Like sands through the hourglass…..

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Yesterday was a very important calendar date.  It had been looming and, as each day brought me closer to it, the dread I felt increased exponentially.


Last year, on that precise calendar day of October 18th, my dog had her first Petit Mal seizure.  I was a mess and I called my friend in a complete panic.  He calmed me down and made me realize that I must control my hysteria.   I needed put on a brave face so my dog knew that I had my shit together.  It was tough, but I did it.

Poor Callaway lost a great deal of her freedom after that, only because I was too afraid to let her out of my sight.  What if it happened again?  And if it did happen again, what if she was somewhere on the property I couldn’t see her and didn’t know what was happening?  We bonded a great deal more over the weeks that followed her seizure because I was afraid to leave her alone.

As the days turned into months, I became less of a “helicopter parent” and eased the reigns a bit on her leash.  And then April 18th came – six months to the day after her first one –  and she had another seizure.  Like the first, it was a Petit Mal seizure.  But unlike the first, I kept my composure and soothed her through the episode.

Yesterday was October 18th.   Callaway has not shown any signs over the last six months of having had any incidents while I have been at work (or at home) but that date glowed in neon on every calendar in my peripheral vision.  It was my waking thought yesterday.  The number 18 hovered above my head like a cartoon balloon and spent the entire day threatening, like that too-close pair of glowing eyes in the dark.

But thankfully the day ended with as little commotion as it began.  And as she sits chewing on her rawhide sticks, I am thankful – thankful because I am now able to focus on all of the days she hasn’t had a seizure and not just the two that she did.


Stuffing all you can into the holidays


There’s a lot to be said for the joy the holidays bring – or any celebration, for that matter.  Whether it be a birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas or a reunion, the ease of the conversation, the steady flow of wine, the melodic sound of laughter and the joy of being with a close-knit group of people is unequalled.  There is an undefined comfort level that allows us to become absorbed in the festivities that surround us. The fact that we can gorge ourselves and have an excuse to eat everything in sight with only a few fleeting moments of guilt is sublime.


The molecules change in the room when family and friends get together for a holiday celebration.  There is something intrinsically sacred about holidays and the memories that are created within those moments. Time has a way of strategically obliterating those precious seconds as it marches on at a frantic pace, but our shared memories have a way of stopping that clock, if only for a few moments.

Holidays are a portal.  They can freeze time and create a vortex that allows us to travel back and relive certain periods in our lives.  The memories wrap themselves around us like a blanket and soothe us with the warmth of the times that have engaged us and truly breathe a bit of life back into our frenzied lives.

Although many holidays have passed and are collecting dust in the books of my hallowed history, watching my brother “float” his dinner in gravy brings back a rush of nostalgia, and that, to me, is what the holidays are truly about….personal moments that any other person would find arbitrary but, to me, define my holiday experience.

Our Canadian Thanksgiving has come and almost gone and the only glaring items that were missing, as always, were my mom and dad.   I know they were with us in spirit, especially during the making of my brother’s always-spectacular turkey dinner.  And I know my mom was smiling down on our dinner knowing that my brother nailed her stuffing recipe this year!

Embrace your family, enjoy the moments and get stuffed with the memories your family helps to create.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

What is THIS lovely fragrance?


There was no sweetness.  There were no flowers.  And the only thing that was stolen was my breath.   What began as a restful few hours between a long day and an abbreviated sleep turned into a rolling profusion of expletives followed by a few moments to regain my sense of composure.

On any other occasion, these moments could have been used to describe a much more pleasurable evening.  What really happened will live in my mind, and my nasal cavity, for years to come.

It was a routine outing.   Callaway never strays far from the house for her late night relief before bedtime so I didn’t think twice about opening the door to let her out.   But I certainly thought twice about opening the door to let her in when the pungent stench of skunk met the sensory cells of my nose.  She looked extremely pleased with herself and I’m certain she sensed that I was not so pleased.

I scoured the cupboards for the age-old remedy of tomato juice but came up empty-handed.  I glanced at the clock and it read 10:30 pm, so a trip to the local, small town grocery store was out of the question.  I then relied on the only endless source of information I had readily available – Facebook.

As much as I have expounded in great detail about this social media icon being a complete mind sucking website – it became my lifeline and my hero.   After a bath of Hydrogen Peroxide, baking soda and dish soap, the putrid odor dissipated to the point that I could tolerate her and allow my dog to come inside.   Since I would never leave her out at night, I wrapped her in blankets to help her dry off and put her to bed.


The “lovely fragrance” still lingers on my dog and in my house.  And I’m sure it will be a phantom smell that follows me for months.  But I have since forgiven her for the reminder that she is more canine than human, and she has forgiven me for forgetting that she is a dog and that she will continue to behave as a dog.   Lessons learned…..and from now on, we walk together….Callaway on a leash, and me with a flashlight looking for any eyes in my peripheral that may pose an olfactory threat!








What’s a few grey hairs between friends?


The grey whiskers appeared almost overnight.   In the blink of an eye, my dog had matured beyond the youthful puppy I have known for 9 years.  Sure she still has the spunk of a young pup on occasion but I can slowly see time creeping up on her faster than I would like it to.

