Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter

Saturday, December 31, 2005

"It is ordinary among some Plebians in the South of Scotland, to go about from door to door upon New Year`s Eve, crying Hagmane."
Scotch Presbyterian Eloquence, 1693.

The Scots celebrate the New Year’s Eve with great passion and have a rich heritage associated with this event. The roots of this are in the Protestant Reformation when The Presbyterian Church of Scotland portrayed Christmas as a catholic feast which had to be prohibited. Christmas was all but banned in Scotland for around 400 years, from the end of the 17th century to as late as the 1950s. Many Scots had to work over Christmas and their winter solstice holiday was therefore at New Year when family and friends gathered for a party and to exchange presents which came to be called hogmanays.

Ah... so that explains it, my preference for New Year's over Christmas. And here I thought I was simply exchanging the two holidays in preference to my daughter's birthday, which happens to fall on January 1. And this working Christmas part certainly rings true... I always said even when I was working at the hospital, "I don't mind working Thanksgiving or Christmas... Just give me New Year's Day."

And now for something completely different...


When I was a 'peedie bairn'... All right 'peedie ball of fur'. Anyway, as I was saying, when I was little, Hogmanay was the best time of year. When the folk of Mill Cottage put on their coats, shoved a bottle in a pocket, turned out the light and closed the door, Mother would give us the sign and we'd scamper out between the millers feet. That was before they invented a special door for us. Something they call a 'cat flap'. We recognized the signs and knew it must be midnight and time for us to visit our friends as well. 'First-pawing' Mother called it.

Our first stop was the Mill across the road just in case someone came to visit us there. Then it was on to the Boardhouse farm. We kittens especially liked to visit the farms as there were always lots of kittens for us to play with while the older cats sat around lapping from the bowl of milk that the farmer's wife set out for good luck - our good luck I'm sure. They talked about how the year and been: sunny days for naps, how many mice they caught, how big the rats were, friends that 'passed on' - adult things. We'd play with each other and then surprise Mother by jumping on her, though she didn't always approve of that. Some times the older cats would tell stories from many generations ago, like when that nasty man lived in the big house they call a palace in the village. But he isn't there anymore and the big house is all in ruins. That's what happens to you when you aren't good mother used to tell us. There were even stories about men who came in the long boats from out where the sky meets the sea and lived on the island out in the bay. But that was long, long ago. We loved to listen to the stories though we really didn't believe them. Now when I tell my own kittens those stories, I think I do believe.

Well after a nice long visit we'd stroll along the burn toward the village stopping at Walkerhouse along the way. There was a nice tabby who lived there. She was sort of shy, getting along in years and always stayed out of sight. She caught lots of mice and used to line them up on the step outside the door, hoping the folk inside would think she was one of those 'good trows' her own mother had told her old folk used to believe in. Visiting with her deep inside the barn was always fun. First we had to find the opening to the tunnel under the hay to get to the back in the corner where she lived. But she always had a little 'nip' to liven up our visit. We kittens would curl up next to her and listen to her wonderful tales of what it was like long ago. Sometimes her purring would put us to sleep and we'd dream of adventures of slaying sea dragons, catching giant rats and of seals dancing on the shore.

After tabby's visit we'd continue down the burn to the village. We never really got farther than the village that first night. Most of the cats in the village would gather by one of the houses where they were out of the wind and out of the way of the many feet that seemed to be travelling along the garden walls. By now we kittens were usually very sleepy and we could curl up in a corner in a pile while Mother visited with her many friends. Being winter and the sun so sleepy himself, visiting went on for a long time. Eventually the lazy sun would rise and everyone had to start for home again. It may be a special day, but the farmers family still had to take care of their animals. So we'd hurry back to the barn and byre to make sure any mice or rats that were around knew we were still in control.

But, times have changed. I heard the miller the other day talking to someone who had stopped in for beremeal. They were saying it's hardly worth making so much home brew any more as people don't come calling like they used to. There was to be a big party at the Hall again this year and we thought we'd go, but then all the lights went out. Don't know why people are bothered by that. We can see in the dark. Why can't they? Anyway, we didn't wait for the miller and his wife to leave. We just slipped out through the cat flap and headed across to the Mill. There were no cars on the road at all and we thought maybe we had the wrong night. No, the cat from Wattle Cottage told us, it was indeed Hogmanay. She was planning to go 'first pawing' with us and had on the strangest hat with bells and flashing red lights. "Too windy," she said as she padded back to Wattle. It wasn't long before I had to grab two of my kittens with my teeth as they were being rolled around by the wind. Cat o'Wattle was right. It was too windy for the peedie ones and back to Mill Cottage we went. So, if we didn't get to wish you a 'Happy New Year', we wish you that now.

Mrs. Levi Furblack, C.A.T.

*ariticle from a church newsletter in the U.K.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Old Poems

I've got
Stax volt armor
as insulation against
all things cold and chilly
and moods so aloof you can
cut the room with a butter knife.

And I've got neon bright
lettering on store fronts
in red and gold at the
beginnning of dusk on my way

I've got my bondings, my dogs
my cats, my favs... my purpose,
busy days and the importance
of care.

I still have music and words,
inspiration in empty trees,
hearing calls upwards in the
v-formations of geese on course;
a short road trip of sorts.

And I know sometimes
old poems don't fade away
sometimes they just abruptly

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


As though standing
somewhere else on assurance
of feeling, that notorious
spell that robs the pleasure
of simple things,
the understated,
all the subleties...
Look here, that sound
was no car on the road
it was the wind
blowing closer by degrees
an unknown new year.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Yes I said it... I'm not "politically correct" or in touch with the consensus of the masses, so maybe I should say Happy Christma-Hahnna-Kwanzika! I hope Santa is good to all of you this year.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

So I'm walking home from work tonight, near the last intersection I have to cross... and I pass this guy on the sidewalk. Even from a distance he seems to be saying something (to himself?) But as I get closer I hear he's doing some kind of rap, but its not rhyming, so it has to be a poem... a def poem, maybe. But he's all into it and keeps right on going even as I pass. Come to think of it, it sounded a little like Poetri. Who knows? What would Poetri be doing walking the sidewalks of Cherry Hill two days before Christmas? Lol!
I've been extremely busy at the Pet Shoppe the past two weeks. We've been selling dogs right and left... omg, keeping up with all those dogs! The big dogs wear me out, they're so heavy... 30 plus pounds is one thing by itself, but when the weight is unwilling to be picked up and squirming around, its another thing altogether... But I swear some of them have an extremely high intelligence. I struggled with the Akita trying to get him on the scale to get his weight recorded and when it was all over, he didn't want to come back to his cage, instead wanted me to chase him... so I threw up my hands, "I don't have any more energy left, now." And he looked at me like he knew exactly what I was saying.
From now on when I weigh the big dogs, I've decided the scale's going on the floor. It works it theory, anyway. Today the Great Dane was just as goofy as always... got her on the scale, but then she'll lean to one side. When I finally get her to sit straight, I pulled away. And she immediately fell right over, and then sprawled out on the floor for a belly rub. Geez, the longer they're there, the harder it is for me when someone finally comes to take them home. But, that's business.
There's been sinus headaches, allergies, and a bit of the flu bug going around. I think I may have had a touch of it this past week. Just a complete run-down feeling, where all I want to do is go home and sleep... and I signed on to work half a day Christmas... what was I thinking?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Breakfast of champions

When my grandma
was still alive he used to
moan and complain
(his perceived bragging rights)
on not receiving disability
he'd say
"I starved for two years."
but then
apparently not enough
he was still around
to tell about it.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Santa Lucia

The night goes with weighty step
round yard and hearth
round earth, the sun departs
leave the woods brooding
There in our dark house,
appears with lighted candles
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.
The night goes great and mute
now hear it swings
in every silent room
murmurs as if from wings.
Look at our threshold stands
white-clad with lights in her hair
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

The darkness shall soon depart
from the earth's valleys
thus she speaks
a wonderful word to us
The day shall rise anew
from the rosy sky.
Saint Lucia, Saint Lucia.

Tomorrow is December 13, Santa Lucia Day... I repost the following article by Anthony Parente...

As legend states in the city of Syracuse, on the island of Sicily, a child by the name of Lucia was born in the year 283 to a wealthy Sicilian family. As she grew older she choose to live her life like that of St. Agatha, who was a revered saint in a nearby town. With that she vowed to remain a virgin and give her possessions to the poor and needy.

