Saturday, July 31, 2010

Still/Be Still My Soul

Through my newest follower, Pam over at Live Laugh Love with The Pondering Princess, I discovered a new Saturday blog hop - one that I was so blessed to discover.  What a great way to share music that is particularly meaningful to us!

The challenge of the blog hop hosted by Signs Miracles and Wonders is to post a song that has encouraged your heart.

This particular song (or should I say medley) is one that I came across about a year ago.  I was in the middle of leading a Ladies Bible Study on worship and the particular chapter we were studying was based on Psalm 46:10 - "Be still and know that I am God."  - I've found this to be a difficult thing to do at times.  My heart wants to keep striving, struggling, worrying, working, testing, proving, fighting, attaining, competing, grasping, forging, pushing, moving - all action words.  But to be still and rest in the knowledge of who God is?  Oh, so very difficult at times.  But the peace that comes from resting in His strength, and letting Him do the work is incomparable.   I picture myself leaning back with utter trust in the strong arms of my Heavenly Father, believing He will hold me, guide me, and sustain me.

This song is a reminder of all of that - and a reminder that I frequently need!  Hope it encourages your heart today.

Blessings,  Ro

Friday, July 30, 2010

Follow Friday!

It's Follow Friday 40 and Over again over at Java's Never Growing Old blog.  It's been a busy week but a great one!  Here are a few photos to give you a little glimpse into some of the things happening here on the Magnolia acreage.

Our garden has been producing like mad!  We have cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, beets, zucchini and radishes coming out of our ears!  I love having fresh veggies in our garden and Mr. Magnolia and I are enjoying loads of fresh salads and stirfries.  Yum!

Our flowers are also loving the hot, steamy summer weather we are enjoying!  This mandevilla vine has doubled in size since I purchased it.  We have a hummingbird who loves to come and feast from it's trumpet-shaped flowers, but he's very camera shy and I haven't yet been able to spot him when I had my camera ready.  Silly little hummer!  You'd think he knew exactly when I have my camera and when I don't!

The sidewalk leading from our front door is graced by lovely hydrangeas and rose of sharon, all of which are blooming beautifully this year!  I love to sit on our front porch in the evening and look out in this direction which faces west, so I can enjoy the lovely sunsets.

And speaking of sunsets, I was lucky enough to catch this beautiful sunset this past week.  We live across the road from a winery which has converted a lovely old home into a restaurant.  I couldn't believe the incredible colours that lit up the sky behind the winery this past week!  They are actually to the south of our property, but the sunset was reflecting back from the west all the way around the winery property.  Made for a very picturesque moment!

If you are visiting from Friday Follow 40 and Over, I hope you have enjoyed a little glimpse into my life here in Southern Ontario, Canada.  My wish for you today is that you would have a few moments this weekend, to enjoy a sunset of your own, or perhaps to stop and smell the flowers, and appreciate the little things of beauty in your own life.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

It's Marvelous Monday!  And on this beautiful Monday morning, I really do have a lot to be thankful for.  This morning, I am especially thankful for the power of encouragement.

I have been so touched by all of the encouraging notes and messages I have received as I have been going through this difficult time with my little cat Tiger.  Words cannot express how much it has meant to me that so many of you have taken time to express an encouraging word.

It has always been my desire to be an encouragement to those around me, but I have found it to be very enlightening to be on the receiving end.  Your words of encouragement have been like little gifts of hope - hope that things will work out okay, hope that we will get through this, and hope that we are doing the best we can in the situation.  The encouragement I have received from friends, family, and fellow-bloggers has been like a breath of fresh air to me!

Knowing that so many of you are going through much more difficult and trying times than I am right now, yet you took the time out of your own struggles in order to encourage me, is very humbling.  So on this Marvelous Monday, I want to say a BIG THANK-YOU to all of you for your encouragement.  I hope I can be an instrument of encouragement in your lives as well.

I'll leave you with this little video clip - it's only 3 seconds long and you'll have to turn up your sound to listen to it - but I think it will make you smile.  It's a little snippet of Tiger having a cuddle with me the other night.  As she was snuggling with me, she was purring her little heart out!  It made me wonder what the function of a cat's purr really is!  Perhaps with mother cats, it's to help calm her kittens, kind of like a lullaby, but since male cats purr too, it can't only be for that purpose.  I wonder if a cat's purr is a form of encouragement too - encouraging the one who is purring and encouraging the one who is listening.  There is nothing quite so peaceful is the sound of a cat's purr that creates such an atmosphere of serenity, security, and love.  I think my  little Tiger's purr is letting me know that she is very happy to be alive and is going to be just fine!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Roller Coaster Ride!

When I was a kid, I loved roller coasters!  Actually, I still do - but not the modern ones with the loopy-de-loop, hang-you-upside-down-from-your-neck kind of ride.  No, I like the old-fashioned wooden roller coasters where you sat on a bench seat and where the ride had a couple of small hills, some twists and turns, and one great climb to a huge plummeting swooping downward spiral, all to the accompaniment of the rattling wooden track beneath you feet.  Remember those?  Those, my friends, were real roller coasters.

