Archive for December, 2011

2011 in review

December 31, 2011

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,900 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Poinsettias For Christmas

December 20, 2011

Two years ago at Christmastime, Sugar and I went to Savannah to place poinsettias in two different cemeteries.

Today we went back with two of his daughters and his granddaughter and his granddog.

At Laurel Grove.

The wind blew the poinsettia over, so Sugar wedged it upright in front of the door.

Then on to Bonaventure.

At the Basinger plot, Sugar digs a shallow impression to set the poinsettia.

Little L finds that the dog's flexi-leash won't retract in spite of her best efforts. (Flexi-leash. Broken. Never a good idea to give a child a flexi-leash unless it's broken.)

Then we stepped across the lane to the Starr Plot.  Sugar’s great-grandfather was William Starr Basinger, and William’s mother was Jane Starr Basinger who is buried in this plot.

The Starr plot.

I noticed that there were some carvings on either side of the threshold. To the right "1887". Sugar thinks that some of these folks were buried at Laurel Grove, then re-interred here, because some of the graves are prior to 1887.

To the left "G 9".

When you stand facing the Starr threshold, then turn 180 degrees, you see the Basinger plot.  And there’s the poinsettia that Sugar just placed.

That poinsettia really brightened up that spot.

When we left that cemetery, we went to the cemetery next door, Forest Lawn. We’d never been there before, and indeed don’t know anyone buried there (at least not now we don’t, but you never know what this blog will bring), and it overlooks the river.

This boat obliged us by being in the right spot at the right time for a scenic photo-opportunity.

After the poinsettia-placing, we went to the Sentient Bean to pick up a late lunch, then strolled over to Forsythe Park to eat, and Little L enjoyed watching a drummer in the park.

He handed her a pair of maracas to play.

Then homeward.

And a good time was had by all.

It’s All About the Grants

December 20, 2011

I received several donations this holiday season to be put toward cat rescue.  So here’s a little visual regarding what this money can accomplish.

A)  Three male cat neuters, or

B)  Twelve large bags of cat food at $12.50 each, or

C)  Two-and-a-half female cat spays (that half part is awkward, isn’t it?), or

D)  21.43 rabies vaccinations at $7 each, or

E)  15 FVRCP vaccinations at $10 each, or

F)  300 cans of cat food for trap bait at 50 cents per can, or

G)  25 bales of hay for winter bedding, or

H)  3 humane traps for the catching part, or

I)  46.15 gallons of gas at $3.25 per gallon for the driving-around part, or

J)  150 gallons of chlorine bleach at $1/gallon for sanitizing the traps and holding areas.

What did I miss?


Many, many thanks to the folks who made this possible!!

Different Strokes for Different Fokes

December 19, 2011

Here’s a little post about grooming.  I’m not talking about your daily grooming, like brushing your teeth and washing your face.  I’m talking about PET grooming.

So the BabyBoy had a client call last week in the middle of the day about having his standard poodle groomed.  Sure, he said, bring him on by.

It turned out that the dog had not been groomed since April, a good eight months ago.  And the dog lives outside.  All the time.  The owners decided that they’d get him cleaned up a bit so that he could come into the house for Christmas.

This guy had felted fur right down to the skin, so of course he had to be shaved.

Nice-looking hairy beast.


Preliminary shaving of the back results in this.

Notice the clock.  The dog was dropped off in the early afternoon.  He’s already had his bath, which included two sudsings (Is that a word?  I’ll ask google later.) of flea shampoo.  Of course.  Flea infestation.

My goodness, I love this photo. Children, when your mama taught you to comb your hair, it was for a reason. Either comb your hair or the barber will peel it off like an onion layer, right down to the scalp using scary vibrating razors.

His skin is still damp, even after drying for a long time.  The felted hair trapped the moisture (and a lot of the fleas) against his skin.  Sometimes the trapped moisture can cause problematic skin conditions and/or infections, not to mention having to limit oneself to online dating and chat rooms.

Can I get enough of this visual? I think not.

And suddenly, a dog appears.

In actuality, this took hours to achieve.  That BabyBoy is one good groomer.

And you kids out there?  Comb your hair.


A Lost Pattern

December 13, 2011

A knitted afghan square contrasts beautifully against Ole Yeller's windshield and hood.

My friend Maria grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York state.  (Digression #1:  It’s like the six degrees of Kevin Bacon.  New York.  Again.  Oh, hello, my three fans from NY!)

Maria’s grandmother was a knitter, and Maria inherited some of her grandmother’s stash, including these knitted diamonds and a boatload of yarn to finish the project.  It seems that her grandmother was mid-project on an afghan, and Maria seemed to think that I could help her out by deciphering the pattern and knitting a test swatch.  (Digression #2:  CATskill. Really?  Does every post I write really need to have the word “cats” in it?)

I’m an idiot, but mostly I just can’t say no, except in that area that my mother told me about, and then yes, I could say no, but mostly I just. can’t. say. no.  And I’m a knitting antiquities hoarder, because knitting can be stuffed in crannies and crevices, and I like genealogy.  (Digression #3:  That didn’t make sense to you?  Welcome to my mind.)

