Category Archives: rabbits

Mr. Binkles, the overly dramatic rabbit


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.

Read the rest of this entry

Binkles in love – part 1


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


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.


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


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.

Replacing an old friend


I suppose it’s time.  I don’t know. No one really talks about the proper amount of time it takes to mourn the loss of an inanimate object. In fact, people seldom talk about mourning stuff in general.  But, we do.  Right?

About three weeks ago, I came home to discover that my cleaning lady had broken my favorite coffee mug. Unlike something else she broke, at least she didn’t try to hide the evidence.  There it sat on my newly polished dining room table: my burgundy KALW mug with its handle broken off.  The Boyfriend assured me it was all going to be OK. He could fix it.  It was just the handle.  Next to the mug was part of the broken off handle.  Note: part of the handle. There was a small piece missing. The Boyfriend went down to the garbage to retrieve the garbage bag the cleaning lady had discarded.  And bless his heart, he thoroughly rooted through that bag in search of that missing handle fragment. And while he found some other things in there that shouldn’t have been in there, he didn’t find the missing piece.

I can’t remember how long ago it was when I got that mug. Maybe as long as 10 years ago. It was a premium sent to me for donating to the KALW pledge drive.   It quickly became my favorite coffee cup due to its jumbo size and elegant shape.  I’m bad with measurements, but I would guesstimate it held about 24 oz. With just one cup of coffee from my jumbo KALW mug, I was ready to start my day.  And while I have many, many other lovely coffee cups and mugs, that was the one I used almost everyday. Right now I’m using a different KALW mug. It’s smaller, blue and the lines are simply not as inviting. It’s just not the same.

So, today I decided that the time has come to throw myself back into the marketplace in search of finding the mug of my dreams. Don’t tell my boss, but I probably spent most of my day today at working looking through Etsy in search of a new mug.  The requirements are:

  • Must hold at least 18-20 oz
  • I tend to like red in the morning. So a shade of red is preferable
  • Nothing too earthy crunchy-granola. I like eating granola in the morning, not drinking from it.
  • Must feel good to cup and hold to my chest as I stare out the window

These are the candidates thus far.  Please feel free to voice your opinion.  But, as you are free to voice your opinion, I am likewise free to completely ignore it.

Large 32 oz red cup

I love the size, and the color works for me too. But I’m not crazy about the shape, and I also think it lacks character.

Rabbit with bees mug

This one ties in nicely with my new obsession with bees, and of course my love of my rabbits. However, the rabbit looks more like a dog and I prefer a smoother, more uniform shape.

Red poppy mug

This struck me as quite elegant. I like the colors. But I’m not sure about the size. I’ve emailed the seller to find out. But, I’m not 100% on board with the shape.

I think this is quite lovely. Very delicate with sort of a Zen vibe. But it is really me?  Maybe this cup is out of my league. Besides, I’m not sure how much it holds. Waiting to hear back from seller.

Swirly mug

This one is definitely a contender. Granted it is more pink than red. But it looks solid and I like the shape (though I wish the lip didn’t flare out). And I believe it meets the size requirement.  But, yet, I’m not ready to commit yet.

There were probably hundreds more to look at on Etsy, so until I find that mug that immediately feels right to me, I’ll keep searching.

The pecking order


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.

A warm and fuzzy story


For the last week or so I’ve been trying to work on a somewhat serious posting, but after writing that initial surge of words, it has gone nowhere. It just sits in my drafts box and taunts me.  So, for the sake of putting something up on these ol’ internet tubes, I think it’s high time for an update on things cute and fluffy in LazyBuddhist’s world:

The visitor bunny:  the story of the little visitor bunny ended with me dropping the bunny off at the Berkeley Animal Shelter in the loving and caring arms of  Annie, the  lady who takes care of the cats and bunnies.  She had assured me that he would sent off to the rabbit rescue shelter within a week.  This was confirmed by Judy, the kind hearted rabbit rescue lady.

So, after a week, I call the rabbit rescue place to see if the visitor bunny had arrived.  Judy wasn’t in so I was stuck talking with her assistant, Amber.  What can I say? I don’t like Amber.  She doesn’t strike me as a great employee (she messed up Mr. Binkles’ first boarding reservation there) and she always has this tone on the phone like she’d rather be out smoking a cigarette.  In fact, I dislike Amber so much I have actually hung up when I heard her petulant voice answer the phone rather than Judy’s charming southern drawl.  (Yeah, despite being 50 I can still act like I’m 15, so what?)  But, this time I just wanted a quick reassurance that the visitor bunny arrived as expected. “Can you be more specific?” she complained “there are a lot of black and white rabbits here.”  I could hear the roll of her eyes.  “He should have arrived within the last week” I explained trying to sound pleasant despite my urge to slap the sass out of her.  “We haven’t had any new bunnies arrive since about two weeks ago” she answered with less attitude.  “He might have gotten adopted at the shelter. That happens sometimes.”

That weekend I stopped by the Berkeley Animal Shelter to see if I could talk to Annie.  The place was a madhouse.  It looks like they are working with the barest of budgets as they appear to be understaffed.  But, despite the fact that they seem busy as hell, you can tell these are good people who are trying their best under difficult circumstances.  When I asked for Annie, I was pointed towards the back where all the animals are held.  I found her by the two rabbits they had for adoption. With the constant chorus of dogs barking (over half of whom are Pit Bulls), I don’t know how anyone can think.  She vaguely recalled meeting me before. Finally, it dawned upon her and her expression changed suddenly to that of someone who misplaced her keys.  “Oh, right!  Where is that bunny?  I remember taking him in, but I don’t remember adopting him out. Oh my!”   She suggested I talk to Dave, one of the overwhelmed front desk employees to find out what happened to the little guy.

