Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Big Pink Thing ...

We live in a charming old neighborhood of Victorian-ish homes, most of which were built in the end of the 1800s. Some - a couple - are pre-civil war. We moved here because of the Artist Relocation Program. (It didn't have those incentives in place when we came, darn it.) Now the neighborhood is an Arts District, peppered with studios and galleries. You can read about Paducah HERE. This was our house when we bought it. (Complete with the lively pink Intent to Demolish notice on the front plywood.) And then the after photo, which is telling me I better get some decorations up.

(Stick with me, people, I promise it's worth it.)

See the porch roof and the columns way in the back on the right of the "after" photo? That is the entrance to Bill's gallery. There is no dog fence around that part.

Occasionally someone looking for the gallery will knock on our front door. This is no meager feat, as the gate is nearly impossible to open, because Delia could open anything that a reasonably intelligent human could. The gates are closed with horse stall hardware. On the inside. And there is a sign on the gate which announces "Dogs In Yard" and another sign stating "Gallery Around Corner".

Last Valentine's day my dear Bill proved beyond proof just how much he loves me. I am always freezing. I am the only one I know who thoroughly enjoyed her (all too brief) period of hot flashes because for the first and last time in my life I was warm. At three-thirty each day I felt like I was on a tropical vacation with hot sunny breezes enveloping my body. Heaven.

Back to Valentine's Day, 2011. Bill bought me a Hoodie Footie from Pajamagram.  We call it the Big Pink Thing. Here it is on a cachectic model:

(Can you guess where this is going? Not yet? Hang in there.)

In real life, it's not so pink. More chewed bubble gum flesh toned. 

So (here we go) yesterday I was sitting in the kitchen in my Big Pink Thing. See how on the model the ankles kind of sag? On me they sag much worse, along with the knees and elbows. With the hoodie hanging down in back it gives the idea of a Hunch Back thing going on. And the butt has to accommodate - amply - my fifty-seven year old derriere in all sorts of whippet-comfort-couch-positions, so it's stretched just a bit and hangs alarmingly. It is so warm and toasty and I become a large chenille comfy whippet bed and I did mention how I put it on in November and take it off somewhere around March or April depending on the temperature, didn't I? 

Sitting in my kitchen in my Big Pink Thing, eating my lunch, surrounded by somnolent whippets, I heard our front door open. "Huh," I pondered. "I thought Bill was in the studio. He must have stepped outside for a moment."

The dogs, who go ballistic whenever there is a knock on the door, raised their heads, experiencing the same puzzlement as I. But dogs have noses. They said, "That's not Bill!" and trotted over to the foyer gate to say hi to our visitor. 

I stood to see what on earth was going on.

In my Big Pink hoodie footie Thing. Without a bra.

The young man standing in my foyer and I did a silent Drew Barrymore/ E.T. scream. We stared at each other, not being able to process what our eyes were telling our brains.

My eyes to my brain: A nicely dressed, handsome young man has just entered my home without knocking. I have no clue who he is. I am wearing my Big Pink Thing. The dogs think he's a friend because he didn't knock. Thank God Luciano wasn't in the yard or he'd have eaten him.

Young Man's eyes to his brain: Oh My GOD IN HEAVEN what IS that? It's a horrible lumpy saggy naked woman with a hunch back and a million skinny woozle dogs. Run! Run for your life!!!

My mouth said, "Did you just walk into my home without knocking?" Obviously my brain wasn't yet fully engaged, because that was in fact indisputably what had just happened. And I was wearing my Big Pink Thing. 

The Young Man's mouth said, "Oh. Er. Uh." Which was all his mouth was able to produce while his brain continued to scream, "Avert your eyes before you turn to stone! Medusa! Get behind me Satan! Look at that .. no! Don't look. I can't help but look it's so horrid! Turn your eyes from it before it gets you! I thought the Zombie Walk was Halloween weekend!"

Young Man's mouth: "I. Uh. Oh God. I.  Uh. I've made a T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. mistake. I. Uh." And then he was able to sputter in a last gasp sort of voice, "Art Gallery."

Normally when an embarrassed art patron comes to the front door by mistake, I invite them in, show them some paintings in the house and walk them across the breezeway and into the gallery through its back door. But I was wearing my Big Pink Thing and no bra and here came Luciano down the stairs realizing that something terrible was happening and perhaps the intruder needed to be bitten in the butt, thank goodness the gate into the foyer was closed. 

I tried to look normal in my Big Pink Thing with my mascara down my face and my boobs hanging somewhere in the vicinity of Northern Tennessee and my scary stick up hair. You know, casual chic.  "The gallery is around the corner. Go back out of the house and out of the gate and turn left." 

The Young Man's face still reflected the depths of the horror he felt, but he tried so hard to be polite. "Uh, I'm so very sorry. Art gallery. I. Uh. I. Uh. I. Oh. I. Art Gallery." He clutched his notebook or sketchpad to his breast, like a shield, as he backed away from the Apparition of Grotesque Pinkness. "I'm sorry. I'll just. Go. I'm uh. I'm uh. Uh. Have uh. Have a day. A nice. Uh. Oh."

And with that he got himself out the door. 

I watched him trot to our front gate, shaking his head, clutching his sketchpad shield to his heart.

I fear the poor soul will likely have nightmares for the rest of his days.

Hug your hounds and stay warm this winter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Sun is Out ...

Poor little Tindra is going to be the only whippet in the history of whippets that thinks a walk is torture.

It has rained nonstop since her arrival to Western Kentucky. Non. Stop.

Some of it was warmish rain. That was bad enough. But on Tuesday it was bitter cold, windy, with a mix of biting rain/sleet/wet snow.


A brilliant member of the fabulous Whippet World group, (my scissors sister Christel of Cottage Hounds Coats and Jammies) , suggested taking a sleeve of an old coat or sweatshirt and cutting leg holes to make a coat for a young pup. Perfect! I had an old Goretex jacket, which Tindra's great grandfather Jazzbo had chewed a hole in years and years ago. I finally had reluctantly put it in the trash clothes bag (but hadn't actually gotten the bag to the trash - imagine that). I whipped it out, hacked off a sleeve, cut some leg holes and voila!

L to R: Delia, Jabber, and Tindra

Only it was a wee bit snug. I had to work on Wednesday, and I had worked the weekend so I was comatose on Monday, and I just felt like these dogs NEEDED to get out of the house on Tuesday. The grown up dogs (including 11 month old Jabber, whose puppyhood has been assassinated by the arrival of his sister/cousin) rejoiced! We're going for a walk oh happy day! Even Fat Charlie walked to one corner, crossed the street, and walked back. (Mama Pajama didn't budge from her warm, blanketed throne in Bill's study. Clever as ever, that one!)

