A Weekend In The Woods

We arrived late Friday night to the White Mountains of Arizona.  We pretty much set up camp, had some dinner and went to bed.  Saturday morning while sitting outside with our coffee, I noticed the dirt moving near the fire pit when all of a sudden out popped this cute, little, fuzzy, gray mole face.  Apparently he was curious to his new visitors.  It didn’t take Abby long to figure out that there was something in there.  She stuffed her snout as far in as she could. 

A few minutes later the mole popped his head up from a hole a few yards away and watched Abby furiously dig at the ground.  I wondered if he was upset that all his hard work was being undone by a curious pooch.  I think he was mostly curious though.  I wish I had gotten a picture of the mole. 

Smokey did really well camping.  I did end up finding her a sweater, in the garage no less.  It must have belonged to one of my other ferrets at one point.  It was too bulky though and really impeded her ability to move her front paws.  The nights were really chilly.  We wore our winter clothes.  But the days were fantastic. 

A girlfriend of mine saw this same picture of Smokey on Facebook and asked if we had caught a squirrel while away.  I had to explain to her that this was my ferret; a much beloved pet.  Too funny.  Smokes loved camping.  She is such a little climber so I had to really keep an eye on her while out.  Sunday morning, while doing dishes, I turned around and she was up on the kitchen table with her nose in my coffee.  Little monster.  Luckily she is so darn cute.

She and Abby both did really well.  This time we stayed at a campsite so Abby didn’t have the luxury of running free.  Smokey sniffed around the campsite and when she was done she would stand up against my pant leg.  Two little girls from a neighboring campsite came by with their Dad to check out Smokey.  Smokey loved the attention.

Saturday was the perfect quintessential Fall day.  We had always passed by a sign in the small town of Strawberry that pointed out a historic school-house.  For some reason my pictures of the outside of it will not load onto WordPress.  This new camera phone has been very tricky.  I did, however, get a picture of the inside from the window. 

It’s not the best picture.  You can probably see my reflection in the glass but it shows a little of what was inside.  What you can’t see is the pot-bellied stove near the front.  This school was in operation from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. 

While we were there Hubby noticed a sign for a dairy up the street that sold cheese and fudge.  The man can smell food from a mile away, I swear.  We headed a few miles up the road where the asphalt gradually turned to dirt, until we came to Fossil Creek Creamery.

The creamery sold items made from goat’s milk.  Here are a few of the welcoming committee.  They also had llamas, including one I got to lead.  She was really adorable.  All white with a permanent smile on her face. 

Of course we didn’t leave without making a few purchases.  We bought goat cheese flavored with shiraz wine and marion berries, goat milk fudge with pecans, and then a few caramels to eat in the car.  We also purchased this hot garlic sauce that came in a small mason jar and was out of this world good.

We drove back into town via the dirt road.  The breeze picked up just as we were getting ready to pass a tree full of bright yellow leaves.  They flew over the truck and their scent mingled with the warm air.  For a second I thought I was back in New England. 

After that we stopped at a small market and a gentleman was selling homemade mango salsa and homemade tortilla chips.  He wore a Hawaiian print shirt which was as vibrant as his personality.  We sampled a few of his wares and purchased some salsa and chips (it was not a low-calorie weekend by any stretch).  There was a cozy little restaurant tucked into the ponderosa pines that we also have passed quite a few times.  Today we stopped for lunch.  It was really nice to sit and have a sandwich while drinking a cold Guinness.

We returned to the camper where Smokey was sound asleep.  I don’t think she even noticed we were gone.  Hubby took Abby for a walk and I took a nap.  We prepared a hearty beef stew dinner in the crock pot (thanks Zoom!) for later that night and ate it with crusty wheat bread.  It was delicious! 

My parents are making me wear this dorky jacket.

