Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Little Less Cold and A Little Bit of Christmas...



Hello there,
Today is a little less cold out than yesterday! The temperature is a slightly balmier 16 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. It was 14 degrees F. yesterday at the highest point in the day. It is funny though. Most of the time when I feel a right to complain or whine about the weather, I can't pick up the phone to call my brother to complain. He will always put me in my place without trying. He lives up in Maine. He will nonchalantly tell me what the weather is there. Be it a temperature, inches of snow or something like that, he can usually put me in my place unintentionally. I have never had to plug in my car to start it in the morning (so the oil doesn't gel up), nor have I ever had to deal with frost heaves in the road, or shovel snow off my roof to prevent the weight of it caving in my roof (or whatever else it prevents). I think those types of things are one reason that generally people are nicer and more neighborly up in Maine. They have to be to survive. I have been to Maine as late in the year as October or as early in the year as March. I have seen wintery weather in both those months, but nothing like my brother sees. So therefore I won't complain anymore today.

I wanted to show some photos of some more Christmasy things here. One set of pics is a gingerbread house from a kit that we made where I work. It is not fabulous, but I think it's charming. It looks a little more Easter-like in its colors. We embellished it with frosting and few extras that didn't come with the kit. It was made by Wilton. I am disappointed with their kit. It is not as nice as previous years we made them using other brands.


The other photos are from the town of West Haven, Connecticut and some of their Christmas displays on the town Green. There weren't any events going on when I was there, so it is not lit up and its not in its full glory. I will try to get back and share more photos on a more active day if I can. It was a cloudy and cold day (though not as cold as today), so the photos aren't bright.
I do love the stuff the towns do for the little kids, ect. I grew up in West Haven and have memories of visiting Santa in a similar set up there.





Well I hope you enjoyed the photos. I hope you come back soon to visit. Thanks for taking the time to share with me.
Til next time,
Mary Ellen
Don't forget to do some Christmas shopping http://www.zazzle.com/santa_bunny_postage_stamps-172437602660904672!
That page will lead you to some lovely holiday bunny postage stamps, but check out other
fun things there as well. Thanks!
Have a wonderful day.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It is a prematurely bitter cold day for December....

Hello friend,
Thank you for joining me. It is bitter cold outdoors. It is only 14 degrees Fahrenheit outside today in the sun. For Connecticut in early December that is quite unusual. We have been doing things to keep the use of the running the oil furnace down to save money on oil and to just conserve. On days like this one can really feel the chill.

Outdoors the rabbit water bottles are freezing up and we need to go outdoors to change them several times a day. Most of our rabbits are indoors now, but a few are outdoors. The good thing is that this weather usually won't last long this time of year. I am not psychologically prepared for a bitter cold snap yet. The good thing is that I have today off from work and didn't have to try to start the car or sit in it waiting for it to warm up on a cold dark morning.

I have been doing a little Christmas shopping online and also watched a movie. My husband is correcting student papers in another room of the house. It is nice to cuddle up and relax for a change of pace during this busy holiday season. If only I had some cocoa in the house. Oh well. This is a good time for a hot soak in a nice long bath. And again, if only I had some cocoa in the house. I think this is the day that has spurred me into getting an essential like that for next few months ahead.

I don't drink cocoa often anymore, but there are some days like this when nothing else will do! I hope you are warm, safe and having a good day. I have to count my blessings and hope all is well for everyone else as well. As much as we may struggle with things in this economy or in other situations, in my own opinion anyway, I believe it is best to remember that things could always be worse. I have been in much worse situations and therefore count my blessings and pray for those who may need it more than me at the moment.

I wish you all a warm and comfortable day. I pray that you are without worry as you read this. Have a great day! Thanks for joining me.
Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Photos and video are from the New Haven Green Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration

Hi there,
Thanks for joining me. These photos and video are from the New Haven Green Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration on December 3rd, 2009. Please check them out and enjoy the visit!


These gingerbread houses are ones that I had taken a photo of before during the day and are in another post. This is at night and are much better! Look at the work in them. You can click on them to see the detail!

There were live models instead of mannequins in the windows of the stores on Chapel Street. They were so good at what they did, one may have thought him or herself intoxicated when they moved!



