Tag Archives: Fiona

It’s my own darned fault: A Slice of Life Story

14 Oct


I only had two rows to go to finish the shrug I was knitting. I was knitting in bed with Fiona, my elderly basset hound, while her sister slept on the bed on the living room floor.

I only had two rows to go to, so when Fiona got up for a potty break, I asked her to wait until I got to the end of the row I was working on. She didn’t listen and meandered towards the door. I knew I should stop there and go with her, but I was close to the end of the row. What could happen? There hadn’t been a fight in years. So, I kept knitting.

And that’s when it happened. The snarl of a dog fight. Fiona had clearly gotten too close to Lucy, who hates to be woken up. I threw aside the knitting and kept from the bed. No elegant landing however, because I tripped or got tangled in blankets and fell on the floor. I could see that Lucy had Fiona pinned and was making a lot of noise, but no teeth were involved.

I crawled over, pulled Lucy off and put her in timeout. Then, went to Fiona to make sure she was fine. She was, of course. There was no blood and she seemed less worried than I felt. With Lucy in timeout, I took Fiona out for the potty break that started the whole incident, and then the dogs went back to sleep and I, finally, finished those two darned rows.

I awoke in the middle of the night because my back hurt. I tried to get comfortable and wondered if I had done a little something to it during the leap, landing or rescue. The next morning, it was a little tough to stand straight, but as back issues go, it wasn’t too bad and within a few days I was almost back to normal, though I was still being careful.

If I had just stopped when Fiona got up, none of this would have happened. Hindsight is 20/20.

The Good Old Dog Project

5 Oct

Almost a year ago, the girls and I had our portraits done by Pauline Zonneveld. During Winter Break, when my sister and her family were visiting we had an appointment with Pauline to look over the photos and I chose the ones I wanted.

On Thursday, Pauline held an exhibition of senior dogs, the Good Old Dog Project.


(That’s my Lucy in the ad.)

The exhibition runs all month in the lobby of Antoinette Hatfield Hall  (1111 SW Broadway Ave., Portland, OR 97205).

Thursday was the opening reception and I went because Fiona’s portrait was going to be part of the exhibit accompanied by a haiku that would reflect her personality. It was a gorgeous show. Naturally, I went straight to Fiona’s picture.


That’s her in the center, flanked by two other beautiful seniors. I had hoped this was the photo Pauline was going to use because it shows her feisty side, and most people don’t get to see that. Here is the haiku about Fiona

Graceful but not broken

My ears are my pride and joy.

Eh, what’s that you say?

I got a little weepy looking at her photo and reading that haiku. Then, I took a look at all the other dogs and their haiku.

Here are some samples of Pauline’s work.






 If you are in or around downtown Portland this month, take a short detour to the theater and admire theses beautiful photos and the senior dogs they celebrate.

A Quiet 4th

4 Jul

We are having a quiet 4th of July here. Fiona is not feeling well. Her back legs are giving her trouble and she walks like a drunken sailor. She’s eating, but not in the shark-like manner she used to.


Until this week, when we went for walks, we always went out the back and down the steep & narrow steps to the sidewalk. For the last few weeks, she’s been hesitant, so we now go out the from, where she can maneuver the wide and broad stoop at the front door, and the wide and less steep from steps to the sidewalk. I carry her up the front steps now.

Most years, the girls sleep through the fireworks, but one year Fiona was panicky and we spent the evening on the bathroom floor, with the radio playing loudly. Most people I know with dogs, dread tonight. Last night, one of my friends did a test run with the sedative her vet gave her for tonight. Her dog has a very hard time with all the explosions.

Last night was pretty quiet in my neighborhood. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how bad it is tonight. Tomorrow morning I will worry about the girl touching all the debris people leave on the streets and sidewalks.

I’m hoping it will be hot enough tonight to run the window air conditioner in my bedroom. I don’t often wish for this, but it  is loud enough to cover the noise. Then the girls and I can snuggle up and I can finish my Lucy socks. I’ve already knit Fiona socks.


These are knit in “Basset Hound” from Ancient Fibre Arts WOOF collection. Because Lucy is a tricolor, I chose “Saint Bernard” for her.


