Monday, September 15, 2014


 We're here!  Moved in!

 Check out this view from the kitchen window.

Meanwhile, the boxes full of our stuff are lined up in rows with aisles in between.  This arrangement works well in the big garage but in the little living room, it's grand, as long as you don't mind walking sideways to move from one side of the room to the other.

Mabel refuses to let a few boxes disturb her serenity. 
Alas, not all of us are as serene as Mabel.  Where is my favorite paring knife?  Why the bleep wasn't it in the box with the other knives?!
Ah, here's the hammer.  Now, where the **** are the hanger thingies for the pictures?  I was so sure I'd packed them with the stud finder.   The stud finder is beeping merrily.  It is clearly a buffet of studs around here.
See, some ninny painted all the walls white.  Some other ninny probably told them it would help sell the place.  White walls are neutral.
It's OK.  A few pictures will perk up these walls.  Let's hang some pictures now! 
Still haven't found the picture hanger thingies.
With the lack of something appropriate to pound, it could get ugly around here.  Perhaps it would be best if I stopped carrying the hammer around the house.

Henry helpfully points out how a colorful rug can brighten a drab hallway.  

Sure, it's easy for you to be easy going, dogs, you aren't still looking for your favorite paring knife. 

And the picture hanger thingies. 

Maybe the thing to do is to go outside......

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crate Training, Flood Edition

Yes,  dog crates are a wonderful tool.   The dog has a private place of his own to rest, take meals and stay out of trouble.  The crate system works well.  It has worked well at my house.  That is, until the crates took on water.

Thanks to the August 11th mega storm, the basement stayed full of ankle deep water.  The liquid remained in place for some three, four days.  During this interval, the dogs lost their crate availability, at least in the old manner of use. 

We came up with a new routine.  For the older dogs, it meant offering an alternative location to dine.  Thus, when the bowls were full and ready to be served, instead of following the dogs down the stairs to their crates to serve the meal, access to the basement was casually blocked.  The dogs were steered to separate areas of the kitchen with the invitation, "let's eat our food".

For the puppy, at large eating was not a sensible option.  Conveniently, we had a second crate already in place in the bedroom.  (At night, the adult dogs sleep on blankets on the floor of the bedroom.  Puppy Henry sleeps on a blanket inside a crate.)  So at mealtime, after the big dogs got their food, Henry was led to his crate upstairs for his meal accompanied by the suggestion, "let's eat our food".

Interestingly, several days later when we moved to the new house, the older dogs easily transitioned to eating in the new kitchen.  (The big dog crates, now dry, remain folded in the garage.)  Puppy Henry continues to eat and sleep in his crate in the bedroom.

"Let's eat our food" may not technically be a command, but it worked just fine for our impromptu flood retool/training.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 28

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Let's get on with it.

Penn State is all agog.   No, not more tawdry locker room goings-on.  A junior at Penn along with a sidekick have themselves a sort of circus act.  They're getting more likes on Facebook than the Penn State mascot.  She has even been interviewed on the hard hitting "news" source, NPR.

What and with whom is she doing to garner all this attention?

She started a Nerd Walking Service?  You know,
like a dog walking service but with nerds.

That's so insensitive and hateful.
Hostmaster:  oh boy.  Incorrect, Fluffy.
She's raising awareness of Women's Rights
by wearing a dress made of
sanitary napkins?
Hostmaster:  eww. 
With tampon earrings to complete the ensemble!
Hostmaster:  Yes, the benefits of higher education include time to sit around, get high and watch MSNBC.  Geez, I almost hope this student is high.
Incorrect, Cyndi.
I know about this because I
 try to keep up on squirrel news.
Sneezy the Penn State Squirrel
wears hats and holds things.
 This student takes his picture
adds a caption, and posts it online.
The student claims the squirrel does
it all willingly for food.
Hostmaster:  correct.
What sort of captions?
Stuff like, "We're Ready to go Back
to School!" with a picture of
the squirrel holding a pencil.  
Hostmaster:  higher education takes another hit. Give the squirrel some lines from Candide?  Nah.  Hand him a pencil.  Clever rated to preschool level.
They're selling stuff too.
There's a picture of the squirrel
next to a little toy store
wearing a straw hat with flowers
on it.  The whole thing is
undignified even for
a squirrel, it seems to me.
Well, if you want to see this freak show, be sure to visit FB soon!
This squirrel won't be around much longer.
It's only a matter of time before he dashes into the road for a
potato chip and is run down by a garbage truck
or fails to see the shadow of an approaching
 raptor because the brim of a stupid
 hat is blocking his view.
So ends another round.
I hear squirrel is tasty.  I'll bet Molly has some recipes.
You bet I do! 
Fluffy, you brought your car, right?
  Let's get some lunch!

Let's not
 brake for lunch.
I'll bring the chips!
Round 28
Fluffy/Molly  14
Bryan/Cyndi   10

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Closed with a Monsoon Chaser

Finally.  Closing day.  The Handsome One and I made the hour and forty five minute drive through heavy rain in just over two hours.  The rain stopped when we walked into the building.  The rain started up again on the way back.

