Category Archives: Mr. Binkles

Mr. Binkles, the overly dramatic rabbit

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I had such high hopes for the month of April. This was to be the month of getting my fitness regime on track. March was all about getting caught up routine medical stuff, and reintroducing myself to my doctor, whom I hadn’t seen in four years. Everything checked out fine and dandy, so the next step was to work with a personal health coach on the exercise stuff, and then in May I was going to start working with a nutritionist. Yup, those were my plans. And you know what they say about plans  . . .

Instead, April became all about Binkles (and I could totally hear him saying “and that problem with that is . . .?”  (and yes, I realize rabbits don’t talk, much less read, much much less read my blog)).  You see, on April 1 (no joke), much rabbit drama ensued.

It was about 6pm on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I noticed the Binks was laying on his stomach stretched out. Warning sign number one of possible GI stasis. When I leaned down to check on him, he dashed into the bathroom and behind the bathtub. Warning sign number two. And finally when he rejected his most favorite treat in the whole world, a banana chip, I knew I had yet another case of stasis on my hands.

Uh oh

Thanks to my friend Judy, the Bunny Bodhisattva, I’ve learned how to treat this life-threatening condition myself at home: take his temperature, then sub-q fluids, heat, medication, and the most fun part, force feeding him this liquified hay goop. Then I confine him to his carrier and wait for his appetite to come back and some poops that tell me his digestive system is once again working. It’s nerve wracking and scary, but I’m getting more confident in my abilities to pull him through these episodes. But, this time something went wrong.

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Binkles in love – part 1

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When Mr. Binkles’ bunny partner, Mrs. Peabody died a couple of months ago, I feared he would never love again. Theirs was a close bond, or so I thought. I would often find them huddled together in the nesting box, and their mealtime rituals and games never failed to make me smile.  Even though I would throw in multiple pieces of carrot or broccoli or banana slices, they would both want the same piece. So they would play the mine/no, it’s mine game and chase each other around the pen stealing the food bit from each other. Eventually, they would settle down a few inches from each other and chow down peacefully and in earnest.

When I’m home, I open up the bunnies’ pen and let them have access to all of the house.  Binkles always comes charging out, eager to check out all of his domain (this is, after all, Binkles’ house, I am merely the live-in help). Peabody wasn’t as in much of a hurry, but she would come out and find some place in the house (usually behind the bathtub) to just hang out for a change of scenery.  While out and about in the house, those two wouldn’t interact too much with each other. Maybe a passing nose bump, but the closeness they displayed in their pen was not evident when they were out.

In the final weeks of Peabody’s life,  it was clear Binkles knew something was up. He became more gentle with her and spent more time grooming her, particularly around her nose where the cancerous tumor was growing. And while he still came charging out of the pen when I opened it, often he would return back to the pen to just hang out quietly with Peabody.

Peabody and Binkles

On the day I had to take Peabody for her final vet visit, I let Binkles remain out of his pen while I left for my sad errand. I wanted to make sure he was distracted when I came back home without his living and breathing partner.

According to house rabbit experts, in order for the surviving partner to be able to accept that his friend is truly gone, they need to be able to see their dead body. Otherwise, they will forever be waiting for their partner to return and would not be able to accept a new bond. Since I want Binkles to be happy, and I know he is a much happier bunny with a buddy, I brought Mrs. Peabody’s lifeless body home.

Binkles was out and about and didn’t notice me tearfully place her limp body in her usual spot in the pen. I took a seat in the living room and waited for Binkles to check back in to his pen. It took a few minutes before he went dashing into his pen (he tends to dash everywhere for no particular reason). When he first saw Peabody’s body, he nudged her playfully. He nudged her again. And then he went up and started grooming her face and her ears. He moved his way down half of her body, all the while grooming her. This lasted maybe ten minutes. And then finally, with a pronounced jump, he turned his back to her and hopped away.

I left her body there for another hour or so, thinking that maybe there was more to his process. But no, he was done. I don’t know what was going through his little bunny brain as he groomed her for those few minutes. Maybe he was making sure she was really and truly dead. Or maybe he realized that quickly, and the grooming was merely his way of saying good-bye.

For the next week, Binkles was a bit needier than usual, so I made sure he got lots of extra attention. I even let him stay out of his pen all night a couple of times.  However, after waking up with a rabbit on my pillow staring me dead in the eye, as if he were plotting something very very naughty, that leniency ended.

At the end of the week, I had to take him to be boarded while I was gone on retreat.  And while I was off in search of nirvana, Binkles would be on a search for a new partner.  More on that in Part 2.

Checking in

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Oh, hi.  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  It’s been about two months since I last checked in with y’all.

Things here at Chez LazyBuddhist have been fine, for the most part.  Though I  did just lose Mrs. Peabody to cancer.  I had to put her to sleep last Friday.  Horrible decision, but I believe the right one.  She had a fast-growing tumor in her face which made it harder and harder for her to eat.  Maybe I erred on the side of too early – she still had a lot of life and spirit in her – but within a couple of days she would not be able to eat at all, then the risk of her going into a very painful condition called stasis would be quite high.  I did not want her to suffer. Everyone has assured I did the right thing at the right time, but still, it pains me.

