dear lulu,

thank you for the comment the other day. in it, you asked:

"Although all this time I thought your real name was Illahee....I thought it was interesting and beautiful? Where did it come from?"

ah, illahee. i guess i've never really explained it before. well, here goes. this is illahee:

illahee on the front steps

in the summer of 1998, i worked at a state park. illahee state park, the second smallest state park in washington. i was a park aide, and i got the job because i knew the wife of the head ranger there. they need a woman park aide in case something happens in the women's public rest rooms. it was a pretty cool job, the one where i really had to clean toilets (i think maybe everyone should clean (public) toilets for a while. then we'd probably have nicer public rest rooms!!) and pick up trash, but i got to work outside and if i avoided the rangers, i could have the afternoon to myself pretending to work! lol just kidding. but i was happy if they'd tell me to go paint fence posts or something so i could kind of hide away and stay out of trouble. since it was a state job, i got paid a lot no matter how much i did. actually, my passport picture is a sunburned me in my park aide's shirt.

anyway, illahee state park is pretty much in the city of bremerton, so there are a lot of people surrounding it. there are also plenty of cats there. one morning when i was doing my rounds (first clean toilets, then empty trash cans and then walk the trails picking up garbage) i heard a cat crying. i went up a trail and saw a couple hurrying in my direction. they looked at me and then we heard another cry. the cat was right behind them and the woman said, 'this kitten just started following us!' she looked guilty to me, i think she and her husband abandoned him! i didn't say anything, just picked up the kitten and took it to the office. there were some cages there, so i put him in a cage with one of my spare shirts (he cried otherwise).

later that day, some boys brought me another kitten, a white one with a blue eye and a green eye. i carefully put him in the cage with the other kitten (which was much smaller) prepared to yank him out if he attacked, but instead he started grooming the other kitten and they've been best friends since.

that night i brought both the kittens home with me, because my parents' house is near the humane society of kitsap county, and i finished work after they closed. the plan was to take them the next morning, but by then my family wanted to keep them and that's how we acquired cats number four and five. illahee has always been mine, though he and my dad get along really well. silver (the white cat) is actually a pretty dumb cat, but he's beautiful, and illahee's best friend, so we keep him around. i miss illahee a lot, so a lot of my internet handles involve the word illahee.

i hope that answers your question.