May 12 – 15th 2003 & 2016

Stroke Awareness Month Tawpic for the day: Image-#1-for-5_12---Copy

“We believe what we tell ourselves.”  Hmmm.

After 43 years, I have to agree.  Nancy, my Buddhist Reiki Master, would talk about the “stories” that we tell ourselves.  She said that often we “have old tapes running in our heads.”  These powerful tales become truth. I became defined and limited by the stories I told me about me, and about life.  In 2003, my story was one of a warrior. I told myself to survive my stroke and rehab.  I defined myself as a fighter.  I fought and I won a couple rounds.  I didn’t die from the stroke.  And I drove again.  And I got my swallow back. But after a while, those tapes weren’t enough.  I existed in survival mode. The body healed but the spirit was sick and dying. Today life is very different: intentionally, on purpose and authored for joy on a daily basis.  The tapes are not old ones. And the stories I hear, make and tell myself, change daily.

Story I lived in April 2003:  Fight on Rachel!  Don’t give up! If you just get your swallow back, everything will be ok. Everything will go back to normal.

Story I lived in the rest of 2003 and beyond:  I can swallow.  I survived.  I did not get my life back. Everything is not ok. Nothing is the same except the mechanics. I am not a teacher.  I am not loveable.  I don’t know who I am.  I don’t like what I see.  Why did I have a stroke?  Why me? Why me?  When will this be over? Why can’t I just die?

Stories I live today:  Why not me, have a stroke?  I was saved for something.  How can I best be of service today? What can I create and share? What do I dare try today? What would my mentors and angels want me to do today?  I can be a better teacher.  I need more coffee.  I love my family.  What else can I make Blue for Stroke Awareness?  What should I bake today?

What are your stories?



May 12-15th 2003

I feel good about the work with Carole this week.  She did a lot of note taking.  She said there were many responses.  But now it is the weekend.  I am alone and there is no stimulation.  The Coumadin dose was upped from 12.5 mgs for the week to 12.5 alternating with 15mgs a day.  The blood is too slow.  That is not good, especially on the weekend when there is no one. On the feeding side, I am quite a professional.  It is good to have the mobility, not being attached to the Kangaroo.  Lola and I take short walks now, up and down our street 5 times a day.  She is my nurse and I follow her instructions.  She says that walkies are good.  So we do.  Ciro is spending a lot of time during the day on the porch relaxing in the sun.  It is good to see him relax a bit.  At night, he is right by me with Lola.  The two of them seem to take turns watching me.  It’s a good thing. My baby Zoebug is having a bout of her barfing.  Is there bulimia in the animal world?  She seems to have a good stretch, put on a bit of weight and then turn around and throw it all up til she is back to skin and bones.  Now is one of those times. I give her food and love and keep an eye on her.

Weekend nights are the hardest.  The sun seems to set earlier on the weekends, although scientifically I know that’s impossible.  The nights are so long anyway.  And there is no work with Carole during the days to get me tired or make me feel like I am doing anything. After the evening walkies with Lola and cookies given and a can slammed, then what?  More time to be alone and worry.  I check my pupils in the mirror a lot more now.  I check for even pupils.  I check for the pupils to react as I turn the bathroom lights off and on and off and on again.  I think I am doing ok.  But I am not sure. So I check a lot because I am alone for so long on the weekends.  No one would know if it came.  I want to be able to call 911 before I can’t speak or move.

