Sunday, December 2, 2007

My Daemon

My Daemon is a snow leopard named Myron! Mouse over the image below to see if you think my Daemon matches my personality.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Myspace Graphics
Thanksgiving Myspace Graphics

Hope you all have a blessed and happy turkry day!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Part of the Memeplexes

Stolen from Knatolee's World, the rules along with the answers.

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Eight facts/habits about me:

1. I was born in Yokohama, Japan, and my Japanese name is Harumi.

2. When I was a kid, I was always bringing home stray animals, much to the chagrin of my poor mom. Unfortunately, I never outgrew it ;-P

3. When my kids were very young and we lived in California, I brought home baby chicks that we hatched in an incubator for them to experience. They were very tame and would follow us around outside (the chicks). At night they lived in our downstairs bathtub, but they went to live on a friend's hobby farm when they got too big.

4. I was a real tomboy when I was young, no cooking or baking for me. I wanted to be outside with the guys playing baseball, kickball, running wild.

5. I hate hot weather and love cool/cold weather. Fall is the best season of the year, followed by winter and spring.

6. At night, when I was very young and we were supposed to be sleeping, I used to read books under the covers with a flashlight. My favorites were fairy tales.

7. I grew up in upstate New York in a town called Cheektowaga, an Indian word that means "Land of the Crabapples," at least that's what my aunt used to tell me.

8. I worked as a court reporter in the military justice system for 11 years, and I absolutely loved it. Too bad the military did away with this job for civilians.

Guess This Movie

Okay, here are some quotes from another of my favorites:

"How do you write women so well?"

"Easy. I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability."


"When you first entered the restaurant, I thought you were handsome . . . and then of course, you spoke."

Beautiful Fall in the Carolinas

My sister and her husband gave me their old camera, which I love because now I can upload some pictures to my blog. This is what fall looks like in the Carolinas. This beautiful dogwood is in my front yard. It also has beautiful red berries that the birds love to eat.

Natalie, I should have sent this to you. Here is a wind chime shaped like a cow! I have windchimes hanging in all my trees in the backyard. I love their tinkling sounds.

My grandkids love this chime I have hanging by my front door. They use it like a doorbell when they come to visit. It has a gorgeous sound.

Stained glass leaves!

Friday, November 2, 2007

A Bright Star

I heard on the news that Washoe, a female chimpanzee, who was part of a project to see if chimps could learn to communicate through the use of American Sign Language, has died. I was a young mother when I first saw a program about her on Nova. I was amazed and entranced by what I saw. My exposure that day led me to read the fascinating work of Jane Goodall and others, hungry for more information, fascinated by what I had seen. Washoe died on Oct 30th, surrounded by her "family." There is another bright star in the sky for a loving, intelligent being that helped to broaden our knowledge and who personally helped me realize that human kind is only a small, small portion of the universe. Washoe's legacy lives on. You only need to look at that beautiful face to see the intelligence and awareness there. Farewell, Washoe. You touched many, many more people than you could ever know. You can leave your own tribute or read the tributes by the many who were touched by her here: Tributes

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Marriage Counselor

Who needs a camera when you can post great stuff like this! Cesar Milan, marriage counselor -- who knew!?

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Last Lecture

This is an amazing video of a professor's "last chance lecture." Top professors are asked to give hypothetical final talks on the theme: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? Dr. Pausch of Mellon Carnegie University is an inspiration to all of us as this videotape will attest. He has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and this 46-year-old father of three has been given months to live. Despite these dire odds, Dr. Pausch has left his pearls of wisdom with his colleagues and his students. May we all aspire to love our lives, respect other people, and allow our children to find themselves in self expression.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Guess this Movie

I guess I'm a little weird because I love movie quotes. In fact, my son David and I love to play "name that movie." Here is my quote for today, which is from a movie I really like. See if you can guess what movie it is.

"How do you get that pencil to move? Is it a trick pencil?"

"I ask it to move. I guess I could say I will it, but it's more like a request. After all, we're all made of the same stuff, Bob."

