dogs, grief, growing old, losing battles, memories, photography, responsibility


The vet tech had an explanation for it.  “It” being the fact that the dog I had brought in, the one that had required me to hoist her back end up off the floor every time she wanted to get up for the last 48 hours, was repeatedly getting herself up off the tile floor at the vet’s office yesterday.  It was because even though there were no other dogs there to witness her struggles, she still could smell them, and no dog wants to let herself be seen as the weakest one in the pack, so the adrenaline rush she was having was serving as a pain reliever.  Or so they said.  I had told myself that the thing I didn’t want to do was to take her in and spend a whole lot of money, knowing what the outcome was really going to be in the not so distant future, and knowing that my Zoe was going to suffer while I fought to justify my decision of what to do.  But in the vet’s office she looked like a different dog from the one I’d had at home.  Needing help getting up was relatively new, and while she had needed me to help her for a day or two recently, she had seemed to recover and I told myself that she had strained something and it was all better.  And the confusion in her face when she couldn’t get herself up was heartbreaking.  But she seemed to be in not so dire of a condition while we were there, so it was pain meds, joint supplements, and see her in two weeks.

Except once I got her home she was trying to not use her right back leg at all.  That she was in distress was obvious.  I brought the water bowl to her and she drank, but she wouldn’t eat.  She cried and wanted to get up, so I’d hoist her up, and then she’d stand there not knowing what she wanted to do next.  I thought about how I’d learned to help my mother, and then my husband, when they couldn’t get out of a chair.  I’d lean in and hug them to me, and use leverage to just lift them up.  It worked perfectly.  Not possible with Zoe, and I was already feeling the strain in my back from lifting her.  

I’m writing this at 4 AM while I listen to Zoe’s breathing.  She is finally asleep.  We have been up for hours, she was crying, it actually sounded like a low growl, and nothing I could do for her except sit with her and pet her seemed to help.  Sweet, easy-going Ozzie was determined to put himself between Zoe and me, so I had to put him in the bedroom before he hurt her, or me.  It was the pleading in her eyes that got to me.  Just like when it’s been raining for hours and the dogs want to go out, and they look at me  wondering why I’m letting it rain when they know that I’m in charge of the world and I could stop it if I wanted to.  Zoe’s eyes tell me that she is pleading with me to make it stop, not the rain, but the pain…4-26onelasttime

blessings, courage, honor, memories, moments, photography, responsibility, soldiers

Remembering, with gratitude…


Several years ago I was traveling to visit my mother in MA, and was changing planes at BWI airport in Baltimore, and as I waited to board my connecting flight I heard a commotion several gates from where I waited. I looked to see what was happening and saw that an Honor Flight had arrived and the passengers, elderly veterans all, in matching tee shirts, were being wheeled off the the plane and through the airport. I heard applause begin and soon the terminal was lined with people, applauding and thanking these men for their service. It was such an emotional moment, and I was taken by surprise by the tears that were streaming down my face. I thought of all the times I’ve waited in the grocery store while an elderly gentleman blocked the aisle, and how we would be impatient with the elderly drivers we encounter on the streets here in Florida. It astounds me that these same men did in fact go off to a war, and endured things which we can’t imagine, and did so as young men who probably were not young at heart when they came home. If they were lucky enough to come home at all. Not many WW2 vets are left, we should treasure them. and all our vets.

Wars have changed, but the horrors that our vets see still changes them. We owe so much to the men and women who serve.

I was looking at the photos in my laptop and came across these. My cousins and I pooled our photos online several years ago, after we realized that we were now the older generation in the family. These photos look to have been taken on at my grandparent’s house. Was one of the brothers leaving, were they celebrating a return? All the brother’s, and brother-in-law, did return from the war. But seeing them all as the young men they once were, with their mother and sister, looking care free at that moment when chaos was taking place in the world, makes me both sad and proud. Everyone probably has similar family photos, with stories to go with all of them. We baby boomers owe them our lives, literally, since they endured and came home to raise their families. God bless them all.


home, home improvements, losing battles, responsibility

A losing battle…

ridingmowerMy new riding lawnmower came back today. This was it’s second trip to the repair shop, the first being when I hit a tree stump and it stopped, and I got it going again, and hit the stump again, and then it quit. It needed new blades, or something like that. Now it just plain wouldn’t start. The repair guy called me yesterday and said he had good news and bad news. The good news is that there is nothing wrong with my lawnmower. He started it up and drove it into the shop. This after my numerous attempts to start it, turn the key and nothing, it didn’t even attempt to start. Just dead silence. One neighbor suggested charging the battery, and another neighbor did try that, but still nothing.

