January 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

No, I have not lost it. I am very aware that it's January 31st and not December 31st. But we said that 2009 was going to be a great year. In other words, it was going to be very different than the black plague that was 2008. And as Beerman put it yesterday in an email that had an obituary for a very dear colleague of his attached, "2009 is not impressing me at all". So we're starting it all over and thinking of January as a 2008 hangover. After all, 2008 really, really, really, really sucked, so it would make sense that after all that partying in the shit, it would take a bit for the stink to wear off. So now it really begins. And we're not kidding. We're busting out the champagne and fondue, planning the countdown, going to watch a marathon of movies, and let C-man stay up too late (well, maybe... he's got a bad cold, so he might have to keep to his bedtime). But we're turning this sucker around. Let the festivities begin!

January 30, 2009

Memory lane

When I asked C-man if he thought Riley was playing Frisbee in heaven, he decided it was probably Jesus throwing it. I bet he's right. It helps me to look through old photos. Here are some great ones from years past. ..

January 29, 2009

Godspeed, good friend, Godspeed

Coming to terms

Riley's home. They are fairly certain the problem is that his cancer has metastasized to his spine. He's in a lot of pain. They want us to try some steroids to see if that alleviates the inflammation and pain for a bit. I can only let this go on like this for a few more days, though. I love him too much to do anything else.

January 28, 2009

Knitting for some sanity

My gnarly hands have been at it again. I was looking for a quick-ish project and saw this pattern at the local yarn store. I promptly scooped up the yarn and started at it. (Which made C-man say, "Mo-om, you're ALWAYS knitting." Yes, one hour a day = ALWAYS. And somehow while I'm ALWAYS knitting, he gets bathed, fed, books read to him, and regularly hands my ass to me in countless games of memory, dominoes, crazy 8s, Candyland, 4 gators, and go fish; Riley gets cared for; Harry gets loved; and Beerman... well he has to fend for himself these days, but that's a different story.) Strangely enough, I also picked out blue yarn without seeing the finished project in color. You'll have to believe me that the color is much richer in person than this picture taken under flourescent lights shows. I am on the homestretch, with one and a half sleeves and the collar finish, and to buy/put on the buttons. I don't really like the buttons on the sample, so that will be different. Oh yeah, and mine will probably look ridiculously lopsided and screwed up like everything I knit, whereas this one is perfect. But it's merino wool, and going to be really warm, and in case everyone coudn't already tell the missed stitch creation is homemade, I'll be the one walking around pointing out, "Hey, I knitted this myself."

Wordless Wednesday - Should I be concerned about my child?

January 27, 2009

My happy and sad

Happy: We had C-man's parent/teacher conferences last night. I know, crazy, because he's 3, right? But she put him through a bit of developmental testing, and had a good conversation about him in general. Bottom line, he's failing in "scissors". But everything else was pretty darned good. I even got pretty proud when she said he's one of the highest on the academic scale right now and is really good at making friends with everyone. So all in all, like Beerman said, it's fine by me that the kid is failing scissors after we learn that he's doing so great in everything else. Sad: Riley's back in the hospital. Despite our having gone back twice since he was discharged last week, when I took him back at noon today the ICU vet, oncologist and surgeon were all on him like white on rice. They couldn't believe how weak he was. I was like, um, that's why I've been calling daily and we physically brought him in twice! One vet is going to get her ass handed to her, because she took him off one pain med and gave him another. The problem is the new one doesn't kick in for TWO WEEKS! And she only gave us a supply of 10. No wonder he's weak. They were so not happy about that. So today they're doing an ultrasound because he didn't actually have a UTI like they thought, and they have to figure out why his urine looked like mud post-op. And they're giving him shots of really good drugs to try to let him rest and to try to get him to stop shivering. (Except some new moron was being taught how to give the shot, and blood squirted everywhere, and I got ornery about it, because come on! Which I know wasn't nice of me, because he was clearly shaken up, but really, learn this shit on a dog who isn't already feeling like he's walked through hell.) It's just so frustrating. We put him through all this because they told us it would make him better. I just wanted to scream at all of them, DAMNIT! WHY ISN'T HE ANY BETTER? FIX.HIM.NOW! And of course, now I'm waiting for them to call back. And I'm not really big on waiting, just in case you didn't know that already.

January 26, 2009

What makes your life extraordinary?

A blogger I love to read, because she's pretty inspiring and who also makes me insanely jealous because she happens to take the most amazing photos, posed the question today, "What makes your life extraordinary?" And I have to say, with my tired eyes and aching back from helping carry a 92 lb dog amputee around the house and swollen arthritic hands, I just sat for a few minutes, a bit dumbfounded. Because albeit chaotic, my life is, well ordinary. But I guess that's the whole point, right? So here goes... I have a husband. Who makes beer. And the base for my homemade vanilla that should be done in another month. In our basement. And he loves me more than I deserve most days. And his dinners are usually divine. I have a son. Who is really smart. And funny. And wants to do nothing more than please you while having fun. Who loves baking. And sports. Any sport. And I love him more than I love myself. I live with two dogs. One came out of a mudhole. Abused and tortured. And now he's one of the nicest, best dogs you can imagine. The other is a recent amputee. And he's going to fight this too. Their spirit to keep going and forgive others quickly teaches me every single day. And I'm me. Surrounded by so much, I just need to sometimes remind myself how extraordinary it all is. ***************************** Happy 7th birthday, Harry!

