Watchful Presence 

I suppose they think Santa Paws is coming again?  They made out like bandits on Christmas: new tunnels and dig box for the ferrets and Brigid had her favorite toy replaced. They all got some treats.

 

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Singing The Holiday Blues

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It’s the most hateful time of the year.
With commercialism flowing
And family wars still agoing.
Few are of good cheer.
It’s the most miserable time of the year

Grim, isn’t it?  For many people it is sadly accurate. This can be seen as a very negative post. But, it points out how Christmas often isn’t a happy time for people.

Many people are kicked out of their families for a variety of reasons. I see this often with families of individuals who are LGBT. Their “lifestyle choice” is viewed as unacceptable.  At times, it’s religion.  People join a church or practice a spirituality that isn’t “correct.” They may have left a church or they are atheists Those on the “right path” disown the family members who aren’t who they are “supposed” to be. Those who are “unsaved” or “sinners.” There are other reasons why someone can not be welcome among family. Or  the families that are so dysfunctional that it’s nothing but fights or inebriation or both.

Then there are other situations that might result in people being separated. For example, there’s been a divorce.  Usually the parents take turns having the kids for Christmas.   Perhaps the parents have another partner.  But there is still the possibility of being alone.  The death of family, friends, or for the military members- fellow service members.  There is grief and the knowledge that you will not see this person again in this lifetime.  There’s a huge hole.  The holiday seems empty. There might be significant injury or illnesses where the holidays are spent in a hospital; either as a patient or waiting.

There are careers that separate families.  We all know about military members being deployed.  They’re also in an area of danger.  This adds anxiety to the mix.  Other service members may not be able to get home, even if they are not deployed.  I spent a Christmas alone in the barracks one year.  The special meals are a good try but they don’t fill a hole.  Other jobs also spread families over distances.

Let’s talk plain old commercialism. The commercialism starts before Halloween. This year I looked for Veterans Day decorations in late October/ early November. There were none. But, there were tons of Christmas stuff. Starting before Halloween. I bought Thanksgiving things. The week before Thanksgiving everything was gone. And the Christmas section expanded. Let’s not even start on Black Friday. It’s now more about spending money to buy decorations or gifts.  Often, there’s a “gift war” to come up with the best gifts for family members.  Sometimes people really can’t afford to buy gifts.  All of this adds to a false build up of expectations that will never be fully met.

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It’s also he time for the yearly “War on Christmas” to start. (Come on: Starbucks coffee cups upset them??) Christians are upset in part due to the secularism of Christmas as well as sharing with other religions.  It “belongs” to Christianity. However,  other religions also have holidays in December.  On the shortest night of the year Winter Solstice ( Yule) is celebrated by most Wiccans and some of the other pagan religions.  Judaism celebrated Hanukah.  Kawanzaa is celebrated.  Other holidays are observed.  And the atheists might celebrate the holidays in their own way.   Not all Christians are like this, of course.  Sadly, we are bombarded by the “War on Christmas” by media.  This stirs up contention.  Nothing like a good fight to celebrate a time of peace and understanding.  I have to admit that I was drawn into this battle this year.

The real war shouldn’t be about Christians who “owns” Christmas or having to say “Merry Christmas” rather than Happy Holidays.  Perhaps for Christians and non-Christians alike the battle should be over poverty, suffering, ending homelessness, feeding the hungry.  You know.  Acts of peace and charity to recognize the meaning, them being religious or otherwise. I don’t care how you celebrate the holiday but don’t claim it for your religion whatever it is.  Let’s just share.

With all the stressors of shopping, cooking, family visiting, and those other problems mentioned above, no wonder this can be a miserable time for many people.  Keep it simple and uncomplicated.  If you can’t be with family for whatever reason, celebrate with friends or chosen family.

Can anyone really say there was no let down during this time?  No feeling of just missing something?  A bit of emptiness?

I wish everyone a happy holiday season. May it be better than what I mentioned. Be well.  Find way to enjoy, even is it’s something small.

