Leaps & Unexpected Bounds

I learned that runt meant Sadie was just behind the doggie curve… not destined to remain inherently mellow.

Miss Fred learned she could hide under the wooden rocking chair, shoot her left paw out and slap Sadie’s face as our tireless pup ran by in pursuit of her red ball.

We doggedly tried to get that on video tape, sure we could with $10,000 on America’s Funniest Videos. Back then video meant a large clunky machine with a blinding light near the lens. It didn’t help that it needed to be retrieved from the office closet, either. We left it out on the dining room table for a very long time. Freddie never cooperated.

Jeff learned something, too. “Hmm,” he said self-quizzically one day, after Sadie got into what Jeff humorously named the “no-bake doggie buffet.” She’d root around in Fred’s box and stealthily eat the crunch-coated brown stuff. The thing is she wasn’t as stealth as she thought, but by the time we saw the cat litter impacted in her nostrils, the deed had already been done. “Ya know,” he said thoughtfully. “I don’t think I’d ever heard you yell – before we got a dog.”

At about 6 months old Sadie had appropriately doubled her width, but something wasn’t quite right.

As she grew, her legs grew to twice the expected height. She wasn’t quite sure what to do with her long limbs, either. Instead of a low-to-the-ground JR scoot, Sadie pranced around like Bambi.

I said to Jeff, “I don’t think she’s normal.” Jeff glanced over at me and asked, “What do you mean?”

“I mean… her legs, and her tail…” I pointed to where Sadie stood smiling. “She shouldn’t be that tall. She’s like a Jack Russell on stilts! And her tail? Is it supposed to be that long….?”

 Jeff tilted his head to that doggie-don’t-understand angle. After a beat, he peered over his glasses at me. “I told ya she looked different and probably wouldn’t get adopted…”

I tilted my head to an unnatural angle even for a dog and said, “What?”

“Yeah,” he said shrugging his shoulders. “She didn’t look like the other ones…. and her tail didn’t get docked because she was too tiny and weak.”

I struggled with this news. “She was weak?” I asked. “Sickly?” I asked. “We got a defective dog?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Jeff said eyeballing me cautiously. He gnawed on his bottom lip, took a big breath and sighed. Looking at the floor, he pressed his lips together like he was trying to come up with the just right thing to say. Nodding once to himself, he looked up and continued on patiently, “That’s what runt means.…”

Quote for the Week:

2017 08 14 you should always know the meaning jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

The First: Dictionary

Word of The: Day

Definitions: Runt

 

 

My Dogs Are Barkin’

While Nannee was staying with us, Jeff was attempting to sort out his medical problems, as well.

In December 2003, his feet became too painful to walk on and moved from sometimes-pain to constant-pain. Original suggestions of taking time off for pain management and keeping his legs raised for two weeks straight had not helped.

By February 2004, Jeff was still off work and having to use his short-term then long-term disability benefit. The diagnosis of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy sparked a series of long trials attempting to ease the constant 7-8 pain rating on a scale of 1-10. On really bad days, when the pain jumped to a 10 or 11, Jeff used his sense of humor remained. He’d explain to me, his doctor, a nurse, anyone who really needed to know why he was moving so slow, “My dog’s are really barkin’!'”

In addition to his Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Venostasis (bursting blood vessels), the Neuropathy, Hypertension, pitting Edema, skin ulcers and possible Sleep Apnea were added to his diagnoses, as well. Jeff’s medication list began to grow: Percodan, Neurontin, Elavil, Lasix, Lipitor, Humalog Lantus insulin, Zestoretic, Lopid, Glucophage, Celexa and a multivitamin.

That was in 2004. By the time Jeff passed away 2.5 years later, the number of drugs he needed to take had grown to over 20 daily, with many taken multiple times a day. Those cute little regular daily pill containers were uselessly too small, and only had compartments for morning, noon and night. Jeff creatively converted two tackle trays into his medication monitor. He’d fill them up once a week and it would take him about an hour.

I do believe having Nannee with us was more of a blessing for us than for her. Up until then, Jeff had been spending his days mostly alone, trying to handle the pain. Weekdays, we spent about 4 awake hours a day together – one in the morning and three at night. Weekends, though, we were inseparable, much like our 24 hours a day for two days courtship.

On one of those weekends, Jeff casually suggested we stop by a local farm where a new litter of Jack Russell puppies had been born. I reminded him we had a cat. He said we were just going to look, because they weren’t ready to leave their mother, yet. The only reason I agreed was that I knew there was no possibility we’d be taking one home.

