Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Fellow Americans ~ You Do Need To Read This

Those of you who have read my blog for a while know I don't get on the soapbox to preach very often. As you also know, I am a naturalized American citizen who has lived here for over 50 years. There are many things I love about living in America, but I have never understood the greed and cruelty that prevails in the American health care system - from insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical supply houses, and the hospital industry. The health care system in this country simply astounds me. 

These problems have never affected me because I have always had good health insurance, thanks to the University of California where I worked. But I do care about people and people get ill with cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and so on. And unless you are wealthy, on Medicare, or have good private insurance, you are pretty much toast should you get hit with something major or need to visit an emergency room, hopefully not being transported there via ambulance.

So this guy, Steven Brill at Time Magazine, took it upon himself to dive into it and write, not just an article, but practically a whole weekly edition of the magazine and fill it with extremely shocking, but still very, very valuable information for anyone who does not have adequate health insurance and for the rest of us who like to stay informed. 

For example, one woman was left with $902,000 in medical bills after her husband passed away from lung cancer. She made about $40,000 a year, running a child care center from her home. America promotes entrepreneurship, but what if you don't make enough to be able to afford good health insurance? Just one example. What I didn't know is that there are lots of things a person can do to get their hospital bills discounted. Hospitals apparently don't expect to get paid in full, yet they will never let you know this. And have you ever heard of a charge master? Neither had I.

I am bringing this magazine, on the stands this week, to your attention because it includes so much valuable information. And a lot of stuff that will shock and astonish you. At least it did me, but we do need to know. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Morning Walk in Color and Black & White

We had a lovely walks this morning, temps were below freezing, but there was a promise of spring in the air. Then Soldier picked something up from the ground. He dropped it when I told him to, unusual for him, but good he did. It was an intact coyote paw! Broken off at the ankle, fur, claws and paw pads looking as if it had just come off. It was a disturbing sight for me and I threw it way out in the field so we don't have to run into it again. 

Samson is so, so. I will call the vet and ask for a refill of the antibiotics, which will be the the next step. When Angel had this problem, I would feed her some stuff that would help, some food that's good for the runs. But Samson has so many problems, so I will just go step by step, listening to the vet. Based on what has happened to Samson so far, and also his siblings, who all  died, the vet believes his immune system is really messed up.

Samson Says: Please everyone, say a prayer and send good thoughts for my Gracie , she's having bladder stones removed today. I worry! 

Talk about bladders (boy, at my age, there are so many fun things to write about)! Today, we are going to Lancaster to see the urologist, that's for me, and then we'll stop by Costco and pick up the OTC stomach meds and the grain free chicken kibble for Samson.

It is getting warm here and it should be like spring in the desert. I'll bring my camera. Have a great day everyone.

Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed fishducky's painting ~ I will get better about posting her art. I still have lots to share.

Monday, February 25, 2013

fishducky's art corner

Old Woman ~ oil

by Fran, a.k.a. our much loved fishducky

Friday, February 22, 2013

This & That From The Canyon

Yesterday, I went to town and found a lot more snow than we had here in the canyon. I ran my errands, including picking up my new partial, which is much more comfortable and works much better than the one I got from another dentist up here five years ago. So now I feel like I can trust this new dentist and, with teeth like mine, that's a very good feeling.

I also went to the hospital for an X-ray of the painful area. Our hospital is basically only for emergencies, but you can have X-rays and some other tests done there. I was a bit concerned that the waiting room would be full of flu victims, but it was empty, except for two other old folks who also needed X-rays. 

Then I went to the vet and found that waiting room empty as well. Probably a lot of people decided to stay home rather than drive in the snow. Except there was no snow on the larger roads and just a little on the city streets. But this is California, even if it's in the mountains, and people here can barely drive in the rain. OK, if you are from here, you know this is true, even if it doesn't apply to you.

So why did I go to the vet? Because Samson is sick to his tummy again and I picked up a refill of his prescription. I also needed a new 12-pack of the cans pictures above, which not only cost $26.75, but are practically impossible to open. If I didn't have a husband, I would have to buy an electric can opener. As it is, I can barely afford Samson at this point. 

I so regret I didn't get vet insurance for him, but I never did for any of the other nine dogs we rescued during our years together (yesterday was our 26th wedding anniversary), some of them half-starved from the streets of Los Angeles, some of them mutts, some of them pure breeds. None of these dogs was ever sick before the age of 10 or 11. So I fully expected that the second puppy we raised would be healthy. Well, that was not to be. And if you can imagine a Samoyed in full winter plumage with an upset stomach and the runs, it is no fun at all. Love conquers all though and good books, long walks, and the peace of canyon living really help me take it a day at a time right now. 

I have to go back to town in a bit and pick up Samson's canned food. Our town was truly snowed in as the freeway through the pass was closed during the storm, so the delivery was delayed. 

I will read as many blogs as I can before lunch and then catch up over the weekend. Hope those of you in the path of this storm as it worked it's way east are doing OK.  Take care and have a good day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snow Finally & Soldier Climbs a Hill

After two dry years, a real snowstorm finally came to the canyon. 

