Show me your scars

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I am suspicious of people who don't have any visible scars. Even though I have never been involved in contact sports or intravenous drugs, I have my fair share of scars, and I think other people should, too. One of my very favorite things about having sex with someone new (back when having sex with someone new was a possibility, that is), was to find the scars on his/her body and ask for the stories that go with them. I maintain that you can learn a lot about people from their scars, and from the way in which they talk about them. I try to wear mine proudly.

So, since the liklihood of my sleeping with any of you anytime soon is pretty slim, here are a few stories about my scars.

The scars on my face aren't very noticeable until I point them out. The most noticeable ones are the faint, slightly jagged vertical scar between my eyes and the two little lines of scar underneath my bottom lip. I don't remember obtaining the scars under my lip, but apparently I did a face plant off a swing as a toddler and put my teeth through my lip. The one between my eyes, though, I remember with great embarrassment. I was probably 15 or 16 when I got it. My mom and my stepdad were target shooting in front of our house, and I decided I wanted to try. I had done it before, but only with a .22 caliber rifle with no scope. This time they were using bigger rifles with scopes. Nobody warned me about the "kick." The scope split me open between the eyes. My mom insisted on taking me to the emergency room (due to not taking me for two previous injuries that I should have gone for, but I'll get to that). So we drove 45 minutes and then sat in the waiting room for an hour, only to be told it didn't require stitches. So there you go.

The other facial scar I have is about 3/4 inch long and horizontal, underneath my chin. This is an even more humiliating story than the last one. In my high school, the stage where we had plays and stuff was in the gym. So one day my first year in high school, during gym class, I was up on the stage doing something, and I stepped down onto a little red bench on the gym floor. Unfortunately, I stepped on one end of the bench, rather than the middle. The bench flipped up and I landed on the gym floor, caught by my chin and one arm. I sprained my wrist and split my chin open. That afternoon were the Homecoming football and volleyball games, and that evening was the Homecoming Dance--my first big high school dance. No way I was going to miss all that for a trip to the emergency room. So we put a butterfly bandage on it and I kept right on trucking. Now it grows long black hairs out of it that I have to pluck with tweezers.

After my face, the next scar-filled body area is my hands. The really amazing one is the piece of pencil lead that is permanently embedded in the bottom of my right palm, right where my hand meets my wrist. It was my sophomore year in high school, and we were taking some sort of standardized test. I reached back without looking to get a pencil from the person behind me, who very stupidly handed it to me tip first. The tip broke off in the bottom of my hand and I never dug it out. The skin grew in around it and now I have a little lead bump there for all time. I also have a thick jagged scar and bit of crimped skin on the side of my little finger on that hand, which is a pretty good scar, but I honestly can't remember what it is from.

There is a scar of a couple of inches on the side of my left elbow, which is a result of putting up shelves in the closet of the last house where Mark and I lived in Portland--with Erica. I caught my elbow on the end of a screw, I think. It left a much worse scar than I would have expected. Both elbows have the prerequisite "I was never very good at riding a bike" scars, as do my knees.

The only real scar I have on my torso is inside and above my belly button, from my first navel piercing. It was a terribly done piercing (which I had done at a surf shop, when I was underage, using a fake note of permission from my mother), too shallow and not straight, and it was infected for pretty much the entire two or three years I had it. It is covered up by navel piercing number two, though, so it's not at all noticeable. Navel piercing number two, incidentally, is a wonderful piercing that has given me no trouble at all in the three+ years it has been there.

My legs are odes to scaring. Besides my knees, which I think were permanently torn up from ages 2-12 and look like it, the most noticeable scars are my rather intense stretch marks. I have both the vertical and the horizontal kind, particularly in my inner thighs. The source of those is obvious. I have had horiztonal ones since my early teens (I grew very quickly), but the vertical ones are from the last few years. Ahh, filling out.

The biggest scar I have is on my inner left calf, just below the knee. It's apparent that a chunk was taken out of my leg, which it was. I was taking the garbage out one summer night at Tomaselli's, the restuarant where I worked in high school, and there was a broken Torani bottle in the trash bag. A big piece of glass came out of the side of the bag and stuck into my leg (I was wearing shorts or a skirt). When I pulled it out, there was a little blood gyser and it took forever to heal up. It was one that definitely could have used some stitches, but for some reason I didn't go get any. It's only about an inch long, but it's probably 1/2 inch wide and shiny white. I also have various leg scars from shaving mishaps, particularly around my knees and on the backs of my ankles.

