My Darkest Days – A Series Part I

Vomitoria and Aspiration Pneumonia

A few of you know that our older Dane Levi has been seriously ill for a few days.  This is going to be a series because, as much as I wanted to make it a “long story short” kind of thing, there is just no way to do it.  Please excuse the lack of polish; I’m writing this as much for catharsis as I am as an explanation for why I’ve not kept up with the blog and comments.  Not only will this be a series, but it will be serious.  I’m breaking from my normal humorous missives to share a bit of my life from the past few days.  This is about my dog Levi.  He’s a Great Dane who means more to me than most people.  The past few days have absolutely been My Darkest Days.

Levi had been vomiting regularly.  We took him to the vet for a multitude of x-rays and that’s when we found out that he had an enlarged esophagus. We knew that was possible last year when he had surgery for a partially twisted stomach.  But it wasn’t till this last spate of vomiting that we were afraid something was really wrong.  He vomited everywhere!  Rugs, brick hearth, sofa, dog beds, wooden floors and every other floor, too.  He was not discriminating when he picked his places.  I think he imagined himself to be Roman rather than a Dane.  Why you ask?  Let me take you on a tangent as you know I am fond of doing.

Legend has it, though it’s now been debunked, that the Romans had rooms called vomitoriums.  More accurately, vomitoria, but it’s all myth so what does it really matter?  These vomitoria were said to exist for the purpose of vomiting in order to continue to gorge food at the infamous Roman feasts.  Levi probably thought the entire house was a vomitorium because he didn’t realize that the definition was incorrect.  Silly dog!

Vomitoria existed as passageways for the large amphitheaters like the Coliseum with the idea that people could rapidly exit, kind of like…well, you know.  Now that we have the myth out of the way, I can get on with the frightening story about Levi.  The problem for my poor boy wasn’t just that he wasn’t absorbing food and getting skinnier by the minute.  The acute problem was that he had inhaled a foreign substance and it caused Aspirated Pneumonia.  You know how it feels when you swallow something the wrong way and it goes down your windpipe?  Levi had done this in a big way and it was causing a deadly infection.

The problem for my poor boy wasn’t just that he wasn’t absorbing food and getting skinnier by the minute.  The acute problem was that he had inhaled a foreign substance and it caused Aspirated Pneumonia.  You know how it feels when you swallow something the wrong way and it goes down your windpipe?  Levi had done this in a big way and it was causing a deadly infection.  We knew it was bad, but we didn’t know just how bad it would turn out to be.

Guest in Jest #6 Mohamad Al Karbi

I present to you…Mohamad Al Karbi

Me.. (as I defined myself around 1998)

Mainly translated from Ali Al Tantawi’s but with modifications, this was my first lecture in English (not my native language). It was in front of my colleagues at ALC (American Language Center) in Amman around 1998. I’m just posting it here without any update/fix since then:

My parent used to tell me when I was a kid – about 5 years old – that I had come to this world without clothes (naked), without teeth, and without the ability to speak. They also said that I had known nothing about anything!

At the beginning, I used to laugh at this as I couldn’t believe it! But, they were repeating that as a fact – always!!

I know myself very well… I just opened my eyes someday to find myself there: My body, my teeth, … I have my clothes… I can walk and speak… I have my own independent personality… The only resemblance between me and my family (my parent) is that I was an abbreviated version of them, or let’s say, a smaller piece!! So, it’s impossible that I had been existed before that day. I believe that I was 5 years old when I came to this life!!!

But because of much talking about this fact and repeating it, I began to think of that baby they were talking about… more and more… I was seeing him in the mirror, hearing his voice, and eagerly listening to my mother’s stories about him. I confess that I began to love him so much. Honestly, I began to love him more than my mother who I love more than anything else in this life.

That baby became the 5-years-old kid with brown eyes. I guess he had blond hair… Actually, I can’t remember. I forgot him! I’ve never seen him for about 20 years. He’s gone… I don’t know where!

Was that kid me?! I don’t know… My hand now is bigger that his hand. My body is too… He loved things I hate now and I love what he was hating… Where has he gone? And from where did I come?!
I’m not that kid but I wasn’t anyone else…

That makes me crazy!!!

Someday, I looked around and I saw a student instead of that kid! A student who had to go to school…

Why had he to go to school every day?! Why had he to leave the passion of his mother and the pleasure of playing with his brothers?! Why had he to leave the warmness of his house in winter or the shade in summer? Why had he to study strange things they call: Math or Languages?! Why had he to see that awful man –the teacher- every day?!

