Monday, September 30, 2013

Have Cat,Will Love

Its 10:18 pm

   Its cool and dark outside,fall is slowly making its way here while summer is still hanging on. It was a rainy day but still pretty warm considering. I know I am racing the clock when it comes to get getting ready for winter. But after next week,I will be able to get some badly needed work done on my house and get the Rodger Young checked out for winter as well. My job is only 3.4 miles from my house but I happen to drive through the most dangerous intersection in Michigan on a daily basis so making sure my car is ready has to happen!
  So the big news of the day is I have a new cat to share my life with. I want to stress that while I wish I had more time to let Derek's passing ease a little,quite frankly,I just couldn't go much longer without some life in this house or there wasn't going to be any life at all. So I started looking at the various rescue groups in the area. There were no Scottish Folds to be had and I already knew that,so I started looking at other cats.
 After poking around here and not really seeing anyone who spoke to me,my friend Theresa suggested looking at Taylor and some of the rescues there. While I was doing that,a co-worker told my friend Kim about a small kitten that had been abandoned by her new house. We took on that and I asked the co-worker,Edie,if she could handle the cat. At first she said "yes" and that it was very friendly. But when it came to go get it,I asked her to secure it in a room until I could drive out there. I can't afford the gas for a wild goose chase and needed to be sure it was there.
  Edie gave it a run by trying to pick it up but it wasn't having any of that and it squirmed out of her hands and bolted away. It was a valiant effort however.
  I was looking for a pair of brother cats and that is what I was looking for...I asked about a handsome cat named Rex in Taylor but they didn't seem too sure about about any behaviour issues and if he could be handled safely. So sadly,I had to move on again.
  I went to another local rescue called Homeward Bound right here in Canton. I looked at their selection of cats and thought I had hit paydirt,there were two 7 month old black and white cats who were brothers,ready to be adopted. I sent in via email my paperwork for the adoption background check.
 The next day,the group sent a mail back saying they got my paperwork but not my answers! So I refilled and mailed back.
  Friday afternoon,the contact person,Nancy,called and left a message. I called her back,played phone tag and waited. 20 minutes later she called...
  Nancy was a foster mom for Homeward Bound and she was fostering the cats I liked. Fostering a dog or a cat is just as it seems. You are fostering them until a shelter space opens up or if they are recovering from a medical issue. You are a temporary home,not a forever home. It takes a special kind of pet lover to foster and ONLY foster. Nancy was not that kind of person. The first thing she said was the cat I asked about,well her son wanted it since they had raised him from a kitten. But she said the other one could go along with another litter mate. This was not my intention,I wanted the cat that I applied for and that was on the website. But when she said that the cats weren't neutered,I got a bad feeling about this. And when she said she had 12 cats in her home and that the adoption fee was 125.00 per cat,I knew it was a hopeless cause. She told me that Huron Valley Animal Rescue was having a huge giveaway due to a huge hoarding case in Ypsilanti that had happened this week. A total of 88 cats were rescued from some of the worst conditions animal control officers had ever seen. The shelter needed all the spots so every cat above 5 months old were being given away free.
   Nancy,whom I suspect we'll be hearing about in a future hoarding case,did her group no favors with how poorly she handled this. Her job is to place the cats in loving forever homes,not bait and switch the cats there. I definitely would never suggest Homeward Bound as a loving rescue group if that is the caliber of people they have working under there banner.
  Yesterday morning I woke and watched my first college football game of the year,Northern Illinois at Purdue. NIU was kicking Purdue's ass up and down the field. So at halftime I brought up Huron Valley's website up so I could see what and who was up for adoption. There was a lot of cute cats so I jumped up,grabbed by keys and wallet and headed to Dixboro.
  It was a strange feeling,this was the first time I had driven this route since Lori. This was the way I drove when she was in the hospital. It brought a flood of emotions to me as I drove and I had to pull over to compose myself.
  I reached the shelter and it was jammed pack,nary a parking spot to be had...I parked on a berm along with other folks and walked in.
  The hallway was crowded but it was a organized chaos. The volunteers and staff had everything in order.
You came in,signed some paperwork to get a pet pass (which is good for 90 days) and they guided you along the shelter.
  I did the paperwork,got my pass and went it. The first I saw was in a cage by himself with cute lettering saying he was Duncan,the Ladies Man. He was handsome but there was a lot of cats to look at. I walked through every cage and petted some nice cats. Many were older surrenders who had been there for months..but on this weekend,many would going home to new loving cat parents. I saw box after pet box of cats leaving with excitied families. As I was walked around,I kept thinking of that Duncan cat and how personable he seemed to be. So as I headed back to meet him,I saw a young couple walk into his cage and start petting him. Suddenly,I knew I wanted to adopt him,I could see how sweet he seemed to be.
  It was rotten but they were inside,I grabbed his adoption page and got in line. I felt better once they left but didn't bother to look for his paperwork.

