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Middle schooler reportedly loses life to suicide after being bullied
(image)A middle schooler in the community reportedly lost his life to suicide yesterday.

I'm not going to give any details of his identity.  I am currently trying to get a hold of his mother to get her permission to share his story. But according to parents of children at the school, this boy was regularly bullied.

Bully victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University. Research shows that being bullied by peers in childhood has long-term adverse effects on young adults' mental health (Lereya, Copeland, Costello, & Wolke, 2015).

Nearly 1 in 3 students report being bullied, and it breaks my heart that more is not done about this. If a student was abused at home, authorities would be called. Yet, everyday, kids are being physically and mentally abused within the school walls. And this has been going on for decades.

One of my friends told me that she was once punched by another student and, when the principal heard about it, the other girl didn't get in trouble. Instead my friend was told, "You must have done something to provoke her."

So what can you do about this?

1. Parents, tell your kids that bullying is unacceptable.
It starts at home. Teach your kids how to treat others with respect and kindness. Tell them there will be serious consequences if you ever find out that he or she is bullying.

2. Talk to your kids about sticking up for someone who is being bullied.
When bystanders intervene, bullying stops with 10 seconds 57 percent of the time, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Check out this article on Today's Parent for practical tools to teach your children on how to stand up to a bully.

3. Ask the school if there are any bully prevention programs and, if not, how to start one.
Oxford and Lake Orion High Schools formed Bully Busters six years ago where, every other week, one high school "bully buster" is assigned to each middle school classroom to teach his or her own lesson about bullying prevention. See if there are programs like this at your child's school and, if not, what can be done to start one.  Check out tips on how to start an anti-bullying program.

Bullying is an epidemic. I encourage everyone to do whatever they can to stop it. Do it in memory of this middle schooler, who lost his life because of bullying. Do it to try and save others from this same fate.
'Rock, Paper, Scissors' commercial has anti-bullying, diversity message
I remember, as a kid on the playground, there was a group of blonde girls who called my brunette haired friends and me "poop hair colored." And I remember that my best friend bravely stood up to them. (We laugh about it now, but as a kid, these words hurt)

I remember kids throwing wood chips at my head and my friend running away from them with me.  I remember being picked last for gym class nearly everyday, and I especially remember the one girl who picked me first.

When you're bullied or left out and one person sticks up for you, it can make a world of a difference.

The new Android commercial, which debuted during the Academy Awards last weekend, shows the power of sticking up for someone who is being picked on, no matter how different the person may be from you. The commercial has been described as the "real winner of the Oscars."

As a kid, you probably played "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to settle arguments (or maybe you still do). The 70-second commercial, released by Google, shows a piece of paper being bullied and then a pair of scissors scaring off the bullies. Then the paper does the same for a rock, and the three walk off together into the sunset.

In the childhood game, scissors beats paper and paper beats rock. The commercial uses it as an analogy that, instead of fighting against each other, they use their strengths to help one another.

Yeah, it's just a commercial for a cell phone. But I think this commercial could be used to teach children not to bully others and, instead, be there for others and stick up for them.

For more information on how to stop bullying at school, online and in the community, visit www.stopbullying.gov.
Cone, Coned, Coning

The first weeks of 2016 have been busy, veterinarianly speaking.  Lily was spayed.  Clover was spayed.  Lois got a mysterious booboo on her face.  That specter called The Cone was upon us.

What was gleaned from these conical adventures?  Well, putting a plastic cone on a dog's head is sometimes a good thing, sometimes a not so good thing, and sometimes it just can't be done.



Yes, a cone can keep a dog from aggravating a wounded area thus providing more efficient unmolested healing, all while allowing the dog to move about in her normal routine.  Unless the dog involved is Lily.




Lily held still as the cone was pushed over her head and the tie tightened around her neck.  Then she did a bucking broncho impersonation.  Then she stopped.  She stood like a statue.  And stood like a statue some more.  (You may be wondering why I didn't photograph Lily the Cone Wearing statue.  All I can say is, it seemed too easy a shot.  Instead, here's a picture of her under the kitchen table where she retreated after the cone removal.  Note her inscrutable expression.)

Needless to say, we couldn't keep Lily coned long term.  If the dog won't move, she can't rest, she can't eat, she can't go about her doggy business.  Off came the cone. 

When she licked at the incision, I yelled at her. In response, she would stop licking and give me that inscrutable look.  Soon she didn't seem to notice the sutures at all and left the area alone.  It appears that my yelling was as pointless as the cone.



Lily's cone-free recovery was a success.




Then there's Lois, Happy Cone Customer.


We'll never know what the heck happened to Lois's face.  One day she was rubbing her face on the floor.  The skin surrounding her right eye was swollen and a curious shade of lilac.  (Lois has white hair on that side of her head, thus the skin is supposed to be pale pink.)

