Random Thoughts on Symmes

… inept, but trying real hard

Thank you, you’re nice September 25, 2007

Filed under: Children,Events,Family,Friends,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 3:24 pm

Thank you all so very much for all of your kind comments, messages, e-mails, cards, calls, hugs, phone calls and everything else I’ve received over the last several days. I have read and appreciated every message, and I am just overwhelmed by the many people who have taken the time to send a little bit of love and comfort our way. It really has meant more to us than you know, and I have been so touched by your generosity. And, for everyone else who wrote to me about losing their own pets, or who is going through their own tragedy, my sympathy is with you, and I hope you are surrounded by people who are as wonderful as you guys are.

It’s still hard & I expect it will be for a while. I still have a tendency to step over her, feel that little pang of panic trying to recall if she’s had her medicine or not, take entirely too many treats out when Max comes in from outside, feel compelled to run & check on her if I hear a sound like she might be having a seizure, straddle the spot where she liked to lay [… you know, the one directly in front of the bathroom sink] and I still expect to see her coming around the corner at any time. I also seem to be developing some debatably unhealthy compulsions towards Max. I’m just convinced that he’s about to up and die by swallowing his tongue, suffocate due to his ‘fleshy-palate’, fall on the stairs or develop some form of other obscure disease, and I have analyzed every cough, sneeze, wheeze, sniff and whimper until I am about to drive the boy insane. Seriously, he is about to kill me. I can’t stop picking him up, poking all over his little pot-bellied body and feeling his legs for breaks & fractures, checking his gums for color, his ears for blockage and his nose for cold-and-wet, before putting him hesitantly on the floor again.  Now, when he sees me coming, he stares at me, silently screaming, “FOR LOVE OF GOD I’M FINE! PLEASE STOP POKING ME!”

I am also spoiling the crap out of him. This could disputably be a bad thing, but I don’t care in the least. I’ve taken to carrying him up & down the stairs to spare wear & tear on his stumpy legs, I’ve began suggesting to him that he should enjoy a small morsel of anything that I’m eating instead of my typical response; stomping my foot & sternly telling them to, “Quit begging, git.” If he weren’t so depressed, he would realize that he has been living in forbidden treat land since Saturday, but he’s just too sad to notice. His best buddy & pack leader is gone. We’ll undoubtedly continue to dote on him [For example: How I plan to faux fur line his crate tonight] & hopefully he’ll come around soon.

So, the family is getting better.  I understand now that many of y’all know it’s just hard to lose a pet and want you to know that your condolences & understanding were integral in that. So, thanks again.

Happier topics soon.


Wish me luck September 23, 2007

Filed under: Children,Events,Family,Friends,Random,Travel,Uncategorized — Layni @ 3:35 pm

I’m leaving now to pick up Ashton, [who’s been in KY visiting family for the weekend.]  She doesn’t know about Kalabou yet.   I thought it best to tell her in person.  I hope I made the right decision. 

Please send up prayers, good thoughts, warm fuzzies, hugs, karma, vibes, positive energy, traveling mercies, etc.  I need all the help I can get.

Thank you all, for all of your support, and kindness, and sympathy.   You’re all wonderful, and I love you more than my Kitchen-Aid. 

Wish me luck.


Goodbye, girl September 22, 2007

Filed under: Events,Family,Photos,Quotes,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 2:05 pm

As I sit here writing I am stunned & numb.  I don’t even really know what I want to say or how to say it or why I am choosing to say it to the 10’s of people who read my blog.  I just feel like this could be theraputic to get it out there … to write it out loud. 

Oh, y’all, Kalabou died last night and I am feeling unexpectedly weighed down with grief.

Kalabou, our Australian Shepherd mix had been sick for awhile.  Not untreatable sick, she had seizures and she took meds.  As long as she had her meds all was well with her.  Seizure free.  Until last night.