   When I told the staff member I wanted to adopt Duncan,she was really happy. He had been turned in as a stray 6 months ago but he wasn't a stray. He had been neutered so he either was lost or abandoned...and in his case,I daresay he was lost.
   It took about 30 minutes to complete the paperwork,in that time I met the arresting officer in the hoarding case. Sadly,two cats had died due their terrible conditions with another 10-12 in a 50-50 mode for survival.
 The woman was charged with animal cruelty and her house was condemned because it was unlivable.
The staff told me Duncan was an escape artist and to be aware of that. Several members came back to say goodbye and that he was a good cat.
  With that,we drove the 15 miles home,I told him his new name was Paladin and he stayed quiet up right when we got home.

   Why only one cat? Because Paladin doesn't play nice with others at all....and when I let him loose in the was pretty intense. He started sniffing very heavy and jumped on the window sill. He was hissing and growling but I excepted that....I had closed off the pantry and spare bedroom and let him have his head to explore.
I popped down and said hello every 15 minutes or so...but never approached him,forcing contact with only scare him and get my self scratched or seriously bitten. The roughest moment was he started coming forward growling towards me...I told him,I understand you are scared but if you attack me,we're going to have a problem. He looked at me and I said "A major problem". He jumped back on the window and I went upstairs after setting up his food and water and litter.
   I left to check Crash and spent some time with him before coming back...Paladin was at the door but I gently shooed him back. He hissed but didn't growl.
  An hour later he came upstairs for a visit and explore. He went back down but came up and jump on the bed...he marked me,gave me a head bunt and went to my bedroom window.
  I went down to secure the house and he rubbed against my leg and hissed. I had to laugh at that but he then played with his toys and meowed at me.
  Today is great,he has accepted me except he has biting issues when he gets petted too much,this can be corrected with training He loves the window sill and when I leave my front door open. He tried to come with me out the back door and I had to use my lunchbox to push him back. He does seem very unsure about the stairs,especially the basement. But again,those are things we can work on together. I am letting him call the shots as when he wants to play or be petted,he is relaxing quite rapidly. Next week I will see if I can hold him and how he reacts to that,he has to pass that test. I have to know I can handle him in case of a medical issue and need to get him in the carrier. So wish us luck with that...

Got my review today at work. It was a very nice review and my DH was very thoughtful in how she wrote it.
She was very respectful of what has been happening but she said she thought I had a "quirky sense of humor" with my peers while taking my job very serious. Hmm,sounds like my old days at the EDGE,I am all about fun but the job has to come first. She encouraged me to take the next step forward and I intend to do that,I feel like I really need to start pushing myself hard again. I can't stay in the dark forever,right? I know that Lori would want me to move my ass...but its very tough to do that at times. One thing I need to do better is stick with my to-do lists,get projects lined up and follow through all the way.

And I need to write here more again...I notice when I don't write,my mood worsens. Hence back to grind of more regular writing....

And with that,let me wrap this up. There is always tomorrow.

