Friday, October 30, 2009

Wild Kingdom

I was NOT going to post about this.  Not again.  But then...2 events in less than 12 hours?

So last night I take the *FLB out for his evening peepee.  I didn't even slip on my shoes, just strolled outside in my socks.  Didn't even turn on the outside light; my neighbor's outside light was on and light shined through my storm door glass.  I have to admit I felt a little nervous stepping in some shadowy places.  All the recent heebie-jeebie blogging has kept me in a rather agitated state - twitching now and then, feeling "things" in my hair, brushing my shoulder (what was that?).  I decided to quit being a baby and just take the damn dog out and not think about critters.

After his initial marking, the *FLB insisted on walking past the edge of light and to the line of grass along our fence.   I walked gingerly - looking carefully where I stepped and feeling foolish about it.  He dragged me all the way there, then stood on the pavement and stuck his nose in the grass.  That was going to accomplish nothing.  I "encouraged" him to step into the grass but he ignored me.  I became impatient and pulled him back to the patio telling him out loud, "No way, mister, am I standing in the dark so you can sniff the grass while standing on the pavement."  We walked back to my patio, I opened my back door, hustled Harley inside, and something skittered across my laundry room floor.

"Lizard!" I squealed.

Harley was skittering across the floor after the lizard-thing and I couldn't see around him to see what he was chasing.  I wasn't too concerned; I've had lizards (those little gecko lizards) get in the house before.  Harley always hunts them down and catches them.  It's his own life insurance policy.  And it fits with the 11th Commandment:
 So I encouraged Harley, "Get the lizard!", but then I saw it.  It was a small brown tree frog.

 I pulled Harley away; thank goodness he was still leashed.  The frog looked unharmed and I really wanted him back outside.  I don't like how they jump and I don't like their little sucker feet.  Tree frogs don't hop like toads  Toads hop and move a few inches here or there.  Tree frogs JUMP 4 or 5 FEET in the air.

One time a tree frog jumped through our front door - well not THROUGH the front door - but my brother opened the door and the tree frog jumped through the open front door - and the entire family (except for my father who was watching TV in his recliner - erupted in shouting and screaming as the tree frog jumped down the hallway and around the dining room.  The tree frog jumped from the floor onto my dad's HEAD and then hopped onto the living room wall with 4 kids and a beagle chasing him.  We actually chased that frog back out the front door before my dad even realized what happened.

So...back to last night....I stepped over the frog and tried to shoo him out the back door but he jumped up on the door, then jumped back into the room.  I screeched like a banshee - I thought the little sucker was going to jump on ME.  He jumped onto the wall behind the door.  He was hanging on the extra-long leash that hangs behind the door and I made one more attempt to get him out by removing the leash with him on it.  He jumped again.

That must be when I peed my pants.

I was fed up and decided he had broken the 11th commandment.  I unleashed Harley and said, "There he is, you can have him."  And that *FLB looked all over the wall and couldn't see him!  I had to practically take his face and point it at the frog!  What's up with that?  He can see a cat 300 yards down the street!

So the *FLB jumped up and grabbed the frog off the wall, but then he dropped it on the floor and it started hopping all around the room again.  I screamed some more, but this time I added some moon-dancing and ultra-studio-54-twitch moves, too.  Harley grabbed the frog again and finally took him into the kitchen to "play" with him.

Now don't get all "the poor frog" on me.  I did the best I could.  If his little sucker-feet had touched me I wouldn't be here blogging to you today.  I did feel bad because Harley played with him a LONG time.  A really LONG time.  I finally couldn't listen to him anymore and went to bed.  I even felt guilty.

This morning I looked for the ... remains...but Harley was guarding it.  I said a quick prayer that the little frog was dead and hadn't suffered too much.  No, I didn't really, but it sounds nice to say.   I knew I'd find him in the afternoon and give him a proper burial - wrapped in a thick wad of paper towels and scrunched into the trash can.

I took Harley for his morning walk. 

We were returning from our walk and came around the corner of our building when Harley smelled or spotted something.  He was acting aggressive so my first guess was a cat.  It's DARK when we take our walk and I carry a flashlight.  I haven't forgotten that a green-and-brown snake lives under my septic-bucket.  And I don't want to step on anything living or dead.  So I pointed my flashlight where Harley was straining to go.  I saw armadillo.  eewww.  He standing over by the septic-bucket-snake-house.  Harley went ballistic - barking and pulling and twisting on the end of his leash.  The armadillo looked at us for a couple seconds (another big eewww) then hurried up the septic tank hill and into the brush. 

Kind of explains all the little holes in the yard and the lack of slugs this summer.  Maybe I'll just put a fence around the property and sell tickets. 

*FLB = freakin' little bastard

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Yesterday it was cloudy.  All day.  Today it was cloudy.  All day.  The forecast for tomorrow is Mostly Cloudy.  What gives?  This is FLORIDA.  Where's the sun?  I did not move here to look at gray skies all day long.  I am willing to take it for one more day but that is my limit.  After three days of no sunshine I will start getting mean.  Or depressed.  Either way...someone's gonna pay.

