R is for Ramona

Ramona was my very first cat. I grew up with dogs and longed for a pet when I moved out on my own. When I was at a very low point in my life, my dear roommates and friens got me a lop-eared bunny…but lop-eared bunnies aren’t long for apartment life.

When I was living by myself a few years later and still longing for a pet, I finally decided that allergies be darned, I was getting a kitten. (Yes, I am allergic to cats! I have to take medicine but it is well worth it.) A coworker knew of someone who had just had a litter. I excitedly ran out and got all the necesary supplies – cute dishes, a carrier, litter box, food, everything. We drove over to the house and I had two females kittens to choose from. Ramona was so tiny and cute and I loved her unique black & white markings. I decided to take her and we drove off. She mewed and sounded so sad all the way home that she made me cry. I felt so bad for taking her from her sister and her mom!

My friend Liz came over to meet her that night and we laid on my living room rug, checking her out and trying to decide on a suitable name. We tossed around many option before moving into characters from our favorite children’s books…which is how we came upon Ramona Quimby…and a kitty was named.

Ramona was my sweet girl but would occassionally nip at me when bored. I talked to the vet about it and she recommended that I get her a playmate. Surprisingly (not!), they had a litter of kittens there that needed homes. Some had found homes early on but one little quiet girl with humongous ears and white fur with black markings stole my heart. I had decided to name her Olive but after a few days at home, I realized that she really was a Nervous Nellie – every little thing scared her and sent her scurrying for shelter. (I remember the first night I let her have free reign in the house and could not find her in the morning. I was frantic, searching everywhere (even under the fridge) and crying because she was my responsibility and I had let her down. Luckily, I had put a collar with a bell on her and after about an hour of searching, I heard a little ring. She was under my dresser (which I didn’t know was possible – the front of the dresser came all the way to the floor! But the back didn’t.)

As Nellie got more accustomed to our home, she decided that Ramona was her mother. Until very recently, she wanted very little to do with me! But unfortunately, Ramona did not love her the same. She thought she was a threat for my attention and rather a bug. This has improved over the years (I have caught them snuggling like the picture above!) but Ramona still seems to wish she were an only cat. (And oh my, did her world turn upside down when Norman came to live with us! But that is another post.)

About two years ago, Ramona started to act very lethargic. She was eating and drinking a great deal so I took her to the vet. After much testing, she was diagnosed with diabetes. She gets 5 units of insulin two times a day, which is apparently a lot for a kitty. Right now, we are working to regulate her sugar a little better through her diet and such and she is really not handling it well. With my job and other travel, this poses a difficult situation – primarly because she will only let me give her her insulin. She used to allow our petsitter, until halfway through workcamp last summer when for some reason she lost it and would no longer allow it, hissing, growling, hiding, the works. So now Norman & Nellie get to stay home with the petsitter while Miss Ramona has to stress out in a cage at the vet. This upsets me so deeply, I cannot tell you. It’s bad enough to have to leave her there but I also know that the stress does not help her diabetes. I pray each time that she will make it through. And right now, I am hoping that the work we are doing with the vet’s help could reverse the diabetes (totally possible in cats for some reason – diet can be a big factor) and alleviate this situation all together, so she can get back to being the sweet & loving kitty I’ve known and loved for 12 years.

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Q is for Queen

When I wss in sixth grade, Stacy Queen was my best friend. We spent much time together, hanging out, laughing, listening to heavy metal music. She was over at my house the day my mom came in, opened the freezer door and stated, “I am going to put my head in the freezer and die.” Which in retrospect probably should have been disturbing but to two preteen girls was pretty darn hysterical.

It was Stacy’s dad who took us to our first concert – Def Leppard at the Allentown Fairgrounds. I remember saying something about the funny smell around us and her dad telling us to inhale deeply. (Again, probably disturbing in retrospect but kind of funny.)

I remember hanging out at her house and playing with the Wacky Wall Walker octopi we had gotten (mine named Ozzifer after my dear Ozzy Osbourne). I remember laughing at lunch. I remember that she & her brother always cried in school pictures, for some reason.

What I don’t remember is what happened to us. I know junior high changed us, changed our circle of friends. I don’t clearly remember seeing much of her after that and not much or maybe at all in high school. I recall hearing she was being homeschooled toward the end but I don’t know that for sure. I wonder where she is now, what she is up to. Is she married? Does she have kids? Did she move away or stay in our hometown? The other weekend, I drove up to my parents and drove through her town. I wanted to drive over to her house but decided that that was weird…and so I was left to wonder.

P is for Prayer

Prayer means many different things to different people. To me, prayer is an ongoing conversation with my Lord & Savior. However, I find that in times of extreme stress, like mine as of late, my prayer life becomes as discombobulated as the rest of my life (and me.) I sometimes find myself only able to say, “Lord, please help me” or even simply, “Lord.” I know that this is prayer in itself; He knows what I am going through and what the burdens of my heart are, after all.

This morning, I was driving to work. I had the radio off and wanted to pray for some specific and troubling issues. But I would start and then become distracted by other things – stupid drivers, to do lists, hunger. Much of my prayer was, “I’m sorry, God. I am so easily distracted” and trying to begin again. It is quite frustrating. I guess I mistakenly try to compare myself to others who have these deep and meaningful prayer lives – and then I feel like a failure. A failure at prayer? It really can’t be possible, can it? I don’t truly believe it can. I think merely the desire, the effort, put forth in whatever manner is what God desires…

O is for Oprah

Let me begin by saying I like Oprah.  I liked her a lot more years ago but I still think she does some programming and other things that are of value.  I read her magazine on occassion (usually when flying) and find value in much of it – though her “Favorite Things” and fashion choices are a wee bit out of my price range!
 
