Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Remembering Clyde

We lost Clyde four years ago today. Was it not typical of Clyde, that sweet little boy, that he passed on a day that we technically only had to live through every four years?

I've always felt terrible that I never wrote a poem for Clyde like I did for Nigel. I'm not sure why I didn't. I did spend the time to put together an album for him (as I did for Nigel); why I never wrote the poem, though, is hard to say. Perhaps I was avoiding the pain, perhaps it just wasn't in me. Certainly, I've learned in recent times that things come when they come and sometimes they just never do.

I'll admit I've also felt guilt, as if I was sending a message to my dear departed Clyde that he was not as loved as Nigel. Far from the truth; although it IS true that Clyde came into his own after Nigel died. Who knows what would have happened had cancer not taken him from us? I like to think he would have had a great time romping with his new buddies Pete and Lily and holding court over the Greek's. As for Lucy, he'd probably have continued to avoid and ignore her.

Anyway, in tribute, here are some of my memories of Our Sweet Pal.

I still miss you, Clydie.


Came home on Halloween Day 1992.

Softest fur. Ever.

“Grey Baby”.

Loud, demanding meow.

Longest whiskers.

Beautiful big green eyes.

Pigeon-toed J


Loved to roll around in the sunny patches on the carpet.

Although he was very ill, we rolled around in the sun together our last weekend.

Routinely bumped his head against things; a table leg, the dresser, a human leg. Very clumsy!

Only cat I’ve ever had who would reach out and tap you on the shoulder or arm or face to get your attention.

Would pull my glasses off my face.

LOVED Greenies!

Ran around pell-mell with his string; we’d hear him over head “clomp clomp clomp”. The cat had dozens of toys and yet he wanted to play with a string!

Protested loudly when subjected to a ride in the car.

Loud and constant purr.

Made a funny “uh-mah” noise when he jumped up onto the bed at night.

Had to knead his blanket before he went to sleep.

Had the sweetest little white chin which was often covered with crunchie-crumbs.

Came to really dig hanging out in the perch we got him when Lucy arrived.

The perch was the last place I ever saw him when we said our final good-byes.

Would take naps with me on the green couch every afternoon. It was OUR time (the dog had to stay downstairs).

Nigel’s little brother.

Would come running for food.

ALWAYS a barfer and plant chomper!

Left us on Leap Year Day.

I heard one of his last meows over the phone.

Peaceful and quiet at the end.



The Gangster Kitty.

Our Sweet Pal.

Never second best.

Mrs. B

Monday, February 27, 2012

Poem for Grandma W.

Grandma W passed away six years ago today. This is the poem I wrote for and read at her services.

Mrs. B

I Know

We’re not together

So very often

Those of us gathered here

And although we are all missing you

I know that you are near

Your sweet face

Is reflected

In many of those that I see

And your eyes are also reflected

I know, when they look at me

We’re sad but

We’re also laughing

Our family bond is strong

We’re catching up on all the news

For which I know you always longed

Last night

I saw a picture

Of you swinging on the moon

From little girl to 89

I know--it came too soon

And now we must

Come to the part

Where you go away, so very far

You’re with Grandpa and Uncle Bill now

I know that’s where you are

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Facebook Hiatus and Walt Disney World Trip: Part One

I decided to give Facebook up for Lent. I know, seems odd that Mrs. B's giving things up for Lent. I cannot remember the last time I've done this; in fact, I probably never have done it successfully as I've not been religious since I was seventeen and back then, I didn't have near the discipline that I have now. In other words, even had I stated that I was giving up something for Lent (chocolate, soda, boys (ha ha)), I'm sure I failed somewhere during the forty days.

Anyway. I just thought I'd try. If anything, I'll have a lot of extra time each day to do other things, some of which will hopefully be purposeful things.

So, here I am on Day 5 (I started a day early). So far, so good; of course, I've been rather busy since my fifteen year old niece and nephew are in town and, along with my mom and dad, we've been running all over the place doing this and that; including a two day stint at Walt Disney World. As always, it was a ton of fun, if, albeit, a bit different from my experiences there with Mr. B (who, by they way, stayed home slaving away since it's now officially tax season). It was darn crowded, especially The Magic Kingdom. Wall to wall children and strollers, eek.

Here is a brief recap of the trip:

We left here around 7:30 with yours truly doing the driving. We stopped for b'fast at Mickey D's just after getting onto Interstate 4.

