Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

Leave a comment

Want Ice Cream on that NEW Apple Pie?

Back in the late 70s, my ex was living with a guy who had purchased some interesting hot dog buns…..they were U-shaped and would not break apart, like most buns can when you put the weiner inside, so they had a certain market appeal. Well, the roommate left them on the counter and there they sat, week…after week…..after week. It became an interesting thing to check to see if any mold was growing…..and the answer was no.

That was the beginning of my awakening of looking at food labels. But at that time, I was still trusting the FDA to be sure the food we were able to purchase was safe. Now I know better.

appleThe news hit that the FDA has now approved genetically modified apples. These GMO “Arctic Apples” will be red delicious and granny smiths, the two varieties most fed to children. Oh great, let’s introduce into our children’s bodies something that is untested.

What will this new process do? Apples will not turn brown when cut.  According to information shared by the Organic Consumer Association: “While most existing genetically engineered plants are designed to make new proteins, the Arctic Apple is engineered to produce a form of genetic information called double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). The new dsRNA alters the way genes are expressed. The result, in the Arctic Apple’s case, is a new double strand of RNA that genetically “silences” the apple’s ability to produce polyphenol oxidase, an enzyme that causes the apple to turn brown when it’s exposed to oxygen.”GMO_DNA_1bna_naba_ribbon

The FDA sees no reason to be sure it is safe.  Other scientific organizations disagree.  I don’t know about you, but knowing the manipulation is inside the genes changing things around and some scientists believe it IS getting into eaters’ bodies is enough for me. I will be asking my apple farmers if they are using this technology….and I will not eat this. Instead, I will continue to use the old fashioned way to keep apples from turning brown. Again, if Granny did not eat it, you should not. 24 Hours Later

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?—MLK Jr. Letter from Birmingham City Jail (1963)



There’s Something in the Water

Something is going on.

In the past three weeks five people I know have had babies. In the next two weeks, several more babies are due. The problem is not that there are so many wonderful babies born, the issue is it is all around the country so potentially more difficult to avoid if it is spread in the water. Be careful. Maybe drink beer or wine instead. stork-and-newborn-baby-cartoon

Also in the past couple of weeks several of my friends have been going through difficult times. Loss of jobs, illness, marriage issues, needing to move, you name it.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????So I put a light hearted spin on the babies, but in reality, life throws huge curveballs sometimes.  And there are times in life that it feels that the issues are all there are to deal with with no “normal” time happening.  Lots of issues that will cause a major change.  Babies do that also.

So, why is it that just when you need to face a needed adjustment, all you feel like doing is staying in bed?  At the time you need to think clearly, all your issues are making your head spin.

You need to forget how it will look and reach for help. If you have a reliable partner, share, talk, hug, cry, plan. If you don’t, call a friend. You and I know that when the going gets tough, only true friends walk with you. The others scatter, as if it is contagious. Better off without them. Note their action but do not spend one iota of energy mourning their loss.

But remember to reach. And if no friends surround you, get thee to a professional. Someone who has expertise in the area where you need the help. Don’t put on your game face. Give an honest picture of where your head is, your heart is, your finances are.  Only with honesty, essentially to yourself, can you get on the pathway to healing.

And besides, beer and wine won’t help. You need to take those steps, albeit difficult, to look yourself in the mirror, into your heart, tell yourself you deserve better, and then work for it.

Why? Because you are loved. You are important. I need you in my life.

You hear me?two-people-holding-hands-you-are-not-alone


Blame It All on Obama

So, I read once again this morning that it is Obama’s fault. Specifically this morning it was about some unhinged individual who took his gun and travelled to Brooklyn to kill some cops. It’s Obama’s fault.

I really have trouble with the President being blamed with all that is wrong. So, let’s examine our own behavior because it is the collection ALL OF US that makes up American society.not me

Do you chose to go to the movies and pay $8 or more to watch bloodshed and violence?  Do you consider it really cool when someone goes around and starts “making things right” by killing and destroying. Then YOU are contributing to the attitude that supports riots after something happens that angers people.Einstein logic

diet-soda2Do you chose to ignore the advice that artificial sweeteners have been a major reason why there are so many overweight Americans with health issues? When you grab that diet soda, YOU are contributing to your own health decline and the crisis we have in the United States with rising health care costs.

