Tuesday, December 29, 2009

...the Grandchildren

Ok, they aren't children but they are my daughter's "Babies" so even if they are four legged and furry, I consider them my "Grandchildren" or Grandpets to satisfy the eternally picky.

I'm in no hurry for my daughter to have actual children, but I have to admit, Rory, Thumper, and Bella are terrific stand-ins. Particularly Bella or to be more accurate Bellatrix LaStrange Zombie Wonder Dog (more on that name later).

Bella is a Toy Fox Terrier Labrador mix and I don't believe it's possible for her to take a bad picture:

Bella in snuggle mode

And with her "Dad"

OK, you see what just happened? I rolled out the pictures - just like a typical grandmother!

Before you think I have gone off the deep end, I do respect the concept of pack behavior and how it applies to having a dog. Consequently, Gavin is her Pack Leader and my daughter is Pack Leader's mate. Bella gets that. I'm not her pack leader, but I did spend time establishing dominance so she knows I am higher in the pack order than she is, and yes, you have to reinforce that from time to time.

However, like a typical grandparent, I spoil her rotten (lots of attention, treats, dog beds, etc). Consequently, when I get home, I am greeted by a wildly excited Bella eager to get one-on-one attention from grandma, a lot of love, and of course a treat. To be fair, I have been using the treats as training, so she is learning commands. We have mastered Sit and we are currently working on Fetch.

Now, why is she called the Zombie Wonder Dog. Check out this YouTube video of the puppy Bella and Thumper the cat.... ok perhaps she is a bit of a slow learner, however.....

...My granddog could easily run down and kill any squirrel in our subdivision...

So there!

Monday, December 28, 2009

...we now?

It's been almost a year since my last post and even I am wondering "Where in the world...??"

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since last January - most of it frozen! We did survive our first winter in Michigan and even enjoyed it. Of course when we say that, folks around here give us amused smiles and say "just wait until the novelty wears off"

Well, as we go into Michigan Winter #2 the novelty hasn't worn off yet.

My ever patient husband eagerly awaited using the Craftsman again, the snow still looks beautiful, and we even say that 32 degrees seems down right balmy.

So aside from the weather, where in the world have we been?
  • My husband is halfway through his second year in Graduate School and I still introduce him as "This is my husband, he's a graduate student and has no life" He makes time for me though, that's really all that matters :-)
  • My daughter and future son-in-law are living with us and planning their wedding! They brought with them my grand-pets (one dog and two cats). So now we have three cats and a dog. Our older cat June has banished herself to our basement (which is finished and furnished) - we call her Basement Cat. The other two cats (Rory and Thumper - sisters) have taken possession of the upstairs and Rory has taken possession of my husband. Bella - the dog, is an affable, adorable fox terrier/lab mix who spends her time alternating between bouncy terrier-like behavior and being a lounging Labrador, taking possession of my lap and my recliner. More on the pets in a later post.
  • I am working full time, doing the same type of stuff I did in Los Angeles. Same hours, same headaches, much shorter commute!! Yes, small town life has paid off big time for this former victim of Commuter Stress...

    8 minutes round trip
    . Rush hour or not. Pretty sweet.
Trust me, a lot more has gone on in the last year, I just need to sort it out and write it down. I promise I will and before the snow melts!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

...the Instructions?

While there is some controversy surrounding just how many terms the Inuit have for snow , one thing is for sure:  you may not believe in the snow, but if you live in Michigan, the snow believes in you!

Since our decision to come here from the sunny warmth of LA, snow has been a constant part of lives.  We spent autumn preparing for it and, as I suspect, we will spend spring recovering from it.  But no where can I find a handy manual for living with it.  There's no "Snow Country for Dummies" manual.  No "Roesetta Stone  - Snow Language Level 1"   

Heck, I would settle for a pamphlet... you know "How to Prepare for Winter in 10 Easy Steps."

A lot of what we have done has been a combination of common sense, trial and error, and simply laying prostrate before a Home Depot rep begging for what ever scraps of knowledge they're willing to toss our way.   This latter option however, doesn't help if you don't even know what questions to ask.   
  • Did you know there are different stages of snow throwers and which stage you get depends upon the surface you are working and whether you are throwing wet snow or dry snow?
  • Did you know there was even a difference between wet snow and dry snow?
  • Did you know that you need to remove the pretty icicles that form on the eves of your house so they don't tear down your rain gutters?  
  • Did you know that when you throw snow, you need two coats: one to wear while throwing and one to change into after because the first one is now covered in snow?
We now plan our routes to account for which roads are salted/plowed.  We even know which townships (what cities are called here) to go around because of the limited resources they have for salting/plowing. 

We found out that there is special wiper fluid that doesn't freeze.

We found out that if you want traditional fireplace logs, you have to order it by the cord (or half cord) for delivery.  It seems only the 7-11 carries actual firewood.  Everyone else (Kroger, Meijer, Wal-Mart) carries the typical duraflame logs and something we never heard of, but now use: recycled wood fireplace logs, which is a greener way to go.

Who knew?  

But that is precisely my point.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

...all the years?

Max and I rang in the New Year in Atlanta with Kat, Gavin and their friends.

First, let me say that we had a dynamite time and really enjoyed meeting their friends.

Second, let me say that it was a world-altering experience to see my daughter and her fiance entertaining their friends in their own place (ok, roommates house, but where they are living).

As parents, we never really loose the image of our children as, well as children. How can we not. We were there when they took their first breadths, spoke their first words, took their first steps. We stayed up with them when they were sick, then later stayed up to make sure they got home safe. We were there for them, and with them, as they began to make their own way in the world - Kindergarten, high school, dating, and eventually moving out and leaving the nest.

And those images are burned into our souls, treasured, joyous, and lasting. But do we ever really think about what happens after they leave the nest?

Intellectually, I knew it would happen. It's what parents prepare their children to do; it's the way of things. But to actually see it is a different story. Now I know.

I have to close the book of childhood that I have lovingly held open and begin a new book, one for which there aren't any helpful guidelines, for the writing of it is no longer mine to guide. It is now in the hands of the small wonder who has grown up and grown into her own fabulous person. It is for her to forge while I lovingly look on, provide help when asked, and in it find new images to treasure.
a blog of exploration, discovery, and recovery