About crh

I love my cats more than life. I love language, words! (I use too many, and I don't care.) I love British humor, pomp, and glamour; Latin color, passion, and weather. I like public television, community radio, and live music. After a childhood hating it, I LOVE my hair. I want travel and life-long learning. Cheers, crh

One Year Without My Cricket

A year ago today, I lost my first furbaby.

For a year, I distanced myself from emotion. This month has been very tender for me as her anniversary approached. Time has made the loss bearable. I’m ready to process it, but it hurts. I’m quick to tears.

I miss her. I’m so grateful she came to teach and love me. I love her so much! She was the sweetest little black magicat, the funniest big fat belly cat, and a very gentle soul.

I’m not hearing crickets in the summer nightsong yet, like I did last year when she left. Strangely, that seems to be the thing that causes the most anxiety, but I know why. She’s come to me in profound and reassuring dreams. I know I can feel her, but I’m scared that will fade. If I can’t hear crickets, will I stop hearing her?

Her sister is still with me. I don’t think I could have survived losing Cricket without her. Penny is my best friend. Cricket was my baby.

“Good-bye, honey. Be very bad! I’ll never know.”

baby cricket

Her voice was never more than a squeak. At 12 hours old, she and her litter mates writhed and wriggled together like little bugs. Cricket was born.

young cricket

She was such a funny, guilelessly naughty kitten. She grew into this power! Being near her was to be enveloped in gentleness. She was peaceful. She was shy. She loved only me.

penny and crick

Pen and Crick

pen and crick 2

“Oh, Cricket! I like your big body!” She LOVED that, rolled all around and purred almost as loud as she did when she ate.

big fat belly cat



Her second trip to the ER in one weekend – this visit – was when I understood that she was ready.


We had the most beautiful, gentle passing wrapped around each other. I whispered my love to her. All I had left was, “You were a very good kitty.” It was my mantra. She purred to the end. “Sing to me in the nightsong of crickets.”


Francis Nearly Blew Up The Mayflower


I was surprised several months ago to find an ancestral line that takes my people to the Plymouth Bay Colony. My astonishment continued as I unraveled more and more intertwining lines of colonial Massachusetts genealogy.

I could never find anyone who actually sailed on the Mayflower. Until today.

His name is John Billington. Unlike passengers escaping religious persecution, he remained loyal to the crown, and so earned, with others like him, the friendly moniker, “The Strangers.”

Outcast among the pilgrims, John and his family were further blacklisted upon dropping anchor off the coast, when son Francis – also my direct ancestor – shot a gun near a barrel of gunpowder, nearly sinking the ship and killing everyone on board!

The Billington family is mentioned several times in documents of the day, as the town’s troublemakers. Eleanor was jailed and whipped for slander. One son roamed the woods for days until returned by Native Americans. Finally, John murdered his neighbor and hanged for his crime, making him the first execution in Plymouth Bay!

… My ancestor set fire to the Mayflower! Accident or arson?


Wow! I just found another ancestor who came on the Mayflower. His name was John Cooke, and he was a Puritan.

It’s kind of random. I’m clicking mindlessly through every line on Ancestry.com, and continuing until it runs out. That’s thousands of names. It’s numbing.

For no other reason than their faces jumped out at me (Why?), I clicked on both of these gentleman. One gentleman. The other was something of a brigand, and I love him for it.

Honestly, this is one of those times I feel like I’m hearing my ancestors. “I’m here. You’ve been looking.” I felt a hint when I found Mr. Billington. What about that tiny image made him worth a glance?

When I found John Cooke in the same afternoon, it oddly confirmed that they stopped me. I’ve been mindlessly clicking and backtracking arrows for hours. Why them?

If I stop to investigate someone more closely, she’s usually a woman (except for kings. Their genealogy goes on forever, a part of documented history, and that’s fun). I find women more relatable. These were just old dudes buried in thousands of names that all start to look and sound the same.

Both on the same day? That’s too coincidental to be random.

Perhaps they found me. Perhaps it was chance. Either way, it was a great day. One ancestor was an asshole; another was judging him.

