Friday, September 26, 2008


When Betsey went to take care of Proctor yesterday he got close enough to her to smell her hand. That's a huge step for him.

Today when she went over she didn't see him at first. She called "Hi Proctor…" and he meowed to her from wherever he was, but didn't make any attempt to come to her. She went to the kitchen and saw that he was sitting by the fridge, just waiting.

Usually he doesn't allow her to get too close to him, but she realized that if he wanted to get to the food she was going to put out for him, he would have to walk right past her, which was pretty close. He did, and he actually let her pet him! It was a good petting session too--head, back, tummy, etc.

I asked her if he purred. She said "No, but at least he didn't hiss at me!"

Sunday: I wanted to wait until we had a picture of Proctor to publish this. Betsey told me he is a really big cat, and he surely is!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The Big Storm was Sunday, September 14. As of last night 13,000 people in our area still had no power. (At least that's way down from 180,000) Our neighbors across the street finally got theirs turned on last night. Who would have thought we would have a hurricane in Ohio?

Our family was fortunate, as I said in my last post, but we still had quite a bit of drama. Betsey has been cat sitting for a friend of ours who is visiting friends in China for 3 weeks. She goes every day. The power was off in his house until Sunday the 21st. Unfortunately we didn't think about his food spoiling until his power had been off for 4 days. Jim and Betsey went over and cleaned out and scrubbed his refrigerator and freezer.

Where most of the drama came from was with his cats--Proctor and Gamble. Proctor just doesn't like Betsey and either hisses at her or runs the other way. Gamble at least let Betsey pet her. This last Sunday afternoon when Betsey went over there, Gamble didn't look good. If she stood up she was very wobbly. Betsey thought she might be dehydrated for some reason, but couldn't get her to drink.

She called me and said she really thought Gamble should be seen by a vet. Fortunately I had the phone number of an emergency vet who was open on weekends and after hours. Jim and Betsey took Gamble over there and found out she was in end-stage kidney failure. Her blood work was off the charts. The vet said they could do some procedures but they would be expensive and wouldn't really work very well. He did inject a bunch of fluid under her skin so even if she didn't drink she would feel a little better. He said it would last only about 10 hours though.

The Vet said that this had been coming on for quite some time. She was only 9 years old. For some cats that's old, and for others it's not. Perhaps the stress of having her "daddy" gone, and having such a violent storm and then being without lights for a week, was just too much for her.

We brought her home here and fixed a box padded with towels in the kitchen. Betsey tried valiantly much of the evening and the next day to get her to drink with an eye dropper, and tried to get some liquid food into her, but she just wasn't having it. She just got weaker and weaker.

Gamble passed away during the night Monday night. Betsey checked on her about 1:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. She was still warm then, but limp, and Betsey knew she was gone. She tenderly closed Gamble’s eyes and mouth and positioned her body comfortably. She was in a sweet, relaxed position when I checked on her at 3:30. Betsey was still awake at that time, because she just didn't want to go to sleep. We hugged and cried and talked, and hugged some more. Then she was ready to settle down for the night. It was sad but sweet. We’re sorry Gamble couldn’t hang on, but this was best for her.

Later in the day when Betsey went to check on Proctor and feed him, he meowed at her. She explained to him what happened to Gamble and that his "daddy" would be home in a week. She told him she could pet him if he would like, but he hissed at her. Proctor still just doesn’t like her. Betsey hopes he won’t die of a broken heart before our friend gets home

