Happy May Day!
May your everyday this merry month of May be filled with bright and happy flowers!
May your everyday this merry month of May be filled with bright and happy flowers!
My friends are too good…I’m sure they are wondering what’s up with me…and short of nothing except I’ve just not been on the ball, I have no reasons or excuses or explanations for my too long and too frequent silences on this blog! I am alive, kicking, not too busy, don’t have computer or Internet problems, am not overwhelmed or even underwhelmed…just haven’t been very communicative on the blog!
Today, here in the nation’s capital, we were supposed to have anywhere from 5 inches to 8 inches of heavy, wet snow! It showed up just like I’ve not shown up (here on the blog in over a month of Sundays). Everything was shut down: schools, local, state and federal governments, etc. We were all prepared and basically, all for naught . T’wasn’t a bad thing tho’ cause it has been wet and windy all day – not a nice day at all to be out…and for that, we are appreciative. A disappointment in a way – we’ve not had any ‘real snow’ in over a year…of course, we had more than our share in 2010. Way more.
All in all, it’s been a quiet, good day for taking it easy, for catching up on a lot of little things here-n-there…like posting to the blog and following through on a commitment. Perhaps today’s not-quite weather event is Mother Nature’s way of getting us to slow down and be more mindful. I like to think so.
It’s good to be back! Hi y’all!
Twelve days ago as I prepared breakfast I heard an incessant meowing outside the front door. Our neighborhood borders woods that have feral cats and sometimes the mothers venture into our yards but they are wild and flighty. This kitten was about three months old, and wait for it—she was limping. She was holding her back right hind leg off the ground. She implored me loudly to fix her situation. I pretended I was not a softy closed the door and ignored her. Jeff tried to shoo her away; she hid behind our shed.
She was still there when I returned that afternoon. Out she hopped and resumed announcing her state of unhappiness. I fed her but I didn’t touch her. She was wary but definitely used to people and not feral. I have a history of rescuing handicapped and abandoned animals so this was a soft spot for me.
My first job as a teenager was at our local Humane Society and I knew injured or handicapped animals did not stand a chance of being placed for adoption. At eighteen I championed a puppy dumped over our gate during off hours, he had hereditary glaucoma and would die unless the vet attempted a radical and expensive surgery—removing his eyes for $150.00. The vet and our staff said he was a lost cause there were so many more animals that could be saved for such an investment. I refused to give up on him. I wrote and read a letter to our board of directors in the voice of this puppy asking for the opportunity to raise the money and give him a chance at life. It was a unanimous vote and D.O.G. the floppy pup with the bulging eyes and lolling tongue and me appeared in a small newspaper article. His vet bill was paid half a dozen times that very day and the donations poured in; we received $5000 which was earmarked to save handicapped animals in the future. D.O.G. had his surgery, became our mascot, and went home with me when I left my job at the Humane Society. His zest for life inspired and motivated me to live my life to the fullest and actualize the impossible.
I asked Jeff to take the injured kitty to the Humane Society as I couldn’t do it. He agreed. Their website informed us they were closed on Wednesdays. It was of course Wednesday. She stayed another day. I called the Humane Society Thursday and a staff member explained they could not accept an injured animal and animal control would only hold an injured stray for seven days and then euthanize her. Boy did this kitty pick the right door to knock on.
I continued to feed her but for the first time I stroked her thin frame and instantly despite her difficult life felt her purr of gratitude. Her leg was not injured on the outside, she didn’t want me to touch it but it did not seem to hurt her. I called our local vet who is about to retire any day and was told they did not do x-rays or surgery. I called back to plead her case and they said they’d see her. My daughter volunteered to take her and I paid for vaccinations and worming as she was infested with fleas. The vet pronounced her leg to be an old injury that healed poorly and left her unable to use it but it did not appear to cause her any pain. My daughter returned her along with kitten food a litter box and litter and announced she was not under any circumstances going to animal control. She was smitten—like momma like daughter eh?
