Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Vacation

Lola and I had planned a trip to go see Grandma since August, and the time had finally come! We had made arrangements for Scooter and Petie to be under the care of Chris and Kim so we knew the kitties were going to be SPOILED ROTTEN!!!

We celebrated our Christmas at home on the 21st, so Kimmi and Chris came over, and we had dinner and took turns opening our presents.

We also dressed up the kitties with ribbon, although they didn't seem too happy about it!

The next day we hopped the plane to head for Omaha!

Since the airline industry is cutting back it was no surprise that the flight we were scheduled to be on at 8pm had been cancelled. They did find us an ‘earlier’ flight at 5:30 pm but it was delayed and was not expected in Atlanta until just about the time our original flight was scheduled to leave…sigh….

But with all of that having been re-arranged, we arrived happily into Omaha at 12:30am on Dec 24. Yes, we were tired and bleary-eyed, but we were so excited to be there and to see snow and visit with my friend Dawn (we spent the night at her house) it was a few hours later that we finally decided sleep was a true necessity. Sleeping until 9am was wonderful, and we had picked up a rental car the night before so we were ready to embark on our trip to Iowa to see Mom/Grandma. I’m not sure how we lucked out at the car rental place, but all of their budget/cheapo cars were rented and all they had was some huge tank of a car (like a Mercury Grand Marquis or whatever) or an SUV to choose from. Of course, we claimed the SUV in a heartbeat!! (Lola and I have the dream that someday we will tell our problem child Cabrio car farewell and replace it with something much more reliable, but not until we have test driven everything out there and have done extensive research on each vehicle we like!)

As we drove to Iowa we noticed the amount of snow increased, so Lola was totally excited.

We did have a wonderful visit with my mom and we played in the snow and ate Christmas dinner and watched TV and played cards and played in the snow some more. We really hated to leave, and every time we do leave we want so much to take my mom home with us!!!

Lola and I would love to have her live with us but we don’t have the proper amount of space / room configuration to allow one more person enough private space (aka an extra bedroom), but I am looking to see if we can possibly re-furbish our townhome to do just that. It will take some thinking, though, but it’s not impossible.

When we left Mom’s house we drove back to Omaha to hang out with Dawn for a couple days. Lola absolutely loves her and especially loves her dogs / cat!! I truly hate being allergic to dogs so I was popping allergy pills and hoping for the best…

One of the evenings during our visit to Omaha we were able to get together with some of my old work buddies and have dinner at Village Inn. It was a BLAST!! I soooooo love Village Inn - - I wish we had them in Atlanta, but unfortunately there are none in the south. Village Inn has the world’s best coffee and their Santa Fe Chicken Skillet with Green Chile sauce is to DIE for!

While in Omaha we found out that a temporary ice rink was set up by Con Agra downtown, so for a donation of $5.00 Lola got to rent skates and have some fun for a couple hours.

We arrived back home mid-afternoon on December 30. Chris came to pick us up and the kitties were so glad to see us!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Scooter Comes Home

We picked up Scooter from the vet on Tuesday and he seemed much better. He’s been having a few good days, but today we had to drop him off for yet another chemo treatment. He is doing much better this evening, and is resting quietly. He does tire out easily, and when climbing the stairs he has to stop and rest at the landing for a few minutes, then continue on his way up to one of the bedrooms. I have set up a litter box in Lola’s bathroom for him so he doesn’t have to make a trip downstairs, and he seems quite happy with that arrangement.

Lola and I are preparing for our trip to see ‘Babushka’, and from what she has been telling us there is plenty of snow in Iowa! Lola is overjoyed! The last time she saw snow in any quantity was back in Russia last year.

We are so thankful to Chris and Kimmi for coordinating the care of the kitties while we are gone. Scooter needs extra care, and Kimmi is happy to stay at the house while we are away. The plan is for Chris to be there during the daytime and Kimmi to be there at night.

Luckily Scooter doesn’t have to have chemo during that week, so it all works out rather well.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Little Green Burrito

I got a phone call from the vet, and the doctor told me they would like to keep Scooter for another night. He gave me the visiting hours schedule and when I picked Lola up from school we decided to go pay Scooter a visit once her homework was finished.

We arrived at the vet building about 8pm and signed in to have Scooter brought to a room for a visitation. We had to wait quite awhile and Lola was getting restless, so we went around the waiting room to pay a little visit to all the pets who were there. Finally they came out and said that we could come back and see Scooter. They ushered us into one of the exam rooms and a few minutes later they brought Scooter in, all wrapped up in a green towel like a burrito. We kept hugging him and kissing him and calling him our “little green burrito”. He was so happy to see us, but it was quite evident he was not feeling well at all. After about 30 minutes of visitation, he fell asleep so we called the tech to come and take him back so he could sleep.

We soooo love our little green burrito!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Today we went grocery shopping and when we arrived home Kimmi was at the house. We had invited her over for dinner and when we pulled up in the garage she came out to help carry the bags in. She had her arms full and Lola opened the door for her. I was still digging in the trunk of my car to get more bags to take inside when I heard Kimmi say “Petie, NO!! Come back here!! Peeeeeetie!” Right at that moment Petie came flying out the back door saw me and screeched to a halt, with a look of total surprise. He then did an about-face and sped back into the house. This in itself is not so much funny, but to be there and experience the expressions on this cat’s face is PRICELESS! (“Uh,oh, there’s MOM!! I’d better get back in the house NOW before she sees me!!”)

Poor Scooter is sick again. He’s been vomiting and has had a very difficult time in the litter box. We took him back to the vet ER and they were concerned enough to keep him for the night. I am wondering if the chemo treatments are ever going to be easier for him...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ice-Skating Fever!!

Lola had her horseback riding lesson this morning and afterward we had to scramble to get home, change clothes and prepare to meet with her ESOL teacher to coordinate the day. There were five children who were able to come, so we made the rounds to pick them up for the day’s events.

After lunch at McDonald’s, we made our way to the skating rink, got everyone’s skates on, and watched each other stumble around a bit until most of us had a better comfort level. I watched Lola to see how she would do, and strangely enough, she skated like she had been doing it all her life! She came up to me and expressed total amazement that she could actually skate and it was actually FUN! She is now totally hooked on ice skating and wants that to be one of our main activities from now on. Most of the other kids did quite well skating and it was really very entertaining for all. Lola’s teacher is an ice-skating instructor when she’s not teaching so she was helping each of the children with how to fall properly, how to stand up after a fall, and most of the true basics of skating. Afterward we went to see “Bolt” and I must say, that was quite an impressive 3-D experience! Lola and I took photos as well and put them together to make her teacher a photo-collage computer mouse pad!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Scooter’s had his 2nd chemo treatment – not so good. Poor Scoo is sick and very lethargic. We are keeping him close to us, although he sleeps most of the time.

