Tuesday, August 25, 2015

You Say Potato and I Say Potah-toh

Tonight starts the first night of Fall bowling. Why it's called Fall bowling is a mystery to me. Every- Month-of-the-Year-Except-June-and-July bowling would be more accurate. But I suppose that's a potato/potah-toh kind of thing.

No matter the name. It will be interesting to discover what happens when I lace up my bowling shoes. After two months of no practice, having a bowling ball in my hand could prove to be dangerous for anyone near me. Perhaps it would be wise to wear a warning sign.

Things are interesting at my house. I've been dog sitting for both my kids this week. Even though the dogs do generally fine, in loyal doggie fashion they always listen for "Mom" or "Dad" to come back and take them home. 

Ever vigilant, Brady watches the door.

Tinker Bell does, too.

And there's one other critter at my house who also will be extremely pleased to see Mom or Dad arrive.

They eat my food and scavenge my litter box. The scent of cat poo breath is making me gag. When will those filthy barking beasts go home

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My Little Guy

Shortly after I received Indy's ashes, I pondered over what would be the right urn for him. I couldn't find anything locally and so I launched an internet search. There were many places to look, but how to choose? Then I discovered a company called Blue Ribbon Memorials. It had several reviews that reflected well on the company's customer service. I found a wooden urn on their site that I liked. But my decision was sealed when I saw the names of the owners...John and Eunice. My parents' names! I knew this would be the right company for me to use.

After placing the order, I had a question and sent it to them via email. The email included my phone number, and I'm not exaggerating when I say John, the company owner, called me within 15 minutes. I was very impressed with his prompt response and his kindness is talking to me about Indy. I would recommend them to anyone.

Here is the urn that is now sitting on the nightstand right next to my bed. The top has Indy's picture etched into a slice of black granite.

The front has this plaque:

I look at Indy's memorial and it reminds me of a lovely testament written by playwright Eugene O'Neill after the death of his beloved Dalmatian, Blemie. The title of the piece is "The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog". Here's a link to the entire piece, but I will quote only the final few lines:

"Whenever you visit my grave, say to yourselves with regret but also with happiness in your hearts at the remembrance of my long happy life with you: "Here lies one who loved us and whom we loved". No matter how deep my sleep I shall hear you, and not all the power of death can keep my spirit from wagging a grateful tail."

I know my own extremely distinguished dog's little tail is wagging in agreement. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Little More

I haven't bought the book, but I'm living the dream. It sometimes seemed as if the day would never arrive, but guess what? On August 5, I made my final drive home from work and am now officially retired.

Despite the retirement luncheon (lovingly referred to by co-workers as my Last Supper), and a lovely retirement dinner with family and friends, things haven't quite sunk in yet. Truth be told, so far it only feels like I'm on vacation. You know, when you tack a couple of PTO days to the weekend and just relax? However, relaxing hasn't entered the picture. I've been scrambling to work on a to-do list of projects as though my time-off hours were dwindling to a precious few. I wonder if Chapter 1 of the above book deals with moving down a notch from the level of manic panic? Maybe I should buy the book after all.

I am excited. Retirement is the beginning of a whole new life chapter which I hope to tackle little by little. In other words, I'll write a little more, read a little more, accomplish a little more, and enjoy life a little more. Sigh. Sounds like the perfect plan, doesn't it?

"Gainfully unemployed. Very proud of it, too."
                                          ~Charles Baxter

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dogs Who Love to Float

There's nothing like a beautiful day on the river...especially if you're a dog. We just returned from a float trip down the crystal clear White River in southern Missouri. I could not believe the number of dogs in attendance.

We saw a 10 week old Portuguese Water Dog on her very first float trip. That little fur ball pawed at the water and paddled her way from person to person like a champ.

There was a mixed breed hound dog who, after becoming bored from a sand bar stop, jumped back in the canoe and barked at her human companion as though to say, "Okay, now put down that beer and let's get paddling!"

My favorite, though, was a Great Pyrenees who sat tall and majestic in the front of a canoe, calmly watching the scenery go by. He/she (not sure which) could have been a model for how Lewis and Clark's famous dog, Seaman, must have looked while they were on expedition. Totally awesome.

