Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Belated Merry Christmas!

These are a couple of pictures from our Christmas morning. Dave's radio controlled Jeep was a big hit. Apparently he never had a remote controlled car that didn't have a cord when he was little. He promptly ran the battery down. :) Georgia FINALLY got to open that bone she has been checking on every day it was under the tree. :)

We had a great and very busy Christmas. I hope everyone else did, too!

I'm really looking forward to 2007. The plans? Well, in addition to celebrating our third anniversary (Yay!!), we hope to find a house of our own and maybe a new car for me. We both have a couple of personal goals that we seem close to acheiving. The law practice is doing great, even if he has had a couple of scary encounters recently. I'm so very proud of him. He really seems to be growing into his role as a lawyer, and it's a great thing to see. At his request, I gave him a couple of Spanish workbooks for law enforcement personnel for Christmas. With such a large Mexican population in our county, he would be at an advantage if he knew some courtroom Spanish. One of his goals this year is to learn some.

I'm loving my job as much as ever, and I'm looking forward to a couple of business trips in the near future. A business trip means a fresh, new project, and I'm ready for one. There's been a lot of weirdness in the office recently, so I'm really looking forward to a new year here in the cube farm. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Birthday to ME!

The pictures above show what my cube looked like this morning when I got to work. My co-workers love me. :) I had to rearrange some of the streamers and balloons because I kept ducking under them to get to my chair.

My sister operates on the theory that you should celebrate your birthday for a week; I have never done that, but I'm getting close this year. This is my third day of celebration. Saturday night we went out to a Japanese restaurant with the family. I got clothes and pajamas and cake. Then Sunday morning, the entire church sang Happy Birthday to me (that was slightly embarrassing), and Dave parents came down and took us to lunch. They also brought me more pajamas and a photo album (I've been quickly filling photo albums since Dave gave me a digital camera for Christmas last year). Sunday evening we had dinner at Daddy's, where I got money and cake. :)

Dave gave me two hand-thrown coffee mugs that I fell in love with at a little pottery shop in Mentone and a coffee table book of 70 years of Life (magazine) photography. The book also included a print of the V-J Day victory kiss (the sailor and the nurse) that we will be framing. Years ago Dave inadvertently started a collection of kissing pictures for me; he's given me two poster sized pictures of couples kissing. When I saw the picture of the sailor kissing the nurse on V-J Day, I knew I wanted to add it to the collection. I think he's been looking for it for a while, and he finally got it with this book because it's a Life magazine photo. The book itself is really cool, but I can't wait to get that picture framed.

I also finished my Christmas shopping and wrapping this weekend, and that's a relief! I bought cat and dog toys for Christmas (since they are my kids) and I left the bag on the dining room table. I kept finding one of the catnip toys in the floor, but I didn't know who was stealing it. Sunday morning, I watched as Squirt dug around in the bottom of the bag for the feather balls I bought for him (he LOVES feathers). Three of them come on a piece of cardboard, so he stole the whole cardboard and ran with them. I confiscated it and gave him one ball to play with, and he played and played. When he got finished with that one, he came back to the bag to find something else to play with. I had to hide it from him. :) I told you he's a Christmas kitten.

I also wrapped a bone and put it under the Christmas tree for Georgia. Now, every time she walks by the tree she sticks her nose deep into it to smell her present. :) She thinks she's very special right now because I started feeding her fish oil capsules Saturday. She's been very itchy with very dry skin since we turned the heat on, and the fish oil is supposed to make her stop itching. She was hilarious when I gave her the first one. She kept picking it up and spitting it out - trying to figure out what it was - until she finally bit into it. Then she LOVED it, and wanted another one, of course. She gets one a day, and these fish oil capsules have been elevated to Very Special Treat status because she takes them to another room to eat them - that's what she does when she has something especially good to eat. :)

I took this picture of her playing football with Dave Sunday afteroon. She is obsessed with footballs. She finally got her own real football last weekend (her granddad gave it to her). She's never been allowed to play with Dave's football, so that makes footballs extra special. She somehow stretches her mouth around it to pick it up, but when it's time to release it, she has to use her foot to pry it out of her mouth. :)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mr. Li Zard

Last night I was working late in Dave's office. It was quiet, the lamp was on, the overhead light was not, Gypsy was circled up in the other chair. I was working away at my computer and the business cards on Dave's bulletin board kept falling, and the papers kept shuffling around. I thought the vent was blowing them. I was wrong. A movement finally caught my eye and this is what I saw.

Mr. Li Zard had taken it upon himself to rearrange the bulletin board for Dave. I'm not sure how he got in, or how he lived long enough to work in the office with me. I tried to get good pictures of him, but it was hard since he camouflaged himself to match the walls. :)

He played on the table next to the desk the whole time I was working, then he posed for the camera. He started to get frustrated with me while I was taking pictures, and he would turn his head this way and that. I left him there, turned out the lights, and went to the shower. I cannot say what happened after that, but he somehow attracted the attention of a cat because when I got out of the shower he was only half alive. Gypsy and Jewel had relocated him to the living room and were torturing him soundly. I had considered catching him and putting him outside when I first saw him, but I hoped he would have a better chance to survive if he stayed in the warm house. He just made too much noise and got caught. This morning Dave said, "Your lizard friend was dead in the kitchen floor." Oh well. That's the lizard life in my house. They don't live very long here; lizard killing is my cats' favorite past time.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas Cats

That is my sweet Squirt Man under the Christmas tree. He LOVES Christmas time and will spend the majority of the season under the tree. I put it up while he was playing outside Sunday, and when he came in he ate (as usual) and went straight for the tree - like he has Christmas tree radar. He stayed under it all night long.

The other kitties and Georgia have behaved themselves around the tree, so far. Jewel is famous for jumping into the top of it and knocking it over. We cannot have a real tree because I think they would all lose thier minds from the sheer ecstasy of having a real tree in the house (this is the same reason I don't have house plants). It's been up for 2 1/2 days now, and there haven't been ornaments on the floor yet. They all love to steal the ornaments. The first year we had the kitties (no Georgia yet), they undecorated the tree so much (by stealing ornaments and just knocking the whole tree over so they fell off) that after Christmas we basically just had to take the lights off to pack it up. We also found a ton of ornaments under the couch several months later when we were rearranging furniture that year.

We also cannot have glass balls on our tree because balls are too irrestible for furry beasts. Shiny ones attract cat attention so they knock them off the tree, then Georgia gets them because they are balls (duh!). The first year we had her, she crunched a glass ball into a million little bits with her little puppy teeth. Amazingly, she didn't swallow any of it and she didn't have any cuts in her mouth.

This kittens have been very funny in this cold weather. I open the door for them, they go running toward it, feel the cold air, and stop. They ALMOST prefer using the litter boxes to going out in the cold to potty. Georgia, on the other hand, loves the cold weather and would stay in it as long as I would let her.

About the people:
What can I say? We just aren't as interesting. :) Dave and I had our annual Christmas shopping lunch date over the weekend. I always enjoy that time with him. We got a lot done, but I've still got a few more things to buy before I'll be finished. We gave ourselves a small limit for each other this year because what we really want is a car (for me) and a television (for him), so spending a lot of money on a bunch of other things just seemed dumb. The car and the television will come in good time; what we have now will work just fine for a while longer.

Just a little something that I find interesting: This link tells the story of Chance, the swimmer puppy. A swimmer puppy is one that spends too much time on it's stomach so that its legs become deformed and unusable. This puppy was turned in to a Lab rescue and placed in a foster home. The foster mom is helping it through rehab so it can learn to walk and have a normal dog life. I'm sharing it because it amazes me.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fun Pictures

This is Jewel E.'s favorite sleeping spot and her favorite blanket. She passed out like this the other night when she accompanied Dave, Georgia, and I on our evening walk. She was outside when we passed the house, so she followed us. We thought she would stop, but instead she just yelled for us to wait up. I had to carry her part of the way because her short, little, cat legs couldn't keep up. She jumped down once we got almost back to our street, and I "walked" her back to the house. Walking a cat is quite frustrating because they stop to sniff things just like dogs, but they aren't as eager to please so they don't necessarily hurry along when you want them to. Granted, she's the most dog-like cat I've ever had, but she's still a stubborn beast when she has her own agenda.

