Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Hopper

I know I'm crazy when commercials for the DISH network make me teary. "The Hopper" is the new craze with the DISH network, and also the nickname of my sweet girl Heidi, who passed away about 2 weeks ago.

Heidi came to live at my house in December of 2010. She came to Tiger and I as 40 pounds of happy girl. The thing about Heidi is that I could tell when she got here, she was at peace. She had not ever lived in a house before, but she adjusted just fine. When she arrived it was Christmas time and she spent the first few weeks curled up on a dog bed near the base of the Christmas tree. I wish I had a photograph of her under the tree, but my memory of those first few weeks will have to do.

From the get go, Heidi was a happy girl. She really had no problems in the adjustment to indoor life and fit right in with the routine. She and Tiger got along well and were good companions. At first, when other 4 legged visitors came to our house, she was a little defensive. She didn't understand. But, there was the magic moment that happens with most rescue dogs, when they realize they are at home, and the visitors are just that...visitors.

Heidi had a strange sort of stance. I think because she was so skinny, and always maintained her skinny behind, she stood much like a tripod, with her two back legs very close together. And, when she went up the stairs, the two back legs hopped up at the same time, sort of like a rabbit. Thus, we started calling her Heidi Hopper, and lately just "The Hopper". 

I always try to figure out what my dogs are trying to teach me. For Heidi, she is a dog that had a rough start in life, but when she got to me, she, for the first time maybe, felt peace. She fought very hard for the first 3 years of her life to survive until she was rescued in Greensburg. After a few months, people would comment, "This is a different dog". Not really. She was always the same sweetie. Just not so skinny. She was up to 58 pounds.

In February, we found that Heidi had some cancer. It was removed and they thought they got it all, but maybe not. About a week before she died, she started getting a lot of fluid in her belly. While we could never figure out the exact diagnosis, everything was pointing toward the cancer having spread to her liver. 

A friend who had known all of my dogs commented that Heidi just didn't seem to have the fight in her that some of my other dogs have had. Maybe that was true for the last weeks of her life, but I think she fought very hard at the beginning of her life so that she would have an opportunity to live with Tiger and I.

In the last days, I knew Heidi was tired. I knew she was in pain. I knew she did not want to fight anymore with the illness in her physical body. Our time together seems so very short, but I am so thankful I got to be her guardian for the last 18 months.  The lady from Pet Angel who went to the vet's office to pick up Heidi's body said that she knew Heidi was very special. She said when she got to the vets office the medical staff was in tears. She said this is her job and she has to go into those situations every day, but she had not ever seen so many staff members so emotional about one patient. She said, "You know, they see this everyday. I don't mean to say that they don't have feelings, but they usually don't show emotions like that. When I walked in and all of them were in tears, I knew this was a special girl."

And a very special girl she was.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Trouble with Lucy van Pelt

It seems for the last couple of years, people have been on this "you should be Lucy for Halloween" kick with me. I am a big Peanuts fan and always have been since I was young. My first dog was named "Snoopy". I have all sorts of Peanuts collectibles. I had a Snoopy lunchbox when I was in grade school. I was so upset when it broke on a field trip.

But Lucy? Lucy is not very nice. She steals the football so that Charlie Brown falls down. She is bossy and insists on being the "Christmas Queen". She calls Charlie Brown a "Blockhead". And when she is in her little Psychiatric Help booth, all she really cares about is the nickels. I'm hoping I'm not like Lucy.

But, I've spent the afternoon making a little Help 5 cents booth that will fit at my cube tomorrow. We'll see if people like working with Lucy when I won't answer a question unless they give me a nickel.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Secret Life of Kindle

The title sounds a little edgy, doesn't it? Not really intended, but this vacation I've taken my Kindle and read parts of 4 books. "Parts" is because I sometimes just want to read different types of writing, and NONE of the books I'm currently reading has "hooked" me. As a matter of fact, in one of them, Dixie Divas, the characters are so stupid I'm not sure I'll go back to it. Really? Find a dead body in your coat closet and not call the police?

What I've come to realize on this vacation is an unintended consequence of reading with Kindle, in that it is very private. I still like my Kindle and like that I won't be filling shelves with books in my home. I like its size and that it is easy to transport and carry around for the moments when I'm just waiting somewhere and I can always read. But, no one at Maggie Mae's diner can see what I'm reading.

Some may say that is okay, and given the trade-offs, I agree for now. But, I always thought my bookshelf told a little bit about me. You could see that I liked mysteries and Sophie Kinsella, that I kept my college art history books and was a counseling major. People who stayed at my house as guests or dog sitters often borrowed books or read them while they were there. They can't do that on my Kindle.

For now, I like that I have about 30 books in my purse. But, we'll see how it goes. I think I need a Kindle budget.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Last Florida Sunset

My last day in Florida was good. In the morning, I walked the beach. It was cold and still windy, but the sun was out. The high today was only 72, so that means when I was walking it was still in the 50s. I let the water run up on my feet. At first it seemed chilled, but then I realized it was warmer than the air.

