Thursday, December 30, 2010

Excuses and Nap-Time!

I hope everyone is doing well as 2011 approaches. Work the last couple of weeks has been busier than usual because of the holidays and kids home from college. It led me to come home exhausted, especially this week with 3 of my coworkers on vacation. This week was also one in which patients gave some interesting 'excuses' about why they haven't been flossing. These excuses ranged from feeling that 'it was just to spooky to have pieces of food come out when flossing,' to another patient saying, 'I don't like to floss because my fingers get really sore when I wrap the floss around them.' And the gold metal winner was the 16 year old boy who is convinced that his chewed-off fingernails do a better job of cleaning in between his teeth than floss does.  You can't make this up...
Put all that together, and you can see why I'm glad that I won't have to return to work until Tuesday. I'm looking forward to catching up on things around the house, e-mails and blogs. I'll maybe even sneak in a nap or two.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Reality of a Christmas Myth

Christmas was a quiet day for us. Carl worked and I worked in the kitchen. I started the day by making cinnamon rolls in a cast-iron frying pan. The pan belonged to my Grandfather, and my Mom gave it to me more than 20 years ago. I'm starting to see more recipes using cast-iron, (the one for the rolls called for one) and I've even seen pans for sale at Macys. I'm wondering if like everything else, they are bringing back the old ideas and calling them new ones--They do that with everything else, so why not with cookware?   

I'm sure most of you have heard of the Christmas myth known as "The Night the Animals Talk". Supposedly, on Christmas Eve, for a time, the animals can speak. My Mom told me about this many years ago and about how her numerous attempts to sneak down to the barn to find out if this was true was foiled by her parents.

This time of the year always brings this back to mind.  I have thought that it would be interesting to hear what our dogs and the cat would say if they could speak to us.  Yesterday I think I was given this chance.  The mornings for Hamlet seem to be the time that he is the most playful.  Christmas morning was no exception. He seemed to have a bit more of a spark as he pranced around me for attention. As I was talking to him and giving him pats and scratches, Hamlet quickly turned around and with a wagging tail, he looked at me and barked.  It was just a single bark and because I've never heard him do this before, of course I was a little surprised.  But just as the myth had said, I understood what he said perfectly.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Our Christmas Card Photo

Our first Golden Retriever that we named Tod came to us in 1996, and that was the first year we featured him on our Christmas card.  It became a tradition with us.  This year I was going to change that.  I really liked the picture I posted yesterday, and considered using it instead of one with all the dogs.  But being a traditionalist I felt pulled back to what I've done for so long--So, in my mind I created that 'perfect' holiday card. But the dogs had something else in mind.  And despite my best efforts to make a reality of the picture I had imagined for this year, it soon gave way to something else, and the picture below was taken.  I posted something similar to it a couple of weeks ago which was a contender as well.  But even though Rudi and Wendy have their heads down, (it's practically impossible to get all the dogs to look in the same direction at once!) it was in my opinion, the best one to use as our 'family' Christmas card.  What do you think?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Calm of the Season

Heavenly peace... 
We always have a picture for our Christmas card and the one above was almost the one we used this year.  It was taken earlier this year after a snowstorm.  Stop by tomorrow and I'll post what we ended up using as a picture.  Today marks 3 days until Christmas.  Cards are almost all mailed, packages are sent...I think I'm ready for Christmas.  Are you ready too? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Up Early For This?!

The Lunar eclipse and the winter solstice coincided for the first time since 1378.  So how often do you get to witness an event that has not occurred since the year 1378 or 632 years ago--With that in mind and to the sound of the wind blowing through the trees and the crunching of something walking in the darkness that we couldn't see, from our front porch we captured these images of the eclipse...It was worth getting up early for.  Did you see it too?

**Our local news was asking for pictures for their news broadcast, so I sent one of the above pictures in, and what do you know, they've shown it several times.  A brief moment of celebrity!   

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Means a Little Bit More

I can't believe that its been nearly a week since I posted.  Time as we all know passes much too quickily.  But this past week, I have been 'plagued' with a few things...

The first plague I've had is one with 'Blogger.'  For some reason, I'm having problems posting comments on your blogs.  I can create and read posts just fine, but leaving comments is frustrating to say the least.  As I type my thoughts into the comment box, the words are not visible and take several seconds to appear.  Going back to change or correct a spelling error really consumes a lot of time.  To remedy that, at least for now, I'm writing my comments in document form and then cut and pasting them into the comment box...I'm hoping the issue will resolve itself... But if anyone knows the solution to this problem, or what has caused it, I'd so appreciate your letting me know.  ***After I posted this, my blog crashed and I lost 10 posts and ALL of the comments.  I've been able to get the posts back up, but the comments are yet to be retrieved...What was that I said about frustration?!*** 

