Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Just a nice photo of the falls where I used to live.
This is my happy place.
I'm hoping that  gazing at this photo
will help me to relax the spasm in my back.
Breathe... in...out...in...

Well this is it...
the day our life together changes will be here tomorrow.
In the morning I will make the 35 minute drive
(if not longer depending on traffic)
to my new job.


I will leave before the man gets home...
and he will be in bed by the time I get home.
I will be in bed when he gets up to leave...
and then it will begin again.

So it goes.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday began with weeding.
But it became too hot and I sunburned the top of my head
where I parted my hair!

I was grumbling about it.
The man turns to Roxy and says
"So do you want to go for a drive?"
They let me go along too.

Randy says
"I hope you've got quarters."
I laughed and made a joke.
"Why? Are you taking me to feed the fish?"

He gives me a weird look.
"Well its the only thing that I can think of that still costs only a quarter."
"Are we going to the dog wash?"
He shakes his head and changes the subject.
I give up.

The truck winds along a lazy path...
we are in no hurry.
We leave town and pass a cemetery.
Then we are out "in the country" proper.

Happy little country towns dot the stretch of road
we travel.
I liked the one in the photo up there.
A metal sculptor has a studio
and his work is pretty popular with his neighbors.
You can't tell by the photo
but there are wonderful things on those 
metal creations...
like a rhino roof topper!

Each little town has its version of a farmer's market.
Everyone is smiling.
The feeling is both homey and serene.
I eat it all up with my eyes.
Roxy tries to push her nose out the wing window.
She's drinking it in with her nose. 

Eventually we come to what looks like a driveway.
The man turns in and parks.
I think that I should have been paying attention.
Then I see.

 I can't help but laugh.
I really was only joking about  feeding the fish with my quarters.
The only place I've done that was up near where
I used to live.
We walk past the fry ponds with the littlest guys
swimming in a swarm
and individually flipping up out of the water...
to catch some bug.

A couple of ducks were enjoying the pond too...
and they began to follow us around.
I wished that I had something to feed them.

There were no fish food dispensers!
We got back into the car.
As hatcheries go, this one was small.
I am used to the one at Bonneville Dam
where the great sturgeon, Herman lives.
Randy says I like Herman because he is older than me...
then reminds me that he, Randy, is not as old as me.

We drive awhile longer and again turn off the road.
I can see that it is another hatchery once we cross the weird
little bridge with the funny houses on it.

This one is bigger
and more suited to tourist visitors.
I was excited because it had a lot of the equipment 
that is required to tag and clip fish...
one of my favorite jobs that I have had in the past.
I got to show them to Randy and explain how they are used.

In the distance I saw it...
a big square box thing.
Next to a lovely pond that reminded me of the crock
pond at the zoo where I grew up.
Cool because it had a bridge in the middle.
I couldn't wait to put my quarter in...
and get a handful of fish pellets.

These big handsome trout liked me...
well they liked the pellets.
There were sturgeon too,
but none near as large as Herman.

Randy was very patient.
He had Roxy and they sort of stood back...
Roxy does not like the water or the fish!
But she loved the other visitors.
She made lots of friends.

I could have sat there for a very long time.
Watching fish is so relaxing and soothing.
I used to enjoy sitting after clipping and just unwinding.

On the way home we made a quick stop at a mom and pop
Randy showed me where the "Monster Burgers" are made.
So named because Bill Bigsby used to come to eat there.
He lived near by.
Neither of us were hungry.
Monster burgers are very big, so we need a time
when we can split a fresh cooked one.
We will go back soon.

Which is very cool.
I can hardly wait to go back and spend time with the fish!
One of these days I want a Koi pond.


Then I can watch the fish whenever I want.


Thursday, July 26, 2012


Carrot love.

 I got a job.

Damn it!

I know... with so many people out of work...
I should be very grateful.

Don't get me wrong.
I am going to accept the job because it is a job...
and I needed a job.

Its not a job that I would have picked for myself.
And the rules are that I cannot turn down a job.

My unemployment checks would go away if I did.
I may as well accept the job then.

"Orientation" is next Weds.
That means that I have 
5 days
to find a job that is less upsetting to my life.

Honest work is honest work.

So what's my problem?

My problem is that my new "master" informed me that
I will work every single holiday or I will be fired.
I will work nights and weekends...

