The Saga of Sequel

October 19th

Finally a chance to come up for air.  It was a harrowing couple of weeks and now I feel like I can catch up on my life.  And I’ve missed talking to all the silent people out there.  I don’t even know who reads this, although someone is, cause when I check my stats, there are numbers there.  It’s always a surprise to see that you’re reading my words…. A nice surprise and it feels good. 

So I have this orange cat and he’s the second orange cat I had of much import so his name is Sequel.  And I’ve had him for 13 years.  He is a character and everyone loves him who meets him.  When I moved here, I made the decision to let him go outside, for in the condo complex, he wasn’t welcomed outside…. Those darn HOA’s.  And since I’m on the first floor, it was much more difficult to keep him in.  Now Callie the female, the rotund, bulbous long haired white female, will stare at the door and not go out.  But Sequel makes a break for it nearly every time the door opens.  One day I opened the door, and he wouldn’t go out.  I also opened a can of wet cat food which he’ll practically turn cartwheels for a tiny taste (actually I’ve gotten him to stand on his hind legs.. of his tricks) and he turned up his nose after sniffing and walked away.   That’s when I began to suspect something was wrong.  He has an emerald green collar on with a little bell and usually when he scratches or runs around, it jingles a bit.  But he wasn’t jingling at all.   Having just moved here I didn’t have a regular vet, so one Saturday night when I started to really get worried, I took him to the Animal ER in Berkeley.  Now I didn’t even know they had animal ER’s but I guess if they were going to have them somewhere, it would indeed be in Berkeley.   So began the saga.  He hadn’t eaten for nearly 3 days I was beginning to guess, so I grabbed a textbook and with him in his carrier, we went off to the ER.  And returned 4 and ½ hours later.  They had tea service in the lobby and I got 100 pages read in between watching all the other patients come in and out.  Mostly dogs actually, but some cats, all with various ailments.  One poor mutt – fairly large actually – I think part lab, had been running and did something to his paw.  Another one had one of those umbrella collars on, which I think makes animals look so bizarre – kind of like a plastic clown ruffle.  And they can’t eat very well and it looks so sad. 

So the initial plan they presented to me, since they couldn’t find anything at first was $1200.00 worth of testing and staying overnight.  So I said since that is not an option, what can I do to help him tonight?  They gave him fluids after checking his vitals and gave him medicine to help with his nausea – he had been throwing up.  And we went home.  On Sunday morning after making it through the night he still was lethargic and had this semi-lifeless look in his eyes so this time we went to the Animal Care Clinic in El Sobrante that the ER had recommended since they’re a bit cheaper.  What a caring loving group of animal doctors live there!   We visited another 4 times and at the end of 2 weeks and a diagnosis of pancreatitis he is good as new.  During the following days though he received fluids and antibiotics and anti-nausea pills and I ended up giving him an appetite enhancing pill and subcutaneous fluids all by myself.  That was interesting and I felt like a nurse, finding just the right spot between the shoulder blades to insert the needle.  I hung the IV bag from one of the kitchen cabinets and held him on the counter and every time but once he sat there patiently while the tube’s liquid dripped down the tube until a mg was dripped in.  The one time he did pull out the needle I got it re-inserted without incident thankfully.  So 4 times in 5 days he visited the vet and got poked and prodded, having x-rays taken and bloodwork done and then after 5 days of fluids I brought him back for a clean bill of health!  He then got his shots and I could administer his flea drops and he was ready for the outdoors.  He’s been going out now for about a week and all seems okay.  I have to admit I worry.  The vet thought he was close to dying and this cat had never been to the vet all the 13 years I had him.  So I never thought of him as ever getting sick.  I’ve never come this close to losing him.  He is a great companion and the thought of him not being here was devastating.  I’d always wondered what my limit would be in dollars for caring for an animal and this actually got up to 800.00.  I’d had that happen once before with my rotund kitty, but I had gotten donations when I wasn’t working, for the ear surgery she needed and my outlay was only around 300.00 for an 800.00 episode.  I’d always hypothesized what my dollar limit would be and never could get over 1,000.  Now having faced this, I’m not sure if there is a limit.   I know that I might not have enough funds if this were to happen again or if it got worse and I’m not sure what decision I’d make.  Take my tuition money out?  Or raid my IRA?  I don’t know.  When I was younger, I always seemed to have concrete decisions in my head on what I would do in certain situations and the older I’ve gotten, I’ve learned it’s not so cut and dried until it happens to you.  During all of this I had to write a paper concerning the readings and discussions we’d had on war and the oppression of war and the Truth Commissions on Conscience in War.   I read Chris Hedges’ book War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and my ultimate decision has always been – in my mind – that not under any circumstances could I kill another human being.   And I’ve had parents tell me, but if you had a child, you would defend her to the death.  And I can understand them saying that, but I still don’t know that I could kill someone.  And then I thought, if I don’t kill the person intent on killing another, am I then complicit in the death of the victim?  In that circumstance, does it then mean I would have to ultimately kill someone?  I don’t know.  I hope that never happens to me, but in my older wisdom, I now know better than to say what I would or would not do.  For I don’t know until it happens to me how I might feel.  I know that my intention would be to not harm another, but after reading Hedges’ experiences in Bosnia and Kosovo, it’s not an easy answer after all.  We never know how we will react until we are forced to find out. 

