It’s one year since my beloved puppy, Shelby, passed away after only 7 years on this planet.
I miss her. No surprises there.
I wanted to dedicate this little podcast to her because as much as her death pains me even that can’t put a dent into the years of contentment, love and laughs she brought me, the years of adventures and look at this, Dave, will outshine any grief.
I was going to make this podcast filled with nothing but dead singers but that got really pretty morose and sad, so I gave that up and just played songs I kept in the iPod.
Only the last half dozen are about Shelby. The last one is the Pet Shop Boys, who are not really a group people would associate with me. I have a friend, also Belgian like Shel, who would argue that the Pet Shop Boys are the greatest group in an ever evolving cosmos. We overlook our friends flaws as I hope they overlook mine.
My wife told me about one of our next door neighbours in Canada. After I’d returned to the States the neighbour asked her whatever became of the crazy guy who she always saw in the backyard dancing with his dog.
The Pet Shop Boys “Always On My Mind” is a song Shel and I would dance to. We didn’t do the spiffy ball room dog dancing that they used to talk about. Shel and I did the typical white boy dancing we do in the clubs we get dragged to. Shelby would keep the rhythm well and dance by my side. Every dance ended with her jumping on me and trying to give me a kiss even though she knew how much I hate dog kisses.
If she were here now I’d let her kiss me.
When I started doing the podcast I liked that 80 to a hundred people would listen to it. Some how it accelerated, there were over 40,000 downloads of the Buddy Holly one and over twice that of the whacky Xmas one. I don’t know how I feel about that. I know at least 80 to a hundred people, I doubt if I know 40,000 plus. I don’t think even many of the 100 would understand how I felt about my dog and she felt about her boy. And that is morose and sad too.
Enjoy the music, please.
Jan And Dean-Here They Come (alt)
Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels-Devil With A Blue Dress
Chesterfield Kings-Sick And Tired Of You
Slingsby Hornets-Rock And Roll Love Letter
Strangeloves-I Want Candy
Hollies-Pay You Back With Interest
Jam-It’s Too Bad
Walter Clevenger-Little Bit O’ Soul
Union Avenue-Little Green Bag
Spades-We Sell Soul
Jon Blair And The Nightriders-Minor Chaos
Ramouns-In My Room
Someloves-Don’t Talk About Us
Hondells-A Guy Without Wheels
Johnny Ramone-Viva Las Vegas
Beat Farmers-Bigger Stones
Tip Toppers-Someone Like Me
Explorers Club-Any Little Way
Mink Jaguar-Campsie City Line
Hazel Adkins-I Don’t Want Nobody
Murray Lachlan Young-Doo Wah Diddy
Ghastly Ones-The Icy Grip Of Fear
Tom Petty-Zombie Zoo
Scheme-I Don’t Want To Say Goodbye
Chris Von Sneidern-I Can’t Reach You
Spongetones-Now You’re Gone
Pet Shop Boys-Always On My Mind
For those who insist of the inferior-MP3 Version
Today should have been Shelby’s eighth birthday.
She’s still gone. I still miss her and grieve for her everyday.
I miss my little dog.
It is causing me terrible pain, as bad as when my first wife and my son died. It is a different pain but it feels like my soul his being slowly ripped through a hole in my chest. I can’t think of her without tears. I can’t talk about her because I choke up and the pain gets so bad I almost wish for a heart attack. I get angry because no one cares enough that a great living thing so full of love has been ripped so unfairly away.
People wish me condolences on the loss of my daughter. She was never my daughter. It was more important than that. Shelby was my dog and I was her boy. We weren’t family, we weren’t codependent, we took care of each other and taught each other and cared for each other.
The only reason I could afford Shelby was because she failed her puppy temperament test. The first time we met each other she bit me. Drew blood. Then she laid on my foot and then sat calmly in and out of my lap.
That night I had as luxurious crate prepared for her as I could afford. She’d have none of it and cried until I let her out. She dragged herself into the bed and slept on the pillow next to my face. In the morning she used the crate as her toilet until I dragged her outside.
The day the breeder, Julie, took Shelby and I to the dog park with Shelby’s mother and her Uncle Hank. A last romp and a goodbye for when Shelby’s family said goodbye.
Shelby ran to her mother , Reina. Reina rejected her aggressively. Julie explained that was normal and Reina was just telling her it was time for Shelby to make her way in the world.
What everyone noticed was that instead of running to someone familiar she ran to me.
And that was how it started. For the next 8 years every time I looked down I saw Shelby looking back at me, always laughing, always ready with a dog joke to tell me or pull on me.
Living in a big city I know that everyone has hundreds of great stories about their dogs. So do I. Too many.
Every day with Shelby was an adventure. Every walk was an odyssey of excitement. The day we saw the giant opossum, and watched a rabbit and a crow have a fight. Or discovered dinosaur bones, and dinosaurs and ducks. And when she met her best friend, the little blind dog, Ben, the two of them made discoveries unheard of.
