Friday, June 24, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Truth be told


I think this photo is a great way to show how successful Cheyenne is at telling me what she thinks about the new addition to the family. There's a message in those eyes and it's not a warm and fuzzy welcoming one.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Update, and all that Jazz

Yes, I am having a flare-up of Ulcerative Colitis. But, we caught it in time. The medicine is working and the restricted diet in combination with the medicine is also working. I've been feeling great since the weekend. Big health mess? Averted! Thank goodness.

On Saturday, I traveled to Nacogdoches to pick up my niece, Alexandra. She is spending the summer with me and I've been excited about that since we came up with the plans earlier this year. On my drive there, I saw something, something I could not shake out of my head during our stay Saturday night. On the drive home, I saw it again and this time I had to investigate.

What did I see? A sign that said, Coonhound Puppies. Oh dear. I've gone back and forth for a couple years on whether or not I wanted or should get another dog. I did want one, and I wanted one partially to keep Cheyenne company, but I also didn't want to upset Cheyenne or make her uncomfortable in any way. She is and always will be my number one girl, best dog friend. I knew that if I got another dog, it would not be another Chocolate Labrador. There's only one Cheyenne and that's just how I see it. I did look into other breeds though, and was considering a Coonhound. Coonhounds have similar temperment and loyalty as the Labrador, and they are in the same adult weight range, though the Coonhound is a taller dog.

Can you see why that sign caught my attention? On Saturday night in Nacogdoches, while we watched movies in the hotel room, I was mentally going over how I could fit another dog into my life, if, I told myself, I were going to get a new dog. I kept thinking about that sign. With respect for Cheyenne, I justified realized that with my niece being here all summer, she could assist with a new puppy and Cheyenne could continue to get ample attention from me while adjusting to the new addition. 

When I asked about the puppies, I was told there was one left.  I asked, male or female?  If the answer was male, that would be a deal-breaker for me. Cheyenne thrives in her alpha dog role and whereas she could easily establish that with a female puppy, I wasn't so sure she'd be able to keep it with a growing male. Cheyenne will be 11 in October and I did not want to put a challenger to her role in this house. The lone puppy? Female.

And then I saw her, and then I held her, and then I bought her. Just. Like. That.

She is a Redbone Coonhound, eight weeks old.


She rode the entire way from Lufkin, Texas, back to Houston in my niece's lap. During the drive, we tried out several names for her but we couldn't land on one that we liked or that seemed to fit.


When we picked up Cheyenne from my friend's house, I went in the house first and my niece followed with the puppy. Cheyenne didn't really pay any mind to the puppy as she was too excited to see me.  At my friend's house, we talked over potential names and all agreed that a southern name would be fitting for a Coonhound. So, I googled southern names.  After saying several out loud, Dixie was the one that we all liked and thought fitting, especially given my penchant for nicknames. Already, she's my Dixie Cup and my Dixie Lou Who.

Dixie has large feet, very long legs and very long ears.


When we all got home, Dixie got a little to close to Cheyenne for my girl's liking. Cheyenne roared a deep bark at her and, in response, Dixie high-tailed it across the room and under a chair. That's the same thing that Cheyenne did when we introduced her to my friend's mature female lab, Maggy. Maggy let out a growling bark and Cheyenne scooted her butt under the coffee table so fast that all we saw was a brown blur of movement. Maggy is the one dog in Cheyenne's life who was alpha dog over her. So, I was happy with that little exchange and I've been letting them work it out. 

Outside of that, and one low growling reminder this morning, Cheyenne is adjusting better than I had imagined she would do. Dixie seems to have gotten the message and is staying wide and clear of Cheyenne, as it should be for now. 

If Cheyenne was at all threatened or concerned about Dixie, she didn't show it, although she did act especially pleased last night when I put Dixie into her crate downstairs, and she and I went upstairs together, as we do every night, and went to bed.

So, yeah, there's a new member of the family.  And only four times have I wondered what in the world I was thinking:  12:30 a.m., 2:21 a.m., 4:50 a.m., and 6:30 a.m.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fingers crossed I'm wrong (but I don't think so)

I've been feeling the initial signs for a couple of weeks now. At first I tried to ignore them, thought, nah, it's something else, something that will just run its course. After 25 years, one would think that I would recognize the beginning for exactly what it is. Still, I hate the path, so denial is usually the first step for me. 