The vet offered some magic balm for the skin and a nice new cone.  Cone clad, Lois went about her routine, remaining cheerful even while bumping into doorways and people's shins. 

A week later, the skin was no better.  Lois remained coned while taking a course of antibiotics.  Another week marked the transformation of lilac colored skin to mauve, and finally to pretty pink.



Lois had a successful coned aided recovery.



Then there's a dog who can't be coned.  I wouldn't have believed this- till it happened.  Following Clover's spay, a vet tech told me with all the earnestness of someone who thinks they've seen it all, that they don't make cones that fit Clover.  It's the long neck, you see.  Naturally, incredulously, I said, "what?!  Sight hounds aren't coned, ever?  Nobody has ever coned a cone to fit them?"

The vet tech offered a resigned shrug.  Then she suggested that if we have trouble with her licking the sutures we could do what some farmers do.  Fashion a bucket for her head. 



Let's see, take the Sawz-all to cut a hole in the bottom of a bucket then put it over the dog's head, then what?  Tie a rope around it and affix it to her body somehow?  Just hope it wouldn't come off, maybe?  In the end, or rather the beginning, we did not attempt to bucket Clover over the head.  The hope was that she'd be one of those easy going beasts that pays no mind to shaved tummy and incision discomfort.

Unfortunately, Clover was EXTREMELY determined in her attention to those sutures on her abdomen.  So we covered the area with clothes.  Our first attempt involved my tee shirt and The Handsome One's underwear.  (The cool thing about boy's panties is there's an opening for a tail to poke through.)  Alas, Clover found ways it get under and around the clothes, even with tape holding the outfit together and festively colored silk scarves cinched at the waist.

One the bright side, we didn't have to return to the vet two weeks post op for suture removal.  Clover, the unconeable, proved to be a do-it-yourselfer.


Move over Blue Man Group, there's a new 'blue' group in town
You've probably heard of the Blue Man Group — a group of three guys painted in blue known for their creative stage productions.

But this group doesn't have the "blue" market cornered.

Meet the Blue Woman Group, made up of comedians and board certified depressives Jacqueline Novak and Aparna Nancherla. But, other than the name, the similarities between the Blue Man Group and the Blue Woman Group end there.

Last month, Novak and Nancherla formed the Blue Woman Group and began recording a comedic audio guidebook for the "Depressive on the Go" about how to reclaim your life. They prove that, yes, you can be both depressed and funny. Each podcast begins with a "meditation" of sorts, including calming music, breathing exercises and quips between the two women.

"We're both comedians here in New York and writers and performers and we happen to also be depressives," Nancherla said in the first podcast on Jan. 27.

"We're trying to relate our experiences to people and also figure out our own solutions and workarounds to the daily bouts of existential drift. ... We've been where you've been."

The two women talk about difficult topics in a humorous way. In the podcast titled Crying in the Office, Novak said, "Maybe you're cowering in the stairwell, just trying to avoid other people. ... Just have a minute to yourself."

"We're here for you. You're safe. ... Take a breath and know that you're not rotting in the ground."

Novak is a stand-up comic who has been featured on The Late Late Show with James Corden, at comedy festivals across the country, and was named a New Wave Woman by Pandora. Novak’s comedy album, Quality Notions, is available on iTunes and her book "How to Weep in Public" will be available in bookstores on March 1.

Aparna is  an experienced improviser who has studied at Washington Improv Theater, the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in both NY and LA, the Groundlings, and the Lesly Kahn’s school of acting. She recently wrote for Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC and also wrote for and sometimes appeared on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, on FXX.

Ladies, if ever you need a third "blue woman," call me 😉

Best-selling author Tim Ferriss: 'You have gifts to share with the world'

New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss is used to strangers approaching him and asking for his autograph.

But there's one moment that was different. A man asked Ferriss to sign a book for his brother, who was a big fan. Afterward, Ferriss learned that the man's brother would never see the autograph. He lost his life to suicide at age 22.

This moment gave Ferriss the courage to acknowledge that he, too, almost killed himself. 

Ferriss wrote about this on his website The Four Hour Work Week .

It was 1999, his senior year at Princeton University, and he was dealing with the ending of a long-term relationship, the fall through of several job prospects and the stress of writing his thesis.

He decided to take a year off school to get a job and focus on writing his thesis (which infuriates his advisor and, therefore, terrifies Ferriss that, no matter what he does, he'll get a bad grade). He spends 8-16 hours a day alone in his room, working on his thesis (a recipe for disaster for anyone who is prone to depression).

Ferriss said his thesis was going nowhere, and, in his mind, he felt like he just wasted his entire college education. He feels like a burden to his family. So, he decides to take his life.

"The world was better off without a loser who couldn’t figure this basic shit out. What would I ever contribute? Nothing. So the decision was made, and I was in full-on planning mode," he wrote.

"It’s easy to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story you tell yourself, and to think that your entire life hinges on one thing you’ll barely remember 5-10 years later."

