Sunday, April 28, 2013


Two photos, same spot, same time, days apart. The first day cold and gray....

and the 2nd sunny and warm. You can feel the transition to winter to spring coming on....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Are You Watching Auntie?

Mabel amazes me with her childlike ways. I heard Sherri Shepherd say yesterday that people should have a child because a dog can't tell you, "Mommy I love you!" HORSE FEATHERS!

My dog communicates loud and clear her feelings, emotions, happiness and displeasure ALL the time. Often when romping at the creek, she will stop playing with friends, run to me with a big silly grin on her face and give me the biggest booty shake ever before returning to her pals. If that's not the canine equivalent of, "Mommy, I'm having SO much fun!" I don't know what is!

But the funny thing is, she does this to my friends too!  Just yesterday, Hank and Sue's Mom was petting her when Bart wandered in for some scritches. So Mabel immediately turns and slapped Bart's mom on the knee with her paw... "Hey, PET ME!"

This photo below is a prime example... taken by Bart's Mom. Mind you, Mabel won't look at MY camera! She had just rescued this tree from drowning and was about to give it some branch to mouth resuscitation when her auntie had to take a phone call. You know that sound humans make when we're perturbed??? Exhaling, "UH!"?? When Mabel realized her auntie had stepped away and was not watching her, that's the sound she made!

And she waited... the poor tree left all alone struggling for breath, waiting for rescue! Mabel played in the water a bit, chased Bart. But ONLY when her auntie was off the phone and paying attention did the poor tree receive it's life saving help!

Love is where you find it. I've said it before (and I'm sure I will again!): Most of the people I know have let me down or hurt me. Dogs...never have.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Conversations with 90 - Boston Edition

I have some rather hilarious conversations with a certain 90-year-old I love. You have to imagine a really thick Southern accent and her talking REALLY LOUD, as if I wrote her part in all caps. I won't, but let's say I did....

Her:  Whirur dey from?

Me: Chechnya

Her: I don't know whir dat is...

Me: Near Russia

Her: Ya know dat cerazy feller dat mailed the poison to dat Miss'sippi senator an' Ohbama (rhymes with Alabama)? Dey a'rested him, sounds crazy as a loon...dey said on the tee vee dat dose boys er from Georgia ya reckon dey all did it together?

Me: They're not from that Georgia. They mean the Georgia near Russia.

Her: I can't make out their name in the writin on the tee vee do ya know what it is?

Me: It's Russian...hard to spell.

Her: What's it start with?

Me: T

Her:.... den what?

Me: S

Her: .... AND?

Me: A???

Her: ... what else????

Me: It's Russian, I can't spell it when I'm not looking at it!!!

Her:  Well whirur dey from?

Me: Chechnya

Her: I don't know whir dat is...

Me: Near Russia

Her: You said dat bu I still don know whir  that is...but dose boys mus be gone crazy or sumpin.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Round Trip Ticket

I get frustrated with my senior dog from time to time. Her nightly tap dance getting in bed; her needing me to park the car where there is a steep curb; her need for my constant "You can do it" reassurance; her uncertainty in her own, once strong body. It also breaks my heart.

The heart break is from witnessing Mabel flounder, legs akimbo, voice shrieking. It frightens both of us! The frustration is from the knowledge that ... at least some of it is an act.

Getting in Bed (NOT):

{Updated 8/7/13 - These steps turn over unless the large dog hits the center of the step every time! Do not buy for large dogs!!!}

Knowing she was aging and that most of my rottens died by age 8,  I purchased steps to aid Mabel getting in and out of bed almost two years ago. She scoffs at them.

Yet there is that nightly tap dance... she comes in, eats her duck jerky on the floor and paces around the bed to make certain there is more jerky on the bed for her. She goes to the foot of the bed and sizes up it's height (as if it got taller since this morning). She goes out in the hall and runs in...and stops short. Lather, rinse, repeat. Several times.

Frustrated, I step into the bathroom and brush my teeth. I potty. Knowing that I'm now a captive audience, she comes into the tiny bathroom for pets and reassurance. She does her three point turn that it takes to get her long body out of there: back up to the shower, tilt head into bedroom, twist rear end. As a puppy, this was all she needed to get on the bed. Not any more.

The hallway maneuvers begin again. If I linger too long in the bathroom, she disappears... in the kitchen for water, out on the back porch or in a dog bed in the living room. The yelling begins... sigh.

After much pleading on my part -- "USE YOUR STEPPIE!" -- she simply leaps and is in bed! Normally, I think I would be more patient. But I have it on good authority...

