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Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Driving in a Winter Lit-Up Wonderland!

Made a little video of some of the houses in our town. Marty has a friend lives in South Africa and has no idea what we're about, light-wise! So we put this little movie together tonight!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Awesome! Brillaint! Funny! I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You Want To Be A...WHAT???

My niece has decided she wants to be a Doula. OK, cool. (Insert Supportive Aunt here) She'll be great, I'm sure.

Wait, hang on. A...WHAT?

I had to read her Blog to even get a remote idea of what the hell-en-hiemer a Doula is. I even had to Google the d**n thing. Here is what good ol' Wikipedia says:

Doula is a word that has most closely become associated with a woman who provides non-medical support during labour and birth, and also the postpartum period. The term can also be used to describe other supportive roles for other life events such as abortion, death and more.

Gotcha. Right.

The things I learn. Never-ending.

However, it doesn't do me a whole hellofalotta lot of good....I'm passed the age and I'm spayed.

So yes, call me selfish but I need a massage! (My niece is a licensed masseuse and is awesome! Why must she live 2,000 miles away. Boo-hoo!)

It sure is a career you can take anywhere you go! But why the heck is it called "Doula?"

Whatsa'matter with Midwife? Now you say "Midwifery" and yes, I know what that is! A time-honored tradition, good work, almost holy work if you will.

Guess I'm an old fart but if you say "Doula" to me, I'm thinking it's

1) some kind of weird Celtic instrument (Insert Irish Accent here: "Sweet Mary and Joseph, tha' lad plays a mean Doula!")

2) a dish you cook in a sheep stomach (Insert Scots accent here: "Och, ta hell with haggis! Aye, na' gi' me a plat of Doula -- na tha's grand stuff!")


3) some kind of Greek Dance. (Insert drunken Tourist accent here: "Ouzo and Doula, ooh-pah!")

My niece's name begins with a "D" so yes, it kind of goes together. D_____ The Doula. Kind of like a kids' book title!

Oh, God.

I really need to stop hanging around Marty. My brain is warping....

She'll be great, I'm sure! Now, if I can only stop giggling.

Our Christmas Newsletter

This year we actually put a holiday newsletter together! Must have been the formal portrait taken by Tori Tedesco that helped me along!

Happy Holidays 2010!

What a year it’s been!
We welcomed a new grandson, Mason, just a few days ago (December 10th), who joins big brother Aidan; he‘ll be 3 in January 2011, a new great nephew Bryan Jr. (aka “Chopper") in May (a day after Mia's birthday) and new cat, Rufus The Wonder Cat, adopted from the Humane Society of Greater Akron in July.

Marty is now officially The Bionic Man, with his two new knees and “rack and pinion” steering in his back. January brought the rods and screws to fix a busted vertebrae in his back. February brought his 50th birthday and the end of his time at Wayne Homes. He rode in the Harmonie Hundred charity biking event in May, and raised more money for his second 150 mile ride for MS:“Pedal to the Point” in August. Two weeks later, he had his first knee replacement; then 7 weeks later he had his other knee done. His recovery has been amazing! In 2011, he plans to participate in both cycling events and more!

Mia has been volunteering at the Humane Society of Greater Akron and is learning a lot about dogs and cats and has become quite the advocate for Breed Fairness and Awareness. “Don’t Buy The Bull” etc. Through her activities, she met a wonderful pianist (Leo Spishak) and has been gigging with him, mostly at very swanky Senior Residences, where they challenge her knowledge of 40s and 50s Pop music. Her most unusual? A 60th anniversary party of a nun! She has completed 2 Half-Marathons this year (walking), Cleveland (her 5th time) and Akron. She’s tried to keep up with Marty on his bike.

This year was the first time, due to Marty’s being laid up, that Megan and Mia had to put up most of the pickles by themselves! Challenging! After all, they are called Pickle-MAN Pickles!

2010 brought some health concerns for our oldest dog, Jesse Ann but as of today, she’s doing pretty well. Winger (who will be 12 in March) is still going strong! Elke (aka Schmooby-Doo) is learning to pick up objects: books, papers, gloves, keys, spoons…. She is very bright and if we actually worked with her… the sky might be the limit!

Marty really wanted a black cat and since Mia had been working with cats at the HSGA, she had a few in mind. Marty picked out Rueben whom he re-named Rufus on the ride home. He is now “King of the Bat-Cave” in the basement and “the boys” hang out all the time. .Mia calls the cat “Rufus The Magnificent, Lord of the Universe.“ At the moment, Kitties Dink and Envy are still guests in one of our bedrooms as well.

And….We finally got a new fence in the backyard, long overdue; we’re thrilled to have it.

Next year will see us both riding bikes, walking (yes Marty can do that again) working on the house (does it ever stop?) and trying to stay healthy and happy. Mia would like to “up her game” and join Marty on at least one of his long rides. She’d also like to complete a full marathon next year or maybe do a mini-biathlon. Time and training will tell.

Marty would like to go back to work part-time. After 10 years in front of a computer screen he wants a change. He also plans to find some causes he can volunteer for. Painting and fixing up the Javelin are on the list, as is working in the extended garden he put in this past summer and of course PICKLES!

Here’s wishing that 2011 brings all of you happiness, health, prosperity and nothing but great things. We are blessed to know all of you and have you in our lives.

Have A Merry Christmas And A Very Happy New Year!

Marty and Mia Hess
And yes, we’re on Facebook! The world has come to an end, J

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Not About The Presents

(Photo by Tori Tedesco, taken at HSGA December 4, 2010)

Let me start by stating:


Honestly. Not going to lie.

But please, give me and the %*^&$@! Holiday Season a flippin' break, will you? I understand things are tight, if not desperate for a lot of people. But just because Junior isn't going to get his %*^&$@! iPad or Muffy isn't going to get her $150 designer ripped-up jeans, doesn't mean your Christmas (or whatever) is going to suck a holly wreath. Just because you are a zillion miles from home or you're divorced, widowed, have no family at all, no money, your mother hates you, you lost your job...the same goes. Quit your bitchin' and your Scrooge-ing and your Bah-Humbuggin'! I'm sick to death of it. So are a truck-load of other people. I guarantee you someone is much worse off than you are.

Shine the light. If you don't have a tree, get a branch. If you can, beg or buy a $2 string of lights and put it on your branch, door or window and be thankful you can breath, walk, talk, see, hear. Put a light in your window if you've got one (and I hope you do). Make someone smile by the lights. If all you have is your car, snag some tinsel and put it somewhere.

And all you Scrooges out there, the ones who HAVE a tree but aren't putting it up. (You know who you are!) Just do it.

Cheap or Free Things: Listen to some Holiday music. Even the sad ones. Put a penny in the Salvation Army pot if that's all you got. Smile to the clerk at every store or especially at the grocery store. Buy some cookie dough on sale and make cookies for someone, anyone. If you're working, have a %*^&$@! pot-luck party at work. Bless everyone you meet. Even if it's only in your insides.

The Kids. Take your kids caroling, trim your tree, help out as a family at a food bank or homeless shelter, help out at the Humane Society, buy toys for Toys For Tots. Have Junior get off his lazy %*^&$@! X-Box butt and shovel out Old Mrs. Neighbour's driveway. Bring her some of your dinner or invite her over for cookies. Tell your %*^&$@! spoiled brat of a daughter if she complains one more time and rolls her eyes, her share of Christmas stuff is going to pay for a sick dog's medical expenses at the shelter.

I'm sorry but even little kids do not need a sackful of stuff. It's the lights, the tree, the stockings, the music, the sharing. Plays games! A three, four year old can learn "Go Fish" and start to play Yahtzee or Sorry!

You want to give kid something? Spend a day with them.

You have no money? Offer your time to clean Mom's house, give Dad a back-rub, baby-sit your sister's bratty kids for an afternoon, clean out the dog pen, garage, attic, whatever. Get out your crayons or Sharpie or computer and make a Gift Certificate and honour it.

(By the Way, stockings are not just for kids!)

Get the gang on the car, put on some music and drive around looking at the lights. Everybody gets to pick a favorite. Is it a "display?" Is it "Inflate-a-world?" Have fun! That's just time and some gas.

Snow. Yes, it can be very annoying, especially if you have to shovel it, drive in it or walk in it. It'll be gone; it's just something you have to get through. It'll change. Leave early. Take your time. BTW, Clue Phone. You are not the only person who is annoyed.

The Big 411. Christmas, the Holidays (whatever) aren't about what everyone seems to think it is. It can be honouring old traditions or making new ones to honour. It's the celebration of The Light. The Light returning; the days beginning to get longer. The Light of God's Love, whatever your faith. The Light in your heart.

