Triple Dog Ambushed

Backing it up a bit….

Kelsey came into my life purposefully from the Nashville Humane Society. She was a three-legged motherless German Shepherd/Sheltie mix I met after the NHS experienced a fire. I’d gone to foster a cat, but was ambushed by a wicked fast furball that jumped into my lap, snuggled up under my ear and held on as if her life depended on it. She was so seriously quick, I didn’t notice her missing leg until I put her down a good 15 minutes later.

OK, back to the TN litter experience….

Cab was a black lab mix puppy from a purebred chocolate lab and … some other type of dog. This puppy boy was talkative in the way Cab Calloway sang: Ayow, ayowa, yowa, yow. He ambushed me with cuteness and sang the entire time I was driving. Yes, beginning in Tennessee, all the way to Michigan.

Anticipating the same sort of scenario in Michigan, I was determined not to reach in anywhere or pick anyone up.  Jeff seemed to know the farmer that let us into the dog run area. The man didn’t stick around, closing the gate behind him as he left. “I’m gonna finish my dinner,” he said. “Let me know when you’re done.”

We rounded a corner were completely ambushed by steady stream of roly-poly Jack Russell tumblers. I stopped moving at once and must have looked as surprised and terrified as I felt, because Jeff stopped, too. “What?” he asked.

“I don’t want to squish one!” I faltered. He laughed and advised me to move slowly.

“There are more in the barn,” he explained, grabbing my hand.

My eyebrows shot up and my eyes narrowed. “And you would know this how?” I inquired. “Because… I’ve already been here,” he answered matter-of-factly. I realized I’d been ambushed by my dogged husband, too.

Moving inside, it took me a moment to adjust to the dark. I was still squinting a little when one of the little spotters ran up to Jeff’s foot, sniffed and start a happy dance. “

Oh,” he said scooping it up to eye level, “you remember me!?” He scratched both ears, rubbed it’s pudgy belly and turned to me with hopeful puppy-eyes. “It’s a boy….” Jeff  offered, extending the little guy toward me.

I took him without fear, because, as I mentioned earlier, the pip squeaks weren’t ready to leave their momma, yet.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

 The Right One: Animal Planet Dog Selector

Dogged: Persistence

Relief: Pets Against Depression

 

 

 

On The Island

The island wasn’t crowded, either, which made sense seeing as we had taken a near empty ferry.

No lines anywhere, meant we cruised through more childhood forbidden purchases:

A small bit of fudge – Jeff wasn’t fond of sweets

Our first Mr. and Mrs. Christmas ornament was a two-some of Teddy Bears popping out of a chimney. We waited while it was customized with our names and the year, 2001.

At a Native American gallery shop, we had a hard time deciding which of two items would go home with us. Rather than choose between 2 favorites, as kids are often required, we took both; a beautiful feathered peace pipe for our marriage, and a decorative hatchet to remind us to bury it, when needed. Sadly, the peace pipe did not survive the later addition of a Jack Russell puppy to our lives. The hatchet has hung everywhere we’ve lived together, and everywhere I’ve been alone after being together.

As we wandered by an old-fashioned photo station, the kind where you could dress up old-time, we smiled widely at each other. Without having uttered a single word, Jeff held the door open for me. The photographer chose wedding appropriate garb including a bridal bouquet, and suggested the Marriage Certificate mat for our photo. We asked our real wedding certificate signers for repeats, then framed and hung our treasure; proof of having conquered another former family vacation forbidden.

Our last-open-weekend-of-the-season dollars, gave us a deal on almost everything.

The two exceptions were the cost of breakfast. Jeff’s eyes opened wide in astonishment as he told me the extra egg he had ordered cost $2.00. “For an egg!” he exclaimed, quickly followed by reasoning. “Of course, I bet it probably cost a lot to get that egg out here…”.

