Tales From the Cul-de-sac Part I

April 30, 2008 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Thoughts | 24 Comments
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So the last time you all got a peek at my neighborhood, you met all the eclectic characters that will surely keep us all entertained. The antics in this part of the world never cease to amaze me.

  • Tuesday morning I was late to work. Oversleep? No. No Alarm? No. Unable to find the correct ensemble? Okay, maybe, but that was not the reason. I ran out the door, keys in hand, water in tow, open the garage door, and low and behold I am trapped. I am literally barricaded in my driveway by an ambulance and a police car. I turned into a neighbor reminiscent of a Desperate Housewives crazy person and decided to hang out and see what all the commotion was at the neighbor’s house. Might I just say that this is the second time in about a month that the po-po (yes, I said that) has camped out on my end of the street. Seems that little boy next door has gotten a tad bit too good at running away and the police have been called to chase him down a number of times. The kid is back at home. Not sure why they needed an ambulance. If I had run away my dad probably would have requested an ambulance too due to the severe beating I would have endured upon my return home. Perhaps they were just being proactive.
  • Just yesterday I returned home to a ladder leaning against my tree on the adjoining property side of the little delinquents. I was intrigued. I sat out on my back deck to “read” with my chair curiously turned toward those little rug rats waiting to see what they were up to. Apparently they had decided to chase a squirrel out of my tree and trap it against the brick of their home in a cardboard box. Something tells me that they were not wanting to take it to school for show and tell. As I began to picture the horrible fate that most likely was awaiting this little animal, I see the dad step in and proceed to scream at them at the top of his lungs, ” Are you crazy, it could have rabies!” Seriously? Yeah, that was the reason to let the poor thing go. I am starting to understand why these kids are acting this way. I am shuddering every time I see them. They remind me of the scary kid from Toy Story 2 who dismembered all the toys. Scary.
  • I saw the neighbor who you all think is running a meth lab. This is the first sighting of her in 2.5 years! I really did not think she existed! She was weeding her front lawn. The no-grass present front lawn. She was out there for about five minutes.
  • The neighbor who mows his one acre yard with the John Deere tractor has broken it out twice in the past week. Sometimes he rides it down the road just to turn around and bring it back. I find this very interesting. Hubby says it is like his sports car. Apparently he is nursing a mid-life crisis-country style. Yee-haw.
  • Neighbor up the street, next door neighbors to the delinquents, has a flapping problem. The siding is falling off of the house in the back and it is keeping us up when it is windy. We will begin a count of the days to see how long it takes them to fix it. My guess is this could go years. Seriously, years. Years, because we never see them either. I think they are afraid of the delinquents and refuse to come out.
  • We also have a war brewing. A serious war. Everytime Hubby mows our lawn, delinquent dad next door decides to mow his the very next day. I am literally talking hours people. It was like a weird self-control thing that he has to have the shorter grass. Hubby, being the fun-loving guy that he is, decides to mess with him and literally mows the lawn three times last week, just to see what happens. This man breaks out his lawn mower every single time to make his grass 1cm shorter than ours. As if that is not enough, he breaks out the blower to blow the clippings into my yard. Whatever, I call it fertilizer. People are hysterical.

Since I made all of you love Nashvegas too, don’t ya wanna come visit and spy on the neighbors with me? Come on ya know ya wanna. There is more than enough bloggy material to go around. Seriously, come and see me.

We could have fun!

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More Answers – Part Tres

April 29, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Blogosphere, Just for fun | 20 Comments
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Arielle asked, “What are three things that you haven’t done that you hope to do in your lifetime?

1. Have children. Lots of children. This is a must. I will have children either by natural birth or adoption. It is my life dream that will be fulfilled.

2. Travel to many different countries including Ireland, Scotland, Italy, England, South Africa, Russia, China, Egypt, just to name a few.

3. Run a marathon. This is a very big question mark. I would love to do this, but two bad, dislocated knee-caps later it is questionable. I was listening to people at church talk about completing a marathon this weekend, and I am in awe of their stamina and determination!

Dutchess asked, “If you could have one talent, which you currently don’t have, what would it be?”

I would love to be able to play the piano and the guitar. I am in awe of people who can sit down and play and write beautiful music. I would love to be able to sit and play for hours and hours.

Rachel asked, “What is your biggest accomplishment so far?”

