Last Year and Now the New Year

So I almost did it! I almost finished a month of blogging everyday via NaBloMo December. I was doing fairly well posting content using the daily allotted prompts but then the holidays began. Now I am not much of a holiday, Christmas person and don’t make or wrap my gifts for other folks until the very last minutes before the gift exchange. In addition to the holidays, my little family and I spent a week out on the rez with my extended family, and it was just wonderful. I really do enjoy doing chores for my dad and mom so they don’t have to do it. Mostly the heavy lifting like hauling hay, water and wood. And our daughter brings so much joy to my parents and rest of the family and that makes the holidays that much more special. The other thing is that the Navajo Nation does not have adequate resources to bring quality Internet services out there so we do not have access to the world wide web, unless we are at the local school as an employee or library guest, or live on school campus. Some folks have Internet access via their smartphones but that depends on service providers. We choose not to use ours because the upload is too long and we are scared of using up our data just to check Facebook or something like that.

The New Year brings such joy and promises. Like a fresh clean notebook ready for pencil and pen markings of words and drawings. It’s a mental picture of the possibilities and opportunities in the coming year, and it is very exciting. My daughter has already had her milestone, using the her little portable potty chair to use the bathroom. Wow! That was great! So I predict that before her first birthday she will have potty-trained herself. That will be a relief to our diaper consumption. 🙂

 

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Celebrations

I had two very good reasons for not posting last Thursday and Friday. My husband graduated from nursing school on Thursday evening and my sister graduated with her Masters degree in Climate Science and Solutions on Friday afternoon. On Thursday, my husband and I worked out at Crossfit Flagstaff and did half of “Murph” which consisted of an 800 meter run then 50 pullups, 100 pushups and 150 air squats followed by a final 800 meter run. Even though it was half a Murph it was still a very tough workout but we felt very good afterwards. We then ran some errands in town and then went home to eat breakfast/lunch and then we tidied up the house for the impending arrival of family later that evening, and for the reception the next day. We got our outfits ready including our daughter’s outfit, for my husband’s graduation ceremony. After we got ready, we had do some things before the ceremony, we went to drop my daughter’s clothes off with my sister, and  then pick up some pizzas for the high school students I work with. These are Native American students who reside at Kinlani Dorm while they attend the local high school, and we learn about climate change effects and solutions in their individual communities. Great students! I’ll have to tell you more about them later.

After we left the dorm, we went to a brief reception at a local Mexican restaurant where I met some of his classmates. He had such a good crop of students to work alongside with during the last two years of nursing school. After an hour, we headed to the school before the reception to save 10 seats for my family. To make a long story short, my daughter and I stood alongside my husband as he received his ribbon of completion and we watched as he received his outstanding student award. It was an amazing experience because my parents and other family members saw and heard what a great experience my husband had in school, and watched him be awarded for his hard work. It was amazing!

The next day we all got up early to start prepping food for my husband and sister’s graduation reception at noon. Now mind you, it snowed a 6+ inches the evening before but we were forth steadfast. Mainly because we were all hungry for my mother’s corn and mutton stew, which is made from her homegrown corn and organically raised churro sheep. When the time came, my father said a beautiful Navajo prayer blessing the food and the family who came to celebrate with us. It was really neat! Then around 2 and 3pm, people started heading towards town for the graduation. My husband and I left around 3:00pm because our daughter begin fussing and so the car ride lulled her to sleep. Whew! A grumpy and tired toddler is not very fun for anyone especially the toddler herself.

Anyhow, another long story short, we got to the graduation in time to see my sister receive her master’s degree and it was a beautiful sight. She graduated with distinction with means she was one of the top students in her class, and she should be because she worked so very hard during the past year and half. After she went up on stage, we shamelessly tired to get her to leave early so we could go celebrate at a local restaurant, but she wanted to stay through whole ceremony and then get photographed with her classmates. Then around 6pm, we met a diner on the east side of town (the west side was inundated with graduates and their families) where we had a great dinner. We ate very well and laughed to our hearts content. Afterwards, my husband and I said it was such an awesome dinner and a good way to end the a wonderful two days.

Of course, sleep was much welcomed and came easily that evening. I would have slept in the next morning but I had to go and volunteer at my gym’s competition that was also a fundraiser for a local foundation. To say the least, it was a very long day on my feet and talking with people and dealing with two very awful impatient men. So yesterday, I was still very exhausted and I felt very off. I was not happy. I was so tired but I struggled through it to spend an awesome day with my baby girl.

Celebrations are wonderful but oh so very tiring especially if you are the host or family of the honored ones. It is worth every minute of sweat and stress but it is also easier when you have a lovely husband and awesome family by your side to help you through the whole thing.