Lucia, which means light, lived during the time where Christians were persecuted for their belief in God. This didn't prevent her from bringing food to the many Christians who hid in underground tunnels. To find her way she would wear a wreath with candles while carrying a tray of food. As custom would have it a suitor was chosen for her to wed, but marriage was not in her plans especially to a pagan. It was this same pagan who told authorities that Lucia was a Christian. Once they heard this they ruled that Lucia should be sent to a brothel, but this is where her will and belief in God took over. When it came time to take her she became impossible to move. Once this happened they opted to burn her at the stake, but the blazing fire did not harm her. Finally, she was struck down by the sword to the throat on December 13, 304.

Long after her death there was a great famine that spread throughout the land. In 1582 the prayers of the people of Syracuse were answered when a boat appeared in the harbor, on December 13, filled with grains. Instead of making flour from the grain they decided to boil it and eat it.

Like most saints, there is always more than one legend surrounding their life. Another legend states that she was blinded as a result of her faith, but God restored her sight. She was later persecuted for her belief in Christianity. No matter which legend you believe in, Lucia was a brave, caring and special woman whose popularity spread throughout the land. She is portrayed in many paintings holding a plate that has a pair of eyes on it. This is why she is the patron saint of the blind.

The Feast of Santa Lucia is celebrated differently throughout Italy. In Sicily they have a bonfire to commemorate her name and they abstain from eating bread and pasta. In northern Italy you will find that children leave carrots and hay for the donkey that brings Santa Lucia and her bag of gifts for the kids.

Even though Santa Lucia is the patron saint of the city of Syracuse, Sicily she is probably more celebrated in the country of Sweden. The legend of Santa Lucia made its way to Sweden by missionaries and seamen who passed through Italy. Like the miracle of the boat in the city of Syracuse a similar fate happened to the people of Sweden. During a terrible famine a boat filled with food was spotted sailing across Lake Vannern. At the helm was a woman dressed in white with a glow above her head. It was believed that Santa Lucia had come to save them from the famine.

Tradition has it that the oldest daughter in the family will wear a white gown, a red sash and a crown of lights. She will then carry a tray of lussekatter, pepparkakor and coffee to her parents. If there are any boys in the family they may be dressed in the traditional starboy costume, which is a white gown with a cone shaped hat that contains gold stars. In addition to the family traditions there are many parades held throughout the country. They also have a Lucia competition, which has young women from all over trying to be crowned Santa Lucia.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Everyone has their memories, their recollections. A lifetime ago, really... the span of time is actually a lifetime. A generation. And its funny how you can gauge events in your own life in terms of "before" and "after." Why? Because Lennon's death was so much a turning point, at least it was for me. Why? Because from then on, nothing was ever quite the same again. Something more than a human life was lost that night. Whatever you'd want to call it. A spirit snuffed out too early, a collective dream unrealized, a sense of innocence stolen by a madman's gun. And if even if it wasn't lost completely, a major part of it was left damaged. Gone missing. All because of some messed up attention seeker. After 25 years, it still hits hard.
I was working third shift at a printing company in the south at the time... and we had all just clocked out for lunch. And after some time in the break area, some guy (a known practical joker) came back in from outside. "Hey I was sitting in my truck just now listening to the radio... somebody just shot John Lennon. Yeah they just shot his lights out." This guy was laughing, I looked up and saw him sitting there at the next table looking very smug and pleased with himself with a smirk on his face. I remember thinking - God... this is pretty morbid, even for him. So I'm telling everyone at my table, "Don't listen to him, he's making all this up." I was so sure of it, not a doubt in my mind that this was just another one of his bad jokes. Imagine my shock when I got home that morning, and it was all over the news, nearly every channel. My jaw just dropped... "Oh my God, its true." I remember that feeling.. it came with a chill and the realization that nothing would ever be the same.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Well the storm came and went, leaving behind a few inches of the white stuff... the roads weren't all that bad, since they were out most of yesterday with the salt trucks. It's been cold but not unbearable... Just wait till it gets down to the single digits and stays there.

Not a lot of new goings-on today. I think we're all waiting for the mad rush to hit along more towards Christmas. It should be interesting all the way around.

I came across a little article in the local paper the other day. I've been keeping an eye out for current news on the West Jersey Animal Shelter and I thought I'd share it with you here.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Alms For A Bandit

The world outside
is a snowglobe
well past dusk with the dust
collecting lightly on
everything below,
privacy fences, patios, tables
and benches... The hood of that
red Mini-Cooper from under which
a solitary shape ventures
in search of table scraps
from a rusty barrel fifty feet away.
So here's to the unmistakeable
masked one, chilled to the bone and
stealth-logged through intent stillness
of a late night landscape of
exhausted iron giants at rest.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

This morning marks the first actual snow of the season here in the east. When I go outside I can still hear the edges of crystalization hitting the surface or colliding with each other in mid-air. It won't last long, its scheduled to turn to rain later on in the day. But the major one will be here Monday night... That should be an interesting trek to work Tuesday morning. At least I'll be able to say I can always get to work, I won't be dealing with skidding into a ditch and getting stuck along the way, haha. Only thing I have to worry about is being the pedestrian getting hit by an out-of-control driver who's unable to stop. Other than that, it should be fine!

I stayed up late last night to watch SNL, my daughter said I had to watch for the host, Dane Cook... I caught most of it then fell asleep sometime after the Weekend Update. It goes with the territory of being such a morning person, I guess.

The Pet Shop has been busy, at least it was yesterday. We sold both Labs, and the Shih-tzu... the labs went home together, which I'm glad for, they're from the same litter and it just seemed an added bonus to keep them together. However, they must have been anticipating the change in scenery and schedule, and the resulting nervousness made them a little more productive in the plumbing dept. Translation: they were two of the most shittin-est dogs I've seen since I've been working there.

Well the holidays are fast approaching. I'm sure there are loads of you out there more ready for it that I am. Its all kind of snuck up on me this year. I am doing my baking this weekend though... That means if you're on my list, you'll be getting a cookie package soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rock and Roll rants and a Daily Grind

Last night their new video showed up on some MTV countdown, and I thought: Well, I'll give them one more chance at redemption... The song started out decent enough. But then the lead singer opened his mouth and that awful, unnatural sound came out. I couldn't turn the volume down fast enough. Can you guess by now it was Coheed and Cambria? That was just wrong... Damm...

One of our cats, Pablo has sinus alergies and has been sneezing up a storm lately, very productive sneezes. Last night I dreamed I was awakened by one of his sneezing fits, that ended up all over what it was he happened to be facing at the time. That's just wrong... Damn...

A little stressful at work these past few days, what with Black Friday and a healthy dose of hostility from one of the relief kennel techs. I've been getting nice little notes of complaint from the day previous - I didn't tell her that one of the dogs is getting different food. Really I can understand the concern about that, I'll have to remember to forward those messages from the beginning of the week, since she's only working weekends. But the other stuff... I left some mop water in a bucket and she had to dump it... the dirty towels were backed up. Actually they were clean but not dry (because the dryer takes so long... I left bowls of food in some of the cages (because some of the animals were'nt finished eating.) Apparently this causes more work for her, and I might be able to see the annoyance if these were things I continually do, but to cause such a stink about it the first time it happens is a little trivial, I thought... I guess its a never mind about all the stuff I did do, which has a higher priority, in my opinion. Other than that, it's been going ok... very busy yesterday afternoon especially... the season is in full swing. We've been showing dogs right and left. Always a good thing. A lot of them have been going home. It's kind of sad though, especially if its one of them that's been there a while - but that's business.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The season of uber commercialism has snuck up on us again, folks... Today is Black Friday so let's all get out there and spend money we don't have on things we don't need... and don't forget to be as annoying as possible and rude to each other in the process. That goes double for all you retail clerks out there as well.. wouldn't want you to miss out on all the fun, now would we?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Let This Be A Memory

Between what is right and what is easy
let the feeling pour like steam from
my coffee mug, let steps apart fall out
to chill the lateness of morning

where a quarter-filled parking lot
manages to settle under the naked branches
of one tree, the full dying coat of another.
Where is purpose for the day?

Should there be anger at the core of this
near tangible psychic onslaught channeled
through the eve of exhaustion, that may be
intentional though chance has proven before
it is not.

Let it go then, exist for its own sake, let
it turn in on itself eventually burning
out to its holder's relief,
this pitiful timing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I have a question for all you folks out there in the stratosphere, blog-o-sphere, or just within reading distance of this post.

If there was a disaster in your area and you had to evacuate, and the local authorities told you that wherever you're going your pets wouldnt be accepted.... would you leave your pets behind, stay with them, or try to sneak them in with you anyway?

Apparently there are still hundreds of unclaimed pets from New Orleans in shelters and foster programs. I happened to catch an excellent show on PBS last night on the huge animal rescue operation caused by hurricane Katrina.
Katrina Animal Rescue

Just thought I'd pose the question, I'd be interested to know what the opinion is from different areas around the country. And just for the record... I could never bring myself to leave any of my pets behind to fend for themselves.

