2021-How Do You Like It So Far?

Well, we’re off to a rousing start, aren’t we? I learned a long time ago not to say that a new year couldn’t be worse than the old one. Events and nature have a way of proving us wrong. So far 2021 is pretty bad.

It got off to an immediate bad start for us. At 6:30 on New Year’s morning the power went out. While we were sleeping an ice storm had blown in and taken down trees and power lines.

Yes, it looks pretty, but …..

I had charged my book light the day before so I read all day snuggled into my fuzzy blanket. The dogs curled up in their beds and I was contemplating ice cream for dinner because it would start melting soon even in the freezer.

Nine hours later the lights came back on and we returned to normal.

The covid vaccination schedule here in Missouri is anyone’s guess. There doesn’t seem to be anyone in charge so we just stay home and wait. I was supposed to have surgery for gallstones in November but decided to wait till my surgeon and I each had at least one vaccination. I’m still waiting.

Next came the Georgia runoff election. I knew better than to get my hopes up and I went to bed before either had been called. Rob woke me the next morning to give me the good news. I came downstairs, poured my first cup of coffee and watched for Congress to certify the election. Then you all know what happened next.

While swearing at the television I’ve kept my hands busy. That way I can’t throw things. I stitched this which was a bear to do but I think turned out nicely. Just to give an idea on the size, the birds are lifesized.

I have been knitting miniature dogs till I’ve run out of room for them. Now I have to clear off a couple shelves to house them.

My five year old poinsettia is trying to flower and I give it lots of praise for the attempt.

The Christmas cactus is outdoing itself. Maybe the praise works.

Finally, my heart is not only broken but shattered by the loss of my Norma Jean. She was so very special to me. I want to write about her but the time isn’t right. I have to learn to live without her first.

Soon I will share her with you, but not yet.

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Well, here it is Christmas Eve and it wouldn’t be the day before Christmas without an emergency trip to the vet. This morning Miss Norma Jean made a holiday visit to Dr B due to frequent vomiting. I’ve been treating her for a couple weeks but yesterday I called in frustration and he told me to bring her in this morning.

Norma Jean has a lot going on. First she’s 14 years old. She has paralysis in one half of her face. He says she feels nothing on that side and the eye and ear on that side don’t work either. We don’t know what caused the condition but she’s been living with it for a couple years. Next she has a lung disorder for which she takes prednisone every other day. Next she has leukemia and she also has probable liver disease.

The doc checked her tummy and she exhibits no pain so we’re going to try a few things to figure out the vomit mystery. She’s going off the pred for five days, then we’ll start it up again to see if it’s causing the problem. Two other possibilities are pancreatitis or acid reflux. We’ve dealt with both before. Sebastian was on a special diet for pancreatitis and Bentley had acid reflux. So the next couple weeks will be trial and error to see what helps and what makes things worse. She received an injection of Cerenia and came home with some Cerenia tablets for the next couple weeks. Meanwhile I have to spoon feed her five small meals daily because her facial paralysis makes it difficult for her to eat by herself.

It is Christmas, however, whether it feels like it or not so we made some cookies for the kids across the street.

The Christmas cactus is in full bloom and has been for a couple months.

And this fellow is hanging around the kitchen to remind us that it’s the holidays and to wear our masks.

So Merry Christmas from all of us; Sydney


Norma Jean

Rocket J and Crash


The Shark

and Dustbuster

So that’s my holiday, how’s yours?

A Holiday For The Rest Of Us

Happy Festivus, everyone!

Today we’ll gather around our Festivus pole in the back yard, or maybe not. It’s raining and windy and the temperature is dropping out of the 60s into the 20s. So maybe we’ll just look at the pole thru the window while sipping a warm drink.

I won’t burden you with my list of grievances since my list this year is rather long and I’m pretty sure you have most of the same ones.

But anyway, have a comfortable and SAFE day today and every day during this strange holiday season.

