Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Angels do fall sometimes

"I don't know what happened?... It just exploded"

Part Two of the 'Cat Man and Dog Woman' Saga

For those who have not yet read Part One, here is the link: Finding the Perfect Dog

Hey my Beauties,

I had such a lovely morning the other day when you, Nena, took me out for a cup of coffee. I know... I paid, but that doesn't matter... it's the thought that counts. You'll be paying in a few years, when you have a job.
"So, what should I write in my next blog?" I asked. Here was your reply:
"Remember Angel's first day with us, and I slipped and fell in her pee?"
"Yeah." I replied.
"Then... remember when I went upstairs to change my clothes and take a bath?"
"And I stepped in a pile a of poo behind my bed?"
"Well... it was then, that I decided to follow in my father's footsteps, and became... Cat Girl."
Nena, Yoda and Pharaoh
And this came from the daughter who named the dog Angel. The girls did try to teach the dog to use the litter box over the next few weeks, and the dog got pretty close to it. In the months following, whenever Angel would have an accident, the mess would be right beside the litter box. Don't know how she did it? Maybe because the dog was an Angel inside and out.
"We can call her Dog... no... how about Mutt?" your dad muttered, as he cleaned up his car tools that day when Angel first arrived.
"I know... we can call her God," he said, "that's dog backwards...that way I can finally walk with God."

Well, he may not be walking with God, but he does have an Angel by his side.
"She's a mostly good dog," Rene concluded after a year, but he would not yet declare it publicly. He had to acknowledge the truth though, because she always came when called, she never left his side (or at least didn't wander too far away), she sat at command, stayed at command, she never chewed shoes and, dropped the ball at our feet. Angel is so tuned in and focused on us, as Pack Leader's, it's almost as if she knows what we're thinking at times. It's kinda weird actually.
"What a well behaved dog." Strangers have come up to us to tell us how well behaved our dog is.
Let me tell you, no amount of research could have lead me to such an amazing, perfect dog. Remember we didn't pick her, she came to us. Now, I know we did have a part in her training and discipline, and I will be forever grateful to Cesar Milan, and his books... that we devoured... and... well...the dog devoured.
Super Angel Dog
You know, she's a really great dog... and she never chewed on our shoes... but... for some odd reason... she loved to chew on books. Not just any books either. She chomped on 'Scooby Doo', gnawed on 'The Dog Whisperer', munched on 'Philosophy for Dummies' and just ingested Nicky Gimbels 'The Alpha Course'. Maybe, that's why she's such an Angel?
Yes, Angel has chewed books, she had stolen a hot dog out of someones hands (he shouldn't have been waving his hands about like an Italian, in conversation) and, she has run off once. May I say something in her defence? It was after a deer and he was drinking salt water by the coast at Miracle Beach Provincial Park.  Really... why was a deer drinking salt water? And there was the time we left the dog in the car for 10 minutes with 8 small home made pizza's; we were bringing to Tante Bina and Uncle Jeff's for dinner. There were six and a half left, when we returned. It was our own fault. We left her alone with her favourite food... It was too much of a temptation... She's only human, after all... I mean a dog, after all. Okay... Okay... Angels do fall sometimes... but so do we.
When I've made a mistake and I've fallen, I will appreciate the person who helps me off the dirt floor more than the one who judges me legalistically and kicks more dirt into my face. Many people judge and discourage when someone is down, even I, Dog Woman, have been convicted of this crime.
Here's the thing... In Matthew 18:21 -22 Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how many times must I forgive someone? Should I forgive him as many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, you must forgive him even if he wrongs you seventy times seven." So, God has forgiven me for discouraging someone who was down and out, and... He doesn't want me to judge either.
Love each other as I have loved you. 
This is what he asks us to do.
"If someone in your group does something wrong.... you should go to that person and gently help make him right again... By helping each other with your troubles, you obey the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is important when he really is not, he is only fooling himself. Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done..... We must not become tired of doing good.... When we have the opportunity to help anyone, we should do it."
Galatians 6: verse 1 thru to 10 NCV
So, doG (read it backwards) wants us to encourage and lift each other up, and guess what goD (read it backwards) does when we come home? I know, at least for me, when Angel comes to greet me at the door she is always happy to see me (even when I've left her for a few hours - she forgives easily).
Alora and Angel
I have never been greeted with such encouragement, love and devotion by anyone, the way she welcomes me. She has never judged me, or kicked me when I'm down, on the contrary, she hugs and kisses when I'm feeling blue. Unlike the cats, who ignore me or tell me to buck up, stop feeling sorry for myself, and get them some food.
"You know Mom," Nena said as she sipped her white hot chocolate the other morning, "When a cat brings you a dead mouse or bird to your door... it's not a present... it's a warning."
"It's a good thing you and your dad haven't brought home any dead animals yet." I smiled and thought of my perfect dog, who would never do such a thing.

