"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Thursday, June 28, 2012

More On Operation Marigold

Hey, Ho, all!  Just a short post to let you know that the ever talented Snowcatcher has published her post with her Operation Marigold pattern!  Like that of Mrs. Micawber, it is a simply awesome pattern!  Go and take a look here!  Better yet, try your hand and donate the results to someone in need!  Thank you a thousand times over Snowcatcher!  We are so very blessed to have these two ladies traveling with us on this arduous journey.

Now, then, stay tuned.  I'll be writing again very soon!  In the mean time, goat hugs to all!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

And So It Begins ...

In the ever advancing onslaught of the side effects of chemotherapy, there is one that stands out to everyone.  Yesterday morning when the Goatmother took her shower, the shampooing routine yielded something new.  Yes, you guessed it, a handful of hair.  Of course they told her this would happen, usually about week three or more.  Monday is the beginning of the Goatmother's 3rd week.  The Goatmother, as I pointed out previously, is sometimes a late bloomer.  I guess not always.  Sometimes she's ahead of the game.  Who knew?  Well, we can't say we weren't expecting this.  Still, when it actually begins, it is somewhat disconcerting.  Sort of like Fall in the Summer.  Or having a La NiƱa year two years in a row.  Or an Alpine being nice.  Just disconcerting.

Enter our dear friends Mrs. Micawber and the Snowcatcher, two of the brightest stars shining in the night sky.  You may remember that the Snowcatcher was responsible for the Goatmother's lovely 'Window of Hope' filled with graceful pink and white crocheted snowflakes.  But now these two ladies, ever the dab hands at crocheting, have decided to do a  'Hat For A Cause'  campaign in the Goatmother's honor, having created some exquisite patterns that anyone can use (but not sell, of course) to give to someone they know who is experiencing hair loss.  Not only that, but they have graciously included guidelines for materials and information about where, should you not personally know a deserving soul, hats can be donated to help those in need.  Places like hospitals or cancer care centers; and there is a list of organizations to donate hats to as well.  They have thought of everything.

I know I have said this ad nauseum (Can a goat say anything ad nauseum?  Well, except for maybe Boo ...), but the human spirit is simply one of the most beautiful things on this earth.  The fact that Mrs. Micawber's  post of  Operation Marigold  has coincided exactly with the Goatmother's beginning to lose her hair is rather miraculous, don't you think?  Coincidence?  No.  More like serendipitous.  Perhaps Mrs. Micawber has a bit of the *shining* like our friend Claire.  I can't help but wonder - and I'm a pretty wonderful goat. (Ha!  get it?  I just kill me.)

Do please be aware that the Snowcatcher has just finished a grueling bicycle adventure and has not had the opportunity to post her  Operation Marigold  pattern as yet.  However, she is not far behind and we'll let you know when it is up and running.  (Do patterns run?  Maybe only the Goatmother's do, and usually that is backwards, as in taking it out to fix a mistake.) :)

Thank you Mrs. Micawber and Snowcatcher.  More inadequate words trying to convey emotion deeply felt.   Maybe I should express that loving appreciation to Mrs. Micawber and the Snowcatcher  in 'goat' for the Goatmother.  "Baa, ma maaa ma maaaaaa.  Bah maaaah aaaaah Ba."  What does it mean?  You figure it out.  I'm going to get the Goatmother some more Kleenex.

Anyway, the Goatmother is doing pretty well with the condition her condition is in.  Why just this morning the Goatfather walked by her sitting on the couch.  She reached her hand to her head, grabbed a handful of hair and out it came, after which she proffered it to the Goatfather, smiled and said, 'Here'.  The Goatfather walked away laughing.

"We're all born bald, baby."  - Telly Savalas   

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Marigold Moon

Yesterday a package arrived from Nova Scotia.  It was just a plain brown box with all sorts of postage information stuck to it.  Who knew that love could come in a plain brown box?  The Goatmother opened the box which, if one could believe the label, was from our friend, Claire of Whispering Acres. Now, before I go any further, let me tell you something about Claire.  This woman is no stranger to adversity.  In the short time since she moved back to Nova Scotia, her life has literally fallen apart and her dreams shattered.  We only thought Mr. Murphy lived at our house.  Claire has been host to Mr. Murphy's evil Godfather.  And yet, this gentlest and kindest of souls, dealt so much, did an unbelievable thing.  Why?  All I can say is remember No. 1 on our list of things learned so far?  Oh, that doesn't even begin to cover it.  Not in a lifetime.

