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Abigail makes four



On Monday evening last week, I stopped at PetSmart to get cat food and flea stuff. I also stopped to look at the cats and kittens in the adoption area.

I looked into each cage and read the tag describing each cat. Abigail came to the front of her cage and looked at me with her big eyes. I kneeled down to get closer, and she gave me her neck to scratch.

I was a goner. The eyes, the purring, the soft hair, the tag that said she is a "cuddle bug" sold me. 

I missed Cleo so much. I need a cat to hold and cuddle with. Jasmine is Bill's cat, Mia is mine but she doesn't like being held or sitting on laps, and Maya is skittish and hasn't chosen a person yet.

I cried the rest of my way through the cashier's line, to my car and home. Bill saw I was distraught and wanted to adopt 9-year-old Abigail, and so he said "What's one more!?"

Abigail came home with me Friday evening, two nights ago. She's still getting used to the house, the sounds, and the other 3 cats. She's friendly to Bill and me, and she purrs a great deal.

So far it looks like Mia is intimidated by Abigail (which is surprising since nothing bothers Mia), and Maya thinks Abigail is her BFF (best friend forever) and follows her from room to room.

The photo is her "mug shot" from the website. Big eyes! And a big stomach—as in overweight. She weighs only 14 pounds, but to me she looks bigger and feels heavier (my Mom thinks I'm just used to Mia and Maya who aren't large). Abigail waddles and sways left and right when she walks. We're working on her weight issues.

Maya and Mia came home

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Maya and Mia inside the scratching posts house.After Cleo died last July, I would think I saw her when I turned around or looked up. I also thought I heard the bell on her collar as she moved around the house.

But she wasn't there.

I missed her and cried quite often. I wanted to hold her, talk to her, feed her, pet her.

On a Friday (furlough day from work) in early August, I went kitty shopping. I wanted two and Bill wanted kittens. They didn't have to be from the same litter or shelter or be the same age. They just needed to be "right" for us.

After hours of "shopping" local shelters, I still hadn't found the "right" kitty. I called Bill and he agreed to go that night to a Petco in Fremont to see cats available for adoption by Purrfect Cat Rescue. We found the purrfect kittens!

Jasmine and Mia on back of couch.Both are Dilute Tortoiseshell Calico cats, but not from the same litter. Maya is more white and has a smudge on her nose. Mia is more grey with long legs and a long tail. They are similar in size, but Maya is older by 6 weeks.

Maya was 16 weeks old when we adopted her. She was rescued from inside a wall in an abandoned house, and the wall had to be torn down to get her out. Maya is skittish, especially when you walk around or there are sudden loud noises. She spent 95% of the time under our bed during the first two weeks.

Mia snuggling at the back of my head in my hair.I don't know Mia's history, but it doesn't seem to have been traumatic. She was 10 weeks old when we brought her home. Her name was Vidalia (like the onion)—incoming cats were being given vegetable names when she was rescued. Bill suggested Mia (probably because Maya-Mia sounds much like Mama-Mia, but he said it was for women's soccer player Mia Hamm), and I thought Mia (for Mia Michaels the choreographer) was a great name!

Maya's is one year old today! (I subtracted 16 weeks from the day we brought her home to get an estimated birthday date.) She's a happy girl—still skittish, but getting a little less so each week.

Mia snuggling with an unwilling Jasmine on the couch.Jasmine is 14 years old this month. Cleo would have been 14 too.

As soon as Mia met Jasmine, she was determined that Jaz would be her BFF (best friend forever). Jaz growls and sometimes hisses, but Mia holds her ground cuddling with Jaz until she either gives in or goes somewhere else.

Sometimes Maya likes to cuddle with Jaz, but not often. And Mia is usually also there.

Most of the time, Mia and Maya are snuggling in the same cat bed, grooming each other or wrestling.

Jasmine and Maya in a cat bed with Mia next to them.Mia is a petite, athletic, fun loving girl. She likes to cuddle behind my head, rub her face into my hair and drool. She doesn't suckle—she just drools and looks like she's high on drugs. She doesn't like to sit on laps or be held or cuddled, except when she's snuggling in my hair.

