"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." Colette

Aug 1, 2022

Life after Buttercup

I miss BC more than I can express without alarming anyone.  BC was with me longer than any of my (4) husbands, and since I've long decided not to have another dog OR husband, the prospect of life without companionship for the next 30-odd years is depressing. I've already vowed to get out more and get involved in outside organizations, like the local Cultural Arts Center.  When I feel better.

Thank goodness I'm working.  My co-Workampers and Management have been very kind.  BC was a popular gal.  As a matter of fact, she's (posthumously) received more cards, gifts and tributes than I have for any birthday, Christmas or Blog Post.

I learned, after I last posted, that BC had cancer in her tummy or intestines, I can't remember what the doctor told me; and that even with $8-10,000 for treatment she might only have lasted another 3-6 months.  It explains a lot.  I cry at the thought of any discomfort she may have experienced which I didn't recognize; but I suppose things worked out the right way.  I think the anguish of making a terribly difficult decision would have REALLY killed me.  Fortunately, it was taken out of my hands.

"You did everything right.  You were a terrific Mom to BC, and there wasn't anything you could have done that you didn't already do."

Well, that did make me feel a little better.  Definitely cut down on the guilt.

I was hoping the grieving process would be easier, having gone through my late husband Tino's untimely death in 1994.  It isn't, not really.  The tearing of my heart still stings.  When I'm feeling terribly sorry for myself, I remind (Amy) of others who are currently suffering from much more egregious circumstances than the loss of a dog through natural causes; who would likely trade places with me in a broken-heartbeat.  That helps a bit, too, but I'm ashamed making the comparisons.

"It's clear you loved her very much, and she definitely knew it.  Please take some time to grieve, as losing a family member is never easy," wrote her Doctor on the OSU Hospital Sympathy card.  Added an Assistant, "We enjoyed meeting her and getting to experience her sweet personality, such a charmer!"  Oh, God, this is almost unbearable.

This resort is always full of dogs, such a wide variety to cuddle should I choose but as yet I can't.  I look at the tiny 'mop' dogs I used to poke fun at, and understand why so many retired people choose them. Not so difficult to carry, and you can easily fit two or three of 'em in an RV.

It seems I've had a high price to pay for my current circumstances, meaning my nice (newer) RV home in a nice, COOL, part of Oregon and managing to survive the inflation rate.  But since arriving April 1st, I've gone through BC's operation ; the demise of a decade-long friendship; Uncle Julian's death; the trip to his funeral - our final Travels with Buttercup. 

In-between dwelling on the past months, I have done some positive things, like pulling out my folding bicycle, I'm so out of practice.  I still haven't left the RV park, since once around 2 of the 3 loops makes my legs shake for 1/2 hour.  I bought a fun Sushi helmet...as one friend said, "If it'll get you on a bike!"

I also began painting again, just a little.  I finished sponge-painting a couple pieces for the bathroom, and am working on a rock shaped like a whale for another Workamper who leaves next month, I promised.  I am extremely grateful to be here and not back around Medford, where the temps last week hovered around 110 degrees; and the McKinney fires rages across the border.  The smoke is affecting the Rogue Valley, where the Nat'l Weather Service  warns of "Abundant Lightning on Dry Vegetation" today and tomorrow, no thanks!

I also put together another photo book, this time of the gourd art I created in Puerto Rico.  Last year I created a 99-page photo book of my 2017 Travels with Buttercup, but I also included favorite photos of BC from the past 13 years.  In the back of my mind I knew it would help my grieving whenever I faced the inevitable, and it has.  I have a number of sweet mementos of our time together, like the little painted gourd, above.

I've given many of her things to other pet-owners and donated unused medication to my local Vet, who always tried to help me pinch pennies by offering such meds.  Pay it forward. (Left: a fun glass mobile, one of the gifts for BC.)

But I haven't yet moved her basket of toys, and her retractible leash still hangs by the door like Tiny Tim's crutch. 

