Today is the two-year anniversary of the passing of our favorite cat, Thumper. I picked up a copy of this book a few months ago and hid it on top of the bookshelf. This evening, I pulled it down and my wife and I read it together. Even after two years, it’s hard to comprehend that she’s gone, and the world still managed to spin around the sun two times without her being here with us.
The book is excellent. Not all cats are the same, but somehow, the stuff in this book was about 95% on point, and it brought back a lot of good and sad memories.
Thank you, to the author and illustrator.
I’m grateful for the time we had together, but I wish she was still around.
Losing Artuso recently had me thinking about Thumper’s ashes. Thumper was a big part of our lives. She was a part of us and now she’s gone. It has been almost two years and it’s still painful to think about how she’s no longer with us, though it isn’t as wrenching as it was when she first passed away.
For a long time, we couldn’t have her ashes set out because it was too painful, but now, with Artuso gone as well, it felt wrong to me to have Artuso’s ashes placed in a nice location while Thumper’s were still stored away, so I put her ashes on the shelf by my desk, near my plants. The area is sunny all day and she’s surrounded by life, which seems fitting to me since she brought so much life, joy, and happiness to us while she was alive.
It’s been a little over two weeks since Artuso passed away. Like Thumper before him, he passed away from cancer. He had tumors in his back-right leg that eventually broke the skin and were causing him a lot of pain. Except for his favorite Greenies treats, he stopped eating. Then he stopped using his hammock. When he started having trouble just walking, we knew it was time for him to move on.
We only had him for a year and a half, and I wonder if he already had this illness when we found him and that’s why he was abandoned in the street in Little Italy in the Bronx. The timeline seems about right. But I don’t suppose it matters whether he was thrown out because he died loved and in a good home.
Artuso was incredibly sweet and gentle. You could tell he appreciated every act of kindness and affection we gave him. Unlike some of our other cats, he always wanted to be right next to us just for the sake of being next to us. He didn’t have ulterior motives like trying to wake us up early for food. That’s a difference between street rescues and cats raised at home that I’ve noticed. Rescues tend to not take affection and comforts for granted.
Artuso was always fascinated with the bedroom, and he enjoyed spending hours on our bed bathing in the sunbeams coming through the windows. Because Artuso enjoyed being in the bedroom so much, I put his ashes on the dresser near the bedroom window. The sun shines on that dresser for a good part of the afternoon so I think he would appreciate being placed there.
Thank you for being a part of our lives, Artuso. I wish you’d been with us longer, but I’m glad we had a little time together to learn from and enjoy being with each other.
We were looking through old photos on my wife’s old laptop a few days ago and we found this poster that I made when we lived in Singapore.
10 years ago, I posted this missing cat poster around Pasir Ris in Singapore. We had been feeding this cat below an HDB there for a few months and, one day, she suddenly went missing. We did eventually find her. One day, she just showed back up under the building.
I still wonder what she was doing during the week or so that she was missing. We were in contact with other people in the area that were caring for her and we knew she had already been spayed, so it wasn’t that.
Maybe she was exploring? Or had a bad encounter and was hiding out?
I like to think that someone else had decided to adopt her but then saw that other people were concerned for her and let her back out. It’s nice to think that there are a lot of people who care about animal welfare.
Anyway, this cat isn’t really “Mini” anymore. She’s about 11 now and she lives in Manhattan, New York City, with my Mom. We brought her with us when we moved.
I guess she’s pretty spoiled now. She eats shrimp, steak, and other table scraps in addition to her regular food. She has an apartment and a balcony to herself as well. No other cats to compete with.
About a month ago, my wife suddenly ran out the door and then after a few minutes she came back in carrying two kittens. They were tiny. They looked like they couldn’t be more than about 4 weeks old, if that. Someone had dumped them in an abandoned lot and my wife had agreed to foster them.
So I was thinking, oh great. More cats. I like cats, but we had four already. I figured they were small though, so what difference does it make if they’re around for a while? Turns out, trying to get kittens that young to survive is more difficult than I realized. They had to be fed every 5 hours or so and their stomachs weren’t used to solid food so they were having diarrhea for about two weeks.
Since my wife brought them in without asking, she didn’t overly burden me with cleaning up after them. I just had to deal with the terrible smell. I think she had this idea that if she got them and took good care of them, they would love her and hang on her the way the other cats hang on me. Unfortunately, both kittens have taken a liking to me, are constantly climbing up on the chair to sit with me, and are starting to try to sleep next to me in the bed now that they’re figuring out how to climb.
It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but they’ve been here for a month and a half now. They’re about twice the size they were when they arrived. I’m pretty sure we’re keeping the black one. We’ve been wanting another black cat anyway, since our black cat Thumper passed away last August, but he’s a lot different from her. And I guess it’s not really fair to her or him to think he can take her place. She was really something special.
