Monday, March 17, 2014

The Ides of March

Its 10:35 pm

    Its still winter here in SE Michigan. The cheetah is curled up on our bed,I had him racing back and forth across the house chasing his laser pointer. 
  Been a rugged week here...starting to prepare my taxes and looking at all the receipts from the U of Michigan,CVS and the funeral home has just set me on edge. I have Lori's last W2 from Lane Bryant along with her forms from her disability...everything a sad reminder of what has happened. I remember telling our tax person about the very real possible chance she wouldn't make it til this year. Now I am dragging my feet,getting it organized. I have to call my bank and U of M for receipts and a statement that I didn't get yet. And because I had to break a cardinal rule about not touching a 401k,I will end up owing money I don't have to the IRS. Cancer is a such a long lasting ugly beast. Not only do you have to endure the pain of the loss but far too many people are overwhelmed by the financial burden that comes with becoming a one income household. Some can handle the weight,others can know where I am...
    No one wants to hear this lets move on.

Its now 5:21 pm on 11 March. 

   Decided to come write after somewhat spinning my wheels...its chilly outside and despite have a 50 degree day,our first one of the year,old man winter has decided to go out not with a whimper but a huge bang. Sometime tonight and going into tomorrow,we are going to get one last huge snowstorm that is expected to drop between 6 to 10 inches of snow on the ground. I had just barely started to see my bare driveway when this sudden burst of good news decided to drop in.
   Its not the first time this has happened to us. We had good size storm drop 4-5 inches on us a few years back...the next time,it zoomed up to 55 and in two days,the snow was gone. Not going to happen this time as we have too much snow still on the ground.  But we will hope for the best that the storm dumps as little as possible on us.
  Everyone is ready for spring,even our local journalist Robin,who always seems to perk up at the word "snow". She too,is more then ready for Spring and Summer!

   I have noticed that I am having a hard time going to my den other then to get a fresh book to read. I don't know why this is and I am not happy with it. I guess it comes down to a notion that I don't have a lot to say these days. I know that isn't true but it is how I am feeling. It could be the winter blues I suppose.
 Going to take a minute to bring you a wonderful story of the first real Pink Hat mission. As I wrote last entry,I submitted idea for a Suspended Coffee day to mark the 20th of Feb. I invited my group to join me and despite having 12 folks saying they would,the weather and illness pretty much popped the balloon. In fact,I didn't get my mission until after the 20th myself!
  But two wonderful ladies did as well...Coco,my favorite Red Sox fan,bought a homeless fellow a meal at a local eatery. 
  Theresa,with whom we have been friends with for 14 years come this July,also sallied forth on her Pink Hat mission. Theresa was the lady who hired me at my grocery store job. We attended each other's weddings and Theresa also helped me so much last year. She really has a heart of gold and is one of the best champions for animals I know. In fact,she has her own dog grooming business which is doing very well.
   So I wasn't wasn't surprised to see her sign up for the Pink Hat mission. I had asked that those who did the mission to send me a couple of paragraphs describing what it was like to help someone.
This is Theresa's story.

   Well ok, Suspend day didn't turn out like we expected to say the least. I woke up in the morning hoping to make a difference! Could hardly wait to start the day. Got ready, dressed and planned my attack only to get knocked down a bit.
   Went to McDonald's and tried to explain to the kid running the register what I was trying to do. After about 5 minutes of a blank stare I asked to talk to the manager in charge. Sadly the response I got from her wasn't much better. They didn't understand and frankly didn't really care to help.
  So on I went to Tim Horton's down the street, again the same type of response.  I felt a bit defeated but I was going to make this happen somehow, someway! I decided to go to the Value Village (like a St Vincent Depaul) and see if I could help someone in some way. Many people shopping alone and with their families.
    I really didn't know where to start so I walked around looking for a sign of some sort? There was the sign, a woman I had seen around many times, at the grocery store, at the drug store and so on. She smiled at me like she had seen me before also.
  I decided that I was going to tell her about what I was trying to do. She smiled and said that sounded like a great idea and wished that more places did things like that for the people that just needed a bit of help once in awhile. She started to walk away and I said today is the day I want to do it for you. Whatever you have to get today please let me take care of the bill. At first she shrugged her shoulders and then with a smile she looked at me and said "Thank You, that would be so great.If you only knew"
  . I didn't ask anything more I just followed her to the register and took care of it for her. I think it made my day more than it did hers. I will make it something I do more often because it is the right thing to do. Thank you Michael for starting this for me.

All it takes is one small gesture to start something positive. It all starts with us. I have already started the next Pink Hat mission. 
And here it is....

Okay folks,we have another great chance to do something nice for someone. A young lady who helps animals by running a rescue group has discovered she has cancer and its going to be a tough struggle. I know when my Lori was sick,I asked that you send cards of encouragement. It was a wonderful thing seeing the cards come from everywhere. So now we are going to do this for Kathy. All you need to do is send her and her husband a small simple card.

Her address

Kathy Woods.
P.O. Box 7365
Little Rock,Ark 72217

I have 5 folks joining me as well as my Musketeers from my job who are going to send a card to Kathy. I am sending out my card tomorrow. I do know that I will be doing two planned Pink Hat Missions in April,another blood donation and I am not sure of the other event yet. When I figure it out,I will share it here.
  I have a huge favor and I know it may appear self serving but it isn't,I promise. If you are so inclined to write to Kathy,can you please comment on here. I just want to know if I am actually reaching anyone.

