Wednesday, May 31, 2006

overheard and underscrutinized

Overheard at a favorite restaurant:

"Yeah, I'll have that, and you'd better make it good or I'll fuckin' kill you."

Hubby and I were eating when one of the, shall-we-say tougher-looking, waitresses came in as a customer and ordered, or else. Funny thing is, she's the best waitress there.


Following a dumptruck today that had only a tarp over its cargo but had a big RADIOACTIVE sticker on the back of it.

I passed him fairly quickly.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

you just gotta--izzle, that is...

Maybe I'm the last person on Earth to hear about this, but, it's still funny...


Verified by & BY GOOGLE

(I got this from a circulating email; however, I had read this elsewhere in the past few days and it is worth sharing!)

Yesterday one of our dog agility friends experienced a tragedy and wanted me to pass a special message along to all of my dog loving friends and family. Please tell the other dog owners you know.

Over the weekend the doting owner of two young lab mixes purchased Cocoa Mulch from Ta rget to use in their garden. They loved the way it smelled and it was advertised to keep cats away from their garden. Their dog Calypso, decided that the mulch smelled good enough to eat and devoured a large helping. She vomited a few times which was typical when she eats something new but wasn't acting lethargic in any way. The next day, Mom woke up and took Calypso out for her morning walk. Half way through the walk, she had a seizure and died instantly.

Although the mulch had NO warnings printed on the label, upon further investigation on the company's website, this product is HIGHLY toxic to dogs.

Cocoa Mulch is manufactured by Hershey's, and they claim that "It is true that studies have shown that 50% of the dogs that eat Cocoa Mulch can suffer physical harm to a variety of degrees (depending on each individual dog). However, 98% of all dogs won't eat it."

Cocoa Mulch, which is sold by Home Depot, Foreman's Garden Supply and other Garden supply stores, contains a lethal ingredient called "Theobromine."

It is lethal to dogs and cats. It smells like chocolate and it really attracts dogs. They will ingest this stuff and die. Several deaths already occurred in the last 2-3 weeks. Just a word of caution, check what you are using in your gardens and be aware of what your gardeners are using in your gardens.

Theobromine is the ingredient that is used to make all chocolate, especially dark or baker's chocolate, which is toxic to dogs.

Cocoa bean shells contain potentially toxic quantities of theobromine, a xanthine compound similar in effects to caffeine and theophylline. A dog that ingested a lethal quantity of garden mulch made from cacao bean shells developed severe convulsions and died 17 hours later. Analysis of the stomach contents and the ingested cacao bean shells revealed the presence of lethal amounts of theobromine.

Please email the manufacturer at and request that accurate information about this product be posted on the packaging to avoid further tragedy.

No Dogs should be lost because of this mulch!

Friday, May 26, 2006

unbelievable horse sculptures...

These sculptures nearly boggle my mind. Who would have thought to capture the majestic musculature of the horse in DRIFTWOOD? I just couldn't believe my eyes. Still can't. Amazing. By British artist Heather Jansch . Found at Bridlepath.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Implants Can Save A Life...

And I ain't talkin' about boobies, so all you pervs can log-off now.

Anyway, I saw this article in the news today and it just so happens I recently attended a workshop on Vagus Nerve Stimulation therapy about a month ago.

It sounds promising. And, as with most anti-depressant effects, they don't know the actual mechanism that causes relief. Yup, it changes chemicals--and in a good way. Well, they know a little more than that, but the proof is always in the pudding--which means the majority of folks who haven't received relief through traditional therapy have re-entered life for the first time after VNS.

Originally used for epilepsy patients, the implant is like getting a small pacemaker implanted in the chest with a little flexible wire that travels under the skin to the vagus nerve in the neck. Little curly contacts are wrapped around the nerve and voila! the procedure is done. You cannot see any evidence of it unless you are looking for a tiny incision in the natural skin folds of the neck (or, I suppose, if you rip the person's shirt off and look for another small scar on the side chest wall). I remember the representative saying that surgeons who do this procedure really enjoy it because it's a no-brainer with, usually, spectacular results for the person.

After implantation, the person's device is programmed by a trained staff member who has the patient hold a wand-type contraption over the implant while the stimulation frequency is adjusted via a small handheld computer.

The patient can also turn the device on and off by holding a magnet over the area. The workshop I attended was partly run by a person who had reclaimed his life after getting the implant. He was really happy with it and noted that the only types of side-effects were voice changes while moments of stimulation were occurring, for which he suggested that if you are a singer to turn the device off until you're finished yodeling. Otherwise, precautions similar to a person with a pacemaker apply (e.g., don't go to a place called Magnet World without turning it off!).

