Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Max Again

Max, enjoys being spoiled. Posted by Picasa
"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars." ~ Henry Van Dyke (American short-story Writer, Poet and Essayist, 1852-1933)
I promised an update on Max. Max does indeed have lymphoma; actually it is a high grade T-cell lymphoma. This is an unusual form as it appears to be confined to his skin at this point and this is why he has so few symptoms. It would be analogous to a Mycosis fungoides in humans. Looking back now, he probably has had this in its earliest form for at least six months. Max had an ultrasound back in October and the vet said he had inflamed skin patches on his stomach. This stage of cutaneous lymphoma is almost impossible to diagnose. Now it has gone into the nodule phase. It may eventually spread to his internal organs or lymph nodes or bone marrow, but for now, just his skin.

So, Max started his first chemotherapy with the oncology vet yesterday. The vet knows that Max has been treated for heart worms in the past and so we are going the CCNU (Cytoxan) route. It is in pill form, every three weeks and he gets prednisone along with it. Any of the protocols with the more high powered drugs would require IV treatment and this is next to impossible with him. We should know in a couple of months if this does anything for him. I do believe he is on a "steroid" high right now, he didn't want to settle down to sleep last night and he wants "in" and "out" pretty much at the same time. But he does seem happy, as long as his basketball is by his side.

If this works, he could have a year more with us; if not it is uncertain. As long as he doesn't seem to be in pain or discomfort and as long as he still enjoys his walks, his basketball, his food and his friends then we will continue. If Max is like my other dogs, he'll let me know when it is time. For now, he is spoiled rotten and loving it. Does anyone know where we can find another basketball? Max knows that two are better than one.

I'll send this to the Carnival of the Dogs as several people have sent very nice comments and best wishes from there. Max loves to meet new friends. (end of post)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Moody Monday: Manic Mermaid

Abnormal? A strange mermaid in my bedroom.
(Click picture for larger view, but this might be scary)
Posted by Picasa
"All of us are mad. If it weren't for the fact every one of us is slightly abnormal, there wouldn't be any point in giving each person a separate name." ~ Ugo Betti (Italian Playwright and Poet, 1892-1953)
Well, there you have it and who better to know abnormal than the Italians; those whose concept of a weather report is a glowing sun on a map with the buxom weather lady shouting "el scorchio". I don't even know if that is a real Italian word as the word for hot is "caldo" and that sounds like it should really be "cold" not "hot". No temperatures, just the little glowing suns. I knew it was hot... needed to know HOW HOT! Right! "El Scorchio!" Whatever that means!

I am off topic here. This picture has nothing to do with Italy or weather reports; although the girl really wants to study meteorology. It's cold here so there is no connection with warmth and beaches and the sun and sand of Florida, although we are within a few miles of a beach. No this is just an "abnormal" photo of the girl trying on her swim cap and goggles in anticipation of beginning her South Beach diet plan. (There's that word beach again.) The plan includes exercise and she plans to swim. OK, finally see the connection here? I wish I had taken a movie of her trying to stretch that big rubber band (the cap) over that head and get all that hair up underneath, but I was laughing too hard and it would have just blurred anyway. This picture goes right along with her "sweatshirt football player pose" and her "mud facial in progress pose" and I like to call it her "manic mermaid pose".

Submission for Moody Monday topic "abnormal". (end of post)

Watchful Rhett

Rhett, always watchful. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Watchfulness is the path to immortality....." ~ Dhammapada
Rhett is intent on something outside the sunroom. It isn't a bird, it's too windy for them to get very far. Most of the sea gulls were huddled together on the ground in parking lots this morning. More than likely he is staring at blowing leaves or pine needles; his stare made more intense by the occasional loud "plunk" of a falling pine cone on the metal roof.

Of course, the other possibility is that he is contemplating his beloved, Sophie. He spent a considerable amount of time looking at her sleek form at Friday's Ark this week. He tends to get in this dreamy, spaced out state after a Sophie-fix and after sniffing the famous catnip bag. All I know is that I would love to be lost in that quiet mindless void he goes to when he's got this look. Ah, to be a cat; well, it would be nice to be "my" cat.

