Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In Memoriam

First off, let me say thank you to everyone who has expressed their sympathy for Louis' passing and kept us in their thoughts and prayers. My parents and friends - even those friends I've met here through my blog - have been wonderful. I'm trying to get through this but it's proving more difficult than I ever imagined. I have to tell you about Louis so that others will know what an awesome cat he was...and I must say these things once more.....

I got Louis from the Humane Society in September of 2006. He looked so cute and so lonely in his cage; his eyes begged me to take him. Once he got to his new home, he checked out all the possible places to nap and settled on the bed (two pics here from his first day with me).

The first two months were not easy. Louis was sick and it took some time to find out what was wrong. Once diagnosed, his medication kept him happy. He settled in with me and we began to bond. I soon learned what kind of cat Louis was....

He was cool. He played with the cheapest mice I bought him until you watched him - and then he was too cool to be seen playing. If he was really feisty, he liked to chase me around, batting at my ankles as I ran. He always sat and stood with his front two paws side-by-side, touching. He was very proper in this respect. If you caught him cleaning his nether regions, he would freeze, limbs askew, as if to say, "What are you looking at?"

A common place to find the little monster was on the back of my computer desk chair. This (above) is his playing stance - he's ready to bat my hands away from him. Despite all the toys I bought him, his favorite thing to do was wrestle. He would try to bite my hand and I would rub his belly - he didn't like that when he was in playful mode. He would try and try to bite me and when he finally gave up, he would sigh. I used play with him just to hear that sigh.

(Pic - One of his napping places - the computer desk chair.) I quickly learned that Louis preferred to drink from the faucet instead of from a bowl. He rubbed against anything and everything. He always wanted to be close and often followed me around like a puppy. His characteristic head-butts would make my knees buckle if I was not prepared for them! And he head-butted everyone he met; he was the friendliest cat I ever met!

(Pic - He loved it when I settled down and sat on the couch. He would sit beside me but he preferred my lap!) His eyes were always amazing to me - I was looking at them in awe only hours before he died. They were the clearest amber in the sunlight and the lightest green in the dark. They were the only thing on his body that was not gray!

Every morning he was there - wanting a drink from the faucet after I got out of the shower. While I got ready for work, he sat on the vanity and kept me company. He greeted me every evening when I got home; he stretched and purred as I changed for my workout. After dinner, he sat with me - or on me - while I watched the news. If I needed the computer, I generally had to fight him for the chair if it was a prime napping time.

Every night, when I turned off the living room lights, he made his way to the bathroom, to wait out my nightly beauty rituals. Once I climbed into bed and got settled, I would hear his soft warning meow - "I'm coming up!" - and then he would be there, with a head-butt. I would pet him and he would purr for a few minutes before he assumed his favorite position - laying by my side. I would turn off the light and we would sleep, curled around each other.

It's that warning meow I expect to hear every night - and it's not going to happen ever again. I never thought I would get so attached to the little guy but he was a constant friend and buddy. He would cheer me up when I was down; he could always make me smile. I've hesitated to tell too many people about his passing because so few can truly understand how heartbreaking this is. I expected to have him for ten years - I was given only one and a half with him. I have so many regrets.... But I hope he was happy.

We buried him next to Sparky - our old Sheltie who died last Memorial Day weekend - at sunset on Good Friday (ironic, huh?). As I drove home on Sunday, all I could think of was that I was leaving him behind...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Louis the Cat

Louis, my cat, died last night. I can't really expand right now, but I'll try to later. He was five years old.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Brite is Wright

Several months ago, Brite Divinity School decided to award Rev. Jeremiah Wright for his leadership at their State of the Black Church Summit and Awards Banquet on March 28-29. After the recent airing of some of Rev. Wright's more controversial statements regarding race in this country, Brite decided to go on with the banquet and honor Wright as scheduled. (I must explain - for it is even confusing to those calling in to protest Wright's award - that Brite Divinity and TCU are separate entities, though they are associated for academic purposes.) On Monday, the calls to TCU and Brite poured in; countless letters were published in the school newspaper denouncing Brite's decision. TCU's Chancellor, Victor Boschini, made this statement yesterday:

"As a university, TCU supports the right of free speech even when the opinions expressed are controversial. That is what a university is about. But giving an award is another matter, and in this specific case in light of Rev. Wright's recently discovered remarks, TCU would not give such an award."

The university is a unique setting - one that I love and cherish. It is a place of ideas, of thinkers. It is where free thinking is encouraged and treasured. Everyone is of the opinion - as I assume you are - that our right of free speech is sacred. I don't know what your reaction to Rev. Wright's comments was, but mine, upon first hearing them, was dismay. But then I put these words into context. They come from a man who has fought with black leaders since Martin Luther King. He has seen his congregation struggle with poverty, drugs, and crime. His generation had to fight for the rights they now have. This kind of black and womanist liberation theology is a uniting factor within the black community across America.

