all dogs go to Heaven

Blue Baird (September 26, 2011-May 1, 2018) Monday night Blue was much weaker, wobbly standing. I called the vet, to schedule a time if he made it through the night. He did. On Tuesday Blue spent the whole morning belly in the grass, listening to the birds, soaking up sunshine, watching the world go by. The vet came to the house around 11:30am. Blue and I sat in the grass in the front yard. The boys were inside, having already said goodbye. By 11:45am Blue’s spirit was gone. Oh. My heart. Big, sweet dog I loved. This picture of Blue and I is from yesterday morning at 8:55am, enjoying backyard sun, a few hours before his death.

May 2, 2018

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feeling lucky

A little before 10:00am Blue dog and I stepped outside for our second walk of the morning. Temps are brrr cold and we’re walking once again upon freshly fallen snow. We pass by several neighbors shoveling and greet the ones we know. Just a few doors down, is the kind, white haired neighbor man who pauses in his work to smile and say to me, “You sure are dedicated.” Then he adds, “You sure are a lucky dog, Blue.” That made me laugh! Yep. He is. Blue acknowledged the words of his neighbor friend with a happy woof and tail wag. Oh. He knows. We stayed on course, circling around the block. The little one, not one of our longer routes. Back inside now, thawing out with a later than usual hot breakfast, while the dog curls back up on the couch. My lucky canine compatriot. After food, it’ll be time to retrieve my shovel from the garage for digging out the front of the house. For many weeks I kept a snow shovel propped by the front door, only recently returning it to the garage, rather optimistically. Oh well. More snow fell. Winter is still quite “ON.” Thankfully we got less snow than predicted and it is the light, fluffy version of the white stuff. Very doable. Although, breakfast has turned into brunch here. My boys drifted to the kitchen in search of food. Sausage has been cooked and bacon is sizzling now. Evidently breakfast meat is the secret to A Great Sunday at home. Even better is the time we’ll spend in scripture, worshipping at Home Church for awhile longer. Suddenly a day that began with solitude and quiet is filling up with life, love and yes, a bit o’commotion. Good stuff. God stuff. We’re all “lucky dogs” because we have each other. Feeling thankful and blessed. Let it snow.

March 2, 2014

music in the air

The birds are singing again. Not just the crows, but the songbirds. I noticed recently while walking Blue. Subzero wasn’t song-worthy or, I just didn’t hear them singing. I’m sort of not sure.

Yesterday, I first wrote these words in an email to a friend. This morning I heard a pleasing lilt yet again. Louder though, were those blasted crows.

February 19, 2014

Adventuring

@CLCatHCC @Astro_Wheels #NightOfDiscovery

We met NASA Astronaut, Colonel Douglas Wheelock last night at Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College. He’s the real deal. He gave the best talk about how ordinary people can do great things if they can overcome their fears to follow their dreams, by listening to the balcony people in their lives, not the basement people. He was nine when he first dreamed of being an astronaut. He thought his dreams were too big. Nope. He praised that one special teacher that made a difference in his life. He commanded the International Space Station for six months and told a hilarious story… The best part of the night for me, was at 8:00pm as the talk was ending, when my teenage boy leaned over and quietly said, “Thanks for dragging my butt here.” You’re welcome. I love you. Meeting an astronaut was exactly where we were supposed to be last night. Thankful for the wonderful fifth grade teacher next door when invited us yesterday morning.
She texted at 7:15am, “How are you? Chocolate night tonight! I think I’m going to meet the astronaut at Challenger Learning Center tonight.”
I replied, “The astronaut sounds amazing. What time?”
LB: “6? I will forward info to you… Unique experience, free”
Me: “Thank you. Intrigued. :)”
Meant to be. Then there was that phone conversation on the way there over the RAV speakers… My boys telling a friend they were being hijacked…or kidnapped or something… Yep. Mission accomplished.

February 8, 2014

“Night of Discovery” 10th anniversary event was Friday, February 7, 2014 at Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College

