Friday, October 30, 2009

Elaina phrased it best...

"I think there is an excellent lesson to be learned from Jugi in that picture. Devote yourself wholeheartedly to the moment, recognize that it is good, and enjoy it with all you have. "

Beginning today, I am going to put her words into practice.

Anecdotes from the Reign of Foo

I was searching through my old emails, trying to find some pictures of Jugi (Foosa-Wu, Conqueror of Worlds, Emperor God Cat) from our first months together. I came across a few emails with amusing stories of incidences I had forgotten about. I am trying to put together a scrapbook of all of my pictures of our dear fur baby, and I am definitely going to include some of these stories with them! This is my project for after he is gone, because it will force me to look at memories of all of our HAPPY times together.

On a heartbreaking note: As an update, it IS cancer, and a very aggressive one at that. In less than two months, Jugi went from being happy and healthy to emaciated and barely able to breathe. The vet discovered that he has a large tumor growing around his larynx, squeezing his air way thinner and thinner. Due to how quickly this thing developed, we don't have very much time left with him. It absolutely devastates me: Jugi was my first kitty (my first animal actually - he was with me before the farm, before I met my husband even!). I don't have children, and I have hardly any family. Thus, Jugi is my family. Through the trials and heart aches of dealing with my own "blood relatives," I have come to learn that family isn't necessarily something you are born into; family is something you create for yourself out of the individuals who make a place feel like home. When we raced Jugi into the vet last Monday, there is a moment I will remember for as long as I live. It was one of those moments where time stops, and I remember thinking to myself, "This is an omen." It was when they had taken him into the back room to put him on supplemental oxygen to help him breathe. The doctor wanted to take some x-rays, and took off his collar so that his metal tag wouldn't show up in the x-rays. She came back into the room, and handed me the collar. And that is the moment I will always remember. That feeling, and the sight of a kitty collar with no kitty. That was when I knew.

I realize that there are some people who view animals as "sub-human." They don't qualify them as being intelligent or spiritual enough to have emotions or count as family. I feel terribly sorry for those people. They are missing out on something amazing. I have always treated my animals as beautiful, intelligent beings, entirely capable of communication with me and most definitely possessing souls. Just because they can't speak my language does NOT mean that they are unable to communicate their feelings and needs to me. I have always treated Jugi (and my myriad of other animals) as equal. Yes, I know that I am technically their "caretaker," but therein lies the difference: "caretaker" versus "owner." I do not OWN my animals. I take on a responsibility to care for and look after them. In some ways it's like being a foster mom. And as far as intelligence levels: Goodness, most times I will happily admit that on any given day Jugi is generally far more intelligent than I am! *laugh*

I am going to miss my plush monster more than I can ever put into words. This house will be empty without him - it will NOT be "home." I am dreading the loneliness of missing him. I know that I will have my memories of him to treasure always, but that doesn't mean that I am not going to miss him like crazy. Jugi is the curve that forms one half of my heart. Losing him is losing something of myself. I feel like I have been a better person because of loving him.

And on that note, on to some happier memories...

