All is well

It’s been 22 days since my last vomiting cycle started and I am not sick yet.

My primary care clinic suggested that, as these were happening every three weeks and generally started several days before the start of my menstrual period, perhaps it was a hormonal thing. So they put me on the Pill.

Maybe the Pill is working. It’s a bit early to tell yet, since these cycles haven’t been occurring EXACTLY every three weeks, but I am hopeful.

All is reasonably well on my end. I’m very happy I adopted Kinsey. It’s hard to believe it’s been less than two months since she came to live with us. She’s such a sweetheart, and very laid-back and chill, which suits me just fine. She and the cats are getting along fine.

Here she is begging salami off me:

kinsey

And here I am, as of a few minutes ago, with Orville in the background:

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All is well, doggo-wise

My adoption of Kinsey into our home has gone swimmingly. She always wants to be with me and here she is in my office settling down for the night:

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She has a dog bed but doesn’t always want to use it. The cats are weirded out by her but very curious about her.

When they’re in the same room together, Carmen just sits and stares intensely at her, and will sometimes raise her back when Kinsey gets too close for comfort, but there has been any aggression or even hissing. So far, Kinsey has really noticed her exactly one time. She was like, “Oh, what’s that? *sniff sniff sniff* Not interesting. I’ll back to following the hooman.”

Aria on the other hand keeps creeping up to where Kinsey is, then retreating and hiding, then creeping up again, closer each time. Tonight as Michael and I watched TV in the living room and Kinsey lay curled up on the floor, Aria got within like four inches of her before losing her nerve and fleeing.

I don’t know if they’ll ever be friends but right now I’m delighted that they just tolerate each other. Kinsey has no prior experience with house cats at all, only ferals.

We gave her a bath tonight in the yard, Michael and I, using a hose, a kiddie paddling pool, a bucket, Dawn Dish Soap and a judicious application of dog treats. She’ll get a proper bath done by professionals at the vet’s office a week from tomorrow, but in the meantime she at least smells better.

She’s shedding like mad, she’s half Labrador Retriever and half Husky and has the Husky undercoat. She’s shedding 2.5 dogs a day and no matter how much I brush it’s never enough. She leaves a trail of black fur wherever she goes. Ima have to vacuum. Michael’s parents will be thrilled when they find out about her (not).

As for today’s updates, the Rosselys Felix Hernandez case is particularly sordid and upsetting. As her fifteen-year-old daughter was a missing child for two months and presumed to be in the company of a suspected sexual predator, her name and photos were publicized and are plastered all over the internet. But I decided not to name her in the casefile, since she is a rape victim and a minor. Poor kid.

Perhaps with all these charges against Mr. York he might be persuaded to talk about his wife’s case with more candor than he has in the past. He’s probably going to prison for a very long time in any case. Better to go as a wife-killer than as a child rapist, I would think. Or maybe York told Rosselys’s daughter some things while they were together this spring.

So I am a dog mom now

These past several days I’ve had a guest, and we’ve been doing quite delightful but exhausting labor. He left this morning and I went to do what I had been postponing until his departure: adopt my mom’s dog.

I had made the decision to adopt her about two weeks ago, but had in the intervening time been getting materials etc. together, and it would have been inconvenient if she’d been here at the same time as my guest. But now she is here. Meet Kinsey:

kinsey

Before I let her in the house I gave her a thorough brushing, and she will need more of that as she’s shedding. Michael and I are going to give her a bath outside tomorrow; she smells pretty bad. I just got back from taking her for her first walk in her new home. She sniffed many things, went #1 and drank from a puddle.

The cats are very suspicious about the huge furry creature currently occupying their mom’s office, but Kinsey has paid almost no attention to them in the limited opportunities she’s had. I’ve got the office door shut right now, as Kinsey is out of her crate and chilling on the ground behind me.

After she gets her bath and doesn’t smell so much we’ll see about letting her explore the rest of the house. The plan is, until she and the cats are used to each other, to leave the office door open but crate her whenever the humans are out of the house.

