Thoughts and Pictures From Ohio

May 26, 2008

I’ve been in Ohio for a week visiting my parents on their farm (which they don’t actually farm), going to Arcanum Old Fashion Days where I used to run around every May with my best friend Katie chasing boys and trying to be cool, visiting the young men I mentor and their beautiful families, working at The Kettering Foundation, and thinking about and trying not to stress over my upcoming Regional Subcommittee on Candidacy Interview on June 2.

I loved the the country, the green, how slow life is, how easy it is to drive, how much space there is to prance around in my parents’ yard, how there are barns to explore if I want to, how you can smell the grass, how police and farmers always wave to you when you pass them on the road, how there are no jack hammers outside your window in the morning, and how I know all the streets and back roads and even how I know people at the grocery store even if I don’t really want to talk to them, introvert that I am.

I loved visiting my parents and being and adult and it being okay to extrapolate myself from family dynamics that you can’t extrapolate yourself from when you are 17.

I like how I can have a bon fire in the back yard and make smoores if the mood strikes.

I love how each tree is a tree I climbed, or how the barns are hideouts we made and adventures we had searching for secret passage ways and evidence of a crime we could solve (like Nancy Drew). Each back road all with their names that only seemed strange once college friends visited and told me so (Hogpath or Schnorf-Jones or Otterbein-Ithica or Dull Rd.) is a story, or a memory, or a home I used to visit of a childhood friend, or where so-and-so lived who married so-and-so.

All the memories are not good. But they are mine and taken together they are the first 17 years of my life. Corn stalks, and woods, and barns, and school mates, and religion and all of it. They are rich and dark and funny and sad and happy and complex. Like our lives.

I love the religious signs and radio stations, in a weird sort of way. I forgot how much more religious Ohio is than Massachusetts. I have documented some of them for you (along with other lovely pictures). My dream would be to make a book documenting this sort of thing, except that several of them have already been written/photographed.


This is an awesome looking coffee house in Arcanum (population 2,000). You know coffeehouses are main stream when Arcanum gets one.

This is my parents house from the back yard.

And this is the hole in the wall where the raccoons broke in through the attic, down into the walls and into the extra room upstairs. There are some legendary stories involving raccoons in our attic, a hand gun, my dad, an attacking Mama raccoon, and eight year old Elizabeth, but that, I shall save for another post.

This is Sugar Boy. He graciously allows my parents to live with him and feed him and attend to his every whim.

Their sister Priscilla did not want her picture taken until she looses a few pounds. She currently weighs 18 pounds.

This is Pablo, our foster kitten. Just before we left for Ohio, we lost his brother Logan and sister Maria – the first two kittens we have ever lost. Very hard. Especially for Wolfgang who doesn’t really believe in any sort of kitten afterlife. They were just too young to be away from their Mama (who apparently abandoned them, or was unable to attend to them for some reason) and they just couldn’t pull through. We almost lost Pablo, but he is doing quiet well now.

He is considering taking up blogging about his near-death experience and being abandoned by his mom. Either a blog or a memoir. He isn’t quite sure yet. Since he is only six weeks old, he figures he has a little time to decide.

That’s all from Ohio. And Somerville. For now.

Marisol the abused abanonded cat guest blogging.

May 17, 2007

So we are fostering a cat, Marisol, that has had a really hard time of it. And she spends her days and nights reaching her huge paws out from under her prison door meowing for us to give her more attention and play with her. If you are within a four hour driving distance of Boston, consider reading Marisol’s plea guest blog about why you might want to adopt her.


Hi everyone. My name is Marisol. This is my first time blogging. I must say, the last six months have been hard. In October, my human, who had rescued me when I was a kitten from a terribly abusive situation, up and left town, leaving me and four of my friends outside. She just left us. THEN it wasn’t until J-A-N-U-A-R-Y that we were rescued. It was so cold, one of us got frostbite. We were rescued by a nice family, but the situation is that because of my history of abuse, well, I’m a little different from other cats and I haven’t been able to find a home. I did find one home, and they loved me a lot, but I hated their other cats (they just made me too nervous) and I was too aggressive to them, so the family had to give me up. It was very sad. Lots of things are sad for me. Now I’m in a loving foster home but there are still other cats around and so I have to stay in a room by myself all the time because I don’t get along with other cats.

I am looking for a loving, patient family with no children and no other animals, where I can be an inside cat, and where I will have lots of love.

