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the most difficult goodbye

Tonight we said goodbye to Jinx.

The loss of every pet is beyond difficult, but some hurt in different ways and some seem like they hurt more. We were devastated when we lost Annie back in 2011. She was just shy of her 13th birthday, and she was old. And although Annabelly was my soulmate dog, Jinx… well, Jinx is our heart.

This fluffy, perfect gentleman of a dog was the most polite, dignified, and happy dog I have ever known. Jinx was just so full of love. Love for everyone and everything (except for squirrels). He was the happiest of creatures, his tail always up and wagging.

Jinx was diagnosed with lymphoma this month, and it was apparently very aggressive. Over Father’s Day weekend we noticed that Jinx was peeing a LOT. So much that we made a vet appointment a week later and we all thought he just had a urinary infection, but we did a blood panel anyhow, just in case. Aside from the excessive urination and drinking, Jinx seemed fine. Just tired from all the peeing. He was eating well, we was still happy and bouncy. He started having trouble holding himself up on his back legs, but we thought maybe he was just in pain because of the urinary issue. He had antibiotics and that seemed to help after a week’s time. But then we got the blood test results (2 days later) and Jinx’s calcium levels were 2.5 times what they should be. It was severe and dangerous. So we did another blood test to see why there was the calcium issue. And after those tests, the vet did an extra exam to see if there were any swollen lymph nodes. And there were. A few, only they were hardly enlarged at all. She took samples for biopsies and on Friday last week we got the call that they came back positive.

Jinx had cancer.

More specifically, Jinx had lymphoma. We met with the vet Monday evening and discussed options. We were supposed to see an oncologist today, but Jinx hasn’t been eating since Friday (without us forcing food into him by syringe) and the oncologist had already told the vet that Jinx’s prognosis wouldn’t be great even with thousands of dollars of treatment. Without treatment, he gave Jinx less than a month left. We were going to meet with him anyhow, but this morning… we made the decision that we needed to for Jinx. He was obviously suffering. He just lies in one spot and his breathing is laboured. He’s not eating (although he apparently goes CRAZY for McDonald’s fries. So we fed him a bunch of those last night.) and he’s sad.

Jinx isn’t ever sad. He’s happy, offended by impropriety and squirrels, and gets a little down if someone is upset in the house, but he’s never sad. And it’s obvious he’s unhappy and in pain. So we cancelled the oncologist appointment (4 months isn’t something I’d wish on Jinx) and I called our vet.

This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. It was tough with Annie, but she let us know she was ready. And we knew it was coming. With Jinx… we’ve had about 4 weeks to watch him get worse, then better, then worse, and then… cancer.

Out of nowhere. He was FINE in April when we went for our annual checkup. Maybe we should have had a blood panel done then. Maybe we would have noticed the calcium thing then, but it would have been a treatable thing. But we weren’t going to do any blood work until he was 10 because 9 isn’t that old for a Finnish Lapphund. Especially not a perfectly healthy one.

Our little puppy, always a puppy in manner and action. Goofy, loveable, proper. Waggling tail. Always waiting to be invited onto the couch, bed, or to take food from you. Always making sure you don’t stand too close together when you hug (No, puppies!). Always telling you off when you have the audacity to walk backwards, or try to sneak up on someone. Nothing aggressive, just a warning BIG YAWN and if that doesn’t get the message through, he lets out a little RAOOOF to let you know he means business.

Jinx has had four homes in his lifetime. His first four months were spent in Tennessee until he drove all the way up here (yes, on his own) and joined us on our wedding day, then we had a lovely year in Verdun – until the house fire. Jinx spent his formative (read: CHEW ALL THE THINGS) year with us in the basement of my in-laws’ home for a year after the fire before we were able to move into our own home. Our first home owned completely my ourselves. While living with his Pawpaw and Mama in that basement, he managed to help them remodel a few wooden items, like their deck. He also loved to carry around rocks and logs of wood. One of his favourite toys that year was a chunk of  foundation cement that his Pawpaw had drilled out of the wall to install a vent.

