Our Rottweiler Love

This is our beautiful Hannah, who was a victim of hip dysplasia her entire life. On August 22nd of this year, we had the most difficult decision to make – to end her life. No longer able to walk,  no longer able to get to her water or food, we carried her into our vet’s office, laid her down on the floor and held her, until she drew her last trusting breath.

A proud, fierce (only in how much she loved), and loyal animal, she was part of our family and part of our hearts. She will be forever loved, forever remembered and forever missed.

This photo is for The Weekend in Black and White.

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Kids Moved. Dog Died. Enough Said.


There’s a blog I’m posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.

 

Saturday. The day you’re supposed to describe your life in Six Words. I can do this, I told myself. It’s been really hard to write about anything lately, but surely I can manage six words.

The thing is, my life has been turned upside-down the past few months. I’m not sure where it goes from here. I find myself, alternately, on the verge of a prayer and on the verge of despair. There are no road maps to go by anymore.

In July, (or was it June?) my oldest son, Kyle, and daughter-in-law/best friend I ever had, Erika, told me they were moving. Across the country, as in, on the other side of the world. With them, they took my precious grandson, Kole, who was just turning into a delightful little boy of almost two.

In August, the three of them boarded a plane that would take them to the opposite coast; Seattle, Washington. My husband and I went with them to the airport. The morning was a blur of putting things into the car, checking behind for last-minute items, taking things out of the car, holding onto Kole’s small hand while Mommy and Daddy got things organized at the airport, and a few brief minutes of standing in line.

A hurried kiss and a hug good-bye. Then, they were gone.

The drive home was precarious, trying to see through my tears. Jeff and I stood in the kitchen afterwards, for what seemed like hours, holding each other, reeling, crying.

Kole is the grandchild that was born on Thanksgiving two years ago. He is the grandchild that came to us just two months after our first grandchild, a beautiful girl, was re-located by her parents to Michigan. Kole, we decided, was a gift from God –  to us. A grand baby that we could pamper and love and teach to play golf and instill in him our love of the sea.

We were still staggering from the pain of this loss when our dog, a rottweiler named Hannah, began staggering herself. Eight years old and a victim of hip dysplasia, her limbs succumbed to years of pain and she stopped. When we saw her fall on her face, trying to take a step towards Jeff, we knew it was time.

And so, in August, we sent our proud, black, four-legged friend and protector to heaven. She was the child we could not have, our reason to get up on some days, always waiting for us with a “smile” and a wagging nub when we got home from working a twelve-hour shift.

On September first, another grandchild was born. A tiny girl with a tiny name; Isa. My middle son’s second child, she is here in the midst of, and in spite of, her parent’s rocky relationship and uncertain future. What should be a joyous event for a grandmother like me, is bittersweet. I am not welcome to call, to visit, to share in the joy. The pregnancy itself was kept secret from our family until my son finally said to me (about a month before she was born) “Mom, sit down. I have something to tell you.”

I do have a couple of minuscule photos of her on my cell phone, and a handful of recent photos of my oldest granddaughter, Freya. I haven’t seen her in a year. I know she has long blond hair and a gorgeous smile. But that’s about it.

I’m trying to take steps to accept these changes. It’s hard. Jeff and I spend a lot of hours at the beach, staring at the waves, wondering “why us?” I’ve booked a five-day trip to Seattle for next month.  I’m going to a counselor. I have seen a psychic. I talk to friends. I pray.

My psychic told me to write. She doesn’t know how hard this is. I don’t think anyone does.

But I’ve managed more than six words, and that’s a start.

How To Make A Dog Happy

This week’s Spin Cycle topic is Happiness.

“Dogs are obsessed with being happy”
–James Thurber

“I lie belly-up In the Sunshine, happier than
You will ever be.”
– Author Unknown

Thank God we have a dog, y’all. What else would we do with ourselves on an unexpectedly warm day in the middle of January, if we didn’t have this 105 pound pile of constantly shedding black hair rottweiler following us around with this look, which we call The Look,  in her eyes:

…which obviously says, “Are you Freaking People EVER going to take me for a walk?”

It was crappy day, after all. Which means we had just worked four, twelve hour night shifts in a row, so we were feeling like, well, crap. Poor Hannah had spent all four nights curled up in her chair, alone. I figured after four nights of torment, the three of us would enjoy a little fresh air and sunshine. Plus, she was giving me The Look.

It’s so easy to make a dog happy, y’all. “Do you want to go for a ride in the truck?” gets this look of joy. You can’t see it in the picture, but she was actually trembling with joy.

And that makes me so happy, y’all.

Hannah has bad hips, so getting her into the back of our SUV is a bit of a project. But she is very patient with Dad, as he lifts her up. She does her part, of course, by flailing around like an octopus falling out of a tree.

“OK, I’m all in, let’s go! let’s go! let’s go! I’m ready to splatter your windows with slobber and bark at all the other cars!”

“I take back everything bad I said about you guys. I love you, Mom.”

