I went to many Baltimore Orioles games, thanks to Pops and his baseball-loving buddies.

When Pops isn’t playing baseball, he’s playing Texas Hold ‘Em. He’s competed in a few tournaments and done fairly well. One year for his birthday I gave him a couple of books on strategy and how to win. I told him, “If you’re going to gamble away my inheritance, I want you to at least do it intelligently.”

Remember this poster? When Bo Derek came on the scene with the movie “10”, Pops was smitten. Interestingly enough, she has the same birthday as Momcat. Guess Pops likes those Scorpio women.

Pops is also fond of Barbra Streisand, but for different reasons. He loves her music and I grew up listening to many of her tunes – heck, I even sing a few at karaoke.

Pops has seen every episode of “Bonanza”, I think. Once we were walking through Inyo National Forest and he stopped and said, “Hey, Moxie, this looks like a scene on Bonanza where Hoss and Little Joe were riding over the hills…” We kept walking. A few minutes later he stopped again and said, “Now this looks like a scene where Hop Sing and Joe Cartwright came up on some bandits…” I gave him a look and we continued walking. Another few minutes pass, and Pops stops. “Moxie, you see that hill over there, and the trees?” “Yeah, I see it,” I muttered. “That doesn’t look like anything on Bonanza,” he said, and started laughing.

Happy Birthday Momcat

Today Momcat celebrates the anniversary of her 38th birthday. Her head would explode if I posted any picture of her on here, so I won’t do that. Instead I will post pictures of some of her favorite things, such as:
Taylor of London Freesia – Momcat claims this is the most authentic freesia perfume. I don’t have anything else to compare it to, so I’ll just take her at her word.

Beads – Momcat loves her beads. She’s made a lot of pretty baubles for me over the years.

Patrick Swayze – The only time I ever remember hearing Momcat gush over an actor’s attractiveness was after she watched Dirty Dancing. “That Patrick Swayze has a body!” she said to me. She thinks he’s the bee’s knees.

Vegetarian Chinese food – There is a restaurant near my parents that serves really amazing, all-vegetarian Chinese cuisine. Momcat especially loves the lemon vege-chicken dish.

Lavender – You can’t go wrong buying the Momcat something that is either lavender in scent or color. She absolutely loves it. Last year I sent her a Mother’s Day care package with a lavende/purple theme: a lavender T-shirt, purple pen, purple mini Sharpie, and a DVD of Ladies in Lavender. It was a big hit.

Judi Dench – Another one of Momcat’s favorite actors. Of course, I like Judi Dench as M in the last few James Bond films, but alas, Momcat is not a Bond fanatic like me. Maybe we can all have high tea at Fortnum & Mason sometime.

The Furriest Little Pimp Turns 15

Today we celebrate the birth of a living legend. His feats of agility and cunning are known to many, and loved by most. His skills in pimpery are a testament to his keen psychic ability to determine who holds the cheese, or ice cream, or possibly a burger. He is known by several names: Pook, Moss, Darkness, Fluffernutter, Fluffers, Kit, and You Little F****r. You, dear blog reader, know him as Mossimo.

Mossimo came into my life in October of 1996. A month or so earlier, my best friend Deena’s* brother had died suddenly, leaving behind his longhair black cat, Mossimo. One day Deena called me to talk about the cat. Mossimo was living with her brother’s friend but Deena was not at all thrilled about the arrangement. “He lets the cat outside all the time and doesn’t seem to really want to take care of him,” she said. While Mr. Ex-Moxie and I already had a cat and a cockatiel, I was open to having another cat. “I’ll take him, just let me know when you want to meet,” I told her. About a week later Mr. Ex-Moxie and I drove out to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to meet Deena and Mossimo. He was nervous and shedding like crazy, but still a beautiful cat with big green eyes. She handed me the cat and we took him home.

Within about 2-3 weeks, Mossimo was sick. His coat was dull and his body was listless. When I stayed home sick one day, Mossimo laid on my lap for hours while I watched TV. I knew things were pretty bad when I saw him sitting by the food and water, not even attempting to eat or drink. Mr. Ex-Moxie was not at home, so I called Momcat. “Mom, something’s wrong with Mossimo, he’s not eating,” I said. “Can you come over?” She got to the apartment, looked at him, and said, “We better take him to the vet.” It was late in the evening and my vet didn’t keep emergency hours, so we drove to an emergency clinic 30 minutes away. The staff took Mossimo from me and came back to say that his chest was filled with fluid and he was very sick. They were going to do what they could for Mossimo until the morning, and then I would have to take him to my regular vet. When Momcat heard the bill amount of $800, she nearly fell over. I was too much in shock to do anything but nod and pay the bill. It would turn out to be the cheapest vet visit for Mossimo over the next month.

