Ghosts of Christmas Past

The attic apartment with Emma. And Table Cat and Haroun. Life there was often louder than life now, living alone, but it was also full of peaceful moments. Watching television on the couch. Finishing book after book. Napping with the cats. Here I was finally finishing the Niccolò series in the glow of our prickly tree.

That year, I had two trees. There was also the little Fraser fir in Detroit, with only one ornament. We kept it until my boyfriend's roommate demanded it be removed for the umpteenth time. Something about fire hazards. She obviously didn't get that it was the tree, not the expensively reupholstered midcentury modern couch, that made the room.

Can't Escape the Greeting Card Business

I started making cards on my family's computer with Print Shop Deluxe, operating under the name Marisa Cards, Inc. I used Print Shop's convenient "coloring book" setting to print them with our painfully slow black-and-white printer, then colored them in with markers. After I got my first digital camera, I switched to photo cards; but by the time I got to college, I was drawing them by hand again. Not that I'm very good at it.

Last December, I tried pretty hard at cards and gifts. Though I purchased the birthday card (what a face on that cat!), 
I included this generous coupon for my dear Rachel, with a simplified but perfect rendition of my  living/bedroom, if I do say so myself. (She cashed it in not once, but twice this year! : )
The Christmas card for Rachel and her family was simpler, and possibly an inside joke with only Emma and my brother and not with Rachel, and certainly not with her family (who can remember when I started singing these lyrics), but anyway, I got a kick out of it. And I was missing my Peepers-kitty; he'd only been gone a couple months at that point.
Here's Mr. Pepys, my dearly departed golden tomcat.
Then we have the masterpiece, conceived of almost a year before it was created. Haroun's taco truck.
Many of us true cat-lovers believe fervently in elaborate facets of our felines' personalities that are, well, impossible. (Like Holly's tricksy French cat, Charlie, who told her husband "Mazel Tov" was French for "Happy Birthday!" Hilarious!) We have rich inner lives. 
My boyfriend insists that Emma's younger cat, Haroun, is a taco salesman. On many a late night, he has wished for a plate of Haroun's tacos.
"May all your dreams come true," read the card. (Yes, the close-up drawing is a bit freaky.)

This year is different. This year, Rachel opened her mail to find this puzzling piece of paper.
Merry Christmas! Happy birthday! You live in Florida now, so I am drawing cute-but-bizarre flamingos all over! Happy Fourth of July -- I only have red and blue pens in the office!

Rachel called this card "fantastic," "truly one of the best." Still, I hope to do better next year.