Playing Possum?

      I’m not sure what made me look out the window at that moment.  I don’t remember; perhaps I heard a sound, or maybe it was just on impulse, but peek through the blinds I did.  There was an odd white lump in the road.  My first thought was, ‘My God, the neighbor’s dog.’  Our neighbor has one of those small Pomeranian type dogs.  Had our neighbor’s dog escaped and been hit by a car?

      I ran to the den to fetch my husband.  I was already in my night gown, and though he was also in pajamas, it seemed less inappropriate for him to go out to the road in pajamas than I in my gown.  I told him that there was an animal in the road and asked him to see if it was the neighbor’s dog.

      With urgency he rushed outside to investigate. It was not her dog.  It was an opossum and her brood.  My husband hurried to fetch a towel and some gloves to pick her and the babies up.  I watched in horror as a car drove by in his absence, flattening one of the tiny babies.  Sadly two of her babies were dead on the scene, one was badly injured, another was on the road but unharmed, the rest were still in her marsupial pouch.  The mother seemed to be dead, but I mused that she could just be ‘playing possum’. We weren’t sure what to do with the poor little things.  We put them all in a box on our porch while we thought about their fate.

      My maternal instincts told me that we should bottle feed the little babies and raise them until they could be returned to the wild.  Tiny opossums are so cute; like helpless little kittens.  Unfortunately in just a couple of months they would become giant, rat-like creatures with long claws and sharp teeth.  I knew that if we called animal control they would simply euthanize the rodents.  That didn’t sit well with me.  I discussed with my husband, simply taking them to the woods and giving them to God.  At least there they would become food to some hungry predator and their deaths would not be in vain.  We decided to sleep on it.

      In the morning we discovered that rigor mortice had set in on the poor mother.  Apparently she was not ‘playing possum’.  Now we knew the babies were orphans.  The husband hit the internet to find out how we were supposed to care for the cute little things.  Did you know that baby opossums cannot excrete waste on their own?  Just as well; mom’s pouch would get quite gross if they did.  The mother licks at their genitals until they pee/poop and she ingests the waste.  Yuck, I’m not doing that!  The idea of giving them to God didn’t sound as cruel at this point; circle of life and all.  The website recommends rubbing them with a Q-tip and wiping the waste away with a rag.

      Yah OK, we still could not do that.  We were able to find an animal rehabilitation shelter two hours from our home that takes care of opossums who have been orphaned.  So now the cute little critters are being cared for by a professional staff trained to care for such helpless creatures.  The next time you run over, or see an opossum on the road, she might very well have between six and twelve helpless babies in her pouch and there are rescue centers all over who would be willing to care for the orphans.

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Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm  Comments (2)  

What Do You Do If Your 14 Year Old Son Comes Home With This On His Arm?

     Today my godson stopped by for a visit.  His mother pointed to his arm saying, “Look what his father did?”  I was in shock.  I didn’t understand what I was seeing at first.  I thought it was fake; a sharpie marker drawing.  They urged ne to touch it and feel for myself that it was in fact real.

     I could hardly look at it as reality set in.  I took his face in both my hands and cried, “What have you done?”  I told him that I wanted to slap him for doing this.  He told me sincerely to go ahead, so I did.  I couldn’t look at it anymore and retreated to the kitchen to do the dishes.  As I did, the rest of the story was told to me.

     I was told that this was his father’s gift to him because the father had stolen money from the boy.  I was told that, no, they did not go to a salon to have this done.  This was done by the father’s own inept hands.  It wasn’t until I loaded the photo onto my computer hours later that I saw just how awful the tattoo really is (Click photo for closer view).  It was then that I saw all the mistakes in the drawing.  It was then that I saw how shaky it was.

     So realistically; what do you do when your 14 year old son comes home from a visit with his father, with a really bad tattoo on his arm?  You can’t kill the son or the father for this disaster; that opens a whole can of problematic worms.  The mother can not afford the medical procedures necessary to remove this.  She can’t even afford the lawyer it would take to sue the father to pay for it, not to mention the fact that the father does not have enough money to pay child support much less for the Dr.’s bill.  This can’t just be washed away with bleach.

     Now this poor child will be judged by all of his friend’s parents as being ‘trouble’; all because of the negligent actions of his father.  I’m in shock…  What a terrible thing to do to your own son.  This is now a permanent mark of a father’s unskilled, poor judgment.  I guess I will just pray that this is the last time this father will be able to influence his son; though I know it will probably just be the first of many to come.

