Whatever happened to hibernation?

Forgive me if I am a bit cranky, but that is what the exotics pets said to me. The elder, smart-arsed cat said I am essentially a turnip.

The time is now eighty-two minutes since I emerged from my bedroom the first time, wearing too little clothes to stay warm.

So far I fed two ungrateful pet skunks – twice.  Sort of fed one cranky, finicky, decrepit old cat. Missed the boat in caring for my beloved, lame Newfoundland dog.

Oh… and I dressed – twice. The lovely new Edenpure heater being set too low during the coldest night of the year was the catalyst for all my problems.

Usually, I release the skunks from their den-carriers then shuffle barefooted around the kitchen with my strappy nightgown hanging off one shoulder. The goal being to feed my sweet little princesses in the timely fashion to which they are accustomed.

Rule number one with exotic pets, very old dogs and grandfather-like cats is to never break routine no matter how cold you are or unglamorous you look.

Today, I let them out and poured granola, shivered unnervingly, and went into the bedroom to dress.

Two skunks followed, complaining and eventually digging my bare feet to hurry me along.

“Mama is sure taking her own sweet time today,” Blossom said as I brushed my hair. Lacey shook her head and went back to bed to wait while Blossom continued to hurry  me along.

"What do these two know of time?" asked the twenty-four year old cat.

Snuggies, the twenty-four year old cat, rolled his eyes. “What do these two know of time?”

I was all dressed, loving my soft pink velour pants, the long-sleeved tees, my brown wool sweater and socks. Slid into my slippers to protect toes from Blossom’s skunk digs and off we galloped to the kitchen for her really late breakfast. Milk on my granola to soften. Plated up their lightly scrambled egg, milk and fresh blueberries. Coaxed Lacey back out to eat.

Pet skunk care tip: Mind you, always make sure skunkies are eating when doing anything where you do not want them to assist. Like feeding the dog, which is another story altogether. Also feeding the cat, doing laundry or going outside. I repeat, hyper-energy, super intelligent exotic pets must be eating.

My pet skunks were eating.  So fed the cat on a plate next to them, took dog food to 130-pound Newfoundland dog on doggie sleeping porch. Intent now is simply to go watch skunkies and cat eat while I eat, pick up plates and intervene as needed. Then take dog outside. Then work. Not bad for twenty minutes out of the bed.

You can feel sorry for me anytime here. I used to be a Pollyanna. Today changed me forever. The reason I am cranky.

Was heading in the door to supervise their breakfast, but my snowplow guy showed up three hours early. Good thing I’m dressed then.

The ice mound PlowGuy made on my flowerbeds.

Wade out door through snow I was going to shovel when doggie went out. Am in my soft slippy slippers.

Give my plow guy the garden parameters for the year. “Don’t pile snow on flower beds, please, flowers need spring sunlight, not ice piles with a Newfoundland dog on the ice piles on the flowers.” As we laugh and shake on it, I slide onto my arse under his truck. Unsmashed, I come in with snow in my slippers, cold socks, wet pants. So much for gratitude. At least the snow is clean. Pants will be dry in a few…. hours?

Dog says he is ready to go out. “Wait for plow guy to finish,” I say, knocking snow from slippers. I strip my pants off one frozen leg and peel embedded snow off the hem.

Do I hear the cat upchucking? Are the skunks in his food already?

Oh man, lots of windows. Snowplow guy can see me. I cover my abundant bikini-clad arse with the not-large-enough blue dog bowl. Wade through skunks to get in the door.

Shuffle through the kitchen with a pant leg dragging. No puke. (No no wait for it.) Pick up cat dish he only licked sauce off. New brand for him but the only can in the store last night… we live in the middle of nowhere… really. Not even the skunks wanted this food.

In the bedroom, I take off my lovely soft pink velour pants. Notice cat’s upchuck streaked across the dragging pant leg.

Eh.

Now you can say it.

Back to the kitchen with an armload of pink and white laundry.  From this angle, I see the cat puke in middle of kitchen floor. The sunlight enhances its aura. Drop laundry to go for cleaning bottle and paper towels before skunks track it too. And notice my first tracks of cat puke leading all the way to the bedroom. And back through it.

