Sunday, May 29, 2011

In Memoriam...

This American holiday is supposed to honor those humans who happened to die "in our nation's service." I'll reserve commenting about that here and instead use this post to turn the honoring and remembering to those beings who died because of humans.

This is a good time to remember the billions who die each year to add profit to some group of money hungry humans. This is a good time to remember those killed because some human thinks they "taste good". This is a good time to remember the millions who die each year because some humans can't feel good unless someone innocent is killed by them. This is a good time to remember those beings who die because humans like to be "entertained". This is a good time to remember those who die because humans can't find a home for them. This is a good time to remember those who die because humans didn't find the time to care for them.

I especially want to honor and remember those who are visible each and every day but seem to be not seen. The millions of animals of all kinds that are killed by humans driving automobiles. I recently went to a funeral of a friend's relative, having to drive around 40 miles to get there. I was struck by the contrast between having an elaborate ceremony to mark the life and death of a human and the callousness with which we kill other animals and then leave the bodies of the killed beside the roadways where we travel.

So, while on the way there I decided to count the corpses. Traveling a distance of about 40 miles resulted in a body count of 21 and that is just on one side of the road, I made sure not to count those on the left side. A more accurate total estimate would mean doubling the number to 42 bodies of racoons, turtles, o'possums, toads, squirrels, birds, cats, dogs and unknown others. About 1 per mile. Oklahoma, which has about 12,000 miles of paved roads is an uncovered gravesite for about 12,000 sentient beings at any given time. What I don't know is the turnover, how often are animals are killed at the rate of one per mile...I do know that even one is too frequent.

If we extrapolate that 1 death per mile of paved road occurs nationwide then we are talking about 2,319,535 miles of paved roads....that means at any given moment there are about 2 million 300 thousand bodies lying on or beside the roadways at any given time. Who knows how many are killed over the course of a year. A tragic, horrible and unnecessary slaughter that goes on and on. Unnecessary because even without giving up automobiles much could be done to reduce the death toll but isn't. Slowing down would do much to reduce the killing, being more alert would do much to reduce the killing, simply caring might do much to reduce the killing.

Spring is especially deadly because many of these feather, fur and skin beings are looking for mates and are traveling a bit more than usual. Early evening and morning is especially deadly because many of those we haven't managed to kill off do their activities at those times. I don't always, but sometimes I stop and move their smashed and broken bodies off to the side of the the grass and earth that will care more for them than the hard and human-made pavement. I no more pass any small body without an apology, sometimes silent, sometimes aloud. I don't turn off my seeing and thinking and feeling anymore when I drive. That makes driving relatively unpleasant so I do as little of it as I can.

By the time I arrived at the funeral ceremony for the human I was in a properly somber mood. I had passed many dead beings, beings dead before their time, beings dead before their years were used up, beings dead because some human was in a hurry to go somewhere.

I will and do remember them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rabbit Awareness Week....

is being publicized in Great Britain right now. We can publicize it here too especially because the RSPCA put together a great video emphasizing some elements of bunny care that are often and stimulation. Bunnies need a goodly amount of exercise and access to a spacious...protected and supervised...yard is best for this...bunnies also need lots of environmental stimulation. Take a look at some happy bunnies.....

Bunnies are bright, complex beings with multiple needs that must be provided for. As I noted in my previous post, if you do all you can for the bunny, you might get acknowledged with some "teeth-purring" or you might get thumped off. That's one of the interesting things about hanging out with the lagomorphs.

One aspect of bunny behavior very much worth emulating?  Living as an ethical vegan.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New being in the household...

This is Nester (although I call her Nessie Rae). She is now sharing our home. She has been here for several months now and seems to be settling in to her new place. Nester is around 7 years of age (likely around 40 to 60 in human animal years, uncertain what that is in dog animal years).

Nessie Rae (Nester) lounging in the living room...April, 2011
Nessie is descended from a long line of living beings classified as lagomorphs. Nessie is also a member of a tribe of rabbits called "domesticated". Her ancestors evolved on the European continent, she is not a Native American (domestic rabbits cannot even interbreed with native cottontails or jackrabbits).

