Thanks to Wandering Soul for hosting the story continuation prompt. This week’s first sentence is: “The new morning brought with it new hope.”
The new morning brought with it new hope. Yesterday had been a horrible day and I didn’t want today to be a repeat. I had taken the day off as work had been particularly stressful.
Also, I had been dog sitting for my brothers and my parents who had all decided to go to various vacation destinations at the same time. I was ready to relax and unwind with the dogs, when my friend popped over with her three giant lab dogs.
Janice hadn’t had time to take her labs to doggy daycare in the morning as she usually did on Thursdays, before work. She felt Luna, Izzy, and Geo needed to be around other dogs at least a couple of days in the week, in addition to their walks. Luna, Izzy, and Geo joined Crumpet, Lola, and Cleo for some socialization on my day off.
I was happy all six dogs were girls.There was a pecking order, Cleo and Lola, leading the pack, but all the dogs got along famously and enjoyed playing and following each other around in the house.
Cleo and Lola were miniature American-Eskimo cross breeds and pack dogs by nature. Crumpet was a chihuahua and yappy as chihuahua’s tended to be. Luna, Izzy, and Geo were all various mixes of labs, friendly and boisterous.
I dreaded taking all six dogs to the park for a walk as I wasn’t sure how to manage six dogs of various sizes and temperaments, all on leashes. I was hoping to let them run around on the off leash trails as much as possible. But even maintaining control of the girls on the off leash trails would be a challenge as I would have to ensure they did not scare or surround other dogs and their owners.
Lunch time came, and I set off on a walk with all six dogs. Leashes tangled and the girls sniffed around and jumped at each other on the way to the off leash trails. We narrowly avoided several people on bicycles. The American Eskimo crosses, in particular, didn’t like the cyclists and the noise they made. They were even more upset by the rollerbladers who whipped by us.
While Cleo and Lola tugged madly on their leashes I attempted to pull them in. The labs on the other hand, loved running along with Janice on her husband as they biked, so they in turn, pulled their leashes towards the cyclists happy to greet them.
Finally we reached the off leash trails and the dogs were set free to play. The chased each other through trees, wood chipped trail, and bushes. We passed other people walking their dogs and I was surprised how good all the dogs were, even Cleo and Lola who could be nippy and have attitudes at times. All the dogs greeted the new human and dog friends they met on the trails, and more dogs were added to the mixture of breeds running wild.
Crumpet, my parent’s chihuahua mix, decided she had had enough walking and jumped up into my arms. I had no idea how I was going to carry her with the five others dogs pulling on their leashes when we were ready to go home. The dogs and I walked down the trail a good hour and then turned around.
I was tired near the end of our walk. It was a great deal of effort to keep tabs on six dogs and the dogs’ energy levels were still going strong. I was hoping a long walk would tire them out. The girls were constantly running back and forth to me, checking to see that I was coming along and jumping at me at random moments wanting me to play or to give me a kiss. Cleo and Lola who knew me better, kept checking back incase I decided to throw a milkbone treat their way.
As we walked, we came to the shores of the river near my house. A small delta of land went out here, and couple of other dogs were swimming in the shallow waters. I shouted, “No. Stay here,” to all the dogs but they ignored me. I expected Luna, Izzy, and Geo to not hear me as they had never had to listen to me before. But Cleo and Lola knew better. So did Crumpet.
They tiny Chihuahua mix leaped into the muddy water and began to paddle around. I groaned. All these dogs were going to need baths later and this wasn’t how I wanted to spend my Thursday off, bathing filthy dogs. I knew for a fact Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet would never accept being bathed by a hose and they would fight me every inch as I washed them.
After a time, I called all the dogs out of the river water. They came crashing towards me. Luckily, I had been wearing workout clothes, for I was as wet and dirty as the dogs once they were done greeting me.
