Thursday, March 31, 2011

Conversations with Sam Elliott

We all seek guidance from time to time, and it is well acknowledged that the devine is within us. I'm not sure who you talk to when you talk to the devine, but I'm usually talking to Sam Elliott. Don't ask me why, I'm not really sure. It's just that he was really, really hot in Roadhouse and he seems pretty wise in general, and has a wonderfully soothing voice.

Me - Dear Sam Elliott, I'm really feeling lost today.

Sam Elliott - Why are you addressing me? You aren't writing a letter. I'm right here, just talk. It's no wonder you're lost if you can't tell whether or not you are talking or writing.

Me - True. But, technically I am writing this all down ...

Sam Elliott - Well, go on then darling.

Me - I am feeling lost today. I need to go to the grocery store but I am worried about how much I will end up spending.

Sam Elliott - You're bothering me for this?

Me - Well, I am concerned about money! That's a fair concern to have. I mean how am I ..

Sam Elliott, cutting me off - Hey hey hey now. Have you looked around lately? Have you seen how many other people are hurtin'? Don't you think you have it pretty good comparatively speakin'?

Me - True. You're right, I do have it pretty good.

Sam Elliott - So, why are you workin' yourself up in a fit about this?

Me - I just wish I could do more. I wish I could contribute more.

Sam Elliott - Justin would say that if you want to contribute more you should offer to have sex more frequently...

Me - Hey!! We're not talking about Justin here. We're talking about me.

Sam Elliott - Just sayin'..

Me - Yea, well, who's side are you on?

Sam Elliott - Sex is always good, I don't mind being on either side. You should try that more often.

Me - What? You do know people are going to read this don't you? I mean, geez, my mom might read this!

Sam Elliott - Are you trying to say your mom doesn't like sex?

Me - No, she does. Wait, why am I talking with you about my mother and sex?!!? I'm trying to talk to you about money.

Sam Elliott - Sex & money ... those two conversations have always gone hand in hand together.

Me - Quit it! Sam Elliott - Just sayin' ..

Ok - so apparently Sam Elliott is just being a silly pervert today. Do any of y'all have these problems when trying to have a serious conversations with your inner-divineness?

Sam Elliott - Don't call me your "inner-divineness" please, that sounds a little too girly for my tastes.

Me - Ok ... fine. What do you want me to call you?

Sam Elliott - Stick with 'Sam Elliott' I don't think we're close enough yet for anything else.

Me - Really?

Sam Elliott - Yea, you gotta earn it.

Me - *sigh* fine.

Sam Elliott - Don't worry darling, it's almost Friday.

Me - And that means what to me?

Sam Elliott - I don't know. You can always watch 'Roadhouse' again and see if that helps.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hello Spring?

Just as we in Southwestern Virginia were beginning to enjoy sunny days with temperatures in the mid to upper 60's we have been brought crashing back down into reality by daytime highs in the 40's and the occasional snow shower. Forget the capris, sunglasses, & sandals!! Now we're all running around in UGGs and jackets, freaking out about our flowering fruit trees, blooming flowers, and gardens!!! OH THE TRAVESTY!!!!! Just last week Tristan and I were playing on the playground while Shannon had his soccer practice. Tristan was in shorts and a t-shirt, though it was still a little cool so early in the morning. This past Saturday though?? FREEZING!!! Ok, maybe not freezing. But 40 degrees and there was a breeze. So, close enough for us all to be bundled up. I hadn't made Tristan wear a jacket, I had let him go out (actually, Justin did this, it's all his fault. If you're going to report me to Child Protective Services for this, blame him first) with just a hoodie sweatshirt on. Well .. obviously that and a shirt underneath and jeans and socks, shoes, and underwear. All in that order knowing Tristan. Still though, he was cold. I had brought a looped scarf (a long cowl?) with me in case I got cold. I had been wearing it but was worried about Tristan being cold. I asked him if he wanted to wear it. He said he did.

No, that's not an Ewok from one of the Star Wars movies (though oddly and off-topically enough, Foster does do an impressive Chewbacca impersonation!). That's Tristan. He looks like a cross between an Ewok & a Babushka. With a playground ball.

Spring, I don't know where you've gone to but I'm ready for you to come back. But, till then, I'm bundling us all up a little bit better!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Signs of Spring

Everyone has their different particular signs that Spring is officially here. Maybe it is trees beginning to bud and blossom.