In fact she could be considered, like all those not descended from Native Americans, one of the European invaders that now call themselves American (or whatever). One difference here is that Nessie (or any of her kin) pretty much would be doomed if she tried to live on her own here in America. Another difference from the other European invaders (the human animal types) is that her ancestors didn't choose to come here...they were brought here with no choice or say in the matter. So, strictly speaking, she is not an "invader", and I have no doubt, if she could travel to Europe and could survive with her ancestors that haven't been "domesticated", that she would opt to do so in a moment...with my best wishes for her.

But such is not possible. Domesticated is defined, should you take the time to click over to the wikipedia article about it, as: "To be considered domesticated, a population of animals must have their behavior, life cycle, or physiology systemically altered as a result of being under human control for many generations." Her physiology (especially external appearance) and her behavior is different from her "undomesticated" relatives because of human interference. For instance, she, like all "domesticated" rabbits, tends to be more trusting (hence less adept at predator avoidance...this due to human interference) than her wild relatives.

She is stuck with dependency on the human animals that robbed her (via manipulated breeding) of the skills, etc. that she needed to survive on her own. Now she lives at our house.

Her story is not untypical of domestics...she was running loose and was picked up off the street and taken to a municipal "shelter". I enclose the term with quotation marks because I have a difficult time applying the word shelter to anyplace that manages space issues by execution of the beings that reside there.  We don't call death row at a prison a "shelter". It is not known how or why she was on the street and never will be...likely she was released by a human because they didn't want to care for her...who knows?

Then, Nessie Rae got lucky and avoided death because she was accepted for residence at Heartland Rabbit Rescue (a no-kill rescue shelter). Lucky, because it happened that there was room at Heartland, lucky because Heartland was made aware of Nessie Rae, lucky because this happened before her time for execution came up.

So now this lucky bunny arrives at Heartland, and there she stays. There are dozens and dozens of rabbits there needing forever homes and she lived as one of them.  Then, a family shows up and wants to take her into their home as a companion for the rabbit that already lives with them. Hooray, she has a family...oops...wait...she has to get along with the rabbit already there. She doesn't, they don't hit it off, they conflict, fight, have to be separated at all times...too bad for Nessie...after 18 months or so of trying she is returned (luckily) to Heartland.

So she languishes at the shelter along with the other family-less rabbits. She copes, she survives, she lives. We chose her because she really had never had a family and she was getting on in bunny years. We wanted her to experience the possible goodies available in a family before she completed her life. So she is here, and wow, just wow.

First of all, she went from what appeared to be a mellow, laid-back fur person to a growling, griping, biting grump almost instantaneously. Enough so that initially we were worried that she simply did not want to be living with a family or at least ours anyway. The switch was amazing.

This change was a bit surprising and the intensity of it was unexpected but not totally unanticipated. My thought is that beings (I am including humans here) living in somewhat constrictive situations tend to adapt by sort of hibernating (emotionally). The environment is not conducive to nurturing all aspects of their uniqueness and beingness so part of that uniqueness and beingness goes to sleep (so to speak). I could use more technical and psychological terms but this language serves. Then, if and when a situation arises where nuturance is available, that environment has to be tested and explored before it can be trusted to provide for that sleeping uniqueness. So, you might raise hell and push the limits for a while, then if things stay pretty good...maybe you can trust it. Or you might just stay semi-asleep for a while in the new environment, then if it stays good you can wake up (this is sort of what the resident rescue cat Bob did...he slowly just came alive).

But, in the fullness of the days (about 3 weeks or so) all that disappeared and now living in our house is a bright, interesting, affectionate, mischievous, willful and assertive bunny being who is a delight and a treat to hang out with. She likes routine, bunnies are crepuscular (like cats), so she wants to go outside for some activity in the early morning, then again in the evening. She mostly naps or lays about the rest of the time. She eats lots of greens in the morning, again in the evening and around lunchtime she gets some oats, pellets, a few pumpkin seeds and a few raisins. Lunchtime is exciting for her and she zooms around in anticipation when her bowl is sighted.

