Archive for February, 2010

The Continuing Saga of Bailey
February 26, 2010

How much is that doggie in the window?

Longtime pewperson fans may remember 4 years ago when my sweet Bailey collapsed in a heap and ended up in doggie ICU, followed by surgery to correct his “idiopathic chylothorax” diagnosis (say wha’? Basically his chest cavity had filled with lymphatic fluid, compressing his lungs to a point where he couldn’t breathe). 

We gambled on him to recover, and recover he did, albeit $11,000 and counting later. I just couldn’t deny him his life; he is such a sweet, needy little fellow, and he wasn’t even 2 years old.  

After I amortized the amount over his normal lifespan, and it came out to something like $2.37 per day, I felt like he was worth it. He makes me laugh that much every single day, and he’s just such a lovable little toot. I think he loves me more than any other creature on this planet does, including my husband and daughter. 

In the intervening years, he’s been healthy, happy, beautiful and still a toot. We have a daily routine that revolves around breakfast, a walk, “work”, playing “sock”, a little treat at lunch, followed by an afternoon that mostly involves sleep on his part, while I write (or sometimes nap, too!). We stroll down to the mailbox later, and then he hopes for a piece of popcorn to fall on the floor as I work the crossword puzzle. Wherever I am, Bailey is with me. 

It’s always very exciting when “Daddy” comes home, because both Bailey and Shadow know that after he eats dinner, then they get the coveted Milk Bone! (product placement here! I think Milk Bone ought to come film my dogs’ excitement about their product.) And then after that, both dogs doze until we finally go to bed, at which point, so do they. 

Oh, I do brush their teeth when I brush mine, which I can’t believe I do, but I do. I make sure that I don’t mix up their chicken flavored toothpaste with my Crest (another product placement). 

Once a month “the dreaded Susan” drives up in her Aussie Pet Mobile van (yet another product placement!). Bailey is petrified of all such vans; I have now determined that he actually can’t read, because he gets just as noodley when the equally configured FedEx van drives up. 

A week ago Wednesday, here she came. Susan hates it that Bailey seems to fear his monthly bath so much. She loves dogs, and wants them to love her. Shadow is pretty stoic about the whole process, but Mr. B just dissolves when she appears. He does cooperate once he gets in there, but getting him in there involves catching him as he runs laps through the house. 

The only good thing about bath day is that Susan doles out various and sundry treats to both dogs after the fact. I let her indulge them, and usually it’s harmless. But this time, both of them… well, to be blunt, got diarrhea afterwards, and if you are a newly cleaned Sheltie with a fluffy behind, diarrhea isn’t pretty. Oh, man!! 

So I cleaned them up. All seemed to be well, and the next day, off we went to our monthly visit to the Amazing Place (formerly the Seniors Place, an Alzheimer’s Day Care Center). Bailey and Shadow love to go here; it’s lots of fun for them, for me and for our friends there. Everyone sits in a circle, and the various dogs romp, do tricks, visit with the folks within the circle. It’s happy chaos. 

But all of a sudden, Bailey squatted and squirted more poop, right in the middle of the circle. AUGH! I shouted at him, “BAILEY!!!!!!!!!” which scared him, and he squirted some more. What a mess. How embarrassing! I hustled him out the door to the garden, where he sat looking inside forlornly. One of the volunteers went to sit with him, for which I was grateful. 

I cleaned up the carpet, and then I went outside and cleaned him up. You can only imagine how pathetic he was, because it’s not like he did it willfully. So I was gentle with him. And then I gathered them both up and apologized to everyone for leaving early… 

The next day, there were some odd spots on the carpet in our bedroom, like someone had spit up. I wasn’t sure which creature it was, but it was kind of slimy and very gross. Turns out it was Bailey, who then decided to stop eating with gusto, as is his usual wont to do. 

Then came the retching, and my fear was that the diagnosis from 4 years ago had returned. He didn’t seem to be lagging physically like before, but back then I didn’t know to look for any signs. But now I was. And I just had to know. 

So I finally made the appointment to take him to the vet to find out for sure if his chest cavity was once again filled with lymphatic fluid. And if so, what was I going to do? 

In the lobby of Sunset Blvd. Animal Clinic (I’m on a roll here so I might was well promote them, too), Bailey was a quivering mess, not interested at all in the other dogs. I think his fear of vets stems from his previous ICU experience  He was in the back for what seemed like a long time; I had a book to distract my worries and occupy my thoughts. 

The tech delivered him back to me with the comment that he was just the sweetest and best dog, which encouraged me, and then when Dr. Young came back to report that his chest cavity was clear, I went almost limp with relief. He said that until he saw the lab results, he couldn’t quite pinpoint the problem, but at least it for sure wasn’t the return of the chylothorax. 

Fast forward a few days. No more diarrhea, no more spit up. He’s eating some, but not with his usual gusto. Interestingly, even when he won’t finish what’s in his plate, he does guard it to prevent the cats and/or Shadow from eating it. I’ll put it up every so often to protect it. 

We are not out of the woods yet, but tonight when he returned to his bowl and licked it clean, I am hopeful that it won’t be long before my sweet Bailey is back to his old self. 

Was it something he ate? I have no idea. This spell just happened to coincide with “the dreaded Susan’s” visit, so maybe that’s why I’m grasping at reasons for these recent messy outcomes. Dr. Young said the lab work was inconclusive, so who knows? 

Little by little, day by day, my hope is that Bailey will soon return to his  normal ebullient little self.  Stay tuned!