I'm not trying to sell the thing, but it looks pretty promising and the implants are getting smaller and smaller.

The website-->

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Daddy...

Today would have been Daddy's 71st birthday. I miss you. I hope you know how much I love you got a beautiful day for your birthday. See?

Amazingly, the lilies I transplanted from his yard bloomed for the first time today.

Yuki, sits next to me contemplating the day as well. He didn't get to meet his Papaw.

I tried to celebrate the beauty of the day despite the painful date.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Preakness to sickness...

I was in a sporting goods store again today and the big screen was showing the Preakness...and the end of Barbaro's career and Triple Crown bid.

I watched and heard the announcers say something was terribly wrong...the horse yanked up his hind leg repeatedly in pain. Fortunately, as soon on the jockey heard the break he pulled him up and out of the race.

The voices sounded as sick as I felt, because a break, and in Barbaro's case two breaks, is big trouble for this giant animal that balances on long, graceful toothpicks. Equine veterinarians are going to evaluate the colt for surgery and at best, he'll be put out to stud. I tried to not tear up in the store, but in one second this horse lost everything, including maybe a future. It seemed wrong to see such suffering in the name of gambling and entertainment.

I like watching horseracing, but at times I'm quite disturbed by it. It hits you when one of God's most graceful creatures, like Barbaro, is stressed to fracture. It happens when a racer doesn't bring home the big purse. Despite all the love bestowed upon these creatures while they're winning, they are really just catalysts to build a bankroll. If Barbaro lives, lets just hope his retirement is similar to Seabiscuit's and not Ferdinand's.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I'm off...

work, that is. I'm taking a couple of vacation days because of an event I'll talk more about next week.

So, I had an appointment at the university to plan for next year and then I called up my mother to see if she wanted to go to my favorite restaurant, Taste of Thai. I found her and I got to snarf down my favorite dish of all time, "Drunken Noodle, Spicy 3, coconut soup"...that's how the order goes, and they have it memorized.

ANYWAY, the whole reason I'm writing this post is because we went to Dick's Sports next door after scorching our innards. And apparently I am not the only one who thinks Dick's are a bunch of dicks. I caught an excerpt of this post at Nashville's Talking and I just had to say a little sumpin' having been there today.

I, having been to Dick's before, know that when I enter, I am surrounded by good stuff and no service. AT ALL. EVER. It's as if they are trained to ignore you and they get commission on every person they ignore. Seriously.

My mom and I were tooling around the store and another lady walked up to me and said, "Do you work here?"

"No, I'm sorry I don't," I said with a sympathetic look.

"What do you need to do to get a person to help you?" she asked, only half-jokingly.

I replied, "Well, you need to pray."

With that, she burst out laughing and I did, too. It's THAT bad. She went ahead and asked me about a certain brand of clothing and I was happy to direct her to it. She expressed her thanks and we went our separate ways.

I helped her more than I've ever seen anyone helped in that store. REALLY. Other than the cashiers, I don't know what the employees are doing. I've seen them. I know they are there, but it's like a social experiment. How pissed off DO people get when they are utterly, completely ignored?

I disgrace them with one caveat--the cashier was exceptionally friendly today, which has NEVER happened before. I had to wonder if it was her last day.

DOGS HEADED FOR EUTHANASIA---Pit lovers take note--urgent

I'm cross-posting an email I just got from a gal who does pitbull rescue just in case a future owner passes by. I have transported some of these dogs through her and all of them have been sweet and docile--actually the most well-behaved of any of the dogs I've transported. These dogs get a bad rap because of the people who train them to fight. Once again, irresponsible humans screw it up for everyone-including the dogs.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

so what if I'm nuts?

I don't know who that woman was yesterday--that woman who got all worked up over everything. It's just another puzzle to keep working on...

Hubby is on a business trip (to the beach--ahem), so instead of breaking up the duties for all eight critters, I was leader of the zoo this morning.

20 min.--The puppies have to fed separately from our older dog because she won't eat if you don't stand over her and tell her to eat and praise her for each and every bite.

5 min.--all doggie water stations cleaned and filled

5 min.--found pee stain on blanket; threw into wash immediately

5 min.--sprayed down area with odor eliminator

5 min.--cleaned up all stuffings from "murdered" toys; placed all "survivors" in crates for later parade of removal

5 min.--accounted for all five kitties, cleaned and refilled their three water bowls; refilled food bowls

1 min.--extracted Atticus' head from empty dog food cans in garbage (mind you, it has a LID on it); repeated, repeated, gave up

5 min.--had regular morning conversation with Rooney while putting on make-up, which goes like this:

"Meow!" He stares at me.