However you celebrate it, I hope you have a safe 4th of July.

Read the Label SOLSC 27

27 Mar

I was standing in the kitchen this morning, waiting for the coffee to brew and marveling at the fact that I’d slept in until 7. As my eyes wandered around the kitchen,they landed on the bottle of Fiona’s new antibiotic.

We finally got the results of the ear culture last Friday. The bacteria in her ears is resistant to almost everything, including the drops we had been using for over a year. Her ear vet prescribed an oral antibiotic, Clindamycin, and drops that had to be mixed up at a compounding pharmacy, Polymixin. Ploymixin is new to me, but I have great affection for Clindamycin because it was my drug of choice when I went through six MRSA infections in my legs several years ago.

As I was saying, my eyes landed on the bottle of Fiona’s new antibiotic and I got to thinking about the size of the bottle. She is supposed to be on the medication for four weeks. Even though she’s been on it since Monday,  it seemed that the bottle looked full. So I picked it up and read the label to see how many capsules were in the bottle. And that;s when I realized my error. The label says “Give 2 capsules twice daily for 4 weeks, with food.” Oopsy. I’ve only been giving one capsule twice daily.

I don’t remember actually reading the label before this morning. And I certainly don’t remember  what was said to me when I picked up the meds. But, from this morning on, Fiona is getting 2 capsules twice a day.


Lucky 13

1 Feb

Today, Miss Fiona turns 13.


As I lay in bed last night, on the verge of sleep, I got to thinking about myself as a 13-year-old. I turned 13 in December 1977. I was in grade eight,I’m Mr Ziegler’s class. He is one of my all time favorite teachers. I’ve written before about what a good fit he was for me, because he wasn’t a traditional teacher. He read aloud to us in 8th grade and let us do open-ended book projects. That got me thinking about what I read around that time. I remember a few things.

First, as one of my self-selected books for reading, I chose, The Wooden Horse by Eric Williams.


Even back in 1977, I loved reading about WWII. It tells the story of prisoners in Stalag Luft III who devise a daring escape plan by digging tunnels  in the open air beneath a wooden vaulting horse.

I also went on an Agatha Christie binge, starting with The ABC Murders, which I ordered through Scholastic. To be honest, I don;t think this was in the regular book order. I must have been reading Agatha Christie already because Mr. Ziegler told me it was in the teacher order form.


In our reading text, the only story that I recall is The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. It stands out because it is not a very nice story. It is the tale of a  big-game hunter who falls off a yacht and swims to an isolated island  where he is hunted by a Cossack aristocrat. That makes me remember that I think I might also have read The Island of Doctor Moreau by H G Wells, which I might also have purchased through Scholastic.


I probably also read  Mrs. Mike  by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.


I loved this book and would check it out a couple of times a year for many years. It  is a realistic account of the joys and hardships of life in northern Alberta in the early 1900s.Katherine Mary O’Fallon is sent from Boston to Alberta to recover from pleurisy. She meets and falls in love with RCMP Sergeant Mike Flannigan and together they live in remote parts of Canada. Such compelling characters, happiness and heartbreak.

Do you remember what you read when you were 13?

Acupuncture week 2

27 Oct

I had a great sleep last night, and so did Fiona. She had her second acupuncture treatment yesterday. She only knocked one needle out. Last week she knocked out 3 or 4. She slept really well after the first treatment. In fact, we had 4 nights of really great sleeps. Fiona frequently walked through the night for a drink, to go potty, to pace. There was a lot less of that.  She did well on our walks. there was less stumbling or tripping over her own feet, and the pace was better.


The other weird thing that happened was that 2 of her many cyst erupted. Usually these are nasty, oozy and take a long time to heal, but these were straight-forward and seem to be healing already. She is already on antibiotics for a bacterial skin infection, and has 2 more weeks to go, so I am hopeful that acupuncture and antibiotics will help these along. I asked the vet if acupuncture could be helping her body heal the cysts and she said maybe but would ask her sister, who is an acupuncturist.

Our first week has left me hopeful. When we got home yesterday, she had a snack and then slept. Last night she slept through my tossing and turning.  I am curious to see how Fiona’s  health plays out this week.

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