Feel-good Flowers

Flowers have an immediate positive effect on our mood.  How can you not smile after receiving a fresh bouquet?  Participants in studies have reported feeling less depressed and anxious with a higher sense of enjoyment after receiving flowers.

I notice that my mood picks up when I admire fresh flowers or stop to smell the flowers on trees such as lilacs.  That is why I signed up to receive a farm fresh bouquet delivered to my door starting next week from a local company called Bear’s Blooms.

Which brings me to this question…

The Victoria from Bear’s Blooms Website. Roses, Alstroemeria, Tulips and Solidago.

If you could choose to be any flower, what would you be?

I think a Sunflower.  If not, then a Daffodil.

Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from its namesake, the sun itself.

The iris (Iris xiphium) symbolizes hope, cherished friendship and valor and is the inspiration for the fleur-de-lis. A gift of iris bulbs brings hope with each returning spring.

Daffodils: These bright blooms have been named the number one flower for enhancing people’s moods. Yellow is a color that is often associated with happiness, so it comes as little surprise that a vase brimming with beautiful daffodils will instantly

from the website:   bearsblooms.com    Use code DEBBIE 5088 to get $15 off your first order.

perk up your day!

Happy Weekend Ahead.

 

SHINE ON!

Has Critical Thinking Gone Out of Style?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this lately…

piecing it all together 

Given the never-ending 24/7 barrage of breaking news arriving on our mental doorsteps these days, coupled with our jam-packed lifestyles, it’s easy to watch a newscast or read an article and simply assume that whatever the anchor or writer is saying is accurate. After all, if it’s on TV or in a newspaper, it must be true, right?

But why are we so quick to make that assumption? In part, it’s because we trust that journalists have bothered to check on the validity of what they’re being told, and are in turn reporting.

Yet despite this default trust assumption, our intuition occasionally suspects this might not always be the case, especially in this era of ideologically-filtered journalism.  

Enter the apparently lost art of critical thinking.

Ironically, I never gave critical thinking much thought until one day, many years ago, my late husband brought it to my attention.

The subject came up after I had just read something to him and was expecting an immediate response. But when none came, I was bothered by what I thought was his lack of interest, a bother which I openly expressed.  In response, he said he needed time to mull it over and to think what I had read through. Then he explained that one of the most insightful courses he ever took in university was one on critical thinking. At its most basic, critical thinking is the awareness of not assuming everything you hear or read to be accurate, and to take the time to question it before making up your own mind.

This doesn’t mean one should automatically assume everyone is a liar or that they’re out to cheat you, or sway you. Yet, nor does it mean one should blindly accept everything on face value either, even when it’s information reported by mainstream news media or claimed in government announcements. Why? Because even these sources aren’t without their own agenda (e.g. a goal to attract bigger audiences or promote certain political figures and their views).  In other words, critical thinking doesn’t just require we carefully scrutinize what we’re being told. It’s part of being a discerning consumer of information, which is key to being more socially intelligent.

Another form of critical thinking is the willingness to be self-critical — which is to say, a willingness to question one’s motives of buying into a particular perspective while at the same time ignoring other valid perspectives. 

Advice that I’m offering and taking myself: What WE ALL NEED is more evidence; fewer claims.

So, here’s the question: Are both kinds of critical thinking in short supply these days? 

Over and over again, I’m noticing how more and more people on social media are pushing their opinions in rather adamant unforgiving ways, while at the same time showing little tolerance for others’ viewpoints. So while everyone is entitled to their own views, these days, it seems that many are overly keen to push their views on you. Sure, people don’t have to see eye-to-eye on everything, and that should be okay. Yet for some curious reason, holding a divergence of perspectives no longer appears to be as “acceptable” as it used to be.

A court judge worth his/her salt will always weigh all sides of a legal argument. Why?  Because it’s an essential ingredient in the principle of justice.  In the same vein, a legal mediator always tries to be a neutral referee when trying to find a conciliatory middle ground in resolving disputes. Similarly, and by long-standing tradition, the Speakers in both Britain’s and Canada’s Parliamentary systems endeavor to remain impartial referees when mediating debates between opposing political parties, and when doing so, insist that parties remain within the limits of respectful parliamentary language. 

