August 1, 2005


Man, it is so hard to believe it's already August!  I can't believe how fast time is passing.  I can remember when I was a kid, it seemed as if everything moved in slow motion.  Waiting for Christmas each year was painful!  It took an eternity to turn 16!  I thought the day would never come when could finally get my driver's license.  Likewise, it seemed as if a hundred years passed before I reached my senior year of high school.  Every thought was focused forward, on tomorrow.  Every second was spent waiting for that magical moment in the future to arrive.  But somewhere along the way, life got stuck in fast forward.  Now, time goes by so swiftly, it is but a blur.  Grasping a moment to hoard and treasure is impossible because the next moment and the next are crowding in from behind.  Instead of pushing time, time is pushing me.



August 3, 2005


I have been industrious these past couple of days.  I decided that the quality of pictures of my jewelry that I took last November, December and January was so poor, I really needed to retake them.  It was extremely gloomy during that time frame and I didn't have any idea whatsoever how to use my digital camera.  I have since learned a few things about digital photography that have helped me a great deal.  Just don't expect anything too professional.  I still have a ways to go before I reach that level.


Now comes the "fun" part...replacing all the pictures.  Yuck!  It's going to take a lot of work and time before I'm finished.  But if all goes well, by the end of this month, you will see enough of an improvement in quality to make this project worthwhile. 



August 4, 2005


Today, I finished updating the bracelets with the new photographs I've taken.  What a good feeling! 


I might have been able to do more than just the bracelets.  But for some reason that I can't quite comprehend, my dear, sweet, wonderful little dog who used to be able to go 11-1/2 hours without going to the bathroom (when I was at work) can now only make it 30 minutes to an hour before desperation sets in!!! And of course, since "The Attack of the Reptiles and Insects," I have felt the need to go out with her each and every time.  What would she do if she encountered one of the viscous naked snakes that have been hanging around my (her) yard??  I shudder to think...  So I dutifully go with her, hoe in hand, ready to protect her if there is a need.


Did I mention that it has been in the high 90's to low 100's for a very, very, very, very, very long time now?  I suppose I also failed to mention that it is humid - as in, welcome to the sauna - on top of being very, very, very, very hot?  The overall feeling is one of being trapped in a vegetable steamer.  One tends to get soggy rather quickly!


I am getting to enjoy WAY TOO MUCH of this jungle weather, thanks to Maddie.  She has this new thing that she does to tell me she is FRANTIC to go out.  While her normal routine of standing up on me while drilling holes in my brain with her intense eyes has always been effective, she decided a touch of drama might get a more rapid response.  So now, she stands up on me (yeah, she's WELL trained), drills holes in my brain with her intense eyes AND she shakes.  She doesn't just shake a little bit.  She shakes like an electric sonic toothbrush!  She shakes like a paint mixer!!  Her TEETH click together!  Her BONES rattle!  She looks like she is having some kind of dreadful spasm!!  And I can't stand it FOR EVEN ONE SECOND!!!!!  I run for the back door as if my life depended on it.


Now, the funny thing is, the minute I get up and head for the door, I have noticed the shaking instantly stops.  In fact, she jumps up and down at the door while I unlock it with nary a tremble!  And she doesn't even shiver once while we are outside (but it IS 100 degrees out there).  It's amazing, don't you think?  This is a little 19 pound dog with a small, but loaded, brain.  SHE HAS ME TRAINED!!!!


Speaking of which, here we go again!!  EARTHQUAKE!!!!!  Gotta run!



August 6, 2005


I don't believe there is anything that causes a little dog to fight more than when a person is trying to brush their teeth.  I say this after experiencing a rather lengthy battle with my Schnauzer (Maddie) only this morning, so perhaps that is why this particular topic is on my mind.  It is an unpleasant task for both parties...of this I have no doubt.  But quite frankly, I think it is a lot more unpleasant for ME than it is for her!  Yet, I have a suspicion that she would say the same thing if you asked her.  She would be wrong, but I'm sure that is what she believes.


The reason I can flatly tell you that she would be wrong has a lot to do with odor.  Her breath has one.  It's beyond dog breath.  I used to say she has "moose breath."  But lately, I have noticed I've been begun to say she has "toxic waste dump" breath.   It's enough to make a person pass out and throw up at the same time!!! 


This means additional brushing.  Whoopee.