Tonight I check an awful lot.  I just can’t get comfortable.  When it is time for my last can of the night, I head into the kitchen where I keep the cans.  I get it ready, undo my tube and pour it in.  As I say the “glug, glug, glug,” something happens.  Something was different.  Breathe. Breathe, Rachel.  Get your suction.  Where is the suction?  Grab the phone.  What just happened? I found the phone.  I have the suction.  I don’t need the suction.  My mouth is dry.  I don’t need the suction.  I said the “glug, glug,” and I think I swallowed. I think I did.  Did I?  Focus, Rachel.  You can do it!  Grab your suction in one hand and the phone in the other.  Be ready now.  Do it again.  I did it. I swallowed.  Yup, all the parts from the lips to the tongue, over the back of the mouth and down the throat, worked together to take that spit down the old fashioned way.  It feels so weird.  I better check my eyes.  Maybe I hurt something when I swallowed. Maybe it is right before the next stroke now.  Lights on and  Lights off.  Nope, the pupils are reacting fine.  I head back out to the kitchen, looking for Lola.  I stand very still and tell her to watch me.  I focus on the sequence, visualize the spit sliding down inside me.  And then, I do it.  I swear, that dog smiles at me.  I do it again and again.  I am smiling a lot and babbling to Lola.  Ciro and Zoe come to see what’s going on in the kitchen.

In my mind, I think about how I have to test out how good this swallow is.  Tonight I am the Freaky Strokey Frankenstein monster.  But I am the Scientist too.  It is middle of the night in my fortress.  I have to know. I mean, spit is one thing.  But what about food? Could I? Should I?  Of course I should.  I mean, why not?  If I can’t swallow something more, then I will just dig it out with my finger and suction.  I’ve got the tools for swallowing problems. I mean, what’s it gonna do to me if it doesn’t work? What do I have to lose?

I grab a can of formula and quickly slam it back down onto the counter.  Really Rachel? You are not going to break this fast with that crap, are you?  I guess it counts as sustenance.  It has kept you going.  But is it meant to be actually taken orally?  Nahhhhhhhhhhh.  So get something else.  And get it fast, before the swallow disappears again.  But what?  The cupboards and fridge are bare of food, except cat and dog food.  I haven’t had any need for food.  There is none.  Oh great. It’s the middle of the night, and I haven’t got any food.  I start pacing  around the house, rage and sorrow building.  It is night and the babies get excited by the laps I am doing.  But it is not play time.  Focus Rachel.  I stop in the dining room and breathe.  And there it is;  the answer to my prayers.  (Chocolate is the answer to just about any question imaginable.)  There is the stash of REAL English Cadbury Crème Eggs that my Dad brought me.  The set of 9 is complete, minus one.  I had my Godmother over two weeks ago and I asked her to eat one, enjoy, and tell me every last gosh darn detail of the experience.  She didn’t want to.  But I was losing hope of swallowing, it was egg season, I had the eggs, and she came to visit and I really had nothing else to offer her. She did it for me.  And she told me every touch and taste and smell detail from the foil wrapper, through to creamy milk chocolate with the yellow and white cream inside, not too sweet. Very thick and rich cream with the perfect thickness of chocolate covering the liquid heaven inside.  She walked me through the whole thing describing every single detail.  I knew at the time that she really didn’t want to, but did it for me, and I was so very grateful.

I had put the rest of the stash of 8 eggs on the big shelf of the built-in along with Ken’s Maple Syrup.  My sterling silver coffee service and favorite footed tea pot kept them company.  I went right to them.  I took a plate from the set of china.  And I moved to the dining room table behind me.  But I did not sit.  I stood strong.  I found the seam in the foil and gently peeled it back, carefully trying to get the foil off in one piece.  The chocolate underneath is smooth and perfect. There is not a nick or a ding on the egg.  Some eggs get bashed and damaged in transit, but not this one. I smell it all over.  There is the sweetest smell ever from Real Cadbury Crème Eggs.  Whenever I read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and Dahl describes the chocolate waterfall, the one that Augustus Gloop falls into, I KNOW what that smells like.  And I know what it tastes like.  It is this Egg. Every single Cadbury Crème Egg is consistently sublime.  It doesn’t change.  It never disappoints.

