Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Red, White and Blue

Not that I ever tan worth a darn, but with the excess heat this year, I refuse to spend much time outside and as a result I am more pasty white than usual.

As I mentioned before, the shoes I wore on Saturday (which happened to be the third day in a row I had worn them) produced some painful toes after walking on uneven ground and in sand out on my country ramble. Sunday morning I had what amounted to a subdural hematoma at the base of my big toe. It was bluish purple and hurt. It has improved to the point of looking like a normal bruise, but still a blue where there shouldn't be any.

Finally, never let it be said that declawing your cats' front feet will completely protect you from claw damage. Scout jumped in my lap while I sat at my desk, got off balance and over-corrected and her back claws skidded across my bare legs just below the hem of my shorts. I have a lovely criss-cross of bright red scratches on my thigh.

I certainly look patriotic at this point, but I would really rather just wear my flag shirt.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Party Crashing

I don't often get to visit with my 4th cousin and fellow Mobley genealogist Maxine, so when I got wind she was headed to this part of the country to attend a birthday party for her sister, I invited myself to attend. The party was in Lexington, about a half-hour's drive east, at the home of her niece.

On the one hand, I was really taken with their home, with its back yard full of decks under shade trees, a quaint outbuilding across the driveway where they keep their hunting gear and horse tack and crafting area, and the interior of their house that is full of my kind of antiques. (While I appreciate the ornate and elegant antiques, my kind of antiques leans more to the practical pieces that graced our grandparents' homes and I also have a real fondness for antique store fixtures.) The attraction somewhat paled when the hostess began telling me of their ongoing snake issues, but they still have a great place for comfortable country living. So long as you have a gun at hand when the next rattler comes along.

I was pleasantly surprised that Maxine's sister remembered me and that another genealogist quasi-cousin that I know was in attendance. I was able to visit with each of them, eat some mighty fine BBQ and indulge in a great slice of birthday cake - all the while sitting on a sprawling deck in a rare and pleasant July breeze.

One of the attendees was this colorful fellow, who punctuated the afternoon with squawky comments. One of his more piercing shrieks was aimed directly at me as I snapped his picture. Made me jump about a foot.

I rarely attend parties and I certainly don't make it a habit to crash them, but this time it was worth it to do both. Almost everybody there was related to me, some near and some distant, all were pleasant to visit with and a day in the country is always welcome. Today I'm making it up to the dogs and cats who very much resented losing a day of their weekend with Mom, and I'm resting my feet which were not happy with my choice of footwear yesterday. (I shucked my shoes last night to find that my toes had swelled to an alarming state. All better this morning, but there were a few hours last night when I was stepping carefully.)

Sometimes you need to shake up your routine. I surely enjoyed shaking mine.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Black Clouds Circling

I can't say I didn't expect it. When I got my daily low-carb ice cream bar yesterday afternoon, I noticed it wasn't quite as firm as usual. And there was this funny humming sound ever so often from the direction of the kitchen.

This morning when I checked, the freezer wasn't freezing and the refrigerator wasn't fridging. Thankfully the meat was still frozen and it was still pretty cool in the refrigerator, so I proceeded to begin the transfer of the stuff I definitely needed to keep to the small refrigerator in the garage. And, thankfully, I've not been keeping quite so much stuff on hand lately. Everything I absolutely needed to salvage found a home in the smaller space available. Looking on the bright side, if there is one, I finally pitched all those impulse buys that didn't work out and you feel guilty just tossing out right.

Ironically, today is the day the dishwasher repairman from Sears is supposed to come. In the old days, you could probably persuade a repairmen to go ahead and deal with both ailing appliances as long as he was here, but I know better. God forbid that a dishwasher repairmen touch a refrigerator in this day and age. So, I placed a second request for repair service and it will be a week before the refrigerator repairmen shows up.

While I can limp along just fine with the small refrigerator for a week, it has no ice maker and there is now no room at all for an ice tray in the freezer compartment, even if I still owned ice trays. I predict I will be hauling in the picnic ice chest and buying a bag of ice on my way home every day for the next week.

