Wednesday, April 25, 2012

 Please visit our family's fundraising page to help meet our goal for the 2012 March for Babies. We're hoping to make it halfway to $10,000 to celebrate Augusta's 10th birthday. Please share this link and know that we are so thankful for your help...

Monday, April 02, 2012

Don't Get Around Much Anymore

It's been a rough few months, for more than a few months now.

Cancer surgery on my head and a broken right wrist on my birthday ... and that was only February.

Last week, just days before his 17th birthday, the old Pink cat left us.
Pink in the Wild

He was as good a cat as I could have ever wanted.
He was older than my first marriage.
He disappeared twice, but we got him back each time.
He never bit the kids.
He slept on one of them every night since they arrived at our house.
He tolerated the dog.
He sat at the end of the hedge and waited for his kids to come from school.
I still look for him on the yellow chair in the kitchen.
I still think I hear his meow.

I'll miss him forever.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tired of the Blame

I wrote this in response to a less-than-correct Facebook status I saw today. The original, cutesy, let's-blame-someone-else message was this:

If you cross the N. Korean border illegally, you get 12 yrs. hard labor.
If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot.
If you cross the U.S. border illegally you get a job, a driver's license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing & child benefits, education, & tax free business for 7 yrs.
No wonder we are a country in debt.

In response, I suggested the poster to take a look at the Wyoming requirement for driver's license and to see the difficulty involved with anyone getting a license, natural born or otherwise. To really know the situation, I also suggest they give this article a read as well.

Reform definitely needs to happen but a person touting this philosophy needs to ask themselves if the current Congress would do it. Their current game is about blame, but they seem more than off in who they should blame. In this situation, blaming an individual that comes for a promise of a job is no solution, as well as inaccurate and immoral.

If our generation wants to see Social Security benefits at our 70+ retirement age, immigration has to be opened to whomever wants to come. Pay a fee for the processing of documents, ideally less than what is paid to a Coyote, get a SS#, get that quadruple-checked driver's license, enroll the children in school and offer the 'American Dream' to those willing to pay into our system. There needs to be more hardworking, contributing individuals to support all the retiring, Reactionary News (insert news channel's name here) watching baby boomers. But, then, who would be blamed for what is not agreed with? Currently, an undocumented person working in the US has money withheld from their pay with no hope of ever seeing it again because they don't have a valid SS# or tax i.d and will never collect any of it in the way of retirement benefits. In reality, what they were promised in pay is even less at the end of the day or week or month.

I am the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants. Based on the records I've seen, my Irish g-gf came in through Canada. It was a much less expensive option than New York, Boston or New Orleans during the famine years when the coffin ships were filled with the starving from the west of Ireland. The landowners saw it as their only option, to free themselves of the starving individuals that worked their land for little more than a place to live. Upon the arrival of the immigrant Irish in the new country, those that survived the trip or born en route, found themselves only finding the jobs no one else wanted because they were the newest and lowest economic class. I think this may fall under the adage of 'the more things change, the more they stay the same.' There is always a disadvantaged class that is seen as responsible for the current economic woes, when it's usually the wealthier classes bearing much of the responsibility for the mismanagement, tax dodging and economic misdeeds. In today's Congress, see who is most against tax hikes for the wealthiest individuals and corporations; those same individuals aren't even willing to talk about fixing the current mess to legitimize and legalize as many immigrants as they could. What a way to kiss off piles of money that could come in to help those social programs that are on the chopping block!

I received a bumper sticker from a friend in Florida today that can be applied to this subject:

All people are created equal members of one human family

I just hope, with immigration reform and less blame of any immigrant group, we can also be one American family, too.

(And, my response to the original status update? It was deleted. When faced with compassion, truth and links, jingoism is much more attractive than reality.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cats And Kids Across The Decades

Even with about four decades in between, kids grabbing cats never ceases to result in some good feline expressions...

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Mackster

Today, even with its weather-induced challenges, started okay. It's really, really cold here. I put a Hawaiian shirt on over my turtleneck and headed off for school. I sent Augusta back to school after her being home sick yesterday. She missed an audition for the Missoula Children's Theater while we were at the pediatrician, but thankfully she was not diagnosed with strep. I kept thinking 'Hawaii', even showing some of my students the obvious and almost comical differences between here and there. At the time I looked, the temperature in Powell was -13°; the projected high in Oahu today was 77°. It's not often that there is a 90° difference on a thermometer. We also made a list of things that we might have here, to handle the cold; snowsuit, snow boots, hat, mittens, hot chocolate. We then made a list of what we might have at the beach, since we were being mental travelers; bathing suit, flip-flops, sun hat, sunscreen, a fizzy pop. The point of the lesson was, no matter what one is doing there is a want for a few things. I guess what it all comes down to is warmth.

Anyhow, home we came after school for me to discover that one additional effect of the cold is the return of the addled, naughty old cat. He left a bloody mess on my bed and the two other cats, that had not been naughty as far as I know, were forced out of my bedroom's safe haven. I changed the bedding, started the laundry and remembered I needed to make a couple of quick stops before dark. I bundled up the kids and had them get in the car. I'd forgotten my purse, so back in the house I went. Back out to the car, with the stuff I thought I needed. Multiple doors had opened and shut and I thought we could go. I started the engine, heard a "THUMP" and saw one of our cats limping away, into the neighbors yard. It was Mack, the big cat. I went after him, calling for him to come back. He was under a trailer next door, howling. I went back to the car, told the kids to go back in the house. I went after Mack. I called him from our back yard and could see him next door. He wouldn't even look at me.

