“Every victory is only the price of admission to a more difficult problem”
― Henry Kissinger
“Every victory is only the price of admission to a more difficult problem”
― Henry Kissinger
it was 15 years ago today that ivan and i made the trip down 2nd avenue from the humane society to e. 55th street, where we lived for his first two years. it didn’t take long for me to realize he was my family. we were inseparable and i loved him with all my heart. almost every memory i have of the last 15 years includes ivan. we moved to california together, drove across the entire usa together, lived in westfield, nj, on the 5th floor of a walk-up on 83rd street, shared the tiniest apartment ever on east 73rd street, moved to bedminster, nj and back to the city again.
on march 20th of this year, at 11:36 am, ivan went to heaven and my heart broke in half.
i always have, and always will, love you billions times infinity boo. xo
who goes inside a bank anymore? well, yesterday i did and as you would probably suspect, i was the only customer inside. when entering my bank from the street, you pass through the atm room where 99% of the people bank, and then open a door and round a corner to get to the real inside of the bank where the tellers are located. as i opened the door between the atm room and the actual bank, i heard someone singing the magilla gorilla song! i did not want her to become startled by the sight of a customer and stop singing, so i stopped before rounding the corner so that she would finish the song. as it turned out, i remembered every single word. when i came around the corner, i saw 3 bank tellers sitting behind the glass partition with absolutely nothing to do other than sing the magilla gorilla song and i had to make a split second guess as to which was the singer because i definitely wanted to go to her window. as luck would have it, i picked the right one and we ended up singing the magilla gorilla song together. after that we sang the mr. ed song. who would have expected this kind of happiness in the middle of a tuesday?
if you have no idea what this post is about, we could probably never be really good friends.
in nyc you’ll find people of all colors, shapes & sizes – animals too. since most residents ‘weekend out east‘, on sunday, i hung out with this guy in central park.
“Life was never meant to be a struggle, just a gentle progression from one point to another, much like walking through a valley on a sunny day.”
~ Stewart Wilde
in the event you were planning a vacation to the city, you may want to re-think your travel plans – or at least stay on top of this story from the post . . . . .
Help, my giant poisonous spider is missing — and she’s pregnant!
A hairy Mexican red rump tarantula named Penelope is on the loose in Park Slope. . . . “She’s mostly active at night and she tends to hide in dark corners,” . . . On the sign, the pet owner asks whoever finds her to put her in a “tupperware bowl” with holes, so she can breathe.
When you seek it, you cannot find it.
~ Zen Proverb
just a few weeks ago i told you the story of joe, the 96 year old man who got sick after eating his birthday cake which had a rat baked right into it. i will try to limit the number of disturbing posts like that, but i will need a little help from the food industry . . . .
today, the ny post reported the story of robin. robin ordered a salad for lunch from guy & gallard on west 40th street. in her own words, here’s what she got in her salad:
“It was the craziest thing,” she said. “After a few bites, I look down at my fork, and think, ‘Oh, is that a piece of asparagus?’And then I saw that it had eyes, and an arm.”
the post reported,
Sandusky repackaged the head with the salad and sent it back to the deli, which promptly gave her a refund.
it’s good to know she got her money back.
i’ve spent the day wondering if she simply saw the lizard, or actually stabbed it with her fork.
“Remain calm, serene, always in command of yourself. You will then find out how easy it is to get along.”
~ Paramahansa Yogananda
after spending a good part of the summer in upstate ny, i saw a lot of wildlife, much different than the wildlife i see in the city. the one thing i was hoping to see and didn’t, was a bear. and i really wanted to see a bear.
i’ve been spending time at my friend diane’s house in nj. she lives on 6 acres in the woods and her yard backs up to 40 more acres of wooded land. the other night around 9:00 pm, while relaxing in the living room with diane, her friend richie and her daughter, i thought i heard a car door close. when i asked if anyone else heard it, diane and her daughter instantly jumped up and yelled, “bear!” wasting no time, they ran to the garage and opened and closed the electronic doors to make noise which they hoped would scare the bear away.