Friday, November 18, 2005

There's one in every crowd, some lawsuit-happy, bible-thumping voice of authority who thinks he's doing the world a service by quibbling over necessary measures. This time its an evangelical Christian high school civics teacher who's teamed up with the ACLU to fight Tampa Bay's NFL security policy to pad down sports fans upon entering the stadium. He claims this is an extreme violation of his Constitutional rights. http://www.tampatrib.com/FloridaMetro/MGBKXEVWREE.html
I would like to know the consensus of opinion among you folks out there... Remember, these are much different times than when the Constitution was first drawn.

Too politically correct? I say kudos to the makers of American Girl dolls, who've designed their toys to reflect a collective role of women in history and culture... all the way up to the present day, including this newest flak - addressing the abortion issue. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/11/16/earlyshow/main1046828.shtml?CMP=OTC-RSSFeed&source=RSS&attr=TheEarlyShow_1046828
This is reality. The times, they've already changed.

Has anyone been following the news about the two Pennsylvania teens who were caught in Indiana after the boyfriend had killed the girlfriend's parents?

T.O. and the Eagles. Don't get me started! What a jerk, enough said.

The weather here has turned bitter... Oh I supposed in all reality it's not that bad, but when you consider the temp was 70 two days ago and now down to 20, it can certainly seem that way... the wind was a little brisk on the way to work yesterday morning. I just have to remind myself that last winter, I treked 45 minutes to work every morning in sub-zero conditions... Hey, I did it then, I can do it now. Lol!

Work is going good... I love my job. I repeat, I love my job! :D I've gotten the routine down pretty well by now, and look forward to the start of the day when I can wish each puppy and kitten a "good morning!" Don't get me wrong, it's still very much a challenge but at least now I know pretty much what the hell I'm doing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Behind Clouds or Fog

I'm waiting for words
to tumble down from the sky
along with the forecast of rain.

And while the leaves are
lifting from trees like birds
fleeing on the wind from the
unspoken threat of a harsh

the breeze here still unseasonably
warm, as strong as it is...
stars are visible, intermittant
behind clouds or fog.

What is there to think of
at 4 a.m.
before coffee, while waiting
for that dark aroma that never

Hazy mind this early in the half-light
of a balcony taking in the refreshing
wind of this mid-November, too warm
undercover, half asleep yet unable
to sleep, and I welcome the coolness
of here...

What goes through your mind while staring
at the flowers I still call my mother's
geraniums 'cause that was her thing -
marveling at how they've survived so
late in the season, still blooming new
some two months beyond the anniversary
of her death.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Lifting the shadows that once
hid his face so completely from
my eyes, I'm still thankful
at what's been shown, still
struck in wonder at those
things tucked away so deep.

What longing he brings when
he glides into my vision
at night, stepping seamless
through my dreams guiding
them along the way with
his breathing
full of sleep beside me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Where the sliver moves through trees
even streetlights cannot overpower
its presence...

You can wait until dark
to capture something rare
from the breeze that surrounds you,
where something silver moves
through trees.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I woke up a bit later than usual this morning.. and I still feel a little sleepy but restless at the same time, as if I'm forgetting something I need to do right away.. Maybe its anticipation for the new position, starting Tuesday. I want to do well, but nervous that I'll fall behind during the day for some reason.. I know that'll make for an even longer day, but I wouldn't want to leave until everything is done...

I'm glad I don't live in Philly; the Septa (public transit) workers had a major falling out with the company, and walked out. They've been on strike since Halloween, and from the looks of things, it could go on like this indefinitely. So you have people who normally depend on the busses, elevated rails and subways to get to work and school, chaotically scrambling to get where they need to go... rememinds me of that commercial where some Rasta guy's stuck in traffic...
"Aw, mon... it is to-taal gridlock!"

The weather here this weekend has been incredible, a nice Indian Summer. A little fog earlier this morning, but burning off quickly. And I can see a lot of people have been taking full advantage of the weather, it's been so nice. Yesterday we walked down to Target for household stuff and it was really good to be able to relax and take time to enjoy the trip there, not rushing to get out of the chill. Also picked up some extras... found some neat little socks, with cat designs... reminds me of dun laoughaire, lol. Robert picked up a couple of flannel shirts, and I found a pair of nail clippers for the cats. Got home and tried them out first on Pablo, one paw at a time. Somewhere inbetween he tried his usual trick of jumping, then hanging on the balcony screen door, and we noticed he was only hanging by one foot, unable to get a grasp with his other. Robert thought he was swatting at one of the ladybugs that have recently made their annual appearance... but the truth is he just couldn't grip like before. So that effectively puts an end to him destroying the screen, lol.

Last night we put in a DVD of Korn live at CBGB's, totally amazing. I had forgotten how much I used to like them... still do, really. A piece of music history, not everybody gets to play there, especially nowadays, when I hear the owner wants to tear it down... After that we put in a Thrice DVD from back in August.. interviews mostly and a few songs... I sadly admit I fell asleep in the middle of it. Some habits are hard to break, I guess... I was just extremely tired.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Shades of Changing Seasons

These geraniums still bloom red
and honey bees circle the rim
of my coffee cup even now as the
orange and jaundiced gold signal
change, mingle with those many
unrelenting still hangin' out
with the ones who think they're
still fresh, with all the time
in the world.

These days approach like some
reverse El Nino;
just as I round the corner
they are heard before seen,
gathered at their favorite
meeting place in the parking lot
of a nearby furniture outlet...

If I could interpret Goose-speak
they would be discussing the easiest
path of migration, "should we prove
uber-motivation and actually fly, or
wait till they open up this place and
demand a discount on one of those
magic carpets imported from India?"

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The weather here has turned chilly the past couple of weeks, so everybody's breaking out their winter coats. I've had my eye on a peacoat since I saw the movie Boondock Saints, and was able to find one on pre-season sale at the end of the summer (half-off, too.) Now that I'm wearing my "Boondock" peacoat, I feel like I should be hangin' a rosary on the wall whenever I come home. I guess you'd have to see the movie to know what I'm talking about, lol.
First day of Kennel Tech training at work yesterday... went great. There's a lot to keep busy with, still a lot to learn, but I'm confident that I'll get the hang of it all soon. I"m really gonna like this, which happens to be something of a dream job for me. I've wanted to work with animals, in some capacity for years now.
Halloween is just around the corner, this Monday. I've already posted my annual blurb from the ASPCA about protecting your pets around the holidays. Always a good reminder. And also, to you partiers out there... Have fun, but keep yourselves safe. And as always, If you're drinkin' don't drive.
Oh, and don't forget to set your clocks back an hour tonight, wouldn't want to miss that extra hour of sleep that comes in the fall, now would we?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Attention, companion animal caretakers! The ASPCA would like to call your attention to these common-sense cautions that’ll help keep your pets safe and stress-free this time of year.

1. Please don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween. There are plenty of stories of vicious pranksters who have teased, injured, stolen, and even killed pets on this night.

2. Keep your outdoor cats inside several days before and several days after Halloween. (P.S. It’s also our duty to remind you here that kitties are healthiest and happiest when they live inside ALL year round!)

3. No tricks, no treats: That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Sammy. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for dogs and cats, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume can cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe or bark. Keep a look out for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that your pet could choke on.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not obstruct her vision in any way. Even the sweetest animals can get snappy when they can't see.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and become lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip increase the chances that he or she will be returned to you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

have good news... No, I didn't save a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

The good news is I'm to be the new kennel tech at the pet shop. The hours won't be the same, I'll come in an hour earlier than I do now - which is alright by me, I didn't much like coming in so late anyway (9 o'clock). Hell, I'd come in at 5 if that's what they wanted, lol. But it'll be the same amount of hours, different days off.. I'm really happy about this

It's turned out very chilly today, and we have some heavy rain tonight through tomorrow morning. I guess it feels official, fall is definitely here. Some of the trees have started to turn. What's really surprising though, is that the portulacas (sp) and geraniums we planted last spring are still blooming. Well enough days like this and they'll finally submit to the weather. They're both extremely hardy plants, especially the portulacas. They overtook everything in the planter, crowding them out till they died from lack of sun. Very aggressive... must be a Type A personality hybrid.

I'm on chapter 2 of The Fiery Cross (Diana Gabaldon) which is some 1400 pages long... I'd say I still have quite a ways to go on this one yet. It's the latest in my favorite series of books... it just seems to me the story has something for everybody. Part historical fiction, some time travel, romance, humor, myth and legend, a bit of the occult, drama of course... All the books in the series are a great read. So if you ever get the chance, pick up the first one, Outlander. I can almost guarantee you'll be hooked.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Up To A Theory

Half the moon is visible
above the overhang
and all things celestial
have come out of hiding,
at least those that are known;
in anticipation of El Dia de
Los Muertes, perhaps on that
day the doors of perception
will have emptied these houses
and buildings of skeptics
where science utters proof
that religion can co-exist
and harmonize spatial tones
with a sequence of numbers
all pointing up.
Are we not alone, here..
Not alone, really. Never were.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I see them above the trees
pointed out nearby. Rare,
an occasional appearance
and I draw in a breath,
unaware of holding it
each time.