The other exception was the carriage barker who called out a $30.00 dollar per person rate, which we politely declined. When cajoled and asked why, Jeff responded honestly, that seemed like a lot of money. The price was brought down to $15.00 per person, to which we nodded in agreement.

After Jeff handed over $30.00 cash, it was determined there had been a miscommunication. Not $15 per person, but $50 for carriage ride. Sure, it was only $20 more, but the man’s attitude was accusatory. Mentioning that he needed to make money, he said he could do it for $30, but we’d only get half the ride. We decided to forgo the experience. It was getting late, anyway, so we headed to the dock.

We never made it up to The Grand Hotel, but we did spend the full 35 minutes waiting for the ferry trying to decide if we should purchase a gorgeous era-true refurbished aqua bicycle built for two for just $110.00. The main problem was trying to figure a way to get it home. The Neon wasn’t going to be accommodating. We’d need a bike rack, but we’d have to drive somewhere for that, which wouldn’t work for the obvious reason that we’d have to take the bike with us, and … it wouldn’t fit in the Neon.

After going in circles, we logically left it there. To be honest, I cannot imagine us ever riding it. Picturing what that would look like, makes me giggle now. I still wish I’d taken a picture of it.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Link:

Daisy Bell: Bicycle Built for Two

Bonus Photo:

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Almost All

Almost all the weather was damp and almost all of our pictures were misty.

We drove through the Houghton Lake cabins of Jeff’s happy childhood vacations, stopped in a local souvenir shop where we bought a greeting card with a beautiful dream catcher which would months later become Jeff’s first and only tattoo. A 5 inch round over his heart with a turquoise shell, 3 feathers, intricate weave patterns and shadowing, it was impressive.

We visited Hartwick Pines near Grayling, and led ourselves on a self-guided tour. I tried to take a picture of the beautiful leave-covered ground beneath one massive tree, but it turned out murky. Jeff took one of me next to the huge red wheels of a logging wagon. If you look closely, you can see I am holding an almost all point-perfect yellow maple leaf.

We stopped to see Paul Bunyan and his blue ox at Castle Rock, but the attraction was closed and it was raining anyway. Jeff was disappointed because he had wanted to go into the souvenir shop that was forbidden as a kid. I’m thinking now of all the places we went in my childhood and how kitsch shops were totally off limits. I rolled down my window, clicked a photo to document that we had been there, and then we moved on.

My first Mackinac Bridge crossing occurred in the rain. As a passenger, I should say, because Jeff was concerned about the weather.  On the approach, I leaned out the window to grab a few shots while being pelted with windy drops. I can see myself in the side mirror wearing one of my favorite sweaters ever. It’s one we picked up at Birch Run.

I’m not sure what that yellow ticket looking thing is under the wiper on the passenger side. Maybe a parking pass? Could be this picture was taken on the way back over the bridge?  Did I mention this trip was almost all rainy? In any case, we made it over.

The ferry trip journey was very uncrowded, and if we’d thought about it, predictably chilly. We huddled together to stay warm, held hands and laughed our way through the inclement weather.

That’s just how it was with us.

Almost all, we held hands and just enjoyed the ride.

Quote for the Week:

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Bonus Pictures:

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The Honeymoon Hustle: Purple Pyrex

The day after the day after our wedding, we embarked on an adventure.

Our honeymoon wasn’t exactly planned. At least, in my opinion, it wasn’t planned.

That’s not to say Jeff didn’t have a plan. He did, but he didn’t do any actual planning. He opted for an outline and a map, certain  there were plenty of road signs which would lead us where we would go.

Jeff envisioned a tour of the Michigan of his childhood, taking me to the places that brought him happy memories and making newer ones with me.  He wanted to do this and his enthusiasm was so contagious we set off knowing that we’d play it by ear as we went along.

We ended up traveling sort of up the east side and over to the middle of Michigan, down the west side, and back through the center.

First: Frankemuth

We pulled off the highway and pulled into A&W to grab a quick lunch and a glass jug of A&W Root Beer to take along on our journey.