Published in: on July 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Swing to the Beat

    

     When I was dating my now husband, he introduced me to a dance style I had seen and heard of but had never done before.  One evening he took me to a beautiful dance hall that offered a short class prior to an open dance.  It was that evening that I danced the Lindy Hop for the first time.  I had never been to a dance quite like it before.  High School dances and wedding receptions are nothing like going to a social dance.  I was in awe.

     It was like a clip from an old black and white movie.  Everyone was dancing and having a blast.  There were no wall flowers sitting on the sidelines.  There were no shy boys trying to muster the courage to ask a gal to join him.  The music was fun and infectious; the movements, exciting; the people, enthusiastic; and I was captivated.

      The Lindy Hop is a dance style that emerged in the 1920s.  It is loosely based on Jazz, Tap, Breakaway and the Charleston.  The dance evolved and really took off in the 30s when it began showing up in Hollywood movies, increasing its popularity.  I don’t know a lot about its history, but I do know it is a highly athletic dance that certainly burns off the calories.

     Over the past year we haven’t had much of an opportunity to go dancing.  I spent many months experiencing intense back pain due to a bad mattress.  The dance hall we loved to go to is an hour away from our home.  It just was not a priority in our life but it was never far from our thoughts.

     Recently we found a community center near our home that offers the same short classes followed by an open dance session.  The hall does not have the same historic beauty as the hall in Seattle but the excitement and enthusiasm is definitely there.  We joined a session last week and will be attending regularly.  In addition the husband was inspired to sign us up for regular classes at a hall in Seattle.  With our calendar now marked twice a week, at two separate dance halls, we should be back in the ‘swing’ of things in no time.

     Thanks to a generous gift of a new bed from my parents, my back pain is nothing more than a memory.  Tonight the husband and I will be dancing our toes off and hopefully shedding pounds of winter insulation as well.  Dancing has always been my preferred form of exercise.  It is so nice to have a man who truly enjoys joining me on the dance floor.  So many men see it as a chore, to keep the wife happy.  I feel blessed.  Now all I have to do is talk him in to Latin dance classes.

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 11:37 am  Comments Off on Swing to the Beat  

My Grandmother’s Afghan

     My Grandmother recently passed on.  I’m still getting used to the fact that she is not here anymore.  I was asked if I wanted any of her possessions as a keepsake.  My Grandmother had accumulated a lifetime of really cool stuff; unique knick knacks, collector spoons, dishes so abundant they overfill the cupboards.  All I could think of that I really wanted were things she had made. 

     My Grandmother was always making beautiful things.  She did needlepoint and crochet as well as a variety of crafts.  On one of my last visits to her home she gave me some refrigerator magnets that had been on her fridge since I was a little girl.  I loved them and tucked them away in my jewelry box as if they were precious gems. 

     I couldn’t go home for the funeral but my parents flew home for it.  They had lovingly boxed up several handmade items for me to have.  I was delighted to receive two dolls my Grandmother had crocheted, a pillow she had embroidered a monogram on, and an afghan.  The afghan was one that my Grandmother had made 30 or more years ago.  It used to adorn the back of her davenport.  That is what she called her couch, I thought it was so cute and had never heard the word davenport before or since then.  I never really liked the colors of it, but I know my Grandmother really liked it.  I felt honored to be the one to receive it.

     When I hugged it close I could smell my Grandmother’s home trapped in the fibers.  Memories flooded my mind.  When my grandfather was nearing his end he had taken this afghan with him to the hospital to give him comfort; a piece of home to keep him warm in the cold sterile hospital.  I wondered if it was covering him on the bed when the breath left him.  I wondered if his soul had passed through it on his journey home.

     My Grandmother also had it with her in her final days.  I wondered if she had similar thoughts as she wrapped herself in its warmth.  My tears have been added to its threads now.  I suppose they are in good company.  I wonder if my aunt’s, uncle’s and cousin’s tears are mingled with mine in this wonderful gift.  I wonder if it was draped over her as she went to join my Grandfather.

     Some might have trepidation about touching and loving this blanket; this possible death shroud.  I’m not sure how to feel.  The souls of my Grandparents may have passed through this legacy that has been handed down to me.  I have not even been able to bring myself to read her obituary or the program from her funeral.  When I touch the afghan I mourn.  Should I wrap it in tissue and tuck it away, preserving the smell of my Grandparents’ home?  Should I display it with honor on my own davenport?  Perhaps in a few months I will be able decide.  For now I keep it close and allow myself to cry for a moment or two before returning to my daily routine.

Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 4:04 pm  Comments (3)  

The Infinite Loop

    

     I use to keep a dream journal tucked between the mattresses of my bed.  I’d pull it out in the morning or even in the middle of the night and jot down strange dreams I would have.  The other day I had a very strange dream that would qualify as one of the strangest dreams I have ever had.

     I have been having difficulty sleeping at night.  This happens to me from time to time.  Last week I found myself feeling exhausted at around 4 in the afternoon and though it was not an ideal time to take a nap, I really had no choice.  My insomnia had caught up to me and I was crashing.  Sometime after falling into a deep sleep I was awakened by a sound.  It sounded like my husband had come home and was dragging the garbage can to the curb.  I pulled myself out of bed thinking I must have overslept and it was 7pm already.  I went into the spare bedroom to look out the window as that was the side of the house the driveway is on.  It wasn’t my husband; it was a group of teenagers coming down the drive from the side of my home.  Thinking they had been messing with our shed I decided to go outside to investigate.  As I reached the top of the stairs I made a disturbing discovery.  I was not awake.  I was still lying in bed.

     I forced myself to open my eyes to confirm that I was still in bed.  Yep, there was my ceiling fan above me.   I contemplated going back to sleep but I knew I had to investigate the sound I heard.  I had gotten it in my head that there were teens up to no good and I just had to find out if my suspicions were correct before I could sleep again.  This time I walked in a drowsy fog to the window in my room because I thought they had already walked down the sidewalk and I’d see them from the other side of the house now.   I struggled to push the curtain aside only to come to the realization that it should not be this hard to look out the window.  “I’m still asleep,” I thought to myself.

     Again I lifted my eyelids and heaved myself upright.  Whoever was messing with my stuff would be even further down the road if I did not hurry to catch them in the act.  I was angry at myself for not getting up sooner.  My long hair was covering my face but looking down; I could see the floor well enough to get to the window.  I couldn’t see well through the veil of my hair and was confused by how hard it was to brush off my face.  Clarity crept in, “Still in bed!”

     I just had to see what those rotten little hooligans were up to!  What had they stolen?  Was it the lawnmower; my practically antique ten speed bike; the barbeque grill?  I fought for consciousness.   I lifted my heavy head from my pillow and thought, “No wonder I can’t wake up.  I’m dead tired.”  My eyes closed and I drifted back to sleep with one last thought, “You’re just being paranoid.  No one is out there.”

     “No; I hear voices.”  Whatever sound had started this odd chain of sleep thoughts, was real and I had to get up to investigate.  This time I shook myself both mentally and physically.  I rushed to the stairs and descended.  With each step reality took hold.  A peek out the dining room window showed the garbage cans had not been moved and I would not even need to check the shed because the dream was already fading and no longer had the ring of truth to it. 

     I’m not sure now how many times I dreamt that I had gotten up.  At the time I thought it was about seven times, but now I’m not sure.  Several days have passed and like a distant memory, the details are now fuzzy.  This is not the first time I have dreamt that I woke up, only to realize it was all a dream.  It seems to be rather common as friends of mine have told me they have experienced similar dreams.  It certainly seemed unique.  I have never been trapped in such a repetitive and long loop of illusion.  It made me feel so helpless and confused while I was enveloped in the dream.   After waking it just seemed odd.  I am in awe at the depth if my subconscious.  

     Have you ever had a similar dream?  Did you feel the same awe when you woke from it?

Published in: on March 16, 2011 at 10:45 am  Comments (1)  

Freshly Mopped Floor: The Cure For Winter Blues?

    

 Spring is just around the corner.  With each passing day I feel myself breaking loose the fetters of winter blues.  Every year I reach this point; that point where I look down at the insulation winter added to me, and decide to write an eviction letter.  I want to slip into my walking shoes and walk off the cobwebs of my hibernation.  The weather will not cooperate.  Rain again and no end in sight. 

     Compromise: The stereo volume nears maximum.  I dance around my home sweeping away the dust that has accumulated and the stale smell of months without an open window.  Oops, turn that can around; Lemon Pledge perfume, bravo.  The aroma of Lysol replaces that strange fishy smell in the refrigerator as I gyrate to ‘Bad Moon Rising’.  Will I ever learn to lock the water and ice dispenser before washing it?  Oh well, an excuse to mop the floor. 

     Favorite song dance break… “Let’s hear it for the boy; let’s give the boy a hand.”  The mop makes an excellent dance partner, and microphone.  There is satisfaction in seeing a freshly mopped floor.  I feel accomplished.

