Weekend Update-From Hamsters to Goldendoodles

On Friday afternoon, there was a mysterious odor in my house, near the bottom of the stairs. It was a smell I just could not identify. My first thought was, “What died?” I was desperate to find the source, opening closets, sniffing the garbage can and the garbage disposal, looking under the couch, going berserk trying to figure out what it was. Then I went upstairs, and wham! There it was again, only worse! The air was thick outside my daughter’s bedroom door. I peeked in, afraid of what I might find, and there, staring innocently back at me through the bars of his cage, was Teddy, L’s stinky new hamster.

L. turned 10 a couple of weeks ago (double digits!!) and Teddy was her birthday gift. I only agreed to Teddy after L. assured me she was responsible enough and old enough to completely care for him herself. The staff at Petco told us his cage would need to be cleaned once a week. Don’t believe it. Hamster cages, I’ve come to find out, reek after about 4 days. So our weekend started off on Friday after school with L. cleaning out the hamster cage. She took it out to the front porch and soon drew a crowd. Every kid in the neighborhood wanted to watch and help. What is so fascinating about cleaning out a hamster cage?

After cleaning the cage and airing out the house, the girls got on their bikes and cruised the neighborhood for a Girl Scout project: Scouting for Food. Boy and Girl Scouts collect canned goods for donation to the Second Harvest Food Bank. We have very generous neighbors, and the girls collected several bags. Dad worked late, but we hooked up with him later for dinner at Chili’s.

On Saturday, K’s Brownie troop came and kidnapped her at 6:45am for a Surprise Kidnap Breakfast at McDonald’s. Her troop leader and 3 of her Brownie friends crept into her room and woke her up. Her startled response was, “What the..??” They scooped her out of the house and took her away in her pajamas. L’s Girl Scout troop was up early too for a Veteran’s Day event. Together with local boy scouts, they went to the cemetery and placed flags on the graves of all the veterans. When they were done it was startling to see how many flags there were. SO many.

Later Saturday, the kids had tennis lessons, then we delivered the donated canned goods, and picked up our team’s soccer pictures. The group picture was good, but K. had her eyes shut in the individual picture. The package includes a big button that a proud soccer mom can wear to games, but it looked so silly with her eyes shut. K. said, “I can fix it!” She got out a Sharpie pen and put two little dots on the eyelids. Perfect!

K. was on FIRE at her soccer game-she had some really good plays, but alas, much to her frustration, she still has not scored a goal this year. There are still 2 more games to go before the regular season is over, unless they go to the playoffs. We’ll see what happens. In a way I hope they lose this week so they won’t go, because if they win it could be as much as an extra 6 weeks of soccer (two practices a week and games on the weekend). It would be nice to be done at the end of November instead of mid-January. And now I’ve probably jinxed it, too! After the game we went out to the local pizza place with my parents, where the guys could watch 6 different football games simultaneously. The kids and I couldn’t care less about football, so I gave them quarters for the game room, and off they went while I drank beer and laughed with my mom.

On Sunday morning we went to church. We try to go each week, but don’t always make it. We’ve been better lately. It’s strange how often the sermon is exactly what I need to hear on that particular day. This week it was on generosity and being rich. Funny, I don’t feel rich, but since I have fresh water pouring from my tap, a car to drive, and a roof over my head, I am rich compared to the majority of people in the world. It’s shocking, really, when you consider that Americans account for only 6% of the world’s population but consume 40% of the world’s resources. We are rich, and we need to share our wealth. A good and important message. Sunday afternoon was L.’s Girl Scout meeting, where the kids learned to make pumpkin bread for a cooking badge. Mmmmm, it made the house smell so good! Bring on Thanksgiving. L. had a friend sleep over that night. We made pasta and crusty bread for dinner. Friends stopped by to drop something off and stayed for an hour laughing and talking. The kids stayed up until midnight.

Monday: Veteran’s Day Holiday.. no school! Bob (my husband) is a veteran, but he had to work. L. wanted to spend her birthday money, so we went to Target, where she bought a really nice Polaroid digital camera on sale, along with a case, flash card, and extra batteries, and she still had money left over. She is so excited about her new camera, and I was glad she spent her money on one big thing, rather than waste it on a bunch of little things. The camera takes great pictures, clear and sharp, and also video clips, and you can play slide shows on the tv simply by plugging the camera in. Pretty cool. Then we were off to the mall to use our Too Bucks at Limited Too (I am such a sucker).

On the way out of the mall, we stopped at the pet store to peek at the puppies and saw THE most adorable animal I have ever laid eyes on. “What is that?” I asked. “That is a Goldendoodle”, the girl said. “Cute, huh?” Ummmmm, I thought, yes. Cute. The cutest dang dog I ever saw! “Are you familiar with this breed?” she asked. Nope. Not at all. “They don’t shed.” WHAT? That long haired furball doesn’t shed????? I must hold him! So we were off to the “getting to know you” room.. 3 little girls, me and a wiggly Goldendoodle, who we promptly named Noodle. My emotions were taking over as I imagined Noodle with our lonely golden retriever, Jasmine, playing and having fun all day long. My brain interfered.. “How much is he?” I asked as he licked my neck. “You can take him home today with a $50 deposit. We have a great payment plan.” My girls started frantically digging through their purses to see if they could come up with the deposit, as I asked again, “How much does he cost, all together?” “$1100.” Oh. I can explain away small impulsive purchases, like shoes. But an $1100. puppy? Buh-Bye Noodle!

