Monday, March 12, 2012

Even in the midst of sadness

Abundant joy...

There is nothing like family.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


The day after.
Just down the stairs and turn the corner.  You just have to go down the stairs and turn the corner.  You can picture it in your head.  You think you know how it will be.  You can't stay in the dark silence of your bedroom forever.  You have to move forward now.  Just down the stairs and turn the corner.  See the empty places that will never hold his body again.  Hear the quiet where there should be steps and morning sneezes.  Hold your palm out all you want - the playful nips or touch of a nose will not come.  You can see it in your mind and now you have to face it. 
Say goodbye little by little. 
Say goodbye over and over. 
Just go down the stairs and turn the corner.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Found this single butterfly wing on the ground.
I choose to believe that the butterfly shed this wing
and grew another in its place
so it could become
a more unique
and beautiful creature.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


It was all worth it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blakeslee PA

too tired to write
love the mountain air in the Poconos
day ended with this

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ohio doesn't want me to leave

Hit the wall today. Barely able to drive 2 hours. Doggies feeling it too. Stopped in Youngstown. Dogs napping in hotel while I watch a thunderstorm build outside.

I think I have a Feng Shui gremlin in my head. This room is all wrong. Beds should be on the other side. Even Monk felt it. He paced for 20 minutes before he settled down.

Nap time now. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Napoleon Ohio

Napoleon was supposed to be Cleveland, but I realized last night at almost midnight that trying to drive nine hours in one day is craaaaaazy.  Was able to change my reservations to make it a seven hour drive instead.

Lots of states today.  Started in Iowa, through Illinois, through Indiana, unplanned pit stop in Michigan (didn't even know I was in Michigan) and finally Ohio.  Illinois wins the worst traffic award.  Drove for 3 hours straight and then was stuck for an hour in traffic that was either at a complete standstill, or going 5 MPH. It was because of major construction.  It's a good thing that I have a bladder the size of a baby whale.

Illinois also produced my first brush with the law.  I got pulled over for doing 60 in a 55 MPH construction zone.  Now I swear I was going with the flow of traffic and others were going even faster.  My theory is that these young officers saw the California plates and wanted to see if the female driver was a cutie.  Those poor guys.  I'm sure I wasn't what they were hoping for.  

Lily wasn't taking any crap from them.  She barked her head off at both of them, guns be damned.  I apologized and they were very nice about it.  They let me off with a warning and told me to drive safe.

I wish I had a second head, an extra pair of hands and an invisible camera.  The head and hands are so I could take pictures while I am driving.  There are so many things that catch my eye, but there is no way I'm fumbling with a camera at high speeds.  Like the billboard that said, "DON'T DIE WITH YOUR TEETH IN A GLASS!"  It was an ad for dental implants.  

And I want the invisible camera so I can take pictures of people without them knowing.   Like the guy at the local restaurant in Michigan with the most excellent mullet.  Or the cowboys at the truck stops in Wyoming.  Or the young cop who pulled me over today.  I would never have the nerve to ask people if I could take their picture.  Plus that would ruin the spontaneity.  So when our Overlords at Apple or Google invent the eye-implant camera, I'll be first in line.

No pictures today.  I can't say the scenery in any of those states really move me.  It's all downhill after Wyoming.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Coralville Iowa

My last memories of Nebraska - walking out the door in the morning and inhaling deeply the warm, cow-scented air.  Also Karl Rove on Fox News at the restaurant with my morning eggs.  Joy.

Monk waiting to get the hell out of Nebraska.

Today's drive was one of the shorter ones.  I'm getting the hang of wrangling the beasts at every stop.  Needed a little Barry Manilow therapy for the last hour when I started to feel tired.  It's hard to be sleepy when you are belting out Barry tunes at the top of your lungs.  He writes the songs that makes the whole world sing.

But today also felt a little melancholy.  I've passed the halfway point.  I am really leaving California.  I have lived there for 18 years.  Eight years in San Francisco and ten years in San Diego.  

I LOVED my time in San Francisco.  I did a lot of growing up there and made lifelong friends.  I was 24 when I decided to go and jumped in a car with a couple of suitcases and drove myself out there.   No job, no money saved - just a friend's couch to crash on.  But I knew it would all work out.  And it did.

One of my favorite San Francisco memories - did the CA Aids Ride in 1997 - SF to LA in 6 days. These kids were holding up signs by the side of the road so I stopped to get a picture.

Moved to San Diego for a new job and I definitely didn't dig San Diego as much.  I can't believe I stayed there for ten years.  It is a beautiful place and I will never complain about year-round flip-flop wearing and all that blooms in the winter months.  But I was never really happy there.

So I am sad to be leaving my California dream.  Something about it always felt like home to me, especially San Francisco.  It sounds so corny and cliched, but I really did "find myself" there.  I am leaving behind a lot of things I love.  Probably forever. 

I keep leaving pieces of myself along the way on this trip.  Left my soap in Wyoming.  Tonight I realized I left a t-shirt that I like in Nebraska (karma for all my bad mouthing of that state.)  Parts of me aren't ready to go.  It is hard to say goodbye to a life you've known for so long.

