Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell to Bubba and 2011

We who choose to surround ourselves with lives
more temporary than our own 
live within a fragile circle,
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps, 
we still would live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality,
never fully understanding the necessary plan."
~Irving Townsend~

This quote tumbled around in my mind several times yesterday as Bubba quietly left this life for the next.  We are thankful for the 18 months that he spent with us.  They were not always easy ones because of his health and limitations.  But knowing that Bubba is free from all those things brings peace.  His kind, quiet, gentle nature, licks on the hand, and high pitched 'woo-woo-wooo's' when he was happy will be missed.  His lifetime companion, Toby, like us, is missing him already. I wish I could explain it all to him, but as I mentioned yesterday, I think he already knows.  

The day was a very difficult one.  Those of you who are 'Facebook friends' may have seen my update saying that it 'was the worst day I'd ever had as a dog owner.'  It truly was. With those events and the loss of Bubba and the six others this year, my spirit and the 'fragile circle' that I live in truly feels breached and broken.  I cannot remember ever being at a lower point.  This circle that Carl and I have chosen to live in, and my broken heart will hopefully be made whole by your friendship, family, and the good memories and times of the past year.  At least as the last day of 2011 dawns, and a new year is on the horizon, that's my hope.  

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Vigil

I mentioned a few days ago that Bubba was not doing well, and we were having problems keeping him on his feet.  He's been managing quite well with our help this week and I wasn't worried too much about him. Yesterday he was having a bit more difficulty but together we managed and he seemed fine.  However, last evening he came into the office, lay down and fell into what seemed like a deep sleep.  Our attempts to rouse him were unsuccessful and afterwards I noticed that Bubba was shivering.  Thinking it was a 'focal seizure' I put a coat on him, and covered him up hoping it would pass.  It did somewhat, but Carl stayed with him through the early hours of the morning.  I got up about 3 AM to check on him, and let Carl get some rest.  There has been no change.  He is warm and his breathing, continues to be slow and deep.  He seems comfortable, and really appears to just be in a deep sleep.  However, he is a little responsive to my talking to him, and shortly I'll wake Carl to see if we can get Bubba to wake up and get him on his feet.

Nearby is Bubba's life companion, Toby, who has not left his side, even at my insisting that he go out, he won't leave him.  Just inside this circle and watching over the two is Sam.  I wish they could tell me what they know.  When my eyes met Toby's, there was an instant that I think he may have.  I am feeling an old wound in my heart opening once again.    

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Lame Duck Session

A very busy week as co-workers were on vacation, and we are cramming 5 days of work into 4.  Outside, the cold has returned, but a beautiful crescent moon has been along with me on the drive home, and Venus has also been visible.  I can't believe that it's two days and counting before the New Year.  I'm already planning a resolution or two for the year ahead, one of them is one that many of us make which is to eat a bit healthier.  However I know that I don't dare begin that one as I am experiencing what I am going to call a 'Lame Duck Session' -- You may  know what I'm talking about--The week after Christmas and before New Year's day where you would gladly begin a healthier diet if it weren't for all the leftover sweets and tempting food that seems to be everywhere you are!  Today I had a nice lunch with a very dear friend who was so thoughtful and bought both us each a delicious, freshly baked cookie that I enjoyed every single bite of as we chatted in front of a warm fireplace.  I felt absolutely no remorse for my continued indulgence!  

Happening at our house are the teenage antics Todd.  Tired of barking into the darkness, a pulled out chair became an invitation to see what was on the table it was sitting next to.  A black laundry marker was used to recolor my rug and his paws. Onto the next thing which was to chase the cat.  Checking that off the list, it was then time to see if the laundry basket held a sock in need of chewing up. Not disappointed, and that task completed it was then time to jump into my lap to play the newest computer game which is to jump at anything that moves on the monitor. I ended that game and Todd found his next one. All of this was before 6:30 this morning.  I don't think he feels any remorse for his indulgences either!  

Monday, December 26, 2011

All is Calm, All is Bright

A very quiet Christmas and day after.  Exactly one year ago today was what became known as the Boxing Day blizzard, or known locally as Nomageddon, as snow clobbered our area.  This year, it’s not even a close call for any snow, with high pressure and bright sunny skies. It makes for perfect weather for taking the dogs for long walks.

Bubba is becoming increasingly immobile.  More and more he is having problems walking and we are helping him to his feet most of the time.  Unaware of his limitations, he wanted to come on a walk with us today, so despite my best judgement, we took him along.  Once Bubba gets some momentum going, he does pretty well.  But on this walk Carl ended up with the job getting him home after he had difficulty walking through the tall grass. I know it wears him out, so I covered him up with a blanket as he napped afterwards.