Something was wrong though, Crumpet hadn’t come in from the river. I saw her standing on a tiny piece of land surrounded by water and yipping at me. She was afraid to come out. I sighed and made a face knowing I would have to go in the river and bring Crumpet out.
Wading into the shallow water, I carefully walked out from the delta and grabbed Crumpet off of her lonely island. She was overjoyed to see me and dripped water over my face and neck. Even my hair was dirty now.
Crumpted nuzzled into my neck and sighed. When I was back on land, I managed to leash up the five other dogs who had been patiently waiting for me oddly enough.
I don’t know how, but dripping wet and dirty, we all made it back to my house and I unleashed all the dogs in my fenced backyard. I won’t mention how difficult it was to clean up after each dog after they had done their business during the walk.
In the garage, I had a kiddy pool purchased for my small niece when she had visited in the summer. I filled up the pool with water from the garden house. Going inside the house, I shed my clothes at the door along with my mucky shoes, and went downstairs to the bathroom to grab a big bottle of shampoo. I changed into an old t-shirt and pair of shorts and grabbed old towels from from the closet upstairs.
A couple of the labs, Izzy and Luna, were already in the swimming pool when I came outside, so I began washing them first. Apparently, they were used to being bathed liked this and after the first two labs were done, I grabbed Crumpet from where she slept, under a tree and forced her to have a bath as well. Taking ice cream buckets full of garden hose water, I rinsed off the dogs and dried them in turn. I dumped out the kiddy pool and filled it again with clean water.
Geo the third lab, was happy to have a bath as her lab siblings had enjoyed. She was easy to shampoo, rinse off, and dry. Cleo and Lola watched me suspiciously as I came to get them. I yelled, “Come here!” Their ears went back as they knew they were in trouble and they tried to stealthily avoid me. But Cleo was nearest and only thirty-pounds, it was easy enough to carry her into the pool a short distance away.
Keeping Cleo in the pool, was a problem. She struggled in earnest to escape, even when she was slathered in shampoo. She was tough to clean as she had long fur and when she was done, we both were covered in water. I let Cleo go after drying her off. It was Lola’s turn next and she yelped when I picked her up from the corner of the yard she’d been hiding in. The process of cleaning Lola was similar to how it went with her cousin Cleo.
I was worn out from walking and bathing six filthy dogs. But I gazed out into the grassy backyard and saw how tired the dogs were too. They lay stretched out in the grass sleeping or circling, trying to find a good position to settle down in in a sunbeam. I collapsed into a lawn chair and slept.
The next thing I knew Janice was standing before me. “Trish? Are you awake?” I was startled. I smiled at Janice sleepily.
“Yeah. I was tired. Sorry I must have dozed off.” I told Janice what the girls and I did today. She laughed.
“You didn’t have to take all the dogs for a long walk. I was going to take the labs myself when I got home. How did you manage with six dogs?”I told Janice the story and she laughed at my struggles with the dogs.
Janice thanked me profoundly and took Izzy, Luna, and Geo home. Cleo, Lola, and Crumpet .wandered up to me and we all went in the house. Dinner was served for the dogs and at the end, treats were given for enduring their baths.
In the end, I was able to have the long hot shower, I’d been dreaming about since the dogs jumped on me after being in the river. I took my time and was finally, able to relax.
After much preparation Christmas has passed. It always feels as if there is this huge build up and then in a moment, Christmas Eve and Christmas have gone. So, how did you spend yours?
I have been feeling a bit better then I have the last couple of Christmases so I spent time baking these spice cookies we call Christmas Tree Cookies and Chocolate Turtle Squares. Christmas Tree Cookies require baking and then being decorated with colored icing and decorations of little sugar crystals etc. The chocolate turtle squares I was able to swap out the flour and use a Gluten free flour so my Dad could eat them. He did eat them all; they are gone now. My Mom also managed some baking. She made shortbread, brownies, and peanut butter cookies. Not to mention we have a lot of chocolate to eat.
