Blue, I miss you so much! Found this image on Pinterest today and all my thoughts turned to you and our brief time together.
Isn’t it odd how when things, events, and so on are out of sight (so to speak) we still get odd mental “jogs” about their presence? Such is the case with my beloved little Welsh Pembroke Corgi, Blue.
Of late, more than normal, he’d been on my mind and to me, for no particular reason I thought, other than I loved and still missed the little honeybun.
Turns out, November 18,2015 was the two year anniversary of having to put him to sleep because of the crippling disease degenerative myelopathy or DM. Found this out on my computer calendar. I hadn’t realized how little time had passed since he left. He was just…gone.
DM is like ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. If you want an idea of what DM or ALS is like, you can find an amazing portrayal by Hillary Swank in the movie “You’re Not You” (currently streaming on Netflix). It broke my heart to watch it because I watched Blue go through it.
It’s an excellent movie, I hope you enjoy it and learn about these two horrid diseases.
Well, this is been another version or installment of my ER Adventure. It’s titled, “Getting Back Home After Four Weeks”. Everything in the refrigerator pretty much spoiled. Even the cheese was sprouting a nasty blue and black beard. I think the real corker was the tube of Grands biscuits that I purchased before my little ER event to use in making chicken pot pie. The expiration date passed while I was away. As a result the roll had blown open in the fridge and attached itself quite firmly to the bars on the shelf where it sat. I’d always wondered what would happen in such an event. Now I know.
So cleaning out the fridge. What. A. Pain. Luckily I had a stool to sit on so I didn’t aggravate my wound by bending over as I pulled stuff out. Who designed refrigerators? No one over four feet tall, that’s for sure.
And who knew I’d be on a four week vacay from the house. Unlike vacations though, I didn’t have the opportunity to use up all the food before leaving. Sadly, I had just gone to Trader Joe’s and Von’s before the trip to Urgent Care/ER, so there was a good deal to toss.
Currently, I’m still using Von’s delivery. I really like it. As mentioned in an earlier post, my car needs some major help, so I haven’t driven it yet. I’m going to have it towed to the mechanic on December 1, since it’ll spend over a week there I’m sure. It’s not worth having it go in as we approach Thanksgiving since nothing will be done over the holiday. Plus, I want to avoid renting a car. Not that having the dead one in my driveway is of any use…but still.
Oh, and BTW, my absence on the blog can be explained by the following picture:Beginning the second week in November, I was rearranging my desk and had to move my iMac (21.5″ screen). I cleared the areas around it and picked it up. As I went to set the beast down, the back left part of the stand caught on the narrow shelving at the back of the desk causing it to lunge towards me. I grabbed it but before I had control of it, the lower right corner of the glass screen hit a candle with a metal cover on it. I had moved it “out of the way” but obviously not enough to avoid an unexpected disaster.
The screen shattered and immediately had thin multi color bars across the bottom and on the right side vertically. I thought I could live with it but as days went by, more and more of the screen vanished under thicker and wider bars of grey and black till all that I could see was about an inch at the very top. I had hoped to hold out till Black Friday, but, no way. So I received my new Mac (identical but twice the ram) a week ago. And here I am, Hi, I’ve missed you!
While thinking of loss, my mind turned to the one year anniversary of Blue leaving this earth on November 18 and taking my heart with him.
My brother had to put his 16 year old Vizsla to sleep about the same time. This is what he sent. Just in case you can’t read the sentiments above, I wrote them out below.
“Ghost dog. So much time has passed and yet I still see you from the corner of my eye when I come into a room. I still hear you. I still miss you. Soft feet. Eager footsteps. Always ready for what was next. A swim. A walk. A run. A sleepy afternoon with Tali.
Our constant companion – the soul of our home. Who would ever dream your leaving could result in such a bottomless space in my soul. I look down into it sometimes and call your name. An echo returns nothing but the sound of my own voice. Your are so completely gone – only your ashes remain in a small wooden box.
