Guest Blog Post: Ignorance by Chuy

Photo of Chuy dog

It took me a long time to learn this. Paz’ dog Chuy taught it to him…

Chow Dog Zen

Road to The Wonder Woods

Just because you 

Don’t Know

You are 

Beautiful,

Perfect,

And Precious to this

Great Cosmos

Doesn’t mean

It isn’t So.

  • Chuy

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4. Ever been told…? by da-AL

Photo of da-AL as little girl with text: Ever been told cute girls aren't smart & are better off that way?

Ever been told cute girls aren’t smart and that they’re better off staying that way?

My Friend’s Art Show: Video and Photos by da-AL

Bravo to fine artist Connie DK Lane for her “Bravura” art show! (Video included at the end of this post.)

The opening reception took place outdoors on a sunny breezy afternoon. Special thanks to the gallery director/curator James MacDevitt, Brian Temp, and Sean Yang.

Artist, audience, models, and employees socialized and feasted on goodies.

An hour later, the garments in the window came down so the models (a Chinese lucky 8 of them) could wear them for the catwalk. As I danced inside the window, I shot selfies that included audience members outside — Bill, Connie’s husband was there!…

All clothing, from the fabric on up, was created by dear fine artist Connie DK Lane. If you’re in the area, the display lasts to this weekend.

“Bravura” in Connie DK Lane’s exact words: A large number of hand-made anthropomorphic forms made out of latex rubber, a simulation of apparels for all genders.

When: Runs through to April 20, 2018

Where: Cerritos College Fine Arts, 11110 Alondra Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650

Parking: $2 on-site for entire day.

Here’s the first post about Bravura and here’s the pre-show ‘getting ready’ post. Here’s one about one of Connie’s previous shows and here’s Connie’s website.

Now We Are 3 (only) by da-AL

Pierre, da-AL, Lola, K-D
Pierre a few months ago, at about 14 years old.

This morning I stayed in bed till late. I was awake, but I didn’t want to get up to a house without Pierre in it.

Yesterday I had to put my dog down. Such a gentle euphemism for murder. To put one to sleep. My dear, dear dog-man trusted me, yet I tricked him. First by lulling him into thinking it was a normal day by asking my husband to roast a chicken at home that delighted his nose and soothed his belly. But afterward a vet arrived. She knotted a tourniquet at his rear thigh, shaved an area below it, and injected a sedative. His fitful gasping evened, his pain-blinded stare softened. Amid caresses and loving murmurs, the vet administered a second shot to finish him off.

My dear Pierre at 9 months old.

But Pierre lingered within his peaceful half-sleep. So another shave. Then a third shot to a different leg. That one finally killed him.

Nicer ways exist to frame this, but my heart won’t listen to the many fine arguments for how, whether, and when.

No, I don’t know of a better way to have done it. When his kidneys began to fail, and arthritis increasingly ravaged his days and nights, I promised us two things; he’d never take another trembling ride to a vet, and he’d never be wet again (he was a Labrador mix one-of-a-kind who hated water).

Fortunately, we could afford to have a vet to visit our home for those final injections. Fortunately, I could be with Pierre, my sweetest, most uncomplicated of friendships and loves. Fortunately, he’d lived a good long life, as dog lives go.

Pierre at 8 weeks old.

All the same, this was the awfullest decision I hope ever to make.

Life is beautiful, merciless, humbling.

Pierre (right) with his twin sister.

As much as our recent time together — these months of arranging throw rugs, moving furniture, closing doors so he wouldn’t get tangled among legs or be locked into rooms or slip and not be able to get back up, all which upset him to no end — these months of his hobbled struggle to follow me everywhere and to share walks with his sisters even though he’d fall within a few steps from home — this stoic period when, despite his waning appetite, he’d eat all that my family hand fed him while I experimented with healing remedies and weight gaining foods — this era when we set ramps and nudged him up and I learned the trick to gathering his 55 pounds into my arms to navigate down — these weeks of carrying him outside to pee in the middle of the night because the shame of soiling his diapers showed naked in his eyes (debilitated kidneys need volumes more water to compensate)…

Pierre (right) in better times.

and even though yesterday was the worst, today not a whole lot better…

I am thankful for every moment we shared. Hopefully, he knew he was loved…

Happy International Women’s Day by da-AL

Why isn’t this celebrated more in the U.S., the way it is in other countries?!

Here I offer a tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an amazing lesbian woman of color who influenced even Chuck Berry.

First a brilliant performance…

Now more about her…

Which woman has influenced you most for the good?

Guest Blog Post: “You Are Amazing,” in the exact words of Roy Lennic

Thanks for the fab pic, Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Fellow blogger Roy Lennic describes himself: “I’m just a guy of substance who is limited to a certain place, such that my thoughts are the only thing to express… I write whatever comes to mind, but most importantly what can inspire and help people have good reasoning and make good choices in their lives.”

Roy’s favorite post…

Beautiful Creature

Beauty is not only in the bedazzlement. It’s not only in the flashy colors, and the glowing smile on your face. Beauty is much more than that. It’s not the flourishing glitter that people cant stop to admire or the wonderful natural appearance that strikes people’s eyes.

Beauty is in how you endure having all that on you despite all the flaws.  Beauty is how you fight to keep the fire blazing in you – to be always hot and spicy. Beauty is in the strength that you use to transform yourself with style. Beauty is the natural capability of your wits to become sassy and mesmerize the world with your glow.

Beauty is not just how the sunrise reflects in your eyes. It’s not just how the world seems to rhyme on your face. It’s not only how unique you are with your attributes, but how you out stand the normality and become amazingly special.

