Blessings of 2010

We’re not unlike a lot of Americans in that we’ve struggled financially this past year.  But I’ve found that there are things that bring me joy instead of anxiety. When I’m not dealing with that reality, I am out on adventures with my best pal Zeke. He’s 4 legged, covered in thick black-reddish fur, and always at the ready to head out. Don’t know what I would do without him.  We have the beach and the woods close by and we often take advantage of it.

We spent a lot of time in the woods this summer.  In our small tourist town, the woods is the only place to escape an area that is swollen to capacity with humanity. So Zeke and I hiked up to our favorite stream, always finding ourselves completely alone.  We waded carefully in the cool waters – looking for rocks. I have a new found love of rocks – especially agates. Zeke is excited simply being with me in the outdoors on a quiet sunny day, listening to the birds and other animals alerting each other to our presence.. He watches over me and makes sure I’m within his sight at all times. He has a game he loves to play. He’ll hide from me in the thick ferns and pop out when I call his name.

Walking in the stream is very grounding for me – or anyone for that matter. Maybe walking in freezing water isn’t your thing.  But being in nature is a great way to center yourself and having someone to share it with – like Zeke – is even better. It’s a wonderful escape from paperwork and the problems of the planet.

We hiked in the woods all summer, sometimes bringing human friends along, but mostly just the two of us. The beauty and the peace I find behind my home makes me feel I am in another dimension. Timeless. Just my dog and me, playing in the water and discovering new things as we walk through the woods. I believe we all need a place that is timeless and away from all that “defines us”.  Zeke has known since he was a puppy that I can understand his words and wishes, so spending time with him is not simply my dog and me on a hike.  It’s also discussing the issues of our very different worlds. And Zeke always has something  profound to say. He’s a wise old soul. But he keeps it simple and sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

We also spent a lot of mornings on the beach. I love agate hunting and was gifted some beauties by the sea this year.  Zeke and I like to head out on a spring or summer morning at dawn. This way we are sure to have the beach to ourselves. In the winter, the tides are wild and will pull the sand back making large holes full of rocks in the middle of the beach. This is where we sometimes find our best treasures.  Zeke’s gotten so used to me slowing our walk that sometimes he simply lies down in the sand and waits. If I take too long, he heads out alone. If he could, he’d wave me off with his paw in disgust – but I love hunting for rocks and shells and our home is filling with the things I have found on the beach.

I have found some special agates this year.  I know there are people around here who are better than I at finding these treasures, but I’m grateful for the things I find. More timeless moments of joy. This is the beauty I found unexpectedly that was lying in the sand.  I have a few fish bowls that are filled with agates. Their golden shine when they’re wet from the rain or the sea is amazing. I’ve been walking the beach for years and this is the first time I’ve discovered agates!

Special rocks and dogs are not the only blessing I’ve received this year. I have a new kitty named Zoe. She prefers to live outdoors, even in the cold weather, and visits me twice a day for a meal. We started out hundreds of feet apart, but now she’ll sit confidently a few feet away when I put out her food. Someday I hope to in-cooperate her into our home, but for now, this is her preference. She lives by her wits and she’s really good at it. I am not sure why Zoe has chosen me or why she’s in my life. But everyday, at times we’re both accustomed to, she arrives for her meal. She’s pretty feral, but her sweet personality and picky eating habits make me smile.

Having animal friends, be they yours or on their own, who you can share your time is what life is all about for me. Zoe and I have been warming to each other all year. Hopefully someday she’ll walk though our door and unpack her satchel.  My two cats aren’t terribly thrilled she dines here, but they put up with her.  Maybe someday they’ll let her join our home. And maybe someday pigs will fly!

I’m also grateful for the new and true human friendships I’ve made this year. Many are far away, some live here in my town. But I asked at the beginning of 201o for some real people in my life, and they have certainly appeared!

My friend Michael once said to me “whenever I see Lisa, I know I’m going to hear a great story.”  It’s a huge compliment since Michael was a successful published author. He had a wonderful laugh, a quick wit, and a huge heart.  He went to spirit at the end of the summer this past year. I lost many friends this past year, but Micheal’s passing has been an interesting transition for me. I will miss him in body, but this animal communicator never thought she’d be having long conversations with a human in spirit.

I don’t make New Year resolutions. I just try to stay aware and follow the path I’m on. And 2011 looks to be exciting.

