Saturday, December 24, 2011

13 Years Ago I got the Best Present Ever

In the form of this at 4 months old


I love you Cliffy Mutt. 

I know I don't get 13 more years, but I'll take what you can give me and I promise not to make you suffer.  

You are the best dog ever and in many ways the best being to have come into my life in the past 13 years.  You are definitely the one constant.

I don't know what I'll do without you.

Love, 'Mom'

Friday, October 28, 2011

Knitting in Texas

Or rather I would be if I weren't working 60 hour weeks right now.

Thank you to all the kind comments from the folks the bounced over from Stephanie's Blog

I have spent a mini fortune at The Woolie Ewe since I've been here.  It is a nice shop and the people that work there are very friendly but I admit to feeling way out of my element there.

I haven't been to the Shabby Sheep yet, but I'm working on that.  I did hit Holley's Yarn Shoppe a few weeks ago and they were really nice to me as well.  (Ok I didn't hit it, I paid for my purchases, promise).

A few people in the area have commented on the last post and I hope to get un-shy enough to take them up on their offers.  For those just catching up (the old timers are laughing their butts off at the un-shying statement), it took me almost 6 months to work up the courage to go to the knit group back in Santa Rosa 4 years ago, and even though I've never regretted it, it was still hard to do.  Complete and abject fear at meeting new people.  Panic attack city.

I just tell people that Rosemary made me. ;-)  And for those of you that love her patterns and pins, she is super sweet in person and just really really nice.

One of the main reasons I have a hard time meeting new people is my hearing.  Most people get frustrated at having to repeat themselves and when you are trying to make friends, the last thing you want to do is annoy them right off the bat.

The local ladies that were at the book signing were perhaps also wondering who I was because I had a reserved seat.  And given how late I got it, someone probably had to be moved for me to get that seat.  So while I'm grateful to my friend Roger for calling the bookstore and making sure they could accommodate my hearing impairment (I usually just suffer in silence - no pun intended hehe), when I saw where they put me I was both thrilled (because I'd be able to see Stephanie - if I can see you I can hear you more easily - or rather read lips more easily) and terrified because I figure I sure wasn't making any friends with that maneuver.

So if someone had to move for me to get that seat, I am truly sorry.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Been a While

I know it's been a while since I've been here.

Lots of life changes have been going on in my life this year, most initiated by me, and, in my mind, most necessary.  Many of them weren't anything I could talk about till recently and some I won't talk about at all except to say that Ken and I have split and the decision was mine.

As if that isn't a big enough change, I took a position in our Plano Texas office recently. Yes that's right, I packed up a U-Haul with all my stuff, put the Explorer on a trailer and drove across the country.

The guys in the Plano office have been really helpful and making me feel welcome.

You already know that I lost Oscar and that I almost lost Cliff the Mutt. Even though he's apparently allergic to Texas, he is actually doing better and I'm glad he's still with me.

He and I have a little apartment in Allen. We like it even if I seem to be spending more than 50% of my time at work. I'm working on that.  Cliff gets to spend the day with a friend's dog, so he's not alone and it's working out well for both parties, because my friend's dog isn't alone now either and he and Cliff are just like the 'Odd Couple.'

That's them, Cliff and Jackson.
Some things don't change though.  I'm still knitting.  I still have way too many projects on the needles at once, but we all know how much I love yarn.

One of the thins I still try to do daily is read the Yarn Harlot's blog because she's just so funny and she really makes some gorgeous stuff.

I haven't missed one of her book tours since I found her in 2007.  She has a new book out called All Wound Up and I've already read it cover to cover and checked to see if she would be close by on this tour.

Since Plano is to Dallas as Petaluma is to Santa Rosa, it looked like she'd be close.  Then I looked up the venue, A Real Bookstore, and it's less than 5 miles from my apartment.  I was totally going.

There's only one problem.  Except for the folks at work, and they don't knit, I still don't know anyone here.  Every single book signing I've gone to of Stephanie's I haven't gone alone.  And I sure as heck wasn't ready to this time, but neither was I missing it.

