Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6/26/12 - Smiles All Around


Smiles has been adopted!

Yippee!  Hooray!  Woot woot!  And all that!

A staff member at the shelter emailed me today and told me that Smiles has been adopted.  She gave my contact information to the lady adopting Smiles so if I get to meet her, and see Smiles again, I'll give you a photo update.  I know you're celebrating with me wonderful readers!  As Dad would say, God is good.  All the time.

Needless to say I feel much better.  In fact, I was wearing headphones while doing some work around the house and was just singing to my heart's content.  I was having a good time with no worries at all about anyone hearing my off-pitch vocals.  Or so I thought.

I turned around and this was my audience!  LOL.  I quickly grabbed my phone out of my pocket to take the pictures.  Sorry they're so blurry.  But by now I hope you're joining in on the Smiles.  It feels good, doesn't it?

That "head" on the floor next to Bentley is what's left of Mr. Squirrel, one of his favorite toys.  He carries it around with him room to room and I just haven't had the heart to throw it away.  I love my furbabies and am thrilled that everything worked out for Smiles.  I hope she will have a ton of toys in her new home.  We love you Smiles!
Smiles all around, indeed. 
Thanks for being here wonderful readers!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

6/24/12 - 3 in 2 days

Arlington Shelter ID 16521024

Wonderful readers - I have been out of commission since Wednesday and am behind on replying to your comments and reading other blogs.  When you read this, you will understand why, but I sincerely apologize.

This is a picture of  Smiles.  She is, of all things, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix (my Nonni is a purebred RR).  Smiles was abandoned in a field near my apartment and it took me 5! weeks to gain her trust.  This past Wednesday she finally let me pick her up and take her to a friend’s house.   I call her Smiles because once she warmed up to us, she loved playing with my dogs (and my friends’ dogs and kids) and being loved on.  When she’s happy she smiles and shows her teeth. Too cute!

My friend from the dog park was willing to foster this puppy for 10 days (before having to leave for vacation).  She thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to the regular morning group at the park so they could help find a forever home.  Unfortunately, there was a guy there who "tried to help" a bit too much, and Smiles panicked and got off leash outside the fence.  Several people at the park were willing to verify this.

Good news is, somehow the Arlington shelter got her.   Bad news is they have her down as owner abandoned because they say she was “inside” the fence at the park.  I wasn't there the day she got loose from my friend so I don't know exactly what happened, but what I do know is that they euthanize those dogs within 72 hours!!!!  I found out about all this on Friday and went in yesterday morning right when they opened to give them the actual history.

It was a horrible experience.  They wouldn’t believe me.   They kept trying to accuse me of being the owner.   I tried to get them to look at a series of pics on my phone that shows where I was able to get closer and closer to her in the field over time.  The pics are even time/date stamped.  They wouldn’t even look at them.   They acted like I was a criminal.

Smiles Getting Closer, June 9
One of the clerks even mentioned ticketing me because the dog is so severely malnourished.  I told them that of course she is malnourished, it took me 5 weeks before she’d let me help her!  I told them I would take food to the field but I never knew whether or not she was the one eating it.  The clerk actually rolled her eyes!!

I left, but after I thought about it for awhile, I realized that since it went so badly at the front desk maybe I should have talked to a manager.  So I went back and tried to talk to the manager but HE even asked me if I wanted to do an owner reclaim!   He also said I was contradicting my story.  I was not!  And once again, he wouldn’t look at the pictures nor was he willing to talk to anyone from the park that was there when the dog got away.

I gave up.  As I left, I called my friend and she said I must have just missed the "helpful" guy from the park, who also volunteers at the shelter.   She said he was going to talk to them on behalf of the dog.  I was so excited!  I thought, Great! Now maybe they will understand and believe me.  So I walked back in and even HE asked me if I was the owner!   I exclaimed once again, “I am not the owner.   I am the person who worked 5 weeks to rescue her!” At that point the manager said I had been in there 3 times already and it was time for me to leave.

I was humiliated and mortified.  I can see from the manager's point of view that 3 visits was overkill, but each visit was for a different reason.  I was irritated and bewildered, and I’m sure it showed, but I was NOT inappropriate.  I have never been asked to leave anywhere in my entire life!   On top of feeling hopeless for that poor dog, I can’t even describe how bad I felt.  I cried off and on all day yesterday.  And cried again tonight relaying the story to my sister.

