Where’s the Beef?

Where’s the beef???  In Mom’s freezer and, pretty soon, in my tummy!!!!

Mom and I went camping with our Texas cowpoke friends in Missouri a bit ago.  I love the fella, Mr. John.  Those are his feet that I am cuddling up to in the photo to the left.  He knows just where and how to pet me.  As for the lady, Miss Carol, I worship her.  She always has a pocketful of my favorite cookies, and she loves to dole them out to me piece by piece.  It is a lovely game.

Better yet, Miss Carol transferred half a dozen packages of ground cow from her freezer to ours.  She knows I am on a special diet and wanted to contribute to my good health and longevity with beef straight from their personal herd.  Mom says it is magic meat and will probably get me at least through Christmas.  Not bad for a sick old girl that she had all but written off a few short months ago, eh?

Mr. John says that I look great and that Mom is just overreacting to stuff the vets told her.  I really like how that guy thinks.  I also totally agree with him, but I am not letting on.  I am enjoying all the special treatment I’ve been getting, especially the home-cooked diet.

Anyways, we had a great time together.  Lots of walks and visits.  Mr. John and Miss Carol’s house-on-wheels is bigger than ours.  We all fit in there just fine and nobody stepped on me once, though I have to admit I tried my best to trip Miss Carol a couple of times when she was on her way from one spot to another carrying food.  Even if I couldn’t get her to drop what she was carrying, I was hopeful more cookies would spill from her pockets if she went down.  I suppose it is just as well that I did not succeed.  Something tells me that Mom would have banished my old bones from our get-togethers should I not be on her definition of good behavior.

One day we spent a couple of hours outside and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the big deal was.  Mom and our friends were trying to see something funny that was happening up in the sky.  They put weird, dark glasses on their faces and stared up at the sun.  Silly people.  Don’t they know that will give you a headache?  Things did get funky for a while, though, when the sky, trees, and grass all shifted to deeper, cooler shades, the cicadas stopped singing and end-of-the day critter songs took up the oddly-slacking chorus.  But it didn’t last long, and I knew all was well with the world when the cookies and walks resumed.

Our friends didn’t just treat me really special on this visit.  They were super nice to my Mom, too.  Mom had a birthday while we were together and they spoiled her even more than they spoiled me!  That’s all right.  Even Moms deserve a little spoiling now and then.

Back to me.  I was really sad when our visit ended.  Mom and I rolled out of the campground and she told me that our friends were going to head back to their ranch in Texas.  I cried and whined for a bit, then I took a long nap.  Everything looked better when I woke up, even though my ears hurt because Mom was howling (she calls it singing) along with the radio.  Mom says we will get to see these friends again in just a few short months and, before then, we will get to see other people that we love.  Meanwhile, I can enjoy the gift that is in our freezer and–to get to the real meat of the matter–I can relish the memories of all our good times.  So many, many good times.

Yes.  Dogs have great memories.

Especially me.

(Note from Mom to all scientifically-minded readers out there:  The picture of the eclipse included above–taken with a simple i-phone and no filter–shows the brightness of the eclipsed sun (around 98%) at the bottom of the photo.  How many observant eyes noted the curious crescent shape above and to the right?  Somehow, the eclipsed sun’s reflection ended up in those clouds, masquerading as a crescent moon.  Please explain.  Because I cannot.  Feel free to use the comments section so that others can see your explanation.  The prize will be another mystery-puzzle based on a ground photo taken around the same time.  So, come on people, make an educated–or intuitive–guess!)

Just Don’t Get Cancer :)

“Don’t worry,” my doctor reassured me when I asked about what it would cost to see him if I lost my health insurance due to the recent change in administration.  Such a benign way of putting it… change in administration….

“I will still see you for a reasonable charge if you don’t have insurance.  Just don’t get cancer….”  He smiled.  It was an odd joke, but I took it for the reassurance he meant it to be.

Until he found a lump in my breast when doing the physical exam.  Laying there as he dictated to the nurse, “left breast, nodule, one o’clock…,” that’s about the point I stopped listening.  And just focused on his face.  The poor fellow really regretted his joke.  I could see it replaying over and over in his head.

Later, sitting precariously on the examination table’s edge, reclothed, straight-backed, mind whirling-avoiding-whirling-avoiding, I smiled at the doctor when he came back into the room.  I didn’t want him to feel bad.  Or awkward.  He is one of the nicest doctors I’ve ever had.

I received my instructions to stop coffee for a month, after which I would have another physical exam and then a mammogram.  Coffee, for those of you not-in-the-know, can make breast tissue extra lumpy and dense for some women and, worse, very painful for that life-saving torture procedure known as a mammography.

Don’t worry.

Everything came out fine.  No cancer.

This time.

My birthday this year will not be a Fabulous-and-60 affair.  It will be a Hold-your-breath-because-it-is-still-five-years-until-I-am-65-and-somewhat-safe birthday.  Five years until I can get health insurance through Medicare.

Oh well.

I understand and appreciate that there are many, many, many folks out there who would resent the fact that I am a “taker.”  The federal government, through ObamaCare, assists me tremendously with my health insurance premiums.  “Why aren’t you out working and paying your own way?” they may politely inquire.