Mr. Rhett will visit the other animals at Friday's Ark this week and the Carnival of the Cats at Catcall this Sunday. (end of post)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Penny Candy Money

Money (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"A penny will hide the biggest star in the Universe if you hold it close enough to your eye." ~ Samuel Grafton
"If you give money, spend yourself with it." ~ Henry David Thoreau
Money! Money! Money! Doesn't grow on trees. The "love" of money is said to be the root of all evil. A penny saved is a penny earned. A penny isn't very much but when we were children it seemed like a fortune. That penny will burn a hole in a little girl's pocket. What can we get, or more likely, what could we get in the 50's for a penny? Ah, yes! The candy store and the rows of glass jars filled with "penny candy"; sticks of sugar candy in different flavors, peppermint sticks, licorice, candy corn, orange candy slices, M & M's, Double Bubble Bubble Gum and others. We could get a couple of pieces for a penny. In the 30's and 40's my mom said her dad would bring home a whole little bag full for a penny. Now? Good luck!

Submission for MacroDay topic "money". (end of post)

Colonial Style

The Wren Building, College of William & Mary. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"True ornament is not a matter of prettifying externals. It is organic with the structure it adorns, whether a person, a building, or a park." ~ Frank Lloyd Wright (American Architect, 1867-1959)
The Wren Building is part of the original college founded in 1693. Over the years there has been fire and destruction but it has been restored to as close to the original as can be done. This structure is full of tradition including the welcoming of the freshman class as it marches through the arches to be greeted by the upperclassmen and faculty each fall. It also sends the graduating seniors out to the world through its doors at commencement. Old Campus and New Campus blend together and the history here is palpable with paintings, plaques, original writings of founding fathers and Colonial Williamsburg just a stones throw away. The school has thrived for over 300 years. It is a wonderful place to learn and grow.

On a personal note. Nyssa applied for a position of "RA" (Resident Assistant) for next school year and she got it. The Dillard Complex of two dorms where she currently lives is technically "off campus" and is scheduled to be closed after this year. She will be in the brand new dorm complex being built on campus, I believe the name is Jamestown. A brand new room, doesn't have to deal with the room lottery, a single (this is her fourth year with a roommate counting the last two years of high school) and she gets her room paid for. This last item is a joy to the mother's heart as it helps to the tune of $5,550 for the year. So, Nyssa. You go girl!!!

Submission for PXITE topic "structure". (end of post)


Nyssa, Fall 2005 (Her friend took this picture) Posted by Picasa
"The years when we are parenting teenagers are the high point, the crest when everything seems to be in bright colors and in ten-foot letters." ~ Jean Jacobs Speizer. Ourselves and Our Children,(1978).
Nyssa has decided to do a double major in Geology and English. It is hard to see the English major in her blog but I understand it is an exhibit of the "teen" form of writing and communicating. Life is fast, furious and so is teenage communication. There is no time for punctuation, grammar or even complete words. I don't always understand the abbreviations or the connotations but as someone wise once said... "It's hard to be 'hip' over thirty," and I am WAY past that landmark. Sometimes when I visit her blog I cry, sometimes I cringe, and sometimes I just laugh out loud. She tends to speak her mind (wonder where she got that) but just when you want to reach through the computer screen and strangle her, she inserts a phrase that is so completely off-topic, off-hand and off-the-wall that you just have to laugh. After the immediate gut response, you read it again and sometimes see a deeper meaning and insight into life. It is downright strange. Perhaps that's why she's doing this particular double major. The Geology fulfills her newly developed interest in science. (She said she was wondering when her genetic make-up would finally kick in.) The English highlights her passion for literature and her ability to take details of ordinary life and express them in an extraordinary way with her words. So, I've compiled a few Nyssa-isms from the past few weeks and months, taken exactly as she wrote them. Please remember that she really does know grammar and punctuation backwards and forwards, she simply chooses to be different. Why? I don't know, only the "cool" know the answer to that. (Continue reading "Nyssa-isms")
  • as i sit here in the government section of the library, a man passes softly, slowly by. i glance down to see no shoes, only socks.

  • today i saw a girl with a side pony tail.
    what a pity.

