Panda's First Smile

Panda's First Smile
PandaPig's First Smile!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Good Night, Sleep Tight, World We Love

Before we go to sleep at night there's
a little something we like to do first.

Personally, I loves me my midnight treat,
but I'm Peter-Peanut and each one of us has 
our "special rituals" like
Vinny crawling into his hay loft!

But this isn't what I mean:
What I mean is something we all do
together before we fall asleep, this
is what we do.

Thanks to our new Smartphone that mom
doesn't really know how to use as a phone,
we got some cool aps: GOOGLE EARTH,
The Weather Channel, World Time Clock,
you get my drift.
So, we say a prayer and send love to
everyone we know around the world
before we go to sleep at night!
We wish peace, love, comfort, and
that all our loved ones be healthy and
happy or healed in their illness or grief.
We ask that that God look after all
those we love. Or have loved.
Or have once been loved by.
And we forget a lot of names,
so we start at the West Coast and
work our way East...FAR EAST!

But mom's a Weather Geek, so it takes
THREE APS to make a prayer:
First we find out what time it is then
begin our orbit checking places and weather
where our friends live all around the world!
We GOOGLE EARTH our friends, like
Fairy, Pixie, Bear, Anita, & Ian in Appleby,
United Kingdom.
(And check to see if we have more rain
than them or they have more rain than us!)

We even found "The Thatched Cottage"
where they live on Google Earth! WOW,

Then we say: "Good night Pixie, good night
Fairy, good night Bear, good night Anita,
good night Ian, good night all you hedgehogs
trying to keep warm in their garden."
And this makes us very, very happy!
Bear and Pixie came into Fairy's life after
they lost their precious Marigold, whose
memory they share in their most recent
blog post...
We also wish a very special, sweet,
good night to Ingrid in Bavaria,
who just lost her beloved Brownie two days
ago and send her lots and lots of love. Ingrid
and her Bavarian meeris (guinea pigs) mean
the world to us: Ingrid has three bright stars
tattooed on her cheek and we love her
and hope she knows how loved Brownie is
and how happy she must be to see all her old
friends again. We know how it feels...YumYum
is slowly moving into his New Beginning and it
is difficult, so our Good Nights remind us we
both love and are loved by so many.
But Google Earth and The Weather Channel
aren't nearly finished!

What time is it in INDIA?
How is your weather?
Sweet dreams (although you are actually just waking up)
to our many, many new friends from
The Times of India's (India's biggest newspaper)
"Speaking Tree" Spirituality section.
We have made so many beautiful, new
close friends writing with you this past year...

One of our dearest is Rashmi,
pictured below even though she
doesn't know it... yet! (OOPSIE,
Rashmi, you're just way too beautiful
NOT to include...)
She recently attended a wedding
and so you can see how dressed
up she is for some of the
festivities...and of course we
check the weather in India, too!
Rashmi, are you cold?
Your smile could warm the
snow right off the Himalayas
if Global Warming wasn't doing
that for us...We LOVE you!
And everywhere we travel in every time
zone, we have our Owl Friends,
our dear precious MODS
(Molly Obsessive Disorder) peeps to say
good night to! G'night, Owlie Peeps!
WE Lurves your gutz!!! Heh-heh!

These owlets are saying their own special
good night prayers...sacred with reverence:
(owls are nocturnal and feed at night)
but still, they can be saying "Sweet Dreams"
to the rest of us and we do believe they are!

How can you not love that
expression? Good night, owls.
Wherever you are on the earth,
whatever your weather,
Sweet Dreams...

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Peter And Bhindi Get THEIR TURN, at Last!

Finally, I AM FREE!

Hmm, this tunnel is kinda yummy!
No wonder most of it is aleady gone,
think I'll eat myself some sticks, 
yeah, that's it, Eat Sticks.
That's what Wise Pigs Do!

Wait a minute, Peter-Peanut, don't
eat that whole thing, let me outta
here, it's my turn!

Dum-Dee-Dum, Hum-De-Hum,
I don't hear you, Bhindi!

Hi Yum-Yum, how ya doin' today?

