Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Confessions of a foster dog mom

Meet Homer -- this picture was taken shortly after I picked him up from a city shelter in a nearby suburb:

Yep, Homer's a pit bull. And yep, he shatters any negative stereotype you might have of pit bulls. Gentle, even-tempered, downright sweet and affectionate.

Homer was never going to be ours. It's just not practical for us to keep three large dogs for the long term (we learned that when we provided a temporary home for a friend's big 7-month-old pup earlier this year). I was only getting Homer out of the place where he had run out of time, in the worst way.

He settled right in here, though. Tuesday and The Boy were decent hosts, even with The Boy's occasional neurotic fits in Homer's direction.

He only stayed two nights at our house, but I have tons of pictures of him cuddling with The Alpha. And a few of him hanging out with me:

Homer is a Very Good Boy, a Very Sweet Boy. And, I think, a Very Cute Boy (though The Alpha admits he disagrees with me on that point).

The next person in the rescue/placement process picked him up this morning. I cried.

Yes, it was only a two-day, two-night stay. I know this. Honestly, I didn't expect him to be so darn endearing. I thought it would be easier to let him pass on through this way.

A friend sent me a message while Homer was at our house: "You're my doggy connection. FB friend from HS is moving back to TX from CT in the spring and wants a big dog. I told her I know the Harriet Tubman of big dogs. :)"

I'll be happy to send leads to my friend's friend. I may shy away from future dog-fostering, though.

I'm not sure I'm strong enough for all the letting go.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Because it's been too long since I blogged.

Check out these paper-collage portraits my friend J made of my The Boy and my Tueserday:

If you look closely, you can see that The Boy's nose paper has stars embossed on it. It just seems right that he has a starry nose. Also, the white blaze has kind of a worn gray wood-grain that really looks like the blend of white and blue in his fur. Notice, too, how she got his Bentley mark a little off-center, just like the real one.

And this one just captures the whimsy of Teh Tueser, we think. "I'm cute, I know it, and I may or may not listen to anything you say. Oh, and food? Really, some food please? I'm starving."

Other items of note:
- The Alpha and I weren't going to get each other Christmas presents this year. Then the clothes washer busted, in spectacular fashion, this weekend. Our Christmas gift was delivered today and has already done several loads of laundry for us.
- We are very glad we went with the wood-look porcelain tile in the kitchen, laundry room, dining room, and entryway during this summer's remodel. All four of those rooms were hit by the Great Washer Failure of Aught-Nine, and if we'd chosen actual wood, the ShopVac wouldn't have been the only thing needed for clean-up.
- Got to see/hear my nephew as part of my alma mater's choir last week. I sang 36 of those Candlelight Carol services in my four years as a student. Damn shame they've cut the tour portion so short now (two stops a tour hardly makes) that he will only get to sing 24 of them. Yeah, I'm old. "In my day, we did five tour stops in four days! Count 'em! And get off my lawn."
- Christmas Music Extravaganza day is over. *Contented sigh* The podcast is online, too. If you want a link and I haven't sent you one already, let me know in the comments.
- I wondered how it would go, really, but I'm pleased to report that I'm still completely happy with my choice to not put up a Christmas tree this year. *Contented sigh*
- On tap for final-week-of-the-year activities: Sort through back bedroom contents for donating, listing, recycling, trashing, keeping. Oh, and the vintage 1978 harvest gold range hood and cooktop are still in the patio. Those need to find a new home, too.
- Time for bed.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Best. Wedding. Ever.

At least, the best wedding I've ever attended, including my own.

Lovely Niece and -- ooh, should I give him a blog name? Let's see... oh, maybe later -- he who shall be known in the short-term as New Nephew made it official last weekend. The bride was simply gorgeous... here she is an hour or so before the ceremony, held at our home church:

No photos during the event itself -- it was a thoughtfully planned and meaningful worship service, and even if I'd wanted to take pics, I was kinda busy with singing. It was a great honor to have that role in the event. (My 19-year-old nephew walked by me afterward with his girlfriend and ordered, "You're singing at my wedding." So I take that as a good sign. Also, one of my mother's best friends was there, and she said I sound like my mom did. Loved hearing that.)

