Sunday, July 16, 2017

The 2017 Vermont Quilt Festival

Best of Show Quilt "Floral Treasures" by Janice Cunningham. .
My oldest daughter and I celebrate our birthdays each year by attending The Vermont Quilt Festival. No need to shop for a gift for either of us as we select our own gift when we shop in the wide variety of vendor booths while there. My husband goes with us each year to photograph the quilts and this year we went on Sunday, June 25th.  It was the last day of the show and is always a shorter day, but often that better matches our energy levels. It is over an hour away from home and so going for about 6 hours, makes for an eight hour day total, by the time we return home and that seems to be sufficient challenge for my body! There is a lot of walking and this is the one time of year that I use a walker, though in truth I take it mostly as it makes a wonderful shopping cart with its large basket!
Detail of the center motif. This is all hand-appliqued,embroidered and quilted.


We are familiar with the lay-out and scope and know how to time ourselves to see all the new quilts, some of the antique ones and visit the vendors' shops.  My husband's pictures give me all the time I want to spend studying the contest quilts at home on my computer while sitting in my comfortable desk chair.  It is my inspiration for the year ahead and we have learned that the many vendors provide a hands-on experience with new fabrics and patterns and though we limit our shopping there, it guides our shopping for the year ahead as most vendors provide shopping on-line as well. For a quilter, one can never have enough fabric, notions or patterns! Need has little to do with our choices!
Check out the quilting, done with silk thread and by hand. Beautiful detail!


I hope you will enjoy but a few of the pictures my husband took. I am not sure if you can enlarge or view these close up on your computer, but if you can, you will find the details simply amazing!) They represent but a few I randomly chose for this blog. Lighting can be difficult in such a setting, but I think my husband does these quilts justice in his photos. All credit goes to the brilliant home fabric artists that live in Vermont and the surrounding states and Canada.  If you like what you see, consider that this is an an annual event held the third weekend in June and plan to come to it next year. Details can be found on-line at The Vermont Quilt Festival web site. It usually lasts three days and they feature guest artists every year that teach special classes.

I have never taken full advantage of all that The Vermont Quilt Festival has to offer. Besides classes, there are wonderful events and drawings for gifts that all quilters and sewers would love. To "do it right" means going all three days and taking advantage of local lodging and transportation for the event, carefully selecting classes and special events to attend all with a three day pass. They have a wonderful display of contest quilts as well as their guild's own collection of antique quilts. Their vendors are specially selected to display the latest in materials, notions, patterns and threads, all related to quilting and fabric arts. I simply love it and can't imagine NOT having such a stimulating event to attend each year to keep me inspired! (Thank you Tom McMillen for the photos!)
"Tribute to Mary Mannakee" by Leslie Cook, Greenfield, MA.
Domestic and Longarm Quilted.
"Metropolis" by Mary Schilke, Wells River, Vt. Longarm Quilted.

"Patience" by Susan Tamulaitis,Winthrop, MA.Domestic and Longarm Quilted.
"Counting Stars" by Susan Rivers, Burlington, Vermont. Longarm quilted.
"Field of Flowers" by Mamie Rabida,Broad Brook,CT.Home Machine Quilted.
"Dahlia, Go Big" by Candi Reed, Douglas, GA. Long-arm quilted.

Friday, July 7, 2017

L'chiam; To Life!


Our new little Addie Rose, a very sweet kitty!
I awoke early and patted Cassie's head on my way back to bed and told her that today's the day that Addie Rose comes home.  My husband, just waking, cautioned me not to wake her and get her going unless I planned to get up with her. Cassie only rolled one eye open, but I let her go back to sleep. She had eyed me with suspicion as I am only her babysitter and not her master/mistress. While out of town for my colonoscopy, she spent a night and part of a day staying at my daughter's house terrorizing her new cat who now needs therapy after a heroic, or was it a suicidal jump to save her life, or kill herself (we will never know)? She landed 12 feet below in their entry doorway, a jump serious enough to break my legs, if I tried it. The cat was still able to seek shelter from Cassie, though there was no need as our dog wasn't really interested in her.  Maybe my daughter will learn to anticipate and plan versus living totally in the spontaneous "now", but she has no time to anticipate, but only to deal with the immediate crisis of the moment these days.  Her new step-mom role in addition to adding a new cat to their busy household has left her a bit ragged!

