Sunday, March 30, 2008


Hope’s year-old puppy Vince found a new home for a week but, like a boomerang, he has returned to us from what seemed to be the perfect home -- a family with two kids, two other dogs and a big inviting yard. He loved his six-year-old human girl but then, he prefers girls. He got along okay with their dogs but he decided Mom's well-tended garden was pretty tantalizing. Maybe there were bugs or worms or gophers but, no matter, he dug. He also chewed up her hose but you can’t blame a dog for chewing up shoes when you give them old shoes to chew on. Hose-shaped toys just invite trouble to a young dog.

Unconditional love is all we ask for. The “full body wag” when you come home just can’t be replicated by the most enthusiastic spouse. In exchange, a dog just asks for the same…and time…maybe a yard to play in. It's so ironic that a co-worker just started a blog and she is one of those perfect dog owners that writes beautifully about the joy her dogs bring her.... *sigh*. We missed Vince when he was gone and we worried his new humans wouldn’t love him the same. Might raise a hand to him. Or make him sleep outside. We warned Hope ... tried to convince her that a dog required more time than she had to give but she was convinced she was up for the walking, the playing, making a dog the same priority as a child but a full and heavy load of college classes have proven to require more attention than Vince can give up. She’s been a good mommy and Vince is very well behaved. He was ringing a bell to go outside after the first week with her. Of course, he rings that bell right about the time she's buried in homework and he sneaks the cats’ food even if it’s up on a desk. He’s bored and is ready for training that she doesn’t have time to give him. It was a painful decision for her to find him a new home but he was a pound-puppy with an uncertain future a year ago. She saved him and fostered him through the difficult puppy stage. He’s ready.

Vince is home and content, maybe a little confused. And Hope is once-again looking for a good home for him. A dog person who loves the idea of a walk. The kind of “two legged people who love four-legged people”. Someone who is SURE they want a dog and are willing to give him the time he’ll need to adjust. Do you know anyone like that?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


This cartoon has been on my frig as a bit of an inside joke. Mark’s Mom lived with us for awhile after selling her house in Carson City. Mark and I came back from a trip to the east coast to find she had moved out after some unpleasantness with our girls for which they were not responsible. They purposely didn’t tell us until we were home so that we could enjoy the trip.

She’s been up in Washington for almost two years but it appears she's coming back. She will live near us but not with us due to aforementioned unpleasantness. Besides, our weather makes her unhappy. She has health issues caused by smoking. She has financial issues brought on by her steely determination to compensate the tribes for the past, one nickel at a time. I hope that the girls will eventually be able to develop a positive relationship with their one remaining grandparent after their previous falling out. I’m just saying that it would be nice if he got me loaded.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

They Say It's Your Birthday....

What must it be like to be a fourteen-year-old boy, having survived your early teens with two sisters only to find out your mother is pregnant! Small children see only the wonder of their mother’s growing belly and the prospect of a new playmate. A teen, however, KNOWS how mom got that way. In my mom’s case, I was told it was a deadly combination of a Knights of Columbus convention and the rhythm method. Or maybe that was my younger sister. Either way, at 38 my mom delivered me unto the world. And Greg’s life has never been the same.

I remember it was hell to wake him up. Once when I was about six, my big sister Carol and I couldn’t wake him so we dribbled water on him then put ice on his chest. When that failed, we tickled him with a feather, ANYTHING to rouse him. Disturbed just enough, his arm swung out to stop the nuisance he didn't know was his sisters and I took it in the stomach. He never woke up and I learned to move much faster. Tell him to be up at three in the morning to go fishing, however, and he’d beat you to the truck.

I learned a lot from my big brother. When I called my best friend in kindergarten a “little fart”, an endearment I learned from Greg when he would toss me in the air, I learned that my Mom told him he'd be in BIG trouble if I ever repeated that...and she was right! He taught me how to hold his full coffee cup steady while riding next to him in the truck on a road trip. You hold your arm a little loose and let it bounce as the truck goes down the road. This skill is no longer required in a world of “travel mugs” but I was very useful as a child. I also learned not to EVER wash the cup.

