Monday, November 27, 2017

It took a village.

I was afraid to say it out loud before the weekend, but I managed to get away for two days.  That's right.  I feel the same way.  But, as in all things in my life, it was NOT straightforward.

Before I can leave my crew for even an overnighter, certain things must fall into place.  My sister, Auntie Con is my steadfast (and adored) house/farm sitter.  She cannot come to me unless my other sister, Auntie Baby, can cover the nonagenarian parental front, which Auntie Con covers with great skill, patience and compassion - it's like two full time jobs.  Auntie Baby must come from her home (and full-time teaching job) three plus hours away.

Then, I must have someplace to go - someplace that I can reach by car within the time restraints.  I drive a ten-year-old car with occasional (okay, constant) issues.  It must be on a weekend because I have almost no vacation days left and I am reserving those I do have because, you know, veterinary issues often arise.  I am lucky to have such a BFF as Sylvie, who did not blink when I invited myself for Thanksgiving.

Since Thanksgiving is a holiday and Auntie Baby was planning on coming up anyway, one piece of the village was in place.  Auntie Con was more than ready to hand over parental care duties for a brief respite and she loves my crew.  Two down, one to go.  I go in to have my oil changed and....iffy ball joint and transmission issues.  At this point, I sat myself down and had a heart-to-heart with me.  I decided to rent a car - damn the expense, full gas tank ahead! - because I was going to see Sylvie, no matter if retirement is starting to fade into the future...

In an email exchange with my friend, Marianne, I asked her if I could park my car at her farm so that the rental place could pick me up.  I did not want to impose on my elderly neighbor, who would have to drive in the dark.  Without batting an eyelash, she offered her car so I wouldn't have to rent one.  Let me interject here that I covet her car - a Mini Cooper Countryman.
I didn't have a chance to take a picture of hers - but
you get the drift.  Cute, ain't it?
When Wednesday morning came around, I was hardly believing that my village was still intact and that I would be going to see Sylvie.  Then I trotted out to dump the compost, slipped on the frosty grass and twisted both knee and ankle.  As I sat on the ground, checking for broken anything, I decided that, as long as I was able to walk, I was going.

And I went.
I didn't sleep ALL the time... I got
chauffeured around.

We saw the ocean.

One of my favorite SoPo parks.

Their new guest quarters that are so
completely cozy and comfortable.
It shows what a good friend Sylvie is, when someone horns in on a family dinner, then spends most of the time sleeping.  Not only did she take me in and feed me well, but she clothed me, too!  I didn't have to raid my favorite Goodwill in South Portland because she handed on to me such a splendid array of garments that I am set for the year!  She is a peach.  She also inspires me to bring order to my life, so I also came home with some ideas on how to whip myself (and house) into shape.

I almost didn't mind that Monday came so fast...almost.
Someone was very happy I was

Friday, November 17, 2017

Two Alarm GF Bagels.

A rushed breakfast this morning, as I had to skedaddle out the door at 7A with both pooches in tow for our trek to the City.  I thought it would be kind to bring Lovey along, seeing as she is usually left behind to fret and we are only in the vet's office for a grand total of 15 minutes.  She whined coming and going.  Two solid hours of whine.  GoD only knows if she kept it up as she was guarding the car - looking all Gangsta, in her saggy grey hoodie.  Better she stays somewhere she feels secure, without adding to the stress of two bouts of rush hour traffic with her lunatic mother.
These bagels are from my very favorite local bakery - local meaning less than three hours away.  They have the BEST GF bread I have eaten.  It is almost like bread!  Unfortunately, they are a good hour+ away and not in a direction I travel often.  I was thrilled, however, to chance upon them in the indoor farmers market in the Capitol Concourse, during my Wednesday trot to the state library a few weeks ago.  This Wednesday, I dutifully trotted back, going through high-level security each way, to stock up.  In our state, I think the security is there mostly to protect them from their constituents - whom they ignore completely until they are up for reelection.  Every time I go through, the half-pound of metal in my ankle sets off the alarm and I am wanded within an inch of my life.

I was, unfortunately, disappointed in the bagels - a little heavy on the vinegar - but their bread makes the scrutiny all worth it!

Monday, November 13, 2017


Peanut Butter is making progress!  When he lifted his leg to pee on a weed this weekend and didn't fall over, I was beside myself with joy!  Apparently, I need a life.  Also, apparently, I need to really keep an eye on him - since he's feeling better, he also feels he does not need to be in a crate.  I finally put his halter on so I would have something to grab onto while he tries to make his escape - otherwise, it's like wrestling with an eel.

