Archive for the ‘Aging’ Category

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A Year Has Passed…

December 29, 2014

…since I have posted here. The last thing I wrote, Autumn of 2013, was about the sad loss of our sweet girl-dog. Not long after that life got wild. As it does. A quick glimpse into the happenings:

  1. One of my dearest friends moved.
  2. My age-abundant mom moved in with us.
  3. My responsibilities at work tripled.
  4. Another one of my dearest friends moved.
  5. My sister and I went to Europe for a missions trip + vacation.
  6. We completely remodeled our kitchen (a 3 week project that took over 3 months).
  7. My responsibilities at work tripled again.
  8. I averaged 80 hours a week at work for most of October through December.

I suppose I could blame my absence and lack of doing a thing I love on the above and more (especially numbers 2, 3, 7, and 8), but since I know people whose lives are more hectic and stressful than mine, I really have no excuse. I do have good blogging matter, however. My New Year’s resolution is to make good use of it…

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!

It was one of those years...

It was one of those years…

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Lindsey the Amazing Rescued Dog

September 14, 2013

Today we buried our sweet Lindsey girl.

This has been a rough, leaky week, as our furry family member declined rapidly. She took her last breaths Friday morning and we are comforted to know she’s no longer in pain.

Her life was hard. Who knows what abuse she endured before she was rescued? We know she ran away from her previous owners and was found with a rope tied around her neck. Her hocks were worn and bloody (indicative of being tied up on a short leash, likely on concrete) and she exhibited signs of being beat about the head. Her teeth were worn or broken, likely from trying to chew wood or chain. When we got her from Furry Friends Rescue at what they thought was about seven years old, she’d been with wonderful foster parents for about six months. They told us what a sweetheart she was, and they were right. This is her picture from Furry Friends’ Web site that captured my heart the moment I saw her:

Lindsey immediately after being rescued

Lindsey, a short time after being rescued.

We brought her home on a bright sunny, summer day, with her Aunt Diane in the back seat comforting her during the transition. Once home we discovered she didn’t know “normal dog things.” She didn’t know how to climb stairs, wouldn’t walk on hard indoor surfaces, and didn’t know how to play. It took a few days, but she learned the stairs with some coaxing.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Day one: Afraid of stairs.

Giving it a try.

Giving it a try.

Her first success without coaxing.

Her first success without coaxing.

Ours is likely the first back yard she’d ever been free to roam. In little time she discovered squirrels that she chased and barked at, tunneling under the deck after other critters, and climbing in my garden.

Running free and safe.

Running free and safe.

She loved the squirrels.

She loved the squirrels.

AND my garden. :-)

AND my garden. 🙂

We buried our sweet girl today deep under the same spot in my garden she used to love to dig. The alstromeria, from my father-in-love’s garden, will remind me of her daily.

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“Rest in Peace.”

Lindsey turned out to be THE BEST little road trip dog. She loved long road trips up to my mom’s in Washington, a 10-12 hour drive. Then when we got to mom’s she settled in like it was her second home. She loved the back yard with all its space and new critter smells.

Chillin' on I-5.

Chillin’ on I-5.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

There are REALLY cool smells on the other side of this fence.

And I'm going to sit here until I discover what it is!

And I’m going to sit here until I discover what it is!

She was also an amazing companion. When I had major surgery a couple of years ago I slept downstairs and walked slowly and with pain for the first several days. Lindsey-girl slept right at my feet and if I got up, she would slowly walk right beside me. She never left my side. You just knew she knew I hurt. Until she got too weak to climb stairs she was my constant shadow. Then this week, when she was the invalid, I slept downstairs and helped her get up and walk, or just caressed her when she was beyond rising.

Always watching out for me.

Always watching out for me.

And I watched out for her.

And I watched out for her.

Good friends of Lindsey visited often this past week, taking time to share their love with her one last time and say goodbye. My besties brought flowers that continue to brighten my day and remind me that good friends share the sad times as well as the good times. Dozens of friends have left the kindest messages on Facebook. The commonness of loving and losing canine companions is evident in the heartfelt sincerity of their words.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Auntie Diane was there at the very beginning, and here at the end.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

Bright flowers on a dark day.

More flowers today, from Lindsey's second mom.

More flowers today from Lindsey’s second mom.

Now the house is quiet and neat. My strong husband quietly gathered her beds, bowls, collars, and blankets while we waited for the mobile vet to arrive. The presence of these things would surely add to my grief, yet their absence is still new and strange.

Lindsey's favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Lindsey’s favorite blanket and pillow. She LOVED to burrow in her blanket.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Jay built her a raised food bowl when her hips got weaker.

Dr. Marianna Juergens could not have been more compassionate when she arrived with her colleague. They sat with us and fading Lindsey, until we were ready. They were gentle, patient and kind. They were liberal with hugs afterward. After their departure, and my husband and I had a good cry, we prepared to carry on with the rest of the day. The doorbell rang and my sweet next-door neighbor was on the step to give more hugs. She’d seen the mobile vet leave and, a rescued dog lover herself, could empathize and wanted to share in the sorrow. Her kindness lifted some grief and I was comforted yet again.

