Yum-Yum Purr

A Christmas Story for you to read to the Grand Kids

 

Yum Yum, the Christmas Monkey

In a far place in the old country is a magical place where loving families can still find enchantment.  The best thing about this unusual turreted motel is the Petting Zoo.

At this time of the year, the month before Christmas, you will find the animals at the bottom of the garden where they huddle together under the faerie lights. And down there snuggled in Kanga’s pouch is an itsy, bitty, little monkey who happens to be the hero of this story.

When Yum Yum’s mother was taken to the BIG ZOO and never ever heard of, or even seen again, it was Kanga, the kangaroo who found the shivering little monkey.  Demonstrating the spirit of the season she hugged him and stroked him and caressed him. “Oh my!” she said, “you are so very, very sweet and I think I may have fallen in love!”  Then she stuck the bitsy thing  safely into her pouch, carefully leaving his little head out, so he could breathe.

 

The Christmas Monkey

The Christmas Monkey

That was when a big steel bird flew across the sky creating a cacophony. The little monkey dived deep down under and he was not seen again. But even little monkeys get hungry and after three long days he wiggled up and tentatively ventured his head out again saw Bray and dived down again. This was when Kanga knew she had to do something or she would lose the best Christmas present she had ever been blessed with.

Bray, her donkey friend, had frightened the monkey so she couldn’t go to him. She thought of Elevated the Giraffe  whose vision and loftier perspective she valued but he, too, didn’t seem right.  Then she  thought of Babuum.  Yes she would take the monkey to Babuum. After all Babuum, the singing gorilla, was from the same species, or wasn’t he? It was lucky Babuum was visiting in the zoo while waiting for his concertina to be repaired. Normally he sang and danced at the train station.

“We have to do something,” said Kanga. “This little monkey will die if he stays here at the bottom of my pouch. I am not even sure that he can breathe.”

“I think this calls for a special meeting” said Babuum in a ponderous voice.

“Oh braai!!” echoed Bray, the donkey in dismay.

Babuum asked “Singing Wind” to summon the animals. It was a good choice for the bird did loops in an out of the Christmas decorations, and popped a light here and there, and in this way was able to gain the attention of the animals. When they all looked up in wonder charmed by the colored lights reflecting in his dark feathers the bird sat on a branch and explained why Babuum wanted their help. They all began slowly making their way to the clearing at the bottom of the garden.

Even the domestic animals from the big house came on down.  Mackie, the mongrel who was often found fluttering around the legs of Elevated whom he loved to tease, left the big house and bounced on down. Bella, the sleek and sensuous Siamese cat came mincing down the path, followed by her three little pom, pom kittens.

The two magical elves “Hit” and “Miss” were there. They were the most insouciant, and the most mischievous of all the faerie folk, never evil but definitely naughty. They were able to do powerful magic, but their magic lasted only while they were being good. One misstep, one bad deed and the magic would dissipate like smoke from a genie’s lamp.

“Hit” and “Miss” were hanging out in the trees amidst the fairy lights, keeping tabs so they could report back to the faerie kingdom.

The rooster and the hens, the pig and the piglets, all were there. The three sheep were going bla, bla bla. Only Billy the Goat was missing, He had staid up at the top of the garden scrounging up whatever food he could, glad not to be held accountable.

Sneak the snake had slithered on down, not that you would know. Like the mischievous elves he was there and then not there.

Babuum was wearing his top hat to give a greater importance to this meeting. He began the meeting with an off key version of an old fashioned  Christmas carol.

“Christmas is a coming, the egg is in the nog.
Please give a friendly donkey, a friendly little dog.
We don’t have a reindeer so a monkey will have to do,
We all come down to the bottom to help a saintly kangaroo.”

He took off his top hat and bowed first to Kanga and then to his congregation.

“Listen up!” he said solemnly.  “We have a new animal joining us at the petting zoo. And that is always good!  But he is very little and has been taken from his mother, Kanga has been looking after him.”  For just a brief moment, Yum Yum’s tiny little face peeked out again from her pouch and then dived again down under, “and there he is.”