My mouth doesn’t open wide easily right now.  The muscles are all buggered. During my sessions with Carole, I stretch and get the mouth working good.  But right now I am not very patient.  I don’t really want to do the stretches.  I don’t even know if this will work, if I will work.  So I better cut the egg into pieces.  I get a small knife from the kitchen and bring it back to the egg on the china plate on the table.  I do sit down now.  I cut through the perfect thickness of chocolate once.  Now the egg is in two pieces.  My hands are shaking.  I stop cutting and tell myself to pull it together.  Calm.  I do and I take up the knife again.  I make another cut.  I do it right this time.  Well done.  Stop cutting and try Rachel.  Try to eat before the swallow goes again.  I put down the knife and pick up a small piece of the precious chocolate with a good sized dab of the crème on it.  I can smell it coming to me as I raise it up. I open the mouth and pop it in.  I shut my mouth and I stop thinking.  I stop planning.  I am not the scientist anymore.  I chew a bit.  And then I just swallow the creamy, chocolate, gooey goodness.  I do.  I do.  It goes right down.  But it does feel strange and the bits and bobs inside me are confused.  I do have to sort of tell it to keep going, all the way down to my tummy.  I think all of me forgot this thing called eating. When it is done, that one bite, I find that I am just sitting there in my dining room.  I have no idea how much time has passed since the first swallow.  I check the clock on the tv.  It is after 11.  And I notice how quiet the house is.  And the street beyond is quiet too.  Strange that it should be so silent there, when inside me there is so much life and noise right now. Regular folks are sleeping by now, even on the weekend I don’t see many lights on in the neighborhood.  I can’t sleep now.  I can’t rest.  I sit right back down at that table and eat that egg.  Carefully and methodically, I eat.  Slowly I make sure that I swallow each bite.  And I do it.  And now I look at the clock again. It has taken time to eat the egg.  It is after midnight.   It is a brand new day.  And today, I swallow.

I can’t settle down.  I can’t settle into bed.  I sit on the couch and watch TV.  I keep the suction near, just in case. So much is happened tonight.  And it is a good thing.  But I am not comforted. I feel a bit more uneasy than usual and I am not sure why. I know I am getting really tired and I know it is really late so eventually I crawl into bed and doze. When I wake up, I reach for the suction.  Then I remember and I try and I swallow again.  It still works.  I am still swallowing. I go to the kitchen and pour in a can of formula after I feed the babies.  I have to take the Coumadin, colase, etc.  They are in pill form.  I don’t dare try that maneuver. And I don’t try to drink the liquid canned formula either.  Liquids, I have learned from Carole, can be tricky to swallow.  I do what I know works and crush the pills and pour the can in my tube.

Today is Mother’s Day and I have to go over and visit Mom after church.  I am going to bring her some flowers.  And I will sit with her while she has lunch.  I take Lola with me, because hmmmm.  Why do I take her?  I need her.  I feel safe with her.  On the way over, I stop at Price Chopper to get the flowers.  I bring the suction with me in the car.  But I leave it there with Lola while I pop inside.  I have the tissues wadded in my hand if I need them, but so far, so good.  The flower department is right near the door on the left.  But as I walk in, I turn right.  I head straight past several aisles and then turn left onto aisle 9. I go halfway down the aisle, turn left and stop.  There in front of me are the little tubs of applesauce.  I pick up a pack.  Just one pack.  At the “home” and from Carole I have learned that applesauce is the right consistency for people with swallowing problems.  It is thick, but not too thick and thin, but not too thin.  It is not hot or cold, but room temp and that is the best.  It is bland and not spicy and that is the best too.  I have to try this out today.  I have to see if this swallow is real in the daylight. Now, I head for the flowers, totally unaware of what I buy.  I take the flowers and apple sauce to the register.  I check out.  As I am standing there at the counter, inside my head is screaming, “I can swallow.  I can do it. Yesterday and for so many yesterdays, I couldn’t.  But today I can.  And I am going to eat this applesauce. I will!”  But I don’t say a word out loud.  I know better.  A person yelling excitedly about being able to eat, essentially baby food, is likely a nut job.  I don’t want that right now.  I just want to be normal.  So I pay for the apple sauce and flowers and no one there knows.

