I'd Better Write It Down Before I Forget


Owned By Cats
My Little Peanut

Today is my little Peanut's birthday. That avatar over there on the left is a picture of Peanut. Peanut is my little kitty who wouldn't be alive if she weren't as stubborn as me.

Peanut was born on top of the bin that we have on our deck in front of our house (our deck goes 2/3 of the way around our house). Her mother's name is Hewey (Hewey had two sisters: Dewey and Lewey, and yes those were names I gave to them). Peanut was the runt of a litter of four kittens born on April 29, 2001. She was also the loudest.

Hewey was a barn cat from Art's barn next door. I decided to let Hewey and her litter stay by my place (I'm a sucker for kittens.) I got out a laundry basket and lined it with old towels for Hewey & company. Hewey was in 7th heaven with that basket and her kittens. The next day, another mother cat (who apparently had kittens at the barn who didn't live because she was full of milk) joined Hewey and the two of them created their own pride in my laundry basket. All was well and good for about a week, the two mothers worked in tandem nurturing those little kittens. It was a joy to behold how well that went for a short while.

Then the kittens started getting sick. About the time they opened their eyes, their eyes mattered up and they got runny noses and were generally very sick little kittens. I went over to my vet's office and explained my situation. The vet (this is a small town vet, she worked alone) looked at me and said "I'll stop by tonight, but it'll cost you." I said fine, I couldn't handle getting all those cats and kittens into her office.

She came by about 7PM that night. She looked at the cats and kittens. She shook her head and said something to the effect that the kittens wouldn't live, apparently one of the mothers carried a virus that caused their respiratory distress. She would leave me antibiotics to help with secondary infections if I wanted to try to save the kittens (the mother cats were fine). Of course I took the antibiotics. I wound up paying the way I pay best: cooking. The vet wanted 10 lbs of smoked chicken quarters in payment. I put the chicken in the smoker the next morning and delivered it to her office late in the afternoon.

Anyway, I started feeding the antibiotics to the kittens and trying to keep their eyes opened up and their noses cleaned off so they could nurse from the mothers. One kitten passed away after about two days. Another kitten passed away about a week later. This left two kittens with two mothers.

The mothers got upset when the kittens died. They searched and searched all around the deck for their missing little ones. Finally, one morning the other cat (this cat for some reason didn't like me very much, so I only ever called her "theonewhodoesn'tlikeme") took Peanut's brother and vanished. Hewey was very upset, she searched for hours for her missing kitten. In that time she neglected Peanut. I took an eyedropper and put drops of water on Peanut's tongue every so often. It became apparent by nightfall that Hewey wasn't going to mother Peanut any longer. Oldsir went to the vet and bought a kitten nursing bottle and some kitten formula. Peanut became my little Peanut.

Peanut's eyes and nose were crust-riddled for weeks and I kept getting more antibiotics (that pink stuff that cats hate) from the vet (who shook her head and wondered when this odyssey would be over). I fed Peanut every 4 hours, day and night, for weeks. Slowly, very very slowly, she started to recover.

I had a mess in the meantime. Being on antibiotics so long stunted Peanut's growth (that's my thinking, I have no scientific proof) and she remained tiny. When Peanut was 2 months old, I stopped the antibiotics, but still fed her by the bottle. She had almost constant diarrhea. I had to keep both ends clean constantly.

When Peanut was 12 weeks old I started getting her on solid food. She adjusted remarkably well. She still wanted her bottle, especially at night.

I kept Peanut outside, first in the laundry basket with a little teddy bear, and later I got one of those big playpen things from Goodwill that people use to put their toddlers in (do they still do that? I thought I read something...doesn't matter). I kept her outside because I wanted to limit exposure of her virus to my indoor cats (Johnny and Wonderful and Bobbie are geriatric and susceptible). When Peanut was about 4 months old she played on the deck with the outdoor cats (she was the size of a 2 week old kitten, a miniature little kitten) during the day and at night I would put her in her playpen after she had her bottle.

When oldsir would putter around on the deck, Peanut began to follow him and "supervising." He got a kick out this. She was so tiny, yet in many ways old beyond her short life. When she could finally navigate the steps down to the ground, she was immediately in the garden. When I worked in the garden, there she would be. When I would bend over, she would claw her way up my slacks and up onto my back. When oldsir would work in the flower beds, there she would be. Oldsir and I fell head over heels for this little Peanut.

By the time she was 6 months old, her virus symptoms had totally cleared up. Her eyes were clear and huge and round like a lemur's eyes. Her little nose was pink and clean. But she still had the diarrhea. So off we went to the vet's office.

The first vet who saw the kittens and mothers, and who supplied me with the evil-tasting antibiotics, had moved on to another practice in another town and we had a new vet. I brought Peanut in and he took a look at her and asked me what her name was. I said that this was Peanut. He asked how old she was. I said 6 months. He looked at Peanut, then looked at me, and said "this kitten is the size of an 8 week old kitten." I told him that he should have the records left by the other vet. He went and looked them up on the computer and said "she (the other vet) didn't give them any chance of survival." I said, "Peanut and I decided she was going to survive." I then told him about the diarrhea. He wanted to put her on some medication for that problem. I told him I thought she had a case of giardia (a bacteria parasite that lives in the intestines). He took the stool sample that I had brought along in a plastic baggie (don't ask me what that looked like, let's just say I don't have an affinity with chocolate syrup anymore). He came back 10 minutes later and said he ran a test and couldn't find any giardia. I huffed and puffed, but I decided to try his way.

The medicine didn't work. 5 days of stuffing this banana-like smelling liquid down Peanut's throat was all for naught. I went back to the vet. I told him I wanted to try Flagyl. He relented and took one pill and divided it up into 8 itsy-bitsy slivers to give one a day to Peanut for 8 days. After two days the diarrhea was gone. She did, however, get the rest of the slivers of Flagyl, just to be safe.

Next I called the vet and told him of the great success, and then asked when I could get Peanut spaded. He said "when she weighs 6 lbs." At this point, Peanut weighed a whopping 18 ounces.

Three months went by and Peanut flourished. She was inside now, much to the distress of my 3 oldest cats. Kitty was a almost 2 years old at this point and liked having a playmate. And they played hard for a long time and then would fall asleep in the blink of an eye. At nine months of age, I brought Peanut back to the vet because it was getting to be "that time of year" for cats. Even though Peanut weighed in at a whopping 3 lbs at that point, the vet agreed to sterilize her. We made an appointment to have that done in 2 weeks time.

The day I had to bring her in I was nervous. I hadn't been away from her in so long, and I had to leave her in this place that was strange to her, where she would wake up not feeling right, and she had to stay overnight! But I did it. She was fine when I dropped her off. I went home and paced. My story came on and I just watched the clock and paced. They told me I could call back after 4 pM to check on her. I paced. I clockwatched. I paced. Finally after what seemed like 10 years, the clock inched forward to 4PM. I called, it was busy. I called, it was busy. I got in the car and drove over there. They told me she was fine, the operation went well, and to go home.

Of course, no sleep for this oldlady that night. I watched that clock like a hawk. I remembered, in great detail, every single instant of my little Peanut's life up until that moment. At 7:30AM I got in the car and drove to the vet's office (which didn't open until 8AM) and sat in my car in the parking lot until 8AM. I went in and the vet immediately brought her out. She was fine. She was beautiful. She was my little Peanut.

Peanut has a personality that is unique. As I said earlier, she is stubborn. She is in constant pursuit, always on the prowl, playing the great hunter of dustbunnies. She likes to claw open my bottom kitchen cupboard and hide while I work in the kitchen (I just keep odds and ends in that cupboard, nothing to get into the food). Then when I open up a cupboard door, she pops out and runs. If I'm bending over to look into the refrigerator, she climbs onto my back.

She follows oldsir everywhere. He'll sit in his chair to watch tv, she'll jump on his lap and then bite his finger for no reason and then run. He loves it.