Obviously, Ferriss didn't go through with it. But what stopped him?

He requested a book about suicide to be put on hold at the local library. And, when the book was available for check-out, a note was mailed to his parents, “Good news! The suicide book you requested is now available at the library for pick up!”

When his mother called him, asking him about the book, "it was only then that I realized something: my death wasn’t just about me. It would completely destroy the lives of those I cared most about. I imagined my mom, who had no part in creating my thesis mess, suffering until her dying day, blaming herself."

So, instead of killing himself, he decide to stop worrying about his thesis, truly take the year off, and focus on his mental and physical health. He graduated in 2000 and, as you can tell, didn't end up ruining his life. On the contrary, he is now very successful (which no one would have known if he ended his life, ).

Here's some things Ferriss did or thought about that changed his mind about suicide:

1. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.

2. Remember, your suicide doesn't just affect you. "Killing yourself is like taking your pain, multiplying it 10x, and giving it to the ones who love you. ... Beyond any loved ones, you could include neighbors, innocent bystanders exposed to your death, and people — often kids — who commit 'copycat suicides' when they read about your demise."

3. You don't know that suicide will improve things. None of us know for sure what comes in the afterlife. There are no guarantees, so who's to say it'll be better than your life?

4. Make a non-suicide pact with someone you care about. Promise your mother, father, brother, sister, best friend, etc. that you will never harm yourself. Even if you don't care much about yourself, maybe, just maybe, at your darkest moment, remembering you have to keep this promise will make you reconsider.

Ferriss reminded people that the storm you may be going through in life will not last forever.

"You have gifts to share with the world. You are not alone. You are not flawed. You are human. And when the darkness comes, when you are fighting the demons, just remember: I’m right there fighting with you."
Support 'Equality for Mental Illness' campaign in Alan Rickman's memory
(image)Actor Alan Rickman is best known for playing Severus Snape on the big screen in the "Harry Potter" series. When seeing the final movie, I heard sniffles from around the theater when his character died. Even more so, cries can be heard around the world with the passing of the actual man.

On Google+ this morning, Daniel Radcliffe memorialized his friend and former costar, calling him "one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry."

Radcliffe said, "People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner (or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny."

"Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career."

Rickman used his celebrity status to do good in the world. The Daily Mail reports that Rickman was an active patron of the charity Saving Faces and was an honorary president of the International Performers' Aid Trust, a charity that alleviates poverty in some of the world's toughest conditions.

Most recently, only a couple months before his death, Rickman backed the UK-based campaign  Equality for Mental Health, which calls for an increase in funding for mental health services. The petition, signed by Rickman, urges the British government to treat mental health illnesses with the same attitude as they do physical illnesses.

Today, I signed the petition in memory of Rickman. And I encourage everyone to keep his memory alive by electronically signing this letter or by donating to one of the many organizations that he supports. Even though he is no longer on this earth, it's up to us now to continue his legacy in changing the world.


A Little Tail before Breakfast

The local rabbits seem to agree with Erma Bombeck, who said that the grass is always greener over the septic tank.  Even though there is lots and lots of grass outside of the fenced in area, rabbits regularly enter the yard.  There have been numerous rabbit sightings, smellings, and compelling scat evidence.  Then there was the rousing encounter of a few days ago.



It was a morning like any other, the dogs go outside in shifts to do their business.  Lois and Henry are first- the benefits of seniority.  Suddenly, things came to a head, or rather, tail.  The sound of a rabbit screaming is loud and full of anguish. 

That was the sound that brought me outside in the still dark.  This is what I saw.





Well.  The rabbit stopped screaming.  He was wedged in that fence very tightly.  Fortunately, after slowly pushing one hip than the other bit by bit, through the chain link, the rabbit was unstuck.  Once free of the fence the rabbit turned tail (what was left of it) and ran quite fast away from his morning  nightmare.  

Henry trotted around the yard carrying the trophy tail.  I took it from him and flung it over the fence.  The rabbit has not returned to claim it, as yet.
Can you tell me a happy thought?
I just started reading the book "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes this weekend. I'm eight chapters in and there is one part in particular that really hit me hard (so far):

"‘Tell me something good.’
I hesitated a moment, then I leant back against the pillows beside him. We sat there in the near dark, watching the briefly illuminated flakes of snow disappear into the black night.
'You know, I used to say that to my Dad,’ I said, finally."

This scene reminded me a lot of when I was young.

When I was little, I would get panic attacks at night and night terrors. I would say to my parents, before I went to bed, "I need a happy thought."

My parents would sing "You Are My Sunshine." Instead of the line "You make me happy when skies are grey," we would yell out other colors, like "You make me  happy when skies are pink" or "You make me happy when skies are orange." And it, almost always, helped me not go to bed anxious or upset.

I was once dating a guy and I would ask, "Can you send me a happy thought?" before bed, just like I had with my parents. He would get angry at me, telling me I needed to make myself happy (as you can tell, that relationship didn't last).