The Comet, 
now at Lake George, New York, 
in The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom,
has been restored to its former glory.  
It found its first home at 
Crystal Beach in Ontario, Canada
from 1948-1989.
Someday I hope to visit The Comet at its new home.

Growing up, we were lucky to live within a 45 minute drive of Crystal Beach, what was then a vibrant theme park and home of The Comet.  Awww...The Comet - my favourite roller coaster ever.  I dreamt of the day I would be tall enough to finally ride that coaster, watching my older siblings with a mixture of piercing envy and hidden fear as they tumbled wind-blown and happy at the end of the ride.  When the day finally came and I was tall enough for the "big people" rides, I was ecstatic!  And The Comet was everything I had imagined and more!  I can still remember the butterflies in my stomach as we rode that big hill, clicking and clacking up the track.  And then that brief second pause at the top, when the whole world seemed hushed and the laws of gravity stilled for just that second, before suddenly we were plunging down, down, down to the bottom, mouths open with glee, hands flung in the air, hair whipped back till we arrived breathless at the bottom, feeling somehow like we'd conquered a mountain or soared across the seas.

The problem with roller coasters, however, is that they aren't so much fun in real life.  Do you know what I'm talking about?  Days when your emotions are dragged all over the map, soaring to great heights, plunging to great depths, until your whole being feels stretched beyond repair and so very exhausted.

Right now, we are going through "roller coaster" times here in the Magnolia household.  A big part of it is the ongoing saga of our cat Tiger but of course, there are always other things going on as well because let's face it, life doesn't stop just because you are faced with a mini-crisis of one type or another.  I'm being pushed beyond my normal comfort zone to do things I wouldn't normally chose to do and that in itself is a stress.  I'm not good with "medical" things at the best of times and suddenly I am having to deal with a cat that needs medications five times a day, a bandage that has to be changed daily, wounds that have to be cleaned twice daily, a feeding tube that has to be used to feed the cat 3-4 times a day, and physiotherapy that I'm supposed to be giving her 4 times a day.

And obviously my cat isn't exactly enjoying this any more than I am!  Ever tried to give physiotherapy to a  tired, hurting little animal who has not in any way lost her ability to use her front claws?  Not fun!   She actually is being very patient, but she will growl at me with a warning and if I keep on going, she will swipe at me with her claws.  But the vet keeps insisting that it is imperative that I stretch both her back legs out 30-50 times, four times a day.  And giving her medication isn't exactly a picnic either!  She foams up at the mouth because the antibiotic tastes bitter and struggles so hard when I try to put any of her meds down her mouth with the syringe.  And all the time, I am very aware that she is hurting and I hate to hurt her any more.

Quite apart from the daily responsibilities of her care, is the fact that we have no idea if she is going to recover.  One day we have a positive day where she seems to be improving, and then the next day, it's like she's gone down hill again.  Up and down, the roller coaster drags us, from hope to despair.  And I am left questioning over and over again, if I have made the right decision to keep this little cat alive.

The thing is, when we first had to make the decision, we didn't have all the facts.  The emergency vet clinic we brought her to told us she had no fatal injuries, no broken bones, just one hip that had been pulled out of joint and some "unknown" damage to her other leg.  They assured us that the University of Guelph Vet team would be able to assess her much more accurately and since they are one of the only two spots in Ontario where vet surgery is available, it seemed logical to take her there.  At Uof G, the vets assessed her, even having a neurologist look at her, and they assured us that the "unknown" damage to her left leg was nothing to be concerned about.  Her right hip needed to be operated on, but her left leg would be fine.  They felt there was temporary swelling on her sciatic nerve on the left side and that given time, it would heal itself.

Strange thing:  No one ever talked about the bite wounds themselves.  No one explained that dog bites could be so deadly, that the small 1/2 inch punctures on the outside of her body could hide huge damage done by the way a dog shakes it's prey.

So, we authorized the surgeons to operate on her hip and clean up her wounds.  Then in the middle of the operation, they called us and said:
a) the hip operation went very well!
b) but the bite wounds were much more extensive than we realized and her stomach has been punctured,
c) but we can sew her stomach up and it will be okay, we just need you to authorize more money to be spent.

So, we thought YES!  sew up her stomach.  I mean, they had already done the expensive hip surgery and it was a success!  And they said if they sewed up her stomach it would be okay.  So why not go for it!

It wasn't until AFTER the surgery that the vet called us to explain that she had extensive wounds on her back, part of her tummy had to be removed, part of the abdominal muscle had to be removed, and they were very cautious about whether or not she would even survive the night.

So, the good news is that 12 days post-surgery, Tiger is alive!  But the harsh reality is that we have a little cat that has 20 staples in her stomach, about 10 regular stitches where they weren't able to use staples on part of her belly, a feeding tube, four staples under her chin where they attempted to put in some type of catheter but weren't successful, and two large stitched wounds, one on her hip where they did the surgery, and one on her back where they had to clean out a particularly bad bite wound, and plenty of little wounds that are about 1/2-3/4" in length all over back and hind legs.

