Tuesday, June 28, 2016

...and then there were 9...

The grandkids are visiting.  In reality, there are five kids and two additional adults...Added to our seven cats and two adults, there is a bit of chaos happening here...

The children range from age 2.9 years to 16.01 years...four out of the five are biological children of Fonda's daughter.  One is a family friend that is basically a 9th child for them.  The oldest four did not come down this time.  

They have been here for nine days and will be leaving in three...We are having a (mostly) good time - there is some drama/trauma because things are Not Normal, but things are not normal and will not return to normal until everyone is in their own space again...and even then, it will take more time.  It is amazing how much seven additional people eat and make a mess...

The 16yo has been very insistent about going for a drive (with her driving, of course) - to the point where she will pass up playing with the family to go out and drive...

first day:

We went to Ocean Isle Beach and it was an absolutely gorgeous day!  Kids got soaked and Mom and Dad had a good time, too.

The baby got soaked and then the decided that he was fine without his swim trunks - I love his hair!

This is Miss. 16 with her baby brother looking out at the waves.  Very sweet.

Day two: a "aerial" course that ranged from "baby" to "military" 

The photo is from after - the baby did not go on the ropes - it was for 4+

I didn't go on the ropes because I am a) too fat; and b) too fond of my own parts - ha, ha!

After dinner, we went out to the Fuzzy Peach (frozen yogurt) - we had a good time! 

 Day something: BINGO with Grandmas!

Yesterday: Playing in the sprinkler - these are the middle three...

Now the youngest four...

Tomorrow they are going to the Medieval/Pirate Show and dinner (without us - can't see spending $40 per adult and though, so we will stay home and eat leftovers) - I really hope they have a good time!  And come back and tell us all about it - I think they will enjoy it, I do not think we would. 

OK - enough for now - more later - maybe after the kids go home - ha, ha!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I am a bad blogger...

I has been a long time since I last blogged.  All is well...sort of.

About two weeks ago, my aunt decided that Fonda and I were unacceptable people to know.  We have been unfriended and blocked by her on Facebook...stupid.  I have returned the favor, and I have also had to unfriend her awesome husband because she hacked into his account and continued her vitriol.  What a waste...I had just recently (from her) found out that her dad (my grandfather) had served in the military. He died when I was around 10(?) and I never knew that.  Now I am unlikely to get that information. 

Two days later, we had to euthanize Webster a week and an half ago.  He had chronic renal failure.  Everyone wanted us to support him with subQ fluids...It was one of the hardest decisions to make to not do that.  He was a very active kitty that didn't like to be held and he would not have put up with sitting still (being held still) for 5-10 minutes, even if it was better for him.  Everyone we talked to said "he would get used to it."  We decided that if he was willing to put up with that, then he was too far gone for it.  We are pretty sure he didn't know he was sick until last-week Tuesday.  I am 100% grateful to my sister, Meg (she is a registered vet-tech) who talked to us plainly about getting a plan together so it would not be an emergency for all of us.  With Meg's encouragement, we made a plan with our vet that we hoped to not use.  It turns out that our vet makes house calls for euthanasia. 

He liked to "help" with things like quilting...

He and Fonda would have long conversations...this photo taken March, 2009. He was about 10.
When I got up our normal routine was for him to come and get a drink at the sink while I did my morning things...he didn't come to the sink.  I did find him trying to hide under a shelf that we had set up in the craft room.  I was worried, but he seemed OK a bit later, napping on the sofa.  When I called later, Fonda said he was (still?) napping on the sofa in the living room, like normal.  I was still worried, and when I got home from work he came to do his normal routine and get a drink from the sink, but he couldn't figure it out.  He put his head into the stream of water that he normally would drink from.  He just couldn't get it.  He tried to drink from the pool in the sink. He tried a variety of ways...I started crying and told Fonda that I thought it was time...she came in and saw what I meant.

Such the regal boy, even near the end.

Thanks to Meg, we were able to call the vet and implement our (dreaded) plan.  The vet and one assistant came to our house and were very respectful and kind. We were able to hold him and Franklynn came up and hung out with us for a little while, purring up a storm.  It was all very kind and very sad.  I found the girls (except Spot, who thinks she is an only-cat, and was hiding behind the sofa, anyway) and just brought them to him and then let them go.  They both sniffed him and then left.  I am sure it was harder on us then them.

Always curious...

