Thursday, October 1, 2009


A whole month? Really has it been that long? I've been very busy taking care of the doglet (she's doing very well) and taking care of myself too. Between the 2 of us it's a whole lot of high maintenance. First, the doglet. We've been at this treating the disease thing for a little over a month. The doggy neurologist was very impressed when we went in last week. I got a little optimistic and asked how soon we could taper down the meds. He said not any time soon. Boooo. She's taking prednisone which makes her CRAZY. And hungry. Bad combo for a doglet. No sleepy sleep for me. Over all it's good and I'm grateful to still have her here.

The biggest reason I've been MIA is this new thing/life/journey I've started. I've dubbed it "operation truth in love". You know, from where it talks in the Bible about speaking the truth in love? Ephesians 4:15-16. I like the "Message" translation best. My friend Renate TWICE spoke some truth in love to me regarding my health. I'm dense like that. It took 2 heart to hearts and one more trip to the urgent care clinic with a crushing migraine for me to snap out of it - or in to it. I've committed to making a life change for the sake of my health, which frees up my energy to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. It's totally Biblical. I'm not always certain of what the will of God is for me, but I'm pretty sure He would like for me to take good care of myself so I can be a better me. I'll just say that the first step was seeking the help of a nutritionist, and making some radical changes in my diet. I'm saving most of those details for my next post. It deserves one all it's own. I'm just sayin' it's taken a lot of focus and I'm all in. So the blog, Twitter, and Facebook have all gone by the wayside, till now.

Now, especially for Vicki, I will leave you will some delicious video of my juvie owls. This one is of a goofy, wobbly juvie. It was a great rainy evening with lots of thunder and lightning.

If you don't have 4 minutes left, then don't click the next video. If you do, enjoy the visit to my backyard with the lightning and thunder. Listen close to the owls trilling and whinnying, and the bill clacking. All three (the 2 juvies and adult female) were in attendance. I'm pretty sure at the point the bill clacking started mom was trying to break up a sibling spat. Priceless.

Today my adult female Eastern Screech Owl returned to her old roost. Same branch, same spot on the branch. I've missed her while she's been out rearing those younguns.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

read in a fortune cookie

Nothing. Nada. Zip. I got an empty fortune cookie today. First time ever (a shocker considering all the fortune cookies I consume). It may not seem like I'm eating them all the time...but I'll share a secret with you...there are at least a dozen that I don't post for every one I do post.

Friday, August 28, 2009

wonderful distractions part 3

I hurried back from Tampa and wonderful distraction number 2 so that I could chicken sit. My friend Renate has 4 hens that free range in her yard, and she needed sitter while she was on vacation. Every day for a week I let them out in the mornings, and put them up in the hen house every evening.

I loved it. And by the time Renate came home, my desperate need for distraction was over. It was perfect timing, and I made some new friends...Chiquita, Geeba, Jemima, and Matilda. Great girls all of them.

Flashback Friday

Seven years ago this month I married the man. My friend Kimberly over at Petroville had me thinking about it this week when she asked "where did you go on your honeymoon, and how much did you spend on the wedding?". After digging through some old files I found the wedding budget spreadsheet, and some snapshots from what seems like a lifetime ago. We spent $2,620, and that included EVERYTHING. Even the wonderful honeymoon to Cozumel. Thrifty me!

The kids were our wedding party. Brannon the best man, and April the maid of honor. They're all grown up and out of the nest now. Seems like just yesterday we were talking about drivers licenses and curfews.

* that piece of frozen cake still in Mother's freezer?*

Who is the skinny girl? WHO? And with the bare feet. Some things never change. The curled toes give away the giddiness over all the presents. I love presents!

Cake, presents, unconditional love. What more could a girl ask for? It was perfect.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

wonderful distractions part 2

Right on the heels of wonderful distraction number 1, I left on a business trip to Tampa. It was a lonely boring business trip, and I was pretty blue, but I had at least two things to look forward to. Dinner with my cousin Lindsey...who I adore, and almost never get to see...and special plans with my bloggy friend Vicki.

I had some free time one afternoon, so Vicki picked me up at the hotel and graciously spent her whole afternoon showing me the best of St. Petersburg. It was great to meet another bloggy friend face to face, and I felt like I'd known her forever. To quote Vicki, "you meet the neatest people here in the neighborhood". Ditto Vicki!

I got the behind the scenes tour of the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve where Vicki is a volunteer. Lucky me to have an up close and personal introduction to Stretch and Wheezer, the resident Eastern Screech Owls at Boyd. Stretch was the only one to grant me a REALLY up close hello. Wheezer was busy protecting the last owlet in rehab as all good mothers would. They made great foster parents I hear.

