Monday, September 26, 2011

Sincere Appreciation

This post has been a long time coming. There's a lot of negativity surrounding the Shoup-o-sphere lately. There are many external influences that have created this air of doom and gloom circling around my head. Combined with some personal missteps, and let's just say, I haven't been the easiest person to be around (shocking, I know). To be honest, from the outside looking in, there's an easy way to resolve a lot of what's going on. But you can axe mah momma, I've never been one for easy and sometimes it takes a lot for me to ask for help. Like house burning down around my ears magnitude. While I'm not there yet, it's not far off.

Many people have put some wind in my sails, as it were, with their encouraging words, thoughts, actions and just general listening ear. The worse I feel, the more I tend to isolate myself, so I just wanted to take a time out and say thank you.

- Thank you to the people who reminded me why I participate in animal rescue in the first place. Thank you to the people who reinforce my decision to get out of animal rescue. Wait, what??? That's a contradiction silly girl! A paradox, it's true, lord knows, I can't ever make things simple.

- Thank you for opportunities and experiences I wouldn't have otherwise known. Thank you for allowing me to provide you with experiences that bring joy to you. Through your joy, I am refreshed and repurposed.

- Thank you for listening and allowing me to listen. I appreciate having the chance to vent, but also appreciate allowing others to vent. Just call it a great big love fest.

- Thank you for going out of your way to provide me with support and empathy. I have been able to exprience humble and joyful tears even through tears of frustration.

- Thank you for witholding judgement. While you may not have been supportive of me and what's going on, you didn't tell me what an idiot I was, and for that, I'm extremely grateful.

- Thank you for being willing to hop on this crazy train with me. Whether you were helping me shovel the coal to keep the train moving, or being the one to drive so I didn't have to, your effors have not gone unnoticed.

- Finally, thank you for your outrage, righteous indignation, love, care, concern, advice and support of me. I truly don't understand people as much as I thought I did, but I do understand friends and frienship and for that, I'm eternally grateful.

Simply put, thank you. You can never know how much your actions, thoughts and words have inspired, motivated and comforted me. Thank you.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Establishing timelines

KIC is getting old enough now, that I have been trying to not only tell her of events that are coming up, but give her timelines for those events so that she knows they aren't happening RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND! For the most part this works as I only tell her a couple of days in advance when things are happening. So I'll say "KIC, Minga and Grandpa are coming to visit on Friday. That's in two days!" Then as each day passes, we can do a sort of countdown for their arrival.

What's hard to establish, and I don't even really try, is stuff waaaaaaaaay into the future. She knows her birthday (January) is after my mom's birthday (August), but she doesn't really have the concept of months or years, really. That's fine, I don't expect her to, or even really try to teach her, but sometimes, when an event that's pretty far into the future comes up, it can have pretty funny results. To wit:

*Scene: Mommy and KIC have just passed the big yellow school bus*
KIC: Mommy, my friends ride the school bus.
Me: You have friends that ride the school bus?
KIC: Yes, they ride the school bus (didn't I just tell you that, woman???)
Me (thinking I'll be clever): After two birthdays, you'll get to ride the school bus too!
KIC: I will?!?!?!?!
Me: Yup, after two birthdays.
Me (somewhat feebly, realizing my misstep but not really seeing a way out): Yup, after two birthdays you get to ride on the school bus.
KIC: Two birthdays only for me, right? Not my friends.
Me (laughing): Heehee.
KIC starts laughing maniacally
Me (laughing along with her): You're so silly.
KIC (stops laughing): I'm not silly, you're silly.
Me (thinking we're playing our standard game): I'm not silly, YOU'RE silly.
KIC: No, you're silly. You're laughing, I'm not.
Me: You're not laughing??
KIC (dead serious): No.

