Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sick Day

Sunday, we brought home a new foster pug, Banjo. He should be renamed "Toddler" because that's what he is. He's adorable, but LOTS of work. How did I forget how much work puppies are? Needless to say, our Sunday was anything but relaxing. 

Monday comes too quickly. Randy got sick on some KFC that we grabbed on the way home from getting Banjo. So, after some support from my end, he calls in sick (which is rare. he usually just goes to work anyway). We now get to have the Sunday we missed out on.

First, Randy lazes around until 11... he was still feeling a bit woozy. I take Banjo to the vet. After I get back, Banjo has gotten car sick. Two sick boys. Eh. 

We all take a family nap... me in the love seat with a toddler on my chest and Sophie under my legs. Randy's in our green chair with Henry. It was quiet for such a small amount of time, but it was nice.

Then, like stressed out parents with their hair all frazzled from neglect, we decided to take in a mini date to the matinee. Harry Potter was calling. The movie was good (we're not super crazy fans of the book, so the movies are always better to us). But the best part was at 12:00 in the afternoon, no one was in the theatre. I think they actually had to unlock the doors just for us. There's something about being in a big theater with no other people around. We did a commentary on the movie. We guessed out loud what would happen next. We laughed a little louder than we normally would. And we were grateful that the movie was around 2 1/2 hours. Just what we needed. 

And now, it's our Monday... except it's Tuesday. Randy's got a 4-day work week... lovely. And our toddler has learned to climb stairs. He's getting so grown up... 

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Full Spectrum

One question that Randy and I always find ourselves asking is What's next? For some reason, I feel like we must have some nomadic blood in us, as we have moved more than I care to think about. And after we bought our first house over 2 years ago, I thought we'd settle in and be perfectly happy in our little town of Alton. Lately, all we think about is where we'll go next.

This weekend really opened our eyes to the possibilities, as we saw 2 different ends of the spectrum. On Saturday we went to a pug meetup in Town and Country, Missouri. One word: pricey. Very pricey. The pug meetup was at the American Kennel Club's Museum of the Dog. To get there, we drove down a small road sheltered by mature trees and spotted with a couple of mansions. Not to mention, us passing a $150,000 car going the opposite way. The whole way there I was thinking what do people do to make this much money??? It was definitely beautiful. And no, I wouldn't want to (and couldn't afford to) live in such a high-end area of Missouri, but it made me realize how beautiful Missouri is. It's not at all like Illinois. Missouri is hilly. It has its own sort of "wine country." It has St. Louis. It probably has a better future for me in schools than Illinois does. It also has a few of our friends... some we met at our pug meetup and some that Randy knows from work. So, we tuck all of this information back in our minds and keep it there until we can go do some online hunting for real estate in Missouri.

Sunday comes, and we have the Jerseyville demolition derby. I would have to say that if the AKC Museum of the Dog is on one end of the spectrum, the Jersey county fair would have to be on the opposite end of that spectrum. Jerseyville is a VERY small town with one main drag, where the Walmart is the local hangout. And while the demolition derby tends to bring out a select population... there's no denying that Jerseyville is a hick town. Once upon a time, Randy and I considered moving to the country and having lots of land... and then it makes me think of Jerseyville. Just being there, I'm an outsider. People can pick me out as not being a "native." And sadly (or gladly?) Randy doesn't feel at home there either. I think living in the Chicago area has changed him (perhaps opened his eyes a bit...). And so, a small town like Jerseyville is right out. Not for us.

Here we sit. The discussion continues. What's next? We don't know. But, we'll continue to look. Maybe Missouri? Maybe another city (for some reason, my forever friend may be thinking Davenport for us...). We have time. I'm thinking another 3 years in this little house, and we'll be ready to head on. Where ever that is.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What I Learned From Going to a Pug Meetup

Today was a pug meetup. For those of you non-dog people, it's a big play date for pugs and their humans. I originally got involved with them because I foster pugs for SEPRA, and it's a good way to advertise. But, actually, I'm finding that pug people are easy people to get to know. Randy and I already gave our number away to another couple who was looking for people interested in having a game night. Fun.

So, while these little activities were purely for enjoyment, I learned something today that made me realize how important what I'm doing is (and on a much bigger scale, what organizations like SEPRA are doing...). 

