Saturday, November 24, 2012

Nature is Art

I just watched a documentary about Andy Goldsworthy, and was awestruck at his work. Thought I would share a video slideshow I found on YouTube and if you would like to watch the documentary, it's called Rivers and Tides...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Brigit's Crossing, The Nation's Premier Holistic Cat Sanctuary & Adoption Center

A acquaintance of mine volunteers here and I'd almost move to Naples Florida just to be able to volunteer there, too.

If anyone is looking for a worthy place to donate to, I would highly recommend Brigit's Crossing!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cat Immersion...

Maga is a cat-loving teen patient with cancer at Seattle Children's Hospital. She's had to be in the hospital many times, and during her stays what she misses most is her own cat Merry.

They asked their Facebook fans to share their favorite cat photos, and got an awesome response -- 3,000+ photos! They used these pictures to create this "cat immersion" for Maga -- an audio/visual experience to bring thousands of "virtual" cats to Maga's room.

This will surely put a smile on your face as it did mine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Make My Day

I follow a lovely blog, A Proper Bostonian...and I just had to share her post today:

Make my Day

Monday, May 28, 2012

Reflections this Memorial Day...

When I was 14 years old, my favorite uncle was shot down in Vietnam, and the missing him is as strong today as it was when I was a child.

He will always be young in my mind, playing the trombone, driving a turquoise and cream Chevrolet Bel Air and taller than any adult I had ever seen. He left behind his wife (my favorite aunt) and a son and daughter, too.

When I moved from Oregon to Virginia, one of the first things I wanted to do was visit the Vietnam Memorial and find his name and put a picture of the car he had, as I had no photos of him. The memorial is the most moving place to be, and my favorite, if that is the right word, of all the monuments I have visited, because it is so, somber, that feeling of going underground. But also such a wonderful tribute to those who never made it back to their homes, their families, their lives ahead of them...

When I googled his name before, this is what I found...

Name: Ralph Carol Balcom, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 24 December 1933
Home City of Record: Seattle WA
Date of Loss: 15 May 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam (see text)
Loss Coordinates: 171200N 1064000E (XE100100)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
Other Personnel In Incident: None Missing

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.

SYNOPSIS: Ralph Balcom Jr. was shot down over North Vietnam about 20 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone in Quang Binh Province. A radio signal indicated that Major Balcom had parachuted to the ground, but because of zero visibility at the time, search planes were not able to locate and rescue him.

Two months later a propaganda film appeared with a man Ralph's parents immediately recognized as their son being paraded down the streets of Hanoi. The U.S. Government later identified the man as a returned POW Kyle Berg, also from the state of Washington.

In November 1973, the Air Force discovered that Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC) in Nakhon Phanom was carrying Balcom as a Prisoner of War while Defense Intelligence Agency carried him as Missing In Action. The Air Force directed JCRC to delete any reference pertaining to POW status in Balcom's files. Balcom's status was changed from Prisoner of War to Missing in Action, although analysts say today that JCRC records were the most accurate and complete because of their close proximity to the region.

JCRC also lists Balcom as being lost in Laos, not North Vietnam. The loss coordinates, 171200N 1064000E are in North Vietnam about 20 miles north of the DMZ. Grid coordinates XE100100 are located a few miles northwest of the Ban Karai Pass in Laos. It cannot be determined why there is a descrepancy in loss locations between agencies.

Today, over 46 years have passed since Ralph Balcom's last flight over Vietnam. His family is still not sure whether he is alive or dead. Over 10,000 reports of Americans still held captive have been received by the U.S. Isn't it time we brought these men home?

Ralph C. Balcom was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he was maintained a Prisoner of War and Missing in Action.

To my dear uncle...I will never forget.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sight Seeing...

I have a friend (No, I'm not in love, but I'm open to persuasion as the song by Joan Armatrading says...) who has been showing me some of the local flora and fauna and last weekend, we went up into Pennsylvania to spend the weekend...

Falling Water, truly a national treasure! Mike had visited there many years ago (in snowy March) when attending a training session as nearby Nemacolan Lodge. He told me...We have to go back in the spring time sometime. We never made it.

My friend Voytek always wanted to take his wife there, too...but he lost her to cancer just over a year ago and they, too, never made it there.

The B & B was less than stellar, but the hot tub was fun; Falling Water (stellar, memorable and no disappointment there) and Kentuck Knob (couldn't take photos inside, so bought a book with some lovely interior shots):

And along the way, we visited a couple of historical sites, the C & O Canal Tunnel, and Fort Necessity and the Washington Tavern. It was made even more enjoyable with my own personal tour guide. Voytek is an English teacher and his wife was a travel writer, so they traveled around the world, including 12 years sailing!

