Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When Famous Diabetics Fail

As the world knows Paula Deen is flaming out spectacularly in a very public way.  A deposition she gave enlightened everyone on the racism and misogyny that still exists in Paula's world - at least at some time in her life.

 Having lived in Atlanta Georgia for one year I can truly say I'm not surprised - people would say the most amazingly bigoted things to me when I lived there because being a fair haired, fair skinned blue eyed person they assumed I must be a bigot too.  One poor friend took me to see her hometown and meet her Dad, who we took out to lunch.  We drove past an oddly located large flat concrete slab and I asked about it.  When integration had come, the town was told they had to open their public pool to minorities.  Instead the town filled it in with concrete - effectively keeping out minorities and all the other children in town as well.  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.  I was aghast and my poor friend spent most of lunch apologizing to me for her father.  I never saw him again but I knew he was not the only one in the South with that level of hate and racism.

Which brings us to Paula Deen.  She has been famous for many things- her southern cooking, her chawmin' way of talkin' to folks, her excessive use of butter and all things sweet and fattening.  Then the revelation of her type 2 diabetes created a stir. She had to change her ways and focus on healthy living.  Her two sons also gained enlightenment and both lost weight and the family became symbols of eating right. 

Many criticized her then for keeping her diagnosis a secret but I wasn't one of them. I remember how upsetting my own diagnosis was and that there were periods of denial, grief, regret and then embracing it and learning what to do.  I'm not surprised that she didn't immediately go out and talk about it - for a long time you are trying to figure out exactly what it means to you to be Diabetic. Can you control it with diet and exercise, with oral meds (too many to name), with shots (Byetta, Insulin and others)?  What can you eat and when can you eat it?  My doctor and my diabetes educator told me to have oatmeal for breakfast - I did and it spiked my blood sugar 100 points. Then it was not instant oats but the slow cooked kind.  Well that took an hour to prepare and - it spiked my blood sugar 100 points.  Then it was eat it with some protein.  Well....  all I can say is the quest for breakfast took over a month just to figure that out.

But at last Paula Deen came out and admitted her diagnosis and began cooking healthier.  And I wsa hoping for a diabetic only cooking show.  That didn't happen but I keep waiting for one. Same with magazines - I don't get cooking magazines anymore - I can't make anything in them.  I content myself with diabetic cookbooks, diabetic magazines and my own inventions.  Having someone focus on healthier cooking was a nice change.  (Yes, there are some cooks on Food Network who focus on health - but they aren't in the Food Network Stars category.).

It is good for any disease to have a celebrity contract the disease - they elevate the disease to be more a part of the national discussion. Look at Angelina Jolie and Breast cancer, Rock Hudson and Aids, Michael J. Fox and Parkinsons.  Having a celeb diabetic because it calls attention to the disease and potentially helps raise more funds for research through both donations and government  funding which helps all of us.  Every marketer knows that you need to repeat messages over and over to be heard.  Having a Paula Deen speaking about Diabetes helped get the message out through magazines, tv, websites, etc.

But all that may be coming to an end.  Paula Deen has lost her tv show on the Food Network and is starting to lose her sponsors.  Question is can she make a comeback?  Some say no, she admitted to too much and in a way that made it seem as if saying racist things was natural.  And do diabetics really want their celebrity to be associated with racism?  Not really.

However, Americans love a comeback.  I would have thought we'd never see Peewee Herman again but he's come back. Football's Michael Vick horribly abused poor defenseless dogs for entertainment - and he is playing football and raking in the cash. Of course he's not endorsing dog food.  Tiger Woods was a serial cheater and America is loving his new girlfriend (who looks remarkably like his ex-wife). So can Paula Deen come back?  We'll have to wait and see how she does with Matt Lauer on the Today Show tomorrow warning. I've set the DVR to record it - I'm just hoping she doesn't talk about her diabetes.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bizzy Goes to the Groomer

This post is a story of before and after.  When I first got Bizz he was a shaved down, underweight, shaking little dog. In the last three months he gained weight and his hair grew in - masses of soft fluffy curls that were amazing to dig your fingers into.  But as with all things thick and curly - I started to see the signs of potential future mattings.  Copious amounts of conditioner and a lot of brushing helped but Bizz was also starting to over heat slightly on walks during the day, his nails were getting long and much like his owner - his hair was getting in his eyes.

