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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.

Friday, February 11, 2011


My boy, my buddy, best hiking dog, the "Lick-a-tron 2000" is gone. We had to put him to sleep late this morning.
After the vet ultra-sounded his chest and saw the tumor in his heart, we had to decide to let him go.
They brought him to us, and he licked Marty's face. We held him and petted him and cried over him while the very nice vet, Dr. Mark gave him the injection.
I wish I felt like he's crossed over and is at the Rainbow Bridge. But I feel like he's partway here, confused and bewildered. I can't shake the feeling.

Freaked Out

Winger has not eaten since yesterday morning, which was Marty's birthday. He was his usual goofy, noisy self yesterday morning.

Now he is listless and did not eat breakfast. He puked up everything that was pretty much in his stomach at some point last night. I had him out of his crate for the night.

So I am totally freaked out but trying to maintain my decorum. I keep imaging the worst, that he is dying or we have to put him to sleep. So I am very teary. Whatever is going on, it is NOT normal.

7:50 am. Can't call the vet's office until 8 pm. Tick-tock. He's laying by the back door. His stomach is making grumbling, gurgling noises; I can hear it from here.

He didn't even perk up when I said "Ball?" That always gets these cattledogs, they love to play ball.

7:55. Tick-tock. Come on, clock. I know time moves forward at what now seems to be an alarming pace (unlike when I was a kid). Right now, it seems to be slow.

Poor baby, something is not right in Winger-ville. And I can't stop tearing up and I am feeling just barely in control. I know (intellectually) that falling into a blubbering mass will not help anyone, certainly not Winger.

Usually he's barking, "Feed me! Hurry up, feed me! Oh, there is someting I must bark at. A sound, a noise, someone came into the room/house/you name it. I must bark at Evil Squirrel! Feed me! Jesse and Elke are playing, I must tell you in every detail about this!"

Not a peep.

It's 8:02 and I just called the vet. he has an appointment at 9:30. I hate waking people up to tell them I need to go. I'm OK in the morning. I'd never call myself a Morning Person BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION but I am surrounded by people who are NOT OK, who are not morning people. Which kind of pisses me off when I am worried or distressed. But that's my thing, I guess.

I guess I'll have to wait and see what's going on at 9:30.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Dogs today

The cattledogs love to play ball. That hasn't changed. Jesse wears out easier of course, but Winger can still go until his sides are heaving. Elke still isn't much on the fetching thing. She seems to enjoy chasing the other dogs and stealing the ball!

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Pictures & Thank You, Randy W!

I had to "audition" for a gig, long story. While I had my hair done up and makeup on, I had Marty take some pictures of me. I kinda needed an updated photo anyway.... I re-did the background in Photoshop but no, I haven't redone ME. Yet....After all, the door was SUCH an attractive background. Right.

It's weird how I have to stand up REALLY straight and pull my head up REALLY high so I don't get that chicken neck thing happening.

The older I get the more I "get" Face Lifts! LOL! Trust me, ladies (and many gentlemen) MAKEUP IS YOUR FRIEND!!

it's a P.I.T.A. to put it on, yes, I know. I am not enamored with doing the deed but i can see the results. When I am doing a play/show, I kind of like it as it's a relaxing ritual thing. Listen to some tunes and really take your time.

What was crazy was I did a French Twist with a rolled front curl in 5 minutes. Lest you think this is a yawner, it's not that easy. Not really.

Now, I didn't think I could do it. My hair usually looks like I went backwards through a bush. Granted, my hair is longer now,(past my shoulders) which is helpful. But I never was nor will I ever be my late and throughly lamented Gay friend, Randy Wines, who really, seriously, swear-to-God could turn a Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse. If Randy had a hair brush, hair spray, a few hair pins and the absolute bare minimum of makeup, he could make Mick Jagger into Miss America. The pig would be a shoe-in!

I must have channeled my inner Randy because that hair went up like a Prom Queens's Dress at the After-party.

