Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy 2006!

Canoes and skulls on Town Lake on a gorgeous New Years' Day in Austin, Texas. The Hike and Bike Trails on both sides of the lake were crowded with adults and kids, walking, running, or riding bicycles, accompanied by lots of dogs on leashes and babies in strollers. The temperatures were in the 80's, and the sun was shining, but the effects of five years of drought (which has helped provide so much dry fuel for wildfires burning now in other parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico) were very evident. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas from our "Empty Nest"

The cats' stockings were hung by the chimney with care... each near to a cute photo of the owner (and one cute baby photo). Posted by Picasa

There are six stockings hung on our mantle, and this photo shows the three which belong to our three cats. From left to right, the stockings belong to 1.) Freckles (a.k.a. Fluff), the 18-pound mostly-white cat with seal-point markings and blue eyes, and some dark brown spots and dark brown tail, 2.) Austin Oltorf, the 22-pound blue-gray Maine Coon cat with green eyes, and 3.) Jason, Jr., the 15-pound black-and-white domestic shorthair with green eyes. The baby shown in the stocking-holder on Jason, Jr.'s stocking is now 18 years old (and a freshman in college now). Our obese cats are getting older, too. Fluff is the baby, at 11 years, and Austin Oltorf and Jason, Jr. are both 13 years old, and they all have to go to the vet twice a year for "senior check-ups".

Our aged cats are all on special diets, so Santa is bringing them very few "treats". Shown in the stockings, above, are the gifts of Revolution (registered trademark of Pfizer), which they get monthly anyway. I'm sure they'll say (sarcastically) "Thanks, Santa". I tend to think Revolution is a great gift which makes my life easier, and it makes the cats' lives better... it is an easy way to prevent fleas, heatworms, ear mites, hookworms, etc, but I'm not sure the cats are very appreciative. How oblivious these totally-spoiled cats are... they don't even know it's Christmas Eve!

Best wishes to all, from our little family and all our cats. Mele Kalikimaka a me Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Carl, Jack and Harry, (that would be Levin, Reed, and Reid), here's a little helpful advice for you today. Sounds like you guys haven't been listening, so maybe you should get your fingers out of your ears and get a clue. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Playing Footsie

Austin Oltorf, a 22 pound Maine Coon cat (slightly on the obese side) LOVES to be massaged by foot! He is somewhat perverse in that he loves this more than being petted by hand. Here is Austin Oltorf, in ecstasy, as Ka'u Kane gives him a little "foot-massage". Note that Austin is growing out his summer shave, and looks somewhat scruffy. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 03, 2005

70-3!!! Hook 'Em Horns

Today the University of Texas Longhorns won the Big 12 Championship! The game ended with a score of 70-3 over Colorado (whom U.T. had already beaten in Game 6 of the season 42-17). Because of that victory, the tower on the U.T. campus is lit up tonight in orange, top to bottom, a beautiful sight which I saw as my husband and I drove downtown to attend his company's Christmas party.

Now the Longhorns will be going to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to play U.S.C., who won today 66-19 over U.C.L.A. Lots of local fanss are scrambling to try to get tickets and flights and hotel rooms, but I'd rather stay home and watch it on television. Nonetheless, I'm really proud of Vince and the whole Longhorn team, and just want to say "Hook 'Em Horns"!

There are 40 pounds of cat in this chair! The white cat (almost hidden) is named Fluff, and he weighs 18 pounds. The gray cat is Austin Oltorf, and he weighs 22 pounds. This photo was taken in August, when they had been shaved for the summer, but their fur was growing out. I'm sure the "couch potato" lifestyle of the neutered male cat has contributed to their weight, but they're very large cats to begin with. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 01, 2005

After-effects of Hurricane Rita

I didn't blog about this earlier, because it was too depressing, but my father (not my stepfather, who married my mother when I was in 4th grade and who I grew up with, but my bio-dad) and my youngest half-sister, from his second family, evacuated to my house from their town, located between Houston and Galveston, on September 21, 2005, in advance of the predicted hit on Galveston by Hurricane Rita.

I had last seen my father, who I still call "Dad", and generally see about once or twice a year, at a family funeral in early August. He was frail and weak at that time, but was able to walk fairly well (with a walker) from the curb outside the church, up several stairs, into the church, down the aisle, and into a pew. But when he arrived at our house on that late-September day, it was a whole different story: he was very weak and looked like a Holocost-survivor. He weighed 110 pounds, and was way beyond frail. Forunately, my husband was home that evening, and we had a lightweight folding wheelchair available, so ka'u kane was able to pick him up, out of the car, and put Dad in the wheelchair, and we two carried him into the house. I realized immediately that we would need more specialized equipment and help if we were going to take care of Dad in a safe and comfortable way.

Next morning we got a hospital bed, a regular wheelchair, an overbed table and some trained help-- the agency sent, instead of a nuses's aide, an excellent L.V.N. (who was also a Hurricane Rita evacuee from my Dad's town!), all of which were so necessary during the time Dad was here at my house. We were happy to take care of Dad and half-sister, and to cook, wash laundry and dishes for extra people, because it seemed the least we could do to help them when they were threatened by a hurricane.

Dad and my half-sister were planning to go back on Wednesday morning, September 28th, since Hurricane Rita had missed their town.

Long story as short as I can make it: On Monday afternoon, September 26, my Dad complained of severe abdominal pain, his blood pressure dropped, we called 911, he went off via ambulance to hospital, was diagnosed with dead bowel, and underwent a major surgery to remove the distal half of his colon. He was in the ICU 12 days, to stepdown, to floor, to rehab hospital, and finally back to his home town (via ambulance, because he couldn't sit up for 4 hours) on November 7th!!! We all hope he will do well, but he has had a previous serious heart attack and stroke, and his vasular disease is bad enough that he infarcted his IMA (causing dead bowel) this time, but at least he is back home and is being well-taken-care-of, and members of his second family can see him easily and often, if they wish to.

As for myself, I can say good things came out of this stressful time. We got to know various relatives better, including some we hadn't known before. And, certainly, what we went through has helped us understand how much more stressful things have been for the evacuees from Katrina... many of them have no family to take them in and no place to return to. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Einstein Explains It All to You, Congress Posted by Picasa