Wednesday, September 27, 2006

God's Creation

This morning I received a call that my friend, Joe, lost his beagle. She was well into her teen years, and died of old age. It reminded me of when I lost my cat, who had been my best friend as I grew up. I'm sure you can remember the loss of your favorite pet, or the love of your current one. Pets somehow touch a part of us that nothing and no one else can.

I'd like to think that animals go to heaven. If a burro can proclaim God's message, then who says animals can't also claim that message? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't win any theological debates on that point, but I'd still like to think it. A professor once said that heaven is different for different people. To some, heaven will be a library; to others, an orchestra hall. For me, it would be nature perfected. I don't really agree with that professor's idea of heaven (after all, who cares about books, or even nature, when we're in the presence of God??), but I also can't picture a "new heaven and new earth" without animals. Animals not because I like them, but because God created them. The fall of Man was actually the fall of creation. We see that in viruses, trees afflicted by cancer, and animals behaving as they shouldn't. Why do we think that only Man can be redeemed?

The import of that is this: If animals do indeed go to heaven, it elevates their significance. "Just another dead bird" is now flying as it never flew before. A deer is leaping for joy at meeting its Creator. We can't look at animals callously. And, really, we shouldn't whether they're in heaven or not. They're still God's creation. A pet isn't here just for our whims; a pet is for us to care for and protect. I wonder if our view of animals doesn't come from our habit of being slightly narcissistic, and believing the world revolves around us? Is it too hard to imagine that Christ came to redeem the world, and not just the people?

I'd like to know what you think. If you've been changed by a wet nose, happy bark, soft face, or contented purr, I'd be interested to know if you believe that your childhood pets are frolicking with mine. And if you have never experienced that sort of bond with an animal, your thoughts would be appreciated as well (and I think you should head to the Human Society right after posting). :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The End of Summer Camp

It's officially the end of summer camp. Cliff and Teresa came and picked Buddy up last night. Now, we're waiting to see Friday's reaction. We're wondering if he even realizes Buddy is gone. After all, it took him a while to realize he was here! I thought up different ideas to keep Friday entertained over the next few days while he readjusts to being an only child. We decided not to let him in our bedroom last night. It would just be one more deviation from the norm. And he did just fine. Never whined or scratched at our door or anything, which is good for him on any day! Now he's just slept all day today.

I hope Buddy is adjusting well! I wonder if he's ventured out of his basket today, and if Gracie remembers him. Maybe he's found a nice window to watch the squirrels.

In other cat news, Friday has been battling a corneal ulcer for over a month. That's right--an ulcer on his eye. He's been a trooper, and has endured countless medicines and vet visits. (Did I say countless? I meant 4 medicines, over a period of 6 times a day at its worst, and 5 vet visits.) Yet, despite our efforts, his eye is not healing. The next step is to take him to a veterinary opthalmologist (did anyone know those even existed??), which we'll do in two weeks. That was the earliest we could get in. A corneal ulcer did not sound like a big deal to them, and they think he'll be fine. Then again, in the realm of eye grossies, I'm sure they've seen much worse.

My prayer is that whatever the solution is for Friday's eye, it doesn't make us decide between spending enormous amounts of money, or losing the sight in that eye. I don't think I could handle a tough decision like that. I mean, with a child, the answer is obvious. But I realize that a cat is not a child, and maybe it's not wise to spend lots of money on an animal that wouldn't really worry if he only had sight in one eye. But maybe it is wise. I mean, he's ours, and we're responsible for caring for him. I'm just not sure where the line is.

We've been blessed that our vet is a Christian, and knows we're in seminary, so he often doesn't charge us for things he could. I'm hoping the eye vet will be as sympathetic, because I have a feeling that he can charge pretty much whatever he wants. We'll give a report after the appointment on Oct. 9!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On Silent Films

I was going to leave this blank, and only post with the title, but I figured only my dad would get the joke, and he doesn't read my blog. So on with the (non-silent--quite wordy, actually) post....

I think I'm pretty safe in assuming that none of you in my general audience are old enough to have experienced silent movies first-hand--none save one. I know my Grandpa reads this, and he just might have been old enough to remember them. Anyway, I certainly had never seen a silent movie until a few weeks ago. I pulled a movie from our shelves that I had never watched. It was a dollar movie I picked up over a year ago at the grocery store. The blurb said it was "The Ring" by Alfred Hitchcock, a 1952 movie about a man who gets out of the slums by boxing, and has to work to regain respect from his dad. Sounded fine to me, so I stuck the DVD in the player.

My first impression was of the quality of the movie, and how it reminded me of a VERY old film. It was black and white, lots of dust and things coming across the screen, and the motions were really jerky, like those "0ld-timey" movies that didn't get the film speed right. I kept expecting Alfred Hitchcock to make his traditional appearance, and things to return to 1952 normal, but they never did! After being quite confused for several minutes, I finally realized the blurb on the DVD was for the wrong movie. This was "The Ring" by Alfred Hitchcock, a 1927 silent film where a man rises in celebrity as a boxer, and has to fight to keep the love of his wife.

