Thursday, June 29, 2006

Flood Waters in PA

Equal Time to our Friends and Family in Pennsylvania.

Aunt Kathryn was evacuated from her apt on Wednesday… of course, although that statement is true, it is not nearly as dramatic as when she “did her thing” during Hurricane Agnes. Hmmmm, maybe I should do a story on that when I have the time. Anyway, the reality is, they did ask the residents of her building to evacuate – Cousin Michael came to get her; she went to stay with him, taking her car from the underground parking lot under her building. She was packing her bags when I called to see how she was doing. Well, I sure would not want to be stuck on the 14th floor with no elevators working when the power went out, would you?
All in all, it has been a scary time for those in low areas or areas not as protected as some. Many roads were under water, some washed out. It is hard to believe that I just crossed the Market St Bridge just last week! (See the pictures above!) I remember looking down at the pokey old Susquehanna River and telling Anna about Hurricane Agnes and how high the water was as we were driving over the river. Weird, huh? I remember saying how hard it was to imagine that water being up over the entry to the bridge and of all those places along the street being under water. Of course, she has heard the Agnes stories before – on an annual basis probably, every time we go anyplace with Aunt Kathryn, or drive past the old house on Myers St. Whenever anyone asks me why I did not leave during which ever hurricane has gone thru here, I simply say, “It is a family tradition.”
But, as usual, I digress. That should be my middle name and would be if I could get rid of the name Worrywart. Another family tradition I got from my Grandmother. Anyway, if you were in a “bad spot” and have pictures to share, send them along to my email and I will put them on a future posting (or start your own blog – post them here!).

Here are some pics from the Susquehanna and Lehigh Rivers regions. Photos courtesy of the Wilkes Barre Times Leader.

· River hits 34.33 feet at first crest
· Unprotected areas take heavy damage
· Up to 175,000 residents are told to evacuateTIMES LEADER STAFFRiverside neighborhoods emptied Wednesday as a swollen Susquehanna River threatened to reach its highest level since Tropical Storm Agnes devastated the region in 1972.
06/29/2006 08:30 AM EDTWe're bracing for moreRain is forecast. And it could get worse as Delaware, Schuylkill continue to rise.By Anthony R. Wood, Inquirer Staff WriterThe remarkable siege of rain that has left a deadly legacy of angry, chocolate-brown waters, submerged highways, and forced evacuations threatens the region with yet more flooding today and tomorrow.

This is in Easten, PA, the Lehigh River The Comcast shot is from Reading.

For pictures and the story about our trip home from PA on Sunday thru Delaware and esprecially thru Seaford, go on down to yesterday's posting below.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I think this picture sums up our trip home!

Well, we had an interesting trip to the mountains (Poconos) but an even more interesting trip home! We came home the weekend of the RAIN! It had rained, so they tell me, right much on Friday, some more on Saturday, and was still raining Sunday morning when we tried to get down 13 to the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Apparently some areas, Seaford, for example, had over 13 inches of rain within the previous 12 hours. As we drove slowly down 13, we could see homes sitting like islands, businesses with the water over the door sills and swamping out heat pumps, cooling systems, ground level AC units. Vehicles were submerged, nearly submerged, seriously flooded and even floating (Wal-Mart parking lot.) a tow truck was hauling vehicles out of the lot at Hampton Inn, the driver wading thru waist deep water to put a chain around whatever he could reach. A mobile home park was evacuated. Cars were abandoned here and there. There were numerous accidents where folks thought they could just plow on thru. The wake from pickup trucks pushed smaller vehicles off the road into ditches with more than 6 feet of water in them. Rescue crews were pushed to the max. Route 13 was finally closed for a period of time AFTER we managed to get through.
When we finally got home, it was sunny, hot and extremely humid. We had been living with no need for air-conditioning, but it was the first thing I turned on after we finally closed the door. It has been on since. We have had over 5 inches of rain here since we left and thru last night. The weeds have had a wonderful time. The yard looks like a jungle, but it is too wet to take the mower out.
Anyway, here are some pictures mostly of the Seaford, Delaware area. Evacuating a mobile park....