[Pause] "Wood?"

"No, Bob, energy, the small pieces."

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hot Yucky Weather

The weather here in eastern NC has been unbearably hot and thick. Last week we had a head index of 118 degrees. It's not my idea of bliss. I certainly couldn't even imagine living in this heat and humidity without air conditioning. I know it's the middle of August, but it hard to believe that fall is right around the corner when temperatures are still soaring into the 100s.

I'm longing for cooler air, for cooler winds to blow the wind chimes in my trees to lull me to sleep in the evenings. I'm not a hot weather person at all. So come on Fall!!! I'm ready, ready to spend more time outdoors in the falling leaves and the cooler temps, letting the wind whip through my hair. I'm ready to enjoy my outdoor flireplace so we can cook hot dogs and melt marshmallows and drink wine before we call it a night. I'm ready to plan my garden for next spring.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's Catch-22

You're Catch-22!

by Joseph Heller

Incredibly witty and funny, you have a taste for irony in all that you
see. It seems that life has put you in perpetually untenable situations, and your sense
of humor is all that gets you through them. These experiences have also made you an
ardent pacifist, though you present your message with tongue sewn into cheek. You
could coin a phrase that replaces the word "paradox" for millions of

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Our family has expanded by one precious boy who was born on August 6, 2007, at 4:56 PM. He weighed 7 lb 6 oz and was 21 inches long. I'm a bit biased, but I think he's beautiful. See for yourself.

Here's Carson being held for the first time by
big brother, Tyler. Little Carson makes boy number three for my daughter and her husband. I wonder if they'll be more like the three stooges or the three Muskateers. Whatever, they're all beautiful.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

Here are some great photos we took in the span of an hour while Tracy and I were sitting on the deck having coffee last weekend. Mom and dad brought their babies to the feeders. Here are some pictures of the babies.

Here is a picture of mom, enjoying some of the shelled peanuts and sunflower nuts.

This red-bellied woodpecker and nuthatch stopped by for a snack.

Of course, the BlueJays think they are so stealthy as they swoop down to get the whole peanuts from the feeder. They're so beautiful!

Monday, June 25, 2007


Here are some "before" and "after" photos of my house renovations:

Before and after, looking into the kitchen with my new stove and refrigerator.

Here we are looking into the kitchen from the living room. Don't you just love the tile? You can see the front of my armoire being pressed into service as a freestanding pantry. But it looks good!

This photo is looking into the living room are from the kitchen. I love my leather furniture. I'm planning to paint the walls because I don't think the yellow really sets off the tile. I'm thinking of a mocha color for the living room and a gray-blue for the kitchen. I'm going to have the cupboards replaced when I can afford it, along with granite countertops. There is a serious lack of storage and workspace in the kitchen as it stands right now.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Introducing Mimi

Here are some pictures of my beautiful Mimi. She's a Himalayan that was rescued from a dumpster in the mountains. It took her a few days to warm up to me. She has the most beautiful blue eyes and the sweetest personality. She loves chasing those little fabric mice around the house. It feels so good to have a cat in my life again. My adorable Amelia Dearhart, Mimi.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Cat or Dog?

You Are: 40% Dog, 60% Cat

You and cats have a lot in common.
You're both smart and in charge - with a good amount of attitude.
However, you do have a very playful side that occasionally comes out!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Time for Renewal

I still don't have a camera, but I thought I'd post some photos that I took last year of the birds in my backyard. Some of them are a little fuzzy.

This little Hummer visited the feeder every day, several times a day. He also sat in the oak tree near the deck and chased the other birds away, so I hung a couple more feeders in other parts of the yard.

I watched this pair of Cardinals all summer. They were very sweet with each other. The male would come to the feeder while the female sat on the fence or bushes and waited. He would get some sunflower seeds and take them to her and gently feed her. I snapped this shot while her ladyship was bathing. He sat on the side of the birdbath and waited patiently until she was through with her daily ablutions. They raised several babies that they brought to the feeders when they were old enough to fly. The babies would wait patiently in the bushes while mom and dad flew back and forth to the feeder. I wonder if the babies come back to where they were raised.