To make it worse I just emerged from a very involving book.  Compulsive readers know what I'm talking about when I say emerged; sometimes a book pulls you right into the story and won't let you go.  You almost feel groggy when you take a break or finish. 

I've been reading Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series about a vampire executioner.  The series can be very dark - lots of soul searching (Anita was raised Catholic), violence (oh my it is very violent), and, uh, sex  (though not in this particular book).  Sounds like a weird grouping.  It is.  Though this will never be one of my favorite series - I prefer lighter reading with more laughter than gore - Laurell K. Hamilton can spin a great story.  The real world just fades away and suddenly I'm in a vampire's lair, stalking a serial-killer monster, analyzing a crime scene, or fighting for my life.

In this book - Obsidian Butterfly - Anita Blake travels to Albuquerque, New Mexico to help stop serial killings that may or may not involve non-human predators.  Anita lives in St. Louis, Missouri, so this was a nice break both for Anita and her sun-deprived reader.  At least she was getting some sunshine in between the murder and mayhem.  At least it wasn't cloudy every damn day there, but I digress.  I enjoyed traveling with Anita to Albuquerque and seeing with her the great expanses of nothing but sand and grasses with black mountains in the distance.  Did you know Albuquerque is 7,000 feet above sea level?  I learned that Albuquerque is only about an hour from Santa Fe, NM.  I have cousins in Santa Fe.  They aren't vampires or monsters, though, and were not mentioned in the book. 

New Mexico is still on my list of places to visit.  It sounds beautiful and exotic and SUNNY. 

And Anita killed all the monsters so it's safe, too.

Monday, October 26, 2009


In any other city my place of employment - a bed and breakfast - would be unique, but here in St. Augustine, Florida, unique becomes weird very quickly.  For those of you who were brought up with a less-than-thorough education a brief history lesson:

Many Americans know about Jamestown - the first English settlement in the North American continent.  Well, big woop.  Who cares about Jamestown - the 2nd oldest settlement in America.  It's not even a real town!  YEARS before Jamestown was settled Pedro Menendez landed here and settled the town of St. Augustine.

St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States.  (So there, Jamestown!)  And don't even start with Thanksgiving in Plymouth, PUH-LEEZE.

We have almost 450 years of history here.  As you can imagine ghost stories abound in our old city.  And the oldest inn in the oldest city has its own ghost stories.  From time to time we have psychics, sensitives, ghost-chasers, and paranormal investigators staying with us.  It's gotten so common that the owner has finally put a "ghost stories" link on our website, although you have to hunt for it.  Even though this is Halloween week, tonight's story is not about ghosts; it's about some other strange visitors we had at the inn recently.  I heard about these guests the morning after they checked in.

I was getting my morning cup of coffee and Kelly, the Inn's manager, waved me over to the Front Desk.  Her eyes gleamed as she asked, "Has anyone told you about our guests in the Dummett* (pronouced Dum-mit) Room?"

"No," I said.  "What's going on?"

"Yesterday afternoon our guests were checking in and asked if the room was pet friendly," she said.

I frowned.  We do allow pets in some of our rooms, but only ground floor rooms with outside entrances and only with prior approval.  I knew this was a problem right away; the Dummett Room is on the 3rd floor.  No way would we allow any pets up there.  Kelly grinned and continued her story.

"I tried to explain that we restricted the rooms because of allergies and the extra cleaning we always have to do," she said.  "They told me, 'No problem, our pets don't shed.'  So I'm thinking it must be birds of some kind, and told them we couldn't have birds either because of the noise.  I was starting to get worried because we were full and I didn't have a pet-friendly room for them.  They were very cheerful and said their pets weren't birds either.  I finally had to ask just what kind of pets did they have."

Kelly stopped and stared at me.  I shook my head; I had no idea.

"Snakes," she whispered.

"Snakes?" I whispered back.  I was trying not to shriek.

"Yes," she said.  "They said they had $10,000 worth of snakes.  They had just been to a convention. They couldn't leave them in the car overnight; the snakes would die.  They had to be in a climate-controlled space."

"Snakes?" I said.  "More than one?"  I was getting a real creepy feeling all over my skin.

"Yes," she said.  "They had 15 of them.  All boa constrictors.  Some were babies, most were small, but there was one large snake about 6 feet long."

"15 snakes?" I said.  I should be a detective with these kinds of interviewing skills.

"You should have seen it," Kelly said.  "They brought in all these plastic tubs and containers and stacked them over by that wall."

I jumped and looked at the wall.  There was nothing there, but just the thought of what HAD been there...

"You let them check in?" I said.

"All the snakes were locked in the tubs; they even had bungee cords around the tubs.  Most of the snakes were also in cloth sacks.  You couldn't see them through the plastic; you wouldn't even know what was in the tubs unless someone told you.  Besides, they had already paid for their reservation," she said.

"I know," I agreed.  Sometimes you just have to say yes.

