Friday, March 28, 2008

So Far Away...

When I placed this movie on our Netflix queue, I already knew it wasn't the best idea. The whole film centers around an older couple in their 60's who are unexpectedly faced with the horrific truth of Alzheimer's. It is the wife who becomes afflicted, and with her mind only beginning to wane, she makes the decision to check herself into a nursing home rather than burden her husband with her care.

I cried pretty much the entire movie because it is not only sad, but I have a personal connection with this disease. It claimed my Granny quite a few years ago, and it will never give her back.

I know that it is difficult to deal with the declining physical health of the elderly. I watched my Grandmother suffer from the after-effects of a major stroke for most of my childhood and teenage years before old age took her home - so, I have experienced the intense grief associated with being a witness to the steady decline of a family members physical body. But, I have to say (and you can disagree if you want - it's always a person's right to do so) that it has been noticeably harder for me to deal with my Granny's mental deterioration than is was for me to handle my other Grandmother's physical woes.

The difficulty lies in the fact that it is expected that as we get older and edge towards the end of this life that our physical bodies will become weaker and break down. After all, our lives on this planet are measured as "over" when our physical bodies give out on us. But, it has been really, significantly sad for my family to watch my Granny's perfectly healthy body stay healthy while her razor sharp mind has become a mess of confusion. It seems unnatural, not the way things should be.

Probably the saddest day for me came shortly after she had begun living at an assisted living facility. My Mom got a routine update from the nurse giving her the good news that my Granny had finally been convinced to shower with one of the nurses assisting her. My Granny had immediately resisted this, saying she didn't need help - but none of us were quite sure if that was true since we were not sure when she had last showered before we brought her there. Things had gone south quickly before we decided she needed full-time help. Her sense of hygiene had declined sharply, and although her home was very neat, it was also very filthy. Everything was in its right place but dust and grime covered every surface. Her clothing was always in need of washing, and she had started to smell. This, in and of itself, was heartbreaking as she had always taken a lot of pride in the fact that she was an excellent housekeeper. Truthfully, her cataracts were as much to blame for the dirt as her Alzheimer's was, but the fact remained that she no longer had the judgement needed to keep clean on her own. The nurse then gave my Mom the "wonderful" news that not only had my Granny showered, but she had done it completely by herself, even balancing on one foot at one point to scrub the other foot's bottom. The whole staff was completely blown away by what excellent physical condition she was in. My Mom thanked her for the report and then promptly hung up the phone and cried.

You see, to us, this wasn't the greatest news. Yes, it is wonderful that at almost 80 years of age my Granny could still perform such amazing feats of balance. And yes, it is amazing that even in the slippery shower (where, in all honesty, her 26 year-old granddaughter (points at self) has slipped attempting the same maneuver - and not just once) she could manage an act that causes many people much difficulty. But for us, it was like an extra kick in the teeth. It was like Life was mocking us.

Life: "Hey family! Guess what!? Your Granny has Alzheimer's! And in a few months, she'll barely know you. That's right! She'll grow to not know you at all only a short time after that. She'll become confused, and she'll cry. She'll ask you if: She ever had a husband? Children? Where did she live? What was she like? Who is she at all? Who are you? Why are you in her room? Eventually, she'll become so confused that during the middle of the night she'll wander out of her room and punch another resident in the face. Yep, you'll have to send her to a REAL home then. Not like the current "cushy" joint. Oh, and did I mention that she's going to live a LONG LONG time. Aren't you pleased!?

It just doesn't seem fair. A person should be rewarded for taking care of their body. They should get to have a long healthy life that they enjoy, that means something. But my Granny does not enjoy her health. She just sits. She sits and she listens to the other old people who inhabit the "crazy people" wing of the nursing home she now lives in.

Last year, I went with my Mom and sisters to see her in the new home. After she was booted out of the assisted living facility, we had no choice but to put her in a place that provided more security. She was now sharing a room with another woman, and was given a lot more medication that she had been previously given. I had tried my best to prepare for what I was going to see, for how she would look, for how this new place would be different, but I couldn't have known.

