Thursday, October 08, 2020

RIP Bart Barticus Farticus

Bart, Mabel Lou's brother from other pawrents, passed away on 10/2/20. We recently learned Bart was 15!!! We found that someone else had him for two years before he lived with the neighbors for 3 and the bestie has had him for 10! 

He could not have lived with the neighbors long before he started running away to my bestie's, letting himself in through the doggie door and spending the day at her feet before he would amble home around dark. Years went by with Bart showing up every day to spend it with the nice neighbor lady before he finally returned home. 


About three years into this, I invited the bestie to dinner. She arrived. She was sad. Bart had been taken to a farm. There was a look of sheer horror on my face. She tried to reassure me. "He can run and roam and play.." More horror. "There are other animals... WHAT?? Why are you making a face?"

Knowing my friend was first generation American and not familiar with the lies people tell their children, I exclaimed, "That's what parents tell their kids when they're getting rid of their dogs!!!"

"'s a lovely farm..."


I ran down the hall to my office and pulled up the website for the local pound... and THERE HE WAS! I screamed! The bestie came running in and saw him on the screen. "NO! What time to they close?"

I looked on the website as she looked at her watch. "Right now! I cried." 

She made a plan to be there when they opened. The question she most laughed at was his name...they encouraged her to change it! "No...his name is BART!"

She was actually concerned that Bart would go "home" at sunset as he had every night for three years. But, it turns out, he was just going home to eat! Once there was food at the bestie's house, there was no need to go to the place where he ate. Bart had chosen his Mom and his home and was just waiting for a good meal! Poor baby!

It wasn't long before I would pick him up most days when Mabel Lou and I hiked. They became siblings. Mabel was much bigger than Bart and would pick on him mercilessly. There were times I wondered why he even got in the car with us...she was just awful to him.  But, when any member of the larger dog pack tried the same, OH NO! Mabel was not having it! Bart was hers and hers alone. She could pick on him, abuse him, take the best sticks and toys but NO ONE else better dare to do that to Bart. And Bart seemed to understand this sisterly love long before I did. 

My favorite funny Bart story was the time there were the big dogs running around that we didn't know. Bart and found a dead rabbit and I'm certain he didn't want Mabel to have it. But he really didn't want those dogs to take it! As I was leaping through the tall grass, trying to leash up Mabel and find Bart, I hear the owner of the two dogs shout, "There's a dead dog over here!" 

Terrified either one of them had gotten hurt, I ran over and found Bart, playing dead! On top of his dead rabbit! 

It's so sad to me as Mabel's pack members die off. It's like I still get to see parts of her when I see them! But Barticus Farticus (stinkiest dog farts efur!!!), you were so loved! I know you and Mabel Lou are running a river in Heaven. 


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pandemic Fail: What Trump Did Wrong

{Updated 10/1} If you are a fan of the guy in the White House and a friend of this blog, you may want to skip this one. I don't mean to offend a friend.

I blame Donald Trump and his incompetence for the Pandemic. A teacher friend shared that when people say that, it devolves in a screaming match and she never really learns why someone blames him. So I thought I would explain why I blame him for chaos we are living under. 

First some background. I worked in the film industry and education among other fields. I can move an army through the desert. I understand logistics and purchasing. I've collaborated with the Army, Navy and Secret Service in my career. My family background includes construction (which I have helped in) and law enforcement. I've lost my job due to COVID, so I have some skin in the game. 

So this is what should have been done by a TRUE leader: 

1) Don't tear apart the Pandemic Team. The history of our Pandemic readiness as a nation dates back to George W. Bush. He was on vacay at the ranch and read a book on the 1918 Pandemic. (A President that novel!) He read that they occur every 100 years or so and was looking at the calendar and came back to Washington and gave orders to start preparing. Obama continued and enhanced. Trump tore it apart. Gotta love a lack of foresight and planning on a leader's part. 

