Yes, I’ve been out exploring on the desert again! I’m already cowering from those of you who have read my previous posts and seen pictures of my injuries from my last ‘trip’ down a mine.  You’ve got the paddles out, I just know it.  Getting into the jeep to set out, my neighbour looked me in the eye and said, “Stay out of the f****** holes!”  Never one to mince words, is Barb.


Been down the mine & survived!

THIS time I did not fall into an abandoned mine.  Determined to overcome crushing claustrophobia, I walked into it with my trusty dog and three companions. For those of you who are snake phobic (add this one to my list too), I have been thoroughly assured that they are all in hibernation at this time of year.  All I would need is to see the hind end of one slithering away from me and I would instantly climb a Saguaro cactus screeching all the way to the top.  Sidewinder or rapier sharp cacti barbs?  No brainer for me.

Armed with three flashlights, the four of us and Atma picked our way on a downward sloping, loose rock strewn mine floor.  As I kept glancing over my shoulder I could see the daylight of the entrance way getting smaller and smaller and then disappearing.  Pitch black without those flashlights. A fair ways down we came to an area which gave us a choice of several branches of tunnels.  Our friends, Sue and Dean, had been in this mine a few times before and mentioned that there is one branch they just won’t go down because you can really feel the passageway getting warmer the further one goes.  I don’t believe in this place, but the word ‘Hades’ comes to mind!

I had turned myself around a couple of times while shining my flashlight down the various tunnels and suddenly realizing I did not know which one was the way out.  I put a 100 pound manhole lid on my panic and was at the front of the line when Dean said, “Let’s go back” and pointed down a tunnel that I would not have chosen. 


Don't let go of my hand!

We stopped to take pictures by flashlight on the return hike on a now upward slope when Dean pointed out a murky green glow coming from a wall about 50 feet back from where we had been.  OOkayyy, I’m outta here!!  Finally seeing the daylight in the entranceway it felt like the Pearly Gates beckoning and I was so happy to climb over the last few rocks, out into the world again and succeed in not giving in to the claustrophobia.


BTW, Dean finally told us the

Welcome back to daylight

 green glow was just the phosphorous in the rock wall that had retained some of the light from our flashlights for a short time.  If you come across a man with a long white beard and a ball cap pinned to a Saguaro cactus by a few hundred long barbs that’s Dean and that’s where I put him!


We're saving up to buy this beauty


We’ve been to a taco fair, a tamale festival and a balloon glow.  Three separate events.  Loved the tacos but could very nicely live without eating another tamale (Atma ate most of mine).  All was made well afterward when we went to the date farm and partook of a succulent, thick date shake.

The balloons were magical.  The baseball field was crammed with a plethora of eye-popping colour in the form of propane heated orbs bobbing lightly in the currents of air. 


Glowing balloons

The general public was welcomed onto the grounds to explore, inspect and ask questions of the pilots.  At this evening event, the balloons did not actually leave the ground, but as dusk approached and it became gradually darker, the voice on the loudspeaker would do a countdown whereupon all the balloons would turn on their burners and every balloon would instantly glow from within.  Of course it was more and more spectacular as the darkness deepened and the contrast of light and dark caused the myriad of colours to produce a chorus of oh’s and ah’s from the onlookers.  The sound effects of all those burners hissing and roaring only added to the excitement. It was a perfect night with no wind and an infinitely clear sky.

Atma got her first haircut!  You may recall seeing her

Atma before first haircut (there's a dog in there somewhere)

very first picture earlier on this blog where she is hairless and scrounging for any morsel of food that might be left in an already cleanly picked over garbage pile on the side of a Kathmandu street.  We were so thrilled when her hair began to grow that I was loathe to cut it, but her face had disappeared behind a thick veil of hair growing in several

Ah-Ha! I knew she was in there

directions and she was soon going to be tripping over her own hairy feet! When she ran and played with other dogs she resembled a flying blanket.

