Sunday, May 25, 2008

Consider The Lilies

First of all, here's a shout out to Tania - I have misspelled lilies several times in the pictures here. Please don't scold me. We are up in Rabun Gap this holiday weekend. Right now I'm sitting in the screened-in porch enjoying the breeze, the soft song of birds, the pleasure of doing nothing. I went to church this morning with Mom and Dad. Delightful little church. The sermon was all about not freaking out about all the little stuff (and big stuff like gas prices and the economy.) How about walking instead of driving, the priest asked. Dad and I chuckled. Sounds like a plan.

Anyway, I am feeling peaceful and want to share some of the changes I've been fostering in my own yard back home. I worked on making the front entrance to our house more inviting. Bought some wooden numbers from Michael's for a buck a piece and painted them the color of the front door. Then I put out some plants that've been living inside all winter. Filling in empty spaces with rocks so the pot looks a little more homey and full, this creeping sedum says hi.

The ultimate example of considering the lilies, I've multiplied plants we already have by rooting cuttings with rooting hormone into new soil. It's great fun to watch your hard work flourish. I often pick up fallen leaves and shoots from the garden center floor and taken them home to root. I know it's naughty but very cost efficient!

Our fence has proven to be a fabulous backdrop for plants. Herbs love to rest their backs against it, as does my ego every time I walk up the driveway. There are day lilies we divided and spread over the entire yard. Also some exotic lilies from a plant given to me several years ago that have spread so that they stand taller than I do! They are magnificent.

You can also see the japanese maple we planted after the miscarriage in honor of the child we might have had. It loves out front yard and the little bunny underneath is happy there. The kidney-shaped bed you see it resting in has grown so. Hostas that our neighbors gave us live there, as do seeds we've harvested every year of cleome Aunt Kris gave us one year.

I have also planted several seed beds around the fence. Will post more pictures of those as they grow. I am growing Bells of Ireland, Cleome, Bachelor Buttons and another pretty flower I can't remember the name of right now.

Once more note about the mailbox. We pulled up the brick we had framing the bed and hammered in leftover pickets from the fence. It's not quite finished, but already looks much nicer than the brick. I filled in some spaces with dusty miller to compliment the other greens in the bed. I love white and blue greens.

That's it for now. Nanny and Baba will sit for Anton while Doug and I drive to Franklin to see the latest Indiana Jones movie. Harrison Ford sends chills up my spine. Oootah. Happy Spring!

Friday, May 16, 2008

This is Not a Purse Hankie

So the final days before the Seat Belt Bag Mother's Day contest was announced, I got an e-mail from them asking for Mom's picture. Yippee! I thought - sure she had won. Well she didn't. So I made her this hankie instead, which she liked. But she cried from not winning. Hard.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Update on Bjorn

Hi Vida,

How's Bjorn? I miss him, but I guess that's part of it. Please give him a few kisses from me.
And thank you for being so gracious on Saturday. You were masterful!



On May 14, 2008, at 8:05 AM, Vida wrote:

Anne he is starting to settle in. He did not want to get out of the crate the first day but now is running around the house with the others. Not totally comfortable yet but it takes time with an adult dog. We know not to push him and he will, in his own time, find his place in the pack. He doesn't snap at the puppies and that's a very good thing. Hopefully a great home will come along for him to be King of the Castle. Just remember Bjorn in your prayers and ask God to send him the right placement. That's what I do when I begin looking for a placement for a dog.



That makes sense. I think his self confidence needs to be rebuilt and at the base of his aggression is fear. Your balanced pack is really good therapy for him. He's always been curious but tentative with other dogs - wanting to interact and play but not knowing how exactly. I'm glad he's out of his crate now and I will keep praying for him.

I think I miss him the most at school. He was my shadow and gave me a new love of the outdoors. I miss taking him out and feeling breezes and sunlight with him. I miss his puppy breath and feeling the fast pumping of his heart through his warm chest. It would make me so happy to know he was balanced and happy and bringing lots of pleasure to someone who loves him as much as I do.

I still can't believe I was strong enough to let him go especially when I knew I would be the one most hurt by his loss.
Your advice to pray is really smart. I'll try to replace my selfish missing of him with prayers FOR him.