All in all, it was a great film! Alfred Hitchcock did not make his appearance, and it wasn't even a mystery. I'm not sure when he began directing, but I would assume this was one of his first films. However, the shots were excellent, and the angles very well thought-out, just as in his later films. The characters mouthed lots of conversation to each other, very little of which was "subtitled" for the viewer. But I was surprised that I was able to follow the plot all the way through. I didn't realize how little conversation I actually needed to hear to know what's going on.

It was more tedious to watch this film than modern films, but it was neat to imagine that, until recently, this film had probably never been seen outside of the big screen. This was a movie about the 20s, for people from the 20s to watch. The depiction of the roaring 20s was a little different from what I've seen in my history books. The Charleston was a lot more lively than I've ever known it to be!

Somehow I felt a little of that realization that the "here and now" is not all there has ever been. It was a neat experience, and I would recommend anyone who hasn't seen a silent film to see one. And if you're at a loss of where to start, try "The Ring" by Alfred Hitchcock.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Time for a random post

Well, it's been awhile since I've just rambled on, so I thought it was due. I mean, you could tell I was stretching with the cat bath post. Stories are just not coming into my head lately. So, today, you get snippets.

I got a new toy yesterday! It's a speedometer for my bike! How awesome is that? This morning we tried it out, and we go 10-12 mph. I have no idea if that's bad or good. Jon keeps telling me that speed isn't what's important, though. That it's keeping your heart rate up for a certain period of time. So I guess I won't worry about it. But it's still cool to have a speedometer.

Friday thinks he's found a new toy. It's my vase of flowers. These are orchids, and there are 5-10 flowers on each stem (no leaves). Friday has figured out he can pull off a flower and have a very fun toy, until it wilts and tears, of course. I think he thinks he's found a toy tree. Kind of like a money tree, only more exciting for cats.

This weekend is the Saturday o' Showers for Leanna! I've gotten almost all my Matron of Honor duties accomplished, and it's not even Friday yet! I'm so proud of myself. And I'm so excited about the showers, and especially about the wedding in less than a month! But here is my question to you: Have you ever heard of another title for the Matron of Honor? If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it! I am so glad to have the honor, but if there were another name that didn't add 20 years, that would be nice. I think it should at least be "Matron o' Honor" just for fun. :)

What else....?

Work is crazy. So crazy, that the marketing boss is giving a prize to the person who can remain positive through the next month. I'm determined, because it's a good prize. But I have to make the button or certificate or whatever that will be handed out with the prize. Like I have time for that! With all the other junk I have to do!! ... Oh, was that not positive? I mean, yes sir! One button coming up, sir!

Which brings up the topic of positive reinforcement. I've been wondering if traffic would be safer if cops gave out tax breaks or something to good drivers, instead of tickets to bad ones. Because, frankly, a speed limit just provokes people to want to break it. I have no idea why, but when the limit is 65, I want to go 70. I'm perfectly fine with going 70. But then the limit bumps up to 70, and suddenly, I feel a need to go 75. It's a vicious trend. However, I think if cops were handing out gift cards for gas, or 6 mos worth of car insurance, I might be more inclined to see a cop and say, "Pick me! Pick me! I've been going 2 miles under the whole time!!" I really think DPS should look into the idea of positive reinforcement.

Well, that's about it. If you notice that I'm posting during work hours, that's because I've worked well into the night the past several days (yes, that includes the weekend). It's been that crazy. But hopefully my part of this project we're doing is almost over. The end is in sight! I can do it! I'm going to win the button! And I really love my job, so it's worth a few nights working. Too many, and it won't be worth it. But for now, it's still a really great job.

So those are my random thoughts for the day. You may have to wait for things to slow down a little before something more interesting comes out of my brain. :)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

