There are some things we experience in life that while they may completely capture us for a while and are wonderful they are passing and don’t hold our attention for terribly long. And there are some things in this life that never get old…they never stop being full of wonder. For me, spring is one of those things that will never get old. It will always awaken a sense of awe and appreciation.
Spring in Kentucky is nothing short of magical; not just in its beauty but in its screaming reminder that all life is a cycle. Life renews in different forms and out of the darkest part of the year comes the most amazing beauty. Here it is not just the beauty of the landscape…but the sight of the foals in the all the pastures on our gorgeous rolling country side that take your breath away. I can’t stop smiling when I drive around and see the foals and their mommas.
I am fortunate that I have the ability to spend so much time outside (walking dogs) and the freedom in my schedule to do a lot of gardening on the manor. This year we have done major expansions of the gardens and getting them installed and planted has consumed every seemingly spare moment of my time. Spring in Kentucky this year has been unusually cold…and despite worrying ceaselessly about my plants…the cold seems to be beneficial for spring blooms as this has been one of the most beautiful springs since I moved here…everything…from flowering trees and the tulips to the roses has been spectacular this year.
Every year spring feels like a hopeful time…this year though I think we all of needed an extra dash of hope. We deserved the beauty of this spring. The stress of COVID lockdowns lasting for so long has made life seem heavier and slower….mother nature definitely delivered us the antidote we all needed as we emerge from lockdown life.
The Misfits have enjoyed spring…they especially enjoy how much time we are all spending outside while I prepare and plant gardens…not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate how blessed I am to live a life where I can be at home with them and still manage to work and take care of us all…
Their favorite things to do while I work…nap, play and sunbathe…and nothing makes me happier than to see them rest peacefully…
So many exciting things have been happening on the manor this year; our new additions of Spike and Foxy, we have a sweet new ride (more on that later) and a lot of renovations and garden expansions. I am gratefully exhausted each and every day for everything I have with them here.
I hope you are enjoying spring and literally taking the time to smell the roses this year…we all need it.
Tonight is the Winter Solstice…definitely one of my favorite holidays of the year! Each year Bret and I celebrate the Winter Solstice by making “intention logs” and burning them in a bonfire on the night of the Solstice. We make snacks, hot toddies and treats for the dogs and we all bundle up and sit outside around the fire. We start out making our “intention logs” during the day…some call them yule logs…we write all over the logs our respective wishes/goals for the coming year and then wrap them in spices/herbs from my garden.
This year…things are different…we need to shed the last year like we have never felt before…it will be so nice to symbolically burn away 2020. I personally have a totally different feeling about “intentions” for 2021 though. I have been thinking long and hard the last few weeks about what my goals/wishes are for the coming year…I’ve felt a bit lost all year. I am generally a very driven person…my goals are usually centered around building my businesses. I love working and building things and yes…with no shame I will say I love making money…it has always been fun to me to run businesses. Honestly…this year has been such a drain that it doesn’t seem important or fun right now. It took me awhile to figure out that it is perfectly ok to throw in the towel on some things for now. So this year my intentions are very different from my norm. My intentions for 2021 aren’t my usual driven goals at all but instead they are “playing, cooking, gardening, dog momming and pawtying, returning to music (piano and cello), crafting, painting and relaxing”….I just don’t care about working anymore…nor being stressed out about things I can’t control. I wish the coming year to bring only peace and happiness…everything else needs to be noise. I’ve spent my whole life working at a feverish pace…its time to let it go and relax. I literally cannot wait for our bonfire tonite…burning away 2020 and embarking on a much different and better 2021. Merry Solstice.
Update on Miss Millie….
The last few weeks have been very difficult for Millie. We knew something was not right with Millie for weeks. I took her to the vet weeks ago with only…”something isn’t right…she is slow on her walks…she is sleeping too much…she is not bossing me around.” Our vet thought it was related to degenerative disc disease and the pain associated with it. Despite aggressive treatment for several weeks Millie’s back issue was deteriorating and she was quickly losing the use of her back legs. Unfortunately in the midst of all of this we also found out that Millie had a really bad case of glaucoma in her right eye (an eye that has been a problem since we adopted her 4 years ago). It was a situation that escalated very rapidly and was incredibly painful for her.
Last Monday we were faced with the decision to either have her eye removed or say goodbye. In spite of the fact that I have to make decisions like this over and over for our Misfits…I still agonize over it every time. My inner bell told me Millie was not ready to go yet. Her eye was successfully removed last Monday. Despite her age and co-morbidities…Millie sailed through her surgery. The first few days after her surgery were very rough for her…sleepless nights, lots of meds and constant snuggling. But she has bounced back like a little champ. On Saturday, to the surprise of all of us, Millie started walking again…her back legs appear to be coming back with her zest for life…at first she was very wobbly but each day she is getting stronger. She is bossing me around non-stop again…this makes me so happy. We feel so incredibly blessed…both Bret and I feared the worst for several weeks…but here we are. Millie is an incredibly special dog to us…she is an amazing pet and friend…there are no words for how happy we are that she is on the mend and has her spirit back.
The morning I took Millie to the vet to discuss removing her eye…my husband…as usual said I support whatever you think Millie needs before I left with her. Shortly after I arrived at the vet clinic…he texted me this picture…a rainbow had formed over Misfit Manor…his message was “everything is going to be ok”… and it was.
