Merry Christmas!

Remember Christmas when we were young?
Catching Snowflakes on our tongues..
When Magic crackled in the air
And waiting was so hard to bear.

Merry Christmas

Just a little Holiday cheer



I can't believe it's almost Christmas

What happened to the days when the last week before Christmas seemed to take forever?

What a roller coaster ride this last week or so has been. We got an unexpected bonus from work, won prizes at the company Christmas party, and my beloved was sick as a dog all night long last night. Today we've had quite the icy wind blowing around. Knocked Santa off the swing set and pulled down a bow off the decorations. seems like a lot of really up moments and really down ones. Hopefully everything evens out by Christmas. At least Joel had a great birthday Wednesday.

Yay! Outside Christmas decorations are up!!

We just got back from Joel's company Christmas dinner. Very nice time. It was at Dante's in Cleveland, not too far from the valley view bridge. They did a casino night which we had to leave early since we have a new puppy to worry about. It was an ugly drive home with the snow flying in our faces but kind of pretty to actually get here with snow on the lights and all.



Sad news


We got home this evening and found Ludo had passed. It's always hard to lose a pet even one I'd only had for such a short time.

Lighting of the Square

e e e e

Our tiny little town out here does a pretty nice job of Christmas lights. If you play the video, you'll see a tiny mockup of our oldest buildings in the picnic pavilion. It's the 25th year the square has been decorated like this. We had carols and cookies and pouring rain. But, it's kind of nice even with the rain. Most people know each other (or are related to each other). We have the high school choir sing songs and then we all sing songs and then go in the old town hall for cookies and cocoa while a small instrumental group from the highschool plays carols. Very old fashioned Christmas type time. I don't even mind getting a cold from standing in the rain.

Someone vandalized our phone line

I don't know why that shocks me but it did. We reported our phone and dsl out at 9:15. When we left the house about an hour later, we saw that the line had been cut and the loose part tied to the guardrail on the bridge. Someone stealing the metal inside , they said, when I called to tell them where it was. I suppose this is an ideal place, there's probably only about 5 or 6 cars past that spot all day and most of them are my neighbors. but still. . .

Happy Thankgiving!!

We had a great Thanksgiving overstuffing ourselves with 2 wonderful dinners. One at my sister's and one at my beloved hubby's sister's. We got to talk to the nephew in Iraq which was great. He'll be coming home in December which is even greater.


a special note of thanks to my mom who came here and let my inside dogs out while we were at my inlaws so we could be thankful for a clean floor when we got home. Buddy never did let her close to him. My brother is up from Dayton and he tried hot dogs but Buddy wouldn't even come close enough to pick them up off the ground where he threw them.


Lots of great desserts too. My stepmom sent me a recipe for a pumpkin angel food cake that was great and really easy. All you do is make a box mix angel food cake according to directions but add 1/2 C pumpkin and 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice with the other ingredients. Great for diabetics because it's something they can have a big piece of. We also had Eggnog Chocolate Pie which was wonderful...

Buddy and the Young'uns

So, Gaven and Lenora came back with us after church today and I had them hesitate to get out of the car. For all that the "vicious breed" stuff usually gets under my skin, I have to admit that certain breeds seem to give less warning than others and I was a little cautious having this dog I've only known for a few weeks meet kids I care so much about (especially withthe four year olds face at teeth level for him) I lectured the kids on keeping very still and not putting their hands over his head or kicking at him if they're being carried etc... We get out of the car, Buddy runs up to Gaven who did exactly what he was supposed to do. Buddy sniffed at him, Gaven stuck his hand out, (low, palm up) and said, really nicely "Hi Buddy" At which point Buddy ran for his life onto the back porch and barked a couple of times from behind the railing. He would NOT come near the kids. Le le opened the big front door when she noticed him up on the front porch and as soon as she came near the storm door he ran down into the yard by the car. Later, I opened the back door and Buddy ran up trying to get into the house like he always does until he saw Gaven standing in front of the dryer and then he ran down off the porch into the yard. I was so worried about how he'd be with kids but by the time we took the kids home, I felt like I had to reassure my poor scaredy dog that I wouldn't let the mean children hurt him.

