Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 12 of 12

Yes, despite my sporadic (to say the least) posting, I have a 12 of 12 to share this month. It was actually a weekend, a day that both Scott and I had off, and there was actually the opportunity to take pictures. Don't expect this every month! (I'm sure y'all don't ... )

So here we go. All pictures were taken Saturday, November 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.

The pond in our back yard. The maples are pretty brilliant this fall:

Looking out the leaded glass of our front door:

Building in First Hill, just outside of downtown:

We grabbed lunch at the First Hill Bar & Grill - the lighting (and my camera) aren't that great, but have you seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"?

Cologne dispenser in the men's room. Yes, it's between the urinals. Notice the high quality '80's selections of scents:

I used to live a couple of blocks from here when I first moved to Seattle. I miss a lot of things about this neighborhood:

I love the older buildings around here:

Town Hall Seattle. We're here to be a part of the radio audience for the taping of two episodes of NPR's Says You:

The stage (I didn't get any good pictures of the panelists, so this is it):

One of the windows in the Great Hall. Town Hall Seattle was originally a church built in the early 1900's:

The carpet. I'm thinking of getting this for our house:

Scott and me. We always have fun:

Thanks for coming. Hope to see you again soon. Have a great day!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunday, August 07, 2011

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

She was eight weeks old when Scott got her. A runt of a Weimaraner pup, out of the entire litter she came over to him to say hi. Love at first sight.

The breeder was an older man in a poor South Seattle neighborhood, near Boeing field. The dogs were outside dogs, the pups born and reared under the house. No wonder she always did her business under our deck. Old habits die hard.

Scott would put her inside his jacket and take her to the grocery store with him. She was so proud when she was able to climb up on the couch by herself, climb over the baby gate, climb up the stairs. Still small as she grew up, she was sleek, fast, athletic. She would catch birds in mid-flight in the back yard, leave them on the back step. I love you, I hunted for you.

And such a cuddler. She would burrow under the covers with us. Get up on the pillows behind our heads, get behind them, get under them. Lick our hands, our faces, our noses.

She loved going camping, splashing in the river, smelling the air. She ran like a bunny - hopping, scampering, ears perched back, smile on her face.

She survived learning to live with our next dog, Kitty. And later, with Kali. A once proud alpha dog, she became relegated to the back of the pack. But we were her companions, her masters, her gods. Once we were in her sight, all was right with the world.

We lost Kitty over a year ago. Suddenly we realized they were buddies, she missed her, something was gone from her life.

Four months ago, over fourteen years old, she lost the use of one of her hind legs. Degenerative spinal issues. On with the medications - anti-inflammatory, pain pills, incontinence pills. Then the digestive issues. For four months I cooked chicken and rice for her for every meal - she loved it. Inhaled it. Got use of her leg back, got herself up and down the stairs, smiled and sniffed the air. We had her longer than we thought we would be able to.

She went on vaction with us to the coast, to the mountains on the peninsula. She smelled new things, met new people, laid by the fireplace in our cabin.

And then she started to slow down. Her legs stiffened more. She wasn't as hungry, or as energetic. She'd rather go back up to her bed in the guest room and lay down, please.

Yesterday morning I took her outside before Scott got up. She roamed a little, but mostly just stood in one spot. She didn't want her breakfast. She laid in the living with Scott and watched a movie. She vomited a little. She was listless and unengaged.

Scott was tearing up a bit, I asked him if he wanted to go up to the emergency clinic. We decided to call and see if we could take her to her regular vet, a lovely warm caring woman. He called them, they said they could take her that afternoon.

She was ready. More ready than we were. We knew it was the right thing to do, she was in pain, she didn't feel well. But here we were making an appointment to end her life.

The next few hours were torture. We petted her and kissed her and told her how much we loved her. And then we drove to the vet.

We sat with her while we waited, they gave us an almost-empty bag of cat treats which whe loved. We brought her into that room, with the warm soft blanket on the floor, and cried while we tried to tell her how much she was loved, how we were always with her. She knew, she was ready.

They injected a heavy sedative, and she was out pretty soon. Some twitches, deep breathing, eyes still open but cloudy and tired. The vet and her assistant came in, we had to move to give them some room. Another injection, stroking her muzzle, kissing her face, telling her it was okay to leave, we loved her, we will always love her.

The vet moved the stethoscope around ... and asked her assistant for another dose. She was still with us. We cried ... please just let go. Let go. It's okay.

And then, before another injection, she said "She's gone".

They left us with our baby, our furry lovely beautiful baby with her grey muzzle and skinny body and no more pain, no more pain. Our beautiful, adorable, gorgeous girl who made our lives what they could never, in a million years, be without her there. We left with her collar and our vet and her assistant hugging us, knowing what we were feeling, leaving the only place that we could have let her go knowing she was cared for so humanely, so lovingly.

We came home and dug a hole by the big rhododrendon bush that she had so happily pruned as a puppy, making it grow way over our heads. We burned the receipt, and buried her collar and the cheap plastic shiny mettalic beads we had put around her neck that made her happy. We buried it all, buried her there, buried a part of us both. Stopped ourselves, sobbing, from wanting to dig it all back up, open the grave, have our young sleek athletic puppy jump out from the ground and lick our faces and jump into our arms and burrow behind our pillows forever.

And now we wake up and see the door to the guest room is left open, not having to keep her inside during the night. I go into the kitchen and almost methodically start cooking chicken and rice before I realize there isn't a reason to. See her raised food dishes that I can't even fathom putting away, see the hundreds of dollars of medicines that I just bought two days earlier, that won't do any good, that I don't know what to do with. See her bed in the washing machine that I have to dry and then ... do something with.

I took Kali for a walk this afternoon. I needed to feel life and energy. And we came home and Kali drank out of Stoli's water bowl and then sat out on the porch with me and I gave her Stoli's bone to chew on. Our unbelievable, loving, sweet sweet Stoli girl - she's still here. She has to be. We've lost too much, this past year or so. We all cling to each other and love each other and hope that, please please please, we find a way to go on and not sob at everything we see and think and hear.

Our lives will go one, but never as gorgeously.

This I know - Stoli is still somewhere, never gone. Be at peace, little girl. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Most Treacherous Aria Ever Written

That's how a music professor decsribed this in college - from the Mozart opera The Magic Flute. Using a whistle voice and reaching F6, this ain't for amateurs. Here, Diana Damrau performs exquisitely. Treacherous indeed. Don't try this at home, kids.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 12 of 12

Hi there. Nice to see you again. My name's Matt. No, no ... don't feel bad. I don't blame you for not remembering me. I've been away for quite a while.

One thing I swore I'd always do was at least do a 12 of 12 post. I missed last month. I know. Shhh ... there, there. It's okay. I'm back.

In the interest of being ... umm, interesting (slightly), I wanted to do something other than the usual workday awful and boring pictures. A friend (hi Stan!) suggested taking pictures of doors. Great idea ... but I didn't follow it very well. I got pictures of doors, and entryways, and a lot of pictures while driving (no officer, I wasn't taking pictures!). But, hopefully you'll bear with me.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

All pictures were taken on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.

The door to Joe, my Jetta. He has a special place in my heart, having not owned a car for seven or so years before I got him. My first, and sometimes I fear last, new car. He's taken good care of me and I regularly trust him with my life.

Coming up the stairs from the parking garage, the door to my office floor. This place has been pretty good to me with all its ups and downs, and I'm having an opportunity to impress the top brass this year. This is an opening to me every morning.

Of course, I love this view, the door to the parking garage where Joe meets me and takes me home every day. Very important, too.

On the way home ... the awning and entrance to an apartment building on First Hill. I used to live not far from here (years ago), and knew someone who lived here at the time. A cool older building, it just always had such an elegant facade.

The local home of Gilda's Club, a support system for women with cancer founded by Gilda Radner. I've always loved her. Unfortunately this is in an area that gets graffitied a lot, but they always clean it up and keep it looking nice. It just seems like you're entering someplace important. Which you are.

About two blocks away. The owners have a sense of humor ... but the title seems to match the building. Still, I smile when I drive by every day.

A few blocks from home. Something about this view fascinates me. New built into and on top of old, a weird mix of apartments and house and business and bus stop and kinda all over the place. There are a lot of entrances here.

Down the street from our house. This place tries to be open and welcoming, despite the bars and gates and constant overflow of people who are from many walks of life and ... ahem, occupations. We've never gone in, sadly. Just haven't decided if we'd be welcome or, quite honestly sometimes, safe.

The house across the street. Two women lived here for decades until recently. Lots of history and stories about the neighborhood. They're both in their eighties and one at a time have moved to nursing homes, yet still own the house. They would tend to the rose bushes and grow tomatoes. We'd bring them potted geraniums and poinsettias and Christmas wreaths. We grabbed some fellow neighbors and ran to the hardware store and spent the day scrubbing off nasty graffiti when the house was tagged. We miss them.

Our front door. One of the best sites to come home to. Lots of happy inside.

The back door, from the kitchen leading to the back yard. The pond and gardens and dogs (well, Kali at least). The door is dirty and the window screen is ripped from Kali pawing at it wanting to come inside. Kinda the epitome of our house. Humble, needs some work, but in a cool and lived-in condition.

The side door from the basement steps. Nothing fancy. But I like the dog leashes hanging by it. We still have three. We can't seem to imagine getting rid of Kitty's leash.

The upstairs door leading to the balcony. Sunny but still not hot summer weather, so the screen is covering the door ... but the birds in the aviary love the sun and so do we. It's an opening to a cool world. We're very close to getting the deck and balcony replaced, and then more of our pictures will be past this screen. But it's nice to look forward to something ...

That's it. Thanks for hanging in there with me this month. Happy 12!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

May 12 of 12

12 pictures of the 12th day of the month - simple. Actually getting them posted on the 12th - not so simple. But here we go.

Stoli licking her chops after supper. We thought she'd had a stroke a month ago, but it seems she has degenerative back and hip problems, not uncommon for Weimaraners. She's on anti-inflammatory and pain meds, which are helping. She's getting around fairly well these days. Hopefully her paw will heal soon - she developed sores on her paw pads, we think from walking differently - so she can stop wearing the cone of shame.

White lilacs blooming next to the house. I love that smell.

New plants by the front steps - dusty miller and stock. Another nice smell.

Lat year for Earth Day, our company gave all the employees red maple seedlings (yes, even to the employees in New York City). These things can get huge and are the kind that destroyed our sewer line a few years ago. But they look nice in pots.

Hanging basket on the front porch. The weather has been crap this spring, but at least things are blooming.

Bench on the front porch, which it will hopefully be warm enough to utilize someday.

Front door mat.

Some lilacs I brought inside. They don't last long, but they're purty and smell nice.

More pictures that Scott has been framing. His mom is trying to help him get some displayed in restaurants, coffee shops and galleries.

My cousin Jo sent me a packet of old pictures that her mom had. Here is a picture of my great grandparents, plus various pictures of my dad.

Re-bandaging Stoli's paw. We're supposed to take her to the vet to do it, but her bandage had gotten wet and it was too late to get to the vet. We did our best.

The sky looking west from the back of our house. I thought the clouds looked kinda cool.

That's all for this month - happy 12 y'all.