On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Just start from the beginning

I found a bound book of toned paper that looked like it would accept black pen quite well. I decided to dedicate it to the Everyday Matters challenges that began to be posted once a week a few years ago. I've done a few of them but my drawing skills are still weak and it's only now that I feel comfortable committing to a true project of a couple hundred inky sketches. I want to start from the very beginning - EDM Challenge #1 Draw a shoe - and procede from there.

The temperature soared into the low 80s today, a precursor of the summer to come. It was a gorgeous day. Even I, who prefer the cool rainy season, had to acknowledge that it was a day to get outside and do .... anything. Yesterday I mowed the front yard (Steve was thrilled, he loathes every moment of yard work) and today I took Parisse for a walk.

That's actually a momentous statement - I took Parisse for a walk. She's our special education dog, the one who is afraid of everything and who probably has some kind of neurological damage and/or possible retardation. When she still belonged to Canine Companions for Independence I took her to five different veterinarians and got five different diagnoses. The canine ophthalmalogist couldn't find any kind of vision problem so it's something else.

Anyway, one of the way her "issues" manifest is her total unwillingness to walk outdoors. She can run in a pack on play days and looks normal then, but no one I know has ever seen a dog so incapable of walking. I could drag her for 50 miles, but that's just what would happen -- once she decided she was not going to walk she really would NOT walk. CCI evaluated her and released her from their program when she was ten months old -- definitely not service dog material! So we kept her.

Today, on a whim, I put a leash on her flat collar and decided to see if she would walk a house or two away right here in our own neighborhood. She was quite curious, sniffing the grass on everyone's yard. Usually we don't allow that behavior but I was so thrilled to see her enjoying herself that it was way to early to train for that! So she walked, she sniffed, she forged occasionally but not badly and we passed the first house, the second, the third. When we reached the corner I had her cross over the street and walk down the length of a second block and circle around until we were back home.

It was a short walk -- ten minutes -- but Parisse walked! We met up with a neighbor who was walking his little Yorkie, there were a couple cats who caught Parisse's attention and there were all those smells on the grass. My hope is that we can develop this new ability. My plan is to take that same walk a couple times a day and gradually lengthen it into another block, new sights, new smells -- but Parisse can walk!


  1. I really, really, like your shoe drawing. Good for you on starting the EDM challenges. I think you'll be glad you are doing them. And you're off to such a good start!

    That is good news about your dog wanting to walk. Have you ever heard of dogs being trained to smell for food allergens to assist food allergic people? You know, like dogs who sniff out drugs at airports? Not to check food exactly but environments where food has been present to check for residue to be avoided. I've often wondered about that for kiddo to help her be safer with her peanut allergy.

  2. Hi Ann -- I haven't heard about sniffer dogs for allergies but I know of an organization that trains dogs to sniff for diabetic low blood sugars (which can be immediately life-threatening). I wish we had one of those for my kiddo. - Barbara

  3. That's interesting. I wonder if the training would be much different? I'll check into that. Thanks Barbara. Now if they could just train the dog to give an epi-pen shot. . .

  4. I really like this one. I've been looking at a mochisan slipper for a while thinking that I must draw it. Very good.


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