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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

OK, today's rant is:

OK, so, you got a Kindle or a Nook, an iPad, Smart Phone, laptop (whatever) for Christmas/
Yule/ Hanukkah....

PLEASE, I beg of you, spare your techno-savvy relatives, co-workers, the library people --- AND LEARN HOW TO WORK THE DAMN THING.

Unless you are going to pay them in some manner, way, shape or are being lazy. If the nice library guy/gal says there is a tutorial online or written, please read it and just try before you bug the hell out of them. Read the damn destructions! A lot of libraries have FREE classes! The basics are NOT hard.

(I might buy the computer thing but a Kindle?? Come turn the friggin' thing on.)

It's pretty self-explanatory. And I'l bet there are video tutorials for library lending. Nook and Kindle have good tutorials for using the devices online or ON the actual device.

Look, I'm basically an over-55 idiot and i'm lucky enough to have my own live-in, sleep-in geek. And I can work the damn things! I really hate asking my geek for stupid stuff. You should feel bad too. Ask technical or complicated questions, yes, but simple stuff? Like how to turn it on or how to read a book? Please. Get a grip.

Especially if we have explained this to you over and over....
and over...AGAIN!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Yule and have a fabulous New Year!

Here's the short version of what's up! We're both on Facebook so do friend us if you haven't already!

Marty rode 1100 miles this year on his bike.... with his 2 knee replacements! He did his first Century (100 miles) ride in Findlay, Ohio too. He plans on doing his first Fundo next year! Amazing! He rode Pedal to the Point's 2 day event in torrential rain and the Harmonie Hundred too. He's been doing contract work in IT, which he seems to like as it's not long term! Get your pickle orders in early, folks, for 2012!

On the entertainment front: Marty ran lights for 3 shows at Western Reserve Theater and I got to play 2 characters (finally I got to do my Lena La Mont impression) at WRT in "Be My Baby." I was the straight man for some LEAP puppet shows and have been doing a fair amount of singing with pianist Leo, specializing in 40s and 50s standards. I hope to be doing a ton more of that in 2012!

I fell and really hurt my hand in April (tons of PT) but finally was able to ride my bike in my first baby Tour in early September (33.5 miles) and walk a half marathon and 10 mile race in November. Hoping for a lot more events in 2012!

I visited with my niece Alexandra in Chicago in November and I did not embarrass myself by falling off any bar stools! We are so happy that my other niece Dani and her husband Bryan and great nephew, Bryan aka The Chop are now local to us all! So we get to see them a lot! We have our 2 grandkids in PA, Mason (1 year old) and Aidan (4 in January). We're hoping to se a lot more of them in 2012.

Megan will be completing her LPN schooling in April, 2012 -- So very proud of what she's doing and how she's turning her life into something splendid and useful. She has been acing her classes and rocking her clinicals....patients love her! She will be VERY good at this nursing thing! Adopted "daughter", Jamie, completed her Masters in Geology from U. of Michigan and just snagged her first teaching job!! Sweet!

Two of our dogs passed this year: our darling boy Winger, age almost 12 in Feb. and dear Jesse Ann, our pack leader for 10 years in August. We still have our cute Schoomby-do, Elke Louise! who is smart as a whip!! She picks up almost any object now and is learning to enjoy walking with her Pibble Dog Friends on weekend hikes through the woods.

Our cat Rufus, is less than amused with his cat cousins (Dink and Envy) being here but we're working on that. He is a most demanding critter, very vocal!

I have been doing a ton of volunteering for our local Humane Society of Greater Akron (which is how we got Rufus last year) doing a lot of tours, educational programs, dog bite prevention programs and Breed Advocacy. I recently testified to the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee on behalf of HB14, a bill that will help all dogs, no matter what their breed or type, to get a fair shake. Remember: Breed Specific Legislation Hurts Everyone! Pretty terrifying, to say the least! I have my script if anyone wants to see it!

Another benefit is all the friends we've made as a result of my volunteer work. We had a much need "Vay-cay" (vacation) up in NY state and I think it's the first vacation EVER that we've taken that wasn't tied in with family stuff or an event. Thanks to Gayle, Ray and Oreo for that one! We needed it and we need to do it more often! So relaxing!

Who would have thought that in December a purebred Australian Cattledog puppy would come into our shelter, but he did and now he's ours! He is my seventh one (including fosters), Presenting....
He became officially ours yesterday, the 22nd. Marty named him the fist time he saw him. We love the TV show Warehouse 13! and Artie (Arthur) is a character on the show. Many thanks to Humane Officer Shannon who rescued him and Dog Trainer Extraordinary Jen for fostering him and enabling he and Elke to meet and like each other!
They play and cuddle and have spats but all in all it's great.

I think she really missed Winger and especially Jesse who was a great leader dog! We are all learning by leaps and bounds but a puppy is a ton of work, especially one that requires positive reinforcement.

He is 4 months you can see I've been a little busy these last few weeks! Ironically, if you do the math, he was probably born right around the time that Jesse went to the Rainbow Bridge.....Coincidence? Or was he sent from the Doggie Angels who are waiting for us? Hmmm...makes you wonder....

Love to you all and we hope your New Year is Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Abundant!!

From the Hess Household aka The Nut House
Marty and Mia Hess
Elke, Rufus and Artie
Step-cats Dink and Envy

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Script For House Bill 14

"Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee; Ladies and Gentlemen:

My name is Mia Knerly-Hess and I appear today in support of proposed amendments to House Bill 14

For almost two decades, I have been involved in rescue and public education for dog breeds from the Herding, Toy, Terrier and Working groups. As an exhibitor and Obedience competitor, I am a member in good standing of various local, national and international dog breed organizations and training clubs. As a professional photographer, I have chronicled animal cruelty cases and witnessed the animals’ recovery. For the past 18 years, I have also been a presenter of Dog Safety Awareness, Bite Prevention and Responsible Pet Ownership programs, most recently as an Educator for the Humane Society of Greater Akron.

Through my hands-on experience as an exhibitor, competitor, rescuer, foster, educator, trainer and companion, I have come to know dogs of all temperaments, ages, sizes and breeds. I have come to respect and admire the resilient, vibrant, affectionate and forgiving attributes of the type of dogs referred to as “Pit Bulls.”

I urge the Committee to pass House Bill 14 as amended. This Bill would put the onus where it should be: on responsible dog ownership. By extracting the breed specific wording as you have done, you will more closely align our great State with prudent and practical judgment."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Things You Hear

From the "I Just LOVE People...Not" files, #362.
Guy to me: "So, like, what EXACTLY happens when an animal gets anti-freeze poisoning? How long does it take?"
This is the same guy whose remedy for the neighbor's barking dog was to shoot it with a cross bow. Also the same guy who wanted to know what happens when a dog eats chocolate and how do they die, actually?
Me: (after the chocolate query), "Man, you are seriously into poisons. You must be a chemist!"
Please, tell me this guy was KIDDING??
From the "Watch Me Pull a Rabbit Out of My Hat" department and the
"I sure as hell am glad I've watched all those dog shows and read all those breed articles, magazines and books and have talked to people at dog shows" department.
Guy with wife and small kid, private conversation:
"What can you tell me about Neapolitan Mastiffs?" (Wow, that came from left field....)
Bottom line: talk face to face with reputable breeders and rescuers and get the skinny on the big dog! Oh, and buy hand towels in bulk!
I can't believe I pulled those factoids out of the hard drive of my ass because most of the time I can barely remember who I am! LOL!
And finally.....And from the "Good Answer!" department:
"I have 2 kids, ages blah-blah and a min-pin-German Shepherd-Rott-Doberman mix and she's about so tall. I was thinking about maybe getting another dog, a rescue, maybe a Doberman or a Shepherd, like adopting one. I want to come see the dogs at the HSGA. What do you think? What kind of dog should I get?"
Me: "The dog that gets along with YOUR dog and your family and best fits into your lifestyle."
Sometimes, I get it fairly right.
Snaps For Me! (Snap, snap!)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Metro's Story

I've been helping call folks who adopted Pit Mixes from the HSGA, encouraging them to share photos and stories of their doggies for National Pit Bull Awareness Day (Oct. 22nd. I had a lovely conversation with the "mom" of a fan favorite, Miss Metro. I told her mom I'd write up her story to share at the event but I'd like to share it here as well.

