Thursday, December 07, 2017

In the Christmas Spirit

Because I want this in my In Soul archives (and not just on Facebook), here's a story to make your heart melt in these chaotic, messy times around the world.

It's about the second cat, Oscar, who found a home with daughter Amy back in Atlanta:

Here's the story in Amy's own words after finding him dirty at their patio door in 2012 (top-middle):

"We knew we couldn't take him in, but I wanted him to be safe. I brought him into the garage with a blanket, food and water, and left the door slightly ajar, deciding that if he was still there in the morning, we would take him to the vet to get checked out before taking him to the same shelter where we got C.C. [their female cat]. He was not in the garage, but instead roaming around out back in the morning.

When we took him to the vet, he was diagnosed with FIV, the feline version of HIV. We had already decided we didn't want another cat, but that was confirmed by the vet who expressed concern about C.C. being infected. I believe there are meds that have a possibility of reversing the diagnosis, but if I recall correctly, it wasn't a strong possibility. And because he didn't have any symptoms, there were no other meds needed. Just a diagnosis he would have for life, and similar to HIV for humans, weakens the immune system, making him more susceptible to infections or other illnesses.

When we left the vet, we took him to the shelter and were informed that they literally did not have a single spot available for Oscar. They also were adamant that C.C. would be fine. They said there is a lot of fear and misinformation around FIV (similar to HIV) and that the only way for Oscar to infect C.C. is via a vampire-like bite, enough to pierce the skin. Given Oscar's sweet temperament, we didn't think that would be a concern. But what made the decision for us was when she said: "No one will adopt a cat with FIV. He'll live here for the rest of his life." Ugh, I couldn't bear the thought! I called Dennis (he was out of town) and he simply said, "That's our cat. He found us, he showed up on our doorstep. That's our cat."

So, we decided to keep Oscar, but given how dirty he was and the fact that he needed to be neutered, we paid the usual adoption fee to the shelter to take him in (they found a cage in the surgery ward), clean and neuter him [bottom center image], before bringing him home. After only a few months of good food and being indoors, he quickly shed the straw-like fur for rabbit-soft hair. And now he is the whitest of whites, fluffy love-bug!

I can't remember when exactly, but I believe it was earlier this year (or maybe last year just after the move), when the vet ran the FIV test (twice) and both times it came back negative. He's never showed any symptoms and doesn't take any medication.

Can you imagine him sitting in a shelter just because of a label?"

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And now a couple of add-ons to the Christmas spirit:

A Canadian friend of mine makes mugs as a business venture,
so, to support her, I bought one that says "bow-chi-chihuahua."
Just the other day we gave it to friend, Coby, who has two of her own chihuahuas.

Merry Christmas!

Here's a better pic of the live Christmas tree that Astrid decorated for us.
We had it up by December 1st, believe it or not, because of Christmas dinner guests on the 2nd.
Traditionally the Dutch do NOT put up their Christmas tree until after Sinterklaas on December 5th.

Speaking of which, Sinterklaas marked my 8th anniversary of moving here to the Netherlands!
And because of our dinner guests, Astrid was the one who suggested putting up the tree early.

Merry Christmas!

And then, just yesterday, when we went to get our biennial mammograms, 
(government freebie for women aged 55-75),
we found these workers putting up their plaza tree (the day after Sinterklass!).

Normally such a big tree is purchased from Norway and shipped for a gazillion euros.
To get around that cost, look at the ingenious Dutch way of doing it:
they build a tiered stand on which they mount, in this case, 43 smaller trees,
to make it look like one HUGE tree.
As I often say, leave it to the Dutch.

Merry Christmas!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And to celebrate the season, Astrid and I drive to the south of the Netherlands tomorrow
to visit the Christmas markets in both Maastricht, NL, and Aachen, Germany,
right across the border from each other.

This map gives you a feel for our trip:
Gorinchem (middle red dot is where we live) to Maastricht = 168 km (104 mi.).
Maastricht to Aachen = 39 km (24 mi.).
We'll be staying at a hotel in between the two till Monday.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Watercolor Sunday and Saturday's Color: November 2017

Nope, it's not December yet but on this last day of  November, and with no more weekends, here's another month sliding off the calendar!

My Watercolor Sunday posts on Facebook for November 2017 are:

November 5 (photo manipulation):
"America's present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy;
not revolution but restoration." --Warren G. Harding
(29th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1921, until his death in 1923)

November 12 (photo manipulation):
"She stands
In tattered gold
Tossing bits of amber
And jade, jewels of a year grown old:
--Zephyr Ware Tarver (1886-1974)

November 19 (photo manipulation):
"Don't wait until the fourth Thursday in November to sit with family and friends to give thanks.
Make every day a day of Thanksgiving!" --Charmaine J. Forde

November 26 (photo manipulation):
"In November, the smell of food is different.  It is an orange smell.  A squash and pumpkin smell.
It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog.
Food is better in November than any other time of the year." --Cynthia Rylant

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My Saturday's Color posts on Facebook for November 2017:

(finished on 3 July 2009, posted on FB 4 November 2017)
Even though some of these Celtic Designs make me wonder (it's a dog-eat-dog world, for instance),
I first trace them with my finger and then color them with happy colors anyway.

(finished on 5 June 2017, posted on FB 11 November 2017)
During the month of November, it's "the proper thing to do" to add the color ORANGE.
(from my Kaleido Color book on black background paper)

(finished on 8 October 2017, posted on FB 18 November 2017)
These are the fun ones I can usually finish in one day.  :)
(from my 6 x 6 mini-mandala book)

(finished on 7 November 2017, posted on FB 25 November 2017)
As the days get shorter and shorter before the winter solstice (Dec. 21),
we need the light wherever we can find it.
(from my Stained Glass book)

And now we face December.
How did it come around so quickly again?!