Saturday, June 20, 2009

Trent in pictures

Boy, this is a tough one. Trent didn't die during the night (he had zero interest in dying), so we made the tough choice yesterday to take him to the vet and have him put down. So we're minus one cat now, and he was definitely the hardest cat to lose. We've been everything from alright to beside ourselves. The last week we had him was great: He was full of love and purrs for us, and I know we both value that time. Owl, who was with him after he first got sick, spent awhile being antisocial with us--Trent was his best friend and he taught Owl to be a cat, so it's no surprise that he wanted to just be alone. Estelle was the real surprise: She went in and out of the room all night checking on Trent, even getting over her fear of humans enough to sit close to Chris while he was by Trent. She's already taken over the job of alpha cat (as we suspected she would) and is comforting Owl and making sure he eats. Estelle may hate humans, but that doesn't mean she's a bad cat. Finally, of course, Miss Lemon couldn't give a rip about the absence of a cat in the house (since she lives alone because of her aggression towards them), but she knows we're sad and has been taking care of us. Really, everything's going as well as can be expected.

It seems right to me to honor our old friend by showing some good pictures of a good cat. He will be missed.

Finally, this one was taken on his last night with us. He couldn't move, but his personality was 100% intact and he was as sweet as ever.

Like I said, this is a tough cat to lose. Still, it'll be okay.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Very sad news.

Trent is not just dehydrated--he's got a heart problem. There's nothing the vet can do about it. He got better but suddenly took a nasty turn, and the vet wanted him to go to the emergency vet to be watched overnight. Now that we know his case is terminal, Chris is bringing him home so he can be with us (and Owl and Estelle) when he dies. I'm glad he'll get to come home--I need these last moments with this cat.

What happened this morning seems sudden, but looking back on it I see that he'd been going downhill over a long while. Shortly after he turned 12 he started looking old. Lately he had been eating but not throwing up, and while that sounds more healthy I realize now that he probably hadn't been eating as much. He came back from the vet this week looking really bad and really old. I thought he just needed brushed and loved on. But nothing really ever seemed wrong until this morning.

I'm glad I get to say goodbye.

Think a good thought for an old cat

I usually enjoy a lengthy snooze after Chris gets up, but he came back in after feeding the herd and said, "Something's wrong with Trent." Apparently he didn't get up to go get breakfast (highly unusual, as persistently hungry as he is), so Chris picked him up and set him by his food, where he immediately fell over. (To give credit where credit is due, sweet little Owl stayed by him the whole time.)

Trent's walking with almost no control over his back legs. While he doesn't seem to be in pain, he is noticeably weaker. He's been whisked off to the vet with an unusually low amount of resistance and protestation on his part, and Chris has instructions to call me when he knows more.

UPDATE: Trent appears to be dehydrated. The vet's working to pump him full of fluids, and they'll keep him there for the rest of the day to observe him. It looks, however, that things are going to be just fine. I can't wait for him to come home so we can love him to death.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

5th Anniversary, Part 7: Fort Davis National Historic Site

Daughter of a history professor, wife of a history major--if I wanted to steer clear of historical sites on vacation then I ought to have had another life. Still, I chose the hotel that's on the register of National Historic Places, so I can't lay the blame at other people's feet when I choose not to vacation on sun-drenched beaches. But Fort Davis was a very cool place--good job on the part of the Department of the Interior. Chris could tell you better than I could its historical significance (he's wired that way more than I am), but I can tell you that they picked a magnificent spot for a fort!

Kudos to Chris for incorporating the sign, the flag, the redonk agave, the barracks, and the mountain into one shot.

Pretend its an eagle. It's probably a vulture or a hawk, but this picture is way cooler if you pretend it's an eagle. Because eagles instinctively know to fly over important sites in American history.

Pay attention to these next two shots:

That's a gatling gun (top) and a Howitzer (bottom). All the stuff on display was from the mid-1800's. They were still using those weapons in WWI. Yikes.

I believe that's Sleeping Lion Mountain, but my husband can correct me if I'm wrong.

After Fort Davis ceased to have a military function, it went into private hands. The family in charge of it actually did an excellent job of upkeep--take a gander at the first photo to see what I mean. Many similar forts look more like the following photos. A lot of the buildings in Fort Davis are in great condition, but I like ruins and that's what you get to see.

Finally, a lousy shot from the car of the road connecting San Antonio to El Paso--Fort Davis was the midpoint.

