Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

October 14, 2014

My Sweet Flaco

Filed under: At home,Cats — Janice @ 10:17 pm

I am not going to put a picture here. I’d spend an hour looking through pictures to find the right one and I’d get all sad. And this will be short, too.

Our sweet kitten Flaco is gone and it breaks our hearts. Friday he was sick, Saturday we had to say goodbye to him and let sweet Dr. O at our vet’s office do what vets do. It was a cold rainy October day just like it was 5 years ago when Nathan Jr. had to be put to sleep. We were just about to get past our October depression and now it is back full force.

Flaco had an enlarged heart. Both of the vets we took him to said it was nothing we did, nothing we could have prevented, nothing we could have known about and fixed. It just “is.” His heart was too big and it created clots and a clot went to the arteries that feed his legs and this poor little feet were so cold. He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t clean himself, he couldn’t get up to go to the litter box. All of this happened within the span of maybe 12 hours.

Mark took him to the hospital and then he had to go to a gig so I met him there and waited for the doctor’s report. There was nothing good in the report at all. I chose to bring sweet Flaco home for one more night at home. One more night with me and Mark instead of at the cat hospital where they might have kept him more hydrated and had a cardiologist look at him in the morning. Mark and I cried with him and over him a lot. Saturday morning we took him to our own vet, the vet that took good care of Nathan Jr. right to the end (even to coming in on her day off to help us through that last painful moment). Dr. O agreed with the prognosis that there was nothing that could really be done. They MIGHT be able to get the clot to break up and move on, they MIGHT get the blood thin enough to bypass the clot, he MIGHT not have another clot for a while… But everything I read seemed to say that if you did all of these things, a kitty might live another 5 months. I sure didn’t want our lively little happy energetic boy to have to suffer or go through shots and hospital stays and all the fear involved with that just to get to keep him another 5 months.

So we said goodbye to him and let her literally put him to sleep and then figuratively. Lots and lots of tears since then. He was a sweet bright spot in this house and was ALWAYS wherever we were. Phil and Willie are angels, but they are much more blasé and independent. We come home from work, they stay on the bed without even a meow. They let us come to them.

There may be another kitten in our future. We will wait to see what develops. It is heartbreaking to invest the love and then lose a kitten when he was so young (just over 2). But, better to have loved and lost…  He brought us a LOT of joy each and every day and I know we made his world a lot better, too.

March 3, 2013

March Fourth

Filed under: At home,Cats,Normal Life — Janice @ 11:55 pm

March forth we shall.

It appalls me when I see the length of time that has gone by sometime on this blog. And then that, of course, brings with it pressure. Pressure to write something good or worthwhile, or go back and finish the stories of the San Antonio cemeteries, or tell about the company we’ve had the last couple of weekends, or write about the great “last show” we saw of the Lucky Tomblin Band last night. I write plenty of blog entries in my head.

But, sigh, that does all sound like work and I have had a full day of work. I have mulled over taxes all day. ALL DAY. And it isn’t like I have been pushing a pencil to the paper figuring and cyphering and actually DOING taxes. I was just gathering info for the accountant. But, geez, there is a lot to gather. We each have jobs and those jobs are simple enough because the owners are nice enough to employ people who take the taxes out of the paychecks and keep track of all of that. But we also each work for some lousy employers who are not good at keeping track of the tax situation at all and we get to the end of the year and we are just in a muddle. Those employers are, of course, ourselves, as we are each self-employed in multiple ways and I must cobble together all the details I can about the money we have earned and the expenses we have had. But it is done and I feel a great sense of accomplishment that I did it and I did it this early. A full MONTH earlier than last year. I’ll celebrate more when the CPA tells me if we might be getting some money back and it gets filed.

Last week we had a celebration of the first birthday of our cat Flaco. He has been such a sweet boy. Having 3 cats is a houseful and I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I adopted #3, little Flaco. But he is adorable and has a whole different personality from the others and I’m glad he’s a part of our family. Mark takes some wonderful pictures of him. Here’s Flaco back when we first got him in about May:


And here’s a more recent picture with his brother Phil the Cat. Flaco was a little sleepy eyed.