Peanut now has tipped the scales at 5 lbs. I weighed her today. She will always be little. My little Peanut.

Things to Remember: The story above of My Little Peanut. :)



Owned By Cats
Are You Going To Hell?

It appears, that according to this test, I'm headed for the sixth circle of Hell, the City of Dis, because I'm a heretic:

Dante's Inferno Quiz

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!

Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Level | Score
Purgatory | Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo | High
Level 2 | High
Level 3 | High
Level 4 | Very Low
Level 5 | Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis | Very High
Level 7 | Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge | High
Level 9 - Cocytus | Low
The different levels are described here .

While we're on the subject, you may also enjoy this: Dante's Inferno Voicemail

Things to Remember: My mother took my siblings and I to church when we were still living at home. I immediately dismissed the idea of a god or heaven or hell after my catechism teacher told us that animals didn't go to heaven. After I left home, I never attended church except for weddings and funerals (even then it leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth). This is a very abbreviated version of why I am an athiest. I'll elaborate more on this subject at a later date.

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Owned By Cats
Until We Meet Again

I'm going to be away from here for a couple of weeks. I leave for out west this coming Sunday, and between now and then I have a lot to do. I need to get things in order at home and ready for our friend, Dale, to housesit and petsit for us while we're gone. (You didn't think I'd put all my little ones in a kennel while we were gone, did you?)

It's probably a good thing that I'm away from here for a while. I think we all need, once in a while, time to step back and get a new perspective. I took the time yesterday to reread my entire thread here from start to finish. I can see why I'm ready for a break. The new season is upon us and my life changes quite a bit in the summertime, so this will probably be more of a natural progression.

I've met some lovely people while writing here. I hope you are all here and well upon my return.

Please be patient with one another. I'm guilty of asserting my convictions a little too strongly at times, and I appreciate the patience that is shown toward me. Please remember to shut doors quietly, don't slam. Please take care of all of which you are responsible. Please remember to smile once in a while (even if you only smile to yourself). Please, if there is someone you feel close to, call them and tell them you're thinking of them.

Thank you.

Things to Remember: I've never been in a full-blown hurricane, but I did travel through the remnants of one. That was Hurricane Nora (1997), we were driving through the Mojave desert on I-15 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. It poured, there was lightning, the wind was blowing hard. What should have been a 4 hour trip was a 7 hour trip. What an irony of life: the only hurricane that I ever endured (to date) occured in the middle of a desert.


P.S. Have a good time on your trip to Oz, Tango.


Owned By Cats
There's No Place Like Home

We're home. Las Vegas survived another oldsir and oldlady visit. We left it, basically, in the same shape in which we found it.

I'm so glad to be home. I'll be able to sleep (at least I'll give it a good try to sleep) in my own soft bed tonight. Hotel beds feel like slabs of granite.

My cats are very glad to have me home. They didn't eat much while I was away, according to our friend, Dale, who took care of them and the house. I got home and the first thing they wanted, after a big hug each, was food. They're fussbudgets in regards to the ceremony in which their food is served. I always stir up the wet food before I put it in their bowls. They don't like it just "plopped" into the bowl.

I saw you roll your eyes. They're my cats and I can spoil them anyway I want. ;)

I'll post a trip log sometime very soon. Right now I'm tired from traveling and I just want to enjoy my home and loved ones.

I missed you all. I have a lot of catching up to do here.

Things to Remember: I visited Disneyland for the first time in 1958. It was a long way south of Los Angeles back then. The last time I was there, 2001 (right after 9/11, that's a whole "Things To Remember" memory in itself), Anaheim seemed to have become a part of Los Angeles. Anyway, contrary to the old Disneyland promo films from the 1950s, in 1958 I saw very few women wearing dresses and heels at the park. I know I wore a skirt, blouse, and flats, and I felt very overdressed. Many of the other ladies wore slacks, blouses and sandals.



Owned By Cats
Las Vegas

I can tell already that I'm going to be terrible at writing a trip log, so I'll just make it short.

We took off from Chicago Midway on Sunday, 5/11. Oldsir had a window seat, I was next to him in the middle seat, and a nun was sitting next to me in the aisle seat. That last sentence sounds like the beginning of a bad joke "An old man, an old lady, and a nun were in an airplane..." But the flight went very well, even though the takeoff was in 35 mph winds gusting to 60 mph. There were no, zero, zilch, babies on board, only adults and us old people ;). The landing was very bumpy, and I haven't got a clue as to why. The bumps started at about 5000 feet above the ground and knocked us around pretty good until we were on the ground.

We got our rental car and went on the hotel.

We stayed at the Luxor. They put us on the 18th floor, facing west. It was strange to see the snow on the mountain tops outside the city while it was 90 degrees on the strip.

During the week we ate at the Luxor (twice), Orleans, Paris, Rio, Bellegio, Alladin, and McDonalds (we got sick of buffets and wanted something we could eat and not think about, hence McDonalds). I really liked the food at the Orleans and Bellegio and Alladin. Luxor food was OK, nothing special. Rio was good, but not as good as it used to be (the Carnaval Buffet, not the Seafood Buffet). Paris, well, I guess I'm just not much of a fan of French cooking. Oldsir liked the Paris buffet.

We went shopping at the Desert Passage at the Alladin, the Forum Shops at Caesars, the shops at the Bellegio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, NYNY, Excaliber, the shopping center at the Venetion, Monte Carlo, Luxor, and various other little shops that pepper the strip.

These are all the same things we do every year lately.

We took a day trip (Tuesday) out to Red Rock and another day trip out to Primm to shop the shops there (Thursday).

The strip was crowded every day, but it was an absolute zoo on Friday and Saturday.

We went to see "Midnight Fantasy" at the Luxor. That's the Luxor's topless show. It was enough to keep oldsir awake. :blush:

Probably the best show was the full lunar eclipse on Thursday night. We watched it from the bridge going from the Excaliber to the monorail station (the monorail that connects Excaliber, Luxor and Mandalay Bay). We only watched for about 45 minutes during the total eclipse part, saw that the world didn't end, and then walked on to the monorail back to the Luxor. I stood there with 3 other people (oldsir was one of them) watching a wonder of nature while everyone else walking by didn't seem to have a clue, or knew and just didn't give a hoot. Oh well, our gain.

It was 90 or above every day except Tuesday. Lucky us, we were there for their first 90 degree day of the year.

As far as luck goes, I had plenty. I didn't gamble, so I didn't lose any money. But I did find 14 cents on the sidewalk.

The trip home was uneventful. The takeoff was bumpy, the same way the landing was bumpy when we arrived. Once again, no children were on board, but there were a lot of hungover people (I'm glad I wasn't one of them. Oldsir wasn't one of them either.) We got into Chicago on Sunday night and stayed there at a hotel and drove home on Monday.

This trip log is longer than I thought it would be.

I missed my little ones so much! And I know they missed me. I could tell the my little Peanut lost some weight (she won't eat enough unless I spoil her), Kitty also lost some weight (he mopes when I'm not home). Johnny's fur was in urgent need of combing. Wonderful also needed a brushing, though not as badly as Johnny did. Bobbie seemed none the worse for wear, however. Birdie, Birdie & Birdie are fine. The fish are still swimming. Mr. Grey noticed I was back. I waved to Randall. Sammy, the great mole hunter, brought me a "present." Good kitty. (She didn't leave any presents while I was gone, according to our friend Dale.)

Oldsir is now busy getting the hanging moss baskets planted with impatiens and the large cannister pots planted with petunias and the other assorted flowers that we've been tending to the last couple of months. This weekend everything will be moved to our deck and the vegetables and herbs will be planted in the garden.

My rose garden is a wreck after the bitter cold this winter. I'm going to have to replace a couple of my bushes. Even one of my rhododendruns got hit pretty hard this winter. I'm going to have to cover them with burlap for the bitter months from now on. Note to self: go to the barn and get burlap.

