We Miss Our Siamese Wolverine

Missy the Siamese Wolverine was a magnificent blend of strength, beauty, and confidence who boldly sought adventure in the fields and forests by day and companionship with her humans at night.

Missy-Siamese-Wolverine-2009-02-07

A month ago I found our beloved cat Missy, the Siamese Wolverine, shot and buried by someone in our neighborhood.

Since that day, we have experienced much sadness, anger, and grief over losing such a unforgettable companion.

Although we don’t know when, we know the killer will suffer greatly for this evil act.

We want to thank everyone who offered sympathy and support.

P.S. Here’s the story of the terrible day: Missy the Siamese Wolverine – RIP

Tiger Woods’ Mother – Tida Woods Does It Her Way

Jaime Diaz at Golf Digest magazine traveled through Thailand with Tida Woods. She doesn't give interviews, but Jaime found out a lot about her in their travels. She had a tough childhood and she balances toughness and love in her own unique way. Click on the link below to read about a very interesting woman who has raised an amazing son.

Link: Tida In Thailand: Golf Digest Magazine.

Tida Woods with Tiger

This was a 550-pound adult male tiger at Thailand's Tiger Temple, out on an alarmingly exposed area at the bottom of a rocky canyon with only a frail Buddhist monk in a flimsy orange robe holding a stick as her guardian. By most accounts, the monastery does an admirable job of "imprinting" tigers to be comfortable with human contact, and thousands from around the world visit every year without reported incidents. This tiger, along with about a dozen others within a 50-foot radius monitored by other monks, was deep into his mid-afternoon nap. 

…Without hesitation, she sidled up to the beast, kneeled down and stroked its back. After a few moments, she shifted herself toward his face with what Cesar Millan of "Dog Whisperer" fame would call "good energy." Lowering into a sitting position, she scooted forward and, yes, lifted the tiger's head into her lap. And as time stopped for her traveling companions, she happily kept it there for more than a minute.

"Tida" is an animal lover who indulges four big dogs at her home in Southern California, and as a native Thai, the tiger holds an exalted station with her.

via Bill Kruger

The Amazing Team Hoyt

Dick Hoyt is strong, brave, and loving. Look at this 4 minute video: Team Hoyt.

Link: Team Hoyt

Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father-and-son team from Massachusetts who together compete just about continuously in marathon races. And if they’re not in a marathon they are in a triathlon — that daunting, almost superhuman, combination of 26.2 miles of running, 112 miles of bicycling, and 2.4 miles of swimming. Together they have climbed mountains, and once trekked 3,735 miles across America.

It’s a remarkable record of exertion — all the more so when you consider that Rick can’t walk or talk.

For the past twenty five years or more Dick, who is 65, has pushed and pulled his son across the country and over hundreds of finish lines. When Dick runs, Rick is in a wheelchair that Dick is pushing. When Dick cycles, Rick is in the seat-pod from his wheelchair, attached to the front of the bike. When Dick swims, Rick is in a small but heavy, firmly stabilized boat being pulled by Dick.

via Somnambulist

Chelsea the Airedale: Nov 23, 1992 – May 29, 2006

My sister Joyce’s devoted Airedale Chelsea died in her arms in the early hours of Memorial Day. Chelsea was 13 years old. Her health had been declining for several month.

Ann and I saw Chelsea every year when we traveled to Virginia at Christmas. In the mid-1990s Joyce would bring Chelsea to our parents’ home when we all converged there for Christmas. Playing rough with her in the front yard was a flashback to my childhood, when we had an Airedale named Ginger, who really liked to play rough and tumble.

After my mother passed away in 1997 and my father sold the family home to Jay Frith, we celebrated Christmas at Joyce’s home in Richmond. Chelsea always welcomed us with barking and affection. She liked the rest of the family but she loved Joyce with all her heart. Chelsea and Joyce had an intuitive connection that was evident to everyone who knew them.Chelsea_christmas_2003

Everyone always brought Chelsea a Christmas gift and she delighted in tearing open the wrapping paper. Most of the time we gave her a stuffed animal. Even the toughest stuffed animal rarely lasted more than an hour or two with Chelsea holding it down with her front paws and pulling it apart. We played tug of war with stuffed animals — she would growl ferociously and shake violently, but she never bit me.

Chelsea had an ongoing relationship with Grendel the Siamese cat across the street. They would meet, nose to nose, separated only by a pane of glass in the storm door, and fiercely growl and yowl. Each wanted everyone to see just how tough they were. I’m sure Grendel will miss Chelsea too.

Chelsea liked to sing. When my nephew Burk played a harmonica, she would howl along with him. This video is from Christmas 2003.

On Chelsea’s last weekend, she had what she wanted most — Joyce’s undivided attention. Bill and Burk were away and Joyce was able to be with Chelsea. In Chelsea’s last hours she was blessed with loving care. We should all be so fortunate.

Rest In Peace Aunt Dot

My late father’s sister died Friday. She lived a long, interesting life, and was the last living sibling of my father’s brothers and sisters. Aunt Dot and my father were born in 1916 and 1917, respectively, and lived into the 21st century. What amazing changes they witnessed in their long lives.

Link: TimesDispatch.com | Richmond Virginia Obituary.