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An Ode to Friends
February 18, 2010

Think where man’s glory most begins and ends And say my glory was I had such friends. -W.B. Yeats (1939) 

Last year I wrote about the importance of making new friends, not in lieu of maintaining old friendships, but rather to expand one’s circle, experience new relationships and discover shared passions.    

But honestly, there is something very special about friends with whom you share a history. They understand, get the inside jokes and know exactly what you’re talking about. You don’t have to explain things. These “golden” friendships run deep. 

I used to think that I did a pretty good job of keeping up with my “golden” friends. Joel and I send A LOT of Christmas cards annually… hundreds of them. It all started when we were newlyweds and has expanded every year to include our new friends. No one ever gets cut from our list unless they move and leave no forwarding address. 

But then along came Facebook, which made me realize that I hadn’t really done anything except send a pre-printed card, complete with a photo of our little darling (or the three of us). I never sent a Christmas letter with any news; all our cards did was visually document the passing years. 

I joined Facebook last year reluctantly, thinking it was something more for the younger generation. But since I need to communicate with the young people in my choir, it was simply the only way to go. They don’t do e-mail. 

Lucy was the first “golden” to find me. She is on my Christmas card list, but I didn’t know that she is a prolific painter, and have enjoyed seeing her works posted on her profile page. Polly came next, then Bill, Susan, Jimmy, Jennifer, Claire, Carolyn, Lance and others from high school days. 

So we started talking to each other again, followed by lunch dates in person that reconnected us in a way that I never dreamed would be possible. How much fun it was to spend time with Polly, Jennifer and Claire, all of whom were at one time my very best friends. 

And then came the college friends, Martha for one, my freshman suitemate. I hadn’t seen her since 1974! What fun it was to have lunch and catch up with her life. It was as if the time melted away back to those happy years. And Beth, for sure, was such a friend to me in my junior/senior years as we went on those weekly road trips to W&L! I believe we’ve talked more on FB than we ever have since those days back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. 

And then came the childhood friends… like Suzette! 

If you asked me right now, “Who is your best friend?” I would be hard pressed to answer that question. I have a wealth of friends, but just not one in particular with whom I confide, talk to often, or depend upon for support. 

I think that’s because I am blessed and spoiled to have three sisters whom I could call on in a pinch, so maybe I’m somewhat negligent in developing a current “best friendship”,  because I know I can depend on my sisters to help me when push comes to shove. 

But just knowing that those long ago dear friends are still my faithful friends means the world to me. So I am grateful to Facebook for reconnecting us, and just as if they were new friends, they have expanded my circle because we have discovered each other once again.

Mother of the Bride, Chapter 5
February 11, 2010

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene; one step enough for me. – Cardinal Newman (Lead, kindly Light 1834)

In the previous chapter (Nov. 14, 2009), I had written about my visit to CO to discuss wedding particulars with Shannon and Kat, in an effort to get a handle on their thoughts, dreams and expectations. 

Fast forward to 2010, when Shannon decided to come home for her dad’s birthday at the end of January. I had been in touch with our church’s wedding coordinator, Gayle, and had also been thinking very hard about hiring an overall coordinator to help guide us through this journey. 

After talking to several MOB veterans, I called up our friend Joyce, whom we’ve known for ages. Joyce is a well established wedding coordinator who is a long time member of St. Luke’s and who has worked closely with the St. Luke’s staff for many years. She has known Shannon from birth, and is a dear, lovely person. 

In light of the fact that Shannon was coming home, I proposed that Joyce, Gayle, Shannon and I all meet for lunch that weekend. Thinking about it some more, I also asked Linda, the pastor who will be presiding over the ceremony. Amazingly enough, everyone was available, so we made a date. 

Shannon and I arrived a little early, so we window shopped near the chosen restaurant. We poked our noses into a stationery shop, and flipped through some books of invitation samples. Wow! The choices are endless! And expensive, I’ll bet… but on the other hand, with all the available computer technology, I am thinking it may not be as high as I fear. But what do I know. I ordered our own very traditional and formal invitations from an office supply store way back when! 

The ladies assembled, and a good time was had by all. Joyce brought some very helpful information about all sorts of things that hadn’t crossed my mind; she is an excellent resource. We all discussed the interfaith aspect of the ceremony, what St. Luke’s could do to honor and incorporate Kat’s Jewish heritage and be welcoming to his family and friends in faith. 

Gayle made notes, and Linda listened and assured. The love around the table was palpable, and Shannon said afterwards that she felt very encouraged that their wedding was in good hands and that all the things she worried about would work out just fine. We’ve got a great team! 

We went home and googled the list of reception venues that Joyce had suggested. When I think about how easy it is to shop online now as opposed to physically checking out each place, I marvel at the ease of crossing those that don’t measure up off our list. What a time saver the internet is… 

The next day, we did a drive by of some of the more interesting ones, and even got out and explored one of them. This was helpful in putting things in perspective and looking at the big picture. Location, location, location is important! That, and comparing all the variables will be the deciding factor. 

Shannon shared all this with Kat when she returned to CO, and they picked out three front runners to investigate more thoroughly, I have an appointment to visit with the manager of one of them later this month, and then will do the same for the others in turn. 

A final blessing was that Gayle provided a CD of sample wedding music (processionals, recessionals and such) that our organist and dear friend, Rob can provide. We picked it up Sunday after church, enjoyed it and flagged some favorites! St. Luke’s is awesome. 

And so it goes as we march onward to 2011.