Friday, February 27, 2009

Dogs Hate Winter Too

Lucy on the Left, Ethel on the Right

Lucy: Y'know Eff, remember when it was warm outside?

Ethel: It was warm outside? when was that?

Lucy: Back before they brought that Sally Dog in the house.

Ethel: You mean the whack job that chases her tail and barks at her reflection in the mirror?

Lucy: Yeah, her, but I'm talking about when it was warm, remember that?

Ethel: I guess, I have trouble remembering what I bought last with my credit card. By the way, I ordered us new squeaky squirrels!

Lucy: How do you do that?

Ethel: On Kricket's computer. She leaves it open on the chair all the time!

Lucy: Well how'd you get a credit card? I thought only humans had those?

Ethel: Hey, it came in the mail. I applied online. And I pay the bill by filling out shopper surveys. People are stupid, they have no idea I'm a dog!

Lucy: So how do you decide what to buy?

Ethel: It's tough. Though since Chris started getting all those Orvis catalogues, it's been easier. I even use the discount code on the back of it.

Lucy: You don't buy anything for Sally, do you? She gets to sleep on the bed, and I don't.

Ethel: Don't worry, I got you a "dog's nest" with an orthopedic support for your bad back. It's even heated!

Lucy: You're the best older sister a dog could have, you know that? I love you girl.

Ethel: Ditto, but thanks for saying that. and try and show some love for Sally, it's going to get warm again soon, and she will spend more time outside.

Lucy: Which means more time for us at the food bowl, right?

Ethel: Now you're getting it.

Lucy: I hate winter

Ethel: Me too. Now lets tell Sally that we think there's a stray cat in the yard, so she'll want to go out.

Lucy: Okay! If it gets her away from the food bowl, I'm all for it!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Here Gentleman, a dog teaches us a lesson in humanity" Napoleon Bonaparte

I've tried several times to load this link from Utube, but if you ever want to witness true heroism, click on the link provided and watch the minute of footage.

If only people would do this for one another so selflessly.

My thanks to fellow blogger and memoir group member Mitzi Flyte for emailing me the link.

UPDATE!: I managed to get it to work on a video bar to the left! The two bottom scenes are narrated in English and have the best picture. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ah, the beginning of LINT! No, Not Lent, LINT!

That's right, L I N T!

Not L E N T! LINT!

At least that's how we said it in my house growing up. And considering the dietary demands of LINT, it's amazing none of us starved. I think Lint was the main course at some meals.Though I do miss my Mom's Potato soup, something every Irish Catholic Mom probably knows how to make.

Gee, I'm so looking forward to enjoying Fish every Friday, and abstaining from meat, at least until I forget and have a bowl of Chicken Noodle soup or something.

Look, lets face it. I'm probably going to be one of those people who can't get into Heaven or Hell, and I'll end up at some level of unearthly existence somewhere in between, working in the afterlife Bowling Alley/Bingo Hall, for fallen away Catholics.

When I'm not selling instant express ride to Heaven (Keno) tickets, I'll be working the colored pin get a strike go to heaven game on the lanes. Get a strike on a Red headpin, and go to hell, Get a strike on a blue head pin, and go to heaven. Get a strike on a Green or Black Head pin, and get a couple of decades commuted off your sentence.
In my afterlife of penance, I'm the head mechanic and clearing all the machine jams by myself. With my luck, There will be a ball stuck on lane 1, and a fire on lane 5002 at the other end at the same time.

I guess it could be worse. St Peter could sentence me to do my penance by writing a Blog about it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Stupid Behavior Rant

Last week I made a few comments about why guys are having trouble in relationships, and I asserted that their lack of manners might have something to do with it. As usual, I received a few email comments, that were right in line with one that someone left here on the blog.

It had to do with guys who answer their cell phone or text message during their dates. Now I'm sure there are women who do this too, but I feel their pain. When I was at John Grogan's speech on Thursday, I heard cell phones ringing sporadically.

Personally, I made a point to turn mine off when I entered the auditorium, but you would think that people would have the common decency to at least put it on vibrate, right?
I mean, if you're a trauma surgeon, I can see the need for that wherever you go, but whose life is going to be saved if Ralph in Finance can't find a toner cartridge?

You get my point?

But I think it is especially egregious for someone to agree to an evening out, and then ask their dating partner to wait repeatedly while they answer cell calls, or return text, don't you?