I was undecided tonight whether to write up this trip log or dwell on what I perceive to be an injustice here between a few individuals and the right to live one's life in the way they want without hurting anybody else. I wrote the trip log, but I'm also very sad that someone left because of the aforementioned injustice. I thought I told you all to behave while I was gone.

Things to Remember: About 30 years ago, when I was still working, a woman knocked on our door at about 8PM at night one night. I answered the door. She was the wife of a colleague of mine. She didn't even say "hello," she just started yelling at me to quit sleeping with her husband. I was floored. Oldsir walked up to her and asked her to tell him exactly what she was talking about. She thought she was being smart and told him she had proof that I was sleeping with her husband. This was news to me, I have never slept with anyone but oldsir in my whole life. She said she had pictures, and took them out of her handbag. The pictures showed him kissing a woman, but the woman clearly wasn't me, she was a darkhaired woman wearing heels and little else. I'm blonde (I've always been blonde and Miss Clairol will keep me blonde 'til the day I die.) and I never could conquer heels (I've always worn flats), and there's also the fact that the woman in the picture weighed at least 30 lbs more than me. Oldsir pointed this out to her, but she had it in her head that it was me. That's when oldsir and I realized that the woman was at her wits end and couldn't think straight. I ducked out of the living room and into the kitchen and called her husband. He came over immediately and took her home.

That really bothered me to be accused unjustly. I wound up drinking way too much that night, after oldsir went to bed.

I guess you want to know what happened to the woman who knocked on my door. She went away to a hospital for a while, she had a nervous breakdown. I never did hear any more about those pictures, and I never asked my colleague about them. There are some subjects of talk that are better left to die.

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Owned By Cats
Home Sweet Home

It feels so good to be home! Away from the masses of people, alone with my oldsir, cats, birdies, fish, opposums, llama, crows, etc.

We've been working very hard for the last week. The lawn needed mowing. I'd better explain this: we have about 2 1/2 acres of lawn. It's not a fancy lawn, it's mostly crab grass, but it looks nice when it's mowed. We use the farm's big lawn mower, a Kubota garden tractor with a 5' mowing deck. I usually mow the grass and oldsir does all the trimming. The Kubota is so big it reminds me of riding a horse, but it does a wonderful job of mowing. My nephew keeps it in perfect running order.

We also rototilled and planted the garden. We have cherry tomatos and beefsteak tomatos, jalepeno peppers, sweet bell peppers, sweet hungarian peppers, cayenne peppers, muskmelons (cantalope), dill, basil, parsley, coriander, and thyme.
Art, our neighbor, has green and yellow string beans, peas, cucumbers, and pumpkins planted in his garden, so we'll share our gardens with each other. We always have way too much (except if it freezes outside in mid-June).

Oldsir planted all the flowers in hanging moss baskets and huge containers and big containers, and medium containers, and small containers on our deck (remember the deck wraps 2/3 of the way around our house). The flowers look beautiful and will look more beautiful every day as the summer unfolds.

Then the greenhouse needed to be cleaned out and the dirt beds readied for a long summer nap. Everyone finally got their geraniums and other assorted plants out that are put in there for the winter to survive for another year. This year we only had 2 abandoned plants (usually people will conveniently "forget" a plant or two that they no longer want and they know we don't have the heart to throw any living thing away and will care for it until it's natural demise), one of which is a half-dead and I don't have the foggiest idea of what type of plant it is (but we will babysit it and nurture it back to health), and the other is a healthy geranium that someone must have honestly forgotten. Every year I swear that I'm gonna put names of the owners on each planter that goes in the greenhouse for the winter, but I never do it. I've probably done just the same at some time in my life that I don't remember.

Lenny the llama is back in the pasture next door. I stopped by the fence and said hello to him. He was back in his same sitting place as he was sitting earlier this spring. He ignored me.

The weather last week was cloudy and kind of cool. This week, so far, it's been mostly sunny and about 70 F. I couldn't ask for nicer weather.

My sister called today and said she put out the planters of flowers on our parents' and little brother's graves in the cemetery. She was making sure that I would water those flowers on Tuesdays this year (she and my next-to-oldest brother water them on Thursdays and weekends) when watering is needed. This is a ritual that I take very seriously. I also wind up water a lot of other planters that look like they need water of people I don't know, like, care about, or remember, but I care about the flowers nevertheless. It's a good thing that it's a small cemetery or I'd be watering flowers until the cows came home. Why do people put out flowers, planted in planters, and then leave them to die of thirst and neglect? I know that a lot of people have a hard time going into cemeteries for one reason or another. I just can't stand to see anything suffer from neglect. (Yes, I'm guilty of neglecting this journal at times, but it won't die of thirst if I don't write in it for a few days.)

It's strawberry season! It's asparagus season! The wonderful foods of summer are just starting. Soon we'll have blueberries and raspberries and cherries and peaches. There's nothing so good as fruits and vegetables in season.

Before I sign off, I'd like to thank Chastain86 for rethinking his decision to stop writing his journal here on IRC. I find him to be an articulate writer who writes about a subject about which I had formerly known very little. I find that every time I read about a new type of lifestyle, I broaden my understanding and my horizons. I find it fasinating to learn more about different people of different ages and different lifestyles, even though I'm not a "people person."

Things to remember: This is one of those rituals that are so engrained into one's psyche that it would be impossible to break. My mother pounded into our heads, over and over, that when it started to lightning and storm outside, we always had to wear our shoes. Her reasoning was that in case "something bad happened" and we had to run out of the house quickly, we wouldn't have to search for our shoes first before we ran out of the house. When I was little, there were no such things as "severe thunderstorm watch" or "tornado warning" broadcasts on the radio. If the weather got really bad, we'd go into the celler with all the spiders and homecanned vegetables and whatever potatos were left over from last winter. But we had our shoes on in case we had to run out of the house for some horrific, unknown reason in the middle of a thunderstorm. And to this day when it starts to lightning and storm, I put on my shoes. My sisters and brothers are likewise inflicted with this involuntary response to nature's fury. If it starts storming after I've gone to bed, I wake up, get up and put on my shoes. This is unlikely, however, because I always check the Weather Channel before I go to bed and if it's going to storm I just don't go to sleep, I sit there watching the radar on the Weather Channel with my shoes on.



Owned By Cats
Happy Anniversary To Us

It seems that nearly everyone here is having a difficult time this week, and I feel I should make my post tonight short and (hopefully) sweet.

Aside from the fact that we have a chance of frost, with temperatures near freezing tonight, I've had a pretty good week. I'll be up all night watching the temperature guage and the Weather Channel. We covered all of our tender flowers and put this special guaze on the small vegatable plants in the garden (after watering it thoroughly). Now all we can do is wait for the sun to rise in the morning.

I want to wish my Oldsir a Happy Anniversary. Today, June 1, is *our* day. I love you deeply and truly, honey.

Things to Remember: On this day 49 years ago, June 1, 1954, I married Oldsir in the church library. Yes, I was married in the church that my mother and siblings attended (and some siblings still attend). I never joined the church, but the minister married us as a favor to my mother. My mother would have been mortified beyond belief if one of her children got married at the courthouse in front of a judge (just like a criminal in front of a judge, in her mind).

Oldsir was from another town, but didn't attend church, so he also agreed to be married in the church as a favor to my mother.

What's amusing is that my mother didn't attend the ceremony. We didn't invite her or anyone else besides our two witnesses. Big weddings weren't the norm in those days in the rural area where I live, so not inviting anyone wasn't considered a social no-no.

We had cake and coffee in my parents house after the ceremony with my family. We saw Oldsir's family a week later when we traveled to his sister's house and had cake and coffee.

My parents gave us a washing machine* (an electric one with a wringer on top) and his mother gave us a refrigerator* (an electric one with the condenser on top, and since it was electric: no ice deliveries!) as wedding gifts.

We felt really lucky. And we still do because we still have each other.


