Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Here's Rea and her close friend Ash, all gussied up for an afternoon of manners and more. Let's just say that they haven't exactly been willing participants, but I don't think it's been has bad as as they've really let on.

They are learning the proper way to introduce themselves, about making good eye contact and hand-shaking techniques.

They've learned how to eat soup the proper way and practiced eating the Continental or European style yesterday using gummy worms and marshmallows.

Each week they work on dancing too, and have been working on the Foxtrot, The Shag and the Cha Cha Slide.

At the end of their classes they get to get all dressed up and attend a "ball" and practice everything they've learned.

They're already dreading it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Well, what do you know...

Nameless DVR and I finally found the National Parks series on PBS!

And Nameless wanted to be sure that I didn't miss it - he recorded this two-hour special FOUR times last night.

Let me know if you have questions about 1851-1890 ;-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Just waiting for Jack Frost

My Mom was bemoaning this fact the other day - why is it that just before cold weather that your outdoor plants look their VERY best?

My neighbors are beginning to put out mums and such, but I'm hanging on to my pots. I drove to Huntsville (thank.you.very.much) to buy that scaevola (the blue stuff) and it's happy and the periwinkle is going nuts. And the bacopa hanging out of the back of the pots isn't doing too shabby either, the only thing that didn't do well were the geraniums and I think they just got crowded out.

I often wonder why I go to the trouble when I'm just going to have to watch them die anyway.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

They say time heals all wounds.

But I'm not really buying into that rhetoric these days. I think Ray Charles really knew what he was talking about when he said that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Cause I'm just not over my TiVo. I know it's wrong to mourn a piece of electronic equipment, but Internet, I do. I miss my Tivo so. It's been months now, and I still don't have the least bit of affection for that Nameless DVR Box TiVo wanna- be that simply lives to frustrate me.

For example, this morning while enjoying my Sunday morning coffee, I watched this really interesting piece about a special on PBS by Ken Burns on our National Parks system.

I would like to watch the special. I would like to record the special. I tried. I failed.

First I looked for the special using the pseudo-search function on my Nameless DVR Box and struck out (because my Nameless DVR is nothing if not literal, he has not an intuitive bone in his body). Then I turned to faithful old friend Google and found that the special airs on Sunday, September 27th.

I returned to my Nameless DVR Box and manually scrolled through Every.Single.Time.Bracket on PBS until I reached Sunday, September 27th and GUESS WHAT? Nameless DVR company doesn't download programming that far in advance.

Guess I'm back to the olden days of a yellow Post-It Note stuck to the television to remind me that I want to watch something on Sunday, September 27th!

O, TiVo, TiVo. Wherefore art thou?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nelson, it’s for you...

Two or three nights a week, Nelson slips out the cat door, sidles across the backyard and makes himself at home with Scout and Trooper’s people. He lounges on their dog beds, plays ball, mooches treats and pretty much acts like he lives there and he’s been doing this since he was a puppy. It’s just part of his routine – and they truly don’t seem to mind, except when he has insomnia and decides to visit at 1:30 in the morning (which happens every now and again).

We even call and let them know when we are going to be out late for the evening so that they know that Nelson might be staying over later than usual, and occasionally, he even spends the night. He sleeps with the boys and they all have a fine old time.

Usually though, our routine doesn’t vary a lot, and about 9:00 or so I’ll call over and say “Will you tell Nelson that it’s time to come home?” and they send him out the back door through their courtyard. I call him from the deck and if I’m lucky he comes running like a good little Shih Zhu.

[But remember that I have to yell SHELLEY SIT, because Nelson doesn’t respond to COME like a regular, ordinary, smart kind of dog. I have to say SHELLEY SIT so that he thinks he’s going to get a treat, but is not, and I will have to continue doing this UNTIL HE DIES.]

What I didn’t know until the other night, is that Nelson KNOWS when the phone rings that it is time for him to come home. And if I call or text their cell phones and request his presence, they have to CALL their house phone, otherwise…Nelson refuses to leave.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Another Birthday

Katie was our first Sheltie; Danny brought her home to me as a Christmas gift one year, pulling into the garage with this tiny puppy in a box on the floorboard of his truck, and asking me to guess what he’d brought. I had really been jonesing for a pair of cool boots and a Liz Claiborne purse, so that’s what I guessed, from that point forward I always referred to Katie as my “Christmas boots”.

At 5 ½, Katie unexpectedly went into renal failure; we spent several months and quite a bit of money trying to save her, but were not successful.

I will tell you that putting Katie down was one of the most heart-wrenching things that I’ve ever experienced. She was young, had been in excellent health and then on the turn of a dime became ill. She would have days of seemingly great health and then a terrible day – we’d get our resolve up and make our tough decision, then come home to a happy, perky Katie and change our minds.

Finally, in the end, Katie was sick, in pain and the sad deed was done, and we resolved to be dog-free; and so we were ‘ til November.

Before the internet came along and sucked up so much of my time, I used to read every last inch of The Tennessean (minus sports), down to the classifieds. Every day. So fate intervened one day just before Thanksgiving that, I would run across a litter of Shetland Sheepdog puppies in my neck of the woods.