So the Goatmother opened the box and this is what she found:

A beautifully executed needle-felted likeness of none other than myself.  Of course Claire felt the need to point out that the likeness was not as 'perfect' as she would have liked but that my markings are quite challenging to reproduce.  Me?  Challenging?  Au' ContClaire!  Well, I don't know, but I am an expert on *me* and I can tell you that I just don't see a Peanut-loving thing wrong with it.  I mean, I don't know if you can see it, but she even included my exquisite icing-dipped wattles.   Just like real thing!  Methinks the lady too modest.  What do you think?

And that wasn't all.  No indeed.  Do you see that beautiful, beautiful bracelet?  Well that bracelet is hand-made by Claire just for the Goatmother!  It contains not only love, but is "green for renewal and life force, with leaf-shaped beads for new growth, and a central nugget of Howlite, which is a semi-precious stone first found in Nova Scotia!"  Not only made with love, but with a deep and abiding intent.  I can tell you it will look a WHOLE lot better on the Goatmother than that mundane Power Port bracelet.

But that still wasn't all.   That was enough, wasn't it?  Nope.

I hope you can see the card.  It is needle-felted of the most exquisitely beautiful yarn fibers imaginable.  And the water is imbued with iridescent fibers alight with the  sparkling shimmer of tranquility.  It is rife with the Goatmother's favorite colors ... the colors of the vast sea.  How did Claire know?  Perhaps Claire has a little of 'the shining'.

And last, but by no means least.  What?  There's more?  Oh, yes, my friends, there is one more thing - perhaps the most special thing of all.  The poem and the title of this post.  It was written inside the card.

Claire, I can not begin to tell you how many times the Goatmother has cried since she opened that box.  But they aren't tears of sorrow.  They are tears of thankfulness to be so blessed by having people like you in her life.  They are tears of humbleness at the thought of  'who am I to deserve such consideration?'  And they are tears of joy and awe at the sheer goodness and grace in the human soul.  I found a lot of words to make such a meager attempt at conveying something there are no words sufficient to describe.

May the joy, peace, and love that you bring to others, be a blessing coming back to you a thousand fold.  What some chose to foolishly throw aside, will come to be their endless regret.   And to those who knew to look with better eyes, will come a benefit and a gain beyond measure.  Of this I am sure.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

More Things We've Learned So Far

This situation is nothing if not a learning experience.  Trouble is, it doesn't seem to always be things we really dance with anticipation to learn.  Still, I suppose it is what it is and at least it has one redeeming quality ... it isn't as bad as reality TV.  Now there is a scary thought,

So, let's see now.  What exactly further have we learned?

No. 1 - People are STILL friggin' amazing!  Okay, now this is saying a lot because we didn't think people could be anymore amazing than they were when this whole thing began.  But you know what?  They are!  And they continue to be!  Now you would think that after the 'new' wore off, so to speak, people would go on with their lives, having expressed their caring and feeling really bad for the Goatmother, but then going on about their daily business.  But that hasn't happened.  No indeed!  Those beautiful souls that pledged to travel along on this journey with the Goatmother have amazingly continued  to travel along, holding her up even when she was way down under that stupid big Disco ball.  They have laughed with her, cried with her and generally kept her afloat.  Who could have ever imagined that this would be the case?  If you didn't think so, then 'Oh, ye of little faith!' because they have most assuredly been there through the thick and the thin of things.  A goat couldn't have done better, and that is saying something coming from me.  B.R.A.V.O.!!!!, my friends.  You are the light of the world.  There are so many who like to 'talk the talk' but do not 'walk the walk'.  That is not you and each of you is valued, cherished and loved beyond measure.  And should anyone ever dare to intimate that you are 'less than', then you send them to me and I will set them on the straight and narrow path to enlightenment.  (Cancer isn't the only thing I can butt the hay out of!)

No. 2 - Those presentable underwear continue to be of utmost importance, as are at least one presentable pair of pants that don't have 'barn' stains.  Okay, this kind of goes without saying, doesn't it?  I suppose I have to say that modesty kind of flies out the barn door too.  You always hear, 'seen one, seen 'em all', and, well, that's really the truth of it.  If you are overly modest, get over yourself.  What if you had an udder that had to get milked all the time?  See?  Goats know these things.  Of course this does not mean that one should seek to emulate Lady Godiva (the woman or the chocolate), but there is a time and place for everything and all things in good time.  So plan.  That is what goats do.  Think ahead.  If goats did not do this, Alpines would get all the Peanuts in the world and amass corporations like Proctor and Gamble or Nestle.  And just so you know, those undies don't have to be Givenchy.  Fruit of the Loom works just fine.   Just no holes, okay?  And no goat slobber stains.  I'm just sayin' ...

