Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Daisy and daisies and more

Thanks to all of you who commented on yesterdays post or sent me a personal message regarding the loss of our little Daisy. It means a lot.

Yesterday one of the poems I submitted to Jellyfish Whispers was published online. Even though this is more my "language blog" I didn't want to post it here yesterday after losing Daisy. Ironically, the title of the poem is Daisies after the Storm. But it is really about more than just daisies. If you want to read it, press the link below.

Here is the photo that was taken the day I wrote it. You can only see part of the damage from the hail storm.

Here is a picture of the hail that accumulated around the roots of one of our bushes.

And the lawn was littered with big balls of hail.

It was the second time. First in June shortly after the daisies were planted. Then when they'd finally become nice and full again, another unexpected hail storm came in July. I wasn't happy, but while looking at all the petals on the ground I knew they were just flowers and they'd grow back. There are much greater losses.

Those losses that I talk about in the last stanza, they're not mine. They are those of several dear friends of mine. These are the losses one never forgets.

Daisy Cupcake

See this beautiful little creature. This is our Daisy. Well, actually Daisy Cupcake, though we just said Daisy.

                A dwarf hamster is so small that it fits perfectly in the palm of one hand.

The life expenctancy of a dwarf hamster is roughly 2 years. Our Daisy lived to be three years and three months old and perhaps would have lived even longer. She got an eye infection and had a reaction to the prescribed medicine. It made it worse and the infection spread. She became very ill. This morning when I went to change her water, she looked so bad. We took her to the vet again. We were told we could try something else but she'd already lost the eye and with her age, the chances were slim. She had been eating and drinking but very little. And she didn't go on her wheel the past two nights.She seemed so fraile and lifeless. One could see how she was breathing harder and though she came to say hello when I filled her dish, licked my hand as usual, it was a tired lick. And her eye socket was visibly a painful issue.

Before going to the vet I told my daughter she might be forced to make a decision and that's just what happened. Though the chances were slim, we could try a different medicine for 3 days but if that didn't work, we'd need to put her to sleep. Considering her age and the obvious suffering she was in, my daughter decided to let her go now. She wanted her to be at peace. With tears running down her cheek, she told the vet she wanted to be with her until she took her last breath, then she would take her home and give her a proper burial. And that's what we did.

Daisy was a hamster with a great personality. She was always friendly and social, never bit. She liked to climb up my daughter's shirt, sit on her shoulder, and nuzzle against her neck. 

And she would lick us to say hello and then crawl into our hands. She loved attention. And she was a sporty one. She could go on her wheel for long stretches, day or night. Often instead of using the ladder to get to the next level in her cage, she would pull herself up and over. Hamster parcour. And she loved the wooden "jungle gym". One thing she really loved was toilet paper rolls. As soon as you put one in her cage or playpen (yep, we had a big wooden hamster playground with seesaw and tunnels and things for her to go in-under-around-over) she would crawl in it and go crazy. Her chewing instinct would kick into high gear. She looked vicious. Then she'd come out and be our sweet little Daisy again.

We will miss her company. She brought us many smiles. She was my daughter's first pet and being an only child, Daisy was a sort of substitute sibling. When she was angry with us or when she had a bad day and didn't want to talk about it yet, she'd go in and tell it all to Daisy who, of course, was a good listener.

But all living things die. My daughter is lucky enough to have all grandparents yet and no one she is near and dear to has ever died. In the vets office she said to me, "this will be my very first funeral". 

Another thing she said, after much debate, was "This is hard. So hard. I don't want her to die but somehow I feel it is the right thing to do. She isn't getting better. She can barely walk. She is suffering." And I told her that lots of things in life will be that way. We are faced with decisions all through life. Sometime the right choice is what is easiest to do.  Sometimes it is what is the hardest. And other times there is no clear distinction. And then we sat in the vet's office and cried.

I'll have good memories of Daisy. She was a perfect pet. One thing I will remember fondly is how her fur would change in the cold months. She would get white on her chest, chin, and above her eyes. It almost looked like she grew white eyebrows.

Rest well, Daisy. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Win a Book!

Do you have a young daughter who likes to read? Maybe even a son who likes magical tales? If so you might be interested in the book The Taste of Snow by Stephen V. Masse.  In this book an 11-year old girl  is given a magical candy cane. After that, things start to happen. Some good. Some bad.

If this sounds interesting to you, you are in luck. Becca over at Everyday Life is giving away a copy of this book. To find out all the details, just click HERE.

I've just entered. If you decide to do so, I wish you luck. There's nothing better than winning books. Well...okay...maybe winning the super-dooper mega lottery. Or a free two-week vacation in Malta. Or free chocolate for life. But winning books is still cool, right?

And even if you aren't interested in the book, be sure to stop by Becca's blog some time. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sharing summer sentences

Graduation was the theme of the latest haiku contest at Caribbean Kigo Kukai. And guess what? I just found out that I tied for third place. To see the results (and read my haiku) click here. It was the first time I took part, so I am thrilled.

Some of my friend's children in the U.S. graduated this year. Others have a few years yet. But they all have already started their summer vacation. Most have been enjoying the past month at the pool or at camp, on vacation or just hanging with friends at home. Not so in Germany. My daughter still has three days of school yet. She can't wait until school vacation begins. And my husband doesn't need to work for the next ten days. For more about that, click here. Yipee! That means I can annoy the hell out of them.  :-)   Just joking. I am very much looking forward to spending time with both of them, so if I don't post often in the next week or two, you'll know why.

