Life in the Slow Lane

Life in the Slow Lane

Friday, March 30, 2007

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-Where's YoYo?

Is she in the warm and toasty Snoozen Housen?NO!

Is she in the snuggly and cuddly Snoozen Tuben?

Where is Yoshi sleeping?

She's spooning with the nice hard wire shelf next to loud computer speakers.

Why do I bother?

Crushing her tail!

Hey! Gimme my tail back!

BACK OFF! I'm comfy!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Cancer Rant With No Real Point

I ran into my next door neighbour in the hallway last night and had a wee chat. She is always very interested in my health but in a way I find somewhat alarming. Like last night she asked how I was feeling. I said, “Really good, thanks.” To which she then asked, “No re-occurrence yet?” Yes, meaning she had indeed casually enquired as to whether my cancer had returned yet.


My answer? Nooooooo…well, not that we know of.”

I mean, jeeeeez...

I usually take most of these kind of interactions in stride because for the most part I believe folks who ask probing (albeit inappropriate) questions and offer unsolicited advice really mean well. I’d like to think that it just comes out wrong sometimes. Sometimes VERY wrong.

I’ve mentioned that I have an in-law who has dealt with breast cancer under vastly different circumstances than me who has in the past declared that as long as I have a positive attitude I will be just fine. I truly agree with the spirit of her statement but really LOATHE how simplistic and, frankly Pollyannaish it sounds. I’ve had relatives who have died of cancer who had fantastic attitudes. I’ve also heard stories of people who were convinced they were going to die from cancer and then totally recovered. Obviously keeping a positive attitude isn’t the whole story of cancer recovery. The fact is that, yes, having a positive attitude can help you get through the vast mountains of shit you have to go through with cancer treatment but feeling tip top all the time just isn’t possible and no one should ever feel guilty about having a bad day, or days for that matter. There are times when you are convinced you are going to die or you feel like you cannot take one more second of the physical and mental tolls. Days where you hate that you are dependant on others and that this stupid disease has not only royally fucked up your life, even temporarily, but has also affected the lives of those you love. Nobody facing a terminal cancer diagnosis should ever be made to feel that they were not positive enough to cure themselves. In fact I would say that (in my opinion) if I met someone who didn’t have a bad day or twenty going through treatment I’d be pretty sure there was some serious denial of some pretty heavy duty feelings going on. And I believe that is more dangerous than being true to yourself and how you feel.

Ok-so thankfully my neighbour didn’t get into the whole attitude thing this time around but she did get into what I call the Uninformed Shoulds. This is when people tell you what you SHOULD be doing spewing off info they heard from their aunt or from the internet or some other Oracle of Extreme Truth. Once again I know this comes from a good place and I appreciate the sentiments but it can be trying at times.

My neighbour asked me if I was going to return to work in the film industry as things were busy and there was work to be had. I said that I didn’t think I would be up to doing that job again in the future. I mentioned that 18 hours days were no longer appealing as well as the fact I have had so much surgery on my right side I couldn’t do the heavy duty lifting or driving required. I didn’t get into the fact that my reluctance to return to the film industry is actually more an unwillingness to devote 100% of my waking moments to dealing with insane costume designers, needy actors, miscellaneous crew and other so-called creative folks. Honestly after this whole cancer debacle I just want to do something I enjoy and that is fulfilling. Washing strangers’ underwear, hemming pants and sitting in some desolate parking lot watching the sun come up and freezing my ass off while the director yells, “CUT!” one…more…time…no longer inspires me. Call me greedy but I want more.

Anyway, my neighbour told me that I should go to the local Yuppie Uber Trendy Hellishly Expensive Health Food Grocery Store and have them set up a vitamin regimen for me to detoxify my body from all the cancer drugs. I just hmmm’ed at this because I talked to my doctor about this very same concept and she replied that I could do that if I wanted but that it would really only take time, a good diet and exercise to get my body back to where it once was. She said that we North Americans have some of the most expensive urine in the world with all the stuff we take under the guise of healthiness. So when people say I SHOULD go and drop hundreds of dollars that I don’t have on the advice of somebody who knows nothing about my health situation or history I don’t get mad. I just remind myself of this pertinent question. Who do I listen to? The hippy at the health food store or my medically trained oncologist who works at one of the most well respected cancer treatment centers in the world?

