Monday, December 27, 2010

so THIS is what getting snowed in feels like.

This picture was taken from my phone and is not really accurate:

I would have gotten my camera out of my car, but my poor blue chevy is buried. A blizzard has slammed the northeast. Yes, you read that right. An actual blizzard. We don't get blizzards that often and it usually takes a lot to close schools and businesses, (ESPECIALLY near and in New York City), but a lot is shut down. And what isn't shut down now, I assume will be in a few hours. We are under a state of emergency, so the only places that should be open are government offices and hospitals. The wind is howling at about 80 mph (weatherman said this was like a CAT 2 hurricane with snow). the wind chill is 5 degrees, and we have snow dumped on us at about 22 inches and counting. The storm isn't supposed to end until 4am, but the winds will not subside until Tuesday, making driving still very, very dangerous. My brother actually STILL came for Christmas today (ahhhh, to be young and dumb), but only stayed for about 20 minutes when he realized that was a mistake. We gave him his gifts and shooed him out the door. He made it home safe, but a 20 minute drive took almost 2 hours.

Merry Christmas indeed.

Today we made the best of it by making a fire and watching movies, but I have no idea what I'll do to keep myself busy tomorrow. I love being out and about. It'll probably be another PJ day. Ideas so we won't go insane? So far we still have power, so that's cool. My friend Amanda doesn't, so I'm about to give her a call.

Better pictures to come when I do get my camera. This is truly something I haven't seen. :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa came early? You don't say.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful time at my nephew Dean's house as he celebrated his 5th birthday and talked to me about trains while eating cake. Tonight, I am kicking back with a glass of wine, my new pillow pet (thanks Nannie) and watching "It's a Wonderful Life". Not bad. Not bad at all. Have a Merry Christmas everyone. Stay warm, safe and full of cheer.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Christmas used to be huge in our house.
When my mom was alive, she was like a female Clark Grizwald, immediately wanting to put the tree up after the Thanksgiving turkey got cold. Our house had to be the BRIGHTEST house on the whole block. Dad and my stepmom? Not as much. But that was okay as the years went by and we grew up. This year however, is the last Christmas in our house before we all split up in ten different directions. So out came the Clark in all of us.
This year my father found an old box with Mom's ornaments inside. It was pretty fantastic to finally see a "Baby's First Christmas 1983" ornament or a "First Christmas together, 1982" decoration. I liked that it was mixed with new decor. When two lives collide I suppose.

When it was the five of us and life was a lot smaller, Dad would drill into our heads the true meaning of Christmas, and try to get his troop to attend Christmas Eve midnight mass. First of all, NO WAY did I want to get out bed and miss out on a possible Santa sighting, so I was out. Brother was out also, as he would become so excited that Santa was nearing our house, he would vomit. Mom didn't want to leave her ducklings alone, so she was out too. And Little Brother always fell asleep in any place that wasn't his room. Sorry Dad. 1 out of 5. I completely listened to the True Meaning of Christmas story. Totally. BUT, Santa had to come too you know. We did always end up at Christmas Day mass.

I never asked for much from Santa. In fact when I was older, Mom often told me I was the hardest to shop for, because she had a budget for each kid and I always came up grossly under budget. (My total often came up to $20 or $30 dollars) I was an odd child. I asked for little paperback books. Or buttons. Or stuffed animal dogs I could call my own. "Santa" always granted my wish for miscellaneous items, and I would often get "surprises" as well, since he ran out of ideas on what to get me. I thought about all of this and smiled as our Santa troop was laid out.

I wondered what my new traditions would be like? As Dad and I explored Costco earlier that afternoon he saw light purple ornaments and grinned. "These will probably go on your tree," he said. (purple was my favorite color) Probably. What else would be included in my Christmas card next year? I couldn't imagine what my apartment would look like or my tree, or if I would have a sprawling dog at my feet, but I wanted those things. I look forward to the future. I realized that the Christmas traditions Mom drilled into our heads and the True Meaning of Christmas story Dad couldn't stop reciting weren't in vain. I wanted those things in my adult life. I wanted everything we were taught for my own children. Indeed, we turned out okay. A little kooky perhaps, but that was just fine.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Life without Noah.

It's been a over a week since Noah hasn't been with me.

I know what I did was the right thing. Everyone from my stepmother, to my step grandmother, to my friends have told me that I have done the right thing. What I didn't realize was just HOW difficult the right thing would be. I unexpectedly feel like I'm in grief. There are random moments where I think of wonderpup and  begin to cry. Is he happy? Confused? Does he miss me? I know the most likely scenario is that he is having a blast with two teenagers, a couple of dogs, and running on a huge property, but I miss him like crazy. Because I don't start working until after the holidays, (if I'm even accepted back) I have a lot of time to notice who's missing in our household. I'm trying to keep busy, but it's hard.

