Friday, October 26, 2007

A Baby Story

Today I happened upon the last ten minutes or so of "A Baby Story" on TLC. I came in during the part where they're yelling "push, push" and the girl is screaming as the baby tries to push its way into the world. Very intense - I really felt like I was there!

The baby arrived, dark haired and perfect (looking very much like MY first baby). The mom cried. The dad cried. Both grandmothers cried. I cried.

I started out crying because it was all so wonderful and happy. After a minute or so, when everyone else's eyes had dried, I found that I was still crying. I had been unexpectedly overcome with such an intense longing to be back at the point in my life when I was a new mom and all the years of having my children little and at home were still ahead of me.

Wouldn't it be fun if we could occasionally travel back in time for a few days? If we could, I'd be visiting the 70's right now. How about you? What experiences would you like to re-live?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today we got our second dog, little G. He is such a sweetheart, so loving and funny - first animal I've known that had a sense of humor! (I should write more about that when I'm not so sleepy.) I never thought I'd have one dog, much less 2, but it is great!

Formerly an avid cat person, I must admit that there's nothing quite like opening the door after a lousy day to find 2 little creatures just beside themselves with joy at your arrival! (It's kind of like it was back when the kids were little... but they were never quite this fuzzy!)

Granted, I do still love my cats - even though they rarely raise an eyebrow at my arrival. They are definitely cheaper & much lower maintenance than dogs. Having both cats AND dogs makes life very interesting (we have 2 of each... did I mention that our condo bylaws say we are limited to having one pet?) Life just wouldn't be quite the same without those 16 little feet dashing up & down the hall in their own version of the Kentucky Derby!

A big thanks to the stars that aligned just right to bring little G. into our lives on October 24, 2006!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ms. Claus + The Grinch = Christmas Challenges

In 2 months and 2 days it will be Christmas, can you believe that? It used to be my favorite holiday. I went all out decorating every room of the house, making gifts and special treats for all my friends, family, and even co-workers. I just loved it - started playing Christmas carols the day after Thanksgiving. The last few years (7 to be exact) it hasn't been quite as joyous.

I married the Grinch! How did this happen, you might ask... well, we had dated less than a year when we married (4 months to be exact) so I had NO IDEA how he felt about Christmas until it approached. Wow, are we ever opposite in our feelings about it! He hated (hates) everything I loved (love).

I think it's fun to select just the right gift for each person... he thinks gifts are part of the commercialization of Christmas. I love decorating the house... he sees no point in it. Being with family is a special part of the holiday to me... he can't wait to get back home where it's quiet. I love going to a Christmas Eve service and remembering what Christmas is all about... he doesn't particularly believe in God. I love to cook special Christmas dishes... he'd rather go out to eat because it's easier (this comes into play more on Thanksgiving than Christmas since most restaurants are closed on Christmas!).


There have been some pretty miserable preambles to Christmas since we married. (Christmas itself is usually ok because I get to be with my other family members, the ones who like/love Christmas.)

I have been trying to come up with a solution - something that will allow me to be happily immersed in Christmas without sending DH into a fetal position or turning him into a grouchy (even hateful) Scrooge that I hardly recognize.

The first 5 years that we were married the Christmas season didn't work too well. (I take that back, it did one year because I had survived a potentially fatal illness that year & so he was just grateful to still have me & did just what I wanted for Christmas.) That was the only Christmas without major drama between 2000-2004.

In 2005 we had my son come up for Christmas, and that was very cool. We went to a Christmas Eve service (omg the music was just awful - I don't know what went wrong with the soloist but eeeeek!)

The next morning (Christmas) we opened gifts, had breakfast & then headed for a Pistons game. Definitely not a traditional way to spend Christmas afternoon, but loads of fun! It was a full house (DH had bought our tickets months in advance) & they had 2 spirit sticks in each seat waiting for us... they looked like giant plastic candy canes! You banged them together & they made a really loud, very satisfying noise whenever something especially good or bad happened! They had dancing Santas (a group of middle-aged men who did a really cute/funny dance) and lots of other Christmas-related activities between quarters. They even had fireworks (indoors)!!