Another new friend made was Spirit, a magnificent Bald Eagle. I'm pretty sure I will never get this close to another Bald Eagle without a fence between the two of us. I really was that close, almost no zoom used for these photos.
It was really sweet the way Spirit recognized Vicki as we approached. They had quite the conversation. She volunteers regularly with the raptors, but had been out for a few weeks with Mohs surgery on her nose. I think Spirit really missed her.

Here's a shot of Vicki at Boyd Hill showing me a Red Rat Snake, who had just shed his skin and was unbelievably soft.

We also took in a quick tour of the fabulous Salvador Dali museum in St. Pete, and dinner at the 4th Street Shrimp Store...which was satisfied my craving for some good ole Florida seafood...with Vicki's daughter Abby and her husband. A rather enjoyable dinner, really.

On my last night in town, Lindsey and I had dinner at my now favorite place to eat in Tampa, Datz Deli. I had an egg salad and smoked salmon sandwich for which there are not words. And the wine? Oh man the wines. I chose an incredible French Rose (it was sweltering after all). Also no words.

So thank you Vicki and Lindsey, for the wonderful distractions from my blues regarding a sickly doglet. Vicki, I am better for knowing you. And Lindsey, I am proud to call you family.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

she's home with her little chicken leg...

...and her bald neck. Her little leg was shaved where the IV was, and they had to shave a patch on her neck to do the spinal tap. I know from past experience that IV's hurt, and can't imagine how uncomfortable it was in her little bony leg for 3 days. Her legs already look like chicken legs, but with the hair shaved off, wow, naked chicken leg. She has to feel like crap just from the IV and spinal tap alone.

It was so good to pick up our little doglet and get those sweet kisses and tail wags. It quickly became apparent though that we have a long road ahead. She is better, by just a little. Her balance seems better but she is really weak. We'll give her 2 meds daily for months (an possibly life), and she will go back to the vet once a month for an injection.

I am hopeful.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

read in a fortune cookie

A single kind word can keep one warm for years.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

inflammation of the meninges

Meningitis that is. The doglet has Meningitis. This is good news because it's treatable. The doggie neurologist says that about 2/3 of the dogs that have it get better, and some even recover completely. Apparently dogs get a type of the disease called Steroid Responsive Meningitis. It's an auto-immune illness that is highly treatable with steroids - umm - hence the name.

She is at the hospital tonight, and tomorrow night. It's very strange being here without her. I don't know how I'll sleep without her giant 5lb presence in the bed. I'm hoping she's resting ok. I left her with her big pink stuffed FiFi dog and her 2 favorite binkies. And a tiny pink backpack with cookies and treats and some other stuff.

I'll say it for you, I win crazy dog lady of the year I'm sure.

That's ok cause I love my little girl named Mavis Pearl.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

update on the doglet

The visit with the doggie neurologist went well today. I really love the doctor. She was compassionate, and thorough, and gentle. It's too soon for me to tell if she's a genius, but I have high hopes.

Her hunch is that this may be something like meningitis. Not bacterial like us humans get, but something auto-immune. Or hydrocephalus. I will take her back for an MRI tomorrow morning. They will also draw spinal fluid and test that. On a normal day I would be upset that she had to endure all this. But today, I am hopeful because it may be something treatable. The doc didn't think it could be a brain tumor since the symptoms were multiple (affecting more than one part of the brain).

Thanks for all your caring, my bloggy friends. I will keep you posted.

ps.. if it wasn't wrong to rip off cool stuff from other bloggers, I would call her Dr. Nerve. Isn't imitation the highest form of flattery? One of my favorite bloggers names all of her doctors that way. I won't call her Dr. Nerve. Not here anyway, but in my head I will. That's not wrong is it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

read in a fortune cookie

Do not mistake temptation for opportunity.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

wonderful distractions part 1...a gratuitous photo essay

Last weekend we had our 2nd annual family bash at Lake Grapevine. It was the first of several wonderful distractions from what's been ailin' me. In my family we keep each other close. They mean the world to me.

The Muscovy Duck. Ugly duck, or rare beauty?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

she's not even 3 years old

I've put off having this conversation for days. My heart is broken. I am so very sad, seriously depressed I think. The doglet is slipping away from us and I feel powerless to help her.

