Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Changes come in threes....

My mom always said good and bad comes in threes.Whenever something bad happens, she could always find two more things that followed. When good things happened, sure enough, three in a row. Funny, over the years, I've noticed it does seem like this little superstition is true a good deal of the time.

This past week, my life changed and it wasn't something I'd actually been planning, it's one of those things that basically fell into my lap. Serendipity, in my opinion. An opportunity the Universe is giving me that I can't ignore. I'm going back to work after a period of five years of not working out there in the world. Though a part-time position, it will be a big change here on the home-front.

With this good news brings a variety of concerns, mostly about my animals, two horses, two outside dogs, our new pup, and the cat. I've been here at home looking after the horses, dogs and cat for a long time now. My horses are in a routine, granted, it's a routine of basic eating times, but nonetheless a routine. The new pup is now five months old. I'll be gone for longer periods of time four days a week.She seems fine with her times in the crate. Eventually, when she's more mature in her ways, she'll have the run of the house, until then, she goes to her "den" (the crate) when I'm gone for longer than fifteen minutes. 

We're still having issues with the pup chasing Buddy, the old cat. How am I going to work this out? Buddy inside in our bedroom with the door closed, or outside where he can roam? We live out in the country. Buddy stays around the house or over around our garage/barn area. Buddy became an indoor/outdoor cat by accident. When his sister died, I started letting him come inside. They'd lived out around the garage/barn area in the upstairs at night. Since Buddy was used to being outside, but also did well inside, I decided to let him go in and out. Now, I don't believe that was such a good idea. I know one thing, any other cats we have will be strictly in or out, no more in and out. 

I'm concerned about the horse's feeding schedule, mainly the afternoon "snack" of hay pellets. I started feeding supplemental hay pellets to help stretch my hay supply. I can't really put extra hay out because these two chow hound horses will just eat it down in no time. I don't have anyone to come and feed. Guess the guys will just have to deal with the changes in their routine. I suppose they'll all adjust one way or another. Animals are more resilient than people. 

I remind myself that I won't be gone every day since I'll only be working four days a week with Sunday always a day off, and holidays too. I'm working in the History Department at our local public library. I was a branch manager with this library system eight years ago, then felt I needed to resign to help my mom take care of my dad who's health was declining. That was my last full time position. Over the years I've worked 8-5 and I've also worked 12 hour rotating shifts when I was a lab tech in the '90's. From '04-'07, I worked mornings, part time, at the horseback riding stables five mornings a week and then programs on Saturdays. So this new position should be a piece of cake. I'm fifty-one, it's probably a good thing Serendipity visited one more time. As we get older, women know how hard it gets to be taken seriously in the work world. Just my opinion.

The other change is that Hubby's job is going a different direction. He's happy but I'm a little apprehensive. There my be a schedule change for him. There may be training trips involved. The last time he had training trips, my sons still lived here on our little farm with us. Now, it's just the two of us and I know I appreciate his help with the horse chores in the evenings. We really won't know much about this change for a few months, or, as sometimes happen where he works, could be next week. 

Those are two major changes in our lives in the past two weeks. Waiting for a third and honestly, I hope it involves our oldest son. He's been finishing up his master's degree and looking for a job...he could use a break and a good change in that part of his life.

You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation:  If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish.  ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rainbow Wedding

On June 2, our youngest son got married. He and his bride are both twenty-six. Our new daughter-in-law is a vibrant, beautiful, outspoken, kind woman. The two of them together are like the old saying "two peas in a pod", yet, they are sometimes just as different as they are alike.