When I was looking for a job and had a long period of unemployment, Noah and I were together all the time. In the morning, we'd go on a long walk around the block together, followed by playtime. I'd feed him breakfast, then I was either off sending out job apps or he was with me as I ran errands. On weekends, I would take him to the dog park for a couple of hours. The first thing I noticed on Thursday morning was how quiet the house was without wonderpup. I looked to my left as I rolled over in bed and instead of a crate next to the bedframe, there was an empty space. Instant tears. Instead taking a shower, then grabbing his leash for our walk, I wandered aimlessly downstairs. "I guess I could have breakfast," I thought. I grabbed a cereal bowl and realized the silence was deafening, so I quickly flipped on our family room TV. Noah would be greeting me/bugging me at this point, probably wanting to go out or have some of my cereal. (I made the mistake of training him using cheerios as treats. It's pretty cheap.) I never gave him what I was eating, but that never stopped him from trying. I noticed his bowls were gone. Instant tears as I poured my cereal. My stepmom came downstairs the second she  heard my footsteps and asked me how I was.
"Okay," I lied.
She saw tears on my face and gave me a hug and I felt embarrassed and way too old to be crying in my parents arms over a dog. The day passed by uneventfully and I gathered up the remainder of Noah's toys and donated them to the local animal shelter, who were very grateful. My best friend called and immediately asked how I was. "Fine," I said.
"I'm coming to pick you up tonight," she replied.
I turned her down three different times until I knew she wasn't taking no for an answer. Erin drove to my house around 3 and said that we were going to see a Christmas light show. I perked up a bit, grateful that I had my new camera (more on that later) and was ready to take twinkling pictures to post on this blog.
The light show closed unexpectedly.
No matter. Erin and I stopped by her house where her dog Maggie greeted us. It felt weird to snuggle with a dog that wasn't mine, but I was just happy to pet her and she was thrilled to hang out with me. Erin and I then went out to dinner instead.

Erin was right, being with her and her family did take my mind off things. If I was home, I would have just been sitting by my cell phone, waiting for it to ring, in hopes that Noah's new family would give me a call to let me know how he was.

My friends have suggested a new dog, but I don't think now is the right time. (Another friend of mine was actually in the process of adopting a dog for me until I put an end to it, though the thought was nice) For now, I will continue to apartment hunt, cross my fingers regarding work, and get myself settled. I'll also make sure my new place allows pets, for when the time does come for a dog to enter my life again. I've decided to open my heart to an older dog who will find me, when I am ready to open my eyes and look. In the meantime, I still believe Noah entered (and left) my life for a reason. It's now time for him to begin his new life.

And for me to begin mine.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Broken Hearts and unconditional love.

Well, Noah doesn't live with me anymore. I'm tearing just typing that. It all started on Saturday morning. I was off to the vet with Noah because of his strange and unpredictable behavior. The result? The vet examined him, and besides a hotspot on his thigh, (which he gave me cream for) he sat me down and told me what he expected it might be. He suggested Noah's issue was he was just too dominant for me. I could work with him, but it would have to be leash corrections every hour. Every. Hour. I thought that I just couldn't do that, and was beginning to wonder what to do. He said there would never be a cure for his issues. He suggested Noah be rehomeed to someone with more dog experience (like a trainer) to give him the help he needs. I was silent in the car.

At night, we hung out comfortably (he wasn't getting up and playing), until it was time for us to head to bed. I tried to take him out one last time. I clipped his leash to his collar and with no warning what so ever, he lunged up and bit my hand hard. I put him into his crate, shut the door and cried. And there is where my family found me, sitting on the floor in tears. I think it was my stepsister who gave me a hug and said, "We know you love him, but he needs more than that." I knew then what I had to do.

All week I called rescues. No one would take Noah, because he bit people. Last night, my stepmother came home and said that she found a home for Noah. Just like that. She loved dogs, worked with dominant dogs and had been to our house before (my stepmom has a social group) and loved Noah. They had a giant yard, two teenage sons, and she could devote her time and attention to him, because she worked with dogs all the time. I asked her a million questions like what her family was like. Their dog had just died, and they were ready to open their hearts to a new one. I met her, and she was just so kind. They were ready to take him soon. "How soon?" I asked. "Tonight," my stepmom replied. "She wants to help him right away."

Noah was laying in my lap, with his giant brown eyes looking at me. I knew he wasn't a happy dog. Still....tonight? I thought. I won't have a chance to say goodbye. But I knew that if I kept him one more day, I would keep him forever. I nodded, tears flowing. I talked to the woman who was going to take him and cried. I packed up his things, (everything from leashes, to a new bag of food, to doggie mouthwash...yes really!) and cried. I wrote his new forever family a letter of instructions and cried. Everything from his hypoglycemia and his strict eating schedule, to his food allergies, to the park he loves to go to. I packed his favorite blanket given to him by Nannie and a T-shirt with my scent on it, in case he got scared.

