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    I let Tom Cat know of Virginia's pneumonia. Even though he's not a registered member, I hope it is all right if I passed this information on to him. Here is his reply:
    [QUOTE]Please send my deepest thoughts to Virginia, if you have contact with her at this time. Pneumonia is very serious, especially if you have underlying immune problems. I wish her the best. Please keep me in touch.

    I'm doing better, after having caught up with my snow removal. Do take care. My deepest thoughts are with all of you
    SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


      From Tom Cat today:

      Ah! We are at 33 right now, I think clear (still dark out), but windy. We got up to 63 last night, about midnight. Were having 35 mph winds and tornado warnings. I think we're okay, but I'll be checking the property for fallen trees later.

      Do let me know how Virginia is doing whenever you get news that you can put out. I am concerned.

      Oh! Wisconsin has just become, the highest infected state with Covid19, per 100,000 population. What a statistic to have. I think my neighbors have their heads buried in snow banks.

      Time to wake up to some coffee. Do take care, and do send my deepest thoughts to all on Brain Talk. You have really been a wonderful moral support for me, in these couple of years I've known you. With hugs and love to all of you for this holiday season. Ralph/Chittamoo Jean/Tom Cat.
      I think that Chittamoo Jean is a name he uses during the fur trade re-enactments he takes part in?
      SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


        And today--I had asked him about the tornadoes that have been in the news:

        Fortunately the tornadoes were south of us. They damaged a couple of houses in rural southwest Wisconsin. I expect the winds and tornadoes did bring the warm air in. It did help melt down most of the snow. One dead oak, 8-10 inches in diameter by 30 feet high, fell over the driveway, and I cut it up for the work-shed stove. That's a common occurrence along the drive. A few oaks and other trees fall over each year. We have oak wilt fungi that take the older (60 to 100 years old) trees each year. It's been here for hundreds of years, but in the past fires went through the woods, probably every 50 years or so. The oak bark protects most of the large trees from fire and temporarily kills much of the oak blight fungus. Modern land practices keep fires down, and the fungi do more oak damage. Some of the farmers in the past ran fires through oak woods now and then. As more homes came in, burning the woods was more and more prohibited. It's a story of nature versus man. Been going on for a few hundred thousand years.

        Getting things together for the next snow storm . Won't be doing or going anywhere for these winter holidays. May try to go see my sister another time and maybe when some of kids, my nieces and nephews, will be there. Will see how the weather goes.

        Back in the teens at night and the 20's by day. Actually normal weather for this time of the year.

        Do keep me posted on Virginia.

        I'm sending a picture of me in my very warm winter raccoon hat. This is the real thing. Several years back, when I forgot a warm hat or "toque" at a fall fur trade camp, my Ojibway friend, White Wolf, gave me this all- American hat. He shot or trapped the raccoon, skinned and tanned it. Then he sewed it up and put a flannel cloth liner in it. I call it my "homme de norte " hat. (Man of the north, in Quebecois.)
        SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


          From Tom Cat today (the dollhouse photos are over in the thread about Cat Dancer's dollhouses):
          I just thought I would send you photos of the last doll house Ann completed as far as I know. It's a light house, with a light that slowly goes on and off, like the rotating lights in the real ones. I added the light for her to give it a real touching look.

          A blessed Christmas to all of you. Take care and virtual hugs
          SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


            A blessed Christmas to you also Ralph. Due to leave rehab tomorrow - Christmas Day! Not well, but so much better. Very grateful.


              It's so nice that you can go home--and on Christmas, when you'll no longer have to put up with the institutional setting. I hope that there will be plenty of good food for you at home, and I think it's great that neighbors have banded together to do some meals for you. I'm sure you'll be glad to be at home!

              Sorry I'd forgotten that Laura wouldn't be on the scene any more. I hope that the new people who come in to help will be good and do what you want done. It's no fun depending on others for essential tasks but sometimes it just has to be that way.

              Everyone here is just very glad you're still with us!
              SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


                Thank you Agate.


                  ((((((Hugs to All)))))) ~

                  Ralph ~

                  Ann's dollhouses are spectacular and truly deserve to be displayed. They are works of art. Such craftsmanship in each one.

                  I am grateful that you weren't affected by the tornadoes and that the milder weather is melting the snow to save you work.

                  Thank you for your Christmas blessings, and we return those blessings to you. May you feel Ann's and Marty's presence very near you and find comfort in your beautiful memories.

                  Many virtual hugs on the way to you and your sweet furry companions.

                  Virginia ~

                  My prayers are with you that your return home will be safe and comfortable for you. You have lovely neighbors, and they are so kind to bring you food. You've been through a very difficult journey, and you will find that you tire more quickly as you recover, so please don't push yourself or overdo.

                  I agree with agate. To me, your recovery is a Christmas gift to all of us, to your family, and your friends.