In other news, Dixie has decided to torment Boo and Scout and they are beginning to fight back. The house is a cacophany of snarls, hisses, yowls and sounds of things crashing as they bound from corner to corner. They do get along for the most part, but Dixie in mean mode can try the patient of a saint and the heathen cats ain't no saints.

The stomach bug that has had hold of me for the last couple of days seems to be on the wane, but not completely gone.

It's still hot.

The latest upgrade of Farm Town has caused major glitches in some areas that have cast a pall on the fun there.

You would think with all these dark clouds hovering above me, it would rain a little.


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Dixie Report

I am having so much fun with Miss Dixie. Every day she comes up with something new to add to her bag of tricks.

Dixie has a whole floor full of cat toys - rattly balls, crackly cat tunnel, catnip mouse, chirpy bird, and the list goes on - and she plays with all of them throughout her day. But, the best toys are the found toys. She has discovered the wastebasket under my desk. I will hear her rattling around under there and she will be deep into the basket, looking for kitty treasures. This morning she had a great time killing an envelope she found lurking in its depths.

Her newest trick is reminiscent of Tinker, a cat of some renown in our family's past. She goes into the kitchen or the utility room and yowls for someone to come find her. Tinker would pull this same stunt while hiding in the bathtub. When the unwary victim comes into range, out springs Miss Dixie to wrap around your ankle like the Tasmanian Devil of the old cartoons.

While there is no doubt she knows her name, she is beginning to exercise her cat prerogative to ignore your call if it suits her. But I have her number. All I have to do is open the refrigerator door and she will come running from the farthest reaches of the house to help you decide what you should prepare for the upcoming meal.

"There's some chicken on that shelf up there."

She has moved into her own spot on the bed at night, right between the dogs, and is pretty much adjusted to our sleeping routine, although she did wake me up Saturday morning by pouncing on my nose. But when she curls up next to me with that wild, happy purr, I can overlook a little nose pouncing.

I'm really not sure how we got along before she joined us.


Joining the Crowd

A few weeks back I was in conversation with the programmers at work, who are considerably younger than this old programmer. (They are generally patient with my archaic knowledge of such things as COBOL, but sometimes you can see in their eyes that they are wondering if I was on speaking terms with any of the dinosaurs.) The conversation turned to Facebook and Twitter. Did I use them?

Well, I said, I had set up a Facebook account but I just couldn't yet see where it might fit into my world. I primarily wanted a presence there so that old high school and college friends might be able to connect, keeping in mind that my old high school and college friends are doddering and elderly themselves. I really didn't expect to spend much time there.

Then a couple of my genealogy contacts started posting messages and picking back and forth with each other. I couldn't keep out of that. Then a former co-worker who moved to New York City made contact and it was fun to have a way to fire off a brief "hey, how are you" and find out she was doing ok when there is no longer much we have in common to chat about. She travels a lot and takes great pictures, so I am also able to enjoy her adventures in a vicarious way, one brief moment captured at a time.

Then some current co-workers came on board. We don't always have time to chat at the office and it has provided little glimpses into what we do when we don't have our noses to the grindstone.

And now we have a small community of first cousins who are tweaking each other's noses. I have often wished we first cousins were in better contact and I am sensing this might be a way for us to keep in touch and get to know each other as adults, one zinger at a time. So far there are six of us active and I hope our number grows. I've often envied the sibling relationships that exist in the group of first cousins of which my father was a member. While I don't expect Facebook to create that kind of environment for us, at least it gives us a venue to communicate in brief conversational bursts and learn something about each other.

In a few weeks I've gone from seeing little use for the application to looking forward to checking in a half dozen times a day to see what's going on. If nobody is active, there is always an interesting quiz to take. That in itself can get addictive.

And we won't even discuss the Farm Town game. It's not an addiction, it's an obsession. My fondness for games, and especially sim-type games, has cause me to adopt Farm Town with a vengeance. I continue to have a great time building my little farm, planting my watermelons, peas, cotton and such and then going into the Farm Town community to hire folks to come harvest when the crops come in. Yes, it is a complete waste of time. I am enjoying it immensely.

