Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Kitty Photos

This is Katie. She is our oldest cat, born in 2001; we brought her here from Pennsylvania. She's a Maine Coon cat; they are large cats, with long fur. Her role in our "cat household" is the diva; she thinks she rules the roost.

This is Tinkerbell, the female half of the duo we adopted four years ago. She and her brother, Tiger came to us together as ferals. They were living somewhere behind our house and came up and introduced themselves. She is our laziest cat and has become quite fat. She reminds me a bit of Jabba the Hutt, but she is very sweet. See all that white fur? It's ALL OVER our house!

This is Tiger, the male half of the duo we adopted as ferals from our back yard. At first we named them Tinkerbell and Tigerlily, but when we found out this one was a male, we renamed him Tiger. Tiger is the most introverted of our cats. He always seems to be thinking deep thoughts; I call him my "Zen cat".

This little black kitty is Munchkin, our most recent adoptee. She was a feral, too, part of a litter of four who are identical except she was the smallest and has a little white spot on her chest. She was friendly from day one and seemed to want to come inside to live with us. She is the most extroverted of our cats. She is very active and affectionate. Strangely, she and Tiger (the extrovert and the introvert) have become best friends.

These are two of the remaining feral cats who live outside our house. We call them Spot and Little Blondie. They seem to have become friends, too. All of the ferals are friendly with each other, like a little community. This amazes me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Note from My Dad

My sister and I were helping our mom sort through some old papers. We found some letters that my dad sent her while he was out of town at seminars. Among those letters, we found this little note. He drew his face getting more and more sad from missing her, then happy again when back home. We thought it was so sweet and showed a playful side of him that we seldom saw. My mom noticed the postmark date and realized this was just four months before he died suddenly. That's so sad. We will cherish this little note.

That Stupid Post

My last post was a little stupid, wasn't it? Who wants to see a video of Tony Orlando and Dawn from the 70s anyway? That wasn't really the point; it's not like I was a big fan or anything. The point was, how did I get so sentimental that I burst into tears from hearing that song on the radio?

I'm really not a big cryer (crier?) in movies or anything. On the contrary, I tend to resent being manipulated by some tear-jerking plot. I'm not a sucker for that kind of thing. Actually, my husband cries at watching things more often than I do. He cries during the Olympics, when they show winners getting their medals and at the end of golf tournaments when the winner is being interviewed. In other words, he gets sentimental over sports.

Most of my crying is done over animal stories. I can't stand it when animals are hurt, lost, or abused. I can't stand it in real life and I can't stand it in stories. When those commercials come on for humane societies showing animals in cages I have to change the channel. Yes, I do support several animal welfare charities, but I just can't watch their commercials.

Some times I hear stories on the radio that make me cry. But I have never burst into tears because of a song before. That's why I was so surprised that I had to write about it.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sentimental Me

Does anyone remember a song from the 70s called "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree"?

It was sung by Tony Orlando and Dawn. Remember them?

The other day I was in my car and listening to Sirius radio (which I love). It was probably on the 70s on seven station because they played that song. It had probably been at least 25 years since I had heard it. In case you don't know the lyrics, it was about a man riding home on a bus. He had been in prison and hoped his girlfriend was still waiting for him. He had written her a letter saying "if you still want me, tie a yellow ribbon round the ole oak tree". If he didn't see a yellow ribbon he would "stay on the bus, forget about us, and put the blame on me." I had forgotten the words in the final line of the song. "The whole damn bus is cheering, they can't believe what they see... a hundred yellow ribbons on the ole oak tree".

When I heard that I burst into tears, right there in my car, driving down the road. "What's wrong with me?" I thought. I was crying happy tears over that song. Sentimental me!

See if it affects you the same way.

That clip was a recent performance, about thirty years after. If you want to see what they looked like "back in the day" check this one out! (They cut the ending off, though, I don't know why.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer: A Blessing and A Curse?

Well, it's summer. I have mixed feelings about it. I love the idea of summer; wearing shorts and flip-flops, no need for heavy coats or snow boots. I love going to the pool or the beach. I love that everything is green and flowers are blooming. At least I love the beginning of summer; June and July are fun months. The problem is, it begins to get too hot. By the time August is here, I am ready for cooler weather. The flowers are wilting from the heat, and so am I.

I remember, as a kid, we played outside all summer. I don't remember ever feeling too hot. Was it cooler then, or are kids immune from the heat? Now there are days when I go outside and it feels like an oven. Some days it's so humid that it's hard to breathe. Now I worry about the sun, too. I don't remember putting on sunscreen when I was a child. I used to get sunburns that blistered; no wonder I had a melanoma (it was removed two years ago). So now, each morning before I get dressed I slather on the sunscreen. I can't just wake up, see a beautiful day and run out to meet it.

Summer also makes me yearn for a beach and a palm tree. I would LOVE summer if I could sit on a beach under a palm tree and watch the ocean. I would walk on the beach and lose weight. I would be skinny and tanned and happy!

Speaking of tanning, that's a problem for me. I have skin that burns rather than tans. When I was a teen I actually dreaded summer because everyone else would get tan and I felt like a pale freak. Kids were always holding their arms up against mine to compare; "ooh, look how PALE you are!". I thought it was extremely rude, as if they came up to someone and said "ooh, look how fat you are!".