This was a thick hostile rain.  Nonetheless, we drove through it unconcerned, flushed with excitement.  A dream had been realized.  This is something we've wanted for years and years, little house, big acrage.  It was ours now.

The rain let up. We drove on, feeling strange to be returning to the suburban home we lived in for nearly twenty years.  A house we didn't own anymore.  That closing had occurred a few weeks ago.  We were squatters there now. 

About an hour from the place that used to be home, we sat in traffic that wasn't moving.  The rain left lakes under overpasses and in one section of the highway, caused a mudslide.  A mudslide in Michigan!

That hour drive turned into three.  Closer to the place that we used to call home was the toughest, the wettest.  Again and again, we pushed through several inches of water over the road, gritting our teeth,  hoping that the bow of our utility vehicle was high enough to get us through.  We moved past many stalled cars.  All of them smaller than ours.  They appeared anchored there in the road.  It seemed strange that none of them bobbed in our wake.


The Handsome One and I both had to go to the bathroom-not surprising after 5 hours in the car.  We vowed not to pee until the dogs did.  Our dogs waited for us on the other side of so many flooded roads.  They'd been holding it for nearly 8 hours.

When we finally reached the house, I rushed to the basement to let the dogs out.  They sat in their crates surrounded by water.  Gamely, the dogs marched through the water up the stairs and outside.

The stuff in the basement that couldn't be wrung out had to be thrown away.  It's amazing how much ankle deep water can ruin.

Nearby neighborhoods looked like a tornado had torn through.   Sidewalks were heaped with teetering soggy piles of trash.

 to be continued...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Henry is a Teenager

Little dogs grow faster than big dogs, maybe because they have less growing to do.  Well, not to them.  Anyway, a toy breed dog reaches physical maturity at about nine months of age.  A giant breed dog finishes growing at around two years of age. 

Henry, at five months, weighs a whopping 6.6 pounds.  At nine weeks, he weighed 3 pounds.   

Henry is leggy, his torso is longer now.  The other day while wet from a bath, he resembled a Rat Terrier.  How very symbolic in this stage of Henry's development.  (Massive heartfelt apologies to all Rat Terriers!)

So, we're in the yard.  Henry moves his gangly self under the bird feeder and immediately finds something with his mouth. 

What is it that he is about to swallow?  A stick perhaps, that will poke a hole in his intestine?  Some bird poop carrying a bird disease against which his young immune system cannot fight?  

I bellow, "drop it!"  Henry knows the 'drop it/leave it' command. 

The mystery substance still in his mouth, he looks me in the eye, then squats to pee.  Such a good boy does his business outside.  He moves his gangly self to a flowerbed...  

Monday, July 28, 2014


Just a couple brief remarks in between doing the myriad stuff that needs to be done with an impending  move.

Shortly before the lock box was placed on our front doorknob, I got my hair cut.  After telling my hair dresser that we were about to put our home up for sale, she looked off pensively for a moment.  Then she said, "don't worry about it.  Your house will sell in one day."
There are some things I will miss when we move:  the backyard pond, the master bathroom, the bird store, and my hair dresser.    

Friday, July 4, 2014

Breed Profile: Boxer

The Boxer is an athletic amiable dog, prone to antics. 

Due to his strength, eagerness to do things with his people and a short nose allowing for a good grip, the Boxer was originally used to hunt and hold large prey such as bears, wild boar and deer.  In Germany during the 19th century, the Boxer worked with police, performed in circuses and as Butcher's Dogs, their job to keep cattle in slaughter yards under control.

During the World Wars, Boxers served as pack-carriers, sentries and messengers.

Some Boxer Facts

- life span:  10-12 years

- height at shoulder:  21-25 inches

- weight:  50-80 pounds

- the coat is short and smooth.  Colors:  fawn, brindle, with or without white and black markings

Boxers are cheerful sturdy dogs that enjoy being with children.  They usually do OK with other dogs but can sometimes be aggressive with dogs of the same sex.  Cats and Boxers can live in harmony as long as they have been raised together.  Boxers tend to chase small animals such as rabbits and rats (even if you consider these creatures part of the family).

Boxer Manifesto

don't call me high strung.  I am exuberant.

-  I am not an outdoor dog, unless we're doing something fun together outside.  After-words, I expect to return with you to the comfort of your bed

-  those who call me stubborn are obviously not intelligent enough to merit my obedience

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 27

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.   Superpowers are a popular topic lately. 

In order to maintain the pretense that we care about current prattle, today we'll each explain which superpower we would choose to possess if we had the chance.

I want to be able to read
minds.  Then I could tell
when I'm up against
the narrow minded.
Hostmaster: oh boy.
Molly, what superpower would you want?
I would like the agility of a squirrel.
Not just any squirrel, though. 
A flying squirrel.
Hostmaster:  How about you, Bryan?
I want superpower to write aphorisms. 
Hostmaster:  so you want to be a writer?
I want to be a gnomist.
Hostmaster:  you're dreaming with the super heroes, pal.

I don't need a superpower. 
God has that covered.
You know, Fluffy.
 It's narrow minded people like you
 who ruin it for everybody.

Hostmaster:  oh boy.
Who do you think won this round?
God, of course.
You, da gnomist!