Photos of my new office space and curtains

I put together my office yesterday, complete with new desk chair, table, desk lamp, and all the office supplies I need. I’d love to have an impressar (printer)!  This laptop PC that I’m currently using is ancient, and on its way out for sure! I will need to replace it soon!

Here’s a photo taken yesterday as soon as I was able to put the table together:

IMG_20141106_113236_571The table is plastic.  I purchased it yesterday and carried it home myself.  That was the easy part. Then, I had to put it together.  It was rather difficult getting the table legs into the designated holes in the upper part of the table. I tried everything I could think of but I didn’t want to force anything. Finally, I recalled what my dad used to do. He put soap on screws to get them to slide into tight holes. So I took bar soap and rubbed it onto the parts that made contact. I also used plastic sheets as separators, keeping in mind, of course, that the plastic itself was taking up space and causing the contact point to be an even tighter squeeze. My idea is that with the separator, the legs will come out easier if I ever have to relocate. Apartments are rarely “forever.”

I am sitting at my desk right now and am really quite happy with the setup.

This morning, very early, I dealt with the cortinas (curtains) that I’ve been meaning to put up for ages. The way the front entrance is set up, all it takes is to open my door curtain or open the door itself, and immediately the person standing outside can see my whole life. This reminds me far too much of my last residence in the USA. Those apartments lacked any privacy because, as I often worded it, they were “in your face.” The doors opened immediately to the hallway with no vestibule area. I used to walk down my hall and feel like I lived in a freaking nursing home! I hated that. What I did inside my apartment was no one’s business. This was my home, not some place where nurses looked over my shoulder and watched my every breath. I didn’t live in a room, I lived in a private residence, my apartment, except the privacy there was a joke.

So upon coming here, I had bad associations with the “in your face” idea. I wanted a separate space between my apartment and my front entrance. So I took the curtains that were already here, washed them (they were mildewy) and then hung them in a different place. The adjustable bar you see that holds the curtains up turned out to be problematic. I extended the bar then found that beyond that, it refused to budge. I couldn’t adjust the size because the thing was stuck. One of the ends broke off cuz it’s made of cheap plastic. I had to purchase round rubber discs for both ends. I also found some wood to use as wedge:

IMG_20141107_055124_389Yep, it’s true, I’m using little pieces of string as curtain hooks. It works fine.

A while ago I purchased two large scarves. These I made into curtains for my back double doors:

IMG_20141107_055254_003This photo was taken so early that the sky was still dark. The scarves are just the right lightness to allow light to come through. I like having a bright office. At the same time, (no offense to my upstairs neighbors) those looking into my courtyard cannot see into my office and peer at me while I sit here writing.

I think it’s funny that folks upstairs can see into my courtyard. If my doors are open, Puzzle is free to run out there whenever she wants. The little kids upstairs call out,

POOZ-lay!  POOZ-lay!

…and Puzzle stands on her back legs as brilliantly as she did as a puppy. She loves those kids , as do I, and I don’t think she minds at all. Yesterday she lay out there for a long time in a patch of sun, taking a snooze. Next time she does that, I’ll snap a photo.

BTW, Puzzle will turn 8 years old soon. Some say a dog is 7 times their chronological age in people years.  For a brief time, then, she’ll be 56 at the same time I am. After that, I’ll turn 57.

Okay, now I am going to get back to writing!

 

Puzzle photos, the past few days

A couple of these are TMI. But only one or two, I think.  I got a bunch to show you!

First of all, here she is, totally cute!

Puzzle sitting in her bed, 9-16-14That was Tuesday.

Here she is after she went to sleep!

IMG_20140918_172748_088You can see she is enjoying a nice snooze!

Here she is again…

IMG_20140920_122313_899Yeah, she’s a Cone Head alright. I noticed she was licking herself a whole lot. Then, it must have been Saturday that I saw a sore on her rear. This means vet time!  As I suspected, she has a little anal gland infection. It doesn’t seem too serious but it needs to clear up and for Puzzle to quit picking at it! What a little sneak she is, whenever she gets a chance she goes and peeks. She’s sore, but other than that she’s gonna be okay.

