Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You CAN Get Some Satisfaction

30 November 2010

jerky.jpg  (51794 bytes)Today I took a trip to Costco, mostly to get dog treats. (I love that we now have a Costco only 15 minutes from our house! Costco and Trader Joe's. It's too much happiness!)

I buy these fake jerky treats that the dogs just love. We ran out a couple of weeks ago and have been substituting with things like Milk Bone dog biscuits. But my favorite treats are the faux jerky treats because they are so easy to break into small pieces to make them last longer.

The dogs get treats when I leave the house and when I get back (which makes less problem at the front door when I come back, because they know they are going to get a treat).

They are also randomly rewarded for coming in from the back yard when I call them. Lizzie is such a terrible problem. Let her out and she races for the back fence and starts barking, essentially nonstop. She barks if anybody is in the two yards which border ours, she barks at the non-barking dog in one yard, she barks at gardeners or anybody using any yard equipment. she barks at strange animals on fences or wires. There are times when I want to strangle her--several times a day.

Polly and Shiloh are only too happy to follow her, and join in the barking. The only solution is to bring everybody in and lock them in the house, which I just hate to do. You'd think they'd wise up to being called inside, but since part of the time they get a treat, they do come running as soon as I open the back door. It's what the dog behaviorist I once worked with called "intermittent reward."

So there I was at Costco to buy jerky treats.

Costco, the Mecca for consumerism. Pop guns! And bicycles! Roller skates! Drums! Checkerboards! Tricycles! Popcorn! And plums! Not to mention Who-hash at the check-out stand.

My eyes were hit with an enormous television (are such huge projection screens still considered "televisions"?) on which I could watch Carnaval in Brasil in 3-D. Or slightly smaller screens playing some absolutely gorgeous Attenborough special showing an incredible shot of some airborne camera going over the top of a mountain.

I wended my way through the smaller TVs, the computers, the camera section and on through the food section (either I was too early to have lunch among the samples or they don't do samples on Monday). I wandered among the book and music sections, down the housewares aisles and back through the office supply section and back to Carnaval and on to the check-out stand.

The thing that surprised me was that while I brought home some $100 worth of groceries (heavy on dog stuff) I hadn't seen one single thing in my wandering that I had to struggle to rationalize not buying. I realized that there was really nothing in that entire warehouse that was tempting me and nothing that I was longing to have.

It gave me this amazing sense of peace to realize that I feel this sense of contentment these days and there is nothing material that I really want.

I have to say that I think a great part of that is due to writing to the Compassion kids this past year, realizing how "rich" I am in comparison to their lives and feeling some guilt about that. But feeling them such a big part of my life has made being satisfied with what I have and not always looking for the next "thing" to add to the collection a very pleasant and calm way to live.

Monday, November 29, 2010

In the Holiday Spirit

Once again I am all imbued with the spirit of Christmas. I've seen three Christmas plays and have only one more (A Christmas Carol) to go and I will have done my Christmas duty once again.

WintersCT.JPG (92274 bytes)The first play was the stage version of It's a Wonderful Life at the Winters Community Theater. I just love this group. They define "community theater" and don't claim to be anything other than community theatre, but they are having such fun and are so earnest about it, you can't help but love them.

Some in this cast were excellent and overall the play was enjoyable. Plus, how can you not love a company that gives you dessert before the play? This time, in keeping with the season, it was pumpkin pie--usually it's cheesecake. All that and champagne too.

Wdld34th.jpg (46922 bytes)The second show was Miracle on 34th Street at the Woodland Opera House. Another enjoyable production, though a show with over 30 scenes, most of which involve changing scenery, does tend to drag just a bit. The Santa hats on the tech crew was a nice touch.

Miracle on 34th Street was always my very favorite Christmas movie. I loved the hope, the magic and the mystery at the end. When little Natalie Woods finds Kris Kringle's cane at the very house she asked Santa for for Christmas, my tears start flowing.

The movie was made in 1947 and has been remade four times, three times as a made for TV movie once as another feature film. There was a Broadway musical and in 2006 someone adapted the movie for the stage. It's obviously a timeless classic and the audience really seemed to love it.

GaryM10.jpg  (17090 bytes)I saw the third show, Every Christmas Story Ever Told at Capital Stage tonight. I think this is the third time I've seen the show and I still love it. It's a three-man play. I'd seen Eric Wheeler and Gary S. Martinez in their roles before, but this time Peter Mohrmann (Capital Stage Artistic Director) joined the cast and added a marvelous element to it.

The three cover, as the title says, every Christmas Story Ever Told, from How the Grince Stole Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, It's a Wonderful life, A Christmas Story. They also manage to get in the history of fruitcake, obscure christmas traditions around the world, and (almost) every Christmas song ever written. The whole thing is great fun.

Pictured is Gary S. Martinez playing Gustav the Green-Nosed Reingoat (renamed for copyright reasons, we are told). I can't seem to write a review of this show without mentioning that Martinez seems to be the heart of the piece. He just has this wonderful, gentle manner about him that touches my heart. I was glad to see he was in it again this year.

Shortly after I returned home, the puppies woke up to eat. I'm also letting them out to wander around the house, which is confusing all the dogs.

I managed to get all three of them onto solid food today.

'm still offering a bottle at the end of the nighttime meal, though, so they will sleep all night. But I have to watch Shiloh. He is entirely too eager to grab puppy paraphernalia and run off with it.

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My very best nipple and now it's gone. Damn dog. He also followed one of the puppies to where she was going to relieve herself, while I was bottle feeding another pup, and he ate all the feces before I could get up and clean it up. That's a bit of "modified rapture." Not too keen on Shiloh having poopy breath, but it was nice not to have to clean it up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Wouldn't Have Shopped Anyway

Even if I had wanted to (and why would I...I never have before), I could not have particiated in Black Friday. I look at those pictures of people standing in line for hours just to fight with other people to get something they probably don't need in the first place. It's no wonder that people who live simply in other countries around the world have a bad opinion of us.

If you are fighting cholera in a tent city built on a median strip along a busy road in Port au Prince because it's the only land left to put the few things that you managed to scrape together after the hurricane, I suppose that the opportunity to purcase a cheap iPad to use if you ever get electricity seems pretty dumb.

If a mountain in Indonesia is erupting and threatening your village, you probably don't care about a sale on leg warmers or leather jackets.

In the days when I was part of a group of vloggers, in the days before that term actually came into use (those would be video-bloggers, for those who have made it far enough to recognize the term "blogger"), it always amazed me that people who seemed to be struggling to make ends meet always had the latest "thing." They lined up to get the iPhone when it was first released, and then to get a new one every time an upgrade was made. They had multiple digital SLRs while I had a point and shoot digital camera and felt lucky for that.

By most people's standards, I guess I am pretty tech heavy, but I can't hold a candle to a lot of the people I know on some of the social media sites.

And it's easy to avoid being a clothes horse when the only clothes that will fit you will also fit the horse...and look better on him.

So, Black Friday has never held any appeal to me whatsoever, but even if it did, I would have had to bow out this year anyway.

