Thursday, July 31, 2008

Neelix got a Cool Cat Award!

Neelix is very honored to have been awarded The Cool Cat Award by our friend Rascal! Thank you Rascal!

We're going to pass the award along to our friend Benjamin Fuzz a'cause he lives right here in the Pacific NW and he is one Cool Cat! We're thinkin' about it and there may be a couple of other Cool Cats we want to nominate - we'll let you know.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A horrible tragedy

A gunman entered the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church during this morning's service and opened fire on the 200 adults and 25 children. Two people in the congregation were killed and 7 are injured.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured and sincere sympathy for the families of those who were killed.

Halter training for the boys

In preparation for the upcoming Shetland Sheep Show at the Skagit County Fair in August, John has been working with the boys doing some halter training. He works with them a little every night - Our friend Nancy G. is going to help show, as we are taking HB, Louie & Danny all down.

Nancy had Louie - He was less than thrilled to be having the experience, but he did a good job.

The kind of reminded me of the old "Pied Piper" tale, where everyone follows the leader out of town.

A struggle, a snuggle and checking fleece

Well, that really wasn't too bad - can we have more kibbles?

Nope, halter training is done for the evening - maybe tomorrow, boys.

I thought this picture of HB & Louie up next to each other was kind of cool - HB's wool is going
to be very special, I think.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All in a day's work, I guess

I am "Finance Manager" for the company where I work. On Monday, I will have been there for 15 years. We have a locksmith shop with the biggest display of safes in NW Washington, we have fire sprinkler & life safety divisions, alarms & security including CCTV & access control and a contractor hardware division. - If it has to do with loss prevention, we can help. And it's got good people.

Several years ago, our locksmiths found a product that they liked using called Corrosion X. When they are repairing locks, a big problem is corrosion and lubrication. This stuff tackles that by spades and also works as a penetrant to loosen tightened screws, bolts, etc. In fact, the guys in the lockshop loved the stuff. So we called their main headquarters and wanted to know if we could buy it from them direct. Next thing I knew, we were set up as the West Coast distributor!

So where am I going with this? Our salesman, Steve, has set up that wonderful web site (click on Corrosion X above) plus he has gotten TrueValue Hardware stores as a national account. So, we get phone calls from all over the US wanting to know about the uses of our product and where they can buy it, etc.

As Finance Manager, I'm the "overflow" person on answering the phones - but having answered phones all my business life, if our phone rings more than three times, I'm going to get it. Here is the phone call I took yesterday:

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring.

Me: Good afternoon, Security Solutions
Caller: Hello, I'd like to talk to Steve, I have some questions about your products.
Me: Oh, are you calling about Corrosion X?
Caller: Yes, I've had a bottle for a few years now, but I just ran out, and I want to find out if I should get the Corrosion X Heavy Duty or Corrosion X for guns.
Me: Let me get Steve for you.

So I beep Steve, but he's not in the office. Not to worry, I think I can help the caller, after all, I use Corrosion X on my spinning wheel (doesn't get gummy or sticky and it doesn't attract lint) so I go back to the caller.

Me: I'm sorry sir, but Steve is not in. Do you have any TrueValue Hardware stores in your area, maybe you could order it from them.
Caller: No maam, all we've got in our parts is a Walmart. (Did I mention, the caller said he was from Kentucky? He had the most charming drawl)

Me: Ok, well what are you using it for, maybe I can help.
Caller: Well, I need something to use to clean my two AK47 rifles.

At this point, I'm thinkin' that my level of expertise with CX products is probably not going to do it.

Me: All right, well, I tell you what sir, we have an affiliate who ships CX products all over the world - let me transfer you to them, I'm SURE they can help you.

I love the magic of telephones - I pushed my Flash button and transfered this very nice man and his AK47's over to our guy in Spokane who said they would be glad to help him. Ah, technology.

All in another day's work.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

The business I work for belongs to the local Building Industry Association of Whatcom County (BIAWC). It is a chapter of the BIA of Washington and in turn, a member of the National Home Builders Association. I rarely see eye to eye with the politics of the organization - in fact my views are pretty much polar opposite - but I really love our local members. They are just great people and whenever I go to an event put on by the BIAWC, it is almost guaranteed to be a good time - I have made some very good friends

Tonight they had a recognition party for everyone who had "recruited" a new member in the past three months. Having recruited the owner of my favorite local coffee stands Cruisin Coffee, I got to go to a Bellingham Bells baseball game and bring three guests.

I took The Shepherd, of course, and my coworker Terry and her friend Pamela came along too - Part of the event was dinner - nothing fancy - just dogs and burgers - potato salad and baked beans - but we had a great time - (even if our team ended up losing)

This was our view of the field.

