My Novels

Saturday, May 29, 2004

I found them, yes I did! I found the Abercrombie tombstones -- not only the previous owners of this house, but their ONE daughter AND her ONE son's wife's grave. So I was correct in my feeling that they might be buried in the nearby cemetery where I ride my bike. (As an aside, the elderly lady who lived near us in town was girlfriends with the Abercrombie's only daughter long ago and had told DH about their friendship, but not about them being buried in the cemetery.)

This morning dawned overcast and mild, so I went on my bike ride (trying out the new three-gear shifter DH found at a local bike shop) and was amazed to almost immediately find the tombstones of the Abercrombie clan. Goodness, I was so excited! I don't think this is what most genealogy research makes one feel, but since I DO want to record an accurate history for this house, I am very happy.

By the way, I extracted all the "facts" from the deed, and also have a timeline of who owned the original 40 acres and when the house was built. I plan to type that into the computer and add it to this blog soon, as well as do a nice printed version which I will frame for hanging on the wall here in the house.

Oddly enough...(don't laugh!) I am beginning to have this "uncanny" feeling regarding the ONE grandson/heir of the Abercrombies who is still alive. He is 59, still lives at the same address in Birmingham where he did in 1983; his mother/father are buried in the cemetery, and his wife. She must have died rather young. I plan to copy down all the dates of birth/death when I have time at the cemetery. But I DO feel...this strange "connection" to the living grandson. Imagine if my paternal grandparents had sold their old house to someone, and eventually an owner would have contacted me asking for information about the place. Goodness, what true tales I could have told!

Also, just as a very, very weird coincidence, the grandson has the same first name as my DH's...well, peculiar "adoption" story person.

Enough for now. More later. {The one kitten is still alive, but I have brought it into the house, and I'm hand-feeding it. I watched it nurse, and I'm beginning to think mom cat doesn't have any milk now.}

Friday, May 28, 2004

I thought I'd get around to another longer entry today, but just never did. Some days are like that. It is raining now, and for some unknown reason, I LOVE rainy days in this old farmhouse. Makes me feel cozy and somehow...self-contained.

I am also still researching the history of the house, and recently looked over the original deeds to the 40 acres of land that was bought by the first owners: Abercrombie. I think him and his wife may be buried in the cemetery where I occasionally ride my bike, and will look for them soon. IF I find a tombstone, I will take a picture and post it here.

The one kitten is still alive, though it seemed less active today. Mom cat seemed to be annoying it, so I let it stay in the shed longer this morning. I also hand-fed it formula, which I do every morning and night. I'll go check on it soon, to see how it is managing.

Here's a quote I find appropriate for HUMAN Life:

"There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person."
~ Anaïs Nin
Interesting article about the increase in prison populations in the USA. Is it any wonder we have the largest prison population in the world? More later today when I have time for a longer entry.

Report: 1 of Every 75 U.S. Men in Prison

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

So I get up this morning, intending to take Bitty Kitty (mom cat) to be spayed. However, unbelievably, the black-and-white kitten is still alive. But she seemed rather lethargic, and I was afraid she wouldn't make it long.

However, as the day progressed, the kitten improved. And mom cat seemed very attentive. I fed the kitten once, and called the vet, to schedule the spaying. Yet as the hours passed, the kitten seemed even MORE active. This one has a strong desire to survive!!! She was always the most whiny and active of the kittens, even if puny. When I had her and the blond kitten indoors, she would attempt to crawl out of the clothes basket.

At any rate, I finally decided something: LET NATURE TAKE ITS COURSE. I have done all I can for mom cat and the kitten/kittens. But IF this one lives, it will; if it doesn't, it won't. And really, I am rather helpless in this situation. Therefore, I called the vet back and cancelled the spaying until at least next week.