It’s funny, I never thought I had a close bond with Mrs. P.  I always likened our relationship as a slightly icy mother-in-law, daughter-in-law relationship. I tolerated her because she made my boy bunny, Mr. Binkles happy.  They were a bonded pair. But, Binkles still has his mommy relationship with me, which I think made Peabody a little jealous.  She never came up to me and ask for petting, or even bothered to check in with me occasionally as she did her evening romps around the house.  I was OK with that. She was a very pretty bunny, as well as a very calm, confident one. Watching them simply be bunnies, either together or separately was always a joy.

I surprised myself a bit with how emotional I’ve been about this loss.  At first I thought I was mostly going to be upset with how it would affect Binkles. But, the copious tears I cried before, during and after her death tell me I was more attached than I thought.  She was a quiet presence, but one that was filled with life and an innate intelligence  I miss you, Mrs. Peabody.

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My spiritual practice has been going great guns.  According to this cool iPhone app, Insight Timer, for the last two months, I’ve been averaging 52 minutes a day meditating.  And next week at this time, I’ll be out at Spirit Rock again at a nine-day concentration retreat.

I’ve found a sitting group where I’m comfortable.  It’s a large group so it’s fairly easy to just blend into the crowd.  I still aspire to find a group where I can make some connections, yet not get consumed by the group.  It may be possible with this one, I just need to feel comfortable enough to show up at their monthly pre-sitting burrito party. For now, I’m happy just breezing in, having a lovely meditation, listening to the dharma talk, throwing a few bucks in the dana basket, and then breezing out.

The rest of my life has been fine. I’ve been working with some old traumatic/emotional shit in therapy.  Not always fun, but I think it’s worth it. Will the result be a new, improved Not-So-LazyBuddhist?  I doubt it. I’m actually pretty OK as I am. It will just be nice to clear out some of the obstacles that obscure my light.

Hope all has been well with you. I’m hoping this writing dry spell will end soon.

Sittin’ in the middle of it

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My landlord left me a voice mail on Monday evening.

“Hey, LB, listen a termite inspector is coming on Wednesday and he needs to come into the house and have a look around.  I can let him in and show him around, but I need to know what the protocol is with the rabbits.”  my landlord said rather gently.

My first reaction was relief that the bunnies in the middle of the room have finally been acknowledged.  I mean, with all the work he had been doing on the house, there was no way he couldn’t have seen the bunnies in the sunroom. I was expecting him to, at the very least, be concerned. But this phone call signaled I need not keep my bunnies in the closet any more when he or an inspector come into the house. (And yes, I literally put my bunnies in the closet when some bank guy came in and inspected the house.  Imagine his surprise when he opened the closet door.)

My second reaction was my usual one whenever someone, besides the boyfriend and a couple of close friends, is going to be coming into my house: panic.  Neurotic old tapes start blasting in my head.  I’m going to be judged. People are going to know what a dirty, bad person I am. I am not good enough.  I must hide the evidence of my slothful ways.  Shame.

And no, my house is not that bad (though, admittedly, with the advent of shows like Hoarders, the bar is now set pretty high). I’m not going to win any awards for my housekeeping skills. And I am certainly not one of those people who think cleaning is stress relieving, or even fun.  But, I don’t need my house to be immaculate in order to feel comfortable.

So, Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I throw myself into a cleaning frenzy in anticipation of the termite inspector and my landlord coming into the house. The termite guy is scheduled to be here at 11:30, so at 11:00 I finish up and mop myself into a corner where I can finally collapse into my comfy chair.  With the floors clean there is nothing else to do but wait.

On the side table next to my chair is a nice collection of reading materials, plus my iPhone.  Plenty of things to do to bide my time and take my mind off the impending disaster I’ve created in my head.  But instead, I opt to just sit with it. Look at it.  Sense it.

My body is vibrating.  The anxiety feels like an electric charge running throughout my veins. I stop to sense my heart beat. A bit fast and irregular. In fact the more I focus on it, the more irregular it seems. I stop focusing on my heart beat.  I notice the urge to pick up my iPhone and distract myself with one of my favorite games, Bejeweled.  But no, just sit with it.

What is this story I am telling myself? Mostly it is a fear of being judged. Normally, not a huge fear of mine, yet when it comes to my living quarters, it’s huge. It’s like when I open up my home, I am opening up me. Come inside. Look around.  Here is my private self. Judge me judge me judge me.

Going deeper. Where the hell does this come from? Am I really that insecure? I don’t think so. Memories of growing up ashamed of where I lived. Wrong side of the tracks. And all of my friends came from the right side of the tracks. Hiding. Lying.  And my mother’s shame. She grew up with more. She never wanted that house. Her depression deepened when we moved to the little shack next to the freeway.  Don’t invite your friends over. She just gave up.