The guests were a married couple who had just been to the Reptile Breeders Convention in Daytona Beach - evidently a HUGE event.  They raised boa constrictors and sold them.  They were on their way home to Louisiana.  Well, THAT explained a lot.  (No offense, Louisiana, but when a large portion of your area is  bayou a.k.a. swamp, you know that you're going to be lumped in with snakes.  Besides, did you ever see that show The Exterminator on A&E?  Filmed in...Louisiana!)

Once they had permission they brought the tubs in one or two at a time and stacked them in our lobby.  Kelly said the creepiest part was after all the tubs were stacked, you could hear the snakes hissing. HEEBIEJEEBIES.  No one else seemed to notice; a few other guests checked in while the tubs were stacked in the lobby and just ignored them.

"So where are the snakes now?" I asked while I rubbed my hands up and down my arms.

"They stacked all the tubs in the closet in their room!" she said.  "They went out to dinner, had a nice time, and had a nice quiet evening at the Inn."

The process was reversed that morning after the couple had their breakfast and packed to leave.  They brought the tubs down the three flights of stairs one by one and stacked them in the lobby.  They showed one of the babies to Kelly and some other employees who were crazy enough to want to look.  I stayed in the kitchen and peeked around the door.  Then they took the tubs - one by one - out to their car.  They really were very nice people and there was no mess or any problem with the extra visitors.  In fact, they had such a good time I bet they'll want to stay with us next year after the Reptile Breeders Convention in Daytona Beach!  I'll be taking that day off....

That afternoon Kelly and I were talking about our unique visitors.  She said, with a perfectly straight face, that she was glad there was no problem, because she had to get ready for the ghost-hunters who were renting the entire third floor for the next two nights.

15 boa constrictors one night and ghost-hunters the next - just another day at the Inn.

*pronounced Dum-mit - named for the Dummett family who owned the Inn in the mid-1800's.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


This is part of my backyard.  What look like small rolling hills are actually part of the septic tank systems of my building and the building next door.  In some parts of Florida the drainfields have to be raised because the water table is so close to the surface.  You don't want the drainfields draining directly into your water table, do you?  I guess the extra 4 or 5 feet of soil and rock make a difference.  Hmm.
So what's with the BUCKET?  The bucket covers an electrical outlet that pokes out of the ground; an underground wire goes from my building to the outlet. The septic tank pump is plugged into the outlet.  Oh yes, we have to have a pump because the drainfields are elevated above the tank and the...uh... liquids in the tank have to be pumped up into the drainfields.  The outlet has to be protected from rain and lawn mowing equipment and a bucket has proven to be better than the plastic covers the septic tank companies install.  The bare space next to the bucket is where a septic tank company recently dug up the yard, opened the lid to the septic tank, and replaced the septic tank pump.  yummy.
Since I am the only condo-owner in my building - the other 2 units are rented - I have taken the responsibility of insuring that the pump is plugged in and operating.  Since I installed the bucket last spring - blatantly copying my neighbors - the bucket has done a wonderful job of protecting the outlet.  I've checked it several times over the past several months and the outlet and plug have been undisturbed.
Late last month my toilets were flushing reluctantly and there was an the backyard, so I stomped over to the bucket in my bare feet and picked it up.  The pump was plugged in, but there was a lot of...water...all around the area.  I then stepped carefully to our building about 20 feet away and opened the circuit breaker box - AHA!  The breaker had flipped off.  I flipped it on.  Sparks flew and it flipped itself off.  I screamed like a banshee.  Luckily the ground was dry by the house or I might have fried myself.
After I recovered from my brief trauma AND scrubbed my feet and legs with antibiotic soap, I called the septic tank people.  The next afternoon a repairman came out and dug up that small portion of the yard.  He got the job done in about an hour.  When I was writing him a check for the new pump, he asked me if I'd ever seen the snake living under the bucket.


"Oh, yea," he said.  "He's got a burrow under that bucket.  He's green and brown and kept peeking out at me while I was working."  My hand shook as I finished writing the check.
I don't care if we get 24 inches of rain.  I don't care if water erupts from every drain in my home.  I don't care if I have to use the public bathroom in Publix for the rest of my life.  I am NEVER NEVER NEVER going near that bucket again.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Harley sits and stares at me at every mealtime.  I say the "OK" release command.  He sits and stares.  Eventually he eats.  I figure he will get over this eventually.

Today when I got home from work he greeted me at the door as always.  After a quick trip outside to relieve himself he trotted back in and I heard....



I looked and he was eating his breakfast.  Granted, the dish was not as full as when I left it this morning, but....

....he saved this all day to make me think that he SIT AND STAYED ALL DAY???

Maybe he is winning.

Monday, October 19, 2009


One of the first "tricks" or behaviors that I taught Harley was sitting and staying for his meal.  In order to eat he has to sit and stay until I release him with the "OK" command.  It is really one of the easiest things to teach a dog because you do it at least once a day and it involves what the dog lives for - MEALTIME.  No matter how bad the dog is or how wild or how stupid he seems, he can do this.  Before I ever attended a dog training class or watched "It's Me or the  Dog" or "The Dog Whisperer" all of my dogs learned this behavior.

