Monday, November 29, 2010

Sometimes living in a small town isn't so bad.

Returning to the world of the working was damn hard today. It's so easy and just too comfortable for me in my little bubble in my corner of the world. Reality sucks and dealing with people sucks even more.

The tradition in this little town is the Saturday after Thanksgiving the veterans from the VFW (usually after they're all liquored up) and anyone else who wants to volunteer decorate the square in town. There's a small parade and then they light the park for the holiday season. I didn't attend the parade but last night A and I went up town to see what they've done. This year they added speakers throughout the park and have the Nutcracker Suite playing. What's really great is last night it was windy and we witnessed several people passing by who stopped to set something up that had blown over or re-adjust decorations. I have yet to ever see anyone vandalize or steal anything. Please excuse any blurry pictures. I was trying to take them hand-held while getting hit with a blustery north wind.

I guess maybe this Grinch is starting to get in the holiday mood just a bit earlier than usual...but don't push me too much. I'm still not ready for 24/7 Christmas music.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm a product whore.

Seriously, I have discovered where all my cash went! In my shower right now there are currently 5 bottles of shampoo, 3 conditioners, 4 body washes, 2 facial washes plus 3 bars of soap. That's not counting a couple bottles of dog shampoo & conditioner that I'm sure A has grabbed and used a few times. :) I must admit there's even more in the hall closet. How many products do two women really need anyway?

When I picked up my bathroom a few days ago, I'm was amazed by all the eye shadows, makeup, eyeliners, mascara, lipstick, glosses and powders. There are hair waxes, pomades, putty, smoothers, shiners and sprays.  I have a zillion varieties of toothpaste, floss and brushes (thanks to Oral-B and Crest who send me samples). Lotions, perfumes, body sprays, face creams and anti-wrinkle treatments fill every cupboard, drawer and basket. I was then inspired to clean my bathroom closet...the list goes on and on.

Next time I'm asked what I spend my money on and I'm tempted to say purses, shoes, or pets, I'll just remember the massive supply of beauty products I have stocked up. Trying to look good isn't cheap I guess!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Was Here. Winter Returns Too.

Thanksgiving came and went quietly. I woke up early this morning...well actually Orville woke me early by scooting up next to my pillow, licking my cheek and giving me a pleading look. I stumbled upstairs and out into the frigid morning; always the doorman. A slept in for awhile since she has to be up early tomorrow for work. Later we ate breakfast and just did some household chores; very un-exciting, very un-holiday like. In fact with nothing cooking or baking in the house it didn't seem much like Thanksgiving at all. I tried several times to call Dad but was unable to reach him. I left a couple messages instead. My older brother is there visiting and I know they were taking Dad out of the rehab facility for dinner today.

Don't worry we didn't go without our turkey dinner and this afternoon went to the home of A's aunt and uncle and had a lovely time hanging out with the retirees. We were invited to her brother's home but we both didn't want to deal with their screaming, obnoxious, rude children and some equally rude adults. That could be an entire post in itself.

Tomorrow morning I will be up early but NOT to participate in Black Friday shopping madness. NO WAY! I know so many people who look forward all year to this one shopping day but to me it looks and feels like a nightmare. Instead I will haul myself up to put the beef brisket in the oven, start preparing egg noodles and baking bread. That's right, I'm the one cooking tomorrow; alert the fire department. No really I can cook but so seldom do because I don't enjoy it except for the rare special occasions. Mom is coming for a belated Thanksgiving dinner and dragging along her pet, aka well-meaning but annoying boyfriend. They usually don't hang around too long though.

The weather has turned here suddenly and we went from unseasonably warm 60's and sunny to unseasonably cold 2 degrees. Our last nice weekend it was nearly 70 degrees, the collie came to visit, we played ball with the dogs and they chased each other in the yard. There was still some green in our world.

