✝️ Heh. My Amazon review of the Book of Mormon Alexa skill is live

🧼 I’m currently wearing a face mask before I hop in the shower. Listening to I’m Breathless and wondering how we all just accepted that “Vogue” was on that album and that’s the way it was and that’s the way it was going to be and just deal with it. Should’ve been an EP or something.

Actually it fits more in place on The Immaculate Collection because I always want to hear “Justify My Love” right after it. #StrikeAPoseButNotOnThisAlbum

😔 The Book of Mormon came up as a recommended skill to enable. Like, the actual Book of Mormon. There exists an Alexa skill for it. Because why not, right? It was kinda fun writing a five-star review that used almost every song title from the musical including “Orlando (reprise).” The only one I didn’t fit in was “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” which is a bummer. I should’ve tried harder, I know.

It’s mom and dad’s anniversary today.

This song just spoke to a place in me that really needed to hear it. I’ve got to get my life together.

“Wise Up” by Aimee Mann song.link/us/i/1544…

🦈 Sharks and batteries? Really?! Folks, we’re gonna need a bigger battery powered boat that doesn’t sink from its own weight while we get electrocuted and jump the shark to attend hate rallies, I guess.

#BabyShark #Unfit #TrumpCult #MAGAcult #WordSalad #JawsTheMovie #sharks #batteries #SinkingShip

Plants can be so alien looking. This is the tip of a vine Michael has growing on our brick house. 👽🌸📸

Lucky shot, but it’s one of my new favorites. I’ll post to Pixelfed, which I should probably visit more than once a year. But micro.blog really is my go to for pretty much all the posts, except sassy political posts I put on LinkedIn.

Anyway, here’s a bee on a Lauren’s Grape Poppy 🐝📸🌸

30 FAVORITE PHOTOS OF LUCY THE BEAGLE 📸🐶

These are most of the photos of Lucy in my collection that, for one reason or another, I had marked as being favorites.

14 years is a significant amount of time to have a best beagle friend. Saying goodbye after 14 years of hellos - it’s a loss I never anticipated would be so excruciating and heartbreaking and deeply painful.

I know I keep saying this, but I truly found a place in myself that I didn’t know was there when she left this plane. I expressed so much raw, pure grief in 10 minutes than I think I have yet in my life. And I could tell that it was physically coming from a place in my body and essence that was so deep, and cutting so close to my core. A profound lament. A moment of shared, sad humanity.

There’s another Over the Rhine song that just came to mind. “Nobody No. 1” from their double album, Ohio.

And though we love to numb the pain We come to find that it’s in vain Pain is our mother She makes us recognize each other

c’mon now, child, don’t cry…

I miss my girl.

I miss Lucy.

OUR LUCY IS GONE

Our Lucy is gone.

After a severe weekend we said goodbye to her yesterday morning at around 7:30. She’d had either a stroke or a tumor on the brain. It all happened pretty quickly. She stopped eating on Saturday. I hand fed her some baby food that she sort of seemed to like. It might’ve kept her sugar up a little, but it wasn’t enough to sustain her. Her tail had stopped wagging. She couldn’t stop pacing around and running into the walls and corners and things. She was losing control of her bladder. Her legs trembled. By pre-dawn yesterday morning I knew it was time.

Michael was with her when they administered the drug. I couldn’t stay in the room. I owed it to her, but I just couldn’t.

I waited and cried from my soul in the car outside. It was crying that came from the deepest part of me. A place I don’t even think I’ve ever accessed before. Deeper than my heart. Deeper than my core. It was like a piece of my true essence shattered and crumbled.

There was a painting of some poppies hanging on the wall of the grieving room. Before I left her with Michael, I told her she’d be able to rest among the poppies in Michael’s garden without any more pain.

We drove home and I listened to a song that, for some reason, became the soundtrack for this devastating experience for me. It’s called Sleep Baby Jane. It’s by Over the Rhine. There’s a moment in the song where the singer wails what could be a cry of sorrow or of despair or of desperation and bargain. There’s confusion in it, too, and a longing for comfort to alleviate someone or something’s suffering. Underneath the counter vocal sings repeatedly, “My baby. My baby. My baby.” The last line of the song is “Let me call you an angel.”

