Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane of Prayer.

I'm supposed to be sitting in a theater in NYC's Lincoln Center tonight, enjoying the Tony winning play, War Horse, with my daughter and sister. And we made reservations for brunch tomorrow morning at the celebrated restaurant Balthazar in Soho. We planned such a wonderful trip.

But needless to say, we cancelled that trip on Thursday night as the reports of Hurricane Irene grew more  concerning by the minute. And while we are very disappointed to miss our long planned trip to New York, this can't compare to the fear and suffering the East Coast people are going through now.

But tonight my daughter is in New York City because she recently moved there. As I write this she is hunkered down in an apartment with friends in Chelsea, only four blocks from the Hudson River. As her mother, I am beyond worried. But I must trust that she will be safe. I must have faith.

I'm sending up a request to all of you for positive thoughts and prayers, not only for my daughter ...  but for all of those in harm's way with this horrific storm. Collective positive energy can swirl, gather strength and become a powerful force, much like a hurricane.

Thank you and blessings to all.

Sunday morning update: The kid is safe! Thank heavens Irene lost steam and THANK YOU ALL for your prayers!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

My Pet Peeves

 Last week we made the difficult decision of putting down our beautiful 13 year old Lab, Angel. Until I find the right time and words to write a commemorative post about her, I am re-posting one I wrote for another blog quite some time ago. This may say it best.

(This blog post was originally published on January 1, 2010.)

I was kind of in the mood to gripe about a few of my pet peeves, like:

wrestling with tangled clothes hangers,

or, people who say "her and I" (as in, "Her and I ditch English class often.")

or, rude and sullen service people who mutter (without even glancing up from their task at hand) things like "what's up" when you go to pick up your passport photo at Walgreen's. And I don't mean a friendly, cheerful "hey, wassup!" ... I mean a "what-the-hell-do-you-want-lady, you're-bothering-me" what's up.

Or, sheesh, they can send a man to the moon but nobody can figure out how to make a garden hose that doesn't kink,

or, clueless grocery shoppers who abandon their carts in the middle of the aisle as they wander off to contemplate nutrition labels,

or, the fact that we are always knee-deep in dog hair at our house, despite endless vacuuming.

But that last pet peeve got me to thinking about the pet that causes that peeve and then I started feeling less bitchy and more, well ... all mushy inside. The source of all that dog hair is Angel, our 12 year old yellow Lab. Baby Girl, Mike calls her. But our Baby Girl is getting on in years. And, oh dear ... that makes you think. And now I don't so much feel like bitching about petty stuff anymore.
Angel came to us as a 9 week old pup in 1998. Elizabeth was 10 and we had promised her a puppy when we moved to Austin; she in turn promised us she would be responsible for taking care of this dog. Parents 'round the world? Does this ever happen? (raspberry sound here) Elizabeth named Angel after her favorite food at the time, angel HAIR pasta, and after a couple of shedding seasons it became clear that Elizabeth's name choice was a little joke from the universe. Shouldn't we have taken the "hair" part of that name inspiration and called her Harriet? Especially since Angel seemed a poor choice for the naughty youngster she was. But as she got older, it was evident Angel was a perfect name as she became our gentle, patient, devoted companion and protector.

She's not been an especially healthy or low maintenance dog however, and she has cost us a small fortune in vet bills, especially in contrast to our miniature dachshund, Rosemary, who's never had a sick day in her life (and who sometimes uses Angel's ass for a pillow; above). Angel takes the prize for ear infections, chronic skin allergies, compulsive licking, paw chewing, and scratching. She often wears toddler's socks (pictured above) to keep her from gnawing paws raw. She's been on an expensive allergy medication for several years now ($50 a month) and does an occasional course of steroids for bad flare ups. As you can see, she's never particularly happy about all this. In September she tore her acl and had surgery, a big deal for an older dog because the recovery process (below) is intense. Again, not happy. She's hobbling a bit but doing pretty well now! For an old Baby Girl.
But the shedding. Ack! I find blond dog hair in my morning coffee and on my pillow at night. I even found one in the microwave the other day. My slippers, which are not the furry, fluffy kind, are furry and fluffy. And our clothes ... well, suffice it to say we have a lifetime supply of lint rollers which are strategically stationed throughout the house.

