When you’re a gonner for a dog

Some of you have seen pictures of my darling Asher, soon to be 9 years old.

Kosmic Asher, son of mom, Spirit of Shakespeare, and Dad, Starlite's Bit'A Sweet Hershey

Kosmic Asher, son of mother, ‘Spirit of Shakespeare’, and father, ‘Starlite’s Bit’A Sweet Hershey.’ 

I’m ecstatic to be reunited with Asher here in da ‘ville, though he doesn’t live with me at my new apartment.

Here is the reason why.

CIMG2417

Miss Foosie Mae Belle from the holler.

You see, Asher is quite the ladies’ man and Foosie, well she fell in love the moment she saw him. They are literally inseparable.

This is their Easter picture. Asher has his normal "I hate costumes face on," but Foosie was made to model.

This is their Easter picture. Asher has his normal “I hate costumes.” face on,” but Foosie, well, she was born to model.

I adopted Asher four years ago, right around this time of year. He was five. His breeders, Madge and Don Cogswell, were putting him into retirement because he’d sired 106 puppies with 13 different lady mini-schnauzers. While I was visiting them to see puppies, they asked me to consider Asher.

He hopped up on the couch and looked deeply into my eyes. Boy, was I was a gonner! Later I learned that Asher hops on the couch and stares everyone deeply in the eyes. He’s just that sensitive of a boy – after he jumps up on your knees and leaves scratch marks out of the sheer excitement of meeting you when you come in the door. <grin>

My friend Peggy, with whom I was sharing a flat, rescued Foosie from an animal shelter about six weeks after Asher came home. She saw Foosie’s picture on “PetFinders”.

Yup. She was a gonner.

Within 24 hours the two dogs were an old married couple.

Cue “Belle Notte.”

Lady-The-Tramp-lady-and-tramp-33813097-1024-768

So when I went to San Miguel de Allende for my adventure/experiment,

Aztec dancer from Tales of Mexico

I was fine with leaving Asher in Foosie and Peggy’s care.

But now I’m back. After staying with Pegs, Foosie, and Ash for seven months I miss Asher (and Foosie) wildly every day!

I just can’t take him from him away from his girl.

This is their christmas picture. Notice Asher has his "I'm a guy and I DON'T like this stuff" face on while Foosie is all mellow about it.

This is their christmas picture. Notice Asher has his “I’m a guy and I DON’T like this stuff” face on while Foosie is all mellow about it.

Which brings me to fostering!

I’m allowed to have one small-breed dog. I do believe that when I get settled I’ll find me a terrorist, um terrier, to care for while we find her/his forever home.

Which brings me to the dogs I fostered in Mexico.

Coyo was  first.

This isn't Coyo's picture because I can't find the damn thing, but it's a Coyo look alike!

This isn’t Coyo’s picture because I can’t find the damn thing, but it’s almost a Coyo double and I’ll look for his later.

Julie and I found Coyo dodging traffic on a rainy night in San Miguel’s busy jardin.

san miguel traffic el jardinHearts in our throat, we watched him cross the street four times, so tiny and grey it was improbable a driver would see him, and so skittery that he ran away when I clucked for him to come. We almost gave up but I pulled out my coo-voice-darling-child-don’t-run-away and he stopped. I slithered across the street talking softly non-stop and he actually came towards me – and I scooped him up!

Julie was my landlady.  I lived in a small apartment in a compound with her large house, another big house, another apartment upstairs from mine, and an adorable cottage with a teeny fenced-in front yard that I envied immediately. (Fenced in front yard = dog.) Julie already had two dogs: Cappucinno, a 9 lb. male Maltese mix, and Esmeralda, a nine year old shepherd mix with large soulful eyes. My 6-month lease didn’t include a pet, but Julie was as taken with our rain-soaked rescue as I was so she said, “Why don’t you keep him for a few days and we’ll try to find him a home.” Into my house came Coyo.

And promptly chewed the fringe off of Julie’s rug, peed on the floor, and jumped wildly into my arms to lick me when I told him he was a bad boy.

