Wolf SilverOak
Akita Owner.

You don't like it, don't read it.

"I believe in god, only I call it Nature."
- Frank Lloyd Wright

June 2021



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Posts Tagged: 'memorylane'

May. 7th, 2021

In which the brain squirrals are rampaging

Last night was a shitty night for sleeping.

Mischief deliberately antagonizes Morrigan, so I had to deal with a multi-room cat chase that almost became a fight if one of them hadn't knocked over a fan, successfully scaring themselves out of fighting.

Mischief is a bully at times. Mayhem doesn't put up with it anymore- he's almost as big as she is now. But Morrigan has never had to deal with another cat being mean to her, so doesn't know how to react except to hiss and flee. WE do what we can to mitigate it and are successful most of the time. But sometimes, like last night, they're quicker. Especially when it's zero dark thirty.

Tonight is Kama certification. Which means weapons ranking testing as well. So that means showing our profiency in Sai, Escrima, Nunchaku, Bo *and* Kama. So today I'll be running through the katas for all of them multiple times, to be sure I know them still. Not that we *haven't* been practicing, it's just extra practice.

Brain squirrals decided, hey, let's dredge up memories from our time as a Unit Tech at BSTS (Battle Skills Training School) in the Marine Corps. Wheee!!! Only, not. The memories they dredged up are not the good memories.

I know a lot of it is stress and anxiety over next weekend and knowing that *helps*, but doesn't *stop* it. Ugh.

Stupid brain squirrals.

7 days.

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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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Aug. 25th, 2014

Thoughts. And Memories.

I'm sitting here, drinking a mug of hot Tea. Republic of Tea Vanilla Almond to be exact. With Virginia honey.

I have a cold, so already feel like crap. But all I can think about, staring out at the sparrows on the fence and the bird feeders, is the Sister In Law's comment that this Tea and a few others were from her mom (the Mother In Law) and that she didn't want them anymore, if I wanted any, have them.

It reminded me so strongly of when my mom told me about how Grandpa suddenly didn't want to put a garden in. And it made me so damned sad.

You see, every spring, like clockwork, for as long as I could remember, he had *always* had a garden. And growing up, I remember picking green beans from the back yard garden, munching on them as we went down the row. I remember digging potatoes in the side garden with my parents and grandparents, cousins. Between them and my dad, I think that's where I got my love of gardening.

But suddenly, there was no garden. Mom remarked that they had thought it was strange, but didn't say anything about it at the time. In hindsight, they wished they had. They would have gotten the Alzheimer's diagnosis that much earlier. They would have had that much more time to prepare for what was coming.

And now, I sit here, drinking my hot Tea, remembering my grandfather and thinking about my Mother In Law and it just makes me so damned sad.

Alzheimer's robs a family of so, so much. You will remember what things mean, that you used to do these things, but the person afflicted- they will not. That memory is simply gone as if it never existed. Eventually, they won't even remember you. Sure, they'll know you as someone who comes around often, who looks familier, but as to why they should know you, that they will not remember. It will simply be gone. Eventually, even the memory of you being a familiar face will also be gone. In my grandfather's case, he regressed to the point where he thought he was a child again and had to get ready for school some mornings. Before that point, he was trying to go to work- he'd been retired for a good 30-40 years or so.

The mother in law doesn't drive anymore. It's not because she can't, its more because they don't want to risk her suddenly forgetting where she was going, as she was going down the road. It's more of a concern for her than anything.

My mom told me about a time, after the bad storm that went through there and took out a significant number of trees on my grandparents' property- trees they'd planted when they bought the place-
my grandfather had taken the car to go to the neighbor's to check on them. He got there and back safely, but they found him sitting in the car- he couldn't remember how to put the windows up. They started hiding the keys after that, I believe.

So it did not surprise me that the mother in law didn't want these Teas anymore- she likely couldn't remember why she had them.

This is what Alzheimer's does.

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Aug. 11th, 2014

The Wallhanging

Last Monday was our 21st wedding anniversary. Yes, 21 years. We've actually been together 22+ years, but who's counting? Awhile back, Mark had asked for this as a wallhanging for his office. It had been long enough ago that he completely forgot about it, even after we went through some Lisa Peters ART pieces and picked them out for placement within the weaving.

So while he was in California last week for business- he actually left ON our anniversary, making it the first ever that we had not spent together- I decided to finish this piece.

More )

Aug. 4th, 2013

Aug 4, 1993

On this day, two Marines stood in front of a Justice of the Peace and pledged to spend the rest of their lives together.

Twenty years later, we haven't killed each other yet.}:P

Here's to the next twenty years with the love of my life and my best friend.

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In celebration, 20% off Etsy coupon code- ' 20YEARS ' , good through Aug 9th.

Jun. 22nd, 2013

Caturday- Aries and Morrigan

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They've started sleeping near each other more lately. Something they only did when Max was around. Lately, they've been together on the bed. But this was too good of a photo opportunity to pass up.

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Apr. 24th, 2013

Semi Wordless Wednesday- Dante at age 3yrs.

Was cleaning out the back room closet and found a scrapbook with lots of photos of friends from Okinawa, cards and a few like this. We have so few of her when she was younger.

Dante-Inu, age 3

Dante-Inu at age 3. May 1997. She was obviously blowing coat.

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Jan. 10th, 2013

He was supposed to be Mark's cat.

Max, aged abt 1yr, sitting in the willow tree in North Carolina. Yes, seriously.

That was the entire reason for going to the shelter in about February 1998, was to get Mark a cat, since the ones we had were obsteniously all mine. Standing there in the cat room, with cages full of cats and kittens meowing at us, I told him it was his choice, to pick one.

