McCall Winter Carnival: The Happiest Place in Winter

Snow Sculptures at McCall 2020 Winter Carnival

Friday, January 24 was the start of McCall, Idaho annual Winter Carnival. This family centri event is bound to please all the snow hounds in your household with everything from gorgeous snow sculptures to fireworks, parade, dog sledding and mongrel racing. Of course there are all the snow events; downhill skiing, skating, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and sledding. We go almost every year and I am always amazed by the local creativity and work that goes into the sculptures.

We go every year. I remember the kids finding the big piles of snow to crawl on better than the sculptures. Their dad is still delighted by snow. He likes to knock it off our cabin roof. He loves to chop wood and fill the wood stove to make our cabin really cozy. The Winter Carnival offers something for everyone, a place to make family memories of good times in snowy weather.

Reflections on Martin Luther King’s Birthday

My dad grew up in the South in a small town called Lancaster, the deepest, darkest backwaters of South Carolina.  He attended the Citadel for college, alma mater to Robert E. Lee, the civil war general.  Founded in 1843, Citadel graduates fired the first shots in the Civil War.  A rigorous military school, academically comparable to our national military academies, the Citadel was not a bastion of progressive thought.

citadel-campus-charleston
Citadel Campus
plantation home
Similar to my grandmother’s home

My ancestors, I am not proud to say were the plantation owners who came from England  in the 18th century.  English gentry, 2nd sons without land establishing large successful plantations based on slavery.  My sister and I can still remember visiting my grandmother, Daisy, who lived to be 102.  She owned a large plantation home, a replica of “Gone with the Wind”.  The plantation land had been sold by the time we arrived in the 1950’s to visit.  But her home and surrounding plot was still a compound with a family duplex built in back.  Sections of the house had been walled off so her black maid could have a place to live.  A big white mansion had screened front porches for sleeping during the muggy southern summers and large fans throughout because it had no air conditioning.  The rooms were huge with high ceilings. We never saw the kitchen, hidden somewhere in the back.  The black maid accommodated our food needs.

When we visited our relatives in Lancaster, we could have been dropped into the book, “The Help”.  Silent black women dressed in soft pastels with white aprons would appear and take our orders for sweet tea or Coca-cola.   As small kid from Wyoming,  I found being waited on and sitting quietly in a fussy dress while adults conversed around me quite bizarre and uncomfortable.

We drove to the south whenever we visited. Days of traveling on endless turnpikes with visits to historical monuments and battle fields.  I remember asking my mom, “Why are there signs saying whites only and colored on the bathrooms.”  Her response, “We don’t do that in the West.”  Not exactly an answer but I  got the message that this was not a way to live. 

My mom and dad were like, the current royals, Megan and Harry.  Dad met my mom in Wyoming when he was stationed at Warren Army base. He was smitten and wrote her throughout the war.  They married right afterwards. Dad joined the family business in Lancaster taking mom far from her western roots.  They lived in the duplex on the compound.  Mom used to describe black people lined up to pay their rent every Friday outside my Grandfather’s bank.  She did not approve of making money on the backs of poor black families. My dad was a partner in the family department store, the only one in Lancaster. Dad took his funds out of the family business and moved west.  I think because mother couldn’t stand the genteel standards of the southern women and the inherent racism in the town.  But in fairness to my Dad, the war had changed him.  He had fought with men of many different races and traveled the world eventually being stationed in India.

My sister and I were born and grew up in Wyoming, certainly not a bastion of progressive thought.  Yet, my sister and I are both liberal Democrats. We have seen and experienced racism as an ingrained culture.  We know what it’s like to be dropped, like Alice in Wonderland, into a world that is very different than our own.  We both have adopted children of different nationalities.  We have traveled the world and been open to new experiences.  The seething, undercurrents of racism in the 1950’s in the south have stayed with me always.  I don’t want to use restrooms delineated by color or belong to organizations that exclude entire groups of people.  I believe in welcoming all into our churches.

Martin Luther King Day reminds me of my upbringing.  I know he had a tremendous cultural and social battle to wage.  Unfortunately, that struggle continues.

IMG_0289

Why I March: One Voice Can Make a Difference

We watched Peanut Butter Falcon on Netflix over Christmas vacation.  The amusing, emotionally touching movie is a coming of age story starring a Down’s Syndrome young man (Played by Zack Gottsagen).  Another young man with Down’s Syndrome is featured in Stumptown a television crime drama. Paralleling Falcon, Ansel Parisos (Played by Cole Sibus) is struggling with how to live as a young adult in Portland.  Both of these shows are remarkable because individuals with Down’s Syndrome staring in major television roles would have seemed an impossibility thirty years ago.

