Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My littlest visitor

It was brought to my attention that there were alot of folks who were unfamiliar with my snail story that I'd eluded to in my other post. So I dug out the scrapbook to very fondly remember the details of it.
First let me preface this all with some background info on me. I have always been a collector of what I'd consider "very cool stuff". I have a special glass case that is proudly displayed in our living room that contains my treasures of moose hair, walrus whiskers, sand dollars, porcupine quill, the teensiest little snail shells, wee tiny feathers, baby turtle shells, bird eggs, ocean tumbled colored glass, petrified wood and drift wood. So it is just a normal part my life that my dear husband regularly brings me these kinds of 'riches'. I know, riches to most girls are jewelry, fancy cars etc , and my husband thinks of his dear wife when he finds moose nuggets! LOL Oh yes, it's happened. Ü I remember telling my daughter when she was very small how wonderfully God had made the things around us. That instead of making things all the same color He made them not only in vibrant colors but with beautiful designs as well, for nothing more than to give us pleasure when looking at them.

The real story starts on Feb. 19, '05 when my husband returned from Rota, Spain. Normally he'd have a small rock for me (did I mention that we also have a rock collection ie. a rock from every state & country we've been to?) But this time he also had a pocketful of shells for me too! Beautifully different than any others I had! He laid them out on the counter for my inspection and as I did so he began to wash them off. In particular one that had a film over the opening of it..As he told me about this film & before I could stop him he'd washed away the entire film. His face kind of fell when I told him that that meant there was actually a snail inside and that it was hibernating! He scoffed at this conjecture cause how would anyone KNOW that snails hibernate except a strange person! LOL He should've remembered who he was dealing with! To prove to me that I was wrong he said, 'Ok, we'll just lay them all here and see if anyone moves" Meanwhile I'm thinking, "I'm going to have a snail wondering around on my kitchen counter!" In the picture here you can see that since we had very wide counters I was able to have a little curio shelf sitting on there as well. (notice anyone smiling in the picture?)

When I got up the next morning, of course I immediately looked for our new "pet." Let me just say here, that anyone that knows us also knows that if any critter wonders into our yard & then stays you can expect that he will get a name. Be it a black snake in the barn, Hector; a frog in the pond, Russell; or a snail on the counter! So she was dubbed Rhoda! We were delighted at our cleverness since she came from Rota! haha.

When I say I looked I really did...I looked and looked and looked! No Rhoda!! Oh my gosh! Where on earth did she go? And how far could she get during all those nighttime hours?! Not to mention we thought of the ramifications of what he'd innocently done...brought a live snail from Spain into Germany! (where we were living at the time) That's a BIG no-no! I searched for the longest time...checking windowsills, windows, floor, cupboard doors etc....and then I saw her! She'd crawled up my curio and had attached herself to my "Freshly Caught Fairy"! I laughed out loud and couldn't wait to tell & show Stephen! Initially, I ever so gently attempted to move her but realized quite quickly that she'd totally attached herself & gone back to sleep!!!

What was I going to do? First thing I usually do...research...And it was confirmed, she was hibernating & didn't need any food etc...(hmmm I seem to remember a wise woman saying that! LOL) But having a snail loose in my kitchen? Well what else could we do? Stephen had ripped her away from her homeland & family, and all she wanted to do was sleep for the remainder of the winter on my fairy. So she stayed!!! Of course I checked her every day to be sure she didn't wonder. And I talked to her, apologizing for my husband's blunder. I knew that as long as she was still attached that she was still alive & well.

The weeks turned into months & it was finally looking like the beginning of spring in Germany. I had my concerns because I knew we had to get her back outside because we were going to be coming back to the states at the end of the year & I felt responsible for her. I know, you think I'm crazy..probably so. And then it happened...June 21, 4 months later. She came out of her shell & I was able to capture it! (what are the chances?) "Good morning sleepyhead", I said to her. What a joy to witness it. She was out only briefly but it was long enough for me to be able to put her on a potted plant I had out on our balcony. She was supplied with something to eat & drink so she could continue on her journey.

It probably won't surprise you by now to know that this was a bittersweet moment for me? Saying goodbye to a small creature that had diverted my thoughts daily for that 4 months.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A snail is a snail is a snail.....

