Things have been hectic around here the last few weeks.
We’ve attended Holiday performances that the kids are a part of.
The family gathered as we had a death in the family.
Our goat passed away as well.
And we met with the creepiest Santa in the history of Santas….
My aunt’s husband passed away from a long battle with bladder cancer.
He was only 58 years old and leaves behind three children (one being a step-son who didn’t attend the funeral services because they had a contemptuous relationship) and two young grandchildren.
We last saw him when he and my mom’s sister came to visit from America’s south for the July 4th holiday.
We shot off fireworks together at our farm and had a cookout in our yard with swimming in the pool and laughs all around.
My aunt has taken care of him through his sickness. They entered into quite a few trial treatment plans to help buy him time. His diagnosis was “non-curable” and his cancer was brought on by his lifestyle habits. He changed his ways when he learned that time was limited and wanted to travel to see his friends and family more.
He passed away at home with his wife and youngest son with him.
His body was flown back to Illinois where he grew up and where he met my aunt.
His funeral was on a cold, blustery day. Icy particles fell from the sky as we drove to the cemetery.
We passed a Hooters restaurant on the drive from the funeral home to his final resting place at the cemetery by the airport.
I know he loved that.
Our goat Yogurt was limping around in the back pasture on Friday.
She was putting absolutely no weight on her rear right leg.
And it looked swollen.
Yogurt is a twin.
We got her and her sister, Tulip, when they were 6 months old from our local zoo.
We were getting a pony for our daughter from the Make-A-Wish organization and we knew the pony would need a companion.
So, we purchased two baby goats. Their mother was a Nubian goat who went by the name of Rose and their father was one of the few horned Pygmy goats that they had.
Zoe got to name her pony, so Gigi named the goats.
She initially wanted to name them Six and Seven.
We persuaded her to find something more suitable, so she went with Tulip and Yogurt.
She’s holding onto Yogurt in the photo above. Gigi is 2 1/2 years old in the photo. Zoe is 6 years old and was in treatment for leukemia.
Yogurt and the pony, Buttercup Luck, became very good friends.
Yogurt could often be seen standing under the pony as they grazed.
And we think that this closeness became her downfall.
Yogurt had a broken ankle.
Once Zoe and I had managed to catch her…even though she had an injury she wasn’t going to let us touch her which was how Yogurt lived her life…her ankle just flapped side to side. She was licking her lips a lot which is something she doesn’t do. Her reaction to the pain she was feeling.
It seems that the pony had probably stepped on her.
We packed her into the dog’s crate, which was no easy feat as she’s a wide gal.
The break was formally recognized on an x-ray at the farm vet we use.
Dr. Stacey has seen our goats since they arrived in 2011.
She said that if Yogurt were a year old, that her bones would heal well and catching her and casting her leg would be easier.
But, Yogurt is older (6 is old for a goat as they only live to be 8 or 9 years old) and she doesn’t like anyone touching her. If we put a cast on it, it would need to stay dry and it would need to be changed weekly for 6-8 weeks. Or we could take her to the University of Illinois and they could put a plate in it, but it still may not heal well.
Our options were not good.
We decided to say goodbye to her.
The break was bad and the treatment was not fair for her.
The kids were not with us, as I thought that this outcome may be what unfolded for us.
Man-Farmer had tears for someone who pretends that the animals in the barn are more work than they are worth for him.
We fed her her favorite snack, graham crackers, before Dr. Stacey gave her the pink stuff that stops her heart.
I held her head and looked into her goat eyes with the slits for pupils and told her what a good girl she was.
And we brought her home to bury.
Buttercup and her sister Tulip investigated her as we layed her in the back pasture. Man-Farmer would need to dig a hole to bury her in.
We figured that the other animals would want to see her and smell her because they understand that’s she different now. And her grave will be in the pasture where the grass grows long and the sun always shines.
Yogurt loved sitting in the sun.
She also loved her sister as they often played together, racing through the barnyard, smashing their heads into one another.
And she loved her pony. The pony who terrified her for a few days when she arrived in August on 2011 as she was so much bigger than Yogurt and her sister. But, who became her second best friend in the barn.
Both children were distraught when they learned what had happened.
Gigi declared that life is always unfair for our pets.
Our dog Lola also died when we couldn’t fix her a few years ago. She ran into a fence and broke her back.
Yes, Gigi you are right.
Life can be very, very unfair.
We haven’t gotten too many Holiday cards this year yet, but three that we have received have had our family’s last name spelled incorrectly.
Are we really friends if you don’t even know how to spell my family’s name?
How hard is it to double check the spelling of someone’s name in this land of social media?
We are all Facebook friends…my full name is on there.
And it’s spelled correctly on there.
