Friday, August 30, 2013

kittens rescued from NYC subway!

It's so rare to read happy news these days, so when I read this story, I just had to share.

From CBS News: 2 kittens that stopped NYC subway service found
In this Aug. 29, 2013 photo provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, two kittens stand between the rails on subway tracks in the Brooklyn borough of New York. / AP PHOTO/METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY
A woman somehow lost her kittens on the subway tracks, so the transit authority cut power to the tracks for more than an hour as they searched. Amazingly, seven hours later they were found and safely retrieved!

There are a lot of crazy, cruel people out there in the world, but this news story shows there are lots of good, kind people too, who are willing to do the right thing even when it inconveniences a lot of people.

Monday, August 26, 2013

head bonks

I look forward to feeding the outside cats every morning. I'm not usually a morning person, but these days, I don't want to miss an opportunity to visit with Oliver and his precious family. This weekend I was in for a treat. On Friday morning when I went out to serve the boys breakfast, Pierre came up to me when I was dishing out the wet food and head bonked my hand! I couldn't believe it!

Pierre loves to head bonk Oliver and this time he did it to me!

Sunday Breakfast
On Saturday, he did it again and then proceeded to start eating out the bowl of wet food, like Oliver does, before I was was done dishing out all the food. I decided to take advantage of the moment and reached out and gave him some pets. I was in heaven!! After about four pets he moved away. Progress!

Meanwhile, construction continues on Oliver's new palace. Sunday night was the first night it was made available for the cats. I put Oliver up to it so he could explore, which he promptly did. Creating the palace was part of a bigger house project. Most of the kitty portion of the project is complete, but there are a few things yet to do for the entire project to be done. Hopefully, just another day or two of work and it will be done. I'll share some pictures once the project is completely done.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


We recently got a second car that Laura mostly uses for commuting and I've been thinking about surprising her with some cat-themed license plate frames. With so many options, I'm having a hard time choosing. Here are a few I'm considering, tell me what you think, or let me know if you have any better ideas.

This one is handmade of wood - Custom Black Silhouette CAT License Plate Frame Cover Cats:

Here's a basic metal one from ebay:

MEOW is a wonderful local cat rescue, they offer this frame as a fundraising item:

These all seem, how shall I say it... tame. So, after letting my creativity flow a little, I came up with this idea:

So please share any great ideas you have. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

mornings with the ferals

I'm not usually a morning person, so when the alarm goes off a little before 6am, I begrudgingly turn it off - I don't want to get out of the warm, cozy flannel sheets - until I remember that I get to feed Oliver and his family! Feeding them every morning is the highlight of my morning.

Every night I fear something will happen to one of them overnight and I may never see them again. So, seeing them all safe and sound in the morning is such a delight!

All three cats are usually bedded down, each on their own heating pad on the back porch, waiting for breakfast to arrive. When they hear me in the mudroom, they begin to stir and stretch. Oliver waits right by the mudroom door on the sisal mat that he loves. Pierre is a short distance off and MK waits by the back porch door just incase he needs to bolt.

Even before I'm done scooping the wet food out of the can, Oliver starts in. He always starts eating first, he needs to get some because when Pierre and MK come over he lets them have the remainder. He's a very generous cat. Sometimes while Oliver is eating and I'm still filling the bowl, Pierre comes over to me and eats some too, being very much at ease with being just inches away from me. 

I share with you back in June that when I held out a finger to Pierre he would raise his paw and touch my finger. Now, Pierre has started to initiate contact! While I'm filling the bowl, he comes right up to me and reaches his paw out to touch my hand!! He's done this several times now and it melts my heart each time. He's even started sniffing my fingers. Earning their trust fills my heart with joy.

MK in these pictures cracks me up. He always does this when I try to get pictures of them all. He's the one on the back who's looking every direction except at the camera! Silly ferals!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

take your Nahum to work day

I still dream of having a therapy cat in my counseling practice, and I hope Nahum might be the one. Nahum didn't actually ride loose in the car, when the car was moving he was in the carrier. It's been ages since he has been in the car, so I figured I would start with giving him time in the car. He was nervous, but also curious. 

I only live a short distance from my office, so he didn't have to suffer too long in the carrier. Once in the office he explored.

He was scared but also curious. He stayed pretty close to me the entire time.

The idea of this visit was just to give him some time to get used to the office. He's been here before, but it was years ago. 

I'll keep bringing him here a little bit at a time so he gets very familiar with the space. Once that happens I can start to think about introducing him to my patients.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

making time to grieve

Abby's (Manx Mnews) recent decline and passing has stirred up some grieving pain from the passing of my beloved Max, back in May of 2009. My grieving continues and will forever continue as Max was the most amazing cat ever and my first.

The pain of losing Max was intense. Anticipating such pain, I started therapy shortly after learning about his terminal diagnosis (CRF) to assist me with grieving. It was helpful but as the weeks went by after his death I realized I was going to need something more powerful. I decided to take some time for myself and travel to a sacred place to give my heart time to heal.

In late August of 2009, I was off to Isle Royale National Park, which technically belongs to Michigan, USA but is much closer to Ontario, Canada. It's a small island in Lake Superior, where there are no roads, just trails for hiking or backpacking. It's my paradise, the place my soul finds rest.

