Friday, July 31, 2009

And Then There Were Three


I came home with one less kitten tonight. Duke went home with who I hope will be his forever mommies. Two very nice ladies came in looking for a black and white kitten. I told them I preferred that they go in pairs but if they really only wanted one, Spree would be the best to go a lone. They actually asked for Spree by name.

Spree was a bit nervous and was very tense the entire time they held her. Duke on the other hand, was chilled out and relaxed. They chose Duke. I told him he would be my only other of the litter I'd let go by himself, but only to a family that had other pets or children because Duke hates being alone.

I held Duke before they put him in the carrier and kissed his little face good bye and then I bolted. I couldn't stay to watch them take him. I was getting choked up. Just had to hand him over and I had to leave. I hope they don't think it strange that I didn't come back and shake their hands.


Duke is a good kittie. He's very sweet. Not as crazy as Dash and Stache, but still very playful - - as this photo attests to. I hope they love him and he just melts into their hearts.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Great Marine Corps Quote in London Times

" I'd like the readers of your newspaper to know that not only are we some of the best looking gentlemen you've ever seen, but we are also very experienced in war fighting." LCPL Brad Stys in Afghanistan.

Patrolling the challenging landscape of Afghanistan with US Marines

I recommend taking a look at the London Time's coverage, great pictures and stories.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Whirlwind Weekend

It was another busy weekend!

Saturday the kittens and I attended an adoption event. None of my babies were adopted. I would have to say they were very mellow. Probably has something to do with the 1 - 4 p.m. time frame, which coincides with their nap time. They were happy to be held by people and petted, they got a lot of attention because they are so darn cute sleeping - - oh if people could only see them as I see them, these kittens would be snapped up and adopted.

It was a HOT Saturday - - it hit 90 degrees. That is actually the norm for Virginia summers. This has not been a typical summer, which has been great! Its been in the 80s and cooling down to the 60s at night so I've been able to open the windows and turn the air conditioning off. Its been wonderful. Yesterday, was, as I said, HOT. 90 and humid. What a combination.

My friend Diana had a birthday celebration at Wolf Trap - - The Music of John Williams. He wrote the score to Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Harry Potter... his music could be the sound track to my life. It was funny how when the music played all sorts of memories flooded back. Standing in a line that wrapped around the block of the movie theater in my home town to watch Star Wars. I think we went with my cousin Ted when he was visiting our grandparents. I remember watching, and falling asleep during, Close Encounters of The Third kind at the Drive-In Theater. I remembered going to see ET in Toledo, Ohio and someone who shall remain nameless because this person would kill me if I revealed any names, shoved a piece of popcorn up their nose so high my parents thought they would have to take this un-named person to the hospital. When asked why they shoved the popcorn up their nose they gave an answer I hear from my software users on a daily basis when I ask they why they chose to do what they did,

"I don't know."

Ah, memories....

It was great.

I was so focused on the music, one of my friends kept playing with my hair and I of course thought it was a bug and kept brushing it away - - good thing I am not afraid of bugs, otherwise I would have probably screamed. (Yah, how would you have liked that to have happened K?) Yes, even when we are in our 30s, we revert back to behavior of pre-teens. Ah, to be like Peter Pan and never grow-up!

Keeping with the theme, there were actors among the crowd. Ominous looking actors, quite fitting with the ominous weather.

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He does have his weapon pointed down, so no one felt threatened.

Notice how wet everyone is.

Can I just say we had a rain storm of almost Biblical strength. As I was driving to Wolf Trap, the sky behind me was black. When I hit the toll road, HUGE drops of rain began to pelt my car.

Now, I did mention that it was HOT that day. It was 90 when I left my house. Within 10 minutes of the storm beginning, the temperature had dropped to 73! When I got to Wolf Trap, I sat in my car, in the parking lot, thinking I'd wait for it to blow over. It was only suppose to last for 15 minutes, or so that is what they said on WTOP.

Fifteen minutes went by and it was still raining Noah's flood type rain. I decided, I was going to be getting wet anyway - - so I might as well just go for it and get wet. So off I trekked to join my friends on the Lawn at Wolf Trap.


Above three of my friends arrive during a break in the storm. You can see there are A LOT of people sitting on the lawn despite the rain.

Below, our birthday girl an un-identified storm trooper, me and one of D's other friends (I don't know her name - - well, can't remember it).