I suppose Shelby’s biggest accomplishment was becoming a therapy dog. It was my idea. I thought she could use the training. She was just over a year old when she started and she was terrible. She wanted to play with everybody. I thought she was terrific any time she completed an exercise. The trainers were charmed by Shelby, so charmed that it compelled them to not throw us out of the class.
I didn’t expect Shelby to graduate. I was surprised that during the final exam she not only did well she had top grades. She was so gentle they asked if she could work with children.
Thinking of her then shunts my pain aside. She was amazing. Playing with the children was fun for her and she worked hard at it. She bought a new joy to the children. Some of those kids remembered Shelby as giving them their last smiles. The children would come to my work to visit Dr Shelby. Many cars would pull over when we were walking so that parents and children could come and say hello to the Dr Shelby.
It was when she did her serious work in the oncology ward that she amazed me, me who already thought she could do anything. She walked the hospital hallway, quietly, calmly, wended her way past gurneys and nurses until she came to an open door. She’d stare into the room for a moment and make her decision to either enter or go to the next room. I tried not to peek into the rooms. It was her time. People would talk to me about Shelby but they weren’t really talking to me. They wanted to talk to her and didn’t know how to talk to a dog.
Around then I felt like I should get back into coaching. Of course, Shelby came with me to every practice and she was on the sidelines for every game. In our second year the team got to State; at the football banquet the players voted Shelby their favorite coach.
I just now moved my chair and I remember how she always watched over me. Even when I was in hospital. At night she stayed as close to me as possible. Even when she was sick she always pressed though the pack to get to see me first to make sure I was all right. She loved me enough to tolerate the 14 foster dogs I bought into her life. She didn’t like all of them. She wanted them to follow the rules, her rules mainly. But she endured them even if sometimes I did get “looks”.
Her last three weeks were terrible but she was always loving. I have to walk the five dogs 3 or 4 times a day. I have to make 3 trips. Shelby always insisted on making all the trips with me. She would walk with me or in front of me and the other dogs. As she sickened she started walking 5 or ten feet behind us. She started to walk with her head low, she began sitting and lying down in an untypical way.
We took her to the vet for her annual exam. When they drew blood for her panel her blood was not red but rusty brown. They tested it and her blood count was 12. We began a treatment of massive minocyclin and predosterone (a steroid). Shelby was not responding well, even though her blood count did rise an insignificant amount.
At home she still insisted she go out with me at any opportunity. She wanted me close to her. She slept in the living room. She liked the cold air blowing on her from our drafty front door.
We have to climb a hill to get to the street. When she could no longer climb the hill she figured out another pathway. In a few days even the other path was too difficult. I stopped taking the other guys up the hill and she would slowly follow us around the back yard.
Even after her blood count held steady she was weakening. She started to refuse to eat. But even till the end she always wanted her cookies. She could move fast for a pizza slice! Every time she took a cookie I had hope.
Every night she still found the strength to come and trick me and play jokes on me. She’d put her big old paw on me and make me pet her. She used her paw to direct me to her tummy. She loved her tummy rubs. She was always smiling the same way she smiled at life.
Dr Karen decided we should start to cut back and wean Shelby off some of the drugs, to see if they could be hurting her appetite and energy. To try and be certain what was ehrlichia and what might be a side effect.
Shelby got worse. I took her to work with me. She enjoyed herself immensely but I was tortured thinking that I was putting too much strain on her.
One funny thing she did at work: Shelby always kept a time limit on how long I was able to be out of her sight. I had to step out of the office. I was bent over working on a computer when I was suddenly poked in my butt. I jerked around and there was Shelby all over joyed with herself for finding me.
When she was a puppy we always played hide and seek. She remembered.
Of course all my customers were screaming about the dangerous looking wolf-dog running around on the loose. Shelby and I didn’t care about them. She was just happy to win our game. I was happy that she still wanted to laugh and joke.
We got home that night and Shelby was worsening. She still insisted on coming outside with each of the other dogs but she struggled badly. She was searching for an easier way to get down the gentle slope into the backyard. The search was to hard so she just sat and laughed at me trying to walk the other dogs without her help.
Tuesday she looked too weak to come to work with me. The day at work was miserable without her. When I got home she didn’t have the strength to push to the front of the pack. I pretended not to notice for her sake.
Wednesday we went to the Vet hospital. She was moving so slow. She still wouldn’t eat.
In the car she wouldn’t lie down or sit. I sat terrified that this would be our last car ride together.
At the hospital she still gobbled up every cookie I offered her. She could barely walk. We could only get about 10 yards at a go. She’d take a break, make me pet her and then continue on another 10 yards.
After 90 minutes we finally got to talk to the Doctor. The Doctor was pregnant. The Doctor still sat on the floor, putting her hand on Shelby’s back. Shelby did not try and move away from her.