I’m hoping one of these times I might return home to find the cats and Kinsey in my office sniffing each other through the bars. I think they will grow to tolerate each other pretty soon and who knows, maybe they will be friends.

Kinsey’s flea treatment has worked and the hair is already growing back on her bald spot. I think she’s got some mats on her haunches as she doesn’t like me brushing there, but that’s what really needs brushing the most. Michael will help me. He isn’t terribly enthusiastic about getting a dog, being more of a cat person, but he is committed to letting her live out her senior years here. I wouldn’t have taken her otherwise.

Wisconsin Trip 2018

So last weekend I went to the Fourth Annual Wisconsin Missing Persons Awareness Event. (I also went to the first and second ones, but missed last year’s.) Here are some articles about it:

I arranged for an Airbnb and said I would be at my hosts’ house by six on Friday. But I left a bit early, and I had forgotten also that I would gain an hour by traveling west. So I was in Illinois, contemplating what to do about this extra time, when I saw a sign for the Illinois Holocaust Museum and I stopped there.

I wound up dropping $70 on books at the gift shop — and they were worth every penny. I didn’t get to see the whole museum but it seemed really nice, and I enjoyed walking on this exhibit which was set in the floor:

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So I got up into Wisconsin and in the last two hours or so of the drive I realized the car was making a funny noise. It was louder than normal. There didn’t seem to be any difference in the driving, but the engine was suddenly REALLY REALLY LOUD.

I arrived at my Airbnb and was let inside by a lovely married couple with two little kids. The wife escorted me to my room and the first question I asked was a recommendation for a mechanic. I didn’t want to risk a six-hour drive home on a faulty vehicle. The nice lady gave me a mechanic friend’s cell phone number.

The mechanic’s name was Matt. He agreed to collect my car from the Airbnb’s driveway and look at it in his shop while I was attending the next day’s event. I then messaged Marsha Loritz, the event organizer, to ask for a ride to the event, two miles from my Airbnb, the next morning. Marsha said she would ask a friend to pick me up.

The next morning the mechanic came and took my car away, and time passed and I waited patiently but Marsha’s friend never arrived to pick me up. Finally I got a ride with the nice Airbnb husband, a work-from-home dad who cheerfully put coats on his toddlers, bundled all of us into his car and trucked me over to the place. (I later gave this couple five stars and a glowing review on Airbnb.)

So I showed up slightly late and Marsha’s friend saw me and was like “OMG did I forget to pick you up?” and was upset with herself but I shrugged it off. I was there. It didn’t matter.

The first hour or so consisted of standing at my table and answering questions from passersby. I got a call from the Matt the mechanic. My car’s wheel bearing was broken. I COULD drive it home, but there was a slight chance that at highway speeds the wheel would come flying off and cause an accident that might kill someone, possibly me. Or he could fix the car right then and there.

Of course I wanted the car fixed, but there was a rub: Matt didn’t take credit cards and I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay for the repair. He recommended someone else, but that shop turned out to be closed on weekends, and I was looking at the very real prospect of getting stuck in Wisconsin with no wheels until Monday.

I was quietly wigging out about this when I was approached by SAR (search and rescue) dog handler Rachel, my friend and fellow event attendee. I told her my problem and she promptly offered to lend me all the cash I needed to pay for the repair! Rachel saved my butt!

Problem fixed. She took me to Matt’s place after the event (stopping at an ATM for cash on the way), and went inside with me to meet Matt to make sure he wouldn’t be a creep. I paid him and drove home.

Getting back to the event itself: it was quite awesome. Rachel took this photo of me there:

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There were at least seven dogs present. Four of them were therapy dogs (from left: Louise, Gracie, Ava and Bernie.)

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There were also at least three SAR dogs. Rachel brought her Dutch Shepherd Rieken, and there was also Calvin, who was delighted to meet everyone and hammed it up for ear rubs and “good boy”s:

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And there was this SAR-puppy-in-training who was trying to be professional but kept jumping on people:

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Amber Wilde‘s family was there. Bobby Joe Fritz‘s family was there. DonaMae Bourgeois Bayerl‘s family was there. Marsha Loritz and her sister lost their mother, Victoria Lynn Prokopovitz, I’m sure other families were there as well but I didn’t see everyone. It was pretty well attended, pretty crowded.

