Monday, August 4, 2014
Friday, May 30, 2014
I moved the litter boxes to the dry side and put down a couple crates over the flooded section of the cat room so the cats have more things to be up on because of course they still keep walking through the water - ugh, what a damn mess.
I woke up so excited about today and now I'm just going to worry about the cats all day :/ I'm suppose to look at 3 houses today, only one of which I was excited about and it looks like it's falling apart, but at this point, it's going to look like a move-in-ready mansion compared to this place.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
And then I cried some more as I remembered him saying (teasingly with a big smile on his face), "You're so lucky to have me, kid."
Oh, papa bear, you have no idea...
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Ok, technically when I post this I will most likely be back inside, but for now I am outside with the doggies, taking pics and enjoying the awesome weather we have today. Here's some exciting outside stuff...
|The catnip I planted last year survived our crazy white, icy, snowy, multi-polar vortex winter and re-emerged. I was very excited to see this in the yard.|
|Speaking of things that are back - the single sprig of mint I planted has most definitely multiplied.|
|Bought this clematis plant over the weekend. I wanted to plant stuff and Matt has wanted something to spruce up the lamp post, so this is the solution we came up with :)|
|Bought these gorgeous flowers over the weekend too|
|Amazingly beautiful, right? How could I resist it!|
|Here are the two gorgeous flowers I bought and a clump of what I think are purple Johhny Jump Up's.|
All in all, an excellent day outside and some beauty added to this yard weekend is a nice bonus.
I kept telling Matt over the last few years that I've been here with him that I didn't want to plant anything because I didn't want to be here, but we're here and aside from planting and the dogs, there's not a lot of good excuses to be outside here on such a nice day like today. So, planting with the dogs outside it will be because we are here and I should make the best of it, right?
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
First, it was Kreacher for his extra protein diet and slow eating tendencies. Then, Candice was getting crated too since she's so bi-polar. Then, we started with Oscar because she was getting medication and usually walks away when another cat approaches her dish. The most recent kitty has been Lil Dani who seems to get over-stimulated at feeding time and goes after some of the kitties... and this has been no easy task because he'll leap, jump, run, hide and, if caught, will wiggle, push away from and (though mostly accidental) scratch to get away from being put in the crate.
Well, last night, he jumped in the crate on his own!! I was beyond excited that he caught on to this so quickly (we've only been crating him for like a week) ... and relieved there would be no chasing or scratching for the night :)
Monday, April 28, 2014
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
In order to save the special ones, Joa's Arc needs to have at least: an agreed upon commitment, a foster and/or the funds to do so. We don't always have all three, but love when people step up by offering to foster in our time of need... even when it leads to us committing only to find out the pet is already safe.
There's no shortage of pets in need though, so don't stop volunteering, friends :)
Monday, April 14, 2014
|Donnie & Matt|
|Matt, Pat and mom figuring out what rocks around the property we could incorporate|
|Donnie, Kris and Matt moving pavers over to use|
|ladies supervising: me, Ali and mom|
|A group shot of some of my favorite people|
|Last photo I took before Matt & I headed out on Sunday afternoon|
Matt and I could only stay a bit both days between my work schedule, Matt's back (old car accident injury) and our dogs' bladders, but I loved being with everyone and seeing the work get done. I loved that after a long work week for most of those people and with it being such a nice weekend to do just about anything, that they turned out to work on this project. It was also nice to hear Pat bring up how the first design he and my dad every did together is still together and holding up well too... and at one point when they were putting down sand and evening it out, I was taken back to a memory of my dad doing the same thing - evening out the sand, tossing some loose dirt back on top and evening it out again - it was just a flash of a memory, but nice to get there in that moment with the guys working on this project in memory of dad.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
|Michelle, me, dad & baby Honey|
"I used to joke that you could probably give my dad the street name and local plants growing nearby and he could tell you exactly how to get home from where you were based on that. The truth is, my dad was good for a lot of things: tractor rides, good hugs, sound advice ... and if you ever needed a scary-looking guy standing beside you." - I wrote that down more than a year ago. They were words I wanted to say about my dad when he passed away ... but I didn't say them during his memorial. I couldn't and it was probably for the best because no words were really necessary after his friend, Rick (I love Mr. Nezzie), did.