If you are on Twitter,please follow me at


Monday, September 23, 2013

Thoughts on the U of M Memorial Service (and other stuff)

Its 12:07 pm

   Its a cool overcast day here in SE Michigan. I just came home from St. Thomas a'Becket's and my grief therapy session with Debbie Miller. It felt good to sit and just talk openly about what is has been going on as late.
  We talked about Derek Jeter and why is his loss is much deeper then a normal loss of a pet. She really understands what his passing means and while she said to get another rescue kitty,not to rush it. But the more I sit here and dwell on it,the more I want to get another cat. My co-worker Kim says there is a abandoned black and white kitty by her house who is very friendly but needs help fast. I might have to see what this cat is all about even though I am inclined to get two cats so they can keep each other company. I am taking my cat carrier to work today for Kim to get the cat,she says she will have no problem getting it....which indeed tells me the cat has been abandoned. Now we just have to set up the timing on how and when we get him.
   We talked about my energy when I am outside the house compared to inside....if I am out and about,I do pretty well....but I lose focus when I  am inside,I just become a blob. I freely admit this and I am not happy about it to say the least so that is my goal....get back outside for activities. We shall see how we do with that..

    Saturday night saw me in Ann Arbor for the Candlelight Memorial service at the Cancer Center at the U of Michigan hospitals. I had asked my friend Sheri to go with me along with Marlene (Crash's mom) and Lori's best friend,Deb. Sheri ended up having to work,Marlene got very sick so it was Deb and her friend Michael who went with me. It was my first trip back since Dr. Johnston discharged us into hospice.
  The event was set up in the front entrance of the cancer center. You walked up and were met by a volunteer who checked your name off if you pre-registered as I did. Funny thing was,the volunteer couldn't find Lori or myself. I got concerned because after the ceremony,I wanted to get Lori's picture back that I had sent it. Misplacing that would have been not good. Plus,her name wouldn't be in the memorial book or read...just as I was getting stressed,Michael actually found it after he looked right where the volunteer had. She had totally missed Lori's name even after we had told her 3-4 times.
   After this small snafu,we signed a luminary bag and helped create some art by signing a strip of cloth and weaving it through a small display. We saw the memorial book and Lori's name in it. Then we found our seats and the program started. Now I know what I am going write will seem like sour grapes to some but since I was there and you weren't,you're going to have to trust me on this.
  It was a surreal started off with a couple of hospital department heads speaking about how much they were touched by our loved ones and shared a couple of stories about patients who had moved them personally. Then a young Indian doctor stood and sang a lovely song in Hindu.
  A family member who had just lost their mother just 3 months ago led us the lighting of the candles. Then they read the names of those who had passed away. I got very choked up when my sweet Lori's picture came on the screen. I sent in a picture of her when she had just finished school at Western Michigan. Its a very cute picture I must say...
  But the following is where it went south,a trio of three Indian musicians came out and played some sort of instrumental piece for 12-15 minutes! Stairway to Heaven didn't even last as long as these guys played. They went on and on,once when it appeared they were finished,a few people started to clap....but it was just the halfway point...then you saw people get up to leave. I saw at least 8 couples walk out during the song. When it ended,no one clapped. It was very disrespectful in my opinion to have ANYONE play that long. The memorial is about the patients and their loved ones. It felt like they were auditioning for The X Factor or hyping a new album.
   The mood was pretty much broken after this and after a poem reading by the same Indian doctor who had sang and a closing remark,it was over.
   Deb was perplexed,she said at the candle lighting she had been too,the family members stood up,commented on their loved one,lit their candle and passed it on to the next person. That make sense to me and I would have liked to said a quick comment.
  But the one big thing thank REALLY rankled me and it has since the memorial...any oncologist who wasn't on duty should have been there. Now I don't expect any doctor to attend every funeral,that would be too mentally and emotionally stressful...but the ONE night a year they have this service,every doctor should have attended. This would have brought a real sense of togetherness for us....its just one night and the show of unity against this terrible destroyer would have been awesome to see.
  But that is me and I don't think the U of Michigan is heading their breath over my POV.
I am very thankful to Deb and Michael for coming with me and for buying dinner afterwards.

