I am planning to post on a regular basis this year (though I’ve been posting pretty regularly every 4-6 months; let me amend this to: I plan to post on a regular, more frequent basis this year). While there still may be a lack of rhyme/reason to post themes, there will be several areas about which I’ll want to write, get your opinions, or ask for your advice:
Education. The political side, or the classroom side. I teach Elementary age children of poverty, and have for my entire 32-year career. I am currently serving as the Music Teacher and Gifted Ed teacher at my school.
Philosophy/Politics. I am a left-leaning, born-too-late-to-be-a-real-hippie liberal, so my posts will reflect that.
I’m going to share more about some chronic health issues that have hit me like a sledgehammer over the last few years-Diabetes (the newest) and Asthma being the two that have hit me hardest. I will share how I’m dealing, and probably ask for a lot of advice (with the DISCLAIMER!I am not a doctor, and I know that you are not, so anything we share with each other will NOT be construed for, or be intended to replace, advice from actual medical professionals). Neither one of this conditions is actually under control, so you may hear a tinge of frustration as I write about them.
Cats. Of course.
And my kid. Of course.
So the 2016 Journey begins. Hope you’ll hang with me and maybe we’ll have some great discussions and learn some good stuff on the way.
(this post dedicated to Rosina McVicker, Phyllis Ayoob, Karin Monday, Wendy Geller, Susan Clary, and the people of Our Companions Animal Sanctuary, and Siglinda at The Goathouse Refuge)
I’m starting my “Malevolence-Free Monday” with a thank-you note to the angels-on-earth who devote their hearts, homes, and wallets to Animal Rescue. In the attached video, there’s a line from Annette King-Tucker’s poem (credit below): “I know of no creature unworthy of my time.” That’s the Rescuer, in a nutshell. If every heart on our planet felt this way-and I don’t mean saying it, or posting a cute meme about it, but living it and exemplifying it with action? There would be no war, no hate, no bigotry, no superiority-dances being done by the jib-jab-looking talking heads on televison. Yes, the pundits would be out of business but you know, people not dying because of their skin color, orientation/identification, or beliefs, so okay. But I digress.
I am honored to know some rescue people. They are as diverse a group (as far as political views, socio-eco status, religious views or lack thereof, etc.) as you’ll ever find. They love and respect each other. They don’t waste their time with hard-hearted thoughts about each other because of their philosophical or political leanings. Why? Because at the core of their open and loving hearts lies the truth from Ms. King-Tucker’s poem: “I know of no creature unworthy of my time.” That’s not just a belief to a Rescuer-it has become a part of their DNA. These are, on so many levels, the most evolved humans on earth. I know this to be true. I also know that they are some of the most un-sung heroes; fortunately for us and for millions of animals, they don’t do any of it for glory or thanks. But they deserve some human gratitude. Which, I’ll grant you, is nothing compared to the grateful smile of a Pit Bull who was once used as a bait dog and is now looking at you from his side of the couch, waiting for you to throw the ball again-but hopefully, Rescue people, you’ll read this and share it with other like-hearted heroes. I want you to know how much I appreciate you:
I take care of a few feral kittens who live in my neighborhood. They are healthy and happy, with the exception of one baby I’ve named Phoenix.
Phoenix is a sweet and loving feral who needs a lot of medical attention. I am virtually fundless but cannot watch this girl suffer when she still has so much spirit and life in her. She has fleas, ear mites, roundworm, and a nasty skin infection, and that’s just what I can see.
I set up a “Chip In” page to raise funds to help her live the happy life she deserves. Once she’s well, I’ll work on finding her a home. She’s full of spunk, purrs, and talks up a storm. Somebody will be very lucky to have this little girl as a best friend!
Believe me, I understand broke. If you can’t donate a buck or two, you can still help- say a prayer for little “Pheenie.”
4/28: Phoenix update-There were enough donations to the ChipIn page that I was able to get enough help for Phoenix that she now looks like this:
6/22/13: Phoenix is healthy and beautiful, but quick and smart-I haven’t yet been able to catch her and get her spayed. She did have a small litter of two kittens (only two,thank goodness) on my front porch, and took very good care of them. I am determined to get her spayed and vaccinated this summer. Wish me luck!
11/29/15: Phoenix is neutered, vaccinated, happy, and healthy! We did this for about 15 neighborhood strays, and of that group, there are 5 left, and two new kitties have been visiting for breakfast, so I imagine we’ll take care of them too so that they won’t procreate.
“Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.”
Shelters are filled to overflowing with sad and frightened animals. The suffering they experience in the bleakness of their cages, their grief at being separated from their humans, their babies, or their mothers, their confusion and fear just before their ‘euthanization–‘ all of those energies are released into the universe, enlarging the dark cloud that hovers over not just humanity but all beings. The pain we feel (or avoid by changing the channel and burying our heads) when that dog-gone (yes, intended) Sarah Mclachlan commercial comes on and makes us cry-that is an organic, authentic, primordial cosmic hint: we can do better for our planet-mates. We must do better.
I have come, through the magic of Facebook, to know a peaceful warrior by the name of DJ Chandler. I would only mangle her bio if I tried, but if you’re curious, no doubt you can find her online. I was inspired to share her with you because she is personally responsible for the diminishment of the toxic cloud of confusion due to her tireless efforts to find forever homes for shelter animals on Death Row. She organizes people to pull the animals from high-kill shelters, shows us how to contribute to their veterinary expenses, finds foster homes, and arranges animal transport from shelter to vet to foster to new home. She has also rescued and fostered countless dogs, cats, and horses herself.
Their physical injuries are mended. Their fears are (sometimes very slowly and painstakingly) allayed. Their sadness is loved away. The cloud dissipates just a little more as each cat starts to purr again, as each dog puts his head on his new human’s knee for the first time and looks up with trepidation and-wavering-trust.
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”
This cat. The one and only Fluffy, so named by my 6 year-old sister and my 8 year-old self, was one in a million. Just a baby when we got her; she was snowy white, skinny, and, yes, fluffy all over. She was alternately Tigger-bouncy and Pooh-snuggly. I use the Winnie-the-Pooh analogy very deliberately because for the next 16 years, I was her (Christopher) Robin and she was my Pooh. She was my Peace.
She slept on my chest at night from the start. Even when she reached her adult weight of 16 pounds, every night she purred me to sleep. I’ve yet to find a better sleep aid than breathing to the rhythm of that cat’s contented purr.
She learned to fetch a little foil ball. Her Scooby-Doo skids when she hit the wood floor –they were as comical when I was 18 as when I was 8.
She internalized our school schedule-from 3rd grade through college. My mom said that about 30 minutes before my sister and I were due home, she’d leave her window perch in the sun and start lurking at the front door. We were always greeted, not with the aloof “what’s your name again?” attitude that the uninitiated project onto cats, but to an almost puppy-like joy, with more purrs, meows, and an unapologetic “where the HELL have you been?” (yes, I speak Cat).
If I was getting yelled at, there appeared my snow-white protector, slinking around my ankles and wailing in protest. A lot of arguments would end in giggles because you just had to laugh at her bravado.
She listened to thousands of hours of my guitar-playing and singing. I was Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Karla Bonoff, and Bonnie Raitt-she was my audience of thousands.
Call me stubborn, but I refuse to quit! T.R.U.E. G.R.I.T. is the foundation to success in learning and life! Exploring the dynamics of a successful classroom and how grit is a vital characteristic for student achievement