Wednesday, November 08, 2017

This dog!



We've always had reasons to be proud of all of our dogs. We've loved them and been impressed by them on many occasions, but there's something about Lexi that's rather extraordinary.

Watching her carefully, you can see a rather impressive mind at work. That mind doesn't work like a human mind, but there's clearly a lot going on in there. Today, she gave us another example.

Before Marc left for work, he gave me a kiss as I was still lying in bed. He often leaves before I'm up, but this was pretty much guaranteed today, since I was out very late because it was election day. I've been working on a couple of political campaigns, and last night's results didn't come in until quite late. Anyhow...

As Marc said goodbye, he told me to keep a close eye on Lexi, because a Milk-Bone had gone astray. After an errant throw, it had landed under/behind an antique tea cart we have. Since Lexi forgets nothing, he knew she'd be after it at the first opportunity.

When I got up, Lexi and I headed downstairs. I looked under the cart to see if I could spot the biscuit. No luck. She watched me, but then she went on her way, leaving things untouched. Such a good girl!

So we did our stuff...
I had coffee.
We went out to the yard.
I fed the birds.
I read the newspaper and watched CBS This Morning.

She never went near the cart. Still being so good!

Then I hit the bathroom. And as I was indisposed, what do I hear? Yup, she's getting under the cart!

I got done as quickly as I could, came back out and found her trotting away with her best I didn't do nothin' look plastered on her face.

She waited until a time when she knew I couldn't react quickly, and then she went for it! OMG, this dog! Even after a couple of years with her, she continues to amaze. Yes, sometimes she frustrates, disobeys, angers, annoys... but still, she's impressive!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

A down to earth kind of girl



Lexi is a beautiful dog. She's also very smart and very stubborn. Her intelligence and willfulness make her a challenge at times. We thought we'd be done with her training collar by now, almost two years after we got her, but she still needs it a lot of the time.

If she's wearing it, she listens. If she isn't, she knows she isn't and can be very difficult. I might laugh that off, but she could get herself hurt outside by disobeying. She's smart but not about the risks to herself.

This post, however, isn't really about all of that. Well, not directly. Rather, it's about what we expected when we got to know her. We figured that a strong-willed girl like her would be difficult about what food she would eat. For that reason--and also because we tend to spoil our dogs and want the best of everything for them--we bought her the finest gourmet dog food from the start.

What we found over time is that she has what Marc calls "luncheonette tastes." The less fancy the food gets, the happier she is. Today, we were at Petco, and I suggested we try Beneful. Yeah, I know, it's not like it's Alpo, but from the lofty heights of what we used to buy her (gourmet, super-healthy dog foods that were just this side of a Michelin-starred chef coming over to cook for her), this is a serious drop. So did she turn up her nose? Of course not! "Oh, this smells awful! I love it!" And she dove right in! The girl is a mystery.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A different world

Marc has a school reunion this weekend. So that had us flying back to Wichita, Kansas, to attend. Our friend Bob has been gracious enough to put us up in his lovely home. Bob has had the kind of brutal year I wouldn't wish on an enemy. His partner of almost 40 years, Brad, passed away suddenly earlier this year.

Despite that, you wouldn't know it to talk to Bob or to see how wonderful he is as a host. We are very fortunate to have a good friend to stay with, as well as a comfortable place to stay. We could have used points and stayed at a hotel in town, but he wouldn't hear of it. We are very fortunate. To top it all off, his home is on a lovely little lake, and I love sitting out here, enjoying the view and listening to the ducks talk to each other. Bob actually puts out food for the ducks, and so they come up to his house to eat. It's cute to watch!

    A shot from the deck. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

An interesting time of semi-employment and volunteer work

I've been unemployed for a long time now. Over a year. I never thought something like this would happen. When the old CEO retired, a number of us discussed the possibility of our being let go by a new CEO. Sure enough, the new one let every member of executive management go. She used a budget excuse, but that clearly was a lie. She just wanted to bring in her own people.

When we had those discussions, we agreed that with our experience, we shouldn't be out too long. Well, the joke was on us. I think age has something to do with it. People don't want to pay for experience, and they'd rather have someone in their 30s than their 50s. So I've now been out for over a year, passed over for jobs for which I was very well qualified. If some employers had done that, well, that's how it goes, but to have so many jobs where I can't even get a face-to-face interview, there's only one explanation I can see.

So I've helped some organizations for free, and I've been doing a bit of legal work. That pays pretty well per hour, but that's a couple of hours here and a couple there.

Thankfully, Marc is working, and we haven't piled tons of debt on ourselves. Still, this is beyond unsettling.