This week is going to be a busy one...the house looks clean but I still have work to do in the yard before it gets really cold. We are supposed to have a wet winter and I scratching around for extra cash for new window wipers for the Rodger Young. Also need a tune-up as well....all these expenses and nothing to pay them with....its depressing to say the least.
   And speaking of depressing,San Jose State's season sure has been. After a 24-0 win over FCS Sacramento State,the Spartans played hard against 5th ranked Stanford before losing 34-13. But the game last Saturday against Big 10 foe Minnesota was just disgusting. While the score was 43-24 for the Gophers,the 3-4 defense that was installed this year is exactly what I said it would be,a complete failure. The Spartans don't have enough size to play a good 3-4 but enough to handle a 4-3. The Gophers held on to the ball for 41 minutes and the defense wore down in the 4th quarter. The good news is the passing offense wole up as David Fales had a MONSTER game with over 400 yards passing and 3 TDs.  The terrible news is the same old run game. At all. The Spartans rushed for 47 yards....when you are a ball control offense,you need the ball to control the clock and 19 minutes just doesn't cut it. The Spartans season rests on this game on Friday against Utah State,win and things might lessen up in league play,lose and start planning for 2014. We will where we really stand come Saturday morning.

Like to say "thank you" to Kerri and Monique for your kind emails this week and to Brad for staying up late and talking with me. Debbie,my therapist,says I have a tender heart,I say my heart is tender because of the company I keep.

 So we had another mass shooting this past week,the second one at a military instillation. 13 dead this time out and yet we still continue to want to "punish" other countries except our own when it comes to acts of violence. And we keep pushing the guns and the violent video games. Grand Theft Auto V sold over a billion dollars the first week out. This is the game where you are rewarded for acts of violence,killing folks,sucker punching them,stealing and robbing folks. Now I know people mock the fact that video games don't affect people...I disagree. I think they do affect youngsters. But why games and not movies? Because you watch movies but in the are doing the deed,not some face on a big screen.  There is a rush in achieving a task or mission (or playing a 3-4 defense on NCAA Football and not getting blown out) that can only happen when playing the game yourself. If you really listen to the people who really play these type of games,listen to the ease in how they describe the violence. Its a lot different then playing a sports game like Madden or Candy Crush.
  Now I am not blaming the games,I think they are a gateway to more dangerous actions like take a shotgun to work and killing 12 people. The gun is still the problem and it will forever be. That is just the facts.

That goofy Miley Cyrus really has started something now....even cats are getting in on the twerking craze as seen here as this orange kitty twerks for treats.

Alright,I'm outta here......I have to take on the Bishop of Battle!

Friday, September 20, 2013

For Derek

Its 11:46 pm

      The sound of silence is everywhere except for the sound of my typing,a clock and the tears that drop from my eyes. First Ginger,then Lori and now my beloved Derek Jeter has left me.

  We got Derek back in 2000 from the Cat Connection in Royal Oak,Michigan. He was 9 months old when we drove out there and picked him up. He was so beautiful and soft,Lori and I had fallen in love with him the second we saw his picture.
   Derek was a fun loving cat...full of joy and adventure. He loved tapping at the water from the bathroom sink and destroying the toilet paper on the rolls. This would sometimes cause problems as when he ruined our last two rolls and I had to drive in a snowstorm to get some fresh TP.

Derek really was the prefect friend for me...he loved to hang out where ever we were in either the apartment or the house. And he was a very brave cat as he learned to not run from vacuum or mini carpet cleaner. This took years but he slowly overcame that fear thanks to the bond of trust he and I built. I loved to pet his tummy and he would purr loudly and once he grabbed for my hands,I quit and looked for something to entertain him with.

