Monthly Archives: February 2014

Closet Snacker

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I have always enjoyed rather odd snacks. It started when I was very young. My parents introduced us to unusual things early on, and along the way I have branched out in my snack creations. I can remember my mom making a sandwich of leftover mashed potatoes with onion. Cold. On white bread. She would sometimes add the leftover peas. And my dad was into big sticks of pepperoni, and these dried, salted herring. We always had a supply of pickles, olives, and peppers. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, so it was the era of Hostess snack cakes, spray cheese, Velveeta, and all manner of “junk” food. Mom focused on the balanced meals most of the time, but dad loved the snackage. It’s amazing I don’t weigh 400 lbs.!

I can remember some of the combinations my brother and I would come up with. On New Year’s Eve, we would sometimes make up our version of hors d’oeuvres, which I fondly refer to as “horse’s ovaries” to this day. We would carefully prepare our paper plates with an array of fine snackery. Cubes of cheese, liverwurst, sweet pickles, olives…sometimes we’d even spear them on toothpicks to make it extra fancy. Sometimes we’d splurge on these snack plates when it wasn’t even a holiday! It was a habit that stuck with us into our high school years, and we’d enjoy plates of snacks while watching SNL.

But the one snacking occasion I remember as the most special was our closet snack session when we were fairly young. I think we had just moved into the townhouse we lived in, because there wasn’t yet much in my closet. Maybe my brother would have a better memory of this, but I’ll do my best. We had these wooden folding camp stools, and we set them up in the closet, creating our private dining area. We prepared our plates of snacks, but we wanted this to be a special affair, so we needed cocktails to go with the snacks. Maybe this was due to watching our parents have the occasional cocktail on a Sunday afternoon. So, we got little paper Dixie cups out of the bathroom dispenser, and filled them with Scope mouthwash for our fancy beverages. I know, I know…eeeuw! Nothing like some cheese, liverwurst, pickles and Scope, eh?

But I promised tales of odd snacks, so let me continue. I can also remember my brother and I creating sandwiches in several variations, consisting of butter and sugar, or sugar and cocoa! Yep. I also latched onto a favorite snack that our local community center pool offered at their snack bar in the summers. A lemon with a peppermint stick stuck in it. You would suck on the peppermint stick, and eventually the lemon juice would create channels up the stick, and you’d get lemonade! It was great! The other variation of that was to use a big dill pickle, which was a whole other taste sensation.

My favorite snack is still a plate of pickles, olives, peppers, and cheese. And if I’m really craving salt, I’ll open a can of black olives, and a can of anchovies, and stuff the anchovies inside of the olives. Oh. My. God. The mashed potato sandwiches never caught on with me, but I sure do love my horses ovaries plate, sans the Scope!

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Say What?

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I’m not sure exactly what has happened over the years, but we seem to have moved from very proper language usage, to an anything goes mentality when it comes to words. I’m ok with it when new slang words come along. I don’t always like them, but I understand that we’ve always come up with strange words and phrases, and each generation seems to have its list of slang. It kind of identifies us. One of my yearbook covers was a collage of all the slang we used back in 1973, and I still love looking at it.

But when it comes to people just plain making up words, or using a word with a slightly different spelling than the actual word, you might as well ask me to chew on a piece of tin foil! Supposably, it’s ok to use something just close enough to a real word that it will irritate the hell out of those of us who are aware of that real word, its spelling, and usage. All the sudden, some folks started using these near misses, and then a lot of other folks heard them, or read them, and started using them, too.

Anyways, when I come acrost one of these words, it makes me crazy! I have to sit down and have an expresso. I can’t help it if I am orientated to proper usage. You might call me a language affectionado. And it doesn’t seem to matter how important you are, or how publicly you misuse our language. We suffered through eight years of listening to a President say nucular, irregardless of his influential position. It’s not that I think I am better then they are, but if you’re going to speak or write in public, I think you should check your grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage. Especially if you’re the POTUS.

It flustrates me to no end when someone orders sherbert. For all intensive purposes, I could care less if someone misspeaks and utters one of these in a flurry of conversation. I’ve even misspoken myself many a time. But when they really don’t know that what they’re saying is wrong, continue to use the wrong word, and sometimes even argue that they are right, that’s when I cringe. I will admit that when I hear a friend misuse a word, I sometimes don’t correct them. I am embarrassed for them, and don’t want to sound like a know-it-all. But I will also admit that once that happens, it does change my impression of them.

