Our dear Mira is gone. In some ways, knowing the end was coming, makes it easier. I remember when Mouse was run over by a car. I was devastated. Such a sweet, fluffy (she was the only longhair in the litter), intelligent (she was the only one who could open doors by grabbing the handles), beautiful cat.
She had a habit of running across the busy frontage road beside our condo complex to catch field mice and gophers in the greenway along the highway. One day she didn't make it back. She had been out for hours, I was worried. I found her, flat and stiff, wrapped in a newspaper beside the road.
It was the daily habits that reminded me. Each day, I reached for four cat bowls... then put one back. These days I reach for three, and settle on two. Two toms remain. Enormous cats. Not really fat, just enormous. Take a look at the tail size on the other tabby beside Mira in this photo and you'll get a sense of what I mean. The fourth cat of the litter was Spock. His tabby "M" marking on the forehead reminded us too much of Leonard Nimoy's character to forego the namesake. We had given him away shortly after weaning. It was very hard. We decided to keep the others. Five, then four cats... now down to two.
But there are many small pleasures in life. Looking in my baby Composer's grey-blue eyes. I wonder if they'll remain that color. His mother has long been my "grey-eyed goddess Athena". My paternal grandmother had sky blue eyes her entire life. The older two boys have my hazel-green. Composer is just four months now... they could yet change. But those eyes seem willful in their determination to take after their mother's.
I love to tickle his cheek, and watch his delighted, gaping, toothless grin. I love the creativity of his elder brothers, their stories, and their questions. I enjoy those rare occasions when all three (or even just two) play contentedly together.
The past couple days I've enjoyed my baking again. I was never a baker until the past couple years, when my yearning for dense and flavorful Central European-style bread (the kind you just love to slab a hunk of cheese on), and the inability to find it anywhere, led me to purchase a baking book, and start experimenting. I'm finally at the point, where I can modify recipes on the fly and be fairly sure they'll turn out. I learned the secret to free-form loaves that don't collapse: long rising times (about 3-4 hours), with a couple intermediate sessions of folding the dough in on itself (like an envelope). That stretches and strengthens the glutens. The loaf above is a multi-grain sourdough (wheat, rye, spelt, cornmeal). I baked a dozen bagels the night before.
And now, it's back to work. I'm still honing the technology narrative. I have lunch today with an upcoming senior in computer science and business at a local college, who will be taking on developing a business plan for my firm as his senior project. Then, I head on a two-hour drive for a talk about the research priorities of one government agency. Busy days. Good days. It helps dispel the sadness of loss.