The second plague is the weather.  We've been hampered by wind, cold and snow this week.  Not much snow is needed to make 'real' Virginians miserable.  Even though we lived in Alaska for 10 years and Wisconsin before that, I am now like the rest of the people here in the 'Old Dominion' that has difficulty dealing with the smallest amounts of snow.  
The third plague that I've dealt with is just lack of time.  Carl is working nights this week, leaving me as a 'single parent' in the evenings.  The crew loves that someone is home all of the time and they can spend more time outdoors.
Hamlet (pictured with Toby) continues to do really well!  I can tell he feels good too.  The staples have been removed and he has healed up just fine!  
Finally, despite all of the rush and frustration something has happened.  I'll start by saying how very grateful I am to those of you who understood what I tried so hard to articulate in my last post.  I have read your comments several times from that post.  You all were right in what you said.  I just needed to hear it.

One of my favorite Christmas stories is Dr. Seuss's 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas.'  You'll recall in the story after the Grinch has stolen every last thing, the Whos wake up on Christmas morning to sing in the town square despite having nothing.  This causes the Grinch to question the basis of his nefarious plan. He then realizes that Christmas is not about the gifts or the decorations.  It is not about the amount of food on the dining room table. It is about friendship and love for all.

This is what has happened to me.  I realize that this Christmas season I have been given the extraordinary gift of friendship from people all over the world that I've never personally met, but feel like I know.  Your gifts have come via e-mail and the postal service and I find myself humbled and grateful for the Christmas spirit that you have brought into my 'Grinchy heart' and our home.   

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where Are You Christmas?

This morning I have something to say that has nothing to do with the dogs...It's all about me...I'll start with telling a secret that I don't tell very many people. It's that I love Christmas. It's my favorite time of the year. I love sending and receiving Christmas cards and little packages in the mail. I love the magic, and the glow that everything has, and that for one small part of the year, people are willing to give and to create joy for others. But here it is, less than two weeks before Christmas, and I'm not feeling it. I have looked within myself to find that inner child who loves the lights and the songs and the giving and you know what? She seems to be sleeping. Or maybe she wandered off.

I don't know quite why it is, but I am just not excited about Christmas this year. I've not put up a single decoration, we don't have a tree, and I haven't done any of my shopping yet. I've not even baked anything. And while I've enjoyed reading about the traditions, plans and memories so many of you have, deep down, I'm just not enjoying the season this year.

Maybe it's because I'm tired. I feel as though I've spent the last few months running, filling every spare moment of my time. I have been better about saying no however--I actually turned down taking in a 13 year old Golden last week. But my free time seems to be packed full. I keep telling myself it's only for a few more weeks, and then things will calm down. But I'm starting to realize that there is no calm. Finding some 'extra' time right now will get to be a little more difficult because for the rest of the year to I'll be working every day because another co-worker will be off.  Carl is also working nights, which includes Christmas Eve and day. I know I'll continue to be in a mad rush.  

So I don't know if any one of these things, or a combination of all of them is keeping me from getting in to Christmas this year. But really, if we were to skip it all together, I kind of think I'd be okay with it. But I'm really hoping that I'll get into the mood this coming week. I pick up my cards today and I have some plans to do a few things. Maybe that'll help. We'll see.

I really hope that you're getting ready and waiting for Christmas morning, with better spirits than I am at the moment.  However, being the eternal optimist I have to believe that for me this will all change.  Stay tuned...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mismatched Week and Mismatched Socks

It’s officially winter here in Virginia! Last week we were enjoying seasonably warm weather but fast forward to this week and the cold winds have been howling and we even had a little bit of snow today. 

I've been enjoying the last couple of planned days off work.  I've not been feeling well, so it's nice to have a break. 
Yesterday I was all set to take Tanner to see the opthamologist for a 4 month check up.  For once I was running on time, even taking him beforehand to the groomer for a nail-trim.  I called the office to confirm the time and was told that Tanner's appointment was today...So much for the good planning...We arrived today a little late.  Tanner's eye pressure is unchanged and the exam showed everything was fine, good news!  Today Tanner was seen by 2 Opthamologist, one was a man I'd never met before--He was a very tall, husky man that I figure was in his mid 50's.  He didn't introduce himself, so I'm guessing he was an opthamologist.  But when he sat down I noticed that he wore mismatched socks, one was light green, the other was dark brown.  He also wore a wrinkled white oxford shirt that had streaks of gray running through it. I really tried not to stare, but I know that I was.  He was such a contrast to the crisp white coat and neat appearance of the 'lady opthamologist' and the assistant that I couldn't help myself.  I had to wonder if he needed HIS eyes checked... 

On a final note, Hamlet is feeling really well and I feel like the last couple of days we have the 'old' Hamlet back!  The drains have been removed, and he's finally leaving the surgery site alone so for now he's not wearing the e-collar.  I do think he'll continue to wear a shirt and shoe for now.  But he is up and around much more and has returned to our room at night to sleep. Notice in the last picture of Hamlet that he is laying on his 'surgery side.'  It was the first time I'd seen him do that, and I think it has to be a good sign. I've started him back on the Chinese herbs in hopes that perhaps they will do some good this time. I know it's doing us 'some good' to see him feeling like the Hamlet we so very much adore!   

