Fun Stuff

Monday, Monday **

 

There is a saying I have shared many times with our children and acquaintances: “You never know what a day will bring forth.”

  • The unexpected happens.
  • Sometimes an event that never even entered your thoughts suddenly faces you.
  • That happened to us in our home on Monday morning of this week.

Around our house the past couple of weeks, Mondays have been very much out of the norm.

  • Last week I wrote about an early Monday morning storm that shook our home.
  • Little did we realize that a small tornado had cut a path through the area near where we live.
  • A couple of roofs were torn off, trees were toppled and a home down our street had a patio torn off.

These events happened to the individuals who were effected, but thankfully no one was hurt and property damage was minimal.

  • For some of our neighbors this storm created havoc which they were not expecting.
  • Last Monday had a very realistic start and many plans people made for the day in our community were quickly changed.
  • That’s the way life goes.
  • We think we’ve got it all figured out, make decisions about our day, our week, our future only to find that we need to change direction.

This past Monday in our home will ALWAYS be remembered as: THAT MONDAY!

  • It started as a simple, regular, get the week started morning.
  • My other half was eating breakfast and on (as usual) his iPad.
  • I had just finished running the washer and put the laundry into the dryer.
  • To my dismay the dryer would only make a clicking sound, but would not start.
  • Like Charlie Brown my thoughts said: “good grief, what do I do now?”

You need to understand we live in the middle of nowhere.

  • It’s a little complicated to get a repair man who is willing to come this far.
  • The last time we had an appliance break down it took two weeks to get parts ordered and repairs made.
  • Plus, there is an extra surcharge to cover the additional miles traveled.
  • I had visions of wearing certain items of clothing over and over.
  • And of trips into town to use a broken down Laundromat for no telling how long.
  • I admit to being a spoiled American home maker.
  • I’m thankful for my daily “helpers”

So, here I am with this load of wet sheets; making plans to drape them all over my house.

  • I decided I was not going to let this Monday morning irritate or discourage me.
  • There’s just too many good things to focus on….not this bump in the road.

After the wet laundry was dispersed around our home, I approached my husband and said: “I think the dryer went out.”  

  • Since he has that typical male gene, (the one that keeps men from finding anything without your help), I was given a puzzled look and asked: “What do you mean the dryer went out?”
  • I replied very clearly: “The dryer is broken.”
  • He then proceeded to locate the dryer manuel, look it over for a while, then decided to check a couple of recommendations out.
  • He got the flashlight, removed the lint filter to see if a coin or something had become lodged in the filter slot.
  • Boy!! did we get an unexpected surprise.

You’ve heard of the movie “Snakes on a Plane.”

  • In our home the title has been changed to “Snakes in the Dryer.”
  • How’s that for a Monday morning experience!
  • Immediately he put the filter back into the slot and shut the door.
  • We both were un-nerved, decided not to panic and paused to collect our thoughts.
  • We didn’t know what slithering species was lodged in our dryer.
  • Neither of us had the “know how” or the tools to fix the problem.

A couple of men we knew were called for help, but they were not home.

  • In a louder than norm voice I started giving directions:
  • “Call the community office, call the maintenance department, call the sheriff’s department, call the fire department, CALL SOMEONE.” 
  • As Daffy Duck used to say: “What a revolting development this is.”

Shortly thereafter the sheriff showed up.

  • He looked the situation over and said : “Yep, that’s a snake in your dryer.”
  • He didn’t know what to do, but went to get some help.
  • He quickly returned with and EMT on duty from our fire department.
  • Due to the goodness of God, we got more than what we needed.
  • In addition to being an EMT this man sent our way was an Ophidiologist (an individual who studies the natural history and behavior of snakes).
  • Can you believe it….this man went to school to learn about snakes.

He checked the situation out, decided it was a non-poisonous snake.