I love their story. They went to the same small rural high school and graduated in the same class. She'd moved to the district in their junior year which sort of made her an "outsider" as often happens in small schools. By high school most of the friendships are sealed and the new kids are always the new kids. She says she had a crush on my son from the very first day she saw him. She even boldly asked him out. However, he wanted nothing to do with romantic involvements at that time. Actually, my son just didn't date in high school. He concentrated on his school work to keep up his 4.0 gpa, participated in soccer, quiz bowl, played the bass guitar, sang in chorus, and participated in class plays. He said he didn't want the hassle he saw girlfriends produced. She dated other boys. She was friends with his friends.They often all hung out together. They remained friends through high school then on graduation went their separate ways. She stayed in the area and attended the local university. He went away to Athens, Ohio to attend Ohio University. Through the power of social media, they stayed in contact.

Now, somewhere in those college years, while remaining Facebook friends, they jokingly made a pact. If neither one of them were in a serious relationship, or married, by the time they were twenty six, they'd marry each other. Our son moved home after college graduation in 2008. He was the best man at his older brother's wedding that year. He spent over a year searching for a job.The following year, he and his now bride, started dating and this time he was the one who asked her out. She  says that she turned him down the first time because he had turned her down back in high school. She didn't hold out very long and they dated for a couple of years before he popped the question in December 2010 and she said yes. He'd also been fortunate that year to find a full-time job, though 75 miles away from our home and her.They made another pact, and made the move together where she was fortunate to also find a job.

Their wedding was, simply put, them. Rainbows and lollipops is how she described her day. She wanted the theme because she said that's how being with my son made her feel and she'd never felt that way before.

The ceremony was held at a historical local museum. The building is early 1900's architecture and has a large center room to accommodate a variety of events. The bride's dress was a bouncy, just above the knee, ivory, strapless piece, fitting to her personality. The groom wore his first ever fitted suit,which he was very proud of. An orange paisley bow tie and matching orange argyle socks you could barely see as he walked, but added a hint of fun to his herringbone gray suit. 

The bride walked into the room, on the arm of her father, to the upbeat "Hooked on a Feeling", the version by Blue Suede with the ugga chuggas at the beginning. That brought smiles all around. Her father kissed her cheek and shook Son's hand. There was a pause I noticed, as he turned to take his seat. After all, she was his youngest daughter, his baby girl. The couple had written their own vows to each other which were both touching and funny at the same time. After they were pronounced Mr. & Mrs, they skipped out of the room to the song "I'm Walking on Sunshine" and attendees waving rainbow streamer sticks.

At the reception, rainbow colors dominated the centerpieces, though nothing fancy, just fun. Homemade sand art in small fishbowl glasses with rainbow colored lollipops and pinwheels. Small colorful Dollar Store metal buckets holding rainbow color tissue flowers. Crayons on the tables for guests to draw on the white butcher paper tablecloths. There was a photo booth for guests to have fun pictures taken and people had a blast with it. The couple get the scrapbook with all the photos.The reception was just plain joyous. 

The bride and groom wanted their wedding to be fun and they succeeded. From the music to the whimsical, homemade centerpieces, you felt the joy the entire evening. Many of the guests commented they'd never had so much fun at a wedding. Though non-traditional by most standards, their wedding was what all weddings should be, a joyful occasion.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Looking back and moving forward...

Reading over my last post "Hiatus", I realized it probably came across as rather negative. I admit, I've done a lot of complaining since March, when our new pup came home, but truth be told, our new little family addition is a gem. New pup was a choice. We bought her from a breeder who really cares about her dogs. The problem, and it is my problem, I'm just out of practice with puppy tending. 

Actually, I've never had experience with a puppy living inside the house with us where it's every need is met by me or my husband. This is all new to me. I still stand by my thoughts that puppies are harder than human babies, although thinking about that, I'm probably exaggerating a tad. However, raising a puppy does take dedication and attention. You can't just feed them, play with them (Hubby is the playmate, I'm the teacher), let them wander around unattended. You have to make sure they are potty trained. They have to learn boundaries AND manners. I'm a stickler for manners. I really hate it when I go to someone's house and the dog has not been trained to not jump on guests. There's really no excuse for not teaching your dog manners. In retrospect, our little Nina has done quite well. She'll be five months old this week. I can now see all the training, tears (mine) and frustration (mine again) are paying off. I don't expect perfection, although I was wearing myself out thinking she must do this she must do that. I do expect focus and attention, which she's growing into. I started paying less attention to all the "voices" on the online forums and in puppy raising articles. There is great help in those, but sometimes overwhelming. I started working with common sense. Works better all around. Of course, if one lacks common sense where training is concerned, I think you're out of luck and begging for more frustration.

