He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wrigley Baltes 2007-2010

A few days after our baby boy passed away into doggy heaven, I had quite a bit of an emotional breakdown over it. My ever so loving husband was so comforting and understanding even though I was very angry. Scott and I both knew and agreed the option to put him to sleep was, number 1, the only way to protect him from hurting anybody and number 2, because his inability to be a normal social happy k-9 was giving him a lot of distress (in dog psychology terms). But although it was best for everyone else, I couldn't come to terms with it being the best thing for me. I missed his playful, adventurous, cuddly personality. We absolutely adored him. How could you not fall in love with an innocent wrinkly puppy dog face waking you up every morning with his paw up on your bed. His big brown eyes begging me to take him outside for an adventure.
I wanted that time with him again. Giving a dog what he truly needs to be stable, happy, and loyal is very gratifying. Wrigley was a very obedient dog. If you ever met him, you may not think so if he tried to bite you or your dog. But underneath the bad habits he picked up from not being properly socialized, was a smart bully ready to learn anything for a small reward. All I kept dwelling on in my mind was what a great dog he should have been. I was angry at his original owners for being ignorant about a breed that can very easily revert to his natural hunting instincts if not socialized and trained properly. Scott and I were one of the only two people he trusted. And I wished we had been the ones raising him from a puppy. Training, teaching, and loving him into an obedient, balanced, happy bulldog.
While trying to comfort me in the best way he knew how, Scott encouraged me to write about Wrigley, what he taught us, and my feelings about losing our dog. I wanted to, but was definitely overwelmed by many emotions and I wasn't able to organize all my thoughts into some written production of him. Just moments before beginning this post, I told Scott I just couldn't think of what to write. I think it's hard because I still really miss him. Which is sort of ironic because, in the past before we had Wrigley, I always found it hard to completely sympathize with people who lost their pet. I always felt like "it's just a dog, it's sad, but you'll get over it". (yes, I know that sounds really mean!!) I am a very caring person, especially for someone grieving a lost loved one. I have to say that it was only because I hadn't ever dealt with that. I wasn't overly emotional when our 2 dogs Pi and Bear were put to sleep, and they had been in our family for over 10 years!
Adopting Wrigley gave me, and definitely Scott as well, a new found love for all animals and dogs especially. I have seen first hand what happens to a dog when its neglected, humanized and ultimately abused by an ignorant owner. I thought love, affection, food, shelter and medical attention was what dogs needed to be happy. With Wrigley, I learned I was wrong, not entirely, but mostly. I imagine he was loved and played with a lot when he first arrived in his new human home as a puppy. (have you ever seen a bulldog puppy? how could you not cuddle one?!) I bet he was VERY playful. He had a lot of energy, all the time, even after an hour walk/run with me and Scott. A puppy with that much energy needs taming if he's going to live in a human environment. I'm guessing his energy level got to be too much for is owners and instead of spending MORE time training him and showing him boundaries, he was left outside, alone, with pent up energy eager to explore. A death sentence for a bully breed dog. (unfortunately and literally) Scott and I learned from watching the Dog Whisperer on tv that there were 3 things a dog truly needed to be balanced. Exercise, discipline, and affection...in that order! With Wrigley, we learned through mistakes that this was very true! It's obvious, a high energy dog needs exercise. And when you think about it, before humans domesticated dogs, they lived out in the wild. And what else would they be doing but running around together as a pack! So that part was easy. Then came discipline, something I struggled with because all I wanted to do was give him a big hug for making a mistake and jump right into the affection part! He always looked so apologetic when we would find him snuggled up on the couch, or hovered over a slobbered chewed flip flop of mine. It was Scott that could always see the importance of giving him boundaries. I wanted him on the bed with me snuggling, but as soon as we allowed that, the bed became HIS property and every once in awhile would get a burst of energy running rampant around the apartment, up on the bed messing it all up while we chased him back and forth in an effort to calm him down. LOL. At the end of day, when I would go to great efforts to extend boundaries and limitations to Wrigley, I was ultimately satisfied with my obedient dog, and more importantly relieved of all the stress he caused me. 
A whole year of repeating the same day after day routine with Wrigley was, in hindsight, very rewarding. And that brings me back to my moment of grieving, or more accurately put, my sob story. All I could think about was what we did for Wrigley to make him a balanced happy healthy dog. I felt so sorry for his predicament and the important tools he lacked to be a social dog. I knew I had to get over those feelings and move on to the memories my husband and I made with our first dog as a couple. Adoption is one of the best things you can do for an animal that needs taking care of. Instead of leaving Wrigley in his small cage on adoption day for someone else to deal with, we gave him a loving home for the last year of his short life. I am very excited to exercise, discipline, and love another dog in need of a home. Scott and I both have a big heart and a desire to help a lot more dogs. We both felt tremendous gratification in working with Wrigley, even though we were somewhat unsuccesful with that stubborn boy! I can't wait to see what our next dog will be like!
Love you Wrigs, forever,
your human mama