The Solstice

Today is my favorite day, the Winter Solstice. It’s an end to the darkness and brings promise of light. It’s exactly what we need after the dark days of 2020.


Here is my wish for all of you.

May you find peace in the promise of the solstice night. That each day forward is blessed with more light. That the cycle of nature, unbroken and true, brings faith to your soul and well-being to you. Rejoice in the darkness, in the silence find rest. And may the days that follow be abundantly blessed.


We’ve been taking our animals to the same vet for22 years now. They have jumped into action for emergencies, been patient with us during annual checkups, welcomed new puppies and cried with us when saying goodbyes. We’ve become friends and partners in caring for our pets.

2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and our vet visits have changed. But Dr B and all the staff are still as caring, helpful and responsive as ever.

When Norma Jean went in for a follow up blood test recently I decided that the crew needed to be shown that we appreciate all they do for us. So I got to work with my sticks and strings and made them some gifts.

All wearing their masks, of course!

Here they are:

A spaniel
A Hippo
A Raccoon
A Piggy
A Duck
A Kitten
A Hound dog
A Fox
A Bear
A Bunny
A Big Bear for the Big Guy

Our clinic is called All Creatures, so I made each a different creature. I put them all in a big box together, carried them in when I went to look at Norma Jean’s xray, set the box on an exam table and told everyone to choose their own animal. They went fast and when I left everyone was smiling. Dr B was even standing there hugging his bear.

It’s nice to take some time to let people know that they are appreciated, especially during these trying days.

Dating Disasters

Let’s face it, dating can be nerve wracking. We’ve all had the date from hell. Looking back years later it’s easier to laugh. I know you’ve all been there even if you won’t admit it.

I’ll go first. When I was about 20 a friend dared me to try a computer date. Now remember, back in the dark ages when I was 20, we didn’t all have computers at home or in our pockets or on our wrists. Only big companies had computers. So I contacted one of the companies advertising computer dating. They sent me a multi page questionnaire to fill out and send back. The first part was about me and the second part was about what I was looking for in a date.

After a couple weeks I got the first response. A young man called and after a short chat we agreed to go out to dinner at the end of the week. When the big night came I nervously answered the door and realized that he had lied on his questionnaire. He was my age or younger. I had requested older. He was shorter than me and I’m only 5’4′. But it was just a date, right?

We walked out to the car and he told me it was his father’s car, that he had just gotten his license and wasn’t used to driving at night. My anxiety level was going up.

I chose a restaurant nearby, didn’t want to drive too far with this newbie. We were seated and after ordering I asked him about his job. On the phone he had told me he worked for the State. When I asked, he lit up. Seems he loved his job. Good sign!

Then it all went south. He worked for a State fishery. One of the major parts of his job was skimming the dead fish off the top of the various holding pens. Not only did he love his job, but he brought along lots of color photos he’d take of the dead fish floating.

I knew this date wasn’t going anywhere and after dinner I got a headache, must have been something I ate. He dropped me at home and I guess I didn’t impress him either because he never called again. The second and third computer choices called the next week but I blew them both off. Once was definitely enough computer dating for me.

The reason I bring up this ancient history is because a friend of ours just had the ‘date from hell’. Hoover showed up one night this week with a friend, a pretty little opossum about half his size. (Remember, we’re assuming sex and relationship of these animals) Hoover started eating at one end of the feeder and his friend started at the other end. When Hoover made the mistake of moving toward the center, the little one who we shall call The Shark, snarled and snapped at him. Big old lumpy Hoover backed off and sat pouting while The Shark finished all the food and then left.


The next night The Shark showed up early and alone but we hadn’t put out the good stuff yet so she wandered off.


Then we put out kibble for Hoover. When he finished we put out more for Rocket who waits for the opossums to leave before he shows up. The feeder was bare in the morning.

The Shark was definitely not the date that Hoover was expecting. Never mind, Hoover, it happens to all of us.