This is one of our redbud trees.

Our Bradford Pear tree, suddenly going into full bloom!

In the foreground you can see our newest fruit tree, a sweet cherry variety called 'Sweetheart' (under which Jomo's belongings are buried), in the back ground you can see the lilac that my great-grandmother planted full of buds and ready to bloom.

Maybe your sign that Spring is here is the flowers that begin popping up.

The daffodils we planted when we first moved in. The tulips were originally planted by my great-grandmother. We've moved them around in the yard, letting them regain their health and begin to blossom once again!

Perhaps your sign is when seeds are started for Summer's gardens.

We found this little mini-greenhouse at our local Lowe's for $39. It's exciting to try out and we're full of high hopes.

Heck, maybe your sign of Spring is the chicken's return to the yard and green grass!

But here one of my official signs. It is when my dogs go from lounging about the house like this:

To insisting, at the very least, on lounging in the sun-warmed back hallway where they can catch a nice breeze every now & then.

That is one of my most official signs, along with the kids' insistence on being outdoors playing as much as the possibly can.

What are your signs?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Twilight Zone

*PRE-BLOG WARNING: This post contains some political opinions and cussing. Proceed at your own caution*

Facebook is a funny beast. You can find old friends, re-ignite long dead relationships, and meet new friends. You can also meet some really interesting people. This is one such story.

I had sent a friend request to someone I had known in high school, for privacy sake let's call him "DA". We had several similar friends (including a family member). He accepted my request. But, last night he sent me a message on facebook asking who I was and how I knew him. I told him we went to school together. DA replied that he didn't keep up with the past. I mentioned how I had seen him not to long ago, out and about. Then I went and looked at his page. His profile picture was in costume, but when I looked at his other photos I realized I didn't know him. I knew someone else with the same name. I laughed and told him of my error, apologizing and telling him I would remove him as a friend since we didn't know each other. He told me that I didn't have to and started chatting with me. We chatted till I had to leave for dinner.

Today I posted this status: Another tray of seeds are in the greenhouse! Heirloom banana peppers, miniature chocolate bell peppers, habanero peppers, basil, melons, and various varieties of heirloom tomatoes!! :)

This is now where we begin to enter the Twilight Zone.

DA sends me a private message a couple minutes after I post that, with the subject line being "LOL". Here is a copy of the messages back and forth between us, which I have NOT edited AT ALL:

DA: I can get that stuff at subway and not worry about taking the time to plant that shit

Me: Yea, but that shit you get is grown in & covered with chemicals. Our stuff is grown organically, enriches our soil, provides habitats & food for wildlife (bees, etc), nourishes our bodies and soul and etc, etc, etc. So there. ;P hee hee

DA: you probably voted for obama... didnt you!

Me: Ah-yup. :D

DA: his ass is out here soon, a bush will be back soon, thank god, I hope all you liberal mf love the change

Me: Hahaha, I take it you don't give a damn about politics, do you? :)

DA: i give a damn, thats mf goes on and does his bullshit thing, hes a nig in the office that has spent more money and doesnt to a mf thing

Me: Compared to Bush who did SO much good?? Or compared to the mind-numbing idiocy of Palin? Or compared to soo many things several Republicans are now trying to push regarding women's rights??

DA: fk him and his 4 years, so glad that son of a bitch is out soon
DA: its always something but republicans and myself dont have shit, oh and by the way I am a fan of sarah, she is down to earth, good hearted women

Me: Dude, you're completely entitled to your opinion. I don't care if you're a Republican. I don't vote by party and don't consider myself aligned with any party. I've voted for both sides. Frankly, I think most people in power are all the same, regardless of party. But, do me a favor will ya, if you're going to cuss then cuss. At least have the balls to type it out properly. I won't offend. ;)

DA: I dont have a problem about cussing

Me: you just can't type it? :)

DA: yeah I can and how do you like those fucking gas prices now obama... get what you vote for and the goddamn health care, nice vote i tell ya

Me: Umm .. I'm guessing you've forgotten 2008 when gas prices hit bottom. Ole GW was still in charge then. Regarding health care, our system has been fucked up for a LONG time. But, then again, I don't care for Western medicine. And, again, look at what a lot of Republicans are pushing now regarding women's health care rights. And, just an fyi, if the Democrats were pushing such atrocities, I would be just as outraged.

