Friday, August 30, 2019

Come from Away

The sky is totally clear of clouds (after an early morning plant refreshing rain), and the trees are swaying in the breeze. It is a lovely day to be out on the laneway training heel, but not at all a day for swimming… in fact, there hasn’t been a swimming day for over a week. We’ve had some cool nights and barely warm days so the water is frigid - perhaps good for beluga whales (which I somewhat resemble).

Our week has been on again, off again busy. We had an exciting day on Tuesday (details to follow next Thursday), dentist appointments and other sundry activities.

Monday night Jo Ellen and Don came over for supper and a practice with guests time for Adia. She’s still excitable and takes ages to settle down but I guess that is just a matter of more practice and training. It gets so exhausting that I occasionally need a break and pop her into her crate, which is good too. She needs to learn ‘mat’ or ‘futon’ with longer and longer durations.

Tuesday was spent in town and then we rushed home to feed the dogs and get Adia ready for school. She was a good girl, perhaps a bit distracted at times, and again, we need to work on down with duration. So have I done this yet… no. (note to self: start practicing this when she’s tired, like now).

And Wednesday! Well! We decided to enrich our feeble brains and take in some theatre. ‘Come from Away’ was a wonderful show, full of interesting characters and great music. The fact that it is based on true events and actual people was icing on the cake. We had a great time and vowed that we’d do it more often.

Adia’s guts are now acclimatized to all the different food that I throw at her. Canned tripe, chicken gizzards and hearts, dried liver, hotdogs, various kibbles, apples (she helps herself to these in the yard), salmon oil, carrots, kiwi, and whatever Grace doesn’t eat, she can eat without the dreaded ‘D’. We took it slow but now her biome is well populated.

“If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” ~Roy T. Bennett

Sunday, August 25, 2019

long sault

Adia’s day did not end with a bouncy blue squeaky toy… oh no… another adventure was in her future.

For years we camped at Woodlands for the annual dog show but after our trip to Alberta in 2013 we fell out of the habit. Today though, without camper, we loaded Adia into the car and drove to the park to spend a few hours.

It was the perfect socialization outing. She was very nervous at first but we were able to stand off to the side until she relaxed a bit. Slowly moving into the thick of things she saw lots of dogs and people. People are her favorite - a very strong reward for enduring the dogs. As the minutes went by she relaxed more and more, getting curious about what was going on around her.

We talked to a lady with two standard poodle puppies about raw feeding - we have her phone number for some tips. It’s a good thing that there was no for sale sign around the female’s neck or we might have brought her home. We talked with two Rhodesian breeders who knew Tina and commented on how nice her dogs always are. They loved Adia’s sweet face and friendly greeting.

We stood for a while in the shade of a giant tree, Adia lying in the cool grass, happy to be a spectator. Later we had a pogo so Adia got to lie in the shade of a picnic table. So many new experiences! We left on a good note and plan to attend the dog show next weekend to cement her positive experience.

She’s crashed out now (after being thoroughly sniffed over by Spike).

Meanwhile, poor Spike was at home alone… he’s a challenge with other dogs himself and I didn’t want to deal with uncertain two dogs. Three weeks till camping though - that will surely lift his spirits.

There is a master way with words which is not learned but is instead developed: a deaf man develops exceptional vision, a blind man exceptional hearing, a silent man, when given a piece of paper...”
~Criss Jami

finding joy

Adia got a new toy yesterday and wowzers, does she like it! We were in the pet store pricing Kong’s and noticed a display of thow toys. Since she’s showing signs of liking to retrieve, Carm thought we should try the long blue one. It would be easy to find in the field and maybe she’d like the squeeky.

It was a hit. She ran and ran with it, squeaking and squeaking, running and leaping. It was fun to watch. Spike didn’t think so as he is of the belief that every toy is his and no one else should get to play. After a few treats to distract him, he left for the house.

At the end of play time I brought it into the house and hid it for more play today.

Today Spike was a little better and ran along with Adia a bit. I’m a bit worried about him as he still seems depressed. At times he seems to accept Adia, but then he turns away and goes into the bedroom. I believe that he is still grieving, and also getting over his huge dentistry event. I’m pretty sure that all the attention and training that she gets isn’t helping matters. I’m trying to include him more but sometimes get focused on Adia. Right now though, they are resting on the futon almost touching so it isn’t a hopeless case.

The days have been passing by with trips into the city. We took Carm’s sister and brother-in-law to our favorite Thai restaurant - they’d never had Thai food but were open to trying something new - they loved it and we made promises to meet there on a regular basis :-)

Trudie & Leo were over, (did I mention that on Monday T&L, plus Eleanor & Gavin were here for supper?). Cathey came for supper on Friday bringing the news that our friend Jim had a heart attack. We had some quiet nights and busy days. The usual I guess.

