01 October 2019

Pets

Pets bring joy and also, troublesome times.
 I have two cats. One sweetheart, Schroedy, and another one nutty Corey.
Week ago, I noticed that sweetheart cat's only eye is getting surprisingly cloudy. I took her to the vet, and the vet established there was an eye infection because of cornea's injury. She got medicine, and everything seemed fine.
But that night, the nutty cat attacked her and basically destroyed her only eye.  I got woken up, around 1 am,  by the sounds of the cats fighting, and in the dark, I did my best to separate them. It took some time till my husband got awoken too, and switched the light. And then we've seen the horror. Schroedy's only eye was covered with blood. She was shaking and peed herself. We tried our best to clean her up, calm her, help her. But it soon became apparent that eye damage is significant.
The next day, I took her to an animal eye specialist. And of course, it was terrible, the eye did not react on the light. The specialist explained that cause is most likely a detached retina. Schroedy got more medications to help her heal, and now, we are fighting to save her eyeball.
I have to report that a week after the attack,  her recovery goes nicely, and by some miracle, she regained some of the light sensitivity, indicating that maybe retina (or part of the retina) still functions. But she will never regain the full eyesight because, right now, the cornea is basically ripped apart and inner tissue is poking out of the eye, and the doctor mentioned that her iris is damaged as well. Meaning there is no way she will be able to focus even if the doctor does the graft and pushes inner tissue back where it belongs.
I'm reading about how to care for a blind cat, and helping her re-learn layout of the house. 
The problem is the insane cat. Corey is old and sickly, and rehoming him would not work. So he is now under close supervision, and in a way, he got his own room. We are closing him there each time we have to leave the house, or we're doing something that does not allow constant cat supervision. Surprisingly he is adjusting nicely to that arrangement as well, so our monitoring, ordered proximity shock collar, and sequestration might spell salvation for Corey. The problem with him is that he is sort of Dr. Jeckil and Mr. Hyde. He is a perfectly lovely and cuddly kitty, until something short-wires in his brain. So catch is to control him when Mr. Hyde pokes his ugly head. So far, Mr. Hyde hides.

And while I'm talking about the pets and their issues, I also have a newly adopted dog, Rosie, who requires extra help, because she was abused by previous owners. According to the info I got from the shelter, she was brought in by Animal Services, which usually spells that something awful was happening. In fact, her brother had to have emergency surgery when they arrived at the shelter. Sadly, that implies there were some horror stories afoot.
 But luckily, one of my neighbors is a service dog trainer, and now Rosie and I are tagging along and learning service dog stuff. She is recovering, and more and more behaves like a dog.
I also noticed that Rosie loves to work. She is so happy after learning new stuff and performing as good as service dogs around her. So I'll have to find her some job to do. She cannot be a service dog, because my neither my husband or I have a disability, and she is so bonded to me, that I call her velcro dog. The trainer suggested to teach her how to do search and rescue.  So, as soon as my newly blind kitty stops requiring medications several times per day, I'll start teaching Rosie how to search.

22 September 2019

42 or meaning of the life

Recently I was checking Instagram, a rare thing for me, and I saw an image of my friend nails. She was so proud of them. 
And all I could think was what the point is? Nails were nothing special, and that particular woman is not an artist herself. 

But that question came from the difference in our life values. 
She grew up thinking that being feminine and dressing up is fun and the essence of what it means to be a woman. And she is trying with every fiber of her body to fulfill what she considers is the essence of womanhood. 

