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6 . 2 . 15

Gabriela “Gabby” King (4/2/1996 – 6/1/2015)

Gabby was the nicest cat I’ve ever known. My sister Amy found her when we were living in the church farmhouse in Greensburg, Pa. She was meowing from the bushes near the house. Someone had dropped her off as so many people had done to cats in the past on the country road where we lived. But Gabby was different. She was smart enough to make a lot of noise meowing. Everyone would wonder, “Where is that cat meowing?”. My sister found her in the nearby bushes.

I returned from work to see my brother and sister on the back porch. I saw a small long haired black and white kitten laying on the porch. She was on her back, with her front paws pawing toward the sky back and forth. She was very cute. Everyone wanted to keep her, the only issue was the other cat we had (“McEnroe”) did not like Gabby. It was impossible to turn her down. This kitten was unnamed, but we followed our tradition with naming cats after tennis players. So we called her “Gabriela Sabatini”, or “Gabby” for short.

I remember how playful Gabby was. We tied a stuffed mouse with a three foot string to the end of a yardstick. Gabby would spend hours jumping after the mouse. We noticed if you flipped the mouse while she was in the air she would actually do a full 180 degree turn in the air chasing the mouse.

Gabby survived several moves, which to a cat, are somewhat traumatic. The biggest move was a three day trip from Pennsylvania to Houston. At first she didn’t like riding in the car, but she did get used to it to a certain extent. She would try to hide in the hotel rooms so she didn’t have to go back in the car but eventually she did make it to her new home and adjusted quickly as usual.

We enjoyed giving her treats. Her favorite nighttime activity was laying in my mother’s bed while she watched TV. She loved attention. She would always purr loudly.

When she neared the end of her 18 year life she had some trouble with her health. As most cats do she hated pills. We took her to the vet a few times. We extended her life six months, and enjoyed every last minute with her. When it was her time, we knew it, and it seemed like the perfect chance to let her go. If there is a kitty heaven, I’m sure she’s in it.

I’ve met a lot of cats in my lifetime. Gabby is by far the most adorable and friendliest I have ever seen. My family and I will always hold a special place in our hearts for her.

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8 . 28 . 14

Usually I have some strange dreams but last night’s was particularly unique. I dreamed my family adopted a cheetah as a pet and we fed it some Gourmet cat food that belonged to my sister-in-law’s now deceased cat. So everything appeared to be going well with the cheetah, except for one thing: we forgot to feed it after the initial bowl of gourmet cat food. A week or so later I was looking around the laundry room where the cat food was and noticed it was barely touched. I was wondering what the cheetah was eating and then it dawned on me that it didn’t like the gourmet cat food and it hadn’t eaten in a week. I panicked, knowing that a hungry cheetah could be dangerous around the house and ran for the other cat food that we feed our current cat with. I quickly dumped three cans in the cheetah’s bowl and fortunately it liked this food. I felt a brush of relief knowing that I had quelled the hunger of this potentially dangerous wild cat.

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8 . 22 . 14

So it’s been two years since I’ve been ice skating and really it’s turned out to be more exciting than I had expected. I go to a lesson every week and he’s taught me all sorts of useful things that you could never learn on your own. After averaging two to three hours a week for the past year, I’ve reduced my time around the rink, and have learned forward and backgward crossovers, and some turns and spins. There is some progress, so I continue to push myself to get better.

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5 . 3 . 14

When I was a senior in high school applying to colleges, I chose UVA, Virginia Tech, and Penn St. I applied to all three. The results were as follows: Penn St. accepted, Virginia Tech, accepted, UVA…waiting list. So anyway I went to visit all three schools. I pretty much knew what I was getting into at Penn St. But then we made the trip to Virginia. When I saw the VT campus, I was shocked. It is very beautiful. It seemed more organized and a bit smaller than Penn St. The same day we drove to Charlottesville, but it was rainy. It was a long day and I was tired. As I said it was raining. We ended up doing a quick drive by and I was not particularly drawn to the appearance of the campus, so we didn’t stop or get out. I decided to eliminate UVA as a choice. However, instead of leaving that option open and waiting to see the result, I wrote a letter to UVA saying I wasn’t interested anymore and to remove me from the waiting list.

I really regret this decision. I never found out if I would have made it into one of the most prestigious schools in the country, nor did I attend which I believe would have left me with more options for my life. I chased engineering, which turned out to be a field that I didn’t particularly like. I followed the myth of making a good salary and having a lot of job prospects. UVA is more well rounded and is very prestigious. It would have been interesting to see how my life turned out had I gone there. It would have been interesting to see the friends I made and if the mistakes I made would have been avoided. There’s nothing I can do now but continue my life and try to keep my eyes open for a similar opportunity.

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6 . 1 . 13

As I’ve been learning to skate, many people on the ice will periodically offer helpful advice. Even young children try to do their best to teach you.  One thing I’ve noticed however, is that not only is their advice helpful, but it’s also downright hilarious.   Today is one example.

It’s always a little slow when you first start a session because you’re also afraid of falling.  Usually you get accustomed to it after a few minutes and this time was no different.  Anyway, as soon as I got on the ice, a little girl says to me,

“Is this your first time skating?”.

I didn’t tell her that I’ve been skating 11 months.  That was a real confidence booster.  I then responded with

“It’s the skates I’m getting used to the skates”.

That was true because this particular rink has really bad rental skates.  But my spirits were lifted a few minutes later when a little boy (who was looking at my Evgeni Malkin jersey) says to me,

“Do you play hockey here?”

I responded,

“Not now, but hopefully someday”.

Also my confidence was again lifted when an hour later the same girl came by and said,

“You’re doing better”.

Thanks boys and girls, you’re very helpful and downright funny.