I've always loved critters of all kinds. Even as a kid I had baby snails I kept in a shoe box that I'd decorated with cardboard steps, windows ect... A few years ago my husband even brought me a real snail from Rota, Spain. (he thought he was just bringing me a shell!) Now I have a Hawaiian tree snail! Remember that contest back in January at the HerbalRoots site?...I won him!! Now he shares company on my windowsill with my little fairy, my mice and a menagerie of other cool little animal figures. This little guy was made by MamaRoots. If you're looking for quality toys in light of all the recalls lately, check them out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Magic of Ordinary Days

Anyone that lives in Western Pa, knows that it has been a very long winter. With the ridiculous amounts of snow we've gotten & also living back in the woods, I have found myself unable to 'get out' for days on end. I'm not one to succumb to depression by gloomy days (be it rain or snow) as a rule. As a matter of fact, I usually enjoy it, treating myself to scented candles, some music and my favorite hobby, scrapbooking.

But I was taken by surprise this past weekend. (I love when that happens!)

I'd returned from the chiropractor, walking rather gingerly with a hip that's been giving me problems. Before I curled up in bed with the heating pad I wanted to check my email. With my back to the window, I heard an excited knocking. I slowly & gently turned to see what the commotion was. There was my husband motioning for me to hurry & come to the window. Bundled up like a mountain man, I could still see him beaming from ear to ear. I wondered, what in the world did he do now! He is also forever showing me his latest discovery that he knows I'd enjoy. (baby birds, baby turtles etc)

With just a tad of annoyance at trying to move fast enough for his taste, I looked out the window....bless his heart...He always does something like this when I need it most!! I told him I'd grab the camera and he said oh it's not camera worthy, and I said yes it is! Although briefly it was disappointing that you couldn't see the heart and the 'U' clearly that he had walked out in the snow, we were pleased that it was because of shadows. Yes, shadows...who'd have thought that too could bring pleasure to us, cause with shadows you have SUNSHINE! And it's been a long time in coming!! I however kept the warm fuzzies of his thoughtfulness all day.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A splash of purple

A stranger wouldn't probably notice the splash of purple that dotted the church memorial's crowd. I however, being a niece, did see my Aunt Joyce's signature color everywhere ie. purple coats, purple beaded necklace, purple shirts etc. It was perfect! I was disappointed in myself that I hadn't thought of that! It was a hand to forehead moment. DUH!

A granddaughter read her special memories of her grandmother. In particular, the wrapping of Christmas presents & her participation in her granddaughter's recent wedding plans. One daughter also recapped her final days doing things with her mom just 3 days prior to her passing. Taking her for a rootbeer float & picking up her favorite candybar. Plus the reading of emails from friends that weren't able to make it.

I was so very touched by her close knit group of girlfriends there. It was a beautiful moment. These are the gals she went to the movies with, ate lunch with, had card club with & summer picnics. Each one came up to the front with a pink rose in hand (the second favorite color when purple isn't available) and many shared their special memories of her. Nothing grand, mind you, in the big scheme of things but as I've mentioned in other blogs THOSE aren't the things you necessarily remember. It's the little things that are part of the everyday that you carry with you when a person leaves. Whether it be an expression, a mannerism or just an outlook on a situation. And ultimately it's how that person makes you feel when you're with them.

Times like these make me introspective. I too have my memories of her. As a child every Christmas she bought me a Madame Alexander doll from the Little Woman series. And more recently, when her & my uncle came for dinner, she brought a chocolate cake in a beautiful clear glass dish. When she handed me the cake she also included that the dish was for me too! I cannot tell you how thrilled I was! Oh and lest I forget, she brought her homemade fudge! THE best I have ever tasted bar none!!!

My dad also had many memories of his own. As we sat in the church he told me how he remembered standing at that very alter as best man at their wedding 60 years ago! Yes, SIXTY! Funny how things all started for them there & had now come full circle.

Yes, funerals make me introspective. As I listened to those speaking & watching the girlfriends come forward, it made me wonder how I would be remembered someday. And every persons legacy is different of course. For instance, I was saddened to think that almost all of my closest girlfriends live in other states now & because of distance have never even met each other.

I was pleased that the pastor speaking touched upon something that I was actually thinking about being pleasantly surprised while attending a funeral. For one, you see a different side perhaps of the deceased because it is through the eyes of those that loved them most. He also said even though our tears are from our pain he finds joy.....hmmm, odd thing for a pastor to say, huh? & he didn't look like the sadistic type...but he went on to say that those tears tell him how much that person was loved & will be missed. They made a difference.

