Friday, May 9, 2014


we spent a lot of time together, she and i. it was obvious that she was always going to be overshadowed by the big guy, he and i came along at the same time. she was already house trained and through the puppy years when i met her. but she followed me around anyway. sat butt to butt on drop cloth while i painted trim when we first moved. sometimes on my feet while i was sitting on the toilet. on the rare occasion i crawled into bed because of a headache, or something sad and upsetting had happened, i would hear a clackety clack of toenails on hardwood, and she would hop up on the bed and back her butt up into my leg and just sit there quietly and wait, whatever it was, out with me.
as i write this, i realize that i am still wearing the same pyjamas; when she was in my arms, running out to the car at 1am. trembling, drooling- not her. we were both scared.
the duvet is still covered with her fur, there are little piles of it that have collected in the corners of the room. the cleaning lady is coming tomorrow- soon they will be gone. no more sharp hairs to get lodged in the sole of my foot, no need for tweezers.
people 'check up' on you, 'check in'. they want to know how you're doing, how today went, if you're managing. the ones who haven't lost a pet yet, don't. they can't "go there", i get it. i didn't either. the answer should be "better", "today was a better day", "i'm doing better than yesterday". but it's not...better. it's a 'process', i get that too. i've acquired a new lexicon; 'rainbow bridge'. it's not for the people, 'who cant go there'. they don't need to.
it's a day made up of small things- it's always the small things. quiet meal times; dropping food on the floor that now stays there, waiting to be picked up by me; automatically leaving the bedroom door cracked for middle of the night 'diabetes bladder' breaks. things i don't think of until they happen, without her. then i notice her absence. and what her presence was.
i have broken up with my routine. i don't want to go home; to a quieter house. no welcoming committee circling the car and demanding to be fed before i can even turn off the engine. i have no interest in sitting on 'my chair', it was never just mine. i don't want to go to bed, because there's no one trying to beat me up the stairs. when i take a shower, there's no little blur shuffling around on the other side of the frosted door, making a nest in the dirty clothes pile, waiting.
i want to move. to be; not in the same house, same bed, same couch, same front door. change the location, solve the problem. i know how to do that.
i took her to all of her vet appointments. the routine ones and the 'scary' ones. she and i made a lot of road trips together. down to new hampshire, curled up on my lap to see the surgeon who was going to make her see again, after developing the cataracts. after developing diabetes. 45 miles an hour during a major snowstorm in january for blood transfusions, and another specialist. but like the diabetes, that became stable too. of course it did. this was a dog who, when she went to the park, joined the 'over 25lb' side. despite re-direction from all of the other owners. when their dogs took an interest, she 're-directed' them too.
before her surgery, when her eyes were so bad that she couldn't see a tennis ball, we used cat toys with little bells. she followed the sound. she still got to fetch. after the surgery she was back to chasing flies.
i had a dream this morning, a bad one. it woke me up with images of intruders wielding butcher knives. i get it; anxiety. i couldn't go back to sleep, maybe there were sounds outside. how would i know? the little burglar alarm wasn't there to go off and warn me now.
my eyes sting, my nose is raw and my throat is sore from choking back everything else.
i miss her. i want her back so much. i want to rebound on another rat terrier the way i did with boyfriends in my 20's. and i know i cant.

Monday, August 5, 2013

getting to know you

riding a new trail is an awful lot like going on a first date. minus the agony of what to wear-- and it's also probably best not to sport an oversized sanitary napkin in your shorts, at least until reaching the 'i can eat spaghetti bolognese/lobster in front of you' comfort level. obviously, there is always a risk that what you are confronted with is going to be an overwhelming flop; too tight, too twisty, scary thin bridges over stagnant ponds, or a penchant for white, cotton turtlenecks... all of which makes it incredibly hard not to keep going back to what is familiar; every root, rock garden and worn log jump are imprinted on your wheel. sort of like hooking up with an ex. how wonderfully reassuring then, when your first time on unfamiliar trail, is chock full of smiles, stomach lurches and the odd bruise.

