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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Her Wonderful Life

This was the year Stevie almost died, 2008. In this picture, she had gotten better and was acting like her old self. I, on the other hand, had gone through horrors at the thought of loosing her and had cried myself through an entire weekend until I could get her to a vet. 
I had been giving her broth and water from an eyedropper. I had been lugging her from one comfortable resting place to another so that I could stay close by.

The day I realized something was wrong, I had come home from a day of work and her balls were all still in the basket. Normally, they would all have been distributed throughout her play stations and we would resume the rest of the evening for her to retrieve each one and bring it to me.  I would thank her, and off she would trot for another. She had work to do. That was her job and I told her what a good girl she was and how pretty she looked.
When I saw all the balls still in the basket that day, I knew something was drastically wrong. I went frantic . She was lethargic. I was panicked. I picked her up and she was limp. I started balling. I didn't know how I would make it to Monday waiting to see a vet. I coddled her and cooed her. I just held her and admired her. I looked her in the eyes and spoke to her. We had been together for 11 years at that time. She was my baby. She made it through the weekend, I almost didn't. The vet put her through a battery of tests and was quite convinced that I should prepare myself for her eminent death. She put her on steroids, Prednisone, and sent me home to see how she fared. It would be a wait and see. I tried to be hopeful, but she had been so certain. So I vacillated from hope to fear, cried, and took pictures of every square inch of her.

I raised her lips and took a picture of her little teeth. I wanted to remember everything. The next visit to the vet, she wasn't much more hopeful but did advise me I could take her to a specialist and gave me the referral. 
I sped in for the first opening with them and spent the day waiting while she had a sonogram. They had to keep her in the hospital all day to make sure she recovered okay. I think they had to sedate her to keep her from moving. It was pretty intense. 
The vet was absolutely wonderful. He was a training facility, everyone had so much compassion for my trauma. Stevie had been shaved and was looking good when they finally brought her to me. 
The doctor told me that he saw no eminent threat of her dying, but that she had had an acute attack on her liver. The good news was that it was not a chronic condition. 
He gave me a prescription and told me she would need to continue on it for the rest of her life, her liver had been compromised and needed help to function as needed. 
I was so happy. So, so happy. Life was good again. My baby was going to live. I could breath. 
I knew she was feeling like her old self again when I woke one morning to find, not one, but five of her balls waiting for me to rustle and kick one for her. I guess she had gotten impatient waiting for me to wake. She had never done that before, it was as if to say, "I'm back, Mom, and I'm even better than ever". 

At first all I saw was the balls, then her little face came up like a crocodile.