Last Tuesday, while I was at Cousins Day, Walt called to ask if I had ordered $500 worth of goods at some store where I've never shopped. Of course I told him no. He had received a call from the Bank of America about three bogus charges and he was supposed to call a number to straighten it out.

Well, B of A scams are very big around here. My mother has had to have her account number changed several times this past year and there are so many attacks on her account that have resulted on $300+ charges made instantly on her account that they have a special hold on it to make sure that charges are valid. While we were at her house over Cousins Day she had three calls from "The Bank of America" calling to check on bogus charges and all they needed were the last four numbers of her social security number. The bank says that most of these scams originate in Russia (presumably Nigerians have migrated there. LOL). She now doesn't give out any numbers at all and just tells the callers to call her local bank if they need any information.

So when a voice saying that he's calling from the Bank of America calls and says that Walt should call a certain number he isn't falling for it. Instead he called the customer service number on our credit card and it appears that yes, the original call was legit. Someone had charged $500 at a store in England, had bought bus tickets and something else. The bank canceled the charges and said we would be issued new cards.

We have not often had to change our card number but it seems to me that the new cards were usually sent special delivery and we got them overnight. Well, the cards were ordered last Tuesday and they still have not arrived.

So no credit card for Black Friday.

But also no credit card for a couple of things I was getting ready to order. No credit card for the Netflix bill, which informed us we had been suspended until we update our account information. It seems that every time I think of something that I was going to get, I can't get it because I don't have a credit card. We actually have one other account, with Discover, but my card expired in 2006 and somehow though Walt gets a new card every year, they haven't sent one for me. Since I almost never use that card, I hadn't thought to mention that fact to Walt in the past four years!

We were sure that the cards would arrive today, but they didn't. Walt wasn't home, so I tried to call the bank, but our credit card number is not recognized (because the account has been closed), and they can't connect me unless I have Walt's social security number and I only have written down the last four digits of it, so I'm screwed.

Technology may have made some things easier, but other things are sure much more of a pain in the butt than they ever were before.

UPDATE: I finally managed to talk with a B of A rep who assures me that card will be here Monday or Tuesday. Or maybe Tuesday or Wednesday. It will definitely be here by Wednesday.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Gimme That Bottle

The puppies' siblings started on solids 2 days ago, when their family ran out of formula. The report is that they took to it like they'd been waiting for it all their lives. We've had puppies like that, who dove into solid food and never looked back.

Patty, Max and Laverne are so big (Laverne 3 lb 12 oz, Patty 4 lb 6 oz, Max 4 lb 12 oz -- it seems like only a few days ago when I was amazed that they were 2 lbs already!) that I figured they, like their sisters, would take to solid food easily.

I didn't want to start them yesterday, Thanksgiving. For one thing, it would be entirely too complicated to start them at my mother's, and for another, where would the cute "baby feeding puppy" pictures be then?

The puppies woke me up around 7 this morning and I decided to just give them the usual bottle and deal with solid food at the next feeding.

I mixed up some puppy kibble, warm water, a bit of formula, and some canned puppy food I had bought for Shiloh last week. Shiloh and Polly were thrilled to see all this action going on, and very disappointed when they found out it wasn't going to be for them.

I put all 3 puppies in the big cage with the bowl of food and sat back to see what would happen.

Polly sat outside and whined and tried to stick her paw through the bars of the cage to reach the bowl of food.

Max discovered it first and while he didn't attack it like it was chocolate and he had been waiting for chocolate all his life, he did eat steadily at it. Patty was a bit less interested, but did work at it for a bit.

As for Laverne, she cried, she walked through it, she sniffed it, she sat in it, she cried some more but took not a single taste. I finally gave up and gave her a bottle. She sighed in happy relief.

All the puppies slept their normal amount of time. At the next feeding, I omitted the formula (on the suggestion of the other foster parent, though I've always used formula with the puppies I've weaned). Had significantly less luck this time around. Max and Patty were disinterested almost immediately. Laverne again had no interest and I gave her a bottle. I did hand feed her a couple of bites of food and she took it, but didn't want more than a couple of tastes.

Walt and I went to the theatre tonight, and when we got home, all the puppies were howling for food, so I just went with formula--so much easier. They are, however, starting to play with the nipple more and more and suck less...the suck reflex seems to be less strong now. So tomorrow I will get serious about getting them onto kibble full time. I think I'll go back to mixing with formula, which is a familiar taste to them.

I always was slow to wean...babies, puppies... I enjoy the time feeding them myself rather than giving them a bowl of food to feed themselves.

We are letting them out of the cage to wander around the floor when I start to feed them. Two explore, one eats. Can't really call these guys "toddlers," but "waddlers" fits quite nicely. They are learning how to get up on their feet/legs on the Pergo, but mostly they slide along on their stomachs.

It was very helpful to have Xena and her babies here earlier this year because I observed the mom-puppy interaction and was able to see that puppies with mothers emit a whining sound all the time too. It's not so much a whine, I don't think, as it is an instinctive way of letting Mom know where they are at all times. Max did get a little more frantic out in the kitchen all alone when he didn't know where I was. When I stood up at the door to the kitchen and called him, his head popped up and he scrambled over to me.

They are learning how to come on command.

Very soon they will be eating on their own and we will have taken the first step toward finding them forever homes. Much too soon to start publishing their pictures, of course, but weaning marks the first step.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"The Best Grace Ever"

Thanksgiving 2010 is in the bag and it was (mostly) very good. It didn't start all that well, with a phone call around 9:30 from our neighbor complaining about Lizzie barking (in truth, I was up to my elbows in turkey stuffing and couldn't even hear her). He said he was going to be in his yard frying turkey all day and that there were people in his house asleep and could I please do something. "Something" was the worst thing I could do--we had to lock the dogs in the house all day while we were gone. There was no other choice to make short of taking all seven dogs to my mother's.

Our friend Jessica was coming to feed the dogs and I contacted her to be sure she let them out when she came, but they would still be locked in with nowhere to pee and poop but the living room.

After that anything would be a step up. And it was. We packed the puppies in the car and set off for my mother's

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They were so good all day. Slept, ate, played, slept again.

I was just feeding them when Tom, Laurel and Bri arrived. Bri's eyes got so big when she saw the puppies.

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When the puppies had been fed and cuddled and put back to bed, we took some posed photos, especially a 4-generation photo.

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Then Bri and I worked on a project of making turkeys for the dinner table.

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When dinner was ready, Tom carved the turkey...

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...and we sat down to dinner.

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We held hands and Bri said grace. She thanked God for Ga-Ga (my mother), for grandma, for grandpa, for Daddy and for Mommy. It was a very sweet 2-year old grace and we decided it was "the best grace ever."

After dinner, Bri helped me feed the puppies.

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By the end of the evening, everybody was feeling sleepy.

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So Laurel took Bri off to bed and I packed up the puppies. We had originally planned to spend the night and have breakfast with Ned in the morning, but his plans changed and so we decided to come home ... and let the grateful dogs out into the yard again!

