Friday, May 27, 2016

at what cost love?

last December a friend contacted us about taking in her cat
she needed to "downsize" her number of animals because
she didn't have time for them
too much drama in her life

Aragorn has a laid back personality
immediately walking into the house, brushing up against Trooper
and claiming us as his own

two months later,
his previous owner asked if she could buy him back
$50 was the price she named for his love
her life was just as hectic as before
even more
but she claimed she missed him

we told her we weren't interested in selling him
he had bonded by then, with us and with Trooper
and his funny little habits made our lives richer
far richer than money could buy
five months later he grieved for Trooper just as we did

there are changes coming for us soon
(cue willie nelson and on the road again)
we weren't sure if we would be able to move with Aragorn
and we reached out to his previous owner,
wanting to do what was best for him, we asked
was she still interested in getting him back?

we made arrangements to meet and return him
(cue whitney houston and i will always love you)
and she rescheduled because of family drama
she assured us she would be at the second set meeting
and so we arrived this afternoon,
with a highly stressed and scared cat in the car
(cue tears and gut wrenching commercials on television for animal shelters)

she wasn't there.  she wasn't even in town.

David and i discussed again moving with Aragorn
he had gotten used to being an only "child"
being lavished with time and attention
since Trooper passed,
our bond had grown even stronger

when his former owner contacted us to reschedule again
we told her that we had reconsidered and decided that
he would stay with us and we would make a move,
including him, work because we felt it was the best for him

she offered $50 again
i told her that there wasn't a price you could put on love
and she replied with the promise of "lots more money"

when i read those words
the thought of Judas Iscariot came to mind
and the 30 pieces of silver that bought his love

i told her no, that i couldn't put a price on love
she replied that if i wasn't willing to sell him back to her
for $400 then i could 'just forget it" and i could keep him
which i agreed would be the best for Aragorn

there isn't a price you can put on unconditional love
especially the unconditional love we get from our companion animals
could we have used that much money?
of course.  who couldn't?
but i never would have forgiven myself if i had sold him out
for 30 pieces of silver

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

tsunami ...

he has been gone a week now
i'm still not used to the emptiness in the house
or the space on the bed
it hits me at times, unexpected, like an earthquake
followed by wave after wave of grief and tears

he had been easily startled this past year
as his vision became clouded with cataracts
sometimes when he was drinking water from his bowl
a splash would surprise him and he would jump away

loud noises, thunder, fireworks
he would shake and lean into us
tonight while washing dishes,
i dropped a handful of silverware into the sink
i turned to tell him it was alright, it was just me making noise
instead, i had to bite my tongue to keep my sobs from escaping

i wasn't ready to lose Trooper
i wasn't ready to lose Oreo
i wasn't ready to let them go

few of us ever are i suppose
few of us ever are

Saturday, May 7, 2016

he was the best

my dog died three nights ago on 4 May 2016.  it was totally unexpected and it totally broke my heart.  it was the day before my birthday.

he had been acting ... different ... for several weeks.  but not the kind of different that you would take him to the vet for

he was eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, breathing, running, and walking without any indication that he was sick.  the morning he died, you would never have thought that it was going to be his last.

over the last several weeks, he wanted to be closer to us.  he wanted to snuggle, cuddle, and sleep between us on the bed so we made a sandwich, with him as the spread holding us together.

when he sat at the far end of the sofa with my husband, some nights he would get up and walk towards where i was sitting at the computer, so he would be standing behind my husband's back and he would just look at me.

he would look at me so intently, that i realize now he was just coming closer to look in my eyes and say ... "hey, i love you.  i really love you."

i knew something was going on with him, but you don't walk into a vet's office with your dog and say, "he's loving me too much, i think there is something wrong with him."  they would have laughed me off the planet.

i believe he knew his time was short, and i think he was preparing us by comforting us in advance, and giving us happy memories with him.

the day he died, we had gone to Ashland, Wisconsin to look at job opportunities, came home and went fishing for an hour.  in all, we were gone for about six hours.

when i took him out for a walk once we were home, he acted as if it hurt to walk so i took him off leash to let him go at his pace.  he peed and pooped (3x!), and seemed to feel better.  he wanted to walk across the street with me.  then he stopped, sat and laid down in the middle of the street.  i could barely get him to stand, and when i did, he was reluctant to walk.

we finally got him back to the house, and since i still thought that it was pain related to his legs and walking, i went to the store to get him some baby aspirin for the pain.  he was 12 years old, and while i kept him at a healthy and lean weight so he wouldn't have joint issues, i think there was still some arthritis because of his age.  in people years he would have been 78.

