Take Good Care

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it yet, but while my in-laws were here to visit the new baby, it was decided that our dog Newton would stay behind and live with us again (he went to live with them 8 or so years ago because Brien’s allergies had gotten so bad, but he’s since had shot therapy for it).

Anyway, when we bought our house it had a few doggie doors installed already. And since Newton was used to having a doggie door at my in-laws’ place, we thought it might be best, especially at night, if he were able to let himself in and out. We wondered what the kitties would do, but gave it a shot.

Mostly, the kitties just went in and out, explored the yard, and basked in the sun. But then, Coco left. I mean, she LEFT. She’s been gone for DAYS now, so many, I’ve lost track. And I put a post on our neighborhood mailing list, and a few people say they’ve seen her around (at least they think it’s her, this kitty matches my description).

I know life has been hectic around here, with the new kitten last fall, and the reintroduction of the dog, and the new baby, and the boys just generally being crazy, so I get that she was stressed. But she always cuddled with me when she could. I never thought she’d leave.

coco 1

And of course my anxiety has me thinking the craziest things. Namely, is she trying to make her way back to San Francisco? Not to get all Homeward Bound on you, but animals have done crazier things under much less stressful circumstances.

And I’m so worried for her. What if she can’t find water in this heat? What if she runs into a coyote/javelina/other cat? She’s too old to fight like she used to, but she’ll try. Where will she end up? In another home? Will they think she’s young because she’s small? Will they think she’s too old and have her put down? My mind is a mess.

Anyway, it’s been making me think of this Cat Stevens song, and I’m sorry if I make you cry, but dammit.

 

Christmas in San Francisco

I have not spent a Christmas in the Midwest in, I think, 6 years. We’ve made a couple of Thanksgivings, but never Christmas. And normally, come about, say, December 15, I would be a puddle of depressed goo on the ground, just wishing the holiday would come and go already, gah.

I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that, in our old neighborhood, the outdoor Christmas lights and decorations were…scant. In a couple of the houses that had nice, big windows (and superb views of downtown and the bay, luckies) you could see their giant, perfectly decorated Christmas trees. Otherwise, it felt as if we were the only ones who were celebrating that year, with our tiny, fake, very Charlie Brown Christmas-like tree.

The other problem is…it doesn’t snow here. You’d be surprised how quickly a Wisconsin girl will consider 40 degrees to be “really cold”, yet how long it can take that same Wisconsin girl to get used to the idea of “winter” with no snow. I still recall our second year living in California, when we trucked it up to Tahoe in February with some friends, and I secretly spent the entire first day reminding myself that it wasn’t Christmas, even though it was snowing. Not that I ever even liked snow, I so did not! I see the Wisconsin blizzards on the news and think, “hahaha remember when I used to have to deal with that stuff.” Yet somehow my brain still thinks winter equals snow. The human brain is a very complex thing.

Anyway, I don’t know if it’s because enough time has passed that maybe I’m ok with it, or that so very many of our new neighbors have gone all out with their decorations, or that this is the first year Bowie is really starting to understand Christmas, but this year I finally feel like I am home for the holidays. We will be here with just a few friends and family members (and I am used to GIANT family gatherings) but I am, for once, excited about it.

I do miss everyone at home, though, don’t get me wrong. I will still wish on Christmas day that you were here with us to celebrate, but I will have myself a merry little Christmas anyway. Finally.

A Funk

Have not blogged in several days, mostly because I’m not feeling so hot. I’ve been in the funkiest of funks.

I’ve got mad writer’s block and can barely muster a rewrite most days (which is as easy as it sounds). And I’m also in one of those ruts the other writers will understand, where you hate every single word you’ve ever written, so you don’t even want to use those drafts you set aside for just such a blocky situation.

I am also letting the idea settle in that we are not likely going to be able to afford to travel for the holidays. Which is always sad, and stresses me like you would not believe. The way prices are at the moment, airfare alone would run us about $1200 to $1500, and that’s not counting the food and the gas and the hotel and the car and blah blah blah. We just don’t have that kind of dough lying around.

