International Women’s Day, pt.2: Finding Sally Dawley

After posting the pic of Margaret Thatcher for the International Women’s Day tribute, I felt I should choose another candidate, one closer to home. I just met her two days ago, but her dedication to her cause has garnered kudos and international recognition and my respect.  Her name is Sally Dawley and she is affectionately known around these parts as “The Butt Lady of Auburn”.   This interesting moniker came about in 2014 when she started picking up butts along her daily walk and thus began her odyssey that continues today.

How I came to meet her has its own quirky story.  Don’t worry – I’ll make it brief!  I’m a big Trailer Park Boys fan and have a subscription to their Swearnet website and on their podcast episode #133, they congratulated Sally and asked for help contacting her because they want to talk to her themselves.  That was an unusual request – I’d never seen them do that before.  So, I thought, hey!  I live near Auburn, I’ve got free time, let’s find her!  A cursory Google search came up blank, Facebook zilch and even Duck-duck Go produced no results.  I now understood why the unusual request; she has absolutely zero web presence.  Thankfully, my first action of posting in the Auburn group on FB got me in touch with her.  Thanks everyone!

Our meeting was really unusual, and think about it;  to Sally, I’m some random stranger looking for her, who just wanted to let her know that a group of guys from Canada were looking for her.  Not suspicious at all.  It must have taken a leap of faith for her to call me.  I don’t know if I would have done the same!  When we finally talked the night before meeting, I had to explain that I am in no way affiliated with The Trailer Park Boys (they wouldn’t have me), only a fan who had time on her hands and likes helping people.  Weird, right?  The next morning I showed up at the appointed Starbucks, prepared with my laptop and headphones so she could see what had prompted all the furor.   Sally was amused by what she saw and was definitely game, and I thought, oh, great! mission accomplished.  Then we both looked at each other, and she asked, “What do we do now?”  I laughed and said I would give the appropriate people her phone number…in an e-mail.  She shook her head and explained she didn’t want that kind of information on the internet.  I ended up writing a letter to that effect, where, as far as I know, it’s sitting in someone’s inbox in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

When we were fairly comfortable with each other, we went out into the parking lot and, yes, you guessed it, picked up cigarette butts for about an hour.  Well, I got to use the clicker for the most part and she did the hard work.  During that time I found out that not only does she find butts while she’s out and about, she finds wallets, cash, (she’s collected $900 since 2014!), ponytail hair ties, and of course, used condoms.   And don’t worry if you drop your wallet with your credit cards, $1,000 cash and no ID – she’ll get it to you one or way or another.  She’s scrupulously honest that way, but if she finds a stray $20 here or there, the law of “Finders, Keepers” comes into play.

What saddened me and galvanized my respect for Ms. Dawley was that after about 20 minutes of picking up butts, the magnitude of what she was trying to accomplish hit me.  There was always another butt over there, by this fence post, trapped in the sidewalk cracks, underneath a truck trailer, disguised as dead leaf – it seemed endless.  I asked her if she’d noticed any difference in the volume of cigarette butts she was finding since she’d been receiving some notoriety and the city of Auburn had installed ashcans for smokers in public places.  She shook her head and said, “No, not really.”  Then she remarked how unusual it was to have someone helping her.  I was shocked at this point, and clarified if I’d understood her correctly, in that no one has ever helped her.  Nope.  I had heard it correctly.  Then I was really disappointed.  And really proud of her.  A lesser mortal would have given up well before the 1,000,000 mark.  As we were nearing the end of our time together, I asked her what message she wanted to get out, and she said, “For people to stop throwing their cigarettes everywhere.”  Ultimately, she wants everyone to stop smoking, but as seen through the eyes of this ex-smoker, that ain’t happening any time soon.  Besides the fact that it’s highly physically and psychologically addictive, it’s a tremendously personal decision and you’ve got to want to stop.

So next time you’re out on the town, or anywhere, for that matter, getting ready to toss your cigarette because you can’t find an appropriate place to put it, try field stripping.  That way, you’re less likely to find a cigarette butt in the stomach of the fish you caught that morning, you won’t have to worry so much about your dog eating a stray butt while you’re walking them and making them sick, the birds will have less to line their nests with and the landscape in general will start looking a lot better.

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For Those of You Marching on January 21st, 2017…

…and still haven’t started your Pussyhat Project! If you’re like me, using worsted will be the death knell for your hat because it will take too long; however, I want to wear one!  In the interest of saving time, I whipped out my calculator app on my phone and started with some baseline numbers.  As most of you know, when modifying a pattern, it’s a combination of math and “feel”, so if your noggin is…let’s say, anywhere from 19 – 22″, these numbers should work for you.

I searched my yarn and found every other color in the rainbow, except for pink.  Typical.  So the mock up here, will be just that.  As soon as I can find a ride to my LYS, I will be purchasing the yarn to make for me and a friend of mine.  So don’t worry, I know.  The color here is wrong!

