Writing 101: Serially Lost

Day 4 and the challenge is

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more. and
Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

I have tried writing a serial before.  It was about two women and their hats and their adventures.  I really enjoyed that.  But now we are asked to write about a loss and then to make this the first in a three post series,

So what to write about?  Apart from the great loss in my life, the next loss was that of my darling companion Miss Lotte. It was a beautiful summer day; I had just had lunch and was sitting down to a cup of tea and a new magazine when I heard this horrendous sound of someone in great pain.  I looked around and found my darling little Tibetan spaniel writhing on the ground.  She had been lying in the sun and once before she had been affected by the heat.  At that time the vet told me to pick her up and speak to her quietly so she would know all was well.  I did that but I could see we were in great trouble.  So I wrapped her in her blanket and drove to my vet.  Apparently she was very near death – he didn’t know if she had eaten anything poisonous, unlikely as she was confined to our garden, or whether she had suffered a heart attack.

I left Miss Lotte at the vets and spent a miserable afternoon without my loving companion.  But I was allowed to pick her up some hours later.  She was to be kept quiet, no walks just rest and hopefully all would be well.

Lotte sleeping after her trip to the vets.

Unfortunately, there was no happy ending for Lotte and me.  She had to be put to sleep a few days later,  She suffered another major heart attack one evening and I had to take her to the emergency vet, where I was told that the best thing I could do for my darling was to let her to.  How sad that was.  But although she had a very short life it had been a happy and full life with me, my friends and grandsons who all loved her.

So I said goodbye to my friend.  And farewelled her with the words I used when my husband died -

“Soar high; Fly free; Breathe easy”

LotteLotte Baxter
Loving friend
Faithful companion
2006-2013
RIP

A New Companion

Firstly, I should like to thank all those who either ticked Like and/or commented on my blog about putting Lotte to sleep.  Your kind thoughts, words and hugs are very much appreciated. Now..

As you can imagine I have been looking for another dog, not to replace Lotte but because my family think I should get another companion.  So I have been looking for a dog to re-home  through various organisations and then this email landed in my in-box:

Brutus

“This is Brutus, a military K9 at McChord…He’s huge – part Boxer
and part British Bull Mastiff and tops the scales at 200 lbs. His handler took the picture.
Brutus is running toward me because he knows I have some Milk Bone treats, so he’s slobbering away! I had to duck around a tree just before he got to me in case he couldn’t stop, but he did.
Brutus was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor last year from his tour in Iraq . His handler and four other soldiers were taken hostage by
insurgents.  Brutus and his handler communicate by sign language and he gave Brutus the signal that meant ‘go away but come back and find me’.
The Iraqis paid no attention to Brutus. He came back later and quietly tore the throat out of one guard at one door and another guard at another door. He then jumped against one of the doors repeatedly (the guys were being held in an
old warehouse) until it opened. He went in and untied his handler and they all escaped. He’s the first K9 to receive this honor.

If he knows you’re ok, he’s a big old lug and wants to sit
in your lap. Enjoys the company of cats..
K-9 Congressional Medal of Honor Winner”

I think he is slightly too big for me.  I would have to buy a bigger property, a bigger car, larger couch and dog bed, change my friends and take him for walks about 6 times a day.  So I guess I shall just have to keep looking.

By the way he really is a big softie,  These instructions were included in the email:

Instructions for properly hugging a baby with Brutus

First, uh, find a baby.

Baby

Second, be sure that the object you found
was indeed a baby, by employing classic sniffing
techniques.

Baby2

Next, you will need to flatten the baby before
actually beginning the hugging process.

Baby3

The ‘paw slide’= Simply slide paws around baby
and prepare for possible close-up.

Baby4

Finally, if a camera is present, you will need to execute
the difficult and patented ‘hug, smile, and lean’ so
as to achieve the best photo quality.

Baby6

Back to the drawing board for another companion for me.  But isn’t he a big soft lovable dog?

