Prayer Request: Peep

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Our cat Peep seems a bit under the weather today, and she’s been having trouble getting up the stairs to the bedroom. She and Robbie are getting elderly.

Peep is Patty’s little shadow, and I don’t mind carrying her up the stairs if that’s where she wants to be. Not everybody understands this, but some of you do: our cats are our loved ones. Not much left of our family, and those who still live, all live far away. I can’t manage a four-hour drive on the highway anymore.

So please mention Peep in your prayers. We need the love our cats give us. Pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

‘Sanity Break: Your Pet Mouse Loves You’ (2017)

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How can something as big as a human have a loving relationship with something as tiny as a mouse? But ask anyone who’s ever had pet mice: it happens.

Sanity Break: Your Pet Mouse Loves You

But good heavens! What must this be like, from the mouse’s point of view? Just imagine–or rather try to imagine, because I don’t think we can do it–what we must look like to a mouse. How can they even process a look at a human face? And yet they do! And they do it very well. Any mouse can read your facial expression.

Of course I’m not talking about wild mice that might be carrying disease. My nicest mice were born right here, children and grandchildren of pet mice.

‘Are Cyber-Friends Real Friends?’ (2017)

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If you’re new here, you may be wondering what you’ve gotten into. Like, is this one of those awful blogs where everybody always tries to one-up each other?

We like to think we have a safe harbor here, a place of refuge, a gathering of friends. We may not be able to sit on the porch together, but we can pray for one another.

Are Cyber-Friends Real Friends?

Yeah, I know, I’ve gone all sappy on you. But I don’t care. You can be sappy when you’re among friends.

Memory Lane: A Mad Libs Christmas Party

Mad Libs – The World's Greatest Word Game

I don’t know why, but this happy memory washed over me this morning.

Family Christmas party, years ago, everybody still alive and healthy, the whole bunch of us crammed into Grandpa’s living room–to this day I don’t know how we fit. And just for the heck of it, we played some Mad Libs.

If you’ve never played this crazy game, well, it’s easy. You have a short story full of blanks, and the only thing the players know is vague clues to help them choose a word to go into the blank–like “noun,” “adjective,” “exclamation,” etc. All they do is supply a word for each blank.

And so you wind up with sentences like “Mikey hiccuped all the way to the moron‘s office and then asked to shame the bloated but still prehensile senator.

The story I read to my family at the party was about bird-watching, but by the rules of Mad Libs, they didn’t know that. I asked for nouns and adjectives and other details, and they provided them.

That’s how we wound up with a “ruling junta” in Baltimore pursuing a “yellow-bellied crotch sucker.” And other equally silly formulae.

And oh, did everybody laugh! I thought my mother was going to plotz. We laughed till tears ran down our cheeks.

I wish I could invite some of you over for Mad Libs. I could guarantee a good time!

Robbie (the Cat) Update

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I had to take Robbie to the vet this morning for blood work, etc., and to check to see if her thyroid medicine is working. We won’t have the results for a day or two, but for the time being we’re very, very happy with news we didn’t have to wait for–

She’s gained back two of the pounds she’d lost.

Poor kitty was turning into a bag of bones, so they changed the dosage and we took pains to feed her more. We must have done something right, because she’s got two pounds back. Percentage-wise, that’s a good increase.

Thank you, Lord.

We Gave Ourselves a Fantod

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I’m sitting at the table the other night, finishing my supper, facing our living room window. It’s a winter night and the wind has sprung up.

And outside–! Out there, someone is bobbing around, trying to look into our apartment. Holy cow. I mean, that can’t be good! World’s full of crazies, isn’t it?

But then I figured out what it was that I was looking at, and I called my wife over so she could sit in my chair and see what I saw. She saw it, all right.

We have a plastic jack-o’-lantern hanging from a tree outside, and the wind combined with a trick of the light made it look like some stalker in a hoodie. Maybe we’ve heard too many stories about that.

It’s always nice when a sharp little scare turns out to be some silly thing that can’t possibly do you any harm.

Wish the nooze was like that.

Our Global Warming Snow and Ice

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We’ve been trying for a week to get Patty’s car out of the ice. Unable to drive, she’s been getting cabin fever. Our neighbor, Josh, shoveled some away the other day and said he thought we might be able to move it today.

Well, I tried. The car got stuck again. I shoveled some more, and then some more–and voila! She finally broke loose. I took it around the block and parked it on the street so Patty could drive us to the supermarket.

Coming home, I suggested we park on the street again, so she could walk on the sidewalk instead of an uneven expanse of frozen snow, and then I’d return the car to our regular parking space–but no, she didn’t think we had to go to all that trouble.

It turned out that we should have. She parked the car all right, but couldn’t manage walking the terrain. She had to try to, though. I followed close behind, so I could catch her if she fell. The ice there is very tricky and I fell there the other day.

So of course she did fall, and off to the side where I couldn’t reach her. “I told you to fall backwards,” I helpfully reminded her. Getting her back on her feet, amid all that slippery ice, was no treat.

She’s going to be sore tomorrow, but she’s all right now.

I’ve loved snow all my life, but too much is too much.

Memory Lane: Plastic Skyscraper Kit

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Nobody likes to go outside in freezing rain. A day like today brings back memories of a plastic skyscraper kit my brother used to have. It was nowhere near as fancy as the one in the picture above, but it had hundreds of pieces and it certainly sufficed.

My brother and I used to try to construct buildings that would use all the pieces in the kit. That would keep us busy for a while. You started with a composite wood base and built up from there. It had room for two skyscrapers, which we could connect with walkways. By and by the building would become inhabited by dinosaurs, cavemen, and wild animals, and adventures would follow.

The pieces interlocked, no glue involved, you could always take a building apart and make another one. That was the only way you could get the Brontosaurus out. Hours of fun.

Lego still exists, so there must be kids out there who have the attention span required to build an elaborate plastic skyscraper. Such a peaceful, soothing game to play! Grandma used to hope that one or both of us would grow up to be engineers who built bridges. She had to settle for plastic skyscrapers. And so did we–but they sufficed. They did indeed.

Robbie Update

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We’ve finally heard from the vet (no one was able to get to the office yesterday). Robbie’s blood work is in. Her numbers are a little better, but she’s not out of the woods yet: we must slightly increase the dosage of her thyroid medicine. She’s 14 years old, and more dramatic treatment is out of the question.

But she still likes to run up the stairs full-tilt after using the litter box, and in most other ways seems her normal self. Fun is still fun, as far as she’s concerned. But she needs to put some weight back on.

Holy smoke–it is quarter to two already?

I wish I had a sled.

The Little Lost Otter

Now don’t freak out, anybody! I’ll tell you right up front–the story has a very happy ending.

It looks like otters live in family groups featuring three generations. Gee, we humans used to do that. My family was like that. We lived in different houses, but spent so much of our time together, it was just about the same as if it were all one big house. I miss that.