Buona Notte Bella Mia

Buona Notte Bella Mia


Many years ago, during a visit, my mother looked at a furry object on the floor and said, “What’s this?” Mother had a problem with my pride of kitties — and she realized this was an addition.  I responded, “it’s a cat.”  She rolled her eyes, as she said, “I can see that, but why?”

I sighed as I replied, “His name is Fred and before you get upset about another cat, how could I get rid of a cat that’s named after your father and looks like your husband.”  She shook her head and walked away. Before the end of the visit, mom acknowledged, “You know, he does look like Wally.”

Many years later, my neighbor knocked at the door and asked me about 2 kittens in front of my house. One had Siamese markings the other was a little Calico.  I explained they were not mine and he said, “we were concerned because we don’t want our dog to get them,”  which explains 2 additions to my pride.  That was more than 16 years ago.

The Calico had 2 adorable features —  a little triangle marking on her nose, and she’s the first cat I’ve seen that had not just green, but green/hazel eyes.  They reminded me of mom’s eyes.   At her arrival, most of my kitties had taken on the names of characters in Gone With The Wind.  This little girl became Belle or sometimes because she was so pretty, (and I am Italian after all) Bella.  Hmmm and mom was a belle as well.  She was Bonnibell and my little girl was of course a “bonnie” little Belle.  I can imagine mom rolling her eyes at that one.

Belle is going on 17 years of age.  According to a calculator I googled, the completion of 2 years in a cat’s life is  equivalent to 25 years for us, then the difference drops significantly. But no matter how you figure it my little girl is older than I!

It’s become apparent in the last few weeks that my Belle was not feeling well.  She’s been a great little girl, a wonderful companion, and I love her more than words can describe.   After discussions with my veterinarian I had to acknowledge, it was time to let her go in peace.

Today I was with her at the doctors office.  Saying goodbye is difficult, so as she drifted off, I whispered quietly ….

 Buona notte Bella mia

Ciao bella mi amore



Have you ever felt you were “walking on air?”  I had the experience early this year.

January came with new health insurance and a new doctor.  As expected a number of diagnostic tests were prescribed.  Baptist Hospital was offering a nominally priced CAT scan for a special study they were conducting on people who were smokers or former smokers.  Since I fell into the latter category, my doctor recommended it.  “What the heck, why not?” was my response.

At my next doctor’s appointment, she noted there was a ‘lesion’ that looked suspicious.  She had discussed the results with the radiologist and they recommended I see a breast surgeon.  “But,” I said, “my mammogram didn’t show up anything.”  The CAT scan won.

The surgeon performed an ultrasound and as I watched the screen, a big black spot appeared.  It was not in my breast but a lymph gland.

“OMG!”  I was officially experiencing “high anxiety.”  A needle biopsy was scheduled for the following week.  After spending the longest weekend on earth, I had the procedure.  As he probed the area, I heard the doctor say, “Boy is someone going to be happy.”  It had aspirated!  I looked at the screen and the large black spot was gone.

As I left his office I experienced that sensation of “walking on air.”  I didn’t walk — I floated to my car — my feet never touched the ground!


Everything changes but somehow remains the same. Last year at this time I had 8 kitties.   However my dear boy Ashley passed away in February.

A few months later, Clouseau, came home with a little girl.  He said in French (of course), “Maman, je l’ai trouve un petit chat.  Son nome est Gabrielle.  Puis-je le garder?  (rough translation: I found a little cat.  Her name is Gabrielle.  Can I keep her?)


I looked into those pleading eyes and said, “Non!”  My resolve lasted about 5 minutes.

Initially, it was perfect.  He played with Gaby and stopped tormenting the other cats.  The vet noted she was a bit older than I originally thought.  Time for neutering.  Poor Clouseau, looked everywhere for his lost love?  Soon it was time for her return.  As he waited at her carrier door she exited.  She had a cone protector around her neck.


Clouseau took one look at her.  As he ran away.  I heard him exclaim, “Argh … quel est ce.  Elle est un conehead etranger.” (Argh … what is this.  She is an alien conehead).  He’s now talking divorce.


Yes, “the golden years” are upon me.  You know, those years full of lovely trips, spending time with friends, taking up new hobbies and not having to get up at the crack of dawn.  I’ve found however, whether by habit or just having to get up in the middle of the night for a potty run, I’m still up by 5 am.  As for the gold, that’s to pay for fixing or replacing body parts that apparently were not designed to last for more than 70 years.

As I write this, I have just had cataract surgery.  Pre-op is not just those few minutes before surgery.  It is the culmination of heightened apprehension which begins the day you find out you are going to have surgery and concludes when you enter a very sterile room where a smiling nurse asks, “how are you?”

I wanted to say, “I’m scared as hell and let me out of here.”  What came out (in a childlike voice) was, “Fine.”

A Valium brought my blood pressure down to something less than frightening.  All went fine.  I was so good they gave me a cookie!  So far no one has mentioned “co-pay.”   But I know they will.


As most of you know I’ve been active with my Toastmasters Club and this year is no exception.  In July I became president and now I’m busier than ever.


Might this be a new beginning for me?  Should I consider taking on “The Donald?”

As I close, my little 32 feet send their love

Gatsby, Scarlett, Melanie, Belle, Daisy, Magic, Clouseau, Gabrielle

and of course so do I!