while i was gone, no more than 30 minutes, my husband said that he slumped down and five times he had stopped breathing and fallen over on his side.  he was able to call him back by rubbing his feet and talking to him.  trooper was gone within 15 minutes after i got home.  i think he was waiting for me.  considering how he died, and how quickly, i believe he had a stroke.
 
last Saturday night (30 April 2016) he curled up on the bed between us and put his head forehead into my chest.  for two hours until i fell asleep, i whispered into his ear and told him how much he was loved, how smart, brave, and handsome he was.  i told him that i didn't know what was going on with him, but that if it was something wrong, we would do whatever we could to get it fixed, and if it couldn't be fixed, we were going to focus on quality, not quantity.  i told him i never wanted to have to make the decision to put him down and would really prefer he went in his sleep, but that i would never let him suffer.  he knew he was loved.

so do we.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

mountains out of molehills ...

did you see the bruh-ha-ha about the gap kids ad this past week?  four cute girls (two of them more flexible than i will ever be!) advertising a new line of clothing.

four young girls that blew up the internet and probably don't even understand why.

a beautiful girl wearing a t-shirt that said "Love," and all it caused was a backlash of hate, anger, and resentment.

as if the position of a girl's arm dictates the status in society of another.

some people just have too much negativity on their minds, and make mountains out of molehills. 

if they spent as much time thinking of ways to end hunger, homelessness, or poverty as they think of ways to spread hate and negativity, this world would be a much better place. 

the majority people looked at that ad (myself included) and probably thought "cute kids in cute clothes" and nothing more. 

but there were a few who looked at it and thought it was racist ... 

why do we let the insecure, paranoid, and negative minority in this country dictate how we see the world?

i was born into a segregated world, but i never grew up thinking there was a difference between me and another.  i never grew up thinking i was better than someone else because of the color of my skin, nor did i think i was less than someone for that same reason.  

some of my best friends had a darker shade of skin than i did.  some of the world's greatest philosophers, artists, musicians, inventors, doctors, and religious leaders have had varying shades of skin.  did the color of their skin make their contribution to civilization any less? 

i think not.

just sayin'

Sunday, March 27, 2016

#bluebottlecoffee

** disclaimer:  i blogged [here] about my addiction to mail which is currently being fed (pun intended) by free samples.  
this is an honest, uncompensated (other than two free samples) post about [Blue Bottle Coffee] **

first let me clarify where i live so you will comprehend the need for a mail order coffee subscription.  well, my need for it.  i am in the upper peninsula of michigan.  sometimes considered no man's land.  or where hell froze over.  the closest starbucks is almost 100 miles away.  in another state.  there is a dairy queen, mcdonalds, and burger king within 8 miles of me.  but you can just take so much of mass commercialism before you long for something else.  before i lived where i am right now, this dairy queen was an hour away.

not that i was a huge starbucks fan either.  the rare time that i would cruise thru the drive thru (using a free-to-me gift card) i would order a tall blonde ~ which never failed to embarrass my husband and make me laugh hysterically.  but then i have been known to have a slightly warped sense of humor.  but i digress.

when i got my first sample from [Blue Bottle Coffee,] it did not end well.  but that was no fault of the company's.  i just don't do peach.  the color, maybe. (and to be clear, the kitchen walls of my rented home were this color when we moved in and the first thing i asked was if we could repaint.  they said no.)  but peach the flavor?  not.  you may feel differently about peach.  if so, then i suggest you try their Beta Blend coffee.

and actually, i can honestly say that you should try all their coffees.

the replacement sample that was sent by Mandi ~ their incredibly helpful, gracious, and generous customer service goddess who reached out to me before i even received the first sample ~ was their Guatemala Alta Verapaz Santa Isabel blend.  (which is a serious mouthful to say, let alone type, so it will be now known as GAVSI) 

the card included with my sample states this about the coffee:  "details:  Ever since he was a boy, farmer Luis "Wicho" Valdés has been growing coffee in a high-elevation rainforest.  His farm, Santa Isabel, was granted to the Valdés  family by the Guatemalan president in 1875.  Now, Wicho and his father oversee the estate together.  Located in lush Alta Verapaz, nine months of steady rain extend harvesting well into May.  The Valdés  family has perfected pruning techniques and drying methods to combat pervasive humidity, all while reforesting more than half of their estate's land.  digression:  If a cup of coffee can reflect the character of a farm, surely this one does.  With resilient rosemary, sassy cranberry, and ephemeral jasmine, you can almost see the Caturra trees thriving at such great heights in spite of the never-ending patter of rain."

so ... see that empty pot in the picture?  that was the first pot of coffee, of which my husband drank all but one mug.  i'm now drinking of my second pot (and yes, i know, it is late at night here, but i think the sun is up somewhere, and ever since that bat bit me i've been keeping odd hours.  just kidding.  about the bat.  and one day i will explain the cyclops on my coffee mug ~ it is kind of a funny story about air force squadron call signs.  but that is another blog post)  now, i must clarify something,   [Blue Bottle Coffee] ships beans, so if you don't have a grinder, go.now.  get.one.  now.  really.  and then sign up for their subscription program.  really.  it is that good.  i will be as soon as i can.

once upon a time, i was on a gevalia coffee subscription program, and it was all well and good except that it was difficult to get customer service to make changes to my subscriptions, and since i was single at the time, and could only drink so much coffee, pretty soon i had so many bags of beans i was giving it away.  which kind of got to be a pretty expensive gift.