Do you think it’s a hearing problem? Has the increased noise in our world caused us to hear almost what the word or phrase is, and then we just start saying it that way? Or was it spelling that led some astray? Or maybe pronunciation? I would offer to borrow them a dictionary, but they might just itch their heads in wonder. 

Play It Again, Sam

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I’ve noticed that there seem to be a lot of movie remakes the last few years. It started to bother me a little. Can’t we think up new ideas for movies? Were those old movies so bad, or so great, that they needed to be redone? What makes someone want to remake a movie? And are the remakes any better than the originals? So, I did some checking.

First, I Googled movie remakes (hey, I can research with the best of ’em!) I went to Wikipedia first, since they usually have a pretty straightforward coverage of basic data. The first page that came up had a notice at the top of the page saying, “This is a list of film remakes. Due to the size of this page, the main listing has been split into two sections.” Now I knew it wasn’t just me imagining there were a lot of film remakes. There are hundreds of them!

I guess I could understand if there was this great movie from say the 50’s, which had scary monsters in it, that someone who is into all the make-up and special effects technology might want to take a stab at remaking it in spectacular fashion. And maybe if there were a movie that dealt with some historical event, and new information had come to light, I could see how someone would want to set the record straight with a remake. But did we really need a second Amityville Horror, Bad News Bears, or Endless Love?

Some films just shouldn’t be redone. They are classics, and we relate to the actors and actresses that played the parts in the original versions. Bringing along some new guy or gal can just ruin the whole thing. Take The Goodbye Girl, for instance. Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason made that movie what it was for me. Then, along come Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton, and it’s just not the same. Similarly, in Brian’s Song, I watched James Caan die a slow death, while best friend Billy Dee Williams stands by his side and wins one for the gipper. I do not want to see Sean Maher and Mekhi Phifer take their places. I don’t even know who they are!

Olympic Matchstick

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I really wanted to enjoy the Olympics. It’s something I remember being a big deal when we were kids. It was a family event. We would watch the games together. And it was actually quite educational. We’d learn about the events, the equipment, the scoring, and the host country. And there’d be side stories about the athletes and their families, the years of training and dedication, their particular skills, struggles, and triumphs. The Olympic athletes were the underdogs…the wholesome, hard-working and ambitious. They were honored to qualify, and they were thrilled if they earned a medal of any kind, let alone a gold. In the early days of the games, the opening ceremonies focused on the athletes and the countries participating, featuring the flags of each nation, the oath that the athletes took, and the lighting of the torch to begin the games. Then it was down to business.

This year, I confirmed that I really don’t enjoy watching the games any more. Some things have been bothering me for a while, but now I’m convinced that it’s just not the same. The first thing to disappoint me was the IOC deciding to allow professional athletes to participate in the Olympics. No more wholesome, dedicated young people trying to achieve their personal best. Now it was about the money, the advertising, and the fame. Professional teams even suspend their regular game schedules so that team members can participate in the Olympics.

The next disappointment was the change in the opening and closing ceremonies. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s gotten awfully over the top, hasn’t it? The money, the costumes, the choreography, the special effects, the zillions of people involved, and the length of the programs. Is it even about the athletes or the competition any more? When the athletes enter the venue, it’s all about their costumes…which designer was responsible, and how stylish they look. The torch is lit in such a spectacular fashion that we hardly notice who is doing the lighting, or how the torch got there. And I just get lost in the complexities of the show. Just a lot of “unique” music, movement, and glitz.

Then there are the commentators. I like to refer to them as “common taters” though. Some are pretty good about saying encouraging things along the way, even as an athlete falls or fails. But others, in particular the female figure skating commentators, come off rather smug and judgmental. Here are these athletes pulling off unbelievable spins, jumps, throws and catches, on very slippery ice, and all Ms. Former Figure Skating Champion can say is something like, “She knew better than to try that jump,” or, “That’s just not his best…he’s really going to lose points on that.” Let’s keep things in perspective…the commentators have come to expect nothing short of perfection. But the judges never find ANYONE perfect.

Now we come to the level of competition, and the technology that has changed things. Now we have sophisticated timing devices that measure down to the hundredth of a second, and sleds that can reach speeds comparable with the Daytona 500. We have suits that are streamlined to shave seconds off of skaters’ times, and skis that are made and treated to allow skiers to literally fly down the hills. Now the skaters are attempting jumps and spins that are so difficult, that even the gold medal winners can fall during a routine and still come out on top. The athletes expect so much of themselves, and the judges and fans expect that perfection. Many of the athletes are only focused on gold, and if they get anything less, some of them don’t even seem to recognize what an accomplishment they’ve reached. I think we’ve outsmarted ourselves into a whole different kind of competition.

