This is a huge blog entry for me. I guess I'm making up for lost time. I've been super-busy this past month, with the usual Christmas preparations and such, on top of all the regular stuff, plus a birthday, and nursing my finger and my dog, so I've been really bad about updating lately. Here's a little bit about what's been going on...
Having a bandaged finger doesn't seem like it should be a big deal, but does get in the way more than you would think. Things I take for granted, like the way I hold the leash when I walk Teddy, putting an elastic in my hair for a ponytail, opening jars, flossing my teeth, and trying to applaud at a great concert. It doesn't stop me from doing these things, but it does get in the way. It's also a factor when I'm sawing a design out of silver, because that's the finger I would like to be using to hold the metal against the bench pin. Oh, well. I did get my stitches out, and things were great for two or three days, then the joint got really angry and swelled up, turned red, hurt tremendously and became un-bendable. It's calming down now, and much of the pain is gone, but I lost a lot of ground with physical therapy. Despite the whining, I have managed to get some work done, and here's a photo of some of the jewelry I made while impaired. It doesn't interfere much with my ability to paint. Washing my hands, yes (when it's bandaged), but not in getting them dirty.
Teddy had some dental surgery to remove a cracked tooth. It looked like it should be terribly painful, but he never showed any symptoms of the problem. He was very floppy from the anesthesia and pain medication, and it was sweet to see such a big dog be so...pliable. We didn't want him to fall off the bed that night (he usually starts the night with a visit for an hour or so), so we got him situated in his giant, very comfy Frontgate dog bed, which we covered with a sheet to catch his blood-tinged drool, and we thought he would be out for the night. Not so...sometime around 4:00 AM, Teddy decided he wanted to visit, so he flung his 73 pounds up onto the bed in a move that lacked any kind of grace or control and landed, like a bony sack of potatoes, on Art's legs. And then he wouldn't move. Art actually had to get out of bed and push him over. I was relieved to see that Art still had use of his legs. Teddy is pretty much recovered from his surgery, although we are still softening his food (which smells great, by the way.) He is now being treated for an ear infection. I really hope that Teddy is not trying to compete with Sophie's legacy of vet bills. We're hoping for an extended period of good health for Teddy (and our Discover card).
Today is Teddy's favorite kind of weather: cold, wet and snowy. I took the photos below from inside our enclosed porch. He's watching the door and giving me the, "What, aren't you coming out with me?" look. No, I am not.
Another Ernie Haase and Signature Sound concert. It was their Christmas concert, and it was wonderful. Cute boys on stage. They don't even have to sing and I'd be happy. Probably couldn't get my husband to go if that was the case... But they do sing, and they do it so well. And they are a lot of fun, too.
We were able to take both my parents this time. My dad's recent knee replacement meant that we had to rearrange our seating at the last minute. They were very accommodating at the Midland Theater, and we appreciated that. Want a little taste of the concert? OK.....Here's a little video montage. It starts and ends with a complete "God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen." While you may think that I'm using high-tech video equipment with amazing sound capabilities, which I have mastered from years of experience, from a well-thought-out location near the stage to capture my favorite parts of the concert, I am not. I am using my tiny point-and-shoot camera, which has a microphone I can't even see, from the middle of the balcony (thanks, Dad's knee), to capture those parts of the concert during which I was able to figure out which buttons to push on my camera to get the video to work, which I haven't used since the last Ernie Haase concert. So, basically, you're in for a real treat. But if you've got about three and a half minutes to kill, have a look. Then please go visit www.erniehaase.com, because they deserve much better than this. Anyway, here you go....
While you may not think that Ernie and the boys have anything to do with my work or my dogs, you would be wrong. I listen to a lot of music when I am working and walking my dogs (well, "dog" for now...), and that means a lot of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. It's really exciting to experience their music live when I spend so much time listening to it otherwise. If they only knew that I'd never get any work done or walk a dog without them....
One more thing...It was one week ago that a lot of innocent people experienced an unthinkable tragedy in Connecticut. That has been on my mind a lot, and weighing heavily on my heart. A couple of days ago, a friend sent me something written by someone I don't know. I thought that it took a little of the sting out of what happened, and I'd like to share it with you. It's impossible to understand something like that, but where there is God, there is hope...
Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
...They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"Where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"This is heaven." declared a small boy. "We're spending Christmas at God's house."
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same,
then He opened His arms and He called them by name,
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring.
Those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
Then He looked down on earth, the world far below;
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"May this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"Come now my children, let me show you around."
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."