Every pig always pays respects
to YumYum when we get out on
Runabout! That old Pirate is all skin
and bones but he goes through THREE
And keeps hisself fit and fine, too.
{Note from Editor: YumYum has a
painful bladder stone, spinal spondylosis
meaning his spine has been fusing for
years, and until Squirrel came into the
herd for him to love, endured potentially
fatal seizures which ended following
Squirrel's arrival! He is probably over 90
years old in Guinea Pig Years but,
like Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones,
Keeps on Rocking & Rolling! 
Yeah, YumYum,
Alpha Male Chief PiratePig
 - and actually the second adoptee 
of PandaPig's Sanctuary, rescued and trained 
personally by
PandaPig himself!}
R.E.S.P.E.C.T. + LOVE = YumYum!

So, you hang out with YumYum
but ignore me, forgetting that
we grew up like brothers, Peter?
Oh, ye unfaithful friend!
Come on, let's play together.

Mom said it took a month to get
my teeth-marks outta your fur
last time, she won't let us anymore
cuz you got Big Man Parts that made 
you all bossy! 
I'm tired now though
and think I'll go home for a nap,
Mr. BIG-B***s!
{NOTE: he was too big to even neuter;
The vet had never seen
any manlier pig-parts than Bhindi's!}

Well, it's all good, I'm on Runabout
now, my Manliness INTACT, and
a happy, fat, affectionate pig am I!
{Editor: true that, but only
affectionate with peeps, not pigs.}

Hate to say "Good-bye" but mom
says it's not polite to eat with my
mouth full...
{Editor: "speak with his mouth full"}
So stay tuned for Next Time: when the
other pigs Get Out, Waaaaay Out!

Loves You All!
Bhindi & Peter-Peanut :)

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Squirrel Potty-Trains His Sweet lil'Self!

Hello, why is it when mom brags about my potty
training all of you laugh? It's true! I did!
All by myself, too, you think any of those 
Pirates taught me? No way, they be bad!
So, 'dis here how Da Squirrel Does It!

Well, who doesn't love a little
sumpin'-sumpin' from Mom
on Runabout?

"I DO! I DO! Let me out, Ma,
I want some, too!"

Peter, don't rain on my parade!
You'll get your chance but not
till I'm ready to go home first.
Down, Peter-Peanut, Down!

WHAT? I know a lil'piggie
who gonna get it! Squirrel,
you got potty-mouth, talking
to your elders like that!
Shame on you, little punk!

Ignore him. Watch now, cuz dis
is how I does it!

See? First thing I do, go to my potty
after Runabout. Know what the 
other pigs do? 
EDITOR: "Not now, sweetheart,
let's stay on topic, this is about you!"

O.K. Ma, I goes to
my potty and I does my business
and mom - when it comes to cage
clean up time every night, you know 
what? Every night she coos:
"Oh, Squirrel, you take 5 minutes to
clean your cage. Why can't the other 
boys be just like you?"
Then she sighs...then she has to 
turn on music they wear her out
with the messes they make, 
but not me! I'm her baby Squirrel."

It's a fact, I have not grown much
but mom loves that I still look
like a baby. But after ya empties
da pot, ya gotta refill the tummy!
So, naysayers, guffawing readers,
DOUBTERS! See? I really did
potty-train myself, and I keep my
Habitat all neat, fit, and adorable, 
too: Just like me!

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Thursday, January 10, 2013


{Photo by Chatchai Somwat, Thailand}
NOTE: This blog post was supposed to be written on my other blog, HoneyAntDreamer but I wrote it on the Guinea Pig blog by accident because I have absolutely no idea what I am doing yet have no intention, nor the ability, to re-write it. I apologize in advance for it's content. It is DEFINITELY NOT ABOUT GUINEA PIGS.
I am being followed by an albino Bengal Tiger named Parvati...she is inside of me, waiting for me to tell a story, not about her, but about someone else, someone she loves, someone she expects me to write about.

I already wrote about her. Last Sunday the Times of India, circulation 7.5 million (I think) created a two-page spread devoted to Nirbhaya, the Daughter of India, a young nursing student who had been  brutally gang-raped and murderously assaulted on a moving bus where only her own boyfriend tried to help but he was also violently stripped and beaten, thrown out of the bus with her to die as well. No one protected her. Did I mention this took place on a moving bus? If there are errors in my writing it is because my hands are shaking. I accept that.
Nirbhaya died, her Spirit did not: it pierced and penetrated its courageous self into the Heart of a country now asking itself: why? Just as we did last December 14, following the tragic massacre of innocent young 6- and 7-year-old children, their teachers, and principal in Newtown, Connecticut, all of whom died trying to save "their children." We asked why, we prayed, we grieved, and many with whom I blog on the Times of India were so incredibly supportive during that shock...I felt likewise learning about Nirbhaya, Daughter of India, who, despite having been raped and beaten into unrecognizable human carnage, from her hospital bed in Singapore as she lay dying, had the courage to tell her mother, "I want to live."

