Donate with holiday shopping (no cost to you)

My name is Juju.  You can raise funds to pay my vet bills just by shopping!

My name is Juju. You can raise funds to pay my vet bills just by shopping!

Donate through online shopping at GoodShop

You may have heard of GoodSearch, where instead of using Google or other search pages you search from this one and a donation goes to the organization of your choice every time you click. They are also associated with GoodShop, which gives me more bang for the buck–a small percentage of my online purchases (and there are lots!) adds up quickly this time of year, plus I have to say I’m really a Google addict and contributing through GoodShop makes me feel less guilty about the penny-per-search I lose in the other area.

Anyway, GoodShop or a variation has been around for awhile. The difference here is that GoodShop actually has a ton of places you would actually shop, like AMAZON! It also includes Target, Walmart, Office Depot, Gap, eBay, iTunes, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, NewEgg, and lots of other places (EDIT: even Travelocity is on there!). Donations seem to be around the 1% area, which vary per retailer. That may not seem like much to you, but our tiny rescue has earned $80 this year alone just from one-penny-per-click searches, so 1% coming off big holiday purchases can help us a lot!

I was able to install a toolbar on my browser so before I shop, I click on the store through that, and then I shop normally. The toolbar also alerts you to special coupon codes at that retailer! Once you pick your charity it remembers it for you. You have to go through the site/toolbar before shopping on the retailer’s site or your shopping donation won’t register, though I’ve noted the Amazon visits I make sometimes remember how I got there earlier. Anyway, the toolbar handily lights up as bright yellow when the donation is in effect, reminding me what I’m doing and also letting me know if it’s not working! (Another tip: if you are shopping and have stuff in your cart and realize you forgot to go through GoodShop first, you can generally go to the GoodShop link/toolbar, click to your retailer, and it will still have your stuff in the cart for checkout!)

There are thousands of organizations on GoodShop (the same ones on GoodSearch), so help out your favorite charity when you do your online shopping!

Note: the links in this blog post are prepopulated with our nonprofit, Indiana House Rabbit Society. If you click from links here and then shop (or search), you’ll automatically help our bunnies. But you can also switch to a different charity once you’re at the page if there is someone else you prefer to support!

Donate through online searches at GoodSearch

Donate through online shopping at GoodShop

Happy veggie Thanksgiving

I took this week off work and have been pretty much lying around, still recovering from last week’s illness and also unfortunately doing some work from home. I have (not particularly intentionally) reverted to my night owl ways, staying up very late and sleeping until normal persons’ lunch times. Something about 2 a.m. just seems like a great time to start projects or settle down to watch TV to me.

After illness and work stress and just not wanting to leave the house, we decided to stay home for Thanksgiving. It’s the first time I did not eat with one of our families. It was great! Of course I missed the folks at home, but I just didn’t want to drive six hours in a day, or even to David’s family event closer to home. And get this: I made great food I was excited to eat! Being vegetarian at Thanksgiving provides a lot of side dish opportunities but is overall not the meal I used to look forward to when I was a kid. This time, I chose the menu, and holy cow I haven’t had gravy that good in years.

thanksg09b thanksg09a

The mushroom and spinach galette was ok to good (NPR article/recipe); the pastry is a bit dry for my tastes but the filling has promise in another application. But the gravy recipe at that page was terrific! I suppose all the fat (olive oil) and flavor (onions, garlic, veg broth, spices) just came together in a way that reminded me of the tasty drippings of yore. Tasty, yes, but again this year I adopted a turkey instead.

David made mashed potatoes and I whipped up the standard roasted veggies for a meal so filling I didn’t have room for the pumpkin pie I also made. I’m excited about the (gravy) leftovers! I had intended to do a Quorn turk’y roast as well but Kroger was out and we had way too much food anyway.

eatmorveg
eat more chicken vegetables graffiti, Indianapolis

Of course today was Black Friday, and while I look forward to the ads for some reason (still a holdover from a history of the expectations of the season), I’m not usually compelled to go out in the fray. This time I considered it, then figured out I could shop online and actually pay less with online discounts than going to the doorbusters at ‘o-dark-thirty. Then I went back to bed!

