Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Take me home to the ball-game...


I cant believe it's almost over.

At least the calendar is gentle this year, and Labor Day comes
a little later than normal.

I have had a great summer,
really I have.

Despite the challenges, it has been lovely
to take the time to slow down
and do the things I did as a kid.

And in typical child-like fashion,
I am finding myself making a mad-dash to
get in a few more summer-fun activites
before the official start of the 'school-year'.

(even though I haven't been in school
for nearly a decade,
my brain still focuses on
freshly-sharpened pencils
and starts preparing my annual
Pumpkin Carving party at Halloween,
while my hands start leafing through cookbooks
looking for roast recipes)

One of these such immediate summer activities
was to go, without notice,
to the Dodger game on Sunday.

(ok, well NOT a DODGER game,
really a CUBS game, but dont tell my fellow
Angelenos that that is REALLY why I went)

I remember summers in Chicago

(we didn't live there, but it was my first introduction
to a big city, and is still, minus the weather,

when we used to slather on the sunscreen,
grab a hot dog,
and watch the Cubbies at the most perfect ballpark in history:

Wrigley Field.


I was overcome
even then,
by the amazing aesthetic of such a remarkable place;
you could SMELL the history in the wooden bleachers,
and I was spellbound by the romance of
the 1913-built field,
with its ivy-covered outfield walls
(planted in 1937)
and un-duplicated anywhere in the league
rooftop seats,
making it, to me, like a very large, magical, back-yard.

*the nearby apartment building's rooftop seats
have always seemed like a special club to me,
and I fantasized as a child about living there someday...

I was pleased to see that the architect's name was
Zachary Taylor Davis
(mine is Ryann Taylor Davis,
preceded by my Grandfather, Carmen Taylor Davis)
so maybe I am connected, somehow,
to this great legacy,
and my cells just KNOW they belong there...
(my grandfather WAS an active part of the Teamsters
in the Chicago area, afterall.)

I hadn't been to a baseball game since I was 12,
and being back, watching the first all-American sport
was a coming home.

I had a wonderful time,
even if we WERE at Dodger Stadium
(which is actually very beautiful as well.)

*Gordy, a Dodger fan, and I, at the game...
he was mortified to be seen with me in my Cubbies regalia...

It has to be noted
that as we arrived late to a tied game,
Dodgers/Cubs 1-1...
the second I sat down at the bottom of the 3rd,
hot dog in hand,
the Cubs started to win.

And they did.

Guess they knew I was 'home'.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Visions of Sugar Plums...

So I'm finding myself getting back to ME today.

Grief is a funny thing,
it comes in these gentle waves
(which I've found best not to resist)
and I'm surprised to find that what is really coming up for me
is gratitude,
not sadness.

I picked up Benji's ashes today.
They came in a little handmade oak box,
which is now sitting on the bookcase
in front of my vision board.

I have a vision for my life.

It includes
loyal (well-behaved) animals,
honest, dear friends,
a strong, spiritual man,
delicious children,
a beautiful place to live,
and an abundance of
delicious food,
interior design,
TV hosting,
and travel.
(to name a few)

And although this week has presented a great deal of loss,
I am aware of how blessed I truly am.

And am grateful
for the fact that I am living my way
into my vision,
right now, in real time, today.

Despite the challenges,
the loss,
the changes.

I have it really good.

Also on my vision board
is a photo of George Clooney,
in a bathing suit,
on a Chris Craft boat,
at his villa in Lake Como, Italy.

*Hello, Sugar Plum.

Hey, a girl's gotta have vision.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

After the Agony, the Laundry...

So, he's gone.

Tuesday morning I woke up before dawn,
and sat outside with him as the sun came up on his last day with us.

It was a chilly morning,
and we snuggled together listening to the birds start their day,
enjoying our last moments together.

It was hard. To watch him leave us.

But he handled it beautifully,
and I sang to him and rubbed his ears as he gently passed away.

The last couple of days have been weird.
No herbs or pills, no rushing home to make sure he's alright.

It's been calm.
And I know this is what he wanted for me.
To have calm back in my life.

He thanked me, with his eyes, as he went.
For all that I had done,
all the love we shared,
and for making him comfortable these last weeks.

And so as sad as I am,
as hard as it is to not see him wagging his tail
when I walk through the door,

there is peace.

And he is ok.

And so am I.

And so, now, with a new appreciation for all that I have,
all that I am,
and all that I do,
it's back to life.

I am grateful.
For my health and heart,
"The Farm",
the sweet cottage on Hudson,
a fridge full of food,
fresh laundry (with new sheets on the bed),
my incredible life's work,
and the amazing people in my life (including YOU).

And although we all miss him,
"The Farm" is thrilled to have 'me' back.

*Pippa Squeak, Cricket Magoo, and Figueroa


It's good to be 'home'.

To Benji-man Button,
wherever you are:
Thank you for being a part of this family,
for making us smile every single day,
and for leaving us with such grace.


We miss you.
Rest, my love, in peace.


Monday, August 17, 2009

You're too much.

So today, we went to the beach.

