VirgoVoice

I'm just sayin'

Part II Dogs I Have Known and Loved

Bubbles has graced this blog before. But this is such a classic image of her with one ear up and one ear down I had to include her again. Expect to see more of her. She just turned one year. Bubbles lives next door to me and comes over in the morning when her family takes off for work and school. They are barely out of the driveway when she abandons the front door, hurries out of the doggie door and up to our common gate and gives several sharp barks and then waits patiently for me to come open the gate and let her in. She comes in every morning as if she had been gone months. Maybe in dog hours it feels like that. If a dog can be a ‘tomboy’ she is the epitome of it. She is a little tuffy. She will chase down her ‘brother’ an 85-pound golden retriever and take the tennis ball away from him. So when her 12-year old owner dresses her up in ruffly dresses it just makes me laugh. She is an eight pound Yorkshire Terrier.

Whenever I take my dogs in public, to the park, the Home Depot, the pet store, the yogurt shop, wherever…people of all ages want to say hi to them. Some folks come right on up to the dogs. Some people ask first if it’s okay to pet them. And sometimes I can tell someone wants to interact but doesn’t ask, so I ask them, you want to say hi? Or if my dogs act interested in the person I ask them if they’re afraid of dogs? If not, I tell them my dogs want to say hi to them. It has opened some interesting conversations. People tell me stories of their dogs. Or how they’d really like to have a dog but for myriad reasons haven’t done it yet. The dogs are conversation starters. And why not? They’re really cute!! But my two aren’t the only cute dogs out there.

I have more pictures of dogs who belong to family or friends. If I have my camera with me and you have a dog I will eventually end up with a picture of your dog. Luckily, I can still remember which dog belongs to which family or friend. The oldest dog I have contact with when I visit is Tinker. Tinker, a miniature Schnauzer, is seventeen years old. She lives with a great Dane and a cocker-spaniel and two teen-age boys. She holds her own with the all of them. One of the curious aspects of her aging is she moves kind of rickety at times. Maybe a little stiff in the joints. However, she has to go down about 5-stairs to get to the lawn. She’ll get to those stairs and practically fly down them. She’ll walk a few yards to do her business and then slowly head to the stairs. Tinker gets to the stairs and then bounds up them like she is a pup. Then she takes her time to get in the door and get her treat, which she will not let you forget. If I’m there I slip her an extra treat. Or two? What the heck?

This here is tinker

Tinker Belle, aka, Tink is 17-years-old and still getting around on her own power. If you do the ‘dog year’ age she is 119 years-old. You go girl.

Vixen has grown into those ears. She is the offspring of Olive, a West Highland White Terrier and a Dachshund and German Shepard mix. She has a sister who runs with her, they chase each other in their big, grassy backyard. They cool off in a wading pool. How cute is that? However, they have not mastered the art of no chewing. But they’re both working on it. They may have to see Dr. Phil.

Star was a little more than year old when I met her. She is 61/2 years-old now. She and my Phoebe were the best of friends when they were young. They would run full speed and turn on a dime sometimes tumbling over each other. They don’t see each other as much as they used to when they were pups. But this picture I took of Star when she was about 18-months-old. I kept trying to get a shot of her full length but every time I got down on her level, because she didn’t like being up on a table, she would walk up to the camera. So I took one of her looking in the lens and I love it. It’s one of my favorites. Star is an Italian Greyhound and Chihuahua mix. She weighs in at about 10-pounds.

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I Have A Purpose; Repurposing

To use today’s vernacular for hand-me-downs or worthless-pieces-of-crap, I am a lover of  ‘repurposing’. It’s the new buzz word in the Home & Garden sector. Repurpose.  For example; say you broke your favorite coffee mug or ceramic plate or vase or grandfather’s whiskey jug  or, okay you get the picture. Instead of throwing the broken pieces out, you pick up the pieces, carefully of course, put them in a box and wait for a nice outdoor kind of day and you can make a concrete stepping stone, placing the broken pieces in the wet concrete. And just think, you’ll have two more memories to add to your tale of your favorite plate you bought in Nova Scotia on your honeymoon; 1) The day you broke that mug and how you felt standing over the broken pieces of your treasured item. That’s one more tale to add to your favorite stories repertoire. 2) You can share your experience of making the stepping stone for your garden with sunflowers and dahlias and a freakish looking gnome. You can have all that from being clumsy. Plus, you’ll have a stepping stone that is home to your memories.

