Saying goodbye to a dog as a non-dog person

For 12 years our yellow lab drove me crazy. Did I love him?  Yes.  Was I the one who fed him, walked him and picked up after him?  Yes.  But did he drive me crazy?  Yes – and I drove him crazy, too.  I loved him, and sometimes my heart swelled for him, but the times he had accidents in the houes, shed all over my clothes, would get out of a gate that wasn’t quite latched all the way, and would bark (literally) at shadows drove me crazy sometimes.  But there were times too — especially when I was healing from my illness – I took comfort from him sleeping near me while I rested on the couch.

Today we said goodbye to him.  It was time.  He had arthritis, dementia, incontinence and was basically unhappy (ears down_ all the time and lived only to eat twice per day, which isn’t a great life.  So after discussing it for months, we did it today.  It was incredibly peaceful.  The vet had a room with a couch and a carpet and pleasant lighting.  She spent 10 minutes petting him, then gave him a sedative.  When he was so drowsy his tongue was hiding out of the side of his mouth, she administered the sedative while we petted him and told him he was a good boy.  He died moments later.

That was three hours ago, and even though I am not a big lover of dogs (I like dogs, I just am not a worshipper of them) I feel awful for him and there is a hole here.  In short, it is painful.  I miss him already.  Hopefully he is at peace.

The book I wrote about my experience as a dog owner when I like dogs but am not crazy about all things dogs.  There won’t be a sequel – it’s too painful right now 🙂

Advertisements
Saying goodbye to a dog as a non-dog person

Loved, loved, loved (!) the movie “Fire at Sea!” Notes:

I love movies (like Moonlight) where the director believes in the intelligence of his/her audience while telling a powerful story and delivering a powerful message.  For me, “Fire at Sea” was that way.  It was a movie that was comfortable delivery subtle comments and with letting a scene slowly unfold, where it is comfortable showing the doctor give an ultrasound for five minutes or just showing four workers stare out at sea.  It is a wonderful, powerful movie and the most beautiful film that way since “The Great Beauty.”  Some observations (with some spoilers):

  • The beginning of the movie we see the boy making a weapon and hunting birds, but at the end of the movie he is merely singing to the bird – shows our ability to change our ways.
  • The doctor makes a comment that it is the responsibility of all of us to help the immigrants (who are dying).
  • The doctor, during the ultrasound, can’t make out the sex of the second child since they are too intertwined.  “But don’t worry, we’ll get it.”  He patiently, patiently seeks the sex.  I see that scene as stating we are all intertwined and too intertwined, and it will take patience and diligence and care and perserverence to resolve our/this problem.  I also see the scene later in the movie where the woman takes a full five minutes to carefully make her bed as again emphasizing that things take time and persistence and patience.
  • The boy is having struggles rowing – his friend throws his a lifeline so he is not crushed by the boats, then rows him to safety.  That is, we all need a helping hand and we need to offer a helping hand.
  • The boy has a lazy eye, so he works to correct his vision from 20/100 to 20/30 by wearing the eye patch. Later, when he is sea sick he is told to to go the sea when there are high waves to get his sea stomach.  That is, we have a problem (the refugee crisis) but we can fix it with work.
  • The woman wishes for a little health that day, like we all want to be healthy and happy (including the refugees).  It’s not too much to ask.

I’d love to watch this movie again – these are just a few observations off the top of my head a day later and I am sure there are more.

It is a tragic tale but one that also offers help and a nudge for us to help.  I wish we in the US were helping more (at a time when Donald Trump wants to do less!) – I am going to write my congress person about that.  Those poor souls – and the scene of the people dead at the bottom of the boat was awful but moving, like watching the Holocaust images in some ways (and to the people who died in such misery, the result is the same).

The movie makes me want to move to Sicily 🙂

Finally, it has been a great year for documentaries.  OJ: Made in America, 13th and I Am Not Your Negro were all wonderful and deserving; my vote for Oscar this year though is this one (“Fire at Sea”).

Loved, loved, loved (!) the movie “Fire at Sea!” Notes:

Feeling soooo grateful for 48 years and counting

I was teased a lot as a kid.  

I was short, very skinny and extremely hyper (when Oprah ran a special on Attention Deficit Disorder, several friends called to say I had ADHD 🙂 ).  

But something happened late in my teen years.  I grew overnight to 5’11”, put on 30 pounds of muscle so I was trim instead of skinny, and calmed down.  I started dressing more stylishly.  Even my facial features changed (Wife M looks at pictures of me and says she can’t believe it is the same person).  Personality wise,  I become less impetuous, and my tolerance of others improved.  Suddenly, some of the girls who had teased me as a kid were asking me out in college, and I was approached by strangers. All that has no meaning now, except it is much better memories than the ones I had where I was teased, and it has given me a lot of confidence in myself as I age.  In the early years, I oversteered – I became a little cocky.  But after a few years that too calmed down into quiet confidence, and then I met my future Wife M.  