The Doctor laid out the plan of attack on the ehrlichia. Shel’s blood count was stable so the first thing was to check her reticulites. Which is how many blood cells she is producing. Then if the reticulates were low we would have to do a bone marrow aspiration!! I’ve had several of those and they are up in the top 10 of excruciating pains.
I listened to all this like a petrified log. I led Shelby back into the hospital proper. I got them to give her a run so she could look around and lay out easily. When I left I looked back. Shelby was looking at me with a scared panic free face. She wouldn’t follow the hospital tech until I broke off eye contact.
We waited two hours for the reticulate readings. When they came back they were good, very good. She needed a 60,000 and she got a 200,000! So no bone marrow tests!
The decision was to give her two units of blood and then to do x-rays and a sonogram to try and pin point where she was loosing all the blood she was producing. They let us see her in the run. She was dangling tubes and such. I watched the blood pump labor away while I thought of teasing her about spying on her.
Even with just 1 unit of blood in her Shel was more alert, lying down but with her head up. She watched everything.
The blood transfusion took all night. I went home and showed great discipline. I only called 3 times. Shelby was always doing fine. In the morning she refused food but she did go for a walk and she defecated.
About 8 am the hospital called and said Shelby’s blood count was 22! Still far from ideal but higher than they had hoped for!
Around 10 they called me to recite the bill and to ask my permission to do the x-rays and ultrasound test. Again she was doing great. Standing and watching everything going on. She commented on how well behaved and gentle Shelby was.
My heart was singing.
At 12:10 PM Thursday the Doctor called. She said a lot of blow softening stuff I couldn’t focus on. At 12:02 Shelby stood up and gave a short howl and then collapsed.
They had tried twice to resuscitate her via chemicals and electricity. They were still doing CPR but she was not responding.
I asked them to stop the CPR. After 10 minutes I thought it was hopeless and a miracle resurrection
would still leave her brain damaged.
My wife and I got there as soon as we could. They put us in an examination room and wheeled Shelby in on a cart. When I touched her all that fur made her feel warm. When I had my first two heart attacks Shelby and I were foolishly separated for a few months. When we were reunited she didn’t run and jump into my arms; she snapped at me and tried to run away. She thought I was a ghost returned from the grave. When she saw that I was flesh she was back to leaning on me and demanding I scratch her butt. When I felt her warm fur I thought she was going to jump up and yell at me, “Now you know how it feels!”
It would have been a great joke. But it wasn’t a joke.
I could still feel that Shelby was there. Probably why it felt confusing. I told her she was a good girl and that she would always be my dog.
I asked the Doctor about her howl. I wanted to make sure it was or was not her emergency howl for me to come rescue her. It didn’t sound like it was. It sounded like Shelby was caught unawares and surprised. It was an inarticulate utterance caused by a blood clot from brain suddenly dislodging and striking her brave little heart.
They had covered Shel with a blanket. I pulled it back and saw the weariness of her battle, the two places where they’d shaved for the catheter and how they’d shaved her stomach below her heart.
I rubbed her tummy telling her she was a good girl and that I loved her. More than even a cookie she loved being called a good girl. She hated being called a bad girl and would argue if she thought it was undeserved.
At first her tummy felt like it was Shelby but abruptly it felt like something gray and dead. It was then I realized that Shelby had finally left.
We’re having her cremated. We’ll pick up her ashes next week.
Shelby would not be happy at Rainbow Bridge. She wouldn’t run and play. She would only sit and wait for me.
If you believe in reincarnation I can’t imagine a higher life form for her to evolve into. She loved who she was and it was as close to perfection as any of us could want.
She was the greatest dog in the world. She was my dog. I was her boy.
If you can’t understand that. I’ve nothing to say.
If you do understand and are jealous I understand. I’m jealous of the me that was.
She was 7 years old. Nearly 8. She did nothing but brighten the world for a lot of people but mainly she illuminated my world. It seems even darker now without her in it. It’s not fair to her.
One thing did happen. My wife locked her keys in the car at the hospital. We had to call a locksmith. He was there in about 5 minutes. I don’t know how we must have looked; while he was getting into the car he told us about his 13 year old pit bull who was the glue of his family. He then said, “No charge.”
Shelby, my puppy, passed away today at 12:02 PM.
It was surprising only because she had been showing so much improvement. After enduring 2 units of blood in a transfusion all her vital signs showed marked improvement. There were signs that this was going to be treatable or at least manageable.
But then she suddenly let off a strangled howl and collapsed, dead.
After 10 minutes of CPR there was no response. I asked them to stop as even if she miraculously survived after that time she surely would have been brain damaged.
I will miss her. So will many others.
She was the greatest dog in the world.
Click images for desktop size: “Creepy 1966” by Frank Frazetta My puppy has a heart murmur and she has anemia.
It’s bad. What makes it somehow worse is that it comes from a disease called Ehrlichia.
