One of the great satisfactions of rescuing a stray kitten, as I did five years ago this week, is that her affection is so hard-won that she opens my heart a little wider each time she creeps into my lap, or the crook of my arm as I am reading, or beneath my palm so that I may scratch her ears just-so, just-so. I know how much it takes for Grace to push past her fears to offer me her belly–lord knows what happened on the semi-mean streets of Brooklyn in the six weeks of her life before she showed up on the stoop of my heart–and I know how much I’ve had to quiet myself to become the gentle being to whom she dares offers herself. With each animal-human relationship comes great lessons and greater pleasures if we allow ourselves to receive them. I’ll say it one more time: I’m so happy to be a cat lady.
This is one of my favorite images of Marilyn Monroe: lolling in a doorframe, awash in green, and decked out in a fur, a hopeful little strawboat hat, and a dash of lipstick. I imagine her seducing the precipice of spring as only she could. This time of year, as snow falls outside my window for the eighth time in a month, I cling to such glamour. It’s the sort only someone with Marilyn’s infectious capacity for joy and appreciation could muster.
Now that my co-creator and I have completed the onerous tasks of le apartment rehab—sanding, plastering, painting, sawing—we’re onto the details. Where, you know, g-d lies. This morning I rewired a lamp myself by following a YouTube tutorial, cleaned out a dusty 1920s filing cabinet by googling “remove and clean shelves” and, using lemon rind and baking soda, degreased my grandmother’s 1940s Fiestaware–as recommended on a cleaning website. The Internet has legitimized its existence. Today.