It seems that summer is drawing to a close. Already the light has a golden hue as the leaves start to guild. With the drought the grasses are dried yellow, stiff and prickly - only the pretty blue flowers sprout from the lawn. Already the air has an underlying coolness despite the warm temperatures. It always strikes me as odd that the tendrils of fall would snake their way into what should still be summer. It’s August and the cicadas continue to sing.

There are souls in this world who have the gift of finding joy everywhere, and leaving it behind them when they go.”
~Frederick William Faber

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

I'm thrillled

It was with no small amount of trepidation that I loaded Adia into the car. I reminded myself over and over to keep a positive outlook to keep her from reading my mood. I drove to the village and parked. As soon as I got Adia out of the car she tried to jump into my arms - all the traffic was a bit too much for her at that moment. It didn’t take long though before she was walking reasonably calmly beside me, looking for treats. We walked up and down the main street before turning into Village Paws.

If there is one thing that gives me massive anxiety it is dog nail clipping. Seriously. I hate it. So we decided that regular visits to the groomers might be the answer. All went well and I booked another appointment in two weeks. I’ll still work on getting her used to the dremel.

So that was the first adventure of the day… the big one started after supper. I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to all the dogs in her first training class as she had kind of freaked out at Bella and Spike when she first met them. We’d seen a dog in the village a few weeks ago that had her worried as well.

We arrived early and walked around the empty grassy area - so much to smell but no dogs to see. On the other side of the parking lot a fenced area held a bunch of puppies doing a class so we moved over there and stood nearby. She looked, I treated ( look at that). She looked, I treated. She lay down, I treated. In other words, it was quickly NO BIG DEAL :-)  I was pleased.

When it was time to go into the training hall, a rather cramped room, with 6 other dogs, she was a champ! There was no nose-to-nose sniffing until the end, and maybe 8 feet between dogs so she had some space. She gawked but not in a panicky way, and soon settled down.

She did the sit and down exercises, (in such a distracted environment), like a pro. She did get a little fidgety at times, but in all fairness it was an hour long class with us basically in one place. When she wasn’t fidgeting she was laying down taking it all in. She even garnered a comment from the instructor about being a laid back dog.

I was so happy and proud of her!!!!!

Pat came with me and will be a good allie/help in practicing being calm at the door. It was good to have someone to talk things over, especially when I forget to do something :-)  Thanks Pat. Next time you are over you can practice with her.

All the dog fun was preceded by another trip to the dentist for me - this time I went to Carm’s dentist who didn’t present me with a $2400 list of things to be done. In fact, some of the things the evil dentist said were wrong with my mouth, Carm’s dentist contradicted and said were fine. She said I needed gum surgery, he said my gums were good. Hurumph.

Spike and Adia are getting along reasonably well. When she goes psycho in the field, racing at a million miles an hour, she tends to buzz him which he most definitely doesn’t like, and honestly, I don’t like it when she does it to me either. Occasionally she’ll bump him and he’ll go bezerk, but again, he’s just defending himself so I let it go (besides which he has no teeth). He’s the only one that can protect him and since he is so much smaller than Adia… She mostly respects him and he is tolerant of most of the bumps.

All in all a successful day, and to say that I’m pleased with Adia is a gross understatement. She is such a good dog it is almost impossible to believe that we were so lucky! She truly is living up to her name (treasured gift).

May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, August 18, 2019


Carm would normally have been off visiting his Mom on a Sunday afternoon and I would have been at home blaring music and dancing around.... instead golf is on tv…

The last few days have been regenerative. Friday night we had supper with Trudie & Leo, and her daughter Elennor and spouse, Gavin. Sitting in Trudie’s garden surrounded by flowers and bees (and the darn beer bugs), was a wonderful distraction from the week’s events.

Saturday morning I had a dentist appointment which turned out to be the dentist from hell (if ever I’ve felt like crying it was when I saw her in the office), but the rest of the day I played with the dogs and relaxed. Gosh I was tired. We were, however, excited to be going to see Ed & Lynne for supper.

Sunday I actually slept in… I snored and snored until a ridgeback nose poked me in the face :-)  Today was another day to relax and play with the dogs. We brought a crate into the camper and I spent time with Adia in the camper. She sniffed every single thing over and over, and then retired to her crate, happy to have a nap. Success! I’ll spend a bunch more time with her over the next month so she’s super comfortable.

