Christmas Inside Your Heart

It has been such a rough time of late that I have thought of this rather dusty abode only a few times. But as I am sick and alone this Christmas Eve I thought I might spend some of it here, remembering other Christmas nights…I hardly had the time or ability to decorate this year so it is just some twinkling lights and glittery bits here and there. But those glints illuminate scenes for me…

I spent many Christmas nights alone and it isn’t that melancholy, truly. Your stocking has what you like best to eat, no need for fancy cookery when some French toast will suffice. There were some years spent early on the morning of Christmas taking a city bus 90 minutes to see mom, to be spoiled by her cooking, and laugh as her cat sat at table for the annual slice of ham treat.

There was the year when bright crystal glasses clinked with deep red wine within. And the year when the glass tumbled from my hand with a crash and tears, finally, for a greater loss.

There was another year with the power off, the heat long gone, waiting for that January 1st cash to warm up again. Few gifts that year, of course, but those that mom had sent well in time as was her way.

So this night I ride currents of memory along a coast of sharp snippets, scenes flashing by with pleasure and old heart aches. It could be fever, or exhaustion after trying too hard yesterday to be Sociable while unwell. Of course, Sarge has caught the same illness and lags a day or two behind me but remains in the car, check riding the nights away with the Troopers so that they not feel that burden of holidays alone on the road that he knows so intimately.

He will be home soon enough and we will share a late, simple meal with perhaps a medicinal hot toddy to send us off to bed. Off again he will go tomorrow but I think with some warm French toast in his belly and the simple Christmas spirit in his heart.

But for now…as the lights on the small road move with people going to and from their own families…I just let this run…song after song reminding me of the way life will push you from the mundane, from the pointless to your destination – if only you will take that hesitant step forward.

God bless you all.


I wrote this a few weeks ago and thought it posted but I suppose it didn’t…no reason to throw it away as it pertains. But there is Change. That is a post for another day. For now…we live, we love, we move on.

I’ve tried very hard these last few weeks to get beyond my grief and move forward as if life was…normal. A new normal but…I find myself not doing very well at it. I get up, drink coffee, makes breakfasts, set down dinner…but nothing else is getting done. Chores languish as I move in a scattered way through the house, vacuuming a bit, adjusting this or that…but with no sense of completion, little desire for activity.

I cannot look at the photos on my phone lest I see one of Her. I can hardly look at the double dog food bowl stand without weeping. If I even try to think of her comedic self acute pain strikes my throat as I try to not let it all out…all the terrible guilt I feel for missing her sickness – for not seeing how unwell she was until it was too late. I comfort myself with the thought that the heavy antibiotics masked all – that even the vet didn’t know. But I knew – I knew she was not right.

And I think of how I forced her dying self to haul her body up the ramp and into the truck to get to the vet – of how she lay dying as we tried to rush her…all in vain. She was so damn strong…she did what I demanded of her just because I was asking her to do it, not understanding why…

I think of how strong I had to be as the decisions were made – the cold, factual calculations and even voice as I held all the pieces of my broken soul together to get through this for her and him…of that final shudder and gasp she gave when she passed over. Did she see Jonesy and Smokey? Did she find a place of comfort or was it just a curtain closed? I weep alone a lot…I glance at the photo as I scan through my phone or files. Just a glance and I am wrecked. But still…still trying to do it all and not let the pieces fly apart.

I know it will pass. It is the one thing I hold to – that I know in time the pain will be distant and I can look again at her silly self in the video, on her back and kicking her legs in the air like some wild miniature pony. Listen to her talking in her woo loo loo hooting with him. Maybe even one day to smell the wee bag of fur that I kept.

Then I think of dear Ranger who can smell things so much better than I – of how every bed, carpet, floor has her smell…he must still be surrounded by her and not understanding where she went. I have washed the blankets and coverings to try to remove that from his senses. But today he sat at the pool just where she used to. He didn’t get in it – he just sat there and looked at me. At mealtime he will pause as he always did to wait for her to come eat then resigns himself to her absence and continues. When we walk he still pauses as if to see if she will come out from hiding somewhere in the house to join us. All these small things I know – these are my daily burdens that he does not see or know.

Recently we went to the rose garden and walked for hours, just enjoying each other and the beauty there. At the little gnome garden under the cypress trees he said we should make a similar gathering under her tree and in that simple statement was so much of our mutual grief that we held each other and cried as the voices of strangers drifted on the wind. She will be interred at the spot she chose the day she died. She scratched at it hard, looking up at me, and I knew even as I knew she was dying – here, she was saying. Here. 20171001_110924We will place the stone, a kind gift, and weep for now…but this place will be planted with all manner of flowers for beauty all year round. Then we can sit and look upon it and, someday, not weep with the loss but laugh with the memories. I pray it is soon.