Animal Farm update part 2

We took the other half of the herd to the vet today. He's impressed with Ludo's progress. The heart murmur is still there but not as obvious. He's filled out tremendously. If he keeps doing this well, we'll be able to do surgery on the growth on his chest in January. We're very lucky that everyone gets along (so far). My poor skinny old cat is just showing her age and my great big moose cat is NOT overweight at 17lbs. The only negative thing (aside from the bill) was that I forgot to give Loki dramamine before we left so he hurled. He managed to miss the plastic tablecloth that we covered the back seat with as well as the floor mat but he did hit the cat cage and the exposed carpet over the hump between the seats. My hubby didn't appreciate me laughing at the fact that he'd be driving to Westlake with a smelly car but then, I was the one cleaning the source of the smell while he got dressed for the meeting so I figure I can laugh all I want.

The first snow of the year.


There's something about the very first snowfall that's romantic. Everything's all fluffy and wonderful and you walk around humming carols and thinking about Christmas. You make Hot Chocolate or tea or cider or something and you stand by the window watching it float down with your significant other... or, in my case this morning, sit in a comfy chair with cats on my lap ... purring of course... to watch it drift down and blanket everything in softness and sparkles. You daydream about being a kid and doing things like catching snowflakes on your tongue and building snowmen and having snowball fights and sledding and all that great kid/snow stuff...
Tomorrow, you'll remember you're the grownup and not a kid and the only snow fight you'll be having any time soon will be the first of many involving a shovel to be joined by the wrestling matches with the nasty cold stuff as you try to get the brush out of the car without letting too much of the snow in. You'll find the ugly boots that keep your feet warm until you step in a puddle... which you always do and for some reason the makers of snow boots haven't caught on to the fact that icy water always seems to be lurking somewhere near falling snow so they don't make them waterproof. You'll cuss the driving and freezing and the heating bill.

But, let that start tomorrow. Today is the first day of the snow.. when it's still pretty and romantic and Christmassy and you haven't had time to be frustrated just yet. Today is the day for afghans and cats on laps and warm beverage and snuggling and fireplaces and gazing dreamily out the window while you hum.

Update

My hubby hurt his back drilling holes for the new porch's supports.. of all things, they hit a root. Many many thanks to Brian for helping him and keeping him from killing himself instead of just hurting his back. It's a big job. We got the concrete in the post holes without losing a dog in it. Hopefully, we'll have another porch by Christmas.

I finally got the painting in the church nursery finished.. We now have a sky with a rainbow in it.

We had the new guy to the vet again.. He's been unofficially named "buddy" which is just half a step up from "hey you". He has no heartworm and we're giving him medication for other worms just in case. I'm starting to get to where I can't tell one poo from the other anymore and I'd rather pay for worm medicine than put too much effort into watching dogs take a dump. We've finally got so many animals that we can't take them all in one carload to the vet. Buddy is liking the car thing but he wants to ride with his head on your shoulder so he can look out the front window. He has an infection where Ludo expressed his displeasure of sharing food dishes by biting him in the head. He is NOT neutered and I don't know how I missed that but then, I didn't get my face right down there or give him a grope the way the vet did. The Shar Pei my inlaws had gave obvious evidence of his non-neutered state but this guy is apparently more discrete. Probably because of his youth.

We've had the new guy to the vet

No chip, unfortunately. We have an appointment on Friday to check his overall health.

and.. speaking of change...


Look who showed up here last night. This was who greeted my Beloved Hubby when he got home from Karate last night. He's neutered and has had a recent manicure but, of course, he's starving and matted and has no collar. We're feeding him because we really have no choice. He keeps eating the LAST stray dog's food. I have a call in to the vet's office. I am going to take him there and have him checked out for parasites and, hopefully, a locator chip that will find his loving and worried owners.