They were having some sort of party. Someone's birthday or something. All 10 or so old folks were seated at tables with two plastic cups in front of them. One was full of fruit punch. The other was full of popcorn. My first thought was, "My God. They look like preschoolers." Young children being pacified by a pre-measured serving of punch and popcorn. Young children seated at school tables with that germy-urine smell in the air being barely concealed with the heavy smell of antiseptic.

And my Granny. She looked... defeated.

We spent about an hour with her there. Some of the other people were very talkative, and I could see my Granny looking around every once in a while as she caught a conversation, and then turning her head back to glance at us as we talked or at the floor. I took my turn and tried to tell her some exciting news from my life. I told her I was getting married, and I described Husband to her. I told her about our new home and our dog. I let her know that one of Harry's (one of her past pups) toys was still around and that Logan loved playing with it. I talked about work and told her I missed her. And then just as I'd reached my limit and I could feel the tears beginning to choke me, my Mom gave the signal that it was time for us to go.

We all gave her hugs. I chose to go last, and as I leaned down I heard her murmuring something. I couldn't understand right away, so I asked her to repeat herself. I drew close so I could hear better, and as I did she said, "...there's just never enough time."

"....there's just never enough time."

And that was it. I drew back and fought hard to hold onto my tears, but I could feel them coming with a vengeance, and I didn't want to confuse her with my crying. It never does any good to cry and plead with someone who has Alzheimer's, they don't understand you anymore. They don't understand your sadness or disappointment, or even what it really means. So, I hugged her again and turned quickly to head down the hallway. I made it about halfway before my sobs bubbled over the surface and took me.

I have not been back.

Sometimes I feel really guilty for not being there more often. True, I don't go home to Indiana very often, so I have few opportunities to see her, but even the few times I have been back I have not made the trip. I suppose that part of me doesn't really see the point. My Mom visits her a couple hours a week, and although she is pleasant as she listens, none of it ever sinks in. There is no magical moment where clarity creeps in and lights her up. There are no miracles. There are no recognitions. She is gone. Far far away. And nothing is going to bring her back.

I am always expecting a call to tell me she has passed. In a way, I guess I almost hope for it sometimes. I know the woman she was, and I know she would be enraged with the woman she has become. She is a shell who looks like my Granny, but my Granny is no longer there. I know that when the day arrives I will feel the weight of the finality, but most of my grief has already been felt. I lost her years ago, so when her day of peace comes, I know that with it will come a sense of peace for me too.

She will be reconnected with herself again. Whole. No longer just a staring body that tries to remember who she was. No longer alone and away from us. But reconnected with herself, and finally resting after a long and trying journey. Finally at peace.

It's possible that I'm selfish. But, I really don't see it that way. I only want her to know herself again - and we have been assured many times over that that is not something we can hope for.

I believe we all take that for granted, knowing ourselves. Even if we don't like who we see in the mirror. Even if there are points in our history that we regret, or memories that cause us pain - there is no greater gift than being able to know and remember all those things. Having a past, and having a sense of self are too important to lose. They provide us with an identity, they make life make some sense. What would we be without them?

Just shells. Just bodies. People robbed of what it is that makes them human - fears, hopes, memories, love, regret, sadness. All of it, gone. It is a condition that I wish on no one. It is, in my opinion, the greatest of tragedies. And that is why I sometimes ask God to grant my Granny peace of mind, the peace of a whole mind.

And I hope that maybe in her dreams I visit her sometimes. I hope that maybe in that world she can see and know me and that we can talk the way we used to. I hope that in some place she still remembers how much she means to all of us. I hope, in spite of everything. And try desperately to remember it all, no matter how much it may hurt.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just about Peed my Pants!

So, I was watching an episode of "Dexter" last night off of my DVR (which is a SUPER rad show) and saw this movie trailer (as I forgot to fast-forward the commercials like I always do):

Slap me silly, that looks SCARY!