But I do have a lot to look forward to.  A great family and a BFF who I haven't lived near in ages.  I get to live with them instead of just visiting their lives a couple of times a year.  Tomorrow I will enter their same time zone.  And I will stay. 

Feels good. 
Feels right. 
But still sad for what's left behind.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kearney Nebraska

Oh, Nebraska!  You poor, mind-numbingly boring slice of middle America.  You just can't compare to my recent fling with Wyoming.  Nothing but slightly rolling grasslands and farmland.  Browns and greens, browns and greens.  Even the cows looked bored.  Sure, the aroma that perfumed the air when I passed that cattle yard was interesting.  But it's not the kind of interesting that steals a girl's heart.  

Even your sunset was half-hearted.  The flat gray clouds turned an anemic pink, with the slightly yellow undertone of an older gent with liver failure.  You had so much potential with all that sky.  But it's like Nebraska is the kid who never got to use crayons.

There's still time to wow me.  You've got about two hundred more miles tomorrow to try to show me something.

On another note - yesterday Monk proved the theory that he is quite capable and more than willing to jump out of an open car window if given the chance.  Fortunately, we were parked and I was outside of the car.  I am very Pro-Dog-Face-Out-Window when driving.  But I always had my suspicions about Monk and never rolled his down all the way.  He went over to Lily's side and took the plunge.  He doesn't seem to have hurt himself.  But I've got my eye on him now.  No more flying leaps for him.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rawlins Wyoming

A little bit of Utah

Truck stop in Wyoming

I like Wyoming.

Ended the daylight hours with a pink sunset that lingered forever across the seemingly endless sky.  And on the other side of the road was a rainbow rising up from the reddish-brown mesas into a towering stack of clouds.  Sorry, didn't stop for pictures.  Use your imagination, kids.

Later, competing lightning storms continually flashed in the distant skies, startling the darkness.  It was a great ride.

Lily & Monk on their comfy dog beds in the back seat.  I am their bitch.  I live only to serve them.

Mesquite, NV

Someone at the Best Western has little legs.
Someone at the Best Western has discovered that those little legs can run.
and forth.
and forth.
In the room right above me.
At 6:30 AM.
Lucky me.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lily the Wonder Dog

The girl just won't go down.  (Not that I want her to.)

Woke up this morning to find Lily next to her bed panting and unable to get up.  She was also laying in her own shit.  It thought it was the end.  She's 12 years old and a large breed dog.  Of course, as stressed out as she was, she still wagged her tail when she saw me.  There's an inspirational poster in there somewhere - Even when laying in a pile of your own shit, don't forget to wag your tail!  (Someone give me the lying/laying lesson.  I never get that right.)

Tried to help her up and she just couldn't do it.  Moved her over and cleaned up the poop.  Tried to think about how I was going to get this 90-pound dog into my car by myself.  Got her on top of a flattened cardboard box which helped me drag her to the door.  She kept trying to get up and I used one of these bursts to get her out the door to the front porch.  

The next obstacle was the eight cement steps down to the sidewalk.  I took a breather and sat with her on the front porch in the quiet, cool morning.  I cried.  She sniffed the air and watched the birds.  I really thought I was taking her to her death.  

I had to stop the crying or I'd never get her into the car.  I summoned my Wonder Woman strength and picked up her wiggly ass and carried her down the steps and into the car.  If Fat, Wiggly Animal Carry ever makes it as an Olympic event, I'm in.

Drove to the emergency vet.  Lily still couldn't stand up but she managed to drag herself up enough to lean on the door and stick her head out the window.  More crying.  (Me, not her.)

I get there and and the 12-year-old Veterinarian, Dr. Holly Hobbie, tells me it could be this: Idiopathic Vestibular Disease.  The system that controls balance and coordination goes all wonky for no reason.  Happens in older dogs.  (Yes, they have the youngest looking vets at that place.  I swear to you she didn't look a day over thirteen.)  Dr. Holly Hobbie suggests that we should rule out every other disease in the world before we can be sure.  She wants to do blood tests, urinalysis, chest x-ray and abdomen ultrasound.  Whoa there, youngster.  I know you have a Colorforms addiction to feed, but let's be reasonable.  

I ask her to call my own veterinarian (who wasn't open when this whole ordeal began) to fill her in on what's going on with Lily.  And then I talk to my wizened and sage 40-something-year-old vet to get her advice.  No X-ray, no ultrasound. Just do some labs and let them keep her overnight and give her fluids.  See how she is in the morning.  Sounds good to me. 

So even though this Idiopathic Vestibular nonsense typically goes on for days or weeks, they call later in the afternoon and say that Lily is walking around.  She ate like a voracious beast.  She's fine.

Such a relief.  She's home.  Happy as ever.  She could have a recurrence, but at least I now know what it is.  In four days I leave with the beasts for our 3,000 mile joy ride.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Would you like some crackers with that cheese?


Walking into the mini-mart to pay cash for my gas. 

Smiling gas station attendant: Hi!  How are you?

