Selasa, 30 Desember 2008


The blog title photo was taken Saturday, in the morning, in the park near the house in which I grew up. It was foggy beyond belief. I'd already been to the aforementioned house and to the one where my parents last lived more or less independently. When they moved here I took over some of the daily duties. That was almost 6 years ago.

Time passed quickly.

Now, I feel lighter. Pardon my saying this, but it is not a bad thing to feel this way. My mom passed away Sunday afternoon, at peace. She knew it was OK. She had my dad and others waiting for her and I think she finally believed I could take care of myself.

Sure there have been tears but not tears of regret, more in celebration of her life. It's been good to call people and hear them say how she will be remembered. We should all be so fortunate.

Life does go on. Strength and faith, along with friends and family, do form a support system. She had all those things and isn't that a great comfort? The only extravagances she had were her indulgences in those around her.

Somehow my going home and telling her about it relaxed her and she was more able to make her final journey to her final home. God knew what he was doing.

Brew's 4 yrs old (Dec 29)

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Rabu, 24 Desember 2008

Christmas 2008

With full credit to Fra Giavonni from 1513

There is nothing I can give which you have not: but there is much that, while I cannot give, you can take.

No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.
- Take heaven.

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instand.
- Take peace.

The gloom of the world is but a shadow, behind it, yet within reach is joy.
- Take joy.

And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.


And for the kitties and dogs in your lives:
from THE WHOLE PET DIET by Andi Brown
(I cut it out of a magazine.) Thanks, Andi!

Spot's Chicken or Turkey Stew

2 1/2 lbs. whole chicken or turkey (bones, organs, skin and all)
1/4 c. chopped garlic
1 c. green peas
1 c. chopped carrots
1/2 c. chopped sweet potato
1/2 c. chopped zucchini
1/2 c. chopped yellow squash
1/2 c. chopped green beans
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 T kelp powder
1 T dried rosemary
11-16 c. water

8 oz whole barley
6 oz rolled oats
more water to cover ingredients

Combine all in 10 qt stockpot, with enough water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Leave on simmer for 2 hours.
Remove from heat, let it cool, debone the chicken or turkey. Use an electric hand mixer or a food processor to puree the food, working in batches.
Cats like the stew soupier so you can add more water for them.
Store meal-size portions in resealable plastic bags or yogurt containers. Refrigerate what you'll use in 3 days and freeze the rest.

We have never made it to the mixer/processor step so can't speak for that. We haven't given this to our cats but the dogs always gobble it up. It's a special meal!

Jumat, 19 Desember 2008

Precious Dog Hein, June 1993 - December 2008

We know God watches over us but this week we underwent yet another loss, that of Precious Dog Hein. Yes, she was 15 1/2 years old and we knew full and well she felt the loss of Scout a couple months back. They were inseparable from the time they met, day and night, together either in their pen or in the house. They were like an old couple, only dogs. One saw. One heard. They yammered at each other if one was too close to the others bowl. They leaned against each other. They snuggled together all day long in their dog-loo, ignoring the birds, cats, people traffic and younger dogs coming and going in the other fenced in area.

She awoke on the 17th and told us it was time. If you have had a pet you've had to help you know what how they communicate it through their looks. Her head stayed down, her eyes solemnly surrendered. She had no energy, no substantiation to continue.

I like to believe that she gave us these additional two months in our post-Scout world, because she knew us well. It would have been her wish to go with Scout and she was as surprised as we to find she was here and Scout was gone. But she pulled herself together and joined the younger dogs in a frenzy of remembered behaviors that found her going up and down the two stairs on the patio, running a step or two, getting excited when she didn't know what the excitement was all about, and finally just signaling everyone to go ahead without her, she was sleeping this one out.

We did what we could to keep her comfy. No baths, good food, a special place in the kitchen, all fluffed out and right in the midst of foot traffic so she got lots of petting and hugs and acknowledgment. She got kisses from everyone, 2 or 4-legged, who went past her as she rested.

The morning each dog came by and said goodbye to her. I wish they'd been able to do that with Scout, who went in the night, quietly without prelude. But perhaps they were sending their greetings on with Precious. Don't tell me they don't know; they know only too well. They probably know better than we for their lives are less complicated. I suspect their relationship with God is the same - they know, they don't question. They understand death leads to new freedom, new life.

So now, only a couple of days later we have welcomed Lazlo into our home. He's our latest foster. A collar was embedded in his neck but it's been removed and he's healed from that injury entirely. He is quirky and cute and, for now, all boy. That has everyone trying to figure out what's next! But they know he's here to get ready for his own forever earthly home. And, they know when he leaves it will be different from when Precious left.

Senin, 15 Desember 2008

No More Side Street Parking of Houses Allowed in Springfield

The Maisenbacher House, previously blogged, resides now on a frame built in a hole on the lot it will occupy forevermore. The foundation is still on the "to do list". But the house is out of the road. Hopefully now the company that moved it can head out east to their next job and Court and Karen can go forward with whatever is next. The saga of the house was gearing up to be a top story for Spfld. Then the governor came from behind, raced to the year end's finishing line, and left every other story at a standstill.