We are preparing for Lola’s ESOL class party – her teacher is planning it and I have been requested as parent chaperone. The plan is to go pick up all the kids who are going, meet at McDonald’s to have lunch, go ice skating at the local rink and then head to the movie “Bolt”. Lola is so excited, but quite apprehensive about the prospect of ice skating. She told me the first and only time she ever ice skated was when she was about 4 years old and she was horrible. She said she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to stand up long enough to have fun! I assured her that now she is older she may have an easier time of it since she has a better sense of balance now - - I didn’t learn to ice skate until I was 20, and I found it was not as hard as I thought. I’m not fabulous or anything, but can skate around without flailing arms and legs everywhere. I’m always open to learning new things - - like skating backward!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Scooter is now home from the vet and has had his first chemo treatment. He’s much MUCH better, and has perked up quite a bit! Maybe this series of treatments will be as helpful as we hope. He’s so happy to be home, but the doctors there told me he’s their little baby and such a sweet boy. Petie is happy to see Scooter and has been trying to play with him. Scoo isn’t quite perky enough to play, but we can tell he appreciates all the attention from Petie! Scoo and Petie both got some turkey for a belated Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving was fun - - Lola and I went to Kimmi’s house. Kimmi invited her mom and grandmother and it was a wonderful dinner. There were tons of leftovers so we each took a plate of food home. Kimmi had to help her mom navigate to the right road to get home, so while she was gone I did all the dishes and put the leftover food away and when she got back the kitchen was pretty much CLEAN!!! I told her it was the least I could do since she had been up until 1am the night before and again up at 5am the next day to make sure all was prepared and turkey in the oven and pies made, etc. All Kimmi wanted us to bring was mashed potatoes and cranberries, so I felt like perhaps cleaning up would make me feel not so much like a slacker!

We decided to have photo Christmas cards this year and getting Lola to dress up for a photo, much less stand still for one, is a painful endeavor. But after much persuasion on my part she donned a red sweater she brought from Russia and her khaki pants and reluctantly posed with me while Chris took the photos. First we stood in the front yard. Those photos didn’t look quite right, so we went back in the house and sat in the chair. Those photos were not good, either. Then I thought about us sitting in front of the fireplace and lo and behold, the cats thought that was a famous idea and they sat through a couple photographs with us. Then Lola started feeling a little more comfy with posing, and Chris managed to get a couple good ones of us that would work wonderfully on a Christmas card.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Scoo's Diagnosis

The vet called to say that Scooter definitely has lymphoma. He recommended treatment by chemotherapy, which is much easier tolerated by cats than humans. In fact, 80% of cats respond quite favorably to the treatment and their remission can last up to 2 or more years. I didn’t want to make a decision one way or the other until Lola and I had a discussion about it and all the factors were weighed. So, after a consultation with Lola and Scooter, of course, it was decided to go forward with the treatment. The first session (of MANY) is to be this upcoming Friday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Latest Update

Well, Petie has escaped again. It rained all day today so the workmen couldn’t come and finish the window/siding job. They left their ladders propped up against the roof of the garage and sure enough, Petie went exploring last night and the little fuzz-ball must have climbed up the ladders…again…

Well, the good news is we know where he is. Out back in the woods hanging out with the squirrels and Janine’s (our neighbor) cats.

No, I am not going to give him back to his former owner. Lola was very worried about that. I assured her that in spite of his imagination-defying escapes and life of international intrigue outside the house, Petie is now officially our cat and we love him. He’ll come home when he’s hungry….which we hope may be tonight…

Poor Scooter slept in the sunroom by the back door all night in case Petie came home. What a good buddy he is!

My arm is still bruised from the blood-taking last week, but the bruise has now diminished to the size of a quarter.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lola had a new friend spend the night with us last night. Almost from the time this girl walked into the house until she went to bed she was playing on our computer. I tried to encourage her to do things with Lola, and it worked for awhile. They went outside to play, but that didn’t work for long. Once they were back in the house she was planted in the chair playing computer games. Lola was getting frustrated, so I suggested that they go to bed. They decided they wanted to sleep on the futon sofa in the living room so I put some sheets, blankets and pillows on the mattress and they were set for the night.

The next morning I fixed them breakfast and we took her friend home, and once back home I began to strip the bed and found a giant wet spot on the friend’s side of the bed…

Now I don’t ever mean to cause trouble, but with a mixture of worry for the friend’s bladder as well as for my newly ruined futon mattress I called her mother to inform her that we had encountered an issue with bedwetting. Since the mother and I are both raising children on our own, I suggested that we split the cost of a new mattress, since the one that was wet could not, in any way, be salvaged.

All day Sunday was spent taking the old mattress to the trash, going to get a new one, and doing laundry. All day. Not really what I had planned …

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well, Scooter had yet another vet appointment - - this time at a specialist. We had to leave the poor little guy there for two days of testing to see why he is not doing well. It has been determined so far that he has FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). It is much like HIV in humans where the immune system is compromised due to blood or saliva contact with an infected cat. Apparently Scooter had a run-in with an infected cat back in the first three or so years of his life before I adopted him at age 4. According to the vet, the virus could be dormant for many years and later become apparent, as has happened here. He’s now 14 and has been relatively healthy with the exception of a detached retina in his right eye a few years ago. At this point the doctor thinks Scoo has lymphoma and they have shaved all the fur off his tummy and his right front leg to do tests to confirm or deny their suspicion. When we went to pick him up he was so happy to see us and he had become the little sweetheart of the clinic. All the techs love him and they spoiled him as much as they could during his stay there. Lola was a bit disconcerted by his tummy being shaved, but when I told her to touch him she found it to be quite fuzzy like velvet and now she loves to gently rub his tummy. We should hear about the diagnosis sometime next Tuesday or so. In the meantime they told me to keep doing what we’re doing - - same food, same routine, with the addition of fluids to give him subcutaneously if needed. I told Lola that it is possible that Scooter has a problem the doctors cannot fix and we may need to decide what kind of treatment (or not) he may benefit from the most. She loves Scooter so much! It’s kind of heartbreaking to tell your child her favorite pet is gravely ill, especially when your own heart is breaking…

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another Car Expense (Sigh...)

I have an appointment for Monday to get the top repaired on my car. My insurance company called a couple days ago to say that they cannot approve the claim since their ‘expert’ says that the issue with my convertible top happens quite frequently with VW Cabrios. Supposedly it’s due to normal wear and tear, plus the fact that VW made sub-standard tops for these cars….how lovely…so the car is going in for a repair job to start with. They gave me a quote of $350.00. If that doesn’t work I’ll have to oil the hinges on my pocketbook and squeak out about $1300.00 to get the top replaced.