I wrote a letter to her, a prayer, the TOI printed it as part of a full, two-page spread Sunday, alongside a stunning piece penned by my friend Arjun Bala, with comments, quotes, and illustrations created to complete an unforgettably emotional, soul-searing memorial.
Until that time, I never knew anyone really noticed my writing. A senior editor contacted me for my email address explaining they had been publishing my comments and she wanted to send me a pdf (since, obviously, we do not get The Times of India here in Bellingham, WA, U.S.A.) but even I was not expecting the gut-wrenching, emotional, soul-searing, visceral reaction those pages would have on me...

That's when Parvati came into my life  informing me that Indian literature, film, and popular culture had to begin creating role models for and of young girls, children, and women as strong, courageous, equal-to-men individuals as deserving of respect and equality in Indian culture as men. Currently, they do not enjoy that status. I was not aware until then just how little they do enjoy when it comes to the perception many boys who become men think of females.
 I can't write about that.
Nor has Parvati asked me to. She has simply been following me along on my walks narrating a novel for young teens about a Warrior Princess of India whose sage tiger teaches her that for everything that had been taken away from her following her own brutal rape and attempted murder, a Gift was also bestowed and that she survived because she had a destiny, a future where this "fictional" teen Awakens from her own personal trauma knowing she was spared to protect and serve all others less fortunate than herself: people, animals, our Planet. It's complicated yet profoundly simple. This Phoenix actually does rise from the Ashes, Nirbhaya does live in this story, saved by Parvati, the Bengal tiger, who becomes her guru, much as Krishna was to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, as Obi-Wan Kenobi was to Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars"  this archetype that lives in our collective consciousness...and appears in so much literature, film, theatre, music, dance.
It's not new.
It is, however, new to me, writing this way.

I am listening to Parvati on my walks and quiet moments but the story chases away the Quiet in its insistence that I get to work already. And I don't know how. I have never experienced anything quite like this before in my life, a muse in the form of a wise sage, Parvati, stalking me like prey threatening to leave me without a moment's peace until I pen the first words. And just start.

Now my solitary time is not spent alone anymore. Even the guinea pigs know something Big is Going On when they see me - instead of write - pull out my large drawing tablet and begin drawing the Story of India's young Warrior Princess.

Which is particularly odd given that new health issues keep me from focusing my eyes, the migraines continue relentlessly to disrupt creative and most other endeavors, and I feel like: "God, are you serious?!"

I just watched one of my favorite authors,  Turkish writer Elif Shafak, on a TED talk. She wrote "The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi" which I read a few years ago and wrote so much in that I could never loan it out: I talk back to my books, ask questions, scribble drawings, compose prayers, poetry, mainly ask questions, though...we interact, my books and I. Thank God for the printed page, may it endureth forever!

What will Parvati ask of me? I have a pretty good idea. She is asking me to do something I am one of the least equipped people in the world to do. Perhaps my job will simply be to learn a word processing program or draw a graphic novel and illustrate it myself, who knows? 

The only thing I do know, is how much I don't know. And that Parvati appears to be quite a patient, yet persistent tiger who wants to give meaning to Nirbhaya's courageous sacrifice.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Let There Be Light (and a Happy Doggie!)

According to scientists, we are experiencing one
of the darkest winters in Pacific Northwest history.
It doesn't keep me from walking, it only makes
it more imperative to get out! Today, I found the
remains of an owl's nest the wind had blown
down and inspected the contents for bones, 
feathers, and was too cold to photograph as my hands would have frozen taking 
off warm gloves and tomorrow
we may even have lowland snow!
But we humans aren't the only ones rejoicing
in even a Sliver of the Bright: This Labradoodle is having the time of his life running across grass so wet and soggy that trees are even falling over, but who cares? For him and those of us willing to brave the cold, piercing wind screaming across the Bay into our souls, Life is beautiful, even if only in rare slivers of Light
that pierce the Heart of Darkness.
{By the time my walk was done and my body all warmed up, I was able to
capture the labradoodle: the owl's nest will be featured if the wind doesn't blow
it away before I can get back to it.}

Oooops, nearly forgot: GO SEAHAWKS!
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Saturday, January 5, 2013


"Let us be grateful to people who
make us happy; they are the charming
gardeners who make our souls blossom."
~ Marcel Proust
Today I made a new friend...