The only time I've ever developed a tan was when I stayed in Hawaii for three weeks in a row. Just one more reason to love Hawaii!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Michael's Party

My sister Vicki and brother-in-law Joe and their son Michael live in Michigan. Last weekend, we drove up to attend Michael's party. It was quite a party! A red and white striped tent set for a picnic, caterers grilling and serving delicious food, plenty of wine, lawn games, and great conversation! They topped the evening off with a UFO sighting in the sky above the house (or could it have been the wine?).

Was it a birthday party? Was it a graduation party? Well, here is the information they handed out. It says a lot about who they are, and why we love them.

Party FAQ List

So Michael has graduated?
Well, no, not really. He started this year with 20 credits to complete (about three years of high school), and he managed to complete 17. He'll finish off the last 3 in the fall, and maybe take a college course or two as well.

Well, why did he have so many credits to finish?
We took him out of the public school system in the middle of his sophomore year and home schooled for two years. When we all decided he should get a public high school diploma, the school district would not accept transfer credits, but would allow him to work a self-paced program at Bowers Academy, a more flexible alternative.

So why did you take him out of public school?
His needs were obviously not being met, and he was becoming increasingly frustrated, as were we. As a side note, we are participating in a joint study with the U of M and Johns Hopkins on the effect of inheriting a doubly-reinforced Stubborn-Rebellious-Independent-Genius gene.

Why isn't he just finishing over the summer?
Bowers doesn't offer a summer program.

What about college?
He's been accepted at Oakland University and will start full time in January.

What will he major in?
Theater, with a concentration in performing. Or creative writing. Or physics. Or some combination of two or all three of those. Or something he hasn't even thought of yet. Joe had approximately 13 different majors in his college career (See Stubborn-Rebellious-Independent-Genius gene above), so some indecision is to be expected.

And this is also a birthday party? Is it Michael's birthday today?
Well, no, not really. His actual birthday was last Sunday.

So wait a minute. He's not really graduating and it's not really his birthday? Why are you having this party again?
Did we mention the Giants won the Super Bowl?

Honestly, Michael has put in a tremendous amount of work this year, and we think he should celebrate it and be recognized for it. Plus, if we had a graduation party in the middle of winter, few of you would come, and he wouldn't get nearly as many gifts.

OK, I get all this, but where is Michael?
Most likely in the basement with his friends playing video and board games. But don't worry, we have negotiated a public appearance tour, so he will by coming by occasionally. Feel free to ask about an autographed picture, available at a very attractive price today only.

Wow, you guys are nerds.
See Stubborn-Rebellious-Independent-Genius gene above.

My own note: it runs in the family!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend Celebrations

We had a weekend of non-stop celebrating...

It all began with Sarah's 15th birthday on Friday.

For her birthday, I took her shopping.

She modeled her new birthday clothes.

We had cake...

and pad thai.


Saturday, we drove to Michigan for our nephew's graduation (sort of... more later) and birthday party. Road trip! My sister drove all eight of us in her giant car; three sisters, three nieces, a grandmother and an uncle.

That's the "birthday boy" on the right, playing "hillbilly horseshoes" with friends.

The cousins watched the game...

then they all shot some hoops...

and the hillbilly horseshoe ball-and-string thingie had to be rescued from a tree!

Later, that evening...

We stayed overnight at a nearby hotel. I took photos of the decor...

The girls went swimming...

and used the workout room (Sarah, the gymnast).

Finally, we drove back to Kentucky to celebrate Father's Day... with another cake!

It was a very busy weekend, full of celebrating the good things!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Busy with Birthdays!

I've been busy celebrating family birthdays. This time of year, there is one after another. This weekend, there are three birthday parties; one Friday evening, another Saturday afternoon, and a third on Sunday evening. When the weekend is over and I come back to Monday, I will have some photos to post. Oh, and Father's Day, too. This is a busy weekend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Feral Cat Update

It's been a while since I wrote about our feral kitties, the ones who live behind the houses on our street. We have done what animal people call "TNR or trap, neuter, release". We have trapped one a time and taken them to be spayed or neutered, then released them back to the yard. We have had a total of twelve "fixed". Three of the twelve were friendly enough to be adopted, and now they live with us inside. The rest of them live outside and have formed a little group, almost like a little family. They get along with each other amazingly well. Every morning they come up to our deck for breakfast, then show up again later in the day for dinner. Between times, they either disappear into the yard or hang out on the deck.

The first picture is Little Sister. She was born in a litter to the cat we called Mama, along with her brother we call Spot.

Next is "Big Blackie", relaxing on a bench.

There are three "little black kitties" who are identical triplets. One is lying on a cushion under the table. The second found a bit of shade under a fern. The third little black kitty is Munchkin, whom we adopted to live with us.

This is "Little Blondie" with one of the little black kitties. I think they have become friends.

Here they are at the bottom of the stairs which come up to the deck. They are shy of humans, so they are waiting for me to go inside so they can come up to eat.

Recently, we have noticed what looks like an eye infection going through the group. Several have had "weepy" looking eyes and we were worried about them. But they all seem to have cleared up now.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scenes from My Weekend

An outdoor concert by a zydeco band.

In my sister's yard with my niece Molly.

We see a lot of Harleys around here.

Above: Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati. In "Rainman" Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman drove along this road.

Dinner at The Precinct, in an old police station in Cincinnati.