For decades I've known God's keeping me alive until I'm at least 100, just to piss me off.  That's not so implausible nowadays, thanks to Modern Medicine, Good Genes, or in my case, Bad Luck.  I'm beginning to relate to the Old Man in "The Green Mile".  Last night I wondered if there are High-Risk Vacations advertised online, can't hurt to test my theory.

Life goes on.  Put on a brave face.

Jul 10, 2022

Buttercup 'BC" Jansen, 2009-2022

It is with immeasurable sorrow I report the passing this morning of my dear little Buttercup, affectionately known as BC.  We've been paired since I rescued her from a shelter in Klamath Falls in 2010, shortly after moving back to Oregon.  But as often happens, she rescued me, and I don't know how I could have gotten through the past decade without her.

BC was diagnosed with diabetes over a year ago.  It's kept us both on pins and needles, literally and figuratively; but after the initial shock of the bad news and fright over administering shots every day, we've managed.  She hasn't been up to par of late and was seen by our local Vet, plus we spent all day Friday at OSU's Vet Hospital, so it wasn't a total surprise.  Still, it doesn't render the reality less painful.

She was to avoid heights because she was still so doped up, poor thing.  She was afraid to be alone, so I slept on the couch and brought in her bed from the car. Early this morning she wimpered a bit near the door, but couldn't rise. I panicked - do I take her to yet another Emergency Vet, possibly hours away, or let life take it's course?

She eventually got up and went back to her bed. I wound up listening to some Christian Science lectures on YouTube, which helped us both, I think.  I DO know that it came to my mind that I needed to stop forcing my way.  As mortals there's an End Date for us all, my blunt words, certainly not the lecturer's.  BC lay her head down.  I lay down alongside and stroked her until the end. this is heartbreaking to write.  She lifted her head now and again to look at me, and her eyes held mine for a moment. 

"It's all right...Aunt Cathy's waiting for you, and Rollin' Grammy (my Mom, with her walker), and others.  You'll be fine until I come."

Thankfully, the lectures helped me enough so that when the time finally arrived I didn't rend my hair or gouge my eyes.  For many years now I've contemplated life without BC:  unimaginable, yet inevitable.  I do feel grateful to be experiencing this where I live now rather than isolated on some farm.

I contacted Pathways for Pets, local and open 24 hrs.  The kind woman was over within 15 minutes, and we carried BC out on her bed and placed her in the back of the oversize van. She'll be cremated and I'll have her remains in about a week.

I'm hoping by then I'll stop jumping at every sound I hear, alert for BC's needs.  She's at peace and without pain, I know that

 "She's the last companion I'll have," I told my manager this morning, "two- or four-legged.  I can't go through this again."

Alright, I choose not to.  I will continue traveling with BC in my heart (and perhaps a locket around my neck).  In the meantime, Boo-Boo is  pretty good as a good-cry surrogate.  Rest in Peace, BC, my sweet girl. Mama loves you.

Jul 7, 2022

A Question of Brittney

I'm prepared to be blasted, but as a Libran I can't help looking at both sides of an issue. I may be the only person who doesn't understand what's going on with Brittney Griner but perhaps there are others.

I feel terrible that she's in a Gulag, no one would want to be there.  I've listened to the headline news on a variety of TV broadcasts, and heard Brittney's wife pleading her case and keeping the story alive, using advice from other hostage-relatives (she freely stated).  So why aren't we hearing their stories every day?

My question: Why, exactly, is Brittney in a Soviet slammer?  She tried to go through the airport with a couple of vape cartridges?  I know crossing borders with pipe residue can get you busted, or it could at one time, is it like that?  Haven't you people ever watched Midnight Express, a 1978 movie about American Billy Hayes; drugs; and a Turkish prison?  Certainly made in impression on my 20-something self.

But WHY would an intelligent person play Russian Roulette like that?  Or were the cartridges planted?  Did she have a prescription for them? I didn't hear.  I heard it was a small amount of drugs...small according to who?  Pot isn't even legal in all 50 states; isn't this a country-by-country thing?  Wouldn't you look up foreign rules?  You obey the rule of using 3.4 oz bottles on an airplane; why wouldn't you look up a drug policy, I'm just wondering.

