Category Archives: dogs

Photoblogging: Troubadour

Rich gave me a portrait lens last Christmas, so I immediately tried it out on one of my favorite subjects.

Leave a Comment

Filed under dogs, pets, photoblogging, photography, troubadour, troubadour hobo

Pattie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Last Couple of Weeks

Song Lyric of the Day:

Won’t you help me sober up / Growing up it made me numb / And I want to feel something again

AJR / “Sober Up

Life has turned into a country song of late: my hubby got sick; Sebastian got diagnosed with yet another ear infection; my 10-year-old dog, Troubadour, got diagnosed with early kidney failure; and then we were in a car accident.

We had just left Costco the next-to-last Saturday in March when we got rear-ended. We were taking Kingston Pike home as I-40 has been a parking lot of late. We’d gone several blocks when, slowing to a stop at a red light, we heard a car skidding. I looked to my left (I was driving) since for some reason I thought it was that car that was skidding. Wrong. We got hit and it took a moment to register what had happened. I think Coraline started screaming; she was asking over and over, “Were we just in an accident?!?” I think I might have started screaming in between asking if everyone was OK. Sebastian started screaming in reaction to his mom and sister freaking out. Rich was yelling for us to calm down. The man who hit us freaked out when he realized we had kids in the car; I believe he really did feel awful about it. His 1990-something Ford Bronco, a nice steel behemoth, ended up with only a loose grill. Not even a ding. My Chrysler Town and Country minivan, on the other hand …


The liftgate took the brunt of the impact. The dinosaur sticker survived.

But it could have been worse. That’s what we keep telling ourselves. Rich and I have both had some neck and back twinges since, starting right there at the accident site for me. I’m still dealing with some anxiety driving the rental van while my van is being repaired. The back roads and I have become closer than ever since they are not as heavily traveled as Kingston Pike, Middlebrook Pike, or the interstate. Fewer cars means less chance of getting hit again, right? (Fingers and toes crossed.) Being in an accident, although minor (thank God), was a literal manifestation of the only recurring nightmare I have, one that started when we were living in Chesapeake. And it was so much worse when it actually happened because both our kids were in the van. But we’re OK. We’re OK. Most importantly, my babies are OK.

The van will be fixed soon (I hope), and we are now driving a rental van that doesn’t stink – literally. The Nissan Quest we got at first had not been properly cleaned, had only half a tank of gas, and reeked of cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke covered up with cheap air freshener. It smelled like what I imagine a vehicle smells like after a cologne-saturated, chain-smoking Johnny Depp is left in a car with all the windows rolled up on a hot day. Yes, that bad. Coraline would start complaining as soon as the doors opened. Also, the Quest had a meh design. It did accelerate like a race car, though, and had XM satellite radio, but those were the only pros on the list. FYI: Don’t rent from the Hertz at Windsor Square in Knoxville; we went with Hertz as Rich has President’s Circle status. Hertz corporate WILL be getting our feedback on that particular location and the vehicle, and it will not be good. At all. Thankfully, the airport Hertz location has its act together. I am now happily driving a CLEAN, fresh-scented Kia Sedona. It doesn’t have the same race-car pickup as the Quest, but it accelerates nicely and has a design we all like much better. Overall, I think it’s a much better minivan than the Quest. It does not have XM satellite radio, but I’m surviving with CDs. First-world problems and all. The tl; dr for this whole paragraph: Hertz Windsor Square, BAD. Hertz McGhee-Tyson Airport, GOOD. Nissan Quest: MEH. Kia Sedona: GOOD.

That’s the car stuff. The sick stuff is becoming par for the course, although it’s frustrating, especially with regard to Sebastian’s umpteenth ear infection. As for Troubadour, I’m still processing that. Our vet, who we love and has taken care of many of our four-legged babies over the years, was quick to say that this doesn’t mean Troubadour won’t live for a few more years. Which I pray he does. He’s my second-oldest son, after all. We’re doing our best to keep him comfortable and ensure he’s hydrated. He’s still a heavy drinker, which is good. After five vet visits — including one to the animal ER and two days of IV treatments — in one week, he’s starting to show flashes of his normal, healthy personality again. Last night he even mugged Sebastian, stealing his cracker. I never thought I’d be happy about that, but there you have it. I firmly believe my thieving dog has a lot more living left to do.

Troubadour at the ER

With his head in Mommy’s hand at the animal ER

Leave a Comment

Filed under dogs, family, personal, pets

One Year Gone

Song Lyric of the Day:

Oh the tree of life is growing / Where the spirit never dies / And the bright light of salvation / Shines in dark and empty skies

Bob Dylan / “Death Is Not the End

Today is the day after my birthday. Which means that today is the anniversary of the day my Abuela Tulita passed away, what seems like a lifetime ago. Today also marks the first anniversary of the day our dog Caleb died.

