Category Archives: Spring

Gratitude Friday

springleemartinez1. Spring. Bird song, green, blooms, blue skies.

2. Hard boiled eggs, crackers, and Sprite. I had a touch of food poisoning and this was all I could eat yesterday.

3. A month in Waldport. We are all paid up, making plans, and dreaming of the beach. I am setting an intention to pack less, do less once we get there, and get Ringo ready to ride in the way back with Sam like a big boy.

We are also taking some of Dexter's ashes to scatter at one of his favorite places.

We are also taking some of Dexter’s ashes to scatter at one of his favorite places.

4. Ringo. He’s continuing to grow up and get easier. He got his staples removed, the gash over his eye all healed up, and then went back to daycare and spent the day playing. I was looking at him the other day and realized his spots, his specs look just like the night sky, like the Milky way or something.

sleepypink5. Sam. He’s still doing well, getting weaned off his pain medication. That plus all the playing he does with Ringo brings him back to the young, vibrant dog he should be at four years old. He’s such a sweet, sensitive boy too, tries to intervene when Ringo’s getting in trouble or he thinks we are playing too hard or when we are having an animated conversation that might be fighting.

"Make me dinner, Mom."

“Make me dinner, Mom.”

Bonus Joy: I’m a little nervous about this one, but excited — Jamie Ridler is interviewing me for her Creative Living podcast. I’m not nervous to talk to Jamie about creativity, until I look at the other people she’s interviewed, so many of my favorite creatives. How did I end up on that list?!

Gratitude Friday

1. An eagle flew right over our house. I was in the backyard watching the dogs play, we were about to go on our morning walk, and a huge bird flew right over our heads. At first, I assumed it was a crow, but realized quickly it was too big to be a crow and it had a white head and bright yellow beak. It would have made a beautiful picture, brown black wings spread against the bluest of sky, but I didn’t have my camera so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

2. Play date with Franklin, Ringo’s biological brother. I confess, I was a bit worried Ringo might be a jerk. He doesn’t always play nice or even like other dogs, can get scared or bark too much, growl and snap if he gets cornered. I didn’t need to worry. Ringo and Franklin loved each other, played and played. They never got too rough or too rowdy. Ringo was sad when Franklin left, went to the door and whined. I wish they lived even closer, that I could borrow Franklin for a few hours every day. As much as Sam and Ringo play, it’s not that full on five month old puppy kind of play.

3. Strawberries. We still don’t have any local fruit, but the ones at the store are tasting more like the real thing.

4. Sam is still doing really well. Hallelujah.

aprilmorningwalk5. Taking care of the dogs by myself. I know there are people, parents and caretakers and dog people, who do this all the time, every day, always, and I am so impressed, amazed, gobsmacked that they do — but I don’t. Eric has been gone since Wednesday morning at a conference, will be home in a few hours, so I was a single mom for a few days. I didn’t kill anyone and no one died, got sick or hurt. I walked both dogs by myself twice a day, picked up their poop, took care of everyone’s meals and medication, made sure they got enough naps and play. I got covered in poop once, pulled various kinds of poop and dead things out of Ringo’s mouth, along with two cactus spines out of his nose. I had a play date and took Ringo to his final two hour basic obedience class. I even managed to work. The best thing about it is I didn’t get depressed or overwhelmed. I felt capable, confident, and calm — that’s huge.

Bonus joy: Spring.


Gratitude Friday

1. Buds on the trees, and my lilacs. I’m crazy for spring, long to stick my hands in the dirt, plant flowers and fruits and vegetables, heck I even want to pull the weeds, am dreaming about the food we’ll eat from our garden and the flowers that will bloom.

2. Daffodils. More than anything else, they mark for me that spring is really, really here. Crocuses seem like they are only teasing, because they are so often followed by snow, but the daffodils mean it.

3. Four of us. It’s just right. Three always felt like there was an empty spot, but four is full, the way it should be. When I see the four of us in shadow, it’s almost like nothing is different, even though so much changed, so much was lost — but I can have a broken heart about all that while still appreciating this.