I have been ‘repurposing’ all my life. I just didn’t call it that. I am the self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Spray Paint’. I will spray paint anything. Tired of that 1990 blonde oak picture frame? Spray it. Just a couple of rules to remember; not inside, make sure it’s not real windy and put some old newspaper under the item. Then spray away. I have footstools, patio chairs, frames, bookcases , you name it, that have been multiple colors over the years. I tye-dye dingy white t-shirts. I have even done it for other people. Just because a still in good condition t-shirt – or skivvy shirt as my dad used to call them, has a little wine stain on the front. Tye-dye it. It’s not that hard. I mean hippies did it in the ’60s, what does that tell you?

So with my lifetime of repurposing,  imagine my surprise when a very good friend of mine and his cousin ( they know who they are) were embarrassed in a restaurant, in San Francisco, on the wharf, when I pulled out my eyeglass case. I, at the time, was using a white sock. Seriously. First off, it was not big and bulky. Secondly, it was white – easy to find in a backpack or purse where the insides are black, same color as the regulation style eyeglass case the optometrist gives with your new prescription. It was an only-sock, it’s other half disappeared, The washer ate it, I guess. My dining companions actually tried to act as if they weren’t with me – I was at the same table. Needless to say I am not the only person who has ended up with one sock out of a pair. What do you do with one sock? Use them in different ways. And this day the wayward sock was an eyeglass case. Just to be sure my idea was not as whacky as the two at my table made it out to be, I asked the guests at the neighboring table what they thought of my idea. They gave me a thumbs up. That’s how I remember it. But the only-sock doesn’t have to be just an eyeglass case. I have used the not so good ones for dust rags – and I feel okay just throwing out the not so good sock after it’s been used because it served another purpose. It was repurposed. I even made a friend a fancy only-sock eyeglass case with a  decorative ribbon. But it’s okay to go just-plain-Jane. I have a few examples of plain Jane repurposed socks. But as the trend catches on you will see more and more fancy only-socks making their appearances everywhere; the Red Carpet, at airports and theaters near you.

A footsie is in the sock category. This is the kind a patient gets in the hospital. It has grippers for non-skid on the bottom. This one I use to house and protect my GPS. In today’s world these are not best left on the dashboard. What do you do with it? Try to cram it into your glove box with pencils and hairbrushes and other junk that could potentially scratch or damage your treasured techno map? Just drop it in, it fits ‘like a glove’ but it’s a footsie. The other up-side to this is the grippers on the bottom keep it from sliding off the console and it does not look like an item that would house a hundred dollar  or more piece of technology, thwarting a potential break in.                                                                                           

Here is the repurposed sock as an eyeglass case. Just slip the glasses into the sock , it’ll slide down to the foot part, then you turn the crew-top over. The tightness will help keep the glasses from sliding out. Yet, easy to reach into. On the plus side, besides repurposing the sock, the ‘case’ can be used to clean your glasses, too. Eyeglass case and an eyeglass cleaner. What more could you want from an item that keeps your glasses from getting scratched?                                                                                   

All styles can be used for different purposes. This short sport sock I use as a coin holder. It rests on the console of my truck with coins in it. The no-neck sock makes It is easy to reach into when you need to grab money quickly at the drive-thru or to quickly grab some coins to give to the ‘Vietnam Vet’ with his cardboard sign at the bottom of the off ramp. It’s easier to get into than a coin purse with a latch or fumbling around in the ashtray for your spare change. Plus, if you spill your coffee or dribble your lunch while eating in the car, ta-da, you have something to wipe it up with. A coin purse and washable napkin.How can you go wrong with that?

And last but not least, is the dog toy. Although this was not an only-sock, it was an ugly sock that came in a package with multiple colors. I use ugly socks or worn-out socks as dog toys, I tie a knot in them and put them in the basket of dog toys. Well, you can see for yourself how well loved this sock is. The one on the left is pretty much the way they both started out. The one on the right is after many hours of playing. As a matter of fact this is Phoebe’s favorite item to play with. She will push past other toys in the basket to retrieve this one and bring it over for a good ol’ game of tug of war, with a human or canine friend. Recently, after I found it in several pieces, I brought out the ‘newer’ one and put her old one inside to entice her. It did, but she still wanted the old ratty one. You can see for yourself, it has certainly been repurposed.