I am about five years old, have all my shots, I am fixed, and I am healthy. I have extra toes on my feet which look sort of cute, I think. I am very playful. Because of my history of abuse, I often don’t like to be touched – and I tell you so by a little scratching and biting. If you aren’t too pushy with me, I wouldn’t hurt you – but I make it clear when I don’t want to be touched and I need that to be respected. I can be very loving when I relax, but that isn’t that often as of yet, although my host family thinks I have potential.

So, if you are a loving person or family with no children and no other animals and no plans to get any other animals, maybe you could consider me. I have had a hard time of it, and would love a stable, loving home of my own, with someone to care for me.

If you would like more information or to meet me, please contact Elizabeth my foster mom. I live in Somerville but my foster family is willing to take me far and wide for the right family. And the shelter that my family volunteers for will waive my adoption fee since I am a “special case.”

Thank you for your consideration.

Marisol the cat



The Newest UU Kittens

May 10, 2007

 emma, tristen, and toby




Cat Update! Happy Tails!

February 28, 2007

Many of you have followed our cat saga with five cats that were abandoned, and needed substantial medical care. I am happy to say that thanks to many kind individuals – including UFETA members and blog readers who gave to help cover the costs of medical care – and two shelters – Second Chance Shelter in Jamaica Plain and Animal Umbrella in Revere – who gave money, medicine, and living space – four of the five cats are now in happy homes! We managed to adopt the Mama cat and two brothers to one home so that they can stay together (they were very attached!). A volunteer at the shelter fell in love with them and they moved in this weekend (I just found out). They are three very very sweet cats, but a bit older. So adopting three older cats into one home was quite the feat!

And we think we may have found a home for kitty number 5 – Marisol the attack cat. There is a family who will visit her soon that is willing to work with her and is okay with the possibility that she may never like to be touched.

So that is happy news. Thanks for all the help and encouragement, everyone.


All the Cats are Saved

February 1, 2007

Well, for those of you who follow my cat rescuing adventures, we currently have all five abandoned cats in our extra room (see a few posts ago for the situation – how we got them, where they come from, etc.). Everyone has had shots, dental work (a lot of acute gingivitis), tests, check-ups and so on. A big thank you to some UFETA donors who helped to cover the cost of everyone’s medical care (which, by the way, was not cheap even with a 50% discount) and to Second Chance Shelter in Jamaica Plain who has helped to adopt Abby out and helped pay for the cost of the medical care. Goldie had frostbite, which was sad because it is quite painful. Everyone had fleas and earmites. Poor kitties’ ears are all red and Goldie was also allergic to the fleas he had, so he had sores and scabs from that. It is clear that the little guys are SO content and happy to be in a warm, clean, safe place. They LOVE to be rubbed (except Bigfoot/Marisol who is veerryyy temperamental). Mama Calico threw up today, all yellow looking bile (sorry to be gross) which does concern me a bit. So she may have to go back to the vet. But the point is that everyone is doing well and it was, I think, the most compassionate and caring thing to do to get them treatment and care for them (a few posts back you can see that I was considering whether or not euthanasia would be a more compassionate option since they are quite old and will likely never be adopted). The three older ones are moving to a great shelter where they don’t use cages and they will get medical care and human love and interaction. The two younger ones will be adopted to loving homes. They love to purr and the two younger ones love to chase the ping pong ball. Here are some pictures.


JR sleeping

Goldie and Mama Cat

Mama Calico and Goldie

Comforting Goldie

This is me sleeping next to Goldie on the floor trying to comfort him because he was yowling the whole night and Wolfgang had to work the next day so I went in to try to get him to calm down and fell asleep. Wolfgang found me and took a picture.


Marisol, also known as big foot since she has seven claws and seven paw pads on both front feet.


Goldie greeting his mom Calico after she was caught several days after him. Once his brother and Mom joined him, he stopped yowling all the time. Thank goodness.

For those who like cat pictures…

January 22, 2007

This is Abby (formally known as Friskey) who is the kitty that we are fostering. I tried to get her to smile, but since she only has one fang tooth left, she refused.

Volunteer in Nicaragua

January 11, 2007

I spent the summer of 2005 working at an elementary school in Nicaragua. I lived next door to the principal of the school with the nicest family ever. The school would LOVE to have another volunteer or string of volunteer teachers. I taught reading to students who needed extra help, but what you would do is very flexible.

