Thursday, March 31, 2011


This afternoon, Moo and her mother and I set out to take some photos in the Bluebonnets. (If you live in Texas, this is a mandatory rite of passage.) In the car, Faith smiled and cooed. And when we got to the flower patch?  She was not at all interested in smiling or looking at the flowers or listening to her mother jiggle keys to get her attention.  All she wanted to do was exercise her new favorite activity, that of blowing bubbles from her mouth. 

And so it was.


Until Mom scooped her up. 


Yes, when you look at these two, you are looking into a big part of my heart.

Monday, March 28, 2011


On Saturday afternoon, I took a drive to meet a horse.  His name is Rocky, and he's half Thoroughbred, half Quarter horse.  Rocky needs to gain some weight and some muscle, his chest is narrow and so is his behind. But that will change. 

Don't worry, I did not buy a horse.  I did, however, lease one.

Rocky needs some attention and his owner is too busy right now to provide it.  Right now I am not too busy.

I have missed having horses in my life, missed spending time with such majestic animals, and I am so excited to get to know Rocky and explore our mutually beneficial relationship.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


My sister's boyfriend took this photo last week when they were in town. He emailed it to me yesterday and I can't help but look at it again and again because it makes me happy. For one, I don't know the last time a photo was taken of my sister and me. Secondly, my sister is a Grandmother! Lastly, would you look at that baby's hair?  Her mother has been pulling her hair into tiny ponytails on top of her head lately and every time I see her, I smile from the heart outward.


Friday, March 18, 2011


Yesterday, my sister and her boyfriend drove to Houston from their home in Austin for an appointment with my sister's doctor. That doctor's office is just a couple blocks from where I live, which is pretty convenient and also kind of a weird coincidence for a city the size of Houston. In light of that convenience, we decided that they would come over to my house for a visit before her appointment.

And then her son, my nephew, came over. And his girlfriend. And their baby girl.

And we ate pizza together, a family lunch on a random Thursday afternoon.

My camera's memory card was stuck in my computer so I didn't get any pictures. But I don't really mind not having any pictures from yesterday because sometimes my camera gets in the way of my enjoyment since I'm so busy shooting the moment rather than being in the moment. 

It was lovely to have them all here in my home, and it was lovely for me to be here as well.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not a single splinter was had

While Cheyenne was recuperating from surgery over the weekend, I chose to busy myself with a project since I wanted to stay at home with her and there is only so much Lifetime TV that a girl can watch before her brain rots. (Truth.) The project I decided to tackle was to oil the two teak chairs and table that I have, the two chairs and table that my father bought for the covered porch in the back yard of our house. This was a task that, long ago, I HATED, didn't want to do, resented being asked to do, and pretty much sucked in my efforts to get it done. My efforts? Lazy and lame.

My father had a love affair with wood. He used his enormous hands to care for wood, sand it, treat it, oil it, build boats and fences from it. Me? I'd try to help but had very little interest and would quickly run out of the very little patience I had for such an intimate relationship as caring for any wooden anything as much as my father did. But I respected his relationship with wood and I loved to watch his hands work the wood, heal the wood, give it life and color. I loved to watch his eyes and his patient determination to preserve wooden items.

After we sold my parents' house, the chairs and table went to the cabin where they sat outside for way too long, enjoyed but not cared for. They became dry and ashen from neglect. When I bought my new house, I realized that those chairs and that table belonged with me. And this past weekend I decided to give them their life back.

While Cheyenne slumbered on her bed on the porch, I swept the debris from between the slats, brushed the bits of accumulated dirt and dust from the corners, and oiled the heck out of every inch. Hand on rag, rubbing the oil deep into the thirsty wood, I felt my father's hands around my own, heard his Rub with the grain voice in my ear, connected my hands with the path of his hands from years ago.

And for the first time, it mattered to me, to do a good job on these chairs. These were my father's and now they are mine.  I experienced the wonderful relationship between my hands and the wood, between the dry thirst and then saturation provided by my own fingers. I felt the deep satisfaction of using my hands to take care of a piece of furniture so that I might enjoy it for a long, long time. Just like my father taught me.