On Christmas Eve, I went to Church with my Mom and Dad. My brother
came a bit later in the service. We sang Christmas carols and the pastor had a brief sermon. I haven’t been to church in a long time. It hasn’t been possible for me to wake up early enough on a Sunday that I can get to a Church my Mom or Dad go to. After the service, we went hope and there was snacks and baking. We had mini spring rolls, cheeseball and crackers, some kinds of cream cheese dip, sushi, different kinds of sausages, vegetables, and baking. We drank wine, beer, and soft drinks. After talking and eating, we opened presents. For most of us that meant money, gifts cards, and chocolate. It was nice but my eldest younger brother wasn’t able to make it for the first time so it was a bit weird without him.
J (my brother) did make it for Christmas dinner the next day. We had ham, perogies, cabbage rolls, stir fried rice, Ichiban Chinese Noodle Salad, broccoli with cheese sauce, raw vegetables and dip, and baking for dessert. We ate around 1:30 pm. We tend to have early holiday dinners because it is a lot easier to get everything cooked in the day and because a lot of other people have Christmas get-togethers at night.
Boxing day we didn’t do too much. But I have been catching up on some movies that have come out in the last few years that I have wanted to see but I didn’t get the chance to see. So, on Boxing day (and before Christmas) I watched The Avengers: Age of Ultron which is fun and fantastic. The only problem is I think if you haven’t seen the Avengers movie before this one, all three Ironmans, both Thor movies, and both Captain America movies, you might not quite understand everything that is going on. All those movies are intertwined so much it makes it hard for someone to see only one of these Marvel heros movies and understand the entire story.
The same probably goes if you haven’t see the last three X-men movies
plus the movie about how the X-men began, you wouldn’t understand the fourth X-men Movie Days of Futures Past. But it is my personal opinion it is an excellent movie on it’s own I think. It had a great story line and it fixes all that went wrong in the first three X-men movies. So, the ending is excellent. Also, if you are into the new Star Trek movies, the second one Star Trek: Into Darkness is pretty decent. I am not the hugest Star Trek fan but the Chris Pine who plays Kirk is h0t and the storyline wasn’t too bad either. It was kind of a typical Star Trek movie in what went on. But I think a fan would like it.
I also watched a Nicholas Spark’s movie called The Longest Ride. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was for a Nicholas Spark movie. He hasn’t had many good ones since TheNotebook, Dear John, and a few others. The story was in a way similar to a The Notebook. And the lead handsome guy is played by Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott. He is going to be a good actor I think. He is about thirty-years-old and has the same wrinkles around his eyes that his Dad has. But he is definitely hotter I think, at a similar age to his Dad. So if you are in the mood, for a good Romance, I recommend The Longest Ride.
I still have some movies on my list: The 4th Transformers movie, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Wolf of Wallstreet, and I think there is another Nicholas Spark’s movie in there too somewhere. At the theaters I am waiting to see the new Star Wars movie and also a movie called Joy with Jennifer Lawrence. I think I talked about it before.
Tomorrow I am going for a much needed haircut and a gel manicure. I like
gel nails they look good for a longtime and they’re shiny. But they can be hard on your nails. I used a certain kind of nail polish remover to try to get the remaining Gel polish off my fingernails. It works with Shellac nails so I thought it would work with Gel. It kind of did but damaged my finger nails in the process. The better option if you get gel polish is to simply file the polish off after three or four weeks. It works the best and takes more time but will not damage your nails. I did this on my toes and they were fine after I removed the polish using this method.
Not sure what the New Year’s plans are yet. Was different before because I have always had a boyfriend to spend the last four New Years with. However, it works out I am happy. If I get to sleep that will be good, if I go out for a few hours that will be fun too. Happy New Year to you all!
Prompt: Critique something.
