Friday, August 18, 2017

Good news from the vet!

Zane and I went in to get his bandage changed and we got the results of the pathology report.  The lump on the inside of his paw was chronic inflammation.  It was not a mast cell tumor, as I had feared.  I originally thought it was inflammation, but then it didn't go away and kept changing sizes.

I am so relieved... this gets the weekend off to a great start!

Monday afternoon, we get rid of the bandage and the stitches!


As is my habit, I started today by looking at Facebook's On This Day application.  I found some interesting goodies from the past, including a bunch of old photos.  Below is a picture of my grandparents.  They were my mom's parents.

I never knew Grandma Elliott.  She died when I was four years old.  We lived in England at the time, so I didn't attend her funeral.  I am her youngest grandchild of five.  I have three sisters and a female cousin from my mom's brother, who only had one child.  I haven't seen cousin Sue since my wedding day in 2002.

This is a very recent picture of  me.  I was trying on a gown I bought for our upcoming cruise.  The gown is pretty, but laden with beads and sequins that fall off every time it gets moved from its hanger.  I doubt I'll wear it more than a couple of times.

When I was growing up, I used to hear all the time about how much I resembled Grandma Elliott.  My mom would go as far as saying that if I didn't look so much like her, she'd swear she picked up the wrong baby from the hospital.  I think that's because I mainly got my personality from my dad's side of the family.

I don't know a whole lot about Grandma Elliott, other than she had blue eyes, like me.  She also had dark hair, which I have never had.  That's partly because I colored my hair for years.  Right now, it's more or less natural because I quit coloring last fall.  I was born blonde and went darker and now I seem to be back to blonde, which suits me fine.  I must have gotten my hair from my maternal grandfather.  I inherited my grandmother's bone structure and her nose... and perhaps her penchant for being crabby.

Grandma Elliott's first name was Adice.  I've never known anyone else with that name.  Maybe if I'd had a daughter, I would have named her that.  I was given Grandma's middle name of Leighton.  I always hated that name when I was a child, but I've grown to appreciate it now.  It's unusual and kind of elegant.  My mom gave all four of her daughters traditional and formal names with a somewhat regal ring to them.  All of us, except for one, go by nicknames.

I was told Adice worked in a dress shop and had a wonderful flair for fashion.  She was noted for being really pretty and people even used to call her "Pretty" as a nickname.  She was great at crochet. I even have a blanket she made.  My mom is also really good at all things involving sewing, needlepoint, cross stitch, and knitting, although she never learned to crochet.  I suck at sewing and needle crafts.  However, I did inherit my mom's musical genes.

I did some basic genealogy last year and determined that my grandmother is related to a large family in Lynchburg, Virginia.  She grew up in Amherst, which isn't too far from Lynchburg.  When she married my grandfather, they moved to Buena Vista, Virginia, which is where my mom was born and grew up.  It's now become a Mormon mecca, thanks to LDS folks buying Southern Seminary and turning it into the University of Southern Virginia.  My mom graduated from Southern Seminary.

All of this comes up just after Bill and I submitted DNA samples to 23andme.  I told my mom about doing that and she was very interested.  I look forward to finding out what my heritage is based on the test results.  I'm guessing, based on what I've found so far, I'm mostly of British and German origins, although I won't be surprised if there's Native American in there too.  My dad's side of the family is rather dark...  dark hair, dark eyes, and some members have rather dark skin or a lot of freckles.  I definitely favor my mom's side of the family, which is decidedly Celtic looking.

The majority of people on both sides of my family seem to have been in Virginia for a very long time, so I don't have the connection to other parts of the world that some people do.  I will say, however, that I feel very much at home in Britain and Germany.  England is astonishingly familiar to me.  The part where my very first memories come from looks just like where I grew up in Virginia.

As I write this, it occurs to me how fast time flies and how it seems like just yesterday, I was a child.  Now I'm middle aged.  I guess, if I'm going to make a point to anyone, it's that you should try to enjoy your life as much as possible because time passes fleetingly.  Before you know it, you'll be solidly entrenched in the middle of your life.  I look at mine and wondered if it's going to mean anything to anyone, especially since I "broke the mold" and won't be passing on any descendants...  But then, given how very fucked up the world is today, maybe that's a blessing.     

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Confederate purge...

