Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ireland. Well, Cabal and Ireland. Ok, Ireland, Cabal and Roller Girl Road Tripping.

This, for a change, is not a blog about Cabal. It's about Ireland. Or will be. I'll get there. Both around to talking about Ireland, and TO Ireland, which is happening soon. But for the moment, I found these Cabal pictures on my computer, all taken by Boss. Except for the one OF him and Cabal, and gremlins could have taken that for all I know otherwise.

I like them because Cabal seems happy. And healthy. And may he be so again. He's doing well, he needs to rest tho. He thinks he is better than he is.

The car is a fine place for him to rest, and to that end, he and I are going (no, not to Ireland, we'll get to Ireland, promise) to Chicago and back. And why not? I forget exactly how this happened, I think Naptown Roller Derby Girl Joan of Dark needed a ride from Chicago to Indianapolis, and in a weird way it sort of made sense, if I went down there and GOT her and brought her back here and she flew from Minneapolis to home. I can't explain the thought process that led to this idea but aren't the best ideas like that? A little sleep deprivation, a little coffee and I'm brilliant. What could POSSIBLY go wrong, I ask you??

Cabal will get to sleep and rest and heal, and me and my new BFF will have a fine time. (yes, I can say "BFF" it's sort of the girl equivalent of "Bromance")

Now Ireland. Ah, Ireland, I am coming! I've been waiting for so many years, and finally on October 11th, I will be there!! Are you ready for me? Am I ready for you? Will you like me as much as I love you? Do you, with all your magic and mysteries want me?

More specifically, is there any person, or people there who want me? I land on the 11th, and Octocon, where I am a Guest, is October 16th and 17th. But what exactly shall I do the rest of the time? I think I leave on the 19th.

What I want to see in Dublin: Everything! All of it! And the sea.

What do I want to do: Anything cool with fun people. Or anything fun with cool people.

Where do I want to stay: Indoors. I could get a hotel, I expect, but if there are any better ideas, I would be very up for them! I am a very nice guest, darned entertaining, and this could be a plus or minus depending on your viewpoint, I will not be traveling with Dogs, Bengals or Horses.

I may be traveling with Honey. And a Violin. Sweet Music. (I slay myself)

So, help me out, my Fiends! Anyone there who wants to take me under their wing (THAT is an old saying, not a euphemism) or has any ideas? I am very good at sending Boss around the world, but not so good myself, and with everything that's happened these last few weeks, I feel slightly at a loss.

But I want to go to Ireland. I've seen it in my dreams all my life. I know that's you're there. In Ireland.

Speaking of Boss being all over the world, he's out there somewhere too. (If you see him, say hello from me) But here he is at home.

With Cabal.

Love and Ireland,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cabal is Home!

Good Morning!

Here's a happier Cabal, with his puppy friend Lola. And their play date friend Pearl. Much nicer than the Frankendog right now.

He's had his operation, where thye de-compressed his spine, a little lower down than they did before. He's much more wobbly this time, and still in a great deal of pain.

Good news this morning: We made it outside to pee. Big news, as he wasn't able to walk last night, or yesterday, and Woodsman Hans had to come and carry him down, but we weren't able to, uh, have anything happen .( I cannot apparently carry 85 pounds of dead-weight, something I'll be talking to my trainer about)

We spent last night on the floor together at Boss's house. With Lola nearby. She worries about him, but doesn't roughhouse with him at all, it wasn't the most comfortable thing ever, but what do you do?

He's my friend.

The Plan is much rest, pain meds, and quiet. I am more optimistic today than I was yesterday, as he can walk again. Which is great. He's also eating, which was the main thing they wanted him at home for, as he wasn't eating at the U of MN. (Who were, as always, wonderful, with me and with Cabal) Boss checks in with on Skype frequently, and so wishes he could here. It's hard that he can't, but I will take care of Cabal.

Thank you all SO much for the love, prayers, care, doggie gift bags, offers of help..They mean so much and truly help at such times. I think he knows you are out there.

We'll see. He's a dog with great heart. I think he'll make it.

Love and Cabal,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cabal and My First Dressage Show and What I Learned...

First off: Cabal. After my show yesterday, I went down to the U of MN and brought him home. They told me it could go either way, I could bring him back until Monday or he could stay there, but I felt like he would so rather be home, and he would eat if he was home, and I sure did want him at home, so home he came.