[Blue Bottle Coffee] is something different.  better.   try it.  and be sure to tell Mandi i said hi.

Monday, March 21, 2016

monday ...

David and i spent most of the weekend sleeping and sick with migraines and allergies, making it fairly certain that even if snow is still on the ground here in the upper peninsula and in our forecast ... spring is here somewhere.  i slept about 20 hours on saturday, and David napped off and on for about 10 on sunday.
Doctors Ara Gorn and Troo Per

i did see some buds on the lilac tree yesterday when i tucked a wad of my hair in the branches for the birds to add to their nests.  i'm not losing my hair as much as pulling it out when i brush it, and so have changed from a brush to a comb.  but i still gather my hair for bird nests.  if Trooper or Aragorn were long haired (and i'm grateful they're not) i would be gathering their hair as well.

i've been doing a lot of reading lately ... previewing books, and thinking of signing up for Holley Gerth's "You Are Already Amazing" book club [here] ... i've also been working on a book proposal to submit to a publishing company, and looking into some writing opportunities that pay. 

i believe there are changes coming.  good ones.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

true confessions of a *a-holic ...

first ... i must confess that i'm the type of person who goes to a party, sits on the floor and makes friends with the dog or cat.  always have been.  always will be.  just who i am.  if that makes you uncomfortable, don't invite me over.

and ... i love ladybugs, so for all those who complain that they stink when squished and pinch when caught ... probably don't want to ever come visit me because i don't squish them.  i brought all the hibernating ladybugs from the old house we rented to the new house we're renting.  so there.  they make my house plants happy by keeping the soil bugs, and aphids under control.  and make me happy when i see them crawl across my monitor now that it is starting to warm up outside.  happy happy happy.

... i love getting mail.  i'm a mail-a-holic.  seriously.  as soon as i learned to read and write, i was filling out postcards from my dad's magazines and mailing them off for freebies.  i was caught when a key chain from prudential life insurance arrived with a "piece of the rock" in it.  as i got older i got pen pals, then would send out newsletters, birthday cards, and for many years, almost 200 Christmas cards on December 1st, having spent Thanksgiving weekend writing in the cards and addressing them by hand (back in the day when postage was less than $0.30!)  now, however, my card lists are shorter, newsletters gave way to blogging and facebook, and i now have email pals.

but recently, i developed another addiction ... to freebie samples by mail.  oh.my.goodness!  it is like Christmas every day the mail comes!  i've decided that i will start giving a critique on some of the samples that i receive ~ an honest opinion, not one that is paid for by the company.

Lettering Delights
Naughty Biscotti Font Sample
there has only been one affiliate link ever on my blogs, and that was for [Lettering Delights] because i love their fun fonts.  (and i've never gotten any money from them, so no idea if anyone has ever clicked thru, but i still love the fun of them) otherwise, i've never really wanted to get any affiliate links because they always seem to be a distraction on other blogs i've visited.  i like readers who will focus on my words, not the bright, shiny, blinking lights on the sidebars.

some of the samples have been a disappointment ... like the beta blend coffee beans from [blue bottle coffee].  not.my.cuppa.tea.  or.coffee.  or.anything.else.  i'm hoping they will send me a sample of another of their beans so i can give them a positive shout out and not a wash-my-mouth-with-soap shout out.  {an update:  i reached out to the company and asked for another sample, and they will be sending one out soon.  their beta blend is a mix of candied orange, white chocolate, and peach ~ which i'm not sure how they do that with coffee beans, but i'm not a fan of peaches, so i'm sure that is why i didn't like it.  i'm hopeful that the replacement sample is more to my liking, but whether or not it is, i'm very pleased and impressed with their customer service.  two thumbs up and a big toe!}

especially since one of the links i've followed for the samples also led me to getting [this] French press coffee pot for FREE! (well, i paid shipping, but jeepers!  A $120 savings?  for $8.50 shipping?!?!? oh yeah!)  [sign up here for another great Amazon discount program!]

one of the samples i have been really excited about is the [rest easy] sample i got from [Komega6].  i'm definitely planning on doing some shopping with them in the future!  both David and i have had positive results using the rest easy blend.  i love love love homeopathic oils, and treating my various complaints and ailments naturally rather than with poisons prescriptions.  i'm really looking forward to trying their recover blend to see how it works with my fibromyalgia and arthritis.

the other that i've been thrilled with were [Kind healthy snack bars].  yummmmmmmy!  they are now a must get for my winter car survival kit, my purse, my spring/summer/fall car survival kit, my desk drawer, my bedside table, yeah, pretty much everywhere!

so there it is.  true confessions.  for now.  and honest opinions.

expect more.

opinions.

and honesty.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

i miss the days ...