It's not just about poor Smiles.  And I don't want to make this about me, but I am devastated.  This is just one more blow that shows how much my life has changed.  I can't seem to get it on track.  In Austin, I was welcome at shelters, worked with rescue groups and we attended monthly Ridgeback playdays as often as possible.  Here?  I not only DON'T get a thank you for my efforts - I get kicked out of the shelter!  I can't figure things out anymore.  This incident rattled me to the core.

My friend and I both love animals.  Maybe that's why we met at a dog park, LOL.  In fact, we both have 3 animals.  One of hers is even adopted from this same shelter!  Both of my dogs are rescue dogs.  They have been with me for years.  Bentley is 10 and Nonni is 7.   Between them they now know 19 commands and hand signals.   I am not certified nor a professional, but I train dogs for family and friends.  I would never abandon or abuse an animal!!!

The ironic thing is that Wednesday during the day, my friend had rescued another dog that was a stray in her neighborhood.  This one is a Boxer pup.

Arlington Inmate #16510525
Also, unbelievably, when I came home Thursday evening - a stray (Yorkie?) that has been running around the apartments for a couple of weeks (and no one would claim) - was just sitting on my doormat.  Just sitting there!  It was matted, filthy and was getting sores.  I took it to the Grand Prairie shelter.  It hasn't shown up on their pages yet.

I'd like to hear from you wonderful readers.... have you ever experienced anything like this with shelters?   What do you do when strays come into your world?

NOTE: All 3 dogs were checked for chips.  No collars.  No chips.

There was a German Shepard mix hanging around the area last week.  He loved Nonni & Bentley and followed us back to the apartments several times.  He would hang around for awhile and loved playing with all the kids.  Then people were mean to him and I never saw him again.  I didn't do anything to help him and it made me feel really, really bad.  I told myself  (and God) that if another stray came around I would try to help it.  I guess I had better watch what I say and pray!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6/23/12 - Kids Will Be Kids

One of the things I heard the father of three boys say last weekend, was "Don't be settin' nothin' on fire y'all.  I mean it."

He was talking about the grill, but if you can make out what's happening in the photos below, you can understand the need for caution.  And yes, that is my living room window.  :(

Boys will be boys, heck, girls too for that matter (recalling some of my childhood antics), but here's hoping this weekend will be a bit more peaceful around here.

Someday I will click my heels together 3 times and wake up in an RV.....
I believe.  I believe.  I believe.

BTW, This reminds me of a time when I was talking to my nephew/BIL on the phone and he called out to K&W, "Don't flush the cat!"  ROFLOL.  What's the funniest thing you have ever said to your kids?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

6/21/12 - Team Work

Teamwork comes in all shapes and sizes.  I couldn’t do what I’m doing if I didn’t have a lot of love and support.  Thank you to everyone that “gets” what I’m trying to do and supports me through it.  It’s not easy and God gave me you to get me through.  Love and hugZ to each of you – even if it’s just an occasional comment, it helps.

We make a good team.


Speaking of teams....
Welcome to our newest, wonderful readers!

Deb C. doesn’t list any information on her profile and as you all know by now, that’s okay by me.  We’re just glad you’re here Deb.  Welcome!  I can’t quite make out your avatar icon but I like the words I can read.  Too cute!

Sara Dawson has a blog, but viewing is by invite only.  Sara, I’d loved to check it out, http://wide-eyed-musings.blogspot.com/.  If not, no problem.  Again, just glad you’re here.  Welcome!

Back to the Blog....
I also get courage from you.  I talk a lot about the changes I’ve made since October 22.   The changes have been small and large.   A small change I’ve made is to cut my hair and quit wearing make-up.  It’s been a double-edged sword.  And I guess, in some circles, less hair and no make-up wouldn’t be considered “small” change.  But in my world, compared to the rest of the changes I’ve made lately, it’s a relatively small occurrence.

Still, I haven’t been brave enough to post a picture of the new me.  Until now.


On my j.o.b., I recently went from temp to perm.  My temp agency came by and wanted to know if they could take a picture to post on their website.  Horrified, I quickly said no.  Then I realized how silly I’m being.  After all, I’m the one that chose to quit wearing make-up.  I’m the one that chose to cut my hair.  Why was I hiding?

So, I went to work the next day and asked my coworkers to take a picture with me.  With their permission, I sent the picture to my agency to post on their website.