The dogs and I really do enjoy the walk up the hill in back of us.  The two 10 acre parcels that adjoin our property was put back on the market to sell in late October.  With 2 significant price reductions, I wonder how much longer we will be able to have it all to ourselves without feeling like we're trespassing.
I just can't get enough of the view with the pond.
I always look for little treasures on these walks.  Hanging on a branch today was this little birds nest that I noticed had dog hair loosely woven into its construction.  I love thinking that the dogs hair was keeping baby birds warm this summer.  
The only one not worn out from the walk and all the fresh air is Todd.  In typical terrier fashion, he just needs a recharge of his batteries and ...
he's already looking for his next adventure.  I wish I had his energy. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; 
It makes no noise at all, 
But softly gives itself away; 
While quite unselfish, it grows small.

Thank-you for your cards you've sent, via e-mail and post! 
And thank-you for the best gift of all that can't be found under the tree, 
the gift of your friendship! 

Merry Christmas everyone!! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Did He Notice the Most?

I was wearing Carl's garden shoes, my gray-flannel pajamas with pink hearts and mice on them, and an old over sized green sweater.  In one hand I had a bucket of bird-food, the other held a few feathers and my camera.  In the background there was the chaotic barking from the dogs inside the fence.  Not having any neighbors, for me, the scene was all perfectly normal.  To some, like the mail-man who had come to deliver a package, it may not have been.  When he left I glanced around and feeling a bit (okay, a lot) embarrassed, I wondered what he'd noticed the most and what was he thinking as he stood there with his broad smile at 9 o'clock this morning?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas is in Sight!

I can't believe that it's less than a week before Christmas.  I feel like I should be running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get everything done, but I'm really not.  I only have 1 more day of work for the week.  Its been pretty hectic with kids home from college and people wanting to use up their dental benefits for the year.  To keep us going and to ease the stress, the office has been totally bombarded with gift baskets.  We’ve had everything from Walkers shortbread and Lindor Truffles to homemade cookies and fudge.  I happen to be a chocoholic (and love other sweets too) but I usually do pretty well avoiding them.  But when my co-workers and I sit in our break-room and they’re right in front of us, they’re hard to resist!    

We are also having the most random weather.  We had a light dusting of snow on Sunday, but the past couple of days it has been in the 50’s, tomorrow the weatherman said it may get to 60 degrees.  My forsythia bushes are budding and even have a few blooms on them.  This is December, right? 
The dogs are doing pretty well.  Todd is not attending day-camp this week. He’s now more than 8 months old, so I’m trying to get him used to staying home during the day.  He does stay in a crate while we’re gone, and the dog-walker does come midday and he gets a break.  The past couple of days, he seems to have a  real fascination with Carl's computer.  It makes me wonder what he’s doing when we're not around?  
I hope your week is going well!! 
~Toby on Sunday~

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Walk With Wendy

A cold, cloudy day where gloves are needed when out for any length of time.  The bird feeders are busy with visits from the chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, and whatever else stops by for an easy meal.

We got a late start getting the dogs walked this morning.  At the very back of the pack was Wendy who unexpectedly decided she wanted to come along with us.  Because of her arthritis, she very rarely goes on walks with us anymore,.  Instead Wendy tools around the yard and will roll in the grass or just soak up an incredible world of scents that I will never know.  Eventually she'll go back to the house to wait for us to return. Carl and the other dogs were a little ahead of us, so I waited for Wendy who will sometimes decide to wander off in another direction.  At more than 14 years old, and having been with us the longest, she is the matriarch of the pack.  Because of her position, I really believe that Wendy feels that she is my equal.  Yes, she's indeed right about that.  This may explain why she pretty much goes where she wants to, does as she pleases, and returns to us when she's ready.

I found that this morning was a rare, special time with just the two of us.  She and I don't have many walks alone these days.  Several times, she stopped for a moment to rest.  I told her to take her time, and as she always does, she looked at me like she totally understands what I've said to her.  After all of our years together, I think she does.  Too soon our walk was over and we were back home.  A brief time to spend with my old friend, but such a special time, and one that we both needed. 
~Wendy in November~

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Just Want to Sit

With my list written out, I got an early start for another marathon day of shopping on Thursday.  My last stop, was Wegmans for groceries for the weekend and for baking.  While organizing my final list, I realized that I didn't have my credit card.  Of course my mind started spinning as I thought of the 'what if's' of someone else having it.  Since I wasn't far from the last place I'd used it, I went back only to find there were no parking spaces near the store. In my rush, I parked  'illegally' to retrace my steps.  Thankfully the store had my card, but for some reason it took several minutes to locate the manager to open the safe and retrieve it.  When I came out, a policeman was just walking up to my van with his ticket book in hand.  I bombarded the officer with my explanation that came complete with a plea for leniency and goodwill since it's the holidays.  He bought it, and let me go!

Re-energized and feeling lucky I was in and out of the grocery store quickly and on my way home; still feeling grateful for finding my credit card unharmed and for the kindness of the police officer.  I was up late last evening, but I finished my baking, made potato soup and wrote a few Christmas cards.