As a viewer at home, I feel very uninformed, especially about the scoring and the gist of each event. Scoring has changed over the years, and the commentators don’t spend much time at all talking about how events are scored. There’s also very little explanation of what each event entails, and the rules and strategies that go along with it. Unless you yourself have recently competed in any of these sports, you are in the dark as to how the athletes are being judged.

And my last complaint is that, although there were a few side stories provided about some of the athletes, they paled in comparison to the hour long, in depth review of the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding debacle of twenty years ago. Really? Aren’t the present-day athletes and their stories of hard work to get where they are way more important than whose ex-husband cracked who in the shin twenty years ago??

Bummin’

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Yesterday I got the itch to go bummin’. This is a term my grandma used to use, and it meant shopping around for stuff you didn’t know you needed or wanted until you were cruising the aisles of some store. Back then, we didn’t have Target, or a mall, so this was small-scale, local, small-town shopping. Maybe the Walgreens five and dime, or maybe the hardware store. Just looking for junk. It was always fun to go with her, and I don’t even remember what we would buy. I’m sure it would involve gadgets for her house, or toys for me…maybe some of those plastic high heels with the elastic strap, or a necklace of plastic pop-together beads, or a tea set. It didn’t matter what we bought, but just that we were bummin’.

I have discovered as an adult, that I still get the itch to go bummin’ once in a while. It usually happens on a Saturday or Sunday, when I should be cleaning, or doing something productive. I just feel the need to go find some junk. Sometimes I go alone, and others I coerce some friend into going with me. Fortunately, I always seem to have at least one or two friends who share this affliction. I’ve been known to go quite some distance to go bummin’…when living in small towns and rural areas, you get used to driving up to an hour for real shopping, so the 15 minutes I invested in drive time yesterday was nothing.

Yesterday’s trip included my favorite semi-local “junk shop” (and I mean that in the best way), a shoe store, and two almost identical stores with “dollar” in their names, but nothing costs a dollar. The junk shop was my best haul. This place has EVERYTHING you can imagine…kitchen stuff, furniture, books, records, toys, crafty stuff, and odd collections of old matchbooks, buttons, bottle caps, BINGO cards, game pieces, beads, pictures, and other bits. You could get lost in there! I was in need of file folders, and just about to buy some new ones, but, as luck would have it, they had a box of PURPLE ones (my favorite color!) at a bargain price. I also walked out of there with 3 vintage rulers, which I sort of collect, and some sweet old cut-outs that will make fabulous Valentines next year. You may be thinking that isn’t much of a haul, but remember…it’s not about what you buy, it’s about the bummin’ experience.  

Cats…Go Figure

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Cats are so entertaining. They are well-known for their curious behavior, and often just spring into action over nothing noticeable to the human eye. They practice odd habits, move in ways that don’t seem physically possible, and make sounds that sound other-worldly. I’ve had several cats over the years, and I’ve seen and heard some mighty strange things.

When I was a little kid, my cousin brought a kitten home from college that she could no longer keep. She purposely let my brother and I see it, knowing we’d fall in love, and my parents would take the cat off her hands. We did, they did, and Shtoonkie was ours. I don’t remember a whole lot about Shtoonkie because I was maybe 4 or 5 when he came to live with us. It was a short stay, as I recall. Shtoonkie was fond of getting into unusual places and just hanging out…literally. Our front door had a small window at the top of it, and I remember he would jump up to that window and just hang there by his front claws, looking outside. Another of his favorite hangouts was on my parents’ bed, under the bedspread, but on top of the sheets. He would somehow slither in between the covers without disturbing anything, and would just appear as a lump in the middle of the bed.

I didn’t have another cat until I was teaching. My first was Ashley. She was sort of aloof and disinterested sometimes, but overall a good companion. One evening I was sitting on the floor, wrapping some gifts. I had a large gift bag laying on the floor in front of me, which didn’t have anything in it yet. Being a cat, Ashley crawled inside the bag. I focused on wrapping the gift for a minute, and suddenly the bag flew into the air in front of me, and exploded. There was a flash of grey fur flying through the air, and bits of bag fell to the floor. I laughed until I cried. She stayed away from bags for quite some time after that.

