pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: 2017

13 April 2017

Echoes, silence, and absence


12 April 2017

The days have been soft and warm, sunny and breezy, lovely low 70sF.

The house is silent. No small snores, no sound of stretch and roll, no little songs suggesting meal time. No dripping of his water dish. The sounds of the washing machine and dishwasher startle me because I'm unused to hearing them without the white noise of his water dish.

I wake at night, testing the bottom of my bed for a small warm body. He liked to sleep on my feet or behind my knees. Only when he was wearing the cone and it was a cold night would he consent to getting under the covers.

The windows where he used to sit and chitter at the birds or watch the butterflies are empty now. He had a funny habit of beating on the crank handles of my bedroom windows, trying to close them when the a/c came on, as if he knew they shouldn't be open. Or the sound bothered him.

He didn't like loud noises, and he abominated, separately and in concert, the vacuum cleaner, the washing machine and the piano. He had come to something of an accommodation with the piano, and would sometimes sit next to me on the piano bench while I practiced. I still find myself planning out cleaning so as not to disturb him.

There is no one to pounce on the bits of things that inevitably fall on the floor while I prep meals. He would play soccer with a piece of celery or ice cube and gobble stray things that he enjoyed like cheese or meat. He was a champion oven-watcher, and would wait cheerfully for the chicken or roast to be taken out, sitting demurely on the floor to receive his portion.

He was noisy walking across the wood floor of the dining room and we were mystified how a 10-lb cat managed to sound like a fully grown adult.

Slowly, traces of him are disappearing. Tuesday afternoon I put his carrier and his bed in the bin for today's pick up along with the dozen or so catnip mice I got him for Christmas, knowing it would be his last Christmas. His food bowls have been washed and put away; his water dish is gone. I gave a neighbor who has cats the rest of his food and extra litter.

I haven't been able to bring myself to vacuum the chair where he spent most of his time the last two weeks, so white fur is still enshrined there. He didn't like the vacuum, though I repeat to myself that it no longer matters. Part of me is still sure he's just in another room and I expect to find him luxuriating in the sun on my bed, or around that corner.

But the house is silent and I am alone.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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12 April 2017

The streets of San Francisco


Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California
19 March 2017

The daughter was supposed to take an interterm class in January on noir film and literature. Not enough people signed up and the class was cancelled, so I said I would take her to San Francisco and we'd do our own class.

Which is what we spent her spring break doing. Walking the landmarks by day; watching movies by night.

"Humphrey Bogart stood here," she crowed at one point.

We had fun and it was a reprieve we both really needed.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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11 April 2017

In the end

 
Milton
9 April 2017
 
When I first held Milton in Tucson, August 11, 2001, he was a frightened 5-month-old kitten who tried to bury himself into my chest, purring deeply and wildly.
 
He died today, April 11, 2017, victim of a cruel joke called a rabies shot. It was his last rabies shot that gave him cancer.
 
I stroked him and murmured to him as he died, thanking him for all the love and comedy he'd given me. I told him how much I loved him, how glad I was that we belonged to each other.
 
The last thing he did was purr.
 
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. Milton was very susceptible to catnip. I made him pillows and filled them with his drug of choice. This last one I made a couple of weeks ago. He slept on it even after he became too ill to be amused by it.
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22 March 2017

Vertigo

 
Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco, California
21 March 2017

21 March 2017

The conversation

 
Union Square
San Francisco, California
21 March 2017

19 March 2017

Dark passage

 
Filbert steps
San Francisco, California
19 March 2017

18 March 2017

Scarier for real

 
Alcatraz
18 March 2017
 
 

17 March 2017

Adventure time

 
California coast
17 March 2017

26 February 2017

The new thing

 
Milton
26 February 2017
 
He continues to do well on steroids, though the tumor continues to grow. You can see it in this photo, in the patch of white fur just below the black at his hip. Part of me wants to have the vet just pop it out, but the voice of reason reminds me that it's only been two months since the last one came out. I know there are at least two in there. He will be 16 Wednesday. VoR says more surgery is rather unfair.
 
He seems happy. Less aggressively kitten than a couple of months ago, but still tending toward risk-taking kitten. A kitten who gives no fucks about anything that previously frightened him. I think it's the steroids. When I've been on a dose pack for the spinal nerve damage, I've been the same way. Weirdly fearless. Though while I lose my appetite, he's eating anything not nailed down.
 
The weather seems to irk him. It's been raining a good deal, so it's been cloudy a lot and today, the high is in the 50s. He's a heat-seeking feline, and prefers to have many patches of sunshine from which to choose. Those have been in short supply. But when it's been sunny, he's been galloping around quite happily.
 
But he's developed a new thing: he parks himself on my desk chair, a place he formerly shunned. We're not sure why he suddenly loves that chair, but if I put a dining room chair by my desk, he will sleep there and let me have my desk chair. Mostly he seems to want to be on me or next to me.
 