“Mud Season” by Ellen Stimson @ellenstimson

It started one late fall morning, when I read an excerpt from Ellen Stimson’s first book, “Mud Season” in “Reader’s Digest” that had me grinning and laughing. When my oldest son, age 13, woke up I suggested he read that mini tale about rain, cows, a skunk and chickens. He chuckled too. He did. Laughter is even better shared. That was sometime before Christmas. I then ordered several copies of “Mud Season” to give as gifts, and wrapped a copy for myself in Christmas paper too, Mom Style. I began to meander and mosey through it, reading while I ate my meals, often standing up in the kitchen. I’ve never been to Vermont. I love cheese. I’ve always wanted to visit New England. Some of my friends have chickens. I buy farm fresh eggs from them, brown and white ones. Part of me wants to move and live anywhere but here, but we’re staying put. We are. It’s A Good Spot. Earlier today, at 9:27am, I wrote in an email to a friend, “Lots to do and I just want to curl up with a book in bed and tell the world to go away. Maybe with an F thrown in, some days. Unplugging today as much as I can. Breakfast is next. Went to the store first.” Then, at 11:08am, I wrote to her again saying, “I just finished reading “Mud Season” by Ellen Stimson. Thought of you a lot as I read because I loved the way she told her story – honest, funny as hell, with excellent cussing. I sat and read in a quiet house, with my last cup of coffee, while my Blue dog snoozed on the love seat next to me, his head by my side. I’m crying because I read to the end and she included recipes – cheese and cream laden ones. Oh my. More too. All of it really. Through the past few years, during my husband’s cancer fight, I couldn’t read much, but I could write. I love to read and “Mud Season” was a fun book. Memoir. A saucy, sassy one.” The beauty of “Mud Season” is that it felt so much like a multilayered conversation with my closest girlfriends. They are an amazing group of strong, fascinating women with beautiful smiles and musical laughs, who simultaneously pray you through a storm and help you find your smile with stories from their lives. That’s what friends do. Books are friends too. They keep us company, teach us stuff and are meant to be shared, like a good meal and laughter. Poor, Ellen Stimson. I found her on twitter and have been tweeting to her as I read along. At 11:28am, after I finished reading, I tweeted her this picture and said briefly:
“Dear @ellenstimson,
I finished Mud Season this morning. Smiled, laughed and cried w/Blue by my side.
~Janean”
The end. Now the dog is awake, off the love seat and barking to go out. No more time to type, because nature calls, both the dog’s and the beauty of outdoors with glitter on the snow in sunlight under a blue sky, even if the temp is 1*F. It’s time for me to “write for real” with a purpose. Memoir. It beckons me. My first book, “The Blue Collection,” is hiding, right out in the open here at Tumblr. It is a collection of all these micro posts, poems and stories about me and my dog, Blue. Woof. Again. He’s really gotta go at 12:45pm.
(Time lapses.) I took the dog out. My Aunt Janet called as we circled the block. I didn’t slip on the ice as we talked and laughed rat a tat tat fast. Familial shorthand. I saw a friend walking her two little white dogs. Knew today her husband was to hear Doctor News. It wasn’t good. Damn it. Hugged her. Caregiver support. Walked home. Read and replied to emails. Tweeted some. Phone got down to 3% battery before I plugged it in. 2:16pm now, as I’m finally going to click, “post.” I know where the day has gone. Words. The ones I read, the ones I wrote, the ones I spoke. The day has been gobbled up with words. I just remembered to feed the dog. I can hear his food go crunch. It’s time for my lunch as my stomach growls a reminder. “Mud Season” charmed me. That’s what this post is about. I am a rambler. Brevity eludes me, except in poetry, and I’m OK with that.

February 7, 2014

I am sitting on the ledge.
Waiting.
Wishing.
Hoping, for anybody to come save me.
But they didn’t.
They never came.
Instead, they waited for me to jump.

PoorGirlRichWoman.tumblr.com (via poorgirlrichwoman)

That is when you decide you just needed some quiet time and a bird’s eye view to give you a new perspective. Things aren’t as dire and dark as they momentarily appeared. You already have the courage, strength and stamina to save yourself. You are brave and strong. There is a beacon of hope within that nothing can snuff out. It is time to begin again, soaring like an eagle. You discover you prefer this sky high view, closer to the clouds. Birds of a feather flock together. I’ll meet you in the air. *chirp*

Suicide is never the answer. You don’t get to choose your last day. Only God knows when it will be. You have today. Life is a gift. LIVE IT. You are never all alone. The God of the Universe is always as close as a prayer. He is available 24/7. Talk to Him if you can’t bring yourself to phone a friend. Please. I beg you.

January 19, 2014

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

The beauty of NaNoWriMo is there is no teacher waiting to grade what you write at the end. You can let the words flow as they come to you and write anything you want to. Advice I’ve read says write, write, write and don’t edit as you go. It is about completing a 50,000 word count, not a poised and polished final result when midnight on November 30th rolls around. Just begin. Getting started is often the hardest part, then see it through. (Says the woman who started NaNoWriMo the past two Novembers and this year decided I did not need the added pressure. Though I have the beginnings saved and am determined to begin again and finish soon.)

I initially wrote these words of encouragement to a Facebook friend, then I held up the mirror and realized I needed them too. I should get back to my own NaNoWriMo dreams. It is time to stop dreaming and Do.
~ Janean

November 3, 2013