Over our thirty years of marriage, we just celebrated our anniversary, we've had numerous dogs and cats show up on our rural property. A gray cat and her five kittens one summer. We couldn't figure out why she chose us. At that time we lived up on a hill away from the road. I think she lived at the house down the road and for whatever reason decided to move her brood to our house. Ms. Kitty was a sweet cat. I hadn't been able to have a cat during the first years of our marriage because of my father-in-law's German Shepherds. He lived down the hill from us and those dogs had never been desensitized to cats. They ran the property and then some. Since Ms. Kitty decided to stay I did my best to accommodate her with her family of five kittens.

We had several dogs show up over the years. One dog my husband found under a discarded mattress at the side of the road. We'd been taking a leisurely bike ride on our rural road that afternoon. He carried her back to our house on his bicycle, a two mile ride. We named her Sandy. She was probably a hound/lab mix. Blonde in color, about medium size. She lived with us a a short time until she mysteriously died. We were never sure but it seemed like a possible poisoning. Our Humane Society adoptee, Brandi, a hound/shepherd mix, died as well, which lead to our theory of poison. Brandi was probably about seven at the time. We were never sure how old Sandy was but she was young, maybe a year when we found her.

Buddy was a tough one. He showed up one day out in our field. Looked like some kind of terrier mix. He kept watch but wouldn't come close to the house. I started walking slowly toward him getting closer each day putting food down. After about a week I won him over and he came to me. He stayed with us for a short time then just disappeared. Same thing happened to a dog I named Max. He was a smart one but didn't care for my husband, just me. Must have been part shepherd, medium size. There were rumors flying up and down our road that someone was picking up dogs and selling them to labs. A reminder that you should keep your dogs close to home and have a fenced yard. Back in those years dogs ran free out here in the country. That's just the way it was. All of these animals came to us between 1985-1992 or there about. 

Then our German Shepherd, Xena showed up by way of a gift from a grandmother to her grandsons.Xena had also been discarded. Her backyard breeder wasn't happy she didn't come out all white. That was OK by us, we loved her silver/black coloring. Over the years, people often asked if she was a wolf hybrid because of her coloring and her size. Honestly, I wasn't happy with her arrival at first, basically because I don't like those kinds of surprises. I like to prepare. But it all worked out and Xena was our longest lived dog. She died in 2008 at the age of twelve.

Our recent two "rescues", Maggie and Lucy, have been with us since '05 & '07. My oldest son found Maggie at the state park where he worked,. She'd been abandoned. The park manager was going to call the dog warden to pick her up so our son brought her home instead. He never asked, just showed up with her. Maggie appears to have a lot of Blue Heeler in her. She has one blue eye and one brown eye. People either think she's ugly or pretty. I think she's pretty. No, I wasn't happy with the surprise, at first. At that time we had Xena, who was nine by then. I was worried about conflict but the two of them worked it out without much fuss. Lucy was dumped on our road Thanksgiving of '05. After watching her watch the comings and goings of our house, I encouraged her to come into our pack. She is a beagle/hound mix, reddish in color and apparently much older than we first thought. She started graying around her face last year.

So now we have a pure bred German Shepherd pup we chose, and paid for. For some reason it feels kind of strange. I look at her differently. I wonder if that's normal? She wasn't saved from a bad situation. She wasn't abandoned. She's never been mistreated. She is trusting to a fault. Xena was raised to be an outside dog, and she never knew any of those things either since she came to us at six weeks...but with Nina, it's just different. I'm sure it's in my own perception. At first I wanted to do everything right, now, I just want to have a good dog and I think we're getting there.



