Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving has come and gone ...

It was a quiet day for me. My relatives generally gather at a cousin's home but this year everyone decided to fend for their own families. That left me with my cats and parrot and memories of Samson. I prepared a beef roast, mashed potatoes, corn that I froze at summer's end, roasted Brussels sprouts and red onions, and yeast rolls. My aunt stopped by to eat with me. A while after dinner, we had hot chocolate with snickerdoodle liquid creamer and cinnamon chip, raisin, oatmeal cookies.

After auntie left, I cleaned the kitchen and had to stop for a little bit of a cry. Had Samson been here, he'd have loved those leftover roast bits and mashed potatoes and all else. It's odd what will tug at the heart at times. I can get through more than one day at a time without crying then something happens and I just can't help it. I've had more heartache and pain in my life than most but I honestly have most difficulty in dealing with this. I never had to do anything but be who I am for him to love me. I know he's no longer ill wherever he is now. That I do have comfort with.

Samson after Thanksgiving dinner 2014

Miss Cleo after a bit of roast on Thanksgiving 2015

Mister after a bit of roast on Thanksgiving 2015

I certainly took no selfies ... that's just not my thing. haha

The weather is dreary and ominous today. These trees are right beside my house. I'm always concerned with the high winds that blow through here. I hope to not wake up with one on top of me. :-)

Did you get a lot of shopping done on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Lowe's is carrying their Black Friday sales through this week. I'm going to purchase a dishwasher tomorrow. Mine stopped working properly in May. I look forward to having another one. I thought I could live without one but I just don't keep up with the dishes. I hate to have them in the sink and I keep putting it off then I get aggravated at myself. When I saw the sale ad I knew what I would be getting!

I did some Cyber Monday shopping. I made a purchase from for a mug/teapot/yarn sampler kit with coaster and dishtowel patterns. Someone will get some nice, heavy dishtowels for a Christmas gift. The "dishie" cotton yarn from is nice.

I hope you've enjoyed the holiday weekend and are now in preparation for the next!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

First snowflakes ...

Well ... it's here. What more can I say?

I've prepared the bird feeders and bath. I have a heater in the bird bath so it doesn't freeze. Feeders are hung. I love feeding the animals but I do not like them to get under my house. I live in the country so the mice, large and small, like to get under there and make homes. I can't have that. My cats know they're under there and go crazy. I hesitate to put d-con under there but I know of no other alternative. Any suggestions? A small stream runs by the house so it's the perfect place for animals. :-)  

Winter of 2014, two racoons somehow got under my house. Chewed a large hole in the ductwork and crawled in. Samson went bonkers, as did the cats ... and I, of course. The smell was so offensive. I didn't know what it was until I heard it chattering and then, as I looked through the vent, a little black-masked face was looking back at me. What an expense that was!

I have a few outdoor chores that, as I looked around the lawn, I realize I've forgotten. Tomorrow I'll get those done and all will be buttoned up out there.

I've been spending my days housecleaning (which I've neglected and done minimally the past year) and I am knitting Christmas gifts furiously. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

We Are ...


Forty-five years ago. November 14, 1970. A dark, foggy, cold, rainy night in Wayne County, West Virginia. Seventy-five souls perished in the worst single air tragedy in NCAA sports history.  Almost the entire Marshall University football team, coaches, flight crew, and many fans lost their lives that night when the plane carrying them home from a 17-14 loss to East Carolina University crashed into a hillside while attempting to land at Tri-State Airport.

Our community was and forever will be heartbroken at the event that is forever seared into our memories. I was eight years old at the time. I recall watching the news with my parents. I had no idea what was happening but I knew it was bad.

This is a photo of the Memorial Student Center Fountain that stands in memory of those victims. Every year, on November 14, a memorial service is held at this fountain. There are speakers, many who are children, grandchildren, friends and relatives of those who perished, and the laying of a ceremonial wreath. The water to the fountain is turned off from the end of the ceremony until Spring the next year.
The fountain is more than 13 feet high and weighs 6,500 pounds. There are 75 points encircling the top of the fountain. One for each life that was lost. There is also a bronze plaque inscribed:
"They shall live on in the hearts of their families and friends forever, and this memorial records their loss to the university and to the community."

There also is a memorial that overlooks the area where the plane crashed into the hillside:

Here is a youtube clip from the movie "We Are Marshall" starring Matthew McConaughey that was made in 2006. It's a scene of a pre-game speech the first season after the crash. I did not make this youtube video. I am proud to say that I am a graduate of Marshall University.

If you are in Huntington, West Virginia for any length of time, you will also shout:

We are ... MARSHALL!!

Friday, November 6, 2015

My heartache ...

