04 November 2012

Dona Nobis Pacem

Hello, Pam here.

You may or may not know that I lost both of my parents when I was 18 years old.  My mom died of breast cancer on June 18, 1985.  My dad commited suicide one month later.

I finally gave up being angry three years ago.  I guess it took me so long because I didn't realize I was angry.

My mom fought right up until the end.  But some battles are doomed from the start.  It was hard to see her change from a strong, vibrant woman to the thin, pale shell she was when she died. 

My dad quit fighting when Mom took her last breath.  I didn't understand it at the time, but the reason he waited a month before he followed her was that he wanted to arrange their affairs so I wouldn't have any issue with wills and insurance after he took his own life.

I would rather he had found the courage to stay with me.  I never did appreciate what made him so certain that he couldn't survive without her.

I get it now.  His connection to my mother was stronger than his connection to me and to life.  That's hard to accept, but it has to be true.  Otherwise he would have grieved and recovered in time.  Or, if not recovered, at least learned how to survive without her.

I forgave him for that three years ago.  I felt uplifted when I did.  I felt free.  My perspective changed.  That last emotional barrier between me and Travis melted away.  I finally was able - am able now - to give to and take from Travis more completely.

When I read that Maya Angelou quote, it made so much sense.  The life I led from 18 to 42 was mostly one of survival and routine.  There were hints of compassion.  I had some laughs with my friends and colleagues.  I learned to be kind and caring.

But the passion was missing.  When Travis and I met, I almost said no to his dinner invitation.  I thought it might be better if I didn't try.  I think I realized instinctively that I might be OK for basic relationships like friendship, but not for a deep relationship like committing to being in love with someone.

I'm glad I didn't follow that initial impulse.  Those first moments with him made me remember what my parents were like before Mom got sick.  It took time, but my relationship with Travis taught me to forgive.  Once I forgave Dad, I couldn't be angry with him anymore.

I'm at peace with cancer robbing me of my mom.  I'm at peace with Dad choosing to follow Mom instead of finding a way to live without her.

Because I have inner peace, I thrive with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness, like Ms Angelou said.  I have learned how to live my life without regret and with profound gratitude that I have been able to release the darker emotions that were keeping me from remembering how much I loved and respected my father.  His choice was devastating, but his spirit is joined to Mom's as it was always meant to be.  I can't continue to be angry with him for going to her.

I feel like our spirits - mine and Travis' - are meant to be joined just that same way.

Dona Nobis Pacem

29 October 2012


Hi, Pam here.

Our thoughts and best wishes are with our friends on the east coast as Sandy comes barreling onshore later today.  Travis and I have been watching The Weather Channel this morning.  The winds and storm surge are pretty intense already.

It got me thinking.  We've never had to worry about evacuating here, but Travis did have to prepare when he lived in southern California during a massive wild fire.  He had Mr Tucker with him.  Luckily he never had to evacuate.

Are you prepared for a disaster?  Do you have emergency supplies for 3-5 days?  Do you know your evacuation route?  Do you know where the nearest shelters are located?

Have you thought of the same things for your pets?  The ASPCA has a great disaster preparedness check list.  Here is a summary of things to remember so that you and your pets have the best chance to make it through a disaster.
  • Get a rescue alert sticker
  • Arrange a safe haven
  • Emergency supplies and travel kits
  • Choose designated care givers
  • Evacuation preparation
  • Geographic and climatic considerations
The website goes into detail about each of those points.  It also provides special consideration sections for birds, reptiles, and small animals such as hamsters or mice.

You want your family to be safe during and after a disaster.  Your pets are part of your family.  Prepare to keep them safe too.

08 October 2012


Hi, Pam here.

Spotted this over at the Cheeseburgers and thought I'd share. 

04 October 2012

30 Days to Blog Blast

Hi!  Pam here!

I've been on the periphery of Blog Blast since I met Travis because I haven't had a blog.  But as we get closer to the date, 4 November 2012, I see Mimi and Travis and so many other bloggers start to put up notices and think about their Peace Globes.  Every year I see the work that goes into Blog Blast and it inspires me.

I read the posts with Travis.  I marvel at the creativity and I'm so moved by the words.

Travis has made my Peace Globes in the past.  This year, I want to participate myself with my own Peace Globe that I design and make, and my own words that I think about and write.

As Mimi says, I have a voice.  I'm going to use it right here in this space on 4 November.  If you've never participated, consider it.

07 August 2012


Hi, Pam here.

I want kitties.

Travis isn't ready.

Patience is hard.

25 July 2012


Hi, Pam here!

Vacations are wonderful, but going back to work can sure be tiring.  I had piles of proposals and contracts to review on Monday, and that spilled into Tuesday.  Travis had an IT issue with a key system that caused a system to run abnormally slow. 

Don't even ask how many emails I still have to go through.

We loved seeing Mr Newby again.  He's such a mild kitty cat, but boy has he gotten vocal.  We were up every morning at 5am because he was ready to eat and spend some time outdoors.

Miss Kailey was sweet, but very nervous.  She did eventually warm up to us.  She enjoys belly rubs, and she'll wrap her front paws around your arm and bunny kick.  We watched the movie How to Train Your Dragon.  Take a look at that little girl there and tell me...doesn't she look like the Night Fury

Of course we also enjoyed our visit with family.  We spent 10 days with Travis' folks.  In the middle we went to California and saw Travis' aunt and uncle and cousins in Oceanside.  Then we drove up the coast to visit with his sister.  That was when Travis earned his Uncle of the Decade award by buying his niece an iPhone.

