Monday, May 25, 2009

What I have been up to...

Not all of you follow both my blogs, so here's my "news" from the "Cat" side...

Seems I'm always busy! Today I set aside for blogging, leaving the cats to entertain themselves.

Kittens are growing up...they are now eating kitten food and using the litter box (well, most of the time...they are still learning that one has to stop playing before one gets the urge that they gotta go, NOW!)

Mamacat Coco and her 4 flowerchildren spent 10 days in the care of my petsitter as I went off for four days, to the seaside to a Street Rod car show with a friend. I let them stay there for a few extra days as they get lots of attention and they changed from chubby little kittens into svelte and racy CRex...that was the biggest change I saw when I picked them up on Saturday! (Oh, I stayed for a while and visited, munched on Guacamole, Salsa, chips and S'Mores along with a few Mojitos with mint fresh from their garden!). 

Once back at home, I settled Coco and her kids into the master bathroom as they've outgrown the tent and this is the next step, while they purrfect their litterbox skills. They're eating canned food eagerly, playing like kittens do-crabwalking, racing hither and yon, and learning kitten social skills.

Disco continues to "Behave" and while he did spray once (right next to me while I was sitting on the couch, talking on the phone--which means not paying attention to him!) otherwise he is much improved over his previous behavior. He is on anxiety medication, Buspirone, and he seems quite content. Well, not really...he had to start his diet (so that means just because he's tubby, the rest of the cats have to diet too!).

When he was a showcat, he weighed about 11# and being confined due to his spraying, he ballooned up to over 13#. I got him down to 12# feeding him only canned food (The Catkins Diet) but hoped that once he had free run of the house again and 3 levels to exercise in, that he could go back to eating dry food free choice again.

Nope! He has become very carb-intolerant and got up to 14#, so now he gets canned food twice a day and a few kibbles of dry a couple of times a day. And in a week he has lost 8 ounces so the diet's working!

Sonny is being the purrfect Rehab cat, has moved out of the Rehab cage to the guest bathroom, is consistently using the litterbox, not yowling, digging, scratching or otherwise acting out, so in another week, he will move into the guest bedroom.

That is the routine at the Rehab clinic here at Furrydance and I am happy with his progress so far, based on how bad he was at his previous home especially! The other cats will be a bit upset they won't be able to lay in the sun on the bed in the guestroom--it's the sunniest room in the house and the cats love it...but one has to make adjustments when it comes to the well-being of a kitty with a problem.

Zephyr, the newest arrival at the Furrydance Rehab Clinic, has only been here 4 days, but seems to be resting and not showing any of the anxiety issues that were reported in her previous home, which included eating holes in clothes, vocalizing, frequent vomiting, and separation anxiety.

She is a very sweet girl! As you see in this photo, she is in the cage that Sonny was in a couple of weeks ago (of course, all disinfected and deodorized with her own personal bedding and fresh litterbox). She is relaxed, friendly, not vomiting-vocalizing-or eating her cat bed, so I am very pleased that she seems so at ease now.

When Sonny moves into the guest room, Zeffie will move into the bathroom and I hope that after a couple of weeks, I can start introducing Zeffie to Sonny and maybe they will become friends and keep each other company...that's the best case scenario while I evaluating them and then seek the purrfect home for them...maybe even together like Nacho and Peachie did! That would make me very happy!

I've had a busy weekend, updating blogs, making photo albums for expectant parents, playing with the kittens, Sonny and Zeffie, with time for a picnic (good thing it was yesterday since it's raining today!) with a smidgen of housework and getting ready for the week at work--gotta iron those uniforms still! In between, thoughts of Spot keep coming to mind but I am glad he isn't hurting anymore and that gives me peace. I ordered a special remembrance bracelet and it arrived on Thursday.

It's sterling silver and has birthstone gems on it, capping the ends of the bracelets hollow space for ashes. so I decided to have one stone be for Spot and one stone be for Bo, my beloved Cornish Rex who went to the Bridge in 2005. Spot was born in June, so his stone is a Moonstone and Bo in August, so his is a Peridot. I also got a pretty Cherry box just like Bo's Oak box and put Spot's photo in it.

And, if you'd like to see more kitten pix and their newest video...wander over to Curlz and Swirlz and take a look...

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...

I had never googled his name before, but I did today and 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 43 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.

Friday, May 8, 2009

What I'm Up To...

I've been trying to make time for a few weeks to post something besides videos that make you smile, and somehow, writing keeps getting pushed to the "I'll-do-that-next" list.
In fact, I keep in touch with most of my friends by phone, on my 45 minute drive home from work, because that seems like the only free time I have, because once I get home, my other responsibilities take priority.

