Panda's First Smile

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Saturday, August 31, 2013


"But ask the animals and they will teach you..."
Job 12:7


Squirrel...the newest "Little Buddha"
on finding Joy ineffable in the
simplest gestures of kindness...

Squirrel knows things aren't going well...
all the Little Buddhas do. They want
to cheer me up, so we have
"cuddle time" together on my bed.

After a particularly difficult day,
Squirrel did one thing, one thing
that might seem tiny to many,
yet was monumental to me...He
came to my open palm at one
point and placed his paw right
into the middle of it, as if
holding my hand to say,
"Everything is going to be

all right, mom. We love you."
He placed his tiny paw on mine...

And, in that moment,
everything was better
than O.K. it was

Then he stretched himself out on my
pillow atop one of the many fleece pads
which you (know who you are) Gifted the
Guinea Pig Sanctuary, and he stayed
with me, soothing and comforting me.

Because these are not hiking boots,
snowshoes, cross-country skis,
speedskates; they are my Nordic
hiking Poles, they are not any of
the things I am accustomed to...
two days ago a wheelchair came
and not to rent, but to remain.
And they know I am...not quite
O.K. with it. So they comfort me
in tiny ways which, my friends,
are not tiny at all.

Here in our home, the meek have
inherited my life, given it meaning,
and bring me joy...they are too
precious to remain sad around,
too funny for me to become morbid
they do not allow thoughts of
anything but Wonder: that such
tiny creatures know so much,
feel the pain I feel, never complain,
ask for so little, yet always give their all!


So many of you have supported the
Guinea Pig Sanctuary throughout the years
and you have also sent me many gifts...
these humble acts may seem small to
you but please know that they are not
now, nor shall they ever be small to me!

I look around from bed and all I see are
Gifts. And all I feel is Loved.

How can that ever be a small thing?

Thank you, my dear friends...


(P.S. At long last we finally have a medical team
doing their very best to diagnose then, hopefully,
treat whatever is causing my body to shut down.
We have struggled 10 months for this, so have
hope. At least we have their reassurance they
will leave no stone unturned. That is all we
have asked for. And We have Hope.)

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Monday, August 19, 2013


Hi Everybody! It's me,
Squirrel. Did you see me in
this month's Guinea Pig
Magazine? If not, you should!
You should see me in EVERY
issue, actually. I'm
too modest to say more...

Just too adorable.

But, life in Seattle
is very different from anything
we could have possibly imagined.

We live in Chinatown, actually
now called "The I.D." or
International District. Mom
spent lots of time here before
moving to Bellingham, taking
photographs for various small 
newspapers which later got published
 in a book called "Pacific Voices,"
published through
U of Washington's Burke Museum.
(Shameless plug, we bad!)
Studying martial arts
with Bruce Lee's first-ever student,
Jesse Glover, and playing in a
Japanese Taiko performance group,
Chinatown once felt like a second home.

But, see, that was before Bellingham...
Way before.

We tried to make the best of it,
truly we have! Exotic food shopping,
just a walker (and STEEP HILL)
away, lots of yummy treats-for-all!

Eaten in bed...see, that is just
one part of the Big...


Tried drawing. At least you don't
have to move around much to do that!

But here, things went from living
color in our Wilderness Town to
Black & one has
adjusted. Mom got sicker.
And skinnier and skinnier.
When our friend said, like from
the "personal columns"
"Well, you're HWP =
and mom asked,
"Soooo...if I hear this correctly,
I was a heifer before getting sick?"
Our friend is Asian. It wasn't his
fault that he didn't know what a
heifer was and said "Yeah!"
In his defense, he was just trying
to cheer her up. I shan't whisper
what happened next.
O.K. I will: He KNOWS WHAT
(it wasn't pretty.)

Nothing beats radioactive
"Creamy Vanilla Smoothies!"
You couldn't do this in Bellingham
without getting an official note from
the hospital explaining the "radioactive
isotope part" because up there you
could be detected from all the Security
Thingies they got during the 2010
Winter Olympics in Vancouver...
And you'd glow green and they'd
wonder why...and so you needed
a letter because the first time they
detected radioactive isotopes, it was
this poor man driving and they all
pounced on him and couldn't
figure out where he was hiding
the "dangerous thing" and it
was really, really embarrassing...
because his cat had just come
from chemotherapy at the vet
and really WAS RADIOCTIVE!
The "Security" faux pas made
national news...LOL!
They saw a "glowing green threat!"
It was a cat!

Practicing hand gestures from
the "Learn to Bollywood"
dance DVD, yeah, gonna
get this one DOWN, baby!
Get it DOWN!

But not dancing...
just being quiet.


Dreaming of being a "Whale
Rider" like in this drawing
from when we were still
living in Bellingham...
and felt "rooted" and life
was full of Wonder and
Mystery, inspired by such
a wild, wonderful landscape
of wilderness from Mt. Baker
to the San Juan Islands.
We just isn't "city people"
"City Pigs."

So it's my job to bring joy and
make a smile come out like
the sun. It's all our jobs, us piggies,
and we are doing our very best.

But we would be lying to say we
aren't all homesick.

(At least ain't got no heifers livin'
here no more: LOL!!!)
It's rare in guinea pigs, but Taj Mahal
used to do it when we watched
"Molly the Owl" over the Internet
all the time, the other night after we
got our habitats switched so's we could
all touch noses and nuzzle, mom woke
up and had to turn on the light since we
got no birds living in here and Vinny just
grinned! Life is still beautiful, and
full of wonder, surprises, with more to
come! We love you all.

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