Saturday, September 08, 2007

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Rest of the Story

The dog.

It's been crazy around here, and the dog is really only 1/3 of it. But to ease your curiosity, this entry will be just about Bear.

We've been kind of murmuring about a dog for most of the summer. Many of you know that we lost our beloved Soya 3 years ago. At the time, Taylor was about 9 or 10. He said, "I don't ever want to get another dog because then they die."

Just in the last few months he's been mentioning a dog. Mensa Boy has not been a big fan, but said he wouldn't stand in our way. Nate has been supportive, but not really pushing it.

Taylor and Soya were pretty close. She was mostly my dog, but she always spent a lot of time sleeping next to Taylor as he watched TV or played video games. He would talk in her ears.

Nate will be graduating from high school next spring and going off to college and that will leave Taylor here as the only kid. Also, our carpets are in bad shape and need to be replaced.

So it seemed like no time like the present to house train a puppy.

Bear was owned by a family in Chester who tried to surrender him to the Lancaster Animal Shelter. They would not take him because there are so many surrendered, found, or taken every day that they can't also take animals from other counties. The woman sounded like she didn't want to go "all the way" to the Chester pound. So B.J, a volunteer, said she'd foster him.

He's about 13 weeks old, according to the vet. (note to self: have Taylor pick a birthday)

He's very cuddly and for the first two days he was quiet and slept a lot. He was also crawling with fleas, which we had killed before we even let him in the house. We took him the local vet and they gave him a magic pill that killed them all in about 30 minutes. I just gave him another pill today and put on some Topspot. We also had him tested for a skin condition, which he passed, but we have another culture working for ringworm. He's got a spot on his front leg that he's been chewing on.

Buddy Sarah loaned us two Kennel Cabs, one he just fits in now, and another he can grow into. He's very good about it. We let him out, tell him he's going to bed, and he sleeps all night. Hasn't said a word for 2 nights. Each morning he goes straight outside from there. I suspect we are in the honeymoon phase with that.

He's not a great eater. In fact, I suspect all the food he's getting right now is what I put in his little Kong. So I put puppy food in there rather than treats. His foster home fed him scrambled eggs for breakfast. At my house, dogs eat dog food. So he's going to have to get over this pickiness. NO ONE is allowed to be a picky eater.

His personality is starting to come out now, and I suspect we will be referring to him as "the terrorist" soon. Tomorrow I'll have to take Taylor to a bookstore to find a training book. We'll need to keep a firm hand on this one. We do, after all, suspect that he's mostly Jack Russell Terrier.

My circle of buds have been teasing me now, saying they want to get me a pooch purse. A big, flowered, pooch purse. HA. They are soooooo funnnnny!

My assessment of this whole thing is now I've given my adversaries (and believe me, there are adversaries with this library thing) a pretty good response when I tangle with them:

"I'll get you, my pretty! And your little dog too!"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Two New Additions!

A sweet little car:

A sweet little puppy:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Water Restrictions

Our county has finally enacted water restrictions. We've had water "suggestions" since I've been here, but this is the first time I remember being given restrictions with promises of consequences.

I'm fine with that. In fact, I've added some other water-saving measures here at home. And part of that is due to my cyber-friend, Psycho Anita. Here is her post about being cheap...with dental floss and water.

Now, there is no point saving the water that runs from the shower before it gets hot. Our hot water heater is upstairs, right by the bathrooms. We get virtually instant hot water. That is not the case, however, in the kitchen sink.

So I've instituted a policy whereby all water that runs in the kitchen is saved and taken to the plants in the back yard. We put a container over the garbage disposal (and I haven't told the guys yet that I want to them through food scraps instead of using the know, I bet we use a gallon a water every time we run that thing.), and I've put the dishpan in the sink. Dishwater is to be poured on the trees and bushes. The water in the small sink where the disposal is located, is usually rinse water, hand washing water, vegetable cleaning water. Pretty clean. So we are using that outside too.