Snooty snout. She's a brown, brown dog with a brown rubber nose (that's a line from a song I sing to her). This beast was so tired after her play date with Lucy the Golden Retriever that she didn't bother to open her eyes while I was taking pictures of her last night.

This picture just cracks me up. For several days in a row, this is how I found Squirt lounging around.

Man of the house. While I was on vacation, I got up one morning after Dave was gone and this is what I found. :) Since Dave rearranged the furniture and moved the recliner to the sitting room, Squirt has claimed it. It was Georgia's when it was in the living room, but now she has the couch. Apparently, she just likes to be in the living room.

Gypsy has so many spots that they all blend together, but if you look closely you can see her jelly beans (those are the pads on the bottom of her toes). She looks like she's saying, "Stop taking pictures of me!"

Monday, November 27, 2006

Weekend Away

We left for our weekend at DeSoto State Park (in Fort Payne) Friday morning. The drive up was going fine, I was the DJ and Dave was suffering through my selection of music without too much complaint. I wasn't paying much attention to the road because I was picking songs, but I happened to glance up just as he merged onto I-20. That's not the way to DeSoto State Park. We drove a couple of miles and turned around to get back on 459, then merged onto 59. As we drove 59 through Trussville, we came upon a wreck that had JUST happened. No emergency vehicles were on the scene, people were stopping in the middle of the interstate and running across the road to help the people in the overturned car. This wreck had just happened. The car was lying upside down, facing the wrong direction, on the side of the road. I freaked out. I started crying and praying and crying, and I couldn't stop. It was so weird because that's not my normal behavior, then Dave said something like, "I guess it was a good thing that I went the wrong way." It occurred to me that if he hadn't inadvertently taken us 10 minutes out of the way, we probably would have been in that wreck. Wow. That's God work, people.

Anyway, it took me a while to shake that off, but we got to DeSoto and drove around for a while until check in time. Rebecca and Nathan got there right after we checked in, and just in time to watch the LSU vs. Arkansas game (Nathan is an LSU fan). That was most of Friday. We had dinner in the lodge restaurant and then we played Taboo and Phase 10. Some things I learned: my sister has memorized all the Taboo cards and Nathan is extremely competitive with a touch of unsportsman-like conduct. That's okay, Rebecca is, too. :) I had a blast playing Taboo, but I got spanked at Phase 10. We played in their room because they had an end room and no one was in the room beside them, so we didn't have to worry about being too loud. We wrapped up around 10:30 because quiet time starts at ten at the lodge.

Saturday, we showed them around DeSoto Falls and Little River Canyon. We took the scenic road to the mouth of the canyon, and it was just a little scary. That was one narrow, steep, curvy road. The canyon mouth park was really cool, and I'd love to take Georgia there one day. It would be great swimming for her. Once we got back to the lodge, we had naps. Dave and I decided to hike up the river and we ended up walking the entire length of the park, and coming out on a dirt road. We walked back on the county roads, and I couldn't believe how far we went. We walked for about an hour and a half. That night we went to Dogtown for dinner at the Mountain Parkway Grill. There were lots of jokes about people with no teeth eating there because it's in the middle of nowhere, but the food was great and it was very inexpensive. I think we'll go back. We played games in our room Saturday night, Spades and Rook and Taboo, and at 10:40 when we were cleaning up our mess, the room phone rang. I knew we were in trouble because all the people that should be calling me were in the room with me. It was the front desk. The man in the room next to ours had complained, he told the lady at the desk that he had put up with the noise the night before but he was fed up. I told the lady that it wasn't us he heard the night before because we weren't in that room. That's the first time I've ever been complained on in a hotel. It made me want to be louder. It was 10 freaking 40 and it's not like we had loud music and crowd noise, just laughter and occasional shouting. Whatever. We sat next to them at breakfast the next morning. :)

Sunday, we hiked another hour and half, but it wasn't as pretty as the trails we went on Saturday. We also went to Mentone and did a little shopping. I finally started my Christmas shopping at the White Elephant store and one of the little craft booths. I got some neat things, and I'm feeling a little more inspired to get my Christmas shopping done now.

We got home around 3, and I worked like a crazy person doing laundry and getting ready for the party at church that started at 7. At nine, after I cleaned up the church kitchen and my own, Dave made me take a bath and wind down. Thank goodness.

My kittens spent the weekend locked in the house, and they were READY to go outside when we got home. I left them enough food, and they didn't run out, but you could see the bottom of the bowl. Squirt yelled and yelled at me until I fixed that situation for him. He doesn't like to see the bottom of the food bowl. Food bowls are supposed to be bottomless. I left him lounging in the recliner this morning. What a life.

Georgia spent the weekend with Lucy the Golden Retriever, and she was very tired when we picked her up. Tired, and ready to go home. :) She and Dave played football with Rob for an hour, then she was done for the night. After the party at church, we let her out of the kennel and she parked herself on the couch. She was in my spot and she wasn't moving - until she decided that Dave's spot was better when he got up. She was snoring like a man.

Now I'm back at work and my email box was scary-full this morning. I better get back to it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It's Thanksgiving morning and I've already had two Thanksgiving dinners. There are two more to go today. The holidays are a whirlwind kind of year, especially when you have quadruple families. :) That's okay, more love for everyone.

I took the week off work because it's such a busy time, and I needed a break. I've been trying to make myself update this blog all week, but I haven't been able to convince myself to sit in front of the computer. I think I'm afraid that I will check my work email. That would be a real vacation bummer because I'm sure it's full.

I've done some shopping, got my dress for my cousin's wedding this summer (a size smaller than normal!! ), found some really fun boots that Rebecca made me buy and she picked out a skirt for me, too. Dave knew that I'd been shopping with her from the things I brought home.:) I had my first massage this week and it was glorious. I can see why that becomes addictive. It made my shoulder feel much better. The old water polo injury from my honeymoon had been bothering me, but it's good now. I also saw the chiropractor this week. That man is amazing. I think Dave needs to go to massage therapy and chiropractor school. :) Wouldn't it be great if we had a lawyer/masseuse/chiropractor in the family? Then we'd just need a veterinarian. :)

Dave is doing well with the law practice. We are coming up on the end of the year and I can see his attitude growing and changing. I'll say again that prayer works and leave it at that for now.

We've had quite a few answered prayers lately. We found out that some friends of ours from our church in Gardendale got some great news recently; some things are happening for me at work that could be really good for Dave and I (I won't elaborate just yet). It's been good. We have so much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

Tomorrow, we leave for the mountains until Sunday. Sunday night I have an anniversary party to host at church and thus comes the return to my crazy life. Vacation will be over so soon. That's okay, I'm better when I have too much to do. Yes, I'm one of those people. :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Things to Share

This is Jack the O'Lantern. We carved him so that Georgia could have the experience. He turned out a little spookier than we intended.

This is the house of a 93-year-old lady who lives down the street from us. I'll explain in a minute.

We had a busy week last week. Monday night we carved Jack the O'Lantern. My main motivation for carving a pumpkin this year was to see Georgia bark at it once we finished. This was her first pumpkin carving experience, and I was disappointed. She enjoyed eating the pumpkin guts, and she was very interested in the process, but she didn't bark at him. I guess we should not have allowed her to watch us carve him. We should have just surprised her with him. Oh well. Squirt Monster had a grand time playing with the pumpkin seeds afterward. I feel quite sure that I will be finding seeds around the house for a while. We also visited Jan and Daddy to see Daddy's pumpkin because I knew it would be a neat one. He carved a treble clef and a half note in his. It looked great, and while Jack looked like he was carved by an amateur, the treble clef looked very professional. I guess so, since Daddy used a saw blade to carve it. (Note: I fully credit him for my nerdiness.)