 I never again didn't have time to play ball with her. We learned how to incorporate it into sweeping (I would throw the ball with the broom, she would throw it back to me with her mouth into the pile of dirt and I would do it again) If I bent down to pull leaves, she would come up and get right in my face, I would say, "Give me a kiss," and then I would say, "I see You", which meant..."go get your ball, I'll throw it for you". So I would pull a couple of weeds, throw the ball, pull more weeds and she would have it back. Same thing over and over. 
I spent the next 3 years wondering and worrying what was happening to her little body. I found the money for the expensive medicine, it came before anything else. 
She was such a special friend. I don't know how I will recover from loosing her now. After 3 more years of being my best friend, she woke up two days ago, throwing up.
Oh no, I prayed, please let it just be something she ate. 
Not so lucky. She started to get lethargic again. A weekend again, of course. I prayed. "Please let her get better again. Let it be a bout of something. Let her stay with me." I begged. I made a soft bed in my office studio, left the door open and a tub of water near. Her pal, Bungee, stayed by her side while I went off to church, worried the whole time. When I got home, I could tell things weren't right. I scooped her up in my arms and we went out to the rocking swing and it just didn't feel comfortable, the wind was blowing. So I took her to my bed where she sleeps all the time. She was panting, I turned on the fan. Then it seemed too strong so I turned on the oscillator. I laid her on her favorite comforter and covered her with a little towel so the wind wouldn't be directly on her and laid next to her, patting her head and loving her. I put a pillow under her back. I told her not to go, "don't leave me yet, Stevie, I love you so much, I don't want you to go." And then I realized she was going to leave me anyway, so I just kept a hand on her head and watched her little face, her eyes looking more and more distant from me. I finally realized she was in a safe place, even though she was struggling a little each time she breathed.
I was going to call my sister in the other room to tell her Stevie was dying. Partly because I wanted to hold out hope that I was wrong, and partly because, if she was, I just wanted it to be her, me and Bungee, all things as usual. 
All through the 3 years, I had begged God not to make me take her to the vet for euthanasia, I wouldn't be able to do it. 
I think Stevie knew I couldn't handle anything more than her just drifting off. What a good dogie. "Oh, how will I handle the pain." She had to leave me. She is gone. Her little body went limp. I just cried and wailed and hugged her and admired her. Then cried and wailed and hugged and admired her some more.I kissed her nose and fury head. I squeezed her close and felt her weight. I had scooped her up and had laid her on my chest when I could tell the end was near. "Oh, my baby", I wailed, "I don't want you to go. Please come back".
My sister heard my screaming and came running. Stevie made one last breath and she was gone. "Oh, my baby. My sweet, sweet baby! So suddenly. So sweetly you left me. Oh, my God! Oh, my God!"
Tears streaming from my face. I had to get busy right away. "What next" I thought, "what next do I do". I had rehearsed this in my mind so many times when she was sick before. I went to look for my grandmothers old tattered quilt. When Stevie had been hit by a car as a puppy, I had scooped her up it it and went screaming to the vet sure she had been all torn up inside. She had just bounced off the car and was fine. But that became her blanket. I had washed it and packed it away. I was frantic to find it now. Finally I found it and we wrapped her up like a burrito and buried her with her blanket and balls way deep down in a spot where I can look out and admire her memory. We gave her four of her balls to keep her company. We laid the concrete pavers I had made of her feet over her grave. I went throughout the yard for the next two days like a zombie retrieving all her balls, for her this time. They were everywhere. She had been everywhere!
It will take me along time to get over loosing her. She was my best, best friend. She started my real life with me and has gone through everything with me. I don't know how to be without her. Laying by my side every night, she had loved me too. Before she went, she had been coming every time I sat at my computer to squish by my legs, her dense fury body pushing my legs aside so she could be at my feet. I think she knew she was going. 
She was such a wonderful dog. 
We had just had a wonderful trip to Vista, CA together; me, Stevie and Bungie. We had a great time. It was a great last memory. When I was trying to take pictures of a building I wanted to show my business partner, Stevie's little beanie was in the picture because she was sniffing out the window, enjoying the sights and sounds. On the way home, I took pictures of her and Bungee walking along my mother's old home, sniffing flowers and then looking up at me. 

Then when we got in the car, for some reason I was compelled to snap them each in their seats, ready for the next leg of the trip. 
They both had a great time with me and were so well behaved. They were troopers going through all that with me. 
Bungee is kind of an airhead and seems to not know what has happened, small favors. She and I will find a new way of being without our beloved Stevie. We will miss her so much.

I knew her so well. I miss you, Sweet Stevie. 
Good by my sweet, sweet girl.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Portabello Mushroom Veggie Burger

Today my friend and I went to Oceanside to take a day off from wracking our brains thinking about business building. We both love "vintaging" so headed straight for Sparkle Plenty

After much fun piling on the upscale resale findings and walking out with way too many of them (me) we headed off to Potpourri Thrift and Resale near the beach and proceeded to (me) load up again.

(I'm on vacation, you are allowed to be frivolous while on vacation!?)

Feeling way too accomplished and having more fun than I think is legal, we made our way to Ruby's on the pier at the beach. It was 1/3 mile walk up the planks of the boardwalk (so said the waiter suggesting we should feel free to eat, we'd walk it off) and I always have visions of throwing myself off the side just for fun (I think it is a natural feeling alive tendency because I'm sure you would really appreciate being alive most of the way down). Loey said she has entertained the same ideas. It's just a weird thing.

All the while walking I was taking pictures so I could remember California beach life. I have been away from the coast for eight years and forgot how much I love to see the other side of the world on the horizon and the sensation of being an island. We started getting silly as two old high school chums would, taking pictures of our feet, and hands and shadows. We finally decided we must take one of our faces for posterity...we would surely regret it if we didn't; but I tell you, I can see our whole history in our shadows, feet and hands.

