Social Media: The Disconnection of Human Communication

This blog ties in with my previous blog about incivility. It doesn’t rehash the incident in any way, but the topic does refer to the results of incivility, namely the effects incivility has had on changing the way civil people communicate on social media. Firstly, civil people are no longer actually communicating their true thoughts and feelings on topics meaningful to them without fear of retribution. Secondly, many civil people are no longer even trying to communicate anything beyond fluff on thoughts of strong beliefs, issues or opinions in order to avoid “offending” anyone else. Thirdly, there are some people who use their basic anonymity to blast people with whom they disagree, and they do it in a manner they most likely would never use in face to face situations because face to face they wouldn’t have the courage to be so vitriolic. In face to face communication, anonymity disappears. Finally, these platforms have algorithms which actively search for material which may be offensive according to their community standards, even in a private conversation. All of these things together actively work to suppress real and meaningful communication rather than facilitate the free exchange of feelings and ideas. I do not pose these points lightly.

Firstly, as I stated above, people are now posting pablum disguised as philosophical bits of wisdom or whimsy rather than posting what they really think or feel about a topic because of concerns of retribution. On a couple of popular platforms (owned by the same company), it is a growing practice to join someone’s private page to look for things that might be offensive. Once something is found, the seeker anonymously reports the post to which they object. The platform then penalizes the poster of the item in such a manner as is often disruptive and intrusive censorship of the person being targeted by the individual who requested to be allowed to see the content of the account holder in the first place. Often, the individual protesting “offensive” content reports post after post without the owner of the account being able to remove that single account access in order to protect their account from the ongoing terrorism. Quite often the reports are made over a period of time as the complaintant searches for older and older posts or pictures to report. The account holder has no recourse except to remove every single person who has account access or to close their account completely, which is the primary goal of the anonymous Content Terrorist. I use the term terrorist because it is the goal of such an individual to inflict such intimidation as to cause anxiety, if not out right fear, for the owner of the account.

Secondly, memes and Gifs have become the primary communication of many. For instance, coming across the stream I see on my Facebook home page are mostly memes and Gifs of cute and cuddly animals which are primarily meant to elicit positive responses by the very cuteness of the animals or the sweetness of the actions of the animals, or the intent is to elicit emotions of sadness or outrage at the plight of the animals at the cruel hands of other human beings or lack of protection of the animals by our legislative bodies. In other words, words are superfluous. What is desired is the emoticons (emojis- static little faces) provided for us by Facebook, the likes, hearts, wows, tearful faces and outrage. Facebook quantifies the importance and relevance of our posts by the responses they elicit, even if nothing is actually said. As a result, we users of Facebook are then conditioned to do so as well. The first thing we look for is the number of emoji reactions we get. Next we look for explanations of the responses that weren’t desired as we go down the comment list of *stickers giving us all of the appropriate emotional responses for which we were looking. (*A sticker is a few steps above an emoji, which is static. Stickers can be static or have motion. Both types express more energy in a huge range of more personalized messages taking into account personal tastes and cultural influences.) Sometimes people find themselves needing to have the desired responses to their posts in order to have daily affirmation that they are appreciated by someone, that they are someone based on the opinions of people they have never met. Personally, none of my posts has ever received a sticker comment that wasn’t in line with the response for which I was looking, and yes, I have fallen into the trap of disappointment over a lack of reactions and comments to my posts, both fluff and those with intended substance.

Thirdly, some responses to my posts have been quite visceral, and sometimes, I believe, composed of words the other person would never have said to my face. They never would have said them directly to my face because they would have been confronted with me as a real person, and that could get really, really messy emotionally. They would be seeing me as a physical being and not just a name on a screen. They would be confronted with the results of their hateful words. There would be an actual human being with whom they think they’ve made a connection with numerous times, but now all of their assumptions about how alike we think having seemingly been shattered. However, in the framework of the insulated social media network, on some level people are not viewed as a real human beings. Indeed, no one is! People have been reduced to being nothing more than an avatar with possibly a made up name on the screen. There’s been no actual personal connection despite years of reacting to one another’s posts. The key word here is reacting. A reaction is created by a superficial stimulus. There has been little or no deeper communication or meeting of two personalities which have been busily reacting to one another’s posts. Be very clear. The reality is that a ‘like’ is not a connection. The following instance is one such example. I was questioning, politics aside, how could the Democrats have been working on President Trump’s impeachment for 2.5 years (A public statement made by Congresswoman Pelosi.) when the offenses for which he was being impeached occurred thirty months after his election? I stated I recalled the promise to impeach him being made before he was ever sworn into office. (It was.) A man (he gave up his right to be called a gentleman) replied, “Trumptards should be sterilized. HE IS A CROOK and should be in jail.” I would have overlooked this aggression, however, he deleted himself from my Friend List and blocked me. That indicates he meant this as a personal attack, and he had no intention of having any discussion with me to clarify my concerns over that statement. For the sake of peace and politeness, I tend to ignore political posts with which I disagree. If I do comment, it is never in a manner of attack against the person making the post. That’s rude, and it’s just not worth the aggravation when I, in most other ways (We all have bad days.), get along well with the people on my Friend List. Why anger or hurt someone simply because you can? But social media has made it beyond easy for people to do just that every day. Forget the poison pen of yesteryear. We now have the corrosive cursor.

Of the points I brought up in the beginning, the thing I find most concerning is the intrusion into private conversation over subjects as intimate as two sisters discussing breast cancer surgery.  Pictures of the surgery site shared between them was deleted, followed by them both being warned for violating “Community Standards” because of the nature of the privately shared pictures. These were highly private pictures of something as devastating as the aftermath of a mastectomy, and their right to have this intimate conversation was violated in such a cruel way. This is such a short paragraph, but for me it is a very loaded one. How far into your intimate conversations are they willing to plunge and punish you for when there is some private conversation which truly can prove damaging to our public domain regarding our safety? I do acknowledge this can become a long, slippery slope when having to choose how far these platforms should be allowed to go and what they should allowed to read. I think there are words which should be red flag words, but there needs to be some level of common sense about what they should be, too.

Finally, one more concern I have is that this kind of intrusion seems to have led to open coercion of platform users on the part of the platform providers. For instance, does it ever seem to you that the social media platforms themselves are acting like everyone’s conscience or electronic parents? Because people aren’t behaving, and they really have no incentive to do so, now the platforms have introduced something called Community Standards. Nice and vague, huh? On the surface, it sounds like a good thing. Behave and your account won’t get warned, content removed, suspended for ever increasing lengths of time or flat out shut down. Unfortunately, the algorithms don’t seem to find the really bad offenders in an even handed manner. Quite often, it seems that really nasty people can say what they want, to whomever they want, because they’ve figured out how to play the algorithms. Say this word, but not that word. Don’t actually call a name, insinuate what is meant. Imply to the heart’s content. It’s not your fault what the other person infers. Unless someone gets their feelings really hurt, and they report your post. Then, a real person reviews it, and most times the reporting individual is told the post didn’t rise to the level of an actual violation of Community Standards. Thus, the bully gets to keep on being a bully. Then there are those who have figured out how to use the reporting of posts, and pictures uploaded by platform users to their photo albums, as a weapon of harassment. It’s possible because the Community Standards are based on what the current opinion of the people writing the Community Standards decide what they don’t like and what they want their users to abide by. It’s based on the popular opinion of the media, and what they want their users to like and feel, as well. Make no mistake. The social media platforms are designed to be influencers of what their users think and feel regarding everything from what they buy to who they vote for in national elections. The algorithms find what they are specifically designed to find, and the people reviewing protested penalties apply their personal subjective opinions. They are seldom objective. How can they be when they were hired under a specific set of guidelines for their specific personal opinions?

These are all increasingly common events which further cause the disconnect of meaningful relationships between the users of the platforms which bill themselves as facilitators of communication amongst the users of these platforms. They’re not doing a very good job, are they? I wish I had some easy suggestions for solving these issues, but I don’t. Maybe now isn’t a good time for me to mention the rise of body dysphoria and severe anxiety amongst young people who are the primary users of these social media platforms…

Cat Food Donations If You Like My Content

Sadly, cats are often dumped near where I live in the woods. I help care for the ferals and the dumped cats, but I cannot afford a 501C to qualify for a tax exempt status. That paperwork is expensive! If you like my content, please consider a donation to help keep the kitties in food and spaying/neutering.


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When Milo Left Us

When Milo Decided to Stay, it was a funny and emotional event, and he did make it an event! The first few words are the title of the blog I wrote about that, so if you want to read that first, go right ahead. I promise. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll wait right here while you go read that. Have you read it? Good! Now I have to write about something much, much sadder.

It’s time to talk about When Milo left us.

