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Sunday, December 22, 2013


Every year, about this time, people ask where I am in the movie "A Christmas Story."  I'm about 5 minutes in on your DVD player, after the choir sings, the camera pans above the window.  You'll see the top of an Army garrison cap (that's my ex, bless his heart) and then the shot will be from the inside of window.  Look for the WAC uniform, that's a (much younger) me!

Answers to the most common questions:
I got to be an extra because we decided to dress up and go down to Cleveland on a whim.  I ran into one of the local sound guys (Chuck Fleming) that I knew from a show I did (Stompin' At The State) and he took us over to one the ADs and they said, "Sure!"  I think because we were in uniform because they weren't taking any more extras.
They sent us to hair and makeup and they shaved off my ex's moustache, which I found highly amusing! One of the Hair-and-Makeup guys was my mom hairdresser, Raun, from Kirtland, Ohio!
I had two pairs of tights on (thinking ahead, just in case) but it took about 24 hours for my feet to actually get warm and fully circulating after we filmed.
We came around 5pm at dusk and left as dawn was breaking.
We were in that window for 8 hours.
There were about 400 extras in those downtown scenes total. We were in several other scenes. Everywhere you looked, it all looked old. Clothing, cars. It was very surreal and extremely cool.  As if you'd gone back in a time machine.
The Window People, as we called ourselves, amounted to about 30 of us,
It was bitterly cold (18-22 degrees) but no snow (they made it and imported it from the local ski resorts).
They filmed these scenes on January 22-23, 1983.
They fed us a very good box lunch. I was actually stunned they fed us!
The 4 starring kids were all very nice, but they got Trailer Time in the warmth every hour.  The rest of us got a slight  break and coffee, extra kids included, but we had to pretty much stay there.
The other extras were funny as heck, God how we laughed and teased each other.  Standing in the cold, huddled together, is a VERY bonding experience.
We got paid minimum wage, I still have the pay stub and they took out taxes; we had to fill out a W-2.
The movie (which premiered in Nov. 1983) was almost a flop, it didn't do well AT all in theaters.  When we went to see it, (in early Dec.) there were 5 people total in the theater. Of course, we shouting, "Oh my GOD, there we are!"
Total time for all the shots we were in on Cleveland's Public Square: 12 hours.
It's not even close to being one of my favorite holiday films.  I almost never watch it!!
Best line of the night:
AD in megaphone to 400 extras: "Ooooooooh-kaaay folks, that was great.  Go back to your original starting spots and THIS time, DON'T. LOOK. AT. THE. CAMERA!!"
I'd do it again in a NY minute!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Epic Dog Owner Fail

I wondered what the dogs were crunching on. 

I thought it was an ice chip...then I dawned on me, they haven't been outside in 2 hours.

Now I know.

"All Positives" Can Be Intimidating

I really hate those Grumpy Gus/sies giving me the stink eye at an Obedience event. Really? Wow, I expect that in the breed ring but at Obedience, Rally, Agility???
I am frankly rather intimidated by “Force Free” training even though I’ve used it with my herding-breed dog since I got him…..and I’ve known about it for over 15 years…..and for a very odd reason….
Mind you,, I’m not advocating forced training here. I had a dog years ago I did really well in Novice with (using luring mostly, very few mild corrections — ever) but she would not retrieve because it had been forced on her. The Ancient Method. You don’t want to know.
Here is where All-Positive or Force Free gets intimidating and it’s not just me. I’ve talked to other “novices.”
So much of it is based on timing: Correct Timing. You always hear about Timing and Accuracy! Now, I have a vision limitation which creates about a .5 to almost 2 second delay in either (or both) the click (or tongue click or Yesss!) and/or the treat delivery.
In other words, I want the dog to, say, give paw. My dog has offered me a slight paw thing and I’ve missed the proverbial boat by a mile. “Oh, yes, I DID see that!” Click!! Ah, but it’s not for the paw thing. He’s gone beyond that.
Thus, oftentimes, my dogs look at like me like I’m gone crazy. I end up feeling frustrated and feeling seriously sorry for two bright, willing canines whose mom just says, “It ain’t happening, kids. Sorry: bad mom! I’ll settle for you all to be reasonably civilized. I know ignoring the cat is not in the cards. And that Novice/Rally thing? Oh, well…..”
I’ve talked to a few AP trainers about this so they know that’s my particular “fault”. Seriously, picture me at Chicken Camp?? “The chicken did WHAT? When??” It could be amusing…and I think amusing is sorely needed in training.
I think a lot of people are so truly afraid they’re either going to get it “wrong” and establish an unwanted behavior or that they’ll NEVER get that wanted behavior — that it will literally take years. And years. If you’re like me and you grew up in horses, you were probably taught that 90% of unwanted behavior or bad performance is squarely on the rider’s shoulders. So if the dog “screws up,” you mentally flail yourself.
We all see a lot of good obedience runs from folks who either use force or a combination of treats and corrections. So you think, well, that’s the way to go because a lot of them are high scorers/winners etc.
The other thing is, and I know this is weird too — but more men are needed who use Force Free. They need to be in the spotlight. Women seem to “get it” and do it, at least in the spotlight. Think of the really big AP dog trainers: you, Sophia Yin, Karen Pryor, Kikopup on YouTube etc. etc. Ladies all.
Believe me, I always recommend AP or FF as the way to go when people ask me. And my younger dog has only been trained that way. I can certainly see where using force was a big detriment to my older dog and I’ll regret that to my dying day.
I just think being intimidated by the whole thing, thinking it is going to take FOREVER to compete for a certain title or working with people who have certain limitations needs to be addressed..
Just saying —- 

The Christmas Stocking

Once upon a time, long, long ago....there was a little girl who loved Christmas.  She loved the lights, the music, the tree, the stockings "hung by the chimney with care."

 Her mother loved Christmas too.  She decorated every room. The little girl, her brother and sister had little tinsel trees in their rooms.  Her mother made each child a stocking.

When the little girl was about five or so, her mother decided she needed a bigger stocking to put Barbie clothes in (so she said!)  It had an elf on it, among other decorations and the little girl's name.

As time went on, every year, the mother would hang the stockings by the chimney with care. No matter where she lived, she always hung her three children's stockings.  Hanging stockings was a big tradition in the little girl's family as was leaving cookies and brandy by the fireplace.  Yes, I know, it's more traditional to leave milk and cookies.

