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Monthly Archives: January 2006


I will be doing apartment inspections today.  This always brings me a mixed bag of nuts.  You never know if the people are going to be clean or dirty or if they are going to be happy or pissed that you are there.  I always expect the unexpected but the hardest thing for me is the fact that I have to deal with so many different smells……everyone’s home has it’s own smell, but I have an extra keen nose and smells often give me a headache.  Today will be filled with lots of scents and I hope most of them are pleasant……(Yeah, right… I look around for my nose plug)


My weekend was rather uneventful……that is always good.  Friday night was Sierah’s basketball game, (see photo below) Saturday brought dinner out to my favorite authentic Mexican restaurant with Laura ……Later that evening Jenna was feeling her feminine side and decided to paint our finger and toenails.  I obliged while watching Cops and America’s most wanted and at the same time trying to balance the cat and Murphy on my lap.  (HEY!  I CAN multi task!)


Sunday Sierah and I ventured out looking for prom dresses…….while together we didn’t find anything exciting but one of the prom dress places happens to be right down the street from one of my favorite little hole in the wall restaurants called “Coney Island”.  This place has been downtown forever and as a kid my Mom and I use to go down there, have a couple Coney dogs and drink the little Coca-Cola’s from the little bottle.  (They still serve those and I couldn’t help but stand in line and think of being in that same place with my Mom many, many years ago..)……of coarse we had to stop in and get a couple Coney’s to go.  (Stellar wont mind if I have onion breath…..)


Later that evening Sierah dropped me off and went on the drop dress mission alone….eventually finding “thee dress”…..she called and wanted me to get dressed and drive out north before the store closed in the next 15 minutes.  Uh, I don’t think so…..Sorry, baby but I will look at it tomorrow…….(Like I am going to burn rubber to get to a story to pay $300 bucks for a dress she is going to wear only one time…….gesh, kids!!)
PS…..Sierah is # 20 in this photo…..she made the cover of the sports page this weekend.  South Side had a great game and Sierah had one of those blocks where the whole crowd says "OooooOooohhh!" 
You go Sierah!  
One more game then they will be heading for Sectionals.

As you all know “Charlie Tuna” (AKA The three legged cat) showed up some time ago.  I can’t be exact as to when but I was feeding him canned food outside in the alley in June on my birthday so I know it has been at least that long….


He decided he was going to live at my house slowly…… when he finally made the decision to move all the way in, he did so with a vengeance.  I don’t know if he somehow knew “Him Black Cat’s” health was failing him and decided to make “the move” but there was a point that every time I would walk past the leaded glass windows on each side of my entry way door he was standing up with his little body plastered onto the window, yowling to come in.


Once he got into the house, he made no attempt to leave for weeks…He found his favorite napping spots, baskets to curl up in and chose a drawr under the sink that he loves to hide in……then periodically he would go to the door and request to go outside.  I didn’t oblige because he has only 3 legs and is de-clawed……a prime recipe for disaster out in the streets.


Now a few months have passed, the weather is warming and he wants OUT.  When a cat wants out, they let everyone in the house know they want OUT!   For having only 3 legs this cat can dart straight out the door, down the stairs and thru the fence before I can even focus good on him. 


Considering the sheer number of kids and dogs I have at my house, you can imagine how many times a day the door gets opened……he waits near the back door till he can make his getaway……zoom……he’s gone.


I think it is primarily that he likes to use the restroom outside, but I am a nervous wreck when he is out there.  He always comes back in about an hour or so, when he does manage to get out……but I worry like crazy till I see his furry little butt in on the porch waiting to get back in.


The little sneaky sh*t managed to slip out of the back door yesterday when I was leaving for work…..I couldn’t find him when I got home from work, called and called him……No kitty……..last night 3 times I went outside during the night and called him…….No kitty……this morning…..4:00AM I am outside in my jammies calling the cat……No kitty……I am worrying all day long at work about the cat until Acacia just called me and said, “Mom, I found the kitty, guess where he was at?”  I said, “WHERE?”  She said, “the basement.”……….