My biggest accomplishment would be surviving over a year without my husband while he was deployed. It was so difficult and at many times I did not think I would make it without the involvement of a padded room and a few therapists, but I did and I am much stronger for it and I have learned so much about myself and the amount of stress I can withstand.

Emma asked, “What are some of your favorite things about living in TN?”

Well, this is the first time I have talked about where I live, but I am so proud of my town, Nashville, that I need to give it a big shout-out. I love that Nashville is Music City. I love going to shows of great bands and artists for cheap mulah. I love seeing artists in little dives before they make it big and I can’t afford to go see them anymore. I love knowing people who know famous people and sometimes being introduced to them and knowing them myself. I love that it is a big city with a small town feel. I love that it is in the SOUTH. I love that I can order sweet tea at any restaurant and they don’t look at me like I am crazy. I love that it has six different roads with the same name and that I have to explain to newbies how to maneuver them. I love the skyline. I love that I can walk around downtown and not be afraid. I love that I can live close enough to it and still be in the country. I love that I was born here. I love that my children will be born here. I love that my family chose to live here. I love that I went to college here. I love it that it snows in the winter and is nice and warm in the summer. I LOVE the fall here, the colors are breath-taking. I love that it is my town and I chose to be here and I want to live nowhere else.

Nila asked, “Why did you begin blogging and how did you come up with your blog name?”

I began blogging because I was reading other blogs and I realized I needed an outlet. I needed to vent, to write, to create. I needed to record my life so that when I am old and most likely even more forgetful, I can look back on my life and remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I asked for help with my name from my fellow bloggers and Heather at Curious Life suggested A[tipp]ical Thoughts playing on my childhood nickname, Tipp. I loved it and I kept it.

Thanks for all the great questions ladies!

More Answers!

April 28, 2008 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Blogosphere, Just for fun | 19 Comments
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Here are a few more answers to all of you great bloggers who asked some great questions:

Auburn Kat asked why I chose my line of work.

I have always loved working with children. I grew up a PK (Preacher’s Kid) and was the kid who always taught the nursery class, helped with children’s groups, and babysat kids during choir practice or other church functions. I have always been more comfortable talking to children rather than adults. I got involved with children with special needs because they taught me something everyday I worked with them. They and their families exemplify perseverance, character, and joy. They are the best that the world has to offer!

Chickbug asked if I had one post that I could have everyone read what would it be.

Most likely anything under my Choice Thoughts Page.

My first pick would be anything from the Army Wife Series.

1. Five Years Ago recalls the memories of marrying my husband weeks before he deployed to Iraq.

2. A Piece of My Mind was written after my husband was involved in a panel for war veterans and I wasn’t able to express my thoughts on the war to the panel so the blog got it all.

3. On That Note is my view on war and a follow-up post to A Piece of My Mind.

Renee asked what song would be playing in my version of Hell.

This is so easy. They are both Bette Midler songs, The Rose and Wind Beneath My Wings, and they would both be on repeat and shuffle, just those two. I hate them both. I have no reasons why except that I do. Nothing against Bette. Just the songs.

Alexa asked what was my favorite 80’s movie, what is my favorite movie quote and what is my middle name.

My favorite 80’s movie is, don’t hate, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. We used to watch it at every slumber party when I was young and it was the best!! My obsession with Sarah Jessica Parker began early.

One of my favorite funny movie quotes is from Coyote Ugly, again don’t hate. It makes me laugh every time. I can still picture this woman getting an attitude.

Violet: Hi. I’m Violet Sanford. I just recently moved to New York and was wondering if you’d give my tape to one of your artists. 

Wendy: Violet, that is so cute! Now lemme tell you about me. My name is Wendy and I first moved to New York when I was 21 to be a dancer, but I broke my big toe and then I got knocked up by this actor who dumped me to join the Peace Corps, so for the last 16 years I been raising my daughter all by myself and then two weeks ago, she tells me that she is a bisexual and that she hates me more than any person on this planet.
[chuckles

Wendy: Now tell me how I can help you, please, because I am dying to make your dreams come true.

Classic.

And my middle name is Renae, not talk as some of you may have thought.

I will be back with the answers to all of your other questions very soon!

The Rest of the Story

April 27, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Posted in Family, Life, Thoughts | 19 Comments
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These past couple days have just been a whirlwind. I have gone non-stop since Wednesday and I feel as though now I am taking a few moments to breathe.

