Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for Zoë

     While home for Easter, my husband browsed Craigslist.    He loves to look for the sake of it and one of his very favorite categories is the free section.  That particular weekend he came across an ad for a free Chihuahua puppy.  I personally thought it was too good to be true.  People generally don’t give dogs like that away.   The pessimist in me figured there had to be something wrong with it.  I looked at the picture of the puppy the advertiser provided and saw the cutest little dog I had ever seen.   I had to call about her!  Luckily the puppy was still available and the more I talked to the lady trying to get rid of her, the sorrier I felt for the puppy in the picture.  The lady wanted rid of her yesterday.  She had too many dogs in a place where she wasn’t supposed to have them in the first place.

      Even though we already have 3 dogs I felt my resistance weakening.  My son pleaded with us to get the puppy for him.  Everyone else had a pet in the house who loved them best, except for him.  He wanted a dog that would love him and sleep with him at night.  I agreed to go see the puppy.  I knew deep down who would get stuck potty training and taking care of this animal.  It would be me.  I would be stuck picking up microscopic poop and pools of pee.  Deep down I knew the last thing we needed was another dog.  Our dogs all got along.   What kind of chaos would erupt adding a new dog to the equation?  Unfortunately, I am a sucker for cute and cuddly.  She had me at hello.

       We named her Zoë.   For such a little dog she has a powerful amount of energy.  She races around the house at full speed like Speedy Gonzales jumping around the other dogs and the cat with an exuberance I can’t even fathom ever having.  She also has a penchant for biting toes and nibbling ears.   Like the rest of us, all of my fur babies have taken her into their hearts.  She has brought unbridled joy back into my life.  Where only a short time ago life looked so bleak, the sun is now shining through this lovable little dog.  

        When she runs out of steam, she sleeps and is the

softest, cuddliest little canine I have known.  Often I will look down and find her asleep across my shoe.  Other times I find her sleeping in a heap with the other dogs.  Finally our miniature pinscher has a playmate!  But then, Zoë is a playmate for anyone game enough to take her on.  Amazingly enough, even house breaking her has been a joy.  She rushes right out, takes care of business, and then returns to the porch.  You simply can’t ask for better than that!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yarn!

    I have always been fascinated by yarn ever since I was little.  Even today I love to browse the yarn aisles in local stores in awe of all the colors, textures, and variegated patterns.  My mother used to knit and crochet proficiently.  I used to love to watch her work the needles and create afghans and clothes from a simple ball of yarn.

         When I was around 10 I made up my mind I wanted to learn to crochet.  I wanted more than anything to be like her.  It seemed she could do anything!  My mother bought me a book that I studied diligently entitled "How to Crochet", a crochet hook, and yarn and with practice I learned and became proficient.  Over the years I have made countless afghans, baby blankets, clothes, dish cloths, and pot holders.

          Finally I challenged myself a little more and taught myself to knit.  Unfortunately several years back while knitting an afghan carpal tunnel struck and the pain kept me from continuing.  Recently I bought a bunch of knitting 
looms and made up my mind to learn to knit with a loom.  So far I love my looms and have renewed my passion for yarn in a whole new way.  I am determined to learn how to knit socks with a sock loom.  Until then I will practice and transform balls of yarn into colorful panels of fabric which I will sew together to create warm, cozy blankets.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for Xerophytes

    The dictionary says that a xerophytes is a plant which is adapted to survive in the desert like a cactus.    When I was about 12 or 13 my family took a trip to Colorado and just across the border into Nevada.  On that trip my mom found some lovely cactus along side the highway growing wild.  She decided she had to have it and dug up some starts and brought them back to Indiana with her.  She planted them outside the back door where they thrived until my Dad decided to mow them down one year after she died.

