Tag Archive: felix



Once home from Maine we’ve had an extended period with no travel and more mundane life. It was a relief to enjoy the comfort of our home, do a few projects, and have the suitcases in storage for a bit! However, before I get to that, let me show a few photos from our ferry ride home from Maine on the New London to Orient Point ferry. It was pouring rain for the entire ride – not conducive to much photography. But, sometimes the fog and gray conditions create their own beauty:

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1. Another ferry in the distance
2. Orient Point Lighthouse

So – this entry will be devoted to a few photos from our daily life here over the last month or so. I’ve given up on the 365 project, so the photos haven’t been taken daily, but it is a snapshot of August and September…

Thistle is a weed. It’s invasive, grows very quickly, and has the potential to choke other plants which are growing around it. Prior to our trip to Maine, I noticed some thistle growing right in the middle of our front yard hedge. The flowers had not yet bloomed, so I asked Ray to allow it to stay there – just until the flowers bloomed so I could get photos. Days after we returned from Maine – the pink flowers appeared…. It’s such and interesting plant in that the leaves are so full of prickers and sharp as a tack, as you can see in the second photo below! But – the softness of the pink bloom is like a kitten’s fur! What a dichotomy! It is a wonderful place for bees, butterflies, and the goldfinch!

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Only hours after these were taken, Ray chopped down the thistle. It was kind of weird looking growing high above the hedge! It was sad to see it go, knowing that wildlife thrives on it.

The next grouping of photos is from an unusually stunning sunset. Ray and I were on our way home from having dinner out, and the entire earth was engulfed in these pink and orange tones. I didn’t have my camera with me – so I begged Ray to “drive fast” to get me home so I could grab my camera – hopefully in time. These kinds of sunsets don’t usually last all that long. He did – and I ran back to a place up the street where the vision is the best for viewing the sunset. I made it in time, and got the tail end of it:

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In photo #2, you can see the small crescent moon off to the left side…

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The sunset light reflects on my car

Ray and I took a ride in his ’57 t-bird on Dune Road, which is a road that abuts the ocean. There are lots of summer “cottages” (uh – more like mansions!) along the way. Normally I don’t bother with my camera, as Ray is never able to stop for me to get a photo or two. But – this time I did, and took a few from the car as we were riding. Often these don’t turn out very well due to blur, but here are a few from that ride:

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1. The Dunes Church. This building was painted this year, and it’s so bright. At first I didn’t like it, but each time I pass by, the color is growing on me
2. One of those “summer cottages” ~

We’re renovating our computer room in our house — removing the 35 year old lime green shag rug, and replacing computer furniture, removing an old single bed, and replacing that with a futon, and we will be redoing the hardwood floor and repainting this winter (when we’re gone). It will be so good to get rid of that terribly bright yellow paint….! Here’s the room in the midst of the chaos of the task!

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Photo #2 is the new computer nook set up…

Blue Moon – August 31, 2012!

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…with a little help from photoshop…! 🙂

And, last but not least, I never tire of taking photos of the kitties! 🙂

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Misty

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Felix – silly kitty loves to lie on his back!

Mundane life is about to end, however. In 2 days I’ll be headed to Claire’s – and then she, her husband and I will be driving to “Crane Fest” in Wisconsin. This is Operation Migration’s annual gathering where events are scheduled like a dinner, wildlife refuge tour, auction, and annual meeting for Operation Migration, and I don’t know what all else.  I’ve never been before, so I’ll find out!  I have decided to go – but didn’t want to go alone, so am tagging along with my good friend Claire, and her husband. I have spoken about this organization here in previous entries (here and here) during their crisis with the FAA and flying the ultralights.

So – – stay tuned for an entirely different set of photos from my next adventure. If I can post while gone, I will, but otherwise, I’ll be back in early October to update!

‘Round home


After returning to Long Island from Hilton Head, we had less than a week before heading to Maine for our annual vacation there. It was hot – and most of my photos were taken inside. With all the travel, bird seed had run out of our feeders, and I decided not to refill until we returned from Maine. I think it was during this time when I found myself beginning to go into a funk, and my 365 photo project began to unravel. I was both looking forward to our trip to Maine, yet dreading the process of getting there — the packing, the meal planning, settling in in camp, etc.