Yet in today’s social media, grey areas no longer seem to matter.  Instead, it’s only black or white, leaving us with 50 shades of polarity.

So, what does this imply? It implies we are losing the ability to think in more nuanced ways. It also implies we are rushing to conclusions without fully considering the merits of another person’s perspective on the situation, or fully appreciating their knowledge or experience.

And when we repeatedly act out of these kinds of default pre-judgments, or prejudices, we begin to reinforce a more narrow-minded style of “short-hand” thinking, one that takes pride and ego comfort in stereotyping and dehumanizing fellow human beings into easy-to-dispose-of categories. It’s the same thinking habit that the Nazis indulged when describing the Jews in their midst in the lead-up to the Second World War.  And history has shown us where that can ultimately lead.

I’m no expert and I have made my own share of stupid mistakes and misjudgments in dealing with all sorts of matters and people.  And like everyone else, I’ve learned my share of hard lessons through my mistakes.

Yet nowhere is critical thinking, including self-critical thinking more essential than today, especially when it comes to all we are being told about Covid-19. Our need to try to understand why someone might hold a view different from our own is part of both critical thinking and self-critical thinking (i.e. humility), because none of us should assume we know everything we need to know to navigate this, one of the greatest medical, social, economic and political challenges of our time.

Monday Mood: Color Therapy

Ever notice how certain colors make you feel?

Source: unsplash.com

From calming to invigorating and everything in between…while some just make you want to scream. Colors definitely have an effect on our mood. Maybe that’s why so many of us experience mood swings?

Remember the mood ring?  Me neither. The ring apparently changed color depending on your mood.  When it went black you knew you were in trouble. When it turned red you knew you were in love.  I mean without wearing the ring how would you know how you felt?

Well now I’m poking fun. But really, I’m looking into the psychology of color more seriously now because I want to re-paint two of the rooms in my house.  My bedroom walls because I have to, and my office space because I want to.

I’ve lived in the same house for 20 years now and in all that time I’ve only felt like changing the color in only one room – upstairs bathroom.  It was a boring neutral beige tone and now it’s not.  One wall in that bathroom is now turquoise but it works. I just found out that turquoise is associated with meanings of refreshment, feminine energy,  sophistication, wisdom, serenity, wholeness, creativity, emotional balance, good luck, spiritual grounding, friendship, love, joy, tranquility, patience, intuition, and loyalty.  Yes; I’m listening!

photo: d. king

That’s a lot of explanation for one color. And to think that I only painted it that color because I came across a small can of paint in my garage and thought “I’ll try to use this somewhere – how about my bathroom?”

All the rooms in my place are painted in the colors of the landscape and design found in the Southwest desert.  They’re all rich, warm tones.  I never tire of them.

My office space is actually a reconverted closet.  You would never know it unless I pointed that out.  Then you’d look at it again and say “ah, now I see why you have such a small workspace.”

But it’s a really good use of space because when you think about it, you only need little space to put a desk with laptop and a printer, an always hungry paper shredder and few other items. That’s the room I want to now have fun with.  Right now it’s a warm yellowish tone but I’ve recently been thinking of having it painted red, or somewhere in that spectrum.

When a spiritual sign appears in your life that is red, it usually represents that you are ready to take action on a new goal or project that you have been putting off.  How about that? I’m ready.

I’ve been checking out color therapy too for ideas. Color therapy uses these powers of color to heal, energize, and soothe us.  Let’s have fun with this.

Source: pexels.com

If you want to look into it on a deeper level here’s a link:

What Is Color Therapy, What Is It For, And Is It Right For Me?

https://www.regain.us/advice/therapist/what-is-color-therapy-what-is-it-for-and-is-it-right-for-me/

LUSCHER COLOR TEST – It might be fun to take this test:

The Luscher color test is based on the assumption the unconscious colors’ choice often reflects a person’s focus on a certain activity, mood, the most stable personality traits, and the functional human state.

https://psycho-tests.com/test/lusher-color

Monday Mood: Resolutions

I didn’t make any resolutions this year because I remember what happened last time.

Actually I didn’t make any last time either.  But I can see what happens when you do.  It can get disappointing. 