*We still have each of these items stored in our basement. We used them for many, many years, and they performed their work for us very well. We never had the heart to dispose of them when we had to buy new ones, so we keep them with us.
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Owned By Cats
I don't like Wally World

June has rolled around again, starting with two nights in a row of near frost temperatures. June 1 dawned with 38 degrees and June 2 dawned with 37 degrees. We had some frost on the car windows, but the outdoor plants were spared both nights. Needless to say, not much sleep was to be had for this oldlady on those nights. I'm still tired from it all.

On our anniversary, I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie from scratch. It went very nicely with some vanilla ice cream. Oldsir and I enjoyed it. We celebrated the day with our closest friends, which happened to be mostly of the four-footed variety. The ones who didn't have four feet, had wings.

Today, I went into town to buy canned cat food and litter. I buy in bulk so I only have to make the trip once a month.

I usually buy the cat food at Wally World because it has the lowest price for the kind that I buy. I load up a cart with cat food and proceed to the checkout. They have two checkouts open out of a possible 36. I wait my turn patiently. I finally get my turn. Now's the gamble: do I put all the cat food on the belt, or do I just leave it in the cart and give them one can to scan and tell them how many I have? If I start loading the belt, it never fails that I get yelled at to leave it in my cart. If I leave it in my cart, I get an eye-roll and a sarcastic "Each can needs to be individually scanned for inventory-control." So I decide to leave it in the cart. Sure enough, I get the eye-roll and sarcastic remark, with an added bonus of snapping gum. So I gritted my teeth and put each individual can in one single, continuous, long row. All 120 of them. She scanned them individually and then just started loading them into bags. I told her I didn't need the bags. She snipped that it was required that all items be bagged. I steamed. I paid. Then she had the nerve to say "Have a nice day!" I told her to go to hell. The people lined up behind me in line applauded me. I went to the Customer Service desk to complain, but the line was 9 deep and only one person was working the desk. I wasn't going to wait, so when I got home I wrote a letter to the manager of the store with carbon copies to the district and regional offices. I included a copy of my very, very long register slip. I doubt I'll hear anything back, but it did my heart good to write that letter.

Now before you say "she was just doing her job," let me tell you what I put in the letter. I noted the inconsistencies between loading the belt and leaving it all in the cart. I noted that there were only 2 checkouts open when long lines at each. I asked about the policy of requiring that every item be bagged. I didn't give my opinion on what I perceived to be her "attitude," but I did note that after the stressful checkout, I didn't receive a "Thank you" only a "Have a nice day."

Next month I'm going to bite the bullet, pay a few cents more, and buy it at Meijers.

After that debacle, I went to the Dollar store and bought litter. That was a piece of cake after Wally World.

Tomorrow, the lawn needs to be mowed again, unless it rains. The weather forecasts around here have been pretty inaccurate lately, so I guess I won't know until the sun comes up if I'll be mowing or not. I don't mind mowing, it beats shoveling snow!

(My goodness, I just read the above few paragraphs a second time. I certainly sound like a b*tch tonight.)

Things to remember: The latest snow, the kind that just flys through the air and doesn't really land and collect, that I remember seeing in one year was in 2002. May 19 to be precise, the day before my sister's birthday (that's how I remember the precise day). I remember seeing snow during the first week of May quite a few times over the years, but never nearly as late as last year. It still turned out to be a hot summer around here last year.


P.S. Atticus Finch was just named the all-time hero of films on the AFC TV program tonight on TV. How wonderful! I have to whole-heartedly agree with this pick for #1. What a nice surprise. Oldsir predicted Atticus Finch when the show first started tonight, and he was right.

Another P.S.: I'm thinking of you and yours, Gypsy. I hope your life has an upturn very soon.


Owned By Cats

Oldsir and I went to a funeral today. A cousin of mine died.

She was 65, widowed, and newly retired. I heard that she was forced to retire, but I don't know if that rumor was true.

Her two children are grown and gone, one of them didn't show up to the funeral. The crowd was quite small, considering she was well-known and well-liked in the community where she lived. You see, she committed suicide. She took a combination of her deceased husband's leftover pain pills and vodka. I heard she left a note, but I don't know what it said.

The mail carrier alerted the police when it was obvious her mail hadn't been collected for several days.

I don't know many of the details, nor is it any of my business.

When we were young, I was about 10 and she was about 7, we would have a lot of fun playing together whenever our mothers would visit each other. We didn't visit very often because they lived about 30 miles away and gas was rationed at that time, so we needed a very good excuse to drive that distance. She was blonde, like me, but she had brilliant emerald green eyes which were absolutely amazing in looks. We would play on the stairs inside her home, pretending to be teachers or movie stars, sometimes both at the same time.

She married when she was 16, a shotgun wedding. But he was very good to her all through their marriage. They had the 2 children, one right after the other, and none after. He was a butcher who worked for his father, and later he worked for one of the major supermarket chains.

After the children were out of high school, she finished high school herself. She then got a job at the bank, starting as a part-time teller, and worked her way up to head teller and then she was some sort of manager. I heard that she loved her job and she took great comfort in her work after her husband died of a heart attack.

I hadn't talked with her for several years, the last time being at her husband's funeral. But I felt a certain connection to her because of our common childhoods and family connections.

I hope her children can remember the good times with her. I hope they can see past the so-called "sin" of suicide and love the memory of their mother.

Growing old isn't easy for some people. Retirement can seem like a life jail sentence. There are many, many people afraid that they will have little to live on, no one to take care of them, and will die with bed sores in a nursing home. Many times their fears are warranted. It's not uncommon for the elderly to "collect" their pills and save them, in order to take all at once.

Someday, many of you reading this will reach the age of "elderly." Don't count on social security to be there, don't count on your pension. Do what you can to stash away a few dollars here and there (bury it in jars if you have to go to that extreme, just remember where you buried it) for your "rainy day."

Those to Remember: I remember my cousin. I'll remember her as being about 7 years old and pretending to be a movie star teacher.



Owned By Cats
Doing The Right Thing

First of all, before anything else, I'd like to thank those of you who sent me such nice notes of condolence for the loss of my cousin (see previous post). Your kind words never cease to amaze me.

On forward to today.

I've had 3 mother cats show up in the last month, with kittens in tow, and take up residence on my deck and under my deck. They all showed up at different times, didn't seem to know each other. I'm not one to let a female cat have any more kittens, so I made an appointment to have the three strays fixed. Their kittens are all eating out of dishes now, so the time had come. Today was the appointment day.

These cats aren't friendly. Oh, they'll gladly take the food and safety provided, but they definitely don't have any use for human beings (not that I blame them). But I had to catch these cats to bring them to the vet, so I started last night. I knew I wouldn't be able to feed them after about 8PM, because they need an empty stomach for surgery. So about 7:30PM, I went and put the big carrier in the back of the truck, then I went and lured them with food so that I could get a hand on them, one at a time. I caught two of them (with a minimal amount of blood loss on my part) and put them in the back of the pickup (it has a topper). Wow. They were not happy kitties. They bounced off the sides and ceiling of the truck for about 5 minutes and then settled down. The third one I let stay with the kittens, because this one seemed like it would be the easiest for me to catch (famous last words). I picked up all the bowls, except the water bowl, and spent a very restless night.

This morning I was up at 5:30AM (after finally falling asleep about 3:30AM) to catch the 3rd cat. I had the smaller carrier ready, I had my suede work gloves on, I had a thick sweatshirt on, I had outdoor work pants on. I lured the cat with a bit of hamburger. I got ahold of the scruff of her neck, and she went absolutely berserk. She was twisting and hissing, I was twisting and hissing right back, all the while trying to get her into the carrier. I got ahold of her back legs and continued to try to get her into the carrier and my gloved hand slipped. Her back claws tore into my right forearm. I yelped and reflexively let her go. And go she went, right across the field.

After a few words that would have made a merchant marine blush, I went in to bind my arm.