Be like The Grinch at the END of story:

"He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!"

"And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!"

Quit being a jerk. Don't make everybody else's holiday crummy by your attitude.

Let your heart be Merry and Bright and let it "grow three sizes" during this time of year!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The T-Mobile Welcome Back

Flying is such a hassle nowadays. Used to FUN! But if you got off the plane and THIS happened, it'd be so cool!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Vaccinating Controversy

Ah, the vaccination controversy.

My mother was a Christian Scientist, a strange one, but yes, she was. Yes, the religion that "doesn't believe in doctors," (although that's a gross generalization). And yet, we still got vaccines.

If kids are having reactions to modern vaccines, I think it's because the parents don't eat right and they're kids eat crap. People aren't getting enough outdoor time, sunshine, exercise. I never heard of any kid getting a reaction when we were growing up, except maybe for smallpox. But you got that if you were going overseas. I had to get smallpox, malaria, typhoid, hepatitis when I went to Japan. Not fun but I did it.

I know some dogs have vaccine reactions but that's usually to the Lepto or because they got that whole DHLPP together. I realize kids aren't puppies, but still. Some Paediatricians give just a bit at a time and watch for reactions.

A friend of mine didn't get the usual kiddie vaccinations, she didn't believe in it., I get that, it's a choice. Her kids got whooping cough and 6 weeks of her life was spent taking care of sick kids. In the summer. When they can't and shouldn't go out and be with other kids. She "depended on OTHER parents vaccinating THEIR kids." Kind of irresponsible (and I really like her too). I think they've closed schools because of W. C. outbreaks. I know they did when I was a kid.

Polio is real and there have been outbreaks in third world countries. Not here but that's what they said about AIDS. I had a friend when I was a kid that had it. She wore braces from the time she was tiny. I have vivid memories of her dragging herself around on a blanket in the summer grass, legs encased in these huge, heavy braces, basically dead-weight. And she always smelled like baby powder. Not fun. I remember getting my first polio vaccine in first or second grade; it was on a sugar cube. I wish for little kids' sakes they could do that now.

It's really hard to watch your little one get a shot. It hurts! Poor baby! Poor Mommy!

I had chicken pox, measles and mumps when I was a kid. So TOTALLY NOT fun! They didn't have vaccinations for those when I was a baby/little kid!

I am, however, not a fan of flu shots. I won't get one. Even when I get ancient! Even then, my body will be able to fight it off and I'm convinced that's because I get fresh air and exercise. But the other stuff? Heck, yeah. I'd rather have a malaria vaccine instead of having malaria! (Not that I'm planning on going any place where I'll need it in the near future...)

I just don't get not doing it. For your kid and for other kids too. It's bad enough when your kid goes to school and everybody is sick. And, as I said, so many kids are not outdoors enough. That helps with your health and immune system. Not just shots. And eating decent food! So many kids eat crap and watch way too much TV and are on electronic devices all the time.

But that's another rant!

Words Are Hard To Come By (A Memory)

This is disturbing....

Words are hard to come by.

My Hungarian CATHOLIC grandmother sat me down to watch a documentary about Hitler's "final solution"

I was ten years old. I had nightmares for weeks afterwards. It's still extremely hard for me to watch anything about it. My memory sometimes isn't always there for current events but, things like that? Oh, yes indeed!

My ex's dad, Richard, liberated a camp and because he spoke fluent Polish, he was used as an interpreter. He was 20 years old and had survived the Battle of the Bulge. Years later, and I'll never forget this, we're were having dinner in Denny's.

Now Richard was a pretty laid back guy, so you have to know that for starters. He was friendly but not a "butt-in-ski" by any stretch of the imagination. He was more of a "groaner joke, bad pun" kind of guy. He was also somewhat deaf, having been an anti-tank/anti-aircraft gunner and then a Master Carpenter. He wore hearing aids but they weren't super-duper!

(This of course was years after I had seen Herta's tattoo on her arm. I never forgot that either. But that's another story.)

At the table next to ours were a couple of guys in their late 20s, kind of young-ish white collar types. One said something about the concentration camp being "way over exaggerated" and the whole thing was not nearly as bad, etc.etc. And that it was all Jewish propaganda, etc. etc. Very hoity-toity tone, very dismissive. Very Revisionist History.

Richard, that easy-going man, then in his sixties and in not the greatest health (fused spine, walked on crutches), whipped around in his chair, stood up (fast) and gave those three guys a loud lesson in history starting with,

"I was THERE, you ignorant little assholes! I saw it all! I liberated a camp. Don't you DARE tell me it didn't exist!"

Etc. etc.etc. It was about a five minute rant and even my ex had never heard most of what Richard related to these young guys. At the end they were mentally cowering, heads lowered in shame and embarassment.

I remember feeling very proud and awed because Richard had the guts to do what so many people DON'T do: speak up, tell the truths he witnessed. I wish I could remember everything he said, but I do remember being totally stunned that he was cussing and swearing, which he almost never did!

You can cut and paste the link below if you wish.....There aren't any diead bodies, just so you know.....
The Only Surviving Album of Auschwitz
This is the story of a Hungarian Jewish woman who survived Auschwitz and found a coat belonging to a guard which she took to shield her from the cold immediately after her liberation.
In the pocket of this coat she found a photo album. It contained pictures of what went on in this extermination camp. Imagine her reaction when she saw a picture of herself coming off of the train as well pictures of her family who were already murdered.
This album at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem was donated by this woman in 1980 and will forever be displayed there. When you have 5 minutes of peace and quiet in front of your computer, watch it and consider passing it around to people that you know so they can share it and know about it.
It is truly moving and important.
See link under:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Really Good "Vay-Cay"

Just for one week....

The ideal vacation (or "vay-cay") would be one in which I would have:

1) Some silent person who would do all laundry, dishes or cleaning. Like a mute butler. The tab would picked up by some unknown benefactor.

2A) The animal fairies would clean up dog poop accidents, litter boxes, cat ralph or dog puke. They would worry about the old dogs and train the young ones.
B) All dogs would have one week of total silence.
C) I would walk in the woods, a dog at my side, no leash.
D) The cats would lie in the sunshine, never jumping on forbidden places or using anything other than a scratching post.
E) Every critter would get along in peace and harmony.

3) Everyone I know or see would smile, laugh and have a positive outlook, no matter how gloomy things might seem. Silliness and joy would reign! Laughter would be loud and long. There would be singing. The music would music I like! Everyone would have solutions that are easy and relatively effortless.

4) A fully staffed kitchen would provide me with delicious meals, some I've never tried before. The Chef would teach me how to do things I'd like to learn in the kitchen.

5) I could walk with a swift, effortless stride for miles and miles. and ride my bike fearlessly! I would have the best personal trainer to get me started on a healthier fitness path. (But not like Jillian on "Biggest Loser." She scares me!)

6) Headaches, body aches, crabbiness, ill-temper, feelings or guilt, nervousness and fear ---- gone! Mine and everyone i come in contact with.

7) I would wave my magic wand and all the forty-jawed people would instantly shut up! Peace, it's wonderful.

8) There would be music in every room and I could change the song with a flick of my wrist. If I wanted to watch a movie, it would be like a theater! Only with comfy chairs and my sweetie by my side.

9) Everything in my surroundings WORKS perfectly!

10) Nobody (including me) would yell, snap, whine at me. Including me to me and me to others.

11) "Where would you like to go, Mistress? The car is at your disposal." I wouldn't have to ask anyone for a ride. Or feel guilty about it.

12) Our house would be our house, just me and Marty.

I wouldn't even have to leave home.

Just #1, 2, 3, and 6 would be fabulous!

Yes, jetting off to some paradise with long walks on sandy beaches or a cozy house by a crystalline lake would be very cool. My design goal is to have the attic have that feel to it, a place of peace and beauty,

Don't get me wrong. I am so grateful for where I live, that I have a roof, food, music, communication, TV, movies, a safe neighborhood, wheels, a park nearby, super nieghbors. That I can see, breath, hear, walk, talk, think (although sometimes my mind doesn't always remember stuff, which is scary). I have friends who've baled me out when I've needed it. A family and husband who love me. In his case, for some unknown, wildly improbable reason. What else do I really need?

But oh, just to NOT be running (and worrying) from pillar to post for a while would be awesome! Not thinking, "Oh, crap, I really need to vacuum, do dishes, laundry."

And to get the forty-jawed people to just SHUT UP!

