Saturday, October 20, 2007

Remember What's Real

In a recent Newsweek, I read a very disturbing story about a young couple, Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake. They were so young and promising; and they were totally immersed both personally and professionally in the world of designing video games and digital art.

At first glance, this does not sound unusual. What I cannot seem to release from my mind is the fact that first Theresa Duncan and then Jeremy Blake spiraled down into a very black place in the world of computers -- a place where technology and mental illness and reality all become very confused. They both committed suicide.

So... as you sit in front of your screen writing your thoughts to no one in particular, remember the reality of what you are doing at all times. I just felt a great need to share this story and this caution. It has been bothering me for several weeks.

If you would like to read the entire story, it can be found on pages 48-50 in the September 10, 2007 Newsweek and is entitled TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY. It is very disturbing but definitely worth your time.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS -- Not Fiction in My Ancestry

I just finished reading WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen. It is a new and very popular book, and I found the story gritty and gripping. But I am betting that my reason for picking it up to read was different from every other reader. I picked it up to read because my grandpa, Albert Davenport, had spent 11 years in the circus when he was a young boy. He kept it a pretty tight secret, but my mom and dad uncovered the story nearly 30 years after his passing. In this blog, I am sharing the story that my mom, Joyce Davenport, compiled so that Grandpa's descendents would know a little more about that piece of his life history.

When my dad, Roy Davenport, now age 88, was growing up, he was always told that his grandfather had "run his dad, Albert, away from home." Dad and his brother and sisters knew their dad had been in the circus, but they had no factual information because Albert never talked about it. His family was always curious. If a twelve-year-old boy gets "run off," where does he go? What does he do? So when Roy and Joyce Davenport made a trip to Chester, Nebraska to attend Roy's 50th high school class reunion in 1987, they decided to try to find some answers to the questions.

Joyce Davenport: "We learned the Campbell Brothers' Circus Winter Quarters was in nearby Fairbury, Nebraska. Was this the circus Albert had been in? We went to the office of "The Fairbury Journal" where we obtained newspaper articles about the Campbell Brothers Circus. They also directed us to the Lester Jones Studio in Fairbury where we could meet Estaline Carpenter with the Jefferson Historical Society who would be able to assist us. She had several pictures pertaining to the circus, and she promised to have copies made and mail them to us. She also directed us out of town to meet Stanley Kasperek on whose property stood the elephant barn." (If you have read WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, you just got chills on your arms, didn't you?!!...).

"We located Mr. Kasparek and after visiting for a while in the pouring rain, we tromped through the muddy field to the barn. The rings where they had tethered the elephants could still be seen inside." (More chills??)

From there we drove about twelve miles out of Fairbury to Steele City where some of the circus people lived and worked. We used the key Estaline Carpenter had loaned us to get inside the Blacksmith Shop dating to ca 1900. It was so interesting to see the old equipment. Albert Davenport had been a blacksmith by trade, and we decided immediately that this was probably where he had learned his trade. Also inside, Roy picked up an elephant head decoration and a clown's broom. This gave him a very strange feeling -- he felt that his dad was right there. He did know his dad had been a clown in the circus. While there, we could peek into the Bank Building and the Livery Stable which they were also restoring. We drove back to Fairbury to return the key to the Studio."

But what about this Campbell Brothers Circus? Joyce writes: "As children, the four Campbell Brothers had lived in Galesburg, Illinois where many circus performers spent the winter practicing tumbling, etc. The boys watched and became fascinated with show business. They all learned tumbling and acrobatics from the performers and soon developed a love for the circus. The family moved to Kansas where their father thought they could raise more and better corn. They were all hard-working and ambitious. However, the drought and hard times in the early 1880's made the boys think more seriously of show business.

The boys opened their first "circus" in 1889 in Haddam, Kansas. It was not on the rail line, so they moved to Fairbury, Nebraska where they began to make their mark in the circus world. In 1896, they started with five wagons; admission was twenty cents for adults and ten cents for children. In 1898 they had about 30 wagons and 100 people. They went on the rails in 1899. Before they closed in 1912, it had grown to nearly 40 railroad cars and was acknowledged to be the second largest circus in America at one time.

