Panda's First Smile

Panda's First Smile
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Friday, January 31, 2014

12th Pig: THE CITY CAN'T HOLD US! Seahawks, Macklemore, Superbowl Sunday: OH WHAT A FEELING!

CHECK THIS YOUTUBE OUT (full screen!) to understand what you are about to read:)

Heya from next to Seahawk Stadium two days before the Superbowl,

I just opened my eyes from meditation when a plane flew by waving a 12th Man flag through the Heavens and I felt something, we all feel something here we've never felt before. Why write about the Super Bowl…it's Spiritual, actually.

The guinea pigs and I live so close to "The Clink" (Seattle-speak for Century Link Field) that we can see all the way to where the stands meet the field! Yeah, that close. And, UNLESS YOU LIVE ON MARS, you know Seattle fans are so loud that on one run by Marshawn Lynch in FULL BEAST MODE the seismic lab at University of Washington was stunned to see the fans' cheering BLASTED a measurable earthquake!

YO, that's what we're talking about. (Now they got at least 3 seismic sensors in the stadium cuz 12th Man cheers so loud it not only registers on the richter scale but set the Guinness Book of World Records for "Loudest Fans EVAH at a Sporting Event") and the play-off game last Sunday only got louder…a local hospital gives out free earplugs so people don't go deaf, yeah, it  that loud.

You all know I been sick, the guineas been sick, and now we FINALLY moving out Feb. 27, but there's some hold-up so wunnerful POI gonna take the guineas when he moves back home to his apartment and WOW! - under POI's care, Peter-Peanut, 12th Pig, has gone from heart disease into his OWN "Beast Mode" runnin' with Squirrel for the first time in months without rapid heartbeat or collapsing after: the meds ARE WORKING! And I got surgery next Friday and have done everything I can to find us a home (and found 2) but because disabled housing got so much bureaucracy involved nothing guaranteed, like what I am trying to say is a moving van pulling' up here on Feb. 27th, but where it taking us? I don't know! Piggies going with POI for a little while; will help him and Sami adjust and grieve in an apartment without Chai, where POI has to deal with an array of Chai's toys, food bowls, stuff he marked, scratched up, pieces of his long, wonderful life still waiting.. it gonna be hard, but the guineas gonna help 'em cuz Sami now lives with them, standing where Chai used to, crying, then lying down…it's hard. We meditate, we try to be the best we can be, but at the end of some days we struggle, we do.

The city can't hold us! Nobody wanted these guinea pigs. Nobody wanted most of the players on the Seahwawks team, either; second, third draft choices - undesirable leftovers - including our coach who got fired from his last job, wondered "What did I do wrong?" then decided - when he got this job - to love his motley crew of "nobodies" like the father figure most of 'em never grew up with AND - READY? Yoga, Meditation, Positive Visualization, and INSPIRATION INSTEAD OF BERATING THEM. Seahawks coaches don't yell at the players like in the rest of the League, one coach confessed: "If I find myself yelling at a player who's wrong? It's me whose wrong because I have just undermined his confidence in himself. I am the one who needs to change!" ESPN magazine ran a front cover of quarterback Russell Wilson in his Seahawks uniform meditating in full lotus position - and what a STORM DID THAT CAUSE IN "MACHO-MAN" NFL?! Meditation? Mentorship? Loving the players like each one your own son? Finding their strengths and maximizing them, finding their weaknesses and minimizing them, encouraging and inspiring them until they get so good they inspire each other! Say WHAT?!

Ten days ago, preparing for the Playoffs against our nemesis, the San Fransisco 49'ers, Blackhawk helicopters circled, hovered, took surveillance with cameras attached to their noses and the lights at the Clink were on 24/7 for three days preparing for that Big game. I never went to one. Never. But we made a pilgrimage, POI and I did, and we listened on the radio trying to find a T.V. near the Clink while Lynch in BeastMode scored a touchdown and you know how in cartoons things happen like, the wind can blow somebody away Cuz it's a cartoon? Well, standing just in front of The CLINK that cheering nearly knock me OFF. MY. WALKER!  A SIDEWAYS EARTHQUAKE, WALL O'SOUND FOR REAL, yeah, the 12th Man and Seahawks…the City Can't Hold 'Em!