It's been a year since he passed now though, a year today...
I'm not going to write about our last conversation even though I could - I remember it so distinctly even though I've tried not to by not really writing it down or talking about it.
|dad, Sadie & Kyleigh|
I'm not going to go into all the times I've forgotten he's gone, looked for him waving to me from the bathroom window or wondered when he'd slip out during a gathering to try to sneak food.
There are lots of sad things I could write about, but I'm going to try not to...
Instead I'm going to try to lay out things I was lucky to have, even though they are lots of things I'll never find again in anybody else... And, please don't confuse the following - I'm not saying this is who my dad was. I'm just saying this is who my dad was to me...
|dad and his 1969 Camaro convertible|
When I was very little (and even when I was not so little) and sleepy or sick, my dad would rub my ear lobe - back and forth, big calloused fingers so soft on my ear. I'm not sure if this is why I pulled on my ear in my sleep or if I did that first and then he started the rubbing, but to this day one ear is bigger than the other and it's the one I pulled on/my dad rubbed.
Goldens - granted Sunshine was BOTH my parents' first baby, but I will forever need a Golden in my life since one has been there for every moment.
My dad did landscaping for a very long time and I can remember the way he would sketch out the way things would grow - he didn't just think about what would look good in the moment, but how things would grow, when different plants/shrubs/trees would bloom and what kind of care would be necessary.
He had strange collections. He always had good taste, don't get me wrong, but my dad had straight up collections of some very random things - clocks of any size, chairs (even if they weren't whole - missing legs, backs, rods, etc), oil lamps, jars of coins, binoculars (in hindsight, we had a lot of pairs of binoculars than most people, I think), clamps, shovels of various shapes & sizes (and they each had a purpose, I'm sure), etc.
On one of my first rescue missions, a hoarder's house, I was so desperate to get cats out that I was handing them out to just about anyone willing to take them... One place was not so great and when I went to get the cat back, they refused - they sent me awful, awful emails and said I'd never get the cat back. Teen-aged me headed over to their address ... with my dad. A guy answered the door, looked down at me and, loosely held a not so nicely barking Doberman, he told me to go away. My dad stepped up behind me, put his hand on the door (so they guy couldn't shut it) and said, "Dobermans. Nice dogs. We've had them." Then something to the extent of, "We've called the police. They're not on your side. Now where's my daughter's cat?" I don't think I would have gotten that cat back if anyone else was with me.
|Unk, Uncle Dick & dad on Thanksgiving|
The man gave really good hugs - I mean, really good hugs - big, warm hugs with sometimes a little shake, extra squeeze, pat on the back or a little back rub thrown in at the end.
I always felt my dad was really generous - like at the very fiber of who he was, he was generous with his time and attention.
I know I mentioned this above, but the drink mixing thing. I don't know why that's so distinct in my mind, but it is - just mixing away.
My middle name it Lyn, my sister's is Marie, my dad's mom's name was Marilyn - I always thought that was a really neat, really creative way to indirectly honor his mom with both of us and another way to forever connect my sister and I equally to one another and to her.
Obviously with his giant-ness, he was one of the best for throwing you up in the air in the pool.
Back in the days before Facebook, you'd just get these weekly emails of dogs that would either be saved or killed. One of my first dog rescues I did was a transport up from Georgia. A dog I had been emailed about no one else was stepping up for, so I did. Well, the transport was running late - really late - a whole day late! The dog's transport was no longer arriving early Saturday, but Sunday ... right in the middle of a friend's wedding. My dad and I left in between the wedding ceremony and the reception to go pick the dog up.
My dad always reminded me of a bear up against a tree when he'd scratch his back on the corner of a wall.