Here's some photos I made while mom cat and kitten were outside playing together:

Rolling in the clover Posted by Hello

Kittenish play Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I'm in a better mood today, but still fretting over the sickly kitten. The little scamp is hanging in there, and I'm now supplementing mom cat's nursing; and the kitten LOVES the formula, very eager to take it. I'm sort of wondering if mom cat is about to stop producing milk. If so, then the formula will be a substitute. And now I see that the kitten has some fleas, but there's hardly anything gentle enough to use on it. I gave it a bath in Dawn dish liquid, which is supposed to help get rid of fleas...but there's still some on it. I just don't know: If it's not one thing, it's another.

I went on my bike ride early yesterday morning, but it has been suffocatingly hot and humid here today, so I doubt I'll go today.

I also went to town to get more Science Diet cat food for the indoor cats, and bought some Frontline to apply on them since I sure as heck don't want them to get fleas! I haven't been bringing the kitten inside the house since I saw fleas on her, but if I could get rid of them, I think I'd just bring her indoors and take mama cat to be spayed by the end of this week.

Below are the replaced kitchen window-shelves in a new photo. I'm otta here.

New kitchen window-shelves Posted by Hello

Monday, May 24, 2004

You know, sometimes we ignore all the evidence to the contrary and HOPE we are wrong. But I'm beginning to believe THIS country place is cursed. If you haven't been reading the blog long, you can check out this ENTRY where I have a photograph and explanation about "Dracula" visiting me here. At any rate, I am sooooooo upset with the kitten situation. The one is still alive, but I fear it'll die any day now. Never had this happen to ME before, so naturally I'm feeling a bit spooked and turn to the supernatural to explain. (Isn't that what most humans do?)

I mean, what IS the point of life, after all? You're born, you die, etc. And think about this quote: "Life is a bitch, then you die." Actually isn't that the TRUTH? Why else would I title my blog "Mad, Mad World?"

Think about it: Here we are, struggling and trying our best, and yet...shit happens. You save, you prepare and yet...all your efforts are in vain, because you know what? That knot you found under your arm? Well, it's cancer and you have only a few months to live. LIFE MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER! You go in for plastic surgery, but on your way home, you are in a horrible car wreck that RUINS your face! What a joke, huh?

And IF there's a God, he sure has an ironic sense of humor, huh? Think about it: a baby is born, raised with loving parents and THEN joins the army and is sent to...Iraq. Killed the second day over there. Does that make any sense? Nope.

I believe that what drives many, many people to addiction (drugs, liquor, etc) is the NEED to "not care"...which drugs/liquor will do.

Perhaps this quote says it best: "Life is a tragedy for those who feel, and a comedy for those who think." -Jean de la Bruyere

As humans we want to care, but some of us...we just can't. It will drive us to suicide.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Just a brief update. The one kitten is still alive, but I am not optimistic on it surviving. I'm debating calling the vet tomorrow, and taking it in for her to check out. Now it is walking around, becoming curious, and it sure will be hard to lose this one! Mama cat is fine too.

I went on my bike ride late yesterday afternoon, and it was STILL hot! I really dread the summer heat here in the South, and have come to prefer our winters which are usually mild. At least the tornados seem to have moved out to the mid-west for the past couple of years, and I'm glad we've had relief from that threat.

My bike is having a problem with the gears, and I fear it is going to be out of commission soon. I guess that means I'll have to buy another one, but I am going to shop around a long time till I find what I want. Also, no sale unless I can take a test ride on any potential bike I buy, since that is the ONLY way I'll know if I like it.

Not much else going on, just the same general tasks here -- occasional painting, exterior work on the old house. DH had to mow the lawn again yesterday, as well as bush-hog the pasture. Ahhh, life down on the farm! :-)

Friday, May 21, 2004

Sad, sad...bad news. Just when I was confident enough to post pictures of the kittens, thinking for sure they'd make it, one dies. The yellow tabby was fine this morning when I checked on them; I let mama cat out, and later went to the grocery store.