I'm laughing now.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Thinking Of Kaya

Was it a year ago when Megan and I snuck into Josh's house to find pictures of Kaya, here and there? Was it almsot a year ago that I photographed and copied and fixed those pictures and started to create a book of photos for a Christmas presents for my brother and niece?

I miss her very much. But not one one-hundredth as they do. I miss her for their sake, of course. And mine.

I think I miss her laugh most of all but luckily I do have a snippet of that on video.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pit Bulls Are Dogs Too!

Last Saturday, October 23rd, I had the privilege of volunteering at the Humane Society of Greater Akron.

It was National Pit Bull Awareness Day and they decided to celebrate it, since we have quite a few Pitties and Pit mixes there.

Ohio is, I believe, the only state that has breed specific legislation that names Pits and Pit-types in specific. The mere fact that we have this biased law acutely shames me as a native Ohioan of over 10 generations. I am going to write to all my state reps as soon as this stupid, ridiculously annoying election is over! (And there are the even stupider insurance companies! I need say no more!)

I think the Staff and the event organizers should get Huge Kudos. They had Myth-Busting Pit Facts posted all over the place, a most informational display of Pits in History and Pits Who Are Own Their Famous People.

AND the best...(fanfare, please):

Pick The Pit!

(Frankly, I think the whole display should be a permanent one at the shelter. It might answer a lot of questions as we guide guests who come on tours.)

Pick The Pit! was a wall display of about 15 breeds, all purebred, including a Lab, American Bull Dog, Dogo Argentino, a Rottweiler, a Fila, etc. I did guess a lot of them correctly but I didn't guess the Pit. Nor did most people including some staff!!! We had a prize of a raffle ticket if you guessed it right at the first crack. No one got it right the first guess!. Most people guessed the picture of the Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog as the Pit, myself included. There were a lot of bully breeds in the Pick The Pit pictures but it just goes to show. We just don't know! Appearances can be deceiving.

Until I started volunteering at the HSGA almost 2 years ago, I had had almost no interaction with Pits or the "Bully" Breeds except at AKC and UKC shows. I knew folks who had Boxers, Frenchies, English Bulldogs, etc. All I knew (and it wasn't much) was that they were strong, exuberant dogs. What training I had was from my wonderful old instructor Pat Piazza. She pretty much taught us "dogs are dogs" and she expected good behavior and focus from all dogs, from the Chihuahuas to the Rotties and Giant Schnauzers we had in class. It was from her firm tutelage that I learned to not be afraid of Rottweilers. They were my first "Bully" Teachers almost 17 years ago.

I'd read tons of dog books, watched videos, took 5 years of classes, trained and showed dogs, show them for other people on a limited basis, got CGCs, Therapy, Agility and obedience titles on my own dogs. Etc. etc. etc. Blah-blah-blah.....

When I began to volunteer at the Humane Society, I learned that all I know about dogs is Jack. These abandoned, neglected dogs have been my teachers. And since the HSGA has so many Pitties and Pit Mixes, my teachers have almost all been Pitties!

Guess what? I still don't know Jack! I learn every time I interact with the dogs, the super staff, the other volunteers.

Let me tell you what I HAVE learned about Pitties:

*They ARE strong, exuberant dogs. But so are Newfoundlands and Malamutes! If you've ever have one of those breeds jump on you at 100+ pounds, you'd get what I'm saying. I had a 28 pound dog that NEVER got the whole "walking on a loose leash" thing ever. Yes, there are some of the bigger dogs (regardless of breed) that I don't feel physically equipped to walk. But I've learned that it has nothing to do with "OMG, it's a Pit!"

* I've learned to love those ridiculously fast-wagging, whip-like, "dangerous." tails. (Yes, I've heard that, I swear!) Ha-ha! Whatever. So is a Lab tail. Just ask any Lab owner and they'll tell you The Lab Tail is a great way to clear your coffee table! When a Pittie is doing the whole Happy Butt Tail Wag it becomes a rubber pretzel of joy!

*Many of the Pitties I've met at the HSGA will try to sit in your lap and give you kisses, just like a nice little lap dog. They often succeed. They just weigh more and have bigger tongues! There is something really cool about having this wiggling bundle of love flop at your feet to get belly rubs. Or put their magnificent heads on your leg, sigh, relax, sending loving warmth through your body.

And perhaps the most important thing:

*Beauty and love comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. The Pits at the HSGA are a rainbow of colors!

Although I really love my Australian Cattledogs and I think I'd always want one or be involved with them, one of the most important things I've learned working as a volunteer at the HSGA is the "right" dog for you (or me) may be the one you least expect. It might be a Pitbull! Twenty years ago I'd never heard of Cattledogs. Seventeen years ago, I never would have thought I would be a decent Cattledog mom.

I learned that to be prejudiced about a breed or breed type (say, The Bully Breeds) makes as much sense as the attitudes I've gotten over the years because of my vision.

"My wife/husband will NEVER GET a Pitbull so forget it, I won't even look at them!" makes as much sense as: "Look at you! You read close, your eyes are funny-looking so you can't do this or that." How do you KNOW unless you let me try?

Or, "I won't let that person of color (or sex) operate on me, fix my car, be my friend!" In this day and age, we KNOW that is offensive, ignorant and bloody unfair! How do you KNOW? That person could save your life, be Super-Reliable Mr/Ms. Fix-it or be your life-long best friend.

Question: How are these things different from the Pit Mis-Judgments?

Answer: they are not.

How do you know unless you look at EVERY dog as "just a dog" that you're not standing right in front of your canine soul-mate?

How do you know if that particular Pit isn't the prefect dog for you? It's a DOG, for heaven's sake. But if we don't change the stupid laws and educate people, how will anyone be able to make an educated choice?

Here's another idiotic argument: "Well, you can't "DO" anything with a Pit! They're just fighting dogs and that's it!" (I swear, I have heard this one too!)

Boy, you need to scope out the activities in the AKC (now that they are giving Limited Status to mixed breeds) and the UKC which has AMBOR registries. You can compete with your dog, any dog, in Agility, Obedience, Flyball, Weight Pulling etc. There's Tracking, Therapy, Cart-Pulling, Back-Packing, or the ultimate: Search & Rescue or Assistance Dog! And you need to scope out the Pitties and Pit Mixes who have excelled in all these different arenas. It's all time, training and talent (the dog's), really. I personally enjoy competing in and participating in Dog Activities with my dogs. At the moment, I'm not sure I've got any dog in my house to do stuff with! Maybe my young dog. Maybe The Unknown Dog in my future.

Maybe there is a Pit in my future. I have no idea. We have three dogs now and that's plenty! But my experience at the HSGA has taught me that when I will go looking for a dog in the future, I will see if the dog is right for MY lifestyle. I will see if our energies match! And I will keep my mind and heart open to ANY breed!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"The B", Oct 15th, 2010

Here's a little slide show of a weekend with my family.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life Experience #26,762

Well, I certainly can add this to my list. Not my Bucket List, however! I've done a lot of wacky things in my lifetime thus far but this was a new experience.

Short tale. Car trouble. Pulled over on an Exit Ramp, waiting for AAA. I have to pee. I have to pee NOW. No trees or bushes except behind a fence. All open space and cars everywhere. This actually did happen to me before in Arkansas on a hot summer day but we were driving the Blazer and I could make the potty thing happen where I couldn't be seen.

I'm practically in tears I have to pee so badly. My options were few and none of them are appealing. I never should have drank that Mountain Dew!

Mr. Helpful, seeing that after all my intense preparation work and careful positioning, I couldn't "get started," began to make me laugh. I didn't know whether to kill him or kiss him. I truly hate when you really have to pee, find a convenient tree, get yourself all situated and nothing comes out. Nothing.

It took a while but finally, things got started. I can honestly say that I have now peed into a Mr. Hero Medium 12 oz. Drink Cup in the back seat of a car and didn't make a mess. Two glasses full.

Later, as we were still waiting for the tow truck to come (it took about 2 + hours for him to get there), just as a conversational piece I asked my dear Spousal Unit:

"So what do you think are the most important things in a relationship?"

Without missing a beat, he comes back with, "Well, right now I'd say a 12 oz. Mr. Hero Drink Cup."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Funny Dog Story, Part 2

A friend of mine commented, "Don't you wish you had that on tape!! THAT could win a prize on America's Funniest Videos!!"

I think we were laughing too hard to hold the camera still.

Funny thing was, we figured "Monkey see, monkey do." So we asked Elke to try it again. After a minute of watching Elke nose the purse, Jesse sighed, got up again and brought the purse to Marty. At his feet. He told her he couldn't get it and yep, she dumped it in his lap.

