Saturday, November 20, 2004


My Stumps

My parents house, where I am living temporarily, is on the northern side of the scenic highway 68, a long, winding road leading from the fertile Salinas valley to the foggy hillsides of Monterey. It winds itself through mossy oaks and past large golf courses, as well as the famous Laguna Seca Raceway.

Surrounding the neighborhood is a little pathway, or fire road, called "the Greenbelt". There is a space of about ten feet from this Greenbelt to my parents fence, and over the past few weeks Ive gotten quite protective of it. Many houses have created secret gardens and grown bushes, trees and tomatoes in their "little spaces". Ours has been negelected and unused for over 15 years, with nothing except a few weeds and old attempts at growing honeysuckle.

When the county corrections office decided to cut down some lovely eucalyptus and pine trees, I saw an opportunity to start my own "secret garden in the back". I lugged, rolled and hauled these 6 logs to my space, even striking up a bargain with one would-be wood pilferer. I told him at one point "you take all the good ones, just leave me a few...ok?" and he had agreed.

Well after all my hard work, you can imagine my consternation when the next day, not one log, but TWO were missing from my impromptou "fence". One had been rolled far away, and the other was just plain MISSING. This made me angry, in a way that defies description. But Ill try. I mean, what makes people think that they can just TAKE something that doesnt even belong to them anyways? As if it REALLY belongs to me either.

My Dad was happy at the news. All I got was an "I told you that would happen, they are going to take all your logs". In fact, somewhat DID take them. So I then got so angry that I moved into my "center of calm", my space where Im so incredibly rational that I think my brain can cut through ....rock or something.

I asked (calmly). "why can others on the Greenbelt have boundaries with Stumps and yet I cannot?"

This was met with a snicker. "Because, you have to stake it off. People driving by just think its out there for them to take".

Ok, I thought. Ill stake that "f-er" off. So then, I took up my mothers delicate little hand trowell, and dug a nice deep trench all around my "space", setting some brick in the step-way, just in case it wasnt obvious enough that this was indeed a boundary and these were, in fact, my stumps.

Yesterday, none of my stumps had been confiscated. This evenings walk revealed an extra stump had been inserted!


Lifes minor successes must be celebrated.


Dog Fight

Well, as I spend my days and nights figuring out my life, I keep busy by taking my dads Purebred German Shorthair pointers out for their daily "walk". Actually they run, and drag me behind them, but who's going to argue about details?

Turning a deaf ear to my father's dire warnings about having them both "off-leach", I happily pranced around the greenbelt pathways, thinking I was hip, cool, and all that. Until the other day when a young mother, her baby girl, and their sweet old golden retriever passed our way. Then the sweet babies that I snuggle with every night turned into snarling, barking, agressive attack dogs - the kind that remind you of Cujo, and cause nightmares. The Young Mother moved quickly to protect her little girl, but soon realised that it wasnt her daughter who was in danger, but her DOG, that was the center of their anger. She screamed and yelled at the two large dogs, and attempted a few well-aimed karate kicks in their direction. To no avail.

I finally was able to grab both of them by the ruff of their necks, after they gave me a few pathetic-sounding yelps, and had gottem them to calm down and stop attacking the poor defenseless golden. the Young Mother yelled at me, "those dogs are dangerous", and wanted to defend them and tell her that neither he nor her youngster were in any danger...but how would that sound? I could just imagine the 8 o'clock news describing the two pointers slaughtering an old geezer dog, like gang members in south salinas, attacking from both sides with sharp canine teeth, like the youths with their knives and screwdrivers.

Well, thankfully, this hasnt turned up in the incident reports yet, but Im still looking...

Monday, November 01, 2004


Dr Butterfly to the rescue...

or better title: 'The misadventures of Jack the Cat'

Happy day after Halloween.

I had a fright yesterday, and its no joke...I had let my cat, Jack out the evening before and he crept home at some late hour with his eye swollen shut! He wouldnt let me touch it and shyed away. It was filled with gunk and some blood, so you can imagine how panicked I became.

I thought he had gotten into some poison, or into a fight or something, so I just waited until noon, after fighting the crowds at walmart to buy some candy for the trickortreaters, and when I looked at it, the flesh under the top part was all hanging out and swollen...and he still couldnt open it.

Poor guy hadnt even moved all day. (He rarely does any way, but you know what I mean- theres a difference in "not moving".) I tried calling the Animal hospital where I had taken our cancer-stricken German Shorthair pointer, Helmut, to get his stitches out, but they were closed. So I thought, well, I'll have a look at it. I was getting so worried, I started freaking out.

So, I held him down as he tried to squirm out of my grasp, and pryed the blighted eye open; saw that MOST of it was a pink color, but there was a dark brown blob on top, that I thought was part of his eye, or a scab possibly. So I grabbed a pair of tweezers, and poked at it a bit, and it turned out to be a harder substance than scab or flesh. (this is a long, scary story...) I tried scraping what I thought was a scab, and ended up pulling out a half-inch long piece of straw that had lodged up INSIDE his eye socket. Poor kitty!!!! So then I looked closely at his eye after that, expecting things to be ok, but there was SOMETHING else there. I tweezed again, and ANOTHER half inch piece came out.

Sweet Jack started purring instantly after they slid out...He was so relieved. Poor guy. Well, he can open his eye almost normally now, and the flesh has gone back to its normal shape and color.
Thank goodness.

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