Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hiro Nakamura!




hiro nakamura

isn't this my couch?

super hiro!

able to sleep! able to piddle and poo! a lot! able to attempt climbing a tall couch! able to chew walls! furniture! toys! able to run! for 5 seconds! able to sleep! snore! snuggle! and i mean SNUGGLE! he is a super Hiro! :)

Hiro, you come after one very special and remarkable dog. that would be your uncle- our Ransom. some may say it is too soon. and honestly, i feel that is true in a lot of ways. it has been bittersweet joy bringing you home. but i know that for me it will always be "too soon" as the loss of my buddy will never completely heal. but know this, little guy, you did not come to replace him. that would be impossible, as you yourself are irreplaceable as well. you are special and wonderful too! we saw that immediately and place no expectations on you except that you be the crazy, affectionate puppy you have proven to be already :) we realize in letting Ransom go that our love for him is meant to be a continuum, it is not meant to be boxed or buried or burned... except maybe as a light in our hearts.

i know that in loving you, i will come to love Ransom all the more, in new and different ways. this has already begun. and the seeds of love for you have been planted.

welcome to your new home buster. you are a true Hiro, mask and all.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

at the heart of everything

ransom, <span class=

with <span class=
(pentax k1000, ilford 400, film)

it occurred to me yesterday, standing in front of a cathedral that i happen to love for its incredible architecture and interior beauty, waiting for a trolley to take us around perhaps my favorite city in this entire state (something i've never done, as i've lived here too long to be a tourist), that i completely neglect this website. that sometimes i even miss the other one: tell her this. and this realization hit me on my drive home as i was musing about that moment in time, standing in that spot, when a stranger said my name and tapped my shoulder and said something like "you don't know me but i know you from your blog and i just wanted to say hello and how sorry I am about Ransom..." and that "your daughter is so beautiful" and that "you write so beautifully" or something along those lines. I was flabbergasted and dumbstruck and speechless and probably looked like the complete dork that I really am... hopefully Ms. P and her handsome sons walked away thinking: she's merely human like the rest of us. And kinda dorky.

seriously though, talk about a deeply humbling experience.

But then I thought: it's true. (no, not that i'm really a dork)- this space has lost its luster. I have dedicated my energy and my drive entirely to my other site and picking up one film camera or another. Words have fallen by the wayside. Just this weekend I was thinking about the funny way E says something and thought "I've got to write that down so I can remember that when she's older" because it always makes me giggle. And I didn't right it down and darn if I can't remember it now.

my point is, life passes by us too quickly. and then one moment stops us in time to remind us, this is something good. don't let go of it yet. so everyone is buried neck deep on FB (never have been a fan) and tweeting their lives away. not my style. i am a lover of the written word and the beauty of the world around me: and by beauty, i'm not talking about its sunshine and roses, though yes, i like my sunshine and roses too. but the beauty of our everyday humanity too. what my camera sees in the mundane and the broken as well, not just the joy and the happiness. pictured above is Ransom on his last day, just before he came over to me on the couch and climbed up with me, leaned his whole body into me, breathing so heavy and trying to find rest. what i see is his tired body filled with cancer, 2 hours before he died- his belly swollen with fluid from a liver that was now grossly enlarged from tumors. but in it too is still my buddy, my boy, who in spite of his cancer, was a potato sack of love. nothing but love.

this week G's dad visited from Texas. E kept saying: "I wish you could stay everyday". this is my girls heart. don't we all feel this way about certain people (or companions) in our own life? i look back on that last day with Ransom and i wonder how i didn't say these same words to him: I wish you could stay everyday.

but what i know is this. his love did. and my love FOR him did. and that love is a continuum that is meant to be shared over and over again, not to be contained or boxed or buried or burned. my heart will never truly "mend" from the loss. but my love will, as it is with everything, grow and be carried forward...

lighting the way for new life, new family members :) Boob would want that, i know. i have felt him each night with me, as i cry myself to sleep. licking away those tears, asking me to smile, to be happy because he is... because he is never far from me.

today brings with it such promise. i feel it in my heart.

thank you Ms. P for saying hello to us yesterday. it opened my heart again. maybe i will find my way back to this place that has felt so distant to me lately.

and i am certain my heart will be opened in other ways too. we will see what this day brings.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

yellow door




blue cloud happiness




my buddy, july 1 2011


(pentax k1000, kodak max 800, film)

filling our days. bowling games, new and first tattoos, dinner out, playing, wishing, working through the rough spots, listening to the rain. some days easier. some not. holding his ashes close like a treasure along with the last photo i ever took of him, the one you see above. i remember asking God for some sign that it was time, even though i already knew it was. and i suppose his decision to sit on the blanket we had prepared for him before the vet came was sign enough.

do not worry for my sadness. for in it there is a peace and an infinite joy and an even greater love, and the knowledge that he is the reason for all of it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011