I know there are a lot of people out there that feel that the drug companies and the medical establishment are out to dupe us all and that curing cancer is simply a matter of cutting out sugar or juicing organic foods. I totally agree that when there is medical treatment for profit that maybe things get out of whack and priorities get skewed but in Canada things are different. Our medical treatment is covered by the government so there isn’t the profit angle that there is in the US. Drug costs are regulated. The majority of medical research up here is done by hospitals and universities. You’d think that if things were that simple somebody would have let the cat out of the bag in some socialist first world country like Canada or the UK or France. I am all for a good conspiracy and am probably more suspicious than the average guy but I wonder how many drug company CEO’s or medical establishment members would thwart revealing an existing cancer cure when chances are they or their spouse or their kids will get cancer. 1 in 3 people will get cancer in their lifetimes. It doesn’t make sense.

Obviously there a balance to be struck between alternative health practices and western medicine. There ARE naturopathic things that can be helpful in treating cancer that compliment modern technology and I believe the cancer agency I am treated at offers a good mix of both. Along with my chemotherapy and radiation I was offered therapeutic touch, shiatsu massage, acupressure, acupuncture, yoga, fitness counseling, nutritional counseling, medical marijuana pills, individual counseling, and other types of supportive care. What I was strictly forbidden to do was to take herbal supplements or vitamins while under treatment as they could have interacted with my chemotherapy causing negative symptoms and even decreased the effectiveness of my treatment. So those helpful folks who are friends, relatives or just work at the vitamin store could, in their ignorance, cause you serious harm.

*start foreboding music*

I have an interesting story to tell that happened to me before I was diagnosed with cancer and started my blog that illustrates this issue. I’ll post about it on Monday.

And my point? Maybe I’ll figure one out by Monday as well.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Birthday Girlzzzzzzzz

This Saturday was Yoshi’s birthday. She is 9 years old. In my typical chemo-brain fashion I was awake for about 30 minutes and totally forgot it was her special day until my mom called to congratulate her feline grandchild. I assured Yoshi it was nothing personal as I had forgotten my own birthday as well.

Shopping for Yoshi Gifties is always hard as in typical Siamese fashion she hates pretty much everything. She hates cat treats. She hates all fresh, frozen or canned seafood except the oh-so-pedestrian tuna. I think she’d probably eat roast beast or pork or chicken if I’d feed it to her off my plate. Only problem with that is with me being vegetarian the only thing she’ll get off my plate is broccoli and that plain ol’ sucks ass. Even for me.

She doesn’t play with most cat toys preferring twist ties, q-tips and scotch tape. Cheap for me but not the most festive thing to gift wrap.

I mentioned recently that after a promising start she has abandoned the snoozen housen. Instead she remains enamored with the crappy old throw blanket I have folded on my chair. This thing is ok to look at but not very comfortable for humans in its taffeta slippery coolness. Strangely Yoshi loves it. I wash it often and each time I take it out of the dryer it has frayed along some seam requiring extensive hand sewing. I suspect its lifespan is nearing its end.

A Demonic Burrito

So I once again compromised my clean lined minimalist esthetics and purchased yet another leopard pimp-o-licious sleeping apparatus. The things I do for this cat, I tell ya.

I bring to you the Snoozen Tuben.

Coming up for air.

I thought its small snug composition would appeal to a cat who loves sleeping well covered under blankets. Let’s hope it works.

Happy Birthday Smellie Cat. I love you.

Snuggly but deadly.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Crush Your Cat's Head Friday-It's a Dog's Life Edition

I am thrilled to announce that Lulu has found a FANTASTIC forever home. When my friends, her foster mom and dad, saw her profile go back up on the rescue shelter website they realized they couldn't bear the thought of perhaps never seeing her again. Discussions ensued and they decided they couldn't let her go and that she has been where she really belonged all along. Lulu managed to meld into their family seamlessly. Clever girl! And I get to be The Benevolent Auntie any time I want. I've even received keys to their apartment so I can visit any time. It really doesn't get any better than this!

Snoozing with her new brother, Winston, who is obviously far more well adjusted than some other cat we know...*coughyoshicough*

Sharing couch time with her new sister, Xiola.

Getting her sea legs.

She and Xiola have become extremely close. My friend has been seeing special loving behavior from Xiola that she has never EVER seen her display towards any other of her doggy buddies. Lulu has developed so much self confidence being in Xiola's company. She is learning to trust and dig holes and play fight and be a lovely well rounded dog from her new best friend.

*brushing tears from my eyes* They are inseparable.

Here is Lulu looking forward to a bright future.

I know without a doubt that Lulu's life couldn't be any better.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Angst Is The New Black

Well…what do you know? It seems I have found myself right in the middle of a real live ker'fuffle. Boy-oh-boy, you have no idea what my day has been like.

