Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday evening at the university library

I've been meaning to spend more time at our university library and recent circumstances have allowed more time for doing work there instead of at home. Much to my surprise, I not only found 5 or 6 interesting new books, I found more like 25. I just immersed myself knowing that I couldn't focus on any one thing for very long anyway. Lots of 20th century history along with blogging, podcasting, and education books had arrived on our shelves. I also worked on an Eleanor Roosevelt encyclopedia entry. I hope to do some research in our special collections and in the records annex for the county historical society nearby (in my hometown across the state line).

Today I'm off to DC for a National Archives electronic records meeting. It will be good to be away and engaged and learning and interacting with fellow professionals as well as many who are leading the way into the digital future.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Harder than I thought

Yesterday was harder than I thought and was quite a challenge. I wanted to spend some time at home so I can get used to not having Shadow here. I did get in a walk/run around the neighborhood. As I progressed through the oddly-configured area, I realized it was last spring when Shadow was last able to walk the whole thing with me. I guess I just thought I would have longer with him and he was older sooner than I was willing to acknowledge - even as I was adapting what he could do and enjoying other aspects of his aging and "calming down," I didn't want to acknowledge that meant that I was closer to losing him. I'll go to the office today and not worry about how long I am gone and leaving for DC tomorrow will be easier.

Shadow used to always get upset when I would pack so I usually put off packing to the morning of the trip. When I went to Chicago two weeks ago, I was able to get clothes organized with his being on the bed and, since I'd been changing closests that week, he didn't seem to connect it without the suitcase out - usually he's laying right in the middle of the clothes and I dont think he did this time. He used to even try to lay in the suitcase, cute little guy.

I'm surprised I'm sleeping okay although I did wake up before 5am this morning panicking because I couldn't find Shadow and thought he had fallen off the bed. It took a few minutes to wake up to realize I wouldn't find him even on the floor. Since I knew I would be exhausted not only today but for my trip tomorrow, I allowed myself the option of just going back to sleep and although that has made this morning more hectic, it was well worth it. (Reading and writing blog entries is part of the normalizing of my routine I'm trying to keep in place since this is the first morning of "business as usual" since I took him to Doc on Wednesday.

I'll just have to keep remembering the good times.

In the meantime, the grading fairy is overdue on her visit to my house and I have grades to discuss this afternoon along with an important meeting.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday morning

The first Sunday morning without my little man . .. . went to get the newspaper at the nearby convenience store. It's been awhile since we could walk there together. The cold winter weather first hit on Wednesday and, in hindsight, given that Shadow had little reaction to it given his frail condition, it only confirmed that it was time for him to go. The last morning I woke up here, I was taking him to the vet knowing in the back of my mind it was time to let him go but wanting Doc to confirm it.

I knew once the activity of Thanksgiving had subsided, it would be a bit more difficult. But I have plenty of work that needs to be done before I leave for DC on Tuesday and needing to focus on those projects plus the grading that needs to be done will probably be what gets me through. Part of me is glad I"m really busy for the next month and part of me wants to just "check out". The closest emotional proximity I have is the two serious boyfriends leaving and, for the last one, I was paralyzed for several months. So, I am dealing much better with this but this morning my heart literally aches. I cleaned out the dishwasher and there were numerous dishes I had pulled out to help him eat since getting food out of his bowl was increasingly harder. I know it will just take time.

Last Sunday I was in Chicago and had the CBS Sunday morning show on in the background. I've been listening to NPR on Sunday mornings for most of this summer and fall but couldn't bear it this morning given the pet show that is one each Sunday. But I didn't realize that our local CBS station broadcasts a church instead of the CBS Morning Show with Charles Osgood. And, of course, this is the network we don't get a "double" of from Kansas City. I'll have to see what I can find online.