One of the most popular resolutions is to get more in shape starting January 1st.  Like making a resolution to work out more at your gym, but wait a sec…your gym is no longer open.  Or; to finally take that trip or cruise you’ve been putting off forever.  Except…notice that they’re making it a little harder to travel by air or boat these days? Or; sign up for that new course or maybe take a dance class…but we’re not allowed to sit together or touch one another.  It’s a whole new era.  One hard to get used to, and one that will hopefully change sooner than later.  Add to that, the political climate (history has a way of repeating itself but this time it’s really different) and all appears out of control

On the plus side is having to come up with alternatives and solutions.  We’re more crafty and smarter than we give ourselves credit for.  

We must take control of our own lives.  We must do our own homework and critical thinking because depending on who you talk to, you’ll get two completely different versions.

Forbes Magazine said:

“We are living in a new era dominated by Millennial hoodie-and-Converse-wearing billionaires, a world in which a staggering rate of change and disruptive innovation is the order of the day. Old-fashioned charisma is no longer enough to get attention, get ahead, or get the job anymore. Now, it’s those with the fearlessness to go after what they want and the audacity to do it how they want, who are making their mark and changing the world.”

I can’t change the world but if I could change some things about myself…

Here is my personal Wish List of outstanding attributes in a person in no particular order:

The Wit of Fran Lebowitz

The Body of Raquel Welch (circa One Million Years B.C.)

The Knowledge of Einstein

The Power of Oprah

The Talent of Meryl Streep

The Voice of Whitney Houston

The Riches of a Rockefeller (I don’t need to have as much as Bezos – a Rockefeller will do).

The Athletic Ability of Serena Williams

The Strength of Wonder Woman

The Chutzpah of Cher

The Charisma of Princess Diana 

The Style of Coco Chanel

The Chicness of Jackie O

The Coolness of Kate Moss

The Patience of a Buddha

The Tenacity of Ruth Bader Ginsberg

The Respect of – Rodney Dangerfield

How about you? 

Answer really quickly. TRY IT.  If you could have:

The Wit of

The Body of

The Knowledge of

The Power of

The Talent of

The Voice of

The Riches of

The Athletic Ability of

The Strength of

The Chutzpah of

The Charisma of

The Style of

The Chicness of

The Coolness of  

The Patience of

The Tenacity of

The Respect of

This was fun right?

We can always try to imagine what it’s like to be in another’s shoes.   Speaking of shoes:

Talk about ‘dream’ shoes

In light of everything that’s happening now (or not) my plan in the absence of going to film and wine festivals, fashion shows, restaurant openings and other gatherings, will be to focus on publishing health and beauty articles, tried and true recipes, art, fashion, culture and canine news. May the gatherings be temporarily put “on hold.”

“Unreported Truths” author Alex Berenson stated “Don’t be afraid of Covid. “ Don’t be afraid of one another.” This is a respiratory virus. It spreads between people. And the only way to make it go away permanently is to lock us all away permanently. And that can’t happen. That is not compatible with life.

Life is short.  We want to Live it!

So what’s it going to be for you?

Monday Mood: Madness

Reflecting on the current situation…

Aldous Huxley –  BRAVE NEW WORLD

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” — George Orwell 1984 (a political novel written with the purpose of warning readers in the West of the dangers of totalitarian government.)

Is it true that Illusion is sometimes all that keeps us sane? 

American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said sanity is very rare; almost every man and woman has a dash of madness every so often.

Every so often is….how frequently exactly? I think things are shifting to more repeatedly because it’s every single day we’re bombarded with actions from those that make no sense and instead of moving forward we seem to be moving backwards. Right here…right now in our lives at present we’re witnessing a lot of history making madness.

People are just starting to wake up but in the process are we becoming more careful than need be? Or are we just afraid not to offend anyone.  Because everything is coming to a head.

The Dixie Chicks have changed their name to Chicks because of the connotation of “Dixie” with slavery.  Upon hearing this a  friend of mine jokingly suggested the new name could be considered sexist.  That maybe they should consider changing it to “the Chickens?” 

  I fully understand the “black lives matter” movement because to me it’s absurd that slavery ever happened in the first place. That stands for other history making events such as the holocaust.  The insanity of control and intention of cruelty over innocent lives.

The people at the very top, the people in power, are the very same people who could have put an end to these occurrences.  So who are we to trust?  Are we responsible for blindly following the orders given by lunatics in power if we consciously know they’re in the wrong for giving them, and we for following them?  Shouldn’t we take some responsibility?

Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States held the nation together during its greatest trial, the Civil War. Lincoln believed his most sacred duty was the preservation of the union. It was his firm conviction that slavery must be abolished. 

“I leave you hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.” Abraham Lincoln

Will we ever get it right?

Has rage replaced reason?  As in…

 “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” – from the movie *Network.

This speech feels more relevant today than its release in 1976 and seems to predict the world we live in today.  A world filled with reality TV, tabloid journalism and the overwhelming direction that media in general is taking with its anything for ratings philosophy.

The Character Howard Beale played by the late great Peter Finch, gave the following speech in the film that still resonates today.

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’

Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. (shouting) You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’


To think that we can finally get it all together is unrealistic. To seek for some lasting security is futile. To undo our very ancient and very stuck habitual patterns of mind requires that we begin to turn around some of our most basic assumptions. Believing in a solid, separate self, continuing to seek pleasure and avoid pain, thinking that someone “out there” is to blame for our pain—one has to get totally fed up with these ways of thinking. One has to give up hope that this way of thinking will bring us satisfaction. Suffering begins to dissolve when we can question the belief or the hope that there’s anywhere to hide.” – Pema Chodraon “Nowhere to Hide”

I’ll leave you with this more uplifting quote:

Keep your Eyes on All that’s Good and Beautiful and Possible in the World. Because the Stories We Tell Create the People We Become.” – Jacqueline Lewis, Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone: a Journal to Reignite, Renew, and Refuel Your Life. 

*Network: The man behind the words of this powerful speech was the American playwright, screenwriter and novelist Sidney Aaron “Paddy” Chayefsky. He is the only person to have won three solo Academy Awards for Best Screenplay (the other three-time winners, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, have all shared their awards with co-writers). The trio of Academy Awards were for Marty (1955), The Hospital (1971) and Network (1976).

Have a great week!

Life after Lockdown

The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life is challenging. I’m still here. Just not feeling exceedingly motivated to write as regularly as before.  It’s okay.  Only temporary, like everything else.

I’m only beginning to get started after the relaxed pace that resulted from being in lockdown mode from a world wide pandemic that I’m sure needs no more mention.  It’s on the news every night as has been for several months.  The only thing that has trumped that (no pun intended) has been brutal police attacks, protests from black lives matter and the rioting that resulted and is still resulting from that.  Rioting that really has nothing to do with the deserving protests. Black History Month isn’t just in February, It’s year round.

There has been very little to no good news of late. Right now for me no news is good news.  I’m tired of all the negativity.  I’m sure you are too.

Regarding my blog… since my blog endures on fabulous (ha, ha) outings, fashion, food, destinations, etc… and since I haven’t been going out to events, or shopping, or restaurants or anywhere exciting, except my own home, I figured it was a good time to take a break, a good excuse a least.  But as I don’t really need to go anywhere to write, and I still have some stories to share over time…  all that’s missing is being in the right frame of mind to recount them. Not to say I didn’t have other things to take care of and focus on. For instance, my priority was my beautiful 18 year old Sheltie Jia Jia who was in rapid decline and who has since passed away.  

Regarding my Sheltie… a friend recently likened missing a companion to experiencing phantom pain – the amputation of a limb phenomenon. Instead of believing a lost limb is actually still there because its pain is felt, it’s feeling the pain of knowing all that remains is a phantom of what or who has been lost and an awareness that lingers everywhere and in anything that reminds us of them.  It takes time.

Something looks very familiar in the clouds.  Lake Loveland. Loveland, Colorado.  Don’t know who took photo.

And if that wasn’t enough, then came repairs to my home: First a roof repair due to raccoons trying to burrow into it again. Then came replacing two heavy wood beams holding up half a dozen cross-beams in my courtyard, a job made necessary by vines that had grown around those beams and that brought carpenter ants that ate them to fragmenting bits. And then came replacing my 9 year old fridge that was still under its 10 year warranty… except for the only part that needed fixing – thanks to a design flaw in the refrigerating system of this now discontinued LG model.  I couldn’t believe how an otherwise perfectly good fridge failed and had to be discarded. Such a waste! The much older fridge which was here when my late husband and I bought this place twenty years ago (and was old then) is in the garage (because I didn’t want to throw it away) and it still works!  Thank goodness because it was a life saver for a few months. The newer ones, I’ve come to realize, are built to last only so many years – presumably to keep the fridge companies in business.  I’m happy with my new fridge which is needless to say, not another LG.  Like the saying goes they don’t build things like they used to.  