Dorothy M. Shelton Dorothy M. Shelton, 90, of Richmond, widow of Ned Shelton, passed away February 24, 2006 at Lucy Corr Village. She is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth Evans and husband, Bobby of Supply, N.C., and Mary Lou Cowles and husband, Gary of Chesterfield; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

My Mother in her Kitchen

Ruthmyersinkitchen Here’s a picture of my mother in her kitchen. This picture captures her energy and love of life.

She passed away nine years ago today.

Going back to my home town was never the same after she was gone.

Thanks to Ann for finding this photo.

The Best Laid Plans

Yesterday at noon I had a flight to Richmond, VA (from Atlanta) to surprise my sister Joyce at her 50th birthday party. She wasn’t expecting me (Ann and I were just there at Christmas). She was having a catered party with about 40 friends expected at 7pm.

My plan was to sneak into the party through the back door and merge into the crowd. She would be so surprised when she spotted me.

I got to the Atlanta airport (via the MARTA train from North Springs, always an entertaining ride). When I checked for the gate for my flight, I saw that it was cancelled! I went to Delta ticketing and found out the 5pm flight was full (and likely to be cancelled due to the weather in Richmond — sleet). There was another flight at 8pm but that was too late.

The disappointment hit me like a brick. I was really charged up for the surprise and the party, and then I had to get back on MARTA to go home. I don’t blame Delta for cancelling this flight — the weather was really bad — but I had a hard time accepting that my plans weren’t going to work out.

Stuff happens.

Photos for Pat Hite

My aunt Pat Hite (my mother’s sister) was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the spring of 2004. Being bedridden, she was missing the beautiful spring outside.

I decided to create a photo album of pictures taken in our yard to send to her. Pat passed away on June 1, much earlier than I expected. I was very disappointed that I was not able to complete the photo album and get it to her before she died.

I have posted it to my weblog as a tribute to Pat, who loved country living, nature, and beauty.

To see the photo album, click here.

Does Parenting Change the Development of the Brain?

Research suggests that parenting affects the molecular development of the offspring’s brain, at least in rats.

A decade ago Prof. Meaney noticed that newborn rats whose mothers rarely lick and groom them grow up… well, there is a fancy biochemical description for it, but let’s just say that they grow up a bit of a neurotic mess. Pups of attentive moms grow up less fearful, more curious, mellower.

Prof. Meaney and his team then showed that this wasn’t a case of mellow moms having mellow kids and neglectful moms having maladjusted kids, as the DNA-as-destiny crowd would have it. When the scientists switch around the newborns so that rat pups born to attentive moms are reared by standoffish moms, the pups grow up to be extremely stressed out, nearly jumping out of their skins at the slightest stress. Pups born to standoffish moms but reared by attentive ones grow up to be less fearful, more curious, more laid-back, taking stress in stride.

Rearing, it turns out, affects molecules in the brain that catch hold of stress hormones. Licking and grooming increases the number of these receptors. The more such receptors the brain has in the region called the hippocampus, the fewer stress hormones are released; the fewer the stress hormones coursing through its body, the mellower the rat.

It turns out that all newborn rats have a molecular silencer on their stress-receptor gene. In rats reared by standoffish mothers, the silencer remains attached, the scientists will report in the August issue of Nature Neuroscience. As a result, the brain has few stress-hormone receptors and reacts to stress like a skittish horse hearing a gunshot.

But licking and grooming by an attentive mother literally removes the silencer; the molecule is gone. Those baby rats have lots of stress-hormone receptors in their brains and less stress hormone, and they grow up to be curious, unafraid and able to handle stress.

Mellow or Stressed? Mom’s Care Can Alter DNA of Her Offspring, By Sharon Begley, July 16, 2004, Science Journal, Wall Street Journal

Eulogy for My Father

Below is the eulogy that I gave at my father’s burial service on October 1, 2003, in my home town of Martinsville, VA.

My father won’t have any buildings or roads named after him. But if we measure a man’s success from where he started to where he finished, my father was a very successful man.

I’d like to tell a story. On Christmas day 2001, my sister Joyce gave my sister Billie and I a gift of a photo of my father when he was a little boy. It is the only photo from his childhood we’ve ever seen. He was about twelve years old, standing in front of a unpainted clapboard shack. It was his home. His father was an alcoholic who abandoned the family during the depression, leaving his mother to raise seven children with no financial support. My father never spoke of his father.

At Christmas dinner, I asked my father what he got for Christmas when he was a boy. He said, “we always got a good meal for Christmas.”

From that beginning, my father — along with my mother Ruth — created the wonderful home at 2 Hampstead Place. He worked hard to provide his children with so much he never had. He put all three of us through college.

If I look at my father in the light of where he started and what he accomplished in his life, he was a very successful man.

Here’s the photo that Joyce found. (My father is on the right; his younger brother is in the center and his sister Nellie is on the left. In the back is a cousin who was visiting.) Every picture tells a story and this one tells me so much about my father’s childhood (which he was very reluctant to discuss). If I had really understood how he grew up and the implications of that experience, I would have appreciated his success more and forgiven his mistakes more readily.

Related Link: Hampstead Place Renamed to Myers Place