Later we met up with friends from the soccer team to see “The Bee Movie”. The 10 and under crowd enjoyed it, but the moms fell asleep (all 3 of us).

How was your long weekend?

Booking Through Thursday-Volume

Volume November 8, 2007

Filed under: WordPress — –Deb @ 12:19 pm
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Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less?

That’s a great question from Deb at Booking Through Thursday.

When I was a kid (or, as my children like to say, in the “olden days”), I prefered reading to almost any other activity. I grew up in Michigan, where the winters were long and cold, and where it rained every few days in spring and summer. We didn’t have all the options kids have today when forced to stay inside.

Cartoons were for Saturday mornings only, not every day of the week. There was no cable, Dish Network or satellite, no Disney Channel, Nick Jr. or Cartoon Network, no internet, DS games, Wii Systems, DVDs or DVRs, no cell phones, or iPods. My kids would say, “How boring!” But I don’t remember being bored. If we wanted to amuse ourselves, we played board games, or made cookies, or built forts out of blankets and couch cushions, or put clothes on the dog. We made up games and played creatively. And we read books. Lots of books. We made weekly trips to the library and brought home armloads of books.

I read constantly until high school. With homework and a social life, I had less time to read. I stayed out late and got up early. I was on the phone for hours. I went away to college and didn’t have time to read for pleasure. Years went by. I started working, dating, going out with friends, and reading less and less.

As a young adult, I was on a cross country flight to visit my in-laws in Pennsylvania for the first time. I picked up a paperback copy of “The Firm” by John Grisham to read on the plane. That 5 hour flight went by soooo fast, and just like that, I was a reader again.

My daughters are a year apart. When they were babies, I barely had time to brush my teeth, let alone read. So for a few years when they were really small, the only reading I did was month-old magazines in the pediatrician’s waiting room.

It helps that my girls are a little older now and more self-sufficient. I read during my daughters’ soccer practices, band practice, tennis lessons. I read in the car while I wait for them to get out of school. I rarely watch tv in the evening, so instead I read at night after the kids are in bed.

Last year, I started a book club in an effort to combine my love of reading with my desire for a social life. Since the club began, I’ve been reading like a fiend, plus as a bonus I get out of the house once a month without my kids (or husband) and drink wine and talk books with friends. What could be better?

Review: Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod

After finishing up Into the Wild about a week ago, I found myself still thinking about Alaska and the pull of the Great White North. I remembered a book on my To-Be-Read pile that was set in Alaska, so I dusted it off and settled in for a WILD RIDE!!

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen is a humorous non-fiction account of the joy, beauty, terror, danger, thrills, and utter lunacy of running the 1180-mile dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome.

From moose attacks and dog bites to crackling sea ice and sheer cliffs, from suckholes (frozen whirlpools) and 90 mile winds to murderous mushers and bitter cold, the Iditarod is not for wimps. It takes a certain kind of crazy for a person to attempt such a formidable test of their physical, mental, and emotional limits.

The story begins in the woods of Minnesota, where Paulsen’s obsession with his dogs and the beauty of the woods becomes so alluring to him that he forsakes all else in order to run dogs. He bonds so thoroughly with them that he begins to live with them, eat, sleep, and be with them 24/7. The dogs are born to run; semi-wild creatures (some part wolf), snapping, snarling, and fighting with each other while slowly becoming a cohesive team.

Paulsen crashes and careens around Minnesota, running the dogs for hundreds of miles before the Iditarod starts to take shape and form as a real possibility in his mind. The community gets behind him and gives him donations of money and gear. One person donates a truck and actually drives him to Alaska for the race.

If this was fiction, you might be rolling your eyes thinking, “No way could all these things happen!” But against every possible obstacle, and with fierce determination, Paulsen gets to Anchorage, runs the race, and miraculously lives through it. What a treat to be along for this white-knuckle ride!

Dog Day Afternoon

What a gorgeous late September day we had here in Southern California. WAY too nice a day to spend inside, so instead we took the pooch, the kids, and the Chuck-it and headed over to Dog Beach, a 1 mile stretch of Huntington Beach dedicated to the pure pleasure of our 4 legged friends, and the only place in the OC where they can splash in the waves.

Wet Dog

Our pup went berserk as only a golden retriever can, sniffing the behinds of all her doggie friends, rolling in the sand, chasing the ball, shaking saltwater all over us. She was so ecstatically wiggly we couldn’t tell if the dog was wagging the tail or if the tail was wagging the dog. We all had a great time in the sunshine, and the pungent scent of Wet Dog filled our noses all the way home.

Wag the dog

I finished Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer today. I have a totally different impression now than I did at the outset of the book of Chris McCandless, the 24 yr. old college grad. who ventured into the Alaskan wilderness only to die of starvation 16 weeks later. I’ll write a review soon.