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Friday, May 10, 2002 Guess what? It's almost the middle of May and this is my first entry since last month. *sigh*

The morning didn't start out well. Meezer has been here in the mornings, so last month I started opening a can of Fancy Feast for him. Now, OC is also here in the mornings, laying on the bark inside the gate and Meezer on top of one of the cathouses (we have old comforters on the cathouses). I didn't see OC this morning, but I saw Meeze and I split the can between two paper bowls. A while later, I looked out and Meezer was gone and both bowls had food gone from them, so I figured OC had come by, too. Well, I went out to get the paper and saw OC in the Heartless Bastard's yard and I also saw something awful in the yard next to Chuck's. A red cat. *sigh* I wanted to make sure it wasn't Angus, I can tell from the ears. The entire inside area of the cat had been cleaned out, eaten. I didn't recognize the cat at all. I went home, shaking like a leaf. How I hate the coyotes.

And when I came in, I found Richie and held him close, told him this is why I didn't want him out of the yard. He had been really bad last month. He got out of the yard at least three times and up in the tree at least twice. The last time he was out of the yard, I was in the house, the garage to be exact and cats started hitting the cat door, flying in with tails full. I heard the neighbor dog (the beagle, Alex). I knew this couldn't be good. I went outside and checked out the fence. Richie was on the other side of it. I yelled for Brian, but he was so involved in whatever was on television that he didn't hear me. I went up to the sliding door and yelled in "Richie's in the neighbor's yard and Alex is out". Well, that got him outside. He went into the neighbor's yard and I climbed the bank, both of us trying to get Richie over. The important thing is to get him to come back into *our* yard, not to run to the back of their yard and into the yard behind us and not to run to the front of their yard and go out to where the street is. For some reason, Richie kept trying to go through the fence at the base, not over it. It took about fifteen minutes to get him back in and he ran into the house and stayed in the rest of the day. A few days later, I looked outside and I saw about five cats looking up into the tree. It was right before Brian was due to go to work. I went out and looked up the tree and sure enough, there was Richie, high up. It took about twenty minutes to talk him down, but he finally made it. Since then I haven't seen him over there, but we make sure that Richie and Mystie are both inside before we leave the house for any length of time. I understand that it's hard for them right now, because we have so many more birds than normally. The cats really want to check out the birds and try what they can. I hope that Richie has given up. Well, I guess he hasn't. I just did a head check and he's on the bank. I'm going to position the backyard cam over there and watch him. Whew, he's up in the plum tree now. The plum tree is safe.

Last month, Lola came down with a bladder infection. I started her on amoxicillan, twice a day, per the vet. Well, it didn't work. After the course of meds, she still had blood in her urine, so he prescribed Orbax, a heavier duty antibiotic. Unbelievable the change in her. I'm wondering if she's had some sort of illness going on for a couple of months. She was puking on the amoxicillan and not on the Orbax. Her appetite perked up. Amazingingly, when I took her in on Monday for her bloodwork, she'd gained three ounces from eight weeks prior. And her bloodwork came back good. She's still in remission. Knock on wood.

Junior also got to go to the vet's this week. He was supposed to have gotten his bimonthly glucosamine test over a month ago, but last month was really, really bad for me. He went in Tuesday, Brian and I took him. Gah. He hates the vet's office. We got him out of the truck and he wouldn't walk. He wouldn't budge. Brian couldn't pull on the leash because the collar would have come off (we really need to get him a new one, one that fits). Brian ended up carrying him. Once in the office, Junior wouldn't go into the back. Brian had to carry him. And Brian stayed with him while they drew blood. I paid the bill. The vet called Wednesday with the news that Junior's levels were good, that we didn't need to modify the insulin he's getting.