Then came Binky. He was the best orange tabby boy! He loved the crinkly plastic grocery bags. One time after a grocery run, there were several bags on the floor. He was sitting on them, poking his head in them, and all of a sudden he tore off running, plastic bag flying behind him like a parachute. He had stuck his head through one of the handles, and apparently, in his excitement over the crackling sound the bag made in motion, he just kept running faster, trying to get away from the bag. Unfortunately, it followed him everywhere. I finally was able to catch him and get it off of his neck.

Blossom was a sweet, petite, fuzzy, gorgeous girl. She didn’t get into much mischief, but she had one odd habit we never understood. She loved to lick and chew on photographs. This was back in the days of taking pictures with film in a camera, then getting the film developed into prints. I think she was drawn to whatever chemicals were involved in the processing of the photos. If you left any pictures laying around, you’d find them with little teeth marks all along the edges, and the finish licked off of them.

We had one polydactyl cat, Graycie, who was big on carrying socks around. She’d find my husband’s socks, and bring them downstairs, one at a time, and leave them all over the house. When I’d get home from work, there’d be a trail of socks throughout the house. Once in a while, when she was feeling ambitious, she would go for larger items. One time it was a sweater, and another time a blanket! She looked absolutely ridiculous dragging that blanket down the steps. We had one of those crinkly tunnels for the cats, and she’d often stash the socks there. She also would cry human-sounding cries as she carried the socks, as if they were her babies or something. She had a second special skill. She would sit up on her haunches like a prairie dog, and look around. You could get her to do it to take treats. I think we missed out by not signing her up for the kitty circus.

My current male tabby, Stewball, is very fond of the dog. I featured him in a picture the other day, doing his weird thing. He cuddles with Polly the dog and licks her ears obsessively. He does the “pusha pusha” while licking away, until Polly can take no more and sends him packing. I tried to explain to him that he’s wasting his time if he’s trying to romance her…he’s a cat…she’s a dog…he’s fixed…she’s fixed…he wouldn’t hear any of it.

A Box of Things

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I have a small cardboard box in the closet under my stairs. I found it the last time I was up in the attic, and brought it down to look through. It contains the things that I kept from my childhood. It’s not filled with the things my mom saved for me…those things are in scrapbooks, in a box of school work from my elementary years, or in the cedar chest. No, these things are just things I kept on my own. When I left for college, I took a few of these with me. Of course, at that age, I only took the things that wouldn’t get me laughed out of my dorm. Then when I got my first place of my own, I took more of my things from my childhood home. On my visits home, I would always bring a stash of things back with me. And when my dad died, I did the last sweep for stuff before letting the rest go. With each move I made over the years, the collection slimmed down some. But somehow, I’ve dragged this last bundle of stuff around with me all these years.

Kids are like little magnets. They come home with extra items in their pockets. They save things that mean nothing to anyone else. They trade things with friends for other things they covet. They hang onto toys from the Cracker Jack boxes, charms from the gumball machine, or birthday gifts from classmates. They stash these items just about anywhere. It might be under the bed, in a dresser drawer, under the mattress, in the closet, or just all over the floor. As kids grow up, some lose interest in these things. But some hang onto them, as I did. Once in a while, I drag them out and go through them, reminiscing about each one. I suppose many of you have such a collection somewhere in your homes. I’m also sure that many of you left all of that stuff behind when you left your childhood homes. But in my case, these things were important enough to schlep to 3 states and keep for 30-some years.

What interests me is what makes these things so important to me. None of them is worth a fortune, nor would anyone find them collectable but me. These things are not even the most important things from my childhood. Regretfully, many of those were left behind, lost, or given away by my parents before I could speak up. These things are just little tchatchkes. Yet even after all these years, I can remember where or when I got most of them. They still churn up the old feelings I had for them when I was a kid.

Among my prizes is a St. Louis Cardinals bobblehead from before bobbleheads were cool. There’s also a miniature Cardinals bat, and a small, vinyl Cardinals purse. (We grew up in E. St. Louis…what can I say?) I have a round deck of cards, as well as a miniature deck that I loved playing solitaire with. I have 2 tiny dictionaries…one German, and one French that I got at an early book fair. I have a horseshoe my aunt and uncle gave me from a racehorse they owned long ago. There’s a giant copper penny, and some old money from a long ago visit to Springfield, IL. There’s a vinyl stuffed autograph dog that I got for a birthday (around 8 or 9), which was signed by my family and friends, as well as my autograph book, with only a few signatures in it (again, family and friends, rather than anyone famous.) I still have my very mod, bright orange and yellow, wind-up alarm clock from when I was maybe 10 or 11. I kept a tiny wooden vase and a tinier glass elephant that were in a curio cabinet at my Baba’s house. I have a (now broken and glued) little statue of the 3 monkeys doing the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil pose that belonged to my Grams. I have the “clacker balls” that were eventually outlawed as too dangerous, but were all the rage in the early 70’s.

