in the vicinity

Nechama in the park

When I was going through the rather lengthy process of moving from my old home to my new one, I shared my adventures with you my readers. It was a period of instability and upheaval. There were times when I could only describe my sense of loss, parting from my home of forty years, in poetry. Meantime, I have resituated in my new home, as described in a previous post . Slowly, I’ve adjusted to the new conditions, most of which are an improvement on what I was used to.


Though most of the work had been done for me by my dear friends, I had to unpack my personal items, and decide where things would go in the new house. As a creature of habit, everything had its place in my old home, and I could just reach out my hand and find the scissors or the radio. But once in my new home, even after I decided that a certain item would go somewhere, I sometimes forgot the chosen place when I needed that same item a day or two later. Sometimes I forgot where I’d put something only 15 minutes earlier. It was a challenge.


There was a period when my personal space extended only as far as the clothing I was wearing. If an object was in one of my pockets, I knew where it was. Otherwise I wasn’t sure. Little by little that personal space began to extend to facilities within the home. There was a closet with three shelves where I put some things that were essential… I knew it was a temporary solution, but my wallet and my credit cards, my camera, eye glasses, cell phone, and flashlight went there. And the external hard disc, reserve batteries, a tape measure, my car keys, a prayer book, and a few other indispensable items. After a week or two I began to get the feel of the house. I noticed that my cat, Nechama, was quicker at finding her bearings than I was.

checking out the area, Nechama

The process hasn’t been completed yet. The desktop computer hasn’t yet been returned to full service. My scanner and printer are still under wraps. But I am beginning to feel more at ease at home, and have begun an acquaintanceship with the neighborhood. In my old neighborhood, there was a path that led from the back of the house to a forest nature reserve where I would occasionally meet with wild animals. Nechama and I used to like taking walks in nature.

one of the lawns of the park behind our home

Our new home is adjacent to a well groomed park. And though it is pleasant, with benches to sit on, grass lawns, and bushes bearing a variety of flowers, I worried that it might be too civilized for Nechama. Aside from that, there is more traffic on the street where I now live, and this too had me worried. I thought Nechama might not be able to perceive the dangers of our new environment; might get lost once I gave her back her independence. But she was anxious to be free, so we did venture out together. She met other cats in the neighborhood, and already has three new friends, with which she maintains social intercourse. One of them even gained entrance to our home through an open door from the balcony and sampled my supper before I managed to convince him to depart. Her friends come by quite often. They call to her from outside the cat flap. Sometimes she is willing to go out and join them. But other times she prefers to converse with them by way of the window; she inside, and her visitors on the balcony.

with one of her new friends

The closest grocery is farther from home than the grocery was at my previous residence. Getting there means going down a hill, and then a climb on my way back. I found myself without smokes one morning this week, and decided to walk there to buy cigarettes. Nechama wanted to accompany me, but I thought it too far for her to go, and was worried by the fact that we’d have to cross a few streets. I told her that she would have to wait for me. She expressed the opinion that I was too square, and unaware of the full extent of her capacities. She made it quite clear that she thought I was becoming a despot. What rot!

the commercial center

Ignoring her arguments, and with some elegant foot play, I managed to open the front door and squeeze out of the house, while at the same time preventing her from leaving with me. After closing the door, I listened to her analysis of the situation from inside the apartment, and honestly, I was embarrassed by the way she was taking it. She seemed on the verge of hysteria. But I was resolute. I locked the front door and proceeded to the commercial center to buy cigarettes.

it seemed almost too civilized for us

The walk down the hill was quite enjoyable. I had my camera with me, and took a few photos so that I could show you what it looks like. Aside from a pleasant lane, there are also a few places where one can use a public stairway to descend from one street to the next. On the way back, I noticed that it had gotten a little warmer. But even so, decided to take the stairway in order to save myself the distance that I would have had to traverse, had I followed the switchbacks of the road. By the time I was nearing the house, I looked forward to sitting on the balcony with Nechama, and having a cool drink of soda with freshly squeezed lemon juice while she would enjoy some cold milk.