Last night, I came across an article shared by the Army Times about the ten Army posts named after Confederate generals.  The author, name of Meghann Myers, wanted to know if the Army should rename them.  So far, the people who have answered her poll overwhelmingly seem to think the names should stay the same because, like it or not, the Confederate generals are a part of military history.

Although the anti-Confederate movement has been going on for some time now, it's reached a fever pitch in the last week as people are still reeling from the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The city of Baltimore removed a bunch of Confederate monuments in the wee hours of the morning the other day.

In the past, I've had the opinion that people put way too much stock in symbols and words.  I still kind of feel that way.  I think it's much easier to ban symbols and words and stamp out things like statues and building names than it is to actually evolve.  It takes more time and effort to change people's hearts, attitudes, and minds than it does to rename buildings and tear down memorials.  But, like it or not, that's what a lot of people focus on.

A couple of friends decided to discuss this issue with me.  One friend determined that it was better for the Army to rename the ten posts named after Confederates.  My opinion is that the money spent on making new signs, changing stationery, and everything else that comes with renaming a venue would be better spent helping people get their basic needs met.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I think someone who doesn't have food, shelter, or medical care would much rather have those immediate needs attended to than see money spent on long established Army posts getting new, politically correct names.

My friend was surprisingly tenacious about sharing his opinion with me, which is fine.  But even if we did change the names of those posts, I wonder how many regular Americans even know who General Bragg was?  And how many of them, in their heart of hearts, actually care?  Many people are just trying to survive.  If you're trying to survive, do you really give a shit if Fort Bragg is named after a Confederate general?

It would be nice if we could just wave a wand and everyone would stop instantly being racist.  It takes time for attitudes and opinions to evolve.  In the grand scheme of things, I think the names of Army posts are kind of low on the totem pole.  Also, people who are actually in the military tend to think these name changing measures are silly.  Folks in the military tend to be a pragmatic lot.  They see civilians as "snowflakes".  I'm not saying that's right; I'm saying that's kind of the way things are.  I can't get onboard with killing a bunch of trees to make new stationery when we have so many veterans who can't even get decent medical care from the Veteran's Administration.

Maybe I'm naive... and maybe because I'm a white woman, I have no right to express this opinion...  I just think we have much bigger fish to fry than changing the names of Army posts.  At least that's how I feel today.  Maybe my mind will change later.  That is, if we don't end up being nuked by the North Koreans.

I like what Weird Al sings about the North Koreans...
On another note, people in the tiny hamlet of Fucking, Austria wanted to change the name of where they live because so many cheeky English speakers were stealing their road signs and having sex in public. Austrian officials refused to allow the name change.  Even if they had changed it, it would have taken time before the fucking would stop.  I imagine the same would be the case for Army posts.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

After yesterday's cheery post...

Today I'm feeling a bit less positive.  Here's how my day went before 7:00am.  I think today may be one of those days when I start drinking at lunchtime...

I woke up at midnight, needing to pee. Came back to the bed, found a couple of Arran's turds that came out while he was sleeping next to Bill.  Cleaned that up.  Couldn't get back to sleep because Aunt Flow is in full force.  Had to keep getting up to go to the bathroom.

A couple of hours later, I heard Zane whining.  He's started limping on the leg that he had surgery on last week.  Just 24 hours ago, he was moving almost fine.  At that point, Arran decided to go sleep on the futon and Zane jumped up on the bed and curls up at my feet. I spent the rest of the night sleeping fitfully.

I got up at 5:00am to go to the bathroom again. I noticed my breath could knock a buzzard off a shitwagon, so I brushed my teeth while Bill was shaving.  We only have one sink, so we have to share.  The toothpaste was on my tongue a little too long, which made me feel like puking.  It ends up being a false alarm.

I went downstairs.  Arran came down behind me and threw up bile.  I managed to get him off my rug before he puked on it.  I cleaned it up.  Then I felt the need to puke, which I did violently for several minutes, even though I had nothing in my stomach. Now I have petechiae around my eyes.

Zane came downstairs, still limping. I have to take him to the vet at 9:00 for a bandage change. I hope his pathology report isn't ready yet because I don't even want to know today. The way things are going, it'll probably be horrible news.

Then I noticed the corner of the indoor welcome mat is wet. Apparently, Arran peed on it during the night. So I cleaned that up... and then opened Facebook to read a bunch of self-righteous rants that run the gamut from everything to redneck chastising about not supporting Cheeto to all the reasons why white people suck.  It's not even 7:00am yet.