It's a cloudy day with rain/snow possible later. I know it is a blessing that Shadow went when he did given that the cold weather would be quite hard on him. His not reacting to it Wednesday am was yet another sign he was ready to go. My friend in Minnesota has had the test results come back on her family's 12 1/2 year old dog and the spot on his leg is cancerous. Operating on him would only cripple him and the cancer may not be what gets him given his age and they have decided to just let him live as full a life as possible even if it possibly ends up being for a shorter end of time. We met online within a year or two of getting our dogs - (the age difference is that Shadow was 2 when I got him and they adopted Freddie as a pup) - but it is sad we're losing both of them at the same time.

I did take the neighbors up on their offer of coming over to pet their dog - a quite hyper Corgi and then I took him on a walk. I discovered he hasn't learned to walk on a leash yet without tripping the person walking him and it takes much more strength to hold onto him than it did Shadow - esp. given that he doesn't understand the retractable leash - so I will have to look up how to work on that.

I went over to June's last night and had fun with Gracie - who is usually so hyper with company there. I did what I had heard about dogs jumping on you and turned around until she sat quietly for me to pet her. She was so cute. I could "talk" to her more easily.

I know I will get through today - it just seems like a huge challenge right now. I keep reminding myself Shadow is in a better place and probably up keeping Sadie Bess company.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 23, 2007


Following Profgrrrl's precedent, here's what I'm thankful for:

13 years with the little Shadow man
career successes
Dr. Pepper
the internet
the National Archives
Gates BBQ - done crispy!
the farm
the cardinal who is fighting his reflection on the windows
life's continual challenges
purple (before purple was cool)
XM Radio
4 wheelers
fall leaves
Gerber daisies
did I say books?
wireless access
Sprint broadband
Men in Trees (if only that was where to find them)
Italian food
greasy hamburgers
Suzy Qs
ice cream
Dairy Queen hot fudge sundaes
old style hot McDonald french fries
roast with patoatoes, carrots, and gravy
driving at sunset
driving anywhere there's little traffic
good comedy

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Beloved Shadow (1992/1994-2007)

I had to say goodbye to my beloved little Shadow this morning. In hindsight, I realize Shadow's vet was preparing me for this. His heart was not doing well and we both expected him to have a heart attack. Also, in hindsight, I realize how Shadow has become an old dog and was showing his age. Poodles his size live to be about 15 and we think he was almost 2 when I rescued him. He's had a good life and everything was deteriorating at once. I took him to the farm on Monday evening and realized Tuesday how he just wasn't interacting with his environment at all - primarily because he was having trouble standing. He usually goes nuts with all the smells at the farm. A few weeks ago, he wondered around but stayed close and this time, I had to carry him out to his usual "spots".

I called the vet yesterday morning and he said that he had worked all the medical magic he could. He was on heart medicine and arthritis medicine but was getting beyond that. I did start feeding him chicken and rice since the newness of his kidney-specific Science Diet had worn out. Yesterday, Doc said all I could do was make him comfortable. And I did all I could. I held him most of the night on Monday and he was wanting to cuddle most of the night - something he hasn't done in awhile. And he didn't want me to stop rubbing his tummy.

I brought him into town last night so that we would have one last night here - of course at about 2am I thought I should have taken him in yesterday. I hate that I was gone to Chicago for a conference but I didn't really think he was this close to the end. But, there's nothing I can do about that now. I have lots of trips coming up and Monday was struggling with how I would cancel them given the doors they are opening for me for future opportunities.

However, Doc did great at telling me not to feel guilty and luckily most of my friends are doglovers. When I'm in DC next week, my friend Cary will also be there and we can go to dinner so that I will have some things to keep my mind occupied instead of a lonely hotel room. I will also be very engaged in the actual meeting and that will help.

I know it will hit me when I least expect. I have lots of clean-up of pet amenities at both places but I did not want to do that with Shadow right there nor could I have handled it yesterday. Between yesterday through this morning, I had torn my stomach up and done enough crying that I think I knew what was inevitable. Of course, this morning he was a bit more chipper and even rubbed his muzzle around on the dining room floor after he ate - something he hasn't done in weeks.