After b'fast, we traveled on towards Lake Buena Vista (Walt Disney World), arriving at our hotel around 10:00. We stayed at the same hotel that Mr. B and I stayed at in November; The Best Western Lake Buena Vista in downtown Disney. Although the hotel itself isn't anything to write home about, the rates are reasonable plus they have a complimentary shuttle to the parks. This in and of itself makes it well worth staying at. In fact, we didn't even check in when we arrived. I parked the car and we hopped right onto the bus that took us to Animal Kingdom (our first park of the trip).

Mom, dad and Natalie on the bus to Animal Kingdom!

After dad forked out the moolah for the admission (thankfully, I have my FL annual pass so that saved him some money), we took off exploring this park. I'd only been there once before so it was relatively new to me, too. Neither mom or dad, due to health conditions, were up for any crazy rides so we planned accordingly.

Natalie in front of The Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom

First off was the safari ride, which actually has real animals (not the fake Disney things (with the exception of one baby elephant at the end of the ride)). After, we wandered around the preserve and saw a lot of birds

Zack and dad in the Preserve

and gorillas, including a baby (two years old) and its mom. BTW, gorillas are not full grown until 15-17 years of age. The males stay on one side of the preserve with the moms and kids on the other side.

"Daddy" gorilla
Baby girl gorilla

Aunt Amy (me), Zack and Natalie ran around going on the "thrill" rides, including one in Dinosaur Land that was really cool (I'd been on it before but totally forget all about it). Later, dad joined us on a real fun spinning roller coaster type ride. Towards the end of our stay at Animal Kingdom, we got stuck behind a parade so everyone sat down to take a load off.


For those who care, by the way, Animal Kingdom has beer, wine and other adult beverages. I'll admit, I was somewhat surprised by this, but the cold draft beer I had at lunch went down nicely enough.

We left Animal Kingdom around 3:00 and our adventure with the Disney transport system began. To get to the Magic Kingdom, you have to take a Disney bus to the transportation center where you take the Monorail over to either Epcot or The Magic Kingdom. It's very convenient but it does take some time to maneuver it all.

Since everyone now had the Park Hopper tickets, it was a snap getting into The Magic Kingdom, where we spent the next several hours going on a grand total of two rides, this because there were so many people there and wait times were very long (i.e., almost two hours for Splash Mountain) with the Fast Pass Return times being a lot longer than we wanted to stay at the park (8:00 - 9:00).

Natalie and Zack on Main Street in The Magic Kingdom

So, we ended up going on The Haunted Mansion (which had a wait time of 45 minutes, almost unheard of!) and Pirates of the Caribbean (only about 1/2 hour). It was fun, but, we were all drooping a bit so we decided we'd return B&E the next am to hit some of the major rides.

Mrs. B

Monday, February 20, 2012

About Lily


She’s the epitome of the word “feisty”.

We never call her Lily. She’s Pee Pee (a nickname she garnered early on when she fell into the toilet).

It’s hard to tell who irritates her the most (and we’re included in the bunch).

The most brave and adventuresome of our brood. She’s the first to come out and investigate new people, new things. Always.

Photographs do not do her justice; she usually “turns out” resembling an owl.

Will get up on the bed in the middle of the night and chew on my hair.

Is the best car rider of the cats. Hardly ever makes a sound; just enjoys the ride.

Squeals like a little girl when she’s pissed off.

Is not much of a cuddler except for when she’s being groomed. Then, she wants lots of love and reassurance.

Is definitely daddy’s girl.

There is NO doubt who is REALLY in charge around this house.

Has lovely caramel colored eyes and always has.

Her front right paw is a light tan color. It’s the only way her foster mother could tell her and Pete apart when they were first rescued.

You never know where you’ll find her. Inside a box, or a suitcase or up on a cabinet and, yes, once even inside the dishwasher.

Routinely eats too much/too fast and promptly barfs it back up. Known as “The Pee Pee Special”!

Has orange spots on her coat.

Will sit behind us on a chair and climb up our backs.

When she scurries and runs from place to place, she looks a lot like a little furry football!

Can routinely be found hiding amongst the plants and flowers on our lanai.

Is way too cool to chase geckoes, let alone, eat one. Ick.

Doesn’t like any of the other cats except maybe her brother Pete (and then only on occasion!)

Totally ignores the dog.

Our diva.