  • four words: black cherry vanilla coke

  • as for the riveting game of scategories, here's a small excerpt:
    the category: a leisure activity
    the letter: B
    grandma and mom: bicycling
    uncle: bowling
    me: bathing
    uncle stephen: "yeah, bathing IS a leisure activity for you"

  • starlight, starbright, first star i see tonight. on the five oclock drive home i looked up into the sky, life draining away into faded red, orange, yellow into bruised purples and blues, and i spotted a sprinkle - the first star. and laughed to myself. realizing it was just a piece of tintrash delivering TV to half of america.

  • i feel that on the rollercoaster that is this week, i am now done with the clink-clink-clink uphill part and am now at the top, looking down at the freefall which is this weekend. LET THE SCREAMING BEGIN!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • i learned today that my prestigious college is named after....
    a Dutch usurper and his English harlot.
    rock on.

  • Sometimes, when i'm walking down the hall in my pink, silk robe, i have to stop and make sure my boob isn't hanging out, because it's just that comfortable.

  • i think i will go sit in the big field and contemplate life. or burn my textbooks. whichever is more therapeutic.

  • whatever.

  • i'm glad my voice isn't annoying. there was a girl on the bus with a high-pitched ANNNOYING voice. i'm glad i'm not her. that's mean. but sincere.

  • my puppy has cancer and won't live too long.
    oh, hole in my heart.
So, there you have it. Nyssa-isms. The observations of a nineteen (soon to be twenty) year old. I love you Nyssa!

(end of post)

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Sea, The Shore, A Man & His Dog

A man and his dog at sunrise on the beach.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"The sea is masculine, the type of active strength. Look, what egg-shells are drifting all over it, each one, like ours, filled with men in ecstasies of terror, alternating with cockney conceit, as the sea is rough or smooth. Is this sad-colored circle an eternal cemetery?" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), "Voyage to England," English Traits (1856).
Early morning at the beach, the sun beginning to rise in the eastern sky. A man and his dog run near the water, splashing through the foamy surf when the waves come in. The solitude of the sea, the friendship between man and dog and the feel of the salt air on both man and beast is exhilarating; both to the runners and to those who watch.

Submission for PhotoFriday topic "masculine". (end of post)

Nosy Clover

Clover, what is that on your nose? (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"You're a very nosy fellow, kitty-cat, huh? You know what happens to nosy fellows? Huh? No? Wanna guess? Huh? No? Okay. They lose their noses." ~ The Thug In The White Suit (Roman Polanski), Chinatown
Clover isn't a "fellow", but she is NOSY. She tends to be in everyone's business; makes it a habit to sniff the other kitty behinds, at times with dire results. If there is an open closet door, she's there. Open the front door, she's there. The door to the garage, she's there. She's quiet, too quiet. Clover walks through a room without a sound, even while wearing a collar with five bells attached. Scarlett is watching birds? Clover has to get into the act, scaring the birds away. What? A bag behind the cedar chest? Clover has to stick her head in it.

What IS that on her nose? I'm not sure what happened here; but I have an idea. It looks like Clover managed to get into the library when my dad wasn't looking. He tends to drop little pieces of paper from spiral notebooks in there. She "nosed" around in the trash can and there you have it. Paper stuck to her nose. It isn't strange that some souvenir of her adventures sticks to her. It is strange that she seemed oblivious to the paper on her nose for a half an hour. Really stylish there Clover!

Clover will be wearing her new "nose ornament" to Friday's Ark this week. Well, I'm certainly not going to tell her it's still there! With her luck, it will still be plastered to her face at this weeks Carnival of the Cats, hosted on Sunday by Animal Family.

(end of post)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Bird Watcher & the "Watcher" Bird

Miss Scarlett: "Love to watch those birdies"
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"The bird of paradise lights only upon the hand that does not grasp." ~ John Berry
The small birds have found my hanging net feeder in the bush outside the bedroom window. With the window cracked their twittering and chirping can be heard. Miss Scarlett was the first to investigate. All her senses were on alert; twitching whiskers, sweeping ears, darting eyes, swishing tail and that strange chatter she reserves for bugs and birds. She sat, bird watching for twenty minutes, until Miss Clover jumped up and scared them away. (Continued)

At times up to eight birds fought for thistle. Then I saw the little fellow in the bottom left corner. He was looking in the window, a "Peeping Chickadee" if I ever saw one. Scarlett stared at him, he stared back at her. I wondered what the little bird was thinking.