Mom's bff from Seattle
and her husband, David,
came up to meet me for
the first time. They also
met Peter-Peanut, Bhindi,
Vinny-Guinea, and they 
already knew Yum-Yum
but this was the first chance
they had to come up in
a year...just for me!
Then they all took a walk
together at Taylor Dock
after more lattes.
C.O.L.D. (walk) but (lattes) good!

YO! Susan, you and David
totally ROCK, so please
We loves ya!
Squirrel hath spoken.
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Thursday, January 3, 2013

"After The Falls - Literally"

For over a decade, the guinea pigs
and our Bengal Cat, Chai, got to
live overlooking an Audubon
Wildlife Refuge, adjacent to 
Whatcom Falls Park, a few hundred 
acres replete with dense, forest trails,
a viable salmon stream, waterfalls,
ponds, and wildlife in abundance!
The piggies loved all the fragrances
that wafted in on the wind into our
place where we kept windows and
doors open as much as possible to invite in warmth or coolness,
light, full moons, Arctic windstorms, 
and - of course -
the symphony of trumpeting wildlife
living on the marsh we overlooked; 
only minutes through verdant wooded trails from the Falls...
Myriad species of colorful waterfowl, beavers,
muskrats, and SongBirds in abundance! 
We awoke
before Dawn to their Concerts
every morning:
And it was Good.

Whatcom Creek was only brisk
ten minute walk from the marsh, 
or - in winter when
we got snowed in, which I loved! -
STILL just a trail away on
cross-country skis or snowshoes:
One winter we were snowed in
for two whole weeks, since the marsh
 we sat atop such a steep a hill it was nearly
impossible to drive up
or down, so every day a nature-ski to the
pond where swans chose to rest and refuel before migrating further south. 
And THAT was Very Good!

The Meditation Bench overlooking
Whatcom Falls...

Dry-land Ski Poles were optional then.
But I slipped on our moss-covered,
wooden walkway after wet leaves
fell, soaking it, during an October windy 
rainstorm while walking the Bengal 
cat and lost consciousness.
One of the things you don't learn 
from your mom: concussions are
serious. I landed directly on my head,
and six weeks later pulled it off again!
No bragging rights like: "I smashed
into the boards during a speedskating
race just before crossing the finish line
for gold!" 
"It happened while climbing ropeless 14 feet across rocks while traversing a steep
cliff before a Zombie jumped out, 
startled me, so I fell on my head.
We're talking ZOMBIES!
or Bigfoot, whatEVER."

Or, "I was mountain biking, caught 
AWESOME AIR jumping a log, then,
Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom: Brain Scramble a la permanente.
Nah,  just walking my cat and slipped.
Did not know how serious concussions were
until the second one, haven't walked
unassisted since. But, the guinea pigs don't 
mind at all! They love their Runabouts on the
floor! Which turns out to be a very cozy
place for people with Traumatic Brain Injury;
since you're already there: I mean, you're already on the floor, what worse gonna happen?

 Last week, I returned to the marsh and woods, to the falls and trails just to INHALE.
The eagle's nest had blown away in a 
windstorm and the falls were BLASTING SOME KINDA UPROAR AFTER all the
rain, snow, and WICKED windstorms we've received during an unusually brutal, grey, wet, dark fall...Still, It was good to be back, albeit bittersweet retracing familiar
steps that were once hiked daily by
foot or an invigorating twisty-turny mountain bike ride, perhaps even enjoyed in winter on skis or snowshoes, yet always so much to INHALE:
And it is still good. 
Just that now I return to the
downtown Guinea Pig
Nation...and the inevitable:

"Where ya been, ma, bring anything
special home for us?
Ummm, Did you actually
say NO?!"

"FINE! Then I shall resume napping,
displaying my new pedicure,
thanks to some friends who treated
us all to New Year Nail trims at the spa!
We don't need no stinking waterfalls, 
just need Treats! Runabouts! Lap Time! LOVE!

 So ma, keep pole-walkin' that dock near the market cuz then ya don't forget to bring us back that fresh, organic wheatgrass!" MMmmmm....!

Peter Peanut hath Spoken.

So much for reveries...
and waxing poetic on the virtues
of woods, waterfalls, and wildlife
Got a herd o'Piggies
clamoring for their favorite Treats!

that, my friends, is BEST of All!
Happy New Year!

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