The girl who never wagged

I have been holding onto this writing topic for a while now because I love it.  I love it because I happen to live with the girl who has never wagged.  She is almost nine years old, fully covered in black and tan hair, and one of my best friends.  Her name is Nala and I love her almost as much as I love her flaccid tail.

When Kaiser was a few months old, I begged and pleaded with Hugo to get another dog.  After hours of online sleuthing, I found a local Rottweiler breeder with pups that were ready.  I hopped in my trusty Jeep and drove two hours east to my pup pick-up destination.  Upon my arrival, I told the breeder that I was interested in the largest female that they had.  He fished through the pen of puppies and out came Nala.

In hindsight, the breeder was fairly irresponsible because he sold me Nala when she was only a month old.  I set her on the front passenger seat of my car, with my sweatshirt as a makeshift bed, and she curled into a ball, sleeping the entire trek back.  When I lifted her out of the Jeep to go inside, I noticed she peed a little while she slept.  A quick welcome bath, followed by lots of hugs, and we were finally home.

Nala, who was named after Simba’s female friend in the Lion King, has been an incredible addition to our family since the day she got here.  She is fiercely loyal and protective of me, always treating me as her true mother.  I really feel that this is due to the fact that I have been mothering her since she was a little bigger than my hand.  Nala is also silly and playful while being cranky and outspoken.  She grunts and growls almost hourly, expressing herself through her voice but never with her tail.  While most dogs wag theirs in happiness, Nala’s tail has never wagged.  She shakes her butt from side to side, as if she wants to wag, but the tail appears to just not work.  I always hypothesize about why it doesn’t wag and my best guess is that it was possibly broken when she was a puppy, before she joined our family.  It doesn’t matter though because Nala expresses herself with her voice and through her eyes.  I can read that dog’s emotion right from her sweet face.  As I type this right now, she is staring at me from underneath the buffet table she has claimed as her den over the past several years.

The love that we have for dogs can easily supersede the love that we have for a lot of humans.  Or maybe that is just me.  As a side note, I tried taking a sweet little picture of Nala to post here but she sassily refused to look at me.  I am thankful to be blessed with the girl who never wagged and we wouldn’t want her any other way.





I have a lot of regrets, as I imagine a lot of people do.  I regret not taking college seriously because I would really like to have my BA completed (although I dispute the necessity of a college degree but that is an entirely different conversation).  I regret not being serious about taking care of myself earlier on in life – just committing to losing weight and getting to the place I want to be, rather than struggle year after year with the same issues.  I also regret the way I treat those that I love sometimes.  These regrets in particular bother me, because our time with each other is fleeting and every minute with someone you care about could be your last.

This last and final regret always surfaces after I spend time with my parents.  When we are under one roof, during a visit to their house or when they come to visit my husband and I, there is always at least one occasion during those few short days that they annoy the hell out of me.  As bad as that may sound, I can’t help it.  It might happen because we don’t spend a lot of time physically with each other anymore so when the concentrated visit happens, it can be overwhelming.  And this doesn’t just happen with my parents, it happens with my husband’s parents at times too.  When you are incredibly independent by nature, plus you have lived apart from your parents for a considerable amount of time, having 24/7 interaction for multiple days in a row can be heavy to say the least.  And I am sure they would say the same about me because I can be difficult as well.

During our visits, there is normally one spat of bickering, arguing, and/or crying, followed by realizing the confrontation is a waste of time and then the inevitable reconciliation.  As I write that, I realize that it sounds kind of crazy and unstable.  But that’s us.  Or maybe that’s me.  I think the honest truth is that I can only handle small doses of them.  This might be true of all people with their parents but I do feel badly actually vocalizing it.

My mom is on her way to our local airport as I write this.  About thirty minutes after she left our house this morning, I started thinking of regrets.  I regret wasting any of our precious time together because it is a rarity.  None of us are getting any younger and every time I see either of my parents could be the last.  It’s the same for anyone you love.  My husband is at work this morning and there is a chance he doesn’t come home tonight.  When you watch the evening news, there are plenty of husbands that don’t make it home at night – our volatile world takes lives every day at the hands of violence and unfortunate accidents.