The keynote speaker was Patty Wetterling. Of course most of you know the story of her young son Jacob, who was found in 2016, nearly thirty years after he was abducted at gunpoint. I didn’t get really good photos of her, but there’s this article you can read about her speech which has pics.

Patty told the story of Jacob’s kidnapping and the subsequent 27-year investigation into what happened. I hadn’t been previously aware of the role played by Jared, who was also a victim of Danny Heinrich.

Heinrich, Jacob’s killer, specialized in what I’d refer to as “grab-and-gropes.” He would basically snatch a child — a boy of a certain age — and drag him into his car, sexually abuse him, then release him within minutes. Jared was snatched a few months before Jacob was taken.

As the years passed Jared became convinced that whoever had done this to him had also taken Jacob, and he thought the perpetrator must have committed many, many similar crimes that were not reported to the police. Because you know, it’s a young boy just getting into adolescence, they’re embarrassed and ashamed, don’t want to talk to cops or parents about what happened to them.

But they might talk to Jared, because he was also a victim. So he started reaching out saying basically “this happened to me, and if anything similar happened to you, please come to me and let’s talk because we need to identify this man.”

Patty talked about campfire gatherings of Heinrich’s victims, where they would tell their stories while staring into the fire, because something about the presence of the fire got people to open up. You weren’t looking into someone’s face and seeing all the shock and horror and whatever as you walked, you were just talking to a fire.

The cops worked very hard on the case, and the Wetterling family worked very hard, but without Jared I’m not sure this would have ever been solved.

Patty also talked about how in the immediate aftermath of the abduction, other people began to prey on the family. Specifically, she mentioned several men who came, supposedly to help support the family and support the search effort, but really to creep on the kids. Like, they’d offer to babysit all the kids while all the grownups in the town were out searching for Jacob, then they’re creep on them.

This was absolutely vile. I hadn’t even considered that someone would want to do that. Patty said she learned the hard way — and she advised other families of missing children, so they wouldn’t have to learn the hard way — to run background checks and ask for credentials for everyone who showed up offering to help.

She also made a lot of good points about education. How parents need to be educated about signs to look for, signs of predatory adults, signs that children are being abused. How children need to be educated to know when they’re being creeped on, or taken advantage of, and to know who to go to for help.

(It reminds me of an episode from my own childhood: when I was in second grade I was repeatedly touched inappropriately by an older boy on the school bus. On the ride home from school this boy — who, it must be said, was severely mentally handicapped, nonverbal, and probably didn’t have the capacity to realize what he was doing — would sit on top of me on the bus seat and touch me in a way he shouldn’t have.

This lasted for weeks and I kept coming home in tears over it. My mother asked why and all I could think of to say was “a boy is touching me and bothering me.” She did not understand what I was trying to tell her and thought it was a situation of teasing, and was like “so stand up to him and tell him to stop, then.”

This incident was referenced in the Longreads article about me. I remember the frustration I felt at the time, because I knew something was very wrong about this but I didn’t know what it was or how to explain it, and it didn’t occur to my mom to ask any questions like “Where exactly is he touching you?” And so nothing was done, and the situation continued until the boy got tired of this game and stopped of his own accord.

This could have all been avoided if even one of us had been properly educated, like Patty Wetterling was saying, on the signs to look out for and how to ask for help. Fortunately I wasn’t really traumatized by what happened, I think mainly because even at eight years old I realized this boy had something wrong with him and didn’t know what was he doing. It was just a very uncomfortable experience for me is all.)

So Patty Wetterling gave this awesome speech that had me tearing up, especially when she talked about the nice boy Jacob had been, and what the world lost when he died before he could become a man, and how people reached out to to help them in their grief and loss and show solidarity for them.

And Marsha gave a speech and read the names of missing people aloud, and their families got to come up and say “My name is so and so, and this person is my relative who disappeared from this town on this day.” It was very emotional.