From time to time Harley does bark or jump up and down while waiting for his meal.  I then remind him to sit, stay, and be QUIET, then I count to 3 (silently), and release him with an OK.  In his first year with me I would often test him by saying some other word with the same tone, then stop him if he got up.  Believe me, he has this command DOWN.

Several months ago I found myself repeating the OK command.  I set the dish down on the floor, said, "OK" and Harley just sat there looking at me.

"OK!" I repeated.  He then got up and walked to his dish.  This didn't happen often enough to make me even think about it, just often enough to make me repeat myself.  Then I found myself repeating the OK command more than once.  I started wondering if he was losing his hearing.  I didn't give it a lot of thought; I was usually rushing off to work in the mornings when this happened.

Then it started happening in the afternoons.  I would find myself saying, "ok", "OK", OK! Harley!  OK!"  before he would get up and walk to his dish to eat.  What was wrong with him?  Did he really not hear me?  Was I saying it differently?  I still didn't give it a lot of thought, but as it continued and it started to happen at each and every meal, I became annoyed.  I knew the *FLB could hear!  Good gosh,  he could be chewing on a toy in my bedroom and hear a dog walking up the street through a closed living room window!

It occurred to me one day that I NEVER have to repeat the OK command when I'm giving Harley a treat.  What?  A very nasty suspicion took root in my mind and I narrowed my eyes.  "Bastard," I whispered.  I decided to test him.

I touched the lid on his treat jar.  He ran out from my bedroom and jumped around me.  No hearing problem there.  I told him to sit and I used the hand gesture I had learned at dog training.  No, not that hand gesture.  Just a fist that you kind of dip at the dog.  He sat and wagged his tail so hard I wondered if it would detach itself and fly off.

I removed a dog biscuit from the jar and put the lid back on.  The jar and lid are ceramic so the lid always makes a sound whether you are taking it off or putting it on.    Harley started jumping for joy again.

"Oh, boy!  Oh, boy!" he thought as he jumped around my legs.

"Sit," I repeated.  He sat and wagged his tail as hard as he could.  His tongue hung out and his eyes watched that treat like a cat watches a mouse just before she pounces.

"Stay," I said as I put the treat on the floor.  He quivered with the strain of behaving.  He drooled and stared at the dog biscuit.

I stepped away a few feet and in a normal tone of voice said, "Ok."  Before I could draw a breath he had jumped on the treat and run off to the living room with his treasure.

"Hm," I mused.  Slowly it dawned on me.  Harley was messing with me.  For months Harley had been messing with me!  There was no other explanation!  I felt almost betrayed!  Almost.  I knew he was a little bastard, but I didn't realize he could really screw with my head that way.  The months of executing his little plan - what tenacity he showed.  Gradually increasing the amount of OKs he would get before he would eat.  DAMN.

Well, the jig was up.  That afternoon at his dinnertime I called him to the kitchen, told him to "Sit", put his dish filled with food down on the floor, and said,"Ok."  He sat there and looked at me as if he hadn't heard me.  Oh, the treachery.

I walked away.

I sat in my chair in the living room and looked back at him.  He was still sitting but he had twisted his head all the way around and was watching me.  I picked up a book and began reading.  Seconds ticked by.  Then I heard it.  Crunching.


Friday, October 16, 2009


Just 2 or 3 weeks ago I was in the kitchen where I work fixing a cup of coffee to take back to the office.  Carolee is the kitchen assistant and part-time chef.  This particular morning she rushed into the kitchen in an absolute frenzy.  She looked possessed.  
"I don't know how I'm ever going to get home," she muttered.  "Is it on me?  Do you see anything on me?"
"No, you look fine," I answered.
"No, I mean, do you see anything ON me?" she asked.  She was brushing her hands up and down her clothes and running them through her hair.
I checked her over.
"No, nothing," I reassured her.
"Good," Carolee said, but she wasn't convincing.  "That means he's still in the car.  How am I ever going to get home?"
Bit by bit her story emerged.

Carolee has to be at work at 7am when she is the kitchen assistant; that means leaving her home in Flagler Beach before 6:15.  This time of year it is still very dark at until almost 7:00.  That morning she got into her car and headed north on A1A to St. Augustine.  A1A runs along the ocean part of the way, then veers inland through the Hammock, a heavily wooded area, then runs back along the ocean. For most of the trip it is dark; there are few lights until you enter St. Augustine Beach.

Carolee was zipping along just minding her own business when she passed a an open and well-lit gas station.  Out of the corner of her eye she spotted something on her rear view mirror.  A second horrified look confirmed that it was a ... banana spider!  
At nearly the same instant that she identified the THING on her rear view mirror she passed into the darkness of the Hammock. She careened along A1A terrified that monster was going to jump on her.  She couldn't stop.  What was she going to do?  It was pitch black on the two-lane road; she'd get run over!  (Besides, if she stopped in the woods in the dark and got out of the car how many BUGS, SNAKES, GATORS, ETC. would be waiting for THEIR CHANCE to attack her on the side of the road?)  She squeezed over against the door and kept staring back and forth between the road and the dark rear view mirror.  Was it still there?  Was it looking at her?  What if it was gone?  Where was it?