It was a real sweet Thanksgiving and everybody had a nice time.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Things to Be Thankful For List

Whether people, places or inanimate objects, this is a list of things that make me thankful I am living this life. I've done this, in one form or another at this time in previous years, but it's always nice to think about the things in your life for which you are thankful--and to compare one year's list with another's, noting not only the similarities, but also the differences.

The things for which I am grateful this year are, in no particular order...

1. My family. I am so thankful that our kids get along, that they love each other and love spending time with each other. I am thankful for two wonderful daughters-in-law and an awesome son-in-law.

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2. And I am particularly thankful for our grandchildren, Lester, Bouncer, and Brianna.

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3. I am thankful for a husband who makes me laugh, who carries more than his share of the load (especially with the dogs), who keeps the kitchen clean and still loves me anyway, and who revels in any chance he gets to spend time with the kids.

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3. I am thankful that I still have my mother in my life and that she is, for all intents and purposes, still pretty healthy, a few glitches to the contrary. She remains my best friend and I value the time I spend with her.

4. I am thankful for my two cousins who make Cousins Day an event to look forward to each month. I have lots and lots of cousins, some closer than others, but if we're talking about really being thankful, it would be for Peach and Kathy.

5. I am thankful for the friends, near and far who are so important to my life, like the Pinata women; my friends Ruth and Kathy, who are my lunchtime buddies; Joycie, who took her title of "big sister" very seriously back in 1956 and has been my friend ever since; the CompuServe women, all of whom are great friends, even tho we rarely have the opportunity to get together; friends at great distances like Peggy, Lynn and Olivia, who stay in touch and keep the close friendships alive.

6. I am thankful for the company of dogs, whether those who live here permanently or those whom we come to love as we foster them. I am more thankful for some dogs than others, but I love having their company and their unquestioning love.

7 . I am thankful for Jessica and especially for Ashley, who help make life with dogs do-able when there are conflicting events, and other times as well.

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8. I am thankful for Social Media. I began using Social Media the 1990s (before it was even called "social media"), making friends on CompuServe. I still have many of those friends, many of whom have also become face to face friends. There are also now a host of friends, some of whom I have met and some of whom I have not on sites like Facebook, and through reading personal blogs.

9. I am thankful for new technology like YouTube, iTunes, PhotoShop, iMachines, cell phones and all those things that drive my mother nuts because she doesn't want to learn anything about them, and is irritated when we talk about them.

10. I am thankful for the appliances I love which make life so much easier, like the cuisinart, the dishwasher, the bread machine, the mixer, the Bullet blender (definitely a must for puppy formula!)

11. And I am thankful for my sponsored family -- Anjali, Pedro, Briana, Fred, Shallon, Esther and Clarisse, who help me put all of this in perspective and make me realize what a truly blessed life I lead.

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone...I am thankful that you continue to read Funny the World! But be advised that tomorrow's entry will probably be posted late. I'll be too busy playing with Brianna.

Thursday thirteen

Kitchen gadgets I use most
1. Cuisinart
2. Coffee Pot
3. Toaster
4. Vacuum sealer
5. Bullet blender
6. Stand mixer
7. Garlic Press
8. Wire whisks
9. Griddle
10. Rice Cooker
11. Slow Cooker
12. Microplane
13. Grater

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Doo Doo Nice Puppy

It was so good to see my mother with the puppies today. (That's her with Laverne at the right.)

My mother has always been one of those cloying people who talk baby-talk to animals. I remember when my sister had a hamster named Tang, because he was the color of the drink.

My mother would hold him in her hands at night and croon "ooo...doo doo nice Tangers..." over and over again. (To this day we still tease her about that.)

Today the puppies made their ?third trip to San Rafael and this is the first time she's even really noticed them. The first time I brought them down, she did help give them a bath, since they were so poopy. And she's held one or the other of them in her lap to calm them down while was feeding the other puppy.

But there was no baby talk and no real cuddling and interacting with them.

Today she was scheduled for a blood test and I packed the puppies in the car around 7:30 and we headed off to her house. She still didn't remember what she was going to get or where she was supposed to get it and I probably had to explain a dozen times that her doctor is going to call her tomorrow.

My heart also sank when I got there. I had told her on Sunday and yesterday and this morning that this was a fasting blood test and as we were walking to the hospital she confessed she'd had a glass of orange juice. "That's ok," she laughed. "I'll just lie about it..." So I explained again the purpose of blood tests and warned that they might not take her blood. The receptionist had the same reaction, but apparently the phlebotomist decided to take it anyway. Fortunately. Next time I'll be more specific--no food OR drink!

But she is obviously feeling better physically. And when she took a puppy in her lap while I was feeding another puppy, the old baby talk was there. Of course how could you not? They are almost growing visibly each day. Their fur is growing out so that they feel fluffy, and they are sucking on each other less (possibly because they are drinking 6-8 oz of formula at each feeding and are too sated to do anything but lie on their backs and sleep).

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(I can hardly wait for Brianna to see the puppies on Thursday. What is a better photo op than babies with puppies?)

If my turkey thaws out by tomorrow, I plan to try brining a turkey this year. I've never done it before, but people rave about how good the turkey is. Of course, the turkey right now is still mostly frozen, but definitely thawing. They say three days eis enough to thaw a frozen turkey.

piecrust.jpg (9066 bytes)Also going to make pumpkin pies tomorrow. I tried out the new pie crust maker that I bought a few weeks ago. Despite making pies all of my adult life, and proclaiming myself an "expert" especially at making crust, for some reason, using the same recipe, the same ingredients, the same procedure, I cannot roll out a crust to save my soul. They crack and break and sometimes I even throw them away because I've worked them so much I know they are going to be tough--and I hate a tough crust.

So someone told me about this pie crust maker, which is a plastic zippered pouch into which you put your ball of dough. Then you zip it up and roll it out. It was the first pie crust I've rolled out perfectly in a very lng time, so I am convinced that my pumpkin pies will go very well this year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I saw stars when I slammed my forehead into the corner of the cupboard door, which was half opened.

This is nothing new. I do it all the time. In fact, I did it again the very next day on the very same cupboard door.

My mother-in-law, many, many years ago, read an article about Aquarians and while talking to her daughter on the phone said that Aquarians are the kind of people who rarely close drawers or cupboards all the way. Alice Nan, an Aquarian, looked around her kitchen and realized that all of her drawers and cupboards were open ever so slightly.

I forget to close cupboards. I forget to closer drawers. I forget to close the microwave door and then I curse myself when I run into them accidentally.

I forget to close the dryer door after I've emptied it and then can't get back in the laundry room because it slowly swings open again and blocks the room door from opening.

I don't know if my klutziness is a result of my astrological sign or whether I have just honed it to a fine art over the years.

My mother tells the story about one morning when I was going to the corner to catch a bus to go to school. We lived on one of the steeper hills in San Francisco and each morning I would come out our door, put my head down and run up the hill.

Only this particular morning, I failed to notice a huge ladder leaning against the side of the building and, while my mother watched from the big bay window, I ran smack into it.

