Thursday, December 26, 2013

I Finally Saw It!

I have been trying to catch the raccoons in the act of raiding the bird feeder, and I finally saw it tonight, with the help of Walter's sharp ears.  His cries alerted me to the raccoons right outside the kitchen window.

I saw one of the raccoons jump up onto the window ledge, and from there, he made a flying leap onto the bird feeder above him.  The tray of the bird feeder went straight up in the air because of the raccoon hanging on one side of it.  I saw the bird seed spill onto the ground.  The raccoon held onto the bird feeder tray with the grasping paws of his legs, and then he jumped onto the ground.

I saw him do this twice.  Now I just need to get the proper equipment to take a video of it so you'll believe me!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Am Getting Braver

Usually when I see a critter inside the house, one that does not belong, i.e., gecko, lizard, frog, toad, snake, etc., I scream and call for Wayne to grab whatever it is and throw it outside.

Well, I saw a gecko, screamed, yelled for Wayne, but I was worried he wouldn't get there in time and that it would hide, and that would mean worrying all night that it might jump on me, so.... I got a Kleenex and carefully wrapped it around the little gecko.  It took a couple of tries, with accompanying screams, but I finally caught it and threw it outside.  Who knew I'd be getting braver as I aged?

Raccoon Treats

I made some praline bars, a recipe I got from the newspaper.  I made two trays of them, but the one closest to the heating coil at the bottom of the oven - all of those got a little "crispy," i.e., burned...  I hate when that happens because I hate wasting food.  So I figured the raccoons wouldn't mind crispy praline bars, after all, why wouldn't they like graham crackers with melted butter and brown sugar with pecans?

Well, I put all of the praline bars into two paper plates and left them out on the patio.  Sure enough, the next morning, every single one of them had been eaten.  Christmas came a little early for my raccoons.  Wonder what they're leaving me tonight....

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Animal Parade

Harry was chasing Violet around the house, and even though I called his name to get his attention, he kept chasing Violet.  Walter wanted in on the chase, too, so he started chasing Harry who was still chasing Violet.  First time I ever saw that....

Creaky Knees

My right knee has been giving me some pain, so I got a brace for it, just like the one for my left knee.  I haven't tried them both on at the same time though.

When I was strapping on the knee brace, I stood up, and Dan, the guy from durable medical equipment, who ordered the brace for me, said "What was that?"

I said, "That was my knee creaking."  Every time I got up, my knees creaked.  It was funny to me, but he looked at me like, Can you believe how loud your knees are?"


There are no more flowers in my house.  My birthday was almost three weeks ago, so that means there are no little clear puddles of throw-up with pieces of ferns in the puddles.

But I did step in dog vomit yesterday.  I couldn't figure out why Walter wasn't sitting on his rug.  When we get the leash, he knows it's time for a walk, and usually he sits on the rug right by the door.  Yesterday, he just would not sit on the rug.  I realized why when I stepped in the green vomit.  That was from the minty bones he ate - supposed to help his dental health, but no more minties for Walter...

This was the first whole day with out vomit - yay!  Another birthday celebration!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Birthday Present

On the first day after my birthday, one of the cats gave me a present:  he threw up on top of the filing cabinet.  Don't worry - no pictures, although I have to confess, I did think about it.  It's the first time a cat ever did that.  And then I found two more spots in the house where he threw up.  One of the messes had little bits of green in it.  I thought, of course, he's been eating grass.  And then I thought, wait, he doesn't go outside.  And then I thought, oh yeah, he's been eating the ferns from my birthday flowers.  Lovely...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What the Raccoons Did, Part II

We have a hummingbird bush in the backyard.  It's beautiful, with red blossoms that are just perfect for the hummingbirds' long beaks to dip into for the flowers' nectar.

This is the first year it's grown so big that it almost covered the whole window.  There's a bird feeder hanging above the hummingbird bush.  And therein lies the problem.

This is what the bush looks like:

You can see the bird feeder here:

Well, some generations of raccoons that visit our yard from the nearby swamp, are smarter than others.  It took a long time for the present raccoon family to discover the bird feeder, which is the reason that our hummingbird bush grew so large.  But now, every night, they are in pursuit of birdseed.  They learned to climb the branches of the hummingbird bush and pull themselves up to the bird feeder.  The branches aren't too strong, so damage has been done:

You can see that the branches cracked and broke.  But now it's harder for the raccoons to reach the bird feeder.  I haven't yet seen how they get into the bird feeder now that the branches are broken.  Maybe they learned to do what previous raccoon generations have done:  climb up on the roof, reach under the eaves, grab ahold of the chain holding the bird feeder, pull the seed tray up to the roof, up end it on the ground, then jump back onto the ground to eat all the seeds.  The first time I saw that, I thought, "Wow, we have really clever raccoons."  I wish I had caught the whole process on camera.  I think I need one of those wildlife cameras.  Hey, that would be a could Christmas present!