Normally, the youngest puppy goes on several walks. I just take two adults and a puppy until all the adults have walked. Now, I have two puppies. It's just a lot of walks, but we get it done. (Occasionally in desperation and in deference to my aching nurse's feet, I break my own rule and walk four at a time, instead of my maximum of three. And pray for a minimum of squirrel/feral cat/loos dog encounters.)

Tindra didn't mind wearing her makeshift coat at all. (Whippets are all about warmth.) But when I headed out the gate and expected her to come with me, she balked. "You are not even considering... Oh you are an idiot human! No! You can't make me!" I pulled her through the gate, her four little legs squarely planted, her eyes squinting in determination. "Okay, you apparently can make me. But I don't have to like it. Oh merciful heavens HUMAN did you notice that it is spitting ice and freezing awful stuff on ourselves? And the wind is going to blow me over and I am going to die" (this in a long, pitiful wail).

Her walk-mates, Fat Charlie and Sam the Puppy Slayer, busied themselves with a hearty pee on the wilted day lilies. They celebrated the great good fortune of their walk, if not the weather. (Note re: whippets - try to bathe a whippet in nice warm water with the heat turned up and a cushy towel for drying and wrapping up in and they will tell you in no uncertain terms that whippets will melt and water is acid and someone had better call the animal control officer immediately and report your sorry ass for cruelty. But. Pouring rain, sub zero temps, and puddles on a walk/run/lure coursing/racing/hunt? No problemo!!! Buck up, wimpy human. Come on.)

Tindra hung behind us, contemplating her future adoptive home in Florida or the Bahamas after she called WRAP (Whippet Rescue and Placement) and reported me. This was a short walk, as mentioned already, so that Fat Charlie could feel like he'd been out and about. When we turned for home, Tindra surged to the front. "Well," she huffed. "Thank my Ancestors you came to your senses. Hurry up."

Imagine her dismay when I included her in the next walk, with her great, great aunt Delia and her brother/cousin Jabber. This time she jammed on her parking brakes in the kitchen. "No! No! No! I will NOT! Arrrrrrrgh! This is a travesty of injustice! Call the warden! Mr. Bill help!!! No! Oh NOoooooooooooooooooooooo! Where's my Nana Laurie! Mother!!! Father! Auntie Lindy! Someone make her stop!"

I must say, I am impressed with this puppy's homing instincts. She knew with each turn whether we were heading towards, or away from, home. Zoom to the front as we turned west. Slam on the brakes when we headed eastward.

I didn't take her on the last walk. Bad enough I had made her squeak when I struggled to get the sleeve coat off. It really was too small. Jabber marched happily along with his mother and father, looking at me occasionally to see if I realized that I had forgotten Little Bit. When we got home, the Little Bit was curled in a tiny whippet snail ball in her downstairs crate.

I opened her crate door. She opened one eye, halfway, doing her level best to ignore me. "I don't see any stinking Human. Don't even think of taking me out of this Safe Place." I picked her up. "Moannnnnnnn. Errrrrrrrrr." (Aren't puppy mumbles the cutest thing ever?)

I carried her upstairs to snuggle on our bed pillows while I took a hot shower and changed into dry clothes. (Yes, I did put on my Big Pink Hoodie-Footie, why do you ask?)

In the wonderful Way of Dogs, when she woke up, she had forgiven me. That and it was suppertime.

Today the sun is shining. Tindra and Jabber played in the puppy yard all morning long, though the temps are only in the mid 40's. Who cares? The sun is amazing and glorious and good for a puppy's soul. When she wakes from this nap, we'll go for our walks.

I'll be curious to see if she is mortified at the notion.

Hug your hounds and enjoy the sun whenever you can.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Meet little Tindra...

Good morning, Dear Readers! If you aren't on Facebook (smart you) or Whippet World, you haven't met the newest member of the Waggle.

So without hesitation, I bring you (drum roll.....)


Jabber and his mini me!

Tindra is Jabber's cousin/sister. Now, I am NOT NOT NOT one for the inbreeding that can go in in dogs. No sirree. Genetic suicide, I say. So this is going to be a bit confusing, but here we go.

Swede William is from Sweden (makes sense so far, yes?) and is about as big an outcross as I can get. Lindy Loo and Simmer are litter sisters. Jabber's dad is Swede William, and his mom is Lindy Loo. Tindra's dad is Swede William (so she and the Jabberwonkus are siblings), and her mom is Simmer, (so she and Jibberjabberish are cousins).

That makes her Jabberdude's couster. Sissin? I wanted Laurie to give the puppies Mormon names, since their moms are actual Sister Wives. So the Jabster and Tindra are both outcrosses, but they are very closely related to each other - like almost littermates.

Then again, we live in Kentucky, where when you apply for a marriage license you are asked if/how you are related to your future spouse. No joke.

Poor dear puppy it has rained nonstop practically since the moment she set foot in Paducah. Constant rain, wind, ugliness. She takes it much better than I do. And the Jabberwocky is a saint. Truly. He plays and plays and plays with her as gently as... he's like Shrek. A big striped handsome whippety version of Shrek. Sammy has continued his I-Will-SERIOUSLY-Keel-All-Small-Puppeze ways, so either Tindra is tethered to me (or Bill when I'm working, speaking of saints) or Sammy is in his gated off area with a chewy, 24/7.

And did I mention that Lindy Loo has been in season?

Thanks to advice from Tindra's breeder Laurie, who is the A-MAZE-ING photographer who took all of the above photos, we are managing Sweet Old Dog's incontinence better. He wears a belly band with an EXTRA absorbent Poise Pad overnight, and we put those washable blue pads all over the house at night. MUCH less 'clean up isle four' to deal with. He and Luciano went to see Ol' Poke 'n Stick on Friday. He poked and stuck everything he could and we came up with diagnoses.

They're old.

The good news is that Mama Pajama turned some corner and came out of her Scary Place. She is now happy happy happy all of the time! She does Silly Whippet Spins when she goes out and wags all the time and she thinks the puppy is cool beans. This makes my heart happy.

And Lindy Loo is just about out of season. OH THANK YOU LORD!!!!

