An Update: A Release with a Happy Ending- or a Happy Beginning

If this was a book that I had written, it would bring tears to your eyes as you read it. When it ended you would wish that it wasn't over and that you could revisit it again and again. Sometimes life gives you stories, real true stories that prove that there can be happy endings. This is one of them.

Back in August 2011 I came upon this abandoned seal pup on our neighborhood beach on Lummi Island. She was starving, trying to eat gravel, yet she was still feisty. You can read the original post on this blog here. That day I contacted my friend Cindy Dahlstrom, who is part of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, and she made arrangements to get this little pup to the Wolf Hollow Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island- which would not have happened without the help of our neighbors, Peg and Gene Larson and their fast boat, "The Wavelength."

Fast forward to November and the little seal is not only doing great, but she is about to be released back into the wild. Her name is now Eliza, and she was released with another abandoned female pup that they named Waadah. Because some of us cared, and because of the incredible work that Wolf Hollow does, these seals started their stories over again, with a much better beginning. 

The holidays can get us all discombobulated - and Cindy just finally sent me these incredible release photos and documentation the other day, and I wanted to share them with you. 

Here, Eliza is being weighed.

Here she is in the transportation carrier.

I think this is Waadah coming out of the carrier.

Both Eliza and Waadah come out of the carriers.

Here she is in shallow water.

Eliza and Waadah swim off together.

Not the end, but the beginning of a new and beautiful life.

And this is the documentation for sweet Eliza- now forever wild and free:
History   Seen alone on  west shore of Lummi Island for several days. Picked up 8/12 by Whatcom County Marine Mammal Stranding Network and transported to Wolf Hollow.  Observed eating sand on beach.
Condition – Age ~ 10 days. Sex-Female, Weight – 15.8 pounds. Severely emaciated, dehydrated, puncture wounds on fore flipper, sand in mouth and nose.
Treatment  Rehydrated with oral and SQ fluids and gradually introduced to formula. Wounds cleaned, antibiotics given. Radiographs of digestive system to check for possible impaction.
Progress Notes – some highlights of her progress
8/12            Arrival at Wolf Hollow.  Wt 15.8 pounds. Alert but weak, emaciated.
8/13            Radiographs show ~18 small rocks in stomach and sand in lower intestine, but no apparent impaction.
8/14            Active in bath. Passing sand in stool.
8/18            Passing small pebbles in stool. Trying to climb out of tub.
8/19            Radiograph, 8 small rocks in stomach.
8/23             First fish, swallowed okay.
8/25            Wound healed. First swim in pool. Weight 20.4 pounds.
8/29            Radiograph, ~6 small rocks in stomach.
9/2            No more formula, just fish.
9/9            In pool full-time. Alert and playful.  Weight 24.6 pounds.
9/19            Eating on own off bottom of pool.
10/1            Moved to big pool. Weight – 39.4 pounds.
10/14            Weight 44.6 pounds.
Release– 11/5      Weight   49.85 pounds

If I could tell a story like this in a book, I would be a happy woman... but I'm thrilled to be able to tell the story here, and let you fill in the rest in your imagination. 

May you celebrate all of the happy endings and beginnings in this new year and in years to come.
Happy New Life to Eliza and Waadah!

With Love,


New Year's (Low) Resolution

The holidays ate me alive, digested me, and spat me out. I survived some serious disappointment, and experienced support of family members akin to repairing a fractured china cup with super glue. I think I can still hold water, although I still need to be handled with care.

Why do we let family torture our souls on a level that we would never accept with a friend? And that, my friends, is a rhetorical question! I told my shrink at our last session of 2011, "what doesn't kill me only gives me hemorrhoids." He laughed and told me that that would make a great title for a book. I wish there was Preparation H for the cracks in our psyches. (and I think there is, actually... the "H" stands for Hawaii, which is calling my name. More about that later.)

Seriously, I have never been able to understand those families who can have joyous holidays that seem to be Hallmark Movies of the Week. My family holidays lately would be psycho-zombie thrillers that inspire insomnia and anxiety attacks. 

So here I am, relieved that those very days are over-
-so over, that I bid "Good Riddance" to 2011 numerous times on December 31st. (I actually used "stronger words," but I don't want to say which ones here.) I was so stressed and exhausted that evening. For the first time in my adult life, I could not even make it to midnight. Our dear friends, Jeff and Penny lovingly nursed us and made dinner. We shared their bottle of Piper Sonoma, as if it was a healing tonic, and then we bid them adieu and passed out at 10:20pm. 

I usually prepare for New Year's. There are rites and rituals of passage from one year to the next that must be done in order to kill and maim the demons from the year passing so as to not bring them forward into the new year. In the past I've written problems down on wooden sticks and burned them in the woodstove. I've held coins for ensured material success. I've eaten herring, black-eyed peas, and various other substances to bring luck, love, good health, and whatever else one could wish for. 

And then there are the resolutions. It's all about the resolutions this time of year. Everybody makes them. Work out more. Lose weight. Turn off the (insert name of device here). Donate. Give. Take. Change. Start. Stop. 

What? Why? 

This year I did not make any resolutions. None. I did not vow to write or paint/draw more. I did not resolve to work out more, ride my bike more, play my guitar more, sleep more, live, love, create, more, better, longer, deeper, faster, wider, higher, around the world, the universe and forward into the future, forever and ever, amen. 

This is a year of low resolution. Grainy. Unfocused. You may be able to see it if you squint just a little. This year is going to resolve itself. Reveal itself. Unfold itself. 

And I am going to be watching, waiting, feeling, touching, tasting, hearing and loving whatever comes my way. 

No pressures. No stress. Just living and breathing. Sharing and experiencing. 
No goals, no scores. Just a large playing field waiting to be explored.

I once met a cool, older man in Pendleton, OR. His name was Bud and he carved walking sticks. On those sticks he carved folk wisdom. I bought one of his sticks, and he sent me a second as a gift for my husband. I sent him my books for his daughter, a teacher. My favorite thing he carved was "for a successful marriage, view your mate through a telescope, not a microscope." I think that applies here. So I will leave you, and 2012 with this as my only resolution:

"For a successful new year, view your life through a telescope, not a microscope."
Thank you, Bud.

With Love,