Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Art Blog: Herding CATS

I have been an artist all my life. However, I felt like a REAL artist when I sold my first oil painting when I was a teenager. As I think back, I realize it was an awful painting. It was a landscape with trees, a pond, and two swans floating under the sun. Yes, it was very cliché, but I was only 15 years old! A real estate agent was visiting our house. He saw me working on it and bought it on the spot for $50. That was big money back in that day and it was the start of my official career!

As life went on, I learned a lot about being an artist. I did the bohemian, hand-to-mouth thing. I worked hard to keep the art fires burning. If I have anything to be proud of it is longevity. I have never given up.

There was one period of my life when I got tired of being so poor and decided to sign on to teach, but I definitely kept my art career. I entered the strange world of education. Since I didn’t have a clue as to how to deal with this system, I needed to educate myself. I went back to school and got all kinds of new foreign credentials. Being the overachiever I am I became super teacher. I was a part of every online teacher group, message board, education website, etc. It was like an obsession. I even ran multiple teacher support groups and websites.
After a few years of that, I stopped. I had lost my ART self in the fervor of trying to be great at something I didn’t care about in the first place. However, I learned a lot in those years. It was a good experience. I am thankful for the new perspectives.

One of the things I learned is teachers work together. They are very social. They have a collaborative spirit. For example when I ran teacher email groups, the lines were buzzing. Every day, there were bunches of emails, new discussions, and new ideas. Teachers share. When I stopped trying to be a teacher extraordinaire, I started running artist groups. I did the same things as before, but instead of working with teachers, I chose to focus on my people, the ARTISTS.

Every artist group I have ever tried to moderate ends up being lethargic. There is rarely discussion. There is little camaraderie. As I sat back and watched these groups happen, it was like watching a poker game with everyone wearing sunglasses and holding their card hand close to their chest. Nobody trusted anybody! The groups seemed sullen and all too serious. The members were quick to judge others or fade into the woodwork. It is kind of sad really. I know artists tend to be loners, but not taking advantage of social opportunities online is very bizarre, albeit interesting to me.

In recent months, I have been trying to coordinate a Twitter art show. The show’s name is Twitter: 140. The deadline is today. I have worked so hard to put this together. Yet, there have been many ups and downs. In my frustration yesterday, I tweeted a follow artist and spoke of being exasperated. He said something like “You know Sheree. trying to organize artists is like trying to herd cats!” At this point, I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, I believe they are “FERAL” cats at that!

I am not going to think about why. I am ready to settle for “It is what it is!” In the meantime, here is the piece I made for our Twitter:140. I love it!

"TWINGO is the unique and original tweet
language of the Twitter Tweople."

Sheree Rensel
11.75” X 11.75”
Acrylic, copper, mixed media, on wood
CLICK pic for detail view

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Art Blog: The GREEN People

A few weeks ago, I was using Twitter and I was having a hard time seeing who was whom. My eyes aren’t very sharp these days. I struggled to distinguish one tweeter from another. Finally, I tweeted something like “What is with all the green icons???” Almost immediately, I got a response. I was told all the green overlay icons were showing support for Iran. Oh…….I see. Thank you for letting me know and understand this.

I did not change my avatar. I left it bright pink. I have this thing about being honest and not coming off as a hypocrite. I mean, why would I put green all over my face to show I support Iran? Of course, I support Iran and the rights of the people there. I want the very best for all of them and they are in my prayers. However, I am not booking a flight to go over there and fight in the streets for them. I am not in it that way. I guess I am not a true GREEN person.

Of course, I am being facetious. However, I can’t help myself here. I am outraged and feel very uncomfortable about the GREEN icon people. I see it as fake. It is like a fad or fashion. I believe too many of those with color overlays, did it for no other reason than to be a part of the crowd. They want to be seen as cool or part of the current trend. In other words, it is pure B.S.!

When I started to rock the twitter boat tonight, I got called on the rug. There were words like patriot and phrases like dying for your country thrown here and there. I will be brutally honest. I would not die for my country. I just wouldn't do that. Of course, I would fight to the death if someone invaded my own home. However if I was told to go to a foreign country and start shooting at people, I would not do that. Nor would I pretend to know what is going on in a country full of civil unrest and injustice. I certainly wouldn't believe turning my photo green would help those in such a state. Yes, we see and hear the news, but putting GREEN all over your photo isn’t changing anything. If you want to make a true impact, spend your GREEN and go there and fight in the streets!