Good call. His spirit is good, he's happy, if slightly confused as to why his legs no longer obey him. He's eating hugely. Also good.

I will call his Dr in the morning and we will make a Plan. Also good. He loved having people over today and both he and Lola got lots of love. He's currently sleeping as I type this...

Now, about my VERY FIRST DRESSAGE SHOW. More accurately, my very first Horse Show of any kind. I am pretty sure I can't convey in words exactly what it meant, how cool it was, or what I learned. If you've ever heard me play U2's Running To Stand Still, it was a lot like that. A journey that went a lot of places. With a whole lot of Magic.

It wasn't about WINNING A BLUE RIBBON, this show. It was about winning with myself. I haven't been riding Dressage all that long. I wouldn't have done this of my own volition. It was my trainer, She Who Owns It All's idea. She believed I could do it, and so, therefore, did me too.

I entered in three classes, Equitation where you are judged on how well you ride. It was a training show which means the judge talks to you about how you did, and my comments were mostly about Diagonals and how I messed them up and considering I hadn't really done much work with them, I was ok with that. This was a group class with other riders.

Then there was Training Tests 1 and 2. A test is a routine one does, like a figure skater. Walking trotting and cantering from letter to letters, which are placed about the arena. One does this alone, and gets a score.

And it was there I learned exactly how much I do not know.

I froze on my first test, mucked it up, did pretty much everything wrong. Stiff as a board, no rapport with my horse. No idea why this happened. I'm a performer, I know about being on stage. I'm REALLY good at it. Didn't matter. I felt like, well, horrible. Extremely depressing. Very much what the heck am I doing here. I laughed because what else was I going to do, but sure didn't feel like it. Haven't failed that badly in forever.
Then, as we had 20 or so minutes before my next test, a harder one, my Trainer and I went back to the indoor arena. She and I had a TALK. Not a Russian Gymnast sort of Trainer talk, but one that changed everything. I wish I could tell you the things she teaches me, but it can't be written in words. She told me to go to the place I was when I played music. And then she said "You ride that horse so well..." Which if you know your Irish music is a line from one of my Favorite songs, "Ride On". And everything melted. I could ride. Poor description, but there you have it.

It was wonderful, that second ride, I did it. Sure, made mistakes, but I RODE.

I know now I can do this. I couldn't have done it 8 weeks ago.

I hung my ribbons up, over my soon to be fitting well, honorary Naptown Roller Derby Girl jersey.

And have never been prouder of anything.

Yeah, I can do this. And next time, or the time after, my rainbow will have blue in it.

And it's true.

A little trial by fire never hurt anyone.

Love and Dressage,

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cabal Update: What We Know...

Hello All,

Cabal developed some problems this week, if you are new to them, read the post before this one. (if you are WAY new you may have to go back and do some searching to find out about his earlier troubles)

Assuming you are up to speed, here's what's happening:

We had the Plan in place to wait a couple weeks and see if this was a disc problem that might resolve itself. I've been staying out at Boss's to be near Cabal, as he hasn't been moving real well, and in fact, Woodsman Hans built him a ramp so that he might get in and out more easily. He couldn't manage even the short bit of stairs.

This morning when we got up and tried to go outside, he was much worse. He couldn't walk more than a few steps before he would fall over, and couldn't he get up. When I did get him up, he wobbled. I called the U of Minnesota Vet Clinic, to let them know this had gone beyond "Let's wait and see if it resolves" and brought him into the ER.

It got worse very quickly this morning, last night he was having problems but nothing like he was this morning, or he would have gone in then.

They were able to get him in for an MRI.

Now the good news and the bad news.

The MRI showed no disc problems. This would be the Good News. The bad news is they then moved up the spine, and now believe it is something at the site of his previous neck surgery.

Good news: It is not an obvious Horrible Tumor. And the Thing they took out a few months ago was not a Horrible Cancerous Tumor.

But something is pressing on his Spine at the site. We don't yet know how we are going to treat it, but it does not have to be done tonight on an emergency basis. The Doctors today want his Neurologist to have a look and see on Monday.

They may have to go in and see. It may be treatable with aggressive anti-inflammatory meds. We don't know.

