"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Mother Teresa

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wine and a Black Cat

Hi friends,
I'm not sure why but August seems to have flown by.  Fall is not far off.  We are having cooler nights and more rain.  I have worn socks for the last 2 days!  That's a sure sign summer barefoot weather is coming to an end.

Last Saturday I went on a wine tasting bus trip with my daughter-in-law and daughter.  It was fun bonding time with both my girls. My former employer has some really fun social activities and the bus trip was one of them.  My daughter-in-law is also employed there.  We had a great time.  Michigan has some great wine country about 3 hours from here.  There were some prizes and games on the bus, and it was fun to see some of my former co-workers.  We left about 7:30am and went to 3 wineries.  We had a yummy lunch and also a couple hours on our own shopping time in downtown Traverse City.

   DIL Darcey left, daughter Stefanie middle, me right
   Rows and rows of grapes.  You can see a sliver of                Grand Traverse Bay in the background.

It was a fun outing and the weather was perfect.

Our house has seemed empty since we had to put our 14 year old cat down a couple weeks ago.  I don't think we have been without at least one pet since our daughter was 10.  She's 33 now!  We went to visit one of the local cat rescue shelters last week and of course we brought home a cat.  I went with the intention of finding a young cat, a calico or torti cat, definitely not a black cat.  Don't get me wrong...I love black cats, but I felt it would just remind me too much of Salem.

This is our new little fur-baby....Agatha

She walked right up to me and I fell in love.  She has medium long hair and is all black with green eyes. When I heard Agatha's story I knew I couldn't leave her.  She was dumped at the shelter last winter.  She was skinny, her skin was a mess and her fur was coming out in patches...and both of her hind feet had tape wrapped around them.  Turns out she had flea allergy dermatitis.  They probably taped her feet to stop her from scratching herself.  In spite of that she is very sweet and affectionate.

The shelter had named her Agatha and I planned to change her name but I kept slipping and calling her Agatha....so Agatha (or Aggie) it is.

I am counting the days until school starts...only 5 to go!  It is time for a bored granddaughter to be back in school and I am ready for life to get back to a normal routine.

Til next time,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fiber Fun

Last week my daughter and granddaughter (hereafter referred to as Miss 6) went with me to the Michigan Fiber Festival.  My daughter knits and has tried dyeing yarn. We are slowly indoctrinating Miss 6 into the fiber lifestyle!  We had a great time.

We said hello to some alpacas...

And the softest, fuzziest bunnies.  It was hard to tell some of them were even bunnies....they just looked like big balls of fluff!

We saw a happy sheep (doesn't he look happy to you?)...

And a lot of hungry goats.

After we saw all the animals we had a stroll around the displays.

Of course there were spinners and weavers.  Miss 6 was fascinated by them, as was my daughter.  She bought a drop spindle to attempt to learn how to spin.  She's still working on it.

There were mini-workshops and kids activities.
Here is Miss 6 working on felted soap.

And of course there was lots and lots of yarn.  It was all very tempting for a couple of yarn addicts on budgets.

I stuck to the budget and only purchased 1 (700+ yards) skein of sport weight yarn in this beautiful golden color.  I think it wants to be a shawl.
And I just couldn't resist this cute little lamb.

It was a lovely day spent with two of my favorite people.

Today it is rainy and I can tell that autumn is not too far around the corner.  I'm not quite ready to let summer go...but soon, very soon.

Hope you are enjoying a lovely, still summery day.

Til next time,

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Life Goes On

Despite losing a beloved kitty, life does keep moving.

We celebrated a birthday for a special 3 year old.

Her parents got her this battery operated car.   She loved it of course.  It's cute, it's fun I'm sure...but does a 3 year old need a car?  I'm showing my age, I guess.

We also went to a local farm with our 2 younger granddaughters and our daughter went along.  It was really too hot...must have been mid-80 degrees (F) and quite humid.  (I know....that's not hot to you 100+ folks)
We fed the animals and there were various play areas throughout also...slides, go carts, a jumping area.  I didn't take many pictures because I was too
hot to care!


We were greeted by
a working windmill.