A ha …..

To make a long story shorter, ten days later Julie, who came to see Coyo everyday and oooh and ah over how adorable he was, adopted Coyo. “Be sure,” I said to her, “he’s a little bit of a devil. He’s going to knock Cappucinno off of his perch as top dog, and annoy Esmeralda because all he wants to do is play when he’s not chewing pillows.” And so he did. But Julie was a gonner.

Like this guy.

 You know, like this guy.

I volunteered with a rescue group in San Miguel named “Amigos de Animales.” These intrepid souls (mostly women) pulled dogs out of the pound who had five days to live.

Enter “Bobby”:

thief of hearts

 

Who was owner-surrendered to the pound by a woman who requested that he be put down because he peed in her kitchen.

An Amigos volunteer asked me if I could foster him while they searched for his home. I said I’d have to ask Julie first and at 4:00 another couple took him away from our adoption table in the jardin to see if things would work out -with my phone number as the back-up call. I went home and briefed Julie. I don’t think she was happy about the request, but she didn’t say no.

At 11:00 the next morning I got the call. “Bobby” was humping the couple’s female and would-not-relent. So, I walked to the couple’s home, put “Bobby” on a leash and began a relationship with one of the sweetest, goofiest dogs I’ve ever known. God! How I loved that dog!

I had “Bobby” for about three months. As you can see, he’s a looker. He’s the kind of dog who gets adopted, despite the fact that I was a gonner. I don’t remember how Kelly Karger with Save A Mexican Mutt got involved, but happily she did. Save A Mexican Mutt has a rigorous adoption procedure, and transports dogs from San Miguel to the U.S. and Canada. Kelly put “Bobby” on “PetFinders”. Bobby found his happy home.

"Bobby", now renamed Lincoln, with his mom Bella in Austin, Texas.

“Bobby”, now renamed Lincoln, with his mom Bella in Austin, Texas.

Bella emailed me recently to send pix of Lincoln. The woman is besotted and her picture comments are priceless so I’ve typed them verbatim. Here we go:

"Lincoln has been exploring his spirituality."

“Lincoln has been exploring his spirituality.”

 

"Here he is being adored by one of his minions. It is generally agreed around here that Lincoln is homosexula."

“Here he is being adored by one of his minions. It is generally agreed around here that Lincoln is homosexual.”

"My Valentine"

“My Valentine”

"Lincoln is now exploring other cultures."

“Lincoln is now exploring other cultures.”

And one more,

"This costume was inspired by 'Game of Thrones'."

“This costume was inspired by ‘Game of Thrones’.”Y

Oh my god, ya think Bella is a gonner?

Yay!

I had only said good-bye to “Bobby”/Lincoln for a little less than a week when an Amigos volunteer asked me if I could foster another dog.

Enter Mia.

CIMG2152

What a gorgeous redhead! Half-wild, and scared out of her wits in San Miguel’s streets, the pound picked Mia up pregnant. She was allowed to deliver her puppies – who were all adopted – but Mia was left behind. I remain convinced that the reason Mia wasn’t taken, and the reason that I loved her for nine long months, was because she was half-Chow. People are afraid of that black tongue.

It was a slow burn for me and Mia. Over a few weeks, as she gained her confidence, I began to see an astounding need in her for a person to call her own. Eventually her devotion made me burst into tears.

And I was a gonner.

Prospective adopters came to meet Mia. She was always skittish, but in a playful way. Some would bring their dogs. Good lord that girl loves to play! But months went by.

I wrote about Mia on this blog. When I knew I’d be returning to the states I called Save A Mexican Mutt. For her own reasons, Kelly didn’t want to take Mia on. So I played the “Bobby”/Lincoln card.

Hadn’t I been a great foster mom for Save A Mexican Mutt? I had to return to the states in two months. There was no one for Mia. Couldn’t she help me this one time? She did. She put Mia on “PetFinders”. 

And nothing happened.

Meanwhile, Lynn in Calgary, Canada was reading about Mia on my blog. One day she remarked again on what a beautiful dog Mia is and how my descriptions of her broke her heart. She simply could not understand why no one would adopt her.

