Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Little Switch

The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.  ~Robert Brault

Warning....this "first" one is gonna be kind of long. And no, that isn't what she said :)

Well, this blog has sat stagnant for quite some time, having no real direction to go. As the previous title stated..."The Pursuit of...Something..." was just that....something. There was no direction, no point. I sat pondering ideas and wondering if reading them would be even worthwhile. Just the life of another young married woman raising a child, going to college, working a full time job and trying to make ends meet. As unfortunate as it is to say...this has become somewhat the norm now-a-days - busy women...just trying to get by.
It wasn't until a recent, terrifying event that I realized I do have something interesting to write about - being the "mother" of two high maintenance puppies and one lucky cat.
Two days ago, I came home on break only to find my gym bag - no doubt opened via big wet dog nose - lying open on the floor and my vitamin bottles scattered halfway across the living room. Cranberry, Biotin...and the one that trumped them all...Vitamin D. Did you know that Vitamin D...especially in large doses, is potentially lethal to a dog? Well, it is.
Both dogs looked guilty, though Reiley (our yellow lab) usually never gets into as much as the canine tank, Mack (our golden retriever) does. Really...he'll eat anything that's not nailed down. So, to the vet I hauled them where they were both given a dose of peroxide to induce vomiting. Oddly enough...neither of them did. So for the low, reasonable price of thirty bucks which is only...oooh, about 15 to 20 bucks more than an actual bottle of peroxide....there was a whole lot of nothing. Next up was an injection to induce vomiting. This worked for Reiley and she was given the all clear. I knew this would happened. I expected the culprit to be Mack. What I didn't expect was the vet to come back in and tell me just how dangerous the situation really was. Fatal.
I wont get into the details but an active charcoal treatment, a sub Q treatment one blood draw later...he was given the all clear. He's at home now, on the mend and taking some prednisone to keep the levels of calcium and phosphorus down and level but either than that, he's great.

This is only one of the many stories that color my pet-owning life.

Mack is a rescue dog, picked up from the Otter Tail Humane Society at the age of 9 months...and with a history of kennel stays. To be for every month of his life. His owner had broke her back and had tried to remain his owner. As much as I admire the efforts, they were detrimental to the little Golden. He became an anxious, overweight, overeating mess. Renaming him Mack seemed only fitting as he was like a Mack truck. We've gotten him down from 135 lbs to 69 lbs with maintaining a careful diet though it gets difficult when he'll find other things to eat - our daughters fruit the wrapper, packets of garden seeds, his own feces (yes, I know...gross). There was even paint at one point which...surprisingly...didn't do any damage.

Reiley...she's another story all together. One that I'll visit and keep this blog moving with. She's a lab...and she has allergies and of course, we're not sure what to. We've tried different foods, different treatments and are now in the process of contemplating a scan that will narrow down the exact allergies that she has to form a serum she may have to take for the rest of her life. Add to that the recently diagnosed ear infection that stemmed from those allergies.

And then there's Beckette...the thousand dollar kitty. He's exactly what you would expect of a cat - When I found him at the James River Humane Society shortly after I had lost my cat Missy of 13 years to renal kidney failure, he was the last thing I wanted. Male and black. That sounded...horribly racist. But the paranoia over black cats being bad luck was in the back of my head and I had become so accustomed to having a female cat that I was looking for one. Preferably a tabby. Then up walks this slight, black little thing with huge ears and a monkey tail...and I was sold. Not even a week into having him and he broke his back leg.

We have no idea how it happened. I came home from work to find him limping around. The choice to help him was a difficult one. It was a severe break - both bones. The choices were a surgery that was over $1000.00, amputation for $500.00, or...euthinization for $70.00. I ruled out euthinzation before the vet had even gotten the full word out of his mouth. Someone had given up on him already. I wasn't going to be the next person to do so. So we went with amputation. Prior to starting the surgery, the vet called to tell me he wanted to try to save the leg and would work with me to set up payments. It was insanity. It was like being given a credit card with low payments. How do you say no? He's laying beside me now, all four legs intact and, despite the surgery at such a young age that they warned me might stunt his growth...he's 13 lbs and skinny. He's a monster of a cat! But so lovable that all I can think was worth it.

This is my all-over-the-place way of introducing what will be this blog. Because, while I was sitting there in the room waiting, agonizing over the cost, agonizing over the danger my puppy was in and thinking about how I had failed both of my dogs as a pet owner...I came to the conclusion that I didn't have to be. I loved my pets, I just needed to make more of an effort with them. Reiley's issues would be more under control if I would take more control of treating them, Mack would be less anxious if I gave him much more affection than I do, Beckette...well...I used to sit in front of my computer with him sprawled in my lap, absentmindedly petting him. Now...I can't remember the last time we sat like that post-Sammy (our 2 and a half year old daughter.) And what better way to ensure that I do these things and see if they make as much as an impact as I feel they will...than blogging about it. :)

So now you know the history. It was long...I know. But I gave this blog purpose...I gave myself purpose. Give the animals I've taken into my home as much as they give me, as selflessly as they've given it to me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