So, I give. I'm an active participant in Facebook.

Now Twitter on the other hand? I don't think so. I just don't see the point of logging my entire day, line by line. Who cares that I'm standing in line at Starbucks? I'm afraid Twitter will have to do without me.

After all, there's no Farm Town there.


Saturday, July 18, 2009


When you are so lazy you can't even bother yourself to sit up while you eat, then you are too lazy.

I am being lazy in some respects and not in others. I'm foregoing housework for the moment because my tension headache has returned. It is basically the result of too much time in front of the computer, but it's a little hard to avoid the computer when your work depends on it and your primary hobby depends on it. I'm taking ibuprofen, I've had a chiropractic adjustment and massage, and now I'm trying to rest and let all that take effect. I bought and assembled a new office chair for my home office earlier this week, because I greatly suspect the real culprit is the chair I was using. Now I wait to see how long it will take for it to turn loose. Last time it was well over a week before I got relief.

To distract myself from the desk and the computer, I set about yesterday to reorganize my books. I plan to have more built in bookshelves added to my study, but that may not happen until late this year or early next year. I decided I would box up the books I don't need readily available and store them until I have enough room to have them all out on display. That led to my getting back to the task of labeling the spines of volumes that are bound with plastic combs. It's looking pretty good over there and I may actually be able to find what I'm looking for now.

Dixie continues to blossom and is our main source of quality entertainment these days, tv being the pits of late. She's a grey blur flashing through the house except when the refrigerator or pantry doors open. Then she's on the spot, ready to help me prepare kitten food. I certainly hope she levels off one of these days before she eats me out of house and home.

That's the news, such as it is. Still struggling to get my mental focus. Maybe when the heat breaks, my writer's block will break, too.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

As Promised

I tied some jingly and dangly things to the strings on the cat tunnel and Dixie spent last evening playing them into shreds.

(Click on the picture to enlarge and get the full effect.)


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Same old, same old

Hmm. I was going to share a cute Dixie pic tonight in lieu of thoughtful prose. Unfortunately the load photo option is not functioning tonight. Oh, well.

Nothing much going on here.

It's still hot.

I'm still weighed down with work.

I'm still tending to kitty mangled ankles.

I'm still overlooking that because she's cute as all get out.

I'll eventually get over this case of writer's block.

See you soon.


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Excusions and Entertainment

This weekend is the annual Hallmark ornament premiere and I usually make it a point to go to the premiere in order to earn extra points towards rebate coupons. Also, there is one series that I collect avidly - the Nostalgic Houses and Shops series - and I always get the newest in the series on premiere weekend.

When I considered the prospect of going into Austin this weekend, with its crowds and horrible traffic and in this horrific heat wave we are experiencing, I just couldn't face it. Then it occurred to me that there was a Gold Crown shop in LaGrange and I didn't mind at all the prospect of going there. So this morning I headed that direction and arrived only minutes after the shop opened. I love the little shop in LaGrange and after gathering up my pile of ornaments, I enjoyed poking in the corners and finding other nifty little things I didn't need, but bought anyway.

From there I went to their Wal-Mart, which is not a Super Wal-Mart and which was so much more fun to browse through. I hate Super Wal-Marts. I stopped at a little gift shop that adjoins Weikel's Bakery and then I picked up a jalapeno pig-in-a-blanket at the bakery and drifted through the McDonald's for a diet-Coke and headed for home.

I did not expect I would be headed right back to LaGrange, but about 5 miles out of town I got a call from the Hallmark store. One of the ornaments I had purchased had been the last one they had and was also the one on display. They had forgotten to retrieve it from the display and I had left with an empty box. So I did a U-turn and went back to LaGrange. I was glad I had not gotten any farther than I had, but I found myself wishing they had discovered their error a few minutes earlier while I was still poking around their little town.