And tomorrow will be the 10th birthday of our oldest, Willie. While Phil and Flaco were both adopted from Austin Pets Alive from their bottle baby program, Willie was born in our closet to our sweet cat Miss L Toe, who showed up on our doorstep on Christmas Eve 2002. She had the most adorable kittens you’ve ever seen. We found homes for all of them and for her, too, but decided to keep Willie for our very own.  We went to San Antonio for Mark to play a gig with Guy Forsyth at Casbeer’s. Miss L Toe was as big as a basketball and that is not hyperbole. She was one HUGE miserable cat. But we came home at 4 a.m. and found her with 6 squirmy little angels in a box in our closet.


Willie quickly became the most recognizable of the kittens, since he was the only Red Headed Stranger among them. But he also was the absolute cutest.


That is a charmer!

Here he is with his Mama and some siblings. See how it is easy to pick out Willie?


This is the picture of Willie I would enter in a beauty contest. He is a big beautiful 17 pound cat now and rules the roost.


Happy Birthday Willie! But how about a picture of all three of the cats?


So it has been a picture essay instead of a lot of words words words tonight. Maybe some words will come next time.

July 11, 2012

It Is Today

Filed under: At home,Cats,Childhood Memories,My Job,Normal Life,Radio stuff — Janice @ 8:43 pm

My friend Jenni gave me sweet props today in her blog, which flatters me to no end. I love her words and her photos and her creative abilities when it comes to gardens, crafts, food, and friendships. I often read her blog and think, “I was going to write about that!” or “I should write about that.” I’m waiting until some time passes to when I write about it, it won’t like I’m stealing the idea.

So I’m writing tonight because someone like me. That is my primary motivation for most of the things I do, I think. I wish I could say I was driven by an inner desire to achieve. Or even money, for heaven’s sake, but more often than not, as long as someone is telling me they like what I do, I’ll keep doing it.

So this update is not going to be cohesive, but it will be an update. What is going on today?

Right this minute I have a sweet kitten in my life. Flaco is almost 4 months old now and growing so fast, but he’s still a kitten. The minute I sit at my desk he is in my lap, purring, and looking for “Mama.” I don’t have what a mama would have, but he insists on nursing on my shirt front or pajama bottoms or whatever the case may be, looking for what a mama could give him. He was a little bottle baby, abandoned practically at birth, so he never knew a mama, or not for very long anyway, but his instincts are there.

I got a new phone today. I am anything but an “early adopter” when it comes to technology. I only got my first smart phone about 18 months ago. But it has not been a phone that has made me happy (it never tells me I’m doing a good job) so today I took advantage of my upgrade and got a new Samsung Galaxy SIII, the newest and best, I hear. So far I’ve made phone calls and sent texts with it so I’m happy with that part. And, lo and behold, I can text on that touch screen. When Mark got his first iPhone I couldn’t, for the life of me, hit the right keys. This one is very perceptive and you can even just drag your finger around the keyboard, it doesn’t even have to be touched. New innovations. So I am an early adopter for the first time and I truly believe I will have the newest and best cell phone in America until probably Monday when something new will hit the stores. Now that all smart phones look alike, no one knows how revolutionary right now.

Another big focus of the day is the MOLD in the air. If there is something in the air in Austin, I am bound to be allergic to it. Cedar, ragweed, elm, oak, grass, and mold are my nemisises (… nemasisae? I’m trying to remember my Latin plurals, but I can’t with a head full of snot). I had been watching the mold get higher and higher and didn’t know if rain downpours would clean the air, like it does for the tree and grass pollens, or make it worse because it is, after all, mold. It is definitely the latter. I watched Jim Spencer’s KXAN weather this evening and his lead story was the VERY HIGH mold count at 27000+ particles per square meter… the highest reading he has every seen in the last 20 years or so. More rain tonight and possibly tomorrow and then the molds will probably grow even harder and faster for a week or more, so I am anticipating lots of breathing through my mouth and sore throat and sneezing as if I were one of the seven dwarves.

