Sometimes things just go another direction than expected.

So rescue dog Lulu. She was not dealing well with her dental procedure recovery, spitting pills out, not eating or drinking. Her vet said to call him to let him know on Monday the following week (this week) how she was.

That’s the day the tree broke.


The three of us (rescue dogs Lily, Lulu and I) were out in the yard, I was digging around planting things. I heard a large cracking sound behind me and turned to see the top third of a large river birch tree slowly falling toward us. I scooted Lily and Lulu to the other end of the yard and watched it fall in slow motion. This tree is about 15 feet from the screen porch corner of our house and about 12 feet of tree was coming down. I don’t know how to calculate the physics of height and distance but it was going to hit something.

And suddenly it stopped. I ran to the other side of the tree to see what happened and noticed a rotted place in a fork where the break was. The part that fell was now precariously resting on a smaller trunk. So I started calling tree removal companies. Two mailboxes were full, I spoke to one company I normally call and they could not get here until Thursday. I left multiple message at 2 others and got the last company I called. Long story short, the reason they were available was they are unlicensed, uninsured and not bonded, though they said they were. The guy who gave the astronomically high estimate told me. I said no thanks, bye, can’t afford it, they came down a fraction, nope, still no.

So I took the dogs for a walk. I saw a truck turn into our subdivision with that tree company’s name. I was talking to a friend and told her. She told me to go home immediately, before they started sawing on the tree.

“But I already said no,” I replied and she told me it did not matter. They were likely to start anyway for the money (naive me). So I turned and dragged the dogs home. Tree guy called just as I turned onto my street and I wondered what part of No was confusing for him. So they stood around chatting for about 20 minutes as I scrambled to lock my backyard gate, took down their license plate number and  waited for them to leave.

My friend drives up, takes one look at Lulu and tells me to get to the 24-hour emergency vet, now. I said I’d never been to an emergency vet before. She yelled, “NOW.” So we went. This is Monday evening.

IMG_0994.JPGthe local Arboretum, a lovely 7-acre garden near the emergency vet office

The following day I tried my regular tree people again and they came and looked at it. They could see, windy as it’s been this should be taken care of so they came the next morning and took the tree down. Affordably.

So Lulu. I won’t go into all the painful (especially for Lulu) details, but she still would not eat, even my visits with her availed nothing. She was groggy from iv pain meds, she was mercifully being rehydrated with fluids and now on antibiotics. But a small lump had developed on her throat, so we had to have a cat scan. This was inconclusive, though thankfully it ruled out a likely tumor. The area was drained and sent off for cytology and culture. The cytology came back inflamed but not infected and we are still waiting for the culture to tell what, if any, bacteria it has so a proper course of antibiotics can be given.

The hard part was this: Leaving her everytime I visited. So after the cat scan Wednesday I said I would like to take Lulu home at the weekend until the culture results came back and a decision could be made as to what comes next. Surgery is still on the table.

IMG_0979.JPGwhirly-gig art piece

After much discussion her emergency vet agreed I could come and get her Saturday. Each morning up to now I had usually heard around 10 or 11 a.m.from the ICU tech an update on Lulu. By 10:30 this morning I had still heard nothing so I decided to go over there. On my way I had second thoughts and detoured to the Arboretum, wander around the lovely flower beds and among the trees and wait. If I had not heard by noon I would go to the hospital.

I sat on a bench in front of this whirly-gig sculpture and watched each side madly twirl in opposite directions. I suddenly laughed realizing that this was what my life had been this week. There was a methodical, rhythmic routine to the care Lulu had been receiving. My anxiety over her condition was like these two sides spinning against each other at the whims of every breeze or wind that came along. My thoughts had run wild escalating to the worst imaginable possibilities. I watched it spin for a good while. It was as though God was showing me how ridiculous my worry had been.

IMG_0980.JPGheron in flight wire sculpture

After a while I got up and wandered through the rest of the gardens. This heron was comforting. Here is a graceful bird rising above earthly cares. I realized I had become mired in murky musings of my own making and had to stop bathing in it. My focus was all wrong. It was on things over which I have no control, not the One Who is in control.

IMG_0982.JPGwhimsical gnome

I began to truly feel the heavy weight I had created through the week disappear. I had realized, rightly, that Lulu, a quiet and shy little dog was in an environment that was by its very nature noisy and likely hadn’t gotten much if any real rest. So I was gratified in this strong urgency in bringing her home at least in that aspect. I noticed it was now around 11:30 and still no call….

IMG_0992.JPGflower sculpture behind the children’s garden

I slowly walked through the rest of the garden and sat on a bench near the exit. After a bit I saw it was almost noon so I headed to my car.

I arrived at the clinic and was surprised but thankful to see the waiting area nearly empty. I settled up Lulu’s bill, received her medications, spoke to her doctor about her follow-up appointment and brought her home. So far we have gone through one round of each of her medicines, I have held a warm compress to her throat and she has eaten a little. She is drinking water which, to see her do this when before she could not made me want to alert the media. But we still have a ways to go because we have the remaining test result and a decision to make about what this is and what to do about it. And there is her extreme dislike for the liquid medicines and hatred for me after I give them which fortunately is short-lived. Dogs are truly loving and forgiving creatures.

But, for now, Lulu is home.






Mysteries, surprises, change, unexpected… stuff happens.

