Daily Archives: February 18, 2015



Today we buried Apollo. He was one of our seven cats. All loved. None purposefully acquired. You know how that happens. First we took in two brothers who having just been neutered for Feline Hope were riding with the vet when he came to treat our sick cat, Willie. They were the last of the litter. “We’ll take them both,” Donny told the vet. “They shouldn’t be separated.” Both solid black. They came with names, Huey & Henry.

“Mom, you were almost free of cats,” Emily laughed. It was her Willie, who had come to live with us after he lost his way to the litter box one too many times, that was sick and would not survive.

The next two to arrive were actually Lewis’ cats. One being Apollo. Gray & white Ares came first. A gift. Lewis decided to name his cats after Greek gods. When a beach goer found a wandering kitten on the beach and could not keep him, Lewis, lifeguarding at the time, stepped up. “Mom,” he phoned, “there’s this kitten…”

“Bring him home.” And so Apollo joined the consortium.

Next my sister had rescued a litter from under a trailer and when we stopped on our way back from California to visit her, she asked if we wanted the last two, Blaze & Pumpkin. “We’ve got enough already,” we told her. She understood. A few days later I called to say we’d take them if she still had not found them homes. They shouldn’t be separated either. Sucker for the family connection.

Lastly is Remus. This time a friend of a friend of Hilarey’s had found a cat while pool cleaning and could not keep him. He became Donny’s Father’s Day present. Hilarey told her dad that Remus was his Father’s Day present too, not being presented with a kitten. We called him the Kitten That Lived Under the Couch because he did and was so tiny and grey that no one could find him.

Cats on the porch the three yellows

But this story is about Apollo. It’s just that they are a consortium and operate as a group, most of the time. Apollo¬†liked to think that he was in charge. And he was unless Ares, the wanderer, was around. Apollo with the squinty eyes could fool his brothers into thinking he wasn’t paying any attention and then smack them into doing whatever it was that he deemed important at the time. He was first to meals and pushed everyone out of the way to get to the best bowl. He was lovable. He purred louder than any of the others and would offer you a wet kiss anytime you asked.

He stopped showing up for meals this past week. At first I thought he had just found something better. They all live outside. On a covered porch. With a custom built condominium. But when he kept hanging out in unit 102, the one with the heat light, Lewis decided that maybe he needed to come inside. We brought him in. The next day I messaged the vet. They were in Vegas at a continuing education seminar. She advised me what to do and arranged for some meds. We kept him inside in a quiet room. I checked on him a lot. Yesterday I decided that he was lonely and carried him around like a baby all wrapped up most of the day. He helped me win a lot of on line games of Dominion. He still wasn’t eating but he seemed better. He watched Justified with us last night. He told Lewis goodnight and as it turns out goodbye. When I looked in to check on him this morning he was in the same spot where I had put him down. I don’t think he moved, just drifted away to the ethereal cat consortium.

Goodbye Apollo. We’ll miss you.

ares & apollo

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by | February 18, 2015 · 6:49 pm

I’m Going to Do WHAT?

I was chatting with friend Jen today (you really should subscribe to her blog, Life in the Circus, it’s always a great read) about home schooling and how I would approach it now. Hard question. When we decided to home school after dialoguing for a full year with school personal about how they could provide better opportunities for Andrew and coming up practically empty handed (a few token classes but nothing meaty) we decided to try home schooling. Emily was a freshman at UNC-CH and Donald finishing out his high school years at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham.

Even though it was mostly my idea, okay all my idea, and Donny supported me, this is pretty much how I felt. A helpful selling point for both of us was the article that we read about three home schooled brothers who had recently graduated from Harvard. And all of our kids had skipped at least one grade so we figured if it didn’t work out we could drop them back into their chronological age grade and not miss a beat.

I'm going to do what?

I’m going to do what?

Stephen was maybe as skeptical as me but for a different reason, “This is how it’s going to work, Andrew,” he said after we told them the plan. “We’re going to go to regular school and then come home and Mom will teach us.” He could not believe that he would never have to go to public school again. Neither of the boys were getting into trouble or performing poorly academically. They were just bored. My take? They were learning really well how to efficiently waste time.

And so we took the plunge. And for weeks we did nothing, literally nothing. We were all so exhausted from all the trappings of getting ready for school, traveling to and from school (a good hour each way), working on projects not to mention homework that we just sat and stared at each other in silent glee. Then I started rounding up text books. I knew what I wanted them to learn and no curriculum was going to offer my eclectic blend. I found a company, Follett Textbooks, that had used books listed in an endless tiny print catalog, no pictures just books by category, page after page. They offered no questions returns. I jumped on that one. Remember this is still pre-public access internet days. I ordered books, returned books, relentlessly until I was satisfied.

And then we started in earnest. Before that there was learning going on. Just not out of a textbook.

 running on sandbags floating chain the bic and the boyslooking for indian artifacts with dad

Our days went like this. I would write out assignments for the two older boys after doing each one myself to be sure that I understood what I was asking of them and to ascertain about how long each lesson should take. Lewis was still in the hands on stage at this point. Reading and math were enough and quickly covered. I would line the books up (cannot locate the picture but it was awesome) on a bed and then they would have the day to complete it all. There was no school clock. No school room. They worked wherever and whenever they wanted. Inside, outside, long breaks in between, it didn’t matter.

We called ourselves the twenty-four hour family. Someone was always awake. The one rule was that all work for that day had to be completed by midnight. If they ran out of time they had to stop whatever else they were doing and finish up. I was usually in bed by then, but they didn’t abuse the system, or if they did they make it work, because when I got up the next morning the books with completed assignments were back in my court.

You didn’t think I was going to cover this all in one post did you? This is almost as much work as writing out assignments. I love both!


Filed under family, School