One Year Ago.

5 05 2016

I stood in the kitchen that day, numb and empty. My hands moved, wiping counters, prepping food, washing dishes. The silence of the house was marred only by the ticking of the clock and my son’s breathing as he sat, iPod buds in ears, listening to his music.

Was it only a few hours before that our sweet Tutter lived and breathed? I had shed no real cathartic tears when his life left his body, as his head drooped heavy into my hands and his eyes closed. I gently held him, knowing his body was all that was left.

I was so proud of my kids that day, how they fiercely and defiantly wanted to be there, to be present for their sweet dog’s last moments. So that Tutter would know he was not alone, that he was loved and adored beyond measure. My motherly instinct to protect them from hurt was honestly understandable. But…. Oh how proud I was….That my kids, regardless of how heart-breakingly devastating it would be, knew that they both needed to be there.

We had all returned home after, and buried our family pet. And we all went our somber, separate ways for a while, to assess and try to begin to mourn.

I stood, looking about my sparkling kitchen and felt the dam break. I cried and cried. Nick stood in front of me, simply there, all that I needed at that moment while I wailed and sobbed.

I remember saying “I didn’t know it would be this hard.” And Nick nodded and came to me, arms outstretched to offer me love and comfort.

None of us knew how hard it would be.

For days, weeks and months, we healed slowly. We heard Tutter from time to time, pawing at the door, walking down the hallway, or scratching himself. I smelled him too and one time, while sitting by his grave that is tucked up under our birds-nest bush by the fish pond, I swear I felt him lean against my thigh.

Ghost Tutter was there and we celebrated that. As the hurt lessened, we began to feel lighthearted about the idea that his kind spirit lingered in our home.

Tutter, you were a good goddamn dog. You were one of the best. Not a single day goes by that we don’t think of you, mention you or just have you in our hearts. Thank you for giving us unconditional love, idiotic goofiness, tender protection and the sweetness of your devotion.

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I admit it.

18 02 2016

One time, when I was in grade 10, I was asked to join my English teacher in the hallway for a little chat.

I likely rolled my eyes at her, which she might not have actually even seen. You know, because of the blinding glare from my giant 80s glasses, reflecting the fluorescent lights above. My perfectly back-combed hair stood rigid above my brow, and I was wearing my favourite skin-tight pink dress. The same kind of dress that I’d like to think Christina Applegate’s character on Love and Marriage would have worn. What was her name?

Kelly. Kelly Bundy.

Anyways. I don’t really remember exactly why I was in trouble but I do know that I 100% deserved it. Whatever it was. Mouthing off in class, talking, being rude. Just a regular day for me.

I stood in front of her, as she stared up at me, her furious little face pinched in hatred and anger. As I looked down on her, me: 5’8″. Mrs. C:  5’2″ or maybe 5’3″… I remember that I crossed my arms and gave her my absolute best version of the  epic 15 year old bitch-ass teenage girl STARE DOWNS. Oh, you know the kind. The glare.  The pursed lips, the sullen eyes. The sighs. I stared her at her little face with the Dorothy Hammill bob. Oh my god, I hated that hair-do, and I kept staring her down. I knew she probably wanted to haul off and slap my face off my face.

She had had enough and said to me:

“Kristine, you are a little BITCH.”

And I.. I was all… I… she called me a bitch…. I said to myself. I was left open-mouthed in awe of her epic rudeness. How dare she?

After our altercation, I think I left class and went outside, I actually can’t remember what I did.

This memory popped into my mind this week after dealing with an issue about personal accountability with my kid.

I remember being so indignant, that Mrs C was in the wrong and that I was so fucking hard done by and that she was the little bitch, NOT ME… But I do remember a few years later, that I realized… HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS….

I was a LITTLE BITCH.

It opened up dialogue about owning up to our own short-comings in relationships we have with people in our lives. Sometimes, I think about some person who pissed me off and like 99% of the time, I grudgingly admit and silently recognize a part of me that contributed to the situation.. Just like we are part of good laughs among friends, we are equally a part of the negative shit too.

