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Meet Bela!

BELA is here! Who is Bela? My new cat!

Bela (BAY-la) is a seven-year-old male brown striped tabby. His birthday is April 4. I adopted him yesterday from a very nice animal shelter north of Chicago. His original owner had named him BELLA, but had to give him up because he moved. I re-named Bela after bluegrass musician Bela Fleck (who often plays with Jerry Douglas), actor Bela Lugosi, and Bella, the Manx cat who is pictured as my icon.

His full name is Bela of Yerba Buena Vista. Yerba Buena is the mint that goes in mojitos; it's also the original Spanish name of San Francisco. Buena Vista Social Club is the movie that helped get me interested in Cuban music; Buena Vista is also a name associated with Disney.

Bela is very sweet and loves pets and burrowing under blankets. He's still getting used to me and to this place, which I'm sure has a lot of Douglas' scent all around. He has soft fur and a big black stripe down the back. He's very quiet and has only meowed a few times.

Here are some pictures of him!

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Douglas, 1994-2009

I'm back from the vet. Douglas passed peacefully at around 4:15 Chicago time. He was so far gone at the end that he didn't know the vet from me (he hugged the vet around the neck), and I gave the vet several Lucky Charms marshmallows to put in his mouth before the end...so the last thing he will remember was marshmallows.

He was a good kitty, and I will miss him very much.

Douglas...It doesn't look good

It doesn't look good for Douglas, folks. I took him to the vet tonight, and his temperature was very low - the vet said this means he's starting to "shut down." She gave him fluids, and then I brought him home. He ate some marshmallows and Lucky Charms, and drank some orange juice...but I'm not terribly optimistic that he's going to live much longer. Stay tuned for details.

Douglas Vet Report

When my mother was here a few weekends ago, she noticed that "Douglas looks old." Last weekend when I went to San Francisco, his sitter left me a long note saying that he didn't seem as healthy as he used to be.

I took him to the vet today and had blood work done. Douglas is in the very early stages of kidney failure - this is very common in older cats according to the vet. He does not have diabetes (from the marshmallows) or thyroid problems, and his other organs are functioning normally, but the kidneys are starting to go. The vet gave me a prescription for Royal Canin kidney food, which of course costs about three times more than regular food, and said I should encourage Douglas to drink more water.

He just turned 15 in July, and obviously more of his life is behind him than ahead of him. I'm trying to be prepared for the time when he's not here anymore, but I know that will be VERY difficult.

Happy 15th Birthday, Douglas!

Happy 15th Birthday to Douglas! He is now the longest-lived pet in my family's history (well, at least the history since I've been alive). Yay!

Short three question music survey

1. At what stage of your life (i.e. after college, after age 25, etc.) did you stop relating to the music in the Top 40?

2. What year (i.e. 1986, 1995, etc.) was this?

3. Was there any certain song or artist that when you heard them, you knew you were "getting old?"

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July! I post this every year...

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Michael Jackson

RIP to a legendary entertainer who was one of the first famous people I ever became aware of in the early 70s.

Riding On The Metro

I was on the D.C. Metro Red Line, going through Takoma Park, about two months ago. I enjoyed the ride, got to see some parts of Maryland and D.C. that I hadn't seen before, and was able to visit a friend in Olney before coming back into town to go to the Wizards game that night.

I made it back...six people won't.

How Many States?

I've been to every state east of the Mississippi except for Mississippi.


visited 35 states (70%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or vertaling nederlands duits?