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Monday, February 28, 2011

New Fangled Toddler Toys

 Stumped about what to get the toddler who has everything? Baffled by what you should get for the child down the street for her next birthday? Tired of guessing the next best Christmas wonder toy? Kahlen is here to demonstrate her favorite high tech  cutting edge toys.

First, the multi colored, multifunctional cans of beans and bacon soup. They role, they stack, they make loud noises when dropped on the floor. They are surprisingly cuddly, and may in times of national emergency serve as an effective teddy bear replacement. Hours of entertainment for the most finicky eighteen month old.

Next, we have the ever popular oatmeal box. Now, don't let its trendy appearance fool you, it is actually a low tech marvel that can double as a storage container or a drum. No batteries required. Yes, seriously! Don't forget about the nice old Quaker man on the outside of the box, such a friendly looking chap.

Here we have the new and improved roasting pan. It can be sat in, it can be danced in. It can be slid across the floor and used as a transportation unit for self or  toys. And, it's silver and shiny, always a plus for the discriminating toddler.

This is the roasting pan's companion toy, the measuring cup. Played with together, the measuring cup can be a steering wheel or an advanced warning system when banged against the cupboard.

 Used separately, the measuring cup can also serve as a stylish shoe. Like the oatmeal box it makes a fantastic musical instrument that makes the sound of a bird in spring. It also successfully scatters dog food across the kitchen floor.

Finally, the tuna can and the dog bed. Not toys you normally think of to use together, but miraculously they work in coordination much the same way an artists paint brush works with hot coals. You think it isn't going to work, yet you throw them together and sparks fly. It's a beautiful site to see.

We hope this tutorial is helpful to you. Kahlen worked very hard to put it all together. She is exhausted now and must take a nap.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I think I have said before that my backyard is its own little ecosystem. It has many old growth trees. It has fruit, nut and pine trees. It has everything to sustain an ecosystem. Right before we got that huge winter storm around Ground Hog Day the squirrels were out very busily gathering nuts and dead fruit. I had never seen squirrels working so hard anywhere. They freaked out as much about the impending storm as people did. I have often mentioned the abundance of rabbit poo in the yard, which of course means we must have many rabbits, though I have never actually seen them yet. A neighbor told me she has seen a possum in the yard. Every morning we hear birds chirping happily.

On the down side, with every healthy ecosystem there are predators. Every so often I would find the carcass of a bird torn to pieces out in the yard. When I saw the first one it was a little gross, but it was old. I figured it was dragged in by a cat or something and never thought more of it.

A few weeks later I saw another one, this one was a fresh kill. Again, I assumed it was from a cat. I noticed that the dead bird was pretty large. It started freaking me out a bit. Then there was another and another, and these birds were ripped to shreds. I really started wondering if it was just a cat, or something else. I even started to worry that there might be some creepy kids doing despicable things to these poor birds and throwing them in our yard. Or as my imagination swirled, maybe some very strange person putting a voodoo hex on our house, or some very angry ghost trying to scare us away. Blame it on too much time on my hands.

If you know what kind of bird this is please leave a comment
The other evening Kahlen and I were taking Bazinga out to do his stuff. It was right before dusk and the evening was setting in. I looked out into the yard and saw something moving. It was pretty good sized, at first glance I thought it might be that possum I'd been told about. It wasn't, it was a bird. A large bird, maybe a falcon and it had another bird that it had just caught. The other bird, (guessing by the remains) was either a blue jay or a pigeon. It was still alive, but wouldn't be for long.  I watched as the doomed bird struggled for its last gasps of life. Soon it was over.

All of this happened just yards from us. Kahlen and Bazinga were busily oblivious to the whole thing. I found it fascinating that a bird of prey chose our yard. We live in a rural area, but we are smack in the middle of town. A small town indeed, but still not where you expect Wild Kingdom to come to life. The most amazing thing was that he seemed to have no fear of us. I didn't share this sentiment, I didn't want him to think we were going to try to steal his kill, so we went in.

The next morning we all went out for our morning Bazinga poo time and our friend was back. He was retrieving what was left behind the night before. I took the dog and Kahlen back in the house and grabbed my camera. You can see the feathers and blood at his feet. Gruesome, but all part of the circle of life. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't know any voodoo.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Dancing In Our Jammies

Kahlen started the day bright and early again. Willie had taken Bazinga out before he went to work, so Kahlen and I got to have some girl time before I had to take him out again. We went downstairs and changed her diaper. She absolutely hates having her diaper changed. It wastes precious time that would be better spent doing something more important, like running through the house screaming. Diaper change done, we turned on the some music and started jammin in our jammies while we made breakfast. Kahlen loves to dance. She loves all types of music. She will dance to anything. We boogied together while we got everything out of the fridge. We shook our booties while we made chocolate milk. We got breakfast all put together and shuffled it to the table.

I had some left over french toast from yesterday, so we reheated that. Yesterday, Grandpa ate breakfast with her. He is much more meticulous than I am and washed the syrup off Kahlen's hands with every single bite. I prefer the wait till we are done and get it all at once method. Sometimes this backfires on me. Today was one of those times. I let Kahlen dip her french toast in her syrup and feed herself. She has not perfected the use of a fork yet. Each bite was an experiment in how to least efficiently get food from plate to pallet. When we were done, I went to the internet to try to apply for federal disaster relief funding. Somehow, the federal government does not have funding for syrup disasters, who knew? I think members of congress should have to clean up their own toddlers' breakfast messes instead of having the nanny do it. Perhaps, then their would be more understanding for this national crisis.

 When every thing was all cleaned up we brought Bazinga downstairs to join us in a game of monkey tag. What is monkey tag? Yesterday, when we went to Pamida, we got Kahlen a little purple monkey with bunny ears. I thought it was adorable, so Kahlen HAD to have it.  We started playing tag, and the person who was "not it" got to run with the monkey. When she was caught the other person got to have the monkey and run with it. I figure it was exercise and sharing all rolled into one. It seems a rousing game of monkey tag wakes a toddlers bowels up, so it was time for another diaper change.

To get her to cooperate a little more I told Kahlen when she was done she could have a diaper to diaper her baby with. It helped a little, she got the diaper and tried to diaper her glowworm. If you have never seen a glow worm, they don't have legs. It didn't really matter though, she mostly just wanted to shake the heck out of the diaper.

It was quite a busy morning. We got into the car to go have lunch with Grandpa. Kahlen passed out before we even got three blocks. We ate lunch with Grandpa. Today, it was Gramma's job to help her with her drink.