I have a long history with this place. I first learned about this island park in childhood when I was really into wolves. I would read everything I could find about the island's captive wolf population, all the while dreaming of visiting someday. One day I shared this dream with my parents in hopes that we might go there for our annual family summer vacation, but it was ruled out for being too far. Imagine my surprise when months later I learned my dream was going to come true, we would be going to Isle Royale!

My parents fell in love with the place too and a few summers after our initial visit, the whole family embarked on a backpacking adventure across the middle of the island, 40 miles (64.4 km). Flash forward many years and in the summer after my first year of college, I took a seasonal job working in the park. When I accepted that job, little did I know how it would forever change my world. That summer, I met Laura, the love of my life and I encountered God in a very real way. It was an enchanted summer filled with incredible experiences.

After Max's death, while my heart was struggling to carry the weight of the loss, I could not think of a more prefect place to grieve than Isle Royale. So, off I went, to backpack across the northern most edge of the island (trail highlighted in purple on the map below) with the goal of letting the sacred space heal my deep heart-wound.

click on map to see it big

Here are a few images from the journey:

Moskey Basin

Lunch break at Lake Richie

Lovely forest

McCargoe Cove

fresh wolf tracks!

Camp site at Little Todd Harbor near the big lake

I couldn't decide which of these next three sunset pictures I liked the most, so I'll share them all and you can decide for yourself. The sunset is over Lake Superior, the land in the far off distance is Canada.

View of Canada from ridge trail

Resting at North Lake Desor

Sunset over Lake Desor

A quiet evening

Back on the ridge trail

Ripe thimbleberry, so very tasty!

Trail through the bog
 After my backpacking trip, Laura met me on the island for some hanging out.

Rock Harbor marina (where I worked that summer in college)

Sunset over marina with MV Ranger III moored on right

Tobin Harbor

Canoeing in Tobin Harbor with Laura
Way back in the day, my early dates with Laura involved canoeing around Tobin Harbor. Often we would drift out in the harbor late at night under the glow of the Northern Lights (aurora borealis), as they danced across the sky all while listening to the distant loons calling out. The meteor showers and other natural wonders were pretty impressive too.

This trip back to my paradise did exactly what I was hoping it would do. Many tears were shed and joyous moments with Max were recalled as the restorative powers of the Island worked their healing ways. Years later, I can still feel the pain of Max's absence but the real intense pain that had started to fuel depression and despair was scattered across the many miles of trail. After this experience, my grieving pain has shifted from an intense, unregulated, difficult to contain pain to more containable pain. There are still times when the pain swells, but overall the weight of the loss is bearable and I'm able to self-regulate.

I'm convinced that grieving is an active process that must remain active lest it stagnant and become depression. I believe it's a process that forever continues, it's very presence is a testament to the powerful bond that exists. So long as I love Max, which will be forever, I will grieve his absence. I am so incredibly thankful to have a place like Isle Royale.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Oliver always has many tales to tell.

You may have heard that sweet Abby from Manx Mnews has recently gone to the Bridge.

 precious Abby    photo courtesy of Manx Mnews

My heart is filled with sadness that Abby and her mom
 are separated for a time by death's cruel sting

and my heart is filled with gratitude for how they gifted
each other with boundless love over the fourteen years. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Budster sans hork

When we got back from our two week vacation, we learned that Buddy had started horking several times per day once again. Before making the follow-up appointment to the specialist (for the endoscopy), we decided to stop giving him his Cosequin, just in case it was causing problems. Since then he hasn't horked once! 

Buddy's been very much his usual self, lots of energy, worships the sun, insatiable need for tummy rubs and he eats like a horse. His super strong appetite has got me worried, but maybe I just need something to worry about. I'm thankful to have the horking gone and am hopeful it doesn't come back! Not sure what we will do for his achy joints now that we stopped the Cosequin.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Sunday's are for napping, just ask Rose.

My heart is worried for sweet Abby from Manx Mnews. She's having some major health challenges. Please send prayers and purrs to the good humans and kitties over at Manx Mnews and especially for Abby.

Abby        photo courtesy of Manx Mnews

Friday, August 2, 2013

basement entry

The construction on the basement entry/back porch is well underway, which means the outside cats' space is disturbed. So far, Oliver's taking it all in stride. He's such an easygoing cat!

In this picture, you see Oliver's back porch on the left and the door on the right is the basement entry. And I should point out, it's the only entry to the basement.

The basement entry is original to the house but the back porch was added on sometime over the past 100 years. Whoever added the back porch made a big mistake, they didn't change the orientation of the roof over the basement entry. The result being the water runs off the roof right into the wall of the back porch. This is a recipe for rot.

And rot we have. Lots and lots of rotten boards. My task is to rip out all the rot and rebuild. Part of the back porch will need to be rebuilt and most of the basement entry, including a new roof with proper orientation.

I've never done remodeling work to this scale, but thankfully I have an eager assistant, who's not afraid to get his paws dirty.

Oliver's always willing to lend a helping paw.

Every house project I work on these days usually involves improving the lives of the cats, and I'm pretty sure this one won't be any different. I've got some grand plans of how to better Oliver's back porch, which will include some built-in heated and insulated cozy kitty space. 

Pierre and MK have a snuggle in the Lounge Hall