I tried all the calls and cajoles. He wouldn't respond. Yeah, I know ... when does a cat ever really listen? I went next door and was down on hands and knees in the crusty snow, trying to coax him out. He ran again, this time across the alley, and climbed into an old, parked truck. As I continued to call and he continued to howl, liquid started running from within the long-defunct truck. I could tell that Mack was there and distressed. I went back to the house since I was really cold by this point. I called Scott, explained that I suspected Mack had been caught by the fan belt of the car. Augusta went out after him. I went back out, sent Augusta back into the house and opened up the old truck of the neighbors. No sign of a hood release on the inside, so I went and opened from the front. The noise of me opening the hood flushed Mack back to our house and Augusta hollered that he had come back in the cat hatch.

From the earlier mess in my room, my door was shut and Mack sought a place to hide under the kids' bunks. I couldn't see any blood but his eyes were hugely dilated. I was able to reach under and scruff him. He's a big cat and scruffing is never ideal, but he didn't resist. I was able to get a good look at him. No blood running but a lot of bare flesh, big chunks of his velvety black and white coat missing. I carried him to the old cat's laundry room cherry box. He snuggled right in and I called the vet. Even though the vet was in the midst of pulling a calf, I was told to bring him in. I called a friend for a ride and we took Mack over, in the cherry box, with a laundry basket on top, covered with a fleece blanket decorated in ballet slippers. I put him in the kennel, with blanket tucked around him. He promptly exited the box and put his face to the corner of the kennel and peeked out from the blanket's side.

He'll spend the night at the vet. He has had some pain medication and he'll be x-rayed if doesn't appear to use the injured leg by tomorrow. He's the smart cat of our bunch and I know he was just looking for warmth, but I am just dumbfounded that he would crawl up into something like the car. He's never been one to get under things, such as the bedding. He has always been cautious to the point of being fearful. He could have come in the cat hatch at any time, so why he thought a car was a better option than our house, I just don't know. I know I should be glad he's alive, but I'm just sick over this. I just hope I have good news to add tomorrow, that he's not broken. It's going to be a long, painful recovery for him.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Bots and Brats About

If you have received an email from my address trying to sell you something or encourage you to do something that is ridiculous, please know that my 'old' gmail address was picked up somewhere by some bot or brat. I was going to cancel this account, but the only responses I get are from auto-response/out-of-office replies. I live in a Mac dominion so do know it wasn't from me; I am a real person with a real life and not nearly enough time to be a pharmaceutical vendor (but it appears I sell little blue pills rather cheaply!) or trapped in an African country under duress... 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On The Subject Of The Coffeehouse

Hi friends... Just waiting to know if we're going to FINALLY get paid what we're due by the soon-to-be-former proprietors of Parlor News. Since we sold it, there has been a lot of disappointment, broken promises and insincere dealings with this business that Scott and I designed and built from the ground up in 1996 for the community of Powell. I don't think that the community wants to be without a coffee house, but we won't be taking the helm to rebuild the business anytime soon. Thanks to all the generous contributions made by those that wanted to see us back there and tried to make it a reality. We'll be returning your contributions for our acquisition effort to you via Paypal very soon. We've been true to the spirit of keeping a coffee house in Powell and thank you for all the words of encouragement these past many months. Know that those of you that talked to us about what was important to you did not fall on deaf ears. We worked diligently with a good attorney to get through the obstacles that were put in front of us to reclaim the property when we were defaulted upon and hope that we won't be dealt with dishonestly yet again. Your kindnesses and advocacy will not be forgotten and I look forward to closing this chapter of our lives and moving along to happier times. As with any small business, customer dedication is something to be EARNED and not ever to be mistreated or taken for granted. The very same can be said for trust in business dealings. We certainly never took our customers for granted and always knew they were our first priority; when priorities shift, unhappiness is bound to surface. We just hope you know how appreciated you were when you came to see us at the coffee house. Here is to the hope that there will happiness for the aficionado of fine coffee and a community meeting place once again.

A special thanks to Cathy that started the Facebook group and has provided wonderful advisement and a great ear to listen. She'll probably remove the group soon, so don't be surprised when it's gone. Thanks to so many and we'll keep you posted on our next adventures...


Monday, September 27, 2010

For our friend...

A very special soul came into our lives over a decade ago. When I first moved here, I became acquainted with her while I was substitute teaching at the Middle School.  She is always pleasant, supportive and professional and it was an early joy for me to get to know her there. When Scott and I went into business, we were lucky to have her as a good customer. We appreciated her support and the early morning chats as she was on her way to school.  When Augusta arrived into our lives, she provided her with the kind gift of a book, Come Along Daisy, that has given us hours of joy as we read it to her. About 8 years ago, she also became part of our spiritual life as part of the family of St. John's. Her inner peace, her dedication and her strength have provided us with a living and breathing example of the many facets of joy. Now, as we think of her every day,  I can only hope she will know the joy will continue to accompany us as Augusta now reads the book to Charlie. 

Joy continues to illuminate and warm us and for that we will be forever grateful to you. Thank you for sharing your joy and your example with us, good friend.

With our love to you and your dear ones,

Augusta, Charlie, Scott and Justine

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Rocking Moose

It doesn't make noise, light up, play annoying music or need a litterbox/bark collar.

It has a rope tail and sturdy antlers.

This moose is in need of a new home because its kids have grown up and are now neglecting it.

Call me if you want to schedule a visit to see if this is the moose for you.