When I got back, I opened the door to the shed to let mama cat back inside...and found the yellow tabby kitten lying on its side in the box, dead. I have no idea WHY, and certainly, mama cat had nothing to do with the death. The kitten was healthy-looking, and fat, had been starting to walk around some, seemed curious. Sh--t! Now I figure it's just a matter of time till the black-and-white kitten dies; it doesn't look as healthy as the yellow one did. In fact, I am surprised it has lived this long.

IF this last kitten dies, I'll take Bitty kitty, the mama, to the vet next week and have her spayed. I sure don't want to let her have more kittens. She seems to have been a good mama, but regardless, there was obviously something internally wrong with these kittens. I'm glad I did take them all to the vet early on, so at least I feel there's nothing I could have done to prevent the outcome.

It is HOT, HOT, HOT and HUMID here today. Sweltering almost, and we're not even into June.

On a better note, the rental check arrived in the mail today, hurrah!! I sent both my nephews gift-cards from Target and Wal-mart -- one is graduating this year, the other one is getting married. This way they can buy whatever they wish, especially since they were fairly large dollar amounts for each.

And that's it for today.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Late in the afternoon now, I'm about to go on my bike ride. I snapped a few photos while outside a few minutes ago, included below. I think I'm REALLY going to like this new free program that interfaces with blogger so I can upload pictures to my blog. Enjoy!

New fence beside house to block backyard from traffic Posted by Hello

City cat on the fence Posted by Hello

Three weeks old today Posted by Hello
Finding time to write is difficult these days. I thought once we were moved, settled in...that I'd have more time at the computer. I don't. In fact, I believe I stay busier than ever!

I finally got all the woodwork trim painted for the window-replacements; we put shelves in the bathroom window we took out, and a new door at the rear of the house in the den. That was time-consuming, and tiring. But it IS done, at last. See picture, since blogger now has a photo-posting feature. Yippee!

Bathroom window-shelves Posted by Hello

Yesterday I had to take my persian cat, Princess, to the vet to be shaved. She looks a bit like ET now, don't you think?

ET, the cat Posted by Hello

My daily routine now goes something like this:

Up by 7:00, take care of indoor AND outdoor cats, including checking on the two kittens who are still thriving. Let mama cat, Bitty, out while I go in and eat my cereal breakfast; then put her back in the utility shed. Take a shower, dress. Get busy with housework, which has been taking most of the morning lately since I am trying to keep this house tidy and clean. No lunch. Let mama cat out again, check on kittens, put medication in their eyes if needed. Then do outside chores, such as hosing out cat litter boxes, sweeping porch, etc. By then it's around 2:00, so I sit down for a short time at the computer, hope to surf and/or take care of any online banking that is necessary. Read emails, intending to answer quickly, but then get side-tracked by something else on the net -- maybe a news article, maybe an online journal. Realize it's now past 3:00, Dr. Phil is on, so I turn on the TV. Have to put mama cat back in the shed, and check on kittens, hold them, and spend a good deal of the hour enjoying the little rascals. {They have their eyes open, and seem to recognize me now; they are three weeks old today.} Oops, look at clock and see it's past 4:00, time to start the evening meal...and then DH comes in, and there's usually some other project to work on before a couple hours TV viewing, or I go on my bike ride around dusk. Lastly, it's bed-time. And of course, a couple times a week I have to go to the nearby mall for groceries, supplies, which is even more time-consuming.

Exciting, huh? NOT. Still, I seem to stay in perpetual motion. I don't know if I'll ever have time for in-depth writing again -- or reflection and introspection necessary for serious writing. I DO have several writing projects in mind, but I doubt they'll ever get written.

I drove by our house in town yesterday; it looks great, very neat and tidy, the yards mown. The first rental check should be rolling in here next week, and I am sure looking forward to that! We haven't heard anything from the renters, but that is how it should be, unless they have a problem at the house.


