Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lessons I Learned from a Beagle

Hercules went on to the Rainbow Bridge last week.  I didn't know he was even sick but something happened in his system and the vets tried to save him and he just didn't make it.
I saw him about 3 weeks ago when our good friends invited us over for fondue. Hercy (as he was fondly known) let me love on him and was in good spirits, so it was a big shock to hear he left us so quickly.
I know my friends are hurting. I received a text several days after he was gone, asking if I had any good photos of him. I didn't know why they were asking. My heart sank because I had just done a huge delete on my computer due to the glut of photos I keep. I was on overload. Luckily, these photos were hidden away in a folder I hadn't dumped yet. This has caused me to take paws and give much more thought to how I preserve my takes.
Hercules taught me something very valuable that I want to share.
My friends and I have done some trading of house/dog sitting. I met Hercules when they went on an Alaskan cruise for a week. He had a thing going on with his paw that was causing him some pain. He had run a course of antibiotics and the pain had returned while I was dog sitting. He was very verbal and I had a fear that he was going to bite me. My friends assured me he wouldn't and I worked through it with him and learned to comfort him even though he was grumbling. The next time I saw him, he was less grumbly and a couple weeks ago, I don't believe he grumbled even once. People can be that way. Grumbly. Read: I haven't felt my best for about two weeks and have hardly had a nice thing to say.
What Hercy taught me is that fear is something to be worked through. I had to trust that he wasn't going to bite me when he was telling me he was hurting. I think that's the way it is with people. That's a hard thing to work through sometimes. I am a runner. I don't like conflict. You growl at me and I just want to get far away from that. I don't want to stick around to find out what that's all about.
I also learned to count dogs when I first met Hercy. Our friends had only 3 dogs for quite awhile but due to some circumstances, they took Hercy in and made it an even 4. I would drive to their house at noon to let them out and give them love. The first day of that, I got in the car to go back to work and my OCD kicked in. I couldn't remember if all of them were back in the house. It was then that I started counting dogs. I do it now at my own house because I have a straggler who likes to hide back in the corner of our lot, sniffing the ground and taking her sweet time. It's easy to forget she is outdoors if I don't count.
All the dogs in my life had taught me valuable lessons. My heart hurts for my friends and I know it will take a long time to adjust. I'll think of him when I am grumbly or I meet people who are grumbly and try to take the lesson I learned from him. And, I'll keep a good count.
Be patient. Recognize. Work through it. Don't run. Count.  And, save your photos!
love, susan

Monday, September 12, 2016

Putting the Lost in Lost Creek

Camping isn't what it used to be for us. The older Gene and I get, the harder it is for us to keep our shit together. Between to two of us, we bumbled through this camping weekend. I was mostly pissed off the entire weekend. I'm not proud of that. Just here to admit it. While I love the fresh air, camp food, and the nice walks, I dislike packing for it and the stress of wondering if we have everything to go off the grid for two days. The thought of leaving behind the lighter for the stove keeps me awake at night. No coffee would have been the end of the world for me. 
This trip started off badly when we got down the road and he said, "did you happen to look in the duffle bag to make sure the tent was in there?" Honestly. Nope. I did not. Not my job. If that tent had not been there, I vowed this would be the last camping trip I take. That's how it started.  DIRECTIONS I did print directions to our destination. Or, as it turned out, what I thought was our destination. You see, this annual trek we normally take to the beach but we decided to try something different and head towards Mt. Hood. Reservations were made by someone else in our party but in my mind I thought we were heading to a lake. Lost Lake. Turns out there is a Lost Lake and a Lost Creek. After a very long, windy sojourn to Lost Lake and discovering we were not on the reservation list, I pulled out my now mostly useless phone and looked at the snapshot I took of my last conversation (thank goodness I did that!) with our daughter and said out loud, "oh, this says Lost Creek". We were on the wrong side of the blankety blank-blank mountain. Not funny at the moment but hubby assured me we would laugh about it later. Two hours later, we did. THE UPSIDE ... and I believe there is almost always an upside to everything ...  we passed a Ranger Station and stopped in to make sure we were finally on the right path. While there, hubby was able to buy an America the Beautiful Pass (formerly Golden Age Pass) in less than 2 minutes. We had been wanting to get one but it would require a trip to Umatilla, Oregon to get it and it just never seemed to fit our schedule. When we got back in the car, he sweetly looked at me and said, "this is why we went the wrong way. We were supposed to do this." You know what? I'm totally okay with that explanation. The stress of losing two hours instantly melted away and everything was okay. THE GOOD PART The rest of the weekend was filled with laughter, a few tears, more laughter, stories, Cards Against Humanity (which always brings me to uncontrollable laughter), good food, spawning salmon, a hike, and hugs. THE REALLY GOOD PART This trip is the last one before our oldest grandson heads off to college next week. His excitement is our joy. Our granddaughter talked about being on the dance team and what that means to her ... three hours of daily practice. Can you imagine? That's tenacity for you. The youngest grandson, whose voice is changing but who still gives his grandma a hug, was genuinely happy when he took the lid off the fruit bowl to find the oranges I cut up especially for him. That made me happy. We're proud of these kids and who they are becoming. CONFESSION I'll admit right here and now, I was very bitchy the entire 48 hours. I'm not good at flying by the seat of our pants any longer. I don't know when that switch happened but I need more structure than I used to. I'm going to think about that for awhile. In the meantime, I'll also keep the good things that happened over the weekend in the forefront of my mind. Some healing happened. I'm pretty sure of that.

love, susan


Nature's flower pot!

The only purple flower I saw all weekend.

You Made My Day, Dude!

A couple weeks ago while I was driving back to Portland after spending the night on the Oregon coast, we came up on some road construction ...