Total Pageviews

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blogging: This One VS Wordpress

Perhaps because I've used "blogspot" (or "blogger dot com" or whatever the flavor du jour name is) for quite a while now but I find it easy to use.  I started noticing about a year ago that a lot of people use Wordpress. A lot of people whose blogs get read and commented on use WP as opposed to this one.

Yes, I said their name.  Wordpress. I've used it in my blog. Oh, bad me.  I'm damned for all eternity to have said their name on the Internet.  I'm going to use it in vain too.

Why do people blog?  It's basically journaling on the Net as opposed to paper.  There are a zillion different kinds of blogs and blogging out there.  Family, memories, parenting, animal, writing, creativity, cooking, political, social etc. etc. etc.  You get the idea. Facebook has given me a wealth of topics to blog about usually because someone got my goat or sparked a memory.

I think essentially why we blog or journal is the universal need to be heard. To be "seen." To feel creative.   We blog to capture our moment of cleverness, clarity or even genius. In a sense, we blog to immortalize ourselves.  We don't want to be forgotten.  As long as the Web lasts, we will last.  Our thoughts, ideas, recipes, photos etc. are there as though part of our essence is carved in stone with 0s and 1s. Our grandchildren or generations beyond can "know" us.

Digression.  The bane of blogging, journaling and often conversation.  Back to Wordpress.

I think Wordpress sucks.  I think it's a clunky, nasty, decidedly UN-friendly program. And I think at this point in my Technological Life, I'd like to think I'm relatively savvy at negotiating sites.  However, if you want to be heard (without a zillion ads cloggin' yo' bloggin') WP is the way most people go. A dear friend of mine (from the dog world) was lamenting WP just the other day and I said, "Why do you use that p.o.s. program?"

I confess, I do have a WP account but I almost always post a link to whatever my latest and greatest is to this one instead of trying to work around that scut-bucket loser of a site.


What is this: National Call For Donations day??  Yes, we have Caller ID but they are getting so tricky, you don't always know.

8:30 in the f------ morning, the phone rings. (I had a crummy night's sleep so I'm really in no mood). Local area code, so I'm not sure.  It might be someone I know. And early in the morning, I'm on alert. Good news is rarely early in the morning or late at night.  In the dead of night, I've taken to answering the phone with: "What hospital or who's dead?"  A little disconcerting to an upset friend/relative who needs to talk.

Ha! that 216 area code was deceiving.  It's University Hospitals.

A guy, with a (granted) beautifully trained voice reads the spiel about the hospitals and ends with, "Shall we start with a $75 donation or would $50 work better for you."

I've worked in telemarketing ages past so my ordinary response to a live person is (depending on my mood):

1) I've done what you do, and it sucks.  No. Thanks. Have a good day.
2) No, not interested. Thanks.
3) And in the case of Bath Fitters, the most persistent of them all.

"I can get my bathroom entirely redone by a reputable contractor AND get a bathtub I actually LIKE for what you guys charge to recover the bathtub I hate. Why would i recover the tub I hate?"

BF: Dead silence for a moment of recovery.  "Well, we have a special going on...and we will be in your area giving estimates...."

"Are you going to replace the bathtub I hate?"

BF: Pause.  "No, we don't do that.  But we'd love to give you an estimate again."

"Look, honey, we eventually will get a new bathtub.  Not a recovered one. So you really need to take me off your list because you guys are too expensive and won't do what I want. OK?"

Call ends. For about 4 months, I don't hear from them but they crop up like orange barrels in Ohio.

But today, as the University Hospitals telemarketer set me up smoothly for the pitch and the swing, I start to chuckle, then I started to laugh. Softly at first then a good, sarcastic roll.

"Really?  REALLY?" I chortle. "Dude, you need to look at my last name AND our address because we've been at UH for some mighty big stuff (I give him the brief, one-sentence version). so if you think I'm DONATING, I'll let someone else's insurance company do the 'donating,' OK?"

Telemarketer (audible gulp): "Oh, my god I am so sorry.  I'm so sorry!"

And so every half hour after that, it's been another g----damn telemarketing call. The last one was Red Cross.  Will I donate blood?  Just tell me when and where and no I'm not going anywhere I have to get into a vehicle for. We haven't had an area disaster that I'm aware of and you always seem to have plenty of my blood type. My blood type is apparently quite common and
uninteresting.  One of the nurses admitted this to me.  And no, I'm not making an appointment.

ARC: "Blah, blah, blah..."

"I SAID I'll donate blood in my area and I will not make an appointment. Not unless you want to pay me for my plasma."

ARC: "Blah, blah, blah...."

"Yes I said I'll donate but no I won't make an appointment and no I won't go anywhere I can't walk to.  How hard is this for you all to get?"