But her dad had said, "Santa is going to need some brandy?  It's damn cold out there all night long, delivering presents!"

When the older daughter got married, her mother gave her stockings to hang.  When her son got married, she gave him stockings.

The years came and went and as life went on, traditions faded. People left, sometimes forever.  No more caroling or singing by the piano or games to play.  But, the stockings and their tradition valiantly hung in there.

When the little girl's mom went on to her next Big Adventure in heaven, the children found their stockings among their mother's things. The son's was red with his name in glitter, the older daughter's was green with her name in glitter and the youngest one's still had her name in felt and the elf on it.  She couldn't take it with her so one her siblings said they'd keep it safe.

Years passed but somehow in the mist of time, moving here and there, the little girl's stocking got lost.  No one knew where it was any more.   Maybe it faded away or deteriorated.  It just disappeared.

The little girl, now a woman grown in her 40s, did mourn the stocking and its tradition.  She mentioned it to her new boyfriend, her friend, Debbie and her family. In vain, her family searched again through their things for the missing stocking.  

The woman grown sighed, "I guess it's a part of growing up.  It's just a thing.  Things aren't that important. Stockings really ARE for kids. I just kind of miss my stocking. It's silly, I know.  I guess I need to get over it. "

Ah but for those who believe, the magical Christmas spirit of giving and tradition was in force! Her niece decided to buy her aunt a beautiful stocking for Christmas. The woman was so grateful that her niece bought her that stocking for Christmas. She treasures it still!

Her friend, Debbie, a clever, creative seamstress plied her needle and thread to make the woman-now-grown a hand-made stocking. She plotted with the woman's new boyfriend to get that stocking to his house in time for Christmas.

He drove, like Santa himself, for over forty miles, through a blinding snowstorm, slipping and sliding in his less-than-trusty Mustang to get the stocking.

You know, she ended up marrying that fellow. so true-blue. She has never forgotten seeing the home-made stocking hanging from his mantle that Christmas Eve and weeping tears of joy and gratitude.

She never has forgotten the kindness of a friend and how her knight-in-shining-armor in a beat-up old Mustang brought a uniquely hand-made stocking back into her life.

No one is too old to be touched by the charity, love and magic of the season.  The woman grown still believes.

©2013 Mia Hess

I Can't Make This Stuff Up #327: Christmas 2013:

I could NOT find our stockings.  I looked everywhere. I knew that, being precious, I had put them someplace "safe."  Yes, safe and un-find-able.  Oh, dear!!  So distressing, upsetting and sad!

Today, I made it my mission to find those damn stockings. I knew they weren't in the crawl space because I HATE the crawl space. I knew they hadn't flown out of the house. I went through every box in the attic.  Made a half-pot of coffee.  Onto to check the guest room closet (which I had checked at least four times in the last week alone.)

High on a shelf was a box.  It was labeled "stockings."  I opened it and, lo and behold, there they were!  Phew!!!  Sigh and thank you!!!

I took the box downstairs to prepare to hang the stockings.  Oh, one had some things inside of them.  A Santa ornament.  A cat ornament. And....

------------------ ???????????????

What the heck are those???
Look very carefully.  They still had a bit a fragrance left.

Yes, those are oranges.  Petrified oranges. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's Frustrating.....

How is it possible that I have walked 180 miles, cycled 647 miles (outside, road and trail), hill-hiked 25 miles, been to probably 50 yoga classes from March 1st to date and have not lost ONE stinking pound or one pant size? My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, bone density, blood work etc. is fabulous. My doctor is stupefied at how good all that stuff is for my age or even for someone 20 years younger than I am. Yet, I'm still considered overweight and need to lose 20-25 pounds to continue in this way.
I don't care what any MALE has to say on this subject. Any guy that says, making that same effort I did and he can't lose one stinking pound in 9 months is a liar.
Over 50, female and post-menopausal SUCKS!
Hate to complain because (on the Gratitude Scale I'm pretty lucky) at least I am ABLE to walk, hike, bike and (attempt to) do yoga but frankly this sucks.
Hating myself right now.

OK, swear this is my last complaint because I seriously have so much to be grateful for.....
If I thought getting hypnotized would work for not being hungry late at night, I'd jump on that like white on rice. I eat late at night and I seriously don't know how to stop it. I start at dinner (always late because that's when we eat) and never stop. It's like a nervous twitch.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I Really CAN Cook

Cows: Thanksgiving 2013
I was taught by my family that if one is going to a buffet or bring-a-long you bring something. Food, wine, dessert, flowers, perhaps a hostess gift.

Something. Anything.

Showing up empty-handed at a buffet (nay, even a dinner party or get-together) is rather gauche and slightly rude. It does make me cringe inwardly. In my book, old-fashioned as it may be, it's The Thing One Does.  You bring something or you call up and say to the Host/ess, "Can I bring anything?"  You are a guest. This isn't a restaurant!  Traditionally, if it's a buffet you bring (amazingly enough) food.

I keep offering to make stuff for the Spousal Unit's family Thanksgiving dinner. My mother in law will say cheerfully, "No, that's don't need to do that."  This makes my Guest Brain Module shudder with white-gloved or farm-folk horror.  For some reason my brain-and-train feels this a true faux-pas and casts aspersions on my entire family tree.  (And yes, my family tree has plenty of farmers in it too!)

Understand, this is no small event. This casual Thanksgiving dinner gathers at LEAST 21 people.  Sometimes as many as 50 people show up. They have been holding it in basically the same location for close to 90 years.  Which is amazing, in and of itself.  The sense of continuity and history is lovely.

Now I have to admit to having a fairly well-developed palate. Perhaps not at the Sweetbreads, Chocolate-Covered-Insects or Mussels level but I like trying new things.  At least once.  (And yes, I've had all those things. Once.)  I also have to admit to be a pretty good cook.

The first year I decided to add to the buffet, I made a side dish. I made stuffing the way my sister does with a bit of apple, raisins and a hint of sage. They all looked at like it was brain matter.  No one but the S.U. ate it. This is a wonderful recipe and once a year my sister makes it for me.  (She usually doesn't add the raisins; that's my personal peculiarity.)