the park is surrounded by residential homes

But then as I climbed the steps from the street to my apartment, you can imagine my surprise at seeing Nechama waiting for me in a flower bed by the side of the highest steps. She was sitting erect, and her eyes following me as I ascended. Presently, she joined me and accompanied me to the front door. It was clear that she had used the cat flap to exit the house and get on the balcony. From there she’d hopped over the balcony’s parapet to the park, and then taken the footpath to exit the park; walked down the street and up the stairs to wait for me near our front door. She was telling me in no uncertain terms that she already knew the lay of the land… and could go wherever she pleased.

she waited for me at the top of the stairs

I told her that I was impressed… but. And she said, no ‘buts’ about it. I was thinking, sometimes we think we know all about something… but there is more that we don’t know… But I didn’t know how to explain it to her. We still have our differences on this particular subject.


69 responses to “in the vicinity

  1. ha ha ha, what a delightful post! Nechama will not be gainsaid. I’m sure you were more than glad to get home after such a climb, and enjoy that cool drink. What a beautiful contrast of colours, the marmalade cat against the pale gold of the stone wall.

    • Glad you enjoyed the story, Gill. Actually, I see the exercise as beneficial to my health, though at times it’s less convenient not having a corner grocery. All in all, things are quite good these days. Thanks for the comment.

  2. This post made me laugh, Shimon. The intelligence and determination of our feline friends can be simultaneously endearing and frustrating and I so understand the “elegant foot play.” Wonderful portraits of Nechama. I love the first one which illuminates her ears.

    • It’s a pleasure being able to share a laugh, Cathy. And what you say about our feline friends is quite true. I’ve lived with cats all my life, and learned that each cat has a different and unique personality… much as we humans do. Sometimes, the level of understanding is quite impressive.

  3. Ha!!! What a MARVELOUS post! I did enjoy this and had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading it!
    Ahhhh….animals are so much wiser than we know…. I’d have been with you re the cars and distance and would have left her home too…..despite the dreadful wailing, she must have been embarrassed about that!!!
    I think this is one cunning and intelligent cat, and I couldn’t help smiling at how she outwitted you.
    I do like her friend with the dusty nose, I think you may end up with several street cats at this rate!!!xxx

    • So glad you enjoyed it Dina. The truth is, that back at the old house, I had many friendships with the local cats, even if they weren’t living with me. And I suppose that here too, I will learn to appreciate Nechama’s various friends. It makes life that much more interesting. And sometimes, even those we know the best will surprise us… best wishes. xxx

  4. A lovely post, Shimon. Nechama is a wise cat, and I’m sure she understands your fear for her safety. She probably feels the same about you, and that’s why she left the house to come and watch out for your safe return. 🙂

  5. So happy to read this light-hearted post and to see the photos of your new surroundings, Shimon: they look bright and happy. Nechama is such a character! It seems she makes friends as readily as you and is as independent a thinker and soul…you are a wonderful pair of spirits and I so enjoyed your latest adventure: Thank you, to both of you, for such a merry start to my day!

    • Yes, they say that animals tend to adopt some of the characteristics of humans they live with. And it seems to me that I’ve had a more intensive friendship with Nechama than any of the cats that lived with me before that… Very glad you enjoyed the post, Kitty.

  6. Oh my goodness I love this story!

  7. You made me feel better with this post, Shimon. Thank you 🙂 Lovely and well illustrated story!

  8. I adore how her color changes, depending on how the light hits her, and the lovely contrast of Nechama’s bright red collar. It is lovely that she is able to decide for herself about exploration, but I do sympathize with your wariness as to the hidden dangers. Even though we can tell them that they should be cautious, their sense of adventure and stubborn bravado can outweigh the need for careful and measured steps into the unknown. Much like children, they are determined to prove the independence, even while being eager to return home (or greet you as you return home).

    I truly understand that unsettled and disjointed process of finding a place for everything in your home. I can only imagine that you might also experience another facet, similar to me, in that you sometimes find yourself looking for something that perhaps might not even be there. I’m often unsure if I can’t locate something in my home because I’ve forgotten where I tucked it away, or if I’ve completely forgotten whether it is one of the items I choose to give away to charity during the process of the move. Nothing more fun than looking for something that doesn’t exist anymore.