So now Sequel runs outside and plays during the day and comes running back to me when I call for him at night.  He’s eating heartily and I hug him incessantly and am so very grateful he’s still here.  It’s not that I didn’t appreciate him before his sickness, but there’s a bit of “in the moment” gratitude that didn’t exist before.  And I am very grateful for that.

With Sequel from Mayberry,


I Left My Heart In San Francisco

 Okay, so this post is a bit late…….

September 28th

I went to the City tonight.  Met Gina, my friend of 23 years (we can’t believe we’re this old or we’ve known each other THAT long!) and Nicole, her daughter, is now nine years old.  And adorable.  We met at the Ferry Building and had a lovely dinner outside the seafood restaurant and watched the water lap underneath the Bay Bridge until the lights came on when the sun went down.  It was so gorgeous and I have so fallen in love with this City.  Through some fluke of Yahoo and their contact list, when we thought we had lost touch, here my blog appears one day in her email.   And the friendship lives on!  It’s amazing what technology can do isn’t it?  It’s an amazing way to connect, but a not so much way to really communicate.  I believe that they say we are becoming less human and more isolated just being online too much.  I love human contact.  It’s wonderful to blog, I am really enjoying this when I do, but I could not exist without actually speaking to people and seeing them once in awhile.  I’ve learned this so much with my online class.  I miss the interaction in person; it creates much more fodder for dialogue and thinking.  My ECO class is dynamite!  I am getting to know my classmates and I think I’ve finally learned everyone’s names.  Maybe not their surnames, but at least I know their first names.  In my online class, I don’t know anyone, except for 2 people who are in my ECO class.  I can get a slight impression from their writings and responses to the units online, but it’s just not the same.  I really like being IN class.  Must be that Catholic upbringing and 9 years of Catholic school.  I am used to school desks and classrooms.

We walked up and down Market for a bit, looking for gelato, but everything was closed.  No worries, it was an absolutely gorgeous evening and I was CARRYING my coat, not WEARING it!  Balmy could almost be used to describe the temp, I think we set some kind of record  in the City.  It almost felt like back in St. Louis at the end of summer… except it was The City.  I love that they call it The City.  Which reminds me I need to get the next installment of the Tales of the City books and read them.  I’m really in the mood now.

So on the BART ride back, I had the most interesting conversation with a 14 year old.  As we both straddled the aisle and hung on to poles for dear life, we struck up a conversation.  I’m not sure how but we got on the topic of movies in the ‘80’s and this young woman knew about John Hughes and Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink and actually LOVED this era!  And could speak knowledgeably about it.  She lived in Sacramento and her dad had taken her into the City and spent the day.  She showed me a very cool lipstick she’d bought and she liked my nail polish shade.  We talked about DSW – must be the universal connection between all women no matter what age!  And coincidentally we both had footwear on from that store.  I really liked her boots.  And all of a sudden my stop was here and I had to jump off, which was sad as I was really enjoying my conversation with her.  There was no generation gap and we both spoke thoughtfully and respectfully with one another.  Nice.  And I had only a 3 block walk home to my nice warm bed.  What a lovely evening – a trip to Raleigh on a Saturday night … . . .