Oldsir is watching me, knowing instinctively that this was a one-on-one battle for me, but still he's worried about me.

So, I changed into another sweatshirt and went out to do battle in the back of the truck.

There the two were croached in the back in the corner. I opened the back and (quickly as I could) crawled in (not an easy maneuver for an oldlady like me) and quicly shut the door (just the top of the door, I didn't open up the whole back end of the truck). We stared at each other. I opened the door of the carrier and informed them that they were going to get into the carrier. They basically replied f*** you, and started bouncing off the walls again, except this time I'm right in the middle of it. I covered my head with my gloved hands and let them wear themselves out. They were finally panting hard after about 12 minutes (it seemed like 1 1/2 hours, but oldsir told me 12 minutes) and I was able to rustle them into the carrier. I crawled out of the back of the truck, went into the house, sat down and cried.

At 8:00AM, I still hadn't seen the first one again, so I took the two that I had caught over to the vet. They told me that I could just bring in the 3rd one anytime that I was able to get ahold of it, they would make time for it. (It's nice to work with a vet with some flexibility, but then again, I'm a very good customer.) Then the vet took one look at me and asked if I had had a tetanus booster lately (I had one two years ago). Then he said, "You should get your arm looked at." I looked and the blood was seeping through the sleeve of my sweatshirt. I said OK, asked him a couple of the standard questions about postop care (basically none since they're feral), and left.

I went home and picked up Oldsir and went to the Prime Care place (the clinic). After waiting an hour, they put a couple of butterfly bandages on it and gave me a prescription for antibiotics and charged me $60 for 5 minutes work. Oldsir went later and filled the prescription.

This afternoon, the first one came back, but I couldn't even step on the deck and she would zoom underneath. To h*ll with her, I'll get her down there to the vet someday, but not today.

I called the vet's office, the 2 I brought in had their spaying done and were doing fine.

Tonight I am very, very sore. I'm tired. I'm a little angry at that cat, but I can't blame her for what she did, she was trying to protect herself. She didn't know what my intentions were.

I'm more angry that there aren't more people willing to take the responsibility of getting their pets fixed. According to my vet, there's me and two other old ladies in this area who bring in the strays to be fixed. What's going to happen when we're gone? There's going to be a whole lot of suffering going on, all the way around.

Negotiated cost to spay three females: $180
Prime Care: $60
Prescription: ? (I didn't ask, but penicillin is cheap)
Reward for knowing I did the Right Thing: Priceless

Those to Remember: Gregory Peck. Thank you, Mr. Peck, for the many hours of enjoyment you provided me over the years via your movies. I always was fascinated while watching any movie in which you were a part, you had such a presence. I will continue to watch and enjoy your work as long as I am able.

David Brinkley. Thank you, Mr. Brinkley, for providing us with unbiased journalism for many, many years. I didn't enjoy the nightly "troops killed in Vietnam today" statistics, but I knew they were necessary to report. You provided us with information, and you did so very well. Good Night, David.



Owned By Cats
Last Times

Today, Oldsir needed to report for jury duty at the county courthouse. He's 6 months shy of his 70th birthday and he gets called, yet again, for jury duty. At 70 years of age, you're automatically exempt (at least here) from jury duty. Oldsir has been called 9 times (8 county, 1 federal) to serve in the 49 years we've been together. He has yet to actually serve on a jury, every single time the trials are settled before they actually get into court. It was the same today. I went with him (old ladies in this neck of the woods do things like that) and sat, with my book (Lovely Bones -- very sad, compelling book), in the waiting area. He comes back 20 minutes later and says that they told everyone to go home. So he picked up his pay&travel voucher, along with the other 50 potential jurors who showed up for nothing, stopped at the county treasurers' office and turned in the voucher for $11.00 cash ($3.50 mileage and $7.50 for 1/2 day jury duty).

I called after 5PM to the circuit court office to find out if he had to show up tomorrow (you have to call every day that you're on duty), and found out he doesn't have to be there tomorrow nor Friday.

I've never been called for jury duty. I don't know why, I guess it just wasn't in the cards for me. I always thought it would be interesting.

So one more week and he'll be done with jury duty. Forever. And ever. That makes me feel a little melancholy. It seems the "last times" for a quite a few things come up and are staring us in the eye lately. I can't think about that now. I'll think about that tomorrow. (Thank you Scarlett for that expression, I've used it often over the years and it seems quite fitting right now so that I don't start getting teary eyed.)

Things to Remember: During the winter months when work slowed on the farm (work never stopped on the farm, but there was time here and there during the winter that could be taken for personal time), my Dad would go down to the county courthouse and listen to the trials. We didn't have TV back then, the radio was good for music and baseball games, but not much news. So Dad would go down when the weather was decent and gas wasn't rationed and listen not only to any trial that may have been going on, but also to overhear whatever he could overhear without looking too nosy. He would then tell us all over the supper table what he heard and overheard. We heard about the fights in the bars on the other side of the county (no bars on our side of the county), we heard about windowpeekers, we heard about chickens and turkeys being stolen. We all sat there wide-eyed and slack-jawed, absolutely shocked and enthralled by the news that my Dad heard and overheard on the rare days that he went down to the county courthouse.

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Owned By Cats

I caught the cat. Remember the cat that got away from me and took off across the field, the one who thwarted my attempt to kidnap her and take her to the vet to get spayed? I caught her yesterday morning. :jump:

My little Peanut woke me up yesterday after I had about a two hour night's sleep. She usually is a good little kitty and curls up next to me, along with Kitty and Bobbie, but yesterday she decided the plant on top of the chest of drawers looked delectable and tryed to eat a portion of it. Anyway, I got up, put on my glasses, and went to get her out of the plant when I spyed the wayward cat on the deck. I quick got the carrier and put it outside the front door. I wound hand towels around both my arms and stuffed my arms into the sweatshirt (had a devil of a time getting those blood stains from last week out of it), put on my suede work gloves and a pair of long pants. I grabbed a pound of hamburger from the refrigerator and went out the back door. I put on my best "cat lady" voice and lured her with the hamburger. She was very hungry. I put some meat down on the deck and she went to it and I quickly grabbed the scruff of her neck.

She was not happy. She tried the same tricks as last week, but this time I didn't let go and I didn't get hurt. I marched her around the deck by the scruff and got to the carrier. She was twisting and hissing and snarling the whole way. I grabbed her back legs and thrust her into the carrier and slammed the door shut (without hurting her). I wanted to howl my triumph, but I settled on a little soft-shoe dance on the deck.

I went inside and oldsir had the coffee made and waiting. He was grinning from ear to ear. I asked him if he was proud of me. He said yes, but he was smiling because I looked like Popeye with my big overstuffed forearms. I told him I wanted a pipe. We settled for coffee. It was 5:30AM.

I read the newspaper and watched the cage rattle on the front deck until, finally, 8AM came and I took her down to the vet. (I changed my clothes, so I didn't go over there looking like Popeye.) She did not like being in the carrier, she hated the car ride, and she just miserable and noisy. The vet said that he had a full day, but he would try to fit her in. He then said that if, by chance, he didn't get to spay her that day, he would keep her there until he could get the time. I called later in the day and found out he did do the operation, she was fine, and I could pick her up the next day (today).

This morning I went down to the vet at about 10AM to pick her up. The vet's assistant looked at me and said "It only took you a week to catch her?" Oh oh. I was informed that she was quite a handful, only shutting up when she was totally under whatever they give these days to knock them out for surgery. She fought them tooth and nail, literally, every step of the way. They knew she was feral, and she lived up to the name.

I took her home (she continued her opus of caterwalling the whole way). I took the carrier onto the back deck (her territory), opened the door, and she bounded out with a look of terror at first, and then almost instantly recognizing where she was. Then the oddest thing happened. She just sat down and proceeded to take a bath in the sun. Just like that. A crazed wild beast one instant, and a regular cat the next. I shook my head and went into the house.

