Saturday, August 27, 2011

18 lives ... and counting

Cats are suppose to have 9 Lives.  We have all seen how a Cat  has managed to escape a tragedy.. falling but lands on her feet. Surviving many adventures and mishaps.  Narrowing missing death by inches..

One of my Cats fell from the 2nd floor landing feet first on tile floor some 20 feet below, without so much as a bruise (he rather jump off than allow my niece to "capture" him). He checked out fine & rather lucky from the Vet visit I rushed him too.
I have several more stories just like this one.

Rocky 1995
My Rocky came to us in 1995, a couple of nights before Halloween. Seeing how some horrid little neighbor boys killed a cat recently, my Hubby allowed this big ole Tom Cat to "hid" in our garage on Halloween to avoid abuse.  Why oh why must retched souls pick on Black Cats?  I knew we could not keep this Tom. I had just rescued poor Mario the week before & was desperately trying to save his sick little self.  And... well, we had two other Kitties as well.  How could we possibly have four cats, and two dogs???  
However, Rocky, soon won our hearts over. Especially Hubby. 
He was a survivor.  About 18 months old, and a fighter. He had thick muscular legs, one of those thick necks with big jaws, scarred and fresh battle wounds.  We would see him bravely enter a neighbors garage to fight for food.  This neighbor had 10...yep, that's right, TEN cats. Rocky would sneak in the garage and steal what he could, before getting attacked by several of her males.
Rocky loved the coolness of the sinks. We would often find his snoozing away in one. While Mario regained his strength, Rocky, who was the same age, seem to become very gentle and tentative of him.  Curiously, more interested in him, than our other cats.  We had "the Boys", as they were called neutered and de-clawed together. (yes... I now realize the cruelty in de-clawing & we never would have had it done had we known then what we know now). The boys healed together and became sweet playmates.  They always sleep together. Even as Rocky slimmed down from his Tom days, losing the big muscles, and Mario became a HUGE Fat Boy.
The Boys sharing a nap box in 2004
Rocky mourned his Buddy's death in 2007. Mario was getting sicker & sicker with a horrible cancer. He seems to care and tolerate the rest of the Fur family, but this was his Buddy.

It's thought that Rocky was born around 1993. That makes him 18 years old.  His health is ailing.  I thought we were going to lose him a couple of times.  He is senile.  He has difficulty with his joints stiffening up.  He is completely blind now. And somewhat Deaf. Some days are good. Some not so much.  He loves to eat.  Having several small meals a day of dry mixed with canned cat food (prefers Kitten food). He is able to find his litter box daily. As well as making several trips walking around the house "murring".  He will pur like crazy also.  He is strangely a Happy Cat.  Not ready to go.
He may be advancing in age, but don't tell him it's time for him to pass... he just isn't quiet ready.
Rocky 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Liar Liar Pants on Fire!

I have been caught in a lie.
yep, It's true. Hate to disappoint you all, but even I have told one or two.

This time it's about something I pretty much decided I would NEVER do again.
But now I am being lured...seduced...enticed to give it another try.


It's not that I'm some kind of Girlie Girl that doesn't want to break a nail. It's just that I have had my share of camping.
Many years of it as a child and teen. All fun. Mostly great memories.
Camp Fire Girls Camp mid 70s. {end on knee}
sharing a soda pop w/ Diamond,Trail Ride '76
HS Student Council '78
Texas Church Camp'79
Young Life Camp "80

See?  I did all this plus the dreaded "Tent" camping as well RV camping nightmare once with my Paternal Grandparents.
I "camped out" in the back yards with friends. Camped out in cars.. that's what we did for the Indy famous Indianapolis 500. And Even "camped out" in living rooms, basements & garages for slumber parties.
Then I grew up and camped out with Hubby.
I was a Happy little camper...  until we had the girls camping with us.
Hubby & Annie fishing on Hardy Lake '99
This is when I started becoming a worry-wart. Partly because of our girls, fearing they'd get hurt, or get whinny.  But also I worried a lot about Annie's asthma.  And I started freaking out about the weirdo's you hear about and even see at our campsites.
When the girls went to CYO camp in the fall, Hubby & I joined a group of friends for fabulous weekend camping trips that I will post about another time.
don't worry the dog didnt eat me
 The last time we went camping as a family, we had fun, but also it was miserable! The rain was CRAZY!
Hubby holding the tarps up
There were other issues...bottom line, felt like been there done it. I can cross it off my bucket list.
So... we haven't been back.

