Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Movin' On Up!

Today I was given the preliminary staffing report for next year. Sadly, I am no longer in 3rd grade.

Had you going for a second didn't I? What I meant was, wait let me step down from my dancing position on the table where I've been ever since I heard the news, I'm moving on up to 5th grade. 5th grade language arts to be specific.

How do I feel about that you ask? Let me get back up on the table and show you with my lyrical dance routine I've entitled "Bliss!"

Passion for teaching....I'm back!!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

That Girl!

It appears I've become "that girl."

Today I met M-Cat for a run after work. We have developed a not optional approach to our runs so when it was 38 degrees and raining sideways, we didn't give it a second thought. Well, we didn't give it a second choice. Today through some freak of nature I really, really enjoyed the run. I was borderline giddy. M-Cat on the other hand was actually the complainer. This has never happened before. Normally that's my role. Not today though, I loved every soaking wet and freezing cold step of our run. I wasn't even annoyed when we had to turn around and retrace our steps because we had miscalculated our mileage so we didn't hit the magical 3 mile mark. I was glad we had a few more minutes. Sorry M-Cat, but it was great!

Then, as we finished up our run I accosted a former co-worker of Sean's just so I could pet her dogs. Yes, being dogless has turned me into that freak that hangs around the parking lot a little longer than I should, just so I can have the opportunity to pet someone's dog. I hope I don't show up on Craig's list with a warning as some freak in town. No one wants to be that girl!

Anyway, thanks once again Ms. Crankypants for the excellent run. Thanks Suzy for letting me pet the dogs. Both of you made my day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

4 Miles and a Double Rainbow

Today I ran 4 miles. 4.1 to be exact. Later on I looked outside and saw a double rainbow. That's got to mean things are going to get better eventually right?

4 miles.

Thanks Melinda!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rainbows and Paw Prints

Today I picked up my dog Rogue from the vet. I've been there a million times before, but this time it was all I could do to pull into the parking lot. As I turned off the car I wondered if I could make it through the door. Much to my surprise I actually got to the receptionist. She took one look at me and said "Ok, here for Rogue then?" Wow, I thought to myself, they really are hardened here aren't they? I then noticed her face go from regular color to white as she realized that my pick up was anything but routine. She stumbled over her words as she said "I'm so, so sorry, I just realized, it just came out."

That's the thing about death. Life keeps going on all around you. Time doesn't stop even though there are those moments when you feel like it should. You desperately wish that it would so that you could just breathe again, find your footing and move forward.

Last weekend I found myself desperately searching rescue organizations and humane societies for hope. If I could just find something to fill this hole inside my heart, then maybe I wouldn't feel so broken anymore. Sean quickly put the brakes on my plans. I was wrong and I know it too.

As I was reading a whole host of blogs I like a few days ago I came across one written by a woman who had recently suffered a terrible loss in her life. In it she wrote about the empty feeling death leaves behind and how she had been searching for something to fill it up again, but then realized that you can't fill it up with things. There are no substitutes for going through the grief process. There are no fixes for it. It's brutal, raw and hell. But only truly going through it can get you to the other side of the pain.

And so as I unpacked the bag of things sent home with my beloved dog, I wept. As I moved the medicine bottles, the leash, my favorite collar and a tin with all that I have left of him, I found three precious gifts. The first was a beautiful copy of "Rainbow Bridge", which is reproduced any time one loses a pet, but it gives me hope none the less. The idea that Rogue is out there romping round just waiting to see me again gives me peace. Second was a card filled with hand written notes from all his caregivers at the vet school. As I read through them I realized that Sean and I are not the only ones who are grieving for him. We are not alone in our journey. I will carry their words with me always. Finally, there was a beautiful paw print done in clay. It will hang on my wall as a reminder of our loyal friend who will remain in our hearts forever.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bad Choices

I'm always telling my kids to make a better choice. I question them on the choices they make, asking them if it's a good choice or not. Everyone wants to have a sense of control over their life. Sometimes the choices we make aren't the best. We all do it, hit the snooze button when we really should get up. Leave the house when the good choice would be to stay home and pick it up. You know the drill. I'm the queen of avoidance and I know it. It's not a good choice for me, but sometimes I do it anyway.

Like tonight when I made a bad choice and picked a fight. Why did I do it? Because I was pissed off in the first place. But rather than address the actual issues pissing me off I just acted like a brat until I pushed too far and now no one is happy. Good times.

I don't like conflict so I tend to avoid it like the plague. The problem with not facing issues head on is that they blow up in your face later on. What is a small problem becomes a large one the longer you roll it around in your head. The human mind has an uncanny ability to take a little problem and make it feel like a big one. If you're not careful, you just may create yourself a big problem.

So for now I will let things lie where they are. I'm learning that it's ok to just be mad sometimes and that once things have been said that sometimes it's best to leave them out there rather than poke at them even more.