But, all's well that ends well and I was home before noon, bearing gifts. I found a great cat distraction at Wal-Mart and it has kept both Dixie and Boo busy most of the afternoon.

The cat tunnel rolls and crackles when they dash through it and it has a hole in the middle where they can pick at each other or escape when the other one heads into the tube. They rolled and played until both were exhausted and then collapsed for extended cat naps. When they woke up, they discovered I had the Christmas ornament storage boxes down in order to add the new ornaments to them and Dixie thought that was the best fun ever. She tried her best to make off with some foil holly and she knocked over stacks of boxes, making fine clattering noises on the tile floor. When I finally managed to get all the boxes closed again, she returned for another rowdy play in the cat tunnel.

At one point she crawled in my lap and gave me a look that I can only describe as "Boy, I'm glad I landed here."

I endeavor to give satisfaction, as Jeeves was wont to say. I am a success as a cat valet.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Gambling on the Weather

I've been having a really good time building my little Farm Town farm over on Facebook. It's an addictive little game and it's right down my alley. I'm putting my crops in and hiring folks in the Farm Town community to harvest them for me and sometimes getting hired to help them increase their profits.

In real life, I'm watching the crops wither and die this year as a result of the horrible drought. The corn fields burned to a crisp under the steady above 100 degree temperatures we've been suffering since mid-June. About all you could do with what is out in the fields right now is to make hundreds of cornhusk dolls or possibly a few million tamales. I expect any day now I will see the tractors plow under the sad, dried up stalks. (What Farm Town refers to as "corn field gone to waste" when you do not harvest your crop in a timely fashion.)

The cotton is still going strong. It bears up under these conditions a lot better, but I don't know how much longer that will be since there seems to be no end in sight. Also the maize (at least I think that is what this is) is making a crop and looks about ready for harvest.

I enjoy driving past the fields of reddish brown and today I decided I would stop and get a closer look.

It's quite pretty up close and personal and I didn't realize how much of it was still green until I waded out in the midst of it.

Farming is always a gamble of sorts. The area I drive through has suffered a major hail storm earlier this year and now drought. How sad when Mother Nature turns all your hard work into ruin.

I have a lot of respect for my farming ancestors whose sole source of income was based on the success of their crops. It had to make for years of joy and years of heartbreak, many times depending on the toss of the weather dice.


Some Relief

No, it's still hot as hades down here. There's been no relief in that regard.

However, in the matter of the ankle biting, I am catching a few breaks. You see, Dixie has discovered the kitty tower. It has lots of soft things to knead and lots of sisal covered posts with which to sharpen her claws. Plus, she discovered that's where the big cat food has been hiding. Yum.

And sometimes she spreads her devilish torment around. This morning Boo thought he had found a good safe vantage point, but alas, his tail kept drooping over the side and Dixie was having a grand time chasing it.
Each day she gets a little stronger and more active. She's blossoming into a normal kitten and has almost forgotten the scary day(s) she spent out at the cemetery. She is convinced she hit the cat lotto. Little does she know. Her life took a dramatic turn that day. She can look forward to a long life of being spoiled rotten.

I took the vet's estimation of her age and counted back and discovered that she was more than likely born the week of my birthday, so we are going to share birthdays. It also explains a lot. She's an Aries. Three female Aries in the same house (Coco is one, too). Lots of stubborn know-it-all leadership qualities floating around.

Consider yourselves warned.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Perks of Working at Home

Getting to work at home one day a week goes a long way toward keeping me sane. Yes, I have to put up with the hazards of getting my ankles shredded by Dixie, but I also get to listen to dog snores wafting up from their bed under the desk. I get to stay in my jammies all day if I want. I watch the neighbors walk by on their morning constitutionals. On my coffee break I can watch the feeding frenzy at the birdfeeders.

And this morning I was watching the roadrunner busy in the front yard outside my office window. He was zipping back and forth, grazing on whatever bugs they eat. I decided to go out and try for some new pictures just as he headed for the water bowls I keep filled under the tree so my birds and squirrels can find a drink. He let me get fairly close to him as he slurped up water.