Most of the chewing was out of Jinx’s system by the time we bought this house. There were a few incidents while here, but we realized after the loss of Annie, that she might have been framing him all this time. Jinx is a good dog and generally, if you tell him not to do something just once, he’ll listen. He doesn’t like to upset people and he doesn’t like to do the wrong thing. He’s a tender soul. Kind. Gentle as all get out. Playing with smaller dogs, or children, he’s so gentle and lightly paws at them, or rolls over on his side so they can jump all over him. We have always been surprised and impressed by Jinx’s gentle and thoughtful nature. He really had a human sort of nature when it came to understanding things. And honestly, he was better that a human because he just LOVED so hard and so unconditionally (unless you were a squirrel or a rat).

You could tell Jinx something once. Just once. He would get it. And you could have conversations with him, and he would GET it. He understood tone. He understood moods. (He was scared of bad, angry moods, and would hide in another room. But if you were sad or sick? He was right there next to you, with a paw on your arm.)

Jinx loved to play soccer. He would kick a ball around with his paws forever when he was younger. He would squeak the squeakers out of squeaky toys for hours. He would eat the ears off toys and destroy indestructible toys within 10 minutes of taking them out of the bag. He loved to sunbathe. He hated shade. Our arctic breed dog, loved the sun. I’d tell him to get in the shade and he’s slink back on to the deck and sort of lie in the shade. He knew the letter of the law and he knew how to manipulate it. He knew. We never explained to him what “sun” and “shade” was. But the first time we said, “Jinx, get out of the sun and into the shade, you dopey dog.” he walked right into the shade and laid down. He was smart. He was sweet. He was sneaky about getting sun when he could. We always watched him closely because we didn’t want him to get heatstroke. Never thought cancer would be in the cards.

The most surprising thing I learned about Jinx was that he loved to garden. We’d never had a garden before and a few years ago I planted some cucumbers and tomatoes to see if I could get anything to grow and Jinx took over that garden so fast. Not once did he destroy anything, there was no pottying, no chewing, just absolute GLEE in wandering through the plants and snuffling everything. He’s the one who would alert me to ripe cucumbers (which he LOVED) and tomatoes (which he HATES). His love of the garden quickly became our summer amusement and for the last three years, Jinx has been a proud gardener and the garden has thrived. This year, Jinx hasn’t really been down there since the plants only really started to grow after Father’s Day weekend, so they are all smaller and less fruitful than normal. It’s rather sad.

He loved that garden though and he was a surprisingly good gardener for a dog. He had a Green Paw and I don’t even have a Green Thumb!

We couldn’t let Jinx continue to suffer and although this entire day has been almost nothing but tears, Jinx has been bombarded with love and McDonalds fries and hugs. My sister and nephew came over to say goodbye. The new neighbours who have Ellie, the Golden Retriever that Jinx Looooooves, came over after work and they sat in the backyard with us, and said their goodbyes to Jinx. Ellie, as in her fashion, barked at Jinx almost the entire time. They were a sweet couple for the last 6 months. Aside from some private messages and texts, the only social media that this was announced on was instagram and the outpouring of love from friends over Jinx has been so heartfelt.

We took Sophie with us tonight when we went to the vet. We didn’t want her to see us leave the house with Jinx and then come back without him. And it would help us to have her to hug and kiss and cry into after we left without Jinx. So all four of us were together in the examination room when Jinx got his shot of morphine.

We all said goodbye as a family.

I could be there for that, but I couldn’t stay with him for the rest. Shawn stayed with Jinx through it all. He was there for him, like he was for Annie, so that they weren’t alone for their final moments. Jinx was all comfortable on a blanket, on the floor of the room. (I didn’t even tell the vet how much Jinx loved fuzzy blankets, but they had one for him just the same!)

We did something for Jinx that we didn’t do for Annie. We will be getting his ashes back in an urn. We both had the same thought – we needed something for Jinx’s Garden. We both had another idea at the same time earlier today when we’d made the very difficult decision to call the vet – we wanted a sign for his garden.

We went out to the art store and bought paint and a wooden sign. We (messily) made paw prints on the sign, and I’ll be adding to it (his name, and some coocumber drawings) and then varnishing it. It will hang over his garden. We will have a little Urn (that I can paint myself) to place in the Garden as well. It will say “Jinx – The Happy Gardener” on the plaque.

We said goodbye to the most polite and gentle dog tonight. The best wedding gift ever. The Happiness and Heart of our family. Now we are three, and Sophie is confused – that hurts just as much as losing Jinx. We have each other and Jinx was a wonderful part of our lives for 9 full years.

