News of the week of July 26, 2022

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Schedule

We meet on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at the home of Wendy Goble and Richard Schmeidler in Arlington Center. Please let me know if you want to come.

News of the week of July 5, 2022

Pan at the left seated next to a standing nymph, to the right Cupid holding cymbals MET DP812761

Schedule

We meet on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at the home of Wendy Goble and Richard Schmeidler in Arlington Center. Please let me know if you want to come.

News of the week of June 21, 2022

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Schedule

We meet on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at the home of Wendy Goble and Richard Schmeidler in Arlington Center. Please let me, Wendy, and Richard know if you want to come.

RIP Maia, c. 2013 – May 10, 2022

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Figure 1: December 20, 2016. photographer Ishmael Stefanov-Wagner

Maia’s many friends will be sad to learn that I had to put her down on Tuesday, May 10. She had completely lost the use of her hind legs, and control over bowel and bladder, and was needing increasing amounts of pain-killers.

Adoption

After Sammy died in February of 2014, I thought I’d wait a year to get another dog, and I did in fact wait past the summer, when I had a good trip to Spain with my sister and a friend. But life is so much better with a dog than without one that in the Fall I started looking at options.

In December, my sister, who had lost Phoebe in September, adopted Orion, and was having so much fun with him that I couldn’t stand being dogless any more, and I went to Buddy Dog and looked at the dogs they had and adopted Maia. The shelter story was that she and her sister had belonged to a homeless person who had decided he couldn’t take care of them properly. The vet who gave her a full exam and spayed her thought she was about two years old.

The shelter was calling her Mia, but I thought that with a cousin named Orion, she should also have an astronomical name, so I changed it to Maia, who is one of the Pleiades. (The one who appears in one of the Mary Poppins books.) You find the Pleiades by following the line formed by the three stars in Orion’s belt upwards, past Aldebaran.

Life in Cambridge

The day I met her, the early winter weather was fine and dry. When I went to pick her up a week later, it was snowing, and there was a couple of inches of slush on the ground. Within a week the 2015 snowpocalypse was in full swing. My promise to walk her all over Cambridge remained unfulfilled until March, although we did get as far as Cambridgeport a couple of times.

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Figure 2: This seeems to be the first picture I took of Maia. She got more comfortable fairly soon.

Nest-building seemed to be one of her favorite activities:

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Figure 3: I abandoned the shawl, and invested in a slipcover for the chair shortly after this.

She had dog aggression issues, so I didn’t turn out to be able to take her to the dog park, but we soon settled into letting her chase balls on the tennis court in the morning and getting walks in the afternoon and at bedtime. She’s fine with dogs she’s been properly introduced to, so she had a couple of dog friends who would join us on the tennis court.

Another thing that happened that first year was that some friends decided to hike the Camino di Santiago and left their dog, Beau, with us.

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Figure 4: Maia and Beau, who were properly introduced.

When we visited Fall River, Maia and Beau both got to run through the woods when we went on hikes.

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Figure 5: Maia tended to explore farther away, so she didn’t make this picture.

On one of the first of these hikes, I noticed that she was running on only three legs. Three surgeries later, both rear legs had been treated for CCL (Caudal Cruciate Ligament) injuries, and she was again able to run and jump on all four legs.

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Figure 6: Maia sharing her chair

Life in Fall River

On July 14, 2020 at 11 or so in the morning, I finished doing something on my computer, and noticed smoke filling the apartment, grabbed Maia and her leash and left the apartment. Most of my neighbors had grabbed their laptops, but I only took Maia. The fire was covered by Channel 7, including a video of me and Maia crossing the street, but they don’t seem to keep their video clips up.

So we went to live with Judy and Orion in Fall River until the building was fixed. (If it ever is.)

She adapted to life in Fall River pretty well. She missed her friends in Cambridge, but she basically liked being in a bigger pack (two humans and two dogs, instead of one human and one dog). She got along with Orion pretty well. One thing she didn’t like was that I couldn’t just leave food out for her as I had done in Cambridge, because Orion would have eaten it. But she liked being able to be tied out in the yard to sit in the sun and eat grass.

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Figure 7: Maia and her cousin.

Between her penchant for exploring on her own without checking back with the humans, and her urges to kill dogs she met when off-leash, we weren’t able to take her to the woods regularly, but we both enjoyed walks around the Bristol Community College campus, with a pond and small wooded areas, and the Oak Grove Cemetery. She also found a corner with a couple of benefits:

  • There was a community of feral cats whom the neighbors left food out for.
  • Also a house had been converted into an storage facility for the hospital across the street, so teenagers felt able to hang out on the steps and eat pizza, and they sometimes left the bones for Maia to find.

She would have gone to this corner three times a day if I’d let her, but I insisted on going to the campus and the cemetery and other parts of the neighborhood sometimes.