"OK, stupid. Where's my D**n cookie?" she seemed to ask.


Funny Dog Story

Funny story: this past weekend we were trying to get Elke to fetch my purse. She can get papers, the newspaper, a book, a remote, keys, a spoon, bring you her bone out of her crate, put one in there, etc.

Now she has had "chewing on fabric" issues from day one, which we gotten after her for. So she would nose the purse, but she wouldn't pick it up. We're encouraging her, "Elke, I can't get it! Bring it here!" No way. I can see her internal conflict.

Winger is standing there, like, "Ooooooooooooh, myyyyy, God, there is FOOD involved and they want SOMEONE to DO SOMETHING! What do I dooooo?" So very anxious to please but totally clueless. Jesse is lying down in the corner, basically ignoring the whole thing..

This is been going on for about 5-7 minutes and I'm getting ready to tell Marty to let her get something she knows, so he can end the session on a high note.

Marty is speaking in this really happy encouraging tone, "Bring it her, girl, bring it here!" when all of a sudden Jesse heaves herself up, cone and all, grabs the purse, and throws it at Marty's' feet.

Her unpsoken dialogue: "HERE!, A------e!" (Fill in the blank.)

She gives Elke and Winger a dirty look and lays down.

Who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Day of Volunteering

I think I may have seen it all at my "job" yesterday. I haven't been able to go for a about a month and a half, life impeding as it sometimes does. My "job" is as a a volunteer for the Humane Society of Greater Akron. (don't ask me why the darn links aren't working.....)

I hope you'll visit the links! Sorry they're not clickable!

I watch the staff bust their butts every day. I have so much admiration for them, I can't begin to tell you. They are almost always willing to talk to you and and answer questions you might have. It's an incredibly hard job. Very physically demanding. And I can't imagine the mental strain as well. I don't think they get nearly the credit or kudos they deserve.

I think every person, especially the self-entitled ones, should work (or volunteer) at a shelter AND in food service. Both are hard and humbling and I think, make you a better human being.

I gave two tours, which I really enjoy doing. I petted some cats, helped another really brave volunteer brush out mats in in a long haired cat and talked with some of the really Big Kahuna Cat volunteer-trainers. I don't usually mess with the kittens, they're adorable and all; but everyone seems to mess with kittens.

I sat in the door of the cage of a lovely Pittie girl named Tassie. She was favouring a back leg and so, of course, I didn't walk her. She has the cutest face and she's very eager and curious. So we hung for a few minutes. Just giving and getting some love!

One the hardest moments was seeing one of the staff guys washing a black Lab-mix dog they had just gotten in. Poor old lady, she had sores on her legs, was missing hair and getting a bath. I helped dry her off. It bends my biscuit that someone just "neglected" to feed her. Yeah, whatever. There was a sadness in her eyes, a resignation, confusion too.

On my next visit to "work," one of my self-appointed "jobs" was to give some lap time to a white cat, Kiska. She just loves to be held and petted. She's no crazy kitten, just a lover.

I hung out with a special peanut of a dog, Bitsy. She is so active, but when she finally decided to give me a lap snuggle....aaaah! She's a really cool little dog! I grew up with Yorkies, so that energy is familiar to me.

I also hung out and gave belly rubs to Miss Nessie. She looks like a Vizsla with big bones! There's even a video of her at this link!!

I think the biggest lessons I've learned while volunteering at the HSGA is "all that I know about dogs is that I know nothing at all!" And how much love those dogs can give: it's amazing. I had never been around any "bully" breeds before, not really. (Closest were Rottweilers.) They are really strong pullers when I walk them --- but they are also face lickers, lap sitters and big lovers. I was not breed-prejudiced before, just had had no experience with them. Some serious love there!

I'm looking forward to helping with the National Pitbull Awareness Day coming up at the HSGA on Oct. 23rd. People need to know --- it's not the BREED. It's idiot people. Like the ones who abused the black Lab mix.

I guess stupid and cruel knows no breed. What gets me is ignorance about a breed. Get ed-u-ma-cated, people!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Singer On The Roof

OK, I admit it. I'm a big old chicken when it comes to roofs, ladders, that sort of "up high, no railings" thing. I've been to the top of the Empire State Bldg. World Trades' Center, the Eiffel Tower, etc. I did draw the line at going to the top of the Tower of Pisa for months. Hey, the darn thing LEANS! (I think I finally relented at the end of my time there, just to say I had done it. I never told Mom; she would have had kittens!)

We had to unplug the wood stove chimney. That means taking off the top of the stack. That means going out on the roof. Luckily, it's only one story and does not have a steep pitch. But it's still a roof. I managed to get out there and get the cap off, dropping part of it off the roof and over the fence (of course). At that point, my courage ran out on me. Our next door neighbor, Tanner, ended up putting the stupid cap back on. But that was much, much later.

Birds' nests throughout the whole chimney. I need say no more. Gross and time-consuming. I'm never afraid to get dirty. However, bird stuff does bother me. And to top it off, something stung me on the neck while I was trying to dislodge the mess. Marty was getting more pokey things to put up the chimney. Don't ask me what stung me because I have no idea. Could have been an aboriginal dart for all I know.

Now I ask you: Why would anyone want to sing on a roof, more or less fiddle? As long as I was looking out (not down) and not near the edge, I was fine. The minute I was on the edge, panic started to set it. I remember telling myself to stay calm and breath. Fat lot of good that did.

I am not as brave as I'd like to be. It's very disheartening sometimes.

The 2011 GP Calendar Has Begun.....

Here is the cover....

Yes, I decided that Puppies Rule! I love being The Boss!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Embarassing Moment #3,647

Marty is hugging me. We are separated by the bottom half of the Dutch door leading into our den. We're having a nice moment, when he exclaims loudly to our boy dog,

"Winger! Dude! That is some awful, bad, poo breath you have!"

Sheepishly: "That's not Winger. It's me..." (and it wasn't my breath either. The other end....)

He couldn't stop laughing for about five minutes.

Lucky for me, I laughed too.

But still....mortifying. Usually the dog gets blamed.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Not A Race, It's An Adventure

The Akron Marathon was last Saturday (Sept. 25th). it was my 6th Half-Marathon. 13.1 miles. My time (less potty breaks and getting water from a nice lady in Firestone Park) was under 4 hours. Hey, I walk, right?

The Gods work in mysterious ways. If I had NOT met Chris from Louisville, KY, I would have gotten seriously lost and probably ended up in North Canton! and he would have probably been hopelessly lost as he had no phone and no map.

The coolest part of the race was the end: walking down Main street, hearing people calling my name (it was on my bib and damn, they could read it) coming into the Akron Aeros Baseball Stadium, cheering crowds, hearing the announcer saying names (I heard mine) and the whole nine yards. That WAS pretty darn cool!

It is the absolutely crappiest race if you are not a serious runner or a true speed walker. (Like the 12-minute folks). After Mile 4, there were no more water stations, hence the blessing of the Water Goddess in Firestone Park. After Mile 6 or 8, the Port-a-Potties were locked. NO promised Gu at Mile 10. So, thank God a Circle K was on the route! And the U. of Arkon library john was open! And I had had the foresight to bring my own Gu.

What pissed me off was they advertised the time limit for the Half was 4 hours. Obviously that doesn't mean you get 4 hours of support. Grrr!

I had slowed down considerably at about Mile 2 (near St. Thomas Hospital) because of a relay runner that was in serious trouble. Poor girl and I wasn't going to leave her in the lurch. After Mile 4, I hooked up with Chris, who normally runs (and owns/runs a Running Store in Louisville). He had a torn meniscus and couldn't run. We had a great time and he was super to me. I do believe the Universe put us together and I owe him big time. I helped him too, from there were places where the Blue Line disappeared. Like when you got near the U. of Akron and the Towpath. I had my phone and called Marty about 4 times.

We really could have cut off 3-5 miles of the course and still finished in the stadium. Who was looking? But, nope, we both decided to do the whole course, as posted. No cheating, sorely tempted though I seriously was! (I confess, Reverend Mother!)

The weather was perfect, (another good thing) and talking with Chris about practically everything under the sun, made the miles go a lot better.

You cannot call it a race, honestly. It was much more like one of map-finding thingies (you know, that's actually a REAL sport) or a bike event. I highly doubt I would EVER do the Akron again. Except that ending. That might, might make it worth doing again!

I really earned that damn medal and shirt. Every G. D. blasted mile!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Brief Note!