Over at my Mom’s, I give her the card and flowers.  She is very appreciative and sets about getting a vase from the cupboard over the stove.  She picks the blue purple metalicky glass vase fills it with water. She is chatting to me about church, she saw Farmer Ken and he sends his best to me, while she trims the flower stalks and arranges them in the vase.  She cleans up the counter, throwing away the stalks and washing the knife and cutting board. She puts the flowers on the dining room table next to the two candlesticks in the center.  All the while I am thinking of the one tub of apple sauce that is inside my purse.  My purse is sitting on a chair in the corner of her dining room near the chair that I sit at.  I have a wad of tissues in my hand.  But I haven’t used it for my spit.  Very carefully and quietly, I have been swallowing my spit while she talks.  Focusing on the swallow is probably why I haven’t really heard much that she is saying.  My mom gets her lunch ready, bread and cheese and fruit are cut and arranged nicely on the plate.  I only brought one tub of applesauce into her house.  The rest are in the car.  Lola is under the table, hopeful that Mom will drop her or give her a bit of cheese or cracker.  As she is eating and chatting about the sermon at church, I get up and go to the kitchen.  I grab another tissue, but I also grab a spoon. I head back into the dining room and sit down on my chair, with my purse on my lap.  While Mom tells me about the hymns that they sang, I open my purse.  I put the apple sauce on my lap and the purse on the floor.  Without fuss or t-do, I put the tub on my placemat and begin peeling back the foil.  I am not sure when Mom notices what I am doing.  When she does she asks what I am doing.  I hear her in the distance, but I don’t look up.  And I answer that I am just going to show her something.  I dip the spoon into the tub and get some sauce on the spoon.  I lift the spoon, open my mouth, and in it goes.  And down it goes.  And now I look at Mom.  I think she was holding her breath.  Now she exhales and smiles.  Slowly and carefully I take my time, but I eat every drop of cool, smooth, sweet sauce inside that tub.

I tell her about what happened last night with the Cadbury Crème Egg.  I will call my Dad and tell him when I get home.  It has been 12 hours now and I am still swallowing.  I have eaten the egg and I have eaten the tub of applesauce.  It’s a good thing, right?  I look ok, right?  This is what I ask her and she asks me if I am ok doing this.  I am not sure.  But I have done it. I tell her what I know about applesauce being a good consistency for me to be eating.  She seems to accept that.  The chocolate egg, late at night, worries her a bit.  “Was that safe?” she asks.  I don’t know, but I see Carole first thing tomorrow morning.  If I am still swallowing then, she will take it from there.

After I am sure she thinks I am doing ok, I head home.  I really want to eat more applesauce.  I am not hungry.  But I want to taste the sauce. I want that sweet blob of sauce inside my mouth, on my tongue and inside my cheeks. I want to feel it move around and then send it rocketing down my throat.  I will not try anything else.  But I need to do that.

How do I tell my Dad this story?  I am still in doubt about what happened in the dark to me alone last night.  How could the swallow just switch on like that, in that moment?  I don’t believe in miracles. But it was gone and then it was there.  I can’t believe I ate the egg, except I can see the wrapper in my trash, and I was there. And are there magical healing properties in the English chocolate?  I mean it seemed to help my swallow on all fronts. And I can’t understand where the spit in my mouth has gone for the past 18 hours.  My Mom was floored by the applesauce and she saw me do it.  I saw the total shock and awe on her face.  The scene played out fine in one take.  It was right out of a thriller flick.  It is also an Easter resurrection story of sorts, complete with miracle.  But we are not a religious family. And this part of my story was sweeter and family friendly with the transatlantic traveled Cadbury Chocolate as the centerpiece. It is a fictional, wild, fairy tale to be sure.  And that is how it should be told.