And all this to sing two songs. Sheesh.

Thank you, Randy. All that teasing, spraying, pinning, yanking, plucking, and talking to me in Dream-time must have embedded itself in to some hidden cranial hard-drive in my relatively Hair Challenged brain.

But I still miss you, honey. And thank you for coming to me in two dreams in 2005 and telling me TWICE to quit smoking. (That's another story...) I know you're saving the First Dance for me, then it's Marty's turn....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm Amazed: How Have I lived So Long?

How did I make it to 56 years old?

When I was growing up: I didn't wear a bike helmet, no seat belts until I was in high school, got smacked when I was bad, had chores, climbed trees, rode horses without a helmet (unless I was jumping), was bottle fed after 6 weeks, been hazed, bullied, tormented.

I got filthy dirty, did hard physical labor, have NEVER had a flu shot, talk(ed) on my cell phone next to my EAR, stand (stood) near microwave ovens, drank pop, ate crap with crap in it, slept in my own crib/ bed, WALKED to school, broke many bones, took my knocks, spilled hot liquid all over myself, got cuffed for bad manners....etc. etc.

I'm serious. HOW HAVE I MADE IT SO FAR? According the "Modern Parenting System" I should be DEAD!!!

Stop the molly-coddling, please, Modern Parents.

Please. Stop. Now.

Kids. Are. Resilient.

A whole generation SURVIVED. They thrived, even.

Boomers. We may be crazy in a ton of ways but we're pretty tough. Granted, our parents were even tougher!

I'll even give some GenXers a Moderate Thumbs Up.

Modern Parents are big old scaredy cats. It's a messy, confusing, basically thankless job, raising the next generation.

Ohmigod, if we bottle feed them, let them sleep in their own rooms, let them ride a trike (much less a bike) with the wind in their hair, let them cry, give them rules, boundaries and limitations, stick them in a play-pen for a few hours, make them eat what's on the table, make them behave in public, have manners, don't sue our neighbor when our kid breaks an arm on the neighbor's swing set, let them GO on a swing set/slide/teeter totter, etc. etc. WE'VE FAILED! We've "stifled their growth." We've "crushed their individuality." We've squashed the little flower that they are.

Oh, please. I am a beautiful, complex rose bush, full of fragrance, softness and thorns. I'll always bloom someway, somehow until it's time for me to rejoin Mother Earth and Father Sky, my spirit soaring.

Guess what? Using the Modern Parenting System, we've raised a generation of self-entitled, spoiled, whiny, self-important, standardized-test-taking, techno savvy but socially inept, irresponsible, lazy, rude brats. And I don't see any improvements happening soon. If I'm unfortunate, they'll be wiping my ancient butt. The thought terrifies me because they won't because it's dirty, hard, sh*tty work.

Please. Stop. Now.

Stop enabling kids.

You are not their friend. You are their parent. You get to be their friend when they're not living with you (or off you) any more. When they're on their own, with a job, paying bills, not living in your house...THEN you get to be friends.

I can't even get some 20-something arse-hole to give up his seat on the bus to some woman old enough to be his great-grandmother. A ten year old may be able to hack into my computer but he can't make his bed or clean out the cat box? God forbid he should stand up when a woman of any age comes into the room. The whiny 22 year old with the dyed black hair and fingernails? God forbid she should do the dishes even though her parent(s) are paying for her car/phone/housing.

Please. Stop. Now. You're enabling.

You. Are. Not. Helping.

If you want to read something elevating, put down the Mouse and read Denis Leary's WHY WE SUCK. He says it way better than I ever will. The audio book is even better.

I give kudos to my next-door neighbor. He's managed to raise two really nice, helpful, funny, bright, athletic, well-adjusted boys/young men. I bet he'd be happy to share his parenting tips. I'm guessing they include a bop upside the head when needed.

Sometimes I think I should way too much like my grand-mother: "Kids today....blah, blah, blah..." Mea culpa.

I ask again: how have I survived so long?