Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pacifiers and Baby Steps

Meet Floyd, my giant stuffed puppy. He's a great pacifier -- big fat snout, dark puppy-dog eyes, soft furry butt, and he's big enough to give hugs!

Call me crazy -- I don't care. I've always loved my stuffed animals like they were real and Jason's the same way. So every now and then, when we feel bad, we take turns hugging the puppy and it actually helps (in a pacifier-type way).

This morning the sun peaked out again. Now that the weather has officially turned to crap, I have to take every opportunity to grab some sun. I've been avoiding the dreaded first solo walk without the Pooh. Jason and I have made the rounds a few times without him, but I didn't have to think about what to do with my leash-holding hand -- I just held Jason's hand.

So I'm looking out the window, thinking to myself - baby steps. You can do it. One time around the block. You must get out of the house. I gear up (it's only about 40 degrees outside), grab my MP3 player, turn it to Talking Heads, ask the cat if he's up for a walk (nope, he's not), and head out on my own - solo.

It wasn't too bad. I went around the block 3 times (about a mile). There were tons of other people walking their dogs. I was okay. I even told one passer-by with a small terrier mutt in a sweater "Cute doggie!" And I meant it -- he was precious.

Noticeable differences:
1. no pace-setter (that dog hauled ass!) so my walking was slower.
2. figuring out what to do with my leash-holding hand? Thank gawd for hoodies with kangaroo pouch pockets.

I can definitely say that this whole experience has really motivated us to act on our dream of buying "the farm." We want lots of space to raise goats, chickens, ducks, worms. We want to rescue strays, revive frozen kittens, heal injured squirrels, raise abandoned baby possums, and everything in between. In the spirit of Jason's mother, we want to help every animal that needs a home or a hand. We've been really interested in animal husbandry for a few years and can't wait to have our own menagerie.

Next step - find the place to make this all happen. 

Pacifiers and baby steps. It's all about tying to feel good and moving forward now.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I miss my doggie

Well, I made it through the first major holiday without Clancy.

Just one short month from now and it will be my first Christmas without Clancy in over a decade. So many years we were too far from home to go back and be around family for the holidays. But no matter where I was, I always had my little white fluffy angel doggie to make it all okay. We'd build a makeshift tree out of holiday liquor boxes decorated with purple Crown Royal pouches as ornaments and open the couple of presents my parents sent. Always being strangers in a strange land, we'd wait out the day together in solitude. Booze for dinner and then early to bed. His soft white fur catching my tears as I cried myself to sleep from being so lonesome.

(Sarah and Clancy circa 2001)

Clancy wasn't just a pet, he was part of my identity. For so many years I was the girl with the sweet white dog. People always commented on my little white doggie when we went for walks. As I'm typing this, the sun just came out for the first time in days. First instinct is to grab the leash and holler "Wanna go for a WALK?" Second instinct is to cry. How goddam sad is a girl on a walk without her white doggie? Pretty fucking sad, I can guarantee that. It feels like I've lost an appendage -- an extension of myself. I feel like there is less of me now. I definitely have phantom pains, except they show up in the form of mistaken glimpses of the dog -- like thinking I see him outside in the yard or at the back door waiting to come in. I don't even have to watch out for poop in the backyard anymore, but I still check my shoes when I come inside. And that makes me so sad.

I just wish he was still here.

While he was sick and starting to fade, we spent so much time in silence listening to each other breathe. Such a beautiful sound I wrote about it:
10/19/11 11:33am

Laying in bed
Listening to the sound
of the Pooh's snooze
Light breath in
Hmmmppphhhh out from the belly
Enjoying the moment
with my best friend
and unconditional confidante
I love to hear you breathe

Once we found out it was cancer and there was nothing we could do for him, we went into hospice mode. The entire situation was all too reminiscent of my last hospice experience. Not wanting to leave his side for one minute, realizing there was nothing I could do to fix anything, knowing it was only a matter of time before we would no longer be together. The biggest difference with this hospice experience and the other one is that it became MY responsibility to make the decision to separate -- to send my best friend on his new journey because he was too loyal to leave on his own.

This was the hardest decision on earth. I put it off. I hoped he would pass in his sleep. But he's a good doggie and would NEVER leave my side no matter how painful his life had become. I didn't think I could do it. Not while he still recognized me.