We got several inches of snow; it was difficult to tell how many because it was very windy, some places were bare, others a foot deep.  

We took the dogs out early and played around in the snow. Soldier is so tough; he did amazingly well. I don't know how much he hurt, but he kept up with Samson, negotiated the snow, and climbed up a couple of hills. I know he had the best of times. 

Samson was so full of joy, he jumped straight up in the air, several times. We saw tracks of a lone coyote and followed them for a while. Nothing else disturbed the pristine landscape.

A lone raven flew overhead, but too far away for me to really capture him. 

The pictures are so dark because it was overcast with clouds low over the mountains. I guess I should have lightened them up a bit, but I didn't. 

Yesterday, I drove to town in a terrible wind storm that made the Wrangler rock & roll like a sail boat tacking in the wind. I didn't like it and avoided the freeway. I have so many doctors' appointments in the next few weeks, some just check ups, like my diabetes doctor and my annual retina and eye checkup, but also some to find out what is wrong with me, if anything. Yesterday, I saw the doctor who bills himself as: "The High Desert Gut Doctor!" Seriously. But he was OK and gave me prescriptions for some stuff to help for the time being, a script for an x-ray, and an appointment on March 7 for a colonoscopy. I won't bore you with that, or maybe I will. 

After our walk, my husband made a fire, and then he proceeded to go through some boxes of old papers, envelopes, and so on, that have accumulated over the years and started to burn them. Wow! My purging efforts around here are beginning to rub off and that's great. This house is so small and there's no garage, the sheds are filled to the brim, so we both have to get rid of old stuff we no longer need.

While he did that, I came in here with a cup of hot tea and wrote a blog post, similar to this one, but longer. Then I wanted to copy a picture I ran into on Picasa from here to a new post, got the message I would lose unsaved data, still clicked Yes, and proceeded to lose everything!!! So I had my lunch and then came back here and wrote this post. 

Hope you all have a very nice rest of the day!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gray Clouds

When your mind is blank and you really can't think of anything to write, there's always clouds. 

 My archives are full of them, usually in their gorgeous sunset colors. 

I was scrolling through when I came upon these, more subtle, more mysterious than those colored by the setting sun.

But no less dramatic as they swirl and twist to eventually form

a grand lenticular cloud above the less spectacular clouds that cover the mountains below.

From Archives


Thank you for your comments on Samson's poem for Gracie. I better watch myself because I'm beginning to believe this is indeed a real romance. And so does Bobbi, I think. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Samson's Valentine Poem For Gracie

This guy is my stand-in.

A Poem for Gracie

Gracie, it's true
On Valentine's Day
In a poem for you
 I want to say

How I feel about you
How my love will be true
Always, forever, my Gracie
So sweet

I took a chance
On an online romance
With a feisty little dog
That I met on a blog

I fell in love with your ears
And your fluffy white fur
Your twinkly brown eyes
Set my heart a stir 

If you were near
I would kiss your ear
But we live far apart
So you stay in my heart

It's a good place to be
But I wish I could see
A place we could meet
My Gracie so sweet

Gracie, my dear
I have no more fear
You’ll meet new dog
On some other blog

Or that Sampson with a P
Will be better than me
Love like yours and mine
Means we'll always be fine

For as roses are red
And violets blue
Me and you
We will always be true



Your Samson

Posted by Samson the Samoyed Dog


Monday, February 11, 2013

How A Cat's Legacy ~ Dulcy's Companion Book Helped Us After Angel Died

Once upon a time there was a cat named Dulcy who lived with my friend Dee Ready. After Dulcy died, she came back to Dee in spirit and gave her a book to write. The book is called A Cat's Life, Dulcy's Story, and it is one of the best books I have ever read.

A long, long time went by, then Dulcy returned to leave her  legacy in the form of Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats & Their Humans. Once again, Dee faithfully followed Dulcy's lead. She documented the twelve habits and then added some wisdom of her own to each chapter. 

However, it turned out that the title of the book was a bit long and cumbersome and the book didn't attract as many readers as Dee had hoped for. Positive reviews on are important and this book has just a few. So, changes were made and the title of the book became A Cat's Legacy ~ Dulcy's Companion Book. It was also agreed that the cover could be improved upon and the book you see below is the final version. 

I hope that you will check out this book; it's available in Trade Paperback and on Kindle at To purchase it, please click on the image of the book in my sidebar. If you love animals, if you love good writing, if you love good advice, I know you will love this book. If you read it and loved it, as think you will, please write a short review and post on amazon. It easy and I would never ask if I didn't think this book needs to be read by many.

Let me share a story of how A Cat's Legacy helped Samson and me after Angel died. Angel, my German shepherd dog was 13, almost 14 years old, when she died last May. She came to our house in Los Angeles the night before I was to have cancer surgery; she sat down on our steps outside the gate and refused to leave. She was my guardian angel for 13 years; all she wanted was to be with me, take care of me, and protect me. For the first 10 years of her life, she rarely slept with both eyes closed, always alert. 

