Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Take time to remember the meaning behind this holiday weekend. Memorial day should be more than picnics and BBQ's and time off from work.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Yard Work

I had planned to get a lot of yard work done today. Well... I stopped by the nursery. Unfortunately, the disease guy was out-but I got good recommendations and things I needed. When I came home I finished mowing the lawn. Then I sprayed the apple tree, as well as the privet and applied copper dust to the grapes. I'm not sure if I did that right...I may convert it to a spray instead of dusting the next time. We'll see. I watered my herbs, then I had to quit. I was sooooo hot. (Even after getting doused due to water issues.) I came in and looked in the mirror-I looked like a tomato! Turn out it was 84-no wonder I was hot. Unfortunately, nothing else got done. I guess I'll weed another day!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ratkins Deux the World

I have a new blog: Ratkins Deux the World: The Travel Adventures of Amelia & Cabot Ratkins. This blog will share pictures from the trips that 2 plush rat siblings take around the world. Amelia Ratkins was a member of The Traveling Rats and has retired from the majority of her traveling. She still comes with me on my little trips-so she will be postings pics from time to time. The real jet setter will be her new brother, Cabot. Cabot will be visiting friends and family worldwide. Cabot is on his way to me from the UK as I type. He already has plans to go to Austin, Texas, Orlando, Florida, and France! I'm excited to start their blog which will allow me the luxury of plenty of armchair travel. There's not much posted to the site now, but I will be sharing some things Amelia has done since her retirement in the days ahead. I hope you join us!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


I had another interesting dream that was like watching a TV show. I wasn't in it at all, just watching what was going on, like a movie. It was pretty good too-although I don't remember what it was about now. Sadly, that's the state of most TV shows and films lately.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Today's weather was supposed to be hot and humid. Near 90! Now that's really hot for May in this part of the country. Needless to say-I stayed inside all day. These days I'm grateful to work nights!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I am much more cerebral than physical. Much. I have so many wonderful ideas, but implementing them...I love gardening, but more the idea of having a lovely garden and using all plants expertly. Actually working it...not so much. I like the idea of a clean and organized house...but getting it there...there are just so many other things I'd rather be doing. Or at least thinking about doing.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Website

I'm going to be starting a new website/blog. A few years ago I was part of a group called The Traveling Rats. We had plush rats that traveled to hosts around the world, who then showed off their neck of the woods. When the rats stopped traveling Amelia Ratkins retired with me. To this day, I still take her with me and snap pictures wherever we go. I just haven't shared them. All this is about to change. I wasn't sure if a blog could hold all the pictures-but someone showed me her husband's photo blog-so I though I'd give it a shot. I may move to an actual website-but to start I'll work with a blog-since I know how to use this one...for the most part. At any rate, I know people all over the world and thought it would be nice to have more pictures from far off places. Although it may sound odd, I'm attached to Amelia and don't want to risk mailing her off, even to people I know. After all, the first Traveling Rat-Professor Magellan Ratkins disappeared in Australia, never to be seen again. Sigh. So Amelia is staying with me. However, the woman who created her, The Raggy Rat Lady, is making her a brother. Cabot Ratkins will travel the world while Amelia will travel closer to home, or wherever I may roam. Unlike the Traveling Rats, however, I will only send Cabot to people I know. I do know people from all over-and some of these people travel all over as well-so we should get to see some nice places.

