Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Halloween

Hooray for Hiker! Last night after she and I had dinner, I was sitting watching TV and she was playing with her squeaky toy. She put the toy down, went to the patio door and looked at me. I asked her if she needed to go potty and she did that short little “yap” kind of bark. I let her out and she went wee wee. I went out and hugged her and praised her, telling her what a good dog she was. Maybe she is finally “getting it”. I made Hiker stay in bed longer this morning before I fed her and took her out for her walk. Going out before the sun comes up bothers me because last night when I took Hiker out to potty before we went to bed, I could hear the coyotes howling and I'm afraid they may be out and about in the riverbed near the park we walk to. After we got home, I made breakfast and then I cleaned house. This was the first time I had vacuumed since I got Hiker and I was not sure how she would react to it. At first she seemed OK but then started getting frightened and jumped on my bed and tried to hide. I got a call from my friend Karren yesterday. Her daughter and son-in-law want to buy Ben's beer tapper and our pool table for their game room. They are going to come on Sunday to take the tapper and to figure out how they are going to take the pool table as it is big and heavy. It is real slate so they will probably need about 10 strong men and a car hauler to get it out of my garage. I went out into the garage to find the pool balls and some other stuff that goes with the table and the tapper and I started crying my eyes out thinking about all of the times Ben and I would go out to the garage and play pool. We would be out there for hours on our days off. I expect the tears now every time I get rid of anything that Ben and I shared. My brother Ron called and told me about the Medicare Plans he is looking into. The government is really screwing the seniors on health insurance. But then, we are all getting screwed on health insurance. At least I have been sleeping better since I've gotten Hiker. I don't know if it's all the walks she takes me on or what, but I've been falling asleep on the sofa between 8:00 and 9:00 every night and then I go to bed and go right to sleep. Thank you Hiker. Hope Hiker does not go crazy tonight while the kids in the neighborhood are trick or treating. Ben and I stopping giving out candy years ago due to home invasions. I know I'm in a gated community, but I just feel safer not opening the door after dark. The family on the other side of the street always have a haunted house set up and just about everyone in the neighborhood goes there so there will be a lot of people on the street.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Class #3 For Hiker

I thought I was finished with the loud uncontrollable sobbing crying. As I mentioned in yesterday's email, I was having a “crying day” all day Saturday and it went right into the evening. Poor Hiker, she doesn't know what to do when I sob like that. She has the habit of waking me up between 5:30 am and 6:00 am because she thinks I should be getting up to feed her and take her for her morning walk. I don't get up until around 7:00 am to do those things, but she has her own idea of what time we should do it. This morning I decided it was time to try to brush her teeth for the first time. If you have ever tried to brush a dogs teeth, you know this is just about impossible. She loves the taste of the toothpaste, but not very much of it gets onto her teeth. I just hope that the fact it gets into her mouth gets some of it on her teeth. I also give her DentaStix twice a week, so I hope that helps. I wish I would stop with the tears already. This morning I was out in the yard with Hiker. I was looking at some landscaping Ben and I had done one weekend last January and I started crying, remembering us going to the Home Depot to get some wood chips and Ben helping me spread them. We did it on a Sunday afternoon and then that night, it snowed a little, which is very rare for our part of the country. I still have the feeling that Ben is just away somewhere and that one day he will be home again. Does this feeling every go away? I had to take Hiker to her 3rd training class today. To tell you the truth if I had not had to sign up for these classes as part of the contract to adopt her and if I would have had to pay full price for the classes, I would not be taking her to them because they really do not do much in the class. They are only 1 hour long and they tell you what to do with your dog and then send you home to work with your dog. OK I know that you need to work with your dog to get it trained, but I could have found out how to do these things for free by watching YouTube Videos on dog training because it's not like the live class actually helps to train the dog. I will say that Hiker did very well in her class today. But then most of the things they are showing me to work with her on are things she already knows. She is the oldest of the 3 dogs in the class too. The other 2 are puppies. One is 6 mos. and the other is 3 mos. Got up to 92° here today but it didn't really feel that hot to me.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hiker Is Going To Walk Me Till My Feet Fall Off

Hiker woke me up a couple of times during the night and I got up and put her outside for awhile because she did not potty before we went to bed and I was a little worried that she might go in the house. Then she woke me up earlier than normal wanting to eat and then go for her morning walk, so we were out walking when it was still a little bit dark. Being out that early brought back memories of when I first retired. Since I was used to getting up early to commute to work, I would get up before the sun and go for my morning walks. Ben would stay in bed. When I got home from my walk, Ben would still be in bed watching the morning news and he'd make faces at me with the covers pulled halfway over his face. I thought of those days and cried while Hiker and I were walking this morning. Turned out that today was a day for memories of Ben and for tears and sobbing. I started watching a movie on The Hallmark Channel and made the mistake of saying the word “walk” and Hiker heard me, so she bugged the heck out of me until I gave in and took her out for her second walk of the day. When we got back, Hiker settled down in front of the fireplace (which I no longer use but she loves lying in front of it) and I settled down to watch the “Good Witch” movies marathon on Hallmark. It was another beautiful day here. Actually got up to almost 90° but really didn't feel that warm.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It Was A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