I make fun, but it really is very exciting to connect myself to this piece of history. To learn that the Mayflower nearly sank off the coast? Wow.

Out-of-Touch Reading

I met with Danielle Tremblay on Sunday, from Insight With Animals. I was really excited about it. Every reading we’ve had has been so accurate and healing.

I went to a party the night before. I planned to go early and leave early. It was the birthday of a friend, and only a block away. I figured I’d have a couple of drinks, watch some fire spinning, and be in bed by midnight.

Instead, I met a boy and stayed til 5am.

I ruined my reading. I was so sick and scattered, I just couldn’t connect. The reading was more meaningful hearing it back, but even then, I was just so spiritually distant, not much could be done.

Penny usually goes crazy when we talk to Danielle. You can hear her meowing on the recording, and she lolls about seductively with her cute, blond furbody, like, “Yes! Yes! Everything I ever wanted!”

It was the same with Cricket when she was alive. She was more restrained – always  – but the look on both of their faces, right in mine, was wide-eyed wonder and excitement. “Mom can hear me!”

Not this time. Penny walked away, didn’t even participate with me. Danielle can still connect, but I couldn’t. Makes me sad.

She did tell Danielle that she doesn’t want all the interventions I’m shoving on her. (With the bronchitis, chronic vomiting, limping, and bad gums, I’m a nervous wreck.)

She especially hates the nebulizer. Really hates it. It frightens her and has a strange smell. “It’s a human device that was never meant for a cat!”

For her teeth, I thought dental wipes would be more palatable than a toothbrush, which I also tried (NO!), but Penny says, “They sting.”

She “backs up” at the idea of another cleaning, citing sensitivity to drugs, and described the vet’s methodology as proactive. Evidently, my cat prefers a conservative approach.

“Mom and I have our own way,” she explained. “We treat things as they come.”

That’s all well and good for a cat in her prime and a human with no experience of animal care, but what’s coming now is worsening tooth pain or, worse, the possibility of another broken tooth and begging for immediate emergency surgery – after a night spent holding a screaming cat. Prevention is necessary.

But will she even wake up from anesthesia this time? Her heart murmur’s rated 4 out of 6. Last time it was a 3. It’s significant, and serious. It’s a real risk.

I’ve left the appointment on the books, but I have time to consider it, to worry, and discuss it with the vet. And Penny.


Cricket said she sometimes sits with me while I’m writing and puts her paw on my hand to stop me. It’s her belief that I need to stop “thinking, thinking, thinking” and just be. Apparently, I need to meditate.

I thought that was so cute. And true.

Cricket showed Danielle the image of her sleeping at the head of the bed with me, and acknowledged that there’s another cat there now, too.

“I like her,” Penny said. “I see her with my own physical eyes. I know she’s still here, and I don’t mind.”


That was the best part. Penny’s very much the type of cat who deigns.

I asked Cricket if she will be there to help Penny across when her time comes. “Of course,” she answered. “Sisters help sisters.”

It didn’t seem so “of course” to me. There was a time Cricket wouldn’t leave our room, thinking Penny didn’t want her out in the house. That was a wonderful reading, our first. Danielle talked to both girls about that impression, and invited Cricket to participate in more of my life – which is, let’s admit it, basically on the couch, watching TV.

“Mom would like to see you,” Danielle told her then.

I’ll be damned if that cat didn’t walk into the living room that very night! It was amazing.

This time, Cricket reported having a clearer perspective, and I’m comforted knowing that she’ll be there with us when Penny goes to the other side.

I guess what I’m facing now is the ultimate experience of the universal inability to control outcomes. I’ve written before of what a driving force that’s been in my life. This is the biggest test to date. Penny’s almost 15. I don’t know how long, or how.

But I’ve been invited to stop thinking, thinking, thinking. 🙂

Penny’s fine. She scolded me a bit. “Don’t think of me like an old lady.”

When I talked at length about her teeth – What to do? What to do? – she said, “I’m still eating, aren’t I?”

“I just want to be left alone,” she summed up. “I want to eat what I want to eat.” (She asked for soft food, but try cleaning that vomit up!) (Danielle suggested Stella and Chewy’s. I’m going to try it, mixed in with her prescription food, which is $70 a bag!)

