Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wind Damage II

Oh. My. G*D. I just saw our late friend Marie's house, which is around the corner from where Joey D lives. We were driving Joey home tonight and he described for us what kind of wind damage was done in front of Marie's house, but it had to be seen to be believed. First of all, the enormous tree that had been in in front of her house is completely down, and blocking access to the front of the house. Mind you, houses on that street have a lawn in front and are set WAY back from the curb, so for an obstacle that starts at the curb to be able to block that much area, that's one very large obstacle. It was a VERY large tree. Second, half of the equally huge tree belonging to the next-door neighbor also came down. Just the half-tree alone would have been a formidable amount of wreckage to deal with, never mind the grand total of debris on Marie's (and both her neighbors') properties.

Wow. OMG. My mind is boggled. All I can say is that if both the passing of Marie, who was 98 when she passed away, and all this damage both had to happen, then I'm glad the damage happened when she was no longer here to see it. She would have had an absolute nervous breakdown if this had happened while she was there.

Meanwhile, even as I type, PECO is trying its darnedest to replace a displaced wooden light pole that came down. We didn't lose electric during the storm (as far as I know -- I wasn't home until it was over), but the area around 20th and Snyder can't say the same.

And I'm glad that we walked mini in the park around Stephen Girard's mansion last weekend, when everything was still standing. Turns out that was my first and last trip there with the park entirely intact (and shaded... sigh), because there are multiple trees down there, too.

And Moyamensing Avenue, of which I posted pictures shortly after the storm, looks WORSE instead of better. All the downed trees and limbs are now piled in the grass strips that line the middle of the street. With everything gathered all together like that, it appears there's even MORE debris than I originally thought.

Just wow. I can sincerely say that I've never, ever seen this much damage from any weather event in my lifetime, and I know I've only seen a small fraction of it.

Thank God we don't get weather like this on a regular basis. I feel even sorrier than I did before for people who have to put up with hurricanes on a semi-regular basis. I can't imagine hours on end of wind even worse than what came through here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Note Stanley's upside-downy head! :-)

Mini and Stanley... Note the upside-downy head on Mr. Stan. :-)

Mini and Stanley

Stanley is fine with letting Mini lie down making contact with him. :-)

Penrose Diner

Well, CRUD. The megastorm appears to have cost South Philly a landmark. It appears that the top of the Penrose Restaurant sign, the part that showed a chef with the word "Penrose", has had to be removed. Now the top of what's left of the sign says "Restaurant".

CRUD, for multiple reasons. First of all, the sign has been a landmark for eons.

Second of all, I thought the sign looked somewhat twisted following the storm, which is one reason why I wondered aloud and in print about the possibility that we had a tornado, not straight-line winds. I specifically wanted to get a good look at the sign in tomorrow's daylight. Instead, tonight I saw the same cherrypicker that was in my picture of the sign earlier tonight, hauling what appeared to be the top of the sign toward the dumpster beside the restaurant.

But it was a hard to really see what was going on at the distance from which I was observing, and no way was I going to walk all the way over there at this ridiculous hour of the AM just to get a better look. I'll have to investigate in the morning, camera in hand. If the removed section of the sign is still there, I'll be taking some photos.

It would be nice if the removed part of the sign would somehow be salvageable enough to repair and replace. Sadly, I have my doubts on that score.

Crud. Freaking storm.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

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This one didn't break; it was uprooted.
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I'm reasonably sure this is TWO trees, not one
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Banner broken off the light pole
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Repairs being done on the Penrose sign
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News van checking up on the damage reports
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Notice in the far background, the tree lying across a green truck
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More Moyamensing Ave.
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Moyamensing Avenue damage
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Note the big branch hanging down -- it's broken.
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Storm Damage
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Storm damage in South Philly

South Philly street blocked by limbs here, and two whole trees are down, farther along this block. One of said trees fell on a truck.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Docs

Since I had that frowny-face blood test in December, I've been to three specialists in the quest to straighten out some of the numbers and keep 'em straight. I've since been discharged by Specialist 2, since he did the endoscopy/colonoscopy and all is well on those fronts.

Specialist 1 had a followup appointment with me today. He's pleased with the blood numbers that I presented him with. The meds are working. They don't resolve the underlying issue (that's Specialist 3's purview, now that the issue's been IDed). But the meds will keep my numbers from going to the dogs again, and keep me out of the ER, which is a good thing.