Anywhere the wind goes
hawks can glide without
boundary, lift on updrafts
and their own dreams.

What others could be had
possessing full extension
of a wingspan and knowledge
of undiluted freedom.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Congratulations to the Metrostars who are now in the MLS Cup Playoffs!! Well I think Meola carried this game... what was it, 14 saves? Come on, where WAS everybody? He deserves MVP for all that. Anyway... Way to go, Meola! And let's hope the rest of them do some actual playing next time.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

One For The Emo Kids

I want you to take your right hand
extend it out in front of you
then sweep behind your left shoulder
and give yourself a nice little
pat on the back
'cause it takes a lotta skill to
come up with things like,
"I can't wait to see that new movie
'The Fog' by that new screenwriter
Steve Cain." Or "Yeah, 'The How'
got back together just to record that
song for CSI." And "Well.. I'm thinking
'bout quittin' Xanga 'cause nobody ever
leaves me comments, therefore nobody
cares if I live or die."

So much skill that no one else can dare
claim the poor mystical, misunderstandable
hype any better than you.

Wonderful the nights I see you all in your
pimped out rides on your way to the Grenada
with all your club friends to drive drunk home
but for now I'd just like to say
your mommy and daddy still have a nice car
and I'd just bet
they'd like to keep it that way.

Welcome to the real world
Put your right hand behind your left shoulder
pat yourself on the back good for all the
live show attendence - because not everyone
can do as well on a part-time salary, boast
the CDs and all the must-haves in your life
like food and a place to live.
Like food and a place to live...
Accomplishment notwithstanding, no one in
the world can float from friend to friend
and back again quite like you.
I brought home a nifty little toy for all my buddies last night... A laser pointer I happened to pick up at the Pet Shoppe where I work. Well all three of them were immediately hooked on this thing. I had them all chasing it around the corner at one point, it was a stampede of cats. Remembering how I used to get Ozzy (a cat I had a few years ago) to chase a laser halfway up the wall, sure enough, I got the baby Pablo to do the same thing. Robert had some fun with it too, had Pablo making a circle through the kitchen and dining room several times. Sock, who's usually on a level above playing with toys, couldn't resist this one... and even Big Taz got in on the chase. I've never seen him move that fast before. Ever. We had to stop after a while, Pablo had taken to panting so we thought he'd better be given a rest. He's got a bit of congestion in his sinuses.

Well its finally stopped raining today, after it being so wet and drizzly all week... makes for a good weekend. Its still gonna be chilly but at least the sun will be out. And this morning the wind was picking up and blowing some of the cloud cover off so I was thankful I could sit out on the balcony with my coffee before daylight and finally see the stars again. Sometimes I feel I do my best reflection out there, at that time of day.

TV schedule has changed a bit, now they're showing all the Survivor reruns on Wednesday nights - That's 3 full hours of Survivor, but still allows for time to catch up on reading, hopefully. I'm still in the middle of the Bono biography. What's next? I'm wanting to get to the next Diana Gabaldon book in the Outlander series. That is sooo my favorite story to this day. And another one Robert picked up for me, The Life of Pi, as well as The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe (I've never read that one.) Whew, that's already a pretty long list.

Pet Shoppe has been busy lately..well always busy for me, but doing a good business. Even more as it'll get closer to Christmas. Every once in a while they'll offer a kitten free with purchase of a starter kit... well last week they had one such offer, a female tabby, who was in the back room for a good part of the week... so starved for attention, all by herself. I kept going up to the cage and talking to her, and she'd put that paw out between the bars. Awww... so one day another employee heard me tell her "If I didn't have so many cats already, I'd take you home with me tonight." Well, he replied - "I should name her Jello, cause there's always room for jello." That just about decided it it for me... but the next day, she was gone and nobody knew what happened to her. I finally found out one of the customers came and picked her, took her home. Well at least she's not by herself after closing anymore.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pre-dawn chilly with a blanket between us and the stars
which have slipped under thermal dark and gliding,
fallen to the surface in the form of rain...

And it's gonna be raining the rest of this week. I had a good weekend, Robert did too, getting two days off work in a row. I'm really hoping he'll be able to take more days off like that. We were even discussing some vacation days when it comes time,since now he'll be able to do that. But after so long working 7 days a week, it's hard to drag yourself back after a break like that... it tends to make you wish you had more days to do with what you like. Hopefully he'll get at least a few more before the holidays hit at the bakery.

Me, I'm still at the Pet Shoppe, and loving my job. Even when it means dealing with a few angry hamsters and at least one or two excitable, hyper ferrets. The owners have built a huge cage for the snakes in the small animal area where I work (also since its where we breed the rabbits, guinea pigs etc. it's aka the breeding room). And over the weekend have brought a couple of boas they were keeping at home. For the record, I'm not messing with the cage at all unless I absolutely have to, lol.

Hockey pucks! There's a game between the Flyers and Maple Leafs tonight... Let's watch!
We've also been watching a show on Monday nights called Surface, the past several weeks... has anyone caught this one by any chance? That with Hockey, Survivor reruns, Survivor Guatemala, and HBO's series, Rome, the TV watching has been a full schedule lately.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Just a little observation... I caught him on the computer the other day... Lord only knows what's he's writing or looking up online... Just hope I don't get a bill for a year's worth of catnip or hundreds of dollars worth of toys or something like that. He keeps threatening to call Annemarie Lucas from the Animal Cops show on cable and report me for keeping him awake during his naptime.. thought I'd better admit to it now before he tries to blackmail me with this info... but turnabout is fair play, I always say; especially when he's waking me up at 4 am every morning to chew on my earrings, the ones I happen to be wearing at the time.

In other news, I watched my first ever hockey game the other night on TV. The Rangers and Flyers, (too bad Philly lost). But I have to say I really enjoyed it. Although... I was feeling a bit claustrophobic watching the game unfold in that tiny little enclosed space. Not at all like the MLS in that respect, where there's a huge outdoor field to play on. And I was even able to follow the puck, something I thought I'd have trouble with. There's a game on tonight, I think its the Devils and Flyers this time.. Let's watch!

Kind of a sad note in the MLS.. Preki, one of my favorite players of all time (Kansas City Wizards) will be retiring at the end of the season... Need I mention that because of ESPN2 favoring college football over Soccer Saturday, I never once got to watch a Wizards game all summer? Damn you ESPN2, damn you to hell! I should have realized American Football still rules. Grrr...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Does anyone know what time it is? No, not Howdy Doody time, and certainly not Tool Time. Check the time, it's check time as the new Hockey season begins tonight. The ad promos on TV are in full swing, and Robert's really excited about the whole thing, since last season none of the teams were on the ice from the strike. Even I'm getting excited about it, and I've never watched hockey in my life. Either it has something to do with how ESPN2 ended up totally ignoring Soccer Saturday early on in favor of tennis... golf... college football. Curses to you, ESPN2 for denying me my Wizards! But something new to look forward to, this strange pastime, Hockey. Robert's got the jerseys ready to wear for game night, even I'm wearing a Flyer's shirt for watching the game. This could be a whole new world opening up, lol.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


It doesn't matter if the ink is
black or blue, the purple rose of
a sunset or gray of sky wrapping
itself around a twister.
Doesn't matter if you can read
between the lines...
"funnel cloud?"
because sometimes what matters most
is what you can feel with the weight
of words adding to the cadence of
rythm, an echo of a 12-string playing
both along with and against itself,
all built to a grand scale
from the ground up
the way last night's session
made me want to listen and then
speak with a voice so universal,
one that carries across the board
with nothing of the trivial mine-mind-break
with all things of a personal veritable flow...
that "I-Me-Mine" of me with sensivity only
on my own pulse.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Kat Kan Du

She was an apparition
at the sliding glass door
so difficult to see, save
for others of her kind, one
who alerted me only by a lone
lowest quiet of growls from
a distance, separated by walls.

The sound travelled in the
perfect solitude of a morning
still unawakened by sunrise;
she was there in the chill,
in the dark visiting neighbors
balcony to balcony, who didn't
quite know what to make of this
social call.

Friday, September 30, 2005

A Change In The Weather

In the hope that inspiration finds
me again, lasts longer than the
hour it takes to watch actors spout lines
and sprout wings, soar free on the airwaves
like hawks or eagles
who simply unfold wings for a glide upon
seconds toward minutes at a time.