Last night she had, what seemed to be, only a smallish seizure in the grand scheme of severity of seizures we’ve seen her have.  No drooling, loss of bodily function or anything.  But then she starting going right.  Only going right.  In circles.  She’d try to walk, but seemed drawn to the right.  Then I noticed that I didn’t think that she was seeing well out of her right eye.  I wondered if that might be it.  I mean, if I lost sight in my right eye, I might go right looking for it.  She was very restless & wouldn’t stay down.  Just pacing … pacing … pacing – to the right.

I told Harold to make sure she stayed downstairs so she wouldn’t take a wrong right turn upstairs & tumble back down.  I laid down because I had a stomach ache.  Harold came up at around midnight & said he was going to take her to the 24-hour animal hospital because he no longer thought she could see at all.  I put the phone by the bed to await his call.  They admitted her for the night & said they would do a couple of tests to rule out either a brain tumor or “old dog syndrome”.  I was actually relieved when he told me they’d kept her because we weren’t prepared to handle either of those scenarios at home.  We’d call in the morning.

At 2 a.m. the phone rang.

The unrecognizable voice on the phone confirmed what I already suspected from such an early morning phone call.  She wasn’t going to make it.  She was dying.  She was being kept alive by machines.  What did I want them to do?  Is save her life an option?  No?  So I made the decision to let them take her off of life support & administer a small dose of euthanasia medication so that she could pass quickly & peacefully.  This is also when I fell-the-hell apart.  She was supposed to be home for this.  I’d thought about it.  Planned it out.  I would be there for her.  This is not supposed to be how it happened.  But they told me she was technically already gone.  She would not know I was there.  I pray this is true.

Ashton & I got Kalabou from the people that lived across the alley from us when we lived on the West Side of Hamilton.  She was just little then, maybe not quite 2, and she would, without fail, get out of her own yard & come straight to ours every day.  Eventually we began feeding her, then letting her into the house each evening when I’d get home from work & then letting her out to go home each night at bedtime.  One particularly rainy night Ashton had a full-on meltdown when it was time to send her home, “WE CAN’T LET HER GO OUT THERE!  THEY DON’T WANT HER!  THEY DON’T EVEN LOOK FOR HER!  IT’S RAINNNNIIINNNGGG!”  She had a point.  They didn’t look for her.  They didn’t even call for her.  So Ashton & I put her on a leash [don’t even ask me why I randomly had a leash because, for the life of me, I don’t know].  We walked to her owners house & knocked on the door, and matter-of-factly I asked, “Do you want this dog?  Because if you don’t, we do.”  They didn’t.

This is going to sound remarkably cliche’, but Kalabou was the best dog.  No, really.  Even friends & family who weren’t wholly ‘dog lovers’ would say, “I would actually have this dog.”  She was beautiful, sweet, loveable, friendly, well-behaved & good natured.  Really.

It will, of course, be the hardest in the beginning.  I have randomly fluctuated today from quiet acceptance, to melancholy rememberance to screaming like M’Lynn from Steel Magnolias, grabbing whomever was within arms reach and screaming, “I can jog all the way to Texas and back, but my dog can’t! She never could!  I’m so mad I don’t know what to do!  I wanna know why!  I wanna know whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!” 

The fact that Kalabou’s death was so sudden is both a curse and a blessing.  From my own perspective, it was horrible.  I am still reeling from the idea that she really, really didn’t make it.  I think it truly sank in today, when we got home from Maddie’s soccer game I, out of habit, felt compelled to announce as we came into the house, “We’re home boys & gorillas!”  That was stark and real and awful, and I think the weight of the thing hit me then.  But her death was just so unexpected, and so totally out of the blue; on Friday morning, I had two dogs.  Before the next morning, my little girl was gone, and I was left with one.  I didn’t see it coming & it took my breath away.