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Below is the whole Bible Study group. This is a GREAT bunch of women and I am so blessed to know them all. I can tell you I have grown so much in my walk because of these women. Iron truly sharpens Iron. This was before the next down pour.

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By the way, all you good Christian men, why you aren't snapping any of these beautiful women up, is beyond my understanding.

The concert begins and as if on cue, so does the rain. Here we all are trying to keep as dry as possible. It was impossible. We were all pretty wet. However, since it had been so hot, it really felt pretty good, refreshing.

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As if on cue, when the music stopped for intermission, the rain stopped. So out came the birthday cake. My friend D's boyfriend made the cake for her.

I gotta find a guy like that.


Here is the whole gang singing Happy Birthday - - a few people sitting around us got into the singing too. There was much applause when we finished. As you can see, only one of the candles is lit. I think, because of all the rain, she wasn't able to get all of them lit, and we were running out of time, intermission is only 15 minutes or something.


Holy Cow! Look at how big those pieces are! This cake was single handedly responsible for me not losing any weight this week.


And, as if on cue again, as soon as the music started, so did the rain.


It was a challenge to eat and stay dry at the same time. Yes, the rain brought all new meaning to "Moist Cake".


You aren't suppose to take pictures of the performances. I snuck this one in. It is the encore song, the song from Jabba's place - - you know the bar on Tatooine.


It was a fun concert, with a light saber duel and a parade of many of the characters. If you are ever in the DC area in the summer, I recommend taking in a performance at Wolf Trap. Everything I've ever attended, even if I really wasn't that into the music -- like Ziggy Marley - - I've had a great time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dog Days of Summer


Saturday afternoon, I attended a fund raiser put on by one of the missions teams at church. They had a "Dog Days of Summer" party at a local park. They had a really good turn out. Lots of people and their furry four-legged friends of the barking variety. While Ranger is good on a leash and would have loved the outing - - he would not have liked being around so many dogs - - because, he's a cat.

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Above, some of the women in my Bible study group. These ladies are such neat women and I feel so blessed to know them, to have them in my life. Nothing better than having a good bunch of girlfriends.

Below, the doggie games have begun - - Cheez Whiz licking contest. The dog owners were to smear the Cheez on the dogs nose and the first dog to lick all the cheese off, won.


This little dog wasn't very happy about the Cheez Whiz on her nose.


Get it off!


Below is a different dog - - and well, it kind of sat on the Cheez Whiz. For a human, this would have been very embarrassing.


Daily Kitten Funny


For some reason, I wanted to chant "Chug, chug, chug!"

Yesterday was the day of kittens getting their noses into things. Besides Duke above sticking his head all the way into the fries box, Dash did the same thing, only he had to first fish it out of the trash. Later in the day as I got ready to head out to a fund raiser, Stache got a nose/face full of my mineral powder make-up. The poor little guy stuck his whole face into the jar of fine powder and took a big snort. Much sneezing, shaking of the head and rubbing of the face followed. I picked him up and his whole black little face was ivory powder. I laughed so hard as I took a wash cloth to him and washed it off. He was really sneezing.

I've not been blogging much about anything other than the kittens. I've been doing a lot of stuff and have so many pictures to share - - just such little time to blog. Much of what I would like to write about, I want to write about it well. Frankly, my writing seems to have spiraled down hill. I still think I can write great instructions for things, but telling "stories", that takes some thought - - and fact checking. Heck, my quick thoughts on things blogs, I get the facts wrong. Good grief. I really wonder sometimes if I've been having blonde moments or if its the onset of alzheimer's. I know, not funny to joke about. But I find myself searching for people's names (can be looking right at them and their name escapes me), not remembering what day of the week it is, and where the heck my keys are. I know my insomnia issues are playing a part in that - - so my goal has been to actually go to bed at a decent hour - -wether or not I actually fall asleep at a decent hour is besides the point (I have been reading a lot).