My only previous puppy litter experience was gained in Tennessee. A friend’s dog had gotten out in a storm and had a clandestine canine affair. The adorable yelping squirmers were contained in a makeshift arena for adoption. It was entirely up to you whether you wanted to lean in and pet them, or not. With no intention of adding a dog to my life, I simply leaned in to scratch a few ears… and came up with Cab.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 17 Let_s Just Look jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Why Do We Love Puppies: Scientifcally? Oxytocin

Neuropathies: There’s More Than One

If You’re Diabetic: Pay Attention!

Open Doors

 

She walked in through the front door and helped herself to pizza.

It was, after all, just sitting there invitingly. All warm and cheesy, flipped open on the coffee table waiting for the Friday night after work sofa plop.

 

(Back track: 12 year-old Talli’s kidney issues had taken their final toll. I chose not to take that ride with him to the veterinarian’s office two blocks away. I said my goodbye’s and handed him to my husband, happy to hold onto my memories.

A short time later, my husband was home, asking if I wanted another cat. Talli was such a lover, a hugger, a good one. We were beginning the search for a non-rented home, planning to be married, working full-time jobs, selling at craft shows, budgeting. Partly too heartbroken, partly too logical, I said, “No.” We donated Talli’s food, waterer, feeder, and an unused bag of litter; tossed the litter box, used toys and collar.)

 

We picked up our traditional Friday night fare of pizza, and soup. Jeff always had soup with pizza. He set up dinner as I ran upstairs to change. He stepped outside to get the forgotten soup out of the car.

Just as he came back in the door, I came down the stairs. We met at the juncture and stared. There was a furry black lump the middle of the pie, licking its way to a full tummy. Green eyes barely glanced up at us. We glance at each other, laughed, which startled the cat under the couch. We couldn’t leave it there, so Jeff crouched calling, “Here, Fred. Here, Fred!”  Fred jumped into his arms, and casually sat there are we decided what to do.

I put on my coat, picked up the saucy kitten, and went trudging through the snow door to door asking anyone who answered my knock, “Is this your kitten?” A few folks confessed to feeding it once in a while, although it mostly fed from the dumpster. Someone had tried a few times to catch the stray to take it to a shelter, but did not succeed.

Within a half-hour it was clear no one wanted to take ownership, and we weren’t going to send it back out in the freezing snow. So, we put the toilet seat down, secured the downstairs half-bath door closed; threw out the pizza, and headed to Pamida.

Another half-hour later, we had all the makings of cat accommodations; litter box, litter, food, treats, collar, toys, waterer, feeder and a new addition to our lives.

It was another week before Fred was able to make it to a Saturday health check. How my farm-knowledged husband mistook Fred for a Fred remains a mystery. Despite well-meaning recommendations of alternate names like Fredericka and Francine, she remained Fred. Although, to avoid confusion, her fill-in form name was always listed as Miss Fred, and amusingly explained as Miss Fred the Misread Cat.

She disappeared once – on the day Jeff’s mom died. I hysterically surmised she must have jumped into a half-packed moving box, fallen soundly asleep and been accidentally sealed up inside. He rationally believed she must have run out an open door unnoticed. He was right. One night later he heard her distinctive pigeon-mew, and opened the door.

Freddie wasn’t at all like Talli. She disliked being held, had an anti-purr dove coo, didn’t care to play, but loved her catnip. She tolerated our new baby Jack Russell to an extent. She would sit under the rocking chair and slap Sadie’s puppy nose as she ran by in pursuit of a ball. We always thought we could easily make $10,000 on America’s Funniest Home Videos, but Freddie never cooperated when the camera was rolling.

At 11 years old, she seemed bored, slept a lot and was getting chubby. A friend of mine rescued an adorable stray. I checked with a vet and was told as long as the new kitten was a boy, we should all be fine. Three years into being a two-cat household, H. Blu was still willing to be friends, and Freddie was still not.

When we moved into the condo this past March, the frequency of Fred’s 3 AM “I’m-not-amused, I-don’t-like-you, I-don’t-want-to-play-with-you-and-never-will” zombie wailing lessened, but never went away. Mid-April, her voice changed a little, she began losing weight, and making funny sounds when she swallowed.

Two and half a months of vet visits, decongestants, antibiotics, and steroids only slightly slowed down the tumor making its way from her ear canal down her throat. Her dry food became painful to swallow, so I fed her tuna and chopped pork.  When she stopped eating soft foods, I created tuna water and offered milk.