Milo was a good Little Man. He answered to just about anything you called him, even if it wasn’t in English, as long as you called him in a kind voice. Sometimes it was as if he knew what he was being called just by his impish behavior. For instance, he really was quite a character, and he liked to pull pranks when no one was looking. Usually his pranks were on the other dogs like nipping back legs or snatching toys while their attention was diverted. I had told a Norwegian guy I was talking to about him, and he said he sounded like a real ‘liten skit’, or ‘little shit’. I told my dad, who Milo cuddled with on a daily basis, and thus, he had a new moniker, Liten Skit! Whenever he’d get caught pulling one of his mischievous stunts to nab a toy or a treat, dad would call out, “Hey! Liten Skit!” Milo would duck his head, peer around his shoulder and just barely wiggle his long skinny tail. One laugh, and he’d rocket across the room to leap into dad’s lap. After it was established that that was indeed another name for him, he’d even coming running from another room, zooming to whoever had called him. Sometimes he’d turn his head to look at you over his shoulder with a tiny doggy grin acknowledging that he’d been caught, and he was not sorry in the least! Yes, indeed. My Little Man was a real Liten Skit at times, a real charmer, too.

When Milo decided to stay, it truly melted our hearts. He was quite obviously stopping to think about it, the unpacking of his bag of toys. His actions were so very deliberate, we all stopped to watch him. It was such a precious and moving moment. We all felt special because he had thought about it and CHOSEN us. That is a feeling I would wish on everyone, even my worst enemy. Unfortunately, no one had a camera to take a picture. Something we lament to this day.

Over the years, he’d occasionally take a walk about, but he never went very far. It was a little concern, but living out in the woods as we do, our greatest concern was predators. He was 15 pounds (6.8 kilos) at his most heavy. As chihuahuas go, he was a big boy. He wasn’t fat. It was simply his breed. It actually took us a couple of years to determine his breed as being deer head chihuahua. From the side, his head looked very much like a deer’s head and indeed, that distinctive feature is the reason for the name of the breed. They are tough, hardy little dogs, and Milo’s early life was a testament to just how tough they can be.

Milo was a rescue. I, myself, am on disability. It’s not really a turn I had pictured for my life, so after winding up back with my parents, I was feeling very vulnerable, at loose ends, and needy to have a warm little body to hold in my arms. I’d lost my previous little dog to a tragedy the year before. I already had a new dog, but she was a big girl. I love all dogs, but my neediness required a little body to nurture. As it happened, my black lab, Lady Tippy Baskerville, had an appointment at the local low cost clinic. I told the proprietor I was looking for a chihuahua. She immediately brightened up and told me there might be one available IF I didn’t mind a larger breed. He was about 10 pounds (4.5 kilos), but he was still a puppy with more growing to do. However, he probably wouldn’t grow much more, not just because of his breed, but because of the circumstances from which he’d been rescued.

After Tippy’s appointment, Linda proceeded to tell me she felt this little dog and I belonged together. The woman with whom he was currently living had just come in, less than an hour prior to my arrival, to place a notice about him with the clinic. She and her son lived in an apartment, and Milo was into everything when he wasn’t kenneled. However, when he was kenneled, he barked non-stop from the time they left the apartment until they got home. The neighbors were complaining. Things had come to a head, and Milo needed a new home. It wasn’t a decision they had come to lightly. They were broken hearted. You see, Milo’s time with them had started when he was about 8 weeks old, and at this point he was 8 months old. He’d come a long, long way, but his beginnings never left him.

The day after Tippy’s appointment, my mother and I found ourselves sitting in a nicely appointed living room set up to accommodate both a fair sized kennel and a wheelchair. I remember thinking, “I’m going to be taking away the dog of a boy in a wheelchair.” I knew we were there at their invitation. They were interviewing us for that very purpose, but I still felt somewhat like a heel. For the interview, Mom had brought a picture album to show them our home and our yard. While they were looking at it, Milo’s beginnings unfolded in a litany of horrors, and he became entrenched in our hearts. This woman had been part of a rescue operation which had raided and shut down an illegal puppy mill. Having chosen to adopt one tiny, little sad sack for herself, she took him home. She quickly realized he was in much worse shape that had at first appeared. He not only had mange, mites and intestinal parasites, he was malnourished, and examination showed he had already been physically abused. All of this by the time he was 8 weeks old! I can’t imagine this kind of treatment for a large breed puppy but a tiny chihuahua puppy? Well, obviously we passed the interview and Milo left with us. He was a stinker, and he was a joy for the next, almost, nine years.

As I said, Milo’s rough start stayed with him. He suffered on and off with skin issues, especially in his latter years. Aches and pains would crop up. He had a habit of letting out a loud squall when picked up, but it wasn’t consistent, and he was just fine immediately after. He once had a nasty injury we think came from a dog attack while out on one of his sneaky walk-abouts, and his x-rays showed a crooked place in his spine the vet said had to have happened very early in his life. Now we knew what was hurting him, but there was nothing to do but what we had already been doing, pick him up carefully. He was also susceptible to ear and skin issues. As he was getting older, we noticed he was also beginning to get stiff and a bit tottery with arthritis. His cheerful disposition was starting to get a tad grumpy. My ‘Little Man’ was becoming my ‘Little Old Man’. In the end, it was something we never saw coming which took him away from us. We had to let him go less than two weeks from the first signs of the cancer.

Sunday, November 4, 2018 started much as any day with all of our furbabies. No one was out of sorts, least of all Milo. He was his usually chipper self, but later in the afternoon, I noticed a couple of lumps behind his hind legs that hadn’t been there the day before. By Monday, the lumps had spread to his lower belly. I called the vet. The soonest I could get him in was Wednesday the 7th. By the time of his appointment, the lumps had spread to behind his front legs, and all of the prior existing lumps had gotten much larger. They had obviously begun to bother him. The vet was the same doctor who had sewn him up when he’d had his attack injuries a couple of years before. I knew he was a kind and gentle man. This time it was us, his family, who was going to need that kindness. After a bit of light probing, the look on his face said it all. The lumps were all through Milo’s little body, and the doctor wasn’t happy. In a matter of less than three days, the cancer had taken over. The official diagnosis was terminal myeloma.

The doctor told us about all the new treatments that had come out in recent years, and he also told us the expenses involved. His concern was that Milo would be put through treatments that, in the end, would cause him more suffering with little chance of survival than would be in his best interests. He admitted that if we wanted to proceed, he would take our money and provide the treatments, but he felt we deserved to know we should take our baby home and make plans to let him go.

I told him of another dog I knew of who also had cancer in his lymph-nodes who had been put on the steroid prednisone, and the medication had done wonders for him. That little guy was perky and had exceeded his life expectancy by several months already. The vet conceded that sometimes prednisone could slow, even reverse, some of the deprivations of certain cancers, and he was willing to give it a try. However, he really didn’t think that would be the case this time, and they would be there if we needed them.

Tablets in hand, we took our Little Man home and began the treatment exactly as prescribed. We waited. We hoped. We watched as Milo quickly began to grow weaker and have difficulty moving. We waited a little longer. We hoped, and we prayed. All was in vain. I held him in my arms, and as I cried, he tried to help me feel better by licking the tears from my face. As much as he was suffering, he looked at me with his great big, liquid, brown eyes full of love and concern trying to figure out how to make me feel better. On Wednesday, November 14th, I called the vet to make an appointment at the Rainbow Chapel. It was now a matter of less than two days. Milo would be leaving us on Friday, November 16, 2018.

Friday dawned bright and sunny. Clear blue skies were everywhere. It damned well just wasn’t fair! My baby, Milo, was dying that morning, and the world didn’t have the decency to be a crappy, rainy day. We got there early, not that we were in a hurry, and we caught them on a break. Everything at the chapel is done by appointment as the chapel also has its own crematorium. Although the chapel is located at our local Humane Society, the shelter is a ‘no kill’ facility, so they go out of their way to make the chapel as pretty and peaceful as any such place can be. The walls are pale blue with while fluffy clouds. Three of the four walls are fields of flowers beneath the painted on skies. The fourth wall is a large stained glass window featuring fields and hills, cats and dogs, birds and other sweet creatures. No matter how calming the room was supposed to be, waiting was taking its toll on our nerves. How? How could they make us wait!? I was soon to get the answer, and I was so ashamed.

When the receptionist arrived, she was so very apologetic. They’d had a problem with their van which put them behind schedule on pickups. Pickups? She explained that the chapel also services the local veterinary clinics and hospitals by collecting their lost babies to also be cremated respectfully. Even those lost babies who the shelter can’t save with emergency care are cremated for respectful burial. I began to feel better about the wait. I realized we were in the hands of caring people, not people too busy to be concerned for the feelings of those who came to them when there was no more hope and nowhere else to go.

I wish I could remember the name of the man who set Milo free of his pain. He was very apologetic about the wait, about the circumstances of our meeting, and about what he was going to do. It quickly became obvious it wasn’t just a job for him. He truly did care. He gave us a few last minutes to say goodbye. He took a few moments to meet Milo, and then he very gently, with love and care, gave Milo the injection. My baby was so weak, he was gone before the injection was finished.

Through it all, Milo remained a source of sweetness, laughter and love. That little dog really did have an awesome sense of humor, and he tried everyday to make the people around him laugh. He didn’t understand what was happening, but he trusted us to take care of him, to do what was best for him, and yes, I truly do wish I could remember the name of the man who put his arms around me and my mother and cried with us. That was a special man who freed Milo from the pain that had become his life. Milo came into this world in the pain of neglect and abuse by someone who should have cherished him, but he was freed from his world of pain and sickness by a stranger’s hands filled with love.