YAY!!! THE ELECTION IS OVER!!!


Well, at least the campaining is over. Let's hope change is good.

Election eve

And, quite frankly I'm also kind of nervous.

Happy Halloween

Me after Karate


actually, this kind of looks like me during karate class.


We had our second really good hard frost of the year just a few days ago. My whole flower bed is just about gone and my pumpkin vine has had it. It was really beautiful out side with the sun hitting the frost covered fields so I ran out and took pictures.
I participated in a craft show at church with a disappointing turn out. I had a lot of fun chatting with people I hadn't seen in a while,
still... anybody wanna buy a wreath?


My hubby, my hero.

Our cat got a mouse a couple of nights ago and my beloved hubby ended up chasing the poor terrified thing all over the basement including straight up the wall toward the living room. It was actually kind of cute --- only about an inch long. I got many dirty looks for laughing as he tried to prevent it from running up into the living room without actually touching it while simultaneously trying not to step on the three big hunter cats standing at his feet. Every time he impeded the mouse's upward progress, it ran down to where the cats were jumping up to try and catch it. I got him a coffee can and we put a hole in the lid for some air and returned him into the wild the next day.. to be more specific, it was my beloved hubby who traipsed out into the back forty thru the wet tall grass to find a suitible home for Mousie. And, because he has been married to me for nearly 20 years didn't even laugh or roll his eyes when I pointed out we have an old hamster cage and that by releasing him out into the woods, we were taking him away from his winter storage rather late in the year. (although, I didn't get to keep the mouse.. he was rather insistant on that). When he and I were first getting married, I warned him that I take in strays of all kinds and he said then that he loved me for my compassionate and caring nature. Now, that's all well and good when you're young and in love and looking thru rose colored glasses with your starry eyes but 20 years later after 9 cats, 7 dogs, a frog, 4 turtles, 2 injured rabbits, 2 bats, 3 snakes, 2 mice, 4 wild birds, a turkey, and umteen dozen spiders that either have become permanent pets or were gently released to the wild --- not to mention 4 room mates, 2 siblings, 3 small children and several relatives later who have stayed with us or whom we have helped--- that he's STILL saying that he loves me for my soft heart is probably nothing short of a miracle. For which I am eternally grateful.

Update on the 'new' pooch

I realize that this will come as an enormous shock to everyone but he's staying. We were at the vets today. Dr. P checked and didn't find any micro chip or anything that indicates an owner. Blue ticks can be a pretty expensive dog so finding one stray in such bad shape is kind of rare. We found out that he has:

hookworm -------- pretty ferocious case
fibroid tumors-----harmless
infected gums------not bad
a heart murmur----never harmless but not bad
Heartworm--------dun dun duuunnnnnn (dramatic scary music)

He's also nearly deaf and about 10 years old which is getting to be an old man for this breed. I don't feel right taking him to a shelter so sick and so contagious. Fortunately, the heartworm is a "light" case. We could put him on the aggressive arsenic treatment but it's dangerous and expensive. We lost one dog that way already. Fortunately, the vet said that if we just keep on the tri-heart brand preventative heartworm pills for a year, it'll prevent adult heartworm from developing and eventually, the young and eggs may die off completely He recommended this way to go because of how light the case is and the dog's heart murmur/general health. Easier on the dog Easier on the wallet. The hookworm is highly contagious and it's the reason he poops so much and it smells so bad but we've done the right things to contain the problem and the medication we have to mix into his feed will do the rest. The heart murmur may go away with the heartworm but it's a 'we'll see' kind of thing. I'm going to change his food to something good for his teeth or at least involve treats for that but we may need to have treatment for the teeth. The tumors are harmless but Dr. P does want to take off the one that hangs funny under his chest because he's afraid it'll catch on something. The vet said to sit on the lesser things for about a month to make sure we can get the parasites under control safely first. In about two weeks, he stops being contagious and we can begin to see how he does with the rest of the pack inside. I see him as kind of an indoor/outdoor type of dog but I want to know if he can be friendly with the rest now just in case we need to bring him in because of nasty weather or hostile wild animals in the area. If he's going to be cranky or poop in the house, I want to know how to be prepared for that before something happens and we HAVE to have him in.