So, I decided it was time to go to the groomer.  This was a challenge because I am an over researcher. I read Yelp reviews - eliminating every one with a negative review.  At last I found one - Judy's K9 Grooming - which was less than a mile from my house and had nothing but five star reviews. I called and Judy interrogated me before agreeing to an appointment.  When Bizz had his accident she insisted on postponing so he'd have time to heal.

I dropped Bizz off yesterday. Here are the before pictures I took:

When I dropped him off I asked for the works - bath, grooming, ear cleaning, toe nails, anal gland (don't ask) and to make him summer ready.

She called a few hours later  and said he was ready.  I went back and for a moment I did not recognize the beautiful stylish dog I was presented with.  If he hadn't come over to me and immediately put his paws up I would have thought I had the wrong dog. My lost little waif has become a show dog.  Here is the result:

My photos don't do him justice but his ears and tail are like silk and his short cut keeps him so much cooler.  And his legs are divine.  I think he's still getting used to it as am I. 

So I did pick the right groomer.  We'll see how all this grows in the next two months. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rest In Peace Tony Soprano

I was saddened to learn of the passing of James Gandolfini, Mr. Tony Soprano himself.  I wasn't a huge fan of the Soprano's but I watched the show for the background shots.  I grew up in the part of New Jersey where the Soprano's was filmed.  The town the Soprano family lived in was Essex Fells where my Great Uncle Norman lived.  Tony Soprano's mother lived in my home town of Verona - how do I know that?  Because when she was taken to the hospital who was in the scene but the Verona Rescue Squad -the same guys who came when my mom needed them so many years ago.  I ate in diners just like the one on the show, in fact my step grandmother always got excellent service since she spoke fluent Greek and most of the diners were owned by Greek families.  Every time I watched the show it would remind me of New Jersey and my childhood.

Was the show realistic?  Who knows?  Was the mob in New Jersey? Yes absolutely.  I volunteered at a local hospital once and a known mobster was being treated there - surrounded by security with very scary guns.   Did we know made guys?  Who knows? 

Did we sound like the Soprano's - absolutely not - but I knew people who did.  And can I do the accent?  Oh yeah, absolutely, on occasion I let my inner Jersey come out.   

Do I think about Jersey often?  Not often but certain things remind me -   Chris Christie rising to national prominence and being such a Jersey boy himself always reminds me.  And my cousins posting photos from the Jersey shore bring back the memories of hot sunny summer days and being at an ocean you can swim in (I love California but you cannot swim here without a wet suit).  And every time I saw James Gandolfini on anything I'd think of the Sopranos and Jersey.

What is it about New Jersey that holds such a place in my heart?  My sister said it very well once - everyone in New Jersey has this slightly sarcastic tone - it doesn't mean they don't like you, but they just cannot help giving you a little bit of a dig even if they're a waiter hoping for a nice tip.  You don't find that anywhere here on the coast. 

So it is with sadness I saw Rest in Peace Tony Soprano.  You will be missed.  And what was up with that finale ending?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Health Report - Bizzy and I

Thank you to everyone who has sent notes, facebook messages and good wishes to Bizz during his recent health crisis.  Everything is now fine. He got his bandage off on Saturday and he is no longer limping at all.  In fact he is funning, jumping and leaping just as usual.  We will be going for his first professional grooming on Saturday so I will be sure to take before and afters.

I had a good friend tell me that I haven't been posting about my own health.  Bizz and I are now on a pretty good schedule.  We walk at least 30-45 minutes every morning and evening.  At least once a day we play a game of fetch with his beloved Pinkie toy in the yard which gives Bizz the option to run around like a maniac with me in hot pursuit.  My blood sugars have greatly improved in the last 7 months and my other numbers all look good.   

So, does having a dog lead to health benefits? I believe they do. I sleep better at night bcause of the exercise (though the occasional crazed barking at 1 am because of a passerby doesn't help).  I exercise twice a day and I can say I really miss it if I don't get my walks in.  And there is just something about putting your feet up and cuddling a fluffy little friend once a day - makes it very hard to be stressed.

Of course there is still plenty of room for improvement but I will do better on my updates going forward.

