January 2009 Archives

Tick(ed) Off

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An unpleasant experience this morning involved removing an engorged tick from the mouth area of our husky. I suspect that he picked it up from our hike at Emma Long park last week, but it's possible it came from the neighborhood, as we have a lot of deer here. No telling. Stepan might have thought to take a picture of it after removal and happily included it in his blog, but alas I flushed it down the toilet right away, so no pics to show. Not really sure why I'm so grossed out by the tick today -- I've seen and removed numerous ticks throughout my life. But this one has left me rather nauseous. It makes three ticks I've seen recently. One crawled on me in my front yard, another across Nolan's foot in Bastrop State Park a couple of weeks ago, and now this one on Loki. I used sterilized tweezers to remove it, and amazingly Loki rather calmly let me. He hates having his mouth area messed with, or having to be held down. But I was calm about it, so I guess he was. Tick removed, no blood released. Me grossed out. Dog happily fell asleep.

Little woofs

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We are fostering puppies for about 3 weeks until they are big enough to be adopted at the Humane Society. Brother and sister, supposedly they are hound/retriever mixes. The boy, named Scrappy, looks like he has chocolate lab in him. The girl, named Cowgirl, really looks more like a Scruffy -- she is more black with almost a beard look about her. Both utterly adorable. I adore the expressions and plumpness of the little boy. The little girl has so much energy and loves to be in my lap. She is particularly fond of Sheba and quite curious and fun. In this picture, little girl looks bigger than her brother, but really she's quite small compared to that pot-bellied piggy boy puppy. Here are few other puppy pictures, too.


Cowgirl and ScrappySuch a difference it is to foster puppies instead of kittens. Sheba is enjoying their company, though not so much when the little ones try to make her ears a chew toy. Loki started out curious, but has become a bit of grump. Mostly he tolerates them, though, just gives the occasional warning that he can only tolerate so much cuteness around. The moment the puppies wake up, we rush them outside to go the bathroom, which they do right away. They know their job out there, but there is still the occasional tiny accident inside. They are puppies after all.

P.S. As I right this, the little girl puppy is sleeping inside my jacket, snug and warm.

Oh Happy Day... Hello, Mr. President!

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Today at last we welcome President Barack Obama to the White House. As my friend Sally told me today, when I asked her how she was doing, she replied, "I'm having a great day. My first great day in 8 years." And it has been a great day. Feelings of relief and joy and pride for our country -- I am ecstatic that my family and I have been able to see this glorious period of renewed hope and history in the making. Celebrations are worldwide. Worldwide. That says a lot. For the first time in my life I watched many of the inaugural events, and after I finish writing this, I'm going to go listen to President Obama's inaugural speech again. I am proud that the boys' schools showed the news coverage all day at school, and Nolan says that his class is writing letters to President Obama. I asked him what he plans to write to the president -- he says that he plans to tell him that he hopes for world peace and that we shouldn't be in Iraq. We talked about how "treating people the way you would like to be treated" relates to how nations treat one other, and that world peace starts with goodwill toward others.

Change is already in the works, from Obama working to undo Bush's last-minute anti-environment and pro-gun regulations to updating the White House website to encourage communication and openness. It's a good day, and a good beginning. Welcome, Mr. President. So glad you are here.


Be Happy with Who You Are

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By Papaw (sent to Nolan yesterday after seeing Nolan's stories) -- thank you, Papaw!


Be Happy with Who You Are

  Way back in the back part of the woods, there was a little pond. In the pond there lived a great big frog and beside the pond lived a very small pig. They were best friends.

  During the day, the pig would lie in the shallow water and the frog would sit on her back. They liked to watch the clouds go by, and they made up stories about the figures they saw in the clouds.

  The only problem was that the pig was green (like most frogs) and the frog was pink (like most pigs). The frog kind of liked being pink, but the pig hated being green.

  Then one day while they were lying in the water, they heard a loud rustling in the bushes. They looked up, and out walked a huge bear. The bear had big teeth and bigger claws and he looked hungry. "My, my" said the bear, "I sure would like a little pork."

  Just then the bear spied the pig and frog in the pond. The bear looked. Then he looked again. After a minute, the bear walked away. As he went, they heard him say, "I don't care if I am hungry. I'm not eating a green pig."

  After that the little pig didn't mind being green so much.

Droofus and the Cymbals

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by Nolan, 8 (written November, 2008 -- inspired by his brother playing the euphonium while Nolan was trying to write a story for school)

  Once there was a dragon named Droofus. He lived with his family of dragons. He had a mother, a father, and a brother. Droofus was the youngest of his family.

  One cool crisp day, Droofus and his family went out for a picnic. Droofus brought the tablecloth and the blueberry pie. His mother brought the picnic food. His father brought the napkins and silverware. His brother brought the cymbals.

  "Clang cling clong," the brother banged the cymbals. Droofus said, "Stop it." "Clang cling clong," the brother banged the cymbals again. The mother said, "Quiet down." "Clang cling clong," the brother banged the cymbals again. The father said, "I can't eat with all the racket!"

  The brother banged the cymbals again. The birds flew away. "Bang clang," the cymbals were hit again. Far above in the mist of the mountain, a pebble moved from its place, and a gigantic rock on the pebble tumbled down. The rock was heading toward the picnic.

   All of Droofus's family looked up to their horror. The rock was about to squash them. Droofus pushed his mother, father, and brother quickly out of the path of the rock. Then he yanked the picnic to the other side of the path. But he left the cymbals. The rock tumbled down onto the cymbals and squashed them. It stopped moving.