Birthday Goat

Not everyone would get excited about those two words.  I do though.  Again, anyone who knows me is not surprised.

I have been looking at these metal sculptures in the yard of a flea market for years now.  Every time I drive by the flea market, I look longingly at all the different critters.

I went out to eat lunch with a friend, and on the way home, we stopped at the flea market.  It was closed, so we couldn't go in.  It didn't even occur to me that I was hinting about what I'd like for my upcoming birthday gift.  I pointed out the different goats, roosters, zebras, pigs, flamingoes, and giraffes.  Then we got back into the car and drove home.

Well, my friend told me that I needed to come visit her so I could get my birthday present.  She and her husband were going on vacation and wouldn't be in town for my birthday.  I told her, "We can wait until y'all return from your vacation."  She said, "Oh, you really need to get your birthday present before we leave."

So yesterday, I stopped by her house on the way home from picking up Harry's medicine at the vet.  She and I sat down and talked, and I must have really needed to talk because normally, when I see a present that I know is for me, the first thing I want to do is tear open the gift wrapping.  And this was a huge gift bag.  We talked until I'd gotten things off my chest, and she said, "OK, open your present."

I unwrapped the green tissue paper, and lo and behold, it was a metal goat!!!!  I told her that I didn't see how she could outdo what she'd given me last year, but this was exactly what I needed.
Look, he's even smiling!  Adorable, right?

She asked me what I was going to name him.  I said I didn't usually name inanimate pets.  But then immediately, I thought of a name:  Theophilus.  When I told my husband the goat's name, he said, "William Theophilus."  I asked, "Why William?"  He said, "It's long for Billy."  Ha!  He is so clever.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Witch's Fingers

My friend, Renata, brought me witch's fingers that she baked for the Halloween party.  When I took the foil off the plate, I screamed!
They look realistic, don't they?


This is the second day in a row that I found a little green tree frog in my mailbox.  If he's there again tomorrow, I'm going to have to come up with a name for him.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Regal Walter

Here's regal Walter, sunning himself on the patio in the backyard:
Here's hoping he behaves himself at the PetFest this Sunday!

What the Cat Did to the Pineapple

My cats are notorious for meddling and interfering with all kinds of things.  This is the latest...

We bought a pineapple and put it on the kitchen counter to ripen.  In the morning, I noticed it was on the floor and several of the green things on top (I have no idea what those are called, but you know what I'm talking about) were lying next to the pineapple.  I picked it up and put the pineapple back on the counter.

Then I found the pineapple on the floor with a cat crouching right next to the poor pineapple.  I have a feeling that it not the calico cat who was the culprit, but it was  probably the gray cat.
He looks so innocent, but don't be deceived.

Poor Zoe, set up by her sibling...

A Snake, a Frog, and a Lizard

I don't know what the deal is with the reptiles and amphibians in my neighborhood, but within the last two days, I saw a garter snake when I was pulling weeds in my garden, pulled the mail out of the mailbox this afternoon and found a green tree frog on one of the envelopes, and finally (I hope), opened the door to the patio to feed the cats only to have a lizard try to leap on me from the screen door.  Those who know me will be very surprised to hear that I did not scream!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Two Minutes Left

There were two minutes left in the football game.  I have only watched two whole football games in my life, but I still want my home team to win.  It makes the whole city happy!

Well, I thought they would win this game.  They were ahead by four points, and there were only two minutes left in the game.  I thought for sure there would be victory.

I got on my bicycle and rode really fast through my neighborhood, trying to get back home before the game was over.  As I was riding, I could hear people yelling, and I knew they were yelling at their televisions.  I just knew those were celebratory yells.

People started to come outside, but I didn't ask anyone the score.  When I got home, I looked at the TV, and I was amazed, in the last five seconds, the other team scored a touchdown and won by three points!  What???

Just goes to show you, you never know how things will turn out until the very end....

Cats in a Basket

Henry, the gray cat, loves to snuggle in this wicker basket.  Zoe wants to be wherever another cat is, and she couldn't be happier curled up right on top on Henry!  I really want to know what Henry thinks...