Scan it all clean again with the upcoming
chill in the air that's arrived already,
I've seen with the clouds moving on the
wind in stop-motion anime.
Its there with the wearing of afternoon
reflection, these ice crystals that speak
so soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer
Posted on Wed, Sep. 28, 2005

How to save people? Save their animals
Katrina lesson: Evacuees won't leave pets.

By Jeff Shields, Inquirer Staff Writer

For decades, disaster evacuation plans had strict priorities for people and pets. Move the humans first, worry about the animals later. Recent storms had eroded that maxim, and Katrina has blown it down.

After New Orleans residents died because they wouldn't abandon their pets, emergency planners from across the country began embracing a new reality: They can best save people by saving animals, too.

"We've always assumed that pets would be left behind," said Thomas Sullivan, Montgomery County's director of public safety. "But it's unrealistic to think we're going to be able to force people, in great numbers, to do something they're not going to want to do."

Katrina's message was not lost on Galveston, Texas, where officials evacuating the city in the face of Hurricane Rita allowed residents to take their pets with them on escape buses - a marked contrast to the New Orleans policy.

In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, officials started to plan for animal evacuations last year, but Katrina has focused their efforts.

They are in the vanguard of 16 states now assembling veterinarians, animal experts and laypeople into voluntary, county-based rescue teams that would evacuate and shelter animals during a disaster.

Some U.S. lawmakers and animal advocates are now saying the federal government needs a plan, too.

Katrina "has really shined the spotlight on the absence of a federal policy on animal rescue and relief during disaster," Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said in an interview from Gonzales, La., where the Humane Society is operating what it describes at the world's largest animal shelter at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

Other animals have been brought to a shelter in Baton Rouge, where the animals can live adjacent to a shelter for their owners.

But thousands of animals were left behind, and packs of newly wild dogs now roam the wreckage of New Orleans.

On Thursday, five U.S. congressmen introduced a bipartisan bill that would mandate states and municipalities to provide evacuation plans for pets and service animals, such as guide dogs, in order to qualify for FEMA funding.

Also, Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) and Sen. John Ensign (R., Nev.) have asked President Bush to appoint an animal rescue czar for Katrina. That has not yet happened.

It was Hurricane Floyd in 1999 that inspired North Carolina to create the first State Animal Response Team. That storm killed 2.3 million chickens, 30,000 hogs and 800 cattle.

During Hurricane Ophelia this month, three of the state's coastal counties set up shelters to house pets before the storm hit.

North Carolina also has plans to provide emergency generators for feeding and ventilation systems for large farms. Meat-processing plants are even on call to speed up animal processing rather than have livestock lost to a storm and rotting carcasses become a health hazard.

The New Jersey Animal Emergency Working Group, a coalition of government and private organizations, recognized early on that many humans will not leave their homes without their pets, said Nancy Halpern, New Jersey state veterinarian.

Or, if they do, they will try to return to their animals before it's safe, she said.

"Our [evacuation] plans say do not leave your pets behind," said Halpern.

But turning the idea into an implementable plan has been difficult. The Red Cross, the chief sheltering resource for people, does not allow pets in its shelters.

"Humans come first - we understand that," said Halpern. "Essentially, what we've done is establish a parallel path to the human response."

That means Camden County could provide separate buses for pets and their owners. Montgomery County in Pennsylvania could use a portable corral to shelter cows from Fox Chase Farm, a working farm and educational center in Northeast Philadelphia. People staying at a local high school might use the maintenance shed to house their pets.

In this region, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties are now forming County Animal Response Teams. Camden, Gloucester and Burlington Counties are also developing plans. Delaware County has no team yet.

Philadelphia's team, which is still organizing a plan, will have to account for pets, carriage horses, laboratory animals and the thousands of animals at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Joe Buttito is the Animal Response Team coordinator for Bradford County on Pennsylvania's northeastern border with New York, one of the few in full operation.

His team was deployed on April 2 when flooding of the Susquehanna River killed a number of calves and left four dogs and a cat in need of shelter.

Now he is working out of the Humane Society shelter in Gonzales and venturing into New Orleans every day to save pets with an organized rescue team.

Last Monday, he was sweating inside a trailer in Gonzales, assessing animals as they came into the shelter at the end of his eighth day on the ground. That day he had 30 dogs, 20 cats, a Burmese python, and a cockatiel on hand.

Those animals will be photographed and tagged, many of them implanted with an identifying microchip, and their information put on the Web site www.petfinder.com so their owners can find them.

Without forgetting the human safety factor, Buttito said he has been overtaken by sympathy for the plight of the confused, frightened, emaciated animals, and said emergency preparation starts at home.

"I would hope, in the future, that people have a plan for evacuation," he said.

Jeffrey Hamer, a veterinarian for the state of New Jersey who was responsible for organizing the county response teams, returned last week from the Mississippi Coast.

He was struck by the people who had lost everything but found joy in a pet's salvation.

"The house I can replace, everything I can replace," he recalled hearing, again and again, "but this is the most important thing to me."

Contact staff writer Jeff Shields at 610-313-8173 or jshields@phillynews.com.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

This was posted in the pet store where I work... So if you live in the South Jersey area, here's your chance to help our four-legged friends.

Hurricane Katrina Relief
Please Help The Pets

Thousands of animals are living in makeshift shelters separated from their owners who have died or were evacuated, leaving their pets behind. These animals will need housing and medical attention for several months. Your local veterinarians are going to the Gulf Coast to assist and relieve emergency volunteers in the disaster area.

Many of you want to help but don't know what you can do. Every one of us has some of the following items:

Collapsable kennels/crates
Leashes & collars
Food bowls
Pet toys
Sterile bandage tape and gauze
Rubbing alcohol
Bottled water (cases only please)
Large plastic garbage bags
Rolls of paper towels

The Rothman Animal Hospital will be collecting these items until Wednesday, September 28th. They will be hand delivered the first week in October, through Rural Area Veterinary Services (A division of the Humane Society of the United States)

Please pack similar items together and clearly label what is in each package.

Any questions, please contact 856-655-1787

Thank you in advance for your generosity

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Within a realm of orange sky and blue pen your case is collectively stated daily and I, with my myriad blocks scary as any blank page have nothing worthwhile to say. Or do I? So I go on some quest, some mission to find an opening statement. A daily goal to write something, anything. To post or not to post is the question of the moment. And aye; therein lies the rub of a lifetime, a self-erasure of sorts. What a conglomerate of self-defeat this would be... Or would it?

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Katydid place a call in the middle
of the night from the rooftops
and the trees.
From the trees and rooftops,
be-boppin' scat to the background
of a distant drum that's always
on the way over the horizon
but never arrives.
Katydid place a call to rival
the sound of a thousand mutated
crickets as the moon glides low
enough to hide under the tallest limbs.
And somewhere fingers are pointing,
somehere truth can trickle down
like receding storm lines in a million
different stories with a million
different endings, the ones that say
death is a way of life, the ones telling
you to interpret the concept as change.
Chris Penrod, speaks to the media on behalf of her sister, Madeleine Pickens, wife of oil tycoon Boone Pickens who funded a flight carrying 150 cats and dogs displaced by Hurricane Katrina to San Francisco International Airport, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2005, as the animals are released to animal rescue workers in San Francisco. This first installment of rescued animals is part of a collaborative efforts of Continental Airlines, PetRelocations.com, and the Marin and Sacramento Humane Societies. (AP Photo/JuliePlasencia)

I made a special point to watch "Heroes of Hurricane Katrina" on Animal Planet last night. It wasn't in the listings, although it was airing previews all last week.. My guess is that they put it together in a rush to get it aired - and they did a great job with it. You really have to hand it to those people - and there were tons of them - who dropped everything to come and help with pet rescues. I feel so bad for all the ones who didn't make it, and the owners who'll never see their pets again. But even with all the ones who died, there are so many of them that were reunited, and still are. Thank God for all the happy endings to make up just a little for the sad ones.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I found this video on CNN... it seems to best illustrate that most folks view their pets as important as their kids.

Humane Society Animal Rescue

Friday, September 09, 2005

This is what I'm talking about, this is how we look to the world. Doesn't this bother you?

By Andrew Gray
LONDON (Reuters) - The world has watched amazed as the planet's only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society.

World leaders and ordinary citizens have expressed sympathy with the people of the southern United States whose lives were devastated by the hurricane and the flooding that followed.

But many have also been shocked by the images of disorder beamed around the world -- looters roaming the debris-strewn streets and thousands of people gathered in New Orleans waiting for the authorities to provide food, water and other aid.

"Anarchy in the USA" declared Britain's best-selling newspaper The Sun.

"Apocalypse Now" headlined Germany's Handelsblatt daily.

The pictures of the catastrophe -- which has killed hundreds and possibly thousands -- have evoked memories of crises in the world's poorest nations such as last year's tsunami in Asia, which left more than 230,000 people dead or missing.

But some view the response to those disasters more favorably than the lawless aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"I am absolutely disgusted. After the tsunami our people, even the ones who lost everything, wanted to help the others who were suffering," said Sajeewa Chinthaka, 36, as he watched a cricket match in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

"Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Buy this book... to help Katrina victims. Because the hurricane was more devastating than anyone thought it would be, because it will take years to rebuild a normal life for the thousands left with nothing, because a family pet is truly a family member and because its the only way I know to help, I'm donating my sales from this book for the rest of 2005 and all of 2006 to the American Red Cross and the ASPCA. You can order it from Barnes and Noble retailer, or online at http://www.barnesandnoble.com. You can also order online from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com and through the publisher at http://www.publishamerica.com

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane ReliefDonate NowVolunteer NowRescue DiaryHurricane HotlineTemporary Pet SheltersHelp for HorsesMedia/Press ReleasesEmergency Pet PreparednessShelter OutreachPet Loss Information

Rescue Photos

Rescue Diary

Animals housed at the Austin Humane Society.
Karen Medicus with Max, a very happy puppy being sheltered in Austin.

Animals housed at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette.

Piles of pet food at the Blackham Coliseum in Lafayette.

Click here to make a donation that will go directly to help shelters impacted by natural disasters rebuild facilities and assist in their disaster recovery efforts.

Evening Update, September 5:

Don't believe everything you hear. The ASPCA has investigated allegations that family pets in Louisiana are being taken from their owners and shot. We have found that there is absolutely no truth to this widely circulated rumor. According to reliable sources, one dog was shot and killed after it tried to attack an officer. There is no order to shoot animals unless they are endangering law enforcement officers. In fact, we just heard from our rescue staff in the field that they were stopped by security guards trying to get help for some New Orleans police officers who were helping to care for some puppies at a local Wal-Mart and wanted to make sure that they were rescued. You can help keep a volatile situation from becoming even worse by checking out rumors before passing them on. If you hear about a disturbing situation, let us know. We'll check it out and get back to you.

more false information
You may have heard the rumor that evacuees in Louisiana are being ordered to abandon their animals. In some cases, they have had to leave their animals but there are many animal rescuers in the area. The Louisiana State Veterinarian's Office has assured us that every effort is being made to reunite animals and people. The State Veterinarian's Office is now coordinating all information about animals stranded in LA. They have a 30-computer and phone bank set up, and are on site, so they are in the best position to combine data and forward it to rescue teams. In Louisiana, people reporting stranded animals or have found an animal should call 1-888-773-6489. Outside Louisiana, people should call 225-925-3980. Information may also be e-mailed to katrina@ldaf.louisiana.gov. The State Veterinarian's Office website is loaded with very good information and clear instructions.

more good news
You may have seen the wire story about the little boy who "cried until he vomited" when his little dog, Snowball, was not permitted to get on the bus removing the family to safety. The good news is that Snowball has been located and is safe according to Dr. Martha Littlefield, Ass't State veterinary with the state of Louisiana. Efforts will now be made to reunite him with his family.

Morning Update, September 5:

The ASPCA has received at least 50 emails and calls regarding 50 to 150 animals stranded on the roof of the Windy Boggs Medical Center (AKA Murphy's Animal Hospital) on North Jefferson Davis Parkway in New Orleans. The animals are pets belonging to hospital staff, cared for by one dedicated doctor who purportedly refused to be evacuated with the other staff members. As a result, he and the animals were quickly running out of food and water.

As of Monday morning, a caravan of animal control vehicles, zodiac boats, equipment and personnel from groups including ASPCA, HSUS, Code 3, United Animal Nation, ARL of Boston and the Louisiana SPCA were en route to New Orleans to rescue the animals from Murphy’s Animal Hospital. The caravan will also pick up any animals they find stranded along the route.

The ASPCA and other organizations, including HSUS, Best Friends, United Animal Nation, Petfinder.com, are working to identify and log pets in need of rescue in affected areas. A database is being compiled and provided to animal rescuers, and will be posted on Petfinder.com shortly.

Good news! Thirty-five dogs have been loaded onto the Rescue Waggin in Gonzales, and are on their way to safe haven at the Houston SPCA! Additionally, 75 dogs have been rescued from the Superdome.

austin, texas
Good news from the Austin evacuation center, where the first evacuee dog has been reunited with his owner! This puppy's guardian is a 14-year-old girl, who arrived at the Austin evacuation center with her family members. The puppy was a gift from her father, whose whereabouts are unknown at this time.

The Austin Humane Society (AHS), in conjunction with The City of Austin Town Lake Animal Center and the ASPCA, has 75 evacuated animals in temporary care. Staffers are still working around the clock at relief facilities to help provide evacuee pets with a safe haven. AHS has set up a Pet Hotline (512-646-PETS) for evacuees moving to Austin who need to find care, placement and supplies for their family pets. Eight pets have now been reunited with their displaced owners.
Click here to see photos taken at the Austin evacuation center.

Morning Update, September 3:

As of Friday evening, we were close to one million dollars in donations for direct shelter grants! Thank you to everyone who has given so generously. If you would like to donate, you can call our toll-free number, (866) 275-3923, or give online. The more money we raise, the more we can help shelters in need—100 % of funds will be donated to shelters in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Several ASPCA National Outreach staffers spent a good part of Friday tracking down large, extra-large and giant collapsible dog crates that we could purchase and expedite to the Houston SPCA and the Louisiana SPCA staging area. We were able to locate and purchase 1,000 crates.

The PETCO Foundation has an additional 90 crates en-route to the Houston SPCA.

Pets in Distress (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) has food and equipment ready to ship to several points in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The ASPCA trailer arrived in Jackson, MS, at 9:30 Friday evening. They will keep us apprised of their efforts over the weekend.

The Mississippi Animal Refuge League (MARL) reports that HSUS and the State Dept. of Agriculture are operating an emergency shelter at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.

There are 500-plus animals in Tyler Town, MS, evacuated from the Humane Society of Louisiana and the St. Francis Animal Sanctuary. They are in need of a generator and supplies.

The Louisiana SPCA has begun rescue efforts for animals left behind in the Greater New Orleans area. Animals are being brought to the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, LA, which is serving as a staging center for displaced animals. They will soon be uploading photos of displaced pets onto Petfinder.com for people to look for lost pets.

The Houston SPCA has been doing a heroic job taking in animals from the Louisiana SPCA staging area in Gonzales and from families seeking refuge in Red Cross shelters. As of Friday morning, the Houston SPCA had already admitted 700 animals and expects that they could receive 1,000 more. The Houston SPCA staff is working round-the-clock to care for animals so that families devastated by this tragedy will not also be confronted with losing their pets.

Dr. Andrew Lang, director of the ASPCA Equine Program, will be issuing a grant to the Emergency Equine Response Unit to purchase “water buffaloes” (300-500 gallon tanks) and pumps, and an extra diesel tank for their truck, so they can head south to assist in the rescue efforts.

Late afternoon update, September 2:

As we write this, ASPCA Southern Regional Shelter Outreach Manager Laura Lanza is busy compiling lists to help with rescues and contacting local shelters in affected areas to determine their immediate needs. Having spent 18 years as a director at Calcasieu Parish Animal Services, Laura is very familiar with the Gulf Region, and has many friends and colleagues in the area. She is serving as the ASPCA point person for calls and email inquiries about relief efforts.

We'll be checking in with Laura as she begins to receive feedback from groups, and we'll share it with you. We know how frustrating it is for those who are so faraway, watching television reports and wanting to do something to help. Please check our website for updates often--we'll keep you up-to-date on new information, progress made, and ways that you can help.

A large number of people and animals have been evacuated to Austin, where the Red Cross has set up a shelter for people at the Toney Berger Center on Highway 290. ASPCA Shelter Outreach director Karen Medicus, a former shelter director in Austin, is helping local groups coordinate efforts. Many people are calling the Red Cross, asking about shelter for their pets. They have identified a staging area for animals who may be brought here. We'll be checking with Karen for updates and pictures. For more information about efforts in Austin, call (512) 646-PETS.

Our team of veterinarians, technicians and medical staff are right now on their way to Jackson. Soon to follow them is one of our ASPCA Cares mobile veterinary clinics.

Noon Update, September 2:

The Houston SPCA has been working tirelessly to help the animal victims of Hurricane Katrina, and shelter staffers have taken on a lion’s share of the recovery efforts. They are housing 275 animals evacuated from the Louisiana SPCA, and last night alone they took in 300 more animals, including pets belonging to evacuees staying in Houston-area shelters.