We shopped the outlet mall for Calphalon and cookware, and found a great sale on Pyrex. It was a ridiculous bargain in a ridiculous color: purple.

Jeff pointed out that it would be a  lot easier to determine which item we would take home from family potlucks, as no one else would likely have that hue.  I nodded along. I’d already been to quite a few of those, and didn’t remember anyone having purple Pyrex.

It didn’t bother me at all that our new pie rounds, lidded casseroles, mixing bowls, and storage bowls were going to be violet. I secretly really liked the quirkiness, and the price was more than right. We paid for our purchases and giggled with happiness, because, well… we just bought purple Pyrex.

We spent some our dollar-dance money on clothing for both of us, had to stop at the tool shop, and spent some time in a sport memorabilia and trading card store.

Our dinner destination was wonderful, fun and delicious. I found a chicken platter in the gift shop that found its way into the Neon’s little trunk along with some cheese straws and our other treasures.

We had been to Zehnders together before. We’d been to Bronner’s as well, but we revisited there, too. It’s easy to get lost in the wonder of aisles and aisles of Christmas, wandering down every one. Time sort of flew by us, and before we knew it, we were getting back on the road much later than we meant to.

We set out to cut away from the east coast and stop somewhere around Clare for the evening. In the morning we would go through Roscommon State Forrest and continue on to Houghton Lake.

For reasons beyond our control, that’s not at all what happened.  Our first night’s lodging ended up being even more unplanned than our casually unplanned plan.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Weeks Discovery Links

A&W: Root Beer

Birch Run: More than Just Great Outlets

Zehnder’s: More than Just Amazing Chicken

Bronner’s: More than Just Christmas

Picture This, Again…

I found them. I found them in the last place I looked, which would have been amusing like the long-standing joke, except I wasn’t amused. I was done.

During my weeks of frantic searching, I found myself revisiting the same places.  When I didn’t find what I’d been looking for in any of the obvious places, I logically made a firm list, of course.

I won’t bore you with all the details, although there were some things that bear mentioning. I rediscovered reams of specialty papers, printable stickers, printable window clings, printable fabric, printable shrink-dinks, printable business cards and a complicated foldy-card thing that I’m not even sure I would ever attempt again.

As exciting as all that was, once I’d been through my list, re-searched all the places I’d searched before and more, I set it aside and let my eyes leak a little. Not just once, either, but when there’s nothing you can do, there’s nothing you can do.

Early Saturday morning, I took myself on a 3-mile walk. I came home exhausted, weepy and probably a little low in the sugar department.  Chomping a nectarine, I headed for a shower and fell apart.

The pictures had become a hangnail part of my life I just couldn’t properly trim off.

To be honest, writing this blog has been hard. I’d been avoiding truly crying for weeks; the overwhelmed, sobbing kind. But, the time had come and I gave in, voicing aloud what I’d been thinking so long.

“God, I need help.’ I choked. “I don’t want it to be ten years. I don’t want it to be any years!”

It took a bit to get myself together and decide I was being stupid. I figured I might as well seal this episode up and do what I had to do.

I needed to move some things from one location to another, so I did.

Halfway through that, there they were.

I didn’t recognize what it was at first. Randomly fanning/flipping through a few pages, I finally focused enough to figure it out.

I had been looking for a mailing envelope or one of those green marbley-looking cheap sleeves they used to give way back when you ordered actual picture prints by standing at a counter and filling out awkward envelopes.

Chronically arranged, in a sleeved booklet I had apparently decided need to be fancied up with scrapbook paper, was my lost capsule.

I wonder at the timing, wonder how I could not remember what I did.

Wondering. Just wondering.

Joyously sharing them with you now.

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Thanks for helping me through this year of memories.

Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise (con’t)

I mentioned the surprise. It really was a surprise. Never saw it coming.