Two were hand written on the envelope and one was printed on a sticker.
For the two that were handwritten…shake my head.
For the one that was printed on a sticker…umm, your file that says “Christmas Card List” may need another look.
My family’s last name is not one that contains 25 consonants and only a few vowels.
It’s a 6 letter thing.
And most people have no idea how to say it…my kids have their name botched regularly at school.
It’s Czech in origin.
It’s not in hieroglyphics.
My dear friend Sue has a recipe problem.
She gave me a recipe many years ago for cracker candy.
It involves saltines, butter, sugar, peanut butter chip, and chocolate chips.
It’s super simple.
I still have the email she sent me with the recipe.
It’s dated Sunday, November 19, 2006.
I’ve been making this candy for 11 years thanks to Sue.
And EVERY SINGLE YEAR she asks me THE SAME QUESTION…
“how do you make that cracker candy?”
And every year I tell her HER recipe.
This year she’s asked me 3 times.
Maybe she is suffering from some sort of memory issue?
Or she just needs to write the damn thing down!
She will soon be calling me asking me for my spinach-artichoke dip recipe.
Every year she asks.
I swear that I once gave her a recipe box with both of these recipes tucked inside.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without Sue asking me for these two things.
It just wouldn’t be the same.
The girls got their hairs cut.
Gigi initially went into the salon and told the stylist that she wanted one inch and two centimeters cut off.
But, then signaled that she wanted much more cut off.
She showed us that she wanted about four inches taken off.
Are you sure?
Are you super sure?
Up to your shoulders?
The inches came off and she was done.
She sat down next to me as it was her sister’s turn now.
She kept touching her hair, running her hands through her smooth hair as her curls were cut off.
And looked at me and whispered in a voice that was barely audible…
It’s shorter than I thought it would be.
Zoe also got her hair cut.
She went short a few months ago.
But we had a different stylist that agreed to cut her hair as her regular stylist had to call off because her son was sick.
The new stylist was one who is afraid to cut hair short.
So, it wasn’t exactly what Zoe had hoped for.
This time she got what she wanted.
And it looks like my hair.
Longer on one side and short on the other.
With the back cut close to the head.
It’s an honor to realize that your pre-teen girl thinks her mother’s hair is cool enough that she would like the same style on her own head.
We part our hair on different sides, so that’s different.
And she doesn’t have the salt and pepper look going on that her old mama does.
She looks a lot like me.
I told her as much when she was telling me how she wanted her hair.
She didn’t care. She likes me.
I feel so proud to have a daughter who wants to share hair with me.
I didn’t force her to cut her hair to look like mine.
I didn’t put the idea into her head at all.
Her head, her hair.
She lost it quite a few times during cancer treatment.
She survived and she grew stronger.
And she can do whatever the hell she wants with her hair.
Friday evening we went downtown to see Santa in his little red house in the park.
We do this every year and our town has the jolliest Santa Claus who sits and waits to speak to the children who enter his house.
The line wasn’t very long at all, so we were excited that we wouldn’t have to wait too long for Gigi to tell Santa that she wants a Go-Pro Camera for Christmas this year.
Zoe said that she didn’t want anything and so she wasn’t going to talk to him.
A first for her as I think she may not believe like she used to.
When it was our turn to go in, the door opened and we pushed our way into the little room.
And Santa just stared at us.
And it wasn’t the same guy that’s usually there.
The usual guy is a pastor from a local Methodist church.
A super great guy who has an authentic Santa laugh to go along with his authentically white beard.
This Santa had a greyish beard and didn’t utter a word to our daughter.
She wouldn’t go near him and stood a good distance away.
After some prodding from her parents she got out that she wanted a Go-Pro Camera.
He asked her if she had been good.
She said yes.
And that was it.
Strangest experience EVER.
We quickly left after Zoe told him that she didn’t need anything this year.
Once we were outside of the little red house, Gigi stated “That Santa was evil.”
Something wasn’t right about him, that’s for sure.
We walked to the post office that was a block away so that Gigi could mail her letter to the REAL big guy in the red suit at his REAL house at the North Pole.
There’s a small mailbox at the main post office where, if a child deposits a letter to Santa she/he will receive a letter back from the North Pole.
Gigi’s letter got stuck upon insertion.
She had tried shoving it in vertically, but it needed to go in horizontally.
“It’s stuck!” she whimpered with a frown.
After much poking from her big sister’s fingers, it went in.
“I hate this day” she sighed.
Seeing a creepy Santa and then getting her letter to the big guy stuck in the mailbox was enough to send her into a spiral of doom.
I didn’t dare tell her that we had received yet ANOTHER Christmas card at home where our last name was misspelled.