Tuesday, August 4, 2015


I'm beginning a huge new transition in my life.  Change is never comfortable or easy, and as my kids will tell you, change is awful for me.  If I initiate it, it's a little easier.  When it's happening as the natural course of life, I can kinda prepare for it, but it's still hard.  Let's not even talk about change that is foisted on me.

My youngest fledgling is getting ready to fly out into the world on her own.  We'll be relatively close by, within a couple of hours depending on the family member you're looking at, and in this technological age, phone calls and texts and even Skype shared viewing of our favorite television programs together will be possible.  But she'll be moving from our secluded country home into the big city on her own.

I thought this would be easier.  I think both of us thought it would be easier.  She is ready to go, she is eager and excited about living in the city.  She loves it, she eats it up, she wants to go back all the time.  She is ready to begin learning and working toward her BFA.  I think I'm ready to watch what I want on TV, run the vacuum and washing machine and play the piano at my whim.

But we're both scared and nervous and sad at the same time as we're looking at the positives of this transition.  I think we both try to avoid talking about it, looking at it, so it comes out in random blips, such as a short response to a routine question, feelings getting hurt rather quickly, hugging more, talking more, wanting to spend time together more, and then snappy remarks at small things.  It's the dance of separation between parent and child, and it's normal and it's to be expected and it's short-lived and it's painful.

The smallest thing causes me to burst into tears.  I am easily distracted and feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin at times.  I have had recurring panic attacks the last couple of weeks.  Thankfully, I do know how to breathe through them and out but it's tough and unexpected.  And frustrating.  And frightening.

I started a mental countdown in my head last night, one that I hid from my daughter.  But she revealed this evening that she has started her own countdown.  Mine was, "Only two more Tuesdays after tonight."  Hers was, "Only three more weeks."  Both ended with, "Before I start missing you.  Before I am apart from you.  Before you will not be here next to me whenever I need you."

I realized that I've been a parent for nearly 32 years.  That's well over half my life having kids in the house at all times.  And this kidlet and I have been a dynamic duo for the majority of her time on this planet, her sisters having moved out when she was about 5 and 8.  It's been just the two of us.  Thankfully for me, her sisters moved out nearby.  She's going a greater distance.  Thank god it's not New York City.

So what are we going to do in three weeks?  Yegads.  It's going to be thrilling for her and scary too.  I am thankful that she found a school that has such a great support network in place for her.  Things that a parent really needs - 24 hour security, rules that are safe and sane, free shuttle service to classes, a meal plan so I know the kid won't go hungry and will have good food available to her.  She'll have a roommate and I hope that they get along.  I think they will, and it's a good thing that they're starting together - the two in the room and all of them in the building newbies and learning their way around at the same time.

I don't know what I'm going to do.  I figure most things will stay the same, though there will be more phone calls and more time on my own.  A new chapter for both of us.  Her setting her own alarm, and me missing waking her up, no matter how grumpy she is in the morning.

So if you pray or light candles or hold good thoughts, please do that for me and this baby.  We can use all the love and support and help you can offer.  Thanks. xoxo

Monday, March 16, 2015

Breezy's Nighttime Adventure/Scare

Saturday was a long day.  Or rather, Saturday through Sunday morning.

We woke early Saturday morning after staying up late Friday night.  We had a craft fair to attend and needed to be there by 8am.  We packed the car, grabbed some coffee and snacks and cash for change and headed out to the fair location.  After struggling with setting up the "pop-up" canopy (anything but!) we got everything set up and pretty and ready to go.  It was a fun day, if long, meeting a lot of nice people and making some good contacts.  By the time 5pm rolled around and it was time to head home, we were beat.

We'd eaten a late lunch so headed home, unpacked half of the items in the car, and just collapsed for a little bit.  I drank a ton of water and ended up falling asleep on the couch.  I woke Bex so we could bring the goats in and milk, and then ended up falling asleep on the couch AGAIN.  It was 10pm when I woke up and brought Breezy, our Shar'pei/American Bulldog mix dog, in for the night.

She didn't dash for her food as she usually does but I thought nothing of it because she went directly to it.  I happened to be sitting on the "throne" when I heard a crash in the kitchen and the sound of dog paws/claws skittering around on the floor.  I yelled "Hey!" thinking she'd knocked something down and was sliding around in it.

I walked out to see what had happened and was shocked to see her lying on her side on the floor, unmoving.  I called her name and when I got closer could see vomit at her head and feces at her rear and all she could do was barely lift her head to look at me.  I forced myself to calmly stroke her head and clean the mess, then woke Bex and told her as calmly as I could that we had to get Breezy to the vet.  I asked her to comfort her while I called her oldest sister Jessica to find out the nearest 24 hour pet hospital.  Jess offered to meet us and go with us and to call ahead to Rohnert Park to let them know we are coming.  I put a blanket over Breezy to keep her warm and Becca stayed by her side while I cleared the rest of the craft fair from the back of the car and onto the side of the driveway so she could sit in the back seat with Breezy, who was still not moving.