So I took in the knitting and the yarn, and stuffed it in the storage compartment under my bed in the RV.  And mentally I stuffed the project to the back of my mind, because I simply did not have time to focus on the project, what with being a college student and all.  I knew that one day I would graduate, and lie down in a dark room for a bit just breathing in the silence, and then I would get up and work on the project.  (Digression #4:  A room would be necessary for the lying-down part, and I *so* don’t have a room.  No, the shed does not count.)

One day Maria called me and asked for her grandmother’s knitting project.  The she showed up at my work to pick it up and announced that she was moving.  Now, mind you, Maria had been telling me for the entire five years since I met her that she was moving, so this was a bit of a surprise.  (Digression #5:  Foreshadowing?  I think not.)  And I had not touched the project at all.  In actuality, I was a bit daunted by the difficulty of the project and wasn’t even sure if I could re-create the pattern.

So I draped the squares across the car and Maria and took pictures because really?  Someday I am going to figure it out.  (Digression #6:  The pattern.  I’m talking about figuring out *the pattern*.)

No twist to the yarn at all. Bizarre.


You knit a bunch of these, then sew them together for a superafghan.

Still no twist to the yarn. Still bizarre.

(Digression #7:  Maria said that her grandmother could knit a pair of slippers – or was it socks, which doesn’t sound possible – in ONE day.  She was like some super-speed-demon knitter, which could be where Maria gets her caffeine addiction.)

This is the draping-over-Maria part. Lordy, they grow 'em big in the Catskills. (Whoops. Double entendre.)

So enjoy the photos.  And if you already have the pattern, please give me a clue.  I need all the help I can get.





The Sands Beach at Port Royal,SC

December 11, 2011

The day after Thanksgiving, I met up with the BabyGirl for a day out and about.  We had lunch at a Thai restaurant in Port Royal, SC.  The restaurant was in a former schoolhouse that had been moved there from another location.

The BabyGirl took this photo out the passenger window. Yes, now she's doing it, too.

It was cold inside the restaurant, but slowly it began to warm up.  I think that the owners, who were also the cook and bottle-washer, had turned on the heat just for us, the first diners of the day.  We placed our order and then we heard the cook/owner, a charming woman from – guess where? – Thailand, began to chop away in the kitchen.  The food was amazingly fresh and delicious.  I had been there once before with Sugar, and today found that the food was consistently mouth-watering.  I’m getting hungry just writing this post.

After the meal, we drove further down the main street which ends at a factory-like building.  We headed along another street and saw a sign for “The Sands” Beach.  I had no idea that there was a beach there.  I knew that Port Royal was situated on a waterway, but many times the waterways are not accessible because of marsh or man-made developments.  A little scenic treat was in store. I found this link to a boardwalk, which we will save for another day.

At the end of the lane to the beach, these shore birds were hanging out.

After we got out of the car, I look this photo looking back to the right.

Panning left.

And at our feet…


So take a stroll down to the Sands Beach!  Or launch your boat!  Or just cop a squat for an afternoon.

Some Christmas Cheer

December 10, 2011

I haven’t had a Christmas tree since 2008 when I moved into the RV.  This year, the BabyBoy put up a tree at the grooming salon.

It appears that the tree with only have lights on it.  Watch the slideshow, and you’ll see what I mean.

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The Porta Cocker

December 5, 2011

I learned to read when I went to first grade.  Back in the day, in the little town that I grew up in, there was no kindergarten, and even if there were, my mother wouldn’t have sent me.  That’s because my BigBroBob, 11 years my senior, went to kindergarten when they lived in another state long before I was born.  It was not a successful career for the BigBro, because in today’s world he would probably be labeled ADD, or ADHD, or PIA.  Back then, he was probably labeled “T.R.O.U.B.L.E.”

But BigBro’s kindergarten experience was bad enough that the old Ma decided to keep any ensuing children home until they were old enough to go to the first grade.  So, yay me.

I fell in love with reading, and I read everything.  Cereal boxes at the breakfast table, road signs, magazines, and *books*, ah, books.  I was a fast reader, and I moved quickly into chapter books, even though I didn’t understand everything I read.  If there was a word that I didn’t know, I did not stop to look it up, and actually I’m not sure if there was a dictionary in my household.  I just made up a sound in my head for the unknown word, and tried to figure out what it meant by context as I continued to read.  There wasn’t really anyone to ask for help with pronunciation because my father was at work or asleep in his chair, and my mother was preoccupied with her own issues.  I wasn’t just reading school books, I was reading those fascinating books like the Bobbsey Twins, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Little Women, and Nancy Drew mysteries.

So I was in my own little world of people who went somewhere (the Bobbsey Twins went to the beach!  I was seventeen before I saw the beach, and probably twelve before I ever left the state, and that was just to go to Kentucky.), and people who did things (Nancy Drew had a boyfriend, and they were out solving mysteries!), and people who knew stuff (Jo in Little Women was a tomboy AND a scholar!).  So it hardly mattered if I made up my own words, because it was all in my head anyway.

