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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Five daughters. Five adults. Five sisters. Mary. Pat. Carol. Liz. Cathy.

Monday morning, June 29th,  2015 the oldest of us had a heart attack a day after surgery and she did not survive. Mary was a born again Christian and she found love, family, comfort and joy within her church. She left this world knowing she was loved by the family she created.
Mary didn’t have a lot in the way of material possessions. She had a couple of dogs whom she adored, a few good friends, a few pieces of furniture and a firm belief she knew where she was going when she died. I think if you could ask her she would say she died rich.
One of my sisters commented that when you lose a sibling, your world shifts and it does. Any of us could be angry with the other, gripe and complain but no one else was granted the same privilege. We loved and fought with each other through childhood, teen years, adulthood. No one else knows your history like a sister.  No one else understands you like a sister. No one else can make you as happy or as angry or as sad as a sister.

My oldest sister is gone. We didn't always get along but I miss her. It didn't matter if we talked, I knew where she was, I knew she was in this world, I knew she was there. Now she is not.
One of my sisters pointed out we all need to make an effort to stay in touch, to take the time to be sisters. We live different lives but she is right, we need to make the effort. As she noted, there were five of us, now there are four. There will never be five again.
Four daughters. Four adults. Four sisters. Pat. Carol. Liz. Cathy.
Good bye Mary. We loved you.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bad Decisions notwithstanding, poverty should not mean my dogs are better cared for than humans. . .

We took Punkin to the vet the other day for his annual. He's the oldest dog here, 15 1/2 years old, cataracts, hard of hearing, toothless and a mind of his own. In addition to being the oldest, he is also the smallest at 3.2 lbs. Lest you think that puts him at a disadvantage, let me put your mind at ease, this little guy runs the place. 

He thinks nothing of charging Prince to take over Prince's meal if the mood hits him and he'll even tackle Nikki if she irritates him. Because he has thyroid issues he usually has a T4 test every year which is a blood draw taken from the neck region. When he first had a T4 several years ago, this 3 lb dog needed 7 (yes SEVEN) people to hold him in order to draw blood without hurting him. Today they have a system and can do it with only 3 people. Punkin knows exactly how to take advantage of his diminutive size.

His blood tests came back and he needs to start eating kidney friendly food which is fine, prescription diets are no strangers in this house of former mill dogs. His tests also revealed the beginning of glaucoma so he was prescribed eye drops which hopefully will relieve the pressure, if not then it's off to see our favorite ophthalmologist at MedVet.

His eye drops are what prompted me to write today. While waiting to pick up Punkin's prescription at the pharmacy two people were ahead of me. One gentleman had apparently lost his insurance and was trying to decide which medications he could pick up. I had Mason with me at the walk-up window so we walked away to give the man privacy. When we came back a lady was picking up several prescriptions. I heard the pharmacy tech tell her that the $181 xyz prescription was not covered by Medicaid and asked if she had a supplemental insurance plan. The lady said no and asked about two other prescriptions that apparently were covered ~ at this point Mason and I walked away again to give her privacy.

Once the lady left, I went back to the window to pick up Punkin's eye drops. They weren't terribly expensive but they weren't inexpensive either. I thought, not for the first time, how fortunate we are to be able to care for our pets and ourselves. We've never been in a position where we had to choose between medical care for our pets and the shelter or euthanasia. We've never had to pass on a prescription for one of our dogs or ourselves because we couldn't afford it. Decisions about our dog's welfare are made based on what we believe is best for them, not for financial reasons.

Somehow it does not seem right that whether you live in pain or comfort, live with a medical condition or are cured, even live or die should depend on how much money you have. Somehow, it does not seem right that my dogs have better care than many humans. I understand that sometimes people are living in poverty because of bad decisions, but I don't agree that those bad decisions are justification to either let them suffer in pain or die. We need to fix this. We need to help those who can't afford medical care. We need to take care of our own.  In this country? In this state? In this city? We need to do better. . . .

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Sweetie & Holly

Sweetie is the little Yorkie in front, Holly is the foxy, red Pom in back and we lost them both in April of 2014.

I usually write a eulogy for my dogs when we lose one but I have not been able to say goodbye to these two. They were such bright lights in our home and losing them both so close together was a nightmare. Both of these little dogs came to us as rescues, Sweetie's owner was in a nursing home and her care takers were not kind to her. Holly came to us from a rescue friend who saved her from a terrible breeder.

When Sweetie came to us, it was just going to be for a short stay until we found her a home. She had been locked in a basement for 5 months and was so happy to be out and among people again that she was super hyper. She barked, turned in circles and zipped around like a crazy dog. Once she understood she was not going to be sent to the basement and that sofas and beds were once again in her future, she became the happiest of dogs. At one point I wanted to change her name but the fact is, once we got to know her there clearly was no other name that fit her. She came here a "Sweetie" and she left here a Sweetie.  Cancer may have robbed her of a few more years but it could not take away her wonderful personality.