However, I have a followup appointment with my family doc on Thursday, and HE sent me for different blood tests. Let's just say I don't think he'll be as pleased with HIS tests' results as Specialist 1 was with his. I've got a couple of numbers that are creeping quietly out of the normal range, and we'll have to work on getting them to creep back in where they belong. Don't be surprised if I announce in the near future (like Thursday, lol) that I've got dietary restrictions to follow. I hope that'll be enough to remedy the issue, as the numbers are not THAT far off-kilter.

*%&

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Girard

Today, due to the heat, Mark and I found a new place to walk Mini. I'd never been to the park surrounding Stephen Girard's mansion before, but I've seen it from the bus and I knew it has a lot of shade.

It has so many trees that even when the temperature is hot, the park itself is a bit cooler than the surrounding area because the pavement has more shade than sun. There's not much to be done about the temperature when the heat reaches summer-like levels, but at least you don't have the asphalt and the sidewalk absorbing the sun's heat and throwing it back at you when you're trying to walk.

Needless to say, I'll be keeping that site in mind as a possible dog-walking location during the summer. I'll have to do SOMEthing creative, because Mini the Wee needs her exercise but not at the expense of risking heat exhaustion.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Captain and Stanley

Captain (l) and Stanley. Gotta have equal face time for all the fuzz kids! :-)

Happy Mini

Mini is all happy after playing her favorite game, sniffing out the hidden treats I toss into the grass. :-) She'd play it all day, if I'd let her.

She sets out after those snacks with such alacrity, I guess she can be called a treat-seeking missile. ;-)There's no question, Chihuahuas are scent hounds.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fun stuff

I just got back from attending JFM's concert with Karla and the third of the three Donnas. (Besides me, there's the Other Donna in MA and the Other Other Donna who lives in Philly).

Ahem. Where was I? Concert. Right. So JFM had a solo, which was fun. I tried to get a pic of him with my camera phone, and I emailed it to him at the intermission. I hope it came out good (it can be hard to tell, with a phone screen, how clear the images are when they're full-sized).

I also glanced over at the interpreter when I could, because he's one of the best I've ever seen at converting poetic and lyrical English into ASL. And let me tell you, that's a HARD thing to do.

Now I'm trying to un-melt. Dagnab, it's freaking hot out there. It's not supposed to be 82 freaking degrees outside at 11 freaking PM in the freaking SPRING. I hope to gosh that the summer doesn't turn out to be as unseasonably hot as the spring has been. If it is, I forsee a lot of walks with the dog happening in the PetSmart where it's got air conditioning.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Celebration of Misty

Today, June 11, is a date that's dear to my heart. On June 11, 1976, I got my first cat ever. Her name was Misty, and she surely ranks among the top few felines to ever have walked the earth. I wrote the following appreciation of her on what would have been her 20th birthday, in 1996. In the ensuing years, many things have changed, including the fact that her two immediate successors mentioned in the text, Melody and Harmony, have joined her at the RB.

Bear with me today by reading this, and see why I feel so blessed that I should have had one of the most incredible cats in history for a Soul Cat. Written words can never do her, or the connection we had, full justice, but I've done my best. Misty is in my heart for always.

Donna
--------
Twenty years ago, on April 24, 1976, the world became a better place. That's the day that a small puff of grey-and-white fur, soon to be known as "Misty", arrived on the face of the earth. For the next 13 1/2 years, she delighted everyone who knew her, not just with her beauty, but with her cleverness and her friendliness. She went to the Rainbow Bridge six and a half years ago, and although I miss her to this day, this post is not intended to focus on mourning her loss. I am posting this to celebrate her life.