I did my research on all types of fridges as I did with all my home repairs. That’s how I spent the majority of my time during lockdown.  Also because stores weren’t open and people didn’t feel comfortable coming into our homes out of fear of contacting a disease, we had to wait it out – for two months, which seemed like eternity then, but now does not.  That’s when you realize how much we’ve come to take for granted.

It’s nice to finally see restaurants and stores starting to opening up.  I’m sad to see many couldn’t make it and are out of business now.  I’ve also discovered, along with many others, that I’m in no hurry to go shopping or eat out anymore.  Only once did I go to a place very close to me to have dinner and a glass of wine.  A kind of welcome back to business evening.  My hairdresser was my first personal appointment when things opened up, though my dog Layla got groomed even before I did.  Next is the dentist.  These are a few things that were always at our fingertips… until they weren’t.  How spoiled we’ve become.

The sheer audacity of ever having to wait in line to get groceries is disconcerting.  Never in our lifetime have we experienced this sort of disruption to our society, but now we’ve all been given a little taste of what it’s like to be inconvenienced. Of course we don’t like it, and we’re not comfortable with it, probably because it makes us vulnerable.

But what if this became the new way of life? We would have to adjust and adapt. Maybe it’s a good thing we had the experience. Just enough to let us know how lucky we are when compared to what many other people must live with all the time.

There is always hope in the dark.

Rebecca Solnit in her book, Hope in the Dark: “Inside the word emergency is emerge; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters.”

Let’s raise a glass to emerging from a situation beyond our control and coming out stronger while being more aware of all possibilities – good and bad. 

Remember danger is real, but fear is a choice.

And let’s try to treat others with the respect they deserve.  

Reflections

When gifts have a loving sentiment attached to them they become more meaningful.

This arrangement full of surprises, was from Tamara, Anik & Jolie – girls in the hood.
At my doorstep. Photo: Tamara Gauthier.

Following Jia Jia’s passing I received some thoughtful cards and messages, however this special written sentiment from my dear friend Tamara really got to me on a different level.  So I thought with her permission, I’d share it. Not only is the bouquet absolutely beautiful but…

This floral arrangement was made to represent all that was Jia Jia. I reflected upon what I felt he was and meant to you and your  life together.

A clear glass vase with warm opaque colours, reflecting that he clearly gave you warmth every day.

The elements of the ocean side because it was his favourite place to visit and added to the joy he had in his life with you.

Black and white sand are the yin and yang, symbolizing being rooted together in the trough of a wave and passionately growing together .  

The rocks symbolize strength and Jia Jia being a cornerstone. He was there for you and kept you solid in hard times. 

Shells, they are a strong home for sensitive beings. Jia Jia had a strong and safe life with you. And the sea glass survives the currents. Though  its been broken, the currents soften the sharp edges and gives a new beauty. Jia Jia is the salt in the current who helped you grow with beauty in the storms of life. 

Roses for your love and passion in giving him the best life possible.

Poppies for remembering him and the gratitude you had in finding each other.

Daisies for the innocent love blended with playful youthfulness.

Thistle for his endurance and victory in staying here for you as long as he could.

Eucalyptus represents that he had to depart to the heavens from his earthly time with you and they are known to drive away negative energy.

Cards and Stones. An Angel sits next to a clear quartz – the most powerful healing stone of the mineral kingdom.
This addition to my mural was completed last summer by Kris Friesen.            Photo: d. king

 

 

Jia Jia’s (2002 – 2020) Journey

A Dog’s Tale & Trail

Exactly one week ago today I said a tearful goodbye to one of the greatest loves of my life – my canine companion, Jia Jia.

A few days before. Photo: Paul LeMay

Anyone who knew our relationship, knew how bonded we were and what a positive difference we made in each other’s lives.

