Last weekend we went to Costco to stock up on supplies. Since it was lunch time, we decided a slice of pizza was a good idea. My husband stood in line and I sat at a table. Instead of playing with my phone, I started watching the people around me.
Directly in front of me was a table with a grandfather and two boys. He wore a faded baseball cap and his gray hair curled a bit underneath. His shirt, I noticed, was almost a match to one in my husband’s closet. Creases radiated from his eyes, he laughed and smiled a lot during those few minutes. Mostly he talked, but every once in a while, he’d take a spoonful of ice cream from the cup he held and slowly lick it from his spoon.
The boys looked like they might have just come from the swimming pool. Maybe seven and eight years old. One of them had hair that stood up in all directions. He wore cargo shorts and flip flops. The other had a neon green shirt over bright orange shorts. Bright riotous colors. I figured they had already finished their ice cream. Boys are fast eaters, right?
Just as I’d constructed a whole story in my head…their dad arrived carrying water bottles under his arms and several-plate loads of pizza. He was a large man, likely an ex-football player. “What’s going on?” he asked.
I didn’t hear the answer. Instead of grandpa sliding over to allow dad to sit down too, he got up and walked away from the table. I watched as he headed toward the exit. When I looked back at the table, I realized that I had seriously misinterpreted the situation...
The two boys were glued together on the bench, shoulders smashed against each other. Their twin gazes followed that man…obviously not their grandfather…as he left. Instead of smiling like the stranger had, their faces were serious and their eyes anxious. In fact, they looked scared. HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED THAT?
Within a few minutes of dad appearing on the scene, they were all joking. I remembered that when the stranger had been sitting, the man had done all the talking and the boys had not opened their mouths. Within minutes, the boys were mimicking the way their father held his pizza (folded) and trying to shove each other off the bench. Everything was normal again but I was disturbed.
Why didn’t I pick up on the fact that the boys didn’t feel safe? Their body language practically screamed they were nervous.
An article by Drew, Vo and Wolfe In Psychol. Science (2013), helped me to understand what happened. They reported that:
The tendency to let expectation be our guide can cause even those of us who are intelligent, experienced, and well-trained to overlook some startlingly obvious things.
Researchers have called this confirmation bias. We actively seek out and accept information that agrees with our preconceptions. The stranger’s shirt looked like my husband’s so he must’ve been a nice guy. Our brains will discount information that does not match up with our beliefs therefore I didn’t register their unease until after the stranger was gone.
Have you ever had any thing like this happen to you? There’s a rather famous experiment called The Monkey Business Illusion. You can find it here. You might want to try to test your own powers of observation.
And here’s a study of what happened when they hid the image of a gorilla in a CT scan. 83% of the radiologist missed seeing it!
Studies on are brain show that often, we see what we expect to see, despite the evidence around us. In other words, believing is seeing, instead of the reverse.
Years ago I took my young son to the Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. He spent 4 hours in the National Museum of Air and Space and I thought it was going to kill me. Dehydrated ice cream in a foil packet was his favorite part. Yum. When we arrived at the National Museum of Natural History, something I was more interested in, he took one look at the exhibit of monkeys and explanation of evolution and declared it a “fake”.
At first, I thought he meant the bones. I doubted they were real too. Surely the actual pre-historic bones and fragments were locked in a humidity-controlled, pressure-sealed vault so that they wouldn’t be damaged by a careless accident.
But, one look at his face and I knew I was wrong. He’d learned in his Christian school that evolution was an elaborate hoax. That reading Harry Potter could endanger your soul. There was no sense in debate. If the Smithsonian museum wasn’t compelling enough...I doubt I could come up with a better, more convincing argument. We walked out and I decided to address this when he was a big older. (I’m proud to say he’s now read every Harry Potter book )
Fast forward to last weekend when I was was visiting the Smithsonian museums again. I was enjoying the experience, reading the informative descriptions and admiring the curated works. Beside me, a man approached a display case, pumped his fist in the air and called out, “You lied, Darwin.”
Here was the problem.
I wasn’t at the National Museum of Natural History, I was at the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
The display didn’t not mention Darwin. I know because I’d just walked past it. I didn’t pay too much attention because the title was something like “…proved the African-American was not inferior to the white race.” It wasn't exactly earth-shaking news to me.