How to Bathe a Cat

First of all, this topic is not for the faint of heart. You have to know your own cat, and each one will act differently. As a matter of fact, each one may act a different way each time. So always stay on your toes. Reading this and following these directions will in no way hold me liable to any injury caused in the process of bathing a cat. Proceed with caution.
  1. Find a partner in crime. It takes two people to wash a cat.
  2. Gather your materials before getting the cat. These are: cat shampoo (not people shampoo), an old bath towel, a sink with a spray nozzle attachment.
  3. Turn the water on in the sink to start warming it up. Warm it to where it feels neutral to your hand or slightly warmer. Cats are warmer than humans, and it will feel colder to them.
  4. Find the cat. Suggestions: under the bed, back corner of the closet, the mystery place you haven't yet found, but he always seems to disappear to.
  5. One person needs to hold the cat with two hands under the cat's armpits. Let the cat's back feet rest on the floor of the sink. Be sure and stop up the sink drain so the cat doesn't accidentally slip and get a foot stuck in it. You may have to pause the process and drain the sink periodically.
  6. The other person needs to quickly wet down the cat with the sprayer. Wet everything but the cat's head. Ignore the yowling that may commence. The cat is not in pain; it just thinks it is. If the cat begins to resist and struggle, have the holder restrain any part that is trying to move, or lift the cat above the sink, so he has no leverage. Do not bring the cat near your shirt, or you will most likely receive several new unneccessary buttonholes.
  7. After the cat is sufficiently wet, squirt a fair amount of shampoo all over the cat (again avoiding the head).
  8. Vigorously scrub the cat, making sure you get soap all the way through the thick coat. Concentrate on areas that attract dirt, like paws.
  9. Again use the sprayer to hose down the cat. Start at the top, and rinse all the way down. Be sure to get as much soap off as possible. Even though it is pet soap, it's not good to ingest too much.
  10. Apologize when you accidentally hose down the holder, as well.
  11. At this point, use your wet hands to gently wipe down your cat's face. Only do what it necessary to clean your cat's head. You don't want water going in their ears or eyes.
  12. Drape a bath towel over both arms, covering your chest.
  13. Have the holder place the cat in the towel hammock you've created.
  14. Immediately wrap the cat tightly in the towel. The cat will not be happy, and will want to use his claws for evil, as well as jump as far away as he can. By wrapping up both back and front legs, you can keep this from happening.
  15. While keeping the towel tight, vigorously rub the cat down. Cats get cold easily, and you don't want excess water in their fur. (Do not give a cat a bath during winter.) While it seems like a good idea, a hair dryer usually doesn't go over too well with cats.
  16. Slow your rub-down to a pet, and speak soothingly to your cat. Try to calm him down before letting him go. If he'll take it, give him a treat.
  17. Release the cat.
  18. Go change your clothes, as, despite your efforts, you will now be soaking wet.
  19. Watch as the cat proceeds to lick every clean part of him, undoing all your hard labor.
Friday has had this process periodically ever since he was small enough to bathe holding him in one hand, and it only took a hand towel to dry him off. Now he soaks a full-blown bath towel, and tries to make as much mess as he can. The first time we bathed Buddy, he went completely limp. Jon was holding him, and he was dead weight the whole time. He had no idea what we were doing to him, and I think he would have rather been dead. The next time, he was much wiser, and decided he didn't want any more of that. It turns out cats can be quite strong!

Cats don't really need baths unless they get into something. Most of the time, they clean themselves just fine (unless, like Jon, you think that cat spit could in no way be considered clean). Bathing a cat once a month helps control the amount of dried saliva on a cat's skin, which is what causes allergic reactions in people.

So there you have it. Nineteen steps to a clean cat, and a happier you. Okay, maybe you won't be too happy. And yes, I'll understand if you reconsider the importance of a clean cat after this.

But you now have a clean cat, and your cat feels he has taught you a valuable lesson. All in all, a worthwhile venture.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Our Tour de France

One lap around the neighborhood
Two point five miles
"Check the time!"
And we're off.
At first a struggle
Then quicker down a hill
to set the pace.
A cool breeze
Is fall already here? It won't last.
The ice cream truck
plays The Entertainer
No, it's still summer
A fire burning
Steaks on the grill
Mmm, that smells good...

I shift my balance to ease into a curve
A lawn mower roars
Freshly cut grass
Clean smell of nutrient-filled soil
Clamor of nails on asphalt
My legs ache.

Another grill, this time links
I would definitely choose steak
Boom boom thwack!
Boom boom thwack!

The battle cry of a chihuahua
The Entertainer follows us with tired tones
Ice cream sounds good....
A basketball dribbled


Coast down a hill
Rest for burning muscles
Breathe deeply
Prepare for The Hill
C'mon, c'mon, c'mon.....
Hit the base of the hill
Frantic pace
Momentum lost
The Hill conquers as I
slow to a crawl

Down the back of The Hill
"You're doing great! Keep it up!"
Renewed energy

Second lap around

Lazy cats
Leaves rustle
Another nod
to passersby
Or are we the passersby?

A nod
to community

One more hill
One final turn
Our street at last
The end
of our Tour de France

"How'd we do?"
"Twenty two minutes. Not a record, but what a great ride!"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sharks in the Brazos

I saw sharks in the Brazos, and...okay, so they were just on the bank of the Brazos...and they were already dead...and...okay...they were only 1.5 feet long, but they were still sharks, and I reported it to Texas Parks and Wildlife, and got to create a sensation in their office, and the Game Warden (or somebody like it) called me, and I got to tell him my shark story, and we figure someone dumped them there, and I hope they get caught!

Monday, September 04, 2006


I love to do things with my hands. I like fixing things, and WD-40 is one of my favorite products. Therefore, I was excited the other day when I realized one of our showers was not draining properly. I did my research, accumulated the right supplies, applied a little elbow grease, and voila! our shower works! All at the expense of a couple of dollars.

My weapons were:
baking soda
boiling water
clothes hanger

Baking soda and vinegar fizz their way through blockages, and baking soda and boiling water turns into a force to behold against grime. :) The clothes hanger was bent to pull out grossie things which I won't describe, but frankly made me want to puke.

I was very proud of myself. I made Jon come and observe the wonder of water draining as it should. And then I proceeded to clean out the other shower drain and a sink. I've decided that the baking soda and vinegar combination might just make it to my list of favorite products.