My colonoscopy is over.  To follow is possible treatment or not?  I will see my primary doctor in July but before I do, my husband and I are going to get our new kitten and several days later go to The Vermont Quilt Festival, our annual birthday celebration for me and my daughter.  Meanwhile I will soon return to my usual diet, abandoned for my colon test.

The dinner to celebrate it all being over wasn't sticking to my diet as it included ketchup and 2 slices of bread which means sugar and yeast! Oh my!! This dinner followed my day and a half fast and drastic colon cleanse. For once I could claim I wasn't full of "BS", but planned to keep my blood sugars from crashing and so we went out to eat on the way home.  I was furious with our young and inexperienced space-cadet waiter who let our meal grow cold under the "warming lights"...It wasn't so tasty after sitting for eight minutes while he lost himself in what was obviously a new summer job. He would never make a good waiter, but clearly he didn't know that about himself yet and my judgement was perhaps too harsh and hasty?

I think he sensed I was hostile and perhaps not so clueless to his spaciness, though he clearly had no idea that I was so ravenously hungry, I could have perhaps gnawed off his arm and eaten it raw on the spot! I tried to appreciate my meal albeit, too cold for ultimate satisfaction.  I ate it like it was delicious, even though it was a disappointment. Food, it seems, these days is a necessity more than the ultimate pleasure it used to be.  I hate being diabetic! Now I consume what I must, when I must and without dessert, instead of waiting for the best restaurant and eating just what I want with a generous slice of cheesecake with sliced strawberries and whipped cream on the side before and during my dinner!

The dreaded test was over and I was hoping it was all the treatment I would need as well. Only one polyp removed and that is likely as good as it gets at my age, and one more "itis" to add to my list of all the others.  I am surprised that my middle name isn't "Itis" for inflammation rules my body. It is part of what goes with chronic Lyme Disease. My husband complained before my test, "If only you didn't get so upset with small things"! Small things, indeed, become big things when there is such a large concentration of them! Life is less than spontaneous these days...too many hard-learned lessons and now I take life in bits and segments. It is easier that way!

Working hard to settle in, make herself comfortable, and pose for a picture!
Today I am biting off more--a new kitty companion...I need one now, a furry friend to replace some of the action that has gone too quiet after my dear Zeldie passed. I need to continue loving and being loved. Why isn't my husband enough for me? He is still working and too busy, and I am only Cassie's babysitter.  She picked her favorites some time ago and I wasn't on the list. I need more love to "keep on keeping-on".  If it is too quiet, I become a diminished version of myself.

Addie Rose is my prize for weathering the loss of my dear Zeldie as well as for continuing to battle my health issues, and create more quilts, along with finishing my bucket list of UFOs.  I am taking on another craft season as well for that is what I do. I get tired of persevering and lose my enthusiasm for tackling my do-list everyday, but know that living life to the full means ever challenging myself! I am aging and slowing down, taking more time for smelling flowers and listening to songbirds outside my patio door and snuggling a kitty is high on my list too, each an important part of loving life. It will soon be time to pick up little Addie Rose at the SPCA shelter and she will remind me every day to pause for love, for that is what life is all about--to love and be loved and share my life with others.
My owners are catching on, pampering me with toys.What I have to smile too?

Zeldie loved my home studio and she even collected some of my smaller projects carrying them off to her little nest spaces not missed much by me, except to wonder why the numbers didn't add up...but at my age, life is an "ever wondrous thing".  I once wished for a Grandma Moses-sort-of-life-style and I have it now! Instead of new paintings, I have new pincushions and quilts to make and Addie Rose will hopefully enjoy Little House with all its bits of sewing clutter!
My own cat perch in the sunshine and what are these silly strips of material?
Life is more than sufficient, but sharing it will make it better. I am excited for this day and the days to follow.  Great expectations? Is there any other way to live? A life with Addie Rose will soon begin and my life will never be the same again. Love changes everything! Here's to life!  L'chiam!
Time to take a serious nap, it's been an intense day!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Shopping for a Pet is Not Without Peril