*as I hang my head in shame*…….


For 24 hours I have been worried sick about my little 3 legged cat……..and he was in the freekin’ basement the whole time………just hangin out…..


Cats…..ya gotta love em.


I noticed a “Little old cat lady” at the store the other day.  She was at the check out counter and had nearly all cat stuff……big bags of dry food, cases of canned food, cat toys and various other cat products and nearly nothing for herself.  Some part of me wanted to stop her and ask her about her cats but I was too busy tending my own bags, paying for my groceries etc.  I stood a few isles away and grinned at her as I imagined multiple felines welcoming her at her door as she returned home, purring and loving on her as she greeted them in one of those little voices only little old ladies have……”Hello my little babies….look what mummy has brought home for you……..” all the while cats twist in and out of her legs…..


My kids tell me all the time that when I grow old I will surely become “a little old cat lady”…….I find this observation interesting because I obviously have more dogs than cats (with only one part time cat living at my house…..)  Right now, without question, the dogs rule……although I do feed numerous outdoor feral cats.  (But we are not counting them right now)


Maybe it is just because the phrase “Little old dog woman” hasn’t been coined yet……not sure, but in all honesty I think they may be right…I do love cats too.


In my lifetime, the few cats that graced me with their presence all chose me.  There is a true honor in having a cat that has choose you……The are certainly picky creatures and if they don’t like you….no amount of bribery, treats, tuna, nothing, will MAKE them like you………If they like you, they like you…..if they don’t, they don’t. 


Cats are extremely cool creatures and they have something so special about them.  That special quality not only binds owner and cat together but also it somehow also seems to bind all cat lovers together too. 


I love dogs and cats both and can’t say I am a “dog” or “cat” person, but I certainly appreciate many things about both.


I love walking at the park or a day at the Lake with my dogs……those are glorious things to me that I enjoy immensely, but there is nothing like a cat who loves you, rubbing his face in your chin while he lays on your chest and purrs.  What’s not to love about that?…….


The jury is still deliberating…… but I guess this makes me a dog AND cat person…….


I imagine by the time I grow old, they will just call me “That crazy old lady!”
So be it!

I can’t help but wonder what my mailman must think of me.  I subscribe to more magazines than I can count, and I am sure he gets sick carrying them in his bag and stuffing them in my box routinely, but in actuality I think that not only the books you read but also the magazines you subscribe to, say so much about a person.  


I have three in particular that I really enjoy.


The first is a dog magazine called, “BARK”.      I cant express it enough, I absolutely love this magazine.  It is like no other dog magazine out there.  I use to subscribe to dog and cat fancy, but they just seemed so commercial and generic to me.  I always thought, why cant someone "get it"……people want a real dog magazine.  Bark "gets it!"  This magazine is totally different……everything about it is is what I have been looking for, for so long and I love it.  I read each magazine that arrives from cover to cover.  If I ever get up enough nerve I will submit something for print for them…….in the mean time, I did send in a photo of Stellar for their “smiling dogs” page.  (Maybe they will use it.)  They also have a BLOG link to their page and there are always interesting topics being discussed.  Looking at this blog, and finding a link to another dog lover’s blog is what made me decide to keep one.  This magazine is by far the best dog magazine out there.


My second magazine I enjoy is called “Mother Earth News”.  It is a magazine geared toward people who are interested in organically grown vegetables, alternative energy and independent living, etc.  I subscribed to this magazine on a whim and I am extremely happy I did so.  I do wish one day to live on a small working farm, I love growing my own food, would love to have a couple chickens for eggs and I have always been interesting in solar heating, etc.  I would say that if anyone reading this is interesting in any of those things, this is the magazine for you.  Well worth the money for the subscription.


