fiddlehead.....every changing, ever growing

fiddlehead....ever changing, ever growing

Friday, July 29, 2011

good-bye Felix

Grieve not,
nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you.
I loved you so
it was heaven here with you.
-Isla Paschal Richardson

Tonight out sweet cat, Felix, left this world.   
We surrounded him.....comforted him.
So thankful he had come home to be with us.  That he waited for us to come home tonight before his sweet spirit left this world.
Felix's life was a short life....but a special one.  
2 years ago our friend found Felix and his sister on the median of the highway near our house.  
It was days after we had lost our dog, Blue.   I saw them and new they weren't going to the Humane Society.  My heart was hurting from the loss of our dog and those kittens came home and filled our heavy hearts.

They were wild kittens, only a few weeks old, very hungry and very sick.  
We nursed them back to health.   His sister went home to live with our neighbors and Felix to live with us.
He was so small, so sweet and spunky.  He loved the kids...loved them so much he would always let them hold him, slept with them.  He was the kind of cat that rubbed your leg and would roll over in front of you so you could scratch his belly.   He was the kind of cat that followed us around the yard and when we would go on walks.   He was the kind of cat that was a bottomless pit....could never fill that belly.  And his belly showed it.   He loved to play with Bob the bulldog.   His favorite sleeping spot was in bed with Judson.

Recently, he had been using the new carpet as a litter box and became a "garage kitty".  
That is, his box and food were in the garage.

He loved being outside for his "kitty adventures", but he was always stayed close.   Rarely gone long enough to miss a meal.
Then a few days ago he had been been gone a couple days, hadn't been coming home for food.  
Not like him.   
I knew something was wrong.
It was.  Yesterday came home so lethargic.  So weak.  

Now I believe he had come home to be with us.  
I brought him into the vet this morning.  He was terribly anemic.  His level was a 10.....VERY low.  The vet said his blood was like water.  Normal level is 28.   So we decided to attack this with meds and force fed him.   The diagnosis is likely "Hemobart".   I have never heard of it....but it attacks the blood cells.   He could have contracted this disease from a flea or a bite from another cat.   
12 hours after the vet appointment, 2 doses of meds and force feedings, it was clear it was too late to stop this disease.  

We were all with him....surrounded him with our love.   Said good-bye to our sweet kitty.
too soon to go, but in his short life gave us so many memories, so much love.
The boys loved you so much....their hearts are hurting...  
all of our hearts are.
Felix the cat.... you will be missed forever and remembered always.

Monday, July 25, 2011

+ 10

I stood on my bath scale tonight.   +10.   yep, there it is!
Ugh....I am so frustrated.  And since this is where I share all the good stuff, I am also going to share the downer of the day.  I am +10 and it ticks me off.  I have gained 10 pounds since my ruptured disk, which was in early May.  I am so mad that I let this happen.  Ugh.  Before I injured my back I was really doing well in taking good care of myself.  I had been eating well, drinking protein shakes, getting my workouts in and was 10 pounds lighter.  I felt good and my clothes were fitting better.   Then the back injury and the exercise was put on hold, even daily activity was limited.  So, here I am 10 pounds heavier...and so mad that my indulgences got the best of me.   I know what I did, too little movement while I ate whatever I felt like since I was hurting.   Not hard to see that, but now I need to take off the chunk and that won't be any fun.   Since I am so mad about my body right now I am going to use that number "10" and say out loud 10 positive things about gaining10 pounds.
1.   Lots of rest in bed= no calorie burn
2.   Eatting ice cream at night
3.   I enjoyed being told not exercise at all.  None. Zippo...Zilch.
4.  even though I gaing 10, I can now feel my left leg because of the successful back surgery
5.   I caught up on all my DVR'd shows and reality t.v......I swear those shows make you gain.
6.  Pretty much eatting anything I wanted, which I obviously enjoy
7.  snuggling in bed with my dog, kitty cat and kiddos
8.   My boobs got bigger
9.  At least I am not pregnant.
10.  There is more of me to love

There it is.....I am back on track today.  The Dr. has given me the go ahead to start exercising slowly.  I am grateful for my health.  I am grateful that the surgery was totally successful.   And I am grateful that I know how to lose it, just mad that I have to do it again.

water jump!

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials

summer fun= water

This shot is one of my favorites from a "cousins" photo session last week.
cousins....oldest to youngest jumping into their grandparent's pool= summer fun & memories!

i heart faces: water photo challenge
I Heart Faces - Photo Challenges & Photography Tutorials

The Paper Mama

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

birthday love.