Well, it’s a journey I am no where near mastering, this is for sure. It’s tough as hell to admit when you’ve helped create the bad stuff. To admit what you’ve put into that circumstance. To accept responsibility.

But then you learn from it and move forward.

 





Krisitis. It’s contagious.

27 11 2015

If you don’t already know this mundane fact about me, I work as an MOA (medical office assistant) in a local doctor’s office. I work with a fantastic bunch of peeps, including a nurse Paula, who has quickly become a very sweet and dear friend of mine. She’s lovely, kind, supportive and lots of fun to work with.

The other day, she had a requisition to fax up to the hospital for a patient. As I was busy on the phone, she faxed it and then went to answer the other line when it started ringing.

As I chatted with the patient on the phone, I could hear my fax machine stop ringing and a voice say “Good morning, Kootenay Medical Center. This is Paula. Hello? Hello??” I leaned over and clicked the cancel fax button, as I realized Paula had faxed our office number and then answered her own fax.

I tried my best and failed miserably to not giggle uncontrollably while finishing up my own phone call, when she came back out to my desk, we both looked at each other and collapsed in a fit of guffaws.

After we both caught our breath, I told her she had caught a severe case of Krisitis and as a life-long sufferer, I advised her there was no known cure and she just had to deal with it.

Good times indeed.

 





Story time

31 10 2015

Living with kids has taught me one very valuable life lesson:

Sometimes, it’s just best not know certain things….

My darling daughter was in the kitchen the other evening, when she started to laugh and then said “Mom, I have something to tell you, but maybe I shouldn’t…”

My mind went Mom-anoid (paranoid mom thoughts) right away…. Oh god, what happened?? Drugs? Boys? A fight in school?

I told her she had to tell me now, she couldn’t leave me hanging like that.

And so she told me a little story:

Once, back in the spring, she was hungry and decided to have a bowl of yogurt. Now, I love me some yogurt and buy that shit in the biggest tubs available. And she hates that briney liquid that seeps to the top of it, so as she was attempting to pour out the liquid into the sink when BLOOP, the whole container of yogurt went with it.

She panicked. OH NO, Mom is gonna RAGE she thought, and started scooping up the yogurt with her hands, back into the container. She hastily rinsed out the evidence, stirred the yogurt up with aaaalllllll the yummy delicious sink bacteria and tossed it back in the fridge….

I (who by the way am the biggest germaphobe I know) remained oblivious,  and devoured my beloved and now contaminated sink-yogurt over the next few days, completely unaware of said crime.

I sat there, listening to this, my mouth hanging open in complete awe and disgust while she laughed her butt off. What else could I do at that time but laugh as well….

In closing, I’d like to thank my mom who ingrained in me the need to clean  my sink out on a regular basis, or otherwise I might have died a slow tortuous food-poisoning death…..

 





Tutter The Mutter 2003-2015

6 05 2015

The first thing he did when Dan brought him home almost 12 years ago was to rush into the back yard, jump up onto the picnic table, eat all the hot dogs, jump down, cover Nick with kisses, crap everywhere, jump up onto Elisabeth and knock her down, leaving her crying and scratched up, all in a whirlwind of puppy enthusiasm. Only later did we discover the mess he had “expelled” in the back seat of the truck.

Our four year old son hugged his daddy and said “Thank you” with such heartfelt sweetness, we knew we had made the right decision. And then Nick pronounced his name to be Tutter. (Borrowed from a character in a kid’s show called Bear in the Big Blue House. Tutter was the mouse.)

He was instantly part of the family. At no point did we hesitate bringing him places. He adored quad rides, sitting on the back seat with a smirk of pure glee as the wind rushed past his face. He loved the beach, discovering the wonders of fishing for minnows. He was the most pleasant beach dog, never laying on anyone’s towel or mooching potato chips…. Nope, Tutter would fish all day long, and then wander off to lay in the shade for a snooze.

