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Old Girls, Golden Girls

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A photo of KoKo and Chanel, from about a year ago. KoKo is the Himalayan, Chanel the black Berkshire.

I know, the best picture I have is a year old! It’s been one of those years.

New girl, Pearl girl!

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Pearl, hairless Dumbo girl, about six weeks old. Came home with us Thursday night. Already sleeping in a rattie pile with both our other girls, KoKo and Chanel. Will post a picture when I have a chance to get one!

Clean+Green by SeaYu Founds Fragrance Free Day

The following is a press release from SeaYu® Enterprises. Because the problem of artificial fragrances and chemical odors is one that plagues me personally, I felt this project is well worth supporting. While I can do little at this time, because Gryphon and I are still settling in our new home, I felt I could at least share the release with you, in its entirety.

08.10.2010 – SeaYu® Enterprises ( http://www.odorandstainremover.com ), makers of Clean+Green® eco-friendly pet stain and odor removers, is declaring Friday, August 13th unlucky for chemical fragrance by founding the first ever Fragrance Free Day! Fragrance Free Day (#fragrancefreeday) is a social media event by which people are asked to tell the world via their social networks that they’ll go “fragrance free” for one day. This awareness campaign comes at a time when, according a recent report by ABC News, “Congress and the cosmetics industry are both calling for tighter regulation of the chemicals used in cosmetics and other personal care products due to concerns over possible carcinogens and other toxic ingredients.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/toxic-cosmetics-draw-congressional-attention/story?id=11228491

As part of the event, the company will host a live Q&A on Twitter, featuring SeaYu’s CEO Quincy Yu, organic chemist Dr. Stephen Ziman and veterinarian holistic pet health expert Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM ( http://www.drcarol.com/ ). Anyone with questions on the safety of products they’re using for personal care can Tweet them with the hashtag #fragrancefreeday on Friday, August 13 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EST and have their question answered by one of the experts through SeaYu’s Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/seayu).

 
“Fragrance Free Day gives concerned consumers a chance to help spread awareness of the dangers associated with fragrance/chemicals in personal care and household cleaning products by pledging to go “fragrance free” via their social networks,” said Quincy Yu, CEO of SeaYu Enterprises. “We encourage everyone to help the world breath easier by pledging not to use any fragranced products for one full day.”

According to the report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and Environmental Working Group, “Not So Sexy, the Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrances," they found 14 secret chemicals not listed on the labels that are associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products. The study also notes that numerous other products used daily, such as shampoos, lotions, bath products, cleaning sprays, air fresheners and laundry and dishwashing detergents, also contain strongly scented, volatile ingredients that are hidden behind the word "fragrance." The Environmental Protection Association (EPA) has weighed in, too – they state that fragranced products – like air fresheners, fabric refreshers and traditional cleaning products -are one of the leading contributors to poor indoor air quality, which can lead to health issues.

“Animals have faster metabolisms and smaller lungs than humans, so not only are they processing harmful chemicals used in the home more quickly, they are also breathing them in at a faster rate,” said Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM “Because animals are closer to the ground, they are more often in direct contact with these harmful substances making Fragrance Free Day of special importance for pet owners everywhere.”
More information is available via Quincy Yu’s blog post about Fragrance Free Day (http://www.odorandstainremover.com/wordpress/?p=454 ) and also via the Fragrance Free Day event page on Facebook
( http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=139865449376889&ref=ts ).

About SeaYu

At SeaYu® Enterprises, we love animals – and we care about the world we live in. That’s why we’ve carefully developed the safest, most effective, pet cleanup system you’ll find anywhere. Clean+Green® eco-friendly aerosol pet odor and stain removers deliver instant results in a non-toxic, eco-friendly solution. Based in San Francisco, SeaYu was founded 2002 by two fun-loving dog owners – one a former high-tech executive who is passionate about pets and cleaning her house, and the other a former apparel marketing executive who loves animals as much as he loves the planet. For more information, visit http://www.odorandstainremover.com.

Bra-a-a-a-i-n-s!

We both feel like zombies a lot of the time right now. We have an apartment in Syracuse, and have been “living” there since July 3rd.

I say “living” because most of our things are still in New Hampshire, waiting to be packed and moved. So it’s a glorified version of camping we’re doing, but in a nice apartment in a nice part of town.