“The Miracle Dog”

“Last night, I dreamed we got a three legged dog.” Ron C. told his wife. Kind of strange since their son had seen a story about Metro just the day before. Metro had lost her leg (and almost her life) when she was hit by a bus. In the past, all of the family dogs had just “shown up” at their doorstep.

“Mom, that dream of Dad’s…’s like she coming to our door!”

Her future family met quite a few dogs at the Humane Society of Greater Akron but according to Emily, there was something “special” in Metro’s eyes. Home she went and fit right in; never having a single accident from day one!

“You should see her run around the house and up and down the stairs, “ Emily laughs, “You’d never know she was missing a leg! And why would we change her name? She’s a miracle dog! She has her own bed; she pulls the covers down and lays her head on the pillow! My husband calls her Sweetie. We just love her!

One day this summer, Ron wasn’t feeling well. “I feel like my lung is collapsing!” At the hospital, they received the bad news: Ron had lung cancer. His kidneys began to fail, and the doctors feared the worst. He wanted to see his “Sweetie” one more time. A dear family friend arranged a hospital visit for Metro. Laying her head next to Ron so he could pet her, his kidneys began to slowly rally. Emily credits Metro with helping her husband heal.

But Ron’s fight isn’t over yet. Chemo has taken its toll, but Metro’s weekly hospital visits have helped give him strength and joy. She will lay on his bed for hours and hours, next to him, warm and loving. “She’s a true therapy dog!” Emily states. “I think she helps the staff too. The nurses just love her; she gets a free pass! When she is there, they’ll come into to see her and pet her. She loves everyone and everyone loves her! She’s a superstar!”

When the family visits Ron, he always wants to know “what cute thing Metro did today!” And when they come back to the house where so many of Ron’s projects are waiting for his return home, she is there to greet them with her happily wagging tail. “It’s so healing to come hone to her, “ Emily says.

As told to M. Hess by Emily C., Metro’s Mom
October 15, 2011

Sadly, Ron Czerski died on Oct. 24, 2011.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank You, Alan Shore (Boston Legal)

"We've become such a dumb, fat, bubblegum nation. Schlocky and superficial. Music, books, television. One of the heads of NBC recently said that the plan was to get people to tune in and mentally tune out. This wasn't an admission by the way, but a boast. Is it any wonder we have a television show called ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A SECOND GRADER and a president who isn't? I miss a little dignity in America."

From BOSTON LEGAL, Season 4, episode "The Gods Must Be Crazy"; air date: 5/14/08

I miss a little dignity in the damn WORLD, thank you very much!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The 2012 German PInscher Calendar

I'm grateful it's done, slightly ahead of schedule!!  It actually went pretty well.  I had a few things that were busting my butt, but all in all, I'm pleased!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jesse Ann

We had to help her cross over to the Rainbow Bridge today.  She had lost weight and last night fell while playing with a toy. The vet gave her a sedative to put her out but when Doc went to give her the injection, he couldn't get into her vein easily, stubborn to the last. Her veins were collapsing.  Marty and Megan were there, but i feel so bad Jamie couldn't be here too.
Ten years she gave us.  We were lucky but so was she.  As a rescue from a high kill shelter, via Ohio ACD Rescue.

What a sucky year for dogs, first Winger, now Jess......

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth Of July Timeless Moments

I am thrilled that some things haven't really altered since I was a little girl.

We went to the fireworks and music at Lock 3 in Akron, Ohio.  Check. (Just change it to Lakewood Park, where I grew up.)

Parked a distance away and walked to where we needed to be. Check. (parking garage instead of on the street).

Listened to great music by the Akron Symphony.  Kinda Check.  (Insert dozens of transistor radios here and there, playing different AM stations.)

People spread out their old blankets on the grass or set up chairs.  CHECK! Thank God that hasn't changed one bit!  That's what made it seem endless, timeless.

Kids were running around.  Not as much as we did. It's not the kind of place I'd want my kids running around like a bunch of sugar-crazed hooligans.  No swing sets, like in a park.  But still fun.  I saw a kid jumping rope.  Good for you, kid!

Food and drink.  Check.  Except we lugged picnic baskets and/or coolers. There were vendors here.

Walked uphill back to car and waited forever to get out and on the road.  Male driver mumbling about it.  Double check!  My father had to be the first guy out of the park.  He'd be rushing us out of there like he was loading a cargo ship.  "Come on, let's GO!" And then he'd bitch and mutter and cuss under his breath in the car while we waited in traffic. My mother would sigh and say, "Now Steve....we could have waited a bit before we left...."

The only appreciable difference was people with cell phones and cameras. Other than that, it was refreshingly the same in many ways.  (Lady with stupidly long green mullet hairdo notwithstanding! Who the hell does mullets any more?)

The fireworks are different, more elaborate in some ways but still the same thrill and ooooohs and aaaaaaaahs as when I was little.  Chrysanthemum fireworks (see video) are very common now; when I was a kid they were rare.

It was a perfect summer evening, not a cloud in the sky.....
And the band played Sousa, Gershwin, Rogers and Hammerstein.....and when the fireworks started, they played to the Olympic fanfare....
Thank you to my Spousal Unit, The Powers That Be, God and Goddesses for my perfect 4th of July.

A Summertime Classic

On FB I posted this picture I took while out on an evening's summer walk:
No helmet, no straps, no seatbelt. Just pure unadulterated FUN!! Huzzah!

And my friend Cynthia W. posted back, jokingly of course:
Is this approved by OSHA? 
What about liability insurance in case someone should actually attempt to have fun and fall off? 
Do you have a spotter and is there a schedule for fun?


I had to laugh because it was funny but it's kind of sad and scary too.

Enjoy your tire swings, everyone!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Michael Vick Thing

I got a lovely private comment (and I mean that) about my Facebook post regarding Michael Vick stating another point of view.  

Here is my take on the controversy. Yes, I'm upset that he stands to make millions in endorsements. Here's my opinion about the whole thing.  I think I wouldn't have as big of a problem with him if he were going to give his money (or most of it) away.  To help kids, animals, something beyond himself.  I wouldn't have as much of a problem then.  He did serve his time (not enough) and according the Justice System, we should give him as much of a break as the next guy out of jail.  Frankly, I think he's getting WAY more of a break than any other convicted felon I've known coming out of the slammer (and I've known a few).  They can't get a job and he's making millions.  What's up with that?

Here's the deal-breaker for me: He doesn't come off as one bit repentant. He talked to kids because it was good press and I think part of his plea bargain, sentence, his community service, whatever.  He's not doing it now (that I know of) nor is he part of a nationwide campaign against dog fighting, animal cruelty, etc. 

If he wanted to make a difference, truly make a difference, he'd show it.  He doesn't give a rat's a**, and that's the part that pisses people off.    He's in a position to really, really help -- to really, really educate, especially the kids, the young adults that are headed down that path. If he was dong PSAs, I think a lot of people might give him a pass.  If he came into a shelter or rescue and scutted out kennels once a month, that would be nice too.  That would be Nobility, Humility.  There is nothing Noble or Humble about this man.

I have noticed that most of the people who are incensed about Vick are women.  I am not a Femi-Nazi but gentlemen, where art thou?  Most men I've talked to about this say he served his time, etc. 

If I were his manager, I'd tell him to divorce himself from his family members, who mostly ran the whole operation.  Goes to show: he knew what was going on, he was part of it. He financed it, he's dumb as a box of rocks. You can take the boy outta the environment, but apparently in his case, not the environment outta the boy....and I'd tell him, "You'd better take a good chunk of that change and use it to help."