I called that afternoon, made an appointment and went to see the litter the next day and picked out a sweet little girl that we named Shelley.

Our sweet Shelley girl turns 14 today – that’s 98 in dog years – and what a lady she’s been. She’s had an awesome dog life: travel, children, golf cart rides, treats, you name it. But the kicker is that Shelley’s health isn’t so great now, she has arthritis, she can’t always get up the stairs, incontinence is becoming a real problem and she’s deaf. I’m truly concerned about her getting hit by a car.

Sad as it is, we know that we are going to be faced with another tough decision about a beautiful girl. We’re just trying to get our hearts ready, if that’s possible.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And it came to pass...

My girls don't see eye to eye about much; I guess if I was being perfectly honest they don't see eye to eye about anything at all anymore. They basically occupy the upper level of our house, pass like ships in the night and merely agree to disagree - most of the time.

Later yesterday another small verbal skirmish broke out, it wasn't much different than the handful of others that seem to pop-up on daily basis, sadly Danny and I are pretty immune to these battles and sometimes even watch from the sidelines like spectators.

As it is sometimes wont to do, the battle became just a wee bit physical yesterday and Big Sister threw her weight around first.

And Big Sister learned that the stakes have changed.

Although Big Sister has five years on her younger sibling, she failed to take into account that she is now out-sized.

I don't think she will make the same mistake again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What the...

Nelson met us at the car Sunday with this offering hanging from his mouth.

It's the head from a decapitated Barbie.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So sad...

There is a huge band of land, probably fifty acres of more, that separates our subdivision and a couple of neighboring ones. You can tell that it was once part of a farm or homeplace - there is an abandoned barn and hundreds of beautiful oaks and hickories.

Many wildlife make their home on this piece of land and this summer many of us have particularly enjoyed watching a doe with her twin fawns tiptoe in and out of the protective cover of that beautiful area.

But it's beautiful no more - the owner - is logging the land.

It appears that every last tree will be cut and day after day log trucks, stacked with once proud and magnificent trees, are rolling out of our once quiet neighborhood.

Last night we saw two young raccoons come up out the storm drain across the street - something that we've never seen before, their habitat most likely destroyed. Other neighbors say that great numbers of deer are passing through their yards, moving on and searching for a new home; and I'm most heart-sick about the hoot owls that made their home there. Oh, how we've loved listening to them call back and forth to one another through the years.

I know the land belongs to someone else and it is his right to do with it what he will. But I can't for the life of me understand why someone would willfully and without reason, destroy such a thing of beauty.

It makes me truly wonder if there is hope for the world sometimes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

They're Everywhere, They're Everywhere

Our yard is a mosquito paradise; the abundance of trees, foliage and bed after bed of groundcover and ivy provides a haven like no other. Add to that a nightly dousing from our irrigation system and we have ourselves a perfect little ecosystem and some slap-happy mosquitoes at our place.

I happen to think that the mosquitoes in our yard believe that I am their own personal “Dinner on the Ground” – fried chicken, deviled eggs and pound cake all rolled into one. They love me like no one else, I personally think they have a mosquito scouts stationed at all the doors and once I step out a special mosquito call goes up so they can swarm me.

They bite me through my clothes and on my ears – even on the soles of my feet and the palms of my hands.

The mosquitoes have even made me a bit of a prisoner in my own home – I got kind of tired of dousing myself with OFF!, it’s stinky and sticky and once I discovered that it pitted my toe nail polish and the paint on the hood of the lawnmower, I began to wonder about the toxic build-up in my brain. I'm crazy enough as it is, the last thing I need to do is destroy more brain cells with bug spray.

This summer, we’ve even gone so far as having our pest control company treat our entire yard for the evil little critters; and it works for about three days. We must have some pretty tenacious residents, cause they are back in force and looking for me with a vengeance and I’m cursing that $40 bucks that we’ve throw down the drain.

My parents came for a visit this weekend and we attempted to sit out on our deck. We lit the citronella candles to ward off all of our pesky little friends, but they were doing a fine job of making a meal of me and my Dad – they think he’s very tasty too – so I went to the garage to find the OFF!.

I liberally doused myself with OFF! and then oh.so.kindly sprayed my Dad’s feet and ankles and sat back down, but they still kept bothering me. I picked up the OFF! again and sprayed my arms.

Whereupon my Mom remarked: “Is there any particular reason that you are spraying yourself with Raid Ant & Roach Killer?”

Let me just tell you that Raid has absolutely no mosquito repelling abilities…at all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why, no child, I don't believe I did

On a recent trip to Kentucky we had to make a brief pit stop on the outskirts of Nashville. The temperature was hovering over ninety-five that afternoon, we were hitting the city right at rush hour and as usual we were behind schedule.

To say that our moods were at their finest would be an gross misstatement.

I got the honor of walking Nelson and Shelley on a dead and crusty strip of grass next to a busy side street - semi after semi passed by as the dogs did their "business", and I was getting quite impatient and was feeling very obvious out there.

Finally, Rea came out of the convenience store and stood with me for a bit.

Apropos of nothing she said:

"Mom, when you were twelve, did you ever imagine that you would be walking two dogs at a truck stop in Nashville with a daughter that had a face just like yours?"