Bereft – The Word Now Has Meaning

Kota_Last_Photo_9_27_17We had to let her go last night.

It was strange that, as she lay down in what must have been agony, the storm was coming through and I only asked for no thunder, no lightning – that she not be terrified as well as so very sick. And so it was – the rain pounding but quietly as we tried to rush her to the emergency vet. Too late…much too late. A ruptured intestine with septic infection all around.

I took that photo on her next to last night, her quiet rest and seeming smile did not ease my mind as I knew, knew intimately, that she was not right. She’d seen the vet that day who noted a swelling in her belly and scheduled the ultrasound 2 days later when she could fit her in at lunch. Fit her in…

I could burn the place to the ground in my current state of mind. I consider that their negligence killed my dog. I believe my waiting and relying on them made me her cause of death.

And as the emergency vet stated so gently, so factually, one could operate but she would not make it…she was dying as they put her on the gurney. We made our farewells and I kept my wits in the midst of it. But all night and all day I have known only waking terror and guilt. It will pass, as all such troubles do. But it will take me a very long time to not feel that burden. I shall carry it until its weight becomes one and I no longer sense it…until I don’t open the wound fresh each hour.

Strong, she was so very strong and never once yelped or protested as I forced her in desperation into the truck. Even at the end when they put in the needle she still raised her head in demand, in how dare they…until her head was too heavy and sleep took her pain all the way away. And brought our share to our hands. Strong. So strong. What will I do without my shadow?

Change Of Pace

My…what a week can bring…we survived the storm just fine only to find a new wave coming ashore. We have somewhat unexpectedly moved my elderly father into our home. A lot of familial drama ensued which forced our hand but, in the end, we expected it and had a plan of sorts to execute. Sarge’s dress out room is now Dad’s along with the (blessedly edited to senior living) attached bath.

I cannot say how sorry I felt for him for all the things he endured in the last month but it is water under the bridge and we are moving forward. However, the changes to all the health programs and SocSec is madness. Add in the VA and you have a recipe for ruination. But we’re slowly knocking it all out, checking things off the list. Imagine changing your address twice with all those agencies in 30 days.

I am, of course, thankful for Sarge’s acceptance of the life. We had at least discussed it well in advance and weren’t entirely surprised. It is just Change. And who knows for how long…he may elect to move back to FLA in 6 weeks, 6 months, a year or never. We’re defaulting to Never to just set our expectations. He is not in perfect health though still quite vital and fully cognizant. All that a blessing for us, of course. But he is chafing a bit at the sedate country life. I have told him we will soon have him active in the VFW, the JCC, his MENSA group, etc. Just takes time to get settled and organized.

It hasn’t been aided by the fact that my mobile phone went toes up a week ago. It has taken that long for the replacement process due to one error after another. It was insured so the cost won’t be horrid. And, in truth, it has been nice to be disconnected from the minute to minute social updates. I miss my Audible stories, mostly, and the ability to take a quick photo but otherwise…no. The peace has been nice in all this turmoil.

Add on the fact that my dryer decided to die a few days ago – just in time for washing all the new linens for his bed and refresh his wardrobe….well, it has been challenging. But the dryer was fixed today, I get my phone tomorrow, and things will be okay.

One thing that hasn’t been really pressed was his desire to Drive. It is Sarge’s only no-go item and it is wise. We had a very honest and open discussion in which I indicated we’d take him anywhere he wanted to go whenever he liked. He didn’t want to become an imposition, of course, but far better to drive him than to deal with accidents.

At least the weather is getting more temperate. I can almost smell autumn on the wind. And all that rain was such a blessing to the parched ground. The large cracks have closed and the grass is green and high. Truly a lovely sight. But now duty calls…



Still Here…

The weather has been amazing…gusts at 40 or 50 mph, driving rain almost non-stop since Friday night…at least all the trees remain up. I worry for them if it lasts much longer. The ground in the area has been so very dry that it has taken up the rain rather well – not a lot of standing water. However, the saturation point has surely been reached. Sadly, three large pecans, heavy with nuts, face into the wind and in front of the house so if they go down it will mean a lot of damage and the chance of the 2nd floor coming with them.

That has been my main concern since we still have water and power. We’re squared away for supplies should anything happen – not many worries there. But the trees…they concern me.

We’ve been letting water out of the pool almost 24/7 just to keep it marginally topped off. I will use one of the precious packets of shock in it tomorrow if this lets up enough. Keeping decent water clean is vital. However, the shock can also clean drinking water so I am trying to preserve it.

The dogs are fine – thankfully, not a lot of thunder/lightning which is a real blessing. And Sarge hasn’t had to deploy yet though we assume he will on the next wave. So we’re just trying to consider what we should have on-hand and ready to pack for him. The Bustelo coffee sachets are superb. You can heat a tin of water and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Or, as he notes, make some Ranger Pudding.

