Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm still here

I haven't forgotten you guys or my blog. I'm sorry I haven't been around to visit with you much lately, it's been a little on the crazy side here.
I've been sick with some kind of 'creeping crud' and I've been working like a mad woman trying to get these stained glass trophies finished for our dog show next month. I may be scarce for the next 2 weeks, it's getting down to the wire with the show and I am trying to get all my duties done. I'll be back regularly when I get this show past me.
I want to say a big Thank You to Jan for the award! I'll post about that tomorrow if I get a minute! Meantime, ya'll go visit her, you'll love her blog!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Although your birthday has come and gone 5 times now since you left us, I miss you more than ever!

I love you Mom, Happy Birthday!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April is a Busy Month

April has always been a busy month for me what with birthdays and being the Parking Chairman for my kennel club's show in May. Nowadays, there are a few more things added to the month.

April is National Donate Life Month. I am a huge advocate for organ donation. I volunteer whenever I can and I have met some wonderful, amazing people while doing so. The need for organ donation is great and it is so easy to help, all you have to do is sign a donor card or the back of your driver's license, then be sure to let your family know you want to donate your organs. According to UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing, as of today at 6:00 pm, there are 101,792 candidates awaiting an organ transplant!!

(My mother Jerri, Christmas 2003)

My beautiful mother Jerri, died suddenly Aug 7, 2004 from a ruptured brain aneurysm and she was an organ donor. I know for a fact, there is a lady in North Carolina who spent years on dialysis waiting for a kidney. She has a son who was planning her funeral instead of planning for her to watch him graduate high school. There is a man in New York, who had to stop working and was living a life of pain, watching his family grieve for him while waiting for a liver. There is an older lady in Tennessee and a gentleman in South Carolina who couldn't see their children, the beauty of a sunrise or spring flowers blooming. ALL of those folks received Mom's organs! There are countless others who received her tissue donations as well!

(Mom with one of her hand-fed baby birds she raised.)

The lady in NC did indeed get to see her son graduate and by now has also seen her daughter graduate. I hope she has also gotten her horse that she was looking forward to getting. The man in NY has gone back to work and is enjoying running and golfing. And I could just imagine how the folks that received Mom's corneas are living! Imagine, seeing your child's or grandchild's face for the first time or watching the sunrise!

Losing my mother was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, the pain is still great, especially on those special days, Mother's Day, Christmas, my birthday, etc. BUT knowing that someone else is living and enjoying life because of Mom eases that pain somewhat. Mom would have been 66 years old this coming Mon. April 20. Yet another day that makes this month a hard month for me. When those special days roll around I find myself thinking of her organ recipients and wishing like crazy that I could hear from them. I think I'm ready to write them a letter, let them know a little about Mom and see how they are doing.

(Mom, 4 months before she passed away)

According to the policies and protocol surrounding organ donation, recipients and the donor family can indeed get in touch with one another IF both parties want that. Either side would write a letter then send it on to the donor organization that handled our services. Mine would be Mountain Region Donor Services. These are the most caring, wonderful people I have met. I have made quite a few friends through them, both during Mom's donation process and through volunteering for them. So I think I will write something to her recipients and hope that they want to communicate with me.

I've been told by other recipients it was hard for them to contact their donor families. They were afraid of bringing more pain on the family or opening up a wound that was beginning to heal. They have also told me they didn't have words to say to the donor families. Thank You just doesn't seem like enough to them. I promise you, I am not looking for a thank you anyway. I am looking for a way to see that Mom's organs have made a difference in someone's life. I mean I know it has, I just want to SEE it or READ of it. Wish me luck that I will get a response.

This post grows long and believe me, I could go on and on and on about this subject. Yet another reason I volunteer for MRDS and try to get the word out about donation.
If you would like to know more about it, if you are contemplating donating your organs and have questions, please, please, PLEASE feel free to ask me anything about it. I promise I will help you all I can and if I don't have the answer right then, I will find out for you and get back to you. I promise.

For now, I'm out of here and I'll be back with you next time with another cause I care about, you see, April is also Autism Awareness Month.