Cannot bear to have you join the other ghosts who linger just beneath the yellow magnolia tree. People and cats. Memories in boxes. I still feel your warmth and the overwhelming joy and happiness you gave me. Gave us. Gave to everyone. To have been so loved is my only consolation in your loss. That I was so lucky to be with you…if only for a little while.” Russ
No, November is not a good month for me apparently no matter what the year. November 30, 2009 I lost Alpine (aka Frost) at 2 in the morning. This Thursday would have been my mother’s 97th birthday. It seems there’s just a lot of loss and memories in the eleventh month of the year for me.
Another November loss: anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination 51 years ago. That was on Saturday, the 22. I had a feeling I was missing the date but I didn’t find a single mention of it anywhere. All weekend.
The 35th President of the United States (1917 – 1963). He’d be 97, same age as my mom would have been. Wow, didn’t realize that till just now.
I guess the important thing to remember is to live in the present and not fall into the trap of “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
John Lennon (and others)
Well, that wraps it up for this month. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and are surrounded by people who love and support you and your dreams. Thank you for stopping by, reading, liking and commenting on my blog. It means the world to me!
Truth be told, July 4th and Halloween are my least favorite holidays. Used to like them as a kid, but then something changed. No idea what. Thought it was just one of my weirdnesses until yesterday when I was in CVS to pick up some meds. While waiting in line I heard one of the employees express the exact same sentiments. I was totally shocked… a fellow-holiday-hater.
Meanwhile the illegal fireworks here have already started going off. What amazes me is that with the high-drought conditions that any fiery “toys” are allowed. People drive around, light the explosives and toss them out car windows. Just hate it.
Or maybe it’s the people who think it’s funny to strap these incendiary devices to animals. My Dad once found a puppy with half its face blown off by a firecracker someone tied to its neck. Dad immediately left work and brought the poor creature to a vet to euthanize it. I remember catching a glimpse of my Dad later that night, crying to himself. I’ve never gotten over it. All you have to do is Google this and you’ll see all the horrors perpetrated by sick youths that you’d ever want to see. If you want a REALLY horrifying graphic, go here, but you’ll need a very strong stomach and steely heart. I don’t recommend going there, your imagination can do enough.
It’s also possible my feelings could have been cemented when I first moved here and the ratty kids in the house behind me, one lot over got their jollies by tossing plastic bottles with lit firecrackers into neighboring yards (this creates a very explosive device). One was tossed into my yard scaring the shit out of my Siberian. She had never been afraid of anything but never recovered from that evil kid’s act. I could have shoved a cracker down that two legged embodiment of evil’s throat and to be honest, not blinked twice.
Fortunately his crippled father was evicted along with the kid for nonpayment of rent a few months later. (Note: don’t feel sorry, he was part of a well-known bad news motorcycle gang and was hurt when trying to haze an innocent runner with a pipe while riding with other members in circles around the runner.) And it’s not that I wished them ill but I guess I have karma to thank for keeping an eye open.
Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on a somber little rant. I think it all really came up because of an article I found today about a soldier born on the Fourth of July. First let me give you one, really sobering fact: veterans of the last two wars commit “suicide almost every hour, according to the Department of Defense”. But for some there are miracles like Axel. You can find his and Captain Jason Haag’s story here.
Perhaps it’s the contrast of the senseless waste of companion animals to human malevolence and the loss of human beings to their families from the violence of war that is at the center of this post. Maybe it’s the fact that Axel was rescued from a shelter and given a new life. A life that gave life back to another, who like Axel, may not have made it out alive, were it not for him and other dog’s like him/her being on this earth as “throw-aways”. For humanity to step to a higher plain and find a purpose for those who I sometimes believe were put here for a reason, somehow balances a lot out.
To all our service personnel past, present and to come, thank you for all you sacrificed, continue to and will sacrifice. Nothing will ever be forgotten.
