Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!


Le Petite Crone says:  Yes, this is me!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Samhain Magic

It's that time of year again, there is something magical about October and Halloween.  Is it magical because we think it is or is the magic real?  I for one know it's real.  I feel it in my old crone bones and I've had too many experiences not to believe.

The fabric between what is visible and the netherworld is thin and the veil is lifted on Samhain night.  You can feel the change start when Autumn comes, the reality of what we see begins to vibrate along the earths ley lines, the light changes, the air smells different.  Mother nature is more alive in the Autumn one last burst of vibrant energy prior to the dark time of winter.  It's the transition between light and dark, life and death, that creates the special magic of Samhain.  What is and what isn't stretches and warps.  You become aware of shadows playing and flitting about just on the edge of your vision.  Every crow caw seems imbued with meaning, every noise seems clear and sharp like crystal breaking.  Morning fog twists and turns seductively as it wafts through the woods seemingly intent upon a destination.

Gazing into the night you can hear voices and feel that delightful tingle along your spine that tells you someone is watching.  You can be afraid if you want, but really there is no reason to be.  Behind each of us is a phantom family of those who have passed to the other side.  This is the time of year when it's easiest for them to visit and for us to feel, sense and acknowledge them.  They are family and one day you will be with them.  When the time is right, invite them into your life, share a meal, talk to them and listen.  Listen and you will hear them and you will be the better for it!

We are so involved with things we deem vital in this modern world that we as a society have forgotten the importance of acknowledging those who have passed.  We may have forgotten them.............but they have not forgotten us. 

Le Petite Crone says:  Have a spirited Samhain!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sick Minion

Sorry I haven't been writing recently.  My loyal min-minion Rupert (my one eyed blind English Bull Terrier) has been sick.

He started to three leg it about the house a couple of weeks ago.  He then developed a fever and was definitely not feeling well.  We went to the vet and he seemed better after a ten day session of antibiotics and pain medication.  He was still three legging it though and then the vet put him on some anti-inflammatory medication.  No change. 

After last night with him whimpering (a very rare occurrence - he's normally such a stoic little guy) we discovered that his right paw and leg were swollen.  So now we are back on antibiotics, pain meds, anti-inflammatory medication and Epsom salt soaks.  If there is no improvement the next step is x-rays.

I know it seems a lot to do for a pet, but my mini-minions are such an important part of my life that I think of them as my fur children.  I'd no sooner let my dog suffer than I would my child.

Man and dog have evolved together.  I love my minions.  Stay tuned for further updates.

Le Petite Crone says:  Please share a prayer for my pup.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Spider Season!

The hollow winds begin to blow,
The clouds look black, the glass is low;
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
And spiders from their cobwebs peep.
–Dr. Edward Jenner (1749–1823

Autumn brings a special season to "The Peninsula"'s spider season!  It's the time of year when silvery spider floss is gently floating about in the air.  The local orb weavers are spinning and creating massive webs like crazed eight-legged monsters (just my opinion here!). I'm not talking about an occasional spider either....everywhere you look, there they are.  You can't walk anywhere outside without hitting a web.  It's horrible!

I love nature, I really do, but try as I might I can't find a warm spot in my heart for spiders.  I know they eat huge amounts of insects and are a benefit to any garden but even that doesn't temper my visceral gut reaction to walking into a spider web.  I yelp like a little girl, jump about, waving my arms like an idiot and then proceed to brush off every inch of my body...all the while knowing that somewhere, someplace on my person a deadly, creepy, crawly spider is inching it's way to my neck to suck out my vital fluids and leave me a dried out husk of a former crone!

I'm not the only one who reacts this way.  You see people about town, walking down the street and then suddenly performing a Saint Vitus dance, waving arms, twisting about and slapping their body with great vigor.  Like I said...It's spider season.

Once the spiders get into the house I show no mercy.  Dead, dead, dead....kill'em, kill'em all!  Himself, who is truly a nicer person than I am, will gently capture them and take them outside to freedom.  Doesn't he know that these freed monsters will now lie in wait for me, ready to pounce seeking revenge for their eviction????