When I got a little too close for his comfort, he just jumped up into the branches of the bush that shades the water bowls and gave me a good looking over. I guess he decided I was okay because he let me get several shots of him roosting there.

He's quite a charmer.


Man Eating Cat

Help. We are being held captive by a vicious feline.

It was interesting this past weekend. Uncle David and Aunt Karen came for a visit to meet Dixie, fully expecting to need protective gear to deal with the little hellion. Wouldn't you know it? Dixie retired into corners and slept all day. There were no sneak attacks on Boo and Scout. There was no chewing of Mommy's ankles. She kept to herself and acted like a shy, retiring wall flower.

Until they left. Once they were out the door and part way down the street, the bob cat re-emerged and made up for lost time. We've been jumped on, chewed on and generally cat-mangled ever since. This morning she woke me up at 3:30 wanting to rumble. She got herself ejected from the bedroom for that stunt. She torments me constantly when I'm sitting at my desk, either climbing up on the desk and attacking my fingers as I type or prowling in the wastebasket or sinking her sharp little needle claws in my foot. The background is full of hisses and yowls from Boo and Scout, protesting her constant pestering.

I think I'm sunk. The little squirt is not going to risk witnesses to her devilment. No one is going to believe that we are under constant attack. Help.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

July 4th Parade

As a rule, I don't go to parades any more either, for the same afore-mentioned aversion to crowds. Not to mention they usually take place in either blistering heat or unbearable cold.

So it was with some surprise that I found myself viewing a July 4th parade yesterday. It was a most enjoyable experience.

I was invited by some new acquaintances to attend the annual Watterson Cemetery Picnic, which is held every year on July 4th. I am connected to the tiny community of Watterson by virtue of the fact that my grandmother was born there and my Frankum ancestors farmed there for a period of time. However, the family members that died while living there were buried over in the Old Red Rock Cemetery a few miles west and the rest of them moved on to the greener (?) pastures of Wharton and Brazoria counties. So I have no family buried in Watterson and have not had reason to get involved with that cemetery association. 'Til now.

I knew basically what to expect from one of these picnics, but I'll have to say these folks really do it up right. They have constructed a large pavilion on the site, with a separate covered bar-b-cue pit. When I arrived the pit was going strong and as I sat and visited with my new friends, the crowd started to arrive, each arrival carrying at least two bowls of food. By the time the dinner whistle blew (courtesy of one of the elder men, a really good whistler), there were two long rows of tables piled with food. Sausage and chicken from the pit, blackeyed peas, deviled eggs, all kinds of salads and slaws, potatoes of every description, baked beans, corn, homemade pickles, pies, gelatins, cookies, brownies, cakes, strudel, fruit. Oh, my God, what a feast and I hastily bid adieu to my intention to stick to my diet and piled up a plate full of food and another plate of dessert samples and I ate every last bite, washing it down with perfect iced tea. It was a marvelous way to celebrate the 4th.

Some families were taking the opportunity to have a family reunion within the picnic and set up their own picnic tents under the huge live oaks. I'm guessing there were at least 200 folks in attendance, a lot of them related on the cousin level. There was a good breeze that blew through the pavilion, so as long as you weren't standing out in the sun, you forgot just how terribly hot it was.

The kids parade took place shortly after the meal. The leaders were a couple of boys on tricycles, followed by a young girl on drums who played a snappy cadence, and then by an assortment of kids walking or riding bicycles, all carrying flags. They marched along the circular drive that runs through the cemetery, making the full circle while an assortment of moms and dads snapped pictures and took video. It was the best 4th of July parade I've seen in a long, long time.

I was pleasantly surprised this year that we've had no fireworks set off in our neighborhood. I guess everyone is fully aware that the dry conditions should be respected. It has been a very pleasant holiday weekend, following a most pleasant week of relaxation. It's back to work tomorrow, but I go back knowing my house is in much better order than it was a week ago, the cats are getting along and I can let Dixie have the run of the house now, and quite a few things have been scratched off my to-do list.

