August 30, 2012

Leftover Management

Back in school for my last year at Mizzou.

1.) Everything is going fine.

2.) I am insanely busy.

I also have to cook for myself now. This should be - I get to cook for myself now. But, see number 2 above.

And anyway for me it's always a matter of leftover management.

I don't eat enough at one time.

But I'm not complaining, it's cheaper this way and faster after the first time. I've really only made three seperate meals here:

1.) Spaghetti with ground-turkey marinara sauce -) leftover sauce over rice with fried egg (5 meals)
2.) Leftovers from Indian restaurant with more curry seasoning, tomato sauce, added chickpeas and mushrooms (3 meals post-restaurant)
3.) Thai tomato-vegetable soup with bamboo shoots, carrots, and peas (4 meals).

This last is non-intuitive but pretty damn tasty.

August 08, 2012


 Tidbit was so fat.

Tidbit had a big grey naked belly with lots of speckles on it. It was wrinkly in places but when she rolled over it got stretched pretty much taught like a drum. Dad liked to give her raspberries. I just liked to give her little kisses. But when you did she would freak out and start kicking to turn herself back over again. Sometimes she kicked us in the face accidentally with her little paws.

Tidbit had little hairless places behind her ears and on her elbows and even little patchy places on her tail. It got worse as she got older but she never had thick fur like Tootsie. I always thought of her like the Velveteen rabbit, worn out with love over the years.

When I cried, Tidbit used to get very serious, but she would lick the salty tears off my face.

Tidbit loved opening presents.

Tidbit loved laying in the sun that came in through the windows. 

Tidbit loved laying by the fire in the winter, and out on the pool deck in the summer.

Tidbit loved laying around. :)

Tidbit loved riding in the car.

Tidbit loved going out on boats even though it freaked her out a little bit, she wouldn't be left behind. Once we went out on the kayak, and found some fish lines hung out to catch bass. I messed around with them with my paddle, and got some fish to jump out. Her face was hilarious! Intrigued and yet frightened. Getting her up and down from the boats was hard but we did it anyway, held her tight.

Tidbit didn't like to swim but she would sometimes let herself be put on a raft and set adrift in the pool on a lazy day. And once or twice when it was really hot at the Ozarks and we were coving it, she let me lower her into the water and hold her tight. 

Tidbit had routines - a bedtime routine where she would stand up when we turned the tv off, stretch, then jump off the bed and head towards the door, ready to go potty, come back in, get bedtime snack, then go to bed. As she got older she would decide it was bedtime for us, sometimes mid-movie, stand up and start stretching. We'd all laugh. After all, it's not like we were even keeping her up - she was passed out as we watched the movie!

When she was young, Tidbit would leap off my bed every morning! I tried to teach her to at least go down to the wooden chest first, but she didn't learn fast. Both the dogs used to jump on and off the beds and the sofas and up and down the stairs as fast as they could. It was great - you could say, "Go outside go potty?" from the kitchen, run across the floor and down the stairs and to that door, and they'd run right behind you, nails over hardwood then marble and then thundering down all the stairs in a rush. So much energy! 

Tidbit was incredibly vocal and would - not whine exactly - but grunt and moan and make the cutest little noises, almost like talking. She did this more and more as she got older.

Tidbit used to strut around hotel lobbies like we owned the place. Don't know where she got that sense of entitlement!

Tidbit cried the first night we had her home, but the second night we put her in with Tootsie and she never cried again. Tootsie took care of her, but Tidbit got fat and big quickly and soon was dominant. They used to stay close together in the woods and wrestle together in the living room. But Tidbit was a bully and ate all the food and was the boss. The big ugly bully boss. Dad and Mom secretly liked Tootsie better, but afterwards they said Tidbit was the best dog they'd ever known.

Tidbit fit in my arms perfectly and always wanted and expected to be held. 

Tidbit was good at tug-a-war when her teeth were still good, but she never figured out fetch.

