Minggu, 30 Desember 2007

Size Doesn't Matter - This is Puppy Love

I did it - loaded an image. Turns out that was really easy. And, I have a delightfully thoughtful cousin who told me about Fotosizer so I can re-size images and not wait a day for something to go out over dial up.
And, to celebrate, I have added a photo of Mamie, our foster puppy who was adopted out on Saturday. Isn't she a beauty? Don't write and tell me she's big. We know. She's Lab/Rott and at 5 1/2 months old, well, you see she fills a chair. But, she is gentle and happy and now in her forever home. As a reward, Animal Protective League sent me home with two female black Lab pups, 3 months old. Thelma and Louise!
Our Christmas holiday was loaded with puppy love and NY's promises to be too. There's nothing like it!
Oh, this is way too newsy. I shall be returning to more rants and raves!

Kamis, 27 Desember 2007

I thought I had gas.

It's only been a week since I took our little foster puppy, Mamie, a Lab/Rott mix, out to Animal Protective League for her girl "surgery". Dropping her off with time to spare before racquetball I decided to stop at a CITGO station. (If you are in Springfield, IL it is at North Grand and MacArthur). The usual procedures were followed: pull up, turn off car, select payment plan and gas type, so on and so forth. I went in and paid. Paid, that is, for the first time. It was less than a mile from the station that the car flattered. OY!
My first call was to my buds at Isringhausen Imports where my car is care for as needed. My one sentence description of symptoms was all it took for me to be told "Sounds like water in the gas tank." I'm dead in the water at a busy intersection.
Oh, great, I've ruined my car. Well, probably not as it turns out. But I was told that a tow truck would be ordered and I should watch for others behind me who went to the same place and filled up.
Almost as if according to plan a red van appears behind me, being pushed by 4 or 5 guys. Up they go into the parking lot. I evicted myself from my former form of transportation and asked if they'd just been you-know-where. Yup. They helped me push my car into the parking lot.
Well, two tow trucks showed up for my car so these guys took the second one. I paid again the next day to get my now running, filled with real gas car out of hock.
Some of the details have been left out but the bottom line is that I'm out several hundred dollars at this point. The owner of the station has been visited by us several times and assures us he cannot afford to pay until his insurance company pays. This, unfortunately brings out the skeptic in me. As I said, I'm out several hundred dollars.
But I did meet 4 really nice sub-contractors who do dry walling, drink their beer early in the day, and had a terrific message on the voice mail for the phone # they gave me so I could keep them posted on my progress with my claim.
And, the pup came through her surgery just fine.
You have to look for the good in everything.

Senin, 17 Desember 2007

Puppy Love

It is SO tempting to get a puppy or a kitten for the holidays, isn't it? Cute, fuzzy, cuddly, NEEDY. You're in the mood to do something good. You know you'll be rewarded with kisses and hugs and lots of attention. Then what?
Please, before you make a life decision on a whim, think it over. Use the Ben Franklin method of making a list with "plus" and "minus" items in separate columns. Do you come out ahead on one side or the other? If you do the decision is clear. If not, then you either haven't answered truthfully (?) or you are not ready for a pet, yet. You need to be prepared, not just by having the toys, food, bowl, blankie and so forth. You need to know what you will give up in order to "get". You need to understand the pet will grow, not only physically but emotionally - YES - and be attached to you. If you cannot afford to be attached to your pet emotionally and physically then wait. Do the better thing - volunteer at an animal shelter and this year give the money you'd have spent acquiring a pet to that shelter to help the critters there. They'll all love you for it.


The pastor knows what I'm thinking. He has to since I didn't tell him I have a blog. It happens to you too. I know. You sit there and wonder "How does that person know? He/She is talking about/to me."

I take back my specific comments about Christmas and the commercialization. In a nutshell, I was reminded that no one and nothing can take Christ out of Christmas; the Bible says nothing specific about how we celebrate. So have at it, world: gift each other greatly! Sometimes being a dunce really pays off and this was a lesson that did so I'm leaving both postings up in hopes that someone else will "get it".

Kamis, 13 Desember 2007

Did you ever notice...and more

...in advertisements or published photos featuring women that the women have their mouths open often? Not just a teensy bit but wide open, gaping. Check Oprah (bless her little heart): the covers of her magazine, habitually featuring her image, proudly display the inner workings of her mouth. Perhaps the casinos are the worst. That's because they do so many billboards.

Regardless, I have theorized that these are not flattering. Duh. Furthermore, perhaps the images are to make the woman's face look, what, thinner? If the intent is to express surprise, joy, excitement or some other uplifting emotion which then leads to reaching for the wallet or checkbook - ahhh, FAILED. We don't walk around with those expressions. They are not natural.