But this man was transfixed by the exhibit and he was very angry at a man who’d been dead for 137 years. So while my husband walked through the rest of the exhibits, mostly on athletes, I snuck off to find out what this stranger had against Darwin.
I have to tell you, I’m disappointed in what I discovered.
First, let’s start with the title of the book as I learned it: The Origin of Species
The original title was: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. That second part was dropped in later editions.
The book taught that natural selection, those better adapted to their environment (stronger, faster, bear more children) will be selected out by nature and have an increased survival rate. That's the part I remember but Darwin also had some specific ideas about race that were never mentioned to me in school. (maybe it's taught now?)
While Darwin felt that slavery was wrong, he did not consider slaves as his equal.
Steven Rose, in “Darwin, race and gender” wrote,
He was also convinced that evolution was progressive, and that the white races—especially the Europeans—were evolutionarily more advanced than the black races, thus establishing race differences and a racial hierarchy.
Phil Moore’s article titled “What Your Biology Teacher Didn’t Tell You About Charles Darwin” is even more distressing.
What’s astonishing is how little they understand that Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution provided the doctrine behind its white supremacism. Whereas the British Empire of the early 19th century had been dominated by Christian reformers such as William Wilberforce, who sold slave badges that proclaimed, “Am I not a man and a brother?”, Darwin’s writings converted an empire with a conscience into an empire with a scientific philosophy. Four years after Darwin published The Origin of Species, James Hunt turned it into a justification for slavery. In his 1863 paper, “On the Negro’s Place in Nature,” he asserted: “Our Bristol and Liverpool merchants, perhaps, helped to benefit the race when they transported some of them to America.”
According to this Moore, Darwin’s work has not only been cited to justify slavery, but by other groups seeking to justify their actions. Hitler, for instance.
After reading everything I could about the subject, I have this to say…
You lied, Darwin.
The pituitary gland is known as the master gland of the body. It’s about the size of a pea and located behind the bridge of the nose between the two hemispheres of the brain. It controls many of the hormones in our body…thus the impressive title.
It’s responsible for regulating our thyroid gland, breast milk production, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes, and even how much urine we produce (depending on how hydrated we are). In medical school, the pituitary gland received a lot of attention and a lot of test questions.
The pineal gland, situated a little behind the pituitary gland in the middle of the brain (and above the pons in the image), didn’t get nearly as much consideration. Its primary duty is melatonin production. You’ve probably heard of melatonin--you can buy that at the store, right?
Melatonin is a hormone that helps our body recognize when it’s time to sleep. Synthetic melatonin is used to effectively help sleep disorders. That pretty much sums up what I learned in medical school. I could identify the location of the pineal gland in the brain and could describe its role in the body.
But what if there’s more to the story?
René Descartes (1596–1650) was a philosopher and mathematician but he had a special interest in anatomy. He believed the pineal gland was important because…
“this gland is the principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.”
His logic might have been a little flawed…
“The reason I believe this is that I cannot find any part of the brain, except this, which is not double. Since we see only one thing with two eyes, and hear only one voice with two ears, and in short have never more than one thought at a time, it must necessarily be the case that the impressions which enter by the two eyes or by the two ears, and so on, unite with each other in some part of the body before being considered by the soul.”
The reality is that the pineal gland (named for its resemblance to a pine cone) is believed to be an atrophied photoreceptor. What does that mean?
It means that scientists believe this light-sensing organ used to have a more significant role but over time the gland’s importance has diminished. Because of its ability to respond to light, it has been referred to as the parietal eye…or the third eye.
Surely not this type of third eye…
Well, it depends on who you talk to…
Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891) contended that the pineal gland was the “eye of Shiva”. Blavatsky founded theosophy, a religious movement in the nineteenth century that drew upon religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Shiva is one of a trio of gods, the triumvirate, in the Hindu religion. He’s typically depicted as a blue-faced man with a third eye on his forehead.
What is the significance of the third eye? It’s believed to be a gateway to a higher consciousness. The “third eye”chakra allows us to transcend our human senses of sight, taste, smell, sound and touch…and utilize our intuition or gut feelings. To see the unseen.
Is the pineal gland a left-over organ that produces a hormone we can buy at a local pharmacy or a mystery gland that allows us to see beyond our normal dimensions? Hmm...