No. 3 - Bone pain is not our friend.  We were kind of hoping we weren't actually going to find out about this one.  But the Goatmother has always been a late bloomer.  What can I say?  I suppose, on the upside, at least she still knows she has bones and they have not turned to rubber.  That, at least, is encouraging.  Methinks that all those 'tall' girls in junior high probably experienced this kind of thing, but since the Goatmother could never have been, by any stretch of the imagination, called 'tall', she didn't 'get' to experience it back then and gets to now.  Life has a way of filling in the gaps like that.  Never allow yourself to think you actually 'got away' with something.  Goats know this too.  Which is why if you actually make it through a day without being T-boned, you always just count yourself lucky and add it to the 'this-is-gonna'-come-around-and-slap-me-in-the-butt-soon' stack you've been accumulating.  Believe it.  It will happen.  Life is an equal-opportunity employer.

No. 4 - Chickens and the Irish have a lot in common - in some respects anyway.  No doubt you are wondering about this one.  Let me just say this.  When your tastes change, and you feel like you've been stomped by 100 Alpines and sat on by 39 over-weight Nubians, there is one thing that helps.  Well, really, two, I guess.  Chicken soup and potatoes.  Now being a goat, I would much prefer Peanuts, or even some choice Kale, but the Goatmother assures me of the validity of this statement.  Chicken soup, baked chicken, chicken stew .... chicken, chicken, chicken.  In fact, when she was telling me this I was beginning to feel a little like Forrest Gump ..."You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, chicken-kabobs, chicken creole, chicken gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried ..."  Oy.  And that doesn't begin to cover the potatoes ... boiled, baked, mashed, sauteed ...  Now, see, the Irish knew all about this potato thing and that is why they raised them and had to leave when they had the great potato famine.  I find myself wondering if perhaps there was a great mass of Goatmothers on chemotherapy in the country at this time.  The Goatmother does have some Irish ancestry.  At any rate, God bless the humble chicken and the lowly potato.  They do a body good.  ( I have to let you know that I am taking bets as to how long the Goatfather is going to hold up under this onslaught.  Two to one odds.  I'm just sayin' ... -  just in case you are interested.)

No. 5 - The most valuable of human senses is a sense of humor!  Well, duh.  We knew this one already, but NEVER has it been more evident than now.  Hope may spring eternal, but a sense of humor is what gives us the wherewithal to to even begin to hope.  We are far too serious creatures anyway (just ask any Alpine), and seriousness may get you respect (and it may not), but that sense of humor will get you through anything.  It will stand beside you when every other of your sensibilities has gone by the wayside.  For whatever reason, the human mind looks at 'seriousness' and sees 'knowledge' and 'maturity'.  Those 'serious' people are smart. by Goat!  But in truth, the 'serious' are really the scared, and how anyone can think to equate 'fear' with 'maturity' is beyond my comprehension.  At any rate, as one of those sayings making its rounds across the Internet purports, 'Blessed are the cracked, for they shall let in the light'.  And light is definitely where it's at.  Besides, it helps you to see what you're eating.  Which might likely be chicken. 

"Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
: What are we holding onto, Sam?
: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for." - The Two Towers

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 4

Okay, well, technically this is day 5 after the first chemo treatment.  There is a reason for this.  At first, we were told that the 'bad time' would likely occur somewhere between 3 to 5 days.  We were also told, however, that our doctor tended to pick day 4 as the *bugga-boo*, and guess what?  More proof that she knows here stuff.

So without further adieu, I present to you the perfect representation of Day 4.  Just click here.  If you really want to know.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A New SuperHero

Hello, all!  Well, here I am.  Finally.  What a whirlwind of a week this has been!  Let me see now, where shall we begin?  First off, when last we left our dauntless heroine, she was about to become the imPORTant and proud owner of her very own ... PORT, that is.  The Goatmother was wheeled into the operating room whereupon she became engaged in a philosophical discussion about the philosophical preferences of one philosophical goat with our beloved surgeon and the very nicest of philosophically inclined anesthesiologists.  Of course the conversation became rather one-sided shortly thereafter as the Goatmother was sent off to La-La land, but the World's Greatest Surgeon proceeded to perform yet another superb work of art.  Of course, the only problem with this is two-fold.  First, the Goatmother doesn't know what she was expecting, but the imPORTmant of the PORT was a bit more painful than she had anticiPORTed...uh... errr ... anticiPATed.  Second, it has become quite clear that she has managed to earn yet another sobriquet  -  that of the FrankenGoatmother.  At any rate, if anyone decides to poke anymore holes in the FrankenGoatmother, they are going to have to go for the flip side because this one is full.

