Sunday, May 30, 2010

A nice weekend

We've had amazing weather here in S/E Michigan this Memorial Day Weekend.
Despite the scare on Thursday night, my beautiful sister-in-law is holding strong and has decided not to pass on just yet. We have promised that we would be the ones to pick her up when God calls her home, so we've been "on call" all weekend. We in no way want to see her die. It would please us greatly if she could make some kind of miraculous recovery. But reality dictates that we wait and be ready.

While we waited, we decided to spend Saturday evening with our friend and 30 year veteran of the US Navy and US Army. Who just happens to be gay. We are always happy to spend time with him. He's one of our best friends. He stood up in our wedding back in 2005 and has even stayed with Pugsley while we took our parents on a Caribbean cruise. He's an amazing man with many stories to tell about his time in the service. He was proud to serve along side of everyone and made friends with people of all walks of life in the process. It would have been a shame if he would not have been able to fight for our country simply because he likes guys. Over the years he had to hide who he was. He got married to a woman and even had children. Conformed to everything that they wanted for him. Denying himself along the way. It was our pleasure to take him to Toronto five years ago (just after his retirement) and experience Toronto Pride for the first time with him. He could not believe that there was so many people that thought that it was OK to be who you are no matter what. To experience a million people at the parade and to witness two guys getting married after a lifetime of hiding brought tears to his eyes over and over again for the whole trip.
So it was especially nice to spend this weekend at his place considering the milestone of this past week of the potential repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. There are thousands of men and women that are currently working in our military that are gay. And thousands more that would like to. But our government seems to think that gay men can't control themselves. Perhaps it's because many of the straight men over the years could not control themselves. I ask did the world fall apart because another friends of mine's father got a girl pregnant and then brought her back to the states with him?(Then left her to raise the kid on her own) At least we gays don't have to worry about that.
It is necessary for us to have a military. It is not necessary for us to elect morons to make our laws. And it's time for this law to come to an end. To all of our military.... THANK YOU!  And to those who have suffered unnecessarily over hatred and bigotry an especially BIG THANK YOU!!
It's getting better. Slowly.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nine ?!

How is this possible?
Where has the time gone?

It's crazy, but it's true !

Today, Pugsley turns Nine years young !

My little fur ball has grown into quite a fine specimen of a dog.
His loyalty is simply amazing. But, he is a one man dog. Sorry Eddy, he's all mine.

I guess that's why I get to brush out that undercoat every year. At least he's almost done with the shedding this year.

For those that don't know him, he's a Tibetan Spaniel that weighs around 40 pounds (twenty of that is hair) He's kind of a cross between a Chow Chow and a Pekingese.

His brother came into our lives one day. He was given to my brother-in-law that lives in the woods. He had just lost his dog and this person was trying to be nice and give him a new one. He wasn't ready for one yet and especially one that would require so much care. (I can only imagine what he would look like) He took to me right away. Followed me just out of instinct. There were others there, but not in his eyes. So we took him with us on vacation and gave him the time of his life. You should have seen him. His legs so short that he had to jump over the grass. He loved riding on the boat with the wind in his hair and holding tight to me.

Anyway, we had this puppy for a week. Just long enough to become emotionally attached. When one day he just wasn't feeling good and could not even get up to go pee. While I had to go to work, Ed picked him up and rushed him to the animal hospital. After doing some microscopic surgery on the little guy, all we could do was wait. So wait we did. What seemed like a month was only one night. We got the call in the morning that he didn't make it.
I debated for two weeks if I wanted to try and get one of his brothers or sisters. I wasn't sure if I could do it after going through that. Finally, I decided YES. Let's get one. So Ed called the people that had them only to find out that they had all been sold. He gave them his number in case the mother had any more. And we left it at that. Didn't think much more about it. Except for every sound that I heard reminded me of him.
One day, I came home from work and Ed was watering the garden. He stopped when I pulled in the driveway and shut off the water. The squeaking of the knob, reminded me of the dogs whimper. That's when he said, wait right there. He went over to the van and opened the door. He reached in and pulled out the fluffiest little ball of fur you ever saw. When he set him on the grass, the little guy ran right for me. It was love at first sight. I cried and hugged him like it was his brother reincarnated.
Evidently, someone had changed their mind and brought him back. It was just meant to be. Just a couple of weeks later, his mother was hit by a car and died. So there will be no more litters from her. Everything in the universe came together to bring this particular puppy into my life. And he hasn't left my side since. He is sitting at my feet as I wright this. He's my little miracle and I can't believe that it's been nine years.