In the interest of not being sued, I will generalize the information about the yarn by not giving the brand.  They’ve already dealt with me before, and to keep it brief, let’s just say my issues are that I am a California girl, born and bred – LOL!  Anyway to the modifications!  Using two skeins bulky gauge yarn and #13 knitting needles, cast on 28 sts.  Follow the instructions as written, keeping in mind that the bulkier yarn may make the ears larger – I’m doing it anyway!!!  And that’s it.

If you don’t knit, or would prefer a crocheted version, I found this pattern:  https://www.pussyhatproject.com/crochet/

Need to find where the march is in your state?  I googled “women’s march 2017” and put your state.  You will be able to find information.  I checked some random states, and was pleased to see all had at least a Facebook page.  Hope to see all my sisters, be you female, male, transgender or otherwise, out marching with us on Saturday 21, 2017.

 

All Good Things Must Come to an End

I'm going to miss his lovely face.

I’m going to miss his lovely face.

After two years of working at the local cannabis clinic, my interests have lead me elsewhere.  I will miss meeting all the people who came in:  the miracle stories, the walking wounded, and the chronic pain sufferers and even the slackers.  They all had their stories; some of them were horrific, some amusing, some were inspiring, but all very human.  When I first started here, I was dubious about the efficacy of marijuana, but after seeing real results, I have now changed my mind; I even got up and made a speech at a city hall meeting to defend our need for a local dispensary.  Anybody who knows me understands I HATE speeches and how much this experience has changed my attitude toward the much maligned cannabis plant.  So it is with mixed emotions that I bid farewell to a controversial field and start some trouble of my own!

I know I mentioned several years earlier that I was having trouble putting aside my camera for good.  I gave away so much because I was “done”.  Since writing that blog, I have had several gigs for friends, mostly as a favor or a trade and I have stumbled upon a cool sideline, doing social media, to include my photography, for local businesses.  These are not what I would consider paying gigs, as so far, I have been doing it for trade.  I get food credits for Cafe Luna, and cheese credit for Wheyward Girl, (no, Wheyward Girl does not reflect my images or my handiwork  – yet!) and honestly, I think I’m getting the better end of the deal on these!  I’m now focusing my attention on other local businesses that are running on a shoestring budget but need the help.  What better way than to offer a trade if cash money is tight?  Let’s keep it local, right?  And you are buying local, correct?!  I won’t get on that soapbox today, because I am guilty of making weekly trips to the closest Wally World for those super economical deals – damnit!vanilla latte socks with two colors

As for my other loves, knitting and crocheting, that goes without saying that they’ll be in my life.  I will continue to make designs, review patterns or tools of the trade and bitch about my latest disaster, be it knitting or crocheting – never fear.  I am currently ignoring a pair of socks, using the basic Vanilla Latte Socks pattern, my fave.  The pattern is free, so snatch it up!

See you in the funny pages!

Post Script:  I just published it and noticed all the links I have in this article – oops!  They’re good references, but you’re off the hook if you don’t want to follow them.

MexiCali Squash Casserole

Mexicali Squash (1)At my home, we’ve been incorporating more and more organic foods to our pantry and fresh fruits and vegetables. This means we have had to severely curtail our intake of meat, as there just isn’t the room for it in our budget. But that’s ok. As I’ve talked about before, I’ve been trying to cut it out of my diet as much as possible anyway.  That means I’ve had to get creative, and sometimes, the results haven’t been so good.  But we keep trying.

And then, out of the smoke haze of failed dinners past, comes a creation so good, it’s worthy of sharing.  Not only that, it makes a goodly amount so there are delicious leftovers for lunch.

But I wax poetic and you just want the recipe!  So, without further ado, here it is.

 

 MexiCali Squash Casserole

2              lbs yellow or zucchini squash, cubed or sliced

4              eggs

½             cup of milk

1              lb. Monterey jack cheese, shredded

1              tsp. salt

2              tsp. baking powder

3              tablespoons flour

½             cup chopped cilantro

4              roasted, chopped poblano chiles

1 ½         cups of crushed tortilla chips

 

Cook squash in water until barely tender.  Drain.  While squash is cooking, combine all the other ingredients, minus the chips; pour into a greased or Pammed 9 x 13” baking pan.  Put half of the chips on the mix, then top with squash, then sprinkle the rest of the chips on top.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

 

Serves 6 – 8-ish

I served it with my version of Mexican rice.  If enough of you want the recipe to that, let me know and I’ll post it also.  That is a tried and true dish that is sure to please.

Enjoy!

I Love My Job

I will start this post by admitting that it has two distinctly separate thoughts with a fine thread that connects the two. I think, technically, that it could qualify for two separate entries, but we’re not going to do that. I’ll start with the whole reason that compelled me to write this poorly composed thought…

To begin with, we’re all guilty of running on auto-pilot from time to time, especially at work. You get caught up in the daily routine of small details, and not so small details, that go into working at an office. Detail checking needs to be improved, more files need to be scanned, get the credit card machine fully functional, and discover why the picture taking apparatus works on a sporadic basis while making appointments, setting up new patients, updating returns, blah, blah, blah….you know, work.

Then something stops you short in your tracks to remind you why you’re doing this.