My little old dog: a heartbeat at my feet.
Edith Wharton
Miss Cleo, Mister and Samson June 2012 when he was a chubby pooch :-)
Thu 5 Nov 15
For the last three days, Samson has not been able to walk. He takes two or three steps and his hind legs give out. He seems to have a problem with his left shoulder and right hip. Going out to potty is his only activity, twice a day. That is a difficult and time-consuming task. He falls; I pick up his rear until he gets his balance. Then three steps later is a repeat. I've gotten to the point where I can push my wheelchair with one hand and hold his rear up with the other to very slowly and carefully walk across the porch and the kitchen floor without him falling so often. When he gets to carpet, it's not quite so strenuous. He has eaten nothing for three days other than I hand fed him a wiener about two o'clock this morning. I put a bowl of very cold water near his mouth and, at times, he laps it up like he's parched. Other times, he acts as though I've offended him with the offering. I listen to the rhythm and clomp clomp as he's lapping that water and splashes it all over the bed. I never want to forget that sound. He looks at me with his big brown eyes. It's as though we see each others' spirits. (I took him to a trainer once. The man told me he'd been in business for 42 years and had never seen a person and a dog have such a connection where words were not necessary). He could read my eyes and I, his.

Samson Oct 2014 - He thought the couch was made for one
Last night, (Wed, 4 Nov) as I was preparing for bed, he would take a few steps then plop on the floor to rest while walking from the couch to the bed. It was difficult and seemed painful for him to stand on his hind legs as I helped him onto an ottoman, then the bed. I lay awake with him, crying uncontrollably. My constant companion for 12 years was ready to cross the bridge. The Rainbow Bridge. What would I do? I've slept a total of 7 nights in 12 years without him. I've not made one decision, even about what time of day to do certain chores, without thinking of him first. No matter how many mistakes I made with him; times I've lost my temper when he chewed up another pair of pants or socks (most of my bath towels have evidence shouting "Samson was here!"); or times I had to discipline him in the early years of training, his love for me never dimmed. Not once. He would bide his time until he forgot what he'd done (which wasn't long at all) and run with his tail wagging to jump on my lap and beg to go outside to play or just lay on the floor together. He taught me how to love unconditionally. We all make mistakes. We all say and do things we regret. Deal with it (or don't). Get over it (or don't). Live well and love no matter how others choose to live. He always forgave no, matter what. He always loved, no matter what. He always wanted to have fun and enjoy the moment.

Nov 2014 Practicing his 2nd favorite hobby (1st - eating)
Thursday afternoon (5 Nov) I took him to the vet's office after a laborious walk to and getting into the car. Dr. Fulks came out and asked what would be easier for Samson and me. Did I want this to take place in the office or in the car? I'd rather have the office. I don't want to picture him in the back seat like that every time I get in the car. She carried him into the exam room and laid him on the table as she explained what would happen. I could not speak. I could barely breathe. I signed the consent paper. The table was high enough that Samson and I were face-to-face about 16" apart. As she prepared the syringe, Samson pulled himself to the edge of the table. I knew exactly what he wanted. He wanted to rub noses. We did that often. As she gave him the shot, he never took his eyes off mine, nor mine from his. She left the room and came back with the last of the medication about 5 minutes later. We sat there in silence, knowing we'd had a great 12 years. He managed to signal one more nose rub as his eyes never left mine. Then he was gone. A part of me left with him.

Best friends April 2015
I went to my car and looked at all the evidence of such heartfelt memories: his leash and collar; the bottled water and snacks I always kept available for him tucked inside his portable bowl; the bed pillow he liked to lay his head on when we went for drives. I wish I'd done more. I wish we'd had more time.

Samson and his friend, Rudy October 2014
 As I pulled into the driveway, it was eerily quiet. No barking from the time I pulled in until I opened the door and no wagging tail to greet me.

Going to bed was just so abnormal. Miss Cleo and Mister didn't come to bed until almost 5:30 this morning. I had to put on an extra blanket because my natural heater wasn't laying on me.

As I woke this morning (6 Nov), I didn't want to get up. It was just too quiet. Samson snored like a man. ha I wanted to hear him snoring and feel him kicking me in his sleep. I'll keep those memories of him forever. Miss Cleo and Mister have looked everywhere for him. They've gone room to room and pillow to chair searching for their friend.

Samson, Mister (tabby), Miss Cleo (tuxedo) and Baby (Quaker parrot)

Each day will be a step to my new normal. Life always seems to work itself out. I will keep him always in my heart. I envision him running through fields of tall grass chasing rabbits and chipmunks. He never got to do that because I could not let him run free here. (He did have a nice fenced yard.) I hope he's doing that now.