Cecil Lowande, formerly the Sells-Forepaugh king bareback rider, joined the circus in the 1901 season. That is probably when Albert became acquainted with him. On the 1905 Season Programme, "Lowande & Davenport" are shown as "Jockey Act." On the 1906 "Official Program of Campbell Bros. Shows" "Display No 8 Ring No. 1 Principal Act, sensational somersault bareback riding act -- Cecil Lowande" and "Ring No. 2 Principal Act somersault bareback act -- Albert Davenport."

In 1906 the circus had 36 cars. However, it began to lose money, and many things were against them; bad weather, fires, wrecks, worries and problems. In 1907 one of the Campbell Brothers and their father died. In 1908 and 1909 the rainfall was a factor. There were no cars or trucks, and the circus had to be moved on and off the lot by horses. People did not attend the circus in the rain, but the expenses continued."

"Albert and Cecil could see the Campbell Brothers Circus coming to an end when they were in Denver, Colorado. So that's probably the reason they enlisted November 9, 1909 for three years in the United States Army at Fort Logan, Denver, Colorado.

In researching family history, ca 1988-89, I located Albert Davenport on the Ft. Logan 1910 Colorado Census, but I didn't find Cecil Lowande on that census. I decided he may have been married and living off the base, so I searched for him further on the 1910 Colorado Census but could not find him.

In 2003 while researching on the internet on the 1910 census, I located Cecil Lowande in Baraboo, Wisconsin. I knew immediately that it was where the World Circus Museum was located, and there he was listed with the circus. Apparently, he didn't enlist with Albert in the Army in 1910. Instead he must have joined the circus in Wisconsin. The World Circus Museum is the original winter quarters of the Ringling Brothers and a National Historic Landmark Site nearly eighty years after their departure. Cecil Lowande must have joined the Army later because he was wearing an Army uniform when he visited Albert Davenport and his wife, Carrie while they were living in Gilchrist, Colorado ca 1919."

"Now we believe we know a little about Albert Davenport's life in the circus. When we were at the Lester Jones Studio in Fairbury, Nebraska, Estaline Carpenter showed us a picture that was marked on top -- Winter Quarters of Circus 1898 -- S. W. Cor 4th & B Sts." We could easily tell one of the fellows in the picture was Albert. He had his head cocked as Albert often posed, and he was standing with his arm on the mule -- and Albert loved mules. That finally answered so many questions for all of us. Albert would have been 12 years old in 1898 and he got out of the circus in 1909. He must have spent ll years in the circus. He only had a sixth grade education probably because he spent those years in the circus away from his family and was unable to attend school."

Sometimes fact is more amazing than fiction. My own grandpa was forced to run away from home. He joined the Campbell Brothers Circus at the age of 12. Twelve! He was a sixth grader out there on his own living and working with circus people. He was part of a "sensational somersault bareback riding act." He was the real version of Jacob in WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gleaning Gourds

Sometimes the smallest experience can take me to the deepest place.

Last fall, I happened to host our water board meeting in my dining room which had been loosely decorated by grandchildren with pumpkins, gourds of various types and sizes and other reminders of the loveliness of autumn. Our board president remarked on my collection of gourds and invited me out to where he works on Mercer Farms the next fall to gather my own gourds.

This week, I drove out near Crow Butte to this amazing corporate farm where the onion harvest was in full swing. The morning was hazy, crisp and chilly; and the view was absolutely expansive! Montana's Big Sky Country has nothing on Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington. As far as I could see were corporate farm crop circles -- each one a different color planted with a different food and in a different stage of production -- growing, waiting, stubble, fallow, newly harvested and other stages about which I know absolutely nothing.