Even when I take my wife to dinner, I kill my phone. I don't want to be bothered, and i don't want to bother the other patrons, I think it is just plain rude, How about you guys?

Okay, That's my Sunday Stupid behavior rant, and now that I have vented, I'll get back to working on my book. Amen, Brother Ben shot the hen.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Marley and me" author John Grogan speaks at Lehigh U

I love books, I read them and collect them. I have several of James Thurber's works, including "Thurber's dogs."
So it shouldn't surprise anyone that I made the trek late Thursday over to the auditorium in the Packer Lab to hear former Rodale editor, Inquirer Columnist, and present Coopersburg resident John Grogan speak on writing, among other subjects.

I was accompanied by my Editor, Ellen Roberts of Woodley Books, and another aspiring author like myself, Linda, whose last name I can neither pronounce or spell, so I'll leave it at that.

Mr Grogan had just returned from a book speaking tour in the British Isles, and was glad to be home. He did talk a great deal about his creative process in putting together "Marley and me", and how he came to realize that it was the book he was meant to write. He also also went on in great lengths to describe how it enabled him to write the follow up, "The Longest Trip Home" about growing up in a strict Catholic household. That is a topic many older Lehigh Valley residents, and I personally, can relate to.

The thing that I took away from his talk is how he used his dog Marley as a catalyst in carrying the story in his own life. He used Marley's evolution in their family to help measure his own, something I have done in my own writing at times, using my dog Fred in my journals, and in my novels.

Mr. Grogan described how he started writing his journal in high school at the urging of a teacher, and how he used that writing as a reference in writing his books. He made carbon copies of letters he wrote home throughout life, something I would never have thought to do. I was fortunate that my Dad saved all my letters home and returned them to me when I was discharged more than 20 years ago.

John Grogan did read a section from his second book, "The Longest Trip Home" that anyone with any kind of religious upbringing will find hilarious. It concerned a night he and his new wife spent at his parents home immediately after their wedding, and his retelling in the book is worth reading over and over. I haven't made it that far in the book yet, but now I look forward to it.

The hour was over much too quickly, and the line to get the book signed was far too long to wait, so we decided to head home. Maybe Someday I can trade him, a signed copy of my book for a signed copy of his! I can only hope!

Special Thanks to Kathy Frederick at the Junk Drawer for the parking info and directions, they were great!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So What's In the Stimulus for Bloggers? Let Me Tell You!

All the big news is about this Gadzillion dollar Stimulus Bill that just got enacted into law, and how it is going to save humanity. (Or at least life as we know it here in the good ol' USA!)

Tonight I downloaded all 130,786 pages of the bill, and because I am a graduate of the Evelyn wood Speed Reading course, I digested that baby in about 20 minutes!

And guess what I found, smack dab right in the middle of it, on page 66,666?

I found the Blogger Unification Locality Legalization Spread Happiness Initiative Treatise. or as I like to call it, the B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T. rider!

And just what does the BULLSHIT Rider propose?

It allocates $1 Billion, (That's B as in Billion!) for the creation of the Blogger Relief Information Corps, or in Government terms, the BRIC!

So what is the purpose of the BRIC?

I'll tell you!

The purpose of the BRIC! is to spread blogging into smaller communities that otherwise wouldn't have blogs being written about them! The goal is to give grants of $1000 to 10,000 people, and have them write blogs about such places as Neffs PA, or even an out of the way place like Aquashicola! It's all part of the new Administrations' "No Blogger left behind" initiative!

Now I know you just did the numbers, and you realized that they have a budget of
$1 BILLION dollars, but they are only giving out grants for $10 MILLION. Well, you see, that's because they need $990 million for administrative costs. First they gotta have offices in every state, and they gotta furnish those offices. then they gotta have employees, such as administrators and secretaries to do their work, and then they gotta have personal laptops and cars, well you get the picture, right?! I can't wait to see who gets the job as Undersecretary of Blogging affairs to oversee all this fun!

I'd bet on either Ariana Huffington or that doofus from the Daily Kos!

So That's what the Stimulus bill has for us bloggers. I'm going to apply to write a blog about Breiningsville! I'm going to get my grand, how about you?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guys, if you want the girl to like you, pay attention

This past weekend we had that whole romantic weekend thing going on.

I hear from many younger men their complaints about woman, and I also hear that they don't know what to do to impress a woman.

Well, guys, let me give you a clue. What I witnessed this past weekend in the manners department speaks volumes at to why the ladies are so damn disgusted with you.