It sends a bad messge: OK kids, you can be convicted of a felony, serve time in jail, and make a zillion dollars.  Shucks, it's the American Dream! It's Bernie Friggin Madoff!  It's the Ohio Governor! (Don't get me started on that bozo.  I sure as he** didn't vote for him!)

Is he as bad as those Wall Street a**holes who ripped off millions of people?  In a way, no.  (Don't stone me.) It's badness, greed, stupidity, carelessness in a parallel universe. Peoples' lives, animals' lives. By the way, the Wall Street Jerks should have to serve hard time on a chain gang and not at Club Fed either.  

But here is Vick who has a chance to make good and to make a difference! Especially in the lives of animals.  He's not and that what's pisses me off.  

Michael, pay attention the the Nike motto: JUST DO IT! In the end, you may just grow a heart.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Haircut

It was time.  I kept measuring my hair.  Not that I didn't kind of like it long. I was watching Youtube videos on period hairstyles and having fun (although the damn Victory Rolls really got me...could not do those!). I kind of felt like it was getting close to that time.  For my most recent singing gig, instead of copping out, twisting my hair up and wearing a hat, I curled the mane and did my Hedy Lamar-Veronica Lake do.  Long glamorous, movie-star hair!

But I had stopped cutting my hair August 29, 2009 (except for trims) for a very specific purpose: to donate it.  I remember hearing about Kaya going wig shopping after she lost her hair.  I knew about kids who get wigs.  I have relatives and friends who've lost their hair.  Mine is going gray.  There is no way around it.  It's getting grayer.  Obviously I do not have the Steve Knerly Dark Hair Gene.  I'm taking after Mom's side and getting gray.  Damn.  Sucks. The damn hair donations won't take gray hair.  (I am 25% gray now.  What's with that?) It was now or never.

I said I'd do it.  Damnit, I said I'd do it.  I'd made a pledge. Yesterday, I went to Best Cuts and had them measure me again for Pantene's Beautiful Lengths. It was long enough.

I didn't think I'd cry.  How stupid is that?  I've SHAVED my head, for God's sake.  Come on.  But I cried. I'm not sure why I did.  Is it because it took so long to get it that long?  Is it because it's a big change? I seriously don't know I cried.  If someone can tell me why, please do!  Maybe I'm just a sentimental fool!  

"Are you sure?" said Marisa the stylist.

"Yeah, just do it."  She turned on the clippers and I blanched.  Gulp.  Tears.

"Are you SURE?"

"Just do it, let's get this show on the road."

Afterwards she colored my hair, back to my underneath "old" color.  I am NOT gray underneath, at the nape of my neck.  Just on top.

Gray hair is very unruly stuff: mine is kind of kinky and curly.  I had forgotten that well-done, professionally done, freshly-colored hair is shiny and smooth.  And slippery!  The stuff is slippery.  Clips slide off of it.  Hair bingies fall out of it.  It will interesting to see what happens when I wash it!

I will probably continue to let it grow to about shoulder length, maybe a bit longer.  I'm grateful we decided to not cut bangs, those are a PITA to grow out.  I do like the versatility of longer hair.  I think more and more woman over 50 and onwards have longer hair.  It used to be, even 10 years ago, that if you were over 50, certainly over 60, it needed to be short.  Now you see people my age and older with beautiful longer hair.  Not "stupid long" (like the completely gray-haired broad at the Nat, with her big a**ed braid down to her waist that makes you just ITCH for a pair of garden shears).  Just nice long hair.  Oprah, Dr. Phil's wife, Robin, Jane Seymour, Susan Lucci, the Hot In Cleveland gals etc. etc. Heck, Linda Evans, for God's sake.  She's 68, looks great.

So yes, this miserable little ponytail representing months and years of care and growth....this ponytail is for you.  It's in the mail.  I kept my pledge.  It's for my Facebook friend, Sharron, who is growing out her peach fuzz after chemo.  And for my family.
(The link might work, if not please cut and paste.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Education....Hey, Parents Pay Attention!

I'll say it, up front, I do love kids. Mostly in small doses.  However.....let me ask this?

What do I look like? Bozo the flippin' clown?  (Does anyone even GET the Bozo reference any more?  Have I hopelessly outdated myself?)  i am NOT sitting (or standing) here educating YOUR bratty, squirmy, over-sugared, never-disciplined five year (who is acting more like three) so you can have a coffee klatch with your Mommy-And-Me mate.  Heads up, your kid needs to know this stuff and so do YOU!!  I am not your baby-sitter for a half an hour.

This message is for the two moms who sat there, while I'm trying to talk, watching, yes, WATCHING their two kids talk to each other, completely ignoring me AND the other kids.  I tried the old "Uh, I'm talking now" gambit.  No dice. I tried the "Do you guys needs to sit over there and talk?" (I keep forgetting ---- five doesn't get sarcasm. Darn.)  I looked at the mothers.  Not a clue.  Since when is it OK for your precious darlings to talk while another person (needless to say an ADULT) is speaking?  Shucks, did I miss the memo??

I finally said, "I'm going to stop until everyone is quiet." The other kids starting giving the offenders the stink eye and then finally the mothers heard the clue phone and picked it up.

OK, yes, I know I sound EXACTLY like my grandmother.  I confess. I will not apologize for thinking that your kid is NOT more special (bad English) than me or anybody else around him or her. I will not apologize for thinking that kids today are even more disrespectful and unfocused then I could have ever dreamed of being when I was five.

I was not perfect, not by a long shot.  But when a grownup or counselor talked to me and told me to do something or was teaching me something, especially at camp, I listened.  Because if I didn't....da-da-dum-dum....the long arm of my mother would come like Mama Bear letting her cub know that was so NOT cool!

And now a mother in Texas has been put on five years' probation for (gasp) spanking her kid.  What the hell is that??  I'm sorry for her: it's ridiculous. I'm hear to tell you: the last group of kids I had could have used a little bottom dusting.  Animals use positive and negative reinforcement.  I'll never forget my mother telling me, "When I tell you to do something now or stop dong something now, I mean NOW!" Then she told me that when she was growing up, a neighborhood girl, (whose parents were much like many modern parents who use reason and explanation) was hit by a car.  Her mom told her to get out of the street now, and the kid asked "Why?"  Last words she ever uttered..  My mother saw it happen.

I have learned so much from some of the great kids I've been privileged to talk to.  They can be really insightful, some of them really 'get it!"  I love the hugs I occasionally get!  The laughs. The Girl Scouts (Brownies, Daisies) are really awesome.

However, I have noticed the kids that are the most fun are the ones who are ironically are also the best behaved! one pause for thought.

The 21st Century Ivory Tower

The Fearful, Amazingly One-Sided Informed Modern Parent. A scary new species. My mother was never this freaked out.

It's easy for the 21st Ivory Towered folks to say you don't need to brush your teeth (the Evil Fluoride) or get a shot because they live now, in the 21st century.  They have the luxury of not living in the days of the not-so-distance past where getting the measles could kill you or leave you unable to have children. They don't live when public pools were closed because of polio. Their siblings didn't not spend hours, weeks, months in iron lungs or have to wear braces on their legs.  Very few of them have scars from chicken pox.  Their wombs are not barren. They have most, if not all their bright and shiny white teeth.

If they do have scars or crappy teeth, it's often a result of their own stupidity. But it is rarely because their mom didn't haul them off to the doctor for a shot in the a--- every now and again.

The 21st Ivory Tower Folks have the luxury of not having their children die from childhood diseases.