Don't let anyone ever make you feel like how you cope with your anxiety, depression or other mental illness is wrong (as long as it's not excessive drinking or something illegal, I mean).

I have a couple friends who told me they would never mind sending me a "happy thought" whenever I needed it. And my mom will still text me at night, even though I moved out, with happy quotes, sayings and even memes.

I have learned that people with anxiety or depression need to find positive people to surround themselves with, so that's exactly what I'm trying to do. And one "happy thought" I tell myself: "This feeling will not last forever."

What's something that you do to help yourself cope during moments of anxiety or depression?
Good Friday
(image)
Let's do Philippians 2:8-11.                     Go.
 I'll start.







(image)
And being found in human form he
 humbled himself and became obedient
 unto death, even death on a cross.





(image)
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed
 on him the name which is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
 in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Join chat on Lions at 3 p.m. on Thursday
(image)
Join me for the weekly Lions chat at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

It’s a crucial time for the Lions as they prepare for free agency which officially starts at 4 p.m. on March 9, although teams can start talking to free agents on Monday. The Lions still have players from their 2015 roster that they would like to re-sign before Wednesday. Plus coaches and management just returned from the NFL Scouting Combine.

Bring all your questions and comments.
 — Paula Pasche




10 times 'Fuller House' stars were real about mental illness and addiction

I don't think I've ever been so excited for a TV show as I am for "Fuller House," which premiered on Netflix today.

"Full House" was known for its countless life lessons, like you shouldn't put a goldfish in a bubble bath. And now, 21 years after the final episode ran, the gang is back (sans the Olsen twins).

But, in those two decades, the cast has gone through more problems than just dealing with a zit on their nose.

Actress Jodie Sweetin (Stephanie Tanner) was addicted to crystal meth and alcohol, and Candace Cameron Bure (DJ) battled with bulimia.

Here are 10 times the "Tanner sisters" were real about their mental illness and addiction:

1. "I will have five years (of sobriety) in March. It’s given me a lot of gratitude," Jodie told People Magazine.

2. "For me, the first time that I drank, I knew that I couldn't drink normally. It was not something that I was ever capable of doing," Jodie said on the series Blazing Borders.

3. Cameron said, "Binging and purging felt like an automatic response to the emotions I was feeling. Somehow, it made me feel like I was able to regain control."

4. "I finally realized that food is going to be there tomorrow. It seems like the most obvious, easy reminder, but it really works. Remember it's OK to say no or push the plate away. I learned about proper portions and how to eat healthy on a daily basis," Cameron told Health Magazine,

5. Jodie said, "It gets very ugly in-between my ears. I meditate in the morning. ... I try to stay very focused on where I am and what I'm doing at that moment."

6. "(In 2008), I got a call that there was an emergency custody investigation because of my drinking. From that day forward, I threw myself into going to AA and avoided people who do blow off their coffee tables," Jodie told Us Magazine.

6.  "I had to learn throughout sobriety the difference between shame and guilt. Shame is 'I am a bad person.' And guilt is, 'I feel bad for something I've done,'" she said.

7. Cameron told People, "I turned to food for comfort and had to find a different source, because clearly it wasn't a healthy way to deal with things. ... So that's really when my faith was kicked up a notch and (I) sought comfort in my relationship with God, and not with food."

8. "(I realized) I'm beautiful inside and out. ... I had to find my value and worth in (God's) eyes and not everyone else's," Cameron said on HLNtv.

9. Jodie said on Blazing Borders, "It really helps to share it with other people. What I've found is that a lot of the shame and the guilt and the feelings I have, when I share it with somebody else, they say, 'Oh my god. I feel like that too.' And then we go, 'That's really silly. That's not who you are.'"

10. "These things happen. And it's possible to come back. It's possible to start over," she said.



J.K. Rowling helps fan suffering from depression
In the Harry Potter universe, Dementors feed upon human happiness. With a kiss, they can consume their victim's soul, leaving him or her in a permanently vegetative state.

Author J.K. Rowling describes Dementors as "among the foulest creatures that walk this earth" and that they "drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them."

"Even Muggles feel their presence, though they can’t see them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you."

This creature was inspired by Rowling's own battle with depression when she was in her 20s. Rowling publicly admitted to feeling suicidal during this time in her life.

She told the Sunday Times of London, "I went through a really rough time, and I am quite proud that I got out of that."

So how did Rowling defeat the Dementors in her life and keep them from stealing her soul?

She sought help — scheduling an appointment with her general practitioner. And now she is helping others who are battling mental illness by encouraging them to seek help just as she did.

