Friday, July 29, 2011

A Week of Opposites

This week has gone very quickly, with lots of mixed and opposed feeling and emotions. It began with a welcomed relief from the heat. We had a nice, slow rain for much of two days, which lowered the temperature a bit and gave us a long needed break. While it was dark and dreary, it was well worth it.

Wednesday was my first afternoon behind the desk at Palmetto Animal League and it was great. Some very nice things happened.
  • Winston, the black and white dog at my first adoption day, has been adopted for a second time. He was brought back after the first adoption because he marked the house. They had a cat that sprayed and he went around marking on top of the cat.....doing what dogs do. His new family arranged to pick him up when they return from their vacation in August, but they visit him frequently, which I think is great. The children were very well mannered and sooo excited about getting Winston. They stayed with him almost 2 hours, playing with him in the activity room, walking him, etc. It was heartwarming to see and Winston is going to be one lucky guy. 
  • Two teens also came in to volunteer. Since they are under 17, their mother will have to come with them, which she was willing to do. Once signed up, they went in to the cat rooms, filled to capacity with kittens, and played/socialized them. It looked like a good time was had by all. 
  • A lady who was fostering two cats came in and adopted them.  We told her that it was a case of another failed foster parent!!  I'm afraid I'd be the same way!!  She seemed happy with her decision.
  • Another couple had arranged with the director to bring a beautiful, long haired, stray cat in to be checked over because they, too, had decided to take him in.  He was an older cat but very pretty, with a nice disposition.
It was all very heartwarming......and I think I'm really going to like being a part of it.

It seems so much easier to work with animals than people, as evidenced by what is going on in DC.  I can't express how disgusted I am with it all, knowing that it is a contrived crisis that never had to happen.  Let me see if I understand this correctly......the debt ceiling allows us to deal with past issues/pay debt, while budget issues deal with future spending.  Never in the past have these two things been linked......until we have a President that some really want to fail.  Until now, Congress has been able to raise the debt ceiling without major issue because paying our debts has been sound fiscal policy........it should never be used as leverage, especially to hold all of us hostage to the "bizarro" politics of a few (Lord, I hope it's a few!).  And I love it that those who played a major role in getting us here, suddenly understand economics and see the importance of not overspending  (or establishing non-funded projects)!!!  Should you question that assumption, see below (from The Atlantic [http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/07/the-chart-that-should-accompany-all-discussions-of-the-debt-ceiling/242484/]. This is the best representation I've found......I'm keeping a copy in my purse for future discussions!

I don't think anyone denies that the deficit needs to be dealt with or that tax reform would not be welcomed, assuming it is equitable....but to be forced into something when your back is to the wall and by people who have not been in Washington long enough to know how things work, is not the way to do it.  Both parties would benefit from raising the debt ceiling, free and clear, and then sincerely and honestly tackling the deficit. What are the chances of that happening??

Needless to say, I have called and emailed all three of my feckless representatives, as well as protested Joe Wilson's office in Beaufort.  I'm going to have to stop watching the news because it just gets me so wound up and ultimately distressed.  I can't believe what we have become and the negativity behind it all.  It really is sad.


 

“You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.”

-- Sir Winston Churchill 



 Let's hope we will finally get around to doing the right thing. I've got to go now.  The President asked us to call our congressman and senators again, and, in this district, we really need to speak up.  Keep your fingers crossed for us......even though we're shooting ourselves in the head!



Website Updates:

  • A new page devoted to Palmetto Animal League, which I hope you will check from time to time and enjoy.  There are two heartbreaking stories on there now, but with happy endings.
  • The Quotes page has been completely updated.
  • Three new recipes have been added to the Meatless Recipes page, two under Sandwitches, Wraps, etc and one Indian recipe.  Am having the Pindi Chana for lunch.......yum!
  • I hope the "COMMENT HERE"  link is a little more visible.  Comments are always welcomed and I'd love to hear from you.


Monday, July 25, 2011

A Full Weekend

I'm happy to report that I'm feeling better and my energy level is getting back to normal.  For a while there I was getting worried, but I think it just took a while to recover from the cold/bronchial infection and all of the activity of trying to juggle too many things are once. 

It looked like a fairly quiet weekend when I received a message through Facebook inviting me for drinks on Saturday night.  It was from one of my "young friends" who is a longstanding member of our Living Liberally group, but she now works at night and hasn't been able to attend meetings for quite a while.  So, she issued an invitation for all of us to get together Saturday evening.  It was great to see her, as well as the regulars.  We had a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

When I got home from the event, I realized I had lost an earring. I then remembered that as I entered and greeted everyone, I left like something had fallen or dropped.......it was both a feeling and the sense of almost seeing something out of the corner of my eye.  I briefly stopped and looked around, but didn't see anything.  In any case, I called the restaurant, told the hostess where we sat, and she volunteered to look for my earring.  Much to my surprise, she found it.  It was both a "good' and favorite one, so I was very pleased and arranged to pick it up on Sunday.

