Monday, March 31, 2008

Of Wildfire (& My Ire)

In 1973, I was but a wee girl of 9. I love horses, galloped everywhere -- and where I didn't gallop, I imagined my bike was a horse, including mounting like it was one. Naturally, I adored the song, Wildfire.

But it wasn't just the pure horse love. I loved the romantic & mystical qualities of the song, the longing... Including that a man would sing of and hope for such things.
She Comes down from yellow mountain
On a dark, flat land she rides
On a pony she named Wildfire
When the world went by her side
On a cold Nebraska night

Oh they say she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named Wildfire
Busted down his stall
In a blizzard he was lost
She ran calling Wildfire!
she ran calling Wildfire! she ran calling Wildfire!

By the dark of the moon I planted
But there came an early snow
Theres been a hoot owl howling by my window now
For six nights in a row
Shes coming for me I know
And on Wildfire were both gonna go
We'll be riding Wildfire!
We'll be riding Wildfire! We'll be riding Wildfire!

On Wildfire (were gonna ride)
(were gonna leave some behind) Wildfire!
(get these hard times right on outta our minds... riding Wildfire) Wildfire

(Michael Martin Murphey, America's #1 Selling Cowboy Music Singer, performing Wildfire on Letterman, May 22, 2007.)

In 1973, hubby was but a fetus. And he claims to never know what song I'm talking about when I mention it. So I finally dragged him over to listen to it.

He took my hand and we slow danced in the living room -- which sounds awfully sweet and romantic, but then you didn't know that he was busy laughing at me.

Yes, a romantic sweetheart for proffering the chance to dance; but a meanie-bo-beanie for laughing at my little girl (and romantic believer) tendencies. :sigh:

Like most men, he giveth and the taketh.

I guess when Wildfire shows up, I'll be the only believer riding, leaving the hard times behind.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hailey & Alexander's Hearts

I received the sweetest email today along with the blog award shown here. It's from a beautiful young lady named Haily:
Hi. My name is Hailey and I'm 12 years old. I have a blog in memory of my brother who passed away in 2006 from a heart defect. I was looking online at other blogs and found yours and I would like to give you my blog award for having a blog with heart!

My blog is for the purpose of reaching out and helping children who have a sibling who has special needs or who has died. I do random acts of kindness in my brothers memory.

Attached to this email is the award if you want to put it on your blog and link it to mine. Also, please give this award to 5 blogs that YOU think have heart!

The note put tears in my eyes; but once I visited her website, Alexander's Heart, I couldn't stop crying. Such a sad loss, yes; but what a beautiful spirit in Hailey -- and her supportive family.

I haven't stopped crying yet, but when I do I shall properly add the award to the sidebar and pass the award on, as instructed.

For now, I'm just going to let myself feel all these things which are making me cry: sadness, hope, beauty...

But most of all I feel pride in this 12 year old girl who does and writes such wonderfully moving things.

I do not know her & therefore cannot claim to have had any part in the formation of her wonderful spirit; but somehow I am proud of her just the same. And I take great comfort in knowing that we are in & of the same world.

Blessings to you & yours, Hailey.

Too Cute

Collin found the most precious thing...
In a box of recent donations, we found an old journal written by a kid named Evan. It’s a Star Wars : Episode I journal, and it contains three days in the life of a child, from October 6th, 2001 until the 8th. Every page has a short observation about something that occurred to him that day, and a small illustration of the thought. After that is a large section of missing pages, torn for the book for some mysterious reason, probably just as interesting as the remaining contents.

I'm sooo jealous he found it!

See more here.

Take The Animal Advocacy Background Survey

Via the always fab Chloe Jo:
Please take Animal Advocacy Background Survey: Only Takes 5 Minutes!

This will take only 5-10 minutes, depending on how much you elaborate! (Elaborating is great, but it's not required.) Please crosspost to any lists you are on with other animal advocates. I'd like to get at least 2000 responses!

I'm working on a book for animal advocates, and I'd dearly love your input. I'm striving to find out what different backgrounds animal advocates come from, and ascertain if there are family patterns or other factors that seem to lead us in the direction of advocating for animals. Some of the questions are may always skip a question if it makes you too uncomfortable, and you may remain absolutely anonymous. Most of all, try to be truthful, even if it hurts. There are many opportunities for you to add comments...the more information you can give me the better for me to understand you and the background you come from, so feel free to elaborate on any answer that has a comment box. If you'd like to give me your contact info at the end, I would respect your privacy and your answers, and only contact you further in the event that I need more information. But as I say, you may choose to remain totally anonymous.

Thank you so much for helping me with this survey! For your help, you can get $5.00 off a $10.00 order on my art site, (sorry, not the cafepress store as I don't own that site), $10.00 off a $50.00 order, or $20.00 off a $100.00 order. Just put the code at the end of the survey into your message area when ordering, and your rebate will be sent back to you after your order comes through on my end.