    We all have certain things that we must have access to in order to begin to feel comfortable in a new space – for me, it’s scissors, pens, a tape measure, and cellophane tape. When I moved to my new home, I had duplicates of these items stashed in several places – a kitchen drawer and in my desk drawer under the computer. One of the benefits of living alone is that you eventually ending up being able to locate mostly anything, just so long as you remember to put it back where it belongs. Unless, of course, your forgot where it belongs. 🙂

    I’m glad to hear that you are continuing to settle in to your new surroundings, and thanks for sharing the photos. Although I’m sure that you (and Nechama) would prefer a wilder version of the green space near your home, it is nice that you do at least have the park nearby. Neatly trimmed lawns and tidy concrete walks don’t even begin to compare to untamed and tangled pathways, but I’m sure you are appreciating having some access, versus none at all. Even the most civilized parks still manage to have a few hidden shadows and nooks and crannies. I’m sure that over time, you will both discover a few secret spots that can be explored. Assuming that Nechama isn’t too busy proving her independence to join in the hunt. 🙂

    • Yes, it’s quite true N, that I sometimes look for things that are no longer in my possession. And this is complicated by the fact that I really didn’t do much work in the move, and friends packed my belongings and moved them, losing some things, mixing up others, and throwing away things that they though had become useless. It was very reckless on my part to behave with such abandon. But it was hard for me to accept the whole idea of the move in the beginning. But at some point, I just decided to accept it as it happened, without trying to control it… and now at times, I have to pay the price. In an effort to enjoy my life and appreciate what I have, I decided not to make many comparisons, and just look for the good in my present circumstances. And I have found a lot of good. So all in all, I’m quite satisfied. And as I watch Nechama, she is a good example for me. I do believe that she really loved the nature preserve near my old home, but she seems to have adapted very well to the park and the surroundings of our new home. Thanks so much for your comment.

  9. Good to see you’re both getting the lay of the land in your new digs. You might as well just start making a little additional supper for Nechama’s friends; and continue discussing the differences of opinion with Nechama. I’m sure she’s sure you will eventually see her side of things.

    • You’re right, Angeline. Nechama has great self confidence, as well as confidence in me. So despite our occasional differences, we do get along quite well. She is also very generous about sharing me with her friends, and I have had very good friendships with her friends and with other cats over the years. Thanks for the comment.

  10. This is great post, made me so happy too and you know I love you both, photographs are beautiful too. Thank you, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    • Thank you so much, Nia, for your beautiful comment. I know we have a lot in common in the way we relate to the feline population. I’ve been so busy lately, I’m really late in answering my comments. But I hope you know that they mean a lot to me. My very best wishes always.

  11. Introduce Nechama to the sayings of Donald Rumsfeld- he of many acrobatic uses of words, interesting phrasings and inscrutability with language. She’d love it and work it sooner than any of us! Never, Never under-estimate the intuitive nature of, or, the intelligence of cats, and especially, not Nechama’s abilities. You’ll need to have a care, that new friend of hers looks like he’s used to a lot of rough stuff.

    She will show you the way 😉

    • Thank you very much, menhir, both for your advice which is always good, and for your appreciation of Nechama. I think at times I do underestimate her, and I will try to be a bit more appreciative. As for Runmsfeld, I remember him vaguely, but not his sayings. I just looked some of them up with the help of Google, and want to thank you again. He was a very amusing guy. I will have to read more on the subject.

  12. Clever kitty! This one made me smile, Shimon. I am glad to know you are getting used to your new place, and I enjoyed tagging along on your walk with you. The photos are beautiful. I wish you and Nechama much happiness in your new home.

    • Thank you so much Naomi. Very glad to hear you enjoyed the post. And yes, this is a good time to start the new chapter, with spring in the air, and summer before us. I usually enjoy summer… like the heat. And my new home has many advantages that I have yet to explore. Thank you for your good wishes.

  13. Sweet Nechama … adjustung, and so is her master … bitter sweet memories come flooding back to me … it has been 30 years in Canada for me … still not settled … thinking of moving on … but where to? … Love you, Shimon … always, cat.