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1. On the day we arrived home from Hilton Head, I noticed there had been quite a bit of growth from INSIDE the front yard hedge – – some thistle weed. This photo was taken prior to the flower’s bloom, but I’ll have photos of that later. Thistle is not something you want to nurture, as it can choke other plants. Yet, I find it so pretty. The entire plant is full of thorns, but the flower, itself is soft – and perfect for bees, butterflies and even goldfinches to eat from it. I asked Ray to leave it there – at least until the flower bloomed so I could get a photo of that before it was cut out.
2. This is a night light lamp which was given to me as a gift by my parents when I was a teenager. Earlier, I had fallen in love with a very heavy lead crystal night light which was my mom’s that had once belonged to her mom (my grandmother). She knew I loved it, so this was what she gave me – knowing I’d like the soft light that would come from the body of the porcelain Siamese Cat!

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1. More photos of Misty and Felix
2. Photos of Shadow (above) and Phantom (below) who were our litter mate duo prior to Misty and Felix, hung in the front entryway. Phantom died November 29, 2006 from an inner ear tumor, and Shadow died on December 1, 2010 from kidney failure. I still miss them a lot… They were such good kitties. You can see another photo of them together on the right column of this blog.

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1. Interesting pillow purchased from Coldwater Creek
2. This is a Moravian Star, which was given to me on my 50th birthday from Ray and my mom. It is very special, and there is a light bulb inside, so when lit, it has a stained glass affect. When I took this photo, the light was not lit, but the daylight from the window where it is hanging was shining through it. I learned to love Moravian stars because our son went to Moravian College, located in Bethlehem, PA. These special Stars are commonly hung in Moravian homes at Christmas time.

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It was the day before we left for Maine, and Ray was packing his suitcase while I was out doing errands. Little Misty – seeing the suitcase on the bed – wiggled into an outside pocket of the suitcase and posed for a picture which Ray took with my camera. It’s as if she is saying … “Don’t go! Don’t leave me! Take me with you!”. Made me sad, as it’s always hard to leave my kitties when we go away, even though I know they are well cared for by our pet sitter.

Next post(s): Kezar Lake Maine!


Yet again I’ve allowed myself to get way behind on the posting of my photos, and will try to catch up now. I admit – I missed taking a photo during one of the days during this time. Much has happened since I last posted. I’ve returned from a wonderful visit to my friends Claire and Terry. While there, I attended the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church on the day that the new retirees made 3 minute speeches capsulizing their ministries. Terry is now retired, and I was there and took photos while he spoke and Claire stood next to him. It was a moving experience to be a part of their transition to “retired status”.

We also had dinner in a Japanese steak house at their hibachi grill and on another day we went to “Mark of the Potter” gift shop to check out their hand crafted pottery. But, most of all, I just enjoyed being with Claire and Terry in their lovely new home which they purchased a few months ago for their retirement years. It’s beautiful and a house which just screams “I’m home” when you’re inside. It’s also not far from a National forest so birds and wildlife are never far. At dusk it’s not uncommon to see deer scampering through the yards in the neighborhood.

Now that I’m home, it’s back in mundane routine. There are days when I am at a loss as to what to photograph, as I fear I’m repeating myself. Same subject, just different day. Maybe I am, but often the second photograph reveals something new I didn’t see the first time, so there is nothing wrong with that, either. there also have been days I’ve not been in the mood to take photos, but that is also part of the process – to push myself even when I don’t want to bother. On one day my photo was taken close to midnight.

So … with that – I’ll pick up where I left off:

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365 photo #163 (June 11). This was one of the nights we went to the Japanese Restaurant “Kiku’s” – and I took pictures during the show. This is taken when the chef piles onion slices in the shape of a volcano, and then lights it to allow smoke and flames to come from inside so it truly appears like an erupting volcano. You can see our main course is also cooking at the same time!

365 photo #164 (June 12) – EPIC FAIL. No photo taken

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365 photo #165 (June 13) – This was the day we were at the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. This was a globe from a world missions booth. The dove is a symbol of peace, and the globe has Africa facing the outward. I took many photos of Claire and Terry but not sure they should be posted, as they were taken particularly for them.

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365 photo #166 (June 14) – this photo was taken at “Mark of the Potter”, which is located right along a flowing stream. In fact there is a balcony in the shop that looks over this stream. What a beautiful setting!

Bonus photos for this day:

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1. The rushing stream
2. I love this sign 🙂 It pretty much gets the message across from the trout’s point of view!

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Both photos were taken near Claire’s feeders outside her front door…
1. male goldfinch
2. female cardinal

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365 photo #167 (June 15). I left Claire and Terry’s on this day and this photo is taken at the Hampton Inn motel where I stayed that night. I was on the 4th floor – and it was an interesting view at sunset. Sometimes high tension wires can be photogenic!