It was a beautiful morning here in SoCal. Started out around 46° when Hiker and I headed out for our morning walk. By mid morning it was about 65°, sunny and very breezy. Love hearing my wind chimes ringing. I remember Ben used to love the sound of the wind chimes. The one hanging on the front porch is one that he helped me pick out once when we were in northern California. We would always go to The Legend Of Big Foot Gift Shop in Garberville, CA and they had a lot of wind chimes. I told him once that I loved the sound of them but that they were too expensive. He went over and picked one out and said “get this one”, so we bought it. I am going to miss those trips with him. We enjoyed them so much. Hiker sure loves to run around the yard with her tennis ball. She is just so smart. I try to get the ball from her and she will let me start to pet her but then when I start to go for the ball, she takes off like she was being chased by the devil. Then she runs all around the yard and finally flops down on the lawn and dares me to try to take the ball again. This afternoon, I took Hiker for another walk and she is so funny because she is always trying to “herd” people on bikes, who are walking, who are skating and also other dogs because of the breed she is. She is always watching everything and trying to get in behind people and dogs and nipping at their heels. I met a woman on the trail with a yellow lab and Hiker was “working” that lab all over the trail. If you are interesting in reading about Hikers breed, here is a link to Wikipedia about them:
I had sent an email to the people where Ben used to work asking them if they still wanted to receive my daily emails. They are so nice. They have kind of “adopted” me. They told me they want to continue to receive the emails because they feel that my emails keep Ben's spirit “alive”. I hope he knows how much they all liked him. It got up to around 85° here today which is higher than what the predicted.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finally Felt Like Autumn Today

It was only 43° this morning when Hiker and I woke up and went out for our morning walk. There was frost on the grass down in the park. When we got back, I had breakfast and then cleaned my master bathroom and mopped my kitchen floor. While cleaning the bathroom I started remembering how when I'd clean it when Ben was alive, I'd tell him he needed to “aim” a little better. If her were here now, I would not scold him for not aiming. Funny how once you lose someone, things that bothered you about them doesn't seem such a big deal now. My friend Sandi came by to meet Hiker. After she left, I headed over to Sam's Club to pick up a few things. I saw that their chicken and rice dry dog food is a lot cheaper than what I was buying at PetSmart, so I picked up a bag of it for Hiker. It was a beautiful day here once it warmed up from this morning. In the mid-70's and very sunny and breezy. In the afternoon, I took Hiker for her second walk of the day. This time I took her over to the community of Bridgeport. She had a lot of new things to check out there. Ducks and turtles being the main things. I think she enjoyed it. Got my health plan package from Lockheed (the company I retired from) in the mail today for my annual enrollment. My plan went up almost $80 per month, but if I change to the other one they are offering me, I would be paying almost $200 more per month, have a $2000 deductible and have to pay $25 for my medications (I know pay $10) and I'd have to pay 40% of the doctor's visits. The more expensive one is a PPO instead of and HMO. I would really prefer to drop Kaiser because they did not take care of Ben, but I cannot really afford the PPO. Health Insurance is such a rip-off.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Lunch Out With The Girls Today

Boy do I hate the fact that the days are getting shorter, especially when it's all cloudy and gray outside. Around 6:00 pm last night, I just felt so alone even though Hiker was here with me. I sat and cried for about 10 minutes. I was missing Ben so much. Found out that Hiker loves chicken. I cooked a skinless chicken breast for dinner last night. I cut about 1/3 of it off for her while it was raw and boiled hers in plain water on the stove. I had mine in the crock pot with seasonings. When I cut hers up and gave it to her, she inhaled it and was looking for more. Took Hiker out for her morning walk and I was so proud of her because she FINALLY did a good hefty potty while out on her walk. I was telling her what a good girl she was and then what does she do? I get her home and put her out in the backyard to go wee wee and she keeps wanting to come back into the house, so I figure after 10 minutes she doesn't need to go. I let her in and she immediately pees on the carpet in the living room. I scolded her and put her back outside for 15 more minutes. When I let her back in, she knew she had done something wrong because she was trying to make up with me. Linda came by at 10:30 am and we put Hiker in the garage so we could drive up to Palmdale to the Hometown Buffet and have lunch with several of my retired girlfriends. Hiker barked as we were leaving, which is a first for her and I think it is because she is now used to Linda coming by and the 3 of us going for hike and she thought we were going hiking without her. She is just too smart for her own good (LOL). We had a really nice time with the girls. It's always fun getting together with them and they were all asking me about Hiker. Got home around 2:00 pm and Linda came in with me. We opened the door to the garage and Hiker come running to both of us. She was so excited that I was home. I promised her I'd take her for another walk, so I need to do that soon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Drizzly Tuesday

It was drizzling and in the high 50's this morning when Hiker and I got up. The hike yesterday must have tired me out because I went to bed around 9:30 last night. Hiker wanted to go for her walk, so I took her for a short walk (1 mile) because I had to get back home, have breakfast and get ready to head over to the senior center to attend my grief support group. Started out with only 4 of us there but later turned out to be 10 or 12 of us. When I got back home Hiker was so excited to see me. I made lunch and then Hiker and I went up to Stater Brothers market so I could pick up a few things. She is getting really good about riding in her hard sided crate in the back of the 4Runner. It's a good thing I decided not to sell it as I was thinking about doing right after Ben died. Hiker may not understand what to do when I say “Hiker Come”, but if I ask her if she wants to go for a walk, she sure understands that. She will even bark with little short barks at me telling me she wants to go. I had to take her for another longer walk this afternoon before she bounced off the walls again. We did 1.5 miles this time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Another Day, Another Hike