So, this is the story that is running through my head.  And it’s not even my story. It’s my mother’s.  And every pore in my body was in it at that moment. Damn.

The termite guy finally shows up at noon. Lovely man. My landlord doesn’t join him on the inspection. It took all of five minutes. We probably spent more time talking about Mr. Binkles who ran over to check out this stranger in the paper booties.  He doesn’t see any sign of termites.  Have a good day, ma’am.

I change the channel in my head from the History Channel to more reality based programming.  It’s all just one story or another.  Some pleasant, some unpleasant and some neutral. Some are mine and some I’ve inherited. Just another day.

The pecking order

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Being as I am the only one in my household who possesses opposable thumbs and a debit card, I think it’s fairly clear who is in charge here. Despite their attitudes to the contrary, my four critters do respect me for my ability to open a can or pour food into a bowl.

For the longest time, the second in command was always the cat with the most seniority.  Both Nomie and Alaska knew how to work their household status to their own advantages, and rarely was there a question as to who was the Alpha Cat.  Usually, Alpha Cat status meant they got their choice of sleeping spot on the bed, as well as being the first to chow down.  However, when it came Sasquatch’s turn to assume that mantel he really couldn’t be bothered.

You would think by the sheer number of Sasquatch’s toes – two extra on each paw – that he could make those thumbs oppose if he really wanted. And with opposable thumbs and his sheer bulk, he could challenge me for head of the household. But, no, my gentle giant has no interest in being in charge.  He just wants to chill.

Into this leadership void, a most unlikely candidate has stepped up to the plate.  The smallest of my crew, weighing in at just four-and-a-half pounds, Mr. Binkles has asserted himself as Alpha Bunny.  Granted, I probably shouldn’t be too surprised.  When he first entered my life two and a  half years ago, Binkles and I battled mightily for household dominance. He laid claim to my couch, my reading chair and even made a play for my bed.  I never really understood what completely nasty little creatures these sweet cuddly-looking bunnies could be until I let Binkles into my home. It wasn’t until I got him neutered and then got him a girlfriend that all the bad behaviors finally subsided.  Now, with me, he’s my sweet little guy.  He’s even a bit of a momma’s boy (much to the annoyance of his girlfriend, Mrs. Peabody).

Yet, it was only the other night that I realized how much the Binks lords it over the other creatures.  I mean, I knew he was dominant over Mrs. Peabody.  I’ve seen how he sweetly grooms her ears only to turn around and mount her head too many times to know who is in charge in that relationship.   I didn’t know, however, how much he bosses the cats around.

Tangerine, my formally feral now just really skittish indoors cat, has come to love this little round fleece nest that used to belong to Alaska.  I’ve placed the nest in my bedroom and when she is not curled up with Sasquatch, she sleeps there. That is, unless Mr. Binkles is out and about. When I come home in the evening, I let the rabbits out  of their roomy pen for their free range time.  After a few laps around the house, usually they settle into their spot du mois and just relax.  Binkles has decided that his new most favorite spot in the whole world is Tangerine’s nest.  I’ve seen him bully her out of her nest and then just take over – stretching out as big as his little bunny body can be.   In theory, they could both fit into the nest, but no, Binkles needs to take over the whole thing.

And when he isn’t hogging Tangerine’s nest, he’ll be in the dining room chewing on Sasquatch’s beloved cardboard box. Sasquatch really enjoys sleeping on cardboard, so when I got a large fairly flat box, I put it on the floor and Sasquatch claimed it as his own.  That is, unless Binkles wants to be there.  If Sasquatch wanders into the dining room chances are he’s heading over to his box for a nice nap. But, if Binkles is there, he just walks by and heads over to one of his other sleeping spots. He never challenges the little bunny even though Sasquatch could totally kick his ass if he wanted to.

No one seems too bothered Mr. Binkles claim to dominance.  They have managed to work it all out between themselves without any intervention from me.  So, now all I have to do is kick back and enjoy the show.

Breaking the pattern

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This is the way it usually goes:

Step 1: stray or abandoned animal shows up on my doorstep or is dumped in my office.
Step 2: I say “No, I do not want/need another pet.”
Step 3: “OK, well, I’ll take care of it until I can figure out another situation for it or find its owner.”
Step 4: said with feigned resignation, “oh, OK, well the other animals have accepted it, so I guess I’m keeping it.”

That has been the pattern for all four of my current pets,  and has been the pattern for pretty much all my pets during my during my adulthood. That is, until last week.

One evening, about three weeks ago, my co-worker Patricia texted me – “I found a baby bunny in the park. You want a bunny?”  I immediately texted her back. “No, but I can advise you how to take care of it until the SPCA is open tomorrow morning.”  “Oh never mind”, she texted back, “we’ll just leave him here tonight and come back tomorrow.”  “That would be a death sentence for the bunny – raccoons, dogs, etc. – easy to keep him overnight and keep him safe” I responded back with some urgency. “Oh, OK.” she finally relented.

