Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Wish...

If this doesn't get you out of your seat, not sure what will...May your new year be full of things to get you excited!

and for something completely different, but still full of good vibe...another of my wishes for 2011 is Good Vibe!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jolly Christmas to all my friends

Count your blessings, we all have some, one of mine is blogging...To all my blogging friends...May your Christmas be Merry & your New Year bright!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

5 minute of fame?

The Holiday Photo Contest has started at Brighton's Yule Tide Auction! This contest runs through December 26, and all you have to do enter is to make a $5.00 donation to Brighton’s Emergency Vet Visit Fund (you can use the donate button on the kitties blog, Curlz and Swirlz) and send the photo to Gracie the cat at gracie1915 at frontier dot com. You can enter as many times as you like as long as you make a $5.00 donation per photo.

Show something that your cat (or dog or guinea pig...any of your beloved pets photos will be accepted) especially enjoys doing during the holiday time. Real photos or photo shopped photos will be accepted.

The winner will be announced New Year’s Eve and they will receive a $20.00 prize picked out by Gracie the cat (that's her in the photo above). Help make this a successful photo contest, and help Brighton out, too...Tell all of your friends about it.

Here's a link to more info:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Brighton's Yule Tide Auction...

The Cat Blogosphere is having an auction to help me cover some of the vet expenses I had when Brighton was hospitalized for a urinary blockage in June. Whether you pitch in $1 or bid on a knick knack you don't really least you know who your donation is going to...

The Furriends of the Cat Blogosphere hold at least one auction every month, and I like donating and picking up little things here and there like at TJ Maxx or even The Dollar Store, and saving them up for a future auction.

I am gathering things to donate to my Brighton's auction, too...especially as my therapist is having me 'simplify and only keep things that are useful or have sentimental meaning to me. I have been having make pick ups on things about twice a month the past few months, so I am making headway...

Here's a link for more info, and be sure to visit again after the auction starts, or if you think you might have an item you'd like to donate to his auction.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

City Danger for Dogs...

Did you know your dog could be electrocuted by metal panels on sidewalks?

Lisa McKibbin had her dog Sammy out for a walk in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood on Thanksgiving when Sammy stepped on an electric plate near a Seattle City Light lamp post. Lisa McKibbin had never heard of the term “contact voltage” until her German shorthair pointer was electrocuted Thanksgiving Day.

“We were doing our daily walk,” she says about Sammy, the 6-year-old, 68-pound dog. Then he just started screeching and yelping in pain. I thought he had stepped on something sharp. Then he just started convulsing and collapsed. I reached out to help him, and he was in so much pain that he bit my thumb. I was screaming, ‘Somebody help me! Oh, my God, I don’t know what’s happening with my dog!’

A man performed CPR on the dog’s chest, says McKibbin, and someone else opened Sammy’s mouth to try and help. There was enough electricity still in Sammy that the person got a shock from inside the dog’s mouth. The same thing happened to McKibbin. “It was a good shock, like when you plug something into the wall and you get jolted,” she says.

McKibbin has started a blog SAMMY'S BIG HEART and has posted photos of Sammy and written, “He was my best friend, my soul mate.”

If posting this can help save another pet or a child...please visits Sammy's page and learn more about this and what to watch for as you are out walking your dog.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Busboy in iconic RFK assassination photo pays his respects, 42 years later

Photo: Busboy Juan Romero, 17, kneels by mortally wounded presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel on June 5, 1968. Credit: Boris Yaro / Los Angeles Times

Read full story here:
Busboy in iconic RFK assassination photo pays his respects, 42 years later

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Always Remember...Veteran's Day 2010

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 on Memorial Day last year, 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 44 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.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cheerleaders for a Cure...

The Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, teaming up with over 130 NFL Alumni Philadelphia Chapter Cheerleaders and UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania, invite the world to help "Team Ra-Ras Kick Breast Cancer."

To encourage viewers to share the video with others and increase breast cancer awareness, UnitedHealthcare will donate ten cents ($.10) per view to The Philadelphia Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure up to a maximum donation of $100,000.

Their goal is to get a million hits, which will lead to $100K raised. Please can you take a moment to watch the video – and, just as important, pass this link onto your network of friends, family and colleagues? It benefits a very important cause!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Something to smile about

Found this video link on and smiled:

and I found this on another blog I follow, UNDER THE PAW

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Winnie's Wish

If you or someone you know would like to adopt a kitty in need (after all, this IS Petfinder's 'Adopt A-Less-Adoptable-Pet' week) or can find a way to make a small donation, even $2 helps (I make a couple of $2 donations to help cats in need each month and skip a Caramel Macchiato) then this 'campaign' is something that is worth looking into...

""To the world you may be one person, but to one cat you may be the world.""

Sunday, August 22, 2010

...Memorial Day?

Well, here it is almost Labor Day and I never got around to posting the photos I took while I was in Oregon over Memorial Day, helping celebrate my mom's 80th birthday...the trouble when you only post once every 3 months, posts turn into chapters, and not everyone has time to read a book!

