Friday, February 17, 2012

Waiting for the Laundry to do Itself

A truck will be coming around sometime today to collect used items.  We have TONS of clothes.  On Tuesday I forced Roland to clean out the closet with me – as a large percentage of the clothes was/are his. 

He doesn’t like the way his 20–30 white shirts have yellowed, so we put them in a separate pile to be boiled.  When I went through the hamper to find some more whites, I noticed that the hamper was reaching the overflow stage and figured I should do something about it.

          Normally I wait until Roland leaves before I sort the clothes – not to crowd him out while I am sorting.  It is actually best if everyone has left already and I have the entire house to myself.  Only I have been leaving the house, too.  I have been tending to my mom and sister and have forgotten all about the laundry. 

          Laundry is not even that big of a deal, really.  You sort the clothes. You put them in the machine.  You add soap and turn the machine on.  The machine does most of the work. 
          Then there’s the hanging or dryer.  Hanging does require more work.  But if the sun is out, it makes whites whiter.  It will usually dry a lot quicker than the dryer.  And it is less costly.

          Many people don’t like to fold.  I don’t mind it.  In fact, I think of any household chore, I enjoy folding the most.  You can sit while you are folding.  Make stacks of clothes for each bedroom and the towels separated into three piles of full size, wash cloth and kitchen.

          Then comes the part that I most dread.  Putting the folded clothes away.
          The boys have always done their own laundry, but sometimes fail to remove from the dryer.  And as I didn’t ever know who they belonged to could not put them away any further than the laundry room – although it didn’t take me long to figure it out.  Still I would just put the laundry by their bedroom doors and let each decide for himself where the clothes went.

 I try the same thing with Jenna. All of her drawers are labeled.  She is great at wanting to assist in the kitchen and bathroom. But when it comes to putting clothes, she has got to be one of the laziest people ever.  She will put clean clothes in the hamper just to avoid putting them away – even if it is something she’s had on her body long enough just to try it on.  Come on! 

She doesn’t have any problem when I hand her a stack of folded kitchen towels and ask her to put them away.  How can I motivate my child to want to pick up after herself?  Any suggestions?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mr. Ruthless

          Everyday school crossing guards put their lives on the line – whether intentional or not. With the guard at Jenna’s school it is intentional.  Oh, sure,  there is more than one crossing guard, but Mr. Ruthless is stationed at the main street populated with cars and drivers with led feet.

          Drivers might not respect Mr. Ruthless, but I think as I parent I would feel honored to have him as Jenna’s crossing guard (if we were near enough to go on foot) but because my usual route is to drop her off behind the school,  my encounters with Mr. Ruthless have been brief.

          Mr. Ruthless is one who will intentionally put his life on the line.  I am floored whenever I see it happen.  And yet I can’t help feeling a sense of pride that he is seriously willing to lay down his life for our children.  He will walk out into the street and stop as he faces the oncoming traffic with a challenge to either slow down or be sent to prison for plowing him down. He also keeps a pad of paper handy to write down the license plates of anyone going over 20 mph.

          I don’t know if he lost somebody personally due to speed.  My guess is he has.  Or else he is a retired police officer who has just seen too much pain cause by drivers who may never slow down.  He is a good man to have on your team – so long as you are working with him.  But cross him and he becomes your deadly opponent – not in a physical way – but with a vengeance that almost makes you wish that you were.

          At the end of each year, the teachers are honored.  The PTA (or PTO) creates an environment to show respect and appreciation.  I don’t think they have a crossing guard day.  And not everybody has a need for the crossing guard.  But how extremely blessed we are to have crossing guards who will keep our children safe – especially the ones like Mr. Ruthless – who even though can swear provocatively as the speeding drivers and raise his fists and occasionally hit the moving cars with his fists or whatever.  It’s obvious that he knows his priorities and is watching out for our children’s welfare. 

Thank you Mr. Ruthless.  And thank you to all who keep our children safe.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thoughts on wellness (unwellness rather)

          I used to think that a sore throat was the absolute worse.  I would rather have a headache, a backache, nausea, or sinus infection rather than a sore throat.  Or so I thought. A sore throat never made me disoriented.