For Michael

who crossed “the day of the Dragon flies” Sept. 2010


My best friend

You may have seen him before. Well yeah, he’s right up above here in my banner. His name is Zeke and he’s my best bud. We try to go to the beach at least once a week. We experience different things on our walk, even though we’re walking together.

I’m currently working out some issues that are tough for me. The fresh sea air clears my head. The cool wind keeps me present. I always notice that the sea and the beach are different. Though we’ve walked this beach hundreds of times, maybe thousands, it feels like a fresh place each time we go. It might be new driftwood that washed up the night before, could be that sand has been removed or brought to the beach by the angry night sea, or simply that the light has changed from the last time we visited. It’s always a different day on the same beach for us, every time we go.

I wish I was a stats person. If I was, I could tell you how many more smells  Zeke notices than I do. To me, it’s simply the fresh sea breeze and beach I notice. But to my best friend this is a treasure trove of smells. Dogs have well, a lot more smell senses than we do.  They have sensors in their mouths as well as those keen noses. So when we go to the beach, the salt air is just a backdrop to all the other interesting smells. Canines that have visited the beach before us, food that has been stashed carelessly behind by folks having a meal on the beach, or sea birds that have left their bodies for the other side  (another way of saying “dead birds”), all of these smells are of intense interest to a dog. If the tide hasn’t washed it away, chances are, he can smell it. So his walk is like mine. It’s different every day.

We occasionally have east winds that gust from the land. I used to hate these days when Zeke was younger. The good news was that east winds mean clear weather. Sometimes warm, sometimes cold depending on the season. But they also mean bringing smells from the land. Even I with my wimpy sense of smell have noted the musky scent of elk as we walk the beach and so has Zeke.

When he was younger I would watch him (very carefully) as he’d run along the tree line that meets the beach, looking up for a place to spring up an elk trail. A place to start the chase. Some days I’d lose him and his brother for a few frustrating hours. I’d worry about the road that he’d have to cross in order to stay in pursuit. And then what? How would a dog who pales in comparison to these giants capture their “prey”? Bark them to death?

Those days are mostly over since his brother has sore bones, he doesn’t rise to the occasion too often for the hunt. But now that I know what I know about dogs, I wish I hadn’t been so hard on them. I used to scream, yell, stamp my feet, get all bent outa shape. Threaten them with no walks. All to no avail. And for what? Being angry that they were simply being dogs doing what dogs do? Having fun? Nah, the stamping, yelling, and screaming never worked.

And Zeke isn’t my dog. He lives in another pack of which he considers me a member. Maybe because I picked him from the litter. He fell asleep in my lap on his ride to his new home. He took his first walk with me on the beach. And then his second, and then (just keep adding them in here). He may not live with me, but Zeke’s my dog. He calls me “mom”, he calls to me when he’s in trouble, and he has an adorable sense of humor.

Yeah my guy is in his prime now, a few more years will tip him into his elder years. I don’t think about that though because that would be going against the grain of dogs. For dogs, like we humans should, live in the moment. We’ll be walking the beach and Zeke will remind me that I’m not staying with the moment very well. I’m “off” somewhere in my head which does us no good. We need to stay present, he reminds me, or we might miss one of these interesting smells. Or simply the pleasure of being together on the beach.

I love my guy. I know he loves me too. And it’s the kind of love that doesn’t shift and change. It’s not complicated love. It just is.

Wish I was a stats person.  Then I could guesstimate how many others out there have Zeke’s and know what I’m talking about.  It’s what life’s about. The fact that two beings can take the same walk, have totally different experiences, and still be blissfully happy at the conclusion of their time together.

That kind of friendship. That kind of love.

Dog days of Summer

I live in a tourist town where we don’t have the slow long days of endless sun. Well we do, but that’s not how we experience it. Instead we own a business that requires my presence, that I be “on top of it”, constantly and above all: make sure our employees are not running rough shod over us. Such is the life in a tourist town. We have only so much time to make our money for the year and then that’s all folks! This year I had everything in place. The really good staff, the really good product, a fresh clean shop and yet, we aren’t bringing home the bacon as planned. I guess our country’s financial woes aren’t over yet. And this is an upscale town with upscale visitors. La-ti-da!

But as usual, I digress. Not really when I have two businesses that I am responsible for. I want to talk today about orange kitties.  They are very special and if you have one, you may have noticed this yourself.  Not only are they unusual to come across, but there’s just something about them. One of my mentors says they are of a special spiritual group. The “OCC” is what she dubbed them. The Orange Cat Contingency.  These cats do have an exceptional spiritual quality about them and every one I have come across has either left without warning or signs of illness. And when I say “left” I mean gone to spirit.  I am fascinated with this cats as they have messages that are truly amazing. Recently I had a client who has 4 of them. Each has a special message and reason for being here.