Who's Happier?

Who looks happier?  The man with the dog on his lap or the dog on the man's lap?

Henry Cracks Me Up

Cats can climb things that you'd never believe they could.  This chiffarobe is eight feet tall.  Henry loves to jump up to the window sill and then jump on top of the dresser.  It cracks me up when I walk into the room and see him up there:

Look What the Raccoons Did!

I had buckets of potting soil on the back patio, and the raccoons knocked them over, looking for food.  They scarf up whatever's leftover from the feral cats that we feed in the backyard, but then, everything else is fair game...

Blessing of the Animals

Our church had the Blessing of the Animals on a Sunday afternoon.  We only brought Walter, not all the cats.  Our pastor makes house calls, so he's blessed them at home.  Here's Wayne with the pastor and Jerry and his dogs.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fake It Til You Make It

This is a common sentiment in AA circles; for the uninitiated, AA = Alcoholics Anonymous.  In other words, you may not feel like it, but act like it until it's real.

This leads me to something I read in a book called, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. (I heard about this book from another blog written by Kristen Lamb.)  The book is about creativity.  In the chapter, "Don't Wait Until You Know Who You Are To Get Started," Kleon says, " If I'd waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started being creative, well, I'd still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things.  In my experience, it's in the act of making things and doing our work that we figure out who we are.  You're ready.  Start making stuff.  You might be scared to start.  That's natural.  There's this very real thing that runs rampant in educated people.  It's called impostor syndrome.   The clinical definition is:  a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.  It means that you feel like a phony, like you're just winging it, that you really don't have any idea what you're doing.  Guess what:  none of us do.  Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they'll tell you the truth:  they don't know where the good stuff comes from.  They just show up to do their thing.  Every day."

I don't know about you, but whenever I hear about or read about something that I thought only happened to me, I'm so relieved that other people have felt that way.  Even better - there's a name for it.

When I first started my social work career, I was 23, fresh out of graduate school, with my first apartment and first car.  I felt so inadequate because I didn't have any experience, and this was my first job.  Of course, you have to have a first job so you can have some experience.  God bless the first employer that gives you a chance.

I remember pushing my grocery cart around the store, shopping for food that my meager paycheck would afford me.  I felt like any second, someone was going to come up behind me, tap me on my shoulder, and say, "Give it up.  We know you're not an adult."  I was just going through the motions, playing at being a grown up.

Now, all these years later, I find out there's a name for it, and it's a syndrome  that "runs rampant in educated people."  Who knew?  I didn't.  But I'm so relieved to know that others have felt this way, and it's a real thing.

So getting back to the title, "Fake it til you make it," even though I've never thought of myself as creative, if I show up and do the work, it'll happen.  What do they say about creativity?  It's 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.  In other words, you gotta work hard to make something happen that's worthwhile.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Big Lump Under The Rug

I fell asleep in the easy chair, and when I got up, I saw this.  It took me a while to realize that it was probably Zoe under the rug.

What Is It?

I was weeding the garden, and I looked closely at the soil.  I've never seen this before.  Maybe they're little, tiny mushrooms!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Run, Rabbit!

For this first time ever, I saw a rabbit running down the highway along side of oncoming traffic.  All I could think of while watching him run was, "Stay on the side - don't get in the street!"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


How does he know?  My gray cat, Henry, has some kind of crusty stuff on his ear, so I made an appointment to bring him to the vet.  I don't know of any cats that like going to the vet.  As soon as my cats see the kitty carrier, they scurry away and hide under the bed, so it's a major commotion trying to pull them out from under the bed.

Henry was curled up in his little bed on top of Walter's kennel.  I went through the utility room, closing the door, so he couldn't hear me getting the kitty carrier in the garage.  I pulled the carrier off the shelf, and then I put it on top of the washing machine.  I walked back into the room, and Henry had vanished.

How does he do that?  How do cats know that you're taking them to the vet?

Well, I tracked Henry down:  he'd run to the bedroom, and when he saw me, he bolted, running under the bed.  Luckily, I could reach him by grabbing his legs and pulling him out from his hiding place.

I swiftly deposited him into the kitty carrier and brought him to the car.  He uttered one long meow, but he was silent for the rest of the trip to the vet.

When we were led to the examination room, I took him out of the kitty carrier and held him.  He crawled up onto my shoulder and sat right behind my head.

This visit, no shots were involved.  The vet just gave me a cream to put on Henry's ear.  He said it was vasculitis.