About the picture of the taped off yard: the lady that lives there is 93, and she has lived there for a long time. She takes great pride in her yard. Over the summer, she spent quite a bit of money having new sod put down. On Halloween morning, she called Bobby (my step-dad who runs a lawn service and cares for her lawn) and she was MAD because the police would not wrap crime scene tape around her yard for her. You see, she was concerned that the trick-or-treaters would tromp through her yard. And, it wasn’t the local trick-or-treaters she was worried about, but the ones that come from all over the county to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood. So, the police refused to help her, and suggested she just turn off her lights to discourage the kids from coming in her yard. Well, as it turns out, she wanted to give out candy, she just wanted them to come up the driveway to the carport. Since crime scene tape wasn’t going to happen, she called around town until she could find something like it. As it turns out, the local hardware store had construction tape. She placed another call to Bobby and had him come wrap her yard with the tape. I laughed all day thinking about this, and I had Dave take the above picture. I really expected someone to roll her yard, but apparently the kids in the neighborhood now are too young to do those things. Had this happened 10 years ago when we were in high school, there’s no way she would have escaped that fate. The kicker? She’s decided she likes the tape around her yard and she’s going to leave it that way for a while.

Tuesday we had trick-or-treaters. I was worried that Georgia would be upset by the kids in their costumes, but she did great. We had barking at the first couple of visitors, but then we were fine. Lucy the Golden Retriever was visiting that night, too, so we had a house full of dogs. I put the baby gate in the front door to keep them from running out, and they stood there most of the night greeting the kids. They were very excited about the little ones. Do you know who wasn't excited? The sweet kittens. Dave locked them in the bedroom because they were loitering at the door waiting for a chance to escape. You cannot imagine the great relief we had on November 1 when I let them back outside again.

Saturday morning I took the kittens to the vet for their annual shots. I had them in two Pet Taxis. Jewel rides by herself, and Squirt and Gypsy ride together. They get along the best, and Gypsy is small enough to fit in the box with him. While we were waiting, we watched the waiting room fill up with people and their dogs. Then a lady brought in three more cats. She had those big cats that sound like men when they howl – and they were howling. We had a cat chorus for about five minutes. Hers would howl, and then mine would howl. Squirt even gave a little growl at one point. I have to credit the dogs though, as none of them seemed to care about the very upset cats.

This was our first trip to the vet for Gypsy’s shots because she was vaccinated before we got her last year. The drill was, I held the front half of the cat while the vet stuck them in the behind three times each. This worked famously for Squirt and Jewel. When it was Gypsy’s turn, she got her first shot and decided she would pass on the next two. I was holding her front end toward me and she neatly curled her behind under her so that she was in a ball and inaccessible to the needle. When we straightened her back out again and he gave her the next shot, she tried to bite him. She got me instead. Witch.

Sunday we took Georgia on a walk around town. She got to swim in the creek and play on the elementary school playground. We let her off the leash on the playground while we were swinging, and she was studying the slides and climbing equipment. She looked at me as if to say, “Can I play on that?” So we did. She LOVES that stuff. She went down the slides and all over that equipment. She loves to jump up and down and keep up with us while we are playing on it. Dave had her running like a crazy dog because he was pretending like he was doing a military obstacle course and she was following right behind him. Crazy kids.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fall Festival

Saturday night, Georgia made her acting debut in the Fall Festival Worst Talent Show Ever. These are pictures of her in her clown costume before the show. Her act was supposed to include catching balls, a few tricks, and the Hokey Pokey. Dave decided to forgo the ball part of the routine because it got her a little too hyped up. When they came out, he took her on a lap around the crowd so everyone could see her and so she would focus once they got on stage. On stage, she did Sit, Down, Spin, Up, and catching treats in the air. They ended with the Hokey Pokey, which they did twice because the crowd loved it. I think all 200 people were singing the Hokey Pokey for her. She did wonderfully!! Only once did she try to lick a little boy, but that’s because he came in late and sat on the floor on the front row. Otherwise, she stayed right with Dave the whole time and did everything he told her. He got some really good, smelly treats to keep her attention, and they worked like a charm.

I was able to video her while they were practicing backstage, but I only got her entering the stage for the actual show. I promised Dave I would run interference in case she decided to run through the crowd, so I had to turn off the camera once he took her off the leash. It wasn’t necessary because she did great, but you never know. These videos are only a few seconds long, and there isn’t any sound because I took them with my digital camera.
Catching balls:
Hokey Pokey (sing the song in your head):
Entering the stage:

Georgia only got to go to the Fall Festival for her part of the talent show. We were going to let her stay and socialize with the kiddies after, but she was the first act and the crowd got really loud after she left the stage. She looked miserable with her ears back because of the noise, so Dave took her home.

I had to paint kid faces for the remainder of the evening, and that was a pretty funny job. Those kids wanted every exposed surface of their bodies painted. I had to tell some of them no. The first kid who sat down in front of me wanted camouflage. I said, “Camouflage what? Your whole face?” He nodded. I told him I would do his cheeks. Note, I’ve never painted anything camouflage and it wasn’t on our poster of things we could paint. When I finished splotching him up with green and black, I said, “I hope it looks like camouflage.” Dave said he saw him later and he thought that his paint had just gotten smeared. Oh well. Painting kid faces is interesting, especially when you have a really tiny kid and they pick a big design. It’s fun to try to figure out how to fit an airplane on a tiny kid face - especially when you don’t do airplanes well at all. Hmm. I think most of them got painted just because they like the attention, because they just kept coming back until there was nothing left to paint. Even after all the other booths had been cleaned up, we still had a line for face painting. I finally started telling them they wouldn’t have time to scrub it all off before church the next morning. Dave got a mustache painted on his face, but he washed it off right after. There were some jokes about body painting and leaving that at home, and I think it go the better of him. (Apparently, it made me turn pink, too. I HATE that.) All in all, we had a great time at the Fall Festival. All the kids were cute in there costumes, and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Sunday, we took Georgia to the baseball fields to play. She ran herself crazy chasing the football while we were throwing it. She’s not allowed to put her mouth on it, or play with it at all unless we are, so it’s her favorite kind of ball. She goes nutty for a football. She loves the wide open space, that’s why we take her to the baseball field where we can contain her and just let her run. She was running around like a wild thing. We also taught her how to play on the playground equipment at the park. I wish I had taken my camera for that part, because she learned how to slide down the slides and climb back up them again. I think she’d be a good agility dog – because agility courses are basically just playground equipment broken up into separate stations.

The sweet kittens are locked in the house until Halloween is over. Let’s just say that they aren’t so sweet when they are all locked inside together. They are bored out of their gourds, and so they pick at each other. Like children, I guess. I’ve been trying to provide them with distractions, and it works for a minute, but then we get back to hissing and spitting and growling. Two more days…. The good news is that they have all been using the litter box – I was worried about that since they’ve been going out to potty. Let’s all just hope there are no protests before they are allowed to go out again. I think they are trying to get kicked out of the house, too. Last night I caught Jewel E. trying to re-file Dave’s file folders in his office. She was using her sweet kitten hands to pull the hanging folders out of the plastic bin and she was trying to pull the papers out of the folders. I later caught her on the brink of jumping on the counter, and when I scolded her she narrowed her eyes and flipped her tail at me. She hates my guts right now. Oh well, it’s for her safety. As crazy as you may think I am, there is usually evidence of Satanism and animal sacrifices found around our town after Halloween, and I’m just not taking the chance of someone stealing one of mine (especially Squirt!) for such a purpose. Many shelters don’t adopt out black cats during October for that reason, and so mine aren’t allowed outside until it’s over. Plus, the trick-or-treat traffic will be heavy and I don’t want to worry about them getting run over.

I guess that’s all I have to report.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Feathered Friends

I wasn't going to post again until after the Fall Festival, but a funny thing happened today.

Dave called me this afternoon to tell me there was a bird in the house. Yes, in the house! I know, some of you are already thinking, "She shouldn't have left that window open for the cats." Well, you're right. Just last week Dave told me, "I'm going to come home one day and there's going to be an animal in here that doesn't belong." :) How right he was!! (I'm still trying not to laugh while I sit here typing.) While I was out of town, he kept the window closed to prevent this sort of thing.

