Thursday, October 1, 2009

Risking 1,2,3.....

I saw this young boy tring to skateboard on the railing overlooking Mono Lake on my way to Yosemite to camp.  I was on the way home from the Second International Symposium on Veterinary Hospice and Palliative Care.  I was really on overload and looking forward to camping alone in the trees at 11,000 ft.  I stopped and watched him, happy my Mommy-fear was not here because he was not my child.  I wanted to capture the feeling I had at that moment.  I wanted a picture of it to remember my feelings and all that had captured my heart.  This was the best I could do with my iPhone at sunset!

  At the moment I am feeling very tired and old, but wise-old.  I am so grateful that each time I risk a great deal, overcome some fear, I seem to reap rewards proportional to the risk.  I am getting divorced, trying to move out of the busy city of Phoenix up to the cool more cold and calm Flagstaff.  It seemed impossible, but I have convinced my soon to be ex to move too.  I think we need to share our daughter.  I am feeling like I am this boy: I am trying and trying to do the right thing.  I am trying so hard to do the job I am given: to advocate for animals.  I am tring so hard to overcome my physical difficulties and live in the moment.  To accept my limitations, yet take them with me to the next idea, the next article, the next action.  Ignoring pain either emotional or physical just gave it permission to grow.  Now I accept it.  I hurt, yet I can still write.  I try to take it slow and honor my problems instead of run away from them.  They are, afterall, part of what has made me who I am.  I have so much to do today.  I must do some of it!  But, I am aware of my limitations.  It is almost in naming the worst thing it goes away!  I think if there is such a thing as the devil, or pure evil it is not loud.  It is that quiet pervasive voice that says to you: "You can't do THAT!  They will LAUGH at you!  Who do you think you are to presume they will respect you? You are going to fail!" It is called the Itty Bitty Sh***y Committee in 12 step parlance.  A very wise man at the Hospice Symposium told me to tell them to "take a number, come back later, how about an appointment in 2 hours?".  I have been doing that and they do not show up at the appointed hour!  I can not see the road ahead, but I feel the right path at every moment if I will just listen.  I know what I am supossed to do and I think I am nuts for risking so much each time I do.  And...each time I risk It is testing new waters, and I am getting deeper and deeper into my dreams!  If I just keep trying to risk, and GO FOR IT and ignore the aforementioned IBSC then I am really rewarded with progress towards my dreams.  I do not mean to sound egocentrical in any way, because the more I accomplish, the more good that comes from my committment to the GOOD, the LESS it is me at all.  It is me resonating a tiny bit , for just a moment, hanging there near perfection before my imperfect mind intervenes.  Like the boy who showed me it was OK to take a leap, and do it over and over until you get it right, risk or no risk..Oh, yeah, and it is so much more FUN to take the leap.......I think I will keep trying it...Risking 1,2,3.......

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Vet Hospice Symposium is causing me to continue to change my life

I am at the Second International Veterinary Hospice Symposium at UC Davis's College of Veterinary Medicine.  Just like last year, this Symposium is again causing me to change my life.  I am completely taken over by the idea that our pets are sentient, feeling, soulful creatures that we are responsible for.  When an animal looks into my eyes, I DO know what they want, what they are asking of me.  I never really admitted that when I was a practicing Veterinarian.  Now that look, those eyes are the reason I must write and help Veterinarians and concerned pet "owners" to accept the death of their pets and participate in the process through Animal Hospice.  Finally, here at the Symposium, are some good journalists, this will be on the radar now.  I am no journalist, and am struggling to write and express myself.  I am driven, however, to try to get Vets and other caregivers, and pet owners to know about Veterinary Hospice.  Something about this subject, this idea is all encompassing and life changing.  Sharen Myers LCSW gave an amazing talk, and meeting her, I saw my new passion mirrored in her eyes.  She has worked in human hospice for many years and is starting Synergy a Pet Hospice in Oregon.  She quoted Cicely Saunders a Hospice pioneer who said "I did not find Hospice, Hospice found me".  She also said about Hospice that "It took me 19 years to build a house around a window."  Hospice has caused me to rethink first, my own life, my ideas about life itself, and then infused me with a burning desire to tell other people what the animals want.
   I thought, because of my health issues, I had to be at home.  Dr. Kathryn Maracchino told me last year to "work to your abilities, not your disabilities".  I came to the first Hospice Symposium.  Since then I have driven 5000 miles each summer with my daughter to help people in New Orleans, and to just have an adventure with her.  I think that has changed both our lives.  This lisence to GO that I got from Kathryn in one instant absolutely changed my life.  That First Symposium then changed my views of life itself.  This Second Symposium contimues to alter my basic values and views for the better.
  I have learned in our culture , especially in the USA, we AFRAID of death.  Sharen Myers quoted Margaret Mead who said "When someone is born, we rejoice.  When someone marries, we celebrate.  When someone dies, we pretend nothing happened."  Death IS the equal and opposite process of birth.  If we want to live well, we need to die well and vice versa.  We may try to ignore this for ourselves, but we are faced with death full force with our pets.  We love them so much and they love us so purely.  We are responsible for them, feed them and take care of them, but in reality  they take care of us.  I know there is an amazing spiritual, pure love connection with our animals.  I know I am being loved when I look into a kitty like Zoomi's eyes.  There is a message there, and now I am not afraid to admit that, and thrive in that knowledge.  The Hospice Symposium has validated the path and the truth that I feel in my gut.  I have found the courage to change my life from that knowledge.  Something about dealing with the moment of death teaches us how to well live our lives.  There is the very kernal of sacredness here, and the lesson is to experience it.  The speakers here have taught me that THE most important thing is to BE PRESENT and open to the experience.  This was presented about the dying process, but it has taught me about the living process.  This is what I learn when I look into those eyes: love is here, in the moment, and I must learn to live with this love first and foremost in my every moment.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gratitude for hospice4animals