I'm always running into things, tripping over things, or bumping into things. When we were in a small pet boutique store in Seattle, Peggy turned and looked at me and pointed to the door. "Wait outside," she ordered. I had just bumped one too many things for her to feel comfortable being with me. She had become aware of my klutziness the week before in San Diego when we were in a nice little shop in Old Town and I nearly knocked over some expensive gigaw or other. I think she told me to wait outside then too.

I am the person who always has food stains on my clothes because I seem incapable of getting a fork to my mouth without dropping half of its contents on my bosom. When I was in Australia, Peggy told me that the reason I did that was because I didn't sit close enough to my plate. I've tried to fix that problem, but it seems that only by putting my mouth at the edge of the plate and shoveling the food in can I completely avoid spilling food (and even then I'm sure some would fall out the corners onto my pants).

The dogs love me because when I get into my recliner at night, they can make a second meal just by cleaning stuff off of my shirt.

There was a time when my excuse for being such a klutz was that I did everything too fast. Years and weight have made speed less of a problem, but it hasn't seemed to have cured the klutz factor.

Things slip out of my hands, my elbow knocks things on the end table on the floor, I spill dog food when I go to put it in the dogs' bowls. I don't think I've made a single bottle for our new puppies without having to clean up warm water or powdered formula that didn't quite get into the proper container...or both. It's a good thing I breastfed all of our kids; I hate to think what it would have been like if I'd had to prepare bottles for each of them!

The dogs have learned to be in the kitchen when I make dinner because sooner or later I'm going to spill something yummy on the floor. Our first dog, Mutt, learned to come running when he heard a crash and an expletive. He was a great floor cleaner.

I won't even begin to list the kinds of things that a klutz can do to a computer.

The family knows that my after-death preference is to be cremated and buried somewhere near Paul and David's ashes. I'm certain that somewhere between the crematorium and the grave, someone is going to trip and spill my ashes.

It seems like it would be a most appropriate way for me to go out, blowing carelessly in the wind.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"We Are All Around You"

This is a poem, which is a work in progress. It began with a few posted lines on a Wiki page for Youth Guardian Services (on whose board I serve) and people have been adding to it. I think it's very powerful....

I am the boy who never finished high school, because I got called a fag every day.

I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

I am the guy that lives on the streets because I am scared to go home.

I am the prostitute working the streets because I can't find anybody who will hire a transsexual woman.

I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had.

I am the Christian that can’t find a pastor to marry me to a woman in the eyes of God.

I am one of the lucky ones, who survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year will probably be able to walk again.

I am the student who killed myself just weeks before graduating high school, because it was simply too much to bear.

I am the child that dreams of seeing my mum again, but the courts won’t let me because she lives with another woman.

I am the man who fears that I will never be able to be myself, to be free of this secret because I won’t risk loosing my family and friends.

We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised, because the court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

I am the brother that gets called a fag just because my brother isn’t ashamed of who he is.

I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

I am the girl that was raped behind my school because some stranger wanted to teach me to be a “real woman”.

I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

I am the guy down the street that can’t get a disability pension because my partner is a man.

I am the woman who died when the paramedics stopped treating me because they found out I didn't have a female body.

I am the man that is afraid of losing his job, for expressing his true identity.

I am the mother that sees my son come home from school every day in tears because the other kids call him a girl.

I am the celebrity that wishes I could tell the world who I am, but I'm too scared.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didn’t have to always deal with society hating me.

I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don’t believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

I am the Youth Worker that sees hundreds of kids thrown out of home because they were honest with their families.

I am the girl that struggles to get up in the morning because school is so cruel to me.

I am the footballer scared to come out because I might lose my contract.

I am the boy that always wanted a Barbie, but no one would let me have one.

I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most: love.

I am the woman that wants to join the army, but my family wont let me because I would look like a dyke.

I am the person ashamed to tell my own friends I’m a lesbian, because they constantly make fun of them.

I am the boy tied to a fence, beaten to a bloody pulp and left to die because two straight men wanted to “teach me a lesson”.

I am the bisexual whose friends don't want her to go to a movie with them because there'll be a homophobe there, and they don't want him to get mad at them for inviting me.

I am the girl who can't hang out with girls because they assume that if I'm nice to them I have a crush on them.

I am the teenager who doesn't tell my mother the truth in fear she'll tell my homophobic father.

I am the bisexual who does not tell her parents for fear of being shunned for what I am.

I am the woman now 50 who vowed at 13 never to hide the fact I am bisexual.

I am the woman who learned the true meaning of love and commitment from a couple together for more than 40 years, both of whom I called Uncle.

I am the man who lost his family, because my mother's devotion to her religion was stronger than her maternal love for her son.

I am a woman who lost her family, because they simply couldn't accept, that I am bisexual and I have as the same rights to be happy as everyone has.

I am the gay teenager whose zealot parents yanked him out of public school and threw him into an academically inferior fundamentalist religious school in an attempt to un-gay him.

I am a woman who lost her virginity because her best friends decided for her that she had to be with a man before she can decide she's gay, so they drugged her one night and set her up with two guys.

I am the gay kid whose mother won't accept his sexuality.

I am the transsexual woman who doesn't think transsexuals are just fodder for comedy.

I am the gay man whose parents disowned me for being gay and then refused to come to my funeral when I died of AIDS.

I am the girl who tried to kill herself more times than she can count because it was easier than telling her father his son was a lesbian.

I am the girl who's fine with two women being in love.

We are the parents who will love our boys no matter who they choose to love when they grow up.

I am the boy whose friend committed suicide at 14 because he was harassed at school and called a fag.

I am the child told to never come back home,ever, because I made the mistake of trusting in the love of my parents.

I am the mother that has no issue with my son wanting the "girl" toy in his Happy Meal instead of the "boy" toy.

I am the bisexual girl who has to watch her mum bow her head, close her eyes, fold her hands and pray for her soul every time she say another girl is pretty or that maybe she doesn't want to marry a man.

I am the woman who married a man because that's what I was "supposed to do" even though I really wanted to marry a woman.

I am the father of a gay woman, and I *DO* accept her sexuality and I also accept her wife as my daughter-in-law.

I am the girl who supports gay marriage even when her religion is against it, because God supports love.

I am the woman who wants nothing more than to marry the woman of her dreams because deep down inside, I have always wanted a wife.

I am the man who wanted to join the military but whose honour prevented him from lying about who he loves.

I am the girl who, when supporting homosexuals, was asked if she was bisexual or lesbian and when the answer was no, the other person was surprised.

I am the man whose parents had abused because I could not be the daughter they always wanted.

I was the boy who was told I couldn't sing because only "real men don't perform in musicals and choirs."

I am the bisexual single mother who hopes for a better, more accepting future for my son.

I am the straight woman who will accept all my fellow humans for what and who they are because I would like them to do the same for me, and who also believes that equal rights under the law apply to EVERYONE.

I am the openly lesbian mother who helplessly watched all 3 of her daughters get ridiculed for having lesbian mothers, whose friends were never allowed to sleep over, who were never invited for sleepovers with those brave enough to be their friends.

I am the man whose nephew tells me he doesn't care what any one says about me, he will love me no matter what.