... when ribbons were used to wrap presents ... and not proclaim support for ~ or against ~ someone.
when churches spread good news, and love, and peace, and fellowship ... and not anger, hate, or protests with threats written on signs.
i miss the days when we showed respect to our flag, to the military that fought and died for us, when we could come together as a nation to honor our heroes ... not the days of burning flags, spitting on our military, and fighting against each other until we become a nation divided.

please don't misunderstand ... i'm not a whatevertheissueistoday-phobe.

but i miss the days when people were just people
and no one had to cling to a label or a group to have an identity.
i miss the days when we were a country that was proud to call ourselves Americans and there wasn't fear of our neighbors joining subversive groups to destroy us from the inside out.

i miss the days when we were a country that was respected by others,
when we made incredible scientific discoveries, when finding a cure, or making amazing medical advancements had less to do with money, and more to do with being humane ... and human.

i miss the days when art was offered in schools, and children were encouraged to think outside the box, to sing, to act, to color, to paint, to draw, to play music, to write ... to create!
not just meet an unrealistic testing requirement that does nothing for the student, but everything for getting school funding.

i miss the days ...

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

reflective thinking ...

i just realized that i'm older than i thought i was.  historical events that i learned about in school, events that i thought happened just FOREVER ago, really didn't happen in some other century.
they happened in my lifetime

i don't know what that came as such a shock to me, but it did

it happened first when i saw something on tv that said building began on the berlin wall in 1961.  the year before i was born.  for some reason, in my mind, i put the berlin wall and ww1 in the same filing cabinet.  i just never even considered that it was built in my lifetime.  we lived in Germany from 1969 to 1972 when i was a child we lived in West Germany.  i was seven years old, and the wall was just two years older than me

the fall of the wall in 1989, just 28 years after building began, i remember that very clearly, watching it on television, crying with all the people who were reconnecting with family that they hadn't seen in almost 30 years.  i was 27, and just never even conceived the thought that the world would have been (could have been) that divided within my lifetime.  it just didn't seem possible.

the Viet Nam war started when i was three.  i grew up on the music of the 60's and again, never made the connection to the start of the war happening within my lifetime.  we left West Germany so that my dad could serve a year tour in Viet Nam to help with the mop up ops and refugee relocation camps since he was an engineer.  i was very aware of the war ending in my 'era' but not that it started.

there are actually generations now that don't even know what i'm talking about, and who may not even ever learn of those events if some political and religious factions that push for censorship have their way.  (why?  hiding it doesn't change it, it just makes it more likely that we repeat our mistakes because we didn't learn from them the first time)

this afternoon it happened again while watching the news cover a memorial service for the SS Edmund Fitzgerald which sank in Lake Superior on 10 November 1975.  i guess because of the [song], i just thought that the Fitzgerald was an old whaling ship (not that there are whales in Lake Superior ... but there could be ... small ones ... it's THAT big)

it is funny how our perception of historic events is often skewed by our own age when those events happened.

the civil rights act. the first space walk.  the first heart transplant.  first microprocessor, internet, computer, test tube baby, space shuttle, play station, space station...

when i started looking at all the firsts that have happened since i was born, the list reached a point where inventions slowed.  there have been some significant new finds, like traces of water on mars in 2004, and amazing scientific advances, like the human genome project being completed in 2003.  but when you stop and look at the other events that were given more media attention since 2004 ... the death, disease, destruction, and disasters have multiplied exponentially.  the negative far outweighs the positive.

i know that there are some who attribute these events to 'end times' and i honestly don't know if that is what it is or not.  but i have to stop and wonder if part of it is because of the focus the media puts on negative events.  have we become so saturated with the four d's that we have become immune to them?  that they no longer shock us to our moral cores and instead are so commonplace in our lives that we have come to expect them?  does the media promote the fights, the wars, the bloodshed, the tears and emotions just for ratings?  because death sells?  is that what we have become?  a world more entertained by the dead and dying, than the excitement of new species, research, cures and the living?

if these aren't the end times ... i almost wish they were.  i think when we were a world that was filled with the adventure of living we were much more human than what we have become.