I got a rental car after I rode the bus home (it rained all day so I couldn’t drive the VW, plus it’s supposed to rain most of the weekend and we need transportation) and then went to pick Lola up from her Extended Learning program at school. The auto renters didn’t have the ‘economy’ car I requested. They decided to upgrade me to a Dodge Caliber (I may be one of the only people on earth that hates to get an upgrade at the auto rental place) and Lola thinks it’s the coolest car on the planet. She now wants me to buy one just like it. As if I can just pluck $20,000.00 out of the air and take one home that day! I wish!! Strange how her loyalty to the VW she loved with all her heart has waned. Maybe when it’s finally got a top that is durable she’ll love it again. Oh, trust me, I’m doing extensive research on new cars. I’m just not ready yet to fork over the dough to actually buy one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I was sitting in an office meeting this morning in our building cafeteria and gazing out the window while listening to our guest speaker (of course I was paying attention!). The leaves are now finally falling from the trees at an amazing rate, and strangely enough, my poetic side popped out after many years of suppression (not by choice, but only by lack of quiet time to actually ponder life and all that is around me) and out of my dormant little brain came a haiku. Here it is:

Leaves float to the ground
Like snowflakes in the winter
Slowly, gently down.

Ok, it’s not Robert Frost or anything, but hey, there it is. At least it proves I still have a thought process outside of accounting and child-rearing!

The window guys came on Monday to install the windows on the back of our townhome, and I must say, they did a GREAT job! Lola is so excited that we have new windows. She loves to open one of the five installed in the living room on the main floor and she and Petie exit through the window out into the courtyard, then back into the house, then back into the courtyard… watching her reminded me of the irony of people who buy their kids all kinds of toys to keep them entertained vs. the people who just hand the child a life-sized cardboard box and allow their imaginations to soar. What was a necessary home improvement for me became the giant cardboard box for Lola. It was fun to watch her, although I had to insist on her wearing shoes so she wouldn’t step on a nail or shard of metal or glass, since the crew was not yet finished with the job. Petie was on his own with the footwear issue. I can’t imagine a cat in shoes or socks, but it’s an amusing thought.

Petie the cat has proven to be a truly wonderful addition to our family. I’m glad I relented on returning him to his former owners because of his James Bond-like escapes into the woods. It was getting tiresome (not to mention worrisome) going out every evening at 10pm to entice the little fuzz-ball to come back in the house to eat and return to captivity. We had to do some creative solutions at times since Fuzzy, the cat from down the street, had taken up homestead in the bushes behind our driveway and followed us everywhere. We knew Petie well enough to know that if he saw us with another cat he wouldn’t come down out of the woods. Once we showed Fuzzy the cat carrier, she took off for the hills, so to speak. It was an effective way to eliminate any interference in getting Petie back home.

He seems to have settled in quite well now and really has quite a bit of fun exploring every corner of the house. He is shy no more! We bought some spongy balls from the pet store and he and Lola can play “ball-wall bouncy” for hours. Hey, it’s what I used to do with Fritz, one of my former kitties from long ago. Fritz even had the talent of batting the ball back to me after it hit the wall, quite like the game of racquetball, and quite often would carry the ball back and drop it so we could play again. And they say a cat can’t be taught tricks!! Lola is hoping that Petie will learn to do this as well.

Scooter’s left eye is now looking very weird (his right eye is blind due to a detached retina from long ago but now his one good eye is not so good any more) and I took him to the vet again to have it checked. They said it was pus, maybe due to an infection since he also had a fever. They prescribed some drops for his eye and also some fluids to administer since he was still a bit dehydrated. I’m hoping this will help him feel better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hiss No More

Last night Lola and I witnessed the most touching thing! Petie, who has been intermittently ignoring and hissing at Scooter for the past however many weeks we have had him, almost to the point where I was about to again re-name him Kiss & Hiss, suddenly went up to Scoo and rubbed the top of his head on Scooter’s shoulder, then proceeded to lay down in front of Scoo with his tummy up!! WOW!! That is the most declarative way I’ve ever seen a cat to show submission to another cat.
Scooter was so polite. He sat there for a few seconds as if to acknowledge Petie’s gesture, then got up and went to the food bowl. Typical!

Well, Lola and I put the finishing touches on her Science project poster. I hope she has fun presenting her report. She seemed happy to write notes on her index cards to assist through the presentation. It’s so amazing how she did this - - I had translated her report into Russian so she could more easily write the main points on her note cards. She read a paragraph in Russian, then translated it to English and wrote her ‘phonetic’ version in English to present to the class. She did have a little difficulty with some bigger words and concepts, but with a little help, she did just fine. Then we rehearsed the speech and demo, and she seemed confident she would do just fine.

There are moments where I’m so proud of her for her hard work (of which this is a perfect example) as well as moments where my frustration of her flippancy towards homework is at the max (which is, sadly to say, the majority of the time).

Patience, Jill, patience….

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Day of Spills

This morning I was walking to the cafeteria at my office and upon entering the stairwell I found a large puddle of coffee and some other type of drink all over the floor on the landing, along with two empty cups. It happens every so often, since the doors to the main stairs are so heavy as to require quite a bit of force to open, along with the fact that the door does not have a window to alert anyone entering the main stairs to approaching (and totally unsuspecting) people bearing food and beverage…

Once in the cafeteria, I was greeted by a large pile of bacon in the middle of the floor that someone had dropped. Okay….

Then when I went to get my cup of decaf for the day, I found that someone had spilled their coffee in that area as well…

Is today National Klutz Day and no one told me? I thought I was the poster child for that organization!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Blood Bank

Giving blood is one of the things I have done over the years as a voluntary habit to help the community. However, after my experience today at the mobile blood bank bus I may have to ponder an alternate way to help my community in the future. Without going into too much detail for those readers who are somewhat queasy just hearing that I actually LIKE to give blood, I’ll just say they did quite a number on my poor arm yesterday due to a number of reasons, none of which I believe were within my own control. I am sporting a lovely bruise on the inside crook of my left arm that is approximately two inches wide by three inches long and has every color of the rainbow present. Not only that, I’m dealing with quite a bit of pain in the arm and I’m not sure if it’s because I slept in a weird position last night or because the blood bus people mangled my arm. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be frequenting the Red Cross or any other affiliate of Dracula’s crew in the future. Lola says “YAAAY,” because she thinks it’s gross to give blood.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scooter and Petie

Poor Scooter is not feeling well. To put it delicately, the poor little guy is “not regular”. After a couple days of watching him try unsuccessfully to do his ‘business’ and his inability to hold food down we made the decision to take him to the vet. They found him to be somewhat dehydrated and plugged up, so he stayed at the vet’s office for the day to get a little help….when we went to pick him up, he was so happy to come home! He’s still a bit listless, but we have him on antibiotics and fluids to help him feel better. The vet was concerned that he had lost a bit of weight, since he had gone from 19 pounds to 16 within the last year, but we had been monitoring the amount of food intake he had for the last several months so as to be at a more healthy weight so I wasn’t alarmed that he had slimmed down some.