P.S. I would be sadly remiss not to send hugs over the Rainbow Bridge to my beloved Corgi, Blue. The poor little guy suffered through four July fourths in a shivering little ball. I loved him and miss him dearly, though this is one day I’m glad he’s across the bridge. May heaven bless all of you and your loved ones be they two, four or more footed. xo
Can you believe that Christmas is barely hours away? As the days have passed, I have been hearing more and more sirens as the holiday approaches (you’ll recall I live on what I refer to as “siren alley”)…fire, police, ambulance…moaning and wailing as they pass near and far. To me it signifies the craziness and stress that the holidays have become tainted with. Whenever I hear one, I say a little prayer that it’s not anything too serious and that no one will suffer, be hurt or lost. Not at this time of year.
Each year I’m less inclined to venture out, even for groceries (let’s not even think of a mall). People are in such a rush. They drive like crazies, tailgating and honking. I wish there was a way to warn them. “Don’t run about, spend time with those you love. For you don’t know when or where the time will come for them to leave.” And it’s such a horribly, chokingly, permanent thing.
Getting the perfect gift, putting yourself in debt mean nothing. Your presence and love mean everything whether you realize it now or not. When the holidays roll around and those you love are no longer here, you suddenly realize how little “the perfect gift” really meant.
Memories will be what’s left so make good ones that will tide you over once they leave this earth till you meet them on the other side.
In some ways I’m lucky while being unlucky. Having lost most of my family (other than my brother) in the last decade-plus, shopping is no longer a big issue. I have a birthday gift for my dear friend S. (12/23). As far as my niece (12/27) and my brother (12/29), a card will suffice since I have so little contact with them. My emails and ecards are left unanswered or returned. Meh. I’ve collected a few things over the year that I need to dump in a Priority box to send to my brother’s family. Some items are things I’ve made in the past, others are as simple as fun t-shirts for the boys.
I visited Target’s website about three weeks ago and bought two pair of fluffy house slippers for myself, on sale too. How great! So that’s pretty much it for me and Christmas. Without Blue, it’ll be very quiet here. No special dinner plans. I was thinking of “braving” Trader Joe’s this afternoon to pick up some smoked salmon, dip and crackers but decided it’s not worth the stress. There’s a can or two of smoked trout in the cupboard and cream cheese in the fridge, so a little dip may appear tomorrow with a few slices of a baguette that’s hiding in the freezer.
I may try a trial subscription to Netflix since there’s so little to watch on television. And I’ll surround myself with a warm and cozy blanket of happy memories from holidays past. My Mom and Aunt M. in the kitchen with a turkey or ham, Dad in the den trying to ignore Uncle H. and my brother and I savoring all the wonderful scents, getting hungrier by the minute.
I wish all of you a very merry Christmas and hope you make many warm and special memories this year. Thank you dear friends for visiting, I appreciate each and every one of you!
Sorry for the absence, but I had a “heart event” on Monday 12/2/13 and it lasted till late the next day. Don’t know why but can guess it’s from having to say good-bye to Blue. The problem isn’t that I feel guilt over putting him to sleep (no quality of life was left to him) but that I never had enough time with him. Like another 8 to 10+ years which I count on when adopting/rescuing a fur-baby.
As a result I decided to put the blog on a little vacation and just take time to be. It’s helped. I still need to go get an EKG just to check. I’m sure I’m fine, just that the recent “life event” was pretty high on the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale…63 (death of a close family member). For those who don’t have pets, I know, you don’t get it. Those who do, do.
Anyhooo, I decided to share a recipe that will make you the darling of every holiday event you attend. It’s “John the Electrician’s Kahlua Cake/Bread”. Seriously. During the remodel/rehab of one of our houses, John, the electrician showed up with a loaf of this at Christmas and it’s been love (of the cake, not John) ever since. Seriously addicting. I mean chocolate? coffee? cake?? how can it not be? I know there’s no chocolate in the ingredients but trust me, when you bite into this moist, rich bit of decadence you’ll swear there is.