As I neared the onion staging area, a big white pickup came boiling up the dirt road, a huge cloud of dust whirling, gulping and butterfly-stroking behind it. Unlike stop-and-go city ways, there was no stopping of this pickup. Todd did not slow as he signaled me to follow him, and away we went into the maze of dust and circles. I slowed as he slowed, and we emerged together on the road around a potato circle resting and ready for harvest but cluttered with the unmistakable foliage of unwanted and volunteer gourd plants. It seems they had once been planted in this circle and had refused to be denied even since.

I hopped across row after row of buried and waiting potatoes as we examined the various kinds of gourds which were growing here. As Todd left and returned to working and his pickup boiled away in a cloud of dust, I began picking and filling the seven huge white buckets he had left for me. When one was finally full, I could barely lift it into the back of the Subaru.

I was so excited as I found gourd after gourd -- every plant sporting a different variety in the same crop circle. There were tiny orange and tiny white pumpkin gourds. There were light green ones shaped like pears -- some smooth, some striped, some covered with wonderful warts. There were two-toned green and orange gourds of four different shapes, white cannon balls with crooked stems, and something tan with horns. I just kept picking, packing, lugging, lifting, and enjoying every minute of this rare experience. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with all of these gourds, but they were just too beautiful to leave there. Besides, they were bound for destruction the very next week -- their vines would be ripped from the potato circle so as not to invade it again. So I picked with reckless abandon. I was so reluctant to leave this beautiful place with its gigantic "ant farm" of food harvest going on everywhere around me. I had no idea that a corporate farm would be, well, beautiful!

When I arrived home with my seven huge buckets of colorful gourds and began washing them and lining them up to dry on my retaining walls and my porch, I realized just how many I had rescued. A rough estimate brought me to 350+.

I brought some inside the house, packed some boxes for my daughter to take to her school, took bags of gourds to the neighbors, and watched my grandson sort, classify, and create armies of gourds as he played on the front porch. Every time I looked at one of those little gourds, I could picture that field that stretched clear to the horizon and was interrupted only by the irrigation arms or a harvesting machine or a conveyer surrounded by human helpers sorting in clouds of white onion skins.

Sometimes the smallest experience can take me on a vast inner adventure.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dorian Gray -- Old Very Suddenly

Today I went for my walk and needed my orthotics in my shoes. My trifocal glasses were allowing me to see the scenery while reading items I was carrying and signs along the way. My new hearing aids were picking up every "new" bird call, insect sound, and voices of fishermen out in the boats a quarter of a mile away.

My gosh, I wondered. What has happened to me? Wasn't it just yesterday that I was kind of cool? Tomorrow I fill out my application for social security. This coming weekend I will have grandchildren in my lap and rummaging through my purse.

Suddenly, very suddenly, I am beginning to picture myself as OLD. My mirror wasn't lying after all. All of these devices aren't enabling me to be The Bionic Woman. Oh no! These devices are allowing me to age more gradually -- I can still walk, still read and see long distances, and now I can hear things I haven't heard for quite some time.

Soon the government will pay me a stipend to be old and surviving. And it all happened so suddenly...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

That Guy We've Loved for a Lifetime

I am always amazed with the attraction that draws two people together and keeps them together for life. It just seems strange that a decision made so young should have continued and evolved right into grandparenting together. What is the glue? Is it love and infatuation? Is it laughter? Is it depth? Is it the differences that somehow compliment and compensate? I have no answers, only continuing amazement.

My thoughts move to my favorite selection by Judith Viorst entitled Love and Infatuation

Infatuation is when you think that he's as gorgeous as Robert Redford, as pure as Solzhenitsyn, as funny as Woody Allen, as athletic as Jimmy Connors, and as smart as Albert Einstein.

Love is when you realize that he's as gorgeous as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Solzhenitsyn, as athletic as Albert Einstein, and nothing like Robert Redford in any category -- but you'll take him anyway.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? St. Matthew Ch 27 Ver 46

I am greatly angered and dismayed with the way Mother Teresa's memory is being darkened. Her amazing works during her lifetime are now being denigrated as the media has a heyday with the revelation that this little woman wrote letters in which she questioned her own faith.

