Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Scout Aug. '95- Nov. '10

As I sat in the sunroom of our house in Missouri, little did I know I was witnessing the birth of a dear, dear friend. It was Aug. 10, 1995 and our stray cat named Jamima was giving birth to her second litter of kittens. Poor Jamina was exhausted after already delivering 5 of them and the last one had taken it's toll on her. She just didn't seem to have the energy to be able to clean that last kitten & get it being the mom & helper that I am I had to intervene. I was a bit reluctant as I'm aware that even the nicest cat may become nasty when someone interfers with her babies. So I waited and gave her a chance to do it on her own. When she didn't I ever so gently brought the sack enclosed kitten up to her, so she could take care of of the newest bundle. And so our life together began.

Scout had us wrapped around her finger from the get-go. She loved to be held & get attention. It was so bad that even when we wanted to run the sweeper she wanted held & she cried!...So my daughter & I accomodated her by using a Cabbage Patch doll baby carrier so she could be close to us..Well we HAD to get the sweeping done, afterall.!

I wondered what I'd gotten us into when one day she decided to devour a ribbon!..You know the kind you curl with scissors? Yep well it doesn't curl when it's sticking out of the backend of a cat! She ended up having to have a sedative so the vet could pull out the 3 yards of ribbon! He'd never seen anything like it! Afterwards we knew we had to be careful with stuff like that. We witnessed her actually getting the lid off a rubbermaid container to get at the stored ribbons! I kid you not! But look at that face? How could you be upset with that?

A few years later our family moved to Alaska. Driving up the Alaska/Canadian highway was a real trip with two vehicles using walkie-talkies, a geriatric dog, a Rex bunny, Scout and a husband & daughter.

Even while in MO. Scout was accustomed to having other critters around; our geriatric dog, Cody, her half-brother Newton, her mama Jamima, Hootie the bunny, gerbils and numerous ducks. While in Alaska though we also had 10 fancy rats! How did she react you may wonder? Well, all the animals seemed to know that everyone belonged with us and this was no different. Scout would lay along my legs while I was sitting in the chaise chair as we had one or two of the rats running back and forth across my lap! Scout would sniff noses with them then turn her back on them reclining there like she knew she was still the queen.

Then we got orders to go to Germany. Oh my! By this time we only had the rats and still the geriatric dog in addition to Scout. We knew the rats couldn't go for obvious reasons & our dog didn't have the health to withstand the trip. (she was 16 1/2 yrs old) Fortunately our daughter was married by then and still living in AK. so they were able to live with her. Scout came with us.

What a trooper she was...there was a massive screw up when it came to shipping her over there. I was still going to be able to have her as my carry-on however the military plane we were taking over had different rules than a regular commercial flight. So the case I had so painsakingly researched and bought was not going to cut it. Aaaarrgghhh! We are standing at the airport waiting for our flight!!!! Are you kidding me? They actually had the gall to suggest that we just let her loose in Washington D.C....What? In the entire airport there was only ONE hard shell case we could buy and it was for an 8 lb animal...Scout was 13 lb...We had no that dear cat curled up, cramped in that hard case for 12+hours !!!! Without a complaint I might add. She'd have an equally devastating trip back to the states which was close to a 30 hr. trip, with missed flights and mishandling from the airport people as they nearly passed her through the x-ray machine!.

She was my constant and usually only companion for the 2 yr. we were in Germany. My dear hubby traveled alot. Poor Scout had to listen to me confiding in her alot. Course she always held up her end of the conversation. She was a talker let me tell ya. But we totally understood each other. And she always knew when I needed her attention. She was no longer the cuddly kitten she'd been. As an adult she didn't like being held. However she'd always lay on my stomach while I was reclining or in my lap while I was sitting at the computer, rubbing my chin with her face & purring. She also sit very politely on the seat next to me while we were eating dinner..Almost like she knew the three of us had to stick together. She never got on tables or tried to get food.

These last 4 1/2 yrs. here in PA were a relief of sorts. No more traveling for her. She did however develope diabetes 8 months before her 12th birthday. We were soooo scared at the thoughts of giving her twice daily insulin shots but Stephen & I did that for a year. I remember saying to myself, "if we can get you to your 12th birthday then anything after that is just gravy". I researched & found a vet willing to work with me & I changed her diet which helped to put her into remission for just shy of 3 years.

Over the past few months I've noticed her subtle decline...she lost a little weight & some other things. This Thanksgiving, well let's just say she was far from herself. And I feared what this would mean. She was now 15 yrs and 3 mo. and the next day, after an unpleasant night I might add,we had to make a decision whether to prolong her life by means of meds, shots and possible surgeries if she could even withstand any of it.

I thought I'd prepared myself for this. I mean I was grateful for every minute of the extra 4 years we had after her diabetes diagnosis. But I still wanted more time with her, ya know?