So although she has already left, and our time together was wonderful overall, I decided to write about regrets because the only way you can change things is by recognizing them.  I can’t change the way I feel or how frustrated I get, I know that.  But I can change the way I react to situations.  So maybe, just maybe, the next time we are together and my parents annoy the hell out of me, I will try to react more calmly and maturely.  After all, I am them and they are me and none of this would have been possible without them.  I love you mom ♥

Tuesday = 14 years & 14 years = Almost half a lifetime of happiness

Happy 14 year anniversary to my sweet Hugo ♥  Fourteen years of thankfully having you in my life.  You made every second of the past 441,504,000 seconds happy and filled with love.  I know our anniversary isn’t until tomorrow but I remember July 31st, 2004, like it was yesterday.  It was the day we joined forces as a team and created a life on the other side of the country together.  Thank you for being such a wonderful husband and best friend♥

Early warning signs of a stroke

HOLY SHIT, did we have a close call last night.  I will cut to the middle of this story, which is the scariest part.  My husband and I genuinely thought my mother might have had a minor stroke around 7 o’clock.  After a small argument with my mom earlier in the day, the thought of my mom having a serious condition, and potential lifelong complications, was frightening, sad and incredibly scary.

Now, let’s cut to the beginning of this short story.  After a delightful dinner of stuffed clams and some sides, Hugo started to clean up the dishes as my mom and I meandered around the patio area, sitting in the hammock and enjoying the cool evening air with the company of the two dogs.  We casually chatted as I watered some potted flowers that are scattered around the patio;  she swayed back and forth in the hammock, with her glasses strung around her neck as she gazed on and off at her cell phone.  We retreated inside again so I could ice my knee for the 40th time today, rejoining Hugo in the kitchen.  My mom sat down on the long wooden bench that runs along the backside of our kitchen table.  This is the usual, private spot she posts up in our kitchen when she visits – this is because she is capable of setting up a makeshift office there, complete with her laptop and her traveling wicker basket that’s full of her weekly pills, a “seen better days” Yeti cup, and various other odds and ends that descend the stairs with her every morning.

As I sat on the couch with my knee iced and elevated, I began contemplating my new blog post topic.  I looked over at my mother and noticed she was straddling the kitchen table bench and was hunched over at the waist.  I asked my mom if she was ok as Hugo craned his neck around to look; she replied, “I can’t see.”  “You can’t see??!?”, I retorted, in shock at her statement.  Blinking her eyes as she removed her glasses, and with mild panic in her voice, my mom returned with, “I can’t see out of my right eye.”

I’m sorry…come again?  You can’t SEE out of your right EYE?!!!?!?!!  I immediately thought that she was having, or just had, a mild stroke.  To Google I went.  My dear friend Google confirmed that sudden blurry vision or loss of vision out of one or both eyes is a symptom of a stroke.  Cue the HOLY SHIT moment.

Hugo, my mom and I went back and forth for the next ten minutes discussing her sole symptom and the lack of additional symptoms.  I put my sandals on anticipating a trip to our local hospital because I was genuinely scared that she had in fact experienced a mild stroke.  We continued diagnosing her online and therefore continued frightening the three of us with the fact that an un-diagnosed stroke could lead to serious long-term complications.  My mom said that her vision was coming and going in the symptomatic eye but she didn’t want to go to the hospital just yet.  I understood her desire to wait because she didn’t want to be hasty but the loss of vision in one eye genuinely scared me.  The clock ticked by and we watched 60 Minutes, all of us nervous that we were not properly handling this potentially dangerous medical situation.

A few short minutes later, my mom got up from the couch to retrieve her glasses from the kitchen table.  She picked up the glasses and turned to face us on the couch as she gasped and laughed at the same time.  “What?”, I asked.  She held up the glasses and said, “You will not believe this.”  She moved closer to Hugo and I on the couch as she laughed again.  She showed us the glasses as she explained how the right lens was missing!  She wasn’t experiencing a stroke, her vision was blurry because her glasses weren’t intact!!

Now, you as the reader may be thinking how could this happen?  Well, you aren’t alone in this thought because Hugo and I were thinking the same thing.  My mom clarified that she had been using the glasses, minus the right eye lens, and that is when she initially began experiencing the blurry vision, or so we thought.  She took the glasses off, still felt like her eyes were off, and that’s where the story picks up.  Needless to say, the story ends with twenty minutes of deep, guttural laughter and disbelief that this actually happened.  I mean, we almost called 911 because my mom was having a stroke when in fact she had lost her glasses lens! It is so ridiculous and so great, all at the same time.

