And Then There Were Six…

The Crankee Yankee and I have been sheltering and feeding a sweet little black cat we call Scooter for two years now. It took him that long to trust us, and in the past few weeks he has joined us on the front porch every day and sleeps there at night. We have his food and water bowls out there, as well as a brand new carrier, lined in a soft blanket and sprinkled with catnip.

We had made and put up posters of Scooter, hoping that his previous owner would see them. Weeks passed and no one came forward, so we just kept on feeding and sheltering him. We had decided to adopt him, but first we needed to get him to our vet to make sure he had all his necessary shots and a regular health check. We wondered if he had ever been microchiped, so we had our vet check that as well.

Behold and lo, he did have a microchip, and our wonderful vet tracked down his previous owner. Long story short, Scooter was a house cat who had lived with an old man. The man was quite ill, so as you can imagine, people were coming and going, and Scooter got out. When the man died, no one looked for Scooter. And by the way, we found out that Scooter’s real name was Oscar.

Because he had a microchip (and I strongly recommend that anyone with a pet should have a microchip. This is how lost animals are found.) Our vet was able find and talk to the owner, who was the son of the man who died. He remembered the cat, but when he went missing, no one looked for him. In fact, his wife hates cats, so there was no incentive to try and find him. The Crankee Yankee talked with the man, and he was fine about us adopting Scooter/Oscar.

The Crankee Yankee had picked up on clues Scooter was making that I didn’t see; he kept trying to go with us into the house. He also used the litterbox we put out for him. So he was at heart a house cat who had to adapt to the outdoors. Our vet gave him his necessary shots, clipped his nails and checked him out. Despite all his time on his own outside, he is a healthy little guy and we love him.

And yes, we realize that this might look like “crazy cat people,” but this is who we are. We rescue, we feed, we make sure that our cats all have vet visits, that they have daily cleaned litter boxes, healthy food and fresh water, plenty of toys, and lots of love and attention. We are responsible for their care, feeding and well-being. A life is a life, no matter how small.

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Age-Related Forgetfulness?

Although I am hardly elderly, I do find that there are times when I can’t remember a word I’m fishing for in a sentence. But worst of all, sometimes I think I’ve taken my meds and supplements for the day, but I don’t remember if I actually did take them. Now usually that lost word will come back to me, but the “did I or didn’t I” thing about the meds bothered me.

So the Crankee Yankee suggested that I make a chart of what I took and when. This is exactly what I do with Pookie, our cat who has lived several years with mild seizures. He is on medication for it, and after I give him his meds, I check it off on his chart. That way at the end of the day, I know for sure that he took all his meds.

Then it dawned on me: I could do the very same thing for myself! So I made my own chart so that I can tick off the morning meds and the supplements, then the evening supplements. Easy-peasey, done and done.

Honestly, why is it that we will happily and gladly do something helpful for someone else rather than ourselves? Now that I have my very own “Pookie” chart, I can be sure that 1) I’m not crazy and 2) I indeed took my meds and supplements at the right time.

I won’t deny that it is pretty funny, but it’s helpful, too. I’ve been told that I am quite OCD, so when I think I’ve skipped something important during the day (such as taking my meds and supplements at the right time), I can now go to my chart and say “HA! I DID take them and I’m not crazy!”

It’s all about those little victories, isn’t it?

Fireworks on a Summer Night

From Seacoast Online.com: “On Saturday, July 13, thousands descend upon downtown Exeter, the former capital of the Granite State during the Revolutionary War, for the 29th Annual American Independence Festival. Celebrating the arrival of an original copy of the Declaration of Independence in town on July 16, 1776, the festival features a variety of entertainment, including music, battle re-enactment, traditional artisan working village, and more.”

This also means that we have 4th of July type of fireworks displays on that night. Fortunately for the Crankee Yankee and I, we can sit on our front porch and see them. This reminds me of so many July 4th firework displays when I was growing up in Wolfeboro, NH. At the time, we lived in a house by the lake, and all we had to do on the night of July 4th was to grab our chairs and sit on the dock to watch the fireworks.

Dozens of boats would hook up to each other, making a necklace of boats nearly from shore to shore. After each display, they would tootle their horns in appreciation. It was a special night; not only did I get to see fireworks virtually in my own front yard, but I could stay up late for the grand finale.

Seeing those fireworks last night brought back such good memories. Usually before dusk, Mom would have made her famous strawberry shortcake for dessert. After that, down to the dock we’d go, bringing pillows and blankets.

There is something magical about fireworks, which is why we all tend to ohhh and ahhh over them. Kids love them, and we adults go right back to our own childhoods and ohhh and ahhh right along with them.

Fire Fly Magic

One of the best things about summer is the fire flies. They appear during sunset; little blinks of light here and there. I used to call them “fairy lights” because I just knew in my child’s heart that they really were real fairies. Because of that, I never tried to chase them or try to put them in a bottle. I wanted them to be free, and I dearly wanted them to be real fairies.

Seeing all those lovely little lights on a summer night brings me back to when I was still in grade school. Summer was on and school was out; all the rules were broken. You could stay up and sit with your parents on the porch, watching the moon rise. You could play games like Statues or Tag or Red Rover until parents called us in. Even that wasn’t so bad because you knew that school was out and you could spend the next day swimming, playing games, riding bikes; in short everything we kids loved about summer.