(pentax k1000, fuji neopan 400, film)

on thursday you clung to me differently, not in your same manner. you came to me repeatedly, as if to give me a message. i think i knew, though my heart wanted to deny your intent. you would enter the room, ask me to join you on the floor. i would massage or scratch your back, whichever you seemed to prefer until you had enough and you'd return to your new spot in the house, your "hiding place", and i would leave you or watch you since you would turn from me if i approached you there (a new behavior). you were breathing heavier than before, but you didn't seem to be in any distress. i called J, our dear friend and trusted vet who offered to come out to the house to have a look at you. she came that evening and agreed you had changed since her last examination, 3 weeks prior. she told us that you were "uncomfortable" but that she felt confidant nothing was imminent. she said it was time though that we started to make a plan. i asked when, and she thought next week- which would have been today. i could not wrap my head around the thought of so few days left with you Buddy. she told me to call her if anything changed, or you seemed to worsen, as i had explained your nights were often worse than your days.

and then night came and rest would not find you my dearest and best friend. 2 hours up in bed between puffing and panting. i texted J who offered to come straight away to ease you from your tired body, but i told her i would try one of your pain pills first. it helped and you finally slept, but for only a handful of hours- far too few for any dog. at 5AM we were up again, you and i, and headed down for breakfast, a first for you: bacon and eggs. such a treat! you were exuberant (!) but paid the price with a good 15 minutes of panting after. eating is such hard work! we sat on the couch together in the dark silence, the cat jumping over us, startling us from our solitude. at some point i looked at you and said, "between you and me, i never much cared for that cat"...i think we sort of smiled at each other and i'll be damned if you didn't understand exactly what i'd just said. "because of you Buddy, i'm more a dog person now".

later that morning, ellis off to school, garth and i set about the privileges of doting on you and letting you have your space in your corner. you were able to lay down 2 or 3 times on the cold tile floor, but sleep would not come- soon you were up again, finding it hard to breath with your belly so swollen from the cancer and the tumors pressing on your chest. J, the vet, was set to come to the house at 4pm. A week with you had turned into one day, hours. was it selfish to want that one day?

At 1230 garth went out to find you lunch: ribs and beef, still another first. my plan was so shave the meet off the bone, knowing bones would be too hard for you to enjoy in your current condition. when he left the house, you came to me where i was resting on the couch, my eyes swollen and burning from lack of sleep and tears, and you asked to come up with me. there, you leaned your whole body into mine, rested your head on my side, and tried so hard to find rest. i stroked your head and looked at the clock and said, "soon Mister, not much longer now and your rest will come"... you lifted your head and looked at me and the panting started, your eyes half closed. my god how tired you looked just then. and i knew, in my very bones, this was your way of asking me not to make you wait any longer. this was your good-bye. so i picked up that phone and called, and they said they would come straight away. you spoke to me, you asked me to let you go, my friend. i learned later this was one of the greatest gifts i could give you.

(but not before we watched you enjoy that meal of beef and pork) :)

we set up your favorite blanket, the one you'd had since you came to me at 4 months. how tired you were Buddy. eventually cancer robs you of all your energy and strength, in one way or another. you couldn't lay down for the needle, finding it so hard to breath this way, so they used a back leg, the one you always kick out in front of you when you sit. i sat in front of you, holding your head as you settled all your weight into my hands, giving yourself to me. garth, as always, our support and our strength, behind me- his hand on my back, our energies fused, all 3 of us.

such trust there is between a dog and their person. the fear that flashed in your eyes quickly disappeared as i spoke to you and told you i loved you, over and over, and thanked you for the years you had given me. what a blessing you were you to me, to us. i thanked you for carrying me, for being my rock, for showing me the true meaning of love.

they injected the sedative first and for the first time in a month, you were breathing easily, and you gently laid your head down in my lap. i bent over you, covering my body over yours, kissing your ears, your muzzle, your eyes, your lips, my tears staining your face.

not even half of the euthanasia reached your vein before you so quietly, without any struggle, in such silence, took your last breath- there, with me holding you.

such pain & such healing, both- such grief & such gifts, both... all contained in this day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

from her heart


saturday morning, after we let Ransom go...

E: "Mama, you can sleep with my dog and you can hug him and put him under the covers because you miss Ransom"

Me: "Come here sweet pea" (scooping her up in my arms, shedding fresh tears) "That is so sweet. I would love to sleep with your little Ransom"

E: "Yeah because that will make you feel better"

The next day, when we were at the museum she looks up at me.

E: "Mama, my lips are red for KISSING" (big annunciation on this word, as it is very important in her vocabulary apparently)

Me: "Oh? They are? Well, just who are you going to kiss?"

E: "You Mama. They are red like Ariel. For kissing".

I must say that though grief and sadness have settled in my heart, she has her way of lifting my spirit so easily and in ways that often leave me in stitches.

Friday, July 1, 2011


October 20, 2003- July 1, 2011

my heart, buddy, was torn from my chest today as you laid your head
in my lap and took your last breaths- it was wrapped in your blanket beside you,
placed in the van and carried off to be cremated with you.

i know it will rise from the ashes. but right now, mister, let it burn alongside you.