Paladin and I also teamed up for a "unofficial" mission this past week. This one meant a lot because Lori and I are huge animal lovers. I have written many times where we either saved a animal,fed them,got them homes or in some cases,a dignified burial.
  I know a artist in Los Angeles who has a pigeon as a pet. She hand raised her bird from a infant and even taught it to fly. She loves her bird and once in a while will post a picture or share a story that involves her pigeon doing something very cute. 
   Of course we all know someone who has owned a finch,lovebird,parrot or even a raptor. But a domesticated pigeon? I had never heard of anyone doing this. But this young lady has done it.
  So it was alarming to read that her bird had a egg stuck inside and she had no luck in getting it out. Being a pigeon owner,she knows all the tricks to helping her bird in distress but this time was different.
 She was going to need medical help.
I don't know about you,but I don't see a lot of vets advertising pigeon services. Even normal domestic birds,I don't see a lot of vets doing that kind of work. In fact,birds and other critters like ferrets,or turtles or rabbits are called exotics because there really isn't that many calls about them. In fact,in the 15 years that we have owned cats and have taken them in to the vets,I have not seen any other animals other then a dog or cat.
  So finding a vet,even in Los Angeles, to treat a pigeon was going to a longshot and expensive.
My friend found a vet willing to help but the fees quickly rose beyond her means. Her pet needed a digital x-ray and those of you who read about Derek Jeter,know those are very expensive.
When I read her plight,I looked at Paladin and said we need to help on this. We reached out and volunteered to help because we know how much her pet means to our artist friend. 

 Information was exchanged,calls were made and soon her pigeon was getting the help it needed.
As of tonight,the bird is doing well and is on the mend. We hope she will be back in flying shape very soon.

Today was Tax Day...found myself gathering up our paperwork and going to the tax service we have been using for the past 4 years. Our normal taxperson,Jennifer,had moved on to manage her own office downriver. So I got Pat and she was very helpful. We went through things very quickly and she said I was due a refund and I said no...because of my financial straits,I had to break a Suze Orman cardinal rule and use a 401k to live on. 
   So I got nailed and will end up owing Uncle Sam 1,600.00. Its very depressing and when I had to hand over Lori's death wonder one ever really feels true closure,the constant reminders are always around you. This marked the last time I will file as a married couple. Just another door closing...

  Enjoyed a nice chat with my close friend (more like a brother) Jimmy last weekend. Jimmy was the MAN at the EDGE when it came to booking shows. We worked and supported each other through some kick ass times. When the EDGE closed a few years after I moved here,Jimmy kept his toe in music business by playing in a few great bands but I know while he loves singing and being on stage,his soul loves booking the show. 
  Over the years he has booked a few shows here and there but nothing really earth shattering until about 3 months ago when he and a good friend,Steve Loveless,got a chance to book a 800 seat all ages theater in Campbell,Calif...its been a total hoot to sit back and watch the master show off though skills that he has never lost. 
  It was no surprise to see his first show completely sell out when he booked legendary guitarist Michael Schenker.

Then last week,another solid outstanding show with Buckcherry that drew a very loud and hungry live music crowd. And while I can't name names,his partner,Stevie Loveless,has booked his first show and all I have to say is two things.....Holy shit,am I jealous of your first show and second,I hope someone bootlegs it for me!! 
   So completely stoked to see good music back in San Jose in a decent sized venue. The Blank Club,Blackbird Cafe and The Caravan are all doing heroic work in getting music pumped back into San Jose but you need a large venue to create the excitement. 
  Staying on the music thread for a welcome change...I finally got my Eric Stuart Band package! Just in time for the warmer weather so I can crank it up a little bit while driving to work and back...thank you so much Eric for the music!

This was the result of helping Eric raise money for his first music video which you can view by clicking the arrow below. This is almost the only new music I have received or listened to in about two years. Those who really know are probably shocked by that but hey....sometimes that is how it goes.

But then again,sometimes you get a wee bit lucky as I was when cruising my local Dollar Tree for Dollar Tree Theater DVDs. While I did strike out there,I found Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice". Pretty happy to see a well known artist at my Dollar Tree! New music is even more rare then DVDs to find there. So while I have laid off my book addiction,seeing small trickles of music and movies is what makes the shopping fun.

As you can tell,this is my first entry this month and its been written over a longish time frame. I have meant to publish this but my computer has had its issues of late. Thanks for sticking with me and sharing your support. 

This last thing.......Paladin and I doing some bonding. He really is a very sweet cat....


Christine C. - wishing you the news you want to hear about your job.
Loo - fly high 
Jimmy and Steve - Wishing you much success! 
Joan - My thanks to Buddy for the inspiration!
Justin W. - can't wait to see your bullpen staff!
Brad B. - you have a heart of gold.
Denise V. - I hear  chocolate eclair bars are a (sort of) healthy food.
Kim aka Roz - yeah,my house needs a visit.
Monte - Thanks for lifting my spirits,who knew politics could be so warm and fuzzy??
Jim Kelly - Wishing you nothing but good news. You have fought so hard,you deserve peace and health.

Thank you to my Pink Hat squad - Let's make Kathy's week!


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