One of the things I like about summer is grill parties. Barbeques. Picnicks. Whatever you want to call them. I am a big fan of grilled vegetables. Grilled steak or chicken. Corn on the cob. And salads. Green salad. Pasta salad. Broccoli salad. Pepper and feta salad. White radish salad. Potato salad. Can't go wrong with salad. Of course, there are the fresh summer fruits. Watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches. Ah, yes. Summer is a great time for food and wine and relaxing with friends.

What do you think about summer? Below are four sentence starters. Your task is to complete them and post your answers in the comment section.

1. One thing I like about summer is...
2. Something I hate about summer is...
3. My favorite place to go in summer is...
4. A summer memory from my childhood is...

Okay. Here are my answers.  

1. One thing I like about summer when there is a slight breeze in the evening and the fragrance of our jasmine bush fills the air. It's even more perfect if fireflies are flying around and flashing.

2. Something I hate about summer is mosquitoes. Luckily, there aren't as many at my home now as there were in Pennsylvania. Those suckers treated me as a five-course meal. I spent many a summer looking like I had measles.

3. My favorite place to go in summer is ANYWHERE. But if I have to pick one place it would be Italy. To reach the northern tip is only about 3 1/2 hours, maybe 4. Gargnano, which is a quaint little village we adore directly on Lake Garda , is about 6 1/2 hours. My daughter enjoys going to the ocean. Lido di Jesolo is about an 8 to 9-hour drive. Of course, from there one can take a short ride by ship to Venice. Great weather is summer. Delicious food. Wonderful hearty wines. Culture. Yep...Italy rocks.

4.  A summer memory from my childhood is when my friend Kathy and I put on a talent show for our neighborhood. We planned and practiced and sold tickets to our show. There was singing, dancing, gymnastics, twirling, comedy, and a magic show. Everything went well except the magic show. Probably because neither of us knew any magic. Somehow we thought the skills would magically come to us. But they didn't. Luckily, that failed attempt came right before our closing act, the song that helped redeem us in the eyes of the other kids that were watching. We sang "The Candy Man" and as we came to the last few lines, we plunged our hands into two giant bags filled with an assortment of sweets and then tossed them in the air. The other kids went home with handfuls of candy and smiles on their faces.

Now, it's your turn. I want to know your answers to these questions. C'mon. Don't be shy. It's only 4 questions. And if you answer, I promise to never perform a magic show for you.

Abracadabra...and now I will disappear.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

In Less than 100

Can you tell a story in less than 100 words? Okay. Maybe not a complete story with beginning, middle, and end. How about a story that tells about an event or that describes a place or a person's character? Now what if the theme had to come from an usual picture? That's exactly what I did yesterday for Day 14 of the 100 Days of Summer creativity project.

To read my very short story, click here.

Now, I challenge you to do the same. Use one of your photos (or if need be, find a picture on the internet) and write a story of 100 words or fewer and post it on your blog. It would be neat if you could link to this post as well, but it isn't necessary.

Go ahead. I dare you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why all the Happy Dancing?

Whenever I have a piece of work accepted by a journal (or if my friends have work accepted) I joke that I am doing my happy dance. I don't really do it, because--trust me--no one wants to see that. But I've been "dancing" quite a bit lately.

I recently learned that my poem Badak Api (which you can read at Bolts of Silk) was selected to be used in an upcoming anthology to help raise money for rhinos. The rhinos, many species of which are severely endangered, need our help. This anthology is non-profit. Proceeds of sales go to rhino conservation projects. I love animals. Love helping causes. So this is perfect. I'll let you know when it is available.

Last week I received notice that a "shorty" of mine will be featured in twenty20 journal, and yesterday a short poem of mine was featured in Four and Twenty. To read it, click here. The really neat thing is that several others from an online writer's group I am in (Marie Elena Good, De Jackson, Dr. Pearl Ketover, Claudette Young) as well as a FB friend (Kathy Nguyen) are also in this edition. So, how cool is that?

And yesterday evening I got a reply from Microw regarding my submission for their upcoming "home" edition. I had sent one poem and several pictures for consideration. They are publishing my poem and using four of my graphics.

Here is one of the pictures they didn't take. This is a typical German window in my area at this time of year. Isn't it pretty?

(For more of my photos, go to my other blog at Linda's Life on the Other Side.)

So despite the headache, chills, and drowsiness I am dealing with today, figurately I am feeling great.I hope you are all feeling great, too. (figurately and literally)

Go out and enjoy the day.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Photos and Poems

I am taking part in the 100 Days of Summer Project. It started on July 5. For 100 days participants are posting something artistic on their blogs each day. Some are creating their own music, poetry, or paintings. Many, like myself, are posting photos. I usually post a tiny description with mine. If you'd like to follow my posts, click HERE to go to my other blog. (And thanks, Becca, for already noticing and posting comments. You're so sweet.)

I seem to be taking part in lots of projects/challenges this year. In April I took part in PAD (a challenge to write a poem a day for poetry month). I've been doing that for a few years now. Through that challenge, I've met lots of nice people and some of us have a private group on Facebook. One of the members, De Jackson, came up with the idea of doing SAD for May (submission a day). Though some decided to do SAW (sub a week) instead. It was fun to share information on literary journals and e-zines, and we all cheered each other on when an acceptance was received.

My poem Badak Api was published in the online literary journal Bolts of Silk. If you'd like to read it (and maybe leave a comment) then click HERE.  I have a few other works that will be up soon or in print journals. I will post links when they are available.

I know many of you are busy vacationing, so thanks to any who reads this post. Unfortunately, my area of Germany has two more weeks of school yet. My daughter can't wait.

Enjoy your summer!