The night was really cold.  I haven’t worn a winter hat since visiting Alaska a few years ago.  We dressed Abby in her jacket and Smokes just stayed in the camper.  I meant to mention that when we got up on Saturday there was still some snow visible in the shadier areas. 

Hubby thought it would be great to bring the satellite tv hook up.  I was hoping he wouldn’t but didn’t say anything.  He tried setting it up Saturday morning and it just wasn’t working.  He spent some time on the phone with customer service who insisted it was the box.  He knew that wasn’t it.  I have to admit, I was secretly relieved that it didn’t work.  It was so peaceful up there and there were only a few other campers near us as it is off-season.  On Sunday morning, while packing up, he discovered there was a slice in the cable line which was probably the real reason it didn’t work.  Such is life.  And no, it wasn’t me that placed the slice in the cable.  😉

Camping, Candy and Couponing

Pimp My Kennel

 In anticipation of our camping trip I got back Abby’s old kennel from a friend who had borrowed it so that Smokey would have her own little place to hang out while away.  Most of the stuff in it had belonged to Monsoon.  I attached the hammock with paper clips so that it would be low enough for her to climb into.  On the bottom is a polar fleece blankie and a polar fleece lined sleep sack.   I’ve also grabbed a blanket to throw over the cage at night for extra warmth.  This little desert dweller is just not used to the cold.

Both Abby and Smokey couldn’t keep away from the kennel this morning.  Everytime I walked out into the livingroom the two of them were in close proximity of it.  Smokey was in it exploring when she thought it would be a good idea to stand up on her hind legs while clinging to the door with her front paws.  The weight of her little body pushed the door open with her still holding on and she flew forward before falling flat on her tummy.  She seem to be in a state of surprise.  Wish I had gotten it on camera.  It was very funny.

The animals seem to sense that something is going on.  Abby especially can sense it.  I’m not sure how it is they pick this up but they do.  Smokey ran around with an air of excitement, too.  I swear sometimes they are part human.

According to hubby, there is snow on the ground where we are going.  He works in construction and had been talking to a trucker that had just come from there.  I’m not sure if there will be much on the ground when we get there but I wouldn’t mind at all if there were.

My MIL is not coming with us now because our nephew’s (her grandson) wife is having a baby shower this Saturday.  As this is their 4th child MIL had planned on still coming with us.  I think she was feeling some pressure from the rest of the family so she felt she needed to attend.  I felt very bad for her.  She called last night and I could just hear the disappointment in her voice.  My goodness, she is in her mid-70s now, has 5 children, 12 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.  Is it really necessary for her to attend one more shower at this point?  Hubby was going to talk to her again today to see if he could persuade her to still come.

Adventures in Couponing

So last night after looking over the weekly circulars to see what was on sale I headed on over to Walgreens with my coupons to get some Halloween candy.  I thought I was getting quite the bargain by combining sale prices with a few coupons I had.  Fail.  Once I got home I still had the CVS circular sitting on the counter and saw that I would’ve gotten the same amount of candy for almost half of what I paid at Walgreens.  Live and learn.  This is really my first time messing with this stuff so I won’t beat myself up too badly. 

 After this I headed over to the grocery store to pick up some things we needed for camping.  I had a list of things I needed and I also was working within a budget.  What was really neat was that I was actually able to get some brand name items for cheaper than the store brand items that I usually buy.  That is a treat.  We’ve gotten used to the store brands, which is fine.  It’s sort of like getting used to drinking skim milk because its better for you than whole milk. 

All in all I was pretty happy with the result of this.  Between Halloween candy and groceries for the weekend I saved $13.  While not a huge chunk of change that’s still $13 more than I would have had if I hadn’t have planned ahead.    It really took a minimal amount of time to go through the circulars.  Most stores even have them online now.  Cutting coupons has been something I’ve done for years so I keep them in an envelope in my purse.  It also helps that I live in close proximity to three separate grocery chains and two drug store chains that also carry groceries,  so I’m not defeating the purpose by driving all over town.  I’m looking forward to the next trip.  My goal is to save more than $13 next time.  We’ll see what the Sunday paper brings.


