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As The Poodle Turns… Season 3?

May 30, 2013

YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS… Just when you thought the saga was long behind us…. Another installment of As The Poodle Turns… Season 3.

Jon’s cousin, Marg, who lives near Toronto called us last week to see if we were still breeding poodles because her beloved dog had died and they would like to adopt another pet.  Jon very sweetly told her that we are not.  I would have screamed, soiled myself and fainted (in no particular order) at the suggestion that we EVER do that again so it’s good that Jon answered.

So here’s the amazing part: Marg left us a voice mail over the weekend that she and her husband had just adopted a 2 year old standard poodle that was born in … yep!!  OUR TOWN – a very long way from Toronto!! The weekend was busy and we forgot to return her call. (I really am the worst at that.) She called back tonight and told us that the newest member of her family, Nellie, whom they adopted in Belleville, Ontario was, indeed, one of our Daisy’s babies. She has the exact birth date of our litter and the original buyer’s name was on the vet records.

WHAT ARE THE ODDS?? So many things have to line up for this to have happened! One of our puppies ended up NOT ONLY in the loving home of Jon’s wonderful cousin but she is in a foreign country: CANADA. WE LOVE CANADA!!! One of my grand-poodles is really living the life.

I told Daisy all of these joyous developments about her own baby and she burped and looked away. Nice, Daisy. Real nice.

We plan to go see them all this Summer.  Well, we humans plan to go visit.  Our curly beasts will stay with home with a house sitter.

Just in case you missed seasons 1 and 2 they are here and here.

Zippa de doo Dang

February 22, 2013

So this morning, as I was dressing for co-op, I saw a relatively new pair of brown pants that I haven’t worn since forever and I thought “Well, these are cute and comfy… Why don’t I ever wear them? Hmm.”

I put them on and went about getting ready for the day.

Forty five minutes later, walking into co-op I feel an icy blast of air in the nether region. My zipper was completely unzipped. Zip it, keep walking.

Thirty four minutes after that, while standing in front of my science class, quizzing them, zipper is down again.

OH FOR GOD’S CAKES… Now I remember why I never wear these pants.

Over the course of the next 7.5 hours I zipped my pants up 9 more times.

Yes, Lord… I’m paying attention.  What is it I am to learn from this?

Uninterrupted Eye Contact – The Ultimate Gift

February 15, 2013

Recently my daughters and I went through a Baby Mama binge.  No, we’re not pregnant and we’re not overeating.  We are watching the delightful movie by that name… over and over and over again.  Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are absolutely amazing in this movie.  Steve Martin has a small part and he is brilliant.  My favorite scene with him is one that we now reference in our house at least once a day.

If you’ve not seen the movie, I highly recommend it BUT NOT IF YOU’RE A KID.  This is a seriously funny movie but most definitely not for kids.  Here is my favorite scene, which is very kid-friendly.  (You only need to watch about 47 seconds.)


Yesterday, after a very long, stressful day at our co-op I stopped at our beloved Biggby Coffee to treat myself and my two teenagers to some after-school caffeine.  Being too exhausted to park and walk all the way into the building, I took advantage of the drive-thru window.

We (I) placed our order and in the 8 seconds it took to pull up to the window I became insanely happy.  The very long, mostly unpleasant day was over and I was about to pour espresso into my pie hole.  I was transformed!

The very sweet young man waiting at the window greeted me warmly.  Our drinks were still being made so he attempted to engage me in conversation.  “So, how are you today?”

“I am awesome!” I said, a little too loudly.  “How are YOU?”

“I’m just ok.”  Big smile. “I’m not awesome.”

“Well, you can be.  I can help you.”

My fourteen year old female child, keenly aware of just how cute this boy is, hissed “Omigod… Mom… no.

“I will give you five seconds of uninterrupted eye contact and transfer my awesome to you.”

The young man, an extremely good sport, leaned out of the drive-thru window and I leaned out of my car a little and with grins on our faces we held eye contact.

I don’t think he could hear the commotion in my car but I could and it made me giggle.

In the front seat was my sweet, kind, quiet, impressionable young daughter who was audibly having a mini stroke.   The word embarrassed doesn’t even begin to describe.  Later, when I would tell this story to my husband, she would quietly add “I died a little bit.”

In the back seat was my son, 17, laughing harder than I would have expected.  He is a very quiet dude and when he notices them, he takes my antics in stride.  I don’t know exactly why he was laughing.  Was it because I looked like a complete fool, because his sister was mortified or  because he actually found it amusing?

Upon careful reflection, I’ve decided that I don’t care why he was laughing.  I considered this a win because any time I can bring forth a genuine belly laugh from him or my husband (the old block from which the chip has been knocked)  I am over the moon.

Am I sorry I embarrassed my daughter?  I guess, in retrospect, I am, just a little.  Am I sorry I did it?  No.

Bonus… I learned that a crappy day can be turned around with a little espresso and a little tomfoolery.

Creepy Fish

October 28, 2012

By a show of hands, who else is creeped out by my Koi pond?

Yes, I have a Koi pond.  You can feed the fish by clicking on the “water”.  Go ahead, feed my fish.  It’s on your screen, scroll down a little on your right.   I’ll wait.

See?  Aren’t they just a lil’ creepy?

I forget they’re there and every time I’m reading my blog I jump when I see the Koi move.

Yes, I read my own blog.  Don’t judge, it is not what you think.  I read it because I like to play a little game with myself called “Hey, Smart One, that post you just published had 4 grammatical errors, 3 misspelled words and you left a whole paragraph out.”

You see, much like Marry Poppins I make  life a game.  More accurately, I make life a series of games.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Super Happy Pop Game:  In this game Player 1 pours himself a drink of a cold yummy liquid, usually pop, leaving less than an ounce in the container, which is then placed back in the fridge.  Points are earned if you can make another family member yell “Who drank all the pop?”  Bonus points are awarded if you remember to say “Not me, I left you some.”  Triple bonus points are awarded if there is a warm bottle of the same pop nearby and the other “player”, who is now Jones-ing for that drink has to pour warm pop over ice, watering it down and making it taste wonky.  Ah, good times, good times.
  • Super Happy Toilet Paper Game:  This wacky fun game is a variation on the Super Happy Pop Game.  You get the picture.
  • The Getting Ready for Bed Olympics:  Two players go up the stairs, put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, floss, wash their faces, go potty, wash hands and get in bed.  The first player in bed wins the game and gets to go to sleep first.
  • Dark Room Bed Jump Special Olympics:   This super fun one player game is played by the The Getting Ready for Bed Olympics (GRBO) loser.  Ah, who’m I kidding? It is played by me because sometimes I still get creeped out that maybe, just maaaaaaybe, there is something sinister under my side of the bed so I jump from as far away as I can, in the dark.  There are no points in this game but the winner does get to wake up the  GRBO champ and giggle while pretending that I did NOT just jump onto the bed.  There is a very good reason that this game is called “Special”:  at 50 I’m no longer graceful or coordinated. (She said as though she used to be graceful and/or coordinated.)
  • Chocolate Hide and Seek:  Hide a bag of Chocolates (Snickers, Dove, M & M’s are best) and sneak one into your mouth, chewing thoroughly and swallowing quickly.  Now go sit next to a family member and see how long it takes them to start sniffing the air and follow their nose straight to you.  One of my children would grab my head and actually touch her nose to my upper lip.  “Momma, What’s that good mell?”  Yes, not a typo, she always said “mell.”
  • Uh-Oh!  We’re All Deaf!: You know how when you play a game of Tag one person is “it”?  In this hilarious multi-player game the person who is “it” is seated and “busy” in the bathroom.  Play begins when the house phone rings.  All other players pretend to be deaf while the person who is “it” tries to stop being busy, wash her hands and make it to the house phone before it stops ringing.  The game is over when someone yells “Are all of you people deaf??”
  • Change Baby’s Poop Color:  I haven’t played this game in many years.  It goes like this:  Feed baby orange colored fruit and veggies in jars for one full day and her poop turns orange.  The next day feed her green fruit and veggie jars and see how fast you can change Baby’s Poop Color.  There was a very sad period in my life when I not only played this game but I also prayed every night that Gerber would start making blue, purple and pink foods.
  • Dishwasher Mayhem:  Players have to figure out if items in the dishwasher are clean or dirty.  If they are dirty, any additional dishes in the sink are loaded into the dishwasher, which is then turned on, with additional points given for remembering soap! If items in the dishwasher are clean, all items are unloaded and points are given when items are put in their proper cupboards.  All of this is done without having to be told.  Mmmm Hmmm, we play this game ALL the time.  “Without having to be told”  I crack me up.
  • Dark Stairway Phantom Race:  This one player race takes place in the dark. on the stairway, late at night when the house is silent and is played with a cell phone, glass of water and a book or clean laundry in your arms and one or more large poodles around your feet .  The object of the game is to go up the stairs as quickly as possible before the phantom hand lunges out from between the banister posts to grab you by the ankle and fling you to the bottom of the stairs, where it eats your still beating heart.

It seems like it was another person’s life

October 7, 2012

I was looking through some documents on my computer, trying to clean my virtual house, so to speak, when I ran across this poem.  I found it on the internet a while ago and it really hit home.  There was a time when every line of this poem was a reality in my life.  I look at my life now, my family now, and marvel at how far we have all come.

There was a time when I worried that we would not all survive.  Sadly, for a time I had lost faith in our collective ability to keep it together.  I do not know how we arrived at the sweet place we are today because it is all a blur but I do know that we just kept moving forward, despite some daunting obstacles, and we kept praying.  When I look back it seems like it was another person’s life.

If I had one piece of advice for moms of young kids with any kind of developmental difability (yes, with an f because they are differently abled, not dis-abled) it would be to find the right doctor and just hold tight to your child with all of your heart and before you know it they will have outgrown so much of the hard stuff.  Given unconditional love, a challenged child can grow into a truly amazing adult.

Love always wins.


The Misunderstood Child
A poem about children with hidden disabilities

by Kathy Winters

I am the child that looks healthy and fine.
I was born with ten fingers and toes.
But something is different, somewhere in my mind,
And what it is, nobody knows.

I am the child that struggles in school,
Though they say that I’m perfectly smart.
They tell me I’m lazy — can learn if I try —
But I don’t seem to know where to start.

I am the child that won’t wear the clothes
Which hurt me or bother my feet.
I dread sudden noises, can’t handle most smells,
And tastes — there are few foods I’ll eat.

I am the child that can’t catch the ball
And runs with an awkward gait.
I am the one chosen last on the team
And I cringe as I stand there and wait.

I am the child with whom no one will play —
The one that gets bullied and teased.
I try to fit in and I want to be liked,
But nothing I do seems to please.

I am the child that tantrums and freaks
Over things that seem petty and trite.
You’ll never know how I panic inside,
When I’m lost in my anger and fright.

I am the child that fidgets and squirms
Though I’m told to sit still and be good.
Do you think that I choose to be out of control?
Don’t you know that I would if I could?

I am the child with the broken heart
Though I act like I don’t really care.
Perhaps there’s a reason God made me this way —
Some message he sent me to share.

For I am the child that needs to be loved
And accepted and valued too.
I am the child that is misunderstood.
I am different – but look just like you.

New Year’s Schmesolutions

June 30, 2012

The thing about New Year’s Resolutions is that you allegedly actually have to do them.

They are the best laid plans of mice and moms.  I never, ever follow through for more than, oh, I don’t know, a day.

I’m so bad at them that I actually did write a blog post  about them on January 17th and never actually posted it.

So, here is the only draft from my draft file.  I wanted it to be serious and I wanted it to be my “putting it out there” so I would feel pressure to keep my resolutions.  Today, almost 7 months into the year I just find it a funny testament to my stick-to-it-tivity (or the lack thereof.)

New Years Schmesolutions.

I make them every year.  This year I decided that I would make resolutions that improve my quality of life.  I figure if I’m not in deprivation mode I will be more likely to keep them.

Take more pictures.  I love my camera and I love taking pictures.  I really, REALLY, want to transform this from a wish to a real hobby.  Dare I say enthusiast?  I promised myself that I would take pictures every day.  When I stopped laughing I altered that to one meaningful photo shoot every week.  I would play with the subjects, settings and light.  I would use my tripod and learn what every accessory that my husband gave me for Christmas does and become adept at their use.  I also promised myself that I would NOT have 52 poodle photo shoots by the end of 2012.

I will write more.  I knew that I could not write blog entries every day because I do so many edits.  I would have to spend 5 or 6 hours every day writing.  OK, here’s an edit:  I would have to spend 10 – 12 minutes writing and THEN 5 or 6 hours obsessing over what my “twelves” of readers would think of what I wrote.  I can’t possibly do that because I have too much really important crap to do.  Things don’t get pinned to my Pinterest boards by themselves, you know.

I will start writing  my books.  Yes, I have four books in my head.  Two are children’s books and the other two are completely opposite of one another.  The first is a really sad book about a woman taking care of a terminally ill parent with dementia.  The other is a series of stories from the life of a middle-aged housewife which includes funny caricatures based very loosely on some of the crazy people I have encountered in my own life.

Cook more healthily.  Healthily? Is that even a word?  I want to make yummy nutritious food for my family.  I don’t want to go on my 45th January diet.  Go ahead, do the math:  I’ve been dieting since I was about five.  I want to make changes that matter and that last.  So far so good.  We haven’t had any fast food meals or crappy, slapped together meals and it’s January 17th so I feel pretty proud of that.