Beauty is in the scars that prove how you have had a conclusive victory in overcoming a bout of monstrous life’s adventure. Its how you walk through a tornado without losing a smile on your face. Beauty is how you exult even when times seem heartbreaking.

Beauty is how you thrive magnificently to impose a glow, bright enough and absolutely indispensable.

Beauty is not just how exclusively beautiful you are, but how people feel and look beautiful too when they are with you.

You are beautiful.

How Do You Say Goodbye? by da-AL

The good vet kept my little friend warm, wrapped in a special heating pad…

This week I’ve been looking after a friend’s two elderly cats. While one shows her age only by her lack of teeth, the one in this photo was thin and slow.

A couple of nights ago, this little guy was listless. My husband and I massaged him, got him to drink some broth, turned up the room’s thermostat, and made sure he was comfy on his pillow throughout the night.

The next morning he was back to looking awful.

A couple of months earlier he’d appeared to be on the brink of death, yet pulled through. Now, given how he’d perked up somewhat the night before, I took him to the vet optimistic that some intravenous fluids might perk him up.

Unfortunately, the vet affirmed that there was remote hope that the kitty had any more good days allotted to him, probably not a single day left without constant pain and nausea.

Of the few pets I’ve had, I’ve never had to decide whether to euthanize them.

In the case of this sweet boy, my friend decided. I did, however, decide whether to be with the kitty when the final injection was administered. The vet’s caveat was that the cat wouldn’t care either way. Given that, he suggested that if I stayed, I might always remember the cat at his worst.

After considerable deliberation, I opted not to be there.

Have you had to make such a decision? If so, how and what did you choose?

Do’s and don’ts for if your friend has lost a pet.

Here and here are professional links about pet euthanasia.

Guest Blog Post: “Oh Crap, It’s About to Be Winter,” in DGGYST’s exact words

Photo of frosty berries on tree

DGGYST’sblog’s long name is Damn, Girl Get Your Shit Together, but this post applies to all. Her subheading, “Unsolicited Advice for Shit You Didn’t Know You Were Doing Wrong,” totally conveys her one-two punch style of wise and witty, silly cum useful. This one’s on seasonal depression…

Damn, Girl. Get Your Shit Together.

There is that first day of fall where you feel like the world is a magical place, full of wonder and change. A bit later comes that fall day when shit starts to get real and you realize you have fifty years of fucking winter stretching out before you.

On that day, which for most of us is between November 1st – 5th, you need to take your supplies of feel-good fall energy and use them to rescue your future self.

Seasonal depression is the bane of my existence. It will be the middle of July and I will be like, “You Fools! Put down your volleyballs and summer shandies! Winter Is Coming!”

I’ve been training for this all year, so consider me your honorary Ph.D in S.A.D. and how to dodge it

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Guest Blog Post: “Nature Cure by Richard Mabey: Overcoming depression through a love of nature,” a book review in Denzil Walton’s exact words

"Nature Cure," by Richard MabeyThe healing properties and potential of nature have always been known, but are finding a “comeback” these days, with hip terms like forest bathing now being recommended from psychiatrists’ couches. The book “Nature Cure” presents a personal re-discovery of the benefits of nature.

Richard Mabey is one of the UK’s finest nature writers. The first of his 32 books was Food for Free (1972), and his latest is The Cabaret of Plants: Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and the Human Imagination (2016).

Unfortunately, between 2000 and 2002, Mabey suffered a severe depression. We find him at the start of the book in bed, blankly gazing at the wall. But encouraged by friends and realizing the need for a change of air, he uproots himself from the family house in the Chilterns where he and his sister have lived for 110 years between them, and heads off to East Anglia to live in a room in a farmhouse. His room is “like a small forest” with “more oak inside it than out.” And here he strings up a series of low-energy lamps and makes his nest, amazingly not with a computer but two manual typewriters.

Throughout, Mabey describes his breakdown and steady recovery with his characteristic laid-back style, like your favourite uncle relating exploits from a distant past. We get a glimpse of what may have caused his freefall into depression when he describes what it takes to be a full-time writer: “doggedness to be alone in a room for a very long time.”

His honesty is admirable. Owning up to depression is never easy, even these days, perhaps especially for a successful writer at the pinnacle of his career (he had just completed the epic and lauded Flora Britannica). Even more difficult was when depression robbed him of his desire to write: “it made me lose that reflex, it was like losing the instinct to put one foot in front of the other.” But obviously Mabey regained that reflex, and how he did is very touching – and through writing he began to unlock “pieces of me that had been dormant for years.”

His style is warmly conversational, making the book easy and pleasurable to read, despite the subject matter. He gently leads you from subject to subject, so that you forget where the conversation started. One moment he is describing wild horses on Redgrove Fen, and his musings about their origins leads to cave paintings in France and then to local Stone Age flint mines in Norfolk, and somehow to Virginia Woolf and moats. Is this what he refers to later as “free-range reading?”

Nature Cure is definitely a recommended read, for anyone interested in good writing about nature, and the cure he describes might well be of benefit to others suffering from depression too.

Denzil Walton writes two blogs: Discovering Belgium and Life Sentences.

How do you live? by da-AL

Nest of chicks
Thanks Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

“You only die once.

You live every day.”

Quote by John Feal

John Feal founded the FeelGood Foundation, which helps 9/11 responders as they continue to deal with the aftereffects of dealing with injuries and toxins.

We must, he reminds us, make the most of our lives. Every day we get out of bed offers us a new opportunity.

Good deeds, moreover, are infectious. In a recent radio interview Feal recounted how, when he’s in line to buy coffee, he often pays for the drink of whoever’s behind him.

His philosophy: when we’re kind, we can’t help but be kind to others.

The kindness of others has helped me to be a better person. How about you?