Have you ever seen the movie Innerspace?  As the story unfolds, we learn that Dennis Quade’s character has agreed to being shrunk and injected into the body of a rabbit.  But due to circumstances beyond his control, he is inserted into Martin Short’s body by mistake.

          In order for him to see what Martin Short is seeing, DQ lands his vessel onto the optical nerve and then clamps on the seeing device tool.  On his initial land, MS experiences irritation.  Something is bugging him just behind the eye.  But then comes the clamp.  MS screams out in pain. 

          I have felt that pain.  It’s really quite excruciating.  Oh, no.  I don’t claim to have a little man inside of my body putting pressure on my eyes – I’m 99% certain that it’s mucus that’s causing the pain.  It hurts so much I feel like crying – only I won’t because that only makes it hurt even more.

          I had gone to the doctor last month as “over-the-counter” wasn’t taking care of it.  The pain was in my left eye and by the time I was able to get into the doctor, the infection had spread into my ear as well.

          I was given an antibiotic with the worse side effects ever.  If I wasn’t on the toilet I was over the toilet questioning whether the drugs were actually in my body long enough to do anything other than make me even sicker.

After a while it appeared that I had been beaten as there were major dark circles under my eye and much redness under my left eye that looked like it may form into a bruise. I usually felt much worse than I looked.

          Dishes and laundry had built up during my stay-in-bed.  Water pressure is the pits.  I can do dishes or laundry.  And I felt so weak and disoriented – I could only do five dishes at a time – if that.  So often I would stand and feel dizzy and unbalanced that very little gets accomplished.

My diet consisted of Jell-O and Yogurt – not consciously – it just seemed to be all I could hold down – if I indeed could hold it down.  Sometimes just the idea of eating something I ordinarily love makes me gag. When God passed out sensitive stomachs and high gag reflexes, Jenna and I were first in line
I have worn glasses for half of my life now.  During the two weeks I was sick I did not use them – my vision was distorted either way.  But I have come to the conclusion that I have to wear them ALL the time as I believe it is contributing to my soreness.  Maybe.

I have gone over this post several times – still disoriented.  Still not satisfied with how it sounds.  It’s been over a month.  I have actually seen two doctors since then. 

I was given a complete physical with one.  I was also given a clean bill of health.  The other was an obstetrician – who for the first time in my life was able to explain my unkeen sense of vision.  I have a small case of Keratoconus – which I shouldn’t concern myself with too much.  My brother, Corey, had to have a cornea transplant with his Keratoconus and so did actor Mandy Patinkin.  But at this stage it doesn’t appear that surgery will be needed.  So that’s nice.
          I also have “weird shaped” eyes that won’t allow in the amount of light needed for one to see properly.  Because of their weird shape I can never be qualified for laser surgery – and so even maybe someday if/when I should able to afford it, it can never take place.  I will always have strained vision.
          Fortunately my eyes seem to work the opposite way.  I think I am near sighted in one and far sighted in the other.  So they still seem to work well together.  Except for I’ve had eye pain in my right eye this week.  Grrrr . . .
          But I am grateful to hear that I won’t need a transplant as of now.  And I am grateful for my what vision I do have.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde or Sybil

For those readers who may not recognize any of the names in the title, let me introduce you to a very brief history. 

The character of Dr. Jekyll was created before 1931.  He was a lab scientist who used himself as a guinea pig to test a potion which he had created.  I don’t recall what it is the potion was supposed to do, but as a result of his taking the potion, Dr. Jekyll would take on another – much darker – personality that was not the same as the one most people were familiar with.

His alter ego became known as Mr. Hyde.  So even though Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were theoretically the same person – sharing the same physical identity (or body I guess) the personalities were very different.  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is science fiction.

Shirley Ardel Mason (1923 – 1998) was an actual person.  She’d been both physically and mentally abused by her mother.  Shirley had gone to psychiatrist Dr. Cornelia Wilbur in the 1950’s as there were some large pieces of her life that she seemed to miss out on due to black outs. 

It took eleven years for Dr. Wilbur to meet all of the personalities that would take over during Shirley’s blackouts.  It is said that there were sixteen of them.  They all had different names and different characteristics.  Many of the personalities knew of the others, but Shirley was not aware of any until Dr. Wilbur pointed it out to her.