So I told the repair guy that it wasn’t just me, my more mechanically inclined neighbors couldn’t start it either, which must have given me slightly more credibility. I said that the ride over in the truck must have jiggled something and that’s why it started. He said that that was a thought, so he’d check all the electrical connections and start it a few more times throughout the day.

So nothing was wrong with it was the good news, the bad news is that I had to pay for the pick up and delivery, and the minimum repair charge, even though they didn’t actually do anything to it. I was worried that the ride back home would jiggle whatever loose again and it would go back to playing dead, but no it works fine. Turns out it was a safety switch, which the driver told me he found and fixed right in my driveway when he picked it up. And that would have been that if I would have been home, but I wasn’t, and in that case he couldn’t leave it. He did leave one once, fixed on the spot, and in a nice neighborhood he said, but the customer complained that he shouldn’t have left it! Seriously. So now he had to take it. Trust me, I wouldn’t have complained if he had left it, and I’d be $112 richer.

Everything is growing out of control here on the nature coast right now. Daily thunder storms for a month or so have taken care of that. So yesterday I took advantage of a break in the storms and cut my front ‘lawn’, aka overgrown weed patch, but green, which is all Charley ever asked of his lawn. I used the self-propelled mower that he bought shortly before his health issues took a turn. I’ve had to have that one serviced also. The repair guy for that one asked me if I’d been clearing land with it. Um, no, just mowing what passes for my lawn. Hidden plops of dog poop and lots of twigs and debris from the oak trees included. Sigh. My lot is much more un-level than I perceived it to be when I wasn’t on a riding lawnmower, the back slope is too scary so both mowers are needed every time I mow.  It’s a losing battle…losingbattle

I could try to add up the cost of the mowers, plus repairs, and divide by how many months it’s been since I had a lawn service do my lawn, to find out how far in the hole I am on my attempt to save money by doing it myself. Not to mention the toll the labor is taking on me and my mental health. I might have recommended lawn mower repair as a career choice for my son if I would have lived here back then. I doubt the demand will drop off any time soon…


life, memories, on closer examination, responsibility, the big picture

A Classy Bunch…

Not too long ago I wrote about my birthday, #69, the last of my 60s. Which means I was born in 1948. But I couldn’t think of any photos I had that I could include in the post, except some photos I had taken of an old truck at a salvage yard. It was definitely past it’s prime, kind of like me, so that’s what I included in the post. But a friend said that she didn’t understand the significance of those particular images and why I had chosen them. And, truthfully, I had looked online for images of model year 1948 cars, but the photos were really quite nice and didn’t portray the 69 years of wear and tear that I was going for. And again, truth be told, I knew the day would come that I’d like to include those nicer photos in a different blog post. A post that would celebrate all of us, born in ’48, the class of ’66. I actually think that the cars produced in 1948 look very classy, not at all what I was looking to portray when I wrote that first post. But thinking about it now I think we, my fellow 69ers, are a classy bunch too. Enough of a twinkle in the eye to know how to have fun, but not likely to embarrass ourselves, or anyone else. We sort of straddled the more prim and proper ways of the generation before us, but we tweaked it without actually going as far as the let-it-all-hang out ways of those younger than us. We worked hard to earn our place in the world, doing the right thing, raising our children to be good citizens, only to see many of the lessons we thought were important to teach our children become irrelevant in today’s world. It’s nothing new to wonder what this world is coming to, but we still proudly carry the banner of our generation, yes, a classy bunch are we.

coping, dogs, home, home improvements, life, nature, old dogs new tricks, photography, procrastination, responsibility, simple things, sunrise