Is Cat Man really a closet dog lover? And does Yoda defect to the 'dogside' of the force?... I mean the family? Find out these things and more, in the next segment of 'Cat Man and Dog Woman' Part Three.

*Thanks to You Tube and Wendy J Francisco with God and Dog song video*

Friday, February 17, 2012

Finding The Perfect Dog

Angel our dog
Hey my Beauties,

Angel is an amazing dog. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives. When she first arrived at our door step it was a bit touch and go, but over the years she has proven herself worthy to live in a Cat lover's house.
"I don't do dogs!" that came from your dad the first week she was dropped off at our doorstep. You see, he never grew up with dogs only cats as pets, and the only experience he did have with a dog, was Sasha; when she lived with us for a few weeks until Tante Bina found a dog friendly apartment.
Sasha sitting on top of your Tante Tasha and Tante Bina
Sasha, was as well behaved as Marley (from the movie 'Marley and Me'). She was as undisciplined and dense as him as well, and she looked just like him. In looks and actions, they could have been twins, (you know she actually jumped out of a moving car like Marley too). Okay, she was a little stupid and uncontrolled, so I could see why your dad didn't want a dog if she was his only experience to base an opinion on. I on the other hand, came from a home where we had both cats and dogs.

Sherry(the dog lying down), Sherry's friend (forget his name)
Tante Bina and Oma and Opa
Sherry was my family' Irish Setter when I was a child. She was beautiful and smart and loving. You know, she waited every day for us at the top of the stairs, by the front door, when we returned from school at 3pm. She was a good dog. At least from what I remember as a child (you would have to talk to your Opa and Oma for more details).
I loved hugging her. I loved telling her all my problems, because she really listened. No judgements... just love. I wanted that experience for you as well. So I went on the hunt for the perfect dog. At least the perfect dog for our family.

What does the perfect dog look like? I had no idea. So I did some research...
It took me 2 years. TWO YEARS? Yes, 2 years... Why?...because I wanted to make sure we had the perfect dog for Cat Man.
Your father and I made a list:
- No hyper dog.
- No Labrador Retriever
- A dog that can sit in a canoe calmly.
- Must like swimming.
- Must listen well ("I don't want to be one of those crazy loud owners yelling and chasing after the dog!" that was one of your dads prerequisites).
- Medium to large size dog ("I don't want a small yippee dog that gets carried around in a purse!" My prerequisite).
- Must like Cats!

Our Dog of choice narrowed down to two options, a Golden Retriever and a Newfoundlander. Since a retriever can still be a little hyper, we opted for the Newfie. Besides, my cousin Ellen had a Newfie named Beau and he was the sweetest and most behaved dog I knew.

