Monday, May 31, 2010

Out-foxing a digging dog

Angel has a habit of digging.  I don't really care that she digs.  I do care *where* she digs.  The particular hole in question is just off the patio, in direct line of the patio door.  If the grass around it gets long, which it is wont to do, then it is hard to see there is a foot long, 3 inch deep hole in the ground as you step off the patio slab. 

I realize that it is a tempting spot to dig.  When it does rain, the water sluices off the patio roof right onto this spot, making it soft and squishy.  Even without rain, water pools in the hole from the sprinklers when the grass is watered.  No digging-inclined dog can resist the temptation.  And she doesn't resist.

Angel isn't the only canine resident with a fondness for holes.  I have never caught him actually digging.  And there are no dirty paws to incriminate him.  But I have seen Rags with his face down in the hole, lapping up the muddy water.  I yell.his name.  He lifts his head and looks at me with muddy water dripping from his beard.  What?  Did you want something? 

I've filled the hole a couple different times.  Angel was thrilled with the soft new dirt that scattered so easily.  I've even sprayed the ground with No Digg.   This actually works for a short while, until the water from the sprinklers dilutes it. 

This last time I filled the hole and covered it with a piece of wire fencing, anchored down with long hooks pounded into the ground.  I am hoping once the grass takes hold, I can remove the fencing.  If not, well it's green and should blend in.

So far Angel has not attempted to pull up the fencing.  She has chosen a new, safer spot to dig.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sandwiches of my youth

My friend, Bridgette and I were discussing our favorite sandwiches the other day.  Which got me reminiscing about past favorites.

My favorite sandwich growing up was peanut butter and honey.  Honey, not jelly, never jelly.  The honey had to be honey spread, not the syrupy kind of honey that needed a spoon or honey dipper.  And if the peanut butter was the chunky kind, well, that was even better. As I got older, the sandwich was modified to include several slices of crispy bacon.  The bacon cut the stickiness of the peanut butter and the smoky flavor accented the peanut butter and honey.

My second favorite sandwich was bologna and cheese.  The bologna needed to be the thick kind.  The kind where you had to remove the red wax rind before eating it.  Preferably the bologna would be the large round type where one slice covered the whole bread.  But in a pinch, several circles of ring bologna would do.  The cheese was always Colby Longhorn, the best cheddar cheese ever made.   The finishing touch was potato chips.  Not on the side, in the sandwich. 

My other favorite sandwich of my youth was grilled tuna and egg salad.  It was a simple tuna and egg salad sandwich, but the outside of the bread was buttered and the whole sandwich grilled, like a grilled cheese sandwich.  The bread would be toasty and crisp and the filling was warm and squishy.  Nirvana.

Okay, now I am hungry.  I think I will go have a sandwich, deli turkey, mozzarella, and lettuce on lightly toasted whole wheat bread. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Bloggess and the Red Dress

I  spent a good part of a day recently measuring my closets for wire shelving.  I've always liked the look of wire shelving, but haven't put it in this house yet, even after 12 years. 

So I measured the closets, went to Home Depot and Lowe's to compare the shelving they both had, came home and looked on-line for prices and products, and calculated the cost of the amount of shelving I wanted.  I figured out that seven of the 12' shelves would be the most cost-effective way to get all the shelving I needed.

I was all prepared to buy the shelving, although I had no idea how I was going to get it home.

Later that night, I walked into the main closet, looked around and realized that I didn't really *need* more or different shelving.  And I decided to forgo it.

The next day I read a blog by The Bloggess, The Traveling Red Dress where she talks about allowing yourself to have the things that make you happy, whether or not they are practical. 

And I realized that there is something I have really wanted and keep postponing because it isn't necessary. Still I want it.  But it isn't the wire shelving.

I have a desktop computer, but the dogs get fidgety if I am on it for very long.  And some days I really just want to sit out on the patio, enjoy the birds singing and let the dogs lay in the grass.

My 'red dress' is a laptop computer and because of The Bloggess, as soon as I find the one I want, I am getting it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dog day afternoon

 Peanut is jealous of the attention Angel gets by being goofy.  So she is posing in the grass trying to be cute and appealing. 

While Angel is actually being the calm and dignified one.

And Rags is smart enough to stay inside on the cool tile.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jeopardy Game Show

I've been a fan of Jeopardy for as long as I can remember.  In fact I started watching during the Art Fleming years.  When this upstart Alex Trebek took over, I was among those who wondered if he could fill Fleming's shoes.
I've tried several times to get onto Jeopardy.  I went to one of the contestant auditions when it was held here.  It was a crowd of professionally dressed people milling around and waiting for their appointment time.  We filed into a large room crowded with folding chairs, with no chair arms.  Seating was shoulder to shoulder.  Clipboards and answer sheets were handed out to everyone. 

There was a short video presentation of the Jeopardy audition process, then the test began. I had to balance the clipboard on my knee to write my 'question' to the answers which were displayed on a screen for 15 seconds.  It wasn't required that the 'questions' were actually in question form. It was important to show you knew what the answer was about. 

Afterward, there was no indication what the correct answers were, or how many, questions anyone got right.  I tried to memorize the answers so I could look up the questions, but my memory wasn't good enough.

My other attempts have been on-line auditions.  Same15 seconds per answer, same brief 'question' responses.  And the same lack of how well or poorly I did.  But at least the 'questions' could be typed instead of written on a poorly balanced piece of paper.

My downfall has been the preponderance of audition answers based on the classical arts - paintings, music, literature.  When I watch the show, I can run entire categories,  but the classics are my weakness. 

