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Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

In tribute to my beloved Lexie Lee, here is one of my favorite columns published in 2010. She had lots of personality as you will see from her views on a housekeeper in her space!

Every other Monday there is commotion at the house—and not because of me. Mom Linda has a housekeeper. She tells me how fortunate she is to have found this person and how she’s a godsend. Well, I have a thing or two to say about this. I don’t like Monday mornings because I have to hide under the bed—almost before I have eaten. I scare easily by people I don’t know. Last Monday I sat in the picture window and watched her car drive in. I knew it was the Monday morning intruder (also known as Jennifer) because I have seen this funny looking car many times. I hesitated a few seconds. Should I go or should I stay today? Mom Linda tried to talk me into staying. But I thought it best to scurry upstairs.

For several months, I have gone to the bedroom. Mom Linda brings up my food and water, so it is not too bad. Every hour or so she comes in the room, peeks under the bed, and tells me what time it is. Like I really care! She says things like Jennifer will leave in one more hour, or hang in there just another half-hour sweetie.

A month ago I crawled out from under the bed and got on top of it. Jennifer surprised me when she walked into the room, and I did not have time to run. She petted me, and told me I was a pretty kitty. Well, tell me something I don’t already know! But I did not bite her. She went about her business, and I thought it was best to get back under the bed. Just in case, you know.

But I am getting braver. Recently I ventured out from under the bed again. Jennifer was cleaning the bedroom and making too much noise. I can’t understand why it’s so noisy to sweep up my fur. I went to find Mom Linda and she was eating breakfast. I timed that just right and got a couple licks of milk. But the next thing I knew Jennifer was cleaning the living room. Well, I have another name for it—she was messing with my favorite stuff. So I went back upstairs where it was quieter.

Jennifer likes to move Mom Linda’s things around, redecorating I think it is called. Well, I like things the way they are. I have special tables that I sleep on. She put knickknacks on a table that I use to catapult (isn’t that a cool word—I looked it up in the dictionary!) up into a windowsill. The nerve of her! Of course Mom Linda loves the changes and wonders why she didn’t think of them. But she promised to clear the table soon.

Jennifer finally replaced a tablecloth on coffee table where I hide and jump out and scare Mom Linda. She decided one day that it needed washing (too much of my beautiful fur on it) and the cloth disappeared for a long time. I didn’t think I would ever see it again! What I really need stopped is Jennifer moving my toys around. I know where everything is. There are good reasons why the gray mouse is under the couch and why the black spider is on my perch. Some days I am just not in the mood to play hide-and- seek after she leaves.

Mom Linda says I am doing fine around Jennifer. I just need to see her more. I am going to try harder because she is so happy to have a clean house! And a happy Mom Linda makes for a happy household which includes me!

Five Paws Up!

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Some of my days are harder than others. Chemo Monday week 8 is one of those days. I don’t know how I know when it is chemo time, but I just do. I snuggle next to Mom Linda in the early morning. She whispers how much she loves me. I stay in bed after she gets up and watch her move around the closet, bedroom, and bathroom. She is not in a hurry to go downstairs to feed us. This is a little change from her routine. So I need to stay on high alert. I move to the foot of the bed and continue watching. She chats away to Chauncey and Grace that we’d have breakfast soon. I am skeptical about what will happen after breakfast and scurry under the bed. Mom Linda pretends to not notice I am gone. She moves around a little more, and then she goes down the stairs calling for all of us. No thank you, I am safer under this bed.

She is not gone for long. She flops on the bed extra hard. Yes, I know you are back. It’s hard to resist crawling back into bed, but I am not going to fall for that old trick. Then she jumps up and I hear music to my ears—cat food pinging into a bowl. Grace and Chauncey have no willpower, and I hear them crunching away. Oh, I am so hungry. Mom Linda leaves again, and I just stay put. Under the bed is a fun place to hang out. There are lots of boxes to hide between.