But my point is this —  if life had been taken away at 10, 15 or even 20 or 25, I’d never had a chance to change, to evolve, not only looks wise but personality wise (I am a much wiser person I think then even in my 20s).  My life would have been — and =eople would remember me as — a small, opinionated, high-strung, homely kid with glasses.

It is such a gift to be given a long life, to change and evolve, to grow as a person.  Not everyone gets that chance. So I am very grateful. And how many kids or young adults have died who didn’t get a chance to evolve.  Which is one of the many reasons I love the idea of forgiveness and thinking the best of young people, and why our incarceration and imprisonment of so many young men and women is devestating, and one of many reasons of why wars are so tragic.

Feeling soooo grateful for 48 years and counting

Why humans are doomed to extinction – because our own s*** don’t stink

I have been bussing to appointments today, and am noticing how especially awful traffic is as people drive for Christmas-related reasons. Despite all the fears in Seattle of global warming, so many of us hop in cars. We hop on planes, we drive places, we eat meat (which contributes a ton to global warming), we order things from Amazon that have to be shipped from far away. Human beings are not able to control themselves until the crisis is real and immediate – we fear global warming and say we need to control it, but don’t as a mass take steps as individuals to control it. And buy the time the Earth can no longer sustain humans it will be too late. In short, we are doomed to extinction in the years ahead. We will be like those early forms of life that helped create oxygen but died off because of oxygen – we are creating global warming and will die from it while blaming the republicans and Chinese for global warming while riding in our cars, planes and boats.

Why humans are doomed to extinction – because our own s*** don’t stink

Sometimes I love Mobile devices

A man approached me today – his car broke down and did I know which bus to take to a nearby city? In fact, I Didn’t but thanks to the miracle of the mobile device and Google Maps, was able to tell him which three busses to take. He wanted to know if 6 bucks would cover the fare – it did, according to my device. he was relieved, and for a moment all was well. I was happy that a cell phone and 2 minutes of research could help him.

Sometimes I love Mobile devices

Am feeling more and more worried about the future of American workers…

Time was, a person could teach or work in a factory or do just about anything and make an honest living.  Most of that evaporated long ago, but in the past 20 years there was still hope – a person could be a programmer.  But as more and more programming becomes increasingly complex yet more automated, I am thinking that in the long-term there will be a fewer programming jobs with just a few highly paid IT jobs, and everyone else will be working menial and low-paying jobs where it is hard to make a living.  I feel like a century from now, we are all going to be serfs again, with a few business titans owning everything and the rest of us fighting for scraps and eating government subsidized fast food (i.e. poison).  The problem with humans automating things is we don’t make life easier for the masses – we make it more pleasant for the elite while the rest of us have to scrape to find increasingly difficult to find jobs.  I am not sure what my kids or my grandkids are going to do, let alone me in my golden years.  I hope I am wrong…

Am feeling more and more worried about the future of American workers…

Ooooohhh, this is what all the fuss about Shingles is about

I’ve had Shingles twice before and never knew what the big fuss was about it.  The first was a small patch that itched a lot but otherwise I seemed fine, and the second time was similar but with a little more fatigue/pain, although I am always tired and in pain so a little more of that isn’t a huge deal.  But I’ve come down with Shingles a third time and I am startging to understand the fuss.  I have a series of red patches along my right chest and back (including under the arm) that flat out hurt, like a burn, and I am really sore.  I am not sure if it is related (I am sure it is) but I am itching and tender at invisible places in m body: for example, my right tricep is tender (i.e. hurts to the touch) and itches but nothing is there.  I have a few places like that on m body (left ankle, right shoulder, etc.).  Some of those spots come and go, but others (like the ankle and tricep) are persistent…  I am certain that I still have a fairly mild case, but at least now understand/get why some people are truly miserable with Shingles…

I visited the doctor on Friday (they squeezed me in since I was still in the 72 hour critical window for treatment), and I am on antiviral medicine which doesn’t seem to be helping but then again who is to say if it is or not (i.e. maybe it would be worse without the medicine).  She also asked about my stress; honestly, I am in a very stressful part of my life (stress being relative). I have chronic health issues, am spending a lot of time in doctors offices while working full time with fatigue, we are having financial stress since Wife M is in school full-time and my earnings have been cut in half since my diagnosis in 2011, and my current employer is having serious financial difficulty which means I am likely back on the job trail again and explaining why I am on my fifth job in 5 years.  Sigh. 🙂  The best way to cure the stress will be to get a stable job and to stabilize our financial situation (which will be much better next year when wife M has graduated).  I am not bitter about anything – there is just a lot of stress I am trying to manage.  🙂

The last two times I had Shingles were in 1990 during college finals, and three years ago when I joined a high-stress company as a manager (I literally was thrown into the fire day 1 for a chaotic company).

Ooooohhh, this is what all the fuss about Shingles is about