Brooks shot this picture of the PopeMobile passing the White House. You can see the Pope.

But when the PopeMobile passed me at DuPont Circle this afternoon there were sirens and an entourage, but no Pope. The PopeMobile was empty! Gasp!

The beautiful moment came when I saw my own reflection bouncing back from the bullet proof glass window. That image made me smile.


Help me, my attention span is...Did you hear how...What?

Ever wonder how much energy fish used to grow legs? Answer: A lot.

Why do you already know this? Because while you're not growing legs, you are growing something ... and dare I surmise that "growing" anything takes a whole lot of energy.

But since you probably hate this metaphor, I'll make my 2nd point quickly: Those fish were probably STRESSED OUT trying to get out of the pond and onto land. Could be that they were, indeed, even chased out. Even worse, they probably had no idea that they were growing legs.

Are you growing something evolutionarily useful these days, something like, "tolerance" or "endurance" ???

What about "focus?" Is that trait still useful? Or have our attention spans been sliced and diced into something less useful than a late-night pitch product on the cable channels. I know I type-pad so much that my handwriting has atrophied...but my typing has really improved.

Oops, gotta go, a device beckons. Lemme see who. Oh, that was my husband's device. Shit, I just spilled my coffee. Ugh, oh well no biggie, I'm back now. Fresh cup. Okay, so. Oh? Um. It was like - oh,

Where was I?


Sometimes it just takes time

Playful died yesterday. Move on, some will urge, "He's just a hamster."

I never intended to love that little rodent. But it wasn't ultimately my choice. He was irresistible for some reason. The bond he and my daughter made together was what made me love him too. She took good care of him. She cleaned his cage and fed and stroked him. She connected with that little guy and I will miss him so.

Things take time.

Just yesterday I had a phone call returned from a land trust that may be able to help us donate an easement on land we own. To think, it has been more than six years worth of baby steps to arrive to that call. We'll see where it goes from here.


Fish hospice and other pet tales that hurt

In late October we noticed that the spine on our Siamese fighting fish, "Blue-jet," had curved and he could no longer swim up to get his food.

We lowered the water level so that now, with precision pellet placement, Blue-jet manages to clumsily find his food.
We also positioned his bowl under an incandescent lamp so that the water would be gently heated 24/7.

This set-up, along with daily cheering for him to "swim" up and grab his pellets, became known as "Fish Hospice."

Blue-jet is two and a half years old now and seems to be doing pretty well.

So, when little one called me at work today with a pain in her voice, "Mom, I think Playful is dead. He is not moving and I don't feel his heartbeat," I was so very sad. In addition to fish hospice, we had said goodbye to our dog of twelve years recently, and had also said goodbye to loved ones, childhood homes, and cities we loved.
"Now, Playful?" I thought. Our sweet 2 1/2 year old hamster from Santa was on deck to go.

When I arrived home, we hurried upstairs. There was Playful, convincingly dead. Both of his eyes were glued shut. He had no quick rise and fall of breath. He was cold to the touch. And showed no sign of reflex. He was completely unresponsive.

I picked him up and noticed a small tremor. I prodded him to check whether I was "seeing" right. Sure enough after a minute or two, just as we were lowering him into his shoe box casket, we determined that perhaps he was still alive.

We took his water bottle out of the cage, filled it with warm water and put it to his lips. After several drops of water to the tongue, he began to show some consciousness. We repeated this step over the course of a couple of hours, with little one on the wood floor under blankets with him, raising his body temp and talking to him.

We then put a salt lick against his teeth and rubbed it back and forth so that something of the mineral might be ingested.

What else?

I checked him over: Cleared his eye discharge with saline, then removed the packed clogs from his bottom. Not fun, but all the while I was aware that I was modeling (on some abstract level) how my daughter might someday react in the face of uncertainty.

I don't know what little one is and isn't learning about life from this experience of loss, but I believe that love is the foundation of the framework. And love is a verb, especially when you are parenting.

Funny thing is, that deep down I believe Playful is dying. In fact, he may already be dead upstairs as I write this out. We have not bottle fed him since 8 PM. Nor has he moved from his cozy spot since we placed him there. We'll see what today brings, and we are prepared to accept it now that we've added our own little comma.

But whatever happens, I'm using the comma to spin the narrative thread colored, "When Playful was dying." I'll take that thread and weave it right into our tapestry of life at home, our life in the world. These murky hues are some of nature's most dramatic colors, after all. And when used sparingly, offsetting a more vital palette of life, aren't things rendered more vivid, perhaps even crystal clear, for a passing moment or two?