Showing posts from June, 2016

My Tribe

Ten years ago, when I first walked into a local Unitarian Universalist fellowship, immediately I thought, "I found my people!" It's such a great feeling when you find a group of like-minded people. Here was a cluster of left-leaning, NPR-listening, solstice-celebrating, friendly folks who care about social justice, human rights, and so much more. I wanted to be in the club immediately.

I felt much the same way when I got involved in animal rescue. It's nice to have friends who don't think you're a nut job for believing that dogs are worth the trouble, that helping them is worth the trouble.

Are we supposed to limit ourselves to one tribe?  I feel like I want to hang out with a few different ones. In high school, I always liked the theater kids. I wasn't one of them (mostly because I couldn't sing/act/dance), but they weren't judge-y, and I liked that vibe. I did get into the chorus for a musical one time, but the school ended up canceling the who…

I'm Tired of Explaining Very Bad Things to My Child

Every day this week, I have driven my daughter to a summer camp program at the local humane society. On the way there, we pass several flag poles in front of various buildings. On each, the US flag is flying at half-staff. It occurred to me that I hadn't really talked to my daughter about the massacre that took place in Orlando last weekend.

"Do you know why the flags are flying at half-staff?" I asked her.

"No, what does that mean?" she replied.

I explained that when there is a national tragedy, flags are lowered halfway as a sign of respect and mourning.

I wasn't sure what to say about the murders, so I started with this: "On Saturday, a guy walked into a nightclub in Orlando and killed a lot of people. A bunch of others were injured."


Why, indeed. I did mention to her that this was a club that's popular with the LGBTQ community and that, as far as I know, the people who died were gay. I didn't bring in the "Islamic…

Walking the bleep out of this town

In the past few weeks, my daughter and I have completed two 5Ks and one 10K. I can't run, but we have walked this town like I don't know what. A year ago, I actually thought I had a shot at running these events, or at least jogging them. But now, since I'm falling apart, walking them seems like a lofty enough goal. The first of the three events was in May. It was a quick little 5K - seemed like we were done in no time and had our medals swinging from our necks. I felt a tiny bit guilty for receiving a medal for completing a walk that the average 80-year-old can do, but what the hell - I'll take positive reinforcement any way I can get it.

The second event was also a 5K, but this one was a pet walk benefiting the local humane society. The kid and I took Grover.  Grover is now 33 pounds.  He weighed 11 pounds when we brought him home in March, so he has tripled in size since he joined our family. It usually takes me a least a year to triple my size. Anyway, he uses all …

The Old Dogs and the New

(Yes, that is a lame Game of Thrones reference.)

I wrote this reflection as part of a Pet Blessing service at my church, so I thought I may as well make it a blog entry, too.

As a veteran foster volunteer with over 16 years’ of experience, puppies, with their bad decision-making skills and poor bladder control, most certainly wore out their welcome at my home many years ago. Most of the dogs I have fostered were adults, but a few were pups. Naughty pups. I remember one naughty one named Sabrina, who somehow got a hold of one of my diabetic cat’s hypodermic needles and ran past me with the syringe between her teeth.  “What’s the matter?” I asked as I pried open her jaw and then shoved the syringe into the sharps container, “You couldn’t find a steak knife?” My husband and I did raise a puppy of our own (named Lucy Annabel) many years ago, but since then, we’ve mostly adopted adult dogs: Karl Lee, Gideon, and Gretchen. Karl passed away about a year after we lost L…

No one has peed on it yet

The big excitement in our house this week? We got new carpet. I've been replacing the flooring throughout our house over the last few years. First I had the kitchen tile done. Then, I went for the living room, dining room, and a hallway. Finally, this week, I had the three bedrooms (plus the other hallway) done. Once that expense is paid off, I'll look into re-tiling the bathroom floors. And then I'll be done with such things until I'm dead. The next time someone has to replace this carpeting, it will be because I've died on it and it's chock full of my DNA.

I had picked out the carpeting several weeks ago. I chose a silver/grey (ahem, "granite dust") for the master bedroom (I hesitate to call it a master bedroom because I think it's only three inches wider than the other bedrooms). The kid selected blue carpeting for her room. I chose a standard sandy color for the guest-room-slash-office. Then I decided to have the hallway done in the same colo…

That one time when I could eat all the things

I stepped outside my comfort zone on Saturday evening and attended a vegan potluck with a bunch of strangers (well, one of the attendees is a new-ish friend that I met a few months ago, but I don't yet know her well enough to get a feel for high her Claudia Tolerance Level is). I am so glad I went. I met some really nice people and got some good recipe ideas, too.

Normally, when I go to a potluck, I can only eat one thing: whatever I brought. Sometimes I may indulge in a handful of potato chips or scoop a handful of carrot sticks, but everything else is too scary.  My relatives and church friends definitely make an attempt to make sure I can eat something, which is great. Generally speaking, though, potlucks are hard for plant-based eaters. I end up poking at dishes and yelling in the vague direction of the other attendees: "Who brought this? What's in it?"

As for my contributions to the potluck, I brought two items: a zucchini casserole and rice krispie treats.  I t…

"Do you have anything to de-clay-ah?"

I have to tell you about my new obsession: "Border Security: Australia's Front Line."  Apparently the show has been around for a while but it only recently hit my radar when I found it on Netflix. It's just about the most fascinating thing I've ever seen. It's like a psychology course and a sociology course all wrapped up in one.

The show is filmed at several airports and mail centers in Australia. Sydney and Melbourne are featured heavily. Agents are tasked with keeping people from bringing naughty things into the country - and Australia's definition of "naughty things" is very broad indeed.  A lot of the people who get stopped do not speak English. However, it matters not because the declaration card they were given is printed in every language imaginable.  "Did you understand the cahd?" the agents often ask.

If you declare your shit - your mangoes, your cigarettes, and such - it's usually fine. I mean, they will take it away fr…