Our dear little Addie Rose, still too little to come home yet.
Our search for a kitten was not without peril and pain. It is a different day and age and our hunt for a new kitty started on line. After my long term dearest cat companion died, friends sent me names and numbers of those that had adoptable cats and kittens. Being in the country, barn cats are often with kittens, though over the years we have used the SPCA Rescue Shelters instead as they come with "care package deals" including needed physical exams, de-worming, immunizations and neutering or spaying. We learned the hard way about adopting kittens and not having them spayed. Unspayed cats numbers can grow exponentially almost overnight, and health care is as essential to pets as it is for us!

Petfinders.com is an available service on-line and helped us locate kittens through local adoption agencies.  Both my daughter and I found prospective pets in this manner.  It worked well for my daughter, but less well for me. Kittens, we learned are seasonal and at the beginning of our search, few were available. To make a long story short, I was unprepared for what I encountered, and hope that my blog will inform others so as to avoid the pain that I went through.

My daughter offered transportation and her day off to take me with her to meet her desired cat as well as my own. Her's was at an animal hospital that also acted as an SPCA shelter.  They had only a few kittens, including the one that I ended up adopting.  The staff of this vet clinic and shelter were welcoming and took much time to bring us each animal that was available for adoption, allowing us to spend time with each individual animal.  My daughter had seen her's on line and thought by her picture and description of her disposition, she would be a perfect match and used a credit card as down payment to reserve this cat for her.  Their service was very respectful to us as well as each adoptable kitty and cat.
Addie Rose, our special little kitty!

We then went to a cat clinic at a Petsmart Store a good distance from us to meet the kitty that I wanted to meet. We were there a few minutes late and I was concerned that perhaps my selected kitten would be gone. She was gone alright, as she hadn't even been brought to that particular cat clinic at all.  We were not warmly greeted, but quite the opposite. It seemed that first and foremost in their minds, was whether or not I had filled out their questionnaire.  I replied that I had just that morning, about five hours before our arrival. This is apparently the policy of Whiskers Adoption Agency. All potential adopters are screened first before being allowed to visit the animals.

My selected kitty was in a nearby foster home. I was told most curtly that she wasn't available for adoption without adopting her sibling though their add on line had indicated that they preferred to have this kitty and her sibling stay together. Whisker's policy states however that each potential adoptive parent would be free to choose the best pet for them and no pressure would be applied by the adoption agency to adopt a particular animal for the sake of saving an animal?

"Blazing Star", the kitty I was not allowed to see or adopt.
It was unclear to me as to which cats would be at particular cat clinic, though I had emailed a note that I would be there that evening to meet little Blazing Star, the kitten of my choice. I assumed that all adoptable cats would be there. Distance was certainly an issue for us, but no one answered their phone to confirm this and we took our chances. My daughter was so angry about the rude manner in which we were treated, she rightfully chose NOT to consider any of the cats that were there, though she was still looking for another cat or kitten to adopt.

I returned home confused and disappointed and  posted an email indicating that I had traveled a great distance to meet this animal and inquired as to how I could arrange to meet her. The next morning, I received an email back from Whisker's agency to inform me that based on the questionnaire, I had filled out, I was found to "NOT be considered a humane animal owner" and was not allowed to adopt an animal through them. This online questionnaire included the name of my vet as a personal reference, but their decision was based solely on a checklist regarding what I might consider in treating any behavioral issues the adopted cat might have and I had checked off "declawing" along with many other options.

Sadly no one talked to me or get to know me before deciding me "inhumane", as declawing would have been a last choice versus a first choice.  I take adoption seriously and have had both easy and difficult animals to train, and always consult my vet as to how to best handle a particular problem. They also included information regarding declawing, and information about another procedure where claws can now be covered with rubber coatings to soften the sharpness to prevent clawing damage of your home and furniture, should your animal display clawing behaviors.