Bonus photos from the motel:

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1. view as a whole from my room
2. purple clouds of sunset – also from the room.

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365 photo # 168 (June 16) – These are the coffee mugs I purchased from “Mark of the Potter”. I love the shape, and they are very comfortable to hold, not to mention that they hold a lot of coffee, which is a requirement for a coffee mug for me!

I just checked – and according to my camera, I technically took this photo at 12:03 a.m. on June 17, but I’m going to count it as June 16th!

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365 photo #169 (June 17). Periodically I must make sure the kitties are subjects for the photo of the day. This is Felix lying on one of his favorite beds, on the back of the couch where we’ve placed their fleece beds. 🙂

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365 photo #170 (June 18) Late afternoon sun looking out over our front yard. You can see the shadow of the top of the house on the lawn at the bottom of the photo, plus our arbor vitae, and the birch tree to the right in the photo.

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365 photo #171 (June 19) – male and female cardinal ground feeding under the feeders.

Two bonus photos of male cardinals near the bird feeders out back:

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365 photo #172 – (June 20). This is not that great a photo, as I had to take it out a rather dirty window. the deer is at the edge of our property all set to dart away through the bushes. If I’d tried to go out, I’m sure this very skittish deer would have been long gone and the photo would never have happened. I messed with contrast and saturation to make it a bit more clear, but it still feels a bit distorted. At dusk we have so many deer who frequent our yard. The hedge in front of our house has been pretty much decimated by the deer this year, and we have to do something about planting something else — making sure it’s something deer don’t like to eat!

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365 photo #173 (June 21) Our hydrangea is beginning to come out!! More photos will come later of these!

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365 photo #174 (June 22 – yesterday) I was not in the mood for photography yesterday and I don’t know why. So – later in the evening I took a photo of the soda I was drinking – black cherry Fresca. It’s my favorite flavor. Sadly it’s next to impossible to get in Hilton Head. I bring down a few 12 packs, and then drink it sparingly while we’re there.

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365 photo #175 (June 23 – today). This is a view of our side yard (I’m standing in the front yard) showing the brick walkway which goes up to the front of our house, and a section of our driveway. It was a gorgeous day today!

And – that completes the photos – – until tomorrow, of course. Until then….!


Let’s see if I can catch up … only to get behind again!

Tomorrow I’m leaving on yet another trip. Due to needing to go to PA because of my mom’s illness in March, I was unable to visit my good friend, Claire in North Georgia. At that time we were planning to do a spring piano / flute concert in her church. She ended up doing the concert alone, and I can’t redo that experience. However, I can finally do a visit, and I am leaving for her house tomorrow. Among other interests we share, we both are photography enthusiasts, so I will have lots of different photos to share for my daily 365 photo during my visit. I”m looking forward to the change of scenery and some different kinds of photos from a different area. Claire lives in a beautiful area, so who knows what my subjects will be for my photos!!

But – before I do – I am going to finally catch up on the photos that are not yet posted…

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365 photo #150 – (May 29) – House Finch in the black pine staging area for the feeders.

Bonus photos:

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1. Grackle – kind of a bully bird. I feed the birds only safflower seeds mainly because the grackles don’t much like it so they are less likely to be around to bully the smaller birds. However, they try…!
2. Male Cardinal in the black pine “staging area” of the bird feeders.

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365 photo # 151 (May 30) – a gorgeous sunset which gave the world an orange glow for a bit!

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365 photo #152 (May 31) – I believe these are crabapple blossoms which grow wild around our yard and neighborhood.

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365 photo #153 – (June 1) Misty lying on her fleece mat which we have placed on the couch above our head as we’re sitting. I will miss my kitties when I’m gone…

Bonus photo:

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I must include Felix if I’ve shown Misty! 🙂

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365 photo #154 (June 2) – Female cardinal hanging out on an old wrought iron railing that was placed there after being removed a very long time ago. I had forgotten it was there until I saw Mrs. Cardinal there that day. I can’t believe it hasn’t been pitched, as it was from a patio that has long since been transformed.

Bonus photos:

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1. Red winged blackbird — Sometimes they are “bully birds” to the smaller birds, but they are so pretty, I think.
2. Dove

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1. White Rhododendron. The white ones are the last to bloom, so these flowers are almost done for the season. They are so pretty and am always sad when they’re done blooming.
2. The white rhododendron bush

Yesterday I made a point of going down the street to where I’ve noticed a vacant field that’s had numerous wildflowers planted. I don’t know who owns the field and why they are planting these flowers. I think it’s a future development – but it is really pretty. I stopped by to take some close up and landscape photos of the field while it’s so pretty. I don’t know what many of the flowers are…

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365 photo #155 (June 3) I don’t know what this purple flower is, but blurred in the background is a large area of wild daisies.