So, without further ado, I give you Hannah’s Trip To The Beach…

“Dogs are our link to paradise.”
— Milan Kundera

“All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog.”
—Franz Kafka

“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.”
— Samuel Butler

“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
–Aldous Huxley

“She is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are her life, her love, her leader. She will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of her heart.” –Author Unknown

“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
– Milan Kundera

“In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semihuman.The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.”
—Edward Hoagland

“If the are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went”
–Will Rogers

I hope y’all all got happy on this little virtual walk with Hannah. I’ll leave you with just one more thought…

“Today I sniffed
Many dogs’ behinds. I celebrate
By kissing your face.”
–Author Unknown

You Capture My Year In Review

I’ve been trying to participate in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way)  It’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This week’s was “My Year in Review.”

Click on the link here to read about how to play along. Then do your best to visit the other participants’ sites – everyone loves the traffic, the comments and the feedback (not just you!) Next week’s photo challenge is Your Winter. Everyone will post pictures of what winter is like where they live. That should be interesting, don’t y’all think?

And yes, I realize that today is Friday. I wanted to have this ready yesterday, but I’ve been working 12 hour shifts all week. The last few weeks have been brutal, y’all. I feel like it’s been all I could do to just keep my head above water. Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve were spent working. The whole month of December was pretty much a blur.

Today is the first day of a seven day break for us. (We work really odd hours in case you didn’t know.) I’m hoping to get back on track in the next seven days with a lot of things; eating healthier, cleaning my pig pen house, trying on clothes I got for Christmas, putting away Christmas stuff (ugh!) managing piles of laundry, catching up with friends and family, getting reacquainted with my hubby and last but not least, blogging.

But today, I’m dedicating to doing as little as possible. If that means lying around in my bathrobe drinking Bloody Marys all day, so be it. Reminiscing about last year is a good way to start off the week.

In January, we had a rare sprinkling of snow. It hardly ever snows on the coast of North Carolina, and when it does, we all lose our minds, y’all. Everybody except the damn Yankees, like my husband, who have moved down here to make fun of all of us silly southerners enjoy our balmy weather.

February was spent worrying about our love tree. We call it our “love tree” because when we first met, it was just a little stick in the ground, basically. There was some discussion about whether or not to just pull it up. But when I revealed to Jeff that a former boyfriend of mine had said that this tree “would never amount to anything”, Jeff decided to dedicate his life to making this tree grow.

After much fertilizing, it is now taller than our house. But we may have fertilized it a bit too much last year. As you can see in the photo, it developed a nasty split right down the middle of it’s trunk last winter.

March brought a chance to enjoy a golf getaway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Jeff and I got a terrific deal on Ebay. We stayed two nights at a resort, played three different golf courses and took in a show at The Palace.

April was spent getting ready for my first grandchild! I gave my son and his girlfriend an Eco Baby Shower and almost went crazy in the process. You can read all about my ordeal  here. Amazingly, I found enough time to blog about it.

In May, my darling little grand daughter, Freya, was born.

Also in May, my oldest son, Kyle, not only graduated from college, but he and his wife, Erika, found out that they were finally going to have a baby! What perfect timing!

In June, we made the painful decision  to take the chain saw to the “love tree.” Jeff loped off half of it, hoping it would continue to survive –  as strong as our love for each other has. Six months later, it appears to be doing fine, just a little on the crooked side.

July was spent going on vacation to Busch Gardens and hanging out at Wrightsville Beach. This is one of my favorite photos we took this year. This is Jeff’s daughter and her friend, fighting the surf. These two fourteen year olds from Upstate New York were more than happy to spend the summer down here,working on their tans…

…and their texting skills.

In August we hosted our annual chicken spiedie dinner. It was my mother’s birthday, and she enjoyed playing patty cake with her great grand daughter, Freya, who was getting so big!

In September, we took the girls back to New York and spent some time outdoors with our rottweiler, Hannah, enjoying the last bits of summer.

October was a hard month. My son and his girlfriend moved to another state 800 miles away, taking my precious little grand daughter with them. They brought her over so we could say good bye.

The cooler fall weather in November inspired us to try out our golfing skills at a beautiful golf course, Lockwood Folly Country Club in Shallote, NC.

And the end of the month, on Thanksgiving Day, my grandson, Kole, was born! Another baby, another blessing!

December was spent getting to know this little guy! I took a week of vacation after he came home from the hospital to stay with Kyle and Erika and help out with Kole. And, of course, I have spent countless hours trying to capture this adorable face with my camera.

Random Tuesday Questions

randomtuesdayKeely, over at Unmom, does this thing.

You post Random Thoughts on Tuesday. That’s it. Try it – it’s addicting. Then link back to Unmom and see what other people are randomly thinking and typing about.

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I think I finally have this Random Thoughts posting figured out, y’all. What I have to do to make this happen is to keep a little list in a notebook of things that pop into my mind the day before. Because I cannot come up with a bunch of random thoughts first thing on a Tuesday morning. I’ve tried it and it can’t be done.