  • By now the said snake was mad, hissing and not about to be removed from his cozy spot with a wire coat hanger.
  • My husband gave him his leather gloves and he then proceeded to try to pull the snake out.
  • That didn’t work either.
  • By now, one of the community board members had arrived with a dolly.
  • They moved the dryer out and our expert removed the snake from the newly opened back of the dryer.

We had not only one, but two Texas Rat Snakes in the dryer; a male and female.

  • Before the back was put back on, both the dryer and vent hose were checked to be sure there were no other snakes present.
  • We have had a month of daily rain, storms and downpours with a week or more still predicted.
  • Every critter that lives outside is looking for shelter.
  • To these two snakes, our home was both dry and inviting.
  • Needless to say….we are installing a new outside cover to our dryer vent.
  • After all the excitement, our dryer was healed and started working again.

In your life, remember the unexpected is going to happen. In our family life we’ve come through unexpected loss, many wonderful unexpected surprises, and as happened to us this week: unexpected “Snakes in the Dryer.” We now have one more story to add to our collection of….things to laugh about.      

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Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day;

Monday, Monday, sometimes it turns out that way.

Oh, Monday morning —

You gave me no warning of what was to be.”

**Composed by John Phillips & Recorded by the Mamas and Papas

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Fun Stuff

Baseball

 “Baseball is 90% mental — the other half is physical”

(Yogi Berra)

Baseball season is now in full “swing” (pun intended). 

  • My favorite team had it’s opening game this past Sunday and they won that game.
  • Missouri is my home state so, I have been a St. Louis Cardinal fan since childhood.
  • Last Christmas my husband gave me a lovely Hallmark Cardinal ornament for the tree.
  • Just for fun I have decided to display it during this and future Baseball seasons.
  • I am an avid fan, but not a crazy follower of my team.
  • I do not have to wear red or paint my face for the games, but I do enjoy watching them on television or listening to the play by play on the radio.

The Cardinals consistently are a winning team.

  • Their success comes from a good front office and developing young players through their farm club system.
  • They don’t quickly go out and BUY players, but invest their time on improving what they already have.
  • They own many Division Titles and have won the World Series several times.
  • They won the 107th Series against the Texas Rangers 2011.
  • The sixth game of that Series is sometimes called one of the best and most thrilling games ever played.
  • As a long time resident of Texas, I still rooted for the Cardinals.
  • IT WAS A MEMORABLE GAME.

At one time Baseball was called America’s national pastime.

  • Not so true anymore, which is sort of sad to say.
  • Now, people in other countries have taken our game and made it their national pastime.
  • At one time Baseball was the only game in town.
  • It’s origins go back to 1845.
  • American football came on the scene around 1882
  • Basketball was invented in 1891.
  • Hockey and soccer came to the USA much later.

Ever so often when discussing the sport with others, their first complaint is: “Baseball is so slow.”  

  • What they fail to see is that the game is built on strategy.
  • The different ways to manage a game.
  • What pitcher or pitches to use.
  • What hitter is best in a given situation.
  • What batter is best to use against a specific pitcher.
  • How to score runs and at the same time keep the opposing team from scoring.
  • The decisions about options to use are almost endless.
  • No two games are ever the same.
  • When you have nine men on the field, plus the umps, anything can and does happen.

I’m going to take a time out and and address a few words to the powers that be in this old game……”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

  • Recently these powers have made a couple of unnecessary changes to the game.
  • One….rules concerning blocking home plate to keep the runner from scoring.
  • Ridiculous! It’s part of the game.
  • You can’t protect the players from everything.
  • In life, and if you participate in sports, you’re going to get hurt sometimes.
  • Two….it’s crazy for people sitting in New York to second guess what happens on the field or an umpire’s missed call.
  • So what! In life mistakes are made.
  • We grow and learn to live with a “bad call.”

We live in a day of instant gratification.

  • That’s the reason for the “slow” put down of Baseball that is verbalized today.
  • Like the white rabbit of Alice in Wonderland “no time, no time, I must hurry.”  
  • In our hurry, hurry we’ve lost some things that are valuable to our lives.
  • One of the dangers of Twitter or the iPhone is that we begin to live on hits of information and short messages limited in the number of characters that can be used.
  • This creates ADD to others, (attention Deficit disorder) which has gone viral today.