Click on the tree images below to see them much better.

This is the horse drawn carriage we had a wonderful and very friendly ride on.


This is a video of a group of acapella carolers from Yale University on Chapel Street in New Haven. They had such a wonderful sound!
video

Thank you for letting me share this nice experience with you. It is a fun thing to go out into your community to experience things like this. It can help put you into the spirit. It doesn't cost much to park or take a walk depending on your situation. Many communities do stuff like this at this time of year. I hope you check this type of thing out in your area and leave a comment about what your experience is.

Thanks for joining me.
'Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Shop here!
Or here!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Starting to see signs of the winter holidays coming...



Hi There Again My Friend,
Just starting to see signs of the winter holidays coming about lately. I live right down the street from the prep school Choate Rosemary Hall. The lit up tree, in the photo below,is from their campus. I love looking at it when I pass it. It always looked incredibly beautiful on a snowy day or evening in past years. I'll let the snow takes its time though.

Where I work, in New Haven, CT; we put up one Christmas Tree today. My clients did most of the work. Its not quite Martha Stewart, but I think this one has a lot more charm!! I can appreciate the color coordinated and planned out trees, but I am always most charmed by a handmade, homemade ornamented tree. You know, an eclectic mix of things new, but moreso of things collected and handmade in the past.

Below here is a wonderful gingerbread building on display in a window in the midst of Yale University. I apologize for the reflection, it is not the best shot. I will try to get a better one in the near future. You can click on the photo to get a larger view and then you can see actual details much more clearly! I wonder how they got the huge pieces of gingerbread not to fall apart! I have never made one from scratch, but have used those kits that they sell for about $10.00 and bought extra candy and frosting to add my own creative touches to it. When I put one of those together I will put it on display here.

At the top of this page is the fireplace, where I work, which we decorated up. I think that it came out nice.

I will be on the lookout for many more delightful things to share here.
Thanks for stopping by!
Til next time,
Mary Ellen

PS For a nice way to share some holiday cheer-Check out these Holiday Bunny cards
http://www.zazzle.com/santa_bunny_hoppy_holidays_greeting_card-137436415569179034 and http://www.zazzle.com/santas_little_helper_christmas_card-137381165909725556 andhttp://www.zazzle.com/christmas_bunny_happy_holidays_card-137402437193112328 and these postage stamps..... http://www.zazzle.com/santa_bunny_postage_stamps_w_hoppy_holidays-172430899774293292
andhttp://www.zazzle.com/christmas_bunny_hoppy_holidays_postage_stamp-172501487979829989

Some nice gifts here!
http://www.cafepress.com/BunnyHopShop

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Day (brief post with a couple of photos)




Hi There My Friend,
I just thought that I would share a couple of photos from Thanksgiving and one of the Christmas Tree on the Green in New Haven, Connecticut just waiting to be lit.
Thanksgiving was a nice pleasant visit with relatives from my husband's family here in town. Didn't have to travel far away. The photo of the couple is of my husband and myself after eating quite the filling meal.

The turkey photo is basically just a "before" photo from before all the other dishes were put on the table. And the Christmas Tree photo I thought would just mark the beginning of the Christmas season.

We didn't attempt any of the Black Friday shopping. To me it is not worth it. The stress and hassle to just save a few bucks. That is the opposite of what the season should be about. This is not a long post, but just a brief update.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving if it is a holiday that you celebrate.
Thanks for stopping by!
Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bunny Christmas Card Photos , Links and an Outtake...

Hello there,
Welcome to this page. It has been a week since I've put something here to share. I have been busy getting some stuff ready for the holidays, like for Thanksgiving and for trying out different ideas with the bunnies for Christmas Cards. Here are a few of those you can see here..... I just gave the link to one photo, but on the page you can browse some of the others. These were just some I chose. I had to take a lot of photos to get some to choose from. I dressed the bunny up on different occasions, so not to overstress her. Not all bunnies let you dress them up and they are quite the Houdini at escaping out of clothing. Here are the cards....