In 1973 Flora Rheta Schreiber wrote a book based upon Shirley’s pshycological studies.  The book introduced the character Sybil Dorsett whose background and therapeutic studies was the same as Shirley’s.  The name had been changed to protect Shirley’s identity.  And in 1976 Sally Field portrayed her in the movie “Sybil”.

There are some who don’t believe in Multiple Personality Disorder (now known as Disassociative Identity Disorder) while others do.  I choose to believe.  I think there are different degrees in which personalities are displayed.  And there are variations of what may trigger these unusual out-of-character traits.

We all have moods and often seem to take on personalities unlike our normal selves due to drugs, alcohol, medicated side effects or lack of medication, aging, changes in our eating habits, health, witnessing or victims of some horrific action.  The list goes on and on.  In many cases the self personality may be controlled or sometimes it may seem quite doubtful that a person may ever return to normal again. 

I remember my mom as a woman who never wanted to take medication – even something as simple as asprin.  She was not one who would ever become drug dependant.  Or so was her wish.  She now has at least seven different prescribed medications that she takes for her diabetis, cholesterol, dementia and some other things.  And when she skips her medication or doesn’t watch what she eats, another personality seems to takes over.

I suppose my mood swings are very different during that time of the month, when my hormones are out of wack, when I go from being Dr. Jekyll to becoming Mrs. Hyde.  A lot of women go through that.  It isn’t refered to as a personality disorder though – and yet there seems to be at least two distinct personalities throughout the month.

I had a sinus infection during the month of December.  I also took meds with a nasty side effect that left me wanting to deal with the sinus infection instead.  I was loopy for much of the month.  I might as well have been in a coma.  Actually, that would have been preferable.

I have seen at least two distinctive personalities with my mom. There appears to be happy drunkard take over when she is not coherent.  And yet she sincerely believes in every detail she relates – like the time she drove downtown to see the forrest – there is no forest downtown – nor is there a dungeon.  But she truly believes in it – or did.  She may have forgotten it now.  I haven’t.

When I visit my mom I am usually with a woman who is a bit disoriented, who often is on a mission to spend her money, and doesn’t believe she has any problems whatsoever.  If she does have a problem, it is because someone else is “against her”. Sometimes she will acknowledge that she takes meds and is aging. But more often than not, I see a much different personality than does my sister-in-law.

When she is with my sister-in-law, my mom seems more put together.  They talk about mom’s desires for becoming independent.  My mom will share memories with my sister-in-law.  There are no memories when I am with her.  She doesn’t remember – or else she’ll be misinformed. Therefore we have painted two entirely different pictures of my mom’s condition. 

But then I suppose the same could be said about me – depending on who you are and how often we visit.  I have mood swings.  I have triggers.  I don’t have blackouts that have made me wonder when a transition may have occurred.  Mood swings are different from multiple personalities.  It’s just often it seems that these moods bring on a personality that is entirely their own.

Today I had the opportunity of taking my 1 ½ year old neice to visit my mom.  My mom loves my niece.  She got on the floor and played with her.  They teased each other.  I saw my mom from a much different perspective than I have seen her for some time actually.  Probably not since my brother’s kids were little.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Dollar's worth of Stories

Jenna does like to fold laundry, do dishes, sweep, mop.  She even likes to clean the bathtub and scrub the toilet.  But it is ever so painful to get her to clean up after herself – usually when her stuff is scattered all over the living room or her own bedroom.  That is the worst. 

I just don’t know what incentive to use to get her motivated.  I’ve tried everything – rewards when she does it, removing items when she doesn’t. We honestly have more of her belongings out in the shed than we do in her room.
Getting her to practice her handwriting has been a big chore as well.  She’ll draw, read, study, tell stories and play learning games.  But getting her to write anything (or print in her case) is on ongoing battle.

She is competitive.  When the school was invited to participate in a handwriting contest, she came home all excited – and I thought “great – incentive” I’m afraid it didn’t last.  It was still a huge struggle.

But this weekend she asked, “Mom, what can I do to earn money?”

She had recently told me a story that I had asked her to write down.  I told her that I would pay her a quarter for each story she could write.  It has to be written.  Yes, you can draw a picture to go WITH the story but not in place of. It was still a struggle.  But finally she gave in.