I like to think my abuela was the reason Caleb died the same day she did. Because, to be honest, the woman was a klepto when she was alive. So why should the afterlife keep her from snatching something else — say, a beloved family dog. When Caleb died it felt like we wouldn’t get past the shock and grief. We were completely blindsided by his passing. The worst thing for me personally was seeing the horrible depression his brother, Troubadour, was plunged into. It took weeks for him to come out of it.

Caleb and puppy Troubadour

Caleb getting to know his new little brother, Troubadour (May 2008)

Six months after Caleb’s passing we happened to see an adorable little Chihuahua listed on Facebook. His family was looking to rehome him because they felt like he needed more attention than they could give him. When we showed Coraline his photo, she held up a hand, looked away, and said, “He’s so cute I can’t even handle it.” We contacted the little dog’s mom and arranged a meeting so we could see if and how Capone would fit into our family. He and Troubadour hit it off immediately, to the point that Capone barked his head off once he was put back in his carrier to go home and Troubadour got mopey when he left. That was a Sunday. That Wednesday Capone came to live with us for good.

We’ve never owned such a small dog before, so that was an adjustment. I have to laugh thinking how this little guy, who is literally one-seventh the size Caleb was, would have terrified Caleb. I also have to say how grateful I am that Original Mom chose us to be his new forever family, because we all love him so much. Especially his new big brother, Troubadour.

Troubadour snuggling with his new little brother, Capone

Troubadour snuggling with his new little brother, Capone

Leave a Comment

Filed under dogs, personal, pet loss

Photoblogging: Snowy Day in Knoxville

Troubadour plays rope keepaway with Caleb.
Troubadour corners on a dime.
Standoff between the boys
Happy wonders why her little brothers are such dorks.
My little boy
Snow-covered trees
Snowy branches
Watching the snow from the screened-in porch.

Leave a Comment

Filed under dogs, knoxville, photoblogging, photography

Tiny Hats and Child-Sized Glasses

Song Lyric of the Day:

All around my hat i will wear the green willow / And all around my hat for a twelve month and a day / And if any one should ask me the reason why i’m wearing it / It’s all for my true love who’s far, far away

Steeleye Span / “All Around My Hat

I meant to post much earlier in the day, but I got brave, mustered up some energy (bedrest pretty much sucks the life out of you), and headed out to run errands today. Anyone who knows me knows I’m really antsy to get out if I voluntarily head to the supermarket. Grocery shopping ranks on my list of least-favorite things to do, right after making phone calls and taking my dogs to the vet to get their bums squeezed. But out I ventured into the heat with my on-the-fritz car AC, which is why I passed out on the couch pretty much as soon as I got back. I’ve mastered the art of the couch nap, even timing it for when the dogs are down for their afternoon naps. Since it’s impossible to sleep when the boys are all “rawr-rawr-RAWR-WOOFWOOFWOOFAROOOOOOO” (OK, that’s mostly Troubadour) when they wrestle or fight over toys.

“He Stole My Seahorse!” from Patricia Lee on Vimeo.

As for yesterday’s followup appointment, I’m thrilled to announce that nothing is physically wrong with Coraline. It seems that the poor kid has just inherited her mother’s small head. As my high-risk OB put it, “I look to the parents, and, well, you don’t have the biggest head, you know.” So now my little girl will face the same hat issues I’ve had my whole life: baseball caps always need to be set on the smallest setting possible, I only wear hats in winter out of desperation and a need for warmth, and I generally look like a toothpick balancing a giant mushroom cap anytime I put on a hat. Fortunately, her intercranial development looks great — great brain development, great bloodflow. Which is good, since she’ll have to use her smarts to learn how to deal with her genetic inability to look trendy in hats.

Something she might find more amusing than her noggin’s inability to support a hat is that, even today, I can wear children’s eyeglasses. And they fit perfectly. The price of a pair of children’s glasses is always significantly cheaper than adult glasses, too. Were it not for that Dora the Explorer logo emblazoned on the lenses and arms, I’d buy a pair for myself.

And guess what — I finally got cleared to go back to work. On Monday. With breaks every three hours. Here’s to being paroled from house arrest!


Filed under bedrest, dogs, mommyblogging, personal, pregnancy

Photoblogging: Obnoxiousness in Triptych

Never let it be said that Caleb is not the most ridiculously patient big brother ever. Troubadour (10 mos. old here) certainly thinks so.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under dogs, photoblogging, photography, puppy

Tuesday 10: The Good & Bad of Adopting a New Dog

The Good:

  1. Three dog night*
  2. Improved exercise program for the cats (fleeing-intensive)
  3. Female influence = Slightly restored civility of the barbarian boy dogs
  4. Enjoying seeing her reaction to new experiences and people
  5. More unconditional love to go around

The Bad:

  1. Nonstop water drinking and subsequent dripping
  2. A barking soulmate for the already-too-barky puppy
  3. Too-barky puppy is jealous
  4. Sleeping in the guest room until she gets used to our bedtime routine
  5. Two words: Poo explosion

*Rich made me promise to use that.

