Archive | July 2011

I Just Wanted to Look at the Dogs!


Sometimes I surprise myself.  After our dog died in January, I admit that I did secretly visit the Animal Humane Society (“AHS”) several times, but it was only to look at the dogs.  I missed having a dog around me, so looking at dogs there was what I did to get my “dog fix.”  The dogs looked cute, but none made a connection with me, or I didn’t make a connection with any of those dogs.

After having lunch with my mom and my two daughters the other day, I asked my girls if they would like to stop at the AHS on the way home.  Again, I just wanted to look at the dogs.

“No, that is such an emotional rollercoaster,” my daughter Laura said sadly.  Laura was talking about the time when about a month ago, she was in search of a dog to love.  Laura found Nellie at the AHS.  Laura was there for more than her “dog fix.”  The kids talked me into going to meet Nellie, and when I met her, I felt a twinge of guilt because I felt as if I was somehow betraying our dog that passed away.  That feeling made me wonder if there is an amount of time that people need to wait until they get another dog.  Is there a human-loves-dog-that-passed-away mourning period?  I had a very uncharacteristic reaction when I met Nellie.  Usually when I see dogs, we get along splendidly.  This time was different.  It was if I was glued to the chain link fence that I was resting my back up against.  I knew Nellie was not the dog for me.  The kids were very upset with me when I told them how I felt, but I just wasn’t ready for Nellie.

“Are we going to get a dog, if we go there?” Laura asked.

“Let’s just go look,” I said, being very non-committal.

“Okay, we can go,” Katie said as she tried to convince Laura into going along even though Katie did agree with her sister that going to visit the AHS was like an emotional rollercoaster.

When we arrived, we first visited all the cute and cuddly cats that were comfortably sleeping or playing in the cool air-conditioned section of the building.  When we walked over to the other side of the building to see the dogs, there was no air conditioning.  No matter how many fans were blowing around that day, it was not enough to cool off the dogs when the heat index was well over 100 degrees.  As we turned the corner, the first dog we saw was Lila.  Laura called her name, and Lila hopped down off the mini-trampoline that was her bed to greet us. After we went on about how cute she was, we knew that we should look at the other dogs too.  Most of the dogs were on hold waiting to go to their new homes, and I knew I wasn’t the only animal lover who visited there that day who felt bad that the dogs had to stay in the hot section of the building.  

We visited with Lila in a little room.  There was something about her that made the three of us fall in love with her right away.  We admired her shiny black coat with the curly fur that covered her back, her beautiful brown eyes, and her happy disposition.  The twangs of guilt that I felt when I met Nellie no longer existed when I met Lila.  Even though the four of us knew Lila had our hearts, we had to find out if Lila liked the two other members of our family.

The volunteer was very helpful and answered all our questions.  But when she asked us if we wanted to adopt Lila, I said that I had to talk to my husband.

“Do you want to put her on hold?” she asked.

“No,” I said.  I knew that if Lila was meant to be a part of our family that she would still be there if we came back.

My husband told me that it was up to me, if I wanted to get the dog.  I wasn’t completely sure that I was ready for another dog, and Laura could tell that I was second guessing myself.

Laura said, “Mom, you were smiling the whole time.”  I realized that she was right. 

Now that Dad was convinced, and so was I, we still had to have the approval of our son, Matt.  After we filled Matt in about Lila, off we went. 

When the volunteer saw us she said, “Are you back to see Lila?”

“Yes,” I said.  Laura went to see if Lila was in her cage, and sure enough Lila was still there, happy to see us.

We could tell that Lila liked Matt by the way she slobbered a big kiss up the side of his face.  Matt approved!  So, I guess that just looking at the dogs wasn’t working any more for me to get my “dog fix.”  Now our house feels like the home it is when that home has a dog living within – the best kind of home!

This is the Saturday morning blog hop.  Get your link and see who else is participating here.


Are You a Car Singing Machine?

While waiting for a stop light to turn green last Saturday morning, I turned my head and noticed a lady smiling at me from her car.  It was right after I finished singing what I thought was a lovely rendition of “Dancing Queen” to my favorite audience – me by myself in my minivan!   Either that lady noticed how happy I was or else she thought I was a little strange.  These things happen to people who sing along with songs on the radio while driving in the car, like me.  I admit, I am a Car Singing Machine. 