Theory vs. Reality…

My husband had joke about theory vs. reality. It was long and involved, and despite hearing it way too many times I both can’t remember the details, and wouldn’t repeat it even if I did. But in real life my theories of how I think things are going to be bump up against reality all too often. Daily, actually. Tuesday was the first of three days off, so I had the luxury of getting my long postponed dental visit behind me, ka-ching, running errands, and going out to dinner with a friend, all while knowing that I still had two days off coming up. So, in theory, if I spent Wednesday doing housework, laundry, clipping Zoe and bathing both dogs, and washing the car, I would still have another day off ‘just for me’. Ha! The reality is that I did most of what I intended to do yesterday, including a sweaty, hair-covered, couple of hours of clipping/bathing dogs, and washing the car. And the end result is that Zoe doesn’t look any different. Really? My theory was that if I bought clippers and kept up the clipping she’d look good all the time. I don’t think she is popular with the groomers with her nervous ways, and she is calm for me. I have watched the groomer run the clippers down her and the hair falls away, and she looks like velvet when they are done. How is it that I run the clippers down her and hair falls away, but she turn out looking all spiky? Must be the clippers, couldn’t possibly be me, right?

Oh well, I was kidding myself about having a day to myself anyhow. Not too long ago the front yard looked like the jungle was about to reclaim it. So I pulled down the vines that were climbing the front, and that’s as far as I’ve gotten. In theory it will be cooler soon and I’ll have nine glorious months of perfect weather and somehow, magically, my house will be perfectly clean all the time, my yard will be perfectly groomed, and so will Zoe. That’s my theory anyhow…

blessings, dogs, memories, nature, photography, responsibility, simple things

Zoe girl…

As I walked the dogs this morning I had to wonder if I’m doing Zoe any favors walking her. She is 12 years old now, and her walking is more trudging along, not the heads-up, ready for anything girl I used to walk. Back in the day, as we’d leave our yard we’d head up the middle of the street with me holding the retractible leash over my head, and she would take the leash out to it’s full length and run circles around me as I walked. The excitement had her blowing off some steam at the beginning of the walk since I was too slow for her. She would also run to the end of the long leash to make birds fly, and if she spotted a squirrel on the ground she would stop in perfect pointer-pose, still as a statue, and try to pounce. That it was futile didn’t seem to occur to her, and she didn’t let the fact that the squirrels didn’t bother to climb very high up the telephone poles bother her either. I always wondered what she would do if she caught one, because I remain convinced that the chasing was the entire point.

Back in Baltimore I’d walk her one block to Riverside Park after work. I’d unclip her leash as soon as we hit the sidewalk that surrounded the huge park, even though the little hill I was about to climb hid any view of who or what was in the park at that moment. She, of course, would run up the hill and disappear immediately, and I’d crest the hill in time to see her approach the pack of dogs that were already there, and then veer to the outside and cause the other dogs to follow in a huge circle, all running as fast as they could. She was a popular dog at the park. I was told that other dog parents hurried over to the park when they noticed Zoe was there because their dogs were guaranteed a good run. This despite the fact that it wasn’t uncommon for someone to come to me and announce that they were ready to go home, but Zoe had their frisbee/ball/ dog toy of some kind, and then I’d look like an idiot trying to catch her to retrieve the item.

Life was stressful for me then as we were closing our office and arranging our move to Florida, but I’d forget my worries as I watched her run. I thought of how good that stretch in her back must feel after waiting all day for this big moment. Even though the park was so close to our office I didn’t seem to run into dental patients there, so I let go of all thoughts of the problems of the day as I watched her. Once life in Florida became a reality my blood pressure medication was cut by more than half, so it may not be an exaggeration to say that she saved my life back then.

These days there is much excitement as I pick up the leash, but now her walk is more of a trudge, and her huffing and puffing begin almost right away. She takes note of squirrels and bunnies, but doesn’t bother attempting to chase them. We do what I used to think of as the short walk, probably about a mile, and she collapses onto the cool tile floor when we get back, and soon I hear her snoring softly.

There have been many good dogs in my life, and Zoe has earned her place as one of them. Yes, she has earned her Milk Bones, she is a good girl.zoe2