We did take a trip to Giant Tiger, a local discount store, to look for a pair of cheapo crocs. Adia has taken a sudden interest in my shoes so I wanted a spare in case she wrecks one, but alas, they are out of stock.

The other day Carm picked up a 5kg box of chicken hearts & gizzards. It was frozen solid so I’ve been slowly melting it in fridge. Today we pulled it apart and put it into little bags to re-freeze. The dogs will have treats for a while… once we figure out if the hearts are what gave Adia wicked diarrhea.

Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
~C.S. Lewis

Friday, August 16, 2019

paint strokes

I shut the gate behind Carm with a sigh. He was off to the city for a box of chicken hearts as well as a Costco run, while I had visions of my pillow and a soft bed. A dream about dreaming which was to turn into a nightmare. I was just about to lie down when the construction guys returned from their lunch. A giant pounder pounded away at the concrete and steel of the bridge, while countless huge trucks blared their backing horns as they backed down the road to collect the detrus.

A cacophony.

Forget about the bedroom, the whole house was assaulted with noise, shaking with each strike of the giant wrecking machine. I felt like crying but instead put on my shoes to take the dogs into the field. It seems that their sleep has also been interrupted as they were sluggish. Even wild Adia didn’t do circles in the tall grass.

Maybe with all that has been going on I haven’t mentioned that they are replacing our little bridge with something a bit bigger and more modern.

Spike has been recovering by leaps and bounds. He’s eating everything in sight and running in the field ahead of us, trying to keep up with Adia (he has no chance). It seems impossible to believe that he had all those teeth out just over a week ago.

I wonder how loud I’d have to play my music to drown out the din?

We’ve ordered two paintings from Frank, the artist who did Spike a few years ago. This is the start of our beautiful Kabira’s portrait:

“Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.”
~Jean Arp

Thursday, August 15, 2019

lord have mercy

My hands are shaking with fatigue but somehow I have to write about the last two days, to share and somehow make sense of everything.

It started yesterday afternoon. The family each had a moment with Antonetta, Carm’s mom, as she lay in a billow of white satin, looking somewhat like herself, but also like someone unknown. We took our place in the receiving line, ready (maybe), for the next few hours. At 2pm the doors opened and people started slowly filling in, stopping to pay respects to his mom, and then one by one, greeting us. Countless handshakes, kisses, and superficial hugs. Many people were friends of Carm’s parents, brothers and sisters, people that we’d never seen, but at times a cousin or friend would stop. Hugs weren’t superficial then, but instead we held them close as if they were a life preserver.

And then my parents walked in and stopped in front of the coffin. My brain turned on itself and swapped mothers. Suddenly it was my mom lying prone and I burst into tears. She took a step away and then it was my dad, looking older than he is, and I knew the future was being foreshadowed. How do you recover from such a shock in this environment. I did, but not really.

The day wore on until the supper break. It seemed impossibly short and we were lined up again. How many different handshakes are there? Which are best? (hint, firm but not squeezing, and never too soft). More friends to ease the pain (thank you everyone who was able to come).

But it wasn’t all bad. There was laughter and reconnection. A gift from Carm’s mom.

Nine pm came eventually and we hurtled down the highway on our way home, tired and heads spinning. (I’ll talk about home next post).

At 6 am Thursday we started our preparations for the final good-bye. By 8:10 we were at the funeral home for a private viewing and a few moments. At 9:45 the coffin was closed and carried to the hearse. 10:00 am the coffin was carried into the church. It was the usual Catholic service with personal readings by Carm’s sister and brother. Some of the grandchildren read from the bible. I stared at the ceiling, trying to keep myself out of the moment. It was impossible. I couldn’t help but cry as I felt others around me breaking down. My eyes are still bleary and occasionally watery (note to self: mascara held up way beyond expectations).

Carm’s mom has been ill with Alzheimer's for years and for the last 6 months not well at all. Her passing was expected and as I reminded myself, a mercy. I thought that all of this would help. But no. You think about what was and what no longer is. You remember the depth of a mother’s love and how safe and secure that makes you feel. You wonder how you will live without. You think about the future and your own losses that are yet to be felt.

The church service ended and we drove to the mausoleum for the internment. The slide of the coffin into the space beside her husband was a sort of closure, an end to a life well lived, and it seemed fitting for her to be beside the man she’d married and raised 5 kids with. Did knowing she was going to rest there ease her passing?

Finally we went to the hall for a much needed lunch. At the hall we visited with relatives and friends in a true celebration of life. “Mangia, mangia” Carm’s mom would have said. Late in the afternoon, I said good-bye to my Mom and Dad and soon after Carm and I left for home.

