Tuesdays With Murray (Chapter 46)


I had a great deal of trouble putting aside a post I’ve been writing for weeks in order to keep with Tuesday’s theme. The post in question is about how I plan on ending this Web site. It includes reasons why as well as ideas for what I could do with it. I’m still very much unsure about its future. I know only one thing for sure: mihow.com the “mommy blog” part will cease to exist.

And so I battled with this. I contemplated taking the day off.

But it’s TUESDAY! I thought. It’s Murray’s day. You have to write about Murray!


I receive a lot of email about Tuesdays With Murray. Even email not specifically about Murray usually includes a mention of how much the person loves him or how much they enjoy reading stories about him. Several people have told me Tuesdays With Murray is their favorite part about mihow.com. I’ve had people write letting me know how much their cat has in common with Murray. I had one person ask if Murray could be her lady cat’s baby daddy (a suggestion I may have entertained had he not been fixed). I guess the email boasting love for Murray shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise. My stats alone speak volumes. For a year now, Tuesday has been my busiest day. I receive thousands more individual visits on Tuesday than any other day of the week.

Murray is loved. How can you not love something so much that loves so much for nothing?

I also get a lot of email asking me why I seem to like Murray more than the other cats. Some folks aren’t even aware of the fact that we have two other cats. I guess I do kind of give off that we-keep-two-red-headed-step-cats-chained-up-in-the-basement sort of vibe. But I assure you all, we love all three of our cats, and yours as well.

But this has me thinking about why Murray is kind of special to me. It’s not that I don’t love my other two cats—I do, I love them very much. But I think I take Murray love to Nicole Kidman, stalkerish levels. And I think I finally know why.

Let’s talk about the book this series was inspired by.


(This is part of the story where if it were a motion picture the image before you would fade a bit, a sepia-like tone would envelope the screen. There might even be some Wayne’s World “doodly doodly” music to stress that we’re going back in time.)

When I was 23-years-old I was doing an internship with Lifetime Television. I stayed in South Brooklyn with a friend from college. He and his girlfriend let me sleep in a small storage room off their bedroom for the duration of my stay.

My boyfriend remained in State College. We talked late at night and on weekends over the telephone. I paid for our chats whenever the bill came. There were no cell phones boasting rollover or unlimited nighttime and weekend minutes. There were no consumer Macintosh laptops to purchase (at least not that I knew of) which meant there was no email. He was studying to be a chef. His hands were too busy stirring pots of Hollandaise sauce to type an email, anyway. I was too busy commuting to and from a temporary job, all the while lining my shoes with Band-Aids and toilet paper to pad the blisters I grew during grueling lunchtime job searches.

I got turned away from so many different design firms. So many Art Directors shrugged and said, “We just don’t do many logos here.” I was so perplexed as to why good logo work meant I couldn’t do direct mail, brochures and annual reports but these folks were wiser than I.

“Get some experience first!” They’d say. “We’ll hire you after you get some experience.”

How does one get experience if everyone wants it first?

I was in New York. I was 23. I was in search of my own professional identity. I was full of hope, pipe-dreams, and excitement. I was naive but happy.

And I didn’t find a job.

My internship came to an end on a Friday. I took the F Train uptown one last time that morning, put in a full day’s work, and then took it back into South Brooklyn later that day. The following morning, I packed my bags and headed for Midtown. Along the way, I grabbed something to read, hopped on a bus and headed for central Pennsylvania.

It was during that bus ride I read “Tuesdays With Morrie”.


I, like many people who spend a lot of time online, wrestle with it constantly. When my 23-year-old self looks at the me now, there’s a part of her who wants to slap me a few a times, knock some sense into my head. On the one hand, I am happier now than I’ve ever been. On the other hand, somewhere along the way I become a person living in fear, indecision, anxiety, cowardice, and (during my weakest hours) jealousy.

I’m in neutral. I’ve been in neutral for long time.

I have known for a while that once Emory got to be a certain age I’d shut this site down, at least in terms of how much and what I write about him. And the meat of this paragraph really demands much more attention and care than I am giving it now. I will go into it soon. I promise. But I will say this much: Emory shouldn’t be exposed the way he has, sans consent. I just don’t feel right about it.


And so that brings me back to Murray, the book this series is based on, my life and me when I read it, and all three of my cats.

Tucker is The Orange One. He’s a bit skittish, paranoid and at times vindictive. A lot of the decisions he makes are fueled by jealousy. I still love him and he’s still very needy, but he can be a real bastard. Tucker is sneaky. Tucker is not to be trusted. This is how he got the name “Orangemani Terrorist”.