“I saw him!” said a duck.

“We have to decide what we are going to do,” said Babuum simply.

Bray proposed that Kanga should continue to care for the monkey.  He said it was a good thing she had done. She loved him. You could see it in her eyes.

“I think Kanga did a wonderful thing to find and care for the little monkey but I do not agree that she should keep him,” said Elevated slowly.

Babuum said, “You surprise me Elevated; you are good friends with the kangaroo. You must know she is the kindest animal in the zoo?”

“That she is,” said Elevated from his lofty giraffe height. “but I have one thing to ask you, to ask you all , how is she going to feed an itsy, tiny little bit of a monkey?”

There were long faces all around.  The hens clucked and the sheep bleated.

“How does one feed an itsy bitty monkey?” asked Babuum, echoed by Kanga,

That was when a surprising thing happened. Bella the Siamese cat glided forward into the clearing.

“Meow, excuse me” she said hesitantly.  While to all the other animals she had always seemed haughty, the truth was this elegant cat was actually shy. She was also kind. “I will take him to the beeeg house and raise him with my keeettens,” she said.

“But he is safe and happy with the kangaroo”

“Kanga can come often. The minkey can come to the garden in the day. At the beeg house the dear little thing will get the meellk.”

“We are going to need some human help if he is to survive.” agreed  Babuum slowly.

“Comment? What you all theeenk?”

“I love him already and will be sorry to see him go,” said Kanga but I know  he will not survive without your help. Thank you Bella, he is very, very little.”
So it was decided.

So this is the story of how Yum Yum survived happily with two families, one at the big house and one down in the garden with the animals who had found and helped him.

It was also where he got his name, spoiled rotten where all the visiting children fought to feed him and had called him “Yum Yum.”

It was where he would cuddle quietly at night with the kittens and in the day he would ride around happily with Kanga.

Sadly it is also where he got his big obsession. More than anything in the little petting zoo, more than the big house itself, more than THE BIG ZOO which had swallowed up his mother, more than the big steel birds that fly across the sky and frighten him, more than the whole big wide world where Babuum had gone away again to perform, there was one thing he wanted more than anything.

He wanted to be able to purr.

Yum Yum wanted to purr.

Babuum returned to the petting zoo the day before Christmas and called another meeting where the little monkey who had now stolen every heart, was introduced to the magical elves “Hit and Miss”

“Will you grant him a Christmas wish?”  asked Babuum

“Grant him a Christmas wish,” chanted the animals.
After trying to wriggle out of the situation, finally the elves agreed. They really had no choice for Babuum had threatened to call out the Faerie Queen.

Christmas morning arrived crisp and clear, a light chill in the air but no wind, and no snow. It was the perfect day for Bella and her kittens to snuggle up on the comforter in the family room near the fireplace.  They were all so happy they were purring away.

Yes, and with them snuggled up, was Yum Yum and he too was purring loudly. He was purring the loudest of all.

Then “Hit” tied Snakes head to his tail and “Miss” strung the circular snake up in the middle of the Christmas lights and they laughed and laughed and laughed.

The animals nearly had a feast of sizzling snake for their Christmas dinner. When Yum Yum woke up he had stopped purring.

Yet he never forgot the absolute joy of that magical Christmas morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grandparent’s Day

About Grandparents

Grandparents grew up in an easier age, when America was prosperous, and some were able to accumulate assets. If they managed their mortgage and investments wisely they are now able to be there for their children and grandchildren, providing needed help in these hard times. In that earlier, caring age giving help was fashionable.

We are forced nowadays to turn to our parents, or grandparents more often than we would like for some very needed financial help.