Too tired to do the dishes, I left them overnight secretly hoping my luck would hold and someone like Carl or the dish-fairy would do them while I was sleeping--No such luck, they were still there waiting for me this morning.
It was another early start to the day, but I got everything cleaned up, 
put away and a few packages ready to be mailed.   
Then I was off again to our little (but new) post office to stand in line. 
Our 7-11 was busy too.  
As this video shows, Todd and I were a lot alike in our 'running' this morning, 
I just wish I had his speed.
But with everything done for now, I've been able to sit,
and enjoy a warm bowl of potato soup for my lunch.   
There's a part of me that would kind of like to just take a nap,
But I really just want to do nothing, look out my window at the birds
and read what you've all been up too.
I think that's just what I'm going to do...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Do Over

I got off work early because I had to take Sheba back to the vet.

Even though she's wearing a 'comfy cone of shame' she had a partner in crime that I think, somehow managed to remove all the staples in her leg.  Todd wouldn't leave her wound alone, so there really is no other explanation as to how the staples came out.  Despite this little set back, everything is healing nicely.  However, from where her skin was shaved, its become really irritated and red from the clippers.  It's really bothering her and the vet and I think that her skin will either heal, or become hot-spots.  I've got medication to try and ease the discomfort I know she's having.

Today I also picked up the second printing of our Christmas cards.  Long story, but suffice it to say that my 'obsessive compulsiveness' kicked in, and I had them redone.   I am also finished with work for the rest of the week. I'm hoping to get some of my cards written and packages put together and mailed.  I feel like I'm where I was this past Sunday when I was thinking I'd be able to relax.  I'm really worn out and tired and am hoping I'll get that 'do over' and the chance to relax that I didn't get last weekend.  Stay tuned!
~Something about this picture of Todd made me laugh...~

Monday, December 12, 2011

On the Mend

I'd really hoped for the chance to sit and relax and enjoy my Sunday afternoon.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  I was sitting at my computer when I heard the Todd barking outside.  It was a high pitched non-stop bark that I don't know that I've heard from him before.  Figuring it was probably nothing, I sent Carl out to see what the commotion was.  A couple of  minutes later, he came inside with Sheba, covered in blood.  Carrie was behind her with blood on her as well. The two had gotten into a fight.  Sheba had a large wound on her front leg that was laying open.  She let me wash the debris off, and I then went to check on the other dogs.  Todd was continuing to bark, and I was concerned that he'd been part of the fight too.  Thankfully he was not.  Carrie's wounds were superficial and didn't require much more than being washed off.  So I put Sheba into the van and took her to the animal emergency.  Almost 3 hours later, we left with Sheba having staples on her face, and leg.  She has other wounds that will only need to be kept clean.

This morning they were still tentative around one another.  I left Carrie in her crate all day and this evening they are fine. You may recall that this is not the first time that Sheba has started a fight.  A friend of mine suggested that I think about re-homing Sheba.  Needless to say, I don't know what to do. There's a lot about this that continues to tumble around in my head.  But thankfully I don't have to do anything for now, except let the mending begin for all of us.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Focus, Patience and Persistence

The last few days have been really busy ones.  I was out late on Friday night because of our office Christmas party.  Saturday morning was off to an early start Christmas shopping.  I wanted to get ahead of the afternoon crowds and I thought I was doing well, but ran into another parade in the town of Leesburg. Trying to remain focused on the tasks at hand, and not really in the mood for a parade, I only took a couple of pictures and was off again.  I was on a mission after all!
It paid off as there were few people in the stores.  
Finally after about 5 hours of shopping, I was home!  
It was then time to try and capture that elusive perfect picture
of the dogs for this years Christmas card.  
Here are a few examples of my trying to get the dogs to cooperate... 
Needless to say, I was worn out at the end of the day and the photo session...But determination and patience and a little bit of creativity did pay off when an unexpected almost perfect picture was taken.  Last night I ordered the cards online and I'll pick them up tomorrow.  I'm my worst critic when it comes to my photos.  This is why this morning I can't even look at the picture that we decided to use, so I won't post it today.

Today I'm looking forward to relaxing, watching the birds out the window 
and catching up on your blogs!  Enjoy your Sunday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Love a Parade!

There's nothing like a Christmas parade to give you a dose of the holiday spirit!
For me, there's just something about the simplicity that's found in small town parades.  
I love their beauty... 
And the poise and grace...
Of the people within them. 
The sound of the music always electrifies the air...
And seeing the dogs never fails to put a smile on peoples faces...
I enjoy the riders on magnificent and beautiful horses...
That walk with their dogs...
It's always fun seeing the local groups in the parades too...with their dogs...
(Great Pyrenees Mountain Dogs)
It's so hard to say what my favorite part is about small town parades.  
I guess it's the dogs...