The ASPCA has just purchased 300 crates, which will be drop-shipped immediately to the Houston SPCA. Additionally, both PETCO and ACES (Animal Care and Equipment Services) have been helping us with donations for shelters. PETCO sent the Houston SPCA 100 large dog crates, and ACES has contributed leashes.

Evening Update, September 1:

A group of ASPCA employees led by Kelly Harrington, director of the ASPCA Disaster Response Program, have left for Jackson, MS, to assist Code 3 with their rescue efforts. Accompanying Harrington are Humane Law Enforcement agent Richard Raheb; Margaret McLaughlin, director of Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital’s veterinary technicians; and Sandy Monterose, ASPCA National Outreach’s northeast manager. They are traveling in the fully equipped disaster vehicle, which includes a 40-foot trailer and a boat.

The ASPCA’s National Outreach department has at last made contact with Laura Maloney, executive director of the Louisiana SPCA. All of the shelter’s animals were safely evacuated, and the group is now concentrating efforts on helping remove and relocate other animals from the area. Maloney and some of her staff are using a horse farm in Gonzales, LA, as their staging area. Violence in the New Orleans area is prohibiting them from getting close to the city, and they were turned away by the State Police for safety reasons.

Other Shelters in Louisiana:
- The LA Humane Society has evacuated to Mississippi and all the animals and staff are safe. They have issued a bulletin for help.
-The Bert Smith Jefferson Parish Animal Services evacuated to Washington Parish in the town of Franklenton. Reportedly, things are deteriorating there. Plans are underway to evacuate them to Gonzales, where the animals can be evaluated and moved out to the Houston SPCA.
- There are still many shelters we have not heard from. Petfinder.com is maintaining a list of updates from shelters and rescues.

There has been almost no communication from the Humane Society of South Mississippi (Gulfport).

We will keep you informed as we learn more; please check back for the latest reports.

* Thanks to Rae Domingues for taking the photos at the temporary pet shelter at the BlackhamColiseum in Lafayette.

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Contact these organizations to help victims of Katrina
(partial list)

Save The Children

World Relief

Red Cross

America's Second Harvest (Food bank)
(877) 817-2307

Habitat For Humanity
(toll free) 866-292-7892

Mercy Corps

Feed The Children

The Salvation Army

United Way

National Next Of Kin Registry
1-800-944-4804 (Number is for donations only)
This is completely volunteer operated, for more info go to the site.
~ Note: CNN has an alphabetical listing of hurricane survivors and their locations

Animal Rescue:
(866) 275-3923

North Shore Animal League

Noah's Wish

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Strong words for the deserving...

Ok. I would like for Kanye West to explain to me how he gets off pointing the race card finger at the media, how he can honestly say the government doesn't care about its own people. I must be an idiot, because I don't see how looting anything not nailed down, setting fires to what buildings that are left, shooting at doctors and nurses, firing on buses and rescue helecoptors, and rape is gonna help New Orleans get out of this mess. How is all that gonna help? Explain this to me, Kanye West. Tell me how people are gonna bring food and medicine when the minute they show themselves, they're getting shot at?
Yes, the entire city is still in shock. I've seen the entire range of emotion.. fear, horror, people in mourning, anger, frustration, rage, relief... And federal relief may or may not have done what they should have, fast enough. What of some personal accountability? The stocking up on drinking water at least when there was absolute fair warning of the hurricane? There were two days to prepare, even for those with no way out. That's plenty of time to fill a duffle bag with water bottles, nonperishable food and supplies. The officials said all weekend this was gonna be big.
As for the looters, arsonists, rapists, snipers... I have nothing but contempt. They're supposed to be part of the community, supposed to be pulling together helping neighbors and fellow victims of this disaster. The segment of drug addicts within the city's population - the mayor even said this himself - are those individals who have gone over the edge in this crisis. It certainly explains a lot, but makes it no less wrong. To be honest, I don't even consider them petty criminals. To me, they are domestic terrorists interfering with saving lives.
So... this is my piece, this is my opinion. Kanye West, prove me wrong.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Insult to Injury

Good morning, America
your sons and daughters are missing...
your husbands and fathers
across the board - Good morning.
Where are your friend now, too
long without a word, not a word
unless its "Let them eat cake -
let them break and enter.
Give 'em the food and medicine,
let 'em take the VCRs, designer
clothing, what little their neighbors
have left and anything else not nailed
to the rotting floor.
Good morning. How are ya?
You know me. I'm the voice of America,
the pathos of your conscience, temperance
you fools. Compassion? Vindication?
Temperance amid the overwhelmed.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Well a few nice, cool days last week, but today the heat is brutal as ever. The forecast says its supposed to be down in the 70's most of the week - I hope they're right, it would feel good for a change. It could stay like that throughout fall and winter, and I'd be happy with the weather.
The bosses were back from their vacation at the beginning of the week. One of them says they all had a relaxing time of it... another says he needs a vacation to recuperate from the vacation, go figure.

It's been a busy week.. I pretty much always walk into a mess on Monday's. So I'm used to that.. but I've been spoiled throughout the week because they've sold so many pets, and the ferret cage has been empty nearly all week, until Friday when they also brought in 4 new cages of breeder parakeets and cocatiels. So Friday hit me unexpectedly, and so pretty much wiped out by the end of the day.
Not much besides that going on... Finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last week, now I'm on The Order of the Phoenix... I WILL be current by the end of the season, I swear.

Yesterday watched Columbus get a must-win game to keep them in, they were playing FC Dallas... one of the Crew fans was shown holding a sight that said:
F*C* Dallas.... Go Crew! very clever, I thought. :)

Has anybody been watching some of the new reality shows this summer? Tommy Lee in college? Come on... I just hope some poor guy didn't get bumped from classes cause Tommy Lee took the last available spot, geez!

Robert finally got his hands on a borrowed copy of Clerks. I've been telling him about this movie for as far back as I can remember... Gonna watch it tonight. Lol, Kevin Smith rides again.

Not much new going on today... So here's a cute little something to finish off the weekend! Cat Mishaps

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Whew, it's been incredibly hot this past week. Hazy in the early morning and by 9 a.m. the humidity is already in full force. I feel right at home! The weather in KC has always been just like this, lol. But as of yesterday they were having major storms out that way, so with any luck we may be getting some of that out here too, hopefully just enough to cool things off a bit

Soccer Saturday (on ESPN 2) yesterday showed DC United totally ripping up Chivas, which they completely deserved considering how dirty they were playing... come to think of it, Chivas played just as dirty the week before. So justice was done when United beat 'em 3 - zip. Amazing though how any of the players from either team didn't collapse from the heat considering it was 120 degrees there on the field.
Also, I hear USA qualified so far for the World Cup... looking forward to hearing more about that! And Robert is anxiously awaiting the start of the Hockey season, specifically the Flyers. After a year with no Hockey, he's more than ready for seeing some action on the ice.

Life at the pet shop has been a little crazy the past week.. too many of the staff have been on vacation, so it's been a little hectic. Some are due back tomorrow, so that should provide some relief. I learned the hard way this week, never trust a rabbit... long story, won't go into it here, lol.

This fall looks promising in the way of poetry events. There's some venues here in Cherry Hill sponsored by the library, then there's an annual deal called Mid-Atlantic Poetry Festival which is a day long event not too far from here. Then I've got submissions accepted by a friend in California who has just started a poetry magazine - by the way, he's accepting submissions for the second issue. So if you're interested, please feel free to contact me here or by email and I'll give you the particulars.

Speaking of spoken word, Def Poetry just aired its season finale last Friday. I believe America's latest catch phrase ought to be... "Oh Shit, Its Russell Simmons!" Just think of how far you could take that.. T-shirts, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, SNL skits... the possibilities could be endless. I just wonder how many people around here would "get" it, and give recognition to such a t-shirt, lol...
This Morning's Commute

It was mistaken identity
when someone lost their deck of cards
from a passing back seat window.
I know because the face-up
King of Clubs scream it from the curb
each and every time I walk by.
On the way to work
mid-morning - not early, not late
a lone goose on safari overhead
honks like an overexited puppy
eager to take the lead, and landing
just in time to goad the others,
take down the trashman at the dumpster
for his several bags of goodies.
And midway again - not early, not late
but already heat stifles the living
labored breath, and I remind myself
its not so much the weather but rather
some unexpected hot air having descended;
there must be an impromptu gathering
of republicans somewhere nearby, dressed in their
feathered finery, Sunday's best on a Friday
morning.... I'm cutting corners in a
series of shortcuts for even better time
and a brief respite of cool air just past
those doors before venturing back out.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Into The Solid

We are breezing into the heart
of a season, with the sound of
flutes from the wire
as background noise.
They are drum and pipes
and I am traveling through
my comfort zone with this
earful of all that I've missed.
It's been awhile, much like
forever and a day... when I go
there, where I go I'd want to
shout phrases of meaningful
sentiment... Aequitas! Then
name my places, here and Inverness,
Culloden, the Highlands, or Belfast.
We can follow a melody into sleep,
breeze here to there and through
the solid heat of summer.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Welcome to a new month already... We are breezing into the heart of summer, and although its foggy and a little cool this morning, the moment won't last long before temps reach the 90s. So now we go past the weather report and onto the next order of the day... I found a clever way to clean my computer monitor.. go to this link, check it out. You'll love it or die laughing... or both!

