"1. They're not dead. 2. They're sorry for any pain they caused. 3. There's no such thing as a devil or hell. 4. They were ready to go when they went. 5. You're not ready. 6. They finally understand what they were missing. 7. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the moment you arrive. 8. Don't try to understand this now, but life is exceedingly fair. 9. Your pets are as crazy, brilliant and loving, here, as they were there. 10. Life really is all about love, but not just loving those who love you... "
I didn't buy Praying Mantis eggs this year and haven't seen any since moving to Lancaster, PA. But there s/he was sitting on my rosebush this morning when I watered. This insect will chomp its way through tons of plant pests for the entire summer. Hopefully, if she is female, a mate will find her before the summer's end. Unfortunately for him it will be his end as well as once he has impregnated her, she will grab him with her very strong front legs and eat his head. I have seen this happen and it is not a sight for the faint of heart.
But that is Nature for this particular beast, and it is fascinating.
Thank you Universe for giving me this wonderful insect today.
These are Old Dog Haven dogs. Penny on the big cushion I adopted shortly after moving to Lake Stevens and she was with me for about six years, which made her 15 or 16 when she died. A dog that got thrown out by somebody for whatever reason, it wasn't good enough. She was loving, loyal, protective, funny, and beautiful. She was much loved and is much missed.
Missy the overweight Dalmatian. Someone put her in the basement with a large bag of kibbles and left her there alone. Dalmatians are sensitive, social, oh so loving animals. She ate and ate to comfort herself in her loneliness. I fostered her for awhile until someone adopted her and took her home. That was an adoption I regret to this day - I never should have let her go, and the reason why thereafter I ever only took in 'final refuge' dogs. Those are dogs who would never be put up for adoption but that I would love and care for until the end of their days.
People throw away dogs for all kinds of reasons: "We're moving, we have a new baby, we wanted a puppy, he didn't like my brother"....once a dog is in "the system" there is very little chance he will ever get out, especially if that dog is old, black, or a so-called 'bully' dog.
People throw away dogs that would protect them unto death, dogs that would love them no matter how ugly, how mean they became, dogs that would stay by their side through sickness, homelessness, the sun's fierce rays or winter's harshest storm.
Millions of dogs are dying because people won't walk into a pound or shelter and welcome a "used" dog into their arms, preferring instead to perpetuate another kind of inhumanity; puppy mills. Because that is what they do every time an animal is purchased from a pet store, Craigslist, or the want ads. Puppy mills are a blight, an inhumane disaster for dogs and many other species. They exist for one reason only, to increase the income of those who run them.
Should have sunflower blooms by next pix in July. Tomatoes (tepee) are blooming, hot peppers blooming, oregano front right in pot, milkweed next to it - all kinds of stuff out there.
This is a volunteer gourd that was thrown out last October when it started rotting (a Halloween decoration)
This is an unusual sunflower. Don't know if I planted it or if the birds planted it. . . Currently about 4' tall, thick stem, huge leaves, but the fascinating thing about it is that there are buds in the axils of every branch. This will be an interesting picture when those buds all bloom.
"When people try to tell you who you are, don't believe them. You are the only custodian of your own integrity, and the assumptions made by those that misunderstand who you are and what you stand for reveal a great deal about them and absolutely nothing about you."
"There is no more ridiculous custom than the one that makes you express sympathy once and for all on a given day to a person whose sorrow will endure as long as life. Such grief, felt in such a way, is always present. It is never too late to talk about it, never repetitious to mention it again." ~Marcel Proust
There was an article in this morning's news about a town being upset because some little snot-nose had torched the American Flag in their town square. A bona-fide 'veteran' was all up in arms and thought they should hang the person if they caught him because it was such an affront to all those people who fought in all those wars (paraphrasing). Burning the flag, as reprehensible as it may seem, is protected under the 1st Amendment. Hanging someone, as the veteran suggests, is a crime - burning the flag isn't. As the daughter of a Korean war veteran resting in a B-29 at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, I guess I'll say this - if someone burns a flag, that is not against our men and women in uniform, it is generally a statement about government. Nationalism is as great a stimulus for war - almost - as religion. I tend to abhor both as they are meaningless, contrived, and deadly for all but those who profit from them.