I think he was like a prisoner… that prisoner was me!!

Another day, I saw the student became a high-school-student… He was always hearing: “Bakalouria… bakalouria… be careful… you have to study very well… it’s your future…”

Bakalouria (high school), it’s the best hope in this life!!! They were saying so… Thus, he locked himself up in his room, studying, and also studying… He prohibited himself from all fun and pleasure… He wasn’t sleeping at all… just to study…

Well, he succeeded… Wow, it’s the best hope in this life. I can now do whatever I want….

Wait!!!!

What?!!

You have to attend undergraduate school!!! Living comfortable needs Bachelor’s degree!!

I’m still wondering: Can I depend in building my future on papers only!! I’m still damming this future that prevented me from many things… I have always to go ahead in order to reach my future…

I’ve graduated now… Actually, I have a head full of science, knowledge, … I have elementary degree… I have high school degree… I have a BS degree… And, I have good ethical principles…. But, I have an empty wallet!!!

I guess that I’ll be defeated in the first round because my weapon is only my certificates. This is an old weapon.

They lied to me.

They said that learning, knowledge, and science are better than money. These protect you and you protect money! But, I can’t study unless I have money… And, if you were smart without enough money, you wouldn’t be able to buy books or to pay the school’s tuition… Rather, you would then think in bread, food, and livelihood… You would lose your intelligence… Meanwhile, a lot of rich people haven’t studied at all.

They said that Right is Might. But, someday, I found myself threatened by a thief’s gun; when I lectured him about rights, good manners, and ethics, he laughed at me… He took my money and left me with an absurd thought about rights and ethics!!!

It’s not the fault of life. Life is bare and clear… It’s the schools’ fault… and the teachers’ fault…

However, I couldn’t imagine that someday I’ll spend my life studying… Master’s…. And, …

I wonder what is the future? I’ve been running for about 20 years and I haven’t reached this future yet! When do I reach it? Where is it? And, will it remain future when I reach it or it will be the present?!

Who knows? Really don’t know the relationship between me and that kid who I forgot his face, between me and the student who I loved him, and between me and that graduated guy who I feel sorry for him…

Am I all of those?!

Oh, I got crazy!!!

 

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Please join us in our Guest of Jest series.

Here are the rules:

  1. Give us some info about you and your blog.  Make sure to add a link to it.
  2. Write up something amusing.  It doesn’t have to be “laugh out loud” funny, but a bit of humor would be great.
  3. Pictures optional, but encouraged.
  4. The post can be one that has been posted before.

The piece can be anything that is humorous.  A story, a recollection, even something as simple as a joke.

Just email Linda at mainepaperpusher@yahoo.com with a submission and you will be scheduled for publication in order of submission.  This series will run every Friday on mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com 

:

 The featured image was created by Silas at  My weird, crazy and mundane life Journal

Guest in Jest Guest and Weekly Request

This week’s  “Guest in Jest” guest is  Mohamad Al Karbi   Be sure to check it out tomorrow!

 

This is where I start my shameless begging:

Please submit your guest posts to mainepaperpusher@yahoo.com and they will be published in order of submission every Friday here at Everybody Else Has the Best Titles

Here are the rules:

  1. Give us some info about your blog.  Make sure to add a link to it.
  2. Write up something amusing.  It doesn’t have to be “laugh out loud” funny, but a bit of humor would be great.
  3. Pictures optional, but encouraged.
  4. The post can be one that has been posted before.

The piece can be anything that is humorous.  A story, a recollection, even something as simple as a joke.

C’mon, you know you want to!

Humph! Day #4

When I found out that a number of my posts were buried away in the archives rather than published in order, the first word that came out of my mouth was Humph!!! I decided I would reincarnate some of my old posts in a regular weekly series and I’d call it Humph! Day.  What better day of the week should I have Humph! Day?  Wednesday, of course.

This is one of my most popular posts from early in my blogging life.  I hope you like it.

The Secret Lives of Dog Toys

The silly snake above was found just as you see him.  At first, I thought Walter had positioned him there like that.  Walter is my Great Dane puppy.  He’s six months old and I swear he has demon blood.  He thinks I am his true mother, so I’m not sure what that makes me!

Our house is strewn with dog toys.  We have two dogs and two bushel-sized bins brimming with dog toys.  Walter owns them all.  At least he thinks he does.  Occasionally, he will offer a toy to Levi.  Then he will snatch it away hoping that Levi will play tug-of-war with him. Levi is almost 8.  Levi is also a Great Dane. Levi is less than amused.