I know that Black Friday is coming. Last year I avoided it, most of my Christmas shopping was done by that point. But from online shopping emails, I noticed how great the deals were from both Canadian and American stores. I remember going to Banana Republic Canada’s website and seeing all clothes were 50% off. That hardly ever happens at Banana Republic! The best price you can get is 40 % off and that’s not often. In fact, it was odd to me that Canadian websites and stores were giving deals that were so good on Black Friday and they were better then the Canadian equivalent, Boxing Day deals. I like to shop, that’s not a lie. But I also have this part of conscience that is telling me that whether we are shopping crazily on Black Friday Week or Boxing Week, we are missing the point of the holidays these shopping marathons are based around.
The largest difference between Canadian and US Thanksgiving is when we hold our festivities. Canadians celebrate the second Monday in October and Americans the third weekend in November. But I know for both nations, it is a time for us to be thankful for all God has provided us with in our lives. For the plenty we have in our wants and needs. We remember so many do not have ‘plenty’ in other places in the world. We give thanks to be alive and for the relative peace we find living in our countries, especially when places so close to our hearts such as Paris, are attacked by terrorists. We eat large meals and see our family, whom we may not see all year. But to be specific, Wikipedia tells me, the first thanksgiving was celebrated in the US after the pilgrims first harvest in the New World in 1621. The feast lasted three days and in attendance were fifty three pilgrims and ninety Native Americans. In Canada, we simply celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year during our Thanksgiving celebration. But I wonder how such a time of thankfulness has become a shopping race, to find the best deals. To think of all we ‘want,’ instead of all we have.
Every Black Friday or Cyber Monday we see Americans literally fighting over electronics and grabbing items from each other as if they were toddlers. People are pushy, loud, and not nice to each other. They think that if they act how they act, they’ll get all the items they want. It is all about “me” and “I” or “my family.” I have to say it is worse on Black Friday in the US, worse then it ever gets in Canada even though Black Friday is gaining force here. But I’m not sure deals will be as great this year with the fall of the Canadian dollar from near parity.
What ever happened to being a decent person, sharing, and being thankful for what you have? You may get a great deal but at what immoral price? What are you teaching the younger generations when you gorge on food, say that everyone should be thankful, then push and shove in Victoria Secret over a bra, of which you have ten or more? Or, was it worth it to battle through bodies and buy a TV at a hundred dollars saving?
I know some of you Black Friday shoppers are kind. And that every person just wants nice things for their families or theirselves at a good price. Maybe you can only afford certain items on sale, so these shopping days are important. Things are pretty tame in Canada but there is always the exception. And it’s just my point of view, but I wonder how being thankful and all this merchandising, advertising, and worked up shoppers fit together.
In Canada, we celebrate Boxing Day after Christmas. It’s origins lie in people boxing up their leftover food from Christmas meals for the poor. But instead, we shop with our gift cards and Christmas money for more of what we have, for stuff, instead of celebrating family and Jesus’ birth; instead of celebrating people being together. I just find it a bit difficult, putting Christmas and shopping hauls together. I still shop and I still celebrate with my family. But I try to remember that when I’m out buying merchandise there is a way to treat other shoppers with respect, not like they’re the competition. I remember that buying stuff is fun but only temporary. “You can’t take it with you when you go,” as the saying goes.Whether you can buy a lot of things or hardly afford any, in death we leave all our junk behind. We need to remember that there are people who can’t afford are grand celebrations at Thanksgivings and Christmas. We need to give money and our time to those in need. To give presents to kids whose parents can’t afford, or food to the family who can only go to the food bank.
I think if we were more thankful we could see how it is for some people to have so little, while we have a lot. For some people a tiny gift or a helping hand is worth so much. Little things like God, family, good friends, and health should matter the most. Without them all the ‘things’ in the world are worthless. So, be happy if that is what you have and if your basic needs are met. Happy Thanksgiving Americans and start of the holiday season for many of us. May you be thankful and gentle when you shop and generous with your time and donations to those less fortunate. May you cherish the life you have because you’re a priceless person to many people you know and loved very much.