Honu

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Life Lessons | Posted on 26-04-2017

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Exploring coral reefs amidst colorful fish and the ever-so-peaceful honu, the native Hawaiian green sea turtle, was how we began each day on recent Maui vacation.

Snorkeling is not something I do on a typical morning at home. More like drowning. Around here, mornings are stress filled: alarms, children, showers, breakfasts, lunches, out the door and off to school and work, go!

Hawaiians regard the sea turtle as a symbol of wisdom. They are graceful and calm and seem to know about life. They glide through the water. They go with the flow. They hypnotize you with their peaceful ways. We spotted at least two sea turtles each time we snorkeled. Each time was magical, dreamy, and meditative.

The honu is also a symbol of good luck. The sea turtle is a reptilian survivor from the age of dinosaurs and can be traced back 150 million years. Good luck indeed.

I. Want. To. Be. A. Sea. Turtle.

At home, I am not sea turtle-like. I am a worrier. A multitasker. A planner.

Vacation. It’s a wonderful thing. You take a break from real life, then you return. I have returned home with amazing family memories, a quickly-fading tan, a cute pineapple purse, and a bit more calm. More honu.

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Of Mice and Men

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Home, Humor | Posted on 20-02-2017

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One tiny mouse. Seven big humans. One large dog.

Last month, the freezing temperatures summoned a mouse into the great indoors: our living room. We spotted the mouse making a dash from sofa to television. It was a tiny mouse, the size of a walnut. A walnut with fur. And whiskers. And little pink ears. And a black tail.

My 17-year-old son and his two friends just happened to arrive home just in time. Let’s corner it and shoo it out the front door, we brainstormed on the fly.

It was my husband, me, my daughter, my 17-year-old son and his two 17-year-old friends, my youngest son, and our dog vs. one mouse, the size of a walnut.

Let me tell you, it took the eight of us to lift the sofa to scare the mouse to the wall’s edge, to get down on one’s knees and clap loudly, to scream with excitement, to block the dining room, to prevent Otis from eating it, to dance wildly in the middle of the room, to chase it with an orange Home Depot bucket, to continue to persuade it along the wall’s edge, to open the front door.

We did it! What a team effort!

When the mouse fled through the front door, we all stood there a little stunned, threw our heads back, and laughed.

That sweetie! #yellowlab #winter #yellowlabrador #dogso?nstagram #dog #snowdog

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The King

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Family, Family Pet, Humor | Posted on 02-02-2017

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Welcome to my castle.

My dog has three dog beds throughout our home. One in the family room, one in my office, and one in our bedroom. Each is by a heat vent. Well placed for his comfort.

Yet, Otis usually prefers to sleep on human beds. Because he is the king. And he knows it.

My daughter sleeps at the very edge of her bed so that Otis can stretch his limbs and sprawl out next to her. And she covers him with a pink fleece blanket with bunnies on it.

And then sometimes, Otis will sleep on our bed. The king bed. Of course.

Reminds me of Borat, when he visits an American hotel for the first time: “king in the castle.” Whoa whoa woowa!

The king. #yellowlab #labrador #dogsofinstgram #owningit #kingofthecastle

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Chicks, Ducks, and a Bunny…Oh My!

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Growing UP, Happiness, Ideas, Imagination, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Mother, Mothering, Pets | Posted on 17-10-2016

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Who buys her daughter baby chicks, baby ducks, and a bunny…in the middle of the city?

My mother…that’s who!

Imagine the squeals of delight one Easter morning! The joy! I was the happiest of happy!

We didn’t live in the country. Nor did we have the proper pens and enclosures yet built. We housed our extended family in our laundry room off the kitchen. Added some heat lamps. Purchased feed. Received a donated rabbit hutch for the backyard.

Our farm was set!

Like Fern from Charlotte’s Web, I fed, watered, nurtured, and talked to my animal friends every day. Their peeps and nibbles and sweetness made me overjoyed. My friends thought I was so lucky…indeed, I was!

One baby duck, Quincy, didn’t make it and died after a week. It was a tough life lesson. The other duck, Abraham, thrived.

When the chicks and duck outgrew their soft downy feathers and grew into their adult feathers, it was time to move them from the laundry room to the backyard, into coops and hutches.

One chick grew into–gasp!–a rooster and became the 5:00 a.m. alarm clock for the neighborhood, with his loud cock-a-doodle-dooing. Abraham was so well mannered, that you could leash him and take him for a walk. The rabbit was simply happy with carrots and came out for snuggles.

Our menagerie of animals represented my childhood: colorful, joyful, interesting, and full of life, love, and experiences. My mother was the ring leader, with her big heart and personality, always unconventionally fun and cool. I am so lucky to be her daughter.

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The Sheep Connection

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Attitude, Communication, Life Lessons, Love, Relationships | Posted on 22-08-2016

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One of my favorite things at the county fair is to visit all of the farm animals. I say hello to each and every one of them, without leaving any out. Goats. Cows. Rabbits. Chickens. Horses. Bunnies. Ducks. Geese. Pigs. Llamas. Alpacas. Sheep.

The goats look at me longingly and always get lots of lovin’ from me. They have warm eyes, big hearts, joyful spirits, and like to “kid” around. I talk to the bunnies and poke my fingers into the cages to pet their soft fur. They are often shy. I scratch the pigs’ snouts. We could chat for hours. I talk to the llamas and alpacas and they rudely stare back. Sometimes showing me their yellowed teeth. Llamas are assholes. I compliment the chickens and roosters on their beautiful plumage and they are agitated. Some of the horses are sweet, some are aloof. Their stalls have bars: communication barriers. I am especially kind to the cows, especially the beef cows, because I know their lives will end soon.

And then there are the sheep.