My husband says that there are only two types of snakes.
Those that slither away from him and choose life…
and those that dare to approach and choose death.
According to a snake removal service, it can be difficult to tell a venomous snake from a non-venomous snake. The characteristics that I’ve heard before: triangular head, distinct pattern, and even the rattle, can be confusing. (up to 99% of snakes have triangular heads) Elliptical eyes can be a sign of a poisonous snake but who wants to get that close?
Maybe my husband’s approach is the best after all...
I don’t find snakes very appealing but I’ve met people that do. I was at a fair recently and found several men who draped their pets around their necks like fashion accessories.
Snake charming is the practice of appearing to hypnotize a snake. It likely started in India but it’s a dying custom. (animal rights activists) Years ago I saw a charmer while visiting Jaipur. An old man sat cross-legged in front of his basket playing music from a flute-like instrument. The snake didn’t respond until he thumped the container with his foot. Snakes don’t hear so when they rise up, they are not hypnotized but adopting a defensive posture to what they perceive as a threat.
In the past, snake charmers would remove the dangerous reptiles from private homes and were known as healers for snake bites. It was only later that they became known as a tourist attraction.
Did you know that snake charming is even in the Bible?
Psalm 58:3–5: "The wicked turn aside from birth; liars go astray as soon as they are born. Their venom is like that of a snake, like a deaf serpent that does not hear, that does not respond to the magicians, or to a skilled snake-charmer.”
It turns out the job is not always as dangerous as it looks. Charmers often remove the poisonous glands and fangs from the snakes they work with. Some will actually stitch the mouth closed, allowing only room for the tongue to wiggle out. Those snakes are doomed to die of starvation.
There are all types of ideas of how to treat snake bites. Here’s a story of a policeman in India who relied on a “snake stone”. Other traditional measures have included incising the site, sucking out the venom, applying a tourniquet, and applying ice. One therapy that I’d never heard of was using electricity. I’m a little vague on that one but I wouldn’t like to experiment with it.
The correct treatment of a snake bite:
Seriously, I'm beaming with joy! Writing a conclusion to a series is hard work! So many ends to ties up. Secrets to reveal, battles to fight and magic to discover.
Reading this review (I swear she's not related to me) has positively made me giddy....
The final book in “The Oath” series is a wild adventure and a wonderful ride!
Lorica, a young female unicorn, witnessed the senseless murders of her herd decades ago. Now the sole surviving female, and pursued by attackers determined to kill her, Lorica flees, chased through the ages by the three assailants.
Centaurs, vicious, cunning, and cruel, have entered the human world, focused on destroying the remaining unicorns. Our heroines and heroes from the previous books - Maddy, Ashton, Mirabella, TJ, and Gideon - work together as they attempt to find a way to contain the threat posed by these dangerous immortal creatures. However, as the friends continue on their quest to stop the supernatural evil that is haunting their world, each is beset with individual fears and troubles: Maddy struggles with strange and shadowy nightmares. Mirabella, vulnerable without a unicorn protector, seeks to uncover the mystery of her birth mother after learning she was adopted. Ashton grapples with fears that she has a dark side and adjusting to her new powers. Gideon feels helpless, unable to protect his friends against such potent and seemingly indestructible foes intent on harming them. It’s their turn to protect their defenders, to save the unicorns from compete annihilation, and stop the kidnapping of girls - but how do you best an enemy with no discernible weaknesses?
The Oath: The Death of Magic is the final heart-pounding ride in The Oath series and is, in my opinion, the crown jewel of the series. The story threads from the previous three books weave together into a dramatic tapestry of friendship and war as the adventure comes to a close. Although - judging by the epilogue - the door is slightly ajar for potential sequels!
We tend to believe that our generation is the first to make important observations about ourselves. For instance, I’ve been intrigued as I read articles that refer to a “Nature-Deficient Disorder”.
Richard Louv introduced the term in his book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” It discusses the outcome when our children are not exposed to nature enough. Obesity and mental health disorders. This is what he says on his website:
“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”
He wasn’t the first to notice that being in nature has a profound effect on us.
Let me introduce to you John Muir. He lived from 1838 to 1914 and he was also affectionately called “John of the Mountains”. Born in Scotland, his family came to the United States when he was still a young boy. He was irregular in his class attendance with the exception of classes on botany and geology.