Sunday was my second pet adoption day at PetSmart.  It was to begin at 11AM so I decided to go by the restaurant and pick up my earring beforehand.  All went well until I got into my car at the restaurant.....it made a low groan and nothing after that.  I immediately called AAA, noticing that the battery icon on my cell phone was blinking and it,too, was about to run out of juice.  I did get through and was told someone would be there within 45 minutes to give me a jump start.  As soon as that call was made, I went into the restaurant again and asked to use their phone to call PetSmart, to let the volunteers from Palmetto Animal League know that I would be late.  They were very nice about it, so I went back to my car to wait for AAA.  As I walked out of the restaurant, I noticed a towing truck driving toward me.....yippee!  My car was up and going within 10 minutes....no 45 minute wait in the heat!!  From there I went straight to a garage, had my battery replaced and was only an hour late for my pet adoption duties.  For a day that started so dreadfully, it couldn't have gone better......and of course, a little time with the cats and dogs mellowed me out completely.  All is well that ends well!

My involvement with Palmetto Animal League (PAL) is moving right along.  This was my second adoption day, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  In addition to the pleasure of just being with the animals, it's also great to see both adults and children interact and react to them.  Beginning this Wednesday, I'm volunteering behind the desk at the adoption center and on July 30th I'm taking a dog walking class to learn the ins-and-outs of that.  Jean M., in jest, expressed concern that I, a cat person, was becoming a dog person.  In fact, these are the first cats I've had......growing up we always had dogs, so this allows me to get my "dog fix" and help them out at the same time. There wasn't an adoption on either day that I helped out, although Winston (from my first fair) was adopted the following week, which is often how it goes.  It probably is best that serious consideration be given before adopting, but once people connect with one of the animals, they are likely to follow up by going out to the center.  PetSmart gives the shelter $10 for each animal adopted through their adoption days (even if it happens following the fair), which is very generous. 

Knowing that everyone is not an animal person, I've put my photos at the end of the entry, so you can zone out here.  For those of you who are animal people, you can see the charm of these cuties right away.  Caroline was at my first adoption day and still doesn't have a permanent home, which is hard to believe.  She's so sweet and loving, and thinks she's a lap dog!  This was my first time meeting little Rocco and he was a real charmer.  He is more the size I would want and I could have brought him home.  He was found wandering, with no collar or chip....and it's hard to imagine how anyone would let that happen to such a personable, well behaved little guy.  I came home smelling distinctly like Rocco, which didn't go unnoticed by my band of kitties.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Sudoku is Driving Me Cuckoo!!

Not long ago I purchased one of those innocuous little sudoku books, as though I need another means of wasting time!  Since then, I've sat like a stump and tried to work my way through it.  Numbers aren't my thing, although it's suppose to be about the logic - as it turns out,  it appears I'm not good at that either!!  It is very slow going, but it is the type of thing I enjoy doing....putting the pieces together, figuring it out......like a dog with a bone!  My method is not completely pure.  For peace of mind, I check my solution after every few columns, rows or blocks are "solved".....because if I get too far off base, I don't know how (can't figure out how) to recover! What I really get a kick out of is at the bottom of each page is a spot to put your time in solving the puzzle, which I assume should be in minutes!  I usually add a comment - "not soon enough", "a lifetime", 'I grew old", and so on. If you're one of those people who can actually whiz through these in minutes, you have my admiration!

My walking has resumed, encouraged by a break in the heat.  In addition to building my stamina again, I dreaded having to get used to the heat after 3 weeks of being inside.  I was rewarded for getting out by being able to help a turtle across the street.  At the end of Waterford Drive, I walk a huge circle.  As I was finishing up and getting back on my street, I looked down the circle and thought I saw a turtle near the middle of the road,  I walked down and, sure enough, there it was, tucking in as I approached.  I stood there for a minute, not really knowing how to help.....but knowing that if I picked it up and it made a strange move, I'd probably drop it.  My only experience with turtles has been as a child when all of those little dime store turtles (chicks, bunnies, etc.) were sacrificed for our enjoyment.  They just crawled around in your hand, tickling as they went.......this was a mature water turtle complete with an algae covered back and a mouth big enough to snap my finger.  As I'm trying to come up with a solution, a car approached.  I just stood there in the road with the turtle as there was plenty of room for the car to pass.  It turned out to be a very nice man, who stopped to assist.  I told him I was trying to help a turtle cross the street and as he got out of the car, he said something to the effect of, "Oh boy, I used to love turtles........I'd love to take this to my grandson!"  He debated the pros (his grandson would love it) and cons (his grandson's mother wouldn't!) and decided against it since it was a water turtle.  He calmly picked it up and put in on the grass on the other side of the street, after asking if there was a lagoon in that direction.  When we moved away, Mr. Turtle continued his journey.  It did make me wonder why the chicken, or in this case the turtle, crossed the road?  It was a pretty long trek for a little turtle and I wondered what made him undertake it. What made him want to leave his old home?  Did he really know there was a lagoon in that direction?   Makes you wonder!!