Then, last Saturday, Brian was doing a bunch of milling the lumber for around the windows. It had finally come in and he was able to work on it. After that, he mowed the lawns. All of this time, the big shop door was open (you can see it on the backyard cam, and on the weekends, you can see into the shop if Brian is out there working). When he was done, he closed up for the night. Later, we were watching some of the new DVDs we'd gotten and I started to get the cats in. Autumn was missing. Now, Autumn has never really gotten down the art of the cat door. I know I've seen her come in at least once, but she's not familiar with it. We usually leave the sliding doors open when it's nice, or I'll have the side garage door open, block the bottom so Junior can't come in and help himself to the cats' food or the cats' litter box (yummy). I searched the yard and realized she must be in the shop. And she wouldn't come out. Autumn is a funny little girl. I thought we'd gotten her young enough to socialize, but she never did socialize with humans much. I didn't want to leave her out all night. I just don't feel safe doing that any more, not knowing about the coyotes. Sure, chances are that she'd never try to go over the fence, but still..... I got all of the other cats in, then opened the big shop door. See, there's a sensor at the bottom and when the beam is crossed, a light comes on. At 10:30 Saturday night, the light came on. Brian and I both went out and he saw her leave the shop, yelled at me to quickly shut the door. I guess I wasn't quick enough, because in the ensuing search of the yard, we were unable to find her. Brian finally went to bed and I stayed up. There was no way I'd be able to sleep not knowing where she was. I know Brian had seen her leave the shop and run around the back, but I didn't see her. I hadn't made a visual. I left the garage door up, all the lights off, waiting for the light to come back on. At midnight, it did. I went outside, left the office door open and spent a half hour chasing her around the yard. She came nowhere near the house. I finally opened the side shop door and she ran back into the shop. I closed the door. I considered leaving food out there for her, but realized that would be rewarding her. I did a final search of the yard, just to make sure she wasn't hiding someplace else and at one in the morning, I finally went to sleep. I was up before six, let the cats out and opened the shop door. I saw her little face peeking out and finally, about 10:30 Sunday morning, she was in the house. I shut the sliding doors and now, if she wants to go outside, she'll have to go via the cat doors. And once I'm sure she's good with the doors, I'll start opening the sliders. I was so tired Sunday.

I'm finally coming out of the funk I've been in for the past month and a half, I think. Rusty's death hit me really hard. And then I started obsessing about the coyotes. I was crying all of the time, just couldn't get motivated to do anything. I fell behind in paperwork and housework. I haven't done squat on my website. I have much I'd like to do. Add to the family album, add more cards to the cardshop.

The house is coming along nicely. We got some new lamps and Brian ordered new glass for the bookcases. We also got a new corner curio cabinet for all of my little cat sculptures and crystal. This case was one Brian saw when he was looking for the bookcases. He really liked it, but the price (over $1000) scared him away. Well, this past weekend we went looking for new coffee tables and he showed me the curio cabinet. Surprise, it was almost 40% off the original price. They're getting in new merchandise from different manufacturers and they need to clear the floor. So, we got it. I'll be putting up pictures of all that we've done today. I don't have much else to do. Bills were paid earlier this week, nobody needs to go to the vet's office, I hit CostCo after my chiro visit Wednesday, so today is pretty much open. Well, I have to vacuum and dust, but that's no biggie.

Oh, I got a new piece of cleaning equipment. The FloorMate from Hoover. I just heard about it last week and started checking into it. I've used it twice. I love it. I absolutely love it. It's lightweight and very easy to use and very easy to clean. And I'm sure it will be even more welcome when the rest of the carpet is gone.

What else...hmmmm...

Boney is feeling fine. Yesterday, I heard a cat spat outside and checked it out. Boney had Bart down. Red is just as affectionate as ever. Lonee has started going back outside again. One of the red boys, Opie or Richie, just loves to chase her. Really irritates me.

I guess that's it for now. Oh, one more thing before I leave. Sammy brought in a lizard Wednesday. I found Sammy and Lisa watching the lizard in the bedroom. It wasn't a big lizard, but what surprised me was Sammy. He wasn't watching it and waiting for it to run, but he was laying down by it, rolling over, reaching up to it with his paws, like he does to his brothers and sisters, to me, or to Junior. He wanted to be friends with the lizard. The lizard wasn't as receptive to friendship and not all of the cats are of the same opinion as Sammy in matters of the lizards. So, I got a paper towel and took the lizard out front, where I released it onto the bank. I'm not afraid to touch them, but they have a way of hanging on if you don't pick them up just right.


Monday, May 20, 2002 *sigh* Benny was out of the yard last week. Got up into the tree by the doghouse on the bank, chasing birds, I guess. Then, Friday, Richie was back up in the tree. I thought we'd be okay, but I guess not. Saturday, Brian pulled down all of the old fencing and put up new. Then, he cut back some branches on the tree and put up another barrier. It looks much nicer, cleaner than it was. And, so far, so good. He's known he'd most likely have to do this for quite a while. Well, I hope we can breathe a little easier. This spring hasn't been real fun as far as the trees are concerned. We have many more birds this year than we've had the past few years.