And so it is over. Exhausted and somewhat numb, the tears are still near the surface. We both need a few days of quiet reflection and rest. But first, tonight, we will raise a glass of bubbles to Carm’s mom.

Lord have mercy upon the few
Lord have mercy upon the many
Lord have mercy on me and on you”
~lyrics by 10cc

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

that which has been your delight

We’ll stick to cheerful topics today. I feel burnt out from all the death this summer and still have two more days of visitations and funerals to get through. I’ll focus on the positive and hopefully leave the sorrow behind at the end of the day on Thursday. We’ll have a bottle of bubbles chilling so that we can raise a glass to Carm’s mom and our canine friends, and to the future.

Yesterday I got my ‘big camera’ charged with its super duper sling strap so that I can try to catch good in flight photos of the red whirlwind. Adia goes nuts in the field and runs a million miles an hour so I have a lot of photos of green grass as she flies through the viewfinder before I can press the shutter button. Spike has figured out that standing still, or better yet, getting as close to me as he can is the best safety position as she zooms past.

Spike is recovering faster than I ever could have imagined. He’s been wanting to come out with us for our little walks around the field, and today even managed the big loop. He’s running around a bit and having some fun. His appetite has returned with a vengeance - he’ll eat until I stop giving him food. Of course he’s getting soft food that I spoon up for him. This morning he got the dried tripe kibble soaked till soft, mixed with some canned tripe. Only the best for my little naughty.

Oh, and he’s eating chicken hearts. Lots of chicken hearts. They go down without having to chew, he loves them, and they are a perfect pill pocket. Who knew that giving meds could be so easy :-)

I covered Adia’s big crate with a blanket the other day and have now “caught” her having a nap in the evil confines. I say evil only because when I lock her in and leave the house she goes bezerk - she’s quiet if I’m in the room. This is a behaviour that we somehow have to work out before camping, otherwise I’ll never be able to go anywhere. And to make it worse, all the barking and howling works Spike into a hysterical frenzy. It’s not a good situation.

They started work on our little bridge this morning :-(  Boo hiss, they are widening it (it’s currently a narrow one lane) and maybe raising the road. Hopefully it will be finished by mid October.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
~Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, August 11, 2019

another sorrow

Another stone dropped into our well of sorrow this morning. After a long struggle she has left us for a more peaceful place. She was 91 - a good age for anyone, and heroic for someone with Alhizmers.  We’ve been prepared, Carm’s been prepared, but it seems that no matter how much we expect death, it surprises.

Art is the child of nature in whom we trace the features of the mothers face.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

For Sayonara, literally translated, 'Since it must be so,' of all the good-bys I have heard is the most beautiful. Unlike the Auf Wiedershens and Au revoirs, it does not try to cheat itself by any bravado 'Till we meet again,' any sedative to postpone the pain of separation. It does not evade the issue like the sturdy blinking Farewell. Farewell is a father's good-by. It is - 'Go out in the world and do well, my son.' It is encouragement and admonition. It is hope and faith. But it passes over the significance of the moment; of parting it says nothing. It hides its emotion. It says too little. While Good-by ('God be with you') and Adios say too much. They try to bridge the distance, almost to deny it. Good-by is a prayer, a ringing cry. 'You must not go - I cannot bear to have you go! But you shall not go alone, unwatched. God will be with you. God's hand will over you' and even - underneath, hidden, but it is there, incorrigible - 'I will be with you; I will watch you - always.' It is a mother's good-by. But Sayonara says neither too much nor too little. It is a simple acceptance of fact. All understanding of life lies in its limits. All emotion, smoldering, is banked up behind it. But it says nothing. It is really the unspoken good-by, the pressure of a hand, 'Sayonara.”
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“May each of us remember this truth; 'one cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God.' Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.”
~Thomas S. Monson

Friday, August 9, 2019

some big news!

A knock at the door revealed the beloved Amazon delivery guy with a box of 900 poo bags! Yes indeed, that is a lot of sh&! but when you have one 9 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, ( and one little miniature poodle that can poop all day), you have to be prepared. Camping is less than a month away!

Poor wee Spike is suffering today. He went for a dental yesterday and it was expected that he’d lose a few teeth, but unfortunately for him his teeth were worse than expected and he lost a whole bunch. I feel so bad for him, and so ashamed for us that we didn’t have him in for a cleaning a few years ago. Brushing wouldn’t have helped much as most of the damage was to the inside of his teeth. Do you all have regular cleanings done for your dogs? How often? They have to be put under so it’s not without risk.

Adia learned to go up and down the ramp yesterday. I started with it flat on the ground, moved it to up one step, and then into the truck. It didn’t take her long to have confidence. I see some agility lessons in her future!

