it was a quiet saturday until...

Amy arrived at the Gorilla with three boys.  17 minutes after entering the house, the loft had been transformed into some sort of military base.

As I approached the top of the steps I see this:

Looks like Drews friend, Nick, has been captured








I think they told Gabe he was going to be captured next! He looks terrified.

Earlier in the day I saw a different form of wildlife outside of the screened porch







I'm still trying to decide which form of life is more wild... a bat or 7 and 11 year old boys!

A pot of black bean soup is simmering for lunch.  I'm off to give it a stir.  Have a great rest of the day!


sara comes for a visit

Several weeks ago, my niece Sara emailed me to see if during her Spring break from college she could come to visit the Gorilla for the first time.  The timing was perfect for not only me, but Sara's Aunt Lynn as well.  This visit, as it turned out, would also be a good distraction from the loss of Foster Kitty.

Sara and Lynn arrived Tuesday March 9 and the fun began.  During their visit, we shopped, watched movies, watched sports, lounged around, ate good food, Lynn crocheted, I made OWH cards, Sara Skyped with friends... it was great!

Sara's 22nd birthday also occurred during her visit.  This called for a ride into the "big city" of Christiansburg, VA to shop at the Mall and have Mexican for lunch.


What better way to end a day at the River than with a Smores? Well, a "mock" Smores. Since we don't have a real wood burning fire pit (and it was raining) Sara made Smores the next best way -- in the microwave!  It was just a little messy by the looks of her face. How she kept it off her sweatshirt is beyond me!

David made his way up Friday afternoon to see Sara before she headed back to KY Saturday morning.  David and I stayed the rest of the weekend and returned home Monday.

I was glad to get home to my pups and they were extremely happy to see me.  Hopefully the weather in VA will soon start to warm up and I can take the dogs with me next time I go. 

Next on the agenda is lots of list making to get organized for future trips to the Outer Banks, Kentucky, Sunset Beach, squeezing in time at the Gorilla and hopefully some Family Night dinners!

Thanks for reading. I'll keep you posted on what's cookin'...


the cat that lived under the bed

Foster Kitty.  That's what I named her after David finally let me bring her in the house. Our German Shepherd at the time, Cybil, found her behind the grill on our deck. This was 16 years ago and for a couple of weeks David stood firm about not letting the cat into our home.

I relocated her from the backyard to the front porch where I fed her and loved on her every day until finally David agreed that she could come in the house. At least this way she would be safe from having kittens if by chance she'd not been fixed. 

Turns out she hadn't been fixed and the vet guestimated that she was already 3 years old.  She was hungry when Cybil found her, but mostly she wanted affection.  And, it turned out she really liked Cybil.

Something happened after the move from one house to another and after the passing of Cybil. Foster became a recluse and truly lived mostly under the bed, especially if we had company.  My nephews could never remember her name, so she was always, "the cat that lives under the bed."

A little over 2 years after Cybil's passing, we did get another German, Jesse, and it was obvious to me she had a new friend.  But she still wasn't very social to humans. That is until the tumor.

In August of 2006, I elected to have a tumor removed from her tail that had gotten out of control.  Recovery was grueling for her and us. She had to be confined for what seemed like forever.  It must have been at least 4 weeks. 

The only comfortable way to confine her was to use one of the dog's crates.  They are big crates and could house a bed, food and litter box. The only place to set this up was in the spare bedroom.  Who could have guessed this was the best possible thing.  Being confined, yet in the traffic flow, helped Foster see that we were not going to hurt her.

This changed her completely. A new kitty was born. She became social! Friends and family couldn't believe the transformation. She was no longer "the cat that lived under the bed."

A month or so ago I noticed the cancer had returned to the same spot on her tail.  The vet had warned me this could happen.  So I wasn't surprised when it showed back up.  What did surprise me is how aggressive it became.  A small "lump" almost tripled in size in a matter of 2-3 weeks.

When the tumor returned, I decided that at her age (at least 18 or 19) I wouldn't take drastic measures and would wait for her to tell me when she was ready.  This weekend she let me know she was ready.  Ready to be done with the tumor and the additional problems it had created. Ready for me to let go.

The events of the morning were very peaceful.  I will miss her.  I'm thankful she's not in pain any longer.

Rest in peace, Foster Kitty.


weekend at the gorilla

It's been way too long since David and I have been able to get to Villa Gorilla for even a few days.  We have either been committed to doing other things, out of town on business or the weather in Virginia just wasn't going to be suitable for us to head up there.

This past weekend not only were we able to go up, so were a couple of friends, Marc and Dawn.  It was a very laid back weekend with a little bit of fun "work" thrown in. 

David's business partner's wife, Debbie owns New River Retreat.  It's a vacation cabin/house rental company that has several properties on the New River. She has cabins suited for honeymooners to family reunions and everything in between. Anyway, New River Retreat (NRR) has come out with a line of tee-shirts and jackets and she wanted David to get some good pictures of them on a model... we made Marc be the model.  He was a very good sport about it.

Friday afternoon, Dawn and I got to talking about the cards I make for Operation Write Home so I showed her some of the photos.  She started telling me about a charity function she's involved in and how she needed something to create and "e-vite" (electronic invitation).  The theme and attire of the function is "black and white." Here's what I came up with and she loved it.  She will fill in the event information on the right hand side then email it to all they'd like to invite. I hope it works for her!  I had fun coming up with this.

Marc and Dawn left Sunday around noon.  David and I took it easy the rest of the day.  I made some cards and he napped. This morning he headed into work early and I returned back to the "burg" this afternoon.

Next week I'm going to meet my sis-in-law, Lynn, and our niece Sara at the Gorilla for a few days.  Sara has only ever seen pictures of the Gorilla so I'm excited that she's coming for a visit.

Guess that's all for now.  Thanks for reading.  I'll keep you posted on what's cookin'...


home sweet home

After 9 days in Florida, we finally returned home late Saturday afternoon.  It felt like we'd been gone for 3 weeks.  It was nice to get home to some warmer weather!  Today has been absolutely gorgeous.

I made the decision this morning before Church to have an unscheduled Family Night dinner tonight. The family was excited about the prospect of having dinner together.  Little did they know it wasn't going to be one of my standard meals.

Having over-indulged the last 9 days (actually months), David and I decided it's time to get strict with ourselves about what we eat...again.  For a good long while now, we've slowly reverted to our old, carb-loaded, eating habits. I decided tonight was the night it stops.  I'm cooking low carb from now until... well, until I have to buy a size or two smaller pair of jeans!

When I am not in control of what food is being prepared, I will try and make smart decisions or watch my portion sizes. I can do this. I know I can. I have before. It was successful.  Seeing the results on the scales was exciting. (I'm trying to psyche myself up for this miserable, non-comfort food way of life)

Anyway, tonight's meal was Cheese & Chili Chops direct from the Atkins website. Actually it's a very tasty and easy dish to make. Along with that I fixed fresh green beans, grilled zucchini and for a little "crunch," I diced cucumbers in Italian dressing.  For the rest of the family, since they'd not been warned, I did roast a few red potatoes.

This exhilarating low carb meal was over about 2 hours ago.  I want French fries and a chocolate shake. And Oreo cookies. *sigh*

Thanks for reading.  I'll keep you posted on what's cookin'...