Our newest little fuzzy friend, Petie, is a wonderful cat but still insists on being outside. He almost goes stir crazy if we don’t let him out! He has been out a couple times but of course we worry about him while he’s gone. Lola thinks he has a new girlfriend! I think he likes to play Jungle Cat in the woods. We are working on what to do to help him adjust. He’s had an update on shots and been treated for tapeworms last week, so at least he's current on the medicals...

Here are a couple photos of our new little guy that I took last Friday!! He’s such a cutie!! I do hope he can learn to adjust!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Petie 007 (He thinks he's James Bond)

Petie is just fine and we are hoping he will settle in. He and Scooter have actually slept in the same room and no worries - - but Petie is constantly trying to find ways to go outside!! We didn’t see this happen, but we speculate yesterday the little stinker climbed a ladder in our courtyard (we are de-leafing our gutters and put the ladder up against the chimney), jumped about seven feet across to the roof (not very steep or very high), walked the roof to the garage roof, jumped 7 feet down into our alleyway and ran into the woods to play with the squirrels (!!!???).

As usual, we were able to entice him to come home that evening with food.

I have a vet appointment for him today to get his shots updated. I hesitate to take him because I honestly don’t know if he’ll be able to adapt to the indoor way of life, and the thought has run through my head to take him back to his original family. Lola is begging me to give him another chance (he has escaped three times now in the last week) and we love him so much, but of course when he’s outside I worry about him in the woods. There are other cats out there and some of them like to pick fights with my neighbor’s cats, so I fear that Petie may be a chosen target at some point in the future.

We really do love him and he’s a sweetie and so fun to be with, but his longing for the ‘call of the wild’ is becoming an issue.

Upon asking Petie’s former owner about his outdoor obsession, she told me Petie can climb a ladder, and he would climb their neighbor’s ladder all the time. She thought that perhaps he is out looking to see if his brothers are somewhere about.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Petie Joins Our Family

We made the trip to go get Petie the Cat. Lola fell in love with him at first sight! Petie was very good in the cat carrier all the way home. Lola sat in the back seat with him and talked to him through the carrier door.

Scooter was so happy to see a new baby brother he wanted to snuggle right away, but Petie hissed and growled and would have NOTHING to do with that!! He hid in the powder room behind the toilet and then behind the sofa for most of the night. He did come out this morning to eat and use a temporary litter box we set up, so I think in a couple days we’ll be having fun with both of them. So far Scooter is being VERY patient. He lays nearby, and Petie hisses, but Scooter looks at him like “It’s ok, I can wait for you not to be scared any more.”

Even though his name is Petie Lola and I thought he moves, hides and meows more like a shadow, so we are temporarily trying out the name SHADOW.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Still Feeling the Void

We are still saddened by the loss of Boo Boo, but Scooter is acting like he is wanting a new buddy. It has been a few weeks and some friends of ours who adopted Lola's friend Boris told us about a lady they work with who has four kittens that are now 1 1/2 years old that are available. Lola and I looked at the photos she e-mailed to us and have decided we will go in a couple days to see them. Lola has decided on a fluffy gray cat named Petie, so he will be the cat of main interest when we pay this family a visit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In Memoriam - Boo Boo Kitty - Jan 1990 - Sep 2008

I am sad to say that our dear little sweet Boo Boo is now in kitty heaven. He took a header off the sofa last night and was in extreme pain. The only thing we could do was take him to the vet to help his journey to kitty heaven easier. I am so very much dealing with the moral dilemma of whether or not it is right in God's eyes for us to take the role of Life Manager for animals. In this case it was distressing for both Lola and me to see Boo in the condition he was in. Perhaps when I have some quiet time to think I'll come to terms with this decision. I know Boo would have been happy to go and not be in pain, but how does God view this decision??

Boo was a wonderful cat. He was sweet, quiet, gentle, polite and always very proper, quite the little gentleman. He would tap his paw on us when he was hungry and was always so tidy in the litterbox but such a slob at the dinner bowl. He was never a lap cat, but instead would snuggle up parallel to the person of his choice and sleep as close as possible. He and Scooter were the best of friends and would groom and sleep with each other for hours. Even for the past few months Scooter kept watch over Boo at night from a close distance to the sofa. We will all miss him greatly.

Boo Boo came into our home in 2000 at the age of 10 years. He was one of four cats that were loved supremely by my friend Christie, a woman with whom I worked at the office. Christie was a great lover of all animals and was not afraid to stand up for their rights. She had some health issues, and in the summer of 2000 she encountered what was thought to be a gall bladder problem. She checked into the hospital and during the time we all thought she was recovering from gall bladder surgery she was actually battling a disease called hemochromatosis. None of us knew anything about it until she was found dead in her home by my boss, another co-worker and the police in October 2000. It was quite a shock to all of us and after a few days I found out the police had sent 3 of her 4 cats to the local animal shelter. The fourth one, Boo, had not been taken because he was in hiding and wouldn't come out and the police didn't want to spend all day finding him. Instead, one of Christie's neighbor friends said he'd go and feed Boo at her townhome until her lease ran out, and in the meantime try to find him a new home. Christie once told me that if anything ever happened to her, she wanted to be sure her sister got her cats. In this instance, I was under the impression that the sister could not take all the cats, but was going to adopt Boo. Within a week we had new owners lined up for the three cats who were sent to the shelter. I called the shelter to tell them there were people who wished to adopt the cats when Christie's sister signed the paperwork to adopt them out. They agreed to call me when this happened. A few days later I called back only to find out that the shelter had euthanized all three cats after the paperwork was signed. Their story was that the cats had all contracted upper respiratory infection. I was outraged, as were the others who had volunteered to adopt the cats.

I had been contemplating on getting Scooter a buddy for a couple months prior to Christie's untimely death because he was bored and started to pull tufts of fur from his tail area, leaving them like little fuzzy gifts for me all around the house. When I found out that Christie's sister was not able to keep Boo (Christie's favorite) and that Boo was still at Christie's townhome being cared for by the neighbor until her lease ran out the end of October, I called the neighbor and told him I would like to take Boo. Christie had done some cat-sitting for me in the past for Scooter when I was out of town a few weekends, so Scooter was familiar with her smell and absolutely loved her. Apparently the two of them watched the Animal Planet on TV together, had lunch together and sat out on the deck. Scooter was totally spoiled by her and loved every second of it. When I brought Boo home in the cat carrier on October 31, Scooter was overjoyed. From that day forward the two of them were in LOVE!! They have been buddies ever since.