DeAnna, the pug meetup coordinator and manager of the SEPRA Missouri sect, pulled me aside today to tell me a story about Charlie, the foster Randy and I just adopted out. He was a stray found wandering around Georgia in severely poor health (e.g. starving, skin allergies from flea bites, losing fur, and browning of his black coat). It just so happens that a family in Georgia, around the area Charlie was found, was looking for their young, black pug. The description matched that of Charlie. It was a mother of 4 children who was using this dog as her "breeding" dog. Yep, a puppy mill. We can be sure of this, because Charlie has a little blue dot on his underbelly. I never knew what it was but guessed that it was a un-desolved stitch of some previous surgery. I learned today that puppy mill owners tattoo their dogs with dots in a similar fashion to branding cows. It was probably her main source of income. The location she had given had been around where Charlie had been picked up. Therefore, he probably wasn't a stray for very long... which means his horrible health conditions were not induced by being homeless. Rather, they were induced by poor care and neglect. Sickening. 

As Charlie (now re-named Omar) came through the doors to the pug meetup with his new mommy and pug brother, Miguel, my heart broke for what he had to endure in his previous life. He came to us in horrible conditions... his back covered in scabs... his nose dripping of green fluid. But his tail still wagged. His tongue still gave kisses. His eyes still had life in them. Here was the most loving, forgiving, and forgetting boy in the world. He has no reason to be so loving towards humans, but he is. He came in and gave kisses to everyone in the room at the pug meetup. His life is good now. And he's a gorgeous boy. Sleek. Coat shining. A spring in his step. He still has the tattoo (which makes me thank God he's far, far from Georgia), but he's also got a new lease on life. 

And that's why I love being a foster home for rescue dogs. Because these dogs deserve it. But I don't do it just for them. Dogs like Charlie help restore my faith in life and love.  

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

All in a day's work

or actually, an hour! 

Ta da! It's a cute wallet, ideal for holding a few dollars or necessary cards. 

I really love the way it turned out. I often have a lot of left over scraps of fabric, which works for this project, as it doesn't need much at all! The floral pattern was a sundress that I bought on a whim without trying on. Once I tried it on at home, didn't like it so much. But a wallet, on the other hand.... perfect.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I love gardening

because the results are so sweet.

Two little twigs of raspberry bushes that I purchased for less than $5 from Aldi last year have transformed into a monstrous raspberry-producing machine. Almost every day I make a trip to the bushes (which have combined their powers into 1 mega bush, it seems) to collect the day's worth of berries. They never make it very far into my kitchen, however, as I've discovered many treats are much better with raspberries atop them. 

And it always amazes me how the bushes grow and spread. They begin like any other twig from the ground. They grow nice and straight up towards the sky. And then, when you're not looking, they do something crazy. New branches begin to grow from the soil... making you think it's a separate plant, or maybe a weed. But no, it's the same bush, growing and expanding. And soon, your tiny, cheap Aldi plant has overtaken its ground. I'd say it has grown like a weed, but alas, weeds don't produce yummy berries.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Good Ol' Days

I love spending time at my parents' house. It's the house I grew up in for 18+ years, and despite my own mortgage payment, I still call it "home." Randy and I made the 4-hour trek "home" for the holiday weekend and his birthday.

The weekend was nice. It went too fast. Randy had packed his (new) frisbee, and we both had high hopes for a long weekend of outdoor activities. The weather, however, had different plans. It rained most of the day Saturday, so we had to come up with other plans. We played euchre (it's a family tradition... the husbands, Randy & Jed, have now learned and are pretty darn proficient). We had slush (also a family tradition... it's a yummy frozen drink that has more sugar than alcohol). And then, we watched old family videos. I know, I know... it sounds lame. But, I love family videos. Well, they aren't videos anymore. Dad spent countless hours switching the old VHS tapes to the new, innovative DVDs (ooooo, ahhhh). So, it was fun to watch some of the good ol' days. And I remembered just how good I had it. And maybe, just maybe... if I can figure out a way to cut some vintage video down, I'll post a little snippet here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

So Sweet.

I recently received an e-mail from a family that adopted one of my foster pugs. She sent me this poem. I thought it was so sweet, and it made me tear up a bit. I miss both Roscoe and Charlie, but they are with their forever families now.

By Diane Morgan

I am the bridge,
Between what was and what can be.
I am the pathway to a new life.

I am made of mush,
Because my heart melted when I saw you,
Matted and sore, limping, depressed
Lonely, unwanted, afraid to love.

For one little time you are mine.
I will feed you with my own hand.
I will love you with my whole heart.
I will make you whole.

I am made of steel.
Because when the time comes, 
When you are well, and sleek,
when your eyes shine,
And your tail wags with joy
Then comes the hard part.

I will let you go-not without a tear,
But without a regret.
For you are safe forever--
A new dog needs me now.

Roscoe with his new brother & sister

Charlie with his pug brother, Miguel

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

These make me happy...

So fun to make. And so fun to wear.