The next day she told me that her 10 year old nephew was going to keep the little bunny.  I kind of cringed when she told me that since children have notoriously short attention spans when it comes to small animals.  But, I proceeded to send her a plethora of links on the care and feeding of bunnies, and offered to bring her some hay.  I was happy to act as bunny consultant as long as that meant the bunny wasn’t ending up on my doorstep.

But, let’s go back to Step 1, shall we?  While I may have avoided having the bunny land on my doorstep, I didn’t dodge having the bunny dumped in my office.  As I feared, the nephew showed no interest in actually taking care of the little creature, and for close to a week had kept it exclusively in a 2′ x 2′ Rubbermaid storage box.  Well, that’s not completely true, they let it out once, only to have their two foxhounds terrify and attack the little guy.

Patricia brought the rabbit into the office on Monday to let me “see it”.  What a cute little guy.  It wasn’t a baby like Patricia said, but a full grown English Spotted Rabbit.  He looked in good condition, though I quickly saw that she had taken none of my advice re: his litter or food.  Once she told me that he hadn’t been out of that box for 5 days, I offered to let him hop around my office for a while, though I still insisted I had no intention of taking him home.  Apparently, no one in the office believed me.

I could tell he was so happy to get out of that damn box.  He did a few laps of my office,  and then proceeded to check everything out. Finally, he stretched out near my feet, looking quite normal and well adjusted, especially for a little guy who had been through so much.   And unlike my two bunnies, he didn’t fuss when you picked him up, so we also got in some major snuggle time.  What a sweet, sweet little guy. And soft?  Insanely soft – made Mr. Binkles feel like a damn brillo pad.  But, still, I had no intention of taking the bunny home.

When 5:00 came around, Patricia came in to say good bye to the bunny.  “What?  No! Listen I spoke with a couple of rabbit rescue organizations and they recommended that you take him to the San Francisco Animal Control Shelter – they work with Save-A-Rabbit.  He’ll be fine.”  I said somewhat unconvincingly. “Thanks for taking care of Mr. Bunz!”  Patricia said as she flounced out of my office.  I could have sworn I heard some of my co-workers laugh in the background.

So, now we’re at Step 3.  Of course, I could have taken the little guy to the SF Animal Shelter.  But, I wanted to talk to Judy, the rabbit rescue lady in Berkeley first.  Maybe even try and get him placed with her. But she wasn’t in, so I had no choice but to take the little guy home with me.  Really, I had no choice.

When I started the day, I had no idea I would be taking home a rabbit, so I was ill-prepared.  But, I figured as long as I kept him away from Mr. Binkles and Mrs. Peabody, everything should be fine.  Since the sun room is the only thoroughly bunny proofed room, I put him in there – separate from my two buns, though they were able to see each other. Perhaps that was a mistake.  Binkles was FURIOUS.  Fit to be tied.  Fire coming out of nostrils.  That was one pissed off bunny.  When I let him out for his free time later than evening, one of the first things he did was to come over and take a big bite out of my arm.  Mr. Binkles was not pleased.

Later that evening, I moved the visitor bun into my office where I could close him off and seperate him completely from the other two.  But, that didn’t fool Mr. Binkles.  As I sat in my office with the little guy, I could hear Binkles pacing back and forth at the door, like some kind of jealous enraged lover.  This was not promising.

For the next week I tried to make it work, hoping the Mr. Binkles would eventually calm down. The house ended up being divided into two different turfs: Mr. Binkles and Mrs. Peabody had the front part of the house, while the back part belonged to the visitor. Moving between those two turfs became increasingly difficult as one of the bunnies was always waiting at the door trying to get at the other.  And finally it happened.  Mr. Binkles slipped underneath my feet and charged towards the little visitor bun. An ugly and ferocious fight broke out.  Tufts of fur were flying.  Not wanting to stick my hand or my foot into the middle of that melee, I grabbed a shoe and placed it between them. I was then able to pick up the visitor bun, but not before Binkles once again latched himself onto the little one with his teeth.  I had a hold of one bun, but I ended up lifting them both up.  Grabbing Binkles’ jaw, I was finally able to get him disconnected from the visitor.  Everyone got put away for the night so that mommy could take a Valium and try to figure out what to do.

I was finally able to get a hold of Judy, the rabbit rescue lady.  She assured me that if I took him to the Berkeley Animal Shelter that after a short holding period he would be transferred to her care.  That was the reassurance I needed.  I would be able to track the little guy’s progress, even visit him on the weekends until he gets adopted.

After Binkles and the visitor bun got a taste of each other’s blood, their obsession with each other just grew worse.   Granted I knew some of this aggression was happening because the little guy wasn’t neutered.  And sure, I could have had him neutered, and then after the hormones died down tried to bond him with my other two.  That process could have taken two months or more, and even then there were no guarantees they would get along.  Step 4 looked like it probably was not going to happen.  I hated giving up, but knew what I had to do.

I was surprised how emotional I got when I gave him up to the Berkeley Animal Shelter.  He really had a lovely, sweet personality.  I was relieved when to see that the woman who handled the bunnies was clearly such a gentle soul.  She reaffirmed that after his neutering, he’ll be sent to Judy’s rabbit rescue.