Ehrlichia canid infection in dogs is divided into 3 clinicopathologic stages:
acute phase of disease:
fever, anorexia, lethargy
This phase begins 1-3 weeks after exposure.
Most dogs recover at this point, but others progress to the subacute and chronic phases subacute phase of disease:
hypergammaglobulinemia (polyclonal or sometimes monoclonal gammopathy), thrombocytopenia and anemia usually subclinical, but can last months to years
lethargy, weight loss
PANCYTOPENIA, BONE MARROW SUPPRESSION AND HEMORRHAGE
Mortality can be high in dogs that progress to the chronic stage of disease.
Three hundred military dogs were lost to this “Tropical Canine Pancytopenia” form of ehrlichiosis during the Vietnam War. Progression to subacute and chronic disease is generally attributed to an ineffective immune response on the part of the dog. German Shepherd dogs appear to be predisposed to the severe, chronic form of disease.
It kind of sucks to be my puppy right now. If nothing else, I love her. I can only hope that means
Click images for desktop size: “Transformer” by Unknown something to her. I think it does. It could just be my massive ego but she still wants to keep me in eyesight.
My puppy has even figured out new paths and methods to keep me in sight which reduce the stress on her little body. When we walk up the hill to the street for our walks she insists on coming along on all three trips. Instead of bouncing up the hill and vaulting the retaining walls like usual she’s figured out a path that she can make in her own plodding style.
When I walk the other dogs she lets me go to where she knows I’ll have to turn around. She will stand there and wait for me to come back. If I move five feet further away than normal she adjusts and waits.
So the flesh is weak but her mind is strong.
Her initial blood test showed her with a 12% blood count. It should be around 36%. My own blood count once fell to 5%meds but and they were writing me off then. I know how uncomfortable a 12% can be.
We started her on a massive program of antibiotics and steroids. My puppy showed all the side effects of the meds but no real improvements. In fact she seemed to be going downhill.
I took her to work with me to monitor her. She watched me closer than I monitored her! If I left my office door open she’d very slowly follow me out and just trudge along until she found me. When she did find me she would just laugh at me.
I took my puppy back in Friday for another blood test. This time the blood count was 14% but her protein count was down from 6.7 to 6.
Those 2 points caused my heart to flutter. It could be a false hope due to the various testing methods used. But they can’t take way that she at least is not getting worse.
Ehrlichia is a tick born disease. Like lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Fever it comes from being
Click images for desktop size: “Concerti Vivaldi” by MA Parkes bitten by a tick.
I’m still trying to figure out what purpose ticks serve in ecology. I wonder about that a lot less then I wonder how to get revenge on a phylum.
Most of you know that my big prayer has always been for me to live one day longer than my puppy. Even though she showed that she can survive far better without me than I can without her.
I wish I’d never offered that prayer. I’m wondering now if she’s just trying to keep pace with me; as if I’d given her a command to go first.
I’ve been having a lot of warning sign, signs I’m constantly on alert for: Constantly dropping things – explained away as a side effect to the frozen right shoulder and football neck injury
Thinning hair – I’m getting older aren’t I?
Odd wounds that don’t heal – I have a few in my scalp. My wife examined them and said they looked like bug bites.
Fatigue – I’ve got a burdensome loathsome job and five dogs to care for.
They did a blood work on me a couple of weeks ago. I got the call yesterday that I need to go in for some more blood tests.
Lost 25 lbs since November – My wife moved in. New living arrangement and eating habits change. And there’s been a lot of stress with her family, house and friends. It all effects me. Four pounds a month is not what anyone would call a massive weightless now, is it?
I sort of blew it off. I was feeling okay and had a good explanation for what was going on in me, but last night it was an herculean task to lift a dog bowl of food and stir it up. I wrote it off as using my bad right hand but it was just as impossible with my left.
I got it done because me and my puppy do share that. We just keep on going till we get there.
I might be coming out of remission, but then again, I might not.
If you check the podcast button at the top of the menu you’ll find the latest. I’ll have another one up this week.
After that will come the tribute to summer and then the tribute to dogs, with every dog song I could find that is cool and or crazy.
Click images for desktop size: “Sorcerer’s Transformation” by Unknown When I was seven years old movie theaters were just starting to decay. Movie Palaces they liked to be called.
On Saturday’s my mother would drop me off at the Starlight Theater. The Starlight had a Kids Matinee. They showed 10 cartoon, 3 Three stooges shorts, and some incredibly cheap Monster film. It was great. About 200 to 200 hyped up kids with only a teenaged usher for supervision!
My mother gave me a dollar. A dollar was a lot of money. It was 8 comic books, a league baseball. It was calculable wealth but it was still wealth. So, often I’d find out when the movie let out so I could meet my mother in front of the theater and then bug out of the movies to have more refined dollar flaunting fun.
