Monday, August 31, 2009

Stupid dog owner tricks

I really, really, really hate stupid people.

Especially stupid people who don't know they are stupid - even when you are informing them of that very fact.

This lovely lady to the right is our young dog, Patsy (she and her sister, Edina - or Eddie, more commonly - were named for a famous British comic duo whose names should already be in your conversational lexicon or you are really on the wrong blog).

Patsy is hyper, super-friendly and loves other dogs. She's very excitable and tends to bark at them when they walk by our house.

Being considerate persons, we are trying to teach her to not bark so much or for so long. We understand she is marking her boundaries while simultaneously saying, "Hi there! I'd like to stick my nose up your butt!"

So, when dog folks walk by, I try to get out and talk to her and have her sit and be still until the other dog passes. And Patsy is smart - she knows when she is doing what's been asked of her - or not. And she'll skulk around knowing she's been a naughty girl when I reproach her after a barking episode.

And the dog walkers seem to understand and appreciate what we are trying to accomplish. They know and we know that we already have more than our fair share of untrained, uncontrolled yip-yappers and barkers that are left untended to bark for hours on end, making it impossible to hear on the phone, concentrate on work, or perform outdoor activities for fear of further setting them off.

Even the retarded camouflage-clad lummox down the street understood it after we asked him not to stand there with his huge-ass German Shepherd on the other side our hedge, taunting Patsy into a hyper-psychotic whirlwind of barking and garden trampling destruction.


...there continues to be one resident of our little enclave who is apparently as dumb as a post. We don't know her name but she has a black Labrador whom we shall call "Chardonnay" who apparently hates everyone and everything. Our neighbor across the street has warned us off approaching Chardonnay as she had tried to disembowel her hapless (and under-trained) Springer Spaniel.

Our back yard sits catercorner to Chardonnay's back yard. And we are treated regularly to her owner's folk music gatherings where socially stunted white people in their 50s gather to play Guatemalan folk music and protest songs, and drink herbal teas.

She walks Chardonnay regularly (as other dog owners up and down the street whisk their canines and felines indoors to avoid potential disembowelment) and rarely fails to pause and talk to Patsy and Eddie as Patsy barks and yips and loses her mind.

We've asked her owner to not do that, to move on, to help us in our training by not taunting Patsy with Chardonnay. We've explained that her devil dog makes Patsy nuts for some odd reason - and she continues to stand there, baby talking and telling Chardonnay and Patsy how alike they are and that they should be friends...

Good thing I don't believe in firearms.

But today was it. The proverbial last straw.

I was working away in the home office and heard a major racket coming from the back yard.

Upon reaching the scene, I found Patsy running wildly back and forth, jumping and barking - trampling plants and herbs in her frenzy. Somewhere amidst the frenetic activity, I also heard snarling.

As I called to Patsy and tried to calm her down, Senorita Estupida is talking to me, explaining that she thought if they could meet each other and become friends, Patsy wouldn't bark so much at her. So she walked Chardonnay up to the fence line so they could sniff each other become friends.

Meanwhile, her dog is gnashing and foaming at the mouth, trying to get at Patsy and her tasty insides through the fence and Patsy is leaping and climbing - at times very near the top of the fence.

I yelled at la Estupida that she was not making things better and needs to get her dog away - that she is provoking Patsy unnecessarily.

And Chardonnay continued with her Cujo impression.

To my AMAZEMENT - she then brought Cujo UP MY DRIVEWAY and up to the GATE.

"Let them sniff each other and they'll be friends!" said the dementoid.

In my pajamas and bare feet, running to catch both of our dogs - Eddie has now joined the barking frenzy - I am by now screaming at the woman that she needs to STEP AWAY with her devil dog. That she has no idea what damage she is doing - both to our training and to the back patio.

Patsy and Eddie are now straining - trying to squeeze under the gate - which is a thin wood picket, now flexing under the weight of two frenzied canines. I could picture the fragile wood snapping and blood and fur flying.

Senorita Estupida continues to babble about why she doesn't understand what their problem is and says we should bring our dogs over for a play date with Chardonnay - she has a fenced yard and they'd all become lovely friends.

Meanwhile, flecks of Chardonnay foam are reaching 6 feet as they sail over the gate and I literally have my two girls by the collars - one in each hand - elevated off the ground as they claw and scrabble and bark, pulling them back from certain destruction.

"Let me know if you want a play date sometime," she says, as I drag my dogs up the stairs and into the house - she and her demon-dog still standing and foaming stupidly near my back gate.

