Mistletoe 1994-2010

September 24, 2010

It is with incredible sorrow I write that on Wednesday September 22nd, 2010 my beloved Mistletoe passed away. “Mistle” or “Moo”  as we also called her, was quite a spunky little character. She and her litter-mate sister Arwen were born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1994. My darling cat Aragorn had passed away due to a congenital lung defect and both my cat Tierann and I were very sad. I thought Tierann might need some companionship and we were lucky enough to find the “bab-bies” -Mistletoe and Arwen. They were “Oh My God” Cute as kittens!

Baby Arwen & Baby Mistletoe

Baby Mistletoe

Although upon their arrival, T-Cat acted as if she was very “put-upon” and “long-suffering”, but I know she enjoyed and came to love those kittens.

Tierann "Bab-bie" Sits

Mistletoe was always very gentle and loving to her family. She adored her “big sister” Tierann, who was also quite a character in her own right as I’m sure those of you who knew her would agree.

Quintessential Tierann

Mistle would often tried to groom her. This did not ever go over too well with the T-cat, so Mistletoe would content herself to sit as close as possible to her idol.

Mistle & Tierann Lounge

Whenever Mistle thought there was danger, she would spring into action to defend the clan. There was a huge “tom” cat named Midrange who was our neighbour in Norfolk. He would often come by to peek in the sliding glass doors to see what we were up to. Mistle would literally launch herself at him, crashing into the glass all teeth and claws, until he left-I’m sure much more out of confusion than fear. Undaunted by her size, she was fearless, even ready to challenge Brain and Phil’s huskies when we made the move to DC. Mistletoe and Arwen moved with me five times-twice in Norfolk, twice in DC and finally became suburbanites with me in Falls Church. Mistle always took in stride, just happy to be with us, where ever we were.

Mistle ready to go!

Mistletoe was a water-baby. I know, that is exceeding strange for a cat, but she would always camp out near a sink in all of our abodes, just hoping somebody would happen by and turn the faucet on for her so she could get a sip of water- everyone knows its best right out of the faucet- and to play in the stream.

Sink At 9th St. SE

#20 Sink

Mistle in Falls Church sink

Sink Play Time

Mistle Sips

Later in life she decided that licking her fur to get clean was a horrible idea and she just wasn’t going to do it. Unfortunately, she was sporting 1/2 white fur, which really showed the grime. Luckily she did love water so every couple of weeks I would jump into the bath tub with her. She absolutely loved it, purring the whole time I sudsed her up and rinsed her off. She would even stand still while we blew dry her fur.

Sudsing Up!

Rinsing Moo

Rinsing Off

Mistle and Lea in tub

Bath time kisses

Strike a pose!

Jay styles Moo

Mistletoe first became ill last October 2009. She was diagnosed with complete renal failure. It was an incredibly fast onset-she seemed fine on Friday and by Monday we knew we had a very sick kitty. Her vet gave us little hope that she would recover and prepared us for the worst, but she bounced right back after just one night in the hospital. Everyone in the clinic called her “the Miracle Kitty”. Since that time, Jay and I have had to give her a daily I.V. of saline solution (sub-Q I.V.) to aid her failing kidneys. Quite the trooper, my sweet baby also took in stride, hopping into Jay’s lap and even purring every night when we came in to “administer her fluids”. (or inflate the kitty as we said) With her “extra” time she got to experience the great 2010 “Snowpocolypses” with us.


Snow Cat

Polar Cat braves the drifts

As well as endure another Easter.

Happy Easter!

I am grateful for many things surrounding Mistletoe. I am grateful I was lucky enough to be with her and share her life with her for the 16 years and 4 months that she was on this earth. I am grateful we had an extra 11 months with her once she became sick, that no one expected we would have. Finally, I am grateful that when her time came, she passed on very quickly, at home in my arms surrounded by Jay and Arwen, those whom she loved very much. She is already dearly missed and I look forward to a time when we can meet again.

View entire Mistletoe Gallery, View entire Tierann Gallery, View entire Aragorn Gallery

Guitars and BBQ

September 19, 2010

1953 Gibson ES 175D

Jay just turned 40 this past week! We had seriously considered a trip to Tuscany to celebrate. However our poor little Mistletoe kitty is not well and we can’t leave her for over a day due to her medications. So, Italy has been post-poned for awhile. The birthday was nevertheless fantastic! Keeping with the tradition we started on his birthday last year, we traveled to Action Music in Falls Church and Jay picked out a new guitar for his prezzie from me. His newest addition is a 1953 Gibson ES 175D. There were only 182 of these guitars made at the Kalamazoo, Michigan Gibson factory in 1953. Not only does it look fantastic, but sounds amazing as well! Just listen for yourself:

Continuing the birthday celebrations, on Saturday evening we had some friends over for a southern BBQ/firepit  evening. We had quite a spread of food: delicious North Carolina pulled pork and beef from Bubba’s Bar-B-Q, coleslaw, potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, cornbread ebelskivers, and three different Smith Island Cakes-a traditional chocolate, a chocolate salted caramel and a key lime. YUM! I’ve actually been driving over to Tilghman to learn how to make these cakes from my Aunt Deenie. (I’ll write more about my cake apprenticeship soon)

Everyone digs in!