Update on Thursday

Its been somewhat of a whirlwind around these parts since returning from Florida almost a month ago.  I have found myself to be incredibly busy both at work and at home.  Although it does make the days go by incredibly fast I’m hoping that things will slow down a bit going forward.

We have a camping trip planned soon and I’m really starting to look forward to that.  My MIL is coming with us again so I hope she will enjoy herself just as much as she did when she came for the big Labor Day weekend trip.  We will be heading up to the mountains where the highs during the day will be in the 50s and the lows will be in the 20s.  Brrrr!  This will also be Smokey’s first camping trip.  I hope she will do okay.  My main concern is that she is warm enough.  I did find a ferret jacket (yeah, they do make and sell them believe or not) but I’m not sure if she would keep it on.

  Here it is.  It’s kind of cute but I admit feeling kind of silly.  I mean, come on.  A jacket for a ferret?  Anyway, shipping cost almost as much as the jacket itself so I think I might just take an old sock and cut some holes for her front legs and head.  And of course she won’t care what all the ferrets in Paris are wearing this Fall.  She’s kind of like her Mom that way.

Recently I read online about a girl who takes her ferrets everywhere.  She had been on vacation at a lake somewhere and she had pictures of her ferrets out and about on the lawn and running beside the lake.  She was also in a little row-boat with her husband and ferrets when the ferrets decided to jump in for a swim.  She jumped in after them and they all swam the rest of the way to the shore (not sure how far away from the shore they were).  People had asked her if she was concerned for her animals.  There are predators in the sky and just so many things ferrets can get into.  She said that she felt that she needed to take some risks with them because they can’t be cooped up in the house all day.  Their lives are so short that they need to get out. 

This really stuck with me.  Monsoon was very sheltered.  I don’t think I have ever kept such a close careful eye on any of my pets like I did with Monsoon.  Smokey has started accompanying us on our early morning weekend walks.  The first weekend I tried it with her she kept slipping out of her harness so I had to hold her most of the way.  This past weekend I found a harness that fits well around her skinny little body and that seem to do the trick.  She would follow behind me until she heard a dog bark or a rooster crow.  Then she would freeze and I’d have to carry her for a while.  I’m excited that she is going to experience camping.  While I will still keep a close eye on her I feel good about bringing her out to different places for her to explore.  I want her to experience different smells and to be able to dig in the dirt if she chooses.

Out For A Walk

This Saturday there is another 5k race which will be the first of the season.  The last one I did was down in Tucson on a crazy hot night back in early June.  I don’t feel particularly prepared for this one so we’ll see how it goes.  This one I did a year ago and a part of it is uphill.  Athletica has been training like mad for all these upcoming races.  She has been getting up at 4am to run 8 miles each morning before work. 

While I absolutely love my job, I seem to have entered into a strange phase.  There has been a lot of back tracking lately on certain things.  A few weeks ago I transposed a number in a client’s phone number that was listed on at least 100+ pages of documentation I had given him.  This resulted in having to have the client come back in with all his paperwork while I restapled the page with the corrected number back into the packet.  Luckily this error was only on the last page and not somewhere in the middle.  Another client wanted changes to a document but I was able to talk her out of it luckily as it was in her best interest to leave things ‘as is’.  And yet another client wanted extensive changes to a document that our contractor wasn’t happy about.  In this case the client was in the right.  These are all normal things that happen.  It just seems like lately there have been lots of fires to put out.  It’s definitely keeping me on my toes!

The weather here has been beautiful.  The days are still warm, with temps hovering around 100 degrees, but the nights are just gorgeous.  The winter comforter hasn’t made its way back to the bed yet but I have had to throw an extra blanket on to feel comfortable.  One thing I notice is that in October the light really starts to change.  While we don’t have many trees here to witness Fall foliage on, the evening sun casts an orange glow on the mountains surrounding the city and everything for a few glorious moments appears to be golden.  So beautiful and so different.  It can only be Fall in the desert.