He and I only had one rough moment in our 13 years,he once cornered OSK,Lori's older cat,in a corner and wouldn't let him out. This was pretty early in our relationship and while I loved Derek,I also loved OSK very much and was pretty angry to see him bullied in his own home. I could hear his sad meow and while Derek was only playing,OSK was almost 18 years old and didn't have any play left in him. So Derek and I had a small meeting and he agreed to be a good boy around OSK and he really was.
 To help relieve Derek of the small apartment,I used to let him walk up and down the hallway. Back and forth we would walk. He would explore every inch of that walk way and when he got tired,he would flop on his side,this was what Lori called the "Licky flop".
  Why Licky? From the first week we got him,he loved licking me. My hands,arms,legs and Lori shook awake one night because he was licking my hair! But he never once ever licked Lori. We were pretty perplexed to say the least and when we took Derek in to see Dr. Foss the first time,we commented on this weird habit. I thought maybe he had a salt problem,like not getting enough of it.
  Turns out all he was doing was grooming me,he saw me as a cat and this was what cats do with other cats. Except he really loved doing it. For a brief time,I had to resort to wearing a cap on my head when I slept just so we could get some sleep.
Derek had a sensitive soul. Other then being put in his carrier for the move over to the new house,he only hissed at us once...when Lori came home to find OSK sick and on the floor. When Lori picked him up,he meowed at her and Derek hissed because he thought she was hurting him. OSK died that day and for a while Derek was a bit lost until we got Ginger.
 Ginger and Derek were a odd pair at first,they liked each other but didn't have much interaction with each other. Ginger bonded with Lori while Derek was definitely my boy. His jumping prowess became the stuff of legend as he loved to jump on anything just because it was there.
  When Lori and I took in Leo and her two litters of kittens,Derek was often on point as to when they would show up at our patio. We wouldn't see a thing but Derek would and would chirp while looking outside,we would turn on our porch light and there were Leo,Sarge and the 5 kittens. Derek was more curious about them then anything but we didn't allow any contact.
  It was at the apartment that Derek got his first mouse...and where I trusted him if I saw him stare at anything. I was in the bathroom of all places when Derek started meowing and scratching at the door. This was common but the non-stop meowing wasn't. I opened the door to see Ginger and him standing there. Derek walked to the trash can and just stared at him....I was "what are you looking at,goofy cat"? and proceeded to movie the can...and a mouse streaked out through the two cats.
 This was their first mouse and while they went after it with gusto,including Ginger swatting it across the room,they ended up losing it.
   We discovered a hole in the kitchen sink and had the apartment repair crew plug it up. We thought we were mouse free until two later when Derek killed his first one. And one the following week. The crew came back out and rebuilt the wall and that ended that.

Derek was starting to garner his own fame as well....while working at Farmer Jack,many customers would come by and ask how he was doing...he ended up being mentioned in 5 CDs in the "thank you" section. Adam Marsland,who was doing a solo tour,enjoyed Derek's company at the apartment when he stayed over after a show.
   The house was a Godsend for both cats....well,after the first 3 days that is. As they became comfortable with it,the playful activity picked up. The stairs were often used as a race track as Derek would be forever running up and down...he became even closer to us. We started noticing that wherever we went in the house,within 5 minutes,Derek would show up.....while Ginger was happy to sleep somewhere. We would be sitting doing our Family Meeting when he would saunter down the stairs upon hearing our voices and jump on the table and stay for the meeting.
  I often told Lori that I knew it was a going to be a good day when I saw her and Derek in the morning...Ginger was always downstairs waiting for food.

It was because of Derek that we ended up on the Suze Orman Show twice. I asked Suze if we could afford a Scottish Fold playmate for Derek on her "Can I Afford It" segment. Not only did we make it on her Christmas shows,we also made it back on in a "Updated Calls" segment as few months later. And the answer was "You're Approved" (which surely wouldn't be the case now!! *smh*).
   Its funny how when you are so close to a cat,you instantly notice certain how where once your buddy would jump on the table,he starts looking for a easier way up,his naps become longer,he no longer sprints after you when you jiggle the catnip can.
  I started knowing this...and hated it. I told Lori how much I hated seeing him slow down and she would tell me to stop worrying about him.
   We developed new games....the catnip chase,flopping and the cutting coupons "help". Life was good until Lori's cancer. Both cats really sensed that something was wrong right away. The past three years they were even more loving and watchful....Derek stayed close to Lori after her chemo and radiation,as did Ginger. I used to leave and say "Guard the house and guard Lori" and come home to see both cats sprawled out by her,either in bed or on the couch.
  When Ginger died of kidney failure in April,Derek meowed for her....and he did the same when Lori died.
In fact when I came home from hospice,he was curled up on her bed,waiting for her. He was the perfect cat in so many ways.