And then I asked, “What about you?”

Mia at home with Lynn in Calgary. Her toys are Tubby and Hedgehog.

Mia at home with Lynn in Calgary. Her toys are Tubby and Hedgehog.

Lynn took a tremendous leap of faith. Mary fostered Mia when I had to leave, while Lynn made the arrangements to transport Mia to Calgary. Mia reminded Mary of a chow she’d grown up with, so there was a love affair going on there too. After I left Mary told Lynn about Mia’s affectionate nature, her habits, her diet, all the one hundred and one things a person who’s going to adopt a dog they’ve never met want to know. Save a Mexican Mutt got involved with Mia’s transport. Over weeks it came together, with me listening in via e-mail.

Not for one instant did I have a single doubt that Lynn would love Mia.She was everything I said she was. And something more that I couldn’t even put into words.

Lynn stays in touch.  We talk about how Mia’s confidence has grown. How she loves the snow. How they have a nature preserve behind their house. Mia walks proudly on a leash  now. Lynn sends me .waves of Mia walking. Complete computer idiot that I am, I don’t know how to insert them so you can see how transformed Mia is by having her person. I’ll show you a still:

movie mia 2

Tail is up, up, UP!

I wish I could include those .waves. Calgary got a freak snow storm about 10 days ago. You can hear Lynn calling Mia to come in the house. Mia continues romping in the snow.  It must feel so good to her with that thick ruff and heavy fur. In that little movie she’s happy and mischievous and home.

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I saw an acquaintance for the first time since I returned from San Miguel the other day. “So,” he asked, “how was Mexico?” I talked about Coyo and Lincoln and Mia. I certainly didn’t save them on my own. I worked with wonderful people who pulled together to find their home.

The only thing I did was love them when I had them.

“Truthfully,” I said, “it’s the finest thing I did in my 14 months in Mexico.”

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Once I get settled in my new place I’ll be able to see Asher more often.

Yay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While idling in neutral

Nobody wants a house guest for six months.  Nobody wants to be a house guest for six months. Oh, what to do?

It’s a curious position. As faithful readers know, I’m on the wait list for low-income senior housing in Louisville. I’m thankful that I have a good friend who’s willing to put me up but the apartment is small and let’s face it, it’s a burden both ways. I feel like I’m perpetually stuck in idle and I’m sure she feels like she has no privacy.

For a good part of each day, I find my mind leaving the present and looking forward to my own place with my own rhythms. So I’m revving constantly – day dreaming about interiors, decorating, sewing drapes in my mind … but there’s no place to go until I get that call.

Ha.

This then is obviously a test in wrestling with Monkey Mind [though I know the objective is to simply observe without judgement.]

Artist unknown, but appreciated

Artist unknown, but greatly appreciated

Along with my monkey, I swing between the poles of quiet observation or attempting to quiet the monkey, resenting the monkey, laughing at the monkey, or sighing with resignation. Sometimes I can visualize my ego-monkey swinging through the neural trees as it rushes about spying shiny objects and grabbing at birds on the wing.

It’s tiring.

Then comes a night when the air is so still that it feels like life is momentarily suspended. Still as living in the country and hearing the Holy Baptist church choir two miles away. Autumn leaves are briefly held in amber while the street light illumines the tracery of veins. It is, of course, ineffable and even the monkey pauses in wonder. In these moments I go back to my life-long work – Baba Ram Dass’s “Be Here Now” -and allow myself to be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the human position.

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What I am not waiting for:

Since I applied to Medicare and qualified for “Extra Help” on my prescriptions I’ve had three cat scans performed – chest, abdomen & pelvis – as a preventative screening for the cancer beast I’ve danced with twice so far. Instead of being asked for my $250 deductible up front as I was in 2011, nothing was said and I’ve yet to receive a bill. I’ve also learned that I will not be subject to the drug Do-nut Hole.  Yes, more than I could have asked for.

