Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year 2019!


Good Morning and welcome to 2019!!!

For the last ten years (geez that means I have been blogging for 11 years now!) I have written a New Year’s Day post filled with blog updates, new series ideas, and what to expect in the upcoming year, first on my old blog, and continuing the tradition on Ann’s Entitled Life.

And every year I have the same New Year’s resolution – remember to write the current year’s date on all correspondence and checks. Apparently, I like attainable goals. Well, at least I am consistent!

While this is normally a recap of blog-life and what Ann’s Entitled Life is going to look forward to, I would be remiss in not my recapping my personal life in 2018 and all its changes – as that is going to have a major impact on my 2019 blogging-life.

As many of you know, we had a little doggie that was very ill for many years. Mr. Max passed away in November of 2018. We did everything we possibly could to prolong his life while making certain that even though he was ill, he had a good quality of life. He was a rabies titer which meant he could no longer fly on planes, and he could not go to Canada. Anywhere hubby and I traveled together traveled, Mr. Max needed to come with us, and it had to be by car within the continental United States.

Hubby and I took a trip to Europe in 2015 approximately 10 months after Max was diagnosed with GME. It did not go well with him and his dog sitter (she had watched him many, many times for us prior to his diagnosis). She basically told us “no more” when we picked him up.

That disaster grounded us and Hubby and I did not take a trip together without Max until this past October when we flew to Las Vegas to settle his Mother’s house. Hubby’s Mom passed away in September. Hubby was also his Mom’s power of attorney. He was responsible for her health care and making certain that her day to day needs were met, and her bills were paid.

We now find ourselves in a place where we are retired, have no children at home, no grandchildren on the horizon (#@!&^ Sonny-boy), no longer have a second residence, and Hubby is working to disinvest himself from most of his rental properties.

Hubby and I have few real commitments at the moment.

With that in mind, we have decided to travel. The idea is to take those long overseas vacations that we have put off – many of them on our bucket list – and travel for chunks of time before we decide on whether or not to get another dog(s).

Maybe by the time we are done traveling Sonny-boy will finally decide to marry and have children!? One can only hope.

Anyhooooo… that will mean more travel content on this blog, a category I have long allowed to languish.

Our first trip is to the Panama Canal. I had booked this trip before we were even married 13 years ago, but due to extenuating circumstances, we had to cancel. When the ability to travel outside the United States came back to us that was the first trip we booked!

We are not doing the full transit as Mexico held little appeal at the moment (ironically Sonny-boy is headed to Cancun in February), and decided to travel to and from Ft. Lauderdale. As long as we were doing that, we decided to spend some time road tripping in Florida in February, and then on the way home stop in Savannah for five days.

In the fall, we have 6 weeks in Italy scheduled. Well, we have our flights. We will spend some time in Nice, France first, visiting Hubby’s aunt and uncle. Since I love the French Riviera, and his aunt and uncle are wonderful, I was all for that!

We still have not mapped out all our destinations in Italy, no doubt some may overlap with our last trip there, but I am also hoping to spend some time in Venice, Hubby wants to explore his roots in Sicily, and my SIL is going to join us for one week somewhere in Italy, so it should be fun!

In January and February of 2020, we are already booked for our trip of a lifetime: Australia and New Zealand! We are working out how to get there. We decided a cruise was the best way to see New Zealand and tacked on another cruise in Australia although we will be in Sydney for several days before sailing.

Why does “how” we get there matter? Well, we can fly from NYC (1 stop, 22-24 hours), from LA (direct, about 20 hours), hop from Buffalo to Hawaii to Fiji to Sydney, or book a world ticket and stop in Egypt or Greece on the way home.

Lots of choices to make, lots of places to see!

In the fall of 2020, we are looking at Eastern Europe for a month or so. I have not been to Poland or the Czech Republic since there were guard dogs and razor wire surrounding the borders, and the Czech Republic was Czechoslovakia. My family tells me it has changed just a weeeee bit.

Why does any of this matter? Well, last year I swore I was going to take some time to revamp the blog for the way readers read blogs these days (ie, they don’t). I did not make those changes. I couldn’t. I do not think it is in me to just sell-sell-sell. I want to write, I want to help people, I want to fill a need or answer a question. I like to connect with people who read my blog.

I am basically disgusted with Facebook (a time-suck with no return, so it is going to be dialed back a lot), IG (I hate it), and G+ is going away in April (I used to love it, but 2-3 updates ago it became almost unusable, so I am not sorry to see it close). That leaves my blogging time to create content, write my newsletter, and play on Pinterest.

I desperately want to get back to Ann’s Entitled Life being my diary, and not a business. But, I need it to be a business so the IRS doesn’t get mad at me, and so I can pay the blogging bills (my server alone is almost $700 a month!), however, I do so love writing chatty posts and interacting with all of you. It is a real dilemma.

I am hopeful that the travel and garden content can soothe my need to write and the crafts and recipes can continue to pay the bills. We shall see.

That’s about it for now. I want to thank you all for reading Ann’s Entitled Life. I wouldn’t mind if you all commented a bit (ok a lot) more. I love interacting with people who read Ann’s Entitled Life. I’d like to get to know you all too. So please feel free to comment on the blog!!

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And I can always be reached through the contact me page or by emailing me directly!

Do you have any New Year plans? Resolutions? Goals? Ideas?

I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy, Fulfilling New Year. May 2019 be a year of much happiness and joy for you and yours!


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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving Day with safe travels, and lots of stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie.

This year we are off to my brother and SIL’s house for Thanksgiving. It is her favorite holiday, and she does a marvelous job of hosting all of us. My only contribution is to bring a sweet potato casserole! I love years like this.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving day!