DH & DS & I all totally enjoyed it; it was the first year that we were both totally happy about how the holiday went. I wasn't homesick for the rest of my family because I knew I'd be seeing all of them the next afternoon. DH wasn't stressed because he knew he didn't have to travel (he hates visiting his family). I headed south for several days while he stayed here and happily worked overtime making tons of money. Meanwhile, I was down reveling in family and hugs and kids and gifts and fun and totally surrounded by people who love Christmas the way I do. (how's that for a run-on sentence?)

The other Christmas that we both totally enjoyed was last year. DS & DIL invited us to come spend Christmas Eve with them. It was their first Christmas together, and their first Christmas in their new home, so we felt very special being invited to be a part of it! We had a wonderful time (DIL is a fabulous hostess) and our dogs had lots of fun with their new uncle, a poodle. :-)

The day after Christmas we all headed further south where we met 15 members of my side of the family for a big 2-day party. That was pretty wild, all of us packed into a penthouse along with our 2 fuzzy white dogs, DS's fuzzy black poodle, and my sister's big black dog. Definitely shoulder-to-shoulder, all talking at once, while our parents were unhappy because we were all talking and they couldn't hear any one person.

Our group has grown too large for that gathering really work in the format that we've been using. Something new will need to be planned for this year... I'm sure I'll be writing all about it later on.

So... now it's 2007 and 2 months and 2 days til Christmas. Time to start planning so that we can have another GREAT holiday rather than the screaming, crying, snot slinging times that we've sometimes had in the past! (psst.. there wasn't really screaming, we're all much too refined for that.)

Wish us luck! :-)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Commercialization of Our Music

It's so strange to hear what were once popular rock songs being used in commercials! The first few times I heard this being done I was just totally stunned - it was kind of like seeing the Beatles standing on a corner selling hot dogs.

Granted, these songs are 30-something years old, but still... what ever happened to the good old days when little ditties were written specifically for commercials? It seems almost sacreligious hearing Barry White's deep, amazing voice hawking Arby's sandwiches! (On the bright side, it WAS fun to hear him again...)

This trend reached an all new low (or should I say high?) (snicker) a few minutes ago when a commercial aired with a middle-aged band singing an Elvis song "Viva Las Vegas". What was it advertising? Viagra! OMG!! What would The King have thought? DH & I just sat here rolling our eyes. Funny? yes! Horrifying? kinda!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Poop and Beer in the Morning Light

Picture it:

7:30 a.m. Me, walking down the street with a little pink bag of poop and a Bud Light beer, donned in a long navy coat (think "flasher!") over bright pink tinkerbell capris pjs and Crocs. Passersby on their way to work gaze in astonishment...

That's right honey, when it comes to strange, Brittany Speers has nothing on me!

Ok, now before you call for the men in the little white coats (or at least a family member) to come get me, I will point out that I was accompanied by 2 little white dogs (which would explain the poop).

The beer... well, I was thirsty and didn't have the ingredients for a Mimosa so it seemed like the next best way to start the day! :-) Nah, actually I retrieved the empty can from the lawn where some noodlehead deposited it during the night, 'cause I am a friend of the earth and apparently care more about the environment than said noodlehead.

As far as the outfit goes, what can I say... 3 of us woke up, 2 needed to go outside to potty, and nobody had the patience to wait for me to get properly dressed first.

I LOVE no longer being the infamous Mrs. C., schoolteacher who must keep up appearances & be at least semi-dignified at all times!

Monday, October 8, 2007

New bedroom floor!

This weekend DH and I worked together to put down a new wooden floor in the small bedroom. I LOVE IT! It was a lot of work but definitely worth it. :-) I am so lucky to have a husband who can do things like this!

He put the same type of floor in the living room & dining room this summer, and we have enjoyed it SO much. With 4 pets it's also very practical. I would highly recommend it to anybody wanting an easy-care floor!