But then on Monday the pain really kicked in and demanded to be heard. Yesterday, a mild fever joined the pain. This morning, I woke up with a mind full of hope that things would be different but a body that hurt in every joint. 

What in the world am I talking about?  Ulcerative Colitis. UC is a chronic autoimmune disease that I was diagnosed with in college.  It results in inflammation of the colon’s innermost layer, where small tears or ulcers develop along the interior, oftentimes bringing on a lot of pain, and blood. 

I will spare you of the key symptom, but lets just say that I spend a lot of time in the bathroom.

Doctors and scientists still do not know what causes ulcerative colitis.  In the past 25 years, I've read a lot of reasearch, all inconclusive. Many think the disease is inherited while some think it is environment. At one time, it was thought to be nutrition or stress, but both of these theories have been debunked. Although the exact causes are not known, one thing is for certain: UC is a result of the body’s immune system responding incorrectly. Your immune systems understands the difference between good and bad bacteria and so does mine, usually. Sometimes, however, my body cannot differentiate and so it attacks itself in my colon. And, oh wow, is there ever a war brewing in there right now.

Even though I know what is going on and I have an appointment with my Gastrointerologist this afternoon, I'm still really really really hoping that I'm wrong.  Seriously, I'm probably the only person that goes to her doctor hoping to hear food poisoning.

Monday, June 06, 2011

That was then


This picture brings back so many memories. It was taken in 1986 and I thought it was lost forever but recently and digitally it came back into my life. The couch was red or maybe it was blue, and I remember it being much larger than it is here but I guess that's the kind of distortion that time and absence will do to a memory. There is so very much I can say about this picture, so very many words. For now though, I'm going to leave it as is.

Friday, June 03, 2011



I snipped this daisy from the enormous potted Gerbera Daisy plant on my front porch. I bought that thing in a 4-inch plastic container in late April and now it fills its 18-inch pot with thick green leaves growing tall and wide, and beautiful daisies shooting out on strong green stems. There's something so delightfully pleasing in the simple effort of  walking out your door and snipping a flower from your garden.

I hope your weekend is filled with finding equally simple delights!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Long hot happy weekend, Day 3

On Sunday afternoon, we packed two cars with four dogs, four people, one baby, one canopy and a cooler of beer, water, chicken salad, chips and fruit, and we drove to the same spot where I had taken Cheyenne the day before. We parked in a suspect place, and lugged our goods through the park only to find that other people had decided on the very same spot. And they didn't seem very happy to see us. And they definitely weren't happy to see and experience our four dogs frolicking about in the water, even though they had a dog doing the very same.


We didn't stay there long. Instead, we piled all that stuff and dogs and people back into the two cars and drove back to our house. I had bought a pool to use there so we decided to fill that thing up and enjoy ourselves without the attitude of others.

It was the right decision. 




Cheyenne even learned to share!


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Long hot happy weekend, Day 2

More from Memorial Day.

On Saturday morning, coffee in hand, Cheyenne and I set out for an early walk around the property. She did her best imitation of a cow and happily grazed on the moist grass.


Then I loaded her in the car and took her to a favorite spot on the San Marcos river. I've been taking her there for years and as soon as we get out of the car, she picks up the scent of familiarity and practically drags me across the road and down the path that cuts through the heavily wooded park to a spot where the banks of the river gently slope and she can easily get in and out of the cool waters.


Cheyenne will play fetch with me for a few minutes until she loses interest, then she enjoys just plopping her behind down in the shallow water and watching the river world go by.



My niece Catherine got to the house in the early afternoon and we sat on the porch talking for a while before she had to head out to a birthday party conveniently about 20 minutes away. She left her dogs with me and took off, promising to return by dinner.  Yea!


And then this precious family arrived.



When Catherine returned, she embraced an armful of her own niece.


A whole lot of fun and laughter took place in this little house that afternoon and evening.  Good times!