After two separate veterinary recommendations, I made an appointment at a specialty clinic for Wednesday. The information on their website almost talked me out of it siting statistic such as 92% of feline nasal tumors are malignant, and extended survival after treatment is an average of 382 days.

Sunday night, she refused both cold liquid dinners, so I warmed up some beef broth. She worked at it a while, and maybe got 2 tablespoons down. Monday morning, we woke up together as the alarm went off. I went through 3 snooze cycles just enjoying her company, even though she could only get one eye open, and was trying to purr but couldn’t. I phoned the vet again.

This morning, at 14 years old and 9:00 AM, I opened a can of Hunt’s Garlic and Cheese Tomato Sauce, spooned some into her milk dish, and set it down with a prayer.  She didn’t understand, because she couldn’t smell it. I scooped a bit on my finger and touched her mouth. She didn’t hesitate a second, and when that finger was clean, I scooped another bit, and another. Her feasting sounded painful to me, but she kept going, and kept her nose pressed to my finger between extra-long breaths.

When she had enough, I sat with her for a while then scooped her up. She didn’t resist or complain, and for once went quietly into the carrier. I missed this part with Talli.

It was better and worse than I imagined; sad and painful, but only for me. Miss Fred went quietly through another open door, and I went home without her.

I doubt pizza is a staple in cat heaven, but I’m sure Jeff will find a way to get it for her.

Quote for the Week

2015 07 21 strength to watch love leave jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

What it is: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/why-we-love-cats-and-dogs-introduction/4538/

What is was: http://animalsurgicalcenter.com/Library_articles/oncology_nasal_tumors.html

What now: http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/coping_with_pet_death.html

 

 

Box Point

So, it’s official. Movers are coming in a little over a week.

And, it’s official: I’ve reached the Box Point.

It happens every time, and this time is no exception.

Three and a half months in the making, made for a little luxury room. The neatly numbered, detailed detail, lightly packed and stacked cardboard containers have been growing. Delays have made for slow-moving, “I-won’t-need-this-anytime-soon” relocations.

For the most part, it’s been fine. One dish, one bowl, one place setting, two glasses, two cups, a few less utensils and gadgets haven’t been missed much. Art supplies, have been missed a little. I have a small stash of generic,  but potentially alterable cards. I’m good with that.

My unusually optimistic assumption that two months would be a reasonable amount of time to accomplish a reasonable amount of repairs, resulted in recalls. I shut off the upright fridge and moved the frozen foods to the itty-bitty freezer part of the fridge in the condo. I ran out of chicken. I ran out of vegetables. I’ve been piece-meal recovering. I took advantage of a great pet supply sale, and stationed the spoils at the condo. At the ready, two bags of food and two buckets of litter. I’ve been bucketing food back to the kitties. I haven’t relocated litter, yet.

I’ve given notice to the rental, and they are being lovely. They will post the availability this week, and list as available March 2nd. Monetarily, I’d love the chance to not pay two more months of rent, utilities, insurance.

Now that there’s a date and notice, the kettle’s heating up, and I’m roiling toward Box Point.

If it’s an unsure pile of notes, or envelopes or spices, I’m adopting the “box it up and sort it later” stance. A long as-it’s in a box-going to the right room, or going-near-the-right-room, it and I am in. Never having to do this again is somewhat contributing to the sloppiness. I can tweak on the flip side, and I have a lifetime to do it. Don’t panic – I’ll handle what needs to be handled in a timely fashion, It’s just there’s a point when later becomes significantly better and more appropriate than now. That and knowing the high price of non-completion will be greater than the satisfaction of exactness.

Now that I’m ready to get my move on, transference is being hindered by negative temperatures. I’ve spent some time trying to determine exactly which items I own are freeze-proof and wondering if the insignificant  inherent moisture in plastics would shatter my shirt buttons. So far, wire shoe racks and pressboard bookcases have survived a few freezing hours in the back of my car. Truly, though I am sure I can drum up other stuff, like books, nothing short of 36 degrees will make me want to go back out once I’m in and warm. Stuff is staying put in hopeful piles of “someday-I’ll-be-able-to-tote-this-over.”

Miss Freddie and H-Blu are freely enjoying the free-form challenge courses scattered throughout the house.

I’m waiting for Mother Nature to stop this nonsense.

Quote for the Week:

I firmly believe there are times later better than now 02 17 2015

 Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

How to Move: http://smallnotebook.org/2009/05/29/how-to-move-in-6-weeks-or-6-days-and-keep-your-sanity/

The Paper Problem: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140610152742-18266284-the-simple-way-to-tackle-paper-clutter

Weather Report: http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/l/Detroit+MI+USMI0229:1:US

Confettiism

There are times you just cannot influence change.