One day, I came across the word “porte cochere”.  Oh golly.  I had been using my method of giving sounds to words, just sounds that didn’t necessarily match anything, but I used the same sounds every time I came across the word.  I decided that it was time to do better, and I decided to use the phonics method and “sound it out”.  P-O-R must be “pour”, and T-E must be “teh”.  Pour-teh.  Porta.  There, that was good.

Cochere.  C-O-C must be “cock”, and H-E-R-E must be “herr”, because obviously this was foreign word, and it needed to be pronounced with some zip and pizazz.

POR-ta COCK-er.

And every time I came to that word, I pronounced it, in my head, not porte cochere, but porta cocker.


One day Sugar and I were out and about, and I saw a house with a porta-cocker.

Me:  “Look!  A porta-cocker!”

Sugar:  (Silence)

Sugar:  “That’s a porte-cochere.”

Me:  “I know!  That’s what I said!”

Sugar:  (Silence)


There are lots of porta-cockers in my little town.

And now, a photo essay of porta-cockers in my town.  Can you find the porta-cocker in each photo?  (Some of the photos are taken out the passenger window and that weird reflection is my laundry basket.  Sorry for the poor planning on my part.)

A porta-cocker and a car port.



Shameful abomination of a porta-cocker.


Not a porte cochere at all.


This is a side view of a porta cocker. This house is on a corner, which afforded a grand view of the side.


Bee-you-ti-ful example of a porta cocker.



A grander porta cocker than most in the town.


These folks done took their porta-cocker and turned it into a porch and room, sorta like a porcha-roomer. (I just made that porcha-roomer part up.)


Not a porta cocker.


Here's a well-done example of a conversion. This house at one time faced the street I'm driving on. A porch was added to the side, incorporating the porte cochere, and the old side became the new front. This house was converted into a realty office. That's their parking lot you see.


Same building as the picture above. See how the old porta cocker used to look?

And last, but certainly not least, is quite possibly the most beautiful porta cocker in the town.  This former home is a law office now, and the grounds are constantly being landscaped and renovated.  It was hard to get this shot because there’s usually someone at this office in the daytime, and it gets dark so early now.  I made a special Saturday trip to take this photo.

Now I want a porta cocker…

The Three Little Pigs

December 3, 2011

Once upon a time there were three little pigs.  Or something like that.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that Sugar bought a grooming business earlier this year, and that BabyBoy is the groomer.  And you’ll know that Gladys the Guinea Pig, who used to live in a cage on my RV dashboard or on the bed compartment over the driver and passenger seats, went to live at the grooming business.  And you’ll also know that there are two cats, Errol and Car E., living there also, sharing a room with Gladdie.

Last Sunday, I noticed that there was a watery red substance in Gladys’s hiding place, a large white piece of plumbing pipe.  I supposed that Gladys had a urinary tract infection, and Sugar offered to take her to the doctor the next day.

So on Monday he went to the grooming business, let the cats out of their room to stretch their legs, got a cat crate to put Gladys in for transport, set the crate on the floor with the crate door open (this is your first hint), and attempted to corral Gladys in her cage.  She never wants to be corralled, and she skitters about, slinging wood shavings and sometimes squealing her adorable high-pitched squeal.

Sugar finally trapped her in his hands and popped her into the crate and closed the crate door.  He looked around and saw Car E. still in the room, but didn’t see Errol, so he went through the entire business looking for him.  That’s about 2000 square feet and 13 rooms to search, so it was a quick hunt with no luck.  He was anxious to get on his way, and he went back into the cat room, and there was Errol (this is your second hint).

He was in the crate with Gladys the Guinea Pig, side by side, both looking out at Sugar.

I attempted to recreate the scene for photo opportunities, but the kids would not cooperate.

So, here goes nothing.  You can hover your mouse over any image on the slideshow, and the controls will appear to stop, go back, or go forward.

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Errol & the Baby

December 1, 2011

In previous discussions of “feral” cats, we have not talked much, if at all, about what is called a “soft” feral.  Some feral cats are hardcore feral, what I call crazyferal.  There are other cats who are somewhere between crazyferal and domesticated.  Those in-betweeners might be seen in the daytime, but will not allow you to touch them much, if at all, and they basically tolerate your presence while waiting for you to provide food.  If you get to the babies fast enough and socialize them, they can be adopted.

At the grooming/boarding salon, we took in a three-month-old soft feral baby for about a week, right before Thanksgiving, while she recovered from her spay surgery.  I found someone who wanted to adopt her, and I hoped that the baby would come around in a timely fashion.

The first day of confinement found her to be hissy.  The next day she had surgery, and I didn’t see her again until the following morning when I picked her up from the spay/neuter clinic.  She was a little less hissy.  By the fourth morning of confinement, she was lounging on her bed.  On day ten she went to her new home, still a bit shy, but doing considerably well for a former feral.

Errol the FormerFeral met her on day 8.

The shaved tummy shows that she has had surgery recently.

She sees Errol at the door, and hops out of the condo, and heads over to the door to meet him.


They greet each other with a face rub.

And Errol heads onward to his next good deed.

The baby went to her new home the day before Thanksgiving, the same day that the picnic table wars started.  She has a new rhinestone collar, and a new name.