while diane and katie were busy attempting to scare an unseen bear from the driveway, i opened the sliding glass doors in the kitchen and stepped out along the side of the house. assuming the bear had taken off into the woods, i was looking straight ahead into the woods and calling for the bear. i really wanted to see a bear. so that you have a clear perspective, here is the layout:
hoping to get a close up photo of the bear that i was still not convinced existed, i was holding my camera (which you may not be able to tell from the above rendering). i called for the bear several times before seeing a dark shadow moving slightly up in the woods to my right just a little bit.
i wondered, if that’s the shadow, where is the actual bear creating the shadow? i looked harder into the woods, squinting and trying to focus into the dark woods. knowing that i was very close to this shadow and presumably, the bear, my body seemed to go into “survival” mode without the help of my brain because i became extremely nervous and began to get a bit shaky, but continued to watch the slow moving shadow 20′ away and call for the bear. i could hear diane screaming, “close the door! close the door!” when her words registered in my mind, i thought of the possibility that the bear had not run into the woods, but was still around the corner from me right in the driveway. this prompted me to look to my right at which point i realized the bear was in fact not in the driveway, but standing approximately 12 feet to the right of me.
this was by far the biggest bear in america. rather than looking into the camera as he appears to be in this picture (that i lifted off the internet for obvious reasons), he was actually staring straight at me. eyeball to eyeball. his head was at least one foot higher than mine (i am 5′ 4″ tall). he was just standing there staring at me the whole time i had been calling him! i have seen a wild bear once before and i have never, ever, seen such a behemoth creature in all my life. at a speed rivaling usain bolt, i flew into the house.
it took the rest of the evening for all of us to calm down enough to switch subjects and think about anything else. diane had seen this same bear before and was relieved to know that now someone else had witnessed this particular guy, as she always thought that the people she told about ‘big bear,’ thought she may be exaggerating about his size. he was easily 900 lbs and the size of a small car.
as you can probably imagine, it was a little nerve racking for me to take ivan out after dark from then on. for the next couple of nights we stayed close to the house. diane had her spot lights replaced and now the side yard can be lit up like wrigley field.
last night i turned on every light outside and let ivan out to relieve himself around 8:30. as i waited for ivan to finish up, i thought i heard some rustling in the bushes just about 10 feet away from me. it wasn’t loud and i thought it was probably just the cat, but i interrupted ivan midstream, and yelled for him to get into the house, just in case. when i came inside, i asked diane if the cat was out, to which she answered, “no.”
i went into the kitchen and opened the blinds covering the sliding glass doors to see if anything would appear from the bushes. in the small grass area between the kitchen and the woods was a bear sauntering by and looking directly into the kitchen. he looked to be about 500 lbs. when the screaming began, he walked slowly into the woods . . .
( photoshopped bear walking by diane’s kitchen window – again, i missed the photo op, but this is what it looked like)
i never understand why people are afraid of the city. really, it’s a much less dangerous place to be.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
~ Kevin Heath
strolling through central park, i found myself wondering, what has happened to the turtles?
“Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you.”
~ Wayne Dyer
in loving memory of my parents dog, buddy. he was one of the great ones.
thanks for all the years your happiness filled the house. you did a good, good job. bye bud – love you.
“There is honor in being a dog.”
even though it’s down-pouring outside, it feels good to be heading back towards the city today. i’ll leave susan’s secret retreat today, spend 2 days in jersey, and wake up in my own bed on east 52nd street on sunday morning. 🙂
it’s been raining here for the last 3 days which means no cell phone service, and intermittent internet. i have to keep watching the modem – and if the green light goes on, i make a mad rush to the computer to check my e-mail. sometimes i can get through 3 or 4 before the internet goes out again. although this may have been the quietest summer i’ve ever experienced, i did manage to meet 2 people and several hundred animals – all of which i will tell you about when i get back to civilization. in the mean time, i will leave you with some pictures of this amazing place in upstsate ny.
here ivan is enjoying the view from the deck at sunset:
the local cuisine:
interesting reading material:
some of my new friends:
and a flower encircled silo:
a giant ‘thank you’ to susan for lending me this wonderful space for the summer. i am forever grateful to you! (and if you’re interested, she’ll rent it to you – just let me know – the fall is spectacular and there’s skiing just around the corner. )
i’m expecting some miracles this week. i’m very excited about it and i’ve decided to expect some every day from now on.
just keeping you up to date.