When we got home without her, I took this photo, and others like it, of some of Michael’s garden poppies. I took photos and I waited to go inside where our beautiful cats would be saying hello and asking for treats. Inside where the most joyous, happy, sweet dog would run to greet me any time I’d return from anywhere, showering me with unconditional love and affection for just being me.

She made bad days better. She was a very good, good dog.

She was my special girl.

My baby.

My angel.

We plan to wait until Lucy’s vet visit on Wednesday to talk options.

But I know she can only decline. There’s no sudden bounce-back with a tumor on the brain. It’s been awful this weekend, especially her refusing to eat.

If it can only get worse from here, if improvement is off the table and prolonging and delaying are all that’s left, then there are two fast approaching outcomes and one involves slightly less suffering for her.

And I know I owe her that.

But it’s agony. Pure Hell.

I cuddled her on the bed today. Hand-fed her baby food. I know she’s not all in there.

I hate this. 💔

Maggie cat, who was rubbing the corner of my iPhone and also apparently the keyboard, sent that last status update. Please welcome Maggie the Cat as the newest (excuse me, MEWest) co-author of this micro.blog.

We x

Lucy isn’t eating her breakfast this morning. This is always worrying because she’s so food motivated. I’m trying to let her rest. She woke me around 4a and it was obvious she’d been up for a while judging from what I had to clean up.

I don’t want to say goodbye.

I don’t know how to say goodbye.

I want to curl up in a ball and hold her close and tell her it’ll be ok. That she’ll be ok.

But it’s not going to be ok. She’s not going to get better.

I don’t mean to put my grieving on full display. Or maybe I do.

I don’t know what I mean to do.

I am hurting and so is she. I hate it.

Yesterday was the most insufferable day I’ve ever had with Lucy. It was miserable. And heartbreaking.

At one point I had this song on repeat, Sleep Baby Jane, from the Over the Rhine album Eve and cried while I sat at the dining table and it played in its loop.

My baby. My baby. My baby.

THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT DYING. IT TURNED OUT TO BE ABOUT NOT LIVING.

There’s a Bonnie Raitt song I love called “Nick of Time” from her 1989 album of the same name. (My cool Aunt Cathie turned me on to that album. I must’ve been about 11 or 12. Her early influence on my musical tastes persists.) There are several simple observations and lessons in that song. This is my favorite:

Life gets mighty precious

When there’s less of it to waste.

I’m not sure that more of a truism exists in any other song. I think about it when I think about living life and dying death. And lately I’ve been thinking about both.

On living life: I’m not doing a very good job of it, to be honest. At first glance, you might think otherwise. You’d see my marriage, family (including our pets of course), a job, a home, access to healthcare, an advanced education, music, and lots of stuff and things, and you’d think, “He must be really living life.”

I’m thankful for every element I’ve listed there. Beyond thankful. But I’m not really living life.

I often blame the pandemic as the start of a slow and steady disengagement and disconnection from people, places, and things. If the pandemic wasn’t the catalyst, it was certainly part of the burn.

I don’t ruminate on it so much any more, but that shit fucked me up. Seeing the revolting and unkind face of humanity unmasked (literally and figuratively) surprised me. It stunned me, shocked and scared me. Are we, as a species, really this selfish and uncaring? Are we really this ignorant? This undereducated and gullible? Why are the the worst of us so loudly and proudly on display, making our dumbest conspiracy theory videos on YouTube? Why are people watching them? And for fuck’s sake, what in the hell is the goddamn president of the United States doing driving around in a limousine waving at people while he’s kicking on death’s door? And why the hell didn’t someone push him through that door?