Along the 7 mile float, there were three springs that fed the river. At one of the springs, cold water poured in giving an air-conditioned feeling to the atmosphere. The temperature near the spring must have dropped by at least fifteen degrees...a most refreshing circumstance on a 90+ degree day.

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to float. Especially when you're paddling down a gorgeous river on a beautiful day, meeting lots of new friends...with both two feet and four.

Can we go again next weekend?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

PSA for Today

In the eastern central part of Missouri where I live, we seldom see armadillos. They're southern critters, native to areas where it's hot and steamy. However, armadillos are apparently expanding their territory. I can verify this as I've seen one not very far from where I live. Most of the time, armadillos in these parts are only spotted by the side of the road. They tend to fall victim to unfortunate encounters with cars. Apparently when they're startled, armadillos jump straight up in the air. This is not a good traffic tactic.

In any event, these almost prehistoric looking animals, are definitely coming our way. I filed away this fact as no more than an interesting observation, until I read a story recently on Facebook. I couldn't believe what I saw and fact-checked, only to find out it's all too true.

Armadillos carry leprosy. That's right, leprosy. When's the last time leprosy crossed your mind? I honestly hadn't even thought about it since my Sunday School days. Or around Easter when I indulge in my annual viewing of the musical, "Jesus Christ Superstar".

It seems Florida has seen a spike in leprosy cases. And each case diagnosed this year occurred after a person had contact with an armadillo. Holy zoonotic diseases!

Since they're obviously coming our way, here's my public service announcement to you. Don't touch armadillos. Don't try to trap armadillos (they spit). And definitely, don't eat armadillos. I don't care if they do taste like pork.

That is all. You're welcome.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Finding Treasure...In the Basement

At my house things tend to land in the basement with alarming regularity. In anticipation of storing some of Daughter's household items as she and Son-in-Law build their new dream home, I decided I couldn't wait until after I retire to clean out the basement. Pictured above is only one small corner of the chaos, and believe me, it's going to take some time to make room for any incoming items.

One would think that with a purpose in mind, the organizing/weeding would go quickly. Problem is, I am easily distracted. All it takes is a pile of old photographs, and I can say good-bye to several hours. Did I mention my basement is full of old photographs? Needless to say, not much got accomplished this weekend.

Among the piles of family photos, I also found some of the outcomes of my youthful letter writing habit. Many times, famous people wrote back to me. I re-discovered autographed photos of Lee Majors, Tim McCarver (from his pre-broadcasting days when he was catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals), Dal Maxville (another Cardinal player from years ago), and William Shatner. I found a letter from Robert F. Kennedy and one from Teddy Kennedy.

Oh, how I used to love writing to people in the news.

The treasure trove made me wonder if celebrities/politicians get emails rather than letters these days. And do they reply via snail mail? Email? Not at all? How sad if they don't send a good old-fashioned letter. Nobody stores emails in a box in the basement. But on the other hand, no one has to worry about being distracted from cleaning duties, either.

Is anyone writing letters anymore?

Sorry, Mom. It's way too hard to hold a pen in my paw.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Thank You!

Thank you to those who so kindly expressed sympathy over the loss of my old friend, Indy. Your comments were much appreciated. Last week I picked up his ashes, and it gives a bit of comfort to have him back home with me again.

All around things keep changing at a breakneck pace. I've said good-bye to Indy, and now Bogey has taken over my lap. I wonder if Indy whispered in his ear or if Bogey senses an empty lap is simply not a good thing. In any event, he keeps me occupied. I supply the petting and he supplies the purrs.

Meanwhile, Daughter and her hubby have put their house up for sale. I've forgotten what a monumental task it is to prepare the house and then try to keep it spotless each day because you never know when an agent will bring a potential buyer. I have a corner in my basement filled with items they are storing to make the house appear more open. Removing items and neutral paint schemes are apparently critical to making a sale. At least we hope so. Fingers crossed that all goes smoothly. Of course a sale is always followed by the joys of moving, so I see some hectic days in their future.

