To paraphrase Elmer Fudd, it’s been vewy vewy quiet around here, Zesties, though that peacefulness has not extended to my real life.
First, we lost our nearly twelve-year-old black lab mix, Maya. She developed a mass on her right rear leg about six weeks before this picture was taken. It grew quickly, to the size of an orange, and a needle biopsy confirmed a mast cell tumor. Apparently this form of cancer is common to large breeds. At the time of diagnosis, the vet couldn’t believe how active she remained and sent us home with instructions about what to watch for, when to return, etc. She thought we might have as much as six months.
However, within six days, Maya went from a dog who’d gladly walk ten miles to one who struggled to get to her feet. She didn’t complain once, but she took to panting on occasion. We knew that keeping her any longer would be an act of selfishness on our part.
This is Maya just before we said goodbye. I’d been able to give her a dose of a left-over narcotic, so she’d taken an off-leash walk in the forest. She’d gorged herself on cooked chicken, been petted endlessly. And then we loaded her into the van for one last, beloved car ride to the vet. The whole family was present when she sank into her final slumber.
We’ve lost several pets over the years, but Maya was special. The gentlest of creatures, I never had to be concerned about bringing a baby into the house or that she’d get carried away in her greeting and bowl over an elderly visitor. The neighbor’s grandchildren often took her out to play, where she’d tolerate a series of four or five baths in a row. I am not a patient person and often wished I had half her grace.
In the midst of this going on, we had two graduations to celebrate.
Perhaps you’re adept at shifting between the highs and lows of life, but this is not my strength. All the same, our kids worked hard for their respective days and we knew Maya wouldn’t want us to hold back.
“Frank” likes his privacy, so I don’t have any photos to share of him in his gown, but he finished grade twelve! We’re so proud of him, and are eager to see where he’s headed in the future.
As for Molly, she graduated from nursing. Here she is after the commencement ceremony. (Speaking of which, I have a question for you. Of the three speakers at the event, two chose to use their podium time to fund-raise for the university, didn’t address anything to the class. I’ve pondered writing a letter of complaint, it was so inappropriate and tone-deaf. Would you bother? If you would, to whom would you address it?)
From left to right, here’s me, my girl and The ToolMaster:
Liz Michalski says my husband looks like a mob enforcer. What do you think? Is she onto something?
Here’s a selfie of our whole family goofing off at Molly’s grad party, joined by her BFF. (Molly is at the top center. Forgive the image quality; the camera was misbehaving.)
The ToolMaster and I also celebrated our thirtieth anniversary. To immortalize the milestone, we’re contemplating a trip to Europe in the spring, provided life has settled enough. I’ve always wanted to go to Paris–for some reason, set my novella in France–so if I require further justification, I could call it research.
You might think that would be enough change for a month, but you would be dead wrong.
The ToolMaster and I took to hanging out at the local animal shelter. We weren’t going to adopt for a few months, we decided, if ever again. We’d live the decadent lives of mature adults with nearly launched children and self-sufficient cats. (See the travel idea above.) We’d go and soothe our heartache over Maya by visiting dogs who shared her mannerisms, but at the end of the day we’d return home and delight in the unlicked floors, the ability to go for a walk alone without feeling guilty. To a degree, this plan worked. While at the shelter, we felt better, though on the drive back it felt like we’d made a meal out of cotton candy.
We decided to stop the self-torture and were both solid in this–in a thirty-year marriage this has happened maybe three times. Then I looked at the shelter’s website and spotted this face :
Both kids happened to be available, so we piled in my car and drove. One-year-old border collie mix Daisy turned out to be exactly what she looks like: NOT Maya, but smart, eager to please, and the right fit for our family.
She’s keeping me busy, yo. We’ve been working on Sit, Down, Stay, and Twirl (my word for turning a clockwise circle) and it’s only been a week and a half. It’s taken a lot of effort, but I think I’ve almost mastered them. 😉
Finally, I had a nice surprise in that Robert McKee’s latest newsletter contained a link to last month’s post at Writer Unboxed. If he reads it, hopefully he’ll be as pleased with the latest edition–the third installment on principles I learned at McKee’s conference, and possibly my last in the series. I’ve been a total #Janfail in promoting it, but in case you’re interested on deepening conflict:
So now you’re caught up on the changes in my life, what’s new with you, Zesties? Is summer treating you well?