I have never had a scare like this with a pet before.  Without Jess and Bex I think I might have been paralyzed, not knowing what to do next.

It took three tries to pick her up off the floor in the blanket, but I was finally able to do so and very carefully carried her heavy, unmoving body to the car.  As I gently laid her down on the back seat, she suddenly stood up.  I was shocked!  Despite our encouragement, Breezy would not lie down in the back seat and preferred to sit next to Becca as we drove toward town.  When Jess got into the car, Breezy was back to normal, trying to get to the front of the car to greet her.  I couldn't believe the change!  I was grateful for a witness in Bex so I didn't think I had been imagining things.

We arrived at the vet hospital and Breezy was close to normal, though somewhat subdued.  The tech who first examined her wondered what had happened under her tail - it was all swollen - and she wondered if Breezy had been bitten by a bug and suffered an allergic reaction.  It later turned out that Breezy was "holding it" for as long as she could and let go a big "3 pound" pile of poop in the examining room later.

Her vitals were good though she has lost weight over the last couple of months that I have not been able to get back on her as I usually can.  Recommended tests and x-rays showed nothing abnormal and we are awaiting the blood test results.  Breezy was described as a "rockin' grandma" because she is lively for her age.  After she karate-punched a vet tech (accidentally) while being maneuvered onto the radiology table, she became known as "kung-fu grandma."  She is also the first dog the vet has ever seen able to throw the sand bags off her paws that were supposed to keep her still for the x-rays, and sit straight up while being restrained to the padded table, lifting the padded trough she was lying in.  Every time they got her situated and ready for the x-ray, as soon as they left the room she would throw the bags off and sit up.  It took 7-8 tries to get the pictures.

At the end of it all, and at about 3am, her collapse was still a mystery.  She got some Benadryl in case it was an allergic reaction and we headed home.  After dropping Jess off at her car and arriving home, I allowed Breezy to finish the dinner she hadn't eaten before her collapse.  We headed to bedrooms to get back into pajamas, and came back out to check on Breezy.  Then discovered that in the five minutes we were out of her sight after our arrival home from the vet, she had gotten into a large bin that had been sitting on a chair filled with items from the craft fair, and had found the remnants of Bex's chocolate bar and ate it!  The vet tech was laughing her head off when I called to let them know and to find out if she was going to be sick again.  Luckily the dose was too small to cause her trouble.  She was back to her old self!

So far there is no sign of the problem and no definitive answers as to what caused it.  One of the test results turned out wrong so we're going to recheck her (at no charge thank goodness).  The vet thinks the sample was mishandled at the lab because the glucose level was so impossibly low Breezy would have been having seizures at the time the sample was taken, and that didn't happen.

So we watch and wait and enjoy our Rockin' Kung-Fu Grandma for a while longer, and I hope a good long while.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love One Another

I had the opportunity to visit San Francisco yesterday.  After the drive and walking around a museum and then driving deeper into the city, I was able to find some time to sit quietly on a park bench in a peaceful square in Japantown.  San Francisco during the week is delightfully sane (outside of downtown).  It was a beautiful spring-like day, and I spent some time observing people while enjoying the perfect mild warm weather.

I'd noticed a couple of pigeons high on a tall arch (shown in the photo) earlier, then saw them sitting on the ground about three feet from me.  I watched the birds, admiring their colorful feathers and bright watchful eyes, especially one that stayed near me while its companion wandered about pecking at the ground. I noticed it seemed to limp a little and then saw its left foot was terribly deformed, with barely one claw where there should be three and a strange painful looking lump at the base of the leg. The other foot had three very short claws and it was clearly difficult for the bird to get around.

As I wondered if this was a birth defect or terrible injury, the other bird came back and walked in a circle around the lame pigeon. I worried it was going to pick a fight, perhaps fearing I might drop food and it would miss out.

The two birds locked beaks and began moving about a little as if struggling, though not moving their bodies or feet.  I wondered if this was a fight or mating ritual or what.  Then the healthy bird stepped away and the lame bird ... swallowed.  The healthy bird was feeding the other who struggled just to walk!

About this time my teenage daughter joined me on the bench. I showed her the birds and explained what I'd witnessed.  We wondered if it would happen again, and sure enough it did.

If the wild creatures can care for each other like this, what's wrong with us? I used to feel like I did my share when I could, but I now know I can do more. I'm thankful to the pigeons for sharing a story of true love and caring today.

Be good to each other.  Love one another.  Right now.