But this is not to be a day of peaceful purring. Mom Linda returns with Joe to deal with a serious situation—how to get a cat out from under the bed who does not want to be put in a carrier, or ride in a car, or go to the vet, or have chemo. Seriously, how many more reasons do I need to get to stay under the bed? Well, I won’t make it easy on them.

I hear the bedroom, closet, and bathroom doors close. I guess I am on lockdown. Joe starts pulling out boxes and disturbing my hideaway. He shines an obnoxious flashlight under the bed. I try to make myself smaller. Then I play my ace card. I crawl into the box springs. He lies flat on the floor and reaches in to try and get me out. How stupid is that! I scratch him. Meanwhile Mom Linda is standing on the other side of the bed being very quiet. After several loud hisses and lots of commotion, Joe crawls out and leaves the room. Mom Linda leaves too. Chauncey crawls under to check on me. I don’t like being in the box spring. So I crawl out and lie on one of the boxes under the bed. Have I really outsmarted them?

My victory is short-lived. They are back with Joe saying let’s try one more time. Let’s not! Joe asks Linda to pull out a box slowly. Imagine this—it’s the box I am on. As Mom Linda sees me emerge, she throws a big towel around me. I like being wrapped in towels, so it’s not too bad. Mom Linda calls out to Joe that she has me. Joe picks me up, and I am lowered into the cage. The prison door clicks shut. No, I did not outsmart Mom Linda and Joe. Maybe next week!

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Mom Linda is at it again. Renovating that is. This is the fourth renovation I remember. So I know what to expect. I knew something was brewing the last few weeks as lots of special deliveries arrived. I saw that big brown truck stop in front of the house several times. I ran upstairs just to be safe. I taught Grace and Chauncey when they were babies to hide whenever we hear loud noises outside or whenever someone rings the doorbell. Mom Linda tells us not to run, but we don’t listen. She calls for us when the possible danger is gone, and we come out of hiding.

She gets excited when she opens the boxes. I get excited when the box is empty and I can sleep in it. This time the downstairs guest bedroom and bathroom are being redecorated. This concerns me because Chauncey, Grace and I have a routine of hanging out in the bedroom especially when Mom Linda is gone. Chauncey likes to stretch out on the bed on a velour burgundy robe. He thinks he really is Prince Chauncey. Well, I have to admit he is a handsome cat. I doze on a wicker table that is windowsill height, and I can see outside activity. Princess Grace sleeps on a box on top of a sewing machine cabinet and can also see outside. We can see and hear Mom Linda the minute she parks the car. That’s real important because we want to give her a proper welcome home. We miss her so much when she is gone. I perch on the back of a wingback chair and am positioned to give Mom Linda a kiss the instant the door opens. The chair is gone now. I think it is in that big white POD. In fact the bedroom is empty. We get to roam around in it after the workmen leave, but it is boring. I can’t see outside.

During renovation day, Mom Linda puts us in detention in her bedroom on the third level. We have to get up early for breakfast in the kitchen. We don’t mind that. Mom Linda is the one who lollygags in bed. After we eat, we get herded back upstairs. Who says cats can’t be herded? I run along and don’t cause any trouble. I never know when I may get stuffed in that carrier and taken to the vet for chemotherapy. Sometimes Mom Linda has to go hunt for Grace and Chauncey. We can still hear all the noisy hammers and drills in our hideaway. But I crawl under the bed between boxes and put my paws over my ears. She visits us every two hours and brings food. Since I have cancer I get to eat whenever I want. I guess that is one of the blessings. She wants to fatten me up. I think Grace and Chauncey are getting fat too. They try to eat my food.

Change is hard for me. Loud noises scare me. But I trust Mom Linda that the house will get put back to normal, and my daydreams will be quiet. One day soon the POD will be gone, and my favorite stuff will be returned to the bedroom. She always takes great care of me. Some things never change. I can count on that.