But, in all truth, I'm pretty much the sissiest of the sissified, so I'm not a great judge. I am, however, an excellent judge of creepy-sounding music, and they totally nailed it by including "Sprout and the Bean" by Joanna Newsom... she's got one of those childlike voices that either lends itself to artsy fartsy music (which I happen to enjoy) or to the end credits of "Poltergeist." In this case, it's poltergeist all the way, baby.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Fine Art of Looking Like an Ass

Long story short: This woman should be me.

Of, course I would never wear that creepy '50s hair-do, or have such a vacant, zombie-esque stare. I would, however have skin this color (or should I say lack of color) and I should be wearing that neck brace.

That's right, this genius right here has hurt her neck. How did I do it? No clue. Right now, it's looking like I just slept too hard - which I find hilarious, because only an idiot (points to self) could really injure themselves while SLEEPING. I mean, come on! I have to have some sort of cosmic pox on my head to have hurt my neck this bad in my SLEEP. Incredible. I must deserve some kind of award.

Basically, I woke up and I can't move my neck. It hurts even without moving it - which I've never experienced before. I know almost everyone has woken up with a stiff neck before from having your head in a weird position or being a little too kinky in the lovin' department the night before, but this is not like the other times. Hmmm. Methinks I may be falling apart.

Granted, I have had little to no physical exercise in the past couple of weeks, so it's possible that my whole body is slowly deteriorating from lack of use. Probably I'll come home tonight to find a couple of vultures sitting on my doorstep tying bibs around their necks in preparation for the consumption of my rapidly decomposing sack of organs. Whatever. I can still turn my head far enough to find a weapon to fend them off with - I'm not done yet!

But, man this sucks. It sucks pretty hardcore. AND it doesn't help that Husband has taken to calling me "Crippy" or "Crippy McCripperson" today - talk about kicking a gal when she's down... don't worry he'll get his comeupance (yeah, not sure if that's a "dictionary" word or not, but I've heard it said many a time... mostly by my Granny... who has Alzheimers...whatever, it's a word in my book). I can be a scrapper when I need to be. And he has to sleep sometime.... MUAHAHA!

Speaking of being a scrapper, I have developed a HUGE infatuation with a contestant on Survivor: Micronesia over the past 24 hours (I watched pretty much the whole season yesterday while working from home). His name is Ozzy. I and wish I could be just like him (except still be me and a girl and everything).

Yeah, he's my hero. He swims like a fish and he rocks at the game. So, here's to you, Ozzy! WIN WIN WIN. And don't be an idiot. And I think you're cute... That's it. Love, Me

Sorry to all of you who aren't Survivor fans, that was a totally gratuitous shout out and I am thoroughly ashamed for being so TOTALLY into that show that it's deplorable. But, I still love it. You can't stop me.

In other news: I get the day off tomorrow. HOO.RAY. I pleaded with my manager to give me the day off on short notice and she had the goodwill and generosity of spirit to grant my wish (SUCKA!). So, I've got a serious date with a hot shower and a heating pad... hopefully I'll be coming at ya next time from a place where my head turns.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Frivolity is FUN!

I stopped by one of my favorite blogs this morning (Blogs Are Stupid) to see what the word was for the day and joyfully found that she had spent some time unwinding and sharing with her readers a list of her top 10 favorite frivolous things!

(Squeal of DELIGHT!)

I had read a similar post of hers before where she had shared some of her most loved beauty products and actually tried some of them for myself (with much success - in my estimation at least). So, I was thrilled to get yet another snapshot of her toiletries cabinet along with a few other wonderful things that just make her feel rad. So (you guessed it) I decided I would share with you 10 things in my life that, well damnit, they may be unnecessary but they just make me feel good!