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I’ve reached out via the internet to a Meet-up group in da’Ville around permaculture. There’s nothing shakin’ yet, but my next call will be to the Jefferson County Agricultural Extension Co-op.  I’m convinced that vertical vegetable gardens are an answer for renters in the city –

Vertical vegetable garden (1)

 

 

and I want to be part of a DIY movement that extends this vision in Lu’vulle. [It hasn’t escaped my thought processes that the 99 low-income senior apartment dwellers at Highland Court could use this too, but I think it’s too much to go into that setting with an agenda.] <giggle>

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Today’s celebration:

In August of 2012 Mia was rescued from certain death at the hands of Ecologia in San Miguel de Allende. She had three foster moms, including myself for a bit more than nine months.  Today she is in the arms of her forever mom in Calgary, Canada. I’m sporting a big grin as I write.

CIMG2152

Mia is now home for good.

Happy Dance!

All Hallows Eve

As we crest into Halloween and my friends in San Miguel gear up for Day of the Dead, I’m pet sitting today with Peggy and my dogs, Foosie and Asher, and Sophie, a black lab or lives with our friend Joanie.

Sophie, Asher & Foosie

Sophie, Asher & Foosie

My kinda rainy day!

While on the subject of dogs, let’s honor Mia, my Mexican sweetheart, who is soon traveling to Calgary to her forever home where, I believe, she will LOVE new mom Lynn and the cold climate!

Mia at Mary's house. Picture by Mary. I miss this goofy girl!

Mia at Mary’s house. Picture by Mary. I miss this goofy girl!

Then there’s Bobby/Lincoln, who now lives in Austin with Bella, the love of his life.  An unforgettable pooch!

CIMG1983

And who can forget Cuyo, now all grown up, twice as big, and in the arms of his forever Mom & Dad, Julie and Cliff?

Coyo

Yes, you do see the devil in those eyes

Between us all – Julie, Mary, Jill, Kelly, Gabrielle, Bella, and Lynn – we’ve done well by my Mexican darlings. Hugs, kisses, pats on backs ladies!

Now one more view of my one true love, Asher of Treetop Kennels. Asher is father to 106 progeny during his working life.  He came to me when he retired at 5 and is now chewing 8.5 on the chin.  And it’s not just me. Everybody loves Asher.

Smooch.

Smooch.

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If it’s late October then it’s time to get ready for winter here in da’ Ville. Since I’m on the wait list for Richmond Drive, I’m sprucing up some of the items I have here at Peggy’s.  For a black metal oh-so-boring floor & reading lamp, that means gold spray paint.

CIMG2348

Much better, don’t you agree?

This table is next.

Soon, just as golden!

Soon, just as golden!

I told you how desirable our neighborhood is, and that means people tend to decorate outside too.  Since we have slum lords and live in the most embarrassing building on the street our only solace is that it’s Halloween. Perfectly unkempt and shabby, we look like the block’s haunted house – for free.

Currently living on the second floor

Currently living on the second floor

Lest you think I’m not being as bourgeois in my current incarnation as possible, here’s a house two-doors down that gives tribute to the Highlands’ neighborhood.

CIMG2350

Don’t you love gardens in the front of homes? I think of them as public art, or a gift the homeowners have given both themselves and passers by. Usually I transform wherever I live with a garden. But. I won’t be here long enough to put out that kind of effort.

Which brings me to vertical gardens:

vertical vegetable garden

I’ve come to think that vertical vegetable gardens are part of the solution to healthy living in cities, so I’m looking for a green group in Louisville with whom I can volunteer. I’m gifted as a public presenter and would love to travel around the city with a how-to slide show and/or raise some money. Talk about food security … wheeehaaa!

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If it doesn’t rain like hell tomorrow night Peggy, Joanie and I will make ourselves up as a Katrina and venture out in the city.

We'll look something like this - only MUCH older.

We’ll look something like this – only MUCH older.

Boo!

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BTW, the state of Kentucky is now picking up my Medicare Part B premium ($104.00 monthly) and providing “Extra Help” with medications. Yippie Kay Yay.