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Mom Linda has been real sneaky this week. Monday morning I just did not want that icky old red medicine squirted in my mouth. So after a tussle, I won. But then I was put in my carrier and off we went for chemo week 2. Little did I know the red medicine bottle was traveling with us. Later a nurse at the clinic gave me the medicine. In the evening “never seen before” yummy chicken treats showed up in my bowl. Now things were looking up I thought. The next morning the treats were my appetizer to breakfast. I loved this new menu.

After breakfast my bird watching was interrupted by Mom Linda. She scooped me up, put a towel over my head and lowered me into my carrier. Again? We just did this. But she promised the drive would be short, and we would be back home soon. She was right. She took me to Dr. Scorteanu’s office for help in giving me a big chemo pill just like the one I had the day before.

The chicken treats continued to show up. But on Wednesday morning there was a shocking new development. I bit into the treat instead of swallowing whole. And let me tell you, this was a disguised treat. Some obnoxious white thing was in the middle of the treat. I cleverly ate the soft chicken treat. When I finished a lone white pill was exposed in the bowl. Mom Linda tried to coax me to eat it. I was done playing “Pill Pocket Caper”. Doesn’t she know there is a good reason why I ate around it? She tried again Wednesday night. But I am very strong-willed and very smart I might add. However, on Thursday I found myself on a little table and Mom Linda poked a pill down me. She danced around the kitchen chanting success, success! Could it be that she outsmarted me? Well, at least it wasn’t that red stuff!

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

Bravery…Mom Linda once said in an interview that she learned to be brave from me. A long time ago before I was adopted I clung to a big tree during a hurricane. I had to be brave when I lived outside without a home. One night I fell into Mom Linda’s swimming pool. I got out on my own. But she scooped me up in a big towel, took me inside and I never went outside again. I think that’s why I like those soft towels at the vet’s office. I guess that’s a good thing, because I am going to be spending lots of time wrapped up in a towel. I have cancer.

There are big words for what I have like soft tissue lymphoma. That word again! My large cell lymphoma is in the stomach of the gastrointestinal area. I have to be extra brave because my cancer is large cell not small cell. That means it is more aggressive.

I had my first chemo treatment this week. I got to see Dr. Lechner again. Most of the time the nurses Cami and Elaina tended to me. I did not have to be sedated even though I had a drip line in my right back leg. Mom Linda stayed at the clinic until I could go home in the early afternoon. We were really tired when we got home after being gone for six hours. Grace and Chauncey were so glad to see me. All four of us went straight to bed for a long afternoon nap. It felt so good to curl up next to all my buddies.

Mom Linda had a page of discharge instructions. She checked my leg several times to make sure it was not swollen or red and that I was not licking it. I have to take medicine twice a day. I spit most of it out if given a chance. But I just get another dose. Mom Linda wonders what red medicine will do for the tile floor. I get to eat as often as I want. This is the part I love! I have had a good week without any reactions.

Mom Linda had to be careful cleaning the litter box for the first 48 hours after chemo. She wore gloves and kept Grace and Chauncey isolated from me at night time. They did not like that and scratched and pawed at the bedroom door. I had the run of the house except for their room. But I liked it better to be together because it’s easier to be brave.

Lexie Lee

Lexie Lee

My purrfect life turned icky recently. I have always been a healthy fur baby and only get carted off to this vet once or twice a year. But I have been in three different clinics the past few weeks. First I got sick one weekend and Mom Linda had to take me to an emergency clinic. After lots of tests and strange people hovering around me, I got to go home a few hours later. Then last week I had to go to my regular vet to see how I was doing. I thought I was doing ok except for not liking my food a couple days before the appointment. Turns out Dr. Scorteanu felt something in my tummy that should not be there. I don’t know how it got there and Mom Linda cried when she heard this. Next I had to go to a specialist. I figured out what day I was to be placed in that dreadful carrier and I hid under the bed after breakfast. Mom Linda tried to coax me out with food but I did not fall for that old trick. While hiding under the middle of the king size bed (just out of arm’s reach!), the specialist’s office called to cancel. Mom Linda told me that it was not meant to be today and I was off the hook. The vet was sick.