But, on the other hand, I am so very, very thankful that she did not suffer.  On Friday, she was seemingly healthy; she ate her food, she sniffed the grass outside, she played with her ‘babies’ [stuffed animals], she ate frozen green beans [her favorite treat aside from Cheez-Its & bacon].  Just the night before, I was eating popcorn, and every time I dropped one, in true Kalabou form, she’d quickly retrieve it.  She seemed fine, and I don’t think she was in pain.  Thank God. 

I held her on my lap & pet her for quite awhile last night, after her episode, which was highly unusual because she’s always been very squirmy.  I am sooo grateful that she let me do that.

Goodbye, girl.  We will miss you soooo much.


#42 Make a timeline September 19, 2007

Filed under: Children,Creativity,Events,Family,Food,Friends,Fun!,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 10:36 pm

There’s this book called, “Noone Cares What You Had For Lunch: 100 Ideas For Your Blog”, by Margaret Mason.  I haven’t read it, nor do I intend to.  I did, however, see #42 mentioned somewhere else & thought it might be fun.  It wound up being a nice trip down Memory Lane.  Enjoy!

My first 10 years:

Age 1:  I get my first black eye when I fall into the corner of the coffee table.  This will happen again when I’m 36.

Age 2:  We visit an elderly aunt, who borrows a high-chair just for my visit.  I chuck her fancy plate across the room, shattering it.

Age 3:  I visit Williamsburg, VA with my family.  I’m terrified of the musket & cannon fire so my Grandma [Gaga] takes me for a walk in a garden.  This is my first memory.

Age 4:  I start preschool with my cousin Chris, who is a year younger than me.  Eventually they move me to an older class.  I get caught in the hall trying to sneak back to the room he’s in.  The director isn’t very nice to me & tells my teacher, “She does this all the time.” I vividly recall thinking, “Hey, that’s not true”.  This is my first memory of feeling treated unjustly.

Age 5:  I’m given a polka-dotted lime-green polyester pants suit as a gift.  My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Sloneker, thinks it’s ‘darling’ & takes me to the office to show me off.  She’s doesn’t know that I’m miserable.  It’s itchy.  I HATE this outfit.  I HATE polyester.  I still do.

Age 6:  Mrs. Courts is my wonderful first grade teacher.  I am so fond of her that I would sometimes miss my bus on purpose so she would drive me home [teachers could do that then].  On one such ride home, she asks me to hold a cupcake that a student had given her. I covertly lick all of the icing off the top & leave it on the seat when I get out. We laugh about it for years.

Age 7:  I’m given the very important job of showing new kids around school, helping them find the office, nurse, etc.  My friend, Mr. Carr the janitor, dubs me, “The Official Show’er-Where-To-Goer”.  He also buys me a weaving loom for my birthday.

Age 8:  Mrs. Courts switches to third grade & I get her again!  She gives us an assignment to write a poem.  I copy one from my Highlights Magazine & turn it in.  She praises me for a job well-done & diplomatically explains plagarism to me.   I loved her for that.

Age 9:  I have Mrs. Brix for 4th grade.  She asks us what name we’d like to go by, I say, “Mindy”.  She calls me Mindy for 2 weeks before questioning how I’d gotten that nickname from Layni.  I tell her that it’s not my nickname, it’s just a name I’d like to go by.  That’s what she’d asked us.

Age 10:  My elementary school forms a new group, the Creative Writing Club.  My teacher, Mrs. Weber, calls me into the hall & I’m nervous,wondering what I’ve done.  She tells me that she’s submitted my name for the writing club.  She thinks I’m creative and have nice handwriting.  I wrote the following poem for the first publication of The Panther Press:

I love my country, you should too.

I love the flag and it’s red, white & blue.

I love the soldiers who fought for my land.

And I love the folks who help liberty stand.

 – Layni Stephens


I’d never really given stripping much thought

Filed under: Creativity,Food,Friends,Fun!,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 1:41 pm


Hey, you guys.  A friend sent me a link to the Starbucks Oracle.  You input your drink of choice from Starbucks & it tells you what your drink says about your personality.  I usually order a grande carmel macchiato & mine said;

Personality type:  Clueless

You don’t go to Starbucks much; when you do you just tag along with other people since you have nothing better to do. You would like to order a Tazo Chai Crème but don’t know how to pronounce it. Most people who drink Grande carmel macchiatos are strippers.

