Just bitchin'



When it comes to my pets, I have always been one of those people.

You know the kind: the ones who take guardianship of their fur-children very, very seriously indeed. The ones who always have a weather eye out for any slight change in demeanor or habits. The ones who pounce on opportunities to better the all-too-short lives of their charges.

It’s a gradual evolution.

You begin as a child who loves the family pet. The child who can’t sleep without Fido or Fluffy nestled close. The child who sobs uncontrollably when their fur-sibling eventually departs, often becoming the first lesson in the incalculably final loss that death bestows.

And then you learn the corollary: that loss does not end the heart’s capacity to love. So another pet pads its way into your life and the pattern of lifelong companionship begins.

I’m unaware of exhibiting overt signs of the fierce protectiveness that has evolved with the advent of each successive fur-child. But now I’m wondering if I’ve gone attitude-blind; if I emit something akin to a rank odor that warns the rest of humanity to give me a wide berth.

This dawning suspicion reared its head following today’s annual vet appointment for my oldest cat, Ebony.


Having owned animals all my life, I consider myself a connoisseur of veterinarians. I know what they should ask. I know how they should present themselves. I’m very, very picky and have no qualms about abandoning a doctor who doesn’t meet my stringent requirements.

But this is the first time a vet has quietly stood to the side and asked me how I’d like things to go. Exam first and shots after? Or vice versa? Or maybe the Benadryl shot for allergies first to mellow the cat out, and then exam, and then final shot?

I am impressed. I opt for exam first and then shots, knowing how my cat will be hyper to get away once needle pierces skin.

It isn’t until after I leave, cat in tow, that I realize the entire staff is behaving with extreme caution, because they recognize the most dangerous of all animals is in their midst.

The Mom-Of-Fur-Children.

Shudder in her presence, for she will stop at nothing to protect her own…


Just bitchin', poem

A Page Turns…


A tiny thing has vanished.

Like the barest tip of an iceberg, its disappearance signifies something much bigger. Something as vast as sorrow and as limitless as history.

Every year, no matter where I’ve lived, the weekend of Veteran’s Day will find an elderly gentleman sporting a military hat, or sometimes a chest of medals, sitting at a small table, handing out red, paper poppies in exchange for a small donation. Often these simple tokens are handed out for free when  their bright color catches a child’s wide, untutored eye. It’s just a pretty thing to them. They don’t yet know what it means.

But this year there is no table at the usual place. No poppies. No veteran.

When I asked about it, I was told that there were no more of the old school soldiers left to take on the task of dispensing poppies at this locale. They have all passed on.

So for those children who won’t see the poppies this year, know that they were the first flowers to grow among the graves of soldiers in a faraway place called Flanders.



In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

                     —– John McCrae, 1915