Friday, February 10, 2017

Diego


I've just spent the better part of the last two and a half days crying, and the floodgate of tears came to an ebb at 7:17 yesterday morning.  I sit here, 24 hours later, still in disbelief.  Diego, my little fluffy monster lost his life.  He was only nine years old.

There are so many things related to this death that make it so hard to deal with.  He'd been sick for several months now with diabetes, but he was doing well lately...really well.  Yet it was his disease that ultimately killed him.  Of course, any death comes with grief, and especially when it's someone or some animal who has been around, living with you all the time.  A pet is a part of your family, and since I have no partner and no children, he and Dylan were...are...my family.


Mourning Diego is not my only issue today and going forward because I'm not the only one mourning.  Dylan and Diego have been together since day one.  Though they look nothing alike, they are brothers from the same litter.  The only thing they shared physically was the fact that they both have extra digits...Hemingway cats.  These two spent every waking moment together, cuddling, playing, fighting, eating, and whatnot.  From the moment I came home after leaving Diego at the animal hospital on Tuesday night, Dylan has been sad.  His buddy's missing.

Wednesday was a roller coaster day.  I received both good reports and bad ones about Diego's progress, but I believed throughout that he was coming home.  I went to sleep that night happily imagining the reunion of those two.  What a sight that would have been!  Unfortunately, that reunion was never meant to be, and I can only hope that poor Dylan comes to accept that his brother won't be back.

At the moment, I can't have any interaction with my other baby, my lil panther, without crying.  He and I have an intimate connection, and somehow I know he knows that his brother is gone and he is sad.  I caught him laying in the cat carrier late Wednesday night, lying on the towel that Diego had laid on last Saturday on his last trip to the vet.  At feeding time, when I call him to come eat, he runs into the kitchen looking around for his little buddy.  And during the night, in bed, where the three of us always slept together, Dylan is restless, constantly looking over the side of the bed for his brother to come up and join us.  My heart breaks for Dylan, as well.

  
I adopted Diego and Dylan when they were just about eight weeks old, back in April of 2008. Though I'd said that I would never again have a pet after my first cat, Spike, passed about six months prior, I'd been newly single and I wanted one to call my very own, only before beginning my search for them, I had already decided that I wanted two cats.  Spike had been the only one for sixteen years and I always felt bad for him because he always seemed lonely.  At least with these two, I knew they wouldn't be lonely whenever I wasn't around.  And it didn't take long for me to find these two...


From the start Dylan and Diego brought great joy into my life, as pets do, and for the last nine years these two brothers have had their fair share of playful moments, getting into mischief, and just plain adoreable-ness!  They've been all I've had for a family in all of these years I've been alone and I'm grateful for both of them.    





Feline Diabetes

A few months back, around September, Diego had started to lose a lot of weight and hair along his spine.  Admittedly, I hadn't noticed the severity of either condition until my friend Bobby pointed it out to me.  When you're present around someone or animal all the time you tend not to notice such things.  I rushed him to the vet as soon as I realized this was serious.  The vet had to run some tests on Diego, and she told me that it was either a thyroid condition, diabetes, or something else...I don't remember at this point, only that she told me to hope for the thyroid because it was the easiest to take care of.

The next morning, I got a call saying that Diego did indeed have diabetes.  Apparently diabetes has become very common in both cats and dogs these days, and although the treatment...insulin shots every 12 hours...seems like a big commitment to make, I loved Diego and I was readily willing to take it on.  The doctor assured me it would eventually become easy, and it did... maybe too easy.

Diabetes is a serious condition in humans, and in animals.  It killed my father after torturing him for years with its many side effects, yet I'm not so sure if I ever took it as seriously with Diego because it became so easy to take care of and the insulin shots seemed to have brought him back to normal in just a couple of months.  I became complacent, and even thought about him dropping down to one shot a day instead of two while I was away on a planned trip in a couple of weeks, just so that my friends wouldn't have to deal with coming here twice a day.  I realize now that would have been stupid!  So, for any of you dog or cat owners out there who's beloved pet gets diagnosed with diabetes, all I can say is take it seriously, and never ever forget that without the proper care, terrible things can happen.      


