Here in Western Minnesota we’re experiencing an unusual dearth of snow this year. A slight covering of flakes one day and then meltdown the next. It reminds me of four years ago, our first in this northern prairie, only more extreme on the side of minimalism.

Last year we were buried amongst towering drifts and I had to put on snowshoes in order to reach and refill the bird feeders. But the weather predictions suggest that what we are now experiencing is likely to be the new normal.


If I’m going to become a proper Minnesotan it seems I should not have to gaze out at brown lawns and puddles in the middle of January. Something is amiss. Today on the East Coast there is a force which has been named Juno, after the Roman Goddess Queen of war and fertility, pounding the coast and blizzarding across 7 states. It could be she caught that lascivious naughty Jupiter cavorting with a sea nymph in a romantic hideaway in old Cape Cod and yanked the jet stream right off the Canadian Clipper thoroughfare and hurled it towards their rendezvous. It wouldn’t be the first time. More likely it’s a collaborative human error, piling up ecological travesty in the face of scientific admonitions.


You know when the Pope, bless his heart, announces that he is writing a papal edict about the reality of global warming and climate change, we’re in deep trouble. And don’t just take my word for it. According to Paul, my favorite Twin Cities weatherman – “Fourteen of the 15 warmest years on record have been observed since 2000. An estimated 93 percent of the extra warmth is going into the world’s oceans.” Gulp!

If, like me, you feel utterly helpless and distressed and furious at those world “leaders” who, seemingly without shame or forethought, continue to pull our world towards its demise, then I can sympathize. Oh, I add my name to every petition that crosses my computer screen. I rant to friends and write letters to politicians. I reprint articles and pass them out. But really, I ask you, do you think it’s working?

Nothing left to do but join virtual hands, take a deep breath, set our sights on global protection for Mother Earth, and chant together – “I do believe, I do believe, I do believe.” Or something like that. If collective thought can bring Tinkerbell back to life, just maybe it can change the planetary consciousness whatever the words. If you have any better ideas, please let me know. I’m open. OM.


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No doubt every region of the country has specific culinary preferences, many brought by immigrants who needed the taste of “back home” in their new land. Some are dependent on local availability from sea, lakes, waterways, forests, plains or simply the efficacy of specific agricultural conditions. And some are simply traditions that have evolved over time.

I have no tie nor have ever visited our east coast with the exception of one brief trip to New York City when my son was an actor in the Red Moon Ensemble. I’m not certain that any one food concoction in Gotham City would qualify for regional tradition given the hodge-podge, melting pot, grand-metropolitan atmosphere overall. In other words, New York transcends the norms and anything goes. I can certainly imagine Boston interlinked with baked beans without having a clue as to the provenance simply because they are touted in references to “Beantown.” Or a clambake on the New England coast because we know where the shellfish are abundant and Rodgers and Hammerstein told us so. “The vittles we et were good, you bet.”

On a family trip many years ago throughout the south I felt I was traversing a different country, a far cry from the other three quadrants. Yes, I was particularly stunned by “Whites only” signs on drinking fountains (it was the sixties), but the local food as well. Grits with every breakfast. Heavily sugared iced tea a necessity. Gravy required on biscuits. Collard greens and cat fish. I have a particular fondness for Truman Capote, Harper Lee, Pat Conroy and William Faulkner and if creativity is in any way influenced by diet, they seem to have thrived on the fare. I admit I experienced only a fleeting traveling café agenda, but in my heart I have to pass on their cuisine. Except for the greens. But sautéed and not fried in bacon grease, please. However, I must admit that at the first taste of New Orleans beignets, I just might revise and succumb.

On the west coast, another melting pot, the culinary mix is exotic, daring and experimental. How I miss our weekly excursions to the local sushi bar – Tekka Maki (always my favorite) or whatever the chef chose to serve. “Your choice,” we would say. “Surprise us.” And the dishes would arrive, each one like a precious culinary painting. Tamales – the ultimate test of Mexican gastronomy, steeped in heavy corn aroma and flavor, sauced with salsa verde. A steamed artichoke, fresh from the foggy fields of the central coast, dipped in melted butter before sensually scraping the meat off each leaf with one’s teeth. Or our weekly drive down the old Morro road to the orange grove stand on the left , the avocado on the right – fruits freshly picked from the surrounding fields, exotic in their perfection.

