Friday, April 30, 2010

Candidate Stupidity

I don't know about you but, I'm sick and tired of the negative campaigning. Who should we believe during California's upcoming Gubernatorial race? Meg? Steve? Arnold? Who? Meg says Steve is bad news. Steve says both Meg and Arnold are the worst candidates ever. Who is truthful and won't play political games and be on the political "take"? Don't candidates running for any political office think we citizens have any common sense or intelligence? Don't we all know the truth is always hidden until citizens have had enough and the truth is uncovered? I, for one, would love to see an honest to goodness political race where we are told of the candidate's attributes and not his/her shortcomings. Come on now politicians! We are through with your bologna and political games. Be out with it - Tell us the truth for once!!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cat Tails

I've written before about my two cats that just somehow can't really be chums. Sami is the real culprit of the unfriendliness - he's extremely jealous of any attention paid to Romeo.
A few weeks ago, they were chasing each other around the house and out into the garage - round and round they went. During the chase, Romeo's claw caught Sami's right eye. When I observed the blood dripping from his eye, I rushed him to our usual vet who in turn referred me to "Animal Eye Care Institute" in Pasadena. The doctor performed surgery immediately and told me to bring him back for a check-up in two weeks. (I might add this was all to the tune of $2,800 plus.) They released Sami to me with a collar around his neck so he couldn't rub his eyes and cause infection. Needless to say, Sami did learn a lesson - he despised the collar and paced back and forth for the full two weeks. Hopefully, the next time he wants to pick a fight with Romeo, he will remember the discomfort he felt with the collar - at least I'm hoping.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Missing The Mark

The two day conference was designed to help mental health professionals help their clients with 'mindfulness'.  An old concept with names to match the times, mindfulness is all about being in the moment, being present in the here and now -- whatever it's called its all about focus in what's going on right this minute as though right this minute was or might be the only minute we have.
Conferences by nature and crowded and not particularly comfortable.  The tables are too small, the lighting seems designed to trigger headaches, and the temperature is never just right but always at one extreme of the thermostat or the other.
The middle chair of a three chair table is never popular and generally -- just like on airplane flights -- the person sitting in that position has no other choices or is traveling with a loved one.  For this conference I had the perfect place to sit -- end of the row chair, last row in the room about two feet from the wall.  I didn't much care that there was an electrical outlet on the wall.  The guy who at the last minute moved from his front row aisle chair to that empty middle of the row chair between me and my quite companionable complete stranger never to see again conference pal explained himself this way -- as though his behavior needed explanation:
"I need the outlet for my laptop.  I've gotta use my laptop."
Whereupon he plugged in cords, ran cords under the table and up onto the table in front of his chair, and set up his laptop.  He then got several pastries, cups of coffee, a couple glasses of orange juice, water, plates and napkins.  Once settled in, he booted up his computer and immediately logged onto his Facebook account.  Throughout the conference -- on Mindfulness -- he switched between Facebook, email and sports news.
Perhaps he misunderstood the title of the conference and thought it focused on Minds Fullness.
Or perhaps he is proof of the new brain.
To each his own, I say.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

HomeComing's Queen

Scraps the Cat came home today.  Rudy, who had spent the past few days weeping and screaming and, well to put it in the most graphic possible terms, throwing up his guts and probably his brains, approached her arrival in awe.  He spent the afternoon in a cross species activity of dogging her footsteps.  She seems happy about the whole thing.
And the good news is that since she will still be mildly radioactive until May 2 we won't have to use a nightlight.
All is well and the rhythm of the house has returned to its own.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

All In The Family

While Scraps the Cat recovers in Orange County, her house and soul mate Rudolph Valentino Katz slips further and further into deep despair here in Glendale.
You see, Rudy has never -- since his rescue from a dumpster near Nordstrom's in the Glendale Galleria -- been separated from her.
He yowls throughout the day and is barely comforted by evenings of human companionship.  His burly physique belies his fragile disposition.  Scraps will have her work cut out for her when she returns home.
Rudy is proof in the pudding, so to speak, that illness and recovery are family affairs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not Quite Onomatopoetic

Perhaps simply redundant.  At any rate, Scraps the Cat had a CAT Scan yesterday.  Okay.  The CAT in this particular Scan refers to A Computerized Axial Tomography Scan.  I know that and you know that. Scraps sees things a bit differently, though.  But then, of course, she would.  She's a cat and therefore everything really is about her.
Her scan indicated two tumors on her thyroid gland for which she received the radioactive iodine injection.  Two tumors require a little more radioactive stuff and a little longer stay in Orange County.  The clinic staff called to say that Scraps is doing well and eating all of her food.  What those good folk don't realize is that it would take a lot more than two tumors and a mega dose of radioactive stuff to put Scrappy off of her feed.
Denied the live feed web cam, Scraps condescended to pose for this candid photo taken by a member of the clinic staff.
Life seems good -- even in Orange County.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Radioactive Scraps