Brittney's become a pawn for the Russians, but was she targeted or caught?  Supposedly Russia wants to swap arms dealer Viktor 'Merchant of Death' Bout.  However, if you were looking backwards to this day, after learning that Bout orchestrated an attack which slaughtered someone close to you, who would you choose?  I don't have children and most of my loved ones are already dead so I won't suppose; but how hard would it be to weigh that choice against someone in jail for a couple of vape cartridges?

Biden should have called Brittney's wife sooner, and his response was appropriately vague.  Putting everything out there, as people seem to demand, can sometimes cause more harm than good.  There are other issues involved, so I'll just ask this:  would you go to war with Russia over Brittney (when you wouldn't for Ukraine)?

Finally, I'm curious to compare the situations of hostages still hoping to come home, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, with hostages who actually did something illegal in the country they're visiting, or doesn't that matter?  Back to my original question:  did Brittney do something wrong or didn't she?

Everything has consequences, or I used to think so.  I will blame my view on Mom, who always warned,

"You can't do wrong and expect right to happen."

I wish Brittney luck, as I do all the rest of the unhappy hostages around the world.  And I'm sorry if I've used the wrong pronouns, I'm old and obviously out of touch.

Jul 2, 2022

I Paid $6.99 a Gallon

 ...during last week's trip to my Uncle's funeral service in central California.  That was the price for cash, but I do use Premium in my 2004 model.  Before I headed South I anticipated spending $7 a gallon, that way I wouldn't go into shock, and I was happy I did.

But I didn't know how many gallons it would take to get to Los Banos and back.  I added 1500 miles to my odometer and the gas wound up costing about $400, I may have missed a receipt.  So when I hear reports of gas costing as much as $4.64, I laugh.  If that's what you're paying, you don't know how good you've got it.

What really surprised me was that every gas station, no matter the brand, had the exact same price.  Shell, Chevron, Arco - no matter, Premium was $6.99.  When's the last time you've seen that?

I continue to be amazed at the number of massive RV's keeping our park full.  It's the July 4th weekend, the weather's been cooperating and everyone's hoping for a good time.  I'm hoping to hang in my hammock.

Jun 18, 2022

The Times, they are a-Frustrating

Art by author
That's how I feel whenever I watch or hear the beginning of something and want, "the rest of the story;" only to be re-directed via Facebook, Twitter or some App. That's the end of the information highway for me.  It's mistakenly taken for granted that everyone uses social media, but there's still a minority of us who prefer complete sentences.  'Snail Mail' has become a lost art; even emailing solicits jokes. I want equal rights to learn.

Someone once advised, "If you're going to complain to your boss about something, offer an alternative."  I apply that brilliant advice when writing to manufacturers about their Senior-Proof packaging. I have arthritis and tendonitis, and have, more than once, been reduced to tears while trying to open a jar or bottle of something.  "What about having an elderly employee periodically test the packaging on the assembly line to see whether it's too hard to open," I've offered.  They counter-offer a coupon or two.

So I tried to contact DAWN dish soap. This time it wasn't their packaging, but the health risk of one of their products.  It's their new (to me) DAWN Platinum FOAM.  I had little choice in local stores, because their small, $1.00 bottle of regular blue DAWN dish soap doesn't seem to be stocked anymore.  Our lack of choices can't ALL be because of Ukraine or container ships stacked up offshore.

What the local stores DO have in quantity are the monster refills for $6; and the only in-between was this FOAM stuff for about $3.50 with about the same amount as the $1.00 bottle but without the pre-made suds.  Sure, the refill may be more economical but it takes alot of space, and I'm back to cutting back and watching pennies like everyone else so six bucks for something that's going to last me months is painful.

I wondered how this new frother would improve my washing experience, but it seems like a whole-lotta-nuthin', as Mom would say.  Sure, it comes out pretty fluffy, but to me the suds don't go as far as the Original, and I keep having to push down the lever for more.