Acts of kindness, however small – a smile, a compliment, a helping hand – plant seeds of hope, love, and beauty in a spectacular garden you’ll one day call home.
Talk about ‘Miracle Grow,’
~ The Universe
“Let’s go and see everybody,” said Pooh. “Because when you’ve been walking in the wind for miles, and you suddenly go into somebody’s house, and he says, ‘Hallo, Pooh, you’re just in time for a little smackerel of something,’ and you are, then it’s what I call a Friendly Day.”Piglet thought that they ought to have a Reason for going to see everybody, like Looking for Small or Organizing and Expotition, if Pooh could think of something.Pooh could.“We’ll go because it’s Thursday,” he said, “and we’ll go to wish everybody a Very Happy Thursday. Come on, Piglet.”
“You’d be surprised how many people violate this simple principle every day of their lives and try to fit square pegs into round holes, ignoring the clear reality that Things Are As They Are.”
― Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
i love nyc. even with many of the challenges it provides on a daily basis, i just love ny. ♥ there are however, some things i am still working on coming to peace with; things like the ny dmv, the subway during rush hour and the
inept humane society. other than these few things, i love almost everything about this city.
the other day i made an appointment at a local country vet up here in the woods near susan’s country retreat, where i have spent a good part of the summer so far. for ivan’s monthly rx refill, i generally go to the humane society on e. 59th street. reading this previously blogged post on the humane society will give you a hint as to my feelings about the service they provide. i had an additional visit with them since that post, but i was so upset by it, i chose to work on my anger towards the people who work there (who i am sure are doing the best they can under the circumstances they find themselves in daily, but still. . . ), rather than blog about it. that visit was one month ago and my blood pressure has now returned to it’s normal level and i think i’m ready to compare my last visit at the vet in nyc to my recent visit to woodhill veterinary clinic in upstate ny.
my last appointment at the humane society in the city was scheduled for 2:30 in the afternoon. i arrived on time, signed in and sat down in the 12’x15′ waiting area alongside about 15 other people and their animals. dogs were barking wildly, cats meowing, and 1 guy was standing over by the reception area (approximately 4 feet from the sitting space) with a ferocious pit bull. this dog obviously trained for fighting, was inside a crate, fully muzzled and bucking like a wild boar to escape the crate. the crate was moving around as the owner attempted to hold it still. animals in the waiting area were reacting in fear (as were most of the humans).
ivan is almost 14 ( 98 in dog years ), cannot stand for long periods of time and gets nervous in crowds. after approximately 5 minutes he began to shake and that soon morphed into an all out anxiety attack. at 3:00 i went back to the reception area where i waited 15 minutes for someone to acknowledge me.
me: “hi, i had an appointment for 2:30 and it’s now 3:15. my dog is having a really hard time and i was wondering how much longer you think we’ll have to wait.”
receptionist: “i don’t know. we’re very busy.”
about 5 minutes later, they called in a patient who had arrived well after ivan and i. then another. at 3:45, i noticed a sign on the wall stating the office closes at 4:00. the agitated woman sitting next to me told me her appointment was for 2:45. i sympathized and let her know mine was at 2:30. i went back to reception to make sure ivan’s file hadn’t fallen through the cracks. as i waited for a human being to come to the reception window, the bucking pitbull managed to separate the top half from the bottom half of his crate and bust out right next to me. he was held back from the crowd by his owner & at that point, the staff thought it would be a good idea to get him out of the public area, and put him in the next available room. following that incident, they called in the woman with the appointment scheduled for 2:45!
i was furious and ivan could barely stand. he had been shaking steadily for more than 1.5 hours when a staff member finally came to the window it was 4:10. before i had the opportunity to inform him of my grievances, he yelled at me.