I was a bit more observant as a kid, I've seen pain and suffering makeup hid in grownup women around me. I've heard snarky comments of men about their own wives and girlfriends. Such an environment leaves some sort of bitterness, and as a little girl, I decided not to reduce myself to a pretty dress-up doll. Instead, I strived to become someone who will be admired for asexual accomplishments. I've seen dress-up as punishment because my brother was allowed to do stuff I found interesting, while I could not do them as a girl. Instead, I was pushed to do housework and boring stuff that is connected with a woman's role in society. 
For me, dressing up and being feminine is limited because it does not allow for anything else. 
My dress-up orientated friend never had uncle as I did. She grew up under different circumstances, encouraging her to find asexual things to contribute to society, to define her as a human. My uncle grumbled that I do not need so much school because I'll end up married anyway. He assumed that a married woman does not require school simply because that is not the role of woman in society. Another uncle was sneering in my presence, that woman is good only for the kitchen and bedroom. (That particular uncle has a daughter, and guess what, she did not achieve anything beyond traditional female role.)
So as a teenager, I rebelled and decided that a value of human should be measured by stuff that has nothing to do with the traditional female role, femininity, and dressing up. I decided that it is more important to be valuable human than dolled up decoration for the male gaze. 
I still have that mind-set. For me, a good and valuable woman is the one that goes beyond her looks. Actually, a good and worthy human is the one who does something meaningful and useful for the community. 
See what I mean?
The sad thing is that my friend does something meaningful and useful, but she does not talk about that, no, her identity is her looks. The important stuff she does in her work is pushed in the background, ignored. Because it is not traditionally connected with a female role. The dresses, makeup, hair, and nails are at the forefront because she believes 100%, such superficial things make a human a woman. 
For me, that is incredibly sad. My friend also has a daughter. I only hope that girl will fare better than my own cousin. 

The additional danger with focusing all your identity to how you look is the time. We all grow old. And unfortunately, no old woman is considered to be feminine or good looking. 
Both my dress-up orientated friend and I are getting closer to that age in women life when menopause hits. I'm actually looking forward to the new phase in my life because I do not define myself by my looks. I talked with older ladies, and everyone told me that after menopause, life is actually grand. Your mind clears up, with hormone's fluctuation gone, a woman finally becomes the kind of human they always dreamed of being. The woman becomes a kind of human you can see in pre-puberty girls before the hormones hit. Everything stabilizes in you, everything settles. Goals and life become clear. 
So for me, growing old is another excellent adventure, it is not the end of anything. I accomplished a lot in my first half of life, I can achieve the same or more in my second half. And I will. 
But I'm not focused on my looks. My friend is. And I can only imagine her anguish she feels each time she looks in the mirror and sees more wrinkles, more grey hair. When she sees age pocking through all those layers of makeup, she put on her face. 
The sad thing is, I cannot tell her this. When a woman is over 40 and still focused on dressing up, makeup, and hair like some tween girl, there is no reasoning with her. Actually, it is better, not too. If the person's identity is so wedded to one thing, any attempt to reason with them to loosen up the grip will be seen as a personal attack. All I can do is provide an example, that one can be a woman without dressing up. That life can be rich, complex, and satisfying without sexy dresses, nail-polish, and latest fashionable hairstyles. 

When I embraced the minimalist movement for moral reasons (more sustainable than any fashion), I freed extra time in my life. Instead of worrying about what to dress, I just grab the next set of clothes lined up in my closet and go and do other, more important stuff. My own life is now grander, fuller, and more fun, then it was when I was trying to fit in the socially acceptable female role. 



To any young girl out there, I would recommend fighting for her right to be human first, gender role second. 

08 July 2019

Pity the rich

A few months ago, I read in one of my philosophy books that we should pity the rich because they never have opportunities to develop themselves and truly learn what kind of person they are.

At first, this sounded like an abstract philosophical hypothesis— that I could only imagine how it would be correct. But then I met a gaggle of rich heirs from Beverly Hills, and evidence was there. I cannot give specific details of the interaction due to the requirements of my current job. But I can describe general impressions, like mouth open wide while an rich heir is trying to figure out how come people he usually considers servants are actually forbidding him to do what he wishes.
Each member of gaggle was adorned with brands, stuffed in new expensive vehicles, and spotted perfectly trimmed hair in the latest fashion ( I assume since I’m not really fashionable. )
There were around ten of them, and although all of them were in their early twenties, they were hopelessly incompetent. They were not only ignorant of basic stuff every average twenty years old knows, but they didn’t even think to do some research for themselves to prepare for the novel situation. Each interaction with them led to confused faces who were stumped with the sudden revelation that they are prerequisites for them ‘having a fun day at a lake.’ Apparently, even a legal requirements were unknown to them. Something that basically simple google search could tell them.
Behavior like that is excusable if someone is preteen or just teen.
When I was their age, I knew how to get information if I’m venturing in some new activity.  Today that’s even easier with internet availability on the tip of your fingers. Yet, for them, the very idea of researching something one does not know was foreign.