We relaxed so much that we completely forgot to take any pictures.  I know!  I couldn't believe it either.  We took the camera and left it in the bag for the entire two weeks.

Oh well.

Now the talking really begins...about whether we're ready for cats of our own.  We'll keep you posted.

22 June 2012


Hi.  Pam here.

Tuesday was International Box Day and I forgot.  If you are a cat parent, have been a cat parent, or intend to be a cat parent, you must learn about this most important day.

Cats and boxes.  Boxes and cats.  They go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

Unfortunately, we don't seem to have any pictures of Mr Tucker actually in a box.  I remember he did play in them when we were unpacking after we moved to the condo.  But he was really more of a bag kitty than a box kitty.

Although sometimes he hid his woobie in a box.  You can just see the red woobie feathers.

I did find Mr Bailey in a box.

If you don't have your own cat, or you do and he's not a box kitty, remember...there's always Maru.

Happy belated International Box Day!

14 June 2012


Hi gang.  Travis here.

I have a link to Cat Bloggosphere that brings me the latest posts in my reader.  Yesterday there was a post titled "Run Free, Grayson", about the passing of a beautiful gray long-haired boy.


Barb at DailyGs has a beautiful gray long-haired boy called Grayson.

Oh noes!  Edit:  I hate it when I meant to write something and think I did write it, but then it turns out I didn't.  I meant to tell you that Barb's wonderful Whitey had to go to the Bridge this past March, and it would be doubly devastating for Barb if now Grayson left too.  Evidently I only typed that in my head.

I clicked on the link and heaved a great big relieved sigh.  It wasn't Barb's gray boy who ran off to the Bridge.  A different family lost their kitty.

It's odd how relieved I was.  For just that moment, I was so sad for my blog pal, a person I've never met or spoken to, a person I only know through her daily writings and photographs.  When I lost Mr Tucker in March 2011, Barb wrote to me in comments, "Saying farewell to our little furbabies is the hardest part of loving them. Big hugs, Trav."

So many of my blog pals sent similar heartfelt messages.

I was relieved for Barb, and pleased that her Grayson was still bright and healthy.

But then I paused.  I thought about that other family.  They mourn for their sweet Grayson today.  They'll miss him like I still miss Mr Tucker.  They'll miss their Grayson like Barb would have missed her gray boy.

Our little furry friends leave us before we're ready to part with them.  As painful as it is when they run off to the Bridge, it really is worth it for all the days of fun and frolics that they bring while they stay with us.

Head butts to Barb's Mr Grayson, and to her Mr Gandalf, and to little Miss Gracie too.

Run strong and free Grayson, the other gray boy, who has gone to the Bridge.

01 June 2012


...kitty haz dem.

14 May 2012


Hi, Pam here.

Three is more than two.  Of course it is.  But sometimes a girl needs a practical demonstration before she makes a life altering decision for herself, her man, and some kitty cats.  We're keeping an eye on our neighbor's kitties this weekend and the next.  She has three. 

The older two are about 8 years old, both male, and she's had them from kittens.  They came together, although they are not litter mates.  The one is fiercely independent.  His name is Lindy.  He spends afternoons outside, but he never roams very far.  He likes Travis, and they seem to have an understanding between them.  Lindy isn't quite so sure about me, so I've learned to let him come to me or not as he chooses.

The other is Rudy, and I think of him as a special needs kitty.  He has long hair that needs brushing, and a mushed face with weepy eyes.  And he's a snuggle boy who needs lots of cuddling.  This morning when we went next door to do the morning chores, he was the first one to greet us.  After he had his breakfast, he came right to me to get his eyes cleaned and his hair brushed smooth, and then sit for some snuggles.  Rudy has the sweetest purr.  It's very soothing.

But there are three.  Little Miss JoJo is just about a year old.  She joined the family next door last April.  She's a real kitten!  Loves to play and roll around.  She takes on Lindy, who has about 5lbs on her and really doesn't want to be bothered.  He smacks her and gives her hisses, but she just comes back for more.  She's also quite the chatterbox.  Travis has conversations with her, like he used to do with Mr Tucker.  In fact, Miss JoJo has markings very similar to Mr Tucker, although she is quite petite.

I know what it will take to keep multiple cats.  When the country gentlemen visited here, we had three...Mr Bailey, Mr Newby, and Mr Tucker.  And when we watch our neighbor's kitties, there are three.  It's extra food and litter, and a lot more work to make sure all three get the attention they want and need.  Plus extra trips to the vet to keep them all healthy and happy.

They seem to each decide what they want from you.  Then it's your job to be what they want.  But, with three, I think there's another piece of the puzzle.  I watch Lindy and I wonder if he's trying to get just a little more of the attention the other two demand, but he's not sure how to ask for it.  So it seems important to be in sync with each personality, understand when one might be feeling left out, then figure out how to fix that.

Maybe Lindy isn't so aloof as he seems.  Travis says he often walks right up to him outside, and they have a few minutes of head buts and discussion. 

I don't know how my neighbor does it by herself with three.