Friday Five

1. You dirty rat. As I turned the corner to my office building one morning this week I was greeted with this sight.

Oh, rats!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the inflatable union rat! I think this is a NYC thing. So let me explain. The union rat has become a symbol synonymous with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He’s a superhero for the new millennium. Wherever there is injustice in the city, the union rat is there to stand up to The Man. He is vigilant at all union protests, pickets and sit-ins (also available for birthday parties and retirement soirees). When the union rat heard that the owners of the building I work in were not hiring union carpenters, like MLK at the Greensboro lunch counter, he showed up to lend his support. Way to stick it to The Man, union rat!

2. Reggie and Kitty. A while ago, I’d mentioned that there is a stray cat in the neighborhood who has taken a shine to Reggie. I think she used to belong to someone because she’s a little too friendly to have been feral her whole life. She lets me pet her and scratch her ears, but it’s really Reggie she wants to see. When we come out of the building, she’ll pop out from her secret hiding spot and come galloping toward us. At first I couldn’t tell if he was curious in a good way (“I’d like to get to know you.”) or in a bad way (“I would like to eat you.”). But it turns out he was quite nervous. She is so bold, at first he would back up and try to go around her. She’d have none of it. She’d do her little cat prance around him and, because she doesn’t have any tags, she would go into stealth mode. Now, we’ve seen her so regularly, he’s warmed up to her. They touch noses and she reclines on the ground in front of him. I’ve tried to get a good photo, but we usually only see her at night. This shot makes her look larger than she is. She’s maybe 5 or 6 pounds.

3. At the library a book by Katie Couric was on the new shelf, called The Best Advice I Ever Got. It’s compiled of dozens of essays from Katie’s “friends” offering their insights into some life lesson they’ve learned. I don’t usually go in for books like this, but I was flipping through it while waiting in line. There was an essay from chef Mario Batali. One line caught my attention, “At some point, what you’ve taken in turns into your take on things.” It reminded me of something my grandmother used to say, “You are known by the friends you keep.” Meaning, who and what you surround yourself with becomes who and what you are. Poignant stuff from a man who wears orange crocs and sports a ponytail.

4. A wedding? What wedding? I’m interested in an I-don’t-particularly-care sort of way, but I couldn’t help but flip on the t.v. when I got up. I caught the proceedings just as the Royal Knot was about to be tied. OK, I wanted to see Kate Middleton’s dress, which I thought was lovely. I saw her during that loooong walk down the aisle and wondered what she was thinking. Her face betrayed little emotion, but inside was she happy, nervous, overwhelmed, a little bit sad at the loss of anonymity? Once the prince and newly minted princess were riding back to Buckingham Palace they had big smiles and waved to the crowd. I can see why people are attracted to the pomp and circumstance (and pack into Trafalgar Square and along the route in the thousands). All of the horses and guards and carriages and hats and swords and medals. Besides, it’s refreshing to hear some happy news. (Even The Weather Channel had a reporter on the scene. You know, in case it rained inside Westminster Abbey.) Maybe you were wondering what happened to your invitation to the nuptials, so get your royal name generator here. Maybe it got lost in the mail.

5. Update on The Writers’ Salon. For those of you new to these parts, I’ve been teaching some classes in creative writing techniques. Each week the class focuses on a different writing technique, like suspense or dialogue. I love deconstructing a novel into its basic parts and deciding what works, what doesn’t and how to incorporate that into my own writing. I am really enjoying it. Each class flies by so quickly I can’t believe when I look at my watch that time’s up. So far, a handful of writers have attended each class and we’ve had some great discussions.  I’m trying to put together a workshop over the summer where writers can bring their own chapters or stories to class and get feedback. Organizing the classes have been keeping me super busy, and I’m learning a lot about marketing and promotion. Drop a line if you got some ideers. I’m always open to suggestions.

Have a great weekend, everyone!



    1. She is quite charming. She often escorts us to the end of the block and then turns back when we cross the street. Now that it’s warmer I expect we’ll be seeing her more often


  1. That rat gets around…he was somewhere in Washington, DC a couple of months ago! I saw a picture of him on another blog I follow!

    Love the doggy love story…rare for cats and dogs to like each other like that! My dog is generally petrified of all other animals…

    Happy weekend, Jacquelin!



    1. I’d like to see the rat up in Hammond River. Maybe we should turn it into The Jolie, send it around on a tour of sorts.

      Normally Reggie steers clear of puppies or hyper dogs. I guess they’re too frenetic for his taste. Kitty is a bit like that so I thought he’d give her a warning, especially when she swishes her tail against his face, but he never does.


    1. Me, too! I find it so endearing.

      I’d like to try to get a better photo of them together. I’m hoping we can see her in the daylight soon.


      1. Just looked at the photo again. Are you sure the kitty is a stray? She’s small, but looks to be in very good condition – not too thin, coat is shiny. Is that a collar on her? Lucy was once (that I’m aware of) mistaken for a stray because she goes visiting all over our neighbourhood.

        Forgot to say that I like the rat. It’s bound to get you some blog traffic. I once mentioned a rat in a post, and now people frequently find me by searching for “evil rat”. Not sure why – think it might be a cartoon character.


  2. I think that she once lived in a home. She’s far too friendly. She never had a collar and then one day showed up with it. There’s no name or tags on the collar. Recently I ran into a woman who said she kept watch on the kitty. She’s been feeding her regularly, but the kitty doesn’t live in the house. I never got to ask the woman why she didn’t put tags or her number on the collar. There are plenty of strays around here, but it’s more dangerous than most areas with all the traffic so I worry about her.


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