Even Animals Know a Good Day

It’s Friday. That fact alone is cause for celebration for most people. But when forecasts call for a beautiful and sunny Friday, in a season that has consisted of temperatures that have kept most people in doors, it would be no shock to learn if bosses all across the state woke up to early calls from employees suddenly too sick to come to work.

The temperature hovers near 60 degrees, up from freezing temps only a week ago. Aside from being a little windy, the day is almost perfect. One can feel a shift in the air. Daylight is hanging around a little longer. I heard birds chirping in trees they hadn’t been gathered in for a while.

 A change of seasons is soon to begin.

Phil seems to sense something is different, too. He was sitting by the door this afternoon and when I let him out he stood on the patio and lifted his face against the wind. He closed his eyes and sat still for a couple moments. I knew then that he wanted to be outside just to be outside. His waiting by the door wasn’t for his usual doggie business. No, he wanted to be outside to enjoy the gorgeous day because even animals know a beautiful day when they see one.

So I brought his bed out and as soon as I laid the bed down, he plopped himself comfortably inside it. I wrapped him in a blanket because of the wind and Phil loves his blankies so he seemed happy. I watched him for a while from inside the house. I smiled at his sense of calmness and satisfaction. I left him be and went downstairs and wrote a little until I heard him barking to come back inside. (I suppose one needs a break from even the most gorgeous of days.)

Once he was inside the house, he lingered near the glass sliding door as though he wasn’t quite ready to let go of the beautiful day just yet. So I dropped his bed beside the door and watched him lay in it and plop his head against the cushion and watch the outside with an aura of peaceful contentment.

As a doggie momma it was very satisfying to see my baby living such a pleasing moment and I reflected on the animals who will never live the kind of day my dog has realized today. Whether it be mother dogs crammed inside small cages in puppy mills where they are bred until they are dry, without any veterinary care.

Or farm animals trapped inside dingy over-crowded factories who’ve never felt grass beneath their feet or felt the warmth of the sun against their skin. Animals love nature and need it as much as humans do because even animals know a good day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climbing Everest

This past weekend I rented Everest, a movie based on the 1996 true story about eight people who died while on their quest to reach the top of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. An unexpected storm made conditions for the climbers of this already dangerous journey, completely unbearable.

Professionally experienced Lead Guides for two of the expeditions, Rob Hall and Scott Fisher, were among the eight who lost their lives to exposure. Their bodies, along with the bodies of over 150 other people who have attempted to climb Mt. Everest, but succumbed to the elements, still lie, scattered, among the famous mountain.

It is not uncommon for climbers to pass corpses as they embark on the same journey that killed their fellow climbers.  According to HistoryVsHollywood.com, an unidentified corpse known as Green Boots, because his green boots and brightly colored climbing jacket are still tugged tightly onto his body as he lay frozen in the same spot he died, is commonly seen by other climbers.

Recovering dead bodies off the mountain is so dangerous for the conditions that it is considered to be a suicide mission.  According to Macleans.ca, a woman named Hannelore Schmatz died of exhaustion in 1979 near one of the camps, and for many years climbers could see Schmatz’s body from their route “sitting upright against her backpack, her eyes open and her brown hair blowing in the wind.”

In 1984, two people tried to retrieve Schmatz’s body, but fell off the mountain. Schmatz’s body remained where she died, frozen in time (like the others), until the late nineties when strong winter winds finally swept her remains over the edge.  (Macleans.ca)

There is an area of the mountain, just below the summit, known as Rainbow Valley “due to the number of corpses still there clad in their colorful climbing jackets.” (Gizmodo.com) The highest point of Mt. Everest is 29,029 feet. The section between camp IV (26,000 ft) and the summit is considered the Death Zone because it is the place where most climbers lose their life.

