Go Ask Daddy About Cause Ribbons, Mexican States and Cats’ Mental Health

crossDad was always prepared.

GAD GRAPHICHe wrote out to-do lists. He wrote lists for his to-do lists, I’d imagine. He changed oil in his truck at 5,000 miles and never ran out of gas for the grill. I used to give up soda for Lent. Dad would have a six pack of IBC root beer chilling in the fridge on Easter morning. Without fail.

It shouldn’t have surprised me dad had a prayer for in case he lost to leukemia.

I have a box of dad’s things. Many came from the tray on his hospital bed. A wooden cross, meant to bring healing. Prayer cards from his sister, to St. Jude, and for healing. Among them was one of Jesus, huge smile on his holy face, hugging someone on a cloud.

It was a prayer about losing the fight.

When I Come Home to Heaven

When I come home to Heaven

How joyful it will be!

For on that day at last

My risen Lord I’ll see.

No greater happiness than

To see Him face to face,

To see the love in His eyes

And feel His warm embrace.

I’ve done nothing to deserve

That perfect home above.

It was given freely through

That grace of Jesus’ love.

Then why should earthly cares

Weigh down upon me so?

They’ll be a distant memory

When home at last I go.

Beth Stuckwisch

1. Why is leukemia’s color orange?

photo credit: Clemson University  Paw Coaster via photopin (license)
photo credit: Clemson University Paw Coaster via photopin (license)

I could find watches, decals and charms in leukemia orange, but not a single explanation.

If you’re a cause to cure a disease, you hope your color brings star recognition. Pink, for instance. It’s not for the panther anymore. Pink symbolizes the fight against breast cancer. The cancer color wheel contains 30 colors and color combinations to draw awareness.  They symbolize hope in the fight.

NFL players, club soccer teams and sororities wear pink. It shows support for the fight against breast cancer. We need more people in orange. Or maybe just Peyton Manning, holding a Lombardi trophy, will do the trick.

2. How do they make 1% and 2% milk?

photo credit: Mooaarrrghhhh-.jpg via photopin (license)
photo credit: Mooaarrrghhhh-.jpg via photopin (license)

By finding a cow among the 99%. And another among the 98%.

Milk from any cow on any farm contains 3.5% butterfat. This is according to a rep from Clover Stornetta Farms. Fat’s spun out of a giant centrifuge. It isn’t unlike that barf-inducing centrifugal ride at the . Fat’s lighter than skim milk. As the centrifuge spins, the cream rises to the top.

With metering pumps and computer equipment, farmers squeeze just enough fat out of milk. It becomes your 1%, 2%, and skim milk varieties. If the milk gets spun enough to become skim, dad wants no part of it. Go give it to a Democrat or vegetarian.

3. Where is Veracruz located?

photo credit: Veracruz-35 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Veracruz-35 via photopin (license)

Right above the Tobasco.

No, not the hot sauce. I mean the State of Tobasco, in Eastern Mexico. It’s long and skinny, and coastal. Kind of like a Hollister model. But brown. You’d find vanilla pods and spider monkeys in Veracruz. There’s a basketball team called the Halcones, and a baseball team named after coffee.

Let’s get down to it, though. What about the food?

I found this recipe for Red Snapper Veracruz, the state being all coastal and all. Whip something up like this for me this weekend, girls? Treat a daddy right?

4. Can you dial 911 with just Wi-Fi?

photo credit: Caterpillar CAT B10 | BestBoyZ via photopin (license)
photo credit: Caterpillar CAT B10 | BestBoyZ via photopin (license)


With metering pumps and computer equipment, farmers squeeze just enough fat out of milk. It becomes your 1%, 2%, and skim milk varieties. If the milk gets spun enough to become skim, dad wants no part of it. Go give it to a Democrat or vegetarian.

Two of you three girls have phone plans. Grace, stick close to your sisters in case of an emergency. You used to be able to make 911 calls from a mobile phone without service. Not anymore. In related news, rotary dial phones and video tape were also in use in my lifetime.

5. Can cats be mental?

photo credit: Golden Kitties via photopin (license)
photo credit: Golden Kitties via photopin (license)

It’s not like there’s such a thing as kitty Prozac. Is there?

It’s not an easy thing to prove. A cat might have behavioral problems, but are they a result of mental illness? Mental illness occurs as a biochemical/neurobiological entity. But if a cat acts mental, is it a result of suboptimal training and environment? That said, I believe a cat can be mental.