Although my dad had a very "I'm doing it and I don't care what you think about it" attitude, he also had a very deep rooted sense of what was right and wrong. He had strong opinions, but they were often hard to argue with because they weren't just based on "because I said so" or "that's just how I feel", he had sound reasons behind them. He was a meticulous guy, even in his opinions.
It takes some time to pull the memory sometimes, but I can close my eyes and see all the outlined tools - different hammers, saws, wrenches, etc - on the basement wall and the garage wall. Everything had a place ... even if that place was a old glass jar filled with similar knots, bolts or screws.
|Heather, dad & me|
He may not have always been patient, he may not have walked me through every step to teach me, but my dad never left me out - if there was a project, I was going to be there even if it was just to hand him a nail when he needed it or pick up the big sticks/twigs around the property so he could rake.
Speaking of that, there was never any shame in calling my dad or guilt trips when he picked me up no matter what time it was or where it was. He'd show up. I hope he knew I knew (and appreciated) how reliable he was...
I know there's a logical pattern that's best to cut grass and how you can down-shift the gears in your car to slow down if all else fails because of my dad.
|mom & dad|
I remember painting the little sitting room in the Pittsgrove house a light blue with him. He was done work and I had skipped class - it was just us, alone, talking and making that house a little bit better.
When we moved to the Pittsgrove property, we had two ducks of a mystery age - dad loved them! One winter we had not seen one for awhile and we finally spotted them with our binoculars on the island. The lake was frozen and I will never forget my dad wrapping a rope around a tree and the other end to himself. All I could think was "I know the reasoning behind this, but, dad, you're huge. I don't know how I'm reeling you in if you fall through!" Thankfully, he didn't! He walked out across the ice and checked on the duck.
If anyone has a Doug Wesh story or even just a characteristic you saw in him & miss, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org I'm going to compile them, so please share.
|my college graduation|
“If only given
four words to say they would be
Thanks For Loving Me.”
— Daily Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson
Monday, April 7, 2014
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Monday, March 31, 2014
In my dream, my dad and I were in the Wenonah house.
I then asked my dad if we were doing a walk through (it was for sale) or if we were breaking and entering and he did that laugh where the skin around his eyes crinkled. With that, I was sure we were breaking and entering :)
And then he pushed off the back of the sofa, stood up crossing his arms and he looked right at me and said, "I bought it. It's yours."
My first reactio? Looking out the windows out to the backyard just like we left it (a big, green yard with the gardens and the thread-leaf maple, the gate leading to to the Sprigman's yard and my cousin's old backyard just beyond), my first reaction was: "I can't have sheep here!"
And then all these thoughts were running through my head "I wonder if I can get away with a couple hens? ... Who turns down a free house? ... Oh my gosh, it's mine! It's mine again!" as I ran from room to room, up the steps, into the walk-in closet in the master bedroom.
Needless to say, I woke up in this sorry excuse of a roof over our heads (a roof which, coincidentally, was leaking all night long in the kitchen) and realized that none of that was true and that it couldn't/wouldn't become a reality because my dad was dead. Ugh... So I'll wear some feathers (shirt, earrings), try to feel him with me all the same and try not to cry thinking about that dream all day.
* - updated from the original post of: I had a dream last night that my dad and I were in the Wenonah house and we were discussing where we had furniture around the living room and comparing the stuff we had to the crap the family that lived there had. I then asked my dad if we were doing a walk through (it was for sale) or if we were breaking and entering and he did that laugh where the skin around his eyes crinkled. So, then I was sure we were breaking and entering :) And he looked right at me and said, "I bought it. It's yours."
My first reaction? Looking out the windows out back to the big yard: "I can't have a sheep here!"
And then all these thoughts were running through my head "I wonder if I can get away with a couple hens? ... Who turns down a free house? ... Oh my gosh, it's mine! It's mine again!" as I ran from room to room.