What's all this discursive rambling really all about? This: I get scared sometimes. Gonna get well? Gonna have a place to live when that moving van comes? How surgery gonna go in the midst of a growing list of "Things to Do"? How i gonna be ready? Things I got no control over. Deepen faith or enjoy a panic attack, it's a choice, I'm told. Russell Wilson's first play last week was a fumble!
FIRST PLAY OF THE GAME HERE AND HE FUMBLES AND THE 49'ers get the ball and are ahead of us at halftime. Macklemore (local awesome rappin' Grammy Winner) was the LIVE halftime show you didn't get to see cuz all those talking heads gotta blabber about who did what, but Macklemore got the 12th man SO PSYCHED that when we stormed back onto the field fans were so there for them and they came back with some  calls so courageous I call 'em "faith based" AND WE SCORED on those crazy calls, made spectacularly astonishing plays, and unless you live on the Moon we all know what happened with five seconds left…think even Martians on their red rock know who Richard Sherman is by now!
Is there a Point? She won't shut up. Stop writing or get to it, girl! FINE!
I FEEL LIKE RUSSELL WILSON when he just fumbled and the Seahawks lost possession on the first play of THE GAME!…who can know what went on inside his head but people "in the know" said the way they train with all their yoga and meditation, by the time they got back into the huddle he had already forgotten about it, focusing only on making a first down. Ten yards. One first down.
Then another: 60 minutes of first downs. What fumble? Fuggetaboutit! 

Our own unknown? Yours? We all have them: How we respond to them is what makes us who we are, whatever the outcome, can we BRING OUR BEST GAME TO EVERY PLAY? Uh-HUH!

The 12 Pigs are in the moment! They forgot being sick. They don't worry. Remember that Bobby McFerrin song "Don't Worry? Be Happy?" That's them 12th Pigs motto! They way ahead o' me!
 I don't have control over the housing, surgery, and when I tried being positive, excitedly commenting to the surgeon, "Wow, am I gonna feel BETTER AFTER THIS, huh?!" she looked at me with her same ole poker face remarking, "Not necessarily." But I gotta get better, we gotta have a new home, things gotta change for the better, it's a New Year and must remember: Only ten yards to go. Touchdowns are offspring of first downs. and forget the fumble, forget the fear, forget the past, get in the moment, Pigz shouting' "Ma, get into BEAST MODE ALREADY AND STOP WORRYING, JUST - MA, SEE THE GOALPOSTS? JUST KEEP ON RUNNIN THAT WAY, ONE YARD AT A TIME AND FOR EVERY TACKLE, FOR EVERY SINGLE SET-BACK PUSH IT OFF, MA, PUSH IT OFF AND FUGGETABOUTIT, KEEP ON RUNNING, ONE YARD AT A TIME, YOU PLAYED FOOTBALL AND WAS SO GOOD AT IT WHEN YOU WAS A LITTLE TOMBOY KEEP IT IN THE MOMENT, TACKLE DOWN THOSE THOUGHTS OF DOOM - JUST PUSH 'EM AWAY, RISE UP AND REMEMBER, one yard at a time. One first down. Then touchdown! Then do it all over again. That's just how life IS. Courage. Confidence. Faith. Keep the goalposts in view and never let 'em touch you, those thoughts, those doubts, just go BEAST MODE!

The City's on Fire! Nobody wanted those players: Russell Wilson's too short. One of 'em's deaf, They calling' Richard Sherman "a thug" instead of using "the N Word" (with a 3.9 GPA from Stanford University he smarter than maybe everybody else out there! Thug? Don't Think So!), Macklemore cancelled a concert in India so he could go with 'em to the Super Bowl; Yesterday Boeing unveiled and flew a new plane painted like a Seahawk, 12th Man flags waving EVERYWHERE from everyTHING…i gotta a lot to learn about perseverance, faith, and never giving up, never losing hope from this rag-tag team of nobodies who fumbled their first play yet dramatically went on to triumph. Next door.

We can hardly wait for the game. Now that I've done pretty much everything I can for health and home, nothing left but keep the faith. Seattle did. Pete Carroll did. Every single guy who was told he wasn't good for nothin' did (and other players, broadcasters, and sportswriters still talking smack about us? newsFLASH, y'all: Gonna be SURPRISED!) 

The 12th Pigs want me in full "Beast Mode" from now on with a smile and open palm overflowing with fresh salad, knowing everything gonna be all right. What have we learned living next to the CLINK instead of what we SO miss "back home" in Bellingham: that quiet, monastic, natural setting perfect for meditation, yoga, prayer, mountain bike riding, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing through fresh alpine powder in the alpenglow of the setting sun, fragrance of incoming storms, symphonies of birdsong?

A much needed LESSON IN FAITH,  actually: we got  EXACTLY WHAT WE NEEDED. 

Go every single one of YOU facing gut-wrenching adversity and uncertainty right now, and so many of you are…let's DO THIS THING! Thank you for being here for me. In sickness and in health. In courage and in fear.
You are here. Your prayers so near!

Friday, January 17, 2014


(So sorry, Vinny-Guinea, left your pic out - EEK!)