  The mother and father cheered. The birds came back. The brother was annoyed. And Droofus ate his blueberry pie.

World of Turkeycraft

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by Nolan, 8 (written around Thanksgiving, 2008)

NolanTurkeycraft.jpg   Once there was an army of turkeys. They had a peaceful time except one day. It was a dark day. Dark clouds were overhead. The turkeys had never seen such weird things. So the army turkeys quickly got their bows and arrows, spears, swords, and battle axes and ran to go tell the villagers. Once they got there, they told the villagers about the dark clouds. They squawked, "Gobble, gobble, gobble." The villagers looked at the clouds. The black clouds loomed even closer.

   The turkey army told the villagers where they were going. They were going to the city called Turksong Hold. It was a huge city with lots of beastly monsters on the outside.

   The turkey horde boarded a zeppelin. When the turkey horde got to Turksong Hold, they were greeted by the guards. The turkey army moved onward through the city. Finally, they found Lord Gobbler gobbling at his guards in the Hall of Heroes. They told Lord Gobbler about the dark clouds. He said it was probably the Lich King. The army groaned. Lord Gobbler told them to be ready for battle.

   When the army got back to the village, they described the situation. The villagers got on the zeppelin that went to Northfrost so the villagers would be safe. The army had built a defensive wall with slits for the turkeys to shoot through. The Lich King's army of death knights were close. The turkeys were ready for battle. Finally the Lich King's army was there. The turkeys fired. The Lich King's army shot. It was a big battle. Swords and battle axes went clang, bash. Bows and guns went vroom, bang. The turkeys won. Then the turkeys went back to get the villagers. And that is the story of "World of Turkeycraft."


Fall photos

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After the election was over, the holiday season hit us full force, overwhelmingly so, plus I got sick over Thanksgiving and it took its toll on me. Needless to say, I fell behind on posting photos, but that doesn't mean there wasn't anything going on. Photos are at last up on Flickr -- take a look here. In the meantime, here a few favorites!


Nolan and mud guy.jpgThe boys greatly enjoyed the Texas Renaissance Festival, despite their initial reluctance to going. Though we'd taken them many years in the past, it had been a few since our last visit. This year was the first year I think the joy of RenFest will be planted in their memory.


IMG_1619.JPGWe also went camping with Grandpa and Grandma at Lake Mineral Wells, Texas, earning our pretend Polar Bear Badges for sleeping in a tent in 29-degree F weather. It was insanely cold, and we huddled up the tent for good ol' body warmth. I think even the husky was cold. Also there were Lisa, Mike, and kiddoes, and on Saturday Susan and her Michael and her boys showed up for a hike and dinner. It was a good time, despite the cold.


Logan in bandLogan had his first band performance in December. He plays the euphonium. It was wonderful listening to the band while being able to distinguish and recognize Logan's part from all the practicing he has been doing at home. We were very impressed with how great the first-time band sounded, and the teachers were rightly proud, too.


Nolan danceNolan also had a performance -- hip-hop. Nolan had a breakdancing solo, and the crowd went wild. It was one of those wow moments in life. I didn't have a digital recorder at the time, but I got one for Christmas, so I hope to get some video to link sometime. Nolan really stepped it up for the crowd -- that kid has talent.


KittensWe fostered kittens again. It's definitely a commitment to foster, but it's worth it to know that you are helping save lives. I got really attached to these two (big surprise, there), especially the little boy kitten, who loved to sit in my lap no matter where I was. I know they were both adopted, but I came THIS close to adding another family member to our little house.


Xmas 2008And Christmas arrived, no slowing it down, it seems. We relieved some of the stress from the holidays by staying at home. It was wonderful, relaxed, and peaceful -- free of pressure and chaos. That's a Christmas present all in itself! A couple of days later, we did go to Houston to visit Michael's grandmother. It is always such a pleasure to see her. 


With GrandmomMy, our boys have grown! I wonder what experiences 2009 will bring for us. Happy New Year, all!


Have cake and gawk at it, too

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Adding this one to my list of favorites:


Cakes range from the utterly stunning to absolutely hilarious to downright shocking! I really enjoy seeing the artistic talents of cake decorators, especially when the creations are so good you can't tell they are edible objects. Still, for whatever reason, cake decorating has not appealed to me as a personal hobby. I love to create, but I hate watching my long hours of hard labor get destroyed in seconds. I think that's why I never take the time to "perfectly" wrap presents. It's painful to me to watch gorgeous wrapping with expensive ribbons and bows get torn up, soon to be thrown in the trash. Don't get me wrong -- I think that cake decorating is still amazing, and I am in awe of the brilliance and careful deliverance of the creators. I can appreciate the hard work of others, without desiring to do it myself! Perhaps my reluctance, too, to perfect gift wrapping is that every Christmas I have so many gifts to wrap that I just don't have the time to create works of art in wrapping. I used to put ribbons on everything, but now I don't bother to do that within my own family. I save the ribbons for gifts for friends and relatives -- plus hurray for reusable Christmas gift bags! It's not that I don't love you, everyone! Just appreciate the gift, but I don't expect you to admire (in fact, I often prefer you not even look at) the wrapping.

Wow, I'm behind

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Ok, I admit it. The holidays threw me, and I got off the blog wagon. I guess that I know what one of my 2009 resolutions should be! Here's my first post to start, and a Happy New Year to you all!

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