Speaking of days, I'm at the point where I'm counting down days instead of months to retirement. Four months ago it seemed a glacial age away. But now as the finish line approaches, things have started to move at a much faster pace. I've worked full time nearly all my adult life so retirement will be an adjustment. But it's one I'm really looking forward to making.

Change brings about all types of consequences, some happy and some not so much. Yet whether we want it to or not, change most certainly will occur. I suppose it's the way we respond to change that makes the difference. Just like a tree, we can bend with the wind or let it snap us in two.

I'm working on learning to bend.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


Even when you know it's coming, saying good-bye is never easy.

On Thursday, June 25, I took Indy for his final trip to the vet's office. He had stopped eating. And then he stopped drinking. He seemed almost in a daze, as though half in this world and half in another. I knew it was time to make the call I'd been dreading.

My Indy was a happy boy. In his younger years I signed us up for every class I could find. We did obedience training, flyball classes, and agility classes. He earned Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dog International titles. We visited nursing homes where he showed off what he had learned (while patiently enduring the silly costumes I brought along) to the delight of residents.

We participated in humane society fundraisers, and he even appeared on our local NBC affiliate television station (wriggling like a worm in the arms of a T.V. weatherman) to promote an upcoming humane society event. In those days, my Indy got around.

As he and I both became older, our activities slowed. He enjoyed visiting our place at the river, sniffing the scents of the woods and wild things and warming his old bones on the sun-heated boulders surrounding the water.

Finally, even those adventures faded. With eyesight and hearing both nearly gone, Indy spent most of his time sleeping, perhaps dreaming of his youthful days. I'd wake him up to go outside and he'd follow me with the quiet dignity of an old dog.

On the day I drove Indy to the vet's office, I had to carry him inside. His doctor administered the medication while I stroked his head and talked to him. I felt like he could hear me speak and he seemed to listen to my voice until his valiant little heart finally stopped beating.

There are few things in life more enduring than the love of a good dog. Indy was my shadow and best buddy for more than 15 years. I miss hearing the jangle of his tags, seeing him nap in his small bed, and having his soft warmth curled in my lap.

But I do believe heaven holds a special corner for all our beloved creatures. I like to think Indy is there now running fast as the wind to chase a tennis ball and romping through tall grass with a host of new pals in a place where no one ever grows weary.

Until we meet again, my old friend...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

My Computer is Lonely

We get all kinds of messages on our computers. Great news, interesting news, cute stories. However, there's one bit of news we never want to get:

Warning: back up your computer, hard drive failure is imminent

Guess who got that news last week? If you guess me, you're right. Luckily I backed up all my manuscripts over a week ago. This consisted of me emailing all my documents to myself. Pretty sophisticated, right?

So here I am, hundreds of dollars and hours of frustration later. I now have a new computer. I like it. I really do. But here's what I don't like. Apparently the new computer and my old printer don't get along. Like a blind date gone awry, they simply are not compatible. So now my next mission is to hunt down a new printer.

I prefer a monochromatic laser printer with scan capabilities. What do you use, love, and adore? Suggestions are welcomed. I need some advice on fixing up my computer with a hot new printer.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

I Detour for Cuteness

Last week on my way home from work, I got a phone call telling me I absolutely had to stop by a local pub. Further, I was told I wouldn't be sorry.

It had been a long day and the last thing I wanted to do was become a social butterfly. Grumbling to myself, I changed course as directed, wondering what the attraction could possibly be. Surprise visit from an out-of-towner? Friends who simply wanted me to show up for a cocktail? An annoying practical joke?

I hadn't a clue what awaited me. But when I walked in the door...

Yep. A baby raccoon. He's an orphan being raised by a nature-loving friend. Those bright eyes had just opened a few days prior to the taking of these photos. I held the little cutie and he snuggled against me like a baby, which, of course, he is. Aren't his tiny fingers darling? He can already grab like a champ and gosh, does he ever love his bottle.

Please don't tell the Health Department, but this was one detour I thoroughly enjoyed.