I have so many wonderful memories of Boo, whom I dubbed "Boo Boo Kitty" and I find it hard to think that he is no longer with us. Scooter has lost his best friend and is so sad, and yes, we can tell that he is very sad. I know that perhaps in my own mind that Christie and Boo Boo are now together again, and that makes me very happy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

...and the Cold of the Century Still Lingers...

I cannot believe I am STILL SICK!!! It seems that this began about the last week in July - - -actually, yes, it was the week I went back to work after having taken leave of absence during the summer. Now my ears are all plugged up and I'm still sounding very congested. The sad thing is most of my co-workers are battling the same thing. I do hope this finally goes away!

Boo is still having problems. Tonight he was trying to walk away from the sofa, and I have no idea where he was going. He looked like a cat on a mission, but couldn't really get himself where he wanted to be...

I'm sad to say this but I think Boo does not have much longer with us...

We try to make him as comfy as possible and he still loves to eat, but he's forgetting where the box is at the other end of the sofa, and although he doesn't seem to be hurting anywhere, his little eighteen and one-half year old body is just too exhausted to go very far. He's such a sweet little guy, and this week has been what I imagine to be like hospice care - - Chris has been here during the day and Lola and I have been here at night trying to make sure he's as relaxed and happy as he can be.

Lola is still liking school, but this year she is extremely forgetful when it comes to homework. It seems that without micro-managing her subjects and staying in touch with her teachers, she would forget homework every night. So far she's getting A's and B's, but with this going the way it is, I'm not omnipotent and she's going to have to bite off a big chunk of responsibility or else her grades are going to head south in a big way. Her teachers have been great in making sure to tell her when things are homework and when they are classwork, but like I said, we all can't be there every moment monitoring her taking the books home that she needs. She is liking her technology class and for the most part, she loves her teachers, especially her ESOL teacher.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Poor Little Boo Boo

Boo Boo is not doing well. He’s had a few seizures, his back legs are quite stiff with arthritis and, for the past few months, has been a permanent resident on the sofa. We have set up the sofa with plastic mattress covers for protection and incontinence pads so he has easy access to his litter box on one end, food in the middle and his bed on the other end. It’s worked out fairly well. He does have bladder accidents but it’s easily cleaned up by removing the soiled incontinence pad and replacing it with a new one. His appetite is quite good, and he’s still interacting with us when we get home from work and school, but his general health is declining. Scooter has been close by, sleeping in a nearby chair in case Boo needs anything.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Little Chocolate Bunny

Last Sunday we were invited to a picnic by one of Chris' business associates in Washington, GA. The Labor Day picnic is an annual event with huge numbers of people in attendance. There is barbecue (this year there was pork, beef, chicken AND goat), a vast array of side dishes populating three long tables and a table dedicated just to desserts. This picnic takes place on a farm outside of Washington and there are cows and horses and dogs and cats and food and it is just FUN!! So Chris, Kimmi, Lola and I piled into the car and drove the two hours to attend for the afternoon. I took Lola's swimsuit along in case we found anywhere to swim that day (the weather was upward of 90 degrees and HUMID). Since were driving by Lake Oconee I thought she would enjoy swimming in a place with no chlorine (the poor thing has such eye discomfort swimming in chlorinated pools). The picnic was a blast, as usual, Lola had a good time in spite of it being HOT HOT HOT outside and on the way home we stopped at a place on Lake Oconee so she could swim. There was also an inflatable Slip 'n' Slide set up and she was ecstatic about playing on it. The only drawback was, in spite of an upward curve built into the end of the slide to keep kids from flying off the end, there were still kids being launched upward and outward onto the ground. That in itself was bad enough, but at the end the grass had been so inundated with water and the stomping of little feet it had become a giant mud puddle. So, with Lola excited to play on this thing and me overcoming the fear of my child breaking bones and becoming a mud-ball, I relented and let her go on it. She was very careful in trying not to go flying off the end (we watched several people who were not so cautious and she paid close attention to the results) but there were a couple times where she underestimated her speed and slid off (thankfully not flying off) the end into the mud. Without hesitation, she went running back to the line to do it again! After awhile of running, sliding and only falling off the end three times out of about thirty passes, she decided her arms hurt from trying to break her fall those few times and her stomach hurt from all that sliding. She jumped and swam in the lake for awhile to clean up and we got her clothes changed and headed home. On Monday she said her arms hurt a lot (muscle strain) so we put cool packs on them and let her rest up. She was excused from P.E. for part of this week and she seems to be doing much better. And yes, we have photos of Lola looking like a chocolate bunny!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Taking Care of Each Other

This cold has been the Monster of the Decade for me. It has congested my sinus cavity, my ears, nose, throat and lungs. I have experienced fever and fatigue and from there went to having to sleep in a half-sitting position due to the drainage. I can no longer taste or smell anything, which makes eating a total boring experience...Lola had 'the cold' for about a week, but only had a minor sore throat and a little coughing. Then, like magic, it was gone. Her immune system must be like that of a Sherman tank. I am thankful for that! Kimmi had started the symptoms of this thing the same time I did, but she was battling mostly the sinus infection part. She came over on the weekends and the three of us played on the computer, played card games and watched TV while recuperating. I was determined not to miss work (as I was still trying to fix all the little things that had gone awry during my leave of absence) and I'm certain my fellow employees were wishing I had stayed at home. I was coughing and sneezing and was the Queen of Kleenex for the better part of three weeks, but I was not the only one. There were a couple other people in my department who had been battling the same thing. At this point in time my taste buds and sense of smell are back about 80%, and I'm just taking each day as it comes and hopefully soon I will be able to say I'm WELL AGAIN!!

While battling the Cold of the Decade we have had to take Kimmi to the emergency room a couple times due to her severe anemia (which started before our trip to Mexico) and her constricted throat issues (which has been going on for many years, but had gotten progressively worse due to scar tissue forming after an injury to her throat) making it impossible for her to eat anything but soft, mushy foods. We have also endured the remnants of Hurricane Fay, who decided to dump rain on Georgia for about four days straight, causing the windows on the courtyard side of our house to leak profusely and in the process soaked the carpet and caused damage to the ceiling. The windows are due for replacement anyway (I had the windows on the front of the townhome replaced in January this year, and was waiting until autumn to have the back of the townhome done).