IMG_20140920_155736_403

Another view:

IMG_20140920_160446_196

 

 

Okay, the following photos are from today….And I should warn you, this one is TMI. It wasn’t as bad as it looks because the blood made the injury appear rather large.  It’s a puncture wound. Puzzle got bitten!  By another dog.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20140921_084455_262That was taken outside the vet office. Would you believe, on a Sunday, my vet came to the office within minutes of my call!  He knew it was me when I called, so he answered in inglese.  I guess my number, along with other patients’ numbers is in his addy book on his phone so he knows that if a patient calls on a Sunday, it must be urgent!  He told me to go right away to the office. Thankfully, it’s only a few blocks. At that time, Puzzle could do the two blocks, but she was feeling YUCKY! I brought her carrier just in case…and it turned out that I needed it!

IMG_20140921_103858_201I took a few of Puzzle at the vet office but I guess they aren’t here. Maybe I didn’t press the shutter all the way.  This one is at home. I took Puzzle’s carrier and put it right on top of my bed, and opened the zipper door. When she finally felt okay to come out, she did, but as you can see, she didn’t really want to go very far! She’s ZONKED!  You can see where the area around the wound is shaved now.

 

After a bit, I realized Puzzle was cold, so I covered her with the blanket she was lying on.

IMG_20140921_104017_584I know what you’re thinking. “Awwww.”

IMG_20140921_140106_303What? Not eating LIVER? Yep, she actually refused to eat! Puzzle never refuses food, especially liver. But after a quick phone call to the vet, I knew not to worry. He said to give her food later. And I did. Another thing I found out was that I needed to lift the bowl up. I don’t think it’s comfy for her to stand with her head bent down. Not all stiff after three or four shots and also having that wound, AND a sore rear!

IMG_20140921_140518_840I brought her bed into the living room. Actually, I carried her from my bed to the living room inside her bed, so it would be easier for her and more comfortable.  She seemed quite cold, so I ran my space heater a bit.  I didn’t want the heat blowing right on her, so I placed it in such a manner that she was warmer but didn’t have a draft on her.

IMG_20140921_180944_585I put a shirt on her for going out, to protect her wound.  Also, I sure don’t want anyone grossed out!  I knew I mustn’t allow anyone to pet her because should anyone go near her sore spot, she will certainly let the person know…and won’t be all that nice about it. Dogs can’t help it when they are hurting. I guess instinct tells them they need to be extremely protective of an injury. Sounds like a useful instinct, eh? Still, I knew I must be on the lookout for curious ninos!

IMG_20140921_180958_564Guess who? Guess what? I got Puzzle to eat! She ate the first meal slowly. But later on, I fed her again and she gobbled up her food just like she always does. Why the heck do dogs do that?

 

Needless to say, it’ll be a while before Puzzle is back to normal and having a blast on the beach! But here she was a few weeks ago. We go to the beach regularly! We weren’t far from the beach when Puzzle got bitten today, out on La Rambla, headed home. I didn’t want her running on the beach this morning with sore anal glands and I felt that she’s a little awkward in a cone anyway.  She doesn’t need the cone now because she’s too out of it to fuss and bite herself. But should she get sneaky, it’ll have to go back on. Not till tomorrow. Manana.

IMG_20140720_112037_550

What a blast she has on the beach. Usually, no one’s there. We get the place to ourselves.

Goodnight! We’re gonna go cuddle! But I promise I will be rather careful or she’ll be pissed, eh?

“Can it get any worse?” My thoughts on being ungrounded and what it means to be an adult

“Can it get any worse?”

In a word, “Yes.”

More words:

It often does.  Looking back, people can live a long time, and when you are young you are rather clueless as to how truly bad “bad” is.

I mean, think back to when you were really, really little. What was the worst thing?  Having your lunch money stolen?  Having that really cute girl say no when you asked her out on a date? Being turned down when you tried out for that sports team you wanted so badly to be on?

Okay, okay, I’ll dig a bit deeper.  How about the day your teacher took you aside and told you you need to lose a few pounds.  That teacher held her face so close to you that you could see the creases in her face and all the flakes in her makeup.  You cried all the way home and then you were scared to tell anyone.

Yes, it does get worse.  If you are reading this, you might be one of those people wondering about this or asking yourself that question right now.  I wish I could tell people it doesn’t, but I have no platitudes or euphemisms or answers for anyone.  I’m surely not going to lie.  I don’t have an explanation for why people are mean to others or are uncaring, but that’s the way the world is.