Holly the pretty, red Pom left us way too soon. She was such a character. She was happy go lucky and silly and just loved life. We called her our rabble rouser because she would be sitting outside and all of a sudden jump up, run to the other side of the yard barking her head off. All the other dogs would take off after her barking like idiots and Holly would stop in her tracks, walk back to where she started and sit back down watching the fun. Oh what a stinker she was. 

I don't know what happened to her. She laid down on the deck one day, went to sleep and never woke up. She had been to the vet a few months previous, her bloodwork was good, her dental went well, she had a clean bill of health. The days and weeks before she died she exhibited no symptoms. She ate supper the night before and breakfast the day she died. I just don't know what happened to her. I do know that this house is a bit quieter, there is a certain silliness missing and there is a hole where both Holly and Sweetie once were.

I really can't write a eulogy for these two little ones. Maybe someday but not today. For now girls just know, Mom loves you both.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I borrowed this blog from one called "TRUE STORIES OF A MIDWEST YANKEE"

I read this blog and thought it was worth sharing. Random acts of kindness are so worth mentioning as are the wonderful people on the receiving end. I've included a link to the original blog at the bottom as I am only sharing, not owning. Grab a tissue and rejoice in knowing there are Angels out there. . . .

Dear woman behind me in line at the grocery store,

You don’t know me. You have no clue what my life has been like since October 1, 2013. You have no clue that my family has gone through the wringer. You have no clue that we have faced unbelievable hardship. You have no clue we have been humiliated, humbled, destitute.

You have no clue I have cried more days than not; that I fight against bitterness taking control of my heart. You have no clue that my husband’s pride was shattered. You have no clue my kids have had the worries of an adult on their shoulders. You have no clue their innocence was snatched from them for no good reason. You know none of this.

What you do know is I tried to buy my kids some food and that the EBT machine was down so I couldn’t buy that food. I didn’t have any cash or my debit card with me. I only had my SNAP card. All you heard was me saying “No, don’t hold it for me. My kids are hungry now and I have no other way of paying for this.” You didn’t judge me. You didn’t snarl “Maybe you should have less kids.” You didn’t say “Well, get a job and learn to support yourself.” You didn’t look away in embarrassment or shame for me. You didn’t make any assumptions at all.

What you did was you paid that $17.38 grocery bill for us. You gave my kids bananas, yogurt, apple juice, cheese sticks, and a peach ice tea for me; a rare treat and splurge. You let me hug you and promise through my tears that I WILL pay this forward. I WILL pay someone’s grocery bill for them. That $17.38 may not have been a lot for you, but it was priceless to us. In the car my kids couldn’t stop gushing about you; our “angel in disguise.” They prayed for you. They prayed you would be blessed. You restored some of our lost faith. One simple and small action changed our lives. You probably have forgotten about us by now, but we haven’t forgotten about you. You will forever be a part of us even though we don’t even know your name.

You have no clue how grateful and embarrassed I am that we pay for all our food with SNAP. We eat well thanks to the government. I love that. I love that the government makes sure my kids are cared for. It is one less worry for us. I also struggle with pride and embarrassment. I defiantly tell people we are on SNAP. Daring them to judge us.
Only those closest to us know why we are on SNAP. They know my husband is a hard worker who was laid off after 17 years in a management position with his former company. They know we were moved from our home to a new state only to be left homeless since the house we had came with the job he lost. Only those closest to us know my husband works part time while looking tirelessly for more; that he has submitted more applications than he has received interviews for. Too many jobs are only offering part time work anymore. It is not easy for a 40-something year old to find a job that will support his family of 5 kids.

You know none of this but you didn’t let that stop you from being compassionate and generous to someone you have never met.

To the woman behind me at the grocery store, you have no idea how much we appreciate you. You have no idea the impact you had on my kids. You have no idea how incredibly thankful I am for you. Your action may have been small, but to us it was monumental. Thank you.

Thank you for not judging us. Thank you for giving my kids a snack when they were quite hungry. Thank you. Just thank you.