Fortunately, by this time we had arrived at school and I was saved by the distraction of the school. I envisioned that getting very ugly, very quickly! My lesson learned: Yeah, don't worry about trying to explain the future to a 3 1/2 year old. It has potential to get you in serious trouble.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Memoir of a Rescue Dog by Valentino Shoup

Mom has been pretty busy these days managing a lot of different things. While she walked away muttering something about "awful neighbors" and "180 proof", I decided I would start my memoir. Was that a snicker I heard? I'm almost 9 in human years, which puts me at 63 in dog years. That's nothing to scoff at, especially when you've led the life I have and I've got a lot to say before my nap, so listen up!

What kind of life HAVE I lived, you might ask? I started life not being wanted. I am a beagle/basset mix. Nobody plans to make basseagles...or would it be beassets? Nevermind, I'll just stick with beagle/basset mix. I digress. While I am darn cute, and I KNOW it, I guarantee that the owner of an unfixed basset and the owner of an unfixed beagle didn't plan to see what kind of puppies they would get. It's a pretty rough start, knowing that you aren't wanted.

That's not to say my life totally sucked from the beginning. I was placed with a family who kept me for a couple of years, until they got tired of me always running away. What can I say? I gots some long ears and I like to feel the wind beneath them. I also got a bad rap with the family. The little boy used to torment me. I have a very long fuse with almost limitless patience (except for my annoying canine foster brothers, but don't EVEN get me started on that) but I had enough and when I was forced to defend myself, I was lucky that the family agreed it was the boy's fault. I'm not going to blame my wanderlust on my circumstances at the house. I've got beagle in me, it's what I do. But the family felt it wasn't a good fit and when I wound up at the Montgomery County Humane Society, they decided not to reclaim me.

I'm not going to give you the statistics on the number of homeless animals that are euthanized every year. I will tell you that nobody should have to endure what we dogs endure in homeless shelters. Cold floors, no warm laps, a crumb of affection tossed here and's no life for anybody (pssss...spay and neuter people). I was fortunate that a very nice man I will call "Uncle Dick" saw in me what my family could not - a true gentleman, with a heart of gold. He brought me into a rescue that would ensure I was placed in a loving home.

For many months, I was overlooked. I couldn't really understand why I wasn't in a warm, loving home. I couldn't understand why none of the families who looked at me didn't see what a catch I was. The adoption days were boring - I spent my time showing how cleverly I could escape ANY restraint. Never underestimate the intelligence of a beagle. Finally, this couple with two dogs took pity on me and brought me into their home to "foster." Little did any of us know, this wasn't the temporary situation any of us envisioned.

Shoot! Mom is coming back! I'll write more later.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jam of the Week: Britney Spears

Britney, to me, is the pop icon that you just can't keep down. Bad decisions? Yup, she made 'em. Public breakdowns and humiliation? Got that too. But just when you think she's out, she comes back with another hit.

As always, let me know what you think, good, bad or indifferent. I'm especially interested in knowing if you are digging the Jam of the week posts in a format other than Facebook.

Without further ado, here is Britney Spears "I wanna go" remixed by Gareth Emery.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Safety First

My child is a daily source of wisdom AND entertainment for me. This was our conversation this morning on the way to school:

KIC: "Mommy, can we go super fast???"
Me: "No, baby, we cannot."
KIC: "Why, mommy?"
Me: "Because it's raining outside and we need to be safe. We can't go really fast because the roads are wet."
KIC: "Why, mommy?" (can you tell she's 3? I think kids are programmed to be able to understand the concept of why at this age)
Me: "Since it's wet, if we had to stop suddenly while going superfast, we may not be able to stop in time."
KIC: "Ohhhhhh. Mommy, don't crash, k?"
Me: "K, baby, I'll try not to."

I think it's sound advice for all drivers: Don't crash when it rains. Better yet, don't crash at all, really

Speaking of rain, if you haven't heard, it's been raining since Monday in the Metro DC area. Yesterday, we were blessed with flash floods. This is what a park and ride in my area (not my park and ride, thankfully) looked like when drivers went to get their cars yesterday:

More here:
Flood at Reston Park and Ride. Stay safe, ya'll. This weather's key-razy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What have the Shoups been up to?