What’s really the worst thing that can happen?  I look back over the years and ask this.  When did the bottom drop out the absolute worst? What events struck me down the hardest?  It’s surprising that sometimes what appears to be rather subtle affects me deeply, and other things that are seemingly huge events I pick myself up from and move on like a trooper.

Believe it or not, I’m not alone in this. I’ll bet most people are the same way.  I can remember tiny things setting me back.  It makes it harder still when people around me put me down for “making a mountain out of a molehill.”  I don’t know why people choose to insult another person instead of trying to be empathetic. Again, humans tend to be uncaring and they’d rather put me down even deeper into the hole that I am already in, hammering it into me how “negative” I am, rather than showing love and affection.

I guess the worst thing that could possibly happen, or ever happened to me was losing a loved one, that is, someone very, very close to me.

Losing my home and being homeless, that is, having to sleep literally on the streets, this would be a bad thing, too.  (The term “homeless” is often misused, by the way.) I hope it never happens.  I’ll bet it sucks bad to lose your home.

I have lost a partner and that, I must say, is for sure like having the bottom drop out from under you.  No explanation, no reason. Random bad luck.  It happens to some and not others.  I’m not going to tell one person it has anything to do with deserving anything.  It doesn’t.

I had no clue it would happen beforehand.  No anticipation. One day he was there and then he wasn’t.  I went on with my life because I had to.

Joe and I had been together every day.  We didn’t live together, nor were we married legally.  I guess we had no word for it, maybe “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” but it had been so many years that we stopped using those words.  I can’t recall the word they used for me in his obituary. I can imagine the awkwardness.

My own family paid their respects, that is, my bio family.  They made a brief appearance and that was it.  I’ve been lost in the shuffle rather quickly afterward.  Ten years have passed, over ten years now.

I have lost dogs. Now let me tell you, losing a dog for some people is a bigger deal than it is for others.   I have one beloved living being in my life right now, my Puzzle with whom I share my life and that’s it, and thinking now that to lose her would mean the bottom would surely drop out.

For some, losing a beloved animal is harder than it is for others.  It has nothing to do with values or morals.  To say that an animal “doesn’t have a soul” or to say it’s a lesser loss than losing a person and that this grief “doesn’t count,” well, that’s an insult indeed.  I honestly don’t know a thing about souls. All I know is that I love my dog. Being sad doesn’t mean you are a bad person or morally weak.  If anyone puts you down for grief, don’t listen to them.

I lost my dog right after I lost Joe.  The timing? Joe died August 19, Tiger died October 12. This was in 2003.

What now?  I can tell you you will be loved, maybe it will last, but for me, it was only momentary, actually a few weeks, then I was suddenly alone and in shock.  People came to court me, and maybe this will happen to you, too, but maybe not. Those seekers may lust after you with caring as a goal, or perhaps only to use you briefly for their own purposes, then toss you aside.  That’s what happened to me.  They may see you as someone who has already been taken out of the box long ago whose original warranty has already expired.  Some folks do in fact meet others and then have good partnerships again. I didn’t experience that.  Again, perhaps just luck of the draw.

How do I feel after all these years?  In a word, “ungrounded,” like there’s nothing underneath me to hold me up.  Everything has whittled away.  I was abused in hospitals a bunch of times, and lost countless friends because of it. I’ve had serious bodily organ damage that affects daily life.  I am completely alone 99% of the time.  I rarely have spoken conversation. Domino effect, I guess. Bad luck.

I’m trying to change the situation, but it’s actually not as easy as you’d think.  I have tried certain solutions that didn’t work and made things ten times worse, so I stopped trying those solutions and tried doing something else to fix the problem. I’m currently in the process of changing my living situation.

Being ungrounded is a blessing, actually, though it took me a while to realize this. How did I come to this conclusion?

We’re on our own.  Adults in this world.  There’s something both scary and wonderful about that. Remember the day you left your original place you called “home”? For me, I remember the day I walked out of that big house with “Mom and Dad.”  I was counting down the days and could hardly wait!  I told myself I was now an adult.  I was so proud but I knew I was going to have to fight very hard to get that “Mom and Dad” machine off my back. That ungrounded feeling felt terrific, however scary it was. The Big Unknown was inviting to me.  “Mom and Dad” felt like prison, and I’d do anything to get away.  It felt like I was in a bad trap with my bio family.