It was a cold December 31 night in 2017, and I had bundled him up on my bed to spend the night with me. He had come to me to keep him safe from the loud noises outside.

I feel it important to note that Max came along just a few months before Milo crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but Milo had let max know who was Boss Dog. I never will forget the sight of that little fella hanging off the side of Max’s face, growling and shaking, with his feet several inches off the floor. He taught that pup to respect his elders!


My mom and I were at a neighbor’s property taking the boys for a romp and a swim. Well, at least Max romped and swam. Milo enjoyed a nap in the sun in a chair to himself.

Milo liked getting out and walking for a bit. His days of sneaky walk-abouts were in the past, but he did enjoy just walking to the neighbors for a rest in a chair before tottering back home.


As you can see, he very much enjoyed his cushions. He never gave them up to Max unless there was a warm lap and a hand for belly scratching to be had.


The picture above was when we got the bad news. Below was where he had started laying in the afternoons to warm his old bones and aching joints.


Below is the table in the Rainbow Chapel at the Humane Society in my hometown. The gentleman there was very sweet. He spent a little time with Milo, and then he hugged us and cried with us. Real tears. I had not expected such loving care for all of us.


Milo passed peacefully a few minutes after this picture was taken.

Coffee Donations If you like My Content

If you like my stuff, help me out by keeping me in coffee. It'd sure be appreciated! (In Memory of my 'Little Man' Milo.)


Posted in Animals, Bittersweet, Commentary, guilt, Heart break, letting go, Loss, Love, Pets, Rainbow Chapel, Remembering, Sharing, Stuff, Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

So Full of Hate, They Can’t See Straight (The Loss of Civility in Discourse)

Not only am I a user of Facebook, I am also an administrator for a group dedicated to what is generally regarded as the peaceful season of the renewal of life known as Yule. Community and family are celebrated as the days begin to grow longer, if not quite yet warmer. Once again, the long season of cold and darkness is passing, as the signs of Spring and the coming abundance of resources are being seen everywhere. That being said, there always have to be flies in the proverbial ointment.

As an administrator for the group, I help fashion rules designed to protect not only the individual members of the group from each other but the group’s overall atmosphere of community and general reputation as being free from drama and ill behavior towards the greater Facebook community and vice versa. Social media being what it is, everyone has an opinion, and they have the right to express that opinion. However, as it is in our Constitution, the rights of the individual end when those rights bump up against and infringe upon the rights of other individuals. Sometimes distinctions are a little fuzzy about when member opinions may be detrimental to the overall health of the group, but other times the line is an obvious and insurmountable wall. One such insurmountable wall is the expression of hate.

In the world of a Facebook group meant to hold values of peace, goodwill, the celebration of life and providing education to folks of like mind, or those who are simply curious and want to learn in order to enrich their own lives, hated of others who look or think differently is just not healthy for the group, not for its individuals nor for the group as a whole. Sometimes the hatred is obvious (as in the overt images/words put forth by White Supremacists). Other times, it is more insidious. It’s the hate inside of the mind of someone looking for something to hate, looking for an opportunity to attack something because they are so intolerant of the opinions of others. It doesn’t even matter if the opinion expressed is actually for their benefit. They don’t take the time to think about what is being expressed. They hear/see a few words, make a misinterpretation based on their own wildly biased assumptions, instantly attack, and they attack viciously. They are so blinded by their own biased hatred, they cannot hold even the shortest amount of reasoned discourse without resorting to vulgarity. They wield their words as if swinging a verbal frying pan with the intent of battering the other person into a mush puddle on the ground.

Being a group administrator in this current atmosphere of intolerant intolerance can be quite stressful and very much like walking a tightrope. Every group needs new members, but you cannot be indiscriminant of who you welcome when your belief system, as the consensus of the group follows it, is the polar opposite of others who claim to follow the same belief system. Names overlap. Terms overlap. It appears you are of one belief system under one umbrella, but you are not. Not even close. Bear with me as this becomes very important, as you will soon see.

In an effort to maintain group cohesion and a welcoming atmosphere, you may choose to screen who you let into your group. One of the most common methods is to ask people questions about their interest in joining your group. If your group requires the answering of questions to apply for admittance, you examine those answers carefully. No matter how well stated the answers, you take a look at the applicant’s profile to see if anything jumps out at you as a red flag. If they haven’t answered the questions at all, you take a look at the applicant’s profile to see if there may be a language barrier. If their entire profile is in another language, all you can do is message them to please answer the group questions and hope they figure it out. (You also have doubts, as a caring admin, about how a non-English speaker will fair in an English speaking group.) Sometimes people merely think they are the exception to the requirement, and it is necessary to gently inform they are not. Then there are the times you check a profile only to discover it is the bane of not only your personal belief system, but it also goes against the core values of your group. It is the profile of a White Supremacist. The place where names and terms overlap. The belief system which makes the uninformed think that you, also, are a White Supremacist.

Now is when the real fun (read that as stress) of being a tightrope walking admin begins. Remember when I mentioned this age of intolerant intolerance? Well, here is where it pops up to take a bite of well padded buttocks. I have been an administrator of this particular group for a few years now. I have denied people based on the fact that they were strictly spam merchants or even because they were sex profiles, but this was my first, full on, White Supremacist. I do not capitalize the term to lend it dignity or respect of any kind. I do so because of the gravity I feel for the situation. At first, said looked so innocent.

“Innocent?”, I hear you ask. Yes. It looked innocent. I saw a picture of two lovely little girls, but then I noticed behind them a typical, self serving, white pride slogan of only three words with the number 14. If you don’t know, the number 14 refers to the 14 words of the white survival manifesto about preserving the white race for the future of white children. For the sake of the group, I had to deny this person entry. If I had allowed him in, and he had begun stating his views, it would have been pandemonium. I knew that in the ensuing chaos, more than one member would have been lost, quite possibly banned for life. I wasn’t having it. Not. At. All. With a heavy heart that it had now become necessary to protect the group from further attempts by White Supremacists to gain entry into our group under the mistaken impression we are like minded in philosophy, I wrote a new rule designed to prevent conflict within the group. I wrote it. I announced it. Little did I know what was coming my way. Remember that verbal frying pan I mentioned earlier? (There is a White Supremacist manifesto referring to 14/88. If you wish to know more about this hate filled hot mess, you can Google it. I give it no respect.)

This was the post I made in the group which started the debacle of miscommunication and incivility:


This is the angry misunderstanding which came back at me, and the political poke at Person A disguised as defense of me (Notice my weak attempt at humor helped not one bit):


The very first rule in our group is about being polite and that there be no name calling. Person B is pointing out to Person A her misunderstanding of what I said while also goading her by placing her in what he obviously considers to be a derogatory category. He’s not actually calling her a name which is a nice sidestep of Rule #1. Unfortunately, under the guise of defending what I said, he’s actually trying to goad her, which he did quite successfully. I have tried to diffuse the situation with politeness and humor, but Person A is completely unwilling to reassess what I wrote in order to reach a reasonable understanding of what I actually meant. Trying to speak to her privately is where I was first nailed by the verbal frying pan.

The truly uncivil verbal assault went thus (and thankfully in private communication):

Private 1

Private 2.jpg


Private 3.jpg

Private 4.jpg


(*1 If you want to know what “orlog” means, Wikipedia has a fairly good explanation. Personally, I think she misused the term.) (*2 “GTFO” is an acronym I feel is easily understood. I do not feel the need to spell it out.)

At this point, I was going to quite happily remove her from the group and ban her permanently. However upon my return to the group, I found that the conversation had, more quickly than I could have conceived, continued it’s decent into uncivil hell. I have marked over names to protect privacy in this very public forum. My sincere apologies for the somewhat incoherent organization of the comments of the posts, but this is exactly as it appeared in the discussion. The other participants were responding faster than I can type. By this time, behavior control was completely gone on the parts of both Persons A and B. Neither was willing to acknowledge their own unreasonableness nor even entertain the possibility they might could have handled the situation or worded statements in any way better than they did. Both A and B preferred to take extreme umbrage at being brought to task by an Administrator of the group whose job it is to ensure the adhering to of the rules of the group. There are only 8 of them, and they are clearly written. (The use of the screenshots is the only way I could conceive of to convey just how quickly the discussion became so utterly ludicrous.)






Putting Foot Down


In the end, both individuals did remove themselves from the group. Had either person put forth any effort to control their tempers and allow the misunderstanding to be resolved civilly and rationally, I actually would have been quite happy to keep them both in the group forum. I did actually reach out to Person B in hopes of possibly retaining him in the group once we had a discussion about where his behavior crossed the line as much as A’s behavior had, but he was unwilling to even acknowledge my attempt to communicate.

There is NOTHING about this group that is political. There is NO PLACE for politics in this group. There is NO REASON for members of this group to become so out of control of their behavior towards one another. There was more than one verbal frying pan in this free-for-all of anger, and quite frankly, I am still reeling even days later.

I have come to the conclusion there was nothing I could do about Person A. As far as I can tell, she was one of those who people looks for hate and things to be angry about, and she is probably finding those things everywhere, even if it doesn’t exist.

