Monthly Archives: November 2012

Sappy Cat Blogging – Double Feature

Cats reacting to and dancing to “Gangnam Style” by Korean pop artist Psy:

Bonus since I missed last week:

The Most Intelligent Beings


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Filed under Animals, Popular Culture, Sappy Cat Blogging

That was fun.

Today, I guest-taught art at a high school for students with learning differences. While the students worked on caricatures and 3-D sculptures, we also talked about President Obama, Mitt Romney, Douglas Adams, music, horses, travel, and hot peppers. While I hope the regular teacher’s son is feeling much better, I also hope I get to come back at some point, if not to that class, then to another.


Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Teaching

Tuesday musings – 11/27/2012

I’m a bad blogger. I’ve not only neglected my own blog, I’ve also gotten behind on the blogs I follow. I’m working to change that.

In the meantime:

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” — Theodore Roosevelt

“Work is love made visible.” — Khalil Gibran

“To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.” — Pearl S. Buck


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Filed under Caregiving, Life, the Universe and Everything, Service, Teaching

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to post “In All Things Give Thanks,” as performed by Freddie Fender, but I can’t find it on YouTube or anywhere else, except for a Tex-Mex Christmas album I listen to every year. If anyone can find it, I’d be grateful.

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Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything

Sappy Cat Blogging

I love this vintage Meow Mix commercial:

and this vintage Friskies Kitten commercial reminds me of Little Trouble:

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What do you mean, “She don’t eat no meat”?

Earlier this week, I accompanied my client Mrs. A (not her real initial) to lunch at the local senior center. The special of the day was roast chicken, which was pretty but turned out to be too dry for Mrs. A’s taste. I ended up boxing it up and taking it home. Mrs. A insisted that either her evening caregiver or I needed to take it home with us. Technically, we’re not allowed to eat a client’s food, but our boss has told us that we’re also not to argue with a client who requests that we take food, for example, if it’s something the client doesn’t like and is never going to eat.

Mrs. A asked me first. “RG, you’re taking the chicken home with you.”

Me: “Thank you for offering, Mrs. A, but I don’t eat meat.”

Mrs. A: [Gives me a look like I’ve just told her that I’m an alien writing my doctoral thesis on geriatric female humans]

My relief: “Well, some people don’t like meat . . .”

Mrs. A: [Still looking completely dumbfounded. ]

Mrs. A has turkey bacon every morning for breakfast (she prefers the real stuff but is under doctor’s orders to limit salt) and has a salad with lunch meat every day for either lunch or dinner. I knew explaining that I’m vegetarian was going to be an exhausting conversation.

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Filed under Caregiving, Cooking, Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture

Made my day.

This afternoon, I was at an elementary school substituting for a music teacher. I arrived shortly before recess, and as I was walking to the music room, a youngster in the hall turned around, looked up at me, and said, “You’re pretty.” That was really sweet, especially since today I wore makeup (which I rarely do) and took particular care in choosing my clothes. That little guy made my day.

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Well, this is cool.

I’ve only been at this blogging thing for a bit longer than a month, and The Ranting Papizilla (one of my very first followers) nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger award. Thanks, ‘Zilla!

Rules of Participation:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

1. I’m first-generation American on my mother’s side.

2. I read an obscene number of books.

3. I changed my major three times in college.

4. I’m growing my hair out so I can donate it. I’ve done this once before and would like to do it again while my hair’s still mostly brown.

5. I’ll listen to just about anything. Classical, country, old-school rap and R&B, folk music, reggae, classic rock, alternative, you get the idea.

6. I’m working on a children’s book.

7. I have three living grandparents, all in their 90s and in remarkably good health.

Now for the hard part – nominating *only* 15 bloggers:


Thanks for inspiring me, both to start blogging and to keep blogging.



Filed under Life, the Universe and Everything, Popular Culture, Writing

Have you tried the bean dip?

This election year, I was even more irritated and frustrated than usual.


When did political ads become less “My candidate is great because _____________” and more “My candidate’s opponent is responsible for everything except climate change, and we’ll find a way to blame him or her for that, too”? During election season, our local daily paper runs a feature where reporters fact-check the advertisements and spell out any necessary corrections. But so many people are either overwhelmed, suggestible, or lazy and simply buy whatever is presented on television. During the 2008 campaign, I disconnected (and later sold) my TV. This year, I played CDs in my car, hid posts on Facebook, and sent all the mailings to the recycle bag. But I still couldn’t escape. Senior citizens watch a lot of TV, and there was no way to fast-forward through the commercials.


Then there were the times when the seniors I care for wanted to engage me in discussion. Sometimes I agreed with them. Most of the time, I did not. In fact, I found one client’s opinions particularly offensive. But apart from the fact that I love my job and would like to keep it, etiquette in general, and specifically, the respect for my elders that I was brought up with, demanded that I keep my own opinions to myself.


I generally handled any differences of opinion in one of two ways.


  1. Ask questions: why does this person believe what he or she believes? What were previous elections like? What would you do differently if you were campaigning for your candidate?
  2. This is the method I used more frequently: Say, “That’s interesting,” or “I don’t know,” or make some other noncommittal noise, then change the subject. Ask about their grandchildren, or what they would like for lunch. Invite them to play cards or a board game. Ask what else is good on TV. I’ve heard this technique called “bean-dipping”; you’ll find the origin of the term and many funny and cringe-inducing stories on


How did/do you handle differences of opinion, particularly with people in a different generation?


Filed under Caregiving, Life, the Universe and Everything, Politics

Tuesday musings – 11/13/12

One of WordPress’ daily prompts last week invited bloggers to “embrace the ick,” or write a positive post about the thing that grosses them out the most. In the spirit of that prompt, I will be talking about my experiences with some things that may be unpleasant for the squeamish among you.

As a child, I did not gross out easily. I never got squicked out by insects, worms, snakes, lizards, or mice like you might expect a middle-class city girl to do. Somewhere during adolescence or young adulthood, I became far more sensitive. When I was in my 20s, I lived with a roommate who developed a staph infection after minor surgery and required intravenous antibiotics for several weeks. The home care person who installed her port demonstrated how to administer the antibiotics, and I must have conveyed my prissiness without intending to, because she offered to come over the first couple times, until my roommate was comfortable administering her own medicine.

I did have some threshold for bodily functions; after all, I have cats, so I scoop two litterboxes daily and occasionally clean up hairballs and half-digested kibble. I walked dogs, so I had to deal with dog poop. That said, my gross-out level has increased considerably in the past year.

My first day substitute teaching, I had a student who was listless and irritable. It occurred to me that she might be ill rather than simply acting out, and she confirmed my hypothesis when she first covered her mouth in vain and then vomited into her hands and on her uniform. Fortunately, the upper school principal was in the halls checking on classrooms and volunteered to take the class for a few minutes while I summoned the maintenance man, then took the little girl to the restroom, calmed her down, and called her mother to come pick her up.

As the school year went on, I dealt with upper respiratory infections, nosebleeds, and stopped-up toilets. During a brief stint at a day care, I changed diapers and cleaned up spit-up. I gave one of my maxipads to a third-grader (!) who got her period unexpectedly.

Now, I can safely say there are few things that gross me out excessively. I have emptied and changed catheter bags. I’ve checked blood sugar for several diabetic clients. I’ve changed Depends and cleaned bedside commodes. I’ve killed spiders for a 90-year-old lady who’s terrified of them. I’ve given foot massages.

These are some of the things that make us human. No matter our age, ethnic origin, socioeconomic class, or gender, we all sneeze, pass gas, pee, poop, and bleed.


Filed under Caregiving, Life, the Universe and Everything, Teaching