Sunday, April 30, 2017

April Nature Journal Entries

April went by so quickly! I only did one nature journal entry this month. The focus was on wrens since they have returned to our backyard. I heard the first wren singing on April 29th this year.

Wren singing in the backyard.

Each morning I wake up to their beautiful song. Every time I hear a wren sing, it reminds me of growing up. Dad put a wren house under the deck by Mary's room. Each morning ,around 5:30 a.m., the wren would begin singing.

Dad and I - early risers as we were - loved waking up to the wrens singing. It was such a happy start to the day. Mary wanted the wren to be quiet.

Found out that both males and females sing. Males sing 9-11 times per minute during breeding season. The songs typically have 12-16 recognizable syllables.

A wren weighs as much as two quarters. It is a fierce competitor for nest holes, despite its size.

Wrens like to eat insects and spiders, including beetles and caterpillars.

They like to pile twigs into nesting cavities. This protects them from predators and the cold.

Their clutch size is 3-10 eggs.

They will have 1-2 broods. The brood pictured below is a second one since the photo was taken in July. The first brood would have been in May or June.

This is my nature journal entry for April:

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Zoos - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

I want to thank everyone who visited my blog during this challenge. Your comments were very encouraging and they were such a highlight of my days.

I hope you continue to follow along during the year if you found what I wrote interesting and you enjoyed reading the posts.

Hope you have a great weekend!


This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the 26th and final day - Letter Z - I am focusing on Zoos.


The file I had about zoos included handouts and lesson plans from the Minnesota Zoo. One of the handouts focused on the Northern Trail - which we went on in March (last month) for a 4-H field trip.

Some of the animals we saw and information about them follows:


Watching the bison on March 16, 2017.

- Usually found in herds, which may be quite large.
- Most often travel at a walk, but they are quick to respond and can travel very fast over rough terrain for extremely long distances.
- They wallow or roll in the dust or mud. This protects them from  biting insects found in their habitat.
- They usually eat prairie grasses until late morning and then will lie and chew cud during the hot afternoon hours.

Bactrian Camels

Camels on March 16, 2017.

- Usually congregates in small herds of females and calves, and one male.
- Long eyelashes and closeable nostrils are great adaptations for the cold windy climate of the Asian steppe.
- The humps contain fat, not water. These fat stores are useful in times when food is scarce.


Caribou that we saw on March 16, 2017.

- Live in small herds.
- They have a tendon in their legs that clicks when they walk.
- During blizzard conditions or high winds, this clicking sound helps keep the herd together.


I didn't take a photo of the moose at the Minnesota Zoo.
So, I found this photo of Sophia and Olivia
by a male and female moose at a wildlife sanctuary.
This was taken during our trip to New England.
(Taken on September 9, 2011.)

- The largest of the deer family.
- Usually solitary.
- Young calves may live with their mom for 1-2 years before they go out on their own.

Prairie Dogs

Two of the prairie dogs we saw on March 16, 2017.

- Live in family groups called cateries.
- When two prairie dogs meet, they touch mouths with their mouths open and teeth bared.
- Traditionally bison would use prairie dog mounds for "dust bathing."


In the process of going through the single file that I had that began with "Z," I recycled 1 bag of clippings and photocopies. This brings the total number of bags of recycling to 20!

It feels good to have so much more space in my homeschooling files; and have only the information and ideas that we will be using during the upcoming year.

Saving Money and Being Frugal - Week in Review - April 22-28, 2017

Here's what the week from April 22nd-28th looked like:

Progress on Financial Goals I Set for this Week

Last week, I set three four goals related to checking beneficiary information on policies, working on paying off debt, trying to put money into a retirement account, and contributing to an emergency fund.

I wasn't able to do any of the goals. On Monday, one of our cats (Eenie) broke his scapula and required emergency vet care. He was able to come home on Tuesday under medical management which essentially means someone has to sit with him 24/7 to make sure he doesn't use his shoulder and front left arm/paw which suffered nerve damage.

