Friday, October 28, 2011

Adopting Animals

A friend of my lost her beloved cat last summer.  She deeply mourned her cat.  I can understand this.  I lost my dogs, Lucy Lou and Gracie in August 2010, within three weeks of each other.  Both were "rescued" dogs.  I had sweet Lucy Lou about 5 years and I had my Gracie over 10 years.  I still miss them.  I still cry over my Gracie.  I can understand her feelings of loss.

Now she is ready to open her heart to a new kitty.  She went to a local shelter and they charged $105 for adoption fees.  This did not include having the cat neutered or spayed.  She balked at paying that price.  She went on Facebook and complained about the high price for a cat.

Now, I have strong feelings about adopting animals for shelters and/or rescue groups.  My Sam came from a "pound" (Cherokee County Humane Society) and he was the best $75 I ever spent.  Oliver, too, came from the Cherokee County Animal Shelter (via being found wondering in my subdivision).  I paid $125 for him (well worth every penny).  Both were checked out by the shelter's vet and were neutered as part of the fee.  The adoption fee also included a free vet check up from a selected group of vets in my area.  The place I got Sam from included a "chip" in his shoulder and a one year membership to Home Again, the organization that keeps track of the dogs with chips. So, a lot was included in their fees.  And, I appreciate that.

So, what's the point here?

Probably 99% of all shelters are run on a "wing and a prayer."  They depend on tons of dedicated volunteers and tons of fund raisers and little money from the municipality or county they are located in.  These volunteers spend hundreds of hours on behalf of the animals they serve.  Their costs for adoption vary and they are all struggling to survive.

Tanya's Henry. 
 My friend, Tanya, is one of these volunteers.  When I first met her after moving to Georgia, Tanya was fondly known in my subdivision as the "puppy lady."  Besides her own dog, Henry, Tanya would foster litters of puppies.  Sometimes she had as many as 6-8 puppies.  She supplied the food, the toys, the bowls they ate out of (and chewed), the towels and rugs used to keep them warm.  She clean up after them and made sure they here happy pups.  Plus, she paid for cleaning those rugs and towels (her own washer and dryer).  She named every single one of them and watched their littler personalities develop as they grew.  She took them to the vet.  She would bathe each one before taking them to and from the adoption places.  All on her own time.  All of her own money.  Tanya probably fostered 5 or 6 litters.  Now she is working part time and due to time constraints has only two dogs she is fostering, plus the occasional one that needs an immediate home.  This is dedication and this is love of animals.

My friend who is looking for  a kitty to adopt is a kind and loving woman.  I know she will take wonderful care of a new kitty.  But, I guess my point is - if you can't afford or if you need to complain about the  $105 adoption fee and then pay for a vet visit and spaying/neutering, maybe you can't afford to have a pet.  In my opinion, it is a small price to pay for the love a cat or dog gives you for years and years to come.  Plus, you are helping hundreds of other animals survive and find loving homes. You're helping the animal shelters stay open and you are helping the volunteers who work for these shelters by taking some of the financial burden off of them (although they very rarely get reimbursed for any thing and most wouldn't take the money if offered). 

I figured out I probably spend at close to $1,000 a year on my dogs.  This includes annual visit to the vet, various shots, heart worm prevention meds for both, the occasional trip to the vet for an unexpected illness (I spent around $750 on surgeries for Sam this year which increased the yearly cost), food, leashes, collars, treats, beds, pet sitting costs and other miscellaneous expenses. 

$105 for adoption fees? 

Sam and Oliver being lazy
A small price to pay for years of love and devotion.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What I Miss About Milwaukee

I will never move back to Wisconsin.  I love Georgia and am settling in just fine.  But I spent my first 55 years in Milwaukee and it is my home town.  And, there are a lot of things I miss about the place.  Mainly I miss my family and friends still there. That's a given.  But here are a few other things I miss - most I really never thought about until I moved away:

Racks of yummies at National Bakery
 Bakeries.  When I lived in Bay View they were every where.  Milwaukee has a lot of corner, local bakeries and they are wonderful.  Oh - the breads!  Stopping in on the way to work to grab a donuts or even a couple dozen to bring in as treats.  Roma's, near my house in Bay View, had the best homemade potato salad.  Yes, some carried more than just cakes, pies, breads and other wonderful sweet treats.  I miss 'em.