"I tawt I taw a puddy tat! I did, I did taw a puddy tat!" ~ Tweety Bird
Miss Scarlett is going to follow these little birds all the way to Friday's Ark this week. She has made plans to visit her other kitty friends at the Carnival of the Cats on Sunday, hosted this week by Animal Family. Scarlett told the birds they could come too.

(end of post)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pink Hyacinths

Pink hyacinth. Posted by Picasa
"If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."
~ Moslih Eddin Saadi, Gulistan (Garden of Roses)
My favorite flowers are gardenias, honeysuckle and hyacinths. The color doesn't matter; pink, purple, white, any color is fine.

Hyacinths remind me of this poem. In 1978 I found it on a notecard at our local Michael's store. The cards were a khaki tan with simple black ink illustrations and the poems in beautiful hand lettering. This one was illustrated with a hand drawn hyacinth. The envelopes were a light olive green. They were not unusually beautiful in color, but the quotes and poems were wonderful. I chose three. The second had a drawing of a butterfly with stars and a moon and the quote:
"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars." ~ Henry Van Dyke
The third showed a tree with a drum at its base and read:
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away." ~ Henry David Thoreau
I kept these three notecards pinned to a bulletin board in my office for twenty-five years, the envelopes served as a background. Now they have been stored safely along with a small hand drawing of a Siamese cat, a newspaper clipping picturing a kitten with glasses, a round stick pin with a cat, two pictures of Robert Redford, a Born Loser cartoon and my two ice skating beginner medals; safely waiting for my next office.

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "pink". (end of post)

Curves of Life

Toy town in Toy Land. Yankee Candle Company. Williamsburg, VA.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"On the road to life there are many paths... some twist, some turn, some dip, some curve. As long as you keep your focus, your destination is obtainable." ~ Brenda Good
A children's play town, the roads curve under overpasses and a clover leaf merges onto an expressway. Even the buildings are curved. I never had a whole town set up like this, but I remember a garage. You could roll a little car into a berth and turn a crank handle to lift it to the roof. There just a little push would send it rolling down the spiraling ramp, back to the bottom. It was so much fun to "valet park" the little cars and watch them roll down the ramp.

Sometimes life reminds me of that garage; the cycle lifting our spirits to the roof to watch them spiral down again to the bottom. However, on a more positive note, it also reminds me of times when stress and anxiety built higher and higher reaching the breaking point. At that moment someone stepped in; a friend, a relative or even a stranger with a kind word, and the fear fades, spiraling down, leaving behind only peace.

Submission for LensDay topic "curves". (end of post)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Max: Still Waiting

Max with his favorite toy and his blue boo-boo bandage. Posted by Picasa
"Dogs have given up many of their natural ways to cross the boundary between our species and join our families; for this, each dog deserves lifelong care and protection." ~ Michael J. Rosen (US author)
Two weeks post excisional biopsies of three of the multiple skin lesions and we still haven't received the final report. This is frustrating. I could have already had this figured out at my lab. They are malignant tumors in the skin, but the specific cell type will decide if there is any reason to even try chemotherapy and what might work. Of course, except for his stitches and his blue boo-boo bandage you would never know he was sick. One of his lesions is now the size of a quarter and is raised and red and he tends to lick it. The Benedryl helps quite a bit as does pampering. He was spoiled. Now he is rotten. Max seems to feel safe in his big transport carrier with the plush pads, his favorite toys and his kitty friends for company at night. He eats well, chases his ball, chews his rawhide bone and rolls his treat ball around the yard to get all the little minty biscuits out. He has my mom totally wrapped around his tail, and Nyssa and myself as well. Stitches come out tomorrow and I'll let them take his bandage off at the same time. His paws are completely off limits, always have been and he'll need to be muzzled anyway for the stitches. These are the times I wish I could "talk to the animals", to tell Max that we only want to help him feel good and he could tell me when it hurts and what happened to him in the past that was so horrible. The extra attention and basically getting his own way all the time is agreeing with him. Will update as things evolve.