The bride and groom included sweet individual touches in memory of several people. Candles were lighted in the official remembrance of six people listed in the program, but most people probably weren't aware that the bride's bouquet included a single sunflower in memory of her little sister; that her grandmother's Bible lay on the altar; and that the groom was wearing his grandfather's boots -- the ones worn to walk the groom's mother down the aisle at his parents' wedding.

One of our hometown national park's renovated bath houses made a great reception site, as it's now an art museum -- an elegant setting for a joyful evening. Here are Lovely Niece and New Nephew during their first dance:

The DJ did a nice job of keeping things understated and elegant as far as the music mix was concerned. But a few hours before the wedding, we managed to arrange a little musical surprise for the groom.

You see... Last year, after my oldest nephew's wedding, The Alpha and I met up with Lovely Niece and he who was to become New Nephew, plus another couple who were to become their honor attendants, at a local establishment featuring German cuisine. We walked in to find a tuba/accordion duo onstage. I don't remember exactly what they were playing when we arrived, but their repertoire included a mix of genres, all polkafied. Before we even got to our table, New Nephew stopped, pointed, and announced, "I want them to play at my wedding!"

That's when it all started. It took more than a year to bring the plan to fruition.

After the engagement was announced this summer, planning rolled into high gear, and we kept teasing Lovely Niece and New Nephew about hiring the band for their reception. I became a Fan of The Itinerant Locals on Spacehook. We even checked to make sure they would indeed be local, not itinerant, on the date in question. They were, and their gig that evening ended at 9:00. But we didn't book them. We weren't sure how long the reception would run, and the bride and groom had decided on a DJ, after all. Wouldn't want to step on any toes.

Then, a few hours before the wedding, Lovely Niece was in the Bride's Room of the church, having her makeup done, and I was sitting nearby, checking Spacehook on my iPhone to pass the time. Guess who popped onto the screen with a status update? Yes, our favorite polka duo was promoting their 7 to 9 p.m. gig at the Brau Haus. Two blocks from the reception location.

I informed Lovely Niece of this opportunity. Should I go for it? As a special surprise for the man who would by then be her husband? She gave me the nod.

Via the comment field on the status update, I asked the Locals if they'd like to stop by a wedding afterwards. Their response was enthusiastic: "We'll have the kids with us, but we are game--that sounds like fun. We love weddings! Kids ok? 9:30ish ok? Just go through the front door?" A couple more exchanges, and we had secured a visit from the entire family.

When they walked in, New Nephew's jaw hit the floor. At that moment, The Alpha and I officially sealed our status as The Cool Aunt and Uncle. At one point he was hollering at us, "I love y'all SO MUCH!"

I leave you with a selection of video clips. My only regret is that I didn't have the camera set on high resolution.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Five Do Nothing Edition

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Sally writes:

I am reading a wonderful little book for Advent. Its title: Do Nothing, Christmas is Coming!

So this week's Friday Five is simple. List five things you won't be doing to prepare for Christmas.

1. We are pretty sure we're going to skip putting up the tree this time around. I haven't been too excited about it for several years now, and it feels like such an unnecessary chore.

2. No other decorations, either -- other than the gigantic Advent wreath that's already in the front yard.

3. No aimless shopping. We're pretty good at having an idea of what we're going to buy for a person before we go looking for it, thereby minimizing our time lost on attention to retail. Also, we are donating to organizations like Nothing But Nets, Heifer International, and Arkansas Rice Depot as part of our gifts to family members.

4. No cooking special foods. We always eat way too much when we go to visit family during the holidays, so there's no need to go overboard here at home. (Besides, we got sent home from Thanksgiving with peanut brittle and fudge, and I suspect there will be something else to take with us after Christmas.)

5. I will not be one of the people insisting that this is "the most wonderful time of the year" and that everyone should be happy. I'm attending a funeral tomorrow for the husband of a friend. I'm singing at the Blue Christmas worship service our church is offering in a couple of weeks. I'm praying for those dealing with loss and uncertainty in the face of forced joy.

Bonus: Things I will be doing include obsessing about musical obligations (not the Blue Christmas one, but the other stuff that's more complicated), traveling, and being intentional about keeping my stress level down in the middle of it all. (I have a massage scheduled for this evening.)

Also, some time this weekend I'm going to blog about last weekend's wonderful wedding of my niece and nephew-in-law!