Note – as the pictures are circulating around the internet I have assumed they are available to be used in a non-commercial blog post.  If this is not the case I apologise to the owners of the copyrights.

A Hard Decision

Lotte at back door2

Lotte Baxter
Loving friend
Faithful companion
2006-2013
RIP

My darling, beautiful little girl was gently put to sleep late last night.  Her big, brave heart could no longer keep her alive; it was almost stopped.  And so I made the very hard decision to let her go.

I held her as the vet injected her, told her how much I loved her and those beautiful eyes looked at me one last time then she quietly slipped away.

Now through my tears, I console myself with the fact that though she had only a short life, she had a happy one.

So now my love using the same words I used on  my late husband’s memorial cards

“Soar high; Fly free; Breathe easy”

Lotte in bed

So goodbye and thank you for sharing your life with me.  You will be greatly missed my special friend.

And Now It’s Saturday Again

Six word Saturday button

It’s a long time since I played this game.  But it’s Saturday again, so here we go.   If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

“Very Sick Dog, Very Scared Owner”

Thursday was a normal day.  The sun was shining brightly and all was well with my world.  Just another Thursday, that is until about 2pm.  Lotte was lying contentedly in the sunshine, the painter across the road was listening to his quietly playing music and I had just sat down for a cup of tea after lunch.

Suddenly, the air was filled with an unholy screech coming from Lotte. my Tibetan Spaniel.  I rushed outside to see her and she was lying limply on the ground with her eyes way back in her head.  Once before she had suffered a seizure from being too hot and the vet I saw then said to sit with her for a while until she came out of it.  However, this time, she shrieked again and I knew she had to see our own vet Dr Michael.

Michael took one look at Lotte and rushed her into the consulting room.  There he agreed that I had a very sick little dog and when he checked her heart rate was 20 compared to the usual 136.  Very sick indeed, and when he looked in her mouth he declared that she was going blue and promptly rushed her off.  I was left to sit and wait for a verdict.

When he returned he asked several questions such as had there been any big changes to her diet, did I have problems with a neighbour who didn’t like dogs (apparently there have been a couple of poisonings in the neighbourhood);  had she wandered off and could she have eaten something poisonous; did I have any poisonous plants in the garden?  etc etc.  Well Lotte is confined to the premises and doesn’t go away unless it is with me, she rarely eats what I put down for her so she is unlikely to eat anything else, she doesn’t scavenge, my neighbours all make a fuss of Lotte and  so the answers to the questions were not at all helpful.

Dr Michael said he had given her adrenaline, oxygen and intravenous fluids as she was dehydrated.  He thought that she  had suffered an anaphylactic shock caused by an insect sting, and said he would keep her in for the afternoon to monitor her.  As you can imagine it was a very subdued owner who went home without her dog.

Several hours later following a call from the surgery, I picked up a very docile, Lotte having been given the after hours contact in case of an emergency and also was asked to bring her back the next day for a further raft of tests.  The evening and the night were spent with Lotte lying close to me, but thankfully there was no cause to call the emergency number.

Lottte with coloured boots

Lotte sleeping after her visit to the Vets

The next day she went back for a series of tests including a”blood tests, fluid therapy, radiology, ultrasonography and histology”.  The outcome of all these tests was the verdict that she had suffered a heart attack and as we knew had been very close to dying when I brought her into the clinic.

So now I have a very quiet little dog, who is not allowed any exercise and is confined to “House rest for 10 days”.  We are just spending the next few days quietly with each other – two best friends looking out for each other.

“If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow.
If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder.
If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow.
If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile.
But any time you need a friend, I’ll just be me. ” Author Unknown

And here’s a rainbow in case you need one today

Rainbow

My rainbow

`

Saturday Again..

OK so it’s Saturday again.  Where did this week go?  Must have been  having fun!

Six word Saturday button

If you want to play along either click on the above image or go to http://www.showmyface.com/.