So, there was a bird in the house. More specifically, in his office where he was going to work. He was slightly freaked out about it. I promptly and calmly told him, "You need to go in there and open the windows, then shut the door so it will fly outside and not into the rest of the house." I'm thinking: keep it contained and give it an escape route. He says, "I can't go in there with it!!" Then he proceeded to give me a play-by-play of the birds activities: he's on the fan! he's on my chair! he's on the bookcase! he's just flying around in there!

Me: "Dave, he's scared and trying to get out. You have to open a window for him."
Dave: "I can't go in there with it!!"
Me: "You have to let it out of the house."
Dave: "How do I get it out of there?!"

Rinse and repeat. Oh, at some point he told me it might peck him. :)

Finally, the bird landed on one side of the room, so he ran in and opened the window for it. It flew right out.

Two things:
1) WHERE were my useless, hunting kittens? Outside hunting, I'm sure. After exiting the open window through which the bird entered the house in the first place. Definitely I'm not allowed to leave the window open anymore. :)
2) Thank GOODNESS Georgia was on a play date today, because I cannot imagine the chaos that would have ensued if she had been there to help her daddy. :)

Side note:
When I related this story to Rebecca via email, this is what she had to say about it:
"I wouldn't have gone in there either . . . I would have closed the door and waited for someone else to come and let it out." Did I mention that Rebecca has a bird phobia? It might not be a full-fledged phobia, but she's had plenty of traumatizing bird (and one bat) experiences. Which is why I knew she would enjoy Dave's story. :)

Why do these things happen when I'm not there?! As long as it wasn't a snake, I think I would enjoy the unexpected surprise of finding an unauthorized animal in the house. :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cold Weather Makes Us Snuggly

Okay, so the picture of Squirt is not snuggly, but I had to share it because there are so few good pictures of him. He always runs from the camera or stares right at it so that his eyes are glowing. Dave took this picture of him while he was sitting outside on the sill of the window that I leave open for them. Dave was standing inside the window and he stuck the camera out to take the picture; it turned out a lot better than I expected.

On to snuggling... I took this picture of Dave and Georgia when I got out of the shower Saturday night. Apparently they both had a big day Saturday. The cats have been staying out at night and during the day, but they come in for breakfast and dinner, and they stay longer for naps since it's been cold outside. This morning was one of those rare occasions when they were all inside at the same time. Jewel was snuggled on the back of the couch, Gypsy was following me around as usual, and Squirt was missing. I knew right where to find him. He was under the bed, in the liner of the box spring, right in front of the vent - getting warm as toast. :) Gypsy found him, too, and joined him under there. Gypsy is my number one snuggler and we haven't been to bed without her since the weather turned cool. Now she's even snuggling deep down between our pillows, rather than lying on top of me all night. She's quite the little heater.

The cold makes me snuggly, too. I sleep so well when it's cool outside. Dave freezes to death, of course. The only time that man is cold is while he's sleeping - which happens to be the only time that I'm sweating through my clothes. We've been sleeping with the window open (I think he's going to overrule me and make me shut it tonight), and I have not wanted to get up in the mornings because the bed is snuggly warm. Plus, the sun isn't shining when the alarm goes off. It should be against the law to have to get up while it's still dark outside.

Georgia LOVES cold weather. She's the only one of us that isn't snuggly. In fact, she's a wild beast right now because the weather has energized her. It only makes sense because she's built for the cold, but good grief it's hard to keep up with her when the weather cools off. It gets even harder when the sun only shines while we are at work, so she doesn't get good play time. That means cold, cold walks in the dark after work - which she loves and I shiver through. :) She wants to be outside all the time when it's cold, and she wants us to be out there with her - like we are in the summer. When it's warm. :)

How many times did I write "snuggly" in this post? :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fast Cars and Freedom

Fast Cars and Freedom is a great song by Rascal Flatts; you should look it up and give it a listen. It’s also the theme of my weekend.

We’ll start with fast cars. Rebecca’s boyfriend (he has officially graduated from boyfriend-type to boyfriend) and his roommate drive fast cars. They both have Nissan 350Zs. They also both race their fast cars. We spent Saturday afternoon at their house, and the evening ended with Nathan, Rebecca’s boyfriend, taking me for a ride. I am not at liberty to say how fast we actually drove, but suffice it to say it was FUN! I have to admit I was nervous, but not because I didn’t trust his driving. I kept thinking what if a dog or a child or a person runs out in front of us? What if a car pulls out in front of us? It was just slightly nerve-wracking (which made it all the more exciting in my twisted mind). I have to believe that someone who hadn’t actually learned how to race would have killed us both. I’d love to ride with him on a race track where I wouldn’t have to worry about dogs and kids and people and other cars. I don’t think I could ever drive that way, but I can understand why they do it. Oh, and I was praying the whole time.

Now for the freedom portion of the weekend. I spent Friday night and Saturday morning at a Ladies’ Retreat at the Springville Camp and Conference Center. Our keynote speaker was Caroline Jones, who is a consultant with the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU). She spent 10 years as a missionary in Chile, and she had a lot to share about her experience there and her life as a Christian. The theme of the retreat was Fill My Cup, Lord – and I believe I left there with my spiritual cup filled. It’s not overflowing yet, but I’m working on that. You see, when I allow the Lord to fill my cup with his love to the point of overflowing, I will be able to spread His love to the people around me. That’s important to me because I am excited about the way the Lord is working in my life and blessing me and my family. It’s news that should be shared so that other people will know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and be freed from the worries of this world.

I learned some things about myself this weekend. I am a prideful person, I like to worry, I think mean thoughts about people before I really know them, the list could go on and on. Because these things were filling my cup instead of God’s love, the people around me see just me and not my Lord shining through me. It’s only through the grace of God that I can be the person he wants me to be (and the person that I want to be).

I went to two workshops, one about moving outside of my comfort zone and one about managing stress. I needed them both. This post is WAY outside of my comfort zone – which is why I decided to share my weekend with you. Stress and my humanly faults act as a barrier between myself and God. When my heart is full of sin, I cannot pray with a faithful and loving spirit and I do not act with a faithful and loving spirit. This means that I need to confess and repent over and over and over again all day long every day, because I’m telling you that I really struggle! I love to worry, and worrying is the same as telling God that I don’t trust him to take care of me. You know what? He does take care of me. He’s showed me time and again that He will resolve the sticky situations I get myself into, that He will meet my financial and physical needs even when it seems impossible to me, and He answers my prayers when I ask Him with a right spirit. Yet, I still worry because I’m prideful and I like to try to handle everything without help.

The stress management workshop was great. We learned the Theory of the Orange. It goes like this: everyone has an orange (the orange is a representation of your self) and stress affects that orange by putting pressure on it. Stress can apply so much pressure that it has a physical effect on us, often making us sick. Sometimes it gets so heavy that we are disfigured by it – our orange is crushed to pulp and juice and is no longer an orange at all. Then we discussed internal stressors and external stressors. Internal stressors are things that I do to myself (like degrade myself about a mistake I made or worry about my weight or cause conflict, etc). Essentially, when you apply stress to yourself, you are squishing your own orange. External stressors are things that you cannot control (death, accidents, an unexpected bill, sick kids, etc). There will always be external stressors. The lesson we learned is that we should quit squishing our own orange with the things we can change, and we should step back and let the Lord protect our orange from our external stressors. (You see how my problem with worry fits here?) All we have to do is trust Him, give Him our problems, let Him do the worrying for us, and He will. What a load off! If you want to read more about what the Lord will do for you if you let Him, check out Proverbs 3. It’s powerful and freeing.

So why is freedom a theme from the weekend? Because I offered up my selfish burdens and refocused on my relationship with the Lord. I left that retreat hungry for more of Him. I’ve spent more time in prayer in the past two days than I had in the two weeks prior. I’ve been freed from my stress and worry because I got a good reminder that God will handle it for me, and I started reapplying that to my life. The stress headache I’ve had for weeks is gone, and I slept better Saturday night than I have in a long time. I slept so hard that I drooled on my pillow!! That’s not normal (for me anyway).

