Sunday, September 27, 2009

We buried Amie's ashes today. We scattered some on what we call "the azalea trail", where she loved to walk back and forth, scratching her head and back on the azalea bushes, every day. Then we buried the rest where we can see the marker, and the white begonias I planted there, from our back window. I ordered a marker for Zorra too, to put next to Amie's as a memorial.

Thanks to my dear Dogblogger who called at just the right time this afternoon, and thanks to my pastor, who is also a dog person and understood that I needed a little pastoral care today.

Friday, September 25, 2009

An autumnal Friday Five

Singing Owl is feeling autumnal (why yes, I do like that word):

Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest. Jeremiah 5:23b

The Autumnal Equinox has just come 'round again. I took a look back at our Friday Fives and noted that it always seems to make the Rev Gals and their Pals think of changes.

There is something so nostalgic about this time of year, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. The nights grow cooler, crops are harvested, for some of us the leaves are beginning to change colors. The scent of smoke is in the air, pumpkins are in the stores (or on wagons, or in roadside stands for those of us in the country). I'm thinking of putting away my summer clothes and pulling out the sweaters. And I have a tub of Fall-themed items that my husband just lugged up from the basement. I'm looking for my scarecrow.

For this week, let's share some memories along with some hopes and expectations.

1. Share a Fall memory.
In the heart of the Texas Hill Country there is a hidden nook known as Lost Maples State Park. One of Texas' few stands of bigtooth maples grows there on the banks of the Sabinal River, and in the fall they change colors in a way we don't usually see around here. Twenty years ago, when the Scientist's mom still lived on the edge of the Hill Country, the three of us spent a beautiful fall day wandering through the maples. I think it's time for a return visit.

2. Your favorite Fall clothes--(past or present)?
I love sweaters! I have to restrict my purchases every year, since here there are so few days that we actually need heavy pullover sweaters. A few weeks ago I did allow myself one Shaker knit turtleneck in charcoal heather, on sale. Maybe by December or January the days will be chilly enough for me to wear it!

3. Share a campfire story, song, experience...etc.
I have fond memories of the bonfires and wienie roasts at Girl Scout camp, and I still giggle when I remember the night one girl got a bit too exuberant, bouncing a hot dog on her wire hanger while shouting, "I'm a ROOTIN', TOOTIN'--" ...what? We'll never know, because at that moment her hot dog flew off the hanger and disappeared into the night while twenty girls shrieked with delight. OK, you had to be there--but forty years later, I'm still laughing.

4. What is your favorite thing about this time of year?
I love the first hint of coolness in the morning air, telling us that summer is over and autumn is really on its way. We've been enjoying that this week, with the arrival of our first real cold front on Tuesday. By mid-October we will probably be experiencing my favorite weather, clear days with daytime temperatures in the 70's and evening temperatures in the 50's.

5. What changes are you anticipating in your life, your church, the season changes and winter approaches?
The Scientist and I are trying to adjust to a big change right now: the first time in twelve years that we have not shared our lives with a dog. How strange it is to come home to an empty house. Our plan for now is to remain dogless until, as dear Dogblogger says, we find the dog who really needs us. But we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our houseguests Angus and Tuesday next weekend--and their humans too, of course! :)

Bonus: What food says "AUTUMN" at your house? Recipes always appreciated.
I love this Cranapple-Walnut Cake from the old Moosewood Cookbook. It's an ideal Thanksgiving dessert for guests who don't care for pumpkin pie. If you are blessed, as we are, with a pecan tree in your back yard, you can substitute pecans for walnuts.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The House Dog's Grave

I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.

So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.

I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.

But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.

You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying

Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.

And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided. . . .
But to me you were true.

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.

Robinson Jeffers, 1941

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Two days on

Exhausted. Stomach's upset. Don't want to do anything. I think it's called grief.

Fortunately I've been able to stay home all week, while we've had workmen in the house. Our beautiful new floors and fireplace surround are finished, and I'll post pictures after all the furniture and doodads are back in place.

Because of her increasing indiscretions, and her fondness for fervently and vigorously scratching and pawing the floor (she never figured out that she couldn't scratch up a nest on the tile), I told the Scientist for months that we should not try to get our new floors until after Amie was gone. We decided to go ahead anyway. Little did I know the floors would go in the very day after she left us.

Missing you so much, my Little Biscuit.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A golden tail, and two broken hearts

We let our dear Amie go this morning. Her passing was very peaceful. She was the sweetest-natured dog I've ever had, and I miss her terribly. Thank you all for your prayers and warm wishes.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Checking in

Workmen were here on Friday to pull up the dining room carpet, allowing us to bleach the slab (removing evidence of canine indiscretions) before they return on Wednesday. I'll be taking a stay-cation of sorts this week, to oversee the remodeling. We are replacing the DR/LR carpet and the foyer tile with laminate, and putting new tile in the downstairs half-bath and around the fireplace. The Scientist is plastering and painting the half-bath, to give it a whole new look. I guess I'd better take some before and after pictures!

We had the most dramatic storm last night; very little rain, but lightning streaking across the sky again and again, such as we haven't seen in months. We were enjoying it from the relative safety (I guess) of the back porch until this huge flash and BOOM suddenly came from, it seemed, our neighbor's back yard! We went inside then!

Amie shows her age more every day. She sleeps about 20 hours a day now. A few weeks ago we learned her kidneys are beginning to fail. She won't eat the prescription diet from the vet, so I've been giving her a combination of chicken, sweet potato, and brown rice. That worked fine for a week, but now she walks away from that too. Over the past two weeks or so, she has shown increasing signs of canine cognitive dysfunction; some evenings she paces and pants for an hour, and often looks confused. The dog who used to dance and skip when it was time for a walk stands and stares at us when we call her to go out, and sometimes we have to gently lead or push her outside when we know she needs to go. Even so, she has had several accidents in the house recently. But she is still my sweet girl, even if she doesn't always remember that now. Tonight, after appearing disoriented and mildly agitated for most of the day, she came over and gave me a big kiss. It hurts to know that our days with this precious dog are drawing to a close.

Work is fine, but I'm looking forward to taking a break this week. Church is fraught with all the "joys" of serving on session and chairing a committee. At least I still get to sing.

Have a relaxing and peaceful Labor Day. Amie and I would appreciate your prayers.