Friday, December 25, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
The Bottle of Wine Book Club is a year old now, and picking up steam. It started when I read The Jane Austen Book Club, and thought how fun would that be? I had always wanted to read all of Jane Austen's books, and what a great way to read them, with my friends. Well, this didn't quite pan out as I had thought. After our first one, and a meeting of just me, Chrissy and Kelly, we moved on to free choice of books of whoever is hosting the meeting. It has also evolved beyond the vegetable tray and hummus I served at the first meeting as well - we now serve meals to our guests, and wine, always wine. I wish I could remember all the books we have read in the past year together - the ones that stand out in my mind are Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Almost Moon, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Problem with Murmur Lee, Me Talk Pretty One Day, A Confederacy of Dunces, and Sense and Sensibility. We have also had some great meals; cucumber sandwiches and gazpacho soup, salmon, spinach pie, mini quiches, fancy desserts, mediterranean stew, great cheeses from Hirts' in Detroit. As for wine, lately we have been drinking alot of what we call Detroit Wine, which is really wine from the California Wine Grape Company in Detroit.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I have been a vegetarian for more years than I remember. I have always had an off and on flirtation with vegetarianism my whole life- when I was kid, I hated red meat, and would not eat hamburgers or steak too often. I would eat chicken, and bacon, but that was almost the extent of my meat consumption. When I got older, a freshman in high school, I read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and that caused me to become a vegetarian, for a short while anyway. It was hard to do on my own at that age, since I was dependent on my parent's choices most of the time, and being a vegetarian at that point in time was not as wide spread as it is now becoming. I danced around it again in college, but then finally made the leap for good when I moved out of my house and into my own place. Billy is not a vegetarian; but he does not eat meat at home very often, as I will not purchase it or make it. If he chooses to make it for himself, that is one thing, but when I make dinner it is meatless.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
She is our newest foster failure- the third in a row of our foster animals we have adopted. Miso is a tortie point Himalayan from a breeding/hoarding situation in our hometown. She was rescued with 28 other Himalayans from a one bedroom apartment.
She is enjoying our house, and loves playing with Penny and Maggie!! She and Penny are cuddle buddies, while she and Maggie tear up the house together. She also has a cute little meow, like she is a pack a day smoker, when I know she has not smoked a cigarette in her life.
An interesting fact: She has had many names since August: whatever the hoarders called her, Aurora in the pound, Kuroneko from her interim foster dad, Spicecake as her PAWS name, and finally now Miso, her true name.
She definitely found her way into our heart and lives.
Welcome home Miso.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I am always amazed at the bustling activity around me - the vendors setting out their fruits and vegetables, the little old honey man putting out his jars, the other artists around us putting the finishing touches on their tables. There is the Beading Nutritionist, the Soy Candle lady, another jewler, and a lady who makes tote bags out of recycled materials. There is the Village Manager, Brian, who also sells handmade baskets from Africa.
Last Saturday was Cinnamon Owl's first day at the Village. It was probably the worst possible day to start this part of our venture; the weather was cold, windy, and pouring down rain. Chrissy and I froze, and felt damp the whole day - not a good combination. We did sell one photo though, so that was exciting, considering not many people were attending either the market or the village. It was miserable. But from that experience, we bonded with our fellow artists, something we may not have done had the weather been a crisp fall day. We began to feel like a small family of artisans, joking around with each other, sharing our food and coffee, stories, advice and backgrounds.
Yesterday was a much nicer day- the wind was a little too chilly, but the sun was out, and the day was dry. A small band that played music you would hear at the Renaissance Fair was playing nearby; when they were finished, a saxophonist started playing. Chrissy and I were content this time to sit in the warm rays when they were out from behind the occasional cloud, listening to the music, and this time, there were actually people visiting the market and the village. We met a few cool people who stopped by our table to look at our photos; the law student from Detroit who belongs to a student animal welfare group that fundraises to change laws for the betterment of animals; the guy who is getting married soon, who brought his super soft rescue dog over to meet us; all the other people who stopped to tell us about their dogs or cats, like the English Cocker Spaniel who hunts birds, and the cat in dogs clothing. Meeting all of these people and talking to them is actually very fun. And, we sold another photo!