I am VERY happy for the rain, though. Do not get me wrong on that. Monday evening, a downpour that I got caught in, Tuesday another, today another and I was out in this one, too, and more on the way. It is a rare July to get this much rain and I’m happy for it.

Another issue of the day is that I have “the zaps.” If you’ve ever had them, you know what they are. Tiny electrical jolts coming from the brain and coursing through the neurological system of the body. It comes from changing from one medication to another. I guess technically it is just from going off the first one, but I was hoping the zaps would be minimal since I’m going on another, but we’ll have to wait and see. This has been two days of zaps, with them getting particularly bad today. It’s not just the jolt, it is also the briefest moment of discombobulation, like when the elevator starts or stops too fast. As for the electricity, I can state for certain that it IS electricity from my childhood experiments.

When I was a kid, we had cows in our pastures and Daddy had an electric fence up around the pasture to keep the cows in. It had a box the size of a car battery that hung on the wall in the barn and two glowing spheres of red would flash on and off as it sent out the powerful jolts of electricity. With each one it made an ominous clicking sound to remind you that this was dangerous stuff. But it was also a fun adventure to line up, about five in a row, hold hands, and then have the person on one end touch the ground while the person on the other end touched the fence. A click later and we broke that chain with a yowl and a giggle and then we’d do it again, sometimes changing places. The people on the ends really got a jolt, while the person in the middle only had the mildest bit of electricity coursing through them. Ah, good times. Now I don’t want you to think my father was irresponsible in letting us do this. Though, now that I think about it, did he tell us how to do it in the first place? Whatever, there were many times that he would warn us that he currently had the fence on a higher power and we shouldn’t be touching it at all because it was dangerous. We heeded his word and didn’t have our fun if we’d been warned.

And I am also becoming involved in a bit of radio again and that is next on my list of To-Do’s tonight. I have been on the afternoon show of a radio station north of Dallas for the last several years. Or at least my voice is there. I have pre-recorded a lot of things and they are just plugged into the program so a voice is saying hello as people listen and go about their day. My friend Steve, the owner, wants me to do new ones each day and be current and topical. There isn’t a lot of work involved, but it is the thinking about WHAT to say that stymies from time to time. In “real” radio where you are under the gun because the clock is ticking, you have breaks that are boring or lame or you don’t say anything except the name of the song because that’s as much time as you had to prepare (or you were in the traffic office visiting with your friend Ann, which was usually the case with me). When it is prerecorded, you don’t have that luxury. If it sounds lame, you record it again. Currently, we are just trying it out to see if I want to do this every day. I’ll try to remember to keep you posted.

Flaco just let out a big sigh. He has quit purring and is sound asleep now while my legs fall asleep from being on tip toes so he doesn’t fall off my lap. He probably wants me to get my tasks done so we can adjourn to someplace more comfortable.

Now go read all of Jenni’s old blog posts and great recipes and crafty things and go listen to the artists she promotes, too. And maybe I’ll get back on the writing horse because of her.

May 10, 2012

Meet Flaco

Filed under: At home,Cats — Janice @ 10:02 pm

I can’t let this week end without telling the story of our newest family member, Flaco (though we discussed the Bones might be a better name for him right now). This is my new baby:


This doesn’t show how teeny tiny he is. Right now he just the right size to pick up and have his torso fit in the hand easily.

Mark has been complaining that the cats love me and don’t love him. His cat, Nathan Jr., was always climbing up in his chair to sit beside him or curl up and nap with him on his chair. Since sweet Nathan has been gone, Mark has not received quite the same measure of affection. With Willie, it is easy to see why he bonded with me. He was about 3 weeks old when Mark left on a one month tour. So while Mark was off working and playing gigs, Willie and I bonded a lot. We bonded a lot because I gave away his mother and brothers and sister before Mark came home. And then sweet Phil was in foster care with a single woman a long time before we got him, so he was always more comfortable with me. So Mark has been saying he wanted a new cat. But it was just talk, we didn’t need a cat.

