Thanks for the sympathy, Brian. Stay warm! I like cooking too and yesterday we bought all kinds of summery treats for the festive season, simple but very fresh produce. Tonight we are having friends around and I'll serve up a big dish of flash-fried baby squid with cherry tomatoes, a little chilli, rocket and garlic on black squid ink linguine. Over the festive season, we'll have seafood, cold dishes, dips and antipasti platters of olives, cheeses, salads, grissini, focaccio, sliced fruit and homemade semi-freddo. I used to be more anxious about cooking for guests but now I stick to simple recipes with very good ingredients and it works. Our oldest friends, the B's wanted to come over for Xmas Eve but I don't want to deal with their daughter's OTT behaviour after drinking too much, so we'll meet them somewhere for coffee.
I miss my dog so much, his presence and affection. This time last week he was still alive. We go on but it will take a long time to accept his loss.
Getting through it is the best anyone can hope for, Rex, and it is so good all the family are pulling together. When my mother committed suicide, I was in my 20s and the family disintegrated, we all fled in different directions. All the hidden family misery came to the surface. Now I think of my poor mother with tenderness and understanding, how fierce her demons were, how hard it was for her to ask for help, how lonely she felt. And I treasure even the ambivalent memories, can see how she did her best.
Yes, Rex I was thinking about margit. Margit, if you're reading I was thinking just the other day how much harder it must be when you have only one dog for company. I have two small dogs and they are subdued by the loss of their 'brother' but eager to play with me or sit on my lap.
As I was saying to Brian, I enjoy the easy quiet tempo of our lives over the festive season. A gift of sobriety. I don't do majoy shopping expeditions, bought some nice foodie treats yesterday and I don't go to parties or cocktails or big noisy get-togethers. Not that I'm worried about drinking, I just don't enjoy them and so I arrange to meet up in the New Year, discourage gift=givers, fill the house with flowers, play classic music, light candles in the evenings. That is a sense of occasion and all I need. Usually, we sit outdoors, but the drought and heat this year is too unpleasant.
Take care and have a good break, Rex.
I wish my relatives were more adventurous eaters, I would love to have squid and black ink pasta, but that would never do. I still have part of a bottle of squid ink in the fridge from a couple of years ago. At least we won't have turkey - I vetoed that. Roast beef and braised goose. And I've gotten people to like brussels sprouts.
I've been reading Alexander Mccall Smith's 44 Scotland Street series. It was recommended to me by our B&B hosts in Edinburgh, and I'm enjoying them - great going to bed reading. One of the characters has a dog, Cyril, who has a gold tooth. One episode of the story is told from the dog's perspective. Outstanding sense of smell, good reading of human facial expressions, poor understanding of human speech, no sense of time, vague sense of right and wrong - knows he shouldn't bite peoples' ankles but not clear why not. In this episode, he gets lost and finds his way home by recognizing the smell of sun dried tomatoes. It's a great example of the philosopher Daniel Dennet's idea that consciousness isn't and all or nothing thing - that it has emerged gradually and that many more animals that we suspect are somewhat conscious. I think that's why it takes so long to get over the loss of a dog or cat - we really are missing someone.
Out here we've become more adventurous than previously, all kinds of tapas bars and foraging restaurants, Cape Malay curries, Asian, Ethiopian, vegan, Italian, Portuguese from Mozambique and Angola, French Congolese. I grew up eating badly cooked English boiled veg and mince (ground beef) with no garlic or onions. My mother had very little interest in food. Now I serve up what I like to eat and guests mostly enjoy it.
I like Alexander McCall Smith's detective novels set in Botswana. You're right about the consciousness -- and personality. Because we live with animal companions, dogs and cats, they find ways to communicate with us, especially around their routines and needs (to be let out at night, taken for walks, given a treat). And they have their own likes and dislikes that aren't confined to breed. My Great Dane was terrified of thunder and large hadedas (the African ibis) and eagles. he wasn't keen on helicopters either and barked wildly when he saw youngsters on skateboards. When he was upset or nervous, his jaw would tremble and he would blink more rapidly. How I miss him.
