Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What's Important?

Isn't it funny that, as you get older, things you didn't think mattered all your life are now the things that just won't leave you alone. Memories of childhood that are seemingly unimportant seem to intrude into your thoughts and you start to think about people, places, and happenings that were soooooo insignificant in earlier years.

One of those memories for me takes me back to when I was five or six years old. I remember Opoe and Opa picking Mom up at the house and we went to town -- Dave's Yarn Shop, to be specific. I loved that place! It was a long, narrow store. The floors were polished wood and they were always shiny! On the walls on both sides were rows and rows of shelves, all sectioned off into squares. What I wouldn't give for a wall like that here in my home! Beautiful wood and again, all shiny and polished! Every one of those squares was full of yarn, all different colors, textures and weight. Towards the back of the store was the crochet yarn, needles, books of patterns, etc. As a child, it seemed to take my Mom and Grandmother forever to pick out whatever it was they needed. I wasn't interested, really. Just loved being in the store. I loved the smell!

Now, whenever I see a hand-knitted sweater with an intricate pattern on the yoke, I think of Dave's Yarn Shop and my Mother's wonderful ability to klickity-klack those needles while she talked a mile a minute in dutch. She would call me once in a while for a measuring, hold up the partially completed sweater, yank out a few rows or add a few, and on she would go.

I don't remember my Mother being a really personable, loving, intimate mother. I don't remember hugs, kisses, or sitting on her knee. I don't remember loving talks or any special moments. But I remember knitted sweaters, crocheted-edged shirts, handmade dresses, shorts, skirts, and tops, and knitted mittens and hats.

I wish I had had the opportunity to learn from Mom all that she knew how to do. To an 8-year-old, she could do everything. She played the piano, baked bread and rolls, baked Dutch desserts, sewed all our clothing, knitted, tatted, crocheted everything --- but I learned none of it. Suddenly, with no explanation or warning, she was gone forever. She never said good-by. She never said she loved me. She never told me everything would be alright. There was only one sentence: "Your mother went to Heaven." And that was it! No one ever mentioned her again. Her knitting needles disappeared. And I never got another sweater!

I wish I could knit.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Love Conquers All!

I just can't help it! I look into Buster's eyes, and he looks back at me. . .and we both know he's here to stay. . .no matter what! I tried so hard this week with him. We spent hours and hours walking, heeling, sit, stay, come, lay down, etc., etc. And he was doing so well. . .so I thought! Last night was obedience class, and it was a disaster from the moment we got there. He was way to happy to see his friends, way to happy to be playing and watching everyone else.

There they were, all the prissy, obedient dogs walking like they were in a first class show. And Buster???? No way was HE going to act like THAT! He barked, bucked, and did nothing -- absolutely nothing -- right. So in the end conclusion, it was all a failure, because I had not taught my dog to do something on command -- Buster only did it when he felt like it.

I left the class knowing I would not be back next week, and it made me feel so ashamed, embarrassed, and like a failure. Next week is the final test and I know we are no where near testing -- we aren't even past square one!

But still, I look at Buster, and Buster looks at me. . .and I sigh and wonder can I just love him the way he is? Is there a half way meeting point where we can live together in harmony? I love him dearly and he knows it. And I see in his eyes his love and devotion to me. Maybe somewhere in all of that, we will find peace and a way to live together that is agreeable to both.

I won't give up on the training. I need him to be able to walk on a leash as he is too big and strong to be pulling me down the street. But for now, I need to ease up on the tension this has put me under.

And so, we failed the class -- two losers who love each other but can't seem to find a way to peace between us. Maybe some day when Buster is old and more sedate, I'll look back on all this fuss and wonder why I took it all so seriously! Who really cares if he ate a loaf of rye bread last night????

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Update on Buster (and ME!)

Could it possibly be that Buster is finally getting the message????
I couldn't believe it when I told him we were "going to school" that he got so excited and started looking for his collar and leash! He remembered from last week. After a few days of wondering if we would be together much longer, Buster went through the paces of heel, sit, down, stay, etc., just perfectly in the driveway. We walked round and round and round until my feet gave out. But I wondered how he would do in the class!

He was so excited to go in that door. His attitude was different from other weeks -- and it showed as he wanted so much to play with all the other dogs. His attention had shifted from ME to the dogs! So had all the others, so it was a little harder to keep his attention on the commands, etc.

But wouldn't you know, Buster could have won the "most improved since last week" award if they had given those out! Not hard to win, since last week was just a big disaster. I was proud of him, to say the least. I stayed after class and got a few extra pointers on Buster's personal home behavior which I am sure will help A LOT!

As much as I have said that I need to get rid of Buster and that he is not the dog for this household, somehow he has embedded himself so deep into my heart that I know I could never let him go. I think I have vowed to myself that this is one time in my life that I am NOT giving up on something (or someone!) and I will see it through.

I am so thankful for the encouragement and personal help I've received from these trainers! I truly believe God has led me there because without them, I think I would be without Buster, my heart would be breaking ---- and so would his!

And so we begin a new week together. There is nothing more uplifting to your heart and spirit than HOPE!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

When You Almost Give Up!

I just about gave up on Buster this week. And I felt so badly, I couldn't even write about it. Monday was the training class, and he did so poorly that I was embarrassed to even be there. He seemed to be so irritated with his Gentle Leader collar and the trainer checked the fit at least 3 times to see what was so distracting to Buster. He would NOT follow any commands at all. Some of the other dogs were also having problems. But, she had warned us in the beginning that by week 3 or 4 we would see our dogs hit "plateaus" as they bucked the whole training thing and we would feel like we were back at week 1. Buster and I were there.

I came home feeling those tears buring in the back of my eyes -- wondering if I could really keep Buster the way he was. Sometimes he seems almost dangerous as he is now over 70 lbs of uncontrolled wild beast coming at me. And when I see him running into Patsy (who can hardly walk now because of arthritis), I wonder if it is wise to have him here at all. But my heart loves him.

And love always finds a way, doesn't it?!!!! All week long, I have walked and walked and walked, and yes, I think we have broken through the wall and found our way to a more obedient dog. He is listening better, seems to be atuned more to what pleases me, and is following the basic commands on the leash so much better. We have a few more weeks of school left, so we will see if we pass!!!!