However to those who just have a kitty who happens to be this color and they feel they are simply special because they belong to them, well that’s true too. I have come across many things in my quest for knowledge for spiritual “signs” in nature, as well as unique animals. And red kitties are truly unique.  They come to us with a lesson or a message. An interesting group for sure.

I guess I should have named this the “cat days of summer” because I have been working mostly with cats this past few months. But I will leave it. I’ve also enjoyed the dawn beach walks with my three dog boys who love their run and romp so much. Those days I always treasure.

Enjoy your summer and please spend money!

This one is trouble!

I have spoken of her before. My cat Breeze. She was dumped with her babies along the highway near our shop 12 years ago. I took her and the remaining kitten in. Look at this face. She’s so pretty! But she has a temper. Actually after Bart, she has had the worst temper of any of my cats. What is up with that?

I ask only a few simple rules (she’s knows I’m doing something involving her because she has just NOW jumped off the coach and began to demand attention) let’s see, oh yes the rules.

  • Please don’t poop in the music room when you’re upset
  • Please don’t drink out of the fish bowls – with the fish in them
  • Please don’t look so defiant all the time

Ok that last one is tough. She has a condition called “Spondaloysis”. This is quietly common in dogs and also humans who may never notice it. They can go their whole lives, pain free. But in cats, it’s different because of the way their bodies move.  I try and be sympathetic to her and treat her well. But she pushes my buttons. I know. I can understand animals and yet this small cat can rile me like few others.  Well, maybe my mother.

When she manages to get on my desk and drink out of the fish bowls, it gets me going in the worst way. First of all my poor fish must be cowering in fear from this giant fur head looming over them. Then the lapping of the tongue. Must be deafening for the poor guys!

Then there’s the issue of my “former” desk. It used to have a computer and two small aquariums. Now add to that two stacks of books, a small rope that is about 3 inches off the top and you have a complete mess. Not an organized desk.

We even had to move her “princess bed” back several feet because she was making a daredevil attempt to reach the desk from her bed.And with her condition if she falls she could break her hip. And we all know what that means. I don’t even want to think about it. A kitty in a small walker.

She’s very friendly and trods all over (shedding) anyone who comes to our home. This is sort of deceiving as the guest has no “grasp” of the little monster sweet kitty she is. And one would think that I could somehow as an animal communicator, come to an understanding with her. But things never work that way. I have just as many “issues” with my animals as the next person. Actually the “next person” probably has an easier time than I do. Wonder if the Next Person would like to trade?

All this whining aside – I love her very much and would be lost without her in my life. I never had children but Breeze has shown me what a good mother is. A good mother loves her child and cares for her no matter what. Perhaps this is something only instinctual in animals – because we know humans don’t always do it – but she loves her child and protects her even now. Twelve years after she came into Breeze’s world.

I guess everyone has their faults and things that tick them off. And Breeze is no different.

I just wish she wouldn’t take it out on the poor fish.

Girlfriends for “Bo-Bama”

Meet Molly, Chelsea, and Ellie. These are three of my dearest friends and before yesterday, few had heard of their breed.  Now thanks to Bo the First Dog, we have all heard of Portuguese Water Dogs. They’re my neighbors and three of the funniest dogs I know.

When they first moved to our little town, Ellie, (also known as “the brown one”) was the first to recognize me. As I drove past her she said to me  ” I know you, you live on our street”. Or something to that effect. More direct and more in “dog” wording.

Molly (on the left) is the Queen. Most refer to this as “alpha” but she knows she’s the Queen and she loves her title. She is the leader of this pack and likes to ride in my car.  As opposed the car her humans drive, she can see out and is very polite and sweet when we go for a drive. If I need to run into a place that won’t allow dogs, she quietly sleeps on the seat and then pops up when the car begins moving again.

Little Chelsea (the one in the middle)  and I have a great friendship. She speaks in a slow and deliberate voice. She has become more animated as she’s grown up and loves cats. I feel badly for her because she would really enjoy playing with one of my cats. Sadly the feeling isn’t mutual.