She was pretty old when Samson came to live with us, but she didn't hesitate to take him on and bring him up. She had him so well trained that if she lay on the floor, he would not go past her, rather he would walk all around the house to get to the other side of the room. Angel also taught Samson to guard our home, not something that comes all that naturally to the Samoyed breed. 

Then one day she was here, old yes, but still playful, chasing Samson around, letting him kiss her ears, teaching him to retrieve, playing together, and then she was gone. Just like that. Never sick, she got bloat one night and died a horrible death with me at her side. The worst night of my life, which is why I have never written about her again. Not even a memorial. Just couldn't.

When morning came, I took Samson for a long walk while my husband dug a grave. And all the while I wondered what to do with Samson. Poor dog, he wouldn't understand. She was just here and now she's gone.  

Then Dee sent me A Cat's Legacy in memory of Angel. I read it and I found comfort in its wisdom. After I finished the book, I knew what I needed to do for Samson. Dulcy's Habit Number Five is called Delight One Another. Of course, that's what I needed to do. Delight Samson and allow him to delight me. 

So that's what I did, what I still do. I delighted Samson with everything I could think of that would be a delight to him. As I'm sure Dulcy knew, in all her wisdom, by delighting Samson, I really delighted myself. Making this effort helped us both in our grief over losing Angel. And for that we will be forever grateful to Dulcy, the legacy she left behind, and to Dee for her wisdom and kindness.

I know it may seem strange to some that cats communicate spiritually, but they do. All you have to do is listen. 

My initial review:

I fell in love with both Dulcy and Dee after reading A Cat’s Life, Dulcy’s Story and was looking forward to reading  Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats & Their Humans now called A Cat's Legacy ~ Dulcy's Companion Book. I was not disappointed. This slim volume contains wisdom purred by Dulcy and received by Dee in the form of twelve habits that Dulcy learned and practiced throughout her long life. Dee, Dulcy's human, and herself a wonderful writer, contributes her own wisdom by sharing her life experiences as they relate to each of Dulcy’s twelve habits. 

While this may sound like a self-help book, it isn't really. Adhering to Dulcy's habits will definitely help us, but the book is unique. The first habit Dulcy stresses is to Practice Being Unique and that is what sets this book apart. Dulcy is not a cutesy cat, she is strong willed, she knows what she wants and she goes after it, but she also knows when and how to let go. There’s not an ounce of sentimentality to Dulcy; she is wise in the ways of both cats and humans. The most important lesson Dulcy learns from her long life is that, in the end, love is all that matters. 

Dee Ready comments on each of the twelve habits, by sharing something from her own life and her life with Dulcy. Since Dee's life has been one of compassion, caring, and love for her fellow human beings and her cats, her contributions add their own wisdom to Dulcy's book. I strongly recommend this book to everyone, young and old, dog lovers, horse lovers, and lovers of good literature. In other words, you don't have to love cats to love this book. The habit I will strive to practice is Habit Number 5 ~~ Delight One Another. 

To find out more about Dee Ready and to purchase this book, please check Dee's blog here. The book is also available at

Saturday, February 9, 2013

From those dark clouds in my previous post, snow fell in the night. About two inches, which is not much, but enough 

for my snowdog and me to find time for some play. Oh, why does snow always bring out the kid in me? 

We climbed up and down hills. Samson put his nose in every hole until his entire face was full of mud, while I enjoyed the fabulous clouds that hovered over Sugarloaf mountain.

The foreground is dark because the sun has not yet cleared the eastern mountain ridges, so what you see in the background is a reflection of sunlight on the mountains to the northwest. If that makes any sense. The sun comes over the ridges about half an hour after it rises in the desert below.

I drove to town in the afternoon to pick up a few things we needed. After I was done shopping, I stepped out into a snowstorm of large, wet, flakes that quickly made it difficult to see. When I was almost at the road that leads into the canyon, I noticed the electric lines for the railroad to the right in the picture and the regular poles to the left. They looked so cool in the mist and sleet, but I wasn't about to get out of the car to take a picture. This is what I got through the windshield. Not very good, I know. As soon as I turned into the canyon, I was greeted by sunshine and blue skies. So weird! I'll never understand mountain weather, but I enjoy it in the winter.

Then I heard about the huge storms on the eastern seaboard and my thoughts go out to those affected there. I thought about blogger friends and could only come up with J.P. in Connecticut, Lori Skoog, and Louise in New York state. So if you guys read this, I hope you are OK, that you have power, and that you didn't lose any large trees. 

And then I wondered why I don't know any more bloggers on the East coast. I mean the U.S. north east ~ I can't think of anyone else. Let me know if you are out there, please........

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Storm Clouds & A Texas-Size Tumbleweed

Driving to the mail box this afternoon, I was attracted to

the contrast between the dark clouds in front of me and the 

light from the sun behind me.

And this Texas-size tumbleweed made me smile.


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