Tuesday, December 10, 2013

August 2008

Brindle is going on 11 years old.  I found out today, she has cancer - metastasized, inoperable, untreatable.  I had noticed some things a couple of months ago, but not enough to give the vet (who I, in love, laced with humor, call Sister Mary Kevorkian) ..not enough to give her anything to go on.  But yesterday, there were enough symptoms to give some her some clue as to where to start.
It's a shock - as cancer always is.  But I think how amazing and kind of God that I would have ever had her at all.  My heart is broken.  She is probably one of the ugliest dogs I have ever seen, but I also don't know of any sweeter. 
Two months ago she was on a Therapy Dog visit to an Alzheimer's unit at Laurette Mental Hospital.  An agitated man just PUNCHED her in the face.  She  just looked up at him, right in the eyes and wagged her tail.  It really disarmed him and he turned  away.  Sweet to the bone.  
Just basic training and she would obey - often things  told to her in sentence form, like, "Why don't you go over there and lay down?", or, "This way!" and she would.  I think you would have to live with her to see it.  Anyway, I am probably not objective  -  like a mom who thinks her child is wonderful, but just about every one else can see all the faults.
It made me wonder how I would feel and what I would want if I sat across from the doctor and he told me I was terminal.  It's hard to get past the shock on to any issues or decisions.
She is still a happy dog, eating and wagging her tail and sniffing around, but I know she won't be that way much longer and we will NOT let her suffer - I have even seen changes in the last 24 hours.  At this point, she has some discomfort but nothing radical.  We will put her to sleep before any suffering.  Until then I will enjoy every moment.
I don't want to be too melodramatic - I know she is just an old mutt dog, but I gotta tell you, it's pretty hard, and I will mourn.

(Post Script:  Brindle lived 10 more days.  It's 2013 and I still miss her…but my dominant thought is, once again, how blessed I was to have her at all.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Blond Buster

15 years ago today, was a Sunday. Katie had been panting and going in and out all night - and it all came together in 6 little puppies. Two were blond. Number 4 was a blond boy. A BIG boy. He looked like he should have a big old stogie in his mouth, and be sipping a glass of Scotch - no water, no ice. Cornell's Buster League - (in 'French', we called him 'Bow Tare', The Wonder Dog) he lived up to the name in size and in sweetness.

When it came time to find home for the pups, we ran an ad, put up signs and called friends. You had to apply and be approved, and the pups were gone in a flash - the first weekend. Not Buster. Not a single person even looked at Buster. Not a single person considered him for a second, or even reached out to pet this precious head. NOTHING! So at six months, I quit guarding my heart and fell in love with #3 of our brood.

Such a huge ball of fluff, and gentle love I have never seen. He had a sweet spot on the side of his head, right near his ear - that was the softest thing in my world and he loved to be petted there. But in general, he never quite 'got it'...he was the only dog we had that didn't finish school. He did very well at school. Perfect in fact. But it was all show. He was just imitating the others. At home, all commands just produced a very expectant, cheerful, irresistible gaze right into your eyes, and a wiggling butt. He always slept with his head hanging off the edge of the couch. Maybe that was the problem. TOO MUCH blood flow to the brain. Never the less, he was a precious gift we treasured and enjoyed for over 12 years. Happy 15th Bow Tare. I really miss you. B.

(Photo from 1998 - left to right - top to bottom - Brindle at about 8 weeks, Beth 47, Buster 5, Bitsey 7 and Kate the mama, at 7)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Holidays Can Be Difficult - and Silly!

We all respond differently, to the fun and frivolity of the holidays....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Death - A Turkey Reflects

Our neighbor died a few minutes ago...at home, in his own bed. It was after a 2 year battle with cancer, but sad none the less. He wasn't old - but I realize that's relative to my own age...