The day was so nice yesterday that our families came to visit too. My dad, Shellie, Brayden and Caroline came down, bringing coffee, grilled cheese and cookies, which Chrissy and I greatly appreciated. Chrissy's dad and Terri stopped by too, and purchased a few of Chrissy's photos, which was also cool. Next time, our mothers are going to come visit us, and go out to lunch together. Billy always sticks around too, for a bit after helping us to set up, and watches the booth so that Chrissy and I can do a little shopping. I always buy bread from the Amish bread lady, who has the best baked goods ever- cookies, bread, breadsticks, tarts..I could go on and on. I also buy cheese from R.J. Hirt, and Billy and I eat it for dinner, with the bread and fruit I pick out from the Michigan vendors. I try to buy from the local farmers only, not from the people who sell produce that they hauled in. So usually what I am buying is seasonal to Michigan.
All in all, the experience is a very satisfying one, on many levels - camaraderie, family, the personal satisfaction of knowing other people like your work, and simply the visual and audial feast that Eastern Market offers. The next time we are going is November 14, and while I am not looking forward to that early morning, I am looking forward to seeing my Saturday compatriots.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Unfortunately Karin and Kris had to leave, which was sad because Jill, Chrissy and I had the best time!! First we shopped along the Magnificent Mile, dreaming of the Coach bags we are going to buy when we strike it rich (lol). We all had a different one we loved. The one I particularly liked was a red plaid - I loved it. Also, there was a sweet owl necklace with a black stone in it that wouldn't look too bad around my neck either.. I did end up buying a soft purple sweater from the Gap, which is more in my price range right now. I am dreaming of the day I get a "grant" to stay home and spend the day doing animal rescue work. By grant, I am thinking that Billy will "grant" me this wish. ;)
After trekking down the Mile, feet were hurting from the walk in high heels, so we headed over to the restaurant where we had reservations, Bistro 110, a French bistro, and had a drink while we waited for our table. Chrissy and I had Pinot Noir, and Jill had a drink called French Heaven, that really was divine. I think it had St. Germaine liqueour in it, but other than that I can't recall. It was pretty good though, and I usually don't like drinks like this.
Once we were seated, the french food frenzy ensued. The three of us decided to fully immerse ourselves in the experience, and enjoy as much as we could - literally. We split two appetizers, artichoke baked with brie, and escargot. I tried one little escargot, and did not care for it. (sorry Jill) But, I was going with the moment. The appetizers were cleared and we made way for our main meal- I had some sort of salmon, which was amazing, Jill had steak au poivre, and Chrissy had mushroom ravioli with some sort of delicous sauce.
And then, of course, dessert. This was after the waiter offered Jill a shoulder massage that she didn't respond to; he also asked Chrissy and I if we wanted a coffee with dessert. We turned that down, and ordered another glass of Pinot instead. We enjoyed our drinks, and couldn't decide which dessert we wanted. So, we ordered three, and split them all. We had creme brulee, Gateau Breton, and Profiteroles. Needless to say, by the end of the meal any plans we had to continue our evening were botched by full bellies. We were so full we could barely move, let alone even contemplate eating or drinking another thing. But it was so worth it - it was a bit of decadence in our do-gooding. (as Bruce Campbell called me a few years ago) I can't wait for next year, and I hope that more of us can go!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The opening ceremony was emotional, as we all thought it would be. The speakers all had stories to share, with great imagery, such as the family cat being the go-between during the night, uniting a family in sleep with a touch to the nose with its nose. Another woman spoke of a Persian cat, Mrs. Beasly. Mrs. Beasly was the cat for her, the one that woke her up to animal rescue. She met Mrs. Beasly as a child, and Mrs. Beasly was a gorgeous spoiled Persian, who belonged to a friend. Mrs. Beasly had it good- for awhile. Through twists of fate, the her friend had to move to a farm with relatives, and could not bring Mrs. Beasly into the house with her. This fancy cat, who had only ever known love, warmth, and the indoors, was consigned to the barn, with the other barn cats, who had always been barn cats, and were that kind of semi feral cat tough. The speaker told of going to visit her friend, and watching the gradual decline of Mrs. Beasly; her once silky fur became matted and dull, she lost weight, and the life had gone out of her eyes. And then one day, Mrs. Beasly just was not there anymore, and the speaker never found out what happened to her. But she never forgot her, and with every cat she saves now, she honors the memory of that forgotten, mistreated Persian. She mentioned that back when that incident occured, people had different perspectives on animals, and the thought that this was not the way to treat a beloved housecat never entered into their thought processes. It was just a different time, one that we are moving past, a little bit at a time. We still have to work to change attitudes that cats do not belong outside, do need human care and love, that they are not totally independent, and do not really want to roam. But we are getting there, bit by bit.