Friday, September 21, 2012

it's the icing on the cake

directions: make sure that you are alone-- all house guests, children, domestic partners and/or pets who may be in heat should be on the other side of a locked door. note; you might feel dirtier doing this by yourself, but that's your own non-secular stuff and far too weighty to fit on a packaging label. squeeze yourself a massive amount of "butt'r"-- the same thinking that also uses half a roll of toilet paper to fashion a protective poo shield between your fingers and what you really don't want to touch. do this next part quickly, you are not trying to ration out the miserly serving of cream cheese that franchised coffee shops give you to cover a bagel. what you defer in technique can always be adequately covered by volume. remember; it's a teriyaki marinade going on in your chamois, and the only thing worse than dried out chicken is a dessicated hoo-ha.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

auntie pantie's speech

we are here today, with friends and family to celebrate darci alice fedorowicz. she is only 10 and a half months old, but she already has a history. she is a dunnage, a barnes, a hobson, a hood, a mason and a stefaniuk. darci has been born into an extraordinary family; one who served their countries during world war two; of survivors who lived through the bombing of three homes during the london blitz; of immigrants who started new and better lives for themselves learning languages, finding jobs and raising the next generation. a family of entrepeneurs and small business owners, hard working people who also knew how to enjoy the freedom they had struggled for. as she grows up, darci will hear stories about a great grandfather who was a competitive bareknuckle boxer in the 1930's, and another who was an accomplished pianist and small dance band leader up until his death. a great grandmother who left iceland on a military ship with her new husband and 1,000 british servicemen, and a great grandfather who escaped from siberia as a teenager and joined the parachute regiment of the free polish brigade. to look at her, you might think you are also looking at james or alison at that same age. and it is abundantly clear, that the apple will probably not even fall off the tree, darci; your parents will show you how to be patient, kind and tolerant of others, but also how to identify the present perfect tense, cure a salt beef and appreciate a good pinot grigio, they will provide a home to root you in, but they will also show you how to explore and travel the world- but only from a first class seat. your grandparents (both near and far away) are here to dote on you, sing to you, teach you how to play the piano, love the outdoors, to tell your incisor from your canine, a petunia from a pansy and develop the art of navigating every department store on oxford street in a single afternoon. your aunts and uncles (again just a short drive or boarding pass away) are here to inspire you to take risks, move across the globe and try something different.. they will instill in you the rules of football and in particular the merits of arsenal. they will show you how to put together a killer outfit for any occasion, win at scrabble, and develop an appreciation for lavatorial humour. they all await your visit. darci, we are all gathered here today to commit ourselves to loving and supporting you. may you always be active; socially, physically, spiritually and intellectually. whether you choose to run marathons, run for office, run a company or run up your air miles. welcome to your family darci!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crappy.Dental.Assistant., C.D.A.

there are many things on my bucket list, oddly enough staring up people's nostrils while bits of their teeth fly into mine isn't one of them.

i have been moonlighting as a dental assistant (the non-certified kind) for the last three weeks, a blip on the CV really, it wouldn't even qualify as a "special skill"- unlike 'injecting insulin into an agitated rat terrier twice a day'- and i have found that it's a bit like making chicken stir fry; i can manage it, and it's o.k., but there's nothing that spectacular about my performance.

granted, as an assistant you do get an aerial, front row seat to exciting procedures like extractions, so it comes in handy that osha requires face masks, because there is no poker face happening once a tooth has been drilled open for air. the gross stuff aside, my own personal anxiety comes with the responsibility of spit sucker management; are they going to choke and drown if i let things pool too much, or are they going to choke and gag if i go in for a sweep? and how much pooling is too much pooling? how deep do i sweep? it's a lot of pressure, and i don't want them to hate me, they could bite my finger.

it's also a bit like being back in french class, except instead of conjugating verbs, there is a whole new lexical set to remember- quickly. because dentistry has an extensive collection of 'pokey things', all with very arbitrary monikers; "please pass the plastic instrument" (except that it's actually made of metal and looks pretty much like every other one of the double sided pokers in the cassette). dental schools may have been teaching it their way for years, but as far as i'm concerned the drill bits* are now; 'christmas tree', 'matchstick', 'microphone', and 'arrowhead'.