I was really worried last week when I didn't see Meezer in the morning. But he was here that night and he's been here every morning since. He spent all day here yesterday, which was nice, but Brian wasn't able to mow the front lawn. OC has also been here in the mornings. It's really nice. And since we've been feeding the out fronts earlier at night, they've been coming by earlier. We have six now. OC, Angus, Meezer, Meetoo (a little meezer female), Repete, and SpotTee.

Well, wouldn't respond to my emails about changing my MX records for email because I'm not a paying customer. So, I ended up moving all four of the websites they were hosting. I moved them to two different hosts. Well, the one I moved to said they had CGI. I got everything moved over there, had the webrings up and running, and suddenly, I was locked out of the three sites I'd moved there. I couldn't access my console and my FTP no longer worked. Irate, I finally threatened to cancel my credit card payment for them. And I heard back. The CGI for my webrings had crashed their server. I not only messed up my websites, I messed up others. Well, fine I can understand locking me out of, but not the other sites. They had no CGI at all. Anyway, I contacted another host, explained the problem and he said I could run CGI there. Unfortunately, I'd already emailed the ring members, letting them know the rings had been shut down. The author of the rings is working on an SQL version and when he's finished with that, I'll have him install it on the new site. Then I'll email all past members to let them know the rings are back up, but they'll have to reregister.

I've also been working on new stuff for the store. Last week, I found a new store script, much nicer than the one I have now. The one I've got now is very confusing. I haven't done much at the store since I closed out my merchant accounts. Which I really had to do. They were charging $70 a month just to have them and more if anybody bought anything. I hope to have the new store set up by the middle of June.

Lola is doing great. She's got a real good appetite, is slowly putting on more weight. Boney is getting spoiled, he's come to expect Fancy Feast at his bidding. But that's okay. He's old and deserves special treatment. The thing is, Lola, Lucky and DeeJay also expect the special food. Which they do get. *grin* I'm a sucker for a soft face.

Autumn is coming around. She hasn't been outside in over a week and she's starting to play more inside. And in front of us, instead of in the other room. She's a real little cutie. At night, she sleeps on the bed and if one of us happens to wake up, she's all over our hands, wanting to be petted and rubbed, purring up a storm, licking us. But don't try to have her up by your face, she won't go for that. Yesterday afternoon, she was laying on the bed and I started petting her. For some strange reason, I got the urge to lick her. So, I did. I licked her side twice, just a little, to see how she'd react. Well, there really wasn't much of a reaction. She got up and walked off a little, then started grooming herself, to get my smell and taste off of her. Then she got to the moist place that I had licked. She licked, stopped, thought about it, then finished cleaning "me" off. *lol* It was pretty funny. I don't think I'll make a habit of it, though.

In the remodel, the cats are losing a lot of places they used to have. Like on top of the television. We have a post in the hallway that hangs on the closet door (I wish the company who made them was still in business, I'd sell them) and at one time, it had ledges. Well, the ledges came off because they could jump from there to the top of the new entertainment center. And amazingly, they still climb just the post. It's two by four and they'll sit at the top. So, last week, looking for little scratching posts to put by the furniture in the tv room (just very short ones to be placed by each end, front of the sofa, loveseat and recliner) I found some pretty neat posts at Drs. Foster and Smith. I really like the Mega post. Of course, I didnít say anything to Brian about it, because I had no idea where we'd put it. For one thing, it couldn't be close to a wall. Spraying is a big concern with the remodel. If it's free standing, I don't have a problem cleaning a tile floor. But having to climb a ladder to clean a wall is a different thing. Anyway, yesterday I showed him the pictures. He liked them and we figured that when the living room is finished, there will be some place in there to put it. So, the cats will have a new floor to ceiling post. The great thing is that they're on sale. And it's only $10.00 to ship it, UPS ground. I'll go for that. "But, honey, we've taken so many of the cats climbing areas from the kitties...don't you think it's fair they get something back to climb on?" I ordered a sage and oatmeal mega post.


Saturday, May 25, 2002 Boy, talk about getting sidetracked....I never did finish Monday's entry, let alone upload it. So, here I am, back writing.

