I’m grateful for another easy day with Stellar. We have diminished his meds and supplements as of last night to purely palliative, and implemented belly-band use full time as of this afternoon. He was so busy trying to keep himself clean that he was starting to lick sores on the inside of his perpetually damp leg, and a bedsore was starting on his left hip. It was past time to escalate from pee pads. The belly-band keeps his legs and hips dry; without the need to lick obsessively he seems much calmer, which is also easier on me.
Today there was less mobility than yesterday, though I did manage to get him outside to his garden bed for a couple of hours midday, in the unseasonable warmth. I’m grateful for that bit of time outside in sunshine, and for his restful sleep most of the day. I’m grateful for another day to pay attention to Stellar past and present, remembering and cherishing his brief, sentient life. I’m grateful for support from a Buddhist friend for the course I’ve chosen for his transition, and grateful to be able to experience this as a natural transition rather than resisting, and turning it into a source of more suffering for me; and I’m grateful for the presence of mind to savor the lessons I’m learning during this extensive, existential, letting go.
Today, I’m grateful for the fullness of Sunday morning, all this beauty and adventure in the first hour awake. I’m grateful the day unfolded in peaceful ease, a little yarden work here, a little homework there, some housework mixed in, and a couple of zoom visits, including cocktails with Miss Sarah Belle: I’m grateful that the universe threw us together by chance 32 years ago and that she opted to open her great heart and mind to me. And, I’m grateful that I finally saw the mama phoebe pop her head up out of their fortified nest after he sang to her from the top of the birch tree. Life’s simple pleasures.
I’m so grateful to see bees of all stripes and colors back just today! Yesterday was too cold, and the day before they just weren’t here yet. Today, bees everywhere!
It was a joyous morning in the garden. I got a quarter of the seed potatoes planted, but the sprouts on the rest were too short. I’ve read several places they should be ¾ – 1″ long before going in the dirt, so I’ll wait til the rest are a bit stronger to plant them. Heading back to the house I spied the first bumblebee in the grape hyacinths, a big yellow one, but didn’t get the camera in time to capture her. I was immediately sidetracked from other garden tasks to hang out with the camera and chase bees: one of my favorite pastimes, still, seven years after I began photographing them. I’m grateful for this wondrous passion I never could have predicted.
I’m grateful for oncoming spring in the garden, and for precipitation that keeps nourishing the tiny bulbs pushing their flowers up here and there. I’m grateful to see the first leaves emerging from the forest floor, though most of the green shoots are weeds; I’m not sure what this little red cluster will become. I’m grateful for another day walking with Stellar among ancient junipers sculpted by centuries of seasons and stressors. I’m grateful for another day sculpting myself by choosing where I place my attention.
I’m grateful for another chance to try my hand at orange sticky buns, which turned out just as well the second time. The dough seemed really wet and was hard to maneuver, and there was a little too much filling (as if!) ~ but they baked beautifully. Anyone who might happen to come to prune my fruit trees in the next couple of days, or to deliver groceries ~ and I’m grateful for anyone who might! ~ will surely go home with some sticky buns. I’m grateful every day for where I live, for so many reasons. I’m grateful for good neighbors of all species.
Today, I’m grateful for thirteen years with the best dog and best companion ever. I posted a pictorial timeline when he was six, including lots of puppy pictures, and concluded it with “May we celebrate at least as many more together.” My wish came true, my concerns for his health over the past few years notwithstanding. Truly, my whole day will be spent in joyful reflection on his long and happy life. It was fun to do a search here, and look back on pictures and stories about him over the past eight years.
I wrote that last paragraph after midnight, when I truly intended to devote the entire day to celebrating Stellar’s birthday, and also to gathering a timeline of more recent photos. The morning went as planned… and on our third walk of the day I filmed some clips, came home, and made a little movie of it. It was beautiful! I even had a professional soundtrack consultation lined up with KGMR, for whom I’ve been grateful for 22 years.
Then, and I’m grateful that this was the worst thing to happen in my little world today, iMovie threw a fit. “Stellar’s Third Birthday Walk” essentially vanished. After two hours building the movie, an hour troubleshooting on my own, and two hours on Apple support (for which I’m grateful), it was determined that the permanent fix will be to reset this new computer to factory settings after backing up all data, and start from scratch: recapitulating the past three weeks of laborious steps to get the old-to-new computer transfer to the point it was this morning, only this time, without the wrenches in the works. Sigh. I am so grateful for the equanimity that mindfulness practice has given me.
I didn’t let any of this ruin my day, or Stellar’s birthday. Through the whole of it, he continued to get his walks and treats and lovies, and he never knew the difference. He didn’t care in the first place. It was my trip to make his day special and make a movie and bake him a cake — to make his day special for me. The cake did get baked, late, and he enjoyed it. He’ll be nibbling on it for a couple of days.
Now, after dinner, and cake, and a good rub all over, he rests sweetly snoring on his bed between me and the couch. Fire mellows in the woodstove. Breath pours in, shoulders release, body reevaluates its position, relaxes, settles. Meditation. The big day comes to a close with both of us replete, despite its turn toward “unexpected product behavior.”
That’s what Caleb called it: He sees it “a lot, but that’s because troubleshooting is my job. But the user rarely sees this, it’s very, very uncommon for this problem to arise.” I’m grateful I’m now able to ask, Why not me? with a shrug, a breath, a smile, a flexible shift in course and perspective. I’ll remake the movie tomorrow. I’m grateful that I discovered this rare computer malady three weeks into its life rather than months and many intricacies, passwords, and gigabytes later. It could have been worse.
I’m grateful that Stellar woke up on his thirteenth birthday in good health and spirits, that I relaxed and patience allowed me to let the day unfold as it did instead of as I’d planned, and that aside from accomplishing little else, I paid my companion the attention he was due on his biggest birthday ever.