We have lots of Housefinches and Tufted Titmouse that stay all year round. I caught these three friends hanging out by the water cooler.

The yellow finches especially love the niger thistle. They only visit on their way through town in early spring and again in the fall.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Fledgling

Something really remarkable happened to me today. I was sitting at my desk when I thought I saw something flutter by in the hallway past my office door. I thought I was imagining things. Then about 5 minutes later, I saw something flutter past my door in the opposite direction. I got up and walked to the doorway and saw a Mockingbird fledgling standing in the hall. When I asked him what he was doing there, he just cocked his head and looked at me. I tried to pick him up, but he halfheartedly flew down the hall and landed. I approached him quietly and he just stood there watching me as I stooped over and put my right hand around his little body. I expected to get pecked, but the little guy was amazingly calm. I could hardly believe that he let me hold him without struggling. He just continued to look at me as I walked to the door and placed him on a bush outside. The guys I work with were as amazed as I was that he allowed me to get close enough to even attempt to hold him. I wish I'd had a camera. But to top things off, I saw a Great Blue Heron flying over a creek on my way home. What a great day!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Way Behind

I'm way behind on blogging because I've been wrapped up in house renovation. I've had tile floors put in my living room, kitchen and foyer. I've had a six-foot privacy fence put up around my yard so I can bask in the feeling of having my own piece of heavenly solitude. Besides "Gladys Kravitz" lives behind me and let me know that she wasn't happy about having to walk around, instead of through, my yard now that my fence is up. I've been shopping for appliances and furniture, which will be delivered next week! It was great being able to shop and choose what I like without having to worry about someone else. I should be moved in, hopefully, around the first week in June and then will have more time to blog, which I've honestly missed. I should have some pictures of my new floor too! I wanted to replace the kitchen cupboards, but wow, everything is so expensive. I'll just have to wait.

I've planted five hydrangea bushes in the backyard and am busy planning for more flowers and flower beds. I'm honestly thinking of getting a couple of chickens to hang out in my yard to eat bugs and weeds and to enjoy as pets. I checked with the town animal control person, and he said it wouldn't be a problem as long as no one complained. Do hens make a lot of noise? Anyway, I've been looking for a chicken tractor and a small hen house for my yard.

The fireflies are just starting to come out and I've spent the last couple evenings watching them as they wink on and off in the twilight. I LOVE fireflies. They bring back some great memories I have from being a kid.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Stole this fun game from Dephal's blog!

1. YOUR GANGSTA NAME (First 3 letters of first name plus izzle)

2. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (fav color and fav animal)
Blue Dog

3. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, and current street name)
Mary River

4. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom's maiden name)

5. YOUR SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink).
Purple Martini

6. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's middle name)

7. YOUR GOTH NAME: (black, and the name of one your pets)
Black Karma

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Off to Warmer Climes

Well, after a horrible four weeks that included a chest x-ray, pneumonia, two kinds of antibiotics, a bad reaction to methylprednisolone, a CT scan, and a colonoscopy, I'm happy to say that I survived and feel well enough to make a trip to Florida to visit my friend Gracie. She and I have known each other over 30 years and have the kind of friendship that doesn't need constant contact to sustain it. Each time we've seen each other, it's been like picking up a well-read, well-loved book that you cherish each time you read it. I had the good fortune to find a *very* cheap ticket for $80 round trip, so I couldn't NOT take advantage and fly down to see Grace.

We're going to play the weekend by ear, but I know it will include lots of talking, tons of laughter, probably some tears and loads of hugging. What more could you ask for?