1. Hair: Frederic Fekkai Glossing Creme (AKA miracle stuff that smells awesome):

Sigh. This little bottle of olive oil concoction is the most wonderful tool for a gal with combination frizzy/curly/straight hair, like me. It transforms even the driest mess into a supple wave of movie star hair. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but not much, I swear! This is one of the suggestions I took from The Blog Antagonist's first post on the subject and I was beyond thrilled with the result. Sure, it's $19.50 for 7 ounces (yikes, I know) but I've had my bottle since Christmas and have barely used any (a little goes a LONG way with this stuff). One word of warning for my friends with thin or oily hair: This stuff will weigh you down a bit, so if you try it, take 'er easy.

2. Novel: Anything by Philippa Gregory

The Queen's Fool was the first of her books that I had the pleasure of reading, but she is most well known for The Other Boleyn Girl which was just made into a movie starring Natalie Portman and Scarlet Johansson. Her books are sweeping, big-time stories of lust, corruption and deceit in the world of old England. And for me, they are like crack. I love 'em. Kings and Queens and secret affairs all based in historically accurate landscapes. I actually have learned quite a bit about England's nobility from her stories without really realizing it, which is a pleasant bonus to an already pleasant situation. When it comes to books that have lots of sex, excitement and intrigue, Phillipa Gregory's are the best! Word of warning: If you decide to venture forth into the land of Phillipa Gregory and you happen to pick up Wideacre beware. It is the first book of a three novel series and it is not for the faint of heart. There's LOADS of people doing it, but it's not always pleasant to read... just a heads up.

3. DVD: The Golden Girls:

Now THIS is a TV show. Nevermind all the imitations out there (Sex and the City, I'm talking to YOU) these gals have it all! Four empowered older women sharing a house in Miami during the late eighties: PRICELESS. I crack up continuously - not even joking, I laugh until I cry almost every single time. Now, it could just be me, but every time I hear the theme song, I just feel glad. I feel happy to be just where I am at that very moment. Husband makes fun of me because I can seriously watch like, 6 hours straight of this show and not be bored. And, I can watch the whole series from front to back and start right over again at the beginning - I never get tired of it. I think part of my adoration for this show comes from memories of my Granny letting me watch it with her on Saturday nights when I'd sleep over (all of the jokes went sailing directly over my head, of course). She also claimed to be a dead ringer for Betty White - and regardless of whether or not it's true (which it's not) seeing Betty White never fails to make me smile. If it's been awhile since you checked them out, I highly recommend giving The Golden Girls another shot.

4. DVD: The Birdcage

Talk about pick-me-ups! This movie is totally 100% hilarious. I still cannot see Hank Azaria without thinking of him as Agador, the faithful houseman. And, come on! A movie with dialogue like this is just too incredibly funny to be ignored:

Albert: Don't give me that tone!

Armand: What tone?

Albert: That sarcastic contemptuous tone that means you know everything because you're a man, and I know nothing because I'm a woman.

Armand: You're not a woman.

Albert: Oh, you bastard!


5. Make-Up: Cover Girl Lashblast Mascara:

I L-O-V-E this mascara. I've tried a lot of brands and have never had better results. This stuff makes my little poky lashes and makes them look long and flirty. Me Likee.

6. Perfume: Covet by, Sarah Jessica Parker describes this favorite perfume of mine to be, "...a seductive blend of chocolate, magnolia and amber musks. And I love it. It's bright yet sexy and is perfect for wearing just about anywhere. It's definitely among my more casual everyday perfumes, but I seem to be using it with a dizzying frequency. It's delicious.