Labor Day weekend was a very busy weekend in the Shoup house. I am a longtime member of the Sports Car Club of America. Through our regional club, the Washington DC Region, we were given the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Baltimore Grand Prix. Our primary responsibility was to be on hand to help support the flag workers at their stations by providing essential supplies - lunch, beverages, ice and transportation to and from their stations. When it was time to work, it was time to work NOW, but there was a lot of downtime that allowed us to REALLY check everything out. Brent got to see the Indy car race up close and personal and I was on the teevee witnessing a spectacular cluster at the beginning of the ALMS race on Saturday. For those who may be concerned, we alternated when we were at the race, lest you think we left KIC unattended with the Sleepy Hound Brigade.

I did learn, while at the Baltimore Grand Prix, that my stalking skills leave much to be desired. I *just* missed Danica Patrick a million times! One time, I had my head down as I was labeling lunches and she rode right by on her little scooter thing. Brent will proudly tell you that Danica said "hello" to him as she walked by from Pit Row. Sonofa... Time to brush up on my evasive manuever skills...or just stay in one place for when she walks by, as was the case for Brent. Lucky man.

Sunday, KIC got to do a couple of things that we both love the most. Sunday morning, we met a lovely woman at Petsmart so she could meet our former foster, Saturday. I know, meeting Saturday on a Sunday, har har. Anyway, it was love at first sight for the woman and I don't hate you for Sadie, so Sadie was whisked off to her forever home before she could blink. Altogether now, awwwwwwwwww.

Later, that same day, KIC and I hosted a party for a bunch of her friends. It was a "back to school tie-dye and ice cream party" - no, really, that was the official name. I miscalculated the back to school part as Loudoun County went back to school the previous week, but nobody seemed to mind. Here are the highlights from the party:

• Everybody left with some sort of color on a white t-shirt. One Redskin fan created a beautiful Green Bay Packers themed onesie, but I didn’t give him too much grief for it.
• Everybody received a bowl of ice cream and the whipped cream was a hit. There were also some VERY delicious fresh picked blackberries that I thoroughly enjoyed. I think there were other toppings too, but whipped cream and blackberries were all I needed.
• The sherbet significance was lost on everybody. C’mon, tie-dyed ice cream!!!
• A boy participant picked his girlfriend out the minute she walked in the door. He had his pick of the ladies and I must say, he did very well. I don’t think his love was reciprocated, but this did not seem to phase him. Courageous young man, that’s for sure.
• My hands are still tie-dyed.
• The foster cats have all recovered nicely from their exposure to the horde of girls superexcited about seeing four legged creatures. I will say, they have started to look both ways before coming out from their hiding place and some of them still have wide eyes.
• No animals were tie-dyed - intentionally. I'm kidding, of course. We meant to tie-dye Sunshine (Tino wouldn't stand still).

A great time was had by all! Stay tuned for the next wild Shoup party idea!

Monday was spent recovering from the rest of the weekend. We did manage to make some DELISHIOUS lemonade by hand with KIC, which she loved. We didn't even have a juicer. Brent was happy because he got his upper body workout for the week. Rest assured, we have a juicer now. KIC even showed us a trick on how to get even more juice out of the lemon. Yes, that's right, once again, I have been schooled by my child. I am dreading the days when she realizes I r dumb and she r smart, mostly because it will be patently obvious to even the most casual observer. They make smart pills, don't they???

Hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jam of the Week: Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding has a sound style that is similar to that of Bjork. I first heard "Starry Eyed" as a drum and bass remix by Jakwob. If you like "Starry Eyed" by itself and are looking for something even more uptempo, I highly recommend the Jakwob remix.

Ellie is an import from the UK and her stuff is fairly recent to the US music scene. Her album "Bright Lights" was released at the end of 2010, but she's just started getting airplay in the US. "Your Song" is another track worth checking out; she performed it live at Prince William and Catherine's wedding...not to name drop or anything.

As always, comments and feedback much appreciated. Happy Tuesday!