The Great, Gallant, Gentle Gage is Gone (sniff)

This is a very hard blog to write. Gage was not your average pet, nor your average dog. He was one of those dogs they write stories about. He wasn't much for playing. Instead, he was a very loving, attentive, loyal family member. He also was a beautiful old-style purebred German Shepherd like they used to make - before they got over bred and started having the hip dysplasia issue a few decades ago. Perfect markings. I don't think he even had bad breath. His only bad habit was wandering the neighborhood. Even that habit came in handy a time or two.

Apparently Denny (as well as some other kids of mine. I have nothing against dogs, I just already had 5 kids and a dog is too much like another kid) wanted a dog so the minute I booted him over to his dad's house he went dog hunting. He said he went to the pound regularly, for months, waiting for the right one. The last time he went there was a person surrendering two young German Shepherds. One had already been adopted and when Denny saw Gage I guess something just clicked. Denny, in the comments below ("cat hacked up hairballs") can you please share what it was that made you know that Gage was "the one"? So I'm guessing that Gage maybe never even got to see the inside of one of their pitiful cages. Denny was on the way home from work in his big flatbed so apprehensively he allowed the large, unfamiliar dog to ride in the cab with him. He didn't want to take the chance of leaving him there and possibly losing him to another adopter. He wasn't sure how the ride home would be but Gage entered this family the right way, he simply laid on the seat with his head in Denny's lap. And the rest, as they history.

Early on, when Denny was living in Pacific with his dad and the rest of us would come to visit we each created our own relationship with our first member of the next generation. Rachyl would take him for a walk, Tony gave him a treat and I got on the floor and wrestled with him. I don't remember my initial reaction when I first met Gage but I know it was positive because I had a German Shepherd mix growing up. I loved that dog and still have the warm fuzzies when I meet one out and about. I remember when I was introducing my last husband to my kids I was down on the floor, wrestling with Gage, which involved doggy moans and grumbles and open mouth on my hands and arms. Rick was incredulous, he watched with large eyes, probably figuring I was nuts to trust this beautiful, large German Shepherd with my life and limbs.But he soon learned that this was one of the greatest family-oriented pets ever. They should have named him Lassie!

A few years ago Kevin and my half brother, Mark were living across the street from Denny. Kevin had been trying to collect some utility money from Mark and after many lame excuses Kevin became more insistent and Mark got in his face. Shirley began to shriek and that was heard easily across the street so when Denny and Heather opened the door to see what was going on Gage took the bull by the horns and simply ran across the street, got Mark down on the ground and just stood on him until things cooled off. I always knew that he was that kind of dog. I remember warning Denny that when Hunter got bigger to watch Gage if they were ever out and someone approached tried to approach Hunter. I was afraid the dog would get overly protective. What he ended up doing, though, in this case was perfect - no violence, just warnings and getting things under control.

Another time Denny and Heather were tied up helping with a dead vehicle on their property and no one was watching Taylor, who was then about 3 (we've all made a mistake like this, no judging). She wandered off and it was getting dark and a panic was starting to set in when they realized she was gone and they got out to look for her. But right away they found good old Gage following her. They had gotten to the other side of the block but with that big dog with her, Taylor was just fine. I pity the fool that would try to approach her with Gage by her side!

When Denny moved on to my street Gage already knew where I lived and loved to wander the neighborhood. I would spot him and call his name and he'd get the guilty look and head back home, sometimes without me even having to tell him. When Denny would come around Gage always came along and just loved to do his business, vigorously wipe his paws and then run like the wind in grandma's back yard! I have a bigger yard than Denny's and he was always in sight, I think he enjoyed the room and security at the same time.

Heather had an adorable pink tabby named Lili that was adopted just before Gage. So she had seniority and Gage had no problem with that. I believe that when they were both young they played together under the stairs in the Pacific house. That dog and cat loved each other. But the strange kitty always preferred dog foot to cat food so they eventually got to a place where they ate together. Actually they shared a bowl and Gage would let Lili go first. So when Lili died suddenly in 2013 of a spider bite Gage couldn't eat. He kept waiting for Lili to go first. I seem to recollect this went on long enough that he started to lose weight and they were worried about him.