I am the lesbian who stands tall knowing I answer to no one but Jesus.

I am a soldier that loves his country enough to lay down his life to defend it, even if my country does not want me

I am the minister who happily performs commitment ceremonies for gay couples, and fights by their side for their right to make it legal.

I am the man who willingly became the target of hate so that I could be the one voice and one set of ears listening to the would-be suicides who had nowhere else to turn.

I am the girl frustrated because I want see my best friend get married one day to the man he loves.

I am the bisexual who is told by both straights and gays that I need to get off the fence and make up my mind.

I am a woman that can't sit freely in your church beside her wife without fear of community backlash on her family.

I am the mother whose children were told by their church and society that I was trying to turn them gay, when I was just trying to raise open-minded boys who could enjoy all things, including dancing, singing, and drama.

I am the lesbian that was demoted and had my hours cut because my boss said my lesbian tattoo is an advertisement that I am gay and that it is "disrespectful".

I am the gay boy part of a true Christian family that knows love crosses far more than the physical form and that love is just that: love.

I am the daughter who argues with her mother on a regular basis about my children's right to choose their own partner, regardless of gender.

I am the school administrator that is fighting to make my school a safe environment for ALL so that everyone feels loved and supported for who they are.

I am the girl who is proud of my baby sister for being unafraid to be her true self.

I am the straight woman who will stand by her Transgender spouse, who will walk in the Gay Pride parade with her GLBT friends, who will return the love and support that the GLBT community has given to her.

I am the man confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk or even feed myself, because of the injuries I suffered at the hands of a group of homophobes.

I am the woman who will never stop fighting against discrimination, not because I'm discriminated against, but because it is WRONG.

I am the young gay girl who is part of a messed up world, who stands up for EQUALITY of all.

I am the gay girl who cries at night, who fakes a smile, who was yelled at for being honest.

I am the country girl who fled her home for the city the moment she graduated and misses home so much, but is too terrified to go back.

I am the girl who has to walk down the hallway every day and pretend to be someone she's not.

We are all around you.

We are the millions that want the hate to end.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Celluloid Christmas

It's not even Thanksgiving yet and we've already seen our first Christmas show. It was the stage version of It's a Wonderful Life, presented at a local community theatre that I was reviewing last night. I think somewhere there is an unwritten rule that you can't have Christmas without (a) Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas," (b) some production of Dickens A Christmas Carol and of course hundreds of broadcasts of the It's a Wonderful Life movie. I remember a year where you could not turn on the television and search through the channels without finding a broadcast of It's a Wonderful Life on some channel. I may have hallucinated, but it seems to me that some cable channel ran it back to back continuously for a day or two right before Christmas.

I never understood why that has become the quintessential Christmas movie. Maybe it's easier to crown that one with the title than sift through the hundreds of Christmas movies that are out there. I mean it's a nice story and all--and who wouldn't love Jimmy Stewart getting all emotional--but surely there are others as worthy of the attention.

If you think about it, 90% (unscientific number) of all Christmas movies have a predictable structure.

There is a curmudgeon, there is a cute little kid, there is a character who is imbued with the Christmas spirit and refuses to get discouraged, there is an element of magic or good will that softens the hardest of hearts, and, most important of all, the ending leaves me in tears.

They are all variations of the granddaddy of Christmas stories, Dickens' A Christmas Carol. There's curmudgeonly Scrooge, cute little Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchet who is full of the Christmas spirit, his dire straits to the contrary, and the four Ghosts (starting with Marley) to add an element of magic that softens Scrooge's heart and leaves me sobbing as he becomes a friend to Tiny Tim and a good boss to Bob Cratchet. It doesn't make any difference if Scrooge is a venerable old actor, a cartoon character or a muppet. It gets me every time.

My personal favorite Christmas movie is the original (1947) Miracle on 34th Street, where our curmudgeon is Maureen O'Hara, who has just worked for Macy*s too long and has become jaded. Her cute little daughter Susan (Natalie Wood), is following in her mother's footsteps. Neighbor John Payne is determined to let the little girl experience the magic of Christmas, and then a guy named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) adds that element of magic and when Susan discovers Kris's cane in the empty home that was the house of her dreams, my tears begin to flow.

(O'Hara was the curmudgeon again in the 1995 made-for-TV movie,The Christmas Box, starring Richard "John Boy" Thomas as the discouraged father who takes a job as the caretaker for O'Hara's home on the arrangements made by his idealistic wife (Annette O'Toole). Their cute little daughter (Jenna Evans) eventually melts O'Hara's heart with the assistance of a box which takes on the "mystical" qualities that are required to fit my predictable structure.)

At the moment, the Hallmark channel seems determined to run Christmas movies 24/7 until Christmas. This morning I watched Christmas in Aspen, because I can't not watch a John Denver movie, no matter how corny they are. Denver is the discouraged widower with adorable daughter Alix (Gennie James). The whole "mystical town" (as IMDB describes it) is filled with the Christmas spirit and everyone in town, adult and children alike, write letters to Santa each year. Denver has come to assess the town for his boss, curmudgeon Thomas Renfield (Edward Winter) who wants to make the town the next big ski resort and is foreclosing on homes even on Christmas eve. (I'm not sure why the movie is called Christmas in Aspen, since it is not the ski resort and, in fact, is a very small town). The magic of the season puts holly in every heart, the foreclosure doesn't happen, Renfield takes his business elsewhere, and Denver quits his job, decides to move to the town, and starts a relationship with the post office mistress (Jane Kaczmarek). And as they ride off into the sunrise in their one horse open sleigh, I reach for the tissues.

And so it continues from November 13 up to Christmas....A Season of Miracles. Fallen Angel, The Most Wonderful time of the Year, A Christmas Visitor, A Christmas Without Snow, One Magic Christmas, etc., etc, etc. Sooner or later they will get to It's a Wonderful Life, with the curmudgeonly Mr. Potter, out to ruin idealistic George Bailey's Savings and Loan. There are all those cute little Bailey kids and magic Clarence Odbody looking to win his angel wings.

The structure even works for the original Christmas story, except that curmudgeon Herod was never converted and instead of having his heart softened, he killed a bunch of babies instead. But other than that, the structure works!

Nothing's perfect.

I don't want to jinx it or anything, but there is someone interested in Polly. Not until at least after Thanksgiving, but she really seemed to like her. And Polly didn't seem to hate her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Condo to Dorm

Well, the great "Dorm to Condo" experiment was a bust.

The mother of our puppies' siblings said that for her it resulted in the puppies sleeping longer, the beds staying less messy, and going longer periods between feedings.

None of that happened for me, except the beds staying cleaner (of course, because only one was pooping and peeing in any given bed at any given time!).

In one respect, it was very nice because I am well aware of the soothing properties of sucking and didn't want to deny my puppies that crutch, so I spent most of the day either feeding puppies, or taking them, one on one, into my lap and letting them suck on whatever uncovered body part of mine they wanted. (Fingers, mostly, but some arm flesh was sucked on as well)

While Max and Patty didn't seem to mind their lonely cages, Laverne hated her cage. In truth, she had the smallest one, since I only have two cages and so she was in the plastic carrying crate, which only has one small side you can look out of. She did the most complaining.