She rocketed out of the Hammock, past Marineland, and into the brief spot where A1A widens and has street lights next to 3 high rise condominiums.  THERE HE WAS!  He had spun a short web and was HANGING FROM THE REAR VIEW MIRROR.  OMG!  If she took a curve too fast he would start swinging and swing RIGHT INTO HER FACE!!!!

The street lights disappeared behind her; she and her passenger were thrown into pitch darkness again.  She slowed a bit so she could navigate curves without causing the spider to sway or swing.  She couldn't see him at all and hoped against hope that she wouldn't FEEL anything for the next several miles while she pushed ahead in the dark. 

When she entered St. Augustine Beach and the accompanying street lights she looked for the spider; he was gone.  GONE?  Where was he?  She looked all around and twisted and fidgeted in her seat; one minute tensing because she thought she felt something, the next minute brushing herself off frantically.  For the next terrifying 6-8 miles she looked in vain for that spider - and dreaded feeling him on her leg or in her hair or on her arm, or ON HER NECK or ON HER FACE.

The sun was rising as she crossed the temporary bridge over the Matanzas  River into St. Augustine and there he was!  He was scuttling across her headliner "about 90 mph!".  Thank God, he was running AWAY from her.  She hurtled the last couple miles through town and down the cobblestoned and very bumpy St. George Street and into our parking lot.  She slammed on the brakes, turned off her car, opened the door, and tried frantically to get out of her car.  SOMETHING WAS HOLDING HER IN AND WOULDN'T LET GO!  It was her seatbelt.  She jammed the release button and almost fell out of her car.  She slammed the door shut and stood there for several minutes, just glad to be alive and spider-free.

I really tried not to laugh, because it could have been me and I would have been just as upset, but, the truth is, it wasn't me and I started laughing and couldn't stop.  That morning she didn't see any humor in the situation.  She demanded to know how she was going to get home; I suggested she leave her windows down so he could get out.

"NO!" Carolee said.  "Do you know how many creepy-crawlies live in the parking lot?"

I didn't have any more suggestions so I patted her shoulder and took my coffee back to the office.  I ran my fingers through my hair and brushed off my arms a couple times on the way.

I don't want to say Carolee was obsessed with this banana spider, but she admitted later she asked everyone that morning for an answer to her dilemma.  I don't think she met with too many sympathetic responses.  After breakfast service ended she asked Mike, our maintenance guy, if he had any bug spray.  He gave her a big can of Raid.  Carolee opened the hatch of her Yarus, aimed and fired.  She DRENCHED her car.  She said she could see the spray clinging to some webs in there, so she knew the banana spider had been busy.  She shut the hatch, then opened her driver's side door and DRENCHED her car in poison.  She sprayed until the can was empty.  Then she shut the door and went back to work.

When it was time to go home she took a couple of rags and used them to wipe her seat and the steering wheel.  She rolled down her window, but left the others up.  She drove home with her interior reeking of poison, one window down, and the air conditioner blowing full blast.  She didn't see the spider.  (That much poison probably disintegrated him!)  She had been home for about an hour when her significant other Russ said he was going to take the car to run an errand.  "OK," she answered.

When Russ returned he wanted to know what the HELL happened to her her car!  His hands were all sticky from the door, the steering wheel, the controls.  The interior was covered in something sticky and gross!  What was it?  She told him that if he ever LISTENED to her that he would know it was RAID and that she had bombed the car's interior to kill a spider.

Russell took the car to a car wash place and the rumor is he used the high velocity spray to clean the interior.  He never saw the spider.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Three months after I adopted my trusty terrier Harley (the *FLB) from the Humane Society my daughter was hospitalized with pneumonia.  This was not Harley's fault and I am not blaming him.  By this time Harley and I had been through the dog obedience class taught by the Humane Society, and we had started to bond.  Somewhat.  My sister and her adorable 8-month-old Golden-shepherd-mix named Max were also in the class.  Guess which couple got oohed-and-aahed over?  The class was made up of all adoptees and catered to their "issues", such as not being socialized, psychological damage from abuse or neglect, not being house-trained, aggresiveness, and fear.

*Please note that nowhere on the ID card attached to Harley's cage when I adopted him did it list any of these potential problems.  Here is what I learned about Harley in the three months following his adoption:
(we're going to compare with the ID card attached to his cage at the shelter)

Name:  Harley       
(Probably true - at that time he would look at me if I called him Harley - of course he looked at me if I called him *FLB, dog, WHAT THE ....!, hey you, want a treat, and want to go for a ride?

Gender:  Male      
Definitely true - I had him neutered before I brought him home but only a male would raise his leg so often and so high.  How high?  High enough that he actually flipped himself over one time.  Not kidding.

Age: 1 year
I guess so.  My only other guess is that he's older than Satan himself and will never be carbon-dated.

Likes:  children and dogs
As I mentioned in my previous post he started a fight with a chow-mix at obedience class.  By then I'd already been warned to keep a tight leash on Harley because he growled and barked at some of the other dogs - not all the other dogs - just the aggressive and scary ones.  I didn't dare let him near children; however, he now has developed a "mutual respect" relationship with my 3-yr-old granddaughter.  He understands that HE IS DEAD if he harms a hair on her head and that she has carte blanche with him.  :o)   Not really, I have to protect them from each other.  sigh.