According to the vet at U of G, she should be up and walking by now but so far, she is not doing much other than sleeping on her blanket.   Our own vet feels that is ridiculous and that with normal abdominal surgery they usually don't expect the cat to be up and walking for 12-14 days and then when you consider all the other trauma the poor cat has endured, it is no wonder she wants to stretch out on her blanket and sleep the day away!   But hearing such varying reports on her recovery is confusing and yet another part of the roller coaster.

My husband talked me into taking her outside today on her blanket.  It was a great idea!  She perked right up and began squiggling all over the grass, watching every bird as it flew by, and sniffing the grass with obvious delight.  But it became clear to us that she doesn't seem to be able to use her left leg at all right now.  She does stretch it out regularly when she is lying on her blanket, but obviously she can't hold herself up on it at all.  And the right leg that was operated on doesn't seem to be much better at this point.

So we are on the roller coaster still - wondering from day-to-day what kind of a long-term prognosis there will be for this little cat.  I spoke to the vet in Guelph yesterday, just clarifying a few details about her care.  One of my questions had to do with her medication.  The antibiotic and the stomach buffer have a specific end date on the labels, but the pain killers do not, so I wasn't sure how long I'm supposed to be giving them to her.  He explained that she might need to be on painkillers for the rest of her life!  This was one of those plummeting moments for me, because if she is going to be in pain every day for the rest of her life, I don't think it's fair to her to prolong her life.

Tiger is sitting up properly now on her blanket for a few hours every day. She is obviously getting stronger and feeling less pain every day.  The bandage around her neck is where her feeding tube is attached to her.  You can just see the orange feeding tube tucked behind her head in the picture.

My husband and I have talked this over extensively in the last week and have decided we will do everything to give her the best hope she can have for the next four to five weeks.  But after that period of time has passed, if she is not able to walk on at least one of her back legs, or if she is still in constant pain, we will have to make the difficult decision to put her to sleep.  In the mean time, I am going to do my best to take care of her medical needs, as well as spending lots of time cuddling her.  And she certainly hasn't lost her purr!  She stretches out beside me, tucks her head under my chin, and reaches one paw out to hold me, as if she is so thankful to know I'm there.

Last Sunday morning, I dragged myself to church feeling emotionally raw.  I couldn't believe it when the soloist for the day opened her mouth and began to sing.  She had selected one of my favourite hymns, one I hadn't heard for many years, and one whose words were particularly meaningful to me this week.  Knowing that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and loves each little animal He created, is giving me strength as I ride this crazy roller coaster called life.  I hope the words minister to you as well.  (I've been singing the song all week long, replacing the words "the sparrow" with "my Tiger" - it has helped cheer me up considerably!)

  1. Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
    Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
    When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

    • Refrain:
      I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
      For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

  2. “Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
    And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
    Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

  3. Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
    When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
    I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
    His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Matthew 10:29-31 (New Living Translation)

29 What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Follow Friday - Reach for a Peach!

Yes, it's Friday!  And that means it's Follow Friday 40 and Over at Java's blog Never Growing Old (one of my favourite blogs by the way!).

Right now we are in the midst of fruit season here in Southern Ontario.  So if you're visiting today from Java's blog hop, or from anywhere else, I invite you to "Reach for a Peach!"

Sweet and juicy, freshly-picked, these peaches are the first of many to come over the next few weeks.  Ours are not ripe yet because they are a later variety, but my brother who is a full-time farmer has a barn full of peaches, apricots, cherries, and plums right now.  We've had an early season for everything so it's a little bit chaotic down at the farm, but I visited there yesterday and enjoyed being a spectator while fruit was being picked, brought in from the orchards, and packed up for market.

Funny story - when we were in our early teens, the Ontario Fruit Marketing Board came out with this "Reach for a Peach" marketing campaign - they produced masses of T-shirts that all farm kids were supposed to wear when selling fruit.  Only thing was, apart from blazening "Reach for a Peach" across our breasts, there were also two strategically placed peaches on the front of the T-shirts!  My sister and I were mortified (I was 12 and she was 14) and refused to wear them after the first week when we received so many rude comments from disgusting old men at market.  So whenever I hear the words "Reach for a Peach!" I  always chuckle a little bit now, and shake my head too, wondering who in their right mind thought that a bunch of innocent farm girls were going to feel comfortable wearing T-shirts like that!

But if you don't like peaches, then I invite you to "Reach for an Apricot!" because they're ripe and delicious right now too!  We have 7 trees of them on our own property and half of them have been picked.  In another couple of days the rest of the varieties will be ripe and ready to go.  We are so blessed to live in such a great area for farming.  My husband says that at this time of the year, it's a little bit like living in the Garden of Eden - without any annoying snakes slithering around!  :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

An Award for Little ole Me? Why, thank you! *blush*

Recently, I received two blog awards.  I love getting awards!  Seriously, I love it - probably stems from the fact that I was such an under-achiever growing up.  My older siblings all got awards in school but I didn't get nary a one!  I drifted through school, pretty much happy-go-lucky, with fair-to-middling scores in everything except math which tended more towards the lowest end of middling wherever that might be!   So, if I really love getting blog awards now, it's probably in part to make up for my early lassitude.