As for Person B, he appears to have anger issues regarding those people he deems to be exhibiting what he sees as “SJW” (Social Justice Warrior) behavioral intolerance. He did to her what he had just accused her of doing to me. Not only does this kind of finger pointing escalate bad behavior, but it makes the job of the people in charge of keeping the peace more difficult. All parties see themselves as either wounded or, as in this case, justified in continuing the bad behavior. Neither sees the other, or anyone with a differing view point, as being worthy of civility.

It this very perception of anyone as being unworthy of civility that is breaking down any attempts at profitable discourse in far too many aspects of our current society. It has somehow become okay to attack anyone and everyone who speaks in opposition of not only your beliefs or ideas but of your own bad behavior. Further, it makes no difference how much respect they are being accorded. Even being politely rebuked is cause enough for far too many people to feel incivility to be justified. Either way, there’s really no good reason for the horrible results of the hostile interaction.

I believe it comes down to a choice of personal behavior. If you choose to be uncivil towards others, you will receive the disrespect you deserve. If you choose to remain civil, far more people than you realize will take notice and keep you in higher regard than those being rude.

In summation, especially in the written format, the currency of the high regard of others has much higher investment returns than being unreasonable and unwilling to just talk to one another nicely.

Let’s keep the verbal frying pans to ourselves, shall we?


Coffee Donations If you like My Content

Sometimes it takes a lot of coffee to loosen up enough to toss what's rolling around in the dark corners of my mind into the light. Any coffee donations would be appreciated. (In memory of my 'Big Girl' Daisy.)


Posted in Commentary, Heathen, Incivility, Intolerance, Rant, Thoughts | 12 Comments

A Night’s Contemplation of Circumstances

Update: See blog below previously published verses.

The hour is late. Or is it early? I suppose it depends upon your perspective, whether you approach the hour from night’s fall or the sun’s rise.

Beyond the windows, the night waits in amorphous blackness barely held at bay by the one, and only, light installed for security against the terrible unknowns which roam outside the tightly locked house. The little home sits in the woods, not too far from the civilization of the city. It’s ever present nightly glare of too many lights providing for the so-called safety of a society needing to believe in numbers and kilowatts for it’s survival. The lights truthfully do nothing but produce a ghastly, sickly glow beyond a line of black trees which no longer buffer the occupants of the little house from the sounds of the urban/suburban decay they had thought to escape.

They had fled the choking gases of one illusion, only to find that time and progress had turned their little refuge into another illusion, which would soon be swallowed up by the monstrosity of humanity’s ever growing sprawl.

The above verses were written late one night as I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t because of noise pollution. It made me angry, and it still makes me absolutely sick at heart.

My parents first moved out here to the woods in 1997. The darkness out here was total, the sky was clear of clouds. On a clear night, it could actually be quite bright because of the stars and the moon, especially a full moon. It made the night both brightly magical and frighteningly dark, mysterious in good and bad ways. We could see stars with our own eyes every night, and the night sounds were a challenge to identify. Whoever thinks that night time in the country is quiet is very wrong.

The cacophony of sounds ranges from the calls of the frogs trying to induce potential mates to come find them to crickets serenading the night with their own songs of hopeful love. Then there’s the darker side of the night sounds. The poor creatures crying out their last as they become a meal for another denizen of the woods. Sometimes you hear the victor, such as an owl, telling it’s mate to get ready, as the family, fuzzy babies and all, will be eating well that night. Occasionally the nightly music will vary with the addition of coyotes yipping at the stars as they trip merrily on their way, or there’ll be, rarely to be sure but still can be heard, the screaming of a big cat as it passes through, reminding all in hearing that they live in its territory not the other way round.

Now the city has expanded as cities do. More “city people” have moved out here to the woods, and with them, they have brought their desires to have every comfort they had in town. They are demanding curbside garbage pick-up when they live only 2-3 miles, or less, from the dump. They also want to strip all native vegetation from their property, so they can have lawns. Since they have to depend on the irregularity of natural rainfall for their yards and imported plants to survive, that means they are demanding city water. They’re getting it, too.

I am not going to begrudge them the luxury of city water, but not everyone can get it…yet. When the rest of the people, those not living on the main road, are finally able to get it, they will have to pay for the entirety of the pipeline to be installed. That means, if you live a 1/2 mile from the main road, you pay for the entire 1/2 mile of pipeline to be run to your home, even if you have neighbor’s living between you and the mainline. They won’t pay until they decide to get water, too, if ever.

In the meantime, those who moved from town to live a rural lifestyle the vegetaion buffer between them and the world. Acres are being cleared, legally or not, and the sound of road traffic is getting louder and louder. It’s especially bad at night when the whining tires of the 18-wheelers sing louder than the frogs and insects. It has become a 24/7 background noise that wasn’t there just a few years ago. The sounds of the sirens we had once thought to escape have also returned. It’s all ambient noise pollution which competes with the sweet songs of our native birds. If those people truly believe that they need all of the luxuries of city life, why did they not simply stay in the city? Why work so hard to destroy the way of life others have chosen merely for their misguided idea of progress for their selfish comforts? In the programmed minds of these people, they truly believe if you do not have the city luxuries, you are deprived. What’s more, they believe if you do not want the city luxuries, you are backward. They often view to such “primitive” living people as squatters, even if they are living lawfully on land they own.

Speaking of the county dump, as referred to earlier, it too has expanded. The garbage keeps piling higher and higher. With the latest expansion, which resulted in the down-to-bare-dirt clearing of native trees and vegetation from many acres, more of the insulating sound barrier has been lost. It is no longer possible to sit outside and peacefully absorb the natural atmosphere. In addition to the whining of tires and the muted roar of engines from the interstate, there is now the constant beeping and roar of engines from the big machines at the dump. The mountains of trash have simply grown higher than the remaining trees. The sound carries over them. Once upon a time, the occasional beep from the trash moving machines could be heard when carried on the wind. Now the sound of the wind cannot even compete with the mechanical beasts of foul burden.

The final pollution to darken lives of those who chose to move away from the city is light. Yes, light. How many people bemoan the loss of the stars? The stars have not gone anywhere. The problem is too much light in the cities masking the light of the stars. The light is there at night for several reasons. The first and foremost is the help protect city dwellers from crime. The more people packed into a confined area the more crime from stressful human interaction results. The nighttime is the best for the human predators of human prey, so the most expedient solution is to install more lights. As the predators become more desperate and emboldened by the growing tensions of the ever crowded masses huddled in the little remaining pools of darkness, even more lights are installed. More children grow up seeing pictures of a natural night sky rather than seeing it for themselves. They grow up under a mindset that reinforces in their minds that the natural night sky is nothing important in the scheme of healthy dreaming for better lives. The words “Reach for the Stars” becomes nothing more than a pop culture slogan How can it be anything else to generations who have never actually seen the stars?

When my parents first moved out here in 1997, the sky all around was perfectly black. If natural conditions were just so with clouds in the sky, maybe lights from a local event could be seen criss crossing the skies. That is no longer the case. All too often there are two glows on opposite horizons. There is one to our east and one to our west. The lights from two cities are beginning to encroach on our starry nights, with our home in between. There is nothing we can do about it should that event occur.

Eventually, our little home in the woods will be surrounded by city. If we are still living on this property, the only woods will be on our little bit of land. Then again the government may decide the best interest of the city would be to use the policy of eminent domain to take away our home because we won’t sell it to them for the building of yet more low income housing to smash together even more people who will barely be able to tolerate the proximity of too many other humans. Science has proven, like rats, humans simply cannot live packed together, elbow to elbow, without violence resulting from the stress, the fear, the need for evermore, ever brighter lighting for their false sense of security. Thus, even more generations will grow up thinking a starscape is something that exists only in the background of a computer game or on an IMAX movie screen.

Society needs the dark in order to dream, just as much as it needs the light for molding those dreams into reality. The children need to be able to see the stars with their own eyes, if they are ever truly going to reach for them.

Coffee Donations If you like My Content

If you like any of what I have to say, feel free to help me stay supplied with coffee! I prefer to brew my own. I never buy pre-brewed designer coffee with insane names. I don't like the lines of cranky people (I tend to be one of them), and the stuff is usually bitter beyond mere abuse of the taste buds.


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 Chiere…I’m sorry

When I made a Facebook ad for my blog, Chiere had made a comment about wanting to hear more stories about my feral pig Daisy. I am sad to say there is only one more story to tell about Daisy. That story is my story of losing her.

I hope you forgive me, but it’s been 2 years, this December will make 3, that my girl crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and the way she crossed it will haunt me, hurt me, forever.

I had said one of my blogs needed an update and here it is… Daisy, my big, beautiful, girl has passed. My close friends, and my Facebook friends at the time, read of her passing just over a year ago. (Please keep in mind that this blog’s draft was written two years ago.)

She passed, quite frankly, because her hips couldn’t take the weight she had grown to be. I saw her troubles beginning, and I did try to put her on a diet. However, being free ranging, she was very adept at getting what she always wanted, which was something tasty in her mouth.

As her mobility problems grew more serious, she moved less and less. Finally, the day came when she went under the house and stayed. Being moist dirt, she could drag herself about without injury to her belly. That’s when I began slithering under the house to take her her meals.