Andrea, the woman in front of you at the grocery store with the cart full of kids who are no longer hungry

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

30 Random Thoughts on 1/1/2013

  1. Don't strive for perfection. Don't date it, marry it or want it. It's boring, annoying and unattainable.
  2. Like is more important than love. It's easy to turn like into love, not as easy to turn love into like.
  3. Care for something small, cuddly and furry, preferably at least 4 or 5 years old, maybe a dog or a cat. Your life and your education will be incomplete until you love and are loved unconditionally by a pet.
  4. Instead of using the dishwasher, once a month wash your glasses with a new sponge in hot, soapy water.  The sparkle and shine will put a smile on your face.
  5. Take a little "ME" time each day, it may be only 10 minutes but it should be your 10 minutes.
  6. Walk barefoot in the rain at least once each summer.
  7. Do random acts of kindness frequently. You could give a smile to a stranger or send a note of praise for a teacher, store clerk, or receptionist. You could visit a nursing home, animal shelter or school and volunteer to spend time with a senior, an animal or a child. Maybe you will choose to buy  cup of coffee for the person behind you in the coffee shop or pay for a stranger's groceries.
  8. See a musical at least once a year, more often if you can manage it.
  9. Read a biography, a love story, a mystery and a thriller every year. Books expand your horizon and take you to wondrous places.
  10. Send a favorite author a note and thank them for a great story.
  11. Do something totally out of character at least once every six months - strike up a conversation with a stranger, join the crew of a community theater, try something that scares the bejeebees out of you.
  12. Find a charity that holds the same values as you and give it your support. Donate money (just a touch more than is comfortable) because all good charities need funding and you need to learn to budget. Donate time because devoting time and attention keeps those values in the forefront.
  13. When someone knows they are wrong, they will attack. Stand firm. Don't yell, shout or make a scene. In time they will stop or be exposed. It is not your responsibility to try to change their values, only examine and hold true to your own.
  14. Find something that makes you laugh each day. Watch a pet play, listen to a humorous story, look for the humor in a surprising situation, laugh at the outrageous. Laughter celebrates joy. Laughter should never be mean.
  15. Treat yourself to a manicure, a pedicure or a different hairstyle once in a while just because.
  16. Wear mismatched socks because they are warm and fun and it's important not to take yourself too seriously.
  17. Have a snowball fight on a snowy day. Drink hot chocolate on the back porch. Sing at the top of your lungs. Don't worry about the neighbors, they'll like it or not. Doesn't matter, do it anyway.
  18. Take your camera to the park, walk 30 feet, turn left and point and snap. Now look up, turn to your right and point and snap. Walk 75 feet, repeat. Discover the wonder in the every day snapshots of your life. Share the photos with others.
  19. Everyone is scared at some point, just keep going, it gets easier.
  20. When you don't feel well, go to a doctor. When it hurts, take pain medication. When it doesn't hurt, don't take pain medication.
  21. Avoid people and groups who use the phrase "I hate. . . .", they love drama, create chaos and drain your energy. They are telling you who they are, believe them.
  22. When you are unsure what to do, take the kindest action.
  23. Giggle. It's good for you.
  24. Silence equals consent. If someone says or does something that goes against your core values, speak up. You probably won't change them but one rational voice in the crowd can make a difference. Be the difference.
  25. When you are unkind, apologize.
  26. Tackle big tasks one step at a time. If you want to quit smoking, just don't smoke that one cigarette. If you need to lose weight, work on losing one pound.Find a way to make it work.
  27. Sometimes you just need to have a good cry, it's okay, cry.
  28. Buy something silly and play with it. A bottle of bubbles, a coloring book and crayons, a jump rope.  Rediscover the kid in you.
  29. Don't beat yourself up. Don't beat others up. Every day each of us are doing the best we can with what we have.
  30. Find someone to love and love them completely. A spouse, a child, a sibling, a cousin, a friend, a pet, yourself. . . . love really does make the world a better place.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Republicans:

Let it go. You misjudged the American people and what they want. The President of the United States is a Democrat. Get over it. Do you want a Republican President in 2016? Okay, here are a few suggestions.

1. Practice what you preach. You want less government? Then stay out of my gynecologist's office. You are not a doctor. Your opinion on abortion should not be law. It is not the government's concern either. Get your transvaginal ultrasound wands out of women's vaginas. Forcing women to endure a medical rape is wrong, stop it. Of course you have a right to state your opposition to abortion. You do not have a right to stop a pregnant woman from having one. Let it go.

2. If you oppose Gay marriage because of  the teachings of your church, realize those are your beliefs not mine. Just as you believe Gay marriage is wrong, I believe it is right. You and I were born heterosexual, just like some people are born gay. Neither side made a lifestyle change, we are what we are. Your religion teaches that God is all powerful so recognize s/he had a powerful reason for making some of us gay. Stop the conversation about gay marriage just grant equal rights to all and move on.

3. The country is changing, please change with it. Many of you are smart, brilliant, creative, wonderful people with a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. Share it with everyone, white, black, Hispanic, Asian and every other citizen in this country. Do you care about others besides middle class white men? I think you do, show it.  Talk to women, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. ask us questions and listen to our answers. You can't be inclusive if you don't talk to us.