I can’t speak for the entire Midwest but I now know (somewhat) the idiosyncrasies of Minnesota and North Dakota. In a hunter/fisher culture, walleye and venison rule. I found that I love walleye. Venison, not so much. Scandinavian fare is the preference and the norm. Many of us would pass on lutefisk, but it is offered in abundance at Lutheran church dinners during the holidays and even at the local Viking Café in Fergus Falls. If you can make great lefsa you are lauded and can sell as much as your grill, stick and flour tossing allows. Garrison Keillor made fun of hot dishes, but they prevail. And bars. Not of the alcoholic variety, but cookie dough that is faster and easier to mush into 9 x 12” baking pans.

There is one anomaly, however, that continues to stump me here in the upper Midwest. What’s up with buns? It seems that every church gathering, graduation or family reunion, holiday club meeting, or just because – begins with buns. I have heard it again and again. “I get my buns at …” “That was the first thing I did, I ordered the buns.” “How many buns will we need?”

It seems that buns are the foundation, the culinary prop, the stage and platform upon which the entire menu is structured. The pulled, sauced meat, the pickles and olives, the side cold and hot dishes are merely accoutrements to the buns. I don’t get it. But maybe I do. Are the buns the equivalent of not being too pushy, too forward? Is it possible that someone at one primal moment in some Lutheran church basement set the standard and ever after it would have been considered too fancy pants, too not proper for the flyover zone, too “who do you think you are” to plan an event differently? Is it akin to the tradition of not sitting in the first half of the pews so you won’t seem like you think you’re special?

I come from a line of great cooks and bakers and they were North Dakotans and Minnesotans. Grammy Marie made the best pies in the fly-over zone. Grandma Ingebretson set the standard for rhubarb torte. Aunt Lil whipped out two turkeys, multiple side dishes, lefsa, flatbrod AND buns this past Thanksgiving at age 91. The Nelson “girls” – Lena, Milla, Lottie, Tilda, and Ella – were known throughout the community for the yummiest food in town. And if they shared a sacred recipe, you were blessed.

Gastronomy is alive and well in the northern Midwest. I say let’s ban the bun, don our aprons and celebrate our creativity. Scandia-fusion lives!


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When we decided that moving to the Great Northern Plains was the cure-all answer to retirement (considering affordable, far-from-California-cost-of-housing), it never occurred to me that we would be cutting ourselves off from so much time with our children and grandchildren. No problem, I thought. We often drove two to four hours for family get-togethers. Hopping on a plane would not be all that different in the overall time frame. Would it? But, as it turned out, the irritations about cattle call boarding, missed connections, lost luggage, fear of flying, squashed seating, and time zone mental travails, encompassed only the basic problem. As it turned out – flying was expensive.

And so, here we are, nearly four years later, with five short visits which engaged four of the extended family of eleven. In a world where Face Book trumps personal phone calls, even above email, we often feel bereft of connection. The Divas have grown from little girls into near women-hood while we’ve been gone. The grandsons are young men, out and about and into a world we know nothing about.


Sometimes I feel as if we’ve moved to the moon.

Yet we are blessed with an extended blended family that is a treasure. We moved to a community that brought us an abundance of friends. And if I am now too, too insanely busy, it is plunk in the middle of personal passions – gardening, writing, spiritual exploration, and community markets.

Beyond that, our move fulfilled my lifelong dream that I would return to roots and merge with the gene pool that propelled us here in the first place. As a Californian, I always wanted to go home. If not to Norrafinskoga, Skarvik, Haukanes Hordaland, or Toten, then to the Red River of the North on the upper prairies. I’m certain my cousins were always envying me, growing up on the beaches of Southern California, surfer girl (not really), cool kid (actually, more of a nerd), at the same time I was envying them as they played about the farm of our grandparents. Hide and seek among the corn rows. Building forts along the river. Climbing to the highest loft in the barn. Sledding and snow ball fights. Or so I imagined. And then sitting down together at Grandma’s sumptuous table. I so wanted to be them, be there with them.

Grandma and Grandpa are long gone, as are almost all the aunts and uncles. Many of the cousins have moved away to warmer climes. Or died far too young. The farm is currently being plowed up for a heartbreaking and misguided river diversion. The little town no longer has businesses, not even a grain elevator. Only the Knickerbocker Liquor Locker at one end of the main street and the Shepard of the Prairie Lutheran Church at the other.

But still we were 19 at Thanksgiving table in the old “town” house where Aunt Lil still resides. She made lefsa and flatbrod and buns. There were two turkeys and more side dishes than I can remember. In the family tradition, all the kids received a small crystal goblet with one sip of bubbly red wine in order to make the toast. Skol!


