Happy New Year and welcome, 2016!
While 2015 was marvelous for so many reasons I am fine to shut the door behind it.
Not that the day of the week or the number on the calendar changes much.
Its still winter.
We’ve still got over 2 feet of snow on the ground.
The snowmobilers are racing around the meadows and the yurt-ski people are filling up the parking area at the end of one of our nicely plowed driveways and Alistair is still going back & forth to Bismarck and Loki has had a few more seizures.
They aren’t very long- 10 seconds at the most.
I’m starting to notice a routine she has when they occur and maybe she seeks us out when she senses one coming on because I have been close by for the last 3.
She sits down or stands very still and then she starts bringing up a frothy bile-like foam (I’m not trying to gross you out. Its just what happens). Her medically-inclined Gampy and Step-Gammy think the pre-seizure phase is somehow making her nauseas.
Then the trembling starts.
Twice now we have held onto her, stabilizing her with our own bodies and she doesn’t fall over and hasn’t actually gone into the full-blown seizure. Other times she goes down (gently if we are around to assist… thankfully she’s only 15 lbs) and she seizes.
Then she piddles.
Then she wakes up.
And after a little while of being held, talked to and what looks like a bit of general fuzziness she is back to business- eating, drinking, barking at closed doors, barking at the other side of the closed door, and prancing through the house like a little pin ball, gently bonking against a door here or a wall there.
Or a chiddy pat.
Who, at 20 years old is pretty set in her ways.
I will say, she is still agile enough to make the effort to get out of Loki’s way now and she can still surprise the snot out of me with a rapid whack from her claws if I’m working on a hair matt.
BoomBoom gets twice a day methimazole for her over active thyroid. We’ve been at this for 2 years now. I didn’t think we’d last 2 months when we started.
But we did so we keep doing what we’re doing and another year has come and gone.
I spent New Year’s alone (well, void of human company) which isn’t all that bad. I made it to midnight and reached over to pet the dogs, wishing them a happy New Year!
I got a couple of tail thumps from UB but that was about it.
Its not the first New Year’s I’ve ever spent alone.
The first one was saying goodbye to 1992 as 1993 came along.
I was living in Tokyo (Chiba, really), Japan and working as an English teacher for American Language Schools.
I was overweight, pale, engaged to the wrong man back in Canada, living within 2 tiny rooms in a cement block that was partly inhabited by the Yakuza, drinking too much Kahlua and cream at night, without internet, writing lots of letters, living for my cassette tape player and I had no clear idea of what I wanted out of life.
Thankfully a cousin who lived there introduced me to one of her students, Mr.Katsumata, who took pity on this poor young Geigin who was alone for the holidays.
He began with what must have been an incredibly expensive supper on Christmas day- a day that isn’t celebrated in Japan like it is in more Christian-based countries.
Mr.Katsumata also wanted to share a traditional Japanese New Year’s with me, which I have forever remembered and appreciated.
We took the first train of 1993 to the coastal city of Endo-Shima to watch the first sunrise of the year.
Its a pretty big deal in the Land of the Rising Sun.
It is tradition (and good luck!) to visit many temples and snack amongst the crowds before, during and after sunrise.
We made sure to get as close to the shore as we could and among hundreds of Japanese we watched the sun rise above the horizon on the first morning of 1993.
It was beautiful to see and be a part of. Everyone cheered and hugged and I felt pretty special looking out over the waters that morning many mornings ago.
We kept going around to temples and Mr.Katsumata taught me about various statues and beliefs and we ate too much food and drank beer or tea and before long I was back in my little rectangle of a house as one very tired Geigin.
I learned a lot that special day and it still holds deep meaning for me. I wasn’t traveling to Japan as a tourist and I wasn’t there with a group of North American figure skaters sharing the experience.
I was living there, trying to figure my way around a non-touristy community, immersed in a culture very different from my own as an obvious wide-eyed, pale-skinned, chubby outsider and yet this one man invited me to share his customs and traditions in a spiritual setting with me.
It was important that he taught me these things and shared them with me and it was equally important for me to experience a mere fraction of what being Japanese was like.
I’ve never seen the first sunrise on the first day of any new year ever since. I don’t think it would be quite the same.
There is much more to my adventures in Japan but I am smiling and feeling nostalgic and I need to work on our snow-shoe trail with UB and Cleopatra now.
I will leave you with the 3 ferrets and I with our latest Sing-Song saddle video we cooked up the other night.
Welcome, 2016. I still don’t know exactly what path I am on but I am enjoying the trail.