Again, thanks to Dr. Peterson, I know I did what was best and there was no better way to handle it. I'll wait to get another one so that I don't try to replace him - the same advice he gave me when I lost Sadie Bess in May of 1994 right after moving to Pittsburg. I knew Shadow as my right next dog and I'll know the next right one although I will try for a female.

As I look back, I realize all the things I hadn't been doing. The 30-40 minute morning walks we could no longer take - esp. with the fall leaves - has also taken its toll on me and I need to get that started again to keep my osteopenia in check. I didn't ride my bike. I was taking him everywhere I could and just not leaving him except for work or when it was too hot to be in the car - and it was in the 80s until it was in the high 70s yesterday.

Today the storm front came in and we have a high of 40 - which we also knew would be hard on Shadow. And I already knew he was too frail to play in the snow or ride the 4wheeler at the farm.

He was a tough little guy and he will always be a part of me. I could never have bought the farm and built the farmhouse without him. My friend in Minnesota's dog has a small cancer spot and Shadow is now in a better place to keep an eye out for Freddie.

I stayed through the sedation shot but because of my horror of dealing with Sadie Bess becoming stiff before anyone could get here, I handed him to doc for the final shot since it might take a few tries to find a vein. He licked his lips as he was barely coherent as what I see as his last "thank-you, mama". At least most of my friends understand it is like losing a family member - esp. when it's been only him and me for 13 years.

Shadow - you were a great little guy and I will miss you - always.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

SSHA and Chicago

Am in Chicago for the SSHA. This meeting has been on the list for several years (esp. since department colleagues went to the meeting when it was in New Orleans) and now it finally made it. Not only Chicago but also the H-Net presence planned for the meeting.

I had dinner with a colleague I've wanted to talk with in greater detail than in previous meetings. He's doing some great work intersecting teaching and practice and research - but how can we do more? We're hoping for good attendance at tomorrow's session despite the still palpable disengagements between teaching and scholarship as if they were separate entities instead of either side even considering the idea that there is the possibility that good teaching and good scholarship are innertwined. At least with good research, there are definite implementable rules but will people as an ever-changing factor, teaching can be a quite different challenge and, yet, no less "un"-scholarly.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Insanity of Bush Hatred

Another less liberal colleague pointed me to this Opinion Journal article.

It's okay to disagree and hopefully we are all encouraging that among our students as they learn to be more critical thinkers. However, it doesn't make sense to smash the opposition as "un-intelligent" - to use one of the less harsh terms I've heard in person and reported in the media.

Hating the president is almost as old as the republic itself. The people, or various factions among them, have indulged in Clinton hatred, Reagan hatred, Nixon hatred, LBJ hatred, FDR hatred, Lincoln hatred, and John Adams hatred, to mention only the more extravagant hatreds that we Americans have conceived for our presidents.

But Bush hatred is different. It's not that this time members of the intellectual class have been swept away by passion and become votaries of anger and loathing. Alas, intellectuals have always been prone to employ their learning and fine words to whip up resentment and demonize the competition. Bush hatred, however, is distinguished by the pride intellectuals have taken in their hatred, openly endorsing it as a virtue and enthusiastically proclaiming that their hatred is not only a rational response to the president and his administration but a mark of good moral hygiene.

Some are in an uproar over Bush firing 8 US Attorneys. Clinton fired 93!

Labels: , , , ,

The Bad and the Good

The Bad:

Cable and, more importantly, high speed cable broadband, went out on Monday. I was headed to the farm and after calling 3 times and getting lost in voice mail black holes, I thought, well, with both out, it must be an area problem and they'll get it fixed by the time I get back late tomorrow.


At least the DVR worked but I did not like missing Mark Harmon, I mean NCIS. When I did call, the best they could do was almost 24 hours later so this afternoon. NOT what I had planned this morning. Too much to do before going to the SSHA meeting in Chicago.

The Good:

My Sprint broadband card.

Shadow is feeling good today!

Great fall weather before heading off to much chillier Chicago.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Nearby History

Saturday morning I joined some friends for breakfast at a diner between here and nearby big town (mall, movies, etc.) and it was quite good - esp. considering I've been on the search for good diners. However, as is true to tradition, smoking was allowed and that's not usually a "go backer". As we ate, the place filled up with hunters given that the state's rifle season had just opened.

