Sunday, March 22, 2015


Today, I deactivated my Facebook account. It may not last--some friends won't be happy with this--but I've toyed with the idea for a while.

While Facebook can be great for reconnecting with people you haven't seen in years and keeping tabs on others, it's a huge time drain. Yes, I could just limit my use of it, but that doesn't really happen, even when I tell myself it will. It's like a Siren, calling me to crash on the rocks of wasted time. I definitely have better things to do.

Also, friends who I know don't mean harm (I know them in real life, so I know them well enough to be sure) post things that upset me. Why would I want more of that? So it was time to shut it down. The negatives outweigh the positives. Who needs that?

Friday, March 06, 2015

Picking up and moving forward

No, this isn't another post about mourning for our lost doggies. Rather, this has to do with yesterday's accident at LaGuardia Airport, where a landing Delta plane slid sideways and slammed into a fence near the water.

I saw on last night's news that they had a crane starting to remove the plane, but I still couldn't figure how they could finish the NTSB investigation and get the airport reopened by this morning (as they said they had). It's not like LaGuardia has lots of spare capacity. Their old runways are barely enough to do the job on a normal day.

Then today's commute to work showed me how they had adapted. My commute takes me right by the airport. It's fun (for an airplane geek like me, at least) when a jetliner flies right overhead, as it touches down on the runway that starts right next to the parkway. Since I'm heading roughly west at that point and the airplanes pass from my left to my right, I'd say that's runway 04 (yes, I've even looked up LGA's runways). My commute also gives me a good view of the other side of the airport, as I drive along the Whitestone Expressway for a short distance. From that, I know (and gather this is common, except at really small airports) that they use one runway for landings and another for takeoffs on a typical day.

On a typical day, my close pass by the end of runway 04 will either let me see planes coming in to land or planes lined up to take off. In the latter case, as each one takes off, the next moseys up (a technical aviation term) for its turn, a nice slow taxiing to the threshold of the runway.

Today, however, I saw both planes coming in and planes waiting to take off from the very same spot. I could see the line in the sky to my left and the line on the ground to my right. As I sat in traffic (did I mention it can be a lovely commute on the Grand Central Parkway?), I saw a plane land and then one of the ones on the ground taxi very quickly into position, followed by the immediate roar of its engines as it started its takeoff roll.

I guess that's the answer for now. They're doing a tightly choreographed dance, with takeoffs and landings on the same runway. The coffee machines must be working hard in the LaGuardia Tower and TRACON in Westbury. As exciting as it sounds, I'm glad it's not me in one of those air traffic controller seats. The stress level must be huge today! (And I doubt the passengers even realize--at least most of them. In fact, I'm sure any number of the passengers have been grumbling about delays, without giving a thought to what all this takes. Anyhow, I'm impressed!)

Sunday, March 01, 2015

The time it takes to heal

My last post shared the news of Dodger's death. Even then, the news was weeks old. At this point, over three months have passed, but it still hurts. Still, I'm trying to cling to the happy memories and let the heartache go. It hurt when the girls died, but I feel like I dealt with those losses better. That may be because I still had canine love in the house to help me through.

For a lot of reasons, we're not getting another dog now. We will, someday, but not now. I just wish I could stop hurting so much. And one of my silly little joys related to the dogs has now become a bit of salt in the wound. I'd rewrite song lyrics around the dogs. In the past couple of years, mostly around Dodger.

These days, the Dodger songs run in my head all the time. I'm not a religious person, but I sometimes feel there's more. I honestly don't know, but I hope there's a spirit that lives on.

Today, I said to Marc, "do you think Dodger's spirit is here with me?" Marc said yes. I said that I feel like he must be. I know my love for him may just have me obsessed with him, and maybe it's that simple. But maybe, just maybe, he is here by me to this day. Actually, right as I was having that thought--and right as I was getting ready to say that to Marc, a little bundle of Dodger fur blew across the floor in front of me. I don't know where it came from after all this time, but it was in some little corner somewhere, and then there it was in front of me at just the right moment. A sign? It sure seems like it.

Worrier that I am, I then asked Marc if Dodger will be upset when the day comes that we get another dog. Marc said that Dodger will understand, because he knows how I love doggies. Still, now I'll worry about that. *sigh* It's not easy living in this head!

In the meantime, I'm trying to remember how he had so much more happiness in his life than pain. I guess I'm getting there, but my own pain is still there. Still, this photo, taken late in his life with his new friend Sid, is a good reminder of what a happy boy he was...

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The best little boy in the world is gone, and we are crushed

If you read this blog, you may also be connected to me on Facebook. If you are, you know this already. But just in case...

Anyone who knows Marc and me knows how dear our pups always have been to us. You also know that we lost the girls in 2012. Thankfully, our wonderful boy, Dodger, kept on going. I could go on and on about Dodger... how smart, sweet, loyal, tough, wonderful... but no words could do him justice.