His wife's vocal cords are paralyzed from a stoke some years ago. She is able to speak by way of a tracheotomy. If she puts her finger over the hole, she can speak. When I hugged her, I could feel she was sobbing - but there was no sound. Quiet anguish of grief. It broke my heart for her. She will be so lonely.

And it's the first holiday season after a friend has lost her dad. I hope it can be filled with thankfulness to have had him at all...but I know he will be missed. I'll miss him!

And it's the third holiday season for another who is without her soul mate. It still doesn't always seem real that he is gone...but there are frequent reminders that he is. And frequent reminders that he had such a wonderful impact here...

Lots of sad things - the side of death that is joyful to me, is what I call the "sweet spot of mourning"...somehow, in great grief and tragedy, the 'things of earth will grow strangely dim..." and to me they do. The mundane things and irritations fade into a blur in the distance, like having Vaseline on your eyes - and then, how to come along side - how to help, comes into focus. And reflections abound - ones that bring to the front, the privilege of knowing another person - of having interacted and been a part of their life. It's a sweet spot that I sometimes I wish I lived in all the time, in spite of the sadness of losses.

And I may say that, out of ignorance - not realizing the full depth of loosing someone you love.

Happy Thanksgiving? Yes, but in sort of a somber way...difficult to really express, but it is NOT a bad thing. As I grow older, all the perspectives change. Holidays have a very different joy than when I was 10, or 30, or even 50. I like this part of growing older!

I will miss my dad. It was always our favorite holiday. He did all the cooking and did it well. Like most of us - the way we grew up is THE way to do it. Major on the majors, minor on the minors. As we transferred to having Thanksgiving at our house, so did most of the cooking. But in his usual wonderful way, he taught me well. I will drink in the smells and sounds and tastes on Thursday, sad, that he isn't coming over, but bursting with that sweet spot of mourning, that I was fortunate to have ever had him at all....

It's beautiful, looking at the leaves outside, and the wind throwing them around. A different season is here, marching toward another season, another chapter, another year...blah blah blah. How many times have read THAT! But it's magnificent anyway...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Rain That Nourishes

"So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn. And He will come to us like the rain - like the spring rain watering the earth, so let us press on to know the Lord." (Hosea 6)

I never get tired of the rain.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day Reflections

Sunday, May 12th, 1991 was Mother's Day. I didn't pick the day for this event. It just happened that way. We got the first call on Good Friday - the pups had arrived, and yes!, there was a little female runt, and she was born side by side with another female! A TWO FOR ONE SALE! From that day on, they were inseparable...and such a perfect match. One all wiggles and joy and love, the other - reserved and quiet, content to be overlooked but always needing to lean into you to feel secure...opposites. Like best friends often are. We got in the car with our two joys, and the one knew RIGHT AWAY what was going on. She was LEAVING MAMA, and whimpered herself to sleep. The other was content to sleep. As we rode along the highway I couldn't believe the 15 year wait was over. The wait to have my very own pups - The wait for a nice fenced yard, for not working full time so I could train them well. It was such a joy to have my own little two. I couldn't get enough of looking at them. They were about the size of a child's football or a little sub sandwich. We stopped along the road to give them a meal & their legs shook as they ate - little legs that were just 6 weeks old. Little legs that were fuzzy and so soft. That first night they slept all through the night, balled up together, as they did every night for over 13 years. I don't think I will ever forget that day. I don't think I will ever get over the joy and the privilege. It was one of the happiest days of my life. (Click on the photos to enlarge)

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

This Was Only A Drill!