The best part of Solstice is Solstice…
It is hard to believe that it is one year ago today that Solstice became a permanent Misfit. After weeks of living in our yard last year…and Bret and I doing the due diligence on figuring out where she came from…we officially adopted Miss Solstice. She is such an amazing blessing…beautiful, naughty, playful and super snuggly. She is asleep on my desk right now as I right this…I am overwhelmed with gratitude that she found her way to us. Winter Solstice will always have special meaning to our family because of her.
Adios to 2020…
Like most people…we can’t wait for 2020 to end. It has been horrible. So much has been lost…so many people have suffered…my business was decimated…I have generally lost my faith in people and retreated to a whole new level of introversion. But it is nearly over…2021 I believe will be very different in many ways for all of us. For me…the Solstice marks the new year…I am glad it is here…The Misfits and I wish you a blessed Solstice and look forward to happier times.
A few weeks ago a new Misfit joined our family. Spike is a 10 year old pomeranian beauty. We were looking to add another little girl at the Manor after the loss of sweet Holly… but when Spike became available we couldn’t pass him up.
While we think his name is adorable…it certainly doesn’t fit his personality. Spike is so sweet and mellow. He fit in here at the Manor right away…getting along with everyone else and quickly learning our routines. Spike was apparently picked up as a stray so we know nothing about his past. Other than an eye infection and looking a little scruffy he is a very healthy, vibrant boy.
He has quickly learned the daily exercise routine here and loves going for walks with his sisters. For a senior he has a lot of energy and runs all over on our daily park walks. We are so excited to have him join our family and grateful that he found his way to us just in time for the holiday season.
Holiday Fun at Misfit Manor
The holiday fun has started at Misfit Manor…with no help from Solstice. Working on the tree was no small feet with her participation this year. Solstice is the spunkiest (naughtiest) cat we have ever had here…the house is her playground and climbing, knocking things down and batting things around are her favorite things to do. Despite her shannanigans the tree is up and looks beautiful…I can’t wait to fill up the base of the tree with their presents in a few weeks. The stockings are hung…though they have all been knocked down several times already this season. Christmas morning is one of my favorite days of the year to celebrate the Misfits…pancake breakfast and lots of presents!
Caring for Millie as she ages…
If you have followed me for a while you now my sweet little Millie is my sidekick…where I go she goes. For such a tiny dog and for her age Millie has always had a ton of energy and enthusiasm. Every day Millie walks a mile at a near by park with several of her siblings. A few weeks ago we noticed that she started slowing down considerably and was just generally not acting like her self. She had a quick check at the vet and we put her on an anti-inflammatory for suspected back pain. Yesterday she started to lose feeling in her back legs. Today’s xrays show severe disk arthritis and compression in her back which is likely causing numbness in her back legs. We have started her on a steroid for a spell and will be lasing her back several times a day. It is possible she will lose the use of her back legs at some point but we are going to assume the best for right now. We have our own veterinary laser at Misfit Manor that we have written about in the past if you are interested in looking in to one for your own dogs read our post on the laser. For now Millie seems content to bundle up in the stroller with Rosie on our walks. Hopefully we will be able to ease some of her discomfort.
What has happened to kindness…is it lost?
I think everyone feels it. There is a thickness in the air these days…it’s a social/emotional thickness and its very heavy. People seem to have such a short fuse…patience, manners and decency have been tossed out for fear, greed and self preservation at all costs. The lack of socialization and the community connection fed by it is deteriorating rapidly…the hidden cost of the handling of the pandemic. Humans aren’t made to be disconnected like this but when interactions with others are unpleasant…we retreat even more. Our own story is not different from most families right now…Bret and I are keeping to ourselves…it feels safer that way… not just from a COVID perspective but from a need to protect our energy. I don’t believe this is sustainable for us or our society for much longer though.
There are very few ideas that I believe are absolutes…unshakeable truths. But there definitely is one belief that I personally hold as an absolute…and that is that I don’t believe in the concept of “empty space”. There is no empty space in the universe…physically or spiritually. We can fill the space within our souls with good thoughts or bad thoughts…not both. One will always overtake the other…whichever one we focus on. If we focus on filling our soul space with kindness…gratitude…patience…compassion…there is no room for feelings like anger and fear or at the very last they can’t take hold of us for long. I know…it is a wonderful platitude…but not always an easy truth to execute in daily life…especially these days. I have to remind myself that I can choose at every moment how I will will my soul space. I can’t control much of what is going on around me…but I can always control my perspective and what I choose to fill my soul with. I have to start each day with a cup of coffee and my little gratitude journal….sometimes I have to go back to my journal a few times a day…but it remains my most powerful tool for filling my soul space with good thoughts that uplift me and help keep the darkness and negativity away.
Don’t forget about us this holiday season
Don’t forget to visit our shops this holiday season. We have a lot of great ideas for the dog lover in your life! We have both our own Misfit Manor Shop and a store on Etsy.
Blessings to you from all of us this holiday season.
Sweet Miss Millie has been at Misfit Manor for almost 4 years now. She was considered a senior when she arrived here (at least 10) but after a little TLC she quickly became a healthy, happy and sassy permanent member of the family. The last few months we have noticed a lot of change. Her vision and hearing are pretty much completely gone. You can see the effects of arthritis on her back and hips. She moves a lot slower and she is contented to spend her days mostly sleeping…yet she is still so happy. It seems nothing can rob this dog of her joy…not even going blind.
