In my yard are dozens, maybe hundreds of little lizards with snazzy black racing stripes or mottled leathery skin with colors ranging from deep charcoal to soft beige. They make quick graceful dashes across the dead oak leaves just in front of my feet, always running left to right like a herd of mininature raptors. My son, who renovates houses for a living, told me he sometimes finds their tiny leathery eggs behind electrical sockets. This really delighted me as I’ve never seen lizard eggs and loved at least having a description of them to examine.
We recently spent an afternoon at the Tampa Renaissance Festival as part of celebrating my daughter-in-law’s birthday. I enjoyed the costumes, music and various live theatre- but what really held my attention was the tiger show put on by a group from the Marcan Tiger Preserve located in the Florida panhandle. Our niece, Rebecca, (out to visit us from New York on spring break) snapped this shot. Notice there are 4 color variations- all natural in the wild. (I had no idea!) These tigers were incredibly beautiful and very well behaved. The trainers were totally smooth and had perfect communication with the tigers, that they’ve raised from cubs.
For a couple of days I’d noticed a happy-go-lucky three legged dog and her human companion walking the aisles near my booth. I was curious about their history and struck up a conversation with Jane Detjen, Sadie’s owner. She told me the following story.
She said that Sadie had been a stray, living on her own in Crooksville, Ohio. She had been hit by a car and left on the road, but eventually struggled to a nearby front porch. The homeowner wasn’t fond of dogs and called the police department to remove her. Her luck changed when the officer transported her to a local rescue group where she was cared for and put up for adoption. (She actually appeared on local TV with Peg Brody who does a weekly animal adoption spot) Peg became her 1st foster mother and took her to a veterinarian, Tami Schearer, to see what could be done for her right front leg.
Jane happened to be at the Schearer Pet Hospital one day with her elderly dog who needed a checkup and mentioned to Dr. Schearer that she needed a playmate for her youngest dog who was wearing out her oldster. It was then she found out about Sadie and met her the next day. Jane said it was love at first sight- and although Sadie did end up losing her right leg, she has no trouble walking, running, or jumping. She even does the agility course at the local dog park! A doggie Cinderella story if ever there was one.
I met Roxy and her trainer, Heather Dixon, RVT, recently in my jewelry booth . I was curious about this adorable, fluffy little dog wearing a black jacket with the words “Service Dog in Training” printed on it. Heather told me that Roxy was being groomed to be a service dog for Annette, a friend of Heather’s who was wheelchair bound.
Roxy is somewhat of a puppy prodigy, and in only 3 days of training, was able to navigate elevators, escalators, swivel doors and automatic doors with aplomb. And she is still a baby! (only 4 months old, this Standard Poodle will one day weigh 60 pounds.) Eventually, she will be able to open doors, pick up items and hand them to Annette, as well as walk right next to her wheelchair and be an all around great companion. I felt privileged to meet this current and future “little star”.
Ed and I spent the weekend working on the studio. What you see here that looks like a giant shower sitting in the middle of the room is actually vintage bark cloth curtains (from the 1940’s) behind which sits all of my Magic Zoo animal jewelry making supplies on metal shelving. We thought it odd but rather clever, much like ourselves. I also painted my file cabinet black and turned some of my creations into super-sized magnets.
I wanted to share with you a slice of our Holiday life. For the past 7 years, Ed, I and the Magic Zoo have spent two weeks in December at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar in Austin, Texas. This is quite an event- a two week extravaganza of incredible live Texas music, eccentric artist friends and unbelievably long (12 hour days) in our animal jewelry booth. This year “our kids” (our son David, his wife Diana, grandbaby Ada) flew out to see us for a weekend there.
For those of you who also happen to be grandparents, you’ll appreciate the thrill of not even bothering with the grandma photo album because you have the live thing to show off!