Judith, over at Unexpected Gems decided to pass on to me the "One Lovely Blog Award."

And Robin, over at Your Daily Dose bestowed on me the "Beautiful Blogger Award."

The funny thing is that both Robin and Judith have blogs that I appreciate so much, it seems like I should be giving them the awards, not the other way around.  You two ladies inspire me both in completely different ways.  Robin, I so appreciate your honesty.  It helps me remember my own frailties and faults and struggles in a way that reminds me to stay humble and recognize my need to not just "settle in" but keep pushing for better in my own life.  Judith, you, on the other hand, help me to remember God's goodness, His love and care and grace in my life, in a way that helps me to remember the "peace that passes understanding" - that gift from God that comes not through my own work, but simply because of how wonderful our Heavenly Father truly is.  So one of you seems to encourage me to keep pushing on, and the other one of you seems to encourage me to rest, but I appreciate both perspectives for their own unique place in my life.

So thank-you to both of you for passing along awards to me, and I hope you don't mind that I've decided to combine them both in this one post.  My little recovering feline patient is keeping me very busy with her demands so posting has become a bit of a luxury at the moment.   

The rules for accepting the blog are:

1).  Thank the person who gave you the award
2).  List 7 things about yourself
3).  List 7 inspiring blogs to whom you would like to pass the award.

So, Judith and Robin, please consider yourselves thanked!  It was particularly encouraging to receive these awards this week because it has been such a difficult week for me to even get to my blog.  So thank-you for your kindness!

7 Things About Myself:

1).  My eyes are not exactly brown, not exactly hazel, but sort of a tawny yellowish colour, but they change too depending on the light and what I'm wearing.  My youngest brother has exactly the same colour eyes - if they happen to be the same colour at the same time as mine.  :)

2).  I am the shortest person in my family and I am 5'6" so I'm not exactly short.

3).  I was named after two aunts - my mother and my father both had sisters with my name.

4).  I didn't get married until I was 34 and I really had no confidence that I would be "better" at marriage than any of my friends and relatives whose marriages failed.  I thought marriage was probably going to be the hardest thing ever and got myself all worked up about it - and then discovered that marriage is the most amazingly wonderful joyful experience ever!  I can't imagine life without my husband now and am so thankful for him.  He makes every day so much better by laughing with me (and yes, sometimes AT me), by holding me when I cry, and being the best life partner day-by-day that I could ever imagine.

5).  Some of my very best friends include my parents and my siblings even though we also can fight like crazy at times.   Must be an Italian thing.  :)

6).  I really love bookkeeping.  I know it should seem boring, but honestly, I just love taking the time to make sure everything adds up neatly and that it all falls into place where it's supposed to.  Very little in life fits so neatly into columns, it's kind of a relief to work with numbers that belong in specific spots and can be ordered there by the stroke of a keyboard.

7).  My name isn't really Ro Magnolia.  That is a nickname that was given to me many years ago and stems from my maiden name.  Maybe someday I'll share my real name but for now I just love the sound of "Ro Magnolia" - it has a certain southern belle kind of sound that I love and I have often thought I would use it as a pseudonym if I ever decided to write romance novels.

7 Inspiring Blogs:

I've chosen these 7 for such totally different reasons, but each one brightens my day with their posts - either by making me really think, or making me really laugh, or making me really smile, or even sometimes, making me just take a moment and breathe in a thing of beauty.

So to you 7, please feel free to collect either one or both of these awards.  You deserve them!  My life is enriched by your blogs on a daily basis and I feel like you have become part of my network of friends even though we've never actually met.  :)

Never Growing Old
Fill My Cup...with Beauty
Bringing Pretty Back
Two Knit Monkeys
Life by Chocolate
Australian in Athens
Beyond the Kitchen Window

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tea Time Tuesday!

It's Tea Time Tuesday again over at Rose Chintz Cottage & Inspirations and Tea Cup Tuesday at Marthas Favorites.  Thanks once again to these lovely ladies for hostessing such delightful tea parties!

Where my dear "Mr. Magnolia" and I live in the Niagara Region, we are surrounded with lovely vineyards and quaint little villages, with only a half-hour drive to Niagara Falls or a one hour drive to Toronto.  As you can imagine, tourism is a big part of our local economy and as a result, we are very lucky to live within an easy drive of a number of really special tea rooms that cater to tourists and locals alike.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of those tea rooms with two very dear friends.  Located in Ridgeville, Ontario the Berry Patch is the sweetest little tea room you can imagine!  It's situated in a converted barn, with a little gift shop inside, and all the seating for the tea room is on the lovely deep verandah!

There are many teas to select from and each person is served their tea in an individual china tea pot with a unique china tea cup and saucer.  I chose a delicious Earl Grey Cream and found it to be an extremely smooth version of Earl Grey.  I had a lovely pink tea cup to drink it from.  Each tea drinker is also given their own little sieve to keep out the loose leaf tea.

They really do grow their own berries at The Berry Patch and my delicious scones came garnished with lovely plump fresh raspberries straight from the garden!