NEW DAY – NEW WALK – NEW FRIENDS

A couple of days ago  I wrote about a very simple pleasure bestowed on me by two little girls and I thought how lucky I am to live where I do, rather than in a retirement village surrounded only by other ‘oldies’.

So to Saturday.  Today started out as grey and very windy so as is my wont, I stayed in bed with my book having been brought breakfast –  juice, coffee and toast  - until well into the day.  When I did surface the wind was blowing and I thought it would be a stay at home day.

However, shortly after lunch I finished my book “The Dying Light” by Henry Porter and thought we should sally forth to the supermarket to buy whatever we needed for dinner.  While I had been reading about intrigue in the highest echelons of British politics, Prime Minister et al, my friend had been reading the daily newspaper and discovered there was a new (?) lookout on the hills above Wellington.  So we decided that we would try the walk to the lookout and then go to the supermarket.

By the time we worked out where we were going, the day had changed completely,  the sun was shining, the wind had dropped and it had become an almost perfect Spring day.

We found the new lookout Te Ahumairangi and marvelled at the sight of the city spread in its glory in front of us.

We also found this great place to walk Lotte without her lead.  She was really excited as she rarely is off the lead when out of the house.  On the walk we met several people exercising their dogs, so Lotte has a whole lot of new friends to meet on her walks in future because we will certainly be going back to this area of the town belt.

I have written before about how lucky we are in this capital city to have the town belt and how so many of the citizens fail to take advantage of the peace and serenity that it offers us in this busy world that we inhabit.  We certainly appreciated it today – the wind was absent for a short time and the sun shone.

Rainbow

My rainbow

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What a Difference a Day Makes

clock

“What a difference a day makes
Twenty-four little hours
Brought the sun and the flowers
Where there used to be rain.”
As sung by Dinah Washington

After yesterday’s miserable Moaning on Monday post, Tuesday dawned with sunshine and no rain.  And after a good night’s sleep I was back to normal, looking for the positive in all things.

After a morning sitting at the computer beavering away for my real estate friend, Lotte and I went for our usual walk this afternoon.  I have talked written before about the bush that surrounds our city and the great walks that are available to us.  So we rugged up warmly (very cold again today) and set off.

Central Park, Brooklyn, NZ

We started our walk in Central Park (named after the area of the same name in New York).  The park separates Brooklyn (where I live) from the city.  The park was established in 1913 on Town Belt land, the park features among other things, a set of wrought-iron gates at its main entrance: gifted to the city and its inhabitants in 1920 by the then  Mayor, John Pearce Luke.

It is interesting to note that during World War II, American forces established a military camp in the park between 1942 and 1944. In October 1942 building work started with an initial requirement to accommodate 416 men of the US Marine Corps. The partly built camp could accept some occupants by 22 November 1942, and by July 1943 it could accommodate 540 personnel.

And just for fun -

If you live in Brooklyn, New York where is the furthest you can go from your home  yet still arrive in Brooklyn? The answer is Brooklyn, Australia, about thirty miles from Sydney.  The distance is about 10.530 miles.

And the second furthest?  Why Brooklyn in Wellington, NZ.  The distance between Brooklyn, NY and where I live is about 8,946 miles.

Now back to our walk.

It was late afternoon; the sunshine had disappeared and it was shortly before sunset.  The sun set today June 26 at 5 pm.  The trees were pretty bare and in places the fallen leaves which were damp were rather treacherous to walk on.

Lotte has to be kept on a lead in this park but in Tanera Park in Brooklyn she can roam in the designated dog area without a lead.  So we left Central Park and went into Tanera.  There Lotte saw a couple of friends and two very large strangers.  I am constantly amazed that my little dog thinks she is the same size as these Rottweilers, Dobermans (Dobbermen?) et al that inhabit our world.  But after an initial sniff, they seem to get on well.

Feeling thoroughly invigorated, but very cold, we returned home to our warm house for hot chocolate for me and water and a sleep in front of the fire for Lotte.