Two girlfriends of mine will be visiting in a few weeks from back east.  One is coming to attend a conference and the other heard we were getting together and wanted to come, too.  The first one is the same friend I met in Florida a few weeks ago.  We’ve been friends since second grade.  It’s kind of funny that we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years and now we will have seen each other twice in a matter of months.  The other girlfriend I have known since highschool.  She is flying in from Boston. 

The plan is to go down to Tombstone and Bisbee, AZ for sightseeing, and then head over to Sonoita for the wine tastings.  We will most likely do a ghost tour in Tombstone which is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the US.  While the paranormal aspect of it is interesting, what I like about these tours is learning the history of a place and also some of the local folklore.   

Halloween is right around the corner.  We have no plans for any parties.  Most of our friends have kids so the concentration tends to be more on kid related activities.  I am,  however, sitting outside with my next-door neighbor to pass out candy to the kids.  We may dress up.  We haven’t decided yet.  Last year we forewent our yearly Halloween activity because she was working.  The tradition is that we set up a table for snacks for us and whatever adult wants to join us, and then we drink pumpkin beer out of plastic cups (we want to at least give the impression that we are responsible adults).  In the early days of our Halloween get togethers in her driveway, we didn’t disguise our beer bottles.  One year a parent grabbed his kid’s pillow case and held it open in hopes we would drop a beer in it.  We all got a good laugh over that.  In later years we thought it best to place it in plastic cups so kids coming over for candy would have a hopefully better image of their neighbor ladies. 

Another Labor Day Weekend Down

It’s been almost a week since we left for the annual Labor Day camping trip and I am happy to report that we made it up with no incident.  We took two vehicles, just in case.  MIL drove up with hubby while SIL1 drove up with me.  We arrived in the early afternoon and I was surprised that hubby was not already there as he and MIL had left before us.  As it turns out they made a few stops.  Five to be exact.  I joked with SIL1 that the only reason why there were so many stops made is because the Old Battle Axe (me)wasn’t around.  My Dad was the same way and had an extreme aversion to stopping on a long road trip.  You had to be bleeding, barfing or broken, and even then it was questionable.  I am definitely my father’s daughter.

This year was quieter than most years.  A few of the regulars didn’t make it  but I have to admit it was kind of nice this way. 

MIL really enjoyed herself.  We were bombarded by phone calls first thing by SIL 2 & 3, and also BIL making sure that MIL was in good hands.  Upon arrival she announced several times how beautiful and peaceful the surroundings were.  The first evening us ladies decided to turn in early.  It was very chilly so we all had to dress in our winter p.j.s.  MIL started telling us about her adventures in Mexico with one of her sisters and we laughed until we had tears in our eyes.  It was very much a sleep-over atmosphere. 

On Saturday afternoon MIL decided she was going to make homemade tortillas for the crew the next day so we headed into town to pick up some provisions.  We tried to find a rolling-pin but there were none to be had.  We improvised using a cylinder shaped concrete tool hubby had taken out of his truck and it worked better than any other rolling-pin I’ve ever used.  I just happen to bring a pizza stone from home and this ended up being the perfect baking instrument.  We placed it over the outside gas burner and it cooked up the most delectable tortillas ever made from scratch.  MIL had made a batch for us to have for breakfast Sunday morning but once word got out, one by one the other campers started to wander over.  We took out the butter and sugar, as well as a few plates.  Before we knew it everyone had a fresh hot tortilla.  They were definitely a hit. 

In addition to hanging out doing a whole lot of nothing, SIL1 and I went for a long hike early Sunday morning.  Abby accompanied us.  It has been a whole year since we’ve camped in that part of the mountains and I didn’t realize how much I missed it.  It was great, too, spending time with SIL1.  She, like my husband, is a great conversationalist. 

