Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 25

Home at last! I've been down South for a while, caring for both of my parents while the husband h'as been home caring for Bear and The William, the house and the rest of our lives. It's been a rough time and continues to be. My mother's condition continues to decline, slowly, but she is home with Dad and comfortable.

There have been many blessings for me during this time I have spent with them. A great deal of healing that needed to happen in our relationships has and my sister and I are a lot closer than we have been in a long time. Things continue and I will be going back down at the end of the week again to spend the weekend with them.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rapidly Approaching the new year...

Christmas is passed and I hate to say this but I barely noticed. Tom and I had such great plans for it this year. This was to be our first Christmas that the kids were not with us. It was morbidly depressing until we realized that all of those things we wanted to do when we were younger, like going for a carriage ride through a quaint Christmas town and stopping by a pub to take the chill off of our noses were possible again. Then my mother was hospitalized for kidney failure on the 22nd and after the CAT scans it was discovered that the cause of the kidney failure was terminal lymphatic cancer that filled her belly and cut off her kidneys.

Kind of put a damper on the whole old Christmas Spirit ...

So, on Christmas day, Tom was in New Jersey and I was in Delaware.

I learned something from this Christmas, though, especially about giving. I really was stumped about what to take my mom for Christmas, so I finally decided to take her the one thing I knew she would eat no matter what...glazed donuts. Watching both of my parents as my mother scarfed down her glazed donut was worth ever Christmas present I ever screwed up on because it was one of the last pleasures in life she is ever going to have and those moments of sitting there and chatting with her about crabbing on the Chessapeak Bay and all of the boating we did when I was a kid while she ate that stupid donut were worth traveling to the moon for if I had to.

My mom is passing right now between here and the next place. It could be a horrible thing, and it is for my father, but to me, dying is a lot like being born. For me, it's a passage, not an ending. My goal in all of this is to give Mom the best quality of time that I can. She doesn't always know who I am. She doesn't always hear what I'm saying or understand, but I'm pretty sure that she knows that I love her and that's why I'm there. In the end, I think that's probably all that is going to matter.

I'm going to miss her when she passes. God, how I'm going to miss her, but I know she's going to be watching me. I also know that she won't be in the pain she is beginning to pass through and her mind and body will be restored to her. For that I am thankful because she doesn't know what is happening now.

My greatest prayer in this is that I am with her in the end to pray because my father's parting gift to her is to keep her ignorant of her condition. In short, she will not be able to prepare herself spiritually for this passage. For him, it's an act of love. To me, it makes a hard thing all the more difficult because she knows something is happening but not what.

And today on the phone when I told her I had made it home okay she wanted to know all about the flower pots...

There weren't any flower pots. She was in a different place.

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Where has she been?

Hello all!

As mentioned in my email by some of you, I haven't been around much lately. There is a reason for that, actually two. On December 2, 2008, I started college again. I also started working full time. In school I am taking a compressed online course in which we cover an entire semester in 5 weeks. I love it, but it is a lot of reading and writing! At work, I am working one and a half positions as I am filling in for a co-worker who is out on maternity leave. I started my job five days before the end of the last quarter of our fiscal year after having the girls in the office, who didn't really understand the computer program I work with, filled in my job for a month...after the girl who worked my job over the summer, who really didn't understand this program either walked out. Consequently, I have been having to go back over an entire quarter of the year, clean the data up and create the monthly reports, quarterly reports and annual reports for my position.

Nightmare does not describe what has been transpiring with all of this... however, I do have it pretty much straightened out at this point and will hopefully be moving into the new year with the reports in order... I hope.

SOOOOOOO..... This is why I have not been writing here. I've been working a lot and going to school.

Bear is adjusting to all of this pretty well. The husband has been working with him, taking walks with him...military style, which Bear absolutely loves, and has cut down on the "leaking" in the house all of the time. It seems that 3 miles a day, up and down the mountain is perfect for him. It is also improving Bear's listening skills, considerably. He does still require "Mommy time," but not all of the time.