Lovey, meanwhile, not only has lost the fun of having a playmate, but has the additional burden of having to wear her hoodie sweatshirt.  Because of her rather odd physique (deep chest with slender-ish everything else), her hoodie is stretched and sagging around her knees within 10 minutes of putting it on.
Waiting outside PB's jail cell.

Oh, mother.
It was a very frigid weekend (ergo, the hoodie sweatshirt - I didn't do it because I was THAT kind of a dog mom.  Really.  Honest.) so my time outside was fairly limited.  Instead, I focused on the Unlist and hand-washed 9 pairs of socks, vacuumed, swept, straightened, cleaned bathrooms, made soup (I'm working my way through my Moosewood cookbooks), made chili and cornbread, baked a big pan of brown rice, and made more headway on clearing out the UCG (unknown canned goods) that are cluttering my canning shelves.  I also forced myself to go to the Laundromat.  I think my sense of dread comes from all those years of living in apartments and, consequently, all those mind-numbing hours sat in dreary, linoleum-floored rooms, watching my laundry go round and round.  It makes me feel like Ratso Rizzo.  However, my washer cannot handle a load of area rugs and the sofa covers.  So, off I went.  It was a great way to get some quiet knitting time in - there were only a handful of fellows (who, I noticed, crammed six loads of dirty laundry into the cheapest/smallest washer they found.  No sorting of darks and lights to be seen.)  I distributed my laundered rugs over the deck railing when I got home, as I am too cheap to ante up the cash for their dryers.  Plus, I can only stand being there through a wash cycle.
Quiet time
I did feel very virtuous, though.  Lots more things mentally ticked off the Unlist. 

Peanut Butter goes to his third vet this afternoon for evaluation as to whether he is a candidate for laser treatments on his back.  I am putting on my Pollyanna glasses for this - he has come quite a way with just confinement and he is young.  I am for anything that will hasten his recovery.  The only appointment this vet had available was at 1 o'clock.  It is in the city, so there was no way I was going to drive in (1 hour), then drive home (ditto), then drive back to the city (ditto2), then drive home, you get the drift.  Feeling like the mother of an infant, I picked up a booster seat for the car and a portable kennel for the office.  I really don't know how women can manage all that paraphernalia - and carry their baby.  I got as far as the office garage (after making four trips from house to car at the get-go) and was stumped.  Luckily, the building super appeared and saved our bacon - he schlepped the kennel upstairs and pushed all the buttons and opened the doors (also turning on the lights).  Then he made a second trip down to retrieve the blankie and leash that I forgot. 
Portable Stir.
I'm hoping the treatments do their job.  I'm too old for motherhood.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How to put the challenge into your day.

Tuesday morning started out with everything going for it.
Good book, a variety of knitting,
pumpkin spice coffee.  Heaven.
When I schlepped the goober outside for his early morning constitutional, I noticed - to my horror - that his back end was having trouble maneuvering.  As soon as the clock struck 8, I put a call in to my vet and they squeezed us in at 10.  This produced a flurry of emails with my office nobs (one of whom dislikes dogs) wherein I stated confidently that I would be in directly, following the dropping off at home of PB.

Oh, ha.
What a pair we are, waiting
for the neurologist and a couple
of ibuprofens
The vet took one look at PB and declared "you need a neurologist!"  I scooped him up and trotted out in the direction of my car.  Before I reached it, I managed to trip over an uneven patch and had gone headlong - hanging onto PB for dear life until just before impact, when I sort of slid him forward.  I did manage not to injure him further, but my right knee received the brunt of the impact.  As did my best pair of jeans, dammit.  I gimped him to the car and then gimped back into the vet's office to pay.  They took one look at my knee, sat me down and started to work.  If you're going to take a header, it's better to do it in proximity of people with medical knowledge.  We joked about how vet wrap is to vets what duct tape is to farmers.

After taking off the sticky wrap that
was to make sure the vet wrap
didn't slip.  She is nothing if not