I’ve been considering whether or not it’s time to remove the contingent cardboard kitty litter box enclosure. The plan was to employ just until the kitten that was H. Blu grew up a little and calmed down. I was counting this move as the opportune time.

I no longer believe that’s likely, though. He’s three. I obviously need to accept this quirk as a permanent part of his being. Blu’s a flinger.

No amount of loud hand clapping, shooing or physical removal has stopped him, yet. As soon as he’s unstartled, or lifted and placed down, he’s back at it: launching litter into the air like confetti, celebrating his every success. Every success. I’m not sure if it’s the deposit or the burial, but either way he’s off loading and damn happy about it.

Confetti. We could all use some.

Metaphorically.

Detail to the super-conscious environmentalists – I’m not suggesting we pollute the world.

Just as sharing how a hot-cocoa’ed peep looks without its sugar-skin doesn’t support animal abuse.

Stop harassing me for having a sense of humor. Stop paying attention to my drivel if it drives you bonkers.

 

Andy Warhol advised, “You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”

 

Start paying more attention to the amazing things in your own life.

Throw a little mental confetti.

When you tie your shoes. When you wash your lunch bucket.

When you solve a problem.

When you see someone you love.

Better yet, when you see someone you don’t. That’ll make ’em wonder.

Envision sparkly, multicolored, floaties celebrating every success.

Envision viciously leering, flotsam knick-knacks pelting your nemesistic issues.

Dare you, and dare you again.

Try not to smile too widely when thrill overrides containment.

 

Pardon me, now.

Acceptance commands: the time has come.

Commence construction of the next litter-catching cardboard castle!

Moats are pretty amazing.

#imakemyselflaugh

Quote for the Week:

Every Day should be a confetti day Feb 3 2015

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Awesome Things: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/25-awesome-things-we-take-for-granted-most-days/

One Month Challenge: http://zenhabits.net/the-mindfulness-guide-for-the-super-busy-how-to-live-life-to-the-fullest/

The Mindful Difference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/habits-mindful-people_n_5186510.html

Taming of the Selfie

“Head Shot – needed for profile.”

I hadn’t heard that phrase flung my way in quite a while; a 25 year while.

Never liked the things. Never expected to need another one. Ever.

_______________________________________________________

Dear Friends,

Do you have any idea how hard it is to take a selfie?

Two hours and fifteen minutes. Uh, huh. I’ve been explaining for a while, that although my pictures reflect near complete baldness, I do in fact actually have hair. Very fine hair, but there’s enough of it to get messed up in the wind so it counts.

One hour and twenty  minutes into the how-hard-can-this-be selfie suffering, I stopped worrying about my hair (or lack thereof) and starting hoping for just one missing an expression of possession. I mean seriously strange eyes.  Dually a victim of circumstance and admitted over-eying, I’m absolutely confident that I have (pictures-taken percentage wise,) surpassed Sir Harley of Perpetual Surprise with my wide-eyed level of shock at absolutely nothing.  I was truly just attempting to avoid the blink.

I must either be an older model of form or an anomaly possessing disproportionate arms. Bottom line: mine are simply not long enough evidenced by missing chins and the removal of that pitifully fine hairline that barely show up, anyway. I trial-and-error landed on a revelation regarding above head poses. Appropriate but still semi-distorted, the elbowed angle determines a corresponding head tilt.

Still, like the last hold-out microwave kernel of corn, more problems popped. How do you keep your elbow from elbowing in or a shoulder crease from announcing obvious buff-less biceps? I suspect some sort of cheat is involved in the process. There has to be a third hand launching the click. Otherwise, everyone would have sprained fingers and tight gripping claw hand residue.

Let me also mention the whole mirror, backwards, go left to go right thing? Yeah, that wasn’t a cake walk, either. The rapid neck-lash routine left me slightly more off balance than usual. At this point I decided to sit for safety, and continued the ego shattering shuttering.

Meanly, cartoon mode isn’t available for selfies. Undeterred, I retry all of the above approaches. All I achieve are arm cramps and a few faintly-fine, low-grade Warhol-ish, but won’t be mistaken for one, images. Due to twist and burn, I’m counting the arm stretches as exercise. It’s also possible that I’ve just invented Photo-Yoga. Momentarily distracted by the possibilities of funky feline portraits, I’m a little bummed to find the cats come out better; especially when annoyed. Raised hackles and alert ears create great contrast and light-play differentiations

Click, click, click. I supposed I could de-sound the clicker. It can already be classified as gone past starting to annoy me. Not even close to the  musically enhanced rapid fire intro of Duran Duran’s Girls on Film, my sounds are more guttural. Click, grumble, click, soft-explicative, click, whoops dropped the phone, click, for goodness sake, click, click, click.