It started a couple of months ago when she appeared to be suddenly going blind. The vet looked at her eyes and couldn't see anything other than very dilated pupils. We were having a bumper crop of mushrooms in the backyard, and he assumed it was mushroom consumption. He said to watch her, and if it didn't improve soon to take her to the doggy opthamologist. It didn't get better so we did, and he agreed, no eye disease. Perfectly healthy eyes, but blindness in her left eye. After some expensive, extensive tests the eye specialist said "it's neurological in nature, you have to see a doggy neurologist". I put off making the appointment for a few days. I just couldn't wrap my brain around it, and it didn't seem to be any worse than some vision trouble. Then, in just a matter of days Mavis began to have trouble walking. She could no longer make it up and down her little stairs by the bed. No hopping up on the couch with her foot stool. In just a few more days she merely stumbles around, her legs often just going right out from under her causing her to fall. She wants to play but can't function. I just don't understand. There are moments when she seems to be better, giving me hope that we might get her back. But just moments. One good thing though is that her appetite is great. She really perks up for her scrambled egg, and as recently as 2 days ago still enjoyed the trip to her favorite restaurant for plain grilled chicken.

I feel really guilty getting so upset and sad about this. I have friends whose children have serious diseases. Potentially life threatening diseases. I know they feel like life is over some days. I also have friends who have lost their children too soon. I can't begin to imagine that pain. I wasn't able to have children. I just can't imagine how hard having a sick baby would be. Or, oh my God, to lose one. Mavis is the closest thing I've had but I feel ridiculous loving her this much. But I do.

We have an appointment on Tuesday to see a neurology specialist. We have health insurance for her. Doglet health insurance. I'm so grateful I made that crazy decision. I don't know what he diagnosis will be, and I of course have been googling like crazy. Until Tuesday my imagination will be cranking overtime. I've had little energy to think, write, or talk at all about other things. So if you haven't heard from me, that's partly why. To you it may seem crazy. She's a little dog. How did I get so wrapped up?

I've been busy with some other things, wonderful distractions and very busy days. I'll write about that soon, maybe even later today. I just had to get all of this off my chest. There, I feel a little better already. Thanks for being here.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

7 years

Seven years ago tonight I married my one true love. Tonight we sat hand in hand to watch the sun set on one of our favorite places. A place we visit often to sit and enjoy each other.

Christopher, I love you.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

why I can't sleep

It's nearly midnight. I've been sick as a dog and I'm exhausted. But, steroid shots = wide awake. I've had a monster case of Strep Throat, and visit #2 to the doctor today resulted in 3 shots. 2 steroid and 1 antibiotic.

So here I sit on the back porch with half a watermelon and a spoon in my lap. It's a yellow meat watermelon. Had one? I grew up on these things. It's comforting. I'm also yearning for ice cream or a Venti iced decaf extra shot skinny latte. Anyone? I'll wait for you to get here.

I could sit out here and rock for hours. I've got all the citronella buckets lit and the new rocker/glider chair is like a drug in itself. There are lots of tree frogs and one very confused Cicada. No owls, just me, the watermelon, and the cicada. Still that's ok. I'm happy here. If I have to be up there's no place I'd rather be.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

humming a new tune

The humming birds are keeping me company since the owl family departure.

Now that I'm not glued to the owl watching chair in the back yard, I can get back to the business of..well..everything else that isn't owl watching. I've been a terribly neglectful Godmother. I missed Madeleine's 3rd birthday, which is borderline criminal since they are living in Turkey where there IS NO shopping mall. Gifts in the mail from Aunt Val are important. I failed. So, I dutifully went shopping today and loaded up on goodies for Madeleine and her brother Lanegan.

In addition to the usual haul of DVDs, tiaras, and clothes, Madeleine is getting ridiculous pink and purple rubber shoes that she will undoubtedly love, and my dearest friend Pamela, her mother, will despise. Muaaahhahhaa. Evil me.

Speaking of tiaras, I have doglet stories. The doglet stories have been on hiatus way too long. She's ready for a come back.

so long, farewell...

Our owlets have taken up roost somewhere beyond where I can see during the day. I hear them at night, and have seen one hunting after dark, but the day watching is definitely over. This may end up being my favorite photo of the whole season. A very satisfying end result to the long season of watching and waiting.

And here's a little video clip of one of the owlets trying out his wings. So sweet and wobbly! It wasn't long after this before they both flew clean out of the yard.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

read in a fortune cookie

Love is a present that can be given every single day you live.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Elvis has left the building.