2) Freeze the borders immediately. Donald's excuse: "Well if they are Americans, you have to let them in." So quarantine them on an army base or hotel or outpatient hospital. Hawaii is doing this. Other countries did this. 14 days and a clear test and DONE. 

Los Angeles' own patient zero was from Wuhan who flew into LAX TWICE while ill... the second time, he was too ill to move and had to be hospitalized. Think of the plane-loads of people he infected. This should have never been allowed to happen! 

3) Mask mandate. Fauci / Birx et. al have openly admitted they did not suggest masks because they knew there were not enough and feared medical personnel would have NONE.  This is where LEADERSHIP is crucial! A good, effective leader could prevent panic by saying the following: 

"Listen folks, we believe a mask is crucial to stopping this, but PLEASE do not run out and buy an N95. We are desperately trying to make sure our medical teams have those. A simple fabric mask will do. So I'm going to call on all the fabulous makers and sewers we have here in America. Get that quilting fabric you've been stashing away out and SAVE LIVES! The CDC is posting patterns on their website and the White House website will have it too. Please make masks for all your friends... and honestly we are so short on N95s, make some covers for your nurse and doctor friends too! THIS COUNTRY NEEDS YOU!

And I know it's uncomfortable to wear them but the thing is, you can be spreading the virus without having ANY symptoms! So please do your part and wear a mask! I'll wear mine every time you see me in public. Just know when you see me wearing a mask, I'm doing my part to save the lives of my family and wonderful staff. YOU DO THE SAME and we'll get through this quickly!"

And then you wear a mask everywhere. Be photographed in it. Make it normal! Make it heroic! And never, ever make fun of anyone who choses to be so heroic!

4) Purchasing clearinghouse. The USA had the ability to order supplies: PPE, masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators etc. in bulk at a Federal level. If I were purchasing on this level (for 50+ states and territories), I would have worked on percentages. Ex: If New York had 55% of the cases, NY would have first crack at 55% of whatever we bought on a given day. If CA had 20% of all cases, they could have 20% of available PPE. If someone had enough gowns, they could just stay in inventory. 

Items would be sold to the states at cost.

As it was, states were bidding against one another and would think they had locked in supplies only to be outbid again. There were stories of comptrollers being lead to parking lots by highway patrol to get to the PPE first. California was paying $5.50 for N95 for healthcare workers when the going rate was half that.  Desperation breeds fear and costs money. By having the Federal Government work as a centralized clearinghouse (something our military has vast experience in), it prevents panic and saves money. 

5) Standardized Re-opening plans. If the Federal Government had set a clear standard for what the numbers of cases should look like before you open restaurants / bars / gyms / churches / schools, there would have been far less pushback. They don't have to mandate but come up with a plan. Even the Department of Education HAS NO PLAN. Everything is left up to the states.  What could have been standardized across the country is willy nilly and based on politics, not saving lives. Which leads to spoiled baby Americans saying, "Why to they get to go out to eat when I have to stay home." More discord and pushback. 

6) Let the science do the talking. Trump made every press conference about HIM. A genuine leader with concern for his people would have popped in and said, "Ok, this is what we are looking at today: {Update on numbers}. We have cut a deal to {buy PPE / manufacture vents}. Wear your mask folks and now, I'm going to let the scientists fill you in on the rest. 

Talk about what the government can do (your strength as a leader) and let the smart scientists do the heavy lifting, without regard to your own electability! 

7) Just be honest with us. I know that's a hard thing for dear misleader to do with over 20,000 lies on the books (Why are we o.k. with that?). Americans will tolerate a lot. They will band together and pull off AMAZING things, when under clear, direct leadership. 

8) Pay people to STAY HOME! (Can't believe I left this out!) Other countries did this. In Korea, they basically paid for groceries and utilities and that's it. All rent / mortgage's suspended. Did you skip the key word there: mortgages. I'm a landlord. I rely on my rental income to make MY bills... my mortgages were not suspended (Heaven forbid we hurt the big, bad banks!) but my rental income was. It just makes no sense the way our Government has tackled this! How's the whopping $1200 you got way back in April holding out??? 