Gage went everywhere with the family. He was in our family photos. He came with us to our trips to Ocean Shores, Lily lake and other camping trips. One year we took him to Lily lake before Denny could come out (he had to work) and that poor dog just laid in the shade and moped, he missed his people.

Oh, and Gage loved his chickens.

We all knew that his demise would be hard to swallow but someday would have to be faced. Unfortunately it finally came on Thursday, March 16. Even in this he was the perfect dog. Denny had no idea how to decide when to put the poor failing doggy down and his last morning he actually gave Denny a pleading look, he gave him permission to let him go. So the arrangements were already made, they just had to wait for the vet. She came out and apparently was very good at her job. She explained to the kids in simple terms what was going to happen. Gage didn't have to have a trip to the vet's office as his last memory. He was in his living room with his family. They were all around him, I imagine they were all softly talking to him, reassuring him, saying their goodbyes. After Gage was gone the vet went out to her vehicle and brought in a stretcher and blanket. They wrapped Gage in the blanket with his head out, put him on the stretcher and carried him out to have his body cremated. His ashes were going to be given to them and they will do what they will with them. She got some of his fur and a paw print in a mold for the family to remember him by. I was so happy to hear that he left this life in as respectful a manner as he earned, being the nearly perfect doggy that he was. Rest in peace dear, dear doggy.

Conciliatory Blog

I'm ready to write a blog about losing a family member. But another, far more important member passed away almost a year ago and I've yet to write about him. I feel awful blogging about this one before the last one, but my relationship was so much more real with the upcoming blog subject. I will get to the first one eventually. But for now, this is the one forcing me to write...


I've been neglecting my blogging big time. Probably due to the facebooking which seems to have replaced it. But I had a big incident that really needs to be blogged:

The BIG scaffolding accident. Far worse than the big kiting accident from years ago and not nearly as funny. It was Friday March 25 and I was helping my boss John John move a tall scaffold that he was using to paint the warehouse. It was about 8-10 feet tall and the bottom half was basically supports for the top half, which had all the safety bars on it, which made it very top heavy. At one point John John decided to tip it up to get over an obstacle and since it was on wheels I had to steady it to keep it from rolling. Well, it didn't tip too far before it just decided to disassemble, first the top coming off, then the bottom just coming apart. 

The next few seconds was a bit of a blur for me. I thought I remembered what had happened exactly but since it was falling in slow motion for John John I asked him after the fact how it went and it was about how I remembered. At first I was facing it so I tried to stop it from falling but it became quickly obvious that I wasn't going to be able to overpower it. So I did an about face and it slammed me to the ground and then fell on top of me. The only hit I initially remembered was the final hit to my head. Because it hit my glasses I was concerned that my glasses had broke and maybe gashed my face. That was all good so I called out to John John "I'm good! Nothing's broke!" Hah!

The dust settled and was just laying there under the scaffold on my left side, panting heavily. I felt fine, just winded. I wondered what John John was doing, I couldn't see anything but the wall. Apparently he was trying to figure out how to get this large thing off me without it coming apart more and doing more damage or if it wouldn't come apart, maybe it was too heavy to lift. I don't know, he was quiet. So while he was silently wandering around trying to figure things out I just lay there panting. After a couple minutes I notice that my arm felt like it was expanding, like it was getting blown up like a balloon. Pressure but no pain. So I just looked over at it and it didn't appear swollen. I pulled up my sweater sleeve to get a better look and my wrist was deformed, obviously broken. So I called out "my wrist's broken". Oops, I thought I was all good. 

