Our sweet Mr. Frodo has boarded a grey ship and sailed into the west, to Rainbow Bridge. He passed away very peacefully on October 23rd, a little after 6pm in the evening. He had been struggling with the effects of the end stages of kidney disease, and it was clearly time. Many, many thanks to our vet, Dr. Jane Berg, who came by on rather short notice to help ease Frodo's passage so he could continue his journey beyond this life.
We played "Last Goodbye", sung by Billy Boyd for the credits of the last episode of Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" ("Battle of the Five Armies")...the lyrics were eerily appropriate. Kevin and I were both right there with him to say our last goodbyes and his Grammy, Raxl, and Sookie were near by as he drifted off to sleep.
Another reason for the general appropriateness of having a song from "The Hobbit" for Frodo's passing is tied in with Frodo's links with Peter Jackson's series "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit"...
I first met Frodo before he had reached 8 weeks of age during (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend in 1999 at a pet shop in Fergus, Ontario. I would never now encourage someone to get a cat or dog from a pet shop as it is likely they would have come from a puppy or kitten mill, or a "backyard breeder", but in this case, the Fergus pet shop was selling four lovely Siamese kittens on behalf of a local family whose cats had had a happy accident. ;)
I was looking for a companion cat for myself and for my other cat, Prea. Dr. David Steeves, my vet and my boss at The Cat Doctor at the time, advised me to pick up a cat that was younger and male, as this would likely be the best match for Prea. Only one Siamese kitten at the Fergus pet shop was still available, and he was a male blue-point. I looked at him and he looked at me...he swung his paw at the pewter Winnie-the-Pooh pendant I was wearing...he looked like "a Frodo"...I knew it was meant to be instantly.
Also happening during the fall of 1999, "The Lord of the Rings" film series had begun production in earnest. This is partly why I was thinking of naming my new kitty Frodo, but to be honest, Frodo just suited his name right away. We spent sixteen years together, and now that he has passed, we happen to be awaiting the soon to be released extended edition of "The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies". Frodo's life has been book-ended by Peter Jackson's film series of Tolkien stories - my absolute favourite films and the stories that have meant so much to my whole family for years. Strange how things fall into place like that.
But that was not Frodo's only association with films, as many of my friends and family already know...
Frodo was the feline star of the film "Space Zombies: 13 Months of Brain-Spinning Mayhem!", co-written and co-created/produced by my husband Kevin and I. For an official synopsis of the film, check out my Scripts page. Prea, and several of the clinic cats, as well as The Cat Doctor (as a location, of course) also starred in the film, which started as three separate short films and were combined into one. Frodo was such a good sport during filming - he was a shy and neurotic boy, but put up with it all! And this was not his introduction to the film world. His first film was a short experimental film I co-wrote with one of my best friends, R. J. Downes. We shot it up at what's now a convention centre at Downsview Park. Frodo had to run past an elevator set piece - my Mom released him from his carrier inside the elevator and my Step-Dad caught him off to the side, just out of frame. He did a good meander out of the elevator when the doors slid open...the whole scene was a very long, single shot, and I believe we had 29 takes (and the last take was the take that was used). My Mom worried that he would hold a grudge against her and my Dad forever, but the moment they reached home and let him out of the carrier, he sort of re-booted and any anxiety he had had was gone and all was well.
"Sketch TV" was the last separate film/video project Frodo was involved in, shot shortly after most of the initial "Space Zombies" footage had been shot. Though, he will make a posthumous appearance in an episode of a new web series we are doing that it linked to "Space Zombies" - Moral Man will be issuing warnings and advice to the world next year, and Ju-Jube (Frodo) from "Space Zombies" will be interviewed "via satellite"! ;)
Frodo spent most of his years after "Space Zombies!" screened (September 2004) resting on his laurels, approving of his new Dad, Kevin, getting to know many of our friends (who were, in some cases, his fellow cast and crew), gaining sisters (and losing toys), enjoying his profile on CatBook briefly where he met some cyber friends (including a hedgehog named Zoe and a turtle named Ceasar), having his portrait painted, and becoming a character in a few of my stories (still yet to be completed). He had his own chair all to himself. He snuggled with us, hung out with us, yelled at us in his Siamese voice (lovingly, I think ;), and treasured his sparkly tinsel foam toys we called "sporanges". When he watched TV with us, he liked Muppets, explosions, and Tom Baker's voice above all things. He occasionally enjoyed watching his DVD, "Birds and Squirrels Gone Wild". He liked to eat All Bran and plain Rice Krispies. Frodo was profoundly weird...and wonderful.
Kev and I love you from the bottom of our hearts, Mr. Frodo. Your Grammy and sisters love you. You are forever in our hearts. We'll meet at Rainbow Bridge when the time comes. Until we do, Prea, Mila, Boof and my Dad will all look out for you.
My Reviews of "Lorenzo Bear", both "Encounter at Jellyfish Cove", and "Journey to Honeysuckle Mountain"...
The Adventures of Lorenzo the Bear: Encounter at Jellyfish Cove:
Lorenzo is a bear one might think is overly prepared to fight future pirates by practicing sword-fighting everyday, but this skill comes in very handy in this tale! The details, including Lorenzo's friends and foes (a toucan, lion, a peg-legged octopus, a pirate baboon, and more), favourite haunts (Hank's Diner is my personal favourite), and the story line itself are incredibly imaginative and presented in a way that kids will love. The lovely illustrations and their placement fill the page, giving the reader much to pore over. The character descriptions off the top are also fun and helpful in allowing the reader to familiarize themselves with the characters (details include age, location, and hobbies).
Check it out on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca!
The Adventures of Lorenzo the Bear: Journey to Honeysuckle Mountain:
A wonderful continuation of the adventures of Lorenzo the Bear!
Check it out at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca!
The e-book version has arrived, too. I'll be having an online launch party for the e-book soon...check back for updates. Click the image below to go to it's Amazon.ca page now!
A wonderfully zany story about zany birds, with clever rhyming/verse. "Ten Zany Birds" is a counting story (counting down the birds at a party as each is distracted by something new to do). The illustrations by Charu Jain are lovely and bright. Each bird is detailed in look and in personality! Sherry Ellis' writing is concise and fun and the birds are adorable. Find out which bird is left at the end of the party!
Check it out on Amazon.com or Amazon.ca!
We all had a great time at the launch this past Sunday the 4th! Julie Lemieux did a wonderful reading and the kids were a wonderful meadow of flowers! ;) Congrats to the prize-winners and many thanks to Yvette, Rose, and Heather from Ella Minnow Children's Bookstore and Julie Lemieux, and Maureen, Alex, Kevin, Kimmie, Kevin, and Jillian who helped keep the launch organized...and to EVERYONE who attended.
Siobhan Geary, a writer with The Bulletin in Toronto (a local downtown paper) did an article about me and "Beverlee"! Click on the image below for a better view of the article.
Pictures from the book launch on Sunday (the 4th) are coming soon!
The book launch for Beverlee Beaz the Brown Burmese is THIS SUNDAY (October 4th), and I'm incredibly excited about it! Alex and I will be there to sign copies of the book, and refreshments will be available, courtesy of my wonderful Mom! We will also have a prize draw (one book, one Beverlee t-shirt, and a grab bag)!
Don't miss out! Julie Lemieux, Canadian voice actress in many children’s television series (including Arthur, PAW Patrol, Scaredy Squirrel, Detentionaire, Max & Ruby, Busytown Mysteries, Rupert, and Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, as well as feature animated film The Nut Job and many, many more) will start things off with a reading of Beverlee at 2:30pm.