Thursday, January 29, 2009

A vet visit and a birthday ............

I took Mazie Grace back to the vet today. They took her stitches out and gave her another set of shots. The vet said her incision was healing nicely, and that she could be released from her confinement in the garage. I think the shots have made her feel bad - she is sleeping on her blanket and didn't even get up when I went to check on her. One more trip in three weeks for her final shots and she will be through with the vet.

Today is my birthday - I am 62. I had to remind H and prompt him to say "Happy Birthday". We don't make much fuss over birthdays in my family. He did promise to take me out to eat when he gets off call duty at work.

I can remember when I thought of someone who was 62 as being really old. I don't feel any different than I did at 22 - well, maybe a bit smarter. I just don't think of myself as being old. Maybe since I don't have children or grandchildren - I don't have concrete evidence of the passing of the years. Wasn't it just last week that I was cramming for college exams?

I don't mind getting older. Age has many advantages. You stop trying to impress people and start living your own life, on your own terms. You learn to judge people by who they are inside, rather than by appearance or social status. You learn to relax and enjoy life. You learn what things are really important and what things are just icing on the cake. You are thankful for each day and all the wonders around you. I'm glad to be 62.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rainy day organizing ..........

I have spent the last two days going through files and papers. The drawers of my file cabinets were so crammed full, nothing would go in or out of them. I had piles of papers that needed to be filed. It would have been impossible to find a specific paper if I had needed it.
But now, look at these neat, organized files. I bet it would take me only a few seconds to put my hands on any paper I needed. All five drawers are that organized as well as a large drawer in the computer desk.
I have two big boxes of paper to get rid of - one to toss and one to either burn or shred. By the time I finished a little while ago, I was beginning to feel like it would be easier to toss it all and worry about the consequences later. But it is done - Hooray! Now if it would only stay like that.
We have had two days of rain - no ice or snow for us thank goodness. It's 55 outside right now, and they are actually calling for thunderstorms this afternoon.
I take Mazie Grace back to the vet tomorrow afternoon. Her incision does not look like it's healing as fast as it should and it's still puffy. It doesn't seem to bother her and doesn't look infected, so I'm hoping it is OK. I'm still keeping her inside.

Monday, January 26, 2009

"Six Seconds" by Rick Mofina

A Canadian Mountie, Dan Graham, pulls a dying girl fom a river. Her last words send him on a search to find her father, a conspiracy theorist reporter.

In California, Maggie Conlin searches for her husband, an Iraq war contractor, who has disappeared with her son Logan.

Samara Ingram, an Iraqi-British nurse takes steps to avenge the deaths of her husband and son.

Mofina brings these three stories together in this well-crafted and timely thriller about a plot to assassinate the Pope in Montana. This book held my interest from the beginning and was impossible to put down as it reached the climax.

This is the first book I've read by Rick Mofina, but will probably not be my last.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The inauguration ..........

I'm a bit behind in writing about the inauguration. The media has been so saturated with every detail of inauguration day and the Obamas, that I had to let it settle a bit before I wrote about it.

I voted for Obama, and I feel so much safer now that he is leading our country. I tend to think things through and make decisions based on logic and fact rather than on emotion, so I never got caught up in Obama mania. But, I think he was definitely the best candidate.

Obama has the intelligence and temperment to be a great president. I feel like he will listen to opposing views, consider the facts, and have the courage to make the best decisions. I think he will expect the people who work with him to live up to the high standards he sets for himself.

Expectations are so high, I'm afraid people will expect too much from him, too soon. He will not be able to cure our country's ills in a short period of time. We didn't get in this condition overnight, and it will take several years before we will see change. I hope the press and the people will give him time to work on our problems.

There is a renewed interest in our government and a feeling of hope across the country - I hope we can keep them.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Your Heart Belongs To Me" by Dean Koontz ....

Ryan Perry is a wealthy 34 year old internet entrepreneur who seems to have it all. He begins to have troubling symptoms and discovers that he suffers from cardiomyopathy.. He is told that he will die within a year if he does not undergo a heart transplant.

