Dog Tales

Warning: People sensitive to stories about dogs dying, you might want to skip this one.

I wouldn’t call myself a dog person, I don’t have (or want) a calendar with dogs on it or a picture of a dog on a mug, but I do love being around a cool dog. My sister’s family has a dog, Pepper, who unfortunately is pretty neglected now that S and J have two toddlers. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time with the dog and giving the dog a lot of love. It’s fun, but I also think it’s partly out of guilt.

See, when I was in third grade, my dad got the family a puppy. Sunny was a lot like Pepper, a black mutt, mostly lab, a runt. And I really liked playing with Sunny and having her around, but unfortunately, she was not an inside dog. And as a result, my time spent with her was limited and eventually became none. And there’s two reasons why I feel really terrible about leaving my dog outside to weather the storm so to speak.

1. Because I was still perfectly content to go over to my friends’ houses and play with their dogs. My friend M, had two amazing, pure-bred golden retrievers. And I remember once, we were just hanging out sewing and watching t.v. and I had literally just sat petting the dog for 40 minutes. To the point that my hand was covered in a thin film of dust and oil, not to insinuate that her dogs were dirty, hardly, but rather to just point out that I was really petting that dog. Oh that sounds terrible. But ya know what I mean? I was just content to sit and hang with the dog. And in high school or college (?), I even dog-sat my friend J’s dogs for a week while her family was out of town. I walked them twice a day, fed them, etc. They were awesome dogs, I don’t know what breed, but J would call them Korean fighting dogs. They were lean and mean and pure white. Oh, here’s a photo – thanks Wikipedia – they were Korean Jindo dogs.

And I would love to get a dog like this in the future. But see the guilt? Here I am hanging out with dogs, even taking care of them at the most inconvenient times, and I don’t even go outside to play with my own dog.

2. My final encounter with Sunny was very strange. I went home to my parent’s house and when I got out of my car, Sunny barked at me, which is weird, because I’m not a stranger, and I couldn’t remember the last time she barked at me. So, I stood there for a second wondering if she was going to keep barking, maybe it wasn’t me. But we have a big pine tree in our yard, so it was blocking my view to Sunny’s dog house. I thought whatever and went inside.

A little while later, my dad came inside and we talk for a bit, then he asks me if I noticed anything different. “Like what?” I said all puzzled. And goes on to tell me how last week he had Sunny put down. (Yup, he’s telling me this a week after the fact.) He tells me that he took her to the vet and the vet said she was in a lot of pain, and by this point she was pretty old, etc. etc. My dad went into the waiting room, paced around, and gave it a lot of thought. He went back in and told the vet okay.

My dad tells me that they laid Sunny on a thick comfortable blanket, that all the women in the office came in and petted her. My dad said it was the most attention Sunny had gotten in years, and her tail was just a-wagging. They all stayed with her, rubbing her belly and neck and behind the ears, until Sunny took her last breath and the light in her cataract-ridden eyes went out. He brought her home and buried in that blanket in the field next to our house.

My dad’s telling me this, getting a little worked up himself. My dad’s a hunter and has always had a good relationship with dogs. Dogs being a hunter’s natural assistant. But it hasn’t always been roses. Some of you may have read the short story I wrote about my dad, when he was in his early thirties, having to shoot his dog Lady because he couldn’t get her out of neighbor’s chicken house. Yup, true story. Heartbreaking right?

I’m blown away when my dad tells me all this. Mainly because I swear on all things I could possibly swear on, that when I went home that day, Sunny barked at me. I believe this like there is nothing else to believe in. And I can’t believe that he waited a week to tell me. He could have called me up that day. I’m only like 10 minutes from the vet’s. But in retrospect, I understand why he didn’t. Quite frankly, for 5+ years, I acted like I didn’t give a damn about that dog.

