These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

meow, meow, meow

that translates from cat talk to human speak as "we don't want to go to the vet today."

yes, it was time for the cats to get their annual shots. we'd fallen behind and decided to bring them in, both at the same time, too. it saves on time,but it's tough.

the cats seem to know what's up, too. dawn went to the basement and moved up both cat carriers to the front basement room, kinda getting ready for the trip. i found kit and started petting him, as i picked him up. but he was not his usual purring self. he knew something was up. he was probably thinking 'his guy doesn't usually pick me up like this. what's up?'

i handed him over to dawn and went down to grab the carrier. he saw it and tensed immediately. so, ard as a rock, he went in and we locked it.

then katrina. she was easier. dawn grabbed the carrier and i scooped her up from under the kitchen table. she, too, stiffened and was reluctant to get in the carrier. however, in she went.

then the ride over to the vet. it was a meow song, a duet from kit and katrina all the way there. luckily it's only over on washington avenue. and it was continual meowing in the waiting room. for awhile there with both meowing just a split second from each other, it sounded like the sound effect of the little girl in poltergeist when she was stuck inside the tv. it kinda creeped me out for a second.

inside, once katrina was let out, she hunched on the scale and remained there, curiously looking around. that settled kit down. she got a nice "oh a torby tabby" from the vet. apparently my katrina is a rare breed of tabby, not seen in regular populatins in the feline world. how lucky are we to have this pest living with us?

her vitals were good. except that my cat is a tad overweight. maybe by as much as a pound and a half. she weighs 12 pounds now.

kit came out, less reluctant than katrina. he had his body checked and the vet foun a possible, probable heart murmur. it's nothing to be alarmed about, but still it's there. also, he has a miniscule bump near his ears. it's not on the surface of the skin, but it's there. the vet said to check it out, monitor it and see what we want to do.

overall, not bad, good service with the vet. she was very nice, talkative with the cats and handled them very well.

now, several hours after the visit, they're still hunched over, being very cautious who they're coming close to. katrina saw dawn putting on her coat and she scampered away, fearing another tortured trip in the cat carrier. kit is just being elusive this afternoon.

but, now they're up to date with shots and they can relax and be about their finicky cat feline ways.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

death of hank reest

hank reest was a pilot who was aboard a beechcraft airplane that crashed at tulip ciyt airport march 6. he and pilot eric stam were up front and a woman from grand rapids was sitting in the back. reest and stam both sustained serious head injuries, while the woman walked away with minor injuries.

reest had been in critical condition since then at sprectrum in grand rapids. mark got a call from one of the local mortuaries late tuesday evening if it was too late for an obit for the following day's paper. that's how we found out reest had died that afternoon.

so being that it was in the evening, it fell on me to make the necessary calls and attempt to write something. i had just returned from a meeting when mark b. told me abuot the plan. i didn't panic; i simply accepted that it was to be done.

so i pulled up some of the stories that had been written and looked up some of the names that had commented for those articles. i had the airport manager in mind and sure enough his name was there. also, i found out reest had been a swimming coach at west ottawa and had earned many state championshps. so i talked to alan and he gave me a n umber. all i needed was a family member, which is the best source ofr info. if all else fails, get the family member.

again, i turned to the sprts dept. they helped me get a number of a family member througha sports contact. after two calls, i got through to reest's son. i interviewed him and it went smoothly.

after the interviews were done, notes transcribed, i set to write it. it flowed like nobody's business. i'm not saying it was the greatest story in the world or anything, but i was proud of it. i guess i was proud because i didn't have high expectations that i'd get anywhere with it.

it was a rare moment when the stars are aligned, the gods in your favor and all the right cards fall n your lap, to name a few cliches. it happens infrequently, but when it does, it feels good.

i think, through the various comments, i presented a nice picture of reest as a pilot, coach, business owner and family man.

Monday, March 20, 2006

it's a girl...of course

emma grace was born last night at about 9:30 central time. she weighed six pounds, once ounce and was 19 inches long. so i am an uncle for the third time. two nieces and a nephew.

it was a long labor, nearly 21 hours all of sunday. we got a phone call from my brother-in-law arnold at 4 a.m. saying linda had been admitted to a hospital in cprpus a few hours before.

the took long in dilating from her admittance time to 8 p.m., when she reaached nine centimeters.

the child and mother are fine and should be home tomorrow. they're staying overnight since linda had a fever during the entire birthing and emma grace was born with a slight fever. both are fine now.

apparentely has features of both arnold and linda. emma has his facial features and linda's eyes, hair and skin tone. she was not fussy at all, enjoyed the bath after being born and, according to relatives there, even seemed to pose (as much as a newborn can) for a picture.

i can hardly wait to see the little one.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

what's that smell?

recently a friend divulged something interesting about himself while we talked. i found his experience interesting and it got me to thinking about similar "sense-based" experiences.

my friend said since the days of his youth, he's associated a certain soft drink with his first sexual experience, if i got it correct. he drank a the pop afterward and since, he's always associated one with the other.

so i got to thinking of how strong certain senses are for people. for him, it's the taste of that pop that sends him back in time. for me, though, it's smell.

i have always been drawn to past experiences or people from my past through the sense of smell. i know that probably my hearing is pretty strong becaue of my loss of vision. but i feel a certain, special connection with my sense of smell.

my paternal grandfather died a few weeks before my fifth pirthday. i lived next door to him and saw him pretty much every day until he died. (i was a fave. grandchild.). he used to use aqua velva, the green bottle type, as an after shave. it has a distinct smell to it. every time, and it's become increasingly rare, that i get a whiff of it these days, it takes me back to that old man i knew for a handful of years. and while i don't use aqua velva and don't particularly like it, there's something about the smell of it. it's comforting to me.

last year, i believe, i was waiting outside work and there was a wind blowing from the west off lake mac. it's was a cool night (but not cold at all). as i waited for my ride, i got this strange smell coming down eighth street. i stood transfixed, mostrils flaring. i quickly went back in time about five or six years ago, back to the ranch. the smell of the ranch, as the wind blew across the big field, was humid and smelled of the country. it was a pure smell, not polluted by any industry. well, i know there's a lot of crap along lake mac preventing that from giving me a pure smell, but i swear that was getting that same smell. it was nice. country wind is nince wind.

back to perfumes. this is not definite because i can't pinpoint it, but i can remember certain perfumes some of my elementary teachers wore; i'm talking first or second grade. i could be at meijer or walking downtown and all i need is a whiff of it and, bam, back to my grade school classroom.

lady stetson reminds me of this girl i liked when i was a sophomore in high school. when i smell that these days, and it's rare, it think of her and part of that sophomore year when i thought she was cool.

then there's dawn. she also wore a certain type of perfume that day we first met in person in san antonio. again, i don't recall the name,b ut it was such a pleasant scent. it put me at ease right away. she has worn that same perfume sparingly during the past few years. when she does, it takes me back to that first time. beautiful perfume.

"have a coke and a smile."