Without further adieu, here is a picture of me and my new RV “style”.  It’s kind of ironic that it may be the last pic you see of me for quite some time.  I’m starting a new way of eating and hopefully the next pic you see will be one where I’m slim and trim.  After all, who knows how tiny my RV may be?  LOL!

But NMW, I won’t hide anymore.  What you see is what you get.

The Office Team at my J.O.B.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6/19/12 - Bounce

Multiply this x3, right outside my apartment, and you can see one reason why I didn’t get much sleep this last weekend.

On the other hand, Miss Hope had a blast sightseeing…

My neighbors that live above me also had a huge cookout on Sunday.  They let me throw a couple of pork chops on their grill and they tossed in the roasted corn.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.

It almost made up for the ensuing party that went on until 3 a.m.  Almost.  My alarm goes off at 4!    If anyone asks at work, you can tell ‘em "It’s okay, she's just sleeping."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

6/17/12 - Two Dads

I was blessed with two dads.  One gave me curly, dark hair, hazel eyes and an olive complexion.  I’ve been told often throughout my life that I am a lot like him.  Since he committed suicide when I was 9-months old, I’m never quite sure how to respond to that.   Is a “thank you” really in order?

I knew a LOT of bad step-dads, but my mother finally got it right.  Unfortunately, I was already grown and gone by that time, but the man she was married to for the last 25 years was literally an angel on earth.

I’ve written about him before.  He is the only man I’ve ever called Dad, and I did so willingly and lovingly.

Without him, I would never have known unconditional love.

Without him, I would never have known what grace, devotion and gentle kindness look like.

Without him, I would never have witnessed someone who truly loved God and walked the walk - all the time.

Dad, I wish I had known how much I would miss you.  I would have spent more time on the piano bench by your side.  Heaven has enough angels.  I wish we had been given more time together.

Happy Father’s Day

Saturday, June 16, 2012

6/16/12 - Storm Clouds and Flowers

The other night, just before the storms rolled in, the dogs and I were sitting outside enjoying the change in weather….

But first, let’s welcome our newest, wonderful readers….

Welcome Ann.  We don’t know anything about Ann other than we are glad she is here.  It’s always great to have new readers!

And MOV- mothersofbrothersblog.  MOV says her blog is an “avant-garde blog of words and pictures.”   She also says that “if her wit were any drier, your computer would spontaneously combust.”   I have to agree with both those statements and only add that her blog is outlandishly addictive.  I love it!  Welcome MOV!

And now, for the rest of the blog....  (It just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?  RIP Paul Harvey.)

Although some of my family and co-workers were hard hit by hail and high winds (prayers, hugZ and blessings to them), the clouds graciously rolled by us, literally….

Leaving behind some beautiful formations….

And plants and green grass and flowers….

Or at least "I" thought so.  LOL.

Oh well, to each his own.

And that my wonderful readers, pretty much sums up my life right now.  Literally and figuratively.  I hope you and yours are having a great weekend.  HugZ!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

6/13/12 - Sleeping in the Alley

I started this short story as a response to the Trifecta Weekly Writing Challenge, but it's far too long for the competition guidelines and I didn't want to shorten it.  This character will probably find her way to a book one day.  ;)



 She didn’t mind sleeping in the alley.  Not really.  Especially when it was safer than staying in the house.

She was really grateful that her house was one of the homes on the block whose metal trash can stand had an extra shelf for wood storage.  The longer legs on the stand helped too.  That gave her a choice.  She could remove the wood logs that rested underneath the trash cans and sleep there.  Or it was cool enough this night that she could simply crawl underneath the stand and sleep on the ground.  She had yet to make up her mind.

Susan looked up and down the alley.  It was almost dark which was perfect.  Some of the neighborhood kids were still playing outside, but they were down the street, on the corner, under the street light.  It was late enough they wouldn’t be coming down the alley anymore.  She also made note that none of the neighbors had their back porch lights on.  That meant they were probably done with grilling, yard work and the other things she had witnessed families doing outside. 

Still, just to be smart, she pretended she was throwing something away and removed one of the metal lids.  They were all bent up which meant they got stuck sometimes.  She hated when that happened because it meant she had to wrestle to get it off the can.  She didn’t like touching the filthy things that much.

With too much noise to suit her, she replaced the lid and looked around one more time to make sure she was alone.