Drum roll please
I have discovered a new passion.
Ran across this little Sweetheart...
and here's an inside peek...
I also stumbled onto this one...
and this one...
and here is a peek at the inside of another airstream...
Now I understand Meredith over at Silver Saffari . She has been passionate about her airstream for years & writes of it's travels on her blog.
I wanna go camper camping now.  As long as I don't have to use a latrine or the great outdoors to relieve myself uhm.. outside.
Also, lets make sure I have plenty of coffee, some chocolate, Captain Crunch cereal, maybe a little White Zinfandel, one of our dogs, and Hubby.  I am good to go!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hello Blog World...

Hello Blogettes... How are you all? I have missed you..

I have been WORKING..{yay me!}.
I worked my booty off this week! Let me tell you!
The week back to work was a grand mixture of loving excitement & grueling exhaustion.  My job changed at the last minute and I was assigned one on one with a special needs student. I'm great for this as I can mix being loving and yet be tough, and I seem to have a high patience level (who'd have known?) ..but it is difficult when you are not fully aware or trained to deal with all the medical & physical demands a child with special needs have. For confidential reasons, I can't share much. Let's just say it was a truly difficult week, but I love my job.

I am adjusting to working this shift as well. I enjoy it although working second shift is a change.  Especially when I come home after midnight & try to quietly shower & come to bed without waking the Hubby. We haven't seemed to get the dogs use to my schedule & they give Hubby a hard time, and get excited when I get home. I try to shhhh them but the Little Guy is a yapper.

I spent all of Friday & Saturday free time sitting around relaxing and catching up on email, Blog World, Pinterest, & Facebook. I have a Twitter account but never pop on. Time magnets. I know. But, it was a nice way to unwind.

Hubby & I have really enjoyed this weekend. I guess he missed me a bit♥
We have gone on walks, bike rides, and even drove around a target area we would love to live. What's that you say? Didn't we just move here 2 years ago? Yes... BUT those that know us know we use to move a lot. We made a good chunk of change flipping homes. Stayed for a while in one spot while the girls grew up. But the thought of moving again is lingering. Especially with a favorite house on the market. I will blog more about that on another post.
Hanging with the Hubby has been Bliss.
Today, I work but not until 8pm. I am going to help the Hubby clean the garage. Maybe cook a nice dinner. Hope to see a daughter & give her the little curtain I made her. And, I have a girlfriend that is having a party at a Roller Skate place we all hung out at when we were kids. She is turning 50. How fun to celebrate on skates??? It's been a while... Not since the girls were little. I am not sure if I will actually skate or sit & gab. Either way, Im sure glad she is having it in the afternoon so I can pop in. Lets hope I don't break a leg!
Well, I best be going. A lot on my schedule and the day is ticking away.
Love to you all, have a blessed day♥

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mortality Preparation

I'm at an interesting place.
Thinking about mortality, and how one prepares for the unavoidable, death...
end of life...
Many people can't even talk about death, let alone think about or plan.
But, sometimes we are put in a situation where we must. Maybe about ones own death, or about a loved ones.

Have you ever had a pet that was getting old, slowing down, and you knew, time was short? As a good pet owner, you take your pet to the vet, get the medications they need, and do everything we can to keep Fido or Fluffy comfortable.  As he declines, we have a choice. We have all been there. Those that really loved a pet. Having to make that decision. For us, it has always been a pretty clear line. As long as the pet, is eating, drinking, pottying, and purring. As long as he is happy and comfy, we hang on making "end of life", as bearable as possible.  Once suffering is involved, we go for the euthanasia option. We have done it all for our furry loves. Hand feeding, carrying, cleaning after, and loving as unconditionally as they have loved us. My oldie pets have gone blind, deaf, and had movement difficulties.  But, we tended their every need until they died.  Sometimes, choosing to euthanasia when they suffered.. Horrible hard place to be, but we try to be humane and do the right thing.

When the same is true with our loved human family and friends, it is a different story.
When we know one is suffering, so many of us handle it differently. While we pretty much all agree that bring on the drugs to reduce pain, but even that has many feeling differently.
When we know that death is upon us, what do we do?  What would you do?

