Archive for March, 2012

The Fragrant Garden in Forsyth Park

March 28, 2012

Today was a little pleasure sight-seeing trip to Savannah with Sugar and his daughters.  We met up at the Sentient Bean coffee shop just south of Forsyth Park, then headed through the park.  The weather was brisk with a hint of rain, although the rainage didn’t happen.  The daughters wanted to enjoy the park, which to me was just a big field with some trees, but then we didn’t really have any parks where I grew up, and I never understood the magic of a carefully-maintained public space.  What did happen was that we found a little gazing spot, which as usual in life, was just around the corner from where we were. 

You know what I’m talking about.  It’s that spot that’s just out of view, and you don’t even know it’s there.  Maybe it’s around the next turn, just around the bend, just a bit past everyday. Sugar had mentioned a place in the central part of the park, by the amphitheatre, by the Starbucks, by the playground, called the Trustees Garden for the Blind.  We’d never been.  We’re usually skirting the park and never going into the interior, which is classic behavior for me.  Never delving too deeply because that might mean I might find something that I’d have to deal with, whether in life or in my mind.  Nothing to see here, folks.

Today we found the Garden for the Blind, now reopened as The Fragrant Garden.  You can read more about it here and here and here.

Come on in.

See the squirrel in the garden? He's real. At first glance, I thought he was a prop.

Here are some of the things planted in the garden.

 

 

 

Did someone remove the plant in question?

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back at the entrance.

 

And over the entrance, we see the tops of the beautiful live oaks.

Now I want a fragrant garden.

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Getting Up and Going On

March 27, 2012

Before you read any of this post, you might as well be warned that I will lapse into a remembrance about a pivotal point of my life.  So if you don’t want to read any further, then don’t.  Nobody is paying you to be here, unfortunately, and neither is anyone paying me to chatter on, so proceed at will. 

Not to sound cold or indifferent to your presence, but rather to say that I’ll just put an invisible pen to invisible paper and record these words for what it’s worth.

Eleven years ago, I moved to this part of the country with my husband, my daughter in college, and my son in high school.  The weather had turned cold, much like it is this week, and we arrived at night with all our worldly goods in a rental truck towing a car, and a pickup truck towing a Uhaul trailer.  The next day we found out that our mortgage had not been processed, had indeed not even been begun, and we had nowhere to live.  Because we had nowhere to live, we had no address, and could not prove that we lived here, and could not enroll our son in school. 

The move had not progressed well, and there was problem after problem, but I had no idea of the problems that were about to happen in a year.  Almost exactly a year to the day of moving, my husband announced that he was leaving, and he packed up a few things and left in 45 minutes. 

Forty-five minutes.  He drove away, his black pickup truck making the turn out of sight like a black snake sliding away.  None of this made sense.

Over the next few weeks, I worked on preparing the paperwork for April 15.  I started finding alarming evidence.  He had cashed in two life insurance policies and his IRAs, and he had depleted the checking accounts, the savings accounts, the college savings fund that had over $45K in it, and his investment accounts.  He had gotten a second mortgage for $25K on the house we had sold in NC, and had forged my signature.  He had gotten a loan at the local back, and had the monthly repayment drafted from the personal checking account, the account I now had in my possession, and because my name was not on the loan, the bank would not release any information about it, even though the repayment was drafted out of an account with my name on it.  There was a credit card in my name with an unpaid balance, even though I had never applied for a credit card.  There were other credit cards with large unpaid balances.  And he left all the paperwork behind.  Am I forgetting something?  Probably.  It was a lot to deal with.

*****

So now I’m ten years past the separation.  The divorce came 2 years after the separation.  I have an awesome life now. 

I love puzzles, and genealogy is a puzzle to me.  When you are applying to join a society that is based on heritage, you have to provide “proofs” of your lineage, like a census record, a baptismal record, or a court record.  Divorce papers are a great example of a court record, and it will be forever recorded that the judge confirmed that my then-husband was guilty of adultery with an illegal Hispanic woman who worked for us.  Never screw around on a genealogist. 