I still think a dental cleaning will be good for us. Her mouth will feel better. We’ll be in better stead for the future. She did mention that her immune system is improved by sunlight. Perhaps by Solstice (her birthday), Penny will be strong enough.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know!

Just be, Christie. That’s what Cricket thinks I need. Penny, too, I imagine. Just chill out and love my beautiful kitty. Oh, I love her so much! I miss that fat sister of hers.


hungover and hanging out after Penny’s reading

Cricket Checked In

It was a dream in real-time. My house was different, but it was home.

My BigFatBellyCat walked in.

“Cricket!” I squealed. “You’re here!”

She walked outside. I followed. She turned the corner of the house. I followed faster. She turned again; I followed still.

On that side of the house, Penny walked up, while Cricket walked off to the left and joined some other cats.

“Oh, she’s just there,” I said to her sister.

I picked up my Penny and went inside.

It was a visitation, I know it.

I was needing it. I miss my kitty.

Why Organized Religion Fails Me

“As a scientist, I’d much rather have questions I can’t answer than answers I can’t question.” – Max Tegmark

When I Googled this quote to ascertain his surname (It flashed across the SciChannel screen pretty quickly after the statement was made. I guessed Mark Rugmuth, haha!), I found that he plagiarized, er, restated another scientist, Richard Feynman.

Either way, me too. I like to say, “I dance in the question mark!” In truth, some unknowable things vex me, like Black Holes. I cannot be made to understand them, so they irritate me. Even worse are Dark Matter and Dark Energy. I DON’T GET IT!

Just dance, girl. Dance!

P.S. A young scientist, like, totally captured the image of a Black Hole today. She decided in high school that’s what she’d do, so she wrote an algorithm in grad school, and did just that. Today, she’s 29 years old. I don’t know how old she was when she invented brand-new technology that changed the world.

katie bouman
“Watching in disbelief as the first image I ever made of a black hole was in the process of being reconstructed.” -Katie Bouman on Twitter
richard feynman

Kenaram’s Memorial

Saturday was the Mormon/Krisha memorial. Sunday was for the ruffians, drunks, and the rest of us. Both were perfect. His family was so generous to open their home to his strange friends, and it was the perfect blend of both worlds he loved so much.

There was so much love and joy. I sobbed. I’ve never cried so hard at a funeral. It was cold and rainy all week, except for Saturday, the day of the backyard family service.

Sunday, I raged, in all the right ways. A friend offered his home to relocate the drum circle, should the rain pick back up (It did), but there was no notification of the move, so I carted myself and my kit to the park. With a tarp.

Kenaram started the circle early this year. They don’t get going that fiercely that early in the season, and not at all in Spring weather like that. Kenaram’s brother brought his ashes and set up his altar in the center of the circle, and we howled, danced, held each other, made merry, and made mayhem. Michael and his lovely daughter stayed for over an hour, letting us party like Kenaram would and finish our send-off.

I’m mourning both Jeffrey and Kenaram this week. I broke all the way down Saturday, and haven’t really stopped crying since. My heart is broken. I ache, everywhere inside.

Sunday, Michael handed me a pink moonstone ring he took off of Kendall’s finger before cremation. It had been Jeffrey’s. It’s mine now!

I’m so grateful for the generosity and love of these people. Those boys and their entire family have taught me, made me better. Michael’s challenge to all of us was to honor Kenaram by loving like he would. I’ve had a hard time doing that this week. I’m cranky and hurting, and I want to be left alone.

But I will. I will. I must. Why is the right thing so hard, especially when I know how good it will make me feel? It feels good to be kind, to be forgiving, to be gracious even in the face of cruelty, but I love and nurse my grudges.

I wish it were easier to let that go. I guess that’s why I’m still here. It’s what sets those dear brothers and their wonderful family apart from what I’ve known and who I want to be – superior, exacting, petty – when I feel low.

Getting even is a lie. It sets you completely out of balance. It feeds itself on greed, compulsion, and anger. I’m grateful for amazing examples, but I feel overwhelmed today, reluctant to step up to the challenge and meet it.