I later talked to my friends as I was devastated by their decision and blown away by their assessment of me. I was and still am grieving the loss of Zeldie. She was my mostly companion and her absence is no small loss, especially as I am mostly house-bound and except for my furry friends, I am often alone. I was vulnerable but anxious to adopt another kitty, but was not prepared for a negative, albeit, superficial evaluation of myself as a pet owner. My friends let me know that most of them had been "black-balled" as prospective pet owners as well. One wasn't allowed to adopt an animal as she worked full time.  Another was refused as she indicated that she let her cats outdoors.  That is considered unsafe for cats now. Other's told me that they have lied or are less than honest and open when filling out such forms, as often they expect to experience such negative judgments, and some have had a relatives adopt animals for them to get around being "black balled".

Already Addie can do tricks and look at you upside down!
I had found our dear little Addie Rose at the SPCA Center where my daughter took us first to get the cat that she desired. She is not only a beautiful kitty is very affectionate and comfortable with us. She literally adopted us! This SPCA shelter has been so welcoming and has allowed us to visit our kitty until she is big enough to go home. This has not only afforded us more time to get to know our kitty, but has also given them the opportunity to view and interact with us. I think actions speak louder than questionnaires. We have also learned more about kitty care, though we have had kitties before. It is sad that Whiskers Adoption Agency doesn't do the same.

While I can't change the world, I did want to speak up regarding how I was treated at Petsmart and by the Whiskers Adoption Agency. Only days later, when I went to show my other daughter a picture of Blazing Star, we noted that she had been adopted without her sibling. Clearly, we weren't just treated rudely as well as dismissed as cruel and inhumane pet owners, but the rules of adoption weren't equal for everyone despite their policy's pledge.

No one deserves to be treated as I was treated and I am writing this blog to warn others in search of a future pet. I will follow up with Petfinders.com to let them know that this particular store advertised this kitten as available, when I think she wasn't available at all. They also need to know about the rude manner, and personally discriminating fashion of this agency and store. They were beyond impersonal but unfair and cruel to me in my vulnerable grieving state!  I will also complain to the Whisker Adoption Agency. I appreciate that they are looking for good adoptive pet parents, but judging me based on their questionnaire and honest answer re "declawing" doesn't educate in a positive manner.  This issue  would better be taken up with vets versus the people who seek their professional advice.
"In a world where you can be anything, chose to be kind". (from FB)

I have adopted two other pets from Petsmart and this was the first time that I was treated in such a manner and so I will inform them as well. Meanwhile, I took my business elsewhere and am happy I did. I warn my readers of my treatment in hopes that they will take care to not find themselves in a similar situation. I sincerely hope that others will not expose themselves to superficial paper/pencil tests, without being warned that you may well be judged harshly when answering hypothetical questions, that should only be confidentially addressed with consultation with your trusted vet. I hope that you find shelters that treat people as humanely as they treat animals. Most of us are wanting to be the best pet owners we can be, and such superficial judgement of responsible pet ownership isn't best done through impersonal questionnaires.

Alls well that ends well. Our dear little Addie Rose will soon be able to come home with us.  I am busy preparing to set up her temporary nursery, and have been earnestly reading a kitty training book. We have found Amazon.com to be a cheaper way to purchase just what our kitty may need with trees and perches to climb and different types of scratching posts, and behavioral training aides. We look forward to training her as well as spoiling her and we already cherish being with her. I hope that Blazing Star has found an equally good home as well.
"Contentment" for us both!

My search has ended well, but being treated badly on top of losing a dear pet really shouldn't be part of anyone's healing process. Do beware of such questionnaires that attempt to evaluate and potentially label you. Also watch out for potential discrimination in adopting a young pet if you are in your senior years. I wasn't treated favorably from the initial contact, so perhaps my silver hair and limp entered into their decision as well? I will add that planning is important if the animal you adopt could potentially outlive you, so as to not leave your pet(s) without a home, should something happen to you first. Responsible pet parenting means serious consideration of whatever your pet may need. I may well be on my way to becoming a "cat lady"! When I saw how many need homes and how well developed my "cat communication skills" have become thanks to Zeldie, my beloved teacher, Addie Rose may well be only the first to be adopted. I may well have love enough for more than one cat!
From FB: "Even in 1890, one cat is not enough!" (She is my new heroine!)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Taking Time for Visits with Friends

Down home bests: clucking hens and visits with dear friends.
Next to new love in its ability to lift the soul, is a visit with an old and dear friend. There is nothing so sweet as being around someone pleasant and confirming, someone that I love and that loves me back. The warmth of friendship is a soothing balm in these rough waters of life! We are all at least a bit scarred by the ravages of time, but no matter what real friends are there for us through the thick and thin of it all.