I hate to imagine if I were a universal donor or a rare blood type.

It's now 20 some years since I did telemarketing and with each passing year, I get less sympathetic and kind.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Your Adorable Puppy? Welcome To Teenaged Dog Hell!

Someone on one of the cattledog groups wrote:

"I just want to share something for new puppy parents: When you see and read the stories on here of all the wonderful, well behaved, well trained, and awesome adult dogs that most have, and you wonder how they all "lucked" out and won the dog lottery- KNOW THIS: most of us wanted to KILL our little adorable pups when they were 4 months old. I personally lost half a bookcase of old books, 5 pairs of shoes, almost all my socks, two expensive rugs, a floor-stand antique mirror, and countless hours off my life due to blood vessels popping in my head. So remember, when looking at photos, you will look back and forget all that stuff when you see cute photos of your baby when he/she was a puppy. THEY GROW OUT OF IT. "

4-8 months, horrible, horrible, horrible time!  Sometimes it lasts into their first year.


Did I say horrible?  I meant horrible. Horrible with a capital Hor.

House training my last one, Artie, was a nightmare! I would get on FB and cry out to my friends. I'd sob on the phone to other dog people.  What the hell had I gotten myself  IN TO?  What was I thinking?  I'm too old for this.

I've had cattledogs since 1993, you think I'd have some kind of handle on it.

Oh, no!

He wasn't my first dog or cattledog either and I always seem to win the Dog Pooping Lottery because I never get to do that part in summer or fall.  Oh, no. Dead of winter.

Artie was a horrible, horrible puppy.

AND he got car sick!  What cattledog gets CARSICK??  He didn't get carsick with his foster mom. I was so stressed about that I almost got carsick.  I'd sit in the car on the way to dog classes, shaking, my heart hammering in my chest, my ears tuned to that "rrrrap-bleech-gack" sound.

His one saving grace: he was (and is) a social butterfly. He's whip-smart, funny and has a real zest for life.  He loves to swim.  He has a lovely combination of ON and OFF. He's the best hiking dog I've had in years. I adore him.

I had another one (Dru) for 6 months in 1999 I was working with (6-12 months old), he was the worst chewer I ever had.  I had him tethered to me, right by my leg, and he silently almost chewed the table leg right by me in half.  I never heard it, never felt it. He tore up and annihilated linoleum floor tiles etc. When I got him, his former owner had allowed him to poop and pee in the crate, dirtiest dog I've ever known.  Yes, Virginia, you CAN stuff a 50 pound ACD into a pretty damn small crate. He got through the horrible house-training thing but that was 3 weeks, (almost 24/7) of utter hell.

His one saving grace: he was a social butterfly, used to run with 5 Greyhounds and a Borzoi. Coolest thing you ever saw: a cowdog herding sight hounds!

Elke, our "found pupp" was another horrible chewer and dis-embowler of All Things With Stuffing.  And she had the extra bonus of being completely disinterested in playing fetch or any game for that matter.  Oh, and for an extra-extra bonus, she was (and still is to a great extent) 40 pounds of pull-you-off-your-feet.  My slightly deformed hand is thanks to Elke's pulling me off my feet and dislocating 3 fingers.  But wait, there's more.  She tends to be dog fear-aggressive too!  Which can be anything from a low growl to going after another dog to shrieking, whining and spinning!  Wheeeee, fun for the entire family!

Her saving grace is her complete and utter mesmeric ability to suck you in to her lair of sweetness.  Her coat is like velvet.  You pet her and your heart rate begins to lower.  Her eyes are limpid, brown pools; her kisses are softer and sweeter than a summer garden. People come to meet Artie; they stay for Elke.

The one thing I thank my lucky stars for is I have never had a dog in the last 20 years that wasn't ok in the crate.  I personally can't cope with that, separation anxiety or severe aggression.

I know they say you don't always get the dog you WANT but you get the dog you NEED many times.  Really?  Somewhere in the Great Cosmic Book of Life, it was written: "Mia needs the puppy from hell.  Not once, not twice, but we're going to give her that canine gift that keeps on giving."

Artie was the first all positive trained dog I've ever owned. Interesting process for all of us and continues to be.  But he really has turned into such an awesome dog in so many ways.  It must be like child birth I guess.  You know there was pain but it seems slightly dimmed.

God help me, I'm thinking about adding a third at some point.....the Gods will lead us in the right directions.  I'm a big believer in Fate.  And that they have a really sick sense of humor at times.

Puppies.  Simply Adorable!  There are not enough adjective or superlatives for puppies.