The Starlight tried to live up to its name by having black ceilings that were studded with whispering galaxies made from those little white Christmas lights. In a more cynical time it was probably nothing but cheesy but in the age, the time and the fact that I was 7, it was a wondrous thing that took everything to the level of celestial purity that made the surf and the ball field seem somehow smaller than dreams.
My mother would give me a dollar to go to the kiddie matinee. I always carried the dollar rolled up in a ball, clenched tight in my fist. I carried so many gooney things in my pockets it was the only way to keep the dollar safe. I paid my admission, 25 cents, and got my 3 quarters in change. Immediately I went to the candy counter and got either a popcorn or a box of Boston Baked Beans. They were both a quarter so the choice depended on external factors. The popcorn came in a box that could be dismantled and turned into a wicked paper airplane. The plane could be launched at the screen at the appropriate moment for big laughs or for frantic boos if the plane fell short or missed some cool target, like a naughty human body part.
Click images for desktop size: “King Features Christmas Card” The Boston Baked Beans were more introspective, they could make a pretty nasty sounding kazoo but that was a one note joke and lacked nuance. It was in the eating that they shined. I could nibble off the candy and then save up a handful of the “beans” for dual snack age fun. I also got to debate whether they were some strange bean I should coerce my mother into buying or if they were, in dull reality, stale peanuts. And if you’d ever had my mother’s Sunday bean dinner you also would prefer stale peanuts flavored beans.
We all loved the cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons. The theater would get quiet when they were on then get raucous again when they put on a Deputy Dawg or a Heckle and Jekyll. For me it was incredible seeing the cartoons on a big screen, an enormous screen.
I’ve never been blown away by IMAX movies. If you asked me how big the screen was at the Starlight, the Old Egyptian, or even the old Cinerama Dome, I’d have said it was as tall as an angel and as wide as an angel’s wingspan. I always thought the IMAX screen was as tall as an angel and as wide as an angel’s wingspan and a bit more.
In London there used to be a Cartoon Theater in Piccadilly Circus. It was only a pound so I went hoping to recapture some of the scents of the Starlight on a Saturday. It was disappointing. The screen was small and high above the crowd. They showed some Warner Brothers stuff but it was all the made for TV stuff. It kept cartoons far too life sized.
The Cartoon Theater is gone. I think there’s a McDonald’s there now or a Wendy’s or some other American bastion of domination. It really doesn’t matter much which one it is now. At least not as much as what it once was.
The Boston Baked Beans would last me through the cartoons and get me to the Three Stooges shorts. My next course of action was predicated on what 3 Stooges they showed. For a “Curley” I would not move. It was too much fun then. We all laughed if not at the movie itself than at all the great Curly impressions that would go on around us. For a “Curley Joe Rita” there would be pandemonium. We all hated him as an impostor, a ne’er do well who encroached on our sense of order in the universe. The sight of 7 to 10 year olds in near riot agitation must have terrified the theater manager enough that anything other than Curley or Shemp was a rare occurrence.
There are many Shemp fans out there. Some who consider Shemp a more mature flavor of Stooge. They point out that Shemp was actually in “real” movies. that Shemp stood up to Moe and tried to hold on to his place and individuality in life.
I’m not one of those. Without Curley the Stooges were a mere nostalgic craze, a dim memory of what greatness once was and what greatness would seldom be again.
If a Shemp Stooges came on screen I would go out to the lobby to construct the greatest concoction
Click images for desktop size: “Astronomerd” by Gerrit Dou ever devised by the 7 year old mind.
I would go to the soda machine and get a cup of coca-cola without ice. Then I would go to the ice cream machine and get an ice cream bar. On the east coast I’ve heard them call an ice cream bar an Eskimo Pie and other heathen slurs. it doesn’t matter as this was my invention and as such I claimed the right to name the ingredients appropriately and correctly.
Each ingredient was a quarter. Fifty cents was a fortune to me but is still cheap for the joy and pleasure it would soon construct. I mean, for fifty cents I could buy a pint of strawberry ice cream and two comic books from the drug store on Sunset Blvd and then go to the beach and stare at the waves while I waited for some gremmie surfer to lose his board so I could run out grab the lost stick and ride some shore break before the gremmie could yell at me. And yet, I insist my invention was better even than that!
The first time I had the stroke of inspired genius that led me to this creation was when the movie was “The Astounding She Monster!” was showing. It is appropriate that this piece of neglected cinema should have inspired other acts of genius. It was also a day we’d managed to smuggle my dog, Alex, into the movies. The pandemonium was such that after we got him into the theater, past the teenaged ticket taker we were totally safe to enjoy ourselves.
“The Astounding She Monster” was about a blonde alien woman who wore silver skin tight spandex (or whatever it was they used in the pre spandex days), with over plucked eyebrows and dark lipstick. She glowed and glittered!
Aside from the over plucked eyebrows she was as perfect a woman as had ever been imagined. Except she had one serious problem: Everything she touched on earth died.