So, I sit here with a heavy heart, but I know with time it will get better, for both Dylan and for I.  But it'll be a long, long time...maybe forever, that I will be missing the purrs and the unconditional love bestowed upon me by my beautiful, gentle little Diego.  I apologize for so many pictures, but even though I am prejudiced, I think he was one of God's most beautiful creatures.  Don't you agree?  Rest in peace baby!



























   

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Express Yourself

Note: I have duplicated this post on both John's World and John's Music World, as it relates not only to music, in this case Madonna's Express Yourself, but of my own personal view of the many protests that occurred yesterday.  After not paying any attention to politics for the last 8 years (I simply couldn't deal with all of the crap being said about Obama, as well as the unprecedented obstruction heaped upon him by Congress), I now find myself in the state of mind that I need to speak, and starting with this post, I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  

washington-overall-TC.jpg

Madonna gave a live performance of this song yesterday, somewhere in D.C., where hundreds of thousands of people were practicing democracy and expressing themselves.  Though she's already been maligned for dropping a few f-bombs directed at our new President while speaking to the crowd, she was practicing the very fundamentals that Trump himself called for during his inauguration speech on Friday...


We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

new-york1.jpg
New York City

Madonna and those accompanying her in Washington were not the only ones practicing democracy yesterday.  In all, an estimated 4.6 million women and their allies demonstrated in approximately 670 cities not only here in the U.S., but across the globe (Reuters, politicususa).  People from all walks of life came out en force in places like Chicago (125K), Los Angeles (750K), New York (400K), Boston (250K), Denver (200K), Seattle, Austin, Atlanta, in cities across Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. The list goes on and on.  It was by far the largest protest of any kind in history.

los-angeles-TC.jpg
Los Angeles 

Throughout the day the protests were pretty much ignored by Trump and his people.  It wasn't until this morning that he even mentioned it, of course on Twitter, and of course chiding one of his named groups of adversaries...celebrities:

Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn't these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly.

In his defense, though, Mr. Trump added a positive spin just a couple of hours later...

Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.

Philadelphia.jpg
Philadelphia

Now I could go on and on about how many of his supporters took to social media to express their dismay and oftentimes outrage over the protests, but that could take awhile.  All you have to do is look to see.  Just as the protesters did yesterday in expressing themselves, so too, do the maligners have the same right.  I just happen to disagree with their assertion that all of these millions of people are simply sore losers who are whining and pouting that they lost the election.  I like to think that I am one of them, even though I regrettably did not take part yesterday.

I accept, as do many of them have accepted, that Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States, and I want him to do well for all of our sakes, but we do have a right to be concerned.  With all that we have seen and heard, and no, not from the "evil" news media, but from the lips of Mr. Trump himself, time and time again, things do not look good.

Mr. Trump's own words have helped widen this divide that we've been slipping into for years now, and for him to stand there on Friday, in front of four former Presidents of both parties, to tell us that this country is full of "carnage" and needs to be fixed only the way he can fix it, to me took a lot of nerve.  His campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," implies that somehow we stopped being great.  I just don't believe that!  Just take a look at the following graphic:

Regardless of the source, these numbers represent truths.  I don't for the life of me see how they reflect an America that's not great.  Trump supporters like to say that now we're going to know how they felt for the last 8 years.  My question to them is, Do you have amnesia?  Look at the numbers from 2009, when President Obama first took office.  That was the culmination of a different 8 years, where two wars were fought, one under the pretext of the one of the biggest lies ever told, complete enrichment of the oligarchy (remember Halliburton?), and the worst economic times we've faced since the Great Depression.  It's funny that I never ever hear the name Bush come up in any conversation.  Make America Great Again?  Obama did that!