We thought we’d have our four-legged friend for more than three years. We learned from our wonderful vet recently that she was likely at least 12 now, rather than 10. Still too young to die, but we are so grateful for the time we had. She was the sweetest, gentlest dog, literally changing “non-dog people” into those who wanted to find one just like her!  She leaves us and so many others with the best memories. I grieve for the pain she experienced for the first several years of her life, and the last few days of her life, but am SO glad we were able to redeem some of the “lost years” and make her final years on earth happy and filled with joyful experiences.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey giving joy to mom and daughter besties.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

Lindsey loved everyone, especially the ones that loved her.

She loved to give kisses.

She loved to give kisses.

She especially loved her "dad."

She especially loved her “dad.”

But he didn't much care for cats on her special blanket.

But she didn’t much care for cats on her special blanket.

Road trips were her favorite.

Road trips were her favorite.

She eventually learned to share with others.

She eventually learned to share with others.

I like to think that I’ll see her again. Regardless, it’ll be a very long time before these wonderful memories fade.

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, Lindsey!

She was an amazing part of the family. We will miss you, sweet Lindsey girl!

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Give Me Back My Hairs!

November 17, 2012

I’m not the type to get jazzed (or even remotely interested) in hyped-up, miracle supplements, so it’s not like me to even try something like that. However, when your hair is leaving your head like nobody’s business (except God, because He counts them) you might be tempted to break out of the skeptic box.

So I did. 18 months ago I was a little concerned. Two months ago I got to the point of downright freaked out. At nowhere near the age where non-chemo baldness is acceptable, I decided to try Hair Essentials from NaturalWellBeing.com.

And here is my simple testimonial: IT WORKS!

I don’t know how. It appears to contain all-natural ingredients. Which is good, of course. I guess it’s the combo. Whatever. I bought a 90 day supply and just at around 30 days there was a noticeable decrease in the hairs pasted to the shower wall at the end of my shampooing. And at the salon my friend, who’s been taking care of these hairs for many years, noticed it’s getting more volume and she noticed regrowth.

Hallelujah! I guess you’re really supposed to see big results more toward 90 days (I’m at about 40 days), but I’m just happy I’m going the other direction now.  So I thought I’d share in case anyone else concerned about the number of people randomly picking stray hairs of your shirt 42 times a day…

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My Very Hairs Are Numbered

June 6, 2011

That’s what the Bible says. And a SparkPeople Web site health article says it’s normal to lose up to 100 hairs a day.

I think I lose that many in the shower first thing in the morning. Then there’s the fact that I shed like a big dog for the rest of the day…

God is God so it doesn’t take Him anything to count and recount my hairs, He just knows the number from one second to the next. But I feel like I should ask Him if I should be worried about this or not…

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Shower Blind

June 4, 2011

 I wish I could wear my glasses in the shower.

For most of this week while on vacation I’ve been washing my hair with conditioner. I wondered why it didn’t feel squeaky clean when wet but ultra soft when dry…

Last time we were down here I spent the week faithfully spritzing myself with tanning spray after each shower, only to learn while packing to go home that it was actually hair protectant.

I really must figure out what to do about this…  At least at home I have the bottle shapes and colors memorized.

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Brain Training

April 30, 2011

Mine needs it. Awhile ago I posted about a seminar on brain health from The Center for Brain Health that was both inspiring and disconcerting (the seminar, not the blog; well, maybe the blog, too. I dunno, you tell me). Since then I joined SparkPeople, through which I found Lumosity. Lumosity is a brain training Web-site that offers programs to enhance memory, attention and creativity through a series of games played each day.

I hate to confess this, but my baseline scores (resulting from the very first assessments I took on the site) placed me at about the 20th percentile. OK, wow, that made me either incredibly dense, or overwhelmingly distracted. I choose to believe the latter. After all, I learned from The Center for Brain Health that through my consummate multitasking I’d literally trained my brain to NOT block out distractions and focus on one thing. My baseline assessment was proof!

But here’s the good news: It’s been just over two weeks of daily training and here are my results:

My memory scores show the most improvement now placing me in the 80th percentile! Each day my scores get better (I am faster and more accurate) and I hope this results in “producing real world benefits” just like the Web site promises. Well see: I go back to work full-time on Monday and I can use all the brain power I can get.

“Your brain, just brighter.”  That’s me!  😀

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WOW, That’s Amazing!

April 28, 2011

You know, I used to totally dismiss folks who spent time reading labels, counting calories, measuring ingredients, and being overly pedantic about the amount of fat in calories… AND NOW: I am one of ’em.

I really did think that my “guesstimation” of the nutritional value of the foods I consumed was pretty darned accurate. HA! Now that I have committed to measure everything I cook and count all the little details of everything I consume, it’s amazing what I see!

The best thing? With VERY LITTLE change, the meals I prepare have FAR fewer calories and fat (sodium, not so much, so sue me) and more fiber and other good stuff. The other benefit? I am consuming more water, taking my supplements regularly, and increasing my consistency with regard to walking and other healthy habits.

It really is amazing the change that can result from simple attention to the little things. I am glad I found SparkPeople.com — wish I would’ve checked into it four years ago!