Step out of my fresh slippers and into more cat puke. Strip off that sock. I clean it all up and scrub the path only to feel through my other sock that I have stepped in it a third… or is it the fourth time.

You can call me a turnip anytime now. Take the second pair of slippers into bathroom to wash then redress. I’m okay. Life is good. Back to kitchen.

Remember, never break stride, never give them a chance, never ever turn your back.

"We were playing in cat puke. Why does that bother you so much?"

Yes, skunks tipped over the can of pukey paper towels they did not want, digging for anything good in the bottom where there was nothing at all. I could have told them that. As far as the upchuck…. they didn’t want the food, didn’t play with the puke when they had the chance. Now they have tracked the mess in a circle. At least they were busy in one place.

I tucked one shocked skunk upside down under my arm, busy with the other getting her hands and paws washed in the sink. It can be done. Dry her, wash and dry the other. Tuck them in the den-carriers and shut the door.

Where is that cat before he barfs again?

The dog has stopped barking at snowplow guy. I go out to admire plow guy’s handiwork. Help my lame old dog to stand by using a towel for a lift. I smell it. I smell it, I smell it. Poor old guy was barking to go out more than at plow guy’s truck. Poor dog pooped in his bed. Washed his hiney, my hands, took the bedding out to freeze since my laundry will go in first.

Then I find cat upchuck on the bottom of the laundry pile I had dropped onto the kitchen floor. I look at the cat.

Lacey would have been grooming Joseph, had she not been on time out.

Now, honestly, the twenty-four year old cat is most of the time quite confused about where you are when you call or feed him, he is pretty much blind, cannot really hear. Definitely cannot smell or taste. We know that because he would never have eaten the sauce or any canned cat food which he spent a quarter-century refusing, preferring instead premium dry food, steak, shrimp and salmon.

Today he looks at me. Yes, he is sitting on the sleeping porch daybed rolling his eyes at me. “Mom,” he says, “Wasn’t it just yesterday you said, with sarcasm, to your sweet husband something about ‘live and learn’?”

"Like I will remember that," said the ancient smart-aleck cat.

“Next time puke in your litter box.”

“Of course, like I will remember that. Just gag me.”

“Living with my great-great-great-grandfather could not be more enlightening,” I said.

I went back inside and let my skunks out of their den carriers.

They charged to the kitchen like they had never been fed.

“Mama sure took her own sweet time getting us up today,” Blossom complained to Lacey.

I gave each of them a spoonful of my soggy granola.


Skunk Medicine: There’s A Skunk In the House! and other Tail-raising Stories –pet skunk memoirs  —  On Amazon in paperback

A Breath Floats By Paperback —Novel with three pet skunks and two Newfoundland dogs in story Amazon.com paperback, Amazon Kindle version, or as an ESSA Books e book for $8.

Visit Women’s Fiction Blog – more short stories – quite often about skunks, dogs, cats. Plus myths, dense observations and the lies we are told – written by a woman.  Need I say more.

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Some people just can’t stand to eat off the same plates as a skunk.

Frankly, I don’t see the problem. It’s not like the plate remains unwashed.

"Really, are they are going through the wash next?" asks Sagie who is washing dishes for Mama.

Unless the skunkie fools you into thinking it is washed. They will lick a plate for ten minutes and it will shine when it has not been into a sudsy dishwater bath. But we skunk people know that and we wash everything.

My family though, my dad namely, has issue. And I can see the point. But these are not dogs or cats doing what dogs are cats do. They are tidy, polite little domestic skunkies.

One Thanksgiving we had everyone to the cabin. One of the last years we were all together, we meaning all of us in the family and both my pet skunks, Jeronimo and Sequoia.

After dinner, I made a feast plate for my skunkies. Brought them out to the kitchen to eat their dinner where everyone could enjoy how cute and sweet and cuddley. Skunk people are like new parents, they never get over the pride and bragging.

Sequoia and Jeronimo usually ate off stompable, unbreakable plastic plates. But all skunk holiday feasts are served on white antique stoneware china from England. Remember the lead in antique china is real, so don’t do this often. But we humans had antique china, so did they, the skunkies. Dining with all but the candles that might set ablaze their little tail feathers.