My mom in her garden

Some of my procrastinating may be due to the fact that she and my sister got into a an argument over a dessert, complete with expletives on the part of both parties 'better halves' and me it kind of felt like what it would be like if one was too close to a hand grenade going off (the term 'shell shock' comes to mind), or maybe it was a 'stink bomb'!

This happened on Day 3 of my 5 day visit, so it was difficult for me to get past that, still is... as they aren't speaking even now and they live in the same town. I have tried to talk to both of them and my mom just says 'if that's how she wants it' and my sister says 'I can't go back into that house and pretend that didn't happen'.

My sister thinks her husbands outbursts were 'great' and my mom thinks the more 'mature' couple did nothing inappropriate either. My therapist says neither one will get past this without therapy and change. And I don't see that happening...sigh. I came across a quote on a thought-filled blog I follow and wish everyone involved in the arguement had thought of them before they spoke..."Before you speak, ask yourself: is it kind, is it true, is it necessary, does it improve upon the silence?" - Shirdi Sai Baba.

But in spite of that, I enjoyed 99% of my time with family. Had a day at Aveda Day Spa with my mom (only the 3rd time I have ever had a facial and I would have to say that given the choice of a massage or a facial...hands down the face wins! My mom went off to her room with the pierced, purple haired girl and me with the one I think my mom would have preferred (she isn't 'comfortable' with such things) and I thought about asking to switch so my mom would enjoy herself more, but wasn't sure if that would be in bad taste...

We both enjoyed ourselves (in fact it felt like my birthday instead of hers). We went to lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant and amazingly, the same bartender was there that worked there when Mike and I used to dine and dance there. He didn't recognize me til I spoke, but then it was all hugs and picture taking and sadness too, as he didn't know Mike had died in 2007. But seeing Jorge sure helped make that day a real pleasure.

(Jorge and me--he said he has grey hair, too)

My mom lives in a lovely home, right on the Rogue River and the smell of the pines, the sound of the riffles and the call of the osprey nesting in a snag on their property felt like 'vacation paradise' She has kind of a wild garden with lots of perennials in the yard, which made for some nice photos, too.

Made for an opportunity to get bitten by a deer tick, too, so when I got back home, I went to the doctors and got on Doxycycline right away. Although the Lyme test did come back negative, I just wasn't sure if the tick had been embedded 36 hours or not (it wasn't there Thursday morning but was on Friday). I have enough aches and pains without wondering if I have Lyme's disease, too.

One night, before all the relatives arrived, we had a great meal at TapRock, right on the river and I had the best potato pancakes ever~~with bacon from some special place in Montana! Here's some photos of the restaurant sidewalk and front door! And a link to their mouthwatering menu.


Sunday was the day of the big party--a catered Greek meal that was superb! Lots and lots of food, at least 30 family members gathered (minus my sister's husband, but my sister was there, but there was a heavy silence towards her from the other parties to the aforementioned argument). I am sure I wasn't the only one more than a little uncomfortable with that, but we all pushed it aside in honor of the reason for the party--mom's birthday. It had rained for most of my time there, but on the day of the party, it was sunny and cool, and really nice being outside as there was a breeze that must have blown the mosquitos away! Nice!

Family gatherings can sometimes be stressful...more than one movie has been made about what can go wrong when families 'speak their mind' but usually they are comedic, probably because we can walk away and say 'Wow, glad I wasn't there for that!' or 'You can pick your friends, but not your family'...

In spite of everything though, it was good to see some cousins and nieces and nephews and brothers and aunts I hadn't seen in years, and to say our goodbyes with 'Let's not let so much time pass before we see one another again'...but for me, maybe on a more one-on-one vacation next time...

And, those of you who follow my 'Cat's Blog' know I arrived home to one of my kitties seriously ill with a urinary blockage, something that can come on suddenly. So instead of arriving home at 1 a.m. and hoping for a few hours sleep before work the next day, I spent what was left of the night/morning in the emergency hospital with him...but he pulled through with great vet care and so far, no sign of reoccurrence. I have changed his diet and he is on some 'nutriceuticals' to help reduce inflammation, as it was most likely caused by FIC, the feline form of Interstitial Cystitis.

The kittens born in January all went off to their new homes months ago, and I have 2 little girl kittens born 5 weeks ago (they are promised to a family who are taking both of them...that'll be fun!) and am on baby (yes, just one expected) watch right now as my other 'momcat' is expecting today. I have 3 people waiting for that one kitten, so tough decisions ahead.

And I have been busy working on getting that albatross of a basement whipped back into shape and had a friend over a few weeks ago to jump start me (moral support!) and while she worked on cleaning up my computer and TiVo, I cleaned up piles. My therapist said to 'Handle something once' don't move it from pile to pile. She also said my issues with cleaning up my basement were coloring my whole life, kind of preventing me from 'moving on'.

It's true--I told myself I can't have people over (because my basement's in a mess), and I can't go into DC and go to a museum (because I should be working on my basement) and what could be a nice place to spend some time was like a dungeon for me in a way.

So, I am feeling better about (myself) now and have been doing some gardening. My grandparents would be happy to know that some of the money they left me is going to pretty blue birdbaths, perennials that I hope come back every year, and a prettier front and backyard for me to look out on...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Fur Trade

This takes some courage to watch, but may it help even just one of the helpless...