The last shot is of a car driven by someone determined to get to church Sunday morning. Guess she waded the rest of the way in. Wonder who else made it?

Some of these shots are courtesy of WBOC, some are from a news agency.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Punk and Spook

The Pumpkin and the Spook

Spook and Punkie were feeling neglected, the step children of the family, as it were. Of course, part of the problem is that Rascal had to go to the window and brag, brag, brag about having his own blog, yeah, right! So, a bit of their history, a picture or two and we shall see if they are placated. By the way, Rascal is sitting on the back of the chair watching every word go up on the screen.

Spook was just a baby when they arrived here on the tail end of Hurricane Isabelle, September 2003. I assumed (always a mistake) Punk was his mother as Punkie washed and took care of the little guy. Spook was probably a couple months old. Still small enough that we didn’t know if he was a boy or girl, since we could not touch him. He ran at the least little sound, was scared of humans, ran if you even so much as made eye contact with him. Everything spooked him. I assumed (did it again) they would leave after things quieted down, ya know, maybe they got left out in the storm and simply found shelter here, temporarily lost their bearings, whatever, but I was sure they would leave after a week or so. So I fed them. Well, hey! I felt sorry for them. Visualize a big old yellow cat sitting out in the rain, soaking wet, yowling away, and a little black and white kitten cowering under the bushes, obviously terrified of the whole world. The carport gave them shelter from the rain and wind, and then, as if by magic, food appeared. Sigh. I put their pictures up in all the vet’s offices, advertised them on the radio – no takers.
So it was around Halloween when I figured they were here, probably to stay. Hence, their names, maybe. Spook because he was so spooky and Pumpkin because he was a big round orange thing, and it was Halloween. I know, not very creative. But there you are.
Around thanksgiving, I believe that was the year my father spent thanksgiving with us, I cooked a turkey and used it to lure the kitten in. Each day I sat on the steps at their dinner time and tossed little pieces of turkey out to Spook. Closer and closer, each day closer and closer, until after several days, the little guy snatched a piece from my hand and ran under the van to hide and eat it. I froze some small packets of turkey to use as time dragged on until I could actually touch him. Picking him up, however took several months. He did not get to the vet for his shots until February. I got another turkey at Christmas time, just for him! So he got shot and neutered all at the same time. I didn’t think he would ever let me close to him again. He still has his spooky moments. He hides from strangers. Few other people have ever seen him.

Punk, on the other hand, loves everybody. He throws himself in their paths rolling over and yowling to have his belly rubbed. People who have lost yellow (or orange) cats have stopped here when they have seen him to be sure he wasn’t theirs. So he rolls over for them and convinces them that must truly be their “Mittens” until they get close enough to get a good look, or I come out and pick him up for them to inspect. Punk has freckles on his multicolored nose and lips. He is not a pretty cat. People look at the strange pattern on his nose and kinda make a face and say, “NO, that’s not MY cat.” One person asked me if he always looked like that. I told her, “No, I put his make up on for him when we think we might be having company.” I mean, DUH!
Punk has figured out how to knock on the door when he gets hungry, or if I am a bit slow in the morning. Often he and Spook are curled up together in the lawn chair on the carport or in one of their nests if it is cold. Last year Spook spent his days sprawled out in the Adirondack chair like the royalty he is, his black and white fur in beautiful contrast to the red chairs.
Spook and Rascal have long conversations thru the window or the storm door. Rascal will stand on his hind feet for an hour talking to Spook. Spook purrs but doesn’t answer otherwise. Rascal, as you might remember, talks. And talks. And talks. Sometimes I really wish I knew what the big conversation was all about, but maybe I am better off not knowing! Rascal talks to Punk, but he is generally ignored.

Spook being adorable on Groundhog's day.

And Spook in meditation with St Francis. Or is he looking at the bird St Francis is holding in his arms?????

Thursday, June 08, 2006

No, All the Bricks Are NOT in MY Head!

The Brick Garden or a garden of bricks!