"$1800!" that was the going price from a reputable breeder.
"Forget it," your father said to me, "we don't have that kind of money for a dog." But, I couldn't forget it... You see... I love dogs. So I looked on line for a cheaper Newfie.
"Here I found one for $800 dollars," I said to your dad one night after 2 hours of searching. We called the number. It was for a 3 month old Newfie puppy and we would have to pick it up at the Metro Town Mall parking garage out of the back of a truck the following Saturday. Can you say Puppy Mill? Needless to say, we opted out of that option as well.
So, I went back on line and checked out the S.P.C.A. It took a few months to find 3 year old, Obi, a Newfoundlander cross with Chow Chow in Vancouver. He looked so cute and fluffy. It was meant to be, I figured, because we already had a cat named Yoda. He had just arrived from a reservation in the Bella Coola area. We have no pictures of him because he only lasted two weeks. He was the opposite of everything on our list except the big dog part.
"I'm not saying this in a hurtful way Anuschka, but I'm your friend," Krista began one morning as I attempted to walk Obi beside her. He was bouncing around and pulling me along. He was too strong and hard to hold on to.
"He seems too much dog for you guys... if there is such a thing? Do you get what I'm saying?" I did get it... I did feel it, but I didn't want to own up to it. I didn't want to give up on him, because so many people already had. What would happen to him if I give up? Then the unthinkable happened... he ran away.
"I swear Anuschka, it's the dog or me... I mean it! Take him back!" your dad said to me after spending a half an hour yelling and chasing after Obi, who had run off after some bikes on the dyke.
"Well?" he asked. I guess I had paused too long.
"Okay...I know... I will."
"I'm a cat person honey." he stated, "I just can't do dogs... I'm sorry." Reluctantly, with tears in my eyes I drove Obi back to the shelter, because Krista was right, he was too much dog for us.
As I drove the hour back into downtown Vancouver, I cried, "You know how much I love dogs," I blubbered to God, "I spent 2 Years! 2 Years... Waisted time!... For NOTHING! Now I don't have a dog and I never will." I was feeling quite sorry for myself. Eventually, I did realized that it was the best decision. He was not the dog for us. But because of my inability to find the perfect dog... I now had missed the opportunity to get one. Cat Man had closed the door.
You see, I had tried to do it all myself. I mean, for the past 2 years I had done all the work and all the research. I never once let anyone help. I never once asked God for help. I had relied fully on me.
"Okay... so it's no dog for us... if that is Your will God, and Rene's. I will have to be okay with it," and I really did, totally let it go. Honest truth.
When I got back, your dad gave me a big hug.
"No hard feelings?"
"No... I'm okay with the decision... It was the right thing to do," and I really meant it. Honest. Besides, I love your dad more than I love dogs.
A few days later Angel arrived on our door step, hand delivered... right to the front door.
I had forgotten about the conversation I had had with the neighbour a couple weeks earlier. He had just received a $20 dollar dog off a farm in the 100 Mile House area. At the time, I was frustrated with the Newfie development and disappointed with how much they cost, when I asked him if they had any more $20 dogs left. Oooopppsss... My bad...
"Your dog has grown." Rene said to the neighbour, who had come up behind him one day in May 2007, as he was fixing the brakes on our VW Van.
"No... this is your dog." the neighbour smiled,
"What...my dog?"
"Didn't Anuschka tell you?" he said as he handed over the dog to Rene. "My Misty is in the house. This one's yours. Anuschka asked for one a few weeks ago."
"ANUSCHKA!" your dad yelled. He was quite unhappy with me.  For a moment, he sounded just like my dad, when I was a kid and late for supper.
I found him outside, beside the Van with a cutsie little puppy in his greasy hands.
"Ohhhh, has Misty gotten bigger?" I cooed and picked up the neighbours dog out of your father's arms.
"No..." he paused and cleared his throat, "apparently this is our dog." Daggers flew out of Cat Man's eyes and steam out the ears. I heard a low-pitched 'grrrr' deep within him... and he wasn't purring. He was ready to spit and hiss at me at any moment. I backed away.
"Really?" I said happy-go-lucky, "Cool!" Then I smiled and cuddled my puppy.

Stay Tuned for Part Two "Angels Do Fall Sometimes"... Can Cat Man and Dog Woman co-habitat?
Love You
Mom (aka Dog Woman)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Clear Creek - Do you hear what I'm saying?

Silver Creek
Hey my Beauties,

A few weekends ago we attempted a trip to Clear Creek Hot Springs. We've been there a couple of times now and we've always managed to make it all the way (except when we owned the diesel van, Vanny - it didn't have enough power to make it up the rock scree).

Going up the Clear Creek FS Road
But we were in Dusty now (Toyota 4 Runner) and it has always made it where we have aimed the steering wheel, until now. Not because it wasn't capable (although there was a lot of snow up there and it was one of the deciding factors to turning around), but the main cause was a communication problem.

Miscommunication happens so easily, and will happen a lot in your life. In the words we say, in the words we write, or in our body language; people will either interpret what you say incorrectly, or you will not be clear in the way you communicate. It's a part of life.

