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Showing posts with label Goldie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Goldie. Show all posts

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Last Sunday morning we knew that it was time to take Goldie for her last trip to the vet. She had been lethargic for a couple weeks and not eating as much as she used to, especially of the hard dry food, "crunchies," she had during our lunchtime salads and her happy hour at 6:00. We thought she was just under the weather, which was very hot. Then she started missing her sandbox and she didn't even come back to the house for lunch when I opened the can of tuna for our salads--the smell of which, or a sixth sense, had always attracted her from as far away as the other side of the street. And then Saturday we saw that her face was swollen and puffed out on one side, and we made plans to take her on her final journey on Monday morning, because events like this always become clear on the weekend, don't they?

She was worse on Sunday. She would not go outside at all, and wandered slowly around the house, looking at her old favorite spots--the middle of her dad's bed, under the desk in my office, the rug in front of the window on my side of the bed, the rug in the upstairs bathroom--but not finding any of them satisfactory for a place to rest. And occasionally she cried a short, pathetic, little peep. By chance the vet was in his office Sunday afternoon, so we packed her up in a comfortable old towel and her carrier, and drove to Guardamar to a different office that we had never been to, and we drove home two hours later without the towel and carrier, and without Goldie.

She was sixteen years old and had come to us when we lived in New Hampshire. Johannes went to the shelter and brought home Goldie, one of six kittens of a litter, then just six weeks old. He looked at several, all lined up in little cages on a shelf. But the shelf was full and there was no more room; one lone cage stood on the floor with a tiny creature in it, and that was Goldie. And there was no contest after seeing her.

Goldie loved the freedom of her house in New Hampshire and quickly learned to conquer, frighten, tolerate, or run faster than all the various types of wild life on our mountainside. She was truly queen of the mountain and she reigned there for six years. Though she loved New Hampshire, she also went on vacation every summer, to Denmark--her first overseas trip she was allowed to ride in the cabin and, since it was her first plane ride, she got the window seat. She survived getting "forgotten" by the airline once in New York and arrived by taxi 24 hours later at her destination, a tiny summer cottage outside Copenhagen. Goldie also roamed freely in the kolonihave garden community in Skovlunde. But she didn't know what was ahead of her.

For one year she commuted weekly between New Hampshire and Connecticut, being driven down and then up I-91 for four hours and bearing the frustration of actually being locked indoors on the Connecticut end of the commute. Then we sold the house in New Hampshire and moved to Indianapolis and Roquetas de Mar, Spain, moving back and forth across the Atlantic seasonally. Goldie moved with us each time, earning her frequent flyer miles and something her mom never got--a European Union passport. Sadly at both ends of these trips she had to stay indoors, because who could expect her to acclimate herself to a neighborhood so quickly for such a short time at each stretch?

Four years ago we moved to Montebello, and here she was finally able to get outside again practically whenever she wanted, as long as she stayed svelte enough to glide gracefully through the slats in the front grate. She loved it here, and while we only own one house, she owned three properties--one on the corner and one across the street that were both empty until recently. She also regularly visited the house next door, because it was only used from time to time as a vacation place by its owners, so why shouldn't she? She jumped the balustrade from our property and then sidled through their grates and would sometimes stay for hours. She was never bothered by the many dogs around her, and she learned to coexist with one neighborhood cat as long as it didn't come too close.

She woke us every morning at 6:00, she entertained us at lunchtime with her "catch the crunchie" game, and she came in most nights at 6:00 and enjoyed her happy hour crunchies as we sat through the evening news, and then at some point in the evening she would disappear to a bed or a rug and sleep until early the next morning.

She gave us many hours of enjoyment, and she made this house in Spain her home, and our home, and we will miss her for a very long time to come.

Thanks to our many friends who have sent understanding and comforting words to us in our sorrow.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Earth Moved

The earth moved at 5:15 this morning. I was awake. I had already been up and downstairs, as I had heard Goldie getting sick on a piece of grass and went downstairs to comfort her and clean up the floor that had just been mopped clean twelve hours earlier. Johannes was also awake and made coffee. I showed him the Newseum app for his iPad and then took a cup of coffee back to bed with me, upstairs.

I was reading when suddenly I heard a terrible roar and simultaneously felt the house shake. I don't know exactly how long the sound and the shaking  went on. It was long enough for me to feel startled, look up from my book, and then to think with a great deal of certainty, "This is an earthquake." The tremor and the roar stopped, however, before I had a chance to wonder whether I should get out of bed and go downstairs. I looked at the clock; it said 5:15.

The earthquake did not cause us to lose power or our Internet connection, so we started immediately to try to find information about what had happened. A second rumble and tremor came, more distant, at 6:00. It took another 15 minutes before our searches for terremoto España hoy (earthquake Spain today) began to show results from today. The Instituto Geográfico Nacional was reporting an earthquake at 3:18 GMT.  Well, the minute seemed right, but the hour was off. Was what we had felt the first time just an aftershock? Had I slept through the real earthquake?

No, we felt the real earthquake, at around a quarter after 5:00. As the IGN helpfully reminded us on its page, Spain is at GMT+1 hour during the winter, but at GMT+2 when Spain and the Continent move to summer time, because Greenwich Mean Time never changes.