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Peter's wife, Karen is from northern Ohio. She and Elizabeth went on a visit to her parents. On Saturday, Sept. 13, Karen's mom, Rebecca, drove them down to see us.Elizabeth turned eight months old on Sunday. She was such a busy little lady. When she was awake she was hardly ever still.
She also did a lot of chewing because she is in the process of cutting more teeth.
She demonstrated crawling on the floor, and then stopped to smile and show us her two tiny teeth. (If you click on the picture, it will enlarge so you can see the teeth better.)
Something sweet, but also very sad happened. Peter really wanted to see his family so they set it up on the computer to use a webcam so they could talk and see each other. Elizabeth immediately recognized her daddy and held out her arms to him. He held out his arms to her also, and she couldn't understand why he wouldn't pick her up. She cried as if her heart was broken. It was so sad. Karen took her away from the computer for awhile and let her calm down, but when she brought her back Elizabeth did the same thing again. After that they turned off the video portion. Elizabeth loves her mommy, but it was obvious that she loves her daddy too. ^o^
She did a few deep knee bends. She was really trying out her legs. We even got to see her stand by herself for a second or two.
Here she is cruising around the Rebounder. At this point she cruises only to the right. Karen said that's because at home she puts Elizabeth at the far corner of the couch away from Daddy's computer and she cruises to the right to try to get to it.
Here she is with grandma and grandpa.
Sharing a giggle with Karen and Kirsten.
Sunday after church we came home and had a big lunch. Betsey had made two lasagnas on Labor Day. We took one to the church picnic, and put the other one in the freezer for today. We were glad we had a big lunch because soon after lunch a BIG wind came up and the power went out. This was the remnant of hurricane Ike coming to visit. Here we all are checking out the wind outside. (Jim and Karen's mom are in the back row.) It was SO windy that Elizabeth and Kirsten didn't want to look up. It got really scary then, so we got sensible and went back inside. You can see the beginnings of our yard being littered with leaves and branches.
Karen and Rebecca needed to leave for home, but it was way too windy so they stayed around another hour or so waiting for the wind to die down. Grandma Rebecca got out a cross stitch she was working on. It was still plenty light enough in the house to see at that time, even though the power was out.

The wind did seem to calm down around 4:00 so they left. Just a few minutes later ,however, it got really bad again. A few hours later we tried calling Karen to see how they were doing but couldn't get through. We kept getting a written message on the cell phone that said "For Emergency Use Only." That was disconcerting. Apparently cell phones are not all that dependable during a crisis. Jim is planning to call the cell phone company and ask about that. I hope he remembers.
Well, the wind continued to howl for quite some time. We don't have pictures of how littered the front yard got, but this shows some of the back yard. At one point I was looking out the front window and I saw a branch from a silver maple tree come sailing out of the sky. It was about 10 feet long. It had to have come over the roof. We had upwards of 70-mile-an-hour winds, but almost no rain.

It got pretty dark in the house as the sun went down, but we had flashlights. At one point Jim went to call the electric company, again, to check on the status of our lights, and I went and sat with him. We didn't need the flashlights on just to sit there, so we turned them off to conserve the batteries and sat there in the dark.


We might as well play a game, so I said, gleefully, "I'm thinking of a word and it's not ATE." I'm thinking of a word and it's not… is a neat game that Bishop Nufer taught us some years ago while we were waiting in a long line at a National Junior Honor Society banquet. To play it you think of a word, but rather than say the word you are thinking of, you say a word that rhymes with it, and the others have to guess the word. They have to guess the word by describing that word rather than saying it. Then the person tells him if it's correct or not and says the word.

For example Jim said, "Is it something that you use when you go fishing?" and I said, "No, it's not BAIT." He came up with some really creative things. My favorite was, "In Anne of Green Gables is it something that she hit What's His Name over the head with?" I said "No it's not a slate." I don't know how many other things he guessed.

Finally he asked me if it was in first half of the alphabet or the second half, and I told him it was in the second half. (By this time he had already finished his phone call, but didn't want to give up on the game.) He finally asked, "Is it something you find out when you step on a scale?" I said, "Yes, but it's a different form." He couldn't imagine what I was talking about, so I finally said, "It's what they were making you do on the telephone! ^o^ He said "Wait!" We got a good laugh out of that. It was just fun.

The last time we played that game I was getting a little silly, and said. "I'm thinking of a word and it's not "Noodle!" He said "Really?" We laughed a lot that night too. (You would have had to be there.) Then he said, "Is it kit and…?" I said "No it's not kaboodle." The word was "poodle." Not much else rhymes with noodle, but that's OK. My philosophy is that if there are two words that rhyme it's worth a try, and it's probably good for a smile or two along the way.
Well, our power finally came back on just before 5:00 a.m., and we were very fortunate. We were fortunate that we didn't have any damage, and fortunate that we had power. Ours was out for only 13 1/2hours. As I am writing this (Tuesday night) there are some people who won't be getting theirs back on for another 5 days.

Our neighbor lost two evergreen trees that were growing close together. They blew over as far as they could and then just broke off. They landed over the fence into our yard, but the fence wasn't damaged. He was out early Monday morning with his chain saw and cleared everything out of our yard.
It was sad, because they were pretty trees. There are other evergreens along the back fence also, and I'm thankful they were OK.
This is a picture of what happened to a house across the street from our neighbor, Lorna. The tree split in four pieces, some of which landed on the house. I don't know if the house had any damage. All over town there are areas of damage, and other areas where there was none. Lots of people (180,000) today still didn't have power in our area, and Cincinnati had more than that. Three big evergreens blew down on the next block.