I'm trying to come up with a name for this new site-and I have friends all over using their thinking caps as well. Here are some possibilities: Ratkins Deux the World, The Traveling Ratkins, A Tail of Two Ratties (or A Tail of Two Ratkins), Amelia and Cabot - A Rat's Tale, Ratkins Travel, Ratkins Travel Adventures, Ratkins' Travels, The Adventures of Ratkins, Ratty Travels.... Thanks Dad (and Mom), Mike, Jessica, Stephanie, Ray, Vinnie, Barb, Sonja and everyone else who has helped. As soon as I get a name I can get started with a bunch of Amelia photos. I'm excited-but need a name first. What do you think?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I went to Marjim Manor last night for another paranormal investigation with the Buffalo Paranormal Investigators. I had a marvelous time. I sampled some wine with snacks-great dips to start before BPI gave a brief talk. I then had a glass of wine with dinner-a tasty spaghetti with bread and butter. Then it was on for the ghost hunt! Although not really a hunt-an investigation. I met a nice woman originally from Toronto who works in the library of my alma mater. She invited me to join her group, including her grown daughters; a nice group of people. We were led by Joe from BPI. I had a digital thermometer to check temperatures. I didn't get a drop all night...but I did get an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon). We started in the basement, with negative results. Then we moved to the chapel. Joe started an EVP session. Then I began to ask questions (no one else in my group did all night-just me and Joe) Anyway, I tried talking to Dr. Ring. I asked him a few questions, then asked him about the rumours regarding his second wife. Joe then stopped the tape and we played it back. When we got to the rumor question we got a response! We're not sure what it says. I think it sounds like "no" (others agree), Joe things "go", one guy thought "true". I may have miffed the spirit, as we didn't get anything after that. I'm curious if anything showed up on video. BPI will also try to clean up the recording-to see if we can better understand it. Nothing else occurred for our group, even on the trail outside. But I had another glass of wine. Gotta love investigating at a winery! I look forward to seeing more results and investigating again!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Cuddles

The warm weather is here and with it the departure of a sleeping companion. Aleister, my big black cat sleeps in my bed with me. He loves to snuggle close to my side, sometimes moving to the pillow I have for the cars on the bed. However, he only sleeps with me in cold weather. Once it gets warm-he sleeps by himself. Aleister has stopped sleeping in my bed for the season. The girls, Seneca and Calumet, still join me, but I guess Aleister thinks it's too hot to cuddle.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photo Phriday - Card

Here's a card I made today for my aunt.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I'm so excited for my friend, Vinnie. He booked a gig with a cruise ship and will be sailing the world! He'll be going to Alaska, Central and South America, Hawaii, and most exciting-Bora Bora!! While I'm envious of his adventures, I'm too much of a homebody to want to do something similar myself. Thanks, Vinnie, for letting me live vicariously through you. I look forward to many pictures and funny anecdotes!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lemon Basil

Of all the herbs I received at this years Wine & Herb Fest I was most excited about getting lemon basil. I love intriguing, not so common varieties. Unfortunately, the little herb I received didn't look very good. Later it looked decidedly unhealthy. Sadly, it didn't make it-the poor thing is dead. As I unpotted it I realized the problem, part of it anyway. The poor little thing had no roots! The root system was so underdeveloped the poor plant never had a chance. I hope to get a few more herbs-perhaps I can find another lemon basil.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I love herbs. I don't know what it is about these amazing plants, but I think they're wonderful. Their uses are limitless. They can be used as food, medicine, and more. I used to belong to an herbal group, and subscribed to herbal magazines...but I moved and wasn't really reading the magazine. Still every year I get herbs. Although I get many perennials, they usually die after a year. Still, I enjoy them while I have them. I just transplanted some of my herbs from the Herb & Wine fest. I still have to pot more...and put some in the ground, whenever it gets warm. I also plan to get some more herbs-but the price has really gone up on them. I'm hoping to find some deals at local garden sales. I want to get a few more basil varieties, perhaps some lemon verbena, and some other goodies. Do you like herbs?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trail Ride