On one of his first jobs he suffered an eye injury—serious enough to make him concerned that he’d never see again. Fortunately, after months of staying in the dark, his vision was restored. The experience had a profound effect on him, he left his job as a supervisor making wagon wheels and went for a walk.
A thousand mile walk.
He rambled in unmarked trails from Kentucky to Florida, eventually succumbing to a malaria infection that almost killed him. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to explore America’s wilderness.
His work history was as “irregular” as his education. He worked in a saw milll, as an officer in the US Coastal Survey, managing orchards and taking care of sheep. Mostly, he was unemployed. So what makes this John Muir such a significant part of our history?
He wrote essays that explored the majesty of nature and man’s relationship with it. His writing came to the attention of someone important. Theodore Roosevelt. Maybe it was this quote by Muir:
"Living artificially in towns, we are sickly, and never come to know ourselves."
That might have struck a nerve with President Roosevelt. He had been a delicate child who often suffered asthma attacks from the air pollution in Manhattan. Doctors had warned Roosevelt that he had a weak heart and he should stick to sedate activities. But, as my grandmother would say, Roosevelt was hard-headed, and instead of staying in bed as he was told, he started exercising and spending more time outdoors. He developed a love for natural sciences.
After reading about their mutual interests, Roosevelt wrote to Muir and asked if they could get together. Muir agreed and then took Teddy Roosevelt to his favorite place in the world—the Yosemite wilderness.
“The mighty Sierra, miles in height, and so gloriously colored and so radiant, it seemed not clothed with light, but wholly composed of it, like the wall of some celestial city.”
The night was clear, they set up camp under a tree thought to be 2,500 years old, ate fried chicken and drank black coffee by the fire. They talked for hours. In the following days, Roosevelt ditched the 40 blankets that were supplied by his aides and learned to rough it like Muir. Together they weathered snow storms and each other (they found each other annoying at times).
In the end, Roosevelt came back to Washington enthusiastic about conserving America’s forests and wilderness. According to Wikipedia, Theodore Roosevelt signed “into existence five national parks, 18 national monuments, 55 national bird sanctuaries and wildlife refuges and 150 national forests.”
He described the importance of the conservationist movement in a speech:
“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources and we have just reason to be proud of our growth. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil and the gas are exhausted…”
“…It is time for us now as a nation to exercise the same reasonable foresight in dealing with our great natural resources that would be shown by any prudent man in conserving and widely using the property which contains the assurance of well-being for himself and his children.”
His words are still true today.
John Muir, a man who couldn’t quite find a job to fit him, helped save our national parks because he recognized…
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
We have a lot of work to do, we have to change the way we're living. Decrease our waste. Decrease our emissions. Use more renewable resources. And….protect our wilderness. We can do it.
"Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life."
Click here for more quotes by John Muir.
Image of John Muir from Dec 1906. Public Domain
The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada and encompasses 2,650 miles. The average time to complete the hike is five months but the failure rate is high and injuries are common. Cell phone reception is not always available. Those that finish the trail are called thru-hikers. Hikers carry their tents, sleeping bags, water sanitation kits and bear canisters (hard food lockers that hold in the scent of food). In advance of their trip, hikers will go to towns on the trail and pay for storage of other containers of dehydrated food so they may pick them up along the way. Foraging is not a reliable method of ensuring enough food.
Those are the general facts about the PCT, but what makes someone want to hike it?
While visiting my sister recently, I met one of the hikers. She had short curly hair that framed her face and probably looked perfect after a quick finger-comb. Her glasses were striking and her jewelry was simple. She explained the details of the trail in between bites of salsa-dipped chips. “Baby wipe showers”, she said, were preferred over bathing in the lakes due to the swarms of mosquitoes. She looked forward to her mac and cheese after a long day on the trail.
She took a sip of water when I asked why she had decided to do the hike. It had been the twentieth anniversary of her son’s death, she said, and she wanted to handle the year differently. Each preceding year, as that date approached, she’d become depressed. Stayed at home a lot. I sensed she wanted something extreme to knock herself out of a pattern. “It was life-changing,” she said. Hikers often claim that the trek is good for the body and soul.