The next year, figuring that was far too adventurous, I made home-made, from-scratch baked mac and cheese with 4 cheeses. No one ate it.  It's MACARONI AND CHEESE, people. I even put a label on it so everyone would know what the heck it was.  I overheard whispered questions as the serving spoon tentatively hovered over the warm dish, "Who brought that?"

The Spousal Unit quietly, proudly replied, "Mia did."

Spoon withdrawn. Uneaten except by us.

WTH? Really?  Yes, OK, I'm from Ohio.  My state doesn't border yours. YOU think we can't COOK in Ohio?  Does being from Ohio mean I might poison you with buckeye additives?


One year, in desperation for a good dessert, I made an apple pie, from scratch (Except the pie crust. I can't do that).  It's a damn apple pie for heaven's sake. They ate the pecan pie, they ate a gross, store-bought cream pie, they ate the shoo-fly pie, the sugar pie, the pumpkin pie, the fairly dry, unfrosted chocolate cake in a pan but only one person (besides the faithful Spousal Unit) ate a piece of apple pie.

This year there were no fruit pies.  I wanted to bring one, even a store-bought one.  I was vetoed.  "Oh, there'll be a fruit pies there."  Well, there wasn't.

So damn near every year I trot my carcass out to a place in the Midwest where a few of the relatives actually like me, most tolerate me and some look at me like I'm from Planet Ogzed, murmuring under their breath, "She's one of The Actress People."

Don't get me wrong; these are basically very nice people, smart, hard-working, many are well-traveled, most are well-educated.  I do posses (through time and training) the ability to converse with a wide variety of people on a wide variety of subjects.  I just feel like an exotic, tropical bird on the other side of the moon. Which, of course,  I am far from being.  This isn't my turf, and I get that.  This is for the S.U. and I'm more than OK with him seeing his mom a few times a year. I have a lot of respect for her.  It's important and time does march on.

The Elephant Rock 2013.
We think this is the smallest group in memory to go out there.
Only six of us
. Two didn't get on the rock as it's hard to get up there.

As an extra bonus I get to eat anywhere from decent to average to seriously crappy food.   Coming from a family where the Thanksgiving/Holiday food has always been decent to outstanding is a serious culinary let-down. 

Truth be told: this year, for the first time the turkey (brined and smoked) was very good.  Surprisingly, my m-i-l's ridiculously yummy deviled eggs were not all gobbled up.  Goody.  More for me later!

There is almost always good with "meh." I do like when they get out board games, card games or dominoes because, alas, my family never plays games any more. Which is quite sad and I'm sorry we've fallen away from that tradition.

I do enjoy and look forward to walking down the country road alone seeing things, enjoying the quiet solitude, photographing stuff. I like hiking out to The Elephant Rock with some of the relatives.  It is a time-honored tradition that dates back decades and decades!

But boy, it is rather fascinating that all those people who either ignore me or say three semi-awkward sentences to me all line up wanting copies or links of the pictures I took of kids.  Or cows!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Artie's First PetSmart Visit

Art, Nov. 12, 2013
Artie says: Auntie Martha took Mom and me to the dog park on Bath Rd. There was another cattledog/BC cross there, a female, named Cookie.  She doesn't like people, her dad said, but boy, she wanted me to play with her!  She barked at me and play-bowed at me and chased me and THEN (when she was pooped) I chased HER!!  Mwah!

There were some other doggies there too, we were all about the same size!  I had fun!

The black doggie's owner was really freaked out because she thought I was hurting her dog, but the black dog jumped on me hard and grabbed my tail!  Ouch!  She was very bossy!  She also had a toy which Mom told me I could NOT have.  I didn't grumble, I just put my mouth on her neck by her face then she stopped being stupid and we were friends.  I think she might have been more like the puppies we had.

Mom is pretty smart and she listens because she can't always see stuff. She whistled for me the minute she heard the other dog's barking and noises become different and I ran to her.  Mom told me I didn't need to fix it. But the black doggie's mom must not know doggie language as good as the other dog parents did!  So she took the black doggie away.

Mom kept walking around the park's edge so I would go and check on her and bump her leg with my nose. That's how I tell Mom something or let her know that I'm there. It was too cold for the humans to stand still but some of them were.

Then Auntie took me and Mom to this store with lots of smells!  OMG!  Mom said it was called PetSmart.  I've never been there before!  I got cookies from the people that worked there.  I took them very nicely!! There were other dogs there but Mom kept telling me how good I was (with her Happy Voice) even though she didn't have ANY treats with her!!!  I didn't even get silly with that one dog that screamed-barked when it saw me!  Wow, what a noise!!!

Then I got some french fries and when we got home home, Mom gave me and Elke a half a hamburger.  Why ELKE got part of the hamburger for staying home is beyond me.

No pictures (Mom forgot her phone) and no food...except the hamburger!
Mom said I was reallllly good!

(Mom adds: I have this dog for almost 2 years and just now I'm taking him to PetSmart??  He WAS realllly good. I'm glad I've been learning about dog body language.  All of the other owners seemed really nice and savvy, which is very pleasant. There was the black mix, the cattledog cross and 3 tan mixes.  I'm thinking that bumping thing Artie does might come in handy and that I could reward that behavior.  I'm just not sure how that would come in handy.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Since When Is "Hot" An Insult?

I have a wonderful Spousal Unit who compliments me so well.  I am so lucky.  He will tell me I'm pretty etc and "hot."  I think he is crazy but so am I!

Now, I saw a comment on a friend's FB page by a MAN who said, "What kind of jerk calls a woman that (hot)?"  Really?

Let me tell some point in a woman's life when she ain't 20 or 30 or even (dare I say it) 40, she'd probably kill if some younger guy said she was hot. I have to say, I'm almost hitting a big-0 age and the thought of some younger, good looking guy saying that to me makes's very nice.  I also think he's probably delusional.

At this point in my life, "Hot" means I did my makeup (spackle??) right, the lighting was extremely good, he needed glasses (and a goodly distance) and my Spanx channeled a 50's era girdle with a a Scotty voice, "I'm giving her all I got, Cap'n!"

Just sayin'.

As long as it's sincere, "Hot" is a very nice compliment!

Friday, November 1, 2013

"Can We Count On Your Vote?"