Today I got to participate in a disaster drill of an air crash . The role of Red Cross is very different in a disaster of this type. Their main focus is caring for the families as they wait to hear about the news of their loved ones, and much of what results from that. At the last minute, I was reassigned from the Family Assistance Center to the Airport Emergency Operations Center. It was quite a thrill to be there. A big screen live satellite feed was in the room so we could watch the fire department, EMSA, HazMat and all the rest, dealing with the fire and the victims. They use actors with full make up.....(I think Brett Bower has been an actor in drills like this.) The scenario was the collision of a Southwest Airlines passenger jet with 105 souls on board - with a F-15 Air National Guard jet...a result of confusion over what runway to use. You have probably heard these F-15's over Tulsa. They make the air sound as if it will crack. Anyway, I learned allot and can see that we are so blessed to live in America where there are so many agencies and so many resources that spring into action when disaster strikes. I can imagine that air crashes may be among the worst to work. The scene can be so grusome that when serving the people involved - emergency crews, family members, survivors - you are even are careful what foods you serve. It was an intersting day!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Workin' At The Car Wash, Yeah!

I am very cautious at the car wash - and a bit paranoid. I can get hyper focused on the details and not see someone come up behind me, I am not in the most lady like positions as I clean, and these places aren't the center of security. So today, I am there, being cautious, but vacuuming and working away. And this man comes up behind me and gently says, "Mam?" and I come about 6 feet off the ground - straight into the air, wheel around and scream, "AAAAAHHHH!!" then pause to see the source, and promptly yell, "WHAT!" This man was totally terrified. He backed up about 3 or four feet and sweetly said, "I just wondered if you have the time. I'm sorry" and I said - actually I yelled, "NO! I DO NOT HAVE THE TIME RIGHT NOW!" He was a small black man, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and tie with a hat and a leather briefcase. I think he turned white right there in the car wash. My guess is that his question was meant as an opening to witness. He walked on toward Home Depot, and didn't stop to ask the employee there what time it was.

Don't be talkin' to me at the car wash!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Our Wedding Story

The Tulsa World was seeking unusual wedding stories so I submitted this: We had a picture perfect wedding. It was a beautiful day and had been planned in great detail. One of the most wonderful things was how calm my future husband and I were - and what joy we had in seeing all our family and dear friends begin to arrive. The wedding party was small - only two attendants and groomsmen, but it was formal and there were about 200 guests. In front of this dear gathering of loved ones, we recited the standard, "for better or worse" vows, as well as exceptionally tender ones we had written to one another. To surprise our parents, we had also written letters to them, recalling special childhood memories and expressing our gratefulness for all they had done to bring us to this time in our lives. There was not a dry eye in the congregation. After being pronounced husband and wife, we left the podium together, then separated to give our mothers a rose and a copy of these letters. We were to meet again in the middle and exit the service. When I got to that point - there was no husband!! Overcome with emotion, all he could remember was - this was the point where we were to exit. When he got to the foyer, the roar of laughter from the congregation reminded him he had left his bride at the alter - and of course he came back to get me. It provided wonderful comic relief to a very special, tender and dramatic wedding.

"Requested' 7 Random 'Facts'

1. I love weather and disaster events, both because they are very interesting, and because I feel like I do more good in those situations than I do dealing with regular day to day life.
2. At one time I had two motorcycles and used them for transportation. A 150 Yamaha DT and a 250 Suzuki road bike. Very fun. Have no interest now...zippo. None.
3. I love to organize. If I don't have enough at home to organize, I become very interested in coming to your house and getting you organized - and this is in no proportion to how much you would like me to come over and get you organized.
4. I have arthritis and it makes me grouchy - and I am working very hard and not allowing it to demand my attention or control my emotions, but I seem to gradually hurt more and more over time.
5. I don't care to sit, but love to do. This is in direct conflict with numbers 3 and 4! I would like to learn to operate a bobcat or ditch witch, a earth mover and maybe drive a semi. Heavy equipment is very interesting and I like to watch it. Desk work is a discipline and it seem like somehow I always have hours of it waiting to be dealt with.
6. I was the tallest girl in my junior high school of 1500 and weighed under 80 pounds - my nick names were toothpick or spider legs. I didn't mind this. I have never been one to care much about how I look, and for this I apologise.
7. I went to college in Wales one summer after high school.