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Reba Faye Update

Reba looking longingly for more food!

After a month of a new diet and taking her hypothyroidism medication Reba has lost nearly two pounds – which is considerable for a dog who only stands eight-inches tall. Her weight loss has improved not only her health but her activity level.  She leads on walks instead of bringing up the rear. Every night she brings her ratty ol’ toy and tosses it up in the air and barks until someone throws it for her so she can run and retrieve it to do it all over again. She may have a new diet but she is still sweet as pie. Just look at that face.

 

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AGT Quarterfinals

Watching America’s Got Talent this season has not been all that thrilling, at least for me. Usually when I watch one of these type of talent shows I pick out a favorite act or performer. Not necessarily a favorite to win, but one I like. Winners and favorites aren’t always the same. Well, this season I have watched faithfully – though it seems to drag on a little more this season then I remember. But maybe that’s because 1) there seem to be so many more finalists and 2) nobody really stood out to me. Not like the year Terry Fator the ventriloquist with the incredible singing voice showed up to take the show by storm. Terry Fator won the show and the million dollars and has his own Vegas act in the Terry Fator Theater at the Mirage. I voted for him back then – he won and I have gone to see his show. I am telling you, if you get to Vegas you have to see his show. Incredible talent and entertainment.  A must see and it is for the whole family.          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiYli7lt0pc

Fast forward a few seasons of America’s Got Talent and there is nobody in the same category as Terry Fator. However, after watching tonight’s last 12 performers of the last round of eliminations, 8 will be eliminated after tonight’s votes are tallied, I saw a few acts that just might have what it takes to win the contest. The winner need be a show with entertainment value, be worth a million dollars and have John Q Citizen be willing to spend money to go see the performance. William Close, a contestant, is an inventor &  musician who engineered an instrument he calls an ‘Earth Harp’. It is hard to explain, it is harp like, it has wires stretched, I’m going to guess, maybe 100 feet across the stage and over the audience attached to something I can’t see. At  the stage level they are attached to wood, similar to a harp and he coerces music from this monster size harp that he made. Tonight he stepped it up with his performance and added homemade drums and a singer. You have to see the act if not just  to see this instrument and how he manipulates these wires or string to make such beautiful sounds. The music is not only captivating but to know he made this harp is impressive. He stands out from the run-of-the-mill musical artists who come across the AGT stage. Even if he doesn’t win the competition I am sure this will not be the last we hear of William Close.

I would say out of the 12 performances tonight, it will be a difficult choice to whittle it down to four, but America votes and tomorrow night we will know who moves on to the finals. The one act that I don’t get is a guy who calls himself Horse. His “talent” is taking hits to his bits and pieces! Hits with bats, drop kicks to his scrotum, run in with poles. In his audition he had a guy use a sledge hammer on his family jewels. Can that really be categorized as a talent? And why? He’s up against 10-year-old Mariachi singer Sebastian and mind-reader Eric Dittleman, to name just a couple of REAL talented contestants. If you haven’t seen Horse get repeated nut shots it’s hard to believe without seeing. To see William Close’s Earth Harp and Horse, go to:   http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/   I’m going to wait until the final 12 contestants before I pick my favorite from that select group and I’ll choose who I think will win. Anybody have any guesses who will make it to the top three?

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Out of the Closet…

…and on to the internet. Over the years I have spent oodles of time and oodles of money enjoying photography. I have spent too many hours to count in a dark room developing film and printing black and white photos. Many of them trapped in boxes in a closet just dying to be shared. I am inspired to share some of  them. And of course they all come with a story. I not only have black and white – those are the ones I developed and printed myself, but scores of color prints, too.

Some photos are more snapshots than a planned photography session or excursion. There are those times I had to seize the moment. The images I’ve posted today are in that category – I just grabbed my camera and tried to freeze the split second flash of time I had to witness and record the event. Sometimes I’m not quick enough and it’s just a Kodak moment in my mind. Sometimes the image is a little blurry and may be of no interest to anyone else. But, is a reminder to me of that fleeting scene that meant enough to me to want to capture it.

I hope you enjoy these images and I look forward to sharing more photos – there are plenty!