And later, when Republicans and billionaires couldn’t pretend like they cared any longer and started calling people back to their workplaces prematurely, is this really happening? What if I catch this and give it to my husband who is still recovering from a double lung transplant? What am I supposed to do with the Trump supporting red hat employee I supervise who boasts about refusing to wear a mask anywhere he goes and who caught COVID at least twice (and milked it for every day off with pay it was worth)? Am I supposed to tolerate that? I am? And what do you mean we need to turn our flagship training program upside down - the one that we’ve already planned from start to finish as a solid, virtual learning experience? Why are we making it in person now when this thing is still going around? And there’s nothing I can do about it? Ok. So wait, one of the participants who attended that first week told us afterwards she’d just tested positive for COVID. We put these people together in an enclosed space for a week breathing the same air “just because”? And you’re fine with that just because it was your preference? What on god’s green earth are you trying to prove to people? What is this obsession with a return to what people thought was normal? And why does the email I send about our COVID positive participant with panic in the subject line and “I told you so” subtext in the body get me in trouble? Why does that deserve a counseling/verbal reprimand session from my cunt boss? Why does she get to tell me, “You need to just get over it and accept it,” and to, “Take a walk next time or something.” We just potentially exposed 25 people to a deadly disease on a whim, you dumb cunt. And I’m just supposed to take a walk and breathe? Instead I sit there and let angry tears burn my cheeks while she dismisses every completely legitimate concern I have with a flick of her fat wrist and her Minnie Mouse voice and her I’m A Lawyer And You’re Not clip clop shoes?

During the height of the pandemic, the worst of us were so ubiquitous that I’m sure I completely lost my faith in humanity, and any hope I had for the future. I had no idea how important those two things are to living life until they were gone.

The pandemic started to ease, thanks to the amazing scientists and discoveries they made. And once or twice during it and the end tail of it, I tried to maintain a couple friendships and relationships. But then I just kind of stopped reaching out. And people for the most part stopped reaching out to me after I’d declined invitations so many times.

I found out about my neurodivergence around this time, and learned about what masking is and does, and realized that I’ve been masking for most of my life, and admitted and accepted that it’s hard for me to be social. That it takes work to put on and portray a positive attitude all the time, and to do it without the social lubricant of booze takes even more work. And I’m tired of all that work. And so now I’ve started avoiding it at every turn. Because planning to hang out with a group or a couple or even a trusted, dear friend feels like standing on the edge of a cliff and looking down. The closer the event gets on the calendar (if we made it to scheduling because I usually crap out right before the scheduling part unless the other person takes control and says when and where to meet), the closer to the edge of the cliff I get. I worry that I’ll feel trapped. I worry that I’ll get anxious. I’ll worry about the energy I’ll expend being positive. I talk myself out of it and stay home way more often than is healthy for me. It’s so much harder for me to push through these days.

So I’ve isolated myself a great deal. And that’s not living life.

I’m sure I’ll write more later, but this is enough for now.

WAITING ON A WORD

We’re at home now, Michael and I. We’ve been sitting out front in the tranquil garden green space Michael makes, shutting out the noise from the church people across the street with songs by Aretha Franklin playing on my iPhone. It’s cool outside, unseasonably and almost chilly. Michael has on his Keith Haring sweatshirt. I’m still in a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals. I like the cool outside times. We sat on one of the two benches Michael has in the garden, one black and the other white. I like them both as they are, but he’s going to paint them. Our bench, the white one, sits under the Golden Chain tree. It’s right about where we plan to bury Bonsai’s ashes one day.

We’ve been waiting on a word from the animal hospital where we took Lucy. I had been in the office room when I heard Michael say he thought we should take her. I know when Michael says something is wrong, then something is really wrong. I shut down my work and computer as fast as I could. I had to email a document to some people, and of course sent it to the wrong people. I tried to unsend, knowing it’d be too late, and then re-sent it. I chatted my boss that I had to go right away.

Lucy was having what appeared to be a seizure of some kind. Her body was jerking. It had happened a couple times before, and we both thought that it had something to do with her sight leaving her - she’d jerk her head back like she wasn’t sure something was coming towards her or not. Those episodes were relatively short. Apparently they were building up, because this time it wasn’t stopping.

I asked Michael to drive so that I could hold Lucy. And I did. And she was in the same state for most of the half hour drive to the hospital. I comforted her the best that I could, and told her I loved her, and what a good girl she is. There was a very awful moment when she reared her head back and howled for about a minute. The vet later called it “vocalizing” but it was so much worse sounding than that while she was in my arms.

We hit a little rush hour traffic, I kept holding on to Lucy, and we made it to the hospital. Michael helped us get out of the car. He noticed she had lost control of her bowels in the car. I was certain she’d had a heart attack. Then when I put her on the ground so I could grab my bag, she started acting like nothing had happened. She was calm (much calmer than I) and didn’t seem to be in any kind of pain at all.