And then Monday, my friend Miss Trish, our catsitter and an employee of Austin Pets Alive!, the good folks who rescued Phil and raised him as a bottle baby until he was well enough to go out in the world, posted a picture of a kitten they had at their little storefront. He was just the cutest thing. I admired him on Facebook and Trish posted another sweet picture for me. I asked for a picture of his tail (since I’m partial to long-tailed cats) and she told me that his tail was normal length, but had a kink in it. Our cat Willie has an interesting kink in his tail too, to I like that. She suggested I come see this sweet kitten that they called Ian (they are named alphabetically, just like the hurricanes).

I went over to Austin Pets Alive! after work and took them some cat litter while I was at it. It didn’t take long before I was in love with little Ian. He was in a “room” with a couple of grown cats and he had no fear of them and marched around like he owned the place. So before I knew what was happening, I was filling out paperwork and passing their inspection and getting ready to bring little Ian home with me.

I got home just before Mark left for his Monday night gig, but he thoroughly approved of my choice. He knew I got a prime A #1 kitten!

Willie and Phil are not so sure. There was some growling and hissing on the first day, primarily from Phil, and primarily directed at us, not at the kitten. Things have calmed down considerably and the boys have all played together a little bit. Phil is not sleeping up by my neck like he has always done, but I hope he will get back in his old habits, soon. This kitten isn’t a substitution, he’s just an addition.

Come see him before he grows up!

December 24, 2011

Our Christmas Eve Gift 2002

Filed under: At home,Austin,Cats — Janice @ 6:17 pm

Mark and I were thinking today about the wonderful Christmas we had back in 2002. Just like this year, we had decided to just stay home for Christmas and not face the travel and stress. We were enjoying a very quiet Christmas Eve at home. I went to the front door to look out to see the night and the neighborhood and there, sitting right on the doorstep, was a big gray cat. We were already cat lovers, we had had our boy Nathan Jr. for a year and a half. This kitty seemed to need a place to sleep for the night so we let her in and fed her and we named her Miss L Toe (“mistletoe”). She quickly adapted and Nathan didn’t mind her so we had ourselves a cat, it looked like.

A few days into her visit, Mark suggested that she was awfully fat and maybe she was pregnant. I checked with out neighbor Katie and she agreed that, yes, she was VERY pregnant. Any day, we expected to have a batch of kittens.

This was Miss Toe lounging on our bed with a belly full of kittens. Time went on and we began to wonder if she was ever going to have those kittens. I looked up the gestation period for a cat and it is 72 days (I believe). We were entering March and were very close to 72 days from when we got her and she had been obviously pregnant even then. Yet she just grew bigger!

She sometimes lolled around and looked like she was a basketball dressed up in a kitten costume.

Finally, on March 4, we had babies. Mark and I went to San Antonio for him to play a gig with Guy Forsyth at the now defunct Casbeer’s. The gig lasted past 2 and then with packing up and driving home, we came in the door after 4 a.m. A quick look around the house and we discovered Miss Toe and 6 little babies in the box we had set up for her in the closet. She was such a sweet mother and so concerned as we delightfully examined each one against her will.

She was gray and five of the babies, 4 boys and a girl, were also various shades of gray and white. But one little kitten was an orange tabby and was quite distinctive from the rest.

Soon we saw that this little red-headed kitty was treated like a stranger by his brothers and sister and we named him Willie, the Red-Headed Stranger.

The other kittens were named Turbo, Mambo, Pinky, Ringo, and Amazing Grace. They were such fun. They almost had their eyes open when they were born, they were so overdue.