Monday, February 5, 2007

Big Head Saga

Do you know the joke about the little kid who runs inside crying. His mom asks him what happened, and he tell her all the kids say he has a big head. So the mom sweeps her hand in an enormous circle around that big-head kid and says, "Don't believe them, son. Don't believe them." Well, this started out as somewhat of a family joke. My sister Sue is convinced that she has a big head. She points out family photos and says doesn't her head look bigger than everyone else's head in the picture? Well, of course, being the evil older sister, I said yes, it sure does. Well, we've kind of made it a family tradition -- you know, I have a big head, my sister has a big head, our mom, she had a big head too. And in actuality, our heads are somewhat larger than those of our kids (unless they could be pinheads). I could never fit into my kids' ball caps and Sue could never fit into some of her kids' ball caps either. Anyway, it became a standing joke where we all joked about the big head. That is. . . until my grandson went in for his 18 month checkup and the doctor measured his head, looked at my daughter and said, "Does anyone in your family have a big head?" DOH!!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

S IS FOR. . . .

Knatolee said, "I stole this theme from Dephal, who stole it from Leanne. Then I stole this explanation from Dephal: "The idea is you get a letter, and then list 10 things that begin with that letter that have significance to your life. If any of you want to play, just email me or leave me a comment, and I'll send you your letter."

What Knat said. . . And Dephal was kind enough to send me my letter, which just happens to be S. Ssssooo, without further ado, here is my list of what S means to me:

Sisters: The most special person in my life, aside from my children is my sister Sue. She’s warm and giving and is genuinely one of the most compassionate and passionate people that I know. She loves her children and her husband unconditionally, and I find her inner strength very compelling. She has a sparkling sense of slightly irrational humor that I totally relate to, and we share a genuine love of animals. And even though we’re bound by blood, I know we’d be friends even if we weren’t related. The fact that we are sisters is the wonderful serendipity called life.

I LOVE snow. I grew up with it, walked to school in it uphill both ways, shoveled it, played in it, made snow caves as a child and entertained in it. I sometimes find it strange that I landed in a place where it hardly ever snows.

Silence: I love the quiet spaces of early morning and late evening, which often find me sitting at the computer working or sipping tea while I ponder the mysteries of life. I’m a nightowl by nature and the whole get up at 6 a.m. be at work by 7:30 a.m. is totally unnatural to my body clock. I love the wee hours of the night when the whole world seems silent and I step out onto the deck and see the stars shining in all their glory, and I sometimes imagine that I’m looking at a small glimpse of heaven.

Singing: I love to sing. . . in the shower, at the grocery store, in the car at the top of my lungs. I remember all the silly, wonderful songs of my childhood learned from singing around the campfire at Girl Scout camp or grammar school, and I delight in teaching them to my grandchildren. I also make songs up for and about my grandchildren who show a remarkable talent for following in my footsteps.

Serendipity: I love the sound of that word. In fact, I love words because the right combination can paint a million pictures in my mind's eye, define the taste of a ripe fruit like the sharp, sweet tartness of a cherry, describe the deep welling of sadness in someone’s heart and the height that joy can reach. I love to journal because it helps me to keep things straight in my mind and allows me to express myself unfettered by the inhibition of being heard by someone else. It sets my heart free to be myself, totally immersed in the moment.

Seriousness: I have a hard time being serious. I love to laugh and find humor in the most innocuous things. My kids always joke that I crack myself up. . .and that’s true for the most part. I love to find humor and love being around people who also love to laugh. Life is too short to be so serious all the time. Laughter lightens up a dreary day and makes my world a fun place to be.

Starting Over: Okay, this is really two words. But second chances have been a big focus in my life recently. It seems the older I get, the more precious I realize life is. I’ve come to see that no one can change my life but me, that no one can help me live the life I want except me. Now that I've found the courage to change my life, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I want to do it all. I want to experience everything. I want to drink in life and savor every moment.

Symphony: I love music. It’s always been a part of my life. We had a very old, broken down piano in the basement of the house where I grew up, and I spent hours down there, teaching myself to play a few melodies. My kids grew up listening to me play the guitar and singing along with all the John Denver songs. Although I never took formal lessons, I find an indescribable joy in music that can’t really be found anywhere else. Attending a concert or live performance is a moving experience for me. I feel my soul expanding and contracting with the swelling harmonies as the music moves through me and over me. And I love all kinds of music: country, oldies, classical. There’s a piece to fit every mood, every desire.