Also drinks: Wine coolers
Can also be found at: The mall

Which is completely wrong.  I hate the mall.

To find out what the Starbucks Oracle has to say about you, go to The Oracle of Starbucks.  Let me know what it says!


With so many apologies to John September 14, 2007

Now with videos! 

Well, y’all, I went.  I went to my allergy/sinus appointment.  I said I wasn’t going to go, but I did.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d anticipated, or even as bad as Marirose said it would be [thanks for that Marirose], but it certainly wasn’t pleasant either.  It was what it was, as they say.  Long story short, they suspect that I just have nasty bacterial infection that’s taken up residency deep in my sinuses.  And you don’t have to tell me how HOT that sounds.  They gave me a 3 week round of antibiotics, after which I have to go in and have a CT scan of my head — to make sure it’s gone.  It’s challenging to type with my fingers crossed.

I went straight from my appointment to the hospital to be there for Mom’s angiogram.  Which, it turns out, she doesn’t have a blockage at all [yay!], the results of her stress test were inaccurate.  Apparently this is pretty common.  I personally find that very reasurring.  Too bad she didn’t know that before she freaked the heck out.  They suspect her chest pains were from said freaking the heck out.  However, they’ve also suggested that they could have been the result of a gall bladder issue.  I suspect they’re incompetent.  She’s having an ultrasound next week to confirm this.  So anyhow, she’s home now — so many thanks for your good thoughts & prayers.

Anyway!  Moving on.  Here are some miscellaneous ramblings, in no particular order.

Oh, I’ve been listening to Kanye West’s new CD , Graduation, all day at KissCincinnati.com [107.1]  Hurrah for free streaming music!  I really like the first 3 songs on the CD & have been bringing it on home right here at my desk.  Much to my co-workers dismay, I’m sure.   

“I heard you do anything for a Klondike.  You can be my black Kate Moss tonight.” Seriously?  Can’t help but to dance though.

Additionally, you should definitely check out Lil Mama, “Lip Gloss” [Love, love, love that this video is all about the dance & the beats.  And that she managed to pull off a song about … you know, lip gloss.  No hoochies were used in the making of this video.  Ahhh, refreshing!] 

Her magic lip gloss kicks ass. 

and Soulja Boy, “Crank Dat”. 

 Catchy, no?

I can’t stop saying …

“They say my lip gloss is cool
My lip gloss be popping
I’m standing at my locker
And all the boys keep stopping …”

Because that is lyrical genius. 

I’ve always wondered why I get so many people stopping by my desk each day.  Now I know.  It’s my lip gloss.

I need to go to Costco tonight.  And also to the grocery.  Oh, and also I think we’re going to try a new cafe in Hamilton called the Riverside or Riverview Cafe.  I passed it on the way to the hospital & it looked interesting.  We have high hopes for it because we’ve been looking for a place where everybody knows our name.  You just don’t get that at Applebees.  Yessss, it’s on the west side of Hamilton [talkin’ bout some West Siiiiide], but WHATEVER, it would be a small price to pay to find a close local hangout, is our thinking.  I’ll give y’all a review later.

That’s all I’ve got.  Happy weekend!  I’ll talk to you soon.


Neon September 13, 2007

Filed under: Events,Family,Friends,John,Quotes,Random,Uncategorized — Layni @ 12:06 am

She’s always buzzing just like
Neon, neon
Neon, neon
Who knows how long, how long, how long
She can go before she burns away  [John Mayer, Neon, ‘Inside Wants Out’ cd]

[Sort of summarizes how I feel this week.  BUZZ.  BUZZ.]