Sophie will miss you.

Your father will miss you. I will miss you.

Find Annie, Jinxy. She’s out there waiting for you. She’ll take one look at you, sigh, and promptly wash your face and ears like she used to every night after dinner. She will be quite miffed that you haven’t kept up the washing, or the dreadlocks behind your ears like she used to make for you. You listen to her well. She’s your Big Sister and loves you. We miss you so much already, Jinxy, but we know Annabelly will look after you now.

I love you Jinxy. Goodbye.

endurance

run

I am not fast
I often trail behind
I go at my own pace
And I take breaks

I no longer feel the need to keep up with others
Sometimes I fall back into the insecurity
Of thinking I’m too slow, or not as good as the person next to me
But then I remember that I can only do what I can
And my own personal victories are rewarding

It might not seem like I am accomplishing much
But I know I am
I know when to push
And when to pull back
I know my body
And listen to what it needs

I won’t get there in record breaking time
But I’m not trying to
I’m not the most coordinated
I’m not the fastest, strongest, or best

So what if I can’t lift as much as the person beside me
So what if I can’t run as fast as the person in ahead of me
So what if I progress slower than the rest
I’m still making progress

I am not perfect
But I get out there
And I give it all I can
I take the time to do things right
And not rush through to finish first, or fastest

As I build endurance
I build confidence
Confidence to go at my own pace
Confidence to accomplish my own goals
Confidence to stop when I need to stop
And go when I need to go

I might lag behind, but I will get there
And when I do, I’ll be happy about the journey
And even happier to have reached my destination
Because I did it all on my own

1990s me is soooo happy right now

ALL-CAPS HAPPY, EVEN!

Internet! The amount of happy I am about this is rather pathetic, but I don’t care!

Back at the beginning of May, I wrote about seeing this dress at Simon’s:

I lamented over how expensive it was, but how much I would LOVE to own this dress.

Then I forgot about it. For two months. Until my most recent Seven Things on a Sunday post where I was looking back through my blog for something and was reminded.

So I looked the dress up on the website and was happy to see that it was now on sale for $19.99. But alas! They only has XS and S in stock. I took a chance today and Mo and I went to the store over lunch.

Lo! There were four dresses left in stock and they had ONE large! So I tried it on. It fit! And it was $19.99 so… I HAD to get it right?

But wait! When I went to pay for the dress, turns out it had just been marked down even more! So it was only $9.99!!

Fate, I tell you!

There are many who think that 90s fashion should not resurface, but I loved some of it – and the denim overalls and floral skirts were part of that. There are certainly some things I think are better left in the past, but this one? This one makes me happy.

And it’s not a huge good news story, but it’s a little thing that makes me happy. With all the unhappy going on right now, I’ll take what I can get. And I got THIS for ten bucks. Woo and hoo!

seven things on a sunday – simple things

1. I could sit and stare out at water forever. I especially love staring out over water at sunset. If there are ducks or geese in the water, it makes me even happier. There’s something calming about water and something fresh in the air by water. I wish I had a nice spot to gaze out at water here at home. The photo above was taken at a place near my parents’ new home.

2. Windows open in the summer, with a cool breeze in the air, and the sounds of birds chirping. Bliss.

3. Getting a toilet paper holder for my wedding anniversary. Don’t laugh. It’s all I wanted so we went out and got one. Easy peasy anniversary.

You can only imagine how crazy we’ll get for our 10th anniversary. Watch out.

4. The smell of clean sheets fresh off the line in the summer sunshine.

5. Wandering barefoot through Jinx’s Garden to check on the veggies. We have many flowers on the coocumber vines, and I have already eaten three red, juicy tomatoes in the last week. The cherry tomatoes are slowly starting to ripen and the kale has been an added bonus to my sandwiches this week. The weeds have grown all over the darned place inbetween each garden plant, but otherwise things seem to be coming along pretty well.

6. Spending time with my husband. Yeah, I know; sap, sap, SAP. It’s true though. I especially love just driving around together and doing something simple like hitting up the grocery store. We always seem to burst into laughter when we’re driving or shopping (there is also a lot of cursing at bad drivers, and bad grocery shoppers, but ultimately, we laugh.) We don’t have to be doing anything fancy or exciting, just regular ol’ errands together makes me happy.