So many people let the Magic Box (the Interent) tell them how to think, feel, act, believe. They let it parent their children and make "informed" decisions for them. The scientists, doctors, nurses, government and drug companies are all part of the Evil Empire that are going to kill your kids.  I'm not saying that all of aforementioned speak the gospel truth.  Hardly.  But does the 21st Gang get a second, third, fourth opinion from a real, live, face-to-face human being?  Do they opt for the one-shot option? Do they coffee klatch at the PTA with other parents? No they blog and post and search for the Worst Possible Case Scenario and then latch onto that like a remora on a shark!!

The 21st Ivory Tower Folks' grandparents (and likely parents) remember and shake their heads in wonder.  Must be nice, they muse.  They remember a pregnant sister who was exposed to rubella and lost her unborn child.  They remember the cousin with the braces on her legs, dragging herself across the grass so she could hang with the other kids.  They remember diphtheria, influenza killing hundreds.

Some mom in Senegal right now is lining up, tired, thirsty on a hot muggy day just so she can get her kid that d---n shot so maybe he has a chance to live into adulthood.

Science is not the Great God, the End and Be All.  Of course not.  But remember, all you 21st Century Parental Units, without a just smidgen of science you wouldn't be in a position to flail folks with your It's All Bad rhetoric on the internet. You'd be on your knees praying to whatever Higher Power you subscribe to that your kids don't get seriously ill. Or worse.


Looking up words to Lara's Theme from DR. ZHIVAGO) -- 15 minutes of my life I won't ever get back.

Printing the words out -- .02 cents (paper, ink)

Never, ever, ever having to ever sing it --- PRICELESS!!

I sure as heck hope they don't request it tomorrow night. It'll be a new low, right down there with "Feelings" (whoa, whoa, feelings...) and the ultimate "I refuse to clutter my brain with ever learning the words to this ka-ka-poo-poo -- that's why have it written down" song ---- "Achy Breaky Heart."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All We Have To Fear IS Fear Itself

Thank you, FDR.  That quote stands even more vibrantly today than even ten years ago.  We are the most informed yet terrified folks that have ever lived on our blue planet.  Revisit Billy Joel's wonderful song We Didn't Start The Fire and just substitute a few phrases.  Still relevant.

The Internet is a wonderful place to visit but I do not want to live there.  It is the fierce dragon in our lives; it connect us in ways unimaginable as it soars through our lives; it is magnificent, beautiful and dangerous. It can kill your courage, your reason.  It can numb you. It can easily feed our fears --- bad dogs, child molesters everywhere,  government conspiracies, the vaccination controversy, unsafe water, global warming.  You can find a website, blog, link, video to validate your greatest fears.  We think the Magic Box is the Be All & End All. If it's on the web, it must be right.  (It used to be TV!).

I want to use the Dragon.  I want to bask in the warmth of his fire, and fly on his back to places I've never been and may never go in my lifetime. But I have to be conscious, to know when it's time to walk away from his cave, or climb off his back and connect.  With Mother Earth, the Great Spirit (God, if you will), the touch of a human's hand, the feel of my dog's fur, the vibration of my cat's purr.  No matter how funny that YouTube video is it's nothing compared to shared laughter with a friend.  No matter how compelling that website is about how you shouldn't let your kid go outside because s/he may get nabbed by some weirdo, maybe s/he needs to scrape her/his knees and learn about people by being with them.

I see so many people being so afraid.  If I take this, drink this, go there I'm going to die.  That's the bottom line.  Well, yes, you might.  However, you will pass from this mortal coil eventually.  And yes, conscienceless lunacy is not an excuse.  "Hey y'all --- watch THIS!" should not be your optimal last words.

While I do think that The Powers That Be want people afraid, this is NOT a new thing.  Fear has always been a way to control The Huddled Masses. If you don't bring offerings to the tree gods, your crop is going to die; tithe to the church, you're going to hell; buy this cleaner, you are bad housewife; etc. It goes on and on.  I see the Dragon and he's big and huge and he looks so smart and powerful.

Here is a secret I've learned.  As the Dragon is flesh, bones, fire and yes, a little magic --- the Internet is just what people, human being just like you and me have put into it.  You can let it serve you, or you can serve it. If you give into fear, you are serving it.

And if you live in fear, your not living much at all.  You are living in the past or in some nebulous future.

I want to live the rest of my life. How about you?

What I Noticed About Facebook

Let me start by saying I really like FB.  I'm not AS "addicted" as many people are, but i do check it daily and I really like seeing my Friends' pictures and hearing about the stuff going on with them, as trivial and often banal as it can be.  I even get Messages on my phone (I turn that on and off.)

I would still much rather talk in one of these conventional ways:

(No. 1) face to face
(No. 2) on the phone or (the unconventional)
(No. 3) via Skype

However I can hear how friends are doing, especially if they've been sick or have suffered a loss or have a joyous occasion -- a baby, a wedding or new pet! I can Message them and IM them as well.  FB IM kinds of sucks but it's OK for what it is.   FB is also wonderful for "spreading the word." Hey, here's a dog for adopting, here's info about the play I'm in.  Etc.

Things I've noticed about FB:

A) You don't always get posting from every Friend on your list, what's up with that?  I know it has something to do with Settings but hell, those folks are my FB Friends and yeah, I want to see what they've posted.

B) I am rather astounded at the people who have Friended me.  And the people who have not.  I'm am also amazed that I have FB friends who live in Europe and Australia.  I'm happy that (as a result of FB) I am part of a RunKeeper "street team" consisting of two ladies, one from Sweden and one from "Oz."

C) Here is big thing I've noticed....your FB Friends share a commonality with you.  They either share the Family Tie or you have things in common: work, hobbies, pets, etc.  But in almost all cases, you are on the same bandwagon.  That can be good, or it can be very limiting.

For example: I don't think there should be a bias against any dog breed.  "Punish the deed, not the breed." If that (bias) were the case, I'd be posting stuff like, "Little dogs are nasty little buggers" based on my been severely bitten by a few in my lifetime.  Ergo, most of my FB Friends are of like mind, about PTD- NTB thing.  Not about the Little Dog thing of course!  So are the Groups that I subscribe to.

Bearing that in mind, what I have noticed is: some people get into Over-Posting A Point Of View.

The Daily Same Old Post Subject.  for example: Here's yet another reason why Aquarian Men Are Scum (AMAS).  (BTW, they aren't.) And of course since the comment threads they receive are from Friends (almost all of whom share the poster's common opinion), you get the "yeah, you go, you're so right!" stuff all the time. I do get tired of seeing the Daily "AMAS" link, justifying yet again your point of view. OK, all right, already, We Get It. You think AMAS!!! I could do that every d--n day about Pit Bull Prejudice, for example.

If you want to justify your opinion. I think you should either Blog about it, or join a Group but perhaps, just for the sake of beating your platform "horse" to death on FB, you should set up a FB group: Air-Sign Men Are Scum.  Then your Friends who are of like mind can go there and you can merrily bash and rant about all the Geminis, Librans and Aquarians males out there!

I, for one, don't mind a good debate (was part of an awesome thread about a t-shirt saying recently).  But what attracts most people to FB is your pictures of your new baby, dog, the dolphins you saw in the ocean, how you/your kids/your family are doing, a funny/interesting video, a song you rediscovered, how to help Joplin, Missouri, etc.  And yes, even an occasional Rant!

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Love My Brother

It's my birthday (the 24th of May) and I'm on the phone with my brother.

Him: "How old are you now?" I tell him. "How is it possible that you are now older than me?"

Me: "I don't know how that happened. Does this mean that I'm older than Our Sister too?"

Him: "Yes, yes, (pause) I guess it does."

Me: "Well if I'm older than you guys that means finally that you have to listen to what I say. I'm your Elder now."

Him: "Well....(dramatic pause).....  You know (sigh), it's so different today.  Kids today, they don't respect their elders anymore.  So, that would"

(Sh*t, he's been doing The Law thing way too long.)

