Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fair Photo Results and more

Wow. The Fair photo contest results are in and the whole family did well. We submitted a total of 35 pictures among 11 family members and came away with three Best of Show (two Reds and a Purple) in their categories and numerous other ribbons as well.

Jen and her youngest boy got two of the Best of Show (both had a Blue with a Red Best of Show) and Dad had a Blue with Purple Best of Show for a picture of Mom and Uncle Sonny in the portraits category.

In total we had 17 Blue, 12 Red, and 6 White. Now keep in mind that every entry gets something, but we still "done good."

Now we start working on next year's photos.

I have been letting the kittens have almost free range of the living room in the evenings and it has resulted in some hilarious moments. We have a tower fan in the living room that they have decided is a climbing/scratching post (I intend to purchase a real one tonight) and Shamus and Tigger have both made it to the top of the fan before DH or I realized they were climbing. The descent is a little tricky and Shamus has landed in the waterdish and then walked around shaking paws to rid them of the wet.

All four go each in a separate direction to distract the two of us so kittens are always somewhere they should not be - over the fence, behind the recliner, on top of something, under the recliner, inside the bookcase, etc. After a half hour or so DH and I are exhausted but smiling as we corral the four marauders and put them back in the crate.
Momma and Smoke are delighted to have them out of and back in the crate, too. Smoke either guards the front door area and makes certain the kits do not play with his yellow jingle balls or sits in the hall to the bedroom and watches the kittens scale the fence and the fan and our legs, etc. Sassy, my dog, spent most of last evening behind me in my recliner as the kits cavorted. She watched them very carefully but did not want to be on the floor with them.
I think I am trying to ignore/forget about this next item. My husband's doctor sent him to a urologist to have his prostate tested recently. When we went for the ultrasound the urologist did 6 biopsies as well. Two of the six came back positive. We go to an oncologist this coming Tuesday to find out the next step. The urologist is very optimistic. He said there is "nil" chance of this being fatal as it was found early. It has been hard for me to talk about this with anyone yet. We are still a little in shock. He is also angry, depressed, and blaming himself as he feels he must have done something to cause this. We need your prayers.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend Tales

What a weekend we have had. Saturday was submission day for photographs at the county fair. We had talked about all of us going down together Saturday morning as soon after 10 am as possible. So I was over at Dad's around 9 am with my extra picture frames to help him get the last of his photos printed, matted, and framed. We called sister Nancy to find out when she would be ready and she told us she still had to pick up her photos as she could not get them printed at the store the night before. She could not get the photos before 10 am and would come to Dad's after that. Jen called and asked if she still needed to bring a particular picture frame for Dad to use and said she would be there "ash shoon ash I finishh eashing" (exaggerated for effect).

Dad and I located the photos he wanted and after a few false starts got them printed. Jen arrived, Nancy arrived. We listened to Nancy's adventures of the night before getting her photos submitted to the photo-printing center and choosing frames and mats (frames one size, mats another, no option available) and Jen began trimming mats to fit Nancy's frames with Dad's large paper cutter. I cleaned the glass, and cleaned the glass, and cleaned the glass again after fingerprints were added during reinstallation in the frames, and cleaned the glass again. I have three small cuts from the edges of glass on the fingers of my left hand and did not even know I had them until much later. We laughed and talked and commisserated with each other about husbands and men in general as we all worked on finishing Nancy's fair submissions.

Around 11:30 we headed for the fairgrounds. We had to take the long way to get there as the 7th St entrance was closed to discourage people from using the fairgrounds as a shortcut to 12th St. As we went thru the gate at 12th St the sign hanging on the half open gate advised that the other gate was closed and no thru traffic. On the back of the gate once you are inside was spraypainted "Told you so." lol

There were only a few people ahead of us in the photo submission line and the wait was short. More people arrived after us and their wait was, of course, much extended by our submissions. When we got there the tag numbers were in the 70's. When we left, the numbers were in the 100's. Our family had over 30 photos submitted between adults and childrens categories.

Then we went home and napped.

Sunday "The Cousins", as we have called ourselves for 40 some years, went to Cameron to sing at a luncheon after church service at one of sister Beth's churches. Dad went with Beth when she left at 7:30 in the morning. She drove his Tahoe and all the equipment out and Dad got a front seat (passenger side) to allow his still tender hip room to move and adjust. The rest of us left after 10 am in two more vehicles to provide easy access and more front seats for vertigo prone (and therefore car sickness prone) passengers. It was a gorgeous day and the ride was pleasant and we all arrived with only a bit of dizziness. You have to understand that part of the trip was on Route 250 and with no other alternative route for us. 250 is famous for very few straight stretches and lots of ups and downs as it follows the natural contours of the hills. It is beautiful but a difficult ride for many people. My problem is not so much vertigo or car-sickness as it is the later effect on my fibromyalgia. I usually feel the effects the next day in aching neck, back, and shoulders. So far today, Monday morning, I am not doing too badly.

