A Sad Day in Our Home…

This week we said goodbye to our dear precious cat.  Shredder was 21 years old and lived a long, happy and healthy life.  She was beautiful, smart, lovable and just plain cool.

We adopted her in 1991 when Amy was 9, Kevin was 7 and Terry was not a cat-lover.

For years Terry tried to convince us that he didn’t like cats, but in the last 8 years Shredder adopted him and he couldn’t help but fall in love with her too.

He made the ultimate sacrifice (as a non-cat-lover) when he drove over 8 hours from California to Arizona with Shredder in the cab of our moving truck.  She escaped from her carrier and was totally freaked out. The only way she would calm down was when he was petting and talking to her.  His voice was soothing. So that’s what he did for pretty much the whole time.  He talked to her about the towns they were driving through, the scenery and his favorite sports teams…and whatever came to mind for 8 HOURS!  Ever since then they’ve been great buddies.  They took naps together on Sunday afternoons…  Terry in the recliner and Shredder sneaking up on his lap.  She loved to “talk” and he’d have chats with her at various times when he didn’t think anyone was around.  In the winter Shredder would sleep right between the two of us or she’d lay right on the top of the blanket on Terry’s legs (which drove him nuts because he couldn’t move).

She had such a sweet disposition and a mind of her own, as most cats do.

Our daughter and son have lived away from home for several years, but now we truly have an empty nest. Our home and our family will not be the same without her.

Here are a few of my favorite posts about her.

20 Years Old!

Quail Babies in the House

The Cat is Alive and Well

The View from the Sofa

A few weeks ago I had surgery and I’ve been home recuperating since then.  On doctor’s orders I’ve done a lot of sitting around, so I thought I’d give you a peek into my view from the sofa.



Here’s my buddy, Shredder.  Our 21 year old cat.  She’s been hanging out on the sofa with me every day.  Here she is on her favorite blanket.

Basically she sleeps away the day in the middle of the sofa and I sit to her right (under that blue blanket when it’s chilly).


Sometimes when my lap is empty she climbs up and sleeps there too.  She stretches out with her head on my chest and tail down by my knees as I watch my favorite home improvement/decorating show on the TV.  I have to admit that I watched a lot of HGTV, especially the first few days when I was on pain killers and couldn’t focus enough to do much of anything else.

Below is the view to the right, into the kitchen.  Our island is filled with beautiful flowers and sweet cards from friends (and my hubby).  Have I mentioned that I LOVE FLOWERS of all kinds?  Looking at these just make me happy.  And many of our friends and family brought meals and sweet gifts while I was out of commission as well.  All of them were a constant reminder of what loving family and friends we have.

Flowers and Cards

Do you live in a loving community?  I hope so!  We were created to love and be loved and the freedom to express and receive love nourishes us to our very core.   I have felt so much love over the last few weeks and that’s not because I’m such a special person.  It’s because the community that I’m part of just gets it.  They know how to love well.  They understand how important it is to come alongside, affirm, encourage and support others and I am SO BLESSED to be part of this exceptional community.

And here’s my sweet husband serving me like he has been since my surgery.  He’s taken on all of my chores around the house, cooking, cleaning the catbox, laundry and all.  He even freshened up my flowers for me every few days.  What a keeper he is!

Terry serving

More flowers

And some more lovely flowers from some of my co-workers to the left of where I’m sitting.

And now a fun bonus!  When I was going stir crazy this week and feeling well enough to stand up and walk around a bit, I finally put up this calendar on the side of my refrigerator.  I kind of like it! (Be sure to click to enlarge the photo.)

It’s called a “Peel It – Design It” Birds in Flight calendar.  Each piece around the calendar is a decal that is position-able wherever you want to put it.  The monthly calendars are cardboard.  There were other decals that were orange and yellows that so far I’ve decided to leave out of the design but we’ll see if I add them later.  What do you think?

What do you do to support and encourage friends and family when they’re going through tough times?  Were you raised in a loving community?  Do you feel comfortable showing love to others?  What’s your favorite way to do that?

Our Cat is 20 Years Old!