How different would things be if we had someone kind and compassionate in the White House? 

I can only imagine... but I do know this for sure. We would all be out having a cocktail or lovely dinner after getting off of work if these things had been done. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

TV Dog

 I've mentioned Maizy True loves to watch TV. It's a most annoying habit as she barks at any dog that is not her or her friends. (My TV defaults to my Amazon Photos when there is no input.) This makes me think she has a sense of self and what she looks like. 

She knows commercial music that will have a dog in the piece and comes trotting in to bark at the tv. It makes it impossible to have the tv on when I'm working from home.

She really enjoys watching the pibble show "Pittbulls and Parolees" but she will bark so incessantly, I can't enjoy the show! Unless, I slip down onto her bed and wrap myself around her and quietly explain the show to her. "Those people are going to be Ollie's forever home!!!!" "Tia's gonna make sure he can ride on a boat cause the potential pawrents fish all the time!" 

If I do this, she simply watches the show! What a weirdo!

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Maizy True

This is the re-homing photo of Maizy. I chose another dog. I couldn't imagine loving such a "scruffy" dog! I wrote paragraphs about my lifestyle, feeding habits, trips to the beach and dog park and the owner of that dog simply replied, "No."   No explanation; just no. And I kept returning to Maizy. I wrote her pawrents on March 6 and heard nothing. I kept thinking I didn't deserve a dog. They called on March 8th. I was running laps with my boys at school and my aide answered my phone. Spying the mean principal on the yard, he ducked into a bush and told the caller all about me and just how lucky their dog would be with me! When the coast was clear, he came running, holding out my phone. "It's the DOG!!"

She wanted me to come that night. I had a root canal at 3:30! As the dentist was drilling and drilling, all I could think about was that puppy! The dentist took so long! It was after 6. I was still a 75 minute drive. They said come! We met at a church; their church. Maizy leapt out of the car and into my arms!  She was hyper / crazy / insane. I was thinking it was lack of exercise but the people at the church knew her. "Do you want her?" "YES!" 

I followed them home and fed her supper. They showed me how she was trained to potty behind the bushes. I put her in the car and she jumped out and took off down the street. The neighbors all knew her and helped me catch her.  She was nervous...but she didn't seem scared. 

She got on the bed but she didn't sleep the first night. The next day, we hit the park and breakfast at Mabel's favorite spot. She jumped on the sofa next to me and looked around and smiled.  She hasn't stopped smiling. 

She reminds me of the Mabel Lou so much! Only she lets me rub her belly and she does not argue! But so smart and so fast! She's had an argument with one of the skunks that come in the yard 3 times... and never been sprayed! Mind you, that skunk has attempted to spray ME for simply walking nearby!

We've had several vet visits, including the first one above. Maizy had DEEP ears and gets infections. I can tell when it's coming on and can often avoid a vet trip with a good cleaning. But she is TERRIFIED of the vet's office. Not the vet though. 

Maizy has a wicked good sense of humor and loves game play. She is honestly the happiest dog I've ever known! 

She's a hunter! I found evidence of her playing with her prey on my bedroom floor, my bed and in the yard! She's brought me a mouse she killed in the yard! And she's gotten a few critters at the creek....but she leaves the ground squirrels alone. We really need to discuss that.

She is also the only dog I've ever had that pays attention to the tv! She barks at any and every dog on television and many other animals! It's exhausting. The other day I really wanted to watch The One and Only Ivan and to my surprise, she simply watched it. NO barking! 

She loves the creek. She explores but doesn't disappear on me. She did take off after three coyotes when I got her. I dashed into the creek right after her and she managed to get back across the creek without me seeing her. I found myself knee-deep in the river, slipping on mossy rocks with her looking at me like I'm nuts! She's has not run off since. 