*****

After he left, I knew that I would need extra income, because there was no way that I could pay the household bills on one income alone.  I got a part-time job at a luxury boarding kennel nearby.  Every Sunday morning I went to work at 6:30 AM for an eight hour shift.  On Tuesday and Thursday morning, I went to work at the kennel from 6:30-8:30, went home, cleaned up, and went to my regular job at 9 AM.  One of my responsibilities on the morning shift was to walk the dogs, then feed them.  Some of the dogs were nervous, or anxious, or whiny, or worried.  I found myself talking to the dogs like someone needed to talk to me. 

“You’ll be alright”.

“Stop worrying.  Here’s your breakfast.  You’ll feel better after you eat something”.

“It’s not going to do any good to cry about it”.

“It’s not the end of the world”.

“If it makes you feel better, cry about it.  But it’s really not helping anyone else, and you might as well get over it”. 

And that little job as a kennel tech led to a promotion to assistant kennel manager then kennel manager.  Then I went back to college, and cut back on my hours, and then I found a job closer to home at the veterinarian’s office.  And now I’ve finished college, and I still get to work with animals, and I’ve helped open the grooming business, and I’ve established a feral cat colony, and I’m finalizing a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rescue organization. 

I learned if you curl up and die, you lose.  There were times when it felt like it would be easier to stay down.  But in memory of those ancestors who went before and paved the way, really, you have to get up and go on. 

Because you might just end up on somebody’s genealogy tree someday, and Lordy, won’t those proofs look good.

Failure to Thrive

March 24, 2012

There’s a condition that occurs in litters of newborn puppies called “fading puppy syndrome” or “failure to thrive”.  You can read more about that there here, and you can also easily get more information by doing an internet search on “fading puppy syndrome”. 

They stop nursing, they might develop diarrhea and/or vomiting, and they become lethargic and dehydrated.  All these things happened with the newborn litter of four pups that I have been fostering.  And I lost them all.

It’s Always Something; Or Gerald Gets His Wish

March 20, 2012

Gerald: "Hmmm. This doesn't look safe at all. I could fall through this screen and break my little pumpkin head."

The front of the grooming business has two windows that overlook the front porch.  The cats at one point were housed in the room with the window where you see Gerald sitting.  Three cats were outgrowing this room, and we moved them to the other room with the front window.  The cats love to sit on the windowsill, and on occasion when we have a dog staying in the room, they also like to sit in the window.  Wouldn’t that be purely bad luck and poor planning to have an animal fall through the screen? 

Even though the animals haven’t tried to get out, what.  If.  Not a good scenario. 

So we made a plan to cover the windows with lattice. There were some concerns among ourselves that it would look boogeredup.  We also talked about covering the windows with plexiglas, but what would be the point?  That would block the air flow and just act like another layer of window.  

Sugar found a 2′ x 8′ piece of white vinyl lattice.  He proceeded to cut it to size and screw it in place on the outside of the window.  The cats were fascinated with the whole procedure.  They sat in the window and watched with great interest.

 

Is Gerald still in the window?

Easiest project ever, and the animals are safe.

The Wearing of the Green

March 19, 2012

On St. Patrick’s Day, 2012, we celebrated here at the Swamped! Plantation and Puppy-Pooping Facility.

These leprechauns are exhausted from all the drinking.

Clean towels don’t last very long around here.

In these pictures, these guys should be about eight days old.  Which would make them ten days old today.  No one’s eyes have begun to open, but the ears look like they are developing and getting ready to become real puppy ears, not just little flaps of cartilage.

Puppy cuteness on the way!

Kitchens on the Square, Savannah, Georgia

March 17, 2012

Well, hey, look what I found.  Here are the yummy recipes for the meal that was prepared for my engimatic Brazilian SIL and myself on my graduation outing last year at the Kitchens on the Square.  I promised that I would post them if I ever found them again, although finding them was not promising.  Seeing how it’s ferocious springtime here, and I’m “tearing down and dragging out” (which is how my mother described cleaning), I found the recipes. 