She likes to dance with a human in the morning (running around some human feet or chasing back and forth with a human) and likes to play chase...she will pursue someone who is willing to run from her and will run from someone willing to chase her. Often she makes a quiet, sweet and peculiar humming sound when dancing. She sometimes likes to twirl around and around until she gets dizzy and begins to stagger a little (much like human children sometimes do).

When she is wanting to be groomed (petted) and is getting the kind of stroking she likes she will reward you with teeth-chatter (a bunny version of applause) where she rubs her teeth back and forth and makes a quiet sort of grinding sound. You know you are doing well when she gives you  teeth applause. When you displease her or irritate her you might get a thump, a growl,  a front-feet slap or maybe a nip on the arm or any other place she can reach. She is mildly moody and sometimes is cranky and irritable...this seems to be more predominate when she is molting but I haven't been around her long enough to confirm the correspondence of molting and bitchiness.

She dances with delight when she first sees you in the morning and after getting to stretch her legs some is always interested in a good long petting session. She is scary smart, already knows her name, knows what the human word outside means and when outside knows what you are wanting when you ask her to go inside. Most of the time with a little coaxing she will run right to the door and wait for you to open it for her to go inside, sometimes she doesn't want to go in and then you get to have something of a workout. These knowings and respondings evolved over time as she settled in.

She detests being picked up (many bunnies do, usually being lifted off the ground means death from some predator or other) and the first few weeks she was here she was outraged if you picked her up and would sulk for hours after such a horrid experience. Now she protests if it is necessary for you to pick her up, but immediately recovers with no sulkiness or carryover of bad mood. Generally, it is not needed to pick her up since she has learned the geography of the house and of the yard and will go on her own to wherever she needs to be.

She is not a dog, she is not a cat, she is not a human. She is a rabbit, a particular and unique rabbit. She is her own being and it is an honor and a privilege having her live here, from what I can tell she is happy and I hope that is true and hope that continues to be so. I am learning a lot from her and the learning is ongoing and interesting. I am pretty sure she likes my wife's voice more than mine and she seems to want to hang around my wife more than me. I do know other beings can distinguish differences in human sexes and some have preferences for females or males. It is all interesting and intriguing.

By the way, you haven't really lived until you have been given the stink-eye by a bunny. They can give looks that make you wonder if you aren't on the verge of bursting into flames. Well, I can't sum up a sentient being in some writing, but at least this provides a flavoring of this particular bunny being.

Do not take on living with a rabbit unless you have some time available (2 to 3 hours a day...minimum), they are complex and intricate beings that are less "domesticated" than either dogs or cats. They are closer to their wild ancestors in temperament and personality and correspondingly less interested in pleasing any humans around them. If you think cats are independent, just go hang around a rabbit for a while, your perspective will probably change.

I'm serious about the stink-eye thing....

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Rainbow Bridge...

Early on when I began volunteering to help rescue our fellow Earthlings, I would hear references to the death as "crossing over the bridge". After a time I did some research and came across the story of the Rainbow Bridge. There are a number of variations floating around, here is one:
The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of the final home for spirits is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

 When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that animal goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again. Just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; Her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her wings or legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your companion(s), so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
When I was a child, some of the most devastating emotional pain I ever endured was caused by the death of a companion animal. After the death of a dog I loved deeply I was so anguished that I refused to ever again to "own" a dog, and I haven't...that's a long time ago and I simply can't bring myself to enter into such a relationship again. Now I am (accidentally) involved with a dog who lives with other family members...I call her my "granddog" and I love her terribly but am hopeful that my life will end before she reaches her final days.

Just to be clear, having a relationship of great importance is not restricted to any particular form of Earthling. One of the most painful losses I have ever gone through as an adult happened because of the death of a wonderful parakeet that lived with me. She was an exquisite being and I loved her so very much and miss her still and always will.

I remember thinking when a child that I hoped being dead would include the happy circumstance of being reunited with those animals that were so very much loved by me. If that were to be true being dead would be a happy thing. I had never heard of any story like the Rainbow Bridge but I had my own private version of something similar.

