A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2.What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? ~George Orwell

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Reflection: Secrets

There  is nothing we think or do that God is not aware of. There are no secrets from--God.

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,'
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." Psalm 139 1-12 


Friday, August 22, 2014

How do you try to kill your puppy twice in one week? Part 2

The picture on the right is Millie the first few days after coming home, about 3 pounds. The picture on the left is Millie--today at about 10 pounds and after the two murder attempts.
An outing with Millie, at a state park, turns into a scary moment when two men in a pickup are driving at snail speeds toward us as we’re walking back to the car. (See Part 1 here.)

I had a gut feeling, you know, the kind that Gavin De Becker says to listen to: Get the heck out of there. I unlock the car door, shoved Millie against her wishes inside, and lock the doors again. I stay calm fumble to get my keys in the ignition, dropping them once in the floorboard, but finally starting my car and driving away. Because I am my father's daughter, I drive slowly, stare at their pickup that is now parked at the end of the drive, then stop at the bottom of a little hill, near them, to write down their license plate number—in case of a reported found dead body. YOU KNOW how I work, come on.  

In my rearview mirror, I see that one man had hopped out of the pickup and is now standing in the middle of the road staring at my car because I had stopped —probably memorizing my personalized plates. Again (and yes I blame it on my dad) I turned around and stare back. Then I chicken-on out of there. 

We drive to our next destination, a well-populated place near the dam, where two older women sit on a picnic table chatting and several older men stand in waders in the river--fishing. At this location, my thought is, we can use a sidewalk to meet and greet—easy peasy stuff. I put my window down, a couple of inches, lock the doors from the inside, get out of the car, pull Millie out and set her on the ground before I slam the door shut.

Where are my keys? 

I pat my pocket, look on the ground, look on top of the car, look through the window in the seat, glance at Millie’s mouth (you know why) and pat my pocket again. No keys anywhere. Finally, I wonder if I 've left them in the ignition since I didn't remember hearing a ding. From the other side of the car, I see them in the ignition. What should I do?
  •       Call my parents? I was sure they were in the town I'd just left, shopping.
  •       Call my daughter who has a key, but she's about an hour away saving the minds of patients?
  • Crumble to the pavement and cry? (Because I’m already screaming inside: NO, NO,  NO.)
  • Break the window? And maybe get arrested and have Millie go into animal Foster Care?
  • Call my roadside service for a locksmith? Do I even have locksmith services?
I pat my pocket again and feel my cell phone.  I know that number of my insurance company is in my contacts, but would I be able to call out from within the park? In the past, I could not. I make the call and get automation, but I’m  still hopeful until I choose the number four and the call drops. 

Millie is squirming and panting hard because we’re in the sun and she’s never been out like this before--in the world. At this point, I'm fairly certain, she has visions of fluffy pillows dancing in her head. This is my cue to do the “crumble to the pavement and cry” bit, but I take a deep breath, corral Millie and call again.  The call goes through, I get a person and he says:

  • Are you in a safe place? (Not psychologically)
  • Is the dog out of the car? (Yes, but she’s overheated--do you even care?)
  • Where’s your location?
  • I’m having trouble finding the state park. (It's there.)
  • I found it. (Told you so.)
He informs me that I do have the locksmith service and that he has someone on the way. Then he says he will text me the name of the business coming.

We end our call and almost immediately I get a text saying ETA will be 11:30. It is 10:42 and I pray, “Let it be sooner”.  Millie is growing hotter by the second, so we walk to the picnic table where the two women had been chatting, that is partially shaded and sit down. Even though the day is mild, it’s still too hot at the table, and I still need to use a restroom.

I decide that I have time to walk to  restroom area across from the old fish hatchery if it’s still there (hasn’t been torn down). The problem is that it's a fair distance from where we are and I hate leaving my car with the keys in the ignition with my purse in the trunk, but I feel I have no other choice. We walk down the sidewalk, I’d planned to walk earlier, and Millie stops walking, just stops—won’t budge and gives me her wonky eye look (one eye (Maltese) stares ahead and one eye  (Shih Tzu) stares at you sideways). Then she sits down and that’s it. She's not budging. I reach over and pick her up and say, “You’re right, this isn’t a good idea.”  A man, in waders, walks toward us witnessing my comment and smiles. I say, “She wanted to carry me, but I said no.” I say something else, but can't remember what. He laughs, and we go our separate ways.

I carry her back to the car, stand there for a minute, then look up the hill. The museum! It’s across from the parking lot, up two small hills, over a highway, but I will still be able to see my car and can use the restroom. The only problem is, will they allow Millie inside?