I usually try to brush her teeth once a week.  I would do it more often, but it takes a good week to recover from the effects of the battle.  The battle makes it such an unpleasant task, I would LOVE to avoid it completely!  But, alas, I LOVE my dog and she has enough trouble eating without adding tooth problems to the equation.  So I dutifully prepare each Saturday to overcome her amazing resistance in the hopes of actually getting some toothpaste on her teeth.  If I'm extremely lucky, I might actually get to brush up and down a few times on her teeth with the brush AND toothpaste!


Before I go on, I have to tell you about the toothpaste.  It's made for dogs.  It is chicken flavored.  It sounds putrid to me, but I suppose if you are a dog, it might have a pleasant taste...


The first obstacle to overcome when brushing your dog's teeth is finding a position that they can't wiggle or squirm out of.  This is very challenging indeed!  If you have never tried to brush your dog's teeth, you have not yet learned how amazingly flexible and boneless they can be when they feel the need to escape.  I suppose a bigger dog might be easier to hold on to, but you don't usually have to brush their teeth.  For some reason, smaller dogs are the ones who are prone to gum problems and plaque buildup and their size makes them especially difficult to hold.  Because, you see, you can't actually hang on to them with your hands.  They are fully occupied during this procedure.  One hand holds the brush, pre-loaded with toothpaste, while the other hand prepares to pry open the dog's mouth!  So you're mission, should you decide to accept it, is to find a way to contain a wildly thrashing animal that can twist and contort in ways that you never imagined while keeping both of your hands FREE!!!


The position I discovered that works best for me is that of getting on my knees, sitting on my feet, wedging Maddie's butt as tightly against me as I can, kind of tucked under me.  Then I wrap my arms around her, use one hand to pry open the lips, while the hand holding the brush tries to anticipate which way she is going to thrash in hopes of somehow smearing more chicken flavored toothpaste on her teeth than on me!  This takes a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes to accomplish if I'm exceptionally lucky.  Some days, I give up after having touched a few teeth on one side of her mouth.  When this happens, I go for the other side the next day. Oh, and don't forget to hold your breath or you'll get a whiff of chicken flavored toxic waste dump breath that will literally knock you down!!


If your Saturday involves doing things that are more exciting than this, I really don't want to hear about it.  That just might be the thing that puts me over the edge!!



August 10, 2005


Wow!  It takes a lot of time to replace all of the pictures on my site!  A LOT of time!  Hours and hours and days and days...I'm still far from finished.  I hope it will be more enjoyable for everyone who visits.  So if I don't write for a few days (as if you are hanging on my every word - ha!) you'll know it is because I am working on getting all the new pictures in place for your viewing pleasure!!



August 13, 2005


 We really need some rain...have gotten very little this past month.  Consequently, I have been watering the grass in the mornings and evenings.  This morning, I had the sprinkler set up outside the living room and I suddenly noticed we had quite a gathering.  I apologize for the poor quality, but our visitors seemed rather shy, so I had to take the pictures without getting too close to the windows.


There were about 25 to 30 robins dotting the yard on either side of the sprinkler.  They stood patiently waiting for the water to return to their side of the yard, obviously enjoying the nice cool shower.  But the funniest thing happened when the water was spraying down on them.  In this 2nd picture (below) take a look at the guy with his tail in the air!

















They went into hyper spastic motion!!!!


And this guy wasn't an anomaly.  It happened over and over and over again, sometimes with three or four of them going at the same time!







I hope you have as much fun looking at the pictures as I did watching them this morning, although I doubt you can get the full affect from the still pictures.  I haven't had such a good belly laugh in a very long time!  They seemed to be having such a wonderful time, far beyond what you would expect from a bird taking a bath.  They were ecstatic!  They were cavorting and romping and reveling in the cool sprinkler water.  And when they went into spastic action, they vibrated wildly with every fiber of their being!  It was whole-hearted and hilarious!!!
















August 16, 2005


Well.  I am ALMOST finished with my picture replacement project...I'm at about the 93% complete point.  It has been a lot of work; some days, I've done almost nothing else.  I hope everyone will find it is worth the effort and that you will be able to enjoy browsing more than ever before.



August 18, 2005


Hmmm...the wildlife here in the city is truly getting out of hand.  Let me give you a couple of examples of events that have taken place since the "Great Attack" I told you about in July.  Then you will understand...


This morning at 5:30 while Maddie was making her rounds, I saw this "thing" wiggling in the grass.  It was pretty small, so at first, I thought it was a rather large earthworm.  But it didn't move like an earthworm.  So I thought it might be a skink.  But on closer examination, I realized it was A BABY SNAKE...YES, A BABY SNAKE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!