At their mid-day feeding, I switched Patty to the traveling crate and put Laverne in the larger cage and that seemed to work better.

But then I started getting messages from people encouraging me to put the puppies back together again, talking about the value of that interaction with siblings and how adult dogs who had been raised as singletons often had emotional problems because they didn't get enough sucking as puppies.

Someone told me about using pacifiers to help and I decided I would get some tomorrow.

But in the meantime, after their evening feeding, I put them all back together into the one big cage. Within 5 minutes, I had taken this photo, thinking what a great Photo of the Day it would make

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But only a few minutes later, I got an even better Photo of the Day, as I think you will agree if you check it out below.

I think that they are glad to all be together again.

I did something today that I never thought I would ever do. I unfriended someone on Facebook. In fact, three someones (one got unfriended by being the spouse of the person I was really angry with).

While I don't want to go into details about what prompted the unfriending, suffice to say that the main reason was that I didn't want these persons to be reading anything I write again. At least one of them, and possibly two, have infuriated me beyond belief, and hurt someone I love very much. I learned this from a third party today and I just don't want to ever have anything to do with any of them again.

It has been a very long time since I've been this angry at any individual.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dorm to Condo

As the puppies grow bigger, their sucking reflex gets stronger. They now eat more (usually) and they are sucking on everything, especially since they are also teething. "Sucking on everything" includes each other. If they had a mother, they would be permanently attached to her underbelly, but since they don't they have attached themselves to each other. Max is a logical subject, having a prominent body part, of course. The girls have smooth bellies, so it's more difficult to find something to latch onto.

I've had this situation with every litter of pups. Originally Ashley told me to keep them separate, but then she checked with a vet years ago who said that the comfort they received was more important than any "bad stuff" they might be ingesting.

So I've let each litter suck on each other ever since.

The family hosting the 3 siblings of this group said they had to separate the puppies because of sucking. I told them what I had been told a few years ago and got the following response:

It is true they do get comfort from the sucking and the urine is sterile, so the one doing the sucking is just fine. However the one being sucked on is the one in danger of a few things... puppies can suck very very hard so the pee-pee area gets swollen and pretty inflamed. The sucking is not pleasant for one being sucked on, it is painful. After some time going to the bathroom burns. The saliva from the one doing the sucking is definitely not sterile and can cause an infection... this is especially true for males. Through the years dealing with kittens and puppies alike I found that if you separate them they actually calm down and stay asleep for longer periods of time. They do not whine as much. They also stay much cleaner and dryer.

I figured she could do it her way and I'd do it the way I always had, but then I took a look at their bottoms and bellies.

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It was clear that these guys sucked much harder than any of our other puppies and I decided that the other mom was right--they needed to be separated.

So our little one-cage, puppy dormitory has now become a 3-cage puppy condo.

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Each unit comes with its own mama teddy bear.

Unfortunately, so far this hasn't resulted in them calming down more or sleeping longer. In fact, just the opposite. Laverne put up such a fuss after being fed and letting her suck on my finger for a long time, that I finally decided to put her in with Patty. The two immediately took after each other like they were both in heat and the sucking began immediately, so I moved Laverne back to her own condo.

Then Max, who had just finished a full bottle, set up a cry too. Now that their eyes are opened, they can see us and I guess that reminds us that they want to be with us. I finally got them all calmed down to covering the cages with towels so they can't see what's going on.

As of this writing, all is calm and quiet. I'm hoping that in a day or two, the bellies and bottoms will start looking normal again. Heck, my arm is all scratched up from those sharp little claws--I can just imagine what pain it causes to tender bellies, along with the powerful sucking!

When they get a bit bigger and able to play with each other, I'll give them periods of time when they will be together--and when they start eating solids, they can be together, because the sucking reflex will start to disappear.

I hope.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cousins Day

Yes, Martha, there was a cousins day, finally! It had been two months since the last one, because first Kathy and her husband, and then Peach and her husband had been traveling. I had spent some time with my mother and we played canasta, but it's not quite the same thing!

We had quite a kertuffle as I was leaving. Shiloh has discovered great joy in escaping out the front door. He's usually pretty good about following me back, but occasionally he immediately races out into the street (which is how he became "broken leg puppy" and an SPCA dog to begin with!), and if she can manage it, Polly will escape with him (which makes it more difficult to catch him, BTW, since the two of them are on an adventure, but Shiloh by himself isn't really sure what he wants to do).

Polly is, by the way, back to her old self. I was so relieved. She trembled a good part of a couple of hours and then went to sleep. When I woke up, she was gone from my lap and sleeping in the living room. Pretty soon, she came waltzing into the kitchen just like nothing had ever happened. She's still fine today, and even jumped into my lap, which she hadn't done in several days. I hate dogs.

Anyway, to avoid escape problems, I put a gate up in the hall, to keep the dogs in the back part of the house. When Peach and Kathy arrived, I was gathering up all the puppy paraphernalia and the puppies themselves and headed to the door, not realizing that Walt was taking the gate down because he didn't want to trip climbing over it. Naturally, Shiloh zipped out the front door and the chase was one. Have I mentioned I hate dogs?

We finally got all the dogs in the house, the puppies and me in the car and we were off to my mother's.

Since she had felt too shaky to go to the store, I had brought lunch, which we ate and then instead of our usual card game, I took her to Kaiser to pick up her meds and then to Safeway to do a shopping. When we got home, I fed the puppies and THEN the card games began in earnest. We played six over the course of the two days. Kathy won two, Peach won two and I won two. Guess who was disgruntled about it all!

While we played, we ate the hors d'oeuvre that I'd brought, which was brie with apricots, balsamic vinegar and walnuts heated in a crock pot. It was a new 1.5 gal crock pot which, I discovered, only had one heat and I think it was high, so the thing cooked too long at too high a temp, but it was good anyway.

After three games, Peach fixed us all a drink. She doesn't remember the name of it, but it had "kiss" in it...and she forgot the cream that was supposed to go in it, but it had vanilla vodka, chocolate vodka, raspberry syrup, regular vodka, and simple syrup in it. It was very sweet (the cream probably would have cut that)

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It came with shaved white chocolate on top.

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Kathy made a delicious chicken and rice dinner.

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We munched on chocolate chip cookies while we played the last games(s) of "65" and then, after the puppies had eaten, we all went to sleep around 11 p.m. Amazingly, with all those people and all those cute puppies, I didn't take one puppy picture!

My mother is feeling a bit better, though had a terrible time with leg pains last night, probably because she walked too far around Kaiser yesterday, more than she has in a very long time. She does have fluid in her lungs, so is now on a diuretic and she has to have lab tests on Tuesday and see her doctor on Wednesday. I will go with her for those. Mainly she's just angry that she has to be sick, that she has to take pills (which she hates to take), and that the degenerative disk problem in her back requires her to sit for about 15 min. each hour to prevent excruciating pain. She's just angry that she doesn't feel 70 any more, I think.