It is basic stuff guys, that no amount of flowers, sweet talk, or even diamonds can overcome.
(Okay, Diamonds can overcome a lot of failings, but still..)

So here's the issue:

Guys, you have no manners. If I had a dollar for every clod I saw that escorted a beautiful woman into a restaurant this weekend, and didn't hold the door for her, or pull a chair out for her, I'd have a couple of hundred bucks, easy.

Guys, it is those simple acts of common courtesy that will set you apart from the crowd!
Okay, the clod I am especially singling out I saw Sunday afternoon at a restaurant. If she thinks enough of the date to wear a dress and make up, and look that nice, and you drive a BMW Z3, don't tell me that you don't own dress clothes! You didn't hold the door for her, and you didn't grab her chair. You left her sitting alone while you gabbed with someone you knew on the other side of the restaurant for 10 minutes! Hello!!!

You should introduce them! It's called manners!

I have to tell you, if I stood there with my hands in my pockets and didn't hold the door for a lady, like you did, my Dad would have smacked me on the side of the head! I hold the door for my wife, I get her chair, feminism be damned!

Yes, there are independent women, but still, woman appreciate a man who understands his chivalrous duties, and can discern between being a gentleman and a misogynist jerk!

So get off your ass and be a gentleman! That's an order! And the rest of you, teach these things to your kids!
I see one more pack of kids push their way past a group of old folks entering an establishment while the parents lag behind, I'm reporting you to child services! Now lets do it!

Their called manners! Get them, Use Them, and practice them! Can I get an Amen?!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The cost of Valentine's Day 2009

One Vermont Teddy Bear: $100. + (You really don't wanna know)

One figurine from Bearly Heaven Barn on Pricetown road outside Fleetwood: $19.61
(Talk about Karma! I was born in 1961, and it was a resin figure of two adults dancing, titled, appropriately enough, "Dance with me.")

One Saltwater fish of various colors named Plelo (Pl + ellow) $20.00 +

Late Dinner down near Philly with her Sister and her husband. $40.00

but my favorite part of the evening?

One slow dance in the kitchen when we got home. Around 10:45 PM, Peabo Bryson's "If ever you're in my arms again" and Billy Joel's "She's always a woman to me" came on XM 23's Love Songs. We danced in the kitchen, with love, and three cocker Spaniels watching intently.

And that makes the total cost: Priceless

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Saturday Is Valentine's Day, So.......

....I'm going to share a few memories, and give a little bit of advice.

Valentines Day is supposed to be about Love. This year I want to take some time to ask that we all appreciate the love that we have, at this moment, right in front of us, today.

I consider myself an observer of the human condition. In recent weeks, an acquaintance of mine slipped on the ice and fell. He didn't want to admit he was hurt, but the pain became too much and finally he relented and allowed his wife to take him to the hospital.

An X-ray was taken, that showed something more than an injury. It showed a suspicious mass.
Procedures were done, and surgery scheduled. Then the bad news: CANCER. He now faces many months of chemo therapy, and fears for his job and livelihood.

But through all this, he has shut out his Wife, family, and friends, refusing to allow them to help him cope. The pain and anguish on his Wife's face as she tries to share her love and he denies it is painful to witness. I don't know what to say too him, to help him see what he is doing, and how counter productive it is. I have no room to talk, so I have stayed silent, and uninvolved.
So I'm going to relate my personal experience, from 17 years ago, and maybe he will read it, and understand.

I count myself incredibly lucky that I found the great love of my life, and have been married to her for over 12 years.

But seventeen years ago, I had a woman in my life that I never said the words "I love you" to.
We were very good friends, but I didn't have my act together enough at that time to see what was in front of me. In January of 1992, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and on Memorial Day, less than five months later she died, at the age of 27.

I've been working on this memoir about a dog I had in my life for 15 years, and how he acted as my best friend, but in writing this book, I realized, with the help of years of 20/20 hindsight, just what I had, and let get away.

On Easter Sunday before she died, I went to her home to visit. She was in the kitchen, sitting at the table reading, with the radio on.
We talked about many things, but we also argued, because she accepted that she had little time left, and I didn't want to hear that. Cross words were exchanged, and we fell into an awkward silence.

Then the song, "Dance With Me" by the group Orleans came on the radio, and she noted that in all our time together, I had never had occasion to ask her to dance.