We surely do get riled up over some small stuff at times. Hot Rod (governor) has taught us nothing if not that we shouldn't sweat the small stuff. And, getting our community undies in a bunch over this house was the small stuff. Big Boy, Elvis, Jr., Hot Rod, The Hair - now he's worthy of some close attention. Keep your fingers crossed that he ends up in the Big House, and I don't mean this one!

Jumat, 12 Desember 2008

Tales of Christmas

I nabbed this image and forgot to get the artist's name, but he/she has my thanks!

Do you have a favorite Christmas tale? Besides the one that started it all, mine is A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES.

But I've never read it. Somehow, somewhere I stumbled across an audio tape of Dylan Thomas reading it and bought it, probably without knowing anything other than I liked Thomas' work. Dumb luck.

Driving from central Illinois to upper Kentucky one cold and wintry evening I listened to him read it and best remember going through Cincinnati and being enthralled but needing to pay attention to the road.

I'd never been thru Ohio before and I was all too aware of my tendency to drive beyond my exit when I got caught up in a story. It was night and I'd been on the road a few hours already. It was snowing and I was driving a sports car. I finally had to rewind a bit of the tape, stop it for awhile and drive on till I was out of range for the city lights.

That was a strange trip: an ordeal with a Schneider transport truck - a big meanie trying to shove off the road. (I don't carry a grudge - not much!); discovering Frankenstein University, seeing Louisville Sluggers HQ across the river, and wandering into a religious college's art guild/store - Berean, I think it was - wood and wool and pottery items. Something like that.

I came back a different route, past Santa Claus, Indiana. I listened to the tape again.

There's something about hearing a book read by the person who wrote it. That enables getting the understanding the author wants the reader to have. The way the words sounded in their heads, when they wrote them, are they way they speak them for us. In this case it was particularly grand and I felt transported.

As a child my favorite story was THE LITTLEST ANGEL. Oh, how I wore that book out! And a few years ago, when on-line shopping became popular, I sought out an old copy of it and found it - just like the one I had. Who knows, it could have been my copy but I had/have a habit of putting my name in books so perhaps not. Anyway, I read it and weep. Simple. Direct. Sentimental. Meaningful. I guess that's why I like THE VELVETEEN RABBIT too. Same basic format. Lesson-filled. Get real, seriously.

I can't help but see some of that in the longer, image-filled A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES. This makes me a creature of habit then, when it comes to reading. I want my heart warmed at some point. If it costs me a few tears, fine. If I throw myself at my pets or my husband, OK. If I jot a note, send an email, make a call, good. The line between fiction and non-fiction becomes blurred when I think about these 3 books.

Gosh, there were much simpler times in this world when people were where they belonged instead of always trying to get where they thought they belonged. We strung popcorn and apple slices, made paper chains and other ornaments for the tree. People used English correctly as well as sparingly, and listened. We saved money in Christmas Clubs at the bank so we could buy gifts, or we used lay-away. There were secret Santas. There were school concerts. We knew and sang 2 or 3 verses of each Christmas carol and gladly went around serenading folks at home and accepting a cookie or hot chocolate. It was called Christmas.

I'm glad I got where I was going that year. Gladder still that I got home safely, wiser for what I'd discovered along the way. I was where I belonged.

We don't need to bring everything from our pasts forward but wouldn't it be nice to re-start just one old habit, one childhood tradition? Now, when everything is tumultuous shouldn't we re-establish our appreciation for what matters?

Start with the Christmas Story itself, and then recall your favorite Christmas tale. Share it and take it from there. You may surprise yourself at how easy it is to enjoy being where you are, where you belong.

Selasa, 09 Desember 2008

Such a Day

Good Grief. Where is Charley Brown to make that declaration?
First the "good": Illinoisans have had a busy day, starting with the wake up call to the governor @ 6 a.m., made by the esteemed Patrick Fitzgerald, Federal Prosecutor. AMEN! The FBI was at the front door of the governor's Chicago home, ready to arrest him. You've heard this already; it's all over the news.
So what did we do? We went shopping and I got new gloves and sox. waaaHOOO. I have a thing for sox. One year I was writing LOTS of poetry and vowed to wear red sox all the time when I was reading and writing. Then it dawned on me that red is a "stop" color and might inhibit my creativity so I deemed the next year was a green year.
Never happened. There aren't enough green sox in the world.
I digress. No surprise there.
But the grief part of the day came towards the end and it's very minor and very personal. The people who met Zeke at a store on Sunday have placed an adoption application for him and been approved so I am taking him to meet their dog Thursday. I just wasn't ready.
Now is the time I chant a lot: If I don't do this I can't foster another and get a good home for it. If I don't do get it.
Somehow this will be for the best.
Even though I love this dog.
Even though my dogs love this dog.
He will be loved at his new home too.

Sabtu, 06 Desember 2008

You DO meet the nicest people.

