Thursday, August 30, 2012

a box of squirrels (or: seriously the cutest thing that has ever happened to me, ever)

So I was walking Autumn home from school today, and stopped suddenly at the sight of this little guy.

He was sitting very still in the grass. While I inched closer to see if he was alive, Autumn said, "There's another one!" I turned around and sure enough, there was a second baby squirrel lying on the ground about ten feet away. The first one started moving, taking a few shaky steps toward the sound of our voices. His eyes were firmly shut, but he tried to follow the sounds he was hearing. He made pitiful squeaking and chattering noises as he felt around on the ground. The second one was curled up in a little ball. At first I was sure he was dead, but he stretched his legs and writhed around when I got closer.

I called Jude to come and bring us a shoebox to put them in, and while we were waiting for him, a third baby appeared! He was stumbling around the base of the tree we think they may have fallen from. After calling the DNR and a couple of nature centers, all of which were closed for the day, we left a message with a local wildlife rescue recommended by my vet. 

An hour later a woman from the rescue called and told us to leave the babies near the tree until sundown to see if the mother came back, and to take them indoors if she didn't. Mom never came, so now we've got a box of squirrels! These things always happen to me. For real. If I had a dollar for every stray or abandoned animal I've taken under my wing, I would have a lot of dollars. From dogs to mice, I am a magnet for lost furry things. I did not ask for this superpower. It just happened to me. 

While I am tempted to train the squirrels to sing and clean my house like Snow White, we are taking them to the wildlife rescue tomorrow morning. In the meantime we are keeping them warm with some old towels and feeding them Pedialyte with an eye dropper, which is literally the cutest thing I have ever done in my life.

I don't know much about squirrel care, but we're doing what we can and I hope they'll survive the night and go on to live happy squirrely lives.

Monday, August 27, 2012

back to school

Today is the day! Third grade! I remember third grade as the grade when I started getting "real" homework assignments. It's all downhill from here, kid. Where has the summer gone?

Autumn was so excited to go back and see her friends and teachers. Look at that smile! Adorbs. This year she'll be in the Gifted and Talented reading class. I'm so proud of how hard she has worked to get there. I'm also feeling relieved that we have finally settled into a home where we can stay for the duration of her time in elementary school. She has had to switch schools twice in such a short time. Now she can put down some roots and make long term connections with other children here.

Now to enjoy the silence in my apartment with a cup of tea. Aaaaaah.

Friday, August 24, 2012

photo friday: zombie picnic

A behind-the-scenes shot from a promotional shoot we did with Jude for my Etsy shop. See the rest of the set on my Facebook page or at Tantalizing Enigma Photography.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

some good news


The last couple of weeks have been rough. With the passing of a friend, my hours being cut back significantly at work, and being sick for days, I've been feeling emotionally drained. There are times when I'm not sure how I'm going to get through the day. In searching for an outlet for my stress, a way to focus my energy, I've found comfort in creating. It's something I've been easing myself back into after a long creative rut, first with painting, and now with sewing again. Like catching up with an old friend, it feels natural and right. It warms my soul and calms my nerves. Because I've found such joy in rediscovering my passion, I am so very pleased to announce the reopening of my Etsy shop.

The shop will feature my classic zombies with a revamped design, new miniature and custom made dolls, accessories, and some of my art as well. It's been so long since I've sold my work that I'm quite nervous, but I'm really looking forward to coming back. The orphanage gates open on August 31st. In the meantime you can head over to my Facebook page for updates, photos, giveaways and more. See you at the end of the month!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Yesterday morning I received news of the death of a dear friend of mine. She and her infant daughter were killed in a car crash on Friday.

I met Amy ten years ago, when we were freshmen in high school in rural Pennsylvania. We became fast friends from the moment we met. Reading the goodbyes her friends have posted on her Facebook wall since Friday, that seems to be the case for everyone who loved her. Once you met her, you had to like her. She had an infectious giggle and the sweetest, softest voice. She was petite and impossibly gorgeous with long eyelashes and golden ringlets piled up on her head, like a teenage Shirley Temple. Her entire being, her whole existence, was bubbling with excitement over just being alive. A real live fairy walking among human beings. Sweetness and light.

I called her Sweet and Low. I gave her a piggy bank that I painted at one of those paint-your-own-pottery shops when I visited my mom over Christmas break. It said "California Vacation Fund". A couple of years ago she sent me a text message with a photo of it. She had kept it all this time. At her family's house we crawled into her attic with pillows and blankets, turned on a strand of string lights, and listened to John Lennon and Meatloaf. We walked to A&M Pizza after school and bought a large extra cheese that we took to the park and shared while taking turns on the tire swing and telling secrets. She cried with me when I did things with boys that I didn't want to do, when I thought I was pregnant the first time, when I found out I really was the second time. When we were done crying, she smiled and told me I would be a great mom.

After that I moved back to California to be with my mother. My grandparents couldn't handle the stress and the shame of raising a teen mom. Our lives began to move in different directions, but we always tried to keep in touch, and I always loved her. I don't even have many photographs of her. Just a couple of grainy snapshots I took at school one day with a disposable camera. We reunited at a birthday party a few years ago, and had been talking about trying to get together again this year. We would have talked for hours. Autumn would have played with her baby. We would have laughed and cried. Life got in the way.

Amy was good. So good. She did everything right. She wasn't a screwup like me. She worked hard. She fell in love with a great guy. She got married in a dream wedding on the beach. She had a baby girl, Ava. I remember she was just over the moon about becoming a mom. Motherhood was her magnum opus. It was her greatest joy.

People our age aren't supposed to die. Not ever, and especially not people as good as Amy. She was twenty four. Twenty four. She wasn't done yet. And her baby, too? It isn't fair. It. Isn't. Fair. At times like this I wish I still believed in something. I wish I could believe that she isn't just gone. That she is somewhere clean and bright and warm. That she is smiling that big smile at all of us now. I wish I could be comforted by those thoughts. As it is, I can only take comfort in the fact that, for a little while, I was lucky enough to call her my friend.