Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jar Jar Binx: One Damn Fine Hound

We said goodbye to Jar Jar Binx today. It wasn't easy. It's never easy to say goodbye. I cried buckets and buckets and am sure there will be more tears before there is laughter. A lot of loved ones know the story of how Jar Jar Binx came into our lives and home, but as his light moves on, it seems fitting to share it again.

The vets think that Binx was about 11 months old when we drove away from the SPCA of Dallas with him in the backseat. He was so weak and malnourished it was hard to tell. Mark had seen him on TV and decided that we needed to save that dog. Still newlyweds, we ventured to the old SPCA building off Industrial Blvd. and they walked us over to the hospital ward so we could meet Ranger #8.

Part of a raid, they had named him Ranger #8 because he was the 8th animal they pulled out of a locked up animal control facility in Ranger, Texas, that had been abandoned by the local sheriff's deputy. Lots of animals were already dead, having been without food and water, for several weeks, but Ranger #8 hung on for dear life. The SPCA animal control officer who carried him out in his arms would later tell us that he didn't think Ranger #8 would make it; he was so weak and emaciated. Ranger #8 weighed 25 lbs. when the SPCA saved him. Part Rhodesian Ridgeback and part Lab, he should have been closer to 75 or 80 lbs.

He was close to 30 lbs. when we met him. The tiny hospital building was as ramshackle as you could imagine. We walked into the tiny room and they opened up his cage and said 'come on, boy.' He came limping out of the cage, his big frame wavering on his emaciated legs. But there was light and life in his eyes. He smiled as he stumbled toward us. It's Jar Jar Binx, I whispered to Mark. And that was it. He became our dog/baby/family that instant.

We couldn't take him home immediately. He was anemic and needed to be stable a bit longer. The vets said we couldn't have him fixed until his red blood cell levels were up and he'd gained some weight.

We returned a few days later to take him home. The look in the SPCA team members eyes when we walked out the door said a lot; they were grateful for us, but didn't think Ranger #8 would be around much longer. He was still weak and emaciated. He was still anemic. They didn't charge us a thing - they just told us to take him home and love him. They thanked us. They didn't know him - or us, for that matter. How often we've thanked the SPCA over the years for bringing such a strong light into our lives.

Mark went to work healing Jar Jar Binx as soon as we got home. Our other dog, Dusty, was clearly jealous of the delicacies Binx enjoyed, so we let him enjoy a few. Mark whipped him up several kinds of dog food with lard, butter, eggs, olive oil, etc. We needed to bulk him up and get his red cell count to an acceptable level. Princess Leia, my tabby, stayed out of the way. The animals had their own room at that point (clearly, pre-kids), and she stayed in it. The Princess and Jar Jar would later become fast buddies, but that took time.

Binx gradually started gaining weight. Within a few weeks, we were able to have him fixed. The folks at the SPCA hardly recognized him. We ran into the animal control officer who had carried him out and introduced him to Jar Jar Binx - aka "Ranger #8." His eyes bugged out of his head. He clearly didn't think that Ranger #8 was going to make it. He was smiling when we told him how strong Binx is - that he was still a fighter. That we were going to fight for him. We thanked the officer for his work.

That was 11 years and 3 months ago.

Through the years, Jar Jar Binx has brought more laughter, joy, and exasperation to our lives than we ever thought possible. Laughter and joy at watching our lion hound race through the cedar and across the ranch after a white tail buck or an armadillo; exasperation at discovering that he had eaten not one, but every single gingerbread cookie that Mark's mother had made for Christmas.

Joy at watching him swim after Savena and Cora when he felt that they were floating too far into Lake Travis; exasperation when he ate 3 remote controls and my college Spanish book in the middle of the semester.

Laughter when we first bought him a house, complete with a down-filled pillow, and we returned from work and found a roomful of feathers, with a pink nose sticking out amongst it all; exasperation when he ate half a whole salmon and half of my triple chocolate, 7.5 lb. birthday cake with chocolate ganache. (Does anyone notice a theme here?)

Joy at watching him zoom around the backyard, in between the gardens and kids like it was his own personal racetrack; exasperation when he whined nonstop for 7 hours (at a very high pitch) because he wanted to get out of the truck and run.

There are animals you love and there are animals that become a part of your soul. Jar Jar Binx will always be the latter. We're better people for having gotten to care for him and we will always miss him. We'll never know how he came into this life, but we gave him the best life we could and will miss our goofball more than words can express.

Rest in peace, Jar Jar Binx. Have fun with Dusty, Chevy, Princess Leia, Magic, Annabelle, and all the others who have gone before. You can now run forever. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What makes you smile at the end of the day?

I've been thinking a lot about happiness lately. What makes me happy? What makes others happy? What is really important to me? What's something I could give up?

I'd like to give up drama. Not theatrical productions, but the D-R-A-M-A which seems to have taken over my life lately. Since that's not going to happen anytime soon (I'm going to have three teenagers at the same time!), I''m going to go in the opposite direction and start tracking things I'm thankful for. I used to keep a journal of things that I'm thankful for, but I'm not sure where it is. Rather than create more DRAMA trying to find it, I'm going to start here.