My third favorite magazine that the one that fewer people will find interesting is a magazine called “Countryside”  This is basically a homesteading magazine.  It routinely covers home food production, gardening, small-scale livestock, cooking, resource conservation, recycling, frugality, money management, alternative energy, old-time skills, and home business.  The majority of the magazine is written by people who live this life style and write about it for other people to learn…….I KNOW this magazine is not the magazine for everyone, but if you ever considered throwing in the towel for city life and moving to a cabin in the woods, it might be a good read for you. 


I guess what my magazine’s should say about me is that I love dogs and wish to one day move my small herd of kids and animals to a farm……or a cabin in the woods somewhere…..that would be ideal for me. 


In the mean time……..I’ll just keep reading!

Sierah said to me yesterday, “You know Mom we couldn’t send Stellar to live somewhere else, even if we wanted to now.”  As Stellar was draped across my body, looking at me with the big goo goo eyes.


Considering his totally frightened demeanor when I was first trying to capture him, he has turned into a total love sponge, attached to me with a vengeance…. like no other dog in the house.  He not only wants to be with me at all times, but he has to constantly be touching me. 


Even when we ride in the car he rests his head behind my back.  He sort of wedges his big head between my back and the car seat.  He bays if he can’t ride in the car with me when I leave the house, and he is so darn loud I can hear him all the way to the street.  This gives me a horrible guilty conscious every time I leave him……If I give him his bone filled with peanut butter while I am at home (and he knows I am staying at home) he is happy as a lark and runs off to lick the peanut butter out of the bone…….if I give it to him in the morning when he knows I am going to leave, he immediately drops it out of his mouth and gives me a disgusted look like, “I cant believe you just tried that old lame peanut butter in the bone trick with me.”


When I sit on the couch he has to sit next to me with us legs over my legs and he normally rests his head on my body too.  If I make the poor choice of sitting in the chair, he dances around in front of me trying to figure out how we are both going to fit into the chair together….normally he does his song and dance until I finally get up and sit on the couch. I guess it is hard for me not to indulge his every whim………how could I not after all he went through?


As you all know he sleeps with me, along with two or three other dogs…….but Stellar has to be touching me at all times.  He is happiest if he can feel the weight of one of my arms draped over him.


Sadly he still has nightmares about something from his past that haunts him.  When the dream wakes him he always looks over at me and then rests his head on my body somewhere…… almost feels like, “If I can touch her, I know I wont loose her….”  It is somehow sweet and sad at the same time.


In retrospect, it is almost hard for me to remember the frightened, starving dog in the woods.  He has changed so drastically since he came to live at my house.  He has learned so much.  (We are still working on the “all stuff I can reach on the counter belongs in my tummy…….but he is doing great!)


I still have no idea what brought him to the wooded area, or what caused him to be so frightened of humans that he wouldn’t allow me to touch him even after feeding him for 4 weeks, but he has certainly done a 360 since he woke up in my basement that day. (Can you imagine what he thought that day?  Where the h*ll am I and how did I get here??)


Everything has turned  out great and he fit right in………


I couldn’t of wished for a better outcome all those months ago……..


I love my big ole’ lucky cow-dog!


I am convinced my dog bear has the ability to take away my migraines.   I am aware this notion is going to make many people balk at even the idea, but I swear I truly believe it.


I have been plagued by migraines most of my adult life. About 3 or 4 times a year I get one that renders me unable to function in any capacity until it passes.  I go into my room, shut off any light or light source, let every kid in my house know to be QUIET, take my medicine and try to sleep it off…  I don’t want to see, smell or hear anything… feels as if my head is splitting in two, I can feel where my hairs on top of my head connect to my scalp, I am unable to walk, talk or focus…….If I catch the symptoms quick enough, my medicine helps a lot, but if not…..I am in for trouble.  So when I start seeing splotches I try to get my tail home.


