Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Daily Dickens: Pics My Mother Never Posted...

because she stuffed her cardreader in her knitting bag and then couldn't find it!  Sheesh!

It's me, Dickens, after the bath.

Dickens decided he's determine his level of cleanliness.  After careful bathing...well, see those leaves to the left?  Yup, he thought he'd spruce himself up with a little wet leave cologne.  I can't win!

The Walking Coat!

The Daily Dickens: Klondike Dickens

My little pup and I have an agreement - when the hooded jackets comes out that means do your business ASAP!  This little coat reminds me of my days in Montreal shopping at "The Bay Store" on Rue St. Catherine for that warm wonder.  I guess history repeats itself afterall (and not bad history at that).

And so, without further ado, may I present "Klondike Dickens".  Yes, he really hates the coat!

More coat, more snow, more pup

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Daily Dickens: Minus How Much?

My pup-boy grows tired of hanging out inside the house.  He has plenty of toys, but feigns boredom. 

Tonight, we bundled up for our evening constitutional.  I opened the door, the cold air hit him, and he left the house barking down the wind, the cold.  Usually he walks for awhile before the main event occurs.  Not tonight.  NosireeCairn!  This guy barked about 100 feet, got down to business, and headed home.

Good dog, warm dog!  Frosty dog!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Rocksalot Cottage: May This Benediction Remain In Our Hearts

Rev. Luis Leon , Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Park, Washington, DC delivered the Inaugural Benediction.  It's a powerful prayer for a powerful nation.  May it live forever in our hearts.

Gracious and eternal God, as we conclude the second inauguration of President Obama, we ask for your blessings as we seek to become, in the words of Martin Luther King, citizens of a beloved community, loving you and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence because without it, hatred and arrogance will infect our hearts. But with your blessing we know that we can break down the walls that separate us. We pray for your blessing today because without it, distrust, prejudice and rancor will rule our hearts. But with the blessing of your presence, we know that we can renew the ties of mutual regard which can best form our civic life.

We pray for your blessing because without it suspicion, despair, and fear of those different from us will be our rule of life. But with your blessing, we can see each other created in your image, a unit of God's grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable (sic) and irreplaceable.

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will see only what the eye can see. But with the blessing of your blessing we will see that we are created in your image, whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will only see scarcity in the midst of abundance. But with your blessing we will recognize the abundance of the gifts of this good land with which you have endowed this nation.

We pray for your blessing. Bless all of us, privileged to be citizens and residents of this nation, with a spirit of gratitude and humility that we may become a blessing among the nations of this world. We pray that you will shower with your life-giving spirit, the elected leaders of this land, especially Barack our president and Joe our vice president. Fill them with a love of truth and righteousness, that they may serve this nation ably and be glad to do your will. Endow their hearts with wisdom and forbearance, so that peace may prevail with righteousness, justice with order, so that men and women throughout this nation can find with one another the fulfillment of our humanity.

We pray that the president, vice president and all in political authority will remember the words of the prophet Micah, "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and always walk humbly with God?"

Señor Presidente, señor Vicepresidente, que Dios bendiga todos sus días. Todo esto lo ruego, en el más santo nombre, Amén.

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, may God bless you all your days. All this we pray, in your most holy name, amen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rocksalot Cottage: Answered Prayers

My cousin posted the following on her Facebook page.  After writing a long article on the pitfalls of caregiving, I decided to post this instead.  Thanks, Kathy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rocksalot Cottage: Listening

As I go about my day news bombards me.  My mother enjoys listening to talk radio, I scan the papers to catch up on world changes, and the same goes on until 10 PM when I tune it all out as Mom's retires for the evening.  Trust me, no matter what I do, the arguments of the day are inescapable. 

Mom has lived through WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Gulfs I & II, and  Afghanistan.  She knows that keeping abreast of national & world news has a place in life.  Unfortunately, these wars have become a fabric of her 89 years.  She has lived relatively few periods in her life that are free from war.  Now, she senses a different kind of conflict.  An issue in her own country that  upsets her to the point that she openly asks if people are listening to each other.  She'll say, "Did you hear that?  They didn't even answer the question!  Were they listening?"  (Just so you know, she wears two hearing aids, so hears just fine.)

Believe or not, there's a lesson in this for me.  In taking a step back and analyzing these stories one element begins to take shape - no one's listening to each other.  No one.  Both sides cling to their own arguments and clammor to convince, but not to compromise. 