When Hiker and I got out of bed this morning, it was cool and a little cloudy. She was bouncing off the walls, wanting to go for her morning walk, but we were waiting for Linda to get her so the three of us could go hiking to The Narrows in Towsley Canyon. I really need to go grocery shopping, but today was the only day this week that Linda could go hiking, so decided to do the groceries later. We did a 2.25 mile hike. Hiker really seemed to enjoy herself. The weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold. When I got home, I cleaned up and headed over to the Super Wal-Mart to do my grocery shopping. Ever since Ben went into the hospital, I was only going to the store to buy things I had run out of and I was never spending more than $20 each trip. Today I decided to stock up and buy some things I don't normally buy to try to get myself eating better again. I still have times when I'm not hungry or just cannot think of anything to cook, so I just skip meals. I need to get away from that. So anyway, I spent about $70 today on my groceries. That's the most I've spent in one trip since February. Stayed cool here all day and partially cloudy. Glad I got that shopping done, because tomorrow I have to go to my grief group. Have not been to one in over 2 weeks.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hiker Had Her 2nd Class Today

I was so exhausted from my Friday and Saturday (4 mile hike Friday and 3 hours of hard work for Make A Difference Day) that I started getting Hiker ready to go to bed around 9:30 last night. It takes me about 15 or 20 minutes to get her out to go potty and the settle her down to go to bed. Finally got to bed by 10:00 and went right to sleep, but I woke up several times during the night with some body aches. I woke up around 4:30 am and felt like crap. Just wanted to lay there and sleep but Hiker was being active, so I made her go outside for a little while to see if she would go potty. I felt so crappy that I laid down on the living room floor and almost fell asleep while she was out. After about 20 minutes, I let her back in and we went back to bed. She had settled down enough to go back to sleep for awhile. Around 6:15, she woke me up again and would not settle down, so I finally got up and took her out for her walk before 7:00 am. I felt better after the walk. However, while out on our walk, I started thinking about it being Sunday and the “routine” Ben and I used to have on Sundays and I started to cry while walking. Came home and did a loan of laundry and “repaired” Hiker's blue, fuzzy, squeaky toy. I sewed up the hole she ripped in it. Don't know how long the fix will last, but she just loves that toy so much. Today must have been a “crying” day for some reason. After taking the sheets out of the dryer, I went to make the bed and remembered Ben helping me every Sunday to put the fresh sheets on the bed and I started to sob. I had closed my bedroom door so Hiker could not come in because she loves to jump up on the bed and I can't make it if she's on it, so I closed the door. When I opened it, she was there and jumped all over me because she had heard me sobbing. Took Hiker to her class this afternoon. There were 2 other dogs there today, so it went a little better. They had us walking them on their leash, which Hiker pretty much already knows how to do and they had us go up to people in the store, hand them a dog treat and ask them to ask Hiker to sit and then give her the treat and pet her. This is to get the dog used to other people. Then they walked us through the store showing us all of the dog grooming supplies, shampoo, etc. and dog vitamins and toothpaste (yeah dog toothpaste! Think I'll just get her some Dentastix), then over to the food aisle to show us "the best food for your dog", which is always expensive. I'm going to look at Sam's Club to see if I can find a good food for her that is cheaper. When I was a kid we had or dog Candy for 15 1/2 years and never took her to a vet until the end and she ate the same food we did and we never brushed her teeth or gave her vitamins. Money, Money, Money is all they care about. I will eventually find a vet for Hiker though.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Very Busy Saturday

Well I spoke too soon yesterday when I said I thought of Ben and didn't cry. When I stepped into the shower last evening, I thought of him and did cry. When I got out of the shower, Hiker was lying on the bed looking at me and trying to make me smile. Had to get up an hour earlier today so I could get hiker fed and out to potty before I had to leave to go and get Linda to head over to the Hyatt for Make A Difference Day. I put Hiker out in the garage with her nylon crate because that's the one she sleeps in and I figured she would feel safer in that one. I put the garage A/C on a timer so it would come on just about the time it started to warm up. It was only in the high 50's when I left to pick up Linda. We drove over to the Hyatt Hotel and signed in to volunteer, picked up my free T-Shirt then headed over to the Senior Center where we had been assigned to work. Around 9:00 the got us all together for a group photo before we started working. I would estimate there was between 30 and 50 volunteers at the Senior Center. They were painting an office trailer both inside and out, re-carpeting it and fixing up the flower beds outside. Linda and I asked to work with the cleaning up of the flower beds and planting. We planted several plants, raked leaves and picked them up, pulled weeds, etc. Chick-Fil-A showed up with sandwiches around 11:45, so I had lunch and then headed home because Hiker had been all alone for over 4 hours. When I got home I came into the house, opened the garage door that leads into the house. It's a good thing I was already down on one knee because Hiker was so happy to see me that she knocked me over and smothered me with kisses. I took her for a short walk down to Discovery Park because she was upset that she didn't get to go for a walk this morning and I promised her when I got home, I'd take her out. I was so tired from Make A Difference Day that I only walked about 1/2 mile with her. I'm pooped!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Took Hiker For a Hike today