 I found myself the recipient of a rather stimulating 45 seconds while in the Bath & Body Works store recently.  It started out as me looking for a practical substance with which to treat my onion-skin thin, dry epidermis which passes for my skin while I live in this arid desert climate. I quickly became thoroughly lost in the enjoyment of a phenomenal sale of exquisite scents, bottles, colours and variety of products with which to pamper myself.  I had been given a store shopping bag while I browsed and had been filling it with luscious sounding lotions, shower gels and crèmes with names such as Coconut Lime, Dancing Waters and Sandalwood Rose that I barely realized the earth was moving.  It was only when bottles started tumbling from the shelves and hitting the floor that I was stunned into the realization that an earthquake was happening!

The brain says ‘earthquake’, the body just stands there, the brain again says ‘earthquake’ and the body still stands there but the eyes look around as if there is a safe place to go.  By the time the brain and the body connect, it’s over.  All the customers chatter and nervously laugh with each other as we all stoop to pick up bottles and return them to the shelves. 

I have been remiss with this blog since arriving in Yuma for the winter.  I usually write at least once a month.  We had a sad event take place in early November and knowing I would want to write to you about it, it has taken some time for me to be able to do it without being plunged deeper into a grief that I am just now beginning to cope with. 

In my last post I kept you entertained with the struggle to keep Sid, our cat, in diapers, medicated and regularly bathed in the bathroom sink.  It was all worth it to get his problem healed and him back to normal, and he was well on his way back to that.


Sid, artistry by my friend Sue

Two days before driving our RV up to Las Vegas for a business event I was to attend, we took Sid to our Yuma vet for a simple enema.  The vet made a decision to do a small surgery on his rectum instead.  While in Vegas Sid became very sick and we doubled his antibiotics and increased the Betadine cleansing of his surgical area, but he just got more and more ill.  Five days after his small surgical procedure we rushed him to the Las Vegas Emergency Animal Clinic where a wonderful Vet took him well in hand and literally saved his life.  We were told that if we had not brought him in he would have died by morning.He was in shock with temperature too low, had a vicious bacteria in his colon slowly killing his tissue, in pain, dehydrated and in need of drains and strong intravenous antibiotics.  The exceptional people at this hospital kept him alive and comfortable until the following Monday morning when he could be transferred to the Las Vegas Veterinary Referral Hospital where tough cases go and surgery for Sid to be performed.

A renowned surgical veterinarian spent a fair bit of time with us explaining all the possible scenarios and outcomes and Sid’s chances were 50/50.  Just after beginning the surgery he called us to tell us there was a tear in Sid’s rectum through which feces had entered his abdomen and caused the infection.  Unfortunately this tear was in already dying tissue and could not be repaired.  We had to make the devastating decision to allow Sid to go.  We went to the hospital to be with him where I held him, soaked his head with my tears and sent him over the Rainbow Bridge. The worst was that he did not have to die.  Both attending Vets agreed that it was the procedure performed by the vet in Yuma that had caused the damage, it should only have been done by a specialist if at all. 

After a few weeks DB and I went to visit this Vet and quietly and calmly spoke with him about Sid’s case telling him we were not interested in pursuing litigation, but that we felt he should reimburse us the cost of Sid’s care in Las Vegas.  To his credit he took ownership and responsibility for his mistake, did not try to defend his position, was very apologetic, thanked us for coming to see him and a few days later we received his cheque in the mail for the full amount of the Las Vegas costs.  It was thousands of dollars.

The bottom line is we lost our beautiful, inside and out, Sid and we are still adjusting.  He was a very special soul. How do we cope with the fact that he died ‘needlessly’?  Well, many of you are aware of my philosophy to create value in all things.  We all have a life purpose including our pets and if one of Sid’s reasons for being here was to teach a Vet to be a better doctor for subsequent patients, then so be it.  It was the choice of Sid’s spirit and we have to honour that.  We enjoyed and exchanged such love with him for almost 12 years and for that I am supremely grateful.

We are also extremely grateful for those of you upon hearing the news sent us your love, support and comforting words.  They helped so very much!

We wish you all a very Happy New Year with your dreams of 2010 unfolding into abundant reality for you and your loved ones. Bless you in this exciting and energy filled new year.


My Boy Sid