We have tried to make the best of it all by attending a Braves game once we all felt better, and Kimmi and Lola were experimenting with their hair color using Garnier (Kimmi is now dark brown and Lola a muted auburn). I am still too chicken to mess with the color of my hair. Well, I guess the word is not chicken, but the fact is I rather LIKE the color of my hair. I always have. I have started to go gray a little, but it's not enough to make me want to change my whole hair color scheme (as if I successfully could) to cover the gray...besides, I looked in the hair color aisle and I have to admit no hair color out there even comes close to my own shade. I have found a rinse/conditioner for blonde hair that seems to improve the gray, and I'm sticking with that. Nothing else!

As of now (and I apologize for being so horrible lately at keeping up with the blog- - being sick makes me so listless and unmotivated to do anything) the cold is beginning to subside and I'm feeling like part of the living human race again. WOO-HOO!!!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Long, Loooooooooong Hallways

I am quite pleased that at the middle school 'entry' level there is a program that takes place before the school year begins that allowing parents to register their children in school, buy the required Phys. Ed clothes, and allow a tour of the school and a 'meet and greet' by the teachers. I think Lola and I had equally as much fun wandering the long hallways of the middle school together exploring every classroom and meeting her new teachers. I am totally impressed that a class in Engineering and Technology is offered at the 6th grade level. Hmmmm, I wonder how long I could attend classes before they find out I'm not really a 6th grader?? ha ha ha
I have developed the weirdest cold over the last week or so - - it began with a bit of a sore throat and some stuffiness in my nose. But a couple days later the sore throat became so intense I couldn't eat or swallow without great pain! That lasted three days. Then after the sore throat subsided I was left with a great amount of congestion in my nose! Right now the congestion is beginning to feel as though it has moved on to my lungs. This pattern (minus the intense sore throat) is pretty typical of the usual cold I get, which occurs maybe about one time every year. Somehow this one has taken more of my energy to fight than the usual cold. We'll see where it goes...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Middle School or Bust

Well, the day of my conference with the staff at Lola's elementary school was quite surprising. I was told by Lola's teachers that she puts forth much effort in class and is always happy to participate, and retaining her in the 5th grade would not really be doing her any good. They pointed out that with a greater understanding of the English language she will quickly fill in any gaps needed to be up to level in the 6th grade. In addition, there is a great amount of ESOL support at the middle school level as well so she should be able to transition smoothly. WOW! Imagine the look on Lola's face when I went home that afternoon to tell her she was going to the 6th grade after all! I told her also that she needs to try a bit harder in making sure she tracks her homework and if she does not understand something to always ask the teacher to explain it (quite often in 5th grade she was too shy about her English to ask questions, but over the summer her vocabulary has developed quite nicely)
The mad dash for school supplies has begun!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Last Weekend at the Beach...

Lola and I decided we wanted to take a long weekend vacation before I went back to work and she went back to summer camp. She wanted it to be just her and I and we decided to go to Hilton Head.

The day we left it was raining, and when we got to Hilton Head Island it was raining - - no, wait, let me rephrase that - - it was raining a TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR. I have only seen rain that dense and fast twice before. It was the kind of rain that fills the streets and the water has nowhere to go within the first three minutes of the rain starting. Unbelievable.

We had made reservations in advance at the Motel 6, which I felt was ok for us since we would only be in the room to eat and sleep. Our room was equipped with a kitchen so we could save money by cooking our own meals rather than spend it at various restaurants. During the downpour we checked in, got our key and raced to the car to keep from getting too wet (this was after we tried waiting it out for ten minutes and we did get quite soaked anyway). We walked in the room and to be honest, I was a bit shocked at the level of cleanliness (or lack thereof) in the room. Ok, it was FILTHY! Lola and I looked at the bathroom and it was clean, but the kitchen didn't look too great. The carpet, I would guess, was older than I am and was totally devoid of discernible color. The color was UGH-LY. I was looking in the kitchen and picked up the coffee pot and a small brown cockroach leaped out of the water still standing in the pot and raced for cover to some invisible crack in the countertop. That did it for me. Thankfully we hadn't even brought our stuff in from the car yet so Lola and I locked the room and went back through the still heavy rain to the motel office to see if they had an upgraded room. Unfortunately, the other three rooms they showed us were just as disgusting. I wish I had the aforethought to take photographs of the room to post here. I have been to many Motel 6's in my life and the ones I went to were always plain and basic, but very clean and comfy. Was it just this particular location, or have they all gone to filth? Just curious.

Before we turned in our keys to the office and beg for a refund, we drove next door to the Red Roof Inn. WOW, a little more expensive, but we decided a two-room suite would be just fine since we were going to be eating there and who knows what the weather would be like! We called the Motel 6 HQ, explained the situation and were assured we would be refunded with no problem. Then we booked three nights at the Red Roof Inn.

Driving back to the Motel 6 to return the keys and request a refund was easy, knowing we had a clean room waiting for us next door with a king bed, coffee maker, fridge and microwave (I could make do with that for cooking meals) and a pool.

Fortunately, the remainder of the weekend had quite nice weather, but with small intermittent showers. But we got lots of sun, lots of pool time and beach time, and even did a round of miniature golf. It was quite relaxing, really. Just what we needed before I return to work and Lola begins summer camp.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where has the summer gone???

Wow, it has been a long time since my last post. Sorry about that. Lola and I have been keeping busy with studying math, going swimming, learning more English and just having fun.

Latest update on the CRCT - after 4 weeks of studying and actually understanding most of her mathematics, we both felt she was quite equipped to re-take the test, and successfully so. As we drove to the school on the day of her test she looked at me and said "Mom, my tummy hurts. I feel sick." I just thought it was a bit of nerves about taking the test and that she would be fine once she got to the school and saw her ESOL teacher (whom she loves, and luckily the same teacher that would be giving her the re-take of the test).

She took the test, and afterward she told me she was cold and when I felt her forehead and hands she WAS cold - - and clammy. I thought that was quite odd since I had been in the building for about 30 minutes and I wasn't cold at all....

She said she was not sure how she did on the test but we were both happy it was over.

After talking with her a day or so later I learned that she was stressed so much about the test that she was experiencing sweaty palms, an upset stomach and a feeling of being smothered. I was beginning to understand. I asked her if that was the first time she ever felt that way and she said "Oh, no, Mom - - I had it all the time in Russia when I had to take a test."

Test anxiety. Eeeeek.

I never had it - - - I have no idea what it feels like. I know from reading about it that it stops even the best of students dead in their tracks. When I was in school I attacked tests with a mixture of excitement and determination, much like the feeling I have when I ride the roller coasters at Six Flags, knowing the ride will be wonderful and satisfying. Tests were a pleasant challenge to me. I guess different people channel the apprehension of test-taking in different ways. I was one of those people who jumped on it and Lola is one of those people who want to run from it.