He was great at catching mice and shrews, somewhat confused and disappointed when his new squeaky toy would stop squeaking. He’d bury his face in the snowdrifts to sniff, leaving his rear end sticking up in the air. He’d put up with the kids dressing him up in all sorts of humiliating garb. Always eager, always willing, always with his giant goofy grin.

He was a real asshole at times. Our fence couldn’t contain his eagerness for adventure: he would launch himself over the top with SuperDog ease in the eternal quest for excitement. We used to fantasize about a TutterCam strapped to his head so we could see what he did when we were gone. These escapades usually involved his best doggy friend Sage, who lived down below. I’d often get a phone call from Kristin, so I could yell into the phone to GO HOME TUTTER as she held her phone up to his stubborn ear. He dug a bazillion holes in the back yard and I’d curse his name…. He’d chew through leashes, chew his bedding, chew on picnic table legs, he’d take off, he’d jump on people, he drove me batshit insane…. But then, after about two years, he calmed down. He mellowed. He started to listen. And although I loved him before, I loved him even more as he was becoming in every truest sense, The Best Dog Ever.

He hiked with us, he camped with us, he went out countless walkies with us. He took us on a myriad of adventures, including the great duck debacle. He scared us with a possible nasal tumour five years ago and beat the odds, which we are ever so grateful for. (Impressing us too, with learning how to sneeze on command to clear his nose… ) His exuberant joy at seeing us after a long day lifted my heart every single time. No matter how crummy my day was, his love for me cheered me up.

He liked to cuddle up next to me if I was laying on the floor…. Yeah, my dog and I spooned a lot. He’d place his paw on my hand. He’d lay his face next to mine and sigh contentedly. He adored his kids, wanting to be by their side to play and protect. And for Dan, he was truly Man’s Best Friend. Trips to the farm to fix fences or cut firewood or early morning stints in the boat to catch Kokanee were their manly bonding times. He’d gaze up to Dan’s face, with a huge smile, his adoration shining in his sweet brown eyes.

If one of us took out the back massager, Tutter would run over and push you out of the way to claim his rights to being massaged first.

I can never express how much I love my dog and to those who aren’t “dog people” or “pet people”, I’ll let you in on a little secret….It is so absolutely and deeply fulfilling to have a relationship with a soul who is so completely devoted to you that they would lay down their life for you. The rewards are endless. In return, we gave Tutter the best life a dog could ever ask for.

His cancer grew quickly.Through diet and medication we were able to have a couple precious months with him since the diagnosis. But as he lay on the floor a couple days ago and moaned intermittently, we all took a deep soulful breath together as a family and chose to let him go in dignity and to release him from his pain. Our vet concurred and we spent one last lovely morning together with him. We showered him with love, reminding him again and again that he was the best damn dog ever.

Today, we gathered around, holding him with boundless love as he left his body to run free. Our family unit embraced this death with such bittersweet acceptance. The sadness is deep and undefinable. There is an emptiness in our home now as we all begin to carry forward into the next days, weeks and months, to grieve and remember our Tutter The Mutter.

I love you Tuts. I love you so much. Rest easy, big guy.

 

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The Eternal Quest

25 04 2015

Some set their life’s intention to seek a wiser existence. Some seek to find inner peace. Some look for the answer to the one question that puzzles us all: what is this life lived for?

Not I friends. Not I.

My quest is simpler than all of this.

I’m just looking for the perfect sugar bowl.

You see, I’ve broken a few sugar bowls in my day. And now, the addition of granite counters in my new kitchen has made this quest feel like a weekly expedition because I’ve broken two since the reno.

I went out one day and hit up every single store in Nelson I could think that might sell sugar bowls. It was like searching for the Holy Freaking Grail of Sweetener Holders.

NO ONE HAD A SUGAR BOWL. Not a single one.

I finally found one so ugly I wouldn’t have given it to my worst enemy for a joke. It was blue and orange, patterned like the worst mu-mu Mrs Roper ever wore on Three’s Company. It sat on the sale table, woefully bearing the orange sticker of clearance. It looked ashamed of itself, and frankly, I don’t blame it. Being desperate though, I bought it. The seal around the lid was awful and Dan found that sugar crystallized and formed little hard chunks in the bowl, which he would have to scrape out with his spoon to sweeten his morning cup of coffee.