Well, I'm going to have to take my camera on my walks. This morning, it was the mouse/vole/mole that crossed the street.  I had almost finished what I thought was an uneventful walk when I spotted something very small wiggling/squiggling/scurrying across the street.  I took off after it because, small though it was, it was moving quickly.  By the time I reached it, only 1/3 of its body was still visible.  It had quickly burrowed beneath the grass and was pushing soil out at an incredible rate.  Long after I could no longer see it, the soil was still being displaced.  It was amazing that something that small could do all of that......and so quickly.

You may have already guessed that I'm having difficulty getting back to a productive routine.  I don't know if it's the heat, if my stamina has been depleted by the cold/bronchial infection, or what.....it's just been hard to get anything done.  I usually have a list to keep me going but for the last week I haven't even done that, but am getting back to it tomorrow.  Today I've just tried to work at getting 5-minute jobs done - cleaning the patio, filling bird feeders, watering plants, filing papers, etc. - little jobs that I can do between rest periods.  I'm hoping to have more energy (and enthusiasm!) tomorrow.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

To NC and Back

Mystery solved!  I now know how my birdseed disappears overnight.

"If I could just get to that squirrel, I'd solve the problem!"
Yes, I've been to NC to take my mother home after her short visit here for doctor's appointments.  She got through them all with flying colors and was eager to get back home.  She has been wanting to get off any medication that she can and was able to drop two of them.  She wanted to drop more, but her internist pointed out that she is feeling better than she has since her fall in 2009.....and "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".  That was exactly what I was thinking, why tamper with things now that she is finally feeling relatively well?  Anyway, I'm glad she is feeling good and hope it continues.

While she was here, we had our usual projects.  Taking in her clothes (and she has a house full of them!) seems to be an ongoing job.  We also made a summer quilt for me.  This came about because Gabby threw up on the bed one night (more than you need to know!) and rather than making up the whole bed in the middle of the night, I just stripped the cover and sheet and dragged a light blanket from the closet.  To my surprise, it was the perfect weight, especially for the early morning, and felt so good not to deal with a sheet, spread, etc.  Then, I realized there was a duvet cover marked for donation that I could easily make into an all-in-one light summer quilt/blanket.  We were able to find a light batting in the exact size.  We slipped it into the duvet cover and "quilted" it (using the word loosely!).  The concept was very easy, but dealing with the size of the duvet cover was a real challenge.  In any case, I'm pleased with it......it uses something that would otherwise have been given away and it feels great.  With three cats on the bed, I've given up on having anything out of a decorating magazine, but I do want something that feels good and is easy to maintain.

It's 10+ days since my last post and I'm still battling the cold.  It's moved from my head to a full-fledged  bronchial infection.  There was one day at my mother's when I was really dragging and have felt generally crummy for a long time.  So, the day after I got back, I went to my doctor, who prescribed antibiotics.  This is the third day of a five day course and I'm hoping to feel better soon.  It's been over 10 days since I last walked and it is usually an unavoidable break like this that totally wrecks my routine....permanently.  I'm telling myself that I'll get back to it as soon as I feel better......and can breath in the humidity and smoke.  I'm admitting my weakness here in hopes that when I feel better I'll be "shamed" into getting back to the walking!

Being the news junkie that I am, I've recently been stunned by events of the day.
  • The Casey Anthony trial - Like most people, I was surprised by the verdict.  I would not have wanted to be on the jury and I can understand not wanting to give the death penalty without the case being proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, BUT how was she not guilty of the aggravated child abuse charge if the child was in her care and missing for 31 days??  While I don't know the details of the charge, it just seems hard to get past that one.  The other aspect of the case was the behavior and total bias of the entire media......No such thing as unbiased, factual reporting anymore.
  • The issue of raising the debt ceiling really steams me....and makes me shutter to think what will happen to savings if it is not raised......and it is the people who squandered the surplus and contributed most to the debt who are dragging us to the brink.  Earlier this morning, I emailed Speaker Boehner to express my thoughts (you, too, can email him if you search for Speaker of the House Boehner!!), so you can guess the mood of the moment!!
  • It is a shame that The News of the World has to shut down under a cloud after 160+ years, but it is good to expose the tentacles of people like Rupert Murdock, who have such broad influence worldwide.  I don't think his Fox News here is into the hacking business, but they definitely have their own agenda and do their own brand of one-sided reporting.
  • Not that all is bad......I have enjoyed the Canada and US tour of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  They are an absolutely gorgeous couple........young, approachable, attractive, interested and involved, etc.  They are also a little more touchy-feely than most royals......it was nice to see him pull her in for a hug after the dragon boat races.  While Catherine seems to be the major attraction, it's difficult not to see Diana's influence and charm in William......or am I reading too much into it?
Bryan and Dorothy just sent this lovely Powerpoint presentation, which I'd like to share with all: The Bright Red Hat .  It presents a philosophy worth remembering. (You will have to "download" the file to open it, but you don't have to save it, if not desired.)  Enjoy!!
           

    Rich Text