Bless you Vida!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Running In Memory of Michael McLendon

Michael McLendon was my cousin's husband and father of two beautiful, cheery young women. He fought a long battle with brain cancer that took all of us by surprise. My husband Doug has decided to run in his memory at the Chicago Marathon this fall, and has created this fundraising page to help fight the disease that took him from us much too early.

I came across this poem by Mark Strand today that reminded me of Michael and his love of the outdoors. He was a man of few words, but his love of nature, how things work - his relationship with his hands, the earth and his "toys" - the equipment that kept him grounded to those things and people he loved.... well - it's all here in this poem. Michael praised life in this way.

Read it once. Then again. Then one more time. Then go to the page and donate any amount that feels comfortable and right to you. Think about those brave patients who find a reason to get up every morning in spite of life's unfair deck - just like Michael did.

From a Litany

There is an open field I lie down in a hole I once dug and I praise the sky.
I praise the clouds that are like lungs of light.
I praise the owl that wants to inhabit me and the hawk that
does not.
I praise the mouse's fury, the wolf's consideration.
I priase the dog that lives in the household of people and shall never be one of them.
I praise the whale that lives under the cold blankets of salt.
I praise the formations of squid, the domes of meandra.
I praise the secrecy of doors, the openness of windows.
I praise the depths of closets.
I praise the wind, the rising generations of air.
I praise the trees on whose branches shall sit the Cock of
Portugal and the Polish Cock.
I praise the palm trees of Rio and those that shall grow in
I praise the gardeners, the worms and the small plants that
praise each other.
I praise the sweet berries of Georgetown, Main and the song
of the white-throated sparrow.
I praise the poets of Waverly Place and Eleventh Street, and
the one whose bones turn to dark emeralds when he
stands upright in the wind.
I praise the clocks for which I grow old in a day and young in
a day.
I praise all manner of shade, that which I see and that which
I do not.
I praise all roofs from the watery roof of the pond to the slate
roof of the customs house.
I praise those who have made of their bodies final embassies
of flesh.
I praise the failure of those whith ambition, the authors of
leaflets and notebooks of nothing.
I praise the moon for suffering men.
I praise the sun its tributes.
I praise the pain of revival and the bliss of decline.
I praise all for nothing because there is no price.
I praise myself for the way I have with a shovel and I praise
the shovel.
I praise the motive of priase by which I shall be reborn.
I praise the morning whose sun is upon me.
I praise the evening whose son I am.

~Mark Strand

Monday, May 12, 2008

A New Chapter

It has been an intense and life-giving weekend.

Driving Bjorn out to the breeder was agony. I cried like a fool the whole way. Doug and I were pretty quiet and Bjorn just sat in my lap and let me cuddle him - he'd lick my hands every once in a while, then fall back to sleep. When we got to Vida's, I cried even more. She held him in her lap while she let me talk and work it all out. I told her I felt like such a bad person for giving up my dog. She said I shouldn't. That my family comes first and Anton has only one shot at growing up - it's up to me to give him the best chance at childhood as I possibly can.

She also said that there were stages of people coming in and out of your life and that some goodbyes are good. People, places and things come in and out of your life - pets included. My time with Bjorn was shorter than I wanted it to be, but it ended well - in everyone's best interest. She also said that pets are gifts to us - and that his biggest gift for me was to help relax me enough so I could get pregnant again. I had not thought of that, but she's right. Bjorn kept me busy and giggling enough to be happy just loving on his cute furry body... Oh, I still miss the feel of him.

Vida really was gracious. She was masterful, in fact. She told us to wait a few years before getting another dog - and not to get a papillon or other small breed. I couldn't agree more! So we're going to try waiting.

The drive back was not as painful, but I still cried. Doug dropped me off so he could take Anton out to get me a mother's day present. It was agony to walk through the gate and not see Bjorn there to greet me. Not to hear the clicking of his little feet, following me up the stairs. Not to have him lick my ankles and look up at me with those cute brown eyes. I just lay down in bed and cried missing him. The house was much too quiet.

