Tagged: pets


Mrs. Mack 5o5 handed me the package with a tear in her eye.  “Open it.”

I knew what the box contained.  Inside the cardboard, wrapped in tissue paper, was a beautifully finished small wooden box. . .


In the spring of 2000, five kittens were born to a wild mother in a small feral colony not far from here.  At first we thought there were only four, as two of them looked almost identical from a distance.  We could not leave them out there.  They would live short lives and die tragically, or they would thrive and make yet more kittens.  Neither solution was acceptable, so out came the humane traps.  We caught two black and white Maine Coons, a calico, and a tiger.  (The fifth proved elusive and unfortunately did meet a tragic fate.)

It was our first experience with feral kittens.  We did a few things wrong, but they turned eventually.  They would be the first of many.

Noah and his brother Sebastian came to live with us.  Shelby did not approve, but she adapted eventually.  Noah was a sickly baby; he almost died of pneumonia in those early weeks.  He also was the more affectionate of the pair, perhaps because he required so much handling.  He became our baby boy.

P001053He was all eyes and ears.  I swear they were born fully grown and the rest of him grew to fit them.

His voice was huge.  In his younger years we would play a game in the morning while I dressed for work.  He would stand at my feet and cry for attention.  I would shush him, “quiet, you’ll wake up Mom!”  He would respond more loudly.  Lather, rinse, repeat until Mrs. Mack505 began to giggle.

Noah grew to be our kitten whisperer.  When we would foster feral kittens, he would ignore them for weeks.  Eventually he would spend an afternoon staring into their cage, and then they were done.  Turned.  All ready to go on to their new homes.  He somehow knew when they were almost ready, and he would push them over the edge.

Noah on the left, brother Sebastian on the right

In later life, Noah became closely bonded with Hal.  The two of them kept mostly to themselves and were always seen shoulder to shoulder around the house.


We came home from my Mount Washington trip to find Noah unwell.  The cat sitter had done her job thoroughly, but he just wasn’t acting right.  The vet found a fast-moving cancer.

I won’t dwell on the details.  Noah crossed the Rainbow Bridge shortly after noon on July 19th, 16 years 2 months and 4 days after being born in my father’s garage.  He was our sweet Baby Boy until the end.


“Open it. . .” Mrs Mack5o5 urged.

I didn’t need to open it.  It’s a beautifully crafted (slightly oversized?) custom box for his ashes.  I’d rather spend as little time on it as possible.  She insisted, though.

And there it was.  A diagonal partition dividing the interior into two compartments.  Someday in the hopefully distant future, Noah and Hal will lie shoulder to shoulder again.

This would be a good place to end. The story arc is complete.  It’s not the best eulogy, but I felt it was time to write something.  It turns out there is more, though.  Noah has a legacy.

It seems that all the time he spent with semi-feral Hal was a grown-up version of his kitten whispering.  Hal has never fully bonded into our family.  He’s a wonderful cat, but he has always remained aloof.  He never completely trusted us until he lost Noah.

In the month and a half since Noah passed, Hal has turned to us for comfort.  He has become more trusting.  He seeks us out for attention, and he sleeps with Mrs. Mack505.  As I wrote this, he jumped onto the bed twice, approached me, and let me scratch his ears.  I’m all teary again.  Noah may be gone, but he left us a new and improved Hal to remember him by.  Thank you, baby boy.

Take your dog to work

So the internet has decreed that today was Take Your Dog to Work Day. At first I thought it wouldn't work, then I reconsidered.

  • Long stretches on the couch.
  • Blasting across town, head out the open window, tongue lolling in the wind.
  • Howling along with the siren.

Yeah, Cricket might enjoy it too. 🙂




Stay safe out there, folks.


The week in review 2.9.13


Impulse Autofocus / Impossible PX680 CP

Retired - 020213

Automatic 250 / FP100c

Horizontal - 020313

Impulse Autofocus / Impossible PX680 CP

WOW! Closed - 020413

WOW! Closed.
Automatic 250 / FP100c
There’s just something about Salisbury Beach in the winter.