Over the River and Through the Wood

by Lydia Maria Child (1844)

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way
to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop
for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood—
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
with a clear blue winter sky.
The dogs do bark
and the children hark,
as we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
“Ting a ling ding!”
Hurray for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood—
no matter for winds that blow;
or if we get
the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
we will kiss them all,
and play snowball
and stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground
like a hunting-hound!
For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go
extremely slow—
it is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood—
old Jowler hears our bells;
he shakes his paw
with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood—
when Grandmother sees us come,
she will say, “O, dear,
the children are here,
bring pie for everyone.”

Over the river, and through the wood—
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!


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We Love You, Max

Our dog, Max, suffered from GME - Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continued treatment for 4 years to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.


Mr. Max passed away on Saturday, November 3, 2018.

If you have been following his journey with GME the last 4+ years, you will recall he lived well in excess of the norm for GME patients (not leaving the hospital to 3 years is the prognosis).

Ironically, it wasn’t the GME that did him in; it was most likely the steroids that controlled the GME. Max’s gallbladder was not healthy and had not been this whole year. It was 60%+ full of sludge, becoming larger (again), and showing signs of forming a mucocele. If his gallbladder had formed a seal, it could have (would have) burst, leading to a very painful death.

We made the decision to have him have his gallbladder taken out. We dropped him off at Cornell on Tuesday, October 30, 2018. They did bloodwork and another sonogram. The surgeons were very encouraged by how (relatively) healthy he was compared to a “regular” dog with gallbladder disease that opted for this surgery.

On Wednesday, the surgeons attempted to remove his gallbladder laparoscopically. Since Max was immunosuppressed this would have given him small incisions, and (hopefully) an easier time to heal.

While attempting to remove the gallbladder, there was some (caustic) leakage, and they had to revert to the full-cut. We knew this (the full-cut) was a strong possibility as laparoscopic gallbladder removal in dogs is only successful in the best of cases about half the time. The leakage happened because his gallbladder was so friable (thin).

Max made it through surgery fine. He woke up after anesthesia and was doing relatively well in recovery. However, later that evening things took a turn for the worse (with his blood trying to form clots, his low blood pressure, and fast heart rate) and he was moved to the ICU section of the hospital.

The veterinarian doctors at Cornell worked on him for several days. Things were looking up for him on Friday, and I was cautiously optimistic he would make it. The plasma had done its job, the pressers were helping his blood pressure, and it appeared that he would be able to get some nutrition on Saturday.

Unfortunately, overnight Friday things took a turn for the very bad. We received news around noon on Saturday that they were going to try their last option to attempt to raise his blood pressure (human albumin as they do not have canine albumin on hand). Max ended up allergic to the human albumin, something we were warned was a possibility before it was administered.

At that point, there were no other options for him. As we got in the car to drive down to Cornell to say goodbye, the ICU doctor called to tell us his oxygen level was down to 27% (his organs were shutting down), and we made the decision to euthanize him.

Our dog, Max, suffered from GME - Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continued treatment for 4 years to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.


Max as a puppy.


There are no words to express our sorrow. It physically hurts to think of Mr. Max right now. I “know” he lived longer than he “should” have with that dreadful disease. I “know” we were lucky to have him as long as we did. I “know” he no longer is in any discomfort or pain. I “know” all this. And yet the pain of our grief is suffocating at times.

Those without pets probably think I am crazy or exaggerating. I am not. We are truly devastated to have lost the little guy.

We can’t help the woulda, coulda, shouldas that led to the surgery decision. Our logical side knows that the gallbladder was a ticking time bomb, and he would have died a horrible death if it had ruptured. He had “a chance” – which is what exactly what his original neurologist told us we were giving him when he was diagnosed all those years ago and we decided to proceed with GME treatment.

But logic has very little to do with what we are feeling right now.

We want him with us. We want him healthy. We want another opportunity to appreciate every day we had with him. We want it all for him. And we are grieving because none of that is possible.

Our dog, Max, suffered from GME - Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continued treatment for 4 years to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.


When Max was a puppy he used to snuggle up to Sonny-boy’s sneakers.


Max was a PITA. He fought with me for 10 years for “pack” dominance. He always wanted to be the alpha. He was a small dog that lived large, and didn’t realize he was little, fluffy, and cute.

He was a true fighter. He lived with a horrible disease for far longer than anyone guessed he could have. His spirit was truly indomitable.

Our dog, Max, suffered from GME - Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continued treatment for 4 years to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.


Erm…


We love him very much. The tears are still flowing and our hearts are still quite heavy – and will remain so for a long time to come. I know there will come a day when we recall all the Max stories with smiles instead of tears. Right now, we just miss him so much it physically hurts.

We will see you on the other side little buddy; we will see you on the other side.


Previous Max posts (read in order from the bottom up to follow his whole story):

Max’s GME Update: Distressing News
Max’s GME Update: Chemo Round 9
Chemo Round 8 for Max
FOUR YEARS!!
Chemo Round 6 For Max
Chemo Round 5 For Max
Chemo Round 4 For Max
Chemo Round 2 For Max
Max is Back to Chemo for His GME
Max Had a Relapse
Mr. Max April 2016 Update
Max March 2016 Update
Mr. Max Post Cornell Visit Information
Max’s Latest GME Update
Max’s GME Update, One Year Later
Max’s GME Update, Month 11
Max’s GME Update
An Update on Mr Max, March 2015
Updating Max’s GME
An Update On Mr. Max
Last 2014 Trip To Cornell For Max
Back To Cornell
Max’s First Cornell Follow-up Visit
Max Exercises More Than I Do!
Updating the Mr. Max Situation
A Mr. Max Update
Mr. Max, Mr. Max, Mr. Max
It’s A Mr. Max Post!


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