Every day I load “the pokeys” in the car and we go to the same park for our walk. Rosie comes along in her stroller…Millie, Allie, Lacey and Turnip come too. With the exception of the Lacey…none of them wear a leash. They just stick together by me and bother no one…they are having too much fun to bother anyone. I turn either music or an audio book on speaker on my phone and off we go. Despite having lost her vision and having arthritis Millie still walks the whole loop at the park (just under a mile). She trots along using the edge of the concrete path as her guide. Sometimes she gets turned around and walks in the wrong direction…we just pick her up and turn her around and off she goes again. My walk with “the pokeys” is one of the highlights of my days…it takes forever…I do a lot of just standing around waiting for them to sniff all the interesting smelly things they pass by…but it is so peaceful…even my husband likes coming with on their walk. Millie and the rest of The Pokey’s enjoy each moment…its incredibly relaxing to be with creatures who have mastered living in the moment…almost like a mid-day meditation session for me. Every single day we are at the park together I am reminded of how grateful I am for my simple life with them…contentment comes from such simple things.
Fall in Kentucky…staying in alignment
Fall in Kentucky never gets old for me. It is so incredibly pretty here and fall weather is my favorite…crisp mornings and warm afternoons. This year I have spent more time outside than I have in my whole adult life. We put in new gardens that have kept me very busy…we have an entire freezer full of homemade spaghetti sauce made with tomatoes from our garden! We added a pickle ball court and bought a ping pong table we keep in the garage and wheel out to the driveway to play. Like most people…life is happening almost entirely at home. We are grateful to have the space to basically have our own playground here.
Halloween, an entire season for me, was really low key this year. Bret built us a bonfire and we sat outside and waited for the full moon to arrive. The dogs love Misfit Manor bonfires…outside playtime and inevitably lots of snacks for them.
Fall is the beginning of what I call my “nesting season”. Oddly enough…since I moved to Kentucky I really enjoy the winters…I enjoy having a few months to rest and nest in the house but most afternoons still get warm enough to be outside with the dogs. All the projects left undone in the house all summer get caught up…and I enjoy having more time to cook.
This year, in a lot of ways, it has become easier to stay in alignment….by which I mean not getting distracted by things that are not serving my authentic self or my little family. Boundaries have become more important than ever and they can be hard for me…I am wired to be compassionate and to be helpful…both of which can put me in a position of being over extended and taken advantage of. This year I have set some really firm boundaries to protect my energy. Keeping things going smoothly at Misfit Manor is work enough…I’m not young anymore and I need all of my energy…in every form…physical, spiritual, emotional…I can’t let anyone or anything zap my energy from me. Sometimes setting boundaries riles other people up….I have learned to live with that. Absolutely nothing is worth my peace.
Getting ready for holiday sales…not being a jerk is a good business model
I’ve been spending my evenings getting ready for holiday sales for months. Our Misfit Manor holiday sales are so important…it is how I pay vet bills for the Misfits for most of the year. With such nice weather I have been fortunate to be able to work outside…the best part of that being the Misfits get to play in yard while I work.
Our shops have been busier than normal this year (so grateful) with so many people not wanting to spend as much time out in the stores and working from home. We have definitely experienced more shipping issues than in the past…but in the context of the pressure on the USPS, UPS, etc…it is still running fairly smoothly. When I do have a shipping issue…my customers are always surprised when I tell them I will make it right. I have become accustomed to the process….I get an angry, often accusatory message that they did not receive their package…sometimes threatening to write me a trash review because they are angry…even though I have no control over shipping (or theft of packages…which is much more common this year). Customers assume they are going to get screwed. I take a deep breath…reminding myself to not take it personally (especially these days when everyone has a short fuse)…and then I respond. I always respond the same…I verify the tracking data….tell them what I think has happened…share that I am as bummed as they are that they did not get their package…and then explain that I too shop almost entirely online and I am going to treat them the same way I want to be treated. I work out a solution that makes them happy even if I have to remake and reship the items at my expense…when it is not my fault at all. Funny…people are shocked when they are treated decently…the customer expectation is that this person on the other end of the transaction is going to give them the flimflam…and part of me understands this…I know a lot of Etsy sellers…and many of them take no responsibility for items lost in the shipping process. It is so much more fun to be decent…and frankly a far better long term business model to be decent.
I do think shipping will be very challenging as we get closer to the holidays. The post office has already added a hefty surcharge for commercial packages shipping during the holiday season. If you are planning to shop online…please shop early!
We are running a sale this weekend (at the Misfit Manor Etsy Shop) on all of our ornaments…15% off and free shipping. Take a look at our gallery of ornament images (below) and visit our Shop to take advantage of our sale!
I have a hard rule at Misfit Manor that no political signs can be placed in our yard. This year though…I made an exception. I had this sign made for my handsome Buster. It was in part meant to be a fun surprise and attempt at levity for my husband…a little levity in an otherwise gloomy and hopeless election cycle can’t hurt. But it is also a commentary on how poor our choices are in yet another election. Buster has more smarts and certainly better manners than either of the two clowns running for president of our struggling country.
Watching the first debate was downright deflating. It also made it seem inevitable that the election results will be controversial…law suits will be filed…no matter who appears to win. It is going to be a drawn out and ugly struggle that will drag our already struggling country through months of political uncertainty and mud.
I have to be honest…I waffle between thinking that we deserve better than the political circus our government has become…and yet on the other hand believing that we are getting exactly what we deserve. With a cadre of career politicians serving 30-40-50 years in office …never being voted out for failing us over and over…maybe we are getting what we deserve. Clearly we have not reached a point of enough disgust and frustration to demand change in the campaign rules and term limits to put an end to politics as a “career” once and for all. The bright and competent people we need to run for office…never will…unless Washington get’s an overhaul to once again become a vehicle for serving the greater good rather than a vehicle for a handful of sycophants to get rich.
