Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Backyard: 2/25/15

Oh my gosh you guys, The Kid and I have been sooooo sick.  He started throwing up Monday night at dinner time.  I woke up at 2:30 in the morning so nauseous I could hardly breathe.  We continued to tag team the bathroom all day on Tuesday.  When we weren't throwing up, we were sleeping in my bed.  I can't ever remember being so sick that that I couldn't even open my eyes. All I could do was sleep.  And puke.

Yesterday, I woke up thinking I felt better.  Not so much.  I never threw up, but everything hurt so bad for most of the day, that I could hardly stand it.  I'd think I was doing better, then I'd stand up and try to accomplish something, and my body would remind me, quite quickly, that it wasn't ready.  The Kid stayed home from school again, but felt okay once afternoon hit.  We all went to bed with high hopes for this morning.  Again, not so much.  The Kid started throwing up again in the night.  He threw up again about a half hour ago and is moaning in my bed as I type.  I still have horrible lower back pain, a dizzy head, and a gut-wrenching stomach ache.  I'll call the doctor once The Girl is off to school, just for peace of mind.

Anyway, during one of my, I-have-to-get-out-of-this-bed, moments yesterday, I went out back with my camera.  The day before we put Maddie to sleep, I had spent nearly the entire day out front, doing my first cleanup of the season.  The plan was to move to the backyard the next day, but clearly that didn't happen.  I hadn't had any kind of motivation to work out there since, but my girlfriend brought me a Hellebore to plant in memory of our girl, and I wanted to make the yard look worthy of it.  So I spent all day on Sunday out there.  There's still work to be done, but it looks so. much. better.

The cute little daffodils are up and blooming, the big ones have buds, the perennials are poking up out of the ground, the hardy fuchsias are putting out green, the evergreen shrubs have new growth.  The photos above are of one of my blueberry bushes.  It's officially spring.

This is my golden bleeding heart.
I love this plant.

My gigantic Hellebore, that I've had for years.
It was a baby off one of my mom's plants.
Every year it amazes me with its size and the number of flowers.

And last, my new baby for Maddie girl.
I love the leaves on this one.  And it almost acts like some of the flowers might be upright.
Love, love, love.
It was a perfect gift and I'm anxious to get it in the ground. 

You would not believe the shape this house is in after having The Mom in bed for two days.
It's seriously a train wreck.
I can't stand it.
I'm bound and determined to push through this nasty sickness and get some stuff done around here today.
That's the plan, anyway.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Valentine's Day Cocktail

I wrote this post before we lost our Maddie girl.  I just haven't felt like hitting publish. I suppose now is as good a time as any. I've been slow to respond, but I want to make sure you know how much your comments and emails mean to The Dad and I.  Sharing your own stories of loss, and notes of thoughts sent our way, is so appreciated.  So thank you.

We very rarely make cocktails around these parts.  It's so much easier to crack a beer or open a bottle of wine.  But I do like to make them for special occasions, and this Valentine's Day was no exception.

I'm not a fancy mixologist, so I go for easy every time.
This has three ingredients.
Four, if you count the strawberry garnish.

I found a couple recipes online for the same drink.
I used this one:
Not necessarily a Valentine's Day drink, but the color was right.

For one cocktail you need:

2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Vanilla Vodka (or plain vodka with a splash of vanilla extract)
Splash of grenadine

Add a small amount of grenadine to the bottom of a martini glass.
Combine pineapple juice and vodka in a shaker with ice.
Pour over grenadine.
Add a strawberry heart.
Or, for any other occasion, a wedge of lime, pineapple, or a cherry.

Drink up.

Ain't she purdy?
Photogenic, too. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Dog 2002 - 2015

I'm hoping that the writing of this post will be somewhat therapeutic for me.  Maybe move me into the next stage of grieving.  I've been working on it since Thursday.  I have so many thoughts, memories, stories in my head, that maybe writing them all down will help.  The Dad and I are havin' a heck of a time without our four-legged kid.  We don't know this house without her. Which leads me to the beginning.....

When I bought this house, in October of 2001, I had recently gone through an ugly break up of a long-term relationship.  I lost my dog, Leo, and two cats, Figaro and Augustus, not by choice, and my heart was hurting from missing them.
I put it out to the Universe that I wanted a dog, but I needed to have a fence built in my new backyard first.
Enter, The Dad.
I've told the story here before, but as a reminder, that's how he and I met.  The short version is, the fence company I hired was jerkin' me around.  The Dad used to work for them, so the owner called him and asked if he wanted to build my fence as a side job on the weekend.
He said yes, and a week or so after it was built, I called and asked him out.
The rest is history.

