I had this whole post up here called robe days that was all about my grief and a few happier things too. I'm so mixed up...confused, angry, sad. Anyway...I had a little talk with myself because I hated those hideous watermarks. I tried to repost without them and ended up deleting the whole post. Just as well, it was pretty blue. Things seem out of my control...my precious Jake taken from me makes me want to tie everything else down and keep it safe...(yeah, I know- poor kids!) That's not how this world works. So here are the best parts of that post revisited...Nancy's memory box and the drawings from the neighborhood kids. And Mo's generous decision to donate her 120 beanie babies to beaniesforbaghdad.com. I do apologize for all the goofs and fretting here. I'll get a grip on it soon I hope.
Our dear, beloved Jake passed away last night ... in my arms in the back of the car as we rushed to the vet. We are heartbroken. I know that some of you are too. Thank you all for your many kind efforts to comfort us, some with words that will stay with me forever. It is my wish that he picked up a new path and found his way to my dad and my brother. They would be so lucky to have each other.
I should have posted this yesterday. Hope it's not too late at your house, but...before the gift wrap scraps get hustled to the curb, I'm going to use them to make mittenthank you cards. (Lots to send from here!) Cut a mitten shape from tagboard that fits your envelope (leftover holiday cards?) and use it as a tracer for cardstock and unrumpled paper pieces. Trim the pretty paper with edgers so the cardstock shows a little around the edges. Glue onto the cardstock. Punch 2 holes (add eyelets if you have them) for a raffia bow and tie on a charm or some other something. It could be a tiny tag with thanks stamped on it or a name.
Great thank you cards for children...not much space on the back so the note will be short and sweet. Like the one someone sent from our house one year-- thank you for the xxxx, and in case I forget next year, thank you for whatever you send then too.
The tree will be up a while longer and a hanger on the back will make this an instant ornament. Here's to happy crafting and heartfelt thanks to everyone!
Hoping that everyone had a wonderful holiday full of love and relaxed, happy times with family and friends. Christmas is Andy's birthday which makes it extra special here. Our day together was memorable -- handmade gifts, birthday gifts, sentimental gifts, unimagined gifts, laughter, tears, John Paul with us, cozy fire, big family breakfast, big chill clean-up, a line for the shower, girls in 3 holiday outfits, dinner with BIG family in NJ, toasts, tales, legends, delicious, elegant dinner, wild west travelogue, yankee gift swap, birthday cake, baby Nicholas in 3 holiday outfits, toys, Jake quietly comfortable in the middle of all, no traffic home, late night visit with James and more gifts.
It's a misty, gray day here today, but the sun just made a dazzling appearance when the vet called. The test results showed a strong presence of dangerous bacteria...(whoever thought we'd be happy to hear that?) Still a chance that it could be a bacterial infection in the lungs. Good news is that if it is indeed the diagnosis, it is treatable with a long course of antibiotics. Not so good news is that he worries it might be a false reading from tissue sample contamination. He would like to repeat the test tomorrow --at no charge beyond lab fees-- this because he thought about Jake all holiday weekend :-( and as a scientist, really wants to know what it is and then as a vet, try to save him if he can. I can't help thinking about how I begged to have Jake added to the patient list here several years ago. Different crisis then, and he saw Jake for a second opinion (which was the correct diagnosis and treatment), but the practice was closed to new animals. Last ditch effort, dog celebrity name-dropping. When I mentioned a good friend whose dog had been a patient for many years, Dr.Ringler smiled and said, "George B......, oh, secret password. Okay."
We are not out of the woods, but this is enough to power us through a few more days. He is doing pretty well. So are the humans hovering nearby. Thank you all again for your part in this. So many kind hearts! Mrs. Staggs over at Merryville left a comment that read If I had but one wish this Christmas Charlotte, I'd give it to you. (Picture me sobbing at the keyboard and then again and again as you all sent your hopes for Jake.) This I shall remember too. Always.
We're looking for things to smile about while we're safe from sad news today and tomorrow and living with good, old-fashioned denial. Jake is hanging on, doing his best, still eating bits of bagels that come his way. That's something to be happy about.
The girls are determined to lighten things up and they dug out these old Christmas craft books that they were IN! 1992 was the year our house and traditions were featured in American Country Christmas, an Oxmoor House book that I did lots of holiday projects for. The big hair bows, plaid dresses and over-the-top decorating made for some howling laughs and teasing. What were you thinking, Mom? They would be very unhappy if I put those pictures up here soooooo...
The year before that ...1991...I contributed a giant cookie that I made in the shape of an ark. Decorated with animal crackers, it still looks like a good project to me. I would make this now. Here is the page and the recipe if you want to try it --might be a good Christmas Day project once the gift-frenzy subsides.
And last of all, I mentioned in an earlier post that I was wondering what to make for Suzanne this year. Before things went off the deep end here, I found a white chef's apron at the cooking store, and a lightbulb went on...came home and scanned her darling business card, altered it a bit, then printed it out onto muslin (ironed onto freezer paper before going through the printer). Cut it out and stitched it onto the apron front. Perfect! Today she brought us a beautiful ginger cake with lemon cream and a boxwood tree she made.