    • Yes, these moves are sometimes much more complicated and long term than we can imagine when first we start them. But I’m trying my best to adjust and to get settled as soon as possible. Appreciate your good wishes, and send you mine too. May life bring you happy surprises and a sense of fulfillment, my dear cat.

  14. Lovely story! Glad you are both settling into your new home!

  15. Nechama certainly has a mind of her own. How funny that she waited there to surprise you on your way home from the store.

    We have been in our new place since September, and I still am rearranging where I put things. Once school is out, I plan to spend some time organizing things. Or at least I hope I will do so.

    • I wish you good luck and success in the rearrangement, my dear yearstricken. I am working on that, but every day, there seems to be some other chore that I have to deal with, and time seems to fly by faster all the time. Yes, Nechama has a few things to teach me too… just in case I might have taken her for granted. And she does have a mind of her own. All of which makes her company dearer. Thank you so much for your comment.

  16. And fortunately we never stop learning! Love your new digs. Good views from up high. No..of COURSE I won’t hassle you about smoking. 🙂 JUst try to stay healthy.

    • I will definitely try and stay healthy, and the way I see it. is listening to my body. How nice that you like my new digs. I agree with you, there’s a real advantage to the high view. And agree with you too, Bob, that we never stop learning. It’s what gives taste to our lives. Thanks for your comment and your smile, my friend.

  17. I am so delighted that Nechama has made the move to the new home with you safely, I was worried about that, I know she is your closest friend. I am always amazed with our cats, their ability to navigate their world and to make themselves understood. I worry at times about their safety, just as you do, but it is clear that Nechama has a wonderful life with you, and yes, they do indeed adjust more easily to new surroundings than we do.

    I am glad that you are slowly settling into your new house and can begin to feel at home again, rather than a transient. Many blessings to you in the months and years ahead. I thank you for sharing this piece of your life journey with us.

    • It is amazing to study the level of communication between animals, and when we’re patient and truly listening, we too can communicate with them. I do appreciate your sympathy and understanding of my situation, Josie, and thank you for your good wishes. I try to balance my worry about Nechama’s safety with respect for her freedom of movement. And up until now, things have gone well. I think she understands that I’m worried about her going out to the street. I see that she does try to be careful, and spends most of her outside time in the park. Thank you very much for your comment.

  18. I have referred your blog to my 91 year old father, who is also in the process of getting ready to move, so that he can be reassured that there is light at the end of the tunnel! I’m so pleased you are settling in, both of you.

    • Thank you very much for sharing my blog with your old father. I send him my best wishes. The older we get, the harder it is to adjust to a new environment. But I am sure that the very qualities that helped him last this long, will help him deal with the difficulties of his upcoming move. For me, there were a lot of difficulties, but I’m happy to say, that I’m beginning to enjoy my new home and to be truly thankful for what I’ve gained. I also enjoyed visiting your blog, and getting to know you a bit. It touched my heart to read about your loss, and I admire your strength, and your healthy attitude towards life. Thanks for your comment, Jenny.

  19. Man and cat claiming their respective territories, each in their own characterful way. I have to ask this, Shimon. Does Nechama live with you, or do you live with her? Happy home both.

    • Well, in the case of Nechama, she adopted me when she was a lost little kitten, and since then, I would say that she lives with me. But since I have great respect for her as a free spirit, I try not to get in her way. Thank you for your good wishes, Tish. We do have a happy home.

  20. In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him. ~Dereke Bruce

    • I like that quote Linda. I have lived with cats all my life, and gotten to know them quite well. But during this last period in my life, when I was in the process of moving from my old home to this new one, I learned to love a dog. And it was a real eye opener for me. Up until then, I thought that some people were dog people, and others were cat people. But I have since learned that I have a lot to learn from dogs, and that what characterizes them most, is their big hearts. Thanks for the comment.

  21. So happy to see that you and Nechama are finding your way around your new home and reaching the point of positively enjoying it. Everything new is a challenge and I emapthize with your “personal space” being so circumscribed by the novelty of having to find a place for all your necessities. I had to chuckle a bit when i read about your three shelves with the bare essentials laid out and easy to find.