Last year at about this time I had a migraine start at work, I had no medicine with me so by the time I got home, I was already really sick.  I had to stop several times while driving home due to the pain, but I eventually made it….driving with one eye open, one eye squinted shut and one hand on top of my head….one on the wheel.  I was having the worst migraine of my life.  I got myself upstairs and rooted thru my medicine cabinet unsuccessfully trying to find my migraine medicine from the Doctor…..I couldn’t find it so I slowly made my way down the hall to my room and onto the bed…….I had tried to shut all of the dogs out of the room so they couldn’t jump up on the bed but somehow Bear remained in the room with me. 


When I got into the bed I laid down in somewhat of a contorted position……I will lay any way that seems to ease my pain…..Bear jumped up on the bed, I peeked thru one of my tightly squinted eyes to look at him……..he came directly up to me, sniffed me for the longest time then turned around a couple times and laid directly onto my hand that I had pushed out in front of me, to prop my body up. 


Not completely unusual, but it did strike ME as unusual because Bear doesn’t sleep in the bed with me.  He has always preferred the cool floor.  Him being even up on the bed was rare.  He was quiet and had laid down, so I didn’t mind


When I woke a few hours later, I noticed Bear was in the same position so I pulled my hand out from under him…….3 hours had passed……and the pain in my head was completely gone with no medicine.  I couldn’t believe it.


I guess many people would call it coincidence……and maybe the first time I would of agreed with them, but it has happened 3 more times. 


Each experience was a bit different, but Bear was always consistent in his presence and each time he had to lay next to me touching me and prior to him laying down he spent a lot of time sniffing me.  The last time it happened he curled himself up behind me, so we were back to back and I felt a huge amount of heat and energy between us……at least it seemed so to me.  His body felt was so warm in fact he felt like a heating pad.


I cant say I can explain what he does, but I swear somehow that dog has the ability to take away my migraines……


I do believe that some animals and people have a healing power to them.  Can’t say I can’t explain it, but I do believe it.


I still cant believe he spent 6 months living at the shelter before I adopted him…….I always tell him…..”Sorry it took me so long to find you buddy, but I am so glad you waited on me……I love you Berry-Blue-Berry.”


I love that dog!



I know I have asked you guys to send packages to the soldiers, but today while looking for a recent post from the soldier I mailed off some goodies to, I came across the following post:


– Air Force –

SSgt Michael Hendricks
Attn: Any Airman
HHC, 501 STB
101 Airborne Div., AASLT
FOB Speicher
APO AE 09393

(Use address exactly as shown.) (1)


Added here: 14 January 2006
Expected to leave Iraq: 01 Jul 2006 (2)
Where in Iraq: Tikrit (3)
Contact for approx number of Males: 7, Females: 0 (4)
Unit is from: Ohio (5)
Restrictions to this address: Here (6)


From the Airman:

14 Jan 2006:
We need snacks and durable dog toys for our Military Working Dogs. I have Military Working Dogs. We really need "ChillyDog" cool vests. They are great because unlike the ice pack systems these can be dipped in cold water! The Jorvet Thera-Paw size M & L paw protectors (Very Important). Cannie cooling beds- which are fluid cool cushioned petbeds. I know this is a lot to ask, but I need UnderArmor shirts for my handlers (BLK) Sizes Loose fit L-XL. Snug fit XL-XXL.


 The text of the message says: 


14 Jan 2006:
We need snacks and durable dog toys for our Military Working Dogs. I have Military Working Dogs. We really need "ChillyDog" cool vests. They are great because unlike the ice pack systems these can be dipped in cold water! The Jorvet Thera-Paw size M & L paw protectors (Very Important). Cannie cooling beds- which are fluid cool cushioned petbeds. I know this is a lot to ask, but I need UnderArmor shirts for my handlers (BLK) Sizes Loose fit L-XL. Snug fit XL-XXL.


I understand many of the things he has asked for are out of the financial reach of many of the people who read my BLOG, but maybe just one person could afford some of the more expensive items.  What a difference that would make for an overheated working dog.