He came back to us on Friday in a plain and simple box, with his name engraved on it.  The vet also made a plaster-of-Paris imprint of his front paws and wrote his name...they shaved some fur and cut some whiskers for us.  The crematory sent the Rainbow Bridge poem with an inking of his paw.  It was all very nice.  He is currently sitting on the craft table waiting for us to do something...I have no idea what. He was a very patient boy when he wanted to be - ha, ha!

With is butterfly on his head...
And his angel on his back...the "body" on his left side, head near his head, with hands clasped and the "wing" on his right side, spanning his whole sweetness.

He is missed by all of us here, and the other kitties have been coming around for more pats, and just generally checking in with us more.  It is really kinda quiet since he died...I am 99% sure he was deaf and had been for a few months - he would stand right next to us and yell in our ears and he hasn't been afraid of the vacuum for a few months, and has not responded to us calling for him, but that is not 100% out of the norm for any cat.
He will be missed...sweet boy.
RIP Webster

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Almost -8- 9 years...

It's been almost 8 9 (thanks Meg!) years since my mom died...I think it gets better every year and then I get hit with something else...

Mom, circa 1975 (Thank you Dad for scanning all of those photos for us!)
This year our cat, Webster is having a hard time.  He has chronic renal failure and has lot a lot of weight and is drinking a lot of water...apparently he can't catch up with his thirst and we hate it.  And he has an infected tooth (and really bad breath).  We are pretty sure that it would not be a good idea to put him under anesthesia...so, now what do we do.  I talked to the vet a few days ago and she said "he is 16..." and I said something like, "he is only 16" and she was trying to tell me that he is old and he has had a good life.  He doesn't know he is sick and still runs around like a crazy cat at times - we are also pretty sure that he is deaf, or at least, has had some dramatic hearing loss - He YELLS around the house and doesn't come when we call him... We are sad.

School is going smoothly, finally.  We bought the house and then had both cars die at about the same time...we have made our first house payment and are gearing up for our first (new) car payment.  We bought a 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT and I LOVE IT, but there has been quite a bit of stress around how it was all going to come together...It finally did and things are going smoothly...our first car payment is at the end of the month.

I am still really having a good time working full-time and I have more responsibility and it is really pretty neat, I just wish I had a bit more support - that I didn't have to ask for...I don't know the questions to ask until they are right in front of me and I feel a bit like an idiot.  There are things that I feel like I am finding under layers and not quite knowing what I am doing.  I am afraid that I will do something that will be permanent and I won't know what to do to fix it.  I guess I will figure it out, but I wish I had some hand-holding with this particular program...Not that anyone calls it by the same name - it took me DAYS to finally ask what the difference was for the program only to be told that they were the same thing! And then my boss asked me if I had the icon on my desktop...I ended up contacting the IT people who told me that it is actually a website and gave me the link (yeah, it is like that)...I played around today with the program because we were dropped some names of currently-registered students to contact (cold-call) about registering for classes for Spring semester.  I finally asked someone what would be a good idea to do and I got some great info and, used that to make most of my calls...PIA, but I guess it was worth it.  I didn't blow anything up and actually got some things done (and got a missing-bit fixed [yay me!])...At least I am 99% sure that I didn't blow up anything or permanently delete anything - ha, ha!

This photo is from when Mom and I got to go on a ME cruise on the Schooner Heritage.  It was a cold morning and she hadn't had coffee yet - ha, ha!  Sigh.

Life is going and going well. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015


Two more days until I start my FT job!  I am *so* excited and a little bit scared (what happens if it turns out that I can't do it?)...I know I can, but there is a bit of the imposter syndrome happening, too...

AND we are packing up the house to move...What have we done? LOL.

But, seriously, what have we done? Our closing date is the Thursday before Labor Day and then we move...that weekend!  I am a bit overwhelmed...I just look at things and think: What are we going to do with that? I am afraid that we have too much stuff and that it won't fit...I am afraid that there are more boxes that are to go into the craft/sewing room (first time they will be combined) than we have space for...The boxes are going into the smallest (12x10.5) bedroom until we figure out the set-up of the craft/sewing room (the big/heavy items will go directly into the master bedroom - craft/sewing room) and I am just sure there are more boxes than space in that room.  I can move boxes though...if we need to, they can go into the living/dining room...we are not sure what is going in those spaces, anyway, LOL. 

AND I am prepping for a class I have never taught, though I have been a student in them (I am also reading the textbook), and two that I have taught, but with a different book, so the presentations are being changed...and so, I need to update my methods, and teaching schedules...

AND I get an office to myself, but I have to wait until the guy who is using it now moves out, so I can move in...AND then I have a TON of books, etc. to move into that office.  Wonder if I can schedule my nervous break-down now?