The wind of the last few days washed up so many shells and other things on the beach. I have never seen so many shells. I also saw sponges (the real sea sponge kind), a crab trap, sand dollars, and unfortunately trash. Those darned plastic grocery bags. All of the news reports and news journal TV shows have said that we shouldn't use the plastic grocery bags because they end up in the ocean. I really wondered, how do they get there? I don't toss my trash on the side of the road or in the ocean. Who would do that? Someone does. Either they toss it off boats or leave it at the beach or something, because they are washing up on the beach. I'm really going to make an effort not to use those bags anymore.

I spent some time on the sun deck, because it was warm there. I did take a dip in the pool, but while the water was okay, the wind whipping across it was freezing. After 20 minutes of exercise, I got out and headed back to that sun deck to warm up. I fell asleep in the sun, but woke up in the shade. The sun moving was my sunburn control.

It is back to Indiana tomorrow. I know it is colder there. I am packed, the laundry is done, dishes washed, etc. Good night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Windy Day at Honeymoon Island

Today I had hope for sun. But again, as we know, hope is not a plan.

I pretty much knew that the morning was going to be gray and cloudy, so I headed out to Honeymoon Island State Park. I took the loop drive around the park and headed to the nature center. Did you know that they have rattlesnakes in Florida? I really always thought of those as western desert creatures, but there are signs at the entrance of the park that warn of the rattlesnakes. I'm wondering if they are truly native. I guess I should have asked at the nature center.

I was pretty much alone in the park today. Not many people there, and those who were there were disappointed. I originally had hopes of renting a bike and riding the 5 mile loop, but when I got out of my car and was pelted with sand, I realized that would not be a good idea. The waves were crashing in and the beach was empty, except for a few people who were trying to surf. Not a good day to be near that sand. It stung as it continually crashed against my skin. I watched for a while at a distance, but a soon gave up and headed for some lunch and a quiet place to read.

Still gray and cloudy at 2:00, so I did what I know...headed to find a movie theater. I saw "Moneyball" starring Brad Pitt. I always loved baseball when I was younger, but at some point, the game became uninteresting. Maybe it is this story of "Moneyball" that did it, where the players were instructed to do whatever it takes statistically to get on base. Always take the first pitch, go with the odds to get a walk, etc. Maybe this was what "slowed the game" as everyone describes it. It was a good movie. I wonder if the system is still working.

And then the sun started to peak out around 6:00. I am hoping for a sunny day tomorrow, but the forecast says 73 degrees is the high. We'll see. I need to make the most of my last full day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Winter and the CMA

Today's rainy day was spent at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Have you seen the movie Dolphin Tale? If not, you should!

Winter is the resident dolphin who lost her tail because she was caught in the line of a crab trap. She was fitted with a prosthetic tail, but doesn't wear it all the time. In the movie, there was part of the story line that gave the impression that if she did not wear the tail, she would eventually damage her spine and die, but since she did not have the tail on when I was there, or anytime I have looked on the web cam, I don't think it is a medical necessity.

There are 3 other dolphins that live there, Hope, Nicholas, and Panama. And there are many other animals as well. There was a whole pool of stingrays, that you were allowed to feed. I fed one and shared my other fish with a little boy standing next to me so that he could feed a stingray as well. It is a funny sensation, feeding the stingray. You hold the fish between your two fingers and the stingray kind of swims over your hand and sucks it up through their mouth which is on the bottom of their body. It is a weird feeling.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fighting through the Clouds

According to last weekend's forecast, today was supposed to be my best day in the Florida sun. I guess the tropical storm brewing in the Gulf didn't watch this weekend's news. It has been cloudy all day and rain is expected tomorrow.

I did some shopping, went out for a great lunch, and still went for a swim in the afternoon. I think I still got a little sun, but maybe not the good kind.

I went shopping at a couple of my favorite Florida stores, Ross and Bealls Outlet. I did pick up several items for me, and a lot for my nieces baby who will be born in March. They know it is a boy, and I am very excited. I usually know how to connect with boys, probably because I was the little girl who played with matchbox cars in the dirt. I'm excited for his arrival, and so is Trevor.

For lunch, I dined at Casa Tina in Dunedin, Florida. Dunedin is a local artist community, somewhat like a beachy Nashville or Broad Ripple. They have a lot of artists galleries, cool restaurants, you can rent bikes, buy crystals, or walk along the Pinellas Trail. Casa Tina has the best Mexican food I've ever had. I ate there once in June, and have been thinking about their enchiladas ever since. The waitress says it is because they make their tortillas fresh on site. Whatever it is, it is good. I'll have a hard time staying away from there the rest of the week.

Tomorrow is scheduled for rain. I plan on going to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where the movie "Dolphin Tale" was filmed. I still have hope for sun. But, as we all know, hope is not a plan.