I went on a trail ride with Harley today. I met up with another boarder at the barn-so we rode together. Harley started off being a bit of a brat as I was getting him ready. He was probably a bit miffed that the girls were out in the pasture. I got him saddled up and we went into the indoor arena. Melissa was already riding Jenny. Well, Harley set out to impress-he picked up a great trot. We worked a bit, then Melissa and I decided to go on a trail ride. She left first, but stopped right near the door to wait for us. Well, Harley treated the door as if it was a starting gate and shot right out trying to canter. I pulled him up and we stopped. He was very good after that. We led the way and he was a very good boy. Jenny was also well behaved. After a bit, he had enough-and so did I, so we started back. He got a bit bratty on the return-bobbing his head, but he wasn't bad, especially for our first ride outside. We went back to the indoor and we both cantered briefly. We actually rode for close to an hour! I gave him a shower and some sugar cubes. All in all a good, solid ride.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Yesterday was Callie's birthday-I meant to blog about it, but got swamped with doing other things, including preparing for my dad's birthday. Back to Calumet. I was thinking it was her 4th birthday, but it's really her 5th. I can barely believe my youngest cat is 5 years old! I think she had a good day. Seneca ate all her treats (Callie wasn't interested) but Callie seemed to like her new toy-a purple crochet ball with a bell inside. Aleister stayed upstairs. Although my dad's birthday is actually tomorrow I went to Buffalo to celebrate with him today. I actually started by visiting my cousin who is in the hospital. He's younger than me, a triathlete, and he had blood clots! He was in great spirits and hopefully he'll be good as new soon. Dad and I watched Father of the Bride (the one with Steve Martin) and then we ate-Mom picked up fried chicken which we had with pasta salad (for me) and potato salad (for them). Everything was delicious, especially dessert-cheesecake with chocolate and a raspberry on top. Mmmmm. So Happy 5th birthday Calumet and Happy 71st birthday Dad; may you both have many more!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Photo Phriday - Downtown

I had to go downtown for a workman's comp hearing. I took this picture of my favorite building there...and the neat building in front of it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Alternate Dimension

I believe there is an alternate dimension out there and somehow, socks find their way there. I suppose they may get tired of their matching companion...or perhaps they just fall through a crack in reality. I've held this belief for a while, and now I'm wondering if there is another reality where the lids to plastic containers go. Are the socks and lids together? Are they happy, playing in the sunshine. Can they see us and do they sympathize with our fruitless searches for them-or are they laughing at us?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I used to think furlough was a good word. At work when patients are granted furloughs it means that the state has deemed them OK to leave the unit and go out for fun activities or to work to make some money. Good, right? Well, now New York State is making state employees have furloughs. Some employees will now work 4 days a week instead of 5. Cool, an extra day off you say...not don't get paid for it. Basically, it's a 20% cut in your salary. I read in the paper that police, health care, and management won't be affected. Management??? Excuse me, those are the people that should be furloughed. They make enough money and they are most expendable for a day (or more). Nooooo lets keep all the high paid muckety mucks and make the people who make the state run earning small wages suffer. Since I'm direct care, I don't think I'm at risk, but I just found out our time keeper got furloughed. A woman who works harder than anyone at a horrible, thankless job (dealing with overtime and scheduling and more) who is only a grade 6-will get a 20% pay cut because the stupid high paid government in this state are a bunch of idiots who can't pass a budget. They're the people who should forfeit their salary!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Today I slept. I went to bed early and slept. I woke up thinking it was close to time to get up...only to find an hour had passed. This happened twice more. Of course, when my alarm really did go off I was tired and didn't want to get up. I could have slept longer. Too bad I have to go to work.

Monday, May 10, 2010

State Doctor

I had to see the state doctor today. Work doesn't like the fact that they can only mandate me for 4 hours-they want the option of keeping me for 16. Both previous state doctors agreed that I shouldn't work more than 12 hours. This is a different state doctor. He wondered why he was seeing me and not the other doctor..."maybe they didn't like what he said". This guy seemed pretty nice-and had back surgery himself...I have a feeling he'll say the same as the other doctors. We'll see.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I wish all mothers a Happy Mother's Day - especially those moms who have non-human kids. Enjoy your special day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Winter's Return?