The next morning I returned to the clinic, picked up Mossimo, and took him to my vet. He looked Mossimo over and diagnosed him with a pyrothorax infection. “Any idea how he could have gotten this?” the vet asked. “Normally we only see this in cats that got into a fight with another cat and got scratched up, or one that was outside and got a thorn in its chest.” I had no idea, since I’d just gotten Mossimo only a couple weeks earlier. The vet said that Mossimo needed urgent care, as his lungs were filled with fluid and he’d become jaundiced as well. He gave us a referral to the Barn, a local VCA hospital that could give the cat round-the-clock treatment. The treatment would not come cheap, however. He said we needed to consider the possibility that Mossimo would not make it.

At the time, Mr. Ex-Moxie and I were in the process of buying our first home. Those expenses plus a sick little kitty were not really part of our master plan. But we’d fallen in love with this 4-year-old ball of black fluff and we wanted to do what we could for him. Deena’s parents gave us some money to help cover the expenses, but told me that they thought we should put Mossimo to sleep. They were grieving over the loss of their child, so I don’t begrudge them their aloofness about their son’s cat. It was probably too painful of a reminder.

Over the next month or so, Mossimo lived at the Barn and got the best veterinary care. He’d gotten a Mohawk in order to accommodate the drainage tubes on either side of his chest. We were able to go and see Mossimo during visiting hours, just like at a regular hospital. And we frequently spoke with the doctor treating him, a wonderful woman with a lovely South African accent and a tendency to call Mossimo “Loverboy” and other cute nicknames. We watched as our credit card debt grew and gave Mossimo a nickname of our own: Max, in honor of what he was doing to our credit limits.

Finally the vet had great news for us: Mossimo was ready to come home. “I knew he was doing great when I carried him down the hallway and he swatted a dog in passing,” she proudly announced. We were thrilled to get Mossimo back home. He healed nicely and his fur grew back within 6 months or so, a lustrous black coat that shed all over our new home. After a while Mossimo was able to jump into our arms on command, a neat little trick that Deena’s brother had taught him years earlier.

Fast forward to May 2001, when I went back to Maryland to collect Mossimo and my other cat, Angel (who now lives in Orange County with a Latino family). I was flying both cats back to California, and I could only have one cat with me in the cabin. Factoring in age and weight, the cat riding in coach was going to be Mossimo, now 9 years old. As we approached security at the airport, I realized I couldn’t keep Mossimo in the carrier while it was being scanned. “Um, I have a cat in here,” I told the guard. “You’ll have to take him out and carry him through,” she said. Having visions of a black furball racing through the terminal, I was nervous about getting him out of the carrier. But Mossimo was too terrified to fight and clung to my chest as I walked us through security. He stuck it out in the soft-sided carrier, shifting his body based on the pitch of the plane. We changed planes in Dallas and again, Mossimo was a trouper, letting me pet and talk softly to him while we waited for our flight. We got to California and headed to the cargo area to pick up Angel, who looked unfazed by the journey.
It’s been 6 years now since we got to Long Beach, and those years have been made much sweeter with Mossimo in my life. He is a fantastic lap cat and will cuddle up at any time, nuzzling necks, armpits, heads, and anything else within nuzzling range. He has turned two former cat-loathers into cat-appreciaters with his noncatlike antics and attitude. Mossimo has earned the title “pimptastic” based on his ability to get pretty much anyone to hold, pet, or snuggle him. His pimping usually involves the soft touch of a paw, a lingering wide-eyed look, and a gentle meow. It’s quite possible Puss In Boots from Shrek (at right) was based on Mossimo’s skills, for Moss has mastered the “Can’t-you-see-I’m-just-a-poor-little-kitty” look that Puss in Boots used to great effect in the movie. This look has netted Mossimo many, many benefits. If he carried a wallet, I’m sure it would constantly be full of cash. Within 5 months he has completely charmed Joe, getting everything from food to cigarettes (well, more like outdoor smoke breaks) from him.

Anyone that has ever had a cat in their life know that they do not own the cat, the cat owns them. This is definitely true of Mossimo, for everywhere he goes, people just fall all over themselves adoring him. And even if I’m pissed at him for attacking my feet, trying to trip me in the kitchen, or clawing my leg in an attempt to get some cheese, I am Mossimo’s biggest fan by far. Happy 15th birthday, Moss, you furry little pimp. Your gift is on its way.

*Not her real name.