The Life in My Years

An anthology of life

It’s 2020. This month marks four years since we put our Rainey to sleep. I wrote this four years ago. This is the last in a series of posts from a now defunct blog. I started the series in July of that year as it seemed that we were on the verge of losing our girl. I published this on September 20th, one month after she was gone. When I wrote these posts I knew that the end was coming but I didn’t know that it would be less than a month. Still there was hope.

I revive the series every now and then. I was relatively new to blogging then. The original left something to be desired in some ways and this posting includes some edits. While the words and punctuation, the nuts and bolts so to speak may have been changed, the story and the lingering heartache remain.

Sometimes decisions make themselves. You mull over options and without realizing it you’ve discarded all but one; good or bad, right or wrong the decision just turns up. Just turns up, sometimes uninvited, often unwanted – but there it is. It’s at times like this that you put yourself on an unemotional autopilot and do what you have to do with or without the realization that when it’s done you’ll drown in a wave of hurt. I did that some 20 years ago when my mom suddenly died. Nobody but me to plan a funeral, keep my dad on some sort of even keel and tend to the visiting relatives. You just do and when it’s done you allow the collapse into exhaustion and grief.

I walked over to Cora who knew by now where this was all going and she tried desperately to steer us away from the inevitable. Cora is that person who will spend hour upon hour scouring the internet and for weeks she’d done just that, hoping for an answer to jump off the computer screen at her. I sat down next to her and listened while she told me that she’d read articles explaining that sometimes it can take months for dogs to get used to three legs. “She’s still weak. She has to gain her strength.”
“Yeah but she has to start chemo for the cancer,” I reminded.
Cora responded, “Rainey can’t do the chemo until she’s strong.”
“Then the cancer takes over.”
And that’s when even Cora who’d tried to hold out for that further out end was coming to a realization. She realized that it was circular logic. She just stared blankly ahead; a thousand yard stare focusing on the gameboard with no moves left – checkmate.

Having a swim at dog beach in San Diego

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In keeping with the current architectural theme, this week Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge focuses on modern homes and apartments.

This colorful apartment building sits just on the fringe of Chinatown in San Francisco.

Maaaaay-be there’s an apartment in there somewhere.  The most prominent building in the photo below is the Salesforce Tower.  I’d be willing to bet that someone in one of those buildings is staying overnight to meet some kind of deadline.  Does that make it an apartment?

The building below is called MIRA, a 39 story, 422 foot gnarled looking residential monolith designed by Studio Gang Architects. (I did piece on this building a few months ago).

MIRA is located just two blocks from the San Francisco bayfront promenade, The Embarcadero. A condo on the east side will afford a panorama of the bay, the Bay Bridge, the East Bay Hills and spectacular sunrises. One has to wonder if a warped building will get you a warped view. My daughter once remarked that looking at it gave her a headache.  I know I got a headache just looking at the cost to live in Mira.

For the unwashed masses a 614 square foot junior one-bedroom condo will run just under $900,000. High rollers can get into a 2,176 square foot three-bedroom, upper-floor unit for a paltry $3 million.

Given its unique look, Mira invites a little editing fun.

To view Cee’s contribution follow the link to her site.  You can scroll to the comments on Cee’s site to view the work of other contributors.

It’s 2020. This month marks four years since we put our Rainey to sleep. I wrote this four years ago. This is the third in a series of posts from a now defunct blog. I started the series in July of that year as it seemed that we were on the verge of losing our girl. I published this on August 10th. When I wrote these posts I knew that the end was coming but I didn’t know that it would be less than a month. Still there was hope.

I revive the series every now and then. I was relatively new to blogging then. The original left something to be desired in some ways and this posting includes some edits. While the words and punctuation, the nuts and bolts so to speak may have been changed, the story and the lingering heartache remain.

I’ve never been overly religious. Oh, I’ve had my pious periods but they were mostly short lived; religion never stuck. I pray on occasion but you couldn’t say that I do it religiously. When it comes to spirituality I couldn’t hold a votive candle to Cora, nor one of those candles in the tall glass jars decorated with the Virgin Mary. I guess we have our places in life the two of us. I run, she genuflects. She lifts Our Fathers, I drop “F” bombs. Maybe we just balance each other out that way. In my own spiritual defense, when I do pray it’s for things substantial and worthy of prayer and not just a timely base hit in the bottom of the ninth or for all my lottery ticket numbers to be on. And while my devotion is often fleeting there are those times when I’m given pause to consider that there may be some sort of providence at work. That said providence does have to hit me in the face – hard.