And now we have the promise of more division for at least the next four years as Trump and his largely unqualified collection of billionaires in his Cabinet will methodically dismantle all that Obama has done.  It has already begun with the push to repeal Obamacare.  Just like in the past, we believe that you voted against your own best interests and don't even know it.  That's what has been blatantly shocking about this whole thing. But that's just how we think and only time will tell. To all of you Trumpys out there, I sincerely hope I am wrong.  Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Trump will work to Keep America Great, but I, and the millions who marched yesterday, do have cause for concern.

atlanta-new-TC.jpg
Atlanta

Trump said on Friday that he was giving government back to the people.  Yesterday, the people spoke.  They used their voices like so many before them in the times of the Vietnam War and Civil Rights and they spoke.  Loudly.  If I could turn back time just one day, I would have been in New York City with my fellow concerned citizens.  I am proud of those who came out in solidarity and I am proud of them and this country, and for the next four years, we will be watching and expressing ourselves.


*Check out an impressive photo essay on the Women's Marches held throughout the world yesterday on NYTimes


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Special Song of the Day Post, with Commentary - Dear Mr. President - P!nk, with Indigo Girls

Image result for election 2016

Dear Mr. President,
Come take a walk with me
Let's pretend, we're just two people and
You're not better than me
I'd like to ask you some questions if we could speak honestly

Well, after months and months we are finally here.  The day of reckoning!  This is undoubtedly one of the most momentous days in our 240 years of history, the world is watching, and the stakes couldn't be any higher.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray to at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

Today's song was written about another president who took office after another very contentious election season 16 years ago.  Back then, so many of us were angry.  We'd felt cheated and we feared for our future.  Unfortunately, those fears came to pass as 8 years of that poor choice brought us two wars, one plausibly acceptable, and the other completely unnecessary and based on lies.  Thousands of people lost their lives as those in the inner circles enriched themselves off of the misery of others. We tortured our enemies in questionable violation of international law.  Our economy was in shambles.  The housing market crashed.  Unemployment rates and the deficit soared as the stock market fell.  We all suffered...but we survived.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother hs no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me, in the eye, and tell me why?

It was 8 years ago now that we made history.  We'd finally said enough as a nation and brought the other party back into power.  A black man had been elected president.  Hope was at hand. Unfortunately, whatever popularity this new President brought to the office was despised by many, either because he was a black man or simply from the 'other side.'

His integrity was questioned and every attempt he made at progress was met with unprecedented obstruction, which remains to this very day as the Supreme Court's power has been unconstitutionally and unprecentendtedly checked by the branch of government still controlled by the former president's party. The supposed outrage that's been spun over the past 8 years truly boggles my mind, as the previous 8 years of absolute misery seem to be an aberration to those on the other side.  Perhaps there is a case of mass amnesia.

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
How can you say, 
No child is left behind?
We're not dumb and we're not blind
They're all sitting in your cells
As you pave the road to hell  

So now we have this...an anti-establishment billionaire vowing to "Make America Great Again." Does anyone out there really believe that we are no longer a great country?  Please look me in the eye, and tell me why.

Of course, our choice is minimal.  One out of two, well in reality four, people.  But that in itself is a problem we must overcome.  Yes, the establishment is crooked all over.  Both sides of the aisle work first towards their own personal gain before helping us, the little people.  It's been that way for a long, long time.  The United States of America has become the United Corporations of America, where special interests gain favor to our detriment.  Yes, we need an anti-establishment president.  This isn't the one, though.

What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
And what kind of father mght hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You've come a long way, from whiskey and cocaine

The climate of our politics has been dividing us for too many years now.  Politicians tell outrageous lies simply for their own gain.  And we believe them, yet our lives never seem to change that much for the better, no matter what they say.  Right?

Today we all have a huge choice to make.  For seemingly all of us, the choice is clear.  Unfortunately, that choice isn't the same.  While I see it as the choice between a seasoned, yet admittedly flawed candidate and a misogynistic, inexperienced and impulsive bully, others actually believe that the bully would do us better.  Well in my eyes, that bully has cheated our country of thousands and thousands of dollars in taxes, gone bankrupt on quite a few occasions, and looks to divide us rather than unite us.  He doesn't deserve to be president.