Giving them a photo-to-artwork is a delightful way to even the score and to say thank you.

collage

Some interesting senior citizen facts and statistics
  • Glamorous Grandparents: Today’s grandparents are not the sweet old bumblers we read about in Agatha Christie novels. The majority are working-age Boomers between the ages of 45 and 65 and they are a growing demographic: In 2010, there were an estimated 65 million grandmothers and grandfathers; by 2020, they predict this number will have grown to 80 million.
  • Affluent Grandparents: It is estimated that working grandparents command 46% of all household incomes. If you add in the grandparents who are no longer working, the share of the nation’s income rises to 60%. Where are they getting their money? Some have inherited from their parents and some still get generous pensions from the good old days when corporations treated workers as family.
  • Grandparents in the Downturn: They have been hit by the recession, especially if they did not invest wisely or give a priority to paying down their mortgage in the good times. Bad economic conditions are harder when you are old. But compare their rising share of the national income to the recorded income of their children’s generation which has declined from 43% to 36%.
  • Helping Grandparents: Households with ages 55 or older spent 7.6 billion on infant foods, child equipment, toys, games & tricycles, a 71% increase since 1999. It is not unusual for grandparents to invite a laid off son or daughter into the home with their children. Grandparents still belong to a generation where it was all about sharing and caring.
  • Achieving Grandparents: In March 2009 a 100 year old Canadian swimmer set a new world record in back-stroke. He was able to swim 100 meters in just 3 minutes and 52 seconds. In August in Huntsville a 91 year old grandmother and her granddaughter in the family canoe, won first place in the Fox Lake Regatta.

Often children visit the grandparents during the summer months.  This gives parents time together and time for work, or time for special work projects. A Photo-to-Artwork gift is a great way to say thank you.  If it is ordered early you will have it well in time for Grandparent’s Day on 7th September

kid collage

When a grandparent passes often it is good to create a portrait to keep them in living memory in the family. This keeps the heritage alive.

When you come into my home, the Heritage Wall is like a magnet and everybody goes there to admire it. It brings the family together, providing us with our history – a pictorial story of the family including all our loved ones that have passed.

“The family loves Photo-to-Artwork. Really excellent work! Thank you.” – Carol B. W.

(Pictures for a collage can be e-mailed straight from the phone)

Quote for the Week:

Grandparents bestow upon their grandchildren The strength and wisdom that time And experience has given them.

Grandchildren bless their Grandparents With a youthful vitality and innocence That help them stay young at heart forever.

Together they create a chain of love Linking the past with the future The chain may lengthen, but it will never part …

~Author Unknown~

Single Dads

Single Dads

supermanThe saddest thing I have ever been asked to do on a Photo-to-Artwork was to take the Mother out of a Picture. Children survive best with both a Mother and a Father but it doesn’t always work out that way. Mom had been in the background of a beautiful Father, Mother/Son picture, but had gone effect of substance abuse and she had run off.  Dad was responsible and although it was hard he chose to be both Mother and Father to his little girl.

I am dedicating this post to all Dads, but especially to Single Dads because I have come to admire these courageous and very special people, who stick around and raise their kids alone.

It is not easy to keep up with all the Mom chores; fix the food, do the cleaning and all those wife things that do not come naturally to a man. A cleaning/cooking lady should not be considered an extravagance, even in these hard times.

The main thing that goes wrong in Single-Dad homes is that the Father hat gets sacrificed. Being a Dad is all about those fun things, the romp on the beach, the pony rides, and the Memorial Day Barbecue. It is about laughing together.

A Single-Dad-Family often succeeds or fails, not so much by what Dad does, but by the degree of support he gets from his extended family and the other groups to which he and his little family belong. Long ago when his family first fell apart, it was that sense of belonging that went away. If the community (maybe a Church group) rallied around him and continued to include the family in group activities, Single Dad and his kids have a chance to come through. A great deal of goodness comes from recognizing, acknowledging and admiring the Single-Dad, which is something we can all remember to do. Making their good life possible can depend on people like you and I who are outside the inner family. The time single dads most need our help is after the children are grown and he has done his job.

A Church, an extended family a Social group can always rally round and help him create a new life.

Never, ever see the Single Dad as the victim because the Mother walked out. He, also, could have run and that he stuck with the family makes him truly special.