So yesterday, when I dreamed up this little plan, I got my notebook out and turned it to a blank page, ready to fill it up with all sorts of randomness.

There was only one problem. I could not find a pen.

Which leads me to my first question.

1. How many pens do you have to buy –  to be able to have just one somewhere, anywhere, when you need one?

I have bought package after package of pens. I don’t think it matters how many you buy and put in your junk drawer, they are going to disappear. I think there is a black hole in my house that sucks pens into it when I’m not looking.

Which leads me to my second question.

2. Do y’all think it is possible that there is a cosmic black hole (or something) located directly over my house in Wilmington, North Carolina?

Seriously, have I missed the YouTube video about this? I swear there is something wrong down here, because I cannot…CANNOT…talk on a cell phone inside my house!

I used to think it was the crappy phone and/or the crappy service I used to have. So. I waited patiently for my two year contract to expire, all the while enduring calls that sounded like this : “Mom? Hi……when….so…..then…..she said…..and….before…..what was…..yesterday……important…..what do you think?”

So I’d say, “Klinton, you’re breaking up. I can’t hear you. Hold on. Let me try going outside.”

To which he’d say, “Mom? Are you there? Mom?”

Then I’d hear that joyful little electronic jingle that tells me the phone has dropped the call.

Not fun. So it’s two years later and now I have a much nicer phone with a cool little slide out QWERTY keyboard and everything. I have Verizon service now, which is supposed to be top notch, or at least way better than what I had before.

I was so excited. Now I could text! I could talk inside the house and not have to stand outside in the cold, and the rain, and the dark.

But nooooooooo. I guess I just need to learn morse code or something. It is not meant for me, in 21st century America, to be able to use an easy electronic devise like a cell phone in my own home.

The phone works inside the Corning factory, where I work. (I never even got a signal there on my old phone.)  It worked in the rural contryside of Upstate New York, with no problem. It worked at the airport, in the grocery store, in the car, at the hairdressers, at other people’s homes…..just not in mine.

So, see? I obviously live directly underneath a black hole.

Yesterday, while I was searching in vain for a pen, I noticed something. So here’s my third and final question.

3. Is it normal for animals to follow you around all day and look at you when you get a day off?

Because that’s all mine do, y’all. My rottweiler and my cat follow me from room to room while I gather laundry, put things away, look for pens, curse mutter under my breath because I can’t find one, fix a cup of coffee, toast a bagel, read the newspaper, sit at the computer, brush my teeth, or whatever….they follow and they stare.

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They stare at me as if they don’t know who I am. They stare at me as if they expect me to do some kind of puppet show to amuse them. They stare at me accusingly, as if to say, “Geez, we waited all week for you to have a day off – FOR THIS??”

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I eventually got tired of looking for a pen, while the damn animals tried to give me a guilt trip, and gave up. Anyway, I had forgotten what I wanted to write down by then. So if I can find a pen between now and next Tuesday, maybe I’ll be able to compose a nice list of random stuff.

Or, I might not.

Hannah in Sepia

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This is my rottweiler, Hannah. She is my big velcro dog. I think she looks pretty good in sepia, don’t you?

I’ve just discovered that Mary the Teach has another photo blog, besides Ruby Tuesday. It is called Sepia Scenes. Every Wednesday, she posts a picture in sepia, and invites everyone else to do the same. She also has a tutorial on her blog on how to produce good photos in sepia. I you are into photography, like I am, go on over and check it out.

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You Capture Fall

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One of the best things about fall in Wrightsville Beach, NC, is that the dogs are allowed to be on the beach again. We look forward to being able to take our rottweiler, Hannah, for walks on the beach and the weather is still warm enough to make it enjoyable. You can tell from the expression on Hannah’s face that she loves it, too.

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The leaves in the mountains of North Carolina are spectacular this time of year. We try to find the time to get there during the fall to enjoy the crisp fall air and the fall colors. The above photo was taken at Chimney Rock, near Lake Lure.

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Wilmington, NC, is a perfect location for a fall wedding. The weather is perfect and you can have your wedding photographs taken with the beautiful ocean or river as a backdrop. This is my oldest son and daughter in law at their perfect October wedding in 2005. I love the colors of pumpkin and gold she chose and the happy smiles on everyone’s faces.

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Aren’t they just stunning in their wedding finery? I love them both so much. Happy Anniversary, Kyle and Erika. Now the two of them, along with us, are eagerly awaiting a son and our our first grandson in late December or early January. Life could just not get any better at our house, y’all. Really.

I found a new photo blog to participate in on Thursdays! It’s called You Capture. Every week there is new theme. This week’s was “Fall.” I immediately thought of these pictures – how they illustrate the beauty of fall in my little corner of the world.

How about y’all? What photos do you have that give you the feeling of fall?

Click on the link here to read about how to play along. Then, do your best to visit the other participants’ site – everyone loves the traffic, the comments and the feedback (not just you!) Next week’s photo challenge is the color red. I really have some great red shots that I can’t wait to share!