Edited to add... It's now almost 9:50.  I took Zane in and got his bandage changed.  The surgical wound is kind of gross looking.  The hair around it is all grimy.  The vet soaked Zane's foot in Betadine solution and wrapped it up again.  She gave me more Rimadyl.  I have a feeling the bandage has made Zane have to walk funny, which may be causing tendonitis.  The vet didn't seem to understand my theory.  I explained that Zane has done this limping thing before.  We took him to an emergency vet and she diagnosed tendonitis.  My guess is that the padding on his foot is making him hold it in an awkward way which is causing soreness.  He seems to walk normally after a few minutes of limping.

I'm really hoping I don't end up regretting the surgery on his paw.  You never know with mast cell tumors.  I have a feeling that's what that bump was.  But on Monday next week, he gets his stitches out.  At least the wound on his hind leg is healing well.

On the positive side, vet care in Germany is cheap.  For both dentals, an extraction, two tumor removals, medications, lab work, and a few dressing changes, we owe about 825 euros.  That's a lot less than we'd pay for the same thing in the U.S.A.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

LDS former teacher is convicted of having sex parties with boys...

Time now for another post about creepy Mormons.  I first read about former missionary and high school English teacher, Jared Anderson, a few days ago when a news article about him showed up on my Facebook feed.  Mr. Anderson, who is 29 years old and reasonably handsome, was just sentenced to ten years in prison for having sex parties with boys.

As I was reading about his case, it dawned on me that I know exactly where Anderson taught school. He was employed at Judson High School, which is located in Converse, Texas.  It was within walking distance of where Bill and I lived in Texas.  Evidently, Mr. Anderson was named "Teacher of the Year" before he was outed as a pervert.  Judson High School is also apparently a place where there have been several problem teachers.

According to the news article I read, Anderson did not molest any of his students.  Instead, he invited boys from his church group to his home, where he hosted what he called "bro's night".  The boys, all of whom were members of Mr. Anderson's church, were greeted with a sign that read "The last one to strip naked gets the first dare."  Anderson's lewd activities included at least ten boys ranging between 15 and 17 years old.  Apparently, the boys also sent pictures of their genitals to each other.  

A couple of the boys later told church authorities about what was happening at Mr. Anderson's house.  Much to the credit of the church officials, they contacted child protective services.  Mr. Anderson was arrested and, after plea bargaining, was convicted of four counts of sexual performance by a child and two counts of indecency with a child by exposure.  Incredibly enough, he requested a form of probation.  Judge Steven C. Hillbig was disinclined to go easier on Anderson and sentenced him to ten years and fined him $9,000.  Were it not for the plea bargain, Anderson could have gotten up to twenty years in prison.

It's hard to fathom how this man thought he could get away with these activities.  I will never understand the drive that leads people to take these risks.  Honestly... do they not realize they will eventually be caught?  Maybe that's what they hope for... to be caught and sent away so they can't continue to engage in deviant behavior.

I have read a few articles about Jared Anderson and seen his picture a few times.  In each of the pictures I've seen, he looks deeply troubled. In more than one shot, he looks as if he's about to burst into tears. 

I noticed that church official Ian Vassiloras is quoted as saying Anderson is "human" and “There might be some little tidbits popping up, but it will never lead him down this path again.”  I'm not sure exactly what this is supposed to mean.  Does Vassiloras not think that Anderson will engage in this behavior again once he's out of prison?  Unfortunately, statistics are not on Anderson's side.  

Some time ago, I wrote about a guy I knew in college who was caught with child pornography.  He was sent to prison and released early.  It didn't take long before Gregg Baird was up to his old tricks.  After his release, he was caught with more child pornography and was sent back to prison.  I'm not saying that sex offenders cannot be reformed.  Some of them can be.  However, it's not one of the easier behaviors to correct.

Mr. Anderson is (or was) married and the father of two sons.  On a Mormon blog called "My Mormon Two Cents", he wrote this...

I am Mormon. It has made me who I am. I served my mission in the Utah Ogden Mission. It was amazing. I love my family. My mom is rad. I’m married to an amazingly beautiful woman. My son is adorable and fills a hole in my heart that I didn’t know was there. I believe in retail therapy. Laughing is fun. You should try it sometime. I graduated from BYU-Idaho in English Education. I think correct grammar is impressive. Books are my addiction. I want my own library someday, so I’m preparing for that room now by collecting myriad books. I love to sing. Green is my favorite color. I’m a Church history buff. I love trivia. I should be on Jeopardy. But seriously, my Church drives me to do what I do. It liberates me. I wouldn’t be anywhere near the man I am today without it. You should ask me about it. Is that enough info?