As for the gray one, I don’t know. She’s still here. She was supposed to be adopted out but she gets on really well with her brother and it seems like it would be a shame to separate them. But I’m just not sure and my wife keeps asking me and I keep saying I don’t know, and she thinks I’ll still be saying that in a few years. She’s probably right.
They both get on well with all of the other cats, even though all of the other cats don’t get on well with each other. Maybe they can be the peacemakers in the apartment? That’s probably expecting too much from cats, but it would be nice.
Anyway, I tried to take them down to visit my Mom before they get too big. That trip ended in disaster. They started freaking out almost immediately and when I was almost in Manhattan, they threw up in the carrier, so I had to turn around and come back. I wonder if maybe they were experiencing flashbacks from when they were abandoned and it was traumatizing them? When we got back, the gray one passed out and the black one hid under the bed for a few hours. I’ll try to get them downtown again later this week.
I keep calling them black and gray because we haven’t really committed to names for them. We have a few names that were throwing around for them, but nothing definite yet.
There’s a whole lot going on in the US right now but I’m at the point where I’ve started to tune it out. I’ll probably drop some rambling posts about the social unrest and venture into fringe conspiracy theories later, but not right now. It just gets so tiring, you know? Like, why should I try to carry the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders (or in my head) 24/7? It’s a constant burden and it can weigh a person down.
So, I’m trying to get back to focusing on things that I actually enjoy, like manga, movies, studying Japanese, and cats. And I’ve been working more now that things are starting to get back to normal in New York City, which is nice.
This past Monday, businesses started opening back up. There’s still no dining in, which is a good thing honestly, but it was super nice to be able to get the car washed, drive downtown, and get takeout from Thai Terminal and Veniero’s. I really missed their food, especially Veniero’s cheesecake. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a photo of it before gobbling it down.
Hopefully, COVID-19 doesn’t spike. I’m not really interested in another shutdown, but with all of the protests and rioting, it could happen. I wasn’t really prepared last time, so if there’s going to be another shutdown I’m not going to get caught with my pants down again. I picked up my Mom and we went to New Jersey to shop at Walmart. My cart was overflowing. LOL. I didn’t hoard TP or paper towels, but I picked up quite a few canned and frozen items along with olive oil, honey, canned soups, and other staples.
We stopped by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater and the grocery was open (which was great because we needed Yakult) but the food court was still closed. Daiso was open and we wound up picking up some nice dishes with cat designs:
So, I’ve moved on to memorizing Japanese kanji. It’s actually more fun than I expected. I’m starting to remember the component parts of the kanji and it’s making it easier to start guessing at the meanings of other kanji. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I can read simple kid’s books in Japanese.
Speaking of Japanese, if you haven’t read Dungeon Meshi / Delicious in Dungeon, I highly recommend it. The last chapter was especially good. It’s probably the best chapter in the manga.
And speaking of reading, I’ve plowed through about 50 books so far this year, including the entire Witcher series. That one is really hit or miss and The Last Wish, which the Netflix series is based on, is definitely the best of the bunch. It was worth the time, though, as someone who really enjoys fantasy novels. I’m reading a book about Israeli history right now and it reminded me of why I was so fascinated with Middle Eastern history while I was studying it in college. I’ll probably go on a run of books about modern Middle Eastern history next. I also want to get around to reading The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been putting it off, even though I’m really interested in it.
Last thing I want to mention before putting things away so we can eat dinner is that there are new kittens in the apartment. Here’s one of them:
2. We did not get wrecked by a tornado on Tuesday.
3. We finally stopped getting the “Payment Status Not Available” error and were able to enter our direct deposit information with the IRS for the stimulus deposits.
4. I talked to our ISP and got an upgrade from 100 Mbs to 300 Mbs and we’re paying $20 less a month than before. The price is locked in for two years. I’m not even sure what to do with all of that bandwidth. It might be my imagination, but streamed shows on Netflix seem to be clearer.
5. We have our health. Based on symptoms posted online, we think we probably had mild cases of COVID-19 in February. We were both experiencing the same weird symptoms at the same time, like both having weird lower back pain, muscle aches, fatigue, etc. Our social circle includes someone who had recently traveled to Hubei Province in China. I guess things could have been a lot worse for us. We’re still doing fine, though, even though we know quite a few people who aren’t.
6. I rediscovered and am having fun with some PS4 games I haven’t played in about 6 years. I never even finished GTA V and I haven’t finished the cop story in Need For Speed Rivals.
7. I’ve been seeing a lot online about mental health issues during this crisis. I was thinking about that a few days ago, wondering how being stuck inside is complicating the usual rise in mental health problems during the winter months. It’s already so gray, cold, and depressing outside and now we can’t even go outside. It felt great to just open the windows yesterday and I’m enjoying walking around in crowds in GTA V. LOL. Anyway, staying strong mentally.
Ordinary men hate solitude. But the master makes use of it, embracing his aloneness, realizing he is one with the whole universe.