After dropping off Grandpa, Kahlen and I went to the pet store for dog food and cat litter. We spent a lot of time looking at the birds, rabbits, fish and mice. She really liked the big macaws. They busily showed off for her and made her giggle. The bunnies even seemed to be trying to get her attention. Not that it was hard.

About halfway back to Rossville Kahlen conked out again, and has been sleeping ever since. I think we may try cookie making when she wakes up. I wonder if there is disaster aid for that?

6:30 AM

Today started early. Kahlen woke up crying with a cold wet diaper. Wet everything to be more correct. I picked her up and gave her to Grandpa. She cried louder. I went downstairs to get diaper changing materials and dry jammies. When I got back up, she was still crying. We got her all changed and she cuddled up to go back to sleep. Bazinga, now awake, decided he needed to go out. I went to give Kahlen to Grandpa so I could take Bazinga out, but she was having none of that. A little heart broken, Willie  got up and took Bazinga out. Kahlen snuggled back down, eyes closed, calm and happy. Then Bazinga came back upstairs, rip roaring and ready to play. There would be no more sleeping.

We had a nice breakfast of french toast and pears. Cleaned up, got dressed and brushed our teeth. The rest of the day ahead of us, we tried to decide what to do. Running around the house from one room to the next seemed to be the favorite choice of the day. Kahlen would chase me, Bazinga would chase Kahlen, and Grandpa took a nap. I'm not sure how he slept through it, but he must of needed the sleep.

About 11:00 we decided to head up to Hoopston to go to Pamida for diapers. About two minutes into the drive Kahlen passed out. Willie decided to just keep driving so she could keep sleeping. We ended up in Watseka, turned around and headed back. Once we got to Hoopston again we stopped at Pizza Hut for lunch.

Kahlen, loves garlic cheese bread. She devoured that, apple sauce and a little pizza. She had a cup of lemonade. Grandpa or I would help her when she wanted a drink. Suddenly, she decided that it was Grandpa's job to help her with her drink, and only Grandpa's. If I would try, she would push the cup to Grandpa refusing to take a drink from me. I think Grandpa was secretly thrilled. They were both so cute. (Sssshhhhh, don't tell Willie I called him cute.)

We got back home and it was time to move some furniture. We have a little red rocking chair that we bought at the Habitat For Humanity store. I plan on repainting it this summer. It is a nice sturdy little rocking chair. Kahlen loves it. She can pick it up and move it around. So, she does. She moved it one place, sat in it, then moved it again. She put it against the wall, she put it in the middle of the room, she put it facing the wall. Each time sitting in it to see if it was in the right place. Finally, it came in from the front porch to the living room. Again, put in many different places and sat in. There was a perfect place for this chair and Kahlen was going to find it.

It was time for another game of tag. Then a game of fetch. Ok, in my defense the game started out with me trying to get the dog to fetch. Every time I threw the toy for Bazinga,  Bazinga and Kahlen both would go running after it. What're ya gonna do? It turned into a race between them to see who could get to the toy first. Whoever got it, would bring it back to me. Finally, Bazinga gave up, knowing, that girl, would bring the toy back,  and then it was just Kahlen chasing the toy. I wondered if it was somehow wrong for me to be playing fetch with my grand daughter, but she was having fun, so we kept playing.

Supper was pig out time. Here was the menu..... Yogurt, starfruit, tamales, peas, and Chocolate milk. When she was done with those she decided she needed part of Grandpa's tuna sandwich and a pickle. I guess playing fetch builds up an appetite.

Bath time was fun as always. Then Monsters Inc, then bed. I'm glad the day started early. It was a good day. 6:30 am will be fine tomorrow, too.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cheese Puffs and Long Drives

Cheese puff disaster
Cheese puffs are a wonderful snack. They are crispy and cheesy and airy. I enjoy a nice bag of them now and then myself. However, eighteen month old + long drive + cheese puffs = big mess. There was fluorescent orange cheese puff nuclear waste every where. There was cheese puff glue in places there should never be cheese puff glue.  It had plastered to itself to her pants, it was in her hair, on her car seat. I do believe that cheese puffs should be reclassified as a weapon of mass destruction. They did keep her happy for a while though, that's what counts.  

Kahlen's Party Pad
Kahlen and I have this whole traveling thing down to a science. She has become a well seasoned traveler. I have a very specific way of setting up the car. I call it Kahlen's Party Pad. She has enough toys to keep her entertained for a few hours. Then we bring out the computer to watch movies.

We stop often. Iowa has some awesome rest stops. They have really nice clean bathrooms. Sturdy diaper changing areas and lots of picnic tables. They also have free WiFi, a way to check the weather and of course vending machines. I know it may seem strange to gush over a rest area, but when you have a child with a stinky diaper and a case of the "I WANT OUT OF THE CAR" blues, a nice rest stop is a life saver. Compared to the rest areas in Illinois, Iowa's are mini spas.  Illinois' rest areas are functional and usually clean, but that's about it.

Since we had Bazinga with us, we ate our lunch at a rest area while Bazinga played in the grass and waited for Kahlen to drop food.

Iowa I-80 rest area

After we were done with our lunch We went for a little walk to stretch our legs. Kahlen "walked" Bazinga. All went well until Kahlen tripped on a stick and fell. It broke her heart more than it hurt, but she was ready to get on our way again. 

All was good, Planet 51 was playing on the computer. Bazinga was snoozing in his kennel. We were traveling a long on I-74. We played a quick game of peek-a-boo in the rearview mirror. We got to Highway 136 and the whining started. She was getting tired, and was sick of being in the car. I slipped her some crackers and that seemed to help, for about two minutes. It was dark and she couldn't get to her toys. I started praying for her to go to sleep. When we got to Rantoul she did. The rest of the drive went smoothly and quietly. 

She knows that at the end of a big bye bye, she gets to see Grandpa. We got to the house. I got her out of her car seat and brought her into the house. She ran into the front room, calling for Grandpa the whole way, so excited! No Grandpa, he was still at work. 

She passed the time waiting for Grandpa working very hard rearranging my cupboards. I had them all wrong. I was just lucky she was there to fix them. It was pure chaos, it took a very long time for her to get them just right. 

Then, a sound at the back door. Bazinga starts barking, who could it be? GRANDPA!!! She ran to the door laughing the whole way! She ran straight into his arms and gave him a big bear hug. She was very excited to see him! She told him about her trip, and how she fixed Gramma's cupboards. She told him the long drive was all worth it!