I am very grateful for the amazing events of the this last week.  I would not normally put my picture here, but I want to smile at you if you stop by.  I have begun to be an Editor for  Veterinary Medicine at specializing in Pet Loss and Grief, Euthanasia Issues, End of Life Care, and Veterinary Hospice.  This is an extraordinary opportunity to reach a larger audience and help more people deal with the very tough decisions surrounding the end of life.  I am also very grateful to all who wrote and are writing, about the article that follows "Why is it so hard when a pet dies?".  It has touched a nerve or struck a chord depending on your perspective.  I have been overwhelmed by the response and struck by their similairities.  MANY people need better ways to grieve for their pets, and memorialize them.  I do too.  I think we need more Pet Chaplains to mediate a Memorial Service, perhaps a PetWake .  We should light candles, honor our losses and then CELEBRATE the life of our pet.  If you have a friend who has just lost a pet, offer to coordinate a small PetWake.  Animals present, we gather to honor the life of the pet.  We tell funny stories, share music, say some special prayers, and then all pledge out loud how we are going to help animals by volunteering in the name and honor our fur friend.  Or how about a National Pet Remembrance Day? I am also grateful for the BEST summary on Veterinary Hospice by Rochelle Lesser at Land of Pure Gold a Canine Cancer Foundation Lastly I am grateful for the Second International Symposium on Veterinary Hospice and Palliative Care September 4-7 at the UCDavis College of Veterinary Medicine.  You heard it here first:  I will BLOG live here, TWEET live, and REPORT at (above).  Check here for great ideas and info as well as the Animal Remembrance Ceremony, holistic approaches to Hospice, and much more.  In Gratitude for the Anipals, xxxjmedvm

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stand By Me.

An AMAZING song made around the world: made this extraordinary collaboration of Stand By Me:
an amazing effort street musicians,choruses,for Peace
(Hello Grampa Elliott I Love You!)from South Africa to New Orleans by way of Congo and Northern Ireland
this song will cut to the quick:slash through nationalistic/racial/sexual identities to that which is universal. This song speaks to our commonalities,not our differences. More songs can be found at and will be released this month on cd. I felt an actual tear well up (I have met some of these street musicians from New Orleans)it will leave you wanting to work for Peace on our small green planet. The differences between us seem so much smaller then the best of our humanity;the love we can share through such beautiful music. L'chaim! Stand By Me!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finding Meaning in Mortality (thank you Daddy)

There is something about being with my Dad and thinking about geological time that has made my mortality real to me. I suppose this is not very profound, nor unusual. My Dad will be 75 in May. He visited for my daughter's tenth birthday. I am having a hysterectomy in the end of this month and have a not insignificant chance of endometrial cancer. Attempts to biopsy my uterus non surgically were unsuccessful, so a diagnosis will be made intraoperatively. Somehow, all these circumstances have given me an out-of-mind experience.

OK, I can not really have an out-of-mind experience, rather I am thinking from the third person, observing my life from as much of a distance that is possible from inside my own head.