Here are a few things I'm thankful for:

What about you? What are you thankful for? What makes you smile when you wake up in the morning and at the end of the day?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Yes, we really were the Holy Family!

In all our crazy glory, the Shear family - all 5 of us - recently took a turn as the Holy Family (aka Mary, Joseph, and Jesus) for our church's annual Christmas Pageant. Watch the clip below and see if you can spot me, Mark, and all three kids. Hints: Roo plays Jesus; the Monkey plays a sheep, and the Squid is an angel.

It was fun, but my acting career is definitely over! Pretty sure Mark feels the same way - at least in terms of playing Joseph! The kids will be in many more, though, as this was the Squid's third time as an angel and the Monkey wants to be a pig in next year's pageant. There must have been pigs, but I don't think we've ever had one in the pageant. Who knows, though, maybe they'll add one for her. It would be a very Unitarian thing to do!

Roo has a few years to go before he can be in the pageant again, but he'll always be able to say that he was Jesus! How many people can say that?!?

And how awesome are ALL the kids in the pageant! We really had an amazingly talented cast.

12.22.13 First Service Christmas Pageant from First Unitarian Church on Vimeo.
Our beautiful children enacting the wonderful story of hope and light in the world!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Somewhat Delayed Birth

I should have listened when everyone told me that boys did everything differently than girls. It's certainly the case with Roo. We were really hoping that he'd follow in his sisters' footsteps and arrive a week early. That would have put him here on September 14.

No such luck!

Part of me worries that we've possibly done irreparable harm to the delicate balance of the universe, but   enough is enough. Here's the very condensed version of Roo's arrival.

September 14 - No contractions. No pain. No baby. Came to the realization that Roo is not going to be like his sisters.

September 15 - Still no contractions, pain, or baby.

September 16 - Went to work. Answered lots of "you're still here?" No contractions, pain, or baby.

September 17 - Went to work again. Answered the same question. No contractions, pain, or baby. He has four days before the actual due date.

September 18 - Started having contractions in the middle of the night. Dropped the kids off at school/daycare, emailed work, and headed to the doc's office. Doctor D tells me that I probably am having contractions, but I'm not in labor. Start making plans for a possible induction if Roo doesn't arrive on time. Strike one.

September 19 - Still having contractions, but now they're stronger and it's hard to breathe. Back to the doctor's we go. Doc wants to keep an eye on me, so we're heading upstairs to the delivery floor! Yippee!!! Baby Roo is on the way.  P.S. - That was definitely too over-the-top. We were subsequently sent home for the first time. Hoping beyond hope that this doesn't become like the Squid's arrival, which involved 2 trips home from the hospital w/o a baby.

September 20 - Back to the doctor's we go.... again. We're headed upstairs again because something good is happening!!! And going upstairs means that baby Roo is on his way. Unfortunately, we were subsequently sent home - AGAIN. Glad the girls are staying with their big sister. We're both wiped out and my dumb cervix is not budging.

Saturday, September 21 -- Roo's due date is here. Will he arrive on the actual due date? Not so much. Contractions are continuing, but they're not strong enough to make me go back to the hospital and face being sent home for a third time.

September 22 - It's Mark's birthday. Maybe he'll share a birthday with his daddy? Nope. Still having contractions, but I'm not going back to the hospital. I've decided to have the baby at home. Well, not really. But I'm not going back to the hospital. I may actually go postal if anyone else tells me that I'm "not in true labor." Everyone in our house is fried and running on fumes. Marks looking up homeopathic ways to induce labor. Like I haven't been doing that for almost a week now! I've been trying every wives tale in the book for days now with no luck.
  • Spicy food - check (didn't help because we always eat spicy food.) 
  • Walking - check (probably the same problem. I'm too in shape to go into labor.) 
  • Sex - check (that's what got me into this mess. It didn't get me out, though.)
  • Salty food - not an old wives tale, but it seemed to help. 
  • Jumping rope - check. Mark has video. Multiple videos. 
  • Stair climbing - check. Climbing up and down the front stoop got old really quick.
  • Yoga - check. Seemed to help a bit.
  • Every other random idea - check. check. check. 
Anyway. It's pretty clear that Roo eventually arrived. Here's what finally did the trick:
  • Black cohosh - this stuff tastes horrid whether you add it to tea, soda, water, food, etc. I do not believe that there's anything on the planet that smells or tastes as bad as black cohosh. Yuck!
  • Raspberry leaf tea - it's tea.
  • Evening Primrose Oil - the leftovers were a great gift for my mom! 
Regardless of the horrid taste, the herbs worked! Less than 15 hours after starting all three - and after having contractions for the better part of five days - we were finally sent up to the delivery floor for the LAST time!! Roo arrived a relatively short 6 hours later happy, healthy, and without a cone head. 