I adopted rescue dog Lulu three years ago. Every year she goes to her vet for her booster shots and a physical exam. Now that she is older this includes an examination of her teeth plus blood work. The physical exam includes several things, and checking her teeth Or so I thought.

Her vet this year recommended she have her teeth cleaned. Up to now no vet (we’ve been to 4, so far) has ever recommended this, telling me that her teeth are ok. This vet said she might even need a couple extracted. Ok. So we made the appointment. Last Thursday.

Nineteen teeth were removed.

I asked if she had enough left to eat with. Did the lady who cleaned her teeth have some sort of tooth extraction goal she had to meet (surpass) every week??

It’s entirely my fault. Everyone gets tartar on their teeth, no matter what species you are. Every dog I have had, up to now, has had a teeth cleaning every year. For some reason I simply did not think. I brush Lily’s teeth (yes, really). Lulu won’t let me near her with a toothbrush, but I give her special dental chews that vets tell me work just as well

IMG_0962.JPG  poor Lulu

The worst part came next. I have to give her pain medicine. It is hard to do this when her mouth hurts so much she cannot open it. So I have to pry it open, my hands are shaking because I am afraid I will hurt her, which I probably am. I slip the capsule in and hold her mouth closed and gently stroke her throat to encourage it to go down. When I think she must have swallowed it I let go, she flies off and runs under something, and I see a small orange dot pop out of the side of her mouth.

Epic fail.

So we start all over again.

This morning started ok, Lulu took her pills in Velveeta cheese, even ate a few bites of moistened food. She, Lily and I went to the river to take our walkie. No one else was around so I let them go off leash.  It was a cool morning, the sun breaking through the remnants of storm clouds lingering from last night. We did find some company as we walked alongside the river


Being  Easter and Passover weekend there was not much traffic over the intracoastal bridge so all was quiet.

Tomorrow I hope Lulu feels better and we can get those pills down with no struggle. And then we will be off to another park with many new sights, sounds and smells in store.

Happy Easter and Passover blessings. Or good wishes for just a calm, quiet Sunday to you.





One of those days.

I thought I’d sneak away for a while, just me and run a few errands. Dogs have radar for this. So no matter how nonchalant or casual I was about it I couldn’t get past the hallway to the garage door. Somebody’s nose would appear as if to say, “you’re not leaving without us, are you?”

It’s getting to where it will be too warm for Lily and Lulu to go for rides with me. We will be having our morning walkies before the sun rises and after it sets. So no errands.

Today has been the same. Rain squall, then almost sun, then grey. All day it’s been trying to decide whether to just all-out rain or not.


Since the beginning of the Lenten season from Ash Wednesday I turned off the television. At first maybe about a week I have withdrawals. Strange how I can get so used to the noise and nonsense coming out of a large piece of electronics. Then I settle in to the silence. I hear birds more, breezes, crickets even now that it’s warmer. I hear neighbors laughing and talking.

I hear life.

Funny how insulated I can be inside a house with artificial noise. Without it time goes more slowly, things become deliberate. My head is clearer.


Well, comparatively so. I read more books. I made some wind chimes out of those really large sea urchin spines.


I made a bracelet with shells I have been finding on the beach in the shape of a heart. I discovered these are the “insole” part of a seashell called a lady’s slipper, but when the outer part breaks away it leaves this piece


so I thought they’d look pretty in a bracelet. I don’t wear jewelry. At all, ever. So if I make these I’ll have to give them away or something. And I have thousands of these shell pieces since I have collected them for years and they are everywhere here where I live, though I have never seen them on any other beach.


But somehow the Saturday before Resurrection Sunday has me in its grip. I can’t help but wonder how those disciples and followers of Jesus must have felt. Here was the One they knew was Messiah. And He had died. They watched it. Well, John and some of the women. How dark, frightening that must have been. Jesus tried to tell them He would rise and live but I don’t think I would have understood what He was saying either, even if I’d been a witness to His raising Lazarus.

I know how this story ends. With joy! Victory! Life and hope. Newness.

But Saturday. Somehow it helps me to have this day, dark as it must have been because I know what happens.





a compendium

Since rescue dog Lily’s surgery in early January progress has seemed very slow. She was not permitted to use her leg for about 6 weeks after, then very limited. She was not allowed to go for her beloved car rides so life became uncomplicated, and rather boring.


This week we have ventured out more. The azaleas are just coming into bloom which is really good because the famous Azalea Festival is this weekend, complete with the Azalea queen and her court of azalea belles (I’m not kidding), hoop skirts, Citadel cadet escorts and all. The parade was this morning and though we were completely awash with rain yesterday it held off today, just cloudy and very humid.IMG_0928.JPG

The fanatic dog was out in full force, with intrepid rescue dog Lulu eager to meet his challenges. Fortunately he did not get over his fence this time, either.


All the rain has left many swampy puddles and try as I might I can’t keep Lily and Lulu out of them, nor can I convince them it isn’t real drinking water.


The crazed wisteria vine must cover about half an acre and it is in full bloom. The fragrance is heady.


Wild blueberries are in bloom! I miss them every year, the birds are way faster than I. Maybe I will get a sample this year.


For years I have heard that the new growth on pine trees begins a few weeks before the Sunday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. As it gets closer they begin to resemble crosses just before. Here is a small native loblolly pine which I will try to watch and see.

Anyway, a relatively uneventful week, but progress.

Onward and upward.


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