Do you chose to drive your favorite ride whenever you want to go without considering fuel efficiency or planning to run all your errands at one to time to minimize adding emissions to the air? Then YOU are contributing to dependence on oil and poor air quality?

Do you encourage your girl children to be “pretty” and your boy children to be “tough”? Then YOU are contributing to gender role problems and all the issues that lead up to the high level of sexual assault and rape on college campuses, discrimination against gays, ill treatment of anyone who is different.

kid in front of computerDo you encourage your children to play with their electronic games to keep them from bothering you? Then YOU are abdicating your parenting to the values others will give them.  Don’t blame the schools for not teaching your kids if you are not teaching your kids.

Do you rant and rave when something gets you angry or upset and blame problems on others?  Then YOU are demonstrating that anger is justified and you are rolling over and permitting anyone who has power over you to control you.

This meme made the rounds on Facebook and so many people "liked" it. What does it say about us when we enjoy seeing a baby encouraged to pose this way? Worse, what does it say about how this child is going to be raised to demonstrate anger?

This meme made the rounds on Facebook and so many people “liked” it. What does it say about us when we enjoy seeing a baby encouraged to pose this way? Worse, what does it say about how this child is going to be raised to demonstrate anger?

WE are society. If you do not like something you need to DO something about it. Yelling, writing a tirade (yeah, even this one) without positive action is only contributing to the anger level.

WE are society. If you see so much is wrong you are at a loss to know where to start, start in your own home first. Teach your children  to strive for excellence, not complacency. Don’t do just enough to get by, aim for the best you can do. Teach your children that respect for others is the way to go.  Don’t teach them to “screw them before they screw you” as one person quoted his version of the Golden Rule.taking-personal-responsibility2

WE are society. Get involved. If the concept of contacting your representative in Congress is too hard, go contact your neighbor. The person next door. Help with a chore. Bring them some cookies. Shovel their walk. Offer to take them to the store. Get to know them.

WE are society.  Stop blaming the President. We elected him, twice. With large margins. Soon we will be participating in another election process. This time, stretch your own thinking and go to a nonpartisan source to read about all the candidates. A site like procon.org which will present facts, not editorials, about each candidate and even provide a questionnaire to see which candidate is most aligned with your thinking. You may be surprised. Be your own thinker next time.

WE are society. You don’t like the way America has become. Change what YOU are doing and set the pathway on the right course.Society-Needs-People-Like-You



Leave a comment

Hospice Care

When you are told it is time for hospice, it usually is not a surprise. Yes, it can be disturbing but if it is a surprise, you have been deluding yourself.  Head in the sand, you think things can’t be as bad as people are telling you. You are not ready for the changes that will happen and, since you refuse to get ready for the changes,  you are in denial.

I’ve been there. Knowing the inevitable ending; just not knowing the “when” of it.

This past weekend I attended a wedding where I knew few people but I enjoyed chatting with everyone. Including one guy who has had my head working through what he said to me. I’ve  been trying to find the words that will make you feel it the same way I did.  And there is no sugar coating, so here it is:


Actually, I know many of us understand the earth is in trouble, but hospice? Wow. Going to die. Nothing we can do but keep it comfortable?bee disappears

rhinoLet’s look at some of the issues: bees dying off, rain forests being cleared, chemicals in our food, huge piles of plastic trash floating in the oceans, animals being killed into extinction for one body part, fracking causing pollution drillers deny, increased earth tremors and quakes, areas which used to provide a wildlife refuge and hiking enjoyment covered with invasive species which restrict movement. So much more.

fresnotentsAnd people? What is happening to their sense of compassion? A man being arrested for feeding the hungry, homeless tent cities being cleared and people told to move on as if their action to live outside is a choice, racial tensions raised to levels not seen since the 1960s, belief divides even within the same religion, people buying guns for personal protection, anger anger anger as the first response to something not going immediately your way, inability to stay calm to explain your point of view, placing blame on someone else for your inability to get out of a situation that is your doing. And more, So much more.

