My 87 Year Old Aunt Does That

Takes pictures of food that is.

When I go to lunch or dinner with my aunt Charlotte, she whips out her camera and takes a picture of everyone’s food.  Not a picture even of the person with their food as you might expect from an elderly aunt, just their food.

I am bemused by this but I understand it is a trend among the trendiest.  Take a picture of your food and post it to your twitter or facebook or email it to your friends.  Imagine how thrilled they’ll be to see whatever.  Not even a special food arrangement as for a wedding but just the junk you’re eating for lunch.

I also wonder how trendy it would seem among the trendiest if they knew about my aunt.  She’s been taking food pictures for years.  Yet she has no twitter or facebook or email.  Her closest encounter with a computer to date was when she took a course at the seniors’ centre and learned to play solitaire.

When I say “camera” you are probably thinking digital or rather you are not thinking of a SLR with film.  Yes, she whips out her film camera and takes pictures of the food.

And when the film roll is full, she takes it to the photography store and has it developed.  Then she mails the picture of your food to you.

Not quite digital but the end result is the same.  I can’t understand for the life of me how this is trendy?  I’ll have to let her know that she is on the cusp of a trend.


It Doesn’t Get Better, It Gets Different

I woke up on the morning of Tuesday, April 16th out of a deep sleep thinking, “you weren’t there, you don’t know what it was like”.

I pondered that for a moment and realized the thoughts were triggered by the Boston Marathon bombings; specifically the death of eight year old Martin Richard.  And I realized I was talking to my oldest brother, not that he was in the room.

My youngest brother, Howard was killed when he was nine and I was eleven.  It was a long time ago.

My oldest brother is twelve years older and away at university at the time of Howard’s death.  He had a different experience as he didn’t live in the aftermath at home.

My parents disappeared after Howard’s death.  They were physically present but they checked out for awhile.  I don’t blame them.  We had only recently moved to the town where Howard was killed and there were no supports there for any of us.

They managed to get back to some semblance of a life after about nine months but it had been a very difficult time and continued to be so.  We moved back to our old town and things started to change.

But it didn’t get better.  Time helps shift and refract situations but it doesn’t heal them.  I so dislike the word “heal” as applied to a violent event.  I can’t say it enough times, there is no healing.

The actor, Paul Newman said it best when asked about the death of his son, Scott. “It doesn’t get better, it gets different.”

When I heard Mr. Newman say that I thought, “someone finally understands”.  It was such a relief that someone else knew that the pain and anguish didn’t go away but are secreted in a part of your brain and heart, and rise unbidden at unexpected times.  It is an uncomfortable truth.

For those of you who haven’t lived through one of these excruciating events I understand that you think it is tidied up by a certain point and is “healed”.  Isn’t “healed” on the schedule somewhere?

As someone who has lived through one of these events I will state unequivocally that it isn’t, it doesn’t and it won’t.

There will be those among you who will wonder when the all families will be “over it”.  Please don’t ask that question you will just add to the pain.  Support them, love them, listen — though you’ve heard it a thousand times before, urge them to seek help from a therapist.

My condolences to the Richard family for all of their losses, to the friends and family of Sean Collier, Lu Lingzi, Krystal Campbell, and to everyone else who is affected by the bombings and who is now dwelling in the aftermath.

A Cat Needs Our Help

A self-described “dog person” went above and beyond to help a cat last night.

She rescues dogs under all circumstances.  She learned about this cat and decided to rescue it as well.

The story is here:

It is a bit scattered as the lady updated everyone through the comments on the various posts (the ones with the cat’s picture to state the obvious) on facebook.  But please take the time to read through the comments on “Chance — Bald is Beautiful” to get the whole story:

I couldn’t believe the photo of the cat when I first saw it.  It was late at night and I was viewing it on my phone but I kept thinking what is missing?  Until I realized what was missing.

Cast Missing Leg

The little cat must have been in agony.  At least she is resting at the vets now and is going to get all the care she needs.

As usual, none of this comes without expense.  Please consider donating to: to pay for the cat’s leg amputation and other needs.  If we all gave $10 it would go a long way to helping this cat.

If you can’t donate please share this story on your twitter, blog and facebook.

The lady who is helping the cat is a wonderful spirit, braver than I am and I thank her for her service.