Regarding the writing. I had my annual work evalutation yesterday. It went very well. I met expectations. My evaluator said he wished the scoring for the evaluation had more latitude because he wanted me to know I was on the high end of meeting expectations. I told him I was very happy with my evaluation and the written remarks. Frankly, I told him if I were scoring "exceeds expectations" or the "superior" rating, I'd have to say my job wasn't challenging enough. My job has been challenging, in a good way. I got a superior rating once in my career - - when I was on another project. The project where I was bored out of my mind, would finish assignments in a week that they thought I'd be working on for months - - and then I'd just sit and read the news. Yes, I rate superior at reading the news, folks. That was the most unsatisfying superior rating ever. So I was satisfied with my eval this year.

One of the items listed to improve upon this next year is my writing. Specifically with business/e-mail correspondence. There have been too many times where I was slammed and had to get something out to someone and sent it with spelling mistakes (doesn't help to have spell check set to automatically check when you hit 'ignore' on all of its hits) or my sentence structure made the recipient go "huh?!?" Oh, and the times my 'tone' came across as insulting, yes, I have to work on the 'tone' of my writing. I know this. So I am going to look for a writing class as well as make a conserted effort to improve/practice here.

Well, on I go to the last load of laundry to fold and bathrooms to clean... then to church for evening service. I played soccer last night and those late night games result in me being very stiff when I wake-up. I could have gone to chuch this morning. I ended up going to the gym and swimming 1000 meters. The first 1000 I've swam in (yikes!) 2 years. I swam it and it loosened me up. So I am going to try to make that part of my new work-out routine, only earlier, like around 6:30 or 7 a.m. on Sunday -- that way I can still make it to morning service.

That is all she wrote for now folks...have a great Sunday.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

And That's The Way It Is....

I just finished reading and watching the tributes to Walter Cronkite, who died last night at the age of 92.

What a full life he led and how blessed to have had the opportunity to have met the people he met, go the places he went and relay the events he did to the American people.

I found myself getting choked up watching his broadcast of Kennedy's assassination and again as they reported the Apollo 11 moon landing. It was funny that they "missed" Armstrong's famous qoute, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind". I chuckled as the anchors asked each other, "What did he say? I caught the first part but not the second phrase." Its amazing how, when things are happening, you don't realize what, exactly, is going to be historically significant.

What a full life... and that's the way it was.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chilled Kittens and Other "Tails"

The kittens were fascinated with housework this weekend. Putting groceries away became an arctic adventure as the open refrigerator revealed a cool kaleidoscope of colorful things to explore. Who needs a rock wall when you have refrigerator door shelves?


The dish washer..


washing machine and dryer...


provided endless imaginary hunting expeditions for the kittens. I found myself doing head counts after opening and closing my appliances.

Monday morning, Spree disappeared.

I fed everyone but she did not appear. I went up to get her. She wasn't on the bed, the last place I had seen her. I looked everywhere, just in case she'd gotten shut in a closet.

No where.

She wasn't under any of the beds or furniture. I even looked in the refrigerator because I had opened it when I was prepping breakfast for everyone. I didn't see her.

I was running late, so I left for work, still not knowing where she was.

Could she be in the refrigerator?

No, I looked, I told myself as I drove through DC rush hour traffic.

Maybe I missed her. What if she climbed behind that big bag of green beans? Should I turn around and check again? I'd be late for work if I did. I went to work.

I was trying to re-assure myself that Spree was small and didn't require that much oxygen (breathing is so over rated!) and the refrigerator was cold, so that would drop her core temperature and she'd probably curl up and sleep, that would conserve her oxygen usage, right?

All sorts of visions were dancing through my head.

Luckily no one showed up for our special help session at work so I asked if it would be o.k. if I ran home.

When I got home, I ran to the refrigerator, opened the door and rummaged to the back of the shelves.

No Spree.

Where the heck was she?

I called her name as I opened every closet, looked under all the furniture, opened all the drawers and cabinet doors. Still, no Spree.

I was getting a little panicky. How could I lose a kitten? I sat down on the bottom stair, the boys were looking at me in anticipation, "Play with us" their eyes and twitchy tails implored.

"Where's your sister?" I asked.

"Who needs that silly girl?" They seemed to convey as they wove in and out of my legs while they purred, "Play with us!"

I stood up and ran up the stairs, calling Spree's name, the boys were on my heels.

I ran down the stairs calling her name, the boys still on my heels, like I was some male kitten pied piper.

I ran down the stairs into the family room, asked a sleeping Ranger if he'd seen Spree. He just growled. The boys pounced on each other gleefully. This game of chasing me up and down stairs was kind of fun.