7. Pinwheels!

Wheeeee!

 

nine

On July 2nd, we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. It was a rather quiet celebration because we’re dealing with some health issues with our beloved Jinx Puppy.  Blogging about my wonderful husband and our life together took a bit of a backseat during my week off from work as we deal with Jinx and his health.

But it’s been nine years since Shawn and I said our wedding vows (His totally trumped mine. I’ll get him back one day.) and it’s been nine years since Jinxy entered our lives (Best. Wedding. Gift. EVER!). We didn’t do much this year, it’s been a difficult year and we’re just not feeling all that celebratory. Plus, you know, Jinx.

But I love this man with every fibre of my being. There is no end to the laughter that fills our lives, even in the most difficult of times – and believe me, the last couple of years the difficult has been piling up. What tears many others apart, seems to bond us closer together. I know that is one of the luckiest things I could ever hope for in life. We stand stronger together when the going gets tough and tries to take us out. We support each other and have each others’ backs. We don’t let all this foolish negative crap get in the way of our love and our love of each other. We laugh. We joke. We do the best we can with crappy situations and we hold each other up.

I have known Shawn for 15 years and it took me a while to realize that he loved me, and I him. For nine of those fifteen years we have been husband and wife, but those labels really don’t mean as much to us as they do others. What matters most is that we are together. We are a team. We are soulmates.

I could not have gotten through my year of PTSD broken-self misery if Shawn hadn’t been there by my side each and every step of the way. He was the second phone call I made (after 9-1-1) when the guy jumped off the roof and landed almost on top of me. He was the one who took care of me while I was off work on medical leave dealing with all this PTSD crap. He drove me to each therapy appointment and doctor appointment. He went out and got me food or drink from the store when I would have a craving for something and we didn’t have it – and since I was too broken to even feel like eating, he’d get me what I wanted so that I WOULD eat something. All of this he did while being at home himself, because he’d been laid off from work and was job hunting. He was down, I was broken, and together we sat on the couch and watched Scooby Doo episodes on Netflix. We watched cartoons and laughed and he’d cheer me up constantly and once I started feeling better, I’d chatter away aimlessly and I’m sure even though that was annoying, it was helpful to him to have me home as well. When I needed to start venturing out of the house to face the Big Bad World, we’d take weekly trips to brunch, on a weekday when there were fewer people in the restaurant. We had our special brunch together each week – to the point that the wait staff know us now and we don’t always need menus. ;)

We’ve been through layoffs, health issues, loss of dogs who were our hearts, money problems, and more. With each loss we suffer and grieve, but we do so together. And from that inevitably comes laughter. We can’t NOT laugh when we are together. Even now, with the problems we’re facing that are very negative and concerning, and then topped off with Jinx’s serious health mystery, we cry and laugh. There is always a joke around the corner. A smile. A way to ease the pain, while still feeling the pain. We know it’s there, but the laughter keeps us sane and keeps us from crumbling.

This man always manages to make me laugh no matter how dire the situation or how broken I am. I mean, this is how he picked me up at the train station after I came back from visiting Monkey and her husband a week ago:

The number of thoughtful, funny, loving things that this man does for me on a daily basis is astounding. Every single day I am spoiled beyond belief and I always sort of feel like I never do enough in return; that I don’t deserve to be treated as wonderfully and specially as I am treated. Shawn comes up every night when I go to bed to kiss me before I fall asleep. He gets my lunch ready in the morning before work – because I am the most useless morning person in the universe. He makes sure I leave the house wearing pants (ha! Again, useless morning person here. Hi.) He’ll occasionally surprise me with my favourite home cooked meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy – and he doesn’t even LIKE roast beef. He’ll make me a cake with butter cream icing to cheer me up. He’s just so full of thoughtfulness and love that I feel like I’m dreaming sometimes. Even with all the crap that’s going on in our lives, making some days feel like they weigh billions of tons, he loves me and he shows me that love in every action.

We laugh. We live. We stand together. We love. And I can’t wait to celebrate another year, and another, and another – to infinity –  with him.

For all of forever. I will love you, Shawn, and you, me.


For all of forever.

Always.