As I write this, the Canada Geese are circling overhead in massive, honking flocks. This morning the piliated woodpecker clutched and swung on the suet basket just outside the kitchen window while I kneaded seeds and grains into the whole wheat country bread of the week. My personal chef is making a pork tenderloin for dinner, with roasted beets, butternut squash and wilted greens. Button Bright was the perfect kitten choice.

I give thanks.

Best of all, Noelle is coming for Christmas. God Jul!

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We’re still learning and often amazed by episodes of kindly behavior in this state of Minnesota. I’m talking about brings-a-tear-to-your-eye, out of the blue, acts of kindness. There is the neighbor who showed up on his snow plow and apologized for not regularly clearing our driveway the first winter we were here. There are the many friends (you know who you are) who go out of their way to give me a ride when needed. There is the electrical auto mechanic who, after working on the van all morning, declared “no charge” when he failed to find and fix the problem.

And now there is the nice man at Service Foods. Last week we came home missing one bag. It wasn’t immediately apparent until days later when The Chef needed an onion and we searched the counters and trash, scoured the van, and said repeatedly, “Oh Darn!” a lot. Or something in that vein.

The next time we went to the market we approached a person who looked “in charge” as he conversed with another customer and when he was available we mentioned the lost bag. He cut us off before we got through “Three yellow onions at 39 cents a pound …”, directing us towards the produce section while stating emphatically – “Get whatever you’re missing!” I started to say, and ground ginger and … but he waved us on. Not – who was your checker? Or even – let me check my records. Give me your list and I’ll have a clerk pull the items for you.

So we shopped and filled our cart to the brim, putting the yellow onions and ground ginger and smoked paprika in a separate plastic bag in the kiddie seat. When we got to the register the “manager” was suddenly there, taking the bag ahead of the checker saying “Good, I hope you found everything you were missing?”


Service is a medium size local store. They don’t allow shopping carts in the parking lot, so every check out line has a box “man” ready and waiting to carry out your bags. And most of them do it with a jolly joke and a hearty happiness that is real. And this time of year there is a conveyor belt which is the other option. Your bags are loaded inside and they run along a track to the outside of the building where you can drive up and load. Probably not uncommon in the great state of Minnesota, but new to us.

I drove away from Service Foods that day with a cheery feeling and resolve to not be tempted in the future by low priced specials from that big box store at the edge of town. Can you imagine going up to the service counter there and whining that you believe you left a bag behind the previous week? Do you really believe the response would be, “Oh just go through the store and pick up anything you missed.”

No. I’ll be happy to buy my Dakota Maid (millers since 1922 in the Red River Valley) flour, and my Thousand Hills 100% grass fed beef summer sausage, as well as Freddie’s lefsa in a pinch and Falls Bakery bread on a non-baking week. And all the other usual supplies.

I’m certain the manager fellow calculated his policy on building customer loyalty and thus, overall sales. Good for him. I followed the same guidelines over the years in the retail business and now at our local farmers market. However this incident went far beyond a positive shopping experience. It actually made the sky seem bluer, the day sunnier and my mood near ebullient. If I didn’t actually “pay it forward” on the spot, I was definitely so inclined.

How might this work in the greater world? I don’t think I’m alone in feeling discouraged when I open the Star Tribune each morning. Or tune into national news on TV. Is it just me? Is it because there is so much media blaring around the clock that it appears we live on an increasingly hostile and dangerous planet? There have always been hot-spots, troublesome areas, wide-world travail. In my childhood it was the Second World War which certainly encompassed populations and countries far and wide. But then it was Korea, and then Viet Nam and the first Gulf War, with many travesties here and there and in-between. A famine here, a border dispute there.

“Al-Shabab slays 28 in Kenya. ISIL toughens tactics. Global crisis tests U.S. Afghan bombing kills 40 plus. Dozens killed in attack on Nigerian. Islamic fighters battle forces in Baiji. Two blasts hit Kabul.” Borders are broken, the bees are dying, our oceans are polluted and global warming is real and here. Now.

It seems overwhelming to even consider the possibility of healing our planet Earth. And is it too late? Have we morphed into hatred and division and ecological amnesia so that, like a child who goes into a tantrum and gets caught up in the furor and can’t stop the momentum, we have passed some disastrous turning point?

We need a manager guy who waves us on and ministers to our complaints. We need to listen. And Care. And allow for mistakes. And accept those who are different.