DA: your a hippy what else can I say
DA: maybe a tree hugger too??

Me: If you say so. But I DID attend the most recent Republican party meeting held in Salem.

DA: good for you

Me: Thank you. I was talking to them because they support my current cause. Habeeb and Ralph Smith were there. I talked before they did. I was even nice enough to wear my dreads pulled back in a ponytail. Didn't want to freak them out too much. :)

DA: ya think

Me: I think what?

DA: with your smoked up dreads.. Im sure it smelled nice

Me: My dreads smoked up?? There's an assumption! But I did smell nice. I always smell nice. Friggin' golden, dude.

DA: I can just tell by talking to you , Im not a dude you hippy, you take care, Iam done talking with you

Me: Later then, man. :)
Me: Wait, if you're not a dude then are you a chick?

This conversation lasted a little over an hour. I was laughing during it and I assumed he was too, given the randomness of it all and the fact that his original subject line had been "LOL." I figured when he said he was done talking with me that he was off to do something else. NOPE. He de-friended me!!! I was dumbfounded but not the least bit offended or hurt.

To me this is like walking up to someone you think you know, tapping them on the shoulder and saying hi, only to realize you're mistaken and don't know then. You apologize and try to excuse yourself, but they start chatting you up. So, you talk to them. Then, suddenly they start getting mad at you and storm off in a huff, leaving you wander if you really are drunk or high or something and the people with you "Wait, did you just see that?" because you begin to wonder if the whole thing was real or not.

Totally TWILIGHT ZONE. And worth the laugh that it has given me. I hope you can get a laugh out of it too. If not, I guess I'm sorry you read this far? :)

In my head .. again

No doom this time though. Whew.

I live in my head a lot. It makes the world much nicer. In my head our house is situated on at least 500 acres of land. The gardens are large and abundant. It's a step back in history to slightly before the time our house was actually built.

This morning I am in my head once again. Not on my 500 acres though. I am out roaming around the world. I am in my VW Westy, which someday I will actually own.

I am rolling out of it, foggy headed & with wild dreads, and I am ambling over to the campfire. Stirring the coals back around, starting back up a small fire so that I can cook breakfast. Hmm .. I think this morning's breakfast is definitely bacon & potato hash. Smoke from the burning wood drifts into the VW and swirls about inside like incense.

What will the day hold for me? Where will we wander about? We are free today to do as we please. Laugh, drink, sing, roam, explore ... imagining all the possibilities.

In reality, I hear beer bottles clinking outside. Today our Belgian Blonde Ale will get bottled. The beer is calling to me heavily already this morning. Some Sundays are perfect for sitting out on the deck and sipping on beers.

Yesterday was good. We moved the chickens back to the yard and cleaned out their Winter Chalet. We set up the new mini-greenhouse and started some seeds. We were outdoors most of the day and it was magnificent.
Justin has had a beef roast going in the crockpot since yesterday and the aroma of it is driving me out of my mind. I think I my drooling could compete with the Mastiff's.

The roast wasn't ready for dinner last night, so we picked up some fresh made North Carolina BBQ from a couple who has set up shop on Main Street. A small trailer with a impressive smoker rigged up next to it. How can you deny the allure of the smoker?

Today we will likely plant some more seeds. It is that time of year and since we missed out on it last year we are looking forward to it all the more now. The trees are blooming, going from bare branches to full blossoms overnight.

I am ok with my head and reality not quite syncing up right now. Both are fantastic worlds to be in.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Doom Spiral Conversation

Have you ever woken up with that feeling of impending doom? I know you have, we all have ... right? And you wonder what's going on. What is making you feel this way? So you sit there and ponder it with yourself. Here is how that conversation with yourself might go, or at least how mine is going today:

Wake up full of sadness.

*Well, you did drink last night.*

Yea, maybe that's it. Did I do something stupid?

*I don't think so. But then again, I was drinking too.*

Well, what did I do? Did I say things I shouldn't have?

*Hmm .. you were telling stories from the past. But I'm pretty sure they were funny, so I think you're all good there.*

I probably shouldn't have driven.

