Wednesday, April 4, 2012

For the Love of an Angel

Almost a month ago I found a hard, pea shaped growth in Miss Bianca's abdomen. Since we women are taught early on to feel for just this type of growth in our breasts, I had a pretty good idea of what we were dealing with. I made an appointment with Bianca's vet and my worst fears were confirmed. It was a mammary tumor and needed to come out right away. The vet also recommended that Miss Bianca be spayed at the same time. I had never had her spayed before because I had previously lost a pet as the result of a spaying. If you've ever handed over a healthy beloved pet to a vet for spaying, only to be handed back a dead animal you'll understand my fear. Regardless of my fear, I walked straight from the examining room to the front desk and scheduled her surgery for the first available appointment. The dreaded day arrived and I handed her over to a vet tech at Cherry Point Animal Hospital in Kingsport, Tennessee. I cried all the way home and didn't take another deep breath until they called and said that the surgery was a success and Bianca was doing fine. They also said that they sent the tumor off to pathology and that it looked good. The vet recommended that she spend the night at the clinic, so I spent a very lonely night without my best friend. The next morning I picked her up at the very second that they said I could. I thanked them for taking such good care of her and took her home to make her comfortable. She slept for several hours and when she woke up I checked out her incision. Imagine my horror to find the tumor still in her abdomen. I was beyond distraught at the thought of her having to go through another unnecessary surgery when I didn't want her to have to go through the first one. I called the clinic telling them through my tears that the tumor was still in her abdomen. They told me I must be mistaken, that Dr Cherry had definitely removed the tumor. They offered several excuses and when I did not accept them they told me it must be a mix up caused by my cancelling Bianca's surgery and rescheduling it. This was a bold face lie, so my response was Bullshit! They hung up the phone. I called back and asked to have Dr Cherry call me. I was informed that it was his day off and he would not be calling me until the next day. I still don't know if he was informed on his day off or not. The next day when Dr Cherry did call me his voice was dripping with sarcasm and he asked what my problem was. I told him the problem was that he did not remove the mammary tumor that he was supposed to from Bianca's abdomen. He said that he had and that I needed to bring Bianca back to the office for him to understand what I was talking about. I took her immediately there and his attitude became increasingly unprofessional. He made fun of my losing a previous pet during a spaying and said that he had done a wonderful job of spaying Bianca and that he would sleep good that night. He could not even find the tumor in her abdomen even though it was visible even to the naked eye without even touching her abdomen. I had to show him where it was. He never took ownership of the mistake or offered to make it right, he simply defended his mistake as rudely as possible. I've never witnessed a so called professional behave in such a bizarre manner. I still have nightmares over it. His last excuse/lie was to tell me that he had left the tumor on purpose because it was in fact not a tumor, it was a swollen lymph node. I knew he wasn't telling the truth, but I was praying he was right so Bianca didn't have to go through another surgery. He said the "lymph node" would go down in about 30 days. I left his office vowing to never return to this Twilight Zone of a vet office. I waited two weeks for Bianca to heal and then took her to a wonderful vet in a neighboring town. He was very compassionate while he confirmed my worst fears...that the "lymph node" was indeed a tumor that should have been removed. We scheduled the surgery for his next surgery day. That was yesterday and Bianca is starting her second recuperation in just a few weeks. It's been really hard on her and totally unnecessary for her to have had to have a second surgery. I understand that we're all human, but not admitting a mistake and refusing to take ownership of it is inexcusable. When your ego becomes more important than the furry angels you profess to love, it's time to find another profession. I made a horrible mistake by not doing a Google search for this Dr before handing over my beloved Bianca to him. Once I did I was not surprised at all the negative things I found online about him and his clinic. I do learn from my mistakes, though. I Googled the new vet!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I LOVE WHERE I LIVE Installment One