One week later we woke on a Saturday morning to 10 inches of snow. We had to get up and pull out the shovels to clear the deck, stairs and patio just so the dogs could go outside.
Since then it has been nothing but cold, overcast, freezing rain, sleet and snow. I don't give a damn about the snow but I truly hate the ice and I still need the sunshine. I like to sit in front of the window and soak it in, even if it's all an illusion.  This weather means lots of indoor time and I end up curling up on the couch with a book or movie plus several dogs to keep me company. Since bringing in dog #8, the dynamics of the pack have changed and my Sia wants to make sure everyone know I belong to her at nap time. There are also 3 others laying by my feet.
Actually Cassie (dog #8) has been one of the more challenging fosters I've had in a long time. She is a sweetie with people but has problems with other dogs. She is food-aggressive, territorial, and possessive. She doesn't give the warning growl--she goes straight in for the attack. After the first few days she was here, I was ready to send her back! In 5 days I had broken up more dog fights than in the last 4 years I've had Chins. I thought she was going to have to permanently live in a kennel. It's just unusual for this breed to not get along. I was especially pissed when my dogs started acting fearful of her. I will not tolerate my dogs feeling uncomfortable or fearful in their own home. Her former foster offered to take her back, our foster coordinator was looking for another foster home where she could be the only dog (yeah right!) but after I had time to sleep on it (that's when I do my best problem-solving), A and I agreed that we've had worse and would not give up so easily. We came up with a plan to anticipate/remove her triggers and do some training to modify her behavior and help her gain confidence. She's been here 2.5 weeks and is coming along great. She seems to especially love her new best friend Jill.
Last night I had the rare treat of catching a group shot of the whole crew, minus Gizzy who has bad balance and is afraid of falling down the stairs. So here is a picture of 7 out of 8...and they are all looking at the camera for once. A very rare picture indeed.
Left to right: Popper, Jill, Cassie, Orville, Nifty, Sia
Front: Timmy

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ms. Moon: Saint? Unlikely. Crazy? Yeah Probably

Today I brought home dog number eight. I now have my own four plus four fosters.  This will be my 6th foster dog of 2010; in the past I've only had 1 or 2 fosters a year. I know this is peanuts compared to what so many others in rescue do and I suppose one day I'll look back and laugh about the time when we only had eight. I think I'm slipping down the rabbit-hole. Pictures to follow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

She's got her mother's fiery disposition.

I woke up Sunday morning with freakish swollen eyelids. I mean really, really swollen like I've seen with severe heart failure patients. I tried everything to get the swelling down but the only real solution is time. At least I had no where to go and no one to see, no one that mattered anyway. The plus side is I also woke up feeling much better just as I expected and it was a beautiful, gloriously sunny and warm day here in Minnesota, especially for this time of year. When you get 65 degrees in November you take it as a blessing and soak up every second.

We had all the major outdoor chores completed already so I lazed in our sunroom with all the windows wide open as I sorted through the massive amount of paperwork I brought home from Dad's apartment when we moved him out. OMG he saved every receipt for every loaf of bread and little scraps of paper with phone numbers of who knows who, paid utility bills from the last several years and even old cell phone bills from the carrier he had 4+ years ago. I managed to sort through, organize and condense many boxes into one rubbermaid tub for easier transport. My older brother is leaving next week to go visit Dad and the rest of his family and is taking Dad's belongings down to him. I'm thankful to have the stuff out of my house.

We had a visitor to the backyard yesterday. Sia let out her telltale screaming bark from the deck to announce their arrival. Meet Bliss the Collie who lives over on the next street. She comes to visit on occasion when her family isn't home. I think she just gets lonely.

As you can tell she is very sweet and timid. It still scared the shit out of me the first time I found her and my girl nose-to-nose at the fence.

Today Sia and Timmy led the charge and Bliss just looked confused and whined as they lunged and barked.

She paced the fence line as my crew chased her and barked on the other side.
There was enough ruckus that the old man Giz actually got up off the couch and came outside to see what was happening. He usually only moves for dinner and bedtime and hardly ever holds that tail up anymore.
Sia finally succeeded in chasing Bliss off and watched as she returned to her own home. Really her family pulled into their driveway and Bliss went running happy to see them. We won't tell Sia though since she thinks she's pretty tough. The lazy boys all filed back into the house to resume afternoon nap time. Not my fiery 12 pound girl with only 3 teeth in her head.
For the rest of the afternoon Sia parked herself at the gate waiting for Bliss to dare return to our yard. A just shakes her head like always and tells me , "She's your girl!"

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow

Only it will be an hour earlier. I guarantee I will not be up to see it on a Sunday morning. I will be snuggled and warm in my bed with fresh clean sheets and fresh clean dogs to match. I don't know how fresh and clean A will be. :) I've watched a few lovely sunrises the last few weeks as I drove to work but I'm really more of a sunset person. Friday night we had such a beautiful evening; there was no wind and the lakes were as smooth as glass. It makes for some beautiful scenery when I take the time to enjoy. I didn't have my camera with me but I took this picture about 5 miles from my home one other night when the sky looked very similar.

