Friday, October 31, 2008

Damn Cats and Ghostly Goings on in the Attic

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much this week, and this is going to be the case for a while longer. On Monday and Tuesday, I wasn’t feeling very well. Then on Wednesday, my cat Alvin was ill, so I took him to see the vet. Unfortunately, while the vet took Alvin’s temperature, I held his head. I thought I had a firm grip on him, but he managed to get loose and sunk all his teeth into my arm.

As it was a very nasty bite, I went to the doctor for a tetanus shot. She also gave me antibiotics and painkillers, as she was particularly concerned that Alvin might have passed his infection onto me. She also told me to keep my forearm elevated for 2-3 days, so I’m not supposed to be typing, but I just wanted to let you know what was happening.

My right arm is red and swollen from the wrist to the elbow, and is extremely painful. It was so bad that I couldn’t get the childproof caps off the antibiotics and painkillers, and had to wait for Mick to get home from work before I could take any. :-) But the good news is, Alvin is recovering from his infection, so hopefully, normal service will be resumed with me very soon.

Anyway, as it’s Halloween, I’ll share some ghost stories with you. I posted this a while ago when no-one was reading this blog. I did want to add another ghost story to it, but that will have to wait for another time. Happy Halloween!

Ghostly Goings on in the Attic

Last weekend, my daughter called and told me that she had a ghost in the attic. My granddaughter had been using the attic as her bedroom, and saw this ghost on two occasions. Although my daughter thought she had probably dreamt it, she took it seriously and moved her to another bedroom. She then put two of her boys in the attic, and gave my granddaughter strict instructions not to mention the incident to them. The two boys also saw the ghost, each on separate occasions. This is what my granddaughter told me about the experience:

"It was really dark in my room, and I remember waking up, I didn't know what time it was. For some reason, I just felt really scared and I didn't know why, and I couldn't move anything but my eyes. I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye and so I looked. I thought it was dad, because it was about the same height and it looked like a man. It was a bit blurry, but I presumed that was because it was dark. It was bending down and picking stuff up and looking at them before putting them back down again. It was near my teddy bears so I thought it was picking them up. I can't remember anything else so I must have fallen asleep. I asked dad why he'd been messing with my teddy bears and he said he hadn't. He looked confused so I believed him. It was there the next night, doing the same thing, in the same spot. I carried on looking at it, and I just remember seeing it kind of fade from the bottom upwards, and seeing it with no legs."

This reminded me of a strange encounter of my own. At one time, back in England, I worked at an office where I used to run a job club (to help people improve their job search skills). The job club took place in two of the upstairs rooms in the office. In one room I did the training sessions, and the other room (which we called the resource room), was used by people to apply for jobs. In that room they had newspapers, magazines, telephones, stationery, computer, everything that they needed to apply for jobs. There was also an old typewriter in there that nobody ever used.

One day, I arrived early at the office, before anyone else got there. The canteen was upstairs, so I went up there to make myself a cup of tea. On passing the door to the resource room, I heard typing, which surprised me as I was sure none of the other staff were in yet. As soon as I opened the door the typing stopped, but there was no one in the room.

I did hear the typing several times while I worked there, and it always happened when the room wasn’t in use. I probably would have thought I was going nuts, but I later discovered that other staff had heard it, too.

And funnily enough, when I told the office manager about the mysterious typist, she told me yet another ghost story. She had been in charge of another office at the time, and one Sunday she got a call from the police. Neighbors across from the office building had seen lights on upstairs and thought it might be a break-in. When the manager and the police got there, there were no lights on, and no sign of a break-in.

But, what really mystified her was that the upstairs of the office wasn’t used. The office had originally been a church until it had undergone a conversion. The contractors who did the renovations had put in a false ceiling to hide the high church roof.

After another Sunday call-out due to lights being on in the upper story the manager thought there might be some sort of electrical fault, so she called in an electrician. He found that not only were there no lights up there, there wasn’t any electrical wiring either.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumnal Asides

My Chrysanthemum looks lovely at the mo.

The weather here in Northeast Oklahoma has been absolutely perfect for the past few days, sunny, 75°F, with cooler nights and mornings. The skies have been the deepest of blues, and not a cloud in sight. A few trees have already lost most of their leaves, but the vast majority are only just beginning to change color. How is autumn panning out where you live?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. I got my latest assignment done and into Oklahoma Living Magazine, ahead of deadline, but a couple of hundred words longer than it should have been. I hope the editor doesn’t cut it, she usually doesn’t, but you never know.

The article was about a local arts center, and I so enjoyed my visit there that I had a bit of a struggle when it came to writing the story. You see, I’m not allowed to include my own views and opinions in these articles, everything has to be written in third person. Anyway, I wrangled it eventually, and I really hope I have done the place justice. I’ll tell you more about it after the piece is published at the beginning of November.

I no sooner got that piece sent in, when I received an e-mail from the editor asking me to submit story ideas for next year’s editorial calendar. Truth be told, I didn’t have a single idea in my head, and only five days to come up with something! Anyway, after a lot of brainstorming, a lot of research, and a couple of sleepless nights, I did manage to put a list together, and got it in by the deadline. (Phew, wipes sweat from fevered brow). Now it’s fingers crossed that she throws a few crumbs my way for next year.

And as for "the bloody thing," (my book), if things go much slower they’re going to stop. I keep changing my mind about what I want to include, and then have to do a load more research, oh, hum.

And this week, I’m off to do another interview for my next Oklahoma Living story.

On a lighter note

I saw a funny joke this week on Jo’s blog at:

GORDON BROWN (British Prime Minister) was visiting a primary school and he visited one of the classes. They were in the middle of a discussion related to words and their meanings. The teacher asked Mr. BROWN if he would like to lead the discussion on the word 'tragedy'. So the illustrious leader asked the class for an example of a 'tragedy'.

