Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Missing Miss Mojo


Taken three weeks ago

Laying flat against the slightly dewy grass to soak in the last of the morning sun's rays and breathing deeply the earthy fresh scent of newly laid sod, she lazily enjoys the beginning of her day. In her peripheral vision she catches a blur of gray and she raises just her head for a better look. Springing to attention, she zeros in on the source of her interrupted serenity. A squirrel. Irresistible. Lead by instinct, she explodes from her resting place into instant sprint and the chase ensues. The squirrel invariably gets away and perches himself atop the fence to taunt and tease it's chaser with incessant chatter.

Although I did not witness this, it is the scene that I hope was Cayenne's last run. We came home to find our girl with a skinned nose, a swollen spot the size of a peach on her thigh, and unable to put weight on her rear leg. Coming from the vet, we had just confirmed that she had bone cancer in her femur, but she did not understand that and probably dashed without a thought, breaking the fragile bone. Until this day, with our vigilance to force Cayenne live a quieter life, it was manageable and at times we barely noticed her limp. Since that fateful Monday, Cayenne has been in steady decline and mounting pain and today we shared our last hug (yes, she gave the best neck embraces one can imagine), our last pat on the head and ear scritches, shared our last words together (hey, good girl) and we stared in each others' eyes for the last time. Her looking for comfort and me looking for some level of understanding. Although I can't stand the thought of her not being with us, to ask a born runner and integral part of our family to live even one more day in this kind of pain as a non-participant, sedated and unable to get up with no hope of ever getting better was simply not fair to any of us, but especially not to her.

Although we did not discover it for a few years, Cayenne's racing name was Miss Mojo and both of her names were perfect for her. She pranced as she walked, like a woman wearing high heals which was a giveaway of her girly girl feminine nature. She was also known to be a bit bossy and spirited - peppery - from time to time. From the time we first met our racetrack mud covered Cayenne, driving home together in our small sedan, Cayenne with Konrad - our buck and doe - standing up on all fours on the back seat staring between Pat and I through the windshield, until this day, has been a journey that was so enriched by her very presence, her silliness and her unconditional love.

One of Devi's first words was pup-pup for her Cayennie girl. Although I had my doubts, the two of them developed an incredible friendship in a very short time. Cayenne endured tugs, pulls, pinches, and tail pulls with rarely so much as a flinch. Cayenne quickly took on the role of mother hen and would come and find me if Devi so much as uttered a peep and would lovingly lay outside Devi's door during nap time. Devi was a very early talker and quickly let it be known that Cayenne was her best friend, planting big wet kisses on her wet nose when ever she got the chance. I remember what a joyous day it was when Cayenne, after months of giving assurance that she would NOT hurt Devi, finally took a bone form Devi's hand. The delight that both of them found in lifting their mouths to the sky and rooing to their heart's content is a priceless memory. Thought of the two of them no longer together bring me incredible sadness. Buds. My two peas in a pod, or as daddy would all them, "my girls"'.

This is the first time in 10 years that our household has been void of family members known also as pets and if feels eerily quiet and incredibly foreign to us. We will miss our sweet Cayennie girl beyond measure.

A Walk Down Memory Lane - Best Friends

Monday, August 10, 2009

Going to the Chapel

With baby Taz presiding and a guest list that included stuffed celebrities such as Elmo, Cookie Monster and Walter the Farting Dog, just to name a few, Devi and I created the game “wedding” to help prepare her for an upcoming event. Devi is the flower girl in the wedding of a friend’s daughter next Saturday so we thought a little practice might be in order to understand the concept. Our family room church was adorned with “guests” that were strategically placed all around on every available flat surface. “The More We Get Together” was our processional and when the first notes of “Frere Jacka” blared from the Tinkerbell boom box Devi, beaming, began her walk toward the fireplace alter throwing the delicate flower petals from her basket at her feet. Arriving at the feet of her Indian boy doll, otherwise known as the prince groom, she dumped the remaining flower pedals from the over turned basket and promptly shouted, “Let’s play again!”

On the night of the rehearsal, try as we might, the long long road between those pews, all alone, seemed daunting. It was a much much longer trek than crossing our own living room and the one thing I had failed to prepare her for was the paparazzi. Flash bulbs, Instamatic's, digital SLRs with long lenses and cell phones all pointed toward her clicking and making electronic noises was enough to make even the most outgoing girl uneasy. She managed about half way on two attempts before performing a wrap-around-leg-grab accompanied by a screeching cry for mommy and daddy.

Ann and Dave von Mortiz with Devi

On wedding day, the pretty princess dress made it’s appearance from the closet that had been protecting the ivory nylon shell with delicate lavender flower stitching and heavy taffeta safe from the tiny, usually dirty fingers, of our curious toddler. At the moment that the dress was placed over her head and the weight of it’s finery hit her petite body, out came the game face and a look of determination that would frighten any opponent. This was a side of our sweet Devi that we have never seen before. She was focused. Never mind, I got the bright idea to conceal a cookie and her “pokie” blanket in the pew at her finish line as an incentive.