The next holiday my sister admitted how cute they were. But Dad had a problem. She politely, diplomatically asked if I have plates for the people from which the skunks did not eat.

Since those are their special plates and I have modern day white stoneware for everyone else, rest assured, Dad did not eat from a skunk plate.

But really, only skunk people know. These are special creatures. Intelligent. Resourceful with their surroundings…..

Skunks wipe like people. Skunks do not lick their hineys. They might scoot on the nearest rug to wipe…. but they do not lick. So the plan is to place right by the litter pan the washable rug you want them to use for wiping. But no, skunks do not lick. They wipe and everyday they brush themselves and brush their teeth too. They sit on their fat flat haunches and groom their hiney fluff with their little hands. So cute.

"Can I have your bean?" "No."

Skunks do not eat gucky stuff. Unless of course, we are feeding them crickets and grubs. That more real version of skunk dining is not happening in my house, I kiss my skunks. They must be content with steak and chicken, shrimp and salmon. Proteins that I, too, am willing to eat.

Thanksgiving dinner, skunks eat turkey (no ham or pork, please) and stuffing and yams without sugar. They eat corn on the cob, French bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. They should never eat too much sugar at once but they will eat all you give to them.

Want the Thanksgiving dishes from prep-cooking to be pre-washed before they hit the dishwasher or after they are inside said dishwasher? Skunks can handle it. Just don’t put in knives or fork tines facing up.

Turn a flock of skunks loose on a huge bowl where pumpkin pie filling was mixed, fifteen minutes of licking and it is good to go. Yes, you will want to consider sugar, salt and seasoning intake. No raisin cookies or mock mince meat, since the raisins in those cause renal failure in animals. No asparagus which causes grand mal seizures.

But these domestic skunks, they are thorough if nothing else.

Skunkie moral of the story: I’ve got nothing. Except you want a dish washed right, give it to a skunk.

Thirty pet skunks stories, all about the boys.

 

Turquoise Autumn

November 9, 2009

autumnThe startling turquoise of the sky behind russet and golden leaves made me think of my mother the moment I opened my eyes this morning.

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Mom has been gone for over a decade but the colours of autumn always bring the best of memories.  These colours were of the favorite dress I ever had.  She sewed the dresses like crazy to be done for holiday, one for her, one for me, one for my sister.  The material was crisp, medium plaid with azure and turquoise running with rust, bark, golds, maple, wheat colours.  I think she thought that plaid the loveliest material ever too.

Autumn means to me, Mom at her finest.  She was a vivacious, wild card, yet Martha Stewart-type.  A wild card, period.  Ask the family.  But she was down-to-earth.  The farmer heritage ran through-and-through.

She never stopped harvesting.  Rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples, grapes.  The vegetable garden, her gardens.  I think an acre with everything consolidated.thruautumn

The best ever, I think, was Mom stealing walnuts from the farmer.  Well, the tree did stand by the road.  The walnuts did fall in the middle of the road.  They did stay there for days on end after they fell.

But every year we stole them.  She rushed in with the back of the car right by those walnuts.  Hurry Hurry.  Out we would jump, us two girls, sometimes our cousins or a friend.  We would throw the walnuts into a box in the trunk and she sped us away.  Us innocent children fearing arrest.

Did I say she was a wild card?  She was a light.  In those moments, she was a light.

Every year we dumped walnuts from the farmer’s tree on our driveway.  She would drive over and over them, crushing off the shells.  Then she wore gloves as she cracked them with a hammer and brick, and we dug the walnut meats out with darning needles.  Glass jars of walnuts were on our shelf all winter.

You know what that meant.  The first batch was chocolate walnut fudge and buttered popcorn.  The beginning of the holiday spree.   Like I said, a wild Martha Stewart, never-ending of baking and decorating.  Those were Mom’s good days.

Rake and pumpkins laying on wine barrelTurquoise autumn sky.  Dad hauling huge pumpkins to the front yard that she had milk-fed.  Time to deal with the chickens before winter.  Pruning grapes, digging bulbs.  She could wear long sleeves again, she hated short sleeves anyway.  The last chance to get out and see some friends before winter snows kept her in the county.

