Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ma!

There is a nice lady named Fran,
Who took a shine to my old man.
If she hadn't, I fear
I wouldn't be here-
Just one reason I'm a huge fan!


The Paradoxical Commandments

Blog hopping yesterday, I came across a reference to this list written by Kent Keith  in 1968, when he was 19, as part of his first booklet for high school student leaders. I like them, so I am sharing.
  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. 
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's Your Stanza?

Poetry. Be ye for it or agin it?

Poetry was the subject of discussion in our house this morning and I have no idea how it started. Generally speaking, I don't enjoy reading poetry. Well, I mostly don't like reading the kind of poetry that doesn't rhyme. I do like Shakespeare, Robert Frost and Dr. Seuss, for example.

I read for content and story, more than intellectual ideas and feelings, maybe that's it? Hm, that sounded shallow, didn't it? I mean that I enjoy the story and like to get the message sort of subliminally, not get hit over the head with it. My first reaction to a poem is "here's a hammer, waiting to fall". I kind of look at 'free form' poetry as speed bumps on the road to a conclusion. Which may be just what is intended.

Ameranth has several good friends who write poetry and one told her that there are indeed rules and that she enjoys fitting her ideas inside those parameters. I don't know what the rules are though. Maybe if I did, I would appreciate poems more.

I wonder what makes certain people Poets? Of the non-rhyming type, that is. I daily make up songs and rhymes as I feed the dogs, do the laundry etc. I often wrote  poems parodying seasonal songs for my coworkers' amusement, but I dismiss what I do as doggerel. Shoeshine writes Poetry, and J did too, when he 'wore a younger man's clothes'.

It is just an individual taste, as in music. I like clear words and rhymes in my music as well. I like Billy Joel because his songs tell a story and he has such clever rhymes. I know many people denigrate his work for just those qualities. Why should I feel apologetic because I like pop music and fantasy novels over heavy metal and free verse? The answer is I shouldn't and I really don't.

There is no real point to this post, just random thoughts, like the name says.

                                Hey, maybe I
             should have written
                                            it like this.
                                      And I could have it both ways.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quick, before I forget this

Ameranth stomped by from her computer, declaring "I am going to get dressed because I am angry at something on the Internet!"

Me:" Oh, it's going to be a good day"

A: "Yes, yes it is!"

Me: "I was being sarcastic, but if you want we can go that way- Yes, it will be good"

A few minutes later, after explaining what ticked her off:
"Oh, the world is so not my oyster"

Me: "Instead of a pearl, you have grains of sand?"

A: "Stinky, stinky fish-smelling grains of sand"

Another few minutes later I hear singing: "Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee"  so I guess the day is looking up.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Week end

J has today off so we spent a few hours running errands, then finished up with grocery shopping. It's been a pretty blah week here at the Crazy household, so it felt good to get something done. We had a canvas tote bag filled with shoes to bring to the Salvation Army, but this tote has been riding in the van for several weeks and we forgot to transfer them to a plastic bag before we left. We pulled up intending to ask them for one, but a large bag blew over to us as we got out. Just the right size for the loot, so that was nice.

Since we were in the area, we stopped at the ReStore place. Lo and behold! They had tile there. Enough 4 inch tiles to do around our shower and in a neutral enough color to please us both. We counted out tiles, divided by 9 and multiplied by the 25 cents per square foot for a grand total of $7.25, plus tax. You can't beat that!

When we got home, J put air in my bike tires and adjusted the handlebars for me. This was a Christmas gift that we just brought home from R.I. on our last visit. His brother helped him track down and buy this old bike for a bargain price. I wanted  3 speeds and I wanted fenders. Do you know how hard it is to find that combo? J polished the chrome and it looks great. Just what I wanted.
You probably can't tell in this picture, but we do have little daffodils blooming. And the grass is green, and wait for it.......the snow is gone! 

To finish up, a little dialogue.
J comes in and hands me a pen (clearly one he found somewhere)
"Try this pen out- do you like it?"
Me: "Yes, it's very nice"
J (with a grand gesture): "Keep it"
Me: "Oh mercy, what a man!"
J: "The least I could do for my little woman"
Ameranth: "You two are weird"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Goodbye to Rosie

Rosie died yesterday afternoon, leaving a big hole in our lives. She was a sweetie with a hidden wild side and we'll miss her.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Never Again

"Never again, dammit. Never again!" we vow to each other as we tramp up the pasture a hundred yards behind our stupid, wily, racing-away-pretending-to-be-deaf huskies, while Boomer wears himself out running back and forth between us and the bad doggies.