And I've turned off the irrigation system altogether. We were only running it 3 times per week, but our grass in the front is still burning up and going dormant. So we've decided to just let it go for a while.

The only thing I'm not so sure of is that we are supposed to be putting on fertilizer and crab grass preventer again now. Since we can't water it in, we've elected to skip these applications. We'll try to be diligent about pulling lawn weeds.

All of that said, buddy Cassie told me this morning that Gaston County, NC has instituted some interesting water restrictions. Instead of using the even-odd watering rule, they are putting in place a system where folks on the East side of a main highway water on three days each week, and folks on the West side water the other days.

Their thinking is that it's too hard for some folks to figure out whether they live in an odd-numbered house or an even-numbered house.

Do I need to comment here that it's funny that the officials would figure that people who don't know where 1,3,5,7,9 are odd numbers would be able to tell what East and West is?

By the way, I live on the "left side" of my subdivision. Whenever I say "North side?" People don't know what I mean.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Guest. Yet... not.

It's been a surreal day. I will write about it here, but if you find this entry gone in a day or so, you'll know I've removed it because I thought better of it.

I've spent the day as surrogate mom and wife for a friend and her daughter. Husband/Dad is in the hospital overnight for observation after a reaction to medication.

As the little girl (Sammy) and I drove in my friend's car to the grocery store, I was struck by how much everyday stuff I needed to learn about my friend and her family. How to work the DVD player in their car. Overwhelming fear of accidentally locking the keys in the car with 4-yr-old daughter inside, as the temp rose to nearly 90 degrees.

Entering the grocery store, Sammy and I launched into negotiations concerning cookies. We were there to pick up a ham and some celery, but considering the trauma this little girl had undergone earlier in the day, as Dad was seizing in the hospital and she was whisked away, I decided cookies were definitely in order. An everyday conversation I could have had with my own children, but was having with someone else's just as easily. A basic mom-skill, I guess.

Cookies chosen, we drove our cart through the deli. She pointed out the free cookies that were available at the counter there. "She can have one," the deli worker said. "She knows." I explained that I was babysitting that day. (slightly concerned that someone might wonder why I had a child I didn't know much about with me. on a holiday. obviously not a typical daycare day)

As we were standing in line at the register, I realized that the ham was on special and I didn't have customer loyalty card for that particular store. "Hey! I do!" I told Sammy. There it was on my friend's keyring. I had stepped right into her role as the family consumer.

We went out to the parking lot and I told Sammy to get into her seat and buckle up. Immediately I began to worry about leaving her there while I returned the cart. It's been many years since I've had a kid that age. What do you do? Take the kid to the cart return and walk her back to the car? Leave her in the car while you return the cart? Why didn't I park closer to it? What did I do so long ago?

The rest of the afternoon passed fairly uneventfully. Sammy and I made potato salad. She took a nice, long, 2-hour nap. I laid down, but really ended up fielding calls from other friends. We picked up my friend from the hospital and had a nice supper.

They are visiting Dad in the hospital now. To calm Sammy's fears. I took a shower and am hanging around in my pyjamas. In someone else's house. Typing on someone else's computer.

I feel like a visitor, but not really. I'm very comfortable here. It is a little odd to take a shower in your friend's master bath, padding through her bedroom where she and her husband sleep. She insisted I use her bath, as the main one is full of toddler decals and is not as clean as she would like right now. Using the squeegee to get the water off the glass of her shower (they need a wider squeegee. Mensa Boy would never stand for one that small. But then, he will probably never use theirs. Of course, yesterday I would never have dreamed I would!), I thought about how odd it was to be in someone else's personal space, with all their personal products around. Earlier in the day I had to open her husband's medicine chest to get his prescription information for the hospital. It felt perfectly normal.

We were talking over supper today about how we never would have thought, 6 months ago, that one of us would be spending time at the other's home, caring for them and living comfortably there. And we marveled at these relationships we have.

They are home now. We'll put Sammy to bed and polish off this bottle of wine we have. We'll rehash the day, be amazed at how well we handled it, thank God for His hand in it. Life is Good.