I am not sure which is more effective, the days when I have a TODO List or the days when I just have a vague idea of what I need to do and then I just let it happen as it happens. Tuesday I had a list. I got most of it done. I have learned to prioritize, well, sorta. Yesterday I had a kinda list, one or two Gotta Do’s and then a lot of blank paper. Truth was, I hadn’t been feeling too great, so I thought I might just give myself another day of resting more than usual, a laundry day, know what I mean? I mean laundry always has to be done sooner or later, it really takes very little effort on your part – not like when Grandma did it, or even when I had to do it as a kid in the old wringer washer. But when you get the laundry done, at least you have something to show for your day, right? But I digress, again… anyway, my major chores done, I thought I would take advantage of the coolness of the day and good winds (the skeeters are back) to work out in the yard a bit.
So, I popped a pain pill and downed a Starbucks and I was ready to go! I mean, what more do you need in life? First I covered the blueberry bushes with netting. NEVER TRY TO DO THIS WHILE WEARING A SHIRT THAT HAS BUTTONS! It took longer to untangle myself from the netting than it did to cover the plants! I almost finished it just wearing a bra! Well, and my jeans, of course. Once that was done, I decided to transplant a few of the squash plants that had grown in a cluster where the old squash had simply rotted and gone to seed. I really needed to cut some grass, but decided the legs were just not up to it. So, the squash it was. This meant I had to pull a few weeds. I can sit to pull weeds. I decided to be neat about it and make a nice rectangle or oval. Whatever. I wanted the raspberry plant to have more room and be away from the possibility of getting run over by the mower when John comes to cut the grass. The cherry tomato plant would soon need more room – they tend to get real big in my yard.
Well, the weeds were not coming up as easily as I had hoped after the 3/4th of an inch of rain we just had, so I got my edger and garden spade out. CLUNK! Crap, I must have hit another brick. I had already dug up one that was working its way up out of the earth for the mower to hit. So I got a bigger shovel. That brought me a bigger CLUNK! By the time I was “done” (is a gardener ever done?) I had a much bigger area than I’d planned on and a pile of bricks.

Truth is, I had decided the day was perfect for sitting in one of the Adirondacks and reading a book (I got to Barnes & Noble on Sunday.) but it was not to be. I had another moment of inspiration, moving the squash having been the first, getting the edger the second. I decided to transplant some of my strawberry plants to all this newly turned and slightly weeded but thoroughly debricked area. Moving the strawberries had not even remotely been on my non-list, but I am real happy I thought of it. I had originally thought of putting them over nearer the blueberry bushes. Someday. Next year, maybe. However, I now have a little bitty strawberry garden out back where they will actually get some sun at least for a few more years, then I guess I will have to move them again.
I also found a few of the zinnias that keep coming up each year. I really do enjoy them, so I sprinkled a few more zinnia seeds out there to keep them company and to come up around the strawberries. I mean, why not? So. We shall see what grows, or doesn’t. Before long, I was pooped! I came in peeled off my dirty, muddy clothes, threw them in the washer and myself in the tub – and that was it! And here is my brick garden. And the chairs I didn’t get to sit in. Sigh. Next cool day I will straighten up those bricks – or move them altogether, I dunno, but they can sit there for a while. My legs feel like they can sit there forever!
I really tried to get something done outside this morning while it was cool, but the legs are saying “NO!” I spent a half an hour tidying up in a barn as it rained again 2/10th of an inch last night and the yard is too wet to even walk in. But after a half an hour, I was exhausted. I gave up. So here I am, too awake to doze in a chair (Thank you, Starbucks) but too tired to get anything accomplished. Gosh, don't those chairs look inviting?????????

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Snuff and Hadj (or Are you sure I don't have fleas?)