Mark went on a month-long tour of Europe within a few weeks of their birth. We had already arranged homes for some of the kittens, but Mark asked that I not give them to their new owners until he was home and could play with them some more. While he was still home, the kittens were pretty containable and we found that we could corral them easily in the bathtub if necessary. They couldn’t get out. But it seemed like the minute Mark walked out the front door the cats were mobile and could get out and go anywhere they wanted to. I had a house now with EIGHT cats constantly demanding my attention.

I remember standing in the kitchen trying to eat cereal while standing up and having kittens crawling up the inside and outside of my gown as they clamored for that milk. At night I would sit on the couch and try to eat and have a kitten on each shoulder.

And, no, they were most certainly not trained at this point. I was in my office and smelled something pretty strong. I crawled under the desk and on top of all the wires along the back of the desk were little piles of kitty poo in about the hardest place in the house to get it or clean it up. I’d get home from work and have to clean and mop the kitchen floor. They were messy.

So I was making those arrangements to move those kitties on out as soon as the new homes were ready. I made a trip to Waco and met up with a Dallas friend who took Pinky and Turbo. I went to LaGrange and gave Mambo and even mama Miss L Toe to someone that was willing to take her, too. Grace went off to San Antonio to my old roommate. Finally we were down to Ringo and Willie.

They were the cutest little things as they explored and roamed the house. We had found a home for Willie with Mark’s old roommate in Dallas, also named Mark. Sadly, Mark died unexpectedly and Willie was left an orphan. I found a radio station listener that was going to take Willie and then she decided she was allergic and didn’t want him anymore. At that point we realized that Willie needed us. I found a home with a co-worker for Ringo and Willie became our little baby kitten and he and Nathan eventually began to have a wonderful relationship together.

This morning Mark reminded me of Willie’s mother coming 9 years ago tonight and we decided that Willie was maybe the best delayed Christmas present we ever had.

October 23, 2011

Cats in the Night

Filed under: Cats,Childhood Memories,Family — Janice @ 10:12 am

We’ve been dealing a lot with cats lately. Not ours. They have been perfect angels.  tolerable.

It’s tomcats in the neighborhood. Mark slept out on the catio/screened-in porch/sleeping porch one night and said he heard a plaintive “meow meow.” Worried that it was our cats, he investigated and found our cats and they were perfectly fine. Then the meowing turned into yowling, driving our cats nuts and keeping anyone from getting a good night of sleep.

I get up earlier in the morning than Mark does so I try to keep things quiet and let him snooze. One day this week Willie, usually our better behaved cat, came tearing into the bathroom while I was showering and was up in the window, tearing into the metal blinds so that he could see outside and GET TO THAT CAT. Of course, he can’t get to that cat, but he hops through and around and in and out of the metal blinds, making a huge racket and, here I am, stuck in the shower unable to stop him.

As I type this, a cat has just begun that tomcat yowl in the front garden. I can’t see him, but I can hear him.

We didn’t used to have the noise. We had strays: T.C., a sweet skinny black cat that still comes around. Stubb, a big orange cat with a missing tail who has been gone a long time and I am sure he has probably gone to the great litter box in the sky. Rocky, a raccoon-looking cat that wasn’t around enough to even really remember his name (I’m guess that was what I called him). But now there are several cats in the neighborhood that I don’t think are strays – they are well fed—but they certainly like to come visit and sometimes get in a ruckus that really wakes up the neighborhood.

This has all taken me back to a hot night in Randall County. When we lived in Colorado Springs, we came down to the Panhandle often to visit and check on our house there. We came down one time and my sister and I were sleeping on my grandmother’s living room floor. The house was hot and the front door was open. I heard a “baby” crying and was quite alarmed at what I was hearing and didn’t quite know what I was supposed to do. Remember, I was about 10 at the time. I listened and listened and couldn’t imagine why there was a baby crying outside the house. Eventually, my grandmother came through the living room. I can picture her in her long turquoise silky housedress/housecoat and her slip-on house shoes. She always walked with a pronounced limp, dragging her “old crippled leg” (as she called it), and I remember her coming from her bedroom toward the front door. I said, “Mamma, is that a baby?” and she said, “No, that’s tomcats fighting.” At that point, the sound completely changed to me and it was much more obvious that it wasn’t a baby. I was so relieved. I don’t know if she was able to do anything to stop the yowling, I don’t remember if she even went outside, but I will never forget that moment and exchange.