What I am not a fan of is how some people fall into almost a worship-like stance when it comes to her.  I guess I feel that way about most celebs – they are simply people but I think we sometimes get caught up in their celebrity and put them up on a pedestal that is not always deserved.  They are not perfect (though often they may appear that way):  sometimes they espouse views that might be misguided, just as any one of us might; sometimes they have opinions that a skewed based on their experiences which may not adequately or accurately reflect the experiences of others…don’t we all?  It is taking everything that they say as gospel that I take issue with.  Just because Oprah (or any other celeb) says something is the best book she has ever read and it changed her life, doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it or that it will impact you at all.  Just because they prefer a certain type of pet, doesn’t mean that pet is right for you or your home or lifestyle.  Do you see where I am going with this?  We are all people with different personalities, likes and dislikes, etc.  Opinions of others can and should matter to us in many instances but we have been given a gift in our capacity to reason and think for ourselves and it’s my opinion (LOL) that we should use it!

N is for Nascar

I love Nascar.

I love it even more now that my favorite driver won Sunday after a drought of 76 races! But that is another post.

I know what all the naysayers say about Nascar – it’s not really a sport, anyone can drive round and round, only beer-swilling rednecks watch it, blah, blah, blah.

Blah.

It’s so frustrating to me when people dismiss something or mock it, simply because they are ignorant about it. I don’t care if you don’t like it, can’t get into it, have no interest in it – but don’t put me down because I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy baseball (or basketball or hockey, for that matter) but I don’t put someone down for liking it. Different people like different things, and that is ok. It’s how God made us!

And here’s a question to reflect on, next time the subject of Nascar comes up. Can you drive a car at about 200 miles an hour, on a 33 degree angle (called a bank), in a firesuit, when the temperature outside is over 90 and the track temperature is over 125 degrees with 40 other drivers trying to cut you off and push you out of the way, for more than 4 hours straight?

Didn’t think so!

I was joking with friends the other night that Nascar is in my blood, but it’s not really a joke. My grandmother and her boyfriend used to go to races all over the place. I imagine her interest might have been partly due to his but it was interest just the same. My dad always watched, too (though football took first place if a choice had to be made.)

A few years ago, I attended my first race and my love of the sport grew, as did my respect for the drivers and their teams. It is amazing how knowledgeable they need to be, are required to be, to keep the driver safe and on the track. The sport has made great strides in the past few years to make the drivers safer – changing the car, installing safer barrier walls, increasing safety equipment in the cars and so on. Serious accidents can still happen but safeguards are in place to make them happen less and less. (If you want to see what I mean, check this out…it’s absolutely insane.)

So what is my point? I guess simply that you don’t have to enjoy a sport to respect it, its participants and most of all, its fans.

Stay tuned for O…

M is for Memory

Or memories, as the case may be.

One of my favorite hobbies is scrapbooking. I haven’t done it since April for various reasons (including the scrapbooking store we frequent closing down) but it is somehow important for me to document my life. I started with my graduation from college and have only made it to 2002; there is much more to be done. I especially enjoy documents my vacations and other trips/adventures. It is great to be able to look back on such things and remember.

And remembering is another issue. I truly fear losing my memory when I grow older. I am notorious for remembering completely ridiculous and unimportant things but completely blocking other things from my mind. It drives my friend Mike absolutely bats because he remembers EVERYTHING. But it is really quite an odd phenomenon. When I was in Orlando in January, I was trying to decide where to go when I had a free afternoon. We had vacationed in Orlando when I was 12, visiting Disney, Epcot, Sea World, Cape Canaveral, Tampa/St. Pete and so on. I finally decided on Sea World because I remembered nothing from our trip other than I was in a bad mood and was irritated that my dad wanted to take a picture of me, my mom and the guy dressed up like Shamu.

Well, apparently, we toured the whole place – including the behind the scenes tour, complete with Shamu jumping up and landing RIGHT NEXT TO ME. And I remember not a thing.

Not one thing.

What do you think it means?

L is for Lists

I am the queen of the listmakers.  Some may say nay, that they instead are the queens.  But I reign supreme.  I make lists for absolutely everything.  Pro/con lists, lists of chores, lists of prayers, lists of movies to watch, lists of books to read, grocery lists, phone call lists, lists based on specific tasks (like workcamp planning).  It is almost as though I cannot function with a list…I am lost and adrift. 
 
And yes, sometimes I put something I’ve already done on a list – just so I can cross it off! 

K is for Kindred Spirits

There is a strange thing about the blogging world. Somehow, I’ve managed to “meet” some people out here that I can really relate to. I admit that I have a fairly long blogroll and some I keep up with more than others. Some are moms, some are grandmoms. Some are single, some are married. Some share my faith, some are seeking…some just aren’t sure. But in amongst this group, I’ve found some that I can really relate to, that I “get”. And even though I’ve never met them (and may never), there is a sort of odd kinship, based on life experiences written down and published for the world to see. It may seem odd to those of you who don’t blog (or read blogs other than mine!) but I’ve laughed with these folks, been frustrated for them, shared their joys and cried for them yet have not met them…but feel they are my friends.

Am I crazy? Wait…don’t answer that (unless you are a fellow blogger!)

J is for Jon & Kate Plus 8

I am obsessed with this show. It is totally fascinating to me to see how in the world this couple manages their home and lives with 8 children. I’ve read a lot of things on the internet recently (blogs, mostly) where people discuss how they feel about Kate or Jon and so on…which is wildly disturbing to me. I mean, do you think you really get to know someone by watching a reality show? While I’m sure the producers try to be true to their lives, there is still the matter of the story being edited…and real life isn’t edited. I guess my point is that we are still seeing only a snapshot of their lives and no judgement can be made (or should be made) based on that. And that’s my two cents!