Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Sometimes I Forget

For all that we are rapidly approaching the second birthdays for a couple of little dogs, there is still a lot of baby in them.

A couple of weeks ago I rearranged the bedroom. The antique dresser with oval mirror ended up on a different wall and was pressed into (temporary) service as a TV stand. This was two weeks ago, mind you.

Tonight we headed upstairs and I set up my laptop on the desk to do a little work. I helped all the dogs up onto the bed so they could go ahead and start sleeping off their suppers. Out of the blue Mojo spotted a strange dog across the room.

You guessed it. He had spotted himself in the mirror. He was royally spooked at his discovery. He wouldn't even stay in the bedroom when I went downstairs for a minute. I finally had to lift him up and let him lean over and smell that other dog before he accepted that there was nothing to worry about.

He's not 100% convinced yet. It may be a long evening.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Fine Specimens

It was probably 1966 or 1967 or thereabouts. We had been on vacation for a few days in eastern Tennessee and North Carolina. We were making our way slowly back toward Nashville and spent the night in a place that I believe was named Crossville. For some reason, we decided to see a movie at the drive in theater that night, since there wasn't much else to do in the little town. The movie was The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Two things stand out about that experience.

First, I had been a fan of the TV series "Rawhide" and was familiar with Clint Eastwood in the persona of Rowdy Yates. I had had a fondness for Rowdy, but I was a little young to have had a crush on him when "Rawhide" was in its heyday. It was with a great deal of surprise that I realized that ole Rowdy had become a hunk since I had seen him last. I can remember sitting in the back seat on that warm summer night, with the windows open, watching those blue eyes on that great big screen and thinking to myself, "He is soooo good looking!". (I've always had a thing for the scruffy, silent types.) I was in instant crush mode that lasted for several years.

Second, the music was different and arresting. I was enchanted by the odd instrument playing the signature phrase of the main theme. I later learned the instrument was an oboe. One of my recital pieces the next year was the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I played it well, if I do say so for myself. It's been a piece of music that has stood the test of time.

Last night I watched the Oscars ceremony and a special Oscar was given to the composer of that unusual music. Ennio Morricone received his Oscar from Clint Eastwood. It was fitting, since all of the Clint Eastwood "spaghetti" westerns had been scored by Ennio Morricone. During the presentation, a montage of Morricone's work was presented and I realized that he had composed other themes that were familiar to me. He seemed to be genuinely touched by the honor of the special Oscar.

Earlier in the broadcast, ole Clint had played along with one of host Ellen Degeneres' comedy bits, as she drafted Steven Spielberg to take a picture of her with Clint to be posted on her MySpace website. He was a good sport and seemed to enjoy himself.

I found myself thinking that ole Clint has held up well and is still crush-worthy. And Ennio Morricone's music is still as arresting as it was on that summer night long ago.

Two fine specimens in the land of make believe.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Consider the Evidence

For those of you who still think I'm being too hard on the heathen cats, I present to you irrefutable evidence that they have evil in their souls.

When I went to bed last night and closed my bedroom door on them (with the dogs tucked inside my room with me), Mother's bedroom floor was empty of debris. When I went down early this morning, such was not the case.

They had swiped both rolls of toilet tissue out of Mother's bathroom and had shredded them all over her bedroom and part of the living room. They could not blame the dogs this time, so they tried to tell me a herd of killer cockroaches had broken in and wrecked the house. I didn't buy that story, so they claimed that there is a rampaging ghost cat on the loose. That story didn't fly, so they feigned amnesia and are wandering the house going "who am I?" and "where am I?".

Pray for me. I have two teen-aged cats.


Friday, February 23, 2007


Even the wicked must have recess. Today's favorite toys are a cardboard box and the old kitty toy unearthed from the garage last week.

Of course Boo can't resist trying to take Scout's toy away from her.

And then he has the audacity to give me that innocent "Who me?".


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bad Kharma

This has been one of THOSE days. My stars are definitely out of alignment. My mojo is kaput.