At 26,000 feet the human body can no longer function on its own and it slowly begins to break down.  The air is near oxygen-free.  A person will not survive more than two days without extra oxygen.  “Mental and physical states are affected, leading climbers to experience hallucination, deteriorations of bodily functions, loss of consciousness, the feeling of slowly being choked, and finally, death.” (Gizmodo.com)

There are a few weeks in May that are considered to be the best time to climb Everest because conditions are the most tolerable. Instead of having to endure normal temps of -31 degrees Fahrenheit, the temps can reach -4 degrees Fahrenheit during this temporary time.  The winds near the top of Mt. Everest can be stronger than a Category 5 hurricane. A record wind speed of 175mph was recorded in 2004 at the summit.  “Mt. Everest is so high that the summit actually protrudes into the stratosphere, where jet streams create 100+ winds during most months and temperatures can plummet as low as -76 degrees Fahrenheit. The winds alone can easily send climbers hurtling off the mountain to their deaths.” (PopularMechanics.com)

Only a climber can tell you why he or she acknowledges the risks in climbing the highest mountain in the world, and accepts those risks as they slip on their boots and bundle into their climbing jackets. One could guess maybe these people have nothing to lose, nothing to live for. But Rob Hall had everything to lose, and everything to live for. His wife was pregnant when he led his expedition up to the top of the mountain.

The movie captures a tender and tragic moment when Hall speaks to his wife (via satellite phone connection patched through to his radio) as he is trapped near the top of the summit, after having just spent the night in the blizzard on an overhang. He was so high up, the air was near oxygen-free, and all oxygen tanks were empty. Rob Hall was aware of his doomed fate when he spoke to his pregnant wife for the last time. “…After naming their unborn baby ‘Sarah,’ he told his wife Jan, ‘I love you. Sleep well, my sweetheart. Please don’t worry too much.’ That was the last time anyone heard from Hall.” (TIME.com)

There is a chance that if not for the unexpected brutal storm in the 1996 expeditions, no one would have lost their lives. There’s risk in climbing any mountain, even the smallest one, because there are elements that can not be controlled, such as weather, a sudden avalanche, body response.

When I first read about the corpses lying all across the mountain, I asked myself how a person can continue to ascend a mountain scattered with dead bodies along their route. Dead bodies clothed in similar dress as their own gear, and lying in the same position they died as if no time had passed, without turning back, scared to death they would meet the same fate.

And then I imagined driving down a road I’ve driven a thousand times before, but now littered with the corpses of every person who perished in accidents along that highway, and suddenly that innocuous and familiar road becomes an ominous warning of what could happen to me.

Do I turn back? Try to find another route, clear of corpses, where nothing bad has ever happened?

Does such a path even exist?

In life, do we keep going despite the horrific events and tragedies that already have happened along the same path we’re headed?

Or do we use them as warning signs and find another way?

What would you do?

mt everest

I don’t own the copyright to this picture. If it violates any copyright I will take it down.

Time to End BSL. It’s Discrimination.

In December, 2010 I adopted a dog named, Phil.  The same dog who is asleep right now in a tangled mess of sheets in my bed. The same dog I have been obsessed with since the day I brought him home. He is a pit/lab mix and I didn’t even consider the “pit” part of him when I saw him on Pet Harbor and decided to drive to Animal Control to visit him. I love Labradors. It was the Lab in him that caught my eye, but the pit bull mix part didn’t deter me in anyway because I had no preconceived notions about pit bulls. I guess I wasn’t paying much attention to mainstream media news that love to portray pit bulls as inherently mean and aggressive dogs who want to do nothing but tear your limbs apart.

With all dogs come the possibility of a bite if the dog is mistreated, teased, or trained to be aggressive. And we know that pit bulls are the most abused breed out there. Every day I am so grateful that I didn’t let ignorance prevent me from bringing Phil home. But when I ask myself if my decision would have been different if I’d been paying a little more attention to the negative portrayal of pit bulls in the news headlines, and I wonder if Phil would be sleeping peacefully in my bed right now. I’m not sure. And that scares the hell out of me because Phil had already been with Animal Care and Control for a couple months by the time I got to him.