Me smiling back: I'm good.  How are you?

Slightly leering gas station attendant:  I'm good now! [looking me up and down]

And let's be clear - I'm wearing baggy, comfortable Saturday pants, a tired old t-shirt, flip flops and my unwashed hair is thrown up in messy bun.  I'm 42 and I ain't no spring chicken.

Amused Me: Thirty dollars on pump number one.

Still smiling gas station attendant: Number one - like you?

I just laughed and walked away.   I bet Cheese-Master Flash is a hit with all the ladies.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When I rise

When I rise up

let me rise up joyful

like a bird.

When I fall

let me fall

without regret

like a leaf.

Wendell Berry

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Coming in June...

Two dogs, just looking to have a good time...

One 10-year-old Prius

3,053 miles - from the Pacific to the Atlantic
View Cross country Route 80 in a larger map

What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fugitive Captured

Doesn't it look like a mug shot?  She seems awfully guilty to me.  

Had a successful Kitty Hunt on Saturday night and then dropped her with a vet who would have Animal Control pick her up.  She was dirty, full of fleas, had cuts on her face and something wrong with her tail.  The Animal Control in my city works very closely with the Humane Society, so I am very hopeful that she'll be adopted out.  She was a friendly girl. 

Casanova Kitty misses his girlfriend, though.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Felis catus haiku

Orange cat in heat
flirting with my sackless male
won't get what she wants
Orange cat in heat
seems it did not work for you
abstinence only
Orange cat in heat
late evening til early morn
sounds like Justin Bieb(er)
Orange cat in heat
tomorrow I will catch you
then what will we do?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mike is a girl

Mike is a girl.  I'm still going to call her Mike.  We don't need no stinking gender restricting stereotypes around here.

My favorite nerds at identified Mike in record time.  She is a type of Orb Weaver.  And we know that she is a she because she was sitting up high in a web that she built.  The males of the species do not build webs.  They spend their lives wandering around looking for chick-spiders to hook up with.  After they mate, they die.  That must be quite the one-night stand.  (I'll bet he doesn't even cuddle when it is over.)

You might be familiar with a very famous Orb Weaver:
Ain't Entomology fun?

happy cartoon math eating pictures

A person in Manila got to my blog
by doing a search of this exact phrase:

happy cartoon math eating pictures

That is all.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mike the Giant Spider

I'm calling him Mike the Giant Spider.  Don't ask me why.
He is huge!  That main body is about 1 inch long

 He's just creepily hanging around the back yard
and didn't move much when I poked him.
I hope he's still there tomorrow
so I can try to get better pictures.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Michael Chiarello can kiss my ass

Photo from Food Network website
Looking up recipes for Butternut Squash Soup the other day.  And I come across one from the obviously deranged Michael Chiarello of The Food Network.  It starts out innocently enough.  It is called Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.  But once you delve into his brand of madness and read the recipe, you realize that it is broken down into THREE sections and includes no less than TWENTY SEVEN different ingredients.  Are you kidding me, Signore Chiarello?!  This is soup we are talking about, right?

Gray Salt?  Really?!  We have different colors for our salts now, do we?

According to the recipe it takes just twenty minutes of prep time and twenty five minutes of cook time.  It would take me twenty minutes just to round up all the different ingredients that this lunatic has dreamed up.

They claim that the Level of this recipe is Easy.  Sure.  This sounds as easy as pogo-sticking through a mine field with Clown Snipers trying to take you down with their confetti rifles.
Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool.
Seems to me you might need the fire department on stand-by when you attempt this step.  Work quickly!!!   Toss, toss, toss!!!   I definitely want my cooking instructions to be imbued with the same sense of urgency required to defuse a ticking bomb.

How about this for an ingredient list?
Olive Oil
Butternut Squash
Fresh Ginger
Vegetable Stock
Nutmeg or Cinnamon

That's ten ingredients, Chiarello.  Ten.  And guess what color my salt is?

Honestly, Michael Chiarello would out cook me any day.  We could put him in a straitjacket, blindfold him, hand him a can a Spam, two potatoes and a Boy Scout's camping stove and he'd whip us up a delicious feast.  Hey, I think I just thought up the next Food Network hit show.  I would pay big money to see Guy Fieri in a straitjacket.   

Never trust a Clown

Saturday, November 13, 2010

stand ajar

stand ajar, 
ready to welcome 
the ecstatic experience.

Emily Dickinson*

*Nitpicky Full Disclosure:
There's a poem by Emily Dickinson that begins:
The Soul should always stand ajar
That if the Heaven inquire
He will not be obliged to wait
Or shy of troubling Her...
But the quote at the top of this post is also attributed to her - or at least it is all over the interwebs. Not sure I believe the quote is hers. Sounds more like a New Age-y addition to the line in her poem.  (But I still like it.)

The top photo was also found on the internet. Looks like a stock photo, but I couldn't find the origin. I like to attribute photos correctly when I can. The rest of the photos are my modified versions of the first.

So does anyone care about these details? Don't know.
Just felt like being effusively exact today.