I seem to be sleeping a lot better since I now have Hiker. I actually start getting sleepy around 9:30 or 10:00 and I fall asleep sooner now once I go to bed. Some nights I leave the TV on with the timer and some nights I don't and I usually stay asleep most of the night now. I get up just before 7:00 am and make Hiker go outside. Sometimes she does not want to go out so I have to coax her. When she comes back in, I feed her and then put her out again (just in case). Hiker doesn't sleep on the bed with me all night. She eventually gets down and go into her soft-sided crate and sleeps in there most of the night. She does get on the bed just before I get up because she knows it's almost time for her to be fed. Since Linda was coming over at 8:00 for she, Hiker and me to go for a hike, Hiker could not understand why I was not taking her for her normal morning walk around 7:15 am. That's one schedule she has down pat now...get up, go potty, eat, go for walk. She was bouncing off the walls before Linda got here for us to go. I don't know what Hiker will do tomorrow (Saturday). I won't be taking her on a walk since Linda and I have volunteered for “Santa Clarita Make A Difference Day” and we have to be over at the Hyatt Hotel to register at 8:00 am. I'll put Hiker in her crate in the garage and I'll be gone for about 3 to 5 hours. Hope she will be OK. The morning hike must have tired her out because she is asleep on the floor right now. I need to wake her up and work on some of her training. As it is, I don't think her trainer at PetSmart will be very pleased because Hiker doesn't want to listen to me a lot of the time. This afternoon I thought about how much I miss Ben. How much I miss sharing everything with him, talking with him. But I didn't cry.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hiker & I Did Two Walks Today

Hiker was very good with her potty habits yesterday. She still didn't go to the door to let me know, but I would take her out and each time she would pee. She pooped once in the morning and once in the evening. Maybe we are getting a “poo poo schedule” going here (LOL). She totally trashed her plush squeaky toy yesterday. It was one of those long weenie dogs. She had already chewed most of his ears off and I finally took it away from her because I was starting to find parts of ear on the carpet. I didn't want her to swallow the fuzz. Then I noticed that she had chewed open a seam on it and I didn't want her to start “eating” the stuffing. I'll have to find her something she can't rip up so bad. Took Hiker for her normal morning walk of 1.5 miles, had my breakfast (I always feed Hiker before we go). I finally got around to cleaning the small bathroom which I'd been trying to get to since Monday, and then tried to do some training with Hiker. I'm trying to teach her how to come to me. I try to work on the “sit” and “watch me” training that she did last Sunday at her class, but she seems to have trouble with those, or maybe it's me, maybe I have trouble with them. Don't think her trainer will be pleased since there doesn't seem to be much progress. She's been doing very well with her “potty”, but I have to still make sure I take her out every couple of hours because she still does not give me any indication that she needs to go. In the afternoon, I took her over to the Southfork Bike/Walking Trail and she and I walked another 2 miles. She just LOVES to walk. All I have to do it pick up her leash and she is ready to go. Had to take Hiker's Nylabone away from her because she had been chewing on it and later when I picked it up off the floor, I noticed blood on it, so somehow it must have cut her lips of gums. I took the suggestion of my friend Marill and got some of Ben's old socks, put knots in them and now she loves playing with her new “sock toy”. While driving over to Southfork to take our walk, I saw the truck that Ben used to drive for Fast Undercar. I think it was Ben's work friend Dave driving it. Pretty nice day all day. Only got up to about 82°. Linda, Hiker and I are going to try to get out for a hike tomorrow morning over in Placerita.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Really Hate Kaiser And Other Rantings

Got up around 7:00 and took Hiker out for her morning walk. She sure loves to walk. When she sees her leash and I saw “walk”, she is at the front door ready to go. I have some problems with her coming to me when I call her sometimes (she's stubborn) but she really is a very smart dog. She knows her new name pretty well because she looks at me when I say it now. Still will not potty on her walk, but she does seem to go when I put her out in the yard. I just wish she would somehow let me know when she needs to go like going to the door or something. A representative from the mortuary where I had Ben's remains taken care of came to see me this morning. She was nice, but I knew that she wanted to discuss me doing prepaid arrangements for myself. I told her I would think about it but that right now I need to take care of a problem with Kaiser about a bill I received from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital and that until that is cleared up, I do not want to commit to spending more money. She was very nice about it and I told her I would call her because I probably will eventually do the prepay thing so my brother Keith would not have to worry about that later. Had to go over to my attorney's office to have them draft a letter for me and notarize it because Kaiser is being very stupid about things. Because I appealed the bill from Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, they insisted I send them documentation saying that I am legally acting on Ben's behalf. This is so dumb because he was on MY health insurance because he didn't have insurance of his own. I get the feeling that Hiker, before she ended up at the pound and then was saved by the rescue shelter was treated badly by someone. I think they must have hit her or something because she is really having problems learning to come to me when I call her. Today I had to go over to my attorney's office for about 45 minutes and I put Hiker in the garage with her hard crate. I didn't lock her in it, I just left the door open so if she wanted to get into it and I put her nylabone, her squeaky toy that she loves and I took an old T-Shirt that I wore all day yesterday so she had my scent. and put all of this into her crate. When I came home, she was in the crate but didn't want to come out. She cowered and started shaking. I kept calling her name and got down on one knee and told her how good she was and finally she came to me but crawled on her belly to come to me. I hugged her and praised her when she got to me, then she started acting "normal" again and licking me. It's like she thinks if she comes to me that I'm going to hit her or something. I tried putting the leash on her and waited until her attention was elsewhere and then called her and she ignored me, so I said "bad girl" and tugged on her leash a little. Still nothing so I said "bad girl" again and tugged again, then she crawled over to me on her belly and lay down in front of me like she was afraid, so then I hugged her and praised her again. I don't yell at her when she doesn't come I just change my tone of voice. I hope I can get her to trust me and not be afraid.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hot Tuesday