The weekend seem to go by in a flash.  It seem to be quicker than even last year.  SIL1 made mention of that as well.  I guess that’s what happens when you enjoy yourself.  MIL said she would like to go back again and she talked about all the articles of clothing she’d have to get; new boots, thermal underwear, a jacket, etc…  Now MIL is a very traditional Mexican lady.  She wore a skirt all weekend and she wears her waist-long hair up in a bun.  I’m still trying to picture her in boots and thermal underwear and I just can’t see it. 

Upon arriving home on Monday, the Smokester’s little shadow could be seen from under the door to our bedroom.  I picked her up to say hello and she immediately pulled away from me.  I placed her down and she ran into the laundry room only to curl up on a towel I was getting ready to throw into the wash.  She ignored me for the rest of the night.  That was one miffed mustelid, I’ll tell you!

As of Tuesday though I seem to be back in her good graces and she was accepting and giving kisses again.  The boy who was watching her said she was fine.  I noticed her toys had been pulled out so I can see that he actually did come over and play with her.  My one concern was that she might get stepped on where she has a habit of sticking so close to feet.  I had warned the boy several times about that.  He is actually 6’5″ so he is not built like a boy. Everything went well though.  Next time though I think the Smokester will come with us.  I thought about her several times over the weekend and hoped she was okay.  My phone also died on the first day and wouldn’t you know I had forgotten my charger on the counter.  Luckily everything was fine. 

So there it is.  Another Labor Day Weekend down.

Patience, More Patience, A Great Weekend in Store & Camping with the Weasel


 Patience is the word of the day because it is something I don’t have a lot of today, hence this blog post.

About a month ago I joined this local women’s group that I had belonged to back east.  They meet once a month and we usually have a topic planned for the evening that is discussed within the group.  What I like about this group is that these discussions aren’t just bitching and venting discussions.  They are real honest discussions about what works and what doesn’t in certain situations whether it be work-related, relationship related, or anything in between.

Part of joining this group is making a six month commitment to attend their meetings once a month.  In the beginning you set a goal for yourself and include action items.  I’ve had so many things floating in my head lately that I was having trouble nailing down something concrete and placing it on paper.  One of the group members met with me for dinner this past week and she was able to help me articulate something viable that I was pumped about by the time I left.

I have my goal written at home, along with the action items; one of which I have already completed.  My goal revolves around finances.  Today though I am feeling a bit anxious because there are certain things that have to take place before I can even get to the starting point on a few of the action items.  I’m trying not to get overly impatient as this is going to take time.  That is just a part of it and as the old adage goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

So anyway, the weekend is going to be busy.  My brother-in-law’s younger sister just moved here to attend ASU this Fall. She is staying with us tonight and then tomorrow she and I will be up and out early to see what we can find at yard sales and second-hand stores for her new apartment.  I’m looking forward to her stay.  It’s not often I get to see family from back east.

Tomorrow afternoon I was invited to go ice skating.  Yes, you heard me right.  😉  I’m skating.  Here.  In the desert.  Temps will be in the 100s…but not in the rink!  I’m going with some friends and then later we are going out to lunch.  It should be a lot of fun.  It’s been years since I’ve skated so this could be interesting (Lord, help those sharing the rink with me tomorrow!).

We are gearing up for our annual Labor Day Camping trip.  I’ve been planning on taking Smokey but am now debating the idea.  Monsoon was easy.  I think she actually enjoyed being left alone for a few days.  With Smokes though I’m just not sure.  She is very attached to hubby and me.  When I think of her alone at a shelter or neglected at her last owners home, it tugs at my heart-strings.  Then again, while it will be nice and cool at the campsite, it will be a long, hot, un-air conditioned drive there.  We camp with about 8 to 10 other families and everyone brings their dogs.  While she and Abby get along famously I’m not sure about the other animals.  So this is my dilema.  I don’t want to board her either (again, I don’t want her to think she’s been left).    I have to think more about this.  She is pretty much free roam at home and would probably spend much of her time away in her travel cage.  Hmm.  We’ll see but I’ll probably end up taking her.  I can’t bear the thought of her alone somewhere so I’ll probably end up making it work somehow.