The last scar that comes to mind is a light scar across the top of my left foot. The scar itself isn't impressive--in fact, it's barely visible. However, the incident it came from was impressive, at least in gore-factor. I hit the top of my foot with a garden hoe, right across one of the big blood vessels, and blood shot up at least two feet. Nobody believes that when I tell them, but it happened, I swear. I also have a mangled big toe on my right foot, due to that incident with the handtruck of bricks last summer, which I have related here before. That might still correct itself, though.

None of my scars are particularly impressive. Mark (appendectomy), my mom (multiple back surgeries), my aunt Lisa (knee surgery), my aunt Kathy (hand through a window), and my ex, Simon (various skateboarding accidents, including one in which a bamboo shoot went through his cheek) all have much more impressive ones. But they are mine, and the stories behind them are pieces of my past (most of which, upon reading them over, make me look like a pretty clumsy moron, but hey, if the shoe fits...). Don't you feel like you know me better now?

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Choose your own adventure democracy

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pUpdate

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Y'all, I am exhausted. I should be OK today, as the little monsters let us sleep from about midnight to 7 am (time they apparently spent shitting and rolling around in it), but it's all catching up and I can barely keep my eyes open today.

Everybody is doing well, eating a ton and playing and showing beginning signs of being paper trained (OK, very beginning signs--that might just be wishful thinking).

I wish there was a way to put puppies in diapers like babies. They sure produce an extreme amount of excrement, given their relative size. One is all-but adopted already, another will probably be all-but adopted very soon (a family is coming to meet them tonight, I think). This gives me great hope that we'll be able to find families for all of them by the time they are eight weeks old (our goal). We've had some miscommunications with the rescue organization, so I'm not 100% sure if they are official wards of that organization or not yet, or if they will be. In some ways, it would be convenient for us if they weren't, because then we would not need to abide by the rescue's rules as far as when we can adopt them out. It's better if they are, though, because that gives us a structure and assistance for vetting potential adoptive families. Plus I really don't want there to be any bad blood between Mark and the rescue, because he's really enjoying volunteering for them. Hopefully Mark will get things with them sorted out today.

I don't think it's very practical for us to plan to keep them for more than a few weeks. I mean, if we have to, we will, but they are pretty much taking up every waking minute right now. Everything else is on hold. Mark and I did both manage to make our reservations for Christmas this week ($400 to fly to Oregon--ouch!), and I even made it to the gym yesterday afternoon, but it's a strain and I don't know how long we can keep it up.

It may seem that all I write about is puppies, but it's just because that's really all that's going on in my life right now. I am hoping to watch the last presidential debate tonight, since I missed the second one, but it will depend entirely on when puppy dinner time turns out to be, who needs to go out, who is whining, and whether I can keep my eyes open. The first debate had me so irritated I finally gave up on it and left the room, though, so maybe I should find a different means of relaxation...

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On my way home from work, I often see a group of homeless people on the side of the street, particularly at one busy intersection. Sometimes there are only one or two, sometimes there are several spread out for several blocks. One of them, a man, nearly always has a dog with him. I have admired the dog, who looks to be a black Lab, before. I hadn't seen them in a couple of weeks at least, though, because I'd been taking a different route home due to my stop at the gym.

Then, this week, I went out for lunch two days in a row on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, I saw the man with the black Lab, and he not only had the big dog with him, but a tiny black puppy as well. The bigger dog looked to be the puppy's mama. I worried about the little dog, as there was no water around and it was kind of hot, and these folks don't seem to have any shelter, but I kept going by. Then on Wednesday on our way to lunch I saw the same guy and the same black Lab, but this time there was a yellow puppy with them and I got close enough to tell that the black Lab was definitely the mama. So I figured there must be more puppies somewhere.