Finally John John comes around and just lifts the scaffold about a foot off the floor but there's no room to move it so I push myself with my good arm and leg so he doesn't have to move it far. That all gets cleared up and finally he comes with an office chair to get me to his truck. After seeing my arm I know I'm injured and now am afraid to try to move. "Just call an ambulance" I kept thinking to myself. I didn't want to try to move, I was afraid of what might hurt. But the hospital is right across the street so I understand the desire to just drive me over. I wasn't bleeding or showing any outward signs of injury other than the deformed wrist and my right leg was swelling just below the knee and I couldn't straighten or stand on it. He tried to help me onto the chair when I reminded him that my arm needed to be supported so he got a painting stick and a newspaper and taped me up a great splint. I somehow managed to get up onto the chair and then getting into the truck wasn't too difficult.  On the short drive to the ER we were discussing my leg (there was no discussion of my arm necessary) and both agreed it couldn't be broke. We got there and I started to feel sick finally. I was in a wheelchair when I thought I was either gonna pass out or lose my lunch. Neither happened fortunately. 

We got into a room and got the X-rays started. The damage to my hand is most simply described as my hand being broken off the end of my arm and shoved slightly up into my arm, all under the skin though. Then I asked about my leg: "So what's up with my leg?" He says matter-of-factly "It's broke". I think he said that right after confirming that my wrist will likely need surgery. Poor John John is sitting there hearing it all straight from the horse's mouth. I can only imagine all the screaming that was going on inside his head! 

Next they come out with the Chinese finger trap. Remember the little fiber thing you got as a kid at a party that you'd get your friend to stick a finger in each end and they'd be trapped? Chinese finger trap! This is a medical device they use to help with these kind of injuries. They put each of your fingers into a metal mesh and then just let it hang for a while to allow gravity to do what it can to correct some damage. I had already warned the doc that I needed plenty of local anesthesia to numb me so he fixed me up real good. So good that when he talked about "reducing" the break once I'd been in the finger trap for 20-30 minutes and I prepared myself for the PAIN ... nothing! No pain! No yelling! 

They took me back to X-ray to see how well those attempts worked on my mangled wrist. Nope, gonna need surgery. So they stuck my leg in an "immobilizer" (which again could have been agonizing because that leg didn't want to be straight) told me that I'd have to be in a wheelchair for a while and that they couldn't put my clothes back on me over all the splints, etc. so I had to go home in a hospital gown and we were headed home. All this took place in about 4 hours! 

I was house sitting for a friend so they took me back to her house since it had more furniture that I could use comfortably than at the folks' place. The bathroom was a different matter. It has a small door that the wheelchair wouldn't fit through so I had to hop to the toilet (8 hops, I counted). John John's wife met us there with a wheelchair and a ramp. She was about five months pregnant but they managed to get me inside the house anyway, the ramp only helped with one step, there was still two more to get into the house. 

So I muddled through a few days alone in this house with a rambunctious kitten. Friends came by and my folks came, everyone was so helpful. I was capable of most things myself but I couldn't go outside. Mom had to install a hand held shower and I borrowed a shower chair from a friend so I could bathe. That sure was a hassle. 
Tuesday I had my appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, a nice Mormon guy, Dr. Judd. He looked at my X-rays and said I could have them mash it together more, put on a hard cast and hope for the best or I could have surgery. Well, duh! Give me the surgery. He said "Can you make it tomorrow?" Certainly! He also informed me that the bone that had broken in my leg was not a weight bearing bone and was a good, clean break that didn't need to be set or cast so I could walk on it but not to go crazy (no jumping jacks or trampolines). 

The folks took me in for my surgery the next day. It took an hour and 20 minutes and the doc said it all went together perfectly. Two weeks later I went in, they x-rayed again and said it looked real good. I was already using my fingers so no nerve or tendon damage. My next appointment is in another couple weeks, when I get back from my visit on the mainland. 