Hence, why when I see Pepper spending all day locked inside, ignored, I can’t help but try to rub her head and scratch her neck whenever I can. Sunny, to a certain extent, had a lame existence with only momentary bursts of happiness and fun. I hate the idea of another dog going through that. It’s the one reason why I can’t get a dog while I’m still living in an apartment, no matter how much I want to. I just think it would terribly unfair to the dog. I even considered asking S and J if I could take her on my road trip but that would probably be more than I could handle. Pepper’s a good dog, I’ll miss her. That’s her below.

Dog Tales

Lots of Miscellaneous (Good-bye Hon)

I don’t have anything compelling to write, but I do have some time, which is unusual, so I figure, why not.

Moving Out
I am officially out of Baltimore which is craazzzzyyy! The one good thing about having a studio? I’m pretty confident I didn’t forget anything, considering I can stand anywhere in the room and see the rest of the room. I’m in North Carolina right now at my sister’s house and it sort of feels as though I’m just on a vacation and will return to Baltimore. It’ll be strange after New Orleans when I head back to my parent’s house in New York for a pit stop before going to the west coast. I feel really lucky that, even though it wasn’t until the end of my four year stint, I’m leaving Baltimore having made a very good friend or two. I’m sad that there were more in the making and that I didn’t have more time, but hopefully we’ll all keep in touch.

My last week or so in Baltimore was full of art and design conversations, coffee meet ups, late night chatter, stouts, Taco Fiesta, mt vernon park, working, packing, rain, driving, dresses, photography, massages and doc appts, revelations and not nearly as much tennis as I would have liked. Apparently, J thinks sailing is better than tennis – LAME! But seriously, thanks for the good times all!

Travel Writer

I’m keeping a blog specific to my travels: ISO: Adventure (as in: in search of.) The site is live, but not completely ready for viewing. But nevertheless, check it out if you have a minute. Go there to see cool travel photos and read the stories of my adventures. But also note, Talking with Myself will perhaps be updated slightly less over the next few months due to this. We’ll see though. I don’t plan on doing any ranting or too much speculative rambling on ISO.

What else, what else?!

Good News
Oh, I heard back from the editor of 8Faces, a typography magazine I’ve been raving about over at my design blog, The Gray Suite, and it looks like I’ll be helping out for issue #2, which I am psyched about!

I just spent the past 48 hours with a 4-going-on-5 year old, and a 3 year old. I also feel that I’ve talked to a lot of my guy friends about having children — err rather, we talk about how they want children. And I think they’re romanticizing it. Because the past 48 hours have reminded me that having kids is no joke. Seriously. They are around every minute of every day. It’s funny how none of the guys said they wanted to “raise” kids just have them. Granted, they all suggested that they’d be active fathers, but I wonder if they really comprehend the 24/7 commitment. Like whatever it is that you were pre-child just flew out the window, because from the moment a kid is born you’re now a father. Part of me just thinks they want to indulge their ego’s and have little mini-mes running around. I think this because they didn’t talk about finding the most perfect woman and creating a beautiful thing out of love, they just talked about wanting to have something that was their blood, a part of them. All of them seemed queasy on the notion of adoption. I don’t know if they left out the woman part because it’s an unknown variable in their lives, or because it’s insignificant. Who’s to say.

Hmmm… seems strange to end it on babies, but really, that’s all I’ve got. How about this – want to see something totally beautiful? Pictory Mag’s photos this week were water related – In Deep – very relaxing. Check them out.

Lots of Miscellaneous (Good-bye Hon)

72 Hours of Ups and Downs

I keep meaning to write, and I just haven’t found the time. But then I was reminded of something and just had to share it. Tonight someone left a comment on my now-defunct, but still hilarious Telephone Pictionary blog. Warning: This is not a family friendly blog. My last post on that blog was in April of last year, and yet I checked the stats, and it gets like 10 hits a day. I find this really really really funny for some reason. And then I checked out some of the drawings like Going to Church and Were You in the Shit? and I double over in glee. Ahh too good, too good.