The clicking seems to be getting to Miss Freddie, too. She seems a little “I’m plotting something” more than normal. I’m familiar with her squint of slotted eyes and thin lip fang reveal. It turns out I can smile scary, too. In embarrassing desperation, I conjured up laughter as if I was laughing at a joke. My eyes were no longer staring wide. They disappeared entirely. As added insult, my mouth takes on a dreadful twist. I re-file that wonderful idea under woeful fail, and sigh. Ok. Good to know. I’m pretty sure it’s a little late to outgrow that.

Shooting below while looking down ended up producing a completely creepy cautioning I was about to charge and possibly maul with (as of yet) still hidden horns, probably, because I was feeling that way. In a flashbulb moment, I imagined a charge and mall situation where I might possibly convince JC Penney to let me use one of those kid portrait deals.

107 poses later, two pairs of glasses, above the head, below the head, lying down (disaster), over the shoulder, giving up… the giving up one is actually cute, but not at all “Head Shot” material. I think about that and get my grump on.

There are sparse and scattered I-would-have-liked-that poses, except for the exceptional flaws. Oddly, they add artistically fierce fascination. Left ear left out of the shot, micro-movement fuzz effects, irreparable background noise, shiny nose, eyeglass reflection, crooked smiles, mis-angling into distorted chins, chipmunk cheeks or Churchill noses. I nod to the memory of Poppy Selin’s WC Fields-ish nose. His was due to a welter-weight boxing championship. Mine is merely repetitive lack-of-grace breakage.

I’ve chased the late afternoon and early evening light from room to room. I’m either chiseled like a cartoon fiend, or seamless like porcelain. The stark lights are not kind. The soft lights blanks into expression-less-ism. There are a couple of “take the damn picture” glares and I wonder who I’m trying to intimidate the phone or my fingers?

The good news is I don’t need a zoom loop to identify the absolutely nots . Delete, delete, delete.  I pause at one awkward affected 1980 style “looking off into the future” pondering gaze.” Starry and unfocused, if it was the 80’s… it could be a contender.

I should just scan my senior high school picture. It seemed so ridiculous at the time, and even more off-base now. I’m peeking out from behind some tree. It’s got more bark than I do, literally. There’s more of the tree than me. Perhaps a New York photo or the Tennessee head shot which to this day I can’t believe is me. I mean I recognize the clothes, but the young person who I thought was old at 30 looks 20 now to me. Plus, there’s hair. 85% of the people I know now have never seen me with hair; at least, not that much, comparatively.

Eight. I’ve narrowed it down to eight. I think. I’m tempted to take more, but am holding off for tomorrow. Maybe there’ll be better light and a flattering head shot tilt in the Earth’s rotation.

Some of the better one’s have debris in the background. Doesn’t that figure? Photoshop is on my to-own list. I’ve learned I need more than just an ability to “get the red out” of my eerie orbs.  Trying to posit natural eyes isn’t natural. Naturally, I look surprised, skeptical, cross-eyed, lazy-eyed, one-eyed, and tired.

Out of the corner of one of those same self-portrait  wandering eyes, I spy my very reasonable Friday night to-do list that was feasible at 4:15 PM. At 7:48 PM, I haven’t eaten dinner, yet, which might account for some of my shrew-ness. Prior to this marathon of discovery, I prepped cucumbers and zucchini for that “Zucchini Cold Noodle” recipe everyone’s been talking about. Julienne the squash; omitting seeds. Matchstick cucumbers, carrot, peppers, broccoli, radishes, onions, anything really, add red wine vinegar, celery seed, a little sugar, chill and let set and you’ve got it made.

It looks pretty good. I think I’ll plate it. Plop some in a chicken bowl, take a picture, and send it off with a note:

Sorry, no headshot available. Please accept this Bowl Shot as a consolation prize.

Or, maybe I should just take a picture of my smiley face Joe Boxer watch I once used for a staff id photo. Don’t see why it wouldn’t fly now. Wish I’d thought of that, hours ago. 🙂

 

Quote for the Week:

if i couldnt laugh at myself

Here is my collage of I honestly thought these would come out better pictures.  All were attempts to be natural; none were staged.

One has to be used for my One Brick Detroit profile. Positive opinions welcome.

selfies semi selected

None of these will be used, however, since I described them above…

selfies unselected