While I was in Washington visiting and doing yard work I left my splint off all day, only wearing it when I slept. It got very tired in the afternoon but there was lots of improvement in mobility. The leg rarely bothered me already except when I tried to squat and then getting up off the ground. It just hadn't the strength and I didn't want to push it.  I got back to Kauai and had my next doctor visit. He said it's healed enough that I can start some rigorous physical therapy and guessed that it would only be 3-4 months before its back to its new normal. I opted not to go to a therapist, I just looked some exercises up online and do them numerous times during the day. Lots of improvement but now I'm finally having pain issues. The doc said it'll hurt me but I can't hurt it.  Ouch...

No, I haven't forgotten...

...that I have a blog. My life has just settled down so well into a fairly predictable routine that there's not much to write about. Life without the day-to-day inclusion of my kids and grandkids is much more interesting than living here. Life here has become so predictable that it could almost be described as boring. I know - bored?!?!?! in Hawaii?!?!?

Well, the house is finished. With the help of my fun buddy Robert we got all the drywall mudded taped and painted, moldings hung and walls sealed. The critter population inside the house has dropped to nearly zilch. Now I find myself having to be motivated to do more work since the necessities are done. Now I'm into the "projects". I just made some nest boxes under the house for the chickens to lay in should they decide to use them. I have to clean up the banana patch and do lots of other yard work (which is pretty grueling in the summer sun/heat). The folks want to continue on their raised garden project but the jungle has to be whacked back first.

I do have a nice social life, thankfully, since if I didn't I'd probably be pretty anxious to get home. But I have a single friend that shares my need for company. And then we have a few couples that always include us. At a recent time at a Mexican Train game at a posh hotel in Princeville one of the friends said that we're a clique. I guess that's about right. We do all associate with others too, though. I feel free to drop in on my friends, married or not, here on Kauai. The island lifestyle is much slower and relaxed so a drop in is usually welcome.

I don't have an income but my friends are all aware of my financial need and find little things for me to do for a few bucks here and there. I gave one some computer lessons. I do house-sitting. I sell my photos. Whatever.

A couple weeks back my 8th grand baby came into the world. Colson Thomas Vanderville was born to Dane and Chelsea in Arizona. Only the 2nd birth I missed, Shayne came early while I was visiting here 9 years ago. But Rach and I are planning a trip to see the new family member in October, already got tickets. I'll be visiting Auburn then so we'll just cram a quick trip in while I'm already there.

This week back home our family kitty of 17 years finally died. I'm sorry it fell on Keith's shoulders to take care of it. Thankfully I have 2 kids right on my street to go over and help him out. We're all gonna miss our sweet Cookie but she had a spoiled 18 years of life. I even held back from allowing any other cats into our home because of her tendency to be a victim. But now Keith is welcome to adopt a new kitty or two.

A fun thing I've been included in is being a tour guide and photographer for my friends' friends that come to visit. It seem I know our island better than my friends and enjoy the opportunity to shoot more of its beauty while I'm out on these ventures. Sometimes I get paid for my pictures of those friends. Something I could do as a business, hmmm.

My life is also involving spiritual activities moreso than it used to. That's a good thing. I'm getting out in service more, doing parts at meetings and helping with hall cleaning, etc. I even got on the list to do the cart work regularly! I get to sit beside a bike trail on the beach and smile and say hi to passers-by! What a workout!

It's not like nothing around here has happened. We lost a brother in March and he was put on ice til the family could all come over from Niihau about 3 weeks later. Then he was in an open casket. He looked awful. But Dad gave the talk and Eugene (the deceased's brother and dad's bible study) got to read out of the Hawaiian bible. There were so many pure Niihau Hawaiians, and they were like brick walls, they were huge! We had a new baby born, a newly married couple in the congregation and now have a new engaged couple. So lots of stuff going on but no one knows any of these people so the news in unimportant.

Mom's cat, Mr Cat I guess his name is, caught a bird recently and we all got on him, saved the bird and I thumped his nose. I think he now understands that we don't want those gifts any more. Instead now he's bringing in dead rats at night and leaving them in the middle of the kitchen floor. Dad then steps on them when he walks through the kitchen to go to the bathroom.