I can only think of my dear friend, Dr. Naima Panow, who spent a three-week "vacation" working in Calcutta with Mother Teresa. Dr. Panow's description of this place and its utter hopelessness brought tears even as I listened. And yet Mother Teresa went on with her merciful work day after day and year after year in a place whose horror we can hardly begin to imagine. She and her Order made so much difference to the individuals they comforted in a place the world has aptly named The Black Hole of Calcutta. Who but the strongest and most determined could have continued for more than a few days? I have always asked myself who could have done what Mother Teresa did without suffering from clinical depression and a total breakdown.

With the release of her letters, there is an issue with the beatification process. Will the Church continue to go through the process of declaring her a Saint? Because she was a mere mortal who did amazing works which brought her faith to the forefront on a daily basis, she will now be criticized because she had bad days and couldn't seem to connect with the God she loved and dedicated her life to serve? Where have we gone awry here?

Has everyone forgotten the very last words Jesus uttered on the cross? Let's remind ourselves. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? Even the most holy who ever walked among us had that last moment of doubt in the ninth hour as He cried with a loud voice, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Gospel of St. Mathew Ch. 27 Ver. 46)

We can identify with the suffering of Jesus. Let's try a little harder to identify with the many years of suffering endured both externally and internally by Mother Teresa.
Picture credit is the cover of Time Magazine Sept. 3, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007

"I Love Lucy" Rerun

In planning a special trip flying across the country, one would expect that advance reservations would be required and that the airlines would be able to accommodate a family who would have made these reservations a full six months in advance. Thus, the night before, we assembled our luggage -- my sister, my parents, and myself -- and once again we read over every last bit of information on the tickets Mom had reserved and purchased. Our flight would leave from Portland, Oregon at 6:00 AM and, after a stop in Salt Lake City and another in Atlanta, would arrive in Montgomery, Alabama at 7:58 PM. Mom had already ordered the taxi to pick us up early in the morning and had made wheelchair arrangements so we could whisk Dad through security and to each gate without wearing him out. We all would arrive at the reunion of the World War II, Fifth Bomb Group, Air Force reunion in Montgomery, ready to meet and greet.

All alarms woke us at 3:00 AM on the morning of the flight. We dressed and carried all luggage out onto the driveway. Dad had his walker and was ready to fold it up and go. At 3:30, when the cab had not arrived, Mom called them. A whiny woman's voice on the other end informed Mom that they were still looking for a van. A slightly sinking feeling started to happen to all of us. At 3:35, Delta called to inform us that our flight out of Salt Lake City had been rescheduled for half an hour later. No problem, we said. We had plenty of layover time.

At 3:45, Mom called the cab company again and asked them if they had found that van. "No," the woman whined. Mom cancelled the cab, and called another company. They could accommodate us, and they arrived at 4:10. With all four suitcases jammed into the trunk, Dad in the front with the driver, Mom, Janet and I in the back seat, and Dad's folded walker squished across the our laps and smashed against the ceiling of the cab, we arrived at the airport with plenty of time and still chuckling. It was beginning to feel a little like an episode of "I Love Lucy," but we were happy to have made it.

We headed for the automatic check-in kiosks, but they were all closed because we were too early. Eventually we got checked in, put our luggage in, met the fellow with the wheelchair for Dad, and got through security with relatively little trouble. We watched the reader boards, our plane was going to fly out on time, and we were excited.

When the boarding time came and went without an announcement, we began to worry. Then, we were told that we would board and take off 30 minutes late because the plane had been over-filled with fuel and some had to be removed. We were all in disbelief, but everything went as they had told us. We were in the air and actually arrived in Salt Lake City on time.

But something was wrong with the next airplane. A crew was outside working on it when we arrived at our departure gate. Our time of departure started out at 30 minutes late and soon stretched into three hours late. But the plane got off the ground eventually, and we arrived in Atlanta three hours late and with 20 minutes to connect with our next flight.