    Last week the wheeled suitcase I’ve carried my jewelry and supplies to my shop for over twenty years …. broke. The zipper could not be replaced. Nor a similar suitcase, since the newer ones all have horrible inner channels tio accomodate the telescopingg carry handles. Nary a one with a flat bottom in the whole city of Honolulu. I sat there with all my supplies scattered over my living room floor and tried to console myself with two very slick black plastic storage boxes,

    But I was convinced that I’d look like a ‘bag lady” without my nice suitcase. And nothing fit anywhere. The jewelry boxes quarreled with the new dimensions and everything rejected the rounded corners. Finally I got everything stored in the boxes ready for work.

    Two days now …. and I find that everything is fitting nicely and even thought for a fleeting moment yesterday, that the new boxes might …. just might …. be better. It’s the change which is so hard.

    A whole house? I can’t even stretch my (inelastic) mind that far.

    • Yes Nikki, I can well imagine the difficulty you went through when you had to find a new buggy for your merchandise. I too have had that experience… going to buy a new tool that was meant to replace one I had, and hearing that they don’t make it anymore. It can be really hard to take. And what you say is really true. Your experience was very much like what I’ve been going through, trying to adapt to a new home. It was something I didn’t want to do. But having done it, I think I’m richer for the experience, Thanks very much for your comment.

  22. I had a laugh reading this blog entry, Shimon. I’ve got to say I love Nechama’s free spirit: good on her! And never underestimate a woman’s (or female of any kind) will power. I am pleased that she has made friends so quickly and no doubt you will too. It looks like a charming place to live. Enjoy! 🙂

    • I’m so happy you got a laugh from this story. And I agree with you, Fatima. I think I underestimated her. But she put me in my place rather quickly. I am very happy that she has found new friends… and very fortunate, myself, that with the help of the car, I am able to stay connected with my old friends, who have added a lot to my appreciation of life. But of course, I am always open to new ones. Thanks for your comment.

  23. I enjoyed this post a lot, Shimon. I can understand your concerns for Nechama, cats can be very single-minded. Moving can be very disruptive, having to find new places for everything and then remembering where you carefully put them all. I detect optimism in your writing and your photos show a lovely park. I do hope you will be happy there.

    • Thanks very much for your kind words and understanding, Andy. Yes, cats are a lot like us, but we don’t always see it. And yes, I have a lot of optimism about this new chapter. The house has turned out to be quite comfortable, and as time goes by, I’m learning to appreciate it.

  24. Your wise and patient companion will help to lead the way well into your new life in your new home, I see. One could do much worse than to have the lovely Nechama as such a guide. All best to you; may you be blessed and joyful in your new place in the world, my friend.

    • Thank you so much for your blessing, and your kind words, Kathryn. I do enjoy the new home, and the pleasant environment, and Nechama is truly an example for me. Best wishes and thanks to you. You are very generous.

  25. A lovely read as always Shimon, Moving is always such a bind but I get the feeling you are settling. Your analysis of Nechama’s reaction to being left made me laugh. I have a cat very like Nechama I think. Very vocal in her opinions and when we sit having the occasional conversation, I can’t get away from the fact that she really does appear to be following my thoughts. I probably projecting.. or am I? Looking forward to next week Shimon and your next post.

    • The way you speak of moving, Chillbrook, I get the feeling that you’ve had a lot more experience at that than I’ve had. But I will take comfort in the knowledge that others have suffered too. Still, I am beginning to settle in and enjoy the new conditions. It is quite comfortable in my new quarters. As for cats, my friend, I’m happy to hear that you live with one similar to my own. Isn’t it a pleasure to enjoy the company of an animal who is sure of himself, and stubborn about his opinions. I think it improves our perspective. Thanks for the comment.

  26. Nechama is beautiful – and very smart, too. Now tell me, honestly – you didn’t REALLY think you could get the better of her, did you ? 😉

    • Well, as you know Shimona, we human beings tend to take ourselves very seriously… I too have that failing. That’s one of the reasons I keep a cat with me. Thanks for the comment. Hoping you’re enjoying the rain.