Because of the timing of the injury (after our local vet was closed for the day) and the severity of the injury, there was no option but to go to an emergency vet.

Of course, this has set us back financially quite a bit.

Is the cost worth it? Absolutely. For 14 years, Eenie has provided companionship and comfort to our family and to the other pets we've had.

My Dad, Mom, Sophia, and Eenie.
Sophia dressed up Eenie in a Christmas outfit to
visit my Dad at the nursing home.
We talked about how Dad used to dress up as Santa and
visit families at Christmas.
He liked Eenie's outfit.
(Taken on November 27, 2011...about 5 weeks before my Dad died.)

For the past four years, Eeenie was part of a cat therapy program that she started at the nursing home where we volunteer. He has comforted many seniors during that time, especially those with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.

As of today, Eenie is able to put slight pressure on his leg and walk with a significant limp. However, it is major progress from earlier in the week.

So, the financial goals I set had to be put on hold for a week. I'm hoping to address them during the upcoming week.

Progress on Blog Goals I Set for this Week

I set two main goals for blogging. One was to continue to do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (letters T-X) and decluttering homeschool files. The other was to do some of the actions in Letting Go of Debt- Growing Richer One Day at a Time.

- Continue to do the Blogging from A to Z Challenge (letters O-S) and decluttering homeschool files.

I wrote the following posts this past week:

- Titanic, Tornado, and Trees
- Unicorns, Unitarian Universalism, and Utopian Society
- Valentine's Day and Volunteering
- Wart Hogs, Wetlands, and Wolves
- Xylophones and X-Rays
- Yellow-Rumped Warblers and Yo-Yos

The other goal I was looking forward to doing because there were ideas about donating items, grocery shopping, food waste, healthy cooking, and spending time in nature. All had a connection to living frugally, intentionally, and with more meaning.

Homemade soup using ingredients I had on hand.

I'm hoping to spend time with each of the goals during the upcoming week as Eenie's health improves and his mobility increases a bit.

Smart Purchases

Smart: Finding the least expensive gasoline in the area. Even saving 4 cents per gallon can add up.

Signed up for a warehouse membership to purchase items we use often in bulk. By enrolling, I received a $20 gift card plus coupons for three free items: a package of steak strips, dish soap (135 ounces - which will last for months), and 12 bagels. There also are some additional coupons with significant savings (e.g., $1.50 off, $5 off).

Frugal Meals

We ate leftovers for several lunches and dinners as a way to save money.

My financial goals for this week:

My goals are the same ones that I had last week that I wasn't able to do.

Blog as it relates to saving money and home organization:

Finish the "Z" blog post for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

Do the goals that I set last week.

Read and do a book review about Debt-Free Living and Smart Mom Rich Mom.    

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*

Friday, April 28, 2017

Yellow-Rumped Warblers and Yo-Yos - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the 25th day - Letter Y - I am focusing on Yellow-Rumped Warblers and Yo-Yos.


Yellow-Rumped Warbler

- Yellow-Rumped Warblers forage in the outer tree canopies at middle heights. They often will catch insects in midair. In winter they spend lots of time eating berries from shrubs.
- The birds often travel in large flocks.

(Taken on April 30, 2008.)

Females build the nest, sometimes using material the male carries to her. The nest is a cup of pine needles, twigs, grasses, and rootlets. She also may use horse, deer, and moose hair, moss, and lichens.

She lines the nest with fine hair and feathers; and does so in the way that they curl up and over the eggs.

The nest takes about ten days to build. It's roughly 3-4 inches across and 2 inches tall when finished.

Yellow-Rumped Warblers cling to a tree's bark surface to look for hidden insects more than many warblers do. They also frequently sit on exposed branches and catch passing insects - similar to a flycatcher.

(Taken on April 30, 2008.)