So why didn't we make it to the hot springs? Panic and a failure to communicate our feelings clearly to one and other. Yes, there were some tough spots, like sliding backwards towards a cliff, but your dad knew what he was doing. We just didn't trust his judgement and instead of talking to him about how you were feeling you panicked. And the tears didn't help either.
"Stop the car!"I huffed upset,  trying to stay calm in the chaos, "Girls OUT!" Hysterics set in and I knew I had to get the two of you out of the car and fast. No one could think properly in the frenzy you were making and I wanted your dad to have the opportunity to think clearly on that high mountain road.
So... I removed you from the vehicle. I should have told your dad what I was doing. My words and actions made him think that I was afraid as well, and that I didn't trust him. That's why he turned the car around 6km away from the hot springs.
In stressful situations our panic makes things worse for all concerned. Calmly, we need to talk about the situation and tell each other what's going on inside our heads, so we can make the best decision on what course of action works the best for all concerned. Turning around was the best decision in this situation. Your father heard you loud and clear, "Get me off this mountain!... I want to go down."
We went back down to Silver Creek, had a campfire and roasted hot dogs. And all was well again.

We are communicating all the time with our words, eyes, faces, bodies and attitudes. How do we communicate well with one and other? Now, I'm no expert and I still have a lot to learn, but I'd like to share with you some of the things I've learned along the way.
1. Watch - people's body language will tell you a lot.
2. Listen - just stop talking for a while and listen and hear.
3. Take time to respond - take time to formulate what you want to say, go over it in your mind before it come out of your mouth. Ask yourself, "is it clear?"
4. Ask people the question, "Is this what you meant?" and repeat what they've just said. That way if you've misunderstood, they have another chance to relay the message more clearly.

If our body language says one thing but our words say another, guess what happens? Miscommunication. If we don't speak the same language and use the wrong words in a sentence, what happens? Miscommunication. If our hearing is impaired or we aren't paying attention, what happens?...

"Goodnight sweetie." I said, and kissed you, and tucked you into bed tonight.
"Can you snuggle?" You looked pretty darn cute when you said it, but I had work to do.
"I'm going to write a blog." I answered. You looked confused.
"You're going to walk the dog?"


"...we are all human. We make mistakes. We're vulnerable. We're not perfect. The thing that interferes most with communications, at times, is our attempt to prove that we're not vulnerable - to keep a stiff upper lip or to appear macho in the face of imagined attacks... After all, most people are just like you. They're human. They care. They're sympathetic. They're supportive. People want you to succeed. Show them that you care about them... An awareness of your own vulnerability and the vulnerability of others will make you a better and more human communicator." Roger Ailes from 'You are the Message - Getting What You Want by Being Who You Are'

Love You!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Hey my Beauties,

LOVE has been on my mind the past few days. Maybe because it's valentines day... maybe not. I just want you guys to know what love means. Real love, not the fake marketing kind. So, I've spent the last  few days trying to define love for you, not that it can be defined. This is my meagre attempt to describe what real love is. The way I feel love for you.

The English Dictionary's definition of the word LOVE:
1. an intence feeling of deep affection
2. a deep romantic, sexual feeling for someone
3. a personified figure of love, example cupid
4. a great interest or pleasure in something or someone
5. affectionate greetings conveyed on one's behalf
6. a formula for ending an affectionate letter
7. a person or thing that one loves
8. a friendly form of adress (that's okay, love)
9. used to express affectionate approval for someone (don't fret, there's a love)
10. a score (in tennis, squash)

Ah, LOVE...  so many different meaning for the same word... it can be terribly confusing, especially for someone who has not grown-up in an english speaking country.

"I LOVE you." Now, as your Mom, this doesn't mean I'm winning a tennis match with you. It doesn't mean I'm cupid or affectionally greeting you. It means so much more than all of the above to me. In my great desire to tell you what it does mean to me, I did a little research to try to find the right words. So, I googled the word LOVE, and this is what came up:
- Love Calculator
Love Poems and Quotes
- The love magazine (naked ladies kissing eachother - YUCK! That's why I didn't link it)
These were the top three listed sites for the word LOVE... Wow! If I had to define LOVE by my google research I'd get even more confused. Then I remembered that God is love. So, I went to the Bible and Strongs concordance of the Bible. In hopes to find the words I was looking for.
Strongs Concordance is like a dictionary of sorts, where the english words are translated into the original Hebrew and Greek. Under the English word LOVE, there were 2 pages of the different scripture uses for this word (I guess LOVE is popular in the Bible). There were 7 different Hebrew words used for the english word of LOVE in the Old Testament and 11 different Greek words used in the New Testament. Do you know what that means? There are 7 Hebrew words used where the english have only one word, and 11 Greek words ,where we have only one word for LOVE. That amazed me, so I dug a little deeper and found all 18 words and the definitions for each.