"I would like to cross, "Dance with the man who loves me" off the list of things to do before I die", she said to me. I had never said that I loved her, so she said it for me.

I swallowed my words of despair, and got up from my chair. I went over to her, and lifted all 5 feet, and less than 90 pounds that was left of her from her treatments up, and slow danced her as carefully as I could around the kitchen until the song was done. I held her as gently as I could. When the song ended, we were both in tears, she kissed my cheek, and whispered "Thank You."

"Dance With me, I want to be your partner

can't you see, the music is just starting,

Night is calling, and I am falling, dance with me."

To this day, when I hear the guitar strings at the beginning of that song on the radio, I have to suppress an urge to cry. For the longest time, I have been successful, but in recent weeks, as I reexamined my past, not so much.

We don't know how long we have with the ones we love. Whether they will be here tomorrow, or we will, we don't know, but this year on Valentine's day, sometime Saturday in the evening, I don't know when, I'm going to ask the woman who loves me unconditionally, with all my faults, and all my annoying habits, to come out into the kitchen. I'm going to turn the XM radio on to either the 70s on XM 7, or Love songs on Channel XM 23, and ask her to dance with me.

I'm going to let her know that I appreciate and treasure the love that we have for each other, right then, now, and in the future. I would hope that all of you out there will take the initiative, and grab that significant other in your life sometime Saturday, and do the same. Before it is too late.

Just walk over and ask them, "will you....

Dance With Me?"

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Last Week I got tagged....

So you know what that means?

I have to list 7 weird things about me, and tag 7 other bloggers.

First I have to blame Mincognito for tagging me. That's what I get for reading her and leaving comments, but she's a great read, so check her out.

I'm going to share the torture and shame, and I hereby tag the following blogs:

Lehigh Valley with Love

Mitzi's Musings

Redhead Ranting

The Junk Drawer

Lehigh Lexicon

Capri, Nothing Like the Pants

Cooking with Anne

Okay, so seven weird things about me, just seven? Where the hell do I start?

1. I like to put ruffles potato chips inside my Oscar Meyer Bologna sandwiches, with French's mustard, colby jack cheese, and dill pickles. I like my Peanut Butter that way as well, with crunchy chips!

2. Whenever I am using tools, I have an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive disorder) moment. I have to lay them out in a straight line, sort of a military "dress right dress" before I can use any of them.

3. I can't turn the radio off in the middle of a song, I have to wait until it is over, and if a new one starts that I like, I'm in trouble.

4. I feel guilty about trapping and killing the mice/vermin, but I laugh when Mr. Hawk swoops out of the tree out back and snatches Mr. Chipmunk under the bird feeder. I'm not into doing the harm, but I appreciate the circle of life.

5. I'm constantly putting my underpants on backwards, I don't know why, maybe early onset of Alzheimer's? But I never realize it until I go to work and nature calls.

6. I will make sure all the other residents of casa di Casey are fed before I eat. I fill all the dog dishes, water bowls, bird feeders, etc, before I make my own dinner. I'm even feeding the cat from the woods regularly, during the harsh winter, now that it has taken up living under our deck.

7. I think Jim Croce (Bad bad, Leroy Brown) and Harry Chapin (Cats in the Cradle) are two of the most under appreciated musical troubadours of the 20Th century.

That's my list of 7, maybe more off the wall, not quite completely weird things about me.

Now go compile your own lists, but you might want to keep it to yourselves.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dear God: Please don't let the Santa lookalike guy be dead in the Jacuzzi

Anybody who reads this blog ever play "Clue" as a kid? You know, the game where through a process of elimination you figure out that Colonel Mustard killed the Butler in the Library with the Candle holder while the maid was getting knifed in the kitchen?
Sure you did!

This morning I let Mrs C. who is a bit under the weather, sleep in, and after having a breakfast omelet, I went to my gym to work out.
I've written about my gym before, that's the place where there are idiots who use hair driers on their groin areas and attempt to multitask by shaving in the jacuzzi.
Thankfully, those morons get called out most of the time by other members (like me), and publicly shamed.

This morning after I blasted through 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer, and swam my 10 laps, (500 meters, thank you!) I went to the jacuzzi room for 20 minutes of relaxing, almost scalding water pulsing away at my aching muscles.
This jacuzzi at my gym will hold 8 to 12 people, but there's rarely more than 2 0r 3 around.
Today I walk in and a regular, who looks a lot like Santa is alone in the jacuzzi. He is sitting in the corner, staring straight up in the air.