My Way - TV

And don't forget Dr. Phil today -- that nutso family he's been..erm, following, helping? is going to have a retrospective about their tempestuous life.

A Family Divided: What Lies Ahead? Nearly a year ago, America was first introduced to Marty, Erin, Alex and Katherine. Now, Dr. Phil takes a look back at some of the rough roads the family has traveled -- from 15-year-old Alex's pregnancy to Marty and Erin's marital woes -- and helps them navigate where they're headed next. Find out if Marty and Erin's marriage will survive and what brings Katherine to tears.

This is also a test post, in that I just installed 'BlogThis!, a feature of the Google toolbar that let's me comment on any webpage to my blog via a pop-up post. THIS should make it easier for me to make more frequent posts!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Another brief update to say that the two kittens are surviving and all seems well now.

DH and I have more work to do today; he's taking out the last window, replacing it with a very small one in the bathroom. I'll do some more interior painting where we replaced the window with a door.

I DO have some new photos online. Those can be seen HERE

And I'm outta here for now!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Brief update on the kittens: They are both doing well, and seem to have beaten their colds. The main reason I kept them indoors a couple days/nights was to administer medication, as well as prevent them becoming chilled. However, now that they are better, I'm allowing mom cat to nurse, take care of them.

Tuesday I hosed down the utility shed, scrubbed/cleaned the huge plastic box and bedding where they'd been staying. When I allowed mom cat and kittens back in there, Bitty Kitty (the mom) seemed fine with it again. I have made sure to keep the door closed all the time they are in there, and when I let mom cat out for exercise, I take the kittens into my house. I think, for now, this is the best course; and so far, the mom cat seems okay with this -- although when she wants the kittens back, she comes onto the back porch and yowls for them! :-)

She's actually a good first mom, in that she is nursing the kittens, and was only being protective by moving them. I am sure that something -- perhaps one of the toms that prowl around here -- scared her and that is why she moved the kittens. As long as there is NO WAY anything can get inside the shed, I think she'll be fine; at least I hope so, since I desperately want these two kittens to make it.

Oh, and surprise, surprise -- the black-and-white kitten turns out to be female. The yellow tabby is male though, so I will keep him. I may keep the black-and-white female too, just haven't decided yet.

Otherwise, I have been staying busy. I have started biking early in the morning, due to the heat of the day. We're deep into HOT weather already, though occasionally we get a brief respite and have some mild temperatures. Today has become overcast, with predictions of storms later. We NEED rain though, so I hope we get some late in the afternoon.

That's about it for now. More to come as I have time...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Arg! WHY do I put myself through this? Is it possible that WOMEN (yes, I'm speaking of the FEMALE of the species) has some sort of basic instinct to protect LIFE at all costs? Because I sure do go the distance when it comes to saving critter lives!

Yesterday DH and I went on a short drive, just to get away from working on this place for awhile, and left a crack in the door of the utility shed so mama kitty could get out. I'd done this before, with no problem. But when we got back, the two kittens were missing. Perhaps mom got frightened for some reason, and moved the kittens. Would I leave it alone? Why no, NO of course not. I had to go on a search mission and found them in the HOT garage!

I took the kittens back to the utility shed, with mama cat following. I put them in their box, but she was NOT happy. Later, she moved them back to the garage. Okay. I put them back in the utility shed and shut the door. This morning I get up, and check on them: mama cat has hidden them behind a bunch of junk, where it was cold. Result: the kittens have a cold now.

Woe is me. I took the kittens into the house, and even went to town, bought some formula to handfeed them...and medicine for their eyes. I am hoping I can pull these two through, and they DID take the formula (thanks to an experienced friend's advice on how to feed kittens!) I am going to try saving them. In the meantime, mama cat is aggravated; I am taking the kittens out to her several times a day, letting her feed and care for them, but ONLY with strict supervision. She is really just a kitten herself, very young, and a new she's not too good at this mama business. The kittens seem to be doing better inside, especially since I can keep them warm and cozy, as well as administer to their eye and sinus congestion.

