Thursday, April 2, 2015

She's a clever girl

Angel and Bogie followed me upstairs when I got home. Angel was carrying Bogie's Kong ball. Which has never happened. I had assumed it wasn't permitted.

She carried the ball across the bedroom carpet and dropped, no pitched, the ball onto the bathroom tile. Then stood there looking back at me. 

Bogie heard the bounce and went flying past her to retrieve the ball as it bounced all over the bathroom. Then he set it down so he could follow me.

Angel picked it back up, walked over to the stairs and dropped it. And stared at the bedroom. Bogie heard the bouncing and tore down the stairs to get it.

If she continues to play fetch with him that will save me a lot of effort.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I can't keep trees in my back yard

I've lived in this house for 17 years.  In that time I have had  7 different trees in the back yard.  Five have died for various reasons.  One is on its last leg.

Currently I have a Chinaberry tree that is struggling to stay alive.  Every Spring a different limb is dead.  But it still sprouts leaves so I don't want to cut it down.

I also have a flourishing Palo Verde tree.  That one makes me nervous.  It seems to have no problems.

The flowering cherry was the first to die.  The symptoms were that of Texas Root Rot.  So the replacement tree was moved 15 feet further east.

That one, an Acacia, didn't do badly.  Until it was uprooted by a microburst.

Planted with it was a second Acacia.  Oddly, they seemed to be different types even though they were bought at the same time and at the same nursery.

That Acacia got struck by lightning and never really recovered, succumbing finally to some sort of beetle infestation.

The lightening-struck Acacia was replaced by a fast-growing Ash.  That was a badly pruned specimen and resulted in a second, free Ash planted near the first.  They lasted less than two years, seemed to be flourishing.  Then both died simultaneously within weeks of the Spring growing cycle.

So I decided to go metal.  I bought a six foot tall spinner to decorate my back yard.  It doesn't give off much shade, but at least it's pretty.

And it's cool to watch.

Maybe I need more metal art? 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why put up with bad behavior?

I've started watching the new series, Backstrom, and it made me wonder why television writers think people will put up with bad behavior just to get results.

Sherlock Holmes is brilliant, but let's be honest, he's kind of a dick.  Yet John Watson, Lestrade, even John's wife, Mary, put up with Sherlock's ill-manners because he gets the job done.

I stopped watching The Big Bang Theory two seasons ago because I grew tired of Sheldon's antics.  And the way the gang pandered to them.  Ditto House.  His brilliant medical diagnoses did not excuse his anti-social behavior

Surely people would not be that tolerant in real life.

Then I thought of my youngest brother.  Steve is intelligent, charismatic, and has done in-depth studies on religious history and can converse on the topic for hours.  He is also so drug-addled that he is barely capable of taking care of himself.

So his friends take care of him.  And they are happy to do so.

He lost his license and can't drive.  And refuses to take the bus.  But there is always someone willing to take him wherever he needs or wants to go.

He was completely incapable of arranging a trip for Mom's funeral.  His caregivers and friends made all the arrangements, made them again when he missed his flight, and even packed his suitcase for him.

They are there to pick up the pieces after he's gone off the deep end - yet again.

Honestly, I don't understand it.

But I now realize that the television writers are reflecting real life, not creating fiction.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Don't let a Great Dane get bored.

This is what I came home to a couple days ago.  Bogie had gotten bored and figured out how to open the cupboard where I keep the garbage.  I watched the video and he spent about an hour playing in the garbage.

I didn't bother to scold him.  It was my fault for not putting closures on the door.  I bought them.  Just didn't attach them.

And besides, he was so pleased with himself.

This is just the kitchen and family room.  I found garbage in the backyard and upstairs as well.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Standing up straight has stirred up old insecurities.

I've been having painful shoulder problems.  Enough so that it is affecting my exercise routine.  So I finally went to the doctor.  Who sent me to a physical therapist.  

Who told me that I need to stand up straight.  

Learning to stand up straight after 40+ years of slouching is a painful proposition.  And it got me wondering why I started to slouch in the first place. 

Oh, yeah.  Breasts.  

I was the first to develop breasts in my 6th grade class.  That kind of attention was horrifying to a shy wallflower.  

So I started to slouch to hide them. 

And have continued to slouch.  I wanted to be respected for my intellect. In my mind that meant denying I have breasts.  

At my age, I don't particularly care what people think about my looks.  

Or thought I didn't care.  Until I looked at myself in the mirror as I was checking my posture.  

Breasts, boobs, whatever you want to call them.  Sticking out farther than I am comfortable with. 

A lot of the old insecurities came rushing back.  Fear that I would be cat-called again.  Dread that I wouldn't be looked in the eye.  That I would be considered a dumb bimbo.  

Which is stupid.  Because the people I work with, my friends, all know I am smart. 

I realized that the behavior of unknown "others" isn't my problem.  My fear and reaction is my problem.  And I can control that. 

And I need to stand up straight. 

So I am going to be a grown-up and stand up straight.  

Because I am not a 12-year-old wallflower any more.  

I'm a grown-up. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Joan Margaret Tully Smith - May 30, 1934 - January 10, 2015

My mother showed me that women could work outside the home, should be able to take care of themselves, do household repairs, upholstery, and lawn work. That reading a book was a good use of time. That changing careers at mid-life was possible. And that moving across the country wasn't scary.

She spent 30+ years as a psychiatrist nurse after spending nearly 20 years as a newspaper transcriptionist.  She kept busy with bowling, golfing, and poker with the girls.  She was an avid reader, a dog lover, an enthusiast of jigsaw puzzles.

She loved to travel and visited England, Greece, and Canada, vacationed in Mazatlán every May, and traveled frequently to Las Vegas.

She did things her own way.  She drank, smoked, and gambled and apologized for none of it.

She will be missed.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Visa fraud check criteria needs to be tweaked.

Honestly, I'm glad Visa keeps an eye on purchases in case of fraud.  I do watch my accounts very closely.  In fact, early last year I discovered that I had been hijacked before Visa even noticed.

But not everyone is vigilant.  And I imagine that the holidays are a busy time for fraud. 

Still, I think that the algorithms that are used to detect fraud need to be fine-tuned.  Isn't the process supposed to detect purchases that are out of the ordinary for the particular user? 

Did I get a call when I bought a $150 gift card for massages?  No. 

Did I get a call when I spent $900 on a new mattress? No. 

I got a call when I donated on-line to charity. 

Seriously.  How many people steal a credit card to make donations to pet charities?

Not only that, but these are the same charities I donated to last year, and throughout the year.   And the year before. 

I wouldn't be annoyed if the mattress had triggered the call.  How often do I buy mattresses?  

Calling me based on a purchase I make 2 or 3 times a year seems flawed.