I have to admit that I'm not totally blinded by my distaste of spiders.  I've seen some beautiful sights created by our orb weavers.  There is nothing more magical than seeing a perfectly created web glistening with dew in the morning sunlight.  The spiders here tend to weave gigantic webs some of them stretching several feet from one object to another.  They will sometimes leave a single strand floating about and objects such as leaves, pine cones or small twigs will catch on these and appear as if they are suspended in mid air....almost like time has halted or some force field has stopped their fall.  Magic.

Last year one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen was spider created.  Himself and I were driving over one of the local bridges which spans a river estuary.  Along the shore was a large field of marsh grass and on each and every clump of grass was an orb weaver web covered with moisture shining like diamonds in the morning light.  It looked as if each blade of grass was covered with diamond lace.  You only see sights like this when you have no means to take a photo.

Despite the beauty of their webs I have to admit it's all spoiled by the fat eight-legged brown horror sitting in the middle of this architectural wonder.  I shudder each time I look out my window, hoping to enjoy the beauty of Autumn and instead I see one of these monsters hanging there smiling at me, gnashing it's poison dripping fangs just daring me to step outside.  Deep down I know they are out to get me.

Le Petite Crone says:  Aaaaagghgghghghg!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Goodbye Summer

My dear spouse "Himself" made the comment that here on "The Peninsula" we have two seasons...."rainy season" and "not so rainy season".  He's not that far off.  I do love Autumn, it's my favorite time of the year (it falls halfway between rainy and not so rainy!!).  Autumn has been in the air for quite a while now despite so many friends trying to desperately hold on to summer.

The leaves are falling, the grass has stopped growing, the periods of bright blue sky are further apart.  It's been warm but the last couple of days even that has changed.  Today we spent our inside time sitting in front of a nice warm fire in the fireplace.  Our mini-minions love it when we have fires and either snag one of the recliners or lay on their dog bed in front of the fireplace.  It's cozy.

We stored the BBQ in the garage and covered all the patio/deck furniture.  Himself mowed the lawn for probably the last time this year.  He also swept the deck and patio, part of his never ending crusade against the leaves and pine cones that fall.  Mini-minion Boomer helps in this crusade, each time he comes in from outside he brings in a leaf or a pine cone hoping we'll chase him through the house trying to get it from him.  It's one of his doggy rituals.

We are "hunkering down" for the rainy season, getting prepared for the storms of November (usually our worst month weather wise).  Our chainsaw is ready to go, our emergency box is packed, we've gas for the generator.  We have a goodly supply of lamp oil and candles.  We have our hand crank emergency radio and flashlight.  The flannel sheets are on the bed.  We are ready.  Yet we still have hope for those magical warm sunny days that can dazzle.  We still have hope for a less than torrential rainy season.  As I'm doing my final review of this posting it's poring down rain!  Yikes!  We still have hope for a short winter.

Age has taught that each season turns, the wheel goes around.  It's Autumn now, Winter is on the way and then we'll start all over again.  The cycle of the seasons is something to celebrate and we'll hopefully learn the lessons that each turn teaches.

Le Petite Crone says:  Goodbye Summer....see you next year. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Lessons From An Old Dog - Part Two

Part Two.....

My blind, one eyed mini-minion Rupert is an English Bull Terrier.  In Part One of this posting I mentioned that Bullies have an obsessive compulsive nature.  Bullies also tend to have a very high pain tolerance...which ties back to their pit fighting days.  Bull Terriers (aka...Bullies, The White Cavaliers, the Gladiators of the Dog World etc.) are tough little guys.  You have to "inspect" them on a regular basis to make sure they are not cut, scraped, injured etc. as they usually don't show pain unless it's really bad.  They just don't seem to notice injuries that much.

Walking a blind dog is not the same as walking a sighted dog...and no, it's not because their white cane gets in the way!  I have to guide Rupert around objects and watch that he doesn't fall off of curbs or into ditches.  This takes more awareness of what your dog is doing than you would normally have to give.  We were on a walk one time and I became distracted watching a container ship go by on the river.  Rupert walked into a light pole with such force that he cut his face and knocked himself a bit silly, he then did a header off of the curb.  I felt horrible even though I'm sure someone watching would have found the entire episode sort of funny.  Because of his blindness and also his breed Rupert is never off leash outside of the house and backyard.  Many dog parks wont' allow "bull" breeds in anyway.

I know that because of his many physical problems and his blindness I tend to overprotect Rupert.  He's such an important part of my life and such a comfort to my soul that I don't want to risk losing him to injury or illness.