Well, I've thought so for a while, but to have a grooming professional--who, herself, owns two Golden Retrievers--say it carries some weight. Not only did Teddy's groomer declare that he was the hairiest dog ever, she also said that Teddy has more undercoat than any dog she's ever seen. We're number one! We're number one! Teddy is outstanding in many ways, but clearly, hair production is one of his top talents. Here are a couple of pictures of my handsome boy right after his recent grooming. So, these are photos after mass amounts of hair were removed. When I picked him up after grooming, I thought he looked kind of shaved, but looking at these photos of him, he looks normal, not shaved. Hairy or not, I love him!
Sophie and Teddy share some frozen custard (with sprinkles, of course.)
First, the good news: Teddy got a haircut.
That may not seem like much news to you, but if you've ever lived with a fully-furred Golden Retriever, you will appreciate the impact such an event can have on your life. I think I've only vacuumed twice this week. You can't really tell from his photo here, but his coat is much shorter all over, and look at his neat little paws and tail! The groomer said she spent six hours working on him. He looked a little naked to me at first, but I've gotten used to his new look. He was groomed only a week ago, and I can tell that his fur is already growing back. It's a force that can't be stopped!!
Now the better news: Sophie had her first post-treatment oncology recheck (three months) at OSU and there was not a bit of cancer to be found. The x-rays were clear and her bloodwork was normal. Yeah!! She is feeling well, bossing Teddy around, and acting like she owns every room she enters and every sidewalk she walks on. She also looks amazing (both from a medical standpoint and because she has always been --in my unbiased opinion--the Cutest Poodle Ever). I know--she's not entirely poodle, but based on her innate ability to perform circus-like maneuvers in her early years with us, she earned the title "Circus Poodle" and a variety of offshoots. Whatever she is, she's a very special dog, and I do believe that she will make it to 16.
"Free dog to good home." Uh-huh....There's no such thing as a "free dog," but that's what the newspaper ad said. I think "Free home to good dog" would have been more honest. I didn't even read the ad. My mom did, and she called me immediately, "You have a big yard and a big house. You need a big dog." She was so sure of my need that she made the phone call for me. The next day, a chilly November afternoon, my dad, Sophie, and I searched the parking lot of a minor league baseball stadium to meet the current caretaker of a twelve-week old ball of golden fur. It wasn't hard to find him since the parking lot was pretty much empty and the guy was an on-duty firefighter, thereby forced to drive a vehicle from his station.
Have you ever seen a twelve-week old golden? Just fluff and face. And he was really shy, peeking out from behind the firefighter's legs, then hiding again. We learned his story: His original owner died unexpectedly. The family member that took him couldn't keep him because of allergies. The firefighter's wife took him because they raised another breed of dog and could accomodate him, but didn't want to keep him, so the ad was placed. Who says "no" to an orphaned twelve-week-old ball of fur? Not me. Sophie gave a sniff of approval (maybe it was more like acceptance, with a touch of superiority) and we headed home.
That was six or seven years ago. Today, Teddy, like most goldens, retains his puppy playfulness and happy countenance, although his face is starting to show that mask of white that forces most retriever-types to be honest about their age and the unfair fact that "middle age" starts at around five years old. Teddy loves to go for walks and car rides. Some of his hobbies are barking from his fenced yard at passersby, "gardening," unstuffing stuffed toys, and following me around everytime I get up from a seated position. His goals include eating as much as possible as frequently as possible, getting wet and muddy every time he goes outside, and carpeting the world with excess golden fur, which he sheds with life-altering abundance. He is one of the most gentle animals I can imagine. Most of the time, if someone tells you a story that starts with, "My dog found a nest of baby bunnies," it ends in tragedy. Not with Teddy. He found the bunnies, but he just carried them around. He brought one through the doggy door onto the screened porch. I guess he thought he would leave it there until he went out the next time. To Teddy, everyone's a friend.
Teddy is a big, sweet, hug of a dog, and even though I spend an unimaginable amount of time vacuuming my carpets, polishing my floors, and rolling my clothes with one of those sticky-roller things (don't even mention the sticky-roller thing to my husband, who has to try to escape the house every morning in a dark suit...), he is worth it all. He's a great dog, and I love him very much.
In case you're wondering, Sophie and Teddy get along very well. Teddy would love for Sophie to run and play, but she never has. It seems that she doesn't know how to play, although we have tried to engage her for years. Teddy tries regularly, thinking "today may be the day," but it hasn't happened yet. Sophie is a dog of leisure, and I see no change in her future. Fortunately, Sophie and Teddy have bonded over their mutual interest in treats, car rides, and sleeping on the "big bed."
In my next entry, I'll show you some projects that I'm working on. Please come back and check it out!
All images and designs are copyrighted and the property of Dana Keating Marziale and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission. Copyright 2011