Look at that blue sky....not a cloud in sight.
 I have no idea why a mid-western farm would have a camel, but this one does.
                              Feeding the goats
 The big rocking chair.  The sun was in their eyes.                    Our lovely daughter is in the middle.
                              Horse tire swings.
 There was this beautiful bush that looked very tropical and out of place on a Michigan farm.  The flowers were as big as dinner plates!  I would love to know what it is?  Hybiscus maybe?
After we left the farm we went to a local dairy farm that has expanded business to include a pizza place, deli, and cafe with the best ice cream and chocolate milk around.  The place was packed...they must do a great business in the summer.  We had ice cream, bought some cheese from the deli, and headed home for a nap.

I also went to the Michigan Fiber Festival last Saturday....I am saving that for another post.

Til next time,

Saturday, August 15, 2015

R.I.P. Salem

I want to thank everyone for the caring comments, prayers, and hugs for me and my family as we made the difficult decision this week to put our sweet old kitty down.

                           Rest in Peace Salem

I think we are in the reminising stage that seems to go along with grieving.
My daughter came over on his last evening and held him for quite awhile.  We talked about how he came to be our cat.  Here's the story....

My son noticed this young stray black cat hanging around a pizza place nearby.  My son was about 24 and still living at home.  He brought the cat home and then wasn't sure it was a good time to get us to agree to take in another pet.  We had several other pets already.  He put him into an old car sitting in our yard and gave him some food.  He was going to wait for an opportune moment to bring this cat to our attention.

The next day my daughter and her boyfriend came home and there was a black cat on the porch!  He had somehow gotten out of the car.  She had no idea that her brother had brought this cat home.  My daughter brought him in the house..."look mom, this cat was on the porch, he's so skinny!  Can we keep him?"

It didn't take much to get me on board.  He was so scrawny and flea ridden, and purring like crazy.  But Hubby was out of town and would not be happy about another pet.  This would require just the right approach.

As we discussed keeping the cat, my son came into the house.  Daughter excitedly told him she had found this stray cat!  Son was a bit confused because it was his stray cat!  They still argue about whose cat he really was.  Actually, from the very first he was my cat.

Hubby came home and knew it was a done deal....Salem was home.

He became my shadow for almost 14 years.  He was a "talker" and I miss him.  But he is at peace now.  And I am at peace about it too. The circle of life...there is a time to live and a time to die.

So life goes on.  I am quite sure there is a kitty needing a good home...it won't be long before I find him.
Thanks for listening,

Til next time,

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Salem's Ready

This is just a quick update on my poor old sick kitty, Salem.

We are doing insulin with little difference for 24 hours now.  I have to coax and syringe food and liquids into him.   He will lick at canned cat food or even tuna but most of it stays in the bowl.  He can barely walk.  He lays in his litter box for hours if I let him.  I spent some time just watching him today....I think he is sad and miserable.  He doesn't seem to be in pain but I think he is telling me it's time to go.

So I have been pondering that all afternoon and had just reached a decision to call the Vet in the morning and set up an appointment.  About 20 minutes later the phone rang.  It was our Vet checking to see how he was.  We had a discussion about his lack of improvement and the decision has been made.  We are having him put down on Friday at 11:30.

I feel at peace with this decision....it is time, and I don't want to put him through anymore.  I know in my heart that it is best for him.  

It is best for me too.  I have been agonizing about this for days and haven't been able to focus on much of anything.

And so it goes.....

Til next time,

Monday, August 10, 2015

Out and About

Hubby found a part time little retirement job delivering a weekly local newspaper.  It is a motor route and takes about 4 1/2 hours to complete.  We realized right away that this is really a two person job.  He drives and I put the papers in the boxes.
We deliver in the general area where we live.  It is fun to see what's new in our little neck of the woods.

                          Come and join us.

Country roads and wildflowers.....

And I guess we have some quirky neighbors......

And a totem carved from a dead tree on a corner of the road.  I have no idea who carved this or why they they put it there.  It has been there for many years.

Our route even takes us past Lake Michigan....

I have been tempted to take pictures of mailboxes.....it is amazing how unique some mailboxes are, and it's also amazing how beaten and broken some mailboxes are.  I am surprised the post office will even leave mail in some of them.