I can't believe Halloween came and went. A and I were just not in the mood this year. The Saturday night before we went to hang out with our friend, Faye, while her boyfriend JK (the Elvis impersonator) performed. She got a costume the week before but just wasn't feeling it at all that night either. The three of us sat toward the back, ate pizza, people watched and gossiped. JK has his groupies and some are there so often they have become part of the act. I'm always flabbergasted by the number of drunks who yell at a man dressed as Elvis to "sing some Johnny Cash!" It never fails and JK has actually worked it into his act and will sing a song if it's requested. That night some drunk guy dressed as a sheik took it a step further by thinking it was karaoke. He stumbled and muttered the lyrics for the first half of the song and Elvis actually had to catch him before he took out a speaker.

Halloween evening we had beautiful weather. Most of the time it's very cold and the kids have to be bundled up over their costumes. One year it was so frigid and blowing sleet so parents were driving their kids door-to-door.  We had our light on, pumpkin carved and lit and a huge bowl of candy. We popped Jiffy Pop and watched scary movies. We waited for hours and only had 5 trick-or-treaters (3 of them live on my street)! I live in town but I'm on a dead end street and I think the kids just don't come over this way. I could stand on my front porch and hear the kids on the other side of the park. Anyway that means I had a huge bowl of candy left that I promptly threw in the freezer. A only carved one pumpkin this year but she said I was her inspiration.

Halloween I decided to extend the olive branch to my younger brother after our bitchy late night conversation 2.5 weeks prior. He didn't answer and didn't return my call. Later that night I thought I would check my sister-in-law's Facebook to see if she posted pictures of my nephews in their costumes. That's when I found I had been blocked by her.

Really?!!!! It really wasn't that big of a disagreement. I just told him I was tired of the bitching and he should help mom after all the help she's given him. I had not written one thing about the situation on FB either. There's the part of me that thinks "it's only FB" and it's infantile behavior but there's that other part of me that can't help but feel hurt. I don't regret what I said and if I had the chance to do it again, I would say it exactly the same. I only spoke the truth. Tonight I realized I have now been de-friended by my bother, his wife and my oldest nephew. It's only FB, right?  I admit I cried. It hurts. They've done a lot of stupid things, have had a rocky marriage both personally and financially and I have stood by through a lot of shit and only spoke up once when the kids were getting affected by their parents' behavior. So now I'm cut off for daring to say one thing against them.

So tonight I'll cry and feel the hurt. I'll mourn the fact that during the last year my family has disintegrated and morphed into people I hardly recognize. I'll think about the last time I saw my nephews in the hospital in Ohio when they came to see Dad after his stroke. I'll remember how my 10 year old nephew cuddled up next to me at the hotel and we cried together. He's so smart and sensitive...way too mature for his age and worries all the time about his parents and the things he has no control over. I have always seen a whole lot of myself in that boy.  I'll hate how they use their children as emotional blackmail. I'll want to get in the car, drive 5.5 hours and confront them. Instead I will cry it out, go to bed, curl up next to A and whisper how much I love her, hug my fur-kids (and fosters too) and think of the wonderful friends in my life who have become my real family. The sun will come up tomorrow; I'll feel better after getting it out tonight and I'll never let them see how much it hurts.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Phone Anxiety

My phone has become a source if anxiety for me. There was once a time I rushed to answer but now I feel my skin crawl when I hear that ringtone. I just never know what's waiting on the other end of that line these days. Even the callers who used to be considered "safe" (with the exception of A) are full of drama and stress. Today I actually refused to listen to a voicemail from one person because I just knew it was going to be some drama and I didn't want it affecting my mood. I came home and had A listen to it instead. Her instructions were to delete it if it was going to piss me off and never tell me what was said. 

So tonight when my phone rang, I cringed. I slowly got up and looked at the screen to see "Withheld". That usually means my Dad's cell phone and since his stroke he has not been able to use it without help. Most of the time when something has happened my aunt or uncle have called me from his phone. It's 11:30 PM on a weekday night. My mind immediately starts racing...what has happened...another stroke...a fall...blood clot...heart failure...?????. I answer and it's Dad and he sounds great. This was the first time I've talked to him in over 2 months that he's sounded like himself; not some mumbling zombie parroting what I was saying or not responding appropriately to questions. We had a real conversation. I was surprised how much this uplifted my spirits. This has to be one of the best calls I've received in a VERY long time!