I wanted to take a minute to tell you about our oldest cat, Rafe. He’s 17 1/2 years old, and the gentlest by far of all our cats.

He was the one who taught me to love cats – and how to love them. Before Rafe I was strictly a dog person. I thought I liked all animals, but I had never really put it to the test with cats.

When I first met Rafe he was so quiet, so composed, that I was scared of him – no telling what he might do with those claws, those sharp teeth. It seems ridiculous now.

Now he has arthritis in his hips, and he can’t quite groom himself everywhere, so I help him. He doesn’t like any brush we’ve found, so I do it by hand, one small mat at a time. I pet, I talk, he purrs… or bites, if I pull too hard. His purrs have always been quiet. You have to lean down close to hear them at all. And you have to earn them – he doesn’t give them easily. So it’s all the more satisfying when they come.  

18:27:35 PM

-4°C (24.8°F) DSL is finally back… it took 3-1/2 days to get them to reset the port I was connecting to, and all it worked. I’m too happy to have it back to be too unhappy about my time without it.

Earlier today we got a very, very light dusting of tiny, hard, dry snow – like ash.