The workshops I attended were fantastic! I took the creative, marketing track, all about how to promote your cats, dispel misconceptions, even how to "profile" the cats to match your adopters expectations. I was surrounded by such creative energy, that I was inspired, and now have a whole list of adoption promotions that should take me three years to finish!
I learned so much, and I know that the rest of my group, fellow P.A.W.S. of Michigan members and Wyandotte Animal Control Volunteers, had just as much fun, and also gained immensly from this forum. I made many contacts, and talked to many people about things that are working in their shelters and rescued. I feel fully armed with information that will get our cats adopted faster, and into the right homes for them, where they will be well treated and not returned, but instead have a loving home for the rest of their lives.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I was most focused on the Columbine aspect of this book. Working in a school, this does cross your mind from time to time. What would you do if this were to happen? How absolutely terrifying? I can't imagine the horror of this happening at my school, but I know I would do anything in my power to protect those kids. The thought of harm coming to them chills my bones, and this part of the book really shook me up. Would I be like Dave Sanders? Or Liviu Librescu? How to even think about comparing yourself to such selfless individuals? What heroes these men are, or any of those teachers and staff out there who did not think about themselves, just about the students around them. My cousin's daughter attends my school, and even when we have drills, I look for her, scouting her out, making sure she is ok. God forbid this should happen. How tragic, how sad. There is a special place in hell for those people who harm children and animals, but what about when the killers are just kids themselves?
This book gives you so much to reflect on, I feel I will be thinking about it for weeks to come.
Friday, August 28, 2009
So I started with three - Spice Cake (whose real secret name is Yeti, for her big fluffy feet), and two kittens, Scotch and Soda.
So cute, aren't they? Scotch and Soda were adopted out, to a woman who volunteers with a Siamese rescue group. And really, as much as I loved having them here, I am relived they are gone! They had to have their rear ends washed a few times a day, they couldn't clean themselves yet. Apparently the mom cat does this for them until they are a certain age, and these two had not reached that age yet. So, that was something I was not counting on!
I still have Spice Cake/Yeti; Billy is falling in love with her Muppet face, and I am glad that we know two great people who may adopt her. Because I am determined that I will adopt her out- then I can say I have successfully fostered more animals than I have kept. The little sasquatch has wormed her way into my heart though, by climbing into my lap when I am on the computer or reading, by trying to catch my scissors when I am sewing, and by the way she loves to imitate Maggie, and follow her around. A little copycat. She is very affectionate and sweet, something I did not expect from a cat who came from a situation like she did. Now I have two shadows, Penny and Spice Cake. Maggie is too independent to follow me around, she likes to run the show, and tell me when I am going to pet her or cuddle her, not the other way around. Maggie and Spice Cake are even getting along now, and are BFFs.
So, you would think that it is too hard to foster an animal; too much work, too hard not to fall in love with them, too hard to adopt them out. And sometimes this is all true. I already can't imagine my house without bigfoot padding around silently, looking up at us with her confused little face. But I know that she will be going to a good home, and that I helped place her there. And that now, I can help another animal out, one that might be in the pound waiting to be let out of its cage and into a home. As much as I want to hold on, these cute little fluff balls have taught me that letting go can be a good thing too.
So not anything too entertaining or thought provoking today, just a little musing, brought on by the rain.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
At times, mainly in the middle of the night, around 3 AM, I wonder if she is a tiny part alien. I stumble into the living room, awake for who knows what reason, and she pops her head up from where she is sleeping on the couch, and her big brown soulful eyes reflect the light from the streetlights in such a way that they are transformed into shiny, black, buggish alien eyes. I have to go over and pet her to make sure it is really her, and not some alien dog.