The music began, she was given her cue, and off she went purposely dropping rose petals the whole way with none to spare. We did have her walk beside the maid of honor just in case stage fright set in, but there was never a waver in her step. I wept as I watched her, forever the proud momma. You’d have thought my daughter was the one getting married! When I scooped her up and handed her her cookie I whispered, “Good job, sweetie!” She whispered in reply, “Thanks, mom!” as if she does this sort of thing all the time. So cute.

Princess Bride, Ann, the daughter of a lifelong friend, was breathtakingly beautiful. I held Ann in my arms when she was only a few days old and therefore was having a hard time convincing myself that she is indeed mature enough to give her hand and heart in marriage. Together, the couple is a perfect match in spirit, wit and intelligence which makes witnessing this event all the more tender and meaningful. The ceremony was performed by the father of the groom who became ordained just to give this tremendous gift to his son and new wife. It was a wonderful day.

Devi was swarmed by her newly acquired admirers at the reception and beamed with pride at them for her job will done. When her lady-like tendency's began to fade, we sent our drained and sleepy girl home with Oma to dream of her flower girl debut so that Daddy and I could spend some adult time conversing and dancing with the other guests...and dancing we did!

As a way to slightly embarrass the bride and groom in front of 100 of their closest friends, the mother of the bride entrusted about 25 close family and friends to learn and perform a choreographed dance for them. The signal was given, we all donned Indian “jingly” scarves, took our places on the dance floor, cued the music and performed our rendition of “Jai Ho” from the movie Slumdog Millionaire. It was hilarious to say the least. The newlyweds were most appreciative of our efforts and laughed so hard...I hope not at us :) In any case, it set the tone for a fun and festive evening. Did I mention my friend, mother of the bride, made 400 enchiladas for this event? Egads!! It was a joyous occasion.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Maiden Voyages

Triple digit temperatures typically do not happen here, so to call this week a scorcher is an understatement. Thankfully, Patrick, Devi and I love the heat and all the activities one does when the sun is making it’s grand appearance.

My foot, still not able to manage the long walks that we typically would do this time of year, found us more than appreciative when a client of Pat’s recently donated their bike trailer to us. Residing in our garage while Pat gave it the complete overhaul, all three of us were anxious to take it out for a test drive. Devi was so enticed that one evening as I was preparing her bath I found her stark naked, with the exception of her helmet, in her mini chariot ready and set to go. We finally made that maiden voyage a few days later, riding for coffee and to the Farmer’s Market. It was an absolute blast to ride along at a relaxed pace that allowed us to take in all the beautiful colors of summer through a rousing game of “I Spy” as we pedaled along. Nothing like a light breeze whispering through the protective mesh to lull a girl to sleep. Out like a light was how we found her, when pulling into the driveway that afternoon. So fun was that first trip, that we have climbed aboard almost every day since, venturing out for story time and coffee time or packing a picnic in Devi’s “trunk” for dinner in the park. Although trying to fit the helmet is a struggle, we are thrilled that Devi is enjoying this mode of transportation that serves as a great source of much needed exercise for Pat and I.

Sound a sleep in what looks like the most uncomfortable position

Always up for a bubble bath, we finally let Devi use our Jacuzzi tub all by herself. She had been asking for a long time, but it seems like such a huge open space to send her into alone. Naturally, she was fine, had a blast and was begging to stay in long past the point of raisin fingers. She emerged squeaky clean and worn out - ready to settle down with ‘pokie”, a square of polka dot blanket that has been her security since first arriving home. Choosing two books - one each for mom and dad to read, singing “Lovely” and saying our God Blesses round out the night time routine every night. There are always the stalling techniques that we fall prey to, like her request for one more family hug where all three of us embrace and do a tri-way kiss, simply because we enjoy them too!

At 103 degrees, our thermometer was giving us the perfect excuse to give Devi her first ride in our boat. She and daddy organized everything the night before and today after work she helped me select items for our picnic dinner at the grocery store. It was a wonderful evening with just enough breeze to knock down the blazing sun to a comfortable level. Nearing a hot fishing spot, we found ourselves surrounded by seals eager to steal fish right off the fishing line, but this was a pure pleasure trip and we’ll drop the lines another time. None the less, we went through the whole dialog that comes with seeing a new animal.
Devi: Do we pet seals?
Mom: No we just watch them.
Devi: Is it because they are wild animals?
Mom: Yes, because they are wild animals.
Devi: Do we pet cats?
Mom: Yes.
Devi: Because they are not wild animals?
Mom: Yes
You get the general idea, but we work our way through all the wild and domestic animals she knows figuring out which ones we pet. It never gets tiring to her.

Ethnic Fest 2009

Ethnic Fest comes annually in July in Wright park and is my favorite of all the festivals we attend consisting of two full days of food, dance and music representing all different parts of the world on several stages. It was another way to enjoy the beautiful weather we are having. We took Oma along and we all tapped our toes, clapped our hands and danced the day away. Lunch was none other than a plate of delicious Indian food as we listened to the deep thumping of Japanese drummers.

Literally falling into bed, seems to be the way that we are ending these glorious summer days and we are all loving it. Keep up the good work sunshine. You are welcomed here anytime!!