Sunday, November 27, 2011

In Rememberance

Her name was Lady Tiara Rex. She was a registered Cornish Rex cat.

We got her as a kitten. Very tiny. In every way.

Delicate bones. Pointed ears that were too big for her head. And no fur. Just an undercoat that waved in cornrows.

Within a week, we thought we were going to lose her. She had a violently high temperature and the vet did an emergency hysterectomy. She had a massive uterine infection.

She was forever shy and she never grew her coat back. She looked like a Rex but her hair was very, very thin.

As a result, she cuddled. She cuddled under blankets or under sweatshirts. We bought her a cat heating pad but she wouldn't get off of it even when it burned her. (It got thrown as far as it would go in the landfill---don't you hurt my TeezzaButts)

Yes, that was the name she answered to: TeezzaButts. And she would answer. She came running if you called her name. She was always looking for a warm spot.

So when we moved to Nipomo, we made sure there was sun in the "cat room". She and her adopted sisters, Diamond and Putter, loved it. And they always let the Lady have the cushy spot in the sun. (Well, there was a bit of a discussion.)

TeezaButts in the sun.

She crossed the Rainbow bridge two years ago. At the age of 19.

She crossed in her sleep, in our bed, snuggled up.

I miss her.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Walkin' the Dog(s)

Dogs, according to the "experts" need to be walked. Daily. That is, of course, if they are "indoor" dogs.

Our three are not just indoor dogs. They are lap dogs. Rarely moving off the lap/couch/bed except to eat and bark at the cats.

This is excusable for Mohawk and LadyBug. They are the equivalent of 105 in human years.

Zelda, on the other hand, is the equivalent of 40 years younger. She loves to escape the fenced yard and take neighborhood excursions.

And she use to be very good on the leash. Notice the past tense.

She doesn't like to walk much now. Not on a leash. She would prefer to just stop and sit so the walker will take her home.

Unless she is with the other dogs. Then she has to be Miss Exercise.

So, a few weeks ago, we instituted DOG WALKING.

Every morning, before they eat, I take Mohawk and LadyBug out to do their business. We usually don't have to go far before I bring out the little doggie bags.

In the afternoon, Mel takes them each individually for as long a walk as they want. LadyBug is the shortest because her recent strokes have made her a little tired. Mohawk will go for quite a bit if it is at a slower pace. He likes to sniff and pee a lot.

But Zelda wouldn't go to far until Mel found the secret!

There is a wooded area below our house that has a nice trail in it. It runs the whole block and is next to a little creek. And Zelda loves it. No stopping. No sitting. Just sniffing and trotting.

My guess is that she took her excursions there and considers it hers.

So today, when I came home early, we took LadyBug and Zelda to the woods.

Zelda on her walk
I must say, I love the area myself. It has great oak and eucalyptus trees. It is cool and unpopulated.

The Oak Forest
But I really love the old, big trees.

Old Eucalyptus
As my brother would say, its the paws that refreshes!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

85 Years on this Earth

Virginia Hanigan.

The name is synonymous with music in my life.

When my father moved to Lindsay he was a Lutheran. He was of good Norwegian stock and that was the church you went to.

But the Lutheran Church in Lindsay did not have a choir. And father sang. Very well.

So he went to the various Protestant Churches and parsed them for their choirs.

He found Virginia Hanigan at the First Presbyterian Church.
First Presbyterian Church, Lindsay, California

So, as a result, I (and my brothers) ended up being Presbyterians.

Virginia was the choir director and, when I left in 1969, the choir had 40 voices.  And we were good.

Virginia had perfect pitch and a beautiful soprano voice. She could (and still does) play the piano so that it sings. And she taught music.

When I was around 8 my father bought me a Chickering piano. Brand new. Made of cherry wood to match the rest of Mother's living room furniture. And I began to take lessons from Virginia.

For 9 years Virginia toiled with me. I wouldn't practice. (Volleyball and track were far more important to me.) But I learned to read music and I learned to sing. And I could not wait to be old enough to sing in the church choir. (You had to be in high school)

At one point, Virginia had a detached retina in one of her eyes. She wasn't allowed to move her head after the surgery. Remember, this was over 40 years ago and the surgery was very invasive. My mom took care of her. And our family's became inexorably bound.

But there was always music. I can still play one or two of the pieces that I memorized for recitals. I hated them except for the new dresses that I got for them.

And she taught me to sing. Not just notes but music. Music for a life time.

And Saturday, I watched my music teacher celebrate 85 years on this earth. She even played the piano.

She will be at the Vocal Arts Christmas Concert. Front and center.

What a treat to sing for her again.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Some Days It Is Worth It

I know that I bitch about my job. Alot. There are days when judges, District Attorneys, clients, colleagues, and the general public conspire to make my job as miserable and impossible as any Dante vision.