-- This is VERY cute!
Clean your monitor . This is very clever! It really works!!
I noticed that my monitor was not quite as clear as when we first got it. Apparently the electrons build up on the inside of the screen with time, and the picture deteriorates. I found a free program that I used to 'clean' the inside of the screen
and the improvement was quite noticeable. I highly recommend it. If you'd like to try it, simply click on the following link.
The program is free, works automatically, and takes only about 45 seconds to do its job.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

I can't believe it's nearly August already.... we have already breezed through over half the summer and this past month has gone by way too fast. It's been a busy one with the animals at the Pet Shoppe and here at home; We've had some new litters with three of the guinea pigs and one of the rabbits had babies a couple of weeks ago. Everyone that comes through the back room nowadays heads straight to the bunnies..."Oh they're the cutest things in the world!" We had been worried that since it was her first litter, she wouldn't nurse, but she's doing much better than exoected, they're all thriving tremendously. One of them is a runt, the little guy was born with only one ear... and right away everybody's putting dibs on him to take him home once he's old enough, lol. Robert's been to see them once, before they'd opened their eyes, and I've been trying to get him back to the store to see how much they've grown - they're growing up fast, that's for sure!
And the conure, the one that's been driving everybody crazy with his eating habits, or more precisely, the lack thereof. Up till recently he's not been cooperating with our efforts to wean him off the formula mix... seemed satisfied to just let us keep handfeeding him (spoiled little brat) and totally ignoring the seed and dried fruit we set down for him... Last Monday he really gave me a scare. When I came in, he was huddled facing the corner of his cage, barely able to make a sound, couldn't stand, unable to hold his head up he was so weak... so I panicked and called the first person I could think of, one of the managers... by the time the owner came in, the little guy still couldn't take food... so he gave him some Enervite, which is a concentrated sugar solution for an energy boost, and that got him at least to where he was strong enough to eat something. And by the end of the day he was looking much better. So, I guess in the next few days he figured since he almost died from not eating, he finally started taking some of the seed on his own. Well... its about damn time! He really scared the hell out of me that day.. looked like he was gonna die on me any second.
As for the animals at home, it's been a busy month (and expensive) all starting with taking Sock in to the vet to get him fixed... they also noticed some irregularities from his bloodwork - so inbetween follow-ups and getting his shots current, Taz came down with a fever and just felt lousy there for a while... not eating, kinda glassy-eyed, and just basically hiding out from everbody... So its been Sock and Taz to the vet's all month it seems like. I'm just glad the little guy, Pablo hasn't gotten sick. Although, he's been having these sneezing-coughing attacks occasionally, but it doesn't seem to be slowing him down any... he's still terrorizing the other two the way he always has, lol.
With all this, I haven't written much and I've been kind of away from the groups.. its just been a hectic month.. Hope that now things have calmed down some, I'll feel more like writing... Just last night I had all these ideas in my head. Unfortunately it was right when I was trying to fall asleep and too tired and lazy to get back up and write 'em down. Let's just see if I can remember any of them, shall we? Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it, lol.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Future In A Crystal Ball

The Future In A Crystal Ball

Late evening and the moon
rose low above the roses
hanging bright in my line of vision
made that trek across so much closer
to our horizon, toward the next grove
of trees, to be hidden -
and then sunk into sleep until
tomorrow's dark sky to return
and be seen in full crystalline glory.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Having Made A Choice

Isn't there still some voice of reason
weathering the time past, oppressive with anger

impressed upon this grudge-holding obsession,
and stalking the same spot some remain for life?

How much is the waste worth those forgetting
time here is short enough as it is, isn't it

enough to be left behind counting minutes, days...
Those hours spend having proved nothing

when you have nothing left to show for it all,
save the hate you play like some game

of putrid hackysack, preening vain
in malevolent discourse intent to display

some legendary show of strength
because when words fail, there's always threats

and when threat fails, there's always force
even when force fails you can always collapse
the floor where you stand...

What separates from the rants of spoiled
middle-aged children or the stereotype
of territorial pissing is the choice
to move on.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

"No Green Day without Iggy"
I've been a fan for several years (seems like a lifetime) and last night I was lucky enough to catch performance footage from Belgium on VH1's Concert Classics... the songs went waaay back, some of the earliest Stooges stuff I ever remember hearing. Again, it seems like a lifetime ago, lol... Anyway, thought I'd share with you all one of my favorite albums of his. Not necessarily "commercial" but excellent work just the same. Check it out, I highly recommend it.
On a side note, the new kitten's full name is: Pablo Iggy Nukkinfutts... seemed very appropriate somehow.

A visit to the vet was in order for Sock... a neuter and current shots, etc.. He's been slowly recuperating the past few days and we've been trying to keep the other cats away from him... Maybe now he'll stop the incredible yowling late at night and the roaming through the house. Amazing how nice a full night's sleep is. Well I can only speak for Robert, because while he's getting to sleep, Pablo has been waking me up every morning at 3 a.m. either attacking my necklace or chewing on my earrings. Talk about a rude awakening, haha! The week before, Pablo's curiosity got the better of him while chasing a bee. Well he got stung a good one, and his whole neck swelled up to three times the normal size.. Robert said he was looking like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh... it was like he had three chins. Seemed alright otherwise... just kind of sore from it all, but he didn't have any other major reaction.

Robert's birthday is Monday, wanna do something special for him this weekend... fix a favorite dinner tonight. Still need to go shopping...

Well, with all decent news there must come some bad... my daughter's grandpa who lives in Boston, passed away on the 14th. She's doing ok, for the moment... Both her and her brother are going for the funeral, there's a group of them leaving for the airport this afternoon..

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Sometimes a picture says more...
My thoughts are with friends in and around London.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Got a phone call from my daughter last night. Went to the balcony outside with the phone as it was turning dusk to continue the conversation, and as I was talking something like this landed in front of me... I remember all the years spent in Fresno they never had these, never collected them in jars as kids, just seeing them on summer nights was something I missed the entire time I was there. Then after I moved back to the midwest, problems and life in general became so chaotic I barely got the chance to enjoy it... Now that I can relax, let down some defenses, it seems almost a magical thing. I know it sounds cheesy, lame, sensitive, emo, whatever... But its my cheese, lol.
Anyway, my daughter sailed through an important job interview yesterday... things sound very prominsing... Its for a position in the photography studio at a local retail chain. Something in her field, which she has been wanting for so long. I'm really hoping they do call back like they say they will, because it wouldn't be just a job for her, it would be the perfect start to a career. So I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed for this. She should hear something good by Tuesday.. possibly to start Thursday.. :) My son is still training as a housepainter, I really hope he sticks with it.. the only thing is the heat... he's just gotta learn to deal.. this is the real world after all. Take the criticism, and all the good intentions that go with it - he's always had a problem with that... hope he sticks with it. Its a trade, a steady job.
Me, I'm still happy with my job at the pet shoppe :) I'm really getting attached to some of those animals, getting more in tune with their normal behavior, still learning... what it means when they do this... there could be a problem if they do that... All in all I wouldn't trade this job for any other in the world.
The weather here was rainy all day yesterday, heavy downpours courtesy of what was left of hurricane Cindy... I guess today the Florida Keys are feeling the effects of Dennis by now... hope everyone in the area doesn't get hit with too much damage.
Baby cat's doing great, little mischievious stinker! Always going after my necklace and earrings, trying to pull them out... Pablo, the kitten's name is Pablo... I like it better, and besides it was my first choice anyway. Maybe I'll post some pics of him one day.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


I could write your name
in hieroglyphics within the dusting
of cricket sand on the floor,
let my fingertips become the paintbrush
creating hope in the moment's artistic design.
Let runes become symbols, become ancient
and changing as clouds protecting the evening
sun, let it become visual improv with
maybe a bit of the celtic thrown in
for good measure.
Cricket sand on the floor...
Would I eventually find some refracted
part of myself desparately competing
somehow for the you that isn't there,
the one that is missing inside your shell?
If I could come home to you,
love you the way I need to - not ever be afraid
of this inertia that happens when both of us
are unmotivated by fear.