I took her inside, crying, and they took Lucy back to the emergency department. I don’t remember too much except for the one doctor telling me at one point that when we were called back to see her, that I should do my best to put out positive energy. That Lucy would be able to sense how I was feeling and it was important to be as hopeful as possible.

I sat and sobbed next to Michael. We waited. They took us back to a room to wait some more. We waited. We looked at our phones. I calmed down. We saw the news about the jury’s decision in the hush money case.

The doctor came in and shared a lot of information with us that essentially boils down to two things: we probably have some more time left with Lucy and further treatment will likely focus on making her comfortable during that time.

They are doing some bloodwork to rule out some things and find out if there are any infections she might have that can be treated. They’re also keeping an eye on her blood sugar as it was too low. That could have been a cause for what we thought was a seizure, but the doctor told us that what she was seeing with Lucy was very much more consistent with either a stroke or a tumor on the brain. She told us a few of the things that she had noticed, behaviors we wouldn’t have seen at home without knowing what to look for - her head tilting a little to the left, her walking being off center consistent with vertigo symptoms, and a few other behaviors that are, again, consistent with either a stroke or a brain tumor. She said the only way to know for sure would be to order a $5,000 MRI where they’d do a spinal tap while she would be under anesthesia. Treatment options then would depend on the result of the MRI, and how aggressively we wanted to treat - up to and including radiation therapy and more.

I won’t put my 14 year old dog through radiation therapy, and I can’t afford a $5,000 MRI, so that just isn’t an option for us. So, based on her recommendation, we’re doing the blood panel and will likely put her on a steroid which will help with swelling if there’s a tumor. We may need to adjust her insulin. There’s a chance the steroid could mess with her diabetes which would not be good.

They brought Lucy in to see us. I held her. I told her I loved her and that she’s a good girl. That she’s always been my very special girl. And she has been. And she still is.

We left her in their capable, unjustly expensive hands, and left. We went through a drive through and got milkshakes. We cried and talked. We got home and fed the cats and went outside to sit on the bench and cry and talk some more. We called my mom and dad to tell them what was going on. There wasn’t much they could say. There wasn’t much to say. So we said we’d keep them informed and sent our love. Michael and I came inside, and here we are, waiting on a word to know when we can come back and pick up our girl to help keep her comfortable and safe as we spend the time we have left with her together.

I don’t really know what I’m feeling other than pure grief and the emotions it brings with it.

I took some pictures in the garden before we sat on the white bench. These are the ones I like.

🐶 At the animal hospital with Lucy, by the way. Trying not to think of worst possible outcomes.

👨‍⚖️ Guilty x 34 = you are the weakest link goodbye

We need a law that states the periodic table of elements and the theory of evolution must be on display in every CHURCH.

Absolutely 💯💯💯

https://substack.com/@walterrhein/note/c-57578196?r=bx50p&utm_medium=ios&utm_source=notes-share-action

Stalin’s “Great Terror,” for example, involved the execution of an estimated 750,000 people who were seen as political dissidents. The training calls these systematic killings “the original cancel culture.”

DeSantis and his state department of education indoctrination can go jump off an anti-woke bridge any time.

open.substack.com/pub/popul…

🤕 I. Feel. Awful. If you all of a sudden think you feel a sore throat coming on and no other symptoms, take it seriously. By day three you’ll be a sweaty, achy, itchy, stuffy, runny, exhausted mess.

Happy 14th birthday to Lucy beagle! She’s driving me nuts right now with all her pacing back and forth, but I’m fighting off a cold and easily aggravated. Sore throat, runny stuffy nose, hot then cold then hot then sweat sweat sweat. Tired. So tired. Haven’t felt this gross in a while.

💸📚💻 Libraries reckon with high e-book costs (axios.com)

It costs the library $75 to get a single digital license of Harlan Coben’s latest novel, “Think Twice.” The e-book can be checked out by one patron at a time and the license expires after two years.

A physical copy costs just $16 and can remain permanently in the collection.

Big publishers are price-fixing consumer-gouging monoliths who should be brought to their knees in class action lawsuits. IMHO

I got a macro clip on lens for my iPhone camera. I’m not sure it’s better than the regular lens or not. What do you think?