And Bowie. Dear, sweet Bowie. He should get an Oscar for some of these tantrums, seriously. The screaming and hitting have not waned. The potty training is happening sometimes, but really mostly not happening. And just, you know, Terrible Twos. And a lot of moms are telling me that Three is worse. Which makes me want to hide my head in the sand.

I also just haven’t felt well physically. I’ve been running with my husband, which has stirred up a lot of old injuries (post-surgery feet, post-arthritis knee, etc.). And I thought I had, um, digestive issues before, but LORD. Something about the way I’ve been eating lately is taking its toll. And hubbs seems to have brought a cold home from the office that we’re all starting to get.

So there you go. Now that I’ve been the Debbie Downer for you all, maybe things will get better. But, I’m still here, still attempting to blog, muddling through the Terrible Twos and, well, surviving, I guess.

Newton

I got Newton as a birthday present for Brien about five years ago. Brien was dog crazy, but all we had were cats. So, I found some cheap beagle puppies in the paper, and we drove out to a farm on a cold January day and picked him out.

He was independent from the start. He was the only one of the tiny puppies to come up to us, smell us and let us pick him up. He also loved playing with all of his puppy brothers, and I almost felt bad plucking him from his family. But, he became our “baby”.

I wasn’t even sure at first that I liked owning a dog. We never really had one when I was growing up (once, briefly, we had a black lab, but that’s a story for another time), and I wasn’t cut out for all this potty training and sitting and shaking and learning to socialize with the other dogs…it was so much more exhausting than owning a cat!

But, eventually we bonded. Especially when we were moving to California. Brien went ahead of us, and it was just me and Newton for 6 weeks. And, several years later, when I was pregnant, Newton would cuddle by me and put his head on my belly like he just knew that his world was about to be turned upside down by a little wiggly baby, but he was happy for mommy and daddy. And he really was the first baby. We tried so hard not to shut him out once Bowie arrived.

Brien has always had bad allergies. He figured it was the pets, and put up with it for a long, long time. Medication seemed to help. But recently, it stopped helping. And he was having more and more really bad allergy days. So, he went in for an allergy test. And lo and behold, he’s allergic to many things, near the top being dogs. (Strangely enough, he’s not allergic to cats!)

So, we made the decision this past winter to find Newton a new home. Hoping to keep him in the area, we talked to a few friends about it, but nothing seemed to pan out. So, my in-laws have stepped in, and will take him. Back to Wisconsin.

To say we’re heartbroken is an understatement. Really, the only thing that keeps us going is that we know we’ll get to see him whenever we’re visiting in Wisconsin, and we know he’ll be well taken care of. I feel so much better now than I did when I thought we’d have to turn him over to strangers. But still, it’s hard.

I’m trying to learn to live dogless after so many years with a dog, a dog that was so much a part of our everyday lives. It’s going to be quiet around here. Bowie fills a lot of that void, but something about it is so different.

Miss you doggie. Have fun with Grandma and Grandpa!

Red-eyed Newton

Get the Tissues

I don’t recall where I read it, but someone has said that when you have a child, you feel like your heart is in their body. If they’re happy, you’re happy. If they’re hurt, you’re hurt.

But, what they don’t tell you, is a little piece of you is with EVERY kid on the planet. You can’t see kids who are sad, hurt or disappointed without your heart aching. You imagine if that were your child, and then you know how that parent must feel (or some idea of it).

Three days ago, I did not know the little girl named Layla Grace. But I saw many people offering prayers, good vibes, good thoughts and support, so I took a look at her profile.

YOU GUYS. A 2 year old girl dying of cancer. Rips your freaking heart out, I don’t care who you are. I was feeling a lot of self-pity since last week, but this wiped that all away. I have my health. I have my son. I have my son’s health. That’s about all that really matters.

This morning, she passed away. And I am sitting here in a puddle of tears for a little girl I only know about because of Twitter, and have only known about for 3 days. Because it’s unfair that terrible people get to walk this earth day after day, spreading their hate and evil around, while innocent 2 year old babies have to suffer and die.

Rest in peace, Layla Grace. You were so brave.

http://www.laylagrace.org/