I could go on and on, but you get the gist. I know it seems ridiculous to keep these things, but I’m hanging onto them for now. Every once in a while I’ll get them out and review my memories once again. I don’t know what will happen to these things when I’m gone, but maybe one day some kids will pick them up out of the free pile at the estate sale and stash them in a box somewhere.  

The Latest & Greatest

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When I opened my computer at work one day a few weeks ago, I was greeted with the familiar pop-up window that told me I had updates available, and was begging me to respond as to whether I wanted to install these updates now, or later. There was no option to NOT download and install…just the question as to WHEN I wanted to do so. Ya gotta love Windows, eh?

I was in a hurry, and had a new computer, new job, and wanted the newest things to help me zip through my work, so I clicked YES – hook me up with the latest and greatest, Windows! This is the part where I must interject a word or two of caution. Do NOT let your computer decide that you need shiny, new things. Do NOT accept an update or upgrade without being sure what you’re getting into. Do NOT trust that Windows knows what’s best for you at any given time.

You see, what happened that day was that I thought I was signing off on a quick update to a program, but what I did, in fact, was to agree to hours of downloading and installing the “upgrade” to Windows 8.1. And the kicker was that during this download and installation, many of the features of my brand new computer were disabled or crippled, right down to the trackpad not working. I was dead in the water. What can you do without your computer these days? Then, the next shocker was that after the big upgrade finally was complete, Windows pinged me again saying that I had updates waiting to install, because some of my programs would not work now that I had “upgraded” to Windows 8.1, unless I agreed to these updates. It was a long list. It took FOREVER. It locked up my brand new computer over and over again. It was a nightmare.

But the best news is that after all was said and done, and I felt I was armed with the latest and greatest, indeed, I discovered that one of our major data management systems was not supported if I was running Windows 8.1. Huh. Again, dead in the water. I wanted my Windows 8 back! But I discovered that in order to do that, I was cautioned to first back up everything, as files and programs could be lost if I were to “downgrade” to Windows 8. I did a bit of quick research as to how/what to back up in this situation, and the instructions were so mind-boggling that I gave up.

This is not the first time that the process of “upgrading” has boggled my little brain. Right now I am caught between the rock and hard place of upgrading WordPress, which I think will solve some issues we are having, and risking losing content from our website as a result of the upgrade. So, I’m limping along with the old version until I gain knowledge and bravery. Why is it that when you go to a forum to try to solve your problems, you are almost always faced with a discussion as to how to “easily” solve your problem, if you just follow these “simple” steps, and step into the bowels of your computer. Oh, and did they mention you can lose all of your data? That is usually the point at which I turn tail and run.  

Anytime Minutes

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I can remember the day when I said, “Why would anyone need a cell phone? Ridiculous!” This came about 4 years after saying, “What would we do with a computer?” I won’t tell you what years these remarks were made, because that would expose my generational resistance to new technologies. Since then, I have actually owned 3 or 4 cell phones, so I am an experienced user. I can now text or email from my phone (not with any Olympic speed), maneuver through my contacts, and make and answer calls. I can even use apps! And I recently learned how to use Face Time. My brother thinks it’s a hoot because when we were kids we dreamed about what it would be like to have “picture phones”, which we never imagined would happen in our lifetimes. I reluctantly entered the cell phone generation, but I am definitely not in a committed relationship with my phone.

I have, however, been surprised to notice how I’ve started to get that itch to answer the phone when it rings. I don’t always stop to think that just because you have the technology in your pocket does not mean that you have to respond like Pavlov’s dogs when you feel that tingle in your hip. But most of the time, I am a reasonable cell phone user. If I’m engaged in a conversation, working, driving, watching a movie, out eating dinner with friends, I don’t answer my phone, unless there is some expected call that’s important. I’m not texting with friends, listening to music with my earbuds, or snap chatting with anyone, either. And here’s that generational thing again, but I believe there are just times when it’s not appropriate to be paying attention to your phone.

Now this next bit may shock some of you younger folks, but back in the good old days, if you weren’t at home, you would never know you had missed a call. The phone was either attached to the wall, or sitting on a desk, attached to a wire, attached to the wall, and never left your house. There was no voice mail, no answering machines, no speed dial, and no call forwarding. It was a huge commitment just to dial someone’s number…very time consuming. And once you were talking to someone, you had to stay within the reach of that curly cord. No speaker phone, blue tooth, or hands-free devices.