I couldn't let him go without saying goodbye
to one of his favorite places.

I wondered if taking him was a bit too much.
If I was just willing him to be better than he really is.

I was stunned at the way his energy perked up
the second we arrived,
and how he dragged me, pulled me, down the beach
further and further
until I inevitably had to carry him back to the car.

*"MOM, lets GO..."

Sitting there, on the beach with him,
the cloudy sky holding us both in the breeze,
as we snuggled close,
was a moment I will never forget.


I realize now that it was the best thing for him,
and for me,
to get out, see the vastness of the ocean,
witness its natural ebb and flow,
like life,
and feel comforted by the warm sand under my toes,
and the life breathed into my boy
for that short time.

For an hour, he was a puppy again.

And I am so grateful to have witnessed it.

THAT is how I will remember him,
how I will hold him in my heart.

I made peace with losing him today.
Watching him lay in the sand,
with the breeze on his face,
is how he will always be to me.

And a great lesson was learned:
It is never too much
or too late,
one is never too busy
to take the time
to create the memories we hold most dear.

And I'm forever grateful.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Time Traveling Dog.

Benji is still hanging in there,
although they say Lymphoma is going to take him from us soon.

*Sweet Bear

We've been doing acupuncture twice a week
and he is on Chinese herbs as well.
Our goal is to keep him comfortable and supported as he makes his transition.

As challenging as it's been to know
that we are going to lose him,
its been really nice to lay low with him,
and enjoy our last summer together.

We've read The Time Traveler's Wife
from cover to cover
(536 pages of yummy- please DO read it if you haven't)
and seen the subsequent movie.

*Eric Bana is SO delicious.

(Ben stayed home for that one, but
I'm sure he would have liked the book better, as I did, anyway.)

We've done a 1000 piece puzzle...

*our first one was of an East-Coast seaside town

and started a 2nd.

We've caught up on a few months worth of shelter mags
(the July issue of British Homes and Gardens is immaculate-
we especially love Ian Mankin's new
Organic Linen Union ticking)

*Perfect organic doggy-bed fabric

(Benji informed me he'd like a new dog bed
fashioned out of the 'Night' colorway)

and of course we've managed to take a nap or ten.

In order to take care of myself,
and stay above water, as they say, in this trying time,
I have really gotten back to basics:
lazy summer days, light simple meals
(I made grilled farmer's market peaches that were to DIE for,)
the people that I love.

They've all come around to let us know we are loved,
and to make sure he knows how special he is to all of us.
And he does, I think. He knows.

Maybe he can come back to visit some day,
on a time travel mission,
and we can do a puzzle and grill some drumsticks.
(his favorite)

Until then, I'm thrilled to have my boy by my side,
as we take this one moment at a time,
and cherish the time that we have together.

I'll never forget what a great summer Benji has given me.

I hope you're enjoying yours as much as we are.


Grilled Peaches:
(thanks Martha)

Peel, halve and pit 8 fresh peaches.

Preheat grill to high.
Combine the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon veg oil in a bowl.
Add peaches; toss to coat.
Place peaches (with liquid) on a large piece of
parchment-lined foil.

Stir together:
1.5 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt.

Brush over peaches, fold foil to form a packet, crimping edges to seal.
Grill, covered for 15 mins.

Slice peaches, divide among 8 bowls,
and let cool for 5 mins.

Top with vanilla ice cream and serve.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Life is but a dream...

What a challenging few weeks its been.

Poor Benji-man Button has been very sick,

and after several vet visits,
numerous tests,
and an acupuncture session,

we are finally seeing some improvement in the little bear.

I cannot tell you how attached I have become to the sweet man.

And how being with him, while he is ill,
praying to whatever is out there
that he WILL make it,
that he will be fine,
has really brought me down a level.

Why, I wonder, is it always the threat of tragedy
that brings us to our knees,
to help us appreciate the sum of tiny miracles that is our
perfectly precious lives?

A cup of coffee hasn't tasted this good in a while,
just the aroma, the swirl of the cream,
the perfect dollop of sweet honey,

and sitting outside to watch the sun rise over the horizon,
highlighting one of the greatest cities in the world,
that I am privileged enough to
be a participating resident of.

It isn't the easiest, however,
to have light shed upon how perfectly transient this all is,
to have the notion of 'How important is it, really?'
be at the forefront of your mind at every moment.

The challenge lies in how lonely this begins to feel
when nearly everyone around you
is SO committed to the
lives they have created, and the importance
of every last detail,
where, to me, for today,

its just not.

Its just not that important.

Most of it.

What matters to me today:
Hearing him breathe,
watching him drink water,
being SO overcome with joy
when he eats a BITE of chicken,
that its almost as if he had started
reciting Shakespeare.

I've always known it was the little things that gave me so much joy.

That's what this blog has been for me,
a place to share, with you, the teeniest little pieces
of my innermost awe.

And for today,
my life,
as it is,
with Benji sleeping soundly beside me,
healing deeply,
is so much more than I could ever hope for.

Thank you for being here to share it with me.