Got up around 5:45 to let Hiker out for potty this morning. She did #1 but then wanted back into the house. We went back to bed until almost 7:00. I put her outside right away and saw her do #2, so all good so far. I was supposed to go to my grief group today but decided to stay home and spend time with Hiker. Want her to get used to me, her home and her schedule before I leave her for 3 or 4 hours. I have to leave her for several hours on Saturday because I signed up with Linda to volunteer at the annual City Of Santa Clarita Make A Difference Day. Hiker and I went over to Pet Smart. I had to give in and buy her a hard sided crate because last night she decided to break the zipper on her nylon one so I could not zip up the flap if I needed to contain her in it. It got up to 98° here today. Around mid-afternoon, I took Hiker over to our Central Park and walked her around some. She just loves getting out for walks. Kept her in the shade as much as possible because of her short hair. I don't want her to get sunburned. Also took plenty of water for her to keep her hydrated. We sat on the lawn under the trees and she just looked around at everything. She is so curious. There was a park worker driving a tractor across the soccer field with an aerator behind it and she just kept watching his every move. Her “sniffer” was going crazy checking out all of the new smells. When I got her back home, she was tired, so she crawled into her nylon crate that I put in the living room for her and went to sleep. She's still in there and I can see “ZZZZ” above her head (LOL). While we were sitting on the grass in the park, I started thinking about Ben and started to cry. Those crying spells can hit you anywhere and anytime. Sure wish we'd start getting some fall weather.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Monday - Trying to Get Hiker To Do Her Business Outside

I am sleeping better now it seems. Probably because of Hiker being with me. I am having problems with her though. She is continuing to do her business inside sometimes and it's getting very frustrating. I got up this morning around 6:00 and took her outside. She peed but no #2. We came back in and went back to bed until 7:00. We got up and I fed her and before I could get her outside, she pooped on the carpet. I scolded her, which causes her to pee also because she is scared, so I grabbed her and took her out to the yard, but she just laid there with her head on her paws looking up at me because she knew she had done something bad. I got dressed and took her for her walk, but as I've said, she will not potty while out walking. When I got her back home, I took her out into the yard again and she peed and that was all, so we went into the house. I started making my breakfast and I smell poop again and catch her doing it again on the carpet, so again I scold her and she pees all over the place because she is scared. I grab her up again and rush her out to the yard and she just lays there again looking up at me. I'm getting to where I cannot trust her at all. I had to go over to Wal-Mart so I put her in the garage with her nylon folding crate and when I came home, I took her out back with her ball to play and she peed and pooped in the yard. I praised her and gave her some treats, but that does not mean we are in the clear for the house. I have to watch her constantly. I think I need to put her out back by herself and let her stay longer even though the trainer claimed you don't do that with inside dogs. Just doesn't make sense to me. When I was a kid, I had an inside dog and she would go out in the yard and play by herself for hours. Spent some of the afternoon outside with Hiker going over what the trainer showed us yesterday. It was 92° out there, so I didn't like staying out there too long. While out there, Hiker went pee and poo on the lawn and I praised her and gave her treats when she did. I had about a 15 minute cry while on the patio. Just got back from taking Hiker for her afternoon walk. When we got home I took her out into the yard and after about 5 minutes she peed and then about 10 minutes after that, she pooped. Now if I can get her to continue doing it that way.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Took Hiker To "School" Today

Took Hiker out for her walk this morning. She still will not go potty while out walking. She “uncovered” a cottontail rabbit while in the park. She didn't chase it, she just watched it run. When we got home, I put her out in the backyard and she went potty. She has had about 3 or 4 accidents in the house. She doesn't go to the door to ask to be let out. I hope this doesn't keep happening. I was going through some papers in a drawer this morning and came across Ben's and my “weekly menu sheets”. Every Sunday, we would fill out a “menu sheet” for the entire week to know what we'd be making for lunch and dinner. We always did it together. I started to cry when I saw them and I realized today was Sunday. Hiker was all over me, licking and yapping at me. She didn't like that I was crying. I decided it was time to go through my earthquake kit that Ben and I have always kept in the garage. I ran the generator for about 10 minutes to make sure it still works and I changed out all of the water, checked the dates on the canned food, checked out all of the flashlights, etc. Ben and I used to do this every 3 months. I don't think any of it had been done for almost a year because it was this time last year the Ben had his eye surgery and we just didn't do it. Took Hiker to her first training class this afternoon. It turned out that she and I were the only ones that showed up today, so we got a “private” lesson. We worked on her “sit command” and her “watch me” command. We are teaching her by using the word “yes”. I was given the choice of a word or a “clicker” and I said “let's use a word”. The shelter had told me to buy her a choke chain when I took her home, but the trainer today told me not to use the choke chain on her unless she was not walking properly with her regular collar. I've never had a problem with her walking, so I guess I bought the choke chain when I didn't need to. The trainer also told me to NOT leave a full bowl of water around for her all of the time. She said that is why she is having to go wee wee so much and probably why she is doing it in the house now and then. She said that an indoor dog only needs water in the morning when they get up, when they eat and after a walk or exercise. The trainer asked me if she barks a lot. I said no, but that she does if she hears a noise she doesn't recognize or if she see someone outside. The trainer said that is good and for me not to tell her no when she does bark because Hiker is protecting me. After class I took Hiker for a 1 mile walk. I had asked the trainer why Hiker didn't go potty when she was out on a walk and the trainer told me that some dogs just feel more comfortable going in their own domain. Need to get Hiker's dinner for her so I need to send this out.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sunny Saturday