It's my 38th birthday.....  I am excited for this new year in life and oh, so grateful for it.  
This birthday greeting from my sweet, dear friend Margo just arrived.  How lucky I am to have love in my life.  And this reading says it all.....Had to share it because I love it sooo much and feel so surrounded in love today.
July 19th 2011
"The Lessons ARE Love..."- Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie.
Reading for today, July 19th...
Lessons of love, that's what they are.
We usually don't know what the lesson is while we're learning it.  Maybe we're not supposed to.  Besides, if we knew it, really knew it, we wouldn't need to learn it.  We'd already be practicing it in our daily lives. But even when we don't know what the lesson is, we can know one thing: it's a lesson of love.
Courage.  Faith.  Patience.  Loving yourself when it looks and feels like nobody else cares. Starting over again one more time, even though we feel like we have started over more times they anyone should have to.  Forgiveness.  Compassion.  Gentleness.  Joy.  Each of these is a lesson of love.
For many of us, the problem isn't that we haven't had love in our lives before.  The issue is that we haven't understood love.  Know this: not only are the lessons about love, the lessons themselves ARE love.
So feel your feelings.  Struggle through your situations and experiences and emotions.  The struggle to learn isn't incidental to your purpose.  It's an integral part OF your purpose, your destiny, your reason for being.  Go through your moments of darkness and confusion, and trust that the light will come.  Through it all, rest in one thought: you're on track.  You're on your path.  You're connected to love. You're connected to God.  And the lessons you're learning are lessons of love.

Thank you, for all my lessons of love through our friendship.  You might be the most important teacher in my life, other than Oprah of course. :)
Happy Birthday, I love you so much, my soul friend. xoxo M

Thursday, July 14, 2011

tattoo or not to tattoo?

I have been thinking a lot lately about getting a tattoo....
the impulse to do this has been many years in the making.  College came and went with the impulse and thank goodness I didn't act on it during some raging night out on the town. I am glad I didn't get one during that period, precisely because I didn't know myself well enough.  If I had I would have a sunflower or shamrock or Bucky Badger on my body....and would either be cursing it or probably would have had it removed by now.

Today it is a different story.  I really do know who I am, and I have a strong desire to capture my feeling about my family in art on my body.   Of course, I already have my baby tattoos, aka... "stretch marks".   I have embraced those as a mark on my body signifying motherhood.   But now that our family is complete I want to create a design of my own.  I am imagining something with fiddleheads or a very organic shapes respresenting our family.

I like these henna inspired shapes (especially the 1st and 7th), but would design something myself for 4 children to be represented.
And of course, I LOVE fiddleheads....what they represent- growth, change, evolving, and togetherness they re-emerge every spring and represent hope.

I imagine something small, feminine and beautiful.  Mostly, it needs to be something I love so much I want to live with it forever.  It must also be on a place on my body that is less likely to sag, or wrinkle or be totally obvious.   So, I am thinking on the inside of my ankle or foot.

I don't know what I will do with this feeling.  It has come and gone over the last 20 years. 
I think the feeling to get this tattoo has become so strong at this point in my life because I feel so secure with my myself, my life, my creativity, my motherhood.

My husband isn't crazy about the idea.....said "its a little trashy" (coming from a guy with a small fraternity tattoo on his foot from his college days).  But that comment does have me thinking.  I'd like his support.  And that other people will think "trashy" too- do I care?  Maybe I do a little.   But honestly, if I do go for the tattoo I am not thinking about other people, it isn't about them or for anyone but myself. This is a personal expression on my body.  
One that would be an expression of my love for my family.  And to me that is lovely.

There it is.  
tattoo or not to tattoo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

so sweet...

 so sweet.
such a sweet shot of our babes sharing a birthday.....8 years apart.   life is sweet.

The Paper Mama

Friday, July 8, 2011

YoGabbaGabba love....

Tessa is a "Yo Gabba Gabba" girl....she loves. that. show.  LOVES.  
That expression says it all!  And you can see she is saying "Yoooo Gabba Gabba!"
For her 2nd birthday Tessa received the ultimate in Yo Gabba Gabba merchandise.  
There is the Yo Gabba Gabba boom box!  
I am afraid nothing else existed or mattered after this gift!
Below is Tessa sporting her D.J. Lance wears-(a fab gift from Omie & Opie)! 
 I mean it is fuzzy and bright orange and plays music and games when you push the star!   
Why wouldn't one want to wear it?!
Tessa totally digs DJ Lance....