Dear Friends, Happy New Year to each and
every one of you! We know that some of you
are facing the toughest challenges of your lives
at this time and we are praying for you.

For some reason, BLOGGER does not work.
So here's an update on The Kidz since a few of
you have lovingly asked how we're doing, should
I tell the truth? I will.

While in hospital the Pigz became so ill we
thought we would lose them all, but today
they are happily running about the floor,
enjoying life, and only Peter-Peanut remains
ill with heart disease for which he is on much
medication but no longer has to be wrapped up
in a "Guinea Burrito" since his meds TASTE so darn
good POI just squirts 'em right into his mouth
through his habitat hoping for "rapid extraction" (trying to 
retract it) before The PeaNUT chomps down, 
actually snatching the thin, plastic syringe - wanting to eat it!
Today Peter-Peanut feels healthy again, and happy, 
what a fat, funny, fine boy-pig he is!
I took photos (that i can't figure out how to post, sorry)
 of The "Guinea Burritos" (maybe we don't want to remember
those dark days?) but wish we could show you 
Squirrel's Red Castle, wherein he hoards
so many toys and mini-hay bales and what-nots
we can't figure out how he sleeps in it, particularly
since he daily knocks it askew at the funniest
angle before lying down on "his treasures" for
naps…he and all the piggies individually 
redecorate their habitat areas so hysterically 
funny I really hoped to share pics but my 'puter
needs to get in the shop first, so just imagine 
 pigs every morning setting out to undo their
organized, clean homes into completely JOYOUS
CHAOS!!! They keep me laughing.

The truth? The post following this one is my 
favorite song, our anthem, Beyonce singing
 at a very special event hosted by the United Nations, 
"I Was Here,"
because I've gotten sicker and being  
"shut-in" - so not me - makes me wonder…do i matter?
Yes, I am struggling to find
hope and meaning in a life i no longer understand.

We hope to move into a "real apartment" in a 
nice, residential, quiet, safe, tree-filled
neighborhood in about 6 weeks and my friend
already there says it'll really boost our spirits!
 My immune system broke and the doctors aren't sure 
yet how to treat four refractory infections and a
minor surgery scheduled, I am down to 107 lbs.
and losing about a pound a day, in a lot of pain,
then start counting our blessings and none of
it matters! Many of YOU have a son, brother, wife,
friend you may lose and are yourselves dealing with hardships,
 so I can't complain just wanted to be honest:
As strength wanes, how can Life Be Meaningful?
How to make a difference?
I felt Beyonce's performance at the United Nations
answered this yearning for Purpose: It's the Little Things.
Do a Little Thing. It isn't Little to the creature,
friend, or stranger who receives it.
Leave footprints in the sand.
Please try to enjoy it full screen, it's simply remarkable.
(P.S. Rashmi in India, you knew this was our anthem
and we love you for it! But, how - of all the songs in
the Universe - you knew ours was THIS ONE?!
Chai's kitty gal-pal, Sami, now sleeps where he
used to with the piggies and cries 
every day for him, her grief continuing -
but the piggies cheer her up! Especially
watching Squirrel's hilarious daily obsessive-compulsive "EVERYTHING MUST BE EXACTLY PERFECT IN MY CAGE BUT NOT HOW MOM PUT IT, IT HAS TO BE ASKEW AND ODD, AND MY WAY, THE BEST WAY, SQUIRREL'S WAY!"AND BE NEAT (his version of it) every day as he rearranges everything entirely with his top-notchy-snout
and fluffy soft Squirrel-rump!

We are Here. Blogger Broke. So, it may be awhile before we can post again. Hope we're back better than ever real soon. Meanwhile, If a guinea pig smiles being skritchy-scratched in just the right spot, scampers about on a Happy Runabout, or eagerly snatches the soft round cardboard from an old roll of toilet paper before (How'd ya guess Squirrel?) pounding it up and down with all his might in a Guinea-Frenzy of JOY, then We Were Here. 
(And we need a new roll of toilet paper. See, don't get out much!)

 What I love about Beyonce's
song in the presentation you are about to
enjoy on the next post is that we can find ways
to matter, and we can make a difference, and
our lives will mean something, no matter how
large or small, if we Give, if we Hope,
if we Smile, if we can make someone laugh;
if a guinea pig who never knew love enjoys tons of
love now, and even comforts a grieving kitty 
who just lost her best friend,
We Were Here.

Don't know when we'll be back.


To each and every one of you who cares about
all of us and have given so much of yourselves,
 we will keep fighting the good fight!

Thanks, Marshawn Lynch, you
inspire us.
Go Seahawks!
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I Was Here (United Nations World Humanitarian Day Perform...