Like I told someone tonight, I can’t help the way I think. I am of the Vietnam era. I know about senseless strife and political unrest. I know about the idiotic decisions and opinions of decades of misguided leaders. I know about tragic wars. Also, I know about the 21st century tendency to have a world driven by media and trends. This is my thesis. I am asking if your icon is GREEN because you are really working to change things in Iran or are you just GREEN because it is the thing to do right now. Let me know. The comment section is waiting for responses.

Sheree Rensel
Digital Sketchbook, 7” X 5.5”

Regardless of my opinions and stance, I am very patriotic. I love America. I am thankful I am American. In fact, this position is exactly why I am allowed the privilege to ask the questions posted here.

P.S. Not to make light of the magnitude of importance of this topic, however one of the funniest tweets I read this week had to do with the GREEN people topic. The tweeter asked something like "So now that Michael Jackson has died, what color do we overlay our avatar?" I laughed and laughed. The reason I laughed so hard is because like any good humor, there was a biting grain of truth.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Art Blog: Creative Bank Account

This post is not about money. It is about the amount of creative energy we spend making art.

I haven’t written in a few days because I have been working so hard in my studio. The Twitter:140 deadline is approaching and I still have to finish my piece for that. I had a slight disappointment with the assemblage I am making. I am using sheet copper. However, I didn’t have enough full, true copper to use, so I used this lightweight copper sheet instead. I noticed it was oxidizing as I worked on the piece. I liked the shiny quality and copper color, so I attempted to wash off the oxidation with water. That made it worse! I then started to clean the copper with salt and vinegar. It really made it shiny again. However as the hours progressed, the copper started to turn dark with an added greenish patina in some places. (NOTE TO SELF: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!) I am not sure if I like it this way or not. I am debating whether to just leave it this way or go get some thicker copper and do it all over again. I don’t know though. The patina is starting to grow on me.
Oh the drama!! LOL

This is why I haven’t written much this week. I am embroiled in all kinds of other creative activities. The only new thing I have been working on is the Twitter piece. All the rest of my time has been spent completely finishing pieces I had already started. I am tying up loose ends. Just doing the final painting details, varnishing, cleaning up the backs, attaching hook-eyes and wires can take so much time. The current issue is where in the world am I going to hang all these things? Some rearranging is in order. I don’t like leaving finished work in my studio because it gets wrecked. One wild swing of a paint laden brush and things get ruined. However, the rest of my house walls are nearly full! I am going to have to figure out how to make more wall space. It will be worked out.

I titled this post creative bank account because I realized today, I am nearly overdrawn. I came home from the dentist and just didn’t have it in me to go into my studio. I need a tiny break. A time out is in order. This realization brings a grin to my face because when I tell people I am an artist, they envision that it is a stress free life. Artist go in and “La dee da” around and live a life of glee.

People don’t realize that if an artist is working long hours in the studio it is like any other job. In fact in my case, I seriously think my studio time expends MORE energy than when I work my day job! This is significant since my art students are severely emotionally disturbed special ed kids! Art studio work takes a lot of energy and can suck the life juices out of you.

OK, enough. I think I will work on my website today. Yes, that is still creative but that energy comes from a different account. Here is my newest Treasure Map. I showed it once before while “in progress”. It is done now and ready to hang. I love it. I especially love the story behind these maps. I will write about this soon.

Click pic for detail view

“Ice Road”
Sheree Rensel
Acrylic/Mixed Media, 24” X 36”

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Art Blog: Your TRUE Art Self

It has been a wonderful week in the studio. I am getting so much done. Ideas are coming faster than I can write them down. This is my heaven! I had hit a wall a few months ago and didn’t understand why I was struggling to make my art. In some bizarre way, I had embraced some very weird thoughts about my own work. I had decided I hate the way I make art. I hate the way ALL my art looks. I hated my methods. Therefore, I decided to change everything. I have been experimenting with new ways. I even set up some restrictions for myself. I had decided to just paint. I forbade myself to add words or stuff to the canvas. I thought I needed to add subtlety to my palette so my work didn’t look like it belonged in the Ringling Bros. circus!