Statemenship requires listening.  Not making noise.  Active listening.  Taking ten deep breaths and sitting down to discuss an issue, not debating. Discussion requires parking their positions and keenly listening someone else's views.  Debating requires winning.  Taking an issue that cuts to the core of who we are as a society to ensure a stronger nation grows from that discussion.  Money, trolling, and using children to further one's argument isn't problem solving.  I believe Fr. Ehrlich hit the nail on the head when he wrote  this article for the Washington Post.  If this noise doesn't settle down (and soon) the future loses.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Daily Detective Dickens: Nosing Around

Lately, this little neighborhood has had a spate of minor crime.  Folks, to be determined, under the cloak of darkness who skulk around helping themselves to things that don't belong to them.  Law enforcement is on the case.  Neighbors have been informed and remain on alert.

Enter that sweet little pup, Mr. Dickens.  He's no lightweight.  He studies everyone who walks toward or by him with intense interest.  Nose twitching.  Eyes boring.  Dickens actually puts on the brakes to perform a thorough assessment. 

He's also a sniffer.  Nose to the ground following a trail I don't understand.  He circles an entire block inhaling the pavement, or the field, or the wooded area in our universe that we visited today.  Part of the Cairn magic lies in uncovering those shiny objects, such as coins, potato chip bags, lost earrings, and today's haul revealed one of the things that the creeps of the crime dropped in their hasty escape, a cell phone.  A very expensive cell phone.  A cell phone held in such high regard that no doubt its owner shed real tears after discovering the loss.

The fruits of Dickens's labor has been picked up by authorities.  Hopefully, the item fires up once it gets juice.  Hopefully, it's returned to it's owner.  Hopefully, if it belongs to one of the creeps of crime, the phone might reveal the creep's identify.

Until then, Detective Dickens, nose to the ground, remains on the case.



Monday, January 14, 2013

The Daily Dickens: Good Boy!

As his real personality emerges from the haze of his former medication, we love this dog more and more.  Deep down, he's a cuddler and a kisser.  He delights Mom with his devotion and he cuddles into my neck as fatigue slips over him. 

He did two miles today.  We've been doing three; however, the third mile just didn't happen due to life getting in the way.  He loves his new diet.  Loves it.

We usually enjoy a bedtime ritual that begins with his heavy eyelids, goodnight kisses, fresh water and a little massage action.  Tonight, for the first time, he decided he'd take himself to bed.  My nerves jangled as I realized he wasn't there waiting for me.  I looked into his crate and the sleeping prince slept peacefully.  We abbreviated our ritual, but he offered goodnight smooches.

He's a good boy! 