On Sunday night, an 18-year-old fan from Brazil tweeted to Rowling, using the Twitter handle @mtrssmustdie:

(image)"Could you please teach me how to scare the dementors that have been living under my bed? I'm tired of being sad all the time. I'm tired of panic attacks and my head aching and those dark circles under my eyes. I'm really tired of not being who people want me to be because I try so f***ing hard to be that perfect friend or daughter but I can't make anything right. I wish I could just disappear, pack my things and leave. Someday I'll do it."

And, in a single tweet, Rowling delivered the perfect response:
They're bothering a unique, valuable human being who deserves happiness. Ask for help. Don't fight alone. Big hug. https://t.co/V8ocAHN1Ll
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) February 8, 2016

The decade after Rowling's battle with depression  one month before her 32nd birthday was when "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was published. Just think, if she would have killed herself, this world would have been deprived of one of the most well-known and influential literary characters of all time. None of us would have known of her brilliant mind.

We don't know what our lives have in store for us. But, if you take your life, you will never find out. I'm sure when Rowling was in her 20s, she never would have guessed, in a million years, what her future would hold for her.

I'm sure if Rowling could say anything to her younger self, she would tell her, "It gets better." And to anyone battling depression, that's what I'm saying to you.

Everyone has a purpose in this world. Seek help and don't let the "Dementors" suck the life out of you.

Click here to find a psychiatrist near you.
Good Morning, Ms Frazzled

My first thought when I got out of bed that morning was that Lily was to be dropped off between 7:30 and 8 a.m. at the veterinarian to be spayed.  My tendency to worry was not in high gear.  Indeed,  I felt, well, OK.

The surgery instructions were no food after midnight.  I went outside with Lily when she did her business to be sure she didn't eat a clod of dirt or something .




For the next couple of hours,  I avoided all the dogs, with little success.  They kept staring at me, clearly not onboard with the whole not-eating-in-solidarity-with-Lily's-looming-surgery plan.

It was time to leave.  Lily and I got into the vehicle.  I wouldn't start.

Luckily, The Handsome One was off of work that day so he took us in his truck.




Inside the vet office, an old man was telling a bored looking doctor and receptionist that 16 pills is a lot of pills to take.  He glanced at me and added, "for a dog."  He maintained eye contact, so I answered, "yes.  Sixteen pills is a lot."

Lily weighed in at 68 pounds and we went into a room to do paperwork.  Lily seemed delighted to go with the nice vet tech.  Interestingly, I was not feeling terribly nervous about the whole major surgery thing.  In fact, I was encouraged that maybe, just maybe after a dozen or so spaying adventures, I was calming down about it.  Maybe this frazzle free style living could become a habit!





I had to walk past the old man to exit the building.  He was telling the doctor who looked about to cry and the receptionist who was violently filing her thumbnail about the time he forget to give his dog her 2 o'clock pill. 

Suddenly, he turned to me and said, "your hair looks good."

I thanked him and made for the door.

He added, "it looks like you French kissed a light socket."

Oooookay.

"Seriously"  he said.  "It looks good."





I really thought I was doing OK.



What David Bowie's death can teach us about living
Many of us woke up this morning to the devastating news that, on Sunday, rock legend David Bowie died at age 69 following an 18-month battle with cancer.

Dylan Dulberg, who was a freelance photographer with The Oakland Press when I worked there, described Bowie best: "David Bowie, whether intentionally or not, taught people that it's perfectly okay to be yourself, and to be anything other than yourself is what's weird."

Bowie didn't care what others thought of him. He did what he loved and was who he was with no apologizes.

In an interview with 60 Minutes in 2002, he said, "I'm just an individual who doesn't feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I'm working for me."

Did you know that despite his apparently high self esteem, Bowie, in fact, suffered from anxiety and extreme shyness? Of course the man who painted a metallic red lightning bolt across his face and publicly wore spandex pants couldn't have been shy, could he?

But becoming "Ziggy Stardust" is how Bowie coped with his anxiety and "explored a world where he wasn't afraid or panicking," reports Beyond Anxiety and Depression.

While some people feel debilitated by what they may consider weaknesses, Bowie overcame his anxiety and found success despite it, or, maybe even because of it. For Bowie, he drew strength from his music. Music was how he expressed himself when he couldn't find the words.

"I'm not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does," he said.

The world lost a legend this weekend, but his memory lives on. And there's much we can learn from Bowie and the time he spent on this planet.
Good Friday
(image)
Let's do Philippians 2:8-11.                     Go.
 I'll start.







(image)
And being found in human form he
 humbled himself and became obedient
 unto death, even death on a cross.





(image)
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed
 on him the name which is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
 in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Cone, Coned, Coning

The first weeks of 2016 have been busy, veterinarianly speaking.  Lily was spayed.  Clover was spayed.  Lois got a mysterious booboo on her face.  That specter called The Cone was upon us.

What was gleaned from these conical adventures?  Well, putting a plastic cone on a dog's head is sometimes a good thing, sometimes a not so good thing, and sometimes it just can't be done.