Well, that didn’t work. LOL A few weeks ago, I just threw in the towel and decided to be me again. I have no idea why I have this compulsion to add crap to my canvas. I know I love to incorporate words. There is a story behind that, but I will explain in another post. Anyway as I worked on my “Treasure Maps”, I just went with my gut. I broke my own rules. I used bright colors. I added collage elements. I added sand and grit. Even the words appeared again. Oh well. It really felt good to find Sheree alive and well!

Even though I am getting older, I still learn things every day. This past Tuesday while working in the studio, I had the pleasure of listening to Art Focus with Eva Lake. This week she interviewed painter, Arvie Smith. As I listened to him speak, I had to grin and nod my head: YES! His words were so timely. He too uses bright and bold colors. He made no apologies. Also, he spoke of being true to himself. This made me smile big.

Here is another one of my new babies. It is part of the “Treasure Map” series. I finally understand what these maps are about and why they are important to me. I will speak on this issue later. In the meantime, I want to remind all of you to always
be true to your ART SELF!

Click pics for detail views

“We Are Not In Kansas Anymore!”
Sheree Rensel
Acrylic/Mixed Media/Canvas, 24” X 36”

Just like the last piece I showed, this painting has a zillion layers. The difference is I kept sanding this one down nearly to the surface of the canvas. Finally, I got to this resolution. Hooray!!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Art Blog: Visions or Blank Canvas?

There are times when people ask questions about my art and art making process. One question that is asked often is: “Do you have a vision in your head before you paint or do you just start painting?” My reply is “Both”. Sometimes I have a complete and total vision of a work before I have even set up a canvas. Other times, there is no vision, no idea, and no clue. I start painting anyway.

There are pros and cons to both methods. The “vision” mode is fun because some of the work is already done. I have the image in my mind. All I have to do is make that image concrete. When this happens, things go fast. I gather up reference materials, sketch things out, and paint like a mad woman. It is fun and amazing to see imagery from my head appear in front of me. It can be a bit frustrating if I can’t get it exactly like my mental picture, but I usually get pretty close. The down side of this method is it can be mechanical. Also, I get inpatient because I know what is going to happen and I just want it to be done!

When I stare at a "blank canvas" with no preconceived notion of what I am going to do it is much scarier. Sometimes the brushstrokes quickly suggest a direction. Other times, it can be brutal. I struggle and argue with the work. This way of working can be very stressful.

Then again, some really terrific things can happen too when we work blindly. I started my “Treasure Maps” series about a year ago. I have never finished even one. In fact, they were close to becoming “orphans”. (I will write about orphans tomorrow.) Little by little I worked on them while working on other things. I didn’t understand what I was doing. I couldn’t see where I was going. I was very frustrated and exasperated. This week I have been working long hours in my studio. Three of the pieces I have been working on are from that series. Yesterday, I had a lightning bolt moment. I realized what this series is about and what I want it to say. I slept on this revelation. This morning, I went into the studio and POOF! I finished all three! Two of them still need varnish. Here is the first one. FINALLY done!

Click pics for detail view

“Can’t Go Home Again”
Sheree Rensel
Acrylic/Mixed Media/Canvas, 24” X 36”

You sure can’t tell from this picture, but there has to be at least 20 layers of paint on this canvas. I just kept painting over and over and over it. It actually weighs a lot! I like the connection of looking for treasure and all the layers of this painting. However in this case, the treasure wasn’t buried, it rose to the top!

Here is a detail of the collage map portion. I am going to make a “Treasure Map” series webpage. I will put up the other maps online soon!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Art Blog: NUMBING Down

We all do it to one degree or another. We numb ourselves with food, drink, drugs, TV, computers, sex, etc. etc. I am an equal opportunity numer. I can space out easily and often. I eat too much. I drink too much. I watch too much TV. I am on the computer way too much. Luckily all these mind numbing activities don’t occur all at the same time or I would be a blithering idiot by now. Lately, I have been ultra aware of these destructive behaviors. I can actually hear the clock ticking in my brain and see clearly the damage it does to my being. This has to stop.

This week has been an emotional humdinger. As reported my boss (principal) was fired. This shook my world literally. I loved this person. I am so sad for her. Also, I hate change and hate working for new bosses even more. This is why it made me so crazy. In fact, I can’t even remember last Monday or Tuesday. I totally vegged out and created a self induced state of temporary insanity. By Wednesday, I started licking my wounds. I did tend to numb down during any given hour, but at least I went about living. By Thursday, I became philosophical. Things will be fine. I got back to my art life.