Derek and I played PS/2 as well.....note who is winning the game......his controller is hidden.

After Lori passed away,I blogged about his sudden weakness he developed and had to rush him in. Dr. King ran bloodwork and said his potassium was down and gave me a medicine to help him. It worked and soon,he was back to his old self.
  But last Thursday night,he started showing the same signs and I cracked open a can of catfood and mixed in his med. He ate half and sat with me watching TV. Friday morning he was still wobbly and I got the first sign that this was more serious when he didn't eat at all. I had to work that night so I put him in range of his food and water along with his litterbox.
   When I came home,he had dragged himself to the front door and was waiting for me. He was much weaker then when I left....I offered him food which he didn't want and then went downstairs to give him privacy with his litterbox....when I went down 20 minutes later,he was under the staircase and that was the sign I had been dreading. Cats often go somewhere quiet and hidden to die and that was what I was seeing with Derek. I took him and laid him in his comfy bed for the night and set the alarm. His vet was open at 8 am on Saturday and when I woke up....he had not moved from his bed. I did what Lori had done so many years ago with OSK,I scooped him up and ran.
   I just couldn't believe this was happening AGAIN! There is nothing worse then watching someone you love so much,die before your eyes.
   I rushed him and 25 minutes later,the X-rays showed a large mass in his lungs,he was dying and there wasn't  anything I could do about it..except honor my promise to send him home to be with Lori and Ginger. I thanked him for picking me to share his life with and that it was a honor to have loved him so much. And with that,my family was all gone.....the heartache I have...I don't know why I am here anymore...there is no joy here,only sadness and the awful silence that remind me of what was once a beautiful home. Now its just a place I sleep at....

   I like to thank my friend Rich G. from my job for helping me bury Derek. I buried him in our flowerbed out back,next to Ginger.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

I love you Derek....I'll see you all very soon.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Its 1:05 am

  Its been a while since I have updated here. Between feeling pretty crappy as of late and working more hours,I just haven't felt like writing much. But this is when I need to write the most,isn't it? Weird how when I go blank,that is when things go boom....