1/2 hour later she was peering in the back door. I went out with the hamburger and put down a good chunk for her. She observed me going back inside and she ran and devoured the meat. She spent the rest of the day on the deck, mostly sleeping. No more kittens, sweetie.

Those to remember: I once had a cat, about 35 years ago, his name was Night. He was a black cat with golden eyes. He had a gentle temperment, loved to snuggle, loved to curl up with me for a nap. He was huge. His favorite hobby was eating. He was obsessed with eating. I had to actually hide his bag of kibble. One day I left for work and forgot to hide his kibble. When I came home, I found he had eaten the whole bag. He was very, very ill and distended from his indulgence. I felt so bad. I got him to the vet the next day, but there wasn't much they could do at that point. It was decided it would be kindest to put him to sleep. The vet took him away (you didn't get to hold them when they passed on, back then). It was the first time I had to make the final decision. I was devastated. I loved him so. I still get tears in my eyes now when I think of this. He was only 3 years old.



Owned By Cats

I am fast coming to the belief that one of greatest personal liberties is eroding away at an alarming rate: our right to privacy.

I'm not necessarily talking about our privacy versus the government. I am, for the most part, talking about privacy on a societal level. Some people call this "Personal Space." In many ways, that is a good term for what I'm talking about: Personal Space, only in a multidimensional level.

Personal space in a width-height-depth format is shrinking merely because there is an exploding population growth on the slowly shrinking landmasses (shrinking slowly due to rising ocean levels).

Personal space on an interpersonal level is shrinking, in my opinion, because good manners have flown right out the window. People need to mind their own business. People who are offended by people not minding their own business need to speak up. I've been labeled a b*tch for years because I've told people to "mind their own business" when they ask me an intimately personal question just because they're nosy.

All sorts of "rage" are now running rampant: road rage is the first one that comes to mind. This is a classic example of people not respecting the space of others.

We need to re-learn our manners: "Please," "Thank You," "You're Welcome," "Excuse Me," "I'm Sorry." We need to take responsibility for our own actions: "I'm sorry, it was my fault." On another point, it doesn't hurt one single bit to complement someone, even if you don't know them: "You look so nice!" "Your voice is like music to my ears." (OK, you get the drift of what I mean, you're an intelligent person.)

I'm ranting today because I feel that Chastain86 and his wife's personal space was violated and as a result he is closing down his journal. This is a great loss. His was a voice that needs to be heard because not many people would write about their alternative lifestyles. He wrote in a way about an x-rated subject that would pass the television censors. He wrote about his and his wife's lifestyle, not the nitty-gritty details that are none of our business. He wrote in a friendly manner. They seem like a nice couple. I hope a way can be found for Ali and him to continue their journal.

Thank you for being patient with me while I blew off some steam this evening.

Those to Remember: There was a pair of women, everyone called them "spinsters," who lived on a small farm just outside of the town where I was raised and currently live. They raised some chickens, grew a large garden, and had an apple orchard that they tended and sold the apples to market. They lived very modestly, very privately, but always friendly to the neighbors and townpeople. They went to church on Sundays, never missing the morning bell. They were quiet and hardworking and taxpaying citizens. It wasn't until I was grown and gone that I realized that they were gay. Nobody ever said anything, we minded our own business. The two ladies lived well into their 80s and died within a month of each other in 1984. Their gravestones are right next to each other in the cemetery.



Owned By Cats
On A Warm Summer Night

It's a beautiful night here in my neck of the woods. The temperature outside is about 65, the sky is clear, not too many mosquitos yet. We had a dry spell for about 2 weeks so the mosquitos were down, but it rained yesterday and earlier today so the parasites are emerging.

Along with the mosquitos, I'm sure the japanese beetles will be rolling in on the next wind. Those beetles love my basil and impatiens. I'll go out and pick all the basil I need to dehydrate for the year, and I'll break out the chemicals to rescue the impatiens. Savin works pretty good, not as good as the chemicals we could buy back in the 60s, but it works.

I had some trouble with carpenter bees (we always called them "shade bees") this week. The bees were trying to set up a household in the deck's roof overhang. They can weaken the structure of the roof if I let them continue to have squating rights. I looked on the internet and found the usual horror stories about these beasts, but I also knew that it takes these bees a long time (years) to cause the damage I read in the horror stories. Also, the horror stories came along with a sure-fire remedy that will only cost an arm-and-a-leg that the website will gladly sell you. I went over to the next town over and checked out the library and found much more useful information in controlling these pests.

Then, I went over to my nephew, the farmer, and asked him what he would do. He said he'd be over that night with a sprayer. Together, my nephew, oldsir, and I got the gutter off the north side of the house where the bees were trying to burrow in. We found some holes they were making pretty good headway on and sprayed them. I didn't ask my nephew what was in the sprayer, because I knew it was farm spray for which you need a license, which he has, and takes a test to qualify to use it every year. He sprayed inside the holes and around the outside of the holes. He said he'd be back in a couple of days to respray, just to make sure. After he left, I never saw another carpenter bee. True to his word, he came back 2 days later and sprayed again. He told me to caulk the holes and that was that. I caulked the holes, oldsir and I put the gutter back up just in time for it to rain. We washed down the deck while it was raining to make sure any of the spray didn't stay on the deck flooring. I don't want to make the critters sick.

Elly May showed up last night with a couple of little ones on her back. She hasn't been around lately, and now I know why. At least she didn't have them on my deck. She ate the bowl full of dry cat food and drank some milk.

Randall has been around almost every day. But then again, I've been putting out bread for him in the field out back. I swear he watches for me, because less than 2 minutes after I leave the bread out, he's right there to eat it.

Lenny has gone over to the other pasture a few miles away again, the grass is greener over there. He'll be back again in a few weeks. He still ignores me when I wave hello.

I'd glad that Burns1 got over here safely to see Minou. I hope they have a good time together.

I guess I'm really boring all of you to tears tonight. But it's such a lovely night. Much too lovely a night for tears. Enjoy yourselves. Be good. Be kind.

Things to remember: I remember when my sisters and I would sit in the lawn and make braids of grass and fashion bracelets and rings. We'd take dandalion stems and push them together, end-to-end, and make long necklaces. We'd find milk thistle and pull apart the pods to see the "milk" inside. We would find Queen Ann's Lace and pretend that it was a "real" queen's lace doily. We'd pick black-eyed susans for our mother to put in a mason jar filled with water. We'd find the wild roses and smell their wonderful scent. We'd spend time looking at rocks from the driveway, trying to determine if there were any diamonds that might be hiding inside (of course we never found any, but we kept looking!).



Owned By Cats
I don't believe this

I typed in a nice (at least I thought it was nice) entry for today and it went kaput, lost in the ether. That took away whatever good mood I had today.

I wrote about the romaine lettuce in my garden. How we had planted it as an afterthought after we were given the seedlings from my nephew (who is growing a crop of it this year). Now all the romaine is ready at once and we're eating salads at two meals every day. We have 20 heads of it and we have to use it, give it away, whatever, within 10 days or it will go to seed. Then I talked about how the rabbits left my romaine alone because I planted it surrounded by the tomatos and peppers. A deer got into it, but only at a little because it must not have liked being amongst the hot peppers I had planted. Then I put the fears of the organically inclined to rest by saying I don't use pesticides or chemical fertilizers on my garden.

I wished those in the US a safe holiday. I wished those in New Zealand would keep warm and dry this weekend. I wished those in every part of the world and universe a peaceful weekend. I wished peace of mind for all of us, because I thought (and still think) that would be a wonderful thing.

Things to Remember: I spoke of the times, back before about 1960, when you could walk into your local Farm Bureau and buy dynamite, with no special license, to take care of a few stumps out in the back of a field. Then I remembered how the dynamite would sweat in the summertime, the thing was is that sweated nitroglycerine. You could slick your finger along the stick of dynamite and then snap your hand so that the nitroglycerine would fly off and hit some cement blocks and cause firecracker-like little explosions. I pondered how it was a miracle that any of us ever lived long enough to be adults considering our world wasn't as foam padded as is it now.