It shocks me as I realize, however, that others age just like me, as I am guilty of thinking I am the only one! The adage "What? you too?" is a comforting one.  I really do belong to the same world as everyone else! Such visits with friends confirm that my family and I are not alone in our struggles after all!

My tongue doesn't stop wagging while together with real friends, though I need not worry about the silent pauses either, for we are together and that is enough! My friends are like a ray of spring sunshine, thawing the chill of a late winter day, no matter that our Vermont weather has fewer sunshiny days than other places! We sit together in our houses, their's or mine and look out at the Vermont country-side and the walls that surround us no longer close us in!
Vermont country is beautiful, no matter what season.

Growing older isn't so bad when one is able to experience a uniting of hearts! We listen to each other's concerns regarding the current negative and divisive political world, and appreciate each other's pains and joys as we talk with one another about our life. Sharing the worries we carry about those we love lightens our loads. Friends of friends need a circle of love surrounding them too, so as to not be destroyed by the trials that life brings and we know that we will lift them all in our personal prayers.

On my way out my friend's door, I realized I forgot my cane and she pointed to her own standing ready by the door among her collection of walking sticks from relatives who have passed and no longer need them. "I carry one with me now when I walk these country roads to ward off unfriendly dogs or bees." I knew she was referring to a pet goat that got loose one day and really did attack her and her friend, ramming them with its horns. Both escaped serious injury when they jumped into a nearby parked car. This world, sadly is not always so warm and friendly. Our innocence is not what it used to be!

Special times carved out to spend with friends enable us to push away any gloomy clouds and find warmth and safety in each other's company. I know each friend's heart and they know mine. Wisdom comes with our maturity and our special oases of friendship brighten our days, no matter how seldom we take time for such pleasure.

I remember a piece I wrote 25 years ago when we were living on an old three-hundred acre farm in Orwell, Vermont.  We loved it there, but we also sometimes felt very isolated and visits with friends, I learned then weren't insignificant. The following is a piece I wrote about a heartwarming visit with a friend in 1992! Much has changed but much remains the same.

For Janice 

I had a visit with my friend..
She called one day and had me come with kids and handwork all.
And while the children played and swam, we talked on and on and on.
We talked of kings and queens and presidents,
Of war and crooks and fairs,
Of knitting machines, sick cows and other small town news,
Of a special celery recipe that no one ate,
And relatives that no one liked.
We even talked of healing prayers,
And politics and the spread of evil in this world.
She iced a cake, peeled and sliced carrots and finished making dinner.
I did my handwork, viewed her quilt and drank the rest of my iced tea.
Then I packed my things and called my kids.
As I said goodbye, she pulled some celery from her garden and stuffed it in a bag,
Then carried it with some other things and walked me to my car.
So simple was our pleasure as to seem common,
But it wasn't just an ordinary day, 
I had a visit with my friend. 
1992- Jane McMillen

 A visit with a friend isn't so fancy, but equally as sustaining as a high tea!




Pictures by Tom McMillen.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

On New Love

What is not to love about this little face?We are mutually bonding!
New love is very exciting and is the best anti-depressant ever without the need to swallow any pill. It is fun and does keep us vibrant and open to new possibilities. And so it is with our new little kitty. It seems the name Addie Rose is sticking best, for truly she is the new blossoming romance in our life.

She is still too little to come home. We need to give her another couple of weeks or so to grow. We are visiting her as often as we can. She is getting to know and recognize us.  My daughter thought perhaps she was young enough to react to her in the same way she does to me and she began to cry and settled right down when placed back in my hands. I was touched. She has indeed adopted me and I couldn't be more thrilled!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

New Kitty Coming Home Soon!