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Ferret “Help”

This is an old story that has been around for years.  It’s still funny.  My ferrets “help” with many projects. It’s part of why they are fun to have around.  You’re always on your toes.  The ferrets are always in some mischief. Kaliyah already climbed the tree this year.

  
Gift Wrapping With Ferrets

1. Clear large space on table for wrapping present.

2. Go to closet and collect bag in which present is contained, and shut door.

3. Open door and remove ferret from closet.

4. Go to cupboard and retrieve rolls of wrapping paper.

5. Go back and remove ferret from cupboard.

6. Go to drawer, and collect transparent sticky tape, ribbons, scissors, labels, etc…

7. Lay out presents and wrapping materials on table, to enable wrapping strategy to be formed.

8. Go back to drawer to get string, remove ferret that has been in the drawer since last visit and collect string.

9. Remove present from bag.

10. Remove ferret from bag.

11. Open box to check present, remove ferret from box, replace present.

12. Lay out paper to enable cutting to size.

13. Try and smooth out paper, realize ferret is underneath and remove ferret.

14. Cut the paper to size, keeping the cutting line straight.

15. Throw away first sheet as ferret chased the scissors, and tore the paper.

16. Cut second sheet of paper to size – by putting ferret in the bag the present came in.

17. Place present on paper.

18. Lift up edges of paper to seal in present. Wonder why edges don’t reach. Realize ferret is between present and paper. Remove ferret.

19. Place object on paper, to hold in place while tearing transparent sticky tape.

20. Spend 20 minutes carefully trying to remove transparent sticky tape from ferret with pair of nail scissors.

21. Seal paper with sticky tape, making corners as neat as possible.

22. Look for roll of ribbon. Chase ferret down hall in order to retrieve ribbon.

23. Try to wrap present with ribbon in a two-directional turn.

24. Re-roll ribbon and remove paper, which is now torn due to ferret’s enthusiastic ribbon chase.

25. Repeat steps 13-20 until you reach last sheet of paper

26.Decide to skip steps 13-17 in order to save time and reduce risk of losing last sheet of paper. Retrieve old cardboard box that is the right size for sheet of paper.

27. Put present in box, and tie down with string.

28. Remove sting, open box and remove ferret.

29. Put all packing materials in bag with present and head for locked room.

30. Once inside lockable room, lock door and start to relay out paper and materials.

31. Remove ferret from box, unlock door, put ferret outside door, close and relock.

32. Repeat previous step as often as is necessary (until you can hear ferret from outside door)

33. Lay out last sheet of paper. (This will be difficult in the small area of the toilet, but do your best)

34. Discover ferret has already torn paper. Unlock door go out and hunt through various cupboards, looking for sheet of last year’s paper. Remember that you haven’t got any left because ferret helped with this last year as well.

35. Return to lockable room, lock door, and sit on toilet and try to make torn sheet of paper look presentable.

36.Seal box, wrap with paper and repair by very carefully sealing with sticky tape. Tie up with ribbon and decorate with bows to hide worst areas.

37. Label. Sit back and admire your handiwork, congratulate yourself on completing a difficult job.

38. Unlock door, and go to kitchen to make drink and feed ferret.

39. Spend 15 minutes looking for ferret until coming to obvious conclusion.

40.Unwrap present, untie box and remove ferret.

41.Go to store and buy a gift bag.
Author Unknown

  

Give it a Rest

Starbucks’ cups is the latest development on the “War on Christmas.” It’s a red cup.  Ironically, the cups of the past were not “Christian” either.  The symbology on the old cups was reflective of the society in general.  

 
Ironically, the old cups were less Christian and had more pagan/Wiccan symbols.  Deer- an animal sacred to Artemis and the God Cernunnos is represented by stag horns. It is a stag on the cup.  The full moon is a sacred time to the Goddess and part of the cycle of birth, death, rebirth. The “Christmas” tree was initially used by pagans as part of the celebration of Winter Solstice.  Of course, the pagans didn’t decorate the tree as is the tradition today.  So, Wiccans have much more reason to be “offended” over the “loss” of the cup “representing” our beliefs. Keep the Yule in Yuletide.