                  Healing, strengthening, positive energy on the way to you ~

                  Love & Light,



                  *Virtual Hugs Are Germ-Free!

                  Mom to Jon, 49, & Michael, 32, born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease. Angel Michael received his wings in 2003. Angel Jon received his wings in 2019. In 2020, Jim, their Dad, joined them.


                    From Ralph today:
                    Well, Christmas day is here, and it's nice and bright out, with no precipitation.

                    W ill be taking a walk out on the land, putting out some corn. I hope to get some deer to come up near the house. Most of the corn is eaten by the squirrels, and a little by the rabbits too. Take care, and virtual hugs to everyone. And thanks for all the messaging through the year. Take care
                    SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.



                      From Tom Cat (Monday):
                      As you can see, I got most of the snow in the driveway removed. My plow guy never showed up. I'm not sure why. The temperature here was right around freezing all day. I didn't want it to turn to slush, then freeze over at night. Going downhill on an icy hill is not good for directional control. Anyway I got most of it done with the plow. Hope to finish up tomorrow.
                      The snow is removed from the driveway and in front of the house. Worked on it for the most part from 8 AM to 3 PM with the ATV plow. Need to do more tomorrow. Expecting up to another 6 inches. The temperature today sat right around freezing, so there wasn't much meltdown. The clutch sticks on the ATV, so I have to change gears by bending over and\pulling the foot lever with my hand. The wrist is really getting sore. Can't get it into a garage for repairs until spring. A long story.

                      Went to town after plowing & treated myself to a roasted pork and snowpea stir fry. Main meal of he day after a grilled cheese for breakfast. Will be crawling in early tonight, for another snow removal day tomorrow. Take care
                      Enough, getting to bedtime early. Don't sleep well when anticipating snow removal the following day. Maybe it's all those winter days plowing at UW Milwaukee, when I was on standby for snow removal. They'd call me anywhere from 1 to 5 AM to clean the campus up by 7 or 8, so students and staff could have places to park. Then you dodge between students to get the walks cleaned and hope like hell you don't hit anyone. I swear students and squirrels have a lot in common. You never know which way they are going to run. I never plowed on campus that someone didn't try running 10 feet or less in front of my moving plow truck. It was crazy.

                      I better get ready for bed while it's nice and still outside. Take care and virtual hugs to all. We really need them today
                      SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


                        From Tom Cat:
                        Wishing you and all on the BT board a very Happy New Year. Still snow plowing and blowing, but a nice few days coming up, with clear cool weather.

                        Have deer next to the house at dawn and dusk each day on a little corn I put out.

                        Virtual hugs to all of you, and do take care
                        SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


                          Aww Ralph, you work way too hard. I wish you could take it a little easier.


                            Reply from Tom Cat this morning:

                            I wish I could take it easier too. Had another 2 1/2 inches of snow a couple days ago. Did get the plow guy to open up the main driveway, of 1200 feet or 4/10 of a mile. That saved me a half day's work. Still had a lot to do around the house, mainly with the small ATV plow.

                            Also do the 600-foot drive of my late friend, Marty. His sister Kay, comes up from Illinois, a 5-hour run, every few weeks to clear things out and work on finances. The house has a floor, hot water, heating system. A month or so back, 1 of the 4 or so water circulating pumps sprung a leak and sprayed the basement with water before she caught it. The place is really moldy down there. The adjuster and dehumidifier folks just got their act together this week. The place has over 40 or 50 feet of 8-foot-high loaded book shelves. She needs to inventory the books, magazines, for their worth, before they can be hauled to the dump. I don't envy anyone that job.

                            So I'm keeping the long, curvy drive passable for every one to get in and out. We heat with propane gas up here, so the driveway needs to be accessible to a 2,000-gallon tanker truck. So days right now are making meals, removing snow, taking half-hour to hour breaks, getting some sleep, and moving snow back to make room for more to come. The temperatures have been running up to about 20 highs in late afternoon to minus 5 or so at night.

                            I put out a gallon or so of corn each day in the field behind the house, the patio behind the house, and in front of the garage door. The deer finish the corn off within an hour or so after I put it out. If I kept the garage door open, I swear they would come in and eat out of the metal garbage cans. They get most of their food from the prairie right now. They eat the dried flower heads and browse on the wild raspberry bushes and other shrub. Deers, unlike elk, are browsers and do not eat grasses for the most part. It is fun to watch them as I rest between snow removals.

                            And the birds are on the feeders from dawn to dusk. Birds by numbers are as follows: juncos, goldfinch, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, red-breasted grosbeaks, blue jays, crows, downy, hairy, and red-breasted woodpeckers, purple finch, Cooper and rough-legged hawks overhead. Also flyovers of Canada geese and some snow geese happen a few days a week. Had a bald eagle fly over at the beginning of this week. Will have someone coming bow and arrow deer hunting next week. It's the last week of deer hunting this year.