I’m a little bit like Tucker whenever I spend too much time away from doing the things that I love. I act like Tucker whenever I’m having a “nobody-likes-me!” kind of day. I may come off as unapproachable, mean and bitchy, but all I really want is a great big hug and some lovin’ behind the ears. I act like Tucker right before I act like Pookum.

Pookum is old and grumpy and at some point she kind of lost her ability to laugh. She’s overweight and lives in fear of the other cats. She thinks they’re out to get her even if they’re playing. Unless we break inertia for her, she just sleeps, eats, and poops. And I reckon that if we were to let her she’d probably give up on all the things that make her happy; she’d give up on life entirely.

I’ve been Pookum before. (Hold on, I have to go pet her.)

And then there’s Murray.

Murray is the hand stirring a pot of Hollandaise sauce, the smile that moves across a person’s face when no one else is looking. Murray is New York City before 9/11, the sound of the teenagers skateboarding out back. Murray is laughter among friends, that first sip of white wine, lightning bugs at dusk.

Murray is me before I exchanged my naivety and hope for experience and cynicism.

Murray is youth.

Murray is a fixed number of minutes and a computer you leave at home.

Murray is joy.

Murray is the you you thought you would be, and the you you still can.


  1. my heart just fell to my stomach. “the you that you still could be”. don’t want to go there. But selfish, selfish me, who loves reading about the “Mommy” part of you, (heck mihow, I get through my tough days by reading how you and Em go through the same kind of days as me and my little one) the selfish me…says please don’t end it. the “bigger” me says thanks for getting me through a lot of crazy days, please take a big hug and the best wishes with you when you finally say adios. Big hugs to you and Em and even Tobyjoe and a bigger thank you for being a wonderful part of my daily/weekly whenever I get a chance, reading. You’re an amazing writer.


  2. Michele, I relate well to Pookum. Which may seem contradictory, and in fact is downright paradoxical in the context of my most recent blog post.

    I can understand why you would feel the need to leave this blog behind. I hope that you don’t feel like Tuesdays are the only reason why everyone reads – I personally read every post that you write. I can’t necessarily relate to motherhood just yet, but for me that’s kind of the point of reading mommy blogs. You are where I am going, I am where you have been. Or something. You know?

    I’m sorry if my curiosity about Pookum and Tucker made you feel like I was questioning whether you love your other cats. The impression I have from your writing is that you are a very loving person.

    I will miss you if you go, but I understand.


  3. Wow, my days are going to be really boring without my daily trips to this blog. I started reading when I was 5 months pregnant and home on sick leave, which was pretty much exactly when you gave birth to Emory. Reading the archives of the last 7 years got me through the most boring days of my life. Your stories are so real, and so well written…and well, freakin hilarious at times. I will be sad to see you go, but I get why, and wish you all the best. Your obviously an awesome mom, and a great lady all together.
    p.s. Tuesdays with Murray has seriously got me thinking about adopting a feline personality of my own:) I miss having a cat around.


  4. I’m not quitting yet. Don’t nail down my coffin just yet! :] I’m still trying to figure out what to do with the blog. We have ideas, plans, I just gotta figure out what route will most benefit the reading audience I have. I don’t want to sever ties with the people I’ve met over the years by keeping this site. At the same time, I don’t feel like it’s entirely fair for Emory to keep writing about him and posting images. (I do not pass judgement on other mommy bloggers. I wish I could put my fear aside and just continue writing about him. I simply can’t. It probably has to do with being contacted already once by Interpol regarding one of my photographs.) A

    Anyway, she ain’t done yet.

    But if you have suggestions as to what to do with this site in order to keep people together, I’m all ears. Really.

    Also, I didn’t have ANYONE in mind when I wrote this regarding the love I have about my other two cats. I seriously have gotten hundreds of email asking about my other cats. And I’m not upset about it at all.

    Lastly, yes, run out and get a cat! They are fantastic additions and easy around babies and children. (Easier than dogs, or so I’ve read.)


  5. Pam from Ohio May 28, 2008 at 12:22 am

    I love your site and visit often, even though my children are older than you. I love seeing photos and hearing stories of your little guy, but I also am fascinated with the NY way of life. The neighborhoods, commuting and working in the city, the people. Your writing makes those things easy to visualize. I enjoy following your house hunt, and your possible new job. You’re a talented writer, and I hope you stick around.


  6. Oh…. no please don’t quit. wee Mary McDhui and I so enjoy your writing.

    In fact, I think you are very talented as a graphic artist, but have you considered writing a book about Murray, your son and how you all weave love around your home? Good days and bad days….

    Kim aka Finiky


  7. I don’t have much to offer other than to tell you I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. And, here’s a video of a really big cat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eLIMc4khe0


  8. I read all your post and hope you don’t stop. I have a newborn and understand why you no longer want to post pics but I hope you don’t stop telling mommy stories! We all love reading them.


