If you haven’t seen the headline yet, there was a major victory today for environmental justice and a very sick man. Monsanto, the agricultural giant who is responsible for the grossly popular weedkiller RoundUp, was ordered to pay $289 million to Dewayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who developed cancer as a result of being exposed to the herbicide (primary ingredient of glyphosate). Read the full article here.
This victory hopefully signifies a shift in the wind regarding the widespread and accepted use of this harsh chemical. Despite multiple scientific studies, and the horribly sick people to prove its harmful effects, companies such as Monsanto are able to weasel their way into the pockets of the EPA and lawmakers. Glyphosate is still widely used in the US despite being banned in Europe (the EU tends to be much more environmentally progressive and intelligent than the US most of the time). We can only hope that this landmark case will continue to move our country closer to ridding our farm workers’ and landscapers’ hands from this nasty toxin.
During my time of recovery, from my recent knee surgery, Hugo has been emotionally and physically supporting me every step of the way. He is upstairs playing one of his favorite computer games as I write this – one of the first moments during his time at home that he has taken a break from tending to me. You can’t help but take those close to you for granted at times, especially when you are with them a lot. This isn’t an intentional act at all. Just how life works sometimes. When I take a brief step back to appreciate all he has done for me in the recent weeks, it makes me realize once again, how truly lucky I am to have someone of his caliber in my life.
As Kaiser sauntered into the bathroom, as he has been following me everywhere in recent weeks, I turned to look at his sunken face. The bones of his skull are now exposed because of all the weight he has lost from cancer. His hip bones are pronounced as they pop out just next to his tail and his spiky spine is rigid along the length of his back. I have been feeding him several times a day with meaty meals, in an attempt to not only put weight on him but to also make his final days as happy as possible.
Kaiser has an incredible attitude considering his prognosis and that really is one of the most amazing attributes that animals have. Since they don’t have the knowledge or awareness of their condition (or maybe they do), they are outwardly as happy as they feel. Today he happens to feel pretty good so he is exuding joy from his eyes, as he chases me around the house. He has gotten a few hyper jumps on the front door in over the past few days, as the UPS delivery man approaches and he goes into full-blown puppy dog mode again. Hugo even suggested that we lean our mobile plastic gate against the door, in an effort to prevent our crazed old dog from pouncing on the door and possibly breaking the glass. These are his last few days of excitement in his life so we decided to let him jump away, even if the door gets scratched.
When Kaiser followed me into the bathroom today I told him out loud, “This could be your last Thursday buddy.” Not really sure why I said it but it just came out. But it got me thinking; this could be all of our last Thursday. Anything could happen to any one of us today and we could not make it to next week. So, after my brief moment of inward reflection in my dimly bathroom this afternoon with my ailing dog, we both decided, together, to embrace every moment. Live each day as if you are sick, but can’t feel it. Chase your loved ones around the house, eat as much as you want, and don’t think so much. In short, adopt Kaiser’s lifestyle. Celebrate every day as a blessing because just like Kaiser, they could be our last.
Tonight was probably the 15th time Hugo and I have made this glorious dinner of Greek Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce so I felt it was appropriate to share this. We absolutely love Mediterranean food so any excuse to eat it, we take it! Explore the Brown Eyed Baker‘s entire website as there are lots of fun treats on there ♥
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 ♥
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♥