There's a website where you can log in birds that you see and the location where they are at. It was interesting to look at where the Yellow-Rumped Warbler has been recently - individual sightings and flocks of these birds.



Yo-yos can be the toy or made from fabric and used in various crafts. Some people make toys - using a stacked string of yo-yos for the body and limbs of the toy (e.g., cat, dog, clown). Others will use them in quilts, coverlets, table runners, clothing embellishments, and jewelry (e.g., bracelets).

Yo-yos are simple to make and are a portable craft.

Yo-yo ornaments that I made.
(Taken on September 21, 2009.)

Most commonly associated with the 1930s and 1940s, yo-yos and yo-yo quilts of that era frequently mimicked hexagon mosaic patterns that were popular at the time, such as Grandmother’s Flower Garden.

Yo-yo quilt that we saw at a quilt show.
(Taken on April 21, 2012.)

They also are a good way to use up small bits of fabric, which would have appealed to thrifty quilters who needed to make do with what they had during that time period.


In the process of going through the files that began with "Y," I recycled a half of a bag of papers. This brings the total up to 19 bags of recycling since April 1st!

Resting and Creating Margins in Homeschooling & Life - Friday Foto Friends

Today I'm joining Deb for Friday Foto Friends. Come join us and share your photos!


This week I'm looking at resting and creating margins in one's life and in homeschooling. This one was of the themes that came up in a couple of workshops that I attended last week at a homeschool conference.

When I think of rest, I think of our dogs and cats.

Aspen coming home after being adopted
from Northwoods Humane Society.
(Taken on May 12, 2014.)

They know when to rest and do so throughout the day and night.

Eenie hugging Lucy while he is sleeping.
(Taken on November 14, 2007.)

Children, too, will easily fall asleep after a full day of activity and learning.

Sophia sleeping after spending a day exploring Duluth.
(Taken on September 2, 2008.)

Sometimes just short periods of rest are all that are needed to feel more alert and ready to tackle the day.

Olivia sleeping in the car.
(Taken on February 26, 2014.)

This week we had an unexpected emergency on Monday. While I was bringing back Olivia from gymnastics on Monday, I called Sophia to let her know we were on the way home. She said that Eenie had jumped down off the window ledge and was yowling like she's never heard him before.

To make a long story short, we had to take him to the emergency vet about 40 minutes away where they gave him pain medication and did x-rays. He has a broken scapula.

Eenie resting at home after breaking his scapula and
being treated for it.
(Taken on April 25, 2017.)

After some very serious options proposed by one doctor (including amputation), he emailed the x-rays to a surgeon who recommended a less invasive procedure: wrap the shoulder area; let Eenie rest for a month and restrict his movement; and the scapula should heal on its own.

Rest and heal.

It's essentially the same diagnosis I got a few weeks ago after falling down some stairs and having all the toes on my left foot turn underneath themselves. One of the toes is particularly sore and the foot still swells after being on it...and this is 1 1/2 months later.

Nothing is broken or dislocated. It's a soft-tissue injury. What the doctor essentially told me to do: rest, stay off the foot, and let it heal on its own. It can take 2-3 months.

So, this theme of resting...slowing down...creating margins in one's life for unexpected issues is very relevant this week.

Simple Homeschool said, "It can be particularly tempting for homeschoolers to fill up the empty spaces in our days. We feel like we have more time, so we should be doing more. We want to participate in every worthy endeavor, to squeeze the last drop out of every learning opportunity.

"Yet I know something now that I didn’t know back [then]...clean margins are essential to making a legible document, and also to creating a nurturing home life."

Cleaning the pasture.
(Taken on September 25, 2011.)

"We need unhurried free time built into our family lives in order to foster true connection."

The girls at my parents' home on Halloween.
(Taken on October 31, 2008.)

"We need margins in our schooling–unhindered time to wonder and explore and ask. That time gives our young learners the space to span the gap between book knowledge and real, internalized understanding."