Once again, I wish you all peace of mind.


P.S. Snert, please don't give up on your journal. It's not nice to start a new chapter in your life and leave the rest of us dangling, wondering what will happen next. :)


Owned By Cats

I feel so sad today.

Remember those 3 mother cats I had fixed last month? They had kittens here earlier this spring in late April. I hadn't seen much of the kittens until the last few weeks because they'd started eating out of the bowls outside. There were 4 kittens. 3 of them were totally feral. 1 was semi-feral.

Last Friday I found two of the feral kittens dead. I had seen them the previous day and they seemed to be moving quite slow, much slower than usual. I still couldn't get near them. Friday they both died within 1/2 hour of each other. I looked at them closely when I went to bury them in the field out back. They had runny, crusted noses. I had seen this behavior before and looking at them confirmed what I suspected: distemper.

Yesterday, the last totally feral kitten died of the same thing.

Today, the semi-feral one, whom I could pet-but-not-hold, died. He was acting the same way, and since I could get ahold of him, I took him on an emergency visit to the vet. The vet did a feline leukemia test, and that was negative. The vet's diagnosis: distemper. If you want the fancy name for it: feline panleukopenia. There wasn't much the vet could do, the kitten was too far gone. We decided to do the kindest thing and once again I had to sit as the light left that dear little kitten's eyes.

For the vet's records, we needed a name for the kitten. I named him "Buddy."

I thought I was over crying about this, but now the tears have come again. Please forgive me if I leave now and edit this later for a proper posting.


Thank you for your patience.

I buried Buddy at about noon today in the field out back while a thundershower was moving in off Lake Michigan.

When I got back from the field, I realized that I hadn't taken any pictures of Buddy and the other kittens. This made me heartsick all over again. I needed something to remember them. I knew I could write about them here, but I needed something tangible.

I can't draw worth beans, can't even draw a decent stick-figure, so that was out of the question. Then I got an idea. I have a clear solid glass figurine of a cat, and inside that cat's "tummy" is an orange fish. I made a little necklace out of yarn and taped a small piece of paper on the yarn. I printed very small on the paper "Buddy & Friends, Summer 2003." I then put the figurine on the mantal. Tomorrow I'm going into town to a jeweler and have a small necklace made and inscribed to replace my handmade one.

If I had had any sense, I would have taken Buddy to the vet last Friday when the first two died. No, wait a minute, last Friday was a holiday, the vet wasn't open (no 24-hour emergency vets unless you have your farm under contract). Monday would have already been too late. I'll never learn, I procrastinate too much.

Those to remember: When I was just a tiny girl, the first pet I can remember being "mine" was a little dog I named "Huggy." All I can remember about hiim is that he liked to cuddle and he liked me. I can't even remember what he looked like. He died when he was still a puppy, a farm wagon backed over him. I remember my mother made no bones about it and told me he was dead. She was wrong. He lives in my memory today, 64 years later.

I think tomorrow I'll have a second little necklace made for a little dog figurine that I have. This one will be inscribed "Huggy."

Thank you for listening.


P.S. Thank you for your kind note, Tango.
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Owned By Cats
Birthdays and Fans

Today my second oldest brother turned 79. Happy Birthday, brother, I know you won't read this, but one of your kids or grandkids or great-grandkids will.

I stopped by my brother's house today with a card and a loaf of banana bread that I had just made. No one was home, so I put it in their back-kitchen on the steps.

Today is also my cat, Kitty's birthday. I've told you about him, he can do magic by disappearing. I'll never forget the night, four years ago. he was born (actually it would have been the night of the 10th but right after midnight on the 11th). I heard his mother, the teenage welfare queen, scream. I hurried outside and saw her cleaning off this beautiful pure white kitten, my Kitty. (She had screamed when she gave birth to him, he was a good-sized newborn.)

Kitty is my empathic kitty. He knows just what to do when I'm upset. He never demands, but asks politely. Case in point: when he wants a treat, he'll find a place to sit just over my shoulder (if I'm sitting at the kitchen table, my back is near the cupboard and he'll sit there) and taps on my shoulder with his paw. Oldsir is always in amazement when he sees that.

Happy birthday, Kitty.

We're still eating romaine lettuce twice a day. I'm sick of it. Only 4 more heads to go! I know I'll be craving it again come November.

I've been dehydrating dill today. My house smells like a pickel factory. I'm going to switch to drying some more basil tonight to get the house smelling like home again.

We've had a break in the hot weather here. Today it barely made 70 degrees. It was heavenly after that humid heat we've had for the last couple of weeks. I'm at my best when the temperatures are between 55 and 70 degrees F.

Things to Remember: When growing up at my parent's house, we didn't have air conditioning. Nobody had air conditioning. It just didn't exist. The closest thing was to sit on the ice block when the ice man came around. Anyway, my brother (yep, the one who had the birthday today) scrounged up some sort of big exhaust fan. I think it was supposed to be an exhaust fan at a factory or warehouse. He wired it up so that it would run on the house's electricity and set the fan up upstairs where most of the bedrooms were. When he turned it on the first time, it was a little (a lot) too powerful and sort of created a wind tunnel effect with everything flying everywhere. We quickly found out to set it facing out of a window was the way to go. It created a very nice breeze that way. Then the next problem was the noise. It was loud, very loud. But we quickly found out that we could live with the noise at night better than we could put up with the infernal heat. We named the fan "the airplane" because it was as loud as an airplane motor.

To this day I need a fan on when I sleep, even though we have central air conditioning. The louder the fan, the better.


P.S. Thank you for the compliment, Figmo. :)
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Owned By Cats

It's been a while since I've updated this journal. It seemed like when I was ready to do a new posting, I'd get sidetracked.

I picked the first tomatos of the season this week. I picked about 5 lbs of cherry tomatos. I glanced out at the garden tonight and noticed I'll have to pick more tomorrow. It'll be another week or two before the beefsteak tomatos are ready.

We stuck some onions in the garden as another afterthought when we planted. We put in some yellow, red, and a type called "Candy" (which is a Vidalia-type onion that grows up north, it gets really large and makes the most wonderful onion rings). Some of the yellow onions were ready this week, also. So I made hamburgers with sliced cherry tomatos and slices of onion, along with another (sigh) salad of romaine. Really, though, there's nothing better than fresh vegetables straight from the garden.

My neighbor, Art, got me a half-bushel of pickels, so tomorrow (maybe Tuesday if it's cooler outside, it's awful to can anything when it's so hot outside even though we have air-conditioning) I'm going to can dill pickels. I still have a lot of dill left in the garden.

Blueberry season has arrived up here and I'm going to be sending oldsir out tomorrow or Tuesday to one of the local growers to buy 5 lbs or so. I just put 1/2 of them in the freezer and we eat the other half by the handful. :) Speaking of berries, we also had huckleberries this past week. I went out and picked about a quart off the big bush (it's more like a tree) in our front yard and left the rest for Randall. The huckleberries were wonderful this year.

Now I'm going to start a subject that many of you don't want to hear about, but please read it anyway.

You know that I go every Tuesday and water the flowers on my parents' and brother's graves. It's just a small hometown cemetery. I've been noticing this summer that there is a small child's grave just about 25 feet from my family's sites. The child, according to the gravestone, died last fall at the age of 14 months, I don't recognize the name. Someone had planted a little, tiny begonia plant in the small cement flower urn on the grave last spring. That's fine, it's a nice remembrance. What's not fine is that they put the flower there and never tended to it since. When I first saw it it barely had any green left on it, it was 95% dead. I watered it, thinking that it was too little too late. The next Tuesday I went and it was only about 80% dead, a little life was coming out of the plant in new growth. But it was again dry as a bone, so I watered it again. I've continued watering it, and this week I even took a little plant food and mixed it with the water.