My first job out of graduate school (1978) was director of the Wyoming ARC/Developmental Disability Council.   The Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act was passed in 1975.  The purpose of the federal law was to insure a public school education was provided to all handicapped children. We had a lot of trouble in Wyoming getting schools to accept disabled children into the classroom. Parents didn’t know they had rights to insist the schools provide services. I remember speaking to the Wyoming Appropriations Committee about the law and having the Chair of the committee interrupt me and say, “These kids are like Angus in among the Herefords.  If we had any of these kids, we would see them and we just don’t.”

I was young, feisty and full of energy. That comment made me furious. I thought if you want to see handicapped children than I will make sure we go out and identify them.  The Developmental Disabilities Council provided a grant to the University of Wyoming to conduct screening clinics in Wyoming’s small rural communities that summer.  The teams identified more than 650 preschool children who were in need of special education services.  There is no voice more passionate or pervasive than a parent who is told their child needs services but the legislature is too miserly to fund the services.  Believe me, the Chair of the Appropriations heard from those parents.

During this period, we were trying to fund early intervention preschools and adult work programs all across the state. We had a statewide funding formula which  cost millions of dollars.  Oil-rich Wyoming coffers could certainly afford to pay for these programs but conservative legislators were not convinced. We had the votes in the House because the Speaker of the House, a very conservative Republican was married to a special education teacher.  He recognized the need.  But we did not have the votes in the Senate.

I worked phone lines every day and every night.  I wasn’t calling legislators.  I was calling parents to call their Senator(s) and asked him to vote yes.  The day of the vote the Senate gallery was packed with parents and children.  The votes were tallied. The yes/no’s flashed up on the screen.  We were one vote short.  The bill was going to die.  I could feel the disappointment of the parents squeezing my heart.  One Senator from Newcastle, Wyoming, a tiny town in Northeast Wyoming stood up.  You could hear a pin drop at that moment. He changed his vote to a yes.  He said when he made the change, “I cannot go home and face my constituents if this bill dies.  Wyoming needs to serve the developmentally disabled.”  The gallery went wild. with applause and cheering.

Over thirty years later, handicapped children who had access to early intervention services are moving into our communities, working in our businesses, starring in television shows and movies.  They’re showing us that advocacy work on the side of justice pays off.

The Women’s March is this weekend.  I march in principle.  Black, white, Hispanic, Native American, yellow, male, female, LGBTQ-A, handicapped, old, young; we all deserve an equal chance to succeed in this great country.  We are a country where one person’s voice/vote can still make a difference.

 

New Year: New Possibilities

I’ve never been one to set New Year’s resolutions.  I do, however, believe the New Year offers an opportunity to push the “reset button”.  Instead of making a list of action steps, I resolve to be open to new possibilities.

A few weeks ago, I was waiting in line for a $2 taco when I complimented the much younger lady in front of me on her lipstick.  Believe me it was a great color, bright blue red and perfectly applied.  The woman was wearing an apron and no coat.  Later, I decided she must have run across the street from the new salon that had just opened to buy her lunch.  But when I talked to her, I was just waiting for lunch. I couldn’t resist telling this young woman how great she looked.  We got into a conversation about how I had stopped wearing lipstick because it got on everything, coffee cups and my teeth.  Since I was retired, I hardly ever wore makeup. She told me about the new products that are easier to apply and stayed on forever.  If she was an example, the new lip stains look great.

She picked up two bags of food, paid and hurried for the door.  When I stepped up to pay for my taco, the waiter told me the lady with the great lip stick had paid for my lunch.  I tried to thank her but she just waved and hurried out the door.  I’m not sure why she chose to buy my lunch.  Maybe she was having a bad day and having someone tell her she looked great helped make it better.

I do know that one random act of unintentional kindness on my part i.e. starting up a conversation resulted in a return to me that was much larger.

As I start the New Year, I am opening myself to the many possibilities that are available every day.  I probably miss most of them.  I am working on being more in the present, listening and watching more intently and being willing to put myself out there.

To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.” ~Unknown

PPxALD2-03 (3)
Stickers available at https://www.etsy.com/shop/PinkPolitic

Celebrating Small Successes in the New Year

I went swimming today!  I was thrilled.

