Category Archives: Uncategorized

Zoe Has a Boyfriend

They’re flirting. We were coming in from our walk and she stood still. I only saw a guy across the street walking by parked cars. Come on, let’s go and get you breakfast. No. There’s a dog between the parked cars.

Two weeks after 9/11 Americans were allowed back into our country. I was off on a family reunion in Europe. I sat at lunch in a chain restaurant at the bar and we all talked. Later it was just us. We talked about everything and shook hands in the parking lot and he said we may share a movie sometime as friends.

Next night he called me, dinner and a movie, picked me up, opened my car door and took my hand and we’ve been married over 15 years.

Mr. Y, who I do not know but my husband does, was seen by my Zoe across the street. They never saw each other again and Zoe is 98 in people years. It’s like the end of Doctor Zhivago. Mr. Y whined as they crossed paths. No, his name is not Yuri. Across the street, he whined for Zoe, who has many friends human, canine and feline.

I can think of this as her consistent friendliness to all or being near death. I choose the former and fear the latter. We can’t have kids, so she’s our girl and even at age 98 my husband would say she’s not allowed to date. Flirting is OK. To happiness and longevity, perhaps he’s an angel taking her to another place. I will not part with her easily but will let her go when she needs to do so. Dee


Just Passing Through

My dear father moved up to better jobs all his life, uprooted my mother and four kids , I’m the eldest, and gave away the dog to a farm and we would drive to the new destination every couple of years.

When we arrived he’d tell us little kids that the moving truck would be here soon, he was going to his new office to check things out, and that any box with our name on it must be un-boxed and put away before he came home that evening.

As a mature adult I am still moved around the nation and world on a whim. Now it’s my husband’s. When I get a picture framed, he says “you’re not moving, you’re nesting!” What’s wrong with having something on a wall? I’m a woman and will not live in a man cave with dark blinds overlooking the back of mailboxes and a parking lot.

As it is, he flies to work every week and returns on the weekend so I am alone with our old dog, Zoe.

Today, a pass-through is a legal entity that is recognized by a client. Ours doesn’t like the fact that they did not recommend my husband to said client so they cannot demand an excessive percentage of his hourly rate. All they are supposed to do is cut a few checks per month for pay and expenses.

He was on a plane at a very early hour for work, I know because I had to awaken the dog and walk her, then make him oatmeal (regular, not quick, with cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla then topped with blueberries). Yum.

As my husband was on a plane I had to call the pass-through to ask two questions. How do we bill for hours, and also how do we process expenses? Their answer? You cannot do that, as he does not work for us.

My real question is if my husband has been working for this client for two weeks as a volunteer with no compensation for his work or recompense for expenses we have advanced to two large for-profit companies, or has the pass-through check-writer developed carpal tunnel syndrome?

We created a company at the insistence of the two others. Our investment was the time and effort of two consultants. Priceless. Also $25 to open a bank account, that last week went down to $15 because of bank fees. We are personally lending our corporation money to pay multiple fees and me to do compliance filings with no income whatsoever, along with our personal taxes.

What is wrong with this picture? After we met over 16 years ago he had me give up most of my volunteer responsibilities so we could marry and move anywhere. He said that “anything worth doing is worth getting paid for.” Tell that to a feral cat living out of a dumpster out back of Wal-Mart.

I donated my bean bag training cat, Snowflake The Wonder Kitty, to my volunteer team (I was asked to allow filming of my volunteer training, with Snowflake showing the lack of muscular control an anesthetized feral has, by the prestigious San Francisco SPCA.) Now Snowflake #2 looks at me as I write and the organization for which I volunteered has adopted several of my policy recommendations and this week commended me for my service on their behalf.

It was always something to be dreaded and enjoyed. Up to ten hours and 200 cats, doing transport and training and managing volunteers. Emergency, taking back to surgery for new orders. Yes, I know what tapeworms look like, tiny grains of rice that wiggle. No freaking way is this cat ever going back into a trap, even for mackerel. Let’s treat him now.

Change the chart for Droncit. Back to ER (back of a SUV). They told me not to see my cats when I returned home. Strip in the garage and take a shower ASAP. Well, I had no w/d back then and pulled into a carport. I don’t think my neighbors wanted to see me naked so I was as careful as I could be and bagged my clothes and took the shower. After all, I was “Aunt Dee” so I got all the mange and ringworm cases. Not good for home.

I miss my volunteer days as I age and no-one will give me anything challenging any more. But I worked a full week for pay, usually, non-profits then volunteered on weekends and evenings. Did I say pay? Yes. I’m retired but my husband is working for free a couple thousand of miles away, because he doesn’t work there until they get a number to enter him into the system so he can be paid. Perhaps I should advise my partner in life and business to stop volunteering! Dee


Talk about a leap of faith. I took one fifteen years ago and so did my dear husband. Guess what? We’re still here. He still doesn’t like leftovers unless I make him a meat loaf sandwich. He’s physics and math, I’m writing and caring for others. A perfect pair.

The perfect pair who married us 15 years ago were similar. The Deputy Marriage Commissioner for the day called me his daughter, and his wife, my dear friend, called me so as well and signed the marriage certificate. I love their sons as brothers and their grandkids as cousins.

I did have to ask them to marry us. We asked for a meeting after dog-walking time. They’d known my husband briefly. I brought up the subject. It was Tuesday. We’d decided to elope the day before and wished to get married at noon on Saturday. I asked if the Captain (USN, Ret.) would marry us. He left us for a moment and came back and said, only if he gets to write the vows. OK, I’ll type them for you. “Mom” was an officiant.