  27. During your move, I’ve been wondering about Nechama …. so glad to see that she’s adjusting and doing well.

    Moving involves so many questions around where should it go to where did I put it … let alone getting used to everything …. I am feeling your discomfort as well … but as you, adjusting.

    • Yes, it’s a challenge Frank… and interesting that we are both going through this stage right now. I wish you luck and positive spirits. I think I’m over the worst already… but there are always surprises. I was very worried about Nechama in the beginning. But she surprised me in a number of ways. She seems to like the new neighborhood. Best wishes to you.

  28. Pingback: Thank You All! « LargeSelf

  29. I’ve started my de-cluttering process in readiness for downsizing my living needs, and I feel lighter already (only done the living room so far)! Did you have a de-clutter too before you moved homes? I love Nechama’s new friend, such a wise and friendly face and that spot on the nose a sign of much life experience, to be shared with her. The area looks most promising for exploratories, and I like the natural stone seating in the groomed park, certainly a place the both of you can use to sit and contemplate, especially on sunny days such as this! 🙂

    • De-cluttering sounds like a wonderful process. I regret to say that I didn’t do that before I moved, and now that I’m in the new place, I’m going through my things and deciding what to throw away. It is a very nice area here, and I’m learning to appreciate the new environment. Actually, the natural stone is most common here in Jerusalem. Most of our houses are built like that… when you go down the street, that’s almost all you see. Thanks very much for your comment Janina.

  30. Ha, ha, brilliant! This really put a smile on my face. It looks like a really nice neighbourhood, Shimon. I hope you both settle your differences soon 🙂

    • So glad that I was able to amuse you, Richard. It’s all a part of life, and best when taken with a smile. I am enjoying the new neighborhood. Thanks.

  31. So nice to visit your new neighborhood through your eyes and the eyes of Nechama. We are such creatures of habit that it is always a challenge to make changes later in life. But we figure out a way to accomplish that.

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Bev. Through the passing years, I grew very used to my habits. But I have to say that the experience of the move did much to wake me up, and force me to appreciate life more, and to regain some of my youthful gait. On the whole, it was for the good.

  32. I always enjoy hearing about Nechama’s adventures and her indomitable spirit! I’m glad both of you are enjoying the new home. 🙂

    • It’s very interesting, the way the two of us have related to the trauma of moving, and the acclimation that came afterwards. During the moving period, she became quite alienated. And found it hard to relate to anyone. But once she realized that this was her new home, she came back to herself quickly and adapted. For me, the in between stage was more of an adventure, but the adaptation was slower. Fortunately, we are both fairly well adjusted by now. Thanks for the comment.

  33. Good evening Shimon, I haven’t visited you and your blog for a while, but what a treat this post is. To tell a story of seeing and getting to know your neighbourhood through the wise eyes of Nechama. I had a cat as a child who would wait at a certain spot for me every afternoon, looking for me on my return from school, she even defended me one day – a local dog snapped at me and she jumped on his back and dug her claws in,,.. needless to say the dog never bothered either of us again. So good to read your thoughts, a delight.

    • Very glad you came by, Claire. Actually, I too have been having trouble following blogs and answering comments…all because this move has more or less turned my life upside down. Your story of your cat really touched my heart. I have lived with cats all my life, but am still surprised by them, and learn from them too. They have a lot of character. Thanks very much for your comment.

  34. Aug 17 2014 … Omg, Shimon, what are we gonna do about this? … so sad … your comment section is off recently, so … here I am … back tracking in order to get your attention … Love, cat.

    • My dear Cat, I’m sorry you had to listen to this lying garbage. That’s the sort of thing that I heard while the Pals were raining bombs and missiles on our heads… that’s why it was so hard for me to comment or to write for a while. I don’t know why people choose to do this… to twist the truth like this… but I’m afraid it happens a lot. And as time goes by, I am more and more suspicious about news from places I don’t know too well. ‘Cause in our case, I’ve seen and heard the lies. Thank you very much for your comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s