That's what I'm calling him. Elvis, the larger owlet, and I'll think I'll call the other Costello. They left the nest box sometime between dusk Thursday and dusk Friday. I'm betting it was late Thursday since I was out watching them till around 10pm.

They are roosting way up in the top of our Cypress, so It's been tough to get good pictures during the day. Last night a little after dusk mama owl coaxed them down with food but it was too dark by then to get any pictures. I did enjoy sharing the whole feeding experience with Fred and Joanne, and especially little Elise. She calls them the Portuguese name for owl "mocho" (Fred is Portuguese). Over and over she would say "mocho, whoo whoo". It was very sweet!

I'm a little sad that my nest watching days are over, but very glad they made it.

Credit for the photos in this post go to April. She has been great with her 21 year old eyes in helping me spot the owlets so high up in the tree.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

yes there are two

Tonight I witnessed a shoving match when not one but two heads appeared at one time in the nest box opening. Good to know that sibling rivalry happens in the owl family too. Although I didn't get it in a photo, I can confirm that the owlet has at least one sibling! I got it on video, but I'm having some technical (read amateur) difficulties. Hoping to share that (the video not the difficulty) at some point.

I was able to snap some better pictures this evening. The little ones don't show themselves till right at dusk making it difficult to get a good shot. I don't want to use a flash. Not sure that would be the ethical thing to do since they are fighting off predators for their very lives and all.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the evenings this week watching the young-uns peer from the nest box. I've had to become a little less obtrusive as mother owl has gotten very protective. Up until this week I could walk out and sit right under the branch she was perched on. Now, if I so much as near the edge of our porch she barks at me and makes a close pass swooping in my direction. I'll keep my eyeballs thank you very much. I'm pretty sure she wants to claw them out.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

rainy day backyard bird

owl babies

First sight of our Eastern Screech Owlet! I'm not sure if there is just one or maybe two. Fledging can't be too far away now. I'm thinking in the next day or so.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Flashback Friday

1985, sophomore year, LSU...check

ridiculous 80's hairstyle...check

Converse All Star High Tops...check

hanging in the ghetto at band practice with my rock star boyfriend...check

Volkswagen Scirocco that my parents paid for which said boyfriend later wrecked...check

soon to be seriously disillusioned adult in the real world...check

Saturday, June 20, 2009

and now for something completely different

Just kidding. Check out today's Spock mug shots. I couldn't pick a favorite so I'm giving you the whole bunch. And did I mention? WE HAVE OWLETS IN THE NEST BOX!

that's Mr. Cardinal to you

The Northern Cardinal was the first bird we ever watched in our backyard, and we've had nests almost every year for the last 6 years. This one is hanging out in our pine tree. The very same tree that houses our Eastern Screech Owl family.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

my what big claws you have

Spock has been spending evenings out of the nest box before dusk. She still spends the good part of the day in there though. Last night I watched and she is still in and out of the box as she hunts after dark as well. I'm still wondering and second guessing whether or not we have owlets on the way or here already. Too chicken to climb up and look inside. **update June 19th 9pm - we have just heard owlets making noise in the nest box as the adults come in with food!! WE HAVE OWLETS!!**

I love to watch her as she gets ready to head out for the evening. She has the routine of stretching each wing one at a time, and checking out the action in the yard pre-dusk. We just sit quietly in each others company. It makes me so happy. Who needs TV?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tribute to Sasha

My friend Susan and her husband Harry lost their little dog-child Sasha on Monday. She went in her sleep while they were at work. Susan and I spent Tuesday morning being all weepy in my office.

This picture was taken at Mavis Pearl's 1st birthday party (you heard me right). Sasha was the reason there even is a Mavis Pearl in our life. We went to a Super Bowl party at Susan and Harry's in 2007. There we met darling little Sasha for the first time. Prior to that Chris was sticking to his "in 5 years you can have a dog" guns. We were still getting over losing our 2 cats Beaux and Pee-Wee in 2006. Sasha won him right over. The little princess will be missed so very much.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

she's still here

Spock is still here cooking her clutch, figuratively I hope and not literally. It's getting hot out, and she has been coming out for a breath of fresh air in the middle of the day. I'm still hoping that she won't have a lost cause. Either way I'm honored that she picked my backyard.

A year ago today when I started this blog, I could have only dreamed that we'd have nesting owls in our backyard. Just one more reason it's my happy place.

I think for my 1 year blogiversary I'll spend some time learning more about how to actually make my blog design more purdy. I'm lazy and ignorant when it comes to the technical stuff, so don't hold your breath. It'll probably be 6 months closer to the next year mark before I actually get around to it.