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Sep. 9th, 2016

20 years ago today(roughly), two things happened.

20 years ago today, two things happened.  One, Hurricane Fran reached Cat 5 status and was bearing down on the coast of North Carolina. Which prompted us to evacuate inland from Jacksonville, NC- the first time we would ever do so for a hurricane, tropica

One, Hurricane Fran reached Cat 5 status and was bearing down on the coast of North Carolina. Which prompted us to evacuate inland from Jacksonville, NC- the first time we would ever do so for a hurricane, tropical storm or cyclone, and we'd been through over a dozen of them.

Two, this little, bedraggled, obviously abused but purring madly and wanting attention anyway, kitten showed up on the other side of my mini pond in my front yard, where I was feeding the fish before we left.

We took that little kitten with us when we left, with every intention of taking him to the shelter when we returned- we already had 4 after all.

Over a week later, when we were finally able to get back home, his name was Aries the Instigator and he was a member of the family.

We lost him Sept 28, 2014. We still miss him everyday.

Sep. 1st, 2016


Hug your pets today. Tell your family you love them. Tell your pets you love them.   A good friend lost hers today in a house fire. So hug yours today and tell them you love them.

Hug your pets today. Tell your family you love them. Tell your pets you love them.
A good friend lost hers today in a house fire. So hug yours today and tell them you love them.

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Jan. 11th, 2016

Too early for this, 2016

I'm going back to bed and pretending this never happened.


The man was an icon of the music world. And the art world. And the acting world.

He never changed, from the time I first heard his music (who *doesn't* remember Major Tom?), first saw Labyrinth to now, he never changed. He looked exactly the same, maybe a little older, a little wiser, but otherwise unchanged.

He was one of the ones you never are prepared for, that you never expect, that comes out of the blue.

And that's what this was. Out of the blue.

Will definitely need to make sure we get his last album.

Now I want to go watch Labyrinth.

The Goblin King is dead. Long live the Goblin King.

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Dec. 31st, 2014


Max and Aries would have been 19 years old.

I miss them.

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Oct. 29th, 2014

Sometimes the ghosts demand to be heard

Last night was a bad, bad, brain night.

For some reason, as soon as I closed my eyes, all I could think about was the stray cat in Okinawa and how we treated her after she'd had her kittens in our apartment, then tried to take them away, which was second nature to her. We had named her Nomad, the kittens were Kaz, Puff and Nieko. I have photos somewhere...

As much as it may appear, 22 years ago, I was a bad, bad pet person. I think it took involuntarily losing Fritz, Eek, Niek, Lucky and Taz in the house fire 20 years ago next month to show me just how horrible I'd been to previous pets. Nothing so bad as killing her or anything other pets, but yeah, Nomad was deliberately driven away and sadly, I think, made to never trust humans again. And Kaz, little Kaz, died accidentally. They were playing and Mark had been moving the furniture and somehow managed to not only step on her, but to crush her skull. She died instantly. She was buried in the habu (jungle), which, if the maps are right, doesn't exist anymore, thanks to the base nearby expanding.

We were young and relatively inexperienced then, that's all I can really say. We seriously thought we'd be able to bring those kittens and the dog we adopted from a local shelter home to the US with us. But we didn't- we couldn't afford everything it cost, not realizing just how expensive it all would be. And they ended up in a shelter on Kadena, where I can only hope, someone adopted them and gave them excellent homes, someone who *was* able to bring them to the US.

22 years and I can still see everything so clearly as if it were just yesterday. Granted, I've learned a lot about pet ownership and myself and I like to think I"ve grown in those intervening years. But to this day, I remember clearly sometimes and still feel like I'm atoning for my actions.

Every Samhain, when I light that candle, there's a litany of names I recite, Nomad first among them and I ask their forgiveness for any wrongs I've done them. Someday, those ghosts will lay to rest and I can close that door forever.

This is not that day. This is not that year.

"We can train our bodies to forget, but not our minds." - Henry Morgan, 'Forever'

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Oct. 2nd, 2014

Ghosts and memories

There are a lot of ghosts in this house. There are a lot of memories as well.

Max and Aries, 2010

Mark says he saw Aries in the window on Sunday. I saw Max in the bedroom last week. I watched Aries walk into the bedroom last night. We agree that Max came for Aries.

Everywhere I look, there he is. Figuratively. The mat by the back door where he'd gouged it out, sharpening his claws. Heading up the stairs, his butt and tail at the top, laying in the hallway. Laying on the squishy bathmat in the bathroom. Sitting in the kitchen window.

On my desk, purring, sleeping and still managing to take up all the space. Putting my hand to sleep by laying across my wrist. Blocking the computer screen by simply sitting there.