(end of post)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Calm My Spirit

A calm and foggy morning in Virginia Beach. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Gradual sinks the breeze
Into a perfect calm; that not a breath
I heard to quiver thro' the closing woods,
Or rustling turn the many twinkling leaves,
Of aspen tall. The uncurling floods diffus'd
In glassy breadth, seen through delusive lapse
Forgetful of their course.
'Tis silence all,
And pleasing expectation."
~ James Thomson (Scottish poet, 1700 - 1748)
A cool January morning, the wind completely calm and fog spreads over the coast, both land and sea. The landscape changes from ordinary to a fairy land of wispy smoke and glassy reflections. I love these days. They calm my spirit.

Submission for Moody Monday topic "calm". (end of post)

What Is A Home?

Bricks & mortar of our "home". (Macro) (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa

What is home? It has been described by many in different ways.
"Home is not where you live, but where they understand you."
~ Christian Morgenstern

"Home is any four walls that enclose the right person."
~ Helen Rowland

"There's no place like home." ~ Frank L. Baum

"Home is where we tie one end of the thread of life."
~ Martin Buxbaum

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in." ~ Robert Frost
All of these sayings are true. They don't refer to the mortar and bricks of a house, but to the people, the lives, the souls that make up a home. The house may age, the mortar weaken and crumble and the bricks crack, but the "home" remains as long as love remains. Those who love, believe and know in their hearts what home really means.
"Where thou art, that is home." ~ Emily Dickinson
Submission for MacroDay topic "home". (end of post)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Night Flight

Norfolk (ORF) at night. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"So the crew fly on with no thought that they are in motion. Like night over the sea, they are very far from the earth, from towns, from trees. The clock ticks on. The dials, the radio lamps, the various hands and needles go though their invisible alchemy. . . . and when the hour is at hand the pilot may glue his forehead to the window with perfect assurance. Out of oblivion the gold has been smelted: there it gleams in the lights of the airport."
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars,' 1939.
This airport, this ORF is small in comparison to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas or New York; yet is is mammoth in comparison to the small airport between Columbus, MS and Starkville, MS. On this night it's raining. Most flights for the evening have landed. We are waiting on my brother who has been delayed from New York. Perhaps the large major airports operate around the clock, but here the night flights are few and far between, the concourses appear empty except for the security stations, the food establishments are closed, only the coffee hut remains open....thank goodness. It is an eerie feeling.

Submission for PXITE topic "airport". (end of post)

Bird Stop

Light at the intersection of Princess Anne Road and Witchduck Road.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"That little bird has chosen his shelter. Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds. Yet he is rocking himself to sleep without caring for tomorrow's lodging, calmly clinging to his little twig, and leaving God to think for him." ~ Martin Luther
On any given winter day the small sparrows perch on this traffic signal; not on the side facing the north wind, but on the south side of the light facing the winter sun. As the light sways, they keep balanced. I know why they love "a" traffic light. The light shields offer some protection from the chilling wind and the heat from both the sun and the lights gives warmth.

But why this light and not others? There are at least five other intersections between this signal and my parents house, yet this is the only one with sparrows. Some of the other lights are more rigid, solidly placed with no sway or swinging motion in the wind. Surely, this would be less tenuous for the small birds, and yet none rest in them. Perhaps the birds are no different from human babies, or human adults for that matter. Perhaps the gentle sway in the wind and the warmth comforts them; perhaps the "bird stop" feels like home.

(end of post)

Friday, February 17, 2006

My Baby

Nyssa: my baby, April 1986. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"I looked at this tiny, perfect creature and it was as though a light switch had been turned on. A great rush of love flooded out of me. ~ Madeleine L'Engle (Writer)
Twenty years ago this coming April I took this picture of a sleeping Nyssa in the rolling bassinet by the hospital bed. She was freshly back from her trip to the newborn nursery beach, still warm from her time of basking under the "bili lights". Nothing severe; the result of taking so long to get here. I still love this baby, still wonder at her laugh, marvel at her eyes that look blue.. no green... no hazel... no grey...they seem to change to fit her mood.
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."
~ Robert Munsch
Submission for Photo Friday topic "baby". (end of post)

Mr. Rhett: American Idle

Mr. Rhett: Absorbed. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"One is not idle because one is absorbed. There is both visible and invisible labor. To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do. The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act. The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation." ~ Victor Hugo
I don't know how much real "thinking" is going on in that walnut sized brain, but Mr. Rhett knows what he loves and he loves sitting, reclining, resting, contemplating and just plain sleeping in the sink. He stares at a spot on the wall, sometimes for a few seconds and other times for several minutes. I try to line my line of sight up with his; I'd like to know what he's is looking at. Is there a bug? A spot of sunlight dancing on the wall? No. No bug. No spot of light. Nothing unusual. Perhaps, as Victor Hugo said, he's in the midst of creation.