Note: Check out the link. It’s a blog (Love from the Oven) I started following about two months ago and the pic is really a recipe for Christi’s Chocolate Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Glaze. You must check out the link to that recipe BTW, sounds so delicious! Oh dear, yet another temptation this season….
Well, back to the recipe at hand. The nice thing about this is that you can bake it in two standard loaf pans (one for you, one for a gift) or 5 – 6 small loaf pans (for little gifties). You can also use a 9 inch round. I’ve never tried this but John said it could be done. You just need to adjust the baking time accordingly. For gifts, I always use the disposable aluminum pans for ease. No need for recipient to worry about returning the pan.
John the Electrician’s Kahlua Cake/Bread:
1/3 c. Kahlua (only the original Kahlua)
2/3 c. brewed coffee (or 80 proof vodka*)
1 Box Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe yellow cake mix (don’t substitute)
1 c. peanut oil (again, no subbing)
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1/3 c. water
2 loaf pans, prepared with baking spray or butter
Mix all the above until smooth (okay, not the the two pans), split batter between the two pans. Bake at 345F for 45 – 60 minutes (varies with ovens). You can test for doneness by inserting a sharp, clean knife into the center of each loaf. If it comes out clean, they’re done. If it comes out with batter on it, put back in oven and test at 10 minute intervals with clean knife.
*Regarding vodka, I’ve never tried it, seemed a bit over the top.
1/4 c. Kahlua
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. butter
Melt all the above together in a small to medium saucepan over medium-high heat (mixture will be bubbly) until sugar dissolves. Stir frequently. Brush on cakes while they are hot. I usually do this with the cake in the pan. Cool. Once totally cool, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Or if you prefer, cool a bit and remove from the pan with two spatulas, then glaze, cool and serve.
Personally, I always leave the cake in it’s pan to keep it moist. Will last in fridge for at least five days, if you have that much will power. Freezes well in loaf pans too.
For mini-loaves, follow the above directions just keep an eye on them at about the 20 minute mark (remember, this is with my oven, yours may vary). I’ve found that if checked on about every 8 – 10 minutes, they never came out overdone. I use the disposable aluminum pans and wrap pan and all in plastic wrap tied with a festive ribbon. I usually get 5 – 6 mini-loaves from this recipe.
Yes, I know there are those of you that think 1 cup of oil is too much, but trust me it’s not, you can diet with the rest of us come January. 🙂 Enjoy!
Making arrangements for a pet “funeral” or leave-taking is tough when it’s you who lost the little soul. Can’t imagine what it was like for my brother (he was the executor of my parents’ estates) in 2000 when my Dad died and my Mom, 29 days later. Good grief, you’re gutted like a fish and still have to function under some of the most painful feelings.
I have to say that I’m glad I journaled about my time with Blue. The last two weeks are a blur so having a record of what I did and how I felt helps. Still profoundly sad.
Yesterday as I put my new camera in its box on the left side of my desk, I spotted an open bag of Newman’s Own Organic treats. The little heart-shaped ones, and again…waterworks. Reminders. His leash hanging on the hall coat tree as I put my jacket on it. More things to put away.
I’ll have to see if the couple in the other house on this property want the assortment of opened treats and food for their dog. I hate to throw it all awayl
Hopefully the manager at Pavilions will let me return the six unopened bags of the heart treats and the three bags of Beggin’ Strips. Towards the end, I sort of stockpiled, not wanting to run out and disappoint Blue. If not, I’ll donate them somewhere.
It just dawned on me, I now have another important day/holiday bookended by loss. The first is my birthday with my Dad on one side and my Mom on the other. The newest is Thanksgiving. With Blue as the first bookend and Alpine as the latter. She died at 2 a.m. November 30, 2009. Four years ago today. She left without my help, peacefully, in her sleep. Sigh.
