Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Sue and Mo at Harris Beach
Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Thursday, May 28, 2015

So Much Fun!

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon 70 degrees F and gorgeous
Ah yes.  Not a lot to write about around here.  Recuperating from surgery is slow and sometimes tiresome, but every single day is better than the last day.  After a little over three weeks, I am actually feeling encouraged.  Maybe it will all be OK after all. 

I am having a great time lying around doing not much.  The little dog Mattie, is having a great time settling into our home and we adore her already.  Took her to the vet yesterday to discover that she is not two years old after all, but somewhere between six months and a year.  We decided on a year,  and gave her a birthday of April 15, 2014.  Tax Day.  At least we should have an easy time remembering the made up birthday.

The year old thing explains the propensity to hunt for little things to chew if she is bored, and for the rare accident in the house.  When that happens just after we have had her outside, it is a bit frustrating.  At least we caught her in the act, and that is a good thing, since I have heard that when training dogs, they have a short memory and won’t have a clue why you are mad at them if too much time lapses between the act and the disapproval.

Ah well…the joys of an almost puppy.  We had no desire to have a puppy, but she is adorable, and maybe her youth will mean that she is more trainable than if she were older.  She is getting confident enough and we are confident enough with her that she can go outside for walks around the property off leash.  She is great at dashing back when we call her even when she wanders a bit.  Never far, and never out of our sight for sure. 

But how much fun is it to blog about dogs and health stuff and whatever.  Nope we aren’t traveling.  Although traveling isn’t all that big a deal any more anyway.  A favorite blogger of mine said recently, “The the Rv blog pipeline seems to be clogging up with the sediment of repetition—S. O. S. reruns of silver haired lemmings beating rutted paths to the same places. It's hard to spin new headlines from yesterday's hotspots, especially when they've been covered ad infinitum by so many bloggers.”  Yeah.  That would be Mark, over at Box Canyon Blog, and sad to say, I have to agree with him.  I am one of those would be silver haired (if I didn’t keep coloring it) lemmings returning over and over again to Harris Beach, or wherever. 

The blogging world feels a bit tired and repetitive to me lately.  I realized reading Mark’s comments that I choose to read blogs for different reasons than before.  Now I read blogs of friends, of photographers I love, and writers I can’t resist.  Not much else. 

So it is the perfect time for Blogger and Live Writer to decide to part ways.  Bloggers all over G+ and elsewhere are moaning and groaning, including me.  So many of us write blogs for so many different reasons.  I don’t particularly care about how far out my blog goes, I care more about how it looks to me when I return to it.  My kids have grown to love my blog books, and I want them to be pretty and well formatted.  I want my archives available to easily search when I am trying to remember something.  Many things that Blogger does that WordPress doesn’t.  Besides, I don’t want to bother learning something else that may go by the wayside eventually.  Like Picasa.  But that is another story.

So, with LiveWriter dead in the water it seems, alternatives must be found.  Thank goodness I have a friend who understands my reasons for blogging and my personal parameters, as many of them are hers as well.  Thanks to Erin if this post actually ends up in the blog and looks half way decent.  It is a test.

Erin already pointed me to SmugMug for photos, but I hadn’t bothered to attempt linking my photos there rather than simply uploading them from my computer, so this is also new in this post.  The photos will take you directly to my Smug Mug photos.  Anxious to see how all that works as well.  Then, the really big test is if I can format all this in Live Writer offline, copy the HTML as Erin suggested, and manage to get it over into blogger looking somewhat like I wanted it to look.

I guess since it is a test, I should get busy with the testing part.  Here goes.

We even surprised ourselves with the trim color, but really love the way it is just a little bit different without being gaudy

Oh yeah.  A side note.  The rain that never came until May finally stopped and the painters are almost finished with my little house in Klamath Falls.  Tomorrow it will be listed and will go up for sale.  I am hoping for a quick sale, of course.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon Chilly and overcast at 49 degrees F

Mattie (14 of 51)After my last post about our new family member, and my upcoming surgery, I was overwhelmed and humbled by all the encouraging comments from so many.  Of course, when Al of the Bayfield Bunch gives anyone a shout-out, all heck breaks loose with the servers and many more people got to see our new little Mattie than might have otherwise.  Thanks, Al. Your love of dogs shines through and I knew you would love Mattie at first sight.Mattie (12 of 51)

The good news is that our little bundle of fear and anxiety has already blossomed into a very happy little dog.  I couldn’t wait for the time when I would see her smile, when her tail would rise and wag, when she would run and play.  It didn’t take long.