The truth is Portuguese Water Dogs are simply delightful and the Obama girls are going to have a great time with their sweet pup Bo. I’m sure the girls here would show him the ropes of living life on land.  There are walks to enjoy, places to explore, treats from the neighbors, (all three have escaped and lined up on our lawn for a goody) and quite simply life to be enjoyed.

I too am a huge proponent of shelter dogs. I have friends that met their humans for the first time in a shelter. But this breed hasn’t been over-bred. They are sweet dogs, very cute, and a lot of fun. All dogs need good homes and all dogs are here for us. It will be fun to watch which one of the Obama’s Bo is here for. Because all animals have a destination human. They land in our lives for a reason. And it’s up to us to recognize what that is.

Hopefully Bo will shed some light on dogs in general. Hopefully not everyone will have to keep up with the Jones’ and get a Portuguese Water Dog. Hopefully those who have really wanted a dog and can care for it properly will find their new friend wherever he’s waiting for them. Whether it’s a breeder or a shelter.  Hopefully our shelters will see some action as the first puppy takes over the White House. And, no doubt, he will.

So sweet on the outside

Now these are sweet looking kitties.  It would be difficult to not let out an “awwwww”.  Well sometimes, as with humans, you don’t always get what you think you are getting.

This is (from left to right) Breeze and Eddy. Breeze showed up near my store with her then 6 week old kitten. They were adorable, but Breeze was an un-trusting mama.   She had been dumped with her whole litter I would later find out from her. She lost all but Ed here, due to predators. Poor thing couldn’t save them all and now at age 12, it still leaves a scar.

I was told right away that Eddy was a boy. The guy who told me just KNEW it, so I named HER Eddy. Yes, she is a very large girl. They lived in our store until Bart went to spirit in late 2007. Then they were allowed to live here. Bart wouldn’t have let them and this house is just too small for us to even try. So shortly after his departure, in an attempt to heal my own pain, I brought them home. It’s been interesting. These two had been “greeters” to hundreds of humans in the summer, and left alone in a cold store essentially in the winter. For over 10 years, I trekked to my store, everyday, twice a day for a visit, litter box change and of course to feed them. My heart would sink as they grew older.  Who knew Bart would live to be 19?

They are really nocturnal. They sleep all day and play all night. The game dejour is “who gets to sleep with mom?” It’s a matter of positioning really.  Eddy likes to sleep on my chest. After living in a store for her entire life, she had no idea what a bed was. And, even though she’s big in stature and sweet in nature, she is terrified of most everything but food and mom. Both of us. So after months and months, she finally got the nerve to – walk the quilts and realized she wouldn’t sink into oblivian. Before that, getting to mom in the bed was a matter of hopping up on one corner of the bed and walking the pillows. Much safer.

Now Breeze had a dangerous bed – 4 feet off the ground – in our spare room.  Yes, most cats would be fine with that height but Breeze has “spondalosis” which effects her spine. One slip and a broken hip, and we loose our sweet Breeze. She is brave and well, persistent. She will not take no for an answer. I say this because recently we took out the big bed and she now sleeps in our room. In what we lovingly refer to as “the little bed”. It’s designed, just for her. But she’d rather sleep with mom. Only Eddy is angry about this.

Then there’s me who rarely gets sleep anymore. After they battle to sleep on my chest, they become instant friends again and start moving the toys around. Breeze wants to protect one toy from anything she may see outside. This was sad at first since I realized she was reacting to the loss of her babies. But this screeching in the middle of the night is quite annoying and we now just toss her out of the bedroom.

I have tried throwing them outdoors on a beautiful morning, but they want back in right away. They are such “girls”.  I’ve lectured on keeping us up at night, but the only thing that gets their attention is when I shut the bedroom door.

And I hate it when I hear the pitiful meow of my sweet girl Eddy – who has been my girl since she was 6 weeks old. Thus starts the cyle again.

We love our animals. They are in our lives, after all, for a reason. I cherish and enjoy every day with them even if I am sleepless in Oregon. Because without my animals, well I just wouldn’t be me.

Coming out party

My husband raises crickets. As pets. Not food for something large and nefarious.  Anyway, one of the more fascinating things that people don’t know (or rarely see) is when a cricket sheds her (in this case) shell. I watched patiently the other night to show some of the steps.  This takes a lot of energy and although it’s a crowded terrarium, the other crickets know to leave one alone when going through the proces of old shell shedding. Here she is just about out of the old shell. She has managed to get her wings and back legs out and is resting, waiting for the last bit of energy to push out of the old shell.

