Tag: golden retriever


Here are some comments made this past weekend by my father.

“I think it’s time for me to come back to civilization.”

“I keep thinking I’m in Florida.”

“What town are we in?”

“Who are those people outside?”

“What is my nurse’s name?”

“Where are you living?”

“Where have you been? I’ve been pining for you. Where have you been the past two days?”

“Where are you from?”

“How far away is that?”

“Do you have children? How old are they?”

“Who are those people outside?”

“Who was that man? I know him very well but I can’t remember his name.”

“Have you seen the head woman? What is her name again?”

“I think in my 95th year I’m going to retire.”


I think you get the picture. Dad has stepped further along the dementia path. He knew who my sister and I were, but couldn’t really come up with our names or where we were from. His ability to track time and place is gone for the most part. And it seems that life happens in very short spurts for him, then it happens again. And again. And…

It is fascinating what he does remember though. He knew that Saturday was the memorial service for his long time friend, my godfather, Al Sly. And he was thrilled we were there so that we could go together. I am also very glad I was able to sit with him and share a hymnal and prayer book and point out which hymn to sing. As an ex-organist, I was pretty sure he would have no problems singing the hymns. The Lord’s prayer seemed beyond him but it’s possible he couldn’t hear what we were saying.

(I just read an article that said that hearing loss and dementia were linked. Duh. It is harder to be in the world if you can’t hear what is going on. But really, even if he could hear, I think his ability to take in the words, figure out their meaning and come up with a response is mostly beyond him. Although he sometimes can surprise me by coming out with some gem of an answer that shows that, at least at that particular moment, he has grasped exactly what is going on.)

So where does the release come from? It comes from the fact that in some weird way, now that he has progressed so far, I feel absolved of my duty of trying to make him happy, of visiting him, of taking him out to lunch, of playing a game of Scrabble with him. I have done my share of this over the past few years, especially after mom died (which was five years ago this week). I don’t feel the need to check in on him and make sure everything is okay. He has an army of kind, caring people taking care of him, ones whom he recognizes almost more than his children. And I feel for the first time like I can really let go of that part of him that has resided in my brain for my whole life and just focus on ME. Even as I write this I feel the guilt and shame and thoughts of selfishness that over the years have caused me to stop everything in order to help him in some way. I know I am and have been a good daughter but I will always feel like I could have done more…it’s the nature of the beast. So before you start saying that he could still enjoy my visits, I know that. The thing is, I don’t enjoy those visits, and I have done a LOT of things I didn’t enjoy in order to make him (and my mother before she died) happy. Call me ungrateful, but stick a fork in me, I am done.

So what now? Well, I will continue to explore my artistic life. That is the most exciting thing for me. In the past year or so, I have been able to develop, expand, deepen, and redefine my creativity. My plan is to continue this exploration. My experiences with dementia will, no doubt, show up at some point. I have signed up for a trip to Namibia in November, which will bring about a long-time desire to go to Africa. And I plan to spend more time simply being…but that is the start of another blog post. Stay tuned…

I’ll end with one of my favorite photos of the recent 2 1/2 foot snowstorm…Ginger always expresses my sense of tiredness better than I can…

P1110760 (1)
it is too exhausting trying to move around in this snow…but it is easier to get up on the rock!




oh deer

As you know, I have definitely reaped the benefits of Fozziemum’s pictures of kangaroos lately. So I thought I would reciprocate and post a picture of our own version of the kangaroo…the common white-tailed deer. This young one seems to be less than intimidated by Ginger. In fact it even took a step or two closer to her during their conversation. The deer know exactly where the invisible fence ends and are no longer afraid to test the boundaries. I guess the apple trees are too much of a treat to avoid, despite the inhospitable canine neighbor.

It was getting on in the evening and I was trying to capture the photos quickly, hence the lack of clarity. I have a funny suspicion this won’t be my last chance to take photos of them.

oh deer

a bit of whine

Today’s post is brought to you by the color yellow.


Ever have those moments in life where everything gets torn apart all at once and your job is to put it back together as best you can? I would imagine that my friends in Christchurch still feel that way years after the earthquake. Fortunately, my experience isn’t quite as life consuming as that was. But I still am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The geo-thermal system is installed but the remains of the destruction to our lawn is still evident. The timing was such that I was able to get the landscape company in to fix the walkway that was dug up but the lawn is still a mess. It may take a while to find someone to fix it. Unfortunately, it means the dogs are tracking in a bit more mud and dirt than usual.

still dug up
Fixed walkway and crazy lawn

Speaking of which, at the same time as the geo thermal and the hardscaping was going on, I had a couple of young dudes spread mulch in the gardens. I realize I may be a bit early on this but, again, the timing worked out this way. Of course yesterday, our dog Ginger had found something nasty to roll in. She was given a bath and sent back outside (not by me) and the next time we saw here, she looked like this.

can I come in?
can I come in?
aren't I pretty?
aren’t I pretty?

Yup, she had a good rinse, outside this time, and then was relegated to the indoors until she dried a little bit more.

