Thursday, June 30, 2016
I'm not going to lie.
Adjusting to not having Jenny and Chi Chi around has been tough.
Really, I don't think I'm uncommon in having trouble processing my grief or coming to grips with the loss. Many of us, I suspect, get through loss by trying to keep ourselves busy with other thoughts. I spend a lot of time hanging out with the remaining stalwart companions.
Lil on the other hand, is working at being a better model-canine-citizen. She's trying to step up her constant companion role; if I step back from the sink in the bathroom, I trip over her. If I sit down I have a second oversized lap dog trying to squish me with love.
When we're hanging out, I need something to actually occupy my mind - petting dogs is great but it doesn't actually require all my active brain cells - yet. I'm a writer, so I write. Recently I was given a challenge by a family member, to try and write a Western.
I don't consider the traditional Western my genre, although I have read them I've never intended to write one. My relative (okay, dad) wouldn't quit bugging me about trying though and after warning him I wouldn't write 'his kind' of Western, I gave it a try.
What came out is the beginning of a Historical Western Mystery series.
And since I like to share all my compulsions with the folks who stop by this blog, I would now like to share a link that allows the first two people (sorry, only in the U.S.) to obtain the book for free through Amazon: paperback giveaway
For those of you who have Kindles or the kindle reading app for other devices, the book is available starting at just 99 cents (U.S.) and should be available wherever kindle books are sold (i.e., any nation).
Hope everyone else is hanging in there and has a good start to their summer. I'll keep plugging away and the rest of y'all please do the same!
Sunday, May 15, 2016
This is a hard one to write, one that I have not been able to face for a few weeks.
Several weeks ago I got a call that my dad was in the hospital for emergency surgery. I loaded up the fur-kids and headed to my parents home, which is several hours from mine and the reason I moved back to the Northern Mid-West from my much loved West Coast.
Saturday morning I came downstairs in my parent's home to find my mom cleaning up after Jenny the Collie. Jenny had been having bowel problems that week but at my home I'd convinced myself that we'd get through this, I fed her some canned pumpkin and we got by. I told my mom I didn't know what was wrong and mom gently said, "I think her body is shutting down."
I called my vet (nearby town to parents because we're there so often) and took Jenny in. The vet agreed, it was Jenny's time. So with much pain despite the inevitability of this time, I said goodbye to my old friend.
Visiting my father in the hospital that afternoon I reminded myself that I was fortunate, my father was going to recover and Jenny had a good life, having been comfortable for the final 3+ years with a chronic condition that was hard on her body.
On some level I had been expecting this. Personally, I don't think knowing something is coming necessarily makes it easier but at least one isn't taken by total surprise. What happened next though, did surprise me.
Chi Chi had stopped eating and drinking the morning I took Jenny in. Jenny was his best buddy and when I was at work, he and Jenny snoozed side by side, two seniors comfortable in each other's company. I worried that he was having trouble adjusting. It was worse than that.
His body quickly failed him. He lost control of his body functions. Monday I was back at the vet. Three months previously Chi had a wellness check and at that time he'd been a healthy 7.01 pounds. That Monday he was already down to 6 pounds. He was dehydrated and a different vet than the one I'd dealt with on Saturday - a young person who was trying to be neutral and non-influencing - advised me that I could try taking him home and getting him to drink - his veins were bad enough they couldn't do it intravenously - but that we were still dealing with his underlying neurological condition and ....
I said, "My concern is I would be keeping him going just for me."
Her response, "People do that all the time, we all do."
Personally, I've tried to always avoid that, asking an animal who had lost their overall quality of life to keep living just for me. I looked at my weary little old dog and realized that without his bff he was not wanting to go on. So I had to say goodbye.
She continues to follow me everywhere, which she's always done - she is a Lab. Now however, she sleeps with me every night - she used to just as often sleep in 'her own room' next door to mine. But she's decided I need closer looking after now. And then there's Gracie.