All afternoon I thought about these puppies, what their fate would be, how they were being taken care of. By 3:00 I couldn't stand it anymore and I went back to the intersection to see if he was still there. He was not. I called Mark and Mark started calling rescue folks he knows, to see if we could find a home for these babies if I could get this guy to give them to me. Not much turned up before I left work, but I went back anyway, determined to find him and the pups.

And I did find him, sitting with two women and another man on milk crates on the side of the road. There were seven puppies in all, kept alternately in a bucket on top of one another and in a makeshift pen. The man told me that he was selling the puppies for $100 each, that they were going to be his ticket off the street.

I talked to the man and his wife, as well as a couple of the other people sitting there, for about an hour and a half. Several things became clear over the course of the conversation. First, the mom was weaning the puppies, so they were going to need food. The man said he had this taken care of and proceeded to show me that he fed them pieces of Kielbasa sausage, tuna fish, and chicken strips. Mostly they would not eat this food, which is not surprising considering he said they are two days short of five weeks old. Second, there was no shelter available where these folks were hanging out. When I asked about shelter, the man said they were staying in an abandoned car parked across the street. The puppies didn't look to bad, but definitely had fleas.

So I tried to talk him down on his price, asking what we could barter, what I could do for him and his wife, etc. I also tried to impart to him that the way he was feeding the pups was probably not going to work, and that I really seriously doubted he could get $100 for them. I offered first $20 per puppy, then $40. He finally gave me the runt of the litter (now called Wednesday) for $40 and the promise that I would come back with some blankets and sweaters for the group.

I called Mark and told him what the deal was so he could come home right away, raced home, put the puppy in in the bathroom where it couldn't destroy anything, tried to calm Chance, and started throwing things in garbage bags from their list. Coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, towels, blankets, dog treats, dog food, people food, dog de-wormer...whatever I could find in my house that I thought they could use and we could live without. I then stuffed two full garbage bags of stuff, as well as a 36-pack of Pepsi, in the car and headed back out. On my way back to the corner, I stopped at the ATM. At the ATM, I had a very serious talk with myself about how much I could afford to do to help these people and these puppies. I withdrew $200 and kept going.

When I got back to the site, I found the man and the dogs in the abandoned car. I sat and talked to him for a bit longer and got a bit more of their story. Although there story was a very shifting thing, it seems that they have a place to live, a trailer oustide town, but they cannot get there, so they are trying to sell the puppies for enough money to buy a car. At least that was one train of the story. The woman is obviously ill, and she told me it is liver cancer due to years of alcoholism. She is not currently drinking. Everyone else there was drunk. I asked if she had medical care, needed a ride to the doctor, etc., and she said that she had an appointment scheduled and could take the bus there.

After talking to them for a while more, I began another round of puppy negotiations. I brought the bags out of my car and showed them the things that I had brought for them, about which they seemed pleased. I started to cry when the woman slipped on the leather jacket my mom bought me for Christmas a few years back. I broke completely down when I saw the man give the big dog the blanket I had on my bed in high school. They didn't notice, and I pulled myself together. After more discussion, he agreed to sell me two more of the puppies for $150. I accepted and gave him the cash. I asked if I could have another one for $50 more, but he refused, saying he was only giving me a price break on the ones he was selling me because I seemed like such a nice girl. Before I left, the woman whispered to me to come back in a couple of days, because he may give up more of the puppies cheaper when he realizes that they cannot be sold at his price.

So then I took the two puppies, one black and one blonde, home (they are now dubbed Monday and Tuesday). There are now three beautiful Lab puppies (they look like full Labs, but who knows?) in a computer box in my spare room. Chance went nuts for awhile, but seems to have calmed down some, considering the situation. He can't be near them yet, they have to be checked out by the vet first. They kept us up all night. We'll work with the rescue where Mark volunteers to do that, and the rescue founder who came over last night to check them out said that she can't imagine they'll be hard to adopt. I hope she's right.

I am going to go back to that corner tomorrow and see if he'll give/sell me more of the puppies. I am sure they are going to starve otherwise. I've never in my memory felt so clearly that this was a situation that I had the power to change and I should change it. I don't want three more dogs (I don't even want one more), but I know we are capable of taking care of these babies until we can find good home for them, and that's exactly what we are going to do.

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