(My second cousin Kolby, the reason I support Autism Awareness)

Be Blessed,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesdays at the Table

Can you believe it's Tuesday again? Time for Andrea's Tuesdays at the Table! I have found so many recipes that make me hungry just reading them since she started this! Join the fun, post a recipe or food tip then head over to Andrea's place, My Chihuahua Bites, link up your food post with Mister Linky and go see what everyone else has posted. I warn you, these ladies are posting some awesome recipes, so get ready to have your mouth watering!
Today, I'm posting another really easy recipe (I told you, I like EASY) that is a favorite around my house, not to mention, yummy!
Pepper Steak with Soy Sauce
1 lb. beef round steak or sirloin, cut into strips
2 T. shortening or oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cup water, divided
2 med. onions, cut into strips
2 bell peppers, cut into strips
2 T. cornstarch
cooked rice
Brown meat in shortening or oil until tender. Add soy sauce and 1 1/4 cups of the water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add onions; simmer for 5 minutes. Add peppers; cook until peppers are tender. Mix remaining 1/4 cup water with cornstarch and stir until no lumps remain; add to beef mixture. Allow beef to continue simmering until sauce thickens. Serve over a warm bed of rice.
I'm telling you this is good stuff, we never have leftovers no matter if I double the recipe or not!
Now get on over to My Chihuahua Bites and join in the fun!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

A big thank you to my cousin, Cheryl who sent these to me and gave me a huge smile first thing this morning! :) That's her Lab, Zoe and her friend's Greyhound, Joker all decked out playing Easter Bunny.

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tuesdays at the Table~Week 3

It's that time again~Tuesdays at the Table hosted by Andrea over at My Chihuahua Bites. I am loving this party! I've found so many great looking recipes so far and can't wait to try them. Join the party and head over to Andrea's place to get in on it.

Today, I'm posting Chess Bars. I like easy. I like good and this one fits both bills. My niece, Tori gave this to me a long time ago and I make it quite often.

Chess Bars

1 stick butter or margarine, softened

1 box yellow or chocolate cake mix

1 egg

Mix together and press into a greased 13x9x2 cake pan.

1 8oz cream cheese, softened

1 pound box powdered sugar (yeah I know 1 pound!)

2 eggs

Mix these together and pour over first mixture. Bake at 325 for 50-55 minutes.

This is awesome, but as you can see, not for those looking to cut back on calories!

Now get over to My Chihuahua Bites and add your recipe!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

What to expect in a groomer

(Pooch looking cute)

I have had a few requests for this information lately so I thought I would share it here as well. Susan aka Catsmum over at Susan in Stitches suggested posting it here. Go check out her blog, you will find a pretty talented lady behind all those goats and yarn.
After nearly 29 years in this business, I have learned alot, not only about animals, but about other groomers as well. Some of them are not what they claim to be, others are absolutely wonderful. The grooming business is like any other business as far as the "business" end of it goes. We are in business to pay our bills and hopefully be able to buy things we want. Most of us are in the grooming business because we love animals and want to be around them. Some groomers however, are only in this business because you can make good money. Those are the ones to watch out for.
Grooming is not an easy job, it's dirty, it's hairy, it's very physical and it's dangerous at times. Being a groomer means at any given time, you can be bitten, scratched, pooped on, peed on, or puked on. You most likely will end up with a bad back, carpal tunnel, dry, cracked hands, arthritis, damaged nerves in your hands and most certainly, scars. BUT, those of us that absolutely love this job just deal with those things and chalk them up as part of the job. Those of us who can't see ourselves ever doing anything else will continue being bitten, pooped on, peed on, etc. because to us, it's worth it to see a freshly groomed dog, with a bandana and bows dancing around so proud of his/her new look. It's a wonderful feeling to see what you have accomplished when you look at the finished product. It's very rewarding!
(before and after pictures of a Toy Poodle)

Now, what should you look for and expect in a groomer and grooming salon:

1. Ask to see the facilities, beyond the lobby.
Look for cleanliness of the cages, floors and work areas. Of course there will be hair scattered about, but there shouldn’t be dirty kennels, tubs and floors. If they will not let you see the facility then leave promptly. Someone with nothing to hide would give you a tour of their shop/mobile unit.
2. Ask what their policies are on handling your pet.
Do they use muzzles and restraints safely ? How do they handle puppies, seniors, and nervous or difficult pets. Where do they keep the pets while they are waiting to be groomed? Ask questions that you are able to see the answers to, such as the kennels, the bathing area, dogs currently being groomed, products used and stored, sanitized, etc.
3. What are their credentials?
Talk with the groomers and ask where they have been trained. Ask them to provide you with some client references. Ask to see a photo book of their work. Don’t assume that all groomers are the same. You want to find someone who has experience, yet has a love for animals as well. Ask to see if they have any certificates from grooming seminars, schools, or classes that they have attended. Also find out if they belong to any grooming association either state or national.
4. Do they have style?
Find out if they have a specific breed that they specialize in. Are they familiar with the grooming needs of your breed. Are they interested in giving your pet a style and clip that is easy to maintain with your lifestyle. Not all dogs need to be shaved down. If their skills are limited to shave downs and they have no desire to create a stylish look for your pet, you may want to look else where.
5. Ask your friends, family or Vet to recommend a groomer.
Navigating the yellow pages for a groomer can be a daunting task. By asking people you know that have their pets groomed can save you a lot of time. However, don’t just take someone’s word for it. Follow the guidelines listed and it will help you find the groomer that will suit your needs, and make your pet look and feel great.

What does your groomer expect of you?
Your professional groomer expects you to be honest about your dog's temperament, health and previous grooming history. Your honesty will give the groomer a better understanding of how to handle your pet to the best of their ability. If you neglect to give truthful information it could be detrimental to your pet and the groomer.**
Be aware, if your dogs coat is matted it could cost you additional charges ranging from 15.00 to 40.00 per hour, depending on the groomer and the severity of the matted coat. Some groomers may not even do a de-matt, they may just shave your dog (due to the pain of de-matting) and ask you to maintain a much more diligent grooming schedule.
Your groomer will expect you to have your dog picked up from the salon within a reasonable time. Be considerate, and don’t leave your dog at the groomers all day long. Most groomers will give you a pick up time or call you when your pet is ready.
Tipping your groomer for a job well done is something you should do. The normal tipping scale is 15% of the total fee. If your groomer is an owner/operator you should still tip them for their hard work.

What you should expect from your groomer
Not all groomers are created equal. Never assume anything.
Ask for your pet to be provided with clean fresh water while they are in the salon, or mobile unit. If your pet is going to be in the salon for an extended period of time, ask what their policy is on walking your pet to let it relieve itself while it waits.
Grooming times vary from groomer to groomer and what they have scheduled. Ask how long it will take to groom your pet and ask for a pick up time.
Grooming fees vary between salon and mobile groomers. Ask how much your pet will cost to groom. Find out if there will be any other charges incurred prior to leaving your pet to be groomed. Let the groomer know that they have to ask permission to do additional services on your pet, such as flea dips, shave downs, etc. You shouldn’t have to pay for additional services that you didn’t agree to prior to leaving your pet.

Finally, you should be able to express what style of clip that you want your pet to receive. Let the groomer know your lifestyle and time constraints on keeping up with grooming at home. You should expect a clear and concise idea of what your pet will be groomed like.
You should expect to be able to speak with the groomer that will be working on your pet. You should expect to be treated with respect and your pet to be treated with dignity and compassion. Ask questions and be informed.

**If your dog is aggressive, or has been known to bite PLEASE be sure to let the groomer know! Getting bit is not fun, but it is nice to know ahead of time if the dog has bitten before. It won't matter to most groomers, we're used to it, remember. Forewarned is better than NOT warned.**
I can't tell you the number of times I have been bitten only to have the owner giggle and say "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you about that". I think folks are afraid if they tell the groomer the dog bites, they won't groom the dog, that may be true with some groomers, but not all of us. A good groomer will not turn you away for telling them that, they will know what to expect and will be ready for it.

One last thing, one of my favorite sayings over the years has been "God does not groom dogs and I do not work miracles!". If your dog is extremely matted or has not been groomed in a long time, don't expect me to make it look like the dog you saw on the dog show. To have a dog clipped like that, it has to be groomed on average, every 4-6 weeks. If you don't take care of the brushing and care of the coat at home, don't expect me to "fix" it when you bring it to me. My main concern is your pet. I won't cause pain by de-matting a dog that hasn't been touched since last year, it is far better for the dog to be shaved down and start over. Then get on a regular grooming schedule.

(Miss Peggy Sue in her first clip)

Hope this helps some of you, if you have any other questions about grooming, you can email or leave a comment. Oh, and I'm sorry for not getting around to everyone's blogs, I'm hoping to get that done this weekend, those stained glass projects have been keeping me pretty busy.