OK, that's number 1. Next is a funny, as we used to say in "the day". Seems I chose to do a lot of baking, cooking, and candy making this year for the holidays. Two nights ago, rather than blogging, I made fudge; 4 chip fudge as it was listed. A full fridge meant the fudge chilled outside, covered with a slide on lid (this is important), stored under a chair. Shortly after my #1 guy "turned in" I heard racket on the front porch. A quick holler to the back of the house brought a response - man with guy - and I reported that someone was trying to enter the house.

Now, this is the holiday season and I had very appropriately covered the viewing hole in the door with a decoration thus preventing me from checking it out indirectly. I went for the direct look by opening the door. I saw a tail.

That meant opening the door further. A opossum was trying to knock the pan (remember it is covered) around so the lid would come off. Alas, no such luck. The fudge now is known as opossum fudge, the gun put away, and we had a good laugh about the variety of outcomes that this could have had.

If you just read this, while eating a piece of the fudge I made, be assured the lid was securely in place when the opossum left the porch.

Well, it's kinda funny.

Lastly, I'm considering suggesting to a couple of close friends that this be the last year we exchange gifts. We don't need them, as we've said each year. We went to consumables but this year that changed back to keepables. So before we have to give each other little magnets that state "Go now or forever hold your pee." or some other clever reminder of tending to our ages maybe we should cease. Or maybe there's a market for those messages and others and we could make a killing.

Rabu, 12 Desember 2007

A new Christmas

Get up! Don't give up! We're all entering the final rush of Christmas. I've noticed even "Toys for Tots" promotions are driving home the all-important message of Christmas - buy, buy, buy. They and others plead for donations, gifts, stuff. As if that is going to make or bring lasting happiness. As if that is what the season is all about. For Christ's sake, and it is for that,this is Christmas!!!!!! It's all about Him not about Macy's or WalMart or anyplace else.The word should be The Word. We have lost track of what started all this. This year is worse than ever and started earlier than in years past.It is very disturbing.

The organizations messaging us should be giving credit where it is due and should be stressing that the real gift has already been given. In my humble opinion they are increasing the stress of those who cannot provide other gifts as well as the stress of those who feel obligated to do something, often without checking out the organization.

I'm not a Scrooge, not by a long shot.My contributions are made already.And, here at home, we do a small exchange.We're fortunate to be able to give.

Maybe what should be done is to split out Christmas from a generic "gift holiday". Then the faithful from all faiths can relax and spread good cheer and they and those who are focused strictly on the commercial aspects can enjoy the competition of gift-giving and stress-building activities, just separately. Does that mean another day off school and off work though? For some that would be the first gift!

So don't give up if you are a Christmas traditionalist. Take up the challenge and return to the true meaning and value of the day. Propose the same to others.Let's get up the gumption to turn people's attention to a day of love, forgiveness, joy. None of those things can be touched. None of them need batteries. None of them can be exchanged. None of them can be equaled.

Jumat, 07 Desember 2007

Got Guts?

Our first snow touched down during the late evening December 6th so the puppy, who happens to be 90%+ white, experienced it first-paw this a.m. It was fun to watch and certainly the cold, white fluffy stuff didn't slow her down. She barreled through it and dove into it while the others tip-toed gingerly. Ah, the joy of pure innocence. When was the last time you (or I) did something we'd never done before, experienced something that was brand new to us? Don't think too long - go do it!

Selasa, 04 Desember 2007

what is going on

It's not a question. It is a fact. Nearby, very nearby, we have what is left of a young couple and their nearly two year old child. Oh, they are alive physically. But Iraq has torn them apart. He's been there; she hasn't. He's back. She's moved out.
This is devastating. When you spend 15 months watching over people while their main person is watching over our freedoms you become family. Now seeing them ripped apart hurts. She's angry and upset because people care. He's become even numb. All that kept him going is now pulling him apart.
There's little to do but pray.
Well, we have him to thank, along with so many others, that we may still choose to pray.
I hope his child and the woman he loves remain forever thankful for his sacrifices.
We cannot repay veterans. We cannot thank them enough. It is so sad to watch the dreams imprisoned in his heart.

Senin, 03 Desember 2007

Tis the Season

Monday morning crunch time this week means figuring out what all didn't get done last week and starting in on the tasks. First on the list was getting out the Christmas decorations. With great foresight and luck I delivered the large, plastic containers from the garage attic to the garage floor three weeks ago when searching for something else. We opened them already today. Since we no longer put up a tree two of the four went right back to the attic as they contained decorations. I re-labeled them first. Someday we may have a tree again.

Next we found that I had successfully re-directed many decorations to other homes last year. That was a long time coming. Don't we all hang onto things hoping that we really will use them again and again and again when in fact they will be much more appreciated by others if we only let go? Christmas decorations are no exception. Jokingly, at our dinner theater post-program party I said that today my husband and I would decide which Christmas decoration we would put out. It wasn't much of an exaggeration.