The results of the test were recently made known to me and even though her score improved, again Lola missed I have to attend a conference at the school with her guidance counselor, her teachers and some representatives from the middle school. It will be there that her fate will be determined - - - will she go on to the 6th grade or will she be retained in the 5th grade?

How strange that I experience that same feeling of sweaty palms and upset stomach and I'm not even going to take a test!!

I only want what is best for her. She and I have discussed that re-doing the 5th grade would not be a bad thing. It may actually help her get more comfortable with what she needs to catch up on. We are taking action to assist her in fighting her fears. She is well aware of the importance of being more at ease with taking a test. She is happy to have help in Math and extra tutoring if that will help her comfort level and confidence enough not to freak when she's being tested. She is already signed up for Saturday school through the Russian-American Federation and she will be taking mathematics and Russian grammar / literature classes. In addition, she said she would be happy to go to Kumon for tutoring.

She is a wonderful child and every day I am so proud of her.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Fireworks and Six Flags

Lola and Scooter (I can't believe Scooter winked!)
July 4th we (Chris, Kimmi, Lola and I) trekked down to Lenox Square for the annual fireworks. We had a nice picnic of Subway turkey sandwiches, Sun Chips and water, as well as the game of UNO and Lola's new MP3 to make the wait less boring. We camped up on the top floor of the Atlanta Financial Center parking lot and had a wonderful view!! The fireworks began at 9:40 and it was fabulous!! It seems every year there is some new technique used to make even more spectacular patterns!

Lola and Kimmi waiting for the fireworks to begin

Last Saturday Lola and I met Boris and his parents for a fun time seeing the movie Wall-E (it is a very good movie and hilarious! It is not hard to imagine our society becoming much like the humans in the movie) then off to Fuddrucker's for hamburgers and video games. Boris has a birthday coming up at the end of this month and we have been invited to his party at Sports-a-Rama.

Lola and Boris concentrating on their driving skills at Fuddrucker's

Trying to get both kids to smile and not make goofy faces

Yesterday Lola and I went to Six Flags here in Atlanta. She had been wanting to go for quite some time and we had free tickets so yesterday was the day. The first ride we went on was the Georgia Scorcher. WOW!! I loved it, she was scared, but at the end of the ride she said "Can we go again???? I want MORE!!!" Since the wait in line was close to nothing, we went again. Before the day was over we had taken in about 10 rides. Not bad for only having been there for about 4 hours!! Next time we will spend the whole day there...

This upcoming weekend we are going to Hilton Head for a bit of relaxation before Lola goes to summer camp and I go back to work. I would so LOVE to be a mom who works from home. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Happy Happy Birthday Lola!!

Lola is still bouncing everywhere because today is her 11th birthday!!!! She was so excited about the party this evening, and she got to see her birthday cake and help put the flowers on it.

The party was a blast, in spite of threats of thunderstorms. Jeannette & Phil (Nastya and Masha's parents) arrived a few minutes later than expected due to a huge downpour they had to drive through and we were a bit in the breath-holding stage for fear the rain may decide to visit the birthday party. Luckily, it only sprinkled and the heavy rain part of the storm was going around us!

Here are photos from the party. Everyone had a wonderful time and the horseback riding was very fun!!

Lola chose a horse named Sam I Am, who looks very much like Apache, her lesson horse.

Jeannette & Phil "horsing" around (literally!)
Masha, who is quite the little ham in front of the camera
Anastasia (Nastya), who was a little scared at first, but rides like she has done it all her life

Kimmi, who was a little apprehensive at first but found her horse, Dexter, to be a big sweetheart
Lola and Mama ready to hit the trail!

Hannah, who runs a really amazing riding and equine training program at Wildewood Farm

There are many types of horses to ride at Wildewood Farm
Ohhhh, COOL! The Pink Panther!!

It's always nice to have friends help open the gifts...
For Lavinia and Nastya meeting for the first time, they were just like old friends later!

I think the other girls were having fun helping Lola!

Lola and Nastya with a new plush friend

Thursday, June 26, 2008


CRCT day has finally arrived! Lola wanted to wake up at 5am to study a bit more for the test, which commenced at 8:00am. She realizes she knows more math now than the first time she took the test, but is still very apprehensive. It makes me wonder if she is one of those people whose fear manifests itself whenever a test is placed in front of them. We'll have to see, and if that is the case, we can get some study habit help for her to ease her apprehensions.

The good news was she got to be in her ESOL teacher's group to take the test, and she absolutely LOVES this woman. I must admit I am quite fond of her myself. Once the test was over, Lola and I went to Waffle House to celebrate her hard work during the summer so far. Then later that afternoon we went to Six Flags White Water to see what fun we could have. Season passes are the best!! We have been there enough times to have made good use of the passes, and we both have loads of fun!

Tomorrow is Lola's birthday and we have planned a horseback riding party at the farm of a friend of mine with whom I boarded my horse, Whisper, for a couple years. I no longer have Whisper (she is now living with a nice lady from Griffin and loves to go on trail rides) but Hannah and I have kept in touch from time to time over the past seven years. When I realized her farm does birthday party trail rides I thought that would be great fun for the kids and adults as well! The party is set for 7pm and we have a small list of invitees - - Boris and his parents (who couldn't come due to their being out of town that weekend), Anastasia (aka Nastya) and Maria (aka Masha)and their parents (who are coming), Lavinia, Kimmi and Chris. Kimmi is making Lola's favorite cake - red velvet - - and Lola and I have rolled out gumdrops of various colors and sizes to make flowers and leaves for the top of the cake (my mom used to do that for my birthday cake every year when I was around that age, so I thought I'd pass the tradition down to Lola). We have decided on pizza and chicken for the meal, so we are almost all set to party!! Lola is so excited to be having her birthday! She decided long ago that she wanted an MP3 player and a fuzzy bathrobe for her birthday. She has told me that in Russia her birthday never had a surprise (gift) when she was living with her mother, and in the orphanage they had a cake and perhaps a small surprise for many children at once each month. During the month of June they celebrated the birthdays of Lola, Boris, Misha and Lera. I think part of Lola's big excitement is having a birthday celebration just for HER and no one else. I'm sure that is the world's best feeling for her!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Study Study Study and Swim Swim Swim

We have still been working hard on the CRCT criteria - - we take a different task each day and Lola is now telling me "Mom, this is easy!! Can I do some more?" She has been able now to feel comfortable with multiplying fractions, converting improper fractions to their proper form, and she's really quite good at geometric concepts. We are working a little harder on algebra, but she is beginning to see that 'x' is not to be feared just because we may not know what number it represents. Isn't that ironic - - - all our lives we have been taught in finite terms - - - that certain numbers added or multiplied together equal certain other numbers, and now this 'x' thing is thrown into the mix. She knows what pi is and how to use it, and she suddenly realized that she now knows more than a month ago because the worksheets she gets to practice on now make sense! She does not like tests, but perhaps this next one will be a little easier to cope with.