This was not a big earthquake in the realm of possibilities. It measured only 2.7 in magnitude. But 2.7 is definitely noticeable when the epicenter is only a couple miles away from where you are. On the map above, the epicenter is marked with the red star in the town of Rojales, which is where we go to the post office and the banks and the travel agency and frequently for morning coffee. Our house sits on the left side of the yellow highway to the left of Rojales. a little below where the r in Benejúzar is printed.

Fortunately we never heard any emergency sirens after the terremoto this morningBut we'll go out later today and check the house for cracks, just in case. And we'll probably drive over to the hilly area of Rojales and see if there was any damage there.


Postscript on Saturday, June 15: We did drive over to Rojales on Thursday after the earthquake to see if there was damage. We didn't find any, but we talked with some of the artists who lived in Las Cuevas, the caves in the hilly part of the city above the river. Carmen reminded us that caves are one of the safest places to be in an earthquake, and also that it is better to have several small earthquakes occasionally to relieve the underground pressures rather than one big one.

And then we had another one Thursday afternoon at 3:24. Again, I was upstairs, this time in my office at the computer. The rumble was just as loud and the house shook just as it had before. This time I started wondering whether I should go downstairs. But it stopped. This one was centered in Guardamar del Segura, further away to the east of us. Actually it was a little outside Guardamar, in the Mediterranean Sea. At 3.4, it was stronger than the morning one, though I see now that the first one has been upgraded to 2.9 on the Richter scale.

It's been quiet since then.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Spring Garden

Goldie coming out to enjoy the spring sun and to survey her domain from the front step. 
© Johannes Bjorner 2013

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Greatest Sandbox

On most mornings, we head out of the house at about 8:00 to walk to the play area in our Montebello urbanization to get in three or four games of pétanque. The recreation area includes a soccer field (in the foreground to the left), a children's playground with slide and swings, two pétanque lanes, and a handball court. It's all "paved" in fine beige sand.

This morning as we went out the door and locked the gate, Goldie refused to come inside and wait for our return. Oh well, she could wander in our street for awhile, and she could even jump the fence and find a shady place to wait for us to come back an hour later.

We walked the block down the street, and then another block past the orange grove, over to the recreation area. We were just at the point of throwing out the first ball when who should appear but Goldie, who had followed at a discreet distance. She nosed around the pétanque lane, discovered that the red "pig" ball was not some of her dry cat food, occasionally chased one of the metal balls, and wandered off to inspect the other recreation facilities and the adjacent orange trees.

And then, sure enough, she reacted to the largest sandbox she had ever seen and used it just as she would her litter box at home.

The next time Goldie comes with us to pétanque, we'll bring a plastic bag.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Goldie's Big Day

It's 7:30 AM and I awoke to the birds chirping two hours ago. We were downstairs early, even before there was full daylight, eating breakfast in the small sunroom/entrance to our house. This was to be Goldie's big day.

We had kept our cat inside for five days so she could adjust to her new home and recover from the terror of moving once again, cracking the windows slightly open to let the smells enter into her unconscious memory but prevent her from squeezing out, and suffering ourselves from lack of fresh air and cross breezes. Yesterday had been particularly terrifying for Goldie, with all the noise of drilling to admit cable and men crawling on the roofs and clattering up and down stairs. Goldie spent yesterday morning cowering in a corner of the downstairs office, well protected by boxes of books and miscellanea.

This morning at 6:30 we slid the glass door wider open than the inch or two that she had been nosing at, and soon she was out the door. Not running and dancing for joy--she stopped on the top step and looked behind, seeming to inquire why we weren't after her to scold her or bring her back in. We sat tight, and she proceeded down the other stair step, then walked over to the yucca plant and sniffed. Soon she proceeded to the pineapple palm, and then she reversed direction and walked around to the other side of the front room and nosed around the plantings there next to the three-person outdoor seating area. The next thing we knew, she had hopped over the greenery to the garden path leading down to a couple houses behind our property. We left her to explore and went about our morning routines.

At 7:00 I heard a loud continuous noise and walked out on the rooftop terrace to investigate. A large piece of vehicular machinery with a flashing yellow light was coming down Avenida del Tomillo. As it got closer, I realized it was washing the street. Ah, perhaps every Wednesday is street-cleaning day. I'll try to remember that next week so we can park the car inside the gate instead of leaving it on the street. The machine and the person driving it didn't seem to mind, however, as they maneuvered around several cars on the street. The dog on the other side of the street didn't appreciate the invasion, though, and who knows what Goldie was thinking about yet more noise?

I went downstairs to see if she had made her return appearance yet. We had left the glass door to the sunroom open, but closed and locked the grating on the front door of the house. (Locks, keys, door and window grills and grating are a major fact of life in Spain--we have four keys to go through just to get into our living room.) I saw Goldie outside the sunroom, sniffing at the bougainvillea. Then I turned my back, asked a question, and went into the kitchen for another cup of coffee. I came out and looked from the living room through the grate and sunroom, and whistled to try to encourage her to come inside. And she appeared, totally unexpectedly, from behind me in the house! She can walk easily through the spaces in the grating.

For coming home promptly, of course, she got a special treat. If she continues to get rewarded each time she goes out and returns, she may soon not be able to fit through the grating.