Some of you may not have met our cat, Shredder, but I wanted to let you know that this year she turns TWENTY YEARS OLD!  That’s a lot of cat years.

In honor of her birthday I bought her some extra special cat food – cost twice what we usually pay.  It had real salmon and crab in it and she loved it!

This is her in 1991 soon after she came home with us.

From my best recollection we got her sometime in early spring of 1991, which means that she would have been born about 6 weeks before that.  Our whole family went to the home of a lady in Valencia and when we walked into her back yard it was FILLED with all sizes, shapes and colors of cats.  My guess is that she loved cats so much that she couldn’t bear to part with them when the numbers got too high and she just allowed them to breed and breed.  We picked out Shredder from her latest litter.  We were told that she’s part Siamese and part Persian (and who knows what else).

So far the old girl is doing pretty well.  She sleeps a lot, but you would too if you were her age.

She always greets us when we come home from work.  O.k. maybe that’s because its her dinner time and she’s hungry.   She’s also developed a preference for bottled water.  That’s my fault because I started giving her our leftovers from half empty bottles that were sitting around and now she’s decided that she should have the good stuff.  Fortunately she’ll settle for tap water when she’s forced to.

She’s not crazy about crowds in the house, but she loves to hang out in whatever room Terry or I happen to be in and she’ll even follow us around in the mornings until we settle in one spot.  When it’s cold out she likes to sleep on my lap when I’m watching TV.  Here she is sitting on the windowsill in our office.  She hangs out either there or on the desk beside us when we’re in there working on the computer.

At night when it’s cold she lays right on top of my hand until it drives me crazy to be still too long and I shoo her away.  Then she moves to the cozy fabric-lined Longaberger basket that’s HER bed at the foot of OUR bed.  I tried to get her to use several different cat beds over the years, but she wouldn’t set foot (paw) in them.  I guess she has expensive taste.

You’d be amazed at how accurate her body clock is.  If Terry and I are up past 10 pm at night, she’ll actually come and find us and start meowing at us because it’s time to go to bed.  Then she’ll go and sit halfway between where we are and the bedroom to make sure we don’t forget.

She’s been a great friend to all of us.  Hopefully she’ll be around a while longer, but I don’t have any big expectations.

She’s quite a senior citizen after all.  Do you have a favorite pet that keeps you company or any funny pet stories?

Happy Mother’s Day to all!
We’re having a busy weekend so I’ll have lots of pics to post as the week goes along, but wanted to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.

As is the custom in our home, I woke up to a delicious breakfast of steak, eggs, toast, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. Before today, I asked Terry to cut back on the size of the meal because I can never finish it. So he didn’t make hash browns. 🙂

Notice that Shredder is sitting in my chair. We were debating about whether she thought it was HER Mother’s Day breakfast or she was guarding it until I was ready to sit down. In any case, she moved over to her own chair and I gave her a few treats since she is a mother too after all.

I love my gifts too! I got hydrangeas which are my favorite flower in the whole world. I wish they would grow here. Does anyone have any tips on keeping them alive in the desert? I also got dark chocolate, mmmmm. And although we don’t normally do “real gifts” on Mother’s Day, Terry got me a gift card for Christopher & Banks. What an amazing husband I have! He spoils me rotten.

Kevin just emailed a bit ago to say that the phones at the base are all backed up so he’ll have to call later. It was good to hear from him and we’ll look forward to talking to him soon. Amy just called and we got to visit a little too. I love my kids and am privileged to call them mine.

So we’re off to Hope & Steve’s for the Perkins family Mother’s Day gathering. Of course, I’ll have more pics from that gathering too, so watch for more to come soon…

Enjoy your day moms and pamper your wives and mothers, guys.

Shredder’s Latest Antics


We’ve been trying to figure out what’s up with Shredder. She’s been doing all kinds of things that we haven’t seen her do before. Maybe she’s becoming senile or maybe she’s just being more adventurous in her old age.

I caught her on the kitchen counter in the middle of the night even when I was sitting in the same room. She’s also been climbing up on the bathroom counter. No idea why!