First of all, we started off with an early morning appointment with the DR. FROM HELL. I've written about this before. I swear the woman is either completely incompetent or loves to prove her importance to the world by making everyone else's life miserable. We arrived 15 minutes early and then sat for an hour and a half before we got in to an exam room and then spent 45 minutes (mostly by ourselves) there. And then sat another 20 minutes in the waiting room while she wrote up her notes and finally got our new prescriptions ready. And then BLOODY HELL they were training some new receptionist who couldn't find her butt with a map and both hands and we sat another 15 minutes before we got back to get blood drawn and FINALLY 3 HOURS AFTER WE ARRIVED we escaped. Whole morning shot completely to hell and my desk stacked up to the rafters with work that should have been done a week ago.

Work. Grr. The last two weeks have been an unending succession of bad data. Programs that have been stable are getting punched in the gut and having to be repaired. Which is why the pile on my desk is about to touch the ceiling. I'm beginning to despair that we will ever catch up.

The heathen cats are tearing the house down. I lay down a magazine and I come back to a stack of confetti. They are shredding the curtain sheers in Mother's bedroom. They empty the wastebasket in the bathroom and claw holes in the bathroom tissue. I've had to shut them out of the guest room because they've torn holes in the new stool that goes with the electronic keyboard. They have turned over the boxes of miniatures, eaten holes in miniature flooring, and unmade the guest bed. It's like living with two Tazmanian devils.

So, if you happen across a good luck charm, send it my way. I could use it.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Hail to the Chief

In honor of Presidents Day, here are some quotes from Dubya:

"There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee...that says, fool me once, shame on...shame on you. Fool me...you can't get fooled again."
Well, that's one way to put it.

"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."

"One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures."
See Spot run.

"We must all hear the universal call to like your neighbor just like you like to be liked yourself."
Too bad Jesus didn't have Dubya's powers of sentence construction.

"In my sentences I go where no man has gone before."
Ya think?

"He can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road."
What if Dubya married Mrs. Malaprop?

"For every fatal shooting, there were roughly three non-fatal shootings. And, folks, this is unacceptable in America. It's just unacceptable. And we're going to do something about it."
If we work hard, I'll bet we can hit 100%.

You know, George does bring a smile to our lives. You could almost like him for that.



Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Travels With Xana

We've entered elder care with Xana, who has developed renal failure over the last few months. That's the bad news. The good news is that we have some things to try that should relieve the symptoms for awhile. We started her new medicine last night. (Market hint - animal pharmaceuticals. Hot, hot, hot.) And this morning I got a lesson in how to give her subcutaneous fluids once a week. I still have not had to personally put the needle in, but I've already seen the benefits and will force myself to do this little task weekly.

She was an excellent patient this morning, not complaining and not flinching when the needle came. She was also delighted that that was it this morning. No blood tests, no physical, and it was over and done with inside of 15 minutes. We decided to celebrate with taking the long way home, down FM1704 to FM969 to FM1209 to Hwy 71. My choice was directly influenced by the fact that I wanted a latte in the worse way and the best local coffee joint is on Hwy 71 and FM1209.

Xana settled back against me and watched the country slide by and really came to life when we turned into the drive through at Coffee Dog. She and Bebop used to make the hamburger run regularly and she knows that good things happen at drive throughs. And she got lucky before I did. They met us at the window with a milk bone for her. And then they made me a wonderful vanilla latte. We were both happy when we left.

I decided to bounce across the highway to the Cedar Creek branch of the bank and make a deposit there. Xana picked up another milk bone at that drive through. She was a warm bundle of contentment from there back to the house, where she proceeded to lord it over the two little ones. She got a ride with Mom and two stops for milk bones and a chance to flout her superiority over the lower class dogs. A little needle stick was a small price to pay for those perks.

Next week will determine whether or not she will tolerate her treatment from Mom. This week life is good.


DaVinci Was Right

"The smallest feline is a masterpiece."-Da Vinci

That's the quote for the day. It comes from a web site that I will give the link for in a minute, but first a few comments on the two masterpieces that live with me. Every day I grow fonder of the little rapscallions. They are two bundles of perpetual energy and they are smart. This morning I watched them having a game of kitty soccer, using one of the jingle balls they got for Christmas. It was every bit as good as anything you will see on television and even had a half-time show.

I unearthed an old cat toy from the garage over the past weekend. It's a double ring of plastic, joined in the center and with open sides. A ball rolls around on the inside and there are slots and holes for the cat to reach in and attempt to grab the ball. There is also a center area that is completely open and Boo uses this center hole to grab the thing and flip it over. They will play this toy all over the house.