The gift shop has many lovely things to choose from and it was fun to browse.  Of course there were lots of tea related items, but also some lovely hand-made jewelry and other "girly" things that were lots of fun to check out!

My friends and I had a wonderful "tea date," enjoying the atmosphere and pretending for a moment that we were back in a more civilized time, with no troubles too great that a "spot of tea" couldn't cure them!  But we also had a true time of sharing and caring, something that is often done much more easily over a hot cup of tea or coffee.  It reminded me once again of just how valuable real friendships are - in this case, our friendships have endured well over twenty years, through incredible life changes, difficulties and joys.  I hope we're still drinking tea together when twenty more years have passed.

"Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; 
so does the sweetness of a friend's counsel 
that comes from the heart."
Proverbs 27:9

And just a little update on my dear "Tiger" - she is getting better every day!  It will be a long recovery time for her but we think she is doing quite well.  Thank-you to all for your prayers and positive thoughts!  She sends purrs back in your direction, and we send our many, many thanks for your kindness.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Message from Tiger

Thank-you everyone for praying for me and sending me your love.  I am getting better and want to go home!  The vet says I have to stay at this hospital place until Sunday.   My tummy is sore and I can't understand why my back paws don't work very well right now, but I still tried very hard to stand up to see my Mummy when she came to visit me.  And when she said good-bye, I tried to struggle off of this silly rolling cart they had me on so I could go home with her, but the vet wouldn't let me.  Mummy says I have to try to be a good girl and keep resting up.

The vet told Mummy that I was a very sweet cat.  Mummy told the vet that obviously I am not back to normal because normally I am a feisty little tyrant.  She told the vet that she will know I am back to normal when she hears that I scratched someone for being annoying.  Mummy says I don't suffer fools gladly.  I'm not sure what that means, but I think she means that I don't take guff from anyone.  When I am feeling stronger, I will do my best to let the entire vet staff know that I am their superior in every way.  But for now, I'm just getting lots of sleep and hoping that my Mummy comes to take me home very soon.


The Vet Hospital just called and I can pick Tiger up today!!!  Apparently she responded so well to my visit that she kept moving around after I left last night and they decided she would be much better off at home.  I'm going up to pick her up around 4:30 and they will be giving me a 45 minute training session on how to care for her, change her bandages, give her physiotherapy, feed & medicate her through her feeding tube, etc.  I'm a little nervous but very happy too.  I know my cat and I think she'll recover a lot faster at home.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

Great report from the vet this morning!  Tiger is doing very well.  She is healing very fast and so this morning they were able to take out the drain on her stomach wound.  They are lowering her dose of morphine based pain-killer and starting her on non-steroid anti-inflammatory medicine so that she will be more alert and also to help reduce swelling.

And I get to go visit her this afternoon!  It's kind of funny that I'm going to be driving over an hour to go visit my cat for 15 minutes.  But I'm just so thankful that I get to see her.  I don't want her to think I've abandoned her.

The vet is hoping that while I'm there, we can get her to start trying to stand up.  I'm bringing my camera, so I will try to get a picture of her so you can all see what she looks like - I suspect she will look pretty bizarre!  But she's my little Tiger regardless of how strange she will look with tubes sticking out of her, hair shaved off and bandages all over.  I can't wait to see the little feline!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers, purrs, and positive thoughts.  I know it has encouraged me tremendously to know so many people are caring for her.  And I do happen to believe in the power of prayer.  In fact I really think God helped me find the little tyke when she was stuck up the tree and had no strength left to meow.  I'm praying that she will get stronger every day and come home soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tiger Update

Well, Tiger my feisty little cat is apparently doing better this morning.  That's the good news for today.

Last night we got a very disturbing call from the Vet Clinic to let us know that when they operated on Tiger, they discovered that her bite wounds were much worse than they had realized.  Her little tummy was punctured!  So her leg being out of joint was only a minor repair really, but the tummy had to be repaired too, along with the muscle that holds the abdominal cavity in place.

Honestly, if we would have known the extent of her injuries right from the start, I think we would have had the little cat put peacefully to sleep.  She ended up last night with surgery to her hip, two drainage tubes from her two most serious wounds (one on her back, one on her tummy), stitches in her tummy wall and in her abdominal wall ... and then they told us that "of course, with dog bites, there is no guarantee she won't die anyway from infection!"   However they never told us that to begin with, in fact they downplayed her puncture wounds and said her only serious injury was to her hip!  And apparently they also put in a feeding tube because they were worried after all that surgery, she might not eat and then would die from liver failure because she stopped eating. : (

I was so overwhelmed last night after they called -- I just couldn't believe we had put that poor little cat through all of those surgeries and it might not work anyway!  I felt kind of duped by the vets.  They called in the middle of surgery to say the hip operation had gone very well, but after they had repaired her hip, they examined her bite wounds and that they needed permission to sew up her tummy.  I'm not sure why they couldn't have examined her wounds first before doing the hip operation and called us right away.  However, they didn't and we did give them permission to sew up her tummy.  And it wasn't until after the operation that they told us they had actually had to cut away part of her abdominal muscle and that as a result, her intestines might fall out in the next day in which case she will die anyway.