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Purrs and Prayers needed..

I am not sure how many of you follow my 'cats' blog too, but one of my cats is in Intensive Care with Urinary Tract Disease and I am so worried...

Click Here For News and Updates

Sunday, May 2, 2010

April showers bring May flowers...

I was outside in the garden last two weekends, the A/C went on for the first time this year when it got up to 92, and the cats were just lounging around. Then last weekend it was in the 60's and windy but still nice to be outside. Today...50 and rainy.

This is one of my many "garden cats" since my cats don't go outside, there are lots of cat statues in the garden to make it "furrendly"...

I like shopping at this place called Marshall's and always find unusual garden cats to "adopt", real cheap, as well as wind chimes, cute birdhouses and garden tools. In the past couple of weeks, with the weather finally warming up, just like so many others, I visited a couple of nurseries and came away with over $150 worth of plants, that I hope will survive my brown thumb and the first load of paving stones to enlarge the patio off the walk-out basement (yes, that one I am finally cleaning up!)

I mean, who can't grow Hostas--they multiply and people give them away! You guessed it...Me! But I bought some replacements, some more bush roses, a bleeding heart (because I keep seeing them on Cris's header Cris, Artist in Oregon and love them) and a couple of columbines and a few nasturtiums, mint (for Mojitos) and catnip (for the cats, silly!)

I came into a little inheritance from my grandparents and was talking to my therapist about wanting to fix up my backyard a little bit and she said "If it will give you pleasure to look out on it and enjoy it more...then by all means, set a little aside and do it! I should get a nursery to come out and give me a "free consultation and estimate" and see what it would run to enlarge the patio area at least, though I think my wish to have it terraced and rock retaining walls might just use up all of the money I received.

Then I was over at my petsitters Friday, watching Avatar and drinking Mojitos, and gobbling down S'Mores (which we did quite a few times last summer--making S'Mores out on their patio). They showed me the new patio they just put down, in one day, so they offered to help me with mine! They are good friends (helped me big time during my flood in 2008) and so together we'll get it done! I even found a pretty cafe' table and chairs for the patio, although someone mentioned a hammock and that sounds very relaxing!

I had a wonderful time at the Pet Blogging conference, as my multiple posts on my cats blog will attest, and am so glad I went. When everyone sees the photos of me, they say I look so happy, and in my element and yes, it was good to see those pictures of me with a big smile...I still don't seem to do enough of that!

I finally joined NetFlix, since Blockbuster changed their rental policy and have a queue of about 20 movies I want to see, and will look for more and arrange them in some kind of order of what I want to watch first. That's kind of hard for me, as I never know what kind of mood I'll be in, but I'm sure I'll get the knack of it down before long and just be happy with whatever arrives next...

My therapy is going well, I've started working on my basement and I'm feeling like my "down" times are manageable and I let them happen, contemplate my feelings and then they pass. That happened when I was gardening last weekend. At the end of the day, I was hot and tired and not done yet and I sat on my porch steps and just deflated--thought why am I doing this? No one to share it with! And still more work to do, why?!

I thought of the email I had just gotten from my mom, who just celebrated her 80th birthday, where she said 'I am weeding my rockery beds and not enjoying it. I wish I liked gardening more! Whenever it's time to weed the place, I think it would be a great idea to move into an apartment! I am ready to harvest my Grape Hyacinths and will save some seeds for you. The plants really multiply and they are so pretty. My irises are finally doing well this year, after years of not producing blooms.'

So we all think those 'downer' thoughts from time to time, and as long as they aren't too long and too often, and give us pause to consider and learn from them, all in all, life is good. And like my mom's thoughts, that end with joy at the iris blooms and sharing seeds with her daughter, reflection often shows us where happiness lies.

I always enjoy reading Six Senses Sunday on m. hearts blog Secret Notebooks, Wild Pages, because it makes me think and be mindful, and I love the 'I love that, too' feeling I get when I read her thoughts, and all I have to do is read an post from Patti Dighs blog, 37 Days, and it shows me a different way to look at the life I have..."always rent the red convertible". Go to her blog, you will understand :-)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The iPad--a new cat toy?

I know, this is not my cat blog...but all week I have been busy posting on CURLZ AND SWIRLZ about BlogPaws, the inspiring pet blogging conference I attended in Ohio last weekend. Please visit my "other" blog to be inspired, too!

But I happened upon this video today and just had to tell someone about it, so it's you followers!

and just after i watched that YouTube video, a friend sent me this one...inspiring!

and if you'd like to "Lend a Paw to Help Hospice Patients Keep Their Pets"
click here LEND A PAW

Monday, April 5, 2010

Strange sounds in the night


It got up to 82 today and so when I got home, I opened up all the windows and turned on the ceiling fans and it felt warm and almost tropical in the house (nice til I want to sleep...) and the peepers were serenading...

And then, this sound, like a bird? A fox in heat? Or something trapped and succumbing, across the lake, in the dark...Unsettling if you were a creature outside, and being safe inside...

I just wondered "What the hell is it?"