I love my brother.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Today's Gifts

I'm such a lucky lady.  On my birthday, got some great cards (including a really really, nice. sweet, mushy one from my hub), a Nook (!!!! -- far out), a cool bag from my sister, a Livestrong top form my brother and looks at these gifts from The Great Goddess, Mother Nature.  I'm particularly thrilled with the dogwood, as Marty planted it last year.  It's bloomin', mate!

Add a late lunch at Gasoline Alley with my sweetie, pretty good medical reports (I'm very flexible for someone with neck stuff --- long story), AND, so far, NO RAIN!!!! I am truly blessed!  But mostly by my wonderful family and dear friends!

Although, I must say, the Nook is pretty damn cool......

Monday, May 9, 2011


(Banging my head against the wall....)

How can 3 damn sore fingers and a sore damn shoulder tire me out so much?  Physical Therapy equals frustration. More damn tests and joy, of joys a MRI this Thursday. This week is filled with PT and damn doctors.  The sinus surgeon guy is Wednesday (about damn time) and they'll probably find of sh*t loads of nothing.  Which actually is way better than Something.  Or worse, Something Awful.

Last weekend's (April 30th-May 2nd) Depression was finding out I never got registered for the Cleveland Marathon.  Bugger, bugger, bugger, f-word, f-word, f-word me with a f-word chicken.....Cried with anger and frustartion.  Goes to show: never try to cheap it out.  Just pay your damn entry fee and screw raising money for ACS.

You got to love Brothers. "Want my advice?" Yes. "How many more hints do you need that maybe you're not supposed to do it this year?  There are plenty of other races out there...."  OK, fine.  But tell me how you get over the Failure Factor?  I know I need to move to stay fit and I'm haven't been.  Walking is hard.  WALKING, for God's sake. I'm just so pooped.  Pain is tiring.  Come on, it's just pain, aching crap. WTH.  Apparently it can be tiring.

Marty (another Male Relative) says it's my body healing.  Well, I wish it would hurry the h--ll up.

Good news: the mobility is better in the fingers.  I can almost type with all fingers, so that's great.  Tons of mistakes, many of which really need to be on damnyouautocorrect.  :-)

 And I've had 3 paying gigs in the last 2 weeks, that is awesome!!!  One very unexpected; a puppet show with J. V.  I have to admit we're a pretty good team.  He can serve them as hard as he wants but I will almost always be ready for a good volley back and forth. And I know that the puppets (him really) are the deserved stars. The play seems to be going well; a lot of talented folks are working on this show. Nice to be back on the boards.  I've been doing a lot of presentations for the Humane Society too, interesting.  Lots of little Girl Scouts. My demo puppy, Tucker, got adopted.  I'm going to miss that little guy, loved him. I hope he got a great home.

And the sun is finally SHINING.  About d---n time.  So, yes, there are parts of life that are very good. I heard recently any day you wake up is a good day.  So they are all good!  And yet, I'm frustrated that I have to basically start over from almost Square One, physically. Part of me is wallowing, the other part is saying Get. Over. Yourself.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Bunny

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Special Rose

There has been so much talk....and rightly so...about the 'miracle dog" Patrick, a starving Pibble dog who was thrown into a 19 stories' up garbage chute.  He even has his own FB page, The Patrick Miracle and the New Jersey SPCA does updates about him as well.

The HSGA has had many stories like Patrick's.  Her happy ending is why they keep doing what they do and why I'm proud to help in my own, very small way.
The Story of a Special Rose

Cut and paste the link if need be!

Pen Pals

Nowadays, we communicate so quickly. Email, phone (obviously), texting, Facebook, Twitter; hell think of Skype!  We can talk and have friends (more like acquaintances but that's still OK) all over the world.

My mother and (i think) my Aunt Nancy had pen pals especially during and after WW2, mostly forced on them by my Grandmother who had (or started) something called The World Friend's Club.  They wrote letters and occasionally exchanged small gifts.  It actually is a great idea.  I think Gammie's reasoning was we get to know the world one person at a time.  I had some pen pals, mostly people I knew from camps I had gone to in Junior High and High School.  I corresponded for a short time with my Freshman year college roommate, Miwa from Japan. Yes, Mia and Miwa.  Someone had a sense of humor.

In my 30s, in the back of Royalty magazine, I found a notice from a person in Singapore who was looking for a Pen Pal. I wrote her, she wrote me back and it's been going on with mostly notes and gifts ever since.  Asiah doesn't have email and isn't on Facebook so yes, we still do it the old fashioned way....snail mail!

I don't think anything will replace the excitement of getting something that ain't a damn bill in the regular mail!  A letter is particularly precious, I think.  They take time.  Yesterday an envelope from Asiah arrived and in it were pictures of her daughter's wedding.  Wedding???  Her daughter (Yasmine) got married???  Holy Crap!

I've seen some brides in my time.  Between being in the wedding, being one myself twice, photographing a couple of dozen, and singing at the ceremony and most especially the receptions I can honestly say I have seen HUNDREDS of brides.  It is no exaggeration.  Probably somewhere between five and six HUNDRED brides have passed before my eyes.  Yasmine is my Top Two of the most beautiful brides I have EVER seen.  (My niece of course is Number One!)

I hope this guy treats her like a Queen, like a Goddess, because she sure as hell looks like one! Judge for yourself. I hope he treats my friend as his "belle mere" with kindness and respect and love too.

By the way, Asiah and I have never met.  We have talked on the phone once or twice over the years.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Musical Mom Memory

Click here: Baby Mine

My mom was many things, some of them pretty damn crazy.  And some not very nice. However....

One of her best traits was she was a snuggler.  She loved to snuggle.  From the time I could remember, she would sit on a rocking chair, hold me on her lap and sing to me.  She sang mostly "Winken, Blinken and Nod" by Eugene Field using a melody I still remember but I've almost never, ever heard it sung that way.

"Now, Winken and Blinken are two little eyes
And Nod is a little head
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
is a wee one's trundle bed...."

I searched YouTube and other sources and cannot find the melody Mom sang.  i guess I'll have to record it myself so there is some kind of record of it.  I wonder if she heard it somewhere, maybe from her mother, as the poem is from the 19th century.  Of course, that being what I heard, that is my favorite version. Naturally.  She also would sing "Tender Shepherd" from Peter Pan and Brahm's Lullaby and other soft, sleepy songs.

It was very soothing, and honestly I'm not sure you ever outgrow it. I recall being in my twenties, absolutely crushed and shattered about something or someone.  She sat in the rocking chair in her bedroom and patted her lap.

"Aw,geez, come on, Ma, I'm going the break the damn chair or you if I sit there, for Christ's sake!"

"Sit down!" ordered my mother.  I gingerly sat on my mother's lap, now taller than her by six inches and she rocked me and sang "Baby Mine" from DUMBO.  Of course, I cried.  She had a beautiful voice, higher and purer than mine. It was very consoling, even at my advanced age, to be rocked and sung to.

".....if they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too...."

How could we not be musical (or at least appreciative of it) surrounded as we were with music?  Mom always sang and we had music parties.  Dad sang as well and they loved hanging around the piano while Bob Schwartz (a friend of theirs) who played by ear hammered out tunes on the Steinway and everyone sang.  My cousins and I sang while we did dishes after a family party.

"Inchworm, inchworm...measuring the marigold...."

Nowadays we all listen to music.  Heck, practically everyone, from 8 to 80, has an iPod or some kind of MP3 player.  I think my Mom would have LOVED the capacity of listening to and obtaining music that the Internet can provide.  I have learned so much musically from being connected.

What Mom's generation possessed, I think, was more musical ability.  From recollections of hers, everyone she knew at least SANG if not played one or multiple instruments.  My mother-in-law says the same thing.  People went out, went dancing, went to people's houses and listened to the radio or sang and danced.  Someone in their group could read music and bang it out on the piano.  They didn't have TV or computers. Almost all men danced. What a concept! I'm kind of sorry I never met Marty's dad as it seems his musical tastes ran the gamut from Jeannette MacDonald to Beethoven to "Wooly Bully!" I'm still trying to wrap my head around this very mechanical man banging away at a carburetor to "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life."