All shall be well, and I have packed my sewing machine for the time-being.  Almost everything that has been hanging up is down and we are slowly packing each room.  I am thinking that we might have to buy a few new boxes, but not as many as I thought at first.  We saved most of our boxes from moving from Greenville, NC to Leland (our closet was full of boxes and we still have most of the bubble/newsprint for wrapping).  We have had to re-box some things because the boxes has started to fail, but most are enduring and are reusable (yay!).  We still have a few days (3+ weeks) and I think we are well on our way to having the house boxed.  Luckily, we are only moving ~25 miles, so we can make multiple trips in the cars, too...but the hope is we will be 100% moved into the new house by Labor Day...Wish us luck, and me some sanity.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Life is moving on...

I got the full-time, 9-month job at Brunswick Community College.  I will be teaching similar classes to what I have been teaching for the last 4.5 years.  I will be teaching 3 classes at one institution instead of 2 at one college and 1 at another for more money and benefits! 

Along with this...we have put in an offer for a house in Shallotte (pronounced: Shall-Lote, not like the green onion).  The offer was accepted and now we just have to work on financing - We have money for the down payment (thank you Mom!) and we could afford it without working full-time, but it will be much easier with the full-time position...The house is close to the school, and very close to two different grocery stores (biking distance!...now, we just need to add some baskets to the bike so I can bring home a gallon of milk - ha, ha).

 This is a screen-shot from a listing website...It is a 3-bedroom/2-bathroom house of about 1700 square feet.  There is a huge, old live oak tree in the back yard! It is on about a half-acre of land, with woods behind it.

We are also fostering a kitten that showed up in our back yard...she is very cute and is NOT staying - we are working to reduce the number of kitties in our world!  Everyone thinks we are lying, but it is not true...and we also fostered a boy a few months ago and he is now in someone elses house :)

We have named her Pippi Longstockings (see the photo, above for the stripy leggings)

She is very cute and will make someone an absolutely fabulous girl...she *SO* wants a kitty-friend and she is fearless! 

She has a little spotty belly and is just cute.

These photos were taken when she had only been here for about 3 or 4 days...She is about 8 weeks old in these photos.  She now follows me to the bathroom and wants to hang out with us.  Our kitties Do. Not. Like. Her!  We are working with an agency called Adopt An Angel in Wilmington, NC and she goes for her spay on Friday (she will be about 10 weeks old then).  After her spay, she will probably go to the adoption-place (PetCo) next-week Wednesday or so.  We are going to help pay for the spay and then they can use the adoption money ($55.00) for other kitties.  She is (hopefully) the last kitty we will be fostering...This new house will not really have a place for us to isolate someone...

I wish we could save them all, but the ones we help are one more that will not be contributing to future overpopulation issues.  We will continue to support the local groups (including the Fix A Friend spay and neuter clinic in the area).  They did more than 130 spay/neuter surgeries last week - both dogs and cats! They are amazing, we are hoping that some day they will be out of business (because they have done all the spays/neuters that they can, not any other reason)...

I will post more photos (kitty and house) when I get a chance/get some...


Friday, June 26, 2015

as the kitty turns...

over and lays his paws on my laptop... it is hard when to type when I have a very enthusiastic "helper" who does not understand that cat paws also can use the touch-screen...sigh.

Anyway...Life has been going on and on. 

I was given the opportunity to teach this summer, one class of BIO 112 (General Biology II - for majors).   It has been fun.  The class started with five students and is down to four.  We went out on a field trip on Wednesday to collect samples from the sound-side of one of the barrier islands down here.  I love the barrier islands and think they are really neat how they shift and change...I will not get on my soapbox about how we should not be building on them, etc.  Anyway - there were so many people out there - I usually go at non-peak times, like, March and October/November and the number of people just sunbathing and hanging out at the water was a bit of a surprise. 

All went better than I had hoped and we got so see some cool blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) and some neat fish - including a small (~1.5 inch) puffer fish (Northern puffer, Sphoeroides maculatus), a pampano (I think it is Trachinotus carolinus, but it could be an African pampano)...and some pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides).  I guess the puffers from around here are not nearly as toxic with tetrodotoxin as those around Japan.

As I said, we also caught some blue crabs ...one of my favorite species for identification (easy-peasy to ID).  We found a male that someone had ripped off his claws and many of his walking legs and (I sure hope he survived) and then later we caught a big female with claws intact.  These guys are neat because they are sexually dimorphic, so we could tell that one was male and the other female.  