The girls by a replica sod house in Walnut Grove, Minnesota,
where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived.
(Taken on June 12, 2012.)

In creating a life that has margins - that extra space to develop stronger relationships, to learn more deeply, and to rest - we have to hold tight onto the things that we value and let go of the things that don't support these goals.

What does that look like in practice? For our family, similar to those mentioned on Simple Homeschool, these are some of the things that matter:

Family Meals

Sometimes breakfast and lunch are eaten at different times now that the girls are older and appetites vary. However, dinner is one meal where we all eat together.

Having a Sunday Dinner with extended family to
celebrate Mother's Day and my sister's birthday.
(Taken on May 12, 2013.)

When I was growing up we had a "Sunday Dinner" which usually was a more substantial meal eaten in the middle of the afternoon - around 2 or 3 p.m. Sometimes we would have a snack in the evening, but often times we weren't hungry. I'd like to get back to doing that during these final years of the girls' education.


When my parents were living, we would make time to visit them regularly. Even now that both have died, gathering with my sister and brother, and their families for holidays is very important.

Celebrating Christmas with extended family.
(Taken on December 25, 2016.)

Family should come first. It is a priority.

Free Time

After homeschooling is done for the day, the girls are free to explore their own interests - through play, reading, baking, quilting, needlework, painting, music, or even watching movies.

The girls swinging on the swing set.
(Taken on September 29, 2007.)

This changes each year. It's been fun to watch how their interests have changed and developed.

Real-Life Learning

For our family, this has meant volunteering - short-term and long-term commitments. Our two main focuses for long-term volunteering are at the nursing home and at the humane society.

We also take field trips either on our own or with our 4-H club.

Olivia and Sophia at the Weismann Art Museum.
(Taken on January 12, 2017.)

Taking vacations also has been a wonderful way to learn.

Family Traditions

We try to make holidays - both small and big ones - memorable times for each of us.

St. Patrick's Day dinner.
(Taken on March 17, 2009.)

There also are things we do each year that aren't tied into a holiday, like going to the apple orchard each Fall.

Olivia feeding one the goats at the apple orchard.
(Taken on September 17, 2015.)

Planting a vegetable garden each Spring and harvesting produce from it through the Summer and Fall.


Having predictable, dependable times that we spend as a family strengthens relationships and provides comfort.

It also allows for time to handle emergencies or unexpected activities that present themselves in our lives.

This past week was unusual for us. We had days that had nothing scheduled outside of the home. Seeing these free days where we could spend the day at home doing homeschooling and catching up on projects we've wanted to do was something we were looking forward to.

With Eenie's injury, rush to the emergency vet, and medical management at home (essentially meaning round-the-clock oversight of him) - it's different than what we anticipated. However, had we had our week so booked that there was no margin it - we would have found it quite challenging to deal with Eenie.

Eenie sleeping on Tuesday after coming back
from the emergency vet.
He broken his scapula on Monday when
he jumped down from a window ledge.
(Taken on April 25, 2017.)

So, as I look to planning the summer and upcoming year, intentionally blocking out these margins of time is a goal. Before adding activities to our schedule, I will be asking two questions:
=> Does this activity support our family and deepen relationships?
=> Does this activity help the girls' educational goals and eventual future college and career plans?

If I can answer "yes" to either one or both of these questions, then it will be a worthwhile activity to add to the calendar.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Xylophones and X-Rays - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the 24th day - Letter X - I am focusing on Xylophones and X-Rays.



X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light.

An x-ray machine sends individual x-ray particles through the body. The images are recorded on film or a computer.

Structures that are dense (such as bone) will block most of the x-ray particles, and will appear white.

Olivia at the Minnesota Zoo by an x-ray of a shark.
There was a children's room where
there were x-rays of various animals.
(Taken on January 31, 2008.)

Metal and contrast media (special dye used to highlight areas of the body) will also appear white.