So yes, this has been a good day and quite a different day to yesterday.

“Every day is a new opportunity.  You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again.”
Bob Feller, American Baseball Player. 1918 – 2010


Walking at Night

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) American poet.

As a break from writing fiction, I decided to have another attempt at writing an Etheree, a particular form of poetry.  This form was created some twenty years ago by an Arkansas poet named Etheree Taylor Armstrong.  An Etheree, consists of ten lines of un-metered and un-rhymed verse, the first line having one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with the total syllable count being fifty-five.

Here’s my attempt

Why
Do we
We Still walk here
Every night
Small dog and I
Together in the
Cold empty streets of town
Where nothing moves and no dogs roam
Where all is locked and barred for the night
We should both go home to our warm safe house.

Lotte and I always walk in the daytime but I have often wondered how different the world would be if we walked at night.  But I know that even here it is not safe for a woman and a small dog to be out late at night.

Note – I saw the repeated word and have now changed it.

“No matter how dark the night we know that whatever happens the sun will rise tomorrow and then all the shadows will be chased away.”
Judith Baxter, Blogger and friend. 1938 -

Sunny, Busy Saturday

Six word Saturday button

It’s Saturday again so here we go. If you would like to participate please either click on the picture above or click this link.

                      RUNNING, WALKING SHOPPING – IN ONE DAY
 
That looks good but I must hasten to say that I didn’t do the running.  After a trip to the garden centre (again) where we had lunch of tomato and basil soup,  we went for a drive around the Town Belt.  This is an area of some 3,000 acres set aside by the City Fathers in 1840 (or thereabouts) to keep as recreational areas for the people of Wellington.  Click here  to see and hear our local MP discussing plans for this area.
Lotte dressed

It was cold so Lotte had on her red jacket

 I have written before about the joys of walking in the bush that surrounds our city, and today was no exception.  We parked the car and went for a walk.  Imagine our surprise when we suddenly encountered a host of runners pounding down the path towards us.  We couldn’t find out who the competitors were or even what the race was, but we were told by an official that these runners had just completed 5 kms of a 10 kms race through the bush. 
 
The terrain there is anything but level and these runners were working hard going up and down the hills.  We left them to it and continued our walk in a leisurely fashion.
golf ball plant
 
So,  the shopping was at the Garden Centre where I bought two reasonable sized pittosporum each in the shape of a golf ball.  As part of my Christmas present, my daughter presented me with two garden pots and a gift card to purchase plants to put in them.  My excuse originally was that while I had on my Big Red Boot  I couldn’t go to the nursery but that excuse has been lost for several months now.  So today I decided this was the day.
 
Lotte really loves the garden centre and the people who work there love her.  She sat quietly while we had lunch and then wandered around with us taking it all in – well I guess she was really checking out which dogs had been there since her last visit.
 
The running was done by the harriers and other crazy fit and enthusiastic runners competing in this race.
 
And the walking was a leisurely stroll with my friend and my darling companion Lotte.  Another almost perfect day.  And as one of my favourite authors says:
 

Happiness is – That’s just it–
You can’t drive it, you can’t wear it, you can’t live in it,you can’t drink it,
smoke it, snort it, you can’t travel to it.
Happiness is the experience of the journey.
The experience of  happiness is the result of how you look at things.
When I look at something I say, can do,no problem;
that’s not going to make me unhappy.
Happiness is a choice!
Denis Waitley, motivational speaker and writer and author.
1933 -

Just Thinking

“Friendship makes prosperity more shining
and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.”
Cicero, 44 B.C.

It’s a Wet, Windy Wellington Wednesday night and I have plenty of thoughts running around my brain but nothing cohesive to put into a blog.  Oh how often I have started a blog with similar words over the past couple of weeks!