Fuzzy Dogs Recipe # 2

A month or 2 ago I offered a recipe for a dessert, and everybody seemed to like it! :-) Now here's another one - this one is SO quick & easy that kids can make it, and all the ingredients can be kept on hand for those days when you just don't have time to spend on meal prep. If you're a vegetarian, you can experiment with different soy products to replace the tuna, or just add extra veggies.


1 CAN VEG-ALL or leftover veggies, drained and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 CAN TUNA or leftover cooked turkey or chicken


1. Let your oven pre-heat to 350 while you're assembling the ingredients. Take the 2 pie crusts out of the freezer & let them be thawing.
2. Mix soup, veggies, and tuna together in a mixing bowl. Salt and pepper if desired.
3. Pour mixture into one of the pie crusts.
4. Put the second pie crust upside down on top of the pie for a top crust. When it's soft enough, pinch the edges of the top & bottom together to seal the edges of the pie. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 vents in the center top crust of the pie.
5. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until crust is brown.

The Sleep Report - Day 3

I'm trying out DH's suggestion about getting enough sleep for a week and seeing if it makes a difference in my stress level, etc. I'm on day 3 and it really does seem to be working!

A couple of things happened today that would've sent me on a tailspin, but instead I just shook them off. Also, I have noticed a sort of peaceful, happy feeling that has been missing for quite a while. Nice!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I AM an invisible friend!

You know how kids have imaginary friends? I had 3 when I was little. Their names were Peeney, Crinky, and Andy. They were with me all the time 'til my little sister came along, then, one by one, they went away. One ran away, one got the measles and died, and I don't remember what happened to the last one. I need to ask my mom about that!

Fast forward 40+ years and now my youngest DGD has her own imaginary friend! This is a relatively new development, probably a result of her sisters both going off to school, leaving her to be the only child at home.

Little B's imaginary friend... well, can you guess its name? It's not Peeny, Crinky, or Andy! It is (brace yourself) Nana! Yep, I am her imaginary friend! DD said that they'll be in Walmart & little B. turns around & looks behind them saying "c'mon Nana, let's go this way". (keep in mind that I'm a good 8 hr. drive away, so its not me she's talking to. It's an invisible Nana. How cute is that??!!? :-)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Who was more worried, the dogs or me?

Today DH & I toured the facility where we planned to board our dogs next weekend. We'd just taken G. to have his Rabies Shot, and P. was with us too, so the 4 of us got the tour.

The kennel is right across the driveway from the vet, & is part of the vet/kennel/grooming/day care complex. It's a good, reputable place, very nice people work there, but OMG I just don't think I could leave Polly or Garcia there! I don't know what I was expecting... I guess a more "home-like" atmosphere.

They don't stay in cages there, they have "runs" which are 6-10 ft. long. They have concrete floors with blankets for laying on. While that might be ok for an outside dog, these 2 are used to a cushy life - they are pretty sure they're people. I think they would be horrified to be left there. Even when we were just touring it P. was trembling violently in my arms, and Garcia was doing the same in DH's (we had to carry them during the tour).

It was SO LOUD. We were there during 'walking time' and the girl said they were all barking because they knew they'd be going out. The workers were walking each dog individually in a nice large area. They each get 15 minutes of one-on-one play time outside. You can get more for a fee. You can also have them in the doggie day care section during the day if you want to -- then they're in a large area all day & get to play with other dogs their size. That, too, costs extra.

I noticed one worker lighting up a cig as she went out the door to walk one of the dogs. Somehow that just didn't seem right - do people really want their dogs to be breathing smoke? Granted, they were outside, but STILL! They have such little lungs, like babies really, and you sure don't want somebody smoking around a baby. DH said I had the most horrified look on my face from that point on. It was just too much - the noise, the cold concrete, so many big dogs... I just hated it.