So much to write but I'm pooped right now.
Marty is doing well with his knee replacement recovery process! Second one is Oct. 25th.
I did the Akron Road Runner (half) Marathon today. It was an adventure!
Jesse is still wearing her "hat" and "jacket." Sigh.....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Out of The Mouths of Babes

Just when you thought you
A) had most of The Answers
B) have no idea what in the Sam Hill is going on
C) finally admit that you can't think on you feet for sh*t get nailed by a four year old with one of Those Questions.

One of those life-pondering question that leaves you trembling like The Grinch when Cindy-Lou-Who asks, "Why, Santie Claus, why?" Remember that look? Where he's biting his nails?

Riley (who is vaguely related to me by marriage, sort of...barely at all....) asked me a really good question. Almost a stinker. Definitely a Grinchy nail-biter. His Great-Grandfather had died a little less than a week prior. We were at his Poppa's 50th surprise birthday party. (Poppa is Riley grandfather, and my step-daughter's step-dad. Follow me?) Riley had been at his Great-Grandfather's funeral, so I got the whole, "Poppy's died," thing. (Poppy and Poppa. Confused yet? I still am.)

After Riley informed me of this fact and remembered that Marty and I were there when Poppy was in the box, he asked me, "Why is everyone sad?"

Oh, that's a good one. (Where in the he** is his Mom? This is a Mom-type question. Or an Auntie-type question. Someone other than basically a perfect stranger.) He's standing there, with his big, bright eyes and cherubic hair, head tilted to one side, waiting.

This is one of those moments when you either choke and come up with the usual caveat: Go Ask Your Mom. Or your heart grows "three sizes that day" and your brain clicks into gear. You can do this. You might comes up with a good answer for a four year old.

"Well, everyone is sad because they can't hug Poppy any more or talk to him and have him answer back. They can't see him with their eyes or hear his voice with their ears. So they're sad. But Poppy is always with you. You just have to listen with your heart instead of your ears and right now, that's hard to do because they want to see him, and touch him."

Pause. He ponders this grown-up standing before him for a moment. I think his little brian was working that one out.

"Oh. OK," and the trundles off to do some little four-year old boy thing.

I can breathe again. Phew!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Few Things Are Cooler...

...than a laughing Baby! And yes, the idiot making all the funny noises is Yours Truly! I'm trying to load the video......ah, technology!

Adventures In Baby Sitting

Fist of all, my great nephew is pretty darn cute.

Second of all, my sister is a truly capable person and a great (new) grandmother. (I'm not supposed to say "Grandma" by the way.)

Dani and Bryan (aka Daddy Chop) had asked Margit and I to babysit Baby B for a few hours while they went to a movie. No sweat, right? My sister is an experienced Mom and I'm a quasi-experienced Auntie and (step) Grandma, right. (See, I don't mind being "Grandma...") Piece of cake, right?

The Parents leave. Baby B starts to fuss a bit. I'm checking that diaper like it's my job. We're holding and rock-walking this kid. Bottle, maybe? Uh, then again, maybe not. These new darn diapers would hold back the sea, how in the heck do you know if he's wet? I changed him twice, just to make sure. Neither of us has panicked. Yet. (I was starting to, I admit.)

"Oh, please don't be one of THOSE kids. The ones you can't leave."

Fuss, fuss, fuss. Crud. Ok, maybe he wants to be naked. He likes being naked. I throw one of those baby blankets (the little cotton ones) on my leg and he is digging being naked.

"Hey, Margit? (Pause)*t, yeah, he just peed all over me! Guess those two other diapers were dry."

She's trying not to laugh but it WAS pretty funny. He peed all over my shorts and his shirt. Thank heavens he didn't hit the couch! Margit gives me her shorts as I'm changing him (so she could wash my stuff) and we're both trying to comfort this fussy kid in our undies, which is even funnier to me! At this point, I'm finding the movie info on my cell phone, thinking, "This stupid movie better NOT be as long as TITANIC! How long has it been....?"

At one point, he did fall asleep on me. But it was a only a cat nap!

We're getting ready to resort to The Car Routine. You know, driving the kid around until (finally) they pass out and gingerly, cautiously, like it's a Faberge egg, quietly take the sleeping kid and car seat OUT of the car, praying they do NOT wake up.

Before we had to resort to TCR, The Parents arrive. Collective sigh of relief. All my experience had gone right down the toilet. But it's all good. And we hope to do it again. Soon!

Here is a picture. He seems to be saying, "Don't kiss me, Auntie Mima. It won't work!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Baby B Meets More Family

Poor kid, he got inundated with family (and extended family) on Saturday and Sunday! He was so good, really great! Everybody held him! He is a really good baby, very accepting. I'm so glad he's having these experiences. He won't remember them but I think they'll stand him in good stead for future adventures.

Auntie Alexandra is a natural; so much better than I was as a New Aunt and Godmother all those years ago! I was terrified and klutzy.

God, I look like hell in that picture, but he liked my singing! I guess that's all that matters!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Auntie Mima & Uncle Marty Meet Bryan

I met my Great Nephew for the first time today
Here is a link to a slideshow that I hope works....
I think you just watch the thing run! I dunno. I've never done this before!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Terror On The High "C's!"

(More like Middle C, since I'm more of an alto.)

I had two, count them, TWO singing gigs in July. This is a plentiful harvest as I have not sung this many in a month in years. I'm very grateful!

They were both for seniors. One was at a Retirement Home or Senior Living joint in Canton, Ohio. Whatever the P.C. thing is to say. A place where Seniors live in apartments. It's pretty swank. I did a gig there in March or April and ate dinner. The food was astonishingly good. I was stunned. Last Friday's gig was for the Akron South High Class of 1949. That doesn't seem that long ago, considering that my brother was born that year. I did a lot of research for that one. Musically and news-wise too. Found out some interesting stuff.

I've been working with this 70-something pianist, Leo. He's a good player, very musically learned (even though I think he was an engineer of some sort). He played piano during the Korean War for service clubs over there. He's kind of a fussy dude and doesn't have a terrific sense of humour but he's nice. His wife died last year. She was Force To Be Reckoned With. We met doing a Canteen style show for the benefit of the Humane Society ("Bow-Wow Boogie") last year. I'm glad I did it, I figured it would be for a really great cause and I might meet some nice people. I these gigs are the 5th and 6th I've done with Leo. It may be a few more.


The one for the Canton Seniors was fun and easy. I learned a couple of new tunes, no worries. It's nice to learn new tunes. They are a great crowd and they sing along with darn near every one. They are a very participatory and appreciative crowd.

Now I really think I have a pretty good working musical vocabulary. For Standards or what is now called euphemistically "The Great American Songbook." However, I discovered that while it's hard to stymie me with WW2 era tunes, my musical education seemed to skip from V-J Day to the mid-50s. I somehow missed 1946-1950. Leo took the research I'd given him on top tunes of 1946-49 and ran with it. Like a sprinter! When he presented his preliminary suggestions I d**n near fainted dead away. "Uh," I muttered to myself,"Ooooh-kkkkay. Yep, I'm screwed!" On his first list (about 40 songs, I knew --- really knew, like "I could sing them NOW" knew --- maybe five songs. I had heard OF most of the others but some were unknown to me. Panic set in.

As he honed down the list to about 20-25 songs, I still shuddered. I knew almost NONE of these tunes. I did more research, this time listening to his choices, which seemed to include WAY more Perry Como than I ever wanted to hear. (I'm not a fan. Perry Como always seems to be Sinatra or Tony Bennett on Valium. A lot of Valium.)

My personal issue was not with the music necessarily. Some of the songs he suggested were really nice, like MY FOOLISH HEART and I WISH I DIDN'T LOVE YOU SO (which he ended up cutting). Some were cute, like PERSONALITY, a really adorable Dinah Shore song that must make women libbers want to load their Uzis or SHOO FLY PIE (I had to look it up; it's a sugar pie). Some I dislike. RAG MOP comes to mind. Ugh. Stupid, stupid song. Leo's final list contained "15 Songs I Did Not Know." Crap. I really worry, albeit perhaps unnecessarily about MEMORISING stuff. It seems more challenging than ever. I was and am really scared of fowling the whole thing up, looked stupid, and getting "fired!" because I don't know the music. The really frightening part was not only did I NOT know the lyrics (often the case) but I didn't know the MELODIES either! Two weeks to learn this stuff. I had become complacent and this was unnerving me.

"Maybe I'm not as good as I think I am."

So I started listening to the stuff. Writing down the lyrics and making cards for each song. I haven't had to do this many songs in this short of a time in decades. I kid you not. Thank God for a cell phone that holds MP3s. Thank God for the darn technology! I could find the original song by the original artist and buy the tune on Amazon or Rhapsody.