I dialed the international code for England and followed with the cell phone number to reach my Dad and Step Mum on the boat.  With any luck, and I do believe in luck, they would be moored somewhere there was a signal.  “Ring Ring,”  trilled the line.   I had gotten across the Atlantic.  My Dad picked up and I launched in with my tale.  It was a dark and stormy night, I began.  Well it was dark, but not stormy, except inside my own body.  No, I was not so dramatic in the telling.  Last night, I told them, I got my swallow back.  And I wanted to eat.    I had to break the fast. But there was nothing in the house to eat, except for one thing.   I had the Cadbury Crème Eggs he had brought me at my hospital for Easter.  And that is exactly what I did.  I broke my fast with the only food I had at home, the good stuff, real chocolate that had crossed the Atlantic with my Dad, because it was Easter and that was our tradition. I heard him laugh and in my mind I saw him smile, with tears.   That was the story, the simple, inconceivable truth.




May 12th 2016,

Tale of Tears and Toenails

(A 6th grade Soap Opera-so says my “gem”)

As all good stories begin, once upon a time there was an exceptional 101 year old, neighborhood school in our fair city. And in that exceptional school, there was a sixth grade class nearing the very end of their elementary school career.  The lights of middle school loom large and bright.  Fear of the unknown, growing up and pimples, runs deep through every child.  And every child has been performing difficult deeds spanning many days, in the subjects of mathematics and literature to show the kingdom their level of academic prowess.  The tremendous trepidation of 7th grade, coupled with extreme exertion has made for some less than ladylike and gentlemanly behaviors.  Children have been seen doing and heard saying that which should not be, in school.  Respect for the Elder Esteemed Educator has waned.  Defiance is on the increase and due diligence to duty decreases daily.  The Elder Esteemed Educator (me), AKA E3,  has lost heart, been beat down, humiliated, ignored and is otherwise not feeling the good vibes right now from her young prodigies.

To illustrate this vibe is one of the daily conversations between E3 and sweet Shakespeare.  This wee one can’t be more than five years old.  Shakespeare and E3 meet at days end every day, when the wee one loads onto a great yellow carriage with a score of her fellows to go home for the night.  Each day the line, or lately lump, of children file up the carriage steps.  And each day Shakespeare stops the line and pauses.  She raises her thoughtful eyes to E3 and queries, “Miss, Did any of the youth say bad words to you today?”  She has heard about and indeed been witness to some foolish comments directed at E3.  This apparently insults her sweet sensibilities.  At first E3 would tell the wee one that she had indeed borne some discourteous language.  Then E3 changed her response to asking Shakespeare how her day was and had she done her best.  Both E3 and Shakespeare daily agree that they have done the right thing by their varied tasks.  E3 looks forward to the angelic face that always checks on her day, stopping a flood of fellows in their tracks and makes sure all is well for her endeared educator.

E3 greets each new morn with good heart puts her mind on the potential of the day.  E3 and the Greek Goddess coteacher, AKA the G2, valiantly lead the students through their day.  But the sassy and silly, brazen and bold behaviors of the many are taking their toll on our 2.  When the bell tolls at the end of day, E3 and G2 wearily, weakly and sadly stagger to their trusty steeds and ride off home for the night.  The evening is not one of rest for our two.  Love of home and family sees them on an endless journey in service of their beloved spouses, children, church and 4 leggeds.  Laundry, food shopping and meal preparation, cleaning, washing, teaching, organizing and activities of the beloved heirs fill the hours til sunset, and beyond.

After educating the youth, E3 ran home and changed clothes.  Water was grabbed, a quick cuddle given to Gus and the heir was picked up from his academy.  All celebrated with an hour at the park, soaking up sunshine and enjoying the fresh air with friends.  It was glorious.  When they returned to the Blue home, bedecked with bunting and lanterns of blue in honor of Brain Attack Awareness, the heir worked on homework dutifully.  E3 prepped supper for her family.  The 4 leggeds were fed and cuddled.  E3 bathed herself and supervised the heir.  She set about to finding and making a suitably divine double chocolate cookie as a Thank You for a coworker who had generously given our E3 her prize winning basket of canine goodies.  (Insert image of cookies and link to the recipe here.)