Dislikes:  cats
Dislikes is not strong enough - obsessed with cats, hates cats, despises cats.

Story:  child developed allergy to dog
My butt...these people had had enough of ruined carpets, chewed up books, dog hair everywhere, and decided to dump him quick.  They probably told their kids the dog ran away.

So...we had been through obedience school and were starting to bond.  Sometime in April my 29-year-old incredibly healthy RN daughter Mary is hospitalized with pneumonia.  And doesn't get better...gets sicker every day.  Longest week of my life.  I spent the entire week going to work, going home to walk Harley, going to the hospital, and going home to sleep.  Thursday Mary finally started getting better.  I decided to take a 30 minute break from the hospital, and take Harley over to my sister's house to play with Max.  The two dogs were best friends and were the funniest pair to watch, especially since Max was more than double Harley's size.

My younger daughter Melissa had driven down from Atlanta to visit her sick sister and we both decided to enjoy the spring evening and put the top down on the convertible.  I drove, Melissa rode shotgun, and the leashed-up Harley rode in the backseat.  I kept the other end of the leash on my right wrist so that he wouldn't jump out of the car if he saw another dog or, God help us all, a cat.  We drove the 2 miles to my sister's house and made the last turn onto her street doing about 15 mph.  As I straightened the wheel I heard something funny and realized at the same time I couldn't see Harley.  The leash attached to my wrist disappeared over the side of my car!

Simultaneously I screamed, "Where's Harley?!" and stopped the car.  Melissa looked over her door and shouted, "He's next to the car!"  I turned off the ignition, jumped out, and ran around to the passenger side.  Harley was panting and limped over to me.  I picked him up; the pads on his paws were all torn up.  I held him to me and shouted for Melissa to drive us the few remaining feet to my sister's house.  She raced around the car, jumped in, and pulled into my sister Sheila's driveway seconds later.  Melissa ran into the house and I took Harley around through the back fence to their screened porch.  I was in hysterics and didn't know what to do!

Sheila kept her cool and looked up emergency vets in the Yellow Pages while I tried to examine Harley.  He acted like he was in shock and his poor paws looked like raw meat.  I couldn't find any other injuries but I was terrified of internal injuries; I didn't know if I'd hit him or bumped him with the car.  Meanwhile an awful stench kept making us all look around.  It smelled kind of like feces but much much worse; however, we couldn't find anything on Harley or nearby.  Sheila called the 24-hour animal hospital, got directions, and Melissa and I were soon on our way.

I am grateful for the kind personnel at the emergency hospital; they cleaned Harley's wounds (which involved trimming his pads...ewww....) and examined him thoroughly and bandaged him up.  About $200 and 3 hours after Melissa, Harley, and I set off on our "quick break" we were back home.  I took the pictures right after we got home.  He was still looking pretty pitiful at that time.  The vet said that from the appearance of Harley's injuries, she would guess that when I slowed for the turn, Harley jumped out with his legs rigid, and tore up his paws when he hit the ground, because he was stopped and the car wasn't.

The funny sound I had heard (now the urge to giggle starts bubbling in my throat)...the funny sound I heard was Harley trying to run 15 mph on legs that are about 6 inches long.  What?  Not funny? Just try to picture it and NOT LAUGH.  And before you judge me, did you ever see American Vacation with Chevy Chase?  Remember what happened to Aunt Edna's dog?
"Once again on their way, the family stops at a picnic area, only to discover that Dinky the dog has urinated on the picnic basket. Everyone is revolted — except Aunt Edna, who shrugs off the flavor and continues eating. After leaving the smelly "Kamp Komfort", in South Fork, Colorado, they learn from an enraged motorcycle policeman (James Keach) that they have driven off with Dinky still tied to the rear bumper. The deceased dog apparently kept pace with the car "for a mile or so".
TELL ME you didn't laugh when you watched that scene! Besides, Harley only ran for about 10-15 seconds before I realized what that sound was.  It's not like I dragged him for MILES through the desert or anything. 

And the smell?  I asked the vet why my arm that had held Harley smelled liked the worst kind of feces, and why we smelled that odor all around us in Sheila's neighborhood that evening.  Well... when an animal is really frightened sometimes they.... "express" their anal glands.  So basically, Harley scared himself shxtless - but instead of pooping he squeezed out all his anal gland stuff.  (You're not eating, are you?)

I realized during that whole episode how much the little terrier meant to me.  I was really and truly scared!  I went out and purchased a seat belt for him so he could ride safely in my car with the top down.  I had stopped adding up the costs** of the "free pound pup".  Not really, but it sounds nice to say.  If you think I'm being unfeeling or cavalier about the whole thing take a look at Harley on the day AFTER the accident.

He's already pulled off one of the foot bandages (left rear).  This picture shows him staring out my living room window at some offending CAT or DOG walking by HIS house.  Does he look harmed in any way? 