With Spring Comes Change

The snow has...and thank GOD for this...melted. And with the snow finially leaving us, gravel and soil streaked reminants diligently clinging to what little chill remains in the atmosphere, comes change. Simple, complex, surprising, constant...change.
My daughter...she's a mix of that surprising and constant change. Every day she'd a different person - talking more, showing more quirks and personality traits, growing in her little person body and always...always...amazing me. She's no longer an infant, no longer a longer a toddler even. She's this little person who can sit down beside me with an often read book and - although I know its a short board book and easy to memorize -  read to me, emphatically pronouncing statements given by the characters in the pages. The visual changes are almost as dramatic as the intelectual ones and she has this way of keeping me on my toes with every little change she makes.
Another change...I have joined the ranks of the mini-van mafia!! It was a must. Yes, I only have one child but I also have two very big dogs and a car that gets packed to the brim every time I go out to my parents for the weekend. After two months of careful consideration and a few test drives - I fell for a Chrysler Town and Country LX....the 2005...with the magical stow-n-go seating. I handled it smart, hagled my way to a low price and am hoping that I haven't taken a step in a very much wrong direction. Only time will tell, I guess.
Another change...this one gradual...and very much welcome. I've decided that I need to make changes in my job. I work with children...and yet I've lost the child in myself which isn't entirely fair to those I'm getting paid to educate and play with. I've decided that those kids...are my link to a childhood that I loved so much. And the change needs to be made within me to learn that childhood again, to learn how to play and have fun and not focus so much on controlling the uncontrollable.

"Spring has sprung, the grass has rise, I wonder where all the flowers is." ~ Unknown.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Nights

Good Nights…parenting is full of them. They sometimes come in short to the bad night, sometimes break even….but they have the power to make those bad nights seem nearly non-existent. Tonight was one such night. Just me and Sammy having some mommy/daughter time which, truth be told, is my favorite time. We started our evening out by snuggling into the same chair with a juice box (for her, not me) and some crackers. While she sat content, avidly watching The Cat in the Hat, I checked my email, cleaned out inboxes, then started in on supper. In the time it took to bake…or…cook, whatever…the chicken (which…oops, I did upside down) we snuggled through the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Yes…I know its March but sometimes the girl wants what she wants and truth be told, I do so love that special.

After a very pleasant supper, it was bath time, complete with a phone call to Grandma and Grandpa that she SAID she wanted to make but when the phone started ringing and I told her that she had to answer it she told me, quite matter-of-factly “I’m too busy, mommy.”
Her too busy consisted of pouring water from a small bottle into a large bucket.  My dad found this hilarious. She did tell them both hello and goodbye and that she loved them. Then out of the bathtub with her usual “Mommy, my feets are cold!!” She’s very conscious of her feet when they’re cold. So much so that I had to wrap them when she was standing on her little stool brushing her teeth.

After this…BREAKTHROUGH!!! I shouldn’t be bragging. I feel that, with as touch and go the whole potty training thing has been after the initial excitement wore off, I may just be jinxing myself on this. Let’s pray that I’m not. But, by convincing her that she could wear her pretty “Dora panties” to bed if she used her potty then waiting patiently while she danced around the bathroom, patience paid off and she dashed to her potty to use it! Many hugs and happy dances were exchanged after this.

She even scored herself one more than her customary five bed-time books for bed. This is, by far, my favorite time of the evening. Though, more often than not, the books are the same ones from the previous evening, her excitement over what takes place in the course of a few pages never wavers. She points out the same things, asks the same questions, and always with the same amount of zest and childish delight. It’s refreshing to see such untouched innocence, such wonder at something as simple as a mouse creating his own paw-prints in the snow.

And then she gets the one thing that has recently become part of our bed time routine. It’s going to be the most difficult one to break and I probably shouldn’t have given in to my exhaustion one evening about two months ago to lay down beside her. But alas, I did. And now, after saying prayers, after a game of “who will shut out the lights” and after Sammy scampers her way into her bed and makes herself comfortable…I hear the same words every night. “Mommy, you lay with me?”

How could one possibly turn down such a simple request from such a tiny, precious daughter? Its a few minutes out of my day…unless I fall asleep (which I have) then it usually becomes thirty minutes or more. Dustin once had to be the one pulling bedtime duty and ended up sleeping nearly two hours beside her in a bed that was far too small for his tall frame. It may have, aside from their bedtime game of hug tag, been the cutest thing I’ve seen as far as husbands and baby girl’s go.

So we laid down, I rubbed her back for a bit, she traced my cheeks and whispered strange non-sense words to me that I couldn’t really understand aside from “that’s better, Mommy.” And to bed she went!

A perfect evening.

Monday, March 28, 2011


The simple things…I mentioned this in my profile…that I enjoy them even when I may need reminders of what they are. The simple things can mean something different for each person.