With this accomplished, she rounded up Ciro for his annual vet appointment.  The other four leggeds in the blue home, Gus and Rondo would have their visit tomorrow, together.  But the Green Eyed Elder, sweet love of E3, Ciro would go to the vet by himself.  This ensures complete attention of the new Doctor could be given, undivided, to himself.  The ride over the roads was a noisy one for E3 and Ciro as he howled a sad, desperate song in her ear for the duration.  Once at the vet, a mistake was discovered.  The visit was unnecessary.  There was no need for a needle today.  Elated and still in possession of her coins, the two went home and all in the Blue home enjoyed the marvelous meal of perfectly grilled Hamburgers and fixings. Ahhhhhh, bliss!

After supper, E3 and her Magnificent Man aka M2, relaxed and enjoyed a great Red Sox Game on the telly.  The heir to their throne came loudly upon them, crying pain and distress over the severe hangnail of the big toe on his left foot.  E3, tsssked the toe nail, for growing so long and breaking off so deep.  There would be pain for sure in the removal of the offending nail.  She offered the clippers.  She offered the scissors.  She offered to tear the nail right off. But each loving offer of help, was vehemently denied by the heir, repulsed even.  In fact, he exclaimed “Mom, I don’t TRUST you.”  What did he say?  What did he mean?  Oi, the knife in her maternal heart struck deep.  E3 excused herself and behind the closed door of the loo, she broke into sobs.  Hot tears ran down her face. Her shoulders wracked with the rejection.

But tears are not in E3’s nature.  She is, as one sweet friend often regales, “too blessed, to be depressed.”  This is true and E3 began to calm and collect herself with this awareness.  The muscles in E3’s face are another great reason not to weep, for they are spastic in nature after our dear lady endured a brain attack, years back.  When she weeps, the muscles in her face freeze and her visage contracts into a distorted, less than beautiful sight.  Before this dreadful event occurred, E3 took deep breaths and gave herself a “good talking to,” as her beloved Grandmamma Harriette of Cape Cod had taught her.  E3 weighed the day’s events, both home and school.  School had worn her down severely revealing an emotionally sensitive side rarely seen for our dear lady.  The heir had issued but one snide comment.  Her reaction was way too grandiose for the offense committed.  She was assured, in her heart and soul that the heir adored her.  Yes, on a daily basis, he would banter and word joust with E3 and M2.  To be sure, he was flexing his wings and often the result was sassy and stinging.  The safety and security ever present in our Blue home was felt by all who resided there. There was no question about that.  Fiery Personalities and Passion abounded, but always the root, was love.  And so E3 reflected that she must “check herself before she wrecked herself.”  This wise wordage adorned the walls of her classroom at school.  Tonight she, herself, would heed the wisdom that she oft quoted to the prodigies.

And sweet slumber fell over the Blue home.  On the morning of the 13th, E3 geared up for a good day.  Copious cups of coffee with cream filled her tank.  She kissed M2 and Gus, patted Ciro and Rondo, and after blowing the heir a kiss of luck, headed off to school.  Prodigies this day were at peak volume.  Undignified arguing was done by one usually, on the beam student.  Young Carter engaged in offensive word jousting against a much esteemed colleague of E3. Shocking.  Other prodigies were invading each other’s space and making a mockery overall of the days academic pursuits.  Sadness fell across the sixth grade of our exceptional school. It was barely an hour into the school day and a black cloud of less than coolness, shrouded our heroes once again.

