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August 27, 2008

Almost 14 Years of Love and Devotion



I lost my sweet, beloved Sheltie Lacey to cancer today. Life had ceased to be a thing of joy and adventure and instead become full of lassitude and pain, so I elected to end her suffering and set her feet onto the Rainbow Bridge. I know she waits for me, happy and whole, and will be wondering what takes me so long.

She was my nurse dog, always first on the scene to investigate and treat any owies with a good licking and gentle nudging. For a long time she shared a pillow on my bed, keeping away nightmares, until arthritis made it too difficult to jump that high up. She was my intrepid adventurer, sneaking out of the fence on voyages of exploration, assisted by kind neighbors returning her home when they found my phone number on her collar. And she was my four-legged alarm system, alerting to any suspicious activity in a two-block area like it was her own personal front yard. Then too she would perform her duties as the welcome wagon at the vets as we waited our turn, going around the room to visit with everyone, two-legged or four.

She taught me patience, unconditional love, and the power of cheese. I will be lost without her. I have her collar in my purse and it will be going up around her picture- it still carries her scent. I got a few strands of her beautiful orange and white fur as a memento as well. But nothing takes the ache away, only time. This poem helps a bit, as well-

The Loss of a Heart-Dog

I stood by your bed last night,
I came to have a peep
I could see that you were crying,
you found it hard to sleep

I whined to you softly as
you brushed away a tear,
"it's me, I haven't left,
I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here"

I was close to you at breakfast,
I watched you pour the tea
You were thinking of the many times,
your hands reached down to me

I was with you at the shops today,
your arms were getting sore
I longed to take your parcels,
I wish you could do more

I was with you at my grave today,
you tend it with such care
I want to reassure you,
that I'm not lying there

I walked with you towards the house,
as you fumbled for your key
I gently put my paw on you,
I smiled and said "it's me"

You look so very tired,
and sank into a chair
I tried so hard to let you know,
that I was standing there

It's possible for me,
to be so near you everyday
To say to you with certainty,
"I never went away"

You sat there very quietly,
then smiled, I think you knew
In the stillness of that evening,
I was very close to you

The day is over,
I smile and watch you yawning
And say "goodnight, God bless,
I'll see you in the morning"

And when the time is right for you
to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you
and we'll stand, side by side

I have so many things to show you,
there is so much for you to see
Be patient, live your journey out,
then come home to be with me.

- Author Unknown

That consoles me, that I will see her faithful soul running towards me again up there. It must be a wonderful place. Two things though I hope they got straight: dogs need to live as long as we humans do, and God needs to let dogs sit on the sofa in Heaven. It's much homier that way.

August 08, 2008

12 Foods You Should Alway Buy Organic

From Dr Weil:

The Environmental Working Group (
is a nonprofit organization that advocates in Washington D.C., for policies that protect global and individual health. Among the many valuable services they provide is a Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce.

It is based on the results of nearly 43,000 pesticide tests performed on produce and collected by federal agencies between 2000 and 2004. Nearly all of the data used took into account how people typically wash and prepare produce - for example, apples were washed and bananas peeled before testing.

Of the 43 different fruit and vegetable categories tested, these had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions - or to grow organically yourself:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.

A few other notes from the EWG: Nectarines had the highest percentage of samples that tested positive for pesticides (97.3 percent) followed by peaches (96.6 percent) and apples (93.6 percent). Peaches had the
highest likelihood for multiple pesticides on a single sample: 86.6 percent had two or more pesticide residues.

Also keep in mind that maintaining your family's health is not the only reason to choose organic food. Pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion, and may be a contributor to "colony collapse disorder," the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply. Buying or growing organic food is good for the health of the planet.

August 05, 2008


"A failure a day is success on the way!"
- Lin Neiswender

I came up with this meaningful quote yesterday, in a discussion about Redefining Failure at Coach Creative Space. Nick pointed out the vital necessity of frequent failures on the path to success, and that we should be seeking out failures, not running away from them, as they are getting us closer to our goals. That struck me as so profound, and whammo, the quote was born. Thank you for that Nick, and Dan for establishing the discussion.

I used the motivation from the quote to do my first collage - shown above - for an artists' collage group called Collage Play (info about it here) that I just joined. I was nervous about my virgin effort- what if it was awful? What if my style was nothing like anyone else's? In short, what if I sucked at this? But I did it anyway, printing off things I had made that I thought would go together with the required elements, changing some of the graphics, scaling them and altering the colors, playing.

And a funny thing happened. I started getting excited about the process, and started having fun. Isn't that what creativity is all about, the process? The fun? So even if the end product had been ugly, it still would have been OK. I would have had great pleasure making it. The piece is called the Queen of the Meadowlark Palace. And, paradoxically, I don't think it is ugly. Whew!

Well, got to go get busy now and seek out some new failures. Success is calling my name!