It was also a relief to laugh because the past few days have been stressful and bad. Not all bad, but overall bad. I spent much of Saturday and Sunday with a crazy, crazy hateful rage inside of me directed towards A and his friends. My Grievances Towards Adam Hopkins Part 2.5 was in the making – however, for the time being it’s adverted. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wanted him to die some horrible painful death, how I wouldn’t give a fuuuck, how I wanted him to break his hands and never play music again, how I wanted to tell off him and his friends, who suck purely by association (I know irrational!), etc. etc. The worst part was I could not get myself out of this rage. And hating consumes a lot of energy. I suppose it’s just a necessary phase in this “grieving” process or whatever. But hopefully that’s the last of it.

I think this weekend was a little more difficult then the past few weeks because we were supposed to go to a wedding (with his parents) out of town. So, I inadvertently knew what he was doing, where he was, even though I didn’t want to be thinking about it. Next week, he’ll be with friends at a summer house at the beach. I know this, because I was supposed to go. Because we had all gotten together one night searching for houses and giggling over the ridiculous property names. So, I suppose next week will be more difficult than normal too, but eh. Hopefully after that, all our summer plans will have passed and I will never have to think about him again.

But back to this past weekend. What got me out of this rage? A much more direct and timely anger. See, in an attempt to get over my rage towards A, I told myself to go down to the farmer’s market, and if I still felt crappy when I got home then, and only then, could I lie in bed and cry all afternoon – because I’m a little bitch, yea yea. (To be fair though, I’ve gone quite a many days, nay even two weeks, without crying over that idiot and “idiotess” – his girl idiot? ha.) I went to the farmer’s market and as I began to walk back home, somewhat simmered down, I realized my keys were missing. And let me tell you, this put me into quite the tizzy for the next five hours. It’s not like farmer’s markets have lost and founds. I’ll spare you the details of the whole ordeal, but it took a solid nap and a lot of crying before I could put that weekend behind me.

More sad news before I go onto better news. Well, this is sort of good news, but has overtones of sadness. They released my Grandma from the hospital, and she’s actually well enough to go back home for the time being, which is what she wanted all along. Hospice is meeting her tomorrow to set up a schedule for nurses and volunteers to come to the house and help her. When she gets worse though and needs 24/7 care, hopefully since hospice is already looking after her, it’ll be easier to get her into the residence. It’s sad too, because she talks about “when she gets better…” and I don’t know if this is the denial or if she actually doesn’t understand that it’s terminal. She thinks the issues with her brain is just a matter of some issue she has with her leg. So, I can’t tell if it’s just grieving denial, or if her mental faculties actually aren’t with it anymore…

On to happier news, I have so much happening for me professionally and creatively that it’s very exciting, if not a little stressful. I won’t get into the full details, but here are some things I’m working on (these notes are really more for me, but do read on):

– Inspiration series
– Female Designer Interviews
– Creation of a typeface
– Thank you cards
– 3 Typefaces – one script, one sans and one undecided
– Propaganda posters

I’m sure you’ll find out more about these things on here or on my design blog: The Gray Suite in the future. (Oh, and something else cool, today’s Brought to You by the Letter… was Lobster, B. And the creator of Lobster, Pablo Impallari, left a comment on my post, which made me feel special. Yay.)

What else, what else. Work is good. I always feel like it’s dull for two days and then a shit storm for two days where everything is due and clients want to talk on the phone for hours, etc. It’s not a bad thing though, I like the pressure. I got three sign-offs in one day, which is well, bad ass. I can also tell that my design skills keep getting better. Ya know, the whole practice makes perfect. I’m nowhere near perfect, but I’m also no longer anywhere near sucking.

Oh, and I also realize that I’m going to drop my Facebook account soon. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when and provide contact info and all that good stuff. It won’t be until my two new sites go up, which should be sometime this month. Oh yea, did I not mention that yet? I have two sites (of my own creation, design and upkeeping) that should go live soon. YAY! Don’t worry, you’ll know when it happens because I’ll be doing figurative cartwheels all over this blog and Twitter. But back to dropping Facebook, I just sort of realized that I’d rather do 90% of my socializing in real life and not online. I think social media is great, and I’ll continue to utilize it for my profession, but I’d rather let my friendships naturally ebb and flow. I think it’s natural for people to come and go in one’s lifetime, but social media is sort of casting that notion aside, and I’m not sure if it’s for the better. Like a friend from college, whom I never talk to anymore, tells me Happy Birthday on Facebook, which is always nice. But at the same time, I’d be much more happy for him or her to call me up out of the blue and say, hey I’m coming into town, can I crash with you. Because than this person enters back into your life – even if only briefly – in a much more interesting way that provides for new memories and new assertions about this person. An electronic Happy Birthday, doesn’t quite do that. Facebook, for all its unlimited possibility for exchange and dialogue, is rather one-sided.