Sadly, the true meaning of the holidays is being overlooked by the divice attitude.  The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace, goodwill, acceptance, and unity, celebration. Many religions celebrate a holiday during this time. All celebrate the coming of light in one way or another. Atheists celebrate the holidays in their own way as well. Yet, we are bickering over a stupid coffee cup.  Get real! If you’re so offended or threatened over a coffee cup, take a look at your priorities and your own spiritual path.

Instead of getting upset over a cup.  Instead, focus on the real “wars” we need to battle together: atheist, pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jew, and all other religions.  Let’s fight things like poverty, hunger, homelessness, depression, suicide, despair and illness. There are so many people who struggle during the holidays.  It is lonely and depressing for many.  Reach out to others.  

  
Wishing everyone happy holidays, no matter how they celebrate them. Our paths are different.  The destination the same.

Blessed be!

Celebrating the holidays, ferret-style

Ferret Christmas CD


A few years ago, two friends and fellow ferret enthusiasts, gave me a CD titled “A Ferret Christmas.” The music is based on familiar songs of the season, with new and improved lyrics from the ferrety point of view.

Yesterday, as I struggled to wrap presents and clean up the inevitable messes caused by three ferrets and a kitten, I recalled the words to one special song.

The Twelve Days of Christmas.
On the first day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me… a big mess under the tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me
FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me: six ferret kisses, FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me: seven piles of poop, six ferret kisses, FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me: eight minutes of war dancing, seven piles of poop, six ferret kisses, FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me: nine dead roaches, eight war dances, seven piles of poop, six ferret kisses, FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me: ten wet willies, eight minutes of war dancing, seven piles of poop, six ferret kisses, FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me: eleven flat ferrets, ten wet willies, eight minutes of war dancing, seven piles of poop, six ferret kisses, FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree!

On the twelveth day of Christmas, my ferret gave to me: twelve poofy tails, eleven flat ferrets, ten wet willies, eight minutes of war dancing, seven piles of poop, six ferret kisses, FIVE PEACEFUL MINUTES! four missing socks, three carpet sharks, two bleeding ankles and a big mess under the tree!

Some of these lyrics may not make sense unless you’re been blessed to have ferrets in your life. They can make ferrets sound mean and demented. Really, they’re not. They are joyful souls with a gift for chaos.

Take the tree. My ferrets have tubes, tunnels, boxes, and toys. Their favorite game right now? Tunneling under the tree skirt. For extra sport, the girls will periodically test the strength of the tree branches by attempting to climb to the top. I have pictures at home. Needless to say, any presents left under the tree are fair game for stealing and stashing. After all, they’re on the floor. The ferrets are only help to clean up.

Bleeding ankles: well, my ferrets never draw blood. But, Tosca has a failproof method of getting my attention when she wants something, usually her treat. She noses up my pant leg and gently nips my ankle. Predictably, I jump, then look down. Here’s this adorable little ferret face looking up at me, “Well, where’s the treat?” her little head cocked to the side. One of these days, I’m going to drop something on her. Since the kitchen is the site of this little action, most likely something messy.

Four missing socks: anytime I am missing my running socks, I know where to check; under the couch. Kaliyah regularly assists me in putting away any errant socks in their proper place, according to ferrets. Of course, she doesn’t steal the odd socks left after the washer fairy steals its partner- no she has to go for the matched pairs.

But, all the mischief is soon forgotten when I watch happy ferrets doing their “war dance” and bouncing about the room in wild abandon. Tosca often flips head over hind in her enthusiasm. And ferrety kisses are the best.

All in all, having four footed family members brings many smiles and much laughter during the holidays… now if I can only find my socks!