There was a cage on the top row, full of a litter of white kittens with black spots, and one lone black tuxedo kitten. They looked to be roughly 5-6 weeks old. The lone black kitten furiously climbed the door to the cage and clung there, batting at Mark as he stood there laughing at him.

'That's the one', he said. And thus Emperor Maximilliean Amandas Von Reinfelden III- named both for his imperious attitude right from the start and Mark's SCA persona- came home with us.

Right from the start it was obvious he was going to be mine. He started climbing up to my shoulder, preferably the right one if you please, and kneading my hair, all the while purring like a motorboat. He did this for the next 15 years. He'd stand next to me, meowing insistantly to be picked up, stretching his paws for my hair. At night, he'd climb up on the bed, claim half of my pillow, and sleep there, purring loudly in my ear, with one paw stretched down to rest against my shoulder as I laid there reading. As soon as I turned the light off, off he'd go to sleep elsewhere.

Aries showed up in the yard about a week after we brought Max home, and Max took to him as if they were from the same litter. Aries also became Mark's cat.

Even after we moved to Virginia, Max was my cat. He never stopped with the wanting to snuzzle- as I called it- in my hair, with wanting attention on HIS terms and no less. He was imperious in that way.

6 to 7 years ago, Max got sick. At the time it was a simple blockage in his urinary tract, comprised of crystals. Our vet took excellent care of him and he was fine for a few years. Then about 4 years ago, he got sick again. This time it was more serious, as my rotund boy had simply stopped eating on his own. It appeared that he had Feline Fatty Liver Syndrome and needed to be force fed. That was a week of sheer hell, for both of us. I finally ended up breaking down and he got a feeding tube.

It took about a month, but finally, finally Max started eating on his own again. We changed their diets, they went to raw food. We tried getting him to lose weight, but because Max, while imperious, is also very lazy, he never really lost the weight. He would always trundle his way up or down the stairs for breakfast or dinner and immediately flop himself down as if to say, ok, I've arrived, now feed me. For 15 years he did this. Though, he did play sometimes, but that was in spurts and rarely lasted longer than 5 minutes as he'd eventually bat the toy out of his reach and was too lazy to go after it.

When Morrigan adopted us and moved in a little over 3 years ago, he accepted her with impossibly good grace. Which is to say, for the first year or so, he ignored her. It was only this year that he would deign to sleep next to her. I have photos of all three of them crowded together on the little corner desk upstairs, all sleeping together. I never got to upload them.

The last photo I would take of Max, on Jan 3, 2013

He was fine Tuesday night. He came downstairs that afternoon, sprawled on my desk and deigned to allow me to brush him. Since he was so big, he would get mats where he couldn't reach. So I spent a good 20 minutes listening to him growl and snarl at me, in between purring, while I brushed him. Then he clambered off my desk and trundled off upstairs in search of food.

Later that evening, after we had eaten dinner, he and Aries both were downstairs, Max on the arm of the couch next to me, Aries on the other arm, next to Mark. He was purring loudly like usual. I made the comment that for once, we had an equal number of sexes in our house. I gave Max lots of scritches.

Caena and Morrigan started to play, with Caena racing around the coffee table, and Max, on the arm of the couch, hissing and snarling at her like he always did.

We fed them and he wandered away upstairs again. Several hours later, I went up to go to bed, and gave them their evening snack, complete with a pinch of flake fish food- our pets are very spoiled. he was fine and devoured his snack like usual. I went to bed and read for a bit after watching some TV with Mark. Max never came to bed that night. I noted it, but honestly, he's picky, sometimes he doesn't want extra attention at night. So I didn't go check on him. I still wish I had, even though I know, it likely would not have changed anything.

I only knew something was wrong when I got up the next morning and he never trundled his way downstairs for breaksfast. I checked on him, calling his name. He didn't move and I had that knot of cold in my stomach. I touched him and knew. My Maxer kitty had decided to leave us.

He left as he lived- HIS way. He looked as if he simply went to sleep and just never woke up again. His eyes were closed, his face was relaxed, he was in his common pose of stretched out on his side. He just decided to leave us, on his own terms.

But what hurts the most is that I never got to say goodbye. THAT is the deepest pain. The loss I feel is different from the loss I felt when Dante left me. Mostly because Max was there, but he was there on HIS terms, whereas Dante was there all the time. There's so much more I could share about him- how he'd always manage to lay on any quilt work I did, how he liked to get in the way of beadwork on my desk, the way he was just so MAX.

I miss you, Milkspot. Who's gonna put knots in my hair now?

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Oct. 3rd, 2012


Do you know the meaning of serendipity?

It's good fortune, or luck, an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

Back in late Nov/ early Dec of 1991, I was in Huntsville, Alabama, at Redstone Arsenal for my MOS training for the Marine Corps (2311, Ammunition Technician, by the way).

It was about a week or so before we graduated, maybe just a few days, the memory isn't exactly accurate anymore. We had all just gotten our first duty station orders. Mine was to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

I remember a fellow Marine, obviously harried and a bit upset, coming up to me, with his orders in his hands. He asked if I would be willing to switch duty stations with him. It seemed he was going through a divorce, was in the middle of a custody battle and really needed to stay stateside. His orders were for Okinawa, Japan.

I don't know how many other people he asked. Heck, I can't even remember what he looked like, other than taller than me . But I do know that I was the first and only person to say yes.

So I went to Okinawa, Japan.

There I met my husband. And the rest is history.

That's serendipity.

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