We had a pretty decent snow storm here last night.  Nothing by Utah
standards, but for my fellow Oregonians, you would have been enchanted (as I
always am!)!! I woke up to white this morning, and there was a light but
steady snowfall all day. It's that wonderful powdery stuff that makes you
feel like a fairy in a snowglobe. I will admit to frolicking around in it
anytime I was outside, much to the amusement of several onlookers in the
Albertsons parkinglot. I went into work for most of the morning/early
afternoon, but got such a headache from being sleepy and battling with those
wretched maps (I do drafting work for EGI, and would SO much rather be out
in the field!!), I left and went to the grocery store, and then on to pick
out my Christmas tree! Now, granted, Christmas is not my holiday, and I
hate how everything is soooo bloody commercialized now (and the true meaning
of the holidays has been pushed to near extinction), but there is something
about snow and wintertime, holiday lights, and the scent of fresh evergreen,
that just brings true joy to my life (and the childlike delight always
hiding just below the surface). This year is extra special for me, because,
though I miss not being able to be with my family for the holidays, I do get
to enjoy the experience of my very first Christmas tree (on my own)!! It's
been an exciting day - can you tell?? *grin* ANYWHO, I tried to pick out
the lightest tree they had, as I am only one tiny little person.
Unfortunately, as you can see from the picture, it's bigger than I am, and
almost weighs more than I do! If you could have been there to watch me get
that thing in and out of my car (which now needs a THOROUGH cleaning), you
would have laughed your fool head off (I am still covered head to toe in
tree sap!). Anywho, I managed to get it into my apartment (and it only fell
over on me once! - you would have died to see me sprawled out on my
livingroom floor with a tree on top of me and probably only my legs showing
from underneath it). I set it up in my little tree stand, then put on my
Celtic holiday music, and set to work decorating (well, more like bouncing
around the livingroom in pure childish joy, while occassionally stopping
long enough to hang up an ornament). Jugi watched from the couch, meowing
every now and then in comment over the placement of an ornament. As you can
see from the picture, Jugi tuckered himself out after the VERY draining task
of chasing a ladybug (off of the tree) around the livingroom until I finally
caught the buggy and set it loose outside (I am guessing it has now died of
hypothermia). Anyway, I finally finished decorating my tree, and the pic
with me in it (all sweaty, but glowing in pride) shows another shot of my
So that was my day in short! :)
Otherwise, the semester is fast coming to a close (and I have waaaaaay more
studying to do than I will ever find time! - I just keep telling myself,
"Remember what Britt always said - 'C's get degrees'"). I have a final
midterm for my geochem class this Tuesday, and then several final projects
to finish and present the following week (and I have to finish some
evaporite sequence XRD analysis Tuesday afternoon - after the midterm - and
then go into work that night...ACK!). I actually only have "two" real
finals during finals week, which stinks because that means most of my stress
comes a week EARLIER than normal (as that is when all of the projects are
due). Anywho, I am also debating on how much of a masochist I am next
semester, and if I should go ahead and take ODE's (Ordinary Differential
Equations) and Physics 1 (again) together, or if I should drop one and save
it for next fall? I am still going to be trying to work nights and
weekends, so I am thinking that both classes together would kill me if I am
working too. Anywho, bleh!
I had a very nice thanksgiving spent with my wonderful friend, Elaina, and
her family (they have adopted me!). I spent most of Thursday
afternoon/evening over there, and Friday and Saturday with friends and Ryan
(god I love procrastinating on anything constructive!).
The best news of all (in my opinion) however, is that Ryan and I are moving
in (to my apartment) together in January! I am madly excited, and it will
be so wonderful to be with him. I keep meaning to send off a picture to
everyone, and I keep forgetting (sorry!). I promise I will get one out to
you all soon. Ryan told me to describe him as "tall, dark, and handsome."
*grin* I will agree with that! :)
Well, it's late, and I should get back before Ju decides to go tree
climbing. Love to you all! And for those of you in Oregon, I will regret
not being able to see you this year. I should be out (hopefully) sometime
this summer, so perhaps then?
Take care, and have an absolutely fantastic day!

Finals sucked.

Here is a picture of what Ryan came home to last night (I got in about 15 minutes before him, after five straight hours of physics and math finalspractically back to back). I had my comfort toy dragon, Dido playing, and my comfort/protective foosa. Ryan said that Jugi looked at him as if to say, "She's had a LONG day. If you approach slowly and cautiously, I MAY let you near her."

The other picture is one of Jugi in sympathy exhaustion for me (or so he claimed).




And of course there are a lot of other fond memories that are not contained in emails - stories like the time Jugi decided to climb up the chimney, and I ended up with a black cat instead of a white one! The ensuing bath left soot stains on the CEILING and clogged my shower drain for months afterward...or the time that Jugi (still unaware that kitties have poor traction on hardwood floors) was attempting to race around the house and then take a flying leap up onto the bed but INSTEAD (because he couldn't get the traction to leap) ended up flying under the bed and ricocheting off of the wall (poor thing...I was laughing so hard after I made sure he was ok!). Or the time he and Ryan were playing their usual pranks on each other (I'll never understand men!), and Jugi jumped up onto the bed, turned his rear end towards Ryan's face, and gave my husband an at-home "glaucoma test." You can't buy memories like that...*chuckling*

Here's to you, Jugi. We love you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Word Salad and Other Hazards

So conversations between my husband and me can be rather entertaining during his lunch breaks! Usually, around this time, both of our energy levels have plummeted, and we are tired and punchy. Here is a portion from yesterday's conversation:
*P.S. - I have been harassing Ryan about buying me a riding donkey - or stilts for Frieda - for YEARS now!*

Ryan: "So is there something small I can buy with our merchant card (so we don't get the monthly service fee)?