With my knee firmly bandaged, I hobbled back to the car and we headed an hour west to a veterinary specialist.  By the time we pulled into the emergency entrance, the shock had worn off and my knee was throbbing.  And I was getting the little brown stink eye from PB.  Long and painful story short, he was diagnosed with invertebral disc disease and I received an ice pack and two ibuprofens.  And a sizeable bill.  I was happy they didn't charge me for the ice pack or meds.  My only two options, according to them, was to keep PB in strict confinement, on pain meds, for four weeks OR get an MRI done with surgery to follow.  Hmmm.  $168 or $7000+?  Let me think about it - for a nanosecond.  They felt we had caught the problem quickly enough that there was a pretty good chance (65%) that the confinement would work.  By the time we got out of there (after a blow by blow stream of emails to the office, whether they gave a damn or not), we didn't arrive home until 3 o'clock.  We were both exhausted.  I gave PB his pain meds (liquid - citrus flavored.  Why? Why not liver?) which he hates, swaddled him in six fleece blankets and put him in his crate.  I was about to self-medicate, since it was 5 o'clock somewhere, but remembered I had to vote.  This is a small town.  Had I sashayed into the polling place, the Election Ladies would have had their antennae going and the fact that they detected Sauvignon Blanc at 3:30 would have raced through the town like wildfire.

I voted, did my chores and fixed an extra-special doggie dinner.  Then I fixed an extra-special Doggie Mommie dinner that only required one glass.  Sleeping was a little rough, as I kept turning over the fact that I chose the cheaper way out than what may be better for the little guy.  By 2 o'clock, I gave up and got up.  I had pretty much decided that I would find a way to pay for it.  I was not going to have PB end up paralyzed.  He did seem a little, tiny bit more steady this morning, so that gave me a boost.  Then, as I rehashed the day with our office building super (he and his wife have 7 dogs and are super-rescuers), he mentioned laser treatments.  Apparently, there is a third option that has proven highly successful in the treatment of IDD.  At a fraction of the cost, with no meds.  I will be consulting with a third vet tomorrow.  Geezlouise.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Doctor, doctor.

After dragging my sorry behind around for a couple of weeks - self-diagnosing and self-medicating all the way - I finally pulled up my BGPs and called my doctor on Thursday.  Not because I was worried, but because I was b.o.r.e.d. with the wheezy, no energy feeling.

As luck would have it, she had a slot available the next morning at 9.  I like my doctor - she is about my age, maybe a couple of years older.  She is brassy and outspoken.  She is a good listener.  She is a dog owner and a knitter!  Thinking that I would have plenty of time in the waiting room, I schlepped along my latest project:
Basket weave blanket to donate to
an animal shelter - I'm paying forward..
Amazingly, I wasn't in the chair five minutes before I was called back.  "Fine," I thought.  This is how it usually goes - stick you in a cold examining room, way back at the end of a hall, and leave you there.  Once again, I pulled out the knitting.  Two minutes later, the nurse was in for blood pressure and the usual stuff.  Out she went.  Out came the knitting.  In came the nurse again.  EKG.  Out went the nurse, knitting out.  In came the doctor.  I was stunned.  A cursory check up didn't come up with anything definite, so we discussed options.  Off I went for a chest X-ray and blood test.  Longer story mercifully shorter, they are very organized and I didn't get to knit a row until I was waiting for my X-ray.   Then I knit 12 rows.

Saturday started as another slo-mo day, but I did get my Brussels sprout stalk trimmed of sprouts, with the chickens and ducks getting the non-sprout part.
What a beauty!

By the end of the day...

Still trying to lure the girls to his
'treasure'.  They had moved on.
I drove up to Vermont, visited with my parents and sister, then back home to find...a very miserable Peanut Butter.  He had apparently injured himself while I was gone and went from a bouncy pup to a little old man.  A quick call to the emergency vet on call, and we were in the car - back up to the Vermont border.  There wasn't any sign of a spinal injury (common in this breed), but he was hurting.  Two meds and two hundred dollars later, we were on our way home, PB being very subdued and swaddled in his navy blue blankie on the passenger seat.

The Patient.
Sunday was a windy, rainy day, so we all laid low.  I checked a couple of small items off The List - cleaned up the peonies, hung the waterers in the shed and cleaned out the barn -  and started a sock.  It was a perfect day to slog around inside. 
I've got a Green Thang going on...

Last of the onions, in from the barn
This morning, PB was still in geezer-mode, although, with doxies, there is a LOT of drama involved in everything.  He has realized that I will carefully pick him up and set him on his chair, put him outside, move him up and down stairs, wrap him warmly, and deliver his meds in bundles of orange cheez-whiz.  I may live to regret this....

I am still waiting for the results of my tests - apparently, since no one has raised a red flag - I will live...albeit in slow motion...

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Not much to show.

I had all good intentions of tottering out with my camera (phone) to add a little pizazz to the blog.  It was then I discovered that it's dark until 40 minutes before I have to leave for work, and dark when I get home.

I will leave you with a photo of Lovey-bell, after witnessing a good hour of Mom dancing her bootie off to Motown hits this morning.

"I am too young to witness such