It's that time of year when you get calls from the political folks running locally. 
Guy Calling For New Mayoral Candidate, Don What's-His-Hoogie: (After the intro, during which I didn't hang up. Go figure.) 
Guy: What do you think needs improvement that So-and-So can address.
Mia (not missing a beat): More. Bike. Lanes. 
Guy: That's great to know. Anything else?
Mia: The dog park needs a lot of work. It's a mud pit. I'm very grateful they have one but it's like "Let's pick the crappiest place to put it."
Guy: Thank you so much, that's something to work on.
Mia: Oh, yeah.....And please finish that stupid-a**ed thing on State Rd. (Which is usually Number One on everyone's hit parade of Things To Bitch About Locally.)
You see where MY Priorities are!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Coincidence In Marietta

I think this picture tells a story. 

But the true story is so incredible I couldn't make this up if I tried.... 

This past weekend I did a murder mystery in Marietta, Ohio. Upon arriving in this river town Friday, I walked along the shore. I viewed an amazing "god-sky" sunset, thinking about an old friend who had passed on early that morning. Her name was Susan Carr Berilla. I thought how lovely and fitting that the rays piercing through the clouds made the water iridescent, transcendent.  I felt close to Susan's spirit.  I could almost hear her laughter on the breeze. I know she was a person of deep faith but with her brilliant sense of whimsy she would appreciate the somewhat ironic beauty of this peaceful scene.  

I shed a few tears for an old, remembered friend. 

I heard soft guitar notes on the breeze and followed them. I chanced upon this young man, a budding songwriter home from Washington State. 

He played one of his songs for me.  I told him I was a professional singer, gave him words of encouragement.  I asked him, when he was famous to remember a singer named Mia Hess.
I asked him his name. 

His name was Dalton.

Dalton Carr.

No relation. 

No accident. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Perry Como: Another Listen

I've never been a fan of Perry Como.  He seems so....bland compared to say, Sinatra, Dino, Tony Bennett, Nat, etc..  Plus the songs he recorded that I've been asked to learn, well, I've HATED his versions or I've truly hated the song!

I must say though that Mr. Como has risen in my estimation. As I've been researching the "MM Collection" of sheet music, often the ONLY recorded versions I can find have been recorded guessed it: Perry Como.  So I've been "forced" to listen to him yet again.  His discography was impressive; his recordings vast. And he had a pleasant voice and sometimes he really hits the mark!

Now my new annoyance is a group called The Three Suns.  Gack.  Harmonica AND accordion AND bland vocals all combined.  If I listen to them too many times, the whole combo starts to bug me!  There are not a lot of their recordings that have been released onto CD.  But, yet again some of these really obscure songs I'm trying to find were covered by them, and seemingly only them....

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The MM Collection: Some of the Orphan Songs

Still going through sheet music....Interesting, frustrating, fascinating, wondrous.

  The oldest one so far is 1909 or maybe 1904.  The newest one, I think, is Those Were The Days by Mary Hopkin.  

I can't understand why these songs never made it into the popular song lexicon of the 40s and 50s.  I can't understand why I can't find recordings of these big hits!

*Yippee, Ki-ay, Buy A Bond Today (Really? it's a song about war bonds...can't find a recording of it!)

*I See Through You, 1945 (Darn those x-ray glasses)

*Oh My Lord (Well, at least not this 1944 version by Allen Ward)

*There's A Smile In Your Eyes (Well, for once he's not looking south....)

*Too Little, Too Late (no, it's about 30+ years before the one I know just floated in your brain..)

*Talking In My Sleep 1945 (Again???  Man, what did I say NOW?)

*Blue Clouds

*Hecky Darn!  (Aw, come on, really?  No recordings of this one?  Maybe if they changed the title to "Hell Damn" somebody might record it! It is billed as a "Novelty for 2 Men and A Girl."  There are so many ways that could go so wrong....)

*I Can See It Your Way 1945 (finally!)


*I Wish We Didn't Have To Say Good-Night from a movie with Carmen Miranda called Something For The Boys.

*Wings To Wear Upon My Heart

*A New Ten-Gallon Hat (nobody wanted it?)

*Hoboken Hannah (Can't find her or any recording it....)

*Lonely Nights (And, no, no, no it's NOT the "Where would I be without my woman?" one.)

*Two Shadows In The Sunset.  It looks sweet....

*You're Gonna Hate Yourself In The Mornin'  (Many-a-time many folks has thought this...or received this friendly warning.)

*Somewhere There's a Rainbow (Obviously, not in the musical recording area....)

But today real startler was what was sure to be a sure-fire hits for someone in that era.  If Dean Martin can sing Hominy Grits (true) and another big singer of the time can warble out a tune called Salt Pork West Virginia, Why hasn't this one made the Big time?  How has this one missed in a era of Come-on-a My House and The Teddy Bears Picnic?


Say What???  Whositfuckin'him?

No, "Whatever happened to Mucklefutzenheim?"  That's the name of the song. Swear to God. Words and music by Jean Herbert...

And the research continues.  So far, I've found 512 songs corresponding to the sheet music.  Some of the songs are lovely.  I am gaining a grudging respect for Perry Como's library of songs he performed and the Three Suns annoy me at times.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Teen-agers on stunt bikes outside the library, noting my rear view mirror.
"I should have one of those."
Me: It's a great idea.
Teen: Yeah, that way I could see the cops. (Proudly) I got pulled over for speeding. I was going 35 and so was the cop.
Me: That's pretty fast, especially when the speed limit is 25.
Teen: How fast can YOU go? (Nyah-nyah tone of voice).
Me: I guess my average is about 10-13 MPH
Teen (giving me "The Pathetic Old Person" look.) THAT'S not very fast.
Me: No, not in comparison to 35, it's not.
Teens give me The Smirk.
Me: Of course, I just did that average on a 25 mile ride Tuesday....
Teens: (gulping in disbelief) Uh, really?
Me: Yep, and my husband's average is about 16 MPH on a 50-100 mile ride.
Me: Kid, if you can do 35 on big hills for 100 hundred miles, you should be in the Tour De France.
Teens are deadly quiet.
Gotcha, you little bastards!

Runners Vs. Cyclists: An Observation

Picture this.

Runners (doesn't matter what sex but men are usually the worst) wearing really expensive gear (Yeah, I see those $250 shoes and that $150 Under-Armour top and those $150 Nike running tights, bub!):

You can't be bothered to help the lost cyclist AT ALL.


