|Baking for Thanksgiving - I made shortbread!|
|Digging for potatoes with Dad circa 1987|
The other reason that Thanksgiving was more significant to me this year was because it fell on the same day as my Dad's 60th birthday. My Dad was 30 when he had me, so there was a special kind of symmetry in my head about this birthday, and I was really sad to miss the actual day itself so I could tell Dad in person how much I love him. However, he sent me a lovely video of him listening to my gift to him (the 25th Anniversary edition of Paul Simon's 'Graceland') and we managed to Skype briefly before Ben and I went to Thanksgiving dinner, which was wonderful!
|B, after a walk, a run, and some play time in the yard!|
So, she gets extremely hyper, paces, pants, yips, barks, cries, and sometimes even thrashes against whatever is between us and her to get to us. It's incredibly upsetting to see her so distressed. She cannot focus on anything else when she is like that, and so even if you go to get her once she has calmed down, she simply ramps right back up again.
Fortunately, we have the most wonderful vets, and Dr. Johnson has been helping us to manage Bertie's issues in order to help her keep calm and reduce the physiological effects of her nerves. She is now on a bland diet to try to calm her stomach; she has Benadryl when she needs it to allow her to focus and listen for greetings and departures, and metronidazole to help her stomach stay calm (explosive diarrhoea is not fun, let me assure you); and most importantly, she has a new exercise routine that will hopefully not only tire her out, but give her psychological peace too.
Because B has some herding breed in her (most likely Collie), she needs a "job". So, Ben and I are taking it in turns each day to run 1-2 miles (more when he and I are fitter, but that will take a little while!), with Bertie running along with us wearing a dog backpack. No, we have not become those dog owners and started accessorising our pets - I promise this is veterinary advice! - but in actual fact the backpack is a symbol of it being "time to work" for Bertie, as well as providing some extra weight to ensure she burns more energy. Currently I just put a small bottle of water, my phone, some poop bags, and a house key in there, but as she gets fitter and more used to running, we can put bigger water bottles in there as weights. So far, it seems to be working, and I'm so very glad to see behavioural methods having such a positive effect after just a week of implementing the new routine. Long may it continue! She's an incredibly smart, special dog (I know, all owners say that!), and it's great to know we can help her to be a happier little lady.
|Anyone with a cat needs to do this|
Last week he was scheduled to have a dental clean, but Dr. Johnson heard something rattling on his lungs that she was not comfortable with. He'd had a cough for a couple of weeks but he'd been on antibiotics for that as it had sounded like a throat infection. So, some X-rays were done of his chest to investigate further. It turns out that he had some fluid on his lungs (another common issue for heart problem kitties) and so anaesthesia would not have been a good idea at all. He's now on another medication to help him get rid of the fluid, and will be having his teeth made all shiny come January, provided that his cough has gone.
The thing with cats is that they seem just fine right up until the point that they're definitely not fine. He's been just the same as always: playful, miaowing for food and treats; winding the dogs up; stealing water from our glasses; trying to pull cupboard doors open; rearranging DVDs; stealing receipts from Ben's in tray - all the usual fun Wash stuff. I am so very glad we have caught this now, and that he is being treated for it already, much as it's worrying in itself. I'd much rather know. He's a delightful cat - his morning cuddles are especially sweet! - and I want to make sure he gets the best care for all his poor heart ailments.
|Satine matches the autumnal colours|
This dog is the most wonderful derp in the universe. Everything about her has an element of silly, from her daft long legs to her wonky smile to her love affair with sleep. She's doing great and seems to know this is her home forever now.
|Although I may not be mentally prepared, |
Christmas jumpers have certainly
been purchased and packed.
Seriously though, I actually think being so busy and having distractions like other creatures to care for has made me cope with facing the reality of being back home - or at least made me suspend belief that it's happening. I've purposefully made sure we've not made too many concrete plans in order that we can maximise on chilling out time as well, rather than rushing around trying to see every person we can possibly squeeze in. Other than that though, I haven't allowed myself to think much on the reality of being back when I have had time to do so, as I get so overwhelmed (with happiness!) that I just cry. To imagine actually seeing people like my brother and sister-in-law, my parents, my childhood friends, my old colleagues, my friend-families, all back in my home country... It's just a bit too much. I guess that might also be why I have put off writing a blog post for so long too, as well as being pretty tight for time, because putting it into words makes me have to process it, and I'm not sure how I feel about it just yet. That probably sounds far too dramatic, but other than already being really overjoyed at seeing people I treasure and excited at feeling the familiar ground of my little town beneath my feet again, I'm not entirely sure what to expect emotionally. I'll keep you posted.
It's just amazing that we have been married a whole year. While it has flown by, it also feels like things have felt "right" for a good majority of that time, like we have established more than the average couple in our first year of marriage. Our house, our place here together already feels like home, even as an expat who is constantly experiencing new things or having to readjust (albeit only slightly for the most part). We work together wonderfully well, have jobs we both enjoy now, a beloved network of family and friends around Charlotte (and some further out across America), and of course our own critter crew in our own four walls. Along with the joy of normalcy and contentment is the magic of being in love, and being married to a man who I love and loves me in a way I only thought possible in fairy tales. I am grateful every day for the magic he brings to the world. (Feel free to vomit now!)
|Only cool people allowed|
|Time for festivities!|
|I blame my parents.|
And by "blame" I mean "thank".
I can't wait to go home.
P.S. As if England couldn't get any more exciting, guess who I will be seeing there during the holidays?!