To top it all off, Blogger decides today is the day to change ALL the format...which means a steep learning curve in posting entries.

Additionally, I've been in a dead run all day, and then my mother and step-dad dropped by for a visit when I returned from town. It was good seeing them, but I sure am tired now!

And so it goes....

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The two kittens seem to be thriving, but I'm still nervous about their ultimate survival. After all, I thought ALL the five kittens looked healthy and fine, till they started dying. So I'm not taking anything for granted, and I'm keeping a close eye on them and the mama, Bitty Kitty. IF they do make it, I'm probably going to keep them, since both are males.

The past couple days have been nice, in that I've not done any labor on the remaining projects we still have to complete. Painting, etc. still needs to be done. Yesterday afternoon DH mowed the huge lawn, and I just relaxed; today I've done a bit of housework, nothing else much. I may go on the bike ride later, or use the ski machine when I watch Dr. Phil. It's getting awfully warm, around 82 today, and 86 by the weekend. I knew our cool spring weather wouldn't last much longer...

Here's an interesting article about longevity:

Belarus Woman Celebrates 116th Birthday


MINSK, Belarus (AP) - A woman believed to be the oldest in the world celebrated her 116th birthday Wednesday in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

"I'll drink to my own health with pleasure," said Hanna Barysevich, a former farm worker who lives in a house outside the Belarusian capital Minsk.

"I'm tired of living already, but God still hasn't collected me," she said with a smile.

Barysevich was born on May 5, 1888, in the village of Buda, 37 miles east of Minsk, according to her passport. Her parents were poor, landless peasants.

"From my early childhood I didn't know anything but physical labor," said Barysevich, who never learned to read or write. She worked in a kolkhoz, or collective farm, until age 95, then moved to the house she shares with her 78-year-old daughter Nina.

Barysevich lived through the Bolshevik Revolution, two world wars and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The worst period for her was the reign of dictator Josef Stalin: Her husband Ippolit was declared an "enemy of the people" for allegedly harming the collective farm, arrested and taken to Siberia. He was never heard from again.

She raised her three children on her own, including throughout World War II, when she used to take her family to the woods outside the village to hide from the Nazis.

"A lot of men courted me but I preferred to live on my own," she said.

Today, Barysevich moves with difficulty but unaided. She complains of occasional headaches and worsening vision "but nothing else bothers me."

She attributes her longevity to genes: Her paternal grandmother was 113 when she died. As to diet, Barysevich prefers simple village food: homemade sausages, pork fat, milk and bread.

Daughter Nina said her mother has a good appetite, a tough character and very strong nerves.

"Throughout my long life, I understood that it isn't worth it to get upset and take everything too close to the heart," Barysevich said.

For her birthday, she hoped for a raise in her monthly pension, equal to about $50, and a chance to go to a Catholic church for confession.

Last month, the Guinness Book of Records recognized a 114-year-old Puerto Rican as the world's oldest living woman. Barysevich said she'd never thought of applying for the distinction.

I don't know if this lady's long life makes me feel glad or sad; it seems great at first, but then I think of the aches and pains, the jaded attitude I already have...and wonder if living that long would be a blessing or curse? Not sure.

Here's an Anne Sexton poem that expresses some of my feeling about life:


It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you’ll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you’ll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you’ll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

Of course, you must remember that Anne committed suicide at age 46...but I can understand THAT direction too.

And so it goes....

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Better news this morning: the two kittens are still alive. It's getting close to noon now, but when I checked them around 9:00, they were fine. I let mom cat out to get a bit of exercise, which I supervise, then she went back to the kittens. I am hoping these two survive, and both are male, so I may just keep them -- a black-and-white one, and a yellow striped tabby.

I have housework to do, then will go on my bike ride. Another gorgeous day in the South, with temps in the low 70s today, brilliant sunshine.

Here's hoping better luck with the two remaining kittens!