Friends had a house in Rockport and we assume it is no more. They hadn’t heard and there is no way to know just yet. Not certain if the news crews have covered it enough for them to have seen their neighborhood. It was brand new, too. Sigh…

The house has taken the incessant beating like a champ – so very proud of it! I have no idea if the newer places have help up as well. I think we’ll load the chainsaw up in a few and ride the town briefly to see if help is needed. Haven’t heard many sirens at all. Hope that is a good sign.

Family is in Cypress, TX – boxed in by water but they have power. I won’t be surprised to learn that they get overtaken eventually, though. So much more rain to come and the drainage southward from the waterways will only add to it so…a very long time remains before things dry out.

We are fortunate, we are prepared, and we are together. More I can hardly ask for.

It’s Gonna Blow…

It was a very interesting 24 hours and the next 72 or so will be the same. When Sarge was at the border for a week I got used to an early to bed, early to rise schedule. So yesterday morning he got on the bike upstairs, headphones on, and I took the dogs out. As always the cat-dog came along. Stripey thinks she is a dog, I believe. She eats at the same time and whatever snack they get on their food she waits for her part thereof. Anyway…

We went to the back acre and walked there – got to the fenceline where there is usually a dog or 3 in the neighbor’s yard which my good dogs generally ignore. The neighbor dogs are always changing so you never know if it is a pitbull or terrier or what in there. They bark and run the fence…well, we’d mostly passed the seemingly empty yard when a pitbull came out of the brush and full on into the pasture! My dogs were instantly on it but thank GOD it went belly up so that they didn’t attack. I had no leashes or gun so I did the Good Doggie routine, trying to get my own to come back to the house so I could lock them up. I forgot that the cat was outside, too.

As we got close to the house, the pit trotting right along in happy mood, I saw Stripey inside the pool fence. So did the dog and it made a beeline. She mounted the rocks of the pool, knowing what it was. The damned thing leapt 6 feet high and grabbed her off!! I had gotten Kota in the house, thank GOD, but Ranger you could see was all WTF, dude! I ran toward the battle, slid into home base at the dogs’ side and wrenched its head away from the teeth and claws of Stripey – she was fighting for all she was worth as it tried to get her throat or belly. She knew what I was about and as soon as she could she ripped away and hid. Now, this cat has practiced racing – she will cross the pasture in full bore speed when just playing – so she knows how fast she can run and where the hiding areas are.

I managed to get a choke chain from inside the house as she hid and got Ranger inside. I then went back out just in time to see Stripey making an exit from her spot and the dog lunging at her – a well placed kick in the leg stumbled the dog just long enough for her to haul ass across the yard to the barn, the dog right on her heels but not quite fast enough. She went way up and I collared the bastard, walking it back toward the house. I was so out of breathe at this point having run 2 acres’ worth of terrain in moments, and fighting a crazed dog…I got it penned up in the garage and went inside to tell Sarge after I called the local animal control.

He was on a 45 min bike ride – about mid way – when I stumbled upstairs to tell him. I just gasped out the vital words…pitbull, dogs ok, cat attacked, control called – and he ripped himself free of the pedals, ready to shoot the dog. In truth, I wish we had so that I never had to worry about it again but…we waited for animal control to get there and I had him finish his ride. Meanwhile, I tried to get a ladder to the cat and check her injuries – she seemed okay though shocked. However, I couldn’t quite get her and I didn’t want to scare her into a place we couldn’t reach so I let her be, petting her a few minutes and leaving the ladder in case she tried to get down. When Sarge finished his ride he went out and was able to get her to come to him though she clung to the rafter. I aided in the removal and he carried her to the house. Inside she ran upstairs, looking for the highest ground. I took her water and then her favorite turkey and cheese snacks. Sarge had checked her as best he could and saw no puncture marks or stiff belly so we hoped she would be okay. She ate and drank which was a good sign and I mostly left her alone, checking every hour or so. She eventually went to a blanket on a chair and curled up. I am sure she was just shocked and needed to rest. Brave Stripey

The animal control person got the dog and I am really hoping it wasn’t chipped and that I never see it again. That said, I am bringing the gun each walk because if it comes across again it will die. I felt horrible all day from the adrenaline dump. My heart was out of rhythm sort of and I had to just relax a long time before I felt normal. This just after my doc put me on a new med the day before for my BP. We all managed to recover and Stripey even ventured outside this morning for her usual constitutional. Scared, cautious, but brave.

Now, we are just waiting on the damn hurricane to get here. Our county got hurricane warned so Sarge dealt with the assorted to-do’s. We did the generator maintenance recently so it is fine. But our fancy pool umbrella had to get taken down and the spare gas cans filled.