While looking around at versions of the Rainbow Bridge I ran across something called the Rainbow Bridge Rescuer. Here it is:
The Rainbow Bridge Rescuer

Unlike most days at Rainbow Bridge, this day dawned cold and gray, damp as a swamp and as dismal as could be imagined. All of the recent arrivals had no idea what to think, as they had never experienced a day like this before. But the animals who had been waiting for their beloved people knew exactly what was going on and started to gather at the pathway leading to The Bridge to watch.

It wasn't long before an elderly animal came into view, head hung low and tail dragging. The other animals, the ones who had been there for while, knew what his story was right away, for they had seen this happen far too often.

He approached slowly, obviously in great emotional pain, but with no sign of injury or illness. Unlike all of the other animals waiting at The Bridge, this animal had not been restored to youth and made healthy and vigorous again. As he walked toward The Bridge, he watched all of the other animals watching him. He knew he was out of place here and the sooner he could cross over, the happier he would be. But, alas, as he approached The Bridge, his way was barred by the appearance of an Angel who apologized, but told him that he would not be able to pass. Only those animals who were with their people could pass over Rainbow Bridge.

With no place else to turn to, the elderly animal turned towards the fields before The Bridge and saw a group of other animals like himself, also elderly and infirm. They weren't playing, but rather simply lying on the green grass, forlornly staring out at the pathway leading to The Bridge. And so, he took his place among them, watching the pathway and waiting.

One of the newest arrivals at The Bridge didn't understand what he had just witnessed and asked one of the animals that had been there for a while to explain it to him.

"You see, that poor animal was a rescue. He was turned in to rescue just as you see him now, an older animal with his fur graying and his eyes clouding. He never made it out of rescue and passed on with only the love of his rescuer to comfort him as he left his earthly existence. Because he had no family to give his love to, he has no one to escort him across The Bridge."

The first animal thought about this for a minute and then asked, "So what will happen now?" As he was about to receive his answer, the clouds suddenly parted and the gloom lifted. Approaching The Bridge could be seen a single person and among the older animals, a whole group was suddenly bathed in a golden light and they were all young and healthy again, just as they were in the prime of life.

"Watch, and see.", said the second animal. A second group of animals from those waiting came to the pathway and bowed low as the person neared. At each bowed head, the person offered a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears. The newly restored animals fell into line and followed him towards The Bridge.

They all crossed The Bridge together.

"What happened?"

"That was a rescuer. The animals you saw bowing in respect were those who found new homes because of their efforts. They will cross when their new families arrive.

Those you saw restored were those who never found homes. When a rescuer arrives, they are allowed to perform one, final act of rescue. They are allowed to escort those poor animals that they couldn't place on earth across The Rainbow Bridge...You see, all animals are special to them...just as they are special to all animals."
I can never read this version without being overwhelmed. The terrible truth is that many many of the animals that are rescued never end up with a forever family. The fact is that most shelters (and it truly is a shelter only if provision is made for the rescued animal living there forever if need be) are always at or over capacity. Adoptions do occur but those needing forever families are in great excess of those that do find forever families.

A rescue can provide shelter, a rescue can provide food, a rescue can provide medical care, a rescue can pretty much cover the gamut of physical needs but it is almost impossible for rescuers to fully provide for the emotional needs of those in their care. Almost nothing can equal the opportunity for individual attention and caring that can occur for a companion animal (fin, fur, feather or skin) in a human family.

The key element missing is not caring...the caring is there, the key element in too short of supply is time. The expression of caring requires time (and patience), spending one-on-one time with a particular animal offers the opportunity for that animal to develop and explore and grow in a caring and safe environment. And sadly, many many of those rescued will be shortchanged. Not because the rescuers or workers or volunteers don't care, they do care and care deeply. No, it is because of a lack of time.

For example, I volunteer at a rabbit rescue. The warren I work in has around 70 bunnies. Let's say there are 4 people (and that is an exaggeration) spending 16 hours (hypothetically) each day with the bunnies. That means there are 64 human hours available each day for 70 bunnies, that's less than 1 hour per bunny...and in that hour, in addition to emotional needs, food, water, bedding, grooming and medical needs have to be attended to. Do the math, the time is just not there for each bunny to get what they need in terms of being able to be appreciated and enjoyed and encouraged in their individuality and their self-hood. (And by the way, the 64 human hours available each day is a pipe-dream number...reality doesn't have near that daily number of available human hours.)