Here is your daily Bizzy daily photo of Bizzy.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dog Tired

I read a terrific article today in the Harvard Business Review. It was by Arianna Huffington and was about naps and the workplace.   Now, I am a big Arianna fan - I got to be her handler several years ago and her team was hilarious in preparing me for handling her. The top rules were never leave her alone and keep an eye on her stuff.  They actively warned me she'll leave things behind and you'll be caught scrambling, and she will expect you to be with her every minute. My boss at the time became extremely annoyed with me for hovering - she felt it interfered with her ability to show Arianna off and she told me to go away.  I didn't -  their warnings were so on the button I saved us all a lot of grief by being perpetually vigilant. I rescued her coffee three times, her purse twice and I can't even say how many times I scooped up her blackberry - holding it so whenever she called for it she would have it within seconds. She had also given me her own instructions on when she wanted me to pull her out and I got in trouble for that as well.

However, I digress.  Arianna's article made a reference to napping at the workplace.  Sports heros now get to nap at 3 p.m.  on game day.  Wish fans could do the same.   The Huffington Post advocates for them so much that they have nap rooms.  And here is my one complaint - the whole thing about a nap is that when you are tired you take one.  If you are brimming with energy you don't. In the article she references that the nap rooms are so popular they are always booked well in advance.  So how can you know that you are going to really want that nap from 3:15- 3:30?  A reservation also implies you will wake up from the nap.  Something seems a bit odd - a reservation means that if you find yourself really needing one and the rooms are booked then you must go napless.

I have referenced before my many trips to China in the early 2000's.  At the company, everyone was given a naptime for 45 minutes after lunch. It made sense - you were full from eating and it would give you a quiet time to digest.  Each of us was given a mat that you could put on the floor and go to sleep.  I was the outlier in that situation. I couldn't take a nap because I was suffering from extreme jetlag - a 10 hour time difference. If I went down for a nap it would be at what in my mind was bed time and I would never get back up. I spent the time everyone else was asleep calling my then boyfriend long distance and begging him to keep me awake.  The mats and sleeping colleagues reminded me of naptime in kindergarten when you would get a mat from your cubby and hit the floor.  In China everyone was on the floor in their workspace - be it office, cube or open area.  Men and women were on the floor side by side.   No reservations, no walls, no judgment. 

These days I do occasionally take a nap - the advantage of working from home and scheduling my own time.  However, I can't really nap since I have someone who decides to terminate my naps at will - either by barking wildly next to me or by deciding he's had enough of a nap and exiting by walking over my stomach.  Bizz on the other hand sleeps whenever or wherever he likes - his numerous beds, the various floors of the house (depending on the heat he is on carpet, the wood floor or the coolest tiles), the top of the bookcase (in a throw I am using in a hopeless attempt to protect the wood from clawmarks), all upholstered furniture or my favorite - on top of the clean clothes pile on my bed. 

So I admire Arianna and I join her in advocating for naps.  Think how many fewer car accidents there would be if people could be well rested before getting in their car at rush hour.  And think how many bad decisions would not be implemented after people have slept on it. But napping at work should be available to all - not just those who get in their reservations.

Here are some Bizz napping  photos.  In fact he's asleep next to me right now as I type this.  Maybe I'll hit the floor and join him.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers Day

I spent a lot of time thinking this week about what to write about on Father's Day. My own dad died when I was 12 years old and exists mostly in memory fragments and photos - though to be honest most of the photos I have of him were before I was born so in my mind he is much younger than he really was. 

When Dad died Mom and I had three years alone together.  However, a spare parent was crucial since my mom went back to work. So my Grandfather Elmer Brydon stepped in.  Grandpa was a wonderful parent.  He was retired and had lots of time and armed with the instructions to keep me out of trouble he found ways to keep me entertained during holidays and vacations when my mom had to work and I wasn't babysitting.  He would come get me around 9 am on those vacation days and off the two of us would go.  We went all over New Jersey, parts of New York and on one memorable trip - to Gettysburg PA.  We explored American history by visiting all the key spots (and by the way New Jersey is loaded with places critical to the American Revolution and is really quite beautiful). Since I was an animal lover he also took me to every zoo, aquarium and animal park we could find. 