For the people who love animals, and would love to make a difference please note he said, “We need snacks and durable dog toys…”  (Doesn’t have to be expensive stuff.)


I am going to send a box of dog goodies, a couple of KONG toys (the most durable dog toys I have ever found) and a couple jars of peanut butter for stuffing the KONG.  I would be thrilled if I could get a couple more people to send a box……I can only imagine how hard dog toys are to come by there. 


Thanks to anyone in advance who decides to help!  I appreciate it!



My Mother was one of those Mothers that every kid in the neighborhood gravitates to their house, fed everyone that came over, kept everyone over 21’s glass full of home made wine, and sent you home with a bag of fresh vegetables from her garden and jars and jars of stuff she had canned. 


She was the most generous, kindhearted person I have known in my life and I can honestly say that everyone that met her loved her.  She just had a way about her…… 


I was her youngest child and the two of us were inseparable.  Even during a few years when I thought I needed a bit more space from Mom… didn’t phase her, she plugged along and was involved in everything I did. 


Her constant presence in my life seemed normal to me.  It wasn’t until High School that I realized I was truly blessed to have a parent who not only cared about me but also was involved in all that I did.  I realized it when I saw how many kids had parents who never showed up for anything….no performances, let alone practice.  My Mom showed up to everything….rain or shine.  When we marched in the rain, she stood in the rain and cheered us on.  When we marched in 100 degree days, she passed out water.


All 4 years in High School I marched in the Color Guard in Marching Band.  My Mom never missed a practice or performance.  She went beyond just showing up….She pulled a wagon with a cooler full of water and cups during many long hot parade routes, traveled out of town with us more times than I could count, chaperoned at 4 band camps, (always pulling the best practical jokes played at Band Camp….once took a pair of underwear from each boy and hung them up on the wall of the mess hall with the wrong names attached….including the band directors) donated a trailer to haul all of the marching band equipment in and pulled it with our old green truck, supplied, cooked and sold hotdogs at every home game for 4 years, donating all of the proceeds to the band . 


After each game when she had hot dogs left she was sure to give each janitor a couple of hotdogs and any person who happened by who looked hungry……always on the look out for someone that had a couple small children; then she would send them all home with them. 


She painstakingly dragged this large cooker along to each game so that the buns for the hotdogs could be steamed and always supplied her homemade relish and onions fresh from the garden for the hotdogs…..people waited in line for Mom Neumann’s hotdogs.   They were the best!


I have no idea how much money my Mom raised for the band over those years but her constant support, especially to the kids who had no parents who showed up to anything, was her true gift.  Mom toted kids all over town who didn’t have a ride to or from practice, when we went out of town she always brought enough food to feed an army in case someone’s parents forgot.  She was always there and constantly cheered us all on no matter what the circumstance. 


I remember once when we were Marching at a big contest being held at Soldier Stadium in Chicago with a crowd of about 20 thousand people, we took the field in the pouring down rain.  Half way up the stadium I could see my Mother jumping up and down yelling, “Those are my kids!!” through a mega phone……  We all were….all 300 of us.  Every kid in that band called my Mom, “Mom”. 


The kids in the band and band staff adored my Mom.  She is the only non-athlete, non-student to have ever been lettered by my High School.  She was given a letter and a letter jacket that said “Mom Neumann” on the back, at an awards banquet that I was asked to speak at.  She cherished that jacket and all that it represented.


Surprisingly, over the weekend, while eating breakfast with my sister we saw an old neighbor of ours who also happened to be a close friend of my Mothers.  She informed us that recently my old High School had honored my Mother for her work she did with the Marching Band.  I was completely taken back.


Twenty three years later…can you imagine that?…I thought it was so wonderful and wished I could of somehow been a part of it.  My sister and I both cried….what a beautiful gesture.


I was so blessed to have her for a Mother……she touched so many, many lives….


She was one in a million.