I know that this is most likely too much to ask of our world. Yet given that one kind act can make the sky bluer, the day sunnier, is it possible that there might be a larger trajectory on a world-wide scale to somehow stop the madness? I’m likely dreaming, but I vote for universal service with a smile. For a start.


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You know that you live in Minnesota when just one day after the opening of deer hunting season, you see the sight of a gutted doe hanging in a back yard just a few blocks from home. This, after wondering why so many neighbors were donning neon orange caps and jackets as they drove off in the wee hours of the previous morning. It certainly couldn’t be the newest stylish fad from J. Jill. But maybe L.L. Bean?

As it turns out, there were expected to be approximately 500,000 participants in this year’s hunt. The estimate is that about one in three hunters succeed and with the current one deer limit (unless you are hunting on a private reserve or property) that makes for about 166,666 carcasses. One of which is swinging from a tree just a few blocks away.

I remember cousin Chuck reminiscing about the deer lodge on Grandma Pauline’s family property near Lake of the Woods with Uncle Ralph and cousins Ross, Curtis and Doug’ spread nearby. It was family history and the stuff of reverie and tradition. A Minnesota ritual reenacted annually with seriousness and celebration. A nod to the past pioneers who depended upon the hunt.

I get that. And respect the nobleness of securing one’s own food. How much better than eating animals who have been packed into food lots, never to know the freedom of the woods, the life lived as intended, wild and free. But, as a child, the second movie I saw (after Dumbo) was Bambi and the grief I felt after Bambi’s mother was shot by the hunter possibly scarred me for life.

Then there is the experience of living among the herd in California. In May of 2011 I wrote, after looking out of our living room window –

“The doe was – no she couldn’t be – yes she was – depositing a baby fawn right then and there. I grabbed the binoculars to be sure and by then she was licking it and nudging it into the tall grass where now I could see a second head, the first twin.

One year we had a doe that we called “The Bad Mother” because one of her twins was pathetically small and crippled and she tended to shove it away when it tried to nuzzle up to her. I’m sure she, in the wisdom of Mother Nature, knew best because the poor little thing was not destined to live and however much we grieved, she instinctively knew it was best to let it slip away rather than prolong its existence. But it was a heartbreaker.

Our favorite twins were likely born just below our lower driveway. I would see their long ears twitching just above the grass as they lay partially hidden and curled up while mom went grazing. As they became yearlings, we noted their distinct personalities and different coloration. The one we named Buffy was creamy-tan, exceedingly handsome and gently tolerant of other deer. Biff, as the name suggests, was feisty, had a dark streak running down his back and most definitely exhibited “attitude.” I watched him once enjoying some rose cuttings I had thrown on the compost pile when two big bucks arrived. Buffy gave way to the big boys immediately, but Biff never stopped eating as he positioned his small body to block their way. And even as they tried to muscle in, he held his ground.
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I became so comfortable around the two that even when they were adults, I walked about the property, doing my chores as they nibbled nearby. The does might jump away if I got too close. Buffy would stand placidly and Biff would stare. One time I was kneeling down in the driveway, rooting up a stray thistle and as I looked up I noticed that Biff had a piece of wire wrapped around one antler. The thought went through my mind that I could probably reach out and pick it off for him, but something, some inner voice stopped me and just the next week I read in the paper about the number of people in California who had been gored to death in their yards.

I did once see that fury and force unleashed on a silly turkey that insistently gobbled and chased our flock of deer. It became a game until the day one big buck had had enough and it was shocking, swift and fatal.”

It’s been ten years now and I often wonder about the twins but, given the absence of a mighty hunter, there is no doubt in my mind that Biff has become the new Prince of the Forest.

Here in Minnesota, without deer fencing around the perennial beds, the local herd plagues my William Baffin rose, chomps the Asiatic lilies, and raids the sunflower feeders in the dead of night. Consequently we haven’t established the same cozy bond. Just yesterday I noticed that the back door had blown open and as I reached out to shut it, a buck bounded past, a few feet from the door. No doubt he saw what I saw just down the street.

Run to the thicket, Bambi!
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This will be our fourth winter in Minnesota.

The first was unusually mild and we thought – “Well, this isn’t so bad. What’s all the fuss about?” Plus we were enamored with the novelty of it all. Ooh, look at the snowflakes! Icicles! It looks like the Snow Queen’s Palace. Brrr. Shall I wear my snowshoes to refill the bird feeders? Oh, fun!