I’ve seen it in ours. Anxiety, phobias, compulsive disorders. This study says dogs can become aggressive if their owners are, too. Does our dumb cats’ neuroses reflect badly on us as caregivers?

I checked. There is no official color for cat mental health awareness.

They don’t assign one for lost causes.

cats quote


  1. OK, that last line sent me over the edge giggling after shedding a few tears over the beginning of your article. So got to give credit where credit is do for the range of emotions I felt here for just this one post!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Psh, cats. And this one really was all over the place, wasn’t it? I blame it on the ADD, like the song says.

  2. Naila Moon says:

    My nephew and my kid’s Dad has leukemia so, I am with you. GO ORANGE!
    Oh, and as a plus…I live in CO! Go Manning!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      leukemia is worse than all my hated teams, gross vegetables, cigarette butts tossed out of car windows, and people who don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom, x 1,329,090.

      I sure hope Archie Manning’s kid (the one with the forehead and decent offensive line) can make one more title run.

      Plus, the AFC will wear dark jerseys in the next Super Bowl, which would be orange.

  3. laurie27wsmith says:

    It’s strange the little things we keep in memory of loved ones Mate. My Dad died of Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 85′, is there a colour for that?
    I love milk straight from the cow. It tastes great and is a whole food. When I worked at the prison they had a dairy herd and I’d go and get a pint of cold milk whenever I could. Beautiful.
    You know how I did all the psychic stuff, well I did healings on animals and I can tell you that cat’s minds are totally different to anything else. They think in abstract and symbols. Really odd. There should be a colour for them, probably kitty litter white or similar.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, I believe, is lime green, mate. When you said milk straight from the cow, I pictured you suckling with your cool Aussie hat on.

      Isn’t it warm when it comes out?

      You gotta tell me more about this cat stuff, Fratello. I look at my cats and wonder if anyone’s home most times. Then they freak out and stare at something flying around that I can’t see.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Thanks for that, lime green eh? Via the bucket Mate, via the bucket. It is warm when it comes out and isn’t it nice on your cornflakes. Cat’s are strange indeed. They’re manipulators with a cruel streak a mile wide. I won’t go into any analogies about exes or anything on that though. Suffice to say that cats are not quite like other living things. They think differently and something that sleeps that much has to be up to something.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I can’t blame cats too much, as the guy who actually bared his teeth to one today in order to reestablish his alpha male-ness.

  4. Lyn says:

    Your posts are always such an eclectic selection of topics, and no one could ever accuse you of your topics being ho-hum. Let’s hear it for orange for leukemia! It’ll stand out and be easily recognized.
    Oh yes, cats can definitely be mental. Ours walks sideways on his tippy-toes with this maniacal expression on his face. Then he tears down the hallway and tears back with his tail fluffed up like a bottle-brush.We call him Cracker Cat when this happens. It’s the wind that does it. Whenever it’s really windy outside, he goes nuts.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I have to credit the girls for their questions, Lyn! It was too hard to keep walking in the Light the Night walk for leukemia research.

      Walkers carried red balloons in honor of those who fought leukemia; white in memory of those who’ve died from it.

      There were way too many white balloons. Emotionally, that was hard to see. I couldn’t come back.

      Cats most definitely can be mental. And they have the equivalent of medicinal marijuana with cat nip.

      I knew a cat once who behaved liked yours did after he visited the litter box. Must have been quite liberating.

  5. The poem is beautiful! I like the ‘physcatlogy’ part too. (◓ᴥ◓)✌

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Pat – my dad wasn’t incredibly religious, but it appears he had all the bases covered. I thought maybe, of all my readers, you might appreciate No. 5!

  6. tania2atee says:

    I love skim milk! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I feel like I’m getting cheated when I have skim milk. Like caffeine-free Coke or sugar-free syrup or fat-free ranch dressing.

      1. tania2atee says:

        I never thought about it like that. But now that I drink skim, my kids’ 2% feel like cream and grosses me out. Lol

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s all relative – kind of like when people from Michigan come to the Carolinas and get in the swimming pool when it’s 55 degrees. For us here, that’s still daggum cold. To Michiganders, it’s springtime!

      3. tania2atee says:

        That would be like us Canadians going to Florida. While they are in coats and pants, we’re in shorts! 😉

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        When I lived in Tallahassee, a girl I worked with wore a parka when it was 65 out. That’s shorts weather to me!