What was really scary though was that behind the houses across the street from us a tree fell on a power line and knocked it down and started a fire. 3 fire trucks and an ambulance showed up. Our neighbor was in the hospital, and his family was able to stay with him over night because the power was out in their house. That was so nice for them.

I could say more, but it's late. It's been quite an adventure. It's amazing to us that Ike came to the Ohio valley with so much force. He will be long remembered I'm sure.

P.S. Wednesday:
Clean up has been progressing. This shows the pile of branches that were picked up in our yard. These are waiting to be taken to the dump. We are fortunate that our pile was this small.
I've been thinking about the tree down the street that split into four pieces and fell on the neighbor's house. I don't remember what the tree looked like, but perhaps its trunk was similar to the one above, only with four sections instead of three. Those angles between the sections are much too narrow, making the tree vulnerable to breakage as it gets older and the branches get heavier.
We had ours cabled earlier this summer, to protect it from falling apart. The cable runs from trunk number 1 to trunk number 3. They are attached to some very strong eyes that are screwed into the trunks. Unfortunately a branch fell on the cable during the storm, so the whole thing isn't visible. Hopefully you can get the idea.
This is an example of what safe angles look like. Larger angles like these are far less likely to break.
The tree is special to us because Peter planted it as a Cub Scout project over 20 years ago. It has grown into a lovely shade tree.
If you click on this picture it will enlarge enough that you can see the cable running all the way across if you look really close. If we had known 20 years ago what we know now, we would not have bought this particular tree because of those angles. That's one of those "live and learn things."

Friday, September 5, 2008


I knew that Jim was supposed to go out of town for the week, leaving on Monday, but I had forgotten where he was going. When I asked him last night he reminded me that he was going to a meeting in Pensacola, Florida. I had a quick thought of, "Hm-m-m-m-m-, I wonder if there's any problem with it being hurricane season?"

He called me this afternoon to tell me that his trip had been postponed because a hurricane was due to hit the Florida Keys early in the week, while headed in the direction of Pensacola. OK, I'm glad they decided to put that meeting off for awhile! I sincerely hope the folks who live there will come through it OK.

P.S. The latest word is that Ike decided not to go to Florida after all.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


At last, the long-awaited and much talked about day came. Kirsten started celebrating her birthday on Saturday with Ray, and had more of a treat when we took a birthday cake to the ward picnic on Monday, but yesterday was the real day. Another birthday cake went to school with her in the morning, and last night we took her out to eat at Golden Corral, her very favorite restaurant. Our friend Rachel went with us to the restaurant and came back to the house to help sing to Kirsten and watch her open her gifts. Kirsten LOVES socks with designs on them, so she got some new ones for her birthday. She now has some new striped Wednesday socks and some blue puppy socks. Perhaps Tuesday or Thursday will become a blue day now that she has some light blue socks. :-) (She does have some blue shirts, so we shall see what she decides.) She had also been asking for some new puzzles, so she got two of those as well.

She also had a couple of great phone calls from siblings who sang to her. We put the phone on speaker so she could hear better. She loved it, and sang along with them. All in all it was a fun ending to a really nice birthday celebration.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Betsey's Baby and Chieka Too

The quality of the following video isn't all that great, but it's not bad for a camera phone. Betsey took the first part about Angie by herself about two years ago. The last part, with Chieka, was two days ago.

Chieka is our friendly neighborhood Doberman Pinscher. She and her "Mommy and Daddy" Jackie and Mike, live at the other end of the block from us. Chieka and Angie have been good friends for years--just as long as there is a fence between them. In their younger days, Chieka used to always come calling for Angie whenever she was out walking with her family. She is very obedient, so they never need a leash to walk her. When she gets near our house she runs ahead and stands by the fence and barks for Angie to come out and play. If we hear Chieka out there, we let Angie out and they run the fence.

They have such a great time as long as the fence is there. If they both happen to be out walking in the neighborhood at the same time, however, they completely ignore each other. I thought Mike's comment was priceless when he said, "I never will understand Dog Snobbery!"

Running the fence happens only rarely now because both doggies are getting older, so I'm really glad Betsey was able to record it. Cheika is 13 and Angie is 14. We hope they will both be around for quite awhile yet.