The second winter was “snowier” than usual. So we were told. And we watched as the drifts began to bury the birdbath and smother the garden stairway. The snowplow knocked the mail box askew and our shovel was always at hand by the kitchen door in case we needed to exit the house. Fortunately that winter, we didn’t need to travel out and about very often, so we hunkered down and I baked bread and we caught up on our reading agenda.

But last winter descended upon us with record cold so that we recoiled while wondering, “what were we thinking?” when we moved from coastal California to the pits of hoar frost. That season I began to worry whenever I slogged down the driveway in order to dig into the snow bank for the buried Star Tribune, that my contact lenses might instantly freeze onto my eyeballs. One day I watched in horror from the dining room window as T.M. took his turn and as he gradually descended, suddenly flipped up and sideways and disappeared. Watch out for the “black ice,” they warn. You betcha.

I’m having difficulty assigning a point of view to the upcoming winter. I vacillate between all of the above. Anticipation. Worry. Excitement. Depression. When we were newcomers anything was possible and the thrill of adventure overrode any fears and spurred us on to heights of wonder.

Then we settled into the next phase, becoming one of the tribe and sharing that knowingness that we were inured and capable and yes, we understood the gravity of this Nordic life, but we had passed the initiation and were “cool.”

The past winter our collective resolve crumpled a bit and I, at least, was in limbo, walled in with the grays and often claustrophobic.

Now it has come round again and I wonder about my resolve. I know I’m not ready. But today I concentrated on putting the final beds to rest. I stuffed plastic bags with fallen leaves and staked them about the roses. I raked the rest, the downfall that had not been mowed for the grass, across the lawn and into the perennial beds for mulch. The last of the garden ornaments were stashed in the shed. The stone bird bath was shrouded with a cotton rug and plastic bag. I stuck a piece of the water hyacinth into a vase in the kitchen window so that it could be resurrected in the pond next spring. The hanging geraniums were stashed in the basement.

Just in time. Today the snow began to fall in big flakes and Paul Douglas, the Star Tribune weatherman began his daily column with the headline – “The S-word” and continued – “I expect it to be cold, crystalline, slushy at times, slippery to the touch, a flaky-white appearance due to scattering of light. The mere risk of snow will cause some people to make irrational decisions; commutes mangled, tempers tested.” And he concludes – “Our weather honeymoon is coming to an end. Next week may feel like late December. Not. Ready. Yet.”
Me neither!

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We have been blessed with a number of fabulous cats in this lifetime together – Robin Goodfellow, Pandora, Bela, Ram, Cleo-catra, Nefferkitty, Magic, Esmeralda Pananoia, and my darling Lyra Deara. All wonderful and special and deserving of a novel enumerating their personal and fascinating feline tales.

We still tear up remembering Bela’s too early demise under a speeding car and Rammy’s sweet brrrrp’s and the way he lined up the tails and feet of dusky footed wood rats as an offering each day. And Esme’s gentleness and unrequited love for her magnificent brother, Magic, who was the Prince. And Lyra, our alien child, who came to us with her little nose pressed against the door pane, twerping with angst and delight at finally finding humans who would rescue her from the cruel outer world.

But none were like Cosmo who, for almost twenty years, was one of “the three of us.”

I’ve written about him in the past. Of how, as a kitten, when I waded up a small piece of paper and threw it in the hopes that he would amuse himself while I read my book, he flew after it, only to bring it immediately back and drop it at my feet. Waiting to have it thrown again. And again. And again. And frequently throughout his lifetime.

How, up into his elder years he loved to play tag – hiding behind furniture and running out to swat me with a paw. Running back to hide and waiting until I snuck up and swatted back. And on and on.

How he understood the English language so that we would spell out words like t-r-e-a-t in case he heard.

How he immediately came running when you called his name, even when engaged with a bit of tomfoolery two blocks away. And liked to ride in the car on errands.

How he slept snuggled against my chest with his head tucked under my chin.

When he had a stroke at 19, flailing and crying out, we panicked. And when his kidneys began to fail a week later, we knew what we had to do. We sat with him as the doctor stuck in the fatal injection and he collapsed, frantically confused and gone in too much hurry and disarray.

I need not describe the sorrow and grief that followed.

But in time, T.M. (“That Man,” known as Bob in Minnesota) began to talk of another cat. I resisted and changed the subject. He persisted and I countered. Now we could take little trips. No one could replace Cosmo. We would always be comparing. It wouldn’t be fair to the newcomer.