We both stuffed ourselves and enjoyed the charming service at Ruby's. I had a Portabello Mushroom Veggie Burger. We watched a one-legged seagull shred and then gulp down someone's confiscated bate and laughed with the lady at the other table about the abilities the gull had mastered with his one leg. (he was as steady as a rock). A cute little blond-haired girl with red sunglasses charmed her family at the table behind us and we all enjoyed watching her behave like a star. All too soon it was time to head home for responsibilities. 

We brought our treasures home and took up the tasks of typing and watering plants, feeding dogs, picking up a kido from school....
Full of ideas for my plans once home in AZ again, (ziggidy, zig), I started researching how to build your own shed, (I'll explain later). I suddenly remembered that I want to do everything green and typed in how to build a green shed. The video below was linked to a group of people who are Living In The Future, building in a permaculture model, conscious of earth and resources. They battled and won a permit issue all because the man decided to build it first so the city could see what he meant. That's what I'm talkin' it first, then ask questions!
I think it will be worth your time to play it. It says a lot in a very little time about how and why we got to the point of living against nature.  

Once again, I thought I had a novel idea to take a picture of the wood planks while walking but when I searched images of oceanside, ca, pier, up comes the shadow of a man on the same planks. 
Once again, I say, there is nothing new under the sun. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The grass is greener over the rainbow? Yes the grass may be greener, but the cost to water it is significantly higher than maintaining rocks. If you happen to be lucky enough to reside where rain is aplenty, the next hurdle is how to deal with the bogs in the yard; whether or not to get a goat or a lawn mower or just lay bricks and boards and let the grass grow, permaculture gardening?
There in lies the trick, not to get bogged down in the decision making. Getting blogged down might be a better way to go.
I am still over the rainbow, in a land that is beautiful, lush and green. Where I am staying, there is plenty of water, and there are lots of pavers and boards traipsing through the soon to be overgrown grass wherever one would walk, keeping one from getting bogged down in the overly saturated ground.
I have had the pleasure of staying in a very well built little shed that is perched up on risers. When both of the side windows are open, a cool, close-to-the-ocean air breezes in. My friend, whom I came to visit to see if we could be partners in a business is often traipsing about the pavers and boards putting together her beautiful NouveauWreaths or doing one of the many chores involved in propagating the plantings, watering the ones that are rooting, or off to various gardens and nurseries to cultivate new resources.
We have been all over town looking for buildings. We keep thinking we have found just the right one. We get excited and start trying to figure the next move. 
When all is said and done and we get over thinking we are arguing, we realize we kind of like our own existing little no-overhead operations. Maybe the grass is yellow once we take off our rose colored glasses. 
I have to say though that nothing is ever wasted on me. I have learned a lot from this expedition. A lot of what I have learned is that I already have what I need right in my own back yard. It's always good to get back home. 
It's not to say that she and I might still start a business together, somewhere down the line; but I think we have both concluded that the risk is too great to jump from this high, yet. We each have work to do to get to a point of safe jumping.
The population is well over 100K here. My little town boasts 8K including winter visitors. Today I corresponded with a mentor of sorts. She told me that she made her very successful business work from a very little town in Oregon that still shows only just a little over 700 population. She recommended that I find a good web builder and a great photographer and get on with it from where I am. 
I have decided that I am going to become a good web builder and a great photographer until I have more $$$ in my pockets.
My next great hurdle is to figure out how to get home once I drop off the rental car...
When I left Hertz in Gilbert, AZ with my nice shiny white Toyota Camry, my friend was behind me in my car, driving very slowly. I finally lost sight of her and thought for a minute that she had decided to take a different route home. I started to drive on and catch her at home. I decided better, went back and found her stranded in the middle of the main road with my little doggy in tow. Some nice man who was doing construction near her had already started pushing her back into a little nook cut out of the road for such a thing as that. He had raced across the busy road to assist her. She sat in the car, unable to get out because the handle only works if you roll the window down and reach out. She had forgotten her cell phone so couldn't call me in distress. 
It was a good thing I turned around. 

