Sad news all around tonight. One is that the dog belonging to a brother of mine and his wife grew old and ill enough they had to put him down. I'd known he was getting into old age -- last I saw the dog was blind, nearly deaf, and getting arthritic -- but I'm still sad for them, and the dog.
The other is the belated discovery that the reason I haven't seen the older cat around here is that she died, of old age, several months ago. I didn't realize I was this far out of touch. Everybody assumed someone else had e-mailed me, and nobody actually did. I had assumed this trip she was simply hiding out of sight and sulking about my presence, most likely coming out when I was asleep to glare at me. She treated strangers in her domain that way.
She was a fine cat, pleasant in her way, for a cat with the personality that there's only one person she likes and that person is not you. But she could touch on affectionate, and she had that sort of bundle of dignity some cats are born with, was passionately in love with those little cardboard bits held on the end of a long wire (she would chase them, and them alone, to the point she had to lie down and pant), and when I took the time to meow at her she only looked at me for a few seconds before deciding I wasn't going to say anything interesting. I miss her.
Trivia: By 17 May 1973, three days after launch, Skylab had used 23 percent of its attitude control propellant, about twice what was expected. Source: Living and Working in Space: A History of Skylab, W David Compton and Charles D Benson, NASA SP-4208.
Currently Reading: Discoveries: The Voyages of Captain Cook, Nicholas Thomas.