Monday, June 14, 2010

it's a sign! or is it???

Oh. my. goodness. What a weekend.

So Friday stunk. Let's just say that first. I already covered that...

Saturday morning I was supposed to be getting ready to go scrapbooking. Our good friends came over with a cute little concrete plaque that says, "Dogs leave pawprints on our hearts" because they heard about our Augie Doggie. I cried, of course.

And then when we were conversating, she says, "So, there was this ad on the bulletin board at the grocery store for a mini dachshund, free to a good home."

"Shut. Up." I told her. That was where we got Augie from--an ad on that same bulletin board. Twelve years ago. My mind went flying and I clamped down with a firm grip. NO NEW PETS, remember? Oh, yeah. We chatted some more and they left.

I got my stuff together and packed, and headed out to a grad party before I went to the scrapping thing. You know, that grocery store is right on the way to the scrapping place...did I stop to look at the ad? Well, my excuse was that I needed to pick up a couple of things for the potluck there, but yes I did. The whole time, I'm just thinking, I should whack myself in the forehead--remember the vow! Remember the vow! No new pets.

And I looked at that ad, wrote down the number and called to see if he was still available. Why, why do I do that??? Arghh!

Well, he was still there, but I said I had to talk to my husband first.

I'm kicking myself all the way to the scrap place. Why??

My honey calls me when I'm there. "Did you just get there? What took you so long?"

"Well," I said, "I stopped at the grocery store to get a few things."

"What store?" he says. I told him. And he said, "Oh. Did you look at that ad?"

Sheepishly, "Yeaaahhh."

"He's kinda cute, isn't he?" he chuckles.

"WHAAAAAAT??!?" I almost dropped the phone. "You went and looked at it, too?"

"Yeah," he says. "I called them to see if he's still there, but no one answered."

It was my turn to chuckle. I waited until I couldn't stand it. "He is available. I called them, too! But they are going to be gone tonight."

The next day we called them, set up a time and went to see him. He hated us. He wouldn't stop barking at us for about fifteen or twenty minutes.

But I just kept thinking about how many things were talking to me. Were they coincidences? The ad was at the same store, in the same spot on the same bulletin board, and they said they were getting rid of him for the same reason--they want to get a bigger dog. Our friend saw that ad the day after we lost our best little buddy, and she told us about it. A dachshund. Crazy. A sign? Or a test? We weren't sure.

But an hour later, we walked out of there--WITH a new dog. WHAT JUST HAPPENED??!! I think the shock from Friday may have affected our brains and common sense.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. I'm going to try to enjoy the ride.

He doesn't really answer to his name, so we might change it. I am going to put a little poll on the sidebar and you can put in your two cents worth if you want, just for fun. :)

Oh, and he only likes the girls. I think he still hates us. He whined ALL NIGHT because we wouldn't let him go in and sleep with the girls. What is that?? I got NO SLEEP. Zero. Zip. Nada. I finally gave up and got up and cleaned the kitchen in the middle of the night. I wasn't getting any sleep anyway, but now my signal's fading fast, folks. I need a recharge desperately. Like having a new baby in the house or something. Gak! Thanks heavens my honey is making dinner.

Here is a picture of him. He's a short haired red brindle. He has a reddish coat with the black stripey looking markings. He is half the size of the cats! LOL. I am a sap.

Friday, June 11, 2010

the silence is deafening

We had to put our beloved Augie Doggie to sleep today, and I miss him so much already! He had such a good heart, and he was so smart. He loved and lived with abandon, throwing himself into whatever he did with everything he had, holding nothing back.

I keep waiting to hear the scritchy-scratch of little Augie Doggie's nails on the floor as he comes out to see what I have to eat. I swat a fly, and wait to laugh at him barking at me because he can't stand it when I hit anything, not even myself. I wait to hear his little huffing and puffing next to me when he has to go outside...nope. No lovely little doggie noises. It's too quiet. And the TV is too loud. It jangles my nerves.

He was one of a kind with his gentle spirit. He always got so worried when I cried, and he'd lick my hand and nuzzle me until I'd start to laugh. Today when we were in the vet's office waiting for the vet to come in and I was crying, he sat on the floor and gave me that quizzical look. I bent down to pet him, and he started licking me. It was too much...made my heart hurt more.

I still remember when we got him, how scared he was of everyone. He shook like a leaf when any strangers would come near. In fact when we went to look at him at the people's house who had him, it took a half hour to get him to crawl across the floor to me to let me pet him, shivering every step of the way. My heart melted for him. There was no way we could have left him there. We were destined to have him.

It took my honey two months to get Augie to trust him where he wouldn't be scared every time he was around him. But after that, they were best buds. Inseparable.