I can tell you one thing: it’s true that when you are completely ungrounded, you do get stronger. Find that strength and hold onto it.  It’s who you are.

I celebrated everything wonderful about being lifted up off my feet when I was 17. I guess now that some very, very bad things have happened to me, especially in the past decade, I can look back on how terrific I felt as a 17-year-old and tell myself that “ungrounded” could be seen as a good thing even now.  Why do I now see it as bad when in fact, it means independence and freedom?

It’s time to find out who I am, that is, the person I always was inside.  It’s cool that I’ve been doing just that.  I love the way it’s gradually unfolding.  If there’s nothing to fall back on, I end up finding that strength within that was always there to begin with. I won’t find it if I fall back into a trap of dependency. I seem to be daring to be that adult I always wanted to be, and I’m taking more and more responsibility for my life.  It’s rather liberating.

Stick with folks that are affirming and loving, and you will go far. If anyone insults you, walk away. Dependency and insistence on neediness is an insult, too.  Don’t fall for that trap.  You will blossom among those that encourage independence, freedom, trust, creativity, and love.

I would love an end to crappy weather.

Wouldn’t you? Let’s face it, this has been the Winter from Hell. Ugly snow, ice, slush, surely nothing pretty about it. Even the snowmen have scowls on their faces.  The stuff gets dirty the minute it hits the streets.  Tracked right back into my apartment.  My vacuum breaks every time I try to use it. My dog can’t find a potty anywhere. Can yours?  Yellow snow….I guess it’s right smack in the middle of the sidewalk these days.  You can’t get the sand and salt out of your shoes until spring hits.  When the hell will that be?  August? Then winter will come along again.

However, I’ve got the cuddliest little dog in town. She’s the most awesome ever. Last night she curled up right by my tummy.  She snuggled up to me and the only thing between us was my t-shirt I guess.  I could feel her heart beat, our two bodies together.  Her dreams and mine, except she was asleep within a minute of curling up, and me, it takes a few minutes longer.  Then, winter and its ugliness no longer mattered anymore.  Not that anything ever does, or did anymore.

It’s Puzzle’s birthday today, and I’m thinking of my dad, who believed in me

I’ll be 56 in a couple of months.  I developed anorexia nervosa in 1980, which was three years before singer Karen Carpenter died.  There are so few of us still alive that are my age! We died off!  Or got absorbed into the System and misdiagnosed with “other” mental disorders, as I was.  I never even came close to having the various mental disorders I was diagnosed with.  Many of us still left are stuck in nursing homes, misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 

I look around me now and I so much care about these young starving kids, and I see that many of them are  where I was 30 years ago, and they will do anything to get well.  I feel protective of them as if they were my kids or even grandkids and to me, these kids are family, cuz I was robbed of my own bio family.  As a figurative parent, I don’t want my kids to make the same mistakes I’ve made, but sometimes, you just gotta let go, I guess.

My dad died in 1997.    He withered away from cancer.  He told me, before he died, that he really never understood what I was going through for all the years after I’d entered the mental health system.   However, after the three final years of his life, his cancer had wrecked his body, and he came to a point of insight into my life. 

He told me the following: that he understood what it felt like to have absolutely no control over what happened to you.

Cancer sucks.  My dad was an engineer.  His company hired him to be a master control person of radars.  So he perfected these devices and worked with complex math formulas to make all kinds of fancy machines work perfectly.  When the cancer got to my dad, he could no longer be a master controller.  The machines didn’t work.  No matter how perfectly he did things, no matter how hard he worked, no matter how good he was, the rules no longer applied and that cancer spread. 

So my dad told me to stay strong.  And he told me he believed in me, and that someday I would make something great of myself.  He told me that he knew I didn’t have much faith in myself at that moment, but that he, himself did have that faith.

Today, November 26, 2013, is my dog Puzzle’s seventh birthday.  Traditionally, every year on Puzzle’s birthday, we go for a five-mile walk.  This is my gift to her.

Afternoon came, but I was exhausted.  I told myself I wasn’t going to guilt-trip myself over skipping her birthday walk.  Puzzle didn’t know it was her birthday.  I lay down in my bed.  Puzzle hopped in and snuggled up close.  I told her, “I love you, Puzzle,” and we fell asleep together.

