Friday, February 28, 2014

Rose of Sharon, Team Player

This winter has been particularly snowy and cold.  We got several inches of snow, than several more.  Unlike most winters around here, there was no thaw in between snowfalls.  This makes things more challenging for the critters living out there.  Such as the rabbit living in my backyard, for instance.

It is not unusual for rabbits to eat of the burning bush or other assorted plants during winter.  This year though, the rabbit has turned a number of Rose of Sharon saplings into what looks like toothpicks after being dropped into a garbage disposal.  I refuse to take a picture of this Rose of Sharon graveyard.

There are several Rose of Sharons in my yard of varying height.  (Fully grown Rose of Sharon trees are about 10 feet tall).  These little trees seed themselves.  Therefore, there are little shoots growing around the full grown trees that, under ordinary circumstances, are considered weeds.  Last fall, however, I saved a good many shoots and scattered them around a big section of the yard.  See, the neighbor cut down a bunch of weed trees that had shaded that big section of the yard for some years.  This lack of sun killed the shrubs that used to grow there.  With the weed trees gone, we now have part sun, where there had been full shade.  My plan to move hostas and ivy and ferns to that area had to be altered.  Thus, there were numerous pencil thick Rose a Sharon saplings sticking up through the snow. 

How many remain?  We'll have to wait till spring to find out.
One thing is for sure.  The Rose of Sharon have taken a hit for Team Rabbit.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 23

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.

Today's question involves the twenty nine and a half foot tall statue of  Nelson Mandela.  He died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95.  A statue to honor the first black president of South Africa was  unveiled in Pretoria on December 16th.

Not allowed to sign the statue on the bottom of a pant leg as they wished, the artists inserted a small object just inside one of the statue's ears.  What is the object?


A South African flag?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Australopicus nelsonmandelai?
  It's an ancient woodpecker
 scientists discovered a year or so ago and
named it after Mandela.
Hostmaster:  I didn't know that!  No, the thing in the statue's ear is not a woodpecker.
A squirrel?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
A clenched fist?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
A little statue of Winnie?
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
A rabbit?
Hostmaster:  correct.  It is a bronze rabbit with one floppy ear, roughly half the height of the statue's ear canal.  The artists said since they weren't allowed to sign the statue, they added the rabbit as a sort of trademark.  Haas, which means rabbit in Afrikaans, also means haste.  The artists were rushed by the South Africa Department of Arts and Culture to finish the statue.  
So ends this round. 
Round 23
Fluffy/Molly 11
Bryan/Cyndi  10
By the way, the Department
 of Arts and Culture
 wants the ear hare removed. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Maybe I Should Floss with Dog Hair

February is dog dental awareness month.  Yeah.  We know.  Brush your dog's teeth, so dirty bad plaque doesn't build up and ugly infection enter into the gums resulting in tooth loss and disease. 

My dogs get their teeth brushed with doggy toothbrushes and doggy toothpaste, their teeth rubbed with little gauze pads saturated with impressive sounding stuff like Chlorhexidine Gluconate. 

But let's talk about me.  Every six months I sit in a dental chair with my mouth agape while a woman scrapes my teeth with a silver tool.   Last week, there was a different hygienist.  I ask where Hygienist A is.  It seems a reasonable question since my appointment is specifically with Hygienist A.  Hygienist B answers curtly, "she's out."

I sit in the chair, my legs straight out.  As Hygienist B hovers over me, I hear myself sigh as I think, this chair has everything a Lazyboy has, except for comfort and relaxation.

Hygienist B works a lever and the chair raises a few inches.   "So.  You have pets," she says, pointing at my legs. 

I glance at my black pants expecting to see a bunch of short tan Mabel hairs.  She probably leaned on me this morning.

Nope.  No Mabel hairs.

Hygienist B informs me that she uses a tape roll tool on her clothes.  I'm still looking for hairs on my pants as she continues to expound on her victory over the untidy presence of pet hair. 

Hygienist B is wearing one of those pajama scrub ensembles popular in dentist offices.

Now the silver tool with the pick at the end makes an appearance in Hygienist B's gloved hand.  She goes after my front bottom teeth with great vigor.  This is where my shameful tea habit is on display. 

She lectures me on the things that stain teeth.  Hygienist B is leaning on my face as she scrapes my horribly filthy teeth.  Pain in my lip increases as she presses ever harder with her fist.

I miss Hygienist A.  She never leans on my face.

Hygienist B tells me it's good that I floss but that is just not enough these days.  She moves a wand around in my mouth. The wand emits a high pitched sound that I find distressing.  I tell her so.  She begins a discourse on this new tool that helps clean teeth with sound waves.  It occurs to me that only people comfortable with dog hair can hear it.

 I miss Hygienist A.  While cleaning my teeth, she chatters cheerfully about her family, camping, swimming, dogs. 

Hygienist B tells me that the reason I have occasional sensitivity in my upper teeth may be because of sinus issues.  That is interesting and something I did not know.  I thank her for that information.

Then Hygienist B announces that the sensitivity is most likely because I brush my teeth manually.  I snort.  She says, no really.  You're right handed right?  You are pressing too hard on that side.  Hygienist B advises that I should use a power toothbrush with extra soft bristles.  The toothbrush controls the number of revolutions and rpms or mph or something.  It does the job better than you can, Hygienist B declares. 

I think to myself.  There is a reason I drive a stick shift.

Finally the ordeal is over.  I feel like I have been beaten up.  I miss Hygenist A.  She cleans my teeth without hurting me.

Hygienist B tells me I can go "checkout at the front desk".  As I swing my legs out of the chair, at last I see a hair on my pants! 

It's one of my hairs.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fluffy and George

Thanks for taking me to the dog park, Fluffy. 
It was a nice change of pace.                         
You're welcome,  George.

I didn't ask the dogs, to avoid embarrassment, should the reason be groomer related.  Why did some of the dogs have yellow ribbons on their leashes?


It's a "give the dog space" signal.  It's called The Yellow Dog Project and is going on in several countries. When you see a yellow ribbon you're not supposed to approach the dog because he is not amenable to being petted.  He may be "reactive" or nervous or elderly or what have you.  The yellow ribbon is like a warning.  It's supposed to teach people not to run willy-nilly up to a dog.

Wouldn't it make more sense to teach people to simply give all dogs some space?  After all, you humans don't run willy-nilly up to each other. Somehow that occurs without ribbons. Why make such a big deal out of dog/human encounters?

That makes too much sense.  Ribbons are big with people who say they want to raise awareness about something.  The ribbons draw attention to them. 

Yes. I see.