Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Houston, we have a .......


This black and tan bundle of attitude is headed my way!

He'll go ferociously with the red bundle of attitude we got eighteen months ago.

And eventually we'll have two buddies enjoying a fun game of "keep away."

Meanwhile, we're keeping our fingers crossed that Krista doesn't eat the new pup before she learns to love him.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Missing in action

Well, our puppy has eyes and ears. Still haven't seen that curly tail, though. Less than two weeks now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A normal day

Like a bear coming out of hibernation, I have to adjust to the real world after the end of the spring tax season. I worked 367 hours in March and 223 hours the first half of April. After April 15, it actually takes me a few days to taper off work, catch up on some rest and remember how to take it easy.

This morning I got another tax return out the door, then headed out to pick up my friend and go tour the U.S. Mint, located in Fort Worth, about ten minutes from her house. We got to the mint about 9:30. The parking lot was fairly empty, a couple of moms with their young children were hanging around. There were four armed guards just inside the door of the welcome center. We put our purses in the X-ray machine and, after a body scan, entered the building. My friend took a little longer, having to remove all her jewelry and finally her shoes with the steel plates hidden inside. Once inside, we were escorted to a shuttle bus which took us to the main building.

We were welcomed inside like royalty. I think there were about twenty employees in the lobby, a combination of guards and hostesses. I didn't see any other visitors. We asked the lady who seemed to be in charge when the next tour started. She answered in awed tones that we had picked the perfect day, as they would be unveiling the new $100 bill at 11:00, and they were making that the first tour of the day, and we could be a part of it.

My friend and I looked at each other. We're both busy ladies, with things to do and places to be. Hang around for an extra hour and a half? I don't think so. We were quickly back on the shuttle bus, making our escape. I'll probably read in the paper tomorrow about the fabulous party I missed out on.

Instead, we enjoyed a lovely walk through her neighborhood. The morning was still cool and I particularly appreciated seeing the variety of landscapes, as I'm planning a complete face lift of my house's exterior in the next few weeks.

Next I had a business lunch with someone I've known for twenty-five years, and still occasionally work with. After lunch I had just enough time to bag up clothes for the school district's "clothes closet" before meeting with another friend and finishing the current round of volunteer accounting work I do for our high school band, punctuated as usual by my afternoon delivery of Wiley between schools for his afternoon class.

After school, Ricky cleaned the living room (wow!) and then it was supper time. What to eat?

My main motivation in picking meals these days is accommodating Wiley, who most of his life has been a light eater. A year ago he was five inches shorter than me. Some time in the last few weeks, when I wasn't looking, he passed me in height. It's rather glorious, just as it was six years ago when his brother did the same thing.

Lately, Wiley has been much more interested in food. Sunday he had eight or ten or twelve homemade tacos. We lost count, we just know he ate the rest. Tuesday night was an all you can eat pizza night.

Tonight I had the inspiration to go to the cafeteria. My kids grew up eating regularly in the Luby's Cafeteria just down the road from us. Certain nights of the week were "kids eat free," and when you have four of them, that is a pretty sweet deal. We gradually outgrew the free ride, though, and our family attendance tapered off, finally stopping when the Luby's closed a couple of years ago.

Tonight we headed out to Furr's, a one price all-you-can-eat cafeteria. I got a spinach salad, tilapia, pinto beans, turnip greens (with pepper sauce) and a roll. Ricky got chicken fried steak, gravy, corn, new potatos and some fried shrimp. Wiley got a banana (a banana?), hamburger steak, french fries and a roll. I reminded Wiley that he could get whatever he wanted. But that was indeed what he wanted. We ate our meals. Then Wiley went back and got a fish filet and some mashed potatoes. We finished up. Then Wiley went back and got another hamburger steak. Then he had ice cream. Then, not quite satisfied, he went back and got another banana. (Another banana?)

In our family, eating is now officially a spectator sport. We checked and made sure he didn't need to stop and get a snack on the way home.

Back at the house, I've spent the evening in the recliner, reading on a Harry Potter book, watching basketball, not fretting over any deadlines. Now it's time to hit the hay.

A normal day off kind of day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why I'm working past midnight (again and again...)

If you have 5 minutes, this is a great video
on the horrors of our country's tax compliance system.

(And my older son will like that it's easy on the eyes.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Star Wars revisited

This picture brightens my day. Our puppy has eyes now, but no ears.

My boys think we're getting a baby Ewok.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Why do I weep?

As I sit working in my office all the day long, my Ipod shuffles through its tunes. Country, classical, Broadway, classic rock or gospel - they all sound good through the Bose speakers of my docking station.

This afternoon a very favorite song popped up. "Into the West" is the conclusion of the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy. Our family saw the third movie together on Christmas Day, 2003.

After epic conflicts and heroic sacrifices, good triumphs over evil, and the characters go home to their "happily ever after." But Frodo, battle scarred and world weary, decides he must leave his home for a haven over the sea. At the last moment possible, he gently lets his friends know he is leaving them behind. "Into the West" is the chorus to this final scene.

I love this song because of the memories it evokes. I can't hear it without remembering my young, tender hearted son, who did not anticipate this twist to the story's end, sobbing in the movie theater at the friends' gut wrenching farewells.

I love this song because it is piercing and majestic and has a glorious french horn descant. I can't hear it without thinking of my daughter, a french horn player. In 2003 she was just two years past her final cancer treatment, far too soon for me to rely on remission. The song soars with the reminder that death's separation would be only temporary.

Here are the words to "Into the West."

Lay down
Your sweet and weary head
Night is falling
You have come to journey's end
Sleep now
And dream of the ones who came before
They are calling
From across a distant shore

Why do you weep?
What are these tears upon your face?
Soon you will see
All of your fears will pass away
Safe in my arms
You're only sleeping

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All Souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say
We have come now to the end
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping


And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass
Into the West

This afternoon I listened to the song five or six times, each time louder than before, aching for the times I will be on shores opposite my loved ones.

Every now and then, for a brief moment, I wonder whether the ship will be taking me to my lover's arms or bringing him and my babies to mine. I tingle for the moment of greeting parents and grandparents, unshackled from my childhood perceptions.

I love this song because, when I hear it, I am encouraged. Whether it be in three years or thirty, when I am damaged or worn beyond endurance, there is nothing to fear, all Souls pass. The pale moon will rise, a LIght on the water, my ship will carry me safe.

That is the beauty of Faith. I weep for joy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Promises, promises

I am supposed to get updated pictures of my new puppy on Friday. I can't wait! The breeder says his face is starting to take shape and the pup is going to be pretty.

It was fascinating to watch the snout grow on our first puppy. I had just assumed puppies arrived in their grown-up shape and simply got bigger. Instead, they arrive flat faced and then do a Pinocchio routine.

With a shiba inu, the color of the coat fades over the first few months, too, particularly around the muzzle. Our new little black puppy will end up with a mostly tan face and tan legs. I bet God had fun with that.

This is a picture of our new pup's daddy.

Meanwhile, on the cat front, we are in full battle mode with Addie, our devil cat. After two weeks of medication, she should be past her UTI. But bad habits take work to break.

She is locked out of our bedroom for the foreseeable future. We've added another litter box. And she's wearing a special collar that guarantees to soothe the stressed out cat and eliminate the inappropriate eliminations. Hmmmph.

The things we do for love.