It’s been a particularly bad week, starting with my ongoing undiagnosed & seemingly uncurable illness saga.  Then Monday was exceptionally hectic at work.  I stayed up too late talking on the phone waaaay too long Monday night because about one night a week I do that.  Don’t ask me why.  Apparently it’s how I roll.

Then there’s yesterday.  I had a dentist appointment & nothing says, “Rise & shine, pumpkin” like having a mouth stretching device stuffed in your mouth at 9:30 a.m.


Then after a “short preparation to isolate your lips & gums” you’ll look like this


for like an hour.  After about 45 minutes your bottom teeth will start to feel like someone is tapping on the roots with a ball pein hammer that’s made of ice & also twisting a needle-sized cork screw into your gums.  This is also when my knees started to sweat.  I made some groany noises [because I wasn’t able to talk the whole time you guys!] & began snapping my fingers all, “I’M DONE.  I’M TAPPING OUT.  HOLY HELL GIVE ME A SEDATIVE!”  The hygienist [who was the sweetest thing ever, by the way] heard me & came running like, “Are you having a little pain?  Are you done?”  Um.  Yes. 

The results were fantastic – on all of my teeth that are not a crown.  Which would be my FRONT tooth [remember that story?  Hi Tara], so I now also get to look forward to additional dental procedures next Tuesday to correct what I am lovingly referring to as Corn Tooth.  Dear Lord, is it Tuesday yet?  [ok, so it’s not really that noticable, but I want it done & over with NOW!  YouknowwhatI’msayin’?]

What the heck else?  Oh, well, lately Mom hasn’t been feeling well.  She thought she was trying to come down with something, but she never actually did and she just kept feeling crappy.  So Mom, who (fortunately) is always on the lookout for contracting something requiring some form of medication decided that she needed to go to the doctor already.  Stress tests and bloodwork ensued.  Then on Tuesday night, she gets a call from her doctor telling her something involving the word blockage, he’d call the next morning to tell her the plan of action.  So obviously she was a little freaked the heck out and I’m pretty sure that the woman didn’t exhale for the rest of the night, wondering what they were going to do, what they would find, etc.  Because your thoughts are your worst enemy in situations like this.  Wednesday morning came & went & she still hadn’t heard from the doctor so she continued with the thinking and thinking and thinking [and also with the not exhaling].  I told her to call the Dr.’s office to find out what the heck was going on.  Within a few minutes of hanging up with her, she called again, this time sounding as though she might be beginning to exhale but not because she wanted to, but on account of she was forming a slow leak from all of the not breathing [because people, you just can’t do that].  They hadn’t answered and she had to leave a message.  It was about this time that the chest pains started. 

Well I’m not a doctor [I don’t even play one on TV] so to be on the safe side I told her to head to the emergency room.  Harold & the girls took her to the hospital, where they did more blood work & a chest x-ray and after much waiting around, they decided to admit her for observation and plan to do an angiogram in the morning to determine what’s going on.  She was doing fine when I left this evening — eating the chicken & noodles and dinner rolls that I’d brought her from Bob Evans with her hiney hanging out of her swanky hospital gown so if y’all don’t mind, please send up words this evening that all goes well tomorrow.  Thanks.

Oh, and to add to the excitement of today, I had to rush through dinner at PF Changs, where I was playing matchmaker for two friends.  [Sorry for cutting out so early guys, but you certainly can’t expect Mom to trapse around the hospital without her pink house slippers.  Gaw.]  Wonder if we had any chemistry?

Alright Janice!

Now it’s currently Thursday the day I’m supposed to have my 3 hr. assault on my sinuses very important allergy testing appointment and I’m going to need to cancel [durn it] to be with Mom during her test.  Ooooh well. 

And so, that’s it.  Now we wait to make sure Mom is ok.  I will be back as soon as possible with an update on Mom, my matchmaking abilities, my case of TB, and possibly a picture of my shiny new teeth.  In the meantime, if y’all would send up some prayers for my Mom, I sure would appreciate it.