We were sitting in a special "picnic area" out in left field. Turns out, the company that The Shepherd works for had 'hydroseeded' the hillside where we were sitting last winter - strange coincidence, I thought.

Bellingham has had a myriad of minor league & farm teams. We used to have the "Baby M's" - a Seattle Mariner farm team - Ken Griffey Jr. even played a season in Bellingham.

As you can see, their mascot is a big yellow chicken - - he was having some fun with the Bend players here.

He also did a lot of things with the children - I never did figure out what was happening here, but he seemed to be like the "Pied Piper" and all of the kids in the park were running after him.

As you can see from the pictures above, the attendance in the stands is kind of sparse - It seems like such a natural fit for a family evening out - the tickets are not too expensive and the whole left field area below us is set aside for people who want to bring their own chairs and have a picnic while they watch the game.
These two young ladies were our "hostesses" for the evening - Tari (in the green shirt) is our Membership Director and Diana is the Activities Coordinator. They just do a bang up job and I think the world of them. I am on the membership committee (two years ago our whole committee went to San Antonio, TX for a national Membership Conference.) so I have gotten to know them . Nice, nice gals.

They often have raffles during events - and tonight was no different - they had some pretty cool stuff -

The team members are about 1/2 local/Whatcom County kids and 1/2 kids from around the state. One of their most "illustrious" team members this year was Jake Locker from Ferndale. Jake is the Quarterback for the University of Washington Huskies and an all around good athlete. He excelled in all the sports he played in High School and could have easily as gone to college to play baseball as football. He chose UW football. But he missed playing baseball, so he asked his coaches at the UW if it would be OK if he played summer ball. They OK'd it as long as he didn't play too many games, and that it was understood that he would leave the team when UW football practice started. So, his last game was last week sometime, but we still got to take part in a little bit of "Jake fever" -

Tari & Diana had secured some rather cool Jake Locker souveniers - one of which The Shepherd won during the raffle - an autographed Husky team shirt - with its own certificate of authenticity - is that cool or what? John could see that I liked his prize, so he gave it to me - and I didn't even have to share my chocolates in return!

Maybe some day Jake will be famous, but I don't think it's going to fund my retirement...

Thanks to the BIAWC, Tari & Diana for a really fun evening!

Sunday, July 20, 2008



OK, so this is how I felt the other day when I opened the shower door and there was a spider THIS BIG (ok, bigger than a quarter from toe to toe - EEEK!) If The Shepherd hadn't been sleeping, there would have been a big ruckus raised, I can tell you that!

So, my question is - where do tub spiders come from??? We do NOT have spiders in our bathroom, the tub/shower is a sealed unit with a glass door and because the people who made this manufactured home were basically cheap (cheap, cheap, cheap!) there is no overflow on the tub. So, where do these humoungous spiders come from?

Sadly for Mr. Spider, he was still there the next a.m. and all I'll say is that he went to spider heaven.

More funny (primarily cats, but somethimes they sneak in another species)pictures here ...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

From the "Olden Days"

My cousin Janet recently sent us some copies of family pictures that she used to make a "story board" for the Mansfield Museum.

My dad (John Reid) is the one on the tractor. He was born in 1918 and appears to be, maybe, in his 20's in this picture. He was such a handsome guy.

"Pete" was my Grandpa and Wallace (on the very back of the harvester), was my uncle.

Here is another picture of Grandpa Pete and Grandma "Dot". Grandma & Grandpa's house was about 100 yards from our house. We spend a LOT of time over there when we were kids.

He died in 1963 - I was 11. Sadly, I don't really remember much about him, although, I remember that he was quite the "kidder" and that he played a mean harmonica.
Grandma's real name was Henrietta - but everybody called her Dot - She was not much for housework and would only cook one chicken for dinner when our family (mom, dad & us four girls) were invited over to dinner (I think I always ended up with the back or a wing!) But she loved to garden and often won prizes for her beautiful flowers.

When I was in High School, I got to drive her to many of her club meetings (Garden Club, Sunshine Club, etc) that she would go to during the month. I'll never forget her talking about "all those 'old' ladies" at her Sunshine Club meetings - mind you, she was in her 70's at the time...

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my humble roots.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cautious optimism

Happy Friday! Quick update on Neelix this a.m. - I've been working on some spinning & crocheting projects for the fair, so have not had much time to post this week.

We weighed Neelix with the lamb scale (nylon sling that hooks onto a digital scale) on Wednesday night. He didn't much like the "swinging in air" but did hold still long enought to get a weight - 8# 7 oz. - I called the V.E.T. yesterday & had them check his chart for how much he weighed last week when we went in - he has gained 7 oz. YAY!