Bonus photos:

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365 photo #156 (June 4) – suitcase packed — ready to go tomorrow morning – pronto! It was not much of a photo day today…

And — that brings me up to date. I don’t know how well I can keep this up while I’m gone, but there will be photos for those days to post later….

Laterz…!


To continue… We had another week left in Hilton Head after our wonderful walk – so here are some more daily photos:

On the side of our house on Hilton Head, we have lots of bushes, trees and pine straw. This photo is of a fungus of sorts that was growing on the stump of a tree which had been cut down quite a while ago… It’s amazing what these things can grow from, and the intricacies of the growth. At the time I took the photo, everything was wet, but it was from our sprinkler system, which is turned on when things are dry.

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365 photo #123 (May 2) — the fungus on the tree stump
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365 photo #124 (May 3) — A female cardinal in the pine tree. I stand quietly in the yard and wait for these birds to become visible in a tree…
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365 photo #125 (May 4) — sweet Felix on the couch in the great room

On Saturday, May 5th Ray and I went to Savannah to see the Tall ships, and I’ll leave those photos for their own entry.


I have returned from Pennsylvania and now have a little more time to post. It took some time to go through all my photos, edit them and get them uploaded, but that job is done now.

This was a bittersweet time. My mom is very ill – so critically ill that we all felt it necessary to go see her. She was in Abington Hospital in suburban Philadelphia for almost three weeks. Despite having been discharged to a skilled nursing care facility, she still remains ill, though stabilized. Over the course of her hospitalization, our family surrounded her, including grandchildren and one great grandchild. Despite the worry, stress and exhaustion we were feeling, it was also a time of family bonding. I took a photo each day and they are a visual way of documenting my time in PA with Mom. To conserve space because I have so many photos, they are all shown in a smaller size. However, you can click on any photo to see it larger in my Flickr account.

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1. 365 photo #76 — A photo of the lagoon only a few minutes before we left Hilton Head on the day we were informed how sick mom was – and that we needed to come see her. A storm was brewing, and as we left town the most ferocious thunderstorm hit as we drove off of Hilton Head Island. It wasn’t lost on me that storms were brewing in my life, too….
2. 365 photo #77 — We stopped at a Hampton Inn in Fayetteville, NC that night – and the next morning I took a photo of the sunrise as we were leaving to go the rest of the way to Pennsylvania.

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1. 365 photo #78 — In Mom’s hospital room there were some lovely flowers…. 🙂
2. 365 photo #79 — For the first 3 days in Pennsylvania, we stayed in the Garden Hilton Inn, and I took a photo of the room that night. It gave us our own space for a few days. However we moved over to my sister’s house and that was good, too – to be closer to family. I nearly forgot to take a photo that day, and this one was taken at nearly midnight!

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1. 365 photo #80 — This is the view from Mom’s room, showing the York Road garage. It’s an “average” hospital room view, and at least she had a window. Some rooms do not, as they look out into the lobby
2. 365 photo #81 — More flowers in Mom’s room — an amyrillis which my brother brought with him shown against the window shade.

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1. 365 photo #82 — A white board in mom’s hospital room. It gives staff information, like the name of the nurse and student nurse on duty, and the date. But – we wrote all over the board, too 🙂
2. 365 photo #83 — The tower on Abington Hospital — and it’s the hospital’s logo. This was taken after sunset as we were leaving the hospital.

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1. 365 photo #84 — Since we were all in town, my siblings and I celebrated my sister’s 60th birthday — a few days early. We had dinner out together, then went back to my other sister’s house to have this delicious cake.
2. 365 photo #85 — An interesting stoplight – with trees in the background – on Susquehanna Road on our way home from the hospital. It was around sunset time when we took this photo.

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1. 365 photo #86 — Again I nearly forgot to take a daily photo, and realized this as we were getting ready for bed. In the room where we stayed, my sister had this cute little tiger – and he made a nice photo!
2. 365 photo #87 — Mom’s room was in the Widener Building at Abington Hospital, and this is the lobby, as taken from the 2nd floor, where Mom was located. They have a great coffee shop there were I stopped daily to get a cup of flavored coffee to take up to the room with me.