Sunday, March 13, 2011



Dog beds all over the house, yet it is the floor she prefers to rest on while her pain pills go to work.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sigh of relief

Cheyenne is home. She's loopy and dizzy and sore, but she's home.  With me, where she belongs.  The lump was broader and deeper than we initially thought but it's all gone now.  And by "all gone" I mean that it's out of Cheyenne's body and sitting in a jar filled with some preservative something and on its way to a lab where it can be tested and analyzed.  But... BUT... her doctor/vet/surgeon said to me that everything about that lump has been removed from Cheyenne's body.

So, yeah, I'm breathing again.  In. Out. In. Out.  Nothing fancy, just breathing.

The girl has 29 staples in her shoulder.  On her chest, nine stitches close three incisions, another row of staples on her leg.  On her belly I can't count the staples and stitches because she has no interest in getting on her back. 

It doesn't matter.

The important thing is that my girl is back home with me. I understand that many lumps were cut out of her body today and I can see the stitches and staples that sew her together again. What's important is how she ran to me when she saw me, how she squeezed herself between me and the counter, licked my leg and slightly wagged her tail. She knows that I belong to her, that my body and my heart translate to safety for her. That position of trust is a glorious one that I embrace.

She's sleeping beside me now.  It's a heavy sleep, she's drugged and breathing deeply in and out.  I watch her rib cage rise and fall, watch the shiny staples lift and sink. A third of her body is shaved, parts here and parts there, but what matters is that the danger has been removed. What matters is that she is with me again. What matters is she needs to heal and I am right here, right beside her, and I will help her become whole again.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Big C, little c

When Cheyenne was a puppy, several friends offered some good advice on raising and training her. One friend told me to regularly rub her body, feel for any changes, sore spots or lumps. That was some good advice because it turned out that Cheyenne is a very lumpy girl. Through the years, I've lost count of how many lumps her veterinarian has tested.  Always, the result was fatty lump.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a new crop of lumps on her chest and one on her shoulder. As usual, I made an appointment with the vet to get them tested. That appointment was yesterday and, sadly, the results were not fatty lumps this time.  Cancer is present in the lump on her shoulder. 

Every single time, and there have been very many, that I've sat in the examining room with Cheyenne waiting to receive the test results of her lumps, I've worked hard to keep calm and not let fear and worry take control of my mind. In that small room while we wait, time drags on. I fill the minutes that seem like hours by petting her and loving on her. I had grown accustomed to her vet walking through the door and smiling at me and telling me the lumps were fatty.  Yesterday, though, she came through the door and said she wanted to get one more sample from the lump on her shoulder.  My heart sank into my stomach and my stomach sank to my knees. 

And then Cheyenne and I waited for eternity to hear the results.

So, yeah, one of her lumps contains cancer cells.  On Friday, she is having surgery to remove that lump and also to remove a couple others that her doctor doesn't like because of proximity to her lymph nodes, their shape, or their continued growth and therefore large size.

The good news is that we caught it early.  Very early, thanks to my friend's sage advice to regularly check for changes in Cheyenne's body. 

Keep my girl in your thoughts on Friday, please.  I'll let you know how it goes.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Blooming color

Are you familiar with this flowering tree?


It is a Saucer Magnolia, also known as the Tulip Tree.  It's a very popular tree here in Houston and, I suppose just like the entire Magnolia genus, all over in the Southern growing region.  It is a lovely tree, a tree with flowers of large lavender and pink and white petals. Like the Redbud tree, the Saucer Magnolia is one of the first signs that Spring is on its way, if not already here.  These two flowering trees seemingly pop up over night all over Houston, and suddenly we have color again.   

The problem is that I am not a fan of this tree and yet I have a sizeable one in the front yard of my new house. It is in full bloom right now and, I admit, looks lovely.  And yet I remain indifferent.  I want to be head over heels with the tree, I really do.  I spend time with it each morning and am starting to be taken by its bright green leaves and sweet scented flowers. Yet I can't yet say that I'm thrilled that the tree is in my yard.  It's in a prime location for a Dogwood or Bradford Pear (two of my personal favorites), but I will not remove it because it's not the tree's fault that the previous owners planted it there.  Nope, instead I'm challenging myself to learn to appreciate and embrace this tree.  We do, afterall, live together.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011