It's been fun.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Whatever Happened to Her?

I can remember years ago when I delighted in spending all day Saturday at the mall browsing and buying.

These days I take extreme measures to avoid the mall. In fact, I haven't been to a real mall in a long, long time. I will go to the outlet mall in San Marcos or Round Rock from time to time when I need to replenish my closet, but those are outdoor malls with lots of space. I just can't bear to be cooped up inside with a crowd. I hate the press of bodies and I hate the noise. I just can't take it anymore.

I went to Austin today with the idea of making a family visit and decided I would hit a few stores along the way. I thought about going to Central Market and nixed that because of the inevitable crowd. I thought about going to the Container Store and nixed that because I really didn't need anything and the last thing I want to bring into the house is more stuff I don't need. I thought about going to Hobby Lobby and nixed that because I already have way too much craft material on hand. I thought about going to Chico's and nixed that because I just didn't feel like trying on a bunch of clothes. The only thing that I could dredge up any interest for was books.

So I ended up hitting 3 different Half Price Bookstores in addition to a quick stop at a JoAnn's craft store for a knitting magainze I can only seem to find there and a last quick stop at the Lowe's in Hutto to pick up two more patio cushions. There was a time when I would have come home with at least one to two outfits, a couple of new books, a couple of new cds and possibly some new jewelry or a new purse or a new pair of shoes. That kind of shopping just doesn't appeal to me now.

At the end of the day I was happy with my new pile of books and glad that I had dragged in nothing else. I have two knitting magazines, 3 new audiobooks, a couple of novels and best of all two history books for Fisher and Brazoria counties, both places where my Hodge line settled and that will be good additions for my growing Texas history library. Texas county histories are rare finds and I was lucky enough to find them when I had a discount coupon in my purse. Successful shopping indeed.

I was ready to call it quits and head home by 2 o'clock. Back in those old days I could stay on my feet and shop from the time the stores opened until late in the afternoon. Now I just want to go home and pet the dogs and cats.

Not sure what happened to that girl who loved to browse the malls. I think she may have gotten old.


P.S. When I arrived home, I discovered that two new Kentucky reference books had arrived, plus a historical society newsletter. I've got a wealth of new reading material. Just how I like it.

P.P.S. Miss Dixie had to be put in time out this evening for tormenting Scout and then trying to gnaw through my ankle. I predict this may become a regular thing. She's becoming a real little devil.

Had Enough Yet?

I don't know what we did for entertainment b.d. (before Dixie). Little stinker keeps us laughing and shaking our heads at her antics. This morning I was around the corner and heard a clinking sound from the direction of the living room. I figured one of the dogs was investigating the bowl that had contained my breakfast and that I had foolishly left sitting on the table next to the couch.

What I saw when I rounded the corner made me laugh out loud. The following picture was taken a few minutes afterwards. My first glimpse was of Dixie triumphantly holding the spoon by the handle and dragging it between her legs like prey she had taken down.

She felt like she had really accomplished something, killing that spoon with the leftover banana pudding that clung to it.

Mojo thinks my fascination with the little twerp is unexplainable.

Dixie has graduated to sleeping with us, if you can call what she does sleeping. It involves crashing like a dead cat from about 10PM to about 1:30AM, at which time everyone should get up and have a good romp and a potty break and maybe a snack before we all pile back into bed and crash like dead cats until about 5AM when we have another round of festivities. Since I don't sleep well anyway, it hasn't bothered me all that much and she is beginning to show signs of adjusting to our schedule. By next week I hope we are all realigned with the new sleeping arrangements.

In other news, the plumbers arrived yesterday and pronounced that my garbage disposal was only ill, not dying. What I had feared would be an expensive and time consuming repair was over and done with in 10 minutes and the rest of what I had on the list was taken care of within the hour. Nice to get everything (especially the dishwasher) running again and for less money than I had anticipated it would take. And since I didn't want outsiders, even plumbers, seeing the horrible state of the house, I had picked up, swept, mopped and scrubbed out tubs in anticipation and now I can sit around the remainder of my vacation and not feel like there is something else I should be doing.