Let me know what you think of them. My sweet little girl Grumbellina (although a funny sounding name, it is an affectionately given name due to a story behind it, which I will share another time). I give her lots of reward and cuddle time to thank her for letting me put her through this. Here is one of the "If Glaring Looks Could Kill Shots"-

And Below is one from a different day in a much happier moment. She is in her own environment.

One thing I try to do is to keep her calm with lots of petting and soothing talk. If she is greatly unwilling to participate, I scrap the idea. It is a good idea to not stress the bunny out. One needs to always remember to think of it as the bunny is doing me a big favor! She is not my slave or here to do my whims. Companion animals have a relationship with us and that relationship needs to be thought of as just that- a relationship where there is give and take on both sides with respect for the other. We need to remember that they have likes, dislikes, moods, needs and wants like us.
I will publish more this Holiday week. I thank you for spending time with me.
Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Start of the Holiday Season

Hi, I am making plans for work for next week which will be Thanksgiving Week! It is difficult to fathom that time is passing so quickly. We won't be traveling this year for Thanksgiving, which I am happy about. What about you? What are you doing? I hope you have someone special to spend the day with. Friends, Family, or even nicer in a way helping out someone in need. Perhaps they don't have a place to go, someone to spend it with or worse they don't have money or materials to create a dinner.

One year, my dad thought he was having a stroke. He had one on December 3rd of that previous year and had lost his own Dad to a stroke on Thanksgiving Day many years before that. Thanksgiving was always a difficult day for him because of it, and then compounded with the memory of his own stroke now too many days after Thanksgiving.
Well, to make a long story short, it turned out to be more of an anxiety attack or bad memory creating the physical symptoms. The time that would have been spent cooking was spent in the E.R. It was then that we went to a deli and asked for thickly cut sliced Turkey breast. We heated it up with canned gravy, veggies, Stove Top stuffing and heated up a frozen apple pie. It was probably the most special Thanksgiving Dinner that I ever had for it reminded me of what I had to be thankful for. My dad is doing fairly well, is about 16 years older now and living in another state. It is important that I keep in touch. I won't be able to spend the day with him, but will call him and let him know how much I love him. Unfortunately, my mom passed away eight years ago, but I have special memories of her.

We should all count our blessings. Biggest to the smallest. I do have my husband, brothers, fathers, other family and can't forget the precious little bunnies.

I created some Holiday Cards with one special bunny, the one in my profile photo if you want to check them out. One is ready to look at.
http://www.zazzle.com/christmas_bunny_happy_holidays_card-137402437193112328
I'll share the other tomorrow. Let me know what you think!

I am thinking of starting a blog to share hints on how to save money and perhaps extra ways to make a little more. I will keep you posted!
Til next time.
Thanks for stopping by!
Mary Ellen

Friday, November 13, 2009

Today's Bunny Visit to the Nursing Home & some Lessons...w/photos





Hi there,
I am a little disappointed about the nursing home visit to be honest today. Although it wasn't bad, I felt it wasn't great. Nothing went wrong, it's just that it could have been better. In some ways this is a good lesson on arranging a great visit and a mediocre one. My husband arranged it and not me. I know more of what to ask for than what he does. It would have better to be doing visits than have a room full of people. Part of the issue was that the people there had some mild memory issues and attention span issues and would have done better in a small group or an individual basis. We spoke about the rabbits,but were asked the same questions repeatedly about them. We were filling a bigger gap of time with the same material compared to what you would get in an individual visit of shorter duration. I believe it would have been a better quality experience for the individuals if I were repeating the answers to the questions for a briefer period of time with no more than three people at a time. With the memory issues are very short attention spans, also. People fall asleep and it is difficult to keep people focused for long periods of time in these situations
.

I know this from having worked 16 years in the field and having much schooling in it. The people still enjoyed the rabbits, but I personally don't think as much as they could have. In more individual situations, I have had people sing to the rabbits and tell great stories. I have done this in situations where I worked and knew people and have also volunteered in situations where I didn't know a thing about the people being visited and have seen similar results.

Keeping the visit to a small group or individual also helps the rabbits feel less threatened. This is perhaps the same with all animals. Also, visiting individuals might reach out to people who aren't usually people persons or group-oriented. Also, you might find people can be sick or bed bound-not really able to leave the room and they miss out totally otherwise. Those are the people who benefit most. Generally, in the nursing homes, these are the people, who probably need the most interaction and attention, and are the people least likely to receive it.

