At the hotel in Oklahoma, while I was loading luggage onto a cart from the trunk of Ted's car, I saw a young woman, carrying a toddler, approach the passenger side of a car that was occupied by a weary grandmotherly person. The young woman presented the toddler and the grandmother's face lit up with the happiest expression I've ever seen--almost beatific--attesting to the transformative powers of toddlers.

5/25/09 - Day before yesterday I was searching for a word to express succinctly the splendid perspective on life I enjoyed while driving into the New Mexico rain from the Texas panhandle. I discovered the word on this morning's drive. It is gratitude.

Obie and Ginger inspect New MexicoWe reunited with the cats yesterday. They showed signs of stress (weight loss and greasy fur), but boy were they glad to see us.

Obie was the one who seemed most traumatized and is the last one to recover his confidence, but everybody else is getting the hang of things. We coaxed the cats outside to the dog run that has two big juniper trees, a high fence, and a secure entrance directly to the garage.

It took Bob about 10 minutes to discover that he could go over the fence.

Bob is the prowler and the one we're most concerned about losing. We have done everything we can to orient him, and there's little point in trying to keep him inside. He simply won't stand for it. Bob was the cat to recognize us first yesterday and stuck to us like a cocklebur all night long.

tunawalksinnm01Obie, Tuna, Ginger and I took a hike along the power trench over to our construction site. Those three are accustomed to following me around the yard, so I figured they'd handle it ok. It is a greater distance and over rougher terrain than back in Virginia, but they did fine. The secret is to keep calling them.

Tuna, the indoor-for-11-years cat, complained the entire trip over, but led the way going back. She's uneasy about being outdoors, but totally hates being left behind, so when it's time to turn around and get back to the safety of the house, she's the first one down the trail.

By the way, her ears are protected with sunscreen. White cats are susceptible to skin cancer.