We are all playing this game called life, and in many ways it can be compared to Baseball.

  • We sometimes pitch and sometimes catch.
  • We will occasionally hit a home run and at other times fail to get on base.
  • There will be days when we get a walk or a hit and other days when we strike out.
  • We need to know the rules, train, put our strategies to work and do our best to win  the game.

Watch a Baseball game and observe all the details.

  • Watch all the action through the eyes of a manager.
  • Like Baseball, slow your life down.
  • You’ll keep up with ALL the action a little better.
  • Your stress level will become lower.
  • Your relationships will show improvement.
  • You will be more relaxed.
  • You will make fewer mistakes.
  • You will make more productive decisions.

Pay careful attention to how the game is played. You’ll find you will win more times than you lose.

 

“The first principle of contract negotiations is

don’t remind them of what you did in the past —

tell them what you’re going to do in the future.”

(Stan “The Man” Musial, Outfielder & First Baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals)

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Fun Stuff, Life's Journey

How To Train A Dog

DSCF6744                                January 10, 2015

 

Two years ago on January 7, 2013, my husband and myself took on a new and unexperienced commitment.

  • We got a dog. Not just any dog, but an INDOOR dog.
  • In the past, we have had 2 dogs, 3 cats, many rabbits and have had to dispose of countless gold fish that did not survive being overfed by three little girls.
  • Except for the gold fish, the animals of our household (minus hubby and children) lived outdoors.

We are now in an isolated area that is a long distance from our children and other family members.

  • For quite a while, I had been thinking I might enjoy the companionship of just the right kind of a dog.
  • Had been researching breeds of dogs and had settled on two that would fit my criteria and our lifestyle.
  • The one I really wanted I figured was too pricy, so I set my mind on the second choice.

My husband had absolutely no interest and didn’t mind emphasizing his lack of desire for a dog.

  • Once our youngest spoke to him about my wanting a dog.
  • He made it quite clear to her that that wasn’t going to happen.
  • He liked to quote a sign we saw one time. “The kids are gone, the dog is dead, ain’t life grand.” 
  • We enjoyed laughing about that sign, but for me the lack of a social life was becoming not so grand.

We had just spent Christmas with our other daughter and her family in Colorado.

  • The first Saturday of the new year our son-in-law informed us that he had found a dog online.
  • He schedule a trip for us to go to the mountains to check out the dog.
  • Hubby wasn’t thrilled, but didn’t protest too much.
  • It turned out to be a VERY long day and trip.
  • That experience showed me that I couldn’t settle for second choice.
  • The dog didn’t stir the heart strings, so that was that.

We had a friend who bred the type of dog I hoped for, but he was now retired.

  • He contacted another breeder he knew who called us and sent pictures via email.
  • One captured my heart with his precious face. It was so full of his personality.
  • On Monday we made another trip to see his dogs.
  • I already knew that the dog for me was the one that had already captured my heart.
  • The first time I held him we formed a strong bond.
  • A price was quoted to us that was much less than what the breeder normally charged.
  • He later told his wife “I don’t know why I gave them that price.” But, I knew why.

So….we put the years of just the two of us behind and became a family of three. 

  • It was made quite clear to me (by an un-named someone) that it was MY dog.
  • My name was on the papers as owner and his care was MY responsibility.
  • I knew that and accepted the fact that I had made a commitment to this three pound, 10 week old puppy.

BOY, oh boy, did I ever make a commitment.

  • There was no turning back.
  • For a while I experienced days when I thought I should have had my head examined.
  • It was like having a new baby in the house again.
  • WOW. There were days when I thought I would never have my life back again.
  • Puppies are a big, time consuming job if you want to raise them right.
  • I had already told him “if you live in my house, you’re gonna live by my rules.”  