He has stopped running the other way when he sees me coming but I'm not sure if that's because he's getting used to taking the pills or if he just doesn't have the energy. I got some more Sheba cat food yesterday - he really likes it, so does Sinda - I have to really watch her or she eats his share before I can set him down by his plate.

I'm hoping to get some time with him this weekend where I'm not giving him pills or bugging him for anything, so he knows I'm not always the "bad guy".

Everybody have a good weekend.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Christmas in July

A wonderous package arrived the other day from our friends Kathy & Ralph from Arizona - It was Christmas & Easter all together - a great little package of cards, little pink catnip socks and (their favorite) treats for the kitties, little chocolate sheepies,

a great community cookbook and the 7th season DVD's of America's Test Kitchen, some candles, some HOMEMADE blackberry jam, some very interesting cranberry relish, called Cranberry Fool,

and this beautiful Laurel Burch scarf. There was also a gorgeous pottery mug for The Shepherd, but he hadn't opened his present yet when I took these pictures, so I didn't get a pic of it.

Somebody took immediate posession of the little pink socks and will not share with her brother!

Thank you Kathy, you brightened an otherwise frustrating week.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ode to the Bellingham Lily

In the late 1920's & early 1930's, a local man had a hobby of growing lilies - Mr. Griffiths called this one the "Bellingham Lily" for the city where it was first grown.

He developed this lily and then many years later, The Shepherd saw it in a catalog - but by this time, it was considered rare. He had to have one.

This is the first time it has bloomed in our garden - just a few miles from where it's ancestors were "born".

It hides back in our garden but with a bloom like this, it can't hide any more.

Welcome to summer, Bellingham Lily!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Expansive, desmull faleyour

Sinda here, reporting in - - Mom went to town this morning for more pills from the V.E.T. for Neelix. She was mumbling something about the stinky oil she got for him yesterday being an expansive, desmull, faleyour, what ever that means... Think I'll lie down here on the deck and take a nap. This whole thing is so tiresome. He gets all the attention now.

"Mom" here - that new liquid medicine upset Mr. Neelix far more than giving him the pills ever did. So, I ditched it, and we have gone back to the pills. He just let me put one in his mouth then ate a little dinner to go with it, so I guess we'll settle for that. Now we have to get him to gain a little bit of weight back. And don't believe a word that Sinda says. She gets PLENTY of attention.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Out of the proverbial frying pan....

and into the fire -

On my lunch hour, I picked up the "compounded" liquid medicine to try for Neelix - It is very bitter and smelled like fish oil - it was supposed to be chicken! I just called the pharmacy and they checked and said, "Yes, that was made with Salmon Oil"

Well why the heck did they put "chicken flavor" on the label of the bottle, and why the heck didn't they use chicken like I asked for to begin with! Aaaarrrggghhh!

Can kitties taste "bitter"?

Some Great News!

I talked to the V.E.T. last night and the blood tests came back very promising. Neelix's thyroid level is right where it should be - (controled by meds, of course) - so now today I go get the chicken flavored liquid & hopefully that will be an easier way to give him his medication. (as long as I wear my glasses - this morning he was being squirrely and I squirted his anti-biotics all over my hand instead of in his mouth. Oops...)

Aunty Kathy from Sheep Thrills Farm sent him a pink sock full of organic catnip yesterday - he really likes it - he also liked the strained baby ham that our friends Leigh and Rascal suggested.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mom is furry worried...

A couple of months ago mom took me to the V.E.T. because I was having a lot of diarreah and was very stinky. I was also loosing some weight. Actually, alot of weight - in April I weighed 12# and a month ago I weighed a little over 9#. In April when I went in, we saw a doctor who had never met me before - he picked me up and at 12#, that seemed like a big cat to him. He didn't know that I used to be a manly cat and weigh 17#. He gave mom some icky cherry tasting anti-biotics to try to stop the trotts - that worked for a while, but I kept getting thinner, so she took me back and asked if we could see Dr. Todd Perry, who has taken care of me since I was a baby. When Dr. Todd picked me up last month, he was really shaken because I had lost so-o-o much weight. They vampired some of my blood and found that I had hyperthyroidism.

Mom looked it up on the computer and this disease is actually very common among us middle aged (I am 12) kitties - I have had to take a pill twice a day for the last month, and maybe for the rest of my life. I don't really like taking pills - sometimes I spit them out - patuey! Mom has found them on the floor and on top of the washer machine (she tricks me to come in for food and then wraps me in a towel - I think that she said it had something to to with having her arms shredded to ribbons, what ever that means...)

