Friday, June 27, 2008

About a year ago, I was turning off of I-35 to Waco when I saw a kitten in the grass. I pulled over to check on him. He was very feisty, and for all his 1 pound worth, he hissed and tried to be as big as possible. I called Leanna, asking what should I do. I was from out of town, it was a Sunday afternoon, and I had to be at a dinner meeting in about an hour. My options didn't seem very good. I called Jon and talked it over with him. Among the three of us, we decided that the kitten's mother was probably around, and either way he seemed like he could fend for himself. So I left. As I headed to the car, the kitten ran after me, meowing a pitiful plea. Every week I turn that same corner, and I've never seen the kitten again (though I always look, even now). Whether he made it or not, I don't know, but I've regretted my decision ever since.

So, I decided that I would never again pass up helping an animal, and leave hoping someone else would do it or things would just work out okay. I've turned around for a turtle I saw on the highway. (It turns out cold-blooded beings don't last long on hot pavement, even when they haven't been hit.) I've gone back to lead a puppy back home. The "puppy" ended up being full-grown, and he probably knew what he was doing, and he certainly knew where home was. I've driven the access road to check on a dog, though by the time I got there he was gone.

So all my past efforts have failed, but tonight they did not. Tonight, I was walking to the truck and noticed a toad making its slow way to the other side of the road. As I turned on the truck, I wondered how long it would take him to cross. By the time I got to him, he was only about a third of the way, and I couldn't be sure he'd stay put while I went around him. So, true to my decision, I got out and gently returned the toad to the curb. Hooray! I saved an least until he goes back out into the road. I can't know what he'll do, but I do know that I did what I could to keep his life going a little longer.

And that's something I won't regret.

Cats Stats

We went to the vet today for Bonnie & Clyde to get their booster shots. They got a regular checkup, as well. This was the first time for them to go to our vet--the Animal Shelter offers the spaying/neutering at only one office in town, so we had to go there for their first checkup so we could set the date for their "alterations."

Everyone was so glad to see the little guys again. They all oohed and aahed about how much they'd grown, and how they were lighter than everyone expected. The mama cat was still in the office, so they brought her by. The meeting was friendly, but she didn't seem too interested, and wandered off after a couple nose touches.

Bonnie was a champion patient. She weighed in at 3lbs 11oz, everything sounded great (breathing, etc.), she stood very still for the thermometer, and didn't seem to notice the shot too badly. We were a little concerned about the chub she's starting to develop on her belly, but the dr. wasn't worried at all. He promotes free-feeding until about 6 months, at which time their energy levels and growth rates wane, and it's time to start measuring out food. This was different from what the Animal Shelter's doctor said. He believed in regulating food amounts right at the beginning. I didn't really agree with him, though we did watch a little better that we just fed them enough for them to eat in a day, instead of leaving it full all the time. So I was happy to hear that our vet thought that was fine.

Clyde was up next. He weighed in at a whopping 4lbs 5oz (no wonder he wins all the fights!). Dr. M detected a small heart murmur and suggested it might be caused by parasites. (The parasites thin the blood, which makes it swoosh through the heart faster, causing noise.) He assured me that this murmur was not on the same scale as Friday's, and if the cause is parasites, it will go away when the parasites are taken care of. We have been directed to collect a stool sample (and yes, my pregnant self has a big rubber glove for the occasion!) so they can test it. Clyde didn't do so well with the thermometer. By the time it beeped that it had registered, he had crawled on to my arm and heading up my shoulder, trying to get his booty as far away from the dr. as possible. He's going to be our problem child at the vet, we can already tell. :) After that he did fine with the shot.

All in all, the cats did very well. They were content to let everyone come by and pet them, and Clyde even purred while Jon held him. They remain our laid back kitties.