Knox Box
Spectra / PZ680
Hand-held long exposure


Spectra / PZ680
Here she is, the source of my angst this week, sporting a freshly shaved spot from her recent vet visit. Jazzy is hard to photograph; as soon as you point a camera at her she charges at you for attention.


Feed me!
Automatic 250 / FP100c / electronic flash

Zen blizzard - 020813

Zen blizzard
Automatic 250 / FP100c
The snow begins in the Zen Garden at Union Hospital


Automatic 250 / FP100c / Vivitar 91 flash
I spent the blizzard at the station. Guess what? It snowed.


It’s not supposed to be this way.  

I stand in the long glass hallway of Big City Trauma Center, back to the windows as a throng of humanity streams past.  

We knew her life might be shortened when we adopted.  Shortened however isn’t supposed to mean short. It’s not supposed to be this way.  

I hide behind my sunglasses and choke down my emotions as I send an email to order a tiny urn. I should call, but I can’t talk about it now.  It’s not supposed to be this way.  

My city is full of world class hospitals.  If your family member is small and furry, that’s OK too.  We have a kitty ICU, kitty cardiologists, and even kitty thoracic surgery if you want to go that far.   It’s still not supposed to be this way.  

We have a diagnosis, and the doctors are talking in terms of weeks.   It’s. Not. Supposed. To. Be. This. Way.  

We will make her as comfortable as we can and cherish our remaining time together.  I cannot imagine waking up without her little furry body nestled against my hip, or falling asleep without her sweet crossed eyes staring over my book.  We were supposed to have much longer. She deserves much longer. It’s not supposed to be this way.

I gather myself together, rein in my emotions, and head back to work, safe behind my dark lenses for now.  As long as that damn harpist doesn’t show up I’ll be fine.

Light (P366 – April 26)

4/26 – Beth & Cricket. I was experimenting with alternative lighting using a new flash slave adapter. This little $5 gizmo fires its flash when it sees another flash fire. It has lots of possibilities, and I highly recommend picking one up.

4/28 – First day with the new (to me) Minolta HiMatic AF2. I drive past this swamp on Route 1 a few times a week. This particular morning the light was calling to me.

Incidentally, the AF2 has become a quick favorite of Beth’s. It has auto focus, auto exposure, and a built-in flash. The flash has to be engaged manually, but the electronics will tell you when it’s needed. It’s a cool little camera for $6 and takes some very nice pictures. She’s on her third roll of film with it. I must confess I like it too.


Project 366 – Leap Day

2/27/12 -Playing with light, shadow, and the Fairlee
2/28/12 – Big Adventure – Sebastian and Chai make their annual pilgrimage to the vet. They were not impressed.

2/29/12 – Winter has finally decided to pay us a visit in time for Leap Day. It’s not much of a storm but it is pretty.


Project 366 – 39, 40, 41

I reached the end of the week feeling short on photographs, but a spin through the Photostream saved the day.

 2/8 – I spent the day in the Training Division.  The class was good, but the biggest thing I learned is that I can’t stand the commute.  I haven’t had to do the 9-5 Boston commute in years, and I think I might become homicidal if I had to go back to it.


 2/9 – Dog is still my copilot.  Here comes the school bus!

 2/10 – inspiration from above.

Save the puppies!

Got your attention?

On Saturday, 2/11 I will be spinning with a team from my gym in the MSPCA’s 9th Annual Tour de Pooch.  All money raised will go to support the operation of MSPCA’s Nevins Farm in Methuen, MA.  Nevins is a major local animal shelter and the only one in Massachusetts capable of handling large animals.  When you say ‘animal shelter’ everyone thinks of dogs and cats.  Nevins handles everything from hamsters to horses.  (The economy has been especially hard on horses – they’re not exactly inexpensive to keep properly.)

Please click this link and donate to support our team.  If each of my Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and blog readers donated just $1 we would be pushing the $500 mark.  Please send them a buck or two.

And by the way, these guys are just cool.


Moving on to usual business:


2/6 – Good morning, Witch City!  Heading home after a long night.


2/7 – Good morning, Newburyport.  Merrimac River on the way to the gym this morning.