  My friend, the one we went to see get married in Arizona last year, knew I was wanting a dog, knew my fence was in, and knew someone who had a dog that they were looking to get rid of.
He took me out to see her.
Pit bull mix.  Ughhhhhh, I didn't want a pit bull.  Of all the dogs in the world, she had to be a pit.
She was super sweet, we hung out and loved on her, and I said I needed to think about it.
I will never forget her as I was leaving that day.  She followed us to the car.  Sat down in the gravel driveway, with her puppy butt on the ground, back legs splayed out underneath her, floppy ears cockeyed, and watched me pull out.  She sat and watched me drive away until I could no longer see her in my rear view mirror.
I wonder how long she sat there that day.
I went home and couldn't stop thinking about her.
Madeline was her name.
I went back the next day to get her.
She was so covered in fleas, that they were jumping on the floor of the car.  We took her to one of those self-wash dog bathing places, 'cause there was no way I was bringing her into the house like that.  Gad, she was a mess.

Once home, she claimed me as her mama.  Actually, she claimed me as her mama that first day when she watched me drive away.
She wouldn't leave my side.  She was such a timid little thing.  I remember taking her for a walk on one of her first days home, without a leash, because there was no way she was going anywhere without me.  She was attached to my ankle at all times.  We went to the end of the block, turned the corner, went up and around the next corner, and something spooked her.  I can't remember if it was a dog bark, or a lawnmower, or what, but she took off like a cannon.  She was running so dang fast, and I'm running behind her, trying to keep up, calling.  I lost sight of her once she turned the corner, back onto the street of our house.  I ran all the way home, so afraid she had taken off, was lost, and I wouldn't be able to find her.
And there she was, sitting on the porch, waiting for me.
She officially knew this was home.

The one bad thing about having her so completely attached to me was, terrible separation anxiety.  Oh my gosh, she was HORRID.  I would come home from work to find something destroyed every. single. day.
I tried locking her in the utility room with access to outside, and she damn near chewed and clawed her way through the door.
It was so bad.  
I tried dog toys, treat balls, TV, music, yelling, scolding, everything I could think of, but nothing was working.
Then, one day, I came home to find my photo albums pulled off the shelf, on the floor, torn to shreds.
Years of pictures, ripped apart with her teeth, spread out all over the living room.
I didn't yell.  I didn't even look at her.
I sat down in the middle of the carnage and cried.
I cried for a long time.  Then I cleaned up the mess.
She never chewed anything up after that.

I still remember the first time The Dad met her.  He came over to see this new dog I had adopted.
One of the first things out of his mouth was, "I know dogs and this is a good dog."

After only having her for a couple weeks, I brought home a stray cat from work.  They were separated by a bathroom door for a couple days, but after that, they were best buds.
In their younger years, they played all the time.

Snuggling when no one was looking.

It's funny, over the past year, she had pretty much turned into a grouchy old lady, and didn't want to have anything to do with the cat.
But the night before we put her to sleep, she was havin' a heck of a time.
She was whimpering and couldn't get comfortable.
Her bed lived on the floor next to our bed, and the cat walked over and layed down with her.
He had NEVER slept on her bed with her before.
He knew.

So after bringing home the cat, and taking away her only-child status, then we did the unthinkable, we brought kids into the mix.
Poor dog.  She wasn't the center of attention anymore.
But she was so good with them.
Tolerating crying babies, teetering toddlers, and rambunctious kids.

It's so crazy how much a part of our lives they become, isn't it?
I went through our old photo albums to find most of the pictures in this post, hence the poor quality.
I couldn't believe how many pictures I have of her.
Especially before 2006, when The Kid was born.
She was our first kid and the amount of photos we have of her proves it.

Hangin' with Dad.

Snugglin' with my sister.

Soakin' up the sun.



Always with a pillow.

This last Christmas.

Watchin' for Dad.
I always knew when he was home from work, 'cause she'd start whining and you could hear her tail whacking up against stuff.

She got so white over the last few years.

I did a whole post two years ago with these pictures.

Her favorite place in the world, the Rock Farm.
I can't believe how fat she was in some of these pictures.

Um  yeah, this is what you'd call an obese dog.
Holy cow.