Thursday Thirteen

Movies I like

1. A Star Is Born (Judy Garland Version)
2. The Quiet Man
3. Affair to Remember
4. Dave
5. The Frisco Kid
6. Legally Blonde (a guilty pleasure!)
7. Shadowlands
8. Meet Me In St. Louis
9. The Fatal Glass of Beer
10. North by Northwest
11. Rear Window
12. Vertigo
13. The Court Jester

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Poor Polly

There's something wrong with Polly and I don't know what it is.

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(This is actually a photo I took awhile ago. I didn't want to add to whatever is going on with her by taking a new picture today. But this is pretty much what she's looked like this afternoon).

Polly has been acting strange for several days. Possibly it began when the puppies arrived. I've noticed that she has been sleeping in the living room rather than with me for the past several days. I kind of missed having her with me, but in a way thought that maybe this was a good sign; maybe it would help when/if someone showed interest in adopting her, if she was beginning to wean herself away from me.

In the last two days I've noticed that she has been trembling more than usual. I noticed something wrong especially when I'm sitting at the kitchen table eating. The dogs always cluster around me begging for food.

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But in the last couple of days, Polly has not joined with them and instead has stayed on the recliner, obviously wanting to be at my feet, and whining because she's not. Her behavior has been weird, not like the Polly I've known for the past 11 months, but it didn't start worrying me until today.

I had gone to Woodland to deliver my two Samaritan's Purse boxes. When I drove into the driveway coming home, I didn't hear Polly's high pitched excited bark, which she usually barks. Instead I heard what sounded like the puppies, yipping frantically because they were hungry.

Only it wasn't the puppies. It was Polly. The puppies were sound asleep. Walt had been upstairs and he came downstairs and followed me into the kitchen, holding Polly, who was shaking all over. I immediately went and got into my chair and put her in my lap. She frantically snuggled into her usual position in my armpit and just shook and shook and shook. I hugged her until she finally stopped shaking. But at some point she moved and let out a yelp. This puppy was in pain.

I was afraid to touch her because I didn't want to hurt her. I couldn't see anything obvious wrong with her. Instead I just sat there cuddling her until she seemed comfortable again.

I got up to start dinner, periodically coming back to the recliner, where I would sit at the edge rather than try to pick Polly up and move her. At one point I tried to check her back legs to see if there was, perhaps, an injury. She rolled over on her back and spread her legs as if giving me permission to check her out. I didn't see anything, so I tried feeling around her abdomen and I reached a spot where she jerked and licked my hand. I don't know if she was just licking me or if I had hit a painful spot.

I left her, to go and eat dinner and she stayed in the chair, shaking. After dinner she moved to the side of the chair so I could get into it and then cuddled under my arm and shook for awhile until she finally calmed down.

(Someone on Facebook said the nicest thing when I posted something about my concern for her. "I hope you find out what's wrong soon. Polly has became such a dear to all of us." Polly has fans! I'm verklempt)

I don't know what's wrong with her. I don't know if it's my imagination. I don't know if there is something inside her that is bothering her. I've checked with the SPCA people. My main worry is that tomorrow is Cousins Day, so I'm not going to be here to check on her, and Walt will be at work part of the day.

Everybody is on alert and we'll be watching her as much as we can and hoping that she will be acting more normal in the morning. (She did eat peanutbutter tonight, even though she turned up her nose at a treat.)

As for the other ill person in my life, my mother's doctor called to say that she does, in fact, have fluid in her lungs so she is starting her on a diuretic and wants her to have more blood drawn next week. We offered to cancel cousins day, but she's been looking forward to it for too long, so we are going to keep the date and hope to tie her to a chair to prevent her from spending the day waiting on us, instead of letting us wait on her.

The next journal entry will, of course, be posted late.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Long Day

Between 6:30 and 7:45 this morning, I got all the puppies fed and shampooed. Perhaps the operative syllable there was sham-POOED. What a mess they were. But we now have some baby shampoo so each of them were completely cleaned up and back to bed in time for me to make my 8 a.m. dentist appointment. I actually pulled up in front of Cindy's office door at 7:59.

This was supposed to be a follow up to my root planing of a couple of weeks ago, but in the interim, I had bitten into a piece of popcorn and broke a tooth, so we were dealing with that too. I also had, on years' worth of suggestions from my hygienist, finally purchased a Sonicare toothbrush and after 65+ years of brushing, I had discovered that I needed brushing lessons, since it's so different from any other toothbrush I've ever used.

I returned home at 9 and called my mother to make sure she had called her doctor to make an appointment to see her this week. When she answered the phone, she sounded terrible. She said she felt awful and had been awake coughing all night. I told her to call Kaiser NOW and if she could get an appointment with her doctor for the afternoon, I would drive down and go with her.

She called back to say she had a 2:15 appointment. I tried to find someone to feed the puppies while I was gone, but wasn't able to find anyone, so I packed up the dogs and headed off to San Rafael again. I figured that their feeding would be late, but that it wouldn't kill them to eat an hour or two later than they wanted to.

It was good that I was there to go with my mother. I had only gotten half the story from her trip to the ER. I didn't hear, for example, that they suspected she'd had a minor "ischemic event" (small stroke) or that they wondered if she had symptoms of COPD. When her doctor mentioned these things today, my mother didn't remember hearing them and her friend had not told that to me either. It does explain why two doctors wanted to keep her overnight for observation. My mother still doesn't understand why they wanted to keep her in the hospital overnight.

(I also had not heard that she had chest pains several weeks ago and took a nitroglycerine tablet.)

Her doctor heard some crackles in her lungs, so sent her for a chest x-ray. There was nobody in Radiology, but it was thirty minutes before she was called. The clerk was sitting at the table staring at us for all that time and finally asked if we had been seen yet. Duhhh!

The chest x-ray didn't show anything serious, so she sent her to the lab for a blood draw to see if she had walking pneumonia (she will find out the results of those labs tomorrow)

My mother was unhappy when we left because she didn't feel any better. I pointed out that the doctor didn't have the power to wave her hands around in the air and cure her. But she's downright mad that she is still coughing. My mother is a wonderful person, but her problem is that she has been in good health all of her life. She's had this cough for 4 days and is angry that it's not gone. NOW. But when the doctor first talked about putting her on an antibiotic, she said she doesn't like to take medications.



But I continue to worry about her short term memory problems, as I have seen her take double the medication (because she forgot she had aready taken it), and forget what medication she was supposed to take at a certain time. She asked several times if she was supposed to get her meds tomorrow, forgetting that I had told her several times that the doctor was going to call her first and let her know if she was going to call in a prescription for her.

Fortunately, the legal problems with the mobile home park she lives in continue and in January she will find out if her rent is going to be raised to $2,000 a month (from the $90 she now pays!) or not. I'm almost hoping that the homeowners lose the fight this time around because it will make the issue of finding senior housing for her more critical. I will feel so much more at ease if she is somewhere with people who can monitor her when the family can't be around.

The puppies woke up shortly after we got home and I got all three of them fed and cleaned up (again). These days I figure they are doing GREAT if they take 3-4 oz. When I got home I found out that two of their sisters each had 12 oz of formula in one feeding yesterday. I'm going to end up with the runts of the family.