      My mom often complained that my Dad didn't know a weed from a flower because once he climbed onto his lawn tractor he mowed down everything  in his path.  I have vivid memories of her chasing his lawn mower yelling all matters of obscenities and waving her hands in exasperation.  She called him every name in the book when he was mowing down her precious flowers.  After he let her chase him a bit he would stop the tractor and scream "What?"  My Dad had selective hearing.  If he chose to he couldn't hear a mouse fart.

     It seems I went off on a tangent again reminiscing when all I really planned to share was a picture of a xerophytes specimen that I photographed.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wash

    Have you ever noticed that washing is a never ending chore?  I wash the dishes, wash the clothes, and wash myself only to find the very next day there is more to wash. Clean, clean, clean, all the day through only to have to wash, wash, and wash again and again.

     My Grandma loved to wash.  The woman was nuts about it.  The day finally came when her arthritis no longer allowed her to wash.  It caused her too much pain.  She couldn’t grip things like she once did.  She couldn’t lift things like before.  She actually mourned the day when she could no longer wash.  She actually wanted to wash the dishes, wash the windows, and wash herself. When I was younger I thought the woman was crazy.  Why would anyone mourn having someone else do all that work for her?  Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand wanting to wash myself.  Having some random health aide come in and wash my ass and lady parts would just be too mortifying even though I am sure I would appreciate the help if I needed it.

      The answer came to me just recently.  It was more the loss of her independence that she mourned.  I get that now like I never did when I was younger.  It wasn’t that she enjoyed all the work so much.  It was the fact that she could no longer do it herself.  Although I still think she was a tad off her nut for crying because she could no longer clean everything to a glistening shine, I can understand crying because she could no longer do it if she wanted too.  

      Because of that I wash and try to appreciate being able to accomplish the task myself because someday there may come a time when I will no longer be able to and then I will wish I could.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vegetables

     When my son was a baby the doctor started him on vegetables and he seemed to love them.  He would focus in on the tiny spoon filled with vegetables and open his mouth wide.  When he became a toddler he still ate his veggies but then blew the winds of change.

      It seems as if it was overnight that he developed a hatred of vegetables and has refused to eat them ever since proclaiming quite loudly that he didn’t like them.  I was perplexed.  When the vegetables were pureed and came from the baby food jar he gobbled them up.  Now he refuses to eat them.  

    I am a big fan of the “Biggest Loser” and last season they challenged three kids to lose weight.  Bob Harper suggested to Bingo’s parents that they prepare recipes that would hide the offending vegetables so that he would unknowingly eat them anyways.  Taking my cue 
from Bob, I decided to do 
the same thing.  My son has loved sandwiches since he was very little.  Instead of requesting any other snack, he always wants a sandwich.  One day I decided to mix mayonnaise and honey mustard together.  In the mix I added grated carrots and sweet peppers and spread the concoction on his bread and top with meat.  He ate his sandwich without ever knowing the difference.  I have also performed this little bit of veggie magic on meatloaf, hamburgers, and meatballs and watched with a knowing smirk when he gobbled each up proclaiming them delicious.

       He still refuses to eat vegetables.  I often remind him how much he loved them as a baby.  He always rolls his eyes and wrinkles his nose in disgust.  I hope someday he will discover how yummy vegetables really are and broaden his horizons to knowingly give them a try.  Until then, I figure what he doesn’t know won't hurt him.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for UNO!!

    “UNO", I exclaim as I play my next to last card.  “Somebody better change it!” I warn.  Everyone plays their turn and then I play my last card and win the hand.  The points are tallied, the cards dealt, and another hand is played out.


      I could not wait for my children to grow old enough to play “UNO”.  It was one of the first games I taught them.  As we played daily, their enthusiasm soon matched my own.  In the process they learned colors, numbers, and how to win and gracefully lose always looking forward to the next game.  Originally created by Merle Robbins in 1971, UNO became well known, well loved, and a product distributed by Mattel since 1992.  Over the years many variations have been created around popular characters.  In recent years my kids and I have collected several variations including Harry Potter UNO, Disney Princess UNO, and Spiderman UNO.  Of the many we have gathered the Harry Potter version is my favorite.  That particular edition contains a special Voldermort card that when played allows the player who holds it to play all of their Harry Potter cards after it.  That can make for a quick hand if you have a lot of Harry Potter cards populating your hand.  