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1. 365 photo #88 — This was the day Mom was discharged by ambulance to the nursing facility. Our car was parked in the York Road Parking garage on the top level – and we could see the skyline of Philadelphia from that vantage point. As we were leaving to meet Mom at the nursing facility, I took this photo.
2. 365 photo #89 — On this day we left Philadelphia to return home to Hilton Head. We did the entire trip in one day, and when we arrived my first photo of the day was of my sweet Felix. I missed my kitties SO MUCH while we were gone… But – they were well taken care of by a good pet sitter.

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365 photo #90 — This was our first full day at home – and I discovered that during our trip I had managed to break the glass of the filter over top of my 100-400 mm lens. I couldn’t unscrew it, and there was concern that I’d bent the filter, or – at worst, the lens itself. At the suggestion of the Best Buy Geek Squad, I got one of those rubberized “jar openers” and that did the trick – and the lens itself was not bent. Thankfully the broken glass of the filter did NOT scratch the lens and all is well. This photo — the first I took with that lens after realizing it probably was ok — is of some fungus growing around a stump of a downed tree.

I’m not caught up with my photos yet, but think that this is enough for one entry! More to come later…!


I’ve been busy over the last three days, but the photos have been taken and it’s finally time to post.

I have so many photos to choose from for February 22nd. My childhood friend, Connie visited for a day on her way to be with her daughter and family. I cherish these visits, as we have a lot of history … good history!. We may be separated for a year (or more) at a time, but when we get together, it’s like we never were apart. Conversation flows … and, that’s an understatement! 🙂 Plus – she travels with her white lab, Maggie. I’ve never been much of a dog person, but Maggie has won over my heart, not to mention that the cats did very well with her. There were a few “fluffed up” kitty moments with minimal hissing, but it was short lived, as Maggie doesn’t chase them. They always have time to quickly retreat to the safety of “high places” in the house.

Connie has a blog, too: View from the Empty Nest. It’s full of insights — the kind that come while walking Maggie! Many are thoughts I’ve always had, but I never “thought” to “think” them! (I know — that doesn’t quite make sense…!) Check it out — it’s a good read!

On the one full day Connie was with us, we looked for “photo ops” in beautiful spots, both at home and in the neighborhood. First there were some photo ops right on our lagoon. Then we went into Whooping Crane Conservancy. After a quick lunch, we took Maggie for a walk on Boneyard beach. As we drove there, we made a stop along the side of the road where there’s another lagoon and aquatic life often hang out. As I type, I still can’t decide which photo will be chosen for this. All I know is that I will include several bonus photos!

Ok – – here we go — an alligator in the swamp inside Whooping Crane Conservancy:

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365 photo #53

And — of course there will be some bonus photos:

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1. fall foliage lives on inside the Whooping Crane Conservancy…!
2. Ibis well hidden in the brush in Whooping Crane Conservancy

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1. Ibis on the lagoon at home
2. I wonder what those cormorants see??

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1. Anhinga – drying it’s wings
2. Maggie — such a sweet white lab — on the beach! 🙂

Connie left first thing the next morning – but I kind of remained sluggish, and didn’t get out for photos. Suddenly it was 10 p.m. and I hadn’t even picked up my camera – so yesterday’s photo is a wall hanging — something my son gave to me for Christmas one year. I love the haggard expression the kitty. Reminds me of me when I’m not in a good mood! 😉 When I was younger I had a photo copy of this picture taped to my refrigerator, which said “I have a handgun and PMS, any questions”. Kind of said it all!

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365 photo #54

Today I looked to our cats for the photo. The weather started out ok, but it’s now reduced to rumbling thunderstorms and tornado watches…. This is Felix — “birding and squirreling” behind the draperies!:

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365 photo #55

Bonus photo: On Tuesday night I won honorable mention in the camera club competition – category “windows”. It’s the first ever ribbon for me:

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This isn’t the EXACT photo I submitted as it had to be resized just slightly for printing, and I enhanced the saturation a small amount, as well.

Yesterday was “kitty day” at Chez Sweetmeow. It was time to take Misty and Felix to their annual check up at the vets – always an interesting adventure. Getting the kitties into their pet carriers (without one of them going under a bed where they are nearly impossible to get) takes strategy and finesse. It’s about outsmarting them. We were successful (humans: 1 … kitties: 0), and off we went – on time – to the appointment. It’s always good when Ray is around to help with this endeavor. Thank you, Ray, for being there!

On the way the kitties meowed – separately, and together in chorus. We put them into the car with their carriers facing each other so that they could give each other comfort – but I’m not sure that happened. Meow meow. Meow meow. Interesting to note when the two kitties meowed at the same time how much lower Misty’s meow is from Felix’ meow. It was good that we only had about 25 minutes on the highway with them.