It's currently 38 degrees but feels like 27. The wind is howling. It's been raining, but the weather channel states there is a possibility of snow showers. It's May 8th. Can you believe it was in the mid 80's a week ago?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Night Back

I made it through my first night back at work after vacation. It wasn't too bad. Of course, I didn't have to work with a person I can't that made it nice. Now I'm trying to sort out all the problems that occurred while I wasn't there. In a way it's kind of nice to hear..."see, you went away and this happened"..."this wouldn't have happened if you were here"..."thank God you're back". Amazingly these comments all came from staff, usually it's just the patients who are glad to see me!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Going Back

It may be Cinco de Mayo, but for me it's "noooooo I have to go back to work tonight". I took Seneca to the vet for her blood test. Hopefully, the results will be good and we won't have to change her dosage...or get another test done. It's cool in the house-but it's supposedly over 80 outside. I should do some yard work...but it's almost time for nap before work. Sigh. At least I only have 3 nights before my weekend. Still, I'm not looking forward to the drama.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Last Day of Vacation

Today has been my last day of vacation. How quickly it flew. I had some great times, did great stuff, ordinary stuff, and didn't get enough stuff done. Let's recap. The big highlight came at the start of my vacation-the Cayuga Lake Wine & Herb Fest. A great trip by myself on Friday-doing the East side of the lake-with a west side stop at the Cayuga Lake Creamery. Meeting with my Ohio friends and meeting more Friday evening, a nice stay at Hotel Clarence, and a wine tour of the west side of the lake followed by a ride home. A trip to Naples on Sunday and saying goodbye to Ohio friends. I had great times with my animals-extra time with Harley and hanging out at the barn, loving on my cats and rats...and adding new rats to my family. Reading, watching the rest of the first season of Torchwood, as well as starting season 2, goofing on the computer. Unfortunately, my dad went back to the hospital where they screwed more things up-he got released-but almost 10 hours after we expected it...meaning I was already back home. Sigh. I mowed my lawn...after fixing the mower. I must have done more...but who knows. I'm finishing as I started-drinking some champagne. Until my next vacation...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stupid Hospital

Stupid hospital. As you know Dad had to go back to the hospital last Monday. They tapped his lungs and did some other stuff and he's greatly improved. In fact, they told him he could go home Friday...but they couldn't arrange for the visiting nurse in time, so he'd have to stay the weekend and be discharged Monday, today. Fine. Mom asked me to come and wait at the house to be there in case they needed help. This morning she called-the hospital people hadn't said anything more, but she was going down there and I drove into town. We saw on the wall that discharge is around 11AM, but we know it can be later. I left my house around 10:35 AM, did some stuff and got really on the road at 10:45. I waited and waited at their house. Mom called-no news yet-it was 1:30PM. By 2 she called and told me to go back home. The earliest he'd be released would be 4...and they may not let him go, no one could tell them what was going on. I waited a bit more, but after another call-and no word I left and drove back home. Now-after 6PM-Mom called-they're still at the hospital. They want to keep him another day, they said no we're going home, they said, if you do your insurance may not pay for the hospital. Damn. His surgeon is in surgery, but supposedly after that he'll come and tap Dad's lungs again and then discharge him. That should be sometime tonight. My question-what happened to him being ready to leave 3 days ago?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

New Family Members

I adopted 4 new members to my family today. I drove to Cheektowaga and picked up Baron, Marlin, Napoleon, and Wallace. They were brought to the rescue along with 11 other boys and 5 girls after being used in some sort of animal husbandry project. They're quite scared, but seem very sweet. Supposedly they were all born January 15, 2010-so they're quite young. I'm giving them quiet time today, to help them adjust. They're all huddling together in their igloo-at least whenever I peek my head into their room. I managed to take a few pics, although most didn't come out well. I'm also excited because Baron may be a blue agouti. I've always wanted a blue agouti. In the picture Baron is towards the front with Napoleon looking behind him.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Derby Day

The first Saturday in May...Derby Day! Of course, I had to see my ex-race horse on Derby Day. Today's ride is what makes owning a horse great. Harley was wonderful. He kept a good pace and did whatever I asked immediately. He stepped right into the canter every time I asked. I felt good riding him and he was wonderful. It was hot today-so we were both sweaty messes by the end of the ride. I gave him a shower to help cool him down, then gave him some carrots! Once home I took a much needed shower, then got ready to watch all of the Derby coverage. As race time got closer, one name kept coming in my head-Super Saver. Could Calvin Borel really do it again though? Yes...yes he could. He had a magnificent ride. Could we really have a Triple Crown winner this year? Only time will tell.