We arrived in Cameron with plenty of time to spare and no mishaps. I had remembered to take my camera and got the following pictures of stained glass in the churches.

The luncheon was wonderful. Good food. Good people. Lots of laughter. We sang afterwards for about a half hour and they enjoyed the music as much as we enjoyed doing it. Lots of smiling faces and people singing along on the familiar numbers. Thanks and congratulations afterwards. Nice people.
We had a leisurely drive home as well and cousin Barb stopped in the visit with Shamus and the other kittens before heading home herself. We were all exhausted but happy.
I am still tired this morning and this is a very choppy post. I am certain I will remember more about it later but wanted to get this much down now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clouds and Kitten Tales

Last night's storm that rolled thru made for some beautiful cloud photos. The storm moved southeast quickly just about sunset and the lowering sun gilded the clouds. My photos, while nice, just cannot do justice to the real thing.

Tonight the kittens met some little great-nieces of mine. All four kittens got well handled and the little girls were delighted. They romped and chased each other and got picked up and carried back to the center of the room (the kittens, not the nieces although there was some tickling and hugging going on with them, too) and just generally entertained us all.

And Sylvester has a new name and a new promised home. My cousin Barb was at Mom and Dad's tonight along with my sister and the great-nieces. She has had two black and white cats during her adult life but does not have one at this time although she does have two other adult cats. As soon as she saw Sylvester she said "Shamus the 3rd." After he played a while with the little girls she picked him up and he settled down with her and went to sleep just as if they belonged together. So, Shamus it is and Barb will take him home when he is weaned and ready to leave momma and siblings.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kitten Playpen

Today the NIC cubes order arrived and DH and I put together the new crate for the kittens. I ordered 5 sets of 13 grids each for a great price with free shipping. The crate we put together used only 28 grids for now but can be expanded and I used another 10 grids to make an open playpen for over at Mom & Dad's.
The crate and playpen are held together by zip cable ties and the "locks" will be binder clips. We made the sloped front the lid so the whole thing opens to allow access to the blue plastic crate which now houses the small litter pan.
One grid is attached to the top of the blue crate as Sylvester has already figured out how to climb the cage and fall thru the hole ... and climb the cage and fall thru the hole ... and climb the cage and fall thru the hole ...
The cage is already a big hit with us, the kittens, Momma Stormy, Smokey and even the dogs. Smoke and Sylvester have played with each other thru the grids. Before they could only sniff each other. There is one problem. I purchased "Welcome" mats with rubber backings to use for the floor. I turned the mats over so the rubber backing is what the kittens use as the floor. The backing is black. So are the kittens.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fair Contenders

Today sister Beth and I got our photographs ready for submission to the Fair next weekend. Last year we (at least I did) waited till almost the last minute to get ready. This year I have been preparing for months (all those yard sales and all those picture frames for great prices). So today I took a disk with the contenders over for Mom, Dad, and Beth to help me decide which would be the submissions and which were also rans.

The Fair photography division has 6 categories: Portraits; Landscapes; Still-Life; Animals; Abstract; and Miscellaneous. Each entrant is limited to 5 submissions and only one in each category. There are ribbons and small cash prizes usually. The Fair material states that the Art Department of the Fair has been established specifically for local amateur and hobby-type artists to have opportunity to display their work.

We whittled my contenders down to five and Beth and I went out (after playing with the kittens) and got some printed that I had not had printed previously.

So this post is for the purpose of displaying some of the also rans. Some of these may have been on my blog before, some have not.

I really like all of these photographs. It was hard to decide on my final five and leave these out of contention.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My day started at 4:30 this morning

which is when DH leaves for work. I got up as usual to say good-bye and put the dogs out. Then I went down to the basement to get the clothes I had left hanging down there to finish drying. Momma cat followed me downstairs as usual. As I was retrieving my jeans I heard a little "meow" which I thought was momma. Then I heard another. Lo and behold, either sometime in the night or early this morning she had carried all four kittens down to the unlighted basement. Thankfully they are so familiar with me they came right to me and I gathered all four up in my arms along with my laundry and carried them back upstairs to the blue crate.