Olivia and Bazinga

I wanted to use a picture of Bazinga and Olivia,
but Olivia never stops moving
Bazinga and I got to Valerie's last night a little after nine. When I got there I started prying into my daughter's love life and got a few details about the new man in her life. We had a good talk. I enjoyed it, not sure if she did.  Bazinga, completely bored with the subject went to pouncing Olivia.

Olivia is Valerie's cat. The back story to Olivia, as seen through my eyes, is a story of a terrorist. You see, Olivia came to live at our house at one point for about six months. Olivia, normally is a sweet, excessively loving cat. On her own I love Olivia. Olivia plus Mia, and (at that time) Sierra, was a war zone! If it had been before Wickett, our dog, passed away, he would have protected Mia and Sierra. On their own they didn't stand a chance. 

Most of it, I must admit, was my own cats' faults. Olivia came to our house frightened at first, but then ready to play. Mia, of course was terrified! Sierra, being very old and fragile, had no intention of playing with a new cat. Olivia didn't understand. Unfortunately, she still had all of her claws, and when she did try to play, it scared Mia even more. She would pounce and role Sierra, who's old bones couldn't handle it. This ended up scaring Sierra, who turned to Mia as her defender. Not a good choice, but the only choice. The end result being, one frustrated cat who wanted to play. Olivia, finally ended up mad, and instead of playing, started attacking. Attacking ferociously, she put a hole in Mia's back. Seems, if you aren't Olivia's friend you are her bitter enemy. This resulted in terrified cats that wouldn't leave my bedroom. We ended up moving the litter box in there. Willie was now unhappy, too.  Olivia = terrorist. 

We all lived through it, battle scares and all. Valerie ended up with a place of her own, and Olivia moved out. Such a relief. I love my daughter, she didn't need to move out, her cat did. I love Olivia, when she doesn't live with my cats. Later that year Sierra passed away. It was because she was 100 years old not because of Olivia. It makes me sad though that Sierra missed out on her last Christmas. She loved Christmas, she really did. 

Enter Bazinga. The first time Olivia and Bazinga met he was about half her size. Obviously, I was a little nervous. I put him down, they sized each other up. Bazinga is very good at being calm submissive. Olivia liked that. Olivia and Bazinga are now best buds. She truly just wants someone to play with. 

On the outside Olivia and Bazinga are polar opposites. One is pitch black, one is snow white, (well when he is clean, which isn't very often.) One is long and lean one is short and stocky. One's a cat, one's a dog. In the heart, though, they are soul mates through and through. They love playing together. Olivia is Bazinga's most best toy, and Bazinga is Olivia's. He will play with her toys and she will take them back. She will run and hide and he will go find her. It is a very symbiotic relationship. If Olivia and Bazinga ever had to live in the same house, things would be good. Chaotic, for sure, but no one would be quivering in the bedroom.  Then Bazinga goes home and expects Mia to play the same way. 

Well........ It's getting there. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weather Beacon Red

Bazinga and I left Rossville today for a long trip back to Des Moines. Willie and I asked Alyssa and Shane if we could have Kahlen for  a few days. They said yes, yay, and I decided to bring Bazinga. When we left Rossville it was forty some degrees and raining. It rained most of the way through Illinois. When I had to stop to let Bazinga relieve himself we got rained on. It was annoying, but nothing that bad. At least it was warm.

As we crossed the Mississippi the wind started picking up. It wasn't raining so much, but still drizzling and foggy. The closer we got to Des Moines the colder it got. Apparently, it is still winter here. We got to Grimes, and the wind was blowing, it was cold and it was snowing. Definitely still winter.

Then I saw Little Miss Kahlen's smiling face and the weather just didn't matter any more. I was so happy to see her, and she seemed happy to see me. It already seemed ten degrees warmer. I got her buckled in her car seat. Bazinga was thrilled to see her, but not thrilled to be in his kennel where he couldn't properly greet her. This was agony.

The three of us went over to to see Great Grandpa Bob. Bazinga chased Kahlen, Kahlen chased Bazinga and Great Grandpa Bob smiled and laughed. Kahlen decided that she needed to "walk" Bazinga. She wanted me to put his leash on, I did. She "walked" him back and forth across the living room. This was a very proud moment for both.

Uncle Ben and Aunt Stacey each were there and got to see Kahlen, too. She amused them with her supreme dancing abilities. Soon, Alyssa came as well. We all had quite a good time at Great Grandpa Bob's. Then it was time to go. I gave Kahlen a kiss good bye and promised her a big bye bye in the morning. A big bye bye is when we take the long trip to Rossville together.

Bazinga and I were staying at Valerie's in Ames. On the way there, we decided to stop and see Josh and Caitlin and Tallulah. Tallulah  is their chihuahua. Bazinga exploded with speed and energy and chased Tallulah everywhere. It was like he was hyped on caffeine. Tallulah, excited at first played and chased back. After a while she was sick of the darn kid and sat on me. Bazinga was very disappointed. Time to get to Ames.

On I-80, I noticed the weather beacon was red, warmer weather is ahead. For those of you not from central Iowa, Des Moines has a weather beacon. It belongs to one of the TV stations. It is a TV tower that has green, red and white lights on it. Way back in the day, before the Internet, and smart phones and heck even color TV, (yes youngnes, TV used to just be black and white,) the weather beacon was a quick reference to what the weather would be the next twenty four hours. You could see it from miles around. There's even a little poem to help you remember...
Weather beacon red, warmer weather is ahead. Weather beacon white, colder weather is in sight. Weather beacon green no change in temperature is foreseen, weather beacon blinking night or day, precipitation is on the way.

Snazzy huh? It used to be quite useful, now it's mostly tradition. As I said, I notice it was red. Tomorrow I take Kahlen and Bazinga back to Rossville. I'm a little nervous about the idea of taking an 18 month old girl and a 6 month old dog on a 7 hour drive all by myself. It will be an adventure. One thing I do know though, it will be warmer. Kahlen is our very own red weather beacon. She warms up the coldest day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Was Phil Right?

Remember a few short weeks ago, around groundhog day, a majority of the country was in the middle of a monster winter storm. Despite all of the weather news going on around him, Punxsutawney Phil,  predicted an early spring. We laughed and scoffed. We said "shows you what a rodent knows." Yet here we are, not even the end of February, the tons of snow gone, and temperatures this last week have been beautiful. Maybe we should listen to rodents more often. They usually know when to leave a sinking ship, after all.

Phil is only the first rite of spring. Another being the most famous words in racing, "Gentleman, start your engines!" I'm not a big Nascar fan. I do watch a lot of races, because Willie does. I know more about Nascar then I had ever planned to, but still don't know much. I do know, though, that the Daytona 500  is the first race of the season, and therefore a rite of spring as well. This fact made watching those cars go fast and turn right much more enjoyable today. (Until Jimmy Johnson, Willie's favorite, ended up in the middle of a big wreck.)