And, on that note, I miss going to my local bakery for hot ham and rolls on a Sunday morning.  This tradition goes back to when I was a girl and my father would pick up a coffee cake and hot ham and rolls on a Sunday morning.  Yum.  Coffee cake before church and hot ham and rolls after church.  Or both before and after.  On my own this was a great treat five or six times a year.  Potato rolls.  Always potato rolls. 

Beautiful Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan.  I really never spent a lot of time on the lake front.  However, the last year I lived in Milwaukee I made a point to drive home from work along Lake Drive at least every other week.  Since I lived in southeast Milwaukee and worked in northwest Milwaukee, this included driving down Silver Spring to Lake Drive, along where all of the beautiful mansions and large, old houses are. 

Even in winter the lake is beautiful
Seeing Lake Michigan in all different weather was something.  Rain and snow - gray, huge waves that when over the break waters.  Sunny and blue skies - the light reflecting off the water and sail boats dotting the horizon.  I also miss the weather forecast "lake effect."

I won't mention the calories included 
 a true Milwaukee fish fry.
The obvious.  Fish fries on Friday nights.  With potato pancakes and apple sauce.  Nothing like it.

I miss Bay View (a very old neighborhood of Milwaukee where I lived in my 120 year old house).  While I love my subdivision and being out of the "hood" I miss the convenience of Bay View.  I could walk to a bakery, grocery store, library, great restaurants, little funky stores, etc.  I miss the church bells of St. Augustine, two blocks away.  I really miss those church bells.

St. Augustine's c. 1908, still looks the same, bells and all
 My pretty back yard.  I am struggling with plantings in my back yard here in Georgia.  My back yard in Milwaukee was beautiful.  But, I have to remember it took me 3-4 years (out of the 11 in my house) to get it looking decent, so I just have to be patient here.  But, puttering in my garden and hearing the church bells was awesome.

Frozen custard is NOT ice cream.  Oh, God - it is so good!

Frozen custard.  Leon's, Gilles, Laducs.  Need I say more? 

Milwaukee and surrounding areas was mapped out on a grid.  It was EASY to find places if you knew the address and the direction, i.e. north, south, east and west.  And, you could basically get anywhere in 30 minutes.  All the way across town.  Sigh.  Not here.

I can't even cout the number of times I
have been to the lakefront on July 3rd for the
 Going down to the lakefront with a million other people to see the fireworks.  A huge Milwaukee tradition.  Much better than sitting in an empty parking lot.  Even better - being on a boat on Lake Michigan and watching the fireworks.  Nothing like it.

Beautiful lobby of the Pfister
Brunch at the Pfister Hotel.  A true Milwaukee gem, the brunch is excellent and elegant and one of my very favorite things to do on a Sunday morning.  A real treat. I love the Pfister, Bleu and the piano bar.

There are more things I miss, but these are the main things.  Like I said, I will not move back to Milwaukee, but I do miss it.  Sometimes.  From May - October.  Never in winter. 

Who would ever miss this?

Friday, October 07, 2011

Red Work Quilt

I started quilting around four years ago.  I remember when I first when to my favorite Wisconsin quilt shop, Ye Olde Schoolhouse, for the first time.  I signed up for my first quilting lesson.  I also purchased a kit to make nine red work blocks.  Jeannie, the owner of the store, cut the muslin for me and showed me the pen I would need to trace the individual patterns onto each block.  Eventually, all blocks would be completed, sewn together and quilted.

Yeah, right.  I had no idea how much work it would be.  Although I must say, I really enjoy red work and will do more of it.  It just took forever.  Lots of quilts in between, lots of binding got in the way.

Four years later I finally finished the last block.  I squared each block, picked out material to "frame" the blocks and put it all together.  Each block is 18".

It is more of a throw size. 
It was worth the wait.

Close up of the red work
I just need to purchase the backing and it will be sent up to Wisconsin for Mary to quilt for me.

Another view (the blue is the quilt used on the bed underneath).
I love it.