But this morning, they called with good news, or what they are calling "cautiously optimistic" news - Tiger ate on her own so they didn't have to use the feeding tube and she is already trying to sit up and move her left leg that was operated on.  All of her wounds and incision sites are clean looking with no sign of infection.  She is in the animal equivalent of ICU so I can't go see her today, but they will let me see her tomorrow.  The vet said she is on an upward swing, but warned me that with dog bites, she could easily spiral back down quickly so I shouldn't get to hopeful.  The next 24 hours are critical.

I wish they had told me right up front that the dog bites were so serious.  I wish they had examined her wounds before they did the expensive surgery on her hip.  But most of all, I wish poor little Tiger hadn't escaped from the shop and run off on an "adventure" that has used up probably more than one of her nine lives.

She is a real little fighter though - how else could she have escaped with such serious wounds, managed to haul herself up a tree, and held herself there for hours until I could find her and rescue her?  So I hope my little tigress holds on to her fighting spirit and gets through all of this.  And our budget somehow survives!  We definitely won't be going on a vacation this year after this expense, but if our little cat comes through it okay, I would rather spend the time at home anyway, cuddling the little bean and trying to keep her out of trouble!  : )

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wounded Kitty Prayer Request

Tiger hanging out at the shop several months ago.

Does it seem silly to ask for prayer for one of my cats?  Maybe, but not to me - in fact I prayed all night long last night that God would help me find her because she was missing, and I'm convinced He helped me!

I had a lovely idea for a TeaTime Tuesday post today - all ready to go with pictures and everything, but I'm going to save it for next week.  Right now, I'm going to ask you to pray for my beloved Tiger.

Tiger, our shop cat, was only about 10 weeks old when we discovered her and her litter mates out the back of my husband's automotive repair shop.  Her mother was absolutely wild and would not come near us, but it was the most horribly cold snowy December when we discovered they were our "guests" so we began to put food out for them daily, to make sure they would survive.

Originally there were 3 kittens.  One disappeared shortly after we discovered them.  The two that remained grew up from little kitten-hood to semi-adult kitten-hood and seemed to be quite healthy.  We fed them daily but they still would not let us near them.  One day, when they were about 4 months old, their mother was killed on the highway in front of our shop.  Shortly after that, the male kitten was killed in almost the exact spot.  Tiger was left on her own, but still she wouldn't let me touch her.  The great thing was that she would never go near the road, even from the time she was a wee little kitten.  So at least I didn't have to worry about her meeting the same fate as her mother and brother.

Then, when she was about 6 or 7 months old, she started to go into heat for the first time.  There were male cats everywhere!  Howling, mewling, snarling, male cats appeared from every direction!  I was actually caught between two of them fighting one day and got quite scared because they looked so mean!  And yes, Tiger got "knocked up."  But the good news was that with the help of all those hormonal swings going on in her body, she finally let me pet her for the first time.  And soon, she would even let me pick her up and put her in my lap and hold her.  She still had never been inside of a building, but at least we were making progress.

When her kittens (all 5 of them!) were born inside of a scrap tire behind our shop, I got to see them briefly before she whisked them away and hid them on me.  But after moving them a few times, Tiger finally decided she would trust me with them, so by the time they were about 4 days old, I was able to start playing with them and petting them.  When they were 8 weeks old, I took them away from her, brought them to our home and got them litter-trained, vet-checked, and found homes for them.  The reason I took them away so soon is because a female cat will go into heat again about 8 weeks after a litter is born and I really didn't want her to get pregnant again!  Now that she was so tame, I took her to the vet right away and got her spayed.  Even though she seemed tame to me at this point, she still had never been inside of a building and was so frantic in the kennel at the vets that she tore the skin of her face trying to escape through the bars.

But when I brought her home from the vet's, I decided to take her right into the shop and from that moment on, she made it her home.  She would go out side during the day and then come in for the night.  Gradually she became more and more tame and pretty soon she would go for days without going outside.  That was several years ago and she now feels that she owns our shop!  She is a little leery around strangers but surprises us from time-to-time by befriending one of our customers that she has arbitrarily decided she will trust.  Every afternoon at around 4 o'clock, Tiger knows it's her "bed time" so she usually goes over to the stock room door and waits for me to put her in there for the night.  The reason we close her in there, is so that she won't set off the motion sensors for our alarm system.  It's a decent sized room and she has her own shelf with her cat bed on it and her litterbox, water dish, and food dish.  It also has a big window for her to gaze out of, and a small window that looks into my husband's office, so she can look in there if she'd rather have an "interior" view.

Over the last 6 years since we've tamed her, I have debated back and forth about letting her outside.  Our house cats are strictly indoor cats because we live on a very busy highway, about one block from our shop.  But because Tiger was so wild before, I decided that she would never be happy if I didn't let her go outside during the day.  Also, during the summer months, my husband works with the shop doors all open to let a breeze through the building, so short of keeping her enclosed in that little shop room day and night, she would be able to get out whether I wanted her to or not.  So far, it is has worked out very well because she doesn't  go very far during the day and usually only goes outside for an hour or so at a time.  And she seems to stay well away from the highway.

