Saying good-bye to our four legged friends…

It has been a tough few days… well, few weeks in our home.

Just over two weeks ago Madison’s kitty, Hermione, went off on an adventure and hasn’t been home. We have contacted the shelters, posted signs in the neighborhood and on-line, we continue to call for her from the back door.

Our hopes are dwindling that she will return home but we continue to pray she will.

On Friday, we had to make the very difficult decision to put down our oldest cat, Camber. It was an extremely sad and painful day.

Reflecting back through the last few days, I continue to gain perspective on how much our animals mean to us.

Camber, undated photo from 1997.

Camber came into our life in 1997. It was one of those times that I was begging for a companion to keep, Stagger, our first kitten friend, company, and Scott wasn’t exactly hot on the idea. We were living in a small one bedroom apartment and barely had room for us let alone a cat… or two! I do have to admit that I may have allowed Scott to become somewhat intoxicated before I begged him again, I’m sure promising the moon or race cars or whatever it was to coax him into letting me bringing a kitten home. When he came home the next evening Camber was there.  Bald, buggy eyed and tiny. “That is not a CAT! That is a rat!” Were the words that flew from Scott’s mouth.

She was part of a rescue  and I was told that the kittens would be put down if they weren’t taken in. She fit in the palm of my hand, and yes, she was bald and bug eyed. With some time and love she grew into a very distinct and awesome friend.  I want to say she loved me most for rescuing her, but again, I have to be honest, it was Scott she loved so dearly. She was always at his feet, talking or sleeping close to him.

Several years later, Scott came home early from a family trip to Arizona and found Camber near death. He, with the help of Dr. Edgren, saved Camber’s life. Scott was relentless about his care to her and again nurturing this incredible bond the two of them had. She lived a very happy and content life in our home for years to follow.

Camber’s health declined rapidly in the last weeks. We tried everything we could to love her and keep her comfortable… hoping she would rally like she did so many years ago. And, in reality, she did. There were several days she perked up, ate happily and meowed like she always did.

Thursday night she made her way into bed with the girls at bedtime. I was so excited to see her crawl into bed with the girls, purr-ing and talking to them as they went to bed. They were so surprised and happy! It wasn’t long before I realized she was saying goodbye… I do not know of a time she would ever crawl into bed with them and go to sleep. I am so thankful for all of us that she gave Madison & Mackenzie that gift.

If Camber could talk, I’m sure she would tell us she was happiest when it was quiet, when there were not little “children” playing with her and that she loved us very much… all of us.

Saying Good-bye to our four legged friends isn’t easy, but then again, I can not imagine going through life without them.

 

 

 

258

That’s the number of unanswered e-mails in my in-box tonight. From the “Death Penalty” post on September 12th to today, that is how many messages I have not had a chance to respond to.

The number of emails, Facebook messages, posts, text messages and phone calls I have answered is easily been double that. I said today to a fellow co-worker that I might be “slow but sure” she said she would just call me a “turtle”. I liked that. Specifically because in my own chaotic world, I may not get to do things as fast and efficient as I would like to but I do get to “it”.

Thanks…

During the last two weeks, I have found it difficult at times to find the right words to express how I truly feel. Honestly, when I sat down to the computer late in the evening on September 17th and looked at my in-box & Facebook the only thing I could think to say was “My cup runneth over…”

Sentimental… overwhelmed… loved… supported… encouraged…

Yes, that’s me.

I’m finding more words…

To hit back on the last few blogs I have posted:

          The art exhibit for the Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty has been cancelled.

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/death-row-inmate-s-art-show-is-cancelled/article_001a181a-0101-11e2-974c-0019bb2963f4.html

           I’m not going to comment any further on this ridiculous event they tried to put on. 

           We are back in a holding pattern for the appeal’s process. All any of us can do is pray and wait.  I will keep you updated here.

           On the 28th anniversary of Vicki’s death, I shared my cousin, Michelle’s, blog. I feel as though it opened up a flood gate for people. I loved the thoughtfulness of the day, the stories, pictures and memories that people shared. I also deeply appreciated the fact that people could reflect back on a pivotal event almost 30 years ago and know that it continues to shape them.  

A few years ago someone said to a mutual friend of mine that they did not understand why I would want to write a book about my sister. Why can I not just let it go? As if I could just brush this under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen to me?

I have lived longer with the memory of Vicki than I lived with her. The emails, calls and texts I have gotten in the last two weeks prove that I’m not the only one who carries on her legacy, who will never forget Vicki Lynne and that terrible day that so many lives changed.

And I know if it had been me, she would honor my life just the same.

My favorite picture of Vicki & I…

September 17th

Always a day of reflection …from my cousin, Michelle’s blog two years ago.

Michelle and her brother, Sheldon, were close in age with Vicki & I, our mom’s have always been the best of friends. There are many treasured photos with the four of us together outside of church, on holidays or just goofing off together, the one she shares in her blog from September 2010 is one that I had not seen until that day.