So what does all this mean?

It's simple: I honestly have no idea. It's possible that it means absolutely nothing at all and that I haven't jinxed Roo for life by kicking him out so abruptly.

All in all, Mark and I are overjoyed and extremely blessed to have three healthy, thriving children.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baby Roo Arrived

This is super late, but it's the first chance I've had to write anything for the blog in well, about 10 weeks.

Baby Roo - aka Benjamin Clay - made his debut at 4:44 p.m. Monday, September 23, 2013. A few days after his due date, but he was and remains perfectly healthy! More on the delivery and life since then in the next post, but here's one of my fave pics from when he was 17 hours old.

More to come!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The monkey and the squid.: The Big Reveal

The monkey and the squid.: The Big Reveal: I'll admit it. I've been avoiding the blog. Despite the fact that I made a New Year's resolution to blog something at least once...

The Big Reveal

I'll admit it. I've been avoiding the blog. Despite the fact that I made a New Year's resolution to blog something at least once or was it twice a week, I've been avoiding it like the plague. 


Because I was afraid I'd be too tempted to spill the beans that I'd just do it. And once something is online, it's ONline forever, and ever, and ever. And you can't take it back. It's just out there. Like a baby....

Which brings me to the big reveal: If you haven't seen my Facebook banner since Sunday, we're having a baby! The Shear Clan will be adding a new two-legged one to our mix later this year. 

The due date was originally October 5, but turns out that the Jester and myself had committed ourselves to the full 40 weeks a little earlier than thought. We had our first sonogram today, and the new due date is September 21!

What that means is that there's a possibility that the munchkin will share a birthday with his or her dad, grandpa, or a myriad of other relatives that claim September as their birth month. The Squid and the Monkey both arrived exactly one week early, though, so I'm not holding my breath for a 9/21 date. I'm thinking more like 9/15. Either way, we're bringing another Virgo into the world!

For those who have been asking or having nightmares (the Jester included)... yes, it's just one. We checked. It's too early to tell the gender, but not the number of munchkins holed up in my tummy.

Up next: The nickname debate. 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

A weekend for mommy

You know you're a mom when your kids and husband are gone for the weekend and you clean house. Our home will be a Superfund Disaster site within 10 minutes of them arriving home, but it's clean now!!

Don't worry - I didn't spend the entire weekend cleaning. (It's really amazing how much one person can get done when you're not redoing everything every five minutes.)

I actually slept in both days, caught up on some Girl Scout training, read, meandered through several bookstores for as long as I WANTED, went hiking at the Heard Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary in McKinney, read, ate, slept, and saw the Hobbit with my best friend, Joseph Singleton. He's only here until Tuesday, then back to Antarctica for another 8-12 months, so it was nice to hangout. He blogs at Joseph on Ice (also a Blogger site), if you want to see some AMAZING photos.

The only seriously crazy thing that happened was that I had to drive the big diesel truck, so I think I might have caused a few heart attacks on Central. Nothing was reported in this morning's paper, but I still need to check tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed! It's hard for me to keep that thing between the white lines. Parking isn't fun, either. :-)

New Year's Resolution

I stopped making New Year's resolutions few years ago. I'm not sure why exactly but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Honestly, what would I resolve to do.... I eat tons of fruits and vegetables, I workout regularly and don't need to lose weight, I enjoy an occasional adult beverage (ok, sometimes it's more than occasional - depends on how the workday went), and I try to give 100 percent to everything I do. I sometimes fall short, but I do try - that has to be worth something.

This year, though, I think I'm going to break the trend and make one. I'm a few days late to the party, but making quick decisions does not run in my family.

I know. Maybe I'll resolve to workout less? Ha ha ha. Not gonna happen. I'm hard-wired to workout. It keeps me sane. A few days without a run and I turn into a werewolf. Ok, so that's a stretch, but running definitely help me maintain my sanity and I don't plan to drop it - despite some assertions that I can be a bit obsessive! I'm also obsessive about chocolate cake, but nobody tells me I should eat less. Quite the opposite.

Maybe I could resolve to eat less meat? Ha ha ha. I laughed at that one, too. I see that resolution going over real well with the hubby, who would be happy to eat meat at every single meal. Come to think of it, he pretty much does eat it at every single meal. I can sometimes get away with a meatless meal, but even when I think he's made something meatless, I find out that he's cooked the dish with bacon or tiny ham bits. So, no, I'm not going to resolve to do that. I would risk eviction.

How about this? How about I resolve to blog something everyday.... or 3 times a week. That sounds more doable. I may not say anything of consequence, but I miss writing and I need a deadline. So, here we go. In 2013, I resolve to write or post something on this blog at least three times a week. (Three posts on Saturday is allowable, but not recommended.) There, I made a resolution. Please keep me in your thoughts that my resolution lasts longer than most diets and that it doesn't wind up like the diet orange soda I put in the freezer and then forgot about!

P.S. I promise to write about the Monkey and the Squid, too! They love the limelight. :-)