Taking nothing personally…
I have been thinking a lot about the level of stress and anxiety that is permeating daily life now. It feels like this wet blanket of anxiety is part of the new normal. Especially in this past week…something had to be way out of alignment astrologically for a few days…everyone I encountered (including myself) seemed frazzled, distracted, short tempered, frustrated or all of the above at once. It was almost as if the air felt like it was sick for a couple of days.
We are unfortunately being forced to reframe our sense of “community”. We are physically separated from each other by COVID, not seeing strangers smile anymore because of masks and becoming so fiercely divided over political ideologies that civil conversations are becoming a forgotten past time. My own coping skill/tool in this mess is to work as hard as I can at taking nothing personally. I am trying to remember that everyone is carrying a lot these days. If someone is being rude, impatient or offensive…I have to pause and remind myself to take a deep breath…its not personal…its not about me…I want to make every effort to give them the same grace I need right now. I have to be diligent to be kind and politely walk away from anything unproductive or contentious.
Surviving Allergy Season…
I took a bunch of my girls up to our vet for allergy shots and check ups this week. Two of my girls get regular Cytopoint allergy shots (about every 60 days). Rag weed season is upon us and it’s terrible this year. My Lhasa Apso, Lacey Mae, has had horrible allergies her whole life and fall is particularly rough. The Cytopoint shot is the only treatment we have found that works for her. My Rosie obsessively licks her feet. We started her on Cytopoint earlier in summer and it virtually stopped the obsessive licking. Cytopoint is a non-steroidal shot that can be administered much more frequently than the older steroid based allergy shots. We haven’t experienced any side effects from it. The shot only takes a few days to start working and it has been much more effective at controlling symptoms than any of the other treatments we have tried in pill form. If your dog is suffering with red/itchy skin or other symptoms like excessive licking I definitely recommend talking to your vet about Cytopoint.
At our visit my vet told me that one bright spot in all this mess is that illnesses and injuries in pets are being caught and treated much earlier than what they typically see. With so many people spending more time at home…the attention they pay to their pets and the care of their pets is improving. That is truly wonderful.
Don’t forget us about us…
Don’t forget about us this upcoming holiday season for gift giving for your pet loving friends and family! Our season is coming to its end in October for the vacation rentals…and it has been a colossal disaster. Instead of providing a year’s worth of income for me and the Misfits it is costing us money to even keep it going. I never could have imagined anything this bad happening to the business we worked so hard to build. We are hopeful we can hang on until next season and that travel will resume. But our shops our open and we have a lot of cute and affordable items for dog and cat lovers alike so check us out here in our own Misfit Manor Shop or on Etsy!
Sweet Rosie is a my constant companion. Her lack of ability to ambulate on her own means she comes with me every where I go around the Manor. Her separation anxiety is pretty intense so if I am going to get things done without upsetting her I have to keep her with me. In the summer heat I have to be really careful with her exposure. Among the list of health challenges she has… Rosie’s little body does not regulate temperature correctly. In a matter of minutes she can develop severe heat stroke symptoms. The first time it happened, thank goodness, I was at the office the holistic vet that does acupuncture on the Misfits and she knew right away what was happening and how to cool Rosie down. Day to day we manage by keeping her out of direct sunlight, always keeping a fan blowing on her and a cool pad underneath her when we are outside. These little battery powered fans they sell at hardware stores are awesome…not terribly heavy and the battery lasts for quite a long time. I even put this one in the back of her stroller when we go to the park.
Back in spring Bret and I decided we wanted to use the newly found time on our hands for putting in a vegetable garden. The Manor has a lot of rose gardens and a large herb garden…the only thing missing was a veggie garden. We tore out a useless portion of the black top driveway and installed a raised bed garden to get the job done.
We had so much fun with veggie garden and it produced more vegetables than we thought possible! It also proved to be a joyful distraction from the stress of everything else going on in the world right now. There is something so grounding about playing in the dirt and watching nature make its magic. We are hoping to add more gardens next year.
We both love to spend as much time as possible outside…and so do the dogs. This was the first summer since Bret and I were kids that we have had so much time to be outside “playing”. We even set up a pickle ball court in our driveway…Rosie is our line judge!!!
There has been so much more time this year to just “be still”. I am as type A as they come and relaxing just doesn’t come naturally to me. This year has been different though. I believe its because there are so many things happening that are completely out of my control…at some point I just accepted that all I can do is shrug it off and take a break. I realize any notion of control is only an illusion anyway…but there is no illusion this year…its been a year of acceptance and trusting that the universe has my back.
The Misfits always prove to be the best teachers. Spending so much time relaxing with them this year is therapeutic. They just don’t worry about anything. They savor every moment…whether they are napping, playing, snuggling, snacking…they enjoy each moment in the moment. It has been so nice to be at least a little more like them this year.
Today’s big project is making a few batches of zucchini bread with the fresh zucchini from our garden. Its starting to cool down here so homemade bread sounds perfect.
I hope this message finds you well. Fall is such a wonderful time…preparing to settle in for the winter…all the colors and festive feeling of the upcoming holidays…I just love this time of year!
On the journey,
Nancy & The Misfits
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I am guessing most of us can agree that 2020 is the year “that can’t end fast enough”. I certainly never thought I would see and experience some of the things that have happened this year. Every one is affected in some way, for me its been a huge financial impact as my main source of income went to zero almost over night when COVID broke (and won’t recover until next spring…well hopefully it will). I have had to really re-think how I was doing a lot of things to even make room in my already stretched days to get everything done. It is not ideal…but as usual…the universe has a way of working things out when I trust it.