I'd like to put in a huge plug for my vet. If you live around here, I would really recommend them. They go above and beyond in their care for our cats, and have been great to us, as well, as we've dealt with some hard blows in the pet arena this year. They honestly care about each animal, and the vets (Dr. M in particular) are very thorough. The vet techs are huge animal lovers, as well. When Smith & Wesson were so sick, they needed a certain tube of vitamin goo; the office didn't have any on hand, and one of the vet techs went to her house and brought back her own tube for us to use. They've also sent us a rose for each cat we lost, and cried with us and hugged us, assuring us we were still good pet parents. Then, best of all, they called us about Bonnie & Clyde, and boarded them for 7 weeks at no cost to us, because they really wanted us to have them. Those kinds of things just don't happen at every vet office.

I would also recommend the vet that will be doing the spaying/neutering, but for different reasons. My vet is a small establishment and pretty laid back, and this one is larger with more sparkle. They took pictures of the cats to put in their records, the ear scope is connected to a monitor so the pet owner can see what's going on, they have an online portal so I can view the records, and they send out periodic e-mails about pet-related stuff, including appointment reminders. The building is very clean and nice, and much closer to our house. If we weren't so happy with our vet, I would probably switch to this one for the convenience. So for that reason I recommend both.

Obviously I've kept the names anonymous because I have this idea that I've somehow managed to keep my location unknown from random people online. In reality, that's probably not true, but, oh well. If you know you live near me, ask me about these places and I'll tell you. :)

Now, Bonnie & Clyde are sacked out, and probably will be for most of the rest of the day. That seems to be what happens with shots. We like it because then they're cute and cuddly. :)

Goin' on Vacation!

This summer has been kind of hard for me, because my work doesn't give paid maternity except for the vacation days I already have saved up. So, considering I only have four weeks saved up, and I want to take six weeks maternity, every day I take off is yet another day unpaid in the future. Knowing that I have NO days off has been very...depressing. No vacation, no visiting family or even long weekends. All I have are the company holidays, which is one day every two months. Ugh.

But I'm still getting to go on vacation! After work on Wednesday, I'm heading to the most relaxing place I know to spend a few quality days. Yep, I'll be at my parents house. And since I work at home, and "home is where you pick up internet," I'll be able to work on Thursday like normal, and enjoy Friday and Saturday with my family.

I'll miss Jon while I'm there, and I told him he'll think my belly's grown so much when I get back--maybe not from Newbie but from good cookin'! I can't wait. My parents have made their home--inside and out--such a peaceful place, and I'm looking forward to the visit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Every Cat Has Its Quirks

Here are a couple videos to show you Bonnie and Clyde in all their personality wonderfulness.

Bonnie is the explorer. She's the first one anywhere, and always curious. She's found the inside of the refrigerator, the inside of the dryer, the back corner of the closet, the top of the dresser, and the piece of paper in the trash can.

Well, maybe that last item isn't exciting for you, but it sure was for her!

And no, she never figured out she could knock the can over and retrieve the paper.

And Clyde, well, he's just as laid back as Bonnie is adventurous. He is the cat who wakes up from a nap and runs up to my desk chair to beg for lovin's. He'll sit on my lap, and I'm pretty sure he sleeps right on top of me all night long, until the morning comes and my love-deprived kitty meows incessantly for me to pet him. So, while it was certainly weird, it didn't seem too out of character that our sensitive little boy sucks his thumb. (The next video is two minutes long of thumb-sucking. If you've seen enough after thirty seconds, you won't miss much the rest of the way. If, however, you're like me and can't stop looking at something weird, then you'll have a whole two minutes of weirdness to watch.)

Jon says we have to try to break him of the habit, just like we would a kid. I think it's kind of cute and I'm not too worried about my cat's psyche, but we're supposed to be a united front, right? So I'm trying. But probably not hard enough and not successfully. He's just so cute....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Garden goodness

Today I had a salad of tomatoes and cucumber with ranch. It was yummy, and the best part was that I grew it all in my own back yard! (Not the ranch.) So, being as I am not usually successful in my gardening attempts, I've deemed these Very Easy To Grow. When we were out of town in Boston, the temps unexpectedly rose to 100 degrees, and my cucumber plants (out in full sun all day) were fried. The tomatoes, in partial shade, fared better, but the leaves have always been puny. Still, both have been putting out the vegetables! I'm growing grape tomatoes and pickling cucumbers. I'm also growing a variety of each of hot pepper and bell pepper, but I don't think they'll have peppers growing for awhile yet. They're starting to get blooms, though.

