Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is it one o'clock yet?

Today the kiddo and I get to celebrate our Christmas tradition -- we're going to the Hotel Del Coronado, where I'll give him a couple of small gifts and we'll have dinner. We'll watch the ice skaters (HDC puts up a temporary rink each year) for a while and maybe even walk on the beach (since the hotel is right on the sand), and admire the giant Christmas tree in the lobby as we sit on a velvet couch and enjoy our time together. :-) Afterward, we'll go home and finish putting ornaments on our own tree, then turn off all the lights (except for the tree lights) and just hang out, "like they did in olden times," as the kiddo says. ;^)

I can't wait to leave the office!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Gave money to a homeless guy in my neighborhood today, after first ignoring him. He thanked me and blessed me. When we spoke, I saw he had a tattoo across his forehead. I thought it was barbed wire, but as I drove away, I thought it might have been a crown of thorns. Food for thought.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Suzy Jean the Beauty Queen

Well, Auxiliary Dog (Suzy [Jean the Beauty Queen]) has been living with the groomer for a week. I must admit, I miss her. She has a sweet, happy little face and is always so glad to see her human. I felt horrible having to bring her to the groomer's shop last weekend, and even more horrible as I drove away and saw her looking forlornly out the window. Poor little girl, passed from person to person. As the kiddo reminded me, though, "We just have to remember it's best for Suzy this way."

Very true. When we first took Suzy in, I was a stay-at-home mom and could take Suzy with me most of the time. My son was still small enough and willing to sit in a grocery cart, and he would hold Suzy while I shopped. Restaurant owners occasionally let me hold her on my lap while I ate; she was content to sit still and was unnoticeable to other patrons. I took her to the kiddo's baseball games and other parents joked that I should charge $5 for them to hold her and let her warm them up on colder evenings. Everyone thought she was a cutie, and younger than her eleven years.

At home, she would hop up on the couch and snuggle behind my knees as I lay on my side. If I picked up her leash, she would perform her unique "tap dance of joy."

Then life sped up. I got my current job, which kept me out of the house for long stretches. The kiddo's activities got more complicated and it was harder to bring Suzy with us to all the places we needed to go. We got another dog in the hope that he would keep Suzy company, but she hardly noticed him; she wanted only us, only me, really. When we had to leave the house, Suzy would cry and cry, and exhibit other nervous behaviors, like constant paw-licking, indiscriminate peeing, and chewing on her crate door (she broke a tooth doing this).

I looked for another home for Suzy. A lovely woman I met while dogwalking said she would take her, but I wasn't sure her home was the right environment for Suzy. The woman already had a very large dog and I just wasn't convinced the change would be for the better. I posted an ad on Craigslist and several people replied. The thing was, most of the them didn't care that they didn't meet the requirements set forth in the ad. "Oh, I've been looking for a dog for my kids," said one, despite the fact that I'd decribed Suzy as a one-person dog and specifically said she wasn't a good dog for children. One respondent, who supposedly worked in a vet's office, said she could take Suzy with her to work. I thought I'd found the right owner, but then the respondent disappeared when I said I'd like to see her work environment.

We kept Suzy and did our best. I was determined not to send her to a shelter; she would have been scared and miserable there. I was also determined to give her a much better home than she had with us -- not just a different home, but a better one.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, our groomer called and asked if we still had our "little girl." I said we did. She asked if we were still looking for a home for her. I said we were. Turns out the groomer had lost her little girl dog a couple of months ago and although she still had her "little boys," she and her husband had decided it was time to bring another little girl home. We agreed to let Suzy spend a night or two at the groomer's house and see how things went.

My son carried Suzy into the groomer's shop last Saturday morning and we petted her goodbye. The groomer picked her up and kissed her and snuggled her. I hoped everything would work out. I tried not to look at Suzy's face in the window as we drove away. I felt like I'd given away one of my kids.

The next morning my cell phone rang. I recognized the groomer's number and cringed. Was she calling to say Suzy had had a rough night and things wouldn't work out? I let the call go to voicemail so I could listen to the message and prepare myself to call back.

The message was amazing: "We are IN LOVE with her!" said the groomer. "She is SUCH a LOVE! She just followed my husband around all over the place and laid down to watch him decorate the tree. Then she was sitting in his lap and he was petting her as he watched TV and she started to fall asleep. She is SO CUTE!" And so on. I was thrilled.

When I called the groomer, she said she definitely wanted to keep Suzy. So now Suzy has a new life. She has other dogs to keep her company at home, along with the groomer and her husband. She has a house with a yard. She has experienced owners who truly love dogs. And best of all, she gets to go to work with the groomer!

I miss her little face around here, but I know she's much happier in her new home. And I feel good knowing I held out long enough to make sure she went to the right place. Suzy will rarely be alone again, and is loved and adored. Just as she should be.

This is where Suzy will spend her days -- with dog lovers
and dogs, in a cozy environment with plenty of soft beds
and full water dishes scattered about, near her new owner.
The best possible world for this sweet little girl.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Odds and Ends

I was sitting in the Target parking lot with a friend last night and we saw a homeless guy steal a Christmas tree out of their nursery. Not sure what to make of that.


Art class was WONDERFUL today! One little girl who was in the class last year said, "Miss K? I always remember: 'There's no wrong in art.'" Someone was listening to me last year! ;^) I told her she made my day. :-) Of course, this little girl was sitting next to another girl, and their drawings were identical. ;^) But hey...there's no wrong in art!