"What?!" I implore.

"Meow!!" He stares at me and pads back and forth on this front paws.

"What?!!" I exclaim.

"Meeeeooooooooowwwwwwww!!!!!!!" He yowls.

"What?! What do you want!?!" I hurry dragging the eyeliner across my eyelid.

(rinse and repeat)

Finally, when I am at a stopping place, say after lining and before mascara, I pick him up and hug and kiss him until he decides it wasn't such a good idea after all...

Then he trots out of the bathroom satisfied that his request was filled; even if it wasn't done as promptly as he'd liked.

10 min.--scooped five giant-sized litter boxes in garage and added new litter

5 min.--waited for kitties to line up to crap and pee in the brand new litter

3 min.--scooped fresh poo and pee

2 min.--called dogs to fence to say goodbye and give them one Meaty Bone each

all day--feel guilty about the forlorn look Petey gave me as I walked away

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I hate it when that happens. That feeling. When you realize the rubber is really going to hit the road. That you're almost there. And the landing gear just lost a couple of bolts, and nuts, and maybe even some other unidentifiable metal things.

Scary enough to write about it in incomplete sentences.

To me, anyway. Scary, that is.

I'm about to leave a job I have done since 1989. I've worked for the same company in the same cluster of departments since 1989. Granted I probably have had eight different job titles since I've been here, but it was basically switching seats in the same car. Backseat, frontseat, Britney-backward-installed carseat...still a Chevy, no matter where you sit (As an aside, I am appalled she is a MINI Cooper owner. She has peed in our gene pool.)

Back to gnashing my teeth because teeth are meant to be gnashed...Did I say I have been here since 1989? That's...shit...a long time. Maybe I'm just gnoshing on gnashing here...

But now I'm looking at my last year in graduate school, which will entail a heavier intern schedule, plus a full class load; plus a part-time job. I thought it was going to be a fairly planned-out kind of thing, except today I found out my current department can't keep me on a part-time basis. They can only work with me as a freelancer, which means sans benefits--which is why I needed to work part-time during the last year anyway.

So, I have to regroup and get squared away with another plan by August. I will have to find another benefits-bearing part-time job flexible enough to allow me to intern.

Oh. That. Will. Be. So. Easy.

(I get so sick of being a prisoner of benefits programs.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

US House Moves to Stop Wild Horse Slaughter--URGENT ACTION NEEDED TODAY!

(hot from the mailbox)

May 16, 2006

Dear Humanitarian:

The US House of Representatives is again poised to vote on an amendment introduced by Representative Nick Rahall (D-WV) to stop the brutal slaughter of America's wild horses for human consumption in foreign countries. An identical measure sponsored by Mr. Rahall last year passed overwhelmingly in the House, but was blocked at the last minute in the Senate by Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT). More information about the House vote and the tragic plight of our wild horses is available at

Please take a moment to contact your Representative TODAY, urging his or her strong support of the Rahall Amendment to the House Interior Appropriations Bill. The House will consider the measure during the week of May 15 (most likely on Thursday, May 18), so your immediate assistance is critical. If you would like additional facts or need to find the name of your Representative, visit our website at or call us at (703) 836-4300...[READ MORE]

fidgety eyeballs and sympathy mange...

My right eyelid has decided to become spastic--and stay that way. Every few seconds my eyelid has a muscular hiccup, leaving me feeling as though I were part of a life-long glaucoma test.

I know, it's nothing.

But it's irritating because it's been three weeks.

(If your bored, please feel free to leave.)

Pepper gets her spay surgery stitches out today at 5:45 pm. I guess we'll be Hyster-Sisters now. My little man Petey is about halfway through his mange treatment and is getting downright furry again (for a beagle that is). If you remember when I found out Petey had mange, my body decided it was feeling left out and produced some similar effects but without the hair loss. He's getting better, but my itchy and flaky scalp continues to be...well, itchy and flaky. I bought some delicious-smelling Aveda scalp treatment to make the whole thing a worthwhile aromatherapy experience, but so far I'm just minty and itchy. I'm wondering if the mystery ezcema in my ears has decided to attack my head in Petey's honor. Why waste a good thing in an out-of-the-way ear canal?

Yes, I know I should go see the dermatologist or some similar specialist ad nauseum, but y'know, there's about 500 other things on my to-do list that rank higher than itching (twitching hasn't even made it to the list).

Admittedly, I have been called a flake before, but I'm pretty sure they meant something else.

I should have added these attractive, and hopefully transient, traits to yesterday's post so, while imagining my gagging and lurching, you could have added a twitching eye and intense itching from the neck up.