We are also getting ready for the big 11th birthday (which is the day after the CRCT re-take) and we have decided to have her party at the farm of a friend of mine who used to board and train my horse, Whisper, back in 2000-2001. At the party, any parent or child will have the opportunity to go on a trail ride atop one of the farm's many lesson horses. After that, we will have pizza and chicken, beverages and birthday cake, then open the presents and finally clean up and go home. Lola has decided to invite Boris, Nastya (Anastasia) and her little sister Masha (Maria), all of whom have been adopted from Russia, with Boris and Nastya being at Lola's school there) and Lavinia, her best friend at school here in Atlanta.

We have been having issues with our beloved goldfish. Tom the fish died while we were in Mexico. Chris e-mailed us while we were there to tell us the sad news. We knew he was sick, but he seemed to be better just before we left for Mexico. When we returned home, Jerry was still ok, so we decided to get him a buddy. Unfortunately, the buddy fish (dubbed Pinky) was sick when we bought him and began to show signs of parasites once he was home, and then of course Jerry got the parasites and in spite of treating them with the proper medicine, raising the temperature of the tank and doing everything but CPR both fish have sadly passed on to Fish Heaven. We now have an empty tank. We will change the water and make it ready for a couple new fish (hopefully HEALTHY fish) when Lola feels she is ready.

We have been swimming almost every day and Lola is now taking swim lessons at the pool. She had swimming instruction in Russia and loved it, and is really quite a good swimmer. We also have season passes for Six Flags White Water and she loves it there! With many water slides, fun ocean wave pool, the lazy river and a ride called "the Tornado", it makes for a fun afternoon. I am not sure who is more excited to go to White Water --- hmmm, that is a toss-up...

Scooter is still the steadfast little buddy. He absolutely loves Lola!

Boo Boo is still going strong at the advanced age of 18-1/2. He's quite the trooper and still loves to eat and be brushed. He has taken up homestead on one of our living room sofas. His 'home' has two plastic mattress covers, a towel for him to sleep on, two big adult bed incontinence pads, one of which has a litter box with wheat litter (wow, there is NO cat box odor with this stuff - - it's easy to clean and amazing!) on it and the other with his food. He makes several trips out to the kitchen for water and to see what everyone else is doing, so he seems to be in pretty good shape. I do make sure to look for any sign of pain or anything that may indicate he is in any discomfort, but so far he's appeared to be a happy little cat.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Re-Playa del Carmen and Adios, Mexico

We loved the beach at Playa del Carmen so much we decided to go back again the following afternoon to swim. The weather forecast was to be mostly cloudy with chances of light rain but that didn't stop us. After working on multiplication with Lola in preparation for her re-take of the CRCT later this month (we have been hitting the multiplication tables every day in Mexico so she knows them well, then we will be prepared to move on to the required skills for 5th grade CRCT), I walked around the resort to take photographs of the pool and other places sans people. It truly amazes me how a pool bar can be packed with people even on a rainy day. See photo...

After that, we had lunch and then hopped on the bus to Playa del Carmen. Once there, we found the waves to be wonderfully big and perfect for wave-jumping. After a couple hours, Lola decided to play in the sand so she made use of what sticks and rocks were on the beach and built a sand fort with a moat to catch the water once the tide was back in. I helped her while Kimmi was still having fun with the waves.

Once we were done swimming and needed to dry off, we trekked up the beach to a tapas restaurant, had a coke,changed our clothes and made it to the bus stop with time to spare. During the afternoon it only actually rained a couple times, and even then just sprinkled. It was a fun way to spend our last day in Mexico! The bus was scheduled to leave at 6pm, so we needed to eat dinner back at the resort and hop into bed early to get up at 2:30am to get on the 3:45am shuttle and fly home on the 7am flight to Houston (whoever booked this for us must have been a sadist. This is not normal to do on the last day of a vacation). However, the plan changed and we all decided to just stay up until we got on the shuttle and then try to catch sleep there and on the plane home. I fell asleep at midnight. I'm not sure when everyone else conked out. But at 2:30 we were up and packing the toothbrushes and jammies in our suitcases and were ready to go about 15 minutes early!!

The flight home was fun and Lola slept on each leg of the trip, so she was ready for action when we arrived in Atlanta. I was sleepy, but happy to be home, even though I love Mexico and want to go back! Kimmi was the one who was not feeling so good. Her rash had spread to her other arm and back so she was going to the doctor to see what could be done. Needless to say, I think all of us had a nice, wonderful time sleeping in our own beds. The cats were so happy to see us, and Scooter was following Lola all around the house to make sure she really was home for good. It really is true - there is no place like home!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Playa del Carmen

After about five days exclusively at the resort we decided to hop the shuttle bus to see what Playa del Carmen was all about. The intent was just to do a little shopping there and then wander down to the beach to take a look at another sandy shoreline and later catch the bus back to the resort.

I must interject here by saying Lola HATES shopping. Yes, my little soon-to-be- eleven-year-old girl HATES shopping. The only two places she likes to go with me are Wal-Mart for groceries and to the Dollar Store because it has "cool stuff". I do realize I should be thankful because she does not want everything she sees, but on the other hand it is a huge struggle to shop for any necessary clothes (she has grown an inch and has gained some poundage since coming to America, and in some cases it was necessary to get her a couple new pairs of jeans and a few new scooter skirts) and she really despises trying on anything to see if it fits properly...

Luckily, in this case we were not shopping for clothes, but Kimmi wanted to get a couple things to commemorate her trip to Mexico. Lola and I patiently waited (well, I did, anyway) but there were some fun things to look at outside the shops as well. We went to Senor Frog's and that was fun because there are frog figures outside and inside the shop, and I'm sure we followed the tourist handbook to a tee by taking photos of each other with these silly frogs! Lola tolerated the rest of the shopping for as long as she could - - which was about ten minutes - - so I told Kimmi to meet us down at the beach. I figured Lola would enjoy wading around down there for awhile and would give Kim a chance to look at what she wanted.

Once we got to the beach, I realized I should have kicked myself for not bringing our swimsuits along. The sand was smooooooooooth and the waves were awesome!! I told Lola she and I could wade and play for however long she wanted because it was wonderful!

Kimmi met us at the beach empty-handed - she didn't find anything she wanted to buy that didn't seem hugely overpriced, so she came in to wade with us as well. Once we were ready to meet the bus, Lola was pretty soaked but at least she had fun! We decided the beach was so awesome that we wanted to go back again the next day to spend the afternoon swimming. Kim is still dealing with her allergic rash, but she was game to swim in a rock-less beach!