I know Mrs. Lilac updated you on the situation with our rescue mission. Here are a few more insightful moments on the trek to finding Kitty, a.k.a Little Momma, a.k.a Cinderella a home.

It became apparent to me last week that this little thing was so stressed and tense in my home with my curious little Ellie. Obviously, she had been tortured and stalked by dogs and cats of a lesser sociable nature in the past and had some preconceived negative ideas about the motives of my beloveds.

I came to realize that she could not stay-and birth kittens-in my home, no matter how much she had endeared herself to me. (This is saying a lot from a person who in the past has referred to herself as “not a cat person”!)

I called Julia and she was a lifesaver. I packed Kitty up to take her to a nearby hospital to have some tests run and to turn her over to her new foster parent. We were sitting in the waiting room, little Momma in my lap because I knew I would miss her, when she started to do some very funny breathing. One woman even went so far as to look at me from across the room and say, “your cat doesn’t look so good.”

Obviously, between the pantings and the pounding on her tummy, it seemed to me and to the vet tech that she had gone into labor. I almost lost it. Not only was I going to have to give her up, but I was going to have to do it when she was already in labor! I was about to really cry huge amounts of tears when they called us back to do the tests. They proceeded to poke her and draw some blood and she was a champ. I was the one who needed the comfort. We went back to the waiting room to await the results and prepare for the transfer to her new Mom. I continued to try not to cry.

I did not succeed. I cried. I cried pretty hard. I am aware that I looked like an idiot, but I couldn’t help it and everyone at the animal hospital was so helpful and understanding.

I sat and watched as person after person came in going about their business. I meet another rescue worker. She was picking up two sweet little girl beagles, whom she had just rescued from almost being euthanized. They had that day been spayed. The vet tech brought one little girl up and left her sister behind and the saddest most pitiful howling ensued. She was afraid they were taking her sister away from her. The vet tech went back to retrieve the sister beagle and finally the crying stopped. Her rescue mom told me that she had eight other dogs at her home awaiting adoption, and that she was hoping to secure a home where the two sisters could go together because they were miserable without each other.

I met another woman with the cutest little lab-mix doggie, whom she had rescued from the pound the day before he was to be put down. The joy that he brought her was overhwelming. How anyone could kill such a sweet little being? I will never understand our society’s lack of compassion for living things.

I was a mess listening to all the stories of the women who were saving so many dogs from being killed to make room for new animals as they came into the shelters. It broke my heart over and over again. I am so thankful that there are such kind souls who open their homes to animals who will be mercilessly killed for no reason.

At that exact moment, a woman came rushing into the hospital saying that a truck had run over a row of baby ducks trying to cross the street with their Momma. As many of the staff ran out to save the ducks another one ran toward the road to try to keep the Momma from leading her babies into the main road, where she would lose the rest of them.

Again, tears fell. I was surrounded by so many people with huge hearts who refused to let any of God’s creatures suffer. I was amazed and in awe.

All the while Kitty is panting harder and harder. I call Julia, saying I am afraid to sit any longer waiting and that she needs to get settled. I drive to meet Julia across town. She was amazing. As I tearfully handed over our little rescue mission she gave me a big hug, told me I could see her when I wanted, and that she would keep me updated on her and her babies. I left feeling such emptiness, but knowing I had done the right thing for Kitty’s well-being. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we had to let her go and be somewhere that she could rest and be stress free.

Kitty apparently was just faking me out that night because she did not have her babies until two nights later. But when she did go it seems as though she never stopped!

Momma Kitty has now delivered seven healthy, beautiful babies. Yes, I said seven. Her foster mom, Allie, said that she was so quiet and calm during the whole process. She was a champ! For an 8lb. kitty she literally was all babies.

Mrs. Lilac and I were talking today about how cold and rainy it was the night she delivered. Her babies surely wouldn’t have survived and with such a prolonged labor process and her lack of nutrition, she may not have either. She is now being a fabulous mother and we are thankful for everyone of her healthy babies.

I am sad I didn’t get to see the end result. I am sad I am not able to hold those little babies I felt kick in her tummy for those few days. I am sad that I can’t hold her and cuddle her anymore. But, she is happy exactly where she is and exactly where she needs to be.

I am so thankful for this experience. I am so thankful for people who care to go the extra mile. I am so thankful that people care to take responsibility for God’s creatures who cannot help themselves. I am thankful for friends who cared about a small little homeless cat who somehow taught me a lot about compassion and life.