Loss of Family

Lefty!A day and one night ago, our beloved dog, Lefty, left this earth for doggie heaven. It was a sudden departure my family and I were not ready for. I was not ready for him to pass on because I was convinced he was going to live forever. I was convinced I would have the time to say my final words of love and loyalty to him as I did with our other dog, Ca$h, who passed on earlier this year. To put it simply, I am devastated. I am heartbroken. I am grieving for one of my best friends who protected me night and day. He was always so happy to see my family and I when we returned home from work or a visit to the family on the Navajo Nation. Let me tell you how we met and fell in love with Lefty.

When my husband and I began dating, he already lived with a blue-heeler mix named Ca$h who he had adopted from a local animal shelter, Second Chance Center for Animals when he was a wee pup. After two years, my husband and I tired daily of keeping Ca$h entertained because he had so much energy even after 2 hour walks in the forest near our home. We decided to get him a buddy to play with because he needed someone to be with during the day and just to keep him company. So off we went to Second Chance and visited all the dogs available for adoption in the outdoor kennels. As we came into the yard, the dogs erupted with barks of excitement and we were a little overwhelmed. As we read the biography of each dog, I noticed one particular golden fur ball sitting quietly in his kennel. He had these small cute ears that folded over when at attention, and that he was round all over. He also had a lame right leg from when a vehicle hit him on the Hopi rez, and a kind passerby took him into Second Chance. I approached the kennel and the dog sat down near the gate and looked at me with his huge puppy eyes and licked my fingers. It was that moment that he chose us. I said to my husband, “He is the one. Let’s visit with him and adopt him. He is the one!” Naturally, my husband was less inclined to make a seemingly rash decision and said let’s sleep on it and come back the next day with Ca$h. Even then I was reluctant to leave him and I promised him we would come back to visit. The next day couldn’t have come sooner. We learned that another couple of hours, he would’ve been adopted by another couple who were trying to get permission from their apartment’s landlord. We came back to Second Chance and initiated a private visit with Ca$h and Lefty. They immediately got along well and no one growled. Just lots of butt sniffing. That was it! Lefty came home with us. We learned that Lefty was very timid when it came to be leashed and tried to duck out of it, and he did successfully a few times. On immediate arrival at our home, we took both dogs out to the forest for a walk. We placed a new collar on Lefty which he immediately wiggled out of. He was timid and would duck every time we approached to pet him or place a leash or collar on him. He was very skittish and jumped at loud unexpected noises, leading us to believe that he probably was physically abused at one point. He had every right to be untrusting of any human. We were willing to be patient and loving. That was over five years ago and Lefty came love and trust us. Eventually, he stopped being so timid and skittish, and loved his daily walks. He loved doggie treats and would use his big puppy eyes to his advantage to get more treats. Worked every time!

I mentioned that Lefty had a right lame leg, and when it came time to name him we went through a few names; Duece, Johnny, etc. Ca$h was named after Mr. Johnny Cash so we wanted to go with the same name theme. We already had a human friend named Waylon so that was out of the question. My husband also worked as a river guide and as a paddle boat captain so he thought of all the commands he would yell at people like “Left Paddle!” The name Lefty was perfect! It tied in with our other dog’s name Ca$h and from the Willie Nelson song, “Pancho and Lefty” and not to mention, when he sat down he would favor his “left” side. Isn’t that perfect?

He had a lot quirks too. See Ca$h was way more energetic and loved to play his version of fetch GE DIGITAL CAMERAwhich is when we’d throw the stick or ball, he’d run toward it and pick up with his mouth and then stand or run off with it and drop it off in a distance. So I figured it’d be only fair to throw Lefty a stick too, which I did, and boy did he run after it like he was going to beat Ca$h to it. Then he skidded to a sudden halt and stopped to smell some purple flowers. No joke! He literally stopped to smell the flowers! And he never attempted to run after any stick or ball that was thrown. He was happier to smell every flower and plant he came upon.

When I learned of Lefty’s passing, I lost my breath and just about fainted. I miss him terribly. We miss him terribly. The house is a little empty without the two dogs but our third dog, Willie (yes after Mr. Nelson) remains and he will be spoiled rotten. Perhaps we will adopt another friend for him but for now we will continue to celebrate Lefty and Ca$h lives. They gave us so much love and loyalty. My husband says to think of the good times, and the fact that they had such a good life compared to the alternate if they were still abandoned and homeless. I love them so much and will miss them! For now we will bask in the love of Willie, our dog, and Juno, our formerly obese cat (she was very fat when we adopted her).