During this morning's soccer game, I saw Boo get the idea to add the jingle ball to the other ball in the cat toy. He grabbed the jingle ball and carried it over and very carefully placed it in the center hole. May not sound like it from the description, but take my word for it, this is a smart cat. I can see the wheels spinning in his head long before he makes his move. And Scout is no slacker either.

A couple of nights ago Scout managed to get closed up in Mother's closet. She was being fairly calm about letting someone know she was in trouble, giving steady but sedate miaows to help me locate her. When she was freed from her temporary prison, she followed me for a good ten minutes, rubbing my legs and letting me know she appreciated my efforts. Gratitude from a cat has to show intelligence.

Now on to a really smart cat. Follow the link to see Nora the Piano Playing Cat. There's a YouTube video to watch not very far down the page. I've had cats that have done some noodling on the piano, but this cat has talent.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Back Away From the Potty

In my ongoing effort to keep the cats from getting bored (actually it is an effort to reduce the scattering of litter), I purchased a Kitty Kabana yesterday. It's a tent-like contraption that fits around their electric litter pan to "provide privacy" for your cat. I put the thing together this afternoon and renovated the kitty toilet area.

I had lots of help with this venture. Boo was quite concerned that Mom was doing something to his potty. It's his potty, thank you very much, and nobody should be doing anything to it except cleaning it and adding litter now and again. He paced around in the background until I had everything put back together and left the room. He wasted no time in getting inside and scoping out the situation.

He has been completely mesmerized by the whole situation. He can't quite bring himself to leave it for more than a few minutes, I guess for fear that it will do something bizarre and he will miss the fun. He has tested it for all the intended purposes and found that it still works. He thinks he likes the "privacy" and is considering just moving in there.

I figure by this time tomorrow the thing will be in shreds.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Be Polite. Say What?

I've noticed an upsetting trend on television lately. The first I became aware of it was on The Apprentice a season or so ago. At the end of each show when the choice of who gets fired is narrowed down to two or three, the participants have a chance to debate their performances and the reasons why they shouldn't be fired. Or at least that's the idea. What they do is talk over each other, getting more and more strident until they turn into whiny brats and you wish they would all get fired. Which sometimes happens, actually. I think Donald gets sick of them at that point, too. (I can't say if that's the case this year, since I got thoroughly sick of Donald over the Rosie thing and refuse to watch The Apprentice any longer. I also refuse to watch The View since I'm also sick of Rosie. Both of them make me gag at the moment.)

Now it's happening on the news. I watch Good Morning America while I dress in the morning. I find it the least nauseating of the morning news shows. This morning they brought on a set of lawyers to debate the fall from grace of the lady astronaut. One was to present the potential defense and the other the potential prosecution. But, instead of each giving a rational explanation of each position, they proceded to try the case right there on the air, talking over each other and getting louder and louder and making less and less sense. When they were finally called to silence by the host, both grinned like idiots. Written all over their faces was the thought, "Aren't I great? I talked louder than you, so I won."

So what is it? What happened to honest, calm debate with rational arguments to support your case? When did getting semi-hysterical become the basis for making the right decision?

My kingdom for a return to manners and decorum.


Monday, February 05, 2007

My Baby

Little Boo Boy is growing up. His first venture up to the car roof. Thankfully he is restricted to the house and garage, so he shouldn't be leaving any horrible footprints behind.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Alternate Entertainment

So the entire world is watching the Super Bowl tonight, I suppose. Since I have no interest in sports whatsoever, it wasn't until late Friday that I even knew who was playing. Not that I give a darn, but I was being polite in a conversation with someone who does.

My get up and go departed along about 11PM on Friday night and hasn't shown its face since. I've not been sleeping well for about two weeks and that, coupled with the 4 hour odyssey at the ER on Friday night, has finally caught up with me. I've spent most of the day parked on the couch, flanked by two dogs, and sorting family data that needs to be organized before I hit the genealogy trail in April. It didn't take me long this morning to realize that the Super Bowl extravaganza was going to dominate the tv today.

So I spent a few hours watching some old JAG episodes that I had accumulated on the DVR. After about three of those, I was ready for something different. So I watched a couple of episodes of What Not to Wear on TLC, but I've seen most of those so it did not take me long to get bored there. Then I stumbled across a Paula's Party marathon on the Food Network and that's where I've spent most of the afternoon. Nothing like watching a Southern cook at work on food that isn't even in the same universe as the stuff I'm allowed on my diet. Like Pear Crisp and Doughnut Bread Pudding. I can feel my blood sugar on the rise just watching. But if I can't cook sweets myself, the next best thing is to watch someone else do it. And I've even picked up a couple of recipes that I can actually try for things like Beef Bourbon Y'all.