I had major surgery in August and was on a non-weight bearing cast through November. The last six weeks, I have been attending physical therapy twice a week. The surgery was to replace a torn tendon in my left foot.  I had been wearing a specially made black leather boot the year before but finally even it was not providing enough support.

The surgeon took out the tendon. She described it as a rubber band stretched beyond capacity and replaced it with screws.  I have 12 new screws in my foot. I ponder occasionally if this has added to my body weight or could it be six weeks without exercise. I haven’t flown since the surgery but I am now one of those bionic people who you don’t want to get behind in airport security lines.  I am sure to set off every alarm.

When I agreed to this surgery, I wanted to keep the movement in my foot so I could swim, dance and ride my horse.  My foot doesn’t move right or left but does flex up and down.  As a non-physician, I totally under-estimated the toll this surgery would have on my ability to do anything.  All fall I was on a scooter.  While I could drive, I couldn’t get out of the car because I couldn’t lift the scooter out of the back while hopping on one foot. Most of my friends couldn’t wield the scooter around either. Fortunately, my husband could take me for rides. The taxi service, while expensive, was dependable when I absolutely had to be somewhere i.e. a doctor’s appointment.

IMG_0017
Cast off, back to boot

Once the cast was off, I was expecting to walk out of the doctor’s office.  But after 3.5 months in a cast, I was back in a boot.  Six weeks into physical therapy and I can ride a recumbent exercise bike at level 10 for 20 minutes and walk on a treadmill at 2.0 miles per hour (snail’s pace) for 10 minutes.  This is all with my brace on.  I am learning to walk at home without a brace.  I am dancing in the playroom to our boom box.  I started at 5 minutes and I’m up to about 8 minutes a day. My goal is 30 minutes so I can go back to Jazzercise. Riding my horse and electric bike are somewhere off in the future.  When the PT said I could attend water aerobics, I was ecstatic.

Today, I walked down to the pool (no brace), used the steps to get into the kids’ end and floated off to the deep end with one foot feeling  like I had a rock tied on. I was absolutely thrilled.  The warm water lapped around me. My friends said “Hello!” The dance music and instructor kept us kicking and splashing for 45 minutes.  Afterwards, I was able to get up the steps, shower, wash my hair and be on way.

I felt almost normal again, almost.

IMG_8078
Christmas 2018.  I missed this year but back in the pool before 2020.

As I enter a new year, I am looking forward to celebrating the little successes in life; getting up in the morning, reading the paper, walking, and swimming.  These are things I use to take for granted as I chased some mandatory “to do list”.  Now they are the things I most enjoy. I feel blessed I’ve been given the opportunity in the new year to dive in again.

IMG_0222
I walked into Christmas eve services without a boot.

25 Years of Christmas Memories

My son, Scott’s, first Christmas, we had a professional picture taken at JC Penney’s in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  He sat on a gaily wrapped package, dressed in a little red vest, bow tie, and dress slacks.  His outfit is complete with moon boots, a Wyoming staple. He wore those boots every day his first winter walking.

IMG_0091 (2)
Scott’s first Christmas, 1994

Kayla, my adopted daughter from China, arrived at our Boise house in the spring 2000.  She was 8 months old.  When her first Christmas rolled around, it was easy to have her join Scott in the Penney’s photo studio for our annual Christmas photo.  The photo studio in Boise was much fancier than Cheyenne.  In Cheyenne, there was a camera set up in front of a tree background in the open store.  In Boise, there was a separate studio where 4  minions snapped pictures as a steady stream of children dressed in party clothes paraded through.  The children marched up on a stage and sat on small boxes.  Parents could choose from a variety of backdrops.

Our most exciting year, Scott and Kayla were sitting on the little stage and suddenly disappeared behind the backdrop.  Apparently, the little present had held one too many children and just gave out.  As the mom, standing behind the camera I was stunned.  The backdrop flopped back down but my kids were nowhere to be seen.  They were on the floor behind the little stage, unhurt.  This incident required me to sign a whole series of reports. I received several calls from Penney’s insurance to make sure that no damage had begotten my children.

When we had Scott’s first picture taken, I had a friend who suggested we send out the picture as our Christmas card.  Hard to believe but 25 years ago this was actually an innovative card.  Christmas cards to relatives and friends were still the “in” thing.  This same friend said she had a friend who had sent pictures for 18 years than duplicated all the previous cards when the child graduated from high school.  This crafty friend sent relatives a photo album of all the Christmas pictures. When I started on the Christmas photo project, I planned to assemble them in the same manner.  Sadly, that time has come and gone.  Scott has graduated from high school, college and now works in Seattle.  Kayla graduated from high school two years ago and is at Montana State University in Bozeman.

