Sunday, March 30, 2008

Saturday morning. "I'll just look." That is what I told myself on the trip to the SPCA. Sure. The organization holds open house on the weekends. I had free time. I'll just look. There were the two dogs I saw on Lil' Red was in the cage on the end. He's a beautiful Pom. The worker who escorted me around, told me Lil' Red didn't like other dogs. He's a one person dog. If I took the Pom, then my social life would dwindle to nothing. I could not take my dog to my daughters to be dog sat. Red would not get along with the other animals in the family. Scratch Red. Staff seems to know their animals as individuals.
Next to Red is Buttercup. It is a female Pom. She is just as beautiful as Red. The worker gets her out of the cage and brings Buttercup to me. Buttercup is a nervous wreck. All the people visiting are making a lot of noise. Buttercup doesn't know them and she is slow to warm up to strangers. I put my hand to Buttercup's nose so she can smell my scent....You're supposed to do that. Buttercup snapped at me. Her message is ,"I don't want anything to do with this process. Keep away." Scratch Buttercup.
The SPCA worker (or volunteer) showed me Lucky. This dog looks very much like my lovely Rascal. Lucky is a Papillon. As I approach Lucky's cage, I am warned that Lucky isn't very social yet. The sign on the cage says, "Don't put fingers in the cage." OK. I don't. Scratch Lucky.
What do I do now? The worker's name is Allison. Allison says they have other small dogs...Bichon, rat terriers.... What 's a rat terrier? I like terriers. Kanga was a terrier. Allison has a favorite one. The dog's name is Gidget. What a stupid name. Allison says, "Gidget, the midget."
Gidget is a mostly black dog with some white socks and a little brown thrown in to make her interesting. She is the right size to travel in my truck...about the size of a large cat. Best of all, she is calm. Gidget watches all the activity around her with interest. Allison brings her out on a leash. Gidget is alert and social. The staff seem to love her, but why was she not adopted? Because she has a hot spot on her back. She has a bare spot of fur. This is the SPCA, remember. They are rescuing dogs that no one wants. They're not perfect animals.
Gidget came either from Puerto Rico or from Georgia. No one knows her background. I can see that she once had a family. She is neat in her cage, pays attention to humans and knows some basic commands. She seems to be about four or five years old.
Gidget had some health problems, but the vet cleared them up. She had worms and maybe round worms on her skin. Poor dog. What kind of life did you have? In spite of it all, her temperment is wonderful. She is a loving little companion dog.
First stop will be to my veternarian to check the hot spot. My guess is she has an allergy. Diet and medication can fix her up. I'll take her.
After filling out the paper work and writing the check, Allison brings Gidget to my truck. Gidget jumps out of Allison's hands to leap into the truck. It seems that Gidget knows riding in the truck is a fun thing for a dog.
First stop was to my vet to make an appointment. She goes in first thing Monday morning.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

When Rascal's heart stopped on the operating table, my heart broke too. She was such a strong part of the family. She left a big hole in our lives when she died. Lovely little dog of mine. I said I would look for another dog in the spring. This will give me time to grieve for Rascal...and to clean out the dog hair in the truck.
It is spring and time to go dog looking. Once I bought a pedigree dog from the local pet store. My girlfriend raked me over the coals for doing that. I was contributing to the puppy mills...poor dogs. It turned out she was right. The dog had mange from her mother. It took a law suit to get the company to pay for the medical bills to clean up the condition. No more pet stores for me.
The next step was to decide what kind of a dog will fit into my lifestyle. It is decided that a dog weighting about 20 pounds is the right size. If they are any smaller, I would be afraid I would step on it. A larger dog will be too big to ride in the truck.
There is a website called This website lists dogs for adoption from animal control facilities all over the United States. I narrowed my search to Connecticut.
In the town next to my town, the animal control department advertised a lovely Pomeranian female. Rascal was part Pom. I think I will look at this dog.
My friend who blasted me about my pedigreed dog, helped me find the pound. It was good Friday. The pound will be closed, but I can drive the route to be sure I know where it is. I find it. On the door, are the days open and the hours. I am up to the door to write down the hours, when the door opens. The facility is closed to the public, but staff is there to clean cages and to feed the animals.
"Is the Pom still available for adoption," I ask? Yes, she is. "Can I see her?" "Sure".
Trixie has been advertised for some time. Why was she not adopted sooner? Because she is a barker.
The staff person disappears into the building.
Less than one minute later, another lady appears to tell me that Trixie is taken.
Wait a minute. It is Good Friday. The facility is closed to the public. How could someone get here sooner than I? My guess is that Trixie was at the pound long enough for a staff person to get to like her. I bet Trixie goes home with a staff person. At least Trixie has a home with someone who loves her.
Strike one.
At home: On the computer: I fill out an application for another female Pomeranian This little gal is sponsored by Pom Rescue. I bet Princess is at some one's home and not in a kennel. I think I am a good candidate to rescue a little Pom who has lost an eye. Who else would want a dog with a disability? One of the questions on the application is: Will the dog have the full run of the house? I answer truthfully that she will not be allowed upstairs because I have new carpet installed.
Within a few minutes, I get a return email from Pom rescue. I have been rejected because Princess likes to sleep on the big bed! I think the world of people who commit their time and effort into rescuing animals. I also think that some of them have a few screws loose. I am retired and would spend a lot of time paying attention to this little girl. I think Pom rescue made a mistake. In the meantime, I remain dog less. Strike two.
I wonder what is available at the SPCA?