I have had no choice but to find ways to laser focus on only what matters right at each moment….what I need to do to get my family through each day, each week, each month is all that matters. I have “tuned out” everything that isn’t fundamental to making things work here so that I could “tune in” to what I need to do to get it done.
The funny thing about “tuning out”….life is so much more pleasant this way!!! As an introvert and a homebody some of the limitations Covid puts on life have little impact on my day to day. I am perfectly happy to not go anywhere unless I absolutely have to. Like most of us, I felt incredibly emotionally and spiritual drained by the stress and drama of the current state of affairs. I made a conscious choice to tune out everything that was draining me… for months now…I shut down TV and any form of news and have limited my use of social media other than my own FB page and some business pages. I unfollowed any person, group or page that was zapping my emotional and spiritual energy. My phone, that I used to carry every minute of the day, now lives mostly on my desk by itself. If I have learned anything in the last few months…almost nothing is immediate. It can wait.
It took something as extreme as losing a full year of my business to realize the benefits of being “tuned in” . My days are more productive, my stress level is so much lower and life feels much lighter. The second I reconnect…to the world’s drama…everything seems instantly heavier. I have to wonder do we really need so much connectedness? Do we need it all? Is social media and a 24 hour news cycle actually connectedness or is it a lie? Perhaps the entire notion of it is false and it does more harm than good. Is there a balance? I suppose the answers are different for each individual.
When I do log in to FB now or my husband gives me the occasional run down on the news I see and hear things with a different lens…a much more sensitive lens. The ugliness seems so much more obvious. There is a lack of compassion, a level of anger in our culture and an acceptance of hateful behavior as normal that is spreading far faster than the coronavirus. Taking a step away, especially from so much FB time, makes all media but especially social media feel like such an ugly place to hang out. Even people that are usually kind, thinking people are lashing out in hate and anger at anyone who disagrees with them… causing drama to defend positions and ideologies that are flimsy at best analysis…more than likely completely lies that society is being programmed us to believe. Logging in to social media feels like agreeing to go to a party where everyone is red faced, angry and has zero manners…just doesn’t sound like fun anymore.
I am coming to believe that the notion that we need social media to stay connected with each other and informed, even in the era of COVID, is a lie…an ugly lie that is hurting our society even more than coronavirus. Is social media really connecting us or is it killing the very thing that makes communities work? If have learned one thing for certain this year…I personally do not not “need” anything on social media…I also don’t need to watch any news on television…my life functions fine without it. When I need to know something the universe makes sure I know it. All the changes this year have definitely “slowed life down” here..but it’s not a bad thing…watching my vacation rental business crumble is definitely not fun don’t get me wrong…but the change of pace and limited consumption of any media is a pleasant change and I am glad that it has happened. I am not sure I will ever go back to wanting to be “connected” to the drama outside. I am not sure I even want to try to restart my vacation rental business next year; perhaps its time for a bigger change.
Daily life at Misfit Manor goes on no matter the chaos going on elsewhere…the needs of the dogs are always number one priority and keep me busy around the clock. Rosie, while happy and sweet as ever, slowly but continually gets weaker over time. She is always at my side no matter what I am doing and I am grateful for every day that I have with her. Millie is now completely blind and deaf. She manages just fine but always wants to be close. The rest of the Misfits keep me on track…if dogs and cats love anything…its routine…every day is ground hog day here and I love every minute of it.
Holly’s remains came home this week. She is an urn on the mantle with Sam, Sparky and Hercules. We will bury some her ashes in the garden at some point this fall… perhaps on All Souls Day. I miss her terribly and am grateful that I had the chance to know her even though it was just for a short time.
Getting ready for the holiday selling season is also keeping me super busy lately. I am expecting a really crazy selling season as folks don’t want to go shopping in crowds this year and fewer will be traveling with gifts but rather order them online. If you are planning to do online shopping for the holidays this year…do it early!!!! USPS and UPS are already slow…it will get much worse as we approach the election and the holidays. If you need to shop for dog lovers please check out our shops! We have our own Misfit Manor Shop and an Etsy shop.
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Sometimes a little bit of something wonderful is all we get…and it just has be enough. We said our final goodbye to sweet Holly last Friday. Holly came to Misfit Manor just a few weeks ago. We knew she was a hospice situation but we are wired to assume the best and thought for sure we would have at least a few months with her. She was so incredibly sweet and precious and we enjoyed the time we were able to have with her.
Even though we only knew Holly for a short period of time we are just crushed over losing her. The whole household was off…Solstice stopped eating for a few days…the other Misfits were quiet. You would think that dealing with loss would get easier over time and with so much experience with it. But it definitely does not…it stings every single time. Every time I seem to go through the same cycle of emotions. The stress of having to actually make the decision to say goodbye is always the hardest. I generally have really good intuition (I call it my inner bell). I know when its the right time to say goodbye and I listen and watch the cues from my Misfits carefully….but it is painful nonetheless. This is hands down the hardest part of Manor life. Then there are the days of darkness after they are gone…accepting the reality that I won’t see Holly’s sweet face for a longtime…I have days where I just don’t seem to run out tears. Eventually the dark cloud lifts and my mindset changes to gratitude….I am glad Holly made it here for a least some time and incredibly grateful that I was allowed to care for her and love her. I also know that every minute I have with my Misfits is worth it and I will do it again.
I also feel incredibly grateful for the comfort of the routine and demands the Misfits put on my life. The dogs are fully in the present…they don’t do “later”…they certainly don’t allow me to be a slacker… and I appreciate that. The best medicine, at least for me, when I am feeling down is to be engaged in giving my best effort to them. Every thing is always a group effort here too. I really don’t get any personal time or space…no matter what I am doing…they all have to be involved. Sometimes that can be a little frustrating (I still have to work) but it also is amazing to never be alone. Manor life isn’t easy but it is a wonderful life…I would not trade it for the world.