“i know you’re here! and no, we didn’t lose your chart! there are a lot of sick dogs here!”
this, he says, as i stood with my 98 year old dog who was practically having seizures at that point?
i promptly left. ivan & i stood outside the door on east 59th street wondering how we were going to make it 7 blocks to get home in the condition we were in.
this months vet visit was quite a different experience. we arrived in time for our 1:00 appointment to find one sweet woman with her bouncy 10 month old labrador puppy in the waiting room. a minute or two after our arrival, a woman from the local wildlife conservation society rushed in with a small cat crate under her arm. it contained a baby deer. the animal techs rushed her into a back room right away.
fawn emergency & all, we were seen immediately. dr. susan tanner examined ivan and wrote his rx. as i stood at the reception desk while my bill was being printed, a call came in. the woman kindly apologized for having to take the call. it was for a goat spay.
me: “do you get a lot of people calling for appointments to spay their goat?”
receptionist: “oh yes, we do a lot of that.”
on that note, i smiled and left the office 25 minutes after i had arrived.
thank you dr. tanner & co.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”
~ Mother Teresa
“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
#1. wear boots in grass
as i stood barefoot in the grass today, a snake slithered right past my foot. ivan was close by relieving himself. he was a bit startled as the snake approached him. he didn’t notice the snake but seemed to be some what alarmed by my blood curdling scream as the snake made it’s way toward him. i may have scared the snake as well because i don’t even think he noticed ivan was peeing on him as he slithered right through ivan’s legs.
#2. i don’t ever want to be a cow
seriously, could you stand this for even 10 minutes?
these cows are having a serious meeting. presumably about the fly situation.
“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
~ Auguste Rodin
ivan and i have been hiding out at my friend susan’s secret retreat up in the middle of nothing but trees and animals. we’ve been here for 5 days and so far we’ve made a lot of new friends. here are just a few:
ivan has taken the opportunity to teach his new friend his favorite sport, grass rolling. here he is doing a demonstration:
a good time was had by all.
“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”
e. e. cummings
there are just 2 things i need, a vacation and to lose the weight i’ve been carrying around since my sabbatical in nj. i managed to find the perfect retreat up in the catskill mountains where i plan on doing a 5 day juice. in addition to not eating, i will practice yoga, meditate, catch up on some reading and hopefully get some really nice photographs.
upon arrival i met with the retreat owner who asked what it was that i wanted to accomplish this week. i told her i intended to get some really good photographs of a bear or two. her reaction made it pretty obvious that that wasn’t the usual answer she received from guests. she proceeded to weigh me and directed me to meet in the dining room for dinner juice at 6:00. she then told me if i was going to see a bear at all i should ask the fitness instructor to point out the area where they kept the dumpster on the hike which was planned for the following morning. i unpacked my things, grabbed my camera and headed out to explore. after hiking around for 20 minutes or so, i saw something moving in the distance through the trees. upon closer examination i noticed that the moving object was near a blue dumpster. before my brain had time to process the situation, i found myself in a staring match with a black bear.
in the next half of a second, all of the following happened:
i thought about this amazing photo op
i realized i was shaking
i remembered that not even roger bannister could out run a black bear
i calculated that i only had to run approximately 1/8 of the distance to saftey than the bear did
i wondered if bears could run 8 times as fast as me
i watched the bear jump off the dumpster and charge full speed ahead up the path towards me
i thought about how no one really knows how the end will come but this is ridiculous
i think i teleported into the spa.
the next thing i recall is slamming the front door with all my might, startling the woman at the front desk (not to mention all of the people enjoying the relaxing spa treatments they had paid good money for). i proceeded to scream at the top of my lungs, “i found the bear! shut the doors! it’s chasing me!” there may have been more but that’s all i know for sure that i yelled -very loudly. at that point my heart was trying to come out of my throat and my overall state of panic prompted the staff to start scrambling around the first floor shutting all open doors and windows.
i can’t remember being so scared since the time ellice and i were stalking high end hookers & got chased down the center of fifth avenue by two of the biggest, furriest, gold wearing pimps in the city, who apparently thought we were encroaching on their corner. thankfully i survived both incidents.
when the tremors stopped i got in my car and went back to the scene of the nearly fatal attack. here is what i found: