Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bye Bye Old Kitty

Hopefully this will be the last time I write something like this in 2009. We had to have our old cat Noggin put down on Monday. He had stopped eating and it turns out he had cancer in his abdomen. He was a stray who came to us 16 years ago from my sister-in-law who had taken him in. Just a feisty 6 month old kitten then, he lived to be an old man of almost 17. Looking through my photos of him, he's always on someone's lap or in their arms. I'll put some more photos up of him tomorrow, but this is the last one I took, right before we left for Washington last weekend, he's sharing a sunbeam with Callie.

For the record, that's two cats, two guinea pigs, and two chickens in 2009. I know it's often natural and to be expected (all were in old age except for Asa's cat Bandit), but it's still hard. Especially since Noggin was one of our first "babies", along with Sabre our dog who passed away two years ago now. The house feels emptier, especially when I sit down to breakfast and Noggin isn't there demanding his lap time.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

And If You Worry About Your Kids Getting Addicted to Video Games...

Maybe you should worry more about adults!

Police on a drug raid play a Wii in the raided house for nine hours! Maybe they need to get Wii's for themselves. We have one and it rarely gets used, let alone for hours straight, LOL.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Quote from my daughter tonight on the ride home from Karate:

"Mom, don't you think Don't Stop Believing was the best song of the 80's"

And what do you say to that? LOL.

But, I did discover via Wikipedia that she is not alone in this opinion. Though the song by Journey released in 1981 never got higher than #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, in 2006, it was ranked as the 11th greatest song of the list of the 100 greatest songs of the '80s by VH1.

It is the most downloaded song not released in the 21st century of all time in the iTunes Music Store.

And in answer to her question, I'd have to give my vote to U2's Where the Streets Have No Name or X's Burning House of Love

Music From Nature

Both of the kids really loved watching this. I've thought of this many times seeing the birds sitting on the wires, but this composer brought it to life:

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Prodigal Cat Has Returned

This last week was worrisome as my cat Patches did another disappearing act while we were camping at Waldo Lake. She's a funny little thing, a stray that adopted us just over two years ago, the rest of the family calls her my "dog" because she follows me around and is totally dedicated to me. She loves to go on walks with our family, and at one point I even tried The Great Leash Experiment, figuring that maybe that way I could take her along with us safely when we got to the busier streets. But alas that was a dismal failure as Patches definitely despised The Leash. Still, as long as I'm in town she has never run away or gotten into trouble, but whenever I leave town I think she starts to worry that I'm not coming back. Despite the fact that while we were camping Wayne was here feeding and petting her, she has this notion that if I'm gone more than 3 or 4 days, she needs to go looking for me. Thankfully, I got her microchipped last year, so when she has gone on her find-Robin missions she has been turned in before (once almost 2 miles from home!)

After several days camping at Waldo I came home to find that she had set out yet again, and this time there was no news as the days went by. So we got out the Lost Cat posters, crossed off the date from the last time she did this and wrote in the new date and set out putting them up around the neighborhood. One thing you can say about the place we live is that people here are extremely helpful and love animals (this is so true that animal shelters in California have begun trucking their excessive animals up here because our adoption rates here are very high). I got no fewer than eight phone calls from separate people, some of whom had spotted Patches, some who had fed her and tried to corral her (she is extremely friendly but is not amenable to being picked up, making rescues tricky), and some who had seen my Lost Cat posters and also seen some Found Cat posters bearing her photo and just called to tell me in case I hadn't spotted those. I have to say, I get a little choked up thinking of so many people going out of their way to be so nice to just another little stray kitty. It sure gives you faith in good folks of the world.

As the days went by though, I was worrying more and my heart felt heavy. The saddest thing for me is thinking of her heading out to look for me. If she was just a cat who liked to wander, I guess it wouldn't bother me, but visualizing her out there trying to find me was just breaking my heart. Eerily, one night I had a dream that I found her, and when I woke up both of the kids said that they had a dream that we found her too (although Asa's dream involved her turning into a mermaid, which definitely didn't happen in Mackenzie's or mine...) That was the day we got the first phone call from someone who was feeding her on their back porch, so at least we knew at that point that she was alive and well.

That phone call came from a little over a mile away, but by yesterday evening she was found closer to home by a family about 7 blocks from here (maybe working her way back home?) and she was under their car. I drove over immediately, parked and called to her and she came running out (yet another reason she's called my dog, she comes when called). So all's well that ends well for the kitty this time. She's home, very hungry, a little skittish but settling back in.... at least until next time.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


One of the things I loved most about my childhood was the sense of rhythm and almost of ritual, the notion that things would come around every year that could be counted on. I think predictability is one of our most basic human needs. Some people of course seem to need it so much more than others, and perhaps children more than adults. Having touchstones throughout the year brings a sense of comfort and a respect for the turning of the seasons of life.

One of the things I have most grown to anticipate this time of year is our annual camping trip at Waldo Lake. I know I've probably posted similar photos every year, of us doing similar things - floating in boats, swimming in crystalline waters, kids catching frogs, hiking through woods, the spectacular beauty that is Waldo. Every year the kids are changed, but the landscape is not. The frogs are different of course, but catching them is not. Perhaps the water molecules from last year's lake have gone up into clouds and traveled around the globe and rained in Botswana and the water molecules in the lake this year were a fog bank around Bristol at this time last year, but yet the lake looks the same.

This year we were blessed with a stretch of unbroken lovely fall days. The frogs were plentiful, from the tiny "fingernail frogs", just the size of my pinky nail, to these glorious golden bumpy frogs with sparkling eyes, to camouflaged tree frogs that you have to be eagle-eyed to spot. The water was warm enough for kids to swim and float in, and for me in my wet suit to hang out in (the perks of being a triathlete mom is having the wetsuit that lets me hang out in cold lakes with my kids all afternoon).

The kids brought bikes with them and took off en masse for a group bike ride led by mountainbiking mom extraordinaire, Maria. They suddenly looked 5 years more grown up setting off like that.

Of course, time does have a way of marching on and some things change. For years, we brought our faithful and wonderful camping dog Sabre on our Waldo lake excursions. In his final year, I even brought my Burley trailer and wheeled him on the trails around the lake when he was too feeble to walk. Then he was gone, and I spent a few moments last year crying when I saw people with dogs that looked similar to Sabre.

This year of course we have Callie, and its her inaugural year camping. As a small dog, she has the added perk of riding in the kayak (something Sabre surely would not have done, as fearful of water as he was depite his Labrador heritage). We say she's the "bow wow of the bow" and she enjoyed being ferried over to an island where she could be a wild leash-free dog for awhile without our worrying that she would chase a squirrel into the wilderness and never be heard from again.

One of the other things I value about this camping trip, besides the sense of the earth coming 'round again and the changing of the seasons and spending time with friends who we haven't seen enough of over the summer is that the kids get plenty of time to just be kids. Without computers and games and electronic distractions of any kind, they can spend hours in a happy mob keeping a balloon in the air, cheering each other on. Even my big 13 year old (who often vaccilated between the adult conversation by the campfire and the games of the children) was caught up in the excitement of chasing a balloon through the forest.

In the end, the trip is really about everything important in life: family, friends, nature, beauty, fun, seasons, rituals, and appreciating the great gifts we are given here on earth. I am grateful for yet another ride around the sun, another season at Waldo.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Birthday Fun

Here's our birthday boy's big 13th in pictures...

Of course, he can't be serious for one moment for a pic with the family

Having cake after playing laser tag with his friends

Yes, he still LOVES hippos, and was really excited to get this cute stuffed hippo from his friend Tiff

Yes, he's a house of cards. Do you get the idea this kid always keeps us laughing?

His wish for his actual birthday was to go bowling with just family. So he's getting his family presents at the bowling alley

And enduring a hug from little sis

He wanted to roll out the first ball right at 4:14, when he became a teenager

And spent some of the rest of the day making foam sword and shield. I still think he looks very elvish with those ears!