The food scene in Washington is pretty adventurous now - especially compared to when I first moved here from New York in 1980. But my relatives haven't all kept up. But they will eat brussels sprouts now, something they wouldn't have a few years ago.
I haven't gotten Smith's mysteries yet, but they are on my list.
I know the grief of missing a pet, but in my experience, it does pass and is replaced by fond memories. I had a cat named Bugbear. I found him one morning as I was going to work. It was raining and he was at the door as I went out. He was called Bugbear because even as a kitten he looked like a little bear and he was all covered with bugs. He became the cat I measured all cats against, and almost impossible standard. He lived to be 17 or 18 years old and I was devastated when he died. But know I find I just have fond memories of him. Squirm, my West Virginia cat, often reminds me of him, especially when I eat ice cream and she stares at me waiting for me to put the bowl on the floor for her.
i'm so very sorry to hear of the death of your beloved dog, Mary, and the missing. yes, of course there is someone to miss (as Brian concluded). it seems to me i divide this up somehow....there was Ella, and then there was having a dog around. the second i can "fix", the first i cannot.
i don't find it harder when i only had one dog...i actually am enjoying some of the benefits of not having to come home after a few hours out. and the missing is apart from that.
the hardest part for me is the co-existing of knowing i did the right thing to forestall further/future suffering in tandem with feeling like i betrayed her trust. because in fact she could have lived longer. grrrrrr. and then i'm aware that i wouldn't have had Ella for almost twelve years if Kyla hadn't died. so my thoughts and emotions tumble around each other.
after i mentioned it at a meeting, a newly sober person seemed awed by the fact that it's possible to be sober through deaths of parents and especially the death of a dog and said she could not imagine.
yes. there was a time i couldn't imagine not drinking through stuff like this.
Yes, I remember that mindset when personal upsets and tragedies 'justified' drinking, made drinking almost 'mandatory'. It was part on the inner argument that went on every day, to try and prove I could go without or stop at any time, and the desire to 'treat' myself. 'reward' myself, 'comfort' myself, 'take the edge off', 'dull the pain'. The inner conflicts are still there but not that one and not polarised in the same way.
I feel I could have eased my dog's suffering without having to have him destroyed. It may or may not be true. He was suffering and the vet felt it was time. I made the decision and it was probably the best choice in the circumstances. I shall never have such a large dog again and I still have two small dogs. I don't know when I'll be ready for another dog. Working from home means that the companionship is important. If I was to find myself without dogs, I might go out more in the evenings. Because I live with a partner, the grief is shared and the choices about dogs will be made together. If I was staying alone, I don't think I would have had three dogs.
Was Kyla your older dog before Ella? I'm sorry I don't remember.
What always strikes me when I go to meetings out here is the rawness and convoluted rigid thinking of those just getting sober. It reminds me of what drinking and the need to drink did to my mind.
i doubt i ever mentioned Kyla, as i was still drinking when she died, though was doing another sobriety experiment at the time, meaning i had decided to not drink for a few months and then to reconsider whether i thought i had a REAL problem.
i was drinking again when i adopted Ella...she lived a long time. and was here through my entire sobriety.
i find it very strange and a bit unsettling to not be responsible another being's welfare. THAT is missing, also.
yes, the convoluted and rigid thinking of newly sober. i remember. rigidity felt safer than anything more fluid. something to hold on to.
When you are ready for a new dog, I have a friend who is in to hound rescues. He post videos of 2 or 3 month dogs practicing howling that are really wonderful. If I lived where I could have a dog, I would be tempted. If you are ever interested, let me know.
I think you are right, at the beginning of sobriety, rigidity feels safer. I think that may be one of the attractions of AA and the lack one of the harder things to handle with Life Ring.