My solace lies in the fact that our affection for each other is timeless.   Her devotion to me, whether her joints are currently aching and she has no desire to jump on my bed, is endless.  She is, and will continue for years to be, my true companion.   She is happy to see me when I have returned home after four hours or four minutes.  She never judges my idiosyncrasies and she still manages to hear my soft sobs when I am trying to quietly cry and she comes to clean away the salty tears.


I thought my life was full before she came along.   I was dead wrong.  We have always had dogs.  Growing up, my life was filled with hairballs and doggy kisses.   But Callaway is a unique soul.   There is not a doubt in my mind that she was meant to be my dog.   The picture we fell in love with on the adoption website (the one above) was a picture of her brother but it was Callaway who came into my life and into my heart.  I fought for her during my divorce because I couldn’t imagine my house without her in it.

I know I must face the inevitable – time will not go backwards and those grey hairs on her muzzle will slowly multiply, but so will the grey hairs on my head.  We will face this truth together knowing that however long we were destined to be in each other’s lives, we will make the most of each moment.


Sometimes you can go back



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Some would say to leave the past in the past.  Over the course of this previous weekend, parts of my past engaged with my present and it was a wonderful blend of remembering old and making new memories.

I’ve never been one to shy away from the things in my past.  All of those moments, good or bad, made me who I am today.  And although things may not have worked out the way I may have wanted, I always like to think I learned a lesson from each one of those experiences.

I learned to be strong when I needed to be and to allow myself to feel vulnerable when I needed support.  I have learned that each one of the people in my past still holds a piece of my heart even though they may not be an everyday character in this act of my present.

But the final chapters of my story have not been written.  There may be a rough outline but the story has not been sent to print and there is always room for a few backspaces and some new paragraphs to be written.  Sometimes you can go back, not to the past you had but you can go back to reread the story line and see if any of those characters can be written into a few paragraphs of your future.

I am not going to live in the past, but I will always allow my past to live within me.

Balls to the wall


It lay dormant, nestled in the corner of the family dining room at the cottage.  It listened to every one of our crazy conversations and eventually became the topic of many of those conversations instead of just blending into the background.

Its birth was accidental.  It came to be through a simple act of property maintenance.  The family cottage was built in the early 1900’s and had begun to show its age so, without regard for its final appearance, a spray foam was used to seal a few cracks in the old building.  What resulted in the upper corner of that dining room was eventually named and heralded as a true piece of our family history.

Perhaps this innocuous object was made more grotesque by my family’s depraved sense of humor.  It is even reasonable to say that other families may never look at this simple mass and see what we all saw.  But from the first time it was noticed at a family dinner, it was affectionately dubbed the “shiny ball sack’.

Over the years, this harmless protrusion witnessed our highs and our lows.  It feasted on the sounds of our laughter and it absorbed the collection of our tears.  Somehow that inanimate object became a large part of the traditions of our family meals and I was devastated to find out it was going to be amputated from its place in those family traditions.

I haven’t been able to visit the cottage yet this summer so I was unaware that the surgical removal had taken place – until today.  I came home from work to find a lovely gift bag on my front door step and when I saw what was inside, my heart swelled.  There, gently preserved in a shadow box, was the shiny ball sack that has been a part of our family dinners for decades.  My aunt had painstakingly saved this piece of history and presented it in a way that would allow me to keep this little gem of our family history safe and sound.

ball sack

My mom and I used to laugh endlessly about this mutation of foam and it will now find its place beside a picture of my mother in my living room.  It is a fitting ending to this chapter knowing that two of the things that brought me so much joy will be together again.



A part of life

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Death is selfish.  It lurks in the shadows.  It hides in a realm of certainty,  somewhere between acceptance and denial, and it feeds on our inability to process its inevitability.  It waits for nobody.  It heeds its own agenda and it gives no signs of compassion.  It simply reaps.


Last week we had a senior’s bus tour at the lodge.  Unlike the previous tours, we had neither mildly concussed nor toppled our guests on top of one other.  The tour had been relatively trauma-free with the exception of a phone call a mere fifteen minutes after the bus arrived and our guests had been shown to their rooms.

Death had been hovering at the precipice and chose to include us in its folly with one phone call for the sister of its intended victim shortly after she arrived at the lodge.  What should have been a glorious adventure for Kathleen suddenly turned into a feeling of helplessness and isolation as she mourned the loss of her sister surrounded by a group of strangers.

But even in the face of sadness, there was no surprise in discovering that the group of strangers had chosen to embrace Kathleen and take on a part of her burden as their own.  As much as death wanted to be the headliner in this performance, the supporting cast was truly the star of the show.

Fellow travelers and staff made every effort to ease Kathleen’s suffering and reunited her with her family before the bus was due to leave the lodge.   It takes a village – and this village had a great deal of empathy and ingenuity.  Kathleen was able to reconnect with her family and attend her sister’s funeral.  And although she was missed on that last day of the bus tour, we knew she was where she needed to be and she knew we all held her in our thoughts and prayers.


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Death is selfish.  And although it may be a part of life, so is love and compassion.