It took a bit of searching, but Dave eventually found the little guy’s record. “That was Clarence. He was adopted a couple of days after you brought him in” he said matter-of-factly. Annie seemed a bit surprised  and even a little disturbed  as I assume she is responsible for screening the potential rabbit adopters. I was disturbed too knowing the little guy went out the door without the potential adopter being vetted.  That was the main reason I wanted some guarantees that he would go to rabbit rescue because I know Judy would  make sure that he went to a good home and would be properly cared for and not put outside in a hutch to be left alone and ignored once some child has grown bored with it. Annie said she would follow up on the little guy and would give me a call.

A couple of days later I got a call from Annie with the good news.  The little guy got adopted by a rabbit savvy woman who also had a spayed female indoor bunny.  She had done a home visit and saw for herself that he was in very good hands. I could hear in her voice she was very happy and touched by the little guy’s good fortune.  I got a little verklempt when I first heard that message. In fact, I get a little verklempt every time I have replayed for anyone who may be interested.   I’m just ridiculously happy for the little guy.

Breaking the pattern


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


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


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.


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.


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.

Stuff that isn’t getting done


The problem with being a lazy Buddhist, ah hell, a lazy anything, is that shit just doesn’t get done.  You see, I’m not just lazy when it comes to my Buddhist practice, I can exercise this trait with almost anything.   But, I have my excuses, er, reasons.  I blame work.  This whole commuting and working full time thing drains a girl.  Even though projects and chores await me when I get home from work most of the times I simply don’t have the energy, or I simply don’t wanna.  And then on the weekend there is the boyfriend, chores that simply can’t be put off  (remember I do have four litter box using creatures) plus the obligatory thought that I must do something fun during those two days.  So, can you see it?  Can you see how shit doesn’t get done?  So, here are some projects and topics that are dying to be tackled yet are just sitting there staring at me with these big pleading eyes making me feel as guilty as hell.

  1. Last weekend after my big black walnut tree was chopped down (oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to post pictures or video of that) I went out and bought a bunch of plants.  I figured now that that area was filled with sunlight I might as well fill it with pretty flowers and a tomato plant or two.  They are all still out there in their original pots.  Hey, at least I did remember to water them this week.
  2. Momma got herself some new toys.  A week or so I got a Flip MinoHD video camera.  It’s cute, small, easy to operate and cheap!   But, I quickly discovered my old, out of date computer didn’t have the horsepower to even download the videos off the camera, so I bought a laptop (oh yeah, I need to Yelp my experience at Fry’s).  Sure, it seems to silly to have to buy a new computer to support a camera that cost less than $200, but I really needed one anyway, so this was a fine excuse.   Now this whole world of video shooting and editing lies before me . . . geez, you mean I’m not going to become Scorsese overnight?  Who has time for a learning curve?  The world needs to see my epic The Feral Cats of Point Richmond NOW.
  3. Lately I have a lot of new old friends, courtesy of Facebook.  And frankly, I have a lot of mixed feelings about them.  Good fodder for a blog entry . . . eventually.
  4. Point Richmond, my lovely little community, just started having a weekly farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago. And while farmer’s markets are a dime a dozen these days, it’s been nice to go to our hometown market, shop for veggies and cheap orchids while running into people I know in the community.  It’s not a huge market, but they have a good selection.  I love to buy farm fresh fruits and vegetables.  But cooking them?  Well, I have ideas of what to do.  Tasty ideas.  Healthy ideas.  Oh, the veggies are getting old?  Thank goodness for the bunnies, they like their veggies raw and don’t mind if they are a few days old.
  5. My retreat starts in a week.  And if I’m really going to do this sucker I need to start making arrangements for a cat sitter, make a reservation to board the bunnies, and buy a one cup coffee maker (they don’t supply coffee, but you can bring your own).  Mostly I have to find my lost enthusiasm for this project which was apparently abducted by my fear and anxiety.

Hablo espanol? No, but I know how to count


One of the things I’ve been meaning to do for a very long time is to learn Spanish.  I live in California, for cryin’ out loud where approximately 25% of the population (and growing) speaks Spanish.  The names of our major cities – San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento – are all of Spanish origin.  The legacy of once being part of Mexico runs deep in our state.  So, really, unless you want to cut yourself off from a large part of our population and our past, it’s silly not to speak at least a bit of Spanish.

Sure, I took Spanish in junior high many many many many (OK, we get the point, you’re old) years ago.  I think that was the only language offered in junior high.  Once I hit high school, I started taking French.  It felt so much more sophisticated and well, foreign.   Besides, the Spanish classes were filled with kids from Spanish speaking households who were taking Spanish for an easy A.  In French class we could pretend we sounded good.  You couldn’t get away with that in Spanish.

I continued taking French in college.  And while I was never pretentious enough to wear a beret, I did enjoy getting drunk, smoking Gauloises and speaking slurred French (which actually helped my accent).  And then because my major required two foreign languages, I started to take Italian.  Why Italian and not Spanish?  Why not use my language requirement to learn a language I might actually use?  Because, my friends, my goal was not to actually speak a foreign language, but to watch foreign films without having to depend on the subtitles.  Spain and Latin America, at the time, were not doing anything of note film-wise, so I opted for Italian.  Yeah.  Feel free to chuckle.  I was a pompous ass, I admit it.

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