This routine was no answer for her. Through the floor of the house, we could hear her sounds of pain as she moved herself about.

The Vets I spoke to had no answers. Operate on a pig, a feral one at that, no. There still isn’t even a procedure for what was wrong with her. Her hips had simply given out.

I was the only one who had the courage to go under the house to her. Everyone else was concerned about aggravating her and her pain. By this point, her discomfort was obviously still growing, and I was sharing with her the medication my pain specialist had prescribed for me. The sweetness of her sighs as she’d gently go to sleep never failed to break my heart.

After weeks of waiting, and hoping, for her to gain strength, the decision was made to put her down. But…how to bury a pig that weighed well over 200 pounds? How to even get her out from under the house to start?

The most difficult decision of all was made. Daisy, light of my heart, would be butchered, and she would be shared by many folks out here where we live in this rural area.

We contacted a friend who knew what to do. He agreed to our proposal as long as I wasn’t home when he arrived to do the deed.

The morning of the chosen day, I crawled under the house to give her what would be her last meal. I made sure it was an extra tasty one. Then, for the first time, I gave her a whole pain pill with a whole muscle relaxer. It was the only thing I could do for her to mitigate her fear of strangers. As the pills took effect, she leaned over and gently touched my forehead with her nose. As she pulled back and looked me in the eyes, I’d swear she was smiling. I think she knew her end was near, and she wanted me to know she was ready. I darn well wasn’t, but it was past time to let her go. I kissed her cheek and left.

When Mom and I returned, there was no sign a death had occurred.  Daisy was simply gone.

My dad told me our friend had brought a helper who crawled under the house. Daisy, not liking strangers, had lazily dragged herself out into the open. Once out, she’d been presented a bucket of fresh star fruit. She had happily put her face into the fruit, and the end came. My baby girl had known no fear. She had a face full of fresh fruit and no fear, I can live with that. They loaded her on a trailer, and they took her away. That’s a bit harder to deal with.

I guess the epilogue to this would be that our friend and his wife refused to speak to me about it for a few weeks. It was plain,no matter how many times I brought up the subject, that they didn’t think I was really ready to talk about it without breaking down into tears, and they didn’t want that for me.

As it happened, one Sunday I attended dinner with our friends. While sitting at the table, talking in general, another one of our friends spoke to me about Daisy. He said he knew I had loved her, and I probably still missed her. He said he was sorry for my loss, but he wanted me to know that he was grateful to us. He’s on disability, and that had been a hard month. Without Daisy, he’d have gone hungry. He said he really hated getting food that way, so he felt he had to let me know how he’d been helped by Daisy and me.

A laughing young man at the  suddenly became very serious. He looked at me and asked, “That was you?” Not trusting my voice, I simply nodded. He continued, “In that case, I owe you a huge thanks, too. I’d have flat gone hungry for a few days, and I know of a family with kids that would have gone hungry, too!”

I smiled. I thanked them for their kind words, trying not to cry.

When I got home, I went into my room, and I cried for awhile, laughed for awhile, thinking of her antics.

Our friend presents himself as being very gruff, but he truly is a kind man. Because he had gotten a boar and a sow for breeding, he surprised himself by becoming very attached to them. For that reason, he kept thinking about me and Daisy. A few months later, when someone offered him a free mini piglet, he brought her straight to me.

I’d like you to meet Pinky. She’s got absolutely the pinkest ears you ever saw and even pinker when they get sunburned!

Goodbye Daisy. I’ll Always Love You.

Meet Pinky.

Posted in Animals, Commentary, Country, informative, Love, medical, Nature, Pets, Practicity, Sharing, Thoughts | 2 Comments

Smart Phones NOT for Idjits…I is an Idjit!

Yesterday I got drafted to run errands with my Father.  If you’re aware of my relationship with him, you’d know why I really wasn’t all that thrilled.  I’ve also started a new medication.  It has one of those TV commercials where you wonder what kind of idiot would take the stuff with all it’s possible side effects.  Well…thanks to my worsening bipolar and my not so great association with me Da, I’m that kind.

During one of our stops, I decided to visit the local Verizon store next door to look into how economical the “free upgrade” offer they’ve been badgering me with for many months would actually be.  It really was such a good deal, I proudly walked out with a new LG phone.  Oh, I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was such an innocent back then.  Wait a minute.  That was yesterday!  Ah, crap!  Yep.  That young fella saw this idiot coming.

I’m also an all together different kind of idiot, as well.  It’s called an “idjit”.  Idiots go tripping through the world perfectly aware others are making allowances for them because those misguided folks don’t know they’re being snowed by a master manipulator.  Then there’s the hapless person who comes along, and they genuinely can’t help it.  That person is an idjit.  The kind of person deep Southerners comment about with, “Bless his/her little heart.  He/She cain’t hep it.”  I suspected I fit glaringly into that category the day I got pulled in with my rig for inspection in Maryland, and things just didn’t go smoothly.  I wound up with a huge gob of greasy goo on my left sleeve from a tool tray.  When I turned to get back into the rig, there was an audible tearing sound as I ripped my right sleeve more than half off by catching it on the corner of the trailer.  The inspector just looked at me and said, “Ma’am, I think we can forego the inspection.  Just go ahead and go.  Carefully.”  As I walked away, I just know he was thinking, “Poor thing.  She cain’t hep it.”  I was thinking, “Hoo boy!  I’m such an idjit!”

Anyway, under most circumstances, this person, the idjit, seems perfectly normal and may even appear to be highly intelligent…until faced with something smarter than they are, like a 5-year-old future Harvard debate champion or a new telephone, otherwise known as a smart phone.  Oh, it is indeed smart.  This phone has app symbols which confound the brain, forget the apps themselves!  Or at least let’s not discuss the functions of the open apps just yet.  After all, apps actually means applications, and applications are actually computer programs for telephones.  Programs you have to figure out the functions of while combating the here again, gone again, won’t go the hell away touchscreen keyboard that’s covering half of the instructions for making the app (sigh) function correctly.

The only thing I’ve found easy about my new phone, so far, was creating a password.  However, this new medication of mine made forgetting that password even easier.  Thankfully, after several minutes of burning my blood pressure medication out of my system, I remembered the simple password which turned out to not be so simple after all.  Heh.  Have fun hackers.

I say with both chagrin and pride.  My phone contents are quite safe because I is an idjit.

PS:  In less than two days, I’ve managed to lose both the phone’s screen protector and the stylus for the phone.  That was a quick $2.00!


Posted in Commentary, Humor, Thoughts, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Screw Political Controversy. I’m Making My Own, and It’s Personal!

     As any of you who are Friends with me on Facebook know, typically I am not at all shy about letting my fiscal conservative political views be known through the pictures and articles I re-post from other Friends.  I’m also not shy about my support for various groups (Pagans, Gays, Children, Animals, etc.) when there is a clear violation of rights, and the abuses seriously need to be addressed.  So those are my liberal leanings, but I don’t consider them liberal.  I consider them Correct and Just Actions to eliminate unjust bigotry, evil, ignorance and just plain meanness.  I say what’s on my mind, and I try to explain some of my views, but with many I don’t bother.  My opinions are mine, and I’m keeping them.  Which brings to mind the saying about assh*les and opinions, everybody has one.

     So…enough of politics.  I’d like to talk about me again.  Yup, I said me again.  It’s been said by many a professional writer and editors, beginning writers should stick to writing about subjects they know.  With me, that’s going to be chickens, dogs, me and a pig.  I may throw in some cooking or gardening in the future.  I may even decided to interview another friend, as I did with that wonderfully talented and kind musician, Kjell Braaten (  Always props to his creative efforts.  Anyway, I simply do not know what the far future brings, only the near future, and that is me!

     Just this past August, I got news from a cardiologist that rather changed my world, and how I’m going to deal with the world at large, not because I want to, but because I have to.  It seems the years of chronic bronchitis growing up, and a bout with pneumonia have left scar tissue in my lungs making it harder for me to get the oxygen I need.  This, when paired with my Sleep Apnea, has caused the lower right chamber of my heart to enlarge slightly because it’s having to work so much harder to supply my body with the necessary oxygen.  My continued up and down battle with weight has not helped any at all, either.  My doctor wants me start walking on a treadmill every day for at least 30 minutes a day with supervision.  As doctors never ask you what your living and financial situation may happen to be (They just say, “I want you to do this.”), I never even bothered to ask him how he thought I was going to accomplish that regimen.

  • I do not have, nor can I afford, a treadmill.
  • Mother needs a new oven, and that’s going to come first if I’m to have the diet he wants me to have.
  • Where am I to put one if I could get one?  Where I live is not my house.
  • I tend to be most active at night.  I always have been.  I doubt my parents would be terribly thrilled with my walking at 3 A.M.  Although, I’m sure they’d be expecting it.
  • Yes.  My insurance covers a membership to a specific gym, but the insurance does not cover the gasoline to that gym which is a prohibitive distance away from where I live.
  • It’s not my car or insurance.
  • I’m hard-headed, and I miss serious working out.  If I were to go to a gym and see all those wonderful machines I’d not be allowed to use, I’d be miserable.  Thus, I’d be even less likely to go to the gym.