Scraps the Cat, always a trend setter, has gone radioactive.  You may recall that a few months ago she was diagnosed as suffering from hyperthyroidism.  The main and most obvious symptom -- at least for Scraps -- was a significant weight loss.  For Scraps this wasn't such a problem because, put in the kindest manner, she had over the years packed on a few too many pounds.  Recently, though, the old girl skidded right past slim and was well on her way to gaunt.  Time at last to visit Dr. Michael Broome and his Orange County Advanced Veterinary Medical Imaging clinic.
Come to find out, hyperthyroidism is a really common condition in older cats.  A tumor forms on the thyroid gland and sends the whole feline system into a frenzy.  Left unchecked, the condition can eventually put too much strain on the heart and kidneys.  Medication can only keep things under control for so long.  So off we went to Orange County this afternoon to check Scraps into the clinic where she will receive an injection of radioactive iodine to destroy the tumor.  When the geiger counter shows a safe level of radioactivity she can come home.
That's apparently all there is to it.
Her prognosis is good.
Her mood, however, is not so good.  She screamed all the way to Orange County.  Wait a second.  Screaming all the way to Orange County is probably an appropriate and typical reaction to that quite terrifying and dismal journey.  I also scream every time I have to go to Orange County.
Here's what really upset Scraps.
For seventy-five additional dollars the clinic sets up a web cam so that anyone with the right password can -- from 8 AM until 8 PM -- view Scraps doing stuff like sleeping and eating at the clinic.  I figured that for free I could see her do the same things when she comes home.  Scraps saw it as her one big chance at fame.
Maybe she wouldn't mind constant hordes of paparazzi outside our entry way gate but I sure would.
Come to think of it, maybe I'll pay the seventy-five bucks just to keep Scrappy happy.
She's that kind of a cat.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

For Some, Till Death Do Us Means Something

There it was on the sidewalk a few feet in front of us -- a dead bird and its grieving mate standing sentinel.  We stopped, stunned by this so very real tribute to life and its longing for connection.  After several moments, the grieving mate flew a few feet away to the safety of a fence and remained there while we walked away.
The scene was heart breaking in its stark simplicity.
The film LadyHawke, produced sometime in the 1980s, told the story of a man and woman, their love for each other, and a curse placed on them by a jealous knight.  At night the man turned into a wolf and by day the woman turned into a hawk.  Only at the liminal moments of sunrise and sunset could they ever see each other as man and woman.  Of course, eventually the curse was broken and they lived happily every after.  The film makers chose the wolf and the hawk because both species mate for life.
Come to find out, so do a lot of other species mate for life including about ninety percent of the ten thousand or so bird species.  Even vultures are counted among the birds who refuse to philander.
Not surprising is the fact that we humans are not on that list of 'we mate for life' species.
When caught in the act, though, we do have a good out.  We can, and do, claim to be sexual addicts and admit ourselves to specialized spas where we are pampered into recovery.  And then we can learn that relapse is part of recovery and won't feel so bad when we once again prove why we as a species didn't quite make the list.
I hope the bird so dignified and alone in grief back there on the sidewalk somehow manages to once again fly freely.  I hope it pulls through okay.
There wasn't much we could do for it except stand for a moment .  Maybe during that moment we were able to communicate our deep reverence for life and love.
I hope so.

Life Really Does Have A Rhythm

The Atlantic Ocean at least on the New Jersey shore refuses just yet to acknowledge Spring's arrival.  Clouds hide the horizon and a cold wind forces hands yearning to hold warm days back into pockets or even into gloves.  Only a few people walk in the deep sand.  And fewer still begin to rebuild fences and decks washed into the sea by Winter's harsh storms.
Meanwhile, less than half a mile west bulbs push their way through freshly mulched soil and, yes, even announce Spring with gallant yellow flowers.  Trees barren a week ago have produced buds and soon those stark branches will be covered with leaves.
Seasons begin and end and life goes on.
Sometimes we battle these changes with if not the strength of an ocean at least its determination.  Other times we embrace the change and allow what once was stark to blossom.
Life goes on.
Our task is to live it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rat Humor

This morning, I listened to the news on KTLK-AM on my way to work. I heard the following alarming item: Northwestern University biomedical engineering professor Jeffrey Burgdorf has found that laughter in rats produces an insulin-like growth factor chemical that acts as an antidepressant and anxiety-reducer. He hopes to use this research to develop anti-depressant drugs in humans.

I mulled this over all the way to work. I didn't know that rats laughed. What kind of jokes do they like? Then it came to me. Remember, last summer when some rodent waited till the eggplants in our balcony garden were about two or three inches long, and then ate them down to the stems? I bet that was a real side-splitter in the local rat community. When you go to the attic for that briefcase you haven't used in years and find the leather corner gnawed away, just know that somewhere a bunch of rats are screaming with laughter, tears streaming down their pointy little faces as they nudge each other saying, "Did you see that look on her face? Haw, haw haw, haw HAW!"

I'm glad that their anxiety and depression is being reduced by this. Wait, what do rats have to get anxious and depressed about? Must be the rat race. Haw, haw.