If they were wild, if they had not been interfered with by humans, if they could live in a rabbit culture  and society...then...well, they could find their own niches and meet their own needs with those they chose to meet them with. They don't have that chance, nor do dogs, nor do cats, nor do hamsters and on and on. These are "domesticated" animals, interfered with by humans for many generations in ways that have resulted in their dependence on humans...there is no "wild" for them, no place they can go and just safely be a bunny. For better or worse they are stuck with forced and mandatory dependence on us human animals.

Now many of the bunnies are "bonded", that means they have another bunny they are paired up with (sometimes bonding occurs with groups of bunnies), that's great...that means they have a friend with them, someone to interact with, to groom, to squabble with (sometimes)....but that pair (or group), if in a shelter, get nothing like the time and attention and resources they could potentially get if they lived with a human family. It isn't possible...well, maybe it would be possible if there were an unlimited number of caring volunteers and financial resources...but that isn't the case.

Right now, where you live, there are rescue operations that are needful of your time. Time for a dog, time for a cat, time for a bunny, for a cow, for a chicken, for a parakeet, for a horse. Give it...we owe...we owe so terribly much.

And remember those rescuers, the biggest and bestest humans of all, those who give and give and give to the Earthlings we have all conspired to do wrong deprive them of their deprive them of their ability to live on their own as a child of the Earth. Those rescuers are the ones doing their best to right what is (maybe?) the greatest wrong ever.

And remember those Earthlings whose only crime was not being a human animal...who have had their right to their own life taken from them by us, for our convenience, for our entertainment, for our greed and profit, for our taste. Remember them and know how terribly we have cheated and harmed them...and in that doing...cheated and maybe irremediably harmed ourselves too.

Start paying back what we have stolen...volunteer at a rescue operation....adopt a homeless Earthling.

Stop adding to the horror (if you haven't already) by living as an ethical vegan. Please.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Ethical Vegan community...

offers a never-ending source of inspiration and support. One of my favorite blogs to read is Animal Liberation. A video was recently posted there that is just too terrific to not share, my gratitude to Patty for discovering it.

The storyline on the cat is that he was a stray (he's now 3 years old and lives in Taiwan) and that he often brings much joy to his human companion. Migou (the cat) eloquently illustrates that human language is not needed for communication.

It is sometimes easy to forget that a human language is only one of a myriad of ways that sentient beings may use to express themselves. We sometimes get so caught up in being impressed with our "superiority" as a species that we forget, in general, communication can efficiently occur without all the baggage associated with learning human languages.

Just ask Migou.  

Go vegan. Honor your Mother (Planet Earth) and all of her children.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Anytime money enters the picture...

then our animal sisters and brothers will pay with suffering, misery and death. Anytime some advantage is seen for a human animal, then our animals siblings will pay with more suffering, misery and death.
American Bison skulls, circa 1870
The annihilation of the vast Buffalo herds offered a dual benefit to the United States, the killing of the Buffalo also helped destroy Native American societies.  Check out the meaning of genocide.

If you think the persecution of the Buffalo for greed is an historical anomaly, then you might want to read this story about what is currently occurring in Montana. We are still trading the lives of the Buffalo for dollar bills.

I sometimes wonder if many (if not most) of our human animal cultures aren't led around by the sociopaths among us.
A Sociopath is a person who lacks two very human characteristics, a conscience and the ability to feel empathy for another human being. They never feel guilt or remorse for their actions and have no capacity to love. To sociopaths, other people are only things to be manipulated, dominated and exploited. 
Needless to say, sociopaths have no feelings for animals that don't happen to be human either. Are these the yahoos that are driving our cultures? Estimates of the frequency of this condition in human populations range from 1 to 4 percent. Given the current population of the US, that means there are anywhere from 3 to 12 million of these grotesque beings around. If you want to get really spooked, read Martha Stout's book The Sociopath Next Door.