Being of that generation that is still sort of in awe of the whole cell phone concept, I find it amazing how attached people are to their phones. And it’s not just young people. You can be engaged in a conversation with someone, and they start texting. Or you are out on a lunch date with your girlfriend, but she considers it vital to check her email at the table. And I know many of you have been in the bathroom stall, and heard that Chicken Dance ring, and then listen to the important conversation coming from the next stall. Eeuw!

It can be amusing, but also downright annoying, when you are with someone who has no hesitation to answer that ringing phone, no matter what the situation. And some people must not be aware of the silence option. We’ve all been in the movie theater, in a meeting, or at a restaurant, and heard that disco ring booming through the room. What happens next is the funny part.

Some people fumble for their phones, looking horrified that the ringer had not been silenced, and try desperately to stop the ringing. Others find their phones, and actually answer the call, right in the middle of the movie! And some run from the room, struggling to answer the phone to stop the ringing. Or they get up and head for the door, but stop there, and stand there talking rather loudly, as if we can’t hear them over there.

But last week, I experienced the ultimate. I was in a meeting, and a woman’s phone rang. She went through the lengthy finding of the phone, and then answered it, sitting right at the table! She put her head down, and talked in a low voice, as if that kept us from hearing her, and we weren’t totally distracted by her conversation! She didn’t leave the table, and she didn’t end the conversation very quickly. The person on the other end must have asked where she was, because the first thing she said was, “…in a meeting,” but the conversation continued! Amazing!

It’s funny, but it’s also sad. Are humans so boring that we no longer find each other entertaining enough when we are together? Is time so short that we can no longer only do one thing at a time? Is that call so important that you can ditch your date to take the call? Have we lost respect for one another to the point where we feel we don’t have to pay attention to what others are saying? Here’s a novel concept..we don’t HAVE to use all of our minutes. We CAN choose human contact over technology.

Just Talkin’ To The Dog

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My dog, Polly, has never been much of a barker. But in the last few weeks, she’s done more barking than usual. Sometimes, she just stands in a room and barks. Today, she has been particularly bothered by something, and has been barking on and off all afternoon and evening. Since she’s not normally this vocal, I know something is up with her, but I just don’t know what. Now you can say dogs can’t talk, and you’d be correct. But dogs can communicate just fine. We humans just have to learn how to read them. And the best part about dogs is that they don’t judge, they don’t ignore you, and they don’t monopolize the conversation.

 

When Polly barks, I run through the usual questions with her. Is Timmy in the well? Is there an intruder in the house? Is a burglar stealing the Scooby Doo treats? Has someone violated the perimeter? Just asking these questions and petting her little head usually calms her down.

 

Our conversations are not limited to when she is barking. We talk all the time. Every morning, we have the time to get up talk. She loves to sleep, and when I get up to take a shower, she sometimes assumes my position, usually with at least one cat cuddling by her side. Sometimes she even gets under the covers and lays her head on my pillow. It’s adorable. It’s tough to have to break it to her that we have to get up and go downstairs. Time for her to go outside and then have some breakfast. She always looks a little sad at the getting up part, but the promise of breakfast puts a spring in her step.

 

When I get home from work, we spend some quality time together on the couch. She climbs into my lap, and puts her paws up on my shoulders, and lays down on top of me. It’s the best hug in the world. She looks to me for the day’s news. I tell her how my day went, and she listens intently. Her eyes and head tilts tell me what she’s thinking, and how her day was. I ask her the typical questions. Did you have a good nap? Did you play with the kitties? Did you play with your toys? If she’s been outside, I ask if she saw any bunnies. Squirrels? Doggies? Kitties? People?

 

If I’ve had a bad day, she seems to know it. She’s always at the ready with extra attention, just when I need it. If I’m sick, she cuddles up next to me and rides it out with me. And she seems to know when she has to back off a little. After I had surgery, she kept a little distance, but still was there to check on me and comfort me throughout my recovery. And when I was going through chemo, she understood I was just out of commission sometimes, and couldn’t give her much of my attention. But she was always there when I felt up to company.

 

We also talk when it’s bedtime. She knows the routine…when I get up off the couch, she goes out for one last romp before bed. On the way to the door, I tell her it’s time for bed, and how tired we are. She agrees, and trots out for a quick one. We climb the stairs together, commiserating over our aching joints, and she jumps up to warm up the bed. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful companion. Sweet dreams, little Polly!Image