Archive for August, 2008|Monthly archive page

Resistance is futile

In Life with Animals on August 25, 2008 at 10:08 pm

Well would YOU be able to resist this face? Meet Rosie!

Rosie is a 1 1/2 year old Staffordshire Terrier, which is a fancy way of saying that she’s a pitbull. She was found as a stray a month ago and then went into foster care through a rescue called Must Love Dogs NW and they put her on Petfinder where, indeed, we found her! Her foster parents brought her to meet us and said we could have a trial adoption… yeah right. Look at her! We were crazy about her from the moment we met. She’s great with kids and other dogs, wants nothing more than to be near us, is incredibly eager to please, smart, funny (she snorts!), crazy when she’s outside running around the backyard and so mellow when she’s inside. I’ve never seen a dog just sit on the rug and watch life unfold. No wonder they make such great therapy dogs.

My son’s father said to him “Why does your mom want a dog that people look down on? That she’s going to have to defend all the time? A dog that only white trash and lesbians like?” Yeah, I know, amazing we’re not married any longer.

And to answer that, let me say that I’ve always thought it was a good and noble thing to try and stick up for those who have no voice. I’ve done the research, I know the facts. Pitbulls are great dogs. Rosie will be an excellent ambassador of her breed and I willingly step into the role of responsible pitbull owner and pitbull advocate. I like this dog and guess what? I’m neither white trash or a lesbian. Go figure.

I never could resist a little controversy…


Internet Dating

In Life with Animals on August 22, 2008 at 10:44 am

Last night I had a date. I saw his picture on the internet and he was VERY cute. He was blond haired, brown eyed, exceptionally friendly, really laid back and prone to licking everyone he met.  We were to meet at Petsmart at 7:00 pm. That’s right, it was dog date number one and just like so many of my Match.com dates from days gone by, the chemistry just wasn’t there. He was interested in everything BUT me. I found myself struggling with the email to his foster parents afterwards feeling SO many of the same things I’d feel after a human date! “You were really nice but I just didn’t feel any connection…”

Just like falling in love with a man (and if you’re wondering, my man WAS along on the date – it just sounded better to write it first person but he’s very involved in this as it will be his dog too so don’t be thinking we’re having troubles) I want to look into this new dog’s eyes and see some sparks. I want recognition from the dog that says YES, I WANT TO COME HOME WITH YOU! It might take some time, and that’s fine with me, because I know that the perfect guy is out there. He’s going to be young but not a puppy, medium sized, friendly to all, he’ll like to wrestle and play, he’ll give kisses and be a snuggle-bunny, he’ll sleep with the kids in their beds if they want him to and he’ll make us laugh.

Ah, petfinder.com. Internet dating for a new family pet.

Guess what’s in the bag?

In Life with Animals on August 20, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Yes, you’re right. It’s Shandy. In what is basically a one-pound coffee bag. It weighs more than that, but still, it’s a coffee bag. Sixty three pounds of dog into this. Amazing. I’m going to have to put some thought into the proper long-term vessel.

I was doing really well handling her departure, I thought, until I burst into tears asking for her remains at the vet’s office. They are so sweet. I told them I didn’t think it would be too long before we were in there with another dog. I love dogs too much to be without one for long.

Goodbye Shandy

In Life with Animals on August 14, 2008 at 11:59 am

Today I made the difficult decision to put Shandy to sleep. She was 12 1/2 years old and had been steadily declining, rapidly so in the last days. She was pacing incessantly, drooling, falling over, eating dirt, staring into corners and losing bladder control. She wasn’t reacting to us, to the squirrels she loved to chase, even to treats. Quality of life just wasn’t there. Even so, it was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. In the end it was peaceful and it felt like the right thing to do.

I fell in love with Shandy on a trip to the Oregon Humane Society in July of 1997. She was missing patches of hair, had saggy boobs from nursing puppies and was so thin they said she was a lab-greyhound mix. It didn’t matter. I dreamt about her that night. I knew she was our dog. She came home just 2 weeks before Annie arrived. As the kids said “she’s been with us our whole life!” With love and good food she filled out and it became obvious that there wasn’t a speck of greyhound in her. Border collie more likely. She did like to herd male visitors. She had an amazing character. Enthusiastic, eager to please, patient, great with all kids. She rarely growled and never ever even nipped at anyone. She loved the water and was happiest running up and down along the shore, occasionally barking at the waves and chasing seagull shadows. Riding in the car was a favorite activity. Anything to hang out with her family. Last year when I was sick she was so sweet and present and such a wonderful companion. When Bob came along she loved him too, without hesitation.

The house feels so empty without her.

Goodbye Shandy the Wonder Dog. I could not have asked for a better dog in any way. I hope you are running along a beach in doggie heaven, barking at the waves and chasing gull shadows.

What I’m using every day

In Cool Things on August 8, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Everyone is coming out with a green bag these days. Even Target has one:

And these bags by Baggu are all the rage:

I like their little pouches. Very handy to keep in one’s purse for emergency shopping sessions. Cool colors, too.

But this is the one I’m currently using. The squirrel makes me smile. It reminds me of my sister.

Powell’s rocks.

A new addition

In Gardening, Plants on August 8, 2008 at 4:26 am


I’ve been eyeing Abutilon (flowering maple) all season ever since a June visit to Cistus Nursery where they insist that they can get this annual tender perennial to winter over. We’ll see. Generally the species is hardy to zone 8, but this is a hybrid, and I’m zone 7. If we have another one of our mild winters it might live. Or I can bring it inside along with the brugmansia (Angel’s Trumpet) and the giant bird of paradise. I’ll have to start referring to the living room as “my conservatory” with all the not-hardy-in-Portland tropicals I’m collecting. But I digress.

The best part was that I found this on sale at Freddie’s for only $3.33. It’s at least 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide and covered in blooms. It’ll keep on going until frost. A heck of a lot of flowering plant for the price, hardy or not.

A belated happy birthday

In Life on August 5, 2008 at 4:34 pm

to me.

Last week I had a birthday. It was a lovely day spent with Bob playing tourist in our beautiful town (after sadly seeing Lauren off at the airport… but that’s a subject for a different post) visiting the Chinese Garden, my favorite store “Garden Fever”, dinner at Bernie’s Southern Bistro and a stroll through the throngs of weirdos at Last Thursday on Alberta. A perfect summer’s day.

What keeps resounding in my head is what a difference a year makes. It’s a lesson to take with us at all times, that no matter what we are going through, eventually time passes and we feel better. Life goes on. Intellectually I knew that last year’s cancer treatment was finite, and that my strength would return and my hair would grow back, but while I was in the midst of it there were moments when, understandably I might add, it was hard to keep the finite nature of the beast in focus. It seemed as if I would be on my ass on the couch forever, destined to be an aching, nauseated, fatigued, bald observer of life but never again a participant. It sucked. I wrote things like this.

Now look at me! Nearly a year post-chemo and 9 months post-radiation I am healthy and strong and capable of doing everything I want to do. I have a wonderful boyfriend and a great new job. I’ve been able to totally mostly keep up with everything life throws at me (with help from my family – I’m not super woman) and sometimes I have more energy than I know what to do with! The garden is whipped into shape,  I’m cooking again, I can hike, bike, walk, you name it. I can even tourist all day and not have to take rest breaks!

What a difference a year makes.

Happy Birthday to Me!