It appears that The Jilted Adopters I posted about yesterday Googled my name and/or Lulu’s name and found my blog. Heeee! And of course the first thing I thought was, “Excellent!! Well I know what I’ll be blogging about tonight.” They read what I wrote about them and were very upset. So upset that they tattled about my blog to my friend who is fostering Lulu and the nice lady who runs the rescue shelter. Well, my friend reads me regularly and nothing I write surprises her anymore. I don’t know what The Nice Rescue Lady thought about this collection of my incoherent ramblings but she still stands behind me and my decision. I have always strictly adhered to a policy of never writing anything on my blog that I wouldn’t be 100% comfortable saying to anybody’s face and saying that I still firmly stand behind yesterday’s post.

I know they are upset. I know there were reasons why what happened happened. I know they are mad at me. I’d be mad at me too if I was in their shoes. I really would. I have no problem with their anger. It doesn’t bother me. None of that ultimately matters to me because for me all this has not been about emotions and whose feelings got hurt. It has been about getting Lulu into a fantastic home ASAP.

So, yes, they are upset and I’m told that they don’t feel that they have been given the opportunity to state their side of the story. Well, this is my blog for my opinions and if they want to start their own blog for theirs then they should. In fact I’d happily link to it. I have some blog domain name ideas for them. How about or I have absolutely nothing to hide. Seriously. I’ve always been open to finding out why things went wrong? You see, as well as finking about my blog they have also been sending detailed emails to my friend and The Nice Rescue Lady outlining in gory detail how I did them wrong. So while everybody else seems to be in the know about their side of the story they have never actually taken up their issues about me with me. I’ve not received copies of any of their complaints. And I can’t approach them as I was ordered by the husband in his nasty email to “NEVER” contact them again. Which I haven’t.

Here’s the thing. While I don’t have any copies in my possession of any of these emails they sent to other people about me I have been told a few particular items of interest. Now let me assure everybody that I would never have lightly or foolishly blogged about my experience if I didn’t follow some ground rules. I never identified anybody by name. I never identified anybody’s occupations or places of work. There is absolutely no way my silly little opinion, as misguided as it apparently is, could ever be traced to any particular person or people. And in addition to that I never said anything about the situation that I couldn’t back-up and prove outright with emails I sent and received. I could even promise that if it came to anything ugly phone records would prove my position as well. No, not the content of conversations but whether phone conversations ever took place. I hate to be cryptic here and I won’t get too detailed. He will know what I mean. How CSI, huh?

Hearing certain negative assertions about my conduct and how I supposedly threatened, harassed and pestered them that I know are blatantly untrue and can be totally disproved by the information I have in my possession only makes me laugh even harder. Like I am talking REALLY hard here. Like there is even milk coming out of my nose.

So on the off chance you guys are reading this *waves hello* please feel free to comment and/or post a link if you’d like to state your side of the story. From the very beginning all I ever wanted was to hear from you and be updated and kept abreast of your situation. But I warn you, please be very careful what you accuse me of. I, in all seriousness, suggest you go over the emails I sent and you sent and be very sure of what you are going to say about me in writing to post on the internet. I say this because if there are any untruths I will not hesitate to set the record straight.

I’ll say it one more time. I’ve kept every single email.

PS-I'll tell you all some good news tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nasty! Don't Mean a Thing!

In the two years I’ve been writing my blog I’ve never received an icky comment or shitty email. Everybody has been nothing but lovely, supportive and kind. So YAY! and Thank You! and all that because I think that kind of bad stuff, in large enough doses, could really get to a person after a while.

So imagine my surprise when a rather nasty email arrived in my inbox today. Not from a fellow blogger or internet troll but from the person who had been chosen to adopt Lulu.

I have spent the last week and an half fielding several emails per day from people who were eager and excited about the prospect of bringing Lulu into their homes. The rescue shelter where I adopted her from had very strict criteria to meet so most of these applicants were rejected. Friends of my friend who is fostering Lulu at the moment expressed interest and we encouraged them to apply to adopt Lulu. They did and the rescue shelter lady wasn’t sure they were the right match but my friend and I raved about them and promised that they’d be perfect. Against her better judgment she agreed to the adoption saying she trusted us.

And then the slow decline into hell began. The husband of the couple who seemed to be the spokesperson of the two was not the slightest bit excited when I called to let them know they had been accepted to adopt Lulu. In fact he brushed me off saying he’d call later and then didn’t. I emailed him asking for a date/timeline/ball-park estimate as to when they wanted to take Lulu with no reply. I asked for any kind of information at all about their intentions and got no reply. He did venture to say he wanted to take Lulu for the day to introduce her to their cat and then didn’t make arrangements to pick her up or even contact me to let me know what was happening. A complete no-show.