All in all, I have enjoyed gardening so much. I think it would be a really good hobby. Jon's promised that whenever we buy a home, he'll till up some of the back yard for me. I already have big plans for it. :) Have I mentioned that before? I feel like I have.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

5 Qestions

I've been tagged by Tricia! Here are my answers:

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

10 years ago was June of '98, and I was adjusting to a new town and new church. Our house was a crazy mess--a major fixer-upper--so that was going on all summer. My Mawmaw moved in with us, and my brother moved out...though maybe he was there through the summer? Ooh, that was officially the first time we had a TV in the house since I'd been born, so my dad and I pretty much soaked up all the Law & Order, Lois & Clark, and whatever else was on that we could. We were pretty much TV junkies.

2) What are five things on my to-do list today?

Well, the day is almost done, but here was my list for the day: Photo shoot with Holly & Sophie, movies with Jon, take a nap, pick up stuff at Wal-Mart, babysit for Bekah.

3) What snacks to I enjoy?

Salty stuff! Chips and salsa, pretzels, chips, pickles, pepperoncini peppers, and cheese are all fair game for snacking. On the non-salty side I like apples, and sometimes I like sugary cereal eaten dry (woohoo for Marshmallow Mateys!).

4) Where are some places I've lived?

In the big city, in podunk-ville, in city planning at its best, in the sticks, in college-mania, and in the ghetto (back to the big city). All in Texas. :)

5) What things would I do if I were a billionaire?

I would try to maintain a normal standard of living, with a few exceptions: I would have an architect build our house, and I would hire someone to do the housework. Maybe I'd even get a hybrid vehicle. I would like to pay off bills, making sure everyone in the family is taken care of, including a trust fund or something for future family. Then I would use a lot of it for missions efforts, and some of it for research and implementation of effective no-kill animal adoption centers. With the rest, I would travel the world, sometimes for specific missions purposes, and sometimes just to see if Michelangelo's David is as really amazing as everyone says.

I tag:

Friday, June 13, 2008

My most popular blog post

I use Site Meter to check on the stats of my blog. It tells me where people are from who come to my blog, what pages they look at, and how they got there. Consistently, one page keeps coming up as viewed, and most times because of a specific Google search for "fall hair color" or "strawberry blonde hair color" etc. Of the last 100 hits to my blog, 19 of them have been to this page! I'm sure Leanna's already guessed the page:

Leanna's Hair Color, posted on August 15, 2007

So, Leanna, when I did that, I had no idea that so many people would be looking at it. Just think what an impact on society you might have! That haircut might be the new Dorothy Hamill cut!

(You made it into both blog posts today, Lea. Don't you feel special??) :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kitten Pause

The other day I was laying down and Bonnie was laying close next to me, staring into my eyes. I winked at her, keeping my right eye closed. Her gaze shifted to my left eye. I closed my left and opened my right. I saw her eyes again focus on the open eye. How do cats (or people or anyone) know that the eyes are the window to the soul?

Clyde loves the refrigerator! Wherever he is, when I open the fridge door he comes running into the kitchen, sliding under the open door as if sliding into home base. He hops up into the refrigerator before I even see what's going on. We haven't shut him in, yet, but there have been many times when I'd normally just let the door close on its own and I realize there's a curious kitten inside!

Jon gets up earlier than I do, so he lets the cats in before I'm out of bed. They clamber up the side of the bed (it's still quite a climb for them) and race toward me as if their night of no lovin's has left them in serious need. Still trying to sleep, I reach out one hand to subdue the masses and otherwise lay still. The kittens decide--eh, who needs lovin's, let's play!--and the covers (with me under them) becomes a playground/boxing ring as they roll around. Inevitably, I start to wake up...just as they start to fall asleep...which puts me back to sleep. It's led to me getting up late several days in a row now. This morning they were both cuddled up right next to me, purring in sync with each other. Who wants to get up and face the world when purring kitties is the alternative??