The learning lesson in all of this is to know the early warning signs of a stroke.  I like this website – the take-away is the acronym BE FAST.  Balance, Eyes, Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911!  Click the link and be sure you are familiar with the symptoms.  I remembered learning about the loss of vision (our particular symptom in this scenario) a long time ago so that’s where the whole conversation started with us last night.

Finally (because I know the cliffhanger is killing you), Hugo did in fact find the missing lens.  It was hidden in the hammock from earlier that night and has since been successfully been reunited with its rightful glasses frame.  And I am happy to report that my mom is healthy and symptom free this morning ♥

Under one roof

After nearly fifteen hours of traveling the 2,872.6 miles from door-to-door, my mother bear arrived to our house safely.  That’s not to say that the trek was without bumps.  Actually, to be completely honest, it was riddled with bumps.

After driving from her home to the airport, severe weather delayed her outgoing flight by five hours.  Now, that is incredibly easy to type but when you are boarding, waiting, waiting some more, de-planing, waiting, trying to find something decent to eat at the airport, and then waiting some more for a little over 300 minutes, it sucks to say the least.  She finally departed for the left coast after the weather cleared and ultimately landed at 1:16am.  She gathered her checked luggage from the baggage claim carousel, her driver met her at the exit with a fancy name sign and she strapped herself into the backseat of her final leg of her trip.  As the driver joined a long line of vehicles patiently waiting to exit the airport parking garage and hit the road, both my mom and the driver realized something was wrong.  And the something that was wrong manifested itself in the form of an elderly, Asian parking garage ticket collector.  Thankfully, the speed at which this ticket collector processed exiting cars began to slowly improve and my mother’s car was able to begin the final leg of her voyage cross-country.  At almost half past two in the morning on this fine Saturday in late July, she arrived safely at our house.  We hugged, she tried on a bright red lifeguard jacket I gifted her, we checked out the new couches in our computer room, and we went to bed.

Good morning to the universe

It just turned into morning on the West Coast of the United States so I figured it was suiting to pen a good morning note to the earth.  All of the birds are still tucked into bed where we live and we would be too, however tonight is a little different.  As I write this, my mother is airborne, most likely flying westbound through the Rockies right about now.  Her flight was delayed roughly five hours due to severely inclement weather in New York City yesterday afternoon.  Any who, she is almost here and we are waiting up to greet her.  Hugo and I are drinking tea, eating freshly baked banana nut bread and enjoying the cool night air.

So thankful to have my mother joining us for a few days.  She is such a wonderful person and I am thoroughly looking forward to soaking her up for a few days ♥

Puppy love

Hugo and I are heartbroken.  We just found out yesterday that our male Rottweiler has advanced throat cancer.  That is a heavy sentence.  Our poor puppy – we love him so incredibly much and our house is in mourning already, just knowing that we are about to lose him.  The vet herself was somber and not very optimistic for his future.  Right now it is just about giving him the best life possible and prevent him from suffering in any way.  He is sad, we are sad.  Life really sucks sometimes.

It breaks my heart and physically pains me inside just knowing that his throat is almost completely blocked from the massive growth in there.  I feel helpless looking at someone who we have loved since he was a wiggly pup over nine years ago.  Most pet owners take on all animal relationships, knowing full well that normally humans outlive the animals in their lives.  Yet we all do it.  We know that after a silly puppy phase, to a growing adolescent phase, to a mild senior phase, we are potentially met with these awful times.  We do it for the love of animals and the friendship and companionship they give us.  And they give us so much more than that.

I have learned and grown in my own way from my relationship with my animals.  I have learned to be more patient and to love blindly, because they are masters of both qualities.  I have learned to enjoy the simple things in life, like food and how simply sitting next to someone you love can warm your heart.

I know this cycle continues every minute of every day, everywhere in the world.  Babies are born and everyone dies.  All species and for all different reasons, yet it doesn’t make it any easier when it is actually happening in front of you.  I do not believe in a higher power but I do believe in love and being kind.  Right now, my plan is to drown my old, sick dog in love and if there is anyone floating in the clouds listening to my desperate pleas, maybe they can spare him from suffering.