While they had to go off to other work duties, I decided to keep driving to another nearby town that had had their diner/coffee house featured in the local paper and on the Diners, Drive-Ins show on the Food Network. It was about 12:20 when I was there and the place had no one there to eat - not a good sign or at least a sign that people primarily eat there on weekday lunch times and not on Saturdays. I drove through a few other towns on our part of old Route 66 - I've traveled the western parts of itbut not eastward to Chicago given that we usually fly that direction if Chicago is the destination. And in between St. Louis is usually the destination in between and so we go interstate. I remember Dad talking about how the interstate saved him an all-day trip to St. Louis whereas after the interstate, he could usually get there in time for lunch given that you didn't have to stop in every small town on the way. Not good for local businesses but good for long trips - esp. when they involve work.

The leaves are about 1/2 turned but already falling so we won't have the full range of fall cover given our drought and then late too much rain in the summer/early fall.

My poor little Shadow was along for the ride but not much more. I'm spending all the time with him that he wants given his wanting to be by himself more and my still having to work to pay the mortgage. I hate that I have a big trip at which I'm presenting and involved as an officer but I keep reminding myself whether I'm here or there, I can't keep him longer than he actually will be on this earth and I just have to say my goodbyes accordingly. When I lost Sadie Bess, it seemed much faster, primarily because I didn't realize how old she was when I adopted her and only had her two years and because I was so busy finishing this house and then getting moved in. However, it was especially lonely going from an apartment full of people around and then back in my hometown and then to a new town in a new neighborhood with no friends my age besides everyone almost my parents age that I worked with. So, it won't be as lonely this time even though the neighbor that's been here the whole time moved their furniture out to their new house across town over the weekened. My "newer" neighbors have had dogs and have a new younger one now so they certainly understand what I'm dealing with. And even having other people in the house doesn't mean you don't miss the animal members of the family. I know it will be hard and that I can deal with it. As I've mentioned, I just don't want the little guy to be in pain.

I had planned to get a formal picture of him sometime and now he's too old to make that something I want to do given that I want to remember him as an alert younger dog and not a tired, old dog. We're going to see the vet again this morning to get some of the oral form of the medicine to help him with his arthritis. I am feeling guilty however because for the last few weeks before the last time I took him in I got after him for not going down the 3 deck steps right away in the morning because I wanted to get back in the house and get ready for the day - now I realize his arthritis was bothering him. Next time I'll know to start carrying him. In so many other ways, however, he just didn't show any signs of being in pain or slowing down in addition to my not wanting him to go. I want him to be here for the holidays but now that is becoming more and more unlikely with each passing day.

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 09, 2007

Oops - and my Shadow man

Didn't realize I hadn't posted all week. It's been busy both on the home front and with work.

Will and I did an assessment workshop with area teachers on Wednesday and it was a great learning experience and the evals were excellent overall. (I always strive for perfection.). I'm still practicing my "i can't control every aspect of the world around me" approach and it seems to be working - especially in decreasing my stress level overall.

Yestereday was doctor's appointments - they alway seem to consume hours and hours and so I have finally learned not to expect to get much else done.

I was back in the saddle visiting student teachers on Monday - it was great getting back out into actual high school classrooms.

I have more meeting today than I would like but it is Friday after all . . . so there is an end in sight.

Yesterday I did get rolling on TAH grants.

I also took my little Shadow man to the doctor and the poor little guy is deteriorating faster than we thought - we're probably looking at weeks to months instead of months to years. I mainly want to be sure he isn't hurting or in pain in anyway. Since he's also starting to mentally detach, I'm missing part of him already. He does recognize me but doesn't hear out of one ear and only partially in another but still sees some movement. He does get upset when I go and seems happy to see me when I return but the major change is that he used to stay right with me whenever he was beting petted and now he's more likely to leave me. I do have to pick him up more - no more jumping up and down and it's better than he not hop on the steps. The vet did give him a shot and he seems to feel better - I think he was so sore from falling off the bed a couple of nights before (part of what precipated the office visit).