Sophia's ankle injury and x-ray.
She ended up needing to wear a cast for three weeks.
(Taken on February 7, 2008.)

Structures containing air will be black, and muscle, fat, and fluid will appear as shades of gray.



The word xylophone comes from the Greek words xylon meaning "wood" and phōnē, meaning "sound or voice." Together the words mean "wooden sound."

Sophia playing a large xylophone at the Science Museum.
(Taken on March 31, 2007.)

The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets. It may be used generally, to include all such instruments such as the marimba, balafon, and semantron.

Sophia playing a wrench xylophone at the Minnesota History Museum.
(Taken on September 19, 2007.)

However, in the orchestra, the term xylophone refers specifically to an instrument that has a somewhat higher pitch range and drier timbre than the marimba. So, these two instruments should not be confused.


In the process of going through the files that began with "X," I recycled 1/4 of a bag of papers. This brings the total up to 18 1/2 bags of recycling!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wart Hogs, Wetlands, and Wolves - Blogging from A to Z Challenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I'm focusing on going through my homeschooling files that I've created from the time that Sophia and Olivia were in preschool.

Some of the files are still relevant while others I will be decluttering and recycling in the process. Each day during April, I will pick one of the files to focus on - either doing a hands-on activity or sharing some information from one of the files.

For the 23rd day - Letter W - I am focusing on Wart Hogs, Wetlands, and Wolves.


Wart Hogs

- They wallow in mud to keep themselves cool and keep off flies.
- They use burrows that were first made by aardvarks.
- Wart Hogs come out of their burrows running since lions like to hide nearby.
- They use their tusks and snouts to dig down for roots and other underground plant parts.
- The males' big "warts" may help protect their eyes in fights against other males.
- The warts are just thick lumps of skin.



- All wetlands: (1) have soils that developed in wet conditions, (2) are wet either above the ground or wet within 12 inches of the ground surface during all or part of the growing season, and (3) have vegetation adapted to wet soil conditions.
- They filter and absorb polluted surface water runoff before it enters lakes and rivers downstream.
- Provides a permanent or seasonal home to fish and wildlife.

A heron in our pond in June 2013.
We have this area on the west side of the farm and
another type of wetland on the south part of the farm.

- Despite their benefits, wetlands have long been considered a nuisance and have been drained or filled for agricultural production or urban development. Lack of awareness about the benefits of wetlands and governmental policies that encouraged draining and filling are largely to blame for this loss.
- Until the settlement of Minnesota in the 1860s, about 18.6 million of its 53.6 million acres were wetland. Today, only half remain.



- Wolves live in packs; and each pack has two leaders, the Alpha male and Alpha female.
- Wolves can hear a watch ticking thirty feet away.
- Adult wolves weight from 57 pounds to more than 170 pounds, depending on where they live.

Olivia and Sophia watching a wolf in Ely, Minnesota.
(Taken on February 23, 2014.)

- Wolf puppies are born helpless, with their eyes shut and weighing about a pound. They will reach their adult size at about nine months old.
- Wolves have been known to travel for hours or nearly twenty miles per hour.
- Wolves have been extinct in England since 1500.
- Most wolves in North America are considered gray wolves, though they can be black or white in color.

Wolf sitting on straw and snow.
(Taken on February 23, 2014.)

- Like dogs, wolves have their own individual personalities - some are timid, some are aloof, and others can be quite outgoing. The different dispositions are reflected in part by the wolves' order within the pack - higher-ranking animals are more likely to be confident, while lower-ranking ones are often cowardly and shy.
- Wolves aren't aggressive toward humans - they often flee when confronted.


In the process of going through the files that began with "W," I recycled 1/4 of a bag of papers.

Wednesday Hodgepodge - April 26, 2017

1. April showers bring May flowers or so the saying goes. Has your April been filled with showers? Do you carry an umbrella, wear a slicker, or make a run for it? Besides rain, what else has filled your April?