Then the contest of wills started. Momma wanted them downstairs and I wanted them upstairs. The basement is damp (at least humid) and dark and who knows what lives in the corners and around all those boxes that are still not unpacked from when we moved here. The kittens would be able to go anywhere and everywhere down there. The blue crate is clean and dry and the kittens still cannot get out of it on their own. I put the kittens in the crate. Momma took a kitten and headed for the basement. I put the kitten back in the crate. Momma took a kitten and headed for the basement. After about 3 times I blocked Momma in the crate with the kits while I considered my options.

I had already planned on stopping at a yard sale on the way to work as the ad in the local paper included dog crates in the items available. I hoped to get one cheaply that would work until the NIC grids I intend to build a cage from arrive (Monday delivery anticipated according to UPS). But until I had a dog crate or the grids I needed a temporary solution. So the kits got moved to the red crate that houses the cats' food dishes to keep the dogs from eating it. A grating over the entry hole kept them inside (Smoke was crated in the red crate as a kitten). I got out my Dremel and drilled holes around the entry holes in the side and lid of the blue crate and attached baking racks with zip ties to those holes. Then I cut another hole in the other side of the crate and duct-taped a large heavy cardboard box to that side of the crate after putting a small litter pan inside. (Duct tape is wonderful. I am so glad I picked up a new roll recently.) The new configuration doubled the size of the habitat and allowed me to put Momma and food and water in with the kittens.

Finally, I was able to take my shower and get ready for work. But Momma wasn't happy. There are handholds in the sides of the cardboard box I used and I thought they would be nice for ventilation. Momma thought they were starter escape holes. I did what I could and headed for the yard sale early in hopes of getting a metal dog crate.

I was there before the official starting time and the crates were already gone. So I went on to work to check on what was on my desk that needed done today. I am already off Monday for DH's doctor appt and wanted to be certain there was nothing that had to be done. When my co-worker arrived before starting time I told her what was going on and what was on my desk (nothing) and put a vacation request slip in the boss's mailbox and headed for home. Ours is a relaxed sort of office and I have plenty of vacation time and if something comes up they can always call me at home.

On the way home I stopped at the Dollar General store and found a pet carrier crate on clearance for only $10. It is not the sturdiest crate but it will do for now and $10 wasn't a bad price for what I got. Home again and Momma is still inside the new habitat but she has worked on those escape holes. She calms down when she knows I am back. I let her out and check on the kits then I put the new carrier together and put the kits inside and went over to Mom and Dad's.

It is only a little after 9 a.m. then and I am exhausted. But the kittens come out of the carrier crate and explore the room and the people in it and play for what seems a long time before wearing out again.

Spot chewed on the cuff of my jeans. Sylvester played with the wrist strap of Dad's cane (note the wet neck on Tigger, they all looked like that from Momma's efforts to move them), they stalked and attacked each other (and us), and finally got tired and started crying for Momma.

So home we went and I decided it was time to rearrange things in the living room to make space for the blue crate and box combination and still leave room for me to sit in my chair. Several hours later I sat down and ate lunch. There are still a few things in DH's chair for him to look at when he gets home but otherwise things aren't in too bad of a condition. In fact, there is a little more floor space for the dogs to spread out in. I don't know if I will be able to stay up for Dr. Who tonight on Sci-Fi.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Another beautiful summer day dawns with the promise of sunshine and heat.
The kittens have been doing what all kittens do - sleeping, eating, and growing -
and trying again to escape the smaller of the nesting boxes.
Spot seems to have figured it out.
Hello, world. Here I am.
The kittens all have "baby names" now. This one is Spot because of the white fur on its throat. The black and white kitten is being called Sylvester (Thanks, Linda, for reminding us of that cat.). The grey striped is, of course, Tigger. And the other dark kitten got christened Velcro last night because it just won't let go with all four paws at the same time. We are trying to introduce them to food now. I mix up some milk replacement and pour it over a bit of dry kitten food and put both just the milk replacement and the moistened food in with the kittens when Momma is out of the blue crate eating her own meals. So far the kittens have walked in the food and spilled the food and shaken it off paws onto each other. Momma hurries back to the crate and shows them how it is done by eating and drinking almost all of it herself. They'll get the idea.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


I love going out in the early morning and catching the sun and dew doing marvelous things.
When the sun peeks over the eastern hills the clouds light up in glorious ways.
If I get down real low I get some wonderful shots of ordinary grass turned extraordinary
and weeds become things of breath-taking beauty.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Great (attempted) Escape

Nothing happening here. All four kittens accounted for.
Mom's not looking now.
Think I'll try going over the wall ... whoops, the dog.
Maybe the front is the way to go.
Is she looking at me?
Now's my chance.
If ... I ... can ... just ... get ... a little ... higher ...
Somebody give me a push!
Busted! Back in the big blue box.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Positions, everyone ...

Lady's got the camera. Let's look extra cute.