Thank you all you Single Dads for what you do.

Quote for the Month

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced you are unemployed.

Author Unknown

A Story to Read to Your Grand Children . . .

The first episode of Yum Yum Purr

Yum Yum Purr

Yum Yum is popular in the petting zoo where all the animals stay together and support each other as one big happy family.

When his mother was taken to the BIG ZOO and never seen again it was Kanga the kangaroo who found the abandoned itsy bitty thing and put the shivering little monkey into her pouch to keep him safe and warm.

xx

Kanga would normally have gone to Hehaw, her donkey friend, to ask him what to do, or to Elevated, the giraffe, who held a loftier viewpoint. Instead she went to consult with Babuum. Babuum is a performing baboon. Mostly he is gone from the petting zoo, with his concertina and barrel organ. This was one time, one time luckily, when he was back at the petting zoo. Although a tiny monkey with white tufts of fur on his face and a bright blue butt was a far cry from the big and ponderous baboon, Kanga felt they were sort of, kind of from the same species. So she went to Babuum for help.

Babuum, although not a lion nor an elephant had respect and clout in the petting zoo. He asked Domino the squaw to summon all the animals into the clearing at the bottom of the garden. The two elves Hit and Miss came also, but they were not invited. They and Koala clung to the branches of the old oak tree, the elves keeping tabs on the proceedings so they could report back to the fairy kingdom.

It was gratifying that even the domestic animals from the big house came down. Mackie, the mongrel was best friends with Elevated. He was often found fluttering around Elevated’s long legs. So his presence was not surprising.

That the pedigreed Maman, the Siamese cat and her litter of three kittens were in attendance was indeed surprising. They werre rarely seen at the bottom of the garden.

Billy the goat was missing, He was taking advantage of their absence to eat their food. Petunia the pony was being groomed, fancy ribbons put in her hair for the next weekend’s visiting kids. Sneak the snake was there, not that you would know. He made sure he was not seen.

All the other animals were present at the meeting.

The rooster and the hens, the pig and the piglets, and the ducks had all waddled on down. The three sheep were there. They liked Babuum and cheered everything he said.

Hehaw was there, Kanga was there and Elevated, the Giraffe was there on lookout. Yum Yum (although he had not yet been named) was still in Kanga’s pouch.

Babuum started the meeting with a drumroll. He didn’t have the barrel organ to crank, but he did have his concertina. He was wearing his top hat to give importance to the meeting.

“The good news is we have a new animal who joined us at the petting zoo. That is good. That is always good! But he is very little and has been taken from his mother, taken far, far too soon and there he is, Kanga has been looking after him.” Yum yum’s tiny face peeked out from the pouch and then dived down under.again.

“We have to decide what we are going to do,” Babuum said simply..

Each of the animals had something to say. Many lamented the loss of the mother and deplored life in THE BIG ZOO where freedom was restricted and animals put away in a cage. They had heard about such things although it was far removed from their little life, where for the most part they were free to roam around the garden. They were only herded up to the paddock when special tours of children came to the hotel above.

Kanga piped up to say that the little monkey had stopped shivering. Everybody cheered. The sheep cheered. The rooster crowed and the chickens clucked.

Hehaw proposed that Kanga continue to care for him. He said it was a good thing Kanga had done. The little monkey liked her and felt safe with her. She should keep him.

Babuum went round again letting each animal have his say. All said good things about Kanga. Most welcomed the new little monkey and while they said he couldn’t yet understand them, they loved him and accepted him in the petting zoo..

“I welcome the new little monkey,” Domino said, “We need to give him a name.”

“That can come later,” said Babuum.

“I am not so sure,” said Elevated slowly, I think Kanga did a wonderful thing to find and care for the monkey, but I do not think Kanga should keep him.”

In great surprise all the animals reacted. The hens clucked the ducks quacked, and Dobbin neighed.

Babuum said, “You surprise me Elevated. You are good friends with Kanga and you must know she is the kindest animal in the zoo.”