What this tells me is that the snakes, in defiance of "Snake Away" are upping their ranks by BREEDING.  Talk about an unfair tactic!  Dang them!  But the most frightening thing about this snake was its head.  It had one of "those" heads.  You know, the poisonous kind.  With the triangle jaws.  Yeah, THOSE jaws.


I've become lax in my snake patrol and I wasn't carrying my weapon.  And there is no way I was going to let this baby go home to mama.  I knew I would lose it if I ran to get my hoe, so I had to do some quick thinking!  I BRAVELY smushed it into the ground until I had partially embedded its body in mud.  Yep, mud.  It's been raining here a lot for the last week.  We really needed it and had it not been for the recent rain, I wouldn't have had any hope of detaining this fellow until I could bring in the artillery.   But as it was, my plan worked.  I watched for a few minutes to make sure; he looked sort of like one of those smashed flat cartoon characters trying to peel themselves off the pavement.  So I smushed him again and ran for the hoe!


O.K. So he was little.  So...he was still a SNAKE and he had JAWS and he would grow up unless I intervened.  Which I did.  In one whack, I had successfully dispatched the creepy little thing to snake hell (I refuse to believe that snakes can go to heaven).  But I'm going to have to redouble my snake eradication efforts somehow.


Then tonight, just minutes ago, I was again accompanying Maddie around the yard and had almost successfully gotten her to come back inside when...WHAM!!!!  We were bombed by a cicada!!!   Yuck!  They are one of the most prehistoric looking bugs I've ever seen (don't care to see anything that looks worse, thanks anyway).  They fly like they are drunk and they make this loud noise like a drunk trying to sing in a karaoke bar.  They are surely kin to cave crickets...or maybe all insects are erratic in their flight and somewhat terrifying.  But I don't like them because they seem to like to fly headlong into my face.  That's not a friendly maneuver!


But to a Schnauzer, a cicada is one of the greatest toys ever created.  After it bounced off of me and landed on the concrete, it immediately started its take-off run (it takes them a second to generate enough lift to become airborn).   It left the ground and was gaining altitude when, in a spectacular surprise maneuver, Maddie jumped and snatched it from the air!  It was an impressive show from my aging Schnauzer and she was pretty pleased with herself!


If you have never seen a Schnauzer "playing" with a cicada, let me assure you, it's a sight to see.  Schnauzers are quick and I can only equate the riotous action that followed to a cat and mouse.  The cicada croaked, beat it's wings and attempted to fly away.  Maddie snatched it from the air again!  The cicada croaked louder and beat it's wings furiously.  Maddie snapped, snatched, shook and threw it.  This "game" went on for over 10 minutes before it finally seemed to be winding down with wild action continuing non-stop the entire time.  But it was hot, dark, time to go back inside.  I gently pulled Maddie from her "toy" (almost said prey) and nudged her back to the door.  Reluctantly, she came inside.


Yes, she had the cicada in her mouth.  As in "completely inside" her mouth.  I did check before we went in to make sure she wasn't carrying it and nothing was showing.  But she ran to the living room and - kput - spit that gross creature out ON MY CARPET IN MY HOUSE!!!!


The first thought I had WAY am I picking that thing up, I don't care how many paper towels I use for insulation!  Then I thought about never sleeping again, just waiting for it to come out of nowhere to bomb me in revenge.  So I grabbed the biggest gawd-awful handful of paper towels I could justify (which was pretty big) and cautiously approached Maddie and her "toy."  I told myself not to think about what I was going to do, don't think about it, don't think, just do it and I snatched it up in the wad of paper towels, wrapped it up, slammed it on the counter and threw it in the trash!  I hope and pray it is dead because if I open the trash can in the morning and it flies out at me, well, you'll hear about it, I assure you.  You'll probably hear my scream long before I recover enough to update my web page...



August 28, 2005


If fall is on the way, someone forgot to tell the weather in Oklahoma!  It's always hot here in the summer and muggy, but for the last month, it has been so muggy, if you're thirsty, all you have to do is open your mouth and go outside!  O.K.  So that may be a SLIGHT exaggeration since you're going to sweat it out faster than you can suck it in.  But really, it's been more like Florida muggy, the kind of muggy that is only tolerable because you also have an ocean breeze and frequent hurricanes to cool you off.