Now that she is out, she sits next to the old shell, guarding it for her own meal when she regains her strength. Although it appears as though a new cricket is sitting next to the all new, larger, bright white cricket – that is her old shell. I have tried ask if there is pain in getting out of the shell and it’s not unlike the birthing process. There is slight discomfort but nothing the cricket really is aware of. Just that she has out grown the shell and it is time to leave it and move on.  In time, her new wings will turn a darker color and her body will harden. Again she is vulnerable but the others know to leave her alone. Perhaps because they themselves go through this same process.

Here she inspects and is probably nibbling a little on the old shell.  It will take awhile, but soon others will come around and help eat the shells as it contains many nutrients that are beneficial to the health and welfare of the crickets. Not soon after these photos were taken, a male cricket hopped up onto the leaf next to the glowing “angel” cricket and began to serenade her by fluttering his wings. When we hear crickets singing,When we hear crickets it is always the males. Females don’t “sing”.

Wind Tunnel

windymax1We tried an experiment on the beach today. How long CAN a small dog stay seated in gale force winds? The answer is: until the cookie is dispatched. Then he’s on his way again.

This morning when getting ready for our weekend walk on the beach, it was sunny and clear at my house. But just 2 miles south it was a different story. Of course. The wind was blowing. Of course. But to make it even more fun, we had hail and lots and lots of rain. By the time we got home my ears hurt from the wind (even with my hood up) and my undies were soaked through my jeans, sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt, etc.

Max here had a great time. He isn’t a little coat wearing dog. No siree. He can withstand just about anything. His two brothers who are much larger were off exploring when the first of the cookies were handed out. Max ain’t no dummy. He stuck around and waited for his treat.

And now of course that I’m home, dry, and getting on with the day – it’s sunny and not nearly as windy. Such is life at the coast. If you don’t like the weather? Wait 15 minutes. And sadly, that really is true. Of course so is the flip side. If you have your sunglasses and shorts  on and are ready for the beach – take a rain jacket with you. Just in case.

“I just think ’em”

I went to the beach yesterday with one of my best friends: Zeke. I talk about him a lot. He’s 4 legged and a black/red brindled whatever. His dad was a lab and his mom was well, she was black and gray.  Zeke doesn’t live with me, but I’ve been around him since he was a pup. I try to take him to the beach at least once a week, but it’s more like once a month. He’s sweet, brave, fearless, and very funny.

Try and explain a blog to a dog. I mean it’s hard enough with most non-computer people.   I’ve tried to get many people who want to talk web sites into starting a blog. They’re so much easier. I built my own website and I’m proud of it. But it’s a bitch to update. You have to place things “just so” and then make sure that what you are previewing is what will end up online.  My first website I ran from screen to screen around town here to see if the colors were like they were on my computer. ACK! Starting a blog has been work, but so much easier.

So I took Zeke to the beach after getting things where I wanted them here. He and I have long chats about well, most anything. I think most people talk to their dogs. The difference is, I can hear mine talk back. So it’s an actual conversation. I tried to explain to Zeke what I’ve been working on, but he didn’t really care much. He was more interested in seeing who had peed where last and how he could show dominance. Dogs.

Anyway. I want to try and come up with a good title here. This isn’t the first title, it might be the 4th or 5th. I explained to Zeke that I was sort of keeping track of my thoughts. I couldn’t really think of a way to explain it to him so that he’d understand. So the best I could do was: it’s a place where I’ll keep my thoughts and stories about you and my other animal friends. And so I asked Zeke “what do you do with your thoughts?” And he replied “I just think ’em”. Well now. Isn’t that simple.

This is one of my favorite things about the animal world. They are simple and neat. What’s here one moment, is gone the next. For the really do live in the moment. As humans we struggle and strive with all kinds of helpful learning tools to do the same thing. But in the end we aren’t dogs and so it makes it hard. We have to find places like this to store our thoughts instead of “just thinking them.”

I just love Zeke. Not one to mince words.

My family

03030919531Well since I haven’t figured all this out yet, I’ll just start writing. I have two cats, two fish, and several “god-animals”.  I will eventually post everyone’s photos and mission in life. I’m still playing around with things to get an idea of how this program works.

The cats are “lol’s” which stands for “little old ladies” and they require a lot of attention. My betas are awesome. One is fairly elderly and the younger one has a story as he’s already been here once in a different body. He was blue, now he’s red.

I will write more about them later. Right now I have to see where the photo of Eddy and the Bachelor went.