Let me tell you about hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you about hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you about hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you about hard work, hard work, hard work
You don't know nothing about hard work

Yeah, those 8 years were terrible!  But they seem like nothing now compared to what could happen in the next 8.  It truly makes me sad...and a little scared, too.  Why do we spend so much time hating and being sheep rather than keeping informed, loving one another and really making the world and our country a better place?  We should all be on the same side.

I only hope that today we get it right and we make it better.  Maybe someday in the future we will find a true anti-establishment hero willing to lead us all into a brighter future.  Until then, we need to make the right choice, or the next time could be even worse.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Reluctantly Rejoining the Political Fray

Image result for donald trump rigged election

I am a reformed political junkie.  From the dark days of the Great Hunt of President Clinton in the 90's to the questionable wins of Dubya in 2000 and 2004, eight ensuing years of war and economic mess, and right up until the first election of our current POTUS, I yelled at my radio in the car and shouted at the Sean Hannity's and the Bill O'Reilly's and cheered on Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher.  I had my views, based on my own personal experiences in this life, in this country, and I always believed it was important to stay on top of things.  You know, keep a watchful eye on who I saw as the wrongdoers while cheering on and helping those who I thought were doing right by us. But that all changed in 2008.

At the time, Election Day 2008, I was super elated.  We had just broke unprecedented ground by electing our first (paritally) African-American president and we were finally ridding ourselves of the shackles that had a terrible hold over this country for the previous eight years.  The names Cheney and Rumsfeld would soon fade into obscurity and finally we could get on to cleaning up the mess that they all left behind.  

I soon realized, though, just how nefarious our system of checks and balances can work.  There's been enough of a strong Republican base out there to give that party a hold of Congress, and the unprecedented obstruction of the elected president's policies began.  Tea Party politics fought Obama at every turn, making it difficult for him to get anything done.  The power of a President is not as great as people think.  Heck, the party that says it admires the Constitution so much has unconstitutionally held back the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice for 8 months now, leaving it one man, or woman, short. Deplorable! Out of complete disgust, I stopped paying attention altogether...until now.

An Election that Could Change the World

It's been really hard to avoid this current presidential election, probably the most disgusting of all time, but until yesterday I've managed to hold off on voicing my opinions for the most part.  Doing so does nothing to change minds and only works to create a divide among friends who may have different opinions than you, especially in this time where all civility has flown out the window.

I've said before that what has become of politics in the past 20 years or so is this my team, your team mentality, no matter what.  It's not about helping us, the little guys.  It's all about winning.  A Republican comes up with an idea...a Democrat will reject it before he even hears it.  A Democrat proposes something, it too is rejected unequivocally by a Republican without reason.  If the other guy comes up with something good, it makes our side look bad, so we're going to block it at all costs. And this ugly new norm on has worked its way down to the American public, who will side with their own side just because.  Pretty sad state of affairs, no?

Reluctantly Rejoining the Discussion

For the past few months, this election has been gaining steam, and I've bitten my lip many times over a Facebook post or a Tweet that I don't agree with, but I've said nothing.  It's not worth it.  But what I've been watching this past week has been truly alarming and I just had to do something about it, I shared an article on Facebook with a simple comment, This is very scary.   

The article, from the Boston Globe, was entitled Trump's supporters talk rebellion, assassination at his rallies.  In case you've been living in a bubble, Donald Trump has been feverishly telling his supporters over and over this past week that the upcoming election is a big conspiracy and is rigged against him. Perhaps he senses a loss and is trying to find something to blame it on.  He is, after all, an egotist.  

The reason I decided to share the story had nothing to do with which candidate I favored.  In my opinion, and in the opinions of many others, this talk is nothing but dangerous and irresponsible for any presidential candidate to claim, especially so far ahead of Election Day.  For someone to speak of such things and incite such anger can lead to very serious consequences.  