Our happy home. Two 14.5 year olds, one of whom is incontinent. Two who will be 12 in March. One puppycidal 9 year old. A five year old bitch in season with two intact males - one five year old Swede William who is in lust, and eleven month old Jabber. Jabber just discovered that wooohoooooooo his mom smelled gooooooood. He would stand there looking utterly bewildered while his end parts independently humped nothing at all, just air, and he'd turn around and look at his back end, like, "why is my end part doing that?"

Then he would turn his face around and look at me. Mortified. "Oh. Dear. Make it stop!!!!"

Air hump, air hump, air hump.

" Make it stoooooooooop!!!!"

Poor little guy. The good news is he and Tindra adore each other in a platonic, sibling/cousin-ly way.

And then there's work. But that's a whole 'nother blog.

That's what's going on with me. What's going on with you? I've missed you all. I've cleaned my plate just a bit, and hey look! Two blog posts in as many days. Could this be a trend? Oh please, Dear Muse.


hug your hounds, and feed your Muses

Monday, November 28, 2011

Warburton Whippets Website = FAIL

Erik, top, and Oscar

So a (talented web designer) friend was kind enough to set me up with a Wordpress website for my Dogs.

Fail fail fail.

Despite her coming over repeatedly and tutoring me. FAIL.

It's like a math test in that the instant I open the thing to try to post something on it (like opening the test to the first page) I am reduced to fits of tears from some unresolved place deep in the pit of my soul. The deepest darkest pit where it is slimy and putrid and smells like C-diff. And there are monsters with bad breath and fleas. (If you only knew how I hate/fear/freak out about a flea, you'd understand.)

I have not ever wanted to use my blog to pimp my dogs. That seemed, well, unseemly. But it would be appropriate for a website designed for that sole purpose. You would know that if you clicked on Warburton Whippets dot com you would be seeing the history of my dogs and their wins and litters and puppies.


So here it is. My dear friend in Minnesooooooooooooooooota, Laurie, bred her first litter of pups. They are by my Swede William (Multi AWC AOM, Group Placing CH Burnt Sienna Midsummer Night, JC) out of her (our - but she did all the work) Simmer (AWC Triathlon WINNER 2011, CH Warburton WW Southern Skies, PR, RN, NAJ, CD.

Their pedigree is HERE. She has two boys who are looking for loving pet/performance homes. They were promised, but through no fault of their own (other than lacking male parts so they can't be shown in conformation), those were a no go.

So allow me to introduce you to Erik and Oscar:

Erik, above and below

Oscar, below.

If you know someone who has wanted to add a darling whippet boy to their life, kindly email me and I'll tell Laurie. They are twelve weeks old now, and have started crate training, leash training, house training, sweet as sugar training, and being adorable all the time training!

hug your hounds

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Living with a Very Old Dog

When you first came into my life you were soft and small and sweet, and you looked at me with those eyes, and I thought that I loved you already but that wasn't even possible, was it? I wondered if I could live with you and if we would bond all the way, the way we should.

You were a perfect puppy, no doubt about it. You were so bright; seemed you came already knowing all the rules. Sometimes there was an accident in the house, but not if I paid attention. You would wake me up three times at night to go out and pee. I couldn't blame you for getting distracted by a blowing leaf, or moon shadows, could I? You loved life! Of course there were those shoes, but that was my fault for putting them right there in the closet on the floor where they were entirely too tempting. I left the birthday cake where you could reach it on the kitchen table and you couldn't help throwing up that colorful icing on the oriental carpet. Your favorite part of the game 'fetch' was watching me throw a ball/stick/toy, sitting stock still while it landed, and then running with me to get whatever I had thrown. You must have known that I needed the exercise. Such a good puppy.

That contented sigh as you noodled your nose into the crook of my neck when we were on the couch? I wondered how I ever lived without you, now that we had bonded all the way, the way we should. You were my shadow.

Now your eyes are a bit cloudy and your ears look like satellite dishes, but someone has played a cruel trick and turned the volume way down. Unless it's the cookie jar; you can still hear that from upstairs. Those darn stairs. You are quite certain that you can do those stairs. You've been doing them for fourteen years, after all. I want to help you, and you are considerate, so most of the time you wait for me. But, I am slow and don't pay enough attention. When you tumble down the last three or four, I have a heart attack. You struggle back on your feet and wag at me so I don't feel bad. You limp and wag and look embarrassed for me.

You are a perfect old dog. You wake me up three times each night to go out to pee. There aren't that many accidents in the house; who cares? You look at me with those eyes, the eyes which have welcomed me home every time, which have said, "It's okay, just throw the stick and we can chase it together, and whatever is making you sad will get left far behind." You are so soft and sweet; your breathing is louder and you don't bark anymore. That happened gradually. I didn't notice until you stopped barking, ever.

As I type this you plunk down from the couch and shake, legs going wonky, come and give me an old dog breath wag. Your breath makes that raspy old dog noise and I smile at you. I love the smell of your corn chips feet.

We've bonded all the way, my sweet old dog. You know me better than I do. You know secrets. You know joy. You know when I wake up from a nightmare and you noodle that nose into the crook of my neck. You know me. And now I wonder, every once in a while, how will I ever live without you?

Sweet Old Dog.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Oh Mama Pajama

Mama Pajama in one of her few 'safe places' with puppy Jabber in May.

Mama Pajama is fourteen and a half, just about. She has been the Bravest Little Soul in the World. She was a phenomenal lure courser in her day. (In fact she was the #1 AKC whippet all systems except Bowen one year. Number one in dogs defeated, Best of Breeds, and Best in Fields.) She loved lure coursing. Usually she was one of the smallest dogs out there, but she would out turn, out follow, and out run the competition, much to their surprise.

And then she got sick. She got a disease which nearly killed her. (Neutrophilic vasculitis.) And when I thought it was time to put her down she said to me clear as a bell, "Not yet. Not yet." She could barely breathe, but she said, "Not yet." We cancelled the appointment and to everyone's astonishment, she got better. That was nine years ago and she's been in complete remission for four years.

Now we have a new problem. She's terrified. At first I was what terrified her. I am the tooth-scraper, the toenail-grinder. (I am also the dog-walker, and food giver, but that didn't get me anywhere.) Needless to say, nowadays Mama Pajama's teeth are gross and nails are long, because I can't stand to be her boogeyman.

The look that breaks my heart - her ever-present expression ... oh, Mama

Even with me being the Great Satan, Mama Pajama has had Happy Times. She is happy, happy, happy first thing in the morning. She bounces around me and wags and sparkles as we make our way from the bedroom through the half mile trek down the crazy stairs out the back door. She gives me silly nose pokes just like she used to on the way to the starting line. She dances and play-bows. And when she gets outside sometimes she even does her Spins of Joy. A tiny whirling dervish, channeling her half sister Willow, with a big grin and eyes afire.

