Thursday, May 31, 2007

Meet Caruso!

A few weeks ago I wrote about having met (and bonded with) an elderly cat who was living at Animal Aid, the shelter where I've been volunteering for the past month or so. Caruso is a beautiful boy, part Russian Blue, whose owner died in January, having ensured that all three of his cats would go to a no-kill shelter.

Caruso (so named because he was very verbal!) was quite depressed when he arrived at the shelter, and spent most of his time hiding. It took the wonderful folks at Animal Aid a long time to coax him into eating a little bit, but he was clearly still quite frightened and skittish when I met him.

I'd promised David not to turn into a Crazy Cat lady, bringing a new cat home every week (although I gotta tell ya, it's a HUGE temptation), but Caruso just tugged at my heart as soon as I met him. I convinvced David to accompany me to the shelter to meet Caruso, and the two of them hit it off as soon as they met, so we agreed to start the adoption process.

We had to take our two cats to the vet to be tested for feline HIV/leukemia, and we were distressed to discover that Sam (thanks to those years of brawling back in California) is HIV positive. Harley, on the other hand, is fine, and our vet assured us that it was highly unlikely that Caruso would contract the virus, but we assumed the folks at Animal Aid wouldn't let the adoption go through.

Much to my joy, the day after I'd left a message letting them know the results of Sam's blood test, I got a call from one of the women who works at the shelter, telling me that she'd called our vet and was willing to let the adoption go through.

Two days ago, I bought a new cat bed, and I set it up in our hall bathroom, along with a small litter box and a food/water dish, and sweet Caruso arrived at our front door about an hour ago. He found his bed in seconds, and has been curled up in there ever since (except when he ventures out to do a little exploring). He started to purr as soon as I began to scratch his ears, and it seems as if he knows he's out of the shelter and back in a home.

Now we need to work to ensure that our two cats accept him, so he can join the household. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Graduation weekend

Zack and his ancient mom, just after the graduation ceremony

We've been back from Minnesota for a couple of days, and I'm still in Major Recovery-From-Travel mode, but I did want to write a bit about my son's graduation from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD).

MCAD is a small art school (there were less than 100 people in his graduating class) located right next to the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Zack graduated with a BFA in Comic Art, MCAD being one of only two colleges that offered a degree in Comic Art when he was applying to college four years ago. From everything we've seen and all he's told us, it's a terrific place, and the graduation ceremony definitely confirmed that impression.

Graduation was held in the Children's Theater, which is part of the art institute complex. The room was large and comfortable, and the stage set was gorgeous (done in my favorite color palette, with lots of blues and teals and purples, so what could be bad, right?). The ceremony itself was a wonderful mix of formalities, whimsy and humor - just perfect for an art school that encourages creativity and individuality. The masters' degree recipients all wore commencement garb, but the bachelors' degree recipients could wear whatever they wanted; this led, as you can imagine, to a fascinating range of garb, from the graduate who wore the tux he'd rented for his wedding (which happened the following day), to the guy who graduated in a black toga covered with green glitter drawings, to Zack, in the 'dressy' outfit you see above. Some of the guys wore jeans and t-shirts spattered in paint, which seemed totally appropriate. Each masters' degree graduate had a mentor, and I loved the fact that each and every one of those pairs hugged each other when the diploma was delivered.

Best of all were the speeches (one speaker for each class and a keynote speaker), each different but all three were terrific. Who knew that it was actually possible to enjoy a graduation ceremony? Not me, for sure!
After the ceremony, there was a reception in the main MCAD building, where we got to see the display of Senior Projects (an amazing range of work, from comics to illustrations to furniture to fashion). It looked like every graduate had designed a business card, and I have two of Zack's new cards right next to my monitor.
It's very rare for someone to know what he or she wants to 'be when I grow up', but Zack has known since he was nine years old that he wanted to be a comic artist. I'm so grateful that he found a school like MCAD, where creativity and individuality are encouraged along with the highest standards of performance, that he was admitted to study there and that he's graduated!
Congratulations, Zack! You rock!