I had to snap a photo of this colorful visitor. I had never seen this kind of bird in my backyard before and I have never seen one again. Was it a wayward bird who was lost or just saw a bird retreat and decided to give it a try? My bird book is not for the amateur bird watcher – that would be me! The book I have requires one to know the family a bird belongs to. And I am lucky to identify it as I bird I don’t recognize. Maybe my other birds didn’t make it feel welcome. For whatever reason I have never seen one again. I think I should invest in a simple bird guide – maybe one that puts them in color categories. Anybody know what kind of bird this is?

As I passed my kitchen window I glanced out towards the bird feeder and was surprised to see ‘someone’ else watching the bird feeder. I’m not sure what kind of hawk this is – but I’m pretty darn sure it’s a hawk that loves little birds and not in a good way. I have identified a sharp-shinned hawk before in my backyard trees. My bird book lists small birds as their favorite meal. But since I am no bird expert and can’t see more identifiable markings on this hawk your guess is as good as mine. I watched the hawk for a minute or two before I thought ‘oh I should take a picture’. I took this photo through my window with a point and shoot camera – it was the closest at hand. The hawk kept his eye on the feeder, but there were no birds. As a matter of fact, it was very quiet in the backyard; no scrub jays squawking, no mockingbirds singing, very quiet on the home front. It finally flew off and within minutes the backyard came alive again. The feeder had traffic, the bird bath had bathers and even the squirrels jumped from tree to fence. Back to normal…

I dropped this feeder filled with seed on its squirrel-proof top and cracked it. Before I could replace it I repaired it with good ol’ duct tape. Almost immediately the resident squirrel peeled off the tape. And I caught him with his head in the top of the feeder.  I ran him off and applied a double layer of tape. Within minutes of me going back into the house he was out there checking out the new repair job. But this time he couldn’t get a good start on the tape edge. He looks as though he’s trying to figure out his next move. He eventually gave up, the duct tape won this battle. (You think he’d be happy with the peanuts I put out for him.)

For weeks this little bird would come tapping on the window early in the morning. Out of a sound sleep, Mercedes Lynn, our schnauzer, would fly off the bed, down the stairs to sit and stare at the bird as it pecked the window. Mercedes would sit transfixed. I could call her name, jiggle the car keys, rattle her leash, nothing distracted her from sitting there eye to eye with this daily visitor. But just as quickly as it had showed up it disappeared. I am told male birds see their reflection in the glass and think it’s another male and it is defending it’s turf. And let me tell you, birds that peck at their reflection are relentless in their pecking while defending it’s territory.

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Hates a Strong Word…

When I was a growing up my mom had instructed us that there were certain words we were not supposed to use; her rule. The word at the top of the list was hate. My mom always said it was such a strong word, surely there’s another word you can use instead of hate. For example, “No thank you. I really don’t care for foie gras.”  “I loathe people who don’t know how to merge on to a freeway.” “I detest loud-talkers.”  Over the years, I have noticed when people use the word hate in conversation they usually spit out the word hate. They put a little more spin on the word, use a little more energy that could have been spent elsewhere. If you try substituting  hate synonyms it’s kind of difficult to put as much lip-curling, nose-turning-up action on them. “I HATE green beans.” But when you say “I detest green beans.” the word is mighty enough to just say it with the same tone. Though adding a shrug of the shoulders along with the delivery adds the final punch without the venom.  Try it. “I detest green beans.” See. You don’t have to use so much energy on things not worth getting your panties in a bunch for.

With all that said, I’d like to say, I am detesting & loathing a certain gopher in my backyard. A few weeks ago a gopher snake visited our yard and I thought I had seen a decline in gopher population around the home front. There may have been a decline, but there is at least one gopher still out there wreaking havoc on what few plants are left. Some of the plants/trees were established on this property fifty-years ago, such as the orange, lemon and grapefruit trees. There are well established Bird of Paradise plants and rose bushes. Underneath the umbrella of the large Navel Orange tree grows a small, camellia bush. I kept the bush when we first moved here because I thought of it as part of this old house Mr. Caruso built with love for his wife. It never got very big because it was shaded by the orange tree, but every year it bloomed with an abundance of beautiful red camellias. It has survived 11 years. My guess is the bush is at least twenty years old. Well, about two weeks or so ago I soaked the orange tree that hovers over the camellia bush. Apparently the softened ground beckoned the gopher or gophers to come dig in the one area they had not infested. Yep, the lonely ol’ faithful camellia bush was targeted. The gopher,s I had resigned to live with, double-crossed me. The little b*&%*#^$.   I saw gopher activity near the bush but figured it had left it alone for the entire 11 years I have lived here. Why would they start now? Did they leave it alone? Noooo.  Once you notice the gophers are in the vicinity there’s not a lot you can do. They do the damage rather quickly.

One thing I have done over the years to live with the gophers is some container gardening.  Tomatoes and squash grow in wine barrels. Mint and sage in pots. And I have a planter box that’s not easy to run a drip system to. So I use what I like to call, “poor man’s drip system.” I use wine bottles filled with water, turned upside down in the soil next to the plant. I soak the soil in the planter to be sure it is really wet and then jam the full wine bottles in next to the plant. Obviously filled with water. You don’t want to waste good wine on the plants. And as the soil drys out, the water from the bottle is sucked down into the soil a little at a time. It works. It kept my herbs; Thai basil, Greek oregano and jalapenos alive for 10 days while I was not at home. If you have a huge garden this system can work for you, too. You just have to drink more wine.

One way to fool a gopher!

Funeral for camellia bush to be held this Saturday. Dress casual.
Bring shovels and arsenic.

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Donate Your Two Hours to UNICEF

Earlier this month I recommended a movie I found to be thought provoking and wanted to share it with you; Jeff Who Lives at Home. ( Some people took my suggestion and relayed to me they “LOVED IT”.) Well, this past weekend had scorching temperatures and so it seemed like a good idea to stay inside and catch another good film. I checked all 200 tv movie channels – nothing popped out to me. So I went to Netflix – Seemed as though I’d seen all the good ones they had to offer. ( Well, all the good ones that weren’t westerns or war movies or science fiction ) So I went to the Redbox line-up. Apparently with the extreme triple digit temperatures I was not the only one who had the hole-up-in the-house-movie idea. So I was left scrambling for something decent to watch. Ah-ha. I read a description of a movie that had a good premise; “Former professional baseball superstar, Jimmy Easton, finds himself in trouble for acting out his aggression after he is forced to quit the game he loves. Suffering from a career ending knee injury, he returns to a place he has not been in a very long time…home and confronts dark memories from a tragic past as he tries to make peace with a life he once left behind. Things take an unexpected turn when he is forced back into the world of baseball as the coach of an underachieving college team. Coach Jimmy’s rocky relationship with Brandon Elliot, the team’s only star, forces both of them to deal with their similarly troubled pasts.”  That’s the synopsis.

So there I was standing at the Redbox kiosk, thankfully inside an air conditioned store, trying to rent a movie. I say trying because everything I chose was ‘out of stock’. I was not feeling pressured, there was no one waiting behind me. Most likely because they had already rented the best movies and were sitting home eating chilled watermelon and watching their 5-star film. I continued to peruse movie ads next to the kiosk.  I punch in another title, ‘out of stock’ – Holy mackerel. So as I was flipping through I saw the description for a feel-good kind of movie, One Hit From Home. Ta-Da, it’s available. (there’s a clue) I slide the ol’ credit card, select the movie and it is spewed out of the kiosk. Feeling good about my choice, I head home, get settled in to the big recliner with a cold drink and some munchies and the movie comes on right away – with no trailers preceding it. ( Humm, interesting, because I had made a mental note to write down the names of some interesting movies I would see in the previews. I rarely can remember them when I’m trying to rent a movie. No trailers, I think that may be a clue. ) The credits start rolling, with the slowest soundtrack. I swear it sounded nearly as slow and down-trodden as Taps at a funeral. Well, I figured it’s just setting up the drama of the baseball player’s big let-down. But Noooo, the music continued to drag on. Then the ‘actors’ appeared and started speaking. WThell? If I hadn’t been in my own home I would think I was being pranked. This can’t really be a movie someone spent money on to produce. Oh yes it can. The opening started in black and white with scenes from the ‘stars’ childhood as an avid baseball player. It is really poor acting, filming; all around bad. I was about to turn it off  just as the scene went to color. I thought, oh, like the Wizard of Oz, I bet this gets better; more action. I settle back in to the comfy recliner to wait for the ‘good’ part. But the soundtrack remained funeral-like. And continued verrrrry slowly through his troubled career. I kept thinking this is going to get better. Seriously, it never does. It was awful. Truthfully, I did not watch the whole thing. A root-canal would have been more exciting. I am warning you, do not rent this movie it will only encourage those who made it. Which I noticed afterwards the starring role and the director were one of the same, some guy named David Stone. I don’t know if that should have been a heads up or not. Well, I guess Clint Eastwood has directed and starred in a movie or two. Okay, so maybe that’s not a good barometer to rate a good or bad movie by. But I lost 30 minutes of my life I will never get back. Save yourself a buck and consider yourself warned. Believe me, this is not a trick to get you to watch it. Really. I’m just sayin’, consider it a warning, I have saved you from throwing away a dollar and 2-hours of your life. However, you can throw away your sleeping pill prescription; this is cheaper and will do the  trick. Zzzzzzzzzzzz  – Sorry Mr. Stone, I’m just sayin’ , “Don’t give up your day job.”