So I sucked it up and went.  I've been following the current one.  And as usual, it seems, she's not always getting enough time to eat.  I try to give her something when I see her, even if I know probably half of it can't make it home, suitcases are only so big, so I figured to bring something she wouldn't have to pack.  I think a beer, a small box of good crackers, three cheeses (real cheese), some Nutella in a cool single serving package and a small thing of coffee (to take home) would go over nicely, and I made sure she had a little cheese knife in there too.

I hope she likes it.  It's always cool when she remembers me given all the people she sees on these tours.  She did say for a minute she wasn't sure she was in Texas, since I always see her in California.  And no I'm not stalking her.  She's genuinely nice and funny and grateful for the fact that she gets to do this for a living.  So when I see her I'll make darn sure she gets some kindness back and I'll buy anything she writes.

So I still don't know any knitters here really (there's a member of my International Sock Swap that lives close by but I haven't met her in person) and after tonight I'm sure the local knitting clicks wonder why the heck she took my picture.  

But I'm just me.  Another knitter, another Yarn Harlot fan, another person looking for friends in a new place. Maybe this will help. Maybe it won't, but, if nothing else, I took myself outside of my normal comfort zone and went even when I was terrified to go alone (painfully devastatingly shy am I).  And you know what?  I survived.  I had a mini panic attack, but I got over it and I didn't bolt, because, damnit, I was making sure she got dinner.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Scare of a Lifetime

Most of you that read this drivel I post know that I've had Cliff the Mutt since he was 4 months old.  Well that little fur slug will be 13 next month and he almost didn't make it.

He is the one that has been with me through thick and thin, marriage, divorce, marriage, failed baby attempts and many surgeries.

He's never judged me.  He's always been by my side.  In returned, I made sure he was well trained, well behaved, had a solid routine, good food, soft blankies and a rotating roster of canine and feline step brothers and sisters over the years.

For all these years I've been really lucky with Cliff health wise.  The vet I had when I first got him tried to convince me he absolutely needed knee surgery or he'd never walk again.  He has a genetic defect called Sublimating Patellas, meaning you can dislocate his back legs at will if you are being a jerk and messing with my dog.  It's not life shortening.  I keep his weight under control, and 10 years since I found out about his knees, they have never been an issue.

Cliff and I have been a Pet Assisted Therapy Team for the Sonoma County Humane Society.  The little old ladies at a couple of local Alzheimer's facilities just adored him when we made the rounds.

People still see him and ask how old my 'puppy' is and are just shocked when they find out his age.

Cliff and I have been gearing up for a major life change and being a responsible pet owner he had his check up at the vet.  We found out that his heart murmur had exponentially increased in the last year.  That was scare enough since it's the heart murmur Oscar had that killed him.  I'm not ready to lose another pet right now to the Rainbow Bridge.

So Cliff started heart meds (if only we'd known Oscar's had gotten bad enough for it but he didn't make it to his yearly :-( )  and then I had to go out of town for a week.  Cliff stopped eating two days before I got home.  He could be coaxed to have a little and then he'd walk away.

Last Tuesday morning (July 12th) he wouldn't get out of bed.  So I got to work and called the vet and said get me in please.  They kept him that thinking it was something intestinal since he wouldn't eat.  Gave him barium to track in through his system and he stayed there the rest of the day.  I got to go back at 5:30 and the diagnosis was blocked small intestines which means surgery.  Which means Mom bursting into tears.

Surgery that requires opening up the intestines is inherently high risk but not doing it meant a painful death for my boy if there really was a block, so off to the emergency clinic that would do the surgery where he would spend the night and have surgery the next day.

This is the first time in the entire time I've had Cliff that he's ever had to stay over night with strangers, let alone one that came at him with sharp objects.  So Wednesday, July 13th (there's that number again and I'm not really superstitious about it) they open him up in the morning and I call back all day to get an update.

Update is - No block!?!?!?  What?  I cut him open for nothing!  Calm down Ms Rinella....  Turns out Cliff's allergies have finally taken it to a whole new level and he has lymphacytic/plasmacytic Inflammatory Bowel Disease and it was bad enough that the walls of his intestines in at least one location had swelled to the almost blocking point.