If I’ve offended you, let me know because I’d love to pray for you. If you want to know more about my relationship with God or how you can have one, too, let me know because I’d love to share with you – and I’ll be praying that God gives me the words because that is also WAY out of my comfort zone.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

For Dave

Ladies and Gentlemen, the love of my life finally makes an appearance.

Dave, thank you for that. You are so good to me, and I am not worthy of such praise.

P.S. I fixed your typo. No worries. :)

George of the Jungle

I finally caught Georgia in her jungle (the weed bed behind our laundry room) for a few minutes while she was taking a break from playing frisbee this morning, so I thought I would post these pictures to surprise Amanda. She doesn't think that I read the blog, so hopefully she will be caught off guard a little by this post.

I don't really know who all reads this site, so I will be careful what I say. I know that some of our immediate family "checks the blog" pretty regularly, but I also saw a comment from some guy from another country, and I don't need for him to know all of my innermost feelings.

I will take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about your author, as I notice that Amanda devotes very little time to herself. Amanda is an extremely intelligent person. She is not one of those goofy smart people that you can't have a conversation with, but rather holds a quiet and reserved confidence and intelligence. She loves to read and believes that reading is fundamental. She believes that if there is something to read about a topic, she can figure it out (See "Bathroom Remodel" posts).

Amanda gives selflessly to her family - be they the skinned ones or the furry ones. She is always concerned with the problems loved ones are facing. Her empathy is amazing. She is my source of inspiration and discipline. She motivates me to be a better person and reigns me in when I get too far out of line.

For those of you who have had the privilege of meeting Amanda, I am sure that I am not telling you anything that you don't already know. For those of you who just like to read blogs of people you have never met, you are scary and should probably be in prison.

Suffice it to say that the author of your blog here is a special person and I am glad to be spending my life with her. I am the luckiest man in the world because I have met and married the woman that God made just for me. I know that there is no such thing as perfection on earth, but it is hard to imagine a life or a wife much better than the ones I have been blessed with.

So ya'll enjoy reading about what you're missing out on. I'll be spending every day soaking up the memories and living a story more splendid than any fairy tale.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sleeping Beauties

In case you've been dying for an inside look at my household after 9:00 p.m., this is it. :) We are happily boring. Photographs of the sweet kitten are rare these days, and this one just proves that she only comes inside to eat and nap. I think she's been skipping the eating part lately because she's gotten quite skinny.

Since it's been cool at night, we've been sleeping with our windows open in the bedroom. Squirt Monster has been staying outside at night (because that's when the good fights happen). The other morning, the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m., followed by a bang that made us say, "What was that? What was that?" Then the Squirt yelled in his sissy voice at the window. He jumped up there (banging on the window in the process) to tell me to get up and let him in, since he knew the alarm had already gone off. I told him to walk around to the window that doesn't have a screen, because I hit the Snooze button and wasn't getting up yet. He waited until I got up and opened the door for him. He's such a weirdo. I guess he forgot that he could come in through the window, though he exits the house through it all the time.

Another morning, we woke up suddenly at 5:30 (on a weekend, so we didn't have the alarm set) because Georgia was barking her fool head off. Barking in the middle of the night gets us up quickly because she just doesn't do that unless something is wrong. We both jumped out of bed and ran to see what was going on. She was standing at the back door barking, seemingly, at the porch floor. Upon further inspection, we found Squirt sitting at the door, crying to get in. He's so black that we could barely see him in the dark, but she knew he was there, crying. She's the best cat sitter.

Oh, and Squirts don't like the rain. When I got home from work last night, the door was open for them to come and go, but my Squirt Man was snuggled deep in the pillows on my bed. He stayed there most of the night, and I had to move him at bed time. This morning, it took him a long time to decide to go outside. He stood at the door, taking a few steps out and then running back inside, over and over again. He's been fairly active and amusing lately - normally we don't see much of him at all and when we do, he's sleeping. I think he's enjoying the cooler weather.

Let's talk about my crazy fool of a dog for a minute. Last night it rained steadily all night. She played frisbee at full speed in the rain for at least an hour. This morning I had to escort her into the rainy backyard, stand with her, and make her poop because she doesn't like to potty in the rain. I ask you, what is the difference?

No people news to report this time. We are just chugging along, waiting for a vacation. :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Blogging from Indy

I'm in Indianapolis this week trying to finish up a form. It's going, but not as smoothly as I would like. Oh well, it never does. It has to be finished when we leave here Friday, though, because the client needs to approve it ASAP. Just another bit of crazybusy work. I'm glad I can say I really like my job. As crazy as it gets, I have fun doing it.

Kudos to Dave who's been doing all my chores since work has been so busy. He's so good to me. I haven't done laundry in three weeks, and he cleaned the house last weekend because I just didn't have time. I intended to fit it in sometime, but when I got home Friday evening he had already done it. I love him. :) Plus, he makes me laugh like a crazy person, and that's always fun.

We took Georgia to the Fire Prevention Parade Saturday morning. Montevallo is sort of famous for having a parade for everything. :) I have to say that the Fire Prevention Parade is probably the neatest one. It's always the first Saturday in October, and they have fire trucks from all over central Alabama in it. It's also the loudest parade. Georgia didn't enjoy the sirens, and she wanted to bark at the band members' hats (I think, she's developed a thing about funny hats), but she LOVED the kids and their breakfasts. We took her because we knew she would have a blast with all those kids and the food and candy everywhere. She ate entirely too much junk, but hey, it was a parade. She loves candy just like kids do.

We also took her to PetsMart in an attempt to find a Halloween costume for her to wear in the Fall Festival Worst Talent Show Ever. Apparently only tiny dogs are allowed to dress up for Halloween this year, because they didn't have anything in her size. Daddy gave me the idea to make her a clown outfit, and I think that's what I'm going to do. She wears a t-shirt really well, so I'm formulating a plan for turning one into a clown suit. It's crazy how much I miss that dog when I'm traveling.

We were planning to dress her up to give out candy to trick-or-treaters, too, but now I'm not so sure that's a good plan. The other day my brother came walking into the room wearing a scary mask, and I thought she was going to bite him. Really. Her hair stood on end and she barked her serious bark at him. Then she did it again when he came in a few days later in a cowboy hat and funny teeth. I don't know why he's wearing a costume every time I see him lately. :) Oh yeah, it's Homecomeing week. Anyway, I don't think it's a good idea to let her answer the door on Halloween since she barks like a mean beast when she sees funny head gear. We'll see what happens.

We also went to Zander's 1st birthday party Saturday night. He's my first cousin once removed. :) That means he's my first cousin's son, in case you aren't familiar with Southern genealogy - I wasn't until my Grandmama explained it to me. Anyway, Zander is a cutie pie, and when he laughs he sounds like a duck quacking. It sounds so funny, I almost think he's faking it because everyone else is laughing. Do one-year-olds do things like that? It was very cute. His big sister, Morgan, was off the hook with excitement at having a house full of kids to play with. That child is beautiful and a fireball, just like her daddy. They are going to have their hands full with her when she starts dating.

Cat news: Gypsy's reign of terror has reared it's ugly head again. I really think she just enjoys getting the best of Jewel E., and it's kind of funny to watch. What's not funny is waking suddenly in the middle of the night with a furry ball of hissing, spitting cat flying at your head because it's running from a terror-inspiring little pygmy. Gypsy is the tiniest full grown cat I've ever seen, but she's a street cat and apparently she knows exactly how to terrorize Jewel. She plays rough. :)

That's all I've got for now. I need to do some reading. I've just started Same Sweet Girls, by Cassandra King. It's really good so far, and it's based on the author's experience at the Alabama College for Girls (now known as the University of Montevallo - for those who aren't local). Cassandra King is also the wife of Pat Conroy, who is probably my favorite author ever. For those two reasons, I couldn't pass it up. I recommend it if you need some entertaining reading.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Busy Life

These pictures are from the baby shower I coordinated over the weekend. I made a diaper cake to use for the centerpiece on the food tables, and it was also our gift to the new baby. It turned out really cute, and the mom-to-be loved it. The centerpieces for the tables were little duck ponds: rubber ducks floating in glass bowls of water. The kids loved them! There were also rubber ducks floating in the punch bowl. The cake that my mom made turned out beautifully and it tasted great. I think I’ll consider this shower a success. Next up: Pastor Appreciation Night. I’ll be out of town for that one, but I’m getting everything ready ahead of time so someone can just facilitate it. October is going to be a busy month at church. There’s Pastor Appreciation Night, the Ladies Overnight Retreat, and the Fall Festival, plus various prep meetings for things that are planned for November. Time is going to fly by, but I’m sure it will be fun.