Interestingly enough, being Mormon wasn't enough to stop him from being a pervert and ending up in prison.  I find Jared Anderson's story very sad on many levels.  I hope he is able to reform, but I have my doubts.  And now, those two boys of his are going to be without their father and a promising career in education is ruined.

Let your love flow... all over the goddamn place!

Today's post is brought to you by The Bellamy Brothers...

As the world is rocked by news of North Korea's plans to nuke Guam, racist protests in Charlottesville, and anything Donald Trump tweets, I feel the need to watch YouTube videos and remember when I was young... and music was still good.  The 70s was an especially good time for music.  You could hear anything on the radio...  an Eagles song followed up Joe Tex... a Chic song followed by Led Zeppelin.  I was a kid back then, so life was relatively fun.  Until, of course, I did something that got me in trouble, which happened all too frequently.

I'm sure there was hatred and violence and all kinds of racist shit that happened in the 70s.  What we didn't have back then was constant news and social media.  We also didn't have as many people speaking out so publicly.  Nowadays, it seems like everyone has a platform.

I just feel like making a feel good post.  There's not enough of that right now.  Too many people are focused on how scary things are.  One thing I do that makes me feel better is listen to good music, even if some of it is really cheesy.  

Okay... so this one is from the 60s.  But the lyrics are still very relevant.

Instead of focusing on how sad and full of hatred some people are, I could focus on something good.  Like the fact that Mr. Zane seems to be full of pluck and sass, despite the bandage on his leg that's cramping his style.  And the sun is shining and we have pleasant temperatures in Germany.  A month from now, if all goes according to plan, we'll be on a ship enjoying the fruits of Bill's labor in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Maybe today would be a good day to turn off the news and just reflect.  It would be a good day not to see Donald Trump's face... and his mouth, which always reminds me of a toilet.

Supposedly, these urinals are in Paris.  Perhaps it's time to visit there again.

There's a lot going right in the world.  Jinger Duggar isn't pregnant and is even wearing pants.  That's pretty goddamn awesome, even if her husband is still preaching nonsense about Catholics.  And... people are making penis shaped cakes, which is certainly something to smile about!  A Facebook friend of mine is getting married and she shared that picture, which naturally I had to do, too.  I'm not sure, but I think I upset someone when I shared it.  Either that, or one of my Republican friends got tired of me.  Who knows...  But either way, I'd enjoy that cake.

I'll probably be back later to blog about a shitty LDS dude I just read about.  For now, I need to take Zane and Arran to the Robidog, so they can do their business.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Play stupid games; win stupid prizes...

This morning, as I was recovering from being rudely awakened by Zane whining to get into bed with us and then stabbing my inner thigh with his toenails, I read an article shared on Facebook about the poor dude who has become the new poster child for the alt-right movement.  20 year old Peter Cvjetanovic, a college student from Reno, Nevada, was in Charlottesville this past Saturday, shouting and carrying a tiki torch.  His face went viral and now he's coping with the ramifications of being labeled a racist.

Mr. Cvjetanovic studies history and political science at the University of Nevada, Reno.  At age 20, he evidently thinks his "white heritage" is being threatened and that's apparently why he decided he needed to go to Charlottesville and participate in the "White Nationalist" march.  He claims that he cares for all people, but somehow the removal of a Robert E. Lee memorial in Charlottesville will eventually lead to the erosion of whatever heritage white people have.


I remember being twenty.  Technically, a twenty year old is an adult.  I remember what twenty year olds were like when I was that age.  It sounds to me like Mr. Cvjetanovic is very naive, immature, and needs to study more history.  We were fortunate in my day because we didn't have Facebook or any other social media.  When we did stupid shit like this-- although this is pretty epicly stupid, even for a twenty year old man-- it was a pretty safe bet that it would eventually and fairly quickly blow over.  Yes, people took pictures back in those days, but you had to wait until the film was developed before you could see them.  Sometimes that would take weeks.  At an event like the one in Charlottesville, I would imagine this dude's face would end up in a newspaper, but not everyone read the newspaper back in those days.