 So, what does this mean to us? Well, I suspect the same people who have not wanted to consider careful stewardship will not recognize there is a problem now. The people who make decisions to continuing using the resources of the earth the same way in order to make profits, to make life comfortable, to just keep on keeping on, will not recognize there is a problem now.Earth will die

The rest of us fall into two camps I think. One is disturbed, understandably so. They recognize the problems but do not want to think the timing is OUR lifetime. They do not want to think it is their children’s or grandchildren’s lifetime. That is too scary. So, they will make small changes and voice their support, but basically keep on keeping on.

The small minority are trying to do one of two things or a combination. They are working tirelessly to try try try to get us to understand that only by a massive change in behavior can be maybe slow the tide. They also are preparing how to weather the coming difficulties.

When? No idea. A lot of scientists have been telling us the time is short.  What do you plan to do to prepare for hospice?Earth-Shes-Home


Like to Panic?

Right now there are a lot of pretty bad things happening around the world.  A separatist movement backed by Russia in the Ukraine. A fundamentalist Islamic group acting on a political agenda and killing innocent people in Syria and Iran.  The threat of a climate change which, whether or not the actions of industrialization had an effect, is causing horrible storms, drought conditions and lack of water, rising water levels causing flooding and loss of polar habitat. We also have domestic issues where people seem angrier and more polarized than ever over differences in opinion about religion and politics. But the newest crisis du jour is Ebola.Ebola-Outbreak-Map

Did you travel in Liberia, Ivory Coast or Guinea in West Africa in the past 21 days?   If you answered NO, relax.

Do you work in any of the hospitals here in the United States where Ebola patients have been treated?  These are Emory Hopsital in Atlanta; the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland; Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha; and of course, the two that were at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  If you answered NO, relax.

Were you on the flights between Dallas and Cleveland? If you answered NO, relax.

Do you have a family member who has Ebola? If you answered NO, relax.

Have you helped prepare the body of someone who died from Ebola for burial? If you answered NO, relax.keep-calm-and-relax-366_large

I think that’s it.  So, you are not at risk.  Still want to panic?

Okay, think about riding in your car. Do you do that? Well, about 115 people die each day in automobile accidents here in the United States.

How about your meds, either prescribed or recreational?  About 114 people die each day from overdoses.

How about diabetes? Did you know the number of people with diabetes is climbing to record highs, mostly because of diet..something people can do something about. Diabetes is the direct or additive cause of about 830 deaths per day.

Do I really need to go on? ebola-info CDC

Yes, Ebola is bad. It has about a death rate between 50 and 90%.  It requires human-to-human transmission to spread and has an incubation period of 2-21 days. Infection occurs if you touch any secretions from the affected person. It is not an airborne illness but can be caught if the ill person sneezes on you.  For more information from the World Health Organization, go to this link.  Don’t bother if you still want to panic.

But if you do go to the WHO page, you can also read how Senegal, a neighboring West African country, is now declared free of the disease. It is a good example that with the proper protocol.

So, the protocol works. Yes, there are only about 9 hospitals in the United States that currently have the means to isolate infectious patients.  It is apparent from the Dallas hospital experience that without the proper protocols, health care workers are at risk.  Various nurses’ unions are demanding action on this.  My sister, who works in the lab at Salem Hospital, told me that when a patient presented with symptoms recently, the protocols were rapidly put into place. (The blood work came back negative.) Every hospital in this country SHOULD have protocols for a major infectious outbreak.

If you are concerned, call your local hospital and ask.   But above all, don’t bother to panic. That, certainly, does no good and annoys the people close to you.motivation___dont_panic


Eat At Your Own Risk

In a world where few people seem to take personal responsibility, in a world where it appears our government is no longer working in our best interest, in a world where conflict seems to be increasing, we have to change our ways. Each one of us.