From the first moment I set foot in East Tennessee it felt like home. What I didn't realize, until I spent some time building my family tree in, was that it really was coming home. So many branches of my tree grew from this very spot. No wonder it felt like home. You can't live here and not know the name John Sevier. So when the name popped up on my family tree I sat up a little straighter and paid a little closer attention to the local stories. It's easy to be a history buff here. It's all around you. Just down the road in Elizabethton is Fort Watauga in the Sycamore Shoals State Park. This weekend was a reenactment of one of the battles of Fort Watauga and the weather was perfect. We just had to go check it out. For those of you unfamiliar to John Sevier's relation to this fort, he fled to the fort during an attack from the Cherokee and saved Bonnie Kate Sherrill who was to be his second wife. It's been made into quite a love story. He also coincidentally went on to serve as Tennessee's first govenor. He must have been quite a man. I'm not sure which of these reenactors was supposed to be John Sevier, but it was fascinating to stand behind a tree pretending to go back in time.

These reenactors really take this seriously. They live, eat and dress the part. All their clothes are authentic recreations from the period and they even camp in the same way you would have in the 1700s. That means no modern all! The children were absolutely precious and totally content to play with toys of the period. One little girl played happily on a simple drum while another watched intently to an elder teaching her to make a whistle from a blade of grass. Oh for the simple days again...

This little girl's name was Journey. She was happy as she could be running around playing with her brother and sister and whatever dog happened by. Her mother had sewn her little dress and a friend her precious little muslin bonnet. She was in her own little carefree world.

This definitely looks like a simpler time and place, if you don't mind Indians. Little did this peaceful looking group know they were lurking just beyond the bushes.

I may be one of the only people not minding gas prices being so high, because it's giving us a chance to really soak in all the rich history that is right here at our doorstep. I'm already researching our next excursion.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spring on Rose Ridge

I always look forward to spring on the ridge, but after a particularly long and nasty winter this one seems all the sweeter. The roses seem to be putting on their best performance ever. We've lived here ten years now and I don't remember them ever looking prettier. Here are a few reasons I named my Etsy store Rose Ridge Creations:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

One of the Best Days Ever

Triple Falls at Dupont State Forest in Hendersonville, North Carolina

I've had so many amazing days since I met my David, but one of my favorites began when we woke up early in a hotel in Hendersonville, North Carolina and hiked the beautiful waterfalls at Dupont State Forest. There are three falls tiered on top of each other like a beautiful liquid wedding cake. Since we were there so early we were the only ones at the waterfall and it felt like we were the only two people who had ever explored this wonderful place. David convinced me I wasn't too old to climb all the way to the top even though the last tier was pretty challenging. The rocks were very smooth with hardly any hand holds. David of course ran up them like he was 12. It's one of my favorite things about him. He's never lost that childlike quality we all had playing in the woods. It's our favorite thing to do. Probably because it makes us forget how old the calendar tells us we are. I let David run all over the waterfalls taking pics while I had some essential zen moments just sitting on a rock letting the spray lightly wash over me. I remember thinking this day can't get any better, but I was wrong.

After exploring every inch of Dupont, we climbed in the car and headed east. One of my favorite wine varietals is muscadine and Duplin Winery makes some of the best. Since David knew this was my favorite wine, he surprised me with a stop at Duplin Winery. It's located in Rose Hill, NC, apparently right on the way to his final surprise destination. After a wine tasting of literally everything Duplin makes we got back in the car and continued driving east. Just as the sun started to fall into the ocean, we pulled up to Wrightsville Beach. We walked on the beach hand in hand in disbelief that the day had started out in the mountains and had ended with a walk on the beach at sunset. A professional photographer was taking pictures of a beautiful young woman in a white wedding dress. I talked David into taking pictures of her too. He's an amazing photographer and I had a feeling his pictures would turn out as good, if not better, than the professional ones. I'll let you be the judge.