I love my friends and family-- so many have called or emailed. My sweet brother, Charlie sent flowers. Dede sent the most amazing gift that brings me to tears just to think about it. (Saving it for later when I can do right by it. I will post it...just so wonderful!) The kindness and comments from new blogging friends has brought tears of gratitude for your thoughts and prayers. Thanks so much for wishing dear Jake the best.
I have many, many blessings in my life and I am counting them over and over.....and whispering them in Jake's ear. Makes him smile too.
Merry Christmas everyone. Wishing you a wonderful holiday full of love, joy and peace. xoC
Thank you, thank you all so much for the kind thoughts, wishes, prayers sent our way yesterday. It makes a huge difference to know that Jake is in your hearts. My heart is full -- with love, gratitude, sadness, fear, hope. Today the kids come home and I have to pull myself together. If I could, I would send you each cookies from Jake. He is grateful too.
We make these every year for the sanitation crew and the mailman. They are always so generous to Jake. The trash guys, Pete, Craig and Richard stop the truck and get out to give him a biscuit, pet him and say hi. They do that 2x a week -- every time they come. Joe, the mailman, meets him at the first mailstop with a biscuit and Jake runs to the next one where he sits and waits for Joe to catch up and give him another. All the way down the street and back up again. He doesn't give him a treat at every stop (he would get fat), but Jake sure sets it up so he might.
The vet is prepping me for what I think he knows is the reality. Little by little, he is getting me ready for the worst news. He is very kind and compassionate about the whole thing, sits with me and waits for me to really listen. Whatever it is, I am so glad to have Jake here by me now. We all are. He'll be so happy when the house is full of all the people he loves so much.
Not sure he feels much like running out to see Joe today. That's okay. It's steak, french bread and cheese for him now. Bring it on, mamaand get yourself another glass of wine.
Jake had a little cough this week. Never heard that before and watched it for a few days. Yesterday he was different, lethargic, disinterested, faraway eyes. I called the vet at 9 but couldn't get in until 4. All day I sat there and watched him, petted him and cried. Something seemed so wrong. It worried me so. Nothing was accomplished but that. Tried to get him out for a walk but he didn't really want to go unless I went and then he would follow me. Slowly. I started to think maybe he had an injury.
I went early for the appointment, chatted with all the other pet parents and took our silly, too-happy, frosted holiday doggie and bone cookies for Paul, the office manager. We waited some more. The vet looked at him and thought it might be a tumor on his spleen so ordered an x-ray to be safe. They were back there a long time. When the vet tech walked through the room and wouldn't look at me I got scared. More waiting. I went out and apologized to the other patients waiting too. I could hear his collar jingling and thought maybe they were doing something else. But when they all came out and wouldn't look at me, I was ready to hear bad news. They asked if I had ever taken him out west. The abdomen was fine but the x-ray revealed a shadowy part on the lung. They re-shot and were totally stunned to see what appears to be advanced lung cancer. He is almost 8, only 8. It took me awhile to take it in. Not sure what else they said. They must be used to that...they started all over when I came around. 95% sure it is cancer and when I asked about the question about the west, they said it could also be a fungal disease found in the western states, but not on the east coast. He has never been there. They got out a bunch of books and we talked about slim possibilities. Lung worm, fungus, tuberculosis. They recommended we try a test to see what else it could be or confirm this.
We went home in a heap of tears. I cried all night. I woke up crying. I am crying now. But he seems more himself this morning and is going for the test at 10. I have the littlest hope trying to grow into something big enough to hang onto and somehow make him okay. There will be more waiting. I don't know what else. Make a wish, say a prayer, please let him be all right.
Thought you might like to see these options on the baby deer nest...in a cigar box and in the same cigar box with a different backing. One set-up fits the mantle, one is kind of a movable scene. I have tried it out everywhere. For some reason, this makes me feel so much like Christmas.
Also felt holiday-ish trimming the tree last night while the kids watched the football game and told me where I was missing spots. They did help- Mo put the lights on and Maggie climbed up to get the topper in place. Our tree is a pathetic gimme that was actually too close to the house and now cut down to make room for an ornamental. Long story, I fought for it, but didn't win. The tree had this deprived 3 sided top that the tree man snipped off for us...Lady do you have a tight corner you can back this into? Well, yes, that's all we have and this sad, spriggy tree with super unfriendly needles fits fine in my opinion. The rest of the family thinks it's lame and that I am too cheap to buy one. Frankly, I do feel some responsibility to this tree and am totally unwilling to put it at the curb only to buy another which will have its own imperfections anyway. So, I'm going to love it, make it proud and defend it for the next few weeks. Then we will put it in the yard for the birds who used to love it so.
I was lucky enough to get on the list of contributors making quilt squares for the Kims. I am working on Sabine's pink quilt-- feeling so inspired and honored to contribute a 12" square to something that will bring such comfort, starting with us, the makers.
Additionally, The Kim Family Benefit Auction website has a preview posting of some of the extraordinary art and craft to be auctioned January 3-7 for the family.
The next tagbook spread needs to be posted soon. Getting to it-- I am, I am.