Lately Penny and I have been going for a walk in the mornings, somewhere between coffee and the rest of my day. She knows this too, and will begin her aquatic dolphin sounds as soon as I take my final glug of coffee, and reaches full cresendo as I pull on my shoes. This morning it was gently raining, and I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but Penny made me. I grabbed my umbrella, rolled up my pant legs so I wasn't dragging in puddles, and linked her to her leash and we were out the door.
It is very peaceful to walk in the rain in the morning, I never realized. It was so quiet, I could hear sounds that usually on our walks are obliterated by noise pollution, like lawn mowers and edgers, and trucks and kids shouting. (Sorry, I guess kids really don't count as noise pollution, although sometimes they should- I work in a school library, I should know). I could hear my Converse squishing on the pavement, the light backpack looped over my shoulder whooshing against my jeans, the clicking of Penny's tags, and the light tapping of the rain on my umbrella. I was just beginning to find the sense of quiet and calm within myself that I find in yoga, when Penny stopped to check out a lawn. She does this occasionally, she is a hunting dog, and smelling things is like reading a newspaper or checking the internet to see who has emailed. (Oh a rabbit passed this way where did it go where did it go) I usually let her do this for a few seconds, to catch up on neighborhood gossip. While she was sniffing around this morning, I closed my eyes to really experience the scent of the rain, the sound of the rain, the hushed morning - and realized Penny was doing more than reading the newspaper, it was more like she was reading the newspaper in the bathroom. She chose to relieve herself of last night's large dinner on someone's front lawn, right in front of their statue of Mary, just to further embarass me. As I pulled the currently empty soon to be filled purple, lavender scented doggy waste disposal bag from my back pocket, I thought about what I was doing - I was about to pick up after my dog like a good citizen, but it made me wonder who is more trained here? Me or Penny? She doesn't perform this task for me, and it seems rather demeaning, if you think about it. Then I thought, not only do I clean this up after her, but I clean up after Maggie too! In a past life, were they royalty and was I the servant who cleaned their chamber pots? If so, why haven't I moved up in the scenario? My next thought was, as Penny looked at me with her big undecipherable eyes, if aliens did exist, and were to land next to me at just this moment, who would they think was in charge?
I am not sure I want to know.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I knew when I sat down to type this blog, I wanted to talk about California, while the images, and scents, and sounds were still fresh in my head. But there were just so many experiences, I feel like I am still processing it all myself. I saw the Pacific, and stepped in its waves; I trekked up the Sierra Nevadas, and hugged giant Sequoia trees, that were possibly the largest things I have ever seen; I visited a vineyard, that was absolutely gorgeous with the mountains in the background; I ate at a great restaurant in Little Italy, San Diego, and I saw the San Diego Zoo. I feel like I saw a sampling of all California has to offer, but didn't get the chance to really delve into its flavors. Don't get me wrong, the trip was fantastic and magical and wonderful. I could just have stayed longer, much longer. Chrissy and I said all we needed were our pets sent to us, and the four of us could have stayed forever.
The restaurant in Little Italy was one of my favorite stops- as a confirmed foodie, albeit a veggie foodie, I love to dine out in different cities. Billy and I always try to eke out the local neighborhood pizza places in a city, and try their pizza on every trip. This time we went to Fillipi's Pizza Grotto, and it was awesome! From the storefront, you almost could not tell that there was a restaurant, it was a small Italian grocery and deli with a line out the door. (a very deserved line I might add) We waited in this line about 15 minutes, exclaiming over all the various products for sale around us, and finally we were led to our table, in the back of the store. It felt like we were underground, the lights were all of a sudden dim, like we were in a grotto, hence the name I suppose. Hanging from the ceiling were hundreds of Chianti bottles, the kind with the raffia basket wrapped around the bottom, with the names and dates of people who had eaten at the restaurant before us. Of course, we had to follow suit and order the large Chianti bottle to add our names to the ceiling as well. Each couple ordered a pizza, and it was possibly one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. The cheese was the right temperature, the crust was that perfect blend of crunchy and doughy- and the tomatoes were cut into bite sizes. I like my pizza with olives and tomatoes, and this was pizza perfection. On the way out, Chrissy and I each bought a bottle of the house Chianti. I am still debated whether or not I want to drink ours, or keep it for posterity.