Not to say I don't waste (fritter, kill, procrastinate...) time. I do spend a lot of time blogging, emailing cat "clients" and sleeping half the day away on the weekend because I stay up too late during the week, so I end up only have 1 & 1/2 days off instead of 3!

So, what I've been up to since my last newsy post...

Helping care for 4 little kittens...well, my part entails weighing them twice a day, putting them through their paces with Early Neurological Stimulation and keeping the momcat well fed and happy.
Here's a link to their blog and also to info on ENS, which you might find interesting:
Furrydance Cattery Blog
Early Neurological Stimulation

Working 40 hours a week, not including 90 minutes of commute each day (which is when I get my phone calls done, lol). Sleeping about 5 hours a night during the week and about 10 hours a night and half the morning on the weekends (I need to change that routine, but it's always been an issue with me...if you could ask Mike, he'd agree, haha).

Taking time out to go to 2 "singer/songwriter" concerts at Jammin Java, a cozy little place that is a nice, small club about an hour from me. I saw Steve Forbert, and Pierce Pettis. I had a nice time both concerts, the first sitting with friends (parents of a girl I work with, lol) and the next time going alone but still enjoying the show as I had a nice little corner table and could people watch, too.

Gardening...yep, me who can't grow stuff that grows next to a freeway! The rain all week certainly helped the grass reseeding I did between the sidewalk and the curb in from of my house. While everyone else was complaining about it, I was happy :-) and watch the fuzzy new green stuff sprout up in the bare spots. Another week and I should be able to tell if it'll fill in or if I'll have to surreptitiously take plugs of grass from a "hidden embankment" and fill in the patches after all. Now if my neighbors can let their dogs piddle someplace else...I might have grass out front that doesn't look alopecic!

I also bought some red clover to plant in the backyard, in hopes of having a mowless lawn, but that just might be wishful thinking. I read about clover lawns and thought it would be at least worth once chance. I also purchased 3 hedge rosemary plants to replace two that died in my backyard. I have one variety that did great and is a bush now but the other two of a different kind, died. I love to use rosemary when I bbq and just lay the branches on the grill or put the twigs right on the coals after I have soaked them in water.

(no, that's not my hedge, but from this nice informative website
Mountain Valley Growers

Had the guy who did my drywall repairs after the cat-caused flood in August 08, come back and do some more work-minor repairs and painting and he is almost done (he does it in between his real job and family stuff, so he's not fast but he is good).
I splurged and bought some new light fixtures too, and am pleased with how nice they look.
Took my oldest kitty to the vet (just for his yearly exam) and then to the cardiologist because his grade I heart murmur had worsened to a grade IV and his BP was 244 over something. This new finding was a surprise as he was doing and looking great after being diagnosed with IBD and severe pancreatic abscesses a year ago.

  We started him on Norvasc, and it has helped, his BP is now normal and the murmur is down to a 2, and we have adjusted his meds for his IBD and I'll see how he does. He is sleeping more and has lost some weight this week, mostly because we stopped his Prednisolone til has heart exam and his arthritis and spondylosis was bothering him a lot. If he continues to not improve, I will be saddened to see him decline. Time will tell. 

Actually, Spot was Mike's cat, a Turkish Van--one of the kitties he and his ex raised, and you know how it is, love me--love my cat/dog/gecko etc, so Spot was part of the package when I let Mike into my life, just as my cats where to him. Somehow, when I nuzzle or smooch Spot, I'm telling Mike I am still taking care of his kitty... 

Was excited to find a home for Disco, my Sphnyx cat, with one of my co-workers, only to get him back 2 and 1/2 days later because they were both having anxiety issues and I couldn't see his new owner being able to handle letting the typical 2 weeks of adjusting to a new home it can take when an adult cat goes to a new home. Sigh.

But on the bright side, I have a woman from Connecticut who is coming down to visit another adult kitty I got back from a home because of behavior issues and he is doing well and ready to seek a new home.

On the down side, (yes, life is a rollercoaster) today I am getting a 4 year old cat back for the same reason (urinating outside the litter box) so I have another Rehab challenge on my hands, but I take on that responsibility when I bring cats into this world, to be there for them if anything goes wrong like this. I could talk on for hours about how I feel about irresponsible breeders, pets dumped in shelters and the satisfaction of success in rehoming a previously unhappy cat...but here's a link to my latest blog on Disco and Soze (I need to change his name! Bad voodoo about Latte?)

Disco, Phone Home
Being Responsible

... and you know, the rest of the usual stuff-cleaning house, doing laundry (need to get to the ironing) and get the car washed, as it looks like I'm not going to find time to do it myself again this weekend! Oh, gotta watch a movie and some kind of favorite beverage or two...Hurricanes and Red Beans & Rice sound good!

Saturday, May 2, 2009