One song was particularly tough and Marty, bless his heart, was absolutely NO help at all. It's called "It's Magic" and it was a gi-normous hit for Doris Day. However, Bugs Bunny also sang it! With other words. So while I'm trying to learn:

"You sigh, the sun begins/ You speak and I hear violins/ It's Magic," my darling husband is doing his best Bugs Bunny impression:

"Oh, carrots are divine/ You get a dozen for a dime/ It's Maaaaaaa-gick!"

Groovy. Thanks, Marts. Now I've got the d**n Bugs version in my head and it's not going away. We finally made a pact; he wouldn't do Bugs until after the gig was over. As soon as I had done the song (number two in the program --- Leo is big on Programs), I sang that stanza for the audience. At least it was out of my head. I had one Porky Pig moment (PERSONALITY), and had to use my cards for 2 songs but other than that, it went well. I just had to glance at the cards, not read word for word. One song ("To Each His Own") I dislike and my brain just does not want to memorise songs it hates. I hate "Rag Mop" too but I got through that one. The other one I heeded the words for was Choo-Choo-Ch'Boogie: it has more words than the Declaration of Independence! I love the song but it's hard. Both songs I just needed the cards for security purposes.

It's strange how songs get stuck in your head, isn't it? I just didn't need "Oh, carrots are divine," in mine. It's also strange this that gig shook me up. In some ways, my confidence is still shaken and stirred. And it ain't no James Bond Martini either.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Training of The Humans

By Rufus The Magnificent
So, I thought I would let you know about the training of the Dad-Human, Marty. (I have Mom trained pretty well.)

Being a Male Human, he is not always as quick to respond as Female Humans. I must exert myself and meow plaintively. I guide him down the stairs, stopping to meow loudly. Is my bowl properly full? Yes. Do I have water? Yes. However, I have decided that I like Science Diet Savory Seafood. Not that grocery store crap. But some food that yes, my humans must go out of their way to obtain for me. It is only right and fitting.

Last night, after plaintive and piteous meowing, I got the Dad Human to play with me. After he had exercised me, I deigned to lay at his feet, in my Meatloaf position. He must know what a privilege this is.

Why do humans call us Meatloaves With Ears? Most undignified. Almost as bad as "The Doughnut" or "Croissant!"

Tonight however, having decided that I like the wet food Mom-Human gets me in the morning (after she has performing the Royal Scooping) I thought that I deserved (of course) some more wet food.

"Yes, Dad-Human, that is nice that you filled my dry food bowl, but no. Yes, it is nice that you freshened my water but no! Meeeee-rrrrr-ooow! (Louder) Meeeeee-OOOW! Ah, he has brought me a bit of my wet food. Later the exercise portion of the evening will commence."

This is the latest installment of How To Train Your Humans by Rufus the Magnificent.

Come visit me soon and see how well I'm doing with my Human Training. I would LOVE to have you worship, er, uh, Visit me soon.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Grandson Aidan with Marty....a few weeks ago!

I am a very interesting Grandparent. I m very loving nd huggy, of course. I am not afraid to get down on the ground (getting up is another matter) or getting dirty. I'm pretty laisse-faire about the whole "getting dirty" thing. (So is Marty: "You can hose 'em off! They are wash and wear!") But I know that I am and ever will be "Frau Getten-Zu-Assen, She-Wolf of The Miss Manners Gestapo." I will tell anybody's kid to use "Please" and Thank you." I don't give a royal rat's rear end whose kid it is. I'm not Calpernia the Maid and I ain't your Step-N-Fetch girl. If they're young, really young, I will say, "Please?" (Hint-hint.) If they're around 6 or older you can use a bit of sarcasm. If their teenagers or God forbid older than THAT, it's no holds barred!

What was it someone said? "Manner will get you anywhere." Or something like that. I don't necessarily mean Knife and Fork Manners, although those are extremely helpful. But Please and Thank You and just being a kind, courteous person. Nothing frosts my biscuit sideways than people who say manners are outdated or even worse; they don't know better, they weren't raised right, whatever the lame excuse of the week is. I see young people making those kind of excuses, for themselves and for their friends. I know people who were and are very poor, with great deal of misfortune in their past. Manners are learned and you can learn them any time.

Oh, (insert swear word), I sound like my (insert another swear word) grandmother now.

The Great "Chop" and Amazement

Today was the second time I've had a chance to see my new Great Nephew, Baby B aka "lambchop" aka "The Chop" via Skype. My, how he has grown! It was really nifty see him and I can't wait to see him in "real life!"

My sister Tthe Grandmother aka "Grammie") was such a Coo-Meister that I wondered, "Who are you and what have you done with my sister!?" Inquiring minds want to know!

It is a crazy, wonderful world in which we can see each other live and talk. You don't have to wait for a movie to be sent but you see it in real time anywhere in the world you can get an Internet connection. Amazing! I remember watching the Moon landings and hearing the astronauts talk to us folk back here on Mother Earth. Now I can talk and see Dani and Bryan and "The Chop" any old time we can hook up. And now, as if that weren't amazing ENOUGH, you can get a cell phone with the capability to Skype!

Another amazing thing is what a natural my niece is at this whole Mother thing. I (who have never hatched) never felt I would have been a natural at it; one of the many reasons I didn't. I m a good aunt (nay, a Great one) and a good Grandmother (albeit a Step, but still....). That whole Mother thing. Amazing! It is very strange to see someone YOU diapered, changing her own kid.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Screaming Like a Little Girl

Just when you're think you're pretty cool and mature, along comes something that puts your cool in the crapper.

I was helping Marty lay some (really a whole bunch) of weed block. As I was tucking the fabric underneath a hosta, something bit me on the forearm. Ouch! (It still hurts and it's red and swollen). OK, fine, I got bitten by something gross. (Hate bugs.) about ten minutes later there was this loud buzzing about my head. I could see it (sort of) out of the corner of my eye. It looked like a B52 bomber and it was not going to leave me alone. Marty's hollering at me to stand still then run, then stand still. I'm confused and scared and this big buzzer is in my HAIR and in my glasses, which got jettisoned. All the time I am screaming at the top of my lungs. Marty is yelling at me to calm down and go in the house. "It'll go IN there with me; are you crazy?" I'm screaming like a demented banshee and doing my best St. Vitus Dance intermingled with being frozen in terror.

Needless to say, he finally got my panicked rear end in the house. It was NOT my finest hour by any stretch of the imagination.

I suppose the upside is it's given the neighbors something to talk about because you could probably hear my well-trained vocal chords on Lake Erie. Nice to know in a real pinch, I got the lung power!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rufus, The New Family Member

Why did I adopt a cat?

We had two. OK, they weren't mine. They were Megan's babies. I liked Dink and Envy, they were very sweet kitties.

I wanted our own cat. Marty wanted a black cat and I like black cats myself. This guy was at the Humane Society (named Rueben -- their spelling). Here's his bio!

"Rueban - Adopted! Domestic Short Hair-Black
"More About Rueban
"Rueban is a male kitty around 6 years old. He is such a sweetheart. He loves to be brushed and petted and will sit in your lap as long as you let him. He is a big purr machine and will "make biscuits" when he is really happy. He's a laid-back guy, not really interested in playing but would much rather be getting pets from you. He even will roll over for belly rubs. Rueban has potential with cats but it is not known how he would be with dogs."

At the Humane Society, I asked them to bring in a very friendly, stable Pit girl dog named Windie. Rueben was fine with her. Ignored her which is perfect. I actually felt a little awkward asking them to test him with dogs but they were so agreeable to doing that and they got 6 other cats tested as well at the same time. It was an interesting process.

I had hung out with him a couple of times at the shelter and had Marty come in to see him and other black kitties as well.

I did NOT want a kitten. No thanks! Adorable but they are crazy-batsh*t-huts! I wanted an adult cat. He seemed to fit the bill nicely. I wanted someone who was pretty mellow and friendly.

Plus Rueben needed a home and was unlikely to get one soon. He was not doing well coming back to the shelter (that's another story) and had lost a lot of weight. He's an older (6 years old) BLACK cat. We have at least 8 black cats at the shelter.

By the way, I can't take credit for the two really good pictures of him. They were taken by someone at the Humane Society.