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stressmas, Crazymas, Christmas

Does anyone else get a little stressed about gift buying...or in my case gift making?? Rather than accept that there just isn't enough money in the bank account to be buying lovely Christmas gifts, I spent the past 2 weeks trying to figure out what I could do/make for my family's gifts. At the last possible second to have a gift wrapped, packed and shipped in time to arrive for Christmas, I decided on something that is not necessarily creative in an artistic way, but if finding a way to provide one gift for 10 nieces and nephews, a sister, a sister-in-law, and 2 sets of parents while spending VERY little (I'm talking like under $50...total) is not creative, well then I'm doomed in ever becoming an artist.

I spent approximately 10-12 hours total, in a row, with a few naps in between, and some snack breaks figuring out my handmade gifts. And I would be aweful if I didn't give great mention to Grandma Mary for enduring backbreaking work while helping me finish make my gifts in time to arrive on Christmas morn. We worked long and hard to get everything just "perfect". They wouldn't be perfect if they never made it to the mailbox by Saturday at the latest. I never felt stressed until 3pm saturday afternoon when I found out that everything had to be in and marked as parcel by 3:30pm. Talk about waiting until the last minute! Which I know I may be famous for.

Well, I did it. The parcels aren't guaranteed delivery by Christmas, but I noticed a little twinkle in the post lady's eye when she told me this, and it made me believe that I had nothing to worry about. When I walked out of the post office, I almost skipped and shouted for joy that this nightmare...I MEAN this special handmade gift giving time...was over.
My moral of the story:  I've realized I have to plan ahead if I am ever going to give gifts again!

Monday, December 13, 2010

New Addiction

Dear coffee, cafe latte, and caramel macchiato,

I have this new found love for the 3 of you. I recently started working at a place where I am surrounded by coffee. I grind, brew, create and pour all sorts of delicious concoctions for myself, and customers too of course:) I just have to tell you how important you are to me these days. It's freezing where I live in Minnesota, and you seem to be the perfect accompaniment to a warm cozy night curled up by the fire and the brightly lit Christmas Tree with my favorite person, my husband.

We both love you actually. We indulge in the spectacular aroma, taste, and wakefulness you offer. Morning, noon, and night! It's sort of an addiction...as you can see. There are just so many wonderful things you offer us, without you, sometimes my brain won't work to its full potential. You give my husband that extra kick in the rear on his 4am trips to work. And because of those 4am shifts, he often warms up a pot to stay up past 8 o'clock with me, his loving appreciative wife, watching movies.

Thanks for all you do! You've been around for quite some time. As early as the 13th century to be exact. Seen a lot of changes being made to your kind and those like you. I have to say, it was only after years of tasting and experimenting with different flavor profiles did I finally acquire a special taste for you. My favorite recipes change constantly. But I mostly find myself enjoying the more traditional, old fashioned version of coffee with milk. (with a slight tweek, going with vanilla flavored almond milk). Today...it's a caramel macchiato. Little bit of vanilla, double shot of espresso, steamed soy milk, whipped cream, and of course caramel sauce to top it all off...YUM!

Yours forever, A Midwest Barista

Thursday, December 2, 2010

More fun and entertaining???

First of all, blogging is new to me. That said, I appreciate all the comments, constructive criticism, and collective ideas for making it better(more fun, Noonie says).

I realize my blof is not so fun yet...entertaining I think, it could be better with pictures. However, seeing that I am currently typing away in the ever so quiet small county library in Stewartville, I'm not exactly equipped to upload pictures yet. Wait for December 11th...when we FINALLY get internet. P.S. I have exactly 12:33 left on my alloted computer time in the library.

A quick update on the new life here in Racine....We LOVE it! I've had my moments of stressful times, looking for a job, not appreciating the job I got, waiting for our furniture, and getting unpacked. But our house is awesome. It feels like a home expecially decked out with Christmas decorations I've inherited from my mom. It's an old house, it has lots of weird cubby spaces including an indented wall mirror in the living room that we've decidedly covered up with some wall art. So the house has charm, which I love! Pictures to come soon, I promise Noonie!

Gotta go, times up!  BTW it's snowing:)