The food found in American supermarkets has been full of chemicals for years.  Auto-immune diseases have been increasing. Correlation? You betcha.

So increasingly, shoppers have turned to organic foods but not only is it generally more costly, the group that defines what is organic and what is not has been diluting the value of that label.  So it is no longer the safety zone we first depended on.

Agent Orange being sprayed over VietNam

Agent Orange being sprayed over VietNam



Today the news came out that despite Congressional voting and despite a majority of the people in the country arguing against the use of 2,4-D for use as an herbicide, it was approved for use and GMO crops will be resistant.  Why fight against it? Well, 2, 4-D is one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange, the chemical that was used extensively to defoliate VietNam during the war.  It has caused cancers and other illnesses and deformities in the Vietnamese population for several generations. And now, in order to deal with weeds that have adjusted to the prior chemicals, this will be sprayed on  OUR food.Vietname defoliated

Food you will eat. And so, 2, 4-D will move inside your body.  With unknown results….but we only need to look at VietNam to see what it can do.

Generations after the war, birth defects are still happening.

Generations after the war, birth defects are still happening in VietNam.

The other recent news is not new but has been shared for several years. The increasing use of antibiotics in the normal feed of most meat animals means our own bodies are getting low doses when we eat supermarket meat.   Remember the little sticker on your pill bottle of antibiotics? It reminds you to take your entire dose. That is because if the bacteria is not killed, it will only weaken and then it adapts. That end result is that the antibiotic is no longer effective against that bacteria. We are quickly moving out of the magic age of antibiotics and back to a time when an infection can kill you.Antibiotic resistance_0The government asked the meat industry to voluntarily reduce the use of antibiotics. Yeah, right. When animals are crowded together in the ways they are in those factories, disease spreads so they feed antibiotics all the time, whether the animals are sick or not.

And you eat that meat. And so, small amounts of antibiotics move inside your body.


I have often written KNOW YOUR FARMER! What does that really mean? You get to know a farmer in your area who produces food in a way that will not expose you to these chemicals.  You do that because it is better to spend a bit more on healthy food now than to pay for medicine and health care later.know farmer

If you do not know how to find a farmer go to http://www.localharvest.org/ and put in your zip code. No excuses.  There are options to the supermarket near you!!! Value your health.  If not, you eat at your own risk.



So Much Anger! Check What You’re Eating!


People joke about the punchline…..easy, fast and sweet…..but it really is serious. What you eat feeds your body….or starves it.

Most of the time, when people use that phrase they are trying to push a good diet to LOOK good.  This time, I want you to consider how you FEEL.  Your emotions.  If you are quick to anger, if you have little tolerance for people, look at your diet as part of the cause.

Processed food full of chemicals causes people to be more irritable, quick to anger, and have difficulty listening to information.  I first heard this during the Presidential campaign time period a couple of years ago and thought maybe that is why people are so short tempered when someone says something that differs from what they hold dear.  I had not seen anything more posted, but you know how the press limits what we see.You_are_what_You_Eat__63930

So, seeing the same ugly behavior once again…or should I say, the high level of stupid ugly behavior once again, I thought I would do some online mining. Please remember I am not a scientist, but consider, as a premise, that since our food really started getting pumped full of chemical preservatives and we are ingesting herbicides through high agricultural use, the trend has been increased anger.

People carrying guns…and using them.  People ramming other people with their cars. People suing someone when they smash a car window to rescue a baby or a pet inside a car on a hot day.  People denying their responsibility. People lying.

People claiming God in their life but being so sure theirs is the ONLY right way that it is out of love they have to tell us what fools we are.

So, here are some studies I found.