In recent years, I debate whether to print cards.  After all, everyone sees what you are up to on Facebook.  My Christmas list has drastically reduced as family members and friends pass or move and don’t provide forwarding addresses.

Today, I bought my Christmas stamps.  The purchase was an act of intention committing me to printing 2019 cards.   The digital world makes it so much easier.  If we aren’t together for a picture, I can go online, pick out a frame with individual shots and make it look like we are at least in touch with each other.  This year we were all together.  We went to Hawaii in May and we spent Thanksgiving together in Buffalo, Wyoming.  My husband, Pete, and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary with a trip on the inner passage of Alaska by ferry. We have lots of memories to share.

Now I have to brave the crowds at Costco to pick up the cards. Why bother in the current cyber world?  I decided to continue the tradition one more year because 25 years of family Christmas photos is really a lovely gift to my husband and me.

Headwinds and Tailwinds

I have always loved bicycles.  The first time I got on a tricycle I experienced extreme joy.   As a toddler pedaling as fast as I could away from my parents, I intuitively learned the concepts “ecstasy” and “freedom”, even though I couldn’t pronounce either word.

As I have aged, I have moved to an electric bike.  I can bike great distances, up high inclines at a fast pace.  I experience great joy passing a superb rider on my e-bike as he/she toils away in their lycra up the steep hill to our home. Right now, I can’t bike at all because of my foot surgery.  I hope to find myself back on my e-bike this spring.

One of the things I like most about biking is the freedom to experience the outdoor world; the sounds, the smells, the wind.  Bikers are familiar with headwinds and tailwinds.  When you have a headwind, the effort is much harder.  The wind is entirely outside you control.  You just have to lean in and put more pedal to metal.  Tailwinds, of course, make your bike ride a breeze, causing you to speed ahead with little effort.

All of us face both metaphorical head and tail winds in our lives.  Interestingly, research shows that people viewing the lives of others tend to focus on the tailwinds the other person has experienced.   While living our lives, we tend to focus on the headwinds.  We get up in the morning and prepare to battle whatever outside forces may impede our way.

We seldom rise and give gratitude for our tailwinds.  We take our life experiences that have given us our current status for granted.  All of us living in America, start farther ahead  than many third world nations. For example, we expect to have clean drinking water.  We debate public education but we expect that free public education be provided. We complain about taxes but we want roads to drive on and our trash hauled away.  Just by being born in America, we have been given a huge tailwind compared to most of the world.

I think too frequently as a nation we forget our tailwinds and focus on our headwinds.  America has lot’s of problems; homelessness, food shortages, racism, aging infra-structure, climate change, limited access to health care for some populations.  The list of headwinds goes on and on.  But because we have such strong tailwinds, we have the ability if we choose to press back and solve these problems.  The real issue is, who is willing? Pushing into headwinds, takes strength and endurance and (as geese know) a group effort.  Our problems are solvable if we choose to lean in.

When I was a little kid, I loved to ride my tricycle down the driveway at my grandmother’s with my feet up in the air.  The joy of the tailwind is hard to describe.  But I knew that ride down meant I had to drag the trike back up the hill.  Have we forgotten, that the joy of living in a Democracy requires that we have to put in the work to keep it whole?

Casting About

I have been in a non-weight bearing cast since August 15, almost 12 weeks.  In order to get around, I have a rented scooter.  We have purchased a ramp from our attached garage.  We rented a huge ramp so I could spend time outside while the weather was pleasant.  We also had to purchase a special seat for our shower, a biking machine which I use for my arms to do aerobics regularly, hand weights for strength exercises and a walker for close quarters.  I haven’t used the walker much because I have to hop on it.  Assuming the x-rays look good, I get rid of the cast on Thursday.  The prognosis from there is still unclear.  I may be back in a walking book, or a brace, or best news of all, paraphrasing the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, “Off with the cast!” and into a regular shoe.