Of course, Mr. Cvjetanovic grew up in the Internet age.  Perhaps his family may have been recent immigrants to the United States, with a last name like his.  My guess is that they came from somewhere in Eastern Europe.  My guess (hope, really) is that he fell in with the wrong crowd and they convinced him that he needed to stand up for his "white rights".  It's incredibly misguided thinking.  I don't know how many southern redneck types are living in Reno, but I have a feeling he came nose to nose with them in Charlottesville.  I wonder if he identified with them in their hodgepodge of military regalia decorated with American and Confederate battle flags and KKK symbols.  I wonder if he really wants to associate with them... trade in that white polo shirt and khaki ensemble he's wearing for a white sheet and a hood.

What in the world made this guy think it was a good idea to come to Virginia and participate in this nonsense?  Did he think to himself, "I'm gonna go to Virginia for the weekend and raise some hell!  It's gonna be awesome, dude.  We're gonna make history!"  Did it ever occur to him that things could turn violent and pictures would be taken and shared?  Clearly not, since he now regrets being the poster child for white supremacists.  While this incident will eventually blow over-- especially since it looks like another rally is being planned for Richmond-- that epic picture will always be around.  My guess is that Mr. Cvjetanovic will regret his actions for some time to come... maybe even for the rest of his life.

In the short term, Mr. Cvjetanovic will have to deal with the ugly aftermath of opening his big trap on camera (which he literally did).  There will probably be repercussions for some time.  He may lose his job or his spot in college.  Maybe he'll lose friends.  Hopefully, he'll gain much needed perspective and a clue and not let this ruin his life.  But first, he needs to realize that white people have been in charge for a very long time in the United States.  And the United States didn't even belong to white people to begin with; they came in and took the land from Native Americans.  They did the same thing around the world, especially notably in Australia and Africa.

I don't think a person should feel ashamed of their race.  No one can help being who they are.  Race is not something that can be changed.  Some of these men who were marching may have felt that too many people were dumping on them because they happen to be white.  And, of course, that's not right.  But white people don't need to preserve their heritage.  White heritage has been at the forefront for a very long time.  And even if it hadn't been, it's crazy that people were hurt and killed in the name of "preserving white heritage".

If he's smart, Mr. Cvjetanovic will learn from this incident.  Maybe he'll even tell his own children about it.

The above video is worth a view.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Stupid white men...

I woke up this morning to the news about Charlottesville.  I learned about how one woman and two state troopers died and nineteen people were injured, all over a bunch of stupid white men protesting over Confederate memorials in Charlottesville.  As some readers might know, I was born and raised in Virginia and Charlottesville has always been regarded as a place of grace and decorum.  It's where the University of Virginia is, a very prestigious university founded by Thomas Jefferson.  Yesterday, it was descended upon by a bunch of ignorant fucks...

I've been reading the news this morning and looking at pictures of the devastation.  There are pictures of the people who were injured over this nonsense and pictures of stupid white men carrying torches and wearing pseudo military gear.  I cannot believe it's 2017 and this shit is happening.

Bill thinks these guys feel like their country has been "taken" from them.  He thinks they feel alienated over liberal ideas and tolerance toward people who aren't white, as well as shaming toward people for being of European descent.  There may be some truth to that.  I grew up surrounded by people who feel this way.  I have family members who are very conservative and have expressed intolerance toward brown people.  I'm ashamed to say that when I was a lot younger, I probably felt and expressed those ideas myself.

I feel like I changed when I left the South and started mingling with people who aren't like me.  It really seemed to start when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Seriously, I was the only one in my group who was born and raised southern.  It's not the kind of thing southerners tend to do...  or at least not as much as people from other (more liberal) parts of the country.  Maybe that's changed in the past twenty years.

When I started to hang around people who were different, my perspective changed and, I believe, my mind broadened.  Now, if I try to express my changed views to my loved ones, they think I'm a liberal "nutjob".  They think that stupid Confederate memorials and the concept of "white pride" are worth killing and dying for.

It breaks my heart that my home state is where this racist and hate inspired bullshit happened yesterday.  It makes me glad I live in Germany, a country that has already dealt with this stupidity and learned from it.  Way too many Americans have their heads up their asses.

In other news...
Zane is feeling pretty good this morning.  He was begging for a walk, so Bill took him down to the Robidog (poop receptacle) at the start of our usual route.  He was sniffing and galloping, acting as if he wanted to go much further.  I think that walk was a real morale booster for him.

He seems to be healing nicely.  I dread finding out what that bump was we had removed, but I think Zane will be right as rain in a couple more days.