More later....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Guess I'm NOT Always As Glued As I'd Like

On Tuesday, the 23rd of June, Jesse Ann started to get really sick. Horrible diarrhea. poor baby. I thought we were really going to lose her. I couldn't stop crying. Fine dog mom I am. We got her to the ER vet and our vet, and thanks to antibiotics and a bland diet, she's back to beating up Winger.
I geuss I'm jsut not as glued as I need to be when my animals get really ,really sick. And I'm not ready to have her leave us. Not by a long shot. She's not done training Elke yet!
Marty was steady and positive but I think he was probably ready to kill my sniveling butt in the back seat of our car on the way to the ER Vet.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Summer's Eve

It's early evening and I'm walking Elke. I'm struck at how my neighborhood reminds me of the one I grew up in; Lakewood, Ohio. The houses are close to each other but most are not as old as most homes in Lakewood. Some driveways are stone and gravel and there are places where there are no sidewalks. I'm delighted by the timelessness of walking here. It could be the 80s, the 60s. I love it. It's front porch kind of place.

The sound of lawnmowers. The sweet smell of cut grass. Moms calling kids, people taking, the dim sound of a T.V. show through an open window. A couple arguing. Kids playing ball or biking, no helmets, hair tossed by the breeze. Some boys stop their game of pitch to pet Elke. We are greeted by some folks sitting on their porches or decks; by the shirtless guy working on his car. Someone is grilling and my nose twitches. It's just-right warm with a light evening breeze and the sky is filled with sunset-touched mountains of clouds against a deepening sky. The lawns are a velvety, plush, deep green carpet to lay down in. The street lights aren't on yet. It's dusk and the sky is putting on quite a show if you look up. There's nothing organzied, no quotas, no schedule. Not now. Just as it should be on a summer evening.

As the sky darkens, almost at the same time the streetlights come on, the flickering fairy lights of fireflies appear. If there were any doubt that it's summer, their on-and-off glow signals its arrival.

It's quintessential Midwest Americana at its best. If you want to see the simple beauty of life in America, it's here. In our old neighborhood. If I were a soldier, sailor, Marine, it's this sense of home that I'd long for and I'd fight for. I'm filled with gratitude that I live here and even in our insanely fast world, there are moments where people slow down and just "be." It reminds me of the importance to be "in the moment." If only for one summer's eve.

Monday, May 31, 2010

It's Good To Be Great!

On May 25th, my new (and first) GREAT Nephew was born! Bryan William weighed in at 6 pounds, 20 inches long! A peanut! I saw him last night (May 30th) on Skype! You forget how small they are!

Mom had him "au naturale" at home with midwives. Pretty cool stuff! To quote that blasted movie (the name escapes me) about the WW2 Remagev Bridge campaign: "Here's a story to tell your children! And mightly bored they'll be!" I always forget when I see babies so new how tiny they are!

It sounds like Mom and Dad had a real adventure welcoming him into the world! Wow!

I'm looking forward to meeting him in person!

It's official. What my brother and I have always known. We are GREAT!

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's My Birthday! (And I Miss My Mom)

Yep, I'm another year experienced! LOL! Sure is better than saying older.

When I was a kid, my brother bemoaned my birthday, because the weather always sucked. Yes, indeed, it almost always rained on my birthday. Until I was in my 40s or so. In recent years, it's been nice and today is no exception. Sunny and predicated to be in the 80s. The irises are blooming in our garden. It's a good day.

Dink and Envy, M.'s cats, are still residents. Funny they should be the catalyst for my having a total meltdown a few days ago and for the first time in a long time, I missed my Mommy. They (the cats) are residing in our extra small bedroom, which Marty euphemistically and inexplicably refers to as The Boudoir. (I'm not sure why; never have known really.) I came into the room a few days ago and found that one or both of the cats had decided to use a little dresser as a scratching post.

This little dresser is a nothing piece really. It's made of hard cardboard, has 4 drawers with plastic handles and has plastic quilted fabric all around it. It's not a great piece of furniture. It's hardly a Louis XVI or anything like that. BUT, it was my mom's and she used it for her stockings, sewing stuff. Sort of a catch-all little piece that might be tucked away in a closet. The stitching was coming away from the fabric. It's a nothing, really.

I looked at the little dresser, now pretty well destroyed, and I just broke down. Wrapped my arms around myself and cried. It's didn't help that "Til There Was You" from THE MUSIC MAN was playing in my headphones either. What a soundtrack for being shattered, let me tell you. Mom used to sing that song.

I think about Mom a lot, but as a distant melody: "I wonder what she'd think of this or that?" Or, "Mom would like this movie." Etc. But this reaction was visceral, gut-felt sorrow and anger. Sorrow because you just miss your Mommy, the best, most loving part of your Mommy. Anger because yet again, it seems like we're cleaning up another mess that is partially Megan's making (they're HER cats) and I'm tired of cleaning up after her.

The cats are a concern. I never figured they'd be here this long, to be honest because M. has been so dependent on them. In my opinion, she has not given them the best quality of life. She bought them things: toys, catnip etc. like you would a kid and this made HER feel good. What do they really need? Food, some structure, kitty litter, a clean box, interaction. That's all. They don't need 60 millions toys and beds.

Will she come get them? I would think so; they're her critters. But if indeed, she is occupied with other things (whatever that may be), she may have not forgotten precisely about them, but they may not be such a "need" for her any more. She does forgot about "old" things in the heat of moment. Also, her roommates have a dog that isn't trained. (Don't GET me started on THAT!) And her BF doens't like the cats very much.

It brings up an interesting conundrum: how long will they stay here and how much effort, time, and money should we invest in making them a complete part of our home and lives.

Right now, it's a mystery. But if they are here for much longer, they will become ours.

However, I know if we buy them a damn scratching post and trim their nails, she'll probably come get them the next day. LMAO! Yep, that's the way of things.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Did you ever notice how stressful moving is? Even when you're NOT the one moving?

Why should I be having what can only be called an "Anger-Anxiety Series of Moments?" After all, I'm not the one moving. Oh, yes, I'm moving things around. Did that last week. Sort of did a house cleaning thing, getting rid of stuff thing. Luckily for me, the Humane Society of Greater Akron (HSGA) is having their bi-annual Rummage Sale so all that stuff is going to a super cause! And there is a certain lifting of the spirit to get rid of stuff you really don't need. Or to be able to say, "You need to go on to a new home." What's interesting is feeling very weird throwing away anything. Nowadays throwing away stuff is considered to be ecologically BAD!! And I truly do get that. There is way too much crap out there. I do kind of feel that the Eco-Nazis are watching me and I'll be put in a concentration camp for throwing away stuff.

The hardest thing to throw away for me is a book. Must be all that book stuff that is in our very fiber of being, part of our genetic makeup. Josh used to say you could tell a member of our family because they had a phone in one hand and a book in the other. Quite true, actually. And I married a reader as well. (Both times!) We all have a love and respect for the printed word. I can see the appeal of Talking Books and Kindles and what-not but there is nothing, nothing I tell you, like the smell of a new book! Ambrosia! Throw away a book? Sacrilege! It has to be so far from gone for me to do it and even then, I apologize profusely to it. "Sorry, sorry, sorry!" as I toss it in the trash bag, turning my head away.

So Megan is moving out finally. It's time (long past) but she really does need to be on her own and facing whatever demons or boundaries she needs to face. It's not that bad, kid, honestly. It takes a little discipline and denial of instant gratification but that's not always bad stuff. She's moving into a house with some friends, one of whom works a 12 Step Program and THAT could be very beneficial for her in many ways.

What has been driving me absolutely bugger-bat-sh*t crazy is the WAY she's been moving.

First of all, Marty told her in December she had to move by April. It's now May 9th (Mother's Day, to be exact). Until we said we'd rent her a U-Haul, she had barely packed anything. She'd moved 5 carloads of stuff but her car wasn't empty at the time. So it's been this eeking, piecemeal, bitty-bit-here-and-there taking-forever turtles-move-faster moving. Reminds me of when my mother moved. That drove me absolutely wild! I like to get stuff over with, especially something like moving. I've moved well (all packed) and I've moved badly ("What? We're moving? Today?") Luckily for that move, I had "Attila the Hun Movers" in the guide of Alana Daveduk and I got to tell you, that girl can PACK ya and MOVE ya!

Megan and her friends did get a truckload of stuff out yesterday and I did help her boyfriend a bit. I think when you are looking at that much disorganized crap everywhere, furniture being blocked, etc. it can be overwhelming. But I got Daron (what kind of spelling is that? Never mind....) started and he's physically pretty strong and he can be pretty focused.

Then I did something that, for me, was really hard.

I did not help.

Marty and I occasionally would check out how the truck-loading part was doing but for the most part, we did nothing. In its most violent form.