I joined a gym.  $19 to join and $19 a month for a year.  So far I’ve had one $38 workout.  I worked out for 35 minutes so that makes my gym membership roughly just over a dollar a minute.  Wow, that’s expensive.  I must look fabulous after such an expensive workout.  Maybe I should stop avoiding a mirror and check out my newly chiseled form.  Or I could actually go to the gym a little more often and accept my slowly changing body.  Whaterr.

Create things.  I love creating things. I promised myself I would craft and sew more.  I get a crafter’s high just thinking about making stuff.  So far this year I’ve created… Oh.  Well, I’ve pinned lots of great ideas on my “boards” on Pinterest so I’m creating in my head.  Which is where I’m writing.  Maybe I should workout there, too.  I could’ve saved a bunch of money.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m not following through on my resolutions.  I’d be thin, fit, creative, accomplished and have a fascinating life.  You’d prolly hafta hate me.

Maybe since I seldom follow through for more than a day I should call them New Day’s Resolutions.  Hey, maybe I’m onto something!  I could make shiny new resolutions each and every day, knowing that I would only have to keep them for a day!  I would live my own Ground Hog Day – the movie, which was cute, not the holiday, which is lame-tarded.

Hmmm… I will “cogitate” on that concept… perhaps for blog posts that I am now resolved to write  immediately and every day, forever.

Spicy Poodle Song

June 29, 2012

This afternoon I was watching a movie, sitting in a recliner, when Albie, one of our poodles, randomly walked over to me and put his head on my shoulder.

I kissed his huge nose and said “Hi, Buddy.  Tell me what you want, what you really, really want.”

My 14-year-old looked at me and said “No, Mom, you’re done.”

Wha?  I’m done?

I am, in fact, not done.

I proceeded to make up new words for the Spice Girls’ masterpiece, Wannabe.  Please to enjoy.

Tell me what u want, what u really, really want.

I’ll tell u what I want, what I really, really want:

I wanna eat, I wanna drink, I wanna poo, I wanna pee,

Oh, yes, I really, really, really, really, really, wanna pee.

If you wanna put me outside, I will pee on all your plants.

I will do it very quickly ’cause I don’t wear pa-a-ants.

If you wanna put me out there, I’ll go poopy in the grass.

And if I have any “berries” you will clean my a-ass.

Pretty catchy, right?

Later, after dinner, I was sitting at the table with my girls and Albie shoved his head under my arm.  I took it as a sign, of course, that it was time to “perform” our catchy little song, complete with little Spice Girl hand movements.  Oh, I owned it.

I laughed until I was crying and my head was laying on the table.

My mortified teen just sat shaking her head, occasionally saying “Please.  Stop.”

My 24-year-old was laughing not with me, nor at my song.  She was amused by my own remarkable ability to amuse myself to the point of tears.

“You think you’re pretty funny over there, don’t you?”

I shrieked  “Yes, yes I do!”

The truth is I’m still giggling.  Maybe this is one of those “had to be there things”.  I don’t know.  I never would have thought that I could enjoy a Spice Girls song so much.

Merry Christmas 2011!

December 24, 2011

     Merry Christmas 2011!

Last year we did not send out one single card;

Our sweet dog had ten babies and life was way hard

But we’re back on the scene, with our card and this note.

Once again you’re all reading some stuff that I wrote.

After Daisy gave birth, I went weeks with no sleep.

We allowed our son, Ben, to choose one pup to keep

But we did not foresee that Miss Kolbe would love

A shy black one, whose heart fit on hers like a glove.

So I said to dear Jon (who’s still awesome this year)

“Darling Husband, sit down, you have something to hear.”

I explained that three dogs would be no worse than two

And I promised him kids would clean up all the poo.

Three huge poodles now live at the casa de Suss.

Want to see a dog circus?  Just come visit us.

Jon, in his awesomeness, still hitched to me.

We still live in a house with our dear children three.

How we cherish our awesomely average life!

Soon we’ll celebrate 25 years man and wife.

Our kids are still funner than should be allowed.

They still “own” Mom and Dad and they still make us proud.

Our Anna’s in school and is still doing hair

In her car she goes vroom from right here to right there.

Ben and Kolbe, our teens, are in high school at home.

Do not think for a sec that this means we don’t roam.

Co-op classes and outings and tutors they see

Lots of friends they hang with and of course, they have me.

I am still good ‘ol Ame, I don’t change much each year.

I still love my Suss-peeps and I still don’t love beer.

When I look at God’s love in my life I’m aware

I’ve been blessed with what seems like much more than my share.

Every year I have trouble with just how to end

This rhymed note that we send to both family and friend

Please indulge me, my loves, there’s one more thing to say

And then you can go back to your Dee-cember day:

You are loved by the One who invented the stuff

He loves all that you are, I can’t stress this enough.