 And then from Mommy and Daddy... a Brobee costume!  Perfect for when you want to jam out and dance like Brobee.  And the perfect costume for Halloween!  Mommy is always thinking!  
Our sweet girl is 2....she loves Yo Gabba Gabba, but I think she loves the fun of it, the colors, the music and dancing.  It is just plain fun for a 2 year old!

If you have a 2 year old.....and aren't opposed to a half an hour of t.v. good music, dancing and funny characters with funny names...then I highly recommend Yo Gabba Gabba.    We have it recording on our DVR so there is always a show there when she needs a break or when I do.  Just being honest.  Sometimes I love Yo Gabba Gabba because I get 30 minutes of Tessa being still and happy so I can do stuff like this. There is something to it....  there is some serious Yo Gabba Gabba love in our home!

Cat Drama

We have 2 black cats.....and I think both decided our brand new carpet was perfect for their pee and poo.

Meet Cecil....our beloved 14 year old cat who has been with us since our first year of marraiage.  He has seen it all and has been the most wonderful cat.   He has also become more and more nuerotic with age, but who doesn't, really?  These days he talks (meow, meow, meow) incessantly to us when he wants to be fed or wants water from the sink.   I know, the sink.  That is gross, but for some reason I indulge him.  Want to keep him well hydrated to live as long as possible.   Maybe I am the crazy one.  But I think Cecil may be losing it.   He has never had any major issues other than a his back teeth last year, which is totally resolved after removal.  
He has been such an easy pet, so loving and soooo easy.   
But recently he has decided that the basement is a great place to pee.....and not in his cat box which was a mere 15 feet away.  Oh no.  He has been using the carpet. And not just any NEW carpet!!!   That's right BRAND.NEW.CARPET.  
I have recently banned Cecil to the back section of the house where our bedroom and office are.   His food, his box are all there now, which I also don't particularily like in my space.  But I am TRYING to keep him there...all of his needs are met there: he can get water from the bathroom sink, he can snuggle with us at night and he can bask in the sun from the sky lights.    But now there is an issue of keeping him in there....he is a keen escape artist like any cat, but seems to be accepting his new place in life.

It is making me crazy that it is  NEW carpet installed recently after we paid money to transport my in-laws pool table (VERY HEAVY) to our home.  New carpet that we installed so we wouldn't have to replace it again after the pool table was installed!  NEW CARPET!    @#%@!

Now I feel like the neurotic one.....constantly sniffing, SMELLING FOR IT.  
Sometimes on my hands and knees sniffing to find any spots.  nice visual.
Purchasng multiple urine out products and using the wet vaccuum on it!
It seems useless.
 I am beside myself and it is driving me crazy. 

To make it more complicated we have another black cat, Felix.  I have also banned him from the house beause I believe he is involved and may be the one who started it.  He is to be a "garage cat" because I am also certain he is apart of this drama.  We are trying to just keep him in the garage, but he is highly motivated to sneak in.  Ugh.  He is also a wonderful cat and loves the kids...   our neighbor found Felix ans his sister in the median of the highway near our house.  He was tiny and since he has been with the kids since such a young age loves them, follows them around the yard and even lays by the pool to be near them.

 I can hardly think of the alternative to stop this...I can't even say it out loud here, but it is on my mind and I hate it and cried about it and hate it.

thoughts? cat loving people out there?  honestly, what would you do?  They are both perfectly healthy cats.   Do we keep them sanctioned out of the house?   Get some kind of carpet or door zapper?   I don't think this behavior is going to stop. ugh.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

gift of a polaroid....

There were countless moments that have stayed with me for 3 years from AIDS Walk Africa in Swaziland. But for me what comes to mind first are the interactions with the children.  The children especially loved to have their photograph taken with our digital cameras so then be able to look at their own sweet faces.  I am quite sure there were many children that had never seen their very own smiling face before.

Before we went to AWA we were prepped for the journey.  The foundation (EGPAF) shared that children would likely be very curious about our cameras and some may want to see their photo.   It hit me quickly...why not bring a Polaroid camera!  A Polaroid camera so that I could take their photo and gift it to the children and mothers I encountered.  So I ordered the camera and tracked down Polaroid film.  It seemed like such a simple thing to bring along, one that would bring so much pleasure!

It may have been one of the single best ideas I ever that was incredible for the mothers and children, but filled my soul with such joy that I can still feel it today as I type these words!