Another rite of spring, one of my favorites, GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!!! As a former scout, cookie time never felt like a rite of spring. Having to go out and pound on doors in the freezing cold, at the end of January, to take the orders, does not make you think of spring. I hated selling cookies. I liked that it helped me go to camp every year, but I hated it. I am not a sales person. I don't like being very, very cold. I don't like my toes hurting with every step I take. I hated selling cookies. Then delivering, at the end of February. Toting those cookies, back to all of those people who ordered them. Toes cold, again, and carrying cases, almost as big as me, of little boxes of cookies.... well, you get the picture. Now, as a buyer, cookie time signals the end of winter. Opening that first box of Peanut Butter Patties, (or Tagalongs, depending on what state you live in,) is like the first little hope of spring. It reminds me of Camp Sacajawea, the true goal I always had when selling.

There is another, more pungent, sign of spring. It wafts through the air. It attacks your olfactory senses. It takes you aback and makes you cover your nose in repulsion. It is, the smell of skunk. Yes, this is an unpleasant experience. The first time you smell it after a long winter, however, lets you know, that spring is truly on its way. Soon after this odoriferous spring reminder, another appears. Roadkill. When you see your first squished raccoon, you know it is spring.  I do not endorse going out and squishing a raccoon to try and make spring come. I also hate seeing anything squished by the side of the road, so if you are a member of PETA, don't comment on how horrid a person I am. The fact is, road kill happens, and it happens more in spring.

I will stand by Phil, and the hopes of an early spring. I know, North Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan got socked with a blizzard again this weekend. The first day of spring for them usually doesn't get there until June 27th anyway, so that doesn't count. Yes, we will probably have another bump in the road. We are sure to be scooping more snow before we are mowing lawns, but for the most part Phil seems to have gotten it right.  He seems to do as well as the people with Doppler radar anyway.

Friday, February 18, 2011

What is Baking Soda?

I was eating one of the delicious cookies that Josh and Caitlin sent me. It was sweet and vanillaee and heavenly! I was so excited to unwrap it and partake in its decadence. It was bliss!

But I started thinking about the cookie in general. My kids think I'm strange sometimes because all of the sudden I will ask a question out of nowhere.  I'll be sitting watching TV with Alyssa and ask a question that has nothing to do with anything that is going on. But it is usually something that I have been pondering on for a little while. I'll be watching the fish  in the aquarium, instead of the TV. Watching them flow through the water and fight with each other.  Carefully, paying attention to their eyes, "Do fish blink?" I'll blurt out. Alyssa, watching Say Yes to The Dress, seeing no connection, will look at me like I have lost my mind, "What?"

Today's question.... Who invented cookies and how did they figure out it was the best idea they would ever have in their entire life? Was it on purpose? Did they put the flour and sugar and baking soda together thoughtfully and with a specific goal in mind? Or was it a happy accident? Was the real goal a bread? Were they trying to make pancakes and put them in an oven to make more at once and ended up with cookies instead? Who were these geniuses?

All good questions lead to more questions. What the heck is baking soda? Seriously, we use it in everything. We know what it does, it makes our cookies light and airy. I think. Well, it helps make our cookies good. If you accidentally use baking powder instead, your cookie is NOT good, and visa verse. Some cookies take both, how come? What are these powdery white substances really? Where do they come from? Is there a baking powder mine, like a salt mine? Are they concoctions of other things? And who was the first person to figure out to use them?

You don't hear about cookies in Biblical times, but they definitely had bread. Did they have baking soda and baking powder way back then? We know there is talk of unleavened bread, which means they had leavened bread, which means they had yeast. How did they know to use yeast? Did God give Adam and Eve a cookbook? What a cook book that would be. Did stone age man carry baking soda in his wallet as he moved from place to place? Ok, yeah, that is just absurd, he wouldn't have room for his emergency condom if he did that.

I'm not sure where cookies first came from but I, along with Cookie Monster, am very glad we have them! The world would be a much sadder place with out them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

St. Valentine's Day

I have never had a lot of use for Valentine's day. While I know there is a true and good history behind it, I have no idea what it is. I know there was a true St. Valentine. I don't know what he did to become a saint or why he is connected with love. (Ok, yeah, I'll look it up on the net when I'm done, now I am curious.) At Christmas you see a lot of "Remember the reason for the season." Which I completely agree with. But if St. Valentine was important enough to get his own holiday, why don't we know anything about him?

Because perhaps, it has become so commercial that it has even out commercialed Christmas?  While, we don't spend near as much money on Valentine's Day, I think it has even more power over us to buy something. If we don't buy something very romantic and fabulous for that one special person, we risk relationship DOOM!!! Isn't that what the flower and card people have convinced us. Why do we put so much importance on the perfect Valentine's present? If we doom a relationship because we didn't get the perfect Valentine is the relationship worth having in the first place? The Valentine industry would love us all to believe that all relationships will end on February 15th if Valentine's Day is not perfect!  All of this put together jaded me on the holiday long ago. I have a wonderful and loving husband. He proves his love to me everyday, I don't need him to buy me some insane present on Valentine's Day. (Yes, he did get me something wonderful, because he is wonderful.)

Then I went out to get the mail this morning and found a box. A pretty big box. It was sitting on the front porch. We don't use our front door very often except to get the mail. I wondered to myself, first, what is it? Second, when did it get there. And third, who sent it. I didn't remember ordering anything, did Willie? It was addressed to both of us. Perplexing. I picked it up, it wasn't as heavy as the size of the box led me to think it would be. Curious. I took it inside. 

They smell even better then they look!!!!
I opened the mystery box. The sweet decadent aroma of sugar cookies enveloped my senses. I found the message on the outer wrapping. "Happy Valentine's Day! We love you and miss you very much. Love, Josh and Caitlin." Suddenly, the spirit of St. Valentines Day came over me in a rush. I understood, I got it. My day brightened up immediately. It was like a rainbow after a terrible storm. It was my spring after the long winter. It made me HAPPY!

Will I still scoff at Valentine's Day? The cynic in me wants to say yes. But the mushy, soft hearted part of me will probably win out. I'm very glad about that. Maybe the flower and greeting card industry has taken this "holiday" by the throat, but the unexpected, joy of it is still there.  It is sitting on my table waiting for Willie to see it, too!

And the box made Mia very happy, too! So, a belated Happy Valentine's Day to one and all!