Last year, my sister lost her daughter. She’s younger than me and she’s on a trail that I’m unfamiliar with so I can’t lead her or give her any advice. It’s more difficult than the PCT and, according to every other parent whose lost a child…there’s no end to this route. I’ve been worried about her. Frightened that she’d get lost or even worse, that she’d give up.
When I went to see her on the anniversary of her daughter’s death, we did some hiking of our own. The terrain was rocky with gradual inclines that weren’t too taxing for a novice hiker like me. My sister would point out plants or flowers along the way. “That,” she pointed to a small tree that looked like someone poured molten bronze metal over the trunk, “is a Manzanita tree. The wood is used in bird cages for perches and looks like driftwood.” Another plant with tube shaped deep red blooms. “Penstemon,” she called over her shoulder. “We’re seeing a lot of color with all the rains. Have you heard of the desert bloom?” San Diego has received more rain than usual and the weather was cooler too.
“We’re having a Super Bloom. It brings all the Flatlanders up.” She explained how the visitors to the region don’t always treat the natural areas with respect. “We also call them City-ots (a combination of the word city and idiot)” she said with a grin. A large swatch of daisy looking flowers in the middle of a meadow: “Chamomile.”
We spoke of Jeeps, my grandfather’s patience and my grandmother’s difficult nature, finding food when you’re a vegetarian, and what is proper hiking apparel. Stories from our childhood and aspirations for the coming years. Tales about Rachel were sprinkled over our conversations like hot sauce. Bringing a tear to your eye but also intensifying the flavor. Because Rachel lived life to the extreme.
My sister walks the trail with assurance and carries herself with a strength that I’ve not seen in her before. She still feels fragile inside and I know that the hardest thing she has done over the past year is just exist. I know that she’s pretended that Rachel is still alive, somewhere. I know that every year on the anniversary of Rachel’s death, she will feel a sense of doom that would take your breath away.
But she’s coping. Her grief may last forever but so does the love we share for each other. She’s smiling when she sees a picture of her daughter. Crying when she needs to. Getting out of bed and taking one step at a time.
Because she’s a thru-hiker.
My clock’s battery stopped working so I took it off the wall in order to replace it. It’s an oversized clock but it runs on two little AA batteries. I used a screwdriver to pry the back off the case and a few minutes later, I thought I was back in business.
But when I hung it back up, it was obvious I had a problem.
In turning the clock over, I damaged the mechanism. While the longer hand still counted the minutes, the smaller hand was not working. In fact, no matter where I’d place the hour hand, gravity would pull it to 6 o’clock.
It’s frustrating when you have a certain expectation and it doesn’t get fulfilled. I figured I would have to throw the whole thing away. But then I noticed something…
As the minute hand rotated around, it would hook the edge of the hour hand and, with incremental ticks, carry it to the top of the clock. At just a few minutes past the hour, the minute hand would drop its hold. Like a pendulum, the hour hand swung to and fro like some crazy time piece from Alice in Wonderland.
It was hypnotizing.
I kept it on the wall and found myself waiting for each hour to pass so I could see the arm make its wild swings and then come to a rest again. It was unexpected, this event, and it made me think of a poem I’d received from a mom of a special needs child years ago.
Both are reminders to enjoy the life you’re living, even if it’s not what you expected.
Welcome to Holland
BY EMILY PERL KINGSLEY
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guidebooks and make wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you never would have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice Holland has windmills…and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.
But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to go to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things…about Holland.
©1987 BY EMILY PERL KINGSLEY.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
I grew up in Philadelphia where The Constitution was said with the same reverence as the Bible. We took school trips to the city, went on guided tours of historic buildings and memorized details for the test that would follow.
The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 and was designed to justify our separation from British rule.
The Constitution was written in 1787 and was designed to be the law of our new country.
But, these facts held no importance to me, I was more interested in cell structure and mitosis. And I was working on the premise that these men had done a good job and created a timeless document that would serve us for all eternity.
But then I learned about Heidi Schreck and her Broadway performance of What the Constitution Means to Me. During her teenage years, Heidi toured the country speaking about the Constitution. In fact, she made enough money doing this that she was able to pay for her own college education. She’s been studying this document for a long time so I have to believe she knows what she’s talking about.
