Sunday, December 30, 2012

Puppy Love

  We adopted an adorable puppy today.  We've been fostering this sweet six month old pup for two weeks, but we fell in love with him the very first day we met.  He is all white with a brown patch on one of his eyes, and some brown spots on both ears.  We decided to name him Bruno, and we are trying to smother him with love.
   We came across the pup called "King",  on a web site  "Ruff Road Rescue", which we have learned is a fantastic organization.  They foster dogs in private homes while they work to find permanent homes.  This means they can only rescue a dog if they have a temporary foster home.  The benefits of this process is that the dogs are pretty well adjusted by the time they are adopted.  Our little guy sleeps through the night  in his crate, has not had an accident, and has pretty good manners for a pup with such a tough start.
   His journey to our home began about five weeks ago as a stray in New York City.   Ruff Road Rescue brought him to New Hampshire,  where  he spent one week with the director.  He stayed another week on a farm with dogs, cats, and chickens, owned by a woman who trains dogs.  She did an excellent job, because he has been totally comfortable in our home, and very easy to work with.  When they brought the pup for the home visit,  I thought they would have more questions for us.  I was told that they get a "vibe" as soon as they walk in the house.  I realize now that they were watching the dog to see if he was anxious or nervous, and that the pup would tell them all they needed to know.  He picked us before we chose him.
    I like the idea of the two week test run, because we know that Bruno will be a perfect fit in our family.  He  loves the back yard, and doesn't bark at the dogs next door.  He was well behaved on Christmas Eve with the little kids and all the adults.  He is not phased by any of the commotion, and does not gobble his food. He is happiest sitting in our lap, and loves ice cubes more than any treats.  He does not like the cold, and wears his jacket on walks.  His dog bed in the den is shaped like a couch, and he is content to lounge around and play with his toys.  He is teething, and so he needs a variety of chew toys.  Matt recommended an elk antler, which is almost indestructible and it is one of Bruno's favorites.  He destroyed all of the soft toys, and is working through his rope toys.  He has no interest in our shoes or stuff, and I hope it stays that way.
   Bruno has gained nine pounds in two weeks, and we promise that he will never miss another meal.  Ruff Road made sure that all his shots are current, he has a micro chip, and he has been neutered.  Our adoption fee helps cover those expenses.  He came to our home calm and well adjusted, and we will continue to build on those good traits.  He will attend obedience classes because we want our dog to be safe, and to know how to follow the rules.  We are looking forward to this new chapter, and I'll update often.
    Have a safe and Happy New Year.......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas to All

  Our family festivities will begin Christmas Eve at 2 pm, and end around 10 pm.  We'll attend the early Mass, enjoy a feast, and exchange gifts.  A few weeks ago, I began to panic because I had so much to do.  I took a deep breath, and reminded  myself that I had never missed Christmas, and I would be ready for this one.  It's all part of the hustle and bustle that gets me into the Christmas spirit.
  Yesterday, I shopped until I had purchased the last few gifts and gift cards, as well as the necessary gift bags.  Last year, I bought extra large gift bags, but this year  they are way too big for the toys I bought.  I decide to buy a few extra medium size bags with the hope that I will be more prepared next year.  Tonight, I baked macaroon bars for dessert tomorrow night, and diced the red peppers for the family's favorite cheese ball.  It's important to wrap the peppers in paper towels and leave in the fridge overnight,  in order to absorb the juice.  If they are too watery, I will not be able to form the ball before I coat with crushed walnuts.  It's one of the items everyone will be expecting, and I take this assignment seriously.
   Tomorrow, my short list includes the five gifts for the kids, and two Yankee Swap gifts for the adults.  There should be twenty of us from my side of the family, and we will call my folks in Florida and our son in California, as they were not able to get home this year.
    Christmas Day will begin with dinner at Ron's brother's house for his siblings and their families.  We will exchange more gifts there, and meet at a cousins house for dessert and another Yankee swap.  This will be fun and hectic with ten kids under ten years, several dogs and the parents drove them there.  I love to sit and listen to the different conversations.  It really will be great to see everyone again, especially those  we have not seen since last year.
    I hope you all enjoy your family celebrations for the entire Holiday Season.  Please travel safely, and take time to count your blessings.  May your family be rich with laughter, may you feel an abundance of love, and may you experience all the joys of the season....and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prayers and Tears for Connecticut School Children

