My life has been so full these days I feel like I’ve forgotten how to blog! Sitting down to compile my 7 Quick Takes, part of me says, “I don’t know where to begin! There is so much to write about!” and the other part says, “Why bother? No one is going to read this anyway, and nobody cares.” (That’s the devil talking. Ha.) Sometimes it seems that I’m so busy living my life there is no time left to blog about it–and I must say that’s not a bad thing at all. But I will do my best to catch my readers up on this Catholic family’s most recent mundane adventures; some wonderful ones and some not-so-wonderful. I’ll start with the unhappy one and go from there.
Two weeks ago we said goodbye to our eleven-year-old yellow Lab, Holly. The story of her last days is kind of a long one, so I’ll try to make it as brief as I can. A couple of months ago, our veterinarian discovered a tumor in her rectum which was making it difficult for her to do her business. I took her to a surgeon in Richmond, who told me that we’d need to spend thousands of dollars on an MRI which would tell us either a). that they could try and remove it and that surgery would be complicated and render her incontinent for the rest of her life (and being eleven and arthritic there was no way of knowing how long that would be), OR b). that it wouldn’t be operable at all. A friend recommended taking her to the veterinary school at Virginia Tech. That would be easy since my parents live there and all, so as soon as school was out in mid-June I took Holly to Blacksburg (along with Larry and Moe for company). They did some imaging (which cost much less than the MRI would have cost at the first place we went) and a biopsy, and determined that the tumor was benign and would be relatively easy to remove, and she should have a quick recovery. We didn’t have any way of knowing how fast it was growing, and they said it would get bigger even though it wasn’t malignant. We scheduled the surgery for the following week. The day before we were to check her in, she started to have some digestive issues, and the next morning as we prepared to make the trip to Blacksburg for the second time, she was very lethargic and wouldn’t eat. I knew something was wrong, because this dog NEVER turns down food. When we got to the clinic later that morning, they put her in ICU because she was dehydrated and feverish, and her heart rate and blood pressure were dangerously high. They would need to leave her there at least a couple of days, and we put off surgery until we could get to the bottom of why she was suddenly so sick. Over the next couple of days–as I made my way home and went about my everyday tasks–the doctor called me with updates, and each one contained another bit of bad news. She had an acute infection in her abdomen, which may or may not have been a complication from her biopsy (my gut says it was, since they warned us that this would be a possibility), more imaging found an abnormally large adrenal gland that almost certainly indicated cancer–and cancer of the adrenal gland in dogs is nearly impossible to diagnose and very difficult to treat. Surgery would be extremely delicate and complicated, and recovery would be long and unpleasant. They also found that her rectal tumor had already grown considerably and was constricting her urethra, making it difficult for her to pee. Perhaps it wasn’t benign after all, they said. In order to relieve the infection, they said, they would have to open up her abdomen and flush it out, hopefully find the source of the infection and treat it, and even that would require a difficult recovery. If we could get that under control, we would still have two fast-growing tumors to contend with. No matter what we did, it seemed, our poor doggy would be miserable and her life would pretty much suck. The boys and I made another trip to Blacksburg to say goodbye.
This past week, we got this in the mail:
In the middle of our ordeal with Holly, a friend who is just a couple of years younger than me (I’m in my mid-forties) shared some wonderful news on Facebook. Her three kids are kinda-sorta the same ages as mine: her son just graduated from high school, she has one daughter in high school and her youngest is entering eighth grade in the fall. Well, she and her husband have a fourth child due in February. Her announcement couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Every time I felt overwhelmed by grief I would remember, “M is preggers! How awesome is that??” And then I would smile. Some of the tears I shed that week were ones of joy for her and her family.
Back in December, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My brother and sister-in-law were eagerly awaiting the birth of this guy
around that time (that’s me holding him–thanks Jenn for the photo!), so we put off the big to-do until the Fourth of July weekend. Last Saturday family and friends from across the country converged on my hometown, and we ate heartily, sipped sparkling cider, ate some more, and enjoyed much merriment. We reunited with people we hadn’t seen in years. Folks who didn’t know each other met and talked and shared stories about my parents. We had the party outdoors, under a picnic shelter in a park. The weather was PERFECT, the food was great (especially the cake–if you’re ever in Blacksburg and want to indulge in something delicious, check out this place) , and everyone had a great time. Especially the guests of honor.
I love you, Mom and Dad; may you have many more happy years together.
Photo courtesy of Jenn
(I just had to share one more photo of our nephew, the sweetest baby on the planet. He sure loves his daddy.)
Matt Warner is one of my favorite Catholic bloggers. Yesterday he posted this on his new blog, The Radical Life. He pretty much sums up everything I’ve been pondering about Facebook lately, and echoes some of the thoughts I shared in my last post. I’m not about to quit Facebook (and no, I haven’t been all that successful in staying away from it) but Matt encourages me to once again re-think what I’m doing with my time online. Check out Matt’s latest blog post here.
I have a new favorite fiction writer.
Many of you know that I’ve been a fan of Nicholas Sparks for a long time, and I even started a blog devoted to his books. Lately I’ve been reading Dean Koontz, and I can’t get enough of his novels. I’ve read all the books in his Odd Thomas series, and four of the five Frankenstein books. I just finished listening to The Taking on audiobook–and I will say I wasn’t liking it much (part of the reason may be that I didn’t care for the voice of the woman reading), but the ending was fabulous and that made the whole book better. Now I’m reading 77 Shadow Street and can hardly put it down.
Nicholas Sparks writes stories about people with baggage who meet each other and fall in love. Dean Koontz writes tales about people with baggage who find themselves front and center in an epic battle to save the world (or a city, or a village) from powerful evil forces. Now, I like a good love story as much as any woman (and I wish Nicholas Sparks would hurry up and come out with a new book already), but sometimes a nice good versus evil story is much more interesting, wouldn’t you say? If I made a food blog about Dean Koontz, I wonder what I would call it? “Devouring Koontz?” “Cooking Koontz?” Or how about this: “Odd Eats.” Hmmmm…..
Since this blog is called “Eating Slowly,” I feel I must post something food-related. May I present the dinner we prepared for Father’s Day:
Joe requested tuna steaks. I seasoned them with salt and pepper and drizzled them with olive oil (I wanted to put all kinds of other things on it–dill, lime juice, dijon mustard–but Joe wouldn’t have it.) and Joe grilled them to perfection. The salad is one of our summer favorites–cucumbers and tomatoes tossed together with balsamic vinegar (I’ve also used red wine vinegar), olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and dill. A baked potato on the side makes the meal even better. (I don’t remember what we had for dessert. Probably ice cream.)
I hope to get back to blogging about food again in the near future. I’ve acquired a few more magazines–two Fine Cookings, one Every Day with Rachael Ray, and one Cooking with Paula Deen (and I pray it wasn’t her last issue–that poor woman has been treated like you-know-what for no good reason. I’ll rant about that some other time.)–and I have yet to try anything from any of them. Stay tuned…
Finally, I sure hope the rain that we’ve had off and on since forever lets up today, at least long enough for Joe and I to enjoy some good music without getting soaked. Sheryl Crow is stopping by our little town tonight, and the concert venue is outdoors with no cover. I’m bringing my raincoat AND my umbrella, and I refuse to let a little rain ruin MY evening. (You know how much I like concerts, don’t you?) For your entertainment, here is my FAVORITE Sheryl Crow song:
Have a wonderful weekend, and don’t forget to check out Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!