In fact, when I brought him in for his veterinary check-up shortly after adopting him, the Dr. told me she was surprised he was kept that long. I was crushed. Over-crowded kill shelters don’t give dogs a lot of time to find homes. And most of these shelters, especially city shelters where I found Phil, seem to be filled with mostly pit bulls, a breed not everyone is willing to bring home. (But I know from experience they are missing out on a great breed of dog.)

As a pit bull owner, I am really concerned about Breed Specific Legislation. BSL does nothing but make it harder for dogs like Phil to find homes. I didn’t know about BSL when I brought Phil home. I didn’t know there could have been external factors preventing me from having Phil as a pet, a companion. Phil has been an amazingly loving dog to me for six amazing years and it infuriates me to think that some city ban, or insurance policy, or association could have told me Phil wasn’t allowed to stay with me.

But yet, some people have to adhere to ordinances placed by people who have never known a pit bull personally (I am sure of this because to know a pit bull is to love a pit bull) and as a result, great dogs never make it out of shelters alive.

People who support BSL believe it is an effective way to prevent dog attacks by basically profiling and discriminating against a specific breed. Even though that “specific breed” has no “specific look” because it includes over five different breeds, including mixes, the legislation continues to ban dogs whether that particular dogs is a danger to society or not.

The term “pit bull” is actually an umbrella reference to include up to five different breed of dogs and mixes. There is no set rule to determine if a dog is actually a pit bull. If a dog looks strong and has a big head, it most likely will be deemed a pit bull, thus decreasing the odds that dog will find a home, despite how sweet and loving the dog may be, and also puts the dog at risk of being a victim of BSL.

BSL wreaks of mistaken identity and unfair judgement that cost innocent dogs their lives. Phil doesn’t know that being part pit bull means he’s supposed to be mean because all he wants to do is cuddle with his blankies and give sloppy kisses.

If the town I live in passed BSL they could legally force me to muzzle my dog any time he is in public despite the face that he has never bitten anyone as long for as I’ve had him.

If you’re interested in learning more about BSL and why it’s not effective, please visit the link below.

http://www.realpitbull.com/laws.html

And if you’re looking for a pet, please visit your local shelter or Animal Control. Please don’t be put off if your shelter has an influx of pit bulls because despite being given the same generic breed name, all of these dogs are so different in looks and personalities.

 

My baby taking an afternoon nap in his mama’s bed

Green For Life

I just finished reading the book Green For Life, about a family whose health issues disappeared soon after changing to an all raw foods diet, including green smoothies. The mother of the family, Victoria Boutenko, wrote the book and seems to have done her research because she offers a wealth of information, with resources to back them.

I bought the book a couple years ago, and when I read it the first time, I do remember making a conscientious effort to include more greens to my diet. I did the whole green smoothie thing, and combined leafy greens with my favorite fruits, blended in a sweet concoction. I remember liking them very much, but I don’t remember why I stopped drinking them. And now I could kick myself.

A couple months ago I started drinking smoothies again. I have been faithful to the green smoothie and haven’t slacked or gotten lazy. I’m guessing that was my downfall the first time around. I didn’t have as much free-time back then and drinking green smoothies requires some dedication in making sure your refrigerator never lacks of the needed fruits and greens.

I’ve been on top of it now, and my body is thanking me with an energy that’s been lacking for many years.

Although I don’t plan on ever going completely raw, I do try to implement one meal a day of only raw foods. That seems to be enough for me, however, I need my green smoothie every day. I crave my greens now. This is something Ms. Boutenko mentioned in her book — the craving for greens – – which was hard for me to believe because who craves greens? Pizza, yes. Greasy french fries, now we’re talking. But dark leafy greens? Who craves those?

It turns out, I do.

I was away this past weekend with my niece and nephews, and for three days I was off my green smoothie schedule. My diet for those days lacked much of anything that could be considered “good for you” by even the most lenient of health nuts. And my body let me know it.

It’s amazing when you your body gets used to the good stuff, and then you cram it with crap, how it lets you know it isn’t happy with your food choices. I heard my body loud and clear, and it will never happen again.