Cyclists wearing really expensive gear (like the $500 Tour De France type, high-vent helmet I've coveted) and riding really expensive bikes (that Trek is one of the high end models, easily over a grand.  Make that two grand.):

You stopped to ask if I needed help.  Not just one of you. Four well-dressed, well-equipped cyclists stopped to inquire if I needed help. The best equipped guy, who's probably getting ready for some Pro-Am thing was so damn nice, I was almost in tears.

I could have been dying in a ditch and the runners would have jumped over me,  yelling at me because my blood is making the road slippery.


Runners are (for the most part) stuck up.  Sorry, but all those rabbits out there, running their brains out getting ready for whatever race they're in (Akron, Columbus, The Towpath) are a bunch of snobs. I've been in races with ya'all and you're a bunch of self-centered buffaloes.

Maybe it's because a bike can break down?  Maybe it's because some cyclists ride in groups or on teams?  Maybe because a Tour De France winner from 1954 can still get on a bike and tootle around at 80 years old?

 I don't know. I like being in foot events (medals, t-shirts, goodie bags, "health" expos, shopping, Oh, MY!) but for the most part, the other participants (unless there's a walking division) are NOT nice people.

Just sayin'!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Navy Yard "Shootings"

I realize this sounds a little harsh and unfeeling BUT.....

A public service announcement to would-be shooters who feel this pressing need to go somewhere public and take down a bunch of people or kids on your way out: 

Preferably just DON'T DO IT.  It's going to just kill your mother. You hate your mom so much that you really want to do that to her?  You are a selfish turd!

But if you are just insisting that your life sucks or you're filled with so much hate, bitterness and resentment you just got to pull that trigger, do us all a favor and just use one bullet.  Preferably on your foot. 

But if you insist you've got to die, then that's your own thing and frankly does not need to be "shared" with a whole bunch of kids and adults.  I'm here to tell you --- you will go to the Great Beyond with a bunch of really pissed off individuals. Their pets that are already at the Bridge are going to give you no end of eternal grief. 

Another thing that's biting my biscuit: is it just me or is anyone else tired of the word "shootings?"  The school "shootings" etc.  

Let's just call it what it is, folks.  How about the Navy Yard Murders.  That's what is was.  Or Murders AND Shootings?  Much more accurate.

It's not like some half-drunk idiot was screwing around with his shootin' iron and capped his friend by mistake, is it now?  

Some guy (or guys) made a conscious DECISION to go in there and open up.  He KNEW he was going to kill at least one person; he was a Reservist, he had to pass firearms ' training I'm sure.  

That is pre-meditated murder, in my book. Instead of "the assailant," screw that P.C. crud. let's call him/her/whatever what they are: A Murderer. 

And why is the media giving this jerk one more second of air-time speculating on why he killed and wounded all those people? Who gives a flying fart? He was a murdering jerk. That's all, game over.  

I feel terrible for his family, especially his mother. 

Let's give air-time to the victims, their families and pray for their healing.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Disney: Mouse Ears

The S.U. and I at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Sept. 7, 2013
Yes, I know.

I got Mouse Ears.

How (fill in the blank)....

a) gauche
b) tacky
c) stupid
d) silly
e) fun
f) cool cuz they're Star Wars
g) why the hell NOT?
Marty, (his cousins) Bella, Sue Ann, Thomas, Me
Sept. 7.2013 Disney Hollywood 

Am I An Idiot?

I think I need to bitch and get head-slapped as well?

For starters, joyously: My S.U. and I had a wonderful vacation at WDW! We had a blast!

Because I've been stressed out before when my step-daughter, M, has stayed with my animals, I was in a real panic about who would care for my animals.  I asked around and prices for people just coming in once a day were really high.  I'm sorry, but $30 for a 30 minute let-out?

I was super-anxious and extraordinarily stressed about this whole thing.  Finally, I got through prayer (thank you, MH) and a "I Think I Know Someone" miracle, a nice gal (MK) about 10 years younger than us who has a son (P.) with Asperger's.  No worries!  Thank you, God and Angels!

They live in the neighborhood and so could come and go to care for the dogs and the best news was MY CAT, Rufus the Magnificent, Lord (Doofus) of the Universe LIKED them!  (No small feat as he really does not like M...which is strange as most cats love her.)  Best of all: so reasonable!

Now, I must preface this with the last time M stayed with us, about a month ago, I came home to 12 loads of stinky (cat piss and moldy) laundry, my house smelled like cheap cigarettes (and for you smokers, you KNOW the difference), the beds were unmade, sheets not cleaned, dirty dishes in the sink and my den (where the dogs are) was a total mess. Mind you, she has just turned 29 so she's not some teenager.  All this chaos was accomplished in 48 hours, which takes some doing. Add on to that she has very nervous (almost frantic), unrestful, unfocused yet lazy energy; is a monologue-chatter-box and is always in a hurry.  She has two modes: Dead-Asleep and The I'm Late, I'm Late! Tornado.

Rufus was so freaked out by that stinky laundry he never went in the basement where his litter box and food was.  We came home that evening from an idyllic weekend by the lake.  He came out from hiding, mewing and crying, and promptly shat on our stairs.

So after this debacle in July, I vowed that Never Again could she stay in my house overnight.

Famous last words, right?

I make ALL the arrangements for MK and P. to take care of the critters.  I'm feeling pretty good about all of this. Then M does the beg/plead thing.  "I'll do it!  I can take care of the animals!!  A. (her boyfriend) and I need to get out of our house; it's so stressful there, we hate our roommates.  Can't we please spend some nights there; we just need to get out of our house.  Plus I have a lot of laundry I need to do...."

Well, call me a softie.  I certainly have been in a similar situation in my lifetime.

Better yet: call me an idiot.  I suppose a real wo/man would have said, "No."

I said yes, she could spend a few nights (not all six) here BUT her laundry could never come in the house.  It had to stay in the garage and be brought in one load at a time.  And no smoking of course.  I did tell MK that if she came and there was more than one load of laundry in the basement, would she please bag it and put it on the front porch? I even told her where the disposable gloves are. I firmly told M. I wanted my house to stay clean.  I didn't want her dad coming home to a dirty house and being stressed out after a vacation!  It's stressful enough that his blood sugar was just diagnosed as too high....he is NOT thrilled.