This picture was taken in the 70's in Bothell, Washington. Haven't seen Barbara since 1979. Maybe now she has gray hair, maybe she's put on a few pounds. I have. Maybe we wouldn't even recognize each other, but I'll know her voice.
Sure would like to see you again Barbara, while we're still both breathing. I miss your face.
started a petition on Change.org last month because my mom’s health
insurance company was not authorizing coverage for chemotherapy
treatment at the hospital she had been going to for months.
more than 187,000 of you signed my petition, I have good news -- we
were finally able to get Total Health Care and the University of
Michigan hospital to work with us to commit to covering my mom’s health
It's been a very
emotional few weeks, but it's amazing to feel this love. My mom and I
were just sitting there reading through your comments on the petition
watching the signatures go up. We know we can count on you if the
insurance company or hospital go back on their promise to us.
I have signed hundreds of petitions for people, animals, the environment, net neutrality, and human rights, etc. I will continue to do so because I know that public opinion holds enormous sway over the minds of those in power. It always has and it always will.
So, today was the day the man came to remove the grout from between the bricks on the front and back of the house. He used a tool, the name of which I do not know nor desire to know. The tool blows huge and I do mean HUGE streams of mortar dust the entire time it is being used. The dust is very fine, not sweepable. When he finished removing the mortar, which was noisy but not as bad as I thought it would be, he starts up a blower and starts blowing dust away from all the surfaces. When he swept it across the front door, two large clouds of dust came THROUGH the door. That's when I started getting a bit tight in the jaw. The fact is I have always despised the use of leaf blowers and snow blowers, basically for the very same reason as I now despised the blower this fool held in his hands. When you blow at something, it doesn't disappear, it just goes somewhere else. This does not take an abundance of education, or even intelligence, to understand.
Why would someone use a blower to disperse this stuff?
Wouldn't a vacuum be a better idea?
Mess made by brick grout dust blown all over by workman,
everything was completely inundated. The fountain and the kitty shelters
had been covered with the grey tarp, which is fairly thick.
Didn't matter, the crap clogged and muddied the fountain,
and made all the cat blankets and shelters filthy inside and out.
Just more of the backyard - looks like something exploded back there
and note how it reaches into the neighbors yard,
everything covered in gritty brick dust
Accumulation of brick mortar dust on door to cellar
showing how thick it's piled up in places
Dust coats floor and every object inside.
This dust is on all the cars, front porches, and yards of
most of the neighbors.
Low bid is frequently low for a very good reason.
Again, why use a blower? Not only did fine powder cling to virtually everything it touched, the animals and I had to breathe it for hours as it seeped in around the doors and windows, at times so thick it looked like fog. It gets in the eyes, ears, nose and throat. It covered every car parked near by. I cannot believe this is the result if this job is done properly.
The sidewalk was covered with broken glass - doesn't really show up well in the photo but the thing that went through my mind when I saw it was the pictures I have seen of shattered storefront windows glittering on sidewalks.
Overhead, boughs of trees bent low with ice from the freezing rain and what covers the sidewalk are the thousands of pieces of ice that have shattered and fallen from the trees. I thought it might be as difficult to walk on as the sheet ice that has covered the streets for weeks. It wasn't though. It was very easy to walk on, not slippery at all, more like little cleats on the sidewalk.
And the sound it made - wonderful! Big crunches and crackles, much more satisfying in that way than scuffling through fallen leaves.
So Lucy and I took our little journey down the walk, she did her job, we cleaned up, and walked back home, crunching and crackling all the way.
The backyard is frozen and looks pretty much like this only more snow, more ice, more cold. That's my old dog Lucy back there. She doesn't stay out long.