What’s been going on? It seems that Squirt has become quite the fighter lately. It’s not uncommon to hear bone-chilling cat screams from the great outdoors late at night and early in the mornings. There was one this morning, actually, and it was loud enough to freak us all out a little. He came right inside when I turned on the lights. Upon inspection, Dave found another sore on his belly. This one seems to be healing up without any help from me, but I’m still doctoring the one on his shoulder. It looks better, but he’s still picking at it on occasion.

The cats have really been enjoying the cool weather lately. They have a new pet door, courtesy of Georgia. She didn’t realize the screen was shut the other day and busted right through the bottom of it. I decided to leave it like that so the animals can come and go as they please – and they have taken full advantage of it. Jewel E. Cat followed us to Daddy’s house for family dinner the other night. He has a new screened-in porch. With her mastery of pet doors, she quickly learned how to use the pet flap in the screen porch door. That is, until Fat Tasha (my parent’s cat) came onto the porch with her and inspired a fit of panic in Jewel E. to escape the porch. She was trying so hard to get off the porch that she couldn’t remember where the flap was, and she kept butting her head up against the screen at random spots, trying to find the flap. In the midst of my laughter, I picked her up and put her through the flap, thus saving her life for the evening. It was quite funny.

Georgia played with Lucy all day yesterday, and she was still so tired this morning that she wouldn’t get off the bed, so we made it up around her. I thought she would get out once we put the pillows on, but she circled up tighter with plans to stay there under the covers for a while. We left the room and Dave called out, “So, do you want to go visit Lucy today?” I thought she would hurt herself trying to get out of the made bed. Needless to say, it needed to be remade. Georgia is going to be a star soon, too. She and Dave are going to do the Hokey Pokey at the Fall Festival talent show for the kids. We are taking her this weekend to pick out a costume at PetsMart. I just hope she doesn’t get stage fright.

Dave, Dave, Dave – he’s such a kid. Last night we were lying in bed, chatting about the day like we normally do. The lights were out, I was very sleepy, and he was wired from having just finished a motion to continue for court today. He was chattering away about various and sundry things, and I was trying to stay awake to listen. His chatter started to slow down and taper off and I was almost asleep when he busted out with, “So, how about a verse or two of There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly?” I probably laughed for about ten minutes – the snorting, crying, unable to breathe kind of laughter. And yes, I sang There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly for him. His favorite part is how the spider wriggles and wriggles and jiggles inside her. He’s not right.

An update on the honorary member of my household (my sister, Rebecca, in case anyone missed that reference) – she has a new boyfriend-type. I say boyfriend-type because I don’t know if he’s really her boyfriend yet, but they’ve been seeing a lot of each other and he’s met the family. I only mention him to introduce a disgusting and funny story about my sister. He rode in her car last night and when they came in he was talking about the nasty smell in it. Apparently, there were some decomposing French fries in there and he didn’t find the aroma appealing. This led her to tell the story of The Lost Taco.

While she was still driving her old car, she and her Lucky’s coworkers ordered Mexican food for dinner one night. The specifically sent Rebecca to pick it up because she would make sure the order was correct. One of her coworker’s orders included a taco. When she got back to Lucky’s with the food she couldn’t find it, and everyone assumed they had just left it out of the order. A week or so later, her car started to stink. Three weeks later, someone hit her car and she put it in the shop to have it fixed. The guy who worked on it commented on the smell. He thought it smelled like old pizza – and he reassured her that he knew what old pizza smelled like. :) The day after she picked the car up, she decided to clean it out. Guess what she found? You got it, The Lost Taco – it was hiding between the passenger seat and the door. I laughed hysterically while she was telling the story. The new boyfriend-type is glad that he didn’t know her when The Lost Taco story happened. I’m glad I never got in her car during those four weeks. Blech.

There’s been lots of laughter lately. That’s a good thing. I needed it after the last two weeks at work. We just finished the biggest release of the year last Friday night at 8 pm. In the last two weeks, I put in over 100 hours at the office. It was exhausting. I spent last week with the QA team (that’s Quality Assurance, for those who don’t know). QA is the last step in the software development life cycle before the product is given to the client. It is the responsibility of the QA team to thoroughly test the software to assure that it works and that it meets the needs of the client. I am grossly understating when I say that it’s a BIG job. It’s very fast paced and high pressure. Mix in a little frustration and the long hours, and it quickly becomes a hard job. So, I spent last week testing with the QA team, and I was nearly at my breaking point when we left Friday evening. I'm really not cut out for that kind of hours. I just want to say thanks to my QA and coworkers, because I know that I couldn’t do that job full time, and they are great at what they do. Good job guys, and happy 9.0!

That’s enough for now. Maybe this will appease my audience members who’ve pestered me about updating. Really, I haven’t had time until now.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Out Cattin' Around

Jewel E. Cat has become quite the outside kitty lately. She probably spends about 20 hours a day outside, usually coming in for breakfast and dinner and maybe a nap. This morning, she yelled at the door, demanding to be let inside for breakfast. When I opened the door for her, she staggered in like she'd been out drinking all night. :) I don't know if she even ate breakfast; I think she just went straight to her princess perch (the ottoman) and passed out. She slept until it was time for me to leave for work. When I let the dog out, she came running to the door, which I promptly closed in her face. I was going to make her stay inside today, but she gave me such a dirty look as she stomped away that I decided it would be better to just let her out. She's such a witch.

The other two come and go, and I actually get to see them in the house sometimes. Gypsy doesn't spend too many nights out because she likes to get kitten cookies at bedtime - the others will gladly skip the cookies for a night out.

Squirt stayed out all night Saturday, and when he came in Sunday morning he was soaking wet. It took several hours for him to dry out completely (Dave didn't feel the need to dry him with a towel like he would do for the dog). The drawback? The rain and excessive grooming it takes to recover from a night in the rain washed the medicated powder off his sore. So he licked it. Until it bled, again. I was very upset because it took a week to get a good scab on it, and now we are starting over. I really might end up taking him to the vet over this. He's so neurotic that he can't leave it alone. I wish I could put a bandaid on it, but I don't think it will stick to all that fur.

In people news:

I worked all weekend, so Dave did my chores for me: laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking for the pot luck lunch after church. He's a good, good man.

Life goes on.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dave!!

Today is Dave's 28th birthday.

I gave him one of those wooden boxes that has several different games in it. He got Chess, Checkers, Chinese Checkers, playing cards, Cribbage, Backgammon, Pachisi, and a couple of others. This is just another testament to our nerdiness. Maybe he'll teach me how to play Chess. He's currently grounded from Scrabble, which saddens me because it's our favorite game. The last time we played, I beat him and he got an attitude. I told him we wouldn't be playing again for a while. Maybe his grounding is almost over. Maybe I'll un-ground him for an extra birthday present. :)

We have family dinner tonight, because it's Thursday, so there will be cake. His second cake, actually. We had our standing Sunday night family dinner with the other half of the family, and that was also the September birthday celebration. There was birthday cake with a picture of the Beatles on it for Rob, and Dump Cake for Dave (that's one of his favorites). We are going to the County Fair Saturday for his birthday date. That will be fun.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tie Dye Adventures

Dave taught Rob how to tie dye tonight. These are the fruits of their labors.

This shirt was Rob's design.

This is what it looked like with the rubber bands on it. I don't think Rob realized that making tie dyed shirts involves work. :)

This is Dave's design. We gave Rob three colors of dye in his kit: yellow, green, and blue. Previously (to brush up on our skills) we tie dyed two shirts for him with purple and pink. We thought he'd enjoy the lesson for his birthday. It will be fun to see what else comes out tie dyed now that he knows how to do it.