It seemed like he had to be cared for constantly.

  • He had to be fed timely and properly.
  • He needed to be house broken, taught to stay out of stuff, leave the trash alone and don’t tear things up.
  • And, above all……you don’t chew on wood.
  • Some days I thought I was going to spend my life in the kitchen keeping up with the antics of a puppy.
  • He was busy, would never sit or lay down on the floor; just always on the move.
  • He continually checked everything out and was as curious as a cat.
  • We couldn’t be gone from the house too long because we knew he would need to go outside to take care of his business.

By 1:00 p.m. he was so wore out that he went to bed (in his crate) for a long nap.

  • By then, I was exhausted too.
  • Not long after I sat down on the couch, I too would be asleep.
  • One time I had to be gone all day.
  • It was the first time hubby stayed with him.
  • I called home around noon to see how things were going.
  • He was just getting ready to put the dog down for the afternoon.
  • I reminded him he the dog needed to be up another hour.
  • I could hear the desperation and disappointment in his voice.

We did some research, sought a little advice, and learned many new things about dogs. 

  • They are pack creatures and they will follow the leader of the pack.
  • You are that leader; they need to be taught to respond to your direction.
  • A dog is obedient when you take care of him and lead him into good behavior.
  • Leadership will also enhance their sense of security.

The ancestors of today’s dogs lived in dens. 

  • In modern times, dogs still like smaller, safe spaces.
  • That’s why we use a crate. It is a place of safety. It is their den.
  • They also want to keep their personal space clean, which is an advantage to house breaking.

As they learn and grow, their territory needs to be expanded gradually.

  1. We started by keeping him in a pen in our kitchen.
  2. Next we kept him confined to the kitchen.
  3. When we let him expand to the living room, we shut all doors to the other rooms and gradually opened the doors one at a time.
  4. Now he has the run of the house.

They want to please their master and respond happily to praise.

  • This trait can make training worth all the effort.
  • A treat for a reward isn’t always necessary.
  • The love and kindness in your voice says much to a dog.
  • Giving a gentle pat goes a long way also.
  • You can use their need for positive reinforcement to train a pet that will give you much pleasure on your journey, and it gives them the assurance of acceptance.

If you stop to think about it, that sort of sounds like us; doesn’t it?

  1. We all need someone we trust to follow.
  2. We like our comfort zone and to know what our limits are.
  3. We appreciate rewards from time to time and acceptance by others.

That’s pretty simple, isn’t it? Why is it we need to complicate our lives with unnecessary baggage?

These words and thoughts may seem a little crazy to you. But, there are practical truths in them for us HUMANS to put into practice in our own lives.

  • Adore and be obedient to our Care Giver.
  • Give unconditional love to others.
  • Express our excitement and happiness more frequently. (wag your tail)
  • Be content with what we have.
  • Take life a day at a time.
  • Just for the fun of it…..turn around three times before we lie down.
  • Who knows, we might rest better.

Our little dog is now 2 years old and weighs 16 pounds.

  • He has matured, although he (humans too) still has more lessons to learn.
  • He is well on his way to bringing a new specialness into our lives.
  • He has wormed his way into my husband’s heart.
  • Which he gladly admits to all the time.
  • He praises him, tells him he loves him continually.

The three of us are now in the stage of enjoying contented companionship. We have made the discovery that while: we were training him, he was training us.

 

“Don’t accept your dog’s admiration 

as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.”

(Ann Landers)

 

NOTE: Gentlemen, please forgive me, but as I edited this article, I could not help but  think of a subtitle for these words: “How To Train A Husband.” Sometimes my  sense of humor is a little wacky. Life is good no matter what happens, so just  laugh along with me. Your day will feel better.

