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  • Nancy Bathurst

  • October 2019
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Poisonous Plants for Cats



Farewell Illinois; Hello Florida!

I love Illinois! I love the Midwest! I pray I will love Florida! But then again, I have loved every place we have lived. (Yes, Jim, I admit some more than others.) God has always provided for me—new friends, a warm and welcoming church, a mission.  So I look forward to the new and exciting life we will have as permanent residents of North Fort Myers.

We are having an Estate Sale Thursday, Friday and Saturday (August 15, 16, 17). Everything must go!  https://www.estatesales.net/IL/Chicago/60612/2315529

We are closing on our Crystal Lake house August 27.  So this will be my last post for awhile.  Please keep in touch. We still love seeing all the photos you send and seeing how your babies have grown.

See our babies below: Zoe, our DSH, 15; Zeke, our Australian Shepherd, 12; and our Siberians, Sophie, age 7 and Maggie, age 5.

If you are ever in Southwest Florida, we would love to have you visit. Come join Sophie by the pool!



Time on my hands!


Comfortable, Niko? (Thanks, Nikki)


It is 12 Noon on a Tuesday and I’m lying in bed with the pillows propped up eating the little bag of pretzels they give you on the airplane.  And I don’t even feel guilty!

This is the first time in months I don’t have anything else to do. So how did I arrive at this luxurious moment? My son asked if I would “babysit” for ten days while he and his wife went on vacation to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary.

So after church on Sunday, I went to the grocery store, stocked up on Marie Callendar pot pies and Hungry Man dinners (when my husband is alone, he requires gourmet cuisine!) and did a couple weeks worth of laundry. On Monday morning I did a whirlwind clean of our house and by 1:45 p.m. I was on a plane flying from Chicago to Charlotte, NC.

My only mission today was to get my soon-to-be-freshman grandson, Jack, to cross country practice by 7:30 a.m.  Granddaughters Emma and Mary both have jobs which they can drive to by themselves. And we decided on pizza for supper so my day is basically done! And I have time to actually read emails and look at all the posts on Facebook.

I decided to share with you a cat related educational email and Facebook posts that tickled my funnybone (do they actually say that anymore?).

Received an email re hairballs that has helpful information.

Everything You Need to Know About Cat Hairballs



Credit: The Happiness Heroes




Credit: C.A.A.- Cats Addicts Annoy—Mouse

The above two funnies are not Semper Fi Siberians but are shared to give you a laugh for today!



Thanks, Chuck, for sharing this photo of Raz.

And speaking of litter, I have found a new brand I really like. Never thought I would recommend anything but Dr. Elsey’s but I tried this and it is my new favorite. It is available at Amazon and Chewy.  Both have mixed reviews but I decided to try it. For me there is far less tracking and has good odor control (maybe my nose isn’t as sensitive as others) but the biggest help is the ease of removing the clumps from the litter box. With my previous litter, it was like the clumps were cemented to the bottom and sides of the box.  The ease of scooping and easier washing of the litter box is worth the extra cost to me.

Boxiecat Deep Clean, Scent Free, Probiotic Clumping Litter, 16 lb


Have a great week! I know I will!


“Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! I really cannot say those words enough to all of you who supported our Fox Valley Young Marines in their efforts to raise the funds necessary to allow them a once in a lifetime opportunity. The trip to Washington D.C. is now over but the memories will last a lifetime for these children!

Many sites were seen and hundreds of photos were taken. Here are just a few so you have a sampling of what your contributions made possible.

6:00 AM – Washington DC, here we come!


The famous 8th and I, Marine Barracks. The red carpet was definitely laid out for our  tour of the barracks. Jim is a former commander of the Silent Drill Team and  he was able to share many stories with current 8th & I Marines. They presented him with a signed photo.

“We claim this ground in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, to honor the 184 people whose lives were lost, their families, and all who sacrifice that we may live in freedom. We will never forget.”

The Pentagon memorial was one of my most emotional visits. Our tour guide had worked in that building, having retired two weeks before the attack. His emotions are still raw and we all felt the horror of that day. Each person who died is represented by a memorial bench. One bench listed the name of the father, mother and two children.  If the bench is facing away from the Pentagon, it belongs to a person who was killed in the Pentagon. If it is facing toward the Pentagon, it represents a person on the airplane.


Paying respects to one of our nation’s heroes, Jim’s friend and Marine brother.