Well…I sent a very nice email expressing my concerns that there seemed to be some sort of disconnect and that I was not getting the information I needed to get them and Lulu together. I explained my obligations towards the rescue shelter and my responsibilities towards Lulu. I outlined how the payment of the adoption fee would work depending on how the adoption was arranged; immediate pick up or slow introduction into their home. I asked them to give me their thoughts and wishes so we could work together to get Lulu happy and settled.

I got no reply.

So I cancelled the adoption.

And when I emailed to tell them so I wasn’t so nice anymore. I certainly wasn’t rude but I made VERY clear the reasons why I was not going to adopt Lulu to them and nothing was sugar coated. I questioned why they had applied for Lulu in the first place. I explained what they should have done and what they didn’t do. I outlined the circumstances of their application and how my friend and I had stuck our necks out to get them accepted. I told them what an embarrassing and awkward situation they had put us in with the shelter. I said they owed my friend an apology as she had advocated for them very strongly and they let her down. I said they had let Lulu down as well.

Ok-maybe not the kind of email one wants to get but there were no profanities. No personal attacks. Just the irrefutable facts of the matter, my side of the situation and the predicament I was now in. Hell, I have the whole adoption exchange on email and words don’t lie! They totally blew me off.

And that is when the husband sent me the nasty email. It was personal, it was low, it was petty and it contained a very blatant lie. A horrible ass covering desperate lie. A lie that one shouldn’t commit to paper and send out into the world because it is gonna come back and bite you on that ass you are trying to protect.

Remember, I have all the emails...

The best part was that this nasty email was also really funny. I laughed out loud when I read it.

A couple years ago this email would have devastated me. I would have been agonizing that they didn’t liiiike meeee or that it was unnnnfaaaiiiirr. Not now. All those happy pills and hours of therapy have done the trick. And the best part is that a year of picking apart all my idiosyncrasies and issues with a therapist has given me the knowledge and insight to be able to pick apart the mental freakiness of others. And let me tell you this email was filled with all sorts of very interesting and telling things to pick apart. Veeeeery interesting. And that made it all the funnier.

Growing up so rocks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Plan B for Total BUMMER

Um…let’s just say I have been dreading writing this post. It has not been the best week and nothing happened the way I had hoped and, frankly, the way it was supposed to, DAMMIT.

Nothing at all.

Lulu did not work out. Or maybe I should rephrase that. Lulu worked out great. Yoshi stopped working all together.

Yoshi had, what I believe to be, a total feline nervous breakdown.

Now I know what many of you are thinking. Kranki, you total DUMBASS!!! Didn’t you think ahead about this? Didn’t you think this might happen?

I have to be honest with you. I thought about this a great deal and I thought up a whole bunch worse case scenarios but never dreamed what actually happened would happen. It never occurred to me. Obviously, if it had entered my mind I never would have brought a dog into my home. I'd seen Yoshi around dogs but obviously none had ever stayed for a sleepover.

This is what I imagined might happen with Yoshi:

-swiping with paws-nails extended-possible bloodshed
-retaliatory peeing or pooping in favourite shoes/on bed/on dining room table
-moody self absorption and angst
-shunning of mommy love
-acting out and general bad behavior

What actually occurred with Yoshi:

-swiping with paws-uncertain of nail position
-shunning of momma love

By the time Thursday came along Yoshi was noticeably thinner, completely dehydrated, too weak to jump out of the dog’s reach, listless and looking really rough. I thought I’d have to take her to the vet which would have freaked her even more. It was really terrible.

I talked with a friend of mine who, while not a vet, bred and showed Persian cats for years as well as ran a boarding cattery. She said that all the above behaviors were not dangerous except for the vomiting part. Dehydration is very dangerous. Yoshi was barfing several times a day and I just didn’t know where it was all coming from because her food was completely untouched. She suggested I take Yoshi to the vet and get her put on tranqs. Another friend mentioned Prozac. The lady at the shelter where I got Lulu said I should just keep the cat in my bedroom from now on.

None of these were an option because until I brought a dog into the house Yoshi was perfectly fine. A little insane, yes, but overall quite fine. This was not her fault in any way and I wasn’t going to make her pay for my mistake. And it wasn’t Lulu’s either as she had been a perfect citizen in my home all along.

This was all my fault. And I felt like shit and continue to do so.