As it is Wednesday I have just returned from dinner with two of my grandsons.  It was rather special because neither of the parents were there and so I had the boys to myself.  James, the eldest at 17, has now moved through the monosyllabic stage and talks to his Granma about many things.  He kept me entertained while I prepared dinner for the three of us.  He still is undecided what he will do when he leaves school at the end of this year and is investigating several things but none with any great intensity.

His younger brother is getting over his knee operation and spends most of his time lying on the bed watching TV or sending messages via text or email to his many friends.  Strangely at 16 he hasn’t been monosyllabic in fact, if anything, he has always talked too much.  But he is still sad that he has had to leave his school in Auckland to be at home while he recuperates.

Then on the way home I tuned into A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.  I have written about this before and how I really enjoy this programme.  for the uninitiated it is set in a fictional town Lake Woebegon  where “the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above average.”  Tonight it passed the time very pleasantly while I drove through the rain with several stops for road works.  The road I use to come home from my son’s house is State Highway One and they (whoever they are) are constantly working on this road.  Hardly ever do I come home without encountering road works somewhere.

Earlier in the day I sent Andy onto his next destination.  Patti at A New Day Dawns gets to host Andy in Virginia Beach.  I do hope the weather is better for him there than it has been while he has been with us.  We have had some really glorious and warm days but we have also had many days of rain.  And the last couple of days have been ghastly!  So farewell Andy; travel well and take care.

What else?  I had a conversation with a man in the supermarket car park.  He was objecting vociferously about people parking badly and making it difficult for others.  Although why he was carrying on in this way was hard to tell.  There was plenty of parking available for all.  Well perhaps he was miffed because he couldn’t park really close to the store and so had to get his nice shiny shoes all wet.  And why he chose to tell me his problems is beyond me, although I have said before that I talk to people and they usually end up telling me their life stories.  But today I didn’t want to stand in the rain learning anything at all about this miserable man.

And now it is 11 pm.  Time for all good women to take themselves off to bed with a final cup of coffee, a good book and their trusty companion.

Lotte in bed

Goodnight from Lotte

Farewell Andy

Today was our last day with Andy the Armadillo.  Andy came into Lenore Diane’s life by way of a white elephant exchange. Read Lenore’s post here.

Andy left Lenore in Georgia (I think) to move on to Florida to meet Katy, from there he went to Georgette in Texas and then he arrived here in New Zealand, , tired after his very long journey, .

While he has been here he has visited several places and has become a friend not only of my grandsons (oh really G did you have to tell them that?) but also my friends and all the staff at the hospice.  I hope he has enjoyed himself as much as we have enjoyed having him.

Andy arriving at the Hospice

Checking he is in the right place

Tomorrow we shall bid him farewell but we have many photos of him to remind us of the little chap.

Through the looking glass

Andy through the looking glass

We spent the weekend at a friend’s house and after I put on my makeup, Andy decided to see what I was looking at.

Andy on the rim of the bath

Andy considers taking a bath

We then went into the bathroom where Andy spied the bath and wondered whether it would be like swimming in the swamps.  Please forgive my ignorance when I ask are swamps the armadillos usual habitat?

Andy on the scales

How much do I weigh?

Then he wandered onto the scales.  He didn’t think much of my comments yesterday about weighing myself.

Andy on the path

An armadillo must watch where he walks

In order for me to get fit for the Golden Door later this month, Lotte and I have been taking long walks, up and down hills around our neighbourhood and of course, Andy has come too.

Andy

What are we waiting for?

He quite likes being carried in my pocket but his favourite means of transport is without doubt the car.

Lotte and Andy in the car

Can you move over please to make room for me.

Lotte will probably be happy to get her seat back after he has gone but I am sure she will miss him too.

Lotte and Andy sleeping

There’s room on this chair for two

We hope that Patti enjoys her time with Andy as much as we have; I have already warned her to get in a good supply of jelly beans – they seem to be his favourite food.

Andy on the desk

Wonder how a little armadillo can open that jar.

“A friend is someone who understands your past,
believes in your future and
accepts you just the way you are”
Anonymous