   Image from theblondcook.com

One of my students gave up her hat to catch her - she didn't let go of the hat until she was back in the water! I am just glad it wasn't my fingers.  I was pinched by some smaller blue crabs and stuck in the finger by the rostrum of a shrimp (Farfantepenaeus spp.) that we caught...all-in-all, it was a good day.  There are days I can't believe they pay me to do what I do.  So...we brought the puffer, the pompano, and three pinfish back to the aquarium at school.  I am hoping they are still alive on Monday when we go back.  We removed the bully of a mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus, a.k.a. mud minnow) and it is now living at the Aquaculture facility on campus.

I don't think I want to try to take 32 students out on a field trip next time, though...I am not sure what to do because I really think it was a good experience to see the species in the wild and see how we can catch them, etc. Maybe by splitting the class into two groups and taking only16 at a time...with more supervisory people? I will see what I can do.  I don't know if 16 would be manageable, either...we shall see.

So,  I have received more "'thanks but no thanks" from places.  I have also applied to a FT position at the Brunswick CC, where I am working now.  I have high hopes and crossed fingers, but it has only been ~1.5 weeks since they opened the position.  They posted it on Tuesday night, I turned in my application on Wednesday morning. Nothing like jumping on that quickly.  It was hinted at by two higher-ups that the job would be posted soon (before it was) and that I should be on the look-out for it...I was.  I have not heard about interviews, yet, but hope that it will be soon.  The start-date is expected to be on August 10th.  Fingers crossed.

AND! Today the Supreme Court ruled to recognize marriages for all.  I am so happy that we no longer need to spend (literally) thousands of dollars to get the same rights as my siblings have since they got married.  We had to get legal papers that would allow each other to make medical decisions, to be able to visit each other in the hospital, etc.  The same rights that my siblings had when they got married - by spending as little as $80 ($90, if you wanted the certified copy of the certificate, which we did) in the State of NC and going to a JP.  We had to spend the money twice: once in Ohio, and once in NC...if we had been able to get legally married, we would not have had to spend the thousands of dollars the first time... So, if we move, we should not have to spend the thousands again!  We are now legally married in all 50 States, and DC!  I am so happy, I cannot contain myself...This does not mean that I am protected at my job...this is still an "at-will" state and for whatever reason, someone decides that they don't want me to teach, they do not have to renew my contract and they do not have to tell me why (as far as I know)...Scary.

So...time to celebrate and then get back to the fun of doing my job...There are also times I don't think they pay me enough...but that is not as often. :)


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Follow up to the follow up of the car drama

OK.  So, last night I went to move the Honda a bit...The clutch went to the floor and did not come back up and the car jumped, even when standing on the brake.

OK, so this morning, I went out and put it in neutral and gave it a shot...same response from the clutch. Put the car in neutral and it started right on up, no problem (yay!) and then I tried to put in the clutch and put it in gear.  Not an option.  The suggestion is that it is either 1) the clutch slave cylinder, 2) the clutch master cylinder, or 3) some leaky tubes.  Worst-case should be ~$200.00.  Sigh.

We had an appointment this morning.  We took the Saturn, and ran a couple of errands no problem.

We came home and I called AAA to pick up the Honda.  The guy came and got it - I helped and literally burned (complete with two blisters) my fingers on the steering wheel.

OK.  I had just finished the third of three books from the library and we got a call to tell me that a fourth one just came in! 

I decided to head over the library and return the read ones and get the new one.  I put the Saturn in reverse and backed off the concrete pad and then went to put it in gear, and head out, and the clutch is dead "floppy" again, like the bushing went out again.  I called the car-place and they said tow it in.  I kinda lost it...we are stranded and we can't get either one when they finish them...I am frustrated by all that is happening...

I eventually calmed down and decided that it can be towed in the morning and I can go with it and then come back with one, whichever one is finished first.  I know the library is not too far from the car repair place and I will go with the driver and the car, and then go to the library and wait.  I guess I can take my laptop, etc. - I need to develop an exam for Monday.

I am *so* over the cars, but I am not willing to give up having one...We already decided that it is not worth replacing the AC in the Saturn, because the Honda still has working AC.  But we hope that they keep on running.

Eventually we will have to put them down/let them go, but we are still allowing them to limp along...sigh.  We have been eyeballing some "new" cars and we have decided that we want a station wagon-like vehicle - that will allow us to haul things (recycling, cats, items we like that are big and bulky and don't fit in the current cars).  We liked the Subaru Outback and that is $34,000+ and that is WAY more than we want to pay!  After seeing that, we kinda shut down the search. 

Some day...some day...


the fish girl

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Leland, North Carolina, United States