Some time ago I promised to post pictures of the rest of the cats who let me live here and serve them. Probably the one people hear the most about but see the least is my sleeping buddy, Snuffy. His full name is Snufflawfulus because of his chronic upper respiratory problem which has cost me a fortune to treat and try to alleviate. Snuff is on medication, an antihistamine and prednisone, and has been for most of his little life. Most of the time he is a sweet, quiet guy, sleeping away in one of his favorite places. But, every once in a while, he has to show the other 4 leggeds he is the boss. He IS Alpha Kitty. And don’t ever forget it.
Rascal loves to play. His idea of playing is growling, yowling, biting, kicking, stalking, attacking, tackling, and generally playing as any kitten will play. Rascal has no idea he is now too old to be behaving this way, so he just goes on. His favorite victim is either Hadji or my hand. If he gets too rough with me, according to Alpha Cat, Snuffy will jump down off his sofa and pounce on Rascal’s back, biting into his neck, flattening him onto the floor. When Rascal tries to get away, Snuff cuffs him upside the head and gets back on his couch. You can almost see him dusting his hands off as he settles back down for another nap.
Snuff won’t admit it, but he learned from watching Rascal to be a lap kitty. Yep, it took him 6 years to learn to get up onto my lap. And god help you-know-who if he should even think of getting up there at the same time.
Snuffy was a dumpster baby, brought to the SPCA, where they would have put him to sleep because of his “cold” symptoms. Instead, I took him (and Hadji) to the vet and there he remained for most of the next 3 months while we tried to “cure” him of whatever it was he had. Finally we just gave up and brought him home taking him back to the vet once a month for shots to help him breathe.
Along the way, Snuffy has had 2 cancer surgeries and has spent a serious bit of time with a specialist in Salisbury. One treatment triggered seizures, and so I switched vets. I was not willing to put him on anti-seizure meds when I believed the meds he was on caused the seizures. We switched meds, and he has not had a seizure in years. Did I mention he sneezes a lot? Did I mention he sneezes A LOT? But that is a good thing. When he is unable to sneeze, he is unable to breathe, therefore unable to eat, even drink. I have to drip water in his little mouth to keep him hydrated. He will get in one spot, usually a certain bed in a corner of the living room and stay there for as many as 3 days. It is scary. Finally he sneezes and all is well again for a while. Or as well as it gets for Snuff.

Snuffy begs at the table. We always save him a bite. He begs at the sink while I am preparing vegetables or fixing fruit. Why he thinks he has to have a string bean or asparagus stalk, I do not know. He really does not play with them, he just has to have one. He loves spaghetti sauce, baked beans, and strawberry yogurt! Snuff does not know how to drink like other cats, or maybe he just is unable to lap water from a bowl. Whatever the reason, he “eats” his water by sticking his entire lower jaw under the water so it gets filled. He swallows and repeats this, shaking his head to spray the universe when he is done. He also shakes his head when he eats spraying tiny bits of food all over the floor.
He comes when called or, believe it or not, when he hears his pill bottle open. He knows. He sleeps on my feet or legs for most of the night. When he hears the early morning bird sounds, he jumps up in his hammock, sticks his head thru the curtains and checks out the morning entertainment. If Hadji gets scared by something, thunder, a noisy raccoon, whatever, and decides to hide under my bed, Snuffy will, at some point, jump on him, smack him around, and in general let him know he does not belong in his house after I have gone to bed. Hadji and Rascal sleep in the big bathroom.

I am sure you can figure out why Rascal is “locked” up at night, but Hadji? Well, Hadj snores, for one thing. Yep, even louder than Snuff. And his sleeping place is ON MY HEAD or at least on my pillow. His purr can be heard across the street, and he headbutts to get me to scratch something. One does not get much sleep with Hadji around. so, Snuffy beats him up to get him out of my hair, literally.
Hadj is a good old boy, bigger than the others, and has a good temperament. He talks. Anna says he must be part Siamese. He complains about Rascal, mostly. He likes to get up on the back of my chair while I am watching TV. Sometimes he looks thru my hair and chews on imaginary fleas. God, I hope they are imaginary fleas. Sometimes I feel like a monkey being groomed. A friend had another theory. (a friend?) She said he was using my hair to floss with. Thanks!
Hadji loves his cube. It is his refuge. He and Rascal often play, Hadji in, Rascal out.

Anyway, there are the inside cats, in all their glory. Rascal says this is so boring. We all know he is the Star around here. He is selling autographed pictures on eBay. His sunbeam picture got a 9.8 on the other blog. He says it should have been a perfect 10. He dares the person who had the audacity to give him a 9 to show his face around here!

This is how bored the Rascal is. He has such a rough life, doesn't he? See the Rascal sulk? OH, poor, poor baby!