We went to see "Dr. Todd" today - he weighed me - I have lost another 1.5# and he vampired some more of my blood. Besides weight loss and drinking a lot of water some kitties have diarrhea - and I've had that problem on and off for the last three months - it was "on" this week - mom called me Mr. Stinky! I don't think that's very nice at all, do you? Anyhow, Dr. Todd trimmed some of my furs off my butt so I'm not so stinky now. I didn't like it when he was doing it, but I'm glad he did.

Mom & Todd talked about changing me from pills to a liquid medicine (that way she would know I wasn't spitting it out). It will be mixed 'specially for me and will be chicken flavored. Beats the heck out of the cherry flavored anti-biotics they are making me take again. I think mom is related to that Nurse Ratched lady...

Nurse Ratched, I mean, Mom here - They don't really know what causes Hyperthyroidism in cats, but statistically it has been found that cats fed a diet of fish-based cat food develop more hyperthyroidism and other glandular ailments. This may be due to rancid polyunsaturated fats found in poorer animal-quality fish products. The feeding of cat foods in pull-top cans seems to also be associated with this disease in some inexplicable way. They think up to 30% of cats may have this disease and some think that the incidence of Hyperthyroidism has increased in the last 25 years, and others say that vets have just learned how to diagnose it, so there are more cats diagnosed with it.

It makes me very sad, because all this time, I thought I was feeding them a very good quality food that they liked - (and was easy and affordable, etc.) Chances are that, if Neelix will settle in and likes this "Chicken flavored medicine" and if he stops loosing weight (!) he will live a few more years. I've been trying to find foods that he likes to tempt him to eat (Like Sheba Chicken & Duck - looks just like canned chicken) - Todd suggested giving him a little bit of pumpkin every day for fiber. Lord only knows, we have a freezer FULL of frozen pumpkin - if he'll eat some of that, I'd be greatful!

So, please think good thoughts about our little fellow. He'll know you're thinking about him and his mom will appreciate it.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Eeek! It's July!

Well, I kind of wore myself out doing all those posts about the Black Sheep Gathering - I think we had a lot of new visitors to see them - hope some of them will keep coming back.

The Sheep are doing just fine - the "Boyz" are all out in the front pasture - taking all the adoring praise of the neighborhood in stride. They have developed a funny habit lately - & of course when they are doing it, I never have my camera - They KNEEL down to eat. I call it their Cornish Cross chicken routine - (The Shepherd says that Cronish Cross chickens will eat so much that they just fall asleep at their feed trough - this reminds me of that)

Sinda was terrified of all of Mother Nature's fireworks the other night - We had a HUGE thunder and lightening storm at 2:30 in the morning on Thursday. She was practically cowering, poor little thing.

Neelix has an appointment with "Dr. Todd" next week to see how he is responding to the Thyroid medicine that he's been getting. It's turned from a "battle" into a "hide & seek" game to get his meds into him. We have settled on Sheeba cat food as a treat to make up for the indignity of having to take a pill twice a day. In fact, I ran out of Sheeba Thursday night and had to give him my ham lunch meat to make up for it. The looks of recrimination were just too much for me.

I think I'll have The Shepherd bring the PTU (Prisoner Transport Unit) into the house tomorrow so he'll get used to having it around and won't skip out on me.

I've started spinning up some of the beautiful wool that I brought home from Black Sheep. I just couldn't help myself - it was like wanting to get into a new box of chocolates! I took my first two skeins to work and the ladies that I work with all said "Why it look just like yarn!" I think that I'll take that as a compliment...I cannot, however show you what it looks like, because one of my dear readers will be the Christmas recipient of what ever I decide to make with it - and that is even letting the proverbial cat out of the bag.

We are really enjoying the flat of fresh strawberries that The Shepherd brought home from "Small's Gardens" on Thursday. I put 4 packages in the freezer for treats next winter. These are some of the juciest berries we've ever gotten and they hardly needed any sugar.

I'm closing with a "Cold Box Meme" that I borrowed from the pages of my good friend Miss Peach.
It is a fun and simple MEME for the hot summer. "Show us a photo of the front of your Cold Box and tell us about at least one thing on it and one thing you keep inside of it! Tag your friends and remember to stay COOL!"

I love fridge magnets - and as you can see there are a lot of them on our cold box - & pictures of my friend's and relative's children.

I also love quirky cartoons. So there are plenty of those too. I even have a few things around the corner on the sides but I decided that was not necessary to show you.

I prefer not to tag people for Memes - to me that is just like sending a chain e-mail! BUT, if'n it's HOT where you are, play our COOL game and show us what's on YOUR fridge - leave me a note so I can come see!

Oh, and the BEST NEWS! The Mariners just beat Detroit, 3-2! Go M's!