The strange thing is, it's been raining quite a bit over the last 2 weeks.  The long dry spell ended about mid month and the rain fell...and fell...and fell...  Normally, rain would cool things down, at least temporarily.  But the rain we have been having lately hasn't even made a dent in the heat OR in the humidity.  All it has done is made it more muggy!  We've had day after day of heat alerts where the heat index was 110 or 115!  As a result, I am actually READY for fall, I'm looking forward to it and I wish it would hurry up and get here!!  I understand why people like to have two homes in different climates.  I'm wishing I had a summer home in Michigan or the North Pole or somewhere nice and cool.  Somewhere where the heat and humidity doesn't hit you like a physical force that knocks you down to your knees.  I've just never figured out how people afford to do this, money always being rather scarce around here.  Money always seems to cause problems, even more problems than the humidity.


As a result of the unfriendly environment, I have been staying inside as much as possible.  Anything that needs doing outside isn't happening.  Walking is the only summer sport I'll consider and I'm only doing that when I have know, to go check the mail, to get the paper in the morning, that kind of thing.  The money I am having to spend on air conditioning every month would feed a starving nation for a year, but I'm thankful to have a comfortable house in which to retreat.  


Maddie has presented the biggest barrier to staying inside.  She - who used to go 11+ hours without having to go out - now has to use the facilities at least 25 times a day.  How did she make it before??  Now, every 10 minutes, she comes to me trembling to be let out.  She acts so desperate!  And in light of recent adventures with the local wildlife, I feel compelled to go out to protect her from any reptile who might be planning an attack.  As a result I have been "enjoying" much more of this yucky weather than I would have otherwise.


Should you be planning a visit to Oklahoma (isn't everyone?), I would urge you to wait at least a few weeks.  Maybe by then we will also be able to feel a touch of fall in the air.  But right now, those who have not acclimated to this brutal muggy air would probably be taking a risk of drowning every time they left the air conditioning and ventured outside.  Just let me know how to get to your house (if you live where it's cooler) and I'll come visit you now.  Later, when I can confirm that fall has indeed been sighted, I'll give you a call and let you know it's safe to head this direction.



August 30, 2005


I suppose like most Americans, I have been watching the news coverage of hurricane Katrina today.  It's overwhelming.  Completely overwhelming.  I can only watch for so long, then I have to do something else because the destruction is very difficult to see.  There are too many foundations with no structure left standing on them, too much debris, too little that survived, too many that have died, too few who were spared.  How can people rebuild their lives when all they have left is a scrap here or there...or nothing at all?  How can they bear the loss?  How can they endure the pain?  What happens to those who no longer have jobs because their place of employment was destroyed?  Not that they could work now.  There is no power, no running water and roads are impassable or barely passable.  But how many business owners can afford to rebuild?  How long will it be before life goes on and people can return to a state that is at least semi-normal?


The property damage, at least from my point of view, is significant mainly because everything some people have worked for has been washed or blown away.  Their homes, where they have found shelter and created memories, are now memories themselves.  Driveways lead nowhere; all safety is gone.  Nearly every building represents a person's life: the place where they lived, the place where they worked, the place where they shopped, the place where they banked, the place where they had the oil changed.  My heart is gripped by their brokenness and loss.  I am stunned by the destruction they are having to face.


The looters are troubling.  How can people steal things from others who have also been so deeply wounded by loss?  How can they be so self-centered that they take advantage of their neighbors and take even more than the hurricane has already demanded from them?  If they are taking food because they are hungry and need to eat, I can understand.  But to take "things" that have belonged to others, that might be salvaged and that could have great sentimental value, to ransack a person's business where he or she has invested their money and their heart, to break in to what is left of a home just to pillage...that is beyond my ability to comprehend.  It frightens me that people can become such uncaring, unthinking, vicious animals at a time when extreme compassion and caring are needed.


Thankfully, not everyone commits such atrocious acts.  There are many who are already giving, helping, reaching out.  It's hard to even know where to start, but they are starting where they are and going where they are needed.  Some people who have lost everything except their lives are reaching out to help, not to loot or to take.  These are the people I admire.  These are the people who leave me with a sense of awe and hope.


There are so very many people who are hurt, homeless, lost, dead, frightened, confused.  Where do they go from here?  The uncertainty must cling to them like the hot humid air.  The sense of bewilderment must be nearly overwhelming.  What do you do if you're 80 years old and you have lost your world?  How do you start over at 70?  Where do you go?


I join with millions of others who are praying that somehow, in this very dark and difficult time, God will make His light known and that His love will be even more tangible than the overwhelming massive destruction.