December 9, 2010

O Christmas Tree

Filed under: At home,Cats — Janice @ 11:44 pm

Imagine THE most beautiful Christmas tree, decorated from top to bottom with beautiful lights and meaningful, personal decorations. And then take a look at my tree:

That ‘s what I found in the living room this morning. Trouble was, when I had walked out of the living room only minutes before, the tree was not only wrapped with those Christmas lights, they were on. So somehow Phil not only managed to take an entire string of lights off of the tree and take it completely across the living room, but he managed to unplug it, too. It’s a wonder he didn’t light up like a Christmas tree himself. That is Phil the Cat, admiring his handiwork.

So tonight when I got home I started the process over again. We had already decided it could use more lights so I added another string and did begin to put a few decorations on the tree. We’ll see what survives the night and maybe I’ll take a picture of the finished project.

Photo credit: Mark

October 26, 2010

One Year Anniversary

Filed under: At home,Cats,Family,Music — Janice @ 1:21 am

Would you believe we’ve already reached the one-year anniversary of the loss of Nathan Jr. to this world? Mark and I have talked about it a lot over the weekend and missed our sweet cat. There were just so many unique things that he did that we miss. Mostly, I think, we miss him up on the “lovin’ wall” where he would run as Mark came in the door, so that he could greet Mark up at face level, all rolled over and ready for some face-to-face cuddling. I miss his cleverness in waking me up in the morning (though, no, I don’t miss him waking me up, just the cleveness). He would calmly sit on the dresser or on the bedside table knocking items off one at a time until he got our attention. Or the pawing at the eyelids and the lips with just a hint of claw to let you know he meant business. Mark has a million wonderful pictures of Nathan with his perfectly symetrical coloring and perfect little white front and black striped back. And that ever-moving tail. I have picture somewhere in this computer, but Picasa has become more of a fortess to keep me away from my pictures than a means of finding what I need, so no pics tonight.

I’ll go hug on Willie and Phil and let them know they are loved. Willie and I will tell Phil some stories about Nathan, since he didn’t to know him. If you never got to know him, my Nathan and Willie page is still up, though it is sloppy and it doesn’t tell the whole story.

June 13, 2010

Update on the boys

Filed under: At home,Cats — Janice @ 9:24 pm

I just had a wonderful weekend, but without much to really report.

But this week marked the first birthday of our sweet Phil.

That’s sweet Willie (now 7 years old) and little 1-year-old Phil. We’ve only had Phil since November, but he came with birth records. He was born in a litter of 8 and they were all dropped at the Animal Shelter when they were only 6 weeks old. The Shelter doesn’t keep kittens below 8 weeks old, so, fortunately, Austin Pets Alive stepped in and took him and his siblings and found good homes for them all. I’m glad he found his was to us.

I have read that cats that are weaned too early “make biscuits” a lot. Nathan made lots of biscuits so I was determined that Willie wouldn’t be weaned too soon. I don’t think I had too much say in it. His mother, Miss L Toe, and his brothers and sister weaned him too early and he has made biscuits ever since. I didn’t have any control over Phil’s weaning and that poor baby misses his mama so much. The minute I lay down in the bed he jumps to the back of my neck and makes biscuits and nuzzles deep into my neck. If I roll over, he jumps over me to get back to the back of my neck again. It is a sweet thing.