Good luck little guy.  I hope you find a permanent home where you can be happy and loved.

All the fuzzy, little of the warm

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Considering I share my home with four furry creatures, you would think I would constantly be smothered in love and affection.  You know, maybe a cuddle now and again to show their gratitude for being well fed and cared for?  Is it too much to ask?  Apparently so.

Of the four creatures, only Sasquatch, my massive Maine Coon allows me to cuddle him or even asks for my attention.  However, unlike the late, great felines of yore, Alaska and Noname, he can’t be bothered to greet me at the door when I come home.  In fact, if I don’t go into the bedroom and say hello to him, I may only see him in passing for the rest of the evening.  We really don’t get much time together until I go to bed – that’s when he gets all affectionate (so like a male). We have our nightly ritual.  I crawl into bed and he comes up and licks my arm and hand.  Then resting his paw on my arm, he’ll try and purr me to sleep.  After 10 minutes or so, he gets up and finds his spot on the foot of the bed.  I’ve become so accustomed to our ritual I find it hard to fall asleep without it.

As for the others? Well, despite living in my house for close to 2 years now, Tangerine the cat still flees the room whenever I get too close.  She will, however, allow me to pet her when she is laying next to Sasquatch on the bed.   I guess she needs his presence to feel safe and protected, because you know what a mean motherf*cker I can be when it comes to animals.  Sigh.

And then there are the rabbits. Since picking them up scares the bejesus out of them (even though I in no way resemble an owl or a hawk), I don’t try and force my affection on them.  During those rare times when I do pick them up, they are really quite sweet and snugly, but with the slightest noise they freak the fuck out and will try to escape anyway they can, and very possibly hurt themselves.  I worry about that, so I keep the picking up and holding them to a minimum.  Mr. Binkles, my first bun, will occasionally come up and join me on the couch when I’m watching TV and lower his head asking for a nose rub which eventually works itself into a full body stroking.  It’s nice treat.  All too rare, though.   I think he prefers to show his affection by choosing to hang out in whatever room I’m hanging out in at the time. If I’m in the office, he’s in the office.  Living room, living room.  And the perhaps the weirdest and most endearing habit is his desire to join me in some synchronized peeing in the bathroom.  He’ll follow me into the bathroom and when he sees me sit down on the toilet, he’ll hop into the cat box and do his business.  It makes me laugh almost every time.

Mrs. Peabody, the other rabbit, doesn’t have much use for me.  Even though I was the one who rescued her lagomorphic ass and introduced her to Mr. Binkles, her bonded “husbun”, she pretty much acts as if I don’t exist.  She gives more affection to my boyfriend than she does to me.  Frankly, I think she is jealous of the bond that Mr. Binkles and I share.  I sometimes feel like we have kind of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law hostile vibe going on.

Yet, I love all of my little charges.  I suppose it’s a good exercise in giving love unconditionally without the expectation of a whole lot in return.   Yeah, I guess that is the lesson here.

Michael Jackson, the Comcast Guy & Me

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I apologize for my lack of output lately.  I’ve been taking this damn personal essay class and so far all it’s done is make me creatively constipated and constantly question whether I have any right to think I can write.  But, amidst all the self doubt, I finally finished and submitted my essay with for the class.  On Monday I’ll get my critique from the group.  Thought I’d share it with y’all and you can tell me lies, sweet lies that it isn’t a steaming pile of . . . words.

Michael Jackson, the Comcast Guy, and Me

The atmosphere in the office was electric and in sharp contrast to the monotonous management meeting I had just left. “What’s going on” I asked Anza who was always in the know.  “Michael Jackson died”  she said in her usual no nonsense way.  “What?  I, I thought it was Farrah who died” I said feeling clueless.  “Oh Farrah was soooo three hours ago” Gabe drawled campily as he buzzed by me.  Renita shouted from her office, “he ain’t dead. We don’t know that for certain yet. That’s just a rumor!“  I went back to my office to check the internet myself. For the next few minutes you could hear people shouting updates between offices. Finally, it was confirmed by reputable sources:  Michael Jackson was dead. The mood abruptly changed from excited to somber as my co-workers started gathering in twos and threes in each other’s offices to watch the streaming live news coverage.

I joined the cluster of young black women in Lashaun’s office next door. They seemed to be taking it hard, especially Lashaun who said she felt like Michael was family because her cousin once worked for LaToya.  Her Blackberry kept buzzing as her family members texted to share news and console one another.

Frankly, I didn’t really understand why my co-workers were taking it so hard.  Most of them were too young to remember Thriller when it came out.  And Michael’s days as the cute child star of the Jackson 5 was of their parent’s generation.  Well, actually my generation.  Like me, Michael Jackson was 50 years old.  Yet, these young African American women felt more of a connection to him than I ever did.  I guessed I must have looked puzzled as Lashaun said,  as she often does to me, the “token white lady”, “hey, it’s a black thing.”  But unlike her usual joking tone, this time there was an air of sadness and resignation.