4. Sam is better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember last week I said I wasn’t outwardly celebrating yet? I am now. There’s still a chance this could flare up as soon as we stop actively treating it, or it could be chronic, but that’s so much better than what we were preparing ourselves for only a few weeks ago. Watching him and Ringo play, for as long and as much and as rowdy as they want, is one of the best things ever.

cochewing playing10 playing095. Ringo learning to lounge, to relax. He’s sort of awake but not, willing to just hang out. Totally a sign that he’s growing up.

Bonus Joys: Chocolate so rich and dark that it almost tastes like coffee. Laughing with Eric. Strawberry plants that came back from last year. Realizing there are only four weeks left of Spring Semester classes and then it’s finals week and then summer vacation!


Gratitude Friday

1. Sam is getting better. I’m almost afraid to outwardly celebrate, but inside I am all “praise Jesus!” I don’t even know how to communicate accurately what a big deal this is. I lost my first two dogs to cancer in the past four years. Two of those years I spent knowingly caring for a terminally ill dog. So when Sam started to get sick and no one could figure out why, I feared the worst. We took him to doctors and specialists for a year and no one could give us any answers. They were all stumped.

sleepysam02We started having conversations about how bad it would have to get before we’d let him go. Last week, we had an MRI scheduled to see if he had a brain tumor. He’d gotten to the point that he’d go an entire block at the beginning of our walk shaking his head, his back leg scratching at the air. We couldn’t hardly ever let him play with Ringo because that would trigger the same. He was so uncomfortable, and it was difficult to watch.

Finally, we took another approach, looked again at the possibility of a skin issue. Our vet found an overgrowth of yeast on his lips where he’s lost the pigment, using a testing method we hadn’t tried before, and we decided to take a chance, cancel the MRI and treat it for two weeks with antifungal cream. And it’s working! He hasn’t air scratched for at least four days. We can put on the medicine, really rub it into his lips, and it doesn’t bother him. He an Ringo roll around in the back yard playing, knocking teeth against teeth, biting each other all over, and nothing.

We plan to take him to see a Dermatologist at CSU’s Vet Hospital, to follow up and make sure that there aren’t things we could do, supplements and such, to ensure this won’t happen again. I am so so so grateful he’s better.

2. Daycare and training for Ringo. I’ve said it before, this boy is challenging. I am working harder than I ever have with a puppy, knowing it will all totally be worth it. We took him to his first day of doggie daycare Monday and even though he was a little scared and barking too much, he got invited back, called adorable and sweet, and he’s doing really well with training, which is most likely more about teaching us than him.

training3. The noise of birds in the morning, a sure sign that spring is here.

4. The sound of the grade school playground at recess. We live just down the street from an elementary school and I love how at certain times of the day, if we are in the backyard, we can hear the play, the screaming and yelling.

5. Grapefruit juice. I’m obsessed with it right now. And lest you think I’m getting all healthy or something, I’m also obsessed with two bite brownies made with Belgian chocolate from Whole Foods.

Bonus joy: Walking together, all four of us.

It's all about the sticks when you are a puppy

It’s all about the sticks when you are a puppy

Gratitude Friday

springsky041. Spring weather. The above picture isn’t altered at all. That’s just what the sky looks like here when it’s clear and full strength.

2. An MRI for Sam, scheduled for next week. No matter what we find (or don’t), it will be a better answer than we have now.

3. Walking as a full pack, all four of us together.

waiting to get out of the car for our walk this morning

waiting to get out of the car for our walk this morning

4. Creating yoga vinyasas for yoga teacher training. Yesterday I put together one for heart opening (theme: presence without an agenda), one for hip opening (theme: freedom, release), and one for Grounding and Balance (theme: surrender). Now I just have to work out the kinks, memorize and be able to teach them. *gulp*

5. Getting a “superior” ranking on my annual evaluation at work, for the fourth year in a row.

Bonus Joy: Sam and Ringo playing and hanging out together, which they’ve been able to do a lot more of lately. It’s hard to get a picture of them playing, since they are moving so fast and most of them come out blurry, but here’s a few to prove it.

