This is a picture of the newest addition to our family, a reclusive elderly lady cat named Gigi. She used to live with my sweet mother-in-law, but now she lives with us -- and I'm not sure she's very happy about it. But to tell the truth it's difficult to know. She was a recluse even when she and Grandma Donna lived together, rarely coming out of the closet she had chosen as her cozy spot. Her core of sweetness shone, though, when, as Donna became less able to come and go, Gigi began to creep out at night to sleep on her feet -- a great comfort, as you can imagine.

These days, she has two cozy spots. Her preference is to camp under the tall boy's bed, at the exact center of the space -- where she is completely unreachable. He's fine with this, except for the part about how she would really prefer to have her food bowl shoved under the bed, too -- so that she doesn't have to make eye contact with anyone. I did say "reclusive."

So she makes do with an alternate cozy spot in our storage room. From her strategic location she can fend off the potential threat of . . . well, pretty much anything that seems scary. The family, the other two cats, the dogs, the phone, the light coming on . . . The world is pretty menacing according to Gigi.

Boxed up on the way to the vet, Gigi punched herself in the nose in an effort to fight the evil cat carrier. Then she realized that a crate is a perfectly perfect cozy spot.

But rarely, rarely, she creeps out in the middle of the night, like Grizabella the Glamour Cat, and timidly makes her way to the bottom of the stairs. Twice now, in seven months, she has made it all the way up to the kitchen, to peek around the corner and see if the coast was clear. Then she made a break for the powder room (cozy) and curled up on the throw rug for a nap. Global Anxiety Disorder is exhausting.


Advent books!

December 20:

OK, so here's a book that was pointed out to me by MomVee, over on Facebook.  She loved it to the point of tears, she said. So like an idiot, I went to the library to look for it, and sat there and cried, right there in Mother Goose's Storybook Time Chair. Embarrassing. Patricia Polacco tells a loving and nostalgic story about a Christmas tradition from her childhood, and pays sweet tribute to her youngest brother at the same time.


December 21:

The phenomenally wonderful Ezra Jack Keats (you already love him because of The Snowy Day) illustrates this book, with beautiful pictures to accompany the well-known carol.  The warmth and detail of the drawings are lovely. You can get this as a board book, which makes sense -- the repetitive "pa-rum-pa-pum-pum" of the song is a mesmerizing magnet for babies and toddlers, so a sturdy board book for them to "read" while they sing is a fabulous thing.