Instead of a balloon release, Vincent, this year they did pinwheels instead. Each of us got a shiny foil pinwheel with the name of a missing person on it — I got Evon Young — and the suggestion that we could put it in our yard or our window or whatever in this person’s memory.

I handed out plenty of business cards. Then we all packed up and left, Rachel took me to my car, I paid the mechanic and I drove home, arriving shortly after midnight on Sunday.

I’ve been super tired since I got home but unable to sleep well. I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt well-rested. The medication I take messes up my sleep and I often wake up after only about four hours, unable to go back to sleep again even though I feel like hammered dog poo.

Ima start the engines again today though.

It’s been awhile since you’ve seen me

It’s been months since I posted any pictures of myself and I thought I’d post this one from Sunday. I put on full makeup cause I wanted to look pretty. I went on a charity walk for suicide prevention. While there I met a young woman with schizoaffective disorder (who actually inspired this week’s list) and we wound up walking together and talking the whole way. I’m not sure how long the walk was, but I parked a mile away and had to walk from there to the charity walk location and back, so I got plenty of exercise that day.

Anyway, here I am now, days before my 32nd birthday. I miss braiding my hair so I’m trying to grow out my pixie cut. Of course that’s always a pain in the butt. Normally I keep my bangs (which I’m also trying to grow out) pinned back because they annoy me, but they look a bit better flopping around so I left them un-pinned for the walk.

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Me on October 1, 2017

Well, that was fun

Yeah, so I’m back from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where they held an event today to honor the missing children of Ohio. Although I showed up in an unofficial capacity only, I had a blast.

I mainly came cause Gina DeJesus, one of the Cleveland kidnap survivors, was speaking. The event was at the Messiah Lutheran Church. I showed up slightly late and had to sit in the back. There were several speakers before Gina, and I spent some time trying to figure out which one of the people sitting in the audience was her. It was fairly easy because half or more of the attendees were black, and most of the rest were white. I zeroed in on two brown-skinned women in the front but couldn’t figure out which one was Gina. They turned out to be Gina and her older sister Myra.

My view from the back of the church; Gina is on the right and Myra is on the left.
My view from the back of the church during the sisters’ speeches; Gina is on the right and Myra is on the left.

Anyway, Gina read a speech off several sheets of paper about how it was important to pay attention to missing persons bulletins, and it was important to pay attention to your surroundings and the people in your neighborhood and so on because you never knew who might be hiding something. I mean, people went inside Ariel Castro’s house and had no clue about the women held captive there. I think a lot of that is because the idea that your friend, neighbor or relative might have three kidnapped women locked in his basement is just something that would not occur to most people.

Myra spoke also, and talked about what life was like having a missing family member. One of the things she mentioned was how a man known to the family told her parents, reassuringly, something like “Don’t worry, they won’t find her dead.”

That man was named Ariel Castro.

There was an intermission before a middle school choir showed up to sing a song. I went around talking to people — not Gina, I was not sure whether to approach her or not at that point — and handing out business cards. There were booths about various topics set up in the lobby and an adorable remote-controlled talking boat that went around telling people about boat safety. I told the boat about the time I nearly drowned in Lake Michigan at age five, failing to mention the fact that this near-tragedy did not involve a boat, just some poorly supervised beach time.

Me and the talking robot boat.
Me and the talking robot boat.
Gina (far right) with members of the anti human trafficking group Break Every Chain.
Gina (far right) with members of the anti human trafficking group Break Every Chain.

So after all that was over we had a balloon release in the parking lot. Fortunately the wind cooperated.

Just before the balloon release.
Just before the balloon release.
Post balloon release. Each one has a missing child's name attached.
Post balloon release. Each one has a missing child’s name attached.

Just before we all left, I decided to approach Gina after seeing some other people do so. We didn’t really talk but she consented to have her photo taken with me before we parted ways. I wish I had remembered to smile in the picture. It was one of those days where it was cloudy out (it rained later) but the light hurt your eyes anyway, and I was squinting so hard I forgot about smiling.

Gina DeJesus (right) and me.
Gina DeJesus (right) and me.

And then I went home.

Altogether it was a most profitable visit. I made some contacts and hope to return next  year.