Mama Pajama's Spins of Joy make me feel like I've won the Super Bazillion Lottery, only better. And if her brother, Sweet Old Dog Fat Charlie, is simultaneously running laps on his wobbly old legs with a big toothy grin directed my way and his breath raspy and loud through his worn out larynx ... then, my dear readers, life is grand.

Where she spends 99% of her days - on the daybed in Bill's study with Delia

She stopped going on walks this summer. It was too hot even at oh dark thirty and she said, "No." After breakfast - which she ate with relish - she would head up to the daybed in Bill's study. Only Delia would go in there, and only when Bill wasn't in the studio. Mostly she has the room to herself. I take her out to potty at lunch time, after which she runs back up to the study. Then she would happily come down for dinner, happily come down before bed, and happily tuck into her doorless crate in our bedroom for the night. (She does NOT like to share our bed.)

She used to come down for visitors, but that stopped. She used to sit on the porch with us, but that stopped. She used to love her walkies. (Back when she was too sick to walk, I carried her the whole way, because she still wanted to go.)

This week she has decided she is terrified of the kitchen and the dog room (where meals are served for goodness sake). She is so terrified that I must carry her through the kitchen, and then she won't come to the door when she's finished pottying. I have to put her in a crate while I prepare breakfast and dinner, or she slinks upstairs. She shakes in the crate. (But she does at least eat all her food.)

I'm not aware of anything that went wrong, and Bill can't recall any mishap while I was at work. Oh it is awful.

Well, Friday it was purely glorious out. I marched myself upstairs and carried my petrified dog down and said, "Mama Pajama we are going walkies." When I put her lead on (in the dog room so she was shaking and cowered) she smiled and wagged. PAY DIRT!!! We went with Fat Charlie and Sam I Am around the block, stopping to sniff at everything and to stand still in the sun, because we could. She had a good time, until we approached the house, when she got small and scared. But we had a good time for a bit. I let her slink back up to her safe place and called it a minor victory.

Yesterday, I went to help with a project at the Kennel Club. (Turned out they didn't need me, but...) Bill is out of town, and I was going to work at the hospital from three to seven-thirty so another nurse could be off to be in a wedding, and I really didn't want to crate the dogs all morning too. So, I loaded everyone up in the van and off we went.

Mama Pajama has the crate right behind my head, and she looked frightened and miserable, even after we passed the vet's office. But when we got to the Kennel Club property, and I got Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie out of the van, and she spied her beloved friend Dee, oh happy day!!! She wagged and she JUMPED UP ON DEE!!! She wagged some more and smiled out loud! BINGO BINGO BOOYAH!!!! Slot machines going crazy in my heart! And I thought, what would she do if she got to see her Linda again? Her Sara? Her Rhonda? Her nana Terrie? Oh, Mama.

Today is another gorgeous day. We will go for a walk, Miss Mama Pajama, Fat Charlie, sweet Sammy, and I. And I have some figuring to do. I have to figure out some short little visits for her with her Special People. I need to figure out some Fun Stuff for Mama.

My job is to give Mama Pajama a bit of joy every single day. It's only fair. That is only a fraction of what she's given me.

hug your hounds

Friday, September 30, 2011

So what ...

So what is going on with me?

Every once in a while I get a comment on my Facebook page or an email telling me that the writer misses my blog. My response is always, "So do I."

It isn't that I haven't had anything to write about. Good Lord, I've had a whole litter of puppies, (well Lindy Loo and Swede William did) and now there's a new litter in Minnesoooooota. Swede William is the dad, and Lindy Loo's litter sister Simmer is the mom and they are Laurie's first ever litter and they are beyond adorable.
Simmer and Swedish Seven

And we've had some HUGE BIG wins in shows. HUGE BIG. Once in a lifetime - for me, anyway - kinds of wins.

Swede William and Lindy Loo's daughter Alison was Best Puppy in Specialty

More excitement, I was asked to judge at the Continental Whippet Association National in Wisconsin. It was like old home week for me. I got to see people that I love and haven't seen in years. Lindy Loo and Swede William and little Jabberwonkus got to run after the lure and woo-hoooooo they loved it! And I ran smack into the fact that I miss doing performance stuff with my dogs. I miss it way down deep in my center.

And there's work. I can't write about work, because of HIPAA laws and my patients' rights for privacy. There is so much to write, but legally I can't - and don't - even talk about it with Bill. I see stuff. I feel stuff. Heart warming stuff, horrifying stuff. Mostly I'm beyond exhausted. Day before yesterday was one of the worst days yet. By 9:30 in the morning I was fighting tears, mad at myself because using energy to fight tears means my energy and attention are being wasted, and I need every ounce I can muster. I feel so old and foolish.

The ballast to days like that is the little medicaid patient with terrible health problems who is a multiple hospital frequent flier. She introduced me to her family as "the best nurse I've ever had." Why? Not because I was in fact the best nurse she had ever had. No. Believe me there are much, MUCH better nurses out there than I am. I still have to ask my co-workers and charge nurses questions and questions and stoooopid questions ad nauseatum. I'm still looking up every other drug I give before I give it because there are all these new meds with four different names each and I can't remember what I looked up yesterday because I'm so damn old. (I miss my brain.)

So what made me "the best nurse" on one day and a sniveling idiot on another? The very same thing. I try to treat every patient, no matter what, the way I would like my mother or my husband to be treated. Period. On the days when I have too many patients who are too sick and have too many meds too many dressing changes too many orders too many admissions too many discharges too many doctor calls too many infusions too many transfusions too many lab results too many stool samples too many need to pee need to poop peed the bed pooped myself too many pain meds too many re-assess too many care plans too much charting not enough me ... on those days I can't treat my patients the way I would want my mother or my husband to be treated and it makes me cry.

On those days I tell my Bill, "there has got to be a better way." On those days I long for a home looking out over a distant row of mountains. With some mares whunkering at me when I walk into the barn in the morning, and their foals, folded up in the straw, turn to me with their soft curly whiskers. With a field where I host whippet races and folks come for the weekend and we have a blast with our dogs and with our friends.

On those days I am off in my imaginary motor home, with Bill and the old dogs along, not left back in Paducah. We are going someplace fun together. Just imagine that! Going someplace together.