Yes, a cone can keep a dog from aggravating a wounded area thus providing more efficient unmolested healing, all while allowing the dog to move about in her normal routine.  Unless the dog involved is Lily.




Lily held still as the cone was pushed over her head and the tie tightened around her neck.  Then she did a bucking broncho impersonation.  Then she stopped.  She stood like a statue.  And stood like a statue some more.  (You may be wondering why I didn't photograph Lily the Cone Wearing statue.  All I can say is, it seemed too easy a shot.  Instead, here's a picture of her under the kitchen table where she retreated after the cone removal.  Note her inscrutable expression.)

Needless to say, we couldn't keep Lily coned long term.  If the dog won't move, she can't rest, she can't eat, she can't go about her doggy business.  Off came the cone. 

When she licked at the incision, I yelled at her. In response, she would stop licking and give me that inscrutable look.  Soon she didn't seem to notice the sutures at all and left the area alone.  It appears that my yelling was as pointless as the cone.



Lily's cone-free recovery was a success.




Then there's Lois, Happy Cone Customer.


We'll never know what the heck happened to Lois's face.  One day she was rubbing her face on the floor.  The skin surrounding her right eye was swollen and a curious shade of lilac.  (Lois has white hair on that side of her head, thus the skin is supposed to be pale pink.)

The vet offered some magic balm for the skin and a nice new cone.  Cone clad, Lois went about her routine, remaining cheerful even while bumping into doorways and people's shins. 

A week later, the skin was no better.  Lois remained coned while taking a course of antibiotics.  Another week marked the transformation of lilac colored skin to mauve, and finally to pretty pink.



Lois had a successful coned aided recovery.



Then there's a dog who can't be coned.  I wouldn't have believed this- till it happened.  Following Clover's spay, a vet tech told me with all the earnestness of someone who thinks they've seen it all, that they don't make cones that fit Clover.  It's the long neck, you see.  Naturally, incredulously, I said, "what?!  Sight hounds aren't coned, ever?  Nobody has ever coned a cone to fit them?"

The vet tech offered a resigned shrug.  Then she suggested that if we have trouble with her licking the sutures we could do what some farmers do.  Fashion a bucket for her head. 



Let's see, take the Sawz-all to cut a hole in the bottom of a bucket then put it over the dog's head, then what?  Tie a rope around it and affix it to her body somehow?  Just hope it wouldn't come off, maybe?  In the end, or rather the beginning, we did not attempt to bucket Clover over the head.  The hope was that she'd be one of those easy going beasts that pays no mind to shaved tummy and incision discomfort.

Unfortunately, Clover was EXTREMELY determined in her attention to those sutures on her abdomen.  So we covered the area with clothes.  Our first attempt involved my tee shirt and The Handsome One's underwear.  (The cool thing about boy's panties is there's an opening for a tail to poke through.)  Alas, Clover found ways it get under and around the clothes, even with tape holding the outfit together and festively colored silk scarves cinched at the waist.

One the bright side, we didn't have to return to the vet two weeks post op for suture removal.  Clover, the unconeable, proved to be a do-it-yourselfer.


What is a Positivity Wall?
I am starting to make a "Positivity Wall" in my apartment.

What is a "Positivity Wall," you may ask?

It's just as it sounds -- hanging positive quotes and affirmations on your wall.

I got this idea from my friend Caitlin who, shortly after moving into her condo, started searching for positive quotes on Pinterest, such as Theodore Roosevelt's "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." She framed the quotes and displayed them in her bedroom and in the hallway.

For me, the self consciousness only comes when the room is silent and I'm by myself. No one is there to say, "Stop it, you're beautiful! You've got this!"

When I'm coming home after a tough day at work or an exceptionally bad date, that's when I need the reminder, "Better things are coming." The purpose of the "Positivity Wall" is, when you're feeling down and you're by yourself, you can be the one to tell yourself these things.

When you're having a bad day, it's hard to think positive. These quotes on the wall are like letters sent from my happy self to my future not-so-happy self to remind her that it'll be okay.

So, why is it so important to keep your mind thinking positively?

Science writer Susan Reynolds said in Psychology Today, "Happy thoughts and positive thinking, in general, support brain growth, as well as the generation and reinforcement of new synapses, especially in your prefrontal cortex (PFC), which serves as the integration center of all of your brain-mind functions."

For those starting your own positivity wall, here are some ideas from Pinterest and on SkinnyMom.com. Just print out the quotes and frame them. It doesn't have to be an expensive project.

Leave a comment below with your favorite affirmation.
What to say to someone who is depressed

I like to think of myself as a strong, confident, hardworking, independent woman. But when I'm having an anxiety attack, I am someone completely different.

Some people have an invisible "angel" and "devil" on their shoulders. But, for me, I swear I have a little bully on my shoulder who will randomly show up and start insulting me.