I just want to cry.

I’ll heal soon, and do better. I do want to be more like them. They make me feel precisely the opposite of “competing with the Joneses.” I’ve learned from the Joneses and I want to emulate them.

Lori, the only sister, put her arm around my waist at the funeral and introduced me to extended family, saying, “She’s been connected since Jeff!” Connected. 

Not, “She knew Jeff.” Connected! Wow.

I’m awestruck and humbled, and so very sad to lose their brothers.

hare krishna and bagpipes

Krishna song followed by bagpipes. Naturally.

jerry and kiyah

I was honored to finally meet Jeff’s son, Jerry, and his new bride, Kiyah.

spreading ashes at cemetery

Saturday, Mar. 23, 2019

altar at circle

I rubbed ashes on my drums. Native people thank the animal that becomes an instrument, and now Kenaram will sing with them, too. ~ Michael approached me when the cops came. (We were proud to warrant them on such an early, cold, wet day.) “Is it illegal to spread ashes in public?” he asked. I didn’t know, but answered, “We’ll get arrested for open containers before you get arrested for mourning your brother. Don’t worry.” Then we hid our beers.

michael and helena

Michael and Helena Jones

dance and drum
hugging tanya and jude


Kenaram introduced me to Amber (L) in 2014. Since then, she and her twin Angie have become two of my best friends.

daniel's prayer

Sunday, Mar. 24, 2019

be the thing you loved most

There He Is!

I couldn’t find this pic by in my collection – even though I’d posted it to Kenaram several months ago. Today, I felt like I needed to find it and started getting a little anxious that it might be gone, gone, gone, for good.

I scrolled back through Kenaram’s feed, growing more desperate that I’d never recover it. (I’d been searching for a good minute. I was about to give up.) I paused, took a breath, “Just help me find it, buddy.”

THE VERY NEXT CLICK, with angel sparkles, no less! Kenaram added them back when I posted it to his page, but I hadn’t known that. I felt like he and Jeffrey jumped out of those digital winks on the screen!

kenaram and me with angel sparkles

Liberty Park 2014 © Brian Palmer

I’m starting to feel him for himself, feel his absence, feel in general. I went numb when I heard the news, I think, then sank into a cranky gut-punch depression.

I broke down in the kitchen of Mama Pam, who called an Equinox gathering at her place last night. It was an amazing, COLD first night of Spring. Powerful. A safe place.

The wind has howled for a month. Last night was wild. I felt Kenaram and Jeffrey in manic air, living such as they did with madness and abandon, parts of nature, changing and moving, not to be forgotten. And that bright, BIG full moon has been speaking all week. Everyone’s been talking about this moon!

Pam’s the only woman I know who can pray to the Mother without sounding idiotic or pretentious, like stupid shit hippy chicks say or that thing triflin’ bitches do to alert other women of their their position as head goddess. I’d rather a man piss on his territory than a woman play that social-climbing, pecking order bullshit.

But Pam, when she calls forth energy, opens an Incantation, for real! She’s an Energy Worker, period, with nothing to prove, just doing her thing. We had pot luck. She read a passage about the stars and the season. We talked about our group collaborative artpiece memoriam for our dear friend Ray who passed – god, what? Five years ago?

And she closed with a Benediction. That woman is pure Power. And she’s so goddamned funny! Just a character from head to toe. She’s this Nebraska country girl, with the thickest accent. And she’s like me, playing with persona, weaving in and out of exxagerations of herself and other mannerisms, like performance art. Play, truly! She’s so fun. I love her!

I needed last night. It’s been since Ray’s memorial that our whole group was together.

We got home early and I climbed in the hot tub. (My Fibromyalgia! Fucking forget it. As kind as 2018 was, 2019 is that rotten. Worst ever, and it won’t. let. up. A break! Please!)

We have wind chimes of every type and variety in our backyard. Even the low, sonorous chimes sang – the deep ones that take gale winds to move. I heard my brothers chanting, making noise, as they did in life, getting my attention.

“We’re just here.”

Thanks for the sparkles, Kenaram. I saw you! I feel you. Damn. You’re not here, for real.