In retrospect, I should have nixed the whole M&A being able to crash here the night before we left. A while back I had lent M. my old netbook to look for jobs.  I did need it back for the trip as a photo back-up.  Late and last minute as usual, she tripped up the porch stairs, overloaded as is her wont.  (Two trips from the car?  Unthinkable.) The netbook took flight and since netbooks don't have wings, it crashed landed, breaking the screen.  Poor little Elf.

I digress.

Now I am hardly a Home and Garden or Architectural Digest house-keeper.  I leave that to my siblings!  :-)  But I'd like things to stay basically the way I left them.  When I stay at someone's house I do try to leave things tidy and nice.  If I pet-sit, I do their laundry, vacuum etc.  I did ask MK to keep an eye on stuff for me and asked my other friend, ML, as well.   (All these Ms!)  I also told M that MK and P. would be spending a few nights here and that THEY got priority over where to sleep.

Nothing like having some Moms On The Job, so to speak because I got the 411 on how things were really being left.  Ashtrays in my den and the house was starting to stink.  And this is from Moms With Teenage Boys.

Instead of calling M and going through the whole ya-da-ya on the phone, I resorted to Text Messaging.  (I know.  Call me a Coward.)

Sunday: A friend of mine stopped by the check on dogs. Saw ashtrays in den. There is no smoking in our house.  Your last night there is tonight.  MK will need Monday & Tuesday to tidy up the house. 

Now (of course) I get this somewhat frantic phone call at WDW from a justifying M.  "I just brought the ashtrays in from the back yard.  I know not to smoke in the house."

I ask you: why would anyone DO that?  I'm still trying to wrap my head around this.  There is a trash can right there.  I smoked two packs a day. I know the drill.  Empty the damn ashtrays, let them sit outside upside down in case it rains.  There is no earthly reason to bring your full-of-butts ashtrays indoors.  Unless you figure the house windows are open....hmmmm? no harm, no foul?

I guess I should have been more specific.  No ashtrays in the house.  No nothing that has anything to DO with smoking in the house.

We did come home to a lovely peaceful house, thanks to MK.

Of course I did get the whole skinny on the incredible mess that M. left everywhere (but did take with her) and oh, there was the fast food they ate and threw the wrappers in the trash in the den. Which the dogs got into (of course) and made a huge mess of, thank you very much.  (Not.)  And oh, boy was she pissed when she got your text and thank you very much for not specifying exactly which one of us Moms squealed on her.  And when she and A. were here, Rufus hid.  We could only get him to come out when they were gone. Etc.

Here's the kicker, and very weird too.  We came home Tuesday evening and the water heater had broken.  Not surprising (it's 12 years old) just very inconvenient!  We buy a water heater and an installation at Lowe's for the next day (Wed.)  All goes well; the plumbing guy is finishing up.

The phone rings.

Thinking it's Marty, I don't check caller-ID and answer it. It's M. While I'm on the phone with her, the spigot going into the cold water hose to the new tank springs a huge, spraying leak which causes another huge leak in another pipe.  What was a one hour job turned into four hours.

I think I need a serious protection spell and lots of prayers.

Having MK here, knowing she and P. were caring for the dogs and Rufus made our vacation stress-free.  We could enjoy ourselves, knowing that all was well. She was truly a gift from (the) god(s)!

I guess what I'm afraid of is this: if I put my big girl pants on and say No Way to M. ever spending the night here again (pet-sitting or not)...will Karma get me for being "mean?"

And MK, you're hired!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Too Many Cattledogs In Shelters?

I have gotten my cattledogs from responsible breeders, a breed rescue and a shelter.  I have also (briefly) fostered one.

A good point was made that yes, an abundance of ACDs in shelter are geographical.  For instance, in S. Ohio, you'll see many more than say in NE Ohio.

Also, it must be taken into consideration: different shelters have different criteria.
Some take owner surrenders.
Some automatically kill a certain type, look, age of dog.
Some are so antiquated that they kill black animals automatically, because statistics have shown that all black cats and dogs are the last to get adopted.
Some take the stray off the street.
Some only take abused, abandoned and neglected animals.

My Artie is from such a shelter and he is the only obviously purebred ACD under a year (he was 3-4) months they have gotten in ANYONE'S memory (going back 13-14 YEARS!).  He was literally, a rarity and because I was a volunteer there AND had ACD experience they wanted me to have him.  (Lucky me).

Secondly: a lot of dogs that are being labeled ACDs  just aren't.  They are mixes of ACD and something else. Granted there ARE a lot of fine looking purebred ACDs out there, but I'm sorry, if it's mostly body spots, narrow headed, thin-tailed, weedy-legged, pale-eyed it's not my idea of a cattledog; wonderful doggy though it may be.

Third: A responsible breeder will ALWAYS, ALWAYS TAKE THE DOG BACK.  If they aren't dead, they'll take it back. They may, after watching it, caring for it, analyzing and consulting other trusted folks (vets, behaviorists, etc.) about it's behavior etc. rehab it, wisely, carefully rehome it or humanely euthanize it.

Responsible breeders keep track of all their dogs and all the ones I know have spay-neuter contracts.

A responsible breeder microchips their dogs and most hold co-ownership with any intact dogs they sell, say for show.  Twenty years ago, my first cattledogs were tattooed.

When I owned a dog bred by the late, great Deb Clark, if WE (she and us) had decided to ever breed him (which we never did) she had the final say over who he would be bred to, as she knew bloodlines better than I did.  When his hips came back OFA fair, we decided to not pass that on and neutered him.  He was a champion of record and that was enough.

Very rarely does some responsible breeder's baby end up in a high kill shelter.  And boy, if it does, there's going to be hell to pay!

A good breeder doesn't just breed 2 litters a year to the same bitch.

A good breeder has AT LEAST TWICE as many approved homes for even the largest litter they'll produce.

A good breeder doesn't over-breed their bitch either.

A good breeder almost always DOES breed rescue; they help breed rescue in some manner, way, shape or form.

For many of you reading this, The Hershey puppy mill bust where so many ACDs were found is a faint memory.  Note this: ACD people from all over the area converged to help those dogs. Two years ago, over 200 Rottweilers were found in Texas in horrific conditions.  ARC (the national breed club) and devotees of Rotts from all over the country and even Canada banded together to save those dogs. These were BREEDERS and show people for the most part, folks.