"You're crazy. No one will ever love you. You're not special. You're ugly. If you ask someone for help, they'll be annoyed by you. You're going to fail. You're going to get fired from your job. Your friends and boyfriend (if I'm dating someone at the time) are going to get sick of you and leave. You're going to end up alone."

These are just some of the thoughts that go through my head when I'm having an anxiety attack.

There are some people I have confided in while having a panic attack who, as a result, left me -- calling me "needy" or "exhausting," saying I was just fishing for compliments or saying that they couldn't "handle me" (like I was a job or something). I've been told, "Stop acting crazy" or "Just calm down" or "What do you want me to do? I can't fix your problems" or "You have nothing to be upset about."

But when someone is going through an anxiety attack (like me), depression or any other kind of mental illness, they don't expect you to "fix it" for them. All they really want is for you to be there for them. They want to know that, no matter what, you still care about them. Because it's not a weakness and it's no fault of theirs that they feel this way. It's a chemical imbalance that causes their brains to spew lies at them.

So what should you say if someone you care about who is experiencing depression or any other kind of emotional disorder?

Here are some ideas:





And sometimes you don't have to say anything. Sometimes just being there, holding them and giving a Kleenex (and maybe some ice cream) while they cry is more than enough.
Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 43

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Little drones flying in the sky have become a problem in many places.  The Dutch are trying out a unique strategy for removing drones from restricted areas.



What are they using to battle drones?
Bryan?



 
Shotguns?
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Some guy in Kentucky got arrested for shooting a drone flying over his daughter sun bathing in their back yard.  
 
 
 
 
 
Apparently, Peeping Toms have
 more rights than property owners.
I wonder if the Dutch
 would have arrested him.
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  hmmm.
Fluffy?
 
 
 
 
 
Interceptor drones?
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Cyndi?
 
 
 
 
Force fields?
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  Ahhhh!  You're giving me flashbacks of bad sci-fi from the 50's and 60's!
Incorrect.
Bryan?
 
 
 
 
Some fire fighters somewhere
in New York blasted a
 drone out of the sky.
Fire hoses?
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Molly?
 
 
 
 
 
Birds of Prey?
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  correct.  They are teaching Eagles to look upon small drones as prey.  They figure they can get the Eagles to catch the drones and bring them down to get a reward.
 
 
 
 
I think they should teach the
birds to look upon the
drone operators as prey.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Birds of Prey can hurt you bad.
I've seen squirrels
that were unrecognizable
after tangling with one. 
 
 
 
 
 
So ends another round of Pop Culture Frenzy.
Anyone interested in Dutch drone action, here's a link to the story.
 
 
 
 
Round 43
Fluffy/Molly  19
Bryan/Cyndi   16
 
 
 
 
 
 






Birds in Heaven

Winter has winded down and birds are whopping it up.  Robins gather, preparing to pair off.



Beyond the Robin filled tree, the raucous cry of Red-winged Black Birds mingles with the dour cry of Mourning doves.




A pair of swans flying no more than thirty feet overhead, their long necks stretched toward their destination, are silent, but for the whooshing of huge flapping wings.






Certain male ducks are quarrelling, jockeying to be Top Drake.








Mabel was a bird watcher- from the inside Finches to the outside Sparrows.  Last April when we brought baby ducks into the basement, Mabel was so fascinated, that in spite of the discomfort of stiff joints, she repeatedly charged down the stairs to visit the bird youngsters.





Sadly, Mabel didn't get to see the ducks grow up.

Mabel has been on my mind a lot lately.  She has been gone for not quite a year.  I thought I'd used up all my tears.  Not so.





There is, at least, some comfort in the certain hope that there are many many birds in Heaven with Mabel right now.
Birds in Heaven

Winter has winded down and birds are whopping it up.  Robins gather, preparing to pair off.



Beyond the Robin filled tree, the raucous cry of Red-winged Black Birds mingles with the dour cry of Mourning doves.




A pair of swans flying no more than thirty feet overhead, their long necks stretched toward their destination, are silent, but for the whooshing of huge flapping wings.






Certain male ducks are quarrelling, jockeying to be Top Drake.








Mabel was a bird watcher- from the inside Finches to the outside Sparrows.  Last April when we brought baby ducks into the basement, Mabel was so fascinated, that in spite of the discomfort of stiff joints, she repeatedly charged down the stairs to visit the bird youngsters.





Sadly, Mabel didn't get to see the ducks grow up.

Mabel has been on my mind a lot lately.  She has been gone for not quite a year.  I thought I'd used up all my tears.  Not so.





There is, at least, some comfort in the certain hope that there are many many birds in Heaven with Mabel right now.
Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 44

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  There's a Let's Detest Donald Trump mania going around. 


Several celebrities have promised/threatened to leave the country if Donald Trump is elected president. Who are these people? Bonus question: is their leaving a good thing or a bad thing?
Fluffy?





