Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Visit to the Vet's Office

I took Golum in this morning. He had an upper respiratory infection, nothing too serious, according to Dr. Jeff, but Golum did get a shot and some medicine. When I got home with him this afternoon, I let him out of the carrier, and I haven't seen him since. I hope he comes in soon so I can give him his antibiotics.

Dr. Jeff's a good animal doctor. He's funny and compassionate. He's also on call at the sale barn next door to his clinic, and, when they have sales (as they did today), he spends most of his time over there. But I like that he lets his kids hang around and help out with the smaller animals. And he's so country. Today, he was wearing his overalls and high rubber boots!

I'm sure that Golum will recover, but I also know that I can take him back to Dr. Jeff's without breaking the bank--that's the best thing! I can afford to take care of my pets.

Oh, yeah. Boudreaux brought in a bird this morning, but didn't quite know what to do with it. I took the bird back outside, and it flew away (Hooray! Cats: 6 Birds: 1).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger

I'm not one to dwell on Hollywood, but color me shocked! I was checking my email, when I saw the news flash about Heath Ledger. OMG! He was such a great actor. Loved him in The Brothers' Grimm and A Knight's Tale. Besides being georgeous and having a heavenly voice, he radiated intelligence and sanity. I'll be interested in finding out the results of that autopsy (I know that sounds gruesome, but enquiring minds really do want to know).

I'd rather hear more about Brittney Spears than hear this. I need to round up all of his films and watch them in a memorial tribute.

Oh, this is sad.

And my cat is still sick, so we're going to the vet's in the morning. Right now, he's hiding under the bed because I won't let him go outside. He's acting just like a kid.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Now for the Good News...

The cat came back, but he seems to be ill. It's Golum--he was gone for three cold days; I don't know where. I'll probably have to take him to the vet. He might have a cold, but it could be pneumonia. His breathing is labored. What I'm hoping it's NOT is a poisoned rat. These cats never think about what they put in their mouths.

My nephew and his wife found out that the baby they are expecting in June is a girl! And my niece (sister to the aforementioned nephew) is expecting a baby in August. I have a bunch of knitting to do!

And I installed a new shower head all by myself! That may not seem like much to you, but for someone who is repair-impaired, I'm really proud of that. I'm sure most men had to go through that "I wonder if I'm doing this right" phase before they discovered their mechanical aptitudes. But for some women (not all), doing simple repairs is a challenge. I take pride in being successful with these things--mastering the riding lawnmower, assembling a wheel barrow, installing a shower head. Every time I manage to do something like that, I feel that I've grown a bit in my independence. I have five brothers, a son (in Austin), and a father, but getting them to take time from the deer lease, work or the golf course is difficult. They have their own agendas, and, for them, my house seems far away (yeah--one of my brothers lives in Haughton!). So, the more I can do for myself, the better.

Let me see, can I find anything else? I did get to talk to my daughter twice last night and to my mother once. And, after a touch-and-go day with the Internet yesterday, today it seems to be holding steady. All together, not a bad start to the morning! It's so much better to dwell on the positive.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bad News Comes in Clusters...

I don't get many phone calls. I hear from my kids periodically, and I hear from my mother when she hasn't seen me for a week.

My daughter called me tonight to let me know that my former mother-in-law's brother died. Millie, my fm-i-l, died two Novembers ago; her sister, Virginia, died at least 10 years ago; so, that just leaves Dorothy, my daughter's namesake, as the last surviving Byrd child. Dorothy must be in her 80s, but she looks great and is always on the go. I was sorry to hear about T. J., though; he was such a nice guy, and his wife Virginia is a sweet lady. I'll send her a sympathy card next week. I don't know that she'll actually remember me without a prompt.

I had a couple of beep-ins while I was on the phone with my daughter, and I figured they were telemarketers (I get a fair number of those--thank God for caller ID!), or my mother was desperate to talk to me. I called Mom. Yes, she was trying to talk to me and couldn't imagine who I was talking to (yeah, I get soooooo many calls, Mom!).

So, here's the rest of the bad news: my youngest brother, James, who has MS, is in the hospital with pneumonia. He had a 106 degree fever, so his wife called the ambulance. The doctors are having trouble getting his fever down, but that's not surprising in someone with MS. His immune system is weak.

And one of my sisters is separating from her second husband. I think she was ambivalent about getting married again, anyway, so I always wondered why she did it. Oh, well.

And one of my cats is missing. He was sleeping under the bed Thursday morning, but hadn't acted as though he was sick. I have no idea where he is. I've whistled, I've called, I've searched. I'm hoping he just found a friend and is hanging out (he's neutered, so it's not romantic).

Too much bad news for one night. I think I have a little bit of vodka left in the freezer (hey, I got it as a birthday present two years ago--how's that for restraint?). I need a screwdriver.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What the Cat Dragged in...