Mrs. B

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

About Pete


Always looks like he’s in a grouchy mood. Come to think of it, he always ACTS as though he’s in a grouchy mood, too!

Has paws bigger than some people’s snow shoes.

Was actually the runt of his litter (which is really, really hard to believe!)

Typical of male Maine Coons, he’s had a heart murmur since kitten-hood. Luckily, it’s stayed at a Level Two since it was diagnosed.

Loves to sleep in the bathroom sink.

Is partial to Temptation cat treats; won’t eat any other brand.

With his long mane and ruff, he definitely resembles a lion, although he lumbers about like a big old bear.

Has a snaggle-tooth.

Is extremely persistent with the head butting when he wants attention.

Hisses. A LOT!

Growls. A LOT!

Stands to reason, then; one of his nicknames is “Piss Pot Pete”!

Has been known to take a swipe at (fill in the blank) when he’s irritated.

As macho as he seems to be, he loves feathers.

Likes to jump up onto the bed right at the time when you’re ready to make the bed.

Although he doesn’t seem to like her that much, he sleeps cuddled up to Lucy quite frequently.

Routinely drinks water by scooping it out of the bowl with his paw.

Does not like his “clumpies” (huge mats of fur) messed with!

His former name was “Scooby”. Can you imagine?

He’s SO soft.

“Talks” more than any of the other cats (even if it does sound as though he’s constantly complaining).

Has a low, rumbling motor.

Is extremely graceful, given his size.

Has freckles on his face.

Is a lap cat.

Ares is totally in love with him. Pete tries to avoid Ares about 90% of the time.

Has some voracious knock-down drag out fights with his litter-mate, Lily.

Is fairly gentle and paternalistic with Athena and Apollo.

Scares Lucy to death.

Despite all of his ill-temper and grouchiness, he is most certainly a majestic looking cat!

Our Lion.

Mrs. B

Saturday, February 11, 2012

About Lucy


MUST eat the olives out of our martinis. Every single night. (And, she knows when one is still left in the glass).

Possesses better eyelashes than most women I know.

Is a total bed-hog (and she snores, too).

Will do anything for a hot dog.

Doesn’t like most other dogs but gets along with the other dogs in her family.

Loves children.

Adores all of her grandparents.

Has a terrible habit of jumping on people but also has an amazing ability to realize she can’t jump on people whom she may knock down.

Absolutely could not stand being in a crate; tried to chew her way out of it each time we put her in there (but had no problem with wearing a bucket on her head for six weeks!)

Thinks going to the vet and kennel is great fun.

Likes to play, but won’t share her toys. The only person I ever saw her willingly give her ball to was our nephew Kendal. He was three at the time.

Used to throw up in the car but no longer and is now a fantastic road trip companion.

Can hold her pee and poop for over 12 hours, if need be.

Has a smile wider and whiter than Farrah Fawcett’s.

Never met a stranger.

Sleeps on her back with her legs in the air.

Has a tattoo of a smiley face on her belly (we did NOT do this to her!)

Loves her “slumber parties” with Cailyn.

Never has learned to properly heel but she can sit, shake, lie down, and roll-over with the best of ‘em!

Is afraid of Pete.

Loves Ares.

Tolerates Lily and Athena.

Taught Apollo to sit.

She’s a total Blondie.

Will never stop believing that, one of these days, she just may catch a squirrel.

Hates the swimming pool yet Loves the ocean.

Whines and cries and carries on whenever mom or dad leaves the house.

Every day is a good day (so long as there is food involved).

Will slink out of the room if there are any disagreements going on.

Digs cigar smoke.

She will kiss you, whether you want a kiss or not. She just can’t control her licker!

Is covered with scars from her multiple injuries and surgeries but she’s still the most beautiful dog in the world to us.

Mrs. B

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Where's My Phone?

Another excellent source of free-write fodder are dreams. I didn't sleep well last night and, as such, haven't had a lot of energy today. In between loads of laundry, I decided to take a quick cat nap. My sleep was once again fitful, resulting in this extremely creepy dream.

Mrs. B

I am by myself in what seems to be my mom and dad’s prior house in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. It’s that large in any case, with a similar layout, even if it is not the exact same house.