Monday, May 24, 2010

violence and murder

This is a difficult post to write. While my husband's sister holds on to life by a thread. She spent her life caring for others. She was instrumental in building some of Michigan's new systems for helping the mentally handicapped assimilate into the work force and has given many a sense of purpose in life. She is being eaten away with cancer that has spread just about everywhere. But, she's hanging in there.

I had to do a funeral a few days ago for a woman that lived a much more violent life. This woman was only thirty five and had lived through an abusive marriage to the father of her two children. Only to meet a new man recently that turned out to be even worse.

I can't help but think that much of your life is determined by the company that you keep. I never met her ex-husband and know way more about the new guy than I'd like to know. I also know that this woman was stripper and the funeral was paid for by her co-workers from the "benefit" that they had the night before. I don't like to judge people and I know that there is a need for all types of workers in this strange world. I do however, feel that it says something of her character.

A little about the new boy-friend.... He has a long record of many things including the abuse of women in his past. His ex canceled a restraining order on him because she felt that he would not honor it and it would only enrage him more to hurt her.

After partying at a local festival all day, where it was said that they had been arguing, he dropped her off at home. Then he drove to his brother's house, picked up a gun and went back to her house. Her roommate opened the door and was shot immediately. Then he made his way to her and shot her in the head. If that wasn't enough, he then picked up a cleaver and went after the two children. Thankfully, the roommate and one child survived the incident. Obviously since I did her funeral, she did not make it and the other child lost his life too.

It's the children that I am most sorry about here. They simply never had a chance.
Some people choose to live their life mad all the time. They seem to be constantly fighting against something. The thing is with people like that is when they look at people that are happy, it makes them mad. Overhearing the friends and family at the funeral, they were obviously upset. But it was a violent kind of upset. Not sorrowful at all. I can understand to a point. This man deserves everything that the law can give him. But this kind of anger only brings more violence. The six year old girl that survived will still be surrounded by this anger and will always be haunted by the story of her mother's and brother's deaths as well as her own tragedy.

This whole thing reminds me of a story that just came out a few weeks ago by a woman that was left to die in the ocean. Her whole family was killed and somehow she survived at six years old. This woman had to face many issues growing up without her family. But came through it all pretty good. It took her 40 years before she could tell the story but it was an amazing story and I'm glad that I got the chance to learn it.
Evidently links don't work here so you can copy and paste it to learn more.

In the end, I hope that this little girl can see past all of this and see that there is a Brighter side of the grave.

There are people out there truly suffering. That don't deserve to. And yet there are people out there that choose to suffer when they really don't have to. I choose to live each day to the fullest. I am happy with whatever comes my way.It's life. The great adventure. It's not worth killing someone and certainly not worth loosing your life.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

For rent.... cheep.

Although we had a little Dutch Dwarf rabbit for eight years, he died last year. This is not him. This is one of many of our yards regular inhabitants.

Our Tibetan Spaniel "Pugsley" grew up with the rabbit as his big brother. And because of this, he is very comfortable around the wild animals that pass through our small yard. His temperament would scare most people out of their skin even though he's so cute and fluffy that you just want to snuggle with him. He wouldn't hurt a fly but would scare the hell out of you when he barks.

The rain finally stopped and we had an entire day of high winds, which dried the grass in the lawn, even though the rivers are still overflowing their banks. So today it was sunny and warm (finally) and I was able to cut our lawn. We have the thickest, fullest and greenest lawn in the entire neighborhood. A place that all the neighborhood dogs love to go to pooh. I mean, would you go in the outhouse when their is a spa next door? So I was able to catch Pugsley enjoying his kingdom here in these shots.