I walk into the sheep barn with eagerness. I walk down the rows greeting them with a friendly Baa Ram Eew (giggle) and I reach out to give their fluffy curls a scrunch. I compliment those who are freshly shorn. You sure make beautiful wool! I exclaim.

Each summer, it’s the same. The sheep snub me. Like the llamas, they are assholes. I pick up clean straw to hand-feed them. Like an olive branch offering.

This time, there was a sheep connection!

I met lovely sheep who smiled at me. I talked to them. And they listened. They looked into my eyes. My heart reopened. They invited me to scrunch their wool, so I did. I gently moved their bangs out of their eyes.

I like to make connections with animals and people. If the connections fail, I keep trying. I’m an optimist (sucker) that way.

Animals have personalities like people (or is it the reverse?). I forever encounter people who are kind, thoughtful, funny, loving, honest, and respectful. I also encounter people who are rude, selfish, aloof, condescending, cold, and mean.

I try to have an open mind and an open heart and be kind and forgiving. But I am often disappointed by people who are condescending, selfish, cold, and mean. Sometimes I wonder:

Is it worth reaching out even if I will be let down? If I do get let down, do I continue to forgive and give another chance?

Next year at the fair, I may skip the llamas. But, I will keep visiting the sheep. As proven this summer, through kindness and forgiveness, I made new friends and they warmed my heart. Renewing my faith in sheepmanity.

Ewe never know when you’ll make a connection.

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8 is Great

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Family, Family Pet, Pet, Pets | Posted on 04-01-2016

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How old should a child be to own a pet hamster? The pet store said eight years old.

But my daughter was turning seven. And she wanted a hamster. (Imagine Veruca Salt, “Daddy, I want a squirrel!”)

No, my daughter doesn’t ask for much. So, we gifted her a hamster for her seventh birthday. Along with a hamster cage, a wheel, food, cedar chips, a water bottle, toys, and yogurt snacks.

It was love at first sight. She named him Popcorn.

She snuggled with him. She cooed to him. She fed him grated carrots. She built him obstacles out of cardboard boxes. She let him run free. She cleaned his cage. She let him explore her dollhouse. She gave him clean water. She talked to him in a little hamster voice.

And when she was done playing with him, she always put him back safely in his cage and hooked the latch.

Except not always.

We went out to dinner one night and came home to an empty cage. I feared the worst. Had he fallen through a heater vent? Had he crawled under a door to the great outdoors? I was about to initiate an all-family, whole-house search-and-rescue when my daughter announced that he was probably in the kitchen by the mixer.

Because. That’s where she left him. Ah, perfect seven-year-old logic.

Her 7th birthday…

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Ring Around the House

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Pet | Posted on 18-11-2015

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Ring around the tub? No, we have ring around the house.

My dog Otis rubs his sides against the walls and halls, leaving a long, dark ring around the entire house. Much like the cat in the hat and the long, pink ring he leaves around the bath tub.

The children in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back cannot get rid of this ring. The stain transfers to a dress, the wall, shoes, a rug, the bed, the TV, then finally outside into the snow. The mess spreads. It takes Little Cats A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and finally Little Cat Z to clean up the spot.

When I look into Otis’s eyes, I can’t help but laugh at the endless ring around the house. Who needs Little Cat Z when you have paint?

It happens.

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That kissable face!

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4 Things I Learned From My Dog

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Advice, Animals, Attitude, Life Lessons, Otis | Posted on 04-08-2015

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Otis reminds me about four important life lessons:

  1. L-I-V-I-N.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Break rules. Otis had a bath. Then decided to roll in the dirt. Because…fun!
  4. Persevere. Otis has been chasing rabbits nightly. After three years, he finally caught one! And presented it to us with a missing head.

L-I-V-I-N

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…that boy!

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Otis took a post-bath roll in the dirt.

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A. Gift. From. Otis.

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The Spider Rescuer

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Children, Nature | Posted on 16-04-2015

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If it crawls on the walls or ceilings, hides in the corner, or has made a web at the windowsill, she rescues it.

If it has thick black legs, or long thin legs, or six or eight legs, she rescues it.

If it has wings, a thorax, antennae, or exoskeleton, she rescues it.

Whatever the type of insect or spider, upon discovering it in the house, she promptly gets a glass and gently scoops it up. She places a piece of paper at the top, and scurries outside to release the beast in the wild. Where it was meant to be.

The other day, when she was wiping down the kitchen counter with a washcloth, she accidentally killed a few ants. By her reaction, you would have thought our dog died.

That’s our girl! The compassionate, spider rescuer. (She takes after her father.) 🙂

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WTF?

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Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Animals, Nature, Photography | Posted on 19-11-2014

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I was on a mission to photograph some birds. I was in prime territory: a nature preserve and home of migrating winter birds. The timing was perfect, a fall day with a little sun, a little rain. It was just me and my camera and my parka. Oops, no parka.

Shielding my camera lens from the rain, under my t-shirt, I journeyed and meandered with my eyes peeled.

Beautiful ponds! Beautiful clouds! Beautiful nature all around!

I was looking for birds, yet I found everything but. Sometimes you find things when you’re not looking for them…ah, yes, another life metaphor…

Where were the birds? I looked high. I looked low. I looked near. I looked far. This was beginning to seem like a Dr.-Seuss-Meets-Where’s-Waldo book. WTF? Where’re the fowl? 🙂

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Then I stumbled upon this sign. Well, whaddya know? It was September 30. I was one day early. Ah, that must be it. The birds had a schedule and they were sticking to it.

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As I was heading to the car, I suddenly heard geese in the distance. I looked up and there they were: migrating Canadian Geese!

Their timing was perfect. Arriving one day ahead of schedule (according to the sign), and five minutes before I was about to leave.

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