I was able to witness the pure wonder of a child as they looked in total awe at this photo developing right before their eyes. They clung onto their special photo as if it was gold. I was able to bring 80 Polaroid photos for the polaroid camera.  Each time I took a photo I felt such joy in being able to give them something meaningful that they will treaure. And for me that is one of my greatest treasures ever.

Can you imagine what it would feel like to live in a very remote area of Swaziland.  Have this group of Westerners visiting your little village, walking....with air conditioned vans following them.  They bring cameras, smiles, some supplies.   I wonder how it felt for this little guy.  If nothing else I do know he loved his photos!
This mother was was excited to have a photo of herself with her baby girl...
Every mother wants to be able to capture these special moments.....
I am so happy she has at least a couple photos for them to share.
photography....a polaroid=joy

Monday, July 4, 2011

AIDS Walk Africa....3 years later

It was 3 years ago......that I went on the journey of a lifetime to Swaziland to participate in AIDS Walk Africa for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.  
Why Swaziland, a small kingdom between South Africa and Mozambique?
 Did you know that 3 years ago that 33% of the population of Swaziland was infected with the virus....33%.  That is why.

That is 1 in 3 of these school children....
AWA was really was one of those life experiences that becomes apart of your soul, which I think are the best kind. We (the staff and 19 walkers including, my Mom and cousin, Casey) witnessed so much over the course of walking the land of Swaziland in just a few days.  Here we are...
This journey was about witnessing.   The country, the culture, the disease in pandemic proportions.
Witnessing the children, my god, the children- with our own eyes and touch. And knowing with each time you made eye contact, smiled or touched a child that they are what this mission is truely about.  Witnessing the work to give these beautiful children a chance at life free of HIV/AIDS!

This is a preschool (below) we stopped at to donate some clothing items, paper and coloring pencils. The teacher said her school needs a new roof. She also said that all of these children are orphaned by HIV/AIDS. In Swaziland, we didn't see orphanages, instead the children are raised by extended family in the community.
Going on this walk I prepared myself to feel a great deal of sadness, but found that while I had some moments of sadness (ex: witnessing a boy with shoes that were a men's size...but he wore them to school. Also, witnessing a boy with such severly bowed legs he could barely walk and knowing this could be corrected in the U.S.A. so easily) the sadness I felt was overpowered by the HOPE and JOY.

The incredible hope that the people hold for their children to be able to live free of HIV. The hope was in their eyes, and smiles. The hope rang in their sweet voices as they sang and danced for us. The message of the children's dance was a brave say out loud HIV is killing our people, we need to make good choices and keep ourselves healthy as we are the flowers of our community.

The children stay with you. I met a sweet little girl, named Tula, while walking. She was fasinated by my sunglassess and then proudly wore my sunglasses and carried my walking stick as we walked together. She reached out to hold my hand. As we walked those hills together hand in hand, I realized these are the hills her mother walked with her and that she will likely walk with her own children one day. The terrain will not change, but the plight of the people walking this terrain can! It is possible! There is hope for her...and for all these children. I felt the hope and know it is possible to eradicate HIV.
The cultural norms and taboos surrounding HIV/AIDS must continue to evolve and the Swazi-people realize that they must happen first with their youngest generation. This nation is being destroyed by HIV/AIDS and the challenges they face are enormous. Many Swazi-men do not want to know their HIV status and continue to take many wives and girlfriends. The women in the rural communities have very few resources and so many challenges (poverty, HIV stigma and status, clean water, basic needs).

The next time you take your car to a Dr's appointment and wait to see the Dr., think of this. As we walked the miles and miles through the hills you couldn't help but imagine yourself a Swazi-women: barefoot, pregnant, not feeling well from HIV/AIDS and carrying a child with her walking miles on very rugged terrain, and steep hills to get to the clinic for medical treatment for herself and her child (preventing mother to child transmission, prenatal care, her own HIV treatments).

The mothers often wait all day to be seen and will sometimes sleep on the grass outside until the next morning. The Swazi-women are no different than all mothers who deeply love their children and want their children to have a healthy start in life... to be born free of HIV. Like all mothers, they too want to be healthy and be able to raise their own children, but are fighting against many challenges to do so.

3 years ago....I walked the paths that those mothers walked.  And today I remember and share it with you to bring you closer to those mothers and children and the hope for cbildren all around the world, to be born free of HIV.

Thank you for visiting the fiddlehead report!