Whip cream fixes a lot of things…
Because we all felt so droopy over the loss of Holly Bret and I busted out the whip cream can for the rest of the rest of the dogs on Sunday and had a little pawty.
Nothing makes the heart feel lighter than seeing all the Misfits running around playing…and getting whip cream all over their faces! The second they hear the first bit come out of the can…all hell breaks loose.
Living with life coaches…
Living with dogs is like living with a houseful of life coaches…honestly no one stays engaged in the present moment like a dog. Any life coach will tell you that life happens in the present…if you are going to be happy its only going to happen in the present moment.
It’s not lost on me the profound impact the Misfits have on my own ability to stay engaged with the present. Not only are they role models for living in the present but they get over things so quickly (ok..well except Buster…he forgets nothing).
They also teach me so much about trust. They worry about nothing. Now whether they trust me or its just a general trust in the universe…I don’t know…they just assume they will get what they need. Not a moment is spent worrying about tomorrow. I just want to be more like my dogs.
Summer is coming to an end soon. We are trying to squeak out every minute of outdoor fun that we can. Rosie’s exercise pool will have to come down this week (always a sad day) but walking at the park will be a lot more pleasant as it starts cooling down and we love seeing the changing colors…I think fall in Kentucky is one of my favorite sights. We enjoy every season here at the Manor…this year each and every moment and memory we make seems more special than usual…the stress of the COVID era makes everything feel more acute or raw. This week the man who originally restored our home and built our vacation rentals passed away from COVID. He and his wife were incredibly kind and generous to Bret and I when we moved. Life feels heavier in the era of coronavirus…like we are all walking around carrying an invisible yoke on our shoulders. Finding and relishing in the good moments has never been more important.
The Misfits and I wish blessings, love and light to everyone. Stay safe and healthy. Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest Page for tons of pet lover content and shop our Misfit Manor store for all of your pawty and gift giving needs!
When you are ready…I guess you are ready. Since Petunia passed last February I have not felt ready to bring a new dog to the Manor. Until last week when I was sent a picture of Miss Holly. I could not resist her precious face.
Miss Holly is a 6lb Pomeranian. She is 11 years young. She is a perfect fit at the manor. Holly was put up for “free” on Craig list because her person was put in the hospital and could no longer care for her (family members decided to give her away). A rescue saw the post and went and got her right away. Situations like this are so heart breaking and just too common. Someone elderly becomes ill or incapable of being on their own and to make it all the worse they are separated from their dog. My heart breaks for the dogs who have no idea why they have lost their person of course…but it breaks even harder for the person who is separated from their dog. Our dogs are our most steadfast companions in life…to be separated from them is a tragedy.
Besides having some health issues that make her uncomfortable Holly was very sad and depressed when she arrived. Her person clearly loved her and being separated was hard on Miss Holly.
We had Holly vetted quickly…she is not without issues…the most urgent being her kidney values are dangerously high. Hopefully the high kidney value is due to the infections in her mouth (really rotten teeth) and their removal and antibiotics will restore her kidney function. She goes in for her dental on the 25th and we will recheck her kidney values at that time.
She has a broken rib that is quite painful (she groans if you touch her mid section). Her xrays show very poor bone density so keeping her protected from falls is going to be important. She has some pretty serious joint issues as well. Her little knees shake when she walks. For now she is on a course of predisone and we are lasering her joints 2x/day. Once we are able to get some better xrays on the 25th and some clarity on her kidney’s we will look at more options for giving her comfort in her little joints.
Despite arriving here with so many health issues and some doggy depression Holly has fit in quite well and is taking advantage of all of the perks of Manor living.
She has become a quick fan of wagon rides at the park with her sister Rosie and likes have a big yard to trot around and sniff in…and bark at squirrels.
She has very quickly figured out how to get in the action with the rest of the pack to get her share of the treats too!
Holly’s favorite time of the day seems to be before bed snuggles and laser time. I take Rosie, Lacey and Holly in my bed (with a little bowl of cookies) and take turns snuggling and lasering all of them…its a wonderful wind down for me each night and the girls love it.
Despite everything that is going on with her health and the stress of so much change in her life…she is incredibly sweet and her little tail is starting to wag more each day. She loves to bark at Solstice!
We are thrilled to have her here with us and look forward to showing her what life as a diva at Misfit Manor is all about.
Life on the Manor continues to be full of love and joy despite the craziness going in the world….the Manor is an oasis for the animals and for Bret and I. Bret’s real estate business is keeping him crazy busy these days…he loves coming home to the peace and privacy our life here affords. I continue to run our vacation rentals but in the era of coronavirus we have very few guests.
Solstice and I keep busy in the studio designing new pawty items and making new art work. We are incredibly grateful for the support our shop has received this year. Check out our Misfit Manor Shop for new items for your pawty planning needs. We are working hard to gear up for the holidays as this year’s online holiday season is set to be incredibly busy.
We hope this post find you well and finding new and creative ways to enjoy life despite all the challenges going on in the world.
Like it is for most people, the lock down is unnerving for our family. The only reason I have left the property since this all started has been to walk the dogs. But even walking the dogs is strange…I wave to the neighbors…but none of us get close enough to chat. It has been going on for almost a month now…it still doesn’t feel real…its like one big bad dream.