Since they cut open his intestines they had to keep him a few days.  Neither of us handled it very well.  Finally I got to bring him home on Friday  afternoon.  He went berserk when they brought him in to me (my boy loves me).  Luckily, this disease can be cured 90% of the time with a dietary change, so he is on a new food.

One week later he's completed his antibiotics.  He doesn't seem to like his new food much, but I think that will change when he realizes he doesn't have a choice.  Since he still has stitches, he's hanging with me at work this week so I can keep an eye on him. (Many thanks to my boss for that).  Those come out next Thursday.

All I know is how grateful I am that I still have my little fur slug.  He's recovering well.  The incision site looks good.  Separation anxiety is high, which is understandable.

He's one the best things in my life right now and I'm not taking any days I have with him for granted.  This was a scare, but one we are both making it through.  He's my boy, and I'm the only 'Mom' he's known.  I'll continue to spend the rest of his days making sure he's happy, healthy and put quality of life over quantity.  I almost lost him, and almost had to make 'that' decision, but I would have made the right one for him, because he's all that matters.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Oscar, My Oscar

Oscar came to us 7 years ago on May 19, 2011.

I had been looking for another dog after we bought the Velma house and so I was hitting the local shelter sites regularly.

During the same time period I could have gotten my hands on a puppy from the Sonoma County Humane Society, but I kept coming back to this sweet boy's picture at the Healdsburg Animal Shelter web site.

I knew there wouldn't be a problem with the puppies getting a home, but he was an older dog at 6 years of age so I went and saw him on the 18th. 

I liked what I saw and took Cliff the Mutt back with me the next day and they didn't have problems so I could bring him home.

I admit that I ran roughshod over Slugbo to get this dog.  He didn't get to meet him till I brought him home.  And that was probably a really bad idea.  Everything on the form the people that relinquished him filled out made him spectacularly unsuited for our home.

I didn't care.  I wanted him and I brought him home. 

He was very terrified of men.  Ran from Slugbo all the time.  Hid when he could, tried to melt into the floor when he couldn't.  Stuck to me like glue.

Slugbo started attaching Oscar to him with a leash when they were both in the house.  He started being the one to feed him.  Nothing was working.  He wouldn't turn that corner and realize he was safe with both of us.

We were getting ready to take him back since this was hard on Slugbo too.  He loves animals as much as I do, and having Oscar fear him so much without cause from him, really really hurt.  Then I went out of town for a long weekend and Oscar HAD to deal with Slugbo for everything.

That trip was the best thing that could have happened and Oscar started coming out of his shell.  He slowly stopped hiding from the multitude of people that would be in and out of our house and office on a regular basis. 

He still warms up to women first, but he's happy to see most people now and will say hi if he hasn't met you before.

Since Scrat Monster joined up Oscar came out of his shell further.  He would play.  He would wrestle.  He would chase and he even started fetching.  He didn't know how to play without teeth, so we had to be careful, but he was playing and that was all that mattered.

We lost Oscar last Monday, June 13, 2011, rather unexpectedly.

I was home sick.  He was with me.  He came in and hopped up on my bed and threw up (thank you doggy boy).  I put him outside and he got some water and went and laid in the sun while I cleaned up the mess.

I went back out 20 minutes or so later and didn't see him.  Ended up finding him behind the house in the sun unresponsive.  I called Slugbo in a panic.  He agreed to meet me at PetCare.  I grabbed Oscar's favorite quilt and wrapped him in it and ran to the car.  Cliff was completely freaking out when he saw me carrying Oscar in. :-(

Slugbo had the nurse at PetCare in the parking lot waiting for me and they had him out of the car before I'd finished parking.  They took him back and we waited and I tried to tell Slubgo what happened.

The vet came in and told us they were trying.  Oxygen, meds, everything they could.  It didn't work.  They think that because he had a heart murmur that was steadily getting worse, that when he threw up he also threw a blood clot and he stroked out.

It kills me that he was alone when it happened.  They say I could not have prevented it, but I could have been with him.  I don't know if he was in pain, or if he cried at all.  I just know he alone, but he was in the sun, his next favorite place to be.