But mostly, it was all about that dress.

Essa Adams

Essayist, writer, novelist.

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A Breath Floats By: An Illusion for the Soul

Mature women in women's fiction.

I HAD SWINE FLU BEFORE THEY CALLED IT

I take this very seriously though I am a tongue-in-cheek communicator.

In early February 2009, I got sick.  We are talking really really not well.

swine-flu-freezing-fever-swollen-glandsIt started as tired.  I remember thinking, ‘Why am I so tired every morning?’  I could not think of getting up before ten or eleven even though hubby was home on vacation.  Then my body started to fill with fluid and I wondered if I had congestive heart failure.

Then the Swine Flu permeated my body so I could no longer stay in denial.  I did not know it was H1N1 until long after recovery.  Which was a long way off.  I am pretty convinced it came to me through a Chicago connection who works with hundreds of people each day.  Now that we hear what people experience with the H1N1 virus, I am certain I encountered this way back then.  It was unlike any other flu and I am fifty-two.

FLU PERSONALITIES

Each flu virus is different.  Then, in each person it takes a new approach.  The same but different.  Fever, chills, aches, nausea, loss of appetite.

Yes, intestinal aggravations and vomiting can be a complication of the flu.  But the intestinal symptoms on their own are not really flu because the way I see it….  flu is about a raging infection of the very glands whose job it is to grab the infection and fight it…. with copious discharge of the glands, ultimate bronchial congestion, endless cough to dislodge infectious phlegm from body, consequent breathing difficulty, and even fluid in the lungs.

That is why intestinal complications are referred to as ‘intestinal flu’.  And these are serious as they can cause dehydration and that is most serious of all.  Dehydration is when the body dries up and the infection rages higher.

MY FLU PERSONALITY

My Swine Flu was all about the throat.  Like strep only without the crown-to-the-floor-nailing headache I always used to get with strep before I kicked it for good using my own special home remedy. Perhaps I did not feel the other symptoms at first, except the tired part, because of my natural remedies, I don’t know, can’t call it.  For me, it was the throat.

With this flu, February 2009, my throat was on fire, I could not begin to want to drink water but I forced myself.

THEN THE PHLEGM AND COUGH

Then came the phlegm drainage of the swollen glands in my neck which brought the constant cough.  I wanted to not cough but the cough was never-ending, day and night.  And coughing is to protect us from taking the phlegm into our bodies even deeper, coughing purpose is to get it out.  So I tried to never take anything to stop the cough.  In short, I worked with it.  Drank as much as water as possible to keep the bronchial loose and phlegm thin so I could cough it out.

Not pretty, but the phlegm and undulating infection is what the plague was all about.   If they got through that, the pneumonia was next.

AFTER FLU WATCH FOR PNEUMONIA – THE KILLER KIND

Me, I could not breathe at one point, but we are not there yet. I was at the point of pneumonia when I called the doctor though.

I went to a stupid doctor who could get me in before the weekend.  What is it with me and doctors anyway?  He told me I had a cold.  If I had strep, he did not test.  Just gave me antibiotics which I did not take.  Could he not see I was grey as cement, no air, no oxygen, no nothing left to give to this flu fight.

Recovery

I left the stupid doctor’s office and went to the natural health store.  Should have gone there first, I realize.   Got more blackberry syrup as an effective phlegm expectorant.  Some cranberry concentrate for the bronchial and breathing, and that helped some but I was in rought shape by then.  Got some teas for nutrition.  Some homeopathics to continue to follow my other symptoms.  Home to try to live.  But I really was having a hard time breathing.

That night during a snowstorm while hubby was at work on midnight shift – yes, he should not have gone that night, we know – I could not breathe well.  I realized the suck-the-life-out-of-me energy going into the cough was taking my air, it was closing in, I was getting less and less air every time, coughing more sporadically.  Asthma like.

I was ready to call an ambulance.  Found a bottle of homeopathic remedy for asthma in my ‘cold and asthma’ tupperware box, thank goodness for organization.  Took four pellets and the cough stopped in twenty seconds.  Done, gone.  Breathing normal.