The vet visit was short and sweet – just two shots for each – a quick check of weight and teeth and off we went – back to where we’d started. Felix is not overweight as I’d feared, but is simply a big boned kitty of 14 lbs.! Misty is wiry and petite coming in at a slim 8 lbs. Both both are fine for their body builds.

I thought the kitties would be exhausted for the rest of the day. Instead, they spent much of the afternoon squirreling and birding from the sliding glass doors, which brings me to yesterday’s photo of the day: Felix takes a break from birding to pose for the camera:

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365 photo #18

And — here are two bonus photos:

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1. Misty poses for me
2. Finally the cats curled up together – paws around each other, and licking each other’s neck. Sweet!

Today was crystal clear after a few days of clouds or mixed clouds and sun. It was a perfect day to go to the Whooping Crane Conservancy down the street. This is an area of woodsy marshland that has been designated to remain pristine in it’s original state. A boardwalk has been built so that one can walk through and be in the midst of it all. On the brochure that describes this conservancy, it says that it’s named for this endangered bird (that I love so much!) that may have lived here at the turn of the century. However, I’ve also read (and I can’t find where…) that people, who thought they were seeing whooping cranes, named it after that bird. However, in reality, they were seeing wood storks.

I made the decision to only use my 100-400 mm lens, which limits the type of photos I can take. My reasoning was that I wanted to be prepared for any wildlife shots, and walked through very silently so critters would not scatter. Not much was there, however. I saw a turtle, which disappeared in the water before I could get the camera ready – and a male Downy woodpecker, which is today’s Photo of the day:

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365 photo #19

To give you more of an idea about this conservancy, here are the rest of the pictures I took in slide show form.  WordPress won’t  let me embed this – so here’s the link:

WHOOPING CRANE POND CONSERVANCY SLIDESHOW


We have returned to Long Island from our wintering in Hilton Head a few weeks ago, and life sure hasn’t stopped so that we could relax.

First of all – our trip home was nerve wracking as we had our new kitties with us who were untested for long travel. I worried for weeks prior to leaving about all the things that could go wrong. Traveling with Phantom and Shadow was not easy, but they were more calm and quiet in their older age. Since we did not know how this would play out, we purchased little harnesses for the kitties so that if we had to have them out of the carriers (like for a cat box break), we could control them easier with leashes. One can’t do that with a collar, as it’s not good to pull against a small kitty’s neck, besides the fact that most collars are “break-away” in style, and would easily pull apart if pulled.

We test drove the new harnesses a week prior to leaving. They were not amused and spent countless hours trying to get out of them, by backing up (thinking they could back out of them), rubbing up against a wall (thinking they could “rub” them off), and hopping around (thinking they could shake them off!). Finally they settled in, thinking they if they went to sleep, they’d wake up and the harnesses would miraculously have disappeared. Ultimately they did get used to them … sort of!

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1. Felix – check out those sad eyes…!
2. Misty – sleeping the harnesses off
3. Felix and Misty – sleeping

The trip itself was a lot less traumatic than I’d imagined, and we made it back in one piece, though all of us – including kitties – were exhausted. Felix had one huge kitty tantrum at the Maryland House, when he went on a meowing jag, and flung water and his carrier “mat” all over the inside of the carrier. We gave him a “cat box” break, but that was not the problem. In fact – once out of the carrier, he begged to return there to his “safe haven”. Once we got back on the highway, he settled in again, probably exhausted from said tantrum! Misty also scared us once, thinking she was actually dead! She had pulled her carrier mat up over top of her, so she could not be seen, and was so sound asleep that she didn’t rouse when we stopped the car. We shook the carrier and she finally opened her eyes with that “wtf” look on her face – no worse for wear.

However, there was no rest for the weary once arriving home. In short: the house was not as we had left it. In all fairness, the hassles were nothing we couldn’t handle. Many who have withstood tornadoes would trade their tragedies with the small inconveniences we endured. But – we were tired from our travels, and it seemed worse than it was.

1. First of all — we had our upstairs painted while we were gone. The furniture and other possessions had been moved around so they could do the work. We had an idea this had happened, and our cleaning person not only cleaned the dust from those rooms, but got the furniture back in the correct spots in both rooms. However, there was more when we arrived. Nothing was plugged in. Phone cords had been disconnected – then stepped on – so that they could not be reconnected easily. Possessions were not in their correct rooms – or missing. Some things are STILL missing! Pictures had been removed and scattered about the house and had to be rehung, including installing new hooks. I’m not sure we’ll have a job like that done while we’re gone, or we need to be more accepting of how we’d find the house…

2. Our house was burglarized in early January, and the perpetrator came in via our computer room window. Our security system paid for itself, as the alarm went off after only a minute of him being in the house, and after taking almost nothing, he left via the window where he entered. Again, the person who cleans our house returned the room to “order” and worked to clean all that black finger print dust off objects (or threw out the things that could not be cleaned). But – again – stuff is not where I’d left it, and things are still missing, even a few weeks later. Despite the confusion, I am eternally grateful to my cleaning gal for all that she did.