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter was fun. I spent the weekend with my daughter and her family. Don and I spent all of Saturday shopping for groceries. We stuffed the refrigerator and the freezer. Then, We all went out to our favorite restaurant. There was twice as much food as I could eat in a meal....and should not eat in a meal. Most of my dinner went into a take out box. The truck was so cold, the food stayed fresh without benefit of Beth's refrigerator.
Anthony spent Easter morning with us. Later both Anthony and Robert went to their other grandmothers for Easter dinner. Don did the cooking at Beth's house because he likes to cook. We ate the traditional ham with potatoes and vegetables. We were so full of food, no one wanted dessert.
What to do with the rest of the day? We went to the movies to see The Bank Job. It was a fascinating movie with far more implications than a simple bank robbery. I will let you see the movie for yourself and not tell you how it ends. I will say that I was satisfied with the ending.
My plan was to drive home on Monday, but Ginny and Frank wanted me to spent the day, so I did. Us retirees don't have to worry about work schedules any more. Ginny and I knitted while watching TV....knitting is an activity We both enjoy. Ginny knits mittens and hats for charity. I like it that my long time friend is still making a volunteer contribution for our community. Frank is active, too. They are all ways busy. I am knitting a sweater in navy blue. Ginny and I discussed various ways of casting stitches on. I don't like my method very well and I don't understand Ginny's. Guess this means I need a knitting lesson.
After dinner, We watched a DVD movie and I went to bed in their guest room. How nice that old friends are really glad to see me. I feel the same way about them.
Some sad news: I lived in the old neighborhood for 20 years. Many of the same neighbors still live there. We are all getting older. Two of my neighbors have Alzheimer's disease and a third is deceased. He is my age. This is getting close to ...what? dying?
The old neighborhood is a tract. Most of the houses are a variation on one or two floor plans. We all had Youngstown Kitchen cabinets. Ginny and Frank redid their kitchen years ago, but some of their old cabinets are still in the house. My friends gave me their cabinets. Hurray. I have more cabinets to take home and to install in my kitchen. One of them is a base cabinet. This project is getting closer to completion. When it is done, I will remember the good people who were part of the project. I will see Ginny and Frank in memory every time I look at their cabinets now installed in my kitchen, refinished at the local auto body shop.
The question now is, where will Frank put all his tools, now that I have the cabinets He was using? Frank says not to worry.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