Kitty hops along with her back leg tucked up while the paw dangles. But I have seen her stretch the leg backwards and she can put it down but it doesn’t hold her weight. I took her in the bathroom the day of the vet visit and used a flea comb borrowed from my daughter who lives with three cats. I combed at least fifty fleas off of her the first night and that many the next night. It was getting cold at night but she slept curled in the ferns below the sweet gum by our porch. A friend shared where to buy an individual tube of Advantage to kill the fleas which worked wonders. My (delusional) plan was to have her care paid for and then try and find her an appropriate home. Little did I know she had already found the ideal home.
We’ve been pet-less by choice for eight years since we moved to town. Jeff is allergic to cats (and horses) and was always a trooper while Brin was growing up and we had a menagerie of animals including three cats and two horses. Plus I ran a pet boarding kennel and a pet sitting business for four years including in-home care. I was dearly ready to be animal free after that career. Over the years I’ve loved on other people pets and realized how much I missed having the presence of unconditional love in my life. But there is also a responsibility to a pet that I wasn’t ready to take on. I might be willing to commit to caring for this kitten today but that means caring for her for fifteen years or more—for her life. Am I ready for that?
Once the fleas were gone she came inside and made herself at home on my lap or chest or legs; wherever I was sitting so was she. When I caught myself trying out names for her I knew I couldn’t let her go. And so I thought about the serendipities that connected us. How she found a person who would take her in despite her gimpy leg; how she had survived such an injury as a homeless kitten in the first place. What force was working behind the scenes here? It was only a week until Thanksgiving and I wanted a name that fit how I felt about her appearing in my life when I wasn’t even aware how much I needed to stroke a warm soft cat body and feel her contented vibration under my hand.
And so Amazing Grace has become a part of our family (Jeff remains allergy free so far), Gracie for short as she is kinda klutzy but oblivious to this fact. Her personality is endearing and silly she’s not always the sharpest tool in the shed but she has three strong legs and cattitude—the ability to nonchalantly groom herself after a mishap and pretend she meant to do that.
I am immensely grateful for the many ways grace has shown up in my life and showered me with blessings; family, friends, work, and a life I love. The Universe is always listening—always, and all ways. My favorite version of this song is a track on Conversations With God where Cathy Bolton sings a variation of the original lyrics:
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved and set me free.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Welcome home, Gracie.
Did you know that yesterday – October 5 – was “World Smile Day” in honor of Harvey Ball who created the ubiquitous smiley face? Learning that fact made me smile…and brainstorm some other things that October brings to mind:
What about October makes you smile?
My friend Jaime lives in Maine and she plans to come to Florida for the birth of her granddaughter, baby Emily. On the phone she explained how she could fly but she’d rather drive so she had her car for the few weeks she’d be here. Do you wanna fly up and have a road-trip with me? YES! Then I set about the looking at the logistics. Work and commitment wise it was a good week. I’m flying Allegiant Air and it took me a while to book a flight. At first I interpreted it as a sign not to go. I stepped back for a few days and reevaluated. My wise self asked me if I really wanted to go? YES! I answered again with no hesitation. Okay then, she whispered, make it happen. And I did. I’m flying to Bangor on September 13th and Jamie and I will begin our road-trip home on the following Monday and take a few days to get to Florida. We may pop in and see friends unexpectedly en-route!
What’s your most memorable road-trip? My first and only road-trip alone was in 1997 the first summer I ever had off because I worked in the school system. It was awesome! I drove my husbands brand new spiffy bright yellow Ford Splash Ranger from Florida to Ohio, then on to Toronto, and finally to Massachusetts where I stayed for the summer. I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, took my time, daydreamed about a life of travel, and soaked in the freespiritedness of my adventure and connecting with friends and family along the way.
My mom loved Christmas and would plan for it all year long. She would scour yards sales in spring and hunt at flea markets in summer and tuck away the treasures she mined. She’d wrap them so early she’d forget what was inside! I’ve never been a planner for Christmas and now that our family has toyed with making gifts instead of buying them I’m definitely going with spur-of-the-moment kinda gal.
The same week that Kathy suggested a ‘Christmas in July’ post a friend gave me boxes of Christmas decorations to sort through and keep or share. May the spirit of Christmas twinkle in your heart all year long!