If you want more ideas and thoughts about ways to help enhance a visit, check out my last post from yesterday.

I like using top loading carriers instead of side door ones. The rabbits won't feel cornered and afraid when there is a hand reaching in, especially out of the environment that they are used to.


I planned on bringing 2 bunnies, but we brought 3. The ones I planned on bringing were Cinnamon and Grumbellina (the one in my profile photo). Cinnamon will not be pictured because he was just rebellious on producing those Kodak moments. Someday I will produce a photo of him, but just not today. Also pictured is Woody, the eight year old dwarf bunny. Woody liked attention, but was not quite the show stealer as much as the lops. It seems, in general, there are no all-around favorites. It just seems to be what the flow of the day is.

It is good to ask the staff to guide you to people. They know the people and can also help if they know someone might be rough with an animal. There were no problems today and I've found that the rabbits usually know and react to ones they will be uncomfortable with due to rougher handling. That is one thing that has always amazed me!

It is funny that some people asked if they were cats, dogs or hamsters also. Perhaps because the older generation is not as familiar with lops as they would be the more traditional rabbit with ears that stand up. If it seems like a safe situation and the staff allow and if your rabbit is not really a wetter on the floor, it can be really entertaining for them to run around on the floor. It is good to not have the residents of the home in the area walking or wheeling about in their wheel chairs in the area because it may cause an accident. Rabbits are extremely quick.

Although I sound a bit disappointed in today's visit, I do believe the people liked it. The people didn't want us to leave and wanted us to return, which we probably will. We just need to set some guidelines that would help benefit us, the rabbits and those being visited to make it the fullest experience for all. I also think it is good to use "first times" somewhere as a baseline on which to start for growing in experience and learning-whether its the first time doing something or the first time in a different setting, etc. It was not a bad experience.

Thank you for joining me. I would love to have feedback from you about this posting or any others. I will look at it! I want this to be a nice place to visit and want your feedback.
Thanks for joining me,
Til next time.
Mary Ellen

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Our Bunny Visit to the Nursing Home is tomorrow morning...& an Alzheimer's patient and bunny story.

Hi Friend,
Just getting ready to go visit the nursing home tomorrow with two bunnies. We are bringing Cinnamon and Grumbellina. Grumbellina is my Cuddlebunny who is seen in a few photos in the blog. Her personality, looks and sweetness don't match her name, Thank Goodness. Grumbellina can be nasty to other bunnies, except Cinnamon. She seems to "respect" him more than like him. They are both lops. They are both neutered, so any "loving" behavior won't be creating baby bunnies. He tries to do that when they are together sometimes. In the somewhat stressful situation, both bunnies will get along very well and are "supportive" of each other. The more regularly our bunnies did this in the past, the more at ease they became with it. Cinnamon and Grumbellina are our pros at this in the most recent past.

We will post pictures of Cinnamon from the visit tomorrow. Cinnamon is an interesting bunny, who is more comfortable in all situations than any bunny I've seen, except for being held a long time by us. We bring him along because he doesn't need to be held. He will get pet by people seeing him in the top loading carrier. He will probably let one of us hold him near other people to be petted also. Just not like the long periods of time Grumbellina would.

Depending on the situation, the bunnies may be able to get some run around time also, to show off their antics. They can be most entertaining, especially for the older people that tend to think of the bunnies as outdoor hutch animals! It is great to enlighten people of any age!

I used to have a resident, in one nursing home that I worked at, that was in the beginning to mid stages of Alzheimer's disease. He used to tell his visiting wife about the bunnies that would come and visit him in his room. She thought he was seeing or thinking something that wasn't really occuring, except for in his mind. Imagine her surprise when I knocked on his door and wheeled in a cart with two bunnies in carriers on top of coming to visit. She pulled me aside, told me of his rabbit "ramblings" and then said that she guessed that not everything he said was inaccurate. It was nice to give them a new experience to share and talk about instead of just relying on trying to remember good things from the past. I think it was so out of the ordinary for him to see something like the bunnies in an institutional setting and that it was a pleasurable experience that it helped him to remember it much easier.