Mom got the cataracts removed from both eyes finally. She says she sees better than she's seen in years. When the latest eye heals she may not need glasses, at least not for now. Her health has sure turned for the better. Since their surgeries last fall they're both doing so well.

So I'll try to blog the big things. Maybe some interesting pictures. Maybe I'll make one about our beach antics. I actually got to try paddle boarding! I should share that! maybe...

Au Revoir Rachy Poo!

Well, another visitor has come and gone. This time it was Rach. We had a nice 10 days together, and we kept pretty busy.
She got in late Thursday night so we picked her up and went almost straight to bed. The next day we did our mandatory shopping for necessities and finally on Saturday we were able to go see some sights. So we headed north. Our first stop was in Princeville to check out the condition of Queen's Bath, since we had such a great time there on her last visit. Well, being winter, the water was way different and we had to stop before reaching sea level. No visit this time! But it's a nice hike with a couple water falls along the way.

Our next stop was at Hanalei. We headed out the pier to see if we could see any surfers out on the big(ish) waves. Well, we could see them but not enough to get any good shots. We drove to the opposite side of the bay and ate our lunch, it was a beautiful day! Next we stopped at Tunnels Beach and once again - NO SURFERS! (maybe the guy lied when he told me that was Tunnels!) But I wanted to get some shots of Bali Hai from that vantage point anyway. I have to go back and shoot a sunset there some day! We kept meandering and finally came to the end of the road - Ke'e Beach and walked down the beach some there, to be able to see the Na Pali Coast. Our day was completed by a get-together on our lanai with all my friends from the congregation. It was a nice gathering with lots of interesting, good food. So much so that no one wanted to leave. Then someone mentioned the Kapaa Art walk and we were all off once again! We made a quick run around and got to listen a while to our favorite on-island band, "Quake" at the Eastside Grill. Rach and I left early 'cause we'd had a very long day!

We spent a windy day wandering along the coconut coast in Kapaa and Waipouli. Since she'd already seen all the sights on her last visit we were able to slow down a bit and just take it easier. So we spent time just meandering and had lunch at the Olympic Cafe. We went to a thrift store and found a new dining set for the folks, Rach's gift, then to Home Depot for some new rug runners to go with the new furniture. We got some great deals and the kitchen looks so pretty! We spent mom and dad's shopping day doing up the kitchen to surprise them after we had a mediocre breakfast with a GREAT view at the Beachwalk in Kapaa. We had to recover the pads on the chairs, paint the table base and cut and edge the runners. We got done and about 1/2 hour later the folks showed up, it was a great surprise!

Last year I treated myself to a whale watching trip and determined that anyone who comes during whale time also needs to do so. So Rach and I splurged on that. Due to the winds and rough surf they chose to take off from a location much closer to home, Nawiliwili Harbor. We had a great time on the boat, saw lots of whales and spinner dolphins (they jump and spin like cheerleaders!). The captain was a local guy and had a more aggressive style of whale watching than the guy who drove the boat last year but it was such a party atmosphere no one could complain. I swear every person on that boat was sarcastic! Rach really let her hair down (like when she goes to baseball games) and had a blast! I don't think anyone noticed when they failed to serve us our champagne at sunset, we all had so many Mai Tai's! Maybe they decided we all had had enough alcohol, we didn't need champagne!

We spent a day on the south and west side. Although this island is small it has enough traffic to make the drive to the other side a real job. So we got kind of an earlier start and headed to Poipu. We saw the Spouting Horn (meh) and the public section of the McBryde National tropical botanical garden. I discovered a pretty orchid and cactus garden in Poipu when I was out with Mary so I took Rach there. I also discovered the Kauai Coffee plantation with Mary and took Rach there. It's a great new addition to my Kauai tour. We ate our lunch on the beach again and analyzed the Tommy Bahama beach chairs that all the rich tourists were using. I'm gonna have to get me one of those! We stopped at Salt Pond park, walked a little. We went to Glass beach so she could collect some glass sand for a coworker and saw a seal sunbathing. In Old Town Hanapepe we found a little hole-in-the-wall shave ice vendor selling old style shave ice (no ice cream and in a styro cup) and while Rach cooled herself with that we walked through town enjoying the art galleries from the outside.