While the vet was explaining how to apply the medicine, I started having a hot flash, and I grabbed the newspaper I'd brought with me and fanned myself.  The vet asked me, "Are you OK?  Do you need some water?"  I said, "It's just a hot flash."  He patted me on the shoulder.

All in a day's work....

Monday, September 23, 2013

A First

I caught my cat drinking my coffee.  That's a first!  I know better than to leave a glass of milk or water on the counter or table because  the cats can't resist taking a "sip."  Actutally, they'll stick a paw in the liquid and lick it off the paw, or if the liquid's high enough, they'll lick it from the top.  What I caught Harry doing this morning was licking the top of the coffee in my coffee cup.  I never thought my cats were interested in coffee.  Now I know...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Sound

Everyone who lives with cats knows the sound: a cat upchucking.  It's what made me launch from the coziness of my bed this morning.  I saw my little gray cat, Henry, crouching at the foot of the bed, down on the carpet, throwing up, and a dark stain appeared on the carpet.  I got out of the bed quickly telling Henry, "Don't eat it!"  Yes, people who live with cats know about this lovely habit, too, though in this case, it was a hairball or hairlog, and Henry didn't seem to be interested in eating it.  But that didn't stop the other three cats or the dog from investigating the mess on the carpet.

There is a certain way to clean up vomit.  DO NOT RUB IT INTO THE FIBERS!  Get a knife, and delicately scrape the mess into a paper towel.  You can almost avoid stains if you do it this way.  You can learn from my experience.  I have LOTS of stains throughout the house.  That's because I'd sop up the mess with a paper towel, which just pushed the detritus further into the carpet fibers, thereby, forever marking that spot with cat vomit.  No matter what cleaner you use, for all their promises, this method guarantees that the carpet will retain the mark.  Oh, well.

So this morning, although I wasn't fully alert, I ran for the paper towels and butter knife and tried out the gentle technique of scraping rather than smashing.  I was pretty happy with the result.  It also helps that the color of the carpet is gray...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cat on the Microwave

This is Henry:
He sits on the microwave and oversees the table while we eat.

Here's a close-up:


This is what I stepped on:

It was on the patio in the backyard.  Good thing I had very thick flip flops on - I felt something when I stepped on it.  Imagine my surprise when I saw what it was!

Come to Capernaum

This past summer, our church put on a different kind of Vacation Bible School.  

Our minister's wife, Beverly, made the poster to show us the  blueprint. 

We had a well in the center of the town of Capernaum.  All of the adults had clothing that we imagined the people in Jesus' time would be wearing.  The children had "tunics" (T-shirts) cinched in the middle with a leather string, and each person wore a name tag.  The children's name tags bore the name of the tribe they were in, and each tribe was headed by a tribal mother.  Each shop was staffed with one or two adults and two teenaged helpers.  Altogether, ninety children signed up for Bible School.   

Acting out the Bible story of Jesus and the loaves and fishes

The well in the center of Capernaum

The story book which opened up with several different backgrounds which changed according to the skit being acted out each morning

God's Story - the front of the story book 

Map of Israel - the back of the story book

Benjamin's Garden Shop - we taught the children about the types of plants and how they were used for food and medicine.  Each child got to plant seeds in pots, and they took the plants home at the end of the week.

Joseph's Carpentry - the children got to hammer pieces of wood together and paint their creations.

The Pottery Shop - children rolled out clay and made animals or whatever their imaginations came up with, and at the end of the week, they got to take their work home.

The Weaver's Shop - the children learned how to weave and make an artistic piece.

Ephraim's Fine Foods - the children got to taste lentil soup, flatbread, stuffed grape leaves, and other types of foods.

Manasseh's Metals - in this shop, the children made bead necklaces. 

Mosaics - the children made pictures from tiny pieces of tile.

Issachar's Prayer Rugs - the children embroidered the fish symbols onto pieces of material and made their own rugs.

Synagogue School - the children, led by a Rabbi, wrote scriptures on scrolls.

Hannah & Ben talking with Mom in front of their house, talking about what Jesus said

Every day, the children watched a short skit.  
Then each tribe went to their home and learned about what it was like to live in Jesus' time.

Tribe of Simeon

Tribe of Zebulon

Tribe of Levi

Tribe of Gad

Tribe of Naphtali

Tribe of Dan

Tribe of Asher

Tribe of Judah

One of the most wonderful things about preparing for this was that everyone in the church contributed their time, talents,  service, and resources to make this happen.  We worked for seven months beforehand to get Capernaum ready for Vacation Bible School.