We've got three possible names:
Ludo... because he "smmmeellllllssss baaaaaddd" you have to see the movie "the Labyrinth" to understand that one. (or watch the clip below)
Rufus... My sister and her kids are campaigning for this one because it would mean he's introduced himself in barking ... "ROOOOOOFFFF"
Preacher... because of the way he stands with his paws on the porch railing, barking at the birds and waving a paw like he's preaching at them.

so far I think Rufus is winning the general consensus but I like Ludo.

Joel doesn't care. All he knows is that we have another freakin' dog.



Deuce's quiz link

Ok, so maybe I do watch way too many movies. . . .


Name That Movie Villain

But I didn't even get fifty percent on the dog one.

Tim Stone

Tuesday, we went to calling hours for a cousin of Joel's. Being Christian myself, I was happy to find out that he was also and actively so. It takes some of the sting out of losing someone to feel that their presence exists even if they are not present. I am always very touched to see family at a funeral. I wonder if we make ourselves go to funerals of people we sometimes barely know.... to be seen more than to see. To let the family know that we're 'there' for them. There was a term that I heard several times growing up... it was " a show of numbers" or "make a presence". It was something insisted on at weddings and funerals and graduations. It was important to my grandmother as she faced heart surgery just a day before a cousin's wedding that the rest of us all go to the wedding. She didn't want my cousin to turn around on her wedding day to see an empty church. I remember as a teenager taking comfort in the number of people in the guest book at my other grandmother's funeral.. I didn't know most of the names in it but knowing that so many people took time to be present was a comfort in itself. I think that we make a presence to mark the passing of a presence in our own lives. We stand like an informal honor guard to line the doorway giving dignity to an exit and a mass of support to those who feel an emptiness. I always thought it was odd, when I was a child, that people who barely saw each other or knew what to say to one another came to rites of passage.. baptisms and graduations and weddings and funerals. We don't always know how to gather socially but at least we make sure we're there to line the passageways for each other.

I've lost many people in my life that I cared about without really realizing how much they meant to me just because they had presence in my life. 'She' told me stories of my grandmother as a girl. 'He' let me put a piece of wood at one edge of the fire that was boiling sap into syrup and let me think that no one else would have been able to reach that spot. I didn't spend a lot of time with these people but the moments I had with them gave great value to my life. They were people who lived in the periphery of my life's focus and yet formed a part of the numbers that made me feel safe. It was surprisingly important to me to be a presence at their passings.


I will miss chatting with this cousin at family gatherings and I will miss the way he made a point of saying hello. I will miss seeing him and thinking of the way he teased an older family member out of being upset with me when I inadvertantly hurt her feelings as a new member of the family. I will miss a comfortable and pleasant presence in our lives. Even as I say all of this, I know that the way I will miss him is nothing compared to the way he will be missed by the people who felt his presence every day -- the people who stood next to him and were shaped by him. I think of us all at the calling hours standing around talking without knowing what to say. All of us a little stiff, all dressed alike, all rustling in whispers and I couldn't help thinking that we looked like a forest of trees after a storm. I think maybe part of the purpose of our lives... a purpose we all share... is to be present as a tree in the forest, each tree standing on it's own and yet all standing together lending ourselves to shelter and strength given by the sheer force of our numbers.


The following links are, respectively:
Tim's own page with his music, his obituary, and a really cool link with the Bible verse "to everything there is a season. . . " set to music.

http://www.timstoneproject.com/id2.html

http://www.legacy.com/ohio/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonID=118391362

http://www.biblesociety.ca/free_scriptures/escriptures/ecclesiastes3/ecclesiastes3.html

Another Paintball Saturday.