The Muppets can sing of the holiday for me…
A cup of kindness that we share with another
A sweet reunion with a friend or brother
In all the places you find love
It feels like Christmas”
“It is the season of the spirit
The message if we hear it
Is make it last all year”
“A part of childhood we’ll always remember
It is the summer of the soul in December
Yes, when you do your best for love
It feels like Christmas”
And, I’m sending out an extra dose of love to my pards here. Put on your jingle bells today!
Summertime is lazy time…uninterrupted hours filled with books and magazines to read, movies to watch, music to listen to, and lemonade or iced tea/coffee to drink… At the least, we generally fill our weekend dance cards with these activities. Being in protirement, I am lucky enough to have the summertime way of life pretty much 365 days of the year, if I chose. And I do!
Most, if not every morning, I start my day with morning solitude and quiet time – MSQT; I have written about it before here. This summer, I find my days are starting a little later and MSQT, lasting a little longer (partially due, I think, to the unrelenting heat we’ve had). Thanks to my iPad, I can read and listen to music anywhere in the house. But, I usually enjoy MSQT in the Great Room (family room), and quiet as it’s kept, I still do a lot of my reading the old fashioned way: paper printed books and magazines.
These days, my reading focuses pretty much on creative pursuits that I am dabbling in: quilting, knitting, art journaling, etc. I seldom read fiction. I find that I am interested in reading about the author’s process as s/he pursues her/his art. I learn and am inspired as much by the author’s reflections and sharing as I do from the passages dedicated to technique, how to, instruction.
Last week I read and fell in love with a delightful book: Doodling in French by Anna Corba. I don’t fancy myself a doodler – and neither did she – and I’m certainly not a sketcher but I was intrigued by the title. The author, an artist known for her collages coupled with simple line drawings has traveled extensively to France. This little book demonstrates how to draw French iconic items, e.g., le croissant; la tour eiffel (Eiffel Tower); le chien (a poodle), etc., and then use the drawing as part of a collage. Filled with clear diagrams on how to draw the items, this book is also a treat to look at and [it] invites you to pick up a pencil and try your hand. Inspired am I? I’ve already come up with an idea that I will eventually create into a mini quilt using both paper and fabric…
The other title that garnered my attention is Gwen Marston’s 37 Sketches. Gwen is a quilter of renown fame, best known for her liberated quilt-making techniques. The book is a compendium of 37 small quilts – the largest is 11.50 x 13.25 inches – Gwen made in 2010, as she practiced techniques and experimented with ideas. She refers to each quilt as a sketch. Dynamic is the word that came to my mind as I read. And, I am going to make some sketches, too! What better way to practice technique and bring to fruition my own ideas? Click here to read more about the book and here to see an exhibit of Gwen’s sketches.
Both these titles have, as the subtitle of Doodling in French says, inspired me with joie de vivre. Can’t wait to start but I will have to ’cause I have a few other things in process and first, I have to make room for these two new activities. TBC…
What’s on your recently read and/or to read lists?
Honoré here: We’re slowly returning to the normal-ness of life. Our hearts and love reach out to, our girl and dear friend, Kathy and her family after the death of Jon, or as Kathy shared with me, the Ambassador as he was known among family and friends. I like that and I shall always think of Jon in that way. Time has a way of dulling and blurring - helping us heal and move forward, remembering the goodness of those we love who are no longer with us.
Normal-ness means about ten degrees cooler, thankfully. We have survived and endured the record-setting/breaking heat and storm – a derecho – the likes of which very few of us in these parts (Washington DC ) had ever heard of, let alone, experienced. Yesterday (Monday, 9 July) we awoke to the pitter-patter of a soft, gentle rainfall . A welcomed sound. What a glorious feeling to step outside and not be blindsided by 100+ degrees heat. It was actually a joy to be out!
And speaking of joy, every morning for the past ten days or so, give or take, I’ve had my morning/day graced by lovely day lilies in the backyard. What a treat to look out the window and see these flowers as I engaged in my most favorite everyday morning activity – Morning Solitude and Quiet Time.
Here’s to your normal-ness.