                                             Nina @ 4 months.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I've been missing from a lot of things since the end of March. Yes. We do have a new German Shepherd pup who is now four months old. Let me just say, puppies are hard work AND it's advisable to have a fenced in area to make your life easier when it comes to potty time. Live and learn but right now I'm very tired of linking up Pup to her leash to take outside to do her business up-teen times a day. 

We live out in the country and over the years we've had no need for a chain link fence. We have board and rail out by the road. We don't have much traffic because it's a dead end, except on the weekends when ATV riders invade. I should have planned better. Hubby is in the planning stages for a front porch and fenced in area for Pup. I hope my patience holds out.

All in all she's housebroken. She enjoys her den (large crate with comfy cover) at night. She has never cried or whined when put to bed or when put in her den because I have to leave. However, I can honestly say, puppies are much more work than babies. You have to plan for everything, every day. Something I haven't done for a very long time. I haven't even spent this much time with my horses which makes me sad and irritable at times. She's a smart pup, but she's still a pup and all that brings into it. This is the first time we've had a pup living in residence. The majority of our dogs over the years have been adult rescues. We have two older dogs who run the other way when they see Pup outside. They are both outside dogs. 

I was ill with some mysterious ailment the week she came home. Made dealing with a new 8 week old pup much, much harder. I had to ask Hubby to take a few days off from work.Took me over two months to feel right and my endocrinologist re-adjusting my thyroid medication. Having had thyroid cancer three years ago I've been kept at a suppression level which evidently had me finally hitting a proverbial wall when I stressed myself to exhaustion. I'm also a T1 diabetic, on an insulin pump, but D actually leveled out and wasn't much of a problem. Probably because I didn't feel like eating! I've lost twenty pounds. The scary part, I wasn't trying. 

Hubby is the playmate she looks forward to seeing each evening. He plays with her off leash. I'm the disciplinarian. I keep her on leash through the day and we walk around the property.At least I feel I have to establish all the rules and boundaries day in and day out. I can say that things have gotten better, but many days I look forward to her sleeping all afternoon. The weather has been pretty good for us this spring which makes me inwardly grumble that I haven't spent more time with my two horses. 

I tried to take Pup to puppy classes but she kept getting car sick during the twenty-five minute drive and after three classes I was tired of cleaning up messes. Plus it was during the time I still wasn't feeling so great myself. I tried various methods people told me about and I read on line to help Pup through car sickness. So far, nothing worked. I'm hoping she outgrows it. I'm also hoping the long three hour drive when we brought her home hasn't ruined her for life with car/truck rides. We'd hoped to have a truck riding dog. We can't even get her comfortable riding in our side-by-side utility vehicle around our property. She is visibly scared and uncomfortable.

Pup has learned a lot in these four months. She's very good with basic commands. She plays catch. She enjoys running an old volleyball around the yard. She is not very good with our old Buddy cat which has been a major source of tension. She doesn't hurt him but in her puppy way she just won't leave the old guy alone when he simply wants to sleep on the chair. I've resorted to leaving him in the bedroom with the door closed when he wants to be in the house. I just don't want to deal with the aggravation.

All this puppy raising is a learning experience. I've learned a great deal about myself through it too. My husband posted a note near the computer:  Nan kuru nai sa which he told me means It'll all work out.  That's my current mantra.

On a happy note, our youngest son got married on June 2. We now have both our sons married off and out on their own. Well, youngest son was already on his own but when your son takes a wife, you realize THIS IS IT, my job is pretty much done now. I'm so happy for my son and his bride because they were best friends before becoming husband and wife. That is something I'd always told both sons over the years. Oldest son is going on four years of marriage. Both he and his wife call each other "best friends" too.  Nice to know the kids sometimes listen!