Twenty minutes. We were in Terminal T at the far end and needed to be in Terminal D at the other end. This was a full concourse, a train ride and another full concourse away. Twenty minutes. As the plane door opened, Janet dashed up the corridor to find the wheelchair person for Dad. Mom and I waited for the walker to be unloaded from the plane. We got Dad into the walker, and followed him up the corridor to the waiting wheelchair. Seventeen minutes.

The soft-spoken, slow-talking sweet lady in charge of the wheelchair let us know right up front that we could not arrive at that far gate in time to board the plane for the 6:52 PM flight. At that point, my sister grabbed the wheelchair out of her hands and started doing the Indy 500 down the T concourse with Mom and the walker and myself following her. Dad was yelling "Beep, beep!!" and Janet was dodging passengers.

She made the corner toward the elevator and escalators and screeched to a halt just as the elevator door opened. Explaining that we really needed the elevator because we had to hurry, all of the other folks deferred to us -- except another airport employee who decided that this elevator car would hold herself, her empty wheelchair, Janet, Dad in the wheelchair, Mom with the walker, and myself. Of course, the door kept trying to slide closed as we arranged and rearranged this tangle of humans and medical devices within the limited space of the elevator car. Miraculously, the door finally closed; and down we headed.

Thirteen minutes to go. The elevator came to a halt, but the door behind me did not open. Instead, the door directly opposite slid slowly open. Janet attempted to roll Dad out of the elevator car, but his wheelchair was hopelessly hooked on the empty wheelchair. She couldn't push the chair forward into the car because I was wedged between Dad's wheelchair and the closed slider. Mom and the walker couldn't move at all. Janet was frantically trying to unscramble the two wheelchairs and move out when a lady actually tried to enter the elevator car with all of us. Just as she was coming in, Janet was able to free the wheelchairs; and we all burst out of the elevator walking, jogging and rolling for the train which had just arrived at the T concourse.

As the train doors slid open, we rushed inside the last car of the train and found a place to brace ourselves for the ride. When the train jerked into motion, we discovered that we were not in the last train car moving forward but instead were in the first car hurtling backward. We caught ourselves as we all lunged forward toward the back of the train. But we collected ourselves as the train stopped first at the A concourse, then the B, then the C, and finally the D.

We boiled out of the train, turned right, Janet pushing Dad, Mom pushing the walker, and me bringing up the rear. It only took us a few seconds to realize that we were racing exactly the wrong way. We arrived at the E stop just before the airport train -- the one we had just been riding. So we turned around, retraced our steps and arrived at the elevator. As we waited for the car to arrive, we realized that we had exactly seven minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave the ground. We weren't going to make it. Or were we?

We piled into the elevator and waited for the door to slide closed. It would start to close and then open again. After two of these episodes, we realized that Mom was waving to people outside the car and triggering the electronic safety closure. Finally, we arrived at the D concourse and I asked Janet if she could run (She's 55 and I'm 61 -- I thought it was a fair question!). She thought about it for a split second before she started barreling down the concourse. Mom tore after her pushing the walker, and I followed pushing Dad (who was saying "Beep Beep") in the wheelchair. It was absolutely hilarious watching Janet dodging around the other travelers and Mom rocketing along behind her. People were literally jumping out of the way and then smiling as they watched this little 84-year-old white-haired lady zooming along with what they assumed was HER walker.

Janet reached the gate D31 right on time: 6:52 PM. She was letting the employee behind the counter know that we were all there and most anxious to board our plane. It was at that point the fellow informed her the flight had been delayed until 8:30 PM and would be departing from back at gate D26. We all whirled around and went back to check in at that gate. We had made it for the last flight to Montgomery.