On a happier note, I spent Thanksgiving with my friend S, her husband, mother, niece and her niece’s husband. I had a wonderful time. It was so nice to be surrounded by people after seven years of Thanksgiving alone with my fur-kids. Not that my four-legged loves weren’t excellent company, just every now and then getting to enjoy humans is a nice thing. I even took pics. However, the new camera I bought about 14 days ago is not functioning. Actually I think it’s the memory card that’s on the fritz which means a trip to Best Buy.
Hopefully they’ll be able to download the pics somehow if the card is compromised. And equally as hopefully, replace it with a new card.
Why is it that everything I buy at BB, has a problem within weeks of purchase? Since it’s only been 14 days from purchasing, I’ll go back with it all tomorrow and see what can be done. I also noticed a price drop of $50 which I’ll have to talk to them about. Wish me luck. Hey, tomorrow we wake up to December! Where did the year go?
I am cold and lonely without my little Blue. I’m screaming inside and all I can think of is how totally alone I am without my Blue. I found him when we were both terribly in need of a love.
A song came to mind today that I posted once before, for different reasons. It is a healing piece sung by the incredible K. D. Lang. Sorry for the ad at the beginning. She has such an incredible voice and sings with so much feeling. Love her.
Go off to sleep now, it’s late. Very, very late if you’re on PST. Can’t seem to let my little love go. He just dwells in my memory. Oh, Blue, my sweetheart, I love you.
Tuesday November 19, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
It’s a very,very grey day here at Grey House Journal, literally and figuratively. In a way I’m glad, it helps with the grieving. Makes me feel like the universe is sharing my sadness at the loss of a wonderful soul and dear, loving friend. It made sleeping through the day much easier.
Let me apologize in advance for being what you may feel is rather maudlin. I come from a loooonnnnggg line of drama queens on my father’s side (see? trying to find a little humor here…). You may recall my mention (in past posts) of the fact that in life “you can choose to laugh or cry” and I noted that I chose to laugh (or at least try to)…. Plus the purpose of this blog/post, is so that I can have a permanent record of events in my life and the feelings accompanying them.
Sadness permeates my being at the moment. More so than the loss of any other of my beloved companions. I think it’s due to the shortness of Blue’s stay with me. Only three years and four months minus three days. That is simply not enough. I know I won’t get any likes or comments on this post because who wants to read about sadness? Everyone has enough in their own lives.
Anyway, yet another loss in my life. I am so terribly sick to death of losing so many of the beings and things that have meant so much to me since 2000. But maybe that’s what happens when you get closer to the end of your own life. I’ve read several “elder” blogs where the writers speak of being more and more alone because so many of the friends they knew and loved have departed.
Now I’m not all that old but suddenly, I am acutely aware of how short life is. It’s so weird. Really. You go on day by day without a thought of time and it’s passing. Suddenly you’re 50 or so plus and face to face with the fact that you only have so many years left. It’s like a slap upside the head. What were you thinking? You should have prepared better, saved more, done more, seen more, loved more and so on. Well, you can’t undo the past, sadly, you can only move on.
I miss my little companion. When he was not by my side (rare), and I made a sound or noise or whatever, he’d notice and fly (well, later, drag himself) through the house to check on just what was going on. Now, nothing. Only momentos of his gift of time with me.
I’ve gone through 5+ boxes of facial tissues in the last 3 days. Where the heck do all the eye and nasal liquids come from? Ever wonder? I do.
For those of you thinking I should have done more, like get a cart (aka wheelchair) for him, I don’t think he was a wheel cart candidate. It was hard enough for me to get about the narrow pathways in the house, down the stairs to the yard with a cane, much less him in a cart.
Notes from Monday night…yes I was up late…very late…
-1:15 a.m. I still hear his whimpers and cries. Has he not left yet?
-I’d swear I can hear him crying and whimpering on the back porch (4:30 a.m.)