The end of the week came and I was doing well. I was busy working on my art and starting to feel whole again. I actually felt some optimism. Yesterday morning while working in my studio, I got a call from a colleague. She told me Friday “they” canned our assistant principal too! HOLY MACARONI! I am not going to miss this person. However, I am not looking forward to an entirely new administrative regime. As she spoke to me on the phone, I felt like I was being drenched in buckets of ice water.

Shortly after that, I left my studio. NUMBING DOWN time emerged. I ate, drank, and televisioned myself into oblivion. Luckily, I didn’t do too much damage. I managed to get up and move this morning. However, I sat in front of the computer for three straight hours accomplishing nothing but wasting time and brain cells. I am going to post this blog entry and go to my studio. I have to get to work and snap out of this daze. I know better than this. I am too old and wise. I know that numbing down accomplishes nothing because when you do snap out of it, reality is still there staring you in the face.
Off to the studio!

Meanwhile, I am wondering how I have been an artist so long and never used an electric miter saw. Can you believe this lame set up? I struggle cutting wood all the time. I always use hand saws. Is this old school or what? Why I torture myself is beyond me.
Note to self: GO AND BUY A MITER SAW! Old dogs can learn new tricks. Stop this madness Sheree. Geesh! It is 2009. We have electricity now! LOL

Friday, June 12, 2009

Art Blog: Here Then Are!

I am not a nature person. However, sometimes you just have to stop and look at the miracles happening outside. Yesterday’s post spoke of some cactus flowers in my yard. They only bloom only one night per year. So, I went out at 9pm and took these shots. They weren’t even in full bloom yet. I wanted to take shots later, but I fell asleep.
It is 7:30am now. The blooms have already wilted.
Such a short life for such beauties!

Night-Blooming Cereus
Queen of the Night ~ Deer-Horn Cactus

Peniocereus greggii
(Cereus greggii)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Art Blog: Tonight is the NIGHT!

Since I was born and raised in Michigan, I have never really gotten accustomed to some things down here in the south. One thing that amazes me every year is the Night-Blooming Cereus I have growing in my front yard. I planted about three six inch sprigs next to my oak tree about 7 years ago. That cactus has grown 30 feet up the tree! The most bizarre thing about this plant is it blooms only one time per year at NIGHT. The blooms start to open at sunset and wither away by the next sunrise.
Too weird.

I have been watching the fuzzy blooms accumulate the last few days. Today the flower pedals are showing. I rushed out to take a few shots because tonight is the night they will bloom. The blossoms are huge. Some can get as large as twelve inches across!

Here are the pics I just took. The sun is setting now. I will go out later tonight and try to get some shots when they open. Crazy weird!

Night-Blooming Cereus
Queen of the Night ~ Deer-Horn Cactus
Peniocereus greggii
(Cereus greggii)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Art Blog: Anxiety Addiction

I remember during my childhood adults telling me to
“Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!”
Well, that’s happened to me yesterday. I woke up whining and ended up getting a spanking! I had started writing this post about anxiety. Yesterday morning I felt that old familiar friend ANXIETY in the room with me. I tried to ignore the fact I was experiencing the pulse racing feeling of impending doom. (Maybe I am psychic?)

Whenever this feeling comes my way, I get an image of Chicken Little frantically running around looking up at the sky. I hear the squawk, squawk, squawk! (The sky is falling! The sky is falling!) I lay there a few minutes and analyzed the situation. I attributed this haunting feeling to the fact I have too much art to create, too many deadlines, and too many projects going on right now. I told myself to calm down and relax. Everything will get done.

(Chicken) Little did I know within hours my world as I know it would start to crash down around me. Later in the day, I wrote a completely different post about the “gloom and doom” that actually happened and posted it yesterday afternoon.

“I don't have big anxieties. I wish I did. I'd be much more interesting.”
Roy Lichtenstein

I found this Lichtenstein quote and just had to laugh. If this is true, my life must be very interesting!! LOL But I am very ready to let all this anxiety go. I am done with it. Today, I had a grand revelation. I had an epiphany!

My mother was a loon. I know. I know. If you read this blog you are probably thinking “The apple doesn’t fall from the tree!” However, I am looney in different ways. I have few selected memories of my mother. One thing I remember very clearly are the times she would clean the house in a state of panic. I remember her pushing a vacuum cleaner around like a deadly weapon. We knew not to bother her when she was in this state of mind.