*Yea, that part's true. Lucky thing you drink close to home and you weren't really THAT drunk, just a little tipsy drunk. Still though .. no excuse .. shame on you for that one. You're gonna have to just acknowledge it, feel bad about it, be glad nothing bad happened and promise not to do it again.*

Agreed. I promise. Maybe I'm getting older and feeling more responsible.

*Yea, you are old now.*

Shut up, you're not helping.
So .. what else is wrong?? Why the doom?

*Ummm ... it's raining? Don't rainy days make people feel full of doom?*

Not me though, I like the rain.

*Maybe a flood is comin'. Better check on the cows*

Ok, now you're just off your rocker!
I wish Justin had stayed home from work today. Maybe the impending doom is my subconscious knowing he's going to get in a wreck or something.

*Don't say that!! You know he'll be fine. Your subconscious is full of shit.*

You're my subconscious.

*Um .. yea. I meant the other subconscious. You know, like the cartoons, one on each shoulder saying different things.*

So, now I have two of you??

*Quit bugging me, we're trying to figure out the doom. Maybe you're having a heart attack.*


*Wait, don't freak out yet, you'll just give yourself a heart attack.*

DUDE, that is SO NOT FUNNY!!


Quit it!! I might be dying!! Wait ... I saw that Nicole Kidman movie. What the hell was it? 'The Others' maybe?? You know, where they're living their life and in the end it turns out they have been dead all along and just not known it. She killed her kids and everything!

*What? But you didn't kill your kids.*

Yea, but she didn't know that either. Dead people never seem to know they're dead. Haven't you been watching these movies with me?? You're my subconscious!! Aren't you obligated to be there??

*It's not in my contract.*

But in ALL the movies ..... wait .... you have a contract??

*Don't go there. And lay off the thing about the movies. You're just going to give yourself a panic attack and that's going to lead to a heart attack and then you WILL be dead and not even know it!*

Ha, who's crazy now??

*Have you looked up the symptoms for heart attacks in women?*

You know I have!! Why is EVERYTHING a possible symptom for a heart attack in women?!!? Impending doom? Check. Anxiety? Check. Got your period? Check.

*You don't have your period.*

I know, but it's still like a possible heart attack symptom!!

*Now you're just being silly. I think it's that Valium I slipped you.*

You're slipping me Valium now???

*Well, someone needed to. Hell, look at the stuff you're blogging right now.*

Fair enough. Thanks then I guess.

*You're welcome.*
*Hey, Ellie mentioned it might be the robot thing she posted on Facebook the other day. You are pretty scared of robots...*

Impending doom caused by robots?? Sounds plausible. I think I'll run with that.

*I think you should quit this blog post now. People are going to start thinking you're crazy*

You already know that they do.

*True. But still .. knock it off*


~And there you go. The doom spiral conversation. You DO have these with yourself .. right???

Monday, March 7, 2011

Before 9:30

Mondays can be a bitch, we all know that. But there are some Mondays where the level of "You've GOT to be KIDDING Me" is raised to such an extreme height that it becomes highly advised that you immediately return to bed and, for the sake of all around you, don't come out until Monday is past.
This is the photo summary of my Monday morning. All of it occurring BEFORE 9:30 AM!!! Here we go.

FIRST: Last night I was making waffle fries and sliced the edge of my thumb. It bled like crazy, through two bandaids, requiring gauze and tape to actually get it to heal. This is the photo from last night (you can see I was still making the fries).

This morning, after getting the boys set up with their cereal and the dogs' fed as well, I headed out as usual to tend to the chickens. As I was putting their food in there they began pecking at my bandaged thumb. Pecking can be a sign of love, but I'm pretty sure they were more likely wondering if this weird thing was edible. Luckily, it didn't hurt and didn't cause any more damage to my thumb. Just little tasting love pecks.

SECOND: This one is minor, but still got an "oh just great" out of me. No photo, sorry. I was making butter in the KitchenAid. Filled the bowl too full with cream. As you whip the cream it expands into whipped cream. When you fill the bowl too full that expansion goes over the edge of the bowl and onto the counter. So .. nice, huh?

THIRD: I also made bread this morning. Since we had to fry part of the fries last night we are low on olive oil. I decided to substitute the needed 4TB of olive oil for the bread with 4TB of butter. I took out a stick of butter, cut it, put it in a bowl in the microwave, and got it started melting.
Suddenly I heard a boom. The bowl had exploded!! Seriously, it fucking exploded!!!