One of the things we have noticed is that Bear has real separation issues from us, howling miserably when one of us leaves the house or even goes to shower. He really wants both of us within sight, and The William as well. He is really enjoying the cold and doesn't mind being outside on the run at all because he can see us through the windows and hear us. As soon as he can't, the howling begins as well as well as nervous prancing and leaking. After seeing this, I really believe that is where the chewing and destructive behavior comes from when we are gone. He gets very upset and anxious and just starts tearing at things. He has also taken to watching us out of the windows whenever one of us is outside or leaves and he is inside.

While it is wonderful to be loved this much, I do not think it is something we are going to be able to cure Bear of and thus, the crate will probably remain a fixed part of our lives. He has gotten to the point where he really likes his crate and knows that it is "his place" alone. Sometimes he just goes in and hangs out in there with his toys and when he has done something wrong, that is usually where we find him. He goes in now whenever we tell him it is time to without us having to pull or coerce him into it, which is nice!

Other big news is that we have, indeed, survived the ice storm in the North East! We lost power Thursday evening and it came back on at about 4 this morning. All in all, it could have been a whole lot worse! The roads remained passable and the generator ran fine. The husband has gotten the water pump hooked to it, so we have water and lights as well as heat and refrigeration when the electric goes out like this. The water was the last big thing that we needed hooked in. While a bit of a pain in the neck, we were not as uncomfortable as we could have been and our neighbors all fared through it well too. There were definitely places in the area that did not have it this good!

So that is the "news that's fit to print" here. I've got to run as I need to go into work this morning and I am definitely going to hit the shower first! My next break will come at roughly Christmas, so if I don't get over here till then, I wish everyone a wonderful holiday!

Stay safe!

The Wandering Writer and her dog...Bear

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Where are we on the days?

So tomorrow I will, hopefully but not guarenteedly, figure out what day we are on. In the interum, I need to update about the week. I start school again on Tuesday. I'm finishing my Bachelor's degree and very psyched about doing it! Hunting season has continued and Bear has been a mess. House time is not his friend, especially as the weather gets colder, we have discovered. We've had an incredible amount of "mouthing" activity this week, which really grated on the nerves. The husband figured out that if we grab his tongue and hang onto it...which is very long due to the Boxer influence, the mouthing stops immediately.

Bear is not real thrilled about that, but his mouthing had transferred from grabbing my pinkie to take him out to grabbing my arm or clothes or whatever. It was enough, already. Now, whenever he mouths, we grab his tongue until he decides that maybe he doesn't need to have our entire appendage in his mouth any longer.

Bear has also been getting really rough in play and anxious whenever anyone comes...or leaves. We attributed this to the fact that he has been getting like no exercise lately and was thus focusing on everything else. A Bear with no exercise, it seems is a very nervous and anxious being. Yesterday, the husband decided that we should go out to the lower field and bat a tennis ball for the dogs to go fetch. The idea was great...aside from the fact that the husband is going to be 49 a few days after I am and his connecting with the old ball, well, ain't quite what it used to be at 25. He did make a few good hits, but during the time between those the dogs entertained themselves by chasing every car and truck that passed on the road.

Not good.

Especially since Bear is still not real clear on the "come" command.

The episode did last roughly 20 minutes or so but 10 of this was encompassed by looking for the ball which we never did find. All in all, not a real "exercise session" for the Bear...or the William for that matter.

Today, as I was trying to "configure a feng shui in which my portion of the biosphere and my schema develop a symbiotic synergy...aka clean my room while getting ready for school, I had what can only be described as an epiphany. Yes, the lightbulb went on and the heavens did part and I had an idea to channel some of this "anxiety" out of this poor dog before he drove all of us nuts!

"What," I thought, "if I were to take the haybales that we had gleaned from the now famous Pumpkin Party and started an obstacle course for Bear?"

Would it channel some of the excess energy? Would it make him less "mouthy?" Would it end the rough housing and accompanying ... leakage?

Turns out that it has.