Got into the shower last night and had a little bit of a crying episode. This time however, it didn't seem to last as long and I did not sob like I have before. When I got out of the shower, there was Hiker on the bed looking at me with those big brown eyes of hers. I really think she is going to help me through this “widow thing”. She has totally taken over Ben's easy chair. I had planned on moving it out to the patio, but now that she loves to lay in it so much, I may have to just leave it right where it is. Took Hiker on a walk this morning. For some reason she does not want to go potty while out on a walk. She sniffs everything but just won't do “her thing”. She seems to prefer to do it all in her own yard. I still had not had any mail delivery so I went over to the post office this morning and asked them to check to see if they were still holding my mail even though I had stopped by there last Wednesday and picked up the mail the were holding and asked them to resume my delivery. I was correct, the person who helped me that day did not “put me back into the system”, so they were still holding everything. They told me they have now put me back into the system and that my delivery will resume Monday. Hiker is proving to be a good guard dog. She won't let me out of her sight and she barks when she hears a noise outside or sees someone walk by. She was barking at the gardener today. I hate to tell her not to bark because I do want her to protect me. I took Hiker over to Placerita Canyon to just see how she'd do on the trail. I didn't go very far because it was hot. She seemed to do OK though. The pull handle on my master bath shower broke. I went over to Home Depot to see if they had a new handle but they told me they do not carry “shower door parts”....only complete shower doors. It had screws on one side that went into some kind of “rivet” thing. The “rivet” thing was the part that broke, so I had to “Mickey Mouse” it by putting some screws through it with washers and nuts. I could only fix the outside handle to pull the door open, so now there is no “push” handle on the inside. I'll just have to push the whole door. If it doesn't work very well, I'll have to get hold of my handyman to put a whole new door on or something. When I was eating lunch, something touched off a few tears for Ben. Hiker was sitting next to me and she looked at me and tilted her head like she was trying to understand why I was crying. Good dog.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Now It's Just Me & Hiker

Now It's Just Me & Hiker

The first night with Hiker went pretty good. We took her for a 1.5 mile walk after dinner to try to get her to go potty but she didn't so took her out on the patio around 8:00 pm and she finally went potty. I brought her tent crate into my bedroom for her to sleep in. She stayed in it half the night, but spent the other half on the bed with me. Let her out into the yard around 7:00 am and she went potty. We took her for another walk this morning...2 miles this time. Linda came by at 11:00 am to meet Hiker and then she, Keith and I went to lunch. Now everyone is gone except for me and Hiker. I'm a little lonely, but it doesn't seem as bad since I have Hiker here with me. I think I'm going to have to go over to the post office tomorrow morning. I had my mail held while I was at my brother's. I picked it up the afternoon Keith and I got back into Santa Clarita and the postal worker asked me if I wanted to resume my mail delivery and I said yes, but I did not see him pull the hold card out of the box. I have not gotten any mail for 2 days which is very unusual for me, so I think he forgot to take the card out and they are still holding my mail. I went over to Sam's Club to renew my membership and had them take Ben off of the account. Hiker is really good when I have to leave her in the garage. I have an A/C out there for her and she just crawls into her tent crate and goes to sleep.

Photo My Friend Took

Here is a photo that my friend Linda took of me with Hiker this afternoon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hiker's First Day With Me

Keith was so tired last night for some reason. I should have been the one who was tired since I did all of the driving. He and I went out to sit on my patio and listen to the old radio show “Dragnet” on his iPhone. He kept telling me that he could hardly keep his eyes open. He went to bed at 10:00 pm while I went to my room and watched “CSI” on TV. I went to sleep around 11:15 and slept pretty good, even though I woke up a couple of times during the night. Picked up Hiker this morning. Went straight over to Pet Smart to get her some food and toys and to sign up for her training class on Sundays. Start with her this coming Sunday at 1:00 pm. Took her by home and put her in the garage in her “tent” crate and then Keith and I went over to the Animal Control Facility to get her license. When we came back home she was laying inside of her crate being a really good girl, so Keith and I decided to go get some lunch. She seems just fine being alone in the garage for a few hours. We came back and then took her out in my yard to play with her some and I made a short video of her. She is so active. I hope she will settle down tonight and sleep. It got up to about 103° here today.

Hiker's First Video

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Back Home and All's Well

We are home from our trip. Got here around 3:00 pm. It is very HOT here...almost 100°. To tell you the truth, I was not looking forward to coming home knowing that Ben would not be here standing on the front porch waiting for me with a big smile and a hug. While driving home, I kept thinking about the fact that he would not be here and every now and then, my eyes would fill up with tears. I know Keith didn't notice the tears. While up at Ron's, I only cried twice while I was in the shower and both times were for only about 5 minutes instead of the normal 20 to 30 minutes I cry here at home. Took me over an hour to put everything away and go through my mail when I got home. Finally got to sit down for a few minutes and check my email. I'll have to fix something for Keith and I to have for dinner soon. He is staying with me until Friday afternoon. I called “New Leash On Life” (the shelter where “Hiker” is) and told them I wanted to pick her up tomorrow, so they are expecting us around 10:00 am. Hope everything works out with her. I hope I will still sleep as well as I did while I was at my brother's but I have the feeling I won't.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Last Day In Paradise, CA

