a tribute to nora…

Minal’s painting dedicated to Nora

Nora, our family’s beloved cat, passed away two days ago. Minal, René and I created a collaborative post in memory of her:

We miss hearing her nails clattering on the wooden floors as she descends the stairs.
We miss the meows with which she greets us as we enter the house.
We miss watching her use her paws and her nose to push open the door to check in on us when we’re in the bathroom.
We miss her seeing her at the bottom of the staircase ready to eat when we descend in the mornings.
We miss her considerate response during the weekend when after trying to wake us up for fresh food, she gives up and waits on the carpet until we get up (often hours after she makes her first request).
We miss her curling up with Minal when René and I are out.
We miss seeing her sleeping on Minal’s bed or on the cushion in front of the fire.
We miss watching her knead her favorite brown blanket.
We miss seeing her sunbathing on the cement balcony surface where she listens to birds and the wind.
We miss the meows she offers when she wishes to enter the house from the balcony.
We miss watching her explore the patio where she steps out to nibble on greenery.
We miss her when we sit down for a meal and she appears to request one for herself.
We miss the purrs that she offers any time we pet her.

We did not know that a cat could touch our lives so deeply.

August 2016: Nora peeking out of her carrier to look out of the airplane window during our flight from Houston to Los Angeles

09 Dec 2017 · 08:53:13 PM

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my tortoise is trans…

November 2015: Oskar and René’s wedding

“My tortoise is trans,” comments Tina.

“She’s female actually,” explains Tina’s brother John. “But even though we’ve had the tortoise for more than five years, I still call my sister’s tortoise a ‘he.’”

“The way children talk today is different from when I was your age,” I toss my adult voice amidst a middle-schoolers’ morning carpool conversation. “I didn’t know what trans meant when I was your age.”

“Yeah,” agrees John. “People are more aware now. Look at Ellen DeGeneres and how she announced she’s lesbian. You know her, don’t you? Back then, everyone was watching, and it was a big deal.”

I hold back my smile. Ellen DeGeneres came out in 1997 before the teens and tween in the car were born.

“A lot of girls talk about liking other girls,” adds Minal. “It’s not that unusual any more.” Minal is used to gender preference conversations. She participated as a flower girl in my best friend Oskar’s wedding, while I served as best (wo)man. Our hetero-household was a minority in Houston’s arts community in which Minal was immersed during her first twelve years.

“I don’t think kids our age can decide if they’re gay or not,” says John. “They’re too young.”

“I don’t agree,” says his sister. “Some kids just know…”

I toss in my adult voice again: “I have friends who were your age—13 or 14—and knew which gender they preferred. But you’re right, people didn’t talk so openly about gender preference. Twenty years ago when I taught at a high school, the teachers on both sides of my classroom were gay. One taught German and the other taught drama, but each kept his sexual preference a secret.”

I hold back from saying, Just the conversation in the car would not have taken place a decade ago.

The pre-8:00 am discussion shifts to encompass more pets: parrots, fish, cats, dogs. Once we reach school and the sixth, seventh and eighth graders spill out of my car, I turn off my engine to reflect on the conversation, which began because I asked if Tina, John, and their younger sister Alice knew a nearby vet where we could take our cat.

01 Dec 2017 · 08:22:42 PM

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