 

Catching Up

April 26, 2008 at 7:50 pm | Posted in Blogosphere, Just for fun | 6 Comments
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My fabulous friend Dana over Just Talk was so sweet to give me a sweet little reward.

Thanks so much Dana! If you are not reading Dana, go on over and say hello!

Now, I get to pick a few bloggers who make my day on a daily basis.

So in no particular order I would like to give this to:

Thanks to all of you who make my day everyday!

Kitty Update- Mrs. Lilac, Guest Blogger

April 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Family | 6 Comments
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Hey there, Tipp fans- this is Mrs. Lilac. Since Tipp is busy working a lot these last few days, she invited me to guest blog about our kitty friend. Here’s the scoop……

Little Momma was getting pretty stressed out sharing quarters with Tipp’s doggies, Lily and Ellie. (Who, by the way, are about the cutest and sweetest pups ever.) They were just being normal curious dogs, but poor kitty, after all she’s been through, was hissing and tense and just not dealing well.

Tipp just felt so bad for the Little Momma, trying to get ready to labor and deliver under stress. So Tipp got in touch with Julia, the AMAZING cat rescue pro who has been helping us along. It just so happened that Julia had just gotten a call from an experienced kitty foster mom who was really wanting to foster a pregnant mama kitty. Talk about good timing!

However, Tipp, being the sweet-hearted girl she is, about had a nervous breakdown taking Little Momma to vet to get some tests and be transferred over. Tipp was bawling on the phone to me, and luckily Julia was there to give Tipp a big hug and some reassurance when she handed over our kitty friend.

So- Little Momma is happily nesting in a safe warm home with a wonderful family. No signs of kittens yet, but it should be any time now! As “honorary” foster moms, Tipp and I are going to be getting email updates, as well as going to visit the Little Momma and her kittens when they are born. Trust me, we will definitely be posting pictures!

The foster family, seeing the beautiful little white “slippers” that our kitty friend has on her feet, has decided to name her Cinderella. How sweet is that? And she certainly has the rags-to-riches story to go with it!

And they all lived happily ever after…………… 🙂

Name Little Momma

April 23, 2008 at 5:18 pm | Posted in Family, Photos | 27 Comments
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Mrs. Lilac and I do not think it would be fair to have Little Momma go through labor and delivery without a proper name. So, we are opening it up to all of you to help!

All suggestions are being considered and we want to hear from you all!

Bonus points for Gone With the Wind or literature-based names!

Here is a little inspiration.

While I am in favor-asking mode, click on the purple paw print on the right every single day and follow the link to click to feed a homeless animal in a shelter. All you have to do is click, its free and it helps!

Little Momma Update

April 23, 2008 at 7:43 am | Posted in Family | 13 Comments
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Apparently all I need to help with kitty is a yodeling cucumber.

Hubby has been singing this over and over to the Little Momma, sans yodeling, and it will not get out of my head!

So update on Little Momma. Took her to the trusty vet yesterday where she was a big hit with the staff there. And no, my vet does not yodel either! He says for her condition she looks like everything should go well. She is only eight pounds with probably four little babies in tow, so she is teeny and has a lot of catching up to do for such a little girl. She is hopefully a year old, but I have my doubts, she looks like a baby herself.

Lily acts as though she isn’t really here, Ellie is very curious. Kitty is tolerating them both, and they are growing on each other. The vet says that it could be today or within the week. She is still eating and not really “nesting” yet, so Hubby and I think it will be a few days. She did raise a few eyebrows last night when she started doing some crazy panting. Turns out she was just hot.
 

Thanks for all of your fabulous birthing tips! I am sure when the moment comes I will turn into Prissy from Gone With the Wind and run away screaming, “I don’t know nothing bout birthin babies kittens” leaving Mrs. Lilac alone. I promise I will try not to!

Interview Opportunity

April 22, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Just for fun | 5 Comments

I was exposed to this through Heidi at Life in Pink and thought it was really cool.

It’s a project that does interviews with 50 Bloggers in 50 States.

Should be cool to see new bloggers!

I’m In!

Our Mission

April 22, 2008 at 11:27 am | Posted in Family, Life, Photos | 21 Comments
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It has been an eventful past few days in my humble abode.