When my mom remarried and I basically refused to have anything to do with her new husband, Grandpa became even more important. He took over the role of mother as well - taking me clothes shopping, on vacations to Disney in Florida and the Jersey Shore, and even taking me on all my college interviews.  We would go to libraries and book stores and he would take me swimming in his apartment complexes tiny pool.  And we would do errands - he was a master couponer and since he did both my mothers' and his grocery shopping we would do a circuit of the A&P, Kings, and the Pathmark (not Pathmark but the Pathmark).  He would come get me after school so I wouldn't have to walk home loaded down with books, and on the Saturdays I volunteered at the local hospital he would come get me after work and take me home with him for dinner and TV.  Our favorite restaurant was Friendly's and I learned a lot about his life - marrying so young, losing their first child to an influenza epidemic, his divorce and his remarriage.  We would visit his brother, my great Uncle Norman, and do household projects with him.We spent Saturday evenings with his wife Connie -the three of us would go to dinner and settle down to watch the horse races.  And we played Parcheesi.

My Grandfather was wonderful to me and taught me many crucial life lessons:

1.  Saving money is important - Grandpa delighted in being a banker but when he retired he really enjoyed a good bargain. He raised couponing to an art form. If he were alive today he'd be on one of those super couponer shows for sure.  My favorite story was the note he left one day for my mother apologizing for his failure to secure "People's brand Tuna". He had gone to 3 stores and engaged all three store managers in the search. He offered that he'd had a coupon and gotten us another brand for only pennies.  In fact Mom had wanted any brand of tuna - just not cat tuna since our cat infinitely preferred Tuna flavored cat food.

2.  Strive for perfection - when he was dying I was in the process of thinking about graduate school. I was in the 99th percentile on my GMATs and when I told him about it his response was - what about the other 1%.  I knew he was proud but he wasn't going to let me off the hook.  When I was in high school and college he paid me for my grades - an A earned you a dollar, a B got you nothing and a C meant you owed him a dollar. 

3.  Be proud of your work no matter what. After his retirement Grandpa served on the board of his church and on the board of their cemetery.  When their gardener quit Grandpa was tasked to find a new one. Instead he took the job himself and happily mowed the lawn each week.  He was paid $500 per year and he gave me the money to help pay for my college text books - for which I will be forever grateful.  He took great pride in his work and he selected his burial plot himself so he could keep an eye on the gardeners who came after him.

4.  Being a devil is not a bad thing - Grandpa loved to laugh and he loved to bedevil people. I hate to admit it but I loved it too. When we went on a tour of colleges we stayed at a very nice hotel in Amherst Mass.  After dinner he made a point of pulling out my chair and taking my hand and said, Darling, shall we be off to bed - absolutely scandalizing all the old ladies at the next table. 

5.  How you treat a customer is important - on my college tour Grandpa and I visited Smith, Amherst and my top choice Mount Holyoke in what I can only imagine was a monsoon.  It was pouring ridiculously the whole time. Amherst was dismissed because my Grandfather did not like the looks of the young man who gave us the tour.  Smith horrified him because when we arrived a few minutes early for our interview the woman who opened the door told us we were too early and instead of letting us wait and get dry inside the building she closed the door in our faces.  When they did let us in they were very nice but left my poor sodden grandfather in the waiting room with no offer of even a towel or tissue to dry off. When we got to MHC it was once again pouring.  We were shown to a nice waiting room immediately (even though we tested them by being 15 minutes early just like we had at Smith). They got him a towel, took his coat to hang near a heater so it would dry, took mine as well and someone brought him tea and cookies while he waited.  When we were done my fate (which had really been predetermined since I'd wanted to go there since I was a little kid) was sealed - Grandpa could not say enough nice things about MHC and told me to remember this is how you win over a customer.  Treat them as you would want to be treated.

6.  Speed is good, but beating your own record is better - my final lesson and one to this day that I'm not sure was the best.  Grandpa loved to drive and while my stepfather taught me the basics which helped me pass my drivers test, my grandfather taught me to speed.  Before every trip which was carefully mapped we would check the miles, synchronize our watches and we'd take off.  He drove from Florida to New Jersey once in less than two days (fairly easy since he basically never stopped except to sleep for 6 hours).  I drove from Rochester NY to Dallas TX the same way.  He also taught me a few choice expressions which did not endear him to my step Grandmother.  And for those who have driven with me - yes he taught me to use the horn. 

So many stories. When I started this blog I wasn't really sure what would come out but my Grandfather is who I think about when I think about the word father.  He's been gone 30 years but he still lives on in my memory and in many pictures.  Here are two of my favorites.