Bad choices can be a real bitch sometimes. However, hopefully in the end we grow from them and are less likely to travel down the same road twice. I'm a slow learner though so that remains to be seen.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Reflections

What a long week this was. Seems when we have a short work week the kids always make up for it with their wild behavior. However, I did see something new in my students this week. Brief glimpses of 3rd graders. I know it is late in the year to be seeing 3rd grade behavior and rather they should be moving to 4th, but this is not your average group of kids. Every now and then my batch of monkeys pulls it together and surprises me. Recently it has happened more often that ever before. It restores my hope in humanity.

I have another three day weekend coming up and while there is tons of grad school work to do, I'm looking forward to weaving some fun in there as well. After all, without the fun there is no life in my life.

I think I'll start now by heading off to the OSU gymnastics Pink Out! Go Beavs!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Learning to Breathe Again

It has been pretty low key around the Ross house since we lost Rogue ten days ago. Nothing feels quite right, although it is slowly getting better. This weekend we decided to take a step back out into life and see how the rest of the world is doing out there. Turns out that life has been going on as expected. We decided the best way to re-enter normal life was to start with the things we love. So we did.

We began with our favorite local hike. We hiked to the top of Bald Hill. It was a popular spot since it was a February day without any rain. My arms length photo skills have gone down hill, but still you get the idea. The view was beautiful and it felt good to breathe. We enjoyed it so much we decided to continue with another one of our favorite things.

Wine tasting! Lumos, a vineyard we discovered over Thanksgiving weekend had a special Valentines Day tasting at their cabin in the woods. It was adorable and the wine was delicious. We even bumped into a friend there, which was nice to see. I love wine tasting, period, but I really love it when you have a stunning location in which to do it. The tasting came with a long stem rose for the ladies in attendance. Not sure how I got one!

Yes, that's mine in a water bottle I had from the gym in the car. Super romantic!

Armed with two successful treks, we threw caution to the wind and went crazy.

No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. This is a monkey birthday cupcake. Yes, on our first outing since the death of our own fur son, we trekked to a child's birthday party, at a pizza joint. Cause we love kids and we love pizza palaces. Ok, not really. But we do love Erin, Luis and Mateo so it was a no brainer that we would attend Sir Mateo's first birthday party. Plus, the cupcake was such a bonus because Erin is not only an amazing baker, but she is the most creative cake decorator I know. This cupcake tasted as delicious as it is cute. Seriously. All that talent and a cute kid too. Jeez, some people get all the luck.

After that we were pretty worn out. There is only so much fun the Ross' can have at this stage of the game. Really we should pace ourselves.

Does the pain still take our breath away? Yes, it does. But with each new day we are learning to breathe again too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

For Love

His name was Moses and we were drawn to him by his golden eyes. His foster Mom said he was an old soul and needed someone special. It was too soon after our previous dog Lucky's death to be looking again, but as I searched Border Collie Rescue's available dogs, my hope grew and the hole begin to fill with anticipation. Sean said it was too soon, he was probably right but in the end, over breakfast, we decided to make the drive back up to his foster family and bring Moses home.

Not being old testament kind of folks, we changed his name and Rogue began his life as a member of the Ross family. Early on we knew he would live up to his name. He was a genetic nightmare. From teeth not coming in right to bad hips, Rogue started his life with medical issue after medical issue. He had multiple surgeries to fix problems in his intestines, some caused by his love of all things not digestible, to his never definitively diagnosed malfunctioning intestines.

Through it all Rogue remained friends with all he met. He would walk into the vet clinic with the same swagger and excitement as at Gram's dog park. He was greeted everywhere he went like Norm on Cheers. Receptionists left their post to come and give him love. Through all he went through Rogue remained happy and always ready to shower any human with tail wags. His attitude was infectious.

He taught us so much about bravery, and about love. He taught us unconditional love doesn't measure anything. It just takes each day as it comes and finds the silver lining in all the day presents. He taught us that a stuffed mouse can be fun, that a half mile run is better than no run at all and that there is always, always, always time for ear scritches and nose kisses.

Losing a friend never comes at a good time. There is never enough time, however long we have. For our life with Rogue that time was only 7 years. Unfortunately, a little genetic misfit can only use so many miracles until he doesn't have any left. This past Wednesday, we lost him. I guess his foster mom was right and he was an old soul to make up for the short life he would have.

We are heartbroken. The mice lay on the floor, un-thrown. I can not yet bring myself to run our half mile loop. When I come home from work there is no dancing feet, tapping the tune of my heart. Rather there is silence. Cold empty silence. I know time will heal the hurt. When the pain was most raw Sean turned to me and said "why do we do this to ourselves?" to which I replied "for love, we do it for love."

Yesterday we received a card in the mail from dear friends who too went through this last year themselves. They finished their hand written notes with advice as given by

Dr. Seuss:
"Do not cry because it's over, Smile because it happened."

Rogue happened. He happened to us so that an amazing dog could have a chance at an amazing life. I hope that he got as much out of our time together as we did. I look forward to the day that the tears are replaced by smiles.