  7. ksbeth says:

    very sweet and emotional post. and funny. and you are right about the cats.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      thanks beth. i knew with the first question about leukemia, there would be a chance to share a story of my dad.

      cats are insane.

  8. Kim says:


    I have a coworker who says their cat is on Prozac… And that they can tell when kitty misses a dose.

    Also, I think cats may be plotting to take over the world. Or is that gingers…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:


      Cats perpetually feel as if they’re on the edge of sanity. Cats might plot for world dominance, but are too lazy.

      Gingers though … you gotta watch out for them.

  9. You can’t call 911 without service?? Then why are all of us paying for 911 service fees? I thought it was to pay for those who use it without service.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      My research says we can’t … 911 service fees are collected to help governments offer 911 services.

  10. “Action speaks louder than words” comes to my mind when I read about your Dad.

    The poem made me cry, so did what you told Lyn about the Light the Night walk. Seeing the white balloons outnumbering the red ones must be brutal. One can only hope that the people who were being honored by the white balloon bearers, were watching from above and smiling.

    I’m trying to come up with some uplifting closing statement.

    The cursor has been blinking for what feels like a little eternity. I think I’ll leave it at that.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’ve summed it up perfectly about dad, Tamara. I was sad and proud to have found that card of my dad’s – it looks worn, like it had been given to him by someone.

      It’s tough, isn’t it? Dad had a wonderful support group at Duke. In his final days, we asked doctors how the others in the group were doing.

      All of them, sadly, had already lost their fights. Cancer really sucks.

      1. Looks like he saw everybody in his support group through their struggles until he was the only one left, I think that says a lot about the person that he was.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        My dad was always the one who went ahead of the pack to lead the way … but you might be right on this one.

  11. Kim says:

    Your dad’s prayer was sweet!!!
    Orange is the best color so it’s a good choice to be the color for leukemia!!
    My hairdresser has a dog who does take anxiety meds – crazy but true!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I guess he was covering all the bases. Ironic that his Broncos’ main color is the color for leukemia.

      I wonder if there are also bi-polar sea cucumbers out there.

  12. tamaralikecamera says:

    This Democrat can’t stand skim milk. Ew. So horrid.
    There actually IS Prozac for cats, I kid you not. Or the herbal version of Rescue Remedy. People super into essential oils (believe it or not, not me) use oils on their pets too.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Huh. I guess it’s not so solid along party lines. It feels like milk-flavored water. I’m learning all about kitty drugs.

      Would you dab some of that jive on Athena if she needed it?

  13. firebailey says:

    I think your dad sounds pretty incredible. It is no wonder why you are such a fantastic dad to your own girls, you had an awesome mentor. Even if you turned out to be a Manning fan. but then no one is perfect. 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Kerri. My dad and I are far from perfect, much like anyone who doesn’t like Peyton Manning!

      (I wasn’t sure we were about to enter the Brock Osweiler era in Denver, or trade to get Jay Cutler back!)

  14. Our vet suggested we take our cat to a pet psychologist. That…did not happen! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Can you imagine? The psychologist might have prescribed catnip.

      1. THIS cat changed me from cat-lover to loving other people’s cats…I’m sensing a blog post…

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s where the best ideas come from, Jenn. That, and just minutes after minor head trauma.

  15. Rorybore says:

    our cat is mental every night from midnight to 2 am. I know that because I can hear him knocking sh&t over throughout the house. and if you get up to pee — you have to wear full body armour because you never know where he will leap from. My old room-mate had a cat that was so anxiety ridden and neurotic, it would sit there every day and lick its fur off in patches. weirdest thing I ever saw.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Cats act pissed when we turn on the TV in the middle of the day while they nap, but they can kiss it. Little effers need to be given a watch and a lesson on what reasonable hours are.

      I’ve known cats like that too, Rore. Why did the Egyptians love them so much?

      1. Rorybore says:

        Ha! that’s exactly what I told my roommate – just get a sphinx already!
        And for all the other stuff, nothing is as handy and helpful as a spray bottle full of water!!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It works with toddlers, too.

  16. Lisa says:

    Wow awesome prayer Eli! Touched my heart! My husband has Hairy Cell Leukemia which is a rare form of Leukemia and he will battle it for the rest of his life! I will share that prayer with him! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I was just surprised he had it, and didn’t know he did until after he died. Here’s to your husband’s strength in the fight.

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