E3 and G2 exchanged knowing looks across the school room.  The unity of their spirits gave E3 an idea.  Perchance, she might tell the prodigies a tale, of toe nails and tears. In the bleak desolation of this moment, would she bare her soul to the youth and risk the full rejection she had but sampled from the heir the night before?   Would the minute flicker of hope for peace inside her, be enough to bring forth a tale that might inspire the youth for better thoughts and deeds? She wavered for a moment and then began.  All youth closed their mathematics for the moment. E3 began to tell the tale, the very same tale I have shared with you, dear reader.  And with each sentence she quietly, carefully, gently and oh so honestly uttered, the black cloud lifted inch by inch.  “You see, my dear ones,” she said, “it is not enough to just get by and make it til the last day of school.”  Our next 23 days together are too precious to me and to you to dishonor them in this foul manner.  Each day is a gift and I have learned that things change on a dime.  If today is all I have, then I must enjoy and celebrate this day, with you.  I love my life.  And you are in my life.  And I do not just “get by.”  I am worth more than that.  I cannot afford to refuse the gift of today, when I am not guaranteed a tomorrow.  My brain attack has taught me this. So come along with me. Dear ones, you are nearing the end of this part of your childhood.  You can see that your life will be in your own hands fully, in a matter of mere years. This is terrifying and exhilarating for you, I know.  But do not continue to practice this basest of behaviors.  You know that I will not assess you the “mean” way.  You are not merely the average of all your day’s efforts.  You are a work in progress. You must do better for others, be better for yourself and strive for greatness in each breath.  That is a pursuit worthy of your time, and mine.”

The words were said.  The day continued with mathematics, literature, science and geography.  At day’s end E3 and Shakespeare met again before the great yellow carriage. “Miss, did the kids say bad things to you today?” she kindly queried.  This day, E3 smiled big, paused for a moment, and gently cupped the wee one’s face in her warm hand.  “No, my love, today was a gift we all enjoyed.”  The words were true and heartfelt.  With Shakespeare’s face still at hand, E3 inquired how her day had fared.  Had she heard bad words today or had it been fair?  The wee one answered, “No bad words did I hear, Miss.  But Saint Nicholas, my friend- the lad behind me in line- was not saintly at all.  He slapped me across the face. Indeed he did.”  With that, she uttered a hope for a better tomorrow and head held high, climbed the steps into her carriage, and headed for home.

E3 didn’t what to think about what Shakespeare said.  She was caught off guard.  Her own day had been so much improved from the previous.  There was a pink cloud of joy and peace around her.  This news startled her and darkened the pink cloud a bit.   The one comment was not enough to darken her spirits for long.   As she charged over the roads towards the Blue Home, she smiled.  This moment was to be cherished.  E3 had followed her heart and been true to her sensibilities.  Fueled by the strength of her convictions and with the support of her angels, goodness had triumphed over evil, for a bit.

The Blue home was again bustling with activities of the day.  There was so trip to the park for the young heir.  The promise of playing football with M2 after supper was enough to keep the lad on track without tantrum.  Homework was done, reading begun, and water and snack devoured with relative serenity.  Young heir prepared himself with uniform and belt for Tae Kwon Do.  The practice of which centered his energy, conditioned his body and regulated his spirit.  He awaited M2 to bring him to the studio.  E3 flew to the attic and got the cat carrier, dog harness, lead and several towels.  The back door was locked to limit the whereabouts of Rondo.  He hid in plain sight in the living room.  It didn’t work.  E3 scooped him up and jammed him into his carrier.  Cage door secured, Rondo began a whining discontented yowl.  Gus happily got into his harness and lead under the misidea that he was going for a walk.  The heir opened doors as E3 came forth with cat carrier in the left hand and dog lead in the right.  Three in the car hurried to the vet, one 2 legged and 2 four leggeds.  The heir waited at the Blue Home for M2.