Zeke and I went to the nursing home. He was soooo good. Then we drove all the way back and across the city to a big box pet store to get him some canned food and a large box of large treats for everyone to share. He met lots of people and maybe his future owners. They were the nicest people and seem very interested in him as a buddy for Moses, their dog. I think they would have taken him right then and there. We'll see. He's darned good. I really had thought he could move to the White House. Hello Barack? It's about a dog for the girls...On the other hand, he's made friends with all the dogs here and Ed hasn't met him yet. To the people who met Zeke and Mr. President - just try and get this dog!

Speaking of the nicest people, a real surprise occurred yesterday when I took the greens orders for the library staff over to them, from APL. Since I was out at the shelter I offered to pick up and drop off the wreaths and door swags. Well, blow me away. I got inside the library office and the director presented me with a book, SAVED. It's about rescued animals, and their rescued people. I was taken aback. It was from the Library's Friends board, of which I'd been president and/or secretary for a number of years. This was totally unexpected. And, they selected something that focuses on my other passion - taking care of living creatures who've not had it too good so far.

Well, home with the crew last night I managed to cry my way through some 50 pages. It took a long time because the print is pretty blurry thru tears.

It's an amazing book. The group is amazingly thoughtful. I am amazingly fortunate.

And, we really shouldn't have anymore dogs. We help those who are homeless and then that opens a space for someone else who needs it. Yes, we did have 6 dogs. Yes, we will lose Precious soon. Yes, the dogs we have adopted are the "hard to place" ones so that complicates matters.

I keep telling myself those things.

Jumat, 05 Desember 2008

It's Open Mike Friday

There's no sense in posting a photo of the house; nothing has changed. But, if you are coming to Spfld to see it, please stay at the Inn. It's worth it - great amenities, etc.

In the meantime, the radio flogging has not ceased. There's a local show that identifies who local locos think is the biggest idiot of the week. Never is there a shortage of candidates because nominees can be from anywhere. Regardless, this week the city administration, the alterpeople, the county board, the house's owners, and Lincoln, himself, were all nominated. Lincoln was the most creative option although he did not win, in this case he was only voted for twice. The reason he was considered was that he was the reason this house was being "saved". If he had not lent the money to these people in the first place then Springfield today would not have the mess it does on its governmental hands.

So there. That's how we think and what we think about in the state's capitol/capital (you will see it spelled both ways here and sadly, mis-selected for application but I wanted to give equal time to each spelling, and maybe fit in a little myself). OH, BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE!

If you act now you may see a video somewhere showing our esteemed governor behind the governor who supposedly commented, "She's perfect for the job. She has no life." about the Homeland Security nominee. I think - Ed Rendell? I'm going from memory. I gave up trying to find it. And, top that off with the same governor was apparently audio taped during phone calls, by the feds, as part of the investigation they are doing.,0,3382775.storyWord on the street is there will be something before Christmas that is more substantial to report. When he goes to prison he will be governor #3 who has held the title then done the time. We do know how to pick them.

Although, I must admit, I really liked Dan Walker. His advance man was my neighbor. Walker took Rosen, me, and his family jug fishing on a small lake. Rosen and I took the kids to the movies. It was fun and he was a seemingly decent guy at the time, plus he was good friends with Jimmy Carter. Save your breath; he may have not been a popular president but Carter is extremely intelligent and has a very giving heart.

Find that in politics very often anymore? We must hope we'll see it again, soon.

Kamis, 04 Desember 2008

A House Divided

...cannot stand. How ironic that this was said by the very man who financed the house in the street, Lincoln. See November 21st blog posting, please.

The chatter and clatter continues. Most recently the alderpeople decided to vote down what is now $279k to put in a foundation. When this first started I had heard the cost for the foundation was to be $150k. But, the economy sucks so I can understand the price change. The contractor may not have more work lined up yet.

The day after the vote to withhold the funding the radio was a-buzz with people yammering about this topic and showing how well-spoken central Illinois residents can be - not. If there is money to dish out, and I doubt there is, it should go to grammar rehabilitation programs. But, I digress.

So now what, we wait for the house to implode, crumble or reach a destination on its own? The folks who own the lot and structure face $1000/day fines from the owner of the moving firm if the "wheels" aren't returned by the 15th. They can't move it back where it came from as that land is quickly becoming a lovely plot of concrete with tasteful striping.

I say, re-route the street around the house, swapping the lot for the asphalt area, or just shorten the block. It's really not a busy through street at all and it would just extend the Lincoln tourist area. People need to walk more anyway. It'd be good for everyone.

So this Maisenbacher house won't be open for guests till things settle down and now the governor has thrown his propeller beanie hat into the mix by keeping his rarely kept word and closing down state attractions. Another house issue crops up in conversations all around town. That would be the now closed Dana-Thomas House in Springfield. It's a Frank Lloyd Wright design/construction and the Christmas highlight for many who annually trek there to see the house lit only by candles.

Frankly (no pun intended towards the late Mr. Wright), Bloggo should have just shut down the governor's mansion. No one lives there nor has anyone lived there since Hot Rod became governor. The tours are very limited and rarely annual journeys. That would save a lot of money in energy costs and staff costs. The wife likes Chicago and he's on a short leash we think. I like the city too but I live here. It works.

As for me and my house? Well, we remain in place and open for friends and relatives and the occasional wandering stranger.