This is a photo of what it looked like when I opened the microwave.

Here is a closer-up shot of the melted/melting butter and the exploded glass bowl.

To say I was stunned is an understatement. I've had these bowls since 1999 and I am certain I've microwaved them before. There is simply no way that I haven't. Plus, I really loved these little blue glass bowls. I was originally given a set of 4 and today's loss brings me down to 2.

Here is a photo of the mess swept up into the dustpan along with one of the two remaining glass bowls. I also had to completely wipe out the microwave since shards of butter-coated blue glass were all over the place. So much for that little rag.

FOURTH: Still shaken and shaking from the exploded bowl (that was not yet cleaned up), I excused myself from the kitchen and headed towards my room. The boys had blocked off the entry to the front room from the hallway with a baby gate & one of their Hokie rocking chairs, to keep the dogs from eating their toys. They do this all the time, so nothing new there.
I moved the baby gate and set it up against the wall. Then I gently, and I stress the word gently, pushed the rocking chair aside. It touched up against an antique glass water jug (aka an antique 5 gallon glass carboy) that we use as a jar for loose change. Gently.
I heard a pop. The glass carboy suddenly broke!!! I touched the rocking chair and the glass jug broke AGAIN!!!

You can see how the rocking chair really is just barely touching the glass jug. Nothing even touched where that big hole is, so I have NO CLUE how this happened.

Rocking chair moved away, you can see where the entire side has practically fallen in.

So, now I am left with this. I got Shannon to put the dogs in the crate. To say I was shaking like a leaf at this point was an understatement.
I also wasn't exactly sure how to clean it up. I mean, you can't just throw it all away, the money has to be taken out. So, I thought I would gently turn it to where the broken part faced the wall and wait until Justin got home (or at least nap time) to figure it all out.
I went to turn it and the top half of it CAME OFF IN MY HAND!!!!

Trying to take a photo of this was hard. I couldn't set it down, I was shaking, and the hand I was taking the photo with has the injured thumb. So be friggin' impressed by this photo, ok?

Top half taken out to the trash, here is the bottom half. You can see the money still in the jar.

I sat down beside it with a one-gallon glass carboy and began transferring the money over from the broken jar to the non-broken one. I had to be careful because there were glass shards mixed in with the money. At one point my hand looked all nice and sparkly, covered with little shards of glass.
I kept shaking, because I was having to reach over jagged edges of broken glass to get the coins out. I anticipated my wrist getting sliced open at any moment.
Luckily I was able to turn it as the money got lower, allowing me to reach in over the glass at a spot that wasn't sticking up like a jagged mountain peak.

All the money out, you can see how the bottom was all cracked too.

I was definitely too scared to try and lift this thing to take it outside as it was. One, I wasn't sure how steady the edges were given that it has just out of the blue broken three times in a matter of seconds/minutes. Two, if it did break, the kids were still barefoot, there would be glass everywhere and even if it broke outside, that would be hell to clean up.
I luckily found an empty beer case. I folded it flat and slipped it under the jar. I was then able to gently lift it up, carry it outside and toss it into the trash can.
Saying I had to steady myself as I walked back inside to finish cleaning up is NOT an exaggeration.

Here is the little one-gallon jar.

So ..... how's your Monday going?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Other than chickens ..

I am actually really mad at AOL and blogging right now. I just spent quite a while working on a chicken update blog when AOL froze up. I thought the blog was all saved, I was in the process of publishing the post when the complete freeze-up occurred, but alas, only a smidgen of it was saved. *A MIGHTY GRRRRRRR*
I thought about trying to rewrite it, but then realized that this is maybe a sign. You know, I CAN talk about things other than chickens. Did you know that? I think most people have forgotten that.
So, things other than chickens. Where to start?

First, attending the City's Comprehensive Plan Meeting this past Thursday was actually fun. Which is something I never thought I would find myself saying. I was never interested in politics or government in school. But I liked it, just like I like attending City Council meetings. It is interesting to see how the City works and the meeting on Thursday was even better. They were seeking public input for how the future of Salem should go. How cool is that?? We talked about things like more street-scaping, tighter form control on how new buildings should look, the possibility of a downtown grocery store or at least an upscale grocery store. It was really interesting!