I Want to Go on a Trip

I was driving to Mattoon today, because that is where the closest branch of our bank is. As I was heading south on I-57 I kept seeing signs for Memphis. Memphis is apparently about as far away from here as Des Moines. I kept seeing the signs and thought to myself, I could just keep going. I could just drive on down just to see what there was to see. Of course I didn't. I needed to get back home.

It got me to thinking though. I really want to go some place new. Some place I haven't been before. I really didn't want to go to Memphis. I just wanted wanted to go. Memphis seemed just as good a place as any. I didn't really want to go by my self though. Plus, I didn't have anything with me. You know, tooth paste, deodorant, the important things, the things that make it more pleasant to be around each other.

unknown.jpgWhere I really want to go is Philadelphia. I want to see the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall. I want to walk in the footsteps of the men who founded our great country. See the places Ben Franklin held dear. I also want to go to Washington DC. I want to see the Lincoln Memorial and browse through the National Archives. I want to go to Mt. Vernon and see where the father of our country lived. Maybe go to the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
I'd also love to go to Montana. You see it in the movies and it just looks beautiful. I love camping and hiking. I really want to go to Oregon. I want to see Crater Lake. And I want to see to see an ocean. I know it would be a challenge, but I bet there is even something cool to see in Kansas. I want to find it!

I would love to travel to every state in this country. Wouldn't that be a great job. Go from state to state, see what wonderful people and places each had and write about it. 50 states in one year. That would be about one week in each state. I wonder if I could get someone to pay me to do that? Hmmm. I could drive through each of the lower 48. I love driving. I could go to all of the weird little places that you hear about but never get to see. Or the places that you pass as you rush somewhere else and think to yourself, I want to stop there someday, but never do.  Of course I would need to fly to Hawaii and Alaska. (Although if you check Google maps it seems to think you can kayak to Hawaii. Check it out, put USA as starting point and Japan as end point and look at #31.) I would love to  fly to Alaska and Hawaii.  I'm pushing 50 and never been on an airplane. DREAM JOB! I can see it now, I could call the series Fifty Year Old Firsts. Anyone know how I could get someone to pay me to do this? Weirder things have happened. After all they pay Macy Gray to sing.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

God Has a Plan

I've been very angry today. Everything has gone wrong. My daughter, Alyssa, has been sick and ended up in the ER last night and I wasn't there for her. I couldn't help her, I couldn't take Kahlen for her, I was stuck here. I'm her mom and this is the first time I wasn't there for her when she was that sick. I wanted to go to Des Moines but couldn't. She's ok, but I was useless. I know I can't be there every time one of my kids has a runny nose, but she ended up in the ER. I wasn't there.

Today every time I turned around some stupid thing was going wrong. I kept stepping on one of Bazinga's chew toys, which hurt a lot. Things didn't work right. Everything was getting on my nerves and making me angry. I kept throwing things and yelling at no one. Mostly because there was no one there to yell at.

This evening, still angry, I stopped to read my friend Reanna's blog. She had posted about how she and her husband had been trying for three years to get pregnant. How much it hurt. Yet she still has the faith in God that He has a perfect plan for her. She posted this verse:

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11

I felt myself take a deep breath. My anger subsiding. Still not sure how things are going to work out, but knowing, somehow, they are. God does have perfect plans for us. Several years ago I prayed and begged for something that I thought I desperately wanted. When I didn't get it I was angry then, too. Looking back on it, I am so grateful to God that He said no. He knew what I needed, even if I wasn't smart enough to understand it. He knows what I need now, too. Even though, once again, I am not smart enough to see it yet. 

So, here I am. Giving my problems to God. Knowing that he will take care of my family, my friends and yes, even me. I know He is there. I know He has a plan. Thank you, Reanna, for helping me to see that again,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Still In The Spring Mood

This morning I woke up and knew that I needed to give Bazinga a bath. Still being in the mood for spring I really wanted to be outside instead. I figured, since he needs a bath anyway why not get him extra dirty. I gathered up an old towel, a water bottle and Bazinga's leash and off we went. It was cloudy and dreary in Rossville. I decided to head to Indiana. Shades State Park is one of my favorite places. As we drove out of Illinois the clouds started breaking up. Small patches of blue sky started peaking through the gray. I felt myself daring to hope that once I reached my destination that the clouds would be gone. As we reached the narrow winding road that lead to the park, the clouds behind us, the sun shone through. I felt  a weight lift from my shoulders. It felt good to see the sun and be out of Illinois even if just for the afternoon.

We got out of the van and Bazinga started quickly sniffing about to see what this new place was. We walked down the path and turned toward The Devils Punch Bowl. We continued on the wooden board walk that was covered with snow. I was excited to see the green fern breaking through the icy snow. The strength of spring pushing it's way to the surface

We turned a corner and found that the stairs going down into the Punch Bowl were covered with ice. I thought for a few minutes about turning back but decided to venture forward. I crushed the ice with my foot and pushed it away with each step. When I got to the bottom I was glad I did. If we had turned back we would have missed out on this.  You can't tell by the photo but those icicles were four feet tall. 

Bazinga was enjoying himself investigating every little piece of moss and speckle of dirt. His fur becoming blacker with every step.
The evidence of melting surrounded us. Every rock dripping water into the creek below, that itself was working very hard to become liquid again. The sounds of the melting echoed through the little canyon.

We both enjoyed our walk immensely. We would come upon obstacles that made me think it was time to turn back. We slowly found our way around them and pushed forward. Finally though, toes cold and legs tired I decided it was time to head home. 

I had been happily photographing our short journey. I paid little attention to the path we took to get there. 
When I turned to head back, I looked up. Suddenly, the extremely wise words of Forrest Gump rang loudly in my head. "Stupid is as stupid does." 

I realized, while it may have been tricky getting down into this beautiful bit of nature, getting back out may be even trickier.  I thought about the fact that no one knew where I was. I left the house on a whim and didn't think there was any reason to bother Willie at work to let him know where I was going. Maybe not so smart of me. With a few slips and a slight turn of the ankle we found our way back to the wooden stairs. I only ended up on my bum once. It bruised my ego more than my body.

Photos taken and lessons learned we made our way back to the car. Bazinga was covered with dirt and grime. Luckily, I had thought ahead enough to bring the old towel. Before we got in the car I gave him a drink of water, which helped to clean his chin a little anyway. I opened the door and put him on the towel. Our little adventure over, he slept all the way home.

PS... Ignore the date on the photos. My camera decides to change the date on me every once in a while. Since the snow is everywhere, it obviously is not July. And I have not been able to perfect my time machine yet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's SPRING!!!!

