Sam Approved

Our cat Sam sleeps between my outstretched legs on the new sofa in May 2019

In Portland I had a cheap love seat with a large matching ottoman that all the pets could join me on, but since it wasn’t in great shape we didn’t bring it to Arizona. However we also didn’t want to replace it until we were in our permanent home and knew the size and shape of my office, so in the rental house I used my wife’s old futon. It was comfortable to sit on, and inadvertently sleep on, but there was less room for cats. When they did sleep on my legs outstretched on a coffee table even little Trixie, 8 pounds soaking wet, was putting too much pressure on my knees. We found a nice used sofa with an attached chaise lounge at a secondhand store that was a good size for my office and the cats have enjoyed having room to snuggle up again, no one more so than Sam.

Spring Sing

A cactus wren sings atop a saguaro with its mouth wide open near the Latigo Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in April 2018

A cactus wren sings atop a saguaro at the end of April in 2018. It was also the end of our first month in Arizona and my second trip to Brown’s Ranch, having visited the day before as well. The cactus wren was the first bird I saw on my first hike after we moved here, at nearby Pinnacle Peak, also singing from a saguaro but before the sun had risen. They were nesting at the Brown’s Ranch trailhead and I assumed would always be so easy to see so close but I’ve had less luck this year.

At least on the trails, at home one was beside me a few minutes ago as it worked the porch for food. A couple of weeks ago two wren parents were also close by on the porch, feeding their hungry and boisterous chick as it fluttered its wings to draw attention the way so many young birds do. As one parent fed the little thing I heard a thud at a nearby window and my heart sank thinking the other adult had flown into it. But then I laughed when I realized the sound came from the other side of the window and the source was our youngest cat Trixie who could no longer hold back her desire to be introduced to the young family.

All That is Good

A side view of our young black-and-white cat snuggling up against our black lab Ellie as she slept on her dog bed in October 2013

When we adopted Boo in the summer of 2013 we knew he was a sensitive fellow who was stressed by his time at the shelter and would need a slow introduction to the other cats. Despite the long history of cats and dogs he took to Ellie quickly, here curled up tight beside her as she slept on her dog bed. He especially loved taking her spot when she got up, reveling in the warmth left behind, and if she came back and found the bed occupied she’d quietly lay down beside the bed rather than try to get Boo to move. She was all that is good.

Fall in Irving Park

Our black lab Ellie sits in the leaves in front of trees colored purple, yellow, and green at the dog park in Irving Park in Portland, Oregon in November 2011

I love this picture of Ellie in the leaves at Irving Park, taken in the fall of 2011, but I don’t think I’ve put it online before. Usually it’s because I get so far behind in my editing, sometimes it’s because I’ll write the post in my mind when I’m away from my computer and then forget to actually post it. I’m thankful for our time in Portland for a great many reasons, but walking through our Irvington neighborhood with my sweet pup will always be one of my most treasured memories.

For Loretta

Our black cat Emma lays on her side on the ottoman in my office of our house in Portland, Oregon in August 2013

We didn’t bring my love seat from Portland as the affections of one dog and five cats had taken its toll over the years, especially from Emma (sleeping here on the matching ottoman in August of 2013). My wife also needed a sofa for her office in the den so she started looking while I was at work. We found a nice sofa for my office at a secondhand store and then tried a few other stores before visiting the store with a sofa my wife had seen and liked quite a bit, she wanted to see if I liked it as well.

The woman who helped her was named Loretta, we were introduced and she showed us a few options. She was the sort of salesperson you are lucky to find, she listened to what we wanted and guided us to the furniture they had that would work best for us. Not only did she not try to give us a hard sell to get us into an expensive custom set, she didn’t even give us a soft sell, rather after seeing that we both fit best on a reduced price floor model she happily sold that to us despite of how much less of a commission she must have gotten.

We also wanted an ottoman so she setup an appointment with my wife to go over the options and again, after listening to what we wanted, found one I think we’ll like and helped choose the colors. When they had the wrong phone number for us, because she lived kind of in this direction she stopped by the house to get the right number so there wouldn’t be any confusion or delays.

She was thinking of moving to Portland, her fiancĂ© lives there, and I hoped they would be as happy there as we had been. Sadly it is not to be as we found out she died unexpectedly Thursday night. Given how briefly our lives had touched I was surprised how taken aback I was by the news. Given the past few months I’ve been worn out mentally and physically but she was kind and attentive and made everything so pleasant for both of us.

Here’s to Loretta and all those who are kind to strangers, not because of how much they’ll benefit, but because it’s who they are. If only briefly, I’m thankful we met.