Yikes. Got ten charity request calls within 30 minutes today at the church. SCARY. At that rate, we won't be able to serve all the folks who apply from now until next week. I think our congregants would come through if we told them we had 100 families in need, but that would be five times our normal load. Must talk with the pastors tomorrow and figure out what to do...

Sunday, December 06, 2009


My youngest sister's birthday is on Monday. How do you celebrate your birthday? By learning how to fly a plane? That's what I thought, too. ;^)

That's my sister, taking off. That's my dad's hand, waving to her. She said later that she could see us. I told her she should've been watching where she was going!

After a birthday lunch and some time spent at my folks' house, my son and I went with my folks to the mall nearby. Every weekend in December, the mall makes snow at 7:30 p.m. We lucked out and got an orchestra as well! Christmas carols and snow and lights and family. Good stuff. :-)

Friday, December 04, 2009

In Other News

I just realized I'm walking around the house in my dad's old flannel shirt, with a cell phone and eye drops in my front pocket, and am preparing to watch TV and crash on the couch.

In other words, I just realized I have turned into my dad.


Mama Mia!

Oh, I had to mention this. The kiddo stayed very late at work with me tonight. I had a bunch of stuff to wrap up for the week, and we finally left at about 9:00 p.m. Highly unusual! Anyway, the kiddo was exceptionally well-behaved, keeping himself busy, asking for what he needed in a polite and patient manner, cheerfully helping me or staying out of my way, depending on what the situation called for. At one point, he even brought a book to me that he'd checked out from the school library. "I got this for you, Mom," he said. It was The Young Chef's Italian Cookbook. "I was thinking we could try this sometime," he told me as he pointed to a picture of risotto.

So I guess I'll be learning how to cook a few Italian dishes. After all, he made me an offer I can't refuse! ;^)

But Which Password?

Tonight I told the kiddo a little bedtime story (stories usually consist of silly things I did as a kid), and he fell asleep almost immediately. A minute later, he bolted upright and demanded, "Password, please!" He was surprised to hear himself say it, and I asked what he had been dreaming about. He said he'd had a quick little dream that he was working in a parking structure and had to take money from people.

Okay, then. I did get my laugh for the night, though. ;^)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What Would You Do?

My son is in third grade. Yesterday after school, I noticed he had a postage stamp-size hole in the back of his shirt. Upon examination, it was obvious the hole had been deliberately cut, not torn. It was a fairly neat little square.

I wrote what I thought was a neutral, informative note to the kiddo's teacher and sent the shirt to school with the note the next day. When I picked up the kiddo, he told me the teacher had tried to get him to admit that he'd cut the hole himself.


First of all, the kiddo is not destructive. Never has been. Second, the kiddo wouldn't have turned his shirt around in class, or anywhere else, for that matter; this is a kid who doesn't want the world to see even part of his chest. Third, if the kiddo is limber and coordinated and sneaky enough to have cut a square in the center of the back of his shirt, I should sign him up for the circus.

Now I'm annoyed that she spent time telling the kiddo he probably cut the hole himself, and that when SHE was a kid, she colored all over someone's front stoop. So just because SHE was kind of a mischievous kid, she assumes my kid cut the back of his own shirt? For the record, he was genuinely shocked when I initially said it looked like someone had cut his shirt. And I know when this kid is lying, and he wasn't.

So what would you do? Drop it? Write another note? Talk to her in person? For whatever it's worth, I get the impression she has it in for the kiddo this year. This strikes me as WEIRD because he's never had another teacher give him so much trouble. I know he didn't turn into a different kid all of a sudden this school year. Also, this teacher has used other slightly shaming tactics to manage the class.

As I told the kiddo, sometimes you get a teacher or boss you like, and sometimes you get one you don't like, and you have to learn to deal with them no matter what. Still, I'd sort of like to tell off this teacher. I won't do anything nasty, certainly. But you know what I mean.

Expect the Worst and Hope for the Best
(I Always Forget the Second Part)

You guys have GREAT ideas about how to heal chapped skin! I feel like I want to buy all those products and slather the kiddo in them all at once. That would certainly do the trick, wouldn't it? ;^) Thank you so much for all your hugely useful suggestions!

On a different subject, today I saw our custodian and I said, "Hey, yesterday I tried to offer B. sympathy on his mother's passing and I'm afraid I came off as a real douche." (She's the only one at work with whom I can talk this way! Not sure if that's a good thing!) She said that her husband hadn't thought so at all; he'd thought it was nice that I spent time talking with him about his mom at all. I'm still going to touch base with him tomorrow when he comes in, because I am That Way. He's a military guy, and I think a lot of people just assume he's got everything handled. Not that the pastoral staff would avoid comforting him; I think it has more to do with his own expectations, so he's occasionally touched when people treat him with tenderness.

On yet another different subject, I'm grateful for the really nice Blue Shield rep I spoke with today when I called to pay my bill. I couldn't find the number I usually call, so I called the corporate office. Then I had a little identity theft wacko moment and didn't want to give my Social Security number to the guy. (I didn't have my bill handy.) I kind of expected him to be a little impatient with me, but he was cheerful and sweet about it, especially when I made him at least tell me my street name to assure me he was really looking at my records and not just waiting to steal my credit card number. Gee, overly cautious much? Ho-ho, I jest! But not really. It's been one of those days. ;^)