During his last month, I spent hours with him sending out this loving-kindness meditation to him.
May he live his last days with ease and comfort, as much as possible
May he pass from this world with dignity and peace, as much as possible
May he transcend this mortal burden of illness and shine eternally as a white light of energy

I probably repeated this meditation a thousand times. I can only hope it helped him through such a painful journey. I know it helped me calm down and appreciate each moment I had left with him.

Then one day, death visited. Not in the phantom form that I hoped would quietly climb into his slumber and release him, but in the form of a scent. A scent that I had smelled before. A scent that, once smelled, can never be un-smelled. It's the sweet, sour, metallic smell of sickness. Unlike anything else. Unforgettable and unmistakable. The smell of Death.

I knew at this moment that I was no longer being a good pet parent. I was being selfish. I wanted Clancy to do the hard part -- to say it's time to go. But he wouldn't because he doesn't give the commands in this relationship, he takes them. That's how it has always been - why would it be different now?

I decided I wasn't going to fail my furry friend after all these years just because it would be too hard for ME. I contacted an at-home vet service and scheduled a time for them to come to our house. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

The time came. Jason and I were together with Clancy in our home. He was in his own bed with all of his stuffed animals around him. I realized I was glad that he could still recognize me because I stared straight into those brown/black eyes the whole time. He knew I was with him -- that I would never leave him. I know he knew because I could see it in his eyes.

It was very peaceful. The vet cried with us as we moved through the moments. I can say with confidence that he was comfortable and passed with dignity.

The vet took him away with her, for which I was thankful. I'd been having nightmares of going to the vet with my dog and leaving without him.

We had him cremated and brought him home in a tin box a few days later. Now he's up on a very high shelf surrounded by his stuffed animal pals looking down over me everyday.

I miss my doggie.

And that's the saddest story I've ever written.

(PS - Please don't think I've forgotten about all the love I still have in my life. I'm so very thankful to have Jason, my parents and Derville to help me through this massive change in my life. But nothing can replace my love for the Pooh - there is no comparable love in this world and that's why it hurts so bad.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bad as Me

We have always loved Tom Waits and his new album "Bad as Me" continues to reinforce the feelings!

So many good songs on this album. The New Yorker had a nice article that you can read here.

Here's a small excerpt from the article:
Waits’s new album, “Bad as Me,” his twenty-second, has plenty of stone gargling. It was made with a vast constellation of new and old friends, the most prominent of whom is an often overlooked collaborator, his wife, Kathleen Brennan, who has been writing songs with Waits since his album “Swordfishtrombones,” from 1983 (for which she was uncredited). “She responds to things like she’s in an opium dream. I’m more of a sticks-and-wire guy,” he said. (Much of what he says in conversation could, with little intervention, become lyrics.) “Bad as Me” also features the guitarist Marc Ribot, whom Waits called “the Lon Chaney of the guitar—there are so many voices he’s able to conjure,” and high-profile guests such as Flea and Keith Richards. Central to the album are Clint Maedgen and Ben Jaffe, reed and brass players from New Orleans’s Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who appear on many of the tracks.

The title track "Bad as Me" makes me want to growl!

"Bad as Me" by Tom Waits

You’re the head on the spear
You’re the nail on the cross
You’re the fly in my beer
You’re the key that got lost
You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall
You’re mother superior in only a bra
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the hat on the bed
I’m the coffee instead
The fish or cut bait
I’m the detective up late
I’m the blood on the floor
The thunder and the roar
The boat that won’t sink
I just won’t sleep a wink
You’re the same kind of bad as me

No good you say
Well that’s good enough for me

You’re the wreath that caught fire
You’re the preach to the choir
You bite down on the sheet
But your teeth have been wired
You skid in the rain
You’re trying to shift
You’re grinding the gears
You’re trying to shift
And you’re the same kind of bad as me

They told me you were no good
I know you’ll take care of all my needs
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the mattress in the back
I’m the old gunnysack
I’m the one with the gun
Most likely to run
I’m the car in the weeds
If you cut me I’ll bleed
You’re the same kind of bad as me
You’re the same kind of bad as me

Friday, November 25, 2011

Brinicle, anyone?

This is absolutely amazing and is the FIRST-EVER footage of a brinicle forming. My inner marine biologist is all a-flutter.

Where “Brinicle” met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish. In winter, the air temperature above the sea ice can be below -20C, whereas the sea water is only about -1.9C. Heat flows from the warmer sea up to the very cold air, forming new ice from the bottom. The salt in this newly formed ice is concentrated and pushed into the brine channels. And because it is very cold and salty, it is denser than the water beneath.

“That particular patch was difficult to get to. It was a long way from the hole and it was quite narrow at times between the sea bed and the ice,” explained Mr Miller.