Gracie is a senior now. Nine years old. Which means she acts at her age the way more ordinary dogs behave at a much younger age. She only needs to jump on my head on rare occasions now and is satisfied to try and sit on my shoulder from the back of the couch, like an over-sized parrot, or drape over my lap, as she's always done, but now without exploding off my lap into my face or onto Lil.
Gracie still keeps an eye on all the neighbors. As I reflect though, I think the outraged barking has decreased a little.
Bull Terriers are not noted for being particularly long lived. In the UK where this has actually been investigated, the mean age of the breed is 10. I'm not borrowing trouble and Gracie is currently fit and in good health, seeming younger than she is.
We are all aging and doing our best to adjust to what life requires of us as our bodies slow down and our losses compile alongside our gains. I'm grateful for the time I have with canine friends; I miss them so much when they are gone.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Admittedly, I am not posting as regularly as my good intentions would dictate, if I listened to my good intentions. There is a new medical procedure on my horizon though (out patient, so not a big deal) and I was thinking - what we need to see about now are smiling dogs. Happy looking dogs to remind us that whatever else is going on, we can usually count on our canine companions to brighten our day.
Not all of us are experiencing full on spring yet, so I'm starting with a dog that can smile even while sitting in slushy snow. I will try and remember his/her face when I slog through mud, slush, snow to get to my front door tonight.
There are entire breeds of dogs who are known for their tendency to smile. One of these is the Samoyed.
Another smiling breed is the Golden Retriever.
Other breeds don't tend to be associated with smiling as often, yet do still generate happy looks - I'm thinking of a breed I actually live with now... the Chihuahua.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Typically long lived, usually healthy, very spunky, rather independent, and sometimes flat out stubborn - though now classified as a "Companion" breed, the Schipperke requires a certain sort of person to share their home, farm, or boat with.
One of several breeds of Belgium dogs breed out from an earlier breed (the Leauvenaar) Schipperkes share this ancestor with their larger cousin, the Belgium Groenendael. The modern breed may be mistaken for a relative of the Spitz or Pomeranian family due to their small sized, wedged shape head, perk ears,and bushy coat but their origins are as working shepherds who also guarded their masters on the way to and from market. Though now pint sized, the Schipperke retains: a willingness to protect their home and family; a suspicion of strangers; and a very large dog's attitude.
Some bloodlines are more prone to small prey drive than others but there is also a breed tendency to be good with animals they are raised with, very tolerant of children, and devoted to their own family.
It's now believed the Schipperke is named for their shepherding origin; in the area of Belgium they are from their name translated as "little shepherd". Because they are such adaptable little dogs, willing to hunt rodents as well as guard property, they became popular as barge dogs, many people thus thinking their name was based on a translation of "little boatman."
Barge owners, however, were not the only trades or crafts people to keep this dog and there is a legend that the first time a Schipperke's tail was cropped it was done by an angry shop owner who was tired of his neighbor's dog stealing things from him - so he chopped the dog's tail off. Of course, in Europe it is no longer allowed to crop dogs' tails and selective breeding does now result in some Schipperke being born tailless or with short tails.
|Wikipedia, Schipperkes circa 1897|
Personally, I don't think the nickname or reputation of "little black devil" is deserved. These are feisty dogs but also very devoted to their people. Yes, they can be mischievous and stubborn but obviously I don't consider these devilish traits (I admittedly do live with a Bull Terrier and think the Schipperke would be easier for many people to live with).
The Schipperke I've met have been spirited but manageable, an active breed that will grace the right family with many years of devoted companionship. Due to their small size, a brisk walk of 20 - 30 minutes and some play time inside meet the average Schipp's exercise needs; their compact size suits them to living in a range of environments.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
I've been meaning to write a post about Schipperkes and today is once again not the day I will do that :-/ But I still have to post a brief update because Hanukah and Christmas are quickly going to be here. I'm sure the fact that seasons seem to be going more quickly every year has nothing to do with the fact I'm aging, right?