It's All a Lie: 

When I was home for my sister's funeral, I was gone for two weeks and for the first time ever, Mabel's night nurse was not available. I had to rely on Ms. RottRover to put the girl in bed. I had dutifully described the process and rituals, only to be told... that's not how it works! No, Auntie RottRover simply told Mabel Lou to "get in bed." One leap and done! No tap dancing, no disappearing, no crying! BRAT!

But it's hard to know she's faking it when I've seen her fall. And then there is her latest thing: she loves to go "downstairs" (all three steep steps) to the den. Her bed down there was a favorite for many years, especially when I'm cooking...there's a straight line view of the stove and oven.

Now, she goes down there and cries when it's time to come up those steep steps. And honestly, I hurt too. Sometimes when she does this, I get the key to that door and go outside, down the less steep doorsteps and let her out that way!

But yesterday, when she pulled this stunt, I told her, "You've bought a round trip ticket Mabel Lou! Don't go down there if you can't come back up!" And I left the kitchen. 

She was none too happy. But shortly, she was grousing as she curled up behind my desk! And those steps at the foot of the bed? She used them, on her own, no encouragement from me, for the the first time ever last night!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Her Favorite Flavor

Whatcha looking at Mabel Lou???

Something sure has your interest way upstream. Wonder what it is???

Oh NO! It's a BOY! And he's splashing in the water!!!

If Mabel Lou has a favorite flavor, it's a boy (preferably 8-12) covered in creek water! Or ocean water. I can't get her to leave one of those alone! She simply cannot get enough of them!

And there she goes....

Seriously, she doesn't EAT them...she just wants to PLAY with them (and never come home!)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Otto Wuz Here

See the water drops on my pants??? He did it....

Otto is the Rottrover's rambunctious new family member. I feel so bad for him because he's the youngest one in a pack of oldsters! They are always yelling at him... You should hear Mabel Lou yell! It's the funniest thing except to Otto!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Little More Baby May

Oh these pics are killing me! Mabel's so little (mind you the day I  brought her home, she put her head on my kitchen counter!)!! She was so black and shiny all over.

Am I boring you, Mabel Lou??

And while she looks cute, she was the most destructive - eating her bed, my money, my remote, her toys and anything dropped on the floor. She was the most annoying... they only gave her an obedience cert after TWO back to back class series to get her out of there! She ignored any command. Would not sleep in her own bed, waking me up every few minutes to ask "permission" for what she intended to do anyway.
Then, she would wake me pounding on the back doors to go chase critters until some lovely intelligent friend asked why I sleep with the bedroom door open! She got on the sofa every time I walked down the hall. I would take her hiking for hours only for her to disappear for another run as we approached the car.

One of the rare moments... Puppy May sitting still!

And as much as I hated her... yes HATED... I knew the cute would not keep her off death row. I was her 7th home in four months! My keeping her says more about my pig-headness than about her. I just figured she would be one of those dogs that just pass through that you don't really love.  (BTW, I have never had one of those dogs!) And since the rottens I've had don't live very long, I never dreamed that eleven years later, she would be my constant companion and love! But here we are!

I only hated her for the first year. The second, I decided it was no longer hatred but that I really did not like her. By year three, she was O.K.  Year four, I kinda liked her and by year five...we were in loerve! Slow motion love! She grew up, calmed down and listened just enough to convince me I was sometimes in charge. I grew up, calmed down and just kept feeding, petting and taking her to the creek just enough to convince her she was sometimes in charge.

What an odd, sweet journey it's been.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh! How Things Change

This recent find of baby Mabel photos amaze and amuse me.  Although it looks like she's hanging her head in shame...she's really just trying to stay awake! And not doing a very good job of it for a 8 and 1/2 month old pup!
This  next one was taken in the back yard about the same time... I think that bone is bigger than she is!

What amazes me about both photos clean and nice everything looks! My grass is green. (I had money for the water bill.) The yard is trimmed. (My arms didn't ache for three weeks after mowing the grass.) The fences looked nice. (Mabel hadn't discovered chewing through them to get at critters!) The pool is clean. (I didn't have a duck. My back didn't kill me when I vacuumed it) .

The first photo shows that my carpets and kitchen floor are clean. ( I didn't own two businesses or teach, which lead me to create piles of stuff. I know where things are but if you walked in, you might think the place had been ransacked!) And my puppy still had many years ahead of her (although I was deep in HATE with her at this point in her life! Honestly, I've never disliked any dog more in my life.) And now, I know she is a senior and she too will leave me all too soon.

Sigh.... Looking at all of what was once my dream house makes me feel like such a loser!