January 25, 2009

K4 and vet hospitals and Nutella, oh my!

My day has been made up of helping Beerman get Riley to the vet hospital again because this morning he was refusing to eat or walk (so they shot him up with some good pain meds that have since put him in snoozyland); visiting our parish school open house - which I enjoyed thoroughly due to 8th grader Henry's tour, much to my complete amazement (Public school is now landing in third place for K4. We now have to decide whether we're going to go with Catholic school or public school for the majority of C-man's schooling, because that's what will determine our choice between a Lutheran or Catholic K4 school); and sneaking spoonful after gooey spoonful of Nutella that I purchased yesterday in a moment of complete weakness about an hour before dinner (although "sneaking" would imply nobody knew it was me causing the container to dwindle, when Beerman is allergic to hazelnut and C-man doesn't have the pleasure of knowing the amazing thing that is Nutella spread on white bread quite yet). Wow, pretty exciting life I lead, eh? Next thing you know I'll be talking about the weather or what clothes I picked out for work tomorrow. (Frickin' cold at 15.6 degrees and an aqua/black striped sweater.)

January 24, 2009

Another Soccer Saturday

This week we had him wear shorts so he wasn't pulling his pants up to you-know-where. The windup...GOOOOOAAAALLL!
Breaking away with the ball:
The child who remembered when he wasn't listening to his coach very well last week that his Dad said he could have Culvers after his soccer practice if he was good:
Riley update:
Last night I took Riley back to the hospital. He was shaking and crying. It was awful. They had us take his fentanyl patch off, which apparently makes some dogs dysphoric. That, and they gave him a couple shots of the good stuff. So after spending his morning like the photo below with one of us petting and hugging him, he actually greeted me at the door after soccer practice and was pretty happy. The really good news is that they tested the lymph node of his amputated leg to officially stage the cancer, and there was nothing in the lymph node. That could have been a big bummer after he's gone through all of this.

January 23, 2009

Another fine Friday at home

Lately I have been having a hard time fitting work into my life with Riley's appointments and visits and care; school closings last week due to the cold; K4 visits and registrations; going to the police station to get my registration sticker checked; in addition to the mundane bill paying, house cleaning, haircuts, and dog and fish feeding. And none of that mentions taking care of a 3 year old and noticing I have a husband. Sigh... So today I am working from home. Because I need to watch over Riley. And I also need to catch up on some major writing that I can't manage to do in a look-over-my-grey-cubicle-wall-to-ask-me-questions-every-five-minutes-which-is-fine-because-I-can't-concentrate-with-all-the-other-crap-going-on-in-all-the-grey-cubicles-around-me-anyway-plus-I-have-4-instantmessages-blinking-at-me-right-now-needing-immediate-answers environment. Riley update: I am so impressed by him. He's sleeping a lot, which is completely understandable. And he hates the e-collar, which I can hardly blame. But he's getting around really well, jumping into snowbanks, eating well, and overall is in pretty good spirits. He was in some pain last night, but another pain med seemed to make him more comfortable. His urine was yellow today, which means the UTI is clearing up, and hopefully is less painful! (Yea for the vet who chose the right antibiotic!) Our issue while he's learning to walk well is getting through the linoleum kitchen. Without that 4th leg to catch himself, he slips. Thankfully, everything else is carpeted in our house. And it only took one digger for him to learn to start going through the living room to get to the other side. We've put rugs all over the kitchen to try to avoid future issues. You'll notice he still hoards all the chew bones around him. He might be missing a leg, but is still keen on playing Alpha:

January 22, 2009

K4 Open House Mania

C-man is scheduled to start K4 in the fall. And believe it or not, registrations are THIS WEEK. Am I the only one that thinks that requiring registration 8 months in advance is completely insane? So our three acceptable choices are: public school, Lutheran school he's already at, Catholic school attached to our parish. Public School It's a great public school. Everyone who goes there thinks highly of it. Our neighbor kid goes there, and they are very pleased. It gets great test scores and overall ratings. Because K4 is half-day, we would have to send him through the before-school Y program. Which, believe it or not, costs more than our current situation. He would ride a bus, but would do so with our next door neighbor. There would be no rest time, because as a full-day kid, he'd get PM kindergarten. While I had to register him at 7:30 this morning, I have the open house to go to at 7 tonight. If we choose one of the other two options, then I have to withdraw him. Stupid. Overall, my first introduction into the system has felt more wet blanket and less warm hug. And in case you didn't realize, I'm pretty big on gut feelings. Lutheran School A great school. It's much smaller than the public school (could be pro or con), but has great test scores and reviews. He's already there and LOVES the K4 teacher. Everyone in the school already knows him, and he's familiar with the school. And we've really loved the teachers. The curriculum is a lot of fun, they do animal stuff and even have guinea pigs and fish and other stuff in the room. They have a rest time after lunch. And they do the whole Jesus element. If we move, he could stay in the same school. It's also cheaper than the public school. My open house experience was really, really positive. Felt a lot like a big warm hug. Catholic School It would mean joining where we belong for church. It's a great school, small, but has fabulous test scores and reviews too. And if we're looking for the Jesus element, it would at least be teaching the "right" religion. (Not to imply one religion is better than the other, only that we're Catholic, and it would coincide with what we practice) If we move houses, he could stay in the same school. The open house is Sunday, so I'm not sure about the cost element or wet blanket vs. warm hug feelings yet. The really positive thing about this? We can't possibly make a wrong choice. All three are great options. It's just a matter of figuring out what's the best option for him as a 4 year old. And I do realize that this isn't the difference between good college or not. And I know that this decision is only for this year and next year we could enroll him in public if we decided against it this year. But I recognize that it is an important decision as he gets introduced more formally to school that he learns to like it and not hate it right off the bat. So, I'm the open-house Mama this week. ************************* Riley news: The vet said that Riley has been doing really, really well. They're a bit worried that he has a UTI, though, so they will have the confirmation of that in a couple of hours. His urine is "brownish". And when they've let him move on his own, he's been okay, but when they sling-walk him he's a "brat". Apparently he didn't like his rectal exam either (but really, who can blame him for THAT?!?). She took him off his pain medicine cocktail drip to see how he does on just the pain patch and oral pain meds. If he does well, and we can get the UTI stuff straightened out, we'll get him home tonight. And by the way - explaining to C-man why his dog is going to come home with only half a leg was not the easiest thing I've ever done. I'm hoping it'll just be normal to him after the next couple of days. I think I might have to get a book on people with disabilities to help explain it better. UPDATE: He does have a UTI, so he'll be on antibiotics too, now. What's one more pill at this point? It just means he's hurting more than he should be, and might be a bit more snarly than usual. It also means we have to delay chemo until it's completely gone. But the nice thing is I have a pickup time of 3:30 p.m. Riley's coming home. ************************* And last, but definitely not least: Happy 43rd, Mom and Dad!

January 21, 2009


I spent last night at the animal emergency center. Riley broke both bones in his leg yesterday. And get this... was still walking around on it. The only way I knew something was terribly wrong was because he was tremoring to the point of his teeth chattering. In the morning, I'd thought he was just cold. But by afternoon, it didn't make sense anymore. The oncologist said she's never seen anything like it. And when she examined him, he let her do whatever she wanted, never showing teeth or biting her (which is what she claims usually happens). To which I responded, "Would you believe he used to be a really aggressive dog?" I think she thought I was kidding. Anyhow, she took x-rays of his lungs, and says they don't appear to have any gross tumors yet. We're waiting on a radiologist in California to read them this morning to confirm that. If his lungs are confirmed to still be clear, then he'll get his leg amputated this afternoon. If there are tumors that somehow the really smart oncologist missed seeing, then he'll come home with us tonight so we can say one last goodbye. UPDATE 10:43 a.m.: His lungs are clear, so he's going in for surgery around 1 p.m. UPDATE 12:37 p.m.: He's knocked out and on his way into surgery. Doggie prayers please. UPDATE: 2:31 p.m.: The waiting is killing me. The surgeon said no news is good news, and that she is going to wait until he wakes up before she calls. Call, damnit!!! UPDATE: 3:09 p.m.: He's out, everything went as well as it could, and he's mad.

January 20, 2009


The happiness I feel today, knowing that my child will never really understand why this day was so special, is indescribable. Thank God we got it right this time.

January 19, 2009

Definition of greatness

All the concerts and rhetoric and frenzy aside: How can you not get excited about the sheer greatness of this week?
If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 18, 2009

My child, my card shark

This weekend I have played so many rounds of Go Fish, Old Maid, and 3 or 4 Gators (a homegrown favorite that includes lots of table talking), even I am tired of cards. At least he doesn't cheat. He must get that from his dad.

January 17, 2009

I think I'm boring

When I sat down to blog, I realized... I got nothing. So here are some photos from my day. My child (who has decided he only looks like a soccer star if he pulls his pants up to his bunghole to show off his Mitre socks) at this morning's soccer practice: (I'm sure Beckham wears a speedo to practice too) Hugging Dad at lunch while we waited for Riley to get out of the groomer's: Puzzle-mania

January 16, 2009

My day told through pictures

Brrr... If only you had smell-o-puter. Harry was groomed yesterday. Which is why he's cold. But at least he doesn't smell like Fritos.
9:30 a.m. cookies
Destroying the living room while the cookies bake.
Yummmmm... (who let me be a mother? Seriously, it's 10 a.m.)
Ahhh, lemon ginger tea, AKA heaven
Snacktime. Quick - which one is the monkey?Movietime. FYI - We did not see Bride Wars.The theater is conveniently located next door to a great yarn shop. C-man got bribed with the promise of a new hat of his color choice. Surprise... orange.