The White House

So many sites to see! Long days but the Young Marines were always ready to hop on the coach and go to the next site. We walked a total of 32 miles on this trip. One day alone was almost 10 miles. AND the temperature was always in the 90’s!

We went to a presentation at the Ford Theater and saw where President Lincoln was shot and then toured the Petersen House where he died.


A very important day! Our Young Marines were honoroed to place a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknowns.



The newest memorial is to honor Martin Luther King.


Our last night we were pleased to have special seating at the famous Friday Night Parade at 8th & I.  Our color guard had the opportunity to meet their counterparts who performed in the ceremony.


There was also time for fun, food and mother and son bonding!



By Saturday night we were all ready to hop on the coach and take the long journey home to Illinois!

One of the missions of the Young Marine organization is to teach good citizenship. After 5 days in our nation’s capital, each Fox Valley Young Marine truly knows the United States of America is “the land of the free and home of the brave!”


I belong to a Facebook group called Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue and this heartbreaking post appeared today.  Charlie is not a Siberian but he is a cat and, in my book, that is all that matters. We have heard from so many of you how your cat has changed your life so I knew you would appreciate this beautiful story of Cheryl and Charlie.


Charlie Cat walked into my life, planted himself on my heart, and my world changed forever.
This boy had endured terrible abuse, but he had the courage to look me in the eyes and trust me to take care of him and heal his wounds and make him whole again. What I never imagined is that it was he who would take care of me and heal my wounds and make me whole.
Charlie came to us just before a terrible crisis in our lives. When we brought him home, he ran under the bed, and wouldn’t come out. But then, as I sat quietly in the chair near the bed and waited, he stuck his nose out, then crept out up to his shoulders, and stared at me. I looked away, so I wouldn’t challenge him, but I hummed softly, and sat very still. And then, suddenly, he jumped up into my lap, walked in a few circles, stretched out, and fell asleep. And I fell in love.
That first night, I woke up and saw him, ears silhouetted in the bedroom window, looking out over the city. My heart ached for this poor boy that must wonder what had happened to him. All I could do was speak softly to him in a reassuring voice, longing for him to somehow understand that he would be okay.
He did.
He became the ruler of all things visible and invisible in the Ronning household.

He became the hunter/gatherer of Da Bird and every sparkly ball known to exist.

He became the King of Kitty-Krack, and could smell tuna from 18 miles away.
And he became the emotional healer of the house. When my husband became very ill and was near death, Charlie would not leave my side. When he came home from the hospital, Charlie wasted no time in claiming his domination over him. This man who declared that he would “tolerate” having a cat became slowly converted to adoring slave in a matter of hours. It started when Charlie had the great good sense to lay down next to my husband *justcloseenough* to touch him on the leg with his paw, but not too close to force him to pet him. Then he rolled over, and exposed his belly…still just barely touching my husband’s leg with a soft little paw. And out went the hand. Stroking the belly. And slavedom was accomplished.
His years of abuse still showed at times. If you went to pet him from the left side, he would flinch. It was obvious that he was often hit from that side. And when he developed very difficult health problems, we learned that one of the sources of those problems was from nerve damage, cause by being thrown violently by the tail. There were times when I would look into his eyes and see the fear, and it would hurt down to the core of my being.
But Charlie, being a resilient kitty, stopped flinching when we petted him. He learned that we loved him, and would never, ever, hit him or yell at him, or throw him, or kick him. We would only ever love him. So he prospered, and his kingdom grew.
He learned that he was welcomed on our laps anytime. He learned that he was not welcomed on the kitchen counter, so he sat on the vent hood. He learned that if he put all of his sparkly balls under the refrigerator, I would eventually fish them out, and he could walk on my head while I was doing it.
And I learned something about Charlie pretty quickly, too. He had an uncanny ability to know my moods. The first time Charlie jumped into my lap and licked my tears off of my face, I cried even harder. The second or third time he jumped on to my husbands lap and walked around and around when we were having a disagreement, I finally got it. He was distracting him so we would stop. He didn’t like the sound of it. I found out pretty fast that I had bonded with this cat. I had found something that I had been missing. I didn’t know I had been missing it, but he showed me that I had.
I knew now what it meant to truly love an animal. I felt the full scope of compassion and care for this beautiful, funny, smart, compelling creature. And I knew that, in some manner that I don’t fully understand, and will never fully understand, he and I had a relationship that was as real and complex and meaningful as any I had with the people in my life.
And with that comes something else. With that, comes the pain of something I wish I would never have to experience. With that, comes the almost unbearable sense of grief and sorrow when I say that my precious Charlie died on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 5:45 pm. I cannot believe that he is gone. I can barely stand the pain of his loss.
Charlie could not overcome the physical difficulties of his past abuse, and the damage finally caught up with him. I am told that I did everything I could for him. I am not sure I believe that. I will always wonder if there wasn’t something more, something else, something only I could have known, because only I knew him so fully. I am glad that he was in no pain when he died, but my god, I am beyond sorrow.
I am grateful to have had him in my life. I am grateful to have had the chance to give him, in the very short time he had left, love and treats and warm laps and more love. He gave me more than I could ever have given him. He was my gift from the universe…. my once-in-a-lifetime kitty.
I had looked forward to seeing what he was going to come up with next. I’m sorry that it is over too soon. I’m sorry for him, and for me. But I’m so glad that we shared our lives. I just wish we had had more time to do so. I will always want to hold him and pet him and comfort him again. Because Charlie changed me. Forever.
Rest in glorious peace, Charlie. I miss you with my whole heart.