My throat still hurt like hell.  But I could breathe.  Because now is was all about the oxygen.

I had to use the asthma homeopathic remedy a few more times.  This was a combination I had purchased four years before on a whim, even though I do not clinically have asthma.

RECOVERY – OR NOT

Then it was all about the recovery.  I was wrung out like an old washrag.

Sage 6 mo

Could not walk across the house without gasping.  Dishes wore me out, I was exhausted.  I continued to sleep lengthy hours, forced myself to shower, it was so hard.  That’s what walking pneumonia can do.  I didn’t even have that.

Sage two days after rescue  snooorrreeeee  (6 mo)

The men from hubby’s work got this too, said they could not walk half a block without sitting down, it was the most debilitating they ever experienced.  It was the most extreme I ever experienced too.

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Hubby, not so much.  He got it and with the homeopathics he used he was able to not feel so much, stay strong and think he was infallible.  When he went in to work with it the guys tried to kill him.

SELF SHIELD – SELF PRESERVE – SELF RESPONSIBILITY

There are many ways to protect yourself from flu, any flu.  I wish I had started earlier, not been wondering so long what was wrong.

1) Colloidal silver – look up Natural Health Solutions Nanosilver and others.  Colloidal silver smothers the bad bacteria, leaving the good bacteria to fight for you.

2) Homeopathic choices are another way, they make the symptoms more subtle while the virus passes through the system… they do not make you well, just stronger.  Get a good homeopath ahead of time.  Homeopathic choices can be given prior to being exposed too, and at first onset if that is what is called for.  Every person is a different candidate for a different choice, homeopaths understand.

3) Keep hydrated.

4)  Do not dry up your cough either.

5) Keep a good asthmatic combination on hand for emergency.  These are available at health stores and online shops.

FLU SHOT

Nope, I did not say do not get a flu shot.  I absolutely will not say that.  Though I will say I would rather go through what I did than risk a flu shot or the new vaccine that is untested.  I did not say do not go to a medical practitioner.  Though I would say I wish my very own practitioner had been around that week.  I will never say what you can take, as I am not a medical practitioner.  I will say this – plan ahead.

Yes, I am just saying….

Be prepared.

Have a plan prior.

Self shield.

Godspeed.

Stay strong.

Wool Hat Hair. A six-word story…

Natural curls. Sleeping in wool beanie. (6)

Mine looked kinda like this winter Nordic cap  wool-ski-cat-flap-hat-oslo-vermont-originals-usa

A flap hat from Vermont Originals, all wool, most handcrafted in U.S.A.

What? You thought I was blogging  a picture of me with hat hair?

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My priority was staying warm. Blast of winter cold from my room and all.

What I needed was —

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peak-hat-vt-originals

the Wool Peak Hat from VT Originals to stuff my curls up under in the peak. Could have been interesting. I like the grey but red is my colour.

Expounding

I got the idea from Little House on the Prairie. Mary, Laura. Winter in loft. Loose white sleep caps, kerchiefs, I think. Didn’t go so well. All I had was that wool flap hat.

Other ski cap choices for sleepingwool-ski-beanie-nordic-cap-dohm-by-rei

Lovely wool Dohm beanies at Rei (above)

xlrg-cap-wool-roundtop-hat-vt-originals-usa

I could have also used the extra large cap with wool roundtop. Also by Vermont Originals. (above)

Visit Etsy dot com for the feminine Katy’s Crochet. Pink, turquoise, tan, more.

Consider the adults Llamajama Fiddle Head ski hat .fiddleheadwoolskihat-llamajama

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Childrens too at Llamajama woolens. Coats etc! child-nordicwoolhat-llamajama-hats

pinkwoolhat-pink-llalajama

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This is one way to keep the heat turned down. Our body heat escapes through our head, so sleeping in wool winter ski caps are positive energy saving, go-green, support American wool handcrafters way to go. Family friendly hat hair sleep hats way to go people.

Now if you have long hair —

arctic circle wool stocking cap-llamajamas

Essa Adams is an author and publisher who loves to tell a story, short, long, picture blogging or novels.  Her family is very close to opening an Internet business that offers simple answers to taking it all home – the answers to living our personal revolution for peace and green resources.