7. Blanket: Simply Shabby Chic Cozy Blanket

I have this blanket in the color Angel Food (which is fancy talk for white) and it is hands-down, by far the softest most cuddly blanket I have ever owned. It is actually so warm that Husband and I took it off of our bed because it is enough warmth all by itself and needs no assistance from our sheets or comforter. So, it has happily become my napping blanket. Honestly, I love naps. On weekends, if I have the good fortune to have some free time, I love going into my bedroom and snuggling up on top of our regular covers with this blanket. It is the snuggliest of the snuggly, and I could not possibly be more pleased with myself for registering for it. It's a keeper, and if you're in the market for a new blanket, these are sold at Target or just click here - trust me, it is well worth the money. :)

8. Lotion: Ginger Souffle from Origins

The smell of ginger is by far one of the warmest and most relaxing scents to me. So, it stands to reason that this indulgent body souffle is very high on top of my list of frivolous loves. It is creamy and delicious smelling and it makes your skin feel great. I use this one when I get the chance to have a long evening shower that is followed only by relaxing. Pair this with a glass of wine and I'm one hell of a happy camper. And speaking of wine...

9. Wine: La Crema Chardonnay

Chardonnay fans, hold onto your hats. This is a delicious wine with a buttery, creamy finish and a bouquet to blow your mind. Husband regularly picks up this brand for me (even though it's more expensive than what I normally buy) because he's the raddest of the rad and he knows how much I love it. If you're a wine fan, I suggest you pick this one up. I know nothing about wine other then what I like, so if you want other suggestions for its pairing or descriptions of its flavor, check this out. Otherwise, enjoy (responsibly)!

10. Lip Balm/Gloss: Smith's Rosebud Salve (no pic because blogger blows)

I first tried this when I read in a fashion magazine that supermodels use it - yeah, yeah I'm a sucker. If they jumped off a bridge I'd probably do that too - and was very relieved when I found it to be THE BEST lip balm/gloss I have ever used. It is an excellent moisturizer AND it is slick and shiny without being goopy (aka sticky). I also recently discovered that they make a mint version of this as well which is my new obsession. Love it. Love it.

Well, there you have it! Hopefully from a few of my favorite indulgences you can find one that makes you happy too! :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blue is for Boys...

I had a bizarre memory pop into my head as I rambled along with the daily commute this morning. I remembered suddenly a particular present I was given by my parents and how my vivid imagination turned it into something quite unrelated to what it was.

The present was (as if it wasn't already given away by the picture above) an enormous new set of crayons. Bliss. :)

They came in a large plastic binder that opened up like a storybook. And they were all held firmly in place by grooved plastic holders that lined them up in proper Roy G. Biv order. I was in fits on ecstasy when I received them. I couldn't wait to put them into action and create my next great masterpiece (which, in hindsight was actually how I felt upon beginning every new drawing - unfortunately my talents were not nearly as great as my desire for greatness itself).

However, the random memory pertains to another way in which I played with the crayons which was to assign them genders and play with them like they were dolls or action figures. Weird, I know.

I'm not sure if I was the only kid who ever did this or not, but I always preferred playing imaginary games where I could concoct and act out the scenarios of my choice. And moreover, I preferred to play imaginary games with people as the central figures. I find it interesting now that I am much more drawn to people-centric works of art. I like movies that revolve around real scenarios, and I definitely prefer fiction that mimics real life.

I spent hours playing with these crayons like toys and not art supplies and had a total blast with it. Their carrying case became an apartment house with each groove transforming into an individual living space and their relationships were as complex and interesting as my 7 year old mind could muster.

What I find interesting about all of this is the fact that the crayons were all assigned (by me, of course) a gender. Below I have listed the ones I can clearly remember (see if you agree):

"Girl" Colors:
Aquamarine (one of the few "cool colors" to be female)

"Boy" Colors:
Purple (a boy color, albeit a feminine boy)
Orange (one of the few "warm colors" to be male)

Strange, eh? I suppose that, as a child, my gender was so much a part of my existence that I could not imagine even crayons to not be assigned to one or the other - what else would or could they be? Isn't it intriguing though to think about how children develop in reference to this. If I had been raised in a cave where there were no labels for man or woman, how long would it have taken me to figure out how my body was different or how my instincts were different from boys? Would it have mattered as much? Would there be more equality between the sexes?

Deep questions, kids. Deep.