If we put a moratorium on breeding:
A) we lose the breed
B) you will never, ever stop BYB*.  Ever.

Can we stop puppy mills?  Absolutely. And yes, it's horrible that even one dear ACD ends up in a shelter.  Yes, the numbers are appalling.  6,000 estimated is too much.

But look at all the Chihuahuas inundating shelters in California, tens of thousands of them are killed every year.

And pits or pit types???  Those poor dogs?  Talk about crappy breeding!  So many of them have bad legs, bad backs, horrible teeth, skin conditions, mental screws loose.  That's what BYB and money grabbers have done, just in the last 15-20 years, to American's Dog, The Nanny Dog, the dog breed that gave us Sgt. Stubby, the most decorated dog in US military history, still. If you talk to responsible breeders of APBTs and AmStaffs, those people have such a tight grasp on where their pups go it puts most ACDs breeders to shame (and that takes some doing.) Plus they must fight the daily onslaught of idiot bully owners and Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), an evil which even touches our beloved herding breeds.

Do not blame the responsible **COE breeder. Talk to them instead.

Rescues, Kennel clubs, National, Area and State breed clubs MUST learn to work together to help dogs and help owners who are overwhelmed, need help with training, in financial difficulties, have severe health issues etc.  We all need to remember that this is not necessarily a "dog problem", this is mainly a "people problem."  If we all band together, instead of flailing each other (and rescue groups are NOTORIOUS for infighting and flailing) miracles can and do happen.

*BYB: Back Yard Breeders
** COE: code of ethics

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Now THAT's Singing

Great job, Mr. Seger! I've never been a huge Seger fan but the man could sing.  As is apparent here.  (Bob Seger sings "Hollywood Nights" a Capella). Remember, I'm not much of a rocker.  I'm more of Pop and Standards girl.

I was just complaining about this yesterday to a 20-something as my ears were being slammed with sound...

Young people, including this, will say "Isn't s/he great?"

I say: "How in the ____ would I know? First of all s/he is rapping, that's not singing. I don't care if there's "music" in the background. Let me hear him/her live a capella. Without all the processing and auto-tune crap. Let me hear him sing some Smokey or Vandross or Eckstein. Then come and ask me!"

This is what any competent to great singer can do, sing with no accompaniment, start and end on the same pitch and keep a beat.  I can do it, thank God.

HERE is the song with all the bells and whistles. (Original album version). And Seger was still singing it as of 2011 albeit in a slightly lower key. Still cranking it out.

Good for you, Bob! He's was 68 in May 2013.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Feeling Stupid & Sh***y. Literally.

From the "Stupid, Nobody Really Gives a Snot-Blowing Royal Rip But n A Weird Way You Feel Better Posting It On Your Wall" Inane FB Post Category:

Don't you hate it when you have a big event approaching or a lot to do you and you don't feel well. And then you feel like an idiot because you've completely stressed yourself out and now you feel crappy AND stupid???  Arrgggh!

Actually what's stressing me out the most is that it is highly likely that it's going to be hot AND humid where we're going (WDW) and I'm so scared that I'll be too hot to do any of the myriad cool, fun things there are to do!  I'm freaking out because about 25 years I got heat stroke at an air show and it was simply awful.

And then to add to my stupidity I keep reading stuff on "How to stay cool" on the internet and how hot and miserable it can be at WDW....stupid, stupid, stupid......
Trolling the internet like some hypochondriac.

Who wants to spend a zillion dollars on a vacation and be stuck in your hotel or in the shade by the pool?  Heck, I can do that here.

How stupid can I be???  Pretty damn stupid apparently.

Hating myself right about now because it's all my own damn fault. Where the mind is, so goes your guts. I wish I'd quit pooping myself. It's getting old as hell.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rude People? Gotcha.

Someone posted on HuffPost about a woman in fast food restaurant berating the counter help because they had put ketchup on her burger.  I read this and remembered this incident.

Ask me about the Home Store (sort of like a Bed Bath and Beyond) incident when I had turned 40...very pivotal experience.....when I turned from young woman to mature woman. 

For starters. It was in a very nice area (Bay Village, Ohio), very upscale.  I nailed a Beemer Driving B*tch for downright rudeness. She is hereafter referred to as BB

Here's the story and yes, it's true and yes, I did say all that because my brain was working!

I had gone into this store which was near where I worked at the time. They were having a huge "going out of business" sale. I had my few things in a basket and got in line. The Beemer B*tch was absolutely berating this poor store clerk, called her "Stupid, Incompetent" Etc. The poor clerk was almost in tears and this was after the BB had stormed to the head of the line, almost knocking over an elderly woman! Sashaying in her designer jeans, tossing her hair back, jewelry jangling like she owned the joint and everyone there were her pickaninnies. 

I said to her, "I beg your pardon, but we were in line in front of you." 

She flipped her hair back with a most definite Who Cares attitude,  ignored me and started in on the clerk. 

I guess I got my Hungarian dander up. I said, "Look, honey, you cannot speak to her like that." 

BB: “I can DO whatever I want.”  Oh, really?

Me: “Look lady, I don't know if you've had a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, bad year, you're on the rag or just bad sex but you cannot speak to her like that. She can't tell you to f---- off. But I can. So go f---- off.” 

BB: “How DARE you? (Seriously.  Swear to God.) You can't speak to me like that!”

Me: "Hmmm. (Pause) Seems I just did.” The stuttering started. You know how people get. 

BB: "Just who the hell do you think you are?"

“I think I'm the gal who just told you to f---- off.  You really want to take it out in the parking lot. Fine.  After you.

She flounced out of the store. I heard the elderly woman say sotto voce, "That's telling her."

The manager thanked me afterwards because that lady had caused them no end of problems for 5 years.  FIVE YEARS!!!

 I don't know as I'd do that now so quickly (this was 1994) but as I think about it….I'd probably still do it. It was pivotal because up to that point in my life, I didn't speak up like that.  I would have been too scared.  I would have inwardly seethed perhaps or literally gotten myself out of there.  I don’t know why this time was different but it was.  I guess I’d hit a level of maturity and even confidence that said, “This time I’ll open my mouth. This time I’m going to do something, not think about it afterwards with woulda-shoulda-coulda wistfulness.”