We were laughing so hard as we ordered a burger and some ice cream for a small dinner. But our laughter turned to exhaustion as they announced that there would be an additional delay while they tried to fix the plane. At 9:00 PM, we were informed that they had decided to send us on a different plane which would pick us up at Gate D33. Off we went and lined up.

At 9:15 PM, they began to load the new plane. Instead of taking the wheelchair passenger first as everyone before them had, they just had Dad wait to go down the elevator to the tarmac level. Janet stayed with Dad, and Mom and the walker and I headed for the two flights of stairs down to the tarmac. An airline employee spontaneously assisted us by carrying the walker down the stairs for us, installing Mom back behind it and leaving us to go out to the plane. I picked up my bags, turned around and found that Mom and the walker had followed the employee and was headed out across the tarmac followed by several other passengers. I yelled and got that parade turned around and headed back down the portable corridor. Janet arrived and refused to get on the plane until Dad arrived. We had to take the walker back off the plane so it could be loaded with the other luggage. We were so relieved when the plane was finally off the ground and headed for Montgomery.

Our arrival was easy and peaceful. We walked a short distance to the baggage claim and waited for our luggage. It was with dismay that we watched the final piece of luggage come around the carousel but only one of our suitcases had arrived. One. Three had not arrived. Off we went to find the Lost Luggage office in this very small airport. No one would answer any of the doors on which we knocked. But eventually, someone came to help, unlocked just the right door, and lo and behold, there were the other three suitcases.

The shuttle arrived on time.

We arrived in our rooms at the Embassy Suites at 10:48 PM.

We are still laughing about it tonight. It was most definitely our family's finest and most patient time. We did it. We persevered. They threw everything at us and we threw it right back.

Sometimes you just have to keep laughing and remember Lucy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Everyone Needs a Pirate Island

Everyone needs that special internal or external place where they can retreat and even pretend. We never get too old for this need, but we do seem to get too old to actively practice it.

That's where grandchildren come in...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Altered by a Deep Breath

And, of course, you mustn't wiggle or breathe while you are trying to capture such important life metaphors!

Early Morning Metaphor

Early this morning, I wandered to the top of our hill in hopes of viewing the total eclipse of the moon. It was the quietest time I have had in quite a while, and I was overwhelmed with the beauty of my home (our planet) at night.

I watched in wonder while the shadow of our planet blocked out an entire full moon for nearly an hour. My camera fought hard to gather in every bit of light otherwise available in order for it to capture this phenomenon, and I was surprised at the digital results. While the pictures do not replicate the experience of the eclipse, they do lend a new insight to what is out there EVERY night that we just never see.

Somehow, this has to be a metaphor for the way we live our everyday lives -- not noticing the ordinary until something spectacular captures our attention long enough that we actually notice the ordinary beauty that has been there all along.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Untitled #1

If this picture on the left is worth a thousand words...

then this fishhook in the picture which was stuck in the rectum of Sassy, the Occasional Cat, is worth $320.92 to the veterinarian who was able to remove it...

and having this hook put safely away in a zip-loc bag is worth a whole new life to a cat.
She WILL have to endure the unbelievable story for a little while longer, however... A mouse is laughing somewhere!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Groans, Grimaces, and Glutes Tightened