“That she is,” said Elevated from his lofty giraffe height. “I have one thing to ask you Babuum. How is Kanga going to feed this little monkey?”

“Heeouw,”  said Heehaw. “None of us thought of that!”

There were long faces all around and nobody said anything for quite awhile.

“How does one feed an itsy bitty monkey?” asked Mackie

“Meow, excuse me,” said Maman the Siamese cat hesitantly. While to all the other animals she had always seemed haughty, the truth was this elegant, French cat was actually shy. She was also kind. “I will take him to the big house and raise him with my kittens,” she said.

“But he is safe and happy with Kanga.”

“Kanga can visit with us. She can visit often. At the house the dear little thing will get milk. We will need some human help if he is to survive.”

“That does seem to be necessary,” said Babuum slowly.

“I am sure there will be help from the humans and the children,”  continued Maman, Comment? What is it you all theenk?”

“You are very kind,” said Kanga. “I do not think he will survive without your help. He is very little.”

“Mais oui!” said Maman.

“Merci Beaucoup, Maman,” said Babuum inclining his head so the top hat nearly fell off.

In this way it was decided.

So this is the story of how Yum Yum got his name, spoiled rotten at the big house where all the visiting children fought to feed him.

It was how he was also happy. He had two families, where he would cuddle with Maman and kittens during the night and in the day he could visit with Kanga.

It was also where he got his one obsession.

More than anything in the little petting zoo, more than the big house itself, more than THE BIG ZOO, more than the whole big wide world, there was one thing Yum Yum wanted and didn’t have.

What Yum Yum wanted more than anything was the ability to purr. He wanted to be able to purr just like his itty-bitty kitten sisters.

But that is the subject of the January story.

Stay tuned…

 

Helping your Parent’s Move into a Retirement Home

This is a big event, like getting married or having a baby.

Moving on

I talked with a man in our store last week who had traveled all the way across from Vegas to help his aging father move into a home.

“You are a good son,” I said.

“Today,” he said, “I would agree with you!”

It wasn’t the time of the traveling that had stressed him out, it was sitting with his Dad while he helped him sort through his things which went on for nearly a week. The father had to decide what to take with him and each item was a momentous decision!  Then the next day the old man would change his mind or forget they had handled that item.

“So were you patient? “ I asked.

“Yes I was patient,” he twinkled, “I was really, really, really patient.”

When an elderly parent moves from a home they have lived in for many years it can be a stressful and a highly emotional time. It is a big transition and there is loss and always some grieving.

“Then you are a good son,” I said and I could see that he was.

In early September we often visit Retirement Homes.  I have been amazed at the level of luxury provided by these facilities.  Typically we deal with the Activity Director, officially the Director of Lifestyles. Let me ask you whether at any time in your life you have ever had a Director of Lifestyles at your beck and call, all yours and just to entertain you?

What astounded me was that these homes are not all that expensive; they are in the same degree of rent that my kids are paying in the city. Admittedly I was looking at a five star facility in Bakersfield.  So if your parent’s are able to afford a good retirement home and are outgoing, know they will have a grand old time: they will play Bridge, Bingo, participate in Water Aerobics and this in a pool heated to 85-95 degrees – there is always something going on. Understand that it is only the change that is hard on them.

An excellent idea to help them through these times is to pull out the old photos. Go through the album with them. Notice which ones they like.  Take a child with you so that they can absorb the old family history and stories. Encourage Dad or Mom to talk about the pictures. Each one will have a story. Select the favorite photos and have them made into a collage or two or three. With a collage you can even select a favorite saying like “The Handsome Patriot”  There is not much that they will be able to take with them if they are going into a small suite of rooms. Photos are the one thing that will give them a sense of continuity and connect them to their old life.

Change is hard on older people, but with their family helping them through the transition and their precious memories still with them, it will make it easier to settle down happily into the golden years of their life.

Quote for the Week

Wherever you go, go with all your heart. ~Confucius