He's not blinking.

He doesn't look like he's breathing.

I call out, "Hey buddy, how are you today?"

No answer.

If you ever played Clue, right now you are thinking, Santa was killed by the Towel guy in the Jacuzzi with the jump rope, Right?

Eh, not so fast. Lets check the guy first, maybe.

What would Jesus do? Well here's what I did: I walked over and touched him, and he jumped up with a start, damn near giving me a fatal heart attack.

I explained why I touched him, and he laughed, telling me that he was only meditating, and had not heard or noticed me. I am 5' 11" and 230 pounds, but he hadn't noticed me? The guy who's head is so bald and shiny they dim the lights when I enter the building to cut down the glare?

So the Santa lookalike guy was not dead. I'm glad.

Speaking of living creatures that aren't dead....

The fish that remained after the untimely death of Paint/Lazarus/Floater are all still alive!

I credit this to the great folks at the Riverview Nursery out in the Pricetown area, who gave me great advice on how to stabilize the water in their tank after the move. Go FISH!

This brings me to Loodely Doodles Lucy, the little Black Cocker who suffered a seizure recently. She's doing great as well, with no further occurrences. My wife and I suspect that someone may have tossed something in the yard and she ate it, but we have no proof, just our suspicions.

However, there were some mysterious footprints in the snow around the property last week. I'm really glad I invested in the Brink's system last year after all the break ins over in the nearby Ancient Oaks subdivision, and circumstantial evidence that someone had been scoping out our home. Throw in a couple of 24/7 web cams strategically placed on the property, and I've got an eye on things even when I'm not home. Ain't Technology great!

BTW, Tomorrow is SALLY SUNDAY!

Why is it SALLY SUNDAY!? Because tomorrow we take the dog (Sally) that does not like to have her hair cut or get a bath down to the do it yourself Pet Wash on Route 100 in Macungie.

There's a reason I'll be praying extra hard tomorrow at church, I will need the extra patience and understanding as I try to hold on to Sally while Mrs C does the honors.

Meanwhile, the memoir parade marches on. It has nine chapters, consisting of 165 pages. The story of a guy with an addiction and his guardian angel/sponsor/best friend who happens to be a dog.
Sometimes we find out the truth about ourselves when we peel away all the lies we told ourselves to get by. Life might not be as good as we would like to think, but it's nowhere near as bad as those around us would sometimes have us believe.

It's all about perspective, and 20 years down the road, hindsight is always 20/20.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My 11th Commandment: Don't let your kids play with Automatic rifles!

I received a few emails this week asking if I was okay. My "I'm writing as fast as I can" post freaked some people out, including Mrs C. So let me explain.

I've been writing this memoir, and last week I went on a tear, ripping out a hot draft. The thing was, that in writing out these pages, I had to revisit four of the worst days in my life, concerning the deaths of loved ones. I found it isn't easy to revisit one heartbreaking day or situation, let alone four almost simultaneously. It is emotionally, and physically draining to do, and I count myself lucky to have done it and made it through.

So how about some happy thoughts?!

I would like to take this opportunity to revisit a topic of discussion from a meeting this week and the question, "If you could add a commandment to the Ten God gave Moses, what would it be?"

Last night I'm zooming along on the Interwebby before beddy time, reading news from all over the world, when I found this Australian news gem: "4 Year old shoots Father while riding in car."
According to the story, on a 116 degree day, the Dad was driving the kid home after picking him up from preschool when the child picked up Daddy's hunting rifle from the floor of the car and shot dear old Dad in the back.

My first thought was the kid was upset with his Dad. "I said I want Ice Cream!"

I originally had to question the parenting skills of any person, male or female, that would put an unrestrained child in the back seat of the car with a loaded firearm on the floor.
But after thinking about it, it is Australia, where "Dingos eat your baby" on occasion, and maybe he's actually a good parent for teaching the kid to protect himself. How do we know the kid didn't see a dingo sneaking up on the car, and acted proactively? All that happened was he bumped his hand grabbing the rifle, and it accidentally discharged.
The authorities in New South Wales might see it differently than we do over here in the Tombstone, er, Lehigh Valley. Australian authorities might not file any charges, instead sentencing the 4 year old to a remedial firearm safety course, and revoking his hunting privileges until maybe he is six?

So That's my 11th Commandment. Don't let your kids play with automatic rifles!