I have learned a number of things while scooting around:

  1. Things will not go as expected.  The doctor told me that since this surgery was on my left foot I could drive.  I had images of continuing my coffee and lunches out with friends.  When I picked up the scooter, I realized that wasn’t going to happen.  I couldn’t stay off my left foot and lift the scooter.  I couldn’t expect my friends who are my age to deal with the scooter either.  So I can drive but I can’t get out of the car.  My visions of friendly encounters had to be readjusted to inviting friends to my house. Here how those invitations went, “Would you like to come visit me and bring the food and drinks?”  One of my long term friends from my Wyoming days spent a week helping me out when I first got out of the hospital and after Pete went back to work.  A number of my Boise friends were kind enough to come by with treats. These friends are a real blessing.
  2. People say a place is accessible and it really isn’t. I have gotten in numerous restrooms with my scooter and not been able to open the heavy door to get out.  Fortunately, either my husband has come to my rescue or someone is coming in the door and will hold it for me.  Most doors into buildings are too heavy for me to open on my own and very few doors have push button access openings.  I was on a tour with City Club at a supposedly accessible facility.  Rather than extending my hand, I allowed the elevator door to hit the wheel of my scooter tire while I was exiting. I was using my hands to direct the scooter over the elevator gap. The elevator didn’t stop and knocked my scooter and me over. Once on its side, the scooter did eventually wedge the door open.  I was bruised from the experience.
  3. I am capable of entertaining myself. I spent a great deal more time by myself over the past 3 months than I ever have. As long as I could get outside, however, I enjoyed reading the paper and having a cup of coffee on the front porch in the mornings. I could spend an entire afternoon out back streaming videos, reading books and sleeping on our comfortable wicker furniture.  Once the weather turned cold, I have found I am much grumpier.  I, for one, took having a great porch, patio, and yard at my house for granted.  I now understand why seniors flock to warm climates. Getting out in the sun is healing and important to one’s mental health.
  4. People with good intentions ask way too many questions. I just came from lunch where someone I didn’t know wanted to know what happened to me.  “Was it an accident?” No.  “What type of surgery?” Complicated, not regularly done on most people. It was suppose to take six hours and turned out taking eight.  I have many screws in my foot and I had a tendon removed. “What caused it?”  Running when I was younger, flat feet and old age.  I think people want to be helpful and acknowledge that they can see you’ve had some major life experience.  But a simple, “How are you doing?” is really all that is needed.  Asking further questions seems invasive and is annoying, not comforting.
  5. Health care is expensive. We have excellent insurance because my husband is still working.  We also both have Medicare.  We are the few people in America with public and private insurance. We had to personally pay for the ramps, walkers, bathing equipment and our deductible is in the thousands.  I’m also blessed that we have a large home so I have been able to consistently maneuver the large scooter.  We have a downstairs bedroom and bath.  I heard of someone who crawled up their stairs every day (Good exercise) and someone else who was able to use crutches up and down stairs.  I am not able to use crutches because of balance issues.  I also have weekly cleaning help.  We have paid for me to have a driver at times to get me to meetings and help around the house.  We have also paid for taxis and Uber to get to doctors’ appointments when my husband has not been available to drive.  In other words, much of my positive ability to deal with surgery is a direct result of the fact we have resources.  I’m not sure what other people would do.

I am planning on the x-rays being great.  I am thrilled to be looking forward to taking my cast off this week.   I’m so done with casting about.

Angel, the Cat Left Behind

Angel head shot
Angel, my daughter’s cat

White kitty entered our house from foster care at the Idaho Humane Society (IHS) as a kitten eight years ago.  My daughter’s girl scout troop had gone on a field trip to the animal shelter and a litter of kittens arrived while the troop was there.  The kittens were too young to be adopted.  My daughter set her heart on having Angel that day.  Kayla watched diligently online until Angel came up as old enough to adopt.  We went and got her.  Tip: Never allow your child to go on a field trip to the animal shelter unless you want another pet.

Angel entered our house as a playful, active kitten who had never had a bad experience.  This is to be compared to Satchel, our big gray striped tom cat, who had been found in the wild and we rescued from the IHS full grown.  Satch would always remain somewhat aloof and his own man.  Angel has always been in the midst of everything.  She comes to my daughter by name like a dog and kisses my daughter on the nose.  A trait I find disgusting.  Though it is not allowed, she sits on my daughter’s lap under the table at dinner when I can’t see her tail hanging down.  Unfortunately, my daughter grew up and went away to college last year.  This was a loss to Angel but not as big as one might think because she had Satch.

When Angel arrived, Satch made every effort to ignore her and be bored by her overtures to be friends.  But Angel was persistent attempting to play with him and licking him, curling up next to him.  Until Satch was overcome by Angel’s great love for him. By the time Angel was an adult, Satch and Angel would give each other baths at night at the foot of our bed.  During the night I could hear them racing through the house chasing each other in some random kitty game.