We’ve seen her fairly regularly drinking out of the swimming pool. Fortunately it’s a salt water pool so the chlorine’s not quite as strong as in other pools. I hope she doesn’t fall in.

And she’s been sitting on Terry’s lap more, even though he says he doesn’t like it.

Crazy cat!


Shredder’s Lastest Tricks

We’ve been trying to figure out what’s up with Shredder. She’s been doing all kinds of things that we haven’t seen her do before. Maybe she’s becoming senile or maybe she’s just being more adventurous in her old age.

I caught her on the kitchen counter in the middle of the night even when I was sitting in the same room. She’s also been climbing up on the bathroom counter. No idea why!

We’ve seen her fairly regularly drinking out of the swimming pool. Fortunately it’s a salt water pool so the chlorine’s not quite as strong as in other pools. I hope she doesn’t fall in.

And she’s been sitting on Terry’s lap more, even though he says he doesn’t like it.

Crazy cat!

Busy weekend!
This weekend was busy with lots of fun things, but busy nonetheless.

Friday, I spent the day with my mom. We went to lunch, then ran a few errands, bought her some shoes at Ross, and stopped to check out a new Goodwill store where I found a top for myself. She thought the prices were too high, plus they had everything generically priced, for example, all long sleeve shirts were 5.99 no matter what the quality. She didn’t like that, so we didn’t stay too long.

Then while we were waiting for Terry to come over after work, I showed her how to use her new cell phone. She does pretty well for 85. Sometimes she gets a little frustrated and would rather not use a cell phone, but has agreed to carry it with her when she goes out, in case of emergency.

When I picked her up earlier in the day, she let me know that the Glendale Chocolate Affaire was going on this weekend. It’s an outdoor chocolate festival that they have every year around Valentine’s Day. Since we both LOVE chocolate, Terry and I have talked about going ever since we moved back from California. Mom lives less than a mile from the festival and had never been there herself. Fortunately, I had already set aside the whole day and evening for her, since I wasn’t sure what we would be doing, so we decided to check it out that night with Terry.

It was interesting, but I have come to find out that most of these festivals are much too crowded and not nearly as great as they sound. We felt the same way about the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. Just too many people in one place at the same time. Amazingly mom navigated the festival quite handily with her walker. There was a nice policeman that told us we could use the handicapped parking even though she doesn’t have a tag for the car, which helped with the walking distance getting TO the festival. Anyway, we bought some chocolate dipped strawberries which were good, sampled several types of fudge, including goat cheese fudge. Terry ended up buying some coconut & chocolate fudge. He also bought the T shirt above as a souvenir. Overall we had a little fun and were glad that we went, but probably won’t go back. Once was enough.

Saturday, I went to an all day Nikon Photography seminar. I learned some new techniques and info about my camera and got some great information on multi-day photography workshops offered in the field around Arizona by the “Friends of Arizona Highways”. They’re a bit pricey, but I’d love to save my money to do one someday. I’m sure it would be a great learning experience.

Today after church, my friend Cathy and I went to the Willo Historic Home Tour in central Phoenix. This is a neighborhood of homes built in the 20’s and 30’s. A very eclectic neighborhood with all styles of architecture. The tour is also something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but have just always missed it somehow.
I was very pleasantly surprised and will definitely go again…hopefully every year.

These are just a few glimpses into some of the houses.

And I loved watching this little girl playing in the puddles.
Cathy and I already talked about setting aside more time next year and asking some more friends if they want to join us. We didn’t have enough time to look at the unique craft booths or even to get to all the houses. The ones we visited were very nice and each one had so much character and gorgeous decorating. Just the things I love to look at. And because the tours are spread out over several blocks, it never really felt too crowded. Very manageable. The weather was gorgeous except for just a few sprinkles. We had a great time!

And just for fun, here’s a picture of Shredder exploring a shopping bag.

So, back to work tomorrow. I told Terry that I need a whole week off just to get my house in some kind of order. I’ve been ignoring it for a while…or I guess I just need to stop having so much fun on the weekend.

Let me know what you’re up to. What are your Valentine’s Day plans?