Angel is a year-round shedder, even shedding great gobs in winter when other dogs are smartly building up and hanging onto their winter coats. You can see the hair falling off blizzard-like when she strolls by. I could stuff a sofa with the hair I collect after I brush her on the back porch. I often throw fistfuls of it into the yard and come spring, the birds snatch bits of it to line their nests. In the fall we find these empty nests in the naked branches of trees and we tell Angel that she has made a loving contribution to the comfort and protection of tender fledglings, who will soon be the parents of more fledglings come next spring. And on and on.

I often complain that I wish I had back all of the hours I've spent on extra vacuuming over the years since we've had Angel. I don't really. She has been worth every minute of it, worth every penny spent at the vet, every moment devoted to her convalescing, every chewed up Bally shoe and every Barbie ensemble ingested as a puppy. The best part is that we can say this now, while she is still with us. We can nuzzle her neck and tell her how important she is to us. She has been our mentor, showing us how to love. Showing us how it's done.

There is such an abundance of Angel hair blowing about our yard that long after she is gone someday, the birds will still be lining their nests with Angel hair every spring. When we find those abandoned nests in fall, our hearts will swell and we will tell Angel again: you always did and always will make a loving contribution to the comfort and protection of tender lives.

That's what Angels do.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Big Gift

It's my birthday and I'm giving myself a present! But more important, I'd like to give the Progeria kids a present.

Please scroll down and check out my last blog post about Progeria, the rare and cruel disease that causes children to age rapidly. These children march bravely through the few years they have to live. Birthdays are limited.

So here's the plan for presents. On the selfish side, I'm trying to bring new followers and comments to my blog. (But this is all part of a grander plan down the road which actually has non-selfish motives!) So to encourage participation I am going to donate $5 to the Progeria Research Foundation for every new follower and $2 for every comment left on my blog from today until the end of August. I will have a cap on the amount I can donate (just in case I get flooded with responses, which is my hope!) but it will be a pretty high cap ... maybe somewhere between $300 - $500. Haven't decided yet.

So please sign on as a follower .... it's a win/win!

Two ways to do it:

You can either click on the blue "join this site" button to your right and use your google account to follow or, if you don't already have a google account the blue button should direct you to register for one ... which you never have to use afterwards if you don't want to.

Or, you can sign up as a follower through the Networked Blogs button.

And if you share this on Facebook or tweet it, that would be awesome. Then it just might spread like wildfire! Those buttons are also to your right.

I love presents! Thank you!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

She just lives.

 Last week I turned on the TV and landed on a Barbara Walters show about the rare disease Progeria, which causes early aging in children. The show featured three little girls with Progeria; Lindsay, Kaylee and Hayley.

These children suffer from countless afflictions and rarely live past their early teens. They have no hair on their bodies, are very pale and fragile, have larger heads, bulging eyes and beaked noses. In other words, unlike most of us, these children have been dealt a very, very difficult hand. Not only do they suffer from this cruel disease and it's difficult treatment, but they look extremely different from the average child, which makes them subject to stares and cruel words from those who don't understand.

During this show, the mom of one of these little girls (and I think it was Lindsay's mom but I'm sorry that I'm not absolutely certain) said something that just hit me in the heart with a big thud. She was talking about how her daughter is such an inspiration and mentor to her, because despite all the pain, difficulty and adversity in her life, Lindsay looks beyond that and ... "she just lives."

Just those three little words. She just lives.

She doesn't care how she looks. She doesn't care what people say.  She giggles her way through her day. She adores her devoted family and friends. She's grateful for her time on this planet.  She just lives.

Say no more.

Lindsay and Kaylee, in Boston September 2009 for their
final visit in the first clinical trial (for which they received
trophies!) and their 1st visit for the new, triple drug trial.
For more information about Progeria or to donate to the Progeria Research Foundation, please click here.