(NaturalNews) The things you eat have a direct effect on your state of mind, and even have the power to drastically alter your behavioral patterns. These are the findings of a new study out of Oxford University in the U.K., which revealed that processed junk food consumption can lead to aggression, irritability, and even violent tendencies. http://www.naturalnews.com/039655_processed_food_irritability_research.html##ixzz3FP8l1eAo

Food is a basic ingredient in the formation of natural mood elevating brain chemicals like serotonin.  Serotonin deficiencies cause depression, anxiety, anger problems and eating disorders.  Neurons (brain cells) require food nutrients to make the chemical messengers that influence every system of the body.  Your emotions can instantly change depending on what you eat.  If you grab fast food, boxed, packaged, or processed food, you get a stimulating high from sugar, salt and fat.  Unfortunately a crash follows as your brain is starved of serotonin enhancing nutrients.  The crash causes food cravings that can lead to overeating, weight gain and irritability. http://www.manageangerdaily.com/2011/08/heal-your-angry-brain-part-2-of-5/#sthash.BbPuwTOC.dpuf

Food additives and poor diet could help explain poor school performance, criminal behavior, alcoholism, and the growing numbers of Alzheimer‘s patients. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, high sugar content and starchy carbohydrates lead to excessive insulin release, which in turn leads to falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia causes the brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk.  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/07/29/what-s-in-that-how-food-affects-your-behavior.aspx

Want more?You-Are-What-You-Eat

Aggression is a difficult and sometimes devastating symptom that occurs in children for varied reasons—some known and some unknown — both nature and nurture. It’s a difficult area to study/understand for many reasons, especially for children and adults with autism that cannot speak. Causes and triggers of aggression are difficult for any child to understand and describe (Autism or not). It was this very correlation (food and aggression) that initially intrigued me fourteen year ago, and sparked my career as nutrition researcher and clinician focused on ASD and beyond. http://nourishinghope.com/2014/01/can-aggression-be-related-to-food/

What we eat can not only affect the way we feel physically, it can greatly impact the way we feel and function mentally.  Eating a poor diet, rich in processed food and stimulants, can cause our bodies to swing in blood sugar and hunger, which can create imbalance for both body and mind. Certain additives can create physical discomfort and also cause feelings akin to many anxiety symptoms.  Equally the lack of vital nutrients in our diet can be responsible for exacerbating the symptoms of some pre-existing mental health conditions.   http://www.mentalhealthy.co.uk/lifestyle/mind-food/food-for-good-mental-health.html

There are more. Interesting that much of what is written is coming from the UK.  There is a lot of difficulty here in the US to research the relationship of food to health.  That does not mean the information we can read from overseas studies is not pertinent.  In fact, we can assume our food choices here in the US put us at risk more than in Europe where the concern abotu processed food has resulted in blocking GMOs.


nutrition (1)

Chose your food better….leave the anger behind.



Leave a comment

The Right To Know

Two states have tried to pass public referenda on the issue to label food that contains genetically engineered ingredients.  Both California and Washington State failed to pass their attempts at labeling, but the votes are getting closer and closer as fewer residents get confused by the big money thrown at them by the GMO proponents.  This November voters in both Oregon and Colorado will deciding if they want food available in the grocery store to be labeled if any ingredients have been genetically modified.top_ten_genetically_modified_foods

You may be unaware that much of the food you have been eating since the the late 1990s have genetic modifications. Some of those are to permit herbicides and pesticides to be sprayed on what you will eat without harming the food as it grows. There are health issues that have increased since that time and because testing is blocked, there is only circumstantial evidence that these new chemicals in our food are the cause.     The government has run no tests on these foods, saying the companies who produced the modifications to the original food should do it, but testing is not required.  Many countries around the world do not permit foods with genetic modifications to be sold.  GMO lab results

There is a huge group of companies that are fighting the referendum, saying everything is safe.The big players arguing against it are involved in the production of the seeds or the grocery store trade association.  They do not want the referendum in Oregon and Colorado to pass because it would mean they would need to label food with genetically enhanced ingredients and once they identify this, they are afraid of a loss of income.

They have begun to pour millions and millions of dollars into advertising to convince voters it is a bad idea. The main argument is that any change in labeling will cause the price of the food to increase “by hundreds of dollars a year.”  What they don’t say is how often they already change labels.

This is just one example of how a food company changes packaging with no change in pricing.