I am still so amazed at how well I've been sleeping while here at my brother's. Last night we were watching TV and I started dozing off in the chair around 9:30 pm. We decided to go to bed at 10:00 and I went right to sleep. Woke up a few times during the night but mostly slept until around 6:30 am. Around 8:30 am, Matt, my oldest nephew (Ron's oldest son), came by and we all took a drive up to Red Bluff, CA. There wasn't really a lot to see there, but none of us had ever been there, so we thought “what the heck”. We did get to walk down to the edge of the Sacramento River. On our way back to Paradise, we stopped in Chico, CA and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Later in the day Keith and I took a 1.5 mile walk then when we got back, we all went and picked up some Subway sandwiches for dinner. Tomorrow morning Keith and I will head back out on the road to go back home to SoCal.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Very Rainy Monday

Forgot to mention in yesterday's daily email that when we were leaving the parking lot of Look Out Point, overlooking Butte Canyon that as I was backing the car up I noticed something on the ground that I just had to get out of the car for and go check it out. It was a folded $20 lying in the ground. I'm assuming someone who had been there earlier had it in their pocket and when they pulled their keys out of their pocket, they dropped it. Well that was a nice “added bonus” for my Sunday. I am so surprised at how well I've been sleeping while visiting my brother. I actually fall asleep before midnight. I am still waking up a couple of times during the night and still having dreams (that I do not remember), but at least I am actually getting some quality sleep. It was raining when we got up this morning, so our planned trip up to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park was postponed until tomorrow, that is if it is not raining tomorrow. If it is raining, we may have to try to see if there is somewhere else we can go sightseeing. We still drove down to Chico. Went to WalMart, then over to the mall and then over to Big Lots and Best Buy. Headed over to Denny's for lunch. Came back up to Paradise where it continues to rain. I didn't get to take any photographs at all today which bugs me as you all know how much I love taking photographs. Talked with Ron's daughter Darrah on the phone. She lives in northern Nevada, then we watched a movie. Even with the rain it was a pretty good day.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Really Nice Sunday

I was surprised at how well I slept here at my brother's last night. We all went to bed around 11:00 pm. I had an air bed on the living room floor and by around 11:30 I was asleep. I did wake up a couple of times during the night, but went right back to sleep. We got up around 6:30 am and a little after 7:00 we went over to the Black Bear Diner and had breakfast. I had not had a big breakfast like that in ages....two eggs, ham, hash browns and a homemade biscuit. All delicious. We then drove down to Chico, CA and stopped along The Sky Way at Lookout Point to shoot a few pictures. Also went to the Genetic Resource & Conservation Center in Chico. There is a beautiful stream running through the center and a lot of trees from all over the world. Walked almost a mile there. Came back to my brother Ron's apartment. We were still all too full from breakfast, so we did not have lunch. Ron went and picked up his son Jared so he could visit with us some. We sat out on the patio for awhile and I took a great photo of a humming bird out there and also a short video of the hummer. Later in the afternoon, Keith and I went for another 1 mile walk through the cemetery behind Ron's apartment. Going to head over and pick up a couple of Take 'n' Bake pizzas later to bring back to the apartment and put in the oven. Ron's son Matt is also here with us for dinner this evening. Hope you all had a good day. We had planned to take a drive up to Mt. Lassen tomorrow but there is 70% chance of rain in the area, so we will not be going. Hopefully Tuesday will be better.

Here is the video of the hummer:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Long Driving Day

Long drive today. Left home around 7:00 am and got to brother Ron's around 3:00 pm. Great weather all the way. Hope I will be able to sleep here. I always get “keyed up” after a long drive and have trouble going to sleep. Will be going out to dinner in a few minutes. Will try to check out my email later.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Very Active Friday

Keith and I got out early this morning and went for a 2 mile walk in the 40° weather. We also went over to Lombardi Ranch/Pumpkin Patch today before we went to lunch. Beautiful weather here the mid-70's. This afternoon we went for another 2 mile walk. It was beautiful outside.

Today's quote:

“If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to Heaven
And bring you home again.”
~Author Unknown

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday With My Brother

So far, last night was the worst I've had for not sleeping. I watched “CSI” and then went to bed at 11:00 pm. Was not at all sleepy so I turned the bedroom TV on. Not much on at that time of night. After midnight I got my laptop and surfed the web for about an hour. Turned off the TV and computer and tried to go to sleep, but nope....still wide awake. Took a sleep aid pill around 2:00 am and the last time I remembered looking at the clock, it read 3:00. Then to make things worse, I jolted awake a little after 5:00 am. Finally went back to sleep and got up a little after 8:00. I noticed while lying there in the darkness that I am now not just thinking about Ben not being in bed next to me, but I am also thinking about how nervous I am about Hiker coming home with me later this month. I know that once I get her home and she and I get to know each other, that things will be fine, but I worry about her getting used to her new home, about me getting her on a regular potty schedule, etc. My brother Keith got here a little after 11:00 today. We went out to lunch and then went by Wal-Mart. I wanted to buy a portable dog crate for when I go to pick up Hiker. Got a nice folding one and a nice mat to put inside for her to lay on. Also bought her a nylachewy bone. They told me that they would give me the collar and leash she is now using and also a little food to incorporate into whatever kind of food I buy her so she will adjust. Sat out on the patio in the afternoon. It started getting very cloudy again. Keith and I went out for a 3 miles walk this afternoon. He wanted to burn off some of the calories we ate when we had pizza for lunch.

