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Grief is a funny thing. Everyone reacts to it differently, and the same person can have different responses to different situations that cause it. My grief has given me writer’s block for months.
On Sunday, September 8, 2019 around 9:00 p.m. we had to make the difficult decision to have our loving, mischievous, laid back Mandy put to sleep. I always grieve when any of our dogs die, but Mandy’s death hit harder in some ways because it was unexpected. She hadn’t been acting or looking sick even that Friday evening when we went to bed. But when we woke up Saturday morning, she had gotten sick in several spots. We figured she had gotten hold of something that disagreed with her (remember, she was our scavenger extraordinaire) and went through the dog-with-a-stomach-virus drill – picked up her water, kept her off food for about a half a day and other such things. We would put the water down periodically, but she wouldn’t drink too much and she showed a total disinterest in any food we put down for her after the half-day. So we let her rest, hoping the bug would work itself out in the next day.
Sunday she still was sick, still not interested in food and not at all her normal self. We decided we would make sure she went to the vet Monday morning, but by Sunday night we weren’t sure we could wait, so Mark and I went to the Emergency Vet Clinic in Montgomery. Kayla had school the next day, so she stayed home with Darwin.
They’ve seen her before (check out the incident of the medicinal sock here) but it took about an hour for them to get us back to a room. Once we were there, they drew some blood and did an exam and told us to wait.
The last two pictures of Mandy at the vet’s office that night:
Mandy being Mandy, she didn’t want to wait on the exam table, so I sat on the floor beside her petting her until the vet came back in to talk to us. The news wasn’t good. Basically, Mandy’s kidney or liver enzymes were off the charts, which meant she was dying. There was no treatment; she was just going to get sicker and sicker as time went on. We could tell she was miserable, so we made the only decision we could. The vet’s office had a special room where we could stay with Mandy until it was all over with, so Mark and I spent about 20 minutes saying good-bye, and a few more minutes sitting with her while the shots took effect before we said our final good-byes and left.
So now there’ll be one more pet to greet us at the Rainbow Bridge when our time comes. Heaven will be a lot more fun with Mandy there.
Have a good morning, everyone.
Are you stressed out over Covid-19, the election, finances, family affairs, your job, all of the above or something entirely different? Turn your sound on, if it’s not on already, and take 30 seconds out of your day to view the following video of a mountain stream, taken by me mid-October on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and just breathe.
Now don’t you feel better?
Have a great day everyone!
Friday Morning, 6:45 a.m.
Me to Kayla: If you were well enough to go to your boyfriend’s baseball game last night, you’re well enough to go to school.
Saturday Morning, 10:00 a.m.
Kayla to Me: If I was well enough to go to school yesterday, I’m well enough to go see my friends this evening.
And now the score is tied. Touché!
Have a great weekend everyone.
Good morning Everyone!
One emphasis in Kayla’s school district is public speaking. Almost every class requires each student to do presentations to the rest of the class. This poses quite a challenge for Kayla, who gets incredibly nervous before each presentation. Last night, we unexpectedly discovered a partial cure for her speaking nerves.
The mystery cure? Present Kayla with the real possibility that she will no longer have a car to drive.
Kayla’s car broke down last night on her way home from Wednesday night church in Montgomery, Alabama. We live in a small town east of Montgomery.
Kayla was due home at 8:15, and when 8:15 arrived without Kayla, I texted her to find out where she was. I got a return text that she was on her way but her car was “acting up.” (The phrase “my car is acting up” has the power to instill the same terror and annoyance in a parent’s heart as the words “Mom, I forgot to tell you” uttered at 9:45 p.m. on a Sunday evening.)
“Acting up” translated to the engine shaking violently and making a clicking sound while it was running with the battery light and engine light on and the temperature gauge on “H”. So we told her to pull over at a safe spot and we’d come get her and call AAA (because of course she didn’t have her AAA card with her in spite of having been told multiple times to keep it with her at all times when she was driving.)
The safe spot she found between Montgomery and our home town? The Piggly Wiggly at another town nowhere near where you would expect her to be. Through the use of a geometry that would befuddle Euclid, she is convinced that the shortest distance between the two points of Montgomery and home exists on the non-straight line of Montgomery to Town 1 (west), then from Town 1 to Town 2 (south), then back east to our town. Note: We have discussed the impractibility of this route before.
She couldn’t tell us how long the engine temperature had been on “H,” so we couldn’t tell her what the odds were that her engine had blown but we did have to prepare her for the possibility.
The end result? She only had room for so much dread and even though she was still nervous about her presentation, apparently the worry over the car took the edge off it somehow! Then, about an hour after the presentation, she found out that it was just the serpentine belt that had broken and she hadn’t managed to blow the engine after all.