Tidbit would eat everything in her bowl. Then she'd have a nice long drink of water. Then she'd lick out what was left in the bowl. Then she would burp. Then she would go back to sleep. You didn't have to see it to know. You could hear all the sounds and they became as familiar as anything.

Tidbit lifted a leg to pee, like a boy dog... but she was so short you could hardly tell. 

For a long, long time, Tidbit loved going for walks. She'd freak out if you asked her, "Wanna go for a walk?" and she'd run towards the leash and almost wouldn't settle down long enough for you to get it on her, especially once we started using the harness. 

Tidbit stopped wearing her collar after awhile. Then we thought, maybe she should wear it to lose weight? Then we realized it was a ridiculous thought and laughed until we cried.

When Tidbit got cold by the campfire we'd hold her inside our jackets. She would shiver and shake so much it was silly. :P 

Once Tidbit was scratching at a snake, and when I saw it (she was on the leash), I jerked so hard she went flying through the air! She was so young, then.

Tidbit was so proud whenever she would get a treat! She would parade it around grunting and wagging with her head held high. And when she wanted a treat, we would always act confused, "What is it, Tidbit, what do you want?" She'd fall for it and try to show us again and again how to open the cabinet. She must have thought we were idiots sometimes. :)

Tidbit got so excited whenever dad would fire up the grill. We used to give her steak bones. But later they were too rich for her and we ate less steak anyway, so she started getting salmon skins. We'd break them up into little pieces for her because we wanted her to enjoy them, but she just gobbled them down as fast as she could. 

When we went for walks I would bring water for Tidbit. Stephanie used to say, "It's important to water your dachshund!" When Tidbit got overheated she would stand in a puddle or plop down in some shady grass and pant. She loved to run! And she would eat every dried worm and berry off the sidewalk. Even grass. She refused to lose weight. 

I used to sing to Tidbit all the time. A lot of sweet lullabies. And a lot of random shit. When mom was out of the house, Melissa and I used to turn on music and sing it loudly to Tidbit, replacing every other word with her name. XD

Tidbit used to fall asleep on my lap when I studied and when I ate. All through high school I kept these insane hours and she kept them with me. She'd wait for me in her bed in the kitchen while I worked and played Racquetball and then I'd come home and she'd be in my arms from then until I left for school in the morning, shower the only exception (and sometimes she'd wait in the bathroom then.) But when I left she adapted well to sleeping in her little bed at the foot of mom and dad's. 

Tidbit actually got cuter as she got older. In the old pictures she looked like a mobster dog and a bully with that thick neck and barrel chest. But when she got older she just got so dear. And when her little face and paws turned white, it undid me. Almost until the end, some people still asked if she was a puppy. I guess because she was small. Like me.

Tidbit used to sit with me while I folded laundry, and I would start placing it gently on her. She never decided if she liked it or not. The warmth relaxed her, but the act confused her. I would always do it anyway, a piece at a time like Zanga to see how much she would tolerate before it got 'too weird' and she moved away with an indignant grunt. 

Tidbit loved the four of us and a select few others. Our grandparents for example. She tolerated a range of others to various degrees and learned that she had to be nice to all people, even strangers. But she never did learn not to hate other dogs.

I used to hold an umbrella over Tidbit when it rained and shovel out a space for her in the snow. She never figured out how the umbrella worked through and always looked at me like I was crazy for getting so close to her while she peed, and always ran back to the house so fast I couldn't keep up, and she got soaked anyway. When she got old and fragile dad built ramps for her everywhere out of plywood and old carpets. She didn't like to use those either. She knew she was supposed to but she didn't know why, so sometimes she'd go over and tag them as an afterthought, mid jump, as if they were springboards.

When we moved to Florida Tidbit's bed was placed precariously in the back of the Armada, surrounded by crates etc. She found a big black snake in Ocala and was like, "What have we done?" (like the rest of us, at the same moment!) and she was always a bit unnerved by the big salty water. And she always got the painful sandburs stuck in her feet! (Luckily dad was good at taking them out) But she loved the warmth and the lack of steps was good for her. And when we first arrived she chased lizards all the time! Even caught a few. Once she charged a big pelican, who didn't budge. She decided she didn't see him after all. 