That's all I have for you. West Texas is a trip I recommend highly. Hope you like the pictures.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

5th Anniversary, Part 6: Davis Mountains and Indian Lodge

Davis Mountains State Park was the only place we did any hiking. We rose early in the morning to take advantage of the cool weather (and low UV rays) and hiked what we thought would be relatively flat but turned out to be up a cliff. Those foothills are daunting buggers.

Going up the hill. We ended up atop the cliff on the left.

Love those blue skies.

The first view of Indian Lodge from above. Indian Lodge was built by my favorite Depression-era works program, the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Kinda cool: Ferns growing in the rocks on top of the cliff.

More views from atop the cliff. Hard to want to come down the hill.

A good shot of part of Indian Lodge. There's something about white adobe and the desert landscape that look like they belong together. And take a good gander at that giant agave. They're all that huge out there.

From the first scenic overlook on the Skyline Drive that went up a foothill. Pretty stuff out there.

This picture cracks me up. We turned to go back to the car and realized, "Our car looks like part of a Hyundai ad." So expect to see this on a full-page spread in a magazine some day.

I don't much know what to say for the next three, so I'll just let them stand on their own. :)

I like the perspective Indian Lodge adds to this shot.

Up next, the final set of photos: Fort Davis National Historic Site.

5th Anniversary, Part 5: River Road/Big Bend Ranch

Like I previously mentioned, the River Road runs along the border, right along the Rio Grande, between Presidio and Terlingua. What I didn't mention is that on the other side of the road is Big Bend Ranch State Park, which was privately owned up until recently (like many things around here). Once we got into Big Bend Ranch, the scenery got a whole lot prettier. We never made it to Big Bend National Park, sadly, so this is as good as it'll get.

Is it a canyon or is it a mountain? Apparently a canyon, but who cares? Our rental car's little shark fin provided for scale.

First good sighting of the Rio Grande.

Big Bend Ranch was the only area on the River Road where everything came up to the road.

We found a boat ramp and were able to go right up to the Rio Grande. The water was very cold, and we might have flung ourselves into it if we didn't have to get back into a car we didn't own. Before you can ask, no, we didn't see any illegal immigrants trying to cross the border. Two good reasons for that: 1) had they gotten across the river, they would've had to climb up the canyons; and 2) the river was moving really fast--anyone who attempted crossing it would've drowned for sure. Anyway, I love all the layers in this picture.

We finally got to drive up a hill and see everything from above. That's Mexico over there.

Sometimes it's hard to see exactly what you've got until you get the photos on the computer, and I think I can say unequivocally that this is the best photo of the whole trip. Jaw-droppingly awesome.

These are pretty cool--tipi-picnic areas built by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Finally, the view from those picnic tipis.

Up next, Davis Mountains State Park!

Friday, June 12, 2009

5th Anniversary, Part 4: Fort Leaton and Barton Warnock

The River Road, with its most scenic and beautiful views in the state, runs between Presidio and Terlingua. It is therefore neatly sandwiched between Fort Leaton State Historic Site and the Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center. I'll show you the River Road in the next post, but for now I'm showing you the parentheses.

The most valuable thing I learned at Fort Leaton was that adobe structures are beautifully suited for the desert. I've said it a billion times, but it bears repeating: Yes, it gets to be 100 degrees in the afternoon, but you get in the right structure and you'll never know. It was magnificent in this structure.

A spindly cactus that was unique to the area proved popular for shading an area--not just at Fort Leaton, but on privately owned structures too. I think the shadows it casts are something.

This is one of my favorite pictures. It's of the bakery in Fort Leaton, and the light's hitting things perfectly.

This particular room used to be a dining room, but after someone was murdered in there the widow had it turned into a chapel. Why can't my icon corner look this nice?

Some rooms were left un-refurbished, which was pretty cool to see. Those rooms were also remarkably warmer than the fixed-up ones.

Now here we are at Barton Warnock. It has a museum that talks about the geological, botanical, and ... uh ... animalical diversity of the region; a display of artifacts from the area; and a desert botanical garden. This picture is of the center, garden, and a mountain from atop the scenic overlook.

It was hard to want to climb down from the scenic overlook--every direction you looked in had mountains are far as the eye could see. This picture can't even pretend to do justice to what was up there.

I'm growing tired of putting pictures up (it's a bit of a pain), so I'm quitting for the evening. Tomorrow, I'll start with the most beautiful pictures of the whole trip: the River Road and Big Bend Ranch State Park.