Tammy S. Grimes, Dogs Deserve Better
I have to say the survey took about 5 minutes or so, as she said; but the questions are very interesting and I hope she'll share the results!

Image shown is Tammy's Animal Rescue Angel tattoo.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My Latest Kick: Kitty Pants Which Are Too Tight

When my cat is acting cranky, which is quite often, I've been asking her if her kitty pants are on too tight; she meows in agreement. And now when the kids are cranky, I've been saying their kitty pants are on too tight.

The other day, while explaining what this meant to the kids (which was necessary because they only listen half the time, so they miss things), the eldest still looked perplexed.

I did the old, "Do you need to me to draw a picture for you?"; she took me up on it. Not to be bested, I turned to hubby and told him to draw it. He did.

And so I give you, Kitty Pants (Which, In All Likelihood, Are Too Tight):

Still not willing to let it go (or perhaps not willing to let my delight reign supreme), the younger insisted that hubby ought to have made a hole for the cat's tail. I said that with kitty pants, the tail is covered, like an extra leg, only without a hole at the end. "This," I said, "is why when kitty pants are too tight, cat's get cranky."

There were no more questions.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Babbling About Black Pets

Hubby found this article at MSN on "black dog syndrome" a supposed phenomenon in which black dogs are often the last to be adopted from animal shelters. Surprisingly, having spent years of my life working animal rescue (both pet and wildlife), I'd never heard of it.

I concede that photographs of all black animals are less impressive or moving due to lack of detail and, especially, contrast & exposure of their eyes -- a most imploring neotonous feature. But as most of my rescue work was before the use of the Internet for animal placement and adoption, there was little use of animal photography to place animals.

I won't dispute the evidence of what other animal workers say, but "black dog syndrome" was surprising to me.

However, I do have a story about black animals in pet rescue.

Every Halloween the folks who ran and worked with cat rescue were loathe to let black cats be adopted for fear they'd be used for satanic rituals. Being somewhat 'pagan' myself, I found the fear most irrational; I'd yet to see any evidence of any animal killings, ritual or not, around Halloween, let alone black cats. But for many cat shelters, black cats were kept away from public viewing from September to November based on fearful rumor or old stories.

One lady I worked with was so terrified of such things that any black cats which came into the shelter were adopted by her -- and only her. She was the only one to be trusted. (And I'll admit after a few years of her out-spoken fear and numerous -- over 30 -- black cats made me feel a bit suspicious of her myself; doth she protest too much?)

In truth, I saw many who desired black cats for their 'additional' mystic qualities; a solid black cat is rather special and rare, even if you aren't into any 'dark arts' or have no icky ideas.

Does animal lore does have its affects on people looking for animals? The MSN article spoke of some of those regarding black dogs:
In British folklore, such as stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sir Walter Scott, the black dog is a creepy, spectral figure that haunts cemeteries and is an omen of death. (Non-lit geeks who've never heard of those stories have at least seen "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," in which a big black dog called the Grim stalks Harry.) Another Englishman, Winston Churchill, battled serious bouts of depression which he called "the black dog."
Personally, like the black cats 'mystic' appeal, most animal lovers I've known wouldn't believe such stories mean the cute puppy or dog before them was evil -- but they might be tempted to find such 'mystic lore' appealing.

My guess would be that animal lore adds to the relationship with the animal. Like a secret shared. And what pet owner doesn't already create or 'see' more in their pet and their special relationship? Such stories only tend to make people feel more bonded, more spiritual in connection, than just having a 'fur baby'.

I wonder, just a bit, if there isn't something about this smaller adoption rate of black dogs which has to do with those working with the animals themselves...

Are they at all guilty of somehow feeling the need to protect these animals from the ones most drawn to them because they fear the desire for a black pet is akin to belief in 'bad' animal lore? Do they, however unconsciously, fear a black dog is destined to be harmed?

Friday, March 21, 2008

High-Five Good Friday

1) A high-five to Always Aroused Girl (NWS) for quite naturally doing what most female humans with children do: parent and, when appropriate, have a sex life. It's certainly not politically correct in this day and age to discuss both at the same place -- unless it's coffee among your female friends. (I myself have kept the sex talk at SK. (NWS)) A favorite example of AAG's mommy posts: What We Do For Fun. Too-too cute.

2) A high-five to Elizabeth for admitting that she may be creating one of those horrid Idol contestants.

3) A high-five to hubby for his Fallout Protection for Homes With Basements preservation act.

4) If you thought communication with men & dating was difficult now, see the rules in Victorian times.

5) Suburban Daddy asks, "College or Retirement Savings?"

Want to give high-fives too? Find out how to give your High-Five Fridays here!

The purpose of this meme is to give high-fives to 5 people, posts, blogs and/or websites you've admired during the week. I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 5 high-fives on Friday. Trackbacks, pings, linky widgets, comment links accepted!

Visiting fellow High-Fivers is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your High-Fives in others comments (please note if NWS).