What a great day! Great weather and great people. I have the most fun afterward.. I get to cook lots and BS lots. It's always amazing to me how late it's gotten when we're alone after everyone else has gone home.

Thanks so much to all who came.

Here's the Mac and cheese recipe

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/spicy-macaroni-and-cheese-recipe/index.html

A New Dog!!

actually, not so much a 'new' dog as an old starving, ailing smelly stray dog. He looks like he is a purebred blue tick hunting dog but he's soo emaciated it's scary. He seems gentle and he has been doing ok with our dogs but we'll see.

We went out earlier to put our dogs out and he was standing on the porch. I took one look at how skinny he was and said "well, I can't have that" and got him food.. Joel gave one of those sighs that hubby's get when they realize that they're directly in the path of the crap coming out of the fan and there's no way to duck and said "I'll get him some water". I had to promise to start looking in the paper and print up flyers to take around. The deal is if no one claims him in a timely fashion, we take him to a shelter where they won't kill him. I asked my beloved what would happen if, when the time comes to take the animal away, I start to cry and get all clingy and decide I can't part with the pooch and he said "well, then I guess we have three dogs but I want you to really TRY to find this dogs owner and really commit to the shelter' Which I agreed to. I was also told it would be a bad idea to name the dog and I can see why but I guess I don't see the harm in finding something to call him for the time being. ;-) We have a bed fixed up for him now in Jasmine's old cage with some blankets and a plastic tablecloth to keep the rain off.

sucks to be me right now.

I stubbed my toe a couple of days ago and turned the whole thing purple. because I apparently have some subconcious need for pain, I've bumped the same toe three more times. Tonight, we let the dog out when we got home from grocery shopping and he promptly found himself a skunk. I got to wrestle with him in the tub and now we get to listen to him bark because he doesn't understand why we blocked him out of the room we're in. Anyone know a good way to deskunk a dog?

The morning after

I started Karate last night. I'm not sure how I feel about the class yet. I'm pretty sure how I feel about the achy joints and muscles. I signed up for three months so I guess I'll see how I feel about it in another month or so. I figure I can do almost anything for three months and I don't think there's any form of physical training or exercise that shows results in just a month so three seems like a good amount of time to really know if this is for me or not. It's at the same dojo where Joel studies so I've forbidden him from the premises during my classes. I can only handle one task master at a time and I don't have to live with Marcum Sensei.

I've gotten "approval" for the handles and hinges I got for the church's kitchen cupboards. Not that I needed to answer to anyone other than the other trustees but I am always very conscious of the fact that this building and congregation are second home and family to the people who grew up in it as I did. I feel like a 'bad daughter' if someone's feelings get hurt over our choices or if someone isn't happy with the job we've done.



I went for a bike ride down the trail near our house this evening and took some cool sunset pictures.

Paintball!!

Today's fun and games went very well despite a decided lack of over preparation on our part. We had great weather and a great time.

A second post!

For someone who can chat for as long as I can in person, you'd think I could think of something to say here. I've had a busy summer between surgery and our August party and all the work we did on the house. We have a new front porch and have done quite a bit of repair work on the bathroom and front room. I picked up guitar hero for the first time about a week and a half ago and have already solved the whole game on easy and am now mostly through with the medium level. Hubby loves his new job which is great and he gets to do a lot of it from home since he's on development projects. I've also finally got a complete idea for what I want the kitchen to look like which is a wonderful relief. We need to get going on it but it's hard to really jump in and get rid of old when you have no idea what you want the new to look like.
Definitely a time for new beginnings. Beginning a blog, beginning work on the house-- AGAIN, hubby beginning a new job---AGAIN. I ran around today making cake for a family birthday and running errands. Now, time to begin a long night of exhausted sleep.
This is how the cake turned out

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