And that happened on Thursday, July 30.  Our last patient.*  She was running late and we’d had a slow day.  You know the situation.  When she came in I thought she looked familiar.  I took care of her input information and noticed the picture we had of her from last year.  Did not look like the same woman; haggard, tired and sick.  This year, she wore make-up, had done her hair and looked good.  I checked some details and found out last year, she was going through chemo, wore a handkerchief over what was probably a bald pate at the time and she had stage IV lung cancer.

I checked again.  Stage IV?  I have included a link to the American Lung Association so you may read for yourself the grim survivability rates are at this point.  I have known people with lung cancer, and I’ve known for quite some time that lung cancer, usually because of when it’s detected, is fatal.  And it’s fast.  Technically, the patient shouldn’t have been here, but against all odds, she was.  And even looking healthy.

When her visit with the doctor was over, I had to speak with her and her caregiver/daughter.  They came out all smiles and I had their recommendations printed up.  I told her how happy we were to see that she was here and what a great thing this was.  Her daughter described the desperate days of last year when she didn’t think her mother would make it and how she became very aggressive with the cannabis oil treatment.  And here she was, downgraded to Stage I lung cancer.

As the details unfolded, I thought of my Uncle Bill who died recently, and how studies in the specific brain tumor type he had showed great results when treated very aggressively with the cannabinoids found in marijuana.  Unfortunately, he’d been in Tennessee when this happened, and the doctors he and his immediate family consulted were concentrating only on traditional methods.  What a waste.  Then I looked at the patient in front of me, happy and given a fighting chance at living out the rest of her life without the immediate threat of cancer looming over her.  I ducked my head, wiped at my eye  and murmured something about having to print up something(yes, just like that), while my co-worker, Wendy, was openly crying, dabbing at her eyes with a kleenex.

Did the marijuana help or was the patient going to improve anyway with the chemo?  I don’t know.  I related this story to my general practitioner and his tone was very neutral when he said that was really unusual.  I understood his position.  Doctors in California have to be careful about their stance on marijuana; it’s not covered under any insurance, the federal government does not recognize its legality here or in other states and they have to consider the general consensus of what their patients think of it.  Most doctors with a private practice can’t afford to jeopardize their standing in the community, medical or otherwise.

But think about it:  A plant that has medicinal qualities, never caused a death from overdose, and even has the venerable AMA wanting to do clinical studies and the federal government has it classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.  I know, I know, I think I’ve talked about this before and until the issue is resolved, I’ll probably talk about it again.  When you have a documented case of stage IV lung cancer being reversed in an elderly patient, wouldn’t you want to how much of this was the traditional medicine, how much was the marijuana, how much was genetics?  So why is the government dragging their feet?  How many more people have to die?  And WHY?

Inhale deeply. Hold for 10 seconds.  Exhale.

Ok.

The doctors who are usually associated with cannabis have mixed motivations as to why they are practicing this.  Most of them are employees of a larger company with the protection that comes from having a group; kind of like

Dr. Banister wearing the hat I made for him for his birthday

Dr. Banister wearing the hat I made for him for his birthday

an umbrella.  The stories I’ve heard from some of the patients about their experiences at other clinics are appalling.  Patients packed in tiny waiting rooms, overworked staff and a quick how-de-do with the doctor.   No real information is given and definitely no rapport is gained with the individuals.  The three of us who work up front definitely try to make the experience go smoother, and the doctor who works here is in it for the right reasons, as far as I’m concerned.  He is a favorite for many around here and wherever he works, they’ll follow.

When his birthday rolled around this year, I thought I’d make him something special.  I put

Using the duplicate stitch was the only option here!

Using the duplicate stitch was the only option here!

aside my shrug (yes, I’m still stuck in the monotony of knitting 46 inches of pure stockinette!) and quickly whipped up a hat.  I tried to make the leaf look realistic, but in the end, I freehanded the Rx to leave no doubt as to what kind of plant was being depicted.  It took me awhile to get the plant graphic down, as I used an image of a real leaf.  Nature is not symmetric!  He accepted the gift with aplomb and said that definitely, he would wear it when he went skiing.  And no, it didn’t escape my attention that I was giving him a knit beanie on the hottest day of the year.  Oh, well.

 

*Patient names not used to protect identity.

Good Causes

walk for a dog

Click on this image to download the app!

Now that I’ve had 12 days to mope over my birthday, and only four more days to (hopefully) close escrow on our new house, I wanted to share a cause with you all.  A good cause.  I know, these days, everyone has a soapbox to preach on, but this is something that’s close to my heart, and obviously, many other people.

All it is, really, is an app you can download on either your android or iPhone and put in some basic information, so that whenever you walk your dogs, a portion of money is donated to your favorite animal shelter.  It’s that easy.  And no, no one is taking money from your bank account and no, you won’t be spammed to death from animal-related causes/societies, and yes, it may actually encourage you to get out more with your dog!  It worked for me.

One of my little stinkers!

One of my little stinkers!

I’ve tried putting a banner on my this website, but for some reason I can’t figure it out in the widgets section.  Anyone?  For now, I’ll just put it in this post and in the meantime, I’d love to hear if anyone can help me out on that banner!  BTW, the random text/HTML widget doesn’t cut it.