3. Our swimming pool’s liner was leaking when we closed up for the winter, but it was worse when we realized that it also included the pool steps, which also needed replacing. That job could not be done until the weather got warmer, so it was barely started when we arrived home.

As the weeks have gone by, we now feel more at home in our house — including the cats. The pool is nearly done and our two upstairs rooms now feel like home. It was also fun watching them claim their new habitat, so that now they have new favorite places to sleep and play.

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1. Misty
2. Felix
3. The two cats together on the back of the couch in the living room

It was clear that Felix and Misty had never encountered stairs before in their short little lives, and Felix didn’t quite “get” what gravity would do to his method of going down and he literally fell down the stairs. The “what the hell just happened” look on his face after that happened was priceless. They both learned quickly, and I can’t believe how fast they maneuver the stairs now.

They love our pantry – looking for good things to eat!

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“Felix, The Pantry Pest”

Just as we thought it was safe to come up for air – “life” had to interject yet another wrinkle. My mom – at age 89 – fell and broke her hip. She made it through the surgery with flying colors to get a steel rod inserted. She did not need an entire hip replacement, as it was not a complete break – just a fracture. She is now in a rehab facility, and hope and pray that she does well there. She will need motivation, however, as it’s a lot of work to come back from one of these breaks. But I think Mom is strong and has the ability to do this, but there still is concern. Another wrinkle is that their house is not well suited to someone who is disabled, as they do not have a bathroom or bedroom on the first floor, so time will tell how this will play out, and how – and if – our plans for this summer will be impacted. Mom — and her husband will need support — how much support and what kind will depend on how well the rehab goes. I feel for my mom – and her husband as they go through this. It’s said, “getting old is not for sissies”. So true…

The title for this blog entry is most appropriate as the ending sentence: Life Happens When You’re Making Other Plans. Life sometimes unfolds as it will, without any concern for your desires or previous plans. In these situations, the best you can do is roll with it and respond in the best way you know how. However, I keep wanting to say, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”


Since I’ve been blogging, there is a “truth” about the process which has become very clear to me:  The longer you go without making an entry, the harder it is TO make an entry!  “Time” brings on “mind clutter”, and one has to wade through that in order to write something.  It’s my theory of chaos in all facets of life.  The more clutter there is, the easier it is to run – head firmly planted in the sand – away from that chaos which becomes increasingly hard to fathom.  And … so … with that in mind, I return again to this blog that clearly was in danger of being left for dead with resolve not to let the chaos overtake me.

I also believe that in the blogging world, there is very little tolerance for long term (or even short term!) “negativity”.  It’s ok to mention negative things, or have a “down” post once in a while.  However, ultimately a positive spin needs to be put on these things.  But a “negative blog” just doesn’t work.  When in the midst of situations like this, I become overwhelmed – almost “imprisoned – by the depressing mood of the moment – so much so that putting a positive spin on it when writing becomes difficult.  I need to work on seeing the larger picture – even when in the midst of difficult, negative life issues.

Which brings me to the issue of my silence….

It was a rough fall and early winter for me.   When I left you in mid October, things were going downhill.  After a power walk, motivated by my blog entry on my need to do something about my weight, I blew my knee out.  I wrote a few more entries after that, but my momentum was sorely lacking.

I quickly got an appointment with the orthopedist.  His diagnosis:  a torn meniscus – but not a serious one which would require surgery,  He recommended physical rehab.  For the month of October into November, I put my heart and soul into it, and my knee improved greatly.  I totally enjoyed rehab – but in all honesty, I do not know if the improvement was as a result of that.  It didn’t matter why it was better, as long as it was.  I looked forward to returning to the state where I would not have to think about my knee every step I took.  There was – and still is — the undercurrent of fear that I might injure my knee so that I’d lose forever the ability to do the activities I take for granted:  photography jaunts, golf, and just routine errand running!