He receives a new heart, but his relationship with his girlfriend Samantha suffers. A year later strange things begin to happen.

This is a suspense novel and love story with a thread of the supernatural weaving through it.

The book holds your interest and the ending is not what you would expect. I have read several of Dean Koontz's books, and while this is not his best, it is a good read.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mazie Grace had "The Operation" ......

Mazie Grace went to the vet yesterday to be spayed. I thought for awhile Monday night that I would have to cancel the appointment. I let her outside around 2:00 in the afternoon and she disappeared. Usually she stays on the back deck or on the front porch, but not this time. I went out several times during the afternoon and early evening and walked around the yard calling her. No sign of Mazie Grace. Finally I gave up. I cracked the screen door and back door to the garage so she would be able to come in if she came back. Around 10:00 PM I heard her crying at the door - she had finally come back. I quickly closed the doors, locking her inside, and verbally scolded her.

I left her at the vet's office at 7 AM yesterday morning and went back to pick her up at 5 PM. They said she must have been in a lot of pain after the operation, because she was crying pitifully. They finally gave her some pain medicine because thay couldn't stand to hear her crying, and suggested that I take some home to give to her for a few days. Even though it cost $40.00, I agreed to take some - I didn't want her to be in pain.

She was glad to get home and was anxious for a lot of petting. Here is a picture of her rolling around on the garage floor, basking in the attention. I put a fleece blanket on the floor for her to sleep on and left her in the garage to rest.

This morning when I went out to check on her, she was running around like nothing had happened. She is not suppose to be jumping or climbing on things for awhile, but she doesn't seem to know that.

As for the pain, I don't think she was crying at the vet's office because she was hurting. I think she was crying because she wanted out of the cage. She is very vocal when she is confined. She doesn't appear to be in pain today, so I haven't given her the pain medicine - that was $40.00 wasted.

The vet's office called to check on her this afternoon. I had to admit that she was climbing and jumping, so I was scolded for not keeping her still. The only way to stop her is to put her in the carrier. If I did that, she would probably injure herself more trying to get out of it.

As for the relationship between the two calico ladies - it has not changed. Maggie May has decided that she does not like this intruder at all. She will hiss at her whenever she sees her. I'm pretty sure that they will need to be kept apart - Maggie May will be my inside cat and Mazie Grace will be my outside cat.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Schools close for snow ?????

When I got up this morning and turned on the TV, I heard that our local schools were closing due to snow. I looked outside, but couldn't see anything white falling or on the ground. It was still dark, so maybe I needed to wait until daylight.

I went out later and looked all over the yard, on the road, and everywhere. I still couldn't find the snow. Do you see any? Wonder where it went?

The sun is out now, so I quess the snow storm is gone. I sure am glad I didn't get snowed in. I know all the kids are glad.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates ......

Set in 1955, this novel is about Frank and April Wheeler, a young suburban couple who see themselves as different from their neighbors in the Revolutionary Hill Estates. In an effort to break out of their rut, April convinces Frank that they should move to Paris so he can find himself.

Their plan to leave crumbles when April becomes pregnant and Frank begins to enjoy his job. Their marriage seems to deteriorate along with their plans.

The book presents the idea that you are not as extraordinary as you think. It challenges you to face your mediocrity and be honest about it or else actually fulfill your ambitions.

It took me about 150 pages before I could get into this book. I usually find that films made from books are never as good as the actual book. This may be an exception.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Today's a soup day ........

It is cold outside - really, really cold - the coldest we've had in several years. They are predicting temperatures in the single digits tonight. Brr .... I just want to curl up under blankets and quilts and go to sleep until spring arrives.

Everytime we get really cold weather or it snows, I want some good homemade soup. I made a big pot of vegetable beef this morning. Every so often, I go out and get a bowl. At the rate it's going, it will be gone by tomorrow.

I've been keeping Mazie Grace in the garage because it's just too cold outside for her. She's not too happy about being confined out there by herself. She is fine when I'm out there with her, and she is getting attention. As soon as I go back in the house, she starts crying. She wants to come in, but everytime Maggie May catches a glimpse of her at the door, the hissing begins. I don't need a cat fight.

