xoxo, me

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Colorado, United States

Monday, January 11, 2016

Unintentional Buddhists

Last summer on a trip to Iowa my husband stopped the car twice to save bugs. Yup, bugs. Yup, twice.

While driving down a peaceful street in the small town where I grew up I noticed a spider frantically hanging on to the passenger side mirror as his web was beginning to untangle in the breeze. I commented on the situation to my husband, he pulled the car over, scooped up the spider and set him in the grass alongside the road. Amazing, right?

Well on the same trip while driving along a similar quiet street we noticed a ladybug hanging on for dear life to one of the windshield wipers. My Mom was in the car with us and when The Mister slowed down to pull over she asked what he was doing. I said, "He's saving a life." She looked quite puzzled then smiled as she watched him carefully pick up the ladybug and lay it in the grass. 

Last summer while walking the dogs I noticed a tiny bunny quivering in the grass near a busy street. I quickly walked the dogs home and went back to check on the little ball of fur. By this time he was sitting in the middle of the road and I knew it was only a matter of time before ~ well, you know. So taking a chance that Mommy was not around to care for the babe, I scooped him up (barely filling the palm of my hand) and carried him away from the street. 

I decided to settle him in our backyard, fingers crossed that he would be safe. At least he was away from traffic.

Over the next days and weeks we kept an eye on him. The Mister even printed out "Please watch for a tiny baby bunny" in Spanish and gave it to our landscapers. They smiled and nodded and I'll be darned ~ they watched out for him. We named him Karson (because I found him on Carson Street - but all of our animals are "K's" so we spelled it Karson). He spent the summer safely under our deck, coming out in the morning and late afternoon to munch his grassy breakfast and dinner. 

We have a lot of bunnies in our yard and we think Karson is still out there. We want to believe he is.

Fast forward to this winter in the West ~ one of the coldest and snowiest we can remember. Having been Colorado residents for 40+ years we usually don't mind winters here. It snows, but the sun comes out in that brilliant blue sky and melts it all within a couple of days.

Not so this year. It has been snowing and frigid cold since early December and that snow is not going anywhere.

And that is no bueno.

So when we noticed a teeny, tiny little mouse in our garage a couple of weeks ago we knew killing him was not an option (remember the spider and the ladybug) and turning him out into the cold was not an option either. So we decided as long as he confined himself to the garage we would just keep an eye on him.

However when we discovered he had invited a friend inside to share his space, we knew we had to do something. Again, killing was not an option so as is our wont, we turned to Amazon and found [what we hoped would be] the solution. Meet the Mice Cube a humane way to handle an unwanted visitor.  This blogger explains it well.

The Mister followed the directions exactly and after a couple of days - lo and behold - I heard little stirrings in the tube this morning. Sure enough I saw a tiny little guy munching on some peanut butter inside the cube. The Mister checked the other cube - and bingo - another snacking away! I held the door as our dogs and especially the cat, curiously watched as he carried them outside and released them into the wild. We feel the little critters will survive the weather as it is warming up this week.

[One thing to note - should you have visitors like this and want to do the humane thing - check the cubes often because the little guys can suffocate if left in there too long.]

As I thought about our experiences with the living creatures with whom we share the planet ~ from spiders to mice to bunnies ~ I smiled. My passion is rescue pets (especially older ones) ~ no matter the price of their care ~

and it seems my love for them is spilling over into all creatures great and small. We all serve a purpose on this planet.

I'm not saying we're all that ~ we're nothing special. But I do believe we now find ourselves as unintentional Buddhists. And that's not such a bad way to live. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Circle Game

On this chilly winter morning with a purring cat balanced on my shoulder I perused articles on my Facebook page. I smiled knowingly as I read this article written by a young Mother of boys and my own memories came flooding back. I did a bit of writing when my boys were little and once wrote an essay on what it was like being the Mother of boys. (I wish I could find it...) Of course not having daughters I had no real way of comparing, but I knew little boys were special.

Unlike the woman in the article who has three sons, I only had two but they kept me on my toes. They grew up running with their dog - peanut butter sandwiches in hand - up and down mountain trials with [at least one of them] falling into streams. 

One summer we planted a garden from seed and they ate peas out of pods and green beans standing in the dirt. Winters we learned to ski with [at least one of them] riding the ski patrol sled to the bottom of the hill and visiting the on site doctor...

We swam in lakes and played bat and ball in the front yard. I taught them crafts and watched them draw dinosaurs. They built lofty Lego space stations and flew Millennium Falcons thru the stars. 

They thought I was a super hero when I squished a scorpion with a TV Guide as it was slinking dangerously close to their feet. We loved our cats (there were so many) and we loved our dogs and we loved our mountains.

And soon life will come full circle as my son welcomes his own little boy or little girl into the world. 

"And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game."
[Joni Mitchell]

Friday, January 1, 2016

Play Time

Yesterday I took two steps toward a more positive and happy life.

I'm a big fan of Facebook. First it is an extremely efficient way to reach all my friends and family in one fell swoop.  No way could I stay in touch with so many people if I tried to reach them all individually. Second - I garner some really interesting information thru articles and websites and can always count on someone responding if I'm gathering information on something. Third - it's just fun. Several times a day someone shares something that makes me laugh or touches my heart.

I always say that working alone as I do, my friends and family on Facebook are my "co-workers." Interacting with them on Facebook is how I can surround myself with people even though I am often just in my studio alone. Well, alone human-wise; I always have a dog or two and a cat with me but conversations with them are pretty one-sided.

I am a huge animal welfare enthusiast and have strong feelings about rescue dogs and cats and senior adoptions. So, of course, there is no lack of conversation on Facebook regarding those subjects and I soon found myself emotionally entrenched with all manner of rescue groups.

Recently I began to feel myself falling down the rabbit hole (so to speak) as day after day, post after post I saw an endless stream of animals in need. So many sad stories - some with happy endings, some not. It began to take a toll on me. 

So yesterday I began unfollowing one page and then another. I guess I'm just not strong enough to see all the hurt in the world. I will always feel strongly about animal welfare and while I deeply admire and respect the people who physically are there for these rescue animals every day - there are things I can do quietly, do locally and do in other ways. It is just too much to see so much every day, all day.

The other positive action I took yesterday? I colored a very detailed drawing of a cat (not this one - that's my real cat, Kia) for over 7 hours. Yup - over 7 hours - and I'm still not done. And apparently I'm not the only one doing this. 

However, let me explain why this is so out of character for me.

Growing up I was encouraged to be productive over playing. In fact I would be called inside from playing with friends to do needlework or some other productive task. 

Now that I'm all grown up I have mixed feelings about this. I understand why I was raised this way; it is the way my Mother was raised. While I'm grateful for the creative skills I learned and continue to use in my creations to this day, I am sad I never learned how to play. Relaxing does not come easily. I feel guilty if I'm not being productive.

I'm 61. It's time to play.