I gave up the American Whippet Club Board. I gave up being President of the Paducah Kennel Club. I am still on two city boards which take up a lot of time and energy and brain space.

And I sit at my (imaginary) blog and my murdered muse sneers at me. "You want inspiration?" she asks. "From me? You kill me. Literally. With your thirteen hour shifts and your four hour board meetings twice a month and your committee meetings. You want to write funny things. You want to finish that dumb book you started. Yes? Well something has to give and you CHOSE me. Didn't you? You fed everything else and let me die of neglect. So bite me."

She's a mean muse. I guess we all are when we're starving...

hug your hounds and feed your muses

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie

Happy birthday to two wonderful whippets. Three wonderful whippets, as we celebrate Mama Pajama, Fat Charlie, and Sammy's mom Jessie who lives in Maryland.

Here are Fat Charlie and Mama Pajama on today's walk.

Mama Pajama in a Best in Field run dusting a ridgeback ;-)

Mama Pajama was the most amazing lure courser. Ah she loved it. She was the #1 AKC whippet in BOB wins, Best in Field wins, and number of dogs defeated. No campaign. We just went lure coursing when we didn't go showing or racing.

Mama Pajama was usually half the size of the competition, but at least to my eyes she had twice the heart

Fat Charlie (left) winning a feature race in CWA

Fat Charlie was also a brilliant lure courser, but his first love was racing. He would quietly hunker down in the starting box and then explode up the track running on sheer glee.

Puppy Fat Charlie

Puppy Mama Pajama

Steve Surfman photo of Mama P at the AKC Regionals. I love her grass-stained chin from grabbing the 'bunny' at the finish. And her ears, her darling wonderful ears.

Happy muddy Mama

Fat Charlie goes a'racing


Then - 3 months old

Thank you dear friend Laurie Erickson for this treasured photo

hug your hounds

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Runs and Staple Guns

Preface: I am a pacifist. To my core. Maybe it's my Quaker name. I cannot watch a PG13 level violent movie - nightmares forever. I had to walk out of the theater when I tried to watch Slum Dog Millionaire. I am a nurturer by nature.


The most darling Mama Pajama

For the first three years (2002 to 2005) when we moved to Paducah, my dogs had the runs. For the first three months the nine dogs and I were living in Bill's studio while the rehab on rest of the house was being completed and Bill was still in Maryland working. We didn't have a fence yet. And within three weeks all nine dogs had copious, constant, explosive, mucousy, foul smelling diarrhea.

You want to talk nightmare?

I didn't know a soul. Hadn't found a vet yet. Oh my God in heaven just the thought of those days gives me palpitations and the butt sweats.

At first I blamed the water, but store bought water made no difference. I cooked for all of the dogs back then, had been for years. Maybe southern chicken had so much more antibiotics that it screwed up their normal flora? The first vets I went to did fecals - normal. No parasites. We would do a round of antibiotics (amoxicillin and flagyl) and they would get better, only to have the diarrhea reappear when the antibiotics stopped. Queen Gracious had a bad neurological reaction to the flagyl, scaring the beejeesus out of me.

After five months poor Luciano had a terrible episode and started pooping frank blood. By then I had found the Paducah Kennel Club and members advised me to go to Ol' Poke 'n Stick. He asked if Bill and I had been sick. No. Did I ever have any problem with any of the dogs before I moved? Nope. Instead of only doing a fecal he looked at a rectal scraping (poor Looch) under his microscope. Was there a lot of rotting vegetation around the house? No, but, hmmm, well, the contractor said that when they removed the old roof it was over two inches thick: layer upon layer of rotten stuff that had been on the house since just after the Civil War. They of course threw it off the roof onto the ground. Our yard.

"Your dog has a bad clostridium infection," said my veterinary Angel, Ol' Poke 'n Stick. "I bet your whole yard is full of spores." Clostridium? As in the anaerobic bacteria which causes botulism, tetanus, and gangrene? Oh. My. God. The dogs were on amoxicillin for three years. (I have recently discovered that my home cooked diet did contribute - it was too low in fiber. High fiber helps the body keep the normal clostridia in check. And to this day my dogs don't tolerate chicken.)

Okay. That's "behind" us. Ancient history. Until two weeks ago when Mama Pajama got sick. Fine one minute, not so much the next. Vomiting. Lethargic. God-awful smelling uncontrollable squirts. I was sure she had some horrible cancer. I cried when I made her appointment. I cried while I sat in the waiting room. I cradled her in my arms when I told Ol' Poke 'n Stick, "She'll be fourteen on the 29th of this month. If this is something bad, we are not going to keep her alive for a miserable week, so that I can get used to the idea of losing her. I do not want her to be miserable, not for a minute."

Ol' Poke 'n Stick gave Mama a pat. He smelled her breath and looked at her gums. I'm thinking he's going to do blood work and abdominal x-rays and find some lethal tumor. He lifted her tail and sniffed. He gave her another pat and grabbed a Q-tip, lifted her tail again and lived up to his nickname. He disappeared out of the exam room, stinky Q-tip in hand.

I held my Mama Pajama in my arms and wept. A few minutes later Ol' Poke 'n Stick stuck his head back in the door. "Come look at this. Leave her here. She'll be okay for a minute. I want you to see this." I left a relieved, if slightly bewildered Mama Pajama in the exam room and walked to the microscope.

"Look," he said. (Ol' Poke 'n Stick overestimates me. I wouldn't know what I was looking at under a microscope unless the bugs wore name tags.) But, what I saw looked just like this:

"It's clostridium," he said. "She's going to be fine. We just need to give her some antibiotics, is all." I was so busy happy dancing all over that fact that Mama Pajama didn't have some horrible terminal illness, my brain too busy with the oh thank you God wanting to hug Ol' Poke 'n Stick, I picked up Mama Pajama and her prescription and tra la la'd to the van.

Halfway home it hit me: the roof! (This is where the "GUNS" part of the title of this post comes in.) The fudging, fluffing, goddamned roof!

Seems like our contractor thought we were crazy stupid Yankees who bought this old shell of a house and would never make it here and would be high-tailing it back to cooler climes before the paint dried. Because last fall we had to replace our front porch roof which had rotted off. It had been a new front porch roof just eight years ago. Oh and we had to replace every single window trim on every single window on the new additions. They had rotted off as well. Our original contractor wouldn't return my calls. The (reputable) contractor who did the repair work took photos. He just scratched his head in wonder. "This is so basic," he said. "I mean it's code, but it's just basic." Something about backwards flashing and no flashing and really dumb stuff.