She heard something shatter inside the house and could hear the yelling that was muffled from this distance.  She had snuck out just in time.

She decided she was too tired to mess with taking the logs off the stand.  Besides, she didn’t want to take a chance that she might forget to put them back.  She did forget one time and her stepfather had a fit.  He interrogated her for hours wanting to know if she knew which one of the neighborhood hooligans had done it.  She was terrified that he was going to figure out that not only had she been the one to remove the logs, but why.  He never did.

As she crawled under the trash can stand, she mumbled out loud, “That’s because you’re so stupid!”  She stuck her tongue out in the direction of the house and was about to curl up when she heard it.

She froze in place.  She slowed her breath so she could hear better.  Wide-eyed, she waited.

He got closer but already she knew it was her friend, Lee.  She relaxed and wanted to chuckle, but didn’t dare give her hiding place away.  Lee was so proud of the new bike he got for his birthday.  No one had the heart to tell him that it squeaked and rattled so loudly that you could hear it for blocks away.  She smiled and watched him fly by.

He was probably headed home for dinner.  Lee never missed a meal.  This time she did chuckle.  No one had the heart to tell him too that his bike was half the size he needed.  She liked her friends.   Most of them were kind.

She caught her breath again however when he hit the brakes and did a fishtail to start heading back toward her.

He stopped right in front of her and asked, “Susan, what are you doing down there?”

“Shhhh!”  She waived him to go on as she barely came out from under the stand.

“Seriously,” he added.  “What are you doing down there?”  He dropped his bike and knelt down in the grass beside her.  “Is it a snake?”

“A snake?”  She looked wildly behind her in a panic before she realized he simply did not understand.

Something else broke in the house and her mother screamed.  This time it wasn’t so muffled.

“Geez,” Lee said, and stared at the house.

“Go home, Lee.  Don’t you need to eat or something?”

He looked at her and could tell she was embarrassed.  “What are you going to eat?”

Susan had not thought about it.  Until now.  “Great,” she thought.  “Now I’m going to be hungry all night.”  She rolled her eyes.

“Wait here.  I’ll be right back.”  He hopped on his bike and sped off before she could say anything.

She didn’t want him to come back.  Traffic around her hiding place was not what she needed.  Suddenly the back door to her house flew open and she frantically crawled back under the bin.

“Susan!” her stepdad yelled.  “SUUUSAN!”  He repeated several times.

It was routine and she knew he’d give up.  She knew it would make him angry that she wasn’t there, and she also knew that he would take it out on her mother.  “God forgive me,” Susan thought.  She couldn’t help but feel grateful that it wasn’t her getting the beating.

She wasn’t sure how much time passed because she had dozed off, but she didn’t even hear Lee walk up.  He shook her shoulder and whispered, “Susan. Hey, I brought you something.”

The night sky was pitch-black.  She quickly glanced back at her house.  All the lights were off.  A little disoriented, she crawled out from under the bin and sat on the ground next to Lee.

“Where’s your bike?” she whispered back.

“I parked it down at the end of the alley.  That thing doesn’t have a quiet part on it.”

They both giggled with their hands over their mouth.

He held out a dishtowel.  “You brought me a towel?” Susan asked.

“No, silly.”  Lee said.  “I brought you food.”

All she could do was stare.  And blink.

“Don’t you like it?” Lee asked.

“Yes.” Susan replied softly.  “Very much.”

It was the nicest, kindest thing anyone had ever done for her.  And it was the best pork chop and homemade biscuit she had ever had.  Her mom didn’t cook much.  She glanced nervously back at the house.

To distract her, Lee said, “I brought you something else.”  He reached in his backpack.

“Uh, I guess this is just a towel.”  He looked embarrassed.

Susan quickly thanked him and took it from him.  She had no idea why he brought her a towel, or why it meant so much to her, but it did.  She unfolded it.  It was a large beach towel.  She hugged it close to her and smiled.

Her response made Lee beam with pride.  “I thought you could lie down on it. Beats the wet grass.”

With that she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and this time they both looked embarrassed.

After a minute, Lee asked, “Can I ask you something?”

With a shrug of her shoulders Susan said, “Sure.”

“Do you sleep out here very often?”

With another shrug of her shoulders Susan replied, “Sometimes.”

She knew that wasn’t really an answer to his question, but it was the best she had to give.

He sat there a moment longer and hesitantly said as he stood up, “Well, I better be getting back.”