"NOT ON YOUR LIFE!" I scream at her as I hurl my dogs into the sun porch.

"Okay - bye! See you later!!" she says in a cheery manner and begins to walk down the drive.

I shrieked.

Not your garden-variety horror movie surprise shriek - but a desperate I-don't-believe-this-is-happening-to-me keening wail, having your soul sucked out of your body kind of shriek.

Kind of like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

It was all I could think to do.

As she headed down the street, the rabid Chardonnay tugging at her bonds...

...she cheerily and simply waved.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Uh oh

Tonight, Brian came home from work and we started talking about his day. In the midst of the conversation, we were talking about someone's boyfriend (whom we dislike intensely - the boyfriend, not the friend) and I was given the following analogy.

"Well - to take that away from him...well...that'd be like saying someone was going to take your vodka away from you."

After nearly 19 years together, he knows me WAY too well.

Welcome to my little corner of the universe, folks.

I'll be here all week. Try the fish.

Dear lord, not another honor...

My prettier and older twin sister (by three months) - edder - has honored (and I pronounce the 'H" - Hhonored - like Martha Stewart saying 'Hherbs' - try it! It's fun!) me recently with both the prestigious "I Should Have Been a Stripper ," and the "I Give Good Blog" award

What in God's name the first has to do with blogging, I have no earthly idea.

But I've played the "What's your Hooker/Drag Queen/Favorite vegetable name" game where you combine the name of the first pet you ever had with the name of the first street you ever lived on.

As a result, my nom de plume - and a rather juicy one at that - would be:

Ebony Garden

Beat that...I dare you...

Consequently, I must reveal seven personality traits about myself and then nominate seven other sites with 'personality."

Sadly, it's taken so long for me to respond that everyone I'd nominate has pretty much already been nominated...

So here goes with the personality potpourri:

Polite: I am unfailingly well-mannered and civil in any situation. In fact, I collect both modern and vintage etiquette books. I have read books on the evolution of manners and civility. And I am appalled by rudeness in any form. As a result, I am appalled a lot. I write letters to shopping chains where the custom of the cashier saying "thank you" has disappeared. To no avail.

Yet, I can also not tell a lie, which leads to some interesting encounters. One introductory dinner and subsequent evening where we were hosted by a new couple in town was so cheesy and so appalling and distasteful that, upon departure, I found myself only able to say,"Thank you for this evening. It was..." - at which point I made a gurgling sound and walked briskly away.

Needless to say, riding the train lines in Southern Italy nearly gave me shingles.

Random: Despite an ability to focus in on the task at hand, my brain appears to not work in any kind of prescribed linear fashion. I make random connections at almost dizzying speed that constantly surprise and/or annoy the other humans around me. Something may make sense to me because of the synapses that fire off in my brain and I'm left with people looking at me like I'm Rain Man or channeling or something.

Gregarious: I tend to attract people to me who love to laugh and to loosen up. I have very few hang-ups and can be found laughing about 99.4% of the time. I grew up in a family that treasured laughter - none of us ever had much materially growing up, but we could always be found laughing with immediate and extended family.

Drama-free: 15 years ago, Brian and I made a pact that we were going to eliminate the dramatic, toxic and high-maintenance people from our lives. And we did. We swept the clingers, the stalkers, the eternally-needy, and the traffic wrecks from our very existence - and we never looked back. Reconnecting with some folks from the past on Facebook reminds me of why we did that - the immediate sense of someone desperately demanding your attention, cloying, clinging, trying to grab back on. What a wise choice we made - and what wonderful friends we have now because of that choice.

Loyal: I am flat out the best friend you will ever have. I will give you the shirt off my back, my time, my support, my unending trust, choose otherwise. Then you had better distance yourself from me completely. Ask any of my exes - if you can find them. : ) I am the same way about my friends - if you hurt them, you hurt me. And I can be a vengeful bastard when I want to be. As my friend AerialPJ says, I'll always help you hide the body.

Addictive: You name it, I'll abuse it. Nicotine, food, alcohol - it's all about being the best!

Passive-Aggressive: I know, right? Hypocritical with most of the above. I try to negate or forestall conflict through humor, good manners, insight and superior intellect. If that fails, I will methodically reduce you to ashes before you knew what hit you. But in an exceedingly polite and well-mannered way.

You're welcome.


Now - as to the second honor bestowed upon me by the lovely edder, the "I Give Good Blog" award - I would like to say first-off that I truly appreciate the designation.