This is myself, Grandpa and my mom at a Mt Holyoke parents weekend.  He came to all of them.

This next photo is from one of his many vacations with my step grandmother. Did I mention he also taught me to be an enthusiastic explorer and tourist. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bear with me

Ok, so I admit it. I have bears on the brain today.  The major reason is that my hometown of Verona New Jersey has a black bear running loose. It is just more than I can imagine.  Verona is a small town about half an hour outside NYC.  It is very green and lovely but it is true suburbia and the thought that a bear is somehow wandering the streets is fascinating, there are towns around it that have verylarge parks but even so - how the bear made it all the way to Verona is beyond me.  I wonder if he is heading to the beautiful  Verona Park or perhaps the country club golf course (which we could not join but that did not stop us from slipping through the holes in the fence in the winter and sledding on it. 

What it has also brought to mind is the two bear encounters in the wild that I have had. 

Of course I have gone to many zoos and seen many bears - polar bears, grizzly's, black, brown, Koala, etc.  But seeing a bear from a safe distance is one thing. A bear in the wild is quite another.

My friend Kathy and I went on a vacation to Yosemite and Mono Lake a few years ago.  We toured Yosemite for a day then went to Mono Lake for a few days then back through Yosemite.  We had discussed bears with my now ex and he told us we'd never see a bear - they are more afraid of us than we are of them.  So driving back through Yosemite we were discussing all the important news of the day when suddenly from some bushes on the side of the road a large brown thing came dashing right across the road and in front of the car.  I slammed on the breaks and the car coming towards us did the same.  We were all flabbergasted.  It had been a bear. A real live grizzly bear.  How was it possible?  We studied the side of the road where the bear had disappeared awaiting his return. Then we turned to look in the other direction to see what the heck was chasing him.  When nothing appeared we waved at the person coming towards us and he waved back. Then we all slowly proceeded.  So very exciting but not my first encounter.

Many years ago I was working for a telephone company and one of our subsidiaries was in Ontonagon MI, right on the edge of Lake Superior. In those days I was responsible for all the training in the subsidiaries (52 of them) and delivered many classes myself.  Ontonagon could only be reached by flying from Rochester to Detroit then on a tiny tiny puddle jumper up to Houghton Michigan, then driving 60 miles to Ontonagon.  I made this journey several times - once famously getting on the plane to discover that my boss who had the car reservation and directions failed to make our flight.  In any case on one trip I was traveling alone and staying in a small tourist hotel.  After having a terrible dinner the night before at the local pizza parlor - the pizza tasted like Ketchup on a Matzo - I decided to take a walk down the road to a little place with a big sign saying Broasted Chicken. I had no clue what that was but I was not eating Matzo Pizza again and it was only a mile.  I arrived and tucked into one of the most awesome chicken dinners of my life.  Broasted chicken is like fried chicken only moister and less greasy - it was delicious.  I recall the rest was a homebaked roll, a salad and some mashed potatoes.  All in all a wonderful meal. I paid and was starting to leave when the waitress ran up to me and told me I could not leave.  I asked why and she pointed. There in the parking lot were two little bear clubs playing at the garbage can. I told her I wasn't worried and she told me I needed to be - we could not see the mother anywhere.  The last thing any human wants to do is get between a mother bear and her cubs. I asked if we were calling animal control or the police and she told me no - this happened all the time and the cubs were just being babies and they'd eventually leave.  Since I was the only customer I settled in to wait.  After an hour and a free ice cream cone the cubs finally wandered off.  It was closing time so the waitress and cook offered me a ride back to my hotel.  I remember them gratefully to this day. And on all subsequent trips to Ontonagon I drove everywhere and parked as close to any entrance as humanly possible. 

So what does this have to do with Bizz?  Really nothing at all. Except he has expanded his squeaky toy recipe to include selected members of my teddy bear collection. We do share a fondness for bears.  He's a fearless little dude and I am sure would not hesitate to try and add the black bear to his collection.  But for now I think we'll stick to teddy bears.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Bizzy Emergency

Yesterday was a very emotional one for Bizz and I.  Let me start from the beginning.  On Monday evening Bizz and I went walking in downtown Campbell. I needed to stop at the library and I thought Bizz would enjoy a change of pace walk.  At one point he stopped to pee (at many points actually) but he mistook where he was for a plant on solid ground. In fact it was a plant that was spread out and where he was aiming was actually over a hole in the ground.  So when he went to move forward his front paw went right into the hole.  He limped a few steps but seemed to shake it off and we moved on.  Yesterday morning I noticed he limped a bit at the start of our walk but again seemed to shake it off.