I'll post more later (need to run to work), but needless to say, I woke up and realized it wasn't true and that it couldn't/wouldn't be because my dad was dead. Ugh... So I'll wear some feathers (shirt, earrings), try to feel him with me all the same and try not to cry thinking about that all dream all day.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Although we're getting
older wiser, it just means we get to add more years to our friendship ... and it's pretty cool to admit I've had a best friend for more than 25 years.
Happy birthday, Ali! Love ya, lady!
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
- a house
- a cell phone
- money to go back to school (counseling)
- some place nice for my dad to go/spend time at &/OR someone certified to take care of dad
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Not only is this scarf absolutely gorgeous, but it came from a store that supports the rehabilitation & integration of people with special needs into Israeli society. The store in Tel Aviv is called Kelim Shloovim and you can find more info on it here http://www.haaretz.com/culture/arts-leisure/buying-gifts-for-charity-but-not-simply-out-of-charity.premium-1.443978 & here http://zehlezeh.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/kelim-shloovim-the-shopping-experience-that-gives-as-well-as-gets/
Friday, March 7, 2014
After some meds and some testing (x-ray of her skull to look for an obvious tumor causing this), we are left assuming her paralysis has spread because not only is her eyelid only half open, her third eyelid is coming up to protect eye, which isn't dilating.
I can take her to see an eye specialist to see if there's anything going on behind her eye, but I don't know... I think that just like her lack of a smile, this is just deep nerve damage - just like how her mouth opens and moves, but she can't smile that her eye blinks, third eyelid works, but the eye isn't dilating. It doesn't seem to bother her that much, so for now we are leaving her be. Plus, I'd rather save the money for something like acupuncture than a specialist who can't do much more than tell me it's never damage/paralysis.
Oh well, so much for having one normal pet.
Monday, March 3, 2014
It was so cute to see our little Pip all grown up, but still pouncing like he did as a pup. Little did Pip know though that the snow had just started...
It definitely wasn't the most snow we've accumulated during our many winter storms this year, but it absolutely looked like a lot with such a little dog romping around in it.
Oh! And you know what was also a trip? Trying to dry him off! Apparently he hasn't outgrown the idea that a towel is a vicious, vicious beast he needs to terrify with growls and try his hardest to shake to death - talk about spicing up what should be a pretty simple task when going from outside to back inside.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Ugh, so much to look forward to! Shame I haven't really got that thing called patience :)
Monday, February 10, 2014
After a moment's hesitation, I turned around to go join them - (one of those dream things - I just knew where they were going).
Again, it was very crowded with weird random people I've known through my life mixed in, so I ended up running into a group of friends including a very old high school friend. I said some hello's, but it was brief so I could find the guys and I did, a few moments later, at some outside bar sitting around a table with Mr. Locastro, my uncle Dick and my dad who was his usual goofy self and had a big grin on. Kev (Ali's brother) and Nick (Mr. Locastro's son) joined us too. The friends I had run into stopped by, saying their hello's and I introduced all the Wenonah dads, saying my dad last. He stood up to greet the old high school friend and cracked some joke about still being a good lookin old man. He did look old too, not old old, but like I imagined he'd look now if he were healthy (and alive) - whiter beard, some white in his dark brown hair.
I don't remember his voice in the dream, but it was good to see his smile... That didn't stop me from crying though when I woke up with the slow realization that the gathering didn't happen and that it wouldn't happen because he's dead.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
This is my cousin, someone I've known forever, someone I was a bride's maid for, someone I planned on asking to be mine. I was upset. First, it was just "well, I guess I can't ask her to be a bride's maid since she might not be free."
Then, the more I thought about what she said, her attitude, the whole thing, well, I got really upset! Ummm, I think I had about a month to buy the dress she picked out and get ready for the wedding she randomly announced (after years of being engaged) in less than 6 months? Oh and she bought a dress (without us - prob the most fun part). I did it though because I said I'd be your bride's maid, I did it because I'm her family and I love her ... but I guess all that's not reciprocated? Good to know.
Let's not even get into the fact I wasn't expecting to get engaged (only a few months ago). Let's not get into what this past year has been and all that's happened or the fact we have like no money or that looking at wedding stuff = thinking about my wedding = thoughts of our wedding without my dad.