I sincerely love the folks who bother to read this blog - and find it hard to believe that so many folks do.

But I graciously accept the honor and, after the conclusion of my hectic work day, I plan to heft a Stolichnaya vodka martini, extra dry, shaken and not stirred, straight up with olives in your honor and drink to your collective good health!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Well, kittens...

I am about three posts behind but haven't had the time to blog recently.

If only we could solve that overhead issue we call "gainful employment."

Anyhoo - the upshot of the week THUS FAR is this. We recently sweated our yabas off on a Hudson River cruise (much like Dead Calm...but if Billy Zane had been on board, I would have killed him for his moisture ... and his $6.50 for the vodka tonics), had a delightfully mad weekend in the sun and humidity which included constructing a pergola - on a hill (never easy - but my role was largely supervision...with vodka), and I actually spotted a researcher explaining something to another researcher at work using his hand as a puppet, a'la Senor Wencas. Surprisingly, no cocktails were involved for that one. Go figure.

It's been a wild week.

Be back to you soon with the deets.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Well, roll me in dough and call me a knish...

While I've spent the last few days entertaining lacto-ovo-vegetarian city folk and whirling around the corporate maelstrom like a fat pixie in a Hoover, some very exciting things have happened here in this little corner of the blogosphere.

Update: This started as a much longer, multi -topic blog, but I've decided to take pity on you and post the "I should have been a stripper" award later. I keep fighting with myself over how to describe my personality traits.

I'm delighted to discover that we've had some new faces join us here in the gene pool. I've been very lax in recognizing newcomers - the two most recent being Fresh and Tisha. Both have very interesting blogs and I hope you'll check them out for yourself.

Fresh - I have to personally thank you for reviving a treasured childhood memory in your recent entry on prayer. I come from a very active and devout protestant family - bouncing from Lutheran to Methodist to Presbyterian to UCC over the years.

The print you used in your post of the elderly man praying over his bread and bowl hung in our dining room, my aunt's dining room and in my grandparents' dining room.

I suspect there were extra copies in their attic - just in case anyone married or remodeled.

Anyway - at one holiday family gathering - I think it was Thanksgiving - my somewhat "special" older cousin Ray (okay - he wasn't mentally retarded, but he was really dumb. Once when he couldn't find his shoes, my exasperated mother suggested he try calling them. He did. "Here shoes.." He was 10. We're talking STUPID.) was asked to say the blessing.

Ray didn't know what to say so my grandfather suggested he try to reflect on what the man in the picture might be saying to God before having his dinner.

Ray thought and thought - and finally lifted his head - a huge, self-satisfied grin crossing his face.

"Gimme peanut butter!," he exclaimed.

There wasn't a dry undergarment at the table.

For years after, anytime we entered a family member's room where that print hung, you exclaimed "Gimme peanut butter!." My partner who never even saw the originals, knows the story so well, I've been in antique stores and heard "gimme peanut butter!" and twisted laughter coming from some remote corner of the shop.

Okay. Maybe you had to be there...

Anyway - welcome to you and to all our recent followers here. Please always feel free to jump in, comment and just go nuts with the rest of us!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


If I click on another blog site that announces "Congratulations, you've won a $100 Walmart gift card", I am going to go on a shooting spree.

Actually, I hate guns.

I'll just drive to the Walmart parking lot and kick some fat white trash and run away giggling.

"ya'll just try..."

Monday, August 10, 2009


The secret language of knees

Thanks for the kind wishes and inquiries (thank you, Lou!) - the knee recovery is progressing nicely. After an X-ray revealed nothing 'visibly' wrong, I procured a knee brace and have attempted to resume some semblance of normality until we see how things shake out.

Today, I drove the 80 miles to the office (it's my driving knee) and walked hallways and climbed stairs, as per usual. And it's not too bad.

However, when it's 90 degrees out with 80-90% humidity, a rubberized brace worn on your leg, under your jeans, has its breaking point. Especially since our company has gone "green" and turned the air conditioning down to only "slightly sweaty."

By the time I left for home, I couldn't get the brace off fast enough before jumping into the car.

As Scarlett O'Hara said, "tomorrow's another day."


Cooking for the veggie people

Our lovely friends from Manhattan, Sandy and Allan, came for a visit over the weekend and I was challenged with having to create my first vegetarian menu in years.

Now, keep in mind that I am a corn-fed boy from the great American midwest. I'm such a carnivore that I consider steak to be a condiment.