My Dad travels the world, and frequently goes to China for his Medicine In Public Health Initiative. I have always admired my father, and been afraid of him; afraid to stand up to him. Now, for the most part I can defend my ideas and viewpoint matter of factly when it differs from his. In the last few years I have grown to like him from up close; instead of just admiring him from afar. All of the admiration, though has not stopped me from seeing the less functional parts of my personality reflected back at me from him.

It recently seems as though I am walking around acutely aware of what I do not find healthy in my relationships. I have worked very hard to trace the lineage of my specific behavior patterns. I hope I am truly working even harder to change them. This hyper-awareness and classification does not tend to foster good relationships. It is an odd irony that dissecting my dysfunction and naming it gives a strange objective awareness of interactions even as they happen. I considered it some kind of victory to actually HEAR what I sound like. Oh. THAT bad thing is just what Mommy does! Oh, I sound just like Daddy! For some reason, not everyone else is just as interested to hear me name the negative behavior I have just understood, even as I take my part in it. This is especially true for my parents. I do not per se BLAME them for my behavior, I just see where some of it comes from. Now that I am a parent, this has been af high importance to me.

I can be a really negative critic. I have not only traced this behavior, tones and gesticulations included, but also have seen it played word for word, nuance by nuance by my daughter. Now that I have diagnosed it, it is time for the treatment. Like most medications, there can be a bad aftertaste. I know I will not live forever, but tasting my mortality, seeing it and accepting it, has made my behavioral redo much more of a priority. Now the difficult task has become to stop those words, change that tone and control myself BEFORE the words come out of my mouth, before my eyes roll heavenward, before that sigh escapes my lips.

I stand with one foot in Benevolent, Understanding, Unconditional Motherland, and the other in Mother You Know What Land. In a raft rushing down the B*%$ River I try to desperately steer my way to the Loving shore. I am so close. I am sure that this struggle will continue for the rest of my life, however long that is.

Which brings me to the point of the discussion. I have already lived over half my life . At fifty-one the probability of living fifty-one more years is infinitesimal. Even if I do live over ninety like both my grandmothers, it is only forty-some years more. Looking and listening to my Dad, I am suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude. Imperfect as he is, inherited outlook and all, I love him dearly. I love the parts of me that came from him, observed as well as unknown. I can see all of this unfolding before my eyes in my daughter. As I turn from his puns, to the quick older-then-ten understanding in my daughter, I can share in their laughter. The kind of jokes, the same ironic sense of humor, and lightening quick cognition is in all three of us, is in our giggles. I have been concentrating on righting my wrongs so much that I have stopped appreciating the already-good. I have learned something, and I have passed my Daddy's best to my daughter.

I have been thinking and examining my rationale for my life, what the God of my understanding expects me to do with it. I am trying to understand how He or She wants me to invest this precious capital minute by minute. Faced with death, confronted with this mortality, I am still expected to keep on going day by sweet day. The immortality, then of my family must be just this. The way my Dad turns and glances to see if we have caught that last funny remark, caught that sly astute observation, and breaks into a huge grin despite himself, lives on, reflected back at him in my daughter's twinkling eyes. I was listening to their detailed imaginary world game, and suddenly I felt an extreme deja-vu descending. I had a whole world of people we gossiped about when I was her age. The world that our imaginary friends inhabited was quite detailed. Forty years later, it sounds just as entertaining. I see myself relaxing and letting go.

Whatever it is: fifteen hours or fifteen years, my job is to love and enjoy. My catalogue of the unacceptable was long and detailed. It is time to reward all the good I have received with the highest compliment; emulation. I will strive to accept everyone around me as they are right now. I will thank both my parents by being the best they gave me to work with. I will temper the negative to the best of my ability, and strive to stop this endless rehashing of my bad behaviors. I will enjoy all these moments of clarity, and I will try to put them to good use. I will behave as the best I can expect to receive in this world. I will always endeavor to treat all those I come in contact with, ESPECIALLY my family, with all the love I can muster. At the end of the day I will look back, not to punish myself, but merely to learn for tomorrow, and then let it go. I will try to be the best of my relatives, TO my relatives, every day. I will honor my Dad, and show my appreciation of him by being the best HE showed ME. I only have this life, as far as I know for sure, right now. I can pray and meditate and reach the God of my understanding only now;not yesterday,and not in tomorrow. So, I will try to stay in now and live in now, and love in now. Thank you Daddy!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My name is Sparky