This is her "I'm so patient waiting furEVER for momma to get ready" pose. 

Like all my dogs, she LOVES coffee!  She's not always patient when waiting for the dregs of my cup. 

When we are hiking in the wilds, she is most often found walking right next to me. Not in front; never behind. It's annoying when the trail is narrow. But I do love that she stays so close. As with Macy Blue, "Find a good mom!" will bring her right to me! 

She was a little terrified of the river until her pals showed her what to do. Now, she just adores the water. I really love how this just runs through the generations of our hiking pack. I still remember when we met baby Aria, the rott. Mabel Lou just looked after her and showed her how to dip in the water. Aria taught Macy and Maizy. And Maizy was trying to teach Aria's little sister Roux the other day! 

She's SUPER  fast. During the Pandemic, we do a long walk each morning. Some days we go to a little park near the house and I let her off leash on the tiny patch of green grass. She runs zoomies while I stretch. 

Maizy True loves the ocean. This was her second visit. She was a little put off by the creek that "moves at you!" But she adored it before the trip was over. 


She has lots of her friends but this girl is her absolute bestie. Bella is half Chihuahua and half German shepherd! They will play NON-stop if we don't give them a time out! Maizy actually sprained her tail from wagging it too much when Bella came over! Poor Bella has gone home limping from their antics!  They make each other SO happy, so we try to get them together a few times a week. 

She is so joyful, I feel so very blessed to have her! 

Maizy True Stats
DoB: 12/26/2018
Gotcha Day: 3/08/2019
DNA: 64% Golden Retriever / 12% Husky / 12% Poodle / 12% Berger Blanc Suisse
Best trick: holding her paws "just so" to put on her sports bra
Best unwanted trick: Closing the middle console in the jeep so she can work her way into the front seat.
Edibles: Anything mom is eating... except fruit and medicine "treats"
Toys: Loves anything she can tear up! 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Hello Old Friend

 Well, I guess the nothing of a Pandemic has made me miss writing!  Gosh so much has changed since I last posted...and so much is the same. 

I'm a dang school teacher, fully credentialed as of this year! Something I never wanted to be but... hey, there's health insurance and a pension. I love the kids but I've been so disillusioned about how little of teaching is about the kids! It's a business that rarely accounts of the kids involved. 

I had been teaching a behavior based program... which I loved but...I had a principal that was a "box-checker." Behavior programs do not check boxes... we are soooo outside the box! I spent an entire year teaching with my back to a student. We had a whole checklist of what that student had to do to earn my attention. If attention was paid for the wrong things...we were off and running toward a very bad day! I loved working that for the crazy boss. I had to leave the district to get away from her. 

Loved the next job (High school algebra! Ha! I haven't used algebra in 37 years and why the state of California makes us torture special needs kids with it...UGH!) ...until Covid sent all teacher specialists back to the classroom, bumping newbies like me. 

So, I'm jobless and awaiting a re-entry interview at my old district. I'm honestly so exhausted from the last four years, I really don't mind the lack of work. 

My goodness... I started working on a credential in July 2016 not understanding that I would be a classroom teacher by late August! (Thought I could do that and just sub.) 10 days into my new job, Mom's house flooded with 38" of water. Spent the year flying back and forth dealing with FEMA and contractors all while trying to get Mom to leave the house so the work could be done. (She won that argument!)  So much craziness at work...constant meetings about my students, data tracking and reports to be written. I took NO time off, working every holiday. Worked all summer on salary points. 

Mom in the boat when the Cajun Navy finally got her to leave her flooded house after 3 days! 
Mom's house after we tore out the walls and tossed the furniture.