Not that this means I never indulge in sweets or unhealthy foods. If I stated that, my scale would object to that statement. I just make sure I eat more of the good stuff, the green stuff, than the bad.

It turns out Chlorophyll is really good for you. Give it a try!!!!

green smoothie

If interested, here are some recipes from Boutenko’s book for some great tasting smoothies.

Blueberry Smoothie:

 

1 stalk of celery

2 cups of fresh blueberries

1 banana

2 cups of water

Blend well.

 

 

Mango-Parsley

2 large mangos (peeled)

1 bunch parsley

2 cups water

If you’d like to know more recipes, please check out Ms. Boutenko’s Green For Life. It is so worth a read.

Thanks for reading!

 

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

“Locked Inside”

I’m so pleased to have author, Annette Mori, on my blog today. She is the talented writer of the books, Out of this World, Love Forever, Live Forever, Asset Management, and Locked Inside.

Here’s an excerpt from Locked Inside, a story about overcoming great obstacles and freeing oneself from emotional prisons. But the heart of the story is about love. 

Enjoy!

Trapped Blonde Girl
Locked Inside

Awareness came slowly to me, as the blanket of fog, smothering intelligence, rolled back. I imagined an intricate spider web in my head, tangled with fine silk strands. Wonder Woman was slicing through them like an adventurer hacking through a jungle. 

I was still confused about where I was when I heard giggling. At first, I thought my sisters were invading my sacred space.

“Shhh, come in here and tell me every little detail,” a girl’s voice said.

“I don’t think we should be in here, Tammie. We’re supposed to be doing our volunteer hours, not screwing around in a resident’s room,” a different voice huffed.

I opened my eyes and a fuzzy picture began to emerge. Two strange teenage girls were huddled in the corner of a foreign room with sterile white walls. I wasn’t in my bedroom at home and I began to panic. 

It’s probably hard for people to truly appreciate the terror that I experienced at this particular moment in my life. I had no idea where I was, who these strangers were, or what had happened to me. I would later discover that I’d lost six years of my life while hovering in a semi-comatose state. They never did figure out the origin of the illness or why I went into a coma and by the time I showed any awareness, six years had passed and my family had accepted the original prognosis that I would never recover.

The tall, skinny one with red hair shrugged. “Don’t be such a tight ass, Carly.” She pointed in my direction and giggled. “She’ll never tell.”

“That’s just mean.” 

“What? She’s a vegetable, but right now she’s kinda creeping me out. Look, her eyes are open and it’s almost like she’s listening to every word we say,” the redhead blurted out.

The other one looked at me and frowned. “I think we’re upsetting her. She’s breathing really heavy now and I think she can hear us. Something is wrong. She looks terrified.”

I was trying to move my head, my arms, my legs, anything, but none of my body parts would cooperate with me. I felt my breathing quicken and I desperately wanted to communicate with them. I wanted to know where I was and why I couldn’t talk or move. 

“She does look kind of agitated, Carly. Maybe we should get your mom.”

They left the room and I tried to move my head. I managed to move it a couple of inches as I took in my surroundings. I was able to shift my eyes from side to side as I noticed a TV mounted high on the wall in the center of the room and a single bed with a simple nightstand on my right. It looked like a typical hospital room, but I wasn’t positive. In my mind, I was still ten years old and my parents were nowhere to be found. I wanted my mom. I wanted reassurance that everything would be okay.

I heard the click clickclick of heels on the linoleum floor and watched as an attractive dark- haired woman entered the room. She had a stethoscope draped around her neck and one of the teenagers followed her into the room. They had similar features and I wondered if she was the mom the redhead referred to earlier.

“I’m sorry, Mom, Tammie dragged me in here. I didn’t mean to upset the patient but she looked like she was trying to say something. Her breathing got kinda fast like she was having a panic attack or something,” the young woman confessed.

Well, that answered that mystery for me. The beautiful girl must have been the one the redhead, Tammie, called Carly. As each minute passed, I was becoming more aware of my surroundings and I was working to remember little details like the names of the young girls.