I grabbed one of the sleds and Bear and I moved three of the bales plus took all of the gourds from the garden over to the compost. After that, we commenced to start "jumping" the bales!
(Well, he doesn't actually jump them. He hops on them and then jumps down but we do this at a run and I'm hoping that soon this will develop into a full blown jump.)

Bear is thinking that this is BIG fun and every time we go out, we have to do the "course" ... like five or six times. It's made for a much more comfortable inside time for all of us and a much more mellow Bear!

And now it's time for Dog's 101 so I gotta go!

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 85

Has it only been 85 days that Bear has been with us? My God! It seems like I have known this one for a lifetime! I guess that's what draws us to them...

Anyway, it has come to my attention that I am really behind in my reading...and commenting...which means that this weekend will be devoted to that. (I know. I cheat. I can't help it. I'm a perpetual procrastinator.) Anyway, I'll be around this weekend, and, unless the husband has other plans for the weekend, should be back to posting on Monday.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 82-84

So life goes onward here. The job is requiring more time at present, but that's okay for now. The husband is off this week and next week is a short week because of the holiday, so Bear is getting pretty spoiled here. A friend is coming over in the mornings to go hunting with the husband which is giving Bear a lot of door greeting practice which is excellent for him, especially since I'm still sleeping at arrival time. Barking has not been a part of the picture for either of the dogs, which is really nice!

We've been using the ball quite a bit and doing off leash yard time with both of the dogs as running beyond the bounds of the yard is out of the question right now. We find that as long as there is a focus for the dogs, they stay pretty close and ball is a great focus for them.

Bear has taken to bringing in large chunks of branches that have fallen from the trees this week which is gangs of fun and is giving the vacuum cleaner a good workout. These are great "prizes" to him that he really seems to enjoy collecting. Each is special to him and hidden throughout the house. He's also getting much more comfortable with his crate, wandering in and out at whim, although I haven't seen him curl up for a nap in there on his own yet.

Biggest event for the dogs this week was that, as the grass is dying back, we are beginning to find all of the lost balls and their absolute favorite, the Kong bouncy ball, was found by Bear on one of our walks. It had rolled into the trench by the road. He spotted it and proudly brought it back to show off to The William, who promptly too possession of it and has yet to relinquish.

We found the ball on Tuesday.

Happy Wandering!

The Writer ... and her dog, Bear

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 81 part 2

Oh Irene! Our wealth is not measured in the number of deer we get! It's measured in the security of knowing our community and being able to count on our neighbors... not because they are forced to give by the government and offer their least, but because they want to give and offer their best.

The food and heating situation is just an example of what I am talking about. It extends beyond that all throughout our community. The library is another example. We needed a new one because ours, having been built in the 1800's is now way too small to house the programs and books, let alone computers and equipment needed to move into this new century. We could have just raised taxes. We could have gone to the State. We, as a community, decided not to primarily because we, as a community, wanted to define what we feel will be necessary for our library to have in the future. This offered us an enormous amount of flexibility in designing and building this project, including switching the heating/cooling system, mid-construction, to geothermal.

How are we paying for this project? Donations and The Pumpkin Party. My funnel cakes are helping to build a library...along with donuts, used book sales, and a host of other things that people are doing all throughout this community. We also aren't paying construction crews to build it. We're building it ourselves with our own hands, donated equipment and even some donated materials. Little by little, it's building a library that will outlive all of the people who have participated in building it and the stories that our children pass down to theirs about doing this are what will preserve this place and keep it growing. I think that is one of the best reasons for doing this the way that we are.

Yes, we could have settled for less and had the government do it for us, but why do that when we can design and make exactly what we wanted to ourselves?

It's the difference in our way of thinking, of dreaming and of living that I think we are talking about here... not deer meat, and whether or not we are willing to settle for allowing our government to determine where we live and what we do with our lives. I like being able to determine those things for myself rather than being stuck as some anonymous cog in a system whose only purpose it to perpetuate itself by keeping me dependant upon it.

I don't see that as being justice and I sure don't see being kept incapable as being equality. I see it as slavery.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear