We recently went through the heartbreaking loss of our trusty family dog. Gator was a 9+ year old Golden Retriever we raised from a pup. He was curly and bigger than any Golden I've ever seen. His bark was deep and ferocious and the complete opposite of his actual personality. He shed enough I could've been one of those people who knit with their pet hair, if I had been, you know, one of those people. He pretended to harass the cats but everyone knew he really loved them. They certainly did and never even flinched with his bluffing. He wanted out the front door more than anything in the world, and on the few occasions he managed, ran straight out, oblivious to things like streets or cars. We discovered if we just ran out and opened the car door, he would come running back and hop in. We would then grab his red leash, open the opposite side door, clip on the leash, and lead him out and back inside. Of course, he eventually learned the trick and would then demand an actual walk around the yard (or block) before heading in. He'll be sorely missed and in the few days he's been gone we've all "heard" him or thought we've seen him, in his usual spots. Of course, who's to say we haven't?
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My husband went in for surgery on October 23. He was able to come home on November 14. Twenty-three days came and went, filled with worry and sleepless nights, but also joy and small improvements; there were life-saving measures, blood and iron transfusions, PICC lines, multiple surgeries and multiple NG tubes, several catheters, ostomy bags, skilled surgeons, amazing, kind, dedicated RNs and CNAs, hospitalists, anesthesiologists, wound care nurses, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists and a Rapid Response Team that changed everything one very scary night. And I'm sure this isn't even all.
There were also family and friends: coworkers who selflessly donated their personal vacation time to us both and spent their own weekends raking up our leaves, neighbors who hauled away garbage, co-workers who carried the work load (for both of us) (and still are), cousins who stayed nights at the hospital when I had to leave to sleep, who brought me food, who sat with my husband so I could step out, friends who ran errands for me, Knights of Columbus who donated home medical equipment, daughters who worried just as much but stayed strong and listened to me wail, online friends who rallied to support me mentally with uplifting messages, a father-in-law who stepped in to do a little electrical repair on short notice and even a local business (Sav-Mart) who helped us immediately and free of charge, when they were under no obligation to.
We can't say this emphatically enough: thank you.
Mixed media, 20x20
Born in 1917, she was a teacher and married to my grandpa, a probate judge, the country coroner, justice of the peace, school superintendent, insurance salesman and owner of the title company in town, among other things, in a small town where people often wore many hats in the community. She had a sweet tooth like no other. She passed it to my dad, who passed it to me and when we were together, there was always cake or ice cream or cookies, or all three at once. And, last night I had a bowl of chocolate ice cream and chuckled as I rationalized it was "in her memory."
In this photo from 2012, we were celebrating her 95th birthday and she was funny as she not-so-patiently insisted it was time to cut the cake. Conversation continued and she kept bringing it back to the cake and ice cream.
My grandma Elsie taught me to crochet. Grannie squares her lesson of choice and I remember the multi-colored afghans draped over the couch. She was funny and witty and smart and loved to play games. She made mudpies with me and we played dolls on the river's edge while my parents and brother fished.
She was loved, and she will be missed.
Project 18 (photo): I had a family photo session on Sunday. While I may not normally count this as a "Project" I am this time, because, well, I got injured, and didn't have time to do anything else. THat's also why I'm a day late posting. Yours truly took a full-on fall to her knees, then shoulder, then ending in an embarrassing turtle-on-its-back pose on the wet, dirty gravel. I was also carrying all my gear (camera, monopod, bag of lenses) and had the instinct to cradle my camera and keep it from breaking. My knees that night were the size of cut-in-half softballs and were bloodied and hurting. The swelling has gone down some, but they still aren't as bendy as they should be. I was thankful that I've known this family for years so it wasn't QUITE as embarrassing as it could have been if I'd just been meeting them. Anyway, totally worth it as I got to spend time with them and got some really nice family portraits of a really beautiful family. Win-win!