This morning I felt numb. Seriously, I felt like the blood was draining from my body. All I could think about is cleaning the house. I began frantically washing the dishes. I gathered up every stitch of dirty clothes in my house and pushed them in the washer. I even pulled the sheets off my bed! As I looked down at the floors and prepared to get the mop, I remembered my mother. This is the epiphany part: NOW I GET IT! I never understood this until now. Her cleaning ritual was a way to put things in order and to control life’s uncontrollable moments. It took me this long to understand her behavior.

I am so over this thriving on crisis baloney. They say old habits die hard. Shoot! I have been trying to kill this booger off for decades! The difference now is I know how to handle it. I become my own therapist. I ask myself what I am thinking and then respond with RATIONAL answers. Life is full of ups and downs. We just need a really great pair of hiking shoes to get through it. This too shall pass.

So (rational self speaking), “Sheree, if the sky was really going to fall, you would have been smothered by a cloud a LONG time ago!”

Monday, June 8, 2009

Art Blog: The IRONY

Today, I had another post half written. I trashed that blog post because I got word of something so devastating and hurtful, I couldn’t continue with that thread. Instead, I want to write about systems and bureaucracy.

There are aspects of my day job I loathe. As an artist, I think about freedom. If you work for a corporation or systemic organization, freedom is lost and never heard of again. My day job is with a school SYSTEM. With this employment comes the realization you have to do what the system tells you to do. It reminds me of the movie “Catch-22”. If you are a youngster, you need to rent this movie. You need to learn about how crazy life can be.

It is so ironic. I was all a tizzy this past year. I wanted to leave my job. I hated it. It was just too much trouble, too bizarre, and far too stressful. After going through a summer of applying for other jobs, I realized I love where I live. I love my job situation even though there were issues. I just didn’t like some of the stuff that comes with my job. After thinking for a long while, I decided I wanted to stay. The reason I came to this conclusion is because I loved my boss. I felt she was doing the right thing and with time, things would get better.

Well, today my world crumpled. My boss got fired. I am sitting here right now wondering what the hell I am going to do now. I am a very hot mess! What I think might happen makes me feel like vomiting. There are so many questions and no answers.

Ok. Ok. Ok. Get yourself together Sheree. I just got off the phone with my daughter. She kept repeating “You will be OK, You will be OK.” She went on to say “Everything happens for a reason.” In other words, get on with it! Gee, I wonder where she heard that from?

This is going to be a LONG summer. I wonder what will happen next.
Life is strange.

Use your BRAIN? HA! I am really pissed my boss was fired. She was a very cool person. She had the best interest of the kids as a major priority. Among many good qualities, she realized the importance of the arts! I don't understand why they would let such a good person go. However having worked for "systems" before, I know common sense is not always applied. People don't always use their brains. This is very sad.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Art Blog: The TAFFY Pull

I saw a tweet the other day about an artist who is intentionally reducing the size and price of her work to make it more marketable. I guess the logic follows tiny art = tiny price (?) I made some smart ass tweet back saying I would be selling 1” X 1” paintings soon for pennies a piece. I was being facetious. However, there was a bit of biting truth and pain in that remark.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Just yesterday as I sat for the umpteenth time in the dentist’s office, I stared at his atrocious collection of Kmartesque (China assembly line made?) turquoise and coral sunset paintings and fading albeit whimsical prints of ocean life. I imagined his office walls filled with my own work. It just wouldn’t fly. I think it would look great, but I am sure it would be puzzling to many of his patients. The average Joe and Jane don’t seem to appreciate my art. They curl their noses and think it is weird.

I saw a Robert Genn letter about artist’s incomes and it made me think about this more. Read these quotes from the letter:

“Maranda's study finds artists as a group to be older and better educated than they were a few years ago, having an average of six years of post-secondary education. The real shocker comes with the revelation that the higher their education level, the less artists earn from their art.”

“Highly educated artists may make art that is too sophisticated or esoteric for people to buy.”
The art income shock

I think this is partially my problem. I am not being pretentious or anything like that. I just know for a fact, MOST people don’t understand or appreciate my art. Generally, average people don’t seem to relate to it at all. I know this to be true from comments and impressions from non-artists who have seen my work in person or online. Many are puzzled or make comments like “I don’t get it.” I think even my own daughter secretly wishes I would just make “normal” art.