“Carly, it’s not like you to get sucked into Tammie’s harebrained ideas. I taught you better than that. Belinda is a very special case, but I don’t think she actually heard you or that you upset her in any way. She’s been completely unresponsive for nearly six years. Unfortunately, her illness caused severe brain damage.” “I know she reacted to something,” Carly insisted. “Okay, let me check her out.”

The woman grabbed her stethoscope and I felt her hands push aside my clothing as she placed the silver end on my chest. Her hands were gentle, but the stethoscope was cold and I must have had some small reaction—although it didn’t feel like any part of my body would obey.

“I’m sorry, Belinda, did you feel that?” she asked.

Carly stepped up to the bedside and I could feel her touch my hand. 

I looked down at my curled up hand, which resembled some kind of deformed claw.

“My mom’s a doctor. She won’t hurt you,” Carly soothed.

Since I wasn’t able to move any part of my body but my eyes and my head in incremental movements, I concentrated all my energy on letting them know there was someone locked inside this useless body. I wasn’t a vegetable.

“Hmmm, in all the years I’ve looked in on Belinda, she’s never reacted like this. She does respond to certain stimuli. We’ve always been able to feed her as long as someone touches her lips first. This is new, though. Her heart rate does appear to be elevated and there is definite movement in her eyes. Perhaps she is reacting to your voice.”

Yes. It was a start. I had to find a way to communicate and let them know I was aware and present. My instinct for survival and Carly’s soothing presence was enough to tamp down the initial terror I felt. Everything was still too new for me to truly experience the first stage in the grief process. That would come later and didn’t last long. I’d always been a practical child. It didn’t serve a useful purpose to deny my limitations, so I didn’t remain in denial for very long. 

Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief don’t just occur when someone experiences the death of a loved one—a significant loss in one’s life can certainly trigger that grief process, as well. I’d lost my childhood and during the next several years, I spent various amounts of time in almost every stage—denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

“Can I read to her or something, instead of the other duties the volunteers do? Please, Mom. You just said that maybe she reacts to my voice. I want to help,” Carly begged.

“We’ll see. I need to make sure that would be okay with everyone, but it may be beneficial to Belinda. I don’t want Tammie in this room though—she doesn’t have the same altruistic motives that you have.”

“Aw, Tammie’s okay, she just wanted to get the scoop on my date last night. She was way more excited about it than I was and I still don’t see what’s the big flippin’ deal. I’m not even sure I want to go out with him again.”

“Why not? Isn’t he the heartthrob of your school or something—captain of the football team and good looking by teenager standards? He seemed like a nice boy. Anyone who can put up with your father’s twenty questions can’t be all bad.”

“He is nice, but I just don’t get that excited feeling that I’m supposed to when I’m around him. It feels more like I went out with my brother. Maybe there’s something wrong with me. Tammie says the same thing—that I’m the luckiest girl in school since he picked me.”

“You have plenty of time to find the right one. I thought your dad was the biggest dork the first time I went out with him. I only went on a second date because I felt sorry for him and then he kind of grew on me.”

As mother and daughter had their little heart to heart conversation, I felt like an inanimate object. Something in the background that no one noticed unless someone pointed it out as if they were giving a tour of their house. I wanted Carly to stay and talk to me or read to me, but she left with her mother and I remained alone in an empty room void of any stimulation. I closed my eyes and tried to conjure up a mental picture of my family. I wondered where they were. The woman said I’d been unresponsive for six years. I wondered what had happened in those years. Was it only six years? Or was that merely the amount of time she’d worked here? Even if it was only six years, I was now sixteen years old. I’d already missed more than a third of my life. I had to find a way to break free of this prison because that’s what it felt like—a prison.

lisa

You can purchase Ms. Mori’s books at:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_12?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=annette+mori&sprefix=annette+mori%2Caps%2C1494

Or

http://www.affinityebooks.com

Thanks for reading!!