A little boy stood up and offered: "If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field & a tractor runs over him and kills him that would be a tragedy."

"No," said GORDON – "that would be an accident."

A little girl raised her hand: "If a school bus carrying fifty children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy"

"I'm afraid not," explained GORDON – "that's what we would call a great loss."

The room went silent. No other children volunteered.

GORDON searched the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"

Finally, at the back of the room, little Johnny raised his hand... In a quiet voice he said, "If A plane carrying you and MR. DARLING (British Chancellor of the Exchequer) was struck by a 'friendly fire' missile & blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy."

"Fantastic!" exclaimed GORDON. "That's right. And can you tell me why that would be tragedy?"

"Well," says little Johnny, "it has to be a tragedy, because it certainly wouldn't be a great loss, and it probably wouldn't be a f**king accident either!"

Toodle pip, ‘til next time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

ICE and an Award

No, this isn't a post about last winter’s ice storms, but about a Canadian initiative called ICE which is an acronym "In Case of Emergency." I came across this post on Gill’s site at and thought it made a lot of sense, but then the simple ideas usually do. Perhaps this is something we should be doing in the US?

"ICE - 'In Case of Emergency.' We all carry our cell phones with names & numbers stored in its memory but nobody, other than ourselves, knows which of these numbers belong to our closest family or friends. If we were to be involved in an accident or were taken ill, the people attending us would have our mobile phone but wouldn't know who to call. Yes, there are hundreds of numbers stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency? Hence the 'ICE' (In Case of Emergency) Campaign.

The concept of 'ICE' is catching on quickly. It is a method of contact during emergency situations. As cell (mobile) phones are carried by the majority of the population, all you need to do is store the number of a contact person or persons who should be contacted during emergency under the name 'ICE' (In Case Of Emergency).

The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when he went to the scenes of accidents, there were always cell phones with patients, but they didn't know which number to call. He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized name for this purpose. In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital staff would be able to quickly contact the right person by simply dialing the number you have stored as 'ICE.' For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc. A great idea that will make a difference!

Let's spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our cell phones today! Please forward this. It won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest. ICE will speak for you when you are not able to. "

An Award

My apologies to Sarah, I’ve been a bit remiss in posting about the award she so kindly gave me. Thanks Sarah.

This award recognizes those readers that regularly show their support with comments, so I would like to pass this on to my few regulars. I don’t post as often as I’d like, but I also have a cooking blog and it gets very time consuming. But I do want to thank you for taking the time to stop by and for all your lovely comments. Pam, I would have included you, but Sarah beat me to it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


We are in a battle of the wills with our cats at the moment, we are trying to change their diet, and they don’t like it! A few months ago hubby, Mick, joined an on-line cat forum, and has learnt a lot about cat nutrition, as well as general health and well being.

Apparently, dried food is not good for cats. It's full of carbohydrates, something that they can well do without as it lacks the moisture that is essential to a cat's digestive system. Cats are Obligate Carnivores, which means that to remain healthy they need to eat meat. They are naturally desert animals and have a low thirst drive, they depend on getting their required moisture intake from their kill. Dry food contains no moisture and dehydrates them, which can lead to kidney disease/failure, one of the biggest killers of cats. According to the folks on the cat forum, feeding your cat the worst wet food is better than the best dried food.

Wilson, the lounge lizard.

Wilson, at eight years old is a lost cause. When we adopted him from the Humane Society three years ago, he was a totally indoor cat, and had no claws. De-clawing is something else I strongly disagree with as it leads to all manner of physical and psychological problems, but that’s a whole other story.

When we adopted Wilson, the Humane Society gave us a bag of Science Diet, dried cat food. The first time I heard him crunching down on this food it seemed really funny as I had never known cats to eat biscuits. In England, cats ate canned meat, biscuits were for dogs, though I don’t know if this is the case nowadays.

In the early days, we did try to introduce Wilson to canned meat but he wouldn’t touch it, so we continued with the dried stuff. I wish now that we had been a bit more persistent with him, because three years on he is even more set in his ways, and adamantly refuses meat. But, we have switched him to a better dried food called Eagle Pack, Holistic Select. He has been eating this food for two weeks, and I’ve noticed he doesn’t eat anywhere near as much of it as the old stuff. And not because he doesn’t like it, but because it has a higher nutritional content than Science Diet. This can only do him good in the long run as he is very overweight.

Alvin, as a kitlet.

Alvin, (adopted as a kitten from the Humane Society), and now 3 years old, is more amenable to the wet food, but he still stubbornly sticks out for dry stuff if he’s that way inclined. Alvin is a very willful boy. On the other hand, he does catch plenty of his own food, small rabbits, mice and other rodents, so I’m not too worried about him. Still, I would prefer to get him off the dried food.

Tommy Ticklemouse, can't a cat get any privacy around here?

Tommy is 2 years old and has taken to the wet food without any problems, he just eats whatever’s in his dish. On occasions though, even he has stuck out for the dried stuff, but he’s not as bad as Alvin. Mind you, he has never been a picky eater. He wandered into our yard as a kitten, and the poor little mite was starving. He looked like a bag of bones with the skin thrown on, so he will pretty much eat anything and everything. Tommy is also not as murderous as Alvin, though he does catch an odd mouse, and eats Alvin’s leftovers, he, therefore, does need to eat more meat.

It’s going to be a slow process, as cats don’t like change, well not unless they’ve been consulted and agreed to it in the first place. We have had no problems with the switch to the Holistic Select dried food, but the canned food is going to take a little longer. The wet food is also Eagle Pack, Holistic Natural Canned Formulas.

Quote of the week: Dogs have owners, cats have staff! (source unknown).