I am not used to having cuddlebugs for pets. I've never had a cat who would sit in my lap, and it was a rare day when one would lay next to me on the bed. So having these little cuddlers has been so much fun...and brought some problems as well. Things I've learned regarding lap cats:
  1. If you think you might need that hand at some point in the next hour or so, don't let them lay their head on it.
  2. If you think you might need an item that is not within arm's reach, be sure and gather it to you before the cat finds your lap.
  3. If you need to get up and be productive, do NOT let the cat cuddle. This will only result in unproductivity for the next hour.
  4. Sometimes a cat is content enough that you can adjust them so you're more comfortable, but there's a risk it will wake them up enough to realize they have other things they want to do.
  5. Cuddle cats are good during nap time, but hard during the night, when they manage to find the very part of you that you were about to move (leg, arm, etc.) and sit right on it...for the next 20 minutes.
As a mother to kittens, here are things I listen for:
  1. Silence. I immediately pick up on the calm before the storm. Either they're asleep, which is fine, or they've just discovered something new (an open toilet could be a possibility) and are about to explore further.
  2. Chewing. Kittens are like babies: they're so close to the ground they find all the things you never knew were there. This could be paper bits or a bug, which is generally okay, or it could be plastic, a rubberband, or an electric cord. Either way, it's best to distract the kitten and take away the item of interest immediately.
  3. Water. The cats drinking water sounds a lot like peeing to me, for some reason, and I start every time I hear it. I'm getting more used to it, but I'm always on the alert for a kitten who has forgotten her way to the litterbox. Thankfully, these two have had no accidents, so I think I can rest easy.
  4. Scratching. Not acceptable except on the scratching post or cardboard scratchers. I have caught myself yelling out, "NO!" only to realize they were scratching on an approved item, so I try to identify where they're scratching before coming out with water bottle spraying.
  5. Purring. Ah...the sweet life of owning a cat. There's nothing more rewarding than a purring cat. Of course, Bonnie starts purring just because you look at her, and Clyde purrs the minute you pick him up, so it doesn't take much with these two!
Have I made you want a kitty, yet?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Good Thing for Pets

When we decided to get two cats, I picked out this waterer for them:
It works great, and I highly recommend it. I have only refilled it once, and it gives a constant supply of water for our two cats. It would not have worked for Friday, who had a tendency to splash his water all over the floor, but these cats don't play in it, so it's just fine.

On a random, only-related-because-it's-a-cat, note, I love that the kittens are still small enough to pick up and hold in one hand.
That's Bonnie, and both she and Clyde will sit in my hand like this for awhile. They're just as cute as can be!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Happy Birthday Sophie!

This is a week late, but here are the photos of Sophie's birthday party.

The kids loved to play in the pool, and I took a ton of pictures of that. It was a great party! And now Sophie is two! I can't believe it! I first met her when she was four months old.

Here she is at 7 months or so:

My little cutie neighbor!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings!

Okay, so I may not be that big, yet--still looks like I just finished off a gut pack from Viteks--but the bluegrass band I'm in is officially disbanded after today's performance.

We sang/played at Dave's elementary school. It was their last day, and there were 500+ kids packed into the cafetorium, ready for a sing-along. We were the guest musicians! Woohoo! We were all pretty nervous, but I think it went really well. The kids sang along with You Are My Sunshine, and clapped on the fast songs. We didn't forget our words or mess up too badly on our chords, so I consider it a great success!

After this, we'll only get together at random times, instead of weekly like we have been. It has been a lot of fun, and while I still can't play anything more advanced than straight chords, I do think I've improved tremendously. I'm grateful to the guys for putting up with my very basic guitar skills!

At some point, we've talked about taking a Saturday and recording all the songs we've learned. If we end up doing that, I'll try to put a few of the songs up for you!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bonnie & Clyde

Is very communicative. She meows if we pick her up, she meows to be picked up, she meows when she's purring....
Has beautiful eyes.
Has a deep, happy purr.
Is the adventurous one.
Likes to be going and doing.
Always starts the fights, but never wins.

Loves to cuddle.
Is content to be pet.
Has the same deep, happy purr.
Follows his sister into whatever she falls into.
Never starts the fights, but always wins.