When we were kids, we would craft our wish lists from looking at the Sears Wish Book and any other catalogs that came to the house. We often had rating systems to indicate how badly we wanted particular gifts. I remember the moms and grandmas and aunts getting together after Thanksgiving meal to discuss who was buying what for which kid–we knew to stay out of that room so they could decide! From then until Christmas was an exciting time, and I don’t think we were too spoiled, but maybe I just think that because our cousins got more junk than we did! It was easy to think we sacrificed for the family financial good when they had new stereos and TVs in their rooms each year while we just shared a video game system two years after it was initially released. I think our families were careful to get the items we would really play with, and the anticipation of Santa and stockings and the surprise Big Presents at the end of marathon gift opening sessions all made for a pretty neat holiday–not to mention the big family meals and waiting to watch each person open something in turn rather than tearing into the pile at once.

I still really enjoy Christmas, but I try very hard not to ask for or purchase items that won’t be valued and used. I definitely take more pleasure in buying for others now and in watching what others receive. It’s relaxing not to worry whether I’ll get some new gadget because I’m now in a position to just get it myself if needed. I try not to take that for granted. And I’ll be making my own gravy this Christmas as well.

Expatriate

“What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?”
-Adam Smith

The quote doesn’t have direct relation to this post but I really liked it the other day, and identified with it. It does set the stage for how I feel about preparing myself to be more flexible for opportunities that come my way by being “stable” in life, which I guess is a comment at least on financial and professional well-being, or just being in a good place. Allow me to share the big news, the decision that has given me nightmares, the huge change on the horizon:

We are moving to Ireland. Holy shit.

A couple of months of are you mobile? will you? maybe? for two years. is there a budget? wait for the meeting. what do you think? here are the benefits. dog quarantine. abandon pets. no, wait, only for a year and lesser benefits. hand wringing. never mind, good benefits are back. paperwork issues to cover domestic partner. how about insurance? most questions answered. And the answer is…yes?

Now, nothing is official until all the paperwork is done and visas are granted, but after all this time of not knowing and feeling like life has been on hold while figuring out how to handle an international move without really telling anyone has been pretty challenging. I feel like I will regret it if I don’t take this opportunity and I’ll never be offered another chance if I turn it down now. My employer is cutting jobs and yet asking if I would like to spend a year abroad at their expense. I’ve always wanted to do something like that. In fact, it’s just ‘life’ getting in the way that makes it hard: David’s business and our pets, and the general hassle of figuring out what to do with your stuff. But I have been saving money, simplifying my possessions and expenses and life, all to be able to take an opportunity just like this! It seems almost perfect: I’ll have the same job but in a new place and my employer pays all the expenses to get me there and back, and pays for my housing and car too. There will never be a better offer, I will never be less entrenched in life, I have enough funds to make it fun and I’m still young enough to call it an adventure but old enough that I don’t want to always sleep in hostels when I go on vacation. Add to that a partner who seems willing to try the adventure and we’re in business.

David and the dogs get to come. It’s hard to figure out how he will maintain a business back home (let alone an income in Ireland without a work permit), but we think he’ll stay behind the first couple of months while the dogs finish their at-home quarantine. Now I have to work to find guardians for my rabbits, an agonizing part of the decision to go. I have bunny friends I trust and I will set up a stipend plus cover vet fees, but a lot of my nightmares have been about doing wrong by my pets. Was it not contacts in rabbit rescue that got me this job in the first place? How can I send Arliss and Vegas to live with someone else? They’re OLD! Plus the pigs, who at least seem to have a place with my parents. And there’s even a frog becoming homeless.

There are so many things to plan I don’t quite know where to start, but at least I seem to be past the nightmare/decision stage and now we’re getting into the practical planning stuff. Departure for me won’t be for a couple of months. Just how much prep will I get done? Can I purge some of my belongings? I love the idea of living simply (a furnished place where I can’t haul most of my stuff anyway is a great starting point), but wow. Just figuring out what to do for a cell phone (this would be why I still haven’t gotten that iPhone) and banking and OH GEEZ I HAVE TO DRIVE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET… it can be overwhelming. Exciting, yes, but I’m a planner and this is stressful.