  9. We have the same 3 cats. Its scary. I’ve got Nobu, my baby. He’s me on my good days. He crawls under the covers to snuggle behind my knees. He licks my nose when I’ve slept too late and he wants attention. Yuki is the over weight log who does nothing but eats, sleeps and poops. I’m sure she’d give up on life if I let her. She’s me on my bad days. And I’ve got Miho, who had a traumatizing experience as a young mommy when her kittens were drowned in front of her. She doesn’t trust anyone but me and sometimes, if I approach too quickly, she snaps and claws the crap out of my arms. She’s my jealousy/insecurity in cat form.

    I’m not sure why I told you all of that. I like you because you like cats. And Emory is adorable.


  10. While I love “Tuesdays with Murray,” my favorite part of the blog are your video stories for your son. Very funny, very warm, and did I mention very, very funny? I respect your decisions with your blog, but I’ll miss those the most.


  11. I only started reading your site a little while ago, and I really enjoy it. I particularly like your writing about your cats – a lot of bloggers are dog fans and it’s nice to read about cats once in a while! I do hope that you keep going in some form – it’s great.


  12. Okay, I’m sitting here eating Baked Cheetos and crying. I loved this post! Maybe this is the end of the mommy blogging chapter, but I hope it’s just the beginning of a new one…


  13. So, what do I do with this site? We’ve tossed around ideas over here. We talked about turning it more toward animals. We talked about turning it into a sign up messageboard for mothers and fathers. We talked about my writing ONLY and not using images or names of any kind. (I know myself, that is probably impossible, so it’s not up there with the top contenders.) Photos only? Design crits? Stuff about houses and how badly we suck at finding one? hhahaha Just let it go?

    I just know that I have to keep Em off of here. I’ll write more about that in time.

    Like I said, I truly adore some of the folks I know from this site. And i it’s a good thing for people still, I’d love to keep the community part alive somehow.

    Email me if you have ideas. Or write them here. If not, that’s cool, too.


  14. I think I’ve been reading your blog since this time of year in 2005(although it might have been 2004.) It amazes me that you still write nearly every day, and it amazes me that I’m still reading. Most of the blogs I started reading back then have closed up shop or I got bored with them. Your writing keeps me coming back day after day. At first I lived vicariously through your photography and descriptions of city living. I also got hooked on the comments of the other readers in response to your thought provoking entries, especially the controversial subjects or political commentary. Since you were pregnant and had Emory I could relate to you even more, but always wondered how long you’d be comfortable with sharing so much of his life. I look forward to whatever you chose to do with your blog as long as you keep going in some form.


  15. pghgirl: I’d be lying if I said you weren’t one of the people who visits here that I’d miss greatly if it were to go away. There are many more, but I thought that I should tell you that outright.



  16. Definitely keep writing. I totally understand keeping Emory offline, but I’d really miss your writing: cats, houses, city life – the whole package.


  17. I am a new reader and loved your birth story. I am interested to hear what you decide to do with your site & I hope you decide to keep writing about some aspects of your life. I have a blog and am a new mom. I still write about the same old dumb crap I wrote about before my son was born, throwing in an occasional baby anecdote from time to time. I keep a separate website with photos and stories of my baby for friends and family ONLY. Good luck with what you decide.


  18. Well, I have to say that your blog has been my private therapy for the past 9 months as my daughter has grown. I’m fortunate that your E is just a tad older than mine and that I’ve learned so much from the details of your motherhood trip. Just knowing that I’m not the only one going through this stuff has been very reassuring. I also understand the need to protect your child and respect that decision, but I will miss that aspect of your blog. Thank you for the motherhood angle! Now, I’d still be interesting in hearing how the home hunt is going…


  19. Ho Hum. I am sad to hear that you will no longer be writing from a motherhood angle. I have a 6 month old boy, and I’m often eagerly looking forward to reading about your discoveries about parenthood. Thank you so much for everything you’ve shared.


  20. You know, I was just sitting here wondering why the possibility of you not blogging upsets me. I’ve read a number of blogs where the authors eventually throw in the towel, and while I sometimes miss reading their blogs, it’s not a big deal. A blink, and I’m over it. But even though I’ve only been reading your blog for a few months, I find myself relating stories to my husband that you’ve told or thinking about something you’ve said when someone at work mentions the same sort of thing…you get the idea.

    I think the idea of you “leaving” is upsetting because you write so very well and you’re so very engaging and real and open. For all those reasons, I can totally understand why you’d want to stop writing about Emory. You’ve let us all into your living room, sat us down on your couch, offered us a drink, showed us your picture albums, and shot the breeze with us. We all know an awful lot about you, and while that has its good points, it can also have its negatives.