Um, let's see. Oh, I went to the dentist for a teeth cleaning on Monday, the 13th. They found a little hole next to a filling and we made arrangements to have that fixed on Thursday the 16th. Good thing, too, because there was decay under the old filling. And the dentist now uses a different kind of filling, a type of filling that matches the color of the tooth. He said this is a better filling than the old silver stuff, it does a better job of protecting the tooth. Looks nice, too. Since Brian had missed his scheduled cleaning last January or February, I made an appointment for him. Mondays are best and the first open Monday they had was in October! Whoa! Busy dentist.

I got up this morning to let the cats out and Opie was wanting in. Crap. Looks like he spent the night outside. I was so sure I had him in last night. I can't imagine him sneaking out when I let Georgie out or when Brian got Georgie in. I'm sure we would have noticed it. So, it looks like he wasn't in at all. Funny thing is, he came in to eat this morning, and now he's back outside. I'm glad it was him and not Richie.

The past couple of days, Meezer and OC have spent the nights and the days in front of our house! Cool! I hope they stay here all the time. It's so much safer for them here, especially at night. Meezer has been sleeping on top of one of the cathouses in the entry and OC has been sleeping on the bark. I really, really like seeing them out there first thing in the morning. I'd like to see a few more sleeping out there. Like Angus, MeeToo, SpotTee and RePete. I've also seen another tortie out there. I'm wondering if it's the one that was around earlier this spring. The one that was so very pregnant. When Brian and I went for our walk the other morning, one of the neighbors asked us how many cats we have now. I told him "more than you have fingers and toes". He said they've got seven now, two are pregnant. I think they rescue, too. This is at the house where we got Ciara. The other house the Heartless Bastard complained to me about. This is for the Heartless Bastard:

I melted down some of the leftovers from my sandalwood candles and I was able to pour four more! Last month, we went to a craft store named "Micheal's" and got some wicks. This is great!

Brian has been in a funky mood lately. Instead of telling me what the problem is, he just says something mean. Then he apologizes, which I know is sincere, but then he'll do it again. It could be because he hasn't gotten up to the property in a while. He had planned on going the weekend of the 11th, but I reminded him about Mother's Day. Which was wonderful, by the way. We took our moms to the property, then up to Julian for lunch. Then we brought them home. Before we left to pick them up, I wrapped two of the jelly jar candles for them, "White Musk" and "Gardenia". I signed the cards and put them in the packages. We took my mom's car for the day, since it held four people more comfortably than the trucks or the Mustang would. We left the packages in the truck, then gave my mom hers when we took her home and picked up the truck. We had already dropped Brian's mom off, so we drove back to her house with her present. She was very pleasantly surprised.

I tried my hand at the opaque shirts earlier this week and they bled something awful during their first wash. So, I called to find out what the deal is and, once again, it comes down to my press. "Well, you should really consider upgrading" to a newer, better model, they work differently than the old ones. Um, no, there's absolutely no way I could justify doing that. "Well, maybe your old one is worn out." Um, that's almost funny, since it hasn't been used that often. So, I have to find the new formula of pressure/heat/time. Not much I can do about the pressure, though. I did talk to the manufacturer and we decided I can make it have more pressure by putting a sweatshirt in it when I make teeshirts, I just have to be very careful about wrinkles. I made a puzzle last week and it turned out so good. I'm going to do some more transfers today of different pictures for puzzles. Some easy, come fairly difficult. There's only 110 pieces to the puzzle, but it took me hours to do the one I made. I ordered some little boxes for the puzzles and they fit quite nicely inside.

Wednesday, irritated with having to climb over stuff in the exercise room (I made the shirts and the puzzle Tuesday), I decided to finally straighten it out. Since we started the remodel, everything we had no room for, but didn't want to throw out, has ended up in there. The dumpster was emptied Tuesday, so I had plenty of room. And by the time I was finished, I'd pretty much filled it. The first thing I did was to move stuff away from the closet, a closet that hadn't been accessible in years. Like some JVC speakers that need to be fixed. They're big speakers, given to me by my mom when my dad died. Once I got into the closet, I started going through boxes. It was pretty sad, believe me. Clothes that I wore before I got married. Dang, they were so tiny! I couldn't even fit one breast into one of the shirts now. They were in pretty good shape and I thought about a yard sale, but like I told Brian, I'd probably made about ten dollars, so why bother? That night, Brian was going through the dumpster "this would make a good rag!" and pulling shirts out. It took me all day, but I finally got down to the bottom of the pile (my way of doing a thorough cleaning is to put everything in a big pile and work it down). I was able to put the speakers in the closet, the new comforters we bought before we bought all this new furniture in the closet and a couple of large Rubbermaid boxes into the closet, with a box of wrapping paper and bows on top. Then I shut the door. Now I had room for the boxes of blank shirts I have and I can still get into the closet if need be. I also threw out ragged comforters and old carpet runners. I tossed a bunch of old magazines and cat newsletters, too. Now there is much more room in there, much neater and it should be much nicer to work in. When I was almost finished, Georgie ran into the room and I immediately yelled at him to get out, but he ran behind the exercise bike (which I can use now) and peed on the wall. Man, was I mad. I was able to catch him after the deed and I put him outside, the brat.