We had been snacking all day, but hadn't stopped long enough to eat a meal we were having so much fun. Ever had so much fun you forgot to eat? We do all the time! Well, the salt air reminded us that we hadn't eaten a real meal all day and we started to look for a restaurant. Literally within feet of where we had been walking on the beach was one of the best restaurants I've ever had a meal at(The Oceanic). We went in and were seated at a table facing the beach for a ringside seat of the best show of the day. We ended the day eating amazing, fresh seafood while we watched the sun set the ocean on fire. Did you know it's really hard to eat while you're smiling from ear to ear? Try it sometime.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Best Yeast Rolls Ever

I've been making these rolls for almost 40 years now and I think I've improved an already great recipe. You can make these rolls with 100% all purpose flour, 100% bread flour or part whole wheat flour and part bread or all purpose. The rolls in the picture were made with approximately 2 cups of whole wheat flour and the rest bread flour. If you use part whole wheat flour, add the whole wheat flour to the liquid mixture before the bread or all purpose flour and let it just sit and absorb the liquid for a few minutes before adding the rest of the flour. If you want to serve these rolls early in the day you can refrigerate the rolls in the last stage of rising after you've pinched them off and put them in the baking pan. They'll be ready to pop in the oven and take with you in no time. Obviously I've had plenty of opportunity to experiment with this recipe and I know what works and what doesn't. All you have to do to make these rolls as pretty as the ones in the picture is to invest a little time. If you do you're sure to start your own family tradition of yeast rolls.


2 packages of yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/3 cup oil (i use olive)
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 7 cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm water. In a large bowl, add remaining two cups of water, oil, sugar, salt and dissolved yeast mixture. Add enough flour to handle. Knead for about 15 minutes. Grease and cover. Let rise for several hours. Punch down and let rise again. Pinch off and make rolls. Let rise for about 35 or 40 minutes. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Now for some more tips. If you have a kitchen aid mixer you can do almost all of these steps with it. Dissolve the yeast in the kitchen aid mixer bowl, add the rest of the ingredients with the mixer attachment. When the dough starts getting thick attach the dough hook and mix until it forms a ball. I usually flour the countertop at this point and finish up with a little hand kneading until I get a nice elastic ball to work with. For less mess to clean up you can actually hand knead them right in the bowl. Just keep adding a little more flour when the dough gets sticky to touch. At this stage I transfer the dough ball to a good size bowl with high sides that has been oiled. I put the ball in the bowl and turn it over to oil the top of the ball. At this point you can cover the bowl with a towel, but I like the plastic bowl covers with elastic. Just place the bowl in a warm draft free spot and watch the magic. When I had a wood stove I would place the bowl on the hearth next to it, but an oven that's been turned on to warm for just a minute and turned off works just as well. In the summertime if you have a screened in porch you can sit the bowl out there when the weather is over 80. Good luck and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rainbows in the Morning

This is what I saw when I looked out my bathroom window Saturday morning. It was a lovely way to wake up and start my day! It looked like there was a spotlight highlighting the mountains and making them even lovelier with the addition of the rainbow. Since rainbows generally signify a promise of better things to come I took it as an omen that Saturday was going to be a good day. I started hearing Black Eyed Peas songs in my head and felt a lighter spring in my gait. There are worse ways you can start your day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Race for the Cure 2009

Usually I support the Race for the Cure by just writing a check to my daughter to support her while she runs. This year having no job and more time than money, I decided to join her and participate. Never being one to half do anything I made a pink ribbon sweatshirt for myself and a coat for Bianca. Baxter(my grandpuppy) wore his pink polo and my daughter wore her Saving Second Base team shirt. If you've never participated in this great event, you should. It was very moving to see all these people out raising money to find a cure for this hideous disease. The atmosphere was so positive and the weather was truly a gift from God. It made you think with all this positive energy that we were actually making a difference. I know it inspired me to give even more.Even the starting/finish line was pink.

The Saving Second Base Team

And people say I go overboard.

There were two precious yorkies in this stroller. I had to give this lady my card. Anybody that loves their babies this much needs custom clothes for them.

Me and my girls.

One of my favorite teams, Thanks for the Mammaries.

There was all variety of attire. I never did quite figure this one out.

It was very moving to see 4200 people strong supporting this cause. Next I want to volunteer Habitat for Humanity. Stay tuned!