My dad and Puzzle never met of course, but my dad always knew I always had a special bond with my dogs.   In 1987, not long after I had moved into my first apartment in Watertown, I ended up on a mental ward and meanwhile, my parents were minding my dog, Hoofy, while I was there.  Hoofy was ten years old in 1987.  He took sick and my parents brought him to the vet.  This was the wonderful dog that had gone hitch-hiking with me back in 1979.

So I was there on the mental ward and I got a call from my dad.  It was July.  He told me Hoofy was very, very sick. 

I ended up getting a pass from the mental ward to see Hoofy one last time.  The next day, my parents brought him to the vet.  My dad called me at the mental ward and told me, “Please, call the vet yourself.”  He gave me the number and I wrote it down.  And he added, “Be brave.”  Hoofy had cancer.

I phoned the vet shortly afterward from the unit hallway pay phone.  I stood alone with the phone in my hand while the vet put me on hold for a minute.  “Wait a sec,” he said, “They have Hoofy now.  They’re working on him.”  There were sounds in the background I couldn’t make out.

Moments later, the vet told me that Hoofy’s EKG was flat, and that he had passed away.

I guess that’s something I wanted to share with you all now.  I stood at that phone and knew I was on that mental ward and right then, something had happened that was entirely not within my control, or within anyone’s control, anywhere.

The mental ward had pool tables.  Back then, mental wards were different.  We had pool tables and even pool cues and balls, fun games which nowadays would be considered far too dangerous to be kept in such places and would be replaced with rubber kindergarten toys.  I said to myself, “I loved my dog, and no one is even listening to me.”  And with that, I grabbed the Number Ten pool ball, and pocketed it.  After all, Hoofy was ten years old when he died, so I figured swiping this ball was a good enough symbol of defiance.

It stayed in my pocket.  It went out of that hospital.  It stayed with me all these years.  Just now, I went into the box where I keep a few bits memorabilia. Here’s a photo of that pool ball that I swiped back in 1987, in my 55-year-old hand today:

IMG_20131126_201111

I haven’t given up.

Happy Birthday, Puzzle.

 

Aftermath of binge eating (without vomiting), what happens?

I can only speak for myself.  If you think EVERYONE who binge eats and does not vomit up what they have eaten (either because they choose not to or because they have tried but are unable to do so) just casually goes about their lives afterward, or goes out jogging to “get rid of the calories,” you’re dead wrong.

I can only speak for myself.  I’ve been suffering with this for three and a half decades.  I’m far too sick afterward to resume normal life as if nothing happened.  I’m completely PHYSICALLY disabled afterward, and it’s been like this for decades.  That’s my life, as it is.  No, I can’t go out happily jogging.

It’s now been maybe a day and a half since the binge.  I’m still in a great deal of physical pain.  I’ve got a lot of swelling all over my body.

I guess it was an hour or two ago I had massive diarrhea two or three times.  I was also bleeding from my rear end.  It wasn’t internal bleeding, but just on the surface from irritation.  I felt tingly all over after I went to the bathroom.  I knew this meant I was dehydrated.  I’m familiar with that dehydrated tingly feeling.  Sometimes, when I’ve felt that way, I’ve immediately fainted, even right on the toilet or in the bathroom trying to get up.

I still feel tingly like that.  But never mind, no one listens to me.

I took Puzzle out.  Why?  Because she had to go out.  She had to go potty. She has to survive, too.  She needs exercise.  We did our thing.

I am sore all over my entire abdominal area, from where my pubic area starts all the way up to where my heart is.  The whole thing is tender and sore, not only if I touch it but continually.

If I were going to pass out, I think Puzzle would tell me first.  So that way, I could at least be lying down.

I hope to feel better later.

Last night, I was holding Puzzle to my tummy.  It was all I could do.  I was in so much pain.  She often lies on top of my feet, ankles, and calves, and I think she does this to keep the edema from accumulating.  It works quite well.  All last summer, while I was in a state of severe starvation, she lay very close to my heart, and the two of us, alone together, kept it beating.

 

Reactions to trauma aren’t “disorders.” They are normal.