Okay, I think that’s it. Oh yeah, and I’m moving! Imagine everything I mentioned above, and then add on the fact that I’ve got to pack my life into boxes and throw stuff away, make trips to Goodwill, sell stuff on Craigslist (anyone need a couch, bookshelf or misc Ikea crap) and plan what I’ll need during my travels. Indeed, I’m stressed. πŸ™‚

72 Hours of Ups and Downs

Stage 4

It’s been a rough week. Last week my grandma went to the hospital because she was short of breath and dizzy. While, I always worry when her or my grandpa go to the hospital, I don’t think too much of it. They’re in and out hospitals pretty regularly, as most 70-something, heavy smokers are.

Well this visit was different. It turns out she has lung cancer, and it’s spread across her body Β and brain. The doctor called it a Stage 4 cancer. And well, lets just say, there’s no Stage 5. For whatever reason, the hospital released her and she went home. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake. She didn’t suffer a stroke technically, but she had lost a lot of mobility on the left side of her body due to the swelling around her brain. So she has a lot of trouble doing basic things, and my grandpa just isn’t in the shape to take care of her.

Two weeks ago, I was down at her house programming her new cell phone and she was calling people and learning how to send text pictures. This weekend, she couldn’t cook, change her clothes or even stand up without any help. The change (err rather, deterioration) is remarkable. It’s happening so quickly.

In retrospect, when I was over to their house, programming her phone, something strange did happen that I wish I picked up on. In between calls, my grandma handed me some photos and was telling me about them. They were photos of a friend’s winning vegetables at some county fair — no joke, red and white checkered clothes and blue ribbons — and my grandma told me about each one. Then she made another phone call. And then she handed me the photos back and proceeded to tell me about each one again. I looked at her, amused, thinking she was kidding, and said, “Grandma, you just told me about these.” And her deep blue eyes met mine and they were blank, lost. She didn’t really acknowledge what I had said, and went back to making another phone call. I thought it was just a bit of a senior moment…

But back to this week. My Uncle and his family came into town to see my Grandma, which was so bittersweet. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen my Aunt and Uncle and my cousins (who are the cutest 10 and 8 year old kids). But when family is driving six hours to see grandparents for an unplanned visit, it means something. Something bad, sad.

After a few days, they went back home and Grandma went back to the hospital (a different one this time.) I spent today down there and it was a tough day. When my dad and I got there, she asked me, how close we were to their trailer. “Um… grandma, we’re an hour away. We’re in Pennsylvania.”Β “Oh, so you didn’t just pass the trailer?” “No… we’re not close…”

It was so frustrating because to some extent, she appears lucid. She told me that her books were due at the library tomorrow and she told me where to find them at the house. She talked about relatives. She stood up from her chair just fine. But she asked me what day it was like 5 times. She didn’t know what hospital or what state she was in or how she got there. She kept talking getting tests done for a diagnosis and treatment, so she can get back some of her mobility and strength. And worst of all, she insists that she wants to hurry up and go home. …And that’s just not going to happen.

I think she’ll be in the hospital for a few more days, but we’re trying to get her into our local hospice. But it’s a small place with only a few beds, so she might end up in a nursing home. And I worry about the type of care she’ll get in a nursing home. She’s scared as all hell at the idea of going to a nursing home. She just wants to go home, and have someone there providing 24/7 care. Unfortunately, that’s just not an option. For the time being I’m keeping my fingers tightly crossed for hospice.

Stage 4