Have a nice weekend!

Mama’s Girl

The Smokester seems to have adjusted to her new home.  She and I have bonded over the past few months and no matter where I am in the house, she is usually right next to me.  Maybe I should have named her Shadow because she has become mine.

Ode To The Smokester

I’ve been meaning to post on how Smokey is doing since coming into our lives at the beginning of May. 

She had a vet appointment over Memorial Day weekend for a checkup and also for her final distemper shot.  She luckily didn’t have any reaction to the vaccine which is common in ferrets.  We noticed that sometimes when she was really playing, that her hind leg would give out on her and her hind quarters would fall to one side.  The vet checked this out and it appears that she has an old injury to one of her hind feet.  It doesn’t seem to be hurting her though which is a good thing.

She was pretty subdued when I first brought her home.  She wasn’t used to kisses and cuddles at first but now will climb up to wherever I’m at to receive them.  I am always willing, too.  Where she came from a shelter and then previous to that, a home where the owner no longer had time for her, I don’t think she got a lot of attention. 

I really couldn’t ask for a better pet.  She uses her litter box pretty consistently and has had few accidents.  She’s pretty low key and easy going.  Hubby seems to be taking a liking to her as well which is a huge plus.  While reading on Sunday in my room, Hubby walked by the door and was completely unaware that he was being followed by a weasel who was dancing behind him as if she were dodging fire crackers.  He walked by again and there she was dancing and bouncing behind him still.  How could I not laugh at that?


In short, she has been a complete joy.  We’ve already made up nick-names for her like Smokes, Smokey-dokes and of course The Smokester (poor thing).
I’m looking forward to taking her camping this year among other things.  Her shelter does fund raisers in the Fall so I plan on taking her down to Tucson to mingle with other ferret parents. 
It’s been neat to watch this little ferret really come alive.  I don’t think she ever really knew what it was like to be a much loved and spoiled little house pet.  Luckily for her she’ll never know anything different from here on out.

Creature Comforts

 Yesterday while leaving work, I spotted these two canoodling by the man-made pond outside my building.  I had to move slowly to get the shot and was feeling a little like the ducky paparazzi.  Luckily I didn’t disturb them.

There is a turtle that likes to hang out in the larger side of the pond.  A few evenings I have spotted him hanging out by the surface.  He has remained camera-shy as each time I try to get a pic of him, he ducks down and swims away.

What is the equivalent of placing a tom boy in a dress?  That would be Abby getting an actual bath.  She is not happy unless she is dirty.  Hubby bathed her and brushed her to get out all her loose fur because she can shed like nobody’s business!  We could probably construct another dog from all the hair she loses. 

Bath time is usually followed up by 12 hours of sulking to make sure we notice her disdain.  She absolutely loves to be dirty!  We have red decomposed granite in the back yard which turns her fur pink.  While hiking someone will usually ask me if it is natural for her to be ‘peach’ colored, or if I did that on purpose like she was some punk rocker’s dog.  I usually have to explain why she looks that way.  Her fur is a gorgeous white but we don’t see it very often.  All the ‘Oh, how pretty you look’ comments don’t seem to matter.  She is not happy unless she is dirty.

 Here is Smokey trying out her new dryer hose.  Dryer hoses are lots of fun when you are a ferret!  They make a really cool sound when one is running through it.  Just ask Smokey.  Here she is adjusting to her new digs.  Her face is a bit of a blur.  She doesn’t sit still much. 