Now I have found out that the car is dead, only good for scrap. But there is still a silver lining, some green grass on the horizon, somewhere over the rainbow. My friend didn't get hurt, my little doggy survived, I had my wonderful trip, I am armed with new ideas and I am blessed with good fortune. I could have been on the freeway when that car collapsed. I almost forfeited the rental because I had gotten my own car loaded so nicely. Boy. What a miracle GOD performed, breaking us down right there where there was a nook, a helpful man and a way to remedy the situation. 

Thank you GOD.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To Do Or Not To Just Do It

I have a new file I have labeled tdontd (to do or not to do) where I put all the items that are ideas about the future plans I have, companies I want to do business with, products I want to order. Some I have done extensive research about, others are in the beginning stages of thinking about. There are other people's ideas that are fabulous and I want to make or at least include in the repertoire of things for others to make in the classes for the new business my friend and I are developing.
I already had an ideas file, but it got so big I decided I needed a more urgent expression. 
Now that tdontd just keeps piling up and getting fatter and fatter, it is time to make a file called just do it! 
Part of what causes me to stumble and hold back is that, every time I think I have a new idea that will keep competition at bay for a time, I realize there is nothing new under the sun
I had emailed my friend, my business partner, a link to a video I stumbled upon recently while checking out the about section of the Etsy website. I had gone there to see if or how many people were selling the fabric baskets I had seen being made on the morning PBS sewing show. I thought they were so clever and a way to use up all my scraps and another project to include in the repertoire for our new "broader concept manufacturing facility". The video came on describing Etsy's work center where they teach people how to make things the Etsy way and then get them up to speed selling on their site. Aside from the fact that I had to say again, "there is nothing new under the sun", I was overly impressed with the fact that it was a very young man who started the site, they have had many stumbles and struggles to get to the profit side of operating, and they nearly failed. The young man who started it stepped aside and let others with more experience take over for a period, but returned later. The note I put in the subject field to my business partner was, "my idea was stolen". 
I don't think she realized I wanted her to watch the video to see that Etsy is already doing what we are planning to do. Almost exactly the way I have imagined to do it. I thought it was an original concept. NoT!...THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN.
My friend/business partner wrote back "forget them, do your own mall site. did i show you this one yet?" 
Wow, you must check out this girl and guy. High school sweethearts.  
Every day I see fabulous results of people being successful. I wake up and start rowing the boat. I don't look at the tdontd file, I start just doing things to reach the goals I have set before myself and believe that  "There is a part of us that will not let us be content until we become all that we are capable of being"  
My pastor included words very much to this effect in his sermons several times in a row lately and then I had this daily meditation come through in an email today so I think GOD is telling me to "just do it! Come on already, throw away the tdontd file and get up and get on with it!"
Okay, GOD, I think I hear you now.
I had thought I was doing that but realize now, I was letting my fear of success keep me in a smaller box than I really fit. 
April 5
Divine Discontent
Lord, let me always desire more than I think I can do.
— Michelangelo
There is a part of us that will not let us be content until we become all that we are capable of being. Life is not about resting on our laurels and hanging out in our comfort zone; it is an adventure from good to better to best.
Rev. Jack Boland urged, “Do not let good be the enemy of better. ” Your current situation may be good, but if a greater opportunity presents itself, you must be open to expand. This does not mean you are to run away or violate your integrity. If, however, you can step ahead with honesty, honor, and peace, you will enjoy the benefits of living in a larger universe.
Muscles stay strong and flexible only by use and stretching, and so does our mind. Challenge is the universe’s way of showing us that we are bigger than we thought we were.
Bless your dreams, your desires, and your sense that there must be more. There is more because you are more.
Give me the courage to ask for it all.
I leave behind my limits and step forward
to live as large as God.
This meditation is an excerpt from Alan Cohen's meditation book, A Deep Breath of Life. If you liked today's meditation, please support the author and purchase the book by clicking here.

Only by having people focus on keeping/growing the love in their life, they were able to make long-lasting behavioral changes.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 (New International Version, ©2011)

9 What has been will be again,
   what has been done will be done again;
   there is nothing new under the sun.