Other than my kids not being here to look at me like I'm ready to be put in a home, Let's All Pretend It's SPRING Day was a huge success. Dug the grill out of the snow drift it has be stuck in for months and grilled lots of good food. I changed my menu a little from what I had listed the other day. Instead of cheese burgers, I decided brats sounded good. I also decided to experiment with plantains. Why? I don't know, I've always been curious. When I was at the store the other day there they were. I bought two and brought them home with no idea of what you are supposed to do with them. Food Network to the rescue. I found a recipe on their web site. It was one by Bobby Flay. I wanted a recipe that grilled the plantains and he had a few. It had a brown sugar, honey and orange juice glaze. It also called for cilantro, which I didn't have, I used a little parsley instead. The glaze was good. The plantains, eh. I don't think I am a fan. They weren't horrible, but they weren't good either. They kind of tasted like a potato, but not much else. I like to experiment with at least one dish whenever I make a "holiday" dinner. I figure if it isn't good, there are a ton of other things to eat. If it is good, I can make it again. I won't make this again.

I  made cowboy beans. I love cowboy beans. I put lots of brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup and bbq sauce in them and then bake them forever. Or like I did today, put them on the grill for ever. Mmmmm MMMM! They turned out very well. Cowboy beans are pretty much a staple at a holiday dinner for our family. Josh loves them. His Grandpa Berry dubbed them cowboy beans when Josh was little and the name stuck.

I got some frozen corn on the cob and put it on the grill. It was of course, disappointing. We are from Iowa. Frozen corn on the cob just doesn't cut it. Had to try though. We also had potato salad. If you are going to grill you must have potato salad. I think it is a law or something. If it isn't it should be.

Desert was grilled pineapple and ice cream. If you have never grilled pineapple you need to try it. This was something I heard on Food Network and tried it once for an experimental dish for a  Fourth of July menu. It was good. It was very good. Willie loves it. When we grill now we usually grill pineapple. It is pretty easy, too. Don't let a pineapple scare you. You just need to show it who is boss. Chop off the top and bottom and then run a knife down the sides. That's all it takes to peel it. then cut it in fourths, cut away the core, and finish cutting it into spears. Coat with canola oil and sprinkle with sugar. Grill until you get grill marks on all sides.
You can either eat it just like that or you can add it to other things. Willie eats it plain. I like it on ice cream.
Today felt like spring. The weather even cooperated. It was sunny and warm. Let's All Pretend It's Spring day works every time!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

What a Beautiful Day!

Dirty, wet but happy dog
The sun is shining and it is warm outside. What a wonderful way to start the weekend. Willie and I went to a little diner down the street for breakfast and both ended up getting lunch instead. When we got home I took Bazinga out for a walk and  he'd no intention of coming back in. He wanted to be outside. He usually is very nervous on walks but today he was loving every step. He walked through puddles and over snow mounds. He didn't even notice the cars and trucks driving by to their Saturday activities. He stopped only to be admired by a neighbor. He sniffed and inspected and moved on to the next thing. As he walked along, being the mobile dust mop that he is, he picked up every little piece of dirt and grime in his path. He was one happy dog. He, now is one pooped out pup. A little disappointed that he is not allowed on the couch right now, but still sleeping happily on the floor.

Bazinga was not the only one to be happily out and about. The sunshine felt wonderful on my face. I was so excited to see the snow melting and quickly running down the street and into the storm sewers.

I found evidence of melting everywhere. Melting from the roof dripping down on to our completely iced over driveway. I am especially excited about that! We kind of have two driveways. One that comes up along side the house and one that goes into the detached garage. I like the drive next to the house when I have groceries to unload. I can pull up right next to the deck and unload. With it totally iced over I have to make fifty trips to the garage to unload. Oh, well, it isn't like I cant use the exercise. Every little drop that melts away is one drop closer to being able to use the drive again!

Bazinga is excited about all of the happy little surprise prizes hiding under the surface of the snow waiting for him to discover. My back yard is like one huge box of crackerjacks to him. New toys with every step and tasty snacks to give him the energy to go digging for more.

I think Willie is probably the most impatient for spring to finally get here. We have the biggest yard we have ever had. I know he is itching to get out and start making it his yard. Right now it still feels like someone else's yard. Well, if you don't count all of the Bazinga poo out there. Willie is a very accomplished gardener. I'm excited to see what he does with it.

One of the first things we will have to do is clean up the ginkgo nuts that litter the yard. We have a female ginkgo tree in our yard. I am excited to see it all leaved out. I have seen the fallen leaves and they are these big beautiful fan shaped leaves. I can't wait to see them green and new. In the fall they will be a brilliant yellow. I am not excited to clean up the nuts. If you have never see a ginkgo nut, like I hadn't before I moved here, a ginkgo nut is covered with a fleshy fruit. This fruit, STINKS! When I say stinks, I mean it smells like fermented dog crap that has been contaminated with sour milk and rotten meat! We thought, for about a minute, about taking the tree out because of this. Then we started researching ginkgo trees and realized this tree in our yard must be at least 150 years old. Ginkgoes are a slow growth tree, and ours is huge. It just wouldn't be right to take it out. So, we are going to have to find a happy compromise with this tree. In other words it will drop the stinky nuts and we will have to clean them up. Some compromise huh? It will be worth it though. Maybe I should get brave and figure out how to harvest the nuts. I've seen them for sale on the Internet for twelve dollars a pound.

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's Time! IT'S TIME!

I got a good night sleep last night for the first time in a long time. After being the whiny little brat yesterday, I decided it is once again that time of the year. That second most wonderful time of the year. After this long hard winter that we have had we all deserve it. What? What?!  You ask.

It is time to break out the grills, thaw out the steaks! It is time to dig out the shorts and T-shirts! That's right! It is time for LET'S ALL PRETEND IT'S SPRING DAY!!!!!!!!! We need it this year even more than ever! I think this year the whole country needs it.

I have done this for the last three years. My kids have thought me crazy, but that's part of the fun of having kids, making them think you are crazy. Last year I even dressed Kahlen in spring clothes for the day. This year I decided with all of the snow that has clobbered most of the country, I would try making it a Facebook event. I have invited all of my Facebook friends and hope the will invite theirs. Can you imagine, if everyone gets out their grills all on the same day, maybe we can melt all of that dirty white crap out there.

This will be my menu this year.

Cheeseburgers, mmmmmm, love those cheeseburgers!

Potato salad, can't have a cook out without it.

Baked beans, cooked out on the grill.

Corn on the cob, I know I'll have to use frozen, but we can pretend, that's what this whole day is about anyway.

