Friday, May 26, 2006

Sam I Am

"I saw Sam the dog this morning," I said to The Mr. when I returned home from my walk this morning.

"Oh, really?" he said. I'm not sure he really knows who Sam the dog is, though. I mean, I think he knows that there's a dog named Sam that I occassionally see on my morning walks, but I'm not sure he really knows the significance of Sam the dog.

One morning last winter shortly after my diabetes diagnosis I was taking my morning walk. And since it was winter and somewhere between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., it was still pitch black dark. I felt safe, but it's still dark and I'm still a woman walking by myself. It helped that I had a dog with me. Sure, he is pretty docile, but strangers don't know that.

Since I'm not quite a morning person and my walks tend to allow my mind to wander, I was off somewhere else when I hear the kind of yell that stops you in your tracks while simultaneously making you jump out of your skin: "SAM! NO! SAM! STOP!"

Well, Sam didn't stop, but I did. I turned and saw a large, black dog bolting toward me and Tanner. I was torn between wondering if this dog simply wanted to meet Tanner or was about to maul us. My heart was racing and my whole body got flush and tense in anticipation of an attack.

Turns out she just wanted to meet us. Sam is a big, black Lab who is well behaved when not on a leash, but when she sees another dog you can forget about it.

Tanner and I would see her frequently and I would talk to her person--sometimes her mom and sometimes her dad. The dogs would sniff and say hello and I would always pet Sam and say my hellos to her.

A few days after Tanner left, I saw Sam and her people walking quite a bit ahead of me. Sam, as usual, was being well behaved off her leash. I wanted her to see me, though, so she'd come and say hello, but she didn't.

This morning, just as my walk started, I saw Sam and her dad. I stopped while they crossed the street toward me and I practically mauled Sam saying hello. Her dad said something to Sam about me being alone today. I told him that Tanner had run away. We talked about Tanner and continued walking; I stopped at least once to turn around and love on Sam again.

Apparently I'm going through a little doggie withdrawal. Which I think is pretty clear from the dreams I've had the last two nights in which Tanner came home.

Turns out I am a dog person.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Finding my way without Tanner

I felt truly naked on that first morning walk without Tanner.

He had gotten out before, but always come back fairly soon. I used to chase him down, but realized he was just going on our walking route, so I decided to let him come back on his own. Often, one of the police officers (all of whom know us well because we live across the street from the station) or a neighbor would guide him home.

He just loves to run, that's all. He's a lab/hound mix and Just. Loves. To. Run. He has worn a path around the house from literally running circles around it.

The Mr. is a dog person. I've always been a cat person. So, in the natural order of things, we had cats. But I started to feel like The Mr. was being left out of his love for dogs. So I put a plan in place to surprise him with a new pet, but then decided that he really ought to be involved in the process. So we did some research and found the perfect dog. He was at a shelter not far from our house and they had named him Cheez-It. Seriously.

In the scheme of things, this was not the ideal time to get a new dog. I had just had our second child and she was barely two months old. Nonetheless, I took both kids to the shelter in the middle of winter to meet Cheez-It. He had effectively been an outside dog his entire life. I asked questions about letting him be an inside dog, how he would act around cats and the myriad of other non-dog-having-mom-related questions. Several days later (after the shelter checked our references) The Mr. brought him home.

He was amazing. He was shy and timid around The Mr., but we quickly figured that he was likely abused as a puppy (this was based partly on the fact that he was adopted from said shelter as a puppy and returned when he was just six months old, and also based on his reaction to several normal situations he observed). He followed me around everywhere. He wanted to be in the room I was in, even if it was just for a matter of seconds. We started to joke that clearly, Tanner was my dog, not my husband's.

He took well to the kennel, loved being inside, got along great with the cats and the kids. I had no problems leaving him in the same room with the baby on the floor; I never worried about him. He loved to wrestle with The Mr. and the kids. He would get down on the floor and stretch his legs toward the wrestlers and throw his head around and howl ever so slightly. He was playing too and we all knew it.

And he loved to take walks with me in the mornings. Ironically, one day last week while we were walking I was thinking that I ought to put his collar and ID back on him. I'm not exactly sure why it came off, actually. He probably got a bath and the collar just stayed off. I'm not even sure where it is.

So when The Mr. called last Thursday to say that Tanner had gotten out while he was mowing the lawn, I thought "well, he'll be back." But when I got home after work and he still hadn't returned, I began to worry. He never stayed gone this long. I was lost, really. I didn't know what to do, but held out hope that he would be standing at the front door waiting for me by the time I was ready for my walk on Friday morning. (I almost took his leash with me just so I could feel him near me.)

But Friday came and went, as did the weekend and now it's Tuesday and Tanner is still gone. I looked in the paper for any announcements of a found dog. Nothing. I drove down the street where I thought he might have gone. Nothing. And in a true sign of defeat, I put a flyer up on the community bulletin board at the nearest grocery store. I honestly expected there to be a message on the machine yesterday when I got home. But, nothing.

My gut tells me that he's with someone and not smushed on the side of the road somewhere. My gut tells me that someone recognized that he's a kept dog (he was wearing a body harness) and is trying to keep him safe. My gut tells me that he's inside someone's house. My gut tells me he feels like he's in jail (or is that just me feeling helpless?).

Part of me thinks he'll come back, part of me doesn't. The Mr. said that if he doesn't come back in the next couple of weeks that we'll get another dog. But I'm not sure I'm ready for that. He's too much a part of me and this family to simply replace on a whim. (I think The Mr. is trying to help me fill a void.) How will we ever find The Perfect Dog again?

I've lost pets to death before, but never literally lost one. Where do I put this?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

It's taken me just over a year, but I'm finally so pissed off at diabetes that I want to slam it into a wall and beat the living daylights out of it. I can just imagine repeatedly punching it in the stomach, cocking my arm all the way back to Texas and ramming it into D's nose, grabbing it by the ears and repeatedly pounding its head into the wall until blood just spews from its head. I feel so hollow and like I'm drowning and suffocating at the same time. I want to scream and cry uncontrollably and get a snotty face and hyperventilate until I purge this thing from my body. I hate it I hate it I hate it. And I want it to be gone.

I know I'm not the only one out there who feels like this from time to time. How do you deal with it? Right now, I want to eat a fast food restaurant followed by a Baskin Robbins. Then I think I'd like a good cry followed by a nap. And then I think I'd like to do it all over again tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

You really can't go home again

My parents have sold their house. They closed yesterday. *insert big, sad sigh here.*

This is the house I grew up in. The house I snuck out of when I was 15, and subsequently got caught sneaking out of (but only once or twice). The house where I made love to my husband for the first time. The house I saw morph into an elegant work of art. The house I always thought I'd be able to go back to.

I can't bring myself to take the keys off my key ring.

Their new condo won't be home. It just won't. It will just be this place where they live. Yeah, all their furniture is there, but it's not home. Going home won't mean the same thing anymore. I'll always identify that house as home. I imagine in five years I'll drive by and wonder who lives there (The Mr. and I still drive by the first, dinky 720-sq.ft. house we ever owned and we haven't lived there in almost five years). In 10 years I'll walk up to the door and ask if I can come in. I'll look at my old room and remember playing with Barbie on the window sill and listening to the radio with the window open. I'll remember staying up late writing on my typewriter slash computer, and marking the days on the calendar that my boyfriend and I made love.

And when I leave, although I have my own home where my family is making its own memories, I'll still be in mourning. Mourning the drive up the tree-lined hill that always made me feel so happy. Mourning the way I always skipped down the front steps, the familiar creaking of the floor boards, scoping out the neighborhood from that second-floor window. Mourning the comfort it gave me when pets died, when I trashed Mom's car on the way to high school graduation, spending every Christmas Eve in front of the fireplace and during weekend visits from college. The mourning of an era.

A sort of kidism

My daughter, who loves, loves, loves sweets (just like her momma) said to me the other night as she was eating birthday cake (her daddy's!) and ice cream in one of those something's wrong voices:
"Mom, my ice cream's cold."

Monday, May 15, 2006

I officially hate this @$%&* disease!

I don't know what took me so long, frankly, but The Big D finally broke me.

I'm so exasperated at doing everything right and getting the most bizaare numbers and being surprised by high numbers.
*Normal fasting, normal breakfast, normal post-breakfast reading, normal snack, normal lunch, wacked out post-lunch reading.

I'm tired of going low two days in a row for no apparent reason.
*See aforementioned normal, normal, wacked out rant. Someone needs to tell my pancreas that a 140 reading at 4 p.m. does not constitute an eat-a-handful-of-Skittles low at 6 p.m., and that a Kudos "granola bar" laden with chocolate and sugar at 2 p.m. does not warrant an eat-three-cookies-from-the-Great-American-Cookie-Co. low at 5 p.m.!

I'm sick and tired of testing my sugar three times with the same drop of blood and getting three different readings.
*Today's post lunch readings: 183, 204, 187. (None of which made ANY sense at all seeing as I had no snack this morning and a normal lunch. My only guess is that I'm still hanging on to some birthday cake from last night, but that's another post for another day. A 9 a.m. meeting got in the way of my post-breakfast reading.)

I'm tired of being hungry all the time.
*Today's lunch consisted of a sandwich on extra fiber bread and a rather large salad--my typical lunch. I feel as if I haven't eaten all day--my typical day. I hate knowing that I will stop for a snack when I leave to go feed the baby even though I've already had a granola bar (the good kind, not a Kudos).

I'm tired of having to get up at 5 a.m. because that's the only time of day I can find to exercise. (I'm not tired, however, of actually exercising because I quite like that.)
*Averaging six hours of sleep a night really makes me crabby.

I'm tired of feeling low when I'm actually not.
*The shakes have Got. To. Go!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Interview meme

Thanks to Julia, I've done a thorough review of my brain to come up with answers to her questions. Sorry it took so long, but I had to do a lot of digging for this one!

1. Pretend you're stranded on a desert island. You already have shelter, water, batteries, an abundant food supply that doesn't revolve around coconuts and even a cabana boy/girl to minister to your, erm, needs. However, you need some intellectual entertainment. Give me your top five desert island: books, movies, albums (NOT compilations of your own making) and tell me why these make the cut.
Books: I don’t read books much, which bothers me, but nonetheless I do actually read. Instead of books, I would like a steady supply of short stories. Lately, I’ve found myself drawn to The Georgia Review. I also really, really, really like Lorrie Moore. She’s witty and I can relate to many of her characters. Furthermore, magazines, even back issues, would be great. Time, Newsweek, Parents.
Movies: Shawshank Redemption (perseverance, triumph), Steel Magnolias (just cuz I like it), Coal Miner’s Daughter (just cuz I really like it and like the actors), Terms of Endearment (great introspective into mother-daughter relationship. And cuz I really like it). I need a funny movie, too. Geez, these are all tear jerkers. I cracked up watching Fun with Dick and Jane, so I’ll go with that one (hilarious, especially the ackowledgements, and gave me some ideas as to what The Mr. and I can do if we ever get that desperate).
Albums: Air Supply (can sing every song), Pink Floyd's The Wall (just cuz I really like it), Billy Joel's greatest hits double album, a Garth Brooks album that I would have to blindly choose since I like all of them, and some other country album that I would have to blindly choose since I like country so much.

2. Now, pretend you won the lottery. It's a huge amount, although not sickeningly huge. After you've given away your chunk to charity, paid off all your bills, set up savings/trust funds for kids and self and given money to deserving family and friends, you're left with $5 million, which you must use to build a house. Where would it be? What would it look like? Tell me how you'd furnish it and then describe your first party there.
Well, The Mr. and I have an agreement that if we ever have $1 million in the bank at one time that we’ll pack up and move to Colorado. I’ve never been there, but he loves it. So, we’d build a house in Colorado somewhere. It would have a mountain view and definitely a lake, creek, or small river. It would be one of those new-fangled log “cabins” that’s actually more like a mansion that happens to be built out of rather large logs, aka big, fat trees. There would be abundant trees and it would require either a very long walk or a short drive to our nearest neighbor. I would furnish it ruggedly. I’m a practical person as it is, so I’d go with practical furniture that would fit well with a family. No museum pieces, please. And I think earth tones with rich, dark highlights. Nothing country, nothing floral, absolutely nothing overly girly.
The party: family and friends, probably pot luck, nothing fancy.

3. If you could have dinner with five people from history, living or dead, who would they be? What about five fictional characters? What would you serve at each dinner?
These questions are always hard for me to answer because while I admire a lot of people, there are very few that I would crawl over myself to be in the company of.
Excluding people I can already have dinner with like my parents, my husband and my kids…

Real people: Maya Angelou—perhaps I could absorb her talent; Dorothea Lange and Annie Leibovitz—again, hoping to absorb talent; the aforementioned Lorrie Moore. Although I met and spoke with her in college I think now that I’m older and not so intimidated by folks who are better than I would be a much more appropriate time to actually pick her brain.
Fictional characters: the first and only fictional character that comes to mind is
Murphy Brown. She’s real, she’s a journalist, she seems practical and is no holds barred.
For each dinner, I would somehow find out what type of food or what specific dish that person likes and try to make that. I would have something chocolate, of course, for dessert.

4. Describe your least favourite and best characteristics.
Least favorite characteristics: I’m self-conscious to a fault, I’m very hard on myself (which can be good and bad), I’m a binge eater, I tend to be controlling and anal-retentive (again with the good and bad thing).
Best characteristics: I’m a great friend, I’m very thoughtful, I’m passionate, I can usually see both sides of an issue, I’m frugal.

5. And finally, answer James Lipton's Ten Questions: (And I don't want to hear that this is cheating. It's MY interview, I'll ask what I want. So there.)
What is your favorite word? Right now, I think it’s “sweet”
What is your least favorite word? hate
What turns you on? strength
What turns you off? whininess, indecisiveness
What is your favorite curse word? Probably sh*t or crap. I don’t know. I use a lot of curse words.
What sound or noise do you love? rain
What sound or noise do you hate? Fingernails scratching a hard surface like a chalkboard or a wall
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Nursing--delivering babies.
What profession would you not like to do? Trash hauling, although I hear they make incredible salaries.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I love you. You lead a good life and did exactly what I wanted you to do.

Here are the instructions: Leave me a comment saying “interview me.” The first five commenters will be the participants.I will respond by asking you five questions.You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A heavy burden

The Mr. and I had one of those moments over the weekend that only spouses can have. I said something along the lines of "You better remember this when I'm 90 and you have to take care of me." He joked about the state of us when I'm 90 and, without thinking really, I said, "I hope I live to 90."

And then it just hung there. Those words--I hope I live to 90--had only ever meant geez I hope I don't croak from old age before then. Post diabetes, those words have so much more depth. My fate is now in my hands, so to speak. It's not like contemplating the immediate effect of your actions: I step off the curb at the wrong time and I get hit by a car, so be careful or you'll get hit by a car. It's contemplating that Twix bar I ate last night and my subsequent 150 fasting blood sugar: how many minutes/hours/days did I take off the end of my life for that? It's so far in the future that it's easy to push aside.

But as a PWD and a professional procrastinator, I have realized that I have to set a good example for my children, who one day I dread will inherit this fateful disease as it runs rampant on my mother's side. They know that I get up way before they do to go for my "morning walk," and they know that too much sugar and fat are not good for anyone's bodies. In fact, the last time we went to McDonald's my six year old asked to not have french fries because there is too much fat in them (isn't he great?!). I hope that by showing them a healthy lifestyle, diabetes will never be a part of their lives. And IF it does become part of their lives aside from what they already deal with from me, that they'll be able to live well past 90 because I was able to give them a solid foundation.