Ginger was already in the doghouse even before this adventure. The hardscape dudes were fixing our front walkway as well, taking out old concrete, putting in new and adding a step (I told you it’s been chaotic around here). Ginger decided that when no one was looking she would check out the new concrete…before it had fully set. I was not here but I heard that Ginger was canine non grata for several hours.

paw prints
yup, Ginger paw prints

So, as if that weren’t enough, the giraffe got its new base of stones to stand on. I think he looks really good now and Mr. R is thrilled not to have to mow under him this summer. Now I just have to finish fixing him. (the giraffe, not my husband.)

on the rocks

So that’s what is going on around our house. Changes in heating, changes in landscape and stupid dogs. Along with all of this, I got my third invisalign plates, attachments AND rubber bands (ugh). I feel like a grumpy nine year old. My teeth are lumpy and they hurt.

The good news is that I got to spend time with kangaroos (yes, real ones) this week. I promise the next post will be much less whining and full of fun pix of kangaroos and other cool animals.

two dogs, a ball and some leaves

Today was one of the most exciting days of the year at our house. It was the first leaf pile day of the season. While we have lots of trees on the property, most are in areas that we don’t need to rake. But there is one maple tree that dumps an impressive amount of leaves that must get raked, shredded and put on my gardens. But that’s not why it’s exciting.

The excitement is truly unbearable if you happen to be a golden retriever. Ginger, the more lazy of the two, LOVES leaf piles and will plop herself down in one consisting of no more than five leaves. And because this is the beginning of leaf season, that’s about all there is.

ever so happy
ever so happy

The first day of leaf piles is so unbelievably awesome for Ginger. I thought this post was just going to be about her…but I was wrong.

Enter her sister, Lucy. The ball fiend. The happy girl. The energetic one.

together in the leaves
together in the leaves…Ginger in front, Lucy behind.
red ball
chewing on the red ball

Lucy loves leaf piles as well. But only as a place to search for balls. Or a place to rest while chewing one. Today’s ball of choice is red. Lucy owns (as any self-respecting, ball-obsessed dog would) several balls, some of which Ginger covets. Right now she has two red, one black and one blue ball. (The pink one and the rubber tire are currently MIA but will probably show up eventually.)

Ginger covets all of them except the blue ball, it is too lumpy.

So through the course of raking the leaves, Lucy put the ball at my feet about 200 times.

red ball
red ball

Occasionally I threw it down the hill. Sometimes, to mix it up a little, I threw it into a leaf pile. And sometimes, she just THOUGHT I threw it into the pile when it was actually in plain site. I didn’t tell her though, I just let her enjoy the search. She wouldn’t have listened anyway, she’s that sort of dog.

looking for the ball in all the wrong places
looking for the ball in all the wrong places

It is very easy to confuse her when she is super-excited which is to say, any time I have a ball in my hand. Her excitement borders on panic when her sister gets into the act of searching.


But inevitably, Lucy’s nose won the contest and she took the ball away to chew on it for a while.

lucy and ball

lucy lucy and ball lucy and ball


And of course all this ball chasing and chewing and protecting is thirsty work on a warm day…

thirsty work
thirsty work

I shall be honest and say that I’m not sure who is happier with a pile of leaves, the dogs or me. Raking leaves is one of the things I have great memories of, we had two HUGE maple trees when I was growing up. When they dropped their leaves I would rake them and throw the leaves down the hill and then…jump in them (of course). You might still find me hiding in my own pile of leaves in the next couple of days…but I highly doubt that there will be a picture of it, you will just have to use your imagination…


one year

I got a notification today that said I have been blogging on WordPress for a year. This totally snuck up on me, but I suppose I need to acknowledge this milestone.

One year ago I was reading a friend’s blog on politics and I thought, “You know, I have a lot of stuff to say, maybe I should finally try one of these.” So I looked at WordPress and realized that it was pretty easy to set up a blog. It didn’t take long to figure out what I wanted to say and what picture to put with it. I hit “Publish” and then WHAM! in less time than it took to say the name of my blog, the little star in the menu glowed orange! SOMEONE LIKES ME!!! It was pretty stunning how quickly someone had read my post and responded to it. I was hooked on the magic of the internet.

Since then I have written 141 (now 142) posts and have connected (sometimes very briefly) with people from 50 countries. I am not going to win any awards for the amount of followers or commenters and I have only one blog award to my name but quite honestly, that’s not why I do it. I will add my voice to those before me who have marveled at the connections made with some really wonderful people, a handful of whom I rely on to let me know that my words and images are pleasing or making them smile or touching a spot somewhere inside of them. I have also increased my knowledge of the world and what it’s like to live in different countries, as well as finding out more stuff about, well, stuff. It’s been a lot of fun.

This blog is just one of the tools I have used to come back to the world in the last year. I wasn’t sure how long I would continue writing it but it seems to be a good fit. I still enjoy posting, taking pictures, writing my thoughts and seeing the orange star lit up so I guess I’ll continue…just not this weekend as I’m off (once again) to the great white north (I.e. Connecticut).

Thanks for reading and see you in a few days!!!

I will leave you with a photo of Ginger from my archives…it sort of matches the way I feel about traveling to CT…

I use to fit on a stair.
Wait, why don’t I fit on a stair anymore???