Animal Chronicles

Christmas 2013, Mathematics Edition

Well! Fancy meeting you here!

Did you think the Neals fell off the edge of the planet? That we haven’t had many adventures?

Oh, my dear one–we’ve had more adventures than I care to even think about over the last year! But think about them I will so I can share a yearly update with you.

You may be wondering why this post is entitled “The Mathematics Edition.” That is because it has been a year of additions and subtractions.

Christopher has been in good health, with the occasional up and down throughout the year. For this we are eternally grateful. In December of last year we moved from North Hills, the church we had been attending since moving to California in 2007 and started attending Potter’s Wheel Assembly in Chino Hills. It is interesting how God moves. North Hills was conveniently close to home, while Potter’s Wheel is about 30 miles one-way from the house. But everything happens for a reason. We miss the relationships we found at North Hills, but the move was necessary. As to be expected, Christopher is very involved with the worship ministry among other things and in his role as an Elder there has been doing trainings. He also did a mock-up of a new logo for the church and is finalizing it as we speak. He is so very talented!

Khalil graduated from high school this past spring and was blessed to be accepted as a client of the Inland Regional Center. California is the only state (or one of very few states) that has a system in place that provides support for individuals with various types of disabilities (specifically cerebral palsy and autism; I think there is one more category but it escapes me at the moment…). We had been trying to get services for Khalil since early in our migration to San Bernardino but had not been successful; just prior to his 18th birthday we had a breakthrough and he started the interview process. By July, he had had the initial interview, a physical exam, and a full psychological evaluation; he was eventually accepted. He now has support services for the rest of his life should he choose to remain a client. His case manager worked with him and he is now employed at a supported work location called VIP here in San Bernardino. He gets picked up and dropped off each day and has a growing sense of financial freedom. If you have an account on I-Heart Radio, you might find him there; one of his big purchases (after some fly threads for work and church) was a laptop!

Andree’ started blogging in earnest last fall; she started on a WordPress-hosted space and branched out to her own self-hosted space this summer. You can find her daily ramblings at One Starving Activist. She also managed to write a novella in April during what is called Camp NaNoWriMo; National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens every November, but for those who can’t (or prefer) not to write an entire book in the month of November have the option to do so in April or July. The idea is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. There is a whole community and it is great fun–if you have a desire to write like Andree’ does! The novella (a book of no less than 17,500 words) is entitled Adventures in Cargo City and can be found at Amazon in both print and ebook form. This November, she wrote a book of short stories that was over 50,000 words! It is entitled From Reality’s Edge, Volume One and can be read one chapter at a time over at JukePop Serials. She would certainly appreciate you stopping by to read it; sign up for a free JukePop account, where you can save your favorite books (including this one!) to a bookshelf. And be sure to +vote each chapter as you read it! In her usual techie fashion, Andree’ has also created subdomains from her blog (this new Neal Family Adventures being one of them!), and offers writing prompts. It is called The Scribe’s Cave. She does all this writing in her free time, of which she has an over-abundance of since her employment contract with Azusa Pacific University ended on June 30.

There have also been additions and subtractions in the realm of the four-legged members of the family. Missy the cat vanished one day, so now there are two: PJ and Tigger. All of the Neals were heartbroken when it was discovered that Pi had a brain tumor and had to be put to sleep. While no one has recovered from the shock (he was just over two years old and in the end was suffering terrible from seizures), Sputnik has taken it the hardest. When it became evident that Pi might not have too much longer, Christopher and Andree’ went puppy-hunting; Sputnik would not survive on her own and so they wanted to have a new companion who would at least have some time to get to know Pi also and hopefully benefit from his big heart, gentle demeanor, and great spirit. Enter Woola, a shepherd mix (or so they were told).

On couch from left, Pi and Woola; Pi was gone about a week after this photo was taken. Sputnik, on the floor, is still not the same.

On couch from left, Pi and Woola; Pi was gone about a week after this photo was taken. Sputnik, on the floor, is still not the same.

Woola is a great edition, but no one can take Pi’s place.

Well, that’s about all from the Neals. We pray that you have a wonderful, fantastic, stupendous, and incredible holiday and look forward to what the Lord has in store for all of us in 2014!


Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 Animal Chronicles, Annual Updates No Comments

Baby’s growing up


Pi on the patio

Before you ask, my dog is not wearing a monocle. I caught him just right with the flash, and well there you have it. Pi is growing up; just ask the vet, who proudly shared that the boy is–though not overweight and who could in fact use more to eat in the average day–now 33 pounds. Yes, that’s up from the 19 at which he came to us.

And as if broad chest, big feet, and poundage is not enough, Christopher informed me as I arrived at work this morning that he’s lost his first baby tooth–a molar!

Yes, baby’s growing up.

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 Animal Chronicles No Comments

Preparing for Pi

Pi at the shelter

So Christopher talked me into looking and here’s who I found. We named him Pi, like the mathematical symbol. I found him on the shelter website the day before Christmas and was disappointed to find that the shelter was closed; it was also closed on Monday, which caused me a bit of anxiety. So on Tuesday morning we sauntered over to the shelter and found a line; our hopes were that no one else was interested in the floppy-eared pup and as it turned out, no one was. However, he was not available for adoption until Wednesday. We received an official blue paper with his ID number on it and were told to come back. Bright and early on Wednesday morning we were again in line at the shelter door and eagerly presented our official blue paper, after which we were taken to his cage. We went into the play enclosure and he was brought in to us. We romped for a moment before Christopher grabbed him and carried him to the counter, where we announced that we were adopting him. A shelter official promptly appeared with a menacing hypodermic which we discovered contained an identification chip; the soon-to-be our pet was tagged, we paid, and he was whisked off to the vet for checking and neutering. We pick him up tomorrow.

So what does a soon-to-be family of a dog do with nearly 24 hours of free time before he arrives? Shop, of course. Off to the home improvement store to find substitutes for the pieces of fence which disappeared due to Santa Ana winds. Off to the pet emporium to buy far too many things including puppy food, a puppy bed for the crate we already have, harnesses, leashes, collars for the bling of his nametag and chip ID badge, the aforementioned nametag (engraved with our name, contact number and his name of course) toys, puppy-rearing magazines since it’s been years since either Christopher or I have had a puppy, pee-pee pads, odor and stain remover, and I can’t remember what-all else. We are well-stocked for Pi’s arrival tomorrow.

Hopefully he’s ready for us.

Thursday, December 29th, 2011 Animal Chronicles No Comments