I have corrected her spelling and inserted missing words [in brackets] and added punctuation.  But here’s what we have so far (minus the story I am still waiting for her to put on paper)


Once upon a time dinosaurs roamed the earth.  One dinosaur loved to play.  His name was Ale.  Ale also loved to explore and one day he got into a fight with his best friend.  But they got along and since then scientists thought dinosaurs were mean.  But they’re not.


          Once upon a time there lived a king.  He was worried about his daughter, Anastasia (but everyone called her Ana) and she had a huge imagination and it continued to grow.  The king was worried because she had to marry soon but she did not know who to choose.
And the queen, well she was not worried.  She was fine.  So they had a ball and she chose her groom and they got married and . . .
Ten years later a daughter was born and they lived happily ever after.


          Once upon a time in a [small town] there lived pleasant folks who used positive words.  Then one [day] a stranger walked in and he used negative words.  The sheriff and the stranger had a conflict.  If the stranger won then he would have the sheriff’s star.  If the sheriff won, the stranger would have to leave town.  Fortunately the sheriff won.  But then the stranger said a positive word and all was peaceful.


          Once upon a time a girl went to mars and met some aliens.  And they treated her like a queen.  All was pleasant until one afternoon* a robot marched in and [said], “I’m hungry.  Feed me.” 
          The queen was startled and made the aliens get food.  He kept* on coming.
One day the queen said, “Why don’t you stay with us instead of making all those trips?”
And since then all was peaceful on Mars.

*original words: p.m. and keeped.  She chose p.m. as it was easier to spell.

 As a bonus, she wrote a poem inside her drawing of a mountain:

A mighty
Girl climed up
A mighty mountain
But she was [brave] and
Didn’t panic. She climbed the
Top.  Hooray! But up on top lived
A witch but she thought up a plan.
Hooray!  It worked.  The witch is dead
and the kids are back to normal

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Quiet Tree

          “My dad reminded me of a tree – always present, steady and strong, but silent and still.  A person has to notice the tree.  It’s not going to make a big fuss over a person.  It will just quietly make a shady spot and keep it there day after day until someone needs it.  I loved my dad.  He loved me.
- from Palace Beautiful by Sara DeFord Williams

          As I read these words I thought of my own dad who would silently support us from behind the stage – never wanting to be in the limelight himself.  He may not have been as mighty as an oak – for an oak tree stands out.  An oak tree gets noticed.

          My dad was noticed by some – many who admired his quiet strength.  And yet there were many who really hadn’t noticed that he was there – because he was so quiet.  Because he never made a production of himself.  Just went about his business and fulfilled his obligations, callings and assignments with very little voice.

          He was a pillar.  He is the one who would wait up until everyone was home.  He is the one who added structure to our lives.  I miss my father very much. 

          Corey wrote a poem about my dad – we played the recorded poem at my dad’s funeral.  Later, Cory created music to go along with the poem.  With Corey’s permission I would like to post that to my Blog:

Knights who fight dragons,
Soldiers who fight wars,
Explorers who tread jungles and such
Have nothing to boast of;
They've nothing on
The hero that I love so much.
Men who climb mountains
Or cross the stormy seas,
Men who lift tremendous weights
With the greatest of ease;
There is no comparison

Among any of these.
My hero matches them all.
The others fall.
My dear hero,
How I miss you.
You and I are worlds away.
Did you know that
You're my hero.
It's the "verité." (Truth)
You never did anything especially noteworthy.
Your name was never in the news.
Flocks of people never hounded you for your autograph.
You never sang the blues.
You never won a Nobel Peace Prize,
A Grammy, or a medal of gold.
You never appeared on Johnny Carson.
You never fought blizzards of cold.
You were never on the front lines of Vietnam.
You were never Prince Charming at the ball.
You were never ruler of the universe,
But your my greatest hero of all.

