Friday, April 27, 2007

Austen in National Junior Honor Society

Last night, Austen was one of many in his school who were inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. The ceremonies were held in the school's gymnasium, and while the audience was getting seated, the chamber orchestra played.

The second photo shows all the inductees standing behind the seated students and adults who participated in various parts of the ceremony. Austen is in the last row -- tall boy, blue shirt, yellow tie.

Here he is, in line, about to hear his name read so he could pick up his certificate and shake the principal's hand before signing the school's NJHS book.

And finally, here he is with some classmates in the reception area. He had already wolfed down his cake and lemonade! I think he had a wondeful time. I know I did!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pets and sadness

UPDATE: Lilly Lu has started to eat on her own and is getting better. This is one of the few good news stories about people and their pets recently. I'm so happy for this family of humans and kitties.

Mu Shue's blog post about Lilly Lu is so very sad. Her companions must feel so helpless about now. Whenever a precious kitty of mine has gotten sick, invariably I've had to make arrangements for help to Rainbow Bridge. Anne's Cabernet is the only exception I know of. About 3½ years ago, Cabernet was diagnosed with major UT problems. This was when Anne and family still lived in Sterling, VA. Now his litterbox output is monitored closely, he is on a very special and strict diet, and he's doing really well.

We had Friday for 11 years (1971-1982), but when he got sick, he really got sick. It was less than 5 weeks between first vet visit and his going to the Bridge. He was the one who made three moves with us to different houses and three round trips in our RV between the SoCal desert and Santa Fe, NM, when I was working on my MA at St. John's Graduate Institute. He was a great little traveler, and was the only male hunter I've had.

Then we had Stinky from 1987-1991 (he really didn't stink; it was just a "pet name" because he was so cute!), who managed to contract feline leukemia when he was about 4 years old. The vets were just beginning to understand this disease; the vaccinations for it were just coming out. It was about 8 weeks between first vet visit and his going to the Bridge.

Then I had Indy. She was born in 1991, when Stinky was still healthy, and turned out to be a great little hunter for well over ten years. She made the trip with me to Texas, but became ill VERY quickly before we had been here a year. It was less than a week between my noticing that there was something wrong and her going to the Bridge. She missed turning 15 by about a month.

I got Pluto when Indy was about 6 months old. He was a wonderful, part-ragdoll cat - very loving and thought he needed to spend all his time in my lap! He lived 12 years; there were about seven months of vet visits until it was obvious that nothing was going to work. He was spending his life on antibiotics, and that wasn't good for anyone, especially him.

There were other kitties, too, most of whom just disappeared. I never really knew what happened to them, although it wasn't too hard to guess. Lots of coyotes in that desert, you know.

Grace, Audace, and Ruse are very healthy and full of zip and pizzazz, but then they are only about 1 and 2 years old. I love having them, even though they've taken over my house, and the front rooms always seem to need cleaning!! They are precious, and I'm trying not to think of any negative futures for them. They are totally indoor kitties because of the experiences I've had with indoor/outdoor kitties in the past. I am getting that expensive Science Diet food for them - no problems of the sorts announced in the pet food news lately. Am I paranoid about this? Probably so.

My heart breaks whenever anyone has to go through what Lilly Lu's human companions are going through. Just breaks...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Amaryllis bulbs - 16 months later!

In December, 2005, Ken's cousins in Missouri City, TX, the Brasseur family, gave us some amaryllis bulbs to plant. We did, each in our respective yard, and they produced some exquisite leaves, but nothing else. We didn't pay much attention, and they stayed in the ground since then.

About two weeks ago, it was clear each bulb was sending up a flower stalk. Amazing! They finally bloomed this week, and they are GORGEOUS! The first one below is in Anne's back yard; the second one is in my back yard.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Trip to the city

We also went into NYC on the Monday after Easter. We went to The American Girl Place and had a late lunch with tea. Simone was convinced we went there for tea since she had had lunch at home before we left! Then we took a bike-taxi ride to Abercrombie & Fitch, where I found shirts for Austen and Parker. (The noise and over-cologned atmosphere in that store are umpteen times worse than in the A&F store in The Woodlands Mall!) Shopping on 5th Avenue is exhausting, I think!


Here are several of Simone - concentrating as she colors and decorates Easter eggs, dressed up in her Easter finery as she played with Marble Run and a game on her dad's computer.

Grand Central Station

Here are some photos I took in Grand Central Station after our arrival there via the train from Scarsdale. Danielle and Simone are in the first photo; the other two are of the windows and ceiling - very detailed and very impressive.

Here's Grand Central from the outside, and then a photo of the Chrysler Building, which is just down the street from Grand Central!