From my little part of Mayberry,


A Late Post from September

September 18th

Walking to the Farmer’s Market this morning marked almost 2 weeks of being a student and a part time Office Manager now.  I stopped by Peet’s Coffee and got a small Latte and more yummy vegetables.  They always look so much better at the Farmer’s Market.  The tomatoes are redder, the beans greener and the peaches more orange.  Or maybe it was the overcast clouds and fog that hadn’t quite left yet that were making the colors more vibrant.  Or maybe it was the magic of this place.  I picked up some tapes today from a woman to do transcription.  I can make some extra money that way.  She was so interesting and gave me tips on Berkeley as she moved here in 1970.  She has much wisdom.   🙂 The dilemma of being a student is also having time to earn money.  I want to do both, but that doesn’t leave much time for studying.  . . . .  Or sleeping.  So I will have to suffice on my savings as supplemental income for now.  At least I’m spending less here than in LA.  And I’m new enough that I don’t know a lot of people and don’t go out too much.  That helps.  🙂

So I’m learning the ropes at my new job.  It’s a tiny office and it’s Unitarian, so I’m thrilled to be on the inside learning track.  If I am to be a parish minister, this is the place to learn.  And it has so much potential here!  The beauty is I get to rearrange the office however I want, Rev Ben has told me, and that’s a bit intimidating as I’ve had someone else telling me what to do for a long time in past jobs.  I remember when I had my own picture frame shop that I managed eons ago (wow, another lifetime ago), I could arrange it however I wanted.  That was really fun and I’m looking forward to doing that here too.  I still feel like I have to pinch myself when I see myself doing something I love.  For so many years I didn’t.  This feels so much better.  And intimidating.  I have so much to learn.

Especially in school!  Oh my God do I have so much to learn.  I was intimidated from the first paragraph in my syllabus in my online class…..  “The course begins with an examination of the (alleged) antecedents to Unitarianism and Universalism in pre-Reformation Europe.  We move on to trace the theological and then institutional emergence of Unitarianism out of the Radical Reformation.  The Unitarian churches in Poland, Transylvania, and England will be considered in detail with attention to issues of sameness and difference in their development and declines.”   Really???  Really Seth and Amy???  I’m intimidated just by the syllabus – how in the world will I get through this class?????

Everyone seems so extremely intelligent and uses words like polity and paradigm. (a form of government of a religious organization) and (an outstandingly clear or typical example or archetype – respectively)   I have learned to use my Webster’s again.  I want to excel, but at the moment I think I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed to excel.  I’ve started to get to know some of my classmates and that’s cool. My online class seems to have me flummoxed.  I’ve never taken an online class before and it’s definitely different.  The last time I was in school they hadn’t invented computers yet that didn’t occupy an entire room, so sending in my homework over the Internet is indeed different.  The outside is the same though.  It is so beautiful on campus. We are located on what is known as Holy Hill and it really is a hill, so I’m getting exercise just walking out the door.  The Pacific School of Religion is down the street where my afternoon workshop is located and the library is at the end of the block.  I can’t wait until I learn where absolutely everything is.  I want to feel quite at home in this city.

So things are feeling more comfortable .  I finally got to work and school last week without using my Garmin or Mapquest!  I’m learning where the Post Office is and Target, and am going to church every Sunday with a congregation that is becoming more familiar to me.  I’m learning my classmates’ names and faces and walking around Holy Hill to see what is around on campus.  It’s getting a bit easier every day and that’s nice…….. so this week’s lesson?  Everything gets a little bit easier just by taking one step at a time.

From my little piece of Mayberry,