This time, the mouse was dead. And it wasn't Golum who rolled it around on the carpet; it was Bubba, a normally staid, mostly remote cat. He doesn't "talk" much, he does like to be held and scratched, but he won't sit on my lap. He surprised me.

In order to get the mouse out, I had to roll it through the kitchen with a stick (Are you kidding? I'm not going to touch it!). I had to close the kitchen door until all traces of the critter disappeared. I don't know if the cat ate his prize. All I know is it's not in my house anymore.

I understand that cats are hunters. I just wish they wouldn't bring in everything they catch or kill (including live chickens).

Oh, and the possum came back. I thought I heard voices outside last night, and I went to the back door to see if they were coming from my neighbor's yard. She's been burning leaves and whatever else for two days--the haze of woodsmoke hangs in the air. I went to open the back storm door, and the possum and I both jumped. I think I was the one who screamed. It went under the house. So I'm having to put the boards back in the door to keep it from coming into the house. Who would have thought that "country" living could be so perilous?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Chicken in the Dining Room

Anyone who knows me knows that I really want a flock of chickens--well, "flock" may be an ambitious way of describing it. I want five chickens, all female, and I plan to name them after the Bennett sisters in Pride and Prejudice. But I'm not quite ready yet. I need to build a chicken coop first.

Yesterday, I was working around the house and trying to get my courses up and running on Moodle, since school begins in a week. I kept hearing a "cheep cheep." And, as frequent readers of this blog know, my cats are famous for bringing in birds in various stages of life, so I figured I had another live bird flying around. I checked the laundry room; I checked the kitchen, dining room and living room. Nothing. I was in and out of the kitchen and dining room, stowing away the Christmas tins and platters. I didn't hear anything for a while, so I hoped the bird had flown.

Later, I was working at my computer when I heard the "cheep cheep" again. I stood in the walkway between the kitchen and the dining room and heard it again to my left. I got down on my hands and knees and crawled around the dining room table. I found what I was looking for under a rocking chair in the corner.

A chicken--blondish, about 5 inches long--ran into the corner. As I reached to grab it, it took off into my study. I shut the study door and went to the garage to get a cat carrier. I figured that would be a good place to stow a chicken overnight and keep it safe from the cats. I got some bird seed (that's the closest I could come to chicken feed in a pinch), some water, and a kitchen towel, stowed all of that in the carrier, and then spent the better part of an hour trying to catch the chicken. I finally managed to herd it into the carrier where it spent the night.

That chicken was in my house all day, and the cats didn't lay a tooth on it. I can't figure that out, unless it just seemed to big for them to tackle. But if that was the case, how did it get here in the first place?

Darn! I should have taken a picture to show here. But, that's hindsight. I took it back across the ditch this morning. I should have kept it because it's owners didn't seem to care. They acted as though it was more of a nuisance that I brought it back.

So, lesson learned! I better get that chicken coop built in case my cats rustle any more chickens. As my mom says, "If it shows up again, it belongs to you."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Here's How the New Year Starts...

...not with a bang, but a whimper (sorry, T. S. Eliot).

Happy New Year, ya'll! Hope it's good for you.
I had a great Christmas, with overlapping visits from my children and their significants. Dot and her guy, Pete, showed up the Saturday before Christmas and stayed until about 3pm Christmas Day; Dan and Carly, his lady, showed up around noon on Christmas and stayed until the Thursday after. So I had company for about a week.

Dot and Pete did a great deal of yard work. They built a firepit in place of my burnpile. Here's a picture of the firepit with a fire:

They cut up the limb that fell a couple of months ago, so we had plenty of firewood to burn. We roasted marshmallows and made smores, something I haven't done since Girl Scout Camp!

Behind the firepit in the picture you can see my old shed. We cleaned that out. I can't list everything we found in there, but a partial list of contents includes old mason jars, a half-full bottle of whiskey (we dumped it out), and assorted tools (a circular saw, a hand planer, a hand lathe, a grease gun), plus enough flammable liquids to worry me. So, all I have to do to turn this into a chicken coop is rebuild the roof and put in a new floor. And Pete reinforced the open part of the shed so that the roof isn't sagging anymore.

Dan and Carly and I couldn't really get out in the yard because it rained all day Wednesday. But we read and knitted and watched movies; then they made two excellent pizzas and we played two games of Scrabble.

I think their visits were the highlights of Christmas for me. We had fun at my mom's and ate too much good food, but I enjoyed my time with my children. They've only been to my house once since I bought it, but I've been to their house in Austin many, many times. So, they owe me a few more visits!

The new year started ominously--the bathroom shower started dripping and I couldn't get the garage door down with the remote (I used the rake handle). But, on an optimistic note, Bluebirds have moved into the birdhouse on my front porch! I watched them move in today.

I hope the Bluebird of Happiness, Prosperity and Peace lands on your porch, too!