Sick kitty update:
Salem is not doing very well (and neither am I).  His insulin is supposed to be delivered Tuesday.  Honestly, I am not sure he will live that long.  He isn't eating but will drink a little canned food mixed with water into a slurry.  I am having second thoughts about trying to treat him.  It is so hard to see him like this, and I wish I had put him down right away instead.  If he lives til we get insulin I will give it a try but if he doesn't respond really well I am ready to let him go.  

Have a great week,

Til next time, 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Where to start?

I am thankful it is Friday.  It hasn't been a good week....I hardly know where to start. I am looking forward to putting it behind me.

First bad day...Hubby was playing soccer, or at least kicking a ball around, with all three granddaughters.  He thought it would be fun to throw the ball up on the roof and let it roll back off.  They did that a few times.....what great fun!   I bet you can see that there is a down side to this game.  Yes, indeed.  Hubby thought the ball was going to hit the little one and he collided with another child also trying to get the ball as it came off the roof.  Hubby tripped and fell and smashed his face onto a cement walk.
Fortunately, he didn't break anything....except his glasses.  He does have a great black eye though.  I think he is secretly proud of it...."you should see the other guy" he says.

Second bad day...oldest granddaughter displayed some very selfish, seriously bad behavior.  Bad enough that I was very angry with her and asked her parents to make arrangements for her to spend today with her other grandma. I really needed space from her today.

And today was another bad day....spent the afternoon with a sick cat at the Vet again.  He has been drinking more and urinating more for a couple weeks.  He was dehydrated, and his blood sugar was very high.  We now have a diabetic cat (sigh).  He is 14 and I seriously debated the idea of putting him down, but how do you do that when there are things to be done to treat it....expensive things of course.  So insulin is ordered, have special ($$) food, and have to pick up some insulin syringes.
The insulin is for cats, I can't get it at a regular pharmacy, it is coming by mail and not due to arrive til Tuesday.  All of this with no guarantees he will respond well.

On a happier note, Sunday is birthday party time for our littlest granddaughter.  There is always something to be thankful for, something to look forward to.
 Here is my 3 year old birthday girl on an adventure.  Life is always an adventure isn't it?

I wish you a wonderful, relaxing weekend.

Til next time,

Saturday, August 1, 2015

One month to go

School doesn't start here until after Labor Day.  At this point in the summer it seems a long way off.  And Nana and Bapa are getting tired!
During the school year we have only our youngest granddaughter, who turned 3 yesterday, with us during the day Mon-Fri.  In the summer we have the oldest, who will be 11 in Sept, with us also.  Those pre-teen years are a challenge.  I am not sure if it is only this particular child, or if all children this age can't entertain themselves without benefit of electronics.
In any case, we end up trying our best to keep her busy without spending a fortune.
I cannot feel I am doing right by her to let her spend all summer in the house watching Youtube and TV.

We have been to the beach twice this week, and yesterday we went to the park.  We also picked up our middle granddaughter, who is 6.  Her Daddy was trying to build a new deck and didn't really need her help.   It was good for her to be with us.  They had to put down one of their cats 2 days before and she was still trying to process that.  The girls played on the playground for awhile and we packed a picnic lunch.  It was a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky.  It is rare to see just blue, blue sky like that.  I didn't take a single picture either.

Here is a picture from the beach this week.  (Because it seems like a blog needs at least 1 picture).

We are counting the days until school starts and we can get back to our routine.
I am in favor of year-round school with shorter breaks throughout the year.  I think our kids in the USA are lagging behind other countries in academics.  It is also no longer the norm for families to have Mom stay at home.  Childcare is an issue for families during the summer.  I know of some kids who are old enough to be left home alone but must stay in the house while parents work.  I don't see how that is better for them than being in school.

  There is talk about year-round school in Michigan, and a few schools are doing it.   I'm not sure what other states do, but in Michigan school usually ends by the 2nd week of June and starts after Labor Day.   I think year-round will become the norm eventually, but not without a struggle.  Many are very opposed to it.
How do you feel about it?  What does your school system do?

Have a great weekend!

Til next time,