All She Needs Is Love ~ A Cat Tale

Several months after my beloved cat died, my friend Laurie called, saying that a cat had found them. She said that the cat would lay on a small boat they have on their property, until she was brave enough to go indoors. Laurie said that she calls her “Cali” as she is a calico and she also said that her two male cats, Paco and Rufus, were not accepting Cali. She asked if I was ready for another cat. I replied, “no — not yet”. I explained that I was planning a month long driving trip to California and Oregon and did not want to get a cat and then go away. Plus, I still needed time before getting another pet.

Laurie said that she and Karl would check if any of their neighbors knew where she had come from and they would mind Cali for a while.

When I returned from my trip, I asked Laurie and Karl how Cali was doing and they said that Paco and Rufus had still not accepted her, adding “She is very sweet and mellow, perfect for you and all she needs is love.” I replied that I was not sure, as Cali had found them and perhaps she would want to stay with them.  Read more

Malaprops Bookstore, Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in the Blue Mountains of North Carolina, Asheville is well-known as the home of Biltmore Estate, Appalachian Art, The Appalachian Trail plus a multitude of activities for tourists. It also has Malaprops bookstore, established in 1982, which rates very high on my list of book stores worthy of a visit.

My first thought when I crossed the threshold was how comfortable it felt; here was a bookstore that made me feel at home. The staff are friendly and helpful and gladly answer queries, not only about books but also about the surrounding area. I quickly discovered that the store carries an intriguing array of books, from best sellers to stories and photo books set in the area. There are also maps, posters, games and language books, including Hungarian. Yes, I did a double-take when I saw the Hungarian books.

The café area is the ideal spot to sit and browse through the books that caught your eye. There are pastries from a local shop plus an extensive drink menu, ranging from assorted teas and smoothies and marvelous coffee concoctions. Indulge your love of mocha with an “Extra Century Perception” (an Irish crème mocha) or “Suicide Pack” (Almond coconut mocha). They also serve locally roasted coffees.

When you visit the Asheville area, add Malaprops to your list of places to visit.

Bozo Was the Perfect Name ~ A Cat Tale

After my beloved cat Brandy died, I needed time to grieve before getting another pet. A few weeks later, my brother called and said that he was returning from Asia, where he had lived for several years. I said that he could stay with me while looking for a job and a place to live.

My brother went for daily walks and after about a week, he mentioned that he had seen a beautiful cat following him and each day the cat would follow him a bit further. Eventually, this beautiful part Siamese cat followed my brother to my apartment door. I left some food outside for it and very soon, the cat came indoors. We tried to find out if anyone had lost a cat, but fortunately, no one in the area knew of a missing cat.

What to name him? As he was so beautiful, cream colored with gleaming blue eyes, I wanted a classy name for him. One day, he knocked over something and my brother laughed and said “What a bozo.” I laughed and thought that was so perfect, and Bozo became his name.

Turns out Bozo was crazy! He could be vicious and want to fight (in the middle of the night); meowed VERY loudly when I came home if I went out again (or even went to my car to get something); he craved attention for perhaps 15 minutes and then would ignore you. If he was on my lap and then I got up, he’d go crazy. I wondered if the people that had owned him had moved and left him? He never wanted to go outside, except to the balcony. He was very content being indoors.

Bozo had a set schedule: wake early for breakfast, sleep all morning, get up for about an hour at noon, then a nap, get up again about 4PM, stay up for dinner and play at night. In the evening, he was a “guard” cat. However, there were times when Bozo would wake me at 2AM, wanting to fight.   Read more

Fall in the Smoky’s

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the most visited of the National Parks and there is no better time to go than fall to witness the changing colors of the foliage. You can easily spend a week in the surrounding area including Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN and Asheville, NC.

My drive from Charleston to Gatlinburg, mostly via I-40, took about 6 hours. In addition to being the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is the home to over 100 artists and craftsman on an eight mile loop located three miles from downtown. Shops range from an old-fashioned soda fountain to art galleries to candles to a year-round Christmas shop plus shops with marvelous delicacies and music of the area. Stop for lunch at The Wild Plum Tea Room (on the loop and more of a restaurant than a tea room), leaving room for a fabulous dessert (try the bread pudding).

For an exciting overview, take the aerial tramway at Ober Gatlinburg and enjoy browsing the shops, having lunch or dinner at the German Restaurant or continuing further up the mountain on a chairlift. Read more