You heard, no doubt, to "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver. The". By good luck, I've connected to a friend from the old neighborhood. It is such fun to remember the old days. The neighborhood is much changed, but it remains the same in memory. We are all little kids again, riding bikes, roller skating on the street, writing on the sidewalk with chalk.
L. sent me this article from The Buffalo Evening News. The article was written 9/19/89 by Marge Theilman Hastreiter.
THE SUCKERS--Cinnamon, lemon, butterscotch, nut, sticky, good, some for taking home.
THE WAFFLES--Hot, powdered sugar dropping onto our clothes.
THE LOGANBERRY--Cold, thirst-quenching, making a purple moustache.
THE FRENCH FRIES--Salty, soaked in vinegar, whetting our appetite for more.
THE MEMORIES--Many, good, leaving an indelible mark on our minds.
We were filled with anticipation for many days before our annual outing at Crystal Beach. A picnic basket would be packed and we would take a bus which dropped us off at a location with lots of old buildings and docks. We stood behind a big gate and waited anxiously for it to open. Finally, the crowd surged forward and we crossed the gangplank and you had to walk through one to get to the other with the water dark and deep below. Everybody jockeyed for the best seat from which to enjoy the cruise.
We disembarked at a huge concrete dock, the beach on the left and the amusements on the right. No one walked, everyone ran, it seemed, to the picnic area. We placed our baskets on the table and covered them with a table cloth. That was our spot and we would come back to that numbered area at a certain time.
Our money in hand, we stood impatiently at the ticket booths and then scattered to our favorite rides. Mine was the Merry-Go-Round. It was the most beautiful, white and gold with many lights, and besides the fancily garbed horses there were lions and tigers and wolves. Up and down, around and around.
Others headed for the Comet, a one-of-a-king roller coaster, descending, it seemed, into the lake itself. I was on it twice and no amount of coaxing could ever get me back on. Same for the yellow coaster.
I could always be talked into the Magic Carpet, although I disliked the dizzying mirrored and slanted rooms. The shot of air surprised us girls in skirts. The carpet ride at the end made the trek through worthwhile.
A laugh in the ark gave us Popeye, a spider, a locomotive heading right for the car. The sudden twists and turns and loud noises was a thrill.
There used to be a Tunnel of Love, although when I got old enough to appreciate it, it was replaced by drive-it-yourself cars.
I screamed until they let me off the Ferris Wheel. I don't know if it was the height or the swinging of the seats, but I definitely did not like the sensation.
The Bumper Cars were my all-time favorite, but I didn't realize it until I was there with my children and saw the looks on their faces as they came full speed ahead into Mom.
The Wild Mouse or the Black Spider or any spinning rides were not for me although I did try the Caterpillar once and even if the car did go around in a circle, the thrill was getting covered with the big green coiled cloth.
Kiddyland, brightly painted, with the little roller coaster, boats, motorcycles was perfect for the tiny tots. There were many smiles on parents' faces as they watched their children having fun.
The trees, the huge trees, stood in front of the concession stands, their roots breaking the concrete and blacktop around, shading those who chose to eat at the outside picnic tables. The big inside area meant many tables and benches, a refuge in a sudden rain storm, the condiment shelves attracting a few pesky flies.
Many enjoyed the day resting on the quiet beach and running against the gentle waves.
The Dance Hall, used in the day for roller skating, changed at night. All the big bands appeared and couples danced to their favorite tunes.
At the games of chance--break a balloon with a dart, pick the floating duck with the winning number, toss a ring around a bottle--the prize was small, inexpensive and the fun was in the trying.
Flowers were planted everywhere.
I'm not sure when the downfall began.
Was it when the beautiful Chrystal Beach boat stopped running? When someone stole my picnic basket that was placed in the numbered grove?
When they replaced the magic Carpet with stairs?
When they charged one price admission?
When they opened a bar on the quiet beach?
When the Wild Mouse disappeared?
When the bright painted colors in Kiddyland began to fade?
When they dismantled the beautiful gold and white Merry-Go-Round and sold the hand-cared, wooden horses, lion, tigers and wolves to the highest bidder?
I missed my annual trip to Crystal Beach this year, but the summer flew by so quickly.
"There's always next year," I thought.
I read the notice in the paper, "Crystal Beach is dead."
Someone, something killed it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Heather answered my ad for metal kitchen cabinets. She and her family have sold their house. The new owner did not want the cabinets. Spence and I drove up to Middletown and bought them on the spot. They're not Youngstown brand, but when all are painted the same color, who cares. The cabinets are now sitting on the kitchen floor. I think I shall have them installed to check that they fit right. Then they come down to be taken to the same auto body shop that restored the sink base.
Heather's cabinets are wall hung only. I have to find base cabinets. If I can't find base cabinets on line, I have decided to wait until St. Charles Kitchens gets geared up for production. I will buy new cabinets.
This still leaves under counter lighting and counter top to be purchased. This is my first experience with renovating an old kitchen. I think I am doing fine. The floor is just the right color. The decision to stay with metal cabinets is also a good decision. There are beautiful wood cabinets all over the place, but they are not for me. I am way under budget because I am installing used cabinets. The chase for cabinets continues.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The auto body shop brought my sink base in. It looks a repainted car...shiny! The lavender color for the walls was toned down by adding the opposite color to the paint...yellow. As a result, the walls are now an interesting neutral....beautiful in contrast to the white woodwork. Joe installed the light over the stairs and sheet rocked where needed. Spence will finish painting as soon as Joe finishes off the taping. The two men brought in my range and hooked it up. Spence even hung the curtains. I have a kitchen once more!

On Monday, the plumber will hook up the sink. Hopefully, I will have talked to the contractor about purchasing some kitchen cabinets. No one is answering my ad on Craig's List, so I will have to purchase new cabinets. Oh well.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Joe came by to see the project. It is progressing. Joe will do some sheet rock, wire a light...the little stuff. Joe meets Spencer for the first time. A lot of laughing and joking goes on. Joe got a new Ram truck. It is big enough to hold all of Joe's tools. He's staying away from me, as I can't shake my cough. His girlfriend is fighting cancer and Joe doesn't want to bring germs home.

Spence and I buy paint. The ceiling looks great. He gets the window to open for the first time in 14 years. This is such a relief for be able to open a window on the south side of the let the fresh air in. The walls get their first coat. The paint chip looked off white, but on the walls, it takes a lavender hue. Wrong color. We have to do it over.

I should also hear from the auto body shop that is painting my sink base. I am on the Internet looking for metal cabinets. So far, I haven't found them.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Spence is here to prepare the walls for painting. It is so much fun to look at color swatches. Spence brought three books of them. I am enjoying looking at color, but the kitchen walls will be white. Which white? There is a spectrum ranging from cool white to warm white. On TV last night, I watched as our White House staff prepared for the visit of Queen Elizabeth. They painted the white house. The chief painter, said the color was "whisper white". I tore through my color chips. Whisper white could not be found. Then I did an Internet search and found it. Wouldn't it be fun to tell visitors that my kitchen is painted the same color as the White House?

Much prep work was done on the walls. More prep work tomorrow. No paint bought. Spence loosened a lot of paint chips. The new floor was covered with them. It is an easy guess that part of my allergies comes from the dust and dirt and paint chips. It is so good to see them gone.