Fall of 2017 brought crazy fires. One side of the mountains would catch on fire and I would pack a car with clothes, dog food, hard drives and vital papers and drop it off on the opposite mountain. Weeks later, the other mountain was on fire! Lather, rinse repeat. The morning the Creek Fire took off, even though it was close to me, the smoke was at my school. Of course, my school was the only one that didn't close! By midday, I was getting texts that I need to get home and get Macy Blue. It was a harrowing drive home with fires breaking out and taking multiple back roads to get into our valley. The next morning, my school still open, I took surface streets as the freeway was jammed. I noticed police blocking the way back toward home. I stopped and asked what was up... I could leave but I could not come home! NO WAY was I leaving Macy Blue in that fire ridden valley when I couldn't get home to her! 

Creek Fire as seen from space. 

Our pal, Osa, days before Creek Fire

(Front to back) Osa, Riley, Aria, Macy Blue - same spot as above - after Creek Fire

And  after the fires, you know it, came the flood! I got home on January 9th to 10" of mud surrounding my house and in my pool! 

It took months of shoveling to get all the mud out! 

Backyard and pool

Spring was spent trying to dig out and repair the pool. It was ready for summer, thank goodness. Especially during COVID, the pool has been my sanity. I swim about 90 -120 minutes a day! 

All better! 

June  brought coyote drama. Macy Blue and I were hiking the dark side. We had just emerged from the swimming spot when I heard Macy growl...totally out of the norm. Ten feet away, she was on her hind legs in an embrace with a small coyote. He must have noticed her limp and took her for an easy target. She was NOT! Plus, her momma is part rottweiler... I screamed so loud, I terrified them both! The coyote took off and Macy ran to me. I thought she was fine but took her in anyway... it was a severe bite! My poor baby! 

Fall was more craziness, dealing with Mom's dementia. January, I was part of the one of the largest teacher strikes in history. It poured rain the whole time we were on strike. In the end, I feel special education lost out...our numbers actually INCREASED. 

And then came February. Macy Blue had been on a weird eating streak for months. I kept wondering if she had pica! She ate most of a letter. She ate beads... glass ones. She passed those. But in early February, she ate most of two different dish towels.  And here's where I was stupid: When I lived in my previous house, I was friends with a hair dresser and her rottweiler. He loved to get his lips on any towel she had used to do hair! Seriously, this dog would eat and entire towel. When he would pass it, she would don gloves and pull! DON'T DO THIS! Rags can get impacted. 

Macy had a helluva week...overnight at the hospital, radio active beads confirmed nothing was moving. Day at her vets. I would have to pick her up when the overnight place closed at 7 am, drive her home so I could get to work by 7:40. I would leave her in my dog car and the bestie would drive  her to the vet at 8:15. Back and forth for days...finally, my vet operated, found the rags and I was SO hopeful (and broke! $4K+). I took her for what I hoped would be her last overnight, begging her to live. Just after midnight on Valentine's Day, she crashed. I knew she could take no more. Her limp exhausted her and her heart was too much! I told them to leave her in peace. 

The last photo of Macy Blue.

And that brings me to the ray of sunshine at the top of this blog. Maizy... The first time I kept the M name a dog arrived here with. It just fit her and it was so weird. I really wanted to name Macy Maizy...but there were a number of bloggers with that name. So Macy it was... and Blue because she was so sad. Maizy's family wanted to name her Macy because the mom loved to shop there but she made them change it.  And I kept thinking of the dream I had of Mabel...where she left me a pot of gold. 

Maizy was rehomed. She was such a high energy pup, I wondered what the hell I was going to do with her. But big hikes have tamed her! She often hikes right by my side. She is the happiest, smartest little thing ever! She reminds me of Mabel... capable of understanding conversations and reasoning... but without the arguments and disagreements! I'm over the moon with her!  Middle name: True (short for Truelove - but that would embarrass her so please don't mention it!)

Day nine - Maizy True giving me a run for my money!

My job at the high school was really demanding... I had a huge case load (26!) and saw 80 students throughout the day. But Maizy was kinda thrilled with lockdown. Long walks twice a day and Mom always at home. 

Not sure what's next... but I have a great pup by my side!