      When the weather grows warm, the kids and I retreat out to our camper parked beside the house and play games with UNO topping the list.  It is our personal haven, clubhouse, and retreat.  Last summer we
decided to add an even bigger twist and mix the specialty decks together playing out all their special cards as each game specified.  It was a blast!  It is a great game for the whole family to enjoy together with simple enough rules that even your youngest can participate and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Tulips

     My mom loved flowers.  When warm weather came around the yard bloomed with color.   I remember her buying bulbs and oodles of flats of flowers that yours truly was always elected to help plant.  Spring meant lots of hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips.  When it was time to plant flowers, not even a rainy day deterred her.

       I remember one year before our annual "Chicken Day", when my Dad barbecued chicken and we would have a massive feast after the running of the Indianapolis 500, when she got a hair across her ass that we HAD to have all the flowers planted before the guests arrived.  It mattered little that it was raining.  She dragged me out in the pouring rain to plant flowers in the squishy mud.  When it was time to eat, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the yard looked spectacular.  

     Almost every year we would visit Holland, Michigan during the Tulip Time festival to see acres of colorful tulips in full bloom.  Since then I have always loved tulips and all flowers.   Mom would take her camera
and take lots of pictures.  These days I am the one with the camera fascinated and enthralled with the blooms.  You will catch me tiptoeing through the tulips and zooming in on their beauty. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Sick and Sleep

      Here in my neck of the woods "S" is for sick and sleep. The kids go to school and catch whatever is being passed around the germ pool and then bring it home. Over the weekend it was finally my turn to feel miserable. 

    My nose filled up and began to run, my glands swelled, my eyes watered, and the tickle in my throat produced unbelievably long coughing jags that left me breathless and red in the face. I downed medicine cups full of Nyquil and Dayquil reminiscent of the old days when I did shots of tequila, Alabama Slammers, and Sex on the Beach hoping and praying I would feel relief from the creeping crud that has possessed me. Instead of feeling better, I only feel sleepy so I escape to my bed and dreamland.  Still I must soldier on because life waits for no one!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quiet

    Whenever I visit either of my kids schools I am amazed by the quiet.  You know that behind the closed doors of  every classroom there are hundreds of kids lurking still the halls are quiet as a tomb. The teachers lead the kids out single file into the hallways in military precision holding up their hands in the shape of a zero.  All that can be heard is the shuffling of feet.  I am always amazed by their control and the quiet.

     What is even more amazing is that among their ranks is my son.  How does the teacher manage it?  Once he reaches home he is so loud he rattles my eardrums.  It isn't just my son, but my daughter as well. When they are at home they seem to be in competition to see just how loud they can be.  All I long for is the peace and quiet I get once they head off to school.

       How ironic it is when summer break is over and I return to the house after seeing them off to the bus how much I miss their noise.  The house is always completely silent.  You would never know I have dogs because they are all in furry slumbering heaps on the couch.   Even though most of the time I wish the kids would be quiet, when they are gone I long for the noises that tell me I am not alone. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Paranoid

     The hours are ticking down.  I know I must write a post for the letter "P" but inspiration evades me.  No one said that writing from A-Z would be easy.  Some bloggers planned their posts ahead of time while others like yours truly procrastinate till the last minute thinking inspiration will occur like a swift kick in the ass or lightning striking.  I pray for inspiration.  The hours tick by.  Still inspiration alludes me.

      I log on to Face Book only to see my peers have had no problem posting.  Will I be last again?  I think I am paranoid!  Paranoid!  That is it!  Eureka, and all before the fat lady sang and the clock struck twelve announcing a new day.  I quickly surf to You Tube, type "Paranoid" in the search and am rewarded with not one but many versions of "Paranoid".  Enjoy!