I love you,
Not for your massive feats,
But for the simple things you did.
You climbed the highest mountains.
You waged the strongest wars.
You won the greatest battles.
For you, Dad, my heart soars.
Your courage, your endurance,
Your patience through the pain
Have shown me the example.
Of you I can't complain.
For you're my admiration.
Now all is said and done.
I love you, my father.
Your son

I am so grateful for the opportunity of having known my dad, and for the example he set for everyone who knew him.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fortunately it tasted much better than it looked

          I admire those who have the talent of decorating cakes which appeal to the eye.  I have seen waterfalls cascading over islands, mermaids swimming in a lagoon, realistic looking animals and mighty castles.  I have a hard time just getting a cake to look like a cake.

          I don’t claim ever having made a cake from scratch.  It’s quite satisfying just to know that I can do it from the box.  It’s always a surprise to the family when they learn that it was me and not Roland who made it.  But usually the presentation alone tells you which one of us made it.

          I greased the pans I used for the last cake I made.  I greased them rather well, I thought.  But neither came out terrifically smooth.  One broke in the process.
          I made Roland’s wonderful frosting – which actually turned out better than his last two frostings had.  I was quite excited about that, as it just really does not happen all that often.

          It was a very ugly cake.  I think Jenna would have done a better job with it but she wasn’t even here to help me. I made the entire meal all by myself. The entire cake had been devoured by the next morning. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Beagle Juice

        I did not understand that when dogs barked at Houdini (first family dog), it was only because they wanted to play or sniff each other out.  But with Houdini, his was a mission to find his boys.  He managed to ignore every snide remark and pick up line that every dog may have barked to him.  He just kept his eyes ahead and moved at a steady pace. Didn’t even acknowledge the other dogs.

Highness (our current dog) walks with his nose to the ground – searching for a long lost friend (we think) and will sniff out other dogs and decide that’s not the one he’s looking for and will move on.  Generally if I allow Highness and the dog behind the fence to sniff one another, things are cool and the barking generally stops.  Not always.

          There have actually been a few mean dogs.  MEAN.  They grow extra fangs right in front of us and growl as they bare their new sprouted teeth looking as though they will bite off Highness’ nose.  But don’t mess with Highness!

          Realistically, Highness is quite a good natured dog.  He yowls occasionally, but for the most part he is just a quiet, often lazy dog.  But when another dog continues to growl and bark at him and really isn’t being nice,  Highness will just lift his leg up and mark his territory right on the other dog’s face.

          For my own wicked reasons I am generally amused – sometimes feeling envy.  Not that I’d want to urinate in the face of another – be it human or another animal.  It just would be nice for those occasional irritating moments to squirt some sense into the face of another to symbolically say, “Who do you think you are?”  “Don’t even think of messing with me;  I am NOT  one to be messed with” etc.

          Long before we got Highness – perhaps at a time when we were dogless – I was taking a walk to relieve some tension that had been building up inside of me.  I have an idea of what I may have been stressed about at the time, but it really has no relevance to what I’d like to convey at this time.

          The point is I was already not in the greatest of moods.  I had walked past a house where a pit bull had run out to torment me with its barking and populating fangs.  Normally I am actually quite cautious of dogs and not a violent person, but I already had a bitter anger inside of me.  The dog’s actions allowed me to add fuel to the fire and I kicked him.  I kicked him hard.

          It is mind boggling when I look back upon it.  I have never been athletic.  NEVER had great eye/hand (or foot) coordination.  I don’t know how I was able to kick him as hard as I did – or that I was able to kick him at all.  I had injured him – I don’t know to what degree.  I was angry.  He had started it.  I was just minding my own business, trying to relieve some stress when this high and mighty literally went out of his way to start barking at me.  What business was it of his anyway? 

          How nice it would have been just to rationalize with him.  He wouldn’t have gotten hurt if I had had some kind of squirter – some kind of Beagle juice to throw into his face.  And yet I wonder, if it weren’t for the fences would the dogs become more provoked and actually eat my Highness?  Only one out of three dogs was actually bigger than Highness (maybe twice as big) while the other little yappers have been so much smaller. 