Many people react with different feelings depending on if we are talking about our own death or our loved ones pending death.
I know that some are frightened and close up. They avoid the dying having difficult seeing that person, "that way". Others step in to nurturing mode, taking over every need they can handle and then some.

As a Hospice volunteer, I am getting a glimpse into the dying world at a different angle. I'm involved, but I'm not emotionally involved. {please don't misinterpret that, what I am referring to is the fact that I am not related or know the person, other than in this situation in which I have been trained to care for. I am still a very compassionate and nurturing volunteer}.

I see people take on incredible strength physically and ability. A tiny woman, somehow managing to lift, assist and care for a Husband twice her size. A man become a gentle expert at assisting with delicate matters with his Wife.

They keep going and never stop, until they crash.  I'm lucky enough to be able to step in and give a needed break or assist in some simple things we may not ever realize someone needed. The caretaker never ask for help.

In the caretakers task, as well as caring for their loved one, they have to take care of preparing for the death.  Funeral arrangements, wills, insurance.  A world of paperwork and task. The tiny woman, suddenly realizes she has nothing appropriate to wear to her Husband of 50 years funeral, as she has lost so much weight in caring for him.  The Husband caretaker, is trying to figure out how he will take care of the children without her. Their are so many things running through there heads, and they don't dare ask for help from the family member that can be near the dying because it upsets them so.

And then there is ourself.
What do we want?  We certainly don't want to be a "burden". Should we have a living will?  A "do not resuscitate" order? 
Will we be able to handle "knowing"?
Will we fear it?
Or will we embrace it?

I think I know how I will handle it. But until I am there, I really don't know. Every situation can be so different.

I do know, as I watch over my 18 year old cat struggling yet happily getting through each day. And as I watch patients in Hospice I volunteer with, it is something that I think about.
Something I respect.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A BIG Kahuna

I have been having a bit of a Hornet situation...
I have seen one or two in the front yard, and twice I found one trapped in our screened in porch.
I know it's hard to see how big he/she is. Trust me.. it's a Biggy!
Here's a better shot, after I captured it:
Look at that Big Kahuna!!!

Don't worry, he's fine.  I took him to the back of the yard & safely released it by a flowering tree.
Hubby & Annie were not pleased with me bringing it in to the house, but I wanted them to see it & help me take a picture.  The stinger was huge. I imagine this guy could really hurt given the chance.

I think it's some kind of Ground Giant Wasp.  I don't know...I tried to research, but actually started to get more confused.

I wonder, with this crazy weather we have had, are you all seeing rather bizarre insects too?  Are you noticing things changing and, well, rather odd?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Real Life Blogettes

This morning I got to meet two of my favorite Bloggers!

Very exciting!
Suspense was killing me as I waited for them to arrive.
In my little corner of the Blog World, I have a wide variety of Bloggers that I follow and enjoy.  They range across the world and of different interest.  I am fascinated with diversity as well as similarity.  Crazy that someone is so like me half way around the world.  Even CRAZIER? Finding fellow Blog Gals in my own backyard!
This morning, I drove 35 minutes to a half way location to meet two Blog friends.

Reality Jayne


Cindy Bee
I happily report, they are as marvelous in real life as in Blog world. No stalker weirdos here. They were genuine and I adored them!
Don't you love when you can just pick up with someone like you have known them forever? I look forward to more get-togethers and hope to meet more Hoosier Bloggers. The hours flew, and before we were ready out time was up and we had life to get on with.

I love my Blog World♥
Thank you so much Gals for meeting with me.  You both ROCK!

Up In Smoke...

(how many of you thought about Cheech & Chong with that title?)
Last week, was a frustrating week for me. Challenging and frustrating.  What I thought was going to be an easy breezy lazy yet productive week, turned upside down.. once or twice. I will admit, I have been rather scatter-brain lately.
This is what happened when I got side-tracked with Blogger on Tuesday...
I was making garlic bread.
The phone rang, and I found my phone sitting next to this toaster oven.. with my toast on fire. Grabbing a dish towel, I yanked the plug, and pulled open the oven door... Not the best move...flames shot up to the cabinet above. So I grabbed the sprayer hose at the sink and drowned the flames.  (my fire extinguisher is MIA. I have no idea where, to be honest, I think I lost it with the last move. )
We were lucky...