Therein lies the problem:  every time I push I feel like a headache is imminent.  I tried to think of what the STRONG odor reminded me of:  oh, I know, sticking my face in a pail of Spic-n-Span.  I wouldn't know what active ingredient causes the scent so I didn't bother looking at it, but I decided I'd write to DAWN and ask them about it.

No can do, at least not without agreeing to let them share all my red-asterisked-information with alien sources.  I closed the screen and decided to air my grievance here.

I began using DAWN Blue while living on Ruff Life, and I'm ashamed to admit I was an ecological hazard the entire 12 years.  My poor old trawler always leaked some oil, with diesel at times.  Right off I was told about DAWN Blue and its ability to clean up the spills. I never tired of watching the magic do its work (while hoping nobody motoring by would notice).

Sprit, Sprit, Sprit, I'd toss it over the side.  Thankfully it worked well with cold water on dishes, since the water heater was kaput and buying a new one wasn't a priority.

So I've used DAWN Blue exclusively ever since.  I'll go back to the regular kind once I find the small bottles; unless it's a ploy to force me to buy the larger size, shame on them if true!

And Happy Father's Day!

Jun 12, 2022

It's Against My Nature

 ...to remain silent in the face of injustice.  However, I am speechless at the January 6th hearings and the Republican politicians who are trying to sweep this debacle under the rug.

They should be swept out of power, and I certainly hope any school shooting survivors old enough to vote will vote OUT the likes of Jim Jordan, Ted Cruz, Kevin McCarthy, Ron de Santis and Greg Abbott; the list grows. Bunch of liars, to our collective faces. How did we ever get to the point of appointing such hate-filled politicians?  Geez, if you're gay, black, an immigrant and/or poor, places to live in peace are becoming fewer and fewer.

Even here at the RV resort, we had to look up a flag which turned out to be The Punisher, proudly flown below Betsy Ross's Old Glory on an enormous flagpole attached to a 5th-wheel from Utah. They weren't asked to take it down because they were leaving shortly; but a note was added to their record in case they want to come back.  If you don't know the significance of the Punisher, here's what we learned last week:

"Marvel’s anti-hero, The Punisher, has been emblemized by the far-right. Flags depicting The Punisher’s logo, an angular, white skull, were deployed on January 6 by members of The Proud Boys, The Oath Keepers, and unaffiliated rioters to signify the failures of law and order."  From Decoding Hate.  

Click to read how the character's co-creator feels about the emblem being misappropriated by inbreds.  Not everyone who waves this is a White Supremecist but the chances are pretty good, so if you meet someone wearing this, confront their bigotry or RUN, preferable the former.

"There's not a whole lot of new news," Don Bacon, R-NE, said about the initial January 6th hearing, and we're hearing similar views by the rest of the GOP.  I thought it was pretty compelling.  God, where's a wastebucket to throw up?  Oh, I used it after watching 5 minutes of the Real Housewives of Slutville.

I was going to go to the movies to see the latest Top Gun but was afraid I'd ask my fellow movie-goers upfront whether they're Trump supporters and/or believe Jan 6th was a garden party (I suspect at least one of them).  This followed watching a snippet of Thursday's hearing.  I may have to work with such people but I sure as hell don't have to spend my free time with them.  A pouring rainstorm not only provided my excuse but dissolved the other's enthusiasm so I dodged a bullet.  It would have been totally inappropriate to ask, and then next to impossible to keep Amy under wraps for hours.

I no longer believe this country can come together, sorry to write.  I'm just glad I don't have children because there's absolutely no reason for me to worry about things that haven't happened yet, like overturning Roe vs Wade and criminalizing trans-genders.

I'm a Senior who will most likely emigrate elsewhere, New Zealand now my first choice (my maternal grandfather's homeland).  I've no doubt that people will declare, "Oh, you can't," for one reason or another, but they don't know my resourcefulness and determination, inherited from ALL my ancestors who emegrated here from elsewhere.
Original gourd art designs Copyright 2021 Andrea Jansen Designs. Please write for permission.



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