Then we went on one last walk. I let him sniff and mark everything to his hearts content, from phone poles to stop signs, to his favorite tree. Half of me wanted to stay in the 20 degree temps and never take him home, but eventually we rounded the corner to my house.
"You be good okay?" I said. "I still love you. Always will." I scooped him up. I kissed the top of his head. He gave me a quick lick on the nose, as if to say "Thank you." And my stepsister gentlely put him in his crate to take him to his new home.When Noah met his new family, they were smiling from ear to ear. He ran right to his "mom" as if he always belonged. She picked him up. "Tell Katie he will always be loved. She doesn't have to worry." She called me later that night and said she'd love to send me e-mails and pictures and even visits as he grows up. I told her I would love that.

Last night, I couldn't sleep. The space next to next to my bed where Noah's crate should be was empty. I heard no puppy dreaming sounds or light snoring. Eventually, I turned on my TV and fell asleep to Conan O'Brien bouncing around like an idiot.

I hope I did the right thing for my little guy. Be well Noah. Thank you for being such a wonderful part of my life. I'll never forget you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I just don't know what to do.

I have a confession to make. I love my dog. I seriously do. But I've been bitten by him now on an almost daily basis. It used to be just me. Now he's expanding out:

After working with Noah for several months with a trainer and a behaviorist, I thought I was seeing improvement. Recently, my four year old nephew came over. He and Noah are usually buddies and have never had any problems. After a day of play, Noah walked over to my father and laid down on the couch with him. My nephew walked into the room and without warning, Noah rushed over to Dean and bit him on the hand hard. There was no was no warning growl, no stare, no air snap, nothing. Just a growl AS he bit Dean's hand. It was completely unpredictable and everyone was shocked. Luckily, Dad was able to get Noah away quickly (I wasn't home) and his bite didn't break Dean's skin. Still, I hate hearing this, it makes my heart drop. I immediately called my stepsister and apologized asking if Dean was okay. He was. (In fact he wanted to come over and kiss Noah goodnight. I told him that's gonna have to be a big, fat no)

Another incident: He used to be excellent at the dog park....until last weekend when he pinned a puppy to the ground, gripped onto her neck and wouldn't let go till I came over. The puppy wasn't hurt. Someone brought a dog toy to the park....Noah took the toy and even when a pack of dogs chased him for it, he wouldn't let go of the toy. A woman tried to take the toy, he air snapped at the woman. I took the toy. We won't be going back. :( It seems like Noah's world is getting very small, but I must put people's safety first.

I do love Noah. I was so excited to get a dog and have us be together, but I never expected it would be like this. Your dogs don' this do they? My old dog Happy was never like this. Ever. Kids could CLIMB on her and she would just sit there with her tongue lolling out of her mouth and wag her tail. (of course, I never let the climbing continue, but in the 12 years I had her, she never hurt a fly. In fact, she whined once when she killed a ladybug. True story. I had to comfort her and bring her home from our walk)

I'm bringing Noah to the vet today to talk about his behavior and (hopefully) see if there's any root cause with this. He's definitely not around kids anymore. Makes me sad. I'm just stumped. There's moments where he's so loving and just snuggles with me on the couch. Or he sits by the door waiting for me right before I come home from work. As I type this, He's snuggled under his blanket, in his crate next to my bed, where he always sleeps. We played ball happily last night. But you just never know with Noah. It changes in a bipolar instant.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In Flux.

November 30th, 2010

My project ended at work and now I am awaiting a new one, which is good news. The bad news is I may not get a new project until after Christmas. Which means that I have a limited income on what I can spend for my crazy, blended family. I intended on tightening the reins anyhow, since I'll be moving out this summer, but now? Oy. I wish I was crafty, but alas I am about as good at that as I am cooking...which is I am not good at all. The two people I would really like to make something special for are my almost 5 year old nephew Dean, and my 2 year old nephew Matt. Dean is sensitive, loves trains, and hide and seek. Matt loves...anything. I swear that kid is the most easygoing child I have ever met. Always smiles at you, plays happily, remains mellow in any given situation. He's also pure boy and can break something instantly (never on purpose, always an accident.) So I don't want to buy anything out of my budget.

Speaking of budgeting, Have you ever heard of this? People are building tinyyyyyyyyy houses on a small budget. I'll admit I'm open to the idea, but my dad isn't too keen on it. (you know when Dad's not to keen on something by the way he raises his eyebrows) Part of me thinks I may be claustrophobic, and the other half of me is saying $65 A MONTH on utilities? Who WOULDN'T do that?


They also have tiny cabins. :)

The idea of living simple and never having a crippling mortgage is appealing. Just a thought.