Augie didn't like any kind of fighting, wrestling, or loud voices. If the kids would wrestle, he would run into the room, barking at the top of his lungs, as if to say, "Stop! Stop! That's ENOUGH!" If they didn't stop, he'd pinch them. Barely grab them with his teeth, and pinch! He didn't mess around with that. When Luvvy was over visiting the kids once when they were smaller, she chased one of them when they were teasing her, and Augie jumped up and bit her right in the butt. We still chuckle about that. Well, she probably doesn't, but we still tease her about it.

Or when John would come in to the bedroom to say goodnight, Augie would always, without fail, bark at him. He did not like anyone coming in the room at bedtime. So one night, John kind of lunged at him to make him quiet down, but it backfired. Augie jumped up, bit the crotch of John's jeans and hung there, swinging. We laughed, and laughed! John, however, saw no humor in it whatsover. Augie Doggie Doo was small, but he was feisty and would have protected us with his life.

He would be waiting outside our bedroom door for someone to let him in, and when they did, he'd run in the room, turn around, and bark like crazy at them. Too funny!

My poor baby.

I think I've posted before about when he was paralyzed. Little dachshunds are prone to that. He was running around playing Keep-Away with a sock, his usual game, but when he tried to jump up against the couch, he fell to the floor shrieking. He couldn't move his back legs. The pet emergency room suggested steroids or surgery. We took him home, unable to pay those kinds of fees.

We thought about putting him down then, but my boss suggested taking him to an animal chiropractor. That seemed more within our reach, and this awesome chiropractor got him walking again. That got him by for quite a while, but he lost a little of his zip when that happened. It took a little out of him. Even though when we'd take him in for an adjustment, he'd get his happy face on and be good for a while, it didn't last forever.

I think he may have developed arthritis, or maybe his back was getting worse, but lately he couldn't get around very well anymore, and he didn't have very good control of his bodily functions. Sometimes he would be just standing there and all of a sudden without warning, he'd start to pee. Then he'd get freaked out and start running toward the door. Which meant of course, that I'd have a cover-the-whole-floor wandering zig-zag trail to clean up instead of just a puddle. Arghh!

And he didn't do so well on the steps anymore, either. Yesterday he didn't realize he was pooping on the top step outside and he tried to go down the stairs. He fell over, bumped down the stairs, and landed on his side on the ground. It's like he wasn't even aware. I know, I know. That's probably a little more graphic than you wanted to read. I hope you're not eating your breakfast or something! Blghh.

This wasn't what we wanted to do, but we felt like we really had to. It's the hardest thing about owning a dog. Seriously. If you're going to do right by the dog, the day will probably come. My honey and I looked at each other after it was over, and we both said, "No more dogs. We don't want to do this again." It's too stinkin' hard.

Here's the picture of him I put on my very first blog post:

And here is one of the last pictures we have of him, sitting outside in the sun, soaking up the rays. You can see that his front legs still look strong, but his back legs were somewhat atrophied, and he didn't have full use of them anymore. But his sweetness still shines through. He's like the Velveteen Rabbit. Loved so much he wore out. The hair on his ears was starting to fall out, and he had another patch on his tail.

Farewell, my baby. Happy travels, chasing the rabbits through the Great Back Yard of beyond. Bark like crazy. Scratch anything you want to, because you can again. You're free, honey. I love you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

another great must-read

Camille Weller has arrived as the first African-American attending in the trauma service of the Medical College of Virginia. Never mind that the locker rooms are labeled "doctors" and "nurses" rather than "men" and "women" or that her dark skin communicates "incapable" to many of her white male colleagues in the OR. Camille has battled prejudices her entire career, but those battles were small spats compared to what she faces now.

When a colleague discovers a lump in her breast, she believes Dr. Camille Weller is the best doctor for her. Together, they decide on a course of treatment that bucks the established medical system, keeping Camille firmly in the crosshairs of male surgeons already riddled with skepticism and suspicion.

Her success as a surgeon is jeopardized further when dark whispers from her childhood in Africa plague Camille's thoughts. Bewildering panic attacks instill fear in a surgeon bent on maintaining the control, pace, and direction of her own life. Unable to shake the flashes of memory, Camille is forced to face a past she has not acknowledged since the death of her father on an African mission field. Who was he? Who was she? And why would either of those answers affect her present? (excerpt from back cover).

My Thoughts:

The cover first caught my eye, and I realized as I read the book, that the cover image is a metaphor for Camille's experience. She is silenced. She's trying to prove herself in a world that is out of her element, but she is not heard or seen for who she really is or what she can do. She has to prove herself in every way possible. Added on top of this layer of the story is her own personal journey back to her childhood, to try to figure out what the meaning is of her vaguely sinister snippets of memories that keep popping up.

This book kept me turning the page, trying to guess what was going to happen next. I never quite got it right, and finally, I had to peek. I had to. Hold your tomatoes...I finished the book, and it was still a good story. I just couldn't stand the suspense. My dad used to always say he started in the middle of the book and read both ways. Maybe it's a family tradition. LOL. I don't watch movies the "right" way, either...I walk out of the room if it gets too suspenseful, and come back when I can handle it again. It's the little kid in me.

