December 31, 2014

Nine (2001-2014)

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One of our oldest friends, dear Nine, was welcomed into the hallowed halls of furry saints yesterday. It was a hard day with lots of tears from all but Nine who seemed ready to say good-bye.

When we purchased our little house in Portland, Oregon, there was evidence of rat homes in our dirt basement to which our worry-free realtor chirped, "It'll be fine! Just get a cat!" And so we heeded her advice, and began trolling the Multnomah County Humane Society's site for the perfect cat. A little harlequin-faced orange and black Tortoiseshell cat caught my eye, and soon we were filling out the necessary paperwork and forking over $100 (a hefty sum for such a little thing). The 99,999th cat to be taken in by the Humane Society, the name Nine had been bestowed by the good volunteers, and we kept it.

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She was a beautiful cat, mostly black, "with pumpkin-colored paws" as Joel would say. She kept us company for 13 - nearly 14 - years. She was quite shy around others, but would chirp and sing with her loud "maawoot" meow. She was a ferocious hunter, bagging all sorts of kills, rodents, birds, bunnies, once a squirrel, and leaving her treasures (or pieces of them) on the doorstep for us to admire. She was an adept traveller, having accompanied us on our family adventures from Oregon to South Dakota to Iowa and finally, Minnesota. In Oregon, she would relax under the backyard rosemary bush, and afterwards saunter around the house like a fragrant pomander. She loved the dust of South Dakota and would sit sentinel on a stump next to our driveway. In our verdant Iowa backyard, we had a creek that she would come jogging across each morning, not saying a word about her exploits, but looking proud and smug. And finally, in Minnesota, she found a wetland and forest next door, but most recently found a lot of pleasure camped out in front of the warm fireplace, keeping a cozy autumn and early winter. She was only lost once - for a few days, while being cat-sat in Bemidji with Molly and Doug; we returned to Molly and Doug's to search for her, and within minutes of our arrival, she chirped at the window, wondering where the heck we'd gone without her.

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We were her people. She was ours.

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She was our Sweetie, our Speck of Dust, our Deagle, our Lovely Deagle, our Niney-Chiney.

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She will be missed. She was so loved.

December 18, 2014

Why you should go to Itasca State Park

A blog derived from an essay Adelaide wrote for school:

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You should go to Itasca State Park because you see wild animals, you can rent a very old cabin, and you can see the start of the Mississippi River. Last summer my father and I took a paddle board to Schoolcraft Island. While we were exploring the island we bumped into a tree, rattled the branches and a brown bird swooped out of the tree. It had a wing span the size of a love seat. My father and I stared as the bird soared up and over the trees.

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We stayed in Itasca for a weekend in a cabin that was built in the 1920s. The thing that I liked the best about the cabin was that on the fireplace mantle to the shelf there were many wood carvings.

One day we took our bikes on a ride from the cabin to the head waters. The start of the Mississippi includes a bridge made of rocks that you can walk across. The rocks are very slippery! In fact I fell in, well me and my brother. It was funny. The water was cold. There were so many other wonderful things I could include, like that the cabin came with forks and bowls and plates. And I got to communicate with a lune with a whistle that I got from the gift shop and if you blow it really hard you will sound like a lune! These and many other reasons. Lake Itasca is beautiful.

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