I'll keep doing things. I'm also working on some political efforts I believe in. So I'm staying busy and productive, but I look forward to a more normal work life one of these days!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Blog Tribe and a time of loss

On June 30, 2004, before I'd ever heard of something called Facebook, I finally caved to pressure from my dear friend PatCH and started this blog. From the blog, I shared much of my life--and my life with Marc and our dogs--and I made some amazing friends. More true friends than I ever could have imagined.

It shouldn't have surprised me that I could make such good friends online, since my initial introduction to my best friend--my husband Marc--came on an old online technology called IRC, but still there's some surprise in the volume of dear friends who came into my life through blogging.

I often lament my lack of attention to this blog. Blogging is a far better medium than any of the newer social media, but it also requires a bit more time and thought than a Facebook post. Still, I should give it more attention.

When I think about the friends I've made on here, I'm sometimes reminded of the ones we lost. This week, we mark the passing of Scott Barnes of the blog "Sardonic Bomb", gone suddenly at the age of 50 last weekend. Earlier this year, we also lost Alex. He was only 43. He had a couple of blogs/sites, the main one I followed called "Epicureal Thoughts." Both of them were artists. Scott was a photographer. Alex painted. Both brightened their parts of the world.

The funny thing is, there are members of this blogger tribe I feel close to, even though we never met. These two are good examples. We never got to meet, but Alex's death crushed me. I agonized as he fought for his life, being in intensive care for weeks, only to lose a battle when the damage was more than the doctors could fix. Then we got the news of Scott's sudden death--at least, as Jay explained, he had just finished having fun on a rollercoaster when he died an instantaneous death. Nothing makes death okay, especially at only 50, but at least he didn't suffer.

Although we never met, Scott and I had spoken on the phone. Interestingly, one call I remember was when he'd suffered a loss. I had been through a lot by that point in my life, having lost loved ones and found ways to cope. So we talked about it. Even in tough times like that, I enjoyed our talks, as I've enjoyed the many talks I've had with his partner, Jay.

It's a human failing that we think there always will be time to meet people. That's how I thought of Scott. I missed a visit he made to New York not so long ago, but I figured I'd catch him next time. Now, after our schedules not clicking multiple times, he's gone and "next time" will never come.

I've been blessed to make so many friends on here. I hesitate to start mentioning them, because I'll miss someone. But to give you an idea of how many people this medium brought into my world: Byrne and Andy and Pony and Rob and Jay and Scott and Alex and Patrick and Jason and Matt and Patrick and Michael and Aaron and Deidre and Pua and Richard and Toddy and Jeff and Glenn and Atticus and Joel and Steven and Albert and Karen. And there are more. I feel quite sure I've missed any number of friends.

Most of these people became friends IRL (in real life). Some of them are among our dearest friends now. But even those we never got to meet became close. Over time, you can develop quite a connection through blogging, then private messages and then phone calls. Three of the people I just mentioned are gone. They were too young, but we don't get to decide that. They're gone, and while I never got to hug those three and see them face-to-face, their loss is very real.

Rest in peace, my friends. And the rest of us? Let's not allow too much time to slip by between meetings. Okay?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I've discovered the secret to immortality!

And the secret to immortality is... mothballs!

My grandmother died over 13 years ago. We inherited some lovely furniture from her. In some of the furniture, she'd used mothballs.

Sometime last year, my sandals got dropped into a drawer. Probably after our summer trip to Savannah.

Since it's pretty warm today, I dug them out. I'm now walking around with the smell of Nana Nan's mothballs wafting up at me. *sigh*

Nana lives on!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sorry blog. I don't mean to abandon you. For now, here's a book review!

The Prisoner (John Wells, #11)The Prisoner by Alex Berenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Prisoner is the latest installment in the John Wells series by Alex Berenson. Unlike too many other authors' series, the John Wells novels don't take the easy or simple route. Our hero doesn't have magical strokes of luck or flashes of (literally) unbelievable intuition that save the day.

Wells is smart, experienced and tough, but he's still human. He makes mistakes and he feels his wounds. He can endure things that would finish most of us, but he still pays a price. In The Prisoner, he tries to balance a part of him that's pulling him to domestic life and tranquility that he's certainly earned against his internal call to duty that he can't resist. A serious threat is looming--a threat coming from a place that jeopardizes the US too much for him to ignore--and he can't just walk away.

To try to get to the bottom of it, Wells has to put himself in dangerous places he knows all too well, risking his own safety in the process. The tension in The Prisoner is palpable, and, sadly, much of the action is all too plausible in today's world. If you like espionage/terrorism-centered novels but find yourself rolling your eyes at some of the more simplistic authors' work, then you should try this series. Alex Berenson writes novels that make you think, don't take easy ways out and still give you an exciting ride!


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