We adopted a new pet today, not particularly willingly. I went to a party for a friend’s birthday and there was a carnival/midway type theme. I competed at throwing darts at balloons and throwing a beanbag at a hole in a board and somehow I “won” a beta fish. I have had a beta fish before (Mike was a good boy) and enjoyed having a fish, but I felt so sad when he died after a couple of years. I don’t know if I’m up for the heartbreak of a fish. But I have him and I am going to take care of him in the meantime. So after I “won” this fish, I invested another $15 in a home for him and food. Right now he is living high on a bookshelf. I don’t Willie and Phil terrorizing him. I need to go give him some food and get ready for the week.

December 12, 2009

Saturday Status

Filed under: Cats,Family,Food,Music — Janice @ 1:43 pm

I thought I would be a funeral today instead of here at home, but with the rain and the cold and the drive, I decided to not go. My cousin Effie Birdwell died in November in Mineral Wells. She is one of my very distant Cunningham cousins and a fixture at the reunion each year. She is one of our more eccentric family members, in her men’s clothing and gimme caps. She was quick with an opinion and didn’t mind letting you know how she felt about anything. She was a great historian and genealogist and that was one of her primary passions. She filled me in on many family details that I didn’t know. I never visited her except at the reunion and a committee meeting maybe. She was an interesting character and I think our family is losing some of the interesting characters. Maybe I say that because I just don’t “see” them now. Someone coming into the family in their 20s, like I did, may see all sorts of interesting characters I just accept as family.

My cats are being very loving and peaceful right now. My office has a big windowseat that faces the front lawn and the street. Nathan used to make that windowseat his home. There hasn’t been nearly as much use of it since he has been gone. But right now, Willie, the big yellow cat, is up in the window seat taking up most of the space, and Little Bit Phil is up beside him, head to head, both dozing. They were cleaning each other and doing a tiny bit of playful resting, but now they’ve both dozed off.

Phil has been so full of energy the last few days I wish we could install a meter and use some of it elsewhere. Mark was gone for a night and that seemed to amp up the energy even higher. Phil continues to amaze us by playing fetch just like a dog. He’s getting better about even putting the cloth mouse into my hand instead of just dropping it by my hand. When Mark was gone I played fetch with Phil in the living room a long time. Then I moved into the office to do my typing and he was on the keyboard, opening new windows on the screen, adding words that don’t exist to the copy, batting at the cursor on the screen, etc. I got the cloth mouse and would throw it down the hallway and keep him fetching and type as fast as I could while he scrambled off to get it. Then we went to bed and he was still full of vim. I threw the mouse a few dozen more times, trying to read a paragraph or two while he fetched. Finally, he calmed down enough to sleep for a few hours. It is sweet to see him sleeping now, but I know he is just recharging and I’ll be throwing a mouse again while I’m trying to type and cook and clean up the house.

Mark worked yesterday at Fort Hood for their “Community Strong” USO event. It was on the news this time since it is the first event of this type since the shootings last month. They do it on a regular basis for the troops and their families, but it got a lot more notice this time. The Lt. Dan Band played again. That band was formed by Gary Sinise, the actor who played Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump. He performs for the USO quite regularly, it sounds like. I think that is such a nice thing. I wish Access Hollywood and E! News would take note of things like THIS instead of their usual fodder. The Zac Brown Band also played and Mark was very impressed with them and I’m glad. They certainly have made some great songs for radio and I like every one of them, so it is good to know they are a great performance band, too.

What Mark really liked about the Zac Brown Band was their “Meet and Eat” after the show. Many performers have “Meet and Greets” where they allow fans from their fan clubs or radio station winners, etc., to come backstage and meet them and get an autograph and a picture. This band feeds their fans! Mark said they travel with two big busses and each has a big trailer. One has their gear, the other is a mobile kitchen and they carry a chef. For this show he set up his stoves and cooked a HUGE vat of gumbo. Mark and all the crew and backstage help got to eat, along with about 100 fans of the Zac Brown Band. They said that their goal for next year is to feed ALL of their fans at their shows. I don’t quite know if they can achieve that. They are on track to be playing stadiums and arenas by next year so I don’t know if they can handle thousands, but that is a neat deal. Another NICE story that someone should cover.

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