Tonight the waxing crescent Moon is very close to the two planets, Mars and Venus. It looks like Venus has a hard time to decide, who she wants to take for a dance at the Celestial Ball. “Why not both,” she wondered. She takes Moon and Mars by the hands, and all three dance into the western night sky.
Today it has been 13 years ago, I immigrated into the United States of America. I remember sitting with Katelynn (she was a little less than 4 months old) in my arms in O’Hare (Chicago International Airport), and I had only 22 US pennies in my pants pockets. I was very excited, but also a little bit scared. Because I did not know what the future would bring to us. While Kevin was calling his parents in NC, I looked out the window at the skyline of Chicago. I was thinking to myself: “Omg, what have I done, now? I’m over 4,000 miles away from home, no money in my pockets, no job lined up. I just hope, everything will work out alright!” Kevin was working long days, and went to school at night. In the meantime, I took care of the baby. Better work came with Kevin’s education. About 18 month after my immigration, we could afford a small house in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas.
Now 13 years later, having a house full of kids, dogs, cats, a backyard, and a car, I still have “no money” in my pockets. 😀 After the bills are paid, there is usually not much left. 😉 I learned there are a lot of great people in both places, my home and my home of choice. I traveled all over the US to enjoy the different mentality and hospitality of these states. I also enjoyed the landscapes this country provides to all of us. Here, I look back to over a decade of a great journey. Now I’m excited to see, what the next 13 years will have in store for me and my family.
People frequently like to ask me this question: “But you do get the chance to get home and visit family and friends quite often, don’t you?” I have to disappoint y’all. I came here, and never went back. And I never regretted my decision, either. 🙂
Tonight is a beautiful clear sky for stargazing in North Texas. Due to the lights in the Dallas suburb, it is a little bit harder to see a lot of them. But we still can see the waxing crescent Moon, Venus and Mars in the western sky. And the constellation Orion almost is almost above us. Sirius is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major. It’s very bright in the eastern sky at dusk.
Three weeks ago, I was at Josey Ranch Lake for the first time. I was very impressed, how many different water birds were resting at this lake. And I was excited to see the Mute Swans, I haven’t seen for over a decade.
Today, I went back to the lake. This time, it wasn’t as windy as it was several weeks ago. It felt warmer walking around the lake. The birds were more spread out. I also saw a few different birds by the lake. There were some Red-winged blackbirds, American Coots, and American Wigeons. And I met some of my old “friends”, again: Mute Swan, Ring-billed Gulls, Double-crested Cormorants, Mallard Ducks, Northern Shovelers, and Canada Geese.
Wow, it’s already Sunday again. Today, I’ll introduce the youngest member of our family. His name is Chewbacca, and he is approximately about 2½ years old. (April 2015)
Chewbacca, the Mainecoon a.k.a. “Chewie”, “The Orange Cat”
Last November I looked up a cat at a local shelter. She was a sweet Himalayan/Siamese. And she reminded me of “Tardar Sauce” a.k.a. “The Grumpy Cat”. I felt sad, because she was approximately 8 – 10 years old. And pets at that age have it much harder to get adopted, because a lot of people have the perception that older animals are stuck in their ways. They might have never heard of: “You still can teach an old dog new tricks.”
The girls and I went to the shelter and we where almost ready to adopt the cat, when the lady at the desk told me about the adoption fees. My mouth dropped. I just couldn’t afford spaying fees and doctor fees at the same time. I was a little heart-broken. But I didn’t give up. Because I came with the mind-set, that we adopt a cat that day.
I looked in the cages, and there was a cute male Mainecoon cat sitting there and staring at me. The lady at the shelter let us look at him, to see how he behaves. He was very playful. And he showed himself from his best side. I said: “Yep, he might be the better decision!” Papers were filled out and signed. And we could take the cat home. Since his shelter name was Chewbacca, he kept his name. Hey, I’m a Star Wars fan since I was eight years old.