I find dog toys in odd places and positions.  That snake you see above is obviously about to strike, and I don’t blame him. Walter was probably doing unspeakable and squeak-able things to him.   If I were him, I’d be a little testy, too.

Then there are the blind sea creatures.

There is a store nearby that sells overstocked items.  You never know what you will see there.  A few weeks ago, I found stuffed animals that were freakishly elongated.  There was a dolphin, a shark, and a beluga whale. These creatures had regular-sized heads, but their bodies extended about three feet longer than normal.  They were kind of creepy.  They were more like an eel than anything else, so they were perfect for tug-of-war.

You might think playing with them would be enough, but Walter had other ideas.  One by one, he removed their eyes.  It’s very disconcerting to find eel-like dog toy eyes staring at you from under the couch.  I don’t like to think about it much because it haunts my dreams.

What is truly disturbing is that I am always finding these blind creatures lined up side by side as though they are swimming the great sea that is my living room floor,.  If I found them that way just once, it would have been amusing.  After multiple sightings, it is just weird. Were they trying to form a school?  Wait a minute!  THEY weren’t lining up.  They couldn’t be doing this on their own.  Could the dogs really have figured out how to arrange them like that on a regular basis?

Walter’s not talking and Levi just gives me this look of complete innocence. I believe him.  I always believe him.  The blind toys are obviously self-arranging and headed for the kitchen.  I consider buying a security camera with infrared settings so I can monitor the situation.

This is nuts!  It doesn’t matter how odd it is that this keeps happening,  I have no reason to be disturbed by it!  These are just stupid dog toys.  I am more disturbed by the fact that I have to tell myself that these are just stupid dog toys!

It’s not a big deal.  I’m making way too much out of this.  I need to get on with my life.

Then I remembered the moray eels.  A number of moray eels attempted suicide in this very living room. All of them succeeded.  They accomplished this feat by slithering through a tiny hole in the fish tank hood and diving to the floor. Those eels could slither through, around, and over anything! Those eels were only stopped by a lack of water.  They needed water to swim and breathe.  The blind eel-like, self-arranging dog toys don’t need water.

The theme from Jaws drifts through the back of my mind.

Tomorrow I’m buying a lock for that dog toy bin!

Red Dragonflies Everywhere 

I’ve never seen a dragonfly this color. It is gorgeous! I know a few bloggers who like bugs as much as I do (yes I’m looking at you Roda) and I couldn’t help but reblog this.

Botanical Adventures

Sympetrum sp. in the Jerusalem Botanical Garden. Apparently they are difficult to indentify down to species level so I can only name the genus. These beautiful dragonflies have been hovering around the ponds all week. It was nice to capture some photos of them today, shown below.

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Quid Pro Quote Weekly Word Prompt

Week of August 14th, 2017   Conviction

 

Since we have had two quotes submitted so far on the topic of Convictions.  Let’s try that word this week and see how it goes.  Feel free to submit more than one.  Let’s leave CONVICTION quotes as comments here.  Quotes on other topics can be emailed to me at mainepaperpusher@yahoo.com for later publication.

I’m flying by the seat of my pants, people!  Bear with me as I work the kinks out.  Out of the series, I mean.  Not my pants.  Hmm, that might not be a bad idea either. 😉

 

Quid Pro Quote Follow-up Questions

I asked for ideas on how best to do this and I got some great ones:

  1.  Publish quotes as they come in.
  2.  Publish quote with an added comment or story to go along with it.
  3. I put out a random word from a random word generator (who knew?) and let the related quotes come in as comments.
  4. #3, but instead of comments I publish them all singly.
  5. #3 or #4 and we do a poll for favorite of the week like The Six Word Story Challenge
  6. Some combination of the above.

I am more than willing to do any and all.  Luckily, I have the time to be a Quote Wrangler!

At a very minimum, we should do the quotes on their own and quotes with commentary.

I think doing a random word each week would be a lot of fun.  More people would see each quote more readily if I published them singly.

As for a weekly contest, maybe we could revisit that once we find out how popular this is.  What are your thoughts?

Perhaps we could use hashtag #quidproquote so that our Twitter friends can follow along.  I’ve never done a lot with Twitter, but it’s time I learn a little bit about it.

I’m really excited about this.  I might have to coax our resident artist look into creating a featured image for us.  Hint hint Silas!