Gratitude Friday

image by eric

image by eric

1. Dexter. Last night, Ringo was dreaming, growling and barking in his sleep, and he sounded just like Dexter. I had such a strong memory of Dexter, like he was right there, and it made me cry, but I was grateful for it, grateful for Dexter.

sleepyd032. My piece in Fort Collins Magazine. It’s not many words, but they are mine and in print and I got paid for them. Even so, I’d rather be someone who knew nothing about this particular topic.

fortcollinsmagazine3. Ringo’s cold is getting better, never got very bad. In fact, I’d guess that from his perspective there was never anything wrong.

cookieball4. Soft Molasses cookies.

5. The first official sign of spring, yellow crocuses.

Bonus Joy: Sweet Sam. There’s still a chance he might have caught Ringo’s cold, but he seems okay for now. We we laughing last night about how we’d like to trade places with him sometimes. When he gets annoyed with Ringo, tired of him, he goes into the living room where Ringo can’t get to him and takes a nap on the couch. Wish we could do that sometimes, just ignore Ringo, let him be someone else’s problem and take a nap.


The Promise of Spring

As I was walking with Sam this morning, I saw the first sign of spring — tiny yellow crocus heads and green spike arms pushing their way out of the ground, stretching towards the sky, unfolding, beginning to bloom.

I felt so relieved I almost cried. Not for the reasons you might think. The actual winter, the weather, hasn’t bothered me so much — except for those few weeks where each night it dipped below zero. Rather it’s the winter in my heart that has lasted too long, lingering past my capacity to endure it, too sad and too dark, heavier than I can hold.

Just before I saw the flowers, I’d been thinking about how confusing it is to be human. Specifically I was contemplating how at the moment we sense we are losing control, when we feel like what we are trying to hold or save is slipping away, we tighten our grip. It’s such a strong instinct, such a powerful habit. We tense up and start grasping before we even realize we are doing it. We hold on, cling, attempt to cement contact and exert control. We see force and resistance as allies in our effort.

Compassion and wisdom suggest a different approach. When we feel we are losing control or things aren’t going the way we want, what we should actually do is release our grip — soften, relax, let go, surrender.

For me, for example, if I’m too busy, have too much to do and am feeling overwhelmed, I go straight to speed, as if by going faster I will somehow catch up. I think if I move more quickly, I’ll be able to keep up. This isn’t what happens though. Getting busier doesn’t allow me to manage the situation of too much, because too much is too much.

Slowing down, softening, letting go of my expectations is the antidote. The fix for too busy is to be less busy. The way to restore overwhelm is to rest. The solution to trying too hard is to give up.

Ringo "helping" in the garden

Ringo “helping” in the garden (he’s been ripping the stems off my irises, and he laughs at my attempts to stop him). Apparently his dad, Spec, was also a master gardener.

I’m beating myself up right now because Ringo has a cold. I was pushing myself too hard, feeling overwhelmed by everything I was “supposed” to be doing to socialize and train him. We were going to puppy classes twice a week and taking field trips. Somewhere in all that rushing around, he picked up the sniffles. Now he’s on lockdown, can’t go anywhere, and we had to postpone his final set of shots for a week, which means an even longer wait before we can walk him, start him in a basic training class or take him to daycare. He doesn’t get what the fuss is all about since he’s feeling fine other than the occasional sneeze and the cutest intermittent snoring when he sleeps, but I’m feeling guilty and trapped.

“What stands in the way becomes the way.” ~Marcus Aurelius

No matter what I do, spring will come. “This too shall pass.” Ringo will get better and eventually do all the things that got interrupted. He’ll grow up and be such a good dog. There will be days and days that turn into years in which he won’t need me to watch him every second to keep him from inadvertently killing himself. The best thing I can do right now is to soften, relax, ease up, let go, loosen my grip, surrender.

I’m trying.