I told Rhett he could go to see the other cats at Friday's Ark this week and those at the Carnival of the Cats hosted this week by Bloggin' Outloud. He wanted to know if Sophie was going to be there. I told him I didn't know. Then he wanted to know if they have a sink for him to sit in, but I didn't have an answer for that either. So many questions, Mr. Rhett. Just go. Visit. Explore.

(end of post)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Weathered Stone

Weathered gravestone in yard of Bruton's Parish. Williamsburg, Virginia.
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
"If we work upon marble it will perish. If we work upon brass time will efface it. If we rear temples they will crumble to dust.
But if we work upon men's immortal minds, if we imbue them with high principles, with the just fear of God and love of their fellow men, we engrave on those tablets something which no time can efface, and which will brighten and brighten to all eternity." ~ Daniel Webster, Speech in Faneuil Hall
A somber weathered gravestone in Bruton's Parish graveyard tells the story of a young child lost and the grief of surviving parents. The date: 1705. Many of the markers are hard to read, the letters worn by the wind and rain. Each tells the story of a love lost.

Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "old". (end of post)

To My Dad On His Birthday

Happy Birthday Dad! (February 15, 1928) (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
My birthday!--what a different sound
That word had in my youthful ears;
And how each time the day comes round,
Less and less white its mark appears.
~ Thomas Moore, My Birthday
Today is my father's birthday. Mom had this cake made so they could celebrate with the JOY Club at their church. (Just Older Youth). The cake was strawberry, or rather a strawberry shortcake cake. Yes, two layers of yellow cake with fresh strawberries in a glaze between the layers and a whipped cream type of icing on top. It was VERY tasty!

So, who is this Loren William, my father, married to the love of his life, Lorane, for 55 years? He is a simple, but complex man, aren't they all? (continued)
He is a lover of animals but it was a subtle love when I was a child. And yet, he warmed and resuscitated my almost frozen little chick as my five year old self stood sobbing "Daddy, please don't let Cheep-Cheep die!" As Stephen and I stood behind him at the door one morning, we watched him take in the little black dachshund as the small girl holding her fought back tears, "Mom said I had to give her away on the way to school, I can't take her home and you are the last house, please give her a home." We were both amazed. He built her a magnificent two room house with insulation, a window in the front parlor and a hinged roof (where Pepper, like Snoopy spent a lot of her time). When Mom wanted another cat, he went to North Carolina with her and brought back Maggie. Suddenly, she (Maggie) was his "baby", he was her "daddy" and though it was Mom who pushed to get her, Maggie is completely and totally a "Daddy's girl."

Two years ago, when my job was ending, they took in our crew, all six. Our cats made themselves at home. He cared for them, spoiled them and loved them. Six months later when Nyssa and I finally arrived, our cats were more at home than we were.

Rhett, always the talker wants to share a few words here. "This is my grandpa but mostly he is my buddy. I love to read the paper with him and sometimes I sit on his lap. Here he lets me sleep on his arm while he watches TV. I know it won't last long. Soon he'll get tired of changing the stations and he will fall asleep. See, I told you he would. Now, I can get on over into his lap and we will have a nice nap together. Yes, I like it here. Grandpa is always around so I get a lot of attention. Happy Birthday Grandpa! From me (Rhett) and all the others."

My dad is a simple farm boy. He tells stories of going to college and meeting my mother; how he worked at the college farm for tuition and ate crackers and home churned butter from his mom and how he worked special events in the kitchen for a meal. But his college stories are filled with warmth and love for his friends. His life has been one of a shepherd; a minister leading his church and seekers to find their own personal relationship with God. They are the jewels in his crown and what a glorious crown it will be.