Those are the days that I want to run away and hide. I have thought of moving to Costa Rica (too far from family). Maybe Hawaii  (too expensive), a South Sea Island (couldn't stand the poverty and that would make me work twice as hard as I do now). Italy came up on the list. (Can't speak the language and just as far away as Costa Rica-besides it is too popular now.)

So, I dream of running away but I don't. I slog on.

And then there is a day like today. I am set for trial in a case that should not have made it to a filing desk but, because of federal grants and such, prosecutors file on all such cases. This was a domestic violence case where my client was a woman. It is rare but not unheard of.

But this client had breast cancer. Stage 4. Her spouse was also on medication which warned of anger issues as a side effect. (Great, take this medicine, it will make you pissed off at the world and a bit out of control but it might help what ails you?)

The trial had been delayed for a long time while my client received treatment.

For the last two years her name went on a pink cape worn by my friend Thumper as she walked the Susan Komen 3 Day walk for the cure. (Thanks, Thump!) Her last PET scan showed her to be cancer free.

Today, the District Attorney announced that he could not proceed. It is irrelevant why. He just couldn't go forward.

After all the discussions and accusations. After all the harsh words and posturing. After all the court appearances.

It was over.

The stress. The unknowing. It was over.

My client wept on my shoulder. She was free from the criminal justice system and from cancer.

Some days it is worth it. 

Monday, November 7, 2011


There is nothing in the world like a real friend.

Not an acquaintance or someone you know because of a group you belong to (although real friends are there!) Not someone you see on the street and say "Hi, how are you? How are the kids?"

No, I mean someone who knows you. Without asking or prying, they just know.

I am truly lucky. I have real friends.

My very first friend is still my friend. For 60 years this month, she has been a part of my life. We didn't even know it then, but we were friends.

We can call each other at 3am. Sometimes for a real good reason. Sometimes for no reason at all. When I lived in Minot, North Dakota, she saved me more than once from losing my mind. I was cold and alone and it was very, very dark. But she was on the other end of the line.

In high school we would call each other and just stay on the phone. We wouldn't even talk. Back then there was only one phone in the house and our parents would make us hang up so someone else could use the phone. Then we would call each other again.

We didn't hang out together at school. No particular reason. Really didn't need to. She was there if I needed her and I for her. We walked to school together for some years as our mothers were both nurses at the local hospital. I remember those walks with a smile on my face. We were friends.

Back then we had different interests and different family problems.  But our friendship was and still is very, very special. It has been central to my life and a cornerstone in my development as a human being.

Now, we may not talk to each other for months at a time. It doesn't matter. When I answer the phone and shortly break into giggles, my spouse not only knows who it is, he knows not to interrupt!

We are still very different. But we are still, and always will be, best friends.

This is her birthday month. She will be my age for a little over 30 days.

Vicki, tonight, this blog is for you.

Happy Birthday, my dear friend.

And thank you. For being you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wastin' Time

Anyone who knows me knows that I work. Alot.

During the week, there is not much sleep in my routine. That time is used to stew about what I need to do, what I haven't done, and what I might have forgotten to do but, for the life of me, can't remember if I have done it.

So I am on the computer, talking to my computer at work to make sure that all is right with the world.

By the end of the week, I am a bit tired.

So I try to sleep in.

There is one difficulty (well, three, to be exact). They are Mohawk, LadyBug and Zelda. Breakfast is due at 6am and Mohawk has mastered the art of whining. LadyBug is the master licker. Zelda is the jumper and her aim at my midsection is amazing.

There is one blessing. A spouse who gets up BEFORE the whining, licking and pouncing occur and feeds the "children". He then gently replaces them on the bed so that they can snooze away the morning with me. And they do.

Yesterday, spouse woke me up at noon. He was afraid I wouldn't sleep the next night. He needn't have worried. I was back in bed at 8:30 with my blanket of dogs.

I took full advantage of the extra hour our politicians gave us.

But in the 8 or so hours that I was functional, I indulged in my current hobby. It is a hobby that comes and goes depending on my mood, my work load and my need to concentrate on something other than work. The latter happens alot.

It is jigsaw puzzles.

I don't go in for the huge ones. They are too complicated and I don't have the space.

I want something that is slightly challenging but not impossible. The last time I exercised my brain in this hobby my daughter's step-mom (who is a good friend of mine) sent me one of those puzzles with the same picture on the front and back. They are turned at 90 degrees from each other. AND it had lots of stripes! We sent it back and forth to each other for Christmas and birthdays until the box disintegrated! No one opened it!

Anyway, this one took a lot of weekends. It may look easy but it had me stumped at the end. Blue is blue is blue. Unless there is a bit of white in it. And white is white is white unless there is a little blue in it.

But I persevered. And here it is:

Don't worry, I am starting a new one as soon as I am off the computer. Have to check on my schedule for tomorrow!!!!