We Rode and Rode and then Walked and Walked and then Rode and Rode Some More

It was a fun day. We took the day off from life and went to Caesar's Head State Park in the upper Northeast corner of South Carolina.

Our intent was to see Raven Cliff Falls:

Yeah. Not much of a view, huh? We walked 2 miles out on a wonderful
trail to what we were told in the literature would be a spot BELOW the falls. Well, we took a vote. And a poll of everyone who showed up after us, and we all decided this was ABOVE the falls. We were about a mile
away, too. This was taken with my longest lens, 200mm.

But, we had a great time messing around on the trail. Here are my guys and then an attempt at shooting all of us:

Here is Nate doing his "Warrior Pose." And another of him being Dismal Boy at the Dismal Trail:


And here is the photo I took at a huge rock overlook in the park. This is for this week's Nikon D40 Challenge: "Edges"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Party Had to End Sometime!

One of the revelers in my 3-day birthday celebration. This Sammy, Chris' daughter.

Today we will go out the northwestern part of the state and see if we can hike to some waterfalls. With the drought becoming so severe, I'm a little anxious about what we'll actually see, but the hike will be good and it'll get the guys out and breathing hard.

The weather has finally cooled to a pleasant mid-80s in the afternoons now. I'm very glad of that. I'm not really bothered by the heat, but it does make moving around outside arduous when it's close to 100 everyday. It's exactly like moving around Minnesota in January when it's 15 below zero every day. Really.

We are going to go either to Jones Gap State Park, or Caesar's Head State Park. I'm not sure which at this point. They are just 10 miles apart. Both have hiking and waterfalls. Because the guys don't get as much exercise as I do, I imagine we'll try to go to the one that will get us a waterfall quicker...closer to the trail head. I don't want to wear them out by having them hike 3 miles to a waterfall if they can reach one in 1.5 miles at a different park.

I plan to take my camera and shoot lots of photos. I have to figure out what to take. I can just take my entire bag, but it gets heavy after a while. I know Mensa Boy would be happy to take a turn wearing it, though, so I'll probably do that. (it's a backpack bag)

So, I'm trying to get those guys up so we can leave by 7:30. I imagine we won't get out by then.

It's been a fantastic birthday for me this year, and the 3-day celebration is the main reason why I haven't written. Here's brief account:

MB was working late all week. Deadline. My friends all stepped up to the plate a did a lot to make it a wonderful celebration.

Sarah and I went to lunch on Wednesday, Rena and I went to dinner Wednesday night, and the evening ended with a surprise gathering of my buddies that night. Cassie, Chris and Tambri were waiting at the Rec Center, where Chris and T had been signing up kids for T's dance classes. Cassie made a wonderful cheesecake and they showered me with serving pieces I can use to do my food photography. It was a fun hour of eating and laughing.

Thursday Chris and I took her 4 year old to the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville. I'd never been there. It was a hoot! We rode a horse-drawn wagon while animals came up and begged for food. I shot a lot of photos, one of which is the ostrich photo I posted here the other day. Here's one of the giraffes taking a leaf from someone on the wagon:

Friday I spent the day on my favorite hobby: cooking. People always say to me, "too bad you have to cook your own birthday meal." But I love it! I smoked a pork butt I had rubbed the night before. I used a rub recipe from Southern Living's "Ultimate Grilling & BBQ Guide" that they put out this summer. I normally don't think much of Southern Living...especially their recipes...they tend to be too high in fat for my cooking and I've had more than one occasion where the recipe has just been plain wrong or unworkable. But I saw this guide at Julia's when we were in Minnesota, so I rushed around looking for before it was taken off the magazine racks in early August. I liked this recipe enough that I will use it again, and I will definitely try others, now the the weather is cooling enough to cook outside again.

That's it! Gotta get those guys up and hit the road! I leave you with this photo of some kind of duck I shot at Lazy 5. I wish I'd checked to see what it was. It's beautiful, isn't it? Maybe Raymond will google it and find out for me.