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Goodbye, fare thee well

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Bodhi spent a lot of time looking out at the world. He was always waiting for someone, it seemed, to arrive. Or maybe watching someone leaving, long after they’d gone.

I’ve been struggling for several weeks now, wanting to post things, but not wanting to post them here. The thing about here is, that I made this blog for Bodhi, and it seems wrong to keep going after he’s gone. It seems wronger to try to change the name and move forward. And so I’ve decided to end this blog here. As some of you may have noticed, I’ve started another visual blog bookspastandfuture, which is just me posting about books I have read, want to read or am reading. I’ve decided to go back to an old blog that I used to have that somehow fell by the wayside (as sometimes happens when you attempt split your one life into two lives). If you are interested, follow me there, it’s InsolitaVita.

Here’s one last Bodhi. Don’t worry. He’ll be watching for you.

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Heavy sigh

Today, WordPress let me know that it had been 3 months since I posted Bodhi has left the building. I can hardly believe it has been so long. I still find myself expecting him when I come home, while I’m waking up, or when I’m falling asleep. I look for him when I cut vegetables, when I have a tasty tidbit I know he’d love. I think of him when I vacuum, when I come home late, and when a doorbell rings on the soap I watch. I think of him too whenever I water the lemon tree I planted in his name.

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Some might say that my life is easier these days. My days no longer revolve around his eating and going outside. I no longer need someone to take care of him during the day or if I go on a trip. Last week I found myself out late unexpectedly, but there was no need to worry that he’d be home alone too long. Some might expect that to feel freeing, instead it only made my loss stand out that much more starkly.

I am still burning practically all my food, and find myself standing in the middle of a room about twice a day, not remembering what I was doing or why I am standing in that room. I bang some part of my body nearly every day, and have dropped, broken and spilled so many things I’m not even surprised any longer.

When I go for a run, I have a feeling like I’ve forgotten something the whole way. I actually run a little faster, a little freer without Bodhi, but it seems like cheating, and I usually push myself harder when I notice it. I go for a lot fewer runs, too. In part that’s because I hurt myself recently and had to stop running altogether, but part of it is also that it feels wrong to run without Bodhi. After his heat stroke, I remember how hard it was to leave him at home when I went out, how eager he would be to come with me, how eager he was to be with me when I got home. 

I remember back in the day my mom would say to me, “But why are you depressed? What is so bad in your life?” I didn’t always have an answer for her, as you know, depression is an dirty bastard and doesn’t need a good reason to show it’s face. These days, I have a reason. I miss Bodhi. He’s gone on without me and I’ll never see him again. Further, October is the anniversary of my father’s birthday and death, followed quickly by Veteran’s Day, another sad day for remembering him. They’ve been heavy, these three months.

The world’s most perfect prefab cookie

The world’s most perfect prefab cookie

Junk food, eating out and sleeping at odd intervals have been my coping methods these last three months, and, I gotta tell you, they just don’t help the way you’d think they would. In fact, it’s started a nasty cycle of further bad feelings once I find myself in a sugar stupor. I’ve been heavy too, these three months. I loved Bodhi well, and he loved me even better. I think maybe now I’m ready to put him down. Good bye, my friend.

Bodhi’s actual tree

Bodhi’s actual tree

Bodhi has left the building

Bodhi by the door

On July 20th, 2010, Bodhi had a heatstroke. He was a nutty, anxious, active dog before the incident, and continued to be nutty and anxious after it was over, although a bit less active. In fact, for about the first year, I couldn’t even walk him any more. If you’ve followed our journeys here you’ll know that we moved, first from Minnesota to Boston (Lowell, actually), and then trekked all the way across the country to San Francisco. He’s had ups and downs, lots of little illnesses and great improvements in his anxiety levels. He’s been a good dog, really, in some ways *gasp* better than the amazing Detta to whom he was compared for too many years.

Bodhi is a good cuddler, when giving the opportunity. He is so relaxed when he’s relaxed, his whole body just melts into the furniture, or your legs, or whatever he’s on.

Bodhi takes over the chair )

He doesn’t care too much when you are eating, although nowadays he gets more interested as I finish a meal (I have *no* idea why that happens). He’s good on the leash and has been for a long time. He’s good with other dogs, even when some small dog is intent on killing him, he stands, patient, until you dislodge said dog. He is great about alerting you to when he needs to yark, so that, as often as he yarks, he has only done it in the house a few times over the years. He’s quiet (when not egged on by smaller, yappier dogs), too.

And since the….

Well, I started this a few days ago, when Bodhi really started to go downhill. I don’t know why I stopped where I did, but I can tell you that not long after, less than 24 hour later, Bodhi was gone.

While I was waiting for the housecall vet to come and put him out of his misery, I listened to Good Dog, Stay by Anna Quindlen. It’s a fabulous book that I have heard before, not too long after Detta died. It’s not very long, and it really captures, for me, what it’s like to love a dog and let that dog go.

good dog stay

While I was looking for this housecall vet, I had to make the same phone call over and over again, and following what I saw on the websites, I asked about the process of euthanasia at home for a dog. Midway through these calls, someone who cares about me called (for some other reason) and when she asked if I was ok, I blurted out, “I just realized I need to have Bodhi put down” amid sobs. I felt a little guilty about this later, as I was finishing my calls and calling it euthanasia again, like somehow it was a bad thing to say. “Put down” sounded like something so negative. But then Anna came to the part in the book where she talks about that phrase – and how apropos it is to say that you come to a point where you have to put your dog down.

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Bodhi lived a pretty good life, with minimal me completely losing my cool with him, good food, lots of exercise and even several years living with a pack of dogs who he loved to be with. And although I’ll always carry a part of him in my heart, I know it was right to put him down when I did. 

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Bodhi with best friend Max

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Bodhi and Madam

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You can’t quite tell, but he’s in my lap here…

Bodhi s taken over the chair

Bodhi takes over my chair

Bodhi kept trying to catch what Bob was shoveling,

Bodhi “gets” the snow!

happy mothers day bodhi may 9 2010

He was sweet even when I was away (thanks Rumi)

me n bodhi greenway

Lead with the positives…

It’s good advice, no? Still…. 

Ridiculous. Seriously, car problems in San Francisco are ridiculous. I mean, the thing is, I don’t even NEED my car here. I walk to work on the days I’m at the school and I take an easy 15 minute bus ride on the days I’m at the hospital.

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Wait, let’s not start there, on that complaint. I know it’s been a long time since I posted – since I left for San Francisco, actually. Maybe I’ll start on some positives. I love the Bay area. I mean, I really do. I feel very comfortable here, almost as much as Milano.

My work life is great. Which is not to say it is easy, or that it always flows smoothly. I don’t even mean that it’s always fun. What I am saying is that it is a great fit for me. It is difficult and I’m learning a lot. It is emotionally draining and fulfilling. It is just what I wanted to do that I didn’t even know I wanted to do.

My social life is pretty good too, in that there are always things available do when I want to do them, more than enough. I have made a few friends (including my roommate, thank goodness) and am finally starting to feel less lonely. I even went out on a few dates recently!

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My Spanish is getting better and better. I have to say thanks to ConversationExchange for providing me with conversation partners and also a new friend. Yes, I’m still a fan of Meetup but I really have gained more from the one-on-one conversations that I’ve been having.

Just last night I went out on my first run in a while, so I’ll count that as being positive these days too. My first excuse was the hills, then I wasn’t running because of the rain, but that only lasted a couple of weeks. I’m thinking I’ll get back on track now, maybe just suck it up and run at night. I always think it’s better if I do it in the morning, but that hasn’t been happening…better to do the next best thing, which is running after work. At least then I’m running.

 (here’s where I’d post a screenshot of my endomondo but apparently it doesn’t do that)

I guess, really, the only part that isn’t quite coming together is the money thing. That bums me out, but it’s just real. I thought I’d be much better off once I got here, but dude, it’s expensive to live in the Bay area. AND my wonderful car, the one my dad left me and that I really, really love has had one problem after another since we got here. I’m not ready to get rid of it, I really do love that car. But man. I’m totally considering putting it in the garage for a few months. If I could get it started, that is. Which gets me back to where I started. Having car troubles in SF is a joke. I mean, if I were in MN still, not having a car would be much, much more difficult. I would be stuck in several ways. Luckily, I live here, where transit is great and not cost prohibitive for me. In fact, one of my job perks is that my transit dollars are taken out pre-tax. So that’s awesome, right?

But I have been attending church in Oakland (I love the East Bay Church of Religious Science!) and while I can probably get there by BART, I’ve enjoyed driving over. I sometimes stop on my way home at Rainbow or the Berkeley Bowl once a month or so, which is also awesome. So not having my car is a minor bump in the fabric of my life. However, when the gauges up and stopped working, I forgot that. I also forgot that I am still making very little money (since it’s more than last year, it’s easy to forget) and that I don’t have much to spare. I did remember that I have that cool warranty on my car and decided to take it to a dealer and have it checked out and hopefully fixed under that warranty.

Ha! Yeah. No. 300 diagnostic dollars later (note that nothing was repaired, and only one problem was diagnosed) it seemed my warranty didn’t cover a thing, nope, not even the diagnostic work. To fix the battery cable problem, which MAY be where all the other electrical problems are coming from, would cost another 600 bucks. Uh huh. Yeah, so, can I have my car back, please? They told me to come get it (after some haggling over the cost of the diagnostics) and after borrowing some money (thank goodness for good hearted people) I went to pick it up. Ha! again! Seems my car was locked up and they couldn’t get it out. Sheesh. So they gave me a loaner to drive. Which was coool – but then not cool because that meant I had to gas that bugger. My car gets much better milage than the Caddy they gave me. Plus, driving the Caddy meant I had to come up with the toll money – which in my car is paid by my pre-tax dollars. Good grief.

I finally went to pick up my car and guess what? It wouldn’t start for them. I mean, I hate to dog the dealers, but can I say that there is a brand new battery in the car (that’s where last month’s “buffer” money went)? Yeah, when I took it to the dealer, the problem was NOT, it doesn’t start, but that the gauges don’t work. The guy told me that the negative connector wasn’t on tightly enough and that a shim would probably do the trick. I drove it home without any problems, but tried to start it Friday night and no go. Today I thought, “hell, I know how to do stuff like that, I’ll just replace the connector!” Uh huh, which would be fine if I had $5. I did go out to put a shim in there rather than sit here depressed. I managed to get the connector on quite tight without a shim, but now the key is stuck in the ignition and there is no power at all – like, I can’t open the trunk or click the locks. Now I’m waiting for someone who can give me a jump. I hope that the connector really was the problem, because now my big issue is that if I can’t get the car off the street, I will be the proud owner of a $62 ticket every Wednesday morning until I can.

 

I’m planning a happy follow up post for this. It will say something like this:

 

Hooray! Once I got the jump, the car started right up. I managed to get it into the garage and will just wait awhile before attempting to fix the gauge problems. Also, I managed to find an extra $50 so I can make it till Friday (payday). I had a nice free day at the park and everything is well with the world.

 

Just putting it out there, you know?

Bodhi update

Well, I took Bodhi in for his first checkup since we arrived last week. Of course they did bloodwork. I got a call on Friday with his results.

According to the vet, his urine is too dilute, his sugars were too high and he may have hypothyroid. She didn’t think anything was going to jump up and kill him immediately, but she did think he needed to have another test done in six weeks. First of all, I have no idea how I will manage to pay to have all that bloodwork done again in six weeks, and secondly, there is a part of me that just wants to believe the vet is out of her mind. I plan to pick up the results on Monday and faxing it back to Bodhi’s old vet and see if she will just give me a quick reading of them.

I didn’t really enjoy my experience at the vet – the vet tech tried to scare/bully me into heartworm test/pills, then the vet came in and tried to scare/bully me into some inoculation that went with the parvo. Can I just say that I never said to either of these people that I wouldn’t do these things, just that he hadn’t been on heartworm pills before. And the inoculation thing was something I had never even heard of, so it certainly wasn’t something I was trying to deny Bodhi.

Also, they took Bodhi out of the room to draw the blood – that always bugs me, although I know many vets do it. I like to be with my pet the whole time.

Finally, the news she gave me was not very good news and I really, really want to just believe that she’s out of her mind. Unfortunately, all the things she mentioned were things that my vet told me were probably going to happen to Bodhi after his heat stroke. She told me that if it didn’t happen right away (that first weekend) that it would probably happen later. Essentially, the heat stroke (according to the good vet and some web research) compromised Bodhi’s organs, and kidney failure was one of the things the vet was most worried about.

After the heatstroke

Even before the heat stroke my vet told me that Bodhi probably wouldn’t live as long as Detta. She told me he wasn’t put together too well, that he seemed to have gotten the weaknesses of both breeds (Rottweiler/Great Dane).

Regardless of all these warnings AND Bodhi’s history of silly behavior, I will miss him a lot when he dies. It’s been a kind of long weekend.

Getting serious about stuff

I am not a hoarder, I swear, but I do save things. Things that might become useful at some point. So what if that point is some far off, distant point in the science-fiction-like future. I might need it some day.

Back in the day, I moved a lot, and this helped me to stay light. There was a time when I could move all my belongings in my 1963 Blazer in two trips, one with only my mattress in it. But now that I have been a home owner since 2002, things have changed. I have managed to keep my book count down with ruthless culling every few years and I really don’t have that many clothes, but the the rest of the house…

Let’s start with the kitchen. The kitchen is out of control. I save bags and jars, plastics I mean to recycle. I have frozen food more than a year old. I have not one but two junk drawers, filled with pens and small tools, pictures and rechargeable batteries. There are power converters and my father’s slip on sunglasses. There are pieces of toys long ago broken and probably gone to the Goodwill. Tiny screws and rubber bands…you get the picture. No wait, let me give you one.

I have big things in the kitchen, too. I have a very nice mixer, a steamer, a food processor, an ice cream maker – and those are just the one’s inside the house.

Out in the garage are a number of other kitchen “tools” that only make it in to the house for special occasions, like the pasta maker. Oh, and the garage – shall we move out to the garage?

In the garage are all the gardening gadgetry I’ve collected over the years (just the smaller stuff, bigger stuff is in the shed). Little yard tools, and seeds, fertilizer (which I long since stopped using), weed killer (which I also stopped using) and those little pods for seedlings. I would dispose of the toxic stuff, but I haven’t figured out how yet…

Also in the garage are things I think I ought to recycle, but haven’t found a way or just haven’t gotten around to it. I have a chest freezer (more frozen food, most of it not too ancient). I have boxes and bags and jars…you get the picture. Then there is the stuff in the shed, luggage and more garden things, also some bi-fold doors and some stuff that was in there when I bought the house.

And we haven’t even gone into other rooms in the house! The good news is, for the most part, I think I can part with most of this stuff. My plan is to have a series of yard sales. I want to have the first one in a couple of weeks featuring garden things – rakes, lawn furniture, shovels, tomato cages… Maybe next will be clothing, sheets, household items, kitcheny stuff, computer stuff, electronic gadgets. Finally, furniture, books, games, plants, artsy stuff. It’s gonna be some summer!


Bodhi hits the trail

It was such a gorgeous day out today (64 big degrees!) so I took Bodhi out for a walk.

After last summer’s heat stroke, Bodhi’s vet said no more walking for him, that it would be too hard on his system, but for any of you that know Bodhi, you understand that he is pretty high energy and I couldn’t really imagine never walking him again. So when the weather got cold I started taking him on very short walks – half of a tenth of a mile (whatever that is in math terms, I have no idea), adding a little bit each time. At first I was only walking him once every 3 or 4 days – he would be completely worn out even by such short walks, and I didn’t want to risk his health. By last week I was taking him just over a tenth of a mile every other day, more or less.

But today, when we went outside, Bodhi became VERY enthusiastic, hopping and leaping and harumphing around trying to convince me to go for a walk – a real one. I know because on these short walks I always go out of the driveway to the left, onto the circle my house is on. It’s a calm area and has always been the signal that we were going for a short walk (even before the heat stroke). Today, he was leaping and lunging to go out the driveway and to the right, our old running route.

It was a gorgeous day, like I said, and I figured what the heck. We can walk a mere half mile to the “ice rink” (a boarded up oval that the city fills with water in the winter) and I can let Bodhi lope around a while before heading home. It isn’t a very long walk and we can go as slow as we like. And so I geared up (phone, headphones, gps watch – sheesh! I used to say I loved running because you could just put on your shoes and go…) and off we went.

I should have known things weren’t going to go well, as Bodhi was so excited right after that first right turn he could hardly stay beside me. Now, he has never done a perfect “heel” or anything, but he was pretty easy to walk last year. Today’s walk felt like the ones right after we got him from the rescue – pulling and jumping and moving right and left. I took a deep breath (or several) and tried to remind myself that I wasn’t in a hurry and that all this was good for him… It was a tough half mile. The least of my concerns were for his health or ability to make the walk. He was brimming with energy!

We got to the ice rink and I let him in. After a few lopes around I noticed that his collar seemed like it was going to fall off over his head so I slipped it off and into my pocket. I carefully locked the gate behind me and checked the other two, then stood back in the sun and watched him run. Bodhi really likes running and he looks so happy to me when he does. He stood up on the fence a couple of times and I said “Get off the wall…” and he got back down right away. See videos ———–>>>


I was thinking about how long I was going to let him run around and taking a little video when he stood up right where one of the gates are. I was thinking, “Huh, he’s pretty smart, remembering right where that gate is.” I issued my standard, “Hey!” and then watched, in horror, as the gate creaked forward, Bodhi’s front paws still on the top.

See more video ———->>>

I did not break into a run towards him, as I have learned from experience this will make him really put on the speed. I started walking, though and called his name in what I hoped was an enticing way, but once he figured out how to get his front feet down, he was out and gone.

So, there he was, running wild and free in an open area which is prone to having, you know, people all around, this big, Rottweiler colored dog with no collar… When he ran away before, it is usually from my yard. People in the neighborhood kind of know him and (except for the one lady that yelled at me for being in her yard AND for not retrieving my dog – why did she think I was in her yard in the first place?) most of them are pretty understanding. Also, I know that area pretty well now, and know which places I might be able to trap him in a corner. Further, I usually catch him by his collar…which was in my pocket.

Besides all of that, there was a little voice in the back of my mind saying, “Yeah, he could have another heat stroke and die out here, all the while, running away from me…”

He ran like the wind, around and around. I tried all my best tricks, including running away from him and then discovered a new one. I got out of sight and he came running…but not quite close enough to grab. Luckily he ran into a batting cage and I was able to corner him. By the time we got home, we had been out an hour – far more than I intended and I had gone almost 3 miles – which mean Bodhi must have covered at least 4. He’s tougher than he looks.

 

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