 
Miley Cyrus. 
She won't be missed
The USA can do with one
less skank.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Why is her tongue always
hanging out?  I thought
 humans cooled themselves with
 sweat through the skin.
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  Fluffy.  How about you explain this to our naïve friend later -in private.
Cyndi?
 
 
 
 
She's not a skank.  She is
just expressing herself as
an adult.  Being a child star
she was held back from
 growing up.  People can't
handle that she is an adult
sexual being now.
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  all righty.  Cyndi, do you have a new answer to the main questions?  
 
 
 
 
 
Cher.  She would be a
great loss to American
Culture.  What a talent. 
What a strong woman.
 
 
 
 
 
Certainly, the greatest
loss would be her insightful
tweets about Trump.  You know, like
how he is a #~&*^_#!!

 
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  Byran?
 
 
 
 


Whoopie Goldberg.  No loss.
She is a spent force.  Once she
was funny.  Now she sits around on
 that TV show looking like an angry bull
dyke making unbelievably pompous
ignorant statements.  My personal
favorite is her declaration that Roman Polanski
 didn't "rape" rape that thirteen year old girl. 
Then there's the goofy race accusations. 
She ought to join up with Al Sharpton.
 
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  Sharpton has said he'd leave the US if Trump is elected president too.  Maybe he and Whoopie could start a Racial Justice Company in their new  home country.
 
 
 
 

 
If they made a horror movie with
bobble head monsters,  Al Sharpton should star.
He scares me.  
 
 
 
 

 
 
  Let's end this round.  Celebrities bore me.  How about some brunch.  Mimosas are on me!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Round 44
Fluffy/Molly  20
Bryan/Cyndi   18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



Jets executive Craig Heisinger creates organization in memory of former Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien
"He was only here for 27 years. His life was way too short. He had support from family and friends and he had professional help. But in the end, his problems were too much."

This was what Wes Rypien said about his son Rick in an exclusive interview with TSN for Mental Wellness Month.

Former Vancouver Canucks forward Rick Rypien lost his life to suicide on Aug. 15, 2011 shortly after signing with the Winnipeg Jets. According to the Vancover Sun, Rick battled clinical depression for years. He went through a lot in the decade before he took his life — such as the death of his girlfriend in a car accident in 2005 and a constant stream of injuries that slowed down his NHL career.

(image)One of his biggest supporters was Jets executive Craig Heisinger, who would talk to him on the phone for several hours in the middle of the night whenever Rick needed him.

"Rick always spoke about, once he had his situation under control, trying to speak out and help people. At the end of the day, I hope something like that comes out of this," said Heisinger in the TSN exclusive.

In Rick's memory, Heisinger helped create the organization Project 11, named after Rick's jersey number. Project 11 was created to bring weekly lessons and daily activities about mental health to the classroom for students in grades 5 to 8. According to its website, Project 11 uses concepts such as practicing focusing the mind, increasing self-awareness of feelings and strengths, and building positive relationships.

Heisinger said, "Project 11, at the end of the day, is all about (Rick). He wanted to get his message out. He wanted his experiences to be able to help young people."

To donate, call Julie Chartier, director of Finance and Support Services for the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation at 204-926-5524 or make a check payable to the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation and mail to Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation, 345 Graham Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba  R3C 5S6.

Rypien's dad Wes said, "If there was a program like this available when he was in school, I think things could have been a lot different."
Breed Profile: Pomeranian

Like most members of the Toy Group, the Pomeranian is small and considered a companion.  He is however, outgoing, vivacious, reasonably intelligent, curious and bold, thus qualified for other pursuits such as therapy, obediance competitions and whatnot.






Pomeranians get along well with other dogs and cats but some give in to the impulse to chase small critters.  This tendency allows for some Poms to make good ratters. 



(image)Not a mouse, just a chunk from a rotted tree stump.
  Still, this Pomeranian chased it, caught it and captured it.



Some Pomeranian Facts

-  lifespan:  12-15 years
-  weight:  3-7 pounds
-  height:  8-11 inches at shoulder
-  double coat: undercoat is soft and dense, outer coat is straight with a harsh texture
-  coat colors:  just about any color and any pattern, such as blue, black, red, brindle, cream, orange, shaded (variations on a color or colors), sable (three or more colors)...



(image)Our in-house model features a black and white coat pattern. 
Bred down to smallness from sled dogs sometime in the 1800's, presumably in the region in Germany/Poland called Pomerania, the Pomeranian has the same body type as a Spitz:  prick ears, high set tail that lies flat on the back, thick coat, medium boned, sturdy, compact.

The personality of the Pom is confidence bordering on cocky, fearless on the verge of reckless, commanding to the brink of bossy.






Pomeranian Manifesto

-  if you are not charmed by the ultimate swaggering small dog, you are not fit to live with a Pomeranian

-  you may think I am barking for no reason.  You would be wrong.  I am simply alert.  You're welcome.

-  don't let the rugged coat of my Nordic ancestors let you forget that I require the luxury of indoor living




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