While on the subject of gyms…I stopped by Anytime Fitness (a 24 hour gym) much closer to my home to see if they’d meet my needs.  I spoke to a very nice young woman named Shayla (I have no idea if the spelling is correct.), and she was quite honest with me.  She refused to even discuss a membership with me.  She felt, considering what I’d be paying to use only a treadmill, it would simply be too expensive for me and bad business for her to charge me even their most basic fee.  In the end, I’d be paying as much to go there as to drive to the free gym.  She suggested I take that money and try to finance an affordable treadmill for home.  She really impressed me with her honesty, kindness and her attempts to help me find a solution to my dilemma.  Because of this, I’m going to give them a shameless plug.  I liked what I saw of the gym, and they have classes for folks with specific interests.  SO…if you live in or near the Cocoa, Fl area, and you are in need of a gym, check out Anytime Fitness at 2311 State Road 524 #100, Cocoa, FL 32926.  They are also at

     Anyhoo…in the early morning hours of September 11, 2013, a day of national mourning over the loss of thousands of lives in the fall of the World Trade Center towers and the lives of first responders lost in their fall, and to illness in the years following all of the search and rescue operations, I set a personal challenge to meet and exceed what the doctors want of me.  The only thing my doctors all agree on, is that in order for my health to stand a chance of improving, I must start walking, either on the treadmill or just where ever I can, so this morning I did.  I started walking.

     To be specific, I started walking at 5:51 A.M., and my goal was to reach the corner market 1 1/2 miles away and back again.  I wasn’t sure how long the 3 mile round trip would take me, or even if I could do it.  I certainly didn’t want to be waking anyone with a phone call to get me home, but I knew what I wanted to do.  I’d been wanting to try it for quite some time, but there was always someone around to  stop me by telling me it was too much, that I couldn’t do it.  When I made up my mind to do it in the dark hours of this morning, no one was awake to stop me.  I wish I could say I got off to a smooth start.

     When I first went out the front door, I had a dog wanting to go with me, and I had to tell her she wasn’t coming, to go back to bed.  She was so disappointed, but I have to admit, what I was going to do is a bit dangerous.  It’s a dirt road upon which too many idiots drive way too fast, even when the road is in bad shape.  It had been raining, so I knew it wasn’t going to be in top condition.  I didn’t want to take a black dog out with me into the dark and risk her safety, too.  Dealing with her, I forgot my Rune walking staff, which I remembered after I’d very quietly locked to door behind me, so I equally quietly let myself back inside to get it.  After I’d locked the door behind me the second time, I realized I’d forgotten a flashlight.  At that point, I decided I could do without one.  Right about the time I reached the entrance of our driveway, well under the oak trees all over our property, I re-realized just how damn dark it is out here with no street lights.

     No.  I didn’t go back for a flashlight, I decided to forge ahead without one.  I’m glad I did.  When I was free of the influence of our security light, the stars were absolutely amazing, and where there were no tree limbs to obscure their light, I could see fairly well.  As I made the first 1/2 mile trek just to reach the main road, I began hearing signs of life around me just out of sight in the bushes.  I heard small things moving away, and a few things that sounded medium sized, too.  Some things, I knew, were watching me from just a few feet away, and I had no idea what they were.  I just smiled in my heart knowing they were there, and kept moving, for their sake’s as much as mine.  As early as it was, I saw in the distance the tail lights of some neighbors as they were leaving home, beginning their day.  That gave me some pause in courage as I thought of what it might be like walking on the main road, but I kept going.

     When I reached the main road, I looked both north and south, and to my surprise, I saw no headlights in either direction.  This lack of activity gave my courage boost, and I quickly crossed the road to the wide shoulder on the other side.  Loving the stars, the continued sounds of small animals and the coolness of the clean air, I set for myself a pace I knew would be tough, but it’d get me warmed up and my heart rate pumping.  I was loving my walk.  I was feeling alive like I hadn’t felt since my last night time walk too many years ago.  Another point in favor of choosing to be walking at night is the currently prohibitive heat/humidity we have right now, although the season for it will soon be winding down.  If I’d tried this walk during the day, I’d probably make it to the end of the next door neighbor’s driveway and have to turn back from the inability to breathe and the feeling that I was going to drop at any moment.  I’m not a wuss, but no ambulances please!

     My walk was going quite well until I finally had a vehicle coming from behind me.  I can’t really fault the person for using high beams, but once they realized I was there, it really would have been nice if they had back them down.  I was walking blind.  For that reason, and because I was stupid for not freezing in place, I fell into a cut the county road grader makes in the shoulder, so water can drain from the roadway.  Boy, did I go down!  Both knees hit the bottom of the cut, and both elbows hits the top edge of the cut with a solid thud!  That person had to have seen me go down, but there wasn’t even a blip in their tail lights to indicate a tap on their brakes.  Nice, huh?  But that’s part of what makes walking out here in the woods alone at night dangerous.  I’m not going to say it didn’t hurt.  It damn well did.  I’m also not going to say I didn’t consider turning for home because I did.  Then I thought about how disappointing it might be for any of my gods or goddesses who might have taken a notice to my determination to meet the criteria of perseverance in the Nine Noble Virtues.  Then as I stood facing the road, with home to my left and my goal to my right, I realized that it was actually myself I was concerned about disappointing by not persevering. With this in my head and perseverance in my heart, I made a right face and headed towards that beacon of halfway success…the corner market.

   With time passing, and the locals waking, when the next few vehicles came by, I stopped and faced the road to make sure they could see me.  As it turned out, my blond wood Rune walking staff glows in the light of high beams.  (It’s quite the beacon of my presence, so I now have a hard and fast procedure for alerting drivers I’m there.)  After each vehicle passed by me, I quickly resumed walking, keeping up my pace.

     Finally.  Finally!  I had reached the market, and I pulled out my phone to check my time.  I was quite shocked to find the 11/2 mile hike had taken me, including my fall and my stops for passing vehicles, only 20 minutes!  This was beyond anything I had hoped for, much less dreamed of doing.  I was incredibly happy, but I was also thinking, “Now I have to get home.  Can I keep up this pace?  Will I make it, even if I slow down?”  I rested for all of 7 minutes before turning around.

     Well, I did slow down a bit.  I had to.  The world was waking up, and it was just too beautiful to fly by.  It was still fairly dark in the bushes as I turned for home, but there was no mistaking the cursing of an otter as I disturbed it’s morning routine.  I merely laughed and made noises back at it.  In the morning light, I slowed to identify tracks I saw in the dirt of the road.  Ah, a turtle had crossed.  Later, I slowed to identify the tracks of…  Well, I couldn’t figure out what those were.  A bit further down the road, I stopped long enough to move to the shoulder the remains of a little snake that hadn’t made it through the night.  Sometimes, I really hate other drivers, especially the speeders through the country.  Then I laughed as I heard my first song bird of the day.  The roosters had been singing their songs for awhile before that moment.  Now, however, the day had truly begun.

     When I saw the sign for my trail, I picked up my pace for the victory that awaited me, and when I reached the track that would lead me home, I made the turn eastward to face into the rising sun.  As I fast hiked, I saw other animal tracks, and thoughts raced through my mind.  ‘Heh…glad that raccoon wasn’t at my house.’  ‘Wow.  Moles sure are tenacious about crossing roads to get where they’re going.’  ‘Oh! Rabbit tracks.  Keep going you idiot, or you’re going to fall over!  Aim for the chair in front of the carport!’  And aim for that chair I did.

     Collapsing into the chair I’d barely reached, I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket to check my time.  Yes.  I had slowed down.  Yes.  It had taken me longer.  The return trip home had taken me 21 minutes!  So much for pacing myself.  But I’d done the first time out what no one had thought I could do without working up to it.  I’d made the 3 mile round trip to the store and back, and I’d done it in a grand total of, with the break included, 48 minutes.

     With the deed now a fait accompli, when my parents finally made their appearance into the day, I told them what I’d done.  They weren’t terribly thrilled, but they were quite happy I’d succeeded.  They now know I plan to start taking early morning walks to the store and back on an attempted regular basis, but health issues what they are, I can’t promise myself anything other than I’ll try.  I won’t lie.  I know I pushed myself much harder than I should have, and that would be one reason the doctor specified that he wants me to be supervised.  The other reason being the condition I was in when I reached that chair.

     It’s now the early evening of September 12th, and I’m still feeling the hike I took on the morning of the 11th.  I don’t know if I’m going to make the next hike as planned as soon as tomorrow morning, Friday the 13th, or not.  I was planning for a schedule of every other day, but this one might be too soon.  If I don’t head out in the morning, I’m shooting for the morning of the 14th.  I’m not sure I can explain it, but I need this.

     I need to feel, once again, like a person who isn’t labeled “disabled”.

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When Milo Decided To Stay

100_2492enhcroppedresized2crop100_2492resized cropped                                          This is the story (as I know it) of Milo.  He was my birthday present to me a few years ago.  I literally got him the day after my birthday, and he was a bit bigger than I had wanted.  Since then, he has become much more than I bargained for, but I’d never give him up.  To understand what I mean about being more than for what I’d bargained, you need to know his whole story, as related to me by the director of our local United Humanitarians, Linda,  and his previous owner, beginning with his puppyhood.