The next two days were purrfect with hanging out next to Mom Linda and her computer and taking naps on the windowsill that was designed just for me. I should have known paradise would not last forever. I was fooled on Monday afternoon and found myself back in the carrier and seat belted in the car before I could meow in protest. Mom Linda was calm and talked to me. She told me we had a longer drive today. She asked for Tatianna fur baby and the angels to surround us and protect us as we drove on a busy highway in the rain. Once she said that it had stopped raining and traffic was light. She said we had to focus on every little blessing. I tried to throw up and made three loud hacking sounds. That’s been happening recently. It is awful, and I know it scares Mom Linda. It scares me too. My tummy feels funny, and I just can’t help it.

We got lost for a few minutes. I was left in the car while Mom Linda went in a building that had the address she was looking for. I did not like being alone. But she returned to me with another blessing and said a very nice woman gave her the directions. It used to be the vet clinic but had moved down the road. We found the right place and Mom Linda carried me and all my recent records and X-rays inside. She had her hands full even though I have lost weight. We were greeted and soon taken into a small room. It was just the two of us. I moved to the back of the carrier, just in case anyone had any ideas about pulling me out. But Mom Linda did not, and she just kept talking softly to me. “We are here to get you help Lexie Lee. Everything will be fine. I won’t let anyone hurt you.” Usually I shake real bad when I am at the vet’s office, but today I did not.

A nice girl named Laura came in and asked lots of questions. “You are going to love Dr. Lechner,” she said. After she left, Mom Linda walked around the room and looked at pictures of animals. “Oh my gosh! The vet graduated from the University of Missouri vet school. Lexie, that is where I went to school. The appointment last week was with a different vet who got sick. That’s why! We are meant to see Dr. Lechner!”

Well, bring her in. I am tired of this carrier. A breath of fresh air breezes into the room in the form of my specialist vet of internal medicine. Dr. Lechner makes over me and who wouldn’t! I am still beautiful even if I am sick. She asks Mom Linda more questions. She had already looked at the records before coming in. I hear the word lymphoma that I heard Dr. Scorteanu use last week. I don’t like the sounds of it. I think that is what is in my tummy. I am going to have an ultrasound. I’ve never had that before. Before they take me to another room Mom Linda looks in the carrier at me and says words I love to hear: “Linda loves Lexie Lee.” I am going to try real hard to focus on that blessing and be a good kitty today.

And it all worked out. About an hour later I am reunited with Mom Linda. On the way home she tells me all the wonderful things Dr. Lechner said about me. I was so good that I did not have to sleep during the ultrasound. I was awake the whole time wrapped in a snuggly blanket and held by two girls. I liked the dark room. A funny noise ran over my tummy and later I found out I have less hair to groom. I even had a needle stuck inside me once, but it was out fast. Mom Linda told me the needle may tell us what is in my tummy. But we won’t know for a few days. For now, the blessing is that I am back home on the windowsill.

Lexie Lee

No naps for me today. I decided to get my paws on the keyboard. I have had thousands of naps since you last heard from me. Mom Linda kept promising that tomorrow she’d help me. But tomorrow never came. Well, I am a competent cat and I can handle this today. She is busy getting fall decorations out of storage—all that black cat stuff that she loves. What I like most is upsetting the Halloween tree. But I am getting ahead of myself.

If there’s one word that describes my life (and Mom Linda’s), it is change. The chaos all started when those two mysterious furry creatures invaded my space last fall. We have had quite a time learning to live together, eat together, and sleep together. Now don’t worry, I am still in charge around here. But I let Princess Grace and Chauncey be the center of attention occasionally.

Then earlier this summer Mom Linda found out her full-time job of twenty years was going away. I don’t really understand where it went. She says that has happened to lots of people lately. Now she is home lots more and I love, love, love that change. She disappears two mornings a week to teach a class at the university. But she leaves all of us extra food. I am so glad she still gets to teach part-time. She loves her students so much. Her other classes are taught on the computer and I can snuggle up right next to the warm machine. She tells me I am her little helper. She has lots of other support. Princess Grace sleeps under the desk chair, and Chauncey prefers the window ledge. She loves having everybody in the same room.