4. Helllllloooo! Republican men need to recognize that rape is an act of violence, women do not choose to get raped, they don't enjoy it, they aren't looking for it, they can rarely prevent a stronger, determined man from committing it. Women do not have some secret secretion in their bodies that will prevent a pregnancy occurring from a rape. Recognize rape is a crime of violence and support the victims of rape. When a Republican politician refers to "legitimate" rape, or indicates a woman's body will reject pregnancy when they are raped, or makes other equally ignorant statements stop backing and supporting those politicians. There is no excuse for such attitudes in the 21st Century.  Run, do not walk, away from those people. Republicans everywhere need to educate themselves on rape and then drum the "war on women fools" out of the party. You will not lose anything important. 

5. You could solve the immigration problem. Some of the smartest people in this country are Republicans. Stop fighting and find a solution. The majority of Americans will not agree to deport American children born in this country of illegal aliens. If their parents are good citizens, find a workable way for the children to be naturalized and the parents to become citizens. You want to deport the low life and criminals? No problem, so do the Democrats.  Fair immigration reform will win more than the Hispanic vote, you'll win many Democrats too.   

6. Disavow the extremists. Michelle Bachman, Eric Cantor, Grover Norquist and others of the same ilk need to go. Bachman is incredibly ignorant on so many subjects that she brings down the collective IQ of the entire Republican party by at least 50 points. Cantor grandstands but has no real economic comprehension. America can not afford rigid, arrogant, self serving politicians anymore. Norquist highjacks and intimidates elected Republicans by bullying them to sign a no new taxes pledge. Get rid of the fools who sign the pledge along with Norquist. Elected officials need to be able to negotiate on issues and follow the directive of the voters who put them in office not blindly follow other politicians such as Norquist. If a new tax is out of line, any politician, Republican or Democrat should vote against it without a pledge forcing them to vote it down and if the tax is beneficial, they also have an obligation to vote in support of it. Rush Limbaugh, ugh. He is not enhancing the Republican party. Dump him.

7. Find an honorable, strong leader to put forth as a candidate for 2016. No more Bachman, Gingrich, Santorum, Romney, Ryan types. While they each may have had some value, overall each was not a strong, honorable leader. Americans are not simpletons, we know fools when we see them. Find a candidate with a strong belief in the people of this country. Someone who wants to work with 100% of Americans and does not write off  47% of the population or think of us as "you people."  The next candidate should be willing to release at least 5 yrs of tax returns and should recognize the difference between personal beliefs and political issues.If the next candidate can run a campaign without trashing their opponent, they will have my vote and a lot of others as well. We want to know what the candidate believes, not what they don't like about their opponent. (This goes for Democrats too but I'm trying to help the Republicans right now.)

8. Last, but not least, understand the majority of this country, regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation or gender is moderate. There are always going to be crackpots on both sides of the aisle. Ignore them. Crazy liberals and extreme conservatives don't have enough support to put anyone in office so stop catering to them. You don't have to insult them or anger them but you also don't have to agree with them. Moderation, bipartisanship, willingness to work toward the middle, knowing when to stand strong and when to compromise ~ those are what we are looking for in a leader. All Americans, regardless of party, want a leader. You give us that, we'll support you.

Everything else. . . let it go.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Lesson Too Valuable to Ignore. . . .

See this little guy? His name is Punkin and he came from a rescue group based out of Canton, Ohio. The founder, Robin Aufderheide has a 17 year old son named Zack.

Zack is growing his hair to 10 inches so he can donate it to another charity called Locks of Love. They take the hair and have it made into wigs and hair pieces for children with cancer and other diseases that cause them to lose their hair.

Zack currently came under fire at school because the dress code states boys hair can not be in a ponytail, fall below the collar or cause a disruption. He was told to follow the rules and get his hair cut. When Zack explained why he was growing his hair the principal suggested he go to a board meeting and ask for an exemption until his hair was long enough to donate. Zack did, the board listened to him, it appeared a member or two empathized with him and at the next board meeting, they voted and determined he had to cut his hair or suffer the consequences.

So far the consequences have been an in-school suspension and way more attention from the media than Zack ever wanted. Rules are important, they hold havoc at bay. But sometimes, the really responsible thing to do is to respectfully break the rules. I've known Zack's Mom for years through the rescue community and I've known Zack as the youngster who used to ride shotgun with his mom on many a transport.

I don't know the school officials that believe the rules are there for a reason and can not be broken, I don't understand their thought process but I do know this:

Robin is a good Mom who started a rescue group and has fought to save small breed dogs whether they are strays, owner surrenders or come from puppy mills. Her son learned kindness and caring and that sometimes it is important, even responsible to break a rule for the greater good. Now would be a teachable moment for the Canton High School Zack attends.  Teach the students that rules are important but sometimes, the greater good is more important. 

Lead by example and show the students that sometimes Principals, Superintendents, even School Board Members will stand up and break the rules because it is the right thing to do. Teaching the student body that adults can recognize an error and fix it, is a lesson much too valuable to let pass. I support Zack and I hope the Principal, Superintendent and School Board will too.