Last night, however, she escaped.  My husband was working late and needed a part in the stock room.  He went in shutting the door behind him, but his customer didn't realize there was a cat there and yanked the door  open.  Tiger scooted out of the stock room and out of the big garage door like a blur.  I have no idea why she wanted out of there so bad, but the bottom line is she darted out and was gone like a flash.

My husband called me to let me know, so I went over to the shop and called her and called her, but she wouldn't come.  We stayed until midnight trying to find her, wandering around all over our property and the neighbour's field trying to find her.   Finally, we came home, sick at heart and very worried.  I couldn't sleep all night and prayed and prayed asking God to help me find her.  At 5 this morning, it started to get light out side, so I told my husband I was going back to the shop to try and find her.

I found her up a tree, severely wounded, but alive.  It's a miracle that I found her and another miracle that she trusted me enough to back down the tree into my arms even though she was in intense pain and extremely frightened.  The reason I was able to find her, is that she was in a tree up against the chain link fence between our property and our neighbour's and their large dog was barking furiously at the tree only about two feet away from it!  You can imagine how frightened Tiger was!  If she had fallen the wrong way coming down the tree, she would have ended up on the side of the fence with the dog!

We don't know if she was attacked by that dog or by a coyote, but there are bite marks all over her back and one of her legs has been dislocated.  We rushed her to an emergency vet clinic this morning where she was medicated and assessed and then we rushed her to Guelph University Veterinary College where she is having surgery right now.  The good news is that none of her injuries are life-threatening.  The bites are being cleaned and drained and her leg is being surgically fixed - basically they are taking the ball part of her hip joint right out, which sounds awful but apparently is the best thing under the circumstances and she will able to walk normally once it heals.  She has some nerve damage to her left leg as well, but the surgeon who examined her feels quite confident that it is caused by temporary swelling and in a few days should be better.

So please pray for my little Tiger, or if you don't pray, send warm fuzzy feelings in her direction.  She's just one little cat, but she is such a special little one, as they all are, and is very well-loved by my husband and I.  I know that God helped me find her, and it is amazing she survived being attacked, so I'm believing God will help her to recover as well.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

My father-in-law was a hard-working man.  As an immigrant to Canada, he spent most of his life working low-paying, long hour jobs in less than idyllic conditions.  He was a lumber jack in British Columbia for a few years in the late 1920's, spent a few years in the "dirty thirties" working in Saskatchewan and Alberta for the railroad where he was part of a crew who manually repaired railroad tracks along miles of track that were scorching hot without shade in the summer and blistering cold in the winter.  He also spent quite a few years in Sudbury, Ontario working in a mine where he managed to develop the "miner's lung" that would plague him for the rest of his life.  In the 1940's he worked at the Massey Harris plant in Brantford,Ontario where farm equipment was manufactured and in the 1950's, he was part of the tunnel-digging crew that dug the tunnels for the "new" hydro-electric generating plant in Niagara Falls.  He spent the last twenty or so years of his working life at a brick factory in an incredibly hot environment.  His job was to shovel coal into the kilns which had to reach 1800 degrees fahrenhiet in order for the clay tile and bricks to cure.  My husband estimates that during this time, his father would have shoveled 100,000 tons of coal!

When my father-in-law finally retired at the age of 70, he was at last able to spend time doing what he really, really loved to do ... and that was planting!   I think perhaps that he looked back with nostalgia to the the first 15  years of his life that were spent on a little farm in what was then Hungary but is now Slovakia, tilling the soil with a donkey, immersed in small-town rural Europe before the first world war changed everything so dramatically.  Or perhaps he just simply enjoyed the feel of soil on his hands but regardless of his reason, my father-in-law really did love to plant. 

My husband says that every time he came home from work, it seemed like his father had planted something new!  He planted fruit trees and currant bushes and hedges galore!  All of which had to be patiently watered by hand from an old-fashioned hand pump, bucket by bucket carried out to keep those little seedlings alive.  And for some reason, my father-in-law took a special liking to Rose of Sharon.  As a result, we are surrounded by beautiful Rose of Sharon bushes.

So today, on Marvelous Monday, I am extremely thankful for my late father-in-law, who spent hours planting those beautiful Rose of Sharon bushes that now grace our home with such beauty.  This past weekend, they all began to flower, their lovely big blooms opening up for the enjoyment of humming birds, bees, and butterflies and even the occasional human!

My father-in-law planted quite a few different colours of Rose of Sharons, including a number of bushes where several colours have been grafted on to the same plant.  It's lovely to see all the different shades.

Some are deep pink, and others have a blue tinge.  There are two different types of white blooms, the one above with the red centre, and one other that isn't open yet.  It is a soft white colour with a buttery yellow centre.  I think it's actually my favourite, but I do love them all.

When I sit on our front porch in the evening, resting on our swing, this is the beautiful view I get to enjoy.

And what makes it particularly beautiful is that although the Rose of Sharon are just opening up now, they will last for the rest of the summer and well into the fall, a wonderful reminder of my father-in-law and his love of planting.  