Our house just isn't the same without her.
The Dad and I both keep thinking we hear her.  I caught myself yesterday when I was going to holler at the kids to close the back door "so the dog doesn't get out."
So many things I'm going to miss.
  • The clicking of her toenails, hitting the metal threshold of the french doors, as she comes out to see me in the garden.
  • Her big brown eyes.
  • Her uncanny ability to know when I pulled the cheddar cheese out of the fridge.  Seriously, she could be outside and come runnin'.
  • Seeing her face watching out the window for us, when I'd pick up the kids from school.
  • Greeting us at the door anytime we'd come home from anywhere.  She smelled me every time, to see where I'd been.
  • Her pillow sucking and kneading.
  • Watching the mailman deliver mail on the other side of the street, then waiting for him to go to the end of the block, turn around and come back our way.  Then barking like an evil demon dog from hell, until she couldn't see him anymore.  We had to move our mailbox from the porch to the driveway years ago, because she once broke a window in the living room by ramming the chair into it trying to get at him.
  • When she was younger, she was obsessed with the laser pointer.  We had way more lawn in those days, and she'd run circles, chasing it on the property line, for as long as you'd let her.  We started having to spell "red dot", and then she even figured out what that meant.  
  • She'd chase any sort of reflection and pounce, like a cat.  If I'd pull out the tin foil and the sun would hit it, I'd hear her bumping her nose up against the cupboards to get it.  
  • You could say, "Where is it", and she'd look up at the ceiling with just her eyes, like she always did with the laser pointer or any reflection.
  • We also had to spell Rock Farm.  My parents took her up there quite a bit when they were going alone.  I couldn't pack her jammie bag until it was time for her to go, or she'd drive us nuts whining at the door, knowing what the bag meant.
  • Cleaning up the floor after meals.  I've always said, I don't know how people have kids without a dog.  Who cleans up all that food mess?!
  • Yelling, "Maddie, I dropped something", and having her come running into the kitchen to see what sort of treat she was gonna get.
  • If she was in the kitchen while I was cooking, which was almost always, if I dropped something off the stove onto the floor, I'd say, "Hot, hot, hot", and she'd let it be until I told her it was okay.
  • She was TERRIBLE about stealing food, though.  It got worse as she got older.  She'd put her front feet up on the counters or the dining room table to get at something.  The kids learned early.  Walk away and it'll be gone.  She'd take it right out of their hands, too, the last few years.  During the summer, when we'd have company over and be outside with apps on the low table, the entire time we'd be yelling at her to lay down and get lost.  So, so naughty.
  • The Cat gets in these moods where he'll attack your ankles.  He puts his ears back and goes into wild animal mode.  It's usually in the summer when I'm sitting outside barefoot.  But I could yell, "Maddie, get the cat!", and she'd come bump him with her nose to run him off and save me.
  • Years ago, she had done something to get a sore on the end of her tail.  I can't remember what it was from now, but every time it would start to heal up, she'd wag and whack it up against something over and over to open it up again.  Well we came home from somewhere and walked into a kitchen that looked like a murder had been committed.  There was blood EVERYwhere.  All over the white cupboards, uppers and lowers, on the ceiling, on the fridge, on the walls, on the floor, on the counters. It was horrific.  She must have opened it up and then was wagging like a maniac when she heard us pull up. That was a fun mess to clean up.
  • She once ate an entire bag of Easter chocolates.  Foil and all.  I believe she did the same thing with Hershey Kisses or M & M's.  One or the other.  The girl liked her chocolate.
  • We'd find wrappers in the yard all the time.  Something had been left "safely" on the counter.  Like a loaf of bread.  Bag of chips.  She wasn't picky.
  • She would always sit up on her butt when she was in the chair by the window.  Like a person.  Front feet up, back straight, butt and back legs down.  We'd say, "Ah Maddie, she's sitting like the people." Everyone I know took a picture of her doing it because it was so funny.
  • She used to be able to get up on our bed by herself, and would generally sleep with us part of the night in the winter.  But in the last six months or so, she needed help. Every morning, when The Dad got up to get in the shower, she would whine to come up.  She'd crawl under the covers on my side, and curl up and spoon behind my knees.  It was one of my most favorite things.
Right after I first got her, a friend of mine came over with his camera and took pictures of her.
They top the list of my favorites of her.
Three of them have been by my computer forever, including the very first photo in this post.
One of them, that I love, is stuck to the glass in the frame, so I couldn't scan it.
Another one is all scratched up, but I still love it.
He took one through the gate before I knew he was here.
She knew somethin' was up and was right next to me, growling.
No one was gonna mess with her new Mommy.

Tony, the picture taker, gettin' new doggie loves.
He passed inspection.

Oh my gosh, that face.
So, so sweet.

I took a lot of pictures when we drove up to bury her.
It was a gorgeous day.
Blue skies.
I haven't taken them off my camera, or even looked at them yet, though.
Not ready.
But I know we chose the perfect place for her.
My parents took her there the week before.  I'm so glad she got that one last trip.
I told her she was gonna get to go to the Rock Farm when the vet gave us time alone with her to say goodbye.
Forever resting in her favorite place.

Rest in peace, Maddie girl.
Mama's gonna miss the heck outta you.

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