I do know what a fire devastation can do.
A few years ago, July 1997, my Sister's family home burnt to the ground.
They were on vacation, lightening struck, and it burned for several hours before someone saw it.
It was horrible to say the least.  I am just thankful they were not at home.  They lost their sweet cat, and a fish tank.  Their dog was outside, therefore survived.
My Sis and BIL, didn't have cell phones.  The fire was discovered while they were en-route to home.  No one could reach them, and did not want them to drive up to the horror.  So, driving home, as they passed a friends home, they noticed a large sign that told them to stop here before going home. They passed it, as they were tired and just wanted to get home. But something kicked in and made them turn around.  Had they not, they would have been greeted by other friends, taking turns staying at their property, to assure they would not have to face it along.  As they learned the news, they gratefully left the children with one of their friends and the other drove them home... Or to what use to be home.

I watch them rebuild. Not just a home. Not just the contents. But, their lives.
Timelines for them are;  Before the Fire  and After the Fire.
Although it was not me this was happening to, I was able to feel much of it through my Sis.
I watched it transform priorities. Pull them together, build their love and see them (Sis, BIL & niece & nephew) all become closer together.  My niece & nephew are two years apart. You'd think they were twins. The closeness they share. Best friends Siblings. I have never seen them squabble or cruel to each other.
Material things didn't matter so much before, but even less now.
They adapted to living in a Bed & Breakfast, as well as a couple of rentals while they rebuild.
The gathered much strength in this tragedy.

I would never wish this on anyone. Although, how wonderful to see life through new prospective, and truly value the important things as many can accomplish through devastation.

For me, I value things as I have been able to learn through her example.  I saw my little fire, and immediately realize how very fortunate I was.

I hope that the same is true through little things as well as big things, that I have been through, that perhaps others can learn through how I handle them.

something to think about..

Friday, August 5, 2011

White Picket Fences

I wanted to give you a quick review on this book.  I finished it last week and enjoyed it very much.  It wasn't recomended, I hadn't read anything about it, I just saw it sitting on the "to reshelf" cart in the library and picked it up randomly.
I am so glad I did!
It is a novel written by Susan Meissner, published in 2009.  Meissner is Christian writer, winner of the Christian Book Award for Fiction. I love being surprised to see Christianity sprinkled in a book. Particularly when unexpected.
I'm am borrowing Elizabeth Musser's praises of the book:
"Poetic prose and a 'can't put it down' plot makes White Picket Fences a great read. It is a thought-provoking look into a dysfunctional family that thinks it's functional and how an outsider can serve as a means of grace."
It's that good.  Grab a copy, and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happily Ever After ...100 Years Ago

Fred & Beulah 1911
I haven't done a Quondam Tuesday for a while. This was meant to be posted on June 28th of this year, but I missed the date.  So, fitting to post today.  This photo was actually taken in August of 1911...
one hundred years ago.
It is the wedding photograph of my Great Grandmother (maternal) Beulah Viola Ball Rahlmann and my Great Grandfather Frederick C Ralhmann.
Apparently, "the photograph", and I say photograph, as far from it that hundreds were taken as they are today, anyway, you were lucky if you got ONE professional photograph. They usually took the photograph on a different day as the wedding, as it was a big deal and you went to the photography studio for it.

My Great Grandparents, married on June 28th 1911.
(how cool is this that I actually have an original invitation and an equally old frame that it has rested in all these years.) I don't know how this became a possession of mine, I just know I have had it for many years.  I actually used it as the basis of my own invitation...simple and timelessly eloquent.
They were married in this home:
the home Rahlmann's married in~ taken in1910
This is a photograph of what they called, "the gang".  The many close friends between them that gathered prior to the wedding.
Beulah is center white dress, with Fred above her right shoulder
I believe they were truly in love. I hold a beautiful love letter Beulah wrote Fred while they were engaged.  It is very dear.  I love the language they used, so proper yet endearing.
love letter dated 8.16.10
They seemed to have a rather Blessed life together. Each coming from prominent families. Fred holding a well educated position, and Beulah raising four daughters as well.
I have inherited so many photographs, yet I know that there are so many more throughout our family.  I am no longer in touch with cousins through that vein of my family tree, however, my Mom is.  She has been close to her cousin, and always was with her Aunts as well. I remember them all from trips out to Texas as a child, but, once I grew up, sort of lost touch once Grannie (Beulah) passed.  It's a shame.  Perhaps we should share these treasures we each hold.  How interesting it would be to see what they have as well.
One last photo for you, my Grands as they celebrated their 50th Anniversary, on June 28th, 1961.
Fred & Beulah 1961
Unfortunately, Fred passed not long after that.  In 1963 I believe, I was not quite a year old.  I did not get to met him, although I remember fondly my Great Grandmother who lived well up to 102 years of age. She is a sweet part of my memory of Texas visits.  She even "tried" to teach me how to play the piano.  I hold a passion for Fiestaware because of her.  I proudly cherish three of her pieces, displayed along side my own.