My Aunt wasn't 'out of the ordinary' in societies terms. But she was definitely her authentic self, ya know? And we loved her....the good, the bad & the ugly. And I will forever think of her when I am out to eat...The saying 'Life is too short, eat dessert first" ?....well that was her motto!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Be still and know that I am God...Psalm 46:10

We woke up to almost 2 ft of snow this morning. Wow! Does that throw a wrench in the fast paced life most people lead today. Even our animals were thrown off. As I slid the sunroom door open, I had to shovel just so the dog could get out without a foot & a half of snow coming back inside. The cat sniffed it like she expected it to be stinky. LOL
Taking the dog out to investigate further I was struck by the silence. I could hear nothing but my own thoughts cars off in the distance because the roads weren't plowed so no one could get through. Occassionally I'd hear & see a snow-laden branch give way to a muffled thump.
As we walked down the driveway that someone told me looked like a postcard it came to me...."Be still and know that I am God" I thought how very perfect.
WHO but God to stop people & technology so quickly & suddenly in their tracks? Slow down! Take a day off, so to speak. But that's not to say that we can't still have some fun & enjoy the simple pleasures, right?
And even for those that must be out clearing the snow...well as they sit on their plows they're getting plenty of thinking time as well.
I for one am going to try & to keep this little verse in my head today as I enjoy just being snowed in. And should I venture out later with the dog, I'm going to take the time to stop and smell the snowflakes. Ü

Friday, February 5, 2010

Time spent with animals is added to your life.....

This is printed on a plaque and displayed in my living room. Our daughter gave it to me during a two week period that I spent many hours a day holding & comforting our dear rat, Attie. The vet told us that she wouldn’t last more than a day or two. (so much for the insights from a vet degree, huh?) The cancer was too bad. She told me she wasn’t in pain and advised me to take her home & shower her with all her favorites. So I sat with her in my lap, hand feeding her scrambled eggs & baby food.
Last night a friend of ours lost her cat Niko. He’d been battling diabetes for 7 years but thanks to the dedication of his human mom & daily insulin shots, had a wonderful quality of life... Until recently when he was diagnosed with other organ failure & probable cancer. The fact that he did so well during that time is a true testament of her dedication. But this is a success story as Niko lived to be 20 years old!! How awesome is that?!
Our friend made the comment that she wasn’t ready for this. She hadn’t gotten to spend enough time with him. Isn’t that a curious thing? This cat was 20 years old, afterall.... How often do you hear that spoken about people? To be honest, I never have.
I wonder if it’s because animals are so dependant on us for their well being? And if we give it whole heartedly, you just can’t help but to also be whole heartedly emotionally invested. Of course there is also that unconditional love that you get from a pet...and don’t be misled, you get can get that from a dog, cat, rat or aardvark....(Well, not sure about the aardvark, but I once encounterd a lady who had no idea you could have the same incredible connection with a cat as with a dog!!) I for one, have a much deeper connection on some levels, than I do with people...I’m sorry, I do....I can’t help it.
But as all these different thoughts swirl around in my brain, I’d like to share my pure joy...In January we passed the two year mark of our kitty, Scout’s diabetic remission!!! Woo hoo! For the year prior to that she too was getting twice daily insulin shots. I remember thinking when she was first diagnosed, if I can only get her to her 12th birthday! Oh, the nights I lost sleep trying to figure out how to work with a vet that wouldn’t work with me. All the while fearing that I’d put my beloved cat into hypo or hyperglycemic shock! So, not only did I change her diet in hopes of naturally controlling her diabetes, I changed vets too!! And within a couple brief months she was in remission. Our new vet told me that happens in like 1 in 500!! (or was it one in 50? I can't remember!) REALLY?! Well thank you God! Scout turned 14 this past August...waaay beyond my meager expectations! And do I care that she's decided her new favorite place to sleep is on my dresser? Maybe for a second, to be honest...but I figure, I'm so glad to have her still that I don't care where she sleeps!! LOL

I think any of us that have unselfishly given to our pets...come on, you know who you are! The ones that clean up puke from the carpet two or three times a day, give insulin shots, to giving IV's to keep them hydrated, we all deserve a pat on the back. And I'd like to think that there's extra kudos in heaven for us folks. There's going to be a special room there for us to share our stories! (much like us mothers that compare labor pains) LOL

And if anyone is wondering, with the time I’ve spent doctoring ducks that had their webbing bit by a snapping turtle, to a cat that needed it’s leg irrigated through a hole left in it’s leg due to infection from a cat fight, to a dog that had major leg surgery with recovery time of 6 months, to rats with cancer, to diabetic cats with insulin shots, I figure I should live to be about 150! LOL