~ "pass me the diamond burr".

~ "is that the one that looks like a terra cotta plant pot or the latte mug with no handle?"

it's not all bad, i've learned a lot; hot tooth shards smell like corn chips; young women need to be vigilant about examining their chin and upper lip areas for hair; there is nothing worse than a roving tongue; i would much rather wear my pyjamas to bed, than get up and wear them to work. and ultimately, any job description that involves cleaning up after other people's messes and "vacuuming" is something that i've had a lot of practice with.

* burrs.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

the panacea for a probing is a 40 minute spin class

col·pos·co·py [kol-pos-kuh-pee] noun. it sounds so much friendlier in the medical lexicon than "pap smear with fondue fork".

i've had one of these done before; i know what to expect.

"oh, your blood pressure is slightly high today, i wonder if you're just anxious about the procedure...?"

[well, maybe if you had a cocktail and some peanuts on that metal trolley over there, oh wait, no, just long swabs, and a bunch of steel skewers in sanitized packaging, how about i lie back here on this sanitary napkin throw pillow and just relax].

if hasidic jews can fornicate through a 200 thread count sheet, then i honestly don't understand why, in this day and age, we can't have a more puritan approach to the pap.

and why do we need another person in the room?

"are you her back up? will you be sitting on me in case i decide to jump up and run?"


"no, she's here to pass me things."

and before the good doctor could even wax lyrical about the weather/holiday plans/my inconsequentially tipped uterus i steered the conversation to something far more comfortable; "so, do you have many people fart in your face when you do one of these?"

bless her, she started laughing into my crotch, "20 minutes ago, actually. occasionally, even with a little something solid".

i was told to come back in four months for a follow up probe. i'm bringing the fart machine next time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

sometimes it's just easier to make brownies out of a box

'high maintenance' can be divided into two camps; the 'i need a coach purse for my birthday/valentines'/christmas/halloween/pancake day' kind (which was the reassuring "good god, not me" mantra in the early stages of any relationship), versus the; 'i don't need expensive things, i'm simple/easygoing/thrifty/don't believe your credit card bill should reflect your commitment, instead i want you to pay attention to the tiny nuances of my personality and make something or do something that resonates with that so i will become more giddy than girl-with-brown-on-beige-accessory'.

aka; a lot of work.

and so my request for the first anniversary, was to go camping. and take the mountain bikes. and kayak. with both dogs.

why the hell anyone would want to leave their own, already paid for, climate controlled environment with all of the key amenities, for an over-priced permanently 70/21 degree room- even if it has a five star restaurant/bar/jacuzzi, when there are whole patches of dirt, zip up windows and metal toilets that require shoes to commute to at 3 in the morning is beyond me.

the 'totally-not-high-maintenance' control issues kicked in, in preparation for a weekend in the woods. thank god for and 'how to camp with your canine' books, coleman's selection of clip on, magnetic tent lights, the arbitrary 'tree trolley' for wayward and disobedient pooches, and a made-out-of-ballistic-material 'modular hauler' to organize, by colour code, the campsite electrics, french press, canine accoutrements, and assortment of bungee cords. preparation and anticipation, as with most things in the life of an obsessive-compulsive, is key. i even called ahead to make sure that the camp site was "dog friendly".

we were effectively 'tailgating'-- overnight. it must be a cultural thing, but this was a new york city tenement of camp sites, minus the protest. as a child of the 80's, pitching a tent in the middle east meant there were no neighbours except the ones your parents brought for 'booze backup'. camping in dog friendly northern maine is all about sharing 100 square feet of dirt with homesteaders and their monogrammed bird baths.