Once, when we lived in California, I actually had to host a brunch that included vegans. By the time I delivered my non-dairy, egg-free quiche to the table, I was literally crying into my eighth glass of wine.

There is no excuse known to man for making any dish that involves non-dairy creamer.

Fortunately, our Gothamite friends are not of the vegan bent. That saved my sanity enough that I was still sober when they arrived.

But, like Sherlock Holmes, I rose to the challenge and proclaimed the game to be afoot!

The menu included:

  • Chilled cucumber and Greek yogurt soup - seasoned with mint and dill from the garden
  • Israeli cous-cous salad with lemon juice, olive oil, lemon zest, mint and sunflower seeds
  • A 3-bean salad (cannellini, kidney and garbanzo) in an olive oil, cider vinegar and mustard vinaigrette - with chopped radishes and seasoned with fresh chives and summer savory from the garden.
  • Diced, roasted summer squashes, Japanese eggplant and banana peppers in a balsamic vinaigrette
  • Fresh corn and roasted red peppers sauteed in olive oil.
All in all, it was a lovely meal and our friends were quite impressed. "We would have been happy with a pasta salad," they said.

No slacker, I.

Allan provided the most delightful surprise of the evening, however, when he produced a bottle of 2003 Duckhorn Cabernet, Three Palms that he had received from a friend of his. Easily a $95 bottle of wine.

We dined on the front porch, enjoying the moonlight and the soft summer breezes, and sipping a wine that was lush, fragrant and soft as velvet as it passed the palate. A wonderful experience.

Ahhh - life.

The following morning, we dined at our favorite Italian trattoria on the waterfront. We captured the moment in photographs, although Sandy had a little trouble with keeping her eyes open when our waitress Christa was taking the photo - so she needed a little help from yours truly.

Have a great week, everyone!!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Cranky pants

This was not a great couple of days for yours truly.

I mentioned previously that I had injured my knee, complete with amusing side stories of klutziness past.

Well, yesterday, as I was taking the trash and recycling out, I was still favoring the knee and being quite cautious, but still assumed it was getting somewhat better.

In a single moment, that assumption fell to the ground like a lead goose.

As I stepped into the house, placing my right foot on the threshold (about 5 inches off the ground), there was a rifle-like report - CRACK! - I felt bones shifting violently in my leg and the mother @#$%^%&* pain of all pains shot up my leg and throughout my body as the world began to simultaneously spin and go dark.

My first thought was "I will never walk again...", quickly followed by "Damn it - I'm home alone. Where's the goddamned phone?" - as I struggled to stay upright, knowing that I was fair game for the dogs if I was unable to rise again on my own.

But I was able to keep myself upright and stumble to the living room where I sat until Brian returned from work.

Now, I'm semi-laid up. I saw the doctor today, x-rays are tomorrow - depending on what they find, I may have to do physical therapy, which seems weird to me:

"hey - my knee really hurts when I move it."
"Okay - let's exercise it then!!"
(sounds of muffled violence)

If it's anything but a bone or ligament, I'll need an MRI. Whoop dee damn do.

But for now - it's limited mobility, lots of Alleve (or store-brand substitute - I may be a cripple, but I'm thrifty), and a curtailed travel schedule for work.

Of course, the best part of all this is my parents' reaction when I tell them about the knee.

Dad: "Well, you damn dope." (this from a man who is missing one hip, the opposite knee and lives on Percoset in one room of my parents' 4-bedroom house - and who will very likely never get further than 15 miles from home ever again.)

Me: "Still better off than you. Nah."


Mom: (accusatorily) "Well, what did you DO to it?" (like I took my knee out to the back yard and flung it on the ground in retaliation for some perceived slight.)

This is the same woman, who, when I mentioned an impending surgical opportunity concerning a bunion on my left foot (it's magic living with me, folks - truly!), she asked:

"Well how did you GET that?"

" you remember Grandma's feet?"


"'s not that different, Mom. She could strangle small children with her deformed toes...and drive with them. My big toe is starting to look like it's playing chutes and ladders - it's currently diving under its neighbor like a moray eel looking for prey."

"Well, I don't have those kind of troubles."

"Yes. This must be all my fault then. The next time I slice the end of my fingertip off while cutting lemons, I'll give you a call so you can remind me how stupid an act that was. As for the bunion, I'll have them save the bone fragments from that and make a pendant that I can wear to remind me just WHAT A FREAK I AM."

Can you imagine if she didn't love me?

Dear Jesus - then she'd be like her mother. Minus the hideous deformities, of course.