Maybe I can turn him onto Warren Zevon and Cheryl Wheeler and Patron Tequila. We are just far enough apart in ages to not have music to connect us, and I just can't see him doing the lime and salt thing, but he does know a lot about wine...

I miss Mike the most when songs bring him to mind, and would like to make some new musical memories, instead of feeling blue when I think of love...

I think it may be easier just not to date at all and not be reminded of what I have lost, but then again, I have a lot of life ahead of me...

I did something recently that I've been wanting to do since Mike died...I had my wedding ring resized so I could wear it on my right hand. I can remember designing our rings at this lovely shop in Jacksonville Oregon, Silver Lining and how much it reminded me of the Celtic stone quoits we saw on our trip to Cornwall in 2000.

The diamond was given to me by my mom, and was in her engagement lots of sentimental attachment to a ring that had been sitting in my jewelry box...

Friday, April 13, 2012

...A French Cat

The video is very French existential, from the viewpoint of a cat, basking in his misery as only a French cat can do . . . .

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

My Kitty's Bum Knee...

Oh my! The Cat Blogosphere is an amazing place! And KC and Marg and Jan and all those 'behind the scenes' humans that come together for these fund raising auctions, for cats in need, have come to the assistance of Coco and me. I am not exaggerating that as I type this, I have tears in my eyes...tears of gratitude and admiration!


Just so you don't have to go searching the Curlz and Swirlz archives looking for posts about Coco and her medical crisis, I have edited some of those posts and here they are...

Last July, Coco and Brighton and Disco were in the 'Stud Room' keeping Sammy company. I am not sure what happened, but I heard some commotion and growling and I think there might have been a fight over who gets to be in the heated cat bed on top of the cabinet in that room.

Anyway, Brighton was hiding, Disco looked wide eyed, and Coco was carrying her left hind leg. At first, I thought maybe Sammy bit her but then I remembered he doesn't have any bitey teeth left.

So, I thought Coco probably fell off the top of the cupboard and hurt her leg. The vets examined her the next day and took xrays but Coco was very grumbly and they could tell if it was from pain or just not liking being at the vets.

For a month, she was on pain meds and Cosequin and she did get better, as far as the swelling in her knee went down and she didn't complain when I examined her. But she continued to carry her leg many times a day, and so my vet talked to a orthopedic specialist and he thought Coco might have torn some ligaments when she fell. Here's a short video of her in 'action':


I decided to get their expert opinion on what was wrong and on Dec 16, 2011, I took Coco to see Dr Lotsikas at Veterinary Orthopedic Sports Medicine Center, and this is what he said:

Coco has bilateral patellar luxation, left clinically worse than right, minimal fluid buildup on left side, Grade II-IV lateral patellar luxation left hind leg, Grade I on the right hind leg. There was no cranial drawer or tibial thrust noted on either stifle. Full range of motion both joints. Surgical management of trochlear block recession, joint capsule imbrication and potentially a tibial tuberosity transposition.

So, she had not so great knees before she hurt herself, but he thinks that she 'tore' some support ligaments when she fell, and if I do nothing, she will continue to limp and worse, could damage the other ligaments if she had another accident.

Coco is only 6 years old and, as most Cornish Rex are, is very athletic and active. I live in a 3 level house with lots of running room and stairs (it's the cat's 'Giant Cat Tree', hahameow). And to have to restrict Coco from 'being a cat' wouldn't be how I would like her to spend the rest of her life.

So, on January 3rd, Coco had surgery on her left hind leg, and is in the midst of 8 weeks of  enforced 'bed rest'. That has been pretty easy as I took her to work with me every day for 2 weeks til her sutures could be removed and the cone of shame came off. For the past 4 weeks, Coco has stayed in the 'kitten tent' which I kept just for these kind of situations!

I've been keeping everyone updated on Coco's surgery and progress and asked for lotsa healing purrs for her on her surgery day and during her recovery. I know it has helped and I am also now following some other kitties that have had the same kind of surgery...

I want Coco to 'grow old' with me, so anything I can to do help that, I will do. And to all involved with putting together this auction to help me pay off her large vet bill, I can't thank you enough for caring and working so hard to make this happen! Mega Purrs to you!

And if you have something you wish to donate to Coco's auction or just want to learn more about the auctions, you can click on this link Furriends of the Cat Blogosphere or just email KC at catblogosphere dot com or Marg at margaretmsan at gmail dot com