Sunday, June 30, 2013

Mom Got Her Hair Did!

After MONTHS of begging, I FINALLY got Mom to color her hair back dark! I LOVE it!! I feel like I have my mommy back!

She had let her hair go gray because my sister asked her to. Patsy was so sick and her vanities made her deplore that strangers thought she and Mom were sisters and often, they thought Patsy was older! I think this the only awful thing my sister has ever done to my mother. But Mom did it willingly and lovingly.

And for some reason she feared coloring it. She kept having nightmares that it came our red...something this red-head didn't understand. What's wrong with red? Red is HOT! But for me it was a safety issue. Mom leads a higher risk lifestyle than I do. From her choice of neighborhood - the neighbor kid's bike was stolen while we were sitting on the front porch this week, calling the cops and yelling at the perp as it went down - to late nights in the casino. And I felt her hair made her a target. When her hair is dark, it's not so obvious just how old she is.

This is a shade or so lighter than she used to wear it and she's already wishing she had taken the plunge back to her old color. I'm just so happy to have her looking like her healthy self.

Speaking of which, I keep catching her with no walker! She swept the kitchen yesterday and hoed the garden and picked a dozen cucumbers today!

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Mabel Lou here. My mom and I must have done something really bad because we've been sent to hell -  otherwise known as Louisiana. Mom keeps saying were going home but the suitcases never get packed. It is so hot here, I've taken to shade baking. Note that there is only a tiny patch of sun on my body in this photo.

It's hot in the morning and hot in the middle of the night. Thursday night we were coming home from Bailey's and I saw some swamp critter breaking into my foodables!! I chased him but I lost my breath and couldn't find it again for hours! Mom said she felt like she was sleeping in a vibrating bed cause I was breathing so hard!

There's nothing to do here but sleep and try to keep my cousin Bailey in line. I try to supervise Mom when she waters Granny's garden and make sure my Granny does her walkies but that's about all the outside I can take. We did go to the park again and Mom thought I might take a dip in the shallow end of that thing she's calls a pond but it's too hot and muddy for my taste. I wouldn't even drink from it even though I was so hot! And we got word from our hiking buddies that my creek has dried up back home! Sheesh! Can't a pup get a break??

Keep me and my mom in your good thoughts and prayers...I hope I get to see my house again soon!

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Magic Purple Dumbbell

I'm afraid I have not been doing a great job of exercising Mabel Lou. Other than the trip to Velvet's and a walk about in a local park where I didn't feel 100% safe.... our outings are limited to a morning ball toss down Granny's long driveway and an evening trip to see Bailey.

Bailey is a few months younger than Mabel and ... they don't play together and get into mischief like they did as pups. No, now that they are older, they prefer to "take turns." And their favorite toy is the Magic Purple Dumbbell. Magic? Yes, it's the only toy Bailey didn't destroy within seconds in his whole life. Seriously, it's probably five or six years old at least!

I toss the thing a until one of them tires of it. The minute the dumbbell is left unretrieved, the other pup claims it and I toss it until that dog tires...again and again. 

Bailey often finds Mabel too rambunctious and prefers to wait for her turn to be over from the comfort of his dad's recliner.

This is Mabel protecting "her" toy. Brat!

"Mom, dis is mine!"

She loves showing off for Bailey and doesn't release easily!

I love seeing Bailey boy in action...his little legs all a blur!

"Throw it Auntie, THROW IT!"

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Supervising Granny's Walk

Mabel Lou here. Granny got a new hip less than three weeks ago. Bailey and I make sure she gets her exercise done!

Do it again Granny!

CreekHiker here... do I dare tell you that Mabel and I caught Granny DANCING in her kitchen without her walker yesterday????  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hey There

My auntie and cousin have been really busy taking care of Granny! They hope you haven't forgotten about them!
Bailey the Corgi (a/k/a Mabel Lou's cousin)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I'm baby sitting my nephew, Bailey the Corgi, who prefers my lap!  Someone seems a little jealous...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Waiting for my Sister

While Mom is in rehab and I only get to visit her about two hours a day, I spend my evenings at my sister's brother-in-law's house, using the wifi and enjoying cable tv that isn't all about Jesus or home shopping.

