Thursday, May 26, 2011

Finding peace.


We've been taking lots of trips to the woods in the last few weeks.  Sometimes we visit chickens and turtles, sometimes the water.    Either way, it is so easy and happy there.  The Bug says, "Woods, woods!" whenever there are more than two trees growing together.  The sun light (or rain that we've had so much of) filters gently through the leaves speckling us with yellow and green light.  There are frogs to be found and rocks and sticks to throw in the water or just collect.  It is rejuvenating for me when I don't think I can take anything else, it is calming for the Bug when the world outside the woods is so full of "No" and "Stop".  We relish the time.
Today, after a long walk followed by a bike ride where the Bug actually used the pedals(!!)  we came home and I pulled out the hose and sprayed him with it for an hour.  It is just noon here.  Thursdays are sooo long.  I think we'll need to find the woods again soon.  I hope you are finding your woods too.
Happy weekend! (i'm getting an early start on mine ;-)

Thursday, May 12, 2011


First- thank you all for your kind words about Zo.  It has meant a lot to me to be reminded how many others loved her.

So many things have changed here in the last couple weeks.  On the evening after the Bug's party our black cat, Sydney, went to live with my mother-in-law.  He has been adjusting into her household and sounds like he is very happy there.  And of course, Zo.  That leaves us with just Sebastien for a fuzzy friend.  Turns out, Sebastien isn't really a quiet, mild mannered, deaf Persian cat.   He is actually a very loud and looking for rubs kind of cat.  Even more amazing, my allergies to him seem to have subsided completely!  I always knew I was allergic to Sydney's saliva and that he would groom Sebastien.  I just had no idea I wasn't actually allergic to Sebastien at all.  Can you imagine?  For 12 years I thought I was allergic to this cat and it was really the other one all along!  So anyway, now they are both getting lot's of attention and no doubt having better lives because of it.

Cat in the sun{picture by the Bug}

Another thing that changed is the Bug is no longer getting bottles to go to sleep.  We had hung on to that little crutch for such a long time because a) I thought it would be horrific giving it up, b) I don't like to do things that may be described as "horrific", and c) I thought waiting until his birthday would give us a good mile marker to use and mean the weather would be lovely out so we would have at least a chance of exhausting him to sleep.

We talked with him about for at least a month leading up to his birthday.  One afternoon when we were visiting a friends very, very new baby a little spark of inspiration hit me.  Impulsively, I told him that since little boys don't need bottles but babies do perhaps it would be nice to give the new baby his bottles after he became a little boy (you know, turned two. ;-)  Turns out- this was genius.  The transition has been very easy.  Every time he asks for a bottle (and he still asks for one now and then) I mention that he doesn't have bottles anymore and you know what he says?  "Bot.  Sarah."  Bottles are for baby Sarah.  Sometimes I know he is thinking about this more because he just tells me about how Sarah has the bottles.  (We gift wrapped them and took them over a week or so ago.)  But it doesn't upset him.  He sees that she needs them and he doesn't.  So wonderful!

looking swanky{outfit by the Bug}

The cutest part is the new bedtime routine.  We've always used the "wheels on the bus" song for sleep and or desperate grumpiness (like in the car on a road trip) but anything can go on the bus.  Whales, elephants, lions, hats, tax collectors, you name it- we've probably had it on our bus.  It is more like a Haitian tap-tap than a traditional city bus.  Since the bottles have been gone he has started saying both what goes on the bus and what those things do.  It almost always starts with the geese on the bus going honk, honk, honk.  We sing, "the geese on the bus goes-" and he does the middle part.  Recently there have been woods (walk, walk,walk), Sarah (bottle, bot) and a hat (sits on head) on the bus.  It is hard not to burst out laughing at the amazing things he comes up with.  I love this little ritual soooo much!