Being so close to Mom Linda, she tells me all her secrets. She says that our life is an adventure. New challenges bring new growth. Now I really don’t agree with that last part. Frankly I have had to fight Princess Grace and Chauncey for my food. I know I’ve even lost weight because of them. My veterinarian can verify that if necessary! Mom Linda tells me that she has not quite figured out what she is going to do with her free time. I think it may have something to do with pictures. She’s always walking around with a little silver contraption in her hand that makes a funny noise. She went to the family farm in Missouri for over a month this summer. She came back with lots of pictures of where she likes to walk and visit. Chauncey and Princess Grace’s sister, three brothers and Mom Rose are all back there, too. I think she even entered one of their pictures in a contest. Now if she’d entered me, well she might have a shot at winning!

Mom Linda tells me she will keep on writing and I am glad to hear that. After all, I am her Muse and I won’t let her down. She was all excited earlier this summer when one of her stories was published in something called Thin Threads—Women and Friendship book. It was not about cats, but I’ll forgive her this time. I am lobbying to be the star in the next story. All for now. Mom Linda just pulled into the driveway. I better post this pronto and get back to napping.

Five Paws Up!

January is a month of celebrations. Along with Catnip Connection’s bloggerversary, this month also marks my birthday. During my birthday month I reflect on 2010 and plan for the 2011. I recall a year punctuated with challenges, changes, and growth.

I started the year out with Tufts University’s Catnip newsletter publishing the Hurricane Kitty story and speaking in a creative writing class. February marked my uncle’s farm, equipment and household auctions. I joined Facebook. In March, Lexie Lee’s Meowlogue was launched, and I graduated from Cat Channel’s Cat College with a Magna Felis Laude Honors Diploma. I redecorated my living room in May and spent my summer clearing out my mother’s house with my siblings’ help. The difficult task was softened by Rose’s litter of six kittens born in June. I learned more about kitties than I ever imagined. When I wasn’t going through sentimental photographs or litter training six kittens, I took timeouts to market Tatianna. My efforts resulted in the book being carried by eight specialty retailers in the Midwest by the end of the summer.

A new university year was kicked off in August with a change to semesters and lots of adjustments to make. My mother’s auction was in October, and a kaleidoscope of memories flooded my mind as each lot was held up and sold. The rest of the fall Tatianna book events were held at the Palm Beach International Airport Paradies Shop, Taste of Home Cooking School, and Treasure Coast Cat Show. I spoke at the Village of North Palm Beach Library and Prosperity Oaks. I spent a lovely Thanksgiving holiday with Joe at The Chesterfield, wrapped up fall semester, and returned to the Midwest for a beautiful old-fashioned family Christmas. For a complete look at Tatianna events for 2010, visit here

Throughout 2010, I was blessed to have one constant, my Muse, dear sweet Lexie Lee at my side. However, in August two more adorable kitties from Rose’s litter joined the household, Chauncey and Gracie. These three felines are my source of inspiration day in and day out as they lounge across my lap, nestle along the left side the computer, or lie nearby on a window sill. They listen to me as I read my drafts out loud, and their meows of approval encourage me to keep writing about kitties! If you have any topics you would like to read about this year, please personally email me or leave a comment on this blog. I would love to hear from you.

Warm Purrs!

Lexie Lee

Finally, Mom Linda is home. I really missed her the past month. She went to the country in Missouri. I don’t know where that is except it’s a long way from Florida. She loves it there—wide open spaces, lots of trees, and beautiful family farm land. I wonder if I’d like the country. I used to spend all my days outside. Sometimes, it was fun chasing small critters and sunning in the garden. But often I was hungry when I couldn’t find enough food. I hated the rain and cold. Now I don’t have to worry at all.