So that Thursday I took Lulu to my friend’s house who not only has a dog of her own but also dog-sits another small dog everyday. Yoshi started drinking later that day and started cleaning herself which I thought was a good sign. She continues to be super jumpy with any sudden movements or sudden noises. She no longer meets me at the door when I come home because she is afraid there might be a dog attached to me. She is eating roughly twice her usual amount and is putting weight back on again. She is doing fine.

Lulu is having a blast at my friend’s house. She is way more outgoing, happy and is very much in love with my friend’s dog. The shelter where I got Lulu is working to re-home her up here in Vancouver and I am helping with that. They are not angry with me as when I adopted Lulu I voiced my concerns about how Yoshi would cope and they were happy to give me a trial period to see what would happen. They just want the best home for Lulu too and obviously my home is not the right one.

But I REALLY wish it was because I just LOVE that dog.

So while I often sit and think about ways I could make it work I know deep down it isn’t going to. Maybe if I had a much bigger place where I could give one level to the cat and one to the dog it might be ok. But I don’t. I have a small apartment and we all have to live together.

So I fucked up. I made a huge mistake. I know, I know…I suck.

The Cutest and Sweetest Dog EVER!!!

The Jerk and Her Death Stare of Doggy Hatred

Monday, March 05, 2007

Operation Dog Adopter went off without a hitch. I present to you…LULU!!!!

This dog is the most mellow and sweet dog I have ever met. There is yet to be any barking and she is most happy sleeping. She is about 1 1/2 years old and we figure there is Chihuahua, Dachshund and maybe some Jack Russell in her. Poor thing was relegated to an outdoor kennel with her brother in her previous life so doesn’t really know how to walk on a leash or even sit. She doesn’t even know the word, “Treat!” However, she can play a mean game of fetch. When returning with the ball she often stops halfway and “dribbles” the ball between her front paws until she reaches you. So far she has been very intuitive about what I want her to do. She leaves the cat alone and has started playing with her toys and sleeping in her crate even though she didn’t show much interest in them yesterday. She used to eat out of a communal food bowl at the shelter so now she delicately takes a few pieces of kibble in her mouth and carries them to the dining room about 4 feet away where she eats them. I guess she didn’t like the insanity of the feeding frenzy and developed a peaceful way to eat. She has a little nick out of one of her ears due to getting frostbite in the sad unheated kennel in her old life. Every time I see it I get livid. Poor thing. She is also somewhat underweight. Despite her lonely life so far she is very submissive and eager to please. She loves to snuggle up and prop her head on my lap for snoozes. She is shy around new people but warms up almost instantly with some petting and scratches behind the ears. She is also a little nervous in the elevator and sits right between my feet for comfort. So far she is a lovely pooch.

The Very First Meeting


And Kisses

And how is Yoshi doing? Well…yesterday she acted scared and curious. Her tail was often fluffy but she circled Lulu like a shark trying to figure out what was going on. This behavior has now turned into outright hostility and Yoshi howls, growls and yeowls along with lots of hissing whenever the dog so much as looks at her. Yet she doesn’t seem scared. She just seems pissed now. But not pissed enough to not eat all the tuna I am feeding her or not watch the dog incessantly or not play with her Q-tips.

Lulu The Angel-By Michelle Davidson (who came with me on the adoption trip)

Right now Yoshi is in her Snoozen Housen while Lulu is in her Lulu Housen. So yes, I feel guilty as hell about Yoshi but it has been less than 24 hours and so far no bloodshed or poop gifties in my shoes. I think it’ll work out just fine.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Poochie Lulu

Well, today is my birthday. I am 38 years old. And a scary indication of how old I am getting is that I forgot for about the first 30 minutes of the day that it was anything but a boring old Thursday. Forgetting my phone number and sitting in McDonalds nursing a single coffee for 6 hours is surely not far behind.

I spent my day primarily on the road running errands. Not just boring old errands like picking up dry cleaning or buying oven cleaner. We are talking about fun errands like buying rubber and squeaky toys and wildly trendy and appropriately expensive puppy-yuppy supplies for my soon to arrive new urban pooch.

Nine years ago I was given a fabulous gift for my birthday. I got Yoshi. Not actually on the day but a few months later once she had got her shit together and was born and weaned. I think it was mid May when I brought her home. And I have been firmly under her paw ever since.

So on Sunday I am driving down to Washington State to pick up Lulu. My birthday gift to myself. She is a whole lot of something including possibly dachshund and who knows what else. Frankly, she looks like she has been assembled from spare dog parts.

I love her already.

Wildly emotional and excessively soppy photo essay to come on Monday.