We have had the pleasure to experience quite a miracle right here in our little yard. A few months ago, a couple of robins took up residence in a small white pine about 15 feet from our front door. We watched as they built a solid nest about 3 feet off the ground. We are convinced that they chose the spot because of the protection afforded them by our very own resident Tibetan Spaniel. We watched him watching them build the nest, lay eggs and hatching the eggs. All the while he was just inches away from them. The baby birds hatched and Pugsley was one of the first things that they saw in this big world. The Pugs, as we call him, protected them from intruders more than once. Sometimes he'd want to go outside, just to sit with them. We could get close enough to actually put worms in the mouths of the babies. It was truly amazing.

Then, just as quickly as it all started, it all came to an end. One morning, I came home from work and Pugs was all excited. The babies were out of the nest. This is this little guys first day of flight. And so far, he still hanging around. The other two have left us. But this little guy likes it here. And Pugs loves him hanging around too. Who knows where that relationship will go.

So now we have an empty nest for real. We've put a "For Rent" sign up. But so far there are no takers. As the sign says, it's "cheep". So if you know of anyone looking for a nice home with a park like yard and a wonderful guard dog, send them our way.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Death at a funeral

I promised myself when I started this blog that I would tell the lighter, brighter side of the stories that pass through my hearse. Today is an exception. This story just needs to be told.

Let me set the stage for today's funeral. It has been raining for nearly a week here in Michigan. Today is no exception to that. It is a high of 9/49 degrees (depending on if your cel. or fer.). The rain was coming down sideways with the cold wind out of the N/E coming across Lake St.Clair and right through me. All of the streems, rivers and lakes are at or above flood stage and still more rain in the forcast.

Totally drenched and frozen, my job as the hearse driver, is to line up cars for the procession as they pull into the parking lot. If everyone isn't lined up right and flagged propperly, it leaves gaps in the line as we go down the road. And that is when accidents happen. Out of courtesy, I also help those that need it out of their cars and up stairs etc. Today I had the pleasure of holding a golf umbrella in the high winds to keep the ladies dry.

The gentleman that died was in his eighties and had actually died quite quickly. He was getting out of his car the other day and just dropped right there. When his cousin arrived and I lined up her car, I could see that this older lady was going to need some help navigating the steps and I thought it polite to try and keep her dry. I held her hand as we went up the steps at the front of the funeral home. I could feel her trembling all the way. When I got her inside, she told me that she was having trouble breathing. I motioned for help and escorted her to the nearest chair. As she started to sit, she just collapsed in my arms. The funeral director was on the spot right away and administering CPR. While the secretary was on the phone to 911. The police,fire truck and ambulance were all there in minutes (which seemed like forever). I was trying to keep everyone else calm and even made my way back outside where more people were showing up and needed my assistance parking and entering the service. So it wasn't until later that I learned that the woman had died right there in my arms and there was nothing anyone could have done. This was the first time I've ever seen someone being carried OUT of a funeral home on a stretcher. Even the funeral director said that was a first for him in his 40 years in the business.

I see the results of death everyday. I'm still shaking from this experience as I write this. This to me is a reminder just how frail life can be. And that we all need to live our lives for today because we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Thanks to the wonderful invention of the DVR, I was able to watch the season finally of the Amazing Race. Yeah, I'm a geek. I like that show as well as Survivor.
For anyone that hasn't seen it yet and wants to, don't read this.
All I knew when it started was that I didn't want Brent and Caite to win. I really had formed no opinion about Jet and Cord and was sort of hoping that Dan and Jordan would win.
A bold move by Dan, getting them moved to first class on the flight took them from last place to first getting off the plane. Then they stayed there for the remainder. And of course they came out on top.
I didn't know until afterward that through the magic of television editing, that CBS had removed all the conflicts of Jet having a problem with gays(Jordan is gay). I think it was good that CBS cut that out. I'm just glad that someone like that didn't win. I know that several people that I know were hoping that Jet and Cord would win.