Since I didn’t have a cage to transport Chewbacca, we sat him in Katelynn’s lap and told her to hold on to him on his neck for safety reasons. That way he would squirm and wiggle around, while I was driving. At home I took Chewbacca from Katelynn and I walked with him into the house. Lexi was greeting us. But I forgot, not every cat is used to dogs. Chewbacca jumped towards the stormdoor and was shocked, because there was a dog in the house. Lexi is very outgoing, and he didn’t like that one bit. After some hissing, I told Lexi to go and called Finley. The cats got along very well, to my surprise. I called Ranger next. Ranger and Chewbacca looked at each other from the distance, and they both seemed to be alright. Ranger is a very laid back dog. He gave Chewbacca that vibe: it’s all okay. Joshua, the “Queen”, woke up from his nap and wanted to see what this commotion was all about. “Oh hell, no! You brought another cat home??? HISS-HISS-HISS!” I could tell, that Josh’ was very jealous at the new cat. Finley must have thought, it was very hilarious. He finally wouldn’t get attacked by Joshua as much anymore, and he can relax. I think, that’s why he liked Chewbacca from the moment they crossed each others path.
Joshua was mad for three days. He walked by Chewbacca and hissed as bad as he could. Chewbacca gave him the look: “Dude, if I wanted to do it, I could kick your butt!” That made Joshua even more mad. The same day, Joshua must have went too far with his bad attitude. Chewbacca gave Joshua a piece of his mind and kicked his butt. Joshua learned a valuable lesson: Don’t mess with someone, you don’t know! All cats started to get along much better. Lexi learned to be less crazy on Chewbacca. And Chewbacca doesn’t feel intimidated by her anymore.
Now, we need to work on not spilling all the water by knocking cups over. And we need to learn to stop chewing on cell phone charging cords. Other than these little “minor setbacks”, he is an awesome fur-baby.
Do you wonder, what happened to the Himalayan cat? She got adopted by a rescue/non-kill shelter. I don’t know about the rest of her journey. But I was very happy to hear, that she got rescued before the euthanization date. Yay, for the cat, we wanted to name “Daisy”!
In the first week of the year, we had a freeze. That freeze killed almost the rest of my beautiful Summer flowers. After three weeks, I was tired looking at shades of grey, beige, and brown. Before I went to the grocery store, I stopped at the nursery to look at some flowers and herbs, yesterday. Originally I wanted to go there for more seeds. But the colors of the pansies and violas struck my eyes. I had to get some cool weather annuals.
After the groceries were put away, I’ve got my plants and started gardening. I cut back the perennials, in hope they will come back this Summer again. Since, we have a little fairy house, and it looked all sad through the grey-in-grey, I worked it into the garden scene. The weather was perfect. The sun was shining, but it wasn’t hot. It was a great day to work in the frontyard.
Now, it looks like a little fairy garden again. A little gnome is the housekeeper. He makes sure, that nobody messes with the fairy house, while the fairies are out. He also let’s me know, when the plants need water. 😉
The Chinese New Year begins in China on January 28th, on the first New Moon of 2017. Here in the western hemisphere, we still have the 27th. China is celebrating the Year of the Rooster. There are twelve zodiacs. Each zodiac is for approximately one year. Therefore a zodiac repeats itself every twelve years. Next time we have a Rooster year will be in 2029.
Happy Chinese New Year!
A couple of years ago, I started hanging up feeders to attract local wild birds into my yard. Since then I have gotten a lot of feathered visitors, like blue jays, house finches, American goldfinches, sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, orange-crowned warblers, cedar waxwings, and northern cardinal; just to name some of them. We also had nests with mourning doves, white-winged doves, grackles, and cardinals. Every day they came over for a snack.
Last year, my Gollie (Golden Retriever-Collie mix) took a nap on the deck. The birds must have been tweeting so loud, that Ranger woke up and got annoyed by them. He got up and barked at them. All the birds, except one, flew to other trees in the neighbors’ yards. But this one bird, a male northern cardinal, was brave enough to look at Ranger and gave him a piece of his birdy mind. You should have seen that look in my dog’s face, when the cardinal sat face-to face on the patio table, and told him to be quiet. Ranger trotted ‘defeated’ back to his spot, where he took his nap, laid back down and watched the bird closely, while the cardinal ate some sunflower seeds.
Because of this little incident, a lot has changed in our backyard. From that day on, Ranger and the cardinal were friends and respected each other. The cardinal can hop all over the deck and look for some seeds, while Ranger watches the bird without moving a muscle. And the other birds? They feel more comfortable being around my dog, as well. (March 2015)
UPDATE: Today, I was watching a Northern Cardinal eating seeds at the feeder. It brought memories back, when Ranger was still around. And it reminded me of this story, above. There are days, we all miss Ranger very much. He was an amazing pet. R.I.P. Ranger!