Death

Towards the end of April, Maia started walking slower. After a few days of this, I took her to the vet. Several hundred dollars of tests later, it looked like she was healthy except for some weakness in the back legs, and they prescribed some pills and said that if that didn’t work, the next step was to do an MRI.

The pills didn’t seem to work in that she was getting worse instead of better, so I scheduled the MRI on a Thursday for the following Tuesday. Over the weekend, she stopped being able to use her hind legs at all.

She was still remarkably game – she kept pacing around the coffee table in the house, and when I took her out, she wanted to go all around the house, and maybe even farther. (I didn’t want to go farther.)

But she needed more and more of the pain killers, and wasn’t in control of either her bowels or her bladder. When I took her in for the MRI, she had managed not to urinate in the car, but let loose with it as soon as she was lifted onto the stretcher.

The neurologist who’d seen her two weeks before called me before doing the MRI and said that with something moving that fast, it was very unlikely that the MRI would find anything fixable. The most likely thing was a large and fast-growing tumor, and while of course they could operate, the prognosis was not good for recovery. The less likely possibilities didn’t have a good prognosis either.

So we decided to put her down. They have a nice room with living room furniture instead of doctors’ office furniture. She attempted to pace around their coffee table, too. I played her the final chorus from the “St. Matthew Passion” and sang her lullabies, and the vet came in and gave her the two injections and it was over.

News of the week of May 3, 2022



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Meeting Report

We played:

Schedule

It’s unlikely that we’ll meet this Tuesday. Maia is getting an MRI, and I’ll be dealing with the results of that.

But in general we meet on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at the home of Wendy Goble and Richard Schmeidler in Arlington Center. And you should let me, Wendy, and Richard know if you want to come.

Status

I said last time that both my dog and my computer are broken. Those are both still true, but it isn’t because I haven’t been working to fix them.

Maia

The pills they gave her two weeks ago are not working. The pain pills probably still do something, but her mobility is getting worse instead of the kind of better the anti-inflammatory pills are suppposed to accomplish.

Saturday, we woke up and she could no longer use her hind legs at all. So Judy’s been helping me lift her up to places she will be less uncomfortable, but the pain pills, which she’s supposed to take every 8 hours (I’m cheating a bit), are getting her about an hour of comfortable sleep. I was thinking I was able to lift her, but that turns out to be because she was helping with her hind legs. She can’t do that any more.

So given the pills aren’t working, Angell thinks the next step is to give her an MRI. Google seems to think there are treatments which fix this kind of thing. She’s getting the MRI Tuesday. I hope she doesn’t deteriorate further before then.

Computer

I found what looks like a bit of a bargain on a used laptop on eBay. I made a small mistake on the shipping address (leaving it Cambridge, instead of changing it to Fall River), and UPS made a giant mistake by refusing to deliver it to Cambridge, and then making it impossible for either me or the seller to get it changed. So it has now been shipped back to the seller, and he will ship it to me in Fall River. With 20/20 hindsight, it would have been better to just cancel the auction and order something else, or this again, but it looks like it will eventually work. I have convinced the contractor to install a lock on my Cambridge door, so they will have to work harder to identify and be mean to homeless refugees.

Meanwhile, I have a workaround for booting my old computer into Linux. so this should look a little more like normal than the last one did, but I still don’t have access to some of the things I could do before it broke.

Date: 2022-04-18 Mon 12:19

Created: 2022-05-08 Sun 22:39

Validate

News of the week of April 19, 2022

1.1. Meeting Report

We played:

1.2. Schedule

Both my computer and my dog are broken, and it’s likely that I’ll still be dealing with that on Tuesday.

And a couple of the regulars have another commitment.

So it’s unlikely that we’ll meet this Tuesday.

But in general we meet on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at the home of Wendy Goble and Richard Schmeidler in Arlington Center. And you should let me, Wendy, and Richard know if you want to come.

News of the week of May 17, 2022

Turtledove in a snowstorm (31717109995)

Schedule

We meet on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at the home of Wendy Goble and Richard Schmeidler in Arlington Center. Please let me, Wendy, and Richard know if you want to come.

Sad News

Maia died on May 10. I have written an obituary.

House News

Things are progressing. People have been saying four months for the last two years, but when I asked the contractor last week, he said “mid-August”, which is only three months.

News of the week of April 12, 2022

Schedule

We meet on Tuesdays at 7:45 pm at the home of Wendy Goble and Richard Schmeidler in Arlington Center. Please let me, Wendy, and Richard know if you want to come.

Housing Update

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Some of the right stuff is happening. I have both a skylight and a bathtub. It’s still happening very slowly, but I’m hoping to be back by the end of the summer. As you can see here, my cherry tree is blooming.