Last week, I added a section to a blog post I made where I listed a few things I should be grateful for in the previous week. It seemed like a pretty good exercise, given the situation. I think it’s something I’m going to try to continue on a regular basis with once a week lists. Even after this pandemic is over, I think I could benefit from reminding myself of all of the good things that happen over the course of a week and meditating on them for a bit.
I reread The Red Badge of Courage and it made a lot more sense to me now as an adult and an Army veteran.
I’m continually grateful that the New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library have such a large catalog of audiobooks and eBooks that I can borrow through my phone.
I discovered free online courses from Harvard. The certificates aren’t free, but it still seems like a pretty good deal to me.
The cat we rescued, Mama Cat, is finally starting to improve. She is suffering from some kind of skin condition that we’ve been treating with antibacterial/antifungal wipes. We gave her a bath and she’s finally getting fluffy enough to pick up and pet. She’s super grateful for the affection.
I baked some kick-ass brownies.
I found a really cool horror anthology on Amazon Prime Video called Hitokowa: The Killing Hour that is kind of cheesy, but in a great way.
Honda Financial Services allowed us to defer our car payments for two months, so we’re relieved of that burden until June.
My wife and I are both healthy and we’re eating well, which is more than many can say right now.
We have lots of toilet paper.
Our cat, Dapper, is super happy that we’re around all the time.
I’ve been reading more by Stoic authors and the stuff makes sense. Here’s a quote by Epictetus that is still very relevant:
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.
There’s an element of this in Buddhism as well, where you’re encouraged to live in the present moment. Or maybe I’m mixing that up with Western mindfulness? I’ll have to do some more reading.
De Blasio was throwing around the idea that there might be a “shelter in place order”, basically restricting all movement except essential services I guess, but Cuomo said De Blasio was basically full of crap and there was no such plan. Apparently, shutting down New York City is off the table, probably more for logistical and enforcement reasons than anything. How do you shut down a city this size? Would the police even attempt to or be able to check everyone still out to see if what they’re doing is authorized?
That being said, I’m stuck at home anyway, because my work requires me to be in venues of 50 or more people and gatherings that size are currently banned. I could go out and screw around and hey, maybe I will, but today I was at home using the time to try to catch up on some things.
Basically, I was just cleaning and doing chores. Laundry, sweeping, mopping, sanitizing surfaces, dishes, cooking for my wife who is working remote. Digging out old Christmas hand sanitizers and Wet Wipes from the closet.
I spent time with my cats. I even stayed in bed for an hour this morning after waking up because my cat Dapper was resting on my arm. Why not? Not like I had anything that pressing to do and she always gets upset when I leave.
I updated my resume, Indeed, and LinkdIn. I transferred downloaded photos from my phone to my laptop.
I finished The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath and started reading East of Eden, by John Steinbeck.
I put a bunch of extra time into studying Japanese and Spanish on Memrise.
I want to do some more reading tonight. Maybe I’ll play a video game. I’ve been meaning to get back to The Witcher III on my Switch. But really I’ll probably wind up shitposting on Twitter, Pleroma, and Facebook.
Now what? I need to get out of the apartment for a while tomorrow to work out. While that’s still allowed. The gyms are closed. I guess I could do something here in the apartment and go for a bike ride.
I’m not sure how I’ll feel if this goes on for a few weeks, but right now, I’m set. If the chores run out (and with the tax deadline looming and plenty of other cleaning to catch up on, that’s not likely to happen) there’s always Netflix, video games, board games, and books.
It has taken me a while to post this because it is such a hard thing to do. It was hard to look at her photos. Hard to think about all the good times we had together, and hard to deal with the fact that she’s no longer with us. It’s hard to type this because a public acknowledgment is so final.
We adopted Thumper in early 2009 in Singapore. Just over a year ago, Thumper was diagnosed with cancer. Saturday she lost her fight. The cancer had spread to her chest cavity and it was filling with fluid. She could no longer breathe well enough to move even two feet without collapsing and gasping for air. Watching her struggle and suffer and slowly die in front of us was incredibly painful and it was unfair to her to let her slowly suffocate to death.
On Saturday we took her to the vet to say goodbye. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Making the choice and then physically doing it. Putting her in her carrier and walking out of our apartment on Saturday morning was a really bad experience. Holding her head while she took her last breath is something I’ll never forget. I’d honestly rather go back to Iraq in 2003. It was less painful and less stressful.
Thumper was a blessing on our lives and helped us both through some tough times and became the spark of joy that lit up our home. The apartment feels empty without her. The last few days have been very tough for us and for Dapper, Thumper’s sister. Dapper has known Thumper since Thumper was a kitten also. Only her nemesis, Cheesecake, seems pretty good about things since he’s 2nd favorite instead of 3rd favorite now. But seriously, he’s acting weird too. They both look for her. Sometimes we do too.