Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I Have Been Selected!
I received a letter from Cambridge Who's Who which said I am being considered for inclusion in the newest volume. Thought One was that this is a scam. But look, it says right here, "there is no cost to be included". If they're not trying to get money out of you, it must be on the level, right? I am getting to be pretty well known in my field; obviously, someone heard of me / nominated me / wrote my name on a bathroom wall.

I've been busy, so I let the application form sit for awhile. But I just now googled it, and oh my! yes, it is a scam. Apparently they don't charge you for inclusion in the data base; they just charge you for access to it, to the tune of $1000. I can feed my ego for a lot less than that!

I told this story at a meeting last night and I think it's worth repeating here. A while back, I had gone to see someone at an engineering firm, at one of several buildings they have scattered around town. After I met with the man I had gone to see, I asked the receptionist to call another man who I thought worked in the same building. She did not recognize the name and asked me to describe him. "Oh, you'd remember him" I said, "he's young and very good-looking..."

The receptionist interrupted me in her best and-that's-final tone: "There are NO good-looking men in this building!"

posted at 4:49 AM
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Thursday, April 17, 2008
Life Must Go On -- I Forget Just Why
That is a line from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay and it pretty much sums up how I feel right now. I guess it's silly to mourn a cat this much, but I do.

I'm coping in the Great American Way: I'm shopping. I have been on the internet buying a hand-tied canopy for my new 4-poster bed, a tablecloth big enough for my new dining table, and a bunch of little stuff I don't need but it looked so good in the catalog. This is all prelude to the shopping I really need to do, but dread -- window coverings. I did hang some drapes in the bedroom, but as for the rest of the house, I am flashing the neighbors. I have always planned to put plantation shutters across the front of the house, but then I saw the prices. OMG!!!

I should probably explain that both my mother's parents were born in Switzerland, which makes her full-blooded Swiss and consequently makes me half-Swiss. From what I've seen, the Swiss make the Scotch look like spendthrifts. And I definitely got the stretch-a-penny-till-it-screams gene. I can't count the number of times I've been in a store and found something I really wanted, but somehow the thought of actually handing over money for it was too much, and I've left empty-handed. That's where I am with the shutters. I want them, I need them, I know I'll love them (sounds like an Elvis song, doesn't it?), but working up the energy to spend the money is taking more time than I anticipated.

To really complicate things, I have incredibly expensive taste (which I cannot afford to indulge.) When I was looking at the tablecloth websites, I came across one with the most beautiful linens I have ever seen. You know that little moment of recognition, of "that's it!", when you see the perfect thing. I had it. I drilled down to the more information screen. The inexpensive tablecloths were $400; the one I liked best did not even have a price listed, and we all know what it means if you have to ask the price. Even if I could afford it, I would struggle with the ethics of spending that kind of money on a tablecloth, and then I would have to consider my family, several of whom seem to have taken after me in the clumsy department. I found another website with amazingly low prices and ordered one of their tablecloths. It did not make my heart sing but it will protect the table from scratches, and that actually is the point.

But I did spend some money that did some good. I send additional birthday and Christmas money to the little girl I sponsor in Kenya, and I just got a letter from her mother saying that she used some of it to buy a goat, then a hen. The goat had kids, the hen had chicks. They have milk, they have eggs, they will soon have meat and something to sell. You have to be careful, when their annual income is so low, not to change their economic status with your gifts, so I think I give M'Wende $20 at Christmas and $15 for her birthday. Now that is more bang for the buck.

I just cheered myself up enormously. Thanks for listening.

posted at 2:23 AM
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Monday, April 14, 2008
In Memoriam
This morning, I had to have my cat Rush put to sleep. My heart is broken.

I've written about him before -- born in my bedroom, named for that Rush because as a kitten he was really loud, pretty obnoxious, and when he nursed he always rooted to the right. He was Guppyman's cat, and the center of his universe, for a long time. When Guppy discovered that Stormii and the Little Angel were allergic to cats, Rush came back to me.