 Nowadays, it seems we listen but we don't participate.  We're not as musically involved as our parents were! Some might put on a CD of baby songs, lullabies but I kind of wonder how many parents read a book and then a tuck-in with a a lullaby.  I know Marty read and sang to Megan.  He still can recite "Green Eggs and Ham" totally from memory....very impressive!  I know my sister rocked and sang to my niece ("Goodnight Moon!").  I hope my niece passing it along!

One of my crystalline teenage memories is a lazy August evening, walking through Oak Bluffs, a historic town on Martha's Vineyard.  There was a large band stand, enough to sit about a hundred people.  They handed you a piece of paper with song lyrics and had a good old fashioned sing-a-long.  All ages sang.  Even little kids could sing some of the songs. It was like a scene from an old movie! Where the hell can you go to do that nowadays?  When I do a gig and get the audience to sing along with me, even if they can't remember all the words, I know it's a memory for them that we are sharing! It takes us all back.

When i hear "Baby Mine" and the message that it shares, I think of the best of my mother, the best of our parents.  And yes, it makes me wish for a soft place to land, if only for a moment and be cherished, held, rocked and sung to.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yes, You Can Make a Difference!

We often see a dog or cat like Patrick (the little Pit-type dog throw down the garbage chute), and's overwhelming.  I am one person. What can I do? It's a drop of water in the bucket of misery, suffering, cruelty, ignorance amd indifference.  It's over-whelming.  The numbers are staggering! We think: My heart will break seeing that dog or cat or horse or whatever.  The internet is swiming with pictures and video of such staggering propensity that your mind can't absorb it.  

We think: I cannot impact on any of this.

I too, thought that way over two years ago.   I'm a middle-aged, vision impaired person.  I'm not rich, and trust me, rehab and rescue takes money!  I can give up a movie and a meal every month to donate to my local shelter.  It'll feed a animal for a day or two.  It helps.  Every penny helps.

Through a weird confluence of events, I heard more about my local shelter (The Humane Socieity of Greater Akron). A famly member wanted to volunteer, working with cats, and dragged me along.  I realy did not want to; i just didn't think my heart could handle it. Besides, I know they need money.  

I learned that by volunteering that I can make a difference.  Spending time walking and socializing a dog was far more rewarding that I thought.  Even though I'd been around dogs (training, showing) for years, these dogs, the other volunteers and the staff were all my teachers.

 And when "my" first dog, a Pit-type named Pruitt found his forever home, I was crying tears of joy.  

Giving lap-time to a cat helped that cat find its home too.  Sometimes my time with an animal was short, a few days, others it was months.  But when I found out that dog or cat had gotten a home, I knew that the time I'd spent was part of a greater whole world of helping.  Doing the laundry freed the staff to concentrate on their jobs of caring for the animals.  Cleaning cages or kennels isn't the most glamourous job, but it helps!  I've worked fund-raising events, walked 10 mile races to raise money and used my artistic talents to raise money for my shelter.  Volunteering even helped my career in a weird, random way!

Now i give tours and try to educate the public about our shelter and since we take any breed, about PIbbles, as much as I can.  I'm learning to do Off Site Adoption Events and  Educational Programs for kids (and adults), hoping to help them understand about animals, care, compassion and safety too!

When one of your favorites get their forever home, YOU have made a difference.  YOU can help by giving of your time. YOU have made a difference to one animal, maybe helped one person.    

We are aware of Patrick because of people making a difference in his life.  Helping a local organization in your hometown can help another Patrick recover, can educate the public, change laws, raise money.  

If you read this, know that you can and are making a difference!

Why We Have Dogs

Ben Stein GETS it!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Life-Changer

Ever had a person come into your life, completely 180 it? Of course, you have. We all have. This man 180'ed me at a young age, as a teenager. He "made" me make a life-alerting career choice, one that still influences my life today.

Ever had that same person years later, 180 your life again? This guy did it when I was a young woman in my 20s. He vastly influenced me yet again, this time in a negative, vindictive, cruel way. He brought out things in me that were very unfair when played out with other peoples' lives.

Then in my late 30s, much more grown up and poised I could face this man and maintain my control, grace and poise. I had come of age and faced a demi-god with the soul and morals of a demon.

It is a long story, filled with kindness and cruelty and my own redemption, my own coming of age. A strong ending that completed a circle of growth, of womanhood. . From child to young, vulnerable girl-woman to my full strength as Wise Woman. I can tell it now because he has passed, not long after my mother did. She knew him but she never knew how he hurt me, almost destroyed me. Not with deeds but with words and actions.

in the end, the man I worshiped, became someone I felt sorry for because he had never truly had what I had: Love, Compassion, Friendship, even Health. And in the end I could look into his eyes and express Gratitude for the window he opened in my young life, for being the wind of change in my soul.

Even though it is presumptuous arrogance to say you are better than someone else, I had become More. For all his fame, chances, lifestyle. I still had and was More. And I think in that tiny corner of his being that was not filled with rampant arrogance, he knew that I had become More.

For the first time in my life, I felt my inner power, like a cloak of protection, grace, poise, graciousness, an unattainable beauty. Untouchable, unless I wish you to do so. Queenly. A goddess within and without. Finding his picture reminds me that I still posess that power within myself. We all do. It is in conquering our demons, our fears, our self-doubt, our self-flagellation, our cruelty, our pettishness that we find our inner power. Our tie to our Higher Power. The Goddess or God within.

It is a gift we receive as we become seasoned in life, living months, years, decades. Even those of us who are our Fathers, our Mothers and Grandfathers, Grandmothers who have gone ahead of us in the Journey of Life --- even if they are quite old and bent, look into their eyes and you will see More.

When I met this man, I was less. I was young and impressionable and he was impressive! He did change my life's focus, but I walked the paths. i became what I am and will be, in whatever way ---- More.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Can you sat Totally Relaxed? Nobody seems to do it quite like a cat.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Thought

Sometimes you see stuff on Facebook and think, "I'd like to keep that and share it!"

‎"Cruelty to animals is as if man did not love God...there is something so dreadful, so satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power."
Cardinal John Henry Newman

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Auditioning For The National Anthem

Despite what my Facebook status said, I didn't sing for the Akron AEROSOLS baseball team, it was the AEROS. (Damn you, Auto-Correct!)

My S. U. graciously took me to stand out the AEROS stadium this past Saturday. It was REALLY cold. Thank God he had talked me out of my original audition outfit, a skirt and blouse. "It's freezing outside! It's the Aeros for God's sake!"

"It's an audition!" I whined back.

"You're going to freeze," says Mr. Weatherman.

"What? I'm supposed to wear my stuff for the Humane Society?" I was going there next to help with an Education Program (I did feel that would be a Social Faux Pas actually, that it would be unprofessional and DISRESPECTFUL.)

"It's the Aeros, for God's sake! You're gonna freeze."

"It'll be inside, I'll be fine!"

"IT'LL BE OUTSIDE! YOU'RE GONNA FREEZE!" This is turning into a huge Fashion Debate.

"Fine!" I think. And I change. We're standing in line and I'm thinking....could he be right? In the lobby area they had a table where you filled out paperwork and then we went down a long hallway and yes, into the stadium proper. They file us into a line that goes down stairs to one of the gates that leads onto the field. It is freezing and the wind is blowing, circling around the stadium, whipping hair, coats, scarves into a frenzy. I turned to my S.U. and tell him, yes, he was right about my wearing pants!

There are about 6 to 8 people in front of me. God/dess bless them all for trying because I'll bet most of them thought it was ---

a) going to be indoors
b) there would be a piano player

Oh, no! You walked out to (I think) the pitcher's mound and (luckily) faced away from the stands. As I listened I was so glad I had brought my pitch-pipe so I could start on a good note. (NO pun intended.) One of the weird things that happens is if you listen to other people singing, sometimes you pick up their habits or pitch. And with one exception, I was rooting for most of these people to please, please, please Pick A Pitch And Stay There.