She waited until he finished brushing off his jeans, “Lee?”

He looked at her, “Yeah?”

“Thank you.”  He started to shrug it off.  She quickly said, “No, Lee,” and waited until he looked at her again.  “Thank you.”

He sheepishly grinned, and simply said, “You’re welcome.”

As he walked off, she had no way of knowing they were forging a friendship that would last a lifetime.  All she knew was that she slept better that night than she had in a very long time.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

6/12/12 - Living in the Hood

Living in the ‘hood can change you.  Or at least it threatens to.

People here don’t look at you as you walk by.  I usually enjoy being friendly and saying hi.  Some are okay with it, others give you wide berth as if you’re about to go all Terminator on them.  Still others are so anti-social and/or threatened, they’ll literally say things like, “Whatchu lookin at bi@#%^?”

I don’t make eye contact as much as I used to.  Living in the ‘hood can change you.

2009, Bentley and Friend
So that I don’t lose that social skill all together, I purposefully work on being friendly when I’m outside o’ the ‘hood.  To be honest though, there is a part of me that enjoys not having that obligation.

Living in the ‘hood can also threaten conversation skills.  For example, I walk the dogs often in a nearby subdivision.  It’s a nice area with nice, new homes.  Lots of friendly folk there, but when they find out I’m from THE apartments, the conversation usually ends abruptly.  If you let it, the social stigma from living in the ‘hood can make you feel less than.  I refuse to let it.

That same subdivision was recently spray-painted.  The vandals got 11 houses, 18 cars, the sidewalks and even the streets.  It appeared to be random with no specific targets.

Nice, pretty, new – are not accepted around here.  I keep to myself.  I don’t dress up, and I haven’t worn makeup in over a month.  Fortunately, I now have a job that allows for that too.  In fact, I recently cut my hair really, really short and I probably won’t color it anymore.  And what’s really strange is that I’m more comfortable now with myself than I ever have been.

I know those attributes aren’t reserved for people living in the ‘hood, and living here isn't the reason I made those changes, but as silly as it may sound, living here has given me the permission I needed.   Bottom line - I have found great freedom here.   I can even take the dogs out at 4:30 in the morning, in my pajama bottoms, without brushing my hair, and it’s okay.  I’ve never, ever done that before. 

I can do whatever I want, whenever I want and other than making sure I’m safe, there are no boundaries.  I can be nice when I want to be, or not, and stay to myself when I need to.  I can say hi when I want to and walk on by when I don’t.  No one notices here.  I can be me, the real me, 24/7.   I’m finding myself here.  I don’t think I’ve ever had that luxury before.  In a very strange but real way, I’m growing by leaps and bounds. 

Nonni & Bentley have grown to love it here.  They love the walks each day – they get at least 2 long walks a day and a minimum of 2 short ones – 2 to 5 miles total.  They love the variety of sights and sounds (and probably smells) and where their mom is learning to be strong, aloof and independent, they act like they are at a County Fair on every outing.  They are very popular with the kids and I think they know it.  They act proud.  Too funny.

Speaking of kids...  The ‘hood is completely incongruent.  Who lets their 3 and 5 year-olds walk to the caged corner mart that is across from the local bar, unsupervised?!?   But in the 'hood, this is routine.  In fact, it’s not unusual to see kids like this throughout the day and every evening, and one or two of them are usually pushing a stroller or carrying a baby!  Seemingly no one thinks twice about it around here.

At the same time, if a baby goes missing –another routine occurrence–the entire community is out in full force until that baby is found.  It can be a baby, a toddler or a child, black, latino, or oriental, and you’ll hear adults of all color yelling and knocking on doors until that child is found.  It usually turns out that the errant youth had just “wondered off.”  Whatever that means.

Regardless, once found, emotions rise and tempers usually flare to a pitch until the story is played out and everyone has had their say.  Then the cliques segregate again, stereos are turned up, partying and drinking resume and life is back to normal in the ‘hood.  Until the next event.  Whatever that may be.

It is definitely a different world here.  I try to stay in the periphery, unnoticed, while I watch in amazement and wonder.   And learn.  And grow.  I like the old me, but I am definitely enchanted with the new me that is evolving.   I look in the mirror and ask, “Hey yo!  Wassup?”   The tough old broad staring back at me just nods with a thrust of the chin.  I like her.  She makes me smile.