Bill and I just scraped up the $8600 to do the repairs, grateful that I have a job, and chalked it up to life's experiences.

But remember when I was at the National, Bill had to cope with a major roof leak? The roof had leaked several times over the years and we were always having to replace shingles. I'm no builder, but this struck me as odd, what with the whole thing being brand new. We got a (reputable) roofer to take a look. He came down off his ladder with his eyes bugged out. "There's no vapor barrier on your roof," he said. "I mean my GOD! That's CODE! Why in the hell would anyone bother to put on a roof without a moisture barrier? I'm really sorry, but you need a new roof."

Once again all the shingles came down off the roof onto our yard with a fresh load of clostridium spores. The new roof was $9200. We talked to a lawyer in Lexington. We shouldn't have had to pay for the porch, the window trim or the new roof, but we have. The contractor did return Bill's call. I think his ears perked up when he heard Lexington lawyer.

I was willing to be quiet and see what happened. But now my dogs are sick, again. Sam I Am started straining and straining with nothing coming out and then before work on Saturday at 5:40 AM he vomited a gallon of undigested food. Poor thing had to go out a bazillion times and Saturday night Swede William started. Monday morning I took specimens in from each of them: clostridia galore.

I'm telling you right now, my dear friends, I cannot work twelve, thirteen, fourteen hour shifts and get up to let eight dogs out six times each during the night. My friend Heather (whose husband is a good lawyer) saw my van leaving the vet's and she called me to see if everything was okay. I fumed. I said the shitty contractor wouldn't return my calls. "Maybe you should go to his office and talk to him in person," suggested sweet little Heather. She had no idea of the seed she planted.

Patience the Pacifist had a thought. The Great Satan whispered in my ear and I listened and I listened hard.

"I could go to his office," I said. "I could buy one of those staple-y things they use to put the shingles on. I could go to his office and I could point the staple-y thing at his crotch. I could tell him I am a nurse. Being a nurse I would know that if I were to staple your testicles to your chair [oh dear readers I am relishing those words: staple. your. testicles.] that you will survive. Or, you and I could drive to your bank. You could get out $8600 for the porch and the window trim plus $9200 for the roof, and, oh let's get an even thousand for the vet bills I've incurred over the years which doesn't even come close."

Sweet little Heather sucked in some air on the other end of the phone. "Patience? Are you all right?"

Oh I hadn't felt this good in years! The money is awful and I am working too hard to be pissing it away because of some shoddy construction work, but that was just what it was and you go on with life. But the bastard's corner-cutting code violating crap is making my dogs sick. THAT WILL NOT DO.

So. I feel marvelous. The sumbitch pays us back and soon, or I dream of stapling his balls to his chair.

It's all just a little fantasy, don't worry. In reality, I will pray for the man. Anyone who makes a living ripping people off can't like himself much. Maybe since Bill and I have been MORE than decent about this he will restore my faith in human kind. It just surprised me that I was able to imagine a scene that I wouldn't have been able to watch on a movie!

But actually? I couldn't even get to the stapling part in my imagination: in my fantasy we just went to the bank and got the money he owed us and I thanked him very kindly.

Patience the Pacifist lives

hug your sweet hounds

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Free Day :-)

I was supposed to work today. Actually I was supposed to work this weekend. We are scheduled to work every third weekend.

No. Matter. What.

But this weekend is the Paducah Kennel Club show. I am the president, so I must be there. I had to beg, borrow, plead, and freak out to get the weekend off. Meaning I can't get the weekend off; I must ask my fellow nurses to trade days with me. Because of this, I was scheduled to work yesterday and today, which was icky and a half because Bill is tra-la-la-ing around back east getting an award from his college, visiting with family and friends, and eating. (I'm not envious. Or anything.)

Now I do have the best friends-and-neighbors in the world, so they come and let the dogs out for me, and feed them. The dogs were actually less frantic when I got home last night (late - two end-of-shift admissions meant I wasn't able to leave the hospital until after 8:00) than they are when Bill is home. They nonchalantly said, "Woo, woo. It's only you. We've had such fun with our new best friend Deb today. She pretty much rocks. Obviously she cares about us because she came and let us out from LOCK UP. And Lee and Dee are the best cooks! Dinner was scrumptious. You could take a lesson or two."

But. Two days in a row of crates all day, just the thought of it was giving me hives.

Then around one o'clock yesterday at work my belt phone rang. Patients can call their nurses directly on our belt phones when they need something, and our unit clerk can transfer calls from doctors or alert us if a patient puts their call light on. But this call was my Charge Nurse who was off yesterday. She asked if I could possibly switch days with her. She needed Wednesday off, so could she work for me on Tuesday and could I work for her Wednesday?

Yippeeeeee! Oh yes I could switch days with her!!! Oh thank you God and Charge Nurse! So, the dogs got to walk this morning, and lay around on couches and I didn't have to leave them for two days in a row of lock up. And my old body didn't have to work two days in a row at the start of the busiest kennel club week.

The Universe was lining up to make my Free Day pretty darn awesome. After the dogs and I climbed in bed last night, I remembered I needed to give Fat Charlie his second dose of thyroid medicine. I threw on a pair of shorts and trekked downstairs to get it. Oh. That somehow triggered the thought that I hadn't brought in the mail. And in the mail? Lo and behold the videos of Best of Breed from the National! Me, the mail, and the moonlight doing twirly happy dances on my front sidewalk. I had ordered those videos so long ago and here they were in perfect time for my Free Day? Oh yeah, more twirly shoulder pumping head wagging happy dances. Me and the mail and the moon.

Something else happened at work yesterday. To get the joke in this I have to make you like me a little less, and understand a little more just what a Saint my Bill is. For a solid year, and more, I have dragged my sorry self home from work and cried. I won't bore you with the why's of it all. I come home to a delicious dinner of Bill's creation and I tell him through sobs that I can't do this. That I'm a burden to my fellow nurses. That I'm constantly asking them questions, because I would rather ask the question out loud even though I know I know the answer, just to be sure I don't make a mistake.

I cry to Bill that the nurses I work with are fed up with me. That they must think I am the stoooopidest old woman alive. I weep and wail to Bill. (Sometimes the weeping is because of the human tragedy I see - this is expected, weeping about bad things happening to good people.) It's the wailing, the constant "I can't DO this!" that tries my dear husband's patience.

"You are too hard on yourself," he tells me. Over and over. What I want him to say is, "You are right. This is too hard on you. You should quit."