 What for desert? Hmmmm. Must think. It needs to be made on the grill, needs to be nummy.

I know! I know! Grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream! Just think, warm caramelized pineapple slowly melting rich vanilla ice cream. Sounds good already! I can't wait! What will your menu be?

There it is, Sunday is going to be the third annual Let's All Pretend It's Spring Day! You can celebrate on what ever day works out best for you. The point is to get out and thump winter in the nose! Tell old man winter it is time for him give up the reigns. Get out the blow driers and chase Frostie out of town. He's over stayed his welcome. He's like the poor relative that comes for Christmas and never leaves! It's time for him to GO! Let's take that stupid magic hat and give it back to the magician. It is time to make winter go away!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Empty Nest

I've thought twice today about posting anything on this blog. I'm not in the happiest mood. It is, however, about things in my life and being a normal human being I'm not always in a good mood. Today is not my best day. I've been sleeping on the couch while Willie has been sick so he can be more comfortable. Our couch is a good one to sleep on as far as couches go. It is nice and deep, and long enough. It is not however, my bed. Between that and hot flashes I have not slept well. I wake up achy all over and I am exhausted. Willie is better finally, I was getting worried. So, tonight it is back to our bed. Maybe tonight I will sleep!

I am having trouble finding a new job. It seems my skills and experience aren't of much use around here. This makes me feel as though I am not of much use. I try not to take it personal. Unemployment around here is even higher than the national average, I tell myself. That doesn't help pay the bills though. I try to fill my days. Today, I rearranged some cupboards in the kitchen.

I went from working thirty-two hours a week, and helping to watch Kahlen when I wasn't working to..... well, nothing. Not only am I pretty much of no use to anyone, I am lonely.

I never thought I'd be one of those empty nesters that couldn't cope with not having the insane business of having kids in the house. I am home with no one to talk to but the dog and the cat most of the time. Almost all of the time. I don't know anyone here in town.

I miss my kids. This is the order of how things are supposed to happen. First you raise your kids. You go insane while doing it, but you get to have so much fun that you only sometimes let it get to you. Then, when they are old enough and ready they are supposed to move out of your house, they are supposed to move on. This is a good thing. It is something to celebrate. It means you did your job right as a parent. You made a fully functioning human being that you can be proud of.

You aren't supposed to be the one leaving them. The way it is supposed to be, they leave one at a time. They probably start out some where close by so you still get to see them some. One or two may move farther away, but there is usually one that stays close by. You are not supposed to be the one uprooted and ripped away from all of them all at once. Especially, when you have gotten to be a huge part of your first grand child's life.

I think about the things I am missing out on.  Kahlen, is of course, growing like a weed and changing so much. There are two weddings being planned, and it is hard to help from here. The kids try to keep me involved, they send pictures and text me websites. I feel useless.  I'm just not used to not being there.

I don't like doing this cold turkey. I admit it, I am addicted to my kids and grand daughter. My name is Becky and I am a familyaholic. They don't make an empty nesters patch or gum though. They should.

Off to fold laundry.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mia Meets Bazinga

I brought Bazinga home on a Sunday afternoon. As Bazinga and I drove the distance from St. Louis I thought about how I would introduce Bazinga to Mia. Most books or articles would tell you to introduce new animals slowly. I did that before. It took Sierra forever to accept Wickett and then Mia. Sierra was not the coward that Mia is, she was just a cranky old lady cat. Mia needed a very specific kind of introduction or we wouldn't see her for a year.

I thought about it very carefully. Mia was about six times bigger than Bazinga, but I knew she wouldn't see that and would be terrified of him. She still thinks she can fit in a pop box, she has no concept of size. Mia is not a bright cat. Nature was not kind to her. Luckily, she does not have to fend for herself in the wild. Though she favors herself the mighty huntress, birds scare her, too. She will sneak up, and stalk a bird. She will watch it carefully, and then when she gets five feet away, she stops dead in her tracks. The bird sits on the fence mocking her. It will move down the fence just a little, Mia in "hot pursuit." The bird stops, Mia stops, the bird laughs.

This is what I had to work with. I decided tough love was what it was going to take, or we'd never see Mia again. Tough love is what she got. We were still in the apartment, which had a very tiny bathroom. Mia also has a problem with bladder control when she gets very frightened. Knowing this I developed my battle plan. I would clear the bathroom of anything that could get ruined by cat pee, or broken. I apologized to Bazinga before hand. He was clueless about what was going to happen, but so was Mia. I got home. I herded Mia into the bathroom. I brought Bazinga, still in his carrier into the bathroom and shut the door. I let Mia sniff at the carrier. She hissed and tried to run away, exactly what I expected. I let Bazinga out. He popped out with normal puppy excitement. Bebopped up to Mia, utterly terrified, Mia growled, hissed and clobbered him. (Mia is de-clawed, no damage would be done.) She hid behind me. That's when I left the bathroom. I let them have it out. One of them would come out dominant over the other and that would be that. Bad noises were heard but no one got hurt.

To my amazement, it worked. And low and behold, Mia came out the dominant one. I was very proud of her. She did hide for a while, but Bazinga stayed out of her way. By the time we moved into the new house Mia was bossing him around pretty good. She staked out her space, he gave it to her. He was afraid of her for a while, but now they are playing together, (when they think no one is looking). It took Mia nine months to accept a baby that could only wiggle and make noise. She has already accepted a dog that can chase her around. Yes, she is short one more life due to the experience in the bathroom, but she came out a much "braver" girl.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mia (part two)

Which tush is bigger? The white one or the diapered one?
Once Kahlen started moving the first thing she went for was Mia. This surprised, dismayed and of course frightened Mia. She had been skittish of Kahlen all along anyway and when that strange little creature actually started propelling itself from place to place all on its own, life was over. Mia, who had been frightened out of at least four of her nine lives already, just lost number five. It was moving and it was coming after her. This was not acceptable behavior. She liked the strange little bundle better when it had no mobility. She liked it better before it came to live in her house.

You see as previously mentioned, Mia is afraid of everything. Most of my friends that have come to our house have never seen Mia. A person has to be at our house a minimum of fifteen times before Mia will willingly come out and visit. People, in general, are the most frightening things on the face of the earth. Well, besides puppies, butterflies, kittens, grasshoppers, ladybugs, plastic walmart bags. The list goes on forever.  So, you must understand how scary a new born child was, and it was living in Mia's house for goodness sake! It wiggles, it screams, it takes every one's attention. How can this creature be living in her house?