Doug and Anton returned and we met Mom at Garcia's for dinner. I got nice and toasted, which felt good. Doug totally took care of Anton that night and I just went to bed wondering if the next morning of Mother's Day was going to be good or bad for me.

So I woke up Sunday morning and Doug let me sleep in very late while he and Anton cooked a HUGE breakfast for me. I cried a little at the table now and then, but it was a lovely morning still. The sun beamed through the bay window and warmly lit our little family as we ate and laughed. Little by little, I started to feel better as I looked at the new dynamics created by Bjorn's absence.

No more gates. Anton was free to walk around the downstairs as he wished, visiting all his play stations in each room. I never tensed up wondering if he'd upset Bjorn or the other way around. Anton was really happy to have that much freedom. The cats came back out to join the family - no more territorial snaps with the "dog." After breakfast, Doug and I started cleaning up the floor and I did some rearranging of kitchen furniture now that the gates were gone. We spent the next 2 hours cleaning and Anton playing. It felt SO GOOD to get the house back again. We reclaimed everything. I hadn't realized how much our lives were centered around that furry creature. It felt like we were entering into a new chapter of our lives, as well as Bjorn himself entering into his own. Whether he gets adopted or stays there with the pack, he will be fine and much happier. I still miss him terribly, terribly so - but there's this new element to my life that I am so enjoying. It's called freedom and control.

I know I've made the right decision. For everyone.

After we cleaned, we three took a nap together and it was delicious. After the nap, I called Mom to come shopping with Anton and me and invited her over for dinner. Doug went for a run. Doug completely served us that night. It was fabulous!!! I got nicely toasted again - we laughed and had a wonderful evening together. "To motherhood" mom and I toasted each other with the funky drink DougieFresh made us.

That entire day was beautifully UNplanned. It happened just as it should have and ended beautifully, too. I still miss my little monkey - but I've got this new life ahead of me. I've done a very hard thing and am feeling kinda proud of myself.

Vida is going to have her vet assess Bjorn's liver problems himself. He may not need surgery after all - but time will tell. She will look for a new home for him, and I will, too. Once he's settled down with the pack, we'll look in earnest. She thinks he might have been overstimulated with me bringing him to school every day. I think at the core of his aggression is fear. He needs a pack leader who will be gentle but firm with him - someone to build up his confidence. I also think he'd be happier with more dogs around him. He needs more attention than I could give him. He'd also love agility, too.

I am grateful to have had 4 years with the fluffy mouse. I'll miss him. I still do. But just looking at this life before me makes me happy. I have a lot to get up every morning for.

Thank you everyone for your kind words of comfort and advice. Thank you thank you thank you.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ode to Bjorn

Feeling pretty lousy today. Doug and I decided to finally give Bjorn back to the breeder, after a long struggle to correct his increasingly aggressive behavior. I think he needs to live with a pack again and be with someone who can afford to retrain him, pay for the surgery he needs to fix his liver shunt and possibly find him a new home. I'm trying to convince myself that I did the best I could but am still horrified at how badly things went wrong with him. He's started to make Anton cry with his outbursts and I'm exhausted by the tension and fear in our house. I feel like a failure.

We will deliver Bjorn on Saturday afternoon. I am not looking forward to it. This is agony. And I feel so silly for crying so hard. But Bjorn was my first child, we got after we lost our own first child. So this is really painful. I miss him already. I won't miss the tension he's caused, but I'll miss all the good stuff. The cuddles and licks and games of fetch and lap time and sharing him with so many people who smiled by just looking at him.

My sweet furry puppy.
My monkey mouse.
My little muffin tin.
My little sample size of spray starch.
My little hello kitty wrist watch.
My little pile of fabric scraps.
My little assortment of cheese cubes.
My little tray of bite sized cucumber sandwiches.
My little vintage thimble.
My little shot of whisky.
My little cube of sugar.
My little dash of Splenda.
My little flask of gin.
My little night light.
My puppy mouse.
Bjorn Mouse.
Monkey Mouse.

I love you.

PS: Someday I will get a female Eskie and name her Inga.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Playing with Type

I am SO going to do this with Anton someday. Weeee! Look at that beautiful type.