When I first met Jia Jia (pronounced like jaw-jaw akin to the character in Stars Wars) I wasn’t even contemplating getting a dog.  Jia Jia was already eight years old and moved to Vancouver from Beijing two years prior.   He became my next door neighbour and literally showed up at my back door one afternoon.  I immediately felt a connection but had no idea he would become mine for keeps two years after that, at the ripe age of ten.

I noticed that Jia Jia spent a lot of time alone in his backyard so asked his owner Lynn if I could take him running with me and she said “sure.” He became my running buddy. Then when she had to travel back and forth to China I looked after him, always hesitating to give him back.

 At that time my late husband and I had a VW pop-top Eurovan camper and decided to do a road trip from British Columbia to Florida with stops along the way in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama.  I asked Lynn if we could take Jia Jia along for the ride suggesting we might be away for a couple months, and she again said “Yes.”

Jia Jia has been to the French Quarter of New Orleans, the Florida Everglades, Key West, Lauderdale by the Sea and pretty much all over Florida.  He’s been to wineries in Napa and Sonoma, all over Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico.  He spent some time in Vegas casinos, put his paw on a slot machine once and won some cash.  Talk about a lucky dog!  And it all happened before he became mine for good.

From the time he was eight until he turned ten we spent a lot of quality time together.  Then Lynn said “he’s your dog.” But I already knew that.  However I never took it upon myself to say I owned him.  He owned us. 

In all that time we only spent two days apart.  Only because a friend suggested looking after my dogs when I spent two nights at a hotel with my sister and two friends for my birthday last year.  Otherwise I was planning to take them along. 

I don’t expect anyone to understand the relationship, but I can honestly say we were surprisingly attuned to each other.  He was an amazing dog.  An old soul. The dog to set the standard for all dogs for me from hereon in.

When my husband Don got sick, he suggested we get another companion for Jia Jia.  He found Layla in B.C’s Kooteney Mountain range.  With Jia Jia in tow, we all went together to meet Layla, and they seemed to get along.  I was able to get Layla about a month after my husband passed in August 2017.  She was a great choice and kept Jia Jia young.  But of course that didn’t last forever.

Jia Jia began slowing down a year ago.  This past winter in Palm Springs he could barely walk so I bought a wagon and wheeled him around and let him out to walk a bit and do his business.  Other than that his spirit was good (my husband used to say he was the happiest dog he’s ever met) and his health was pretty good considering his age.

Then 10 days before he passed a more startling change occurred and he just wasn’t the same.  He was walking in circles and couldn’t hold himself up properly.  It was heartbreaking to watch. I waited a bit to see if there’d be a change.  He improved slightly but not significantly enough.  His quality of life had diminished and for the first time he seemed tired and sad. I had to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life, and at a time of Covid-19 no less, when our vet and all other animal hospitals were asking for doggy curb-side drop off where no one else could be in attendance at the time of euthanization.  Nor did they want to come to your home.  No way was I going to drop him off and not be there for him.

After some searching and a recommendation from Granville Island Animal Hospital, I was super lucky to find Dr. Jeffrey Berkshire (liftingstars.ca – link at very bottom). We set the appointment for the following week giving some time for the possibility of improvement.

Lama Rabton prayed for Jia Jia.

The night before Jia Jia’s passing my boyfriend Paul arranged for a Tibetan Buddhist Monk to come to my home and recite prayers for Jia Jia.  It was a beautiful ceremony normally reserved for humans. My sister was there too.  Layla kept licking Jia Jia’s face.  Still, it all seemed surreal.

Next morning Dr. Berkshire, a compassionate vet, came to my home (we wore masks) and examined Jia Jia before we made the final decision.  He suspected Jia Jia either had a brain tumor or a stroke but the only way to be sure would be to give him an MRI which meant he’d have to be knocked out and possibly not survive. He explained the few options available. So we made the final decision to have him humanely put to sleep based on his lack of quality of life and the unlikely chance he would improve.

One last slow, steady walk along the Kits Point, Vancouver Dog Beach – his favorite place. Photo: Lisa King

Dr. Berkshire was wonderful and took his time, let us have some alone time and was very gentle all the way through until the very end.  Lynn, Jia Jia’s ex-owner who had since become my friend, was here too, along with Lisa, my sister, and Layla.  We did Jia Jia’s paw prints.  I held Jia Jia while Dr. Berkshire gave him a needle and put him to sleep.  It was all very fast. Finally, wrapped in a baby blanket, Jia Jia was taken out in a stretcher to be cremated on his own.  You’re given a choice whether to have your dog cremated with other dogs or by themself. I wanted his ashes.