Saggitarius: Having been born in December, this is my zodiac sign. I think it fits me well. I like traveling, getting to the heart of the matter, freedom. I dislike feeling tied down, being constrained, being bothered with details. This is what one site says about my sign: “Sagittarians have a positive outlook on life, are full of enterprise, energy, versatility, adventurousness and eagerness to extend experience beyond the physically familiar. They enjoy travelling and exploration, the more so because their minds are constantly open to new dimensions of thought. They are basically ambitious and optimistic, and continue to be so even when their hopes are dashed. Their strongly idealistic natures can also suffer many disappointments without being affected. They are honorable, honest, trustworthy, truthful, generous and sincere, with a passion for justice. They are usually on the side of the underdog in society they will fight for any cause they believe to be just, and are prepared to be rebellious. They balance loyalty with independence.”

Science: I’ve always been fascinated by science and nature in general. I loved Carl Sagan and his theories about life on other planets. I never get tired of the learning and reading about the animal-human connection, and Jane Goodall is one of my heroes. Her books are mesmerizing, and I never get tired of reading her work or watching her documentaries. One of my largest interests is how to stop the destruction of the planet, learning what we can do as individuals to make sure that we leave a legacy for future generations. I can’t imagine a world without whales or polar bears or condors or any of the magical creatures of this planet. But if we continue to move in the direction we have been, extinction of species will be inevitable. Let’s begin by being an example and by teaching our children the value of life and habitat for all creatures.

listen to Jane speak at the Earth Day celebration. You will be inspired.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bighead Todd

This is our little Todd, lovingly named Bighead Todd because as you can see he wasn't quite normal when he was born. His eyes were placed far apart and his head was overly large. He was neurologically damaged, but he ate and grew and thrived. He was born six years ago in a litter of seven, all girls except for him. His mother was a wonderful mini Poodle named Precious who was turned in to a shelter with her seven babies because her owner decided she couldn't deal with the the babies once they were born. We took them in when the shelter called and asked us to take them. They wouldn't have lived on the concrete for very long. So we took Precious and her tiny sausage puppies.

Here is a photo of our Todd when he was about 8 weeks old. He was so adorable but never normal. He spent much of his time alone. He didn't learn to negotiate the stairs until he was almost a year old. I used to work with him by placing each paw on the stair to teach him to go down. As he got older, his phobias really started to manifest themselves. He was terrified of anything he didn't recognize and sometimes that included me and Bob. If he saw a shadow outside when it was dark, he would scream and head inside. But despite all of this, we loved him dearly. He was our handicapped child and as long as we could keep his world safe for him, we would.
This is one of my favorite pictures of baby Todd with his sister Mocha. He loved his sisters and especially his mother. Here he is snuggled up with Precious before she was adopted.

He really missed herwhen she went to live at her new home. We kept the litter together until the babies were at least 12 weeks old and two of them lived with us much longer. Todd became more insecure after Precious was adopted and only interacted with his siblings, so we kept Karma for him. They played by chasing each other around a bush in our yard. Karma would then jump into the middle of the bush and poor Todd would keep going around looking for her.

In the last few years, Todd developed a number of other medical problems. He was allergic to different foods. He became hypothyroid. He developed an obsessive disorder called psychogenic polydipsia, in which he drank large amounts of water obsessively. We had him tested for Cushings and Addison's and ran tests to rule out a physical cause. There was nothing we could find that would cause him to drink as much water as he could, whenever he could. It seems harmless, but it was taking a toll on his kidneys because they were losing their ability to concentrate urine. He began having seizures, which had become increasingly worse. I think they were tied to his obsessive drinking, which we tried to stem by watching his intake but it was heartbreaking to watch him search for something to drink. His continuous search for water also meant that he urinated copious amounts whenever the urge came upon him. He was incapable of understanding the need to potty outside, so we just kept old towels and blankets everywhere to absorb the urine. Needless to say, we did tons of laundry every day.

