This One's Gonna Hurt

How else can you describe the loss of the woman that you’ve shared your bed with for more than a decade? No, Al is fine, but Sissy is gone. Al took her to the vet a couple of weeks ago for a routine checkup and discovered a Grade 4 heart murmur. The vet told us there was nothing we could do about it, and who knows how long she’ll last. I certainly thought it would be longer than 2 weeks.

I don’t understand people who don’t love dogs, and I’m not going to make some impassioned speech to try and convince them otherwise. I just feel sorry for them. I really do.

I come by this love for animals naturally. When talking to my dad and brother about Sissy, you can quickly see their eyes glaze over, reminiscing about those great ones from the past. It doesn’t take more than a couple of stories, a few strong memories, before everything gets misty and you have to immediately start talking about why the Cowboys missed the playoffs.

We drove to Longview last Thursday night, and at one point, both girls were asleep, and the car was quiet. Al leans over and asks, “Thinking about Sissy?”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because you haven’t said a word in over an hour. And your sunglasses aren’t really helping much in the dark.”

We talked for a minute about all the memories, and it was really kind of eerie. Out of all the memories, the one we both couldn’t shake was the picture below.

Coming home from the hospital with Little Miss CB, we were utterly clueless, and terrified. But as we came up, there was Sissy waiting on us. Excited to meet the newest member of the family, and for the next five and a half years they were inseparable.

CB learned a lesson throughout all this, we all did. It’s something about love. I can’t explain it, and won’t even try. I’ll leave that to someone a lot better than myself.

“‘Men,’ said Mr. Kyle, ‘people have been trying to understand dogs ever since the beginning of time. One never knows what they’ll do. You can read every day where a dog saved the life of a drowning child, or lay down his life for his master. Some people call this loyalty. I don’t. I may be wrong, but I call it love–the deepest kind of love.'”
– Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows

Life Imitating Art

The new season of 24 is back and I now have a reason to turn on the tv again.  However, something has me worried.  I was watching Obama’s speech last week on the economy and his proposed stimulus package, and I couldn’t help but start thinking about 24.

There have been numerous articles written about the pervasiveness of pop culture and how 24 helped pave the way for accepting our first Afircan-American president with the portrayal of David Palmer.

Problem is, I’d vote for President Palmer in a heartbeat, but everytime I see Obama behind a podium I always think of the other Palmer…Wayne.

That makes me a little nervous.

The Big Day

Where to begin?  The lead up to Christmas day always starts with a modeling session?

Prepping for church on Christmas Eve.  CB already has the footwork down.

The girls opened a few presents Christmas Eve including some new robes.

Maybe Nana Connie is having a little too much influence on MK’s fashion sense.

After an eternity of finally getting the kids to bed – the real Christmas Eve ritual begins – transforming your den into some sort of sweat shop assembly line – complete with shoddy construction and angry employees.

Al and Nana Connie came up with the “brilliant” idea of making the den a little more inaccesible until a more suitable hour on Christmas Morning – a good idea in theory.

“No, CB can read.  I’ll just leave her a note saying not to go in until Mommy and Daddy are up.”  PaPa mentioned that while CB may in fact be able to read the note, it would be a little difficult to read anything with MK hitting the wall at 40 mph.  PaPa was right.

One of my favorites… MK was so thrilled with her early morning Stocking haul that she refused to put anything down.  Sure, there were more presents to open, but if she couldn’t get to them with her toes or her teeth – then it would  just have to wait.

Al eventually convinced her to stray with the promise of  a princess dress…

Needless to say, it was a hit.

Incriminating evidence from the fireplace.

This might have been the one that put CB ove the edge.  She was simply amazed that such a thing existed.  She spent most of the morning wandering from the presents back to the footprint, looking up the chimney for any additional proof.  A nice touch, if I do say so myself.

All in all, a wonderful Christmas, aside from the fact that PaPa took me for two strokes a side in a little PS3 Tiger Woods action.  But, that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for.

Holiday Festivities

It’s all a matter of perspective.  Al is hounding me for being way behind on the blog, but I like to think of it as a way of merely extending the Christmas cheer.

Think about it, there’s all the holiday build up, the decorations, the Christmas music, the Peanut’s Christmas Special.  Then Christmas morning comes, and it’s all over.  Not so here.

A trip to Bethlehem.  What better way to get in the holiday mood.

Sure, you’ve got the Shepherds, Mary and Joseph, Baby Jesus…but the biggest hit of all was the Beep.  CB wasn’t too sure about it, but MK assured everyone that, “Beep don’t bite.”

I’ve read the story of Rebecca at the well numerous times, but never realized that it involved a Hot pink, knit cap.

From Bethlehem in Burnet to Zilker Park, the Trail of Lights was the next big Christmas attraction.

This was our first year to see the trail.  We almost made it last year, but left because of the crowds and the line to get in.

We managed to stick it out this year and actually made our way through.  Thanks in no small part to a random encounter at El Arroyo beforehand.  MK made friends with another two year old at the booth behind us, which led to Al’s discussion of the Trail of Lights and whether or not it was worth it with a two year old.  A few minutes later, the husband shows up with a VIP parking pass they had used earlier in the week.  He assured us that this was the only thing that did, in fact, make it worthwhile.  We stuck it on our windshield, bypassed thousands of other cars in line, and parked a few feet from the entrance.   He was right, that was the only thing that saved the trip for me.  That, and the twirling tree…

The tradition is to stand at the base of the enormous Zilker tree and look straight up at the lights while twirling in circles.   CB got a little extra boost (Note to self – 12 lbs. of Mexican food do not mix well with the twirling tree)

All in all, a good time – MK was so thrilled she promptly fell asleep.  However, both the Burnet trip and Zilker led Al and I to an important realization.  We are not crowd people.

Sure, the Bethlehem trip was incredible, but was it worth standing in line for 2 hours?  With a 5 year old and a 2 year old – not even close.  Not to mention the fact that once you get into the city walls, there’s so many people in there you can’t even move.  It might be an accurate representation of a crowded middle eastern city, but I spent more time looking for the exit than the Star of David.

Same way with the Trail of Lights.  An incredible sight to behold sure, but in much the same way a cattle drive of 10,000 head of cattle is incredible…something I’d like to see from a distance.  If it involves that many people in one place, count me out.

It was a great time, and we got some good pictures.  Hopefully good enough to convince the girls that next year we can just look back at last year’s pictures with some hot chocolate and a good fire.  Throw in some Smores, and I might have it sold.