Just a waiting game, now, and I am hoping for a reasonable storm – it hasn’t done much yet so we should be fine but odds are it will get nasty at 1am. I am not a fan of nighttime storms…now, time to make some dinner and settle in for the night. At least Sarge managed to mow the property today – if he gets recalled to duty down south it could be a week before he gets back so…at least that is done. Sure, I could use the mower but…I prefer not. Too fancy and too fast.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.


Same Same

Well, it is a virtual repeat of my last – Sarge is off again for a final leg on the border. His hotel, sadly, is not the same which is irksome – one of them catered to the midnight shift with proper blinds, housekeeping hours, etc. Ah, well…

I’ve been a bit quiet today – the first night alone in the bed is a restless one and especially when a dog decides it has to take a constitutional at 1a. I have decided this evening will be edited via wine so that I can sleep. I hope.

It has been a hectic time – my father (who is aged but spry) has moved to Texas. We took him shopping for the misc goods that he didn’t fit in his 3 suitcases. While he is with a sibling for now I suspect that arrangement will end before long. I don’t know how he will find a new place that is the same as his old one – not a lot of senior housing, frankly – and I am betting we’ll have to put an RV on the property before long. There is room for it and services so it isn’t a terrible hardship. I just fear a tumble while we’re away. I suppose we could have him stay in the house to keep him on one floor and a bit safer…

Anyway, being with him was strange – it wasn’t a “visit” as it was in the past – this was a more permanent getting re-acquainted and I remembered bits and pieces of history. He sort of sucked as a Dad. Yeah…that’s a fair statement. He tried but his heart wasn’t in it by the time I came around. But…I inherited his intelligence. I have his love of music. We are, I think, more alike than the others. But I listened to him expounding as he is wont to do on all manner of topics and wondered what he must be thinking, knowing in his heart that these are the final few years left to him.

And what a world his eyes must see these days…what an ugly, fruitless, lost civilization. I take no responsibility for it, having raised no one that is currently tearing it apart. Not my circus. But it makes me glad that Ed passed long before now…what would he think of it all? He never believed in an After so I hope, for his sake, that what there might be is free of this worldly concern. He did have something to say about a statue, though, which seems timely. My GOD, I miss his words. I miss his mind.

I want to lay blame on many – but in the end there is no cure for what was done to two entire generations. The hippies had kids, spread the disease of socialism to them, and then those kids suckled their own on a more vicious version – not merely socialism but a kind of rabid, destructive narcissism that ensured the demise of any kind of introspection, of respect for others. Others simply do not matter – what they want (and they will find those who want the same and cling to them) is all they care about. The price is not even considered – hell, they’ve never paid with their own sweat for anything. But they will soon enough. They believe somehow that they will be the ones with the ladles at the cannibal pot. Oh, no – oh, fool. You will be dinner like the ones you tossed in. Later, maybe. Fatter, likely. But dinner all the same for those who knew you for the useful idiot you were.

I wonder sometimes how wide this whole plan wends – street skirmishes directed by local puppet masters who commune with their national directors. But from whence comes the orders? How high and far and why? Disorder, certainly. And with it the Need to Control the People. Save you, they’ll promise. Just sign here…but it will be a Declaration of Subservience. Who benefits? That has always been something I ponder – what motive and who benefits…so the U.S. is brought to her knees. Who comes in during the distraction? What nation wants this rabble? Or is it something akin to a known disaster pending and a need to have Civil War II to limit the population on the ground?

I don’t know…I do know that there is A LOT of money involved. A lot of professional agitators. And a select few who are quite versed in fomenting anarchy. For all the hackery these days you would think someone could get their hands on the real plans…instead they focus on the main character of the play. He has a script, fools. Who wrote the damned thing and who is hiring the actors? That is what I am curious about.

But instead I just try to stay a step ahead. Purchases made to make it through what might come. Books set aside. Others tossed to make room. My mind whirls with what is done and not done. What must be finished in time…already one can see the slow drivers – the gaze lingering a bit too long. I cannot blame them. I do the very same, truth be told. Because the day may come when all the fences are ignored. Those polite and staid fences of wood, wire, and good faith are ripped apart in a frenzy to just get what you have.

The cannibal pot will get low. The hungry will venture outward. There are not enough miles between you and them. Never enough miles. Perhaps it must be instead as in Luke 3:10 – “And the people asked him, saying: What then shall we do?” – and :11 “And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner.” I don’t think it will go that way. But it never hurts to hope as long as you do so with clear eyes. Don’t mistake me for a devotee, though. Like Ed, I’ve my doubts. But I have read so many tales – all the same story over and over with different tongues to tell it that one has to wonder. And, after all, being kind has its time and place in every tragedy. It may be the only choice we get in the end…I hope we all make the right choice.