This is just one example of how a food company changes packaging with no change in pricing.

The side fighting the labeling is pouring millions of dollars into both Oregon and Colorado to try to block the referendum. They are concerned that the consumers’ right to know what they are eating will affect their profits.

No matter how you personally feel about GMOs in your food, labeling should not be a problem for you. The public’s need to know about chemicals in the food has been approved again and again for other items. The food labels just got revised again to make serving sizes easier to read, in the hopes people will stick to them. For health reasons, many people want to avoid this unproven technology.

What’s in YOUR dinner tonight?GMO LetMeDecide


Eating with Thinking

When I was growing up my mother, a nurse, pretty much followed the then-accepted USDA guidelines for meals: a good size helping of protein, 2 vegetables, and a starch like rice or potato or pasta. We did not eat additional bread with dinner, but mom was a baker and we almost always had dessert.  One side benefit: I learned to cook from scratch.meat-and-three-veg1
Some time in my 20s I dated a guy who was going to medical school. He convinced me that I was not eating a well-balanced healthy diet and urged me to take vitamins. He thought one-a-days were not the way to go. Instead, I soon was taking multiple tablets, covering my vitamin and mineral needs.vitamin-list

My mother was appalled and equated my vitamin usage to my sisters’ smoking habit. Really Mom? I ignored her but over time, the daily regimen got tiresome and expensive and so, I stopped.

When kids entered the picture I once again went back to preparing meals more on my childhood model. I cooked from scratch almost all the time but enjoyed certain prepared items. For example, I purchased bobolis instead of making my own pizza dough in those days.fajita

Time passed. Kids grew up. I started visiting farms and learning how much our food system had changed.

sci amOne issue I read about was about the declining nutrient value of the fruits and vegetables we are eating today compared to those I ate as a kid. This article from the  April 27 2011 issue of Scientific America confirmed it.

  • Dear EarthTalk: What’s the nutritional difference between the carrot I ate in 1970 and one I eat today? I’ve heard that that there’s very little nutrition left. Is that true?—Esther G., Newark, N.J.
  • It would be overkill to say that the carrot you eat today has very little nutrition in it—especially compared to some of the other less healthy foods you likely also eat—but it is true that fruits and vegetables grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties most of us get today. The main culprit in this disturbing nutritional trend is soil depletion: Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows. Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.

These farming methods used chemicals to try to enrich the soil. And then in the mid 1990s things changed even more with the beginning of genetically engineered seeds and genetically modified foods. All of a sudden the gastro-intestinal issues my  daughter had had since her teen years might have a simple solution. And similarly, so might some of my own health issues.

So, even though we had no known food allergies, we ran a 6 month experiment. Where ever we knew the farmers’ growing practices, we purchased that food. Where we needed another ingredient or food, we switched to organic. know your farmer

Our effort was to try to improve the nutritional value and cut out even more chemicals, either inside the food as an additive or inadvertently absorbed by the food because of the conventional growing practice.

Six months became a year and now several years have passed. Oh, I’m still eating sugar and whenever Graham and I make a good effort with a South Beach diet, cutting out and then re-introducing carbs at lower levels, I do much better. But overall, I have this to report:

BFBHLogoUnless I eat indiscriminately at any old place away from home, I feel much better. No more tummy troubles. Hardly any twinges from my arthritic joints, and what exists is at a level easily handled by an herbal compound.  I sleep better and wake up feeling high energy.

So, we will be on the road again soon for a trip. While I have researched a few restaurants for several dinners out, I suspect we will run into some eating compromises. heart-health-foods

Travel……eating well at home……travel…….eating well at home…..I LOVE to travel, so I will enjoy and cope and eat well again when we get home.

What about you? Ready to try a new experiment and see if changing your diet can help you feel healthier?


The Life of a Pet….Owner

My pet ownership attitude falls between those who believe their animals belong outside and those who believe they belong in their bed.  I’m allergic, so there is no way I have ever encouraged them to sleep in my bed. Not saying it hasn’t happened, but not while I am at home/awake/unaware that the husband needs to be trained better to shut the bedroom door.