At the vet, both were checked in.  “Do you have any concerns about Rondo?”  the tech queried.  “Rondo bags many bats from our attic.  But it seems to agree with him.  He is the picture of health.”  Notes were made in the file for the Doctor, while chuckles came forth steadily.

“Do you have any concerns today about Gus?”  the still smirking tech asked.  E3 lovingly began, “He’s our best puppy luppy.  We love him so.  He is not the more slender since last year.  And above his hips there is a large bubble.  It is not tender or seem to be a bother to our Gus. I worry a bit, but my beagle friends tell me, it is a beagle thing and not to be alarmed.”  Again, notes were made in the file for the Doctor, while the tech shook her head back and forth in bemusement.

E3 remained v. concerned about meeting the new vet.  What would she say about Rondo, AKA Batman?  Was he overly robust?  Was the onset of rabies imminent? Would she look shamefully at the girth of Gus?  Would she report E3 to the DDS (department of dog services) for the condition of his nails which remained untrimmed since the last annual visit?  Was it neglect?  What were the masses above the sweet Gus’s haunches?  How much would this cost?

Dr. V came in and led the visit and her meetings with E3’s beloveds with treats.  For each lovely she produced a suitable pillow on which they would lie while being examined.  And when the needle drew near, she distracted them with a sumptuous vittle.  Neither of my babies ate the treat then, but did appreciate the obvious sign of respect being given in the offering.  Both were marvelously behaved.

The results of the visit are as follows:

  • Rondo weighs a perfectly perfect 11.5 pds, up half a  pound from last year.
  • Rondo has the shiniest softest coat.
  • Rondo took his shots very well.
  • Rondo needed an extra booster of rabies shot as he will not cease and desist destroying bats.
  • Gus can be lifted onto an exam table by a mere mortal.  I saw it.
  • Gus gained 3 pounds from last year and weighed in at 46.3 pounds.
  • Gus’s weight gain went unmentioned and seemed to elicit no concern.  Therefore Gus is perfect, as we knew.
  • Gus’s bubbles and growths on haunch are not a problem.  They are and I quote, “his new love handles.”
  • Gus’s breed being beagle, apparently has a beloved and ever expanding sized status with the veterinary world.  The beagle is not held to similar health/weight standards.  I want to be a beagle.
  • Gus has almost no teeth left.  Evidently beagles don’t need teeth to gain weight.  Again, I tend towards a beagle.
  • Gus did extraordinarily well with his manicure and pedicure.  A true gentleman.
  • The bill did not make, me, E3 faint.

With glowing reviews and a clean bill of health, the 3 headed home for a supper of chicken and quinoa and green beans, oh my, with her Blue Home family, prepared by her mom.  Scrumptious.

Another was over and slumber beckoned.  All had exerted and all needed rest.  To bed with all!  Good night!

The new day would dawn and back to school E3 would go.  And the youth were back to the youthful tricks.  The moment of glee and peace was over.  The pink cloud passed, fueled by some preteen sass and attitude. The day was spent being truly human and wavering between acts of great kindness and mild baseness. Cellular Division was scholarly explored, but the volume of Rectangular Prisms, not so much.


Weekday exertions gave way to weekend celebrations.  The Blue Home celebrated the anniversary of the return of the swallow of the Brain Attack survivor, E3.  True to tradition,

We brought out the Real Cadbury Crème Eggs that have long since expired for eating, but not for admiring and due reverence for their magical and sacred powers.

We brought out the celebratory seltzer bottle, a truly blessed batch named “Unicorn Kisses,” The name is truly venerated by the family as a reference to a mystical, mythical beast, smooches of love,  and the most importantly as the name of E3’s father’s beloved Narrowboat, in England.

We brought out this year’s real Cadbury Easter EGG of the Dairy Milk, in purple majestic foiled splendor to devour on this blessed day.

And so, befitting the genre of our tale and the nature of our epic’s heroes, we can proclaim with confidence to all:  THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, just for TODAY!  (nowhere near THE END of their story.)



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