          What is up with small dogs who are so unpleasant?  I mean, think about it.  Why would such a small creature provoke one who is obviously four to eight times its size.  Doesn’t it realize that the larger one could sit or step on it and crush it?  The pit bull for example – much smaller than me – though larger than my foot.  Duh?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chocolate milk to die for

          BYU Creamery makes the BEST chocolate milk.  I don’t know why it always tastes richer and more succulent than any other chocolate milk product.  But it does.
          I do not believe it is sold to the public as many name brand dairy products.  The items are distributed to the school, the missionary training center, the LDS temple and bishop’s storehouse to name a few.  Those who have gone to BYU or the MTC or have been recipients of the Church welfare program may know what I’m talking about – for it is the students and faculty in the Provo area who are the more fortunate to experience this luxury.

          It has been a while, but there was a time when I had the privilege of bringing home two gallons of the rich, succulent chocolate milk to my family – though Biff said he never had any. He doesn’t know that he is really missing out.  Even Roland noticed the difference – and he is definitely NOT a name brand snob.
As I continued to indulge much more than I should,  I thought, “You know, it probably is a good thing I don’t have easy access to BYU Creamery’s milk products” as I have found it rather addicting and would become even wider than I already am.  If I lived in the Provo area I think I would be drinking chocolate milk ALL of the time.

          I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had to sample some of the BYU Creamery’s wonderful products.  Especially the chocolate milk.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Recently I made a scrapbook page of Jenna posed with various dogs. They have all been good dogs – except one.  Our first dog ran away before I had even learned that I was pregnant with Jenna.  Houdini was our favorite dog.

I had worked with a women who was a humanitarian and on a mission to save all animals – dogs in particular.  She asked me if I’d be willing to take a dog.  And the boys had always wanted one – and finally we had the room.  We went to take a look at the dog before we moved to the house I had just purchased.

My boys commented that the dog was fat.  They were more interested in the dog’s sister (who was not available for the taking)  apparently a fat dog was better than no dog.  I told my co-worker we’d take it – but first she’d have to wait for us to move into our house before she brought the dog.  But actually the dog was brought to us on first day of the move – so we hadn’t actually settled in yet.

Houdini was an overweight borderline collie/Australian shepherd – who when shaved of all of his hair looked like he could be part greyhound. A board was used to block the entrance from the driveway to the backyard.  It was only because of his weight that Houdini was unable to escape. 
Once the boys slimmed him down, Houdini would make escapes from the yard as he often went in search of the boys.  That’s not the real name that our dog answered to, for he had been given a name already long before he came to us. But it is the name we would have given him had he not already come with one.  And actually what we had called him that when we make reference to him.

 Houdini was a larger dog and any gaps that we could find in the yard seemed much too small for his body to slide through. And yet he was always making these astounding escapes that would make us scratch our heads.

Our boys were out of town and we left Houdini with a sitter while we went to meet the boys.  Houdini made his escape and was never rescued.  The sitter felt bad, though I assured her that it wasn’t her fault.  I had warned her about Houdini - but there are some things that some people don't take upon face value - and she may have ended up even more floored than we were.

My oldest son asked if I was pregnant.  At the time I didn’t realize that I was.  But I suspect Houdini knew.  It was after Houdini was gone that I understood why he had been sticking so close to me.

We didn’t get our second dog until after Jenna was born.  Roland had wanted to get a dog that could protect me and Jenna while he was away.  And we’d gone to animal shelters in search of something – nothing specific in mind.  

We happened to be at the pound when Roland received a phone call from a business partner who inquired about the background noise.  By coincidence he had a dog and a newborn though he didn’t seem to have room for both and perhaps we’d be interested in taking his dog? So we went to check her out.

Daisy – our only female dog.  Also fat.  Sweet. Not too bright – reminded me of Odie (from the Garfield comic strips) – she was actually younger than I had thought.  Such a lazy dog for still being a puppy – though she was an awfully big puppy. 

Lab mix with a what looked like a St. Bernard head –or so thought my oldest son and me.  St. Bernard’s are big dogs, though I suppose she could have been part horse. But she did not seem to offer any protection for us – oh, her size alone would throw off a few people.  But overall she was not a threat.  She was a homebody.  Never wandered off to explore the way the rest of our dogs have done.

Houdini had always hidden from the noise of the fireworks – where Daisy would literally stand on top of them.  Crazy dog.  Lazy Crazy Daisy.  Sometimes I think that’s why her previous owners named her so.  Rhymed with some of her characteristics.