It's weird being here. There are so many signs of my sister, it feels like we've all been flung in different directions and I'm the first one home. When that used to happen when I was in  college, I would cook dinner. Only now, no one is coming home.

It's still so hard to admit she's gone. She's still here.  There's her lip gloss beside her favorite chair. I take a nap in it and realize the blanket still smells like her. My brother-in-law gives me clothes of hers for me and my mother. I bury my face in them, breathe her in and cry.

Her favorite candles and lotion are still in the bathroom. Magazines she was reading are still dog-earred and waiting for her to pick them up again. I find devotional  books for people with cancer. One of them was given to her by a friend who passed  a year and a half before Patsy. I flip through them to see what passages she may have read. Did she find comfort in those leaves? I can't tell...

Her angels - she started collecting them over 20 years ago, early in round one of her battle - are everywhere in this house.  

I find her suduko book and marvel at her ways. I love seeing her writing there. She finished her puzzles one by one, front to back, easy to hard. And even though the answers were in the back, she never looked. But she would X out a puzzle in frustration.

And I can see how her hand was less certain near the end of her work in this book. I can see her struggle...

Her medication is here, in front of me on the kitchen table. Suppositories for pain, pills for nausea, diarrhea, constipation, shortness of breath, anti anxiety and the endless collection of eye drops she required to soothe her eyes from her last round of chemo.

I know she is better off. I asked her to come visit me before she died and she has...twice. Most recently when, for a few minutes, I thought Mom was having a heart attack in the hospital. I'm at peace that she's not in pain any more.

But sitting here in her house, knowing we're all supposed to move on and feeling that I'm the only one who has not, it feels like I'm just waiting for my sister. Just waiting for her to get home.  I think I'm gonna wait a little while longer.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Louisiana Summer

I have avoided Louisiana in the summer for about a decade. Last summer does not count as my sister was so sick... It's all a blur.  While it is hot enough that I long to be in my mother's dark cave of a house, it is nice to see some of mother's plants in bloom.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Our Visit with Levi and Gimpy

It's so neat when you get to meet blogger friends in real life! Yesterday, I took Mabel to meet my first  blog friend ever, Velvet Sacks. Velvet's blog is what made me realize I should blog too, so you can say it was life changing!

I had met Velvet years ago but when she said Mabel Lou would be welcome to come visit, I jumped at the chance for a change of scenery for the girl. Mabel is used to going everywhere with me and between the heat, Granny's old car with no a/c (not that the Mabel Jeep has a/c)!!), and me being gone to the hospital so much, Mabel has been stuck at Granny's with the occaisional trip down the street to see her cousin.

I was most excited to meet Velvet's boys, Levi and Gimpy! They are so cute! The girl KNEW she was going somewhere... and just knocked me into a falling dive trying to get into the car! Here she is...ready to roll...

Here's Gimpy and Levi after one of our ball playing sessions outside. The boys heard my car and came running to the fence with a ball! What a pair!

Mabel was too hot to be anything but calm... thank goodness. She did snoop in every single room! Velvet and the boys were so kind about that!

This is one of our play sessions. It was so hot, they were brief. Gimpy always allows his big brother to get the ball. On the few times he got it, he would drop it before they got to me, allowing Levi to bring it on home!

Meanwhile, Mabel Lou explained to Velvet just how much petting she requires of new friends...

I kept playing with those boys. They have the most amazing "old soul" eyes! They are both sweethearts but... I have to admit to having a huge crush on Gimpy! He's SUCH a lover... kisses and cuddles galore... just my kind of pup!

We had such a nice visit and it was just wonderful to be able to pet those handsome boys in the furs!!!

Friday, June 14, 2013

I Told Her to Go Potty

Mabel Lou is not doing well with the Louisiana heat. I collapsed into bed at 8 on Monday night and by 1:30 Mabel wanted outside. I stumbled out with her hoping we could actually enjoy the cool night air. No such luck. It was too hot to breathe!

I do make her go out and sun bake. I show her squirrels to chase, toss her ball and try to force outside activities on her. She begs to go inside within minutes. So I brush her...she's blowing coat something fierce!

All potty trips are lightning quick with her pushing the back door open in seconds. But then it comes time for me to go visit Mom in rehab.