So, while Fukushima sizzles, the US economy goes further south, and Winter bears down on us, I wait for my new (to me) place and take it at the usual one-day-at-a-time.

Boo redux!

San Miguel de Allende: The Fall

Don’t you know that people don’t walk on the sidewalks or in the street in San Miguel de Allende!” Roger joked when he learned I’d taken a nasty fall Thursday night.

SMA road

Because of uneven sidewalks and roadways, ex-pats talk about falling a lot in San Miguel.  I’d been so proud of myself celebrating the one year mark without taking a tumble – never walking anywhere without consciously reminding myself to watch it, spread my toes flat in my shoes, step around slick spots, etc.  But, combine wine at dinner with Mary and David with a late night sprint to catch a cab and my record’s been broken.

Gawd it hurts to fall when you’re old. I’ve got the scraped knees, abraided palms, and split lip to prove it. The worst part was losing my glasses.  Nothing broken.  Skin will repair itself, but replacing my glasses will be pricey.

Sigh.

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I’ve been wondering if San Miguel is the Venice of Mexico? Not the canal part of course, but the holiday and wedding part. On my first (train) trip to Venice my Italian company informed me that ‘everybody in Italy’ wanted to get married in Venice. My Mexican neighbors have told me many times, voices bursting with pride, that ‘everybody in Mexico’ wants to visit San Miguel.  My dentist subscribes to society magazines where a bunch of weddings in San Miguel are strategically featured in center spreads. We already know that people flock here for the traditional festivities, of which it’s said that San Miguel has more than any other place in Mexico. That seals it for me.

el jardin at dusk

el jardin at dusk

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Bad news for “She Who Smiles” this week.

I be smilin' right now cuz I a happy girl!

Mia

When Mia first came in October I noticed she had a limp in her right front leg.  I thought it might be a sprain from playing. Veterinarian Danny Cox physically examined her a few weeks later and concluded it was probably just a muscle pull. And the limp went away on its own.

But a couple of weeks ago when the rains started, the limp reappeared.  Same leg, same limp. This time Gabrielle and I took Mia to Dr. Alma for an x-ray. What we learned is sad news indeed. Because of malnutrition as a puppy, Mi’s bones are not strong. She will need to take doggie arthritis medicine – probably for the rest of her life.

My time of fostering her is coming to an end.  Now we must find a person willing to take a dog with a disability. “If they only knew her like I know her,” I cry inside.

*&%)&/@^&!

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I’m busy pulling it together to make the schlep back to the U.S.  Now working with scraped knees and a split lip.

‘This too shall pass,’ I tell myself, but some days are longer than others.

 

 

 

San Miguel de Allende: In the rockets non-glare

Before I came to San Miguel I read somewhere that in the 16th century the Pope chastised the town for having too many parties.  It’s still known as Fiesta Central and every neighborhood has its patron saint.  Last night it was Colonia Allende’s turn and since Las Flores, the street where I live, is a main drag the party went right by my front windows.

There was a brass band dominated by tubas.

tuba parade from LA Times blogThere is always a cross made out of flowers.  Last night the flowers were white.

flower crossThough I asked Alex across the street about the occasion, at the jaded age of 15 he didn’t know except that it was only in our colonia and there would be a big party at a ranch nearby today.  Frankly, he said, he was bored with it all but he’d take his five year old sister Alondra to the party “just for her.” He warned me there would be a lot of barrachos (drunks) around. Then he clucked in disapproval.

Well, whatever was being celebrated, there were a lot of flowers involved and that’s always good, right?

carrying flowers

Hmmmmmm.

So, what happens is that the brass band travels down the street with a lot of people following and the whole parade stops in front of a house where the front has been decorated.  The band plays a rousing number, the flower cross is laid against the house, devotions take place, and then – TA DA!

The rockets go off.

You’re probably thinking cherry bombs, right?

cherry bombs

But you’d be so wrong.

Because they sound like this!