Cabal may get to come home tomorrow, until Monday. We are going to talk about that tomorrow afternoon. It will depend on how we think he is doing. It would be better for him mentally (and for me) if he was home with me by him. But it also may be better for him to be where a group of people who know what they are doing can be with him in case he can't walk entirely, or if he gets worse.

That's all I know.

Thank you SO much for all your love, and good thoughts. It's very hard with Boss half a world away and we're worried. But the U of MN is one of the top Clinics in the country, and we will be doing everything we can to make him well again.

Because he's such a fine friend.

Lola, as I know you will ask, is also very upset, but know that we are taking good care of her too, she does have a couple of dog friends, and we are arranging Play Dates, walks, and lots of love for her too.

Love and Cabal,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cabal Again, the DiscDog....

This might have had more pictures tonight but I am having the devils own time trying to get my Blackberry to talk to my Computer. And I am still unraveling the Mysteries of my new little computer. (HA! Just figured out Spell Check. Lucky for you.)

Our Cabal is in sad shape. I noticed yesterday that he was having trouble moving and walking. He wasn't RIGHT. Called the vets, (he has several, hence the plural) and when I spoke to them this morning, they seemed to share my thoughts that it wasn't his leg, but perhaps, again neurological (Thank you again spell check)

After a visit today, it seems that he now has a Disc Problem, in the lower lumbar region. This may heal medically and it may not. About 80% of the time it will. If it doesn't, we MRI and go from there.

He is now on complete "Bed Rest" This means no playing, running, no off leash, on meds, only walking when needed, the remainder of the time lying DOWN and resting. For at least two weeks.

Walk in the park, really. Or not, as the case may be.

Not sure how I am going to explain this to him, he isn't getting it. You can't SAY "Look Doofus, what I wouldn't give for two weeks in bed, will you just lie DOWN??" If I am near him, he will be content and lie down, and so, I will be near him, except for working out, and visits to Bengals, when someone else will need to be.

I expect to be getting to know my Wee Laptop much better in the next few weeks.

Poor guy. I do feel for him, as it really doesn't seem fair, what he's been thru in the last few months. We have no idea what caused the disc trouble. May have been ongoing, like his neck and leg, for some years. He's on meds, and not in pain, tho, and I will take care of him.

There you have it.

Here's some Bengals lying on their Real Faux Fur Rug, in front of the fire, last night. All three of them. I have a feeling this is going to be THE popular spot this winter!

And yes, I do know Magic looks like a Pudding, there on the left, but here's some good news: He's started running on the Cat Wheel! Caught him on it, on the sly the other day. We will get video!

Love and Beasties,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Knitting. And Finding Support in All the Right Places.

Here's something new for this Blog, special tonight, that I found on Amazon, while searching for a nice little book on Roller Derby:


Uh-huh. Who knew?

I know a lot of you knit things. You exchange patterns, send photos, sit in pubs while I play making things. Some of you SEND me things. (Like that bit) You make yarn. Weave it, knit it and Make Really Cool Things.

So maybe you need This Little Book. Knitting. All about Knitting. By someone who knows, well, how to knit. And has cool ideas. And a bonus, Roller Derby. What's not to love?

I can't knit. Wish I could. But I really want this book.

I love this women. In fact, she may be my Doppelganger. We're not ENTIRELY sure we aren't the same person. It's weird, to speak truth. Among other things she's really good at, she skates Roller Derby. And Knits. (Those may be the only things we don't have in common, me neither knitting or doing Roller Derby currently.) I think you'd like her too. She's @joanofdarkknits on twitter. Follow her.

She sends me things she's knitted (OctoKitties, strange, but true, and I did tell you she had cool ideas). She's threatened (more like a promise really) to kidnap me and take me skating with Roller Girls this fall. She's one of the FITest women I know, and a huge part of my own FIT support system.

Which brings me to another point I wanted to make tonight.

I saw a segment this morning on the Worlds Biggest Loser people holding auditions at the State Fair. I tweeted about it. Someone was handing out cookies to the people in line. WRONG. In so too many ways. I then said "Put down the cookies and get into the gym, it's not Rocket Science people"

True, but someone pointed out to me that not all overweight people were junk food eating slobs in front of the tv, it wasn't that simple sometimes. And that no one told alcoholics to put down the bottle and get to AA, and expected everything to be hunky dory.