This is last year's back yard Basil before it got REALLY big, only about 4 feet in this shot. There was another gorgeous big Basil in the front yard. Lovely smelling the Basil, takes one right into the best Italian kitchen you can remember.
This is my way I guess of easing myself into believing spring is just around the corner. Soon things from last year will be poking through and I'll be able to get a shovel into the soil, to turn it over and run my fingers through it.
Fifty-nine years gardening.
In my mind's eye I see that first garden, me ten years old, my Gram with a handful of Nasturtium seeds. Seems so incredible I can still feel the warmth of that sunny day, see the wide flower box by the sidewalk, and the apron my Gram was wearing. "Dig a little hole and drop two seeds in it, then water it and wait."
My Gram knew there was hardly any way at all to keep a Nasturtium from growing, she knew how to hook me. She knew what I would feel once those great heaps of orange flowers began filling the flower box, spilling over the side, reaching for the sidewalk.
Right now through infinite space and time, the thread that connects us vibrates.
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers
deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not
need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.”
There are about six cats trying to survive in the scant protection I am able to provide. They have learned to be afraid of humans and so they will not come indoors and they run when I go out to give them food or sweep the snow away. This particular cat is injured, but I cannot help her.
This is a kitty who has been abandoned to the elements. She is trying to get water from a small frozen pond in my back yard. The cats seem to drink an inordinate amount of water when the weather is this bone-chilling cold. Likely because there is no other way to get moisture into their bodies. No mice or other prey for them to catch. I've tried giving them canned food but it instantly freezes.
There is a small pump in the pond that mostly does a good job of keeping a little space free of ice, but when it gets this cold I need to pour water on it to thaw some for the cats. It's the best I can do for them, but I do not know how they survive outdoors in this.
How can people put out their cats and dogs and then go to bed under warm covers and sleep like they deserve to be warm and cozy?
People who do not treat the weakest among us with any compassion will treat humans the very same way.
This morning around 7 a.m. I was coming around the corner with my dog on leash and remembered that today is my one-year anniversary on George Street. These little homes were built in mid to late 1928ish. That's all I know about them except that there are blocks and blocks of very similar structures all around and I am curious enough about that to have them on my list of things to learn more about.
These homes don't look like much perhaps to the casual eye, but each is as different and unique as the occupants themselves. We range from young to old and in every color and every heritage imaginable. We keep to ourselves for the most part, but we know one another, where we live and everyone - everyone - smiles and says hello. We have patience with each other and even though we mostly haven't been inside each others homes, on a warm afternoon we will be sitting on our porches, an occasional banter across the way, sipping soda or coffee and smiling at each other.
But George Street itself, this short one block of it, has its own personality. For one thing, it is a narrow street with parking only on one side, which owning two cars makes rather difficult for both the owners and the others living here, but it seems to work. Often in winter, the snowplow and salting trucks miss this tiny street and so we are piled high with snow when others are clear and bare.
On this short street every house has a personality and displays its individuality with hanging bells and birdhouses, flowing colors of fabric that blow in the wind, and whirligigs and Christmas lights all year round. Some people dance on their porches, some gather with friends, feet up sipping beer. There are signs that welcome, signs that congratulate, signs that dogs ignore while peeing on the grass, there are new babies, and kids who play outdoors the way kids ought to be doing instead of inside watching TV or playing video games. It's a street that feels safe to me.
Winter - a forecast unlike any I've ever seen before.
May 2013 - my first garden on George Street
Two months later - July - my beautiful tomatoes
Lancaster grows roses like nobody's business. These were planted by the person who lived here before me and what a gorgeous surprise. Heavy bloomer all summer long.
After living nearly my entire life on the Pacific Coast in or around Seattle, WA, this smaller town of Lancaster which is mostly wonderfully flat, has lots of sidewalks and places with coffee and such tucked here and there. One of the friendliest cities I've been in. There's an energy that lends itself to excitement but also says it's okay to do nothing but plant your garden and watch it grow.