Where we live on "the peninsula" is in a small community that has a private park bordering on a beautiful lake.  There is a small island that can be reached by a couple of bridges.  Some volunteers recently put a gate on the last bridge and cleaned up the island making it into a dog park.  Mini-minion Boomer has been to this dog park several times with Himself and loves it!  A few days ago we took both Rupert and Boomer.  I decided since there were no other dogs to let Rupert be off leash for the very first time.

It was a joy to watch him explore this new space.  He was cautious in his explorations but good about halting when I told him to stop (such as when he was headed into a blackberry bramble).  Rupert had such a huge doggy grin and his tail was wagging in double time.  I'm sure we will be spending more time on the dog island.  I have to admit that it was difficult to let him go and wander around on his own even though I was walking close by. 

Le Petite Crone says:  Sometimes you just have to let go.

P.S. I'd like to recommend another blog to my readers.  It's listed in "My Blog List" on the left...."The Geezer's Guide" - think of him as a male crone.  I just happen to know this particular person - in fact he evidently dropped me on my head when I was a newborn baby....that might explain a lot!  He's my big brother.  I enjoy his writing and hope that you do too.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lessons From An Old Dog - Part One

My English Bull Terrier, loyal mini-minion Rupert is only eight years old.  Due to his physical difficulties (many surgeries, foot problems, glaucoma, blindness, losing an eye) he seems and acts much older. 

Rupert is a sweetheart of a dog.  He's over forty pounds of solid  muscle that loves to snuggle and cuddle.  The only thing he loves more is to eat, however even with his slower lifestyle he is not the least overweight.  He's as solid as a brick wall and walking him is like trying to walk a tank. 

I recently had two experiences with Rupert that brought me to tears, taught me some valuable lessons and once again confirmed how special a dog he is, even though I think all dogs are special.

For those of you who don't have the privilege of knowing a Bull Terrier I need to tell you a couple of things about their nature.  Bullies were bred to be fighting dogs (yes, like Pit Bulls) but around 1840 or so they started to tweak the breed to remove aggressiveness and make them into a companion animal.  They did an outstanding job; however Bullies are lumped into the Pit Bull regulations in many places around the country.  I have people react to him the same way many people do to Pits.  I'm a responsible owner and Rupert is never off leash in public and he has good manners.  He's a good boy.

Because of the intensive breeding done with Bullies (I won't get into how I feel about pure bred dogs and what we've done to them) they have a slightly, how shall I put obsessive compulsive nature.  In fact in some Bullies it's so bad that if they, as an example, obsess over chasing their tail you actually have to euthanize them because they will do so over eating, sleeping etc. until they become sick.

Rupert has two obsessive traits, both harmless.  The one I want to tell you about is a game Himself and I dubbed "Bully Ball".  Rupert takes a toy in his mouth and then bats a tennis ball with his front paws (in a cat like manner) and the mouth toy around the house and every object in the house that he can get around.  There are obvious rules and regulations that he follows including "time outs" and "penalties" for missing the ball.  Points are obviously scored if I have to retrieve the ball from under the couch.  We've been able to control his obsessiveness by just taking the tennis ball away and only letting him play "Bully Ball" for limited amounts of time.

As Rupert lost his sight his ability to play Bully Ball diminished.  With just one eye and about 95+% loss of vision in his remaining eye he now has such a difficult time playing that it's really painful to watch.  I feel so sorry that he can no longer indulge in his game that brought him so much joy.  We have stopped giving him his tennis ball because it made "us" feel so bad.

The other day my dear spouse Himself took mini-minion Boomer with him into town to do some shopping.  Rupert and I were home alone.  Rupert seemed so depressed that I got out the old Bully Ball tennis ball.  The transformation was amazing.  Rupert was so obviously thrilled.  He tried to play Bully Ball by the normal rules and I could tell he was frustrated that he couldn't see the ball.  We ended up laying on the floor together, nose to nose batting the ball back and forth between us...modified bully ball!  His joy over such a small thing brought tears to my eyes.  I realized that even though he couldn't play like he had in the past, he could still play.  I had been so concerned over how I felt, my sadness over his loss of sight that I forgot to take into account how Rupert felt. 

Le Petite Crone says:  Even if you can't play like you use to, keep playing!