Kahlen and Mia
Fast forward nine months. Mia is starting to accept  Kahlen. She seems to be staying so maybe it is time she gets brave and checks her out. Everyone else seems rather fond of her, maybe it is time to find out why. Kahlen is sitting up now, Mia can get up behind her and do a sniff and run. This seems to have a slight calming affect on Mia. Maybe this baby, who is cute after all, might just be ok. She is still loud, but every so often this loudness seems to delight the people who live in the house, so maybe it is ok.

Then she started crawling. Unacceptable! Mia can't run, she can't even hide. Her favorite place to hide is behind the couch and the little critter can get back there too! How can this be? Next thing you know she will be up and walking like the big humans. Mia was sure she would never survive that!
This was a BIG deal

She did of course. They even started getting to be buddies. Then we had to move.

The move was very smooth. I was sure that Mia would be a panicked mess the entire drive. She hadn't really been in a car for years. She was going to have to survive a six hour drive in a rental truck with, I swear, no shock absorbers. We put her in her cat carrier. Set up a litter pan in the truck. We put her in the truck and were on our way. Mia cried the first half hour and then peed in the carrier. As you know cat pee stinks. I let her out of the carrier, she walked through the pee and straight on to my lap.

We stopped at the first rest stop, Mia went quickly under the seat to hide. I went into the rest stop to change my jeans. I cleaned out the cat carrier and back on the road. It seems that the actual driving was not a scary as you might think. Mia came out of her hiding place, and snuggled next to me for the ride. Every once in a while she would pop up and look out the window. When we stopped she would bolt back under the seat, and hide till we were on our way again.

She survived the ride. Willie was still in his apartment and we had several days before we could take possession of the house. Mia seemed to be fine with the apartment. She hid for a little while but was out and about quicker then expected. Everything seemed fine. My friend, Dawn, had a puppy for me. I took the weekend before we could move in to the house to go get him.

Mia was about to lose life number six.

Oatmeal and Cold Days

I love oatmeal. I had oatmeal for breakfast this morning. There is no better way to start your day then with a nice warm bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal is like a comfortable old sweatshirt. That one that is in the back of your closet. You wear it when you feel lonely or sick or just want to curl up and watch TV. It's like your favorite blanket. It is like going home. Oatmeal can warm you from the inside out. It is a space heater for your tummy. Oatmeal makes you feel so good it makes you say words like tummy and not feel silly about it.

You go to the cupboard and open it up. There it is. The familiar red and blue, round box. The one you used to make into toy drums when you were young. You see the kindly old face of Mr. Quaker man and you already get that warm fuzzy feeling that you had as a kid getting ready for school. The water boils and you pour the  flaky substance in. It foams up into a rolling boil, tumbling over its self. The smell wafts into the air. You stir until the foam is gone. It is ready.

You spoon it into a bowl. Bananas and brown sugar? Maybe blue berries, butter and white sugar? Today, cranberries and brown sugar. It was nummy. I threw the dried cranberries into the water as it boiled. They plumped back up and their tartness popped into my mouth with every bite. My tummy full and happy, I am ready to take on the day.

If you were expecting part two of Mia, I'm sorry but I got a little distracted. I will continue my Mia story, she's a big cat and needed more than one blog. But not today.

 I know that going on and on about oatmeal will never earn me the distinction of becoming a blog of note, but I just write what I feel. Today, I am feeling the love of oatmeal. It is very cold here in Illinois today. Willie is still sick. Better than yesterday, but still sick. Bazinga still needs to be walked, out in that bitter weather,  every few hours. I needed oatmeal today and it came through for me once again. Thank you old friend. You never fail me, you keep me going on these long winter days.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mia (part one)

Mia is my cat. She is fat, there is no sugar coating it, she is fat. She is about 7 years old. I don't know her birth date, we got her from the Vermilion County Animal Shelter in 2004. She was just a kitten then. She was this cute, tiny, calm little kitten. She had a little tiny black spot on her chin that looked like some one accidentally poked her with a marker. The kids wanted to get one of the other kittens that were playing in the cage next to her. I liked the fact that she was small and calm. We got Mia.

That is a LARGE pizza box she is sitting on.
We went through the process of adopting her. We couldn't pick her up for a few days. The kids went to pick her up while I was at work. They brought her home with an antibiotic, she had a little respiratory infection. When I got home she snuggled up on my shoulder and slept. I loved my new calm, little kitten.

Mia under the blanket, Wickett trying to get her to play.

Two days later the antibiotic had kicked in and Mia woke up. My calm little kitten turned into terror cat. She'd get under the couch and pull herself along the bottom of it with her claws while she was upside down. The kids dubbed this her spider-kitty move. She was climbing the curtains and running all over the house at full speed. The dog we had at the time, Wickett, loved this. He would chase after her and play with her. He just didn't like the needles at the end of her paws that she kept poking him with. She'd run up the stairs and Wickett would chase. She'd run across the front room and Wickett would chase. Once she got a Walmart bag stuck on her foot. That scared the bajebers out of her. She came flying down the stairs screaming a cat scream all the way. Wickett came flying after her. Sierra, our cranky old lady cat that we had then, who hated Mia, came running down the stairs after Wickett. She was screaming as well, but an I'm going to kill you scream. She was attacking Wickett because she thought he was killing Mia. Wickett was trying to save Mia from the bag that he thought was killing her. Mia was just trying to get away from the scary bag that she knew was killing her. It was all quite comical.

Wickett thought Mia was the best toy we had ever gotten him. He absolutely adored her. Then we had to take her to the vet to get her fixed. She was gone over night. Wickett was devastated. He moped around the house the whole time. The next day when we brought Mia home she was, of course, not ready for playtime. Wickett, was concerned. He tried to play with her and we would tell him no. He sniffed at her and worried. Soon he went and laid down, very unhappy. We had taken his best ever toy and BROKE it! Once she got to feeling better things got back to normal. Wickett loved Mia, Mia was afraid of everything, and Sierra hated the world.

Our little trio lived happily together for years. Ok, Sierra would have argued with the word happily. A few years back Wickett passed away, followed soon by Sierra. They had

Mia and Sierra, Sierra being a normal sized cat.
both lived good long lives, Wickett was 12 and Sierra 18 years old when they passed. Mia was much younger. 

Mia missed her buddies but soon along came Kahlen. Kahlen was SCARY! Kahlen was the devil. Mia avoided Kahlen for nine months. Which, ironically, was about the same amount of time it took Kahlen to almost weigh as much as Mia. Once Kahlen was sitting up more and screaming less, Mia started getting a little more curious about her, but she was still scary. Everything is scary to Mia.