I ran back upstairs, calling Spree's name, totally motivated to rip my house apart - - and - - there- - sauntering through the dining room, like she'd been there the whole time, was Spree.

I picked her up and kissed her little head. The boys stretched their paws up my pant legs mewing to be picked up too.

After each one was snuggled and heads counted one last time, I headed back to work.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Pee in your pants funny!

If you are looking for a good beach or pool read for the summer, I highly recommend Bill Bryson's memoir of growing up in 1950s Midwest America, Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

I will warn you though, you will laugh out loud - often. I almost fell off the eliptical while reading this book and I am sure others near me thought I was nuts as I began laughing. Then I began crying because I was laughing so hard. I tried to surpress my laughter which only caused me to snort - - which is quite painful when doing a cardio work out.

Recollections of the jar collection under the sink and how his mother would bring one of the jars along when doing errands with her son - - in case he needed to pee - - and no restroom was convenient, reminded me of the collection under my grandparent's and own parent's kitchen sink. The funniest was when young Bryson pointed out to his mom that the jar the left over peaches were stored in was the pee jar.

Other stories that will have you holding your sides and crossing your legs: when Bryson breaks his arm, the attempt to sneak into the "girlie" tent at the county fair, a trip to the local swimming hole, and all the people the Thunderbolt Kid zaps.

If only my life growing up in Midwest America in the 1970s was as interesting and funny...who knows, maybe it was.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Chapel Updates End of June


Last weekend, the roof was going up. Its really taking shape.


Below is a view of the alter side of the chapel and what I think will be part of the water feature.


A side view.


View of the front door.


This is a photo close-up of the artist's rendering that is on the billboard by the front door. You can see the stone work of the water feature.


Here is some of that stone work in its beginning phases.


The Kittens Were Not Adopted

The kittens and myself are exhausted after a day at PetSmart for an adoption event. They weren't adopted. I'm kind of happy but kind of sad. The worst part is the drive, just like Gracie they all cry for the entire car ride. I hate that.

People balk at the policy that kittens be adopted in pairs. I think it is a really good idea because I remember Ranger being alone when he was about 10 weeks old - - I really regretted seperating him from his brother. This evening, Stache realized that he was alone in the dining room, the rest of us were downstairs in the family room. I heard him crying (it must be a female thing, I am tuned into the mothering call). When a shouted up the stairs so he knew where we were, he came trotting down the stairs and jumped into my arms. (Yes, he did that). He gave me a little cat kiss and starte purr - - all safe and sound in his mama's arms.

The only one sitting with me now is Dash. He's racked out on the chair next to me.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Independence Day May Mean New Homes For the Babies

The kittens have been "fixed" and as of tomorrow (Friday) they will be 10 weeks old. I am taking them to their first adoption event on Saturday, July 4th. I will be the only person bringing cats/kittens in according to the volunteer schedule sent out by Lost Dog Lost Cat. So, there is a good chance I may be coming home without my kittens. They are so darn cute, who wouldn't want to adopt them.

I got some really good pictures of Duke. For some reason whenever I pull out the camera, he stops whatever cute thing he's doing and runs up to me. Here with the telephoto, he had no clue I was "shooting" him. These are from last weekend.

Duke ready to play.


Dash is playing with something along the window while Duke (left) and Stache (right) attack Spree (center). Spree was not happy.


Dash just chilling out in the sun, hugging the kitty lounger.


Stache lounging on the kitte lounger.


The vet said the kittens were so sweet. Dash was kissing on one of the vet techs. He does that with me, puts his paws on my face and starts to kneed my lips while he licks my nose. I was so glad to hear that he did that with someone other than me. The vet tech said she could tell I have been playing and loving on them because they are so loving toward people. She said Dash was her favorite. (He's mine too). All of them just plop over and want their bellies rubbed and want to snuggle and give kisses. They are what people are looking for in kittens. I have been praying that God has been preparing good homes for them.

Lost Dog Lost Cat policy with kittens is that they have to be adopted in pairs -- so I'd like Dash and Stache to go together and Duke and Spree to go together. Dash and Stache are partners in crime. Spree and Duke aren't as aggressive - - but still playful - - they are more each other's speed. They tend to be over powered by Dash and Stache.

They have been so much fun. I will be sad to see them go to new families, but I know they will be blessings.