Blessing of the Animals: The Degu Sisters

The Episcopal church commemorates St. Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals, by offering a blessing to all creatures brought to a service by their caretakers, usually in October. Our summer church, St. Ann’s in Kennebunkport, offers the blessing in July. Luckily for us, the wife of the Rector of our “winter” church, Rev. Sara D’Angio White, is a visiting pastor at an Episcopal church just a mile away from our home.  I asked her if she would like to come to our house and bless our new family members from the Kennebunk shelter after a Sunday service, and she readily agreed! For the week leading up to this morning I let the Degu Sisters know that the “Holy Lady” would soon be coming to honor and bless them. (Someone suggested that we have the Rev. bless only one of the sisters to see if there is a difference in behavior afterward, ha!)

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Introducing The Degu Sisters!

“The Degu Sisters” sounds like a great jazzy duet, doesn’t it? Wayne and I adopted these loves (age four) from the shelter on Saturday. We had never heard of a degu before last week. While popular as pets in England they are relatively new to the US. Degus originate from the foothills of the Andes in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and are in the same family as guinea pigs, capybaras and chinchillas. This adoption wasn’t planned; I saw their photo in my Facebook feed that was posted by the shelter and I loved them immediately. My heart had been broken by the passing of my guinea pig rescue, Tiny Tim a couple of years ago but was ready to love again! I took the photo on the left at the shelter and on the right the sisters are surveying their new home. I’ve been very busy with learning all I can and getting to know them. They are so sweet!

Bring back simple animations, please!

Yesterday evening while flipping through the channels before “Keeping Up Appearances” came on I stopped at Alvin and the Chipmunks. Look at Alvin the Chipmunk in the 1960s versus today. Personally I think the modern day animations are mostly abominations. Alvin no longer even remotely resembles a chipmunk!

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Our Christmas 2018

This was the first Christmas for Wayne and I as a married couple, so for the weeks leading up to it we talked about what we will do to create lasting traditions. Tradition is such a comforting word in an uncertain world, isn’t it? Yet things didn’t happen as we had hoped. The cold I had from last week continues to steal my voice and morphed into a nasty cough, the kind that leaves my ribs aching, so I’ve been consuming lots of cough syrup, lozenges and medicinal teas. Because of that we obviously needed to forgo a Christmas Eve service, something we really had been looking forward to doing, especially after missing church on Sunday. Yet things turned out in ways we couldn’t have anticipated.

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A Close Call

A year ago this week a chipmunk I later named Wishy walked into our life. Although he is no longer on this earth he is still with us. One of the many things he showed me is that you never know when something or someone wonderful will show up out of the blue and bring you unexpected happiness. At that time there was no snow on the ground and temps were above normal. It felt like an extended October! Wishy didn’t go into his burrow for the winter until early December after our first gentle snowfall. That experience taught me to not dread November, so I went into it with a positive and accepting attitude this year. Sunset before 4:30? I can cope. Brown leaves and bare trees? Poetic. But to have our first snow not even be of the fluffy introductory variety and instead 6 inches of wet heavy crusty February-esque snow? That’s a clear and unexpected boundary violation. Right?! I’m so relieved that it didn’t happen last year, because we would have never met Wishy!

Simple, Old-Fashioned Help for PTSD Nightmares

My experience from both sides of the “couch” has taught me that there’s nothing simple about PTSD nightmares. The things I tried in my teens and twenties–using food and alcohol to try and bury and drown them, sometimes to the point of blacking out, created new real-life nightmare scenarios. In my late twenties through my forties I was afraid to go to sleep; I averaged about five broken hours a night. When I did sleep, and the nightmares struck, I woke up extremely exhausted.

I wish I could say that I am now completely free of nightmares and experience restful sleep. The good news is that I have made incredible progress over the past couple of years. I have fewer nightmares, am not terrified of going to sleep and am making my peace with them.

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Supernatural Stories for Halloween

I took the above photo some years ago. Although it’s just driftwood and seaweed I thought it looked like some kind of sea monster! I want to share four stories that happened to me, a couple of which are quite spooky.

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The Brutality of Nature

Last week I noticed what appeared to be a large bird in my woods. I walked closer and saw that it was a hawk. Hawks eat chipmunks and are not welcome on my property, especially when they are dangerously close to Buster’s burrow at the edge of the woods. In animated NYC fashion I told it to get lost. Perched on a branch up high it watched my little performance, and when I was finished it flew away. There! I showed him!

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A Brush With Death, and Paint

My yard is full of surprises. I was deadheading roses and noticed this Wooly Bear caterpillar. On a cabbage, what looked like detritus simply hopped away. It’s this garden variety of unannounced visitors that I welcome. What was absolutely terrifying was when a mystery object came crashing down from above!

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When Wishes Come True

One day Wishy wasn’t his usual “chipper” self.

“Are you sad, Wishy?” the teacher asked.

“Yes. I wish that summer would last all winter long!”

Summer in Maine is a beautiful season. The teacher wished it would last longer, too. She knew not all wishes can come true even though they are nice to have.

Excerpted from Wishy the Bookworm Chipmunk.

Although Maine will not become an endless summer, one of my dear wishes has magically come true!

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