Interestingly Fred attended Valparaiso College here in Indiana, in early 1900.  How ironic that some 50 years later his Granddaughter would fall for a Sailor and settle her in Indiana.   I am very proud to have a Grandfather that had a college degree from 1908.

100 years ago...

How interesting and different their lives were from ours today.

Sing Your Praise To The Lord

{not the best copy..but it will do}
In the winter of 1988, I was very pregnant with our first daughter, Emily.  Just like my 3 Musketeers Candy Bars & my 3 Taco Bell Tacos every day, I also had an incredible craving for this song, by Amy Grant. I would play it in my car cassette player very loud, over and over on my way to work. Every day to and from work.  It's as if Emily would "want" it played.  I swear, it felt like she moved to the beat. It has a very powerful musical intro. It's strong and moving.  I am surprised she wasn't born humming this tune.

This evening I heard it on Pandora Internet radio.  To be honest, even though I am still a huge Amy Grant fan, I haven't heard this particular song in a long time.  I tend to play her newer CDs rather than this old favorite. To be honest, I don't believe I have it any more.
It was a very deja vu experience hearing it played. Ironic as well, as Ms Emily has been heavy on my mind, since we moved her out this past weekend to the condo.  Listening to the words of a song I sang so many time before were heard in a new perspective this evening.
This song completely fits her. She wears her faith proudly and has strong convictions.

May you always sing your praises to the Lord Emily.  I am so very proud of you♥

Monday, August 1, 2011

D-Liver D-Letter D-Sooner D-Better!

For those of you of my generation and before, you know that little saying on my title.  You may have written it on an envelope to be mailed as well. Or maybe you wrote: SWAK (Sealed with a Kiss). OR  Sorry So Sloppy, Longer Letter Later... I guess our own version of the texting versions of shortcuts & codes.

As Monday arrived, I knew I must tackle at least one of my many projects that have been waiting patiently.  I chose to work on Photo Organizing... Yes, yes.  I know I get so caught up in the memories, good & bad.  It is a task that always takes me days as I will get side tracked and I am off doing something else such as today, under-covering some long lost photos that BEGGED to be posted on FaceBook.  So, 2 hours later after scanning, tagging, and writing descriptions, I got my 40-some photos up. 

That wasn't the only treasure I found.
I found a shoebox stuffed with letters. From the Besties, parents, and Grandparents, written  1977-1981. That is part of High School, and my one year at Vincennes University.

big sigh...

Wow.  Talk about some memories. I only opened a few.  They brought tears to my eyes.  Sometimes I forget how things really were. Some things not so important, turn out to be pretty important.  There are so pretty heavy (in a good way) things that were brought to me.  I was truly loved by my friends. And my family.
Looks like I was missed when not around.

Most of you know that I spent my summers living in Texas with my Grandparents, during my teen years.  It turned out to be the best thing that could ever happen to me and I am extremely grateful that I had those wonderful summers.  They were AMAZING.  And what I got from my Grandparents few ever get to experience.  I was truly Blessed.

The letters that I received, saved and found in this box, show some love from those that missed me. As a teen, I was also kept up on the teen drama & gossip.  Some stuff that may not have been written about was in these letters. Remember Young'ens we didn't have cell phones let alone texting & emailing opportunities. 
Rarely did you call long distance... Lord knows we "Thought" that was so expensive! So we would write letters, and wait a week to get one back.  But we wrote back and forth all the time.  Then when we went off to college, we wrote each other back & forth, back & forth.

I have some reading to catch up on tonight.  Hopefully, they will be full of the good stuff and not open up some wounds... I'm hoping anyway.

I really need to start writing letters again.  It is becoming such a lost art.

I think I will sign off for now and write two brave young nephews that are in Boot Camps right now.  That's what I need to do.

The photographs spilled out on the tables, and the letters on the floor, can wait. 

I need to write.