Across the grass we walk. Millie stops to puddle. I pick her up to carry her the rest of the way over the highway and up the next hill. Halfway there, my asthma kicks in and I feel like I’m going to pass out. I wheeze as I walk into the museum. The lobby is full of children. I see a uniformed museum person sitting in the far corner and he sees me. I hurry to the left, to the restroom, but am stopped when a little girl says rather loudly, “I like your dog!” I smile and say thank you and proceed inside the restroom where it is surprisingly empty.

Before I leave the restroom, I carry Millie to the sink and run water in my hand trying to coax her to drink, she does not. I walk outside and sit on the first bench until a second bench becomes available (more shady and secluded) where I sit with Millie on my lap.

Her skin is hot, and she is panting. I’m worried. We sit there a few minutes until I get antsy and head back to the car. Once we're there, I walk to the same picnic table and sit again, holding Millie on my lap. She’s wants down and lies on the concrete.

I look at the water, the fishermen, the dam. I look at the trees, then the barbeque. That’s when I see it—someone had left a skewer behind.  Why didn’t I see it the first time? I pick it up and take it to my car and bend it this way and that until I have a tool to open my door. As I’m sticking it through the opening (for the second time), in my attempt to unlock the door, I see a  tow truck, three times the length of my car, pulling into the driveway of the parking lot.  I rush to put the skewer on the concrete thing I'm parked against, hoping the skewer is not state park property because I’ve sort of ruined it. I wait for him to turn around in the small lot. It is now 11:15 a.m.

It takes two seconds for him to stick a device in the open window and unlock the door. There is NO DING when the door opens. I turn the ignition on and the AC, then put Millie inside her crate . I sign the forms.

After that is done, I give Millie a little drink of water (which in hindsight might have been the wrong thing to do). I put the AC on full blast, and we travel home. We’re three quarters of the way home, and I look back at her in the crate--she's frothing at the mouth. I freak and nearly run off the road looking back. She has puked and is wearing her traumatized look, the one that says to me: What was that? What am I supposed to do now? First time puking for her. She drools the rest of the way home. 

At home, I wash her face and put her down on a pillow where she stays the rest of the day, not moving much, not eating or drinking. Around 8 p.m. she drinks and eats and proceeds to maul me. I am now hopeful she will be okay.  For two days, she's a little weak, but eats and drinks. Poor Millie.

And that my friends, is how you try to kill your puppy twice in one week, although I wouldn’t recommend it.
 (My apologies for the length.) (I am hating Blogger with all might.)

Monday, August 18, 2014

How do you try to kill your puppy twice in one week?

I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you need to know, here it is.

From the beginning, I’ve trimmed Millie’s nails, but lately it’s not working for me. She squirms too much and mouths too much. But one Saturday late night, I looked at her nails and panicked realizing her quicks were advancing--big time. So I decided I needed to cut them no matter what, even though it was late at night, I was tired and I’d had an ugly day.

The very first nail I cut too close. She yelps and blood seeps from it saturating her hairy little paw. Her big brown eyes (green glowing at times) looked at me bewildered (or at least that's the emotion I assigned). Earlier, I'd spent time with my honey Google so I raced to him again for help. And there it was—several thousand hits on how to stop the bleeding quick of a dog.

Out of those choices, this is what I chose. In a bowl, I poured flour. In the middle of the mound of flour, I dunked her paw and watched the powder billow upward to our noses. She sneezed—then wagged her tail. I did not sneeze, nor wagged my tail. Imagine that I repeated this three more times, because I did. When I finished bathing her paw in flour, I looked at the nail and it appeared to have stopped bleeding. 

I sat down in a chair all shaky. Millie didn't seem to care about my feelings and headed for the bowl to eat the flour and overturn the bowl.

The next morning when I awoke, the bed in her crate was a bloody mess. I had killed her. NOT REALLY, but that was how I spent my night—dreaming that I had killed her over and over again.

My overreaction to this incident can be blamed on information I received from 1990, the last time I purchased a pet--my boxer: Suki Aki. I was told that dogs could bleed to death if their nails were trimmed into their quicks too far.

She lived, but I tried again to kill Millie the next Wednesday. Our entire district shuts down on Wednesday--the day before the first day of school.  I scheduled a new handyman service to visit that day and fix things around my house. But for the 40 millionth time he cancelled on me. The weather was beautiful so I decided to take Millie to a state park—for a day out; you know to socialize her since I've not done much of that.  

She rode in the backseat, in her crate gagging a couple of times, but did well. Once we arrived in the park, we stopped first where there were pools of trout. I thought this would be a good place to start, but there were mowers mowing, children laughing and cars rumbling. These sounds made Millie nervous, wide-eyed and paralyzed. I gathered her up, got back in the car and set her in my lap to drive to another area at the far end of the park.