Oddly enough - or not - I have been deliberately clearing the house of what I call clutter. Once I have identified what is leaving I change the label to "treasures", of course. It doesn't apply only to Christmas treasures and recently we had the good fortune of bestowing some lifetime treasures on our daughter, son-in-law and grandson! Yeah! In so doing Ed asked me if I was "OK" - meaning am I dying and don't want to tell him. For all who wonder - count me as "alive and well".

Especially at this time of the year it is greatly rewarding to share. Sentimental items or new items are appreciated by close friends and family and often open the door for passing along a good story about the origin of the gift. And, being alive and well also offers the opportunity for each of us to do something for others so they also feel alive and well. Pick your charities and start now to reap the rewards!

Minggu, 02 Desember 2007

Addicted at an early age

My first cats were family pets, chosen by parents. Clearly in the photos I have I did love them but my real dream was a dog. Thus, in 5th grade the deal was struck - straight A's got me a dog, Trixie. I was never without a pet after that. I got the dog (and her pups) when I was divorced.

How is it I came to populate the household with so many critters and can I say it's not my fault?
It was an easy decision each time we added another animal and no it is not all my fault.

It is true that pet #13 is my mom's cat (was more my dad's for most of its life) and now she has moved to a retirement home which is pet-friendly only for visits. Come on. So we got the cat. But then, we did give them the cat. So, maybe it is my fault Bootz is here now.

The others, well, three cats just showed up and we took responsibility for them in terms of neutering, feeding, shots. They stayed. One cat we sought out when it was a kitten. One cat was bought at an auction. One cat was adopted. That's every one of them. They have it great, living in the garage. In the winter they have a heater and the rest of the year they have an indoor/outdoor arrangement so they can sun themselves without leaving the premises and ending up as coyote treats.

Dogs surround us and I am pleased to say are all adopted. They range from 5 months to 14 years and from 20 pounds to 85 pounds. Most of them are the result of us fostering them first and then not being able to live without them. But we have let some of the dogs we foster go to other good homes where they are flourishing and running the show. We have figured out we can't keep them all and that it is great to see them select their new families. Plus then we can foster more and go through that routine again.

I am addicted to animals. There is nothing quite like the affection they have for owners. I see it at home and I see it at the shelter where I volunteer as a temporary influence on them. Ha! I almost said "temporary human" but that wouldn't be accurate. I cannot say "temporary owner" as that too would be wrong - I don't own any of them.

Thankfully the addiction is a positive one with good rewards. All the same it does take some discipline to avoid any further over-indulgence. I am brought back to reality when the furniture is chewed, when there is hair all over the floor, or when the litter needed changing two days before it was. When all that is resolved though, I'm back to making them healthy treats.

first go at it

Thanks to a MN friend I am now blogging solo! Being on dial up, in the country, in a "network hole", there may be some photos posted but not today. Check back.

As we come to year's end most of us tend to become more reflective, not of just the current year but of times past. For me it has been a particularly challenging year in that regard. Soon we will re-visit the anniversary of my dad's death and then that of my mother-in-law. We continue to sort, file, store, send, and toss items one last time. We are doing this while my mother is alive in hopes she can identify some people and decide who is to have what. It is trying, to say the least, as she doesn't always remember (who does?), things like photos are not labeled - you know that lecture by heart don't you so I will skip it - and she often doesn't care what happens to stuff. Of course that makes me want to ask WHY HAVE YOU KEPT IT FOR 70 YEARS? But we are doing our best.

Being an only child sucks when parents age. If you are young enough to avoid this for your own child do so - make it children. One takes all the "heat". And, if ever you thought an only child was spoiled, let me assure you that is not always the case and even in the cases where it may be true going through the final years alone is payback!

Alas, we live in piles at our home. Granted the piles are diminishing and soon we will have the energy flowing through each room again. It is gratifying to be able to appreciate some items one last time, bid them farewell and see to it that they go to the next generation to carry and pass along. Sending photos and mementos to cousins has allowed or caused a re-connect, even if it may be short-lived. But there is peace and excitement in knowing things are reaching their rightful owners. I have tracked down the (now famous) son of the pastor who married my folks over 60 years ago and wait to hear from him as to whether he wants the letter and photo I have from even longer ago than that. Yup, this has been fun.

All the while, for any who know me, you know I am in dinner theater this time of the year. In fact, I await my chariot to take me to the final performance. All right, I drive myself. We're having a great time and are serving as a great example that a lousy dress rehearsal means a great performance. But, this is the 8th day straight without a break. God, for whom we do this as it is our church group, took a day off to rest. Don't we get it?