Well, I am getting ready to hit the hay, so I will close for now. Thanks for stopping by and sharing these experiences with me.
Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Going to do Rabbit Visits in Nursing Home on Friday.

Hi there,

At first I groaned because my husband made an appointment for Friday morning to do Rabbit Visits at a nursing home/assisted living center here in our town. It is something that I actually like doing but wasn't happy about it being the first thing I had to do on my first day off from work of the weekend. But now I am looking forward to it.

We bring some of our calmer bunnies and tell about the bunnies, let people tell us stories and let people pet the bunnies. The bunnies can always seem to tell which people are comfortable or perhaps have dementia and might be not of good judgement. I used to bring the bunnies to nursing homes that I worked at and volunteered at others. If you ever are thinking of doing it with a rabbit of your own, there are good things to think about and read before doing it. It is very rewarding to you and for the people being visited, but it can be very stressful to the bunnies. A bunny can also react from being overstressed or tired.

You can google the internet for different resources, but I would also look up the Delta Society and a book called "Life worth living"- a book about a philosophy and organization called Eden Alternative. It should be very helpful in testing rabbits for temperament and acclimating them to that type of work. We bring more than one rabbit. They help each other destress and provide some moral support. Having more than one bunny along also gives other bunnies a break.

Make sure they have plenty of water, pellets and hay with them. I also use a top loading carrier because the rabbits are much more comfortable coming in and out of that. They are less fearful. If you are visiting a large facility, I would try to do one wing or section one time and go back to do other places other days. That way it is less rushed and not overly stressful on the buns or you. Make sure you give your bunnies lots of praise, some treats and attention-during and after.
They will probably not want to be bothered with anyone or anything after so give them time to sleep or whatever they want later. Give them quiet time and space. They earned it.

I will share the rewards to you and the people you are visiting in another post. It is worth it.
Here is an internet link showing my husband and I volunteering at a nursing home a few years ago with a couple of our bunnies. www.walnuthillcarecenter.com/volunteer%20opportunities.htm

I hope you enjoyed this!
Thanks for your visit!
Til next time!
Mary Ellen

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Raked Leaves at work today

Hi my friend,
I raked leaves at a community garden with my clients today. It is rewarding to know that we are helping an urban neighborhood have a "green" place to go to find solace in the world of noise and concrete that surrounds people there.

It has been a pleasant place to go throughout the seasons so far-from planting, weeding & maintaining. It has been wonderful getting to know people in the neighborhood that live there. They share a vital interest in the garden, which has many native species and perennials planted there. My clients get all kinds of reward from participating in the many aspects of care of the garden as well as just spending time there or having a place to go for peace and quiet or special events.

They also have spent time getting to know people in the neighborhood which represent a wide variety of people from all backgrounds and ties to the area. The area is in New Haven, CT where Yale University is. The garden is associated with the neighborhood, Yalies, local people of diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic background. It is an interesting little microcosm of New Haven bringing back nature!

I will share photos from this place throughout the seasons another time here! Hope you are doing well and I thank you for visiting as usual!! Thanks for sharing your time with me!
Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bunnies

Hi my friend,
I apologize for not posting lately. I have been preoccupied with a few things, but am now on track again. I wanted to share my silly Halloween outfit that I wore at work. It is not a masterpiece, but was, this year, intended to be for comfort. I had to run a Halloween party for my clients and helped them design many of theirs, which I can't show due to confidentiality. I was happy with many of them. I decided (on a dare from myself) to wear some tie dyed pants with a cotton tail attached. I put on rabbit ears and an oversized denim shirt. It was comfortable, fun and expressed my inner bunny of that particular day!!
What I have in my hands is a bag of carrots my co-worker put on my plate as a joke at lunch time.

On Halloween itself, I gave out some candy until my little nephew, 3 years old, came dressed as Spiderman. He was adorable and fun.

I wanted to post a few photos of some of my bunnies.
The black and white one is Grumbellina, a cuddlebunny extroidinaire. She loves to cuddle up with me in bed. I don't let her spend the night because I don't want her to get hurt. She has not messed on the bed once!


There is Goldilocks, an angora and Woody, an eight year old dwarf.