By the way, you might want to consider this. The US is a culture that rewards, strongly, many behaviors associated with sociopathy.  Ruthless business operations including pursuit of profit above all else, "salesmanship", "marketing", etc. Sound familiar? You might want to watch The Corporation, a documentary that details how "successful" businesses are more often than not indistinguishable in their behavior from that of sociopaths.

Is it the case that human cultures typically acquiesce to the sociopaths among them? Is that why we are so lethal to the other Earthlings? What the hell is going on? How can horrors like that depicted in the photo above happen?

I ran across the photo and wanted to write something about it. I discovered we are still destroying the Buffalo for money (or just for the hell of it) and then got to wondering why...why does this crap just go on and on and on?

Maybe it is just that the sociopaths influence so much of what is considered "normal". Although I gotta tell ya, anybody that considers what is shown in the above photograph as "normal", is a whacko  as far as I am concerned. Yet, if the bones of all the animals killed every day were stacked up, one days bones next to another days bones, next to another days bones....would those massive killings be considered a "normal" event?

I can't accept it as normal, I can't accept killing a sentient being for no good reason (and "tasting good" is not a legitimate reason, profit is not a good reason). The killing (and/or suffering) of these beings is wrong and repugnant and abhorrent and disgusting.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

FYI on this Mother's day....

To expand your knowledge about this occasion you might want to read this:
The first North American Mother’s Day was conceptualized with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. Despite having penned The Battle Hymn of the Republic 12 years earlier, Howe had become so distraught by the death and carnage of the Civil War that she called on Mother’s to come together and protest what she saw as the futility of their Sons killing the Sons of other Mothers.
So, one way to think about this day is that it has to do with Mother's teaching their children to not kill other Mother's children. Good stuff.

Happy Mother's day to all fin, fur, flesh and feather moms. Teach your children well, human Moms can best do this by living and teaching the path of the ethical vegan.

Consider limiting your "Momming" to just one child or adopting (your child doesn't have to belong to the same species you do). If everyone did this for a while all Moms and children would be much better off.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A day for Honoring all Human UnMothers.....

On my behalf and on behalf of all sentient beings I want to thank and honor all of you human animal females who have avoided becoming mothers. Thank you Thank you and Thank you! You have chosen to not participate in or contribute to the ongoing and accelerating destruction of most of the current habitant and environment of the planet Earth.

The human overpopulation of the planet is destroying other species and the environmental conditions necessary to support Earth's species at an astonishing rate. The single most significant thing any human animal can do to reduce their negative impact on the ecosystem is to not reproduce.
When scientists talk about overpopulation, they are usually referring to a population exceeding its biological carrying capacity which is defined as "the maximum number of animals that a specific habitat or area can support without causing deterioration or degradation of that habitat.” 
 Look at the bottom left corner of the graph, it is estimated that the human population of the planet exceeded 1 billion in 1804. In general, thought suggests that a human population of around 500 million (in other words, a population of humans half of the 1804 population) is a "sustainable" number of people. If you want to poke around, there is an abundance of information available...

What is important to remember is that every additional human animal on the planet means two things for our fellow Earthlings:

A. Less space and food (natural habitat) for other animals.
B. More animals killed for food by humans.

The direction of the number of human animals needs (for the sake of the planet, for our fellow Earthlings and for ourselves) to be decreasing, not increasing. We could make the number decrease by killing (and we are amazingly good at that) or by death from disease or starvation or whatever....or we could make the number decrease by not adding to it and letting death due to age begin to bring the number down. Obviously the least violent and painful way to make our numbers drop is to quit having so many children.

So...thanks is due to those courageous and heroic human females (inadvertently or not) who have had the generosity and vision to help all living beings by being UnMothers.  Your planet thanks you, your fellow Earthlings thank you...especially all mothers who aren't human animals, and I thank you. You are appreciated and valued and treasured.

Your not having children means you voted to have more tigers living in the wild instead of another McDonalds hamburger joint.

You voted to preserve, not to destroy. You voted for the future, not for the now. This is caring, this is concern, this is love...this is true "mothering". Be impressed with yourselves, you should be...we all should be. Thank you!!!