Surprisingly, the ancient philosopher was correct, especially when humans born into richness are considered.
Maybe that’s why wealthy parents needed to buy enrollment for their kids in that latest scandal that still is going through courts.
Seeing such incompetence also clicked with my history knowledge. I always thought that aristocracy declined because peasants got fed up with the situation. But all we have to do is look at North Korea to see that people can suffer a lot and that few tweaks and brainwashing techniques can stop them from organizing.
Now it seems plausible that bubble wrap of money that protects rich heirs it also limits them. And those limitations are precisely what caused aristocracy to crash. Being protected by their bubble wraps and thinking they are special because they are born rich doomed them.
In the end, I really did feel sorry for the rich. Because they are truly dependent on this particular social system surviving and keeping them in their money-made bubble wrap.

05 June 2019

TV SHOW recommendation


Auschwitz - BBC documentary, 2005


Living today in the USA often reminds me that it is necessary to refresh my knowledge from history. Especially the part about why racism is wrong. 
I found this show thanks to the Netflix algorithms. I love historical documentaries, so this particular one was recommended to me. And boy it was spot on.
The documentary goes through the whole history of the Auschwitz, starting with the original military building that was on the site before Nazis took it over. It explains how politics and ideology of the Nazi, led humans in charge of Auschwitz to do monstrous things. 
And that last point, explaining how ordinary, everyday people with a bit weird ideology can be turned into monsters is what I really like in this documentary.
Through the time, people started de-humanized Nazi, representing them as some kind of evil, inhuman monsters. And that is sort of normal reaction, because if you can somehow prove that monster is not human, then you can prove that you and humans around you will never do such things. 
Sadly, that is not so. 
Unfortunately, all humans have in the capacity for evil and monstrosity. Forgetting that will allow monsters to appear, but reminding ourselves that ordinary human can turn monster, will make us more vigilant in stopping new monsters. 

That’s why I liked the documentary. It showed Nazi as they are, humans with a particular skill set,  love for problem-solving,  and engineering tendencies. Those same tendencies that later brought us the excellence of the German engineering examples.  
But this particular humans also had an entirely misguided and f-up ideology which told them that certain groups of humans are not humans but something less, inhuman, and in essence, merely annoying things that need to be removed for the betterment of their own group. 
And if the last thing sounds familiar, it is. Through human history, various kings and religious leaders used precisely the same rationalization to justify killing other humans. Any difference between US and THEM is enlarged and used as an excuse for killing. The important thing was that THEY have something that WE want. 
The problem was if you admit that fact, then WE are not good guys. No, it is better to form some form of the ideology that will make THEM seem like things and not humans. And then take stuff from THEM for US. And WE will still be all good and peachy, after all, THEY are not human, so how could you do evil to something that is not human?

And that is precisely what this particular documentary is uncovering. You can see Nazis convincing themselves that Jews, Slavs, disabled people, and Gypsies are not really human, so it is ok to get rid of them. As long as Nazi stick to the belief that what they were removing is a problem, inhuman, or even evil agent that makes their life worse, they can also believe that they are still good guys. 
The documentary shows, in a chilling way, Nazis using skills and life approach developed by their own efficient culture, to solve what they saw as a problem. The documentary shows how ordinary humans with misguided beliefs go from bad to worse in an attempt to solve a problem that, according to them, made their people unable to earn enough to have a decent life. 
When you see the story from that point, in the end, it was not surprising that commander of the Auschwitz was not remorseful for what he has done. He died considering humans he killed as annoying, evil, objects. He and his friends abandoned humanity because they convinced themselves they are not dealing with other fellow humans.

