Tuesday, February 24, 2009

red-letter day...

A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love,
trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.
The order varies for any given year. { Paul Sweeney }

Don't they look incredible? I'm sure I'm biased, but every time I look at this picture I marvel at how classy and elegant my grandparents were. This picture was taken on their wedding day, sixty-five years ago today, in 1944. The photographer struggled to color the image so that my grandmother's naturally platinum white hair showed up in the print, and then layered over the lace in the dress so that it didn't look like a face just floating above the white of her dress. Whenever one of us would remark about how beautiful she looked in it, she would often remark that it didn't even feel like her because she had never had dark hair in her life.

"Love", to Our Sister, Adair and Paul. Seeing her beautiful script on the photograph makes me miss her. And how she used to put words in quotations whenever she would inscribe books or cards. Several years ago, in my birthday card, instead of writing much love, she wrote "much much" before signing her name. "Much much", Grandmother.

My grandparents met in the midst of wartime. Granddad was moonlighting with a band and during a break, he looked over to the rhythm guitarist from his drum set and pointed out this woman across the nightclub. She had this stunning silver hair and a young face. To the guitarist's doubt, Granddad declared that he was going to marry that girl. He waited all night to meet her and when he finally did, boldly asked if he could take her out the following night.

Grandmother thought him quite presumptuous. Determined to teach him a lesson, she accepted his invitation and told him at what time to call for her at her home.

When he arrived the next evening, there she was decked to the nines... with twelve of her very best girlfriends that she had invited to go along. { Just thinking about it makes me grin. } Well, Granddad took it in stride and paid for each one, showing them all a night out on the town as he had boasted he would the night before.

Granddad used to say that the best wedding present he received was running into the guitarist almost a year after they'd been married and having the pleasure of introducing Grandmother as his wife. The slack-jawed look on the man's face must've been priceless.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

saying goodbye...

Taz, the much loved American Eskimo "little man"

The house seems empty today. And when I rolled over this morning, I expected to find a white furred body snuggled cozily into my comforter and the small of my back. { It was his favorite place to sleep. }

"Oh, you have to go to work? I'll just stay here and snooze....."

He came into the family when he was five { or maybe six, they weren't sure }, a second-timer at the pound. He'd been adopted as a puppy by an elderly gentleman. When the man went into rehab for a broken hip, his children took Taz back to the pound. The local paper used to feature a Hot Dog/Cool Cat in every Sunday edition about an animal available for adoption. It was December 2003 and at the first glimpse at the picture, there was no doubt that this was a dog for me.

Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human
ever has to choose a relative. { Mordecai Wyatt Johnson }

I called the pound the moment I woke up Monday morning, and was there by the time they opened. When I hit the door, there was this flurry of motion from the kennel at the far end. A blur bouncing up and down like a pogo stick. Seems Taz knew I had come just for him. In the end, it turned out that I took him and his kennel mate, a Belgian sheepdog named Angel, home to stay.

He was the perfect dog. Never barked, never chewed, was content to go riding in the car for hours, and even came programmed with tricks. He could sit, shake with both paws, dance on his hind legs, and my favorite of all -- "a little bit louder now" speaking.

Sitting obediently I would command him to speak and receive a whispery wuff in response. As I would give the command several times more, it kept getting louder in increments. It was adorable and chock full of his personality.

"Whatcha talkin' 'bout, hmmm?"

The first spring we had him, he would often pull an escape artist and bolt out of the house. His previous owner had lived about half a mile from us, and he always seemed to try and work his way that direction. It was my birthday and I had been sick. My friend Susan had come over to visit and bring me presents and get-well essentials, only for Taz to slip through both our legs. I tossed her the keys to the family minivan and asked her to follow me as I took off on foot. I must've looked a fright in slippers and pajamas, my hair piled on top of my head and with a red nose. Through backyards and driveways we weaved until finally he grew tired or took pity on me and gave up his tour of the neighborhood. He never tried to get loose again.

Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less of love
than the child that lost a dog yesterday. { Thornton Wilder }

I came home last night from an afternoon of treasure-hunting and an evening of pizza and cards to find him having another series of what we had thought were seizures. He'd had his first about three weeks ago and while on the phone with the vet, she told us that there were just as many risks with anti-stroke/seizure meds as there were benefits. She advised to just keep an eye on his eating and drinking. I tried to hand feed him and it was as if he was completely short-circuited. It was heart-breaking to watch him struggle and lean against the wall for support or lower his head into the water bowl and not drink. I cuddled with him in the chair rubbing his ears and making over him while my mother called and consulted with the vet. In discussing his symptoms further, the vet confirmed that they were indeed strokes and that if he had lost the ability to eat and drink, he was only going to further decline until an episode caused a heart attack or for him to tumble down the stairs. The decision was made to meet the vet at the animal hospital. She would evaluate him and then the decision would have to be made to hospitalize or... euthanize. My brother and sister-in-law came over to sit with us. It was snowy slush and freezing quickly, so my brother drove my mother and Taz and I stayed home with Sara.

I was a wreck. Completely dissolved into the "ugly cry".

The vet confirmed that there were strokes happening one after the other that weren't evident to the naked eye and that he had lost the bulk of his sight and perception, and the faculties of his tongue. As it turned out, there wasn't really a decision to be made.

God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it
takes my dog being there,
I believe he'll be there. { Billy Graham }

My brother held him until the end, and said Taz went to sleep as he always did... front paws crossed with his head resting on them. He was the sweetest dog. The vet told my mother that with an animal as special as he was, you aren't ever really an "owner"... but just blessed to be able to share your life with them for the appointed season.

Our family was indeed blessed.