Yesterday she and I were in the middle of a game of chase when Abby decided to join in.  Abby of course had to be the leader of the pack and ran ahead.  I was in the middle offering up encouragement to all playing, and the Smokester was heading up the back chattering away the entire time.  Abby at one point decided to stop quick which pretty much sent me sailing over her.  Luckily I didn’t get hurt.  Smokey caught up to me and instead of pouncing on me she just stood in front of me looking up at my face as if to say ‘I know I’m supposed to do something here.  I’m just not quite sure what!’  Then the chase began all over again. 

Just a typical night in the Monsoon residence.

There’s A New Kid In Town

Introducing Smokey!

Saturday morning I went to meet the lady from the shelter down in Tucson.  I completely procrastinated getting ready because it meant that I needed to clean out Monsoon’s old carrier, a task I wasn’t sure I was ready to complete.  I did it, however, and felt better after that was done.  I also had a dream a few nights before that I was following the new ferret around while she explored and all of a sudden Monsoon appeared.  She was looking up at me as if to say, ‘you are replacing me so soon?’  I guess I’ve been feeling a bit guilty.

Where it was a hot day I packed a cooler full of water and also an ice pack to keep in a pillow case in the carrier for the newby.  Around 8am I said goodbye to hubby and he asked where I was going.  “You know where I”m going,” I said, and left it at that.  He said no more.  I debated which way to take to get to the freeway and decided to cut through the Indian Reservation.  The last time I went that way was with Monsoon when we went camping back in January.  It was such a happy time and I immediately teared up at the memory.  Once I passed a few miles of ranch homes on the rez (as we call it here), the desert opened up for miles and miles.  There’s something so peaceful and soothing about it.  I placed an upbeat CD in the player and felt much better about the adventure ahead.

The shelter lady arrived shortly after I did.  She had a bumper sticker that read ‘Husband and ferret missing.  Reward for ferret.’  My type of lady!  She took Smokey from her carrier and held her out to me.  What can I say?  I was smitten.  She relaxed into my arms as if she belonged there.  She slept all the way back to Phoenix and perked up once we got into the house.  Abby also seems to be in love with her and followed her around while she explored.  That was a relief.  Monsoon could get a bit aggressive with Abby but Smokey just seem to take her curiosity in stride. 

Hubby called and asked if I had arrived home with a ‘guest’.  Yes, I said, and Abby is in love with her.  I took a nap thereafter and hubby had arrived home.  I heard him enter the room and woke up a bit.  Smokey was sleeping in her cage.  With one eye open I watched hubby bend over to inspect Smokey.  I knew he’d come around.  I shut my eyes again before he noticed.

Smokey has been an absolute joy.  She walks around pushing little jingle ball toys around the house.  She makes happy noises and loves scritches under her chin.  I guess her former owner could no longer keep her.  She and several others were surrendered to the shelter.  She is 4 years old.  I was hoping to get more pics of her but it is a bit difficult to get her to stand still for a while.  🙂  She is always on the move.

While I’m still a bit sad about Monsoon (this is the first day I’ve worn something other than water-proof mascara in a month) having Smokey definitely fills the emptiness at home.  I love hearing her play and she simply just makes me smile.   I’m so looking forward to some happy times.   And I’m sure there will be more pictures to come (if I can get her to stay still long enough!)

In Praise of Thursday, Weasels and Red Velvet Cupcakes

So last Thursday was a really good day.  I got up to start my morning meditation when all of a sudden I could feel Monsoon’s little spirit in the room with me.  Abby could sense her too.  Later on in the morning while putting on my makeup I thought I felt what felt like a little nose pressed up against my ankle.  All day long I felt a tremendous amount of peace.  On the way to work I had received a call from Marshall Ferret Farms in New York.  I was doing some research on them to see if their reputation had improved since the mid-90s.  I found a Wikipedia site that stated that kits that were sold to Petco’s and were not sold by a certain date were then sold back to Marshalls and euthanized.  Yeah, I was in shock.  I immediately wrote to Marshall Farms and Thursday morning I received a phone call from a woman named Cindy who stated that there “was no way on God’s green earth that would ever happen.”  That was a relief and it just goes to prove that you can’t believe everything you read online.