Okay, ignore the note in the bottom left-hand corner that says bacon band-aids.

The bacon band-aids are in honor of my nephew-in-law who loves all things bacon, yet does not own a hog. Go figure.

 

For those of you who are worried about bacon band-aids, they not really made of bacon. Spoilage issues. Don't think it hasn't been tried.

 

In honor of my nephew-in-law and his love of bacon, I ate half a package of turkey bacon this morning. Cooked it and everything, if by everything you mean ate it directly from the griddle, bypassing the plate.

 Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Five Days Old Today

March 14, 2012

Left to right: Male, female, female, female. There, that should clear things up.

Animal control showed up at the shelter yesterday with a mother(less)lode.  Ten puppies, approximately 4 days old, 4 males, 6 females. 

The call went out for volunteers to bottle feed.  I really only intended to take two.  Really I did.  But best laid plans and all, another foster didn’t come through, so what’s two more?  For you math-challenged,  it’s a whole big bunch.  But the big take-away lesson when fostering puppies or kittens is to never take only one.  They need a companion to wrap themselves around, and if they don’t have a companion, a human will fill the bill.

I fed them last night about midnight, and they slept until 3:30 AM when they got another feeding, then they went back to sleep for a couple more hours.  At 5:30 AM this joint was rockin’.  Ah, good times. 

Puppies are definitely easier than kittens, because kittens have shorter digestive tracts that must be filled more often.  However, with either puppies or kittens, you have to massage their private parts to get them to urinate and defecate.  I had the happy occasion of being the recipient of the first poo session last night.  It takes a while for the stool to form, but don’t worry, it smells as sour as you might think it would. And the urine just squirts right out.  Quite charming.

The best trick I ever learned was to take a sock, fill the foot part with uncooked rice, tie off the leg part, and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the rice gets nice and warm.  Those motherless babies will snuggle right into the sock, and the warmth and cushiness will lull them into contentment. 

The nicest, snuggliest dogs and cats are bottle-fed.  They are used to being handled by people, and they know how people smell, taste, sound, look, and feel.  All five senses come into play, and the babies know that good things come from humans. 

If any of you folks have insomnia tonight, give me a shout.  I might just be awake.  I’ll bring you a puppy or two.

Peachy the Cat

March 13, 2012

I have a confession to make.  I relocated a “soft feral” cat from a place where he was living and was unwanted, and I moved him to the back of the grooming business.  I had offered to trap him and get him fixed and vaccinated, and the woman said she didn’t want him around anymore, so would I just take him to the shelter and have him euthanized?

Ummmm.  How ’bout no?

I did trap him, get him fixed and vaccinated, and then I released him at the back of the grooming business which has a nice tree-line and underbrush back boundary.  I didn’t tell anyone.

Sugar commented about this nice cat that just showed up one day at the back of the grooming business.  The cat couldn’t be touched but he liked to hang around, sometimes brushing up against our cars if we had parked in the back.  When you park behind the business, you can go through the gate into the play yard and then into the back side door into the building.  Sugar decided that this nice cat needed a feeding station.  So he proceeded to make one because he’s just clever like that.

This electrical cart has been reborn as a feral cat feeding station.

Then we started having a problem with ants in the dry cat food, so we took a big metal bowl, put some water in the bottom, and set the smaller bowl inside the bigger bowl.  The water made a little moat, and the ants would not cross the moat to overtake the castle food. 

This boarder is confused about all the fuss over a *cat*.

BabyBoy thinks we should call him “Beige-y”.  I suppose he has a point, but I think he just wants to make fun of us old folks.  

See the Peach at the tree line? Click on the image if you need help.

Recently I fessed up to Sugar about the Peach. 

Sugar:  “I still wonder where that cat came from?  Do you suppose that someone just put him out?”

YoursTruly:  “Hmm.  I wonder.  Oh, look his left ear is ear-tipped.  That means he’s fixed and vaccinated.  Now, who would do that?”

Sugar:  “Do you suppose that the folks at the Spay/Neuter clinic next door did that?”