I’m not talking about a corporate form of bankruptcy undertaken primarily to deprive people of their pensions and creditors of their due, that is a different kind of ugly.
I’m talking about the soul-destroying destruction of one’s own personal worth, financially of course but what’s worse, spiritually, as the walls start tumbling down.
I am 69-years-old and bankrupt. Behind me are over forty years of outstanding credit which I pulled from the ashes of a nasty divorce and a repossessed home. The details are mundane; suffice to say a young woman with four small children and no child support is going to have significant financial setbacks.
To recover from economic devastation, my financial rules then and now are simple. Pay the rent first, a roof over the head, a base. Every month I paid the rent, I paid the bills, all of them. Not one month in all my lifetime following repossession of my home was I ever past due, not one bill went unpaid, ever. Credit history having the importance it has in virtually every aspect of one’s life, mine reached excellent after a lot of hard work and a lot of time, and it stayed that way for over forty years.
Then came 2008
By 2008 I had been retired for over a year and managing well enough to pay my few bills, put about $100 a month aside for what I call the “all at once bills – auto insurance, just in case money, and fuel for the furnace,” buy the occasional birthday presents and Christmas presents, and take care of my pets.
I was on my way home from early coffee with my daughter and needed gas for the car. As I pulled into the station; I glanced at the reader board and felt my stomach give a little lurch. Gasoline had gone up, overnight, by several cents a gallon. It continued going up for days and weeks and months. Those increases drove prices of everything else higher until they doubled, tripled and in many cases quadrupled. They never came back down and they never will. It is part of a planned destruction of our economy. My income could not keep up.
Simple, really, what happened then. First I did all the things one is taught to do when money is tight, let go of cable, researched and found cheaper internet access and cell service, had my land line removed, cut out non-essentials at the grocery store and elsewhere, since I’m a vegetarian, I wasn't spending a lot at the grocery store anyway. The high end of my grocery expenses prior to the nightmare of 2008 was around $89 a week. That quickly hit $100 a week and up as gas prices rose.
At a certain point I started using my credit card to survive because I had spent all my savings and was running out of money well before the end of the month. The credit balance grew and the payments grew. I always paid more than the minimum balance trying to keep interest down. Prices kept going up but my SS stayed the same. I was paying the credit card bill after rent but before food and other necessities. In early 2013 I called the credit union with which I had done business for 35 years and requested a one-year moratorium on interest on my credit card to enable me to make some headway. I did NOT ask to have my payments lowered. They ignored that and only offered to ‘possibly’ lower my payments for six months. Period. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that would have resulted in an even greater burden than the one I already had, not to mention more interest for THEM, so I next wrote to the President of the Credit Union with my request, mentioning my 35-year membership and my near-perfect credit rating and he denied my request. Saying it wouldn’t be “fair” to the other members. I’m wondering how “fair” my bankruptcy is to them.
I have never eaten cat food, after all I have cats and they need it, but I’ve skipped meds, cut meds in half, and stopped taking some altogether. I put off doctor visits because of co-pays and high deductibles (and those have increased EVERY year along with premiums and "co-insurance").
I do not buy clothes anymore, not even at my usual places – thrift shops - so I’m looking pretty ratty. No new shoes, no oil changes, no auto repairs or car washes, no vet visits for my pets. Spending $5 on a coffee and a bagel is off budget, but I occasionally toss caution to the wind.
Eventually I ended up here and by ‘here’ I mean in bankruptcy, a place so chilling, so devoid of positives that fear is the only thing that grows. My heart lives in a tiny little box with no windows and no doors, no way out. I don’t think about my good financial history being flushed down the toilet, I don’t feel bitter, I just don’t feel. There are a multitude of complexities involved here, most of which I understand and can do nothing about.
But all of that isn’t the worst of it
This is the worst of it: When people who know you, who know your personal financial history make judgments about what YOU must have done wrong and look at you with those thoughts seeping out of their eyes with disdain as if you need to be kept at a distance with a stick dangling a piece of dog shit on the end. THAT’S the worst of it.