When Satch disappeared several weeks ago (blog: Cat Grief) Angel was devastated. Not only is her owner at college but her best friend in the world is gone.  She is now attempting to make me into her cat friend with limited success because I am not a cat.  She has tried licking me.  Her scaly little pink tongue is scratchy.  I refuse to lick her back.

She lays on me whenever I am sitting which is most of the time because I am in a non-weight bearing cast.  She pushes the rat terrier out from beside me so she can have the best spot.  Her worst behavior is she has decided that the Sheltie, Shani is the lowest on pecking order and should not be allowed near me.  When Shani walks by,  Angel slaps her on the head with her paw.  When we are lying down, if I am petting Shani, Angel moves up my arm until I can’t lift my arm to pet her.  This controlling behavior is all new.  Angel follows me  into our walk in closet and I have to scoot around looking for her under clothes to get her out before I can leave.  I am on a scooter because of my foot so this creeping around the closet is quite tedious.

Angel was always pleasant to me but not my cat.  She preferred Kayla and then Satch to me so spent little time chasing me around the house or sitting on my lap.  But in the absence of her two great loves, she has decided she will have to make do with me.  I’m the third ring on her love list but I’m better than nothing.

Cat Grieving

20160422_150516We lost our big a gray tom cat, Satchel, a few weeks back.  He went outside and never came back.  He wore an electric collar and had stayed in our yard for 13 years.

He started every spring, summer, and fall day the same.  Yowling at the front door until someone let him out.  He would hide in the front porch bushes catching lizards or bask in the morning sun.  Then he would sit on the red bench by the door and shout at the top of his lungs to come in.  He might have a sip of water or something to eat and then he would march to the back door meowing loudly until someone would let him out.

Once in back, he would patrol the yard all afternoon.  In the heat of the day, I could see him though the kitchen window lying under the high grass surveying his Savannah as if he were a lion surveying his territory.  We always got him back in before it was dark.  Then one night a few weeks back, he wasn’t there when I went to get him.  We looked everywhere and searched for days but he has not returned.

He’s been acting a little weird recently.  He had bitten me requiring a trip to the doctor.  He growled at my daughter, Kayla, when she tried to get him in while house sitting.  She said she wouldn’t deal with him anymore. It was her opinion that he was getting old and just wanted to be left alone to live his last few days or months outside.

Since we live in the foothills surrounding Boise, we know when a cat is gone; it is probably not coming back.  Our neighbors were out hiking once and found 17 cat collars in a coyote hole. Once outside the fence, Satch probably became one of the dinners of the many predators who share the hills with us including coyotes, foxes, owls, raccoons, and bobcats.

I have missed our big gray tiger cat.  He was such a character, directing us all with his loud shouting to be let in and out, then lazing around on the couch at night. In the winter, he chose not to go out at all and would frequently lay stretched out on the gas fire hearth for hours.  He was a big cat when he had his front paws stretched out and was lying flat he was almost four feet long.   He had beautiful coloring; big green cat eyes, like the marbles we played with as kids and matching gray/brown strips on his face that I would run my finger along.  They made me wonder how God created such perfect symmetry in nature.

I’ve looked up kittens online and my cleaning team has a worker who is trying to get rid of kittens but we won’t be getting another cat right now.  We’ve always had two cats since I’ve had children (25 years).  When I was single, I had a cat and a dog. It was much easier to handle one pet of each species traveling and housekeeping.

Now with the kids gone and just Pete and I in the house, I have resolved to go back to the one cat and one dog house.  We still have two dogs.  We won’t get rid of either but when I look at them I realize, just like Pete and I, they are getting older. We will be downsizing even if we don’t want to in the next few years. Dogs just don’t have a human life span.

I still have my daughter’s cat, Angel, around the house.  Angel has missed Satch the most.  This blog started as an effort to capture her grief.  But I realized one can’t understand Angel missing Satch without first understanding that Satch lived a big life.  He dominated the dogs, the cats and even the humans directing us to carry out his wishes.  We all understood his needs and wants. He enforced them with a huge unpleasant yowl.

I hope he had a joyous time out in the wild world beyond our yard before something caught up with him.  He was a man of action.  He would not have wanted a slow, belabored death.  Assuming my daughter is right, that he chose to go on his own terms, I wish him the best.  I want him to know he was a great family pet and he is missed.