Oh, and then there's people like Bucks Meghan, one of the busiest bees I know who I asked for dates when she knew she already had plans. Her response? "It's your wedding. You plan it and I'll be there with the biggest smile on my face." <3 her
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, sisters Sadie and Diana were grieving over the losses of two of their beloved dogs. Tara, a liver and white Brittany, lost her courageous battle against cancer. Then, just a week after losing Tara, the sisters found themselves back at the animal hospital with their boy Cooper, a red and white Brittany, who was in advanced lung failure. Both deaths, so close together, were heartbreaking to Sadie, Diana and their remaining dog, Emma.
Although not nearly ready emotionally, Sadie and Diana considered adopting another dog because Emma was in a severe depression, having lost her best friends. Their now lone Brittany refused to leave the living room even at night when she would normally be tucked into bed with Diana. It was the room that all three dogs had played in together their whole lives. When left alone now, even if only for a moment, Emma would sit in the living room and let out the most sorrowful howl. Sadie and Diana’s hearts were broken. Emma’s seemed to be broken too. Perhaps a companion for Emma would help?"
That's the way the story I wrote, "They Find You", starts and though some details are changed (like names and places), it's the story of how Annie & Molly and my aunts Sally & Dianne would come to find each another - both pairs in need, both exactly when they needed each other the most.
As you know, I do special needs rescue. I love it and talk about the special animals in my life all the time, so I guess it's bound to rub off on those who love me. Well, when my aunts found themselves looking for a new dog to add to their family, it was proving difficult - after looking at a few dogs, they were getting a little dis-hearted about the whole thing. One dog's foster didn't seem like they were actually going to give the dog up and the other dog they met with didn't get along with Emma, my aunts' now lone dog and their main reason for looking for a new dog so soon.
Just when they were thinking maybe this wasn't the right time, maybe there wasn't a dog out there for them now, my aunts found out about a pair of pups - they were smaller than my aunts were looking for (they were used to Brittanys and this was a pair of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and a pair of pups rather than one dog, but something pulled them to the little dogs ... even when they found out the one sister in the pair of dogs, Annie, was also deaf and born with a heart condition.
Deaf and a heart defect? We're up for that! Love them!!
My aunt drove several hours, picked up the pair of girls and the sisters fit in perfectly (Emma slowly accepting them)! Fate had found my aunts the perfect fit for their home and the girls had finally found their forever family. My aunts, being good new owners, quickly set up appointments to have Annie's heart evaluated, even when they had her previous medical information, and, when necessary, they started her on medication.
Over the past year and a half, Annie could often be found in a corner napping. A time or two she also quietly slipped in behind my aunt as she walked into the bathroom and was left in there. Did Annie bark? Panic? Tear things apart? No, my aunts would find Annie a few minutes later just napping in the bathroom. When not in a corner or quietly padding around, Annie could be found on top of a pillow ... or two or three pillows, if she could find that many - the more, the better in Annie's opinion! She even had a pillow in the car she could prop herself up on. Oh! And there was often the frequent joke that Annie's deafness was caused perhaps by her far from quiet sister, Molly, who is pretty much always barking - the opposite of her quiet sister, Annie.
As with special animals though, they are sometimes not with us long enough. Unfortunately, and very unexpectedly, Annie passed away last week after having a heart attack in the middle of the night and passing on the way to the vet. There's no denying that there is simply nothing that could have been done for Annie - she was happily romping around in the yard with her sister, Molly, and Emma just a few hours before passing. However, as we all know, the pain is not easily soothed even with facts like that.
Thank you, Aunt Sally & Aunt Dianne, for taking this sweet, special girl in and loving her as much as you did for as long as you could. She was loved right until the end and her fate could have been so different, her time with her sister so much shorter if you had not found them and adopted them together.