As Todd got older, his ears began to stand up. He ended up having poodle size ears that stood straight up like his Pomeranian father's. But I thought he was beautiful. His fur was a shiny mixture in shades of chocolate brown, and it was thick and wavy. He did not look like a dog that had a thyroid problem. But as beautiful as Todd was, every year brought more of his irrational fears to the surface. Grooming became almost impossible. There were days when he would not come near me or Bob even though we'd raised him from the time he was a newborn baby. Bathing him, grooming him, trimming nails was tortuous for him and for us. There were times when I thought he would have heart failure because he was so terrified.

Today, we let our Todd go. His seizures were getting worse. He was having them two times or more a week. We wanted him to know peace even though it meant we would lose him. Why is it that the more understanding and care, the more a spirit depends on you, the more attached you become? Is it because you realize how much they need you, or is it because you don't realize how much you come to need caring for them? I don't know what the answer is, but I know that Todd will forever be in my heart. I loved his precious face, his huge ears, his look that said he knew me. And I miss him -- very much. I hope you're finally at peace, my Toddman, and having a ball at the Bridge, our Bighead Todd.
". . .I hope you never look back, but ya never forget,
All the ones who love you, in the place you left. . . ,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,

I hope you know somebody loves you. . . ,
Yeah, this, is my wish."

Rascall Flats

Friday, January 12, 2007

There's no Place Like Home

Yippeeee!! I'm a homeowner. I closed on my house yesterday, and I drove over to see it again afterwards. I LOVE this house and the yard and the promise it brings for happy, secure times.

Here are pictures of my kitchen and living room. These rooms have laminate flooring which looks really nice. I need to replace the stove, get a fridge and dishwasher; but I can't wait to really start living in it. The bedrooms are carpeted, which I'm not overly fond of. I'm going to get an estimate on how much it would cost to replace the carpeting with flooring of some kind. I like laminate, but it's slippery when wet.

Here's a picture of my very large, very beautiful backyard. I just love this yard. I'm having some Pines taken down but there are dogwoods that will be beautiful in the spring; and I'm going to replace some of the pines with river birch. I'm so excited at the thought of planting a garden and getting to enjoy it season after season with Beautyberry, Lilacs, Coneflowers, and a ton of other plants I love. I'll have to keep a picture journal of how it changes from beginning to end. There's plenty of branches to hang windchimes and bird feeders, and white Christmas lights that I love all year round.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One of My Favorite Guys

This is my pal, Bailey; and my riding instructor Becky. Bailey is a Quarterhorse who is completely safe, but he has a definite attitude with beginning riders -- either you have it or you don't. We've gotten to know each other quite well over the past few months. He stands patiently for brushing but doesn't like to have his chest touched, and he'll reach back with his mouth to let you know. He's not a biter but he just wants you to know to make it snappy and don't linger on that spot.

You sometimes have to convince him that you know how to clean his hooves, or he'll jerk them out of your grasp and stamp his foot on the ground. But now that he has more confidence in me, he's been very good. He's a dream to tack up. He's has a very smooth gait and is a real pleasure to ride, that is, if you can convince him that you know enough to take charge. Who knew that I would love riding so much at my age! It's a wonderful feeling to be up there on Bailey and having him respond to my requests.

I've mastered the seated trot, and Bailey is a dream to ride at the trot. Even so, I took my first spill during my lesson on Sunday as Bailey and I were trotting around the ring. He stumbled as we went around the corner, throwing me unexpectedly to the left. I managed to hang on to the pommel to keep myself from being thrown completely off but found myself hanging at almost a 90 degree angle and unable to pull myself back up. I looked back at the ground behind me and tried to gauge how far it was and how much it was going to hurt when I fell. Luckily, I landed on the upper part of my butt and was only a little sore for a couple of days. Bailey, being the great horse that he is, stopped completely when he felt me lose my seat. Becky says you're not really a rider until you've fallen at least 7 times. I have no intention of trying to meet that challenge.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


One of the stables where I take riding lessons has a new addition to their family.