I did not go on the non-date, date.  He called at almost 7:00 that evening and I had already left to go do something else.  He then called the following day but my cell phone was on vibrate in my purse and I didn’t get the call till a few hours later.  When I see him today I will reschedule for one day this week……I promise Tricia! 


I did make it to the beauty shop to have my eyebrows waxed.  I love how this little lady does my eyebrows but I swear she has this horrible breath.   I just want her to eat a mint or something before she leans all over me breathing directly into my face. (PU)  I tried to hold my breath but I started to get dizzy and I than began to fear I might pass out…….lord I might wake up and have her trying to do mouth to mouth on me……eww@ just the thought. 


After getting my eyebrows done, I realized that having my eyebrows waxed right before a date isn’t a good idea either. Not only do I get really red everywhere they put the wax, this time I got a couple welts over my left eye……..I am sure Russell would have been polite about it but I actually looked like I had just found a hornets nest……. 


We went to Sierah’s game Friday night and Marcus “The Dork” boyfriend was there too…..on the other side of the gym rooting for the school he graduated from……no problem, right?  Wrong.  He didn’t cheer for Sierah.   He could of sat over there but also clapped for Sierah when she got a block shot or basket!!  I understand the school alliance thing, but ………  That was SoooOOoo not nice of you Marcus.  You lost so many brownie points with me for that.  Calling to say you were sorry after the game did NOT help!  Your approval rate has now dropped about 30% and this may take lots of bribery to repair…….


Oh did I mention she had a GREAT game and also SHUT DOWN Danielle (zero points the first half while Sierah guarded her) who was recently given a full ride scholarship to Notre Dame for basketball.  (She is a nice kid and one of Sierah’s friends……Go Danny!….but I am forced to use her to rub it in Marcus’s face.)  What about all that stuff you talked before the game?  Hummmm?  We beat them last year AND this year….gonna sit on the South Side, side next year?    You better dingleberry…….!!  FYI:  You have been demoted from dork to dingleberry…….


Yesterday brought us warm weather (40 degrees is considered warm right now) so I decided to shut off the furnace, have a fire in the fireplace, send all the dogs out into the yard to play and do some spring cleaning…….my poor kids didn’t know what hit them…..they ended up spending most of their  Sunday cleaning the house. 


Trash goes today and the trash at our alley looked some someone was moving out……not to mention the 6 bags of clothes in the back of my car for the goodwill.  Ahhhhhh……but now I feel so much better!  Thanks kids…….and Sierah I DID notice you slipped outta there awful early……Left with the dingleberry…….your approval rating is now slipping too!  You two better get with the program.


All went well yesterday until one of the kids let all of the dogs back in right after I mopped the kitchen floor…… & dogs…..gotta love em! 

Do you ever have one of those days where you just want to say the same thing you said in the 3rd grade when everything went wrong……”I want a do-over.”


Cant say it was a really bad day…….but just a day that I am glad is drawing to a close….. I still want a do-over. 


Tonight will bring a basketball game (I always enjoys those, jumping shouting, tormenting the referees….pure joy! ) and afterward a fire in the fireplace, a good book and my favorite jammies…….(I will actually fall asleep after reading for about 10 minutes, sitting up in the chair…. and shortly there after the cat will take up residence somewhere on my body after kneading on me for half an hour and grooming my face and eyebrows with his little scratchy tongue.)


Tomorrow is my big non-date, date that I have voiced second thoughts about at lunch.  (My friend Tricia said she would non-renew our friendship if I back out….Tricia, that IS harsh!….OK~ OK I’ll go…..geez) 


Russell (the non-date guy) stopped in today and told me he would call me after he gets off work tomorrow and we would figure a time out.  (I could always just not answer the phone….just kidding Tricia….I am going .) 


He just started a management position at the Lowe’s down the street.  (That’s good right…?_Maybe I can get a discount on my never ending stream of home improvement stuff I need for that giant old house of mine…!)


I will let you guys know how the non-date goes……wish me luck!  I need it!


Have a good weekend all!