This is a picture of Mazie Grace hoping the door will open so she can go inside with the people. She is a very affectionate cat and loves to be petted. She also tends to wrap around your legs, so you have to walk carefully around her.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A visit to the vet ..........

Mazie Grace had her first appointment with the vet this afternoon. She was rather upset about being confined to a carrier and taken for a ride in the car. She did calm down once we got to the vet's office.

While we were waiting, a couple came with a goat that had gotten its foot caught in its feeding trough. They were afraid it was broken. They had the goat, who was unusually large, in a trailer and everyone had to help coach it out and into the office for an xray. What finally got it moving was potato chips. Happily the foot was not broken and he was sent on his way.

Mazie Grace was tested, examined, poked and proded, and given shots and terrible tasting stuff by mouth. She was declared a healthy cat, about one year old, who has not been spayed and who does not appear to be pregnant.

I left the office with considerably less money and an appointment next week for Mazie Grace to get the "operation". When I got her home and opened the carrier, she took off. Since then, she has been a bit skittish around me and did not want to go in the garage tonight. She will probably be fine by tomorrow.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini .....

"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini is one of the best books I've read recently. It is the story of two boys in Kabul - Amir, the priviledged son of a wealthy businessman, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. The boys are inseparable and spend their days together telling stories and running kites until a tragic event changes their relationship forever.

Amir and his father escape Afghanistan and move to California where Amir becomes a successful writer. However, he is haunted by the childhood incident in which he betrayed Hassan.

When he receives word that Hassan and his wife have been murdered by the Taliban, and that their son Sohrab is in an orphanage, Amir knows that he must go home.

This is a story about betrayal and redemption, about guilt and forgiveness. It is also the story of the relationship between father and son.

I highly recommend this book.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mazie Grace has made herself at home .......

I believe Mazie Grace has decided this is home. She slept in the garage last night. This morning I let her outside and she hasn't gone more that a dozen feet from the back door all day.

I now know how she has been surviving - I saw her jump from the deck to the railing, then to the bird feeder and grab a bird. She was so fast the bird didn't have time to react. It did manage to get away minus a bunch of feathers. She was also stalking the moles in the yard. I guess her survival instinct tells her to hunt eventhough she had a full bowl of food on the deck. I don't mind her getting the moles because they have literally torn my yard up. I do wish she would leave the birds alone. I'm sure she will become fat and lazy in no time.

I put her back in the garage for the night since it was getting cold out. Tomorrow I will call the vet and make an appointment for her to get an exam - she will need her first shots, some wormer, flea treatment, etc. Then as soon as possible, she will need to be spayed.

Maggie May and Mazie Grace have not been formally introduced yet. Anyone have any suggestions on how to introduce them to each other?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We may have been adopted ........

I looked out the window this afternoon and this is what I saw ...... there was a cat sitting in my birdfeeder waiting for lunch to arrive.

I have caught glimpses of this cat several times over the last couple of months. I have seen her in the fields hunting and have seen her around my back deck. I just assumed she belonged to a neighbor.

I decided to see if she was tame, so I went out and talked gently to her. I could tell she wanted to come to me, but was scared. I filled a bowl with a couple of spoons of food and showed it to her. She couldn't resist, she gobbled it down and began to cry for more. I gave her another full can of food and she ate it down without stopping.

After she ate, I sat and petted her for awhile. She is very affectionate, so she has been around people and was someone's pet. I left her on the porch, hoping she would go home.

It began raining later this afternoon. H looked out the back door in the garage and there was the cat - sitting in the rain, right at the door. So of course, he opened the door and let her come inside. I put a bowl of food and some water in the garage for her and showed her where the litter box is. When I checked a few minutes ago, she was curled up, asleep on a cushion.

She is a young cat, not fully grown and beneath the thick fur, she is rather thin. I think she may have been abandoned, and has been surviving on field mice and birds. There are people who will take their unwanted animals out to the countryside and drop them off to fend for themselves. You do not want to know the terrible things I would like to do to such people.