In the past few years, I have intentionally made smaller work in an effort to make my art more affordable. Shoot! I have even made gewgaws (like my art signs) in hopes of appealing to the masses. Did I make any money? NOPE!

I am not sure what the answer is. I realize I have the option to paint pretty Florida seascapes or palm tree laden landscapes. Those might sell. However, that is not what I want to create. So I guess I have to be true to myself and just keep creating what I want to create.

Sometimes being an artist can feel like being pulled like taffy. I am not going to let this happen to me anymore. I am not letting the art market, public opinion, or lack of acceptance pull me in any direction. As I embark on my yearly art marathon during these summer months, I am just going to make my own, true art. If that means suffering financial consequences, so be it. At least, I will be a happy artist. Also, I don’t have to worry that much. This is exactly why I choose to keep my day job! LOL

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Art Blog: The PLAN

It hasn’t quite hit me yet. I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. I don’t have to go anywhere at all until the end of August. This freaks me out in a way.

In fact, when I was at the dentist today, he told me to come back next Monday. He yelled “That is OK, right? You are off now!” I said “yes” and realized I will be able to get my dental work done and finished at a much faster rate now. In a matter of weeks, I will have all my upper teeth capped and pretty. We have been working on this for more than a year. It is finally coming to an end. We only have two more teeth to finish. Oh, joy!

This time frame is NOT about teeth. It is about focusing on my art without the distractions of life. This is a rare treasure. I have so much to do. I have deadlines. I have so much art to make. Just thinking about it makes me jitter. I have to talk myself out of feeling anxious. I have to take it a day at a time.

So, I have to make a PLAN. I have to get my deadlines in order. I have to see what my priorities are. I have to figure out what I can do this summer that will provide the “biggest bang for my buck!” It is all good. I have all my lists together. I just have to create a routine and do it!

Tonight I got home and took my dog out in the back yard. I was drinking a beer and contemplating ordering a pizza. As we walked back in the house, I looked up and saw my ART signs hanging on my kitchen cupboard. I LOVED seeing this image. ART, ART, ART, ART. That is all I want in my life.
This is the one tried and true thing that makes me so HAPPY!

All this is so funny because sometimes I am sad my art sales are less than stellar. However, when I see my art signs nobody wants, I am so glad I made them and they are MINE. I love the way they look hanging in my house*.
*(You can have this happen to you too! Buy an art sign! Only $15. With free shipping!)
EMAIL ME! wizzlewolf@aol.com

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Art Blog: FINALLY!!!!

Finally, this day has come!! Whoopee!!!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Art Blog: Zorro

I broke one of my art student's hearts today. While we worked in the studio one of my best students looked at me and asked “Ms. Rensel don’t you just love cats?” With my normal brutal honesty and unchecked mouth, I replied “No. I hate cats!” His face just fell. He went on to tell me about his cats and asked why I didn’t like cats. I told him all the reasons cats are just not my thing. I am a DOG person.

When the class was over, I felt bad. I realized how I should have lied. I should have made up a story and described the folly and bliss cats bring to my life. However at that point, it was too late. As I drove home, I thought about all this. I have only had cats in my life for a few years. At the time, I was living with a guy who loved cats. He would bring strays home. I hated that. One of his cats had kittens. We kept one. I named her Zorro. She was a very cool cat. I loved her. I really did!

Despite my distaste for cats, Zorro was special. She wasn’t an ordinary cat. We bonded and hung out. I loved looking all over the house for her, only to find she was laying on the top of the door looking down at me. I liked her sense of humor. I taught her how to play PING PONG. I created a ping pong table and laid it on the floor. I used a paddle; she used her paws. We had a blast!

As months flew by, I became concerned. Zorro wasn’t growing. She got to the size of about 6 months growth and then stopped. She looked like a kitten even after her 1st birthday. I finally took her to the veterinarian. He realized there was something wrong, but in order to find out, we would have to do extensive blood and genetic tests. It would cost money.

I didn’t have money back then. I thought it would be fine to have a tiny cat. Just a week later, I found Zorro dead. Obviously, she had some kind of unknown medical issue. I remember holding her and telling her I loved her. She was the best cat I ever knew. Just like we all remember loved ones, I remember Zorro.

This is not Zorro. However, it looks just like her. When I think back, I know Zorro knew she had a good life. She knew I loved her. Even to this day, I bet she is playing a mean game of ping pong with the cats and dogs in heaven!