Before his sudden death if someone had asked me my thoughts on Michael Jackson, my answer would have been short and cruel: freak.  I hadn’t paid attention to his musical output in the last 20 years, and he had only been on my radar as an object of puzzlement and scorn.  Yet now the airwaves were filled with the best of his music – “I Want You Back“, “Billy Jean“, “Thriller” – and my favorite, “Ben“, a love song written about a rat.  It was good music, memorable music. I started feeling the loss myself.

Back when Thriller came out in the early 80’s, I spent many an evening hanging out with my best friend David in his comfortable duplex apartment filled with his collection of 50’s glassware and other vintage kitsch.  We would watch old film noir movies and then would finish the evening with some MTV while sharing a joint. Whenever Michael came on we stopped talking, turned up the sound and marveled at his moves. Even through our clouded minds, there was a reverence paid to the man’s talent.

I hadn’t thought of David in years.  He was possibly the best friend I ever had, and Michael Jackson was an important part of the soundtrack to that friendship. When I got home, I downloaded The Essential Michael Jackson off of iTunes and I played it loud as I prepared myself dinner and wondered what had ever happened to David.

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Over the next two weeks it was All Michael Jackson All the Time.  You couldn’t escape the coverage.  While most of it was hyperbolic, the story of the man became clearly tragic to me – a talented kid who was exploited and abused and the wounds that turned into something sick and twisted. My previous hard judgments of him softened.

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The morning of Michael Jackson’s funeral I stayed home from work to wait for the Comcast guy.  Both my broadband and cable TV had gone out a few days ago, and this was the earliest appointment I could get to get my service restored.  The technician arrived on time at 10am. He was a tall African American young man, probably about half my age.  He was dressed in oversized jeans that rode low on his skinny hips, and while I found the gold embroidery on the back pockets to be a bit tacky, I later read that it was quite in style among urban youth.  The blue button-down shirt that he no doubt  worn in deference to his employer was purposely tucked in on only one side.  “So what‘s the problem?” he asked already sounding bored. “Well, I explained everything in detail on the phone” expecting that he would have come prepared.  “Yeah, well, they don’t tell me nothin’ but what time to be here.”   So I over-explained all the phone calls and steps I had taken to troubleshoot the problem.  He listened impassively.  “Where’s your cable come in?”  he asked getting to the point.  I gestured to the pole outside my front door.  “OK” he said as he started to walk out.  He paused by the pen where I keep my two rabbits, Binkles and Peabody. “You gotta watch out what you feed them ‘cuz they’re gonna get fat.”  And with that he left.

“The nerve of that guy. Calling my rabbits fat. They‘re not fat.”  I huffed as I sat down to check my email and play games on my iPhone while I waited.

A half hour later he walked back in through the front door, opened up the TV armoire and picked up the remote as if he lived here.  When the TV came on, it was on a news channel that was broadcasting the Jackson funeral.  There was a helicopter shot of a string of hearses and seemingly hundreds of police.  “Oh, I want to see the casket come in” he said with the most animation I had heard from him all morning. I went into my office to check if my broadband was also working, and when I came back to report the success he was still standing in front of the TV.

I took my place in my TV watching chair. The coverage had switched back to the studio with some commentators discussing the various molestation charges against Jackson. “Ah come on” I said with some exasperation, “give it a rest for just one day. It’s the man’s funeral”  “Exactly!” he said with some enthusiasm and volume, “have a little respect for his family.”   The coverage then cut to the procession with the casket.  “There it is!”  the Comcast guy said with  the excitement of a kid seeing the ice cream truck on a hot day.  The Jackson brothers, all wearing single sequined gloves brought in a gilded casket covered in red roses. “Damn, that thing looks expensive” he said with awe. “Kind of a waste since it’s just going into the ground” I countered.  “Exactly!” he heartily agreed.

When Smokey Robinson got up to speak, the Comcast guy said with admiration “Damn, is that Smokey?  He looks goooood.”   We speculated on his age guessing he was around 70. “Hey, black don‘t crack“ I offered.  He considered this as if he had never heard that saying before, “yeah that‘s kind of true, huh.”

It became clear we were in this together for the long run.  “Have a seat” I said pointing to the couch.  He quickly made himself comfortable.  If I had been more accustomed to having company I would have offered him something to drink or eat, but a comfy seat and a TV seemed just fine with him.

As the tasteful service unfolded occasionally one of us would make a brief comment about how good someone looked or sounded, but mostly we watched in silence.  Finally, when Reverend Al Sharpton started speaking, my guest got up abruptly and said “when the crazy preacher starts talking, it’s time for me to get back to work.”

On his way out he passed the rabbits again.  Binkles stretched up against the pen begging for attention. “He’s a friendly one, huh.  Can I pet him?”    “Sure. He likes having his nose scratched.” I advised.  As he scratched the little red rabbit’s nose he said “I used to have a pet rabbit.”  When he finished, he let himself out the door saying “have a blessed day.” “You too” I called back but he had already closed the door.