We had planned to do something else, besides the whale watching and that something ended up being bike riding! But it was a VERY windy day and we realized we were maybe only be out for 10 minutes. I had a goal, I wanted to get up close and personal with the old "pineapple dump" so we headed that direction first. There's a nice bike path being made that will eventually reach from Anahola to the airport in Lihue. So we headed toward the pineapple dump which was uphill but down wind. I wanted to get the harder uphill part done while we were still energetic and fresh. We rode up that hill with no effort and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The views were spectacular! Then we turned around and headed down hill. I wondered why the down hill riders were pedaling when we were going up and I found out. Gravity was no match for the wind - we had to nearly stand and pedal to go DOWNHILL! It was crazy! We got back to the bike rental place, grabbed a bite (fish tacos at Al Pastor taco truck) and a quick visit across the street to the Kauai Craft Fair and was gonna go back on the trail for as long as we could stand it but Rach got to a point not too far and said it wasn't fun any more. It was just too hard. So we turned around and, now going WITH the wind, we barely had to pedal! It was so fun! We wish we cold have gotten a ride in someone's truck to the far end of the trail and just coasted back the whole way!

The folks like  to take visitors out to Duke's for dinner on their last night on island so we had that planned and forgot that it was Valentine's Day! So Duke's and every other restaurant that takes reservations was booked solid. We had to find a nice, first come, first served type of place. We ended up in Hanalei at the Dolphin restaurant, right on the Hanalei River. It was very nice, we all had something different, Dad had chicken, Rach had fish, Mom had veggies and I had sushi. Because it was her last day here we had to go buy some pineapples for Shirley. She found out you can take a box of pineapples on the plane and check them FOR FREE. So we bought 10 beautiful Maui Golds and packed them up and took them and Rach to the airport around 10:30 for her midnight flight home. She posted on facebook a screenshot of her phone weather report when she got there - 34º! As much as I love the seasons I can't really say that I miss the freezing weather - except maybe the hot tub that goes along with it!


A whole month without blogging! Well, it's mostly just day-to-day stuff going on so, yeah.

The work around the house is coming along nicely. The house is almost completely finished inside! Just gotta get a plumber in here somehow so that can get done and we can move on...

I have a nice group of crazies that I get to hang with at least one night a week. We have a moon party every full moon, so far the weather has cooperated. Once we had the event at one of their houses and it just wasn't the same. We're gonna stick with the beach for the moon risings. This time we had music, a fire pit and the usual finger food, wine and beer. There was a total of about 15 of us, including some visitors from the mainland.

The weather has been decently cool. I've even worked outside during the day without sweating! That's saying a lot! And last week the nights dropped into the upper 50s, we had to add another layer and warmer pjs to our sleep routine. we also had a couple storms that flew through. One lasted only a couple hours, while the folks were in town and I was home alone. Yeah, we had buckets of rain but it was the wind that was impressive! The gusts were downright scary!

The folks are all healed from their surgeries. They both accomplished what they were meant to. The only thing that didn't work out was that Dad managed to get shingles just as he was healing. That isn't going away as quickly as his recuperation went!

We sure have a lot of power outages here! 1/1 our power went out just after midnight and was out for about 5 hours while we slept. The strange thing was that the WHOLE island went out!

We had the best baby shower ever last weekend. It was mostly done by the dad and granddad! We played games but it wasn't the typical gaggy baby shower games. We all sat and ate and then our tables were our teams and we played games as teams. Our table came in 2nd nearly every time! We would win funny money and after the games were done we had (click the link!) an auction for prizes! That way we got what we wanted, not just what we won!

So now it's whale season, I only saw a splash so far. But Rach is coming in a month and we'll hopefully go on a whale watching trip! I hope it's as good as the one I did last year, that was superb!

At this rate I guess it's safe to say: "See you next month!"

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.