A dog barked at her and she went to pet it and the poor thing died from the terrible radiation that coursed through her.
Everything of beauty, everything she might love was doomed to die at her touch. The tragic denouement had the “heroes” tracking the wracked creature by rolling her footprints, footprints that burned themselves into the grass.
This is pretty profound stuff for a kid. And you wrap profound messages up in a glowing glittering blonde and wrap it in sparkly spandex and you’ve opened up a path, a neural road to forever.
It’s too bad “The Astounding She Monster” wasn’t a better movie. Instead it’s just a semiotic film that allows access to the better past and dreams of children who dream of making themselves better than their parents, the establishment and the world.
But it was during this movie that I learned to love story telling and it was during this movie that I learned my great kid secret and made my great kid invention. The first thing I had to do was eat the chocolate coating from the ice cream bar. This is very important as if any chocolate touches the other ingredients the chocolate becomes poison.
Trying to neatly nibble the icing off an ice cream bar in the dark while intently watching a monster movie while surrounded by 400 rowdy shouting running kids is no easy task. But, like many mundane chores, it has to be done. At least in this chore there’s a payoff.
When the ice cream bar is denuded it has to be inspected and not dropped. This is especially important when your dog is with you. Dogs love ice cream. At least all my dogs love it. International
Click images for desktop size: “Wings” by Boris Vallejo is clear that anything that falls on the floor is automatically the dog’s.
By now the ice cream was pretty drippy, which made my hands sticky, the dog excited and those gray shadows of despair were allowed to creep in. Everyone else was having fun and I was involved in experiments as deranged as the mad scientists on the screen. Great moments should always be thus.
The next step is not scientific, that means it must be art. In my world there is only science, art and faith.
You had to study the coke and study the ice cream – by now you have probably figured out what the invention is, if not its only because it is so mind snapping that you can’t believe the simple genius invested here – and you must not account not only for the volume of the ice cream and the displacement of the coke but the variable that creates art – the foam! The foam that makes what happens next the pinnacle of greatness and not just another kid screwing around and making a mess.
When things were just right you plunged the ice cream into your paper cup of coke and there, as inconceivable as it might seem you were in possession of a portable black, the elusive coca cola float!
And after you had stirred the mix you still had the ice cream bar stick which your dog would enjoy eating until it was time to leave the movie.
I’ve told all of this because my wife has just gotten her visa. She can come and live and work here in the IS of A. So can giant dog and gentle dog and the new addition, aggro dog, can all come and live here and we can be a family once again. We’ve always been a family but now we get to live as one.
After nearly 2 and a half years it’s over.
Al the money, all the paperwork and fretting and worrying and cursing and doubting is over. All the begging for letters of reference and being held prisoner to some whacko government standards of life are done. We’re free.
And on hearing that my wife had gotten her visa the only emotion that compares is that time when I was 7 and I invented the portable black cow.
As I sat in the dark and watched my monster movie, my dog at my side while I sipped the aphrodisiacal sweet and foaming creamy concoction that I had made with my own two hands is about how I felt when I heard my wife and my family were going to be together with me again until the end.
Not that I would consider my wife an “Astounding She Monster” except maybe sometimes to keep things interesting. Although I do think she’d look great all glittery and glowing. But she probably wouldn’t do that. She’s like that.
Click images for desktop size: “Eerie 1967” by Frank Frazetta I was watching “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and there was this really ancient guy who they’re debating whether he was killed or suicided. The solution was that he couldn’t have suicided! He took 14 pills a day! That was the only fact they needed.
I take 14 pills a day.
My puppy got a bath on Friday. She spent all of Friday hating me and blaming me. Of course she waited until I had rescued her from the sadistic groomer! Then its safe to hate me.
Can’t blame her for that.
She looks great. She’s been blowing coat in this maddening heat. They got her all brushed out, nails trimmed. She’s just as beautiful as I imagine her.
I can never get over how easily she forgives me for the wrongs, and the perceived wrongs, I’ve done her. My puppy cares about me, rejoices in me.
I suppose the biggest deal this week though is my job.
They fired the supervisor for theft. I was surprised and disappointed by that. And then shocked by the depth and amount of the theft, as well as the duration.
I’ve successfully avoided any sort of supervisor/management responsibilities at this job but this time, as much as I tried to avoid it, I’m stuck.
At first I thought I was going to get out of it easily. Thier initial offer of a promotion would have entailed a fifty cent an hour DECREASE in my current salary. Somehow they were unaware that I already earned more than the mamgers and supervisors.
Click images for desktop size: “Flux” by MX Steel They fixed the offer and made a few other concessions so now I’m it.
The major thing for me is going back to working during the day. I start at 8:00 AM now instead of midnight. I’m hoping this does something to fix my constant fatigue. Maybe not but who knows.
It will be an adjustment I figure. No longer moving quietly through the dark nights and no longer dealing with crack heads and drunks with a violent attitude. Or at least not dealing with them when they’re in full roar to their addictions.