Have you been given the label “PTSD”?  Take the “D” off of it right now.  There’s nothing “wrong” with you.  So saith me.  Instead, the world needs your voice.  Instead, what you need is to be loved and reassured.  If you have experienced something rotten, I’m truly sorry that it happened and I wish it didn’t.  No one can undo it.  However, it’s my wish, and I assume your wish as well that what happened to you never happens to anyone else.  What we all need to do to see to it that people stop being mean and that we all have a safer place to live.

I can give you a super good example of why I say “PTSD” is not a “D” at all.  My little dog, Puzzle, isn’t mentally ill.  She can’t speak in words, so no one can say she’s ever said anything irrational.  She’s never taken psych meds so no one can give her a diagnosis based on what meds have been “effective” for her in the past.  Has she ever tried to kill herself?  Has she ever overdosed?  Oh yeah, she overdosed on chicken bones a number of years ago because someone had thrown them on the ground instead of in the garbage and I didn’t see them there in time.  The bones went down the hatch quickly cuz that’s what dogs do.  It was my own fault that I was not able to teach her to give up what was in her mouth.  Was this a suicide attempt on Puzzle’s part and is she mentally ill?  Um, I think chicken bones are yummy for dogs and she’s rather typical.  So were the vet bills.

Do you see what I’m saying? Back to PTS____.  We as a society speak often of abused animals and how they tend to cower and act scared.  Do we call them mentally ill?  I don’t think so.  They are traumatized and their behavior is a normal conditioned response.  They have learned from their bad experience to be fearful.  What do we do?  We are animal rights activists.  We beg for the rights of these abused animals and beg for them not to be killed and beg for homes for them, donating our time and money.  We bring them into our homes.  We love them and cherish them.  Why don’t we do this for our abused humans?  Instead, society gives them the message that something’s “wrong” with them, makes them feel even more like crap, segregates them into ghettos, “programs,” hospitals, jails, medicates them, therapizes them, supervises them, or manages them, but certainly doesn’t love them.

Puzzle was traumatized when we first moved to this apartment.  I’ve spoken of it here before.  A lady shoved a shopping cart at her.  I couldn’t undo what was done and it shouldn’t have happened.  The lady still lives here.  She’s one of the many residents I feel sorry for her cuz (between ourselves) she herself is a victim of ongoing abuse, but that’s a whole other story.  This is low income housing and an incredible number of people here are lonely and deeply unhappy.  You’d think it’s a quaint home-like place where little old ladies live, but the truth is, it’s a very violent and harsh environment.  There’s a lot of shouting at all hours and you don’t feel safe here.

The Housing Authority doesn’t want people wandering the halls with shopping carts that come from the supermarkets and these shopping carts are supermarket property anyway.  I’m sure the presence of shopping carts in our narrow hallways are a hazard for fire and rescue efforts.  But this lady walks the halls using a shopping cart instead of a walker.  She owns a walker but prefers the shopping cart, so I’ve since learned.  (Her claim that she couldn’t afford one and didn’t own one wasn’t true.) Whether the walker isn’t comfortable to walk with or isn’t properly fitted and the shopping cart fits better…I don’t know much about walkers, actually and am no judge.

I was walking with Puzzle, just coming in from a walk, having just moved in, not thinking of any of this and not knowing that the residents had already made up their minds.  They felt hostile toward this new girl they’d never met before and had not even spoken to.  They never bothered introducing themselves.  They simply decided they didn’t like this girl and her dog.  She was an ugly girl.  From the other building.  A Jew.  I guess someone heard the girl crying.  What a slut.

So the lady said she was scared of Puzzle while I was walking down the hall and that’s why she reacted the way she did.  “Get away from me!” and she shoved that cart right at Puzzle.

I didn’t know it then, but looking back, I can tell you that Puzzle’s personality changed after that.  A few of the changes have never gone away, but most have faded gradually.  She became extremely fearful.  I’d say for a year after that, she’d assume you couldn’t be trusted until you proved yourself trustworthy.  This was new.  Observers would ask me if she was a “shelter mutt.”  Over time, this distrust has faded and she’s back to being the loving dog she once was that assumes everyone is good.  That’s because I gave her lots and lots of love and exposed her to as many other people as I could that loved her as well.

There are behaviors I see in Puzzle, though, that originated with this shopping cart event that have never disappeared.  She gets upset when the doorbell rings or when someone knocks.  A guest is not necessarily someone she feels she can trust.  I don’t have people inside my home ever.  I did have CBFS but most of the CBFS personnel I dealt with didn’t even like dogs and wouldn’t pet her or show interest in her.  They’d even look repulsed when they saw her or they’d visibly flinch or move away or rudely bury themselves in their cell phones.  The maintenance people are rude and I tend to dread their coming in here.  I always hope that they send one of the ones with manners that likes Puzzle.