Glorious. Sexy. The kind of womanhood all females hope for.

Monday, May 15, 2006

the incredible, re-edible egg...

I'm on a diet of sorts, so I eat a nice little wad of protein in the morning--usually eggs.

So, I'm munching on scrambled eggs on the way to work (don't ask me how I manage that in a MINI--it would produce another entry and I'm far too lazy today to do such a thing) and I get choked. in the egg went the wrong way, willfully ignoring all road-signs to the stomach, and lodged into some esophegeal rest stop with inadequate lighting.

"Hoark! Gag! Cough! Snort! I sipped my Diet Coke in an effort to get the wayward chunk to dislodge, but no luck.

MINI and I lurched down the street as my most primitive bodily functions went into a display worthy of never getting a second date had I been on a first.

Unattractive, that is.

Then it happened. I threw up. In my mouth.

And I had to make a choice - the MINI or my stomach. Not yet bathed in bile, I made the split-second decision to get it back where it belonged.

I gulped and I thought my heart would stop because I DO NOT THROW UP. And I most certainly don't swallow it back down when I do. But I did and I couldn't believe I was able to do it.

After three more miles of lurching, missing gears, gagging and pulling off the road I finally regained some sense of composure; dried my face drenched by my watering eyes and hoped I didn't pass anyone I knew.

And that's how I started out my day.

Aren't you glad I shared? Me, too.


Well, I reckon' he was pretty smart...

"In every bit of honest writing in the world," he noted in a 1938 journal entry, " . . . there is a base theme. Try to understand men, if you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and nearly always leads to love. . . always that base theme. Try to understand each other."

-read at The Steinbeck Centennial Celebration

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

sans urine; sans feces...

And I was beaming this morning like the mother of a newborn who had just learned to say "mommy" when I found out that both puppies had somehow summoned otherworldly powers to hold fast the dam of Grand Potty River.

No potty.

Is good potty.

The only disappointment was that my husband was the early morning greeter today. Damn, my hard work enjoyed by the Treat-Sneaker! But I was still proud and pleased to show that the proof was in the absence of the pudding.


I am driving my poor husband crazy constantly correcting him with dog behavior knowledge. I hover and monitor like a nag with OCD.

Because I am on a mission this time.

I can hear a treat being removed from a bag at 500 feet. It comes out of the bag and I hear a half-hearted "sit?" from the Treat-Sneaker, who gleefully starts handing over the treat before the puppies even think about lowering any extremity. Enter the dog-Nazi, "No! No! No! They have to sit before you give it to them!" After a sigh and eye-roll, the Treat-Sneaker waits. The moment dog butts hit the ground, the treat hits the mouth and "good dogs!" are all around.

I hear the bag a lot. Enter the dog-Nazi, "Too many treats! They won't eat their puppy food which is specially formulated for their young growing bones!"

This time it's no scraps from people plates, ever. No begging. No eating the cat food or the tootsie roll feast in the garage. No sneaking through the cat door that leads to the tootsie rolls. Petey can fit; Pepper cannot.

The Treat-Sneaker tells the puppies to go "pee-pee." The dog-Nazi corrects him, "No, it's 'GO POTTY.'" Consistency is the only way, the overbearing officer of excrement exclaims.

The puppies "go potty" and the Treat-Sneaker says, "good girl! good dog! good boy!" The dog-Nazi grimmaces and corrects, "No, it's only 'GOOD POTTY!' with physical praise and even a treat. You don't want them to think they need to go potty every time you say 'good dog!'" And then she adds, "And go to the dog without him or her coming to you so they don't think they're being praised for coming to you. They have to be clear about what the praise is for..."

A dismal existence for Treat-Sneaker, who has not scoured the literature for such gems of behavioral information.

But the dog-Nazi is merely a desperate parent seeking some form of order in puppy chaos, and has broken several of her own rules already.

  • No dogs on the furniture or beds? Broken in less than one hour after adoption.
  • No jumping up? Oops, we haven't worked on that yet (they're so cute when they stretch up onto you!).
  • Barking? After some half-hearted claps punctuated with "no! no!"--well, they're just puppies.
  • Face licking? Oh, come on! Everyone likes to be kissed!
  • Pouncing on your chest? That's so funny!

    So, dog-Nazi and her push-over family are getting boot camp*--right after Pepper stops licking my face and Petey wakes up from his nap on the new overstuffed chair...

    *You know, obedience school.

  • Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    lilies to remember him by...

