Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Card Roundup!

I realize that Christmas cards aren't for everyone, so I thought I'd actually ask to see who would like to receive one from me this year.  So, if you'd like to receive a Christmas card from me, let me know in the comments or send me a quick email.  I plan on sending my cards out the second week of December.

I'll be working on a new post very soon!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Meet Toby

Meet Toby D. Stubbs.

When I was a kid, probably just after my 5th birthday, we got a puppy named Digger T. Stubbs.  Digger was a cocker spaniel/bassett hound mix, and was the color of gold.  He had the face of a golden retriever, the ears of a spaniel, and the personality of a bassett.  He was very thick and strong, but not fat.  90 something pounds of pure gentle giant.  And his legs were approximately 4 inches long.  And he was my best friend.

He got his name, Digger, from the fact that he loved to dig.  More than anything.  In the carpet, in the yard, on the kitchen lino, anywhere really.  We had a stump from an old tree in the front yard that he managed to dig out.  That's what the T stands for in his name.  Stubbs?  Well... that should be obvious.  His short stubby little legs and tufts of white gold fur between his toes.

I was an only child, and had difficulties making many friends because I was so shy.  I didn't need any friends though, I had Digger.  We went everywhere, and he wanted to be right next to me no matter what.  In the summers, I would go up to the mountains to visit my grandparents, bringing Digger with me.  If I was out in the field playing and he could see me, he would bust down the screens on the porch and come running out to me.  By the time I was 9, I was a master at replacing the screens.

Digger stayed with me until he couldn't any longer.  Even on his last days, when the cancer was destroying him, he still was right next to me.  He still wagged his tail when he saw me, and he still seemed to be my little puppy.  He was nearly 17 when he passed.  Three days later, I got Oscar.  And then Snickers.  And then Lil' Bit.

When faced with an empty house again, and the reality that was not having a four legged furry friend, I knew it wouldn't be long before I found another one.  My mom was browsing a pet rescue site and came across a dog they named Wallace.  There was just something about him that was calling her.  He was a cocker spaniel/bassett hound mix.  The first we had seen in many many years.
A couple days after finding him online, the pet adoption group created a video to show us.  We knew we had to meet him.

We met Wallace at a pet adoption event at a PetSmart adoption event.  The rescue group is a no-kill fostering organization that searches for the perfect home for each animal.  When mom and I arrived after the hour and a half long car ride, I saw him standing off by himself with the gentleman that was fostering him.  I said "Look mom, there he is." and that was it.

He was described as very quiet.  They said he gets attached to his people very quickly, and tends to seem a little nervous when there's a lot of noise going on outside.  He's very laid back, and doesn't care about cats or other animals.  He is also very gentle - never pulling on the leash or acting aggressively towards anyone (or anything).

I sat down in front of him while my mom just gushed over him completely.  She petted him and talked to him, even taking him on a walk around the parking lot of the store.  We stayed at the adoption event for all of 22 minutes, but we knew that Wallace would be ours.  As I sat there, he kept just staring at me.  Deeply.  I noticed something that I hadn't seen before - his eyes are the exact color of Digger's fur.

About a week later, Wallace was ours.  We discussed names before, and my mom mentioned the name Toby.  I had a name tag engraved with the name Toby D. Stubbs.  "D" is a nod to Digger.  Little did we know that Toby likes to dig as well.  Does anyone know of any good deals on carpet? :)

The adoption was finalized yesterday.  Toby lives with my mom, but she and I both kind of agree - he is very much attached to me.  Just like Digger was.  If I enter her house, he is right by my side (and sometimes, my lap).  Just the other day, I had pulled into her driveway to pick her up and the moment he saw my car, he pushed the storm door open and came running right up to my car.  When I opened the door, he just carefully stepped up and put his head in my lap.  

The way he acts, the way he moves, the way he quietly pants, the way he cocks his head to the side and perks his ears up, they're all just the exact same way Digger used to do.  My mom has said, on numerous occasions, that he is Digger reincarnated.

I think I agree.
And I couldn't be happier about that.

Welcome to the family, Toby.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Not Enough Time

Snickers crossed the Rainbow Bridge on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at 2:56pm. 

When Oscar left in June, I had some deniability.  I was able to put it away and focus on something else - namely, mom's surgery and doing whatever she needed.  But this time... it's been a very difficult adjustment.

Snickers came into my life at a time when he had been unintentionally abused.  He was owned by a woman that worked 16+ hours a day and kept him in a crate.  My mom and I gave him the best life he could have ever had.  He was 6 or 7 when he was added to the family in 2004.

His time had come.  He had stopped barking some time before, and complications from a tooth extraction had left him with an infection that just would not go away.  He stopped eating, started losing a bit of weight, but kept his energy up.  You could see in his eyes that he just wasn't feeling well at all.  And as a pet lover, you just sort of know when it's time. His labored breathing and almost constant whining let us know he was in pain.  We couldn't let him suffer.

As such, I have spent a lot of time writing.  Writing is how I cope in times of stress.  Sometimes, I end up just sitting in front of this typewriter pounding out stress.  The pages almost never make it anywhere, and the words are always convoluted stream of consciousness ramblings.  Sometimes, recently, they have managed to end up in letters.  