But the big kid in me loves this book! Thanks to Glass Road PR for providing the book. I'm already re-gifting it. I've loaned it out to a fellow reader. It's too good to sit on the shelf. I gotta keep it moving. :) Cheers for a great book.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

meet Cynthia

Cynthia Ruchti, the author of They Almost Always Come Home, writes stories of “hope that glows in the dark.” She writes and produces The Heartbeat of the Home, a syndicated drama/devotional radio broadcast, and is editor for the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine. She also serves as current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia married her childhood sweetheart, who tells his own tales of wilderness adventures.
ere, Cynthia answers some questions about her new book:

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.” When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible.

Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith. It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit. Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.

Something Extra From the Author's Heart:

Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal: Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill. Read the rest of the story at the KCWC blog!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

what if he didn't come home?

Sweet giveaway drawing for comments--read on!

ABOUT THE BOOK They Almost Always Come Home:

At the foundation of each relationship resides the need to know love can survive even when feelings fade. In Cynthia Ruchti’s debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home, readers feel the desperation of this foundational yearning in a marriage clearly pulling loose from its moorings. Compounded by other issues—an unrewarding career and mismatched dreams—it’s enough to drive a man into the arms of the Canadian wilderness.

When Greg Holden doesn’t return home from a wilderness canoe trip, his wife Libby wrestles with survivor guilt, a new layer of grief, and the belief that she was supposed to know how to fix her marriage. She planned to leave him—but how can she leave a man who’s no longer there? He was supposed to go fishing, not missing.

Libby has to find him before she can discover how their marriage ends. She plunges into the wilderness on an adventurous and risky manhunt, unsure what she will do if she finds him…or if she doesn’t. She expects to meet hardship, discomfort, and danger in the wilderness. She doesn’t expect to face the stark reality of her spiritual longing and a faint, but steady pulse that promises hope for reviving her marriage. If Greg’s still alive.

They Almost Always Come Home provides a glimpse into common, however uncomfortable, marital conflicts. Cynthia weaves a page-turning story, suspense building scene by scene. Her characters mirror ordinary people, living real-to-life situations, allowing readers to relate and sort through a myriad of emotions and life decisions. If fiction can contain adventure, riveting self-awareness, and romance all between the same covers, this is the book!

Look for two more posts this week about this book, and on Friday June 11, I'll draw one name from everyone who leaves a comment. I'll submit the name for the giveaway to the promoter--they are giving away some cool stuff:

North Pak 20 inch cinch sack (in lime green)
Day Runner journal
Canoe Brand wild rice
Canada's brand blueberry jam
Coleman 60-piece mini first aid kit
Wood canoe/paddle shelf ornament
Six original photography notecards from video trailer
"Hope" hanging ornament
Mini Coleman "lantern" prayer reminder.

All you have to do is comment on one of my posts about the book this week, and you're in the drawing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

a cautionary tale

Rain, wooden steps, and old Crocs don't mix very well. I'm just sayin'.

The other day I let our little Augie doggie out the side door to do his thing, you know, and after a few minutes, I went and checked on him. When he's not moving too well, he'll sit at the bottom of the little porch we have on the side of the house where the fenced-in area is, and he'll wait for me to carry him up the stairs. When he's feeling spry, he'll climb up the steps himself.

So on this rainy day, after I let him out, I went to look for him. There he was, waiting at the bottom of the steps. I went out to get him. Now the steps are a little weathered, and when it's rainy, they get a little slick. Just a little. And when I wear my Crocs long enough, they get pretty smooth on the bottom. When they get wet, they get a little slick, too.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you know where this is going, but I'll tell ya anyway.

I did okay on the deck, and on the first two steps. On the third step down, I was thinking it was going okay, and the next thing I knew, whoop! My foot slipped on that last darn step and down I went. My backside hit first and then my back.

So the first thing through my head...what did I break? I moved a little...nope, I'm good. Then I realized I had my white capris on. Formerly white capris, I should say. I was afraid to look. They had green and black streaks from the bottom to the top. Grrr. I should never wear white.

So amid moaning and groaning, and maybe a curse word or two, I gingerly turned over so I could crawl up the stairs. I know, I know. Pathetic, but I didn't want to stand up. I was too sore. Augie doggie was standing there looking at me with this quizzical look, and then he just clambered up the stairs like nobody's business! Seriously! He couldn't have climbed up just a little sooner?

All I have to say is it's a good thing I have all that padding. I didn't break a thing! I have a huge purplish bruise for a battle scar, and I injured my pride and dignity a little, but hey! That mends pretty quickly.

The moral of my story? That's the best part: don't wear old Crocs. Buy new ones!!!