And that shows the truth behind this monstrosities. The moment when you start believing your leaders that THEY are somehow less than US, you are stepping at the path that might lead you to the exactly the same monstrosities as the ones Nazi did. The moment when you start treating another fellow human as a thing, you are turning to the path that will lead you not only to do bad stuff but also to cut pieces of yourself and your conscience away. You will not be a good guy anymore.

So do not believe when someone tells you that a person or a group of humans are somehow inhuman or evil. 
The progress of human societies and a variety of governments and problem-solving approaches to social problems showed that they are better ways to fix the issues in the community which blocks you from having a decent life. The problem is those better ways need refreshing and protecting every few generations.  Because the very people who are telling you that THEY are evil and problem, see you as a problem and inferior human. 

22 May 2019

Book Review

So you want to...

by M.F. Turner


This little book is a nice overview of the all what one should know to start thinking about the publishing. So if you are an absolute beginner, this is the right pick for you.
To me, it was not really useful, because I spent years listening to the  Sci-Fi and Fantasy Marketing podcast, where all the subjects were covered with way more details and directions what one needs to do.

04 May 2019

Officially started looking for the new doggie.

As I wrote my own pup died a few months ago. It was hard, but the grieving process took its course. And now I'm looking for another dog.
I miss good times doggies bring, more and more each day.



Fun in the snow

Hiking

Paddling. Funny thing is connected with this photo. We were making a slow tour around the lake, stopping here and there and letting Lytle sniff. At this particular place, we stopped a bit longer. He got bored with us just sitting there, so he went to the kayak and sat at his place, and started calling us to go.

Another less mentioned good side of the dogs is their enthusiastic help with many spills and food messes. Here you can see both of my sous-chefs. Each time I cook, I have two of them staring at every my movement. I trained both to stay out of the kitchen because the last thing I wish is to trip over one of them and spill the hot liquid on them. But boy, if I spill something all I needed to do is call the dog, and a spill would disappear. I have to be honest, I did not realize how much I got used to that particular doggie service until it stopped.

Of course, there was negative stuff, like Lytle's obsession with cat poop. This was a place where we had a cat door leading to the laundry room with the litter box. One day, we left Lytle alone at home, while we went grocery shopping. He ate the door so that he can get to the litter box, and of course, got stuck inside because the hole is not very big. I still have no clue how did he manage to squeeze himself in, but we found him inside the laundry room. He could not get out. I guess he was lacking a right motivation.



There were things we had only with Lytle.

He was a ring bearer at our wedding.

He was also there encouraging our cat during the leash training. The poor pup was so excited the first time when the cat got a leash, but later he learned that cat's idea of a walk is a boring one and quickly gave up on the idea of having a cat pal for walkies.

Here I just wish to mention doggie seatbelt. I'm often appalled by people allowing their dogs to freely walk around the vehicle, or even worse in the truck bed. First thing I did when Lytle became my responsibility to get a doggie seatbelt. An additional benefit was to keep him in the back seat, without him trying to climb in front with my husband and me. In time he learned that seatbelt means going for a ride and having loads of fun. Unfortunately, he also learned that if he pulls slow he can elongate the seatbelt and put his nose into our necks. So we belt did not keep him in the back seat.
Yeah, smart fella.

 I'm looking forward to the new pup, and watching every single Cesar Milan episode just to get my doggie fix.

Right now, I'm looking at the listings at local shelters and consult my husband about the potential candidates. We are waiting for the response on one inquiry, but if that one fell through we will simply go directly to the shelter and just get a dog there. Big dogs are often abandoned and shelters are full of them.
It will be hard not to take all of them with us back home.

30 April 2019

Emissary

Book Review

The novel by J.M. Dillard


This is one of the rare books that made me appreciate the original pilot episode even more. I loved how the author added the depth and inner side of the characters. 

This book actually made me understand the whole DS9 a bit better. And in the end, it is an example of that rule that book is always better than movie/TV.


Really, if you like Star Trek, go read it!