But he doesn't. He says, "I believe in you."

Last night I phoned him but he didn't answer. I emailed him: I have two fun things to tell you. I wrote about my unexpected Free Day, and said that the second fun thing needed to be told, not written in an email, so please call. He called after I had climbed back in bed from finding the videos in the mailbox.

"What's the other fun thing," he asked?

"You are not allowed to say I told you so."

It had been a bad day at work. The most experienced, organised nurses were just shy of frantic. No one could get caught up. One of nurses was sick and was going home. She was finishing up her charting in the nurses' station. I zoomed in to get a dose of pain medicine out of the AccuDose.

"Oh," she said. "Congratulations, by the way."

"For what," I asked? I thought maybe she just heard about Swede William at the National.

"For being Employee of the Month," she said.


"Yes," she said. "I got an email that you are this month's Employee of the Month."

I started to giggle. "You mean GOOBER of the Month, maybe! You are not well! You better get home and lie down." I couldn't stop giggling; this was surreal. Each month or so all of the staff on our unit does a secret ballot to pick out an Employee of the Month. Even now I'm shaking my head and chuckling. Goober of the Year, maybe.

Our Unit Clerk joined in. "Oh that's right! Congratulations, Patience!"

"What? What? You two are funny." I headed off to give my Small Bowel Resection their Zofran and Dilaudid. Still giggling. Later I pulled up my work email on my Computer On Wheels.

"Oh my God," I said out loud. I blushed. I started giggling again. "I do NOT believe this."

Bill cleared his throat. "So. I'm not allowed to say I told you so?"

"Good night," I giggled. "I love you."

hug your hounds

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Western Kentucky is hot.

We set an all-time record yesterday. I don't complain about the heat. I complain about cold weather. (Just ask Bill.) Cold weather physically hurts. I have this ethical thing; it rules me from deep in my center and probably explains much of who I am if I took the time to examine it. It is this: if I complain about the cold, I can't complain about the heat. That's my rule.

So I don't.

Bill is home visiting family and friends and getting an award from his college. When Bill is away, I'm surprised at how well I get along. Get by. Of course that is because Lee and Dee come and let the dogs out and feed them when I am at my 13 hour shifts. I'll have to ask some other neighbors to help this next weekend, because it's the Paducah Kennel Club show, and we'll all be out at the club. (As president, I must be there.) It is way too hot to bring the old dogs.

This morning I woke up at 5:30. We got up - the dogs and I - had our breakfasts, and walked. First Mama Pajama, Fat Charlie, and Sam I Am. It was 6:00 AM and steamy. Mama Pajama was panting before we got out of our yard. We dawdled. We stayed in the shade and walked through the neighbors' automatic sprinklers instead of around them. Mama Pajama dragged. Fat Charlie is feeling spunky since his vet appointment on Thursday. We upped his doses of heart and thyroid medicines and he is sleeping soundly at night, and feeling pretty darn peppy. Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie will be 14 in a couple of weeks.

The next walk was the eleven year olds, litter mates Luciano and Delia.

Delia and I are special buddies when Bill is gone. Normally she is all about Bill. When he drives away with a suitcase, she wags at me and grins, "Us girlfriends have to make the best of this, huh." And she's my dog again, until the second she hears Bill's car pull up.

This walk with Looch and Delia starts at 6:20 and it is astoundingly hot. And steamy. Good lord. And there are stooopid city squirrels everywhere. It's like it's "Bring A Friend For Free Day" at the Stoopid City Squirrel Sauna. I tempt, or I attempt to tempt, Looch and Delia with the treats in my pocket. I really do not want them sounding the Stoopid City Squirrel Sirens at 6:30 Sunday morning in my sleepy southern town. Other than the squirrels, we are alone. It is one of the things I love about this town. Quiet empty Sunday mornings. It is almost like our old walks in the back fields at our farm. Almost.

As I put Looch and Delia in their crates and get out the last three - Swede William, Jabber, and Lindy Loo - I feel sweat drip between my breasts and run down my belly.

I have a denim jumper on with a sleeveless polo and no bra. No people, no worries. I didn't sweat like this when I was younger. But then, I didn't live in Western Kentucky.

We set out and I catch a salty drop of sweat on my tongue as it dives off the tip of my nose. This instantly produces the image of Bill's dad working in the garden, cursing in Italian because the sweat has evaded his sweatband and runs into his eyes. (We thought he was cursing. Years later we found out that he was saying, "Ah! Go to Naples!" And the Italian equivalent of "Oops!")

The young 'uns and I go all the way down Broadway to the river. My glasses fog up in the humidity. I wonder if Bill is up, back in Maryland, and what he's thinking. I'm dazzled by the amount of sweat that is rolling down my chest and belly.

I see a downtown restaurant owner and ask how last night was. One of the boards I'm on is responsible for "Live on Broadway" - a weekly summer Saturday night party in the streets of Downtown. Started years ago, it was meant to bring folks to the historic district to support the retailers. It had become the opposite. People came for free entertainment. They didn't shop and they certainly didn't eat. Instead of supporting the district's stakeholders, the event was ruining their Saturday business. We're trying lots of new and exciting things this year, including hiring some kickass creative organizers.

The restaurant owner smiles widely. "It was fantastic," she shouts!

Good. That is good.

Swede William, Lindy Loo, Jabber, and I get back to our street. Our neighbor catty-corner from us is a flower gardener. There must be a word for her art. She creates beautiful 'paintings' from plants. I feel like I live across from a miniature Longwood Gardens. Anita gardens with the passion that I 'do' dogs.

I miss Bill. I am fine. The way toast is perfectly fine without fresh strawberry jam. I am diminished. The dogs gulp down water, back at the house. I water my potted plants on the porch and my little herb bed. I'm proud of how much I'm sweating. I want to share this with Bill: feel my back, honey, it's soaked clear through! Pasta without sauce.

I want to hear what he thinks is interesting as he peruses the Sunday New York Times and Washington Post. I'm pancakes without syrup.

I'm hungry!!!

hug your hounds

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spam a Lot

Blogger intercepts spammy comments before they get published. But they hang onto them for the blog author to check and see if they are really spam.

Sometimes they make me laugh.

I got this comment:
Thank you for this thoughtful topic. It is a topic I have given a lot of pondering and your insight is very helpful. (And then there's a link to an Asian Girls Escort Service.)
On THIS post. Which just cracks me up, because the entire text of the post is:

Where are my boobs
what are they doing there????

hug your hounds

But then I got this comment on my National post:
Man proposes but God disposes.
It was an anonymous comment, so I didn't know if it was spam or not, or if it had some little spyware pixel attached. I deleted it. I figured if Blogger thought it was spam, they were probably right.