I take particular glee in answering questions that none of the contestants answer, or answer incorrectly.  But that doesn't get me any closer to actually competing.

Actually, my biggest fear is that any appearance I made would be like the Weird Al song, "I Lost on Jeopardy". 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Art - who decides the prices?

Art honestly confuses me. Not the viewing of it. The pricing of it. 

I read an article this week about a painting of a flag by Jasper Johns that sold for $28 million. Painting Draws $28.6 Million Bid   And I don't get it.  Irregardless of the 'special' painting technique, to me this painting looks like every crayon drawing of a flag done by every grade school student in the country.  So who decided this one was worth millions and little Johnny's is only worth putting on the refrigerator? 

How does a Warhol sells for millions and a Starving Artist painting sell for dollars?   I think Jackson Pollock's works look like the drop cloth from under a real painting.  Who decided his should be worth millions of dollars?

Seriously, is there some secret committee that meets to decide they are now going to push one artist over another?  How does one artist get labeled pedestrian and another insightful?  And who in their right mind decided that a painted circle on a painted background was legitimate art?  (On a side note, I tried to Google that one.  "Expensive circle painting" returns a lot of information about how to paint perfect circles and how to join an artists group or 'circle'. ) 

My ire is mainly triggered by pop art that looks like anyone could do it.  But even so, I don't understand how one artist's work is deemed more worthy than another's.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Car ride to Wal-Mart

I went to Wal-Mart this morning at 6:30 to pick up Anacin and dog food.  I didn't 'need' either.  I have enough to last another week.  What I needed was an excuse to take the dogs for a car ride.

At some point, in some manner, I have trained my dogs to expect a car ride on the weekends.  I'm not even sure how they know it's not a work day..  But when I finish my breakfast, Angel starts spinning circles and bouncing up and down.  This inevitably results in her stepping on Rags.  He gives her a growling rebuke.  She does a  cowering apology.   In no way is her enthusiasm diminished.

When I pick up my purse, they rush to the back door and wait for me to provide entry to the garage, weight shifting from paw to paw in an excited little dance.   

Car entry has to be set up so that each dog get its 'correct' place in the back seat.  Peanut will only look out of the passenger window.  Angel is partial to the driver's side.  But Angel always enters first, so I have them enter from the passenger side.  Angel, then Peanut.  Lastly I pick up Rags and plop him on the seat.  He gravitates to the middle and stands with his forepaws on the console looking out the front window. Voila! Everyone where they should be.

Peanut will only put her head out of the window if I am driving 35 mph or under. I have plotted a course to and from Wal-Mart that maximizes the slower speed limits.  Angel doesn't care.  Twenty-five mph or 50, her nose is out in the wind smelling the wonders of the world. 

At Wal-Mart, I find a shady place to park.  I shop quickly while they wait patiently outside.  Rags is always the first to see me as evidenced by the wagging plume of his tail.  Angel faces her window, but she turns her head to the right like an owl to watch me put my purchases in the trunk.

I am required to pet each dog before starting the car back up and beginning our return trip.  Rags usually lays on the floor during this leg.  I pull the car into the garage, close the door, and let everyone out the driver's side. I gather up my purchases and we enter the house together.  Then they each get a treat for behaving so well.

I really hope all this isn't just about the treat.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Angel - sweet destroyer

 My first exposure to Angel was when I went along to pick her up.  Less than 1 year old, she was riding in the cab of the truck in the middle, drooling bubbles down my arm and the back of my neck. 

My dogs avoided her and were happy to see her leave for her own home.  But she visited often to play with them.  I don't know if she suffered from separation anxiety or just was easily bored.  In any case, my dogs were not enough entertainment for her.

She dug holes in my yard.  She chewed on the stair railing posts and the baseboard corners.  She carried my socks out into the yard.  She took strips of bark off my china-berry tree.  She ate my potted ivy.  She ate the wooden ends off the blind pulls.

Peppermint oil stopped the stair rail chewing.  Closing the closet door saved my socks.  Providing her with sticks and rawhide chews saved the china-berry.  The potted ivy was abandoned and the pot put in the garage.  I bought more blind pulls, but still haven't put them on.  Nothing dissuaded her from digging.  But she digs shallow holes easily filled back in. 

Regardless, she was so sweet and loving, that when she needed a permanent home at 18 months old, I happily took her.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The disappearing newspaper

My newspaper is shrinking. Unlike the products in my previous post, the newspaper has been open about the fact. But still it is shrinking.

First it was the size of the pages. But now it's the number of pages. My Sunday paper is no bigger than Wednesday's used to be. Monday and Tuesday are laughable. I tried to calculate it once, articles versus ads, and there were only about 6 pages in the front section. The whole Monday/Tuesday paper is no bigger than my home town newspaper.

But that paper originated in a community of 30,000. This paper originates from the fifth largest metropolis in the country. Surely there is more than 6 pages of news in the city, the country, the world.

Yes, I know that the internet is supplanting the print media. But the newspapers themselves are accelerating their own demise. Many articles end with comments about referring to the internet for more information. What about the people with no Internet access? Yes, they still exist.

I read my paper with my breakfast. I don't want to buy a laptop to read my morning paper. Nor do I want to eat my breakfast at my desk.

The main reason I still subscribe to the paper is the comics and the columns. So far there is no really easy way to access 2 pages of comic strips on-line. And I like having my columnists in one easy to find package.

I think there is a Kindle edition, which would solve my breakfast table dilemma.  Would it have all the content from the Internet, or just replicate the daily edition?  Would reading it 'feel' the same?

More importantly, what would I do with all the shelf space I've set aside for future book purchases?