This little guy's name is Ike. Can you believe he's only 8 weeks old? He's actually Ike Jr., since his dad's name was Ike and Ike Jr. looks just like him. He's a friendly, lovable, gorgeous baby; and I fell in love with him right away. He's all gangly legs and floppy Great Dane puppy.

Here's Ike taking the lead with Bailey! Already learning to be around the horses who are all dog savvy. Ike pulled on the lead until Bailey started to follow, which scared him, "Hey, why is that big guy following me around?!" Ike also has an older sister named Molly, a Cattle Dog/Border Collie cross, who is a little annoyed by having to put up with "the little pest" (her words, not mine).

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Farewell to a friend

I had to say good-bye to a friend today. The first time I left this house behind was in April of 2006, and I had to leave some of my pets behind. Circumstances beyond my control prevented me from taking them with me then, but I thought it would only be a short time before we could be together in a new place, building on new dreams.

I recently returned to this house after 8 months to take care of my ex-husband after a hip replacement; and although I had very mixed feelings about coming back here, I was ecstatic to be with my cats and dogs again. I love taking care of them and having them around me and having them sleep with me is wonderful. Unfortunately, when I returned about 3 weeks ago, I noticed that Big Puss seemed to be having some trouble breathing and noticed that sometimes he would cough while purring.

I was worried about him, but he seemed to be eating and getting around all right so I hoped it was a slight cold that would get better. He didn't seem to be coughing as much; but in the last few days, I noticed that he hadn't been eating very much. I tried tempting him with yummy canned food, but he just sniffed it and walked away. I knew then that something was definitely not right. I made an appointment for him to be seen by my vet, Jeff, today.

Last night, while we were lying in bed together, Big Puss was in his usual place beside Cody. He loved sleeping next to Cody. I think he somehow found it comforting to be next to the big black dog that cleaned his ears like his mother. I was watching a movie when I felt a tug in my subconscious and had the feeling that he was asking me to look at him. I locked my eyes with his. He just stared into my heart, and I knew that we were saying good-bye. After a long glance, he got up and came to me and I snuggled him as much as he would allow before he resumed his spot next to Cody.

I took him to the vet this morning and received a phone call in the afternoon that said, "I'm sorry. . .there's not much hope. The x-rays show cancer spread throughout the lungs. . ." I was heartbroken even though I already knew we had said our good-byes. I wasn't ready to let go, but my Big Puss had lost 3 1/2 pounds since his last check up a couple of months ago. He didn't want to eat any more, and he had let me know it was time. But oh, it was so very hard.

He wasn't like any other cat I ever knew. He was so smart! He figured out how to open drawers to get the hair bands he liked to play with. He learned how, and then taught the other cats, to open the bi-fold closet doors by pushing them in the middle and then shoving them open at the end. He tried to turn the doorknobs to open the doors to the bedrooms. It's a good thing he didn't have opposable thumbs, or we would have been in real trouble. He came to live with me when he was only 5 weeks old and was a part of my life for 12 years. His passing marks the end of a generation. His brother, Little Puss, left us a few years ago. I lost his mother, Patches, two years ago to cancer in her throat, and now he is gone too.

I'll miss the heavy warmth of you lying on my side while I sleep, the gentle purring of your motor while you lull me to dreams, your happy cry when you see me home from work, your funny scampering to get in bed when you know it's time to say goodnight, as if I could close the door and leave you on the other side. I miss you so much already, my friend.

“This bridge will only take you halfway there, to those mysterious lands you long to see. Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fair, and moonlit woods where unicorns run free. So come and walk awhile with me and share the twisting trails and wonderous worlds Ive known. But this bridge will only take you halfway there. The last few steps you have to take alone.”

Shel Siverstein