Well, I have much to do and if it's going to get done, I should get started.


Friday, May 31, 2002 Wow, the last day of May. It sure came quickly.

Well, last weekend, Brian went up to the property. Left on Saturday, came home Monday. It was sure nice. Quiet. Nobody criticizing me. I didn't even tell my mom I'd be home alone, because she'd either call or come by. I just wanted some "me" time. Like I said, it sure was nice. I don't think I'd want to live like that for life, though. And Brian has been much nicer since he got home. Got those cobwebs off of his attitude, I think. Ranchita is good for him. The only problem was his truck broke again. Same problem it had before. The engine. I don't know why he has this problem. I have my suspicions, but I'm no mechanic and he said that it isn't what I think it might be. See, I think it's the turbo he put on it. He says it's not. Funny thing, he didn't have any problems with the original engine until he put that turbo on. And he's not even gone 13,000 miles since putting this engine in. I think it's the turbo. But then, I'm no mechanic.

It might rain today. That would be nice.

Tuesday night, the oddest thing happened out front. I heard a cat crying. I checked it out. There was a very, very skinny black and white cat. He talked to me. But he was most interested in Meetoo, who was laying on top of the two story. He didn't seem interested in food, just her. He growled at the other cats, but didn't seem aggressive or afraid. He finally left. I haven't seen him since. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that he is/was someone's pet. Because cats not raised around humans are not vocal. And he seemed to be longer and taller than a feral, even though he was so thin. Cats neutered/spayed before sexual maturity have longer bones. But his interested in Meetoo would point to the fact that he wasn't fixed. So....

Anyway, Wednesday, Meetoo didn't show up. At all. I worried about this all night. She usually comes over with Meezer when he doesn't spend the day here. And I didn't see her Thursday morning. I hate this. I thought about her all day long, hoping that she was okay. And guess what? She was here for dinner. OC, Meezer, SpotTee and Meetoo. All waiting patiently. And all four of them were here this morning (I've been splitting a couple of cans of Fancy Feast between them all in the morning). It sure makes my day a little more pleasant, knowing they all made it through the night safely. Every night, I've been praying to God, Jesus, Mary and St Francis that they keep these guys safe through the night. And every morning, when I see them, I send up a prayer of thanks. I admit, I'm not much for prayer, but I've been doing it for these cats on a regular basis now.

Had another critter visit yesterday. Walked outside to check on everyone and Mystie and Pete were intently looking at something by the little woodpile against the bank retaining wall (you can see it if you position the backyard cam on it). I sauntered over to see what it was. I almost wet my pants. It was a snake. I shooed the cats away from it and came inside and paged Brian. I grabbed the camera and the portable phone. I went back out and shooed the cats away again and started taking pictures. The portable rang and I answered it.
"We have a snake in the yard" I say.
"What does it look like?" he asked.
"Hmmm..brown with yellow stripes," I answer.
"How long is it?" was the next question.
"Well, it's coiled up, maybe two feet or eighteen inches." The snake uncoiled about this time. "Holy crap! It's more like four feet!"
"Probably a kingsnake. They're safe. There's nothing I can do about it, I don't have anything to catch it with. You could call animal control," he told me.
"Okay, I will."

Well, I never did. I downloaded the pictures and posted them on Acme. It is a kingsnake and it isn't poisoness. It does have little teeth, but since it has no venom, it can't do any damage. It eats rodents, lizards and other snakes. It even eats rattlesnakes. I did go back outside and take some more pictures. It ended up going under the fence, back into the front yard, where I think it came from.

Here are some of the pictures I took:

Pete and Mystie got the snake to this point.

The snake as it went back into the woodpile.

Benny looking for the snake.

Minutes later, the snake is at the fence.

Katie and Daniece watch the snake as it leaves the yard.

The snake out front.

Well, that's it for May, 2002. See you next month.

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lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

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