Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fur, Unwelcome Visitors, and a Sweet Valentine

A few years ago I picked up a fun coat from my favorite local thrift. It's a grayish tan suede leather with furry trim on the arm cuffs and at the collar. I thought it was so cute and it fit me great. I always felt kind of weird wearing it though and only wore it out a handful of times. Over the past year I started wondering if maybe that fur trim on it was REAL fur - could it be?? I knew that if it was then there was no way I could wear the coat again so I tried not to think about it. Then a few weeks ago I decided to do a 'burn test' - one of the nifty things I learned in the Textiles dept. at school. You take a little snippet of the material you want to test to determine fiber content and burn it with a match. You learn that different fibers have different burn characteristics. What I was looking for was a quick burn with a hard ball of black plastic forming from the burned material - this would tell me the fur was synthetic. Instead I got a slowish burn and the material left turned to dust when rubbed between my fingers. Sigh...it was real fur. I couldn't believe it - mostly I couldn't believe that I had bought real fur and didn't realize it. I had to figure out what to do with the coat. I would not be wearing it anymore and didn't want anyone else to either. Then I remembered this organization that collects old fur coats and trims and uses them for wildlife rehabilitation - think little fur blankets for baby animals (who would be right at home with fur of course!).
I did a search and found Coats for Cubs sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States. There is a darling video with baby raccoons at the site you have to watch - way too cute. So this week I'm going to cut the fur trims off the coat and send them in. They'll be distributed to registered wildlife rehabilitation facilities. This makes me SO happy!! It's been eye opening to me just how prolific the use of fur still is - why is that?? Even trims you think might not be real fur really could be. If they come from China there is very little oversight and the sad fact is that the 'fur' trim on your gap jacket could actually be from a rabbit, a raccoon dog, or actual domesticated dogs that are kept in horrible conditions and killed for their coats. So I avoid anything that looks even remotely like fur now - it's just my own way of not putting it out there visually. Maybe if there's less of that 'look' in our everyday wear fewer people will think to buy those kinds of products. If you have something with fur, please think about retiring it and/or sending it to Coats for Cubs! OK, that's my soapbox...forgive me if I sounded preachy, but it's something I really care about. Thanks for listening!

So in other news...it's been REALLY nice in California lately! Yesterday we had sunny skies and 68 degrees - so amazingly gorgeous! I decided to take a break in the afternoon and spend a little time at Vasona park with Phylo. It was lovely...Phylo got lots of doggie time in (with another GSP too!) and we had a great walk along the water looking at all the ducks and geese and enjoying the sun. I still had to hit the grocery store and was planning on painting my dining room in the evening so I dropped Phylo at the house and headed back out.

It was nearly dark when I returned. I needed to get the mail so I rounded the house and bounded up the porch steps toward the front. Surprisingly, there was a dark pile of something tucked away on part of the porch (in a niche created by our chimney). A second later and I realized it was a guy laying there, fast asleep. Without thinking about, I told him to get off the porch - that he needed to leave immediately. He didn't answer so I went around to the front for another try. I yelled louder that he had to go or I would call the police. This time I heard him muttering a little bit, but he didn't move. So, I called 911 and they were on their way. Unfortunately when they don't know if it's a medical emergency they have to send the whole brigade...yep, in about 5 minutes I had a firetruck and ambulance and two squad cars sitting in front of the house with all their lights flashing. Our whole house was filled with spinning red light. The EMT's carefully got the guy up - he was apparently just really drunk. They gave him a once over and passed him off to the P.D. who talked to him and eventually sent him on his way. In some ways I felt really bad for him - you wonder how people get that way. In another sense, I was awfully annoyed that someone felt they could just wander up onto our porch and take a nap. Also unnerving was that I never would have seen the guy if I hadn't been coming around the side for the mail. He could have been out there all night and we may never have been the wiser.

Through the whole time the police and crew were here I kept trying to reach Jared. I really wanted to warn him before he got home so he wouldn't freak out driving down the street and seeing emergency crews in front of our house. I couldn't reach him but thankfully he got here after the firetruck and ambulance left and it looked a lot less dramatic! Oh, and I didn't get the dining room painted (not surprising I guess!)...maybe another day when there's less going on.

Lastly, tomorrow is V-day :o) Jared and I tend to not do much for Valentine's Day - instead we just try to remember to be extra sweet and romantic in other moments. It's more fun that way. These are some amazingly beautiful flowers J surprised me with last Friday. They are gorgeous! Tea tree branches, orange roses, some big exotic blooms (ginger family?), little red berries - thank you Jared, I love them :o)

Happy Valentine's Day and a lovely day to you all - big x & o, Devon

2 comments:

Charlie said...

I think I've told your man-on-the-porch story to about 3 people (and counting) since I left you.

Devon said...

Ha ha, yep, I won't forget him too soon :o) Just hope he doesn't visit again. You on the other hand, are welcome any time!!