But before the surprise was cake. Cakes, I should say

Our wedding cake was beautiful. And delicious. And demolished. And someone took a picture of that. Or, more accurately, someone took a picture of Jeff’s sister, Sally’s friend and I dealing with the aftermath and creating more laughter.

Towards the end of the wedding, I learned that the smallest layer of cake, on top, was traditionally saved for the first anniversary. It successfully went home with Jeff’s mom, and carefully made it into the freezer.

A year later, it was as flat as a pancake. Somehow, it had migrated to the bottom of the chest and was subjected to the weight of anything that might have required freezing. Jeff’s mom was greatly disappointed and apologetic when she discovered it.

It was Jeff’s idea to go the grocer and purchase a small round with yellow icing roses, which was as close as they had to orange roses. We requested “1st Anniversary’” be added in orange, which turned out to be red because there was no orange.

When we showed up with it, Sally laughed delightedly, teared-up, and then giggled when Jeff royally announced, “It’s time to eat cake!”

Cake was distributed – and, as now was J & J tradition, my plate had an extra-large dollop of icing scraped from Jeff’s piece.

A Groom’s cake was another thing I knew nothing about. But, I was assured it was a thing way back when we purchased the race car cake pan. The cake turned out spectacularly. The fondant “stickers” and the accessories were perfect.

Not nearly as perfect as the enthusiasm shared by Jeff and his best man, as they cut the cake together and proceeded to the feeding. That’s another one of my favorite pictures, because it reminds me of how easy it was and how much fun it was to get drawn into Jeff’s enthusiasm.

The last surprise was a wonderful one. Jeff and I were led to folding chairs in the middle of the dance floor. As we sat, our families and friends began to gather around us. Most everyone had a small piece of paper with them. Those who didn’t, shared.

We were still baffled… until the singing started. We sat there amazed and touched; smiling and crying, surrounded by a not-so-impromptu choir organized by my family.

There were only 3 pictures in the stash of developed disposables. One is a barely distinguishable crowd of crooners, one is fairly clear picture of us being confused; one is clearly full of love.

I still feel the joy of that picture. The boisterous singing is what I recall every time I hear that song. What a wonderful uninhibited gift to wrap things up.

Going to the Chapel. Yes, we did.

Quote for the Week:

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This song: Going to the Chapel

Bonus: Cakes and C

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Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise

Things went pretty smoothly after that.

There was the delish dinner, more dancing, cake cutting, traditional garter and bouquet tosses, customary ball & chain and an adorable surprise.

I guess I didn’t realize that the term ‘ball and chain,’ can hold a really a negative connotation. For this particular group of friends and family, it was actually a playful right-of-marriage-passage.

The groom knew it would be coming, and so did most the brides. So, when the groomsmen and friends corralled Jeff to chain the real bowling ball to his leg, I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think anyone was surprised, at least not on Jeff’s side of the family.

You see, the heavy ball, light-weight but sturdy plastic chain and real lock and key came as a set, passed down from each married couple, who’d save it for the next. In some of the photos you can see the names written on the legacy.

The beauty of it was, that the bride was immediately given the key and the task of symbolic loving release. How long she let her beloved tote that thing around wasn’t really indicative of anything but fun.

I only let Jeff tote it around long enough to be sure he had his fun with it.

I don’t know who has the ball now. I hope someone is saving it for their children’s wedding.

The bouquet toss was a little bit of a scramble when we realized that the toss bouquet was embedded in the top of the cake. I ended up grabbing a smaller and very pointy attendant’s, nobody got their eye poked out so, that was good.

The garter was the most normal thing about our wedding. Except, I don’t know the young lady who caught the bouquet and was subsequently gartered.

Anyone have a clue? I’d love to know….

Quote for the Week:

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Bonus Photos:

Nannee noticed the ritual beginning, the putting on, the carrying,t he assist from Sally and the unlocking. One thing though, where’d that extra hand on Jeff’s waist come from?

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Who’s that girl?

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