My name is Sparky.  Last week I was 22 years young.  I have a few things that I would like to say if you would please give an old man-cat a moment.  Please keep me warm and comfortable.  Sometimes I get restless because it is hard to get comfortable.  I would like a few places where I can get under a blanket or lie in the sun.Do not be upset if I get cancer or something.  It was nothing you did.  It was because you took such good care of me.  I got an old age disease!  If you think I am very painful please help me.  I can go to the-sacred-before-and-after moment by moment.  I may seem slow and dazed.  I am really meditating, it helps me.  I will spend more and more time there until I have to go. I will hum my mantra.  Sometimes I do not eat or drink very much.  If you think I am hurting too much I trust you to do what is best for me.  Try to find me a Veterinarian who practices Hospice care for pets.  If you want to speed up my journey, I trust you.  If you do not feel it is your right to end my life, that is ok too.  Thank you for loving me and taking care of me.  I will love you.  My spirit will be with you.  Some of me will stay with you forever.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hello iPhone Bye Bye Moto

"i used to think i was married to my iphone,now i know it is my religion"

After 1 week without my iPhone waiting for replacement #6 in less then 2 yrs Apple made good by sending a new 16 GB 3G. I felt so helpless without my iPhone. I never realized how many times a day I would Google something of interest, check the NY Times, email, blog, or note new ideas I remembered for my book. Having returned to a Moto Razr I did not even remember how to turn it on and gave up on anything except texting. Forget the bogus www imitation. I did not realize how much my daily life has changed since I began to use the iPhone. (the only good things I can say about the Razr is that it was fun to send pictures with the texts (can only email pics on iPhone, what's up with that?) and it was small and cute. But cute don't cut it no more next to the sleek and powerful. I look forward to seeing if the GPS apps that record altitude change, distance and speed of a walk/run are accurate. I appreciate faster 3G speed but I have always thought the Edge network not half bad. It will probably be like a raise: you always seem to need the extra money. I will get used to the faster up and download times. I may be nuts (really?) but the sound sounds better. Maybe that's the new Vibe Duo earphones may be improved over the old pair I lost. I love them. I am in seventh heaven with the double memory: LOTS more music, podcasts, books and 3 movies!!! I used to think I was married to my iPhone but now I know it's my religion. ;-) @bsaunders, (you should hear my Yoga playlist!). OK time for bed...White Noise App is better then Ambien for this insomniac! Thank you Apple I am home (on Twitter) again. Bye Bye Moto, HHHEELLLOOOO iPhone!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On a Birthday

i have had another birthday.  Suffice it to say that if i am wise beyond my years, i am very, very smart.  i have learned that no matter what your denominational brand , the point is the same.  to keep going.  i think what i have learned from my own deity, sprituality, purpose is to keep going.  And, i do not mean to keep trudging along.  i mean to keep going, towards with purpose.  to keep that direction with a song in your heart.  a lot of stuff has been thrown into my path.  i was at one point really angry, really depressed.  a business gone, health gone, athleticism, gone, a following, lots of love gone.  my semming importance to a lot of people every day gone.  what mattered is to keep going.  eventually sometimes the why and the wherefore may emerge, or not.  you may be justified, or not.  it may be fair, or not.  i was judged harshly, i was seen as a blessing.  i was seen as a bad person, even as i struggled to right wrongs.  bad stuff happened, and i am happy to say now that i am glad.  i am glad that i can tell the stories and laugh at myself.  i can choose my path wihout rancor.  anger does not serve me anymore.  the hardest thing has been to give up caring that i am right.  the fact that i can now most times, not care, is proof to me beyond a doubt that god exists.  to have this wonderful paradox of being so individual, this wonderful ego that drives us to accomplish what we can, and at the same time to accept that we are just one, and we need to be happy to keep going even when it is so tough, and feel blessed to be here, is the gift.  i am sure that getting old, or curing the soul resides in accepting the central paradox of our lives, and for me still being happy to feel the sun is what my job is, after all.  to keep going, and to sing along the way.  the astonishment is so much more fun then the anger was.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the night is long tonight

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
the night is long tonight
yet is beautiful tonight
today smelled good
after the rain and
i learned a lot about
the press today
supposed liberal bastian
yet oddly seems to me
mostly mighty righties
with their blurred
transecting religion
and their stand on many
opnionated subjects that
strive to convert
and convince
my god is fair
my god is loving
s(he) would never
judge me unless
i decided myself
to blur the intersection
myself between god
and myself because
i know it is
not my job to
judge only gods
and not my place
in this universe
to name call
or point my
finger to
blame or name
the transgressor
and call myself
her (or his) follower
and so now
Our President is
african american
and his brilliant wife
is judged only
on which dress
she chose to
wear to her
husbands address
and her beautiful
girls sit smiling
by paradigm of
precious children
everywhere and
i do turn to
prayer yet
not know if
s(h)e is listening
now in this
beautiful clear
long night
which streaches
ahead of me
the night is long

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

You are responsible

Positiv_Thinkr from Twitter today sent this wonderful quote:

"Work while you have the light.
You are responsible for the talent
That has been entrusted to you"
Henri Frederic Amiel

It is wonderful the daily quotes Positiv_Thinkr
finds every day and posts on Twitter,all of them
fitting into 140 characters!