I wander downstairs to the basement area because I hear water dripping. Is it ever; it turns out that it is pouring out of the top of the bathroom door jamb! I cannot go into the bathroom that way, obviously, so I run around to another bathroom, getting totally drenched along the way. I stand there in abject frustration because I don’t know what to do about the water that is now all over the place. I run outside a sliding glass door and roam around the outside of the house muttering to myself, “What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to DO?” I’m irritated more than anything; where did my mother and sister go? Why did they leave me with this mess? As I go around the house, I notice that there is a small crowd of brightly dressed people mingling around what appears to be a Merry Go Round. They are, I see, decked out in costumes of a Renaissance-era sort. Some wear masks, some are small children.

I make my way back to the sliding glass door and step inside. All of a sudden, there is a man standing behind me, not quite through the sliding glass door. He is not the type of man you’d think to be frightened of, in fact, he looks quite silly. He is a bit rotund and he is dressed all in white; a basic men’s undershirt, BVDs and tube socks. He also has a white half mask a la the Phantom strapped on to his face. His hair is an unruly mop of sweaty blond curls. He has the overall demeanor of an overweight yet threatening ill-dressed cherub.

He says to me, genially enough, “Well, well, what is this all about?” but his actions are menacing as he pushes me away from the door and gains entry to the house. I see him looking about the basement area, glancing here and there as he draws the correct conclusion that I am alone in the house. I move away from him, intent on reaching the staircase before he realizes what I am up to. He notices a bed peeking out of the open door to one of the rooms and tries to steer me towards it. Knowing full well his intent, I start to call and whistle for my dog Lucy, who is slumbering somewhere upstairs.

“Lucy! Lucy!” I shout, then, give a weak whistle. “C’mon Lucy, come here!” He pauses, cocking his head, wondering, I am sure, whether there really IS a Lucy in the house. Apparently, he decides this is a ruse on my part as he begins in earnest to get me to the bedroom. I am wondering myself if Lucy is going to come save me when I finally hear the faint jingle of her tags. I keep calling as he keeps dragging. Finally, he hears her, too. He pauses again, pondering. This time, however, as Lucy comes clambering down the stairs, there is no question of her existence, and, with him not knowing what type of dog Lucy is, he thankfully, thankfully, decides to exit the house before making her acquaintance.

I meet Lucy half-way up the staircase. She continues on down into the room, her hackles obviously raised. I go on up up the stairs, calling her to me as I go, in a rush to get the door shut and locked.

After we are both in the hallway, I slam the door closed and fumble for the lock. To my dismay, the regular lock had vanished, replaced by one of those rattle trap and ineffective slide locks you sometimes encounter in the bathroom of a dive bar. Not only is the lock extremely shim-sham, I can’t figure out where the latch slides into the hole because there IS no matching hole in the adjoining wall. I try for a few moments to wedge it into the cement, but this was obviously a futile task.

Abandoning the lock and now even more frantic, I began searching for my cell phone so that I can call 911. I run from room to room, finding every other electrical device in the house but not my cell phone. I am thinking that I should have left Lucy down in the basement to deal with the caped cherub should he return when I stumble and fall, breaking off the right lens of my already fairly worthless glasses. For a moment, I stand in total despair, holding the broken lens in my hand. Shaking off the paralysis that threatens to keep me rooted to the spot, I take off once again in search of my elusive cell phone, calling “Where’s my phone? Where’s my phone? Where’s my phone?” over and over as I go.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Nigel: Six Years Gone

Six years ago today, we lost our beloved Nigel. A lot has happened in six years, to be sure. One thing that has not happened is that I have not ceased to miss him.

In honor of one of the best buddies I've ever had in my life, here is the poem I finally managed to write one year after his death.

Still missing you, Nigel.

Nigel’s Ears

Every so often
I’ll still find your hair
a whisper of a reminder
that you were once here

Then I close my eyes
blink back tears
and wish I could once again
kiss your silky ears

I keep the towel you died upon
tucked in a special place
as I do a whisker that once
was on your cherished face

I keep your favorite Buggy-toy
safely on my nightstand
(for a long time after you left me
I slept with it clutched within my hand)

When my sadness is such
that it rends me apart
I seek your precious memory
which has never left my heart

It’s been a year today
my heart’s begun to mend
aided by the certainty that
one day I’ll see you again

When my time comes
I will have no fear
for I will stoop and scoop you up
and kiss your silky ears

Dedicated to my best pal
Nigel T.
January 19, 1991-February 6, 2006
I’ll never stop missing you, Buggy.