We didn’t get the previous apartment I may have mentioned, the one with the ten-foot ceilings and all that. Don’t know why – they simply never responded to our application, or our phone calls. Their loss!

Where we’ve landed instead is in a lovely flat in a 3-family Victorian home. We’ve got the second floor, and I mean ALL of the second floor.

Let’s see…the features include:

  • a lovely street that’s actually a boulevard, with a park median down the middle of the blocks, planted with tall green trees and flower beds.
  • a front porch that overlooks said park-like boulevard. The view also includes friendly neighbors, grassy lawns, and children and pets playing.
  • a sun room at the front of the house, with large windows and a southern exposure. I’m thinking plants, and a spinning wheel…
  • a living room and dining room, separated by an arch with nice woodwork (painted, but you can still see most of the details).
  • two bedrooms, one of which will be my craft space.
  • a small office at the back, behind the kitchen, which will be Gryphon’s den.
  • hardwood floors throughout, refinished in the kitchen, and a new hardwood floor in the bathroom.
  • a back porch that opens off of Gryphon’s den, and…
  • …which has a view directly across the city towards the local baseball park. We can’t see the games (they’re on the north side, we’re on the near west side), but we have a perfect view of the aerial displays whenever they do fireworks!
  • a kitchen with a pressed tin ceiling, and two butler’s pantries with french doors.
  • ceiling fans in five rooms.
  • a small, but newly re-done, bathroom, with a nice, deep jacuzzi bathtub. (Technically, a whirlpool bath made by the Lasco company, but still!)

We have friendly neighbors downstairs, a maintenance man that we get along well with, and a management team that likes us and wants to see us stay a good, long time.

It’s a nice, quiet neighborhood, near downtown and highways, and an easy drive to the zoo. My mom is a little over 3 miles away, so we all have our space, but are easily available to each other when needed.

I’m not going to share many pictures of the place yet. There is still a bit of work being done, like touch-up paint for some spots on the walls. And it’s pretty empty, with most of our furniture being in New Hampshire.

Here, though, is one view I’ll share:

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That’s a miniature orchid I found at Wegman’s today. It’s a small Phalaenopsis, var. Coffee, and stands maybe 10 inches above the top of it’s 2.5” diameter clay pot.

I’m sitting on our couch (we found a lovely Broyhill couch & loveseat set on Craig’s List here for only $100), looking at our entry door on the left, and through the archway to the dining room, and my craft room door, on the right.

Yes, we have colors! The blue you see in living room and dining room. My craft room is China red. Our bedroom is a bright yellow. The kitchen is dark green below the chair rail, white above, and the tin ceiling is painted black. Stunning!

My little sun room is the only room other than the bathroom that is totally white, which makes it a nice bright place to relax and grow plants.

KoKo and Chanel are happy to be here, too. They see more of us now that they don’t have to stay hidden in my mom’s guest room to keep the cats away!

Obviously, the transition isn’t over yet. Gryphon will be heading back to NH to finish up our packing there, and then will bring all our goods here, where we’ll find someplace to tuck them.

But we’re here, for real, and Syracuse is now where we live.

We may be exhausted, and feeling a shortage of brains. But we’re HAPPY!

Breaking News

We’ve applied for an apartment we saw today. Might hear as early as tomorrow, maybe Monday.

I’ll say no more, lest I hinder the mojo.

Major Mojo Working

Gryphon and I are hard at work on what may be the largest transmogrification we’ve attempted (since finding each other, marrying, and moving me to New Hampshire).

We are moving to Syracuse. The plan at the moment is to be out of our NH apartment by August 1st, and either in a new place in Syracuse, or staying with my mom with our things in storage. That will get us out from under the high NH rent the soonest we can.

We spent two weeks at my mom’s after dad passed. During that time, we helped sort through some of his things, and began the search for a place to live.

Some large, symbolic gestures to notify the Universe of our intentions were made. I changed the mailing address on my Netflix account to my mother’s home. Several knitting projects, plus a few things we acquired while in Syracuse, were left in my mother’s guest room, in anticipation of our return.