This is what Dave's design looked like with the rubber bands on it.

This is Rob. As I said before, he's a wanna-be hippie. Sadly, there isn't much my dad can say about the hair because he had hair like that when hippies came into being. I'm ready for Rob to outgrow this phase. I keep telling him I'm going to shave his head in the middle of the night. He doesn't believes me. :)

I think our next adventure will be color remover. We want to get a school t-shirt and reverse tie dye it with color remover. I'm just curious to see how it would turn out. Yes, I am a nerd.

I think Rob enjoyed himself, and he got to go home with a bonus birthday present: a Grateful Dead cd that survived Dave's teenage years.

Life goes on.

Jewel E. Cat

I've been asked to explain what the "E" in Jewel E. Cat represents. The answer is nothing. Her name is Jewel because Dave gave her to me when he proposed and my engagement ring was on her collar. I call her Jewel-y Cat (sounds like "Julie") all the time. Instead of writing her name as Julie (because that's not her name) or Jewely (because that looks dumb), I started writing it as Jewel E. Cat. Much like Ted E. Bear (or "Teddy Bear"). That's the explanation; the "E" stands for nothing.

Furry kid news:
Jewel is recovering from her UTI, and has learned how to spit. She doesn't like her medicine, so she figured out that if she holds her mouth open after I squirt it in, she can let it run out again -thus, onto the floor and not down her throat. I think this is the closest she can get to actual spitting. Now I have to hold her little beak closed until she swallows. She also starts making gagging, coughing noises and gestures when I pick her up to take her to the kitchen to get her medicine (before I actually have the medicine anywhere near her). She's always been a sassy cat.

Squirt's sore spot is getting better, I think. I have been diligent about putting the medicated powder on it and it finally scabbed over, and now it just looks like a bald spot. Squirt is so neurotic, that he has been licking and licking that spot so it wouldn't heal. It just got bigger and bigger. I think the medicince keeps him from licking it as much, so we seem to be on the right track.

Gypsy is the same old pygmy, kitten-mini. In the mornings she barks a little bark at me (not a meow) and runs to the food bowl (if it's empty) or the front door (if she wants to go outside), always with the crook in her tail. If I do not respond in a timely fashion, she repeats the whole process until she gets what she wants. Dave told me this morning that Gypsy and I together put off too much heat at night, and I have to start throwing her in the floor. She always sleeps on me when she's inside, and if I throw her off, she comes right back. I don't think he will win this battle with that little speckled butter bean.

Georgia had an exciting weekend. She got to go to a new house and play with some new people Saturday night. She had a blast with her new friends. Sunday, we took her to the baseball field for frisbee and ball fetching. She drank a gallon of water, then she swam in the creek to cool off. She was so tired later that she was an upside-down dog for about twenty minutes with a basket of laundry piled on top of her. She was still tired this moring, and ready for her kennel.

I think that's about it.

Family News

My 16-year-old brother, Joshua, has been providing the family drama lately. He is not part of my household, but I'm going to tell this story because it is a perfect example of God working.

Friday morning, September 8th, my mom called me as I was leaving for work to tell me she was calling Rescue for Joshua. He had stroke-like symptoms and he wasn't coherent. I arrived at her house just as the Resque squad was arriving. This is what had happened up to that point: He had a sleepwalking episode early Friday morning and it woke my mom up around 1:30 a.m. She knew that something was wrong because he couldn't communicate and he almost fell down the stairs. (Some history: Joshua has a long history of sleepwalking during which you can have entire conversations with him without him ever waking up. If you were seeing it happen for the first time, you would not believe he was sleepwalking unitl the next morning when he wouldn't remember anything. For him not to be able to talk and walk normally was really unusual.) They got him back to bed and stayed up until 3 a.m. to make sure he didn't get up again. When she went to wake him up for school, he couldn't talk, he wasn't coherent, one side of his mouth was drawn down (like a stroke victim's), and he couldn't control his body. He was jerking and twitching, and he didn't realize it. All of this, on top of the bizarre sleepwalking episode, convinced her to call Rescue.

The paramedics checked is blood sugar (it was 60) and his blood pressure (102/60); both were pretty low. He had played basketball after dinner the night before, so they thought maybe he didn't eat enough. They continued talking to him and gave him an oral glucose test. Meanwhile, they we were discussing his prescriptions. He was taking two, and one of them didn't list the dosage on the bottle. I went to get the bottle the second time and realized that it was empty. It was empty, and according to the date on the bottle, there should have been a week's worth of pills left in it. This was an anti-anxiety medication that he was taking to prevent stress-induced migraines. I brought this to my mom's attention and she asked him if he had taken it. He said he took it before bed (like normal) and there were pills in the bottle, but he couldn't remember anything after that. At this point, my fears of epilepsy or other unexplainable causes were replaced by fears of overdose. The paramedics finished up and told my mom to take him to the ER.

They spent the entire day there, with him hooked to a heart monitor most of the time. After 8 hours, with no further setbacks and some improvement, they sent him home. It would be Monday before they got the results from his bloodwork so we could find out exactly what happened. It was unclear because the symptoms for low-blood sugar and for an overdose on that medicine are almost identical.

Fast forward to Monday: He went to school but called home because he felt really bad and he couldn't remember anything from the week before. His short term memory seemed to be completely shot. He was also still twitching. They went back to the ER to get his test results and have them sent to his regular doctor. The doctor found the evidence to be inconclusive, but decided to act on the assumption that he had in fact overdosed since the levels of medicine in his blood were high and that was most likely, given the circumstances. The thing that really concerned her was his memory loss. She decided to follow up with a CT scan to rule out a fall (while he was sleepwalking) that caused head trauma or a tumor. The CT scan was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile, we found out that he had gone to bed with a headache Thursday night, which would explain why he took his medicine while he was sleepwalking. We also found out that his other prescription, which he had just started taking the week before, can cause sleepwalking. This was his first sleepwalking episode in several years, so that explains why it started again.

The God parts: 1. Had this happened early Saturday morning, he may have died because my mom wouldn't have been trying to wake him up for school. 2. Had there been more than a week's worth of pills in that bottle, he probably would have died before she tried to wake him up for school. The medicine quickly and strongly affects the central nervous system and the heart, and kids have died as late as 72 hours after overdosing on it. 3. In our Wednesday night Bible study about prayer, we added him to our prayer list. Our specific prayers for him were that his CT scan come back normal and that he find some peace of mind (because he was really upset and had almost quit talking). Friday afternoon, the CT scan was normal, his blood tests were normal, and over the weekend he started returning to his old self. Those were answered prayers.

We still don't know what to expect as far as long term effects, and he's still twitching involuntarily, but it looks like he's going to be okay. It was a very scary week.

God is amazing and prayer works. This Bible study has demonstrated that fact over and over again. It is really exciting to watch God answer prayers.

Other news:
My other brother, Rob, turns 17 a week from today. We had a September birthday party last night (there are a few in our family), and Dave and I gave him a tie-dye kit. Tonight, he's coming over to learn the art of tye-dying from Dave. He's really going through a psuedo-hippie/Beatles phase right now. Oh, and I feel old. How did he get to be 17?

Rebecca and I spent Saturday looking at wedding and bridesmaids dresses with our cousin, Jessica, who is getting married in July. She found a dress that is absolutely beautiful, and perfect for the occasion. We didn't have as much luck with the bridesmaids dresses, but I think she has a better idea now of what she wants us to wear. It was a fun day, and the plans are coming along.

Life is crazy as ever.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Favorite Sister


This is my sister, Rebecca. She is upset with me right now because she just became a blog reader and she found issue with the fact that I've only mentioned her once; I quote: "I have one complaint about your blog. I have read a whole lot of passages and I was only mentioned once. I consider myself a part of your household, even if I don't live there. . ." So, favorite sister, this entire post is dedicated to you. :)

Since she considers herself a part of my household, I will take the same liberty of writing about her as I would Dave, Georgia, Squirt, Jewel E., and Gypsy (the members of my household that actually live there full-time). If she's reading this now, she's already upset that I posted a picture of her. (Sorry, Booka, I only have a few people pics saved on my Snapfish account, and that was the best one.)