So, after the FrankenGoatmother finally allowed herself to take the pain medication (can you say s-t-u-b-b-o-r-n?), things got slowly better.  And yesterday, she was able to not take any!  Yay!  Just in time.  Now, then,  let me discuss this imPORTant PORT.  You see, this is not just any port.  No indeed.  The literature that came with it (Yes.  It actually has literature with it.  Who knew?) says so.  For this is a Bard Power PORT!  A Power PORT???  Not only does the FrankenGoatmother have to carry a card in her wallet and a tag on her key chain, but she actually is required to wear a special bracelet identifying her special status.

Not that the FrankenGoatmother is ever going to be a hand model, but you see what we are up against here.  And look, Mrs. Micawber!  A 'symbol' on the bracelet!  I think this may be actual proof of that 'StarGate' connection you suspected.   The FrankenGoatmother had better start carrying around those Peanuts, along with her card, in case she does indeed have to connect with any alien civilizations.  Believe me, though, when I say she'll fit right in if she does, Peanuts or no.  I'm just sayin' ...

So with this Power PORT, we think the FrankenGoatmother really ought to have some kind of cape, don't you?  I mean, everyone knows that 'with great power comes great responsibility'.  Just ask Spiderman.  So, really, she ought to have something to identify her.  You know, warn the public?  But the whole Super Hero idea doesn't click very well when it comes to the FrankenGoatmother.  I mean, she is kind of a wuss.  Come to think of it, though, there is one place she might actually fit in.  Do you remember these?:

(Source here)

Yep.  The Power Puff Girls!  Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup.  She could be the long-lost Peanut-passin' rebel sister in lavender (since pink is obviously already taken), Butterbean.  What do you think?  I know.  It's another name, but Goat Grief!  She has so many already, what's another one?  Eh???

At any rate, we are ready to dePORT...I mean, dePART for our first Chemotherapy session on Monday.  I know.  Don't worry.  I'm not going.  The Cancer Center is a wonderful place, but even they have not advanced enough to allow in a goat.  But that's okay.  Someone has to hold down the fort and protect the Peanuts against marauding Peanut-Pinchers.  The FrankenGoatmother is again a bit apprehensive, but they promised to take good care of her, so it's all good.  Remember the Goatmother's motto, 'it's all good'?

We are sincerely hoping that Mr. Murphy doesn't go.   He caused enough trouble this week when Cabra came down with bladder stones on Monday when the Goatmother and Goatfather had to go to Seattle.  And, of course, the poor dog doesn't have just one kind.  She has both kinds.  And, remember when the machine broke right before the Goatmother was supposed to go for her MRI?  Guess what?  The Cancer Center's blood work machine broke and so the Goatmother had to travel in to the regular lab in order to have her blood work done for Monday.  It is my theory that the machines hear she is coming and run in fear.  I can understand that.  She's one fierce looking mother when she's got a pair of hoof trimmers in her hand.  Oy vay.

But looking on the bright side, we did have one good omen this week.  The Epiphyllum bloomed.

I know.  The picture is kind of dark, but it is so hard to get a decent picture of anything red, especially with hooves.  Why is that?  Nonetheless, I want you to notice the Goatfather's hand, which ought to give you some indication of the size of this bloom!  They are magnificent!  And, what is more, it is such a symbol of hope.  Here is a plant that comes indoors in October and doesn't get a single drop of water until it puts up these fabulous blooms, which is usually well, now!  That is almost 8 months without water.  And if you feel sorry and water it, it WILL NOT bloom for you.  I take it as a study in patience (something we really need right now).  Even though you experience a tough road, and some hardship along the way, the end will result in not only triumph, but transcendent triumph!  Here is living proof.

So, okay, my friends.  The sun is setting and we have one more day to get ready - if anyone can actually be ready.  But we refuse to let the sun set with no hope. 

" You can only come to the morning through the shadows." - J.R.R. Tolkien