Still Nothin’!

20 02 2011

Don didn't even ask me why I needed him to take a picture of the BACK of my head!

My husband Don and I have decided this matter of hair has a theme. Still nothin’, we say to each other after doing a “hair check” first thing in the morning. He’ll also sing it to me whenever he sees me doing the “little tug” (hey, maybe I should trademark that move or something) to test the strength of my roots. Still nothin’, just the way Jo Dee Messina says it in her hit, My Give a Damn is Busted.

Indeed, my gutsy moved paid off yesterday. Calling and making an appointment for an up-do earlier this week with my stylist Jennifer from The Perfect Image Salon in Belleville didn’t jinx me in the least. In fact, it saved my spot — Jennifer is one busy girl — and not only lifted my tresses, but also my spirits.

Jennifer was shocked when I walked into the salon yesterday. She knew I’d already started chemotherapy treatments.

“I saw your name on my schedule — followed by the notation: “Up-Do,” and I had to look twice,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it!”

Believe it. It’s Sunday morning and I’m closing in fast on that Tuesday if-you-haven’t-lost-your-hair-by-now-you-most-likely-won’t deadline.

The wedding was a beautiful affair, held at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, the same venue where I modeled for the Bras for a Cause Benefit September 18, 2010, and where I’ll be for this year’s Bras for a Cause, September 17, 2011.

The bride, Pamela, and I share something very important in common — we both love the color yellow. Sunshiny, bold, bright yellow. How can you look at the color yellow and be anything but happy?

Pamela has a flair for style and an artistic bent. The centerpieces were jars of all sizes and shapes, collected over the past few months after the final bit of jam or the last pickle, the labels removed, the glass scrubbed. Each was filled with a different variety of yellow flowers. I chose one that had surely once been called home by several dozen baby gherkins, filled with tiny, fragrant flowers whose name I just couldn’t put my finger on.

I set them on my nightstand and drifted off to sleep. This morning, it came to me the moment I opened my eyes. Our room was filled with an enchanting scent.

Honeysuckle. Those delicate, bell-shaped blossoms were Honeysuckle! That’s long been one of my favorite scents for body lotions and bubble bath, but I don’t recall ever having seen it in a bouquet.

I breathed in deeply. It would be just like God to create a flower that’s not only the most perfect color in the universe, but whose scent is nothing short of heavenly.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson

What We Already Know…If We’d Only Listen

17 03 2010

What can dreams tell us? And how do we know when a dream is just a dream — and when it’s more than that?

We just know. I realize that my answer seems overly simplified, but I am more convinced than ever that, distracted by the hustle bustle of our modern, technology-driven lives, we often forget to stop and listen to what our intuition is telling us. Last week, it was telling me that it was time to let our beloved dog cross over to the other side.

Our beautiful blonde terrier mix, Vada, began having trouble moving her back legs last Thursday. At the age of 18 — yup, that’s like 120 in dog years — we knew this day would come. In fact, we’d already managed to dodge it a couple of times along the way.

Four years ago, she was on death’s doorstep and — to the shock and surprise of our vet — she recovered completely. Since then, she’s been known around that clinic as “The Miracle Dog.”

But even Miracle Dogs don’t live forever. Though our vet wasn’t sure that this was “the end,” and my mind refused to belive it, my heart — and a dream — told me otherwise.

Last Friday night, I dreamed about our beagle, T.C., who died in July 2007. I’ve never dreamed about him before. Not only did I see him in my sleep, but the images were unnervingly vivid.

In the dream, I opened the sliding glass door to our back yard, and there he was, big floppy ears and all, romping and playing in a huge pile of crunchy fall leaves. I remember feeling a pang of guilt and thinking to myself in the dream, “Oh my gosh! He’s been alive this whole time and I thought he was dead…and we should have been taking care of him.”

I studied him for a moment and realized that he was not old and tired, as he was the last time I saw him, but young, energetic — and buff. I could see the outline of his muscles.

I motioned for him to come inside. He looked at me for a moment, then dove into another pile of leaves, resurfacing with just his head and big floppy ears showing. His body language told me that he was quite content to stay where he was.

I looked down at that moment and saw that there was a barrier of cold air and ice — perhaps six inches wide. But beyond that barrier was a sunny, warm, and happy place. The place where T.C. was.

When I woke up, my gut told me that the dream was more than a dream. It was a sign. T.C. was coming for Vada; it was her time.

T.C. and Vada had grown up together from puppyhood. And, as my husband Don often points out, they were “partners in crime” — the kind of mischief that only a pair of energetic hounds can get into, like figuring out how to use the living room couch as a springboard to the kitchen counter so you can eat an entire platter of freshly-baked cookies while The People are at work…

And so, though letting her go this morning was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, there’s peace in knowing that she and T.C. are together in a place where they can once again romp and play.

Just minutes after we released Vada, our four-year-old son, Theo, came to me, teary-eyed, and said, “I hope Vada can see us from heaven, Mommy.”

I think she can, honey. I really think she can.

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