Recommended Breeder


“Hi, Nancy! We want to get another Siberian. Who do you recommend as a breeder.”


“Hello, do you have any Siberian kittens available? …….Oh, you’re no longer breeding kittens? Who should I contact?”

Even though we no longer have our website, we still get calls or emails. I try to help by recommending breeders I know and trust.  So when one of the recommendations works for a family, I am thrilled!

We received this great email and photos from a family who fell in love with her neighbors’ cats (Semper Fi Siberians!). Her neighbor told her she should call me for a recommendation. I gave her several names and she contacted them and decided on Cartier Siberians.

Dear Nancy,

From Kelly to you to Dainah Rico to our home….our kitty Gigi came home on Tuesday night and made our daughter Ella the happiest girl in the world!!! Thank you so much for helping us get her!

If anyone ever asks you for a referral, Dainah has the most beautiful, healthy, well cared for kittens we could ever imagine. She runs a tight ship and I would recommend her at the highest level. From the very first inquiry to the courrier who flew our kitty to Chicago, Dainah was kind, helpful, thorough and lovely to work with. Thank you for leading us to her!


Dainah Rico is located in Tennessee and her cattery is called Cartier Siberians http://cartiersiberians.com


One of our pet parents, Nikki, loves to share photos and stories with me of the antics of her two Semper Fi Siberians. Last week I said to her. Can you imagine how dull life would be without a Siberian! Her answer was  “So true!!! What an amazing animal.” So, Penny, you and your family have an exciting life ahead of you!


We Made It!

I am happy to report the Fox Valley Young Marines met their goal to earn enough for the unit to take a once in a lifetime trip to Washington DC. Yesterday I had the pleasure of writing a check for $26,534 to Hemisphere Educational Travel who have been tremendous in helping us put this trip together.

I want to thank my blog followers who so generously responded to my plea for help and donated to this worthy endeavor:

Laura H, Korrel C, Eugene D, Lindsay H, Lynn F, Jane T, Dawn G, Tad C, Vicki S, Dorann P, Nikki H, Patricia C, Linda J, and Deborah M

Your support means a great deal to Jim and I and we will definitely be thinking of you this June.

Each Young Marine has selected a site we will be visiting. He/she will research the site and present it to the group during the bus ride to Washington DC.

Here is our itinerary:

Day 1

6:00 AM Motorcoach Departs for Washington,

Approximate Arrival in Washington, DC 9:00 PM

Day 2

Group Organized Activity Group to attend prearranged tour of the Marine Barracks, ‘8th & I’, in Washington D.C. (Arranged by group leader).

National Archives – The Rotunda of the National Archives Building in downtown Washington, DC, contains the permanent exhibit of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. The Public Vaults display over 1,000 fascinating records (originals or reproductions) from the National Archives holdings.

Ford’s Theatre and Petersen House – A visit to Ford’s Theatre includes entry to the theatre, the recently renovated Ford’s Theatre Museum, the Petersen House, the house where Lincoln died and the Center for Education and Leadership. Your visit may also include a presentation by a National Park Service ranger.

Group to have to time for souvenir shopping near Ford’s Theatre.

Illumination Tour of the Monuments and Memorials – Night tour of the Monuments and Memorials, including the Jefferson Memorial and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for a rooftop view of the city.