He has also been a father. We never had leftovers; his leftover time, his leftover love or his leftover interest. As his children, Stephen and I always had his best. He was always there when we had the stomach flu, or ear aches or colic; doing his best to make our bodies feel better and sharing our pain. He taught us to drive, read night time stories, fixed lunches with sliced hot dog and cheese sandwiches, stayed up to listen to the weather warnings and led us to safety in the basement before the tornado. He set limits and stood by them and his punishment was always tempered with love and concern. He was waiting when this daughter came in at 2 AM after an extended bowling extravaganza with the teen girls of the church; he was "disappointed in me because I had not called" and I was grounded. His "disappointment" stung worse than any grounding or even a flogging would have done. When his 9 year old son and a friend found a six pack of beer in a stream and each drank a can, he came in to find my mom just a bit hysterical and Stephen hanging over the toilet throwing up, as sick as a dog. I expect he had his hands full calming her down. But his "Now, Lorane, the boy is sick to his stomach. I think he's learned his lesson and the nausea should be punishment enough" was wise. Dad has always been wise.

When the troubles of life came for either of his children, he was there; there to help as much as possible. We never avoided our consequences, but we knew Dad loved us through them. We have always been able to lean on him, and we still do.

So, Happy Birthday to my DAD; no, Happy Birthday to my DADDY, because I am still and will always be his "little girl." I LOVE YOU!
"There's no pillow quite so soft as a father's strong shoulder." ~ Richard L. Evans
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A Candid Moment In Time

Nyssa & Lori, lost in play. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Life gives us brief moments with another...but sometimes in those brief moment we get memories that last a life time..." ~ Unknown
Nyssa and Lori, two friends playing in the sandbox, imaginations running wild; story lines being formed in little heads about to be acted out in the backdrop of swaying pines, warm breezes and wooden forts. Today's theme? Princesses in distress, builders of castles, acrobats from the circus or frontier mommies with their babies in the wilderness, gathering food and finding shelter? Who knows; the possibilities are endless.

Submission for LensDay topic "candid". (end of post)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Is This Cat Lazy, Or What?

Nicky is a lazy cat. (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Work - other people's work - is an intolerable idea to a cat. Can you picture cats herding sheep or agreeing to pull a cart? They will not inconvenience themselves to the slightest degree." ~ Dr. Louis J. Camuti
"Are cats lazy? Well, more power to them if they are. Which one of us has not entertained the dream of doing just as he likes, when and how he likes, and as much as he likes?" ~ Fernand Mery
Nicholas (Nicky) sleeps all night with the others in the sunroom, usually on the top perch of the cat tree. After a leisurely breakfast, he ambles slowly towards the master bedroom. Here he takes his place on top of the bed, occasionally burrowing under a throw. Here he stays all day, and I really mean all day. Sometimes he is alone, sometimes he sleeps with my mom. In the evening he might lumber through the house for another snack but then it is either back to the bed or to a recliner in the den. Here he props himself up as if to watch TV. Around 8:30 PM he starts the "shoo-shoo" process and moves slowly for the sunroom. He never runs, rarely meows and never begs. He is one lazy cat.

Submission for PhotoTuesday topic "lazy".
Nicky wants to visit Friday's Ark this week as well as the 100th Carnival of the Cats at Bloggin' Outloud. I know it is only Tuesday, but as slow and lazy as he is, it might take him several days to get himself over there. (end of post)

All Hearts Find Home

Nyssa: My Heart's Home (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"Where is home? Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart's tears can dry at their own pace." ~ Vernon Baker
This is my special Valentine. My best. I saved it for Nyssa, my Sweat Pea, my baby, my beautiful young lady, my pride and joy, my heart. Together we share it with you. May your heart find its resting place; in the safe arms of a loving husband or wife, in the gentle spirit of son or daughter, in the proud eyes of a mother or father, in the kind words of a loving friend, in the fond memories of loves now past; where ever you feel at home. While love may be passionate, wild, fiery, intense, exciting and at times emotionally overwhelming; love is at its best and its greatest when it brings peace, calm, joy, hope, and the simple pleasures of just being at home. May you heart find its way home today.

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