Rocksalot Cottage: Past Imperfect, Future Unknown

I'm beginning to enjoy our three-mile strolls. Three times a day we do a mile circuit to burn off excess canine adrenaline and, I now realize, gives me a chance to sort my writer's mind, plan my day, and offer thanks for the opportunity this thing called life has to offer. This morning my mind churned restlessly about our country's direction.
As a young girl I remember selecting a Clara Barton biography. The choice eludes me now, but I can tell you this book swept me up to the point that I didn't want to surrender it. Clara had the bravery and courage to roll up her sleeves to care for the wounded and dying during the Civil War. She personified the word "multitask”. She's the reason we are blessed with the American Red Cross. Of all the people I regard as true heroes Clara rates at the top. She's the reason I joined the Army. She's the reason I became an Environmental Health & Safety Professional. She rocked. She healed.
During that turbulent time undoubtedly exhausted herself I think I know the reason why. She believed in what the framers of the Constitution stated as this important document's intent, "in order to form a more perfect union". She became part of that process. She gave selflessly knowing that the chaos and the bloodshed would advance this country toward that goal of something imperfect, seeking, building to that of perfection. Clara Barton understood what our forefather's meant by that simple mission statement.
I wonder what Clara would think had she been born in this time? We now give witness to killer tornadoes, earthquakes, and super storms. I know she would have rolled up her sleeves to help, but what about the other stuff? What would she think about our Congress? Would we live up to her standards of care giving? What about our current debate about assault weapons? Would Clara see the same contradictions that I see? Contradictions such as:
· The Issues: (stay with me here)
oSocial Security: My parents and I contributed to Social Security during our lives, now it's been branded as an entitlement, rather than a "pay it forward" mechanism to lessen the blows of old age. (Trust me, with both my parents getting old redefines "difficult". )
oCongress: Clara lived in a world that struggled for the necessary medical items to bandage wounded soldiers. She relied on her countrywomen to send bandage rolls. Congress had funded a war it couldn't afford. Today Congress spends to support a twelve-year war, yet balks at paying the bill when it comes due. They work to cut veterans' benefits and turn their backs on the families who become the healers once their soldiers come home.  Another contradiction rests in the fact that the same folks who demand their right to an AR-15 be preserved are the same who want to cut funding to the Department of Defense. 
oLife, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: Constitutional rights. Necessary elements toward a more "perfect union." Americans, all Americans are entitled to life, to freedom, and to strive for that subjective, sometimes elusive, emotion, called "Happiness". Many a night I doubt Clara thought of happiness, she worked to heal others so that they might enjoy those Constitutional privileges because they fought for what they believed. Would Clara agree that the right for a child to go to school, a movie, a mall, or a public gathering without getting shot should be protected? What about the parents' rights to raise a healthy family, rather than stare into a child's empty bedroom knowing that child isn't at a slumber party. That child has gone forever.
o2nd Amendment: Clara saw firsthand the ravages of a Civil War round hitting its mark many times over. After an eyeful of wounded, dying, and dead, maybe she'd ask herself, "Who requires 60-100 rounds to hunt? Perhaps a trip to the ophthalmologist is in order? Is resting in the knowledge that safety and security of our future trumps the right of owning a heavy duty piece of metal/plastic that can upend the future of our country?
oSecession from the Union: Yup, Clara saw the dirty that little decision caused. Why strive toward a more perfect union when states can cut and run off on their own? Such actions say, "we don't believe in working toward a perfect union". It reveals a disassociative demeanor requiring medication. It takes more courage to work within a democracy than to pull back from it.  The idea of a more perfect union requires a key ingredient for its success.  That ingredient’s name is compromise.  Holding a government hostage isn’t compromise.  Insisting on one way, rather than meaningful discourse, isn’t compromise.  Undermining one’s own party isn’t compromise.  Democracy craves courage, compassion, and reason to craft a perfect union.   Clara lived civil war and it wasn't pretty.
I don't belong to any political party. My heroes are my heroes. Winston Churchill, FDR, Abraham Lincoln, Bill Clinton are chart toppers along with Clara. These are my top five.
Before any American goes off the charts, perhaps reading about her wartime experiences might be a game changer. I'm going here .   Clara might just shed some light on this country's madness. 
I hope our country never goes to war again, civil or otherwise.  If things go bad, I pray I’ll be like Clara.   I pray I’ll be a healer. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Daily Dickens: New Directions

I've been away from this blog due to issues with my mother and Dickens.  Sometimes it's as though I'm swimming upstream.

Mom has gotten over a rough patch and her appetite has kicked into gear.  When she's not up to par life turns into a demanding nightmare.  Our wings are level now after some tense moments.  It's tough to get old and even tougher to watch.  Friends have had my back God love them.  I love them and they know it.  My mother's doctor has a great sense.

The past few weeks saw me wrestling with Dickens's "behavioral" issues.  He'd been put on a drug that created a dependency.  I asked the vet to examine his digestive issues, but all she'd say to me is, "You need to see a nutritionist."  "OK, then.  This is an animal hospital.  Do you have a nutritionist on staff?"  I asked.  "No." from the vet.  Thanks a lot, I thought!  Thanks a lot.

For some time now I had heard good things about another vet in our area.  The practice had its feet firmly planted in holistic medicine.  Why I didn't go there first, I'll never know.  Should have listened to that tiny, quiet voice inside that whispers the good stuff.

Dr. Sharon Dolittle, DVM has got to be one of the most comprehensive doctors I've ever met.  The appointment last two hours.  Two hours.  During that time period she used muscle testing make a diagnosis.  She also uses Autonomic Response Testing and Clinical Nutrition methods among other things. 

Her diagnosis concluded three areas needed help:  digestion, cortex/cerebellum, and adrenal systems.  The digestion resolution comes from a mixture of homecooked and commercial foods along with tummy supplements.  The brain fix comes from detoxing this guy from the current medication and using a holistic substitute.  The adrenal answer comes from exercise.  Lots and lots of exercise.  We clock about three miles per day.  He's also getting thyroid supplements.

His bowels are straightening out, he's responding to commands, and he's pooped (sorry for the pun) from me running his legs off.  He goes back in three weeks for an eval.

It's been good for all of us.  Mom now giggles as Dickens offers kisses.  The tummy distress seems to be fading.  The drug now well on the way to leaving his system. 

This takes work...all of it.  I need to get more done.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Hey 2013...

you are really rockin' the boat here.

First, the refrigerator goes down.  Now my computer screen displays a strange black splotch on the right side. 

Honestly, if this is the best you've got, I vote we skip over to 2014.