Slugbo and I miss him dearly.  He's buried under the oak trees in the side yard so he will always have the sun on him.  He's wrapped in his favorite quilt, the one he liked to chew holes in.  He's encase in stone tile as well and he has a tag so if for some reason he's ever found again, the ones that find him will know he was loved and will hopefully leave him be.

I love you Oscar.  I'm glad we got those 7 years.  I think we made you happy and I hope you died less afraid and more trusting of people thanks to Slugbo, I and our friends that miss you too.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

21 Years Ago...

a very special person came into being.

While I knew I would not be able to raise him myself, I did everything I could to make certain that he would get the life he deserved.  Even if that life was not with me.

I have no regrets.  The decision was the best for us both and I believe we are both better people than we would have been because of the decision I made. His parents got to raise a wonderful child, he was safe, happy, healthy, loved and cared for, and I was able to make my life something I'm proud to get to tell him about today.

Alex, I hope you have a wonderful day today.  You are funny, sweet, dramatic, goofy... 

I am happy and grateful for the time you and your parents have given in the past year so that I can finally get to know you. It is more than I'd ever dared to hope for.

Here's to many more years with you as a part of my life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cutting Ties

As anyone that has read my blog for the past few years knows, life tends to throw us curves that are usually unexpected and equally unwelcome. I know life throws all of us curves. Some good, some bad, some neutral. We learn to live with them and carry on.

I don't talk about my family much outside of Slugbo and the fur babies and things that are going on with Alex (and mention of him is pretty minimal). But sometimes you see random posts here and there.

I had a brother and I have an older sister I grew up with. All of us adopted. We are not close though we've tried. The past couple of years were easier with her, but it still seemed mostly like a one way street. I call to check in or to let her know what is going on with the parents. I try to find out what is going on with her and her kids (sorry Michael - you may be almost 25 but you're still my nephew and therefore a kid ;-) ) and her husband. But it's me making first contact 99% of the time.

She has her own reasons for not talking to the parents anymore. I don't get in the way of that. It's her decision and one she felt she needed to make for herself.

A couple of months ago she basically dropped a bomb on me and flat out refuses to explain further or elaborate on what was discussed. Rather than answer my question she has decided to walk away from this in light of other things that are going on in her life.

Unfortunately the whole situation drove home a point that my sister does not really seem to consider me her sister or rather family. I am family when she needs me to be family. Like there is an off switch.

I've lived in California for 15 years this May. I've been married here twice. She's been invited multiple times and was invited to both weddings.

Not once has she come to visit since I've been here. She's been invited. I've been to her, multiple times. When she moved to NM, I didn't even find out till I tried to call and wish her happy anniversary and found out her old phone number had been disconnected. I had to call my parents to find out where she was. And that was during a time when we seemed closer.

I understand that times are tough. Her life has been a roller coaster for much of the past 15 years but you make time for family.

I understand that she has her immediate family. Her husband and her two boys. They've supported her through some truly horrible experiences. She has at this time decided that they are all the family she needs.

I hope that is the case. I hope they are enough. I hope she knows I'm here when she ready to acknowledge that being adopted doesn't make us less family. She's still my sister.

But at this time I chose for my sanity to cut ties. She has her issues she needs to work out. She doesn't want my help nor my support. And I fully admit that I'm not willing to talk to her until she is ready to either defuse the bomb she dropped on me or follow through with the destruction it will cause. Either way I want more information and she won't provide it.

I'm done playing the game. I don't need a fair weather sister. Neither do I need a sister that only contacts me when she needs me on her side for something. Family is family no matter what is going on. Which just shows again, that from where I'm standing, I'm not her family.

I hope I'm wrong. Time will tell and we shall see. But until she's ready I'm done. I know at least one of her boys might see this and I hope he understands that I'm not trying to slam his mother in any way. I'm just tired of the games. My door is always open to all of them. They just need to get to it on their own, since asking and begging and guilt trips haven't worked yet.

So the next step is hers. I'll let you all know if she takes it. I shan't be holding my breathe.