Sweet Borko

I circled this story for awhile.

Sweet Borko hurt in Bulgaria.  In the village of Selcha (Селча), Municipality of Devin, District of Smolyan in Southern Bulgaria.

I knew it would be about a horrific case of animal abuse.  I just didn’t want to go near the details.

I finally hit on a link to petition the Bulgarian government about the abuse this sweet dog named Borko suffered.

And I thought my head would explode.  And my heart took another hit.

Whatever the agenda or back story was, it doesn’t matter, a little dog shouldn’t be beaten and have his spine broken over your agenda.

How does the man who beat Borko explain it to his wife, husband, parent, or any other relative?  I’ve never been able to puzzle that out.

I picture a scene in a kitchen with the man sitting at the table, bent over his plate as he shovels food into his mouth with a spoon clutched in his fist.  Possibly using a bib.

“Dear, what is that on your pants?” 

(Man grunts) “Just some blood, I beat a small dog today with a bat.  Broke his spine.”

And then what?  Does everybody slap him on the back and congratulate him?   I picture him throwing out his chest and strutting.  Does he receive a plaque from the village mayor?

I don’t know what the “I broke a dog’s spine” etiquette is these days, especially in Europe.  A small gift, a bottle of wine?

I tend to lean towards shackles, cement overshoes and a close at hand body of deep water.  I think it would fall under modern etiquette rather than traditional, but you could check.

I don’t know how these people’s brains work.  I don’t want to know.  I just don’t want them to breathe the same air as I do.

This man and that mob don’t represent Bulgaria or his village.  There will be more people there that care about Borko than this man, but unfortunately this is the news out there about Bulgaria.  It is, though. up to the Bulgarian people and government to put the resources in place so that animals have protection.  As a member of the European Union, the government agreed to protect animals.  I hope they do so.

Please sign the petitions.  If you pray, please pray for Borko.  If you believe in positive thoughts, please send them to Borko.


Moon Bears & Animals Asia

I recently discovered the Animals Asia organization.
Which led me to discover the beautiful Moon Bears.
Jasper @ Animals Asia Sanctuary

(Jasper at the Animals Asia sanctuary in China.)
Which led me to discover the vile bear bile industry.


(A Moon Bear in the cage he has lived in all of his life.)
Which is cruel and inhumane.

It was a story about six bears rescued by Animals Asia in early January 2013 from an illegal bear bile farm in China that caught my attention. It has been marvelous reading about Mac, Katie, Peter, Shamrock, Budda & Xuan Xuan as they were rescued and received life changing surgery.

They were recently transferred, from their isolation room and cages, into their new dens. It was incredibly moving to see them take their first steps onto solid ground. They had spent all their lives standing (if they could) on the steel bars of their cages which greatly affected the pads of their paws. They are now only a short time away from stepping onto soft grass for the first time.

Peter Bear (named after British actor and Animals Asia Ambassador Peter Egan) spent his life in a cage that was much smaller than his body. The muscles in his back legs lack tone and strength but will get better under Animals Asia’s amazing care. When he was introduced to his den, his body strained and shook as he scrambled around the space but he valiantly clambered up to his new bed to stretch out for the first time in his life.

Peter Bear high up in his bed
(Peter Bear stretching out in his bed.)

Animals Asia was founded by Jill Robinson to rescue and rehabilitate the bears after she discovered the horror of the vile bear bile farms. The bears are kept in tiny “coffin” or “crush” cages and their gall bladders are milked for bile that is used in traditional medicine. She has built teams in Vietnam and China to rescue and care for the bears, and has forged agreements with both governments that allows Animals Asia to do this work.

Due in large part to the education arm of Animals Asia, many people in China and Vietnam, and around the world are speaking out against the bear bile industry.

Help shine a light on this despicable industry.

It will be one of the better things you can do in this world.

To learn more about Animals Asia, the bears and the horrific bear bile industry, go to: or their facebook site:

See Peter Egan’s visit to his namesake and an amusing video as he feeds treats to Karel Bear.

Support Animal Asia’s work, donate if you can, and follow @peteregan6, @moonbearjill & @animalsasia on twitter to keep up with their latest news.

2013 is going to be a great year for the bears.

(Photos of Jasper and Peter Bear are the property of Animals Asia.)