Jillian: "You mean like a RIDING DONKEY??!"

Ryan: "That's not something SMALL!"

Jillian: "Well, what about a LITTLE riding donkey?"

Ryan: "You have one. She's called FRIEDA!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Plant Parties...

A very interesting idea out of a magazine from the 70's on house plants. As an individual with a love of rare and exotic specimens (and who is quickly raising/accumulating far more plants than she will have the space for), this sounded like a good idea! It's along the same lines as the Avon/Tupperware/etc. parties. Only with plants. The good news is that if I did decide to re-popularize plant parties, there wouldn't be anything normal or boring about my available plant stock! ;)

Friday, October 16, 2009

I think it's about to attack the Enterprise...?

So I have decided to branch out into growing freaky cacti. No insult intended to the cacti - they only appear freaky to the uninitiated human! Yet again I have discovered the joys of bartering via craigslist (once again after filtering out the weirdos). This time I have managed to barter (1) cord of firewood for plants, split (no pun intended!) between two different parties. One very nice gentleman will be giving me an established plant of the fabulous Night Blooming Cereus. The other (also very nice) gentleman will be giving me two established plants of Cereus, and many cuttings (to begin my own plants!) off of his Dragon Fruit/Queen of the Night cactus plant.

Each will receive a 1/2 cord of firewood delivered to them in exchange. Who ever would have guessed that having four wretched house-denting oak trees could be such a positive asset (well, after they were cut down and chopped into firewood)! I am nearly bouncy with joy at the aspect of having REAL house plants! I told Ryan that I get very tired of having to constantly change out flowers in the vases around our house/B&B. And what will I do in the winter when there are no flowers??! Now, instead of vases on every table (which, in the summer, I am sure I will still have a few vases full of roses - only now I won't need quite so many to decorate with!), I can have freaky (but fascinating!) cactus plants! Honestly, this is much more fitting...

To see pictures that other people have taken of these fascinating plants, click on the links below:

Night Blooming Cereus

Dragon Fruit / Queen of the Night

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's Growing on the Farm this Winter?...

Winter time is when the rare and exotic (for Oregon, anyway!) plants come out. Spring and Summer are usually entirely focused on culinary herbs and fruits and veggies for the garden. Late Winter/Early Spring is the time for grafting projects. Early Fall to Early Spring is when I start germinat
ing my rare/medicinal herbs and trees. I managed to barter via craigslist (which is a GOLD MINE if you can filter out the weirdo's) for two fabulous metal halide grow light systems (and made a wonderful new friend as a result of one trade!), and now I may have tracked down a person to barter with for some Night Blooming Cereus cactus, with a possible lead on where to track down some carrion flower plants! I am very excited! So, thanks to a loan from a very generous friend of two T5 flourescent lights to get my seedlings germinating (once they are big enough to be repotted, I switch them over to the metal halide lights), I currently have sprouting in my flats:
Dessert Willow
Balm of Gilead (the actual herb, not the tree that commonly goes by that name)
Burning Bush
Yellow Gentian
Baical Skullcap
Marsh Mallow
Empress Tree
Purple Coneflower
Gravel Root

Our Solarium is still being repaired, so in the mean time my little plant babies are housed on tables in my livingroom! I suppose it's a good thing that winter time is the slow season for the B&B business!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Life's Little Mysteries...

On a day when I was feeling a little blue at the winter lull, I received the sweetest (most random!) email from a woman working at the Santa Clara (CA) Chamber of Commerce. Here is what she wrote:

Hi, Ryan & Jillian,

Clicked on the link in todays edition of Travel Oregon & just spent my lunch hour reading you fab website & looked at ALL your pictures.

You have created a beautiful environment for yourselves & to share. Great decorating taste, too! Especially astonishing given your ages! Take care!

Good things happen when you least expect them. I need to remember on days like today that we have accomplished so much, and that there is no reason to be blue!