Turf Wars

Rocket J visits every evening to get his dinner. The normal menu is dog kibble and bird seed but occasionally he gets lucky and finds some table scraps in his feeder. But Hoover realized pretty quickly that Rocket was getting the good stuff and leaving mostly seeds for him. So Hoover started dropping by earlier to beat Rocket to the good stuff.


Rocket J is no dummy so he started showing up even earlier before that fat opossum could eat all the kibble. Of course they ran into each other at the feeder and Hoover is bigger that Rocket and has an ugly snarl that made Rocket back off. He climbed onto the roof and waited till Hoover was finished and had waddled off. Then he came down and ate the leftovers.


One evening we watched as Hoover sat on the deck railing grooming himself and suddenly Rocket popped out of the hedge. He tried to ge past Hoover but was met with the usual snarl. Rocket stood on his back legs to make himself look bigger but Hoover wasn’t impressed. Then Rocket realized that each time he approached, Hoover took a step backwards. It took awhile but Rocket moved Hoover back far enough that he could jump over the fat opossum and grab the post. From there he climbed to the roof, across the roof and down into the feeder. Ha! Good thinking Rocket J!


Rocket climbs onto the roof whenever I take Norma Jean outside but Hoover sits wherever he is and stares at us. Once he tried to hide. Have you ever seen a slow, fat opossum hide? Here he is hiding.


Can’t see him, can you?

Rocket J

Remember a couple months ago when I posted about a mama raccoon and her brood of six adorable kits? They invaded our flat bird feeder attached to the deck rail. She had three babies around eight inches long, two around six inches long and a runt about four inches that stayed under his mama all night.


After a couple nights we removed all the leftover seeds to discourage the night visitors. Then a couple weeks later we noticed a movement in the feeder. When we looked out the window we saw a tiny little raccoon in the feeder eating the few remaining seeds. After he ate, he curled up in the feeder and went to sleep. When I took Norma Jean out, he raised his head but stayed curled up and soon went back to sleep.

He returned the next night and again slept in the feeder. On the third night, before he showed up, I placed a handful of grapes in the feeder. Then I watched him eat his tasty treat. When I confessed to Rob what I’d done, he laughed and told me that he had cut up a hot dog and put it in the feeder the night before.

This was most probably the runt of the group that had visited us before and he was now on his own. Being a Rocky and Bullwinkle fan, I started calling him Rocket J. He came every night around 8:30 and ate whatever we left for him plus all the birdseed left from the birds. He stopped sleeping in the box but he knew we were watching him and would look at us as he ate. If we went outside he would climb the deck post and sit on the roof and watch us. When we went back inside he’d come down and finish his meal.


Rob started putting a little dog food out each evening and if we had any leftovers we shared. His favorites seem to be hard boiled egg and fruit. His very favorite was a stale glazed doughnut. That was really yummy!

Occasionally Rocket will bring a friend, probably a big brother to share his dinner. We call this fat little guy Crash. He earned the name because while Rocket climbs to the roof if he’s disturbed, Crash runs across the porch and launches himself into the hedge. A couple times we’ve heard him make hard landings on the ground.

Last week a new little critter showed up for a free meal. A fairly large opossum came along and climbed into the feeder. She sucks up the seed and anything else available in a real hurry and because of her shape, like a handheld auto vac, I started calling her Hoover.


Hoover does not share nicely and she snarled at Rocket. He was afraid and ran away. He sat on the other side of the porch watching Hoover eat his dinner. After awhile Rob went outside with a stick and encouraged Hoover to move along and leave some food for Rocket. He had to poke her a couple times because she didn’t want to leave.

The next night Rocket brought Crash and another friend to eat with him to protect him from Hoover. Now Rocket shows up just before dark to beat Hoover to the feeder.

Our little plot of land has turned into wild kingdom and we’re enjoying our visitors.

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