“I do remember it being a struggle… All the kit is very heavy because it has to sit on the sea bed and not move for long periods of time.”

As well as the practicalities of setting up the equipment, the filmmakers had to contend with interference from the local wildlife.

The large weddell seals in the area had no problems barging past and breaking off brinicles as well as the filming equipment.

“The first time I did a timelapse at the spot a seal knocked it over,” said Mr Miller.

But the team’s efforts were eventually rewarded with the first ever footage of a brinicle forming.

Filmed by cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson for the BBC


Monday, November 21, 2011

Life Ain't Easy

I woke up singing this song this morning.  My favorite line is "And how much soul must a poor man sell to rub two coins together?"

"Life Ain't Easy" performed by Dr. Hook and written by Ray Sawyer and Shel Silverstein (one of my all time favorite authors and I had no idea he has written so many songs).

Well here I am in the wind again,
floating where it takes me
Laughin' and a splashin' in the summer sun,
until the alarm clock awakes me
Then it's coffee and a kiss and two cigarettes,
and I'm back out in the cold, cold weather
Chasin' my dream but I just can't seem to rub two coins together
(Sing it)

Life ain't easy, they never said it would be
Life ain't easy, whoever said it should be
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, free, free, free
Life ain't easy, tell me all about it
Life ain't easy, no, no, no, no
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, for you or me

That woman she don't understand,
the way my mind keeps driftin'
And the Lord don't always lend a hand,
when my poor heart needs liftin'
Is home and kids really all there is,
or is there something better?
And how much soul must a poor man sell to rub two coins together?

Don't you know that
Life ain't easy, no, no, no, no
Life ain't easy, whoever said it would be
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, free, free, free
Life ain't easy, can you hear me
Life ain't easy, tell me all about it
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, free, free, free
Life ain't easy, tell me all about it
Life ain't easy, no, no, no, no
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, for you or me
Life ain't easy
Life ain't easy...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

History of the Sky: A Year at the Exploratorium

A camera on the roof of the Exploratorium in San Fransisco captured an image of the sky every ten seconds for a year. The video below is a mosaic of 360 time-lapse movies, each showing a single day.

Totally mesmerizing -- enjoy!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Don't forget about Derville!

Who could forget about Derville?

He's taking our loss pretty hard. Derville and Clancy were two poohs in a pod for sure.

Derville had never been completely alone while we were gone. He always had the Pooh to remind him of our everlasting promise -- we always come back. Sometimes we have to leave but we ALWAYS come back. He's starting to get it.

Derville's always been a needy little guy, but now without his big fur-brother around, he's beside himself. It's like he's lost in his own house. I feel the same way. But we are just trying to help each other through this sad time with laughter and extra attention for all.

Derville is such a caring little guy. Full of surprises and interests...

(Derville: We can play chess, talk literature, or make some music if that would help you feel better.)

(Derville: Hey check it out! *singing* Fat Cat in a Tiny Box. What!?! This box is too small for me? NEVER!)

He's getting better at snuggin' especially in the morning, but sometimes it still feels like cuddling up to a piranha! Muncha Muncha. But that's why we call him Munchster, and we couldn't love him more.

Thanks for all the smiles, Derville!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This is how I remember him in my dreams

(Originally posted on The Life of Clancy blog in June 2009.)

Finding The Perfect Spot

You know...that spot...that's just perfect. The.Perfect.Spot.

Well I found one today and mmmm was it nice.

I encourage every one of you to go out and roll in the grass!

It's one of my favorite past times.

Hope you find your perfect spot.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gotta Walk Alone

This song pretty much sums up how I feel these days.

If I didn't have Jason, this would be one lonely fucking road.

"Gotta Walk Alone" by Willie Nelson.

(Pardon the craptastic video. This Vietnamese thing is the best I could find.)
I gotta walk alone
My sweetheart's gone
Nobody here loves me now
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

All the friends I knew
By two and two
Have left me one by one
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

Don't know where
Don't even care
I just keep walking on and on

All the friends I knew
By two and two
Have left me one by one
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

Don't know where
Don't even care
I just keep walking on and on

All the friends I knew
By two and two
Have left me one by one
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Fare Thee Well, My Friend

Clancy Pooh
(April 2, 1999 - November 9, 2011)

He passed away peacefully at home with his family after a short, but vigilant battle with cancer.

He will be missed by many.

Our hearts are broken.

We'll meet you again in the ether, my friend.