Maya is a chubby, sway-backed, runner. She runs down the hall and back again, down the hall and back again. She runs away when you reach your hand out to pet her. She runs away when you're walking around. Under the bed is her haven and usual destination.

Maya belly up playing with a black string.But when you're sitting and quiet and still, she'll come lay next to you. And she'll purr and be happy to allow you to pet and scratcher her head, behind her ears, her chin, her back, her sides, her belly and her feet. When she is picked up, she melts into your arms. She's soft and cuddly and makes you think that she really does like affection after all…until the next time you're up walking around and she runs away!

My heart broke


My heart broke. And it is still broken. The Favorite, my Cleo died. In June 2010, she wasn't feeling well and had been moping around, not eating much for a day or two. Tests found a lump in her abdomen.

Cleo had surgery on July 5, but the lump was located where it couldn't be removed. The area had begun bleeding so the vet stopped the bleeding and sewed her up. After recovery, I was going to take Cleo home and spoil her for as long as she lived, was happy, and not in lots of pain.

However, two nights after the surgery while still in recovery at the vet's office, Cleo was having bloody diarrhea. The vet called me around 5:00am to ask permission to give Cleo a blood transfusion.

I didn't want her to suffer more. I had hoped she would be cured, and when that wasn't possible, I hoped she would recover from surgery and come home with me. But that didn't happen. The bloody diarrhea was a result of the bleeding lump in her abdomen. I elected to have Cleo "put to sleep" which the vet did the morning of July 8, 2010 after Bill drove me to the vet's office to say goodbye.

It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I still cry when I think about it.

I know I tried to help her by arranging surgery to remove the lump. But I caused her more pain. And I feel so bad about that. Guilty. Rationally, I know I was trying to help her - to save her - because I loved her. But in the end, she was in lots of pain. Caused by my decision.

If given the choice all over again, I would not have chosen surgery. I would have cuddled, loved, and spoiled her until she indicated it was time to go.

I miss her.

What have I been doing for the past 2 years?

Short answer: Not being creative. My creative juice dried up.

I haven't crocheted, quilted, sewed, knitted, or done any other type of craft.

Which pretty much explains why this blog hasn't been updated. Not much has been done to blog about.

So, what have I been doing? What's been going on in my life?

  • I've been reading a lot. Being creative was replaced with sticking my nose in books. It all started in, I think, January 2009. I read lots of vampire novels, including the Twilight series. My favorite is the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

  • I've been watching lots of TV on our DVR (the ability to skip commercials is better than sliced bread), as well as TV shows and movies on Netflix DVDs.

  • A grandson was born to Bill's oldest son and his wife on May 24, 2010. More later.

  • My heart was broken in July 2010. More on this in the next post.

  • I was tested for and diagnosed with sleep apnea in January 2011. I began CPAP treatment a few weeks ago and am still getting used to it.

  • I bruised my tailbone by sitting too much. Sitting at work all day. Sitting 45 minutes twice a day commuting to and from work. Sitting on the couch at home all evening and all weekend. There was no injury that I'm aware of - unless the sitting so much irritated an old injury I don't remember.

    For months I had ignored the numbness in that area after sitting for long periods. Then, the numbness changed to pain.

    I've been seeing my chiropractor about once a week for a few weeks now, and am using a coccyx cushion at work and one in my car to sit on to relieve the pressure on my tailbone. I have a timer on my work computer that goes off every hour to remind me to stand for a minute or two, move around, and stretch. Now, instead of sitting on the couch, I spend more time laying on my back to relieve the pressure on my tailbone.

  • I still hate exercise. Too much sweating for not much effort. But I had begun exercising regularly (walking about 30+ minutes a day, for about 6 days a week) in spring 2010. But then my heart was broken and I didn't get into it again. And still haven't - even though I know I need to for my health, my comfort on vacations, my comfort walking to the corner store, etc.

Well, that's all on this for now…

Amended tax returns

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Breaking the silence here to just say that I've spent 12 at least 14 hours this weekend preparing 3 amended Federal tax returns (2005, 2006, 2007) and 3 amended State tax returns (2005, 2006, 2007). Changes to the Federal tax returns resulted in changes to the State tax returns.