Which happens to be the only time that I can see Randy...
because of his graveyard hours.

Did I move here from a good paying, great job
to spend all my time alone or working for a pittance?

So I am pounding on doors the next 5 days...
and hoping for something else that won't be as 
destructive to my life.

Failing that saving me...
I'll be looking for other work in every spare hour I've got
until I can quit.

I'll I've got left to say is


Tuesday, July 24, 2012


The magnificent Miss Millie... and Andrea's lower leg.

I have a huge affection for basset hounds.
I have had 5;
Christopher, Sadie, Sam, Poppy and Robbie.
Three were tricolor and two were red and white.
I love that they have no legs or ankles to speak of...
only knees and feet.

I was surprised this morning when Andrea called
to tell me that she had ended up in the hospital
with appendicitis.
She was home now, unable to do much...
would I come over and visit?

After lunch with Mom and Dad...
and putting the man to bed...
off I went.
Roxy watched sadly from her window as I left.
I swear she knows when I am going away to "cheat" on her.
I wish she could be trusted with other dogs.
She can't.
I would not risk traumatizing Millie with a meeting of the two.

When I arrive, Andrea is in back.
Millie trots to the front door...
which is glass 
and tells me to get myself inside and pet her.
Propriety begs that I wait for human invitation.
Millie licks her chops and puts on a
(One side of her lip tucked up under a tooth...
giving her a har-rumph! face.)

When Andrea waves me inside...
Millie puts her front legs on my thighs.
She wiggles so hard that she knocks herself off
as I reach to pat her head.
I bend lower to ruffle her ears...
and her "mad" melts away forgotten.

Millie follows me closely as I follow her mom.
She is busy sniffing Roxy scent below my knees.
We go through the tiny but very cute small house...
through the kitchen, the porch
and into the laundry area.
Millie cuts in front of me here...
forcing me to pull up short to keep from falling on her.

I am very careful about a basset's back.
Robbie died too young
because his old owner stopped by to visit him
and pounded too hard on his back...
which caused a break in his spine...
and the rear part of his body ceased to function.
He died  with deep pain in his eyes.
I have never seen a sadder face.
I could never forgive myself if I caused such an injury to Millie,
who closely resembles Robbie's markings and color.

Instead I ungracefully slam my head into a glass door.
the door popped open rather than break...
and I tripped my way down the back steps,
unhurt but...
grabbing onto Andrea for support.

Millie who had left via her doggie door
looks at me  and wags her tail...
then trots down her ramp to lay on her piece of carpet
next to the umbrella table in the shade.
I swear she was smiling.

I follow Andrea around her garden.
She has a plastic tub in her hand and is picking strawberries
for us to snack on.

As she's picking them,
I'm thinking that they are not "done"...
that they will be too tart.
I admire the rest of her garden fare
as she washes our treat.
When I put a strawberry in my mouth...
Their flavor is so juicy and so sweet.
Used to store bought,
I have forgotten how fresh from the vine berries taste.

I flick the leafy berry top at Millie.
She lifts her head and give it a sniff...
then looks at me.
Her eyes say that I am being ridiculous.
Bassets do not eat strawberry tops.

Millie leaves her rug and waddles nearer to me.
She rolls over onto her back
half in the shade and half out...
her bottom half, belly up, legs splayed, is sunning.
The warmth feels good and she gives me a goofy smile.
If only my camera hadn't been left inside.
I could go get it,
but prime basset moments don't last once you get to your feet.
She would follow me out of curiosity,
the moment gone.

When we talk she follows our faces like a tennis match.
Back and forth.
She scoots toward me so that she can lick my toe.
When we laugh,
she pretends not to know what we are laughing at.
 For a time her head lays on my foot...
anchoring me to the spot.

Millie is no longer young.
She is content to be part of a chatty threesome.
Our silent partner.
Her eyes are sharp and expressive.
Then the lazy sets in and she lays back to let them close.

When it is time for me to leave...
Millie leads the way...
then cuts me off at the door again
but this time I am prepared and keep my feet.
When we reach the front door she sits.
She sits so that it can't open into the house.

I have to bend down and ruffle those soft ears again.
Millie's tail wags with much less enthusiasm.
She knows that this means that I am going home.
I promise to come back.
She steps aside.