I explained to Mabel that Granny has a boo boo and is in the hospital. I explain that I'm running late and she needs to go potty quick quick. And what she did next convinced me she knew I was leaving:

Not once has she done this in the back yard!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Really Hairy Issue

Some days, I really HATE my hair... sigh. Like today, when I just wanted it all to stay flat. As always, my hair has a mind of it's own:

If I had known how often I would mention my hair when I started this blog...nearly 1000 posts ago, I would have given it its very own tag...

Saturday, June 08, 2013

I Miss My Puppeh!

Mother's surgery went well but we had a rough night last night. Mom had so much gas on her tummy from anesthesia, we thought she was having a heart attack! At 1 a.m., her room was filled with over a dozen nurses and doctors, who all got a good (albeit expensive) laugh when we realized Mom's 90 year old heart is just fine. All she really needed was a good toot!  She had several more episodes  of severe pain before getting any relief! And neither of us has slept... SO tired!

And I miss my girl. She has adapted well to staying with her cousin Bailey. She's sleeping a lot... something she usually does for the first three days of not seeing me.  I could so use a good Mabel Lou snuggle!

"Uh Granny??? Save ME some!!!"

I'm hoping Mom gets to move to a rehab facility tomorrow and I will get to see my girl! Either way, I need fresh clothes! 
"That's more like it!"

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Good Thoughts for Mom

Today is surgery day. We will be at the hospital well before the sun for Mom's 7 a.m. surgery. (Mabel Lou will hopefully be snoozing and playing nicely with her cousin Bailey.)

If you have a moment today, think of my mom. Please keep her, and us, in your good thoughts and prayers! It is much appreciated!

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


There are cotton wood trees on the perimeter of our hiking area. Amazingly, I'm not allergic to it. Year round, the seeds blow their billowy pods all over and they land on everything. Can you see how they settled in the Mulberry tree? See how fuzzy that center branch is?

Sometimes, it looks like a spider's web:

The thing I MOST wanted to show you guys when I posted this photo in May was the cottonwood blowing in the air. It's an almost magical feeling to be in the creek in the early morning or at twilight, sunrise peeking over Mt. Luken's or dropping behind the Santa Susana's. The air aglow with expectation, birds hunting, frogs croaking and a coyote howling in the distance. A slight breeze kisses your skin and then you notice them. The cottonwoods adrift, floating near and yon. It's as if a million tiny faeries are around you. It's a beautiful place to dream!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Shovel Head

I promised a post ages ago about how our hiking buddy Susie got her new nickname, Shovel Head... so here goes:  Have you ever seen an elephant create a shower with his trunk??? This is Sue's version!

She dunks her head under the river and comes up shaking. She does this repeatedly until she cools off!

And she is one happy pup when she's done! We LOVE our Sue!

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Not Normal by Any Stretch...

I had hoped I could be posting more here by June. As always, make plans and the Universe laughs.

Mom needs a hip replacement. Yes, my 90-year-old mother...who still cuts her 3/4 acre yard with a push mower... is tired of cutting her grass in bone on bone pain! Pistol that she is, she's getting herself a new hip! The fact that she's so active is what convinced her doc to do it.
 We miss this already (Mabel with Rottrover's Otto)

So Mabel and I are to be nurse maids in Louisiana for a whopping five weeks. I haven't spent that much time down South cumulatively in decades! And certainly not in the summer! I'm a wimp and Mom hates the A/C!

And, that's not all. My wonderful brother-in-law, who spent so much time taking care of my sister the last year and a half of her life, found out he's living with not one but TWO hernias! He will most likely have surgery while we're home.

And... as if that's not enough...I just found out I have cellulitis (the connective tissue kind; not the inflamed skin kind)  in my feet making standing and walking terribly painful again!

To make it even worse... I will have limited internet connection.... I promise, I'll visit your blogs as often as I can...

It's gonna be an interesting summer....

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Lizard Hunting

Thank you all for humoring me with all the photos in May... I needed the month to deal with my new glass bead blog that I created for artisans to share their work publicly. And now that that's done... things won't be getting back to normal around here... But more about that tomorrow!

I love this photo so much, but I felt the need to keep it 'in sequence.' I think this shows my girl's intelligence and it's something I've seen her do since she was a pup. Note that she is digging on one side of the rock while simultaneously watching the far side. She learned early on that the lizards often run the other direction. I think the lizards are onto her because, I've seen many run right between her legs!