We have an announcement to make at Little House.  We have a new little kitty coming home in another week or two.  She adopted me first and then my husband.  We are very excited about her! Though we still miss our Zeldie and likely will for some time to come, this new little kitty has lifted our spirits.

We have gathered some new kitty items for her and I will keep you posted as we put her "nursery" together to welcome her home. Our search for her wasn't without some serious thoughts taken as to how to train her to not use her claws or teeth destructively as our little Zeldie did. We also have made plans for her should she outlive us. Nothing is sadder than animals who have lost their caretakers. Our girls seem open to taking her in should that happen.

Shortly after we adopted Zeldie, my aging mother required much of my time and so my youngest daughter took over mothering our Zeldie.  She was amply loved but didn't get the training she needed and so I look forward to training this little one. I did inquire about "training a cat", as the cats I have known seem to come with their own ideas, but have been assured that training can be done. We shall see?

We still aren't certain of her name as yet and are welcoming suggestions.  Right now, it seems that Pearl Gray Button may be our first choice, though we like Addie Rose as well. My grandmother was named Rose Addie by her older brother, but known to her family as Addie. I wonder if she would be honored to have a cat named after her?

Nosey, Maude, Stitch Sister and Comfort were considered as well. Drew was also a choice, after our beloved vet. A friend who offered several suggestions, including Pearl, did indicate that some of her pets needed to be renamed when their unique personality emerged and that may well be the case here. So far, she is the sweetest and most delicate kitty ever, and simply radiates warmth, love and comfort!

I couldn't help but note the happiness that came over my husband's face as he held her and my daughter noted my response to her as well.  We miss our children and the joy that they brought to us, and pets are taking on greater significance to us the older we get.  They truly are children substitutes. Their needs keep us going and make us feel younger. They are recipients of our love and give us their devoted love in return, so essential to keep us seniors motivated and engaged in life! Grand babies most likely do the same, though that is not within our repertoire. That will have to be the decision of our children and can't be rushed by our needs.

My daughter commented that my expectations are unrealistic for a tiny little kitty and I should perhaps check and trim them down to size, but at our ages, we need all the loving we can get, as well as give. Love is truly energizing and I have no doubt that the love this little kitty will bring to our home will be sufficient or else another kitty... or more perhaps? I enjoy scaring my children as they did us once upon a time, when they knew no limits as to the number of pets they wanted!

So let us know if you have thoughts regarding what we should name her. We have to wait until she is about two pounds before bringing her home. Last week she weighed only one pound! We will visit her tonight.  She is at an SPCA shelter, and they welcome us bonding with her before she comes home. It is a bit of a drive from our house so we can't go as often as we like, but will hopefully see her at least a couple of times this week! She is so precious!

Monday, May 15, 2017

An Unusual Mother's Day, Not the Hallmark Kind

The appearance of a  beautiful bee life, when it is just part of his day's work.
On Mother's Day I was particularly touched by a post on facebook where someone posted what a sad day it is for her, as everyone will talk about their much loved  and near-perfect mothers, when, for her, it is a holiday that makes her realize what she didn't have. I read on, as something about her story resonated with me. She related that her mother wasn't a healthy person and was abusive to her, no matter how hard she tried to please her.

It made me sad, but her story was not unfamiliar to me. My "Pollyanna Perfectionism" was stripped away and there I was, feeling like she was telling my story, as her realities matched some of my own. I spent years in therapy to talk about the love/hate relationship I had with my mother. It did a lot to help me, as later I took on her care in the last years of her life. With God's grace, I was able to give to my mother what she had a hard time giving to me, unconditional love. I loved her, despite her NOT being a perfect mother. In fact when I was little I fantasized that I had a good and bad mother and when the bad one was in her glory, I knew that my good one was tied up in a closet, eager to be released to care for me. Talk about how my fantasies sustained me! My bad mother died with my good mother and until I read this honest recounting of someone's abusive mother, I quite forgot about my dual-sided mother.