Mattie (2 of 51) While I was in the hospital, for a few more days than expected, Mo had time to spend with her.  Peace Health Sacred Heart at Riverbend  in Springfield, Oregon, looks more like a high end college campus, with a large park along the MacKenzie River lined with gorgeous plantings and beautiful trails.  It was a beautiful, quiet, and safe place for Mo begin to teach Mattie how to walk on a leash.  It was also a great time for Mo to bond with her one on one.

On a little side note, I have to say I was incredibly impressed with the care I received at this rather amazing hospital.  There were always plenty of caregivers around paying close attention to my needs, the food, if I could have eaten it, would have been quite good, and the private room with a view of the city was quite lovely and comfortable.  After asking how I managed a private room, I was told that all rooms at the hospital are private rooms because they afford better care for the patients.  Each time a caregiver came into my room, I was asked carefully if there was anything else that I might need.  I was asked that often and with genuine concern.  I knew my surgeons were great, but didn’t know that the hospital would be as state of the art as it was.  I’m not one to talk up the medical system, so these words coming from this skeptic, are surprising and heartfelt.  I am grateful.

Mattie (4 of 51) I don’t have a lot of good memories of that first week.  It was wonderful to have the motorhome for transport to and from Springfield, a trip of about 200 miles, but has anyone actually tried to rest in the back of a moving motorhome.  Illegal as heck, I know, but it sure beat trying to sit in an upright position.  Bounces and all.  By the time we got home Friday night I was one miserable puppy.   Mattie (9 of 51) The real puppy, on the other hand, was quite content in the motorhome, either curled up in her bed, or snuggled up next to me on my bed.  She loves riding and shows no sign of getting car sick or stressed in a moving vehicle.  Lucky for us!

The first few days at home for me were lost in a fog of feeling pretty miserable, more so than I had anticipated, so Mo picked up all the slack and took care of everything, including me.  She and Mattie bonded even more as she played with her on the leash and Mattie began to respond to her name, to perk up her ears, and yes, to leap about with joy on her forays into the outdoors and wag her tail.Mattie (16 of 51)

Reading about rat terriers has been interesting.  Mattie has all the known personality traits of a true rat terrier, with lots of energy, but also a love of napping and cuddling.  She and I have continued the bond we started that first day at the shelter as she snuggles up to me while I am in bed.  It has been incredibly comforting.

Mattie (20 of 51) I can report that now, 12 days post surgery, I feel pretty good.  No more uncomfortable than I expected and am improving every single day.  “Take It Slow/Take it Easy” according to my friend Erin, battling her way through some stormy weather in southeast Texas, and with more encouraging notes from MBZ, also in Texas, and Nickie in California,  I have a ton of support from long distance as well as up close friends.

Mattie (34 of 51) The chicken soup that my local quilt buddy, Mata, brought over that first night was a life saver, with homemade broth that got me through several days of not being able to eat much. Tomorrow, my lifelong friend Maryruth will be arriving for several days of best friend care, and Mo can take a bit of a break. Of course, a break for Mo includes doing everything she usually does, plus everything I usually do, and then some.  I have been pretty lucky to have her here to get me through the hard parts.

Mattie, of course, is still a project.  She still is fearful, sometimes retreating if she thinks you might want to catch her, other times coming when called easily.  There is much she will need to learn before we feel totally safe with her in unknown environments.

On Mom’s Day, when my daughter and grandkids showed up with fresh fruit and flowers, she guarded me in the bed, growling at the intruders until I convinced her they were OK.  She is a tough little thing, and smart!

Mattie (49 of 51) I am planning on taking her through the beginning dog training classes offered at Double C in Klamath Falls as part of the adoption package.  Watching her run and play and jump, I can see that she would love to have the mental and physical stimulation of agility training.  Once she gets the basics, of course.  She definitely needs something to keep her engaged and busy, or she tries to discover other ways to entertain herself.  Chewing the ends of my glasses was one of them.

Mattie (37 of 51)Even though they said she was two, she acts more like a year old puppy sometimes.  I’ll have to ask my own vet about that one I think.  We still have to pick a birthday for her.

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for all who cared enough to comment, send good wishes and thoughts and prayers, and let you know how much I appreciated them.


Saturday, May 2, 2015

A new addition to the family

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon sunny, warm, and gorgeous!