I found the problem last weekend and researched what needed to be done: For each year, file a Form 1040x with an amended Form 1040 and revised schedules, and file a Form 540x with an amended Form 540 and revised schedules. 6 sets of paperwork. 6 manila envelopes.

I can't believe I forgot to deduct the property taxes on our home for the past 3 years! And, while preparing the amended forms, I discovered I didn't deduct on our 2006 Federal return the 2005 State taxes paid with our 2006 State tax return. So, that was added to amended 2006 returns.

I'm filing our 2008 tax returns based on info in the originally-filed 2007 returns, so I'll need to file amended 2008 tax returns after April 15. I think I'll wait until after we hear back from the IRS and Franchise Tax Board about our 3 years of amended returns to file the amended 2008 tax returns.

FairTax anyone? Count me in.

Recipe: Taco / Burrito / Nacho Mix

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Easy and quick to make!

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice) - less oil with ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped (or red bell pepper or combo of green and red)
  • Choose one meat:
    • 2 large skinless chicken breasts, cubed
    • 1 lb. ground beef
    • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 8 oz. La Victoria Mild Taco Sauce (or taco sauce of your choice) - Salsa can be substituted but don’t also add onion and bell pepper listed above
  • Choose one or more:
    • Tacos: 8 corn tortillas, fried in oil or steamed in microwave
    • Burritos: 8 wheat or flour tortillas, steamed in microwave
    • Nachos: Corn tortilla chips
  • Extras:
    • Pinto or black beans (refried or whole), heated
    • Cheddar cheese, shredded
    • Tomatoes, chopped
    • Black olives, sliced
    • Sour cream
    • Lettuce, chopped

In large pan on high heat, saute onion in oil until almost clear. Add bell pepper and meat and mix well. Reduce heat to medium, stir regularly, and cook until meat is 1/2 done. Add taco sauce and reduce heat to simmer. Stir regularly and simmer until meat is cooked and sauce is desired consistency.

Serve as tacos, burritos, and/or nachos with your choice of extras.

About 8 servings.

Random photos

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I spent the past few hours cleaning up the hard drive of my computer. Here are a few photos I took in February but never got around to posting.


Horses next to the campus where I work. There are cattle in the hills too. I've personally seen a coyote and deer (not together though!). There have been reports of tarantulas, rattle snakes, and other wildlife.

My Commute - Palm trees to Concrete

These were taken while driving. Not recommended.

Yes, there are palm trees in California!

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Green hills in February (golden brown in summer!). Cattle on the hills.

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The bad traffic jams are on the other side of the freeway! Reverse commutes are nice!

Concrete jungle.

Finally backed up my PC

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I bought an external hard drive in December 2007 so I could backup my PC. Of course, the box containing the drive stayed unopened on the floor of my home office until this past Saturday - yes, 7 months of having but not using a backup system!

I bought a Western Digital WDG1T7500N My Book Pro Edition 750 GB from Amazon for $283 - the price is now $329.99. Using the Retrospect backup software that came with the drive, I setup an automatic daily backup running at 12:00am each evening which I may change because the backup doesn't run when the PC is in standby mode.

I tested a restore and it worked great!

Cleo, The Favorite

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Cleo napping in Jasmine's bed.

Earlier this week, Bill brought home the Thailand Coca Cola can. It is 2 of 5 in the Coca-Cola Olympic Games Collector Series for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.


Sketch of Cheryl

About Cheryl

Enjoys crocheting, gardening, cats, NASCAR (especially Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch!), reading, photography, snorkeling in Kailua-Kona with sea turtles, Sizzler's Mega Bacon Cheeseburgers, hot and iced decaf coffee, dark chocolate, color (yarn, fabric), playing around with web technologies - not necessarily in that order! Still very much a beginner with quilting, knitting, and sewing. Donates crocheted lap blankets.

List maker, detail-oriented, organized, leans heavily toward perfectionism. ISTJ. Libra.

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Disclaimer: This is a personal website - my place of self expression. The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or any other organization I am a member of or affiliated with.
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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Other category.

NASCAR / Tony Stewart is the previous category.

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Cat playing with strand of yarn.


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