In this past day & a half without her here just as I think I'm doing well & have gone through maybe an entire hour without crying, something else opens the floodgates. There was no one meowing at me this morning demanding food so I cried. When I reached into the fridge I saw the industrial sized parmesan cheese that I used to sprinkle on her food to entice her to eat it, so I cried. When I was putting up our holiday decorations and she wasn't underfoot trying to chew on plastic bags, the artificial tree and the ribbons...yep you guessed it, I cried.

My dear husband volunteered to go through the house meowing occassionally to make me feel better but he said he had to draw the line when it came to nibbling bags and the other decorations. LOL At least he makes me laugh.

Why am I going on and on about a cat you may wonder? Cause I have found that it's not every day that you can look into an animal's eyes and feel a special that makes you feel like you know what they're thinking or feeling. It goes far beyond the normal owner/pet relationship. I have been so very blessed to have had that with our almost 17 yr. dog Cody and I felt that with Scout.

It is cathartic for me to write about her. As if saying it out loud validates this very unique bond we shared. It's a tribute. Perhaps saying out loud how special & unique she was makes her somehow closer to me. I pray that by doing so my voice is loud enough for her to hear me in heaven where I know she must be.

Shutterfly's free Christmas cards AND more

I love this time of year when other people take the time to write a yearly newsletter catching me up on their family "doings". I especially love reaching into the mailbox and finding that oblong envelope indicating a special photo card! They usually start after the first of Dec and it's like opening a present with each one! I love it!

And with that in mind, it was brought to my attention of Shutterfly's invitation to some free Christmas cards of your very own. Another gift for the upcoming season! Woo hoo!

Of course I have my favorites. I love to surprise people with special gifts so what better than a wrapped photo of your family? I love to unwrap presents and I'm sure other people do too!

Depending on my mood, there are times I am drawn to the simplicity of some cards like this one.You can be so creative with your picture taking and it doesn't have to be in your best Christmas sweater or in front of a decorated tree to get a beautiful holiday effect.
I have been writing a monthly newsletter for the past 9 years or so. Oh yes! The old fashioned snail-mail type where you put it into an envelope, add a stamp and take it to your mailbox, kind of newsletter! I started doing that when we were moving from Missouri and headed to Alaska. I had many friends that were in the local nursing home there and they wanted to keep up with our lives as we set out on a new adventure. I've always tried to make the newsletters, well,newsy and fun. Many of these folks had few visitors & probably little mail in this new age of computers and email. So pictures of various things brighten their day and give them something else to think about.
I try to get my newsletter out the first of each month kinda recapping the previous month so often our holiday pictures are taken as early as summer and as late as the end of November. That's why this card is one of my favs. Regardless of when you take your picture you can still add that feeling of snow, winter and Christmas!!!

Of course don't take my word for it for the most beautiful and fitting cards. Go here to see what all they have to offer and find one that suits your needs!
And don't forget these kinds of cards are awesome for birthday cards & thank yous and a whole lot more! Since our family is scattered throughout the U.S. my daughter regularly sends a thank you to family with her girls' holding the gift they'd been sent or standing with their birthday cake. Sooo much better than an regular thank you! And if cards and newsletter aren't your thing? Well there's something for you too! Make a calender that can be used all year long!!!
It's worth your time to check them out. Use your imagination & send folks something they'll really appreciate. Ü

Saturday, November 13, 2010

American Girl~step into the past

I remember when my young daughter & I were first introduced to the American Girl dolls. Oh my! Even I would pour over the catalogue making a wish list for things I wanted her to have.

She was just at that age when some girls her age were growing up too fast and not being interested in 'baby' dolls, so this was one way to satisfy my daughter's (ok, and mine!) love of dolls without it being so obvious to her friends. This was a specialized 'big girl' doll whilst still being able to be played with! You just can't get any better than that!

There was a special anniversary coming up between her and her dad so what better gift for her than this doll! Since we were huge fans of everything old fashioned & "Little House on the Prairie-like", she chose Kirsten. Oh the sewing that went on to also surprise her with clothes and a quilt & also a hand-made wooden table set. Not to mention all the little cool ad-ons, like a bucket, apples, pies etc. Little did we know at the time that these dolls would later grow into the franchise they are today!

I remember thinking at the time she got Kirsten that this would be an heirloom doll. That one day she'd be able to pass her down to her own daughter. A doll that would hold the loving endearments from her dad on their special day along with the clothes that were lovingly made by me. Well fast forward almost 20 years and that time has come. My daughter has two adorable girls of her own and the time is coming fast that she can pass this beloved doll to them...but to which daughter?

In comes Mom's Best Bets to hopefully help us out with this. The colonial doll, Felicity is going to be retiring soon. MBB is offerering her to one lucky reader!

My granddaughters are homeschooled as well so she would make learning history all the more fun in addition to eliminating a tug-o-war between two little girls and a just one doll!! This Oma would be so happy to win this for them. That way each girl would have a special doll from their Oma & Opa.

So, as much as I would like to keep this giveaway secret and win it for myself...I feel compelled to share it with all of you (plus I get extra entries for doing so! lol)...
And if you just happen to not have a little girl to give it too, well you just let me know and I'd be happy to help you out with that dilemna! :)