Finally, he made the definitive argument. He needed a cat in his life. Given that he had turned 80 this year, and given that the life of a cat should coincide now with his, it might be the last one. Whether you called it blackmail or a dying wish, I had met my match.

And so he began to scan the inter-net for candidates. We agreed that it must not be a Burmese (too close for comparison purposes) but we both preferred the “meeses” – the siams, the tonkas, the burmas – and we would like to adopt and not purchase an expensive fancy breed that was bred but not raised by caged parents. The kitten must be highly socialized and we must immediately a-tune to his special-ness. A thoughtful and time-consuming procedure it must be. And I relaxed. And occasionally checked-in and commented.

The day Major Bud’s photo appeared on a rescue/foster cat site, I gave him more than a casual glance. “All right, all right,” I conceded. “We can go look at him. But we absolutely must both have an undeniable feeling of connection. He must seem special in the way that when all the litter came running into the room, we instantly knew that Cosmo was ‘the one.’ We can’t just decide that because we drove all that way (two hours) that we shouldn’t go home empty handed. Promise?”

Major Bud and his brother Captain Winky had been dropped at the end of a farm road and rescued by the veterinarian who started an organization named PAWS, short for Pets Abandoned Wanting Support. Winky had lost one eye (hence the name) and was awaiting reconstructive surgery, but they were both highly socialized, living uncaged at the veterinarian/home with three other foster cats and five permanent residents, running free among the comings and goings of other cats and dogs and people. The brothers were part Russian Blue with just a trace of tabby markings showing through their tail fur. They were adorable.

Years before I had planned to name my Lyra Loki, after the Norse trickster, before I discovered she was a girl. Now the name would be perfect, I thought, for a young male who was wonderfully naughty and sweetly self-confident. Until everyone we told about the christening decision mentioned a brother or a friend or a neighbor with a cat named Loki. What was going on, I thought? Is it a Minnesotan, we’re all Norwegian and barely three degrees away from Asgaard sort of thing? But, no. I Googled it and discovered that Loki is now one of the favorite cat names in the country and it’s all because of that Action Adventure TV phenomenon “Thor” – Loki, of course, being a major player. And never wanting to be a copy-cat, or own one, I knew that would never do.

And so the search began. And I was now the one scanning the inter-net by the hour, for I truly believe in the significance and magic of names. Think of Runplestiltskin. Or the ancient belief that the name of God is so potent it must not be spoken aloud. Or that children should be baptized quickly so that fairies aren’t free to steal them and replace them with foundling babies.

To name something is to give it power and to imbrue it with an essential and specific quality. Plus the name must roll off the tongue in a pleasing manner.

I began with angels because I discovered that Russian Blues were originally called Archangel cats. But Raphael, Gabriel, Urial were a bit too serious and formal. And although T.M. liked Ariel and pointed out that it wasn’t especially a girl’s name in antiquity, and actually represented Prospero’s male spirit in “The Tempest,” I not only thought it sounded feminine, but it was now horribly tied into a popular, post Uncle Walt, Disney movie which stupidly tied a mermaid with a name that didn’t sound like the sea! Not to mention that it also was a Cartoon Action Adventure phenomenon.

Despite needing to circumvent Loki, I next moved onto Nordic names after discovering that the Russian Blue provenance was just as much associated with Finland as Russia. But after considering Asbjorn, Baldur, Snorri, and Finngad, I decided to move on again. We could do better. (No offense Oh Great and Noble Odin.)

At this point we decided to simply call him Buddy for the time being. It was a sweet name, it rolled off the tongue, and it was a diminutive of his listed foster name – Major Bud. To make it more interesting I tried Buddy Blue. Not bad. Buddy Boy. Ugh. No, we said, let’s sleep on it. It will come. But I am impatient and still I scanned the inter-net – foxes (which his face somewhat resembled) in literature, mystical names, elf names, Shakespearean names. Peaseblossom? Cobweb!

One morning, as I chided him for being a “Monkey Button” (the epithet my grandmother had given to naughty children) it occurred to me that most of our cat names had included that modifier, as in Cosmo Button, Magic Button, Esme Button. And, as he might be the last in the lineage, he could be “the” Button. And for his formal name, he would be Button-Bright, for the boy in the Oz books who had many adventures, including at one point having his head changed into that of a fox.

We tried it out. And for whatever reason, it worked. And like the boy who had many adventures, I suspect that Button Bright has only just begun.






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