So we cannot be too quick to judge someone such as Wright. Obama's remarks on this subject were incredibly sincere and insightful. It was refreshing to hear a speech free of political rhetoric. For a transcript of this, go here.

There was very good op-ed piece in the Ft Worth Star Telegram today that I encourage you to read - Sanders is more eloquent than I.

As far as racism, sexism, class in America... I hope my generation and future generations will not have to resort to the kind of fiery rhetoric Wright uses in order to unite. I know our country is divided. In my high school, there were two rooms in the cafeteria and there were whites in one and blacks in the other - this was the natural day-to-day state. I hadn't even thought of sexism until I got the raw end of several deals in grad school. I was even talking to a colleague today about class - something I never think of in America, where upward mobility is supposed to be easy. Maybe these issues deserve a second look, another thought.

As far as TCU.... There's a profoundly eloquent (insert sarcasm here) interview with the student editor of the campus newspaper here. This type of ignorance shown by the student body is one that will only further divide America. It's a sad state but there is hope: even now faculty are planning workshops and forums to confront these issues with open dialogue.

Friday, March 14, 2008

FCS 3 Questions

Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire

1. What are your top three favorite colors?
Pink, Purple, Yellow (not to wear - just in flowers etc)

2. What crafts do you really enjoy?
Knitting, Scrap-booking, Stamping cards

3. What products do you really covet?
Stitch markers, history books (or any books in general), candles, sock yarn

4. What other activities do you enjoy besides your favorite crafty things?
Reading, Writing, Movies

5. Is there anything you collect?
Cool magnets from around the world, Unique mugs, Maps

6. What is your zodiac sign and/or Chinese zodiac symbol?
Libra, the year of the Rooster - I hate roosters

7.What are your favorite…

Cherry Blossom, Clean Linen, Melon, Light Florals

…types of music and/or bands?
Alternative/Rock, Classical, Soundtracks

Steven Saylor, Christopher Moore, Katie MacAlister, Charlaine Harris

Well, I have a cat but I grew up with dogs - my parents have two Shelties and a dachshund. I'm having an identity crisis on whether I'm a cat or dog person.

…places to shop?
Barnes and Noble (can't resist books!), yarn shops, Container Store, Banana Republic, Gap

This one is hard. I didn't like Fall until I experienced two in Michigan - where there's great foliage. I'd rather have it cool than hot - I do live in TX. I hate summer! Spring can be beautiful!

…yarn/fabric/paper/other craft supplies?
Sock yarn, though I don't know how to make socks yet, Cotton yarns, Malabrigo...

…candies or goodies?
Chocolate - any kind, Tootsie Rolls, Starbursts, coffee (I've only been drinking it for a year and am trying to find some interesting kinds - that are not too dark!)

8. Do you have any wish lists?
On Amazon - under my full name

9. Are you allergic to anything?
Nope. I once went on a blind date with a guy who - turns out - was allergic to pine trees. My parents live in the piney woods of East Texas - that date ended before it really began.

10. Do you have any pets? What are they?
My cat, Louis - pronounced Louie in vulgar American English. He's part Chartreuse and therefore had to have a French name!

11. Please include anything else you would like your secret pal to know about you- anything that would be helpful in finding you little gifts that you will really enjoy. Also, if you have a Ravelry ID, please include it here.
Ravelry ID: doniamarie. I love writing letters on stationary/note cards and am always on the look-out for cool things like that.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Trip Down South

I'm finally posting a picture of my trip to South Texas last weekend. However, Blogger is vexing me so you only get to see the one. Below is my grandfather's childhood church.

Across the street from the church, is his elementary school. My grandfather only went to school through sixth grade before his father needed him at home, on the farm. Despite his minimal education, he was extremely good with numbers and became a carpenter. During the war, he built prisons and barracks throughout France, Belgium, and Germany. He put German POWs to work and actually gained a great deal of respect for the enemy; he used to say they were very smart.

It's funny how our perceptions change through the generations. "Nazi" is not a word I hear often, but my grandfather used it throughout his old war stories - it was interchangeable with "German" to him. I wish I'd listened a little more to these stories. I was, however, young and immature; he died when I was in tenth grade.

A quick knitting update: I ran to JSY on Saturday and talked to Linda about the Ripple Blanket. She agreed I should probably add a few more inches to the width. So, I bought two more skeins of yarn and started over. I really don't mind all that much, I want the blanket to be usable. I think I finally figured out the color pattern, so that's exciting! I'll post a pic when I have a few inches on it!