On the arm of the couch. Then walking across us to the other arm. Sitting on the coffee table, or even laying there, just watching us, waiting to be fed for the evening. Pawing at the back of either of our chairs to let us know that heu, he wants in our laps or on my desk.

On the bed, sleeping. On the dresser, either eating dry food, sleeping or looking out the window. Next to my pillow at night, somehow managing to hog the upper part of the bed- I still find myself making room for him to stretch out.

Outside on the porch. Sitting in the grass, chewing on blades of grass. Under the butterfly bush, just chilling out. Walking down the sidewalk, sniffing as he goes.

Burying his head in the catnip plant. Watching the birds.

It'll take quite awhile for these ghost to settle.

It always does.

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Sep. 29th, 2014

Aries the Instigator, Jan 1, 1996- Sept 27, 2014

Mornings fucking suck right now. I know it gets easier, but right now, I really hate mornings. Waking up and he's not there, not curled up against my arm with his head in my hand or a warm lump against my shoulder blades. l hate this. It fucking sucks.

Thanks for the hugs, the good thoughts, well wishes, prayers, what have you. They made a hard decision a little more bearable. Well, as much as it can be made when the choice is not something you or your pet really want but have to do anyway.

Aries was a fighter, right up to the end. He was still fighting, fighting to breath even when I was telling him it was ok, to let go and go be with Max. I still have the last claws marks and scratches from his fighting to breath on my arms because I refused to let him go through this alone. He tried so hard to stay with us, but he was in so much pain, so much distress that, really, there was no other choice to make but to let him go. I really believe, that like with Dante, when the sedative was injected, he was gone almost immediately. That the pink stuff likely wasn't even needed in the end, even if it was a necessary precaution.

The vet said there was a possibility that he'd had a stroke and there was evidence of hemorrhaging in his eyes, that he likely was blind right then. That he had an enlarged heart and it was causing his breathing issues. She tried to explain about blood clot busters for pets and I just cut her off. I didn't need to know about the things that likely would not save him.

I asked if he was in pain. She said yes and he's in a lot of distress.

I asked what the chances were of him getting better. She said very slim and the chances of this happening again were very high.

I said then we have to let him go. It's not fair to him to make him suffer any more than he already had. Mark, while saying nothing, agreed with his silence. That man is so much stronger than me, and I thank him for that.

He was supposed to be Mark's cat.

In many ways, he actually was both of ours. But he was still very much a daddy's boy, even if he did sleep with me. It was always Mark he went to and whose lap he wanted in when he got home.

He was very much a lover as well as a fighter, and it took so very long to get to that point. The day he showed up in our yard, he was a skin and bones kitten who'd obviously been abused. But there he was, purring madly, wanting attention. We took him with us when we evacuated for the hurricane (Hurricane Bertha), with the thought to take him to the shelter when we got back, as we had 4 cats already. 3 days later, after the hurricane, he was a member of the family, close to Max and there was no second thoughts about taking him to the shelter. Our other cats, besides Max, were older, and Max and Aries were roughly the same age, both young kittens. They were inseparable right from the start.

They became crotchety old men together. Still fought like brothers, but always made up almost immediately after. When Max left us in Jan 2013, Aries became even more clingy, more lovable. He and Morrigan, while on good terms, never became as close as he and Max had been. And Caena, he coexisted with and but willingly interacted with unless he had to, the it was with a very much, why me, attitude.

He loved being outside with me. Whenever I went out to work in the garden, or even to fill the bird feeders or get the mail, he was right there, wanting to accompany me. I called him my gardening supervisor. I like to think he approved of the majority of what I did out there, especially since he had plenty of hiding places to relax in and watch the world go by.

He was also a catnip fiend. He loved him some fresh catnip. In fact, he was the main reason I grew that catnip this year. When I cut it back to dry, he literally laid upon the pile of catnip and tried to smother himself in it. It was hilarious and I'm glad I got photos of it. Last Friday, before we left for the cabin, I told him I loved him and gave him some fresh catnip. The last I saw of him, as a healthy cat, he was chowing down happily.

Last week, he wasn't quite sure what to make of the baby opossums that peered at him through the porch window. I think he thought they were strange looking cats, but he didn't hiss or snarl. He just sniffed at them and watched them closely. I like to think he had a fun bit of excitement that last week. That he had lots of loving and great memories to carry with him when he left. Lots of stories to tell Dante and Max when he got there.

I love you, buddy boy. And I miss you so very much. Make sure to pass on my love to your brother and sister and wait for us, we'll be along someday, as will Caena and Morrigan and we'll all have fun together again with lots of scritches, loving, head sniffing and playing. And catnip, so much catnip, for all of you.

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