One of the things that has been going on is that Mrs. Lilac, my wonderful, kind-hearted soul sister, has recruited me to help her find a home for an adorable little pregnant kitty that was left abandoned near her home. She is unable to take her in due to a family member who has allergies. She has done so much emailing and calling to rescue shelters to find her a home before she gives birth to her kittens.

Unfortunately, so many rescues in our state are inundated with little kittens and pregnant mommies and we were turned away from all but one.

Mrs. Lilac wrote all about our mission:

A very young, pregnant cat appeared in our neighborhood recently. Definitely not a feral cat- very friendly, so affectionate and loving. My daughter and I have been feeding her. I was beginning to panic that she would have her kittens out here in the woods.

So, yesterday I spent most of the day calling cat rescue groups. I made probably 25 calls, and sent maybe 10 emails. I fed Kitty several times yesterday- she was ravenous every time. When my kids were napping, I sat outside with her in the sunshine. She nuzzled and purred and climbed in my lap, and then she settled down right next to my side and rested, content.

After dinner, a rescue group called. They offered to come get her last night. I asked about what would happen to her and her kittens. The lady told me that typically they spay the mother cat. I didn’t realize that was even an option since she was already pregnant. Yep, it is an option. They just remove the entire uterus with the kittens inside it. She assured me that if any of the kittens began breathing, they would be bottle-fed and otherwise treated humanely, and then homes would be found for the mother and the kittens.

I felt so torn. I know I wasn’t really in a position to be picky- almost any rescue would be preferable to being left outside to fend for herself. I just couldn’t feel good about it. I called Tipp, and she totally understood how I was feeling. I really had to trust that God would honor my choice not to let these kittens be aborted and taken from their mother. We hung up to go make other calls, and another rescue called telling me about a possible foster family.

Just to keep Kitty safe in the meantime, my daughter Opal and I got Kitty into a carrier, and loaded up to take her to Tipp’s house to stay for the interim.

The long drive was full of so many precious opportunities for me to interact with my daughter. I told Opal that when the Bible tells us to love our neighbor, our neighbor is anyone whose need we see and whose need we are in a position to try and meet. I told her that the Bible says that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing about it. At one point, Kitty meowed a little, and Opal said, “I know why she’s crying. She’s afraid we’re taking her somewhere where her babies will get lost.” I can’t tell you the relief that flooded me because I was able to say with a clear conscience, “Well, you just tell Kitty that we’re taking her somewhere that she and her babies will all be safe.”

So for now, Kitty is well-fed, well-loved, and safe with Tipp- the world’s sweetest lady ever- and her totally awesome husband. When we left her last night, Kitty was purring, all stretched out on the carpeted floor, with her eyes closed, just totally blissed out.

I’m not telling you any of this to toot my own horn or say what a wonderful person I am. Here is why IT’S NOT JUST A CAT. My point is that reaching out to a person or animal who needs you should be the NORM, not the exception. IGNORING PAIN AND SUFFERING IS NOT NORMAL. As a mother of three, this has to do with what kind of human beings I am raising to go out into this world. Do I want to raise kids who look at every situation and say, “It’s not my problem!” Do I want to raise kids who turn a blind eye to suffering and need? I want to raise kids with hearts full of compassion who will be good citizens of the world. I want to raise young people who will look out into the world, with all its problems, and not turn away- who will say to themselves, “I wonder what I can do to help?” I don’t want to raise young people who look at every situation in terms of what’s comfortable for them, and what’s convenient for them. I want them to look at every situation in terms of what small thing they can do to contribute, and I want them to leave every place they encounter a little better than they found it.

It’s NOT JUST A CAT. It’s about the future of the world.

 

I love how she puts it. It is not just about a cat. It is about helping a living thing in distress. If everyone everywhere took a little bit of responsibility to help out a living soul in need, this world would be a better place! Mrs. Lilac and I tend to get so overwhelmed by the vastness of hurt and suffering in this world and this is just a little way for us to chip at the problem.

We get so angry when people say to just turn her out or send her to a shelter, she will be killed and so will her babies. I wish more people would truly stop to think about what that means. Why is it up to us to decide who should live and die? Why can people turn a blind eye when a living thing needs help? What does that say about us? I encourage you to make a difference today in the life of someone or some soul.

We have heard all the excuses, we know we can’t save them all. But we can save this one. And to this one and a few little kittens, it matters. It means changing the world.

 Now, can anyone give me any pointers on birthing kittens? Mrs. Lilac and I have a job ahead of us!

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