Once they were fed and cleaned up, I packed them back up in the car and drove home, getting here in time to get Walt's dinner cooked (though I had stopped for a Iced Mocha at McDonald's and really wasn't hungry at all, so I skipped dinner myself).

We'll be back at my mother's on Wednesday for Cousins Day. I'm going to get her back to Kaiser because she needs a fasting blood test. Maybe by then we'll have some answer to what is going on with her this week.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I've said before that I'm a real cry-er. "Spitzmuller," my grandmother used to call me. Someone who could cry easily. But its been a long time since a book could move me to near sobs long before the end (and I haven't even finished it yet!)

The book is called "Oogy, the dog only a family could love." When he was just a puppy, Oogy was living in a hell on earth. He was tied to a stake and used as bait for pit bulls in a dogfighting ring. He'd been thrown in a cage and left to die. The police raided the facility and Oogy was brought to an animal hospital, and they saved him.

He really should not have lived, but he did. It was the description of his injuries that got to me first:

His head and neck were caked with iodine brown dried blood. His features were horrifically damaged. There were multiple infected puncture wounds on the right side of his face and skull. The left side of his face and forehead were gone. What had been that side of his face from just back of his muzzle to behind where his ear used to be, was now yellow green pus, oozing blood, and fully infected. All that remained of his left ear was a jagged stump. The tissue surrounding the yawning cavity where the left side of the pup's face had been was dead and blackened; the rotted flesh smelled like meat that had been left out in the sun for days. The blood vessels on that side of his forehead had been torn apart. And yet, incredibly, although he had to have been in tremendous pain, he gave no indication of it.

Based on the conditions he observed and the extent of ruin and infection he found, Dr. Bianco estimated that the dog had been lying untreated and unattended for five to seven days. He did not want to contemplate what the pup had endured during that period.

After description of the surgical procedures which had to be done, he writes...

Dr. Bianco was in awe of the power of the beast that had inflicted the wounds with which he had had to contend. The dog that had grabbed this pup had a bite forceful enough not to just fracture, but to break off a piece of his jaw.....The fighting dog would have grabbed the pup, which would have been howling and bawling and squealing in pain, and shaken him like a rag, slamming him into the floor, slamming him into the side of the cage had they been in a box. It was nothing short of a miracle, given the pup's malnourished state, that he had survived the attack at all.

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Oogy today

Oogy was adopted by a family with twin boys and the start of the book is just beautiful as the author, Larry Levin, describes a typical day in their house, which shows that Oogy lives life as a beloved pet who incredibly seems to hold no grudge against human beings who were the cause of his torture.

How can people be so cruel to animals? Who would leave six beautiful puppies in a box in front of the post office. I suppose I should give them credit for putting them where someone would see them, but still...

What did someone do to Polly to make her so distrustful of (almost) all human beings? This lovely, loving little girl who is her own worst enemy because she can't bring herself to trust human beings.

Or the people who gave up on Shiloh when he was hit by a car and broke his leg. They just tossed him away, essentially, giving him to Ashley because they didn't want the responsibility of caring for him.

I think of all the fosters we've had over the years who were afraid of people's hands. That's learned behavior. They become afraid because hands have hurt them. Many times.

I think back to dear little Scab, Paul and Audra's kitten who had been set on fire before he was taken to the UCD Vet Clinic. I think of Paul's amazement that Scab would trust him, but trust him he did, and loved Paul so much that he actively grieved after Paul died.

I like to think human beings are, by and large, good, but people who inflict such hurt on animals are not good people and I hope that they get their comeuppance in the after life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Continuing the saga, the puppies and I left my mother's house around 9:30. She was looking exhausted and coughing a lot and just wanted to go to bed. She admitted to feeling achy as well. She wouldn't go to bed as long as I was there, so I wrapped up all the poopy puppy towels and got out of there as quickly as I could.

It was really almost funny arriving home. Ever since my bike accident in 2003, my knee has been "funny." It hates to be bent for long periods. Driving in the car usually doesn't bother it because it's my left knee and I don't need it for the gas pedal, but as I went to get out of the car, I had sharp pains in my knee so that it was difficult to walk. I was trying to get through Walt and two dogs at the front door to the bathroom, since that was a pressing need as well.

Walt answered the door bent over. Part of his bike broke while he was riding it the day before (no danger to him, but the bike wouldn't work) so that he had to carry it two blocks to the bike shop and twisted his back so he was having a hard time getting around too.

Having just left my mother looking like death warmed over, I was beginning to think that everybody was falling apart around me.

Shiloh and Polly were not at home. They had gone to training classes and their handlers had taken them to Petco afterwards, so we didn't have to immediately get into the car to get the dogs to Petco.

I spent the next couple of hours getting yesterday's journal entry written, after which we went to pick up the dogs (I no longer think of going to Petco to "find out if either of them has been adopted." I think they are just there at Petco for window dressing. They'll be with us forever.)

The two dogs were asleep in a cage and as we were about halfway down the sidewalk from them, Polly's head came up and she cocked it to the side quizzically. Then her head came up farther and her tail tentatively wagged and by the time we'd reached the cage, both she and Shiloh had furiously wagging tails and were climbing the sides of the enclosure to get out.

And no, nobody had expressed interest in them.

We got home from Petco and I took a nap to prepare me to go and see "The Owl and the Pussycat" in Sacramento that night.

Polly is being very weird lately. She trembles and cringes when she looks at me and she has stopped sleeping with me at night the last few nights. She started out sleeping with me during my nap, but got down soon after getting up. I don't know how much of this is because of my spending so much time with the puppies and how much is because of a couple of incidents which have happened lately. She went to jump up on the recliner with me just at the time when I was moving one of my feet and accidentally kicked her in the face. Then yesterday we took the two little guys for a walk around the block and she got too close to my foot and was kicked yet again. But even before that, the whole the we were walking she was walking in kind of a half-cringe position, hyper alert, and looking around furtively the whole time. I don't know what is going on with her and I am worried about her.

As for the puppies, I can't believe how quickly they are changing. They arrived here Monday night and on Tuesday at each feeding they, collectively, took 2 oz of formula. By Thursday they were collectively taking 4 oz of formula a feeding, and yesterday and today they went through eight ounces of formula per feeding. They are growing so fast it seems like you can watch them get bigger and it seems that hourly they are becoming more mature. Still no eyes or ears opened, but they are no longer crawling around their cage slowly, but walking around confidently, climbing "mount Mama" (the teddy bear) and letting me know LOUDLY that they want to be fed NOW.

I think this is the fastest maturing set of puppies we've had.

We don't know their story or their parentage. Someone at the post office found them in a box outside the door and the best guess at their breed is Australian Shepherd/pit bull. But the way they are growing, I would guess that they may end up at the large end of both of those breeds. Their three sisters (who have been named Greta, Mona and Sadie) seem to be growing quickly too, as their moms wrote, "Our puppies are still in a laundry basket but only for one more day as they are rapidly outgrowing it!!"