I had recently lost one of my precious rescue babies, and I desperately needed a small body to keep beside me, so I decided I wanted a chihuahua.  I was fully aware of their one person only temperament, and that’s what I wanted.  With that thought in my mind, I went to United Humanitarians to get heart worm prevention for our other animals and to ask Linda (the extraordinary woman who runs our local chapter) to be on the look out for someone who wanted to get rid of a chihuahua.  Her face immediately lit up.  I had just missed a very sad lady who needed to give her chihuahua a new home.  How much more perfect could the signs be?  Linda did caution me that the dog in question was a larger breed chihuahua, and did I mind that?  Of course not!  He was a chihuahua!  How much larger could he be?  Try 15 pounds with the energy of a Jack Russel Terrier.  Hoo boy!  Of course, I didn’t find that out until later.

Now for his beginnings.  He was only 6 months old when I got him.  I was his third owner, and in looking at his medical records that came with him, I just realized that today (2/20/2013) is his 4th birthday.  Mom went with me to pick him up from his owner’s apartment.  A few minutes after arriving, her son entered the room in his wheel chair.  Could we feel any worse about taking him?  Mom had prepared for something like that situation, and she had brought with her a notebook she’d made of pictures of our property and our other dogs.  As Milo’s human mother looked at the pictures, she related Milo’s deplorable beginnings.

She’d seen an add for large breed Chihuahua’s, and she thought one would make a good companion for her son who had mobility issues.  When she got to the address, she realized it was a puppy mill.  When she got to look at the puppies, she was horrified.  None of them were in good health, and they all had to some degree a skin condition she recognized as mange.  Her heart broke, and she chose the puppy that looked like it had the best chance of survival.  She took him to the vet, and the decision was made to report the woman as an illegal breeder.  Not only did he have mange, he was under weight, and he had a breathing condition which might or might not improve with treatment.  There were other signs he may have been abused further, but it was difficult to tell with all of his other problems.  That caring lady spent a small fortune on a puppy who responded very well to her loving ministrations.  He was completely healthy by the time the decision was made that she and her son needed to give him up.

Not wanting to leave him locked in his kennel all day long, she’d occasionally leave him out to roam the apartment.  The problem with that were her apartment building neighbors.  When he was locked in the kennel with is toys, he was quiet all day.  When he was left out of the kennel, even with those same toys, he barked all day long which everyone knows is a no-no in apartment living etiquette .  Unfortunately, the days she left him out of his kennel were those days she went to take care of her ailing mother, so the neighbors were treated to his barking and wails for hours.  Obviously, this didn’t go over too well in her relations with her neighbors, but at his age he really couldn’t be left out of his kennel for too long.  Accidents were bound to happen.  The neighbors had some sympathy, but not too much.  His sharp little bark wore thin very quickly.  Abruptly, she closed the picture book, and gathered the few toys of his she’d left scattered for him until I had passed muster as someone to whom she could give over his care.  She truly did not want to give him up, but she wanted what was best for him, so she saw no other way than to give him to a family that had much more time for him.

I don’t blame her.  As we spoke to her about the little guy’s history, we found that by the time she got him at eight weeks:  he had mange, he was malnourished, and he’d suffered some form of physical abuse and mental anguish.  We were getting a serious interview, and if we didn’t pass, we weren’t going to get him.

Once we got Milo to the car, he couldn’t wait to go for a ride.  He didn’t even pay much attention to his former mistress.  When her son using his crutches got to the car, however, that was a different story.  Milo stayed next to him, and as we back backed slowly out of the parking space, his young master stayed next to him, their contact was finally broken when his mother placed her hand on his arm to keep him from falling and to let us go.  That moment broke my heart, but as we were driving away, Milo went to point with his nose out the window as though he knew he was beginning a new adventure.

When we got him home, we placed the plastic bag his other mother had packed for him next to a chair where he could easily get to his toys.  We didn’t mix them with the toys of the other dogs which were in a doggie bed because we wanted the other dogs to respect his toys as his own until he felt comfortable sharing.  Tippy, our shephard mix and Duke, a full blood (and snipped) tri-color sheltie, were good sports about his arrival.  They played with him only as rough as he wanted, and he wanted to play plenty rough!  It was like he was expending as much of the extra energy he’d built up as he could.  It didn’t take us too long to realize full tilt was the only way he played, or did anything for that matter!  So here we were with a large chihuahua, seemingly with a built in power cell, and we were just a tad shell-shocked.  We’d never seen a chihuahua so big or so determined to be a big dog, so we decided to find out just what breed he is.

With just a few clicks of the mouse, we had lots of pictures from which to choose, and we eventually determined him to be a Deerhead chihuahua.  The two signature features of this dog are his hind legs are longer than his body, and his head resembles that of a deer.  Thus, the breed was name Deerhead.  His long hind legs give him an odd walking gate, but he can run like a grey hound!  When running full out, his hind feet actually pass his head.  It’s also believed that this breed is one of a few breeds that are descended from foxes rather than simply bred smaller and smaller from wolves.

Getting back to Milo’s story…After we got him home, he acted like he was a guest for the first few days, but as he realized he wasn’t going home, he did begin to settle in.  After all, the only one who’s opinion we didn’t get about his moving from one family to another was Milo himself.  He was the only who couldn’t express an opinion, or so we thought…

One evening while we were watching TV and the dogs were playing with their toys, Milo came to a sudden stop in his activity.  It was one of those things that really shouldn’t get your attention, but it does because of the total lack of movement.  After a few moments of standing there, Milo dropped the toy he was playing with (it wasn’t one of his), walked over to the bag of toys his previous owner had packed for him, and he very carefully began removing his toys and carrying them, one by one, across the room to drop them near the small basket bed we used for collecting their toys in one place.  He repeated this activity until ALL of his toys were in a pile near the basket with the toys belonging to the other two dogs.  It was kind of like, after one week, he decided, “Okay.  I’ll unpack now because I think I’m going to go ahead and stay here.”

It was at once funny and heart gripping.  He’s at once an unstoppable power house (until he drops to recharge) and a very small soul who still needs some special looking after because he may never completely heal emotionally from that early abuse, but he’s our Little Man.  He’s our Milo here to stay.

NOTE:  I know I stressed United Humanitarians a bit early on in this.  I did so because they are great people who are all volunteer.  Even the vet does not get paid.  All charges are for supplies and to cover their cost of medicines.  Look for one near you to volunteer or donate time/money.  If there isn’t one near you, there’s sure to be a shelter or rescue group in need of your time or assistance.  The following statement was attributed to Ghandi, but it’s not known if he really said these words or not.  If not, it’s still a great saying:  “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. “

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Should I Even Be Writing a Blog? (and what am I to do about a depressed pig?)

Folks have told me how much they enjoy reading my blogs because it’s like having a conversation.  I’ve been told I write as though I’m talking to the average person in my circle of friends. I don’t use really big words without following up with a sentence explaining what I mean, and I talk about things to which folks can relate, even if it‘s somewhat vicariously. That bit of a pick-me-up inspired me to pay for a whole new year of having my very own domain name, and that was months ago. I haven’t written a damn thing since. Why? Because I honestly don’t know if I can support a blog that’s all me? Who wants to read about me? Who wants to keep reading about my pet pig…who now, with permission, lives under the house. (I’ve already crawled under the house to repair the A/C duct work she tried to walk across. Now I’m going to have to go back under to repair the heating duct work she also failed to successfully cross. I’m actually enjoying myself, as she is creating meaningful things for me to do!) Can I now make my little blog meaningful? Can I take my little corner of this crushingly infinite corner of the universe and make it interesting enough for other people to care? For other people to find a bit of themselves in what I put here? Can I make my words into something to inspire someone else to say, “YES! I want to be here!”, or am I reaching for too much?

Even as I type this, I wonder how long folks will remain interested in reading about my little corner of the universe, how I do or don’t relate to the cosmos (or our screwed up society) in my little corner of existence, and my stress about having a pet pig always in danger of being shot because we have yet to find a way (or the help) to keep her closed safely in our yard. I love her, and losing her would devastate me. If you don’t really know me, you have no idea the mess I could possibly become.

I’m not going to lie. Each day it’s the Nine Noble Virtues that keep me here. At times, I suck at living up to them, but everyday, they help make decision to stay to be a great big ‘Yes!’ I have some lovely friends who have adopted me as family who also help me stay. The key element there is LOVE. I must also give credit to my Mother. Sometimes we have our blow-ups (some of which cause me to meltdown), but every night at bedtime, she comes to me for a hug. She says it’s for her, but I know her “I love you.” is all for me. It’s her tossing of a lifeline for me. One day after a particularly bad go round of medical testing results, she hugged me and said, “My youngest baby is older than I am.” She was referring to my physical condition, but with teary eyes, she also looked into my eyes where there were no tears. What good were tears going to do me that day? The universe had decided to kick my ass again, and I was pissed! I was sad, too. I love my mother, and all of this is no good for her health either.