When we returned home I did my routine inspection to check him for burrs in his coat and paws. When I got to his right front leg he yelped and flinched away.  I assumed there was a burr and tried again - and again he yelped and pulled away.  The third time I felt something jutting out to the side and realized it was his dew claw which normally lies flat. When I tried to feel it again he made as if to bite me - taking my hand in his mouth though he didn't exert any pressure.  It was obvious he was in pain.

I called my animal hospital and they were superb. While they were fully booked they told me they'd call back within an hour with an appointment time for me.  They called back in 10 minutes and asked me to come in right away.  Dr. Kumar got Bizz right in and immediately knew the problem - his dew claw - had been broken but not completely torn off. It was broken right above the skin line so it would need to be cut and cauterized.  He gave me an estimate and once we removed the blood test (Bizz was tested two months ago) I signed off and Bizz was taken away to be anesthetized and have his procedure. I was told I'd be contacted in an hour.

With an hour to spare I headed to the store to grocery shop and bring home goodies for our dinners.  Then I got the call as I was unloading at home.  This is where the comedy of errors occurred.

"Is this Ms. Barrett?"

"Yes it is."

"I have the paperwork you wanted Dr. Kumar to fill out. Would you like to pick it up or have it mailed to you?"

I paused.  "You have my dog.  What about my dog?"  I would like the insurance paperwork but getting Bizz back was more important.

"We have your dog?"

"Yes, I dropped him off almost an hour ago.  He was having surgery."

"I don't know about that let me check."  I was put on hold and started feeling a little concerned.  "Yes, sorry, the procedure is done.  She is just fine. You can come pick her up."

"When I left there he was  a boy.  He was supposed to get his dew claw taken care of.  Did some other surgery happen?" 

"Oh, no he's still a boy.  You can come pick him up now."


I got back in the car and raced over.  I got all the paperwork and then Dr. Kumar carried out my doped up little Bizz.   As a favor he had also trimmed the hair around his eyes for me.  Bizz was supposed to go to the groomer today but given his surgery we had to postpone.  They gave me Bizz, we paid and with instructions on pain management and medication in hand off we went.  Bizz dozed in the car and when we got home he lazed around the house the rest of the day.  1/4 of a pain pill last night wrapped in his favorite cheese and he slept through the night.

Today, he is still my limping little man. Though you couldn't tell it from the way he jumped on the bookcase and barked at the postman.  We aren't going for walks but rather spending time in the yard.  He doesn't seem to like to put much weight on his foot but I imagine the bandage makes walking uncomfortable.

So lessons learned:

1. Dew claws are a subject of great controversy. My cousin Nancy's dog had the same thing. It's a common injury and very painful.  Dew claws can easily be removed before a puppy is 7 days old since the bones are mostly gristle at that point. After that it's a painful surgery.  My groomer thinks all puppies should have them removed but online opinion states that some dogs use the dew claws to hold things in their paws. I've seen Bizz use his when he goes after one of his projects ( a smelly treat in a folded toilet paper tube). He's too old to remove the dew claws without a lot of pain but I will be paying more attention to their trimming in the future.

2.  I made an excellent vet selection - having a vet who would find a way to get us in even on a very busy day is the kind we want. He's kind and loving to Bizz and very clear to explain things to me.  Big kudos to Dr. Kumar and Burbank Pet Hospital. And the confusion with the paperwork was more amusing than anything else.  http://www.yelp.com/biz/burbank-pet-hospital-san-jose 

3.  To break a small pain pill into quarters is very hard.  Best to do it on a knife on a cutting board.

4.  Use a lot of cheese to wrap the tiny pill. The first go round Bizz got the cheese off and spit out the pill. Second round more cheese carefully covering the entire pill.  Muenster is his favorite.