We plan to use these vows to have a renewal with families present. They’re gone now and we plan to attend “Mom’s” interment in a sacred place alongside her husband of 56 years. Actually, her husband forever because he was the Captain, but named her the Admiral.

They made such a difference in my life. Dee


I’ve tried for years to sign up to be a volunteer near my home. It has not been successful to date, but it has. Now they have multiple sign-ins and background checks. Mine would be clean but I’m nervous about the people that would “hire” me. Simple strategy works.

I am, was born as, and and will always be a volunteer. I just don’t need to be one on a schedule. Every time I walk out my front door I am a volunteer, just helping people¬† and pets one at a time. A few times a year I water a favorite tree of lost pets, Jake and Wurli. I’ll do that today.

Sometimes people want to just talk to me, introduce me to their new cat or ask dog training tips. I’m called “Aunt Dee.”

Validation on paper is not needed, I have it every day even if the Delta Society won’t let my old dog into hospice because she eats frozen raw lamb. That’s why she is healthy at fourteen years old, for goodness’ sake! Cheers and consider volunteering or just going about everyday business and helping others without a paper to prove it. Dee

Happening and Not

I was a consultant for a prominent volunteer organization, created an area of expertise I became familiar with, and created 14 projects per month, seven times what the other project managers did.

Great team leaders were trained by me and sent out into the field for daily projects, like spaying and neutering 172 feral cats. I had such great people that I rarely attended a cat facility and concentrated my efforts on ferals and rescued Greyhounds and regularly checked in on my leaders.

In the end that Cares organization was taken over by United Way and all the Project Managers were summarily fired. I will not be giving money to United Way or volunteering for them. United Way lured me to an event to have me introduce them to a prominent legislator I helped elect, then fired me on the spot, as a volunteer.

In my years here I have not been offered any volunteer opportunities to which I can match my leadership and teamwork and get my hands dirty skills. Now Cares is run by United Way. They don’t embrace people like me and I believe it is a flaw in their carefully-run system. Don’t “hire” a volunteer who is smart and a leader, that is the policy. I can’t work for free for a company that cares for no-one, or be a donor. If I’m not out there in the field I am of no use to anyone.

My kids/volunteers used to call out “This one has ringworm. This one has mange. Call Dee!” That they did. I caught ringworm once. They were my peeps and watched their breathing and I dealt with surgery, talked shots and vaccines, flea combing and transport and ER and volunteer training. Now I have a husband, dog and assistant, and 1/2 of a business. I want to be useful. Dee

Tough Week

My husband left us for a full-time gig several states away.  I talked to him from my kitchen like he had never left. Our old dog went into distress and I did talk to the vets but she was protecting me and let out a bark anytime she heard a noise outside.

She’s sleeping soundly with my husband right now. ABC (airway, breathing, circulation) are covered as is temperature, by my hand on her forehead. Hey, I didn’t take the first HSUS/Red Cross animal emergency course for nothing. Now I’ve ordered a stethoscope. My vet, who runs the practice, is still on maternity leave for a couple of weeks.

I cannot take Zoe for long walks until I can do so with arthritis for 30 years. My dear Aunt gave me a “Winnie” over the holidays, a tri-pod walker with brakes (that don’t work in cold weather) and a small downstairs basket that can hold a few groceries as long as the heavy stuff is in back. I’m testing the rolling cart now that the sidewalks are mainly clear. Sidewalks and roads are never fixed here and even my snow tires go into potential sink-holes.

He takes her out for longer walks that I’m not sure she can endure these days. He’s always on an electronic device wherever he is, a phone when he takes out Zoe. He lets her out on a 16′ leash and she eats nasty stuff then throws up on our bed. Fun, yes!

They’re sleeping now and I am writing, on an electronic device. It somehow seems that this first week of being a ways away after some time at home has affected all of us. Right now I want them to sleep. I’ll see if I have room in the next few moments. Cheers! Dee

Themes and Change

I know the part of my husband’s brain that knows me. He knows me after nearly 17 years together but doesn’t know the rest of me. Perhaps that is a challenge to find out over our years together.

The brain works in mysterious ways. I find it through art and have designed our home, inexplicably, by color and feature. All I wanted was a Tuscan retreat for the master. Other things came to pass. My framer and I get along very well.

Dad took up painting at age 80 and died at 85, over a year ago. One walks in to our small space and sees the three oranges. One a Tuscan retreat by Dad, another Maori-inspired by Dad, and a reproduction of the first four-color wood prints ever made, from Japan, all were gifts. The four-color wood block was entitled “Invitation to a Courtesan.” I tell kids who ask about it that her little sister is delivering the mail.

Then there is the kitchen with a stack of photos and art. Hallway is the “greens,” photos I’ve taken and purchased from gifted photographers and framed. Our bedroom is supposed to be a Tuscan retreat. Years ago I went to a place that sells recycled stuff in Texas and looked at what might be a place to store china and serving dishes from Italy.

I opened up the top drawer to assure the dresser had dovetailed joints. It did. There were two signed lithographs of Tuscan origin, numbered and signed. $2 each. Forget about the furniture, I got the two immediately and a few years later spent $250 framing them.

The living room is mostly blues, greens and browns. Blue and green are my husband’s favorite colors. Again, the brain works in mysterious ways. I usually plan things but here I am finding things and a way to integrate them into our lives and it is an instinct, a heartbeat, knowing what I want, not a talent. I love framing beautiful things. Dee