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Size Does Matter

Awhile ago I went into a local deli for a cold drink and asked the high school girl working behind the counter for a ” small soda.” She said, “We only have medium and large.”I didn’t say anything for a second or two, thinking about what she said. Actually I was thinking did she really say that?  “We only have medium and large.” Of course, I couldn’t leave it alone. I said “You know, you can’t have a medium without a small and large.” She stared at me blankly and stated, “That’s what my boss said. We only have medium and large.” So, I asked her what  the medium was compared to, to make it medium?” Again she stared at me blankly and said, ” Which one do you want the medium or the large?” So I told her to give me the smaller of the two, the small drink. She sighed deeply and said, “So you want the medium?”  “Yes, if it is the smallest drink size you have,” I replied.  But I still wanted her to know that if there are two sizes, one smaller than the other than it is a small. I told her, “You know there has to be something smaller than a ‘medium’ to make it medium or its just a small, right?”  She repeated, ‘My boss says we just have medium and large.”  You would think I would have just dropped it, but it was a little entertaining to say the least.

As she handed me the the smaller cup of the two choices – in my word, the ‘small’ drink cup. I showed her the cups together and said, “See, this one is small and this one is large. Get it? small and large. There is no medium.” I think her look said, “I hate you. Get out.” Instead though she said nothing. I wasn’t sure she grasped it or was formulating her “I quit speech.” I asked her if she remembered the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears ?  One too soft, one too hard and the one that was just right was in the middle, often times called the medium. Get it? I could tell she did not. I knew it was time to move on. I’m sure she thought I was some wacky woman who hadn’t taken her medication that day. But really, I don’t think you can have a medium ( unless we are talking psychic medium ) unless there is something smaller and larger to compare it to.

I had to repeat the story to my friend, Jewell, to see if she got it. She did. A couple of weeks later when Jewell and I were in the city together we stopped for lunch at a pizza place and decided to share a pizza, the guy at the counter asked us which size, medium, large or family. I asked about their small pizza. He said we only have medium, large or family. I said, “Then your medium would be the small?” “Huh?” he said with wrinkled brow. I looked at Jewell and she said, “Just let it go.”  Okay, I did. But I didn’t want to.

What has happened in our society? Why are retailers afraid to use the word small? I don’t get it. I have checked around and I have not found a pizza parlor that will call it’s smallest pizza a small. Some name it ‘individual’ and jump right to the medium size. What is up with that? If we continue to use medium in place of small it changes a lot of history and tales and well, sizes. You think a lady who wears a small size will willingly slip into something marked medium when she has always worn a small. If she really wants it and buys it, you can bet she will say, “The label says medium, but it’s the smallest they had.” Or What about Robin Hood, what happens to Little John? Does he become Medium John? Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? It makes sense to me the word medium came after the words small and large.  How would you know if something was medium unless you had a small and large to compare it to? I’m just sayin’, size matters.

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Guesstamation . . .