Cornbread/Jalapeno Ebelskivers

Key Lime Cake

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake

Ainsley Enjoys Some Corn

Jack's First Time Toasting Marshmallows

It was a very fun, laid back evening. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us. Happy Birthday Jay!

Crabbing Aboard the Riley Kat

September 12, 2010

What better way to experience Chesapeake Bay living than to spend a fun-filled day crabbing aboard the Riley Kat with Captain Russell Dize.

Although I helped compose those words for my father’s crabbing charter business website a couple of years ago, Jay and I had not actually headed out on the Bay with Dad until this past Sunday. We have really been missing out! I don’t know what we were waiting for? We had an absolute blast!

My father is originally from Smith Island, Md. and moved to Tilghman Island with his family when he was 13 years old. He is a sixth generation waterman and has spent his whole life working on the Bay. He has run a clam rig, been a crab potter, a trot-liner and dredged oysters as Captain and owner of the Skipjack Kathryn for many years.

He currently is Captain of his crab charter boat “Riley Kat” (named for his granddaughter),

Jason and Riley Kat

aboard which he teaches folks how the crab with a trotline. The video clip above shows this type of crabbing.  A trotline is a long length of rope which has weights or anchors and buoys attached to each end. It also has bait attached to it every 4-6 feet to attract the crabs. We were using bull lips on Sunday.

My brother Russ, sister-in-law Jen and their children Riley and Jason had driven down to Tilghman Island on Saturday to spend the Labor Day weekend with Mom and Dad, so Russ, a veteran trot-liner, was able to head out with us. Jen stayed home with the kids, who are a bit too young for the adventure yet. I must say, crabbing starts early on the Bay. Jay and I left Falls Church at 3:30 a.m

in order to catch the boat which was leaving the dock at 6 a.m. (This is actually quite a late start for Dad, who usually leaves the dock around 3:30 a.m. when he is crabbing on his own!)

We headed out into the Harris Creek and first “dropped the line” just off of Sherwood and began to crab shortly after the sun rose. The way this worked is that Dad dropped one anchored buoyed end of the trotline and piloted the boat forward so that the line was dispensed from the trash can in which it was stored.

Dropping the line

Once he reached the end of the line it was also anchored,buoyed and dropped into the water.

Anchored and buoyed line

We then traveled back to the beginning of the trotline. Dad hooked the trot-line to raise it from the water and slipped it over a roller which is attached to the starboard side of the boat at the stern.


Lowering the roller

Then he piloted the boat down the line which caused the line to rise slowly from the water and to run over the roller.  Russ, Jay and I would take turns dipping the crabs up with a net when we saw them hanging on the line and eating the bait.

Veteran Trotliners

Lea takes a turn

The crabs were a little difficult to see, especially first thing in the morning as the light wasn’t so good, so Dad would “spot” the crabs for us, literally pointing them out so that we could get our net under them.


Dipping the crabs was not only difficult because they were hard to see, but you also had to be fast and coordinated. Often you would end up with many crabs in the net, which could get a bit heavy. Then you had to figure out what the best time would be to dump the crabs out into a holding bin, which you had to do quickly so that you didn’t miss any crabs on the line.

Waiting to be culled

Once we reached the end of the line, Dad would pilot the boat back to the beginning and we would do it all over again.

During the time it took for us to get back to the beginning, Dad and Russ would “cull” through our catch, measuring each crab to ensure it was legal (a legal crab measures 5 1/4″ from tip to tip) and separating the different types,

Culling the Crabs

A keeper!

Too small…back you go!

“Sooks” or females in one basket, legal crabs in another, “peelers” in yet another. ( A peeler is a crab that is getting ready to shed and become a soft crab. We actually caught a peeler so far along in the process that she shed while we were on the boat.)

Soft crab

We “ran” the line about eight times or so there and were catching some crabs, but it was a bit slow. So we decided to move to another spot just off Barneck on Tilghman which was brimming with crabs. Almost more than we-I mean Jay and myself…the newbie crabbers- could dip.

A lot of crabs!

We caught about 7 1/2 bushels of crabs that day.

Back at the dock

Our catch

It was really a lot of fun! The weather was perfect, high 70’s, sunny and breezy. Fantastic! Book your charter today!!!

Crab feast

Crab feast

To see all of the photos from the day, take a look at our gallery “Crabbing”.

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