Another little place I really enjoyed was Ocean Beach. It had this laid back, hippie kind of feel to it, and it is very dog friendly! Everywhere you looked there was a dog hanging out somewhere, enjoying the sun and the beach and the salt air. We walked along the beach, soaking up the atmosphere, just relaxing and enjoying the sights. We went into the cutest store there too, called Bone Appetit. They had rescue cats within the store, so of course I had to patronize them. I bought a watercolor of a cat sailing away in a pea pod boat, I am going to hang it on my wall of cat art. Another tradition Billy and I have is to buy local artwork when on vacation- it is usually inexpensive, beautiful, and reminds us of the places we have visited together. The proceeds of our purchase went directly to the rescue that works with the store. I wanted to bring a cat home with me too, but Billy told me no. Maybe next time. If I lived in San Diego, I think this is the neighborhood I would want to live in. Either here, or Little Italy.
As much fun as we all had on vacation, it was nice to be home. Penny and Maggie were very glad to see us, especially Penny it seemed. I missed them too, so it was nice to come home and cuddle with my Penny and Maggie again. Maggie spent the week at Chrissy and Devin's house, hanging out with their cat Maila. I think she misses Maila now though, sometimes she walks through the house with an inquisitive meow, like she is trying to find her. Penny spent the week at a boarding facility. I hated her being in one, but I had no other option. She seems to be ok, although our first day back she did not want to get in her crate when I left the house. I guess this makes sense, but I had to do it. Today she was much better.
We also had great rescue news while I was gone!! Riley, a black lab mix, had been one of our rescue dogs. At a recent event, she was adopted, and as her new owners were putting her in their car, she escaped! We have been looking for her for three weeks, hoping against hope that she would be spotted. She is a very shy dog, so we were scared she would not surface around people. But persistence paid off, especially the persistence of one of our volunteers. She plastered the area with flyers, gave them to all local businesses and mailman, and one day, she received a call that Riley had been spotted. The volunteer set a live trap for her, and the next day we had Riley! She is now safe at home with another volunteer, no worse for the wear except a little skinnier. It turns out she had been living in a cemetary all that time. We are all very relieved and thankful to have this girl back- she has had a rough life, and hopefully it can only get better. She was brought into the pound after being fished out of the Detroit River in the winter, and after a few weeks of being terrified, started to come around with the volunteers at the pound. Shortly after that, a volunteer took her home to see how she would do, and Riley got so freaked out she jumped the fence and took off. She was missing about a week that time, before she got picked up by Animal Control again. But hopefully Riley's story has a happy ending, I know that we will try everything to make that happen, most especially the volunteer she is now living with.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Fourth of July weekend is a bad weekend for dogs. We get so many lost and stray dogs due to people having backyard parties and leaving gates and doors open, or the actual neighborhood fireworks scares dogs so badly they leap their fences to try to get away from the noises. Dog that were never fence jumpers or runners find themselves now on the run, lost, and disoriented by all the explosions going on around them, like all of a sudden being thrust into a war zone. This is a very traumatic day for a lot of animals, and even the local shelters who don't often have dogs fill up this weekend every year. Which brings us to our overcrowded pound, on a holiday weekend known for large numbers of intakes.
One dog scheduled for the short list has always been a volunteer favorite. He is a dalmation/great dane mix, whose owners gave him up to us three months ago because he got too big for them. Why they didn't think about this in the first place before they adopted him, I don't know. This is something that happens alot, as well as people giving up their animals because they are moving, or because after five years they develop allergies and don't want to take medication. But, I digress. The other two dogs have just as tragic back stories, including a 7 month old boxer-pitt mix who had lived her entire life in a crate in a basement, before being given up to us because the people were tired of her. She has absolutely no training, and is basically like a giant, friendly, wild dog. Her owners have ruined her, and it will take a great deal of love, patience and rehab to make her a pet, and unfortunately, those homes are hard to find.