If you open your heart to HIS love and HIS grace,

You’ll be happy someday when you meet face to face.

Please remember the Sussmans in your daily prayers.

And don’t worry, I promise, they’ll keep you in theirs.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012 from the Sussmans

Jon       Amy     Anna     Ben       Kolbe     Daisy     Penny    Albie     Max   &  Snookie

Dad       Mom      Kid  1     Kid 2     Kid 3     Dog 1    Dog 2   Dog 3    Cat    &    Guinea Pig

Merry Christmas 2009!

December 22, 2011

A mistake has been made by that dude, Father Time.

How can Christmas be here?  We just started ’09!

I am sorry, it seems that the Suss-clan’s still boring

But that doesn’t mean you can start with the snoring.

Stay awake and enjoy my eleventh (and best?)

Because make no mistake, there WILL be a test.

Anna finished with school taking scissors in hand

She will dazzle the world, making over the bland.

She’s still crazy in love with a sweet guy named Victor.

He’s the dearest young man, we are so glad he picked her.

We dragged him on vacation I’m pleased to report.

We played games every night; he is such a good sport.

Ben‘s an eighth grader now, having his best year yet.

All his teachers he likes and good grades he does get.

He’s more hairy and taller and deeper of voice.

He’s a generous boy who makes every good choice.

Confirmation last month was the ice on his cake

I am thrilled when I think of the man he will make.

That darned Kolbe got older again this darned year

She’s in middle school now with sweet teachers, we hear.

She can text with great speed and Facebooks like a pro,

She’s loves dance class and learning to play the oboe.

In her free time our baby girl still loves to cook

When she’s not busy re-reading each Twilight book.

My Jon Sussman remains the best half of our whole.

He still loves me despite all my wrinkles and mole.

He has found a new hobby that’s just fine by me

Tracing four hundred years worth of our family tree.

He’s enjoying the research, it’s filling his cup

And the stories from my side prove Jon married up.

As for me I’m delightfully still unemployed

I don’t have a “real job” and I’m just overjoyed

‘Cause I get to look after the peeps in my life

Wash their clothes, mop their floors and be bearded guy’s wife.

Thanks for staying awake all you dear girls and guys

And for kindly refraining from rolling your eyes.

I did warn you that not too much happened this year

I just like to write poems to help spread Christmas cheer.

May your family be merry, your worries be light.

May you open your heart to the babe from that night.

It was so long ago that the Son of God came

Not to just heal the sick and the lowly and lame

But to heal each of us of the hurts that life gives

So that whole, we can show that our Savior still lives.

Added several years later, boyfriend long gone. Sometimes parents are wrong.  Remember Eddie Haskel on Leave It to Beaver?  The parents all thought he was the cat’s pajamas.  To his peers he was a total douche bag.  

Merry Christmas 2008

December 19, 2011

Armed with pen and caffeine I will start this year’s poem

Which will carry glad tidings to you in your home.

I am having an awful time starting the ink

Sorry, we haven’t changed so this writing might stink.

There were three milestone birthdays on our family scene:

Kolbe’s ten, Anna’s twenty and Ben turned thirteen.

Jon is aging quite well like a fine bearded wine,

Nope, not me, I’ll admit nothing past twenty-nine.

This past May we flew south for some Florida cruisin’

Where Jon’s nephew Brian wed his true love Susan.

We invaded six theme parks in only five days,

Then collapsed on a beach in a fun induced haze.

My adorable Jon is still Nissan devoted;

They must love him, too, because he was promoted.

He’s been given an office – with walls and a door,

Although there’s no ceiling, he does have a floor.       (phew!)

Cosmetology school is now where Anna’s learning.

Her fire for fashion is still brightly burning.

Don’t ask if she’s dating, I’m not s’posed to tell.

I won’t say that he’s sweet and we like him real well.

Ben, our funny young man, has exploded in size,

I now have to look up just to see his blue eyes.

He’s a smart dude who seldom gives us too much strife

‘Cause I think he’s afraid he’d get grounded for life.

Preteen Kolbe is quite the articulate child

Who is gracious and funny, her temperament mild.

She’s an excellent student who just loves to read.

It’s unfortunate though, that she grows like a weed.

Now it’s time for you people to all get in line

To inquire about me, I assure you I’m fine.

Though at times my wax burns really fast at both ends

I’m aware that I’m blessed to have family and friends.

See, I warned you that not too much happened this year.

My poem’s just a vehicle for Christmas cheer

From that family who lives in that blue sided house:

Three cute kids, dog and cat, one fine man and his spouse.

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