Let's see .. what else?? Oh yea, the kids!!

Educationally speaking, Shannon's been working on his math skills. On his own. Still using beans to count. I'm impressed and proud.
Tristan has been working on letters and the sounds they make. His sense of humor often tops his desire to answer correctly. It's funny, and I am very glad he's not in school (same with Shannon) where this sense of humor would be quickly pounded out of him.

Non-educationally speaking, they're still boys. Here is the latest "You've got to be kidding me" moment:
We're at the local Burger King's indoor playground last Monday, meeting up with other homeschoolers to play inside since it was raining out. Usually the place is dead but this time it was packed, which was good since there were more kids to meet and play with.
Eventually though the boys declared that they both had to pee. In an effort to encourage them to be responsible on their own I've been letting them to go this particular bathroom on their own. I can see it from the room and feel safe. I tell Shannon to keep an eye on his brother, to watch out for him, and to make sure that they pee in a stall. I am not worried about them using a urinal except that, since they are still young they both just still drop drawers down to ankles. Not that I think perverts are lurking in all bathrooms but, till they learn to be more discreet using a stall is wiser for all. So, off they go.
A few minutes later and elderly employee pokes his head into the playroom. Remember, the room is FULL and I am sitting on the far side. He asks "Whose kids are in the bathroom?"
I reply.
"You might want to come watch them and keep an eye on them" he says.
"Why, are they causing a problem?" I ask.
"They're in there NAKED" he replies laughing.
..... across the FULL room of parents. I get up, walk across the full room, into the restaurant area, across that, to the bathroom, and gently push the men's bathroom door open. There are my boys, fully dressed, finishing washing & drying off their hands like good little boys.
Shannon informed me that he used the stall but that Tristan refused and wanted to use the urinal. I know they both don't really know about shutting doors and privacy issues, they're little kids still.
Not really a big deal, just an embarrassing moment parenting-wise. Murphy's Law rears it's head once again.

And finally, around the ole urban homestead (which is a term I will continue to use).
Recent planting include a forsythia bush and a Black Knight Butterfly Bush. We put the forsythia in the corner of the fence nearest VL's house for several reasons. 1) It will block her view into our yard as it grows (which it should do quickly!). 2) Since she planted cypress trees along the fence line (also to block her view) this helps continue the theme of the living hedge/fence line, which I love. I hate our chain link fence and would love to have it hidden in something living and green. 3) I love forsythia bushes. Their bright and beautiful and a wonderful way to welcome Spring. 4) More wildlife!! ~ Talk about your win-win-win situations!!
The butterfly bush we planted on an edge of the deck, in between the steps and the fence/gate at the driveway. Again, as it grows it will help hide unseemly things, it will increase wildlife & beauty, and this variety is known for being fragrant, which should make hanging out on the deck more pleasant!
We took the pond out. The pump had been turned off over winter and the water had mostly been frozen. Of course, as soon as it unfroze the dogs took the opportunity to jump into the now-stagnant water. The smell was awful and required immediate baths for both dogs. Layla fits into the tub easily, but Foster is another situation entirely. A 10 1/2 month old English Mastiff, 136lbs, IN THE TUB .. getting a bath. It should've been a Marx Brothers or 3 Stooges comedy reel.
So the pond is out and is going to, for the time being, going to be a butterfly garden. I've signed up for Salem's "tulip list" once again. I'll also likely visit the VA's nursery to pick up some plants.
And .. plants!! We still haven't ordered seeds for the garden so, as usual, we're running behind on that task. But I will order them soon, and then we'll just have to figure out a way to keep the kids and dogs out of the seedlings so they can grow.

And there we go ... something other than chickens to talk about!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Meet Layla

This is Layla. Layla Pillow to be precise, but to be honest she's also been lovingly nicknamed 'Piglet.' She was my Valentine's Day gift from Justin.

