Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009


You are six years old today. You can reach your toothbrush by yourself. You ride your bike with no hands. You make pipe cleaner sculptures and excellent peanut butter and honey sandwiches. You sign papers with a tiny drawing of a flower in place of your middle name. I am so proud of the person you're becoming. You are bold and smart and unabashedly you. You charge into every new experience with confidence and enthusiasm as if to say, "Here I am, world! What can you show me today?"

You are the person I wish I could be more often. I was born an old woman. At your age I was already tired and bored with the world. You are a new soul, thrilled to just be alive. I have learned so much from you. In the glow of your spark I am able to look at the world around us in new ways, to appreciate life much more than I ever did as a child.

Your energy, your sense of wonder is what makes you you. Never ever lose that, my sweet girl. Hold onto it for as long as you can. It may seem like nothing to you now, but when you've grown up you will do great things with it.

Happy sixth birthday, Autumn Rose. I love you. So much.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

down on the farm

This weekend we took advantage of the last of this year's warm weather with a visit to nearby Clark's Elioak Farm, one of our favorite local attractions. The storybook inspired concrete buildings and characters scattered throughout the farm are pieces salvaged from The Enchanted Forest, a now defunct amusement park that was featured in a certain John Waters movie in the early 90s. Their sweet vintage charm--along with the petting farm and pony rides--is what keeps us coming back several times a year. Later in October we'll return for our Halloween pumpkins and local apple cider.

When I was a kid I read every one of the Little House on the Prairie books and became enchanted with the idea of a simple country life, living off the land and taking only what you need, walking outside to nothing but a big blue sky and endless fields of green. I wanted more than anything to live on a farm, braid my hair and call my parents "Ma" and "Pa."

Now that I'm an adult the idea of waking up at the buttcrack of dawn to shovel poo has somehow lost its charm, but I still hold on to the idea of a modest homestead with a big back yard and a vegetable garden, a few chickens, maybe even a goat or something. Visiting places like this makes my soul ache to move someplace quiet and green that we can call our own.

Will it ever happen? Maybe one day. Until then I'll keep coming back to this place to pretend.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Happy birthday to me!
Today I learned that...
Wine tastes exactly like it smells, which is to say that it tastes like cough syrup and olive juice. I don't think I'm going to be much of a wine connoisseur.Birthday vegan banana macadamia nut ice cream in a bowl made of sugar and awesome > birthday cake. Also, in candlelight you can totally see my bra through my shirt.
Flat ironed hair + rain = Tim Burton's rebellious teenage sister.

Adam had to work so we didn't get to do a whole lot, but it was a good day. Tomorrow will be Birthday Part II, during which it will hopefully not rain, some friends will be visiting, and I'll have a proper picture to show you of the awesome birthday skirt I made myself.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

before and after

before: big mean tumor

after: badass scar

Yesterday Miss Penelope went under the knife to remove that big ol' baddie on her belly. The surgery went smoothly and her vet is optimistic about her recovery. She's on medication for the pain and she needs to be separated from her sister for a couple of weeks while she heals, but she has been quite the little trooper through all of this. She is just as sweet and friendly as ever. Even the staff at the animal hospital couldn't help but fall in love with my Sweet P. I don't know if she understands that the surgery was for her own good or not, but she is handling it much better than I expected her to, and I am relieved.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My 21st birthday is tomorrow, and I couldn't ask for a better gift than knowing that my little fuzzbutt is okay. After all the joy she has brought me, the old girl deserves a fighting chance.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

sweet p

A few days ago I noticed a strange lump on Penelope's belly, near her left hind leg. Knowing how susceptible fancy rats are to tumors, I took her to the vet the next day to have it looked at. After some poking and prodding and testing he concluded that, yes, she has cancer.

He told me that I have three options. I can have the tumor surgically removed, with a high risk of the cancer coming back. I can let the tumor run its course, growing in size until it eventually kills her, or I can have her euthanized.
From the outside this may seem like a simple choice, but it isn't. What if she has the surgery and it does come back? Then I'll have put her through a painful operation for nothing. The last thing I want is for her to suffer in any way. If I put her to sleep to avoid the risk of any pain I don't know if I can live with the guilt of never knowing if she could have been saved. A tiny living thing is depending on me to do what is best for her. A living thing who can't tell me what she needs. The way I feel now brings back strong memories of the way I felt six years ago, when my doctor told me I was pregnant. No one tells you how to handle these things. No one prepares you for the day you need to make these choices. It's a heavy load to carry, especially when you've got to do it alone.

Penelope is the sweetest, gentlest little rat I've ever known. When she looks up at me with those beady little eyes it breaks my heart to think that there is something inside her tiny body that is slowly killing her. The vet says she isn't in any pain right now. She acts like she always has, like nothing is wrong, but I wonder if she knows. I want to scoop her up and plead, beg her to tell me what I'm supposed to do. I know that she can't. It would just be so much easier that way.

Cancer is a bitch.