Jia Jia saw me through some of the best and worst situations in my life.  Always a bright light by my side to ease the pain of losing a husband and two of my closest girlfriends in the space of a year.  I don’t know how I would have handled everything without him.  It was as if he was my rock.

Layla & Jia Jia on the cast iron bench for Don outside my house. Photo: d. king  It was the day before.  He looked pretty good here.

He’s gone now, however he’ll always be with me in spirit.  It will never be the same.  It will just be different.  I miss him terribly but know in my heart it was the right decision.  I never felt it was a selfless act.  Just compassionate.  I am forever grateful to Lynn for giving me the best gift in my life, and to Jia Jia for giving me a more meaningful life.

Grief is the price we all pay for love

Photo: d. king

We who choose to surround ourselves

with lives even more temporary than our own

live within a fragile circle

easily and often breached.

Unable to accept its awful gaps

we still would live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,

never fully understanding the necessary plan…

The Once Again Prince from Separate Life Times

(Lisa always referred to Jia Jia as her little Prince)

Website for Dr. Jeffrey Berkshire:

* http://liftingstars.ca/

 

 

Please see the following link for an article published by the Vancouver Sun on February 2nd, 2018 on pet euthanasia at home:

https://vancouversun.com/life/relationships/pet-therapy-euthanasia-and-palliative-care-at-home-in-growing-demand/

simple solutions to life’s little (big) problems

How to take tar out of clothing

This is a departure from my usual posts, but life has changed and I’m learning to deal (as we all are) with life’s little mishaps.  Here’s the latest..

Let’s say you notice raccoons made a hole in your roof overnight. Why? To find a warm place for birthing their young of course. And when it happens, they have no qualms about ripping out cedar shingles and digging into your delicate pink fiberglass insulation.

What Tar looks like

Then let’s assume you call Wildlife Control (and they know you by name but nevermind that little detail) and they send a guy pretty quickly (who also remembers you but nevermind) to patch up the mess.

After that, let’s say your boyfriend decides to make it harder for the little culprits to come back (because they do) and decides to nail some wire mesh over the area most likely to be torn up (again) .

Then let’s say you aren’t aware that there was tar all over the area the wildlife guy patched up. 

You will most likely get a good laugh out of seeing the back end of the person doing the re-repair who is oblivious to what the back of his shorts looks like.  The only funny thing about all of this actually.

Worse if the pants or shorts happen to be his favorite pair.  So you quickly google how to take tar out of clothing.  Which brings me to the solution (I love finding solutions)…

  1. Soak the clothing (in this case, cargo shorts – hardly worth saving but anyway) in olive oil. Yes; that’s correct.  Olive oil softens the tar.  We used half a bottle of cold organic first-pressed but you don’t have to use the finest. Best done in a bucket you don’t care about.
  2. After at least one hour of soaking, if the tar does not come out this way (and of course it doesn’t) then you take it one step further.  You take an old cloth, dip it in gasoline (if you have a scooter handy you can just take it from the gas tank) and begin the process of dabbing the area (s) that has tar. Bit by bit, all the tar will come out.  Trust me on this. It’s a bit of work but if you want to salvage the piece of clothing, it’s what you do.
  3. Then you wash the piece of clothing on it’s own.  Do it in a machine preferably that does not belong to you, because the smell of gasoline will linger a little longer than you like.  I know about this for sure. You might want to wash the item a second time.
  4. To lose the gasoline smell completely, try airing it out in fresh air for at least a day… a week… or month after washing.
  5. But just to be on the safe side, make sure your boyfriend doesn’t go near anyone who’s smoking (a good idea at the best of times)… unless you were hoping to get rid of him in a flash. ;o)  
  6. My best solid advice would be this:  Unless this is a very special item of clothing, just go out and buy another (preferably online at this time of Covid but maybe not on Amazon).

    And Finally…..I leave you with an uplifting mask-free photo to show a bit of freedom.  But right after this was taken, the mask went back on (especially inside my place which smelled of gasoline).  Unlike Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, I don’t love the smell of Napalm in the morning.

    Photo: Tamara Gauthier