Today's quote:
“Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve”~ Earl Grollman

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rainy Wednesday

After dinner last night, I kept having a feeling that I had not been having for quite awhile...I kept feeling like Ben was going to come home from work and walk through the front door. I have not had that feeling since right after he died. I'm thinking the gloomy weather had something to do with it. I moved his “shrine” from the fireplace hearth into my bedroom on the dresser. I did this because I don't want Hiker to knock any of it over when she comes to live here. When I told my brother Keith that I had moved it, he kidded me by saying “oh good, now I'll be safe when I stay with you”. If you remember, he kept telling me that sleeping in the same room with Ben's ashes freaked him out. Woke up to rain this morning. While sitting on the sofa today, I felt a little chilly but instead of turning on the furnace, I put Ben's zippered sweat shirt on. It's the first time I have moved it from the back of his easy chair where he placed it the last time he took it off. It's big on me but it was like Ben's arms were around me keeping me warm. Good news...I passed the home inspection from the dog rescue shelter so I will pick her up in a little over a week.

Today's quote:
“Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand”~Patti Smith

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Not Bad For A Cloudy Tuesday

Went to sleep around 11:15 last night. I'm still having strange dreams (not about Ben though) and then I still wake up several times a night. My guess would be that I'm getting about 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night, but that's better than a few months back when I was either not sleeping at all or only getting about 3 hours of sleep per night. Went to my grief support group today. Went alone as Linda is still sick and DeDee had an appointment. Not very many people showed up for group today. I'm guess it was because of the weather. Even though it is not raining, a lot of people do not like to get out when it might rain. For the first hour, I was the only woman there (except for Judy our therapist), all the men were there though. The second hour, two of the ladies showed up. Even though we only had a few people, it was still a good session because there was a lot of good conversation today. I picked up a copy of “The Mighty Oak” which is the monthly paper the senior center prints and noticed that there was a short article about Linda on the back page. It was about her winning first prize with her recycled plastic bag tote at the Santa Paula Balloon Festival. Got up to 70° here today, felt much cooler though. Sun peeked out a little but stayed cloudy most of the day.

Today's quote:
“Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated”~Lamartine

Monday, October 3, 2011

Moderate Monday

I actually slept a little better last night. Got in bed at 10:00 pm and turned on “CSI Miami”, but I feel asleep and missed the end of it. Woke up a couple of times, but I was able to go right back to sleep. Linda and I were supposed to go to Pasadena today. She is volunteering in the craft room at our local senior center and we were going to go to a craft store over there so she could pick a few things up, then we were going to wander around “old town” and have lunch and maybe stop by a nature center to check out a couple of hiking trails in Altadena. She called me when I was making breakfast to tell me that she is still sick. If you recall she came down with a sore throat last Friday and it is still sore and she is coughing a lot. She didn't sound very well on the phone. Got a call from my older brother Ron. He told me that he is so glad I am getting a dog. He said he thinks it will really help me a lot. Got a call this afternoon from the rescue shelter about someone coming to do the home inspection this week. I told them I'm available on Wednesday so they are going to see if they can find a volunteer to come out that day. They will call me back with details. I'm starting to get a little nervous about getting Hiker. It's been so long since I've had a dog....over 30 years. I just hope I know how to take care of her properly. It will take me awhile to get used to feeding her and getting her on a “potty” schedule.
Today's quote:

“Those we love don't go away,
They walk beside us every day,
Unseen, unheard, but always near,
Still loved, still missed and very dear”
- Anonymous

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Blessed Sunday

Well last night was the opposite from my night before. I went to bed at 11:00 pm and went to sleep almost immediately but then I woke up around 3:30 am and could not go back to sleep. Also had strange dreams all night, but I do not remember what they were about. Had to get the Lotto tickets for Wednesday's drawing, so I walked down to the liquor store and back (2 miles) and got them. It was really nice outside while I was walking. I headed over to PetCo for their pet adoption event and I did it...I filled out the application to start the adoption procedure on Dolly, who I will rename Hiker if I get her. They will have to come and do a home inspection before I am approved. They know I will be out of town for a few days soon, so they said that we can do it all after I get back. Connie, the rep from the shelter remembered me from when I met Dolly the first time about 6 weeks ago. She said she was going to put in some good words for me because she thinks Dolly (soon to be Hiker) and I are a good match. I'm thinking of all of the things I will have to buy for her if I get (naturally), food dish, water dish, bed, chew bone, toys, nice collar, tag with her name and my phone number (even if she does have a micro chip). If you all cannot tell, after seven terrible months I am finally excited about something in my life.

Today's quote:
“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
- Helen Keller

Scroll down for photos of Hiker Dolly Waggoner (her name if I am approved for her adoption)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sad On Saturday

Today's quote:

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear” - C. S. Lewis

Here it is October. I thought that maybe by now I would have been doing a little better in my grieving process but I seem to cry more now than I did before. I guess it's true what they say...the 3rd to 6th month of widowhood is a tough time. Did not get to sleep until almost 2:00 am again. Stayed in bed this morning until around 8:00 am. Had breakfast and then headed over to The Dollar Tree to pick up a few items and then went next door to Big Lots and picked up an 8GB HP Flashdrive for $10. I store my photos on the flashdrives. I decided to get my small suitcase down from the shelf over my bedroom closet. It was inside of the huge suitcase that Ben and I had and that we always used together when we went to Ferndale on vacations. It was big enough to hold clothes for both of us for at least a week. When I brought it down, I realized that Ben and I would never use it again and I started sobbing. It's way too big for just me so I've decided to give it to Good Will. The TV weather people had been talking all week that today was supposed to be cooler here and that we would have a chance of rain but it was bright and sunny and in the high 90's. Don't know where they got their weather forecast.