Then, there’s my dad. We fight terribly, and I have a habit of going straight to Mom with it. Today my Mom told me I have to stop doing that. He told her he does love me, and he worries about me. He just has no clue how to show it that doesn’t piss me off. That would be an issue he got from his early 20th century father. The showing/expressing of tender emotions just wasn’t done, so he never learned how. I know he tries, but smartass comments, sarcasm and hyper awareness of everything I eat and when I eat it just doesn’t give me warm, fuzzy feelings. He also feels double teamed by the way Mom and I get things done around here. I know he feels that way, and it does bother me some that he feels that way; however, on the other side of the coin, Mom and I feel we have to do things that way in order to get even the simplest things done. What are we supposed to do to get the major things that need to be done handled in a timely manner? We don’t like double teaming him. We really don’t. It’s just that sometimes we just don’t know what else to do. It truly sucks all the way ‘round.

Okay…now that I’ve unloaded all that crap, back to the depressed piggy. Daisy is pushing a weight exceeding 250lbs. Her move under the house hadn’t been planned, but when the satellite TV went out, some of the skirting was taken down just in case the repair man needed to go under. Daisy saw her chance, and she took it. After the repair man left, the skirting was sort of put back into place, but not properly. Finding the weak spot in the skirting, Daisy pushed her way through. Quickly getting over the irritation from the minor damage because it really was our fault for not doing the job properly, a discussion ensued. Despite rolling in the smelly mud of the ditch behind our house (a behavior meant to deter mosquitoes, ticks and any other what-nots that bite), we know that Daisy does not like to have water drip on her. She doesn’t like rain or sprinklers tinkling on her. We also weren’t too concerned about any possible smells (but we were going to keep our noses tuned just in case), because Daisy doesn’t do her business where she lives, and she never has! Let’s face it, when we think of pigs, we think of dirty, filthy critters, not animals who like to soak in sun warmed kiddie wading pools. What do we call someone who is messy? We call them a pig. Pigs have been seriously maligned. When held in captivity, pigs make the best of a bad situation. It’s not like most farmers are too concerned about the living conditions of future food when they have the pre-misconception that pigs are dirty animals and like to live in filth. Daisy proves that just isn’t so. Every day, Daisy leaves her home under the house, goes out by the back fence, and she does her business. Before she moved under the house, she split her time living under the drafty, drippy front porch and the drafty, drippy butterfly bush out back. To make her spaces more comfortable, she dragged a ragged blue tarp under the butterfly bush and a fairly good tarp under the front porch for her beds. When the fairly good tarp was retrieved and then given back to her, she wanted no part of it. Go figure. Anyhoo…it seems her main bedding down place under the house is directly under my bedroom. I’ve taken to talking to her through the window at night. I try to tell her “Good night” every night. Now, if you read the whole title, you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with a depressed pig, it doesn’t, but the next part will.

For almost two weeks now, Daisy has been moping around. She wanders away from her food bowl without finishing to just flop down several feet away with her back to us and ignores all attempts at communication, and she stays under the house for a number of hours that is abnormal for her established behavior. There are only three reasons we can think of why she’d be behaving this way. 1) She’s depressed because she‘s feeling neglected, 2) She’s not happy that some of the shooting she’s been hearing lately is on our property, close up rather than far away, and 3) She may be preggers.

Taking each reason one at a time, it breaks down like this:

1) She feels neglected because I have fallen into the habit of finishing my morning chores and heading straight into the house. I speak to her, but I don’t brush or comb her the way I used to. Before, I’d sit down on the ground or a short stool and spend at least 30 minutes of alone time with her. That’d happen at least 2-3 times a day. Being a social creature, as all pigs are, she may be depressed over the loss of such personal social interaction.

2) We have recently begun practicing and honing our shooting skills. It’s good to learn I haven’t lost any of my targeting skills since I was the captain of the R.O.T.C. rifle team in high school, and I’m not using a rifle anymore. BIG smile! Unfortunately, Daisy and our dogs truly object to the shooting being so close to their home. They’re simply going to have to adjust.

3) Well…this one is self-explanatory. If we’re going to accuse female humans and hens of being broody, why not sows, too? Although I’ve been watching her physical form, I haven’t found any evidence to support that theory.

As of this morning 2/10/13, I believe we can ignore number’s 1-3. It’s option number 4) She’s jealous and pouting.

4) For the past few days, I have been going out of my way to give her personal time while she’s been feeding, and I have been brushing and combing her, an activity I had stopped lately. When I called her this morning, she popped out from under the house on the first call, and she waited patiently for her breakfast. However, the moment I started paying attention to the goats and chickens, she went to her corner with her back to the yard and refused to respond when called. As soon as I clicked the brush and the comb together in combination with calling her, she got up, trotted over, started eating again, and put her backside within easy reach for brushing. Yup. I’d call that jealous and pouting.

Daisy, not long after her arrival.

Daisy, not long after her arrival.

It’s a good thing I love her. I happen to like going back to bed after my morning chores are done. After all, the moment I stop moving, I’m out like a light and not easy to wake. If I keep moving during the day, I wind up hurting like hell in the evening, I miss a few chosen TV programs, and/or I drop a lot of books on my own face. For that reason, I’ve come to prefer paperbacks. They don’t hurt nearly as much as hard bound books when they smack you in the mouth. Seriously.

Daisy has come a long way in attitude and size since her arrival here.

Daisy has come a long way in attitude and size since her arrival here.

PS:  I’m not sure what transpired under the house late afternoon 2/10, and I’m sort of afraid to look.  You see, it sounded an awful lot like Daisy removed the duct work I had so carefully repaired after her last ‘oops’ and then went on to remove a whole bunch more.  I know what I’ll be doing while she’s eating her breakfast today.  I just live to crawl under the house.

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Wet Wood and Other Things

Well, here I sit outside with the dawn rising and the rain clouds moving in. I’ve been trying for 4 days to burn the same damn oak log, but every night it piddles just enough to wet the log for it not to burn. At this very moment, I have just made a fast break for the feed barn, and I’m sitting on a bale of hay. I must admit it is both a comfy and a nicely fragrant place to sit. On the down side, that damn log isn’t going to burn today, either. Oops…I seem to have squashed a spider. I hope it doesn’t have any aggressive relatives. Please pardon any wandering thoughts from nowhere. I’ve not been properly caring for myself, in that I was up all night on that wonderful social site called Facebook. Also, please pardon any odd punctuation that may appear as I am on my mini laptop, and I can’t can’t find all the appropriate buttons, at least not on the first try, in the dark of the barn.

Currently, I have a disgruntled Daisy hoovering acorns from the ground outside the barn. I take that back, she has now decided to join me in the barn. She knows I have some special apple flavored treats for her, but she may not have them right now. They are rather large, so in an further attempt to save money, I am taking a hammer to them to break them in half. She really doesn’t care about the size of the treat, just so long as she gets one. Since these are apple flavored, and heavily scented (They really do smell yummy, and no, I have not tried one.), she finds them in her food bowl quite unerringly.

Daisy’s manners when accepting treats have improved dramatically. One no longer has to worry about losing finger tips in her zeal to sample delights formerly unknown. She is quite the dainty lady in accepting her tidbits to g’nosh, but do not get between her and her food bowl. That’s a whole different story. Of course, that’s only when the oak trees aren’t dropping acorn like mad. Last year we didn’t have enough rain for them. This year we’ve had just enough rain to have a plethora of acorns. Daisy is quite the Hoover when it comes to those. Between her preference for the acorns and the squirrels eating the acorns, I am actually saving a fair amount on hog pellets and whole corn. Unfortunately, that means the hawks are quite healthy this season, as well. I’m definitely keeping a sharp eye out.

Ironically, I have not lost any of my birds to flying predators. I’ve lost a baby turkey, a bantam chicken, a female duck and our only drake to our Sheltie, Duke. Poor, dumb dog, he was abused by at least two owners before her reached me, his fourth owner, and his herding instinct had become a killing one. As Dad says, if he were on a real working farm, he’d be dead. Because of his history, he just isn’t allowed outside on his own when the birds are out doing their ‘free range’ thing.

Because of intentions, Daisy was named Bacon when she first arrived with Petunia, and then Petunia had a misadventure with a neighbor's garden...she became ham, and Bacon became Daisy.

Because of intentions, Daisy was named Bacon when she first arrived with Petunia, and then Petunia had a misadventure with a neighbor’s garden…she became ham, and Bacon became Daisy.

Right now, my biggest concern is Daisy. She’s gotten of a size that any hunter out for food is going to go after her if she leaves our property. I’m trying to figure out how to put a collar on her without her going truly ballistic. Not only would her size be a hazard, she’s of an age where she may be starting to develop tusks, if not those, then a couple of large teeth that you’d best be wearing jeans if she smacks you with the side of her head.

For the most part, she really is a lovely girl, and I’m not just referring to her looks. Having been raised by us, she simply doesn’t know she’s a pig.

My baby girl is now every bit as big as Petunia was when she first arrived as Bacon.  Now how to keep her from running afoul of hunters or neighbors as Petunia did?

My baby girl is now every bit as big as Petunia was when she first arrived as Bacon. Now how to keep her from running afoul of hunters or neighbors as Petunia did?

In my heart, I know that leaving her vulnerable is just the wrong thing to do, but I really don’t know the best way to go about protecting her now.  And I know that I have failed her terribly.

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