After two weeks, we went back to NH to take care of some business we couldn’t in Syracuse. Nearly every day was filled with visiting with friends. Then, after only a week, we returned to my mom’s to continue the apartment hunt.

We have a place to look at today, and calls in about a few more listings. There will also be research into convenient, clean, and reasonably priced storage lockers. And we pick up a rat cage found on Craig’s list tomorrow.

It feels significant, this transmogrification. The center of our lives is moving to Syracuse, and it is a Coming Home – literally, for me. Even Gryphon, though, says he feels very much at home in Syracuse, and he grew up in New Jersey. My family treats him as though he’s been one of us forever.

Coming to Syracuse will be a fresh start for us, a chance to make changes that seem impossible if we stay in New Hampshire. I’ll miss my friends there, but we can stay in touch, and there is a good chance we’ll wind up with room enough to have guests visit.

I’ll do my best to keep you up to date about our progress. For now, both Gryphon and I feel energized by the mojo we’re raising.

Right move, right time. That’s what all the signs are saying. I’ll let you know when we reach noteworthy milestones, I promise!

The Squair Family Memorial Day 2010

Dad’s been laid to rest. It was a quiet, private, and informal family ceremony. Whoever wanted to say something did.

The whole family came together to create this event. My brothers wrote his obituary. We found a wooden box he loved that he’d paid $2 at a flea market for, to bury his ashes in. His grandsons dug the hole in the cemetery, then filled it with their father after.

Much time was then spent in a reunion-like gathering over a lovely buffet lunch. I met my great nieces, Keri and Lily, and their moms, and marveled again at how their dads have grown since I used to change their diapers.

Dad would have been very proud of us today. Family coming together was important to him. He would have been upset if we’d spent anything on a fancy coffin. He loved ingenuity, creativity, and making it REAL.

We were real today. Love was abundant today. Dad was with us today, and he liked what he saw.

Good bye

Lyall Squair, Feb 2, 1930 – May 24, 2010

And So, At Last

As we feared. Dad took a turn for the worse last night. He would no longer be able to live without the respirator and other equipment. He may not even make it through the night. Outlying family is working on getting here, such as they can.

We had already consulted everyone on the phone, and gave the doctors our consensus – a DNR order. Dad wouldn’t want to live the life he’d be forced into if, by some miracle, he came through this.

Bill and I are very glad we got here when we did yesterday. Mom didn’t have to go through the meeting alone. We were there to ask questions and make sure we knew everything possible to make the decision.

I guess we’re now, officially, in the waiting phase.

The latest

As summed up today, Dad’s issues are: fibroid tissue in the lungs; scarring in the lungs; a viral infection (in addition to the bacterial infection they already knew about); and a minor stroke. This is all in addition to being 80 years old and in the hospital for over five weeks already with double pneumonia.

The stroke was so minor that the neurologist says you wouldn’t see any affect to function from it. The fibroid tissue is described as rare, and would be another factor reducing his lung capacity. Everything added up, however, had my mother quoting the doctor today as saying “the prognosis is bad.”

This doesn’t mean game over, but it does mean we need to be prepared for possibilities.

Many thanks to those who have donated to the Emergency Fund. This money will help Gryphon and I to get to Syracuse this weekend. Some of your funds may go to supplying visiting family with things they forgot to bring, meals to eat, or to help fund the cost of a stay at a facility that houses out-of-town families of patients.

We’re going to do everything we can to take the burden of caring for visiting relatives and friends off of my mother, and to cook, clean, and run errands so she doesn’t have to worry about it.

We’ll also spend what time we can visiting my father. He’s still with us, and he’ll know we’re there, I’m sure. I don’t know if I can bear the thought of him not having someone with him if things get critical.

Your continued prayers and healing thoughts are welcomed with grateful hearts. I’ll have my computer with me, but I can’t be sure when or how often I’ll be able to provide updates. I would love to receive encouraging e-mails, however, and will be sure to answer you if I can. You’ll see the e-mail address at the top of the left sidebar, oh-so-cleverly encrypted.

If you wish to offer further help with the extra expenses my family will encounter over the coming days, the link to the Squair Family Emergency Fund can be found near the top of the right sidebar.

Thank you again, and again, and so many agains that I can’t count them, for your support. It means the world to my whole family right now. I love you all.