When we got in the car I burst into tears (yeah, get pretty emotional when it comes to my kids and my pets) & told DH I just didn't think I could leave them there next weekend. He agreed. There's another kennel in a nearby town that one of his co-workers uses when she goes on trips. We had planned to check it out if we didn't like this one, but I don't know if we will or not now.

The way G. and P. were trembling... to think of them being there for 3 days and 2 nights on that hard floor, not understanding why they were there & not knowing where we'd gone or if we'd ever come back... well, I just won't do it.

Garcia spent the first 7 months of his life in a cage. I really don't want him to have to be in one ever again. (Yes, I know it's a "run", not a "cage", but still.) So.. we'll have to go to Plan B. OH, wait, we don't HAVE a plan B!


Thursday, October 4, 2007


Today my husband presented me with a challenge. (Well, actually it was more like "made a suggestion" but "challenge" sounds more exciting.) He said he would like for me to go to bed at a decent hour & get enough sleep for one week and then see if it makes a difference in how I feel.

Maybe I will try it. Probably I should.. I mean it wouldn't be THAT difficult.

So, we shall see. Might be interesting, maybe not. What if sleep COULD take care of stress, etc.? That would be pretty darn cool.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Do you groom your own pet?

Are you good at giving shoulder rubs? I could sure use one right about now! I just finished brushing our little furboo girlie and it took about 2 hours! I didn't realize it, but apparently I was holding my arm at a funny angle while I was doing it, so now it feels like it's going to fall off!

I enjoy brushing the dogs, I find it relaxing (well, maybe not so much when Mr. G. is trying to get away - then it's more like World Federation Wrestling - all I need to do is put a sock over my head and it'd definitely qualify. (You know how they always wear those costumes...)

Anyway, it is relaxing when one (dog, not wrestler) goes to sleep in your lap & you can just take your time combing the tangles out of their silky hair. It's a lot like knitting but without having to count stitches. :-) Afterwards they look SO pretty & it lasts at least ten minutes -'til they go outside & find something smelly to roll in, or shove their heads down in the crack of the couch & come out with static making their hair stand on end. When that happens, it's so funny it makes up for the loss of the perfect hairdo! With her hair standing on end Ms. P. looks amazingly like I do first thing in the morning! ;-)

Speaking of mornings, have you ever really taken a good look at dog walkers as you drive to work? I totally expect a passing car to stop any day now & ask me for fashion tips when they see how spiffy I look as I'm walking the 2 fluffs first thing after getting up. Right now it's pretty tame because the mornings have been chilly enough for me to wear my long coat, & that hides some pretty scary things that are being worn when the dogs decide we must go out immediately.

I tend to think of myself as invisible (as opposed to thinking everybody is looking at me), but that comforting belief vanishes if I happen to glance toward my next door neighbor's house as I pass it... her door gives a startlingly clear reflection of me how I look.

Hmm, I think groggily, maybe penguin pj pants (length: just below the knee - originally came to the foot but get shorter every time they're washed), hoodie, and Crocs don't quite go together... kind of a top-heavy look. Actually it wouldn't be a bad ensemble if one was gathering sea shells on a chilly morning in shallow ocean water. Bearing in mind that I live in the far north, it just looks like someone determined to lose herself to frostbite from the legs down.

Ok, back to the pet grooming... (talk about straying down the garden path!)

Sunday DH ran into a woman who has the same breed of dog as ours. He said it looked just like them except for the coloring. SO they got to talking about tangles, and guess what? This woman (who, IMHO, has more dollars than sense) has a mobile groomer come to her house EVERY WEEK to groom her dog!

This is one of those vans that's equipped like a grooming salon but is on wheels.) Price? $60.00 a pop (not counting tip)!!!!! Okey dokie, let's see... that's 52 x 60= $3120.00 per year, plus tips. Of course we have 2 dogs, so for us it'd be $6,240 per year. OMG!!! Next time I'm feeling decadent for spending $30 each at the groomer every couple of months I'll just remind myself of this woman & feel like quite the thrifty girl! :-)