I figure the little bit of extra money will go to the immigration lawyers.
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Unknown I didn’t have much of a birthday. Slept 18 hours out of the twenty four.
Woke up on the day with a pretty frightening ripping pain in my chest. Not heart attack pain but just as intense.
Thought about going to the hospital but nixed that. Remembered my last emergency room visit: Over Five thousand for a 5 minute EKG and 15 minutes of hanging around. Made me mad at Obama and the Democrats and that weak heath care bill they passed. So I suffered
Click images for desktop size: “Delores Fuller” and I slept. The waking time spent taking care of my puppy. She was being overly solicitous so I knew the pain was serious. When I’m just uncomfortable she goes about her business (whatever that is) but when I’m in trouble she does what she can. Sadly most of what she can do is fret and worry, not a good thing for a dog brain to try and process.
So a week later the pain continues. I still do my walking to work. The exercise has no impact on the pain. Neither does work. Work makes it no better and no worse.
There are moments. Moments of light headedness and worrisome moments of extreme and sudden fatigue, so severe that I wasn’t sure I can remain standing let alone walking. Deep weakness and jittery confusion that rested only on the surface.
On Friday I managed to get to the doctors. When you’re going to doctors on the cuff you take what you can get. I remembered all those movies and stories where lives were always at stake and the only solution was raising some insane amount of money, like $35,000 in depression dollars, for an operation. I realized that none of these stories were ever resolved with the surgeon saying, “Hold on a minute! You mean they might die!?! Of course I’ll do
Click images for desktop size: “Bridge” by Clarence Holbrook Carter the surgery for free or at least on credit!”
Many of those stories ended up with the sister dying and/or the brother going to prison for robbing a bank to try and pay the exorbitant medical costs. It’s a cliche.
I spent about 6 hours at the clinics, not counting my travel time. My nook made it a lot easier. It was easy to read. Right now I’m reading Judith Freeman’s “The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved”, which is really just a detailed travelogue of LA, but a travelogue noting the constant decay of my hometown. For Freeman its going to Chandler’s neighborhoods and examining the decay from the 30’s until now. For me its the confirmation of the hell that LA has been enduring.
I remember when I left, or at least decided it was time to leave – in LA mind set and action are pretty much the same thing – I remember thinking my lovely, corrupt ugly home had become hell. I was standing in the Hollywood Hills and could see South LA in flames from the Rodney King Riots and then to the north west the sky was a black mass reflecting the red fires of the canyon and beach adjacent homes below it.Urban ash and rural detrius caked black and gritty on my face, the leaves and the gray sidewalk. Another beloved puppy at my side swaddled in bandages from her most recent surgery to repair the damage from shotgun pellets and the whole future of LA and my place in it seemed clear and not abundant.
Freeman’s book makes it clear that my vision of the future were discomfortingly accurate.
Freeman’s a novelist, not an historian or a travel book writer so some of her situations are forced and some cheesy like a bad romance writer’s sniffling but for the most part it’s a strong book on an obscure subject. Trying to put Chandler into perspective and giving glimpses into his difficult persona via where he lived and the woman he spent his life with are brilliant endeavors. Its an enthralling book, at least for another native Angeleno.
Of course having a good book made even more convenient via the ebook format didn’t stop me from rummaging through the cabinets in the examination rooms. I still figure that if they cared about the stuff they leave in there they wouldn’t leave me alone with their things for so long.
I found the usual boring stuff but also a brand new rather expensive looking scalpel. My first thought was this was sharper than an exacto knife!
I put it back where I found it instead of lifting it. Not from some petty morality but because this is a free clinic, basically, and I figured that scalpel probably cost enough to force a rise in their prices.
The end result of all the testing and nonsense is that the fluids from my experience with lyrica are still present. In fact they said I’m allergic to lyrica . . . which seems to me to be tantamount to being allergic to hemlock. The shallowness of breath and the chest pain are from a toxic buildup of
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Cole Phillipsfluid around my heart and lungs.
My grandmother died from congestive heart failure at around 92. My mother did too but she was somewhere around my age. I thought she was a lot oder but as my wife brutally pointed out she might have even been younger than me.
The end result of this is I have to take a diuretic everyday; Hydrochlorothiazide. (I copied the name from the label).
Lots of side effects. The first tablet really wrenched me around. Bad nausea and it felt like an icy hand was rooting around in my chest looking for something that I wouldn’t understand even if the hand found it and pulled it in to daylight.
The other drag is that my blood sugars have to get lower. They want them at hypoglycemic levels. So instead of keeping my blood sugars between 4-7 the new targets are 3-5 . . . rah! They doubled my daily amount of lantus (insulin). It will be interesting to see how this goes.
The lower blood sugars are supposed to help the fluid build up as well as but a stauncher grip on the neuropathy that’s always dogging me.