So, I was not looking forward to stopping by the pound yesterday afternoon. I had to stop in to drop off a key to my friend, and I was fully expecting sadness and grim expressions. Instead, I walked into a pound with an uplifted, joyous mood, the kind of feeling that you get when you escape something big and frightening by the seat of your pants. It was borderline euphoric, and everyone had giant smiles beaming from their faces. Three dogs had been adopted, including one of our death row dogs, the dalmation/great dane mix! This freed up cage space and left breathing room for our other dogs, at least for a little while. So, while the day had begun as the kind of day that you hate when you are a volunteer at a shelter, it ended as the type of day you love, the kind where the most needy dog finds a loving home.
My own home right now is chaos! We currently have Penny, our dog; Maggie, our cat; and Sassy, my brother and sister-in-law's dog. They all get along quite well, that is not the problem. The problems arise at feeding time, and at bedtime, believe it or not. Penny and Sassy both have special dietary needs, prissy little girls that they are, and have specific food to address these needs. Maggie is eating kitten chow, which is not that great for adult dogs, who usually get sick if they eat it due to the higher levels of fat and protein that is in food for young animals. And of course, they all want to eat each others food, and not their own. I have to chase Penny away from Maggie's bowl, and Sassy away from Penny's bowl, and Maggie away from Sassy's bowl! It is like a circus meets feeding time at the zoo around here at mealtimes. Added to this, Sassy does not want to eat really at all, because she is still getting used to our house, and is feeling a little bewildered. This morning I had to put Maggie and her food bowl on the ironing board, and close the door to that room; next I put Penny in the hallway with her bowl, and gated that off; and finally Sassy ate in the kitchen, after I added a tiny bit of Penny's bland wet food to her bowl to temp her into eating. But once they were all chomping away in unison throughout the house, I had to smile at the situation, and the fact that I absolutely love having a houseful of happy, loved animals.
Sleeping is another story- the past two nights Billy and I have gone to bed and woken up with two dogs and a cat in bed with us. Good thing we have a large bed, is all I have to say. Of course, Maggie has to sleep right on top of me, knowing somehow in her little cat way that I am allergic to her. She is too cute to push away though, so I just suffer slightly for her.
All in all, yesterday was a good day - dogs were adopted, my animals are doing well, and for one dog, who had been downtrodden and was at the end of his rope, he finally found freedom on Independence Day.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Which is why I can't wait for tomorrow- yoga. It will stretch all my muscles back out, it always feels so good. I love yoga, I love the way I feel during yoga, and after. I have Chrissy to thank for dragging me to my first class, I never thought I could do it. But I loved it from that very first class. I actually love it so much, I want to master it so that I can eventually be a yoga instructor. I think my dream career life would be a yoga instructor/photographer/writer, all jobs I can do and still have time for animal rescue. While living on my farm, in a big old rickety house with a huge front porch I could relax on . With my goats, dogs, rabbits and cats. And apple orchard in the backyard.
We leave for California next week, and I am a little nervous about leaving Penny in a kennel. I wish I didn't have to do it. I was very picky though, about where she went, since we have only had her 6 weeks and she has already put us through the emotional wringer, running away the first week, and then eating Christmas garland, complete with wire, two weeks ago. I really wanted a place that would have 24 hour monitoring, late pick up times, close to my home so my mom could visit, and I also did not want her to go outside. I guess I just don't trust anyone to watch her the way I do. I couldn't find anything that fit all of these qualifications however. I did find a place I can live with, the vets office where Penny had her surgery. They are familiar with her, and the kennel is on the second floor, so I am not afraid of her escaping as much. It is close to my mom's house, so she can visit, and they do have late pick up hours, but not 24 hour monitoring. So they came pretty close! They are open until 10 at night, and the staff I talked to said more often than not, there are people there working until the wee hours of the morning, performing emergency surgeries, like Penny had. The vet stayed with Penny until 3 a.m. that night/morning, and that happens often I guess. So, she may only be in the building a few hours alone. It is the best I can do. I only hope she doesn't hate us when we get back for putting her in a kennel!