Every day that the sun shines the girls and I go “hunting for beauty” on our walks…and there is plenty of it in Spring time in Kentucky. Spring flowers and the flowering trees are every where. I never get tired of the magic that dirt and sun make all around us.
There are only a few things that seem to bring any feeling of normalcy to our days right now…nature, the daily routine that dogs demand and keeping busy around the house in my shops.
I have a new appreciation for how much the Misfits force my days to be normal. Even though there is little work…there is no where to go…seems like there is no reason to get out my jammies some days…the Misfits are up every single morning at 6 a.m without fail. They are ready to go. They want some breakfast. They want to play and go for walks…they want their yard time. Rosie needs daily swim therapy. Most of my girls need daily laser therapy. Half of the crew needs daily meds. Every thing we do for them has become the benchmark for the passing hours and days.
For some people this quarantine just means staying at home and not going crazy from boredom. For others, like us, it has been that but also watching our businesses dissolve in front of us with little to nothing we can do to save them. It is an unwelcome reminder of just how fragile any sense of “security” we might have is. The American Dream now feels more like the American Nightmare. If anyone would have told me the business I worked my butt off building the last 6 years was going to vaporize in a matter of days….I never would have believed them. I was not expecting to have to pivot and re-invent at this age..but here I am doing just that.
The last month I honestly think I have been in some sort of shock…so stunned I haven’t been able to really process everything that has happened. I have been angry in a way I have never been before. I have broke down and cried more times than I ever have in my life. It feels like a deep wave of grief…and rot in my stomach. The last few days it seems like the fog is lifting, reality is setting in and my energy is returning. Now I just have to figure out what is next. My vacation rental business is going to close, that is without question. Until the last few days I have not even been able to think about what could possibly come next…how do I salvage anything out of this. But now the ideas are percolating. And thank goodness for the Misfits who lift our spirits and make us feel needed and important and remind me daily that there is still so much to be joyful about.
So many of my friends are like us, self employed/business owners, watching big parts of our lives burn down. Those same people also seem to be the most generous and thoughtful. My shops and art commissions have experienced a really nice uptick the last few weeks..most of it coming from people who are also being pinched by this mess. The irony of who shows up to help others…not lost on me.
For now, I am working my a** off painting and adding new pawty items to my stores. It does seem that people are passing the boredom of quarantine by having pawties with their dogs…how awesome is that! When the news broke earlier in winter about how this virus was affecting the people in China I ordered a ton of supplies to build my inventory in case some of my suppliers shut down for awhile or there were long shipping delays…didn’t ever imagine what we are experiencing now of course…but thank goodness I have what I need to keep my shops running for now. Little blessings every where.
I hope you are healthy and finding as much joy as possible during this strange time.
So the coronapocalypse has effected us as much as anyone…both my husband and I are essentially unemployed. But at the same time it has hardly effected us at all. Because our lives are centered around the Misfits and their needs…in most ways very little has changed.
We are trying really hard to put the things that worry us in the back of our minds…because we cannot control them anyway. Instead we are focusing solely on the sweet little creatures around us who have no idea that the world is on fire around them.
The only things the Misfits have noticed…daddy is home more…they are getting more and longer walks…because we have no guests on the property they can hang in the yard and bark their heads off as much as they want. For them…its all good right now. I wish I could be so relaxed all the time….I’m quite jealous actually.
Lacey is sleeping through the apocalypse…nothing is phasing her at all. Buster is playing ball through the apocalypse…and Snoopy is raising hell like always!
Bret and I are finding time to do things we never do….like sleep in past 6 a.m. It took a few weeks for the panic of watching our businesses disintegrate to come to the realization that we are about to get a very long staycation. Bret and I have not taken a vacation since we moved here almost 6 years ago…we have barely taken a day off. Now the craziness in the world is forcing us to and we are trying to make the very best of it.
We are getting projects done at home…and around the vacation rentals. We are getting caught up on years of missed sleep. We are playing more than we ever have before. We dug out our tennis rackets to play tennis at the top of our driveway…no net of course but I rarely can get a ball over the net anyway.
We had a bonfire a few nights ago. We were trying to do something that would help us symbolically and physically let our fears go. We tossed them in fire and said goodbye to them.
Honestly…we have no idea what will happen with either of our businesses when this is over…we assume the road back will be slow and gradual and we are going to have to do some serious economizing…but that is ok. We are not fancy people and as long as we have our Misfits….we have enough.
Rosie and Solstice keep each other busy….Solstice is slightly crazy and Rosie is completely entertained by silently watching her crazy behavior. Simple friends.
We are grateful we are healthy. We both suspect we had this virus earlier this winter and just had no idea what the corona virus was at the time. We are saddened by so much loss of life and also the hardship this shut down is causing so many families. The largest employer in our town has already started permanent lay offs…20% of the 10K employees at the largest plant have been let go….and that is just the beginning. It is going to be a long and challenging road back. We are old enough that unfortunately we have lived through several previous crisis…we know we will come out ok on the other side…things may be different…but they will be ok.
I hope that everyone reading this is healthy at home and finding ways to make the best of a very difficult situation.
Hug your fur babies…they feel all of our stress…they heal our stress and they bring so much joy!
That’s right…I cooked a full blown Thanksgiving dinner tonite…and I am not a fan of the traditional celebration of Thanksgiving. Late last week my husband went to the store to get something for me to make for dinner…burgers is what he wanted. He called me from the store…”honey there is no meat…can you believe it…no meat…the only thing they have is turkey”…I said well bring home a turkey then.
The corona virus epidemic is an unprecedented experience for most people….let’s face it…it doesn’t even feel real. We don’t know how to process it…we are facing a ridiculous level of uncertainty…something that none of us like.