Don't you just love the cone around his head?  Let me tell you...I'd take him for his walk and he would put his head down to sniff and get that cone stuck in the grass every time.  OMG it was so funny!  Like a Bugs Bunny cartoon!  The cone would get stuck and he would still take one or two more steps before he'd realize he was stuck!  He was and has been unending entertainment.
*FLB=freaking little bastard
**Adoption fee, neutering, crate, library book, new jacket, carpet, dog food, dog dishes, collar, leash, ID tag, Special Iams dog food for SENSITIVE TUMMIES, toys, obedience class fee, emergency vet bill, doggie seat belt

And thanks for all your wonderful comments!  And for following my blog.  It is gratifying to share my stories.  Anyone want to adopt a free completely house-trained small non-shedding terrier?  Just kidding.  Call me.  No, I'm just kidding.  Seriously, call me or email.  I'll pay the shipping.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Thousands of you have asked about the FLB* that often accompanies my darling, precious Harley's name.  Although I had about 10 other topics to discuss today, including a followup to the heebie-jeebies disorder and its manifestations in the presence of Florida's wildlife,  I decided I could not ignore the clamor from  my fans.

Please remember that the number of my followers and number of visitors displayed on my blog are grossly under-reported.  I have to keep a low profile.

Harley will be 6 years old in January.  He is a "mixed terrier".  A Heinz 57.  As someone on the street once called him:  a Disney dog.  Yes, he is incredibly cute.  Now.

When I first saw Harley at the St. Augustine Humane Society in January 2005, my comment was, "He's kind of fugly, isn't he?"  "Noooo," my sister Sheila argued.  "He's very cute!  Look at his cute face."  It had been Sheila's idea to visit the Humane Society that day.  She wanted to adopt a puppy for her family and she knew I wanted a dog, too.  "Now, you know, Karen," she had said in as kind a way as she could manage, " in 10 years you'll be in your 60's and you won't be able to pick up a large dog."  Family.  You can't live without them and laws prevent you from slicing them into chum and tossing them into the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

The puppy that she was taking home was a darling Golden-shephard mix and about 6 months old.  He was galumphing around his cage and I wanted to trade.  The mixed terrier was wiry and had hair sticking out around his neck like an Elizabethan collar.  "I don't know," I wavered.  The card on the terrier's cage read," Name: HARLEY  Age: 1 YEAR  Gender:  MALE   Housetrained:  YES  Likes:  CHILDREN AND OTHER DOGS  Dislikes:  CATS.  Story:  CHILD DEVELOPED ALLERGY TO DOG."  I didn't have a cat and I had heard that terriers didn't shed much.  My only other options were to go home empty-handed or take home a pit-bull-mixed something and wait for the inevitable mauling.  "Just take him out and walk him around," Sheila urged.  I approached a volunteer and she handed me a leash.

When I opened the gate Harley jumped up and down like he had springs in his back legs!  I leashed him up and took him outside.   I was pleased to see that he immediately relieved himself.  So he knew to do his business outside.  In fact, he relieved himself several times, lifting his leg here, lifting his leg there, etc.  He didn't seem interested in me, but that could have been the excitement of being outside.  I squatted down and rubbed my hand down his back.  He WAS wiry, but kind of soft, too.  His ears  were so cute and how about those big brown eyes...I was hooked. 

The next week I brought Harley home.  I let him sniff around and get used to my condo.  I'd only been living there 10 months and everything was still very fresh and new to me.  Even though the carpet was several years old the former owners had kept it in good condition, and I did worry that Harley might have some accidents on it.  I took him out frequently over the next several hours.

The next morning I blocked him in the kitchen/laundry rooms with a baby gate.  He had fresh water and chew toys and a floor to tinkle if he had an accident.  I had house-trained other dogs by blocking them in a kitchen and it had worked well.  I gave him a treat and left.

I hurried home after work to see my new buddy.  I unlocked my back door, opened it, and gasped.  My laundry room and kitchen floors were covered in garbage.  As I picked my way through the trash I was horrified to see a chewed-up library book on the floor.  That book had been on the clothes dryer!  My new Liz Claiborne jacket was crumpled  in with the garbage on the floor, too!  I looked at the wall where my coat had been hanging.  The hook and the 30-lb screw anchor attached to it had been pulled out of the wall and there was a HOLE IN MY WALL.  SOMEONE pulled and tugged and SWUNG on my jacket until he pulled the hook right out of the wall.  In addition, my new jacket was torn.  I wanted a gun.  "HARLEY!" I roared.

The baby gate was knocked askew.  Harley was nowhere to be found.  Finally, I spotted the little beast in my guest bedroom with an empty can of ravioli next to him.  He looked pleased to see me; he wagged his tail.  I was afraid I would kill him if I touched him, so I said very calmly, "Come on, you f***ing little bastard.  Let's go for a walk."  He jumped up and ran past me to the back door.  As I leaned down to clip on his leash he lifted his leg and peed on my dryer.