But Ameranth and I are optimists. (What's that definition of an optimist? Performing the same actions and expecting a different result? Wait, I think that may be the definition of mental illness. Never mind.) The dogs love running in the pasture and the woods sooo much that we hate to deny them that release. We take them on leashes down the road to the gate and let them loose, and they soar over the grass, stretching out low to the ground, Boomer's little legs moving twice as much, but he keeps up with them through sheer determination.
Or they race over the packed-down track of the snowmobile trail and we try to catch up and turn them around before they continue into the distant cow pasture. This is so much better than just walking up and down our roadside! After being denied freedom for a few days or weeks, depending on just how bad the last outing was, we think "this time will be better- they will know if they behave we can do it again."  And they do come back and we are happy and satisfied. 

So we try it again. And then we see the dreaded circle of gathering occurring. Anna starts running around our group, faster and wider, swooping the other dogs into her orbital pull and then straightening out, leading them out to the road and leaving us in her dust.

While Anna likes to explore forbidden places, such as other people's garbage cans and dog yards,  Rosie usually slips into the woods and sneaks past the house. Anna will head for the cat shed and we can get her inside from there, while Boomer comes when called (what a concept!)  Then I am left standing on our steps, calling to Rosie is who is slinking past the barn across the street, about 100 feet from me-well within earshot. She pauses, looks at me and visibly makes up her mind to ignore me, lowering her head in her wolf mode and continues on. If we can get her cornered well enough she gives up and waits for us to walk over and get her. Note  she doesn't come to us- we still have to walk over and grab her collar, then she's all sunshine and light, expecting a reward when we get home.

Other than the running away, Rosie is a pretty mellow dog. She's big and gawky and looks silly when she tries to jump and play with the others, and she never did think fetch made any sense. Except for a soft little red ball that was a nose on a stuffed toy, I think. It's a little smaller than a ping pong ball, and she loves to pull it in her mouth, then roll it out on her tongue like a magician's trick. She flicks it at me and waits for the toss back. Silly, silly dog. She doesn't stand when she can sit, and doesn't sit when she can lie down. She has taken over our couch, though she doesn't mind sharing, as long as she gets her end.
She was a goofy puppy and grew up to be a gentle sweet dog who can be sly and ninja-silent while rearing up to the counter and stealing food left within reach. 

Who knows where to sit for the treats, and if we don't notice or get there soon enough, lifts her butt off the floor and sit again with a noisy thump.

She's a big dog with a shiny coat and soft brown eyes and adrenal glands that don't work anymore. When we discovered this last fall, we spent money we couldn't afford on her diagnosis and treatment. Her hair fell out and she wasn't herself anymore and we decided the best course was not to continue the medication. She regrew her winter coat and recovered her appetite and we hoped she would be alright for awhile. And she was, until two weeks ago. She stopped asking for and eating treats. She stopped eating her food. We tried a change and she gobbled it down for four or five days, then that was no good either. Canned pumpkin or eggs, raw or cooked, bread, even table scraps-all previous favorites- were ignored. We knew this would happen, her system will slow down, her blood pressure will drop and heart rate will slow and stop. She's not in pain, though we are. This is Rosie's favorite place to lie in the summer, so that's where we'll put her.

The last thing she ate was part of a hotdog, 3 days ago. Just before we took the dogs to the pasture and let them loose. She could still run a little, and sniff around for mice, and drink the pond water, while circling 25 feet out of her way to avoid getting her feet wet. We didn't have any trouble catching her and releashing her for the slow walk home. I think she had a good time. I hope so, because it was the last time.

Never again. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This and That

Despite traveling to a funeral last week, J and I had several funny moments, some many most of which were at my expense.  Often when I get tired, my fibro can make it difficult to grab the word I want - sometimes I know the first letter and a few seconds wait gets the right word, but other times I think everything's going smoothly and the wrong word pops out.

Like while we were waiting in the car at the cemetery for the escort vehicle and I asked J if he wanted a 'bucket' of water from the cooler. He and Shoeshine thought that was pretty good, but really liked it when I asked him where (in the cemetery) his mother was 'parked'.

Later that night, we were recapping the day for my parents and described the nice wooden chest that the cremated remains were put in at the church for the service. J and his youngest brother had been asked to carry it up to the altar and did a great job, except that it was a little lopsided. T seemed to be lifting his end up and J had his (bad) arm straight. So I asked him if it was heavy. Without missing a beat, he said "no, he wasn't heavy, he's my brother"!

We talked about the plans for the next day, which included J hanging a screen door, and me cleaning the gutters. J asked if my parents had gloves. Now, he was facing away from my father, who has some hearing loss, which may explain why Pa promptly answered: "We do, but the skunks take care of them". After a quick mental picture of a skunk handing out work gloves, I explained it was "gloves, not grubs" that J asked about.