Another memory, another story of Vicki.

I have revisited her blog from two years ago many times. On occasion to be reminded of another captured moment in Vicki’s life that I discovered so many years after her death, but also to remember how her life and death impacted Michelle. And how it continues to mold the path that Michelle lives with her family.

With Michelle’s permission I am reposting her blog from September 2010 today for you to read. A beautiful and honest reflection of how this day changed her…

http://dotsonourmap.com/2010/09/17/september-17th/

The Writ of Habeas Corpus

Vicki Lynne had a victory today that we all can celebrate for her. The US District Court denied Atwood’s appeal in his Writ of Habeas. 

Vicki, age 4, she was a comedian! Happy & full of life!

Atwood has until October 1st to make his next filing on what they call the Martinez vs. Ryan claim which he can say he had “ineffective counsel” at the Federal level. According to court documents all filings and responses are to be done by November 1 and any requests to continue are disfavored.

Again, we have forward motion and can feel a little justice in this crazy roller coaster that we have experienced the last 28 years. It is hard to explain the emotions that go on as we continue down this long and dusty road. Today I am happy to know that maybe, just maybe there may be a light at the end of the tunnel… and  her story continues…

The Death Penalty

This subject is as touchy as talking politics & religion. Everyone has an opinion about it, and I have mine. I don’t expect that everyone who reads this is going to agree with my views, and I respect those who will disagree with me.

I should warn you that this is not something that I want to debate here, I am open for “real” conversations if you seriously want to adventure there with me. 

Many of you who are reading this know my story, and you have walked this long journey with my family & I. For those who don’t, should know that when I was 11, my 8 year old sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, was riding her bike in broad daylight when she was kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered by a disgusting monster who was on parole from California and lurking the streets of our little community in Tucson, AZ. Frank Atwood, a previously convicted pedophile who had been molesting children from an early age, sits on death row for his crime, he’s been there since 1987.  Vicki was murdered September 17, 1984.

Vicki, just 18 days before she was murdered in 1984, age 8

YES, I support the Death Penalty. I feel that it should remain on the books as an OPTION in heinous crimes, especially those committed against children.

So why this blog today? Last week a judge ruled that “Montana must change the way it executes prisoners after ruling that the current method is unconstitutional; giving a victory to death penalty foes that could be short lived.”  (The Daily Interlake) This affects the two inmates who sit on Death Row in Montana. The ACLU has already stated that it will push for legislative change in this matter, they have been trying hard to abolish the death penalty in Montana for many years. The Death Penalty is an OPTION and I will continue to personally fight to keep this law on the books.

Then there was this flyer that I came across for a fundraiser to be held later this month in Tucson, AZ.

  

The MUDERER’S drawing was on their flyer,

I won’t publish it on MY blog

a view from death row

Drawings by Danny Jones

September 29, 2012 Noon to 4pm

Pima Friends Meeting House
931 North 5th Avenue Tucson, AZ 85705

speakers including Danny Jones (via telephone) (FROM DEATH ROW)

Nancy and George Mairs
Joe Taylor (Pima Friends Meeting)

Gene Hall (curator)

Music and Refreshments Provided by
Pima Meeting Peace and Social Concerns Committee Donations accepted on behalf of
the Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty

Do I have a problem with the fact the Coalition of Arizonans to Abolish the Death Penalty is raising money for the their cause? NO. Do I have an issue with the fact that another monster sitting on death row with Frank Atwood will actually be a “guest speaker”?  YOU BET I DO. It is utterly and completely ridiculous and it makes my blood boil.  Danny Jones, the man who murdered three innocent people, Robert, Katherine & Tisha in 1992, will have his drawings displayed and speak to help this organization raise money.

This is as absurd as the fact that while Frank Atwood has sat on death row he has earned college degrees and wrote books. It is DEATH ROW people! When did it start that OUR tax payers dollars went to the higher education of death row inmates?  Where does it stop? I wonder how many members of the Coalition are victims of heinous crimes whose perpetrators are sitting on Death Row? Or why, they feel that it is important now to define the talents of a monster who thoughtfully took lives of innocent people rather than spending their time and efforts on helping children, educating the poor, building houses for the homeless, or feeding the hungry?

I could go on for days … literally. For now, I’ll stop and hope that for at least this moment I have raised some questions in your minds. I know I am starting to question what I can do to stop death row inmates higher education and “guest speaking” engagements.

 

September already?

Summer came and went and it is hard to believe that we are settling into fall. The air is cool in the morning and we have woke up to some frosty wet windows already.

I am a little discouraged with myself that it was actually June since my last blog post. I have done little writing this summer. And haven’t blogged once. Geez!

