November Updates: Jimi Hendrix's Birthday, Choir Concerts, and More

So, I guess the question on everyone's minds right now is "how are you surviving this November"?

As if the immediate aftermath of the election wasn't hard enough, just a few days later, Brian and I had to say goodbye to our cat Rocky.

In mid-October, he suddenly started wheezing a lot. We initially thought it was a hairball that he just wasn't able to cough up, but after he started acting uncharacteristically lethargic, we took him to the vet, where it was discovered that he had a good amount of fluid not in but around his lungs. It's a thing called chylothorax and, other than subjecting him to weekly drains and/or expensive surgery that might not make a difference anyway, there's not really any good way to treat it. So, after two drains, we decided that we were just going to make him as comfortable as possible for as long as possible, until the time seemed right to help him not suffer anymore. Thursday the 10th was the day that it appeared he was in pain more often than not, so we took him to our trusted vet, Dr. Jenny at Animal House of Chicago, and had him put to sleep.

Brian got Rocky from the Humane Society only about a year and a half before we started dating, so Rocky and I had a chance to bond in a way that Brian's other older cat, Rosie, and I never really have. (Rosie is turbo-cat, though--she has apparently gained strength from Rocky's weakness, and I'm fairly confident she'll live a very, very long time. So, here's hoping we'll have our chance to grow even closer now.) My family never had pets while I was growing up, and though I love animals, I'd never chosen to adopt one while I was living on my own. So Rocky was the first cat that I really established a daily life relationship with. Perhaps understandably, I'm taking this extra hard.

As Brian was often fond of saying, the only two things that Rocky cared about were love and destruction. Among his finer moments:

  • biting through steel guitar strings

  • digging through the dirt in any indoor houseplant he could reach

  • shredding open window screens

  • gnawing at my shins any time I sat down at the dining room table to eat

  • running full tilt out of any even slightly ajar door

  • headbutting overnight guests in the crotch

  • scraping his dirty butt across the carpet after using the litter box

But, he was also hopelessly, heart-meltingly affectionate, which obviously more than made up for any of the damage he caused around the house.

He was Brian's trusted companion throughout the writing of his book, and he was often known to lay down next to my mat and cushion while I was meditating. At 20+ pounds, he was a bit big to be a lap cat, but that in no way stopped him from jumping straight up on you if you happened to be sitting still around him for longer than about 30 seconds. He was easily capable of charming the pants off anyone who ever met him, with his ready, rumbling purr and adorably vacant stare. If Rosie is our Southern Belle (she was rescued from under Brian's house when he lived in Baton Rouge), then Rocky was our big, dopey bro cat.

Our apartment feels extra empty now, an emptiness that anyone who's ever lost a pet will surely recognize. As we were holding him and saying one last goodbye after he received his injection, he did manage to release a healthy amount of fluid from his backside, completing soaking through Brian's right pant leg. It was pure Rocky. We couldn't help but laugh at the fact that he managed to create one last bit of ridiculous mischief before we let him go.

What's new on the blog

This month on Queen of Peaches, I dissect my affection for Jimi Hendrix in 15 steps:

3. Mainly, I remember driving myself back to Indiana University after some vacation or other and listening to [Jimi Hendrix: The Ultimate Experience] in the car on my way down. The comp is paced really thoughtfully, and I remember getting toward the end and hearing his live recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in its entirety for what was probably the first time. I was stuck in traffic somewhere on I-465 and just sat there sobbing my eyes out.

4. After college graduation, I spent a few months bumming around Seattle, living with a dear friend who'd recently moved there for a job as a sales rep with Samsonite. The Experience Music Project Museum (now officially known as MoPOP, I guess) had just recently opened and we were eager to check it out. In one of the first exhibits that we walked through, there was a display featuring Jimi's handwritten lyrics for "Angel." I cried standing there in front of it.

5. Thanks to all this, it got to the point where I both considered myself and was known as A Jimi Hendrix Fan.

Click here to read the rest.


  • I wrote a short piece in tribute to Leon Russell a few days after he passed away.

  • Chicago friends: tickets for the Chicago Artists Chorale's holiday concert "Grant Us Peace" are now available online here! The concert will be held on Tuesday, December 13 at 7:30 pm at the Nettelhorst School (3252 N Broadway, which is right across the street from Unabridged Bookstore). As it says in the link, the centerpiece of the concert will be Conrad Susa’s "Carols and Lullabies," a set of ten songs sung in various regional Spanish dialects and accompanied by harp, guitar, vibraphone, and marimba. It's lovely stuff and I've been learning so much every week from our really excellent conductor.

  • Here's a continually refreshed feed of articles that I've loved reading lately.

As the year has worn on, I've been getting nervous that I'd start running out of interesting covers of "I'm Waiting for the Man." I needn't have worried this month--I happily discovered Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark's 1980 version, which was apparently the B-side to their single "Messages." Brian and I laugh a lot about how I, irrationally, have very little tolerance for that herky-jerky late '70s/early '80s "Synth Britannia" stuff. (Ultimately, I think it comes down to the fact that, though I do love repetitious dance music, there's not enough bass in the genre for my tastes.) However, if given the choice between another overblown bar band rave-up version of the song and an endearingly tinny take on it that clocks in at less than three minutes yet still manages to include a shrill and reedy keyboard solo, give me the early '80s version any day of the week. Plus! I have no idea where the video footage that's linked to the song on YouTube comes from, but I love the awkward B-movie artiness of it. (Is that yogurt that he's eating in what feels like one long take for, like, three straight minutes?)

As a clairvoyant, I'm not really in the business of predicting what's going to happen, politically, in the world if the Chrump presidency continues the trajectory that it's on already. But, I can psychically help you take a look at where you're lit up about current events. A psychic reading is a great way to see, with neutrality and maybe even amusement, some of the deeper energy behind why you may have felt a little (or a lot) fritzed out in the immediate aftermath of the election. I can also help look at some options, unique to you, for moving forward in the context of this new regime. One of the most valuable messages I, personally, consistently, get from psychic readings and psychic meditation is when it's revealed that the battle I'm fighting isn't my own. I don't want to suggest that anyone not be concerned or even outraged about the state of the nation, but it's worth considering that maybe some of the places where your energy is being drained at the moment could perhaps be freed up and used more productively elsewhere. Hit reply to this message or jump over to my Bigcartel page to set up a time to chat with me if a reading along those lines sounds like it could be useful. Alternately, if you feel like you're swimming in too many words about all this stuff already, then a reiki, crystal, or aura healing might be a refreshing option instead. The discount code PEACHES is still active for 50% off any service in the shop.

Sending you sincere, heartfelt thanks for all your support this year!