And speaking of gutters and doors, we enjoyed helping them out with that, as well a few other chores. My three sisters who live in R.I. do a great job of dealing with any house, car or medical issues that arise, so we are always happy when we can share some of that when we are visiting.

On our way home, we stopped at Ms. M and Mr C's house to drop off Shoeshine for his ride to the airport later that day. They had several questions about home and garden issues, so we answered the ones we could, and plan to go down in a few weeks to help with some repairs.

Then the plan changed and we packed up Shoeshine and took him a couple of exits further up 495 to Sectaur's house, and he drove him to a bus station later.We got to visit a bit and I borrowed a book from him so that worked out very well.

The book is Steven Erikson's The Crippled God, which is the final book of a very good, but long and complicated series. I have just started it and am trying to remember just where everyone fits in.  Oh, and I recently read this book:

It looked so pretty and was such a hefty book, that I was afraid it wouldn't live up to its cover- but it did. I must say that a little way into it, I was afraid it was turning into a vampire romance (of which I am not a fan) but it turned out to be okay. Not your standard vampire or witch book- a nice solid read. However- Spoiler Alert-

It seems to be the first in a series- poo! I still recommend it, especially to anyone who likes Diana Gabaldon.

I think that's about it for the mish-mash in my head today.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Long weekend

It's been stressful around here for the last week. We went to R.I. for the memorial service and burial of J's brother, who died just before Christmas. His sister who lives in Florida called to say they would like to visit while they were in New England, hence the rush to finish Ameranth's/guest room. We told them it would have to be after the funeral, not before (or I would have had a meltdown) and luckily unfortunately they had to be back to work and couldn't make it. We're hoping they can make it another time.

Saturday went well, both the mass and the military ceremony at the Veteran's Cemetery in Exeter. Quite a few family members were able to come, so that was nice. Between the 10 siblings there are 21 cousins and then 9 cousins (so far) in the 3rd generation.

Shoeshine made a quick trip out from Boulder so it was nice to see him. Ameranth stayed home with the 3 dogs, and Ms. M and Mr. C came down but had to leave early since Mr. C had the duty phone from work and needed to go back to solve some problems. No pictures before they left. 

Reviewing these pictures I feel the need to point out that everyone dressed up for the service and changed into comfy clothes afterwards, knowing it would be a long day. There are lots of jokes about Irish wakes but the truth is that they know how to celebrate life and laughter. They cry easily but laugh just as easily, drink and dance and eat and joke. It's a good way to remember a loved one. 

One ongoing joke was that J's brother (being the eldest) had often proclaimed himself the patriarch of the family- a statement made only half in jest. Saturday the next oldest, (the Florida sister) declared herself the matriarch, to which J jumped in and pointed out that he was now the oldest son, hence he was the new patriarch. I think this photo shows how seriously his sisters took that.

It was a very nice weekend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ta da!

Although we ran into some warpage with the closet door that needs to be addressed before we can call the bedroom completely redone, it has reached our benchmark level of "good enough". Ameranth will sleep in there tonight.
Let's take a little journey through the wayback machine to last summer to maximize our enjoyment of the final result. 

                                              We like it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Okay then

I don't write (much) about my political stands or religious beliefs but I cannot ignore this today. So fair warning- you may want to skip this since I just need to vent.

WTF Terry Jones ?!?

"In a statement, Mr. Jones demanded that the United States and United Nations take 'immediate action' against Muslim nations in retaliation for the deaths (in Afghanistan in protest of his burning of the Quran). 'The time has come to hold Islam accountable,' he said."


Accountable. Would he like Muslim nations to retaliate directly against him and his church members for the Quran burning? No, of course not, no one would, that's crazy. As crazy as the Westboro Baptist Church disturbing military funerals with signs saying the deaths were direct signals from God that gays are bad. Who can believe that crap? Who would want a god that is that vengeful and disturbed and angry?

I have no problem with anyone believing in and worshiping whatever form of god (or gods) they choose. As long as it's a peaceful worship. I understand that many people honestly believe their way is the only way, and that they are helping others to achieve salvation through conversion. I can appreciate the concern, but No means No. If someone doesn't want to convert from (or to) a thousands-of-years-old brand, then go away graciously.  Mind your own business.

And by minding your own business, I mean live your life the best you can- don't hurt other people, with words or stones, or bombs or bullets. Help others as much as you can, as often as you can. If you just can't bring yourself to do either, then just stay quiet. If everyone did that, I think your deity would be happy, and I know the world would be better off.

Live and let live.
That should be the golden rule.