As a young girl and as a teenager I liked to sing everywhere I could, such as in every room in our house, in the yard, and riding in the car with my older brother.  Unfortunately, my brother did not appreciate my awesome talent as a singer.  For some reason he thought that it was better to listen to the actual singers who were singing on the radio.  He said that he wanted to hear the bands sing.  Sometimes it is hard to hear the truth.

When I finally got my driver’s license, I appreciated times when I was by myself in the car, because then I could sing without disturbing others, and I could be my own true singing self.  During high school I was lucky to find friends who liked to ride around with me and sing with me too.  We even sang with the windows rolled down and shared our talents with the whole neighborhood!  We were like traveling Christmas Carolers who sang more than Christmas Carols.  Now I sometimes like to surprise my children by knowing words to currently popular songs, and we sometimes happily sing together while traveling to destinations.  

It is good for people to sing in the car because:

1.     Singing while driving keeps drivers awake;
2.     Car Singing Machines do not talk or text on cell phones while driving because we are too busy singing;
3.     Learning words to new songs is good for the brain;
4.     Car Singing Machines cause fellow drivers to smile at others while on the road;
5.     People who sing in the car are less likely to have road rage; 
6.     Singing releases good chemicals called endorphins;
7.     No one can hear Car Singing Machines, unless they personally decide to have their windows rolled down, and if the windows are rolled down, they must be good at singing and are not afraid to be heard;
8.     It’s better than singing in the shower because you do not get water in your mouth;
9.     It’s good practice for karaoke night; and
10.  It can be a great way to bond with fellow Car Singing Machines while going on trips together.

Are you a Car Singing Machine?  If not, it’s never too late to become one!  If you are shy and afraid of being discovered singing by a stop light, you can be one of us who only secretly sings while traveling on the highway.  Then only you will know that you are a Car Singing Machine.

The Tradition of the Raspberry Connection

Photo Courtesy of JudyKim23 

“Last night I had a dream,” my Mother said to me some years ago when my children were small.  “I dreamt that I was holding all the kids’ hands and while we were dancing around in a circle we were singing ‘Raspberries, raspberries, yum, yum, yum.’  It was like we were playing the childhood game of Ring around the Rosy.”

Photo Courtesy of Janet13pics 

We laughed together as I envisioned the scene she planted in my mind. 

Right around the time Mom became a Grandma was the time she decided to plant raspberry bushes.  After becoming a Grandma two more times, was about the time that those raspberry plants turned into a raspberry patch.  When our family visited Grandma and Grandpa during raspberry picking time, we were treated to bowls of vanilla ice cream with raspberries on top.  After that treat, Grandma would be sure to give us at least a gallon of raspberries to take home.  When that raspberry patch started growing in places where it shouldn’t, not only did we receive massive quantities of raspberries, we also received our very own raspberry bushes to plant. 

Mom has always been a master gardener and is always experimenting by planting new things.  I found out how to tell the difference between flowers and weeds as a little girl when I followed my Mother around her impressive flower garden either while she was gardening or giving tours to neighbors or family members who were visiting us.

Lilies of the Valley

Lilies of the valley grew on the side of our house and would bloom for a very short time only to leave behind a bunch of green foliage.  Fragrant pink and white peonies lined one side of our yard.  Mom even grew roses and a bleeding heart back then.  Johnny jump ups, snap dragons, and chicks in the nest surrounded the rest of our yard. 

Now that I am very grown up, every time that I visit  Mom’s house in the summer, I get my very own guided tour of her beautiful garden.  New to the garden are colored leaves in pots, foxgloves, lilies, hydrangea, and poppies, just to name a few.  The daffodils, tulips, irises, creeping phlox and some of the peonies are still in the yard like they used to be when I was a little girl.  Here and there Mom has planted carrots, peppers and onions which are interspersed amongst the flowers where before, we had a separate vegetable garden where corn, beets and green beans, and lots of other vegetables grew. 

Mom divided up and gave the original raspberry patch to us and to her neighbors, and now some ordinary bushes grow where the raspberry patch used to be.  Our own raspberry patch has grown so large that we are the ones who pick gallons of raspberries during raspberry picking time.  We have followed Mom’s tradition of giving raspberry plants to our friends.  As is the tradition of gardeners everywhere, we know that when the raspberry patches that our friends now have grow larger, those will be shared with their friends, relatives or neighbors.

Mom, thanks for giving us the tradition of the raspberry connection!  “Raspberries, raspberries, yum, yum, yum!”