Teenaged dogs?  A new dimension of the depths of hell....Dante couldn't make up this stuff. If he did, there would be an Eighth Dimension of hell.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Our First Cat Show

We went to our first cat show today. Very interesting! If dogs were left in cages be handled by the judge, oh, my what a crazy thing THAT would be! The owners put the cats in these judging cages and go away, although they watch, of course. The judge then takes the cat out. So your cat has to be OK with being handled by a stranger.
Saw lots of interesting cats and I was very impressed with how gentle the judges were. Trust me, they REALLY handle those cats! They pick them up, stretch them out, look at their faces, wave wand toys at them.
I also liked that lot of the judges explained what they were looking at and what they liked about that particular cat TO the audience. One judge even answered questions from the audience about what makes a good Persian. All I knew about Persians you could fit into a thimble. Now I know more!
A purebred (with papers) altered cat can go for its championship AND they have a household cat (i.e. mutt cat) division as well!
Talked to a lady who shows Tonkinese and she was very informative!
Hey, AKC and UKC, wouldn't that be cool, having people show mixed breeds or altered for their conformation championship.....? it would put put some extra coin in your pockets too!??
I saw a panda-marked persian named Jack and this spectacular silver tabby Domestic Short-hair. I got to pet a Sphinx (hairless) cat which is a trip. You think they'd be sooooooooo ugly (by their photos) but they're not. They are so soft and WARM!
The cat owners were almost always very nice and informative. There were even folks around with Ask Me buttons on!
Very interesting experience and one I'd highly recommend if you love cats.

Altered Persian bi-colored male, 7 months old named Jack. His owner just loves him! I think he has his championship already. I wish I would have gotten a really good picture of his panda face! 
Stunning silver tabby male American Shorthair. He has ALL the classic tabby markings. I didn't know there were so many....targets, bracelets, anklets, necklaces.... If you look on his forehead his markings look like an Egyptian Scarab beetle, which apparently is a really prized marking. He was a lovely cat, very sweet and totally laid back. "Yeah, I'm gorgeous. Whatever..."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Jack In The Box

When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.” 
― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

I had one of these Jack In The Box toys when I was a little, little kid.  Mine was metal, of course.  This one is Megan's from the early 80s so it's plastic with a big Mattel logo on its lid.

Same tune.  "Pop! Goes The Weasel." Why change a good thing?

"Hey man, don't mess with the classics!" 

Many people are creeped out by clowns.  I'm not for the most part, mainly because of going to the circus and having happy clown memories. Plus I avoid watching Creepy Clown movies.

But I can't imagine even the clown-phobic having the heebie-jeebies over this little fellow with his friendly, painted face.  On the contrary, he's very precious and actually his cheerful face makes me sentimental and teary-eyed. Maybe it's because, even after I had outgrown him and his box became part of the dollhouse furniture or the cornerstone for my Breyer horse stables made with up-ended books, his friendly face would inadvertently pop up, unbidden to say Hello!  Maybe I remember coming home from school after being teased and bullied and with a turn of a crank, he had his painted smile just for me. "I like you, even if they don't!"

No matter how many times a toddler shoves his poor, spring-loaded body back into the box, he'll still spring up to startle and delight that kid. He's a harmless toy.  There is no great back-story, no batteries, no movie tie in, nothing much to him except a cheap crank tune and his version of "peek-a-boo surprise."  If you play with him and a little kid, you both end up laughing.  If you allow yourself to loosen up and get into the spirit of the silly, simple game. Play doesn't need to be complicated. Who hasn't played "peek-a-boo" just once with a strange kid someplace.  Babies and toddlers love the game!

He always has a smile. He always springs back. He is innocence, consistency, joy and laughter in a square box.  Could he be a life metaphor?

Spring back with a smile!

To an adult, he is remembrance of simple things. Since I am a very sentimental person, he makes me a bit misty-eyed whenever I see him or his box on one of our side tables. This particular one has survived many a move and years of dusty ignorance to delight a new generation.  My nephew always plays with him when he comes to our house and we laugh!

He, like The Velveteen Rabbit, seems to have a soul of sorts and is honored here for his gift of laughter.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Scream

That scream you heard about 7:00pm tonight (Jan. 5th, 2014) was me seeing a BUG, yes a bug, crawling on my keyboard. I busted a leg on the keyboard as I freaked out trying to kill it.  Im going ot assume it came in with the firewood, the  evil little b-----d.

The Spousal Unit, of course, heard nothing....

The dogs were singularly unhelpful. 

Best part was I was on a phone call, going through automatic prompts.

Auto: "How many we direct your call. For example, say 'Reservations' or 'Resort.'"

Me: "Reser----ARRRRGH, EEEEK! f---- F----!! F---ifity, F- F--- F----!"

Auto: "I'm sorry, I didn't understand."