I know I have to make some changes and I AM trying. I gave away about ten pounds of paints last week (two drawers in the craft studio!) I am trying on five or six pieces of clothing every day and what doesn't look good has GOT to go! I've been scanning photos that are fading in frames. The frames are in a pile for a charity (two shelves in the family room cleaned!).

Part of it is seeing how "stuff" is paralyzing my 90 year old mother. She doesn't want to commit to moving because "what will I do with my stuff?" She cannot see she does not need her stuff and won't need it ever again. She asks me daily what to do with it... my answer is "stop bringing more stuff home from the casino for starters!" I don't think it occurs to her that if she passed away tomorrow, it would be me, alone, having to get rid of it all...

And as for my four bedroom house and massive studio space full of stuff... I don't want it holding me down any more. I'm selling what I can on ebay. I realize even my inventory needs for the shop are one buys wood mounted stamps any more... so I've been selling grab bags of them, hoping to reclaim my shelf space for inventory that will sell in my classes.

It's a slow and tortuous process...letting go. But I have to. I have to!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Mabel Speak

I've come to realize that there is a whole language my dog and I share....commands I give her based on what she perceives the meaning to be. I thought it would be fun to write them down, just in case any of Mabel's Creek Aunties or Uncles need a reference!
I love this photo of Mabel at Dirty Creek so much, I had it made into a phone cover... she's staring at Hank and Sue just off camera and looks so majestic! 

My Commands (Requests?) / Mabel's Actions
  • Go / Walk
  • Go GO GO!! / Walk faster
  • WAIT! / Walk slower
  • Stop / Walk very slowly until Mom reaches me
  • Come HERE! / Run away
  • I'm LEAVING! (Turn and go my own way) / Run to Mom NOW!
  • Stay / Look to Mom and continue on
  • Sit / Stand still
  • Use your steppie (steps to ease her getting in bed)/ Leap on the bed and prove I don't need a steppie
  • Down / Lay down (Hey, she has to do one right!)

 Geez, I'm a terrible dog trainer!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Beauty in Garbage

Sometimes all the trash in the creek makes me sad. Other times I don't see it at all...

Getting Back to Normal

Mabel slept a lot Wednesday but clearly wanted a hike by late afternoon.

The girl did seem to get tired easily and early on, but she waited patiently for Bart to catch some rocks!

And then told us in no uncertain terms, it was time to go HOME!
We did go visit our Rhodesian pack-mates last night. Mabel's bestie girlfriend, Sue, who always throws her paws around Mabel for a hug and and kiss, noticed something was up with Mabel right away! She approached more gently, sniffed Mabel's surgery eye and kissed her right below it. Aren't dogs AMAZING????

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Drunk Mabel

Mabel was still feeling the effects of the morphine when she got home. She simply refused to get out of the car until her Auntie Rottrover showed up.

Note the lean in this one... She would lean, lean more, lean more and suddenly pop up! But she would not get out of the car!

Auntie Rottrover had me get Mabel some beef jerky, so I gave her a small piece. She kept spitting at me! When I came  back in the house after getting the car situated and the gates all locked, I noticed it was in her mouth:

And she spit it at me again!

I did feed her a small meal as her vet advised. Mabel ate it up and napped in her bed until bedtime. Look how weak her hind legs are:
She cried a bit in the night. I was up quite a bit checking on her. At 2:30 I realized I had forgotten dinner! I made some toast and took her a teaspoon of peanut butter. Mabel lapped that down and I got in bed and suddenly the high pitched whine started. I turned on the lights and started asking her questions? Do you need outside? Do you need a cuddle? Creek?? (That one got me an "Are you freaking nuts?" look). I finally realized she was hungry!

I fed her another small meal. She pottied and put herself to bed! Now she's still whining a bit but she's sun baking on the porch! I'm glad this one is behind us!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Purrs, Prayers, Well Wishes

UPDATE FROM NEUROTIC MOM: MABEL IS OUT OF SURGERY! All went well and she will be home in about five hours!

...needed for my mom. Mabel Lou's surgery day for me! Here I am getting sniffing the parking lot at our vet office.

Still sniffing...

My weigh in... 88# on the dot.

There foodables in there and Mom forgot to feed me....

And off I go. I'll be fine but... Mom is a mess!!! She does not do well without me... And it didn't help one bit that she read a story about a pup DYING under anesthesia this week. She got so upset when she found out I would be in hospital all day. She thought I would be out by noon and hiking tonight. I personally plan to take full advantage of my post op recovery to land some serious couch surfing cuddle time and some chicken or ham would be nice for dinner!

But if you could send some purrs, prayers and good thoughts our way today, especially for my silly mom, it would be much appreciated!