I tested positive to being allergic to dogs when I was 5 years old and supposedly informed my parents if the dog left, so would I. I have almost always had a dog since, sometimes two.

airplane_puppy_usI got my boxer Shelby soon after I moved from Nashville to Memphis in 1978. During that move I had herniated a disc and what with the pain and the puppy’s increasing size, I flew her to my mom in New Jersey for a few months. Mom had a marvelous way with dogs, training hers to be very obedient, knowing the boundaries of the property without straying, and they could do marvelous tricks including multiplication and division. (Although one of our dogs when I was young had such a high toned bark we kept her answers to 5 and under to keep our ears comfortable.)  Shelby flew back to me some months later, wonderfully compliant in all I needed and also very happy to be back with the more relaxed house rules.

That dog sat in the front seat of my car with me. When I got married, she moved to the back seat, and as the babies arrived, she moved to the back-back of the hatchback, always with us, always happy. But she lost status…..she was the dog.Dog-in-front-seat

The time inevitably came that she aged and started having problems.  She was unwilling to eat until we enticed her with all the loved forbidden foods: ice cream and bacon. She got some energy back but then, on Christmas Eve had a seizure. We took her to the emergency clinic and they did some tests. The news was not good. It was either this or that, wouldn’t know without exploratory surgery and no, there was no treatment nor cure whichever it turned out to be.   I made a difficult decision and petted her while they gave the injection. The song that was playing on the sound system, Against All Odds, will forever remind me of loss.dog in heaven

We added another dog to the family about a year later, an Australian shepherd and that dog was so amazing, we also bought a male and they had one litter. What happened next was also a hard decision. After Dave was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then had the equivalent of a stroke on the operating table, he had trouble walking. The dogs were then outside in the fenced yard for the day, coming in for the night. It was not my idea of how their lives should be so I was happy when my older kids’ grandparents in Maryland said they would take them. We made the transfer and at least I knew the dogs still were with their children.

But meanwhile, Sam was growing up and I perceived he needed a pet. Since I believed a puppy would cause problems getting in Dave’s way, we decided on a cat. My first cat.

Now, I tried to persuade the 5-year-old that we needed to adopt an adult cat, the better to see her personality, but oh no, it had to be a kitten. We played with all the kittens at the Nashville Humane Society and took home the one who seemed to be the most playful. It was a sham. She was, after all, a cat.

Cat and Dog portrait on a white backgroundAbout five years ago, having added two more puppies to our household, my allergies took a turn for the worst. Maybe the air in West Virginia is just that much dirtier, maybe menopause’s chemical changes in my body made the allergies worse, but I just couldn’t breathe.  Both my sinuses and my lungs were being assaulted in a horrible way. A friend helped me look at the solution I had not even conceptualized: the animals had to go if I expected not to be sick all the time.  The dogs, being young, were not difficult to place but boy oh boy did I hear how I was abandoning them, kicking out of what I had promised would be a forever home from some of my most radical pet loving friends. The fact I was sick because of them was meaningless. Just take an antihistamine was their answer. It HAD been that easy all my life, but this was new territory in allergy response. I HAD to eliminate the allergens I could in my environment.

The cat was another issue, though. She was, simply, difficult. She put up with the dogs but would attack any other cats. She was about 9 years old then and older cats just don’t adopt out easily.  So, we kept her. She’s 14 now. She will live to 105 to spite me. She’s a cat.cat in books

Here in Oregon my new allergy treatment plan is bringing great results but I recently had a setback, perhaps related to the harvesting of the grass seed in the area. The cat has been banished from the bedroom all along. Early this week I completely emptied my office, vacuumed and shampooed the carpet and now she is banned from that space as well. Today I (yes, the woman who wrote she is not a cleaning diva yesterday) removed the area rug in the living room to the back deck, vacuumed bottom and top sides and shampooed it. Then swept and scrubbed the wood laminate floor. Hopefully the cat dander was captured along with the dust bunnies.

For the moment.