“Well, I tried.  My business failed.  I couldn’t get a job.  I took another path,” I respectfully reply.

And it looks like that pathway is closing.  Depending upon what happens with all of the politics storming around this excruciatingly basic, human need for simple, affordable health care, I may or may not be able to afford what comes next.

Just don’t get cancer.

And I will be fine.

But what about all those who do get cancer?  And heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and a host of other scary conditions that tend to be all about someone else way over there somewhere until they hit you smack in the gut close to home.

I remember a few years ago in Virginia there was a crazy news story about a state legislator who was attacked and injured by his very own son with a knife.  Sadly, his son was in dire need of mental health care but there were no beds available in the state system so he had to remain at home.  And that is where he came after his dad one day with a nice big butcher knife.  After the attack, his politician father went on the warpath to make sure that state resources would be available to meet mental health issues such as theirs.  As if it was a new issue.  Self interest.  Moves all.

Self interest.

Moves all.

And in the interest of full disclosure?  Honesty?  My own self interest?  I don’t want a cataclysmic health condition to either:  1) outright kill me because I can’t afford to go to the doctor for something that could easily save me or, 2) strip away all of my resources so that when I exit from the crisis I am a destitute pauper.

That’s all.

I apologize to my readers out there who come here for a light hearted view of life.  I apologize to any readers who would like to comment.  Like my post preceding the 2016 Presidential election, this post will also be closed for comment.  Chalk it up to my deep and abiding need to avoid conflict.  You can yell at me all you like.  I just don’t want people I care about to have to hear it, too.  🙂

(This post is dedicated to my three knights in shining armor:  Dr. Raymond L., Michael M., and Greg H.  Thank you for watching out for this old girl, each in your own way.)

Workamping Dawwwg: No Bones About It

Mom and I are keeping real busy with our workamping jobs, no bones about it.  Did you know that expression is hundreds of years old?  It means that you are being straightforward, honest, and clear.  It comes from the olden days, when it was a good thing to be able to have your soup and not find any bones in it.  I don’t know about that.  I think soup is better if it does have bones in it.  At least a few.  For flavor, you know.

Anyways, Mom’s job is to work as part of a team running the campground, keeping it a great place for everybody.  In human terms, that means lots of rules.  Advertising the rules, enforcing the rules, and bending some rules when bending makes sense.  Mom likes rules.  They keep life nice and organized.  She has a whole long list of them that she expects me to follow.  She’s a very straightforward kind of girl.

My job is to tend to Mom.  In doggie terms, that means loads of love.  My top priority practically goes without saying:  Protect her and our little house.  My favorite duty, though, is to get her to curl up with me for as many naps as possible.  It helps her unwind from some of her crazy dealings with people, especially the boneheaded ones.

And believe you me, that girl needs to unwind.

Like the other night.  We were sound asleep when a soft knock came on the door.  Leaping into Workamping Dawwwg mode, I sounded the alarm (Mom would never have heard those tiny knocks without me).  It was after midnight, and a lady stood outside our door to file a complaint about some noisy, drunken neighbors.  Well, I made so much noise–enough to strike terror into the hearts of the entire campground–I scared the noisiest noisemaker off.  Before Mom could even get dressed, they had driven away.  Unfortunately, Mom felt it necessary to stay up even longer to make sure things remained quiet.  Thank goodness the next day she let me put her down for a good nap!

Then there was cigarette lady and her tiny terror.  Mom needed to take me for a quick walk while on a work break.  New neighbors had pulled in next to us and when Mom approached our door she saw they had a little dog tied up to a tree on a very long leash that would let the dog go all the way to our house and beyond.  She asked the lady real nice to please tie the dog farther away so it wouldn’t reach our house, but the lady was too busy smoking a cigarette to bother.  When we came out of our door, the tiny terror charged us, nipping at our feet.  Flashing into Workamping Dawwwg mode, I was ready to chew the little fur ball’s head off, but Mom pulled me up and out to the road.  Mom and the lady yelled at each other until the lady’s husband arrived on the scene, took care of the stupid dog, and shut the woman up.

Mom talks wistfully about going back to a workamping job that involves little to no contact with campers…  like the one in Virginia where she cleans bathrooms and cabins and fire pits.  But I know her.  I can tell there is something special about this place that makes all the craziness worthwhile.

You see, if jobs were soup, this one has a whole lot of flavor.  The tastiest bits are the friends we have made.  Mom couldn’t deal with what she has to deal with if it weren’t for her friends on the workamping team and a whole lot of other really good people she has met here.  And me?  I’ve made a wonderful new doggie friend on our morning walks.  I even let her sniff my tail the other day!

So I think we’ll stay a while longer.  Bones and all.  Don’t worry about us.  We’re a team.  I’ll chew ’em up.  She’ll spit ’em out.

(The picture at the top of this post is of me, beautiful me, sitting in the EZ-Go golf cart that Mom and her friends use to ride around the campground.  When it’s not real busy, she lets me ride with her.  I’m hoping to learn to drive real soon!)