After my grandfather's funeral we were all up at his house and my cousin arrived with his English Bulldog, Lilly. Lilly had originally belonged to our uncle Chuck and so my cousin wanted them to have a chance to visit.
I love English Bulldogs. Always have. That was one reason we had gotten Jomo, because he had that bully breed (American Bulldog) in him. Seeing Lilly was too much for me. I walked inside and announced to everyone that I HAD to have an English Bulldog.
I signed up on rescue lists, thinking that I would rather have an adult than a pup given that we already have an enormous puppy, two little boys, and ourselves to deal with. I contacted breeders to see if they had any females they were ready to retire (or males, I wasn't terribly picky). I found a breeder who had one and I made arrangements to come meet & get her on a Thursday. The next day I got an email that they weren't ready to give her up just yet. They were waiting for her pup to sell, but they also had an older pup that needed to sell before they even listed her pup. It could all happen tomorrow but they didn't expect it to take more than 3 or 4 weeks.
So, I continued looking around. I found a 5 year old rescue bulldog down in North Carolina. At the same time, I happened to stumble onto Craigslist and saw someone locally wanting to re-home (don't you just love that term? It reeks of b.s) his 15 week old English Bulldog pup.
I talked to him on the phone. He told me he was "re-homing" her because he worked a day job & then nights he was a fireman. He and his wife/girlfriend/female (I don't remember & don't care) had just bought a house and the pup was in her crate all the time. He told me she was housebroken and that they had an appointment with the vet for her last set of puppy shots & her rabies shot already lined up. He said she came with her crate, bowls, food, toys, collar & leash.
I met him that day. Really, it wasn't a 5 minute drive from my house. The kids and my mom came out too to see what they thought. Instant love on their part. And, oh, were those puppy eyes big and sweet.
I began asking him questions. First he told me that he had gotten her from a lady named Sarah out in Gladys, VA. I asked if the lady had a kennel and he said no, that she had just bred them. He had met the mother & father though. As I stood there, petting the pup, I inquired what he knew about the general health of 'Sarah's' dogs, since English Bulldogs can be known for health problems. It was then he fessed up that she, the pup not Sarah, was 1/8 Boston Terrier. Papa was a full-blooded English Bulldog, Mama was 3/4 English Bulldog & 1/4 Boston Terrier. I almost walked away, but the pup was cute and he was willing to come down in price. So, we brought her home. I later asked him if he had 'Sarah's' phone number as I would like to see photos of the parents, he told me he thought he still had it and would try to find it. I've never heard back from him. When we bought her from him she came with her crate & toys. No bowls or food and he tried to keep the leash and collar, which I politely asked him for.
Within a couple days I had managed to track down the breeder. Her name was 'Lisa' not 'Sarah.' Yes, he had been out there and seen all her dogs. Yes, she owns a kennel! Yes, he knew all this because 1) he had only had the pup for a WEEK and 2) he had called her to let her know he wasn't going to keep her (gave her the same reasons he gave me)!!!! Also, no .. she wasn't 1/8 Boston Terrier, she is 1/4. The lady calls the breed an English Boston Bulldog and said that was how she had advertised them, so he knew full well what the pup was. Papa was pure English Bulldog, Mama was 1/2 English Bulldog & 1/2 Boston Terrier. I've since seen photos of both. Lisa asked how much I paid for the pup and I told her. He had been trying to sell her for the price he had bought her for and I had haggled him down. She said "Good for you! I hope that teaches him a lesson!" It also turns out he hadn't yet taken the pup to the vet. So, for whatever reason (hopefully a benign one of being a young fool) he was a lying bastard. I guess that's what you get when you venture onto Craigslist.
Layla has now been to the vet. She's in great health. The vet said she would've believed she was full English Bulldog too. Her breathing is fantastic, heart is too. She went on about what a gorgeous pup she was and then gave her all her shots.
And, just for the record, that older bulldog down in North Carolina that we had been considering has a new home too. My mother adopted her. We all drove down there (Layla too!) to get her. We couldn't bear the thought of her having to stay in a kennel one day longer. Now Mom's Standard Poodle, Anya, has a friend too.

So, now we have a new pup. I still just call her a Bulldog, or an English Bulldog, though I'll admit to her Boston roots too. I'm just Southern that way.
Foster is in LOVE. Absolute heavenly love. He plays and plays and plays with her. Or at least tries to. She is 25 pounds and comes up mid-shin, he is 136 pounds and comes up to my hip (and I'm nearly 6' tall myself). He kinda runs circles around her. But he plays gently, as English Mastiffs are known to do. She keeps him in line. They are best of buds now.

More stories to come ...