How many times can I write an opening sentence for a story? Guess I’ll revert to an old technique I learned in some great Gestalt therapy I had many years ago.  “What are you feeling right this moment?”  Mattie (1 of 4)

The sun is shining brilliantly into my office window.  I am in a sundress, with bare feet and it is barely May.  Wonderful.  Today I planted a few goodies in the greenhouse, even a couple of tomatoes.  That goes completely against all the rules that say don’t plant a thing in the Klamath Basin until after Memorial Day.  Or at least Mother’s Day. 

I guess I am having a hard time with opening sentences because things are beginning, things are ending.  Some things are basically right in the middle, and my mind is finally settling down after a crazy month of working on the Klamath Falls Painter Street house and dealing with getting her on the market. 

almost done on Painter St (1 of 18) And of course, knowing that a surgery is coming up has been always in the background, creating a deadline, and just bugging me in general.

And now it is basically here.  Mo has the MoHo in the driveway and the Tracker hooked up for the trip to Springfield tomorrow where we will park for free in the hospital lot with electrical hookups.  At least if they aren’t all full.  Otherwise she will be boondocking in the lot until something comes open while I languish in the comfy, air conditioned, fully electrified big fancy hospital.

Should be fun.

I probably wouldn’t have done a blog post at all about any of this if it weren’t for one thing.  We found a dog, and yes, in spite of the business of life, we decided it was time.

Mattie (2 of 4) Our very smart, very well thought out decision to wait at least until after our fall trip to Ireland just flew out the window when Mo said, “Hey, look at this.  You have to see this little dog” and she showed me an internet photo of “Tilly”, a 2 year old rat terrier/mix at the Klamath Humane Society.  She had a sweet face.  Mo didn’t really want a little dog, so her reasoning was that if I got a little dog for myself, a little lap dog of sorts, I might miss my cat a bit less, and then she could later find a medium sized dog to her liking.  Two dogs?  We already said we wouldn’t get any animals again for a long time.

Animal lovers know how silly it is to say that.  Somehow when there is a vacancy in a home that has had loving animals, it is like water flowing into a low spot.  Something happens and the new family member shows up. 

Tilly has been renamed and she now is “Mattie”.  Eleven pounds of fear and anxiety.  We have taken on a project.  I knew when we found her that it might be like this.  She was so afraid, and what little history we had of her life explained why.  Shuttled from Shafter, California as a stray several months ago, then to Sacramento, to Redding, then to Klamath Falls, she is afraid of most everything at the moment.  Except sitting in my lap.

Mattie (1 of 2)When we took her to the visiting room, she was fine on my lap, but when she was put down on the floor she ran to a corner and tried to make herself as small as possible.  What in the world happened to her?  We will never know. 

There are many things about her that are encouraging, most of all the fact that she completely loves to be held, to be in my lap.  After a few days, she will now look me in the eye, and loves to have her ears rubbed.  Today she finally ate a bite, drank some water, and thank goodness piddled outside.  She had surgery on Thursday, so that was an excellent milestone.

She is afraid of the outdoors, and when I take her out will anxiously run back to the house if I let her. But each time it gets a little bit better.  She has shown no signs of aggression, except for a tiny growl in PetSmart as we were fitting her harness.  She growled at a big dog passing by.  Shocked the heck out of both of us, and we have yet to hear her bark.

Yeah, the timing may be a little strange, but then again maybe not.  Taking care of a small, needy being is a great way to get outside myself and quit obsessing over stuff. 

Travel?  She loves being in the car, she loves riding in my lap, and she seems to have no issues with separation anxiety.  I think our biggest challenge will be getting her to actually get out of her little bed on her own!  This week will be the first MoHo test with Mo and the little dog, and I have a feeling it will be just fine.  Mattie (2 of 2)

While you are at it, check out the beautiful quilt on the chair behind me.  Here is a better shot of it.

my Huggie Quilt (2 of 4)

The amazing women of the Rocky Point quilt guild donate what we call a “huggie” quilt for comfort to anyone in the community who has lost a loved one or is in the hospital at least overnight.  Day surgeries don’t get a quilt.  They surprised me with this very special quilt last week, a bit early, but time to enjoy it a lot before I have to go as well as afterward.  The special story behind this quilt is that each of us made sets of blocks and then put them together after being inspired by a quilt we saw last year at a show.  What a surprise to be on the receiving end of this group effort.

Next on our travel agenda will be a week we have planned at Harris Beach in June.  I plan to be mobile by then and am really looking forward to walking again! Judy will be there volunteering, and has promised another round of her famous New York Chicken!  A week in the MoHo with the little dog at the beach will be a great break from the next round of projects that are on the big transitions list that we have going.