Saturday was a hanging out at the house day, but it wasn’t a pleasant day. I’d made the appointment to have our dog Rainey put to sleep. For months she’s been fighting an infection in her front paw complicated by cancer in the same paw. The pain has been off and on but in recent days it’s been more on than off. She’s been in misery, moping, not wanting to eat, spending the days lying down, moving only to find a comfortable position. We literally had to coax her to stand, sometimes physically helping her. The vet offered an option of having her leg amputated followed by chemo. Our girl was devoid of the gaiety that we’d known for the past 12 years and so we rejected that option.

Rainey liked to use my running shoes as pillows.

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It’s 2020. This week marks four years since we put our Rainey to sleep. I wrote this four years ago. This is the second of a series of posts from a now defunct blog. I started the series in July of that year as it seemed that we were on the verge of losing our girl. I published this on July 27th. When I wrote this I felt that the end was coming but I didn’t know that it would be less than a month. Still there was hope.
I revive the series every now and then. I was relatively new to blogging then. The original left something to be desired in some ways and this posting includes some edits. While the words and punctuation, the nuts and bolts so to speak may have been changed, the story and the lingering heartache remain.

Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe. We are the focus of their love and faith and trust. ~ Roger Caras

She’s trying gamely to walk around the house, albeit awkwardly with the pink bandage on her lower front leg. She’s eating again. She hobbles over to the couch and hits me with her nose, her way of saying, “Hey old man get me some head scratching.” There’s no moping in a crate, or raising a painful paw in supplication. It’s starting to feel like I have my dog back.

She’s alert again – pissed off when someone has the effrontery to ring the bell on HER door. She goes back near the open kitchen window to stick her nose up. The nose twitches discerning everything that her day blind eyes can’t. I feel like I have my dog, my best friend, back again.

She’s not totally whole yet. She struggles to get to her feet because that one paw is still weak and doesn’t give her the leverage to lift her up. It’s certainly still sore but she isn’t afraid to put some pressure on it. The stairs are supposed to be off limits but Rainey saw an opportunity when the gate was left down and she bolted up and went to one of her favorite sleeping haunts.

The other night she asked to go out on the back patio. So the two of us sat quietly in the warmth of a summer evening. She stuck her nose up and looked into the dark fields beyond the wire fence. Something out there, a deer or a coyote, irritated her and she barked into the darkness. I’m getting my dog back.

Peeking from under the table at a restaurant. Any scraps yet?

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It’s 2020. This week marks four years since we put our Rainey to sleep. I wrote this four years ago, the first of a series of posts in a now defunct blog. I started the series in July of that year as it seemed that we were on the verge of losing our girl. I revive the series every now and then. I was relatively new to blogging then. The original left something to be desired in some ways and this posting includes some edits. While the words and punctuation, the nuts and bolts so to speak may have been changed, the sentiments and the lingering heartache, the actual structure, has not changed.

She has a beautiful feathered tail that would flip back and forth like a metronome when we went for our morning run. Her trot graceful and effortless as she led out, looking back every now and then as if to reassure herself that I was on the other end of the leash. After the run we sat outside Starbucks. I drank coffee and she lounged like a princess as she took in the compliments, “Such a beautiful dog.”

Rainey in her younger years
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This week Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is All about buildings: Old buildings, Barns, Sheds, Houses.

I like photographing old things; old buildings, old boats, old bridges. Seems like almost everyone with a camera likes to photograph old barns, especially if there are rusty old tools and implements in the scene. Add an old horse and you’re really in business.

I ran across some old buildings right here in Hercules, California where I live. Most of Hercules’ old buildings sit atop a hill near the shore of San Pablo Bay on a small tract of empty land. The fronts look out on a residential neighborhood. These buildings date from the days when the major employer in the area was the Hercules Powder Works which manufactured explosive powder.

My favorite of the old buildings is the Masonic Lodge, which sits across the street from a sleek, new restaurant with a chic glass enclosed patio that overlooks the old building and the bay beyond. It’s quite a contrast to the restaurant a few steps away.

Street view of the Masonic Lodge

The old building is giving way to creeping vines. Nature is in the process of reclamation.

Doorway of the Masonic Lodge

What’s really cool about this building is that from the street it’s just a long squat building but if you look at it from the recreation trail in the rear, you see that the Masonic Lodge is actually multiple stories built into the side of the hill.

