Saturday, May 17, 2008


As difficult as it is, I am having to prepare for the ultimate demise of "the grand old man", my cat, Smokey. He is getting on in years. It is difficult to remember a time when he was not with me. To the best of my memory, he came into our lives in 1990. One of the clients where I worked brought him inside. He had been roaming the neighborhood and she was afraid that he would get hit. I decided to keep him. I went to pick my daughter up from school and she was thrilled to see him. It was only a short time after her father and I divorced and getting a kitty was right on time. Leah named him Smokey. He was full grown, at least a year old. That makes him at least 19 years old now.

Although he is not sick (may have some problems, but did not run the blood tests), but I took him to the Vet for a check-up. It is still six months until he is due for his rabies shot. There have been some changes. He no longer tries to eat dry food, he no longer jumps up on counters or tables and the pupils of his eyes do not change.

Although she does not know for sure, the Vet thinks that he is now blind. I have been running moist food and milk through the food processor to make a smooth consistency food for him. He eats on the back porch away from the rest of the animals. Today I bought a liquid nutritional supplement to dilute the food. That darn stuff is almost $8.00 for a little can that needs to be thrown out after 72 hours. Good thing it says it can be frozen. I put most of the open can in an ice cube tray to freeze.

He is still feisty. He tried to bite and scratch during the physical (no front claws, but he knows how to use the back ones). They would have had to sedate him to do a thorough exam. He earned the name "Attack Cat" and I have the scars to prove it. Last year, he was sedated to get some mats trimmed and it took him a long time to recuperate from the sedation - even had to spend the night at the Vets.

Smokey has been through the good times and the bad times with us. As difficult as it was to lose Leo and Skyler, I cannot imagine how it will be to lose Smokey. It sure will not be the same around here. Hopefully, he will be around for quite a while longer, but I know the time is coming.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Words are not really needed! We get visitors every now and then. They are a joy to watch. There were actually four of them, but could not get them all in the same shot.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Cards

It is always nice to get a card, but it is twice as nice when you can tell that a "special card" was selected. You know when someone grabbed the first one they saw and when there was a search.

From my Son:
For Mom
From your grateful son
For understanding
how I am,
for liking me
the way I am,
and for helping me
be who I am....
Thanks, Mom.
Happy Mother's Day

From my Daughter:
You did the work
of two parents
with the time
and energy
of one.
I know it wasn't easy
being there for me
the way you always were,
but it still means a lot to me...
And I don't just love you for it -
I double-love you.
Wishing you
the kind of wonderful
Mother's Day
you deserve, Mom.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Gifts

My last post got me thinking - as proud as I am of my daughter, I am equally proud of my son. Brian struggled through school, he was very bright, but just couldn't get the knowledge transferred to paper. He struggled but he graduated! Give him a clock or anything mechanical and he could take it apart and put it back together with no problem at all. Welding, shop classes - he excelled.

I have to admit that I worried about his being impulsive at times - how about being involved in setting a fire in a U.S. Post Office collection box, climbing a TALL, old fashioned TV antenna at age two (ending up on top of the two story farm house we lived in) or pulling out of a parking lot in front of a truck (he was on a bicycle) and ending up with a broken arm. The list goes on!

He would tease his little sister with no mercy. She could not walk past him without getting poked, pinched or tickled. But, he finally grew up!

He still takes things apart and puts them back together. Assembling sky-climbers and and other large construction equipment. One example was the equipment that hung the Chase sign on the "old Bank One" building. He is in a stable marriage (since 1994) to a great gal and is the proud Papa of an adorable two-year old. It has been a great joy to watch him become a husband and Daddy!

Again, a gift identified, encouraged, supported and appreciated.

I am so proud of my kids!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rant & Rave

Rant & rave? Well no. The rant has been done, and I agree with much of it, but I am not going to rave either. I will just tell my blog a little about a success story. My daughter attended pre-K and Kindergarten at Hines and Franklin. The applications came out for the first classes to be held under the banner of Roosevelt Magnet School. The application was quickly filled out and returned. Leah was lucky. She was one of 47 "minority" students selected from outside the Roosevelt attendance area. She started first grade there the first year that the magnet program opened. They put a violin in that little first graders hands and the rest is history. She had always enjoyed her dance classes, but making music entered her soul - band (clarinet), orchestra and string ensemble (viola), jazz band (keyboard) and Treble Choir. She sang a solo for 8th grade graduation. Right after graduation, the Treble Choir went on a European tour! We got donations and I borrowed money, but music took her to Europe!!!

High school started and off to Woodruff she went. Again, band, orchestra, chorus and Jazz All-Stars. A trip to New Orleans for a band performance, a trip to the White House for a choral performance, strutted her stuff in plays and speech team and a second trip to Europe with the Jazz All-Stars. Heck, I have been as far as Windsor, Ontario Canada when it comes to being outside the U.S.A.

Off to Roosevelt University (Chicago College of Music) after high school. Darned if the orchestra didn't get the chance to go to Japan to perform! Graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree. She stayed in Chicago for another year before finding the teacher she wanted to study with. Only thing was, she had to pack up and move to Santa Barbara, CA to do it!! So she did. She worked for a year in order to establish residency, then started at Univ. of CA, Santa Barbara. Leah completed her Master of Music, Viola performance there. She stayed in California and worked at the university for a year until she decided to move to Detroit (for matters of the heart).

She is still doing music!

Moral of the story - my version. Every child has a gift. It is the responsibility of the parent (most of this time, I was a single parent) and the education system to find and nurture that gift. Whether it is music or math, engineering or plumbing, art or ditch digging, it is important to encourage, support and nurture "the Gift". I spent a lot of time being part of an audience and many District #150 educators and administrators encouraged and supported her efforts. It has not been that long since she graduated from District #150, many, if not most, of the problems that exist today were there then. Was it easy? No! Can it be done? Yes! It is up to the parent(s) to do their part - too many don't.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Me, Myself and I

Me, Myself and I have been holding a discussion, should I say argument? Retire - don't retire - retire - don't retire. The discussion has gone from one extreme to another. I think we have reached a decision (at least for now). The question has gone from "if" to "when". It has to be no later than December 31st. If I wait until January 1st, it severely impacts the number of vacation days that I would get a pay-out for. The discussion now is, do I want the pay-out in 2008 or 2009? I am starting to lean toward a 2008 pay-out. That way, I can pay my taxes and have it over with and it will not impact the amount I can earn in 2009 without losing part of the Social Security. Either way, they take taxes out of it, but it is a nice chunk of change!

Can't retire before November 1st, since I have to wait until the first month after my birthday so the cut in Social Security is not as bad (13 1/2% vs. 20%). I plan to live long enough to more than make up for the cut. There is risk involved. I will be without insurance for several months until Medicare kicks in and COBRA is too darned expensive. I will have to explore a private insurance for catastrophic illness, even though I have been very healthy for the last 11 years or so and take very only two prescriptions and one of them is $4.00 at Kroger's and the other one I can live without until it goes generic.

I will also be looking for part-time employment (something easy and with little or no stress). I can make it on Social Security and pension, but I like to "play" now and then!

Seven months! The countdown is on!