They are all sweet. I will have to tell you more about them and others soon. I thank you for spending time with me and would love to hear your thoughts.

Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Monday, October 26, 2009

I went to a lovely farm today...

Hi friends,
I went to a lovely farm today and saw a few animals, picked out a big pumpkin to potentially carve out for Halloween and ate some pumpkin-spice flavored ice cream. It was a fun experience on a beautiful fall day. The sun was on my back on a 60 degree day. No complaints here. When I get the pictures, I will post them on here! I love to share that stuff.

Finally we are getting our fall foliage at its seasonal height. It is so beautiful driving back and forth to work on that part of the highway. I love the colors as the sun hits the leaves and makes them all seem to glow different colors.

I am starting to feel better than last week shaking off the cold that I had. We had to put our bunny Butterscotch "too sleep" (I hate that expression) last Thursday night. We brought in from outside two of our older bunnies, that are dwarves. They are Domino and Woody. They are about eight years old and very sweet. They are now permanent house bunnies. A few years back they were part of a group of bunnies that we labeled "The Seven Dwarves" for obvious reasons. We didn't set out to bring in seven dwarf bunnies. One day we just counted them and laughed at the fact that there were seven. They are the only two from the group that get along still. There is one more still alive that does not seem to get along with the others. Although he is neutered and very sweet, LWB (aka Little White Bunny) just can't keep himself from humping other bunnies. It drives the others crazy, finally they get sick of him and they snap back.

It is pleasant and feels good to be writing some more pleasant stuff again.

Hope you all are well and I look forward to hearing from anyone with thoughts or comments, and the like.

Take care,
Til next time,
Mary Ellen

Friday, October 23, 2009

What a week....family joy, sickness & personal losss/hard decisions

Hi my friends,
This has been a busy, fun as well as sad week. It was fun to visit my husband's family/grandmother for her 108th birthday (see my last blog post). I had a couple of extra day's off. I have also caught a crummy cold from our trip to Massachussets to visit the family. I missed extra work for that and I am feeling worn down. I also lost a friend to a heart attack before our trip. Then we unfortunately made a decision to have our poor little Butterscotch bunny put to sleep late last night. http://twitpic.com/mlegr . I won't talk about him right now because I feel like I will get too upset. It hasn't really sunk in yet.

The good thing is that I have much worse weeks than this before. I can appreciate what I have and count my blessings. It is just annoying to feel so worn down. And I know that losing such a wonderful rabbit, Butterscotch, an English Lop, is going to hit hard as well. We made one trip and waited quite a while for news on him at the vet and left him to be hospitalized and then we received a phone call. It told us of his extremely poor condition, which the vet said "just won't have a happy ending". We went back. It was late. We made a very tough decision at least spent his last moments with him. We let him know he was loved and tried to give him as much comfort as possible. We all deserve that dignity. It was better than dying alone in a strange place. I won't go into what his suffering was today. I just can't.

To some rabbits are stew, a meal. I am open enough to accept that not everyone thinks the way I do. To me, they are loving companions with whom I can share my love back.
Thanks for coming by,
til next time
Mary Ellen

Monday, October 19, 2009

Doing great at 108! & some more Fall foliage photos













Hello friends,
Although I am home sick with a cold and feel kind of crummy, I thought I would share some photos from my husband's grandmother's 108th birthday party! She needs a lot of assistance now, but is still pretty good for her age!!














Going from Connecticut to Massachusetts was a good weather day on Saturday, but Sunday was a different story-snowy, rainy, hail at times. That is very unusual for this time of year in this part of the country. The photos you see here of the wooded areas are the only chance I had to be able to attempt to get some "good " foliage pictures. They are hardly the best, but I thought that they are pretty. This Elderly Apartment Complex is near infamous Walden Pond. I am just mentioning that to give you an idea of the location and how beautiful the area is.










This photo is of me standing on a balcony overlooking the woods. It is so beautiful there. The views are breathtaking. There are many beautiful birds and other little creatures there especially thanks to the conservation efforts in the area.

Well, I thank you for spending time with me. I am going to rest now. I am sick of getting sick. It is the season I guess. Hope to be sharing some great stuff soon.


Thanks
Til next time!!