                            So I'm busy, and tired, but do get to enjoy the outdoors from my windows too. Will be 5 to 10 below zero the next couple of nights, and low teens by the day. Wishing all of you on BT weather you can get around in in these ever-changing winter conditions. And virtual hugs to all of you. We all need that these days.

                            Deer in the back yard this morning, munching on dried prairie flowers:
                            Only registered and activated users can see links., Click Here To Register...
                            I think I see two deer in the photo but there may be more.

                            Here is my reply to him:

                            You're certainly a good neighbor, being willing and able to do all of that extra plowing for your friend Marty's place--and needing snow removal just so the fuel can be delivered really puts the burden on you, doesn't it? In the event that you might not be able to do the shoveling at some time, is there a Plan B in place--some resources that would bail out the people needing fuel?

                            I'm finding two deer in that peaceful-looking photo--and thank you for sending it!
                            Last edited by agate; 01-07-2022, 09:47 AM.
                            SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


                            • Parsi
                              Parsi commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Year round people who use propane usually have a large tank which they fill up at the beginning of the season. If I remember correctly that should last through winter if they are careful. But I may be wrong. I'd have to ask my son. He lives in the country with a propane tank. If just a vacation cabin it might be two smaller tanks. My parents had a LP business for many years.

                            Parsi, I was slow about finding your post and so Tom Cat received it only yesterday. Sorry! In the meantime, Tom Cat has messages for us. From Sunday:
                            I enjoy posting to all of you on the MS board. It makes my day, since I have few personal phone calls, and a visit from a friend once in a blue moon. I just don't want to bore anyone over there with my day to day activities.

                            Do let me know hoe Virginia is doing. Hopefully she's over the pneumonia by now and the uti. I know with Ann that was a frequent problem.

                            Right now I'm calling it a night, though it will be a few hours before I fall asleep, and that's on and off. That is nothing new. Maggie cat is asleep on a polartec blanket on an ironing board at the foot of the bed. She wakes up 2 to 3 times in the night and nudges me with a paw or wet nose for a treat. They have me well trained.

                            I put some corn out in back of the house about 5 as it got dark. Within 15 minutes two does were eating it up.

                            Take care and virtual hugs too
                            And on Tuesday:
                            [QUOTE]A little warmer this morning. Started the day at --5 with a wind chill at --16. May warm up to 20+ by 4 PM. That would be nice. Still, will use the car for the 8/10 mile round trip to the mail box. No real snow expected for the week, which is fine for me.

                            The deer are coming in next to the corn I put out in the late afternoon. It looks like I have 6 deer coming in each day--4 does and 2 bucks. As to the birds right now, the juncos are the most abundant, with a dozen plus each morning out front, on the ground feeding. I throw out a half coffee can of sunflower seeds and a couple of cans of corn each morning. The juncos, mourning doves, and cardinals are ground feeders for the most part. Most of the seed is gone within an hour. So you can say I have breakfast each morning with the wildlife. Also the cats like to watch the squirrels and birds.

                            Time for a second cup of coffee. Snow and cold have been our main problems this winter. When temperatures drop into the low teens or colder, salt doesn't melt the ice, and highways get slippery. In the back roads here, after plowing, the best you can hope for is some sand/gravel being put down on corners. How much sand/gravel you get depends on how much your local town has in its budget for the year. So road conditions vary much from township to township and county to county. Welcome to the North country (the area around Lake Superior).

                            Take care. Do stay warm and dry.

                            The deer out front in the late afternoon yesterday:

                            SPMS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2006-2009. Glatiramer acetate since December 2020.


                              Ralph, after a stay in the hospital followed by another in a rehabilitation center, I am trying to get back to my baseline with the MS now. I try to work on my small exercises about 5 days per week. I came home from the hospital on Christmas Day with the help of my family. If not for brothers, especially my youngest brother, I could not have come home. I now have Home Health Care, but it is dwindling and should stop at the end of the month. There has been so much activity in my life now that it seems a little strange when things begin to get a little slower. In addition to my brothers' care, neighbors have been good about bringing food. So, I am doing well at this point. Now, the key is to stay away from the Omicron variant of COVID.

                              I do hope you are feeling well. If you lose power I hope you have a generator. Since you are in the country I would think that would be important. The picture of the deer is beautiful. I am glad you have the cats to keep you company and I am glad they have you. You seem a little more attached to Maggie, is this correct that maybe she might be your favorite? Although, I know you love them both.

                              We are expecting a storm here this weekend and no one can tell us if it will be snow, sleet or a mixture. The power company is predicting outages. I think this is the worse part for me. I can stay in out of the storm, but if there is a power outage there is not much I can do.

                              Please take care of yourself and thank you for asking about me.