Over the summer I couldn't find the words.  Now there are too many.  Too many thoughts and feelings.  Too many stories to tell.  Too many things to share.  There simply isn't enough time in the day for me to get it all done.  Is there ever enough time?

In our modern rush hurry do all the things right now world, I'd venture to guess that no, there is never enough time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Attempting a Comeback

I know I have said this before, but I have been sending out quite a bit of mail in the past week, and I have 3 more letters to go out tomorrow. I really am finally finding the words that I lost some months ago. And let me tell you, I'm glad to have them back. Are you still out there, dear reader? Would you like a piece of mail from me? Please let me know. I would love to reconnect with you, or start fresh with some new readers.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Wake Me Up

Surprisingly, friends, I am still alive.  Well, the being alive part isnt surprising, but I think you get my point.  I hope that this blog will serve as an explanation of my absence in the past months.  

It's been a very.... stressful time.  My work schedule changed, which basically eliminated any free time I had.  On Mondays, the busiest day of my week, I sometimes don't get home until 10:30-11pm after arriving at work at 7am.  Most weeks, I average 60 hours of work.  To say that I am exhausted is an understatement.

The increase in work load, plus trying to keep up with letters and music and everything else I wanted to do basically destroyed my left arm.  As most of you probably know, I have been having some severe pain issues right above my elbow that radiates down into my left hand, sometimes leaving my fingers numb or tingling.  Surgery looks to be my only option of correction now, as it is too far gone for stretching, exercises, and injected steroids and pain killers to correct.  This will set me back quite a bit.  I would have to learn how to do everything with my right hand.... and I'm scared of it.  The what ifs are terrifying.

But.... I also had no words.  I have stacks of letters to reply to... tons of people I have grown to think of as a sort of adopted family that I wanted to speak with.... I just couldn't find the words.  I'm still trying to find them, to be honest, but my recent desires to put pen to paper might signal the end of this down period.  And it wasn't just you guys I wasn't talking to, it was everyone - friends, family, coworkers... everyone.  I just stopped.

And then the depression hit.  Oscar, my beloved black and tan dachshund with a slight touch of grey on his nose, went missing on the night of June 8th.  Exhaustive searching around the neighborhood, flyers posted everywhere, door to door expeditions, and searching every animal shelter I could find led to nothing.  He literally just vanished.  While I hope that he is safe somewhere, my heart knows what really happened. 

My mom had her left knee replaced on June 11th.  I haven't really had time to process Oscar's loss, or the time to do anything, since then.  Now that she is getting out of physical therapy and is back at work and things are starting to become normal again.... I think that I am, too.

Is anyone still out there?  I hope so.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April Showers....

It's been kind of a dreary day today.  This morning was begun by taking my mom to the dentist.  She was nervous, as she has a dreadful fear of the dentist.  Any normal regular procedure, even routine cleaning, involves being put under general anesthesia to prevent panic attacks from taking over and making it impossible.  As I sat in the waiting room, with echoes of that horrifying dental drill and miscellaneous chatter in the operating room, I replied to a letter from a relatively new pen-friend from Jacksonville, FL.

The last few days have been incredibly warm, and downright enjoyable.  Except for the pollen, which has been a nightmare.  Today's pollen count alone is over 8000.  Keep in mind, anything over 150 is viewed as "Extremely High" on the scale.  It's a wonder I was even able to breathe.  The parking lot at the dentist's office was covered in a sheen of greenish yellow, tires and footprints being left behind.

And then, just as the weatherman predicted, rain came.  We are possibly going to get some thunderstorms tonight, but that's ok with me.  Just after the first band of rain came through, I snapped the above photo from the front porch.

That, my friends, is my latest adventure into living more healthy.  I have been fairly successful in my quest to cook more meals than I eat out, and growing some of my own vegetable is the next step.  That is 5 beautifully healthy tomato plants, eagerly waiting to be put into their home in the ground.  Naturally, I would pick a horrible time to plant them - it's supposed to get cold again this weekend.  But, never fear.  I will have them planted and growing in no time.  I hope.

With April showers come May flowers... and June allergies... and July allergies... and August allergies....

Happy Spring, friends!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Fling

The last two weeks have been very busy for me.  It seems as if all my spare time was spent either cleaning up after someone or cooking food.  I don't mind playing the host, but I do sometimes miss the quiet down time.

My mail activity hasn't been very active recently.  I can blame it on myself, I have been very slow to respond because of my lack in time.  But ever so slowly, I am still sending out mail one piece at a time.

Have you seen the new International Forever stamps?  They're round and have a really nice piece of art depicting the Earth.  I liked them so much I bought 2 panels of them.  (Insert picture here, but my camera is currently broken.... so much to do such little time!)

Do any of you have any experience in hand dying paper?  One of my pen friends sent some aged paper done with coffee or tea.  I was wondering what other effects I could achieve using other materials - I had thought to try Kool-Aid or something similar, but I haven't had the chance to yet.