While so much of this situation is completely out of our hands…and that is frustrating…we can still choose how we respond to it.
Believe me…I’m not diminishing the hardship of this situation. Lives are being lost. Jobs are being lost. My husband and I are both self employed. Our businesses have been decimated in a matter of days and we won’t be getting any unemployment or aid as self employed folks. We will have to figure it out on our own. Stress has been high. Bret has run home several times from the office in the last 2 weeks because I wasn’t sure if I was having a panic attack or a heart attack as I dealt with literally the cancellation of the entire season for our vacation rentals.
We have to get used to a new paradigm….we have to change our expectations and think of new ideas to make it all work going forward. But frankly…its not the first time…and we will figure it out.
Lucky for us…there are a lot of distractions to keep us busy here at the Manor. First and foremost we need to focus on the needs of all these little creatures. I ordered a huge order from Chewy.com to make sure we were stocked up on dog and cat food of our Misfits (I’m sure the UPS guy was cursing me hauling those boxes to our porch). Solstice worked hard to make it a much bigger chore than necessary to get everything unpacked and put away.
Trudy, our blind and deaf dachshund keeps us on our toes every minute…she could absolutely care less what is going on in the world around her. She wants attention from us…no matter what we have going on. The rest of our crew is just running around playing and causing mischief like nothing is wrong in the world at all….I don’t think they know it…but they are an amazing stabilizing force for us.
I am getting busy painting…I picked up some new commission work that I am super excited about…one for a lady I have been friends with since the 2nd grade! I can’t wait to paint her cats. I am also keeping busy making masks from my hoards of fabric for folks who are forced to do public facing jobs right now but have no protection from being exposed to the virus. I am not charging for my masks…if you need one let me know. Miss Solstice is making my mask making task much harder than it needs to be…she is fascinated with the sewing machine.
So we took a break and made a full blown thanksgiving meal today. We wanted to make a huge symbolic effort to be grateful for all the blessings we still have. We put on some of our favorite music; Randy Travis, Willie Nelson, The Judds…and we danced around our kitchen with Rosie sandwiched between us. For at least a little while we made things feel normal again.
We aren’t numb to everything that is going on…but today we choose to be grateful for what we have…and what we have is enough. We always have the space to choose to respond to shitty situations with an attitude that will serve us well rather than drag us down. That doesn’t mean we don’t have little melt downs here and there…but it does mean we pick ourselves up, put our heads down and get busy with the business of living our best life…regardless.
I hope everyone who reads this is hanging in there. I hope you can find things to be grateful for right now, spread some joy and find even the smallest ways to be part of the solution to this terrible pandemic.
Hang in there…hug your fur babies…they take all their cues from us!
If you follow me you know that a few months back my husband and I took in a cat that moved in to our back yard. We researched her origins and found out that her family lived right down the road and had moved away and left her behind. We took her in to home on the Winter Solstice and thus named her Solstice.
Bret and I have other cats in the house…Jasmine and Catzilla…they are seniors and really just about the easiest pets in the house right now. When we realized Solstice was homeless we both thought the same thing…been there…done that…the last thing we need is a young cat in the house. We have so much on our plates. But we did it anyway.
Well…Miss Solstice has been here for awhile now…let me tell you. She is exactly what we needed in this house. Yes…she is super rambunctious….she wrecks a lot of stuff frankly…working on my computer is infinitely more challenging because she absolutely has to be involved. She is a Pinterest fanatic! But she also is a complete joy.
Solstice is a ham. She is talkative…so happy to us all the time. Let me tell you something…my husband and I are both self employed…we are stressed as Fuck right now because of the global pandemic…but Miss Solstice has us laughing every day! She is like having a warm fuzzy on demand anytime we need it.
Solstice lives to taunt the dogs! Spring is not the greatest time for getting the dogs out for exercise…its wet and not super warm yet….the yard is a mud pie….the dogs are bored and looking to burn of energy! Solstice keeps them busy in the house…her favorite thing is making them think they might catch her. I’ll admit…the noise level is nutty sometimes but its fun…its a blessing to see them all running and playing and having fun…to them…it is life as usual…nothing is wrong in the world.
Believe me…Bret and I need her right now really bad. She is such an amazing little gift!
Before we realized the world is coming to halt for this virus…Bret and I were buying her new toys left and right…she is very active and likes a lot of stimulation. Check out my Facebook for a video of her with an electronic butterfly! For now…she is going to only get homemade toys…I don’t think she cares. But we never get bored of watching her play.
Solstice has been a major blessing to Rosie as well…Rosie is obssessed with her. Which is nice as Rosie has major separation anxiety from me…so Solstice can keep her busy long enough for me to get things done around the house.
I am one of those woowoo types that believes the universe will take care me. What we put out into the world comes back to us…I keep my head down and always try to do the next right thing. Lo and behold…the universe brought me Solstice…Honestly…I don’t know what we would do without her right now.
These are incredibly difficult times…but little blessings keep falling into our laps during this crisis and Miss Solstice is definitely one of them. This is such a strange and difficult time. Bret and I have to keep focused on the things that matter most no matter how stressed out we get. For us…the care of our Misfits is always top priority!
I hope you are managing through this difficult time well. I believe firmly this will pass…our communities will emerge stronger from this crisis. It is a good time to focus on things/people/creatures that matter to us most.
Take care and be safe!
Nancy & The Misfits
P.S. The first picure in this post is Miss Solstice’s first Pawffiti. It is for sale for $79.99 (free shipping). It is a 16×20 acrylic painting.