Friday, January 31, 2014

Dog toy destruction

"We were just standing here and the skunk exploded."

My dogs prefer stuffed toys to plastic or rubber.  But most don't last very long.  

What I haven't figured out is the timing of the destruction.  Some toys are mere husks within minutes of being given to the dogs.  There are a couple toys that have lasted over a year, with no damage.  And some toys will be fine for a couple of weeks, then suddenly are destroyed within minutes.  

I am getting good at picking up stuffing. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ignore your crazy aunt

I have a big problem with "shoulds".  I "should" write a novel.  I "should" vacuum the house. I "should" weed the yard.  The list is endless.

My resolution for this year (again) was to stop feeling guilty about not doing the things I "should" be doing and to enjoy the things I want to do.  Even if that is playing video games.  Or watching TV with the dogs by my side.

Yesterday I was reading Readers' Digest and they included this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert:

“I feel like the only way to diminish [your inner critic] is to treat it like a crazy aunt at Christmas.  She’s always going to come, but you don’t let her hijack Christmas, and I think that part’s difficult for women to do.  Don’t let the crazy aunt drive the car.” 

I like it.  It makes sense to me.  I don’t have to listen to the voice that says “You should” all the time.  I can ignore it, like I ignored anything my Grandma or my Aunt Liz told me.  Because I knew that what they believed wasn't the same as what I believe.  Their own lives were so screwed up that no advice they proffered had value.  

Just like the inner critic that claims to know better for me. 

Consider the source.  Ignore the crazy aunt!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A writer like your father

It doesn't happen any more.  No one here knew my father.  But when I was growing up, I was often asked if I was going to be "a writer like your father".

I never knew how to answer that question.  

Which father?

The smart, creative man who could charm anyone he met?  The man who got me an adult library card when I was only 11?  The man who allowed and encouraged me to read every book I could get my hands on, fiction and non-fiction?

Or the man who was chronically unable to meet his deadlines?  The one who could manipulate anyone into lending him money he had no intention of paying back?  The one who got so used to embellishing his life story that he even modified the truly great things he did?

In retrospect, I realize that the people asking the question knew only the first man - the charmer.

My biggest fear always was that I would turn out like the second man - the scoundrel.

Instead, I became a different kind of writer.  I write software code.  It is surprisingly creative.

But there are programming rules, and hard deadlines, and charm cannot save you if your code doesn't compile.

No, I am not a writer like my father.

I am my own kind of writer.  - my father

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

To me, it isn't her 107th birthday

Google had a doodle for Grace Hopper's 107th birthday a couple weeks ago.  She died in 1992.

Birthday is defined as "the annual anniversary of the day on which a person was born, typically treated as an occasion for celebration and present-giving."

Anniversary is defined as "the date on which an event took place in a previous year."

So technically, I guess it could be considered her birthday.  It is the anniversary of the day she was born.  But if there isn't going to be celebrating, or gift-giving, to me it's not a birthday. 

I find it confusing to state it's someone's birthday after they've died.  Granted, when it's George Washington's "birthday" or that of Isaac Newton, I know they are long dead.

But the first assumption I make is that the person is still alive.  Even 107 isn't outside the realm of possibility. 

So I am disappointed when I discover that this person is actually dead.  Often, long dead. 

Can we please just call these occasions "birth anniversaries"?

Or if we want to coin a new word - birthaversary. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Jogger and bicyclist pet peeve

On weekends and holidays, I often walk Bogie during daylight hours instead of the predawn hours.

There is traffic noise.  There are birds singing.  Sometimes there is a breeze rustling the tree leaves.

There are people.

People in front of us are no problem.  If I need to, I can shorten Bogie's leash or I can make him sit off the sidewalk until the others pass by.

It's not that Bogie's dangerous.  He's friendly.  Very friendly.  And not everyone appreciates 140 pounds of friendly.

Bicyclists or joggers when they are not talking are surprisingly quiet.  If Bogie and I are focused forward, having a jogger or bicyclist come from behind us and appear suddenly at our side is disconcerting.

Bogie is much better trained than when I first got him, but it is still hard to predict how a dog will react when startled.  And I have him on a 15 foot retractable leash.

Fifteen feet gives him plenty of room to lurch out into the street.

Now, some people may say I need to keep my dog under better control.  Maybe.  But we were minding our own business.  And I can't keep looking behind me all the time.

I've been with friends on a walking path (without a dog) and in that environment, if a biker or faster walker comes up behind you they holler out "On your left".

That's all I want.  A little warning.  One second to ensure that Bogie doesn't try to jog with you.  Say hi to you.  Trip you in the process.  Make you swerve your bicycle into traffic.

It's not just big dogs that get startled.  A frightened little dog can trip a jogger as easily as a big dog.  But I would think my dog is pretty hard to miss seeing.

I just want some basic walking path courtesy.

For all our sakes.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Canine ear drops

Bogie has a bit of an ear infection in his left ear.  I've been wiping out the crud with a tissue, but that doesn't have any antiseptic qualities. 

So the vet said to put a bunch of cleaning drops in Bogie's ear, massage the fluid down the canal a bit, wipe out the excess, then let him shake his head. 

I should have realized this was best done outside.

Angel, I, and the floor got spattered with thick, gooey, flying drops.