Often on weekends I would bike up to my grandparents’ house and stay overnight. Back then I could safely ride my bike over the ten miles between my house and theirs; I never thought a thing about it. At the time no one drove over the speed limit, and it was relatively safe to bike.

During the evening after supper, my grandparents and I would sit on their porch. I loved to hear them talk about their own growing up and how they met and married. As the night grew darker, the fire flies came out like tiny candles. Also, you could hear the frogs in the lake tune up for their own summer concert. All through the night they sang “chug-a-rum, chug-a-rum!” I often fell asleep on the porch swing listening to the frog song.

May you always enjoy the fairy lights; they give us a bit of magic on those soft summer nights.

Not the End of the World As We Know It

It’s taken me years to figure this one out; when something doesn’t go your way, it’s a message. The message may be that you don’t need that something going your way. The message may be an answer to a question. Or the message might just be telling you that things change and sometimes we need to change ourselves. There’s no sense to piss and moan about it (trust me; I’ve spent way too much time years ago pissing and moaning over stuff that turned out to be doodly-squat); crap happens and you just have to roll with it. Just don’t roll in it.

Case in point: my car has been in the shop for nearly a week (waiting for the new struts to come in, wouldn’t you know), so the Crankee Yankee has been driving me around. I had a hair appointment today but the Crankee Yankee is helping out a friend today and that can’t be re-scheduled. I was about to start pissing and moaning about it, but luckily I stopped myself short. My wonderful hairdresser understood and re-scheduled me out for two weeks.

Then I remembered: I have been trimming my hair for years now. Granted, I cannot do any where near as well as what my hairdresser does, but it’s enough to get by. It’s really not a big deal; what, is the whole world going to notice that I am shaggier than usual? Probably not, and so what.

Then there is delayed gratification. The Crankee Yankee kindly gave me a gift card for my birthday to be used at one or both of my favorite places; T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. We were actually at Marshalls yesterday and I was still browsing when the Crankee Yankee came in and told me that the thunderstorm we had heard about was now on the way, and we needed to get home. No worries; that just means more lovely anticipation. How great is that?

Funny how, when you get older, things that used to be so upsetting now turn out to be just a little flash in the pan. Big deal. Often delayed gratification can be a gift in itself. You think of what you wanted to do but couldn’t at the time—then you have all that lovely experience of finally getting to do it. Actually, it makes it more fun.

And seriously, change doesn’t have to mean the end of the world as we know it. It could even mean a better world! So in the end, what can be a change of plans can turn out to be a better change of plans. As Professor Dumbledore from the Harry Potter books and movies would say, “not to worry.”

 

 

The Country Book Seller

The Country Book Seller is a terrific book store located in Wolfeboro, NH where I grew up. It is run superbly by Karen Baker, and not only does she carry wonderful books, but she also offers fresh coffee, gelato and pastries. The Country Book Seller was also the place to be in the morning for my mother’s coffee group. When Mom died, Karen put up a lovely memorial plaque right above the chair Mom always sat in.

I had asked Karen if she would be interested in having my book, “*Lulu’s Book of Children’s Stories” in the Country Book Seller. She kindly said that she would. So I signed a dozen of them for her local author section. She has generously asked me to come back next month to do a reading and signing.

Should you find yourself in Wolfeboro, do stop in to the Country Book Seller. It is everything a book store should be; cozy and welcoming, and with more wonderful books that you can imagine. Check it out at https://www.thecountrybookseller.com/.

*There are three stories and three poems in the book. The book is geared toward children around three to eight.

Keeping Yourself Safe

I posted this years ago, but the message still stands.

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Here are some quick tips to keep yourself safe:

When you are out and about on your own; walking, running, biking, etc., DO NOT WEAR HEADPHONES OR EAR BUDS–EVER! I know you think that you can listen to your music and stay alert, but the fact is that you actually can’t. If you are plugged in to your device, then you are not plugged into the world around you.

I was a martial artist for years. I also taught what I called “Common Sense Self Defense” for years. I still observe the rules I learned a long time ago to keep safe. The ultimate best weapon truly is your head. Keep it in the game, be aware of where you are, who is around you, and don’t think for a second that something bad can’t happen to you.

I understand: bad things can happen to the most prepared and aware person. But you stand a far better chance of staying safe if you stay AWARE. Understand that there is always the chance that some creep may be looking for someone who is not aware of what is around them. It’s also a good idea to carry pepper spray or something similar just in case. It’s also not a bad idea to have someone else with you.

Should someone try to grab you or try to force you into their vehicle, scream your head off. But don’t yell “help!” Yell “FIRE!” Sadly, more people respond to that because they may think it’s their house that’s burning down.

It’s a sad fact that many would-be snatchers can drive close to you, allowing someone in the back seat to open the door and yank you into the vehicle. Your biggest defense is to stay alert and aware. Don’t think for a moment that nothing bad can happen to you. These things happen all the time; don’t let it be you.

Another tip: whenever you’re in your vehicle, LOCK THE DOORS. This also goes for when you get out to pump gas. Take your keys, your credit card/cash and lock up the vehicle while you pump gas. It is incredibly easy for someone to sneak around the side of your vehicle, open the door a crack and grab your purse, wallet, the cake you just picked up at the bakery (and wouldn’t THAT ruin your day?), whatever. Play it safe and make it a habit.

OK, that’s my lesson for today. I will be posting more common sense self-defense tips in the near future.