I spent a long time yesterday writing a long post explaining how I had been in a horrible bad mood for days. And poor Bill. And why I thought I had been in such a horrible bad mood for days.

While I was writing it I felt like it was spam. Brain regurgitation spam. It was helpful to me to write it all down and think it through. But it was basically brain barf. Still, I was tempted to publish my pundit puke. I wanted you dear readers to say, "Ah yes. I understand." And "Oh, Patience. How brave and noble you are to endure what you do and only ever get in a bad mood once in a while."

But, shoot, even when I read it, I was all, "Geez. Get a grip." Midway through I wrote, "Of course the bottom line is that I am angry at myself." And that is the crux of the matter.

I did hurt my back on Saturday, from being stupid. I undid three weeks of miracles by Emily the Magical and three weeks of hard work exercises by me. I was so very angry at myself for that. But I did the exercises that I could, and I saw her again today, and I feel much, much better. So I'm not so angry at myself for that now. Plus I realize I was scared. It really hurt and I had felt a big POP. Now I don't have to be scared, either.

I spent a lot of time making ads for Swede William, Lindy, and Jabberdude. I am not a graphic designer, so of course the ads look amateurish. I was mad at myself about that. Well. Duh. Am I mad that I didn't go to Graphic Designer school? That was stupid, too. I do like the way Jabber's ad turned out, because it is just Laurie from Minnesoooooota's beautiful photo with some text overlay. Here it is in all its glory:

One of the other many, many things I am mad at myself about is I had a couple of ideas for good blog posts. Only I didn't make time to write and now of course they are dust in the wind. Arrrgh. When will I learn to make time to write? Instead you get this drivel.

Speaking of time: I had better now type up the Kennel Club minutes, the Paducah Main Street minutes, and the Paducah Renaissance Alliance minutes.

Yup. I have good reason to be angry at myself!!! I am a fool.

hug your hounds who don't care how foolish we are, thank goodness!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

We Got A Little Rain

In Fact, between April 22nd and May 2nd we got 17.05 inches of rain.

I took this photo of our (and I say that so very fondly: "our") Flood Wall while I walked the dogs yesterday. Note the glorious blue sky. We had forgotten what that was. Blue sky.

Thanks to photos that journalist Eddie Grant took and put on Facebook, I can show you what is on the other side of the flood wall. I think it was taken almost at the very same time, because I think I saw him flying around in the sky (that same blue sky) while we were walking.

See the small dark roof in front of the red X? That is the red building in front of the car in the top photo. That red X is where the dogs were tied back on March 28 in the photo below. And I thought the river was high then!

Here's another red X where they were standing when I took the above photo in March:

We didn't walk in the River Park:

Have I mentioned how grateful I am to the folks in 1947 who built our flood wall? The arrow points to our home, in another aerial shot by Eddie Grant.

It is so strange. Neighbors just 4 miles away have lost their businesses. Folks who live along little creeks are completely under water. Our local NPR station, the marvelous WKMS, posted a Community Relief Fund where we could send donations.

My sweet friend Heather, (Emmett's mom, and Baby Ben who is NOT a baby anymore, but a fine young man's mom), is an avid and accomplished sailor. She has a new boat in her driveway. She said if the flood wall broke, she would sail down and get us all. That was a comfort.

Really, we are in the safest place, as long as the flood wall holds. I think today is the crest. The Army Corps of Engineers blew up a levee on the Mississippi River, flooding130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri, to save some of the towns above it. It did relieve our river some.

But oh, those poor farmers. I can't even imagine. The photos are devastating. And people comment on them on Facebook. "That was my grandfather's house." "There's our family farm. It's been in our family for generations." Being human is all about being resilient.

The dogs can't seem to soak up enough sunshine. The puppy is so very very glad to be able to pee and poop without being rained on.

I don't think I'll ever live this close to big water again. It is an awesome, uncontrollable, powerful beast.

I love the gentle mountains, off in the distance. I like my horizons lumpy.

Which says a lot about me!

hug your hounds

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Just One Question, No, Two

Where are my boobs
what are they doing there????

hug your hounds

(Steve Surfman photo)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I am just about useless today.

Why? Because I am already anticipating the energy I will need to work the weekend.


What a waste. In a couple of weeks I'll be fifty-seven. I've never been that old before. (Har har) I've never felt this old before. I got to work at 6:45 Monday morning and I left at 8:45 that night. I was toast. It had been non stop. Although I did manage 25 minutes for lunch. I had called Bill and told him not to bother to wait to eat for me; I'd be way to late. But he did.

He had made some oh so delicious pasta. I come home every time I work to something unbelievable that he has made. How lucky is that? I don't know how he waits until eight, eight-thirty, even nine o'clock, but he does. (He allows as how sipping on wine helps.)

I will work the weekend and it will be fine. I love the nurses on my unit. I will have the rare privilege of caring for people. Do you know how awesome it is to be able to make someone's day better? There's not much cooler than to be giving report at the end of your shift and have your patients and their families ask hopefully if you will be back tomorrow.

Except maybe the relief of saying, "No, no I'm off tomorrow."

I'm getting some new shoes. My dear beloved Charge Nurse recommends them highly. And it is supposed to stop storming tomorrow. Poor Fat Charlie has been in a constant state of terror for what, five days? He's still quite weak and fragile from his bout with Vestibular Disease. (Here is a link about him on Whippet World.) His eyes are normal now, but he has the tiniest head tilt still. His hind legs were getting a little wobbly before all of that and now they are not so trustworthy.

We've been carrying him up and down the stairs, but yesterday he managed with only a steadying hand on his collar. But he's been shaking and trembling and panting and pacing with all of these relentless storms. It has to exhaust him beyond his nearly fourteen year old limits. My brave dog who never ever showed fear, until a hideously unfortunate Fourth of July last year. He was my Steady Eddy. My Fat Charlie.

Well the storms are supposed to stop tomorrow.

Maybe I can walk the waggle between the rain drops after lunch. Then maybe I'll go to our locally owned garden store (NOT LOWES) and buy some plants. Even if it's raining I can fill the pots on the porches.

Oh I just remembered I have a puppy! Here are his parents when they were puppies:

Hmmmmm. Well maybe we can protect the plants until the quilters leave at least. We're on a home tour Friday and Saturday.

Time for lunch.

Hug your hounds