~And she was at peace…

December 24, 2008

spiritual awakening for life work We all need our magic spiritual train in life. What a blessing to find that magic when we are three.

I cannot stand waiting for Christmas just for my granddaughter to be able to open her gift. This year Thomas and friends is the magic Christmas present. I traded gifts with my daughter so they could give the train to her, but that doesn’t matter. Well, as long as I’m not the one giving jeans, so when she sees nothing fun in the bag says, “It’s gone.”

You understand if you have been a parent of small children, even older ones, they are so excited for a special gift that may unlock the world for them. Music, art, games, skates, globes, strobe lights, dolls. It’s all good. But does the gift match the child?

My daughter loved her bicycle, and she always was a local round-about. She loved the books, and she is an editor and writer. Loved the six-year-old cat that is still alive eighteen years later, still living with me, torturing me. Not her, the cat.  She walked on the guitar and dissected the dolls, except Cabbage Patch Stacey.

Point is the perfect Christmas gift for a child is magic for their life. The gift is a life awakening experience. Their spiritual blossoming. My belief system also includes Christmas gifts as an awakening to the child’s past lives, but that is just me believing.

This brings us to the magic train set for my granddaughter. I thought I would buy a Cabbage Patch like Stacey. My granddaughter is half way to four, it is time. I considered a little dish set, play dough and a sled. Lame basics.

While I could not find all the basics, my granddaughter and daughter were missing in a worldwide toy store. We finally met again. I am told they found the perfect present. The entire time the little one had been engrossed with a Thomas and Friends train set. Quietly enthralled and at peace.

Yes, at peace.thomas-and-friends-christmas-story

Imagine what these computer toys do to our children. They make us crazy. Ages one to two, she could not quite press play buttons for music or  pads on some learning games. I felt her solar plexus rage, I want to scream obscenities and shake my computer too. Computer hell at age one.

I witnessed my granddaughter, at age three, bashing the fake cell phone against her palm because the child was speaking plain English and the computerized message was redundant. Come on. We’re going to have a country of really ticked off little kids running around.

But the train is magic. The train touched this child’s heart. I believe it speaks to her of past lives. Take what you need here and leave the rest, that’s okay. I believe the train is a life training tool for her future. A spiritual awakening for work she will bring to this world that touches hundreds of thousands of lives.

Will she be a writer of train history? Photographer or illustrator of books? Programmer of new technology?  An engineer for green-powered locally run trains in our cultural return to ecological sustainability. Will she be involved in the movement that pulls vintage trains from their graveyards to recycle them for the coming age of small communities around North America where the local market is actually local, and community’s wide market narrowed to five-hundred square miles? When engineers and drivers come home evenings. When family is reunited.

The magic train I hid under my huge coat. Yes, I paid for it, smile. But before we could leave the worldwide toy store, my daughter pried our pleading, but courageous and well-mannered little one from the exhibit train’s magical presence. A heart-rending scene without a tantrum.

The miracle happened. We passed a DVD box on a corner shelf three aisles away, completely out of place, at my eye-level, on its back no less. Forlorn and affordable with a ripped corner. Thomas’ smiling face, the movie, a caboose, even a little book. Look, I show my daughter who was beside herself with empathy for her daughter. We smile and turn to the little one. Shall we get this to watch the movie? Yes, she smiled. Daughter and I agreed that the surprise is not worth the heartbreak for a child. We had to be shown how to deal with the rending moment.

My daughter when she was half way to four.

My daughter with Stacey when she was half way to four.

That ripped up box for me is the miracle I watch for every day of my life. I know we are being taken care of because these little conveniences, these little coincidences never cease. But I know they are never coincidences. I know an angel placed the box on that empty shelf. It’s my miracle, I can believe.

As we left the worldwide toy store, Dora and Sponge Bob faded. Eh with them, granddaughter had the train movie. I cannot wait for her to open the magic train.

Merry Christmas Eve to all whenever you read these stories.

Essa Adams, Women’s Fiction blog

shortversionredballsBe sure to read Gracie: The Freezing Fake Christmas Ladybug before you go, then enter the novel giveaway for December.