It's a miracle that I ever got a cat in the first place. When I was a child, I was not allowed to have a pet, because my mom was extremely afraid of animals. I wanted a dog, but that was out of the question, because Mom's phobia of dogs was worse than her fear of anything else. I wasn't really a "cat person" at that time, although I liked ALL animals. By the time I was 10, I'd started giving lunchmeat to every neighborhood stray cat that I happened upon; this was as close as I could come to actually *having* a pet. The problem was that I always got attached to these cats and would beg my parents to let me keep them; the answer was always "No". When I was 11, I got very, VERY attached to a magnificent tuxedo-cat stray, and when I was not allowed to keep HIM, I cried so much, for so many days in a row, that I literally got sick. It must've been the trips to the doctor, the missed school days, and the 104 degree fever from this episode that started to change my dad's mind, because he was not a "cat person" either. He'd grown up with a dog, and would've preferred getting a puppy, not a kitten. However, after I got sick, he started trying to talk my mother into allowing me to have a cat. It took him over a year to convince her, but finally, it worked! My parents agreed in the spring of 1976 that, at the end of the school year, I could get a kitten. I was 12 years old.

I borrowed every single book from our neighborhood library branch that contained info about cat care, and read them until I could recite the info in my sleep. :) During this time, my friends' next door neighbor's cat gave birth to kittens, which would turn 7 weeks old on the day after school let out in June. We went to look at the litter and choose a kitten. Ever since I wasn't allowed to take in that stray tuxedo cat the year before,I'd been promising myself that I'd choose a tuxedo cat over any other color pattern. There were 3 female kittens available, and two of them were black-and-white tuxedo cats! I was delighted. The third kitten was grey and white, and the people whose cat it was made it clear that their favorite of the litter - possibly of ALL her litters, EVER - was the grey one. They felt there was just Something About That Kitten. After spending time with all three kittens, I astonished myself by agreeing with them. Though I'd walked in with my heart set on getting a tuxedo cat, I walked out agreeing that the grey kitten was The One For Me.

Picture a cat with incredibly soft fur and a solid dark grey body (except in bright sunlight, when dark-on-dark grey tabby markings were visible). Imagine that her chin, throat, and tummy are brilliant white, her face and legs have light-on-dark grey tabby markings. Visualize a cat with gold eyes - not yellow, but a nearly-metallic GOLD in color. Combine these features with an intelligent, affectionate personality and an ever-ready loud purrrrrr, and you've got a good idea what Misty was like.

Athletic she was not; one of my friends described Misty as "a stuffed animal that purrs". She had no shyness around new people; in her experience, humans' main goal in life was to dote on her. One of her early nicknames, "Misty-poo", eventually got shortened to "Poo". One of her favorite games was to catch playing cards that I "frisbeed" at her. She used to sit in the front window and "play" with the fingers tapping on the outside of the glass, but she gave up on this activity after she got over-excited and rolled right off the windowsill one day. Everything made her purr, such as when I'd fit our profiles together and tell her, "I put my nose on you". She loved when I sang to her; sometimes I'd take a song with the word "you" in the lyrics and change it to "Poo". She loved that most of all - she would purr even louder every time I did it. :) My favorite of the songs that I re-worded for her was a verse from "Master of the House" from _Les_Miserables_:

Misty of the House,
Pretty little Poo,
Cute and grey and pampered and a fuzzball, too!
Stretching with a yawn,
Sleeping on the bed,
All she has to do all day is purr and shed!
And she loves to watch the birdies,
And she's never seen a mouse,
Fast enough to catch a cold is the Misty of the house!

Misty, you were my first cat, and to me you're the First Cat. By the time you left, you'd been with me for more than half of my life. I raised you and grew up with you, and every cat I have after you will be adopted, not only because you helped me discover that I'm truly a "cat person", but also to honor your memory. When you went to the Rainbow Bridge, part of me went with you, but you left part of yourself with me in return. There'll never be another one like you, which makes me feel all the more blessed that you were my soul-cat. One of the best things I ever did was decide that the grey kitten was The One For Me. You left behind so many wonderful memories that the world is still a better place today, even though it did diminish a bit when you left us. However, on the very day you left us, the Rainbow Bridge became a better place. I'll see you when I get there.

Purrs, hugs, and kisses to you from Donna, and the two Little Sisters adopted after you, Melody and Harmony

P.S. I put my nose on you.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Counting down the intermission till Overtime!

Counting down intermission till OVERTIME! AAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

Aack! Eek! Watermonsters!

Most of the time, the cats and the dog don't interact beyond the occasional glance at one another. In the cats' cases, sometimes said glance is filled with puzzlement, as if they're still trying to decipher what planet Mini came from. (Which is one reason why I laugh into my hand a lot these days. ;-) ) They just have no way to read this tiny little creature whose scent and body language differ so widely from their own.