In the midst of this potential loss, another loss was looming:  Since November, 2008 we had been giving our sweet black cat, Shadow (that you see in the icon above) subcutaneous infusions as a result of kidney failure, which is common in older cats.  There is no cure for this, so the reality is that her condition would only worsen with time, but she did so well for little more than a year and a half.  During the summer – almost imperceptibly – she began her decline.  Her eating and activity level lessened.  She was slowly losing weight almost without notice.  I think it was the brutal heat we had over the summer, and without our house being air conditioned, it’s my opinion that this took a toll on her.   By September, it was clear she was not doing well.  She was lethargic – barely moving from one spot both day and night.  Watching this was like watching a slow death – and I knew this was what was happening.  The chronic sadness about this took it’s toll. 

We had to return to Hilton Head in late October for a few days, and we boarded her at the vets instead of getting a pet sitter so that she could be watched more carefully.  That was a tough decision because I didn’t know how well she’d thrive being cooped up in a cage in a strange place, but she did ok, and we brought her home – maybe a little better from that experience.  For the month of November her health remained constant, although I suspect that she was declining still – again imperceptibly.   Again we had to board her over Thanksgiving while we visited my family in PA, but this time she returned home clearly more sick.  She was barely eating – and was skin and bones – only 6 lbs. on her rather large kitty frame.

It was our plan to leave for Hilton Head for the winter about two days after returning from our Thanksgiving trip.  It had been our plan to take Shadow with us.  But – her condition was dire.

We had vowed that we would intervene in Shadow’s health only as long as she had “quality of life”.  After Thanksgiving, however, it slowly became clear that this had ended.  I wasn’t even sure she would survive the two day car trip to Hilton Head from Long Island.

Would we be putting Shadow down only for our convenience – so that we could go to Hilton Head at the time when we wanted to go?  Those few days after our Thanksgiving trip were dark ones for both my husband and I as we wrestled with the decision.

What to do?  What to do???

On December 1, we put Shadow down.  It was one of the saddest days for us.  But – in the end, both of us are convinced we made the right decision for her.  She had no quality of life, with little hope for it to return.  We loved her – and her brother, Phantom (who died in November, 2006 of an inner ear tumor), deeply.  They were our “dynamic duo” – so special in our lives.  No matter what other kitties would grace our household again, there would be no kitties like them ever again.  It was an end of a wonderful era….

The next day we left for Hilton Head …. cat-less.   It was hard to pack.  It was hard to go.  I wanted to curl up and mourn my sweet Shadow.  But … we left…

Emotionally I was “in limbo” during the month of December.  I was healing from the loss of Shadow – or trying to – by preparing for Christmas.  We decorated the house, shopped both online and in the stores, and prepared for a trip to PA on Christmas day until December 29th.  But in the midst of all that, my knee went “out” – yet again — during a photography walk on the beach in mid December.  Add to that – a rash I have been battling for the last two years flared up around Thanksgiving.  Let’s just say:  The itching was relentless until I got a “miracle cream” prescribed by a dermatologist whom I saw only days after arriving in Hilton Head.

My knee is better, but it’s now fragile in a way it was not before.  I do not know if surgery is in my future, but will be waiting until we go back north (where our health insurance is in effect) to have that evaluated again.  I am doing the exercises I learned in rehab, and wearing a brace when I walk.  There are good days and bad days, and do not know why my knee’s condition fluctuates so much.  I’m just relieved to be relatively mobile.

I know for a fact that my overall mood is rising.  On January 7th we went to the Hilton Head Humane Association and brought home two litter mate tuxedo kittens (one male, one female, about 6 months old) which we’ve named Felix and Misty.  What cuties they are, and to be honest, I knew I could fall in love again!  When I saw them lick each other after removing them from the cage in the Humane Association to see how they would react to each other, I was smitten and knew they would be my kitties!  After a month without a cat in our house, I have discovered that our house could never be a “home” without a cat (or cats) in it!  Kittens are a new experience after having elderly cats for so long – and they are into everything.  Fragile items have been put away.  Upholstered Furniture is vulnerable to kitty claws.  But – it’s all good!  They love each other – and us – and we love them.

And – I will leave you with a few pictures of the kitty loves of my life:

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1.  Misty (no white on chin and a smaller kitty) and Felix (white on chin and a slightly larger kitty lying together.  Misty’s head is on Felix’s body.

2.  Misty in the sisal “Cat Shack” we bought them

3.  Felix “birding” out the sliding glass door

4.  Kitty Kisses

Very soon I will be changing some pictures on my blog’s sidebar to reflect our new additions – but will always keep Shadow and Phantom not far from here, too.  (EDIT:  This has been done)  I also hope not to allow this much time to go by between entries.

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