Here's the Coles notes version:

Hebrew LOVE words:
1. ahab (aw-heb) - to have affection for; strong emotional attachment to
2. ahabah (a-hab-aw) - means several different kinds of love, love between man and wife, sexual activity, love between friends, love to God.
3. dowd or dod (dode) - to love by giving a token to a lover or a friend.
4. agab or egab (eh-gheb) - to breathe after, much love for, to love sensually, very lovely
5. agabah (ag-aw-baw) - amourousness - inordinate love
6. racham (raw-kham) - to have compassion for, mercy for, love for God, how God loves us in his promise to us.
7. rayah (rah-yaw) - a beloved companion, bride

Greek LOVE words:
1. agapao (ag-ap-ah-o)- to love in a social or moral sense
2. agape (ag-ah-pay) - love that can be known only from the action it prompts (diliberate love in action)
3. thelo (thel-o) - to determine an act, to will, to wish, intend
4. koilia (kay-lee-ah) - the heart, the womb, the inner most part of man, seat of thought, the soul
5. philadelphia (fil-ad-el-fee-ah) - brotherly love, kindness, love of the people around you
6. philadelphos (fil-ad-el-fos) - love of brethren(friend and family), love as brethren
7. philandros (fil-an-dros) - fond of man, affectionate as a wife loves her husband
8. philanthropia (fil-an-thro-pee-ah) - fondness of mankind, kindness, love towards man
9. philarguria (fil-ar-goo-ree-ah) - love of money
10. philoteknos (fil-ot-ek-nos) - fond of one's children
11. phileo (fil-eh-o) - to be a friend to, have affection for

A little different from the English definition huh?

How do I LOVE you? One word isn't enough for me.

I ahab ( a strong emotional attachment to you), ahabag (love as your friend), dowd (love by giving to you), agab/egab (much love for you), racham (love through compassion for you), agapao (love you because I'm your parent and I socially and morally need to), agape (love you in action), thelo (I am determined to love you even when you don't want me to or when you've hurt me), koilia (I love you from the inner most part of me, deeply), philadelphia and philadelphos (love in kindness for you are my family), philoteknos (fondness of you because you are my children), and phileo (affection for you because I am your friend) you!

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count the wrongs that have been done. Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Your Mom

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Ugly Sweater

Ugly sweater as per Oma
 Hey my Beauties,

Mom's can be irritating. Great topic you say? I know, one day you will feel this way about me, maybe you already do?  Just to let you know... kids can be irritating too. But, that's for another blog, today I want to talk to you about annoying Moms.
Mom's protect their children at all costs to make sure their offspring are safe. Mom's are going to teach you what they know, some good, some bad, (the rest you'll have to figure out on your own). Mom's are going to love you no matter what. Unconditional, it's a part of who we are. Mom's are also blunt enough to tell you when they find the sweater you're wearing is ugly. Like last weekend.
"That...that...sweater darling," your Oma began last Sunday. She shook her head repulsed by what she saw, "It's not a nice look... not flattering at all." It began innocent enough, but then it got down right disagreeable. "Where ever did you buy that thing? That sweater wouldn't look good on anyone... you should give it away... not to someone you like... no... you should wash the toilet with it." That's when she went upstairs to get something.
Talk about being honest. Tante Bina couldn't believe that your Oma was being so candid with me, but then again she didn't know about the time your grandmother brought over a box of highlight's for my hair (a subtle hint to spruce myself up a bit). I had gone back to my natural hair colour two weeks before because my hair was falling out and I couldn't afford colouring it every month, that left me with real ugly roots for a couple of weeks. I hated that, so I went from being a blonde back to brunette (as a blonde I really didn't have more fun anyway, as the expression says). I think she understood after I explained it to her, at least she never approached the subject again.
New and improved sweater as per Oma
After a few minutes, she came downstairs with a new and improved sweater right out of her closet, because that's what Moms do when their children are wearing ugly clothes, they give you the clothes right off their backs (or at least out of their closets).
It was a little irritating, but we had a lot of fun that afternoon, we laughed a lot. Truthfully, I'm glad I have a Mom who tells me that I'm wearing an ugly sweater, and most importantly, a Mom who tells me when I'm wearing an ugly attitude. Because... that's what Mom's do to help their children grow.

So what do I do with the ugly sweater girls?

"Give it to Oma as a joke."
"Ya, tell her you saw it at a thrift store and thought of her."
"Ya, then tell her you only washed the toilet with it once."

Ooooppps! What have I been teaching you?

Love You