But one time that the cats willingly approach the dog is immediately after we've returned from a walk. Captain and Stanley have zero interest in experiencing The Out firsthand, thank goodness, but they can't contain their curiosity when Mini enters the house bearing the various scents of the neighborhood. So when Mini and I come in the door, usually one or both cats is on hand to give Mini a sniff.

Today was the first time since Mini joined our family in April that I had to take Mini out for a walk/bathroom break while it was full-on raining. I took an umbrella out with us, but there was just no way to keep the dog and me entirely dry while Mini took care of necessities and I picked up what needed removal.

When we went back into the house, Captain was right there for his customary sniff of the dog. But he wasn't prepared for the surprise she gave him. She shook herself vigorously, sending droplets of moisture in every direction. Captain was no more than an inch away from her, so he bore the full brunt of the flying spray of rainwater.

Poor kitty. He was SHOCKED and APPALLED, to say the least. He backed up several steps, in pure horror, before running away. Between his fuzzy ears, he must have been thinking, "Aack! Eek! WATERMONSTERS! There's WATER coming off that bewildering little Martian creature! It's a trap! It's an outrage! I didn't know she had the Power of Watermonsters!"

I really felt bad for Captain. Honest. Which is why I hope he was too busy evading the dog's aura of water to notice that I was laughing into my hand again. ;-)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Birdies

The other day, when I was walking Mini along the border of the old Naval Hospital, I heard a birdcall of a bluejay, a species I hadn't previously seen along that walking path. I turned to look.

Nope, no dice. It was a mockingbird. Well, now I have proof positive that they imitate other birds' calls. ;-) I also have secondary proof that bluejays are in the general vicinity, because in order to mimic the call, it must have heard the call somewhere previously.

And while we're on the topic of birds, I have suspected for a while now that there is an active robin's nest in our tree. The good news is, now I can prove it. The bad news is, that's because there is a tiny hatchling's body on the ground. Pity. :-( I hope they had other eggs that hatched safely in the same clutch.

Happier news about tiny birds: I posted the link to a webcam showing a hummingbird's nest a few weeks ago. There were two viable eggs in that clutch, and while one appears to have been lost when a crow attacked the nest, the other chick was found unharmed on the ground and replaced by the person whose yard the nest is in. That second chick fledged a few days ago. I love a happy ending.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Darn ad!

I'm getting irked with the TV ads for a device that emits a hypersonic noise to discourage dogs from barking. They show dogs barking during the commercial. Not coincidentally, the ONLY time Mini barks in the house is while that ad is on. I mute the TV if I can, but if I'm in another room when the advertisement comes on, I'm out of luck and Mini winds up barking at the television.

I don't know whether I should complain to the TV station or the makers of the device, but I'd really appreciate it if they'd stop annoying my dog with this flipping commercial.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The FINALS are here! Even the ice says so. :-)

The ice has the Finals logo in it. I am SO PSYCHED!

The STANLEY CUP FINALS are upon us!

The Wach Center is done up to celebrate the STANLEY CUP FINALS!

NetworkedBlogs.com

I just added my blog into a database at NetworkedBlogs.com. If you scroll down the page, you'll see the widget on the left where you can follow the blog.

I am curious to see how this will affect readership.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Silly Pup!

I discovered today that I need to find a new way to give treats to the cats. Or else I have to use a word that the cats will learn to recognize, but that the dog doesn't know.

See, the cats have one mealtime, in the morning, but Mini has two meals, morning and evening. From the time I got Mini, to keep the cats from responding badly when the dog gets fed and the cats don't, I'd feed her and then give the kitties a few treats while she ate.

It all went well, until today, but I made the error of using the same word, "Treats!", to announce snacks for both the dog AND the cats.

So today, as usual I fed the dog. But NOT as usual, when I called the cats with "Treats!", Mini abandoned the bowl of dog food and kept popping up like a little canine Jack-in-the-box to try and snarf the treats I was giving the cats.

The end result: two cats retiring to the living room, away from the bouncing dog, and one laughing human. I didn't give her the cats' treats, since I didn't want to reward this new behavior, but I sure did LOL. Silly pup.