Short term: line up pet care (and get the buns healthy) and figure out what’s going to happen to the house while we’re gone. Mid-term: buy raingear? Couple months: move by myself and entertain myself for a couple of months. After that: stress about dogs in cargo hold.

But I bet County Cork will be fun!

Allihies, County Cork, Ireland

Any advice is appreciated.

Oh noes, apioectomy

I thought all my dental woes were behind me now that I’ve had my restoration done for about two years. Well, a couple months ago something started feeling ‘funny,’ so I went to my regular dentist to see if there was anything of concern. Several radiographs later, she saw nothing there, but did observe that one or more crowns had gaps at the margins and she wanted to replace them. She’s doing this at her cost, since she feels they were never seated completely in the first place (and when you do 20 crowns at once I can see where something might not fit ideally), so for me it’s just more hours in the chair and some deja vu.

Of course my dentist has moved to a new practice in Westfield, which takes forever and a day to drive to, but after all the work she did, I figure I better follow her. She’s the expert in this stuff. By getting a new practice, she now has digital x-ray, and that’s why she was able to see this glitch in my crowns that we didn’t see on the old school film x-rays at the dental school practice.

So I spent three hours Saturday morning having two crowns sawed off and then had my tissues under them lasered for a nice long time. This was slightly more pleasant than the old-school equivalent electrodentistry (and smelled less like stir fry, too). The tissue-retracting astringent was still nasty tasting but was able to be applied by syringe this time so it wasn’t as bad as the cord method. In a couple weeks I get to go back for the new crowns.

Meanwhile, she referred me to the endodontist who did the root canal on the tooth that was bothering me, who says I need another root canal on it! This one will go through the gums and come in from the root end, an apioectomy. Greaaat, another chance at gum surgery! He has already agreed to give me happy drugs for my anxiety.

I asked what could cause that, since I already had a root canal and crown on that tooth. He said, “trauma from extensive dental work.” Geez. I hope I don’t need this on all the rest of my teeth… and he already sees a dark area on a nearby molar.

EDIT: Hey look, I found the blog post from when the first root canal happened. And this cool one with a picture that talks about trying to avoid the apioectomy on a different tooth!

EDIT 2: Forgot to mention that they suggested I might need a bone graft – from a cadaver!

Consumer shitlist

Do not add me to your mailing list. Ever. Unless I ask to be on it. Just because I found your product online or bought something in your store doesn’t mean I want a relationship with you, future business with you, nor physical mail at my house. In fact, if I could order something to be shipped to my house without telling you where I live, I would.

OMG, great business opportunity: cloaking who orders stuff and where it goes! I can already get a single use instantly-generated number for my credit card to use online. What if they could cloak the rest of my identity during the purchase?

This problem afflicts my online donations to charity, too. Don’t make me a scrooge.

On the list so far recently:
Men’s Wearhouse (David had to rent a tux for a wedding. He doesn’t like you.)
DiscoveryStore (I bought someone a gift last year. I don’t like you either.)
Gardener’s Supply
Zappos.com magazine (whattttt?? It’s defined by its online-only existence!)
Sephora (Funny how my online profile says I’m not on your catalog list but I still get one)
American Diabetes Association (hardest mailing list I ever tried to get off)
Gleaners Food Bank
Farm Sanctuary
Wheeler Mission
Bike Nashbar
Some home-grown mortgage company who just didn’t understand why we don’t want their personal newsletter after buying a house three years ago. I don’t care if you went to Florida for a week or if you have tips on how to make soup.

I call to opt out when I can, but someone keeps selling my name. There must be some law about easy opt-out from email lists, because every time I am added to one I can get off in one click. I can also control what I see through spam filters if necessary. But it is usually really hard to get off a catalog list, and when you do call, you still see them for months. Ask my permission to share my info, or offer me a discount on my purchase to sell my info to someone else.

It makes me want to opt out of consuming altogether. Not a terrible idea…

America Recycles Day is Nov 15

The sun is shining through my huge window in my energy-efficient office building, where lights go out when motion is not detected. From here I can see the giant smokestacks of Covanta, where the city’s curbside-collected trash is burned to make steam and then electricity. I think this is a pretty neat way to handle waste, and I learned that they recycle the metal that comes through the trash too. I’m sure it’s because they can sell it/can’t burn it so well, but the net effect is good for resource preservation.