All three boys were in high school – busier than they had been with Houdini.  Daisy still wasn’t getting the attention she deserved. Jenna was my priority – not Daisy.  Two years after we got her we learned her previous owners had been looking around for another dog.  We gave Daisy back to them. Evidently they had learned to make time for her as they had slimmed her down so much she literally looked like another dog.

And then there’s Patches a Great Pyrenees.  I don’t actually consider Patches to be a family dog.  He was the only dog that came into our family as a puppy.  He was a Christmas gift to my eldest son from his then girlfriend – who assured us that he would not become too large of a dog.  She must have been comparing it to a grizzly bear. 

It actually took him a while to come up with a name for the few week old puppy. Originally our son had come up with Patch – but his girlfriend had dated a guy who’d gone by Patch and didn’t want the reminders – but Jenna had already started calling the dog “Patches” and that is what I called him – until he ran away.

I don’t remember how long he was gone before my son and his girlfriend found him and returned him to our house.  By then most of his “patches” had seemed to disappear and we referred to him as “Buddy” which is the name my son had finally settled on.  Though neither Jenna nor I considered him to be our “buddy”  What a disobedient dog.

My son has always loved horse sized dogs and actually had that with Buddy as he continued to grow and grow and eat and eat and grow some more.  I remember my brother looking out the window three months after Christmas, asking if that was our dog.  I said yes – though Buddy was just a puppy.  My brother looked again and said, “That ain’t no puppy”

Seems like our oldest son was spending his entire paycheck on Buddy.  First with a dog house that Buddy would never go into – not even when he was puppy sized.  He was a weird dog – always buried beneath the boards which leaned against our house.  We could always find him there when it was raining – but loved the snow.  Our youngest son tried building him a larger house from the boards he used as shelter – Buddy wouldn’t use that either.

Jenna learned to love the dog house.  When Buddy went through his “chewing” stage, Jenna hid all her toys in the doghouse knowing that they would be protected as the dog would never go in.  I thought that was really quite clever of her.

I thought it would be great for her to have a companion – until he got too big for her – still playing like a puppy but outweighing Jenna and pushing her down (which she didn’t like) and actually turned out to be longer than my oldest son. 

Buddy wanted to play 24/7.  He was always barking.  My son would often keep Buddy in his room at night so the neighbors wouldn’t complain – but even if he was inside the house, the neighbors would still blame any barking noise on his dog.

Biff tried.  He really did.  But though he had time for a normal dog – he didn’t have time for an undisciplined puppy. On the first week of October, my son’s girlfriend (who had broken off the girlfriend/boyfriend thing and asked for a more platonic relationship; we’d see her just as often – but I think she came to our house just see Buddy and not so much for Biff) took Buddy back to her home (which was in another county)  We never saw either one of them again.

          Buddy was the only puppy.  Never doing that again.

          The economy has been unkind to so many people.  We lost our house and were forced to move to a much smaller house in another city.  Jenna has always had a lot of friends but seems a lot more challenged in the current city were we presently reside.

Two years after we moved in, we went dog shopping again.  This time we brought home an older dog whose previous owner discovered health issues on her part that made it difficult for her to take care of her dog anymore. 

And it’s not as though Highness (not his given name – but seems to fit as he seems to be under the impression that he is prince or king of our domain; very high maintenance) doesn’t demand much time – although he does enjoy going for walks.

I truly believe his last owner tied a bib around his neck and allowed him to sit at the dinner table with her. What a finicky eater.  I don’t know who is more finicky – Highness or Jenna.  If I did not know better I would think Highness was/is a cat.

          Highness (a beagle) seems to be a cross between Houdini and Daisy.  Not quite as active as Houdini – but sweet – very sweet.  And naps almost as much as Daisy did.  We all enjoy Highness’s company.  Even my oldest son who would still like a horse sized dog is happy with our actually smallest dog. 

          My scrapbook page also includes Max and Bear.  Max, who we see on occasion outside the library and Bear who belongs to our hairdresser.  Both dogs are bigger than Jenna – but not puppies who don’t know their own strength.  Jenna has enjoyed playing with both.  Often both she and my oldest son wish Highness was more active – but I’m happy with him the way he is – and I’m the one who spends the most time with him.  Jenna loves him, too.