April 27, 2007

April is for Growing

Filed under: fatherhood — Brian @ 7:16 pm

I’ve been away for a while.

As Jennifer noted, April has been a difficult month around here two years running. April is the month when last year I lost my best friend and my last remaining grandparent. April is the month this year when I lost by “best friend” Carla, and – this part I hadn’t mentioned here yet – when we learned that my father had a very large and likely-cancerous growth on a kidney.

I’ve just returned from his house, where I’d been with his two sisters, a brother-in-law and my younger brother and sister. He had his kidney removed quite successfully yesterday, and will be home again tomorrow. (He could have gone home today – about 26 hours after the surgery finished – if he’d chosen to. They’re near the point where a complication-free kidney removal will be an outpatient procedure. Amazing.)

I’ve learned a lot about responsibility in April – this year and last year. I tried to write about it, but I can’t get it right. It sounds preachy and self-congratulatory, which is completely not the point. So, suffice it to say that my father is OK, likely to make a full recovery and require no further treatment.

And some of the people in my life that I respect the most have paid me the great honor of confidence and trust in me. The same honor as last April, but from different people this time. I am deeply grateful.


April 17, 2007

When Geeks Knit

Filed under: knitting — Brian @ 9:09 pm

You, too, can emulate Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan.

April 15, 2007

Quiz: Where are we eating?

Filed under: whatever — Brian @ 7:28 pm

I’ll take a general category.

For bonus points, *what* are we eating?


Answer below: (more…)

Dog People Are Great

Filed under: Blogroll, dogs, drawing — Brian @ 6:59 pm

Don is a kind, thoughtful fellow.

We’d been away for the week, visiting family and might-as-well-be-family near Chicago. We started the return trip early this morning, breezed through the tolls and made it home in record time. There was one trip where it took us over 90 minutes to get past the first tollbooth. This time, I think we were in Indiana by then.

Did you know that on Chicago’s toll roads, the toll is usually 40 cents, but only if you have an Illinois Tollway-issued I-Pass thingy in your car? If you pay cash, they’re 80 cents. Even at the unattended booths. Nobody says, “welcome!” like Chicago. You know, it was a cool place when I lived there. Now it’s just something to tolerate so I can get to the people and the food.

Anyhow – that’s not the point. The point is that we’d been away for a while, and we were now coming home. This is where Carla is usually waiting for us with a toy in her mouth and a wag in her tail and a deep, rumbling growl of canine joy. Her absence is noticeable.

But then, I’m flipping through the accumulated mail, and I find this postcard with funny-looking writing on the back. It’s from Carla, saying things are good where she is now. I flip it over, and there’s a painted sketch of her on the front, in a style I immediately recognize as Don’s, and in the “pose” from this photo.

Later, as I’m going through my e-mail and RSS feeds, I see that he’s written about her and posted scans of the front and back of the postcard. Don’s a dog person, too.

He set aside some time to create and send a little comfort our way. As I told him, it was almost like a little bit of her was here to welcome us home.

It’s good to have friends.

April 4, 2007

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Filed under: dogs, God — Brian @ 6:14 am

Now, don’t take this for anything more than the wishful thinking of a man who misses his dog, but it seems to me that if the reason humans aren’t assured a place in heaven has its roots in the original disobedience of eating from that tree… well, then there’s your answer for why dogs go to heaven.

They didn’t eat from that tree after they were told not to. Sure, they keep licking your face after you tell them to stop, but that’s not even close to the same thing.

April 2, 2007


Filed under: dogs — Brian @ 6:05 pm

Turns out it was a good time to spoil the dog, recently.

Carla died today. She was at home, on the family room floor. Jenn and I were sitting over her and petting her when she went. Of all the ways she could have gone, that’s about the best I could imagine.

She started to decline on Friday afternoon when she stopped eating again. I took her to the vet on Saturday where we found that her blood was losing the things it needs to serve its purpose. Spent Sunday lying in the grass outside with her, and Monday morning in the house doing our best to keep her comfortable.

This morning (Monday) she was too weak to stand, even with help. We’d made an appointment with the vet for 1:30 – the earliest we could get. She died at 12:30. And it wasn’t until about 11:30 that the twinkle left her eye, and she stopped pulling up the corners of her lips in that dog smile she gets when you speak to her kindly.

It seems as though she was comfortable, though increasingly exhausted, right up until the last.

Some time ago, I wrote this, about how it feels to lose a pet. I hadn’t lost one myself since I was a kid. But right now, what I wrote then seems about right.

Sketch of Carla resting from October, 2005

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