When we arrived, I was pleased to see that we were alone with nature, Millie and me--although, it was a little creepy.  

Out of the car we went. Millie was much happier now, and she demonstrated by flipping her hair like it was a mane and her head like she was a horse, one hand high--standing. She walked beside me or in front of me and felt comfortable enough to wee on the grass. After a while, I felt she was ready to move on up to a more populated area. By this time, I really needed to use the restroom myself (in this case the fancy outhouses). I figured I could leave her in the car, in the shade for the five minutes, be in and out and no one would break out my window to save her. That was my plan until two men in a pickup rolled up the secluded driveway, ever so slowly.

You know how you get those feelings? Where your creepster meter tilts heavily? Where you need to move on?  I had a feeling. 

Does Millie attack and destroy the creepsters? Was Teresa overreacting again? Does Millie survive the second attack of her owner?

To be continued on Friday!
(Forgive the formatting. No matter how much I tried, the formatting was off.)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Reflection: When I Pray

"We should walk in constant communication with God. There should be a constant looking upward to God. We should walk so habitually in his presence that even when we awake in night, it would be the most natural thing for us to speak to him in thanksgiving or petition."  R.A. Torrey

Reading these sentences, in the book Power Filled Living by R.A. Torrey, reminded me that I pray many times in a 24 hour period, as I feel the need. I'm so glad that I have that kind of relationship with God, that I keep Him that close. Without his spirit presence in my heart and my mind, I confess I would feel lost. 

I pray when: 
  • I'm sad. 
  • I've lost my way. 
  • I see the suffering of others. 
  • I awake in the night.
  • I am attacked by others. 
  • Evil runs amok in the world.
  • My son had a stroke. 
  • My mom had heart surgery.
  • My daughter rolled her car.
  • My sister's collie had surgery.
  • My friend's son died (for everyone that knew him)
And I pray for:
  • The children I serve.
  • The families they live with.
  • The guidance of our school personnel.
  • The people who read this blog.
What matters to me, matters to God. When I pray, I feel the power of God working in me and that, my friends, means everything to a scared and hurting soul.
Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of people--prayed, connecting with God, the Father, every chance he had.  

"Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed." Mark 1:35 (NIV)
Start with prayer and keep it going because prayer works miracles in the hearts of people.


Resources: Power Filled Living, R.A. Torrey, Holy Bible, BibleGateway.com

Monday, August 11, 2014

This has nothing to do with writing.

This post has nothing to do with my writing, except, I’m writing this. I am still writing--lots. In addition...
I went back to work a week ago last Thursday, and I don’t want to talk about it. Millie DOES NOT want to talk about it either. Sorry I brought it up.
Okay what would you do IF you had been cleaning again and this rogue cabinet door kept popping up, a door you took off a small cabinet that you put on your bathroom wall, but didn’t need the door? I’ve tried to throw it away, but it sticks to my fingers, and I wonder WHAT IF I want to make something out of it.
Finally, it spoke to me in a way that only an old piece of junk can. It said, "I am a coat rack." So this is what I made...
a coat rack for my office at school (no the chalkboard isn't smudged). It would have cost me nothing to make because I had the door, borrowed the paint from my daughter, had a spare board for the insert, leftover chalkboard paint, and the knobs. But then I saw, IT, a dragonfly hanger/hook. I bought one of those thingies thinking that it wouldn’t be so bad at $5.97 plus tax. Then back at home, my OCD screamed like a girl, in my head saying, “It’s not balanced. It’s uneven.” To keep peace in the recesses of my mind, I bought another dragonfly. The coat rack cost me $11.94 plus tax to make it, plus $5000 in gas to go to Lowes, twice.  
The first thing I would like to write on the chalkboard is "Welcome Back! Your dreams are your ticket out." But I'm afraid if I do, I'll end up with an office full of dreamers. I cannot have that.
I have a lot of empty frames of Millie. She runs so fast and floppy, and I want to freeze frame her, but the picture often comes up empty of her image. I used to think she was super fast, moving at rocket speeds, but now I think she might be Magic Millie, appearing and disappearing at will.
This would explain her glowing eyes.

And perhaps explain her friends "the orbs" hovering in this photo above her pen (in the kitchen) and looking in the empty cookie jars. Sorry I ate the last cookie.
I’m a little creeped out. How about you?
Millie no longer fetches a ball for me without bringing it back and diving underneath the chair I'm sitting in to keep it for herself.  Soooo, I gave her my exercise ball and said, "Take that ball under your chair, won't ya?" She didn't.
What's the last thing you recycled or repurposed? Do you ever entertain orbs and ask their names?