Sunday, March 18, 2012


Life is....busy.  We are both spending too much time at work, and then trying to accomplish too many other things as well.  Mark's mother has been sick since September, and passed away in February.  Now Mark is busy working on executing the will, as well as making arrangements to make sure that his stepfather, who has dementia, is taken care of.  Mark also has a very full travel schedule for the month of March, so it continues to be busy.  For now, he's home this week, and I am glad to have him! I am volunteering at a local low-cost spay and neuter clinic, as well as doing afterschool tutoring.  

On a brighter note, some of Mark's research has received press releases beyond the normal academic journals and meetings.  Here's a link to one of them:

His lab is really making great strides towards an effective treatment for Batten disease, and we are all hopeful.  Of course, getting the treatments past the FDA continues to be a significant hurdle that will still have to be fought.  We have become friends with a family that has an adult form of this disease, and recently got the news that the oldest sister has begun to show symptoms.  My heart goes out to this family that has already lost 3 members to Kufs disease.  These diseases are so devastating!

Other notes...we came home the other night and found not one, not two, but three bluebirds stuck in our wood stove.  Mark had to take is partially apart to get them out and we released them in the dark into pouring down rain.  We hope that they survived!  The sad thing was, we found a dead one in the wood stove yesterday.  We aren't sure if there were four originally, or if a fourth one came at a later time.  We definitely need a screen of some sort for the chimney!  And we have no idea why it is always bluebirds.  We actually have bluebird boxes around the property and some of them stay unoccupied.  Maybe the boxes need a "Vacancy" sign?

We have a new visitor here.  This cutie showed up a week or so ago.  We are trying to get her to trust us enough to get her to the vet to see if she has a chip, and to treat a wound that she has on her back.  The wound is absolutely gross, we think a coyote took a chunk out of her while trying to catch her.  But she is friendly and sweet and gets along with the other dogs and cats here.  Hopefully we can find her owner, or a new owner soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Day in the Life....

We have some rather spoiled kittens around here, and I haven't done a good job of blogging about their lives.  I have always loved cats, and typically had more than one.  With all the relocating that I was doing I have not had cats since I moved to Missouri, but we decided it was timed to remedy that and picked out two this summer.  Around here, there are tons of unwanted cats, and stopping at two was really difficult for me.  However, I decided that I wanted calicoes, which was harder that I thought it would be.  Scarlett was found at the local Humane Society and we quickly took her home.  Then I continued looking and was unable to find another calico before I got impatient.  Onyx was adopted from a family a few miles down the road from us.  They had six kids two cats, a dog and a litter of kittens in this tiny house.  You could tell Onyx had been handled a lot and the mom said that he enjoyed it.  He became cat number two, and Mark told me that was enough (for now).  Mark has had a problem with mice eating his AC hoses in his car, so we were hopeful that these two would keep the mice problem under control in the garage.  I am allergic to cats, and neither one of us were crazy about the idea of a litter box, so they became outdoor cats.  I wasn't sure how they would handle the cold weather and got pretty anal about making sure they had warm places to stay when it was cold, but I've learned that they don't seem to mind the cold nearly as much as I thought.  Scarlett is a pretty typical cat, she's friendly, but can be shy and loves to hunt.  Onyx is...well...he's Onyx.  I have accused the resident gene therapist of inserting dog genes into this cat, because he is just plain strange for a cat.  He gets into  EVERYTHING and has been locked in our cars more than once.  He follows us around anytime that we are outside and we have learned that he has to be locked up before we take walks or he will follow us all over the property.  But he also manages to be at the door the instant we open it to see which way we are headed and to make sure he doesn't miss anything.  He has provided a lot of entertainment for us and we are never quite sure what he will do next!  I enjoy taking pictures of them on their various day to day activities.

Scarlett is a looker...she's beautiful and keeps getting bigger by the day!  She's harder to catch with the camera because she doesn't hang around the house as much, but this is a picture of her taken recently.
One day our resident geese came up pretty close to the house and Scarlett decided to check them out.  The geese decided they didn't want to be friends and headed back to the pond.
And then there's Onyx...hanging around on the porch

He loves to hang around the bird feeder in the eternal search for birds.  Most of the time the birds stay away, but we have seen him catch a cardinal.  We've decided the bird feeder needs to be higher!
Since he wasn't getting any action at this feeder, he's checking out the one on the next side of the house to see if he might have any luck down there.
Onyx also loves to climb trees, and he feels particularly proud when he gets to the top.  Of course, this tree is only about six feet tall, but...whatever.  He's happy!

This is a bed we created for the cats this fall.  We intended to come up with something better, but they have been pretty happy with things, so we've left it alone for the winter.  They will stay here until it gets down in the teens, then they'll head to the garage.

This is their deep freeze hang out.  There is actually a smaller dog crate inside of the larger one, with blankets in between as well as a dog bed inside.  They stay toasty!  
Just a few more....
Like I said, he's always entertaining!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ooops, I forgot I'm a blogger!

I have finally realized why I haven't blogged in awhile.  My Windows Live Photo Editing software appeared to have a problem and every time I went to edit software I got frustrated and went on to some other task.  Tonight I have finally spent the time to delete and reinstall the program and it looks like I can again edit photos.  I promise to start updating ASAP.