White Dog kissed me awake. She barely had time to utter our special momma birthday greeting, "Happy NOT the Ides of March" before I was blanketed in an avalanche of all shades of white...including Steve.
It was the most perfect blue sky day ever painted across our horizons and Steve told me the temperatures were to reach seventy degrees F. The prospect of such amazing weather prompted a momentary burst of jealousy that only White Dog would be representing the White Dog Army at today's President's Day. But my gentle reminder that SHE would be working hard hosting and socializing while THEY had the freedom to lie on the deck, run in the yard, or nap in the house restored balance.
WD huddled with her Army leaving last minute instructions and then we were off. We greeted old friends, met and hugged new ones, shared stories of lives with dogs and of fighting disease. White Dog supervised to make sure the Nacho Bar remained well stocked and that we did not run out of any of the FIVE flavors of birthday cake at the Celebration.
She sat with me while I had a beautiful design of lines and scrolls hennaed onto the top of my hand but snuck off at some point to do some shopping with the local craftsfolk in attendance. I was bested at the windup toy races an embarrassing SEVEN times by 7yo Liam, already a perfect gentleman. He gave me his prize from the final challenge out of pity, then solemnly shook my hand and congratulated me on a game "well played." His mom said he learned that at school playing chess.
Our Candace brought Izabella, the bearded dragon she had to rehome before she moved here but last week was able to reclaim. She was a delight not just to the children but to many of the adults as well. Candace's presentation on Natural Care products you can make at home (oatmeal shampoo and anti-itch spray was well received). And when the student nurses from Steve's school joined with her to do My Dog & Me At Home Triage: burns, cuts, sprains, and tummy aches, the seating area filled up and handouts coveted.
WD walked with me as we shopped for White Dog Army treats from their favorite cookie maker, Fergilicious. Nancy had already preplanned our order and handed over a tote bag full of goodies but WD felt we needed a few more items...like pizza bones...and peanut butter carob chip cookies and extra pretzel nubs. The bag was overflowing.
We found soft and colorful cancer caps meant to make a woman undergoing treatment that caused hair loss feel beautiful at the next craft booth, Nancy's Nook. I looked at My Girl. "Let get some and donate gift baskets of prettiness for Mother's Day," she suggested. Yes!!! Great idea.
Next we went to Southwestern Glam, a jeweler who makes big bold necklaces and I was torn between the gorgeous green rocks and the purple one. I kind of wondered why WD and the jeweler and Steve were pushing so hard for the purple choice; I was almost tempted to choose the green just to feel independent. But in the end I went with the purple. Good thing I did. when we got home later, WD and the Army handed me a sparkly bag that contained an amazing green necklace from the same designer.
Kristina gifted me with an awesome piece of her delicate twisted wire creations as a birthday gift along with a handpainted photo frame for the WDA's photo. I could not resist adding a fossil necklace from her collection. WD barked her approval and then totally indulged me to help rescue dogs by letting Tina put a leprechaun hat on her head and taking her St. Paddy's Day photo. I think it helped when Sparky and his pom siblings agreed to have their photos taken as well. THIS is a photo that she lets Steve carry but will NOT post even though she is adorable.
We moved on to talk to the student nurses and Kris, from the Epilepsy Awareness Group. They offered blood pressure checks, gave great information on general health issues associated with high blood pressure, and worked to separate fact from the fiction of Epilepsy.
Before we knew it it was time to pack up and head for home. The White Dog Army had waited all afternoon for the family celebration. I missed my floofy ones, was sunburnt and tired. I was glad Steve had already asked to a raincheck on a fancy night out dinner.
.I was OK with a simple meal that we would all share together. The White Dog Army had slightly different plans. We would all share a meal but it would be a specially arranged Thai feast. The WDA and Steve had made arrangements earlier in the week so that Steve made the quick trip to the restaurant and returned with chicken laab (a delicious chicken salad), taud manpla ( fish cakes,a favorite), imperial rolls, chicken pud king, gaeng ped sapparud (pineapple curry), gaeng ped vegetables (red curry). and peanut butter cake....the WDA's slices of cake topped with one of their favorite Fergilicious cookies (Roasted Sweet Potato and Maple). Steve added another cancer cap to my collection of soon to be "pretty basket" donations; he honored my request to remember our nonprofit and helped move our fundraiser for research a thoughtful step forward. Friends and heart family showered me with birthday wishes, glad tidings, generous amazing gifts. Tears flowed.
I drew my family into my arms. "I lead a life of miracles. I am so amazingly blessed every single moment of every single day. I have not words special enough to thank you and all so important to me for what you add to my journey and existence. What a marvelous day."