Moving on to another flower.
I have struggled all my life to heal past pains.  Are they related to my health issues of today? I have no doubt about it, and when I left home, I believe that I continued to live out the dramas that hadn't healed before. My supervisors often became a repeat of the relationship I had with my mother. Abused people often love those that abuse them and find others that are similar in their life to work out their unresolved issues. Counseling has helped and yet losses like losing my Zeldie cat only weeks ago, will often resurrect losses of my past.

Pain resurfaces when the Grief Gate is opened. It is OK to feel sadness from the past, however unpleasant it might be. It is good to be in touch with all of me and not just the memories that are only happy ones. I have much tucked away I realized: pains of being misunderstood, and unaccepted; pains over losing my health and continuing to have ongoing health and disability issues; pain over experiencing a complicated career environment, dealing with employers that weren't fair and down -right abusive; pains with my personal insecurities that made me seek paychecks over being happy; pains from losses of friends and loved ones, and cherished pets.

Sometimes upside down.
While losses are part of everyone's life, much of my life was spent carrying a heavy oak cross while others around me seemed to only get light-weight aluminum ones. I have worked hard to keep a Pollyanna spirit and consider the benefits of such trials and they are there, to be sure. I do believe that I have been toughed and sensitized as well. My faith roots have grown deeper and I have become more sensitive, kind and compassionate to others.  In fact I was just writing a piece about feeling others' pains, as again I seem to be overwhelmed by the number of friends and family that are dealing with struggles that dwarf my own. I feel their pain, and though I would love to shut it out, I cannot. I am grateful for the gift of my Zeldie Pooh, no matter how much I miss her now, and I need to be there for whichever friend or family member is in need.

And yet onto another flower. He works very hard!
My dear friend's husband is struggling with a recent decline in his health. Not only does the entire family have chronic lyme disease, but her husband developed ALS symptoms, thought to be lyme induced; add to that only a week ago, my sister called to tell me that she had finally taken my suggestion and gotten herself a glucometer and called to report a fasting blood sugar in the mid 300 range and only hours later her blood sugar climbed into the 600's and her husband rushed to the ER. It was a good thing, as she had gone into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), though until that day she didn't even know that she was diabetic. I had diagnosed her over the phone but thought that she was going from pre-diabetes into a full-fledged Type 2 diabetes, and had no idea that she would be susceptible to DKA! Diabetes Type 2 hits many of us that are overweight, under-exercised, and middle age. She was sent home on insulin even though  her blood glucose was still way too high, so high that she couldn't understand the directions as to how to take care of herself. I praise her husband for his committed care of her!

Busy doing what bees do!


Many of my readers know Red, through Jon Katz's Bedlam Farm blog and know that his wonderful healthy sheep-herding dog has suddenly become very sick with Lyme Disease and its co-infections! It does seem that wherever I turn these days there is a war waged between life and death.  Being in grief myself over the sudden loss of my cat companion, has over-sensitized me to what is happening to others. My rose-colored glasses have fallen off and I realize how much I am fighting back a flood of memories from my life that hasn't always been so great, or worse, has been down right awful!  I could simply push it out of my mind but truly it is a good thing to see what hasn't fully healed while my vision is so clear! I don't want to shut the door but rather allow myself to look at the underlying sadness that doesn't often surface as it should. I want to see and feel the pains I thought I had "dealt with", when in fact they are likely robbing me of energy unconsciously suppressing them.

And still another blossom, all day long working hard!
So I had a very good Mother's Day. It was a bit different than the Hallmark sort of Mother's Day, but perhaps the kind that I needed most. A day to be honest with myself about my very real life. It is less than perfect, but then being real often is! Life isn't easy and being open to the sadness and griefs that come with being a real person is important too. I didn't miss celebrating, the happy part will just come on a different day...I really am OK about the events in my life that have made me into being the person I am today. I wouldn't trade my life with anyone else's. It has been a unique walk and I treasure the lessons that have come my way, no matter how hard! I am glad that my sadness can be felt and realized before it lifts and it will, it always does!

(Credit goes to my husband, Tom McMillen for the beautiful bee photos! Thanks Tom!)