Her incredible curiosity helps her to overcome any uncertainty.

Later in the day after a nap and a thunderstorm… gosh I’m glad this dog can nap! I’m still recovering and seem to be sleepy all the time. Adia settles in on the dog bed at the foot of my bed and snoozes along with me.

Oops! How did a black golf sock show up on the coffee table? Humm… I have an idea that it was transported by a red whirlwind.

Now that it’s official and the last signature has been written I can spill the beans that Kirsten and her family are moving back to Canada and have purchased a home outside of Smiths Falls, just over an hours drive from here!!!!! I’ve very excited.

Un-winged and naked, sorrow surrenders its crown to a throne called grace.”

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

little shop of horrors

 Monday was a hellish evening… the dentist is never a favorite at the best of times, but gosh, last night was the worst. I broke a tooth the other day which sent me to the dentist to be diagnosed, for some painkillers and antibiotics, and to make an appointment for the extraction. Sounds easy right?

Day by day my head swelled until the antibiotics took effect a few days ago, but the swelling never did go away. Pain. Pain. Pain. All I could do was sleep in some sort of stupor. Finally last night arrived. Get into chair. Wait 10 minutes. They stuck that little balm that makes the needle less painful. Wait 10 more minutes. Little balm has stopped working. Jam 4 needles into my mouth - omg - I was practically crying. Wait 40 minutes, freezing starting to abate. Dentist arrives, checks freezing, not much left. Another needle or two.

Finally in surgery chair. Pull. Pain. More pulling. More pain. Another needle. More pulling. Another needle. More pain and it was out. Now for all the scraping and jabbing. I was seriously crying. Not much freezing left in most of my mouth. Then the torture really started - stitches…

I fully expected to open my eyes to see Audrey standing in the corner.

On a bright note, Spike is feeling a bit better and the vet said he could have a bit of pain killer to tide him to Thursday. Adia has been good, setting down in the house, and crazy dog outside. She’s a 0 to 60 kind of dog.

I fed Adia just the puppy food for a few days and the diarrhea went away… so yesterday I introduced some hotdog treats. Not so fast… diarrhea was back. I’ll try the liver treats tomorrow or maybe stick with hotdogs for a few days. It will be an adjustment to not be able to throw any kind of food at her without upset. The old dogs could eat anything. How do I toughen her up?

Carm has been spending blocks of time at the hospital with his mom.

The weather has been good but I’ve been too out of it to enjoy even a bit of deck time. Looks like the weather is changing this afternoon.

August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”
~Sylvia Plath

Sunday, August 4, 2019


I dragged myself out of bed for a while today; I had to get Adia outside for some exercise before she went squirrely! She did some crazy dog circles so it was none too soon.

Spike is under the weather - we think it is a tooth abscess as his breath is bad and he’s reluctant to eat anything other than chicken hearts. He has an appointment on Thursday for a dental but I’ll see if they are open tomorrow, which of course is a holiday.

Adia becomes more and more a part of our little family with the passing of each day. She has been excellent during the last few days, even though she isn’t getting the attention or exercise that she should be getting. Today I brought her into the camper - she needed a little coaxing to get up the stairs the first time - after three times in and out she’s an old pro. She was curious about everything in the camper and not afraid or spooked by anything. What a good girl! Her bravery grows by the day.

Here’s a few photos I took the other day… it’s time to get out my big camera to capture these fast shots.

She and Spike were hunting together the other day. Everyday they get along better, at least until yesterday when Spike started feeling under-the-weather. There were a few moments outside that he even looked happy.

O light! This is the cry of all the characters of ancient drama brought face to face with their fate. This last resort was ours, too, and I knew it now. In the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.”
~Albert Camus

Saturday, August 3, 2019

under the weather

Who knew that a little tooth could cause such excruciating pain… It seems that somehow I broke one of my premolars and then got an abscess. Thursday I was uncomfortable, Thursday night I was crying, Friday morning I called the dentist and begged for an appointment.

Meanwhile, one side of my face has swollen up so much that I’m almost unrecognizable. I think the antibiotic is starting to work though.

I spent much of Friday in bed moaning… little Adia was great on her first unsupervised day. She settled quietly in the bedroom when I was there and moved to the living room when I ventured out. We left her uncrated overnight which may or may not have been a good thing: two explosive diarrhea, and one projectile vomiting. Many many paper towels later… poor dear couldn’t wake us up in time.

We think she might have picked something up along the way somewhere, or maybe the change in food has upset her system.

Spike has also been under the weather. He’s barely peeked his head out of bed all day.

Carm is the only one in the house that is doing good - touch wood.