Here is Bizz yesterday after his surgery -

And today on his pillow - he keeps moving from place to place trying to get comfortable poor baby.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

This Dog for Hire

I had to get a blood test done last week and on impulse took Bizz along.  One of the things I hate most about being diabetic are my quarterly blood tests.  I had actually gone in the day before for one but failed to realize that one of the three tests required fasting.  So the next morning Bizz and I drove up to the office. Bizz hung out in the car for the 5 minutes while I ran in.  Once we hit the road I needed to find food for me, a drink for him (I had snacks along) and a place for us to eat.  At last I ended up with a bagel sandwich, diet coke for me, water for him and a plan. I would take Bizz back to the town I first lived in when I moved to sunny California - Cupertino - now better known as the home of Apple's HQ.  We ate in the Cupertino Memorial Park - which is quite lovely - with lots of ponds and fountains.  After we ate as we walked I noticed something very different from all the other parks we've visited.

No Geese.

There were no geese anywhere.  Our favorite Los Gatos Creek Park is full of geese - so much so that I've had to reroute our walks because of the excessive numbers of geese everywhere.  Geese can be aggressive and Bizz has a burning desire to charge at them.  But in Cupertino - not a goose in sight. We saw many ducks leading little bands of ducklings behind them.  Bizz was interested but not like he gets when he sees a big old goose in our path.  I kept thinking how can this be?  And then I saw it. I posting  - dogs were at work in this park.  The city had implemented extreme measures to rid their park of these menaces. Not only are Canadian geese big and will not hesitate to chase a human but they also poop everywhere. 

It seemed Cupertino had hired working dogs to patrol the park and scare off the geese.  Bizz and I looked at the sign then looked at each other. I could see it in his face - this was in fact his dream job.  Nothing would make him happier than to chase geese all day long.  The second day I owned him I took him to a nearby fenced in park to let him run and he immediately took off after the geese I had failed to notice. They all took off in a big hurry.  I could see it on his face - he could run all over the park and chase geese and bark his head off. And to top it off he would be praised for it instead of being pulled away and scolded for bothering the geese.  This was it - his dream job.

Sadly, all the positions were already filled.  Professionals were already on the job.  How could an amateur little white dog compete with the specially trained dogs with their fancy vests (and oh how Bizz wanted a fancy vest).

So Bizz job search continues.  If you have geese in your yard just let us know and for a reasonable fee Bizz will come and bark like crazy at them.  Heck he'll probably do it for free just to get the experience on his resume.

No geese were harmed in the writing of this blog.  This geese problem is very real and to learn more about it check out - http://www.cupertino.org/index.aspx?recordid=870&page=26.

Bizz dreaming puppy dog dreams.

Monday, June 3, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about Karma lately.  I definitely had Karma on my side when I found Bizz - if I hadn't decided to go to the adoption fair on the spur of the moment, if the volunteer had not had to walk past me to get to the pen while she was carrying him and most of all if I hadn't sat down on the curb he might not be with me today.  I had taken him for a walk from the adoption fair and I sat down on a curb to see what he would do.  When I did that with Truffles he stayed on my lap but was so stiff and unconnected I knew he wasn't my dog. When I sat with Mittens at the dog shelter he couldn't even sit still - he ran off to my friend and jumped on her.  Bizz just came up next to me, put his paws up on my knee and leaned on me.  That's when I knew he was meant to be mine.

Karma according to Wikipedia is an action or deed that becomes part of a whole cause and effect cycle.  Because I took action (adopting Bizz) it has spun off and impacted my life in many ways. I've met many of my neighbors while I'm out walking him and feel so much more a part of my neighborhood now.  I have met many people while out in Campbell, at the dog park and in fact all over the Bay Area - simply by having him with me. 

I've seen Karma go the other way as well - I know people who have deliberately treated others badly.  And Karma does come up and get them.  I first noticed this on shows like Survivor and the Amazing Race. Someone would do something despicable to another player and Karma would eventually get them.  Suppose you made someone do a U-turn and go from doing well to falling into last place.  In the next round invariably Karma would happen and the evil doer would find themselves with a flat tire or the wrong kind of gasoline or a cab driver who doesn't know where they are going.  In fact I noticed that people would often mention Karma as a reason not to do a bad thing.  And you see this in real life as well.  Politicians who cheat on their spouses inevitably get caught and end up losing their jobs as well. 

So as part of striving to make my life better I am paying a bit more attention to my impact on others and the world. 

Below is Bizz with his new tunnel toy. I drop in treats and he has to get them out.  It's quite amusing to watch.