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm  Comments (1)  

Adventures in Snowpocalypse 2010

     My husband and I drove to Texas for Christmas this year.  I wanted to tell you all about the hotel nightmare we had on the drive home, to save you all some stress if you are ever in the area.  It was our second day of driving and was for the most part uneventful.  The intermittent snow slowed us down a bit and as the snow became steadier and roads more precarious, we pulled into the town of Flagstaff to find a room for the night.  We were not the only travelers to do so.  The first place we pulled into was full, but the helpful inn keeper had gone through the trouble to call all of the surrounding hotels looking for vacancies.  Most of the hotels were full but he directed us to the Knights Inn that had 5 rooms available. 

     We were not in the position to be picky.  The parking lot already had about 10” of snow on it, so the cars, not having lines to tell them where to park, were not parked in a very efficient manner.   I was not overly concerned with that. We managed to squeeze in.  What I was concerned with were the walk ways and the stairs that were dangerously covered in snow. 

     A side note, to clarify my concern…  I don’t own pants.  Yes, that’s right; I’m one of those ladies who wear dresses exclusively.  I did own a cute pair of jeans last year, but they do not fit me this year, and I refuse to buy a larger size.  Not that I would have packed them anyway.  I live in western Washington at practically sea level and almost never see snow.  We were traveling to Texas where it also never snows.  Well… it never snows enough to count anyway.  I grew up in MN and anything under a foot of snow is just not snow to me.  I was unprepared for a romp up a snow covered flight of stairs with 4” heals on.

     Disgruntled by the safety hazard and the lack of concern on the part of the inn keeper, I decided to just suck it up, figuring that the walks and stairs would be cleared by check out the next day.  The room was grungy; who am I to be picky with a blizzard brewing.  I etched the words, “Never Been Cleaned” into the dust on the TV.  No coffee pot in the room; who does that in this day and age?  The heater was ineffective and only a sheet and comforter on the bed.  We had got a nice blanket for Christmas from the sister-in-law, wonderful.  Sleep… 

    

     Flagstaff was hit hard with 16” of snow by morning.  I stayed in the room while the husband went to speak to the inn keeper.  He came back in a foul mood.  The inn keeper knew nothing about road conditions.  Instead of watching the news or taking care of patrons, he was sitting in the office watching daytime TV, and he removed the coffee pot at precisely 11:00; sacrilege!  A fellow traveler from MN told my husband that the roads were closed and specifically the interstate due to several rolled over semi-trucks.  Another night at this wonderful hotel.  Again, I stayed in the room while my husband went to put chains on the car so we could go shopping for hats, gloves, scarves and a pair of boots for me.  In case you had not guessed, the walk ways and stairs were covered in snow and ice, still.  I watched out the window as the maid struggled to carry a vacuum cleaner over the snow from one room to the next.  I assumed she would have just as hard a time pushing a cleaning cart over it.  Poor girl; I also watched her have some sort of argument with someone in the parking lot.  I couldn’t hear the whole conversation but managed to piece together the gist of it.  Something about kids to raise and not worth losing a job over. 

     At noon the inn keeper barged into the room without even knocking first.  We had not checked out.  He should have known that.  He told me that I needed to stop in the office to reserve the room for another night.  I told him that was exactly what my husband was doing.  He could not do so because no one was in the office.   I voiced my concern for the safety of the stairs and walkways.  The inn keeper, who spoke little English, said he was helpless and the maintenance man broke his leg.  I rolled my eyes and said that if I got hurt on the stairs it would be on his conscience.

     On a brighter note; I got the cutest pair of high heeled boots at the mall in Flagstaff that were surprisingly great in the snow.  The 5” heal acted as a cleat and helped to keep me from sliding around.  More importantly they are so sexy and warm!

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 7:49 pm  Comments (2)  

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

My very first blog; I’m so excited.  I love that it is auto titled ‘Hello World’, the very first computer program that I programed.  There’s no way I could delete that.  

O.K. you caught me, I’m not a blogger virgin.  I’ve blogged many times before and on many sites; I’m a blogger whore.  This is however my first blog with WordPress, and it feels just as special as any other first.  My previous favorite blogger site has gone through so many changes that it no longer feels like home.  All of the features that first attracted me have disappeared and in their place are options that I couldn’t care less about.   So here I am; my first blog with WordPress.

Published in: on February 13, 2011 at 10:34 pm  Comments (2)