It is so hard to believe that there is so much homophobia in the world still.
Anyway, I am just happy with the outcome. So, I'll shut up about that.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I called in late to work tonight. Not something that I do very often. We got the opportunity to go to a local comedy club and see the one and only Hal Sparks. You've seen him in everything on your TV including Queer as Folk as Micheal Novotny. And to meet him in person, we were not disappointed. Very funny! and very down to earth. We got seats right by the stage and even had the chance to meet him afterward. If you get the chance, I'd highly recommend it.
To make the night even better, the club (as with everything in Michigan now) is now SMOKE FREE! What a difference it is to be able to go out and not have to burn your cloths after.
But now, the fun is over and off to work I go.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Big Foot lives on

A while ago, I put it out here that my husband's brother and sister were both on their deathbeds. Unfortunately, my sister-in-law has not shown any improvement. She is simply coping the best she can with the pain associated with having cancer eat her alive. I know, way to sad.
The good? news is however, that my brother-in-law is home from the hospital! Let's give you some background. He suffered a blow to the head as a child and never quite recovered. He has never been much help to society to say the least. He has chosen to live simply, in the woods. Years ago, he acquired an old mobile home that someone was going to demolish. Now, 30 years later that mobile home is still sitting in the woods out behind Dad's place. This thing should have been ripped apart years ago. Instead he made it his home. With no running water and a simple 220 electric line running out there from the house, he has existed.
He has over the years abused himself with drugs, alcohol, and even a little prostitution. Although if you could see him, you would be totally sickened by that thought. Anyone that has ever taken the time to get to know him, likes him. He's very friendly and lives pretty comfortably amongst the wild animals. Their property is adjacent to a freeway and there have even been sighting of a wild naked man, dancing at the freeways edge.
Now, he doesn't bathe. He doesn't shave. He smokes and he drinks. Are you getting the picture? and the smell?
Four years ago, his liver failed him. The doctors told us then, that they have never seen anyone pull through what he has done to himself. That we should call the funeral home. Well, I work there and he still hasn't made it through the back door. There have been several trips over the years now to the hospital. Each time, they tell us that there is nothing more that they can do for him. This time, they even bypassed his liver all together. They told him NO MORE DRINKING ! We'll see. He seems to listen until he feels better, then next thing you know, he's down at the quick-mart.
So, they sent him "home". He is currently staying in my husband old bedroom in the house. Dad's not happy about it, but that's a different story. The brighter ones in the family know that the trailer should be demolished. That hasn't happened yet and we are afraid that he might find his way back out there. When they checked him into the hospital down in the city, they found lice, fleas and ticks on his body. Do I have any volunteers to go into his trailer and take out anything of value?

So the crazy brother that lives in the woods lives on. His dad lives on at the age of 91. They are quite the sight, the two of them. Meanwhile, we've lost my husbands mother, step-mother and soon his sister. All of which were very nice (and not crazy) ladies.
I guess if there is a lesson here, it is to not be nice. To live life on your own terms and don't care what anyone else thinks. You'll live forever.

Sorry, you know that I can't publish pictures of big foot on the web. So, instead you got pics of myself and Pugsley on our walk in the woods.

One hundred and three

One hundred and three years is a long, long time to wander this earth. But, that's exactly what this lady did that I buried on Sunday. Yes, Sunday. She lived the last 80 years in a small little town out in the middle of nowhere. The town loved her so much that they had their morning service at the local bible church and then just all stuck around for a lovely send-off for a lovey young lady. I say young because she was. If you can be young-at-heart, she was. It really was a surprise when she died.

She met her husband when he moved to Detroit for work, back in the 1920's. He rented a room in her fathers house and the rest, as they say, is history. Together, they moved out to where he came from and stayed there until last week. He left her some years ago but she just kept going on in that small town. She had to stay to take care of her sister-in-laws that had lost their husbands as well. What a blessing to be "all there" after so many years.

That got me to thinking about everything that someone of 100+ years would have seen in their lifetime. What an incredible century. She would have seen some of the surrounding small towns grow to be small cities and Detroit to be a large city. She would have seen other small towns just close up and disappear right off the map.
What a thrill it must have been to add a bathroom on to the house or get a telephone or TV. They said she loved to play the Wii. To watch the auto industry in America grow to be what it was and then to crumble like it has. To watch astronauts land on the moon. I could go on and on.

The world was virtually the same for many thousands of years. And the last century has been just a whirlwind of new inventions and developments. We are truly very lucky to be living right now. It really bothers me to see so many people as miserable as they are when there is so much to be excited about.

This woman brought a lot of sunshine to a lot of people over her 103 years. That's something that more of us need to do. It will make us all happier.

I'll leave you with this quote from Sir James Matthew Barrie...
"Those who bring sunshine to others, cannot keep it from themselves."