It’s not a method I’d recommend using very often, but at least this one time when she needed it, it was there!
Have a great day!
Memory Triggers by Nancy Eady
The best writers in any genre use setting to create moods with a few deft sentences. Their ability to create moods through language is amazing given the many different ways memories are evoked in people.
Take the example of a blooming pear tree. February is winding to a close here in the deep South, and Spring is making an unseasonably warm appearance with the trees, shrubs and flowers blooming in swift succession.
The first signs of spring are the daffodils and the forsythia bushes, better known as yellowbells. Shortly after or while they are blooming, the tulip trees burst out with their pink and white blooms, and then the pear trees.
The flowers of pear trees are white and small compared to the large tulip tree blooms but they still show up because nothing else much is blooming and because they fill up the entire tree. A pear tree in bloom throws itself into the process. It doesn’t dally, shilly-shally, or shyly peek forward a bloom at a time. It personifies the verb “to blossom.”
Pear trees always remind me of my dad-in-law, who passed away in 2001. This is an odd association in some ways, because he didn’t particularly love spring flowers or pears. Like most people, he was always glad to see signs that spring was coming, but he didn’t rejoice in the flowers the way I do, the way that makes my teenage daughter look at me sideways and say, “Mom, get a grip.”
So where does the association come from? For the five years I was in law school (I went part time, three nights a week with two summers off), he and my Mom-in-law fed me supper every night I had class – and they were happy to do so. They enjoyed having me there. One day in March in the mid-90’s during supper, Mark’s Dad mentioned to me that he had seen some of the white flowered trees blooming in a field. He said they were dogwoods, but I was pretty sure it was too early for the dogwoods to have started. So I drove by the field that afternoon on my way to school, and realized that he was talking about the wild pear trees that had colonized the abandoned field and turned what would otherwise have been an eyesore into an attractive harbinger of spring.
I don’t know what makes that memory stand out, but ever since then, when I see the pear trees in bloom, I not only celebrate the nearness of spring, but also remember fondly a man who meant a great deal to me.
What sights and sounds do you see that trigger memories in you?
Note: This post was first posted Monday, February 26, on the Writers Who Kill blog. If you find it interesting and are curious, take a trip to www.writerswhokill.blogspot.com and see what my fellow bloggers and mystery writers have on their minds. And for those of you who gave me advice on which picture to choose to demonstrate my nefariousness, you’ll see my selection on the left hand side of the page at the bottom.
Have a good day everyone!
Over at Writers Who Kill, I need to submit a photograph of myself doing something nefarious. As a champion procrastinator, I’ve known I’ve needed to add my own picture for months, but there is one giant obstacle – I am the least nefarious person I know. It’s beyond just looking harmless. People stop me in stores to ask for help when they can’t locate an employee. When I was among the 10 to 15 people who walked around the local junior college on a daily basis for exercise, I was the one whom strangers pulled up beside to ask for directions. Unfortunately for them, I’m not great at giving directions. In the pre-Google-map era, I sent an attorney trying to find my office past our town to another, smaller town 18 miles to our northeast.
I digress. The point is that I am harmless and look helpful, which on a scale from 1 to 10 places my nefariousness somewhere around -5. Then there’s the whole inferiority complex sparked by the creativity of my fellow bloggers. I am still star struck by the other writers who blog for Writers Who Kill and the amusingly nefarious pictures on the left hand side of that blog page (https://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2019/01/decision-by-nancy-eady.html).
But I had to find some way to look nefarious. So I started by taking a selfie wielding a knife. The result? I bear an uncanny resemblance to the Swedish Chef on the Muppets.
Since I found the selfie unimpressive, I decided to think through things a little more, and enlisted my husband to help me. After rummaging through our hall closet (since it’s distantly related to Fibber McGee’s closet, that counts as hazardous duty), we came up with another idea to establish nefariousness.
The dog in the foreground does rather spoil the effect, but she’s our “helper” dog and insists on being involved with everything. However, with the magic of modern technology, she is easily edited out, leaving me with the following:
My husband said the picture would look better if I wasn’t smiling, so we tried again. You will note that the dog still found it necessary to be in the picture.
Cropped, the final result comes out like this:
So, gentle readers, which picture is the best candidate for nefariousness? I could use your advice!
Have a great day Everyone!
Good morning Everyone!
Today, over at Writers Who Kill, I blog about having a mind like a steel sieve. If you have a minute, go visit at https://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2018/09/a-mind-like-steel-sieve-by-nancy-eady.html.
Have a great day everyone!
Good morning Everyone!
Today, over at the Writers Who Kill blog, I talk about the books that I love to read over and over again. Come join the conversation at https://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/2018/08/deja-vu-all-over-again-by-nancy-eady.html
Have a great day!