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Argument For Disciplining Your Kid: Grounding

I'm sick to death of people not disciplining their kids.  Please, do society a favor and stop pussy-footing around.  You all are raising  a bunch of spoiled, entitled, tuned-out, obnoxious, lazy kids.  OK, so you don't want to do the Corporal Punishment thing.  Spanking is so passe, you say.  
How about denial?  How about good, old-fashioned Grounding?  The older kid equivalent of a Time Out.   Time-outs seems to work until they start get, well, sassy.  
My dad was a pretty tough guy and he brooked no nonsense.  You absolutely knew he loved you (never, ever a question about that). But he had his rules and regs and you'd better obey.  Or else.  You certainly knew where the boundaries were.

I got grounded as teenager.  Seriously grounded.

Age: fifteen.

My offense was staying out past curfew, way past, and didn't call.  Frankly, if they REALLY knew where I really was and what I was doing, I wouldn't be around to write this.  It really was pretty bad. Another person was involved which is why I can't post it on a public forum.  I have no problem admitting to really pissing off my dad when I was almost arrested.  Twice in one evening.  In Clearwater, Florida.   But that's another story.

When people talk about grounding their kids, they need to talk to me.

I was grounded for FOUR weeks.

I think it may have originally been a week but I believe I got testy with my mother, who of course told Dad and it immediately got jacked up to four.

Grounding: No phone, ONE hour of TV a day, no overnights at friends' houses except parent-approved friends, no after school activities except for the play I was rehearsing and I got picked up immediately afterwards. So essentially no hanging out. Except at home. No closed doors.

"NO TV!!??  What will I do???"

"Read a book, write, do art, listen to music, go for a walk around HERE." We lived in the country then.

I had to care for my horse but could only ride him around the property (about a mile).  We did a lot of circles, that horse and I. I also had to groom our Yorkshire terrier which neither one of us enjoyed very much. I had to do dishes everyday and once a week I had to scrub the steps' carpeting.  By hand with a brush, Cheer detergent and water.  (Which, ironically, is probably the best way to do it.)

When I complained about the hard work, my mother said instead I could clean the whole house (which was big) and she'd give the cleaning lady 4 weeks off if I thought that was a better alternative.

Scrub-scrub, shut up.

When I groused about the whole thing, my dad said,

"You want to make it 6 weeks?" I gave him The Teenage Rolling Eyed Look And Groan. Oh, big mistake.

He said, "You just made it six."

Gulp. Are you -----ing me?  SIX????

A few days into it, I got snarky again, and he said, "You want to make it eight weeks AND have to explain why you had to drop out of the play and not fulfill your commitment? 'My father grounded me which is why I have to drop out.' That is what you'll have to tell them.  I'll go with you to make sure."

Humiliation. Double-gulp.

They did let me go to the cast party but I had to be home at 11:30.  I did call and ask if I could stay until midnight and they actually let me stay until 12:30. Mind you, I didn't drive and so I had to make sure I got home, someone had to take me. I always called if I was going to be late after that. I was on time that night because it was almost at the end of Grounding Purgatory and I didn't want to foul it up.

I have to say both parents were pretty tough because they had to put up for days with the rolling-eyed, grumbling, horrible attitude that only a hateful teenager can do. The next big threat was taking my horse away and since they'd done THAT once already, I straightened my attitude up.  I just bitched out of sight and hearing.  My horse heard most of it.  He was a good listener.

Lesson learned.  If they even threatened to ground me again, I was sweating bullets.

I guess my dad figured if he survived living on the streets of Cleveland as a young teenager, sleeping on friends' sofas for years, high school with a job, boot camp, OSS training, trying to rein in a bunch of Kraut-Killing Frenchmen in World War Two,  law school while working three jobs with two kids, I'd survive four weeks of "restricted duty."

HOWEVER --- tough as he was; if anyone messed with or bullied me, my dad was all over that like stink on rice. He'd take on anyone, any organization. Just ask the 1960s Lakewood School Board. And my maternal grandmother.  SHE was "grounded" for six months!  But that's another story.

In conclusion, I believe grounding works. Nowadays, people are loath to spank their kids.  I'm on the fence about that.  Sometimes a swat on the arse gets a kid's attention.  Time-outs can be effective, I guess.  Getting sent to your room with no electronics works too.  Pitching/donating their un-cared for stuff is pretty effective.
But for the older kids, that charming eight-on-up, that hard core plugged-in kid, that sassy, mouthy smart-aleck, ungrateful brat you raised I say:

Ground 'Em.

You're not their damn friend.  You're not their slave, cleaning person, personal maid. You are their parent.  If you don't set up those chores, rules and regs, society and work will.

Take it all away.

They won't die.  I didn't.