Day 3

Arlington National Cemetery Group to attend the burial ceremony of former Marine performed by the Marines at 8th & I. (The Marine being buried is a mentor and friend of Jim.)

Iwo Jima Memorial One of the first objectives of the Battle of Iwo Jima in the attack was capturing Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the island. On February 23, 1945, a flag was raised by five Marines and a Navy corpsman. The raising was witnessed by news photographer Joe Rosenthal whose pulitzer prize winning picture of the flag raising would become a symbol of the war in the Pacific. This event is immortalized through the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Pentagon Memorial – The Pentagon Memorial park consists of 184 memorial units, each of which are dedicated to an individual victim by its unique placement within the collective field. The field is organized as a timeline of the victims’ ages, spanning from the youngest to the oldest. This memorial provides a place for future generations to remember and reflect on September 11, and its significance for us and our nation.

Capitol Hill Tour – The Capitol Hill Tour includes a Capitol Building Tour (pending availability), the outside of the US Capitol Building, Capitol Visitor Center, Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. Groups can view the outside of the buildings on Capitol Hill. If time permits, they may enter the Supreme Court, where they will have access to the Great Hall that features marble busts of the Chief Justices. Groups may also have time to explore the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

Washington Monument – Photo Stop The Washington Monument is the most prominent structure in Washington, D.C. and one of the city’s early attractions. It was built in honor of George Washington, who led the country to independence and then became its first President. The Monument is shaped like an Egyptian obelisk, stands 555’ 5 1/8” tall, and offers views in excess of thirty miles.

White House – Photo Stop Only The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. Group to stop for photos in front of the most famous house in America. Make sure to look for secret service agents on the roof!

World War II Memorial The World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home.

Day 4

Arlington National Cemetery – Walk among the headstones that chronicle American History and honor our nation’s war heroes. View or participate in a Wreath Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witness the Changing of the Guards. Make sure to also visit the Kennedy Grave Sites and the Challenger Memorial.

FDR Memorial – Located along the famous Cherry Tree Walk on the Western edge of the Tidal Basin, this is a memorial not only to FDR, but also to the era he represents!

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial – The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is conceived of as an engaging landscape experience. The composition of the memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey three fundamental and recurring themes of Dr.King’s life: justice, democracy and hope. The circular geometry of the memorial, juxtaposed within the triangular configuration of the site, engages the Tidal Basin and framed views to the water.
Lincoln Memorial — “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” Beneath these words, the 16th President of the United States—the Great Emancipator and preserver of the nation during the Civil War—sits immortalized in marble. As an enduring symbol of freedom, the Lincoln Memorial attracts anyone who seeks inspiration and hope.
Korean Memorial – Here, one finds the expression of American gratitude to those who restored freedom to South Korea. Nineteen stainless steel sculptures stand silently under the watchful eye of a sea of faces upon a granite wall—reminders of the human cost of defending freedom. These elements all bear witness to the patriotism, devotion to duty, and courage of Korean War veterans.
Vietnam Memorial – The Vietnam Wall honors members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War and who died in service or are still unaccounted for. The Memorial Wall, designed by Maya Ying Lin, is made up of two black granite walls. The memorial also includes the Three Soldiers Memorial and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial.
Einstein Statue – Located in a grove of trees near the southwest corner on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences, the Albert Einstein Memorial honors one of the greatest minds in history. Students may climb on the statue making it an ideal group photo opportunity

Evening Parade – The Evening Parade, held every Friday evening during the summer, has become a universal symbol of the professionalism, discipline, and Esprit de Corps of the United States Marines. The story of the ceremony reflects the story of Marines throughout the world. Whether they be aboard ships, in foreign embassies, at recruit depots, in divisions, or in the many positions and places where Marines project their image, the individual Marine continually tells the story of the Corps.

Day 5

Smithsonian National Zoo – The National Zoo is a beautiful urban park offering a peaceful place to enjoy nature and a large variety of local and exotic animals. During your brief visit to the zoo, make sure you don’t miss the Giant Pandas!

Smithsonian Museums on the Mall –  Visit the Smithsonian Institute Museums on the National Mall, home of over 140 million objects collected from around the world. Highlights include the Wright Brothers’ biplane at the National Air and Space Museum, the Hope diamond at the Museum of Natural History, the original Star Spangled Banner at the American History Museum and the segregated rail car at the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

And then some very tired Young Marines will head home with memories to last a life time!