For me it’s walking by my daughters room to see my cat curled up and sleeping peacefully in the middle of her bed, its watching Sammy play with the farm set we bought her for Christmas, all the while declaring “you can’t find me, Mommy!” when clearly, I already have. It’s watching my daughter “oh” and “ah” over a rainbow splashed upon the laminate flooring in the kitchen from a crystal hanging in the window. It’s driving over the hillside to my parent’s house, seeing nothing but hills and freedom and feeling a peace wash over me. It’s walking into my room and seeing the low glow from my grandma’s lamp sitting on the nightstand that once sat beside my grandparents bed. When my grandma had it, I remember always seeing a romance novel laying face down and open on that nightstand. I make sure to continue the trend because it reminds me of her and I feel so blessed to have such a visual reminder of one of the greatest women I will ever know.

It’s the simple things that a lot of people take for granted, that a lot of people lose sight of. It’s those little things that can bring us back from the brink of despair and give us insight into a path we never knew existed. I’m grateful to have my daughter here to point those simple things out to me and remind me so very often that there is too much going on in this world, too many wonders provided to us by the Good Lord to be caught up in the harshness of reality and the common worries of humanity. That and it’s just so much easier to sit back and enjoy.

Everything we possess that is not necessary for life or happiness becomes a burden, and scarcely a day passes that we do not add to it.  ~Robert Brault

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Writers Block (possible the reason for blogging in the first place)

Writers block – to a writer, its comparable to Armageddon, mostly because writers are generally people with a flair for over dramatization (get mad if you want fellow writers, you know it’s true. You look at a piece of work you’ve poured hours, , days, weeks, maybe even years into and tell me that you haven’t though “dear God, my world had just ended,” when you can’t figure out what happens next).

We have to be dramatic (okay, creative if it makes you feel better) to come up with half of the things that keep a plot well oiled and moving forward instead of stalling out entirely. And when we can’t come up with what to do with a nasty villain or an annoying heroine, that’s when we get creative trying to figure out methods in which to inspire our obstinate muses.

The land of the dreaded Writers Block is where I find myself now. And not with just one piece of fiction…with all pieces of fiction. It is, to put it bluntly, The Suck. Yes, capital T, capital S. It’s that bad. Ten pieces of something, a general idea of where each of them are going and I hit a block where I can’t figure out what to do with a single plotline…blech.

The last time this happened, I bought a beta (the fish, not the fanfiction equivalent of an editor). I called him Gil and appointed him with the task of keeping me inspired to move forward in my writing. His tank sat on the top shelf of my computer desk. He would float lazily in his distilled water habitat, complete with blue and opaque glass stones and he would stare at me as I tapped contemplatively at the keyboard and willed something amazing to happen. At times, it seemed to work – though when I think of it now, it was probably just a mental thing, kind of like giving a person an ineffective pill and telling them it would cure all muscle aches. They think it will, therefore it does, even though there is nothing in this pill that will do anything aside from leave an undesirable aftertaste.

Now, I have become convinced that it will be the purchase of a new chair that will provide me with the setting I need to “make the magic happen”, so to speak. So I have started my search for the perfect, overstuffed, sink-into-it-and-never-want-to-get-out chair that will cure this dreaded curse. I’ll let you know how that pans out. I’ve found a candidate, though I’m still keeping my eyes open for a chair that will scream “write in me!! I was made to inspire you!!” I have high expectations of furniture.

When I have it…I’m looking forward to finishing a piece of work that was started the week prior to my marriage, nearly six years ago. In the realm of fanfiction writing, people would refer to this piece as gift-fic. Simply put, a gift-fic is a piece of fiction written as a present to an individual or several individuals. In my case, this piece was created for three women who have been a significant part of my life.  To be stalled out on it now…when I’m so close to being done with it, all near 450 pages of it (so far) is, again, The Suck.

I keep thinking that part of me is just afraid to finish it, that when it is finished, I’ll have to start taking my writing seriously and dive head-long into the few pieces of possibly publishable fiction that I have already started. And that…is a terrifying though. Another part of me knows it’s just the curse of the Writers Block and the only thing I can do is sit back and wait it out while praying that my muse will return with a vengeance.

The Art of Blogging...kind of.

As I take yet another step into the attempts at blogging I find myself there a way to do this? Is there a certain thing one must do when blogging? Do you pick a topic and run with it? Do you stay within a general theme, do you have a goal or a purpose that motivates you to delve into the world of technology and tread the boundaries of what is and what isn't something you may want the entire world knowing about you? Or do you just go and hope that somewhere along the line someone will think that you have something interesting to say and decide that you, as a blogger, are worth following, worth investing time in...worth noticing? What is the art of blogging?

I have friends who do it for the sole purpose of sharing a life that's been lived, a fear that's been conquered or is in the process of being conquered. My mother blogs to share information on their endeavor into the land of being entrepreneurs - to allow customers and potential customers to see the progress of their gardens and what new offerings will be provided as the season pushes forward. The movie Julia and Julia...she blogged to share her adventure in completing the culinary works of Julia Childes.

Maybe the question isn't 'what is the art of blogging' but 'What is the individuals concept of blogging'?
Sounds a bit more accurate, doesn't it?

Whatever the answer is, I hope to find it along the way.

"Your mind can set you free. To reach your own paradise just let go." ~Sucker Punch