Some months back, I'd commented to the daughter that I'd always expected that Milton would outlive Olivier, and recently discovered that instead they will probably be racing each other to the finish line. His owner told me that Olivier has stopped eating and is refusing to go outdoors, both extremely anomalous behaviours. Olivier was successfully treated for cancer some years back, but his may have returned also.
 
It just breaks my heart.
 
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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26 January 2017

Drought? What drought?

 
To end the weekend's rain: Hail!
23 January 2017
 
I went out this morning to do a bit of clean up, post storm. Or more accurately, post three storms. We were hit by a line up starting last Thursday.

I am not complaining. Too much.

I emptied out a garbage can that probably had 5 inches of water in it. It wasn't uncovered until Sunday afternoon, so that would give you an idea of how much water came out of the sky.

My garage flooded despite my standing out in the cold and wet putting plastic up to keep water from advancing under the wall. The drains were overwhelmed. There was so much water pouring down the street that you couldn't even see the drain outlet in the curb. The inside of the house smelled of mud and water because of the damp under the raised foundation.

According to the stats I saw in the paper this morning, DTLA has gotten 14 inches of rain since the beginning of the season. That is almost an entire season's worth of precipitation, and it's only January.

We need the water. But it would be good for things to dry out a little before the next storm (next week).

Last Friday, watching the water whip around the street, I caught sight of a crow in the neighbor's driveway, having the bath of a lifetime. And I realized that for this crow, it was the bath of a lifetime. It had probably never seen that much rain, ever.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. Milton update: In a word, sardines! Why die when there are sardines? Seriously, he's doing fine. And no, the friendly water agencies assure us the drought is not over. Even this much water isn't enough to make up for lost time!
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19 January 2017

Where do we go...?


Newport Beach, California
14 January 2017

I've been longing to visit my hometown--actually I've just been longing to get out of Dodge, if you get my drift--but at this particular moment don't really feel like I can do that.

Somewhere. Some time. Soon.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. Milton update: still holding on, happily and energetically. And eating with enthusiasm. Playing. Etc.
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17 January 2017

The devil you know


Goats
17 January 2017

We call them Azazel and Beelzebub. Mainly because the first time we saw the one on the left (he wasn't posing for photos today, just showing his chin and teeth), he scared the living hell out of the daughter and I. He was completely unexpected and just appeared in that window as we walked by. A few weeks later, the spouse and I ran into the owner and had a nice conversation about the pair (we hadn't known there was a pair, just the holy terror on the left, who apparently isn't a terror at all) along with life in general. Now, when I take anyone on walks, the route is determined by the answer to the question "goats or no goats?"

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. Milton update: he seems to be doing well on the steroids. Currently stretching and suggesting dinner.
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15 January 2017

The Wedge

 
Newport Beach, California
14 January 2017

12 January 2017

Always up to something


Milton
10 March 2007

I was the enfant terrible, always asking the questions I wasn't supposed to. And of course, one day when I was 7 or 8, I asked the question about my dog going to heaven. And was told that my dog didn't have a soul, so wouldn't be going to heaven.

"Then I won't go to heaven either, " I announced.

You can see how I ended up raised-as-a-Catholic but at the end of the day, not a Catholic.

So this is where we are.

The tumors have returned. Their growth seems to have accelerated. We are out of options. I would like weeks, but I suspect days.

And there it is.

I hope that if I gave him anything in all our years together, it was knowledge that love and security existed for him. That he and his perfect little cat soul have been so loved. That if there is an afterlife, I am content to spend it with the animals.

Tech stuff: Taken with a Canon PowerShot S110. It's true. I prefer animals to most people.
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02 January 2017

Stormy skies


Newport Beach, California
31 December 2016

[Paragraphs raving about idiot climatologists who lack humility redacted]

It's been raining.

This is a good thing.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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01 January 2017

The last one


Tree detail
1 January 2017

As a toddler, the son was particularly taken with trains. The December that he was nearly 2, I found a glass train garland at Macy's that I knew he'd like. I carefully unhooked it from the display tree as one was supposed to do, and I cradled it in my palms as I continued to peruse the trees for any other likely ornaments. While I looked, happily enjoying the festive display, another shopper, a somewhat older woman, approached me.

"That's the last one," she said to me. I looked at her, perplexed. She pointed to the garland in my hands.

"Oh," I said, not sure why she was telling me this.

More forcefully, she repeated, "It's the last one."

"I see," I answered, and moved toward the register to make my purchase.

Decades later, I'm still bemused by that conversation. I can only guess that she expected me to hand the garland over. Or something. Whatever the case, when the kids unpack the ornaments every year, they dangle the trains in front of me and announce, "It's the last one."

Which, I suppose, is how weird little stories pass into family lore.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.
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