Rush had been an inside cat through all his years with Guppy, but we live in a neighborhood with almost no traffic, so I introduced him to the great outdoors. The first time he went outside, it was a 30-minute, belly-to-the-ground trip of about 20 feet, but within a week he was going out and loving it. He climbed trees and chased bugs and cooled off in the shade. I'm not sure that he ever left the yard, but you could see that to him, it was a jungle and he was the fierce feline.

He was one of those easy-going, friendly cats who never met a stranger. All the construction workmen were enchanted by him because he would hang out with them and watch their every move. He also would jump up on their sawhorses and ladders the instant they were free. I guess they could have been annoyed by that, but they seemed to find it charming.

He was my baby. He always loved a certain perfume of mine -- I'm convinced it took him back to when he was a kitten -- and he was always cuddly. He was also active and fun to watch. On Easter, he jumped into an empty chair at the dining table and sat there looking just like a toddler who is sitting at the adult table for the first time. He kept his paws off the table, but he looked around with a wow-look-at-me! expression. That wasn't just my flight of fancy; everyone at the table saw the same thing. It seems like everyone who ever met him commented on what a great cat he was.

He had been peeing a lot, but he has always struggled with urinary tract infections, and I thought that was a good thing. His appetite has been great, he's been active and alert. Friday night he was not hungry, not even when I put down wet cat food. Saturday morning he was lathargic and I took him to the vet. She told me he had diabetes. I had no idea a cat could even get diabetes. She wanted to put him down right then, since he was about a month shy of turning 15, but I couldn't do it. I hadn't had any time to prepare myself for a fatal illness. So I took him to the emergency clinic for the weekend. The vet there called me Sunday morning and said that Rush had not needed another shot of insulin since he got there the day before, and it looked like he was one of those cats whose pancreas started working again. I was so excited. But late that evening when I called to check on him, they said they had to give him more insulin shots.

I went this morning to transfer Rush from the emergency to the regular vet. I had a long talk with the vet who treated him over the weekend. He told me that if we could get him stabilized and on two insulin shots a day (and I would have had to hire someone to do those when I was traveling), there was still no guarantee that his pancreas wouldn't suddenly make its own insulin, and I would put him in a coma with the next shot. I was out about $2000 so far, and I realized that I could spend $10 or $20,000 and still not be sure that he would be okay. And most of all, he would have no quality of life. He had such a good life and he spread so much joy. The least I could do for him was spare him suffering and give him a peaceful death.

We are down to one cat, his mama, Chula. She is looking for Rush. The house is so quiet without him. Chula keeps demanding that I pick her up and cuddle her. I think we are crying together.

posted at 11:46 AM
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Thursday, April 10, 2008
The Generations Come Together, Then Diverge
Last night I took Dolphin and her family to dinner to celebrate her birthday. SIL had read somewhere that "Happy Birthday" is the most-often sung song in the US, and "The Star Spangled Banner" is second. We all agreed that no one can actually sing the national anthem. SIL said it was an old drinking tune, and meant to be sung by a large group of people; presumably, some could hit the high notes, and some could hit the low. This triggered a dim memory in me, and I said tentatively "There used to be a pizza parlor..."

"Shakey's Pizza!" Dolphin burst in. Obviously she had gone to the same memory; her eyes were shining and you could see the happy feelings written all over her face.

"It was like group karaoke" I said, "with a big screen..."

"And you followed the bouncing ball. They had root beer in little mugs, and the very best part of all was that they had a window where you could watch the guys make the pizza and throw the dough in the air. There was a step so the little kids could see it, too. You know" Dolphin said "that may be my earliest childhood memory. I don't think Guppyman was even born then."

Her memories are far more crystal clear than mine, but I think she's right on every bit of it.

The conversation drifted back to the national anthem. I said I've always thought "America the Beautiful" should be our anthem because it's a lovely melody and celebrates the country, while "God Bless America", which seems to be most people's choice, is such a martial tune. Then Dolphin said "You're just an aging hippie. You want to tell everyone 'Let's take off our shoes, and hold hands, and run through this field of wildflowers'." She didn't sound approving. Too bad, because it sounded wonderful to me.

It's time to stop writing now. I have to go find my love beads, my peace symbol button and my "Make love, not war" bumper sticker. Later, dudes.

posted at 8:01 AM
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Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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