Times like this I can’t help but wonder why I’ve survived. There are a lot of people more important to the world, better people who’ve died. And if the lazy French existentialists are right and this is hell then there are a lot more people worse, crueler and badder than me who’ve been granted release.
Lucky for me I’m not very good at keeping those thought processes going to long. There’s always a puppy that needs walking or petting and people who need caring for.
Since my birthday was on a Saturday I think most people forgot about it until their PDA’s and smartphones sent them the reminder on Monday. I got lots of good wishes on the Monday. I liked that.
Getting my wife into the USA continues in its own plodding pace. I want the incumbents out of political office but not to replace with moronic racist tea baggers. What ever happened to good men?
Click images for desktop size: “Love Memories” by Alicia De Fritas My job has been legislated away!
This has never happened to me before. Its kind of interesting in a Chinese way. (The worst Chinese curse is, “May you have an interesting life.”)
I guess the biggest surprise is that this bill to wipe out about 3,000 jobs is being driven by the Democrats. For quite a while it looked like the Republicans were going to stand around and let the Dem’s pass the bill and then when the spike hit unemployment rates they’d comfortably sit back and accuse the Democrats of neglecting their constituents and general bad policy. It makes sense that the Republicans would allow the country and the people to die a lingering death so long as the Republicans got what they wanted.
But that sniveling strategy got trashed when my boss, amongst others, got organized. They started to proclaim to anyone who’d listen that this was unfair and that banning “Internet Sweepstakes” would cost the state 30,000 jobs (!?!) and at least 1 billion in need tax revenue (!?!).
They also organized a poorly conceived e-mail campaign that was transparent only in that it was bought and paid for. They tried to get me involved . . . not smart, but nothing about these guys is. My stand is simple: This is a lousy job, but the only one I can find. I make about 60 bucks a day while you net about 200,000 a week. I understand your concern but you have to understand my apathy.
So they paid me to send some e-mails. I did. They paid me to help our customers to send out their boilerplate e-mails. I did that too. I never knew I was such a mercenary.
I pointed out that it would make better sense to create a form where all the customers would have to do is fill in their name and email addresses and then push a submit button. It would be easier and
Click images for desktop size: “Red Bee” by Lou Fine permit personalization. I said I’d charge them $250 to design it and it would take about 4 hours to have up and working. That was too expensive for them.
So in the face of all this “outrage” the senate passed the bill 47-1. Pretty much a slam dunk.
The one nay vote wanted them shut down but to preserve jobs and tax revenue her plan was to have the State Lottery take over operation of the “casinos”.
The general consensus was that the operators were scum whose goal was to suck all the money out of the poorer communities while giving nothing back. The owners response was that if they made them legal they’d have a rack of Gambler’s Anonymous pamphlets . . .
The other contention was that the jobs they offered were not jobs that benefited the state. The owners violated all the labor laws, offered no protection, benefits, lunch breaks, rest breaks or safe working conditions.
All of this is true. So the owners response was to call the senate corrupt without offering up a clue as to who would benefit from bribing the entire legislature to close them down.
Now the bill goes to the house. The owners then decided to rent buses and force all the employees to trek along. I refused to attend this one. It was a disaster. No customers attended. Oddly the media wrote it up as a massive protest while the legislators saw it for what it was. How nouveau riche are the employers that they rebelled at the idea of making campaign contributions to the legislators who, while not supporting them, balked at the idea of losing jobs in the
Click images for desktop size: “Fergie” present economy. So instead of talking to them intelligently the owners bragged about how they set those idiots right. So instead of building up allies in a fight they managed to reaffirm the incredibly negative image they seem hell bent of justifying.
Their only hope, as I see it, is that the House decides not to debate the Senate bill until after the election. Then the owners have to throw their support and considerable extra cash behind any candidate who might support their cause.
They won’t do that. They are as bad as the legislators depict them. There’s no misunderstanding there. These guys whole goal is to suck up every nickel the customers have period. They have no social conscious and are not bright enough to see how faking one will benefit them. They can’t even figure out to be deferential and listen and rebutting instead of dictating. I’ve seen it before just not as so base a level.
For me I’ve got a job and I’m searching for another one a little bit harder. My job sucks, dealing with sore losers, drunks, drug dealers, hookers and other creatures of the night. But even a crappy job is better than looking for work.
Click images for desktop size: “Mix” by Unknown My spare time now is spent on getting my wife into this country. It’s arduous and confusing. Too many forms, too many arcane racist laws. Immigration. I want her and my two other dogs with me.
I’ve had to keep comments switched off. It’s creepy. The spammers have made 12 attempts to hijack the site in order to post comment spam? How utterly worthless. I give Movable Type props for catching the attempted exploits. I’ve add to remove some of the little things I like to prevent the access at all.
My puppy is losing weight! She has her little waspish waist back! She loves me and I love her. She even tolerates the tiny bit of food she receives, I just have to pet her more.