Thank you for making this possible!





We Are So Close

UPDATE:  You are wonderful! $250 raised so far; only $50 more to meet my goal! Thank you!!!!

We are working to take some very deserving children to Washington DC this summer.

Please help us meet our deadline. The kids have worked so hard. We have $3,009 of the required $26,534  left to raise by April 25. My goal is to personally raise 10% of that, $300. I have 221 blog followers. Six of you have already given very generously so that leaves 215. If each of you gave $2, I would surpass my goal!  Now we all know that is not going to happen. So do I have 30 Siberian Cat lovers who would each give $10?


I have been helping my husband in his endeavors to give back to our country for all that was given to him in his 36 years as a United States Marine. He is shaping the lives of some very special children by serving as Unit Commander of the Fox Valley Young Marines. I am the Unit Adjutant and Chef.

Our goal is to take these children to Washington D.C. this summer, an opportunity many of them will never have again.

This organization is NOT a recruiting tool for the US Marines. The only connection is to nurture and develop the values of the Corps of loyalty, leadership and good citizenship plus promoting a drug free lifestyle.


Say No To Easter Lilies


Enter Please! Do not bring these into your home if you have cats! Lots of people think that pointsettas are toxic – these are so much worse. All parts of the plant, including the pollen, can lead to irreversible kidney failure if integested by a cat. We shared before, but if this saves even one kitty, it was worth sharing again.

Please, Please Read This Post

I have been many things in my 77 years of life. I won’t bore you with the list. But my most important job title was and is “Mother.” And strangely enough it is the job I feel I have been least qualified for.

The majority of my blog followers are mothers also so I am hoping you will be able to empathize with my pain. Would you please read the following blog post written by my daughter, including the letter to the superintendent?

Why am I asking you to read this since you are no way involved in this situation. Two reasons.

One—just in case one of my many followers are involved in state government, school administration or the legal profession.  If you are such a person, is there any advice you can give as to something we can try to do to correct this wrong; something that will allow my daughter to return to the profession she loves and is very, very good at?

Two—please remember this incident when interacting with your children’s teachers. So many of today’s teachers are dealing with children who have absolutely no respect for authority. I know your children are not like these because I met them all when you came to select and pick up your kitten. But please be aware that maybe if your child’s teacher is not 100% every minute of every day, it may be because she has reached her limit and received no help from her administration. Reach out to her/him with thanks. Send a note to the principal with praise for the teacher.

I desperately want to help my daughter! As a mother I should be able to do so! I feel helpless! So if you can give any advice, it will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. And I ask one more thing—please pray for my daughter and for all teachers.  Thank you!


Hey there background friends. I have good news and bad news. First let’s go with the good news. I received some major screen time on episode 7 of Proven Innocent. Click here for a link to check out this video! It was pretty awesome seeing more than a fleeting image of myself on TV. The only sad part is that I also worked with my mom that day but I couldn’t find her in the episode. How about you Mom? Did you see yourself? I truly looked but maybe my fascination with seeing myself caused me to miss it. Anyway, it was such a fun thing when I saw how much time I was on screen. If you haven’t checked out Proven Innocent on Fox, please do. You won’t see me again until episode 13 when I am on the jury.

And Now Major Bad News

I guess I won’t be taking a break from background work for the next two months as that job I told you about last time fell through. Yep, it’s true. I had a great interview with the principal and the job was mine as soon as he checked my references. Knowing my references were great, I thought it was a sure thing. But nothing in this life is a sure thing, my friends. I guess the superintendent of the school district did not feel comfortable with hiring me due to the false accusation I told you about before. This situation is going to haunt me forever it seems. If you click here, you can read a letter I wrote to this superintendent. I know it won’t get me the job but maybe she will realize the impact her decision has had on me. I even asked her for advice. I am pretty sure I will never receive a response but if I do, you will be the first to know.

Major Screen Time Key West View
My awesome view of the Atlantic Ocean

I’m sad. I am very sad about this whole thing. I’m still hanging in there and having faith that God will show me the way. Maybe it is time for my teaching career to be over. Maybe my talents are needed somewhere else. Who knows? But, in all honesty, my faith is wavering today and I ask for your prayers in helping me recover from this recent set back. Looking on the bright side, if I have to be sad, it might as well be as fun of a place as is Key West. With this view from my balcony, it’s hard to not notice God’s wondrous world.

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