Why am I doing this? Because I can't stand to see a plant, or any living thing, die of neglect. I've always taken in unwanted plants from people, I've saved plants out of waste baskets. If they die while they're under my care, then I know that at least they were tended to.

Moral of this story: if you are responsible for something, take responsibility for maintenance. Don't be neglectful. Don't try to sweep unpleasant tasks under the rug. AND, if you see something that needs a little helping hand, please offer your helping hand.

Thank you for listening to my rant.

Those to remember: Today is my next-to-oldest sister's birthday. I dropped off a card and a loaf of fresh cinnamon bread that I had made to her house (of course she wasn't home, oldsir and I are the only people in the whole world who actually stay home) Anyway, I don't write about her much here. She's a good woman with a husband and family that anyone would be proud of. She was a grade school teacher for over 35 years. She started her teaching in the one-room schoolhouse on the outside of town. They closed that one-room schoolhouse in 1968 and moved everyone to the new, bigger elementary school in town. She was very glad when she only had to teach one grade at a time, instead of 4 (There were two teachers in the one-room schoolhouse. My sister had the grades K-3 and the other teacher had grades 4-6.)

This sister was my mother's favorite. (There's no bitterness in that statement, it's just a fact. I was Daddy's girl because I was the only one who never passed judgement on him when he had his mood swings. My oldest sister was my grandmother's darling.) My sister took very good care of my mother in her last few weeks of life. She took most of the burden on herself without a word of complaint. I will always be thankful to my sister for being so unselfish with her time and caring of Ma in her last days.

Happy Birthday to my sister, may she have many more.



Owned By Cats
Oldlady Got A Gun

For years, when I have a discipline problem in the house with one of my cats, I've used a spray bottle as my persuadiator to encourage better behavior. I was quite often hesitant to use the spray bottle because the spray would go everywhere and there are some things I just don't want getting all wet.

Oldsir changed that for me a couple of weeks ago. He got me a pistol, a water pistol. :)

It came in a plastic bag and cost 99 cents. It's bright green with a red trigger. It shoots straight.

I've never had such success with discipline as I've had in the last couple of weeks with my gun. My little Peanut in the plant, chomping away? Not any more. In two weeks she's gone from ignoring my vocal discipline to looking up and immediately becoming a good kitty.

Remember the huge tom cat that keeps threatening Mr. Grey? Not any more. I go outside with my water pistol and bam! he takes off running. I follow, walking, stalking. He turns around and see me coming with gun in hand and promptly goes off rumble tumble pell mell over the field and out of sight. Of course if anyone who would see me stalking a cat with a water pistol in my hand, they would immediately be thinking of calling for the padded ambulance.

I now keep my gun in reaching distance. My little Peanut got a surprise the other morning when she was trying to get into some mischief with a plant in the bedroom when she thought I was sleeping. I kept the gun on the nightstand. hehehe


On to more mundane matters.

I canned dill pickels on Tuesday. I got 14 quarts done. My sinuses are now throughly cleared due to cooking the brine and breathing the fumes. Since I canned them whole (the pickels were about 3"-4" long), it'll be about 3 months before they're fully cured. But they certainly look pretty all canned up with the dill weed and whole cloves of garlic in the jars with the pickels.

Tomatos are ripening pretty fast, especially the cherry tomatos. I picked about 20 lbs this week. I gave my neighbor, Art, about 7 lbs. Tomorrow I'm going to be making spaghetti sauce with the tomatos and onions, thyme and basil from the garden, along with peppers I have frozen left over from the garden last year. I'm going to make some wonderful pasta dishes with that next week.

One head of romaine is left! It'll make about 3 meals of a salad sidedish.

Randall (the crow) and his family have been making their presence known. I put bread out in the field for them about every other day. I'll go put it out there and come back in and watch out the window and, sure enough, there comes Randall and company within 2-3 minutes to have dinner. After they're done, Randall flies up to the top of my yellow delicious apple tree and sits there for a while. I wave to him.

Oldsir didn't bring home blueberries this week, he found out that the crop was still a little green so he'll go get them next week. But he did find a good deal on strawberries at the market and brought home 4 lbs. We had strawberry shortcake every night this week. :)

Things to Remember: Canning hasn't changed much since I learned how from my mother the proper way to can food. Before about 1960, we didn't have the nice lids that we have now. We had the rubber seals that went into solid metal caps. Nowdays, some people use a pressure cooker for canning, but I don't. I've always been scared of pressure cookers because the older ones were known to blow up on people. I know they're better today, but I just can't get it out of my mind of what I heard quite commonly happening. We canned everything in a boiling water bath, and that's how I do it today. We knew we had to keep the canning area and utensils clean and boiled and germfree, or else someone could get sick. To this day I check every can after it is sealed to make sure it's sealed properly, and I always check the can before I open it to make sure the seal held. Canning is hot work, and it is tiring (even when I was young it was tiring). It probably isn't very cost effective anymore, considering the price of electricity to keep the stove on high for hours on end. But the results taste so good, especially in the dead of winter.


P.S. Tekkamaki, it's true that I believe ultimately you have only yourself to depend on, but remember, your friends ultimately can only depend on themselves, also. Continue to be a good listener. You'll find you'll learn a lot that way.

P.S. Welcome Thorn. You write great cliffhangers. Also, congratulations on knowing yourself well and having self-confidence in your decisions.


Owned By Cats

I'm not dead, although I feel like I'm halfway there right now. I've been canning a lot of spaghetti sauce. I've got bushels of tomatos (not an exageration) and lots of onions, peppers, thyme and basil in my garden. Each batch takes three days of my time: one day to pick, clean, and pick through the produce (along with weeding); one day to poach, skin, and cut up the tomatos, cut up peppers and onions and herbs, then cook it all down to a thick sauce (takes about 4 hours of simmering); then a day of boiling jars and lids, filling the jars, boiling the filled jars for 45 minutes for each batch of jars. I've done this dance 3 times in the last three weeks and I'm tired.

We'll love having the sauce this fall, winter, and spring.

Two weeks ago on Saturday (that would have been the 2nd of August) we decided to take a day off and we got in the car and went to the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant. We've never been there before and we always wanted to see what it was like. I was impressed. It's a beautiful casino and hotel. I also won $18.50 on the Elvis machine. They must hate gamblers like me: I put a $20 bill in the machine and on the second spin I won 80 coins. So $20.00 - $1.50 (for the 2 pulls) + $20.00 = $38.50. I took the money and didn't play any more. This casino was about 130 miles from where we live and we had to travel on 2-lane roads for 80 miles of the trip. So it took us 2 1/2 hours to get there and 2 1/2 hours to get back home. But we had a good time.

We also decided we're going to Florida next month. Southwest Airlines has a special for $59 each way from Chicago to Orlando, so we decided to go. We're going to Disney World. We're going 9/8-9/15 (yes, over the 9/11 date because people don't seem to want to travel on that date any more, so we are). Maybe we'll chase a hurricane. I don't know. I have a feeling we'll probably be going out west again in November, but I haven't made any plans for that yet.

This is going to be a short one tonight, my friends. I'll try to be a little more timely in my entries.

Be well, behave, try to be happy.

Things to remember: The rope swing that was under the bridge in town. It was just a heavy rope that someone, sometime, had tied up on one of the bridge supports in the center of the bridge going over the river. How that unknown soul managed to get up there and tied it off good and proper, I'll never know, it was a good 30 feet over the river where it was tied (the river isn't very deep, but it's about 75 feet across). That rope swing was there when I was a little girl, and I was threatened with immediate spanking if I was ever caught swinging on that swing. I was too much of a chicken to swing on it anyway, so I never got into trouble for that. But plenty of kids did swing on it. The last I knew, the original rope was gone, but it was replaced several times since then and it's probably still there today. I'm still too much of a chicken to swing on it.