Friday, July 9, 2010

Everybody needs a Man Friday!

I read this quote recently:

"Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday."

How true!  It's been a busy week but I've actually been able to stay on top of the bookkeeping and almost all the laundry is done.  This morning I woke to discover our heat wave has broken and it's only 80 degrees.  I'm actually going to miss the lovely, lovely heat, but I do think I might be able to get a little bit more accomplished today now that it is cooler.

If you're visiting from Friday Follow 40 and Over, welcome to my blog.  This week I'd like to offer you a nice cold glass of sun tea.

It's been so hot this week, I've been staying refreshed by making batch after batch of sun tea.  This is a glass of Earl Grey with lots of lime and a hint of sugar.  But my favourite so far is a batch I made of Pomegranate Green Tea with lemon slices.  Very, very flavourful!

I've also been spending a LOT of time right here:

It's been a perfect week of swimming pool weather with temps in the high 90's and a humidex that has put it way over the top into the 100's.  We could not believe it yesterday when we saw that even the swimming pool temperature had risen to over 90!

But today is a rainy day, and as I said the temperature has cooled off ... perfect day for a visit with some friends, so thanks for stopping by! 

Here's one last shot of last night's sunset, the gathering clouds were a good indication that rain was on its way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

White Wednesday

It's White Wednesday again over at Faded Charm Cottage.

Here are a few of the "whites" that caught my eye this past week.

A white cottage on the edge of a sparkling blue lake (Lake Erie).

A sweet white colt rolling in the grass beside its Mummy.

Pure white water lilies in a pond full of frogs and dragonflies.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

Whew! It's a hot one today ... when I took the dogs for a walk at 7:30 this morning, it was already 90 degrees in the shade and there's 64% humidity, making it feel even more hot!  Thank goodness I actually love hot, humid weather.  But today, on this Marvelous Monday, the heat is making me extra thankful for two recent garage sale purchases:

The first purchase was an outdoor bathtub we came across.  It's a small tub, carefully built into a nice wooden box with casters underneath.  I think it was put together by someone who was a professional dog groomer and it certainly made me think immediately of my dogs.  Perfect for these DAWG DAYS of summer!

Deezer, my Jack Russell, doesn't normally like to get wet, but with these hot temperatures, she has been jumping right into her new bathtub as soon as we get back to the house from our morning walk.  She doesn't play in the water, just sits there in complete bliss and laps the water with her little pink tongue.

Bella, my black lab, ADORES water!  She thinks the new bathtub is absolutely WONDERFUL!  (although I think she wishes it was much, much bigger!)   She could play for hours in there and loves digging around in the water and splashing me as much as possible in the process.  : )

Our last garage sale find is also a wonderful treat in this hot weather.

Eventually it will find a home on our front verandah, but for now, it's tucked in a shady spot under a cherry tree where it's catching a light breeze.  It was the perfect spot to enjoy my morning coffee today.  

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day in the Country & Follow Friday 40 and Over

Hey, it's Friday already! And once again I am participating in Follow Friday 40 and Over. If you're new to my blog, welcome! Please stay for a little visit. Hope you enjoy my post today - mainly a photoblog this time around. Every day, I post something different, but I do love to take photographs so I often share them here. So sit back for a moment, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and pretend you were with us yesterday as we ventured into the countryside.

Yesterday was Canada Day, so we had the day off.  I tend to groan a bit when holidays fall in the middle of the week instead of giving us a long weekend, but it was actually so lovely to have a day off in the middle of the week and still have the weekend to look forward to.

We took a lovely drive up to Amish country, spent some time at St. Jacob's Farmers Market, stopped at a garage sale in the little village of Alma, explored the cute little shoppes of Elora, and had an early supper at Elora Mill Inn, on a patio, hanging over the gorge.  It was a beautiful day and I just have to share some of my photos!

First a couple of shots from the Farmers Market.  I couldn't resist taking this picture of these two Amish guys who were having such a good laugh while they were waiting to sell their maple syrup products.  The second shot was taken because I absolutely love the vibrant colours of the fruits and veggies that are available at this time of year.

After we left the market, we went for a drive through the countryside.

Then we stopped at Elora Mill Inn for dinner.  It sits on an incredibly beautiful gorge.

We ate on that balcony looking out on the water.  The glass-topped table made it feel like we were hanging right over the water!

It was so much fun watching the kayakers run the rapids.

When the kayakers were done, the second act of  our dinner show occurred when this lovely blue heron flew in for a fishing expedition.   We watched while he patiently waited at the side of the river, caught one fish, and then waded right into the middle of the rapids and caught three more!

After dinner, we explored some of the little shoppes in downtown Elora.

And stopped for the very BEST ice-cream I have ever had at this little place.  The ice-cream was organic and absolutely so creamy, it was INCREDIBLE!

One scoop of French Vanilla, and one scoop of Cappuccino - the perfect dessert to end a perfect day!

(Oh, and some other time, I'll have to show you a picture of the vintage rolling pin I managed to pick up at that little garage sale!)  


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