Of course being good sports, we all congratulated each person as they came off the field. It is a big deal and it's pretty scary stuff. I kept quietly hitting the Bb on my pitch-pipe. I felt that if I could start right, I could finish right. I began to walk out on to the field, and it was even colder down there. I actually trotted out to the guy with the clipboard and handed him my wildly blowing audition slip. "Hi, how are you? Man, it's cold out here1" And it's really BIG! You don't know how big a real stadium is until you are actually ON the field.

"You are...Mia?"

"Yes, that's me!" He told me how to hold the mike. I took a steadying breath and started to sing. I screwed up one word: "Blare" for "Glare" (I always seem to do that...) and I think I could have hit "free" better but other than that, I thought I did well. The guy with the clipboard said, "That was fantastic!" Thank you, thank you, I'm thinking. I thanked him, said it was fun and trotted back to the doorway back into the stadium.

As I walked up the stairs, people said it was great and I thanked them. One guy said, "You've done this before!"

"Only in Canada!" (I forgot about Nautica ages ago. Another story for another time.)

I'm glad I did it even though they are only looking for 19 people and there were 87 folks there.

There is the ABJ article video...I am not in it....thank God!

Speaking Of Kids....

I talked to an acquaintance of mine who (a bit late in the game) was astounded that their teenaged nieces didn't know Japan was an ISLAND. (Actually Japan is a group of islands: four main islands and over 3000 small ones, but I wasn't going to argue.)

When my acquaintance queried their sister as to why they didn't know that geographcial factoid...the sister said, "It's not on the test." My acquaintance was dumb-founded (which surprised me).

I said, "Where have you been? It's all about taking tests, not learning anything or even HOW to learn. That'a No Child Left Behind." The Acquaintance got a bit defensive, "I don't have kids, why would I know that?"

"Um, cuz they are The Future? Uh, this whole thing has been in the news and TV and all that>..."

I'm glad to know I know kids who actually can think and research and LEARN stuff!

What blew my mind is that my acquaintance didn't know that way too many kids know NOTHING except what's on the tests. I thought I was the original Ostrich Head!

I won't even go into the other part where the sister told her 14 year old to do something and the kid said, "No!" and nothing was done. Another story for another day, (insert a chuckle).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Ray Of Hope

Japanese Man Reunited with His Dog After Tsunami Separated Them
Japanese Man Reunited with His Dog After Tsunami Separated Them Hosted by Imbecile Entertainment

Do you remember a writing exercise you had to do in school; the one where you are given a picture and you have to write a short story about it? (Do kids even do this kind of thing any more?) It was an exercise in creativity, observation and imagination.

I've been to Japan. Many years ago, but I feel blessed to have had this experience. I have a lot of stories, none of which are terribly relevant at the moment.

When the earthquake and tsunami hit this lovely country, i felt so terrible for these people, especially the ones who have survived. Losing their loved ones, their homes and their pets. I heard somewhere that some places there are saying Bring Your Pets With You, but I don't know about that.

And I get (kind of) that some folks are saying People Are More Important Than Animals. Yes, yes, yes, I understand that.

But look at this picture. Look at that man. What story does it write in your mnd and heart?

My heart goes out to him and his dog; to all the people and animals of Japan. In a horrible, terrifying, horrific event, there was for this man a small ray of hope.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pawsibilities, The Humane Society of Greater Akron: PHSGA 1st Blog Contest

Pawsibilities, The Humane Society of Greater Akron: PHSGA 1st Blog Contest: "We are trying to see how many people we can get to follow us on our NEW Blog. The more people that follow the more we can work together ..."

Remember That Head-Spinning Exorcist Thing?

Well, that's they way I'm feeling right about now. My brain is fried, trying to learn to be smarter than my Smart Phone! Syncing calendars, calendars, emails, trying to make it all work. I have been at it all day long but I feel like I'm can see a bit of The Google Cloud.

I would much rather sit in front of my computer screen then type a whole crummy blog with my phone's keypad. Most likely I'd end up with something that should end up in! But I can access my Blog on my phone, another major accomplishment!

There is a part of me that is beginning to fathom what my husband and nephew-in-law are doing, why they are like dogs with a bone. They're going to work at that computer or problem, gnaw at it, until they get it. They want to know the Monster that is the Computer Age, the uncontrolled beast. They want to know the beast because in so many ways, the technology is growing so quickly, that laws, morality, standards, personal integrity just can't keep up with it.

I knew from reading stuff about my Smart Phone that a lot of this kind of thing is feasible, so why not used it. I know a lot of people are really scared of technology and I get that. I am getting less fearful and that really is thanks to people like Marty and Bryan. Even though I sometimes get glassy-eyed when they explain something, i might absorb some of it. And now it's been so much trial and error!

But when I could find stuff on my phone calendar, that was pretty cool! Don't be afriad to spend time with your iPhone or Smart Phone. Just have back-up, know your apps, that kind of thing!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can It Be Done?

Trying to write a little bit without the computer:
Let's see what happens, shall we?
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Expanding Horizons

If you listen, you can hear him purring!

Every since we got Rufus the cat, he has pretty much (voluntarily) stayed in our basement. Cool! I wasn't sure, when Megan's cats (Dink and Envy) arrived her unexpectedly 2 weeks after we got him, whether or not I should integrate them as a "pack." I'm still on the fence about that.

In the last week or so, we have been leaving the basement door open, letting him scope it out. Holding back his breakfast time helped a bit too. (He's very demanding about The Food Thing!) He is SUCH a vocal cat. He has a ton to say!

Today he really ventured out: sitting on Marty's lap while he read the newspaper, lounging on his chair. He even came upstairs and jumped on the bed! I opened the cats' room door (they are separated by a baby gate) and let them gaze upon each other. It's all very interesting! Now I just have to train Elke to be even better with the cats.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Please Watch!

The power of love, theater, puppetry...amazing! (Hankie Alert)
Here is the blurb about the show:

Hobo-Grunt Cycle (IN DEVELOPMENT)
A war and peace epic colliding connections between wounded soldiers, illegal dog fighting, and the hierarchies of circus performers and military personn

The Evil I-mpire

I'll go on public record here...I hate iTunes!

You hear about a song a T.V. show. You think, "That sounds good, I think I'd like that song..." I'd pay money for that. Support a fellow artist's career, etc. etc. i get it.

"It's available through iTunes." OK, a lot of things are "i" this or that. You listen to a snippet, which in itself is kind of a rip-off but OK, I get it. You download the iTunes software which is such a royal pain in the arse that it makes Rhapsody look like Data-intuitive software. You listen to said song and you think, "I'd like to have that song in my collection."

You BUY a song. OK, you BUY it. You PAY money for it. Right? Right.

And then, ha-ha, guess what, you poor schmuck, it's not yours. It never was.

It still belongs to the Evil "i" Empire. I can not put the song onto my "non-i" MP3 players because it's only in an AAC format. If you BURN the sucker onto CD, guess what? It still is not in a format that will convert to MP3. It's only good for use with the "i" stuff. iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc. etc.

Well, I have news for you, Skippy-MAC, Apple-Turn-over Turd-Heads --- I don't have "i" stuff. Yes, I may get a MAC computer someday (for graphics and whatnot) but this single-handedly keeps me from even thinking about an iPad. And granted, it's a pretty cool, slick device. I've recommended many folks getting iPads, knowing what they're probably going to use it for. It IS a cool device, I won't deny it.

However, I'll wait for Mr. Android Tablet doo-dah-day thing to come out.

Hello, iTunes??? I BOUGHT THE D___N SONG! I paid $$ for it. I repeat: Money. Dinero. Bucks. Moolah. Schechkels. Greenbacks.

Now you're telling me I cannot have it in a format to play on my MP3 players or in the CD player in my car?