All of our pets have been castaways that found us and decided they would adopt us. We lost our two dogs - BlackJack and Charlie - last year, both due to old age. We both miss having a dog, but we've been waiting for our next canine companion to find us.

We'll let the cat, that I've tentatively named Mazie Grace, stay in the garage until the rain ends. If she doesn't go home tomorrow, I guess we have been adopted.

Maggie May has only seen her through the glass of the screen door. She doesn't know what to think of this stranger. She doesn't seem too happy that its in her garage.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bird cafe ...........

We've had rain for the last couple of days, so I've been stuck inside. I happened to look out the dining room window this morning and this is what I saw. The goldfinch were waiting in line to get to the feeder. I filled up the feeder Sunday afternoon and it will probably need filling again by tonight.

They must sense bad weather coming. Seems like the birds will swarm around the feeders whenever it's getting ready to rain or snow.

They are dull looking this time of year, but in the summer they are a brilliant yellow. It's really colorful when the goldfinches, red cardinals, and blue jays get together. Sorry the picture is not very clear - I took it through the window.

Monday, January 5, 2009

"Just After Sunset" by Stephen King .....

Last night I finished reading Stephen King's newest collection of short stories, "Just After Sunset". During the Christmas holidays, I would pick it up when I had a few minutes and read one of the 13 stories.

Years ago my grandmother subscribed to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magagzine and Alfred Hitchcock's Magazine. When I vsited her I would curl up on the sofa on her screened porch and devour her old copies. Stephen King reminds me of those stories with their surprising twists and frightening themes. I think this is why I have always liked his books.

King has a vivid imagination and is a master at telling a horror story in a way that makes it seem real. These stories have a deeper meaning behind the ability to frighten. They cover a range of human emotions - longing, tenderness, regret, happiness, despair, and regret.

I can't pick one story that is my favorite. If you like Stephen King, you will not be disappointed with this collection.

An afternoon walk ..........

It has been cloudy here all day with a short rain shower late in the morning. It has been unseasonably warm though, so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and go for a walk. I took the path on the edge of the field behind the house. This goes through several fields, then out to the road. My neighbor's horses were by the road, so I visited with them before heading back home.

If felt so good to get outside.and walk. I haven't been exercising since the days got shorter and it got colder. One of the habits I want to adopt in 2009 is to walk or exercise every day. I don't tolerate the cold very well - hands, nose, and ears get numb very quickly. So, I'm going to have to plan a way to get my exercise inside on cold days.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

'The Beach House" by Jane Green ....

I received this book as a Christmas gift this year. It is not a book I would have chosen for myself, but I must admit that I enjoyed it. It is a quick and easy read and actually holds your interest to the end.

It is about a group of people, each with their own problems who have lost themselves. Richard has an affair and separates from his wife Daff, causing their teenage daughter to rebel. Bee and Daniel are in therapy to save their marriage, but end up having to face the real issue that separates them. Michael is in an affair with a woman who is completely wrong for him. They all end up at a house on Nantucket owned by Michael's mother Nan, who has been forced to rent rooms for the summer to ward off ravenous developers.

By the end, the characters have learned that in order to be happy they must be true to themselves. The end does have an unexpected twist that pulls the characters together.

If you want a feel good book that doesn't require much thinking, then try this one.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day ........

I hope everyone had a safe and festive New Year's Eve.

Today has been sunny but bitterly cold, so I've stayed inside where it's warm. I've been doing some desk work. I had gotten terribly behind entering items in my check register. You would think an ex banker would be more conscientious about keeping up to date records.

I got my check register up to date, updated Quicken, and went through a huge pile of mail. Maggie May tried to help by lounging on the desk and knocking things to the floor.

I still have a lot of end of the year desk work to do. I've got to clean out my file cabinets - they are so packed I can't get anything in or out of them. Since I retired, I've gotten so I hate to sit and do paperwork - but it needs to be done.