We have had both snow and rain in April...though more of the latter than former. Looking at April as a whole, there have been many more beautiful days without any precipitation which has been nice.

Umbrellas at the Macy's flower show.
(Taken on April 5, 2013.)

Depending on how heavy the rain will depend on whether I wear a raincoat or use an umbrella. It has to be a pretty significant downpour for me to carry an umbrella since it is just one more thing to deal with when I'm outside.

During April, in addition to rain, my time has been spent going through homeschool files and streamlining them. I recycled 20 bags of photocopies and magazines clipping that related to a wide variety of subjects. It feels great to have so much more room in my file cabinet; and have only the things I will use and refer to over the next year.

2. What's something you could you give a 30-minute presentation on at a moment's notice and with zero preparation?

Nothing. I need to think about what I'm saying and have it clearly laid out.

Olivia riding backwards on a horse during
her therapeutic horseback riding lesson.
(Taken on April 22, 2010.)

That being said, if it were a question-and-answer format where there's a theme I've dealt with a lot over my lifetime and/or the past decade; and people ask me questions and I'd answer them, there would several topics I could talk about comfortably:
=> homeschooling
=> adoption
=> sensory processing disorder
=> volunteering ideas
=> caregiving for someone with Alzheimer's Disease

3. Share with us a favorite food memory from childhood.

One of my favorite meals was tacos. My mom would make tacos using the packet of taco seasoning, 3/4 cup of water, and one pound of hamburger. Nothing fancy. Same thing I do now.

What I really liked was that she had this Tupperware container with different compartments. In each one was a different chopped topping: lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and green peppers; and cheese.

Going through my photos, I was happy to see that
I had one of a taco dinner that my mom made.
This was done for Halloween because the whole family was over.
She knew that we all enjoyed a taco dinner.
(Taken on October 31, 2010.)

The fact that she took the time to chop all those vegetables was something that meant a lot - especially when she was working nights to help support our family. I knew she was tired with working, keeping the house looking nice, and taking us kids to our lessons and activities.

4. What's a song you thought you knew the lyrics to, but later discovered you were wrong?

Usually it is a word or short phrase of words that I don't hear correctly. For example, there was a song not that long ago - I'm not sure of the title - that had in its refrain something that I thought was about "pinky pants."

I thought to myself, "What in the world are 'pinky pants'?"

Turns out - thanks to being pointed out by my teenage daughters - that I was hearing the wrong words. It wasn't "pinky pants" after all. It was "picket fences." The artist was describing her ideal world that included white picket fences.

Pinky Pants. Picket Fences. Yeah...I have no idea how I heard what I did. Probably a sign that my hearing is going.

5. According to one travel website, the most overrated tourist attractions in America are-
Niagara Falls (NY), Hollywood Walk of Fame (California), Times Square (NYC), Epcot (FL), Seattle Space Needle (WA), and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market (Boston). How many of these have you seen in person? Did you feel like a tourist? Did you care? Tell us about a place (not on the list) you've visited that might be considered a tourist trap, but you love it anyway.

Out of the tourist attractions listed, I've seen: Hollywood Walk of Fame, Times Square (a couple of times), Epcot, and the Seattle Space Needle (twice). Sophia, Olivia, and I walked by Faneuil Hall and went into Quincy Market, but didn't spend much time there.

Sophia, Olivia, and I saw Faneuil Hall in Boston.
(Taken on September 10, 2011.)

Did I feel like a tourist? In some cases, yes, but I didn't care.

My sister and I visited the Space Needle in Seattle.
(Taken in June 2016.)

I'm not sure if it falls under "tourist trap" - although a lot of tourists visit it every year: the North Shore in Minnesota. Starting at Duluth and going to Grand Portage, the North Shore follows the western side of Lake Superior. It's a beautiful part of the state.

Sophia and Olivia at High Falls of the Baptism River
at Tettegouche State Park.
(Taken on June 4, 2013.)