She wasn't crazy. She was rude! Nowadays it seems we equate rude people with crazy people. There is a difference. I’m tired of people getting the “crazy” excuse for what it really is.  Plain, old-fashioned, downright rudeness.

I'm TIRED OF RUDE.  The customer is not always right.  I'm a customer and I've been wrong.  

I hate to quote my mother but you DO get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  I've even HAD a crappy day and I've told sales people, "I know it probably isn't you, but I've had a crappy day...."  Etc.   

Again, I hate to quote my mother (because it's a rather old-fashioned quote and hardly PC) but yes, you can always tell a lady or a gentleman by how they treat the help!

And yes, Virginia, she really DID drive a Beemer! Admittedly, there are darling folks who happen to drive Beemers.  She just wasn't one of them.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Albums 1975. When Albums were ALBUMS

My friend Kristina put this one up on Facebook. I'll bite!

"Like this status to be a given a year, and then list your fifteen favorite albums from that year in your own status."

She gave me 1975....
Don't judge me, please!  I bought all these albums with my own money.  

In no particular order:

Then Came You: Dionne Warwick. 
Feelin' Like Making Love: Roberta Flack
Funny Lady: movie soundtrack
I'll play for you: Seals & Crofts
Playing Possum: Carly Simon
The Heat Is On: Isley Brothers
Love Will Keep Us Together: Capt. and Tennille (I know...)
Steppin': Pointer Sisters
Greatest Hits: Cat stevens
Horizon: the Carpenters (I know, I know....)
Love To Love You Baby: Donna Summers
Daryl Hall & John Oates: Hall & Oates
Prisoner In Disguise: Linda Ronstadt
Lazy Afternoon: Barbra Streisand
Tryin' To Get The Feeling: Barry Manilow (I know, ok, I know!)

Cleveland Schools Get A Failing Grade

Duh.  I wonder why.
Teachers rock. They are the heroes.
I think the kids should all have to wear uniforms from K through 12. Black pants and white shirts and black shoes.
I don't believe in passing a failing kid. Let him fail and fail. Screw his self-esteem. When he gets it, that's a win.  That's a boost.  "I got it!"  He needs to learn to WORK!  To think.  To reason.  To READ!!  
I don't believe in excuses for these kids and I, for one, am tired of it.
Other people who had it really crappy upbringings buckled down and learned sh*t.
My dad didn't even speak English when he went into kindergarten. He got kicked out of his house at age 12 by his step-father. He slept on friends' sofas, porches, basements, garages. He graduated from high school, served in WW2, was a Silver Star recipient.  He came home, worked 3 jobs to put himself through college and law school and put food on the table for a wife and kid. (More kids to come!)
I have another friend; much younger. She's about 32 now. She had to leave school at 12 (here in Cleveland) to work to help put food on her family's table. Her dad, a bus driver, was severely disabled, but nobody in that family got assistance. They were dirt poor but kept a clean house and kept that roof over their heads. She got her GED, and now has a PhD. in Psychology. All that while working AND having a seizure disorder.
I have no sympathy for lazy kids with excuses.  "Oh my mother deserted me. I was a crack baby.  My parents were sucky." Etc.
Nobody wants to listen to MY excuses. Why should anyone listen to yours?
Get off your dead asses, put away the damn game controller, pull up your fkg pants, put your d*ck back in its holster, don't have unprotected sex, don't have babies you're going to dump on your parents or (worse) grandparents, have some respect for those teachers and go to school and work to learn.
I'm tired of supporting your lazy, whiny asses.

Turning Fifty?

It sucked.  I won't lie. Turning 50 sucked.

Since I was 51 I got spayed, had two knees surgeries, had my esophagus rebuilt, broke my arm, had elbow surgery, was told I have to wear elbow braces, had nasal and sinus surgery, dislocated 3 fingers in my I Use It (left) hand and forever deformed it. I have had cancer scares. I seen the scale go over 200 pounds. I've gone pretty gray.  I'm post-menopausal. My boobs have started to go south. My physical strength isn't what it used to be. My eyesight hasn't changed, but I seem to need sunglasses more.  I have had to ask for more help.  I've suffered from severe depression and insomnia.

I've lost my job as a professional singer and almost my career.  I lived 18 months without my husband here as he worked out of state, taking care of a house and garden without being able to drive a car and not knowing what the hell I was doing.

I've lost good friends; some to death, some to misunderstandings, some to neglect and anger.

I've re-homed a beloved dog, agonizing about the decision. I've held two others as they were put to sleep within 6 months of each other.

My beloved sister in law, brother in law, uncle and aunt all died, 3 from cancer. My oldest dog died the same week as my sister-in-law.

I've nursed and supported my husband through two back surgeries, two knee replacements, losing his job, a debilitating assault and the stress and emotions as a result all of that.

I've lived with active drug addiction for 4+ years of hell and its aftermath.  I've had items stolen from house, been threatened, etc. I've animals dumped on me to care for.  My closest relationships have been scarred and beaten.

HOWEVER in this decade:

I've become a grandmother (without hatching) and a great-aunt.

I've made some wonderful friends.

I've stood up for what I believe in. I've testified to the Ohio State Judiciary Committee and a room full of people, terrified but not missing a beat.

I have raised and shown a Westminster-qualified champion dog. I've fostered and rescued dogs and cats. Two of our dogs received their Canine Good Citizen titles.

I've seen my writings published and praised nationally and internationally. I've won accolades and one award for my photography.

Just since 2007, I have officially started and completed (walked) 6 half marathons, 20 5Ks, a few 10 milers and a few 10Ks.  As of 8/22/13, since I started keeping records (Jan. 2011) I've walked 535 miles.  This year I have walked 153 miles.

Since I first started keeping records (as of Jan. 2011), I've ridden my bike over 1,339 miles as of this date (8/22/13).  Last year, I rode 553 miles. This year alone, to date, I've ridden over 503 miles.  Prior to this, I don't believe I'd ridden a bike 500 miles in my entire lifetime.

I've raised thousands of dollars for charity.

And I'm still professionally singing. (Thank God!)

I'm 59.


OK, 60, bring it ON!!!

*quit your bitchin'