Masonic Lodge – rear view

Masonic Lodge – rear view taken on a foggy morning

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I’ve been here before.  It’s like those movies where the hikers get that feeling that they’re lost.  “I think we’ve passed that burned out log a couple times already.   I think we’re lost, we’re going in circles.”  Well, if you’ve seen that same burned out log, you’re doing laps and – you’re lost.   I feel like, no I’m certain that, I’ve been at this Facebook watershed before – many times.   My burned out log, funny rock formation or random milestone is the Facebook blahs.  Haven’t I said, probably on this very website, that I’m thinking of dumping Facebook?  Haven’t I said it many times?  Many, many times?   And so here I am once again at the burned out log that’s Facebook, pausing and wondering whether or not to continue going in circles. 

I’ve been off of Facebook for about two weeks now having deactivated my account around the beginning of this month.  When you need a Facebook break you have three options.   The first, which my daughter in law has opted for is to simply move the app from your home screen and resist temptation.   I’m far too weak to try that option.   I’d be posting pictures of the dog, two days max.  The second option is to deactivate your account which is sort of like walking out of a room full of friends who won’t stop being annoying.    Once you reactivate you’re simply walking back into the room.  Nothing’s changed, your pictures and posts are intact and your friends are all still there (except for the ones who got huffy and dumped you when you walked out of the room).   The third option, the nuclear one, is to delete your account.   Deleting erases everything.   You didn’t walk out of the room.   It’s like there never was a room.   I don’t know one single person who’s gone nuclear and regretted it.  It’s become something to think about. Continue reading

This week Tina of Travels and Trifles chose Creativity in the Time of Covid for our Len-Artists Photo Challenge.  When Covid broke out I was just starting a project to photograph San Francisco’s Mission District and it’s gallery of murals.  After one afternoon the project was put on hold but will be continued.  Just for fun here’s a sample.  Magical mural -2

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The past few months have been a slog, a deep depression.   A little gloomy at first and worsening as the days, weeks and months progressed. August arrived in cheerless desolation.   It’s been a descent with no rise in sight.

Of course the prime suspect would be COVID-19 but it hasn’t been so much the virus itself as the rudderless, drifting, constant course changes in state and local mandates and the reaction by the president and his minions that’s been sad and at the same time sadly slapstick.   A pathetic response punctuated by denials, blaming, reliance on Youtube celebrity witch doctors, half-baked theories about mainlining bleach and notions that the virus will “poof” go away.

And then, coronavirus aside, there’s been the three and a half years of Donald Trump and his merry band and their dismantling of America.   As election day has gotten closer and closer my apprehension has been rising and at the same time pushed down my spirits.   The questions are tormenting.   The system is supposed to work but since January 20th 2017 the workings have been gummed up.
Will Trump try to sabotage the election?
What will he do if he loses the election?
It’s almost certain that if Trump wakes up on November 4th in defeat, be it a squeaker or a mandate, he will not go quietly.   And what will be the reaction of the staunch supporters that make up a bona fide cult?   America has been teetering on a constitutional crisis and events in the days running up to the election and the days following, whether Trump wins or loses, could push America into the abyss.

Things changed slightly this week.   A sense that maybe we’ll see some deliverance, an event that ignited a flicker of hope and was not directly related to COVID-19.   COVID-19? It won’t go “poof” and I’ve more or less resigned myself to the fact that it’s going to be around for a while, thanks in large part to Trump’s criminal ineptitude.   This singular event that showed just a brief shimmer of a silver lining came from the political arena.

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This week’s CFFC photo challenge is a special request topic Wilting, dead or aging flowers and leaves. This is a great topic because not having a whole lot in the archives I was inspired to take camera in hand and go on a search.  To view Cee’s photos and to find links to other contributors click on the link.

A potted pansy on the front porch is seeing it’s last days of brilliance.  Dried pansy

Dried pansy mono

A lone dried leaf on the bouganvilla hides within the green.  Dried bouganvilla leaf

Dried Bouganvilla leaf-2

The archive cupboard wasn’t entirely bare as I found some autumn photos taken in the Napa Valley, including the featured photo of an autumn leaf.

White Bal Tone-10

Dried vines St. Helena, CA

White Bal Tone-4

Former wine grapes, now raisins

And finally a post wouldn’t be complete if I couldn’t add my Lexi.  At one and a half years old in the autumn leaves.

Lexi leaves

 

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