My brother is a spring baby, born on the Vernal Equinox. This week, he has a huge milestone birthday, so huge I can hardly count that high. He’s a man’s man. He owns a tractor; actually, he has LOTS of them. He hunts and fishes (or at least he used to). He smokes cigars and drinks coffee out of a cup glossed brown from the caffeine. He broke his neck at 17 when he rolled his beach buggy on Santa Cruz beach. As an adult, he was thrown from his horse when some kids tossed a firecracker. He was on a freeway overpass and was damn lucky to not be thrown over the railing. He is one tough cookie. He would have to be. My parents had one more child after me making Greg big brother to four younger sisters; Val just 13 months younger, Carol, five years later then, we two "whoops" babies. The picture of my family is pre-Katie with me in my mom’s lap. Greg was never a bully or a tease…well, maybe there was a little teasing. He is a kind, gentle man. If you piss him off big time, you’re nothing more than a “horse’s ass”. He reminds me of my dad. He gives big hugs so I’m sorry he’s all the way in Idaho. Happy Birthday big brother. I miss you.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Funny that John Mayer came up in rotation as I was taking Gloria for her first experience behind the wheel of the car. Staying inside the lines will no longer be an arbitrary rule but one she’ll be following for the rest of her driving days. “You want to take her driving or should I take her crying?” was Mark’s question to me. It has been a tradition in our family for the men folk to take the women folk out driving and the day is not complete until said female is in tears. My dad did it to me. Mark, as patient as he was with teaching me to drive a clutch in our dating days, has carried on the family tradition, making both of the older girls cry during driving practice. It was time to initiate Gloria into the club.

I’m not necessarily the most patient person in the world but memories of my Dad frantically telling me to “STOP” when there was no sign and “WHY ARE YOU STOPPING?” when there WAS one makes me a better driving instructor, at least the first few times out. Empathy makes for strange bedfellows. This is one bonding issue between teen daughters and their mothers and it's not limited to my family. One of Glo’s friends had the same experience with her dad this weekend and determined that “mom’s are calmer units” after just one trip out with Dad. We no longer have Monkey Wards’ big empty lot for the first teen drive but Mall 101 on a Sunday is available. Once Glo was settled behind the wheel, seats moved, mirrors adjusted and “can I have music?”, we had our first issue. “Put your foot on the brake”. “Which one is that?”. Good point. Pedal configuration. Check. “Do you mean just put my foot ON it or push it down?". Dang. Give clear instructions. Check. When she turned the key and the car started at her direction, her eyes got plenty big. Not unlike when, as a baby she figured out she could shriek REAL LOUD. Oh Lord, give me strength to get through one more teen driver….. e drove up the rows, signaled our left turns, signaled our right turns. We did some slow donuts in the center to get a feel for the turning radius (in my car, we can turn inside of about four parking places). I directed her to pull into a parking place. Good job, now back into the parking place behind you. “You’re kidding!” Using her mirrors, she executed it perfectly. Twenty minutes later, she parked it satisfied she had the ability to drive. After another errand or two, we did a few laps of the far back lot at Bayshore Mall. It won’t be long and she’ll have her own set of keys. *sigh* But I vow to all of you, she will NOT carry passengers for the first year. She will NOT talk on her cell phone while driving. She WILL not be allowed to forgo the rules just because it is more convenient for me. Promise! Mark will take her out next.He is much better at the technical skills.He sets up cones to drive around.He makes pretend streets with imaginary stop signs…there will be backing up long distances…he’ll work on parallel parking (he can parallel park his truck WITH a trailer on it…he’s AMAZING!). Oh yeah, he will also make her cry --it’s tradition.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


WHAT, exactly, does the "PUBLIC TROUGH" look like? Shouldn't I know if I'm feeding from it? When you work for a public agency of any sort, you occasionally get the "I pay your wages" line from the people you serve. Guess what...I pay my wages, too! Even friends refer to the "public trough" whether they're talking about politicians or little ol` me.

While I'm sure there are people who take advantage of their position in government jobs, most of us work hard. I don't play solitaire and I leave the porn sites alone (at least during working hours). My bosses and I earn our keep here on campus, thank you very much. I don't know where the lazy government employees are but they're not in MY office and we DON'T have a damn trough. Hurrumph!

Friday, March 7, 2008


...she wears on her chest

OK, guys, here's a question for you and your jewels...your cojones...THE BOYS! If this here machine was presented to you as the only TRUE way to test for cancer of your gonads.... you'd find another way, wouldn't you? Even the technician said she wouldn't want to be involved in the scan because "the whining would be too loud". I'd put money down that a think tank would be developed with men from all walks of life that would indeed find a method other than standing with your stones in the equivalent of an enormous vice, even if it meant a woman helped you place them there.

Can you tell I went for my SQUEEZIN' today? This is no place for sissies. You get little target stickers to put on the important prominent parts and more to put on moles and freckles that might appear in the image. There are jokes that compare the mammogram to closing your breast in the refrigerator door and holding it for five seconds....yep, that's about right. We girls are TOUGH and don't you forget it!