Can you say RIP-OFF?

I'll wait for the songs I want to BUY to be available on Amazon or Rhapsody or Pandora.

Boo-hiss, iTunes! Steve Jobs, and all the rest of you over there: "Cheap Poopheads!!" I say! (Not that they give a rat's read-end....)

And you all wonder why Android is out-selling the iPhone?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Exercising The Art Chops

I used to draw ALL the time. Then I got into photography. I never was a GREAT artist but it is good for fun stuff, simple things. The Humane Society needed some art for Education Classes for kids. I volunteered (there's that word) to draw what they needed to show kids; a Sleeping Dog, a dog that is chained up; a dog running loose in a field; an eating dog and a friendly person with a dog(s).
I'm glad they are done and they should work fine for little kids!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy 10th Anniversary, Jesse Ann!

Ten years ago, we adopted Jesse Ann. We don't honestly know how old she was when we got her, anywhere from 3 to 5.

We love her. She's always been calm and mellow. She rarely barks; most unusual for a cattledog. A real easy keeper. We have been blessed to have her. She has what Cesar Millan would call "Clam, assertive energy."

She's old and getting gray now and she has slowed down a lot. She has to wear a cone when we're not watching her because she'll chew herself down to the bone. You can feel her ribs, spine and hip bones, she's somewhat frail. Her feet are splayed out like snowshoes! She pants a lot but her spirit is still there. She still eats and she'll play a little bit here and there. She still enjoys ball, although after about 5 tosses, she's getting tired.

She's been in a play (OF MICE AND MEN) and towards the end, she was so defensive of "her" person, she took a swipe at the guy who was supposed to took her off stage and shoot her. Can't blame her; she knew a jerk when she met one!

She's been traveling quite a bit in her lifetime, to dog shows, to Grandma's house, to Florida with Aunt Jamie....

She still has enough moxie to take Elke's toy as she did today. She is still The Boss,The Big Girl. She enjoys her gentle, easy walks.

She stinks and has disgusting farts but we dearly love her. I hope her quality of life continues to be good and her health stays stable.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's So Quiet

I will warn you...hankie alert.

Winger was our alarm system, our Early Warning System.

"Someone is coming up the basement steps! The neighbor's car is in the driveway! I heard a noise! Evil Squirrel is there!" Etc. All the time. It was annoying as hell most of the time. "Give it REST, Winger!"

It's so very quiet now.

Elke is very subdued. I think I may need to find her a play-friend soon. She wants to play and she was playing with Winger. Jesse has always been a very quiet dog, not a lot of barking. And she really is too old to romp and play. I think Elke needs someone to play with a few hours a week. Dogs are, after all, social creatures.

I snapped this picture with my phone Friday morning. I had no idea these pictures with my stupid shitty phone camera would be his last pictures.

I did have a feeling something was really wrong on the way to the vet. You know, one of those creepy feelings inside your gut? Where your stomach is inside out? I had tried to get him to eat breakfast, no dice. I even showed him a interest whatsoever. Not even an ear twitch. I think that's what did it to me, what made my heart just sink. I was tearing up on the way to the vet. Marty was saying, "Jeez, It's OK, he'll be fine." I just couldn't feel it. Winger wasn't eating.

We went to the vet (Dr. Mike), and he was having a hard time finding a steady heart beat. They took blood, then x-rayed him. It showed an enlarged heart. My vet called another vet down the road who does ultra-sound; they were waiting for us. They did the ultra-sound and found he had a child's-fist-sized tumor IN his heart. They could have drained it, which is somewhat risky and it might have given Winger a few days to a few weeks.

At this point, I broke down. We both did. I just didn't know what to do, honestly. I was really torn. Do I let them drain fluid out of his heart? I just did not know. We then decided that we had to let him go. I knew it was the "right" thing but I just didn't know. I really thought Jesse would go first.

They brought Winger in, and he was very dazed and fading. He looked at us and licked Marty's face. I took off his collar, "You don't need this anymore, bud." He has worn that collar from the day we got him. It came with him, from his breeder. We never changed collars.

We were with him all the way, holding him, kissing him, telling him how much we loved him, and it was OK to go.

The vet, Dr. Mark, who we have NEVER been to, never met before, was absolutely outstanding: kind and compassionate. He was petting Winger, before and after. (I did write him a thank you note; my mother would be so proud.) I did not know until we came home, empty-handed with just his collar, that Marty had never had to put an animal to sleep. His animals have always died at home.

He was such a great traveling dog, a great hiking dog. I can see him in my mind's eye, loping on ahead of me, but never too far. If I got up from my chair, if any of us did, he was up...hey, there might be food involved! He was ever-vigilant.

If we'd drop food on the kitchen floor, we'd say, "Clean up in Aisle 7!" and get Winger. He'd eat anything, any time. When he didn't eat there was something very wrong. He ate poop all the time. That I won't miss at all.

When either of us were home alone, he was our bed buddy, always on guard. He was a worrier and sensitive to noise. Thunderstorms and fireworks: not a fun time.

He would have turned himself inside out on his butt for me. He had learned to love so many people but he was Momma's boy. From the moment I saw him in his airline crate at the airport, until the very end. But his last kiss was for Dad.

When he came to us, that day ten years ago in April, he was scared. I peered into the airline crate and just saw two terrified open eyes. He was especially leery of men. I didn't know he had a striped "raccoon tail" until the third day! It took months, years for his confidence level to rise but rise it did. He was happy to meet anyone who would throw him a ball.

Oh the ball! Playing fetch! He was so much fun to play ball with. Just Wednesday, we had a short game. Jesse is really slowing down and Elke runs around with it in her mouth and doesn't get she has to bring it BACK NOW. Winger would get the ball, drop it and STARE AT IT fixated. He would fetch in water too. He enjoyed water and the beach and streams we'd walk near.

He was a fabulous traveling companion. Never got car sick, always pottied pretty much on command. Never really lifted his leg, no marking. Ready for the road, for another adventure. Great in his crate always.

He was "Sir Licks-a-lot", the "Lick-A-Tron 2000." He'd lick you to death if he could. We didn't let him often because of his poo-breath. He'd lay with his head on your foot and always watched with one eye on you. He was a snuggler.

I hope he isn't lost --- in between worlds... After a seizure, he'd have that bewildered look. I can't get it out of my mind's eye. I keep hoping that my sister in law, Kaya, who loved doggies or Hart (whom he knew) was there to help him. "Hey, dude, you wouldn't BELIEVE the poop piles they have here!"

I figured it out....I have owned Jesse and Winger (almost 10 years) longer than I have owned any other dogs. Yes, Hart lived for more than 16 years, but for 13 of them she lived with her daddy. I was just a babysitter and loving Mom.

It is just so weird, so empty, so sad to see his crate and bowl. I'm not ready to take his crate down. It's different when a person dies. "When is the memorial service/funeral?" It's in the newspaper. You get anonymous food gifts, cards. There is something so people can give you hugs and love and talk about your loved one or say they are so sorry. With a pet, it's not there.

And I will say that the out-pouring of love and sympathy from family on the phone, emails and Facebook postings has been tremendous and I am grateful With a few notable exceptions, we haven't gotten any of that it's just a dog, get over it crap. Thank goD! Do you ever get over a hole in your heart? No. Luckily, the heart has room for more love.

This will hurt for days, weeks, months, I know. I will probably second-guess myself too. We are both hurting. It's lonely. There is a part of our home missing. I am grateful that Jesse and Elke and Rufus are here; they too need us as we need them.

Yesterday I had a meeting at the Humane Society that I really had to go to. Everyone there knew that my baby was gone. And they, of all places, get it. Of course. There is a dog there whose vibe, whose gentle, worried spirit reminds me of Winger. Her name is Destiny. I hope she can find her forever home and bless someone the way that Winger, with all his weird ways, blessed us for 10 years.

I cannot stop crying. This just sucks.