One of my friends innocently commented on the post:

I was hoping this whole article was satire.  It does not appear to be.  People make me sad.

Almost immediately, another friend of mine, an outspoken Republican and Trump supporter/avid Hilary Clinton hater, ratcheted up the conversation with an angry reply. The two, who have no connection to one another aside from knowing me, went back and forth for some time.  I was dismayed with each reply.  I knew I shouldn't have posted anything.  Ugh, politics!

The second friend was soon joined by yet two more friends, who simply posted videos showing how it's the Democrats who cause violence at Republican rallies.  Videos were posted, Imagine if conservatives disrupted a Clinton rally (an opinion piece), White girl attacked by Mexicans at Trump rally, and Rigging the Election: Clinton Campaign and DNC Incite Violence at Trump Rallies.   This is exactly what I was talking about just a few paragraphs up...no matter my intention, the other side will deflect the conversation by attacking, without reply to the original point.  I finally responded:

Oy, I have to say I've been very reluctant to post anything about the election on FB, and the responses to this post exemplify my reasons.

First of all, to friend #1 and friend #3 (the poster of the first tow videos) I admire your civility towards one another. If only that existed in all political discussion.
(Their replies to one another were civil.)

My reasons for posting this piece have nothing to do with this side, that side, blah blah blah. To me, my choice in this election is a no-brainer, but regardless all of this talk about election rigging so far in advance of the election is potentially dangerous.

Trump said, and I quote, "If she gets to pick her judges, there's nothing you can do folks...although the Second Amendment people. Maybe there is. I don't know."

What is that supposed to mean? A candidate for the American presidency veiling a call to "Second Amendment people" to do something about it? That's horrific, and from the fervor I've seen on the part of his supporters, does no one think that maybe, just maybe, one might try and take him up on it?

We are the United States of America, champions of true democracy, where no one gets to hold the highest office for too long. In more than 240 years of presidencies, there have always been peaceful transfers of power.

Whether he meant it or not, that very statement and the constant gripes about election rigging and media conspiracy instead of talking...in detail...about the issues, is the height of irresponsibility, and I only hope my fears will be assuaged come November 9th.

Still, the arguments continued.  Excuses were made, Hilary and Democrats were attacked, and other issues were brought into the fray.  I once again tried to quell the arguing by reasoning my point again:

I said NOTHING of who I am voting for or anything else political. My only point here was that one candidate for the highest position of power in this country thinly veiled a call for his supporters to shoot (yes, I think when he said "second amendment people," that's exactly what he meant!) the other candidate if he loses. If you're okay with that...I don't give a crap if it's Hilary Clinton or Bozo the clown, that is absolutely disgusting and dangerous, and no, this wasn't just reported by the liberal media, I heard him say it! If that's okay with you, then the America you want to be a part of sounds a lot like some of these other countries from where you'd like to keep people out. (Immigration, one of my own hot topics, was brought up and not in a positive light!)

I ended the discussion, which was clearly avoided by the majority of my friends, probably out of the same fears as I'd earlier harbored.  Once again, the article I posted had nothing to do with political favor.  I was simply making a statement that this type of talk is incendiary.  It has the potential to come to fruition and that is very dangerous ground to take and is highly irresponsible on Trump's part.  Though it should seem like a good situation, a non-politician running for office, unfortunately someone who's never been in politics should never start out by vying for the highest office in the land.  

No one ever knows with certainty what will happen in the future, either come Election Day or a year from now.  Deplorables worry about Muslims and Mexicans wanting to kill us, yet in the 16 mass shootings over the past 8 years, the vast majority of them were perpetrated by not Muslims, nor Mexicans, but by Americans.  And they're worried about the the immigrant?  One of the highest prices we've always paid for freedom is the sad reality that there are crazies out there, of all stripes, and we can never see beforehand which ones will act upon their crazy.  I just hope to God it is not one of these guys.