If you or someone you know has thought about working/volunteering abroad, consider being in touch with me and I would really like to help arrange something in Nicaragua – two weeks minimum, ideally a month or more. This is a great alternative to paying some organization to arrange a job/housing.

The cost involves a small donation to the school (flexible $100-$200ish), $50-$60/week room and board, and your plane ticket. The school is especially interested in someone who can teach dance or something else artsy, as they certainly cannot afford teachers to do this and the children love it.

There is also the opportunity (for small fees) to take dance lessons in traditional Nicaraguan dance, Nicaraguan cooking lessons, to get sewing lessons, or Spanish lessons. There is also the possibility to work with a domestic violence prevention program, or to design some other creative or flexible option via the connections I have and through friends of friends. I am visiting in March and will make most arrangements then, but all involved people have email and things can also be arranged that way.

You do not need to speak Spanish – but must get some basics before you go and be willing to learn on the job. My Spanish was very average/basic and it still went great. I learned so much and found the people to be so kind and flexible. This is most ideal for someone who is very flexible and doesn’t need a parent-like organization to support them through the travels. I did not find safety to be a problem – basic precautions do the trick. Please email if you are interested, or would like to discuss more, and feel free to share with folks you think might be interested. I will want to check two references just to make sure I don’t hook my host family and the school up with someone shady.

The school is in Diriamba (about 40 min. from Managua) and I lived in Jinotepe. You might have the option of living in Diriamba or Jinotepe, depending on how things go and what your preferences are. Email is elizabeth199 at gmail .com.

**Note that when I imported my blog from Blogger to WordPress the picture/caption alignment got out of wack and I’m not committed enough to refigure things so that everything lines up correctly. This is why the descriptions are not where they should be. Sorry.***

This was my wonderful room in Jinotepe. It was huge and by the end I didn’t even notice the bugs and did away with the net.

This is Ballet Folklorico. Amazing dancing and a very big thing in Jinotepe. You can get lessons if you go. You know you want to wear one of those outfits.

This was some sort of festival or carnival where the children dressed up. I thought this guy looked pretty slick.

This may not immediately look hilarious, but it is. They start teaching children how to do traditional dancing VERY young. Like way before they can possibly remember particular moves. Watching them try to do these dances was the highlight of my day. It would definitely win on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

This might be another “you have to be there” funny thing, but this is a PLASTIC fountain in the middle of a very old city called Rivas. I just cannot imagine what would inspire someone to install this plastic ugly fountain across from a very old church in the middle of a very old town. Notice that it is plastic and meant to imitate wood. And see the flamingo/swan hybrid birds in the middle?

I will post more pictures sometime. I have pretty ones too. Not just funny ones.

*Note, I just notied that Joseph Santos-Lyons posted a call for volunteers in Mexico on his blog shortly before I posted this. I hadn’t seen that before this post and certainly didn’t post in order to compete! :)

Actual Candles on the Christmas Tree and the Swan Castle

January 9, 2007

This is my partner and his sister LIGHTING the Christmas tree – as in with candles and actual fire. Everyone thought I was being overly dramatic when I suggested what fire hazard this is. EVERYONE does it, they said. Oh, that makes me feel better. I bet the rate of house fires in Germany increases a lot during the holiday season. But it does look nice.  (Note that when I imported my blog from Blogger to WordPress somehow the pictures and captions didn’t line up correctly and I haven’t the time/expertise to fix them all, so they are just going to not match. You can figure it out, though, I’m sure.  Thanks and sorry – E)

Waterfall in Fussen, Germany

This is the castle that the Disneyworld Castle is based on. It doesn’t look that impressive here, but it is with a better camera and positioning.

I Bet Your Mom Can’t Do This

November 29, 2006

Justice, Peace, Compassion, and Care for the Environment. Who would’a thought you could say all that in a stole?

Still Available to Loving, Indoor Homes

November 9, 2006

Olivia and Phineas would like to go together and Theo and Emerson. Adoption fee applies – adoption through Second Chance Shelter in Jamaica Plain. (Note that when I imported my blog from Blogger to WordPress somehow the captions and pictures did not line up correctly and I don’t have the time/expertise to fix them.  Sorry about that.)

All the kittens together

Phineas after rolling in some catnip

Olivia the princess

Theo and Emerson taking a nap

Emerson Upclose