Next Sunday is America Recycles Day.

Flag

The site has a recycling conversionator/calculator (which was niftier than I expected), a pledge, and a few links to recycling information. Now, I’ve been recycling as long as I can remember, and I think it’s pretty neat that my Dad has been into it longer than that. I pay extra for curbside recycling because it’s incredibly convenient and shows the neighbors I care. Curbside even takes #1-7 plastics now along with the cardboard, glass, and aluminum.

This one from the website was a shocker: Every three months, Americans landfill enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet! While I hear arguments sometimes how it’s not ‘cost effective’ to recycle glass and paper when the economy is down, aluminum is pretty universally agreed upon as probably worth recycling, even by folks who just don’t give a crap about any other recycling. Aluminum has value to anyone who takes it to the scrapyard. Of course I set it out with the curbside pickup (our biweekly recycling tote is usually full and also larger than our trash volume) because as long as it gets to a recycling facility, I’m happy. I also trash dig at work and pick up recyclables in parking lots and when I walk the dogs in the park. I know I’m the weird one, but Americans are so lazy that we landfill airplane loads of metal?

Anyway, thanks for taking a moment not to put a pop can in the trash. It’s really not that hard to put it in a recycling bin later.

Best recycling info in Indy is at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Their new website looks nice but I’m not sure the map of where to recycle stuff is as useful as the list they used to have.

Thoughts on rabbit rescue

This is what we do. And we have seen worse.

These kinds of links come through on some of my email lists for the national organization. Below is a link to a blog post about a perceived need for House Rabbit Society and the American Rabbit Breeders’ Association to put aside their differences for the good of rabbits. A slightly edited copy of my response to the article follows, though you can probably get a lot out of it even without reading the original post.

http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2009/11/rabbits-buddhism-and-politics-of-fancy.html

My response

Perhaps after years of rescue I am jaded, but my favorite comment in this blog post was about breeders coming back in their next life as rabbits in a breeder’s care. I really don’t think those who exploit these creatures–and breeding IS exploitation, even for pets, let alone culling/food/fur–have stopped to think about the big picture they fuel in tandem with an uneducated public.

HRS (of which I am a part, but I’m speaking from my own personal experiences here) fights battles on several fronts. We are faced with too many homeless rabbits in shelters and as strays. Many came from some hobby or 4H breeding program; others come through pet stores; and then there are all the accidents and experiments that happen in pet owners’ homes. Less frequently but still significantly there are abuse/neglect cases, though we respond to requests for help from local animal control agencies and do not ‘raid,’ ‘investigate,’ nor ‘plot against’ breeding facilities, despite what others might believe in the ARBA community. We simply don’t have the resources to fight back at every source, since most days are spent treading water and making hard decisions about which shelter bunnies can come home with us and which must stay to be euthanized for lack of space in foster care, available good homes, or funds to pay the vet. The mission is one of rescue and education, not politics and infiltration.

Like Judith, I’d love to see the gap bridged between ARBA and HRS, if only to stop some of the vitriol that poisons those younger members. Trust me, we want to be ‘out of business’ (but let me be clear we’re all going broke doing rescue, despite the hilarious references to us as HR$ in some breeding circles). We don’t want there to be rabbits who need rescue! The curious position of rabbits in the Western world as both livestock and pet makes this battle more than twice as hard for HRS than it does for a dog or cat rescue group. Can anyone imagine siding with a puppy mill, or passing local laws that allow one to eat or shoot or administer blunt trauma or break the necks of extra dogs from breeding programs? HRS has to focus on the flow of homeless rabbits because that is the most urgent need, the lives lost daily. We are hardly equipped to fight battles of eating/breeding/fur-producing, and indeed that’s not the mission. Our education efforts (which are significant) are primarily at the pet-owner level and convincing pet stores to cease the sale of rabbits. As surprising as it may be to some members of ARBA, we aren’t out picketing nor are we even all vegetarians!