There are definitely tourist stops along the way that locals (and even people from other parts of the state) wouldn't go to, but they are not the majority of places to see and things to do.

6. Your signature clothing item?

Black cardigan, black shirt under the cardigan, jeans, and black clogs.

There's half of the outfit: black clogs and jeans.

For a few years now, I've been wearing this same type of "uniform" whenever I go out. I have multiple black cardigans and one pair of clogs. What's nice is that I don't have to think about what I wear when I go out. I can focus on other things and people...not on my clothing.

7. What's an experience you've had you think everyone should experience at least once? Why?

I was thinking of fun or meaningful things that I've done throughout my life - either a one-time experience or repeatedly. For me, these brought a sense of enjoyment. However, for others it may not be something they would enjoy.

Feeding a wild animal or somehow interacting with one
brings a lot joy to me.
(Taken on June 3, 2009.)

Each person is so different in what they like to do.

Seriously...not the best photo of me.
However, the memory that goes with it
is one that still makes me smile.
The girls and I were on a vacation to New England.
We were riding a sight-seeing trolley.
There was some major event in Boston and tons of roads were blocked off.
The driver - in an effort to get the passengers back in time -
asked if we'd be okay with going on the highway. In a trolley.
Everyone was okay with it.
So, imagine all open windows, going at 55+ mph, and
the passengers all laughing and smiling.
The girls were laughing hysterically because - according to them -
I looked like the White Witch from Narnia with wild-flying gray hair.
To this day, I can say "White Witch. Boston. Trolley," and
the memory of this wild - and fun - ride comes back to us.
(Taken on September 10, 2011.)

So, an experience I've had that I think everyone should experience at least once: something that brings them joy. Something that is so memorable that even years later brings a smile to one's face.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

One of our cats, Eenie, who is 14 years old, broke his scapula and suffered some nerve damage on Monday afternoon when he jumped down from a window ledge to the floor. The distance was not that great - maybe three feet at the most. However, he got stuck under Aspen's (one of the dog's legs) and we're not sure if he got jostled there as well. What it pointed to, though, was that he probably has very low bone density at this point in his life.

At any rate, we rushed him to the emergency vet since it was about 5:45 p.m. and our local vet was  wrapping up for the day.

Eenie in the kennel at the emergency vet.
He had received his first dose of pain medication and
had x-rays taken by the time we saw him.

After administering pain medication and taking x-rays, the emergency vet initially was suggesting:
- Repair - place a plate where his scapula is and attach it with screws. Fix any nerve damage. Disadvantage: it may not hold because of low bone density. Amputation may be necessary.
- Amputation of the front left leg.

Eenie resting on the car ride home.

Before moving forward, he texted x-rays to a surgeon who also works there. The surgeon recommended medical management instead.

His neck and shoulder area is stabilized with this wrapping.
The green wrapping was where his IV was and
was able to be removed when we got home.

This is a much better option. Eenie will have his upper body wrapped so it restricts movement for one month.

Eenie resting on the bed at home.

The scapula should fuse itself back together and heal. X-rays in a month will determine if it worked.

He found a comfortable spot to rest his head.

He'll be on a lot of pain medicine during the next week or so as his body heals.

He fell asleep resting his head on my arm; and
resting his paws on my hand.

We were hoping that in May he would be able to go back to doing cat therapy at the nursing home after healing from sores on his face (from over-scratching above his eyes). With this injury and recovery time, he may not be able to do cat therapy again.

Betty, Sophia, and Eenie at the nursing home.
(Taken on May 31, 2013.)

During his time visiting seniors, he helped provide comfort to the residents at the nursing home - especially those struggling with dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Olivia, John, Sophia, and Eenie at the nursing home.
(Taken on September 27, 2013.)

Now, as a senior cat himself, it's time for Eenie to rest and be comforted by others. I'm hoping his recovery goes quicker than anticipated and isn't as painful as he was experiencing yesterday.