YoursTruly:  “Are you kidding me?  Why would they do that?  Who would do something like that?  I repeat, Who. Would. Do. Something. Like. That.?”

Sugar:  “Yes, it’s odd, isn’t it?”

YoursTruly:  (exhaling)  “Sugar.  Really.  Think hard.”  (Taking his head in my hands and staring into his eyes.)

Sugar:  “Ohhhhh.”

*****

Peachy has become so comfortable that he’s out and about in the daytime, sometimes within 5 feet of us, but never allowing us to touch him.  Recently, he was captured, photo-style, visiting the dogs in the play yard.

Sophie the Christmas Puppy (yes, she lives there at the grooming business now – that’s another story) watches the Peach make an exit.

Peachy: "Hey, Soph! What's shakin'?"

Sophie: "Wait, Peachy! Come back!"

 Then Sugar decided that, what with the recent heavy rains, that Peachy needed a shelter.  He took an unused dog crate, put it under the trees, and put hay in it.

We weren’t sure if Peachy was using the hay house, until one day I drove around the building and caught him in the act.

High and dry.

And when I adjust the photo and crop it… 

Good Night, Gladdie Gladder

March 8, 2012

It started with an apparent bladder infection in December.  If you remember, and even if you don’t, Gladys is a rescue guinea pig.  The vet prescribed a basic antibiotic, and the bloody urine went away. 

A month later, another apparent urinary tract infection.  And we tried a different antibiotic and it cleared up. 

Then, four weeks ago, Gladys and I went back to the vet.  I was prepared for the worst case scenario, but the vet suggested that she’d like to try one more high-powered antibiotic.  Was I up for it?  How could I say no?  Perhaps I was prolonging the inevitable, but I was up for the challenge.  Was Gladys? 

We started another round of antibiotic.  This time it was liquid Baytril.  Gladys was to take 0.1ml every twelve hours.  Liquid Baytril is very bitter (Don’t believe me?  Just put some on your hand and lick it.  Not that I would EVER do that.), so some kind of sweetener had to be added to it to make it palatable.  Fortunately for Gladys, Sugar had some kind of sugar-y sweetener called agave nectar.  (It’s good stuff.  It won’t cause your blood sugar to spike, if that is indeed an issue for you.)  Like most everything he eats, Sugar’s sugarstuff is organic.

Gladys’s appetite seemed to be off a bit, and she didn’t squeal or vocalize very much, and she was losing weight.  Guinea pigs are prone to get cancer, and there was a great chance that her ongoing urinary tract infection was caused by tumors.

After ten days of Baytril/Agave, her infection had not subsided, and it was time for a final car ride. 

I held Gladys while the vet put the final injection in the abdomen.  Gladdy squealed the tiniest bit, like a tiny, soft song, and then she went to sleep. 

Good night, sweet Gladys. I'll see you at the Rainbow Bridge.

The Memphis Animal Shelter

March 8, 2012

I’ve been following this blog with great interest. The Memphis Animal Shelter has serious issues involving abuse, cruelty, mismanagement, and apathy that have been brought to light on a national stage. I follow this with interest because it is just the tip of the iceberg…

YesBiscuit!

At a presser this morning, Mayor Wharton announced 3 MAS workers have been indicted for animal cruelty, per a report on WMC-TV.  This post will be updated as details develop.

Update #1:  The Commercial Appeal names the employees:

Three Memphis Animal Shelter employees were indicted today on multiple charges of animal cruelty following a police undercover operation.

The employees charged are Billy D. Stewart, 28, Frank Lightfoot, Jr., 59, and Archie Elliot, III, 35. Each is charged with multiple counts of aggravate animal cruelty. They were arrested this morning following their indictments.

Frank Lightfoot is seen in some of the recent videos but the other two are not.  These arrests are apparently the result of undercover police work.  The female ACO who is depicted in the video hanging the puppy by the chokepole and dragging dogs has not been charged.

Update #2Frank Lightfoot – in jail, 4…

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