    Every time I think I'm lost in this ridiculous quest to earn a degree and change my life from spinner to do-gooder, someone inadvertently reminds me I am not wasting my time or talents. It always happens unexpectedly--offered neither directly nor purposely, but through their behavior; usually by showing a side of themselves that is emotionally defunct or dead.

    Then, I remember, why I wanted to help people in trouble.

    Then, I remember, just how many people do not care what happens to others.

    Then, I remember, just how many people are unable to see beyond themselves.

    Then, I remember, just how important it is to see beyond myself.


    This past weekend I made what was probably my final "gathering" trip to my father's home. I wanted to transplant his Stella D'Oro lilies to my yard and bring home two gigantic aloe plants he'd nursed for years.

    The new owners met me there and we dug them up and placed them in the bed of my mother's truck. They have been kind to allow us access to the property any time we felt the need to visit. My father's house is now rented to a young man. It made me sad to see the giant blackberry and raspberry thickets mowed to the ground. It's hard to accept the fact the property he worked so hard on is no longer in our family.

    I planted the lilies as soon as I got home and didn't wear my gardening gloves--it felt good to put my hands in the earth. It seemed important for this particular gardening task.

    It rained several hours the next day after planting so they look wonderfully plump and settled in their new home. I hope the move didn't shock them into forgoing their blooms. I wanted to do the transplant in the fall, but I didn't have time.

    I never had a green thumb, but Daddy could make anything grow. I hope he'll help me watch over this little patch of cheerful lilies. I enjoy seeing them when I pull out of the driveway in the mornings.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    X marks the spot...

    I am right where the X is, but I don't where the X is related to anything else in the universe. I am riding along on a magic consonant carpet, going somewhere in a really big hurry.


    All those places I've been listing for years? Probably, but we'll see.

    But I feel spent. And I have spent X amount. In this case X is a variable that represents a considerable sum. A price I was not prepared to pay.

    I don't believe in IOUs anymore. Vowels are for wimps. I need X. I would like to have X in full view, so I can stare into it and study it for the consonant that it is.

    And was.

    And could be.

    I need to do more than stand on the X. I need to be the X.

    Tip it to the side and you are in the crosshairs again.

    X is dangerous.

    X is the place where everyone is headed, but most will vowel-out and say they never wanted to go.

    They lie about X because X can't be controlled.

    X is a variable. Positive or negative, neither captured nor validated.



    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    farewell to the Crazy Chicken...

    ...the chicken that screeched, screeches no more. The scene of the crime where the guts have been strewn looks like the bird put up a real struggle...

    And, why not throw in a couple of photos of the convicts...Petey, the beagle; Pepper, the ever-expanding shepherd...

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    erratic, not erotic, errata...

  • This guy makes his art from chewed gum...amazing-->GUM BLONDES

    Which is completely unrelated to the last two weeks...

  • Pepper broke some small bones in her neck racing into, and not around, the deck stairs. Off to the animal ER in the middle of the night. Nearly $700 later she has recovered. She was supposed to be spayed yesterday but the vet's sterilization equipment broke. I brought home a drunk dog (they had already sedated her for the procedure). Back on Friday for the the Big Snipperoo.

  • When I took Pepper to the ER she peed a gallon in my brand new MINI, which I just had customized. I had to get my car steam-cleaned because I didn't know she had peed until the next morning, at which time everything had been thoroughly marinated. Before I could get that service done it rained for two solid days, by which time I was also marinated in dog urine. I swear I still have olfactory flashbacks.

  • When I had my MINI customized in Nashville (the checkerboard stuff, an iPOD interface and driving lights), they forgot to replace my antenna hook-up. I have no radio stations and until I go back to the dealership in Nashville, which I don't have time to do, I'm stuck.

  • Petey doesn't have dermatitis after all. He has MANGE. Three months of Ivermectin...the nastiest-tasting medicine in the world. He has bald elbows and a nice crusty strip down his back that is slowly growing back hair. It's really fun to take him out in public: "Oh, that poor dog...what did they do to him...?!"

  • Since Petey was diagnosed with mange, I have been itching like crazy with a rashy scalp. I'm trying to ignore it.

  • Pepper was supposed to be nearly grown when we got her. She's gained nearly 15 pounds in the last three weeks. Her paws continue to grow at an even rate faster than her body-a foreboding sign of many more pounds to come. We check her collar daily. She also ate the couch in our laundry room, daily scarfs down the other dogs' food, and today part of the large dog bed in the sunroom.

  • And the cherry on top...the very sweet lady we paid for Petey and Pepper has lost
    the checks we wrote for them.

    And still, we are as happy as we can be with both pups and I'll get back to Nashville when I get back to Nashville...

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