I have to admit math is not my best subject. Oh, I can figure out how much I’m saving at a good shoe sale or the individual price for a 3 for $5.00 deal or buy one get one free sale. That I can do. Please don’t ask me, ‘If a northbound train leaves Union Station in Los Angeles, California,  at 1 p.m.  travels 50 miles per hour the first hour, 60 miles per hour the second hour, has a layover for 15-minutes and then travels 20 miles at a speed of 30 miles per hour through a small town, blows its horn at every crossing and increases its speed to 70 miles per hour and arrives at it’s destination at 6 p.m. How many miles did the train travel? Bonus question: What town is its destination?’

I’m just sayin’, I have no freakin’ idea.  I’m not sure where I’d start to figure it out. I’d probably hop off at the lay-over, have a beer and think about it. I would have questions, starting with why is he fluctuating his speed? And why do I need to know this? Okay, so it’s northbound out of Los Angeles? That would be a coastal route; winding tracks, isn’t 70 miles per hour dangerous on that route?  Did an INS agent get on at the lay-over? So, I umm, do not know the answer. I know there has to be one. You just can’t say there is no answer. Would multiple choice help in this case? Maybe. With multiple choice there’s a chance of being right. So then I might try a few calculations done my own special math way and come up with a number. Well, if that number is close to an answer in the multiple choice, I’d choose that one. I’m not sure what the odds are I’d get many right ( ’cause that’s a math question) but I’m sure the odds are better than leaving any blank. Right?

Well, I think that works as well as Chelsea the young lady in the you tube video trying to figure out the miles per hour question her husband Travis asked her as they were driving.  It’s a must see if you have not seen it yet. Some people think it’s a hoax; difficult to tell. But in the whole scheme of things I am sure there are those who will watch it and feel an iota, an ounce, at least a dollop of empathy. Admit it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhm7-LEBznk

PS – If you figure out the math question let me know the answer … I have a guesstamation!

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Gators, Fires, What’s next?

Did you happen to see the Yahoo video interview with 17-year-old Kaleb Langdale? Kaleb and three of his buddies were swimming in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven, Fla. when Kaleb “came face-to-snout with a 10-foot alligator.” The interview with this 17-year-old had me thinking about where I was at 17-years-old. I don’t mean where I was at physically, but I can tell you it wasn’t in gator territory. I don’t think at any age you could convince me to swim in a river where gators frequent. Really. Even if my friends had dared me or double-dogged-dared me. Or even for the age-old ultimate question, “Not even for a million bucks?” NO. But then I think back to stuff I did do that some people would say they’d never do, “Not even for a million bucks.”

Like the time my little brother and I packed up our scouting gear; canteen, pocketknife, mess-kit and a can of Franco-American Spaghetti and took off into the canyon and fields across from our house. Our older brothers were off building forts and didn’t want us to hang around them so off we went with our gear and built an igloo-shaped fort out of tumble weeds. We piled the dry, thorny bushes about six feet around and tall enough for us to crawl in and sit comfortably. After our hard work it was lunch time. With our trusty can opener on my girl scout pocket knife we opened the canned spaghetti and poured it into the bowl/saucepan combo included in our mess kit. I proceeded to light a fire in our tumbleweed fort to heat our meal. Fire and tumbleweed a deadly combination. Luckily for us, we ran out of matches before we could get the fire going, if we’d only known how easily tumbleweed burns.  I live to tell that story, but it could have ended a whole lot differently. Somehow, my parents overlooked warning us about building campfires in tumbleweed forts. I’m sure it was not included in the parenting handbook. Sure, the don’t play with matches thing came up after I was caught lighting tissues on fire under the bunk bed. But making a campfire to cook lunch I didn’t consider playing with matches. I’m sure my parents didn’t think it necessary to add to the list of daily reminders; Say please and thank you, come home when the street lights come on and don’t build fires in tumbleweed forts. I wonder when you grow up in Florida do parents add to their list; Mind your manners, be home by suppertime and “don’t forget, don’t swim in rivers with gators.”

Check out the interview:

http://gma.yahoo.com/florida-teen-sacrifices-arm-gator-jokes-pain-160534025–abc-news-topstories.html

PS – As I was just about to publish this post I smelled smoke. I thought how weird is that to have an olfactory flashback and then I saw smoke and realized it wasn’t a figment of my imagination. I looked out back and lo and behold there was a fire down below our house and across the canyon from us. What a coincidence!!! I wonder if it was a couple of kids cooking Franco-American spaghetti?

A fire near Buchanan Park.

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