I'd like to think that as an adult I base my feelings about myself and my self worth on the fact that I am a human being and not on the fact that I am a female, but I have to admit that I do find myself with preconceived notions of what I should do or be based on what other women are and not on what other men can do or be.

Based on this, I have decided that I will not paint my little girl's room pink. Nor will I paint my little boy's room blue. I think green will be the choice - although according to me green will probably turn my little girl into a masculine mess.

So be it! :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Rock Your Socks!

Hello kids!

I'm feeling a bit punchy today to tell you the truth, so I have decided to ramble a bit about this week and also hopefully turn you all on to a few of my favorite internet pick-me-ups!

This week was long. And there was a lot of work involved which TOTALLY sucked big time. Seriously, I have been running around like a crazy person trying to get everything done. It's nuts.

Another thing that sucked: I had to go to St. Louis. Nothing against St. Louis, but it's boring. Sorry, it's true. AND when I went to get my rental car at Hertz (stupid pissmongers) they denied my credit card because they were trying to authorize a $500 balance for a $175 rental. WHAT!? I was apalled. And THEN when I tried to switch my reservation to just one day so I could get to my appointments for at least half my trip they said they could not swipe my card again because they had already tried it.

I thought I might sponatneously combust and/or sprout daggers out of my skull.

It was a good thing that Husband was also in town for the meetings (although he was wiser and reserved his car at Budget). He had to come to Hertz in person (because they couldn't take his number over the phone) and get the car for me. Even though I felt like an irresponsible five-year-old being bailed out by my Dad, I was grateful. Sigh. Sometimes I just can't win.

But, I'm home. And work is nuts. And so, since today is Friday and it is past lunchtime (which means I no longer care about work) I am going to delight and tantalize you, yes YOU, dear reader with a few of my favorite


1. She ROCKS. Like, Sting back when he used to rock with the Police before he became all old and zen and Yanni-like. Give her blog traffic because Goshdarnit! she deserves it.

2. She also rocks. BIG TIME. If you like your women foul-mouthed, hilarious and wearing fabulous shoes, she's your gal. And she's Australian, so all you Americans can read a blog that makes you both laugh and feel superior for having an international "friend." It's sad, but she does make me feel more cultured. Stop laughing, it's hurting my feelers.

3. This picture of our dog, Logan, as a puppy (it was actually the picture posted by his breeder and it SOLD me on him) because he looks so adorably grumpy. I'll tell you what, nobody can frown like this little guy:

4. This video! Just because the world would be a better place if we all just took a little more time to like stuff and not hate on stuff:

So, there you have it. At least a couple days worth of fun. DEEE-LICIOUS!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dog Problems

If this was a movie, and I could pick a character to play me in this scenario, I'd be some kind of mutt dog wandering slowly into the room with my tail between my legs and an extremely humble look of apology on my face.


I know, I know, it's not like the world ended because I stopped blogging for a bit, and I'm sure all five of you will forgive for being so long absent. But, I do want to apologize sincerely for having fallen off the face of the blogosphere for the last couple of months.

I've just been a little preoccupied. And I've also been a little unmotivated. In truth, I guess this lack of motivation feels a bit like depression, but I wouldn't call it that. I think it'd be more accurate to describe what I've been feeling as a mad case of the "Winter Blues." All this snow can make even the sunshiniest (yep, just made that word up) of people start to dim a bit, and with all the added stress of work picking back up after the holidays and dog/car problems galore, this gal was feeling extinguished altogether.

Christmas and the New Year were a total blast - aside from a serious bout of sickness for Husband - and the addition of our new puppy, Steve was a true joy. But, our other puppy, Logan had some health issues we were forced to deal with shortly after the new year that put a real damper on my spirit.

I had noticed a small lump in his shoulder several weeks prior, and had immediately taken him to the vet for a check-up. I was assured that these types of growths in dogs were quite common, and were usually nothing. But I was cautioned about the lump changing and how if that were to occur we might be heading for some dangerous territory. And as bad luck would have it - the damn thing did change. It went from feeling like a semi-smooshy little ball to feeling like a much harder little knot.