Needless to say, once June hit things went crazy around our house. We had a lot of family and friends visit us this summer. We explored our local area seeing the Flathead Valley from the top of Big Mountain to Glacier National Park to Flathead Lake and as far west as the Thompson Chain of Lakes. We put on a lot of miles and we probably over ate, drank and had to much fun… nahhh, I think it is impossible to have to much fun!  We laughed sometimes until our stomachs hurt and reminisced about old stories while making new ones. Life is good!

As we move into September, Scott is still as busy as ever. Giles Thornton, the Super Late Model racer he is working with now, has had a great summer season. It is really exciting to watch Giles as he continues to grow in his talents. To be honest, I haven’t been this exciting about racing since Scott drove!!! I know there are great things to come in this program and feel so incredibly lucky that Scott is a part of what is happening!

Madison has gotten her first few days of 5th grade under her belt! 5th grade? It really amazes me how fast the time has gone, and it only seems to be steaming faster ahead.  She loves her teacher, has enjoyed reconnecting with friends from last year and making new ones! We will continue with horse riding lessons and find some art lessons to nurture her talents, here is what she is working on today…

(When she saw me posting a copy she warned it is NOT done yet just for the “record”)

Mackenzie starts kindergarten this week. I am not sure how much of this I can really talk about without getting completely emotional. I am so excited for her to go to school, and she is ready. We met her teacher last week and visited her classroom during Open House.. 3 days and counting down! It is just hard to believe how fast the time has gone. Sniff sniff…

As for me? I accepted a part time position at their school as an Instructional Para Educator, a.k.a. assist and help in anyway I can. I am beyond happy to be able to be at school with them. It’s really perfect for me to be able to take them to school, work and still have a few hours in the afternoon to do other things until I pick them up. I am not sure exactly where this will all lead but I am open to the new opportunities that have come my way and will just sit back and see.

My biggest goal for this fall is to get back to writing, and blogging… stay tuned!

Just Fishin’

We love to fish! 

We are lucky to live in a place that lakes, rivers, ponds and streams are so abundant that we can go 5 minutes from home and spend an evening fishing with the girls.

 

No, we are not professionals. It’s why we call it “fishing” and not “catching”. Scott has always loved to fish, from the time he was a little boy. It’s something that he talked about  when I first met him and is a past time we are enjoying with our girls now. Honestly, in the beginning, I would rather ride around in the boat, eating snacks and having a few cold ones. I’ve never been much on touching the worms, or baiting my own hooks. But I have actually really grown to love fishing more now than ever because it is something the four of us can do together. 

Lately we’ve tried to take the girls fishing close to home for a few hours in the evenings.  Last week we loaded up the girls, a picnic dinner, a blanket, our poles and headed to the Pine Grove Pond. This is a wonderful facility that sits amidst land donated by the Street Family. It makes it that much easier for people who can’t get out on a boat to still take their kids for an evening of fishing fun.

 

Kalispell Fishing Pond Guide is a complete list of ponds around the valley. I think we caught  7 fish last Wednesday. None of the fish were very big. But, then again, it’s more about making memories for them, the excitement in their voices and the smile on their faces as they are reeling their catch in. 

Ok, so it is a little funner to catch a big one. 

Mackenzie’s favorite song right now is “Just Fishin” by Trace Adkins. She plays it over and over on her iPod, singing along the best she can. She wants her own pink fishing pole for her birthday…. and I’d be willing to bet if Scott asked right now if they wanted to go fishin’ they would be out the door. 

“…and she thinks we’re just fishin’, we ain’t only fishin’….. this ain’t about fishin’….”

The End of the World? No, just the 4th grade

Summer Vacation! Yahoooooooo! Right?

Yesterday, a reality hit me as I sat in the back row of Mr. Nikunen’s 4th grade classroom watching the incredible video highlights he put together of the 4th grade year.

ANOTHER school year has passed.

It was a great year. We have been so blessed each year with Madison’s teachers. Each one understanding that Madison is an incredible artist, but may struggle in math. When she daydreams in class, her mind is creating something I only wish I could express. She loves to draw and read, her soul is gentle, her spirit kind.

Madison has wandered around for days saying for that she “can imagine the last moments of 4th grade” and how sad she is about this. Watching the video I understood exactly what she was saying.

Mr. Nikunen made the classroom a place where the kids loved to be and filled with:

learning…. kindness and giggles……. silly dances…

the education of Ooblick….  

a few class clowns ….  24 Super Stars…. “Hooked on fishing”…. iPads…..

…the importance of friendship   ….being creative is cool

 ….the Montana History Trip…. reading…. kick ball wars…. lego “drag racers”….  

and he taught the kids that words are like toothpaste, they can’t be put back in the tube

We are walking away from this year with a lot of wonderful memories, new friendships formed and a teacher who left an imprint on our hearts.

Mady said she paused today before leaving the classroom to have one last moment to remember her year. I am sad that another year is over, because for me it means that our girls are still growing. And today, I would like the world to just stop……