   My heart breaks for the children and families involved in the deadly shooting at a school in Connecticut.  We have relatives who work in the Connecticut school system, and were horrified to hear about this latest act of violence against innocent kids and teachers.  This time, twenty 6 and 7 year old kids were killed by a twenty year old young man who had never been in trouble.  It is every parents worst nightmare, and it is happening too often in our country.  My reaction was both tears and prayers.
  It is also a fact that in the past twenty-four hours, ten people have been shot and killed in Chicago alone.  I think that it is disgraceful  to accept this as the ' just way it is'.  I've got to believe that if the same number of people died each day because of a virus, we'd call it an epidemic.  Let's use that outrage to make things better.  2013 is the year to address this tough topic, and make some tougher decisions for the good of our citizens.
   I've heard some say that 'this is not the time' to discuss laws, and I agree.  I think we should have begun the discussions years ago.  If we had the courage to debate this issue, we might be one step closer to keeping our children safer.  I've also heard that there will always be bad people in the world, and we must accept it.  As a parent, you will never convince me that the United States of America is not capable of keeping our children safe.  I refuse to believe that we should not even try to ensure that our kids feel safe and secure at school.  Please tell me that I am not the only parent in America who would rather try and fall short of 100 percent, than give up without a fight.  We send representatives to Washington to represent our concerns.  We need to demand that they do their jobs.
   We are a country of laws, and I believe that it is time for stricter rules and regulations.  I will always favor regulations that keep me and my family safe, so let's start the conversation there.  If "Susie Snowflake" can figure it out, then folks who are much smarter than I am must also have the same concerns.  Let's refuse to play stupid on this important issue.......and the beat goes on....the beat goes on......

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Festive Decorations for the Season

   I decorated the tree today while I listened to Christmas music.  I've cut back over the years, and only put out my favorite things when we are not hosting the dinner.  Even so, every room is decorated downstairs, and there are lights outside and wreaths on the doors.  My tree is beautiful, even though I'm no longer determined to put an ornament on every branch.  This year, less is more, and if I'm smart, I'll pack things together to make things even easier next year.
   I never trim the entire tree without shedding both tears of joy and sadness.  A lifetime of memories are found in my ornament totes. There are souvenirs from vacations, and dated ornaments since 1976. There are snowmen, reindeer, flowers, sleighs, red hats, snow globes, golfers. My oldest figurine was a gift for my first communion, and it is more than fifty years old.  Many signify important events and happy times . I light a candle that smells like Christmas and begin unwrapping the ornaments.  I burn the candle in memory of those friends and relatives who died during the past year. Each year I will buy an ornament to remind me of that person. Sadly, this year I will need to buy several.
   All the special decorations are in the box they came in,  or are carefully wrapped in tissue paper.  The totes have separate sections to keep them safe. Matt won't get home this year, but I still smile as I hang the ornaments that have his baby pictures.  I tear up when I find the ornaments he made for us decades ago. I cherish those cardboard ornaments as much as my hand blown crystal figurines.  They all have a special place on the tree, and in my heart.
   This year, we lost our boxer, Vito, and I cried when I came across his stocking.  The ornaments for our pets, or "four legged kids" are on the tree surrounded by angels.  We've had four dogs so far during our marriage, and we have begun to talk about adopting another.  That will mean lots of changes for next year!  It does not seem possible that twelve months have passed since we last decorated for the season.  I'm grateful for my family and friends, and think about all the good things that happened in 2012.  Let's all  vow to focus only on positive things this holiday season,  and we should all look forward to many blessings in the coming year.....and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on........

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Red Hatters Celebrate the Holiday Season

   My Red Hat chapter had its annual Christmas Party on Saturday.  The Red Hat Society is an organization for women, and there are more than three thousand chapters across the states and other countries. Our group is called the "Improper Bostonians", and we had lunch with almost fifty members.  The number 50 is relevant to us because we need to be at least fifty years old in order to wear a red hat and a purple outfit.  Those under fifty wear a pink hat and lavender.  Each month we celebrate birthdays, and we are asked to wear a purple hat and red outfit to signify the event.  We try to leave our problems at home and just have fun for a few hours.  We do get pretty silly at times, and its nice to see everyone laughing and having a good time.  Many of us get to go to plays and events that our husbands would not enjoy, which gets them off the hook.
    I've read that having a support network is very important as we age.  We are there for each other through emails, and many close friendships have been formed.  It really is a powerful tool, and I'm glad that I'm a part of it.  Many of the women in our group work at the same hospital, although more are retiring each year.  This year we celebrated my sister's sixtieth birthday, and a bunch of her former lunch buddies surprised her by attending.  We all brought a small gift, and I'm happy that we pulled it off without her knowing about it.
    Our group donates to several charities throughout the year.  The funds are raised by adding a little bit to the cost of each event.  We all pay a set amount, and the extras are forwarded to the charity of the month.  It  is an easy way to give back, and we can feel good about helping others.  Some chapters volunteer as well, and we can do as much or as little as we like, which keeps a lot of us active and involved.
     Enjoy the season everyone......and the beat goes on.....the beat goes on.......