I broke the handle off that bitch a week into owning it. My eternal quest continued, while we kept using this ugly broken INEFFICIENT sugar bowl.

A spur-of-the-moment trip to Kelowna last week excited me. As we drove, I imagined the plethora of sugar bowls we might find. The colours, the shapes, the unique style. I admit I was more excited than I should have been. But hey, a girl can dream.

I hit up Pier One, Urban Barn, Home Outfitters, Bed Bath and Beyond, and finally, Home Sense. Every single store had one plane Jane sugar bowl. I’m not kidding. The lack of choice was disheartening.

But finally, deflated, I walked around a corner and found this cute white and blue sugar bowl, with a delicate lid. I picked it up and realized it matched a set of dessert plates my sister had given me. Giddy, I caressed the smooth ceramic bowl, and looked at the price. $6.99!!!! WHAAAAAA????

I almost fainted. With a suppressed glee, I bought that sugar bowl, anxiously watching the clerk wrap it up with several layers of protective paper.

I place my purchase safely under the seat and we went merrily on our way.

Upon arrival at home the next night, I revealed the sugar bowl to Oooohs and Aaaahs from everyone. I tore the plastic wrap away and proceeded to drop the lid onto the counter, where it broke in two.

FML.

 





Hey kids, it’s story time….

1 04 2015

Long, long ago, I travelled to Italy to see an old high school buddy who had moved there when we were in grade 9. I stayed with her lovely family in Firenze (Florence), ate amazing food, witnessed mind-boggling art, met all of her fun friends, toured around Europe a wee bit, met my old pen-pal in France and stayed with her family for a couple weeks. I learned a few things about myself and, yeah, I admit, got a wee bit chunky from Maria’s (seriously amazing) risotto.

How fun that time of my life was…. It is, of course, glossed over in my memory’s rose-coloured glasses. I sadly realize a lot of things were lost on my red-neck 21 year old self…. Did I even try any good wine? Hell no. Did I take an Italian lover and spend long sensual nights (and days) in his bed? Sigh… nope…. I did, however, savagely learn heaps and bounds about the Renaissance and the deep and wondrous Italian heritage. I declared myself Italian in my heart, gazing for hours at the sculptures of the Masters. It ingrained in me a sense of TIME…. The house we stayed in was hundreds and hundreds of years old…. From our bedroom window, I could see the Duomo of Firenze grazed by the “fingers of God” as the sun set. The sky was different, the air was different. I was different.

When I left, they gave me some parting gifts. One was a bottle of red wine, called Nozzole. The label was a map of Firenze and the surrounding area, which included drawings of the house where I stayed. I vowed to only open that wine upon a VERY SPECIAL OCCASION. I placed it on its side in a dark dry closet and promptly forgot about it.

Special occasions galore came and went. Dan and I had our first baby. Then we got married. Then I turned 30 (but I was pregnant for the second time, soooooo). Then I had that baby…. I realized one day that I just needed to drink that goddamn bottle of wine, and that was right around the time my sister turned 30.

“Well, hot damn,” I thought to myself, “perfect excuse to crack this motherfucker open.”

We had a lovely dinner together, and I brought the bottle out.

“Are you sure?” Kim asked, feeling intimidated towards this bottle of wine. As if her 30th wasn’t good enough.

“I am so sure,” I said and removed the cork.

We let it breathe. And then we poured.

What poured out wasn’t the glistening blood red liquid of a fine Italian wine, the aromas and sensuality swirling around our heads… evoking images of piazzas, Italian cigarettes, dark eyed men, thousand year old stone villas and old olive tree orchards.

No. What poured out was a chunky, vinegary hot mess of a wine gone bad.  You guys… YOU GUYS…… IT WAS BROWN.

Kim and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. I admit we actually tried a wee bit and spat it out in the sink….

All those years stored away as a special occasion reward ended up as a candle holder in my bathroom.

And I enjoy it every chance I get.

 

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