Tidbit had a funny, rolling, sideways run, like she was always about to fall over. I think to her right. How quickly we forget...

Tidbit had a swagger and a strut until the very end. 

Tidbit snored and sneezed and burped and it was all adorable. 

Tidbit had skin tabs and I loved those too. 

I carried Tidbit home when I was 8 years old. We put her to sleep 14 years later. I'd gotten though middle school and high school and four years of college. Everything had changed, except Tidbit. She was like something from another world and another life, by the end. I almost kept forgetting she was still around. A little link to my past. But I was so different, it was like she was different too. But now it's hard to realize she's really gone. God, I loved that little puppy.

I'm so happy I had her for all those years. When I think about how we so easily could have not gotten her, or sent her back, or how she could have died from the poison as a little puppy, or in the river that day both dogs almost drowned, or when they fell into the cold spring, or that time she had the neck spasms and we almost put her to sleep... it's really amazing that she lived so long. A blessing that she could grow old surrounded by love and comfort and even got to retire to Florida. I wasn't there for her at the end - something I'll always feel a bit sad about - but at least she had Melissa. And mom, and dad, of course.

But I loved her, and I miss her. And it's hard to believe that nothing's left now but a collar she hadn't really worn in years, too many photos, and a lot of memories. Memories every one of us will carry until our own last days, memories of a little red-brown dachshund who was as much a part of our family as anyone else. Memories no one else will ever be able to understand.

In many ways, Tidbit was my childhood. She taught me to be a mother, and a friend. First we grew up together, and then I blossomed as she got old and started wasting, slowly, away. She saw me through some of the hardest times of my life, and she was closer to it all, in so many ways, than anyone else. She's seen more of my tears and more of my sorrows, alone in our room, than anyone. But she's also seen more of my joy - the happy days I would run home, throw down my bag, and as soon as she came running to see me I'd throw on her leash and collar and we'd run out together, like the whole world was waiting, the big blue Missouri skies and the endless green lawns of suburbia waiting for us.

And I'll never, ever, forget that feeling.

I'll never, ever, forget my little girl.

August 06, 2012

Things that happen

I hadn't seen her since Christmas.

Every time I left, I knew it was for a long time - a long time even for a person, much less a dog... and still less for an old dog like Tidbit.

Still, she was healthy for her age. Doing okay. Still had a little bit of attitude and a lot of appetite.

They called me Sunday. They made the decision last Monday and they put her down Friday.

They talked about it and decided it was best not to tell me, that it would be easier on me to wait until Sunday. Didn't want to ruin my weekend (who gives a shit honestly). Thought it was better that I didn't try to fly down or anything.

Yeah, well. I'm trying not to make a big stink about it. They thought they made the right decision, and it can't be undone. I feel like dad should have known, I thought he felt the same way when we put Tootsie down, but I guess not. And it's not like I can ask them to do something differently 'next time' - there will never be a next time. I guess I should have been more explicit, about what I wanted them to do. But I don't think I myself knew until it happened. I knew she would die, I didn't know it was coming that soon, but I knew it was coming soon. I was ready in some ways but not in others. I hadn't thought out the details. I hadn't realized that I wanted to be there, that I wanted to hold her for her last minutes.

But I hadn't seen her for months. I never said goodbye.

And she was my girl.

I carried her home, I fed her under the table, I told her everything, we had all our secret places, she slept in my bed for 11 years.

I should have been told. I should have had the choice. I should have been there.

I wish she could have had her mommy come home, one last time. 

I held her all the way home, and I wish I could have held her, at the end of all things. 

I wish I could have sung her one last lullaby. 

Last night, I sang to her, into the darkness, thousands of miles away and days too late.

Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound

Don't you dare look out your window darling

Everything's on fire
The war outside our door keeps raging on
Hold on to this lullaby
Even when the music's gone

Sure, this way was 'easier'. But it wasn't right. Tidbit deserved better from her mommy...