Now there are several reason why I didn't help. The biggest reason was I would have been tired, pissy, frustrated and would have felt unappreciated and angry. Plus it would be a form of enabling because she is perfectly capable of doing the work and getting the pals to help. Oh, it would have gotten done, all right. But we both (Marty and I) would have been sore and miserable afterwards. Seeing someone that you know and care about living like a bag lady in filth and squalor in your house is really quite depressing, irritating and frustrating. There is no other way to put it. Cigarette butts do not belong in your bedclothes. Period.

Quite honestly, a third to half of her stuff should be thrown away. Another third should be donated. I get that people are weird about stuff. Marty and his boat, for instance. That's OK, it's out of the way. It's a dream, a thing for the water, He likes water, it's OK. I get it. We all have our little things. But she holds on to stuff that really needs to go. Or if she's going to hang on to it, it needs to be honored. There is a show on TV called "Hoarding: Buried Alive" and I sure as hell hope I don't see Megan on that show. Ever.

I don't want to live in a minimalistic style home. I think they are cold and unfriendly. Details make places interesting and homey to me. There is nothing inviting about any place that has nothing on the walls, no books, or pillows on the furniture and one-color-everything or stark colors. Like those stainless steel kitchens. Ugh! There is no texture, nothing visually interesting. It's one thing if you have huge windows with a view but even then, you want something to look at inside the house.

But there is too much with Megan. It's like she can't give anything up. I have news; your stuff won't protect you from hurt or the world at large. I get having stuff, it's having filthy stuff that is so frustrating to see. I've cared for her cats and let me tell you, THEY like it when things are clean and tidy.

I am sure, however, that which ever way this goes for her, it'll be a blessing and an education. I hope she can create a life of peace, learning to get go and with way less drama! That girl just has too much darn drama.

And we'll get our attic back!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Linux IS A Pain......

Using Ubuntu Linux when one is blogging here is a real pain because it wants NOTHING to do with hyperlinks or Bold Type. Nothin'. No how. I guess eventually it'll come around and someone will mess with it and get it more user friendly. I wonder if MAC people have the same issues on this site. Sigh.

Technology can be a real pain in the arse at times.

Tra-La! 'Tis Spring! And Biking Is The Thing

It's spring. Finally! The sun is shining and we've been outside. Riding bikes. Which can be scary. Marty is so much better at this Biking thing than I am!

Yesterday, I rode the second-longest distance I've ever gone: 19.5 miles. I did a cancer ride years ago in the Rocky River Metroparks and that was 25 miles.I'd never even come CLOSE to riding that long and being young(er) and stupid(er), I figured, "Well, I've gone this far, what the heck!" I was dying the last 6 miles.

This time, yes, I was pooped but I could have walked a few miles afterwards, albeit s-l-o-w-l-y! So I must be getting my strength up and improved.

What has been interesting about this Biking With Marty thing is he is in the lead most of the time so I really have to TRUST him AND his eyesight AND his abilities. Surprisingly, that's not easy for me.

He is a natural athlete and a natural driver. As his mother says,"If it had wheels, he could drive it!" He took to tricycles, bicycles, motor bicycles, cars, trucks etc. like a duck to water. Apparently he is also good with motor boats. He has great reflexes and of course, his eyesight is very good. For not being able to turn his head, he sure sees a lot!

Logically, I DO understand that he is not going to lead me astray if he can possibly help it. But he wants me to ride close. Within 2-4 feet. If he slams on his brakes (and he has) I'm scared that I'm gong to run up into his ass-end wheel and cause a crash. I really don't want to wipe out for both our sakes but especially HIS! So I am understandably reluctant. I get so tense I have to tell myself to relax!

It is an interesting exercise in trusting your partner! It's also an interesting test in trusting your Higher Power. Kind of like: God Is My Co-Pilot!

I also entered the Cleveland Half-Marathon yesterday. Marty is convinced that this biking will help with my walking distance and stamina. I hope he is right! every time we go out and ask,

"Tell me AGAIN why this is good?" Sharing some activity together is a good thing, for sure. But my body is singing a different tune.

There is a concept of NO Excsues. That there really IS no earthly (or unearthly) reason why I can't do this and be more than "just OK" doing it.

Could there be a Mini-Biathlon in my future? Hmmmmm......

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Olympics....

...are on. I watch EVERYTHING. It is my Every Four Years Thing.

I even watch Curling. I don't get it, but it's like a slooooow train wreck; I can't take my eyes off it when it's on. I don't get the commentary. I don't understand a single word, but that's OK.

I will even watch Hockey. I like to support Womens' Hockey. Even when America is NOT playing. That's how bad the whole Olympics thing is. Marty knows all TVs in the house are MINE when the Olympics are on.

I get testy when the phone rings. "Not now, d****it!" Especially Skating. Mens' Ice Skating is on tonight. You'd better be bleeding when Skating is on.

I will write more when the Games are over.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So, what did you see?

What Do You See?

Look at this picture.

I mean, take a moment, take a breath and really look at it.

What do you see?

Monday, January 11, 2010

A new year begins and "Timely" musings

Christmas at our house was good and very enjoyable. I was and am spoiled.

Now our new year has begun with Marty having back surgery. On January 8th, they inserted rods and screws. What I'd call "Rack and Pinion Steering." He looked like ten kinds of awful that afternoon when I did get to see him in Recovery, but by the next day, even with tubes, shunts and a (eeu!) catheter, he looked tons better.

It's Monday the 11th now and he is sitting up, and walking around, looking a big raggedy but really quite good. The doctors are amazed. He is one tough bugger that's for sure! I am amazed at his strength and it's probably due to sheer cussedness!

I am hoping that he continues along this path, with no set-backs at all. That would make me one happy camper. Hopefully, he'll be going home tomorrow, if not it'll be Wednesday.

I'd like to be home for his sake and for the dogs' sake. People have been really great about offering to help with them. If Winger and Jesse were younger, I probably would have bitten the bullet and kenneled them all. But they are getting older and with them both being on meds, it's tougher. And more expensive. I hate to be a cheap bee-yatch but kennels charge way more per dog for giving meds.

Alas, Miss M has proven yet again that her timing (or lack thereof) sucks. This other-worldliness when it comes to time and being on time, or even a facsimile of sort of being on time is getting irritating. She even laughs about it.

"I have NO concept of time." As though it were a quaint characteristic. A little quirkiness.

"Well, perhaps that is something you need to develop?"


I truly think she thinks it's not that big a deal; that it's not rude or inconvenient. I am not saying you have to be a Time Nazi and beat the Tardy Ones into the next hemisphere. " A little late" is a few minutes. "Chronically late" is a half and hour or so consistently. Ridiculously late is hours and hours. And hours.

I am far from perfect but I know that people's time is precious. So when I can get someone to take me someplace, I try not to waste their time. She dawdles.

I almost think it's some kind of weird rebellion or a very passive-aggressive way of control or power play. It IS a joke among family and friends but it really shouldn't be. I am afraid that it has cost her in the past and may seriously cost her in the future. Somebody should really nail her butt to the wall. If I were her boss and she were that late, I'd fire her.

Maybe it's a youth thing ("I have all the time in the world") and I'm suffering from the "Time is precious" state of mind thing. So it may be a viewpoint differential. But I don't think that's it, really. I'd call it a Character Defect but one that is so easily fixed.

Anyway, I digress into crap I can't do much of anything about. The main concern is Marty. I guess I just feel it should be hers as well. If it were her mother in the hospital she'd be turning her butt inside out to be at the hospital AND take care of the animals. Sleep would be irrelevant.

I was somewhat shattered (but not terribly surprised) to discover at a relatively young age that the world does not revolve around me. I have to take care of myself and nurture myself and love myself, yes. That the cosmos and I are as one Being. Yes. get that. But time as it relates to others does not mean the world revolves around me. I also have learned that my actions (or inaction) can affect other people too. That is not to say that you should live your life solely for others, no. But it is a sense of consideration and thoughtfulness.

Right now, my energies are focused on caring for myself, Marty and the doggies. My brother and both nieces are next in my sphere. And I do need to not get my knickers in a twist over a rude, self-serving, immature, selfish brat who needs a swift kick in the arse. So many more things are crucial. I only have so much energy and like all energy, it needs to be expended wisely.

Sheesh, I should like SUCH a bitch.

I am so grateful for how well Marty is doing. It is amazing. He absolutely blows my mind. Even when I want to smack him around! I am also so grateful for friends who really stepped up to help or even offered to help. Mollie, Mary, Robin, Bini and Rob --- wow!