Nap time is more of a get in the stroller or car (on the days I have it)  and wait for the eye lids to drop (though I think we have just laid down a few times.)  And one day he fell asleep riding his new tricycle.  That was priceless.

tricycle ride wip out

So, adjustments are happening.  And soon these things will be normalized and we'll be thinking of other changes coming towards us and hopefully enjoying the present moments as they vacillate between bliss and crisis.  Those two seem to be the most common states when one has a toddler running about.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Zo Bear

Zo in clover

Sometime in the Fall of the year 2000 a little, tiny, three pound schipperke moved from the Eastern Shore to live with me in Baltimore.  My first memory was her running into the room and then flipping over at my feet for a belly rub.  She had so much energy and bounce.  She went just about everywhere with me.  I easily carried her in my pocket or purse.  People often thought she was a toy.  I named her Zo Bear because she often walked on her back legs like a circus bear. 

The first night she met Senor she stood on his chest and licked his face, nose and ears until they turned red.  I knew he was the one just from that.  It was love at first sight for all of us.

For a while I had a job where she came with me everyday.  We would walk in Double Rock Park for an hour before I went in.  She greeted every one of my employees as they came in.

Everyone wanted to know what kind of dog she was.  Sometimes people thought she was a fox or a pig:

"Is that a pig?"
"No, its a dog!"
"Honey, look!  Its a pig!"

She was all kinds of trouble.  She ate the entire contents of trash cans, anything off the ground and once a bottle of advil.  She was always good natured with people, only snapping at little children who got in her face.  She barked at everything and we always said she must be fighting evil.  You know, the kind you can't see.   But she loved people.  She would sit up on the couch with you, sitting like a human.  Strangers would come in and she would flip for a belly rub in about two seconds.  We used to go the the Lithuanian Hall for drinks and she would get her own bar stool and glass of water.

She loved walks in the woods and splashing through creeks.  She was great on camping trips.  She went with us on road trips almost every time.  Once, while we were on tour the people in the hotel where we stayed offered to take her for walks for us in the middle of the day while we were out.   We would come back to find her enjoying rubs at the front desk.

Emerson day 5 - 7 039

When we brought the Bug home, I thought it would be hard for her but she was devoted to him from the beginning.  She would sit under my chair when I was nursing in the night those first few weeks.  She wanted to cuddle in with him and give him kisses.  If he cried and we didn't respond quickly enough for her she would run back and forth between us, trying to get us to hurry up.   It was so sweet and amazing.  In the last year she put up with so much tugging and grabbing and hitting from him with never more than a little growl and a warning snap.

This last few weeks she had gotten clingy, as if there were always a thunderstorm about to break.  Last week, after the birthday party we saw that she was bleeding from the mouth.  I thought maybe a broken tooth or something simple like that.  She seemed fine otherwise.   We took her to the vet on Monday morning and finding no other obvious explanation for her poor blood work and the bleeding guessed that she might have gotten into rat poison (as she did eat everything.)   She was treated accordingly and that seemed to help.  We didn't see any more bleeding.

Wednesday I took her again.  More tests were run.  Nothing came back wrong and so we assumed she was just tired from coming so close to death.  By Friday I was carrying her a lot.  Saturday we were out of the house most of the day.  Sunday there was no denying she was dying.  I took her to the pet er and the vet offered very aggressive, very expensive treatments.  Her blood levels were half of what they had been (which was already half of what they should have been.)  Her clotting times were off the chart.  They didn't know what was wrong with her.  The rat poison was a good theory but if the treatment wasn't working that meant something else was wrong.  The options weren't good- cancer, autoimmune diseases.

I asked if Zo was in any pain and the vet said she didn't think so.  That she should just feel tired and depressed.  She wasn't going to live many more hours.  We brought her home and gave her a pain medication just in case and cuddled up in the bed with her.  Everyone got to see her and give her some love.   

It took a few hours but we were all with her giving her pets when she died. 

Crissy came over to play with the Bug after and Senor and I dug a place for Zo in the back by our peach tree.  Crissy and Jeremy came back after the Bug was in bed and we shared a bottle of wine and some cake.

This morning I got right out of bed and went and planted some artemesia and pinks above her.  It has been so strangely quiet all day.  I keep waiting to hear her.  It will be so hard to be without her after nearly 11 years together.

Goodbye sweet dog dog.  Thank you for gracing our lives with your love.

worshipping the dog