I sat back down to watch the rest of the service, but it didn’t feel right. So, I said farewell to my four-legged friends and headed out to work so I could join the crowd in a cramped fluorescent-lit office to watch the rest of the service on a 17 inch computer screen.

Some things just need to be shared.

I give up!

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OK, that’s it.  I give up!  Who am I kidding?  Control is nothing but an illusion.  Especially when you apply the word “control” to living beings.

With the exception of Truce, the Lagamorph Lover from Down Under, most of my readers are probably not familiar with the whole convoluted process of trying to get two rabbits to get along together.  Of course, you simply couldn’t throw two unrelated rabbits together and hope for the best. Nooooooooooooooooo.  You have to have “bonding” sessions with them where you take them to a neutral space, and for a very small amount of time they have to share that space while you sit on the floor with a water pistol ready to shoot the first one who shows any aggression.  And then you wait for vaguely lagomorphic signs of accepting one another.  Each day you increase the amount of time they are together until, eventually, they start grooming one another, which I guess, is the rabbit equivalent of a marriage ceremony (and rabbits, being big advocates for equality, believe in gay marriage).   Some rabbits have very short courtships, others can go on for months, and others are simply not meant to be.

By the time I get home in the evening, one of the last things I want to do is act as a rabbit matchmaker.  They share a space that is divided by a pen, so they can see each other, smell each other, even touch noses if they so desire.   I mean, is my sitting on the floor with a squirt gun really going to help matters?   They are pretty happy buns.  They both get a good amount of free time, and their pens are pretty spacious.  I’m was starting to think that this may be as good as the arrangement gets.

That was until last night around midnight.  I’m about to fall asleep when there is a sudden racket coming from the rabbit area.  Wha?  Huh?  I get up to investigate only to discover that Peabody has found a way to jump the barrier.  Mr. Binkles meanwhile is scurrying up to hide in his loft while the intruder moves into Mr. Binkles bunny condo (which is a fancy name for a cardboard box with doors cut out of it). Great.  So, I open the gate to extract Peabody and both rabbits charge out of the pen and start chasing each other and even the odd cat or two.  I manage to lure both rabbits back to their pens with carrots and go back to bed.

This morning the same thing happened, except this time it seems a bit more playful than threatening (but then doesn’t everything after a good night’s sleep?)  I release them to clean their pens and chaos ensues.  Cats and rabbits tearing through the house, skidding around corners, leaping over each other and various obstacles.  Is this fun?  Is this fighting?  Where is my coffee?

After putting them back in their separate pens, I had no confidence that Peabody would stay put. There was the distinct possibility I would come home to two injured bunnies.  Despite being possibly the cutest creatures on earth, rabbits fight really fiercely.  Scary fierce.  But, on some level I felt that the worse case scenario was that Mr. Binkles would be left to hide in his loft, under his bankie (yes, he pulls a bankie over him when he sleeps, and yes, it’s insanely cute).   Still, when I came home I was very relieved to find them both just chillin’ in their respective pens.

So, tonight, while I relax in the living room, I’ll try letting them both out at the same time and see what the hell they decide to do.  No courting circle, no squirt gun, just two rabbits who are going to decide whether to be friends or not on their own.

Another gratuitous animal post

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It’s been too bloody hot lately for deep thoughts.  There are deep thoughts a-brewing, and after a bit of percolation, they will be ready to be served.  However, I don’t do well in the heat.  To give you an idea of how thoroughly miserable I become, last night in lieu of making dinner, or even going out to eat, I opted to find the closest AM/PM (which is a gas station convenience store), buy the largest sized Icee they had and a bag a chips and just call that dinner.

There are things happening, and they will be written about once the fog rolls in again.   In the mean time, let me introduce you to the latest addition to my household:  Peabody.  I’m not sure if that will be Mr. Peabody, or just plain ol’ Peabody.  Mr. Binkles is still not pleased with the new addition, but I think he’s getting used to having a neighbor (and hopefully, one day, a roommate).  He’s sweet, and very confident little bunny.  And a horny little bugger too.  He has tried to mount poor Alaska, my frail 17 year old cat, as well as my leg, and performs a little mating dance whenever the boyfriend comes over.  Shhhh, don’t tell him, but next paycheck someone is getting neutered.

Things that go thump in the night

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When you share a small house with four four-legged creatures you become accustomed to odd noises. Perhaps it is the distinctive sound of the old cat getting ready to hork, or the rabbit rearranging his furniture (he’s VERY fussy about the placement of his litter box), or just Sasquatch jumping off the bed. For seemingly quiet creatures, they can be pretty noisy.

Occasionally, they’ll make enough of a racket to wake me up in the middle of night. My usual practice is to listen for a moment to make sure there is no animal in distress and then roll back over muttering “damn cats” or “stupid rabbit”. Rarely do these noises necessitate getting my sleepy ass out of bed. However, the other night was one of those rare nights where I had to see what was going on.