Cannon Fire NPS

Once several rounds are fired, the parade moves about a quarter of a block down the street and does it again.

cannon

And the whole she-bang wends its way down the next street – for about, say, 90 minutes.

Mia.

Mia by Kelly

Yes, she was born and raised with this.  But when these things go off a half mile away she can’t find a table small enough to get under. Last night she tried to hide under my knees while panting so hard she actually drooled.

Oh you are so right. Three of these things got set off in front of our house. And here’s the thing: you don’t get to see fireworks with these things.  No, that would be pretty …

Watcha get is

kaboom

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Well, it’s somebody else’s neighborhood next time.

As for me, I feel like I’ve done my penance.  I’m probably good for another year.

penance

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Perhaps what you should know is that the incredible BOOM! of these ‘fireworks’ is a perennial gringo complaint frequently answered (by other gringos) with a “If you don’t like it, go home.”

I happen to know there’s a boatload of Mexicans, and pretty much the entire animal population, who don’t like it either.

The tuba bands, the flowers, the parades?  All good.

But the

kaboom sticker

Not so much.

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Wow!  Today we got the BIG parade with mojigangas

mojigangas1

Aztec dancers

Aztec dancers

A bunch of kids in just about any kind of costume

kids costumes

A bunch of pick-up truck floats, decorated cars, and another brass band

brass band2

And very few of these!

kaboomYippie!

Chico & Mia

Kelly Karger with Save a Mexican Mutt asked us to care for the most adorable little pup while she’s out of town for a few days.  Meet Chico:

CIMG2302This little guy is only about 3 months old and was scared out of his wits when he first met me, much less Mia.  She must look huge to him.

Mia spent two and a half relentless hours trying to get him to play, but he kept his distance.  She was gentle, but merciless. I of course used the old food trick to get him to come to me.  He is all ABOUT food.

Please, please, please play with me.  Pleeeeese.

Please, please, please play with me. Pleeeeese.

Outside or inside, no matter how many times she nudged him, got down on her stomach to make  herself smaller, nipped at his legs or pushed him nearly over with her nose, Chico put himself into a corner or flatly laid down in refusal.

Oh, COME ON, I not gonna hurt you.  No.  I 'fraid.

Oh, COME ON, I not gonna hurt you. No. I afraid.

Then, after another half hour of her pleading, old as I am, I got down on the floor with both of them. Bingo! Chico wanted to play with me, and if Mia was in the middle of that he’d play with her too!

Uh huh.  You asked for it, Mia.  Welcome to boy puppydom!

Uh huh. You asked for it, Mia. Welcome to boy puppydom!

CIMG2299

So, at 3.5 hours I have two tired dogs sleeping the first play session off.

And look forward to the next couple of days watching them get their game on.

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Both Mia and Chico are up for permanent adoption through SAMM and Adopciones de Animales. I just love ’em while I keep them safe for their second chance.

 

 

 

 

Bobby/LINCOLN update

Just heard from Bella.  She’s mad about him.

Lincoln side saddleWhat a gorgeous couple, eh?  Bella calls this one “Side Saddle”.  She says he’ll stay in just about any position without squirming.  Yes, I know.  He’s perfect. <grin>

This one is titled “Orange Monkey.”

Lincoln orange monkeyShe writes that Orange Monkey felt used after this, but Lincoln didn’t seem to care.

I’m going to call this one “Wild Man Hair”:

Lincoln hairNo, I don’t think Bella put gel on him.

Last but not least, here’s Lincoln on The Mighty Texas Dog Walk.

Lincoln Mighty Texas Dog WalkBella said he made an ass of himself on this walk.  In other words, he had his nose up the butt of every dog he could get near.

All together now: “Getting to know you ….. getting to know all about uuuuuuuu”

Oh, o.k.  one more.

Let’s call it “Lincoln Super-Duper Content and Happy”:

Lincoln super duper contentAwwwwwwwww.

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From foster mom to Forever Mom, Bella: I LOVE that you LOVE him! I’m also fairly sure you two were made for each other, and even though I’ll always think about him, I’m beyond glad that he’s in your loving Austin, TX. arms!