Of course, we did not hesitate to bring him back in for another check-up and were unfailingly presented with the only option: Surgery. So, our sweet little Logan went in to have the lump (and the tissue surrounding it) removed from his right, front shoulder. The incision was huge - I'm serious, I was shocked. And we were asked to please try to stop our ten month old puppy from running, jumping, climbing stairs, and playing of any sort. Great. I was also sent home with a bunch of terrifying literature that laid out the chances for survival if the little lump turned out to be a tumor.

I was heartbroken. Plain and simple. Even the thought of a poor prognosis sent me into a pit of despair, and I spent a lot of time just holding him on my lap and praying for God to spare him from this fate. My mind was a jumble of protests to the facts: It's too soon to think about losing him yet. He's just a baby. It isn't fair. I was also conflicted over the deep feelings of pain I had over the thought of his passing. I am a self-proclaimed animal lover and am also super sensitive to boot, so my feelings about animals and their treatment are often very intense. Example: I regularly feel sick just thinking about all the animals in the world that are abused, mistreated, and tortured everyday by inhumane, ugly people. I physically feel ill just thinking about it. So, I have a tendency to overreact when I feel my dogs are even in the slightest of pain or discomfort. Even though there is a sizeable part of me that is always saying, "They're just dogs. They are not children," I just can't help it. To me, they are as much a part of my family as any of the human members. And I truly feel that they have just as many rights as a living creature as I do. I know my opinions are not shared by everyone though, so it is difficult for me to display my true emotions, knowing that they may seem ridiculous and misguided to some. Regardless of the intensity of my feelings though, the next few days were not much fun for me or Husband.

Because of Logan's incision, we had to keep the dogs separated while we were at work. Steve revolted against his confinement in the laundry room by literally chewing through the door. I was aghast when I came home from work and saw his little face peering at me from the kitchen, and was shocked even further to see the destruction that his tiny little teeth were able to inflict on our poor unsuspecting door (I wish to God I'd taken a picture). They weren't allowed to play together which was desperately hard for both of them, and whenever I left the house after shutting Logan (clad in his stiff, plastic cone headpiece) in our bedroom and Steve in his little crate (since he'd lost laundry room privileges) I just felt like the meanest person in the world - or at least that's how they both had started looking at me. At work, my mind was suddenly consumed with thoughts of coming home to Logan dead or to Steve impaled on some part of the crate he was able to pry lose with his magic teeth while trying to get out of confinement. It was exhausting for me. I felt really helpless. And I also felt inconsolably sad at the prospect of all of this being for naught and us losing our Logan to cancer anyway.

The call finally came a couple days after the surgery. My knees nearly buckled with relief when the vet told me the good news: the lump was not cancer, it was not even a tumor! Apparently, some dogs and cats have adverse reactions to regular vaccinations. This lump had been created from a shot Logan was given that his body didn't like. It was harmless. It was nothing. He was going to be fine.

I was ecstatic, but there was also a large part of me that wanted to weep. I needed to release all that fear and all those bad thoughts and all of the metaphorical cancer that had been growing in me from the moment the vet first made clear to me the possibility that my dog was going to die. I tried my best to wipe those feelings away, but it has taken a long time to get over it, and I still find myself needlessly worrying about them at work and thinking about what I will do if I come home to find them hurt.

Most days though, I soldier through my insecurities and repeat to myself the fact that I have done everything I can to make them safe and happy and that the rest is up to fate. In the end, there is very little we can do to protect the ones we love when we are not near them, and as I practice for my years with children, I'm doing my best to build up a thicker skin.

And tonight, when I come home from work and open the door to see those little guys wagging and wriggling with joy to see me, I find comfort in the fact that my heart (in spite of any fear I'd felt while I was away) will be wagging and wriggling right along with them.