When I go to bed I always put Mr. Binkles back in his pen for the night, whether he likes it or not. If he hasn’t had enough free roaming time, he tends to stay restless for a while and bang his pen around. He acts like he’s in jail. But it’s not like he’s in a little tiny cage. No, the little dude has about 8 ft by 4 ft of floor space, plus we built him a loft so he survey his kingdom. So, I don’t buy his prisoner rattling his tin cup against the bars routine. Anyway, eventually he settles down into either his loft bed or into his bunny condo and he’ll be quiet all night.

But the other night it was CRASH! RATTLE! THUD! and the sound of multiple paws skittering across the hard wood floors. What the? The ruckus was quickly over, and as each cat then wandered in my bedroom acting as if nothing happened, I opted to just roll over and go back to sleep. *THUMP* 2 . . . 3. . . 4 *THUMP* 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 *THUMP*. What the? I decided to get up and investigate.

There was Mr. Binkles in his loft sitting up on his back haunches looking very alert and more than a little pissed off. *THUMP* 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 *THUMP* . . . The little one was thumping his back legs to make a very pronounced racket. While I know rabbits are known to thump (hence Thumper from “Bambi”), but I’ve never seen my little buddy do it. The thumping either means danger or just to let you know they are not in the mood to be fucked with. I looked around to see if I could find the source of the ealier crashing, but everything looked normal. But, whatever happened either scared or pissed off Mr. Binkles something fierce. So, I gave him his space and just talked to him for a bit until he visably started to calm down and the thumping stopped.

I still have no idea what happened. My best guess is that perhaps Tangerine jumped into his pen to either steal some of his cilantro, play with her little lagomorph friend or because she was bored. Who knows. But it was certainly revealed another interesting bit of rabbit behavior. I would just prefer that these little discoveries not happen at 3:30 in the morning.

Restless night

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This week is hardly turning out to be as I had hoped.  In my imagination this week would include reading, some gardening, cleaning, napping, sorting out the boxes in the sun-room and finished off with a fabulous weekend in Carmel.  Well, two out of six isn’t bad, I guess.

There were more aftershocks this week from my f-up of a couple of weeks back.  So, I ended up working two days this week, and spending more time than I would like to admit with my mind spinning out of control, conjuring all the horrible consequences that may befall me.

After the first aftershock had subsided, the boyfriend and I did get one productive day together where we cleaned out the sun-room and sorted through about a dozen boxes that had been piled up in there ever since I moved in about a year ago.   It felt good to get all that cleared out.  Then another aftershock hit, and there was nothing I could do about it until the morning. Yeah, there goes that good night’s sleep that usually comes after a day of honest hard labor.

Maybe the t-shirt slogan “If mama ain’t happy, no one is happy” holds some truth.  Or in my case, “if mama can’t sleep, no one else can either”.  So, here are some of the thoughts that kept the beings of Chez LazyBuddhist up much of the night:

LazyBuddhist: I’m sure that phone call meant nothing . . . he just needed some information . . . I mean, who calls someone to fire them while their on PTO?  . . . OK I have 10 weeks of vacation on the books, that 2 1/2 months of my regular salary . . . maybe I’ll get a roommate so I can reduce my living costs in case I can’t find a job that will match my current salary . . . the boyfriend said he’ll take the cats in case I lose the house . . .  who will take the rabbit?

Tangerine (the semi-feral): Dang, what is up with the One Who Feeds Me?  Go to sleep already so I can have my free-time.  Oh screw it, I think I’ll just run from room to room, periodically stopping to claw the furniture really frantically.  Heeyy Alaska.  Do you mind if I curl up here with you?  You can give me a tongue bath if you want.  You’re not into it?  Oh, that’s cool.  Can I give you a tongue bath? Really, I give great tongue baths.  No?  Hey, where are you going?

Alaska: Gawd! Why can’t that girl take a hint?  I’m just not into her that way, ya know?  I mean, it’s not that I’m not into some sweet young marmalade pussy cat.  I may be neutered, but I’m not dead.  But, damn, she’s relentless.  Looks like mom is tossing and turning, I think I’ll go grace her with my presence.  Besides, she’s nice and warm.  I’m less than pleased about her turning down all the thermostats.  I mean, I’m not the one who screwed up at work and may lose her job due to her own stupidity, so why am I the one who has to suffer a cold house?   There there, mom, your old boy is here . . .

Sasquatch: ZZzZZZZZZZzzzzZZZZZZZZZzzzzz  Hey!  No kicking!  What?  I wasn’t snoring?  You snore!  Sorry, I didn’t mean that.  Here, let me come up and lick your hand for a while.  Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  See, don’t you feel better now?  ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz

Mr. Binkles: What the bloody hell is going on here?  Where are my boxes?  How am I going to get on top of the cabinet now?  I think I’ll take a running leap . . . ouch!  Maybe not.  Perhaps if I clang my pen around, the Big Bunny will come and put everything back in its place.  Hmmm.  Maybe not.  I think I’ll take a running leap . . . ouch!  Right.  That didn’t work the first time.  Oh screw it.  I think I’ll just take a nap in my litter box and try again in an hour or so.