My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. { Edith Wharton }

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I was reminded of a very fitting truth today while surfing Google for sentences that start with the words "Adair needs..." Heather had tagged me in a note on Facebook { more about Facebook at the end of this blog post -- stay tuned! } where you do a search for "your name needs" and share the results. Here are some that I found:
  • Adair needs no mic to karaoke. { Which is actually quite funny because I really don't. :) }
  • Adair needs shows!
  • Adair needs her pengi boshi. { Which was defined as a penguin cap, whatever that is. }
  • Adair needs the irony detector program.
  • Adair needs to be addressed.
  • Adair needs to consider certain points to plan her move.
Quite fun, isn't it? Browsing the pages of results had me laughing out loud and surprised just how many people and places are named Adair!

Which, if you're still following my strain of consciousness led me to the mention of "Daisy Adair", a feral stray dog rescued by an incredible organization, Stray Rescue of St. Louis. Randy Grim, the founder, was a man called to intervene and go after these abused and abandoned animals for the sole purpose of restoring them to health and seeing them placed in loving Forever Families. A video posted on their home page was set to the song "So Small" by Carrie Underwood, and it touched my heart. If you are local to this amazing organization and also a dog-lover, I would highly suggest you check them out as either a volunteer or a possible foster or adoptive home.

I'm the proud mama of two pound puppies { and how many of you are old enough to remember the pets and cartoon of the same name? :) } rescued from the county pound. The eleven year old American Eskimo male, who we affectionately refer to as The Old Man, has been declining ever since New Year and seems to be growing more frail daily. He's already had one stint in the animal hospital and some surgery, but there are signs that are going to warrant another big trip to the vet and possibly some hard decisions. The joy and happiness our pets bring to our lives are blessings, and boy is it hard to think of losing them.

The thing about dogs that really appeals to me is the endless amount of affection and devotion they have to offer. Regardless of how your day went, when you hit the door, they want nothing more than to greet you, love on you... and in the case of mine, curl up to the right and left of my chair as I tackle some paperwork or a chapter in my current book.

So yes, the reminder that love is all that matters after all hit home when all that seems to be talked about lately is chaos, crisis, and calamity.

And coming back full circle to Facebook, I'm going to suggest a little mutual affection and love. If you are a Facebook member and become a fan of Alice Adair's Facebook page, you will receive a voucher code for

in your Facebook e-mail. All you will have to do is search Facebook for Alice Adair and the link will appear. Just a reminder -- visiting a Facebook page does not make you a fan. There will be a link in the right hand column that you will need to click. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me.

Not a member of Facebook? Don't fret. I'm not demanding that you join. Simply leave a comment here and you will also receive the code!

To love what you do and feel that it matters,
how could anything be more fun? ~ Katharine Graham

Thanks for making what I do so much fun... and for reading. You are appreciated more than you know.

Have a fabulous Friday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

back in the saddle... again.

Photo used courtesy of Flickr.

It has been a hard transition into 2009 for me.

My beloved Grandmother got to go home to Heaven in time for New Year's. In case you didn't know, I was her namesake. She had been admitted earlier in the week, but the family was called to the hospital on Christmas Eve. Needless to change, in the course of a conversation with the doctor, the world changed. It was simply going to be a matter of time. Christmas dawned after a sleepless night in uncomfortable chairs. To stretch sore joints, I walked about with the hospital with my uncle and purloined "breakfast" of juice and pop tarts from a vending machine. The next five days were full of tears and laughs, memories and music... We came and went in waves, only ever returning home long enough to sleep, shower and change clothes. Once, while everyone else was asleep, I reached for the soft skin behind her upper arm that I used to play with as a child. I turned back from the elevator the night before she passed to kiss her one last time and am so grateful that I did. My eyes prick with tears just thinking about it.

The last of the thank you notes have been sent for the outpouring of cards, flowers and food that we received. For blessings that were given as we dealt with loss. That hollow feeling that lingers and remind us that we were never meant to experience death and separation... the longing to have every tear wiped away as our loved one is ushered into the presence of the Lord.

A picture of the sunset on Christmas Day as I drove home from the hospital.

And then... right as illness was settling in, bodies exhausted and drained, susceptible to bronchitis and the cursed stomach flu ravaging Ohio, winter settled in with a fury. Prior to then, it had been content to be mild and inconsistent. But no, it decided to storm in and made itself a prominent guest. For days and weeks. And even now refuses to leave entirely. Cabin fever is not pleasant when you long to see the sun or temperatures above "arctic tundra". That silly groundhog has confirmed, for all that he is a prognosticator, six more weeks of it. I'm just grateful that my driveway is finally clear of show and a thick sheet of ice, even if the street isn't.

It looks like the bushes were crying and the tears froze as they fell.

I love how graphic this shot is. And how I lucked into capturing it.

The wintry magic fairyland of snowfall and streetlamp light.

January is behind me... and February is now looming large, even if the month is short. For it marks lots of celebrations. President's Day. Valentine's Day. The one year anniversary of Alice Adair's grand opening. The farewell to my 20's and start of my 30's -- though I have still not determined if I shall go for something quiet and sedate or an all-out carnival-esque party. And I'm back in the saddle... back in my routine. My shoulders are squared and I find myself smiling at every sunrise and sunset I glimpse {especially since Ohio only has 200 sunny days a year} grateful for the day I've had and the day that is coming tomorrow. And I'm dreaming of spring...

New product will be online next week and I'm excited to show you some darling seasonal wax angels from S.E. Townsend that should be arriving any day now. Also stay tuned as I won't let my celebrating my birthday without some sort of party favor for each of you.

Hope everyone is staying warm and well. In such a spirit, I'm off to make myself yet another hot chocolate. Grace and peace!