Very true.

They pointed out too that what was needed was a strong support system, or it wasn't going to work.

Beyond true.

It isn't as simple as deciding to get FIT. You can't do it alone. People gain weight for all sorts of reasons, and losing it and getting your FIT on is hard. And scary. And a whole lot of work. You're completely changing your life, the way you think, and letting go of a whole lot more weight than extra pounds. Very like learning to live without drinking.

It made me think a lot.

I'm not doing it alone. I've got you. All of you. I'm writing about it, you're reading about it, and you're with me. I'm leaning on you to keep going with it, I'm taking in every bit of help you can give me. I can't let it be October 1st and do my next months progress report and say "Well, I kind of failed this month, didn't really FEEL like working at it."

I'm fortunate to live in a place I can afford a gym. I've got a trainer now, who measures my progress with more than a tape. Every time I take a class with her. I've got She Who Owns It All teaching me dressage, and believing in me, knowing I am working as hard as I can at being FIT enough to DO this. I've got Joan of Dark listening to me every night whine about how sore I am, telling me to get off my BUTT and keep going, and to never, never, never give up. And to ramp it up. Every day.

It's like having the three Weird Sisters for trainers, in fire lightning and in rain, meeting again and again and all that. I don't mess with them.

Or you.

I thought it was time I told you how much you meant, with your love and support.

I can't do this alone. It's too hard.

But I will do it as long as you are with me. Because if you are, I can't fail.

And I'm so not alone.

Love and Support,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Entire Week of Mostly Bliss...

I want to start with my New Zen Crabs. They did sort of start off the week. They were sort of an accident. I mean, there I was with Kitty, who had the day off from the Gaga Tour, and there we were at the MAUL of America, which happens to us when we have an afternoon off together, sometimes a couple times a YEAR even. Right there we were. At the Mac Store. Buying Mac things. Not the computer Mac things, the make up Mac things, face things...

And it got too much. I am like putty in their hands. All of a sudden, "I'd like a jar of THIS moisturizer" turned into a discussion of toner, and face wash, and base, and what brush DID I use on my lips...(Lip Brush??? I can find my HAIR brush on a good day)

Couldn't take it. Fled. Bought the Zen Crabs.

And was happy again.

I know my narrative should flow now into the next event, which was the Gaga Concert, with my new gym friend Daisy, but I have no good pictures of that evening, so instead of Lady Gaga shots, you get one my Boss took of ME instead. You can Google Gaga and get all you want. (You can Google me too, but there are some freaky bad shots out there, I know, I did it once.)

Lady Gaga's show was wonderful. I loved it. Great concert, loved the way the violin and harp were HEARD, set was fun, best monster puppet ever, and if ever you want to see someone play a piano with a tornado of fire coming out of it (Literally) this is a really good show to catch.

(Actually if you ever want to see someone shoot fire, literally, out of her BREASTS, this is also a good show to catch)

Ah, the Fair. Went with the Birdchick. Knew it would be fun. Was fun. I want this chicken. Evolutions-wise, SOMEONE had fun, I am thinking.

Fair food gets a pretty deservadly bad rap. Mostly it's fried and on a stick. Some things you need once a year. Big Fat Bacon. Elephant ears. Cheese fried in a pronto pup case. Have them. Even if you are getting FIT. And shut up about it. No one's FIT was ruined forever in a day.

Then find the Mango On A Stick. I am uncertain they were improved by chili powder tho. We wiped it off. Best. Food. Ever. I am going to make it at home even.

Here is my Mango on a Stick Recipe: (Since I know you lot, you will ask for it)

1 Mango
1 Stick

Peel the Mango. Stick it on the Stick.

Bliss for a while. With your Zen Crabs.

A Bengal. Specificly, F2 Bengal Male, King Lear the Huge. Taken from my bed, of Lear finding his own Bliss on my dirty laundry. (Posts like this NEED a Bengal moment. My life is a series of bengal moments. I live with five. If you are new to this blog, get used to it. They are everywhere.)

And to close, another Boss shot. Tired, hot, sweaty, just back from the bees. It makes me happy too. Mostly pictures of me haven't been lately. I'm starting to love them again tho, so they too, are going to start creeping in more, like little things from the night.


Love and Lovely Week,