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Fun Stuff, Poems/Songs

Be Goofy

…..Novemeber 15, 2014

“I remember sitting on the front steps

Feeling the softness of a warm summer rain

I see the reflections of my mind

All the sadness all the pain

Visions of yesterday,

How they slip away

And though my dreams have come and gone

With one wish I can say:

Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again

Bring back all those memories

Kiss me in the rain, and make me feel like a child again.” **

  After all these heavy topics of life which we have discussed, I think it’s time just to have some fun and laugh. We all enjoy that good, deep down laugh. Once in a while (usually late at night), my funny box gets turned over and I laugh until I cry. Then, I laugh more and cry more. When we’re all together our family watches for these events so they can join the silliness. They’ll look at me and say: “there she goes.” Laughter is contagious. Remember what it’s like to get tickled at something and eventually the whole group is laughing with you. Some of them probably don’t even know what was funny, but they joined in anyway. Why? Because it’s fun to do. It lightens our load of cares and sometimes even soothes our wounds. I remember driving back into town from the cemetery with my husband and our younger daughter. We had just buried our oldest child. Suddenly something silly happened and our car was filled with laughter. That was good. We needed to laugh. We have been life long friends with a dear couple since we were teenagers. Our lives went in different directions and we have been separated by distance for most of our adult lives. When we get together, it is as if we had never been apart. Laughter has always been a big part of our relationship. One day many years ago we were visiting them and the three of us plotted a great joke to play on my husband. Boy!, did we ever succeed with our little plan. We were rolling on the floor with laughter. These many years later the memory still brings smiles and laughter to our lives. Have you ever thought about how beneficial it is to laugh at yourself? We can sometimes take ourselves too seriously. It’s good to loosen up and get out of your box. Life is too short and regardless of our experiences we need to see the joy in it. So, I’m going to share one of my “box less” and fun days with you. The neighborhood we lived in at the time was small and secluded. There was one road in and the same road took you out. The area was wooded and the street was in an oval shape. Homes surrounded the inside and outside of the oval. It was a great place to safely walk. Quite a few of us liked to walk and you usually met someone as you were going down the road.  One thing I began to notice: people usually walked looking down at the ground. (Now that’s a life lesson right there), I would wonder why they did that; so I made a practice of looking forward and even up to the sky occasionally. Looking up is always a positive thing to do. Put that in your life and practice it more. One day my husband was walking with me. Of course, he was looking down; so I gave him a short discourse on my observations of where he should be looking. We were pass the point of no return when it started to sprinkle. He wanted to hurry home, but I was enjoying myself walking in the rain. At this time we were already wet, so what was the rush; it was a lovely day. Again, I encouraged him to look up and enjoy the blessing of rain falling on his face. By that time, he thought I was a little crazy. Our house was the second one from the corner. The neighbors on the corner were grumpy and not very friendly. I don’t remember them ever saying one word to us. By the time we were almost home, I turned to my husband and said: “I’ve always loved the Barbara Streisand song Kiss Me In The Rain, I want you to kiss me in the rain?”  Just at the precise moment he was kissing me, you guessed it, our Mr. Scrooge neighbor stepped out of his house; his jaw dropped when he saw us. He quickly went back into his home. By this time, I was totally out of my box and I did a Tarzan yell; just like the comedian Carol Burnett used to do. After that, hubby decided I really was crazy and hurried off to get back to the house. To finish it off, when I got home I decided to stand under a stream of water pouring off the corner of our roof. I was already soaked, so why not? Nothing bad happened that day. We got wet and had to clean up, so what…that’s a big deal? We gave our neighbors something to talk about (which was worth the whole experience), had a great time and made a memory. You may be laughing with me as this story is being related to you. Actually, I hope you are. Laughter releases tension and makes our journey so much more pleasant. Once in a while, laugh at yourself and be goofy. It won’t hurt. In fact, it might help. FIND SOMETHING TO LAUGH ABOUT TODAY…..Next, plan on laughing tomorrow, the day after that and the day after that. As the King of Siam said to Anna: “et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”

Always laugh when you can.

It is cheap medicine.

(Lord Byron)

**  Song: Kiss Me In The Rain Composers:  Santo Farina, L. Ratner 

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