Mom Linda let me stay at home—that was the best part of her being gone. I wasn’t stuck in a cage. She called every day, and I talked to her. It’s not the same as being in her lap, but I loved hearing her voice. She often had fun news. She decided to disconnect from her computer for a while. But she told me I could write my Meowlogue while she was gone. She went to a rodeo to see her niece compete in barrel racing. Her nephew played in a baseball tournament. She and her sister worked in their Iowa antique shop, making it pretty for fall and adding some new stuff. She took her Tatianna book everywhere and met with many shop owners. Mom Linda loves garage sales and auctions and as usual she shipped back lots of junk. I like when the boxes are empty and I can play in them. The sad part of her trip was getting her mother’s belongings ready for auction. But with her family’s help, they got it done. I know she really misses her mother. Well, I can understand that—I really miss my Mom Linda when she’s not around.

I especially miss playing our little welcome home game. Whenever she pulls into the driveway, she looks up at the window directly above the car and calls out my name. I meow, and our wacky little game begins. I know I have a few seconds to sprint down two flights of stairs to make it to the lower level. But I am fast. I like to jump on top of a wingback chair by the door. That way I can watch Mom Linda unlock the door and greet her properly. When she drops her bag, I zoom back up the stairs heading to the next part of the house where our game continues.

As she passes through the kitchen, she calls out my nickname, “Huckie, Huckie.” (No, I don’t know where that name came from!) Then we race simultaneously to the living room. She flops down on the couch at the same time that I fly onto the coffee table, rearranging the tablecloth. Sometimes, I even slide off the table. She pats her chest and I jump up, stretch out flat, and snuggle under her chin. I look forward to our welcome-home ritual every day! I think she does too!

I got to get off the computer. I hear Mom Linda’s car pulling into the driveway. Let the games begin!

Five Paws Up!

Lexie Lee

Yummy, yummy, yummy I’ve got tilapia in my tummy. Well, two little morsels that is. Mom Linda has a lot of nerve teasing me with fresh fish. Last night she made what she calls Mediterranean Tilapia. I don’t really know what that is except a big piece of fish. I saw it come out of the refrigerator in a white wrapper. I waited patiently at Mom Linda’s feet while she did stuff to it. She placed the fish on a big piece of tin foil.

I used to run whenever I heard the foil torn out of the box. Now I recognize the horrible but harmless sound and am not afraid. But I digressed. Back to the delicious fish so close to my paws. Anyway Mom Linda chopped up tomatoes and onions. She added black olives, capers and some spices and olive oil. I wasn’t interested in any of those things. I was hoping for a piece of raw fish, but before I knew it, she sealed up the fish in the aluminum foil package. Then she headed to the oven. While she was fiddling with the oven, I jumped up on the counter. Surely there would be a bite of something left behind for me. I figured she would not see me. I heard her say earlier in the week that she hoped her new glasses would arrive soon. So I didn’t think she could see very well. But I was wrong. I got into trouble. Drat!

As time went on, the kitchen smelled better and better. Once Mom Linda checked the fish by opening up the foil and peeking inside. When she did that, I didn’t think I could stand it another minute with baking tilapia wafting through the air. But she sealed the fish right back up and closed the oven door. To add insult to injury, she told me to eat my chicken and beef cat food. Who does she think I am? Just because it has gravy and is really one of my favorites, doesn’t mean I want it when fresh tilapia is in the house.

Stay patient I purred. Eventually the fish will come out of the oven. And it did. So I stationed myself close to Mom Linda at the dining room table and looked up at her. She was too busy unwrapping her dinner to pay any attention to me. So I meowed and put my paws on the edge of the table. That went over as well as getting up on the counter had. More trouble!

Stay patient I purred. Meow some more, change sides, wear her down. I know it always works. Well, what can I say, I am never wrong! She gave me one little piece which I inhaled. Then I had to go through my antics all over again in hopes of getting another nibble. One more, and that is all I got. But the two bites were so yummy and the highlight of my day (along with my special beef and chicken food), but let’s not tell Mom Linda!

Five Paws Up!

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