    But whatever you do, don’t stop writing. Draw the blinds across a window to keep away our “prying” eyes, but don’t shut the door…completely.

    We all get so much out of your writing. We’d miss you.


  21. well you already read my email. Em is so cute. I will miss him :) WTF is the deal w/ interpol sending you an email? Glad you are not completely shutting it down. Is there any way that you could only let certain people read Em posts? Please dont stop the videos – they rock and i love them. you are so cute in them – well em was awesome when he threw this pacifier at you. maybe he could be a pitcher – he has good aim ;)


  22. I’m kind of with Misha on this.. could you password protect posts?

    I’ve been reading you since 2001! EEEK! I’ve known you longer than I’ve known lots of people in REAL life. Hehe.


  23. Just my two cents to say I love your blog in its entirety: Murray, your family, your observations. I will be sad if you close it down for good, but I totally understand your need to privatize your life a bit.

    I’ll hang in there til the end (or just morph into a reader of your new blog). :)


  24. Everyone: Thanks for all the feedback. I am going to write more about this when I figure it out. Also, those of you who took it to email, expect a response personally as well.

    Thank you so much for being so damn awesome.

    I think I have a better idea of how to go about reworking this site in order to keep it alive in some capacity. And I want you all to know, I am not afraid of any of you, I’m afraid of the silent twisted people out there. I will write more about how I feel about them and that later. I promise.

    Thanks again.


  25. i hope you continue somehow.
    when i was trying to get pregnant i must’ve read your pregnancy stuff over a gazillion times.
    i totally get not putting your son out there so whatever you choose to do, i’m behind you!
    but i will absolutely miss you.


  26. The selfish me says No! don’t go. You and Toby are my only links I have to NYC!
    But the realistic me says, I totally understand. It today’s reality you have to do what you have to, to protect the most important things in the world. Although I will miss seeing pics of little Em. Bald babies are the best! :o)
    I support you in what ever you decide. I will miss hearing about your daily adventures in Brooklyn and NYC. I hope we will not lose touch if you do decide to disappear from the blog world. :o)


  27. I swear Michele you just made me blush! Your blog kept me sane and gave me a connection(albeit virtual) to the outside world when I was stuck at home with 2 little ones & telecommuting full time. Now that I’ve met other parents at pre-school and have a less stressful work at home job you still entertain and move me so thanks to you, too!


  28. I just wanted to say a) I am grateful that you will continue in some form. I really, really enjoy your writing, and it happens far too much that I say ‘wow, I feel the same way’. And then b)….this is a tough one. I wish you would be able to still blog about motherhood, but I absolutely 100% understand your reasonings. Em has to be your priority here, and if you don’t feel comfortable, that is the only necessary reason. BUT, as someone who is thinking about starting a family in the near future, your blog and your writing and your openness has really been touching and dare I say useful. I will miss it.

    Love the cats stuff, of course. We have our three kittens, and since getting them, I have become a little bit too obsessed with reading about other people’s cats…

    Glad that mihow.com will live on – in some form!


  29. Ok so before you go, if you decide to go, I have a question. How do you handle the cat hair with all those cats?
    I only have 2 and I am about to shave both of them. I was just wondering because at some point you had a shot of your floor and there were no cathair tumbleweeds.


  30. I’ve been enjoying your blog for almost a year now, and am very sad to find out that you’re thinking about stopping/changing. I’m a mom of a 6 month old, so I’ve especially enjoyed reading about your adventures in motherhood. I do understand why you feel the need to change the way you blog, and I hope you find a way to continue to share your experiences with Em, (like others suggested – password protecting, or omitting names and specifics) but I would understand if you decide to stop. I appreciate all you have shared, and many of the topics you’ve discussed have made me really stop and think. Thank you for that! Keep us posted on what you decide, and I’ll definitely keep reading whatever you are willing to share.


  31. 05/28/08 my email to mihow was returned.
    I am very sorry to hear that you plan to end your blog. I appologize because I have been lurking for months. I guess that is one of those creepy things about blogging and why you want to protect your son. I just couldn’nt reply because I was reading at work, on my lunch hour- truly. I finally bought a new computer (an upgrade to VISTA from Windows 95) and can now send from home. I love your politics and introspection and hope you will reconsider. Also hope you have found a place to live. I bought a duplex in 1990 when I was 32 and it allowed me to buy the perfect house for me where I now live – 1/2 block from Lake Michigan – which I love. Do the math. You are young enough that you might want to consider a duplex as an option that would give you a lot more money in the future. Best to you and your family in the future and you have/had an excellent website.


  32. Yeah. What they all said. I’d say more but the boys are freaking out and their Daddy is screaming at them. Ahhh…!


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