 Usually when I leave Millie I entertain ideas of having another basset.
This drive home is kind of sad.
Remembering Robbie's last days still haunts me.
Those pain filled eyes.

Then I am home.
Roxy is waiting in her window.
By the time I get the lock to open
she is at the door dancing in place.
Bassets do not dance in place often.
As the door pushes into the room...Roxy begins to fly...
around and around she races...
big jaws open in  joy.
She hits the foyer carpet and sends it sliding.

"Roxy.  You are a dork."
I tell her.
She sees me heading for the family room and races ahead.
My bassets rarely raced after puppy hood passed.
She assumes her place next to my rocker,
stands waiting for me to sit first...
then lays her head in my lap after a brief sniffing over.
Her eyes tell me that she is glad that I am home
as they roll shut with the touch of my fingers.
Its her way of telling me that it is alright that I cheated on her.
I came home and now all is right in her world.


Monday, July 23, 2012


( Snagged from FB)

I had to go see the Oncologist...
and I don't have cancer.
If that isn't a "tickling the dragon" situation,
I don't know what is.

I must say it was an interesting conversation.
I learned about gene markers...
specifically for breast cancer.
are the markers that are a concern for me.

I didn't even know that there was a BRCA2.

I also learned about family history types.
I have a family history that is NOT typical of what 
the oncologist says normally causes concern.

Not that I should not be concerned, he finished.
(Well crap!)
We need to be curious about my history.

My mother and two of my sisters have had breast cancer
in varying stages when caught with varying results...
and varied treatments.

Breast cancer does run in some families.
What is unusual in our family is that
there is no other cancer anywhere on either side.
Family history of breast cancer almost always
has other family members who have had ovarian cancer...
as well as breast cancer.
The two cancers are linked genetically.

This is a positive note.

he wants me to question my siblings...
and ask them to give blood samples for the gene work.
I have no doubt at all, that they will cooperate.

The lab will separate out the BRCA 1 & 2 genes.
They will look for a mutation in them.
Then they will match my genes to theirs...
and hope that the mutation is not present.
I have a 50-50 chance on that.

Not as scary as I thought it would be.
A nice man with a professional ballerina daughter.
Which has nothing to do with anything.
But his walls are full of photos of his happy dancer.
I liked him.
He was serious without being stoic.
He was kind and very open to explanation and
all my silly and not silly questions.
It was a good educational experience.
Nor did he push for me to do anything... 
all up to me.

I learned that the reason that my mother
had an unusually high estrogen level was because 
she was overweight.
The body stores extra estrogen in fat cells...
which is why being overweight is a cancer risk.

I also impressed him with my awesome anti menopause powers!

He says that most women go through menopause
around age 50.
Not me.
He says this is good news for me,
as family history related breast cancer
usually shows up post menopausal.
Isn't this interesting?

Get yer fingers out of yer ears and stop saying
"lalalalalalala" !

If you have not run away by now...
the good news is that I left feeling much better about things.
once I have the gene work done,
I may have to face that scary decision on what to do.
But now I have two options.

If I have the mutated gene of my sisters,
I can choose prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction
and they will built new nipples from the sensitive skin 
down under... of the labia.
Not that this means that the nipples will work the same way.
I don't know and I didn't ask. 
I was too busy hearing stupid and inappropriate jokes in my head about
my chest smelling like fish.

Or I can go for a chemical prophylactic treatment.
As in taking Tomoxifen.
This is the drug that works best for keeping breast cancer away...
but I know from my mother's experience 
that it has a limited amount of time that it is effective...
then it ceases to help.
it did give my mother 11 extra years.

And there is always a chance that I am
my family anomaly
and the mutation will not even be there...
and I don't have to worry about it as much anymore.

I don't think there will ever be a time where I feel
comfortable thinking that I absolutely won't get breast cancer.

did you know that a prophylactic mastectomy
is only 99% guaranteed effective?
That's because the skin on the breasts
has little threads of breast tissue that go almost all the way
to the skin's surface through that layer of fat
and skin layers
that cover the breast.
It is possible to get breast cancer in the skin and fat on your breast!

I left the oncologist's office feeling pretty good about things.
It is always better to be informed
when you have major things confronting you.

Most women who do not have a family history of it
only have a 12% risk of developing 
breast cancer.
I am envious!