Monday, May 03, 2004

Bad, sad news: I only have two kittens alive. I don't know if they will make it or not, and at this point, I wouldn't bet on their survival.

When I was at the vet with the kittens Friday, the vet said that one (my fav, the cute gray tabby) probably wouldn't live; it looked as if it had liver damage. She, the vet, said that she couldn't tell why, other than it might have stayed too long in the birth canal or some similar birthing problem. So I wasn't exactly unprepared when I found it dead Saturday night. But then Sunday morning, one of the huge yellow tabby kittens was dead and I began to get alarmed.

I checked everything I could imagine might contribute to the kittens' death -- but alas, mom cat was fine, her milk was good, the dead kittens even seemed to have full bellies. They were all in a HUGE, comfy-sized box, with plenty of room, so accidental suffocation didn't seem a possibility.

I did some online research, and read about Fading Kitten Syndrome and learned that as much as 15 to 40% of kittens and puppies die without knowing WHY. There's a lot that can go wrong, apparently, (just as in human births, another reason I didn't want kids)...and it looks as if I was unfortunate to have this bad luck/experience. I've had other cats who've had kittens, and lost one occasionally...but this, it sure is upsetting and sad, disturbing.

This morning I found the cream-and-white colored kitten dead. I called the vet, and asked her opinion. I also wanted to know if giving the mom cat a rabies shot and/or the wormer medication could have caused this...but she said no, absolutely not. However, she was as shocked as I was about the deaths. At any rate, IF the other two don't make it, I asked her when I can bring in Bitty Kitty to be spayed and she said a week or so. I DO NOT want this experience again! And mom cat IS doing fine, has stopped bleeding. Bitty will have to be an outside cat, due to my indoor cats being exposed to leukemia, but I'll have a good place in the utility shed for her and the city kitty to stay when weather is bad.

I'm still hoping the other two make it, and IF they do, I may just keep them myself!

I removed the photos I had of the whole litter; it just seemed...wrong somehow, to show them online when several died.

I had to go shopping today, but went to the nearby mall; I am liking it better and better, and even found a bargain on some capris pants today, which are all the rage these days. We used to call those "peddle-pushers" back in the 60s! Ha, that's how old I am: I can remember those days!

I also went on my bike ride for the first time in over a week; my bike had a gear problem, and DH had to find a part for it. I went on the killer loop, and it was GREAT! Our temps cooled to the 60s today, 40s last night...and it was perfect for biking today!

Have to close. I want to see the NEW crazy couples on Dr. Phil today. And yes, we got the door installed, and just need to do some painting and I'll then have new photos of it.

Outta here!

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Had an emergency yesterday -- the mom cat hadn't stopped bleeding, so I feared the worst...that she might have a dead kitten or some placenta stuck inside her. Naturally, off to the vet we all went: mom cat, five kittens and me. Fortunately it turns out the vet thought mom cat was just sort of torn from delivering such huge kittens. And that they are: enormous for delivery by a tiny mom cat. The vet checked mom cat, said she would probably stop bleeding in a few days. And also gave her some wormer, as well as a rabies shot, so she should be in good shape; she's eating like a tiger too.

It was an emotionally draining afternoon though, since I was worried I'd lose all the kittens if mom cat didn't survive. I could, of course, try to bottle feed the kittens, but I've tried that before and I'm not much good at it. So things are looking better today -- mom cat has hardly any bleeding, she's feeding the kittens and they all seem well. The one kitten I like most, the striped gray tabby with white paws/face seems to be the runt, and the vet said it might not survive. Still, so far, so good.

Today is muggy, too much humidity but not too hot. DH is working on putting in the new door, and I went to buy a few groceries earlier in the day. Soon I'll have to start cleaning up the mess from the new door being installed, and then cook supper. I'll be so glad to have the new door because it will be much more convenient, plus give me a good view of the back yard and barn.

I'm outta here for now!