Bettina’s seeds arrived in the mail on Thursday, too.  I’m looking forward to planting them this weekend.  That was a nice surprise (and thanks again, B!).  My Mom also surprised me with a ticket to Ohio to visit my sister and her family.  We had all planned on meeting there for a long weekend.  It will be so nice to get away.

Friday night we finally picked up the kitchen table that has been on lay-away for months.  Hubby and I brought it into the house, which was no easy task!  The thing had to weigh over 100 lbs (I think).  It’s solid walnut.  It took a few hours to put together but its nice to go into the kitchen and see that instead of the outdoor set we had been using for a while. 

Saturday evening we had friends over for homemade tacos and sangria which meant Saturday we spent all day cleaning.  Every single room in the house, plus the yard, got a scrub down.  We should really have friends over more often.  😉  I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  Yesterday hubby and I made flautas out of the leftover taco fixings.  We of course had red velvet cupcakes for dessert.

I felt like a kid who had eaten too much cake after eating only one.  They are topped with the creamiest of cream cheese frosting and then coated with red sugar crystals that turned my finger tips red.  They were quite divine!  A few of these went home with friends to be given to their kiddos.  We still have a few in the fridge that I’ll be bringing in for my boss’s kids. 

Something has definitely been up with Abby.  I really didn’t know how she would react to losing her buddy, Monsoon.  In all honesty I didn’t really think much about it.  It’s hit me though the past couple of days that she is mourning.  She’s been carrying that rawhide bone around for almost 2 weeks now.  I woke up really late at night late last week because she had barked.  It wasn’t the normal bark I hear from her.  As a dog owner, and I’m sure most could attest to this, you learn what your dog wants by her bark.  She has a separate bark for when someone is outside.  She has a bark for when she wants to be let out, etc…  This wasn’t like that.  I opened my eyes and she was pacing around the furniture, the bone in her mouth.  Definitely not like her.  I saw her looking for Monsoon last night and it broke my heart.  Today when I left for work she was trying desperately to leave the house with me.  I grabbed her by the collar and she pulled so hard to get away from me that I thought she may even try to snap at me.  Very odd.

On a lighter note, I’ve been in touch with a ferret shelter in the Tucson area.  I’m meeting with a lady from the shelter and she is going to present 2 little ones to me named Smokey and Gloria.  I’m going to see which one picks me out.  It will be hard to not take them both but I know if I did then the three of us would all be staying in the shelter.  I convinced hubby that this was the right thing to do.  He’s not happy about it.  I believe his final words were, ‘fine, do what you want.’  I think he’ll come around.  Saturday morning I’ll drive down.  It will be so nice to have a little one around the house again.  I hope it will make Abby happy, too.  I’m still mourning Monsoon but it’s getting better.  Sometimes a memory will come to me and I’ll find myself in tears again.  I don’t think the new little one will replace her but it will be so wonderful to have another little creature around to enjoy.

This morning I got the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.  I didn’t feel any relief.  Truth be told, I didn’t really feel anything but indifference.  In some ways I suppose it could be closure for that horrible day if I felt something.  I did pray on it during my morning meditation.  Not for forgiveness which is what would be the right thing to do some would say, but more that God’s will be done.  The end. 

A friend of my step-dad’s was killed last week in Afghanistan.  This was a 34 year old man from Massachusetts who had a wife and two kids.  My step-dad has known this man his whole life.  He was in the air force.  He was shot point-blank in the head by an Afghan man.  The Taliban claimed responsibility although the shooters brother denied any involvement.  I read about it later on CNN. 

The who-hates-who and who-has-done-who-wrong is just getting plain old.  It doesn’t matter where we live or what our beliefs are.  We can all be a bit kinder to everyone that crosses our path.  No excuses.