Though Annie's time with my aunts was far too short, she was deeply loved, spoiled and will forever be in our hearts.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Then came Sneakers ... Sneakers who Unk referred to as "the boss". Sneakers who Unk said was his "best bud", his "reason for getting up in the morning". Sneakers who ate whatever he wanted (for example, Sneakers liked gravy, so not only did he get gravy cat food, Unk would often add gravy to it). Sneakers who got his name in holiday cards ("Love, Unk & Sneakers, the boss"). Sneakers who slept on my aunt's side of the bed. Sneakers and my great Uncle John have been the most important thing in each others lives for years now... but now they can no longer be together.
Sneakers, who can no longer be cared for by my great uncle due to Unk's dementia, went to the "Disney World" for cats, as my Aunt Sally referred to it: Tabby's Place.
Hunterdon Humane), Sneakers will be out, living the life in the cage-free sanctuary with his every need taken care of. If we could all be so lucky...
Today I am thankful - I am thankful there is a place like Tabby's Place and I am thankful to be a part of that family - it is overwhelming to be a part of a circle of people like that. Truly, I don't know of kinder, more loving people and knowing Sneakers will forever have the best of care thanks to Tabby's Place is just about the only bright spot in this very sad situation for the bond broken between my great uncle and his cat.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Well here's what it was in reference too - Sneakers.
Unfortunately, before Christmas, Unk was hospitalized and ended up not going home. A neighbor was kind enough to check on Sneakers and put food and fresh water out for him, but with a change in weather (and, I truly believe, depression with Unk gone), Sneakers became over-run with fleas, lost a great deal of weight and stopped using the litter box. After living alone for about a month and hearing how poorly he was doing, I headed over with Advantage and a hope I'd find the fairly elusive kitty... and he was bad! Buried under a bunch of my great uncle's stuff, Sneakers was much thinner than I'd even seen him, covered in scabs (from scratching at flea bites) and smelled awful from pretty much never leaving the room he was in (and not using a litter box). The house was also warm, making the smell that much more awful. My oh so wonderful vet tech buddy not only answered the phone when I dialed her number, but she answered all my random questions and she inspired that wonderful post above - I've been so lucky to meet some wonderful, sweet, truly self-less people who answer my random calls.
Not only did I get Advantage on Sneakers, but I got him into a crate to be on his way to the vet too. Thank you, West Deptford Animal Hospital for taking him in ans loving this stinky, scabby boy - he's already doing so much better!
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I lit a fire with the love you left behind
And it burned wild and crept up the mountain side
I followed your ashes into outer space
I can't look out the window, I can't look at this place.
I can't look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you've gone too far
So I, I can't look at the stars.
Well, the other night I had a dream and in it, I was sitting in this big field and I was singing this song, the chorus from what I remember...
And I can't look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you've gone too far
So I, I can't look at the stars.
Stars, they make me wonder where you are
And as I was singing, this beautiful snowy owl flew out of the woods near by and drifted around in the sky, a semi-circle before flying back into the woods. It was beautiful and I thought, "Wow, was that a sign? Was that him?" I'm singing this song that reminds me of him and this beautiful bird flies out - birds like that remind me of my dad, mostly red-tailed hawks and bald eagles, but birds of prey in general really.
Just as I was thinking this, just as I was questioning it (I mean, it was a snowy old, not a red-tailed hawk, I thought, over-analyzing), this tree near by erupted (there's no other word for it) with these birds that burst out of the tree and flew in every direction out, up and then they came together in the sky before landing near me - and there they were, an arm's length away from me and they were what must have been 15, maybe 20 red-tailed hawk fledglings.
That was it, that was the dream.
As if all that weren't enough "signs", this song came on while I was in the car with my aunt a couple days later and I said, "This song reminds me of my dad" and I went to tell her about my dream (I hadn't told anyone at this point). Just as I opened my mouth to begin, she cut me off: "Look at that!"
On the car ahead of us, after a couple random numbers, the last three letters on the license plate were "D-A-D"
I hear you, Dad, and I hope you hear me too - I miss you, I miss you, I miss you.