I just love the Dresden Dolls....especially this song,"Sing",which I am listening to while I am blogging. I have started to take 5 CDs with me each week in my car to listen to while I am making my rounds. Its been pretty cool so far,I have started to pick through the last few CDs I have yet listened to in my collection and given them a spin. Now while the Dresden Dolls haven't made it through the rotation can get a glimpse of why I love Amanda Palmer so much...
   So where to start this out at?
I attended my first Toastmasters meeting last Wednesday night. It was held at a local Coney Island place here in my town. I was sort of confused at first because when I walked in,only 3 people were in the diner eating,I thought I had walked into the wrong place. Turns out they were in a small private room that the diner has for small parties.
  I walked in and there were about 12 other people inside,10 Toastmaster members and 2 guests. They had a strict structure and always very respectful of each other. Different speakers got up and spoke,information was exchanged. The dues were a little more then I expected,around a 100 dollars a year. I can't afford that but I was told I was welcome as a guest for as long as I cared to be. I thought it was charming but with only 10 members in this group,I wonder how they do it. I couldn't attend tonight as I closed but I think next week is doable.
  The other news was my first time to the food bank to get groceries. Now that was a surreal moment and after attending one time,I may have to re-think this move. While I am grateful for small items I got...handing someone a trash bag of broken,smashed frozen pizza does not warm the  heart. That went from my car to the trash straightway once I got home.
  The traffic was pretty stiff and there were tons o'people in line. The line went smoothly and it did take about 30 minutes to move through it. The volunteers were very active,alert and very fast in putting food in the cars.
Getting was also easy until we hit Michigan Ave. The traffic was very thick as folks were looking to get on I-275 to head home. I had to dance very gingerly to make my exit towards home.
  Once I sorted what I could use from what I couldn't,it wasn't very much left. But I am not complaining,just telling you how it was. I put the supplies in the freezer and pantry and did some light housework.
  Dinner is pretty much a crap shoot now in the house...I just didn't really pay attention to how Lori cooked other then when I grilled outside. Now I just try and eat somewhat healthy,I mix in veggies just like we always did but much more basic,like just a crisp garden salad.
   Last weekend,I cat-sitted for my friend Cheryl and her husband,Jerry as they made their annual Labor Day trip to their cabin with the family. I volunteered to watch Autumn and feed the koi. So on Saturday,I made the trip down to the house to do just that. It was my first trip solo to do this as Lori and I had always went together (yep,even when we did mundane things like this,we did it together).
  Now Autumn is a pretty shy cat and whenever we came over,we always looked for her to say "hello" which meant she stayed under her bed during the entire visit.
  We decided after the last time to use a new tactic when we cat-sitted her,we would stay silent and leave her in peace. So when I walked in,I did just that. I wrote a note to Jerry and Cheryl,fed the fish outside and changed Autumn's food and water. I also left cat treats for her as well. I stayed about 25 minutes and as I was finishing up my note and was getting to leave,Autumn showed up. I talked real soft and showed her the treat bag,she walked over and head butted my hand and she let me pet her. I gave her treats and finished my note...when I done,she was too and walked back to her bedroom and I drove home.

Its 11:43 pm on 11 Sept.

  Last Saturday was my 2nd volunteer project with my company. We headed over to the small city of Wayne to paint a playscape and pavilion for the Parks and Recs department. Originally,we had about 26 people sign up to help out but the computer program we use scheduled just about everyone so instead of a small army,we ended up with a squad of 7. We loaded up a truck of supplies at 5:30 am and headed towards the project. We divided into two teams,our ASM Colleen (aka Torrance Shipman) and young go-getter named Mark hit the playscape while I worked with Daryle and Justin in painting the pavilion. An hour later our store manger Howard showed up along with a crew from the city and we worked on painting the pavilion.
   The park was extremely busy for a early Saturday and only got busier as the day went on.

Since the pavilion was so much bigger,all the manpower went there as we painted the whole building,Daryle,Justin and I used the rollers while Howard and the city crew did the detail work. It ended up looking very sharp and clean. Several residents said "thank you" as they were biking,walking or jogging. After we finished up.I went over and helped Colleen and Mark on the playground. While we were small in numbers,we worked very hard to get the project complete and at 12:30 pm,we were done. I headed on home and ended up talking a nap so I could get ready for the San Jose State-Stanford game that started at 11 pm EST.
   Oh yeah,the college football season started. The SJSU Spartans are 1-1 after beating Sacramento State,24-0,in the first game while dropping a 34-13 game against the 5th ranked Cardinal of Stanford.
The Spartans have this weekend off before heading to Minnesota to battle the 2-0 Golden Gophers on ESPN/2. This is a must game for SJS as they get a short week before battling Utah State in the league opener on Friday,27 Sept.
  Reflecting on 9/11......after 12 years,the men behind these attacks are still free,both here and in Saudi Arabia. Sad to think that those deaths are still unavenged and justice has been denied by the powers that be.
Nice to see folks recalling where they were,what they were doing and how it has touched their lives. I sort of look at the day as the death for liberty,freedom and any whispering hope for a honest government. 3,000 lives lost on that one day alone while thousands more have died since. We are no closer to political stability in Iraq or Afghanistan today then we were 12 years is still wasted at a enormous pace with no real evidence that we ever made a difference.
But such is our life in times like there.....