When I lost Sadie Bess ten days after moving into the house I built because there was nowhere suitable to rent in this small town that allowed pets, I swore I would never be without a dog and would always get a new one before I lost the old one. However, Shadow has always been a one dog household - he tolerates other critters but has always been more people-centered. And my research indicated there was the possibility that he would give up sooner if he knew he was replaced. And, on a more selfish note, it's all I can do to handle his extra needs right now without adding a younger (probably rescue again) animal to the house. In fact, I will probably take a break and travel more and the next animal will member of the family will be acclimated to doggy day care options that are for groups and not individual dogs so it's easier on both of us for me to fulfill work-related commitments. Of course, my guilt with Shadow is huge right now - am afraid every time I leave him that it will be the last time. And yesterday I left him at Mom and Dad's while I was at the dentist and didn't realize the cleaning lady was coming so when he heard her upstairs, he was upset the entire time. I'm kicking myself (and wasn't too happy with her given that she didn't go let him out given all his barking) that I didn't just let him hang out in the car - but I thought it would be quieter at mom and dad's house. On the other hand, as I finally had to convince myself last week, I can't keep him from dying. And, so far, his quality of life is still generally good given that he is responsive and still excited about eating and going out. He comes up to me at the computer and puts his paws up and just wags his little tail as fast as it will go. There are also some emotional issues attached to his going that are mine and not his - where I thought my personal life would be before he was gone. But, as with the rest of life, there are no guarantees.

The leaves are gorgeous and starting to hit their red/yellow peak - too bad too much of today has to be spent inside - but at least some meeting spaces have windows!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Fall in Fayetteville

Fulfilling my goal of going to Fayetteville, Arkansas, each fall actually happened this year. A friend/colleague is working on her doctorate there and I worked it out where I could go down on one of the evenings before she had an early class so that she didn't have as far of a drive. It was a bit early for the leaves - although normally we would have hit the peak. But it was a great drive down and a fun evening.

I took the "old highway" down and the changes over the last ten to twenty years are amazing. Walmart and Tyson dominate the area even more than they did then. I checked out the wikipedia entry for northwestern Arkansas and in the last decade, it was the sixth fastest growing "metro region" in the nation. Most large consumer product manufacturers have up to several hundred people full time in the region in order to meet the expectations/demands of Walmart. My dad has never been a Walmart fan given that they cut out the level of salesmen he is. And we've watched them drive out the competition - sometimes rightly and sometimes sadly. Although they sometimes have the best produce in my town, I don't trust them for actual beef and I'm not even sure about the chicken despite their relationship with Tyson. I still prefer the more "mom and pop" like operations for meet and poultry. (In fact, I picked up my frozen Butterball turkey in anticipating of hosting Thanksgiving at the farm again this year.)

I was able to get in some shopping before June got there. My only disappointment was that Gloria Jean's Coffee and Tea is now Cloria Jean's Coffees and so no more of her Cherry Vanilla tea for me. :-(

We walked around Dixon street and ended up eating at the old Powerhouse. I had to get back the next morning for a meeting and my colleague had class, of course. And Shadow as a little trooper the whole time - not protesting too much when he had had to hang out in the back end of the car when we went into shops and went to eat.

The semester is going to be a bit odd with Thanksgiving almost a week early.

I spent several hours today in spite of not being sure if my eyes are totally well. I just don't want to miss this fall and I love being outside and didn't even mind it getting to 70 today. The leaves are gorgeous and I even cleaned out part of the gutters. One of my favorite neighbors is moving to another part of town and so I'm hoping for good new neighbors. My bedroom is on that side of the house so it's even more imperative that they "fit the bill." Of course, it's also nice not being the youngest in the neighborhood that isn't renting.

I have to perform one of my least favorite job duties tomorrow but it's something that has to be done and is in the best interest of everyone involved.

Grading and a teacher workshop on assessment will fill the rest of the week.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]