My latest questionable choice has been to sign up to do my first craft show and it will be in a rather large venue (a dome) with hundreds of other crafters. I'm pretty sure this indicates that any slim hold I had on rationality has gone out the window.
I've made some new cards, some so new I don't have pictures of them yet to share.
I was also very pleased to be able to use a few photos taken by my 10 year old nephew, who is also thrilled to have his photos featured on some cards. (If anyone is interested in ordering a Hanukah or Christmas card, I'm having free shipping on greeting cards until after the craft shows....)
This picture is by young photographer C. Korhonen
I think he's going to be a phenomenal adult photographer because he's already great and he has years ahead of him to learn more!
As soon as I can carve out some time, I will post a real post, and not just a 'hi, how is everyone!' post.
Until then, Hi, how is everyone?
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
|"Christmas Kitty reminds us 'the greatest gift of all is peace on earth; |
the second greatest gift is including the gift receipt with every present,
thus simplifying returns.' "
When I say I probably need stronger meds I'm making a sarcastic, or tongue in check reference to the fact that I am somewhat (okay, diagnosed) as living with among other things OCD and I've fallen back into an old obsession; photography.
But I've found a way to take it to a new level by combining my photos with my writing, my sometimes biting wit, and my desire to have something to focus on when the physical pain leads me to the point of wanting something 'outside myself' to concentrate on.
Thus was born: Chi Chi Salutations.
|"We're racing to wish you Happy Holidays and a Joyful New Year"|
Originally, the salutations were going to be all snarky and I was going to call them salutations with scorn.
It seems though, that there are still other aspects of my personality that want to come out too, so I caved into my better nature and developed some "Loving Lil's cards", which say nice things.
And "Gentle Jenny's" which don't say anything at all but have nice clean, white stationary inserts so people can include their own thoughts, snarky or not. We've even created some boxed collections for those inclined to gift giving.
I use some dog and cat photos.
|" A wise man once said:|
"To avoid a look of surprised disappointment,
don't give a dreidel to someone hoping for a diamond."
I share these words of wisdom with you in the spirit of Hanukah."
|"Love is like a rose. |
It may look good from a distance
but up close it's full of thorns."
Lots of pictures of flowers from my gardens; sometimes with blank inserts and sometimes not.
I've also spent time in the local Quincy Mine Historical Park, taking photos of the shaft house, hoist house, and ruins.
|Ore car and rail ruins, shaft house|
After the historical park, I had to start framing some of my photos, including making a few framed photo collages.
|"To everything there is a season,|
and a time to every purpose under heaven."
After framing photos, the next compulsion was to combine some photos with lines of scripture that just seemed to fit.
So now, I have a new thing, an Etsy shop where I feature framed photos and photo cards: Etsy page
I haven't gotten into twitter, but I do have an older fashioned Facebook page: Facebook
I have already achieved the first goal of having something to think about besides my physical pain. I wouldn't mind some help spreading the word though, because I've just realized I'm running out of room to store all this stuff and I can't stop making it! I have new ideas, new photos ordered, new frames....and any money that comes in is already spent on keeping the dogs (and cats) in the style to which they want to remain accustomed. Those silly medical bills can't be allowed to put a dent in the kibble fund now, can they?
I'm sure they at least wished my arthritis hadn't kept me from going back to my other former hobby of crocheting ...but considering some of the crochet cat and dog costumes out there, they really wouldn't have been any better off. Chi Chi for example could totally rock a crochet fedora.
So if you know anyone who still uses old fashioned cards or who is looking for industrial, historical, or floral photos send them our way. We're generally in an accommodating mood, unless you're talking to Chi Chi, which is why he is not in charge of customer relations.
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
(Run free dear Jeffie), shared by our mutual friend-blogger Carin at Dakota's Den. Sweet, darling Jeffie has passed.
Our heartfelt sympathy is with Sue, her husband, and with Rudy and Rosie, who now go on without much loved Jeffie.