The Occasional Cat arrives at our back step unheralded and ready for snacks. He is a white fellow with some black and subtly striped blotches, and he talks as you stroke his head. You immediately notice his large front feet which sport six toes each, so we have just always called him Six. We know that he was abondoned by a troubled neighbor who moved away hurriedly. He has been fed by another neighbor but has mostly been on his own for the eight years that we can remember him coming around.
A few nights ago, the Occasional Cat arrived at the back porch and came in for a snack. He was so thin, but we attributed it to Summer Weight Loss -- common in cats in our past. We fed him and I picked him up to pet him. I felt something scratchy on his backside but attributed it to a sand bur or a cheat and didn't look to see what it was.
Two nights later, Six arrived again looking for loving and snacks. When I picked him up, I got scratched again; and he got testy with me and growled. So I decided that the bur had to be pulled out of his fur. Imagine my shock when I lifted his tail and found the eye and snelled line wrap of a fishhook protruding from his rectum. Yes, a fishhook was lodged inside the backside of this little cat; and there was no way for me to remove it.
I showed the situation to Jerry who was equally as horrified. We couldn't stop looking, and we couldn't stop tensing up our own backsides in total sympathy.
We put in a call to our neighbor who has been caring for Six for all of these years, and he came over and got the cat. He had the same reaction when he saw the hook -- grimace, subtle tightening of the gluteus muscles, and a groan. He took Six and promised to call the vet the next morning.
The next day, our neighbor was home from work calling the cat. He had let him out, had stopped by the vet's office to get an appointment, and had come home to find the cat and take him in. But, of course, the cat was nowhere to be found.
Two nights later, Occasional Cat showed up again -- this time he was rather cranky and bit me as I held him. I called the neighbor who was packing to leave on vacation for a week. He gave me permission to take Six to the vet while he was gone.
The next morning, I was greeted by the same groans, grimaces, and glute tightening at the vet's office. As we had been, everyone there was puzzled by how in the world this cat had managed to get a fishhook lodged way inside his little bum. After all of the little jokes about Captain Hook, Cat Fishing, and Bottom Fishing, they scheduled him for surgery. The fishhook was successfully removed later that afternoon.
When I picked Six up this morning, I learned that HE was a SHE and that HER name had actually been Sassy. They gave me the fishhook which is as long and wide as my thumb. Sassy isn't so sassy at the moment, but the pain medication and the antibiotics are doing their job. The vet's assistant said that case was one for their books -- only to be outdone by the dog who ate a pair of pantyhose which had to be surgically removed. I couldn't even go there.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Place Cats and People Cats

If you have ever had a cat, you know that there are Place Cats and People Cats -- those who base everything on WHERE they live and those who are fulfilled WITH WHOM they live.

Our Skylar is most definitely a Place Cat. The people in his life ALL love him, he meets new people easily and willingly, he visits with absolutely everyone he sees or comes into any contact with -- people are important and abundant. But he has never changed environments easily. He is a Place Cat, and he seems to be seeking a Place to call his own.

Refilling My Heart

In the midst of some difficult turmoil between John, Pam and Skylar, we kept Skylar on Monday and Tuesday. This little visit couldn't have come at a better time for my heart. There is something so incredibly special about being really needed again, and I felt really needed.

Little Guy has a couple of "meltdowns" and told me he was ready to go home to Spokane. I think he will be ready and willing on Thursday when John takes him home.

This is so hard, but I am glad I could help.

An Uphill Push

It is so surprising where those little nudges in our lives come from. I found a little nudge that pushed me up out of the emotional hole I kept falling into, and it came in the form of a visit from a little four-year-old that I was missing so badly. The fact that he was so very needy brought me back to that place where I seem to function best -- helper.

And then there was that little nudge from my friend "b" who put me in touch with myself and offered the idea of this blog.

I am so grateful.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Saved by a Four-Year-Old

I guess you never know what will save you from the depths of the blues. I got a call last night about keeping SkyGuy for a couple of days, and I leave to pick him up in 15 minutes. I am so elated that I can hardly stand it.

I haven't had a day with him all by himself since May! Maybe some of the achiness will go away after I get my SkyGuy fix.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sometimes the Nest is Too Empty

Some mornings, I awaken to this quiet house and feel completely satisfied and at peace. Some mornings, I awaken and wonder what happened to my life as mom, teacher, and grandmother. I seem to go through these periods of sadness and blues, and it troubles me that I keep searching for more and more meaning. I guess I DID enjoy the chaos and the busy life more than I realized. Since I have become determined to give my grown daughter the room she needs to become completely independent of me, a piece of me feels like I have given her an incredible gift. The other piece of me feels like I am abandoning her -- something I swore I would never let her feel again as long as she lived. Just exactly where is the line, I wonder on a daily basis.