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Quiet Day and Sam's Secret

Today has been a much needed quiet day.

Hamlet continued to get his needed rest.
I watched the birds.
The cows I mean the dogs grazed in unison.  
I made peanut-butter cookies. 
And we discovered something about our boy Sam.  I've said all along that Sam knows more than he's telling and today he showed that--We found out that he can balance a treat on his nose and catch it.  I continue to wonder what other secrets of national security Sam may be keeping?   

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Final Decision for Hamlet

Cold and wind has arrived in Virginia bringing with it temps just above freezing.  Areas to the south of us are having a bit of snow.  We have blue skies and sunshine, at least today. 

I took Hamlet (pictured with Wendy on the right) to the vet this cold morning to have the drains removed.  We have decided to wait to do that on Monday because there's still draining.  The final culture results were returned on Wednesday and my vet called me and discussed the options.  Today we discussed everything again.   While the surgeon removed the area of infection, because he couldn't remove everything (without removing Hamlet's leg) there is concern that the bacteria might still be present in Hamlet's system after this surgery.  We wonder if this is why there was a recurrence of infection after the first surgery, because we didn't use the right antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria--But this is just a guess...The culture that was done before the surgery identified 3 bacteria which are immune to most antibiotics.  One medication that Hamlet is currently taking (zenquin) will get rid of 2 of the bacteria.  The 3rd one however is a strain of e-coli and the only medication that will work to get rid of it is an antibiotic called Amikacin. It is a very strong medication that has a lot of side effects that could occur such as kidney damage, hearing loss, vestibular (balance) disorders. There may also be facial swelling, pain at the injection site, allergic reactions, vomiting, diarrhea, blood disorders, or liver disorders...It goes without saying that Hamlet would have to be monitored very closely by the vet during treatment because old dogs are particularly susceptible to the side effects.  

I've thought a lot about all of this the last few days.  I've thought of what my goals are for Hamlet and what my hopes are for him.  At the top of the list is for Hamlet to be able to enjoy the days he has left and be comfortable and free from pain.  I feel strongly that he's been through enough.  I think Hamlet needs to rest and enjoy the time he has left with us in peace, not be poked and prodded and ill from the side-effects of medications.  So I've decided to continue with the one antibiotic that will get rid of two of the bacteria, and not risk putting him on the Amikacin. 

I don't know what's ahead for Hamlet.  But tonight for the first time this week while I was eating my dinner in front of the tv, Hamlet came to me looking for a small bite of what I was having.  I think and I so hope I've made the right choice. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snippets from Thursday

Its been an exhausting week, and I'm glad it's winding down!  Hamlet is doing pretty well.  Although very slow, he's up and around a bit more and is getting a lot of rest.  There is quite a bit of bruising and draining.  I'm hoping the draining will lessen in the next few days. 

With Carl home today, I ran some errands.  One was a trip to Wegmans.  I was there last evening, but somehow managed to forget a bag of groceries--Have you ever done that? I  decided that since I was there anyway, I'd go ahead and have a quick lunch.  As I sat in the mezzanine watching the people below, I noticed an 'older' lady who was working in a kiosk handing out samples and making small boxed lunches for customers. Nothing unusual about that, but in the moments when no one was around, she pick up a sample or two, quickly turn around and eat them.  It gave me a grin and I quickly snapped her picture with my cell phone when I walked past. 
The next stop was to a jewelers to have my watch repaired.  As I stood there waiting, a young gentleman who looked to be about 25 named Jared was picking out a diamond engagement ring for his 'significant other' named Lindsay.  I overheard his conversation with the sales person and couldn't help but glance in his direction.  As the sales-girl ooooo'd over the ring, and assured him that 'she would just love it!' I looked at him again and couldn't help but smile--At that he said to me that his mother couldn't come with him and asked me to give him my opinion of the ring he'd chosen. (I wondered if I reminded him of his mother).  I assured him that it was absolutely stunning!  The ring was a 2.5 carat center stone pave set with round diamonds on the band...At least that's what the jeweler said...I just know it was gorgeous!  He really felt that this was the ring he wanted, but also wanted to think about it.  It cost over $5000, so I told him I was glad he was going to--I think that's what his Mother would have wanted me to say.  I can't get over that it cost more than our first and second car combined!   

After a couple of other stops I came home and got the dogs walked.   (Sheba)
My day has come to a close with the mailman bringing me a new purse that I ordered from Macys...I was feeling some stress a few days ago and ordered it.  Carl can't understand why I need a new one when I just got a new one (on the left) a few months ago...Men... 
Its been a pretty good day! 
I hope yours has been too--I look forward to catching up on your blogs this evening!