Before I go pick up another folder of family data to sort and input into the computer and before Paula starts on the next episode which is all about butter, butter, butter, here are my handy dandy tips for the day. These you will probably never hear from Martha.

1. If you need to strain off liquid from a pot and you don't have a strainer, grab that flat grater. Fits up against the pot and works like a champ.

2. If you have arthitis or a cripped finger from a cat bite and you are trying to open the itty bitty bottle of wine to add to your stew, go get the pliers out of the toolbox in the garage. Wonderful kitchen aid.

3. If you drop a lot of stuff when you're preparing food, like I do, get a couple of rat terriers. Nothing ever hits the ground. And you have company while you're cooking.

Time to go taste the stew and grab that next folder and turn the dogs so they don't get couch sores. Super Bowl, pooh.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Hot Friday Night Date

I'm just funnin' you. I spent my Friday evening sitting in a bay at the ER in Smithville. I can think of a lot of ways to spend a Friday evening that is way more enjoyable.

And the bottom line was that we did not have an emergency. Nothing like spending four hours sitting in a bay in an ER and then finding out that there was nothing of which to be concerned.

The bad news is that Mother still has the mysterious rash that provoked the trip and no idea what has caused it. The good news is that they coughed up an IV drip of antihistimine, so maybe it will send that little old rash packing.

I've spent several evenings in the ER in Smithville and usually it has ended with a hospital stay of a few days. This time we got to take ourselves home where we jumped on the poor overcooked roast that had been sitting in the crockpot all day like it was Cordon Bleu. I finally had Mother in bed around 9PM and then all the dogs and cats piled on me, relieved that their world was back to normal.

For once, the time spent sitting and waiting was not so bad. I had just loaded my mp3 player with about twelve podcasts from Genealogy on Demand and I used the time to catch up on the news in the genealogy world. I also ran into an old family friend who was spending her evening in the ER due to a fall. And there were no emergencies involving mangled bodies, so the ER was relatively calm.

So it could have been worse. I could have been stuck in a restaurant with some boring date who spent the evening talking about the Super Bowl.


Still Wondering After All These Years

There was an attempted kidnapping in Austin yesterday. Caught the story on the 5AM news update this morning. I suddenly remembered an incident from about 1960 or 1961 that has always made me wonder what might have happened if I had not been carefully coached by my parents.

We lived in Oak Hill at the time, in a parsonage directly east of the church. It was a rock house with a large front yard and a rock fence that ran along the front edge. The fence broke at the driveway and then continued on for the length of the church's front yard. It made a great play area boundary. It was also wide enough to be a child's walkway and I would walk that fence for hours. Where the breaks occurred, there were raised pillars just right to sit on and dream while watching the traffic on Highway 290, a short distance away.

Those were different times and a child could play outside without constant supervision, provided they were trained to stay out of the road. Still, living next door to the church drew a lot of passing transients looking for a handout, so Mother had drilled me to be cautious of strangers.

I knew most of the locals because they went to our church or their kids went to school with me. The guy that pulled up at the edge of our yard that day was a stranger. He was driving a car that was probably a 1955 Impala, with a blue lower half, a white upper half, and a gold division between the two colors. There was a little boy in the front passenger seat. I was playing in the yard by myself since David was just a baby at the time. Mother was inside the house somewhere and Daddy was not at home.

The man parked the car just outside the gate of the rock wall and started walking toward me. I immediately ran for the house and called out to Mother that someone was there. Instead of coming on to the house to talk to Mother, the man abruptly turned on his heel, got in his car and drove off. The car was gone by the time she made it to the front door.

So I've often wondered just what he was up to that day. He could have had no reason to talk to me. If his purpose was innocent, he should have followed me up to the house and waited for Mother to come to the door. Instead he departed as quickly as he had arrived. There was no one else anywhere around that day, except the little boy in the car who I never saw look out of the window in the time it was parked there.

So did I dodge a child molester or kidnapper? Who knows. I'm glad my parents were diligent in teaching me to be wary of my surroundings. I could have been a statistic if they had not.