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Comment

Filed under dogs, list, personal, pets

Photoblogging: Sharing

Troubadour and Caleb partake of Troubadour’s birthday cake in honor of his 1st birthday.

1 Comment

Filed under dogs, photoblogging, photography


Song Lyric of the Day:

But they tell me / I’ll be fine / That it will all get better / Just try to write it down / Or put it in a letter / But the words won’t play / And there’s no / Easy way to say / Goodbye, goodbye

Natalie Imbruglia
/ “Goodbye

I had to step back for a while, pretty much from everything. On July 26, only 31 days after losing my baby Yum Yum, our sweet, 13-year-old girl Snoops left us, too. I imagine a lot of non-pet owners can sympathize some, but my fellow pet owners know how devastating losing a pet is. And to lose two of my babies only a month apart … I can’t even express it in words. Especially when the two of them were so close — Snoops falling in love with her kitten from the first day she set eyes on him; Yum Yum playfully swatting her on the butt to get her to wrestle; the two of them sleeping, side by side; right up to Snoops’ obvious mourning once Yum Yum was gone, which we watched hasten her decline.

While Rich and I were heartbroken over having to take that final trip to the vet with Snoops, we did what we could to make sure her last afternoon was filled with her family’s love: We called our family, and my parents and sister Vanessa were able to come over to say their goodbyes to her. Snoops responded to that, even raising her head and smiling, which she hadn’t been able to do for a while. So she definitely felt her family’s love, despite all of our tears.
And when that awful time came at the vet’s office later that afternoon, I gave her countless kisses, one for each family member and friend who loved her, and many more just from me and Rich. I think that actually helped a little, really, just a little in the grand scheme of things — but it helped nonetheless — knowing that so many of the people close to us loved her and would miss her, too. But nowhere near as much as we would.

Once home, I cried as I showed Caleb his big sister’s collar, which I had very gently removed from around her neck once she was gone (she would’ve hated feeling naked without it). I think he’d already figured out that she wasn’t coming back, and that was all I could think to do to help him really, truly process it. Because if there was one certainty, it was that Caleb knew his big sister always, always had her collar on.

Rich, Caleb, and I dealt with our grief in our own ways. So did our cat, Belle; having known Snoops since the day I brought her home, and having grown even closer to her dog since Yum Yum’s passing, Belle walked around caterwauling the first few nights, looking for Snoops. Troubadour, being just under six months old at the time and having only been with us for three months, didn’t feel Snoops’ absence the way we did. But, if anything, he ended up helping the rest of us. Because it’s impossible not to laugh and smile when you have a puppy. And in the weeks following her death, when Caleb would sit quietly by himself in a corner, looking as heartbroken and depressed as a dog can look, it was Troubadour who got him playing again.

*My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet. – Edith Warton


Filed under caleb, dogs, goodbye, grief, pet loss, snoops, troubadour

Trapped in the Stairwell

Trapped in the Stairwell from Patricia Lee on Vimeo.

Seven o’clock in the evening
And barking from the pup bugs me
He’s stealin’ and hoggin’
A new rope that should belong to me
And papa yells, “Share the rope, Caleb,” from the upstairs
Then he comes out and corners me
And it’s no surprise, it’s that Tru

Now he’s got this dumb look on his face
Like, what can be done?
How could I be so stupid to be have left the rope out in the sun?
Lost track of my toy
Why did I trust that boy?
Skipped the stairs, went to the floor
Couldn’t stand that little boor

There I stand, quickly tryin’ to make my escape
Looking for a way up
Tryin’ to go upstairs and past him
Then he stood in my way up the stairs
Said, “You won’t get away”
Looked at him, his eyes were crazy
Said, “Puppy, get out my way”
Said, “I got a rope to tame”
He said, “Please don’t go up there”
“Puppy, I’ve got to get game”
He said, “Our parents are coming down the stairs”

“Shh, shh, quiet
Hurry up and get in the bathroom”
He said, “Let’s not make a peep
From our parents we must sneak”
I said, “Why don’t I just go out the window?”
“Yeah, except for one thing, we’re in the basement”
“Oh crap, oh crap, think quick, push me fast up the stairs”
And now I’m up this darkest stairwell, tryin’ to figure out
Just how I’m gonna get my crazy ass past our parents

Lyrics customized by me, based on R. Kelly‘s “Trapped in the Closet.”

1 Comment

Filed under dogs, puppy, vimeo