My name is Jaime and I am addicted to Twitter. (No disrespect to 12 step
programs intended, I am an addict and my life has been changed, enlightened, and
empowered by my own 12 step Recovery that continues one day at a time.)

Too bad

it is too bad that my current absence of estrogen is so omnipotent. It can withstand any pharmaceutical assault in my current arsenal. Stronger then AmbienCR it is a shame this biological firewall can not be marketed. It's insomnia reigns unscathed by any attempts to derail it's influence. Nights of non-sleep and headaches punctuated by sweats combine with violent hot flashes to render the night a tortuous wasteland stretching before me. It is too bad the extraordinary heat that hot-flashes generate can not be harnessed to provide us with power to at least charge a phone or two. imagine the possibilities of automatic power back up that could be an incredible (renewable?) energy source without the pesky side-effects fossil fuels produce. i wonder how many watts would be generated as many female baby-boomers actually lose the baby-generating and incubating ability. procreation becomes relatively impossible as the ticking clock finally explodes. I have often thought the world would certainly be a different place if these duties could be shared by men. if these hormone cycles and events were gender neutral (hmm a true conflict of that word's meaning?) I imagine there may be automatic sick time each month and then much empathy and allowances as menopause descended.

the effects of the paucity of estrogen are truly heroic. i have seen women vigorously fanning themselves and i judged them somewhat ridiculous. i have been now subjected to incredible retribution. the scalp burns as if lit on fire.this delightful and sudden incident is spontaneous and truly random. It is followed by a very fierce feeling of a flush that is amazing in it's power. Your body then tries to compensate by exploding with perspiration. It is like you become a huge extremely responsive swamp cooler. The principles of evaporative cooling are demonstrated anew as you suddenly feel the water droplets catch fresh air. First you are on fire and then feel like you are freezing. It is impossible to dress appropriately as the desire to tear your clothes off is followed by the need for expedition strength, high tech wicking undergarments. I must also mention how attractive one feels as beads of perspiration spring up on the forehead, upper lip and cleavage. This renders any makeup you may be wearing useless even if labeled waterproof.

I apologize for all the times I rolled my eyes and trivialized this occurrence in anyone in the past. I am truly sorry. I have been and continue to be duly punished! Sorry Marmie.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tomorrow I Wish I Was in DC

Today is for looking back,
Today is for learning from our past,
Today is for remembering MLK,
Today is for honoring fallen heroes.
Today is to sigh,let it go.

Tomorrow is for looking forward,
Tomorrow is for marking a day,
Tomorrow is for experiencing Barack Obama,
Tomorrow is for honoring our new President,
Tomorrow is a joy, let it show.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

thanks Don Lemon @ CNN

On CNN Don Lemon read my tweet from Twitter:

Thank you CNN;to be there for us,FINALLY glued to TV for a wonderful occasion!
Hopeful & Exciting;an historic President Obama!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Once it is done.

Once it is done
it no longer hurts
Once it is done
it empties my heart
Once it is done
i feel the breeze
Once it is done
the sun warms me
Once it is done
i can relax

Once it is said
it is as if it wasn't
Once it is said
the worst dissapears
Once it is said
i no longer tiptoe
Once it is said
quiet silence returns
Once it is said
i can exhale

Once it is done
Once it is said
I am free

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Morning Breath

Morning Breath

One nice thing about your dogs, birds, and cats,
They will always run for morning hugs and pats.
You don't have to worry about morning breath,
Even if exhaling caused spouses' death.
Your mouth could smell like green, infested, pond scum,
Overlayed with a hint of last night's cheap rum,
And a note of neglected Boy's toilet bowl.
Still, your pets' affections will come without toll,
Even if your mouth could be cause for divorce.
As long as the first deed of the day of course,
Is to fill all their bowls with breakfast, post haste,
Or they will not allow your morning's embrace.
If you relieve yourself in the bathroom first,
You will be lonely and sad causing tears to burst.
As it comes quickly to your mind's detection,
Your day will have only human affection!