-Maybe I could/should have waited a few more days…weeks…
-I still hear peeps, like he’s still trying to contact me…
-the abject silence now…
-he deteriorated so quickly…in about 1.5 to 2 months
-degenerative myelopathy is a truly hideous monster of a disease
Though I slept in, I did get up in time to make all the calls for what I’ll need for Friday. Thursday will find me at Trader Joe’s buying a gathering of riotously colored flowers and hopefully rosemary. Then on to Jacob Maarse (florist) for the Calla lily and then home to arrange my dear one’s bouquet.
On Friday I will be at Cal Pet Crematory by 10 a.m., to say goodbye to Blue one last time. Like all my other dear companions, I will drape him in a rainbow of flowers tied with a wide satin ribbon. I’ll pet him and kiss him for the last time. No, I’m not afraid of the cold body, the sunken eyes…he was my love and nothing changes that. The bouquet will, of course as I said, have a sprig of rosemary “for remembrance” and one white calla lilly for personal reasons (since this isn’t their season I was having trouble finding one until I called Jacob Maarse). I will photograph him with the bouquet (okay, whoever is grossed out by this, get over it, it’s my way of leave-taking) and I’ll silently read the W. H. Auden poem to him which has been read to all the loved ones who’ve left me since 2000. My brother was the first to read it at my Dad’s funeral.
“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
Well, today at about 3:40 p.m. PST, my beloved Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Blue went over the Rainbow Bridge. It was very hard to do and this is painful to write about. I’m sure many of you know exactly how it feels and how terribly heart-rending/wrenching it is to say “goodbye” especially if it’s before a full life could be lived together. Yet I also knew in my heart of hearts it was the right thing to do.
His quality of life had declined so very, very far. The thing I hate with DM is that the dog stays bright and happy. However Blue was no longer happy. Often stuck, unable to move, he’d cry and when he realized he’d pooped or pee’d he’d whimper so sadly.
And he was lonely without his human…almost as lonely as me. He would cry at that too. I didn’t mind since I was silently crying (and sometimes outloud) too. So this morning I sliced up a small steak I’d bought on Saturday for his last dinner. He inhaled it, happily dozing off after washing it down with water. Meanwhile I got ready and prepared a box he’d fit in to avoid any major leaks on the trip to the vet. I lined it with two garbage bags and a potty pad, all taped firmly in place.
At 2 p.m. I led him outside, helped him down the steps and put his collar on with leash attached, saying, “let’s go for a walk”. But he firmly put the brakes on, he wasn’t going anywhere. Don’t know if my body language, demeanor, crying or what clued him in, but he wanted nothing to do with going anywhere. He just went dead-limp in a lump on the ground. A rarity for him. My neighbor in back was home and I called him for help. He kindly lifted Blue into the box on the back seat and we were off.
Here we are at the vet.
We waited in a room for about 20 minutes which was a bit long and he started trying to climb out of the box. I just held him in the box closer to me, petting him and of course, crying.
The techs came in, cleaned up his rear end and prepared his front leg for the drugs. Then the vet came in and very quietly and calmly explained the shots he’d be giving Blue. He asked if I needed more time with him. I told him “yes, about six to eight more years”. Note that I was serious. But then said no and so he administered the drugs while Blue slipped peacefully and quickly away.
I sat with him for about 45 minutes afterwards, crying and thinking about our time together. When I recall all I went through to adopt an older rescue and after almost two months of repeated failures by adoption organizations, to just stumble upon Blue in a high kill LA County “shelter”…I think we were ordained to be together. Personally, he rescued me more than I him.
I had the joy of his company from July 21, 2010 till today. Just three days shy of three years and four months. He was a delightful companion and I hope I did well by him.
See you on the other side my love!
Sorry, but can’t get this video to play here so just click on the LINK. It’s worth it. And thank you so much for stopping by. It means so much to me, especially at moments like this.