She points out that the Constitution has positive and negative rights. Negative rights protect us from our own government becoming too powerful. Positive rights, like the right to an education, help our citizens to succeed. Sounds pretty good, so what’s the big deal?
She explores the document and how it relates to her family, especially the women. She argues that women weren't always protected as well as they should have been.
The Equal Right Amendment was a proposed amendment that was supposed to give equal legal rights to all citizens regardless of sex. But it never passed. Alice Paul, a suffragist, initial wrote a version that said “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” Despite being in every Congressional session for the next 20 years, it never passed.
In 1943, the words were changed to: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” The ERA amendment was gaining traction when Phyllis Schlafy (1924-2016) stepped in the ring.
Schlafly was vigorous in her objection to the potential amendment and she was effective at bringing it to a halt. She claimed that if equal rights were granted women would be forced to go to war, they would lose their rights to child support and alimony and our society would collapse.
But not to worry. Surely there are protections for women in other places? The Fourteenth Amendment is supposed to allow equal protection under the law for all citizens.
An article from the Atlantic said:
In an interview with California Lawyer magazine, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to suggest that the Constitution does not protect women from gender-based discrimination. "Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn't. Nobody ever thought that that's what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that," said the famously conservative justice, adding, "If the current society wants to outlaw discrimination by sex, hey we have things called legislatures, and they enact things called laws.
So should we be pursuing equal rights now?
Abigail Adams, in a letter to husband John Adams, warned “Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could.”
And what about RBG (Ruth Bader Ginsberg). What does she say?
You can hear for yourself here. RBG is famous for her support of equal rights...for everyone.
Years ago I decided that I wanted a pet, specifically a dog. But I also needed a pet that didn’t require a lot of care. So I opted to get a cat that was rumored to act somewhat like a dog.
Bengal cats are the result of the successful pairing of a wild cat (Asian Leopard) and domestic cat. They have broad heads, high cheekbones and the tips of their ears are rounded. The best part is the spotted or swirled marble patterns on their fur, reminders of their wild ancestry. Available information on this cat said they were supposed to go on walks, fetch toys, give a high-five and even swim in the pool with their owners. Practically a dog.
Tass is short for Catastrophe. Soon after she arrived, she climbed up the drapes and couldn’t get down. Next she disappeared into the fireplace and then ran around the house scattered soot all over the furniture and rugs. My husband started calling her Tass-hole.
I’ve not been successful in any training or dog-like activities. When I put a leash on her, she rolled on the ground like she was demon possessed. When I throw something to fetch, she pounces on it, covers it with her body, and then casually licks her paws and looks bored.
I’m not doubting that Bengals are smart, however. Tass learned to flush the toilet by herself. The first time she did this, it was nighttime and my husband was traveling. I can’t tell you how unnerving that was. I’m alone, there’s a stranger in the house…and he’s using the potty.
Tass has spent considerable time training us in her routines. In the mornings, she likes to be fed, receive a back rub, and then let outside to our small backyard. She walks the perimeter of the patio surveying her kingdom and monitoring the birds. Monday was a bit different. Seconds after she went outside I heard her screeching.
I flew out the door and was shocked to see two foxes attacking her. (To be honest, she probably instigated it, she’s pretty territorial and she’s been watching a lot of nature tv shows lately)
Tass was displaying some ninja-like moves that were faster than my eyes could follow but I could certainly hear her. Being a professional and trained to deal with emergencies, I did as you’d expect. Ran outside in my bathrobe, screaming loud enough to wake the neighbors while waving my hands up in the air to look intimidating. It worked. The foxes disappeared and I carried Tass inside.
She had blood on her paws but not a single scratch. Ninja Cat.
Now Tass is on quarantine for rabies.
Rabies is some pretty serious business. Raccoons, skunks, bats and you guessed it...foxes are carriers and it’s universally fatal. Symptoms start with fever, headache and confusion. As the victim worsens, they experience hallucinations, paralysis, hypersalivation (over producing saliva) and hydrophobia (fear of water).
Tass has to get a series of shots and she’s on house arrest. She’s bitter about her incarceration and spends a lot of time meowing her frustration. It’s gonna be a long quarantine. Meanwhile, the city put out a cage to catch the culprits but we caught this guy instead.
Look at the teeth on that handsome guy!