Neighborhood Connections (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 25)

In a world where personal relationships often are interrupted by fences and computer screens, finding a neighborhood connection is especially meaningful.  Catsby was one of those connectors.

Catsby was a neighborhood fixture — and when he was hit by a car, the neighborhood mourned. [You can read about his story here.] The neighborhood also connected. We were reminded of all the places where our lives intersect … where our kids cross paths … where we all have that same spot in our hearts for kindness and compassion.

~ Kat

Cats Keep It Simple (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 11)

Maybe cats are telling us something. Give them the choice between a fancy toy that rolls around the floor and a crumpled up ball of paper, and they likely find the crumpled trash more enticing. Give them the choice between the Taj Mahal of cat condos and an empty box, and you can bet good money they will pick the plain box.


Echoing the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Simplify, simplify.” I need to heed those words more often, and take cues from the cats. They get it.

And where does gratitude come in? My concerns with needing to simplify fall in the category of #firstworldproblems.

~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth

The cats of Old San Juan invoke warm feelings — gratitude toward their caretakers and the amazing Save a Gato organization, and delight with the welcoming love of these felines.  Warmth is not only a reference to temperature, but as defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary, also refers to “the quality or state of being kind or friendly.”  It is this latter reference that came to mind when responding to this week’s Photo Challenge.

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Warmth” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Ciao! ~ Kat

Christmas Tree of Memories

It is Christmas Eve.  We have a beautiful live Christmas tree in our living room, a tall Fraser fir … with nothing more than star at the top and lights this year.  With cats in the house, we’ve always been careful to put the breakable ornaments near the top, out of reach of playful paws.

Cat Under the Tree    Cat by the Tree

This year, however, we have a new threat:  Winnie, a rambunctious puppy, our latest adoption from the local humane society.

Puppy and the Christmas tree

Don’t let that innocent face fool you …. This was the scene as I worked from home the other day:

Between Corbin, my 100-pound trusty running partner, and our newest family member, you are watching 160 pounds or so of dog playing keep away with each other.  Amazingly, the tree remains upright and the lights are twinkling as I post this, with Christmas Day just hours away.

The tree is still beautiful in its natural simplicity.  But I do miss the many ornaments we usually decorate with, and the memories they hold.  Over the years, we have been blessed with many four-legged family members, some already in their twilight years when they joined our family (remember Kruger? I wrote about him in several posts, including this one), while others enjoyed a full decade or more of life with us before we had to say good-bye (like our lovable duo Snowy and Duffy, who were remembered in this post).

A tradition we began years ago was hanging a photo ornament on the tree for each furry family member, and adding their ID tag to it after their death.  Each one brings back so many happy moments and stories, we find ourselves sharing as we hang each one — “Remember … when Snowy ate 3/4 of the box of Belgian chocolates while we were at church?” “Remember … how Mr. Mistoffolees would sit on the back of the couch and knead your head and purr?” “Remember … how Duffy would whine every time you stopped giving him a tummy scrub?”  “Remember … how Sadie loved leaping after the leaves  while we raked?”  “Remember … when the cats would nap in the crib?” “Remember … how Bruce knew the name of each of his toys?” “Remember…  the day we brought Corbin home from the humane society and he was so excited to get to the car he knocked your brother over to get in?”  Remember…. all the love … I can’t imagine our house without them.

I will leave you with a gallery of many of these memories (from last year’s tree), to carry us until next year when a certain puppy will have a photo ornament of her own.

  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however you choose to celebrate! ~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

The line between comfort and despair …. good fortune and tragedy … is often much more tenuous that we care to acknowledge.

Gato in the doorway of Hotel El Convento

One of the gato of Puerto Rico sitting in the doorway of the classic Hotel El Convento, between a life of luxury and its life on the street, reminded us of this sometimes harsh juxtaposition during our stay in Old San Juan.

The Save A Gato organization has filled a critical need in Puerto Rico, with its spay-neuter-release and adoption programs, as well as supporting and inspiring both formal and informal volunteers to help care for the many gato on the streets of Old San Juan.  Support their efforts through a donation, and “like” their Facebook page, to share their important work with your friends.

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. ”Between” was this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.