That night Harley and I drove to Wal-Mart to purchase a dog crate.  I didn't dare leave him alone in my condo.  Already this "free pound puppy" was draining my wallet:  neutering, adoption fee, replacing the library book, one very nice jacket, and now a crate.  I left him in the car while I made the purchase.  Maybe someone would steal him.  No such luck, though, he was waiting when I returned.

The next morning I placed him in his crate with a dish of water and a chew toy.  We had played in and out of the crate the previous evening, so I hoped he would be okay with it while I was at work.  I gave him a treat and left.  I hurried home after work to see my new best friend and let him out of the crate.  When I walked into the living room I at first didn't understand what I was seeing.  The crate was filled with what looked like white yarn!  White yarn and a terrier!  Huh?  Then I saw the hole in my carpet and the CONCRETE FLOOR UNDERNEATH.  Harley managed to somehow push the plastic tray on the bottom of the crate through the opening of the crate - you can slide out the tray without opening the crate door - I guess if you have a pitbull-mix-scary-dog that's what you would do.  Harley managed to push the tray out - I don't know how he "unhooked it" and then he dug a hole in my carpet.

I left him in the crate for fear I would kill him.  I had owned this dog less than a week and he was destroying my home and driving me crazy!  I considered taking him back to the Humane Society.  People did it all the time.   I paced back and forth refusing to look at him.  I refused to look at him because he was sitting and wagging his tail and just looking so happy to see me.  I sighed, stalked back to the laundry room, grabbed his leash, stalked back to the crate, opened the door and leashed him before he could run to the back door by himself.  I muttered, "You f***ing little bastard, I can't believe you dug a hole in my carpet, you f***ing little bastard."

I signed us both up for dog training the next day.  Over the next three weeks I considered taking him back time and time again.  The last time was the day he picked a fight with a chow-mix at dog training class WHILE THE INSTRUCTOR WAS HOLDING HIS LEASH.  I was in tears by the end of class like the mother of a juvenile delinquent who knows the kid has to go to jail.  For some reason I made a commitment in my heart that day to keep him no matter what.  Smooth sailing since then?  NO WAY NO HOW.  I do love the FLB and he never ceases to surprise me.  Each surprise usually costs me money or time but now I usually get a laugh or at least a good story out of it.

Just ask me about his accident 3 months later....another time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


There are many good things about Florida.  There are many bad things about Florida.  Pictured to the left you see one of the VERY BAD things about Florida.  This Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake was found in a neighborhood in St. Augustine a couple weeks ago.  This picture was on the front page of the St. Augustine Record and, after seeing it, I had the most incredible case of heebie-jeebies I've ever had.  The heebie-jeebies lasted about a week.

If you are unfamiliar with this particular disorder, heebie-jeebies manifests itself as phantom caresses on your legs, the urge to brush your fingers through your hair 476 times a day, nervous tics, and unexplained shudders.  In addition to the physical symptoms the victim also experiences severe psychological fears and behaviors such as:
  • Fear of getting in your car in the dark, so you turn on the overhead light to make sure you are alone; you then peer in the back seat, and under your seat, and up near the gas pedal until you start to feel foolish;
  • Fear of missing what was hiding in your car in the dark and is now slithering or crawling out from its hiding place, so you turn on the overhead light while you are driving AND talking on your cell phone and nervously look on the floor near your feet where you can't see anyway;
  • Fear of stepping on some creature while walking your FLB* (your beloved terrier Harley) so you carry a flashlight and shine it where you are going to step, but still shriek when you almost step on the large brown and gray toad who lives near the back door;
  • Fear of a tree frog (with little suckers on the end of its legs!) springing onto you as you enter or leave your home so you watch for tree frogs (several live on my back wall) and dash in or out if the heebie-jeebies is especially strong that evening.   Of course the FLB* (your beloved terrier Harley) doesn't help you dash as he is sniffing the large toad sitting near the door and you trip over him and almost fall onto the walkway thinking all the time that the toad is going to leap on your leg while the tree frogs leap onto your head and STICK to your HAIR.
Don't pooh-pooh.  The week before this HUGE MONSTER RATTLESNAKE was found, a young woman in Jacksonville rented a car and, when she opened the door and started to slide in, discovered a 3-foot-long red snake lying on her dash sunning himself in the window.  The car rental company had no idea how it got in there.  (HEY STUPID! SOMEONE LEFT THE DOOR OPEN OR THE WINDOWS DOWN!)

Excuse me; I'm hyperventilating.  (nice yoga breath) (again)

To finish the above stories and not leave you hanging, the young woman received a replacement rental car but was very uncomfortable driving it.  (Beginner's heebie-jeebies.)

The 7'3" rattlesnake (the record size is 8'...what a bummer right?) was killed by a trapper who "rolled it up like a hose", stuck it in a sack, threw it in his truck, and drove off.  The trapper was found a couple days later by a reporter and, when asked why he killed the snake instead of capturing it, said, "I was always brought up that the only good poisonous snake is a dead poisonous snake."  I wonder if he is married....   He took the dead snake to a muffler dealer who makes things (ew.) out of snakeskin and traded it for a future car repair.  (I take back the married comment; the darn snake was worth