Puzzle enjoys traveling on the bus and subway.  She takes up a tiny amount of room on my lap.  It’s transit policy that I can’t take up more than one seat even with a dog, so I either leave my knapsack on my back or I take it off and snuggle Puzzle between my body and the knapsack.  She loves being snuggled.  I try to sit next to someone that smiles and me and invites me to sit rather than sit next to someone who looks grossed out at the idea of sitting next to a dog.  My instincts are pretty good.  I almost always choose someone wonderful.  I pray for someone who is lonely.  I want Puzzle and I to make someone’s day.

I want to end this article with a little story about love.

Where is God?  What is God?  God is love.  God is the voice of those lonely, often nameless strangers that speak to me on the bus.  God is the homeless girl I met on the CT1 or CT2 bus, I can’t recall which, who had shared with me that she cared about her relative (was it an uncle?  I can’t recall) more than anything.  She was on her way to yet another shelter and didn’t have enough change to pay for the bus.  The bus driver told her, very rudely and in a lecturing tone, “Grow up.”  She asked me in earnest for some tips on how to quit smoking and said she was trying very hard.  I thought surely, she’d seen a lot of life if she’d lived in shelters.  It was all I could do to listen to her story and of course, I told her how I’d quit smoking many years ago.  She’d bummed her last cigarette off of someone.  She was doing everything she could just to survive this world. All she wanted was for her sick relative to be well.

Puzzle and I have met so many.  There have been men with whom I have spoken as well, men on their way to the shelter in Waltham, men hoping to find employment.  I see them on the 70 bus, headed for the shelter.

Many people tell me their story, and thus doing, without knowing it, I have renewed hope and the will to go on with my life when otherwise I would have ended it.  A simple conversation.

I don’t give a shit if that lonely person may have been drunk or “out of it” or if some doctor has stated that the person is “mentally incompetent” or how many drugs the person was or wasn’t taking.  Or if the person was a working person that society assumed was okay, but inside, was deeply unhappy.  Do you understand that this fleeting conversation on whatever bus saved my own life?  That smile, those tears of relief and that person saying, “You and your dog Puzzle made my day.”

You ask me where is God.  I am telling you, this is God.

We should all be so loved again.  Throw out the “D” and let’s all embrace.

New and old photos of Puzzle and me….

Just thought I’d share these….

First, this one, which you’ve seen before, taken about a year ago.  I’ll call it, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”  Julie and Puzzle, September 2012.

Puzzle and Julie, for church 9_2_12

Here I am roughly a month ago. I believe August 6, 2013 .  Maybe I’ve found out that a monsoon has indeed hit the house.  Of course, this kind of thing happens to folks.  When it does, it tends to sweep you off your feet.  It will also kill off a witch or two in the process.  I stole this photo off of a You-Tube I made that day, or evening.  You can view the You-Tube on my Juliemadblogger channel.  I made a couple around that time and I’m rather out of it, I must say.   I viewed them both, rather cautiously, while a patient in the hospital.  I don’t think any doctor or nurse knew I was accessing my own recent past.  Surely, they may have “advised” against it, or thought I had “no self-awareness” or “no insight,” as they call it, to at all recall having done these You-Tubes.  However, I certainly remembered it.  I have the keen memory of a writer, a  memoirist.  They forgot this, as these practitioners always have over the years.  We can forgive them, I suppose.  They don’t have the training I have as writers.  The pen is mighty indeed.  Here’s the photo.

snapshot_005

Here is the last photo I’m showing you tonight….taken just now, that is, tonight, September 11, 2013, roughly a year after the first photo I showed you of me and Puzzle together, the  one on the top of this entry.  Here is the one I just took of us.  We’re not in the same room.  We’re in my bedroom.  I’ll call the photo, “Still crazy, alive, proud, and together after all these years, Julie and Puzzle.  Nyah nyah.”

Picture 8

Doesn’t Puzzle look fabulous?  She’s so darned cute.  Must say, I’m a little bit on the cute and funny side myself.  It’s one of our many assets.