Rebooka is her childhood nickname that my cousin and I assigned to her when we created the Sea Gully Club so, so many years ago. There are many variations of the name: Bookie, Book, Booka - all pronounced with the same "ooooo" sound as in "Moooo" (like what a cow says). She's also been called Bug, Reebeck, and Reebock. I'm sure there are others that escape my memory right now.

What can I say about her? Hmmm. Well, she's my best friend. She's the kind of best friend that I love even when I want to strangle her, the kind that makes me laugh when I'm crying, the kind that makes me hurt when she's hurting. She's the only person in the WORLD who has been through what I've been through. True, we've gone our different ways, we have different lives, but there's nothing like the foundation of childhood to bind two people at the heart.

Oh! I just thought of another nickname: The Beez Knees. When she was little, she was all angles and bones, and her knees stayed skinned. We knew it was summer time again when The Beez Knees were skinned. :) She broke her ankle playing soccer in the backyard. She flipped over her handlebars during a bike race and had to have rocks picked out of her elbows (she still accuses me of running her off the road). As recently as last summer, she fell out of an SUV and skinned those knees again. Some things never change.

She's a bad influence on me. :) She forces me to lighten up. She's the only one who inspires inappropriate and spontaneous fits of giggling that no one else understands. Her tears bring me to my knees. She's smart and funny and beautiful (inside and out), and watching her realize these things about herself over the past year has been amazing. I'm so proud of her.

That's my favorite sister.

P.S. For anyone else who is concerned that I don't mention you in my blog, realize that I limit myself to writing in detail only about the members of my household. Most of them can't complain, and the one that can doesn't read this blog. :) I don't want to embarass anyone who wouldn't want to be mentioned here.

P.P.S. I only have one sister.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Roll Tide

A fellow Bama fan told me I needed to show my team spirit and change to blog to crimson. What was I thinking with that orange?! :)


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Face Lift

I decided it was time for a change, so the blog now has a new look. I felt that orange was a little more Fall friendly than the greenish blue. Feel free to offer questions, comments, or editorials if you don't like it - or if you do.

Time for Another Update

I gave up on toilet training. I've reached the conclusion that if I only had one cat (Jewel), it could be done fairly quickly. Since I have three cats, I just don't think this is going to work for us. The other two just don't seem interested, and Jewel quit using the litter in the toilet. Plus, I'm tired of the mess and living with just one bathroom. I cleaned it all up this past weekend, so we are back to two litter boxes. The good that came out of this is that both boxes are now in the little bathroom, instead of one of them being in our bedroom. I like it much better that way, and there isn't nearly as much cat litter on the carpet now. For a funny demonstration of why I would never teach Jewel to flush (if I had toilet trained her), watch this video: .

I spent last week in Indianapolis with a new client to kick off a new project. The week went really well, and I got great feedback from the client. That's always exciting. :) It looks like Indy might become my second home over the next couple of months, as I'm already supposed to go back there next week. I like occasional travel, but I don't like leaving my little family for very long. A week is plenty long enough, and I'm not sure I'll be ready to go back so soon. On a positive note, the people we are working with are very nice and cooperative, and the city is pretty neat. We stay in the Hilton downtown, and the office is only half a block away. We don't rent a car because everything (except the airport) is within walking distance. However, if I'm going to be there during the winter (and I'm sure I will), I'll need real winter clothing. I have a feeling my Alabama winter clothes aren't going to do the job. :)

Dave is moving right along in his law practice, and picking up new cases every day. He seems to love the work, even if he sometimes feels like he doesn't know what he's doing. (He says that, not me.) The majority of his clients really like him, and I know he's doing the best he can for them. I'm so proud of him, and so happy that he's happy. There is also a possibility of some teaching in the future, and I think he's excited about that. Actually, there has always been the possibility of teaching, as the man has a Masters in Education as well as the gift of teaching, but the possibility has become more real as of late. We'll see where that goes when it goes.

Dave and I spent Labor Day canoeing with my sister and some of her friends. That was the first time since Dave and I have been together (6 years) that I have been able to get him on the Cahaba River. We had a great time and we didn't see any "Rattlecoppermouth" snakes. :) He's terrified of snakes, and that is the primary reason we haven't played on the river before now. I think he'll go back again, and we definitely have to go in the spring when the water level is higher. It was pretty low yesterday, so there was lots of getting stuck on rocks and walking the canoe. It's a smoother ride when the water is higher, but its REALLY cold in the spring. I liked being able to hop right in the water without the fear of hypothermia. Oh well, there are always trade offs.

Dog Breath turned 2 years old last week while I was out of town! It's hard to believe she's two! I gave her an early birthday present before I left. It was a Good Cuz, which is a thick rubber ball with feet and an obnoxious squeaker. The feet make it easy to fling, so she plays with it by herself a lot. Dave named it Big Yella'. :) She has matured so much in the past several months, it's amazing sometimes. She's really learning to run and play with little kids without jumping on them, though she still loves to lick their dirty hands and faces. Who wouldn't? :) She and Jewel E. Cat have become faster friends lately, too. I've witnessed a lot more snuggles and licks than ever before, from both parties. It's really cute.

With October coming upon us quickly, Dave and I have been joking that it's time to add another one to our pack. We seem to collect animals in the fall (which makes for a huge annual vet bill, by the way). He gave me Jewel and Squirt when he proposed to me in September of 2003. Then we got Georgia in October of 2004. Last October, at the 2005 annual vet visit, we adopted Gypsy from the vet's office. It's hard to believe we've had her for a year already. She quickly made her place in our fur family, even though Dave still calls her "The Spare." So now it's almost October again and he already mentioned that it's time to add another. :) Of course he's concerned that we don't have space for another kennel, but I told him we could get a smaller dog and we'd have room. It would have to be medium-sized, as I now tend to trip over small dogs after living with a big one for two years. I'm thinking a Basset or something of that nature, but I have to wait for him. In case anyone is wondering, EVERY one of our animals was HIS idea (with no prodding or hinting from me) and HE initiated the procurement of each of them. :) I know that if you know me, that's hard to believe, but it's the truth. Even Gypsy was his idea, and supposedly he's not really an animal person. :) Yeah.

Life goes on.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Toilet Training Continued

One week has passed and we have completed phase one of toilet training: both litter boxes are now in the bathroom next to the toilet. So far, we haven't had any issues with the boxes being moved. Jewel is using the toilet litter consistently, Squirt is starting to, and Gypsy is holding out on me. She prefers the box, and I think she has one to herself now that the others are using the toilet litter. My next step is to take one of the boxes away while raising the other one a little at a time to the height of the toilet.

Dave made up a funny song about toilet training the cats. It goes something like this (sing it to the tune of "That's the Night That the Lights Went Out in Georgia"):

That's the night that the cat fell in the toilet;
That's the night Jewel spun her spotted head;
Don't trust your butt to no roast pan in the toilet,
'Cause when the duct tape breaks you'll fall and get wet.

Yeah, that's my husband. :) He's still working on the lyrics to the actual verses of the song.

Jewel E. Cat has also been helping me with a cross-stiching project. She LOVES string, and occasionally she will realize that I'm cross-stiching, so she joins me on the couch. Then she chases the thread as I'm using it. Last night, I could not make her go away. She was watching the fabric, and every time I stuck the needle through it, she hit it with her paw. She was trying to catch the thread. She went at it from every angle. I would think she was bored because she went away, but she'd just come back from a different angle, chasing that needle and thread. She was really being a witch. I couldn't finish one stich without her little, furry paws in the way. I finally picked her up and snuggled her, and she went away. She hates it when you hold her tight to snuggle her, and that's a tried and true method of making her leave you alone.

People news:
The law practice is now a week old, and going fairly well. He picked up 4 cases in court last week and made an appointment to write a will. We'll call it a successful first week. He also took care of all the administrative things involved in setting up a business. It's been a long time since I've seen him this happy, so I think this is where he is supposed to be right now.