One of the biggest barriers to HRS having a presence at an ARBA convention (other than policy) is that our mere presence gives the appearance of sanctioning that breeding exploitation. Casual attendees could easily assume we are part of, aligned with, or in agreement with rabbit breeding and showing, which is definitely not the case. Yes, we may post educational materials in some pet stores–but not stores that sell rabbits! That implies that it’s ok to buy a bunny, which promotes breeding and the rabbit as a ‘product,’ something against our philosophy.

I appreciated your thoughts in this post, and indeed if every rabbit-lover were so reasoned, the gap between HRS and ARBA would not be as wide. As it is, we struggle to save lives daily, and the other organization creates and destroys them. I fear never the twain shall meet until breeding and showing – exploitation – are out of consideration on ARBA’s part, and that seems unlikely.

Louie #447

Published last week and then retracted
Louie was found as a stray near Louisville with five other Dutch rabbits, and someone caught them and took them to a shelter. We think he is the daddy of the bunch, since he arrived via a dog transport to our rescue yesterday with four young lookalike bunnies. One member of the group had already been adopted from the shelter.
louie2 louie1

This nasty lump on his foot burst open yesterday and bled all over; I was halfway to the emergency vet before it stopped. I dropped him off at my vet this morning (after finding another lump), who has determined these are tumors and he’s been licking at the one on his foot for awhile. Multiple fast-growing tumors, including one in an area that would likely require amputation to treat, plus some sneezing to top it off means our resource-strapped rescue has decided to euthanize. Treating a bunny with these issues is difficult and expensive, and then he’s not particularly adoptable to the average person looking for a healthy rabbit.

This may be the hardest call I’ve been part of, because Louie has been acting relatively ok other than worrying that thing on his foot. Normally we wouldn’t pull a rabbit in his condition from a shelter (and in fact, most shelters would have euthanized him when he came in the door), but he showed up on the transport and we were obviously better qualified to assess his wound than the place he came from, who apparently didn’t notice the issue or at least didn’t tell us about it. He had a warm place to stay with me last night and a full belly. If we conserve those funds, we can rescue several other rabbits…but it’s still a crummy choice to have to make.

Some days I wonder if karma will come back to get me. I feel like I have saved so many lives but signing this euthansia authorization feels like I’m setting back the score a little. Is it better to wait until QOL suffers more? You can’t leave a condition like that untreated, but the treatment isn’t easy either.

Head vs. heart, logic vs. compassion, data vs. Dutch bunny.


Update
Shortly after faxing the euthanasia form, the vet called and wondered if we could work something out. While we still can’t afford to help him much, she is donating some services and we’re funding some basic care and we’ll see if he can be helped. Louie lived an extra week so far and now will have his tumors removed and assessed. It’s funny how things work themselves out, at least for a little while. She says he’s a nice older bunny and content hanging out at the clinic.

It’s just my llama and me

I’m anxious about a dentist appointment today, since I have a tooth root area that feels way funny and I don’t think I have the psychological stamina (nor the excellent insurance) to go through any more fancy dental work. Plus I think I had a root canal on this one anyway so I’m not sure what the problem could be that isn’t really bad! I remembered one of my favorite Sesame Street clips, though, which makes me feel better:

I just called an automated prescription refill line for my mail-in pharmacy benefit. I’ve called this line for refills many times, and while the voice actuated ordering is really annoying, usually it’s quick and, oh, automatic. So I went through the whole automated refill process, including confirming my address (which it knew) and my credit card, confirmed I didn’t want any other refills, and then it said it was connecting my call and I was on hold for ten minutes. What?? Usually they confirm immediately and ship without me talking to a CSR. This must be the cost savings from the mail-in pharmacy selling their operations to someone else. Awesome! When the CSR answered, she asked me all the same questions again, and I asked, “Why am I talking to you?”

Yesterday we held a family party for my grandparents’ 60th anniversary! It was nice to rehash the old stories. Grandma wrote Grandpa a letter which recounted how he’s not often outwardly affectionate, and gave an example of her tough day home with the kids when he came home and didn’t reassure her as much as she would have liked. She asked if he loved her, and he said, “I come home every night, don’t I?” Somehow this seemed very sweet given my gentle grandfather’s nature.

60th