'Cuz I really enjoy sitting around watching Dixie cook up new ways to make me laugh.


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Flip Side

She does slow down every so often. She had a nice long nap in the dog bed while I puttered around on the computer this afternoon.

And, when she woke up, she informed me that I had been messing around on the computer for way too long and it was now time to fix kitty supper.

Guess I had better get busy.


Neighborly Nerves

Earlier this week I visited with a couple who live in one of the rural subdivisions around Smithville. They have a nice moderately sized brick home in an area that is loosely zoned for residential purposes, allowing nice homes to be next to rundown mobile homes. Not the kind of subdivision that appeals to me, but when you want the luxury of rural living, sometimes you have to put up with the bitter in the batter.

I wasn't there but a few minutes when we started talking about our pets. We compared cat and dog notes and of course I told Dixie's story to them. They in turn were telling me about a foundling kitten who was trying to move in on them. That led to the discussion of the threat of coyotes and the man casually mentioned "and boa constrictors".

Say what?

It turns out that a neighbor down the way had a pet boa constrictor. It had escaped once and been recaptured without incident. However, the neighbor has since moved and evidence found afterward (in the nature of a very large snakeskin lying in another neighbor's garage) indicates that the snake either escaped again or was turned loose deliberately at some point before the move. The snakeskin was so enormous that it was taken to the county agent for identification and that's when everyone in the vicinity learned that they probably had a boa constrictor roaming the neighborhood.

Snakes are not a species I care to mingle with. Especially snakes that are bigger around than my arm. My first reaction was "nice to meet you, I've got to run now". However, I managed to keep my cool and finish my visit with them. The lady mentioned that she does have a tendency to look up into trees she is about to walk under. I'm all for living peacefully with my wild animal neighbors, but I do not want to walk out my front door and see a boa constrictor hanging down from a tree saying "howdy".

Makes the little rock snakes I see around here seem like small potatoes. Even that coral snake I spotted in the back 40 last year pales in comparison.

Ewww. I don't even want to think about it.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bobcat Alert

Be wary of picking up cats out in the wild. Especially do not feed them. If you follow my advice, you won't end up with Hurricane Dixie on your hands.

She is really blossoming in her third week of civilized (ahem!) living. Far from being afraid of Boo and Scout, she is terrorizing them by attacking them at every opportunity. They slap and hiss at empty air, because she is so quick she's gone before they know what hit them.

Her new trick is to climb up on the files and notebooks beside my desk and then take a flying leap into my lap, claws extended and sinking into the flesh on my thighs. I have long scratches on both legs as a result.

If she gets hungry, she materializes under my feet issuing demanding yowls. If she needs a litter box visit, she weaves around my feet muttering in distress. (I really think Boo and Scout have made threats about what will happen if she's caught in their litter box. She thinks she needs to be accompanied by an authority figure. Once, when I didn't get the hint, she resorted to using Coco's puddle pad. Hey, at least I'm not finding surprises tucked in corners now.)

We've been getting a lot of household chores done in our week off. I've had lots and lots of help, not only from Dixie, but from Boo and Scout as well. The dogs are worried I will drop something on them and beat a hasty retreat. The cats are right in the middle of whatever I'm doing, offering helpful advice.

Hoping for a distraction that might save some of my flesh, I got Dixie a little catnip bird that squeaks when she plays with it. That bird is chirping all over the house like something demented. She has Dixie sized tennis balls with bells inside, but they aren't nearly as interesting as the noise she gets from chasing a Milk Bone dog treat around on the tile floors.

About the time I think I'm ready to put her back in the car and make a return trip to that little cemetery in the country, she crawls into my lap, stretches out on her fat little tummy, nuzzles into the crook of my arm, purrs like mad and goes to sleep. When she sleeps, she looks like a little angel and it's hard to believe it's the same cat as Hurricane Dixie.

What have I gotten myself into?