On November 28, 2014, we lost our boy.

His health had been failing for a long time. We did everything we could, got him every kind of help we could find, but in the end, some things are beyond everyone's power to stop.

It got to the point that his quality of life was gone. As the vet told Marc, with the amount of pain and other meds he was on, if he couldn't even sleep--which is where he was at--his pain and discomfort were severe enough that the meds couldn't control it. He was "maxed out" on the meds. He couldn't get comfortable, he couldn't sleep, he couldn't stand without help (he even had a special harness to help us help him without causing pain), and even then he couldn't stay up long. He'd even gotten to the point that he couldn't get from lying on his side to his belly.

Still, getting myself from saying those things to really feeling that we'd done that right thing has taken a lot. We've both been suffering, but this really has been an amazingly crushing blow for me. I think it's more than just losing our boy, but more on that in another post. For now, farewell to our sweet, wonderful boy! You'll be in our hearts forever, and I hope there's something after this life and that I get to hold you in my arms and pet your pretty head again! I love you, baby!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Refugee Thanksgiving

Next week, we're hosting Refugee Thanksgiving! What's that? Well, in case the name doesn't make it obvious, that's what we call the dinner we host for friends who... well, who have nowhere else to go, because their families are far away or for any other reason. While we invited lots of friends, many do have places to go. Still, a handful have accepted our invitation, and we know it's going to be lots of fun, as well as a great feast! (We do throw a pretty good party, you know.)

In related news, I just noticed that our guests are going to be such a rough looking group. (Okay, maybe not.) I swear, I didn't invite just hot friends, but here are the confirmed guests so far...





Rumen's partner, Neil


Five rugby players and a dancer. All of them handsome.

I have to endure such hardships in my life!  ;-)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

How about some rugby photos?

I think I should add a little color to this blog. Color and some men to look at!

(Click them for larger versions)

I was going to add captions to these, but what's the point? But if anyone ever wonders why I head out so many Saturdays to photograph the boys on my rugby team, well... that's because they're my friends. Nothing more than that.  ;-)

If you want to see more, the full set of photos (101 photos of hot men) is here:

Slowly turning into Dad

Marc was up very early to go supervise a 5k race his hospital was running, so he had Dodger out early. Once Dodger was up, he spent the next hour or two nagging me to get up and feed him. Despite my insisting that he go back to sleep (really, it is Sunday!), he kept at it until I surrendered. That canine persistence always prevails!

Since I was up early anyhow, I got an early start on chores, paying some bills, throwing out junk mail, etc.  One big accomplishment was scanning a bunch of documents and then shredding them.

All in all, it has been a very productive day so far. The house is a lot neater, and I feel inordinately satisfied. Being this satisfied with chores--as well as marching around in slippers--makes me feel way too adult! Granted, lots of the guys on the rugby team probably see me as an old man. Still, in my head I feel like a kid. But between the hair (not) on my head and a variety of other things, I think it may be true. Somewhere along the way I grew up, despite my best efforts to avoid it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's hard to see a loved one getting old

Dodger worries me. He's very old. I know that. We've gotten him through all kinds of things where other dogs' humans would have given up. But as long as we can give him a good quality of life, we'll get him whatever care he needs. Not living just to draw breath, but if truly have good days he can enjoy, that's worth it.

Lately, his back legs--long a source of trouble--have gotten very weak, a problem exacerbated by a balance issue called Vestibular Disorder. He also cries sometimes, particularly at night. Marc is worried that he's feeling pain, but Dodger is smart and has always been good at getting people to do what he wants (and he was the same with his sisters when they were still alive). So I think he's just complaining and demanding things. That often seems to be the case. Many nights when he cries, if you open the bedroom door and let him go to his water bowl to get a good drink, the crying is done. The other night, I thought he might want to hang out with us (he was acting that way), and sure enough, we put him on our bed, he cuddled up between us and was asleep in no time. The crying stopped the moment he was lifted onto the bed.

Even so, he takes a number of medications for arthritis, related pain, and dizziness (from the vestibular disorder), as well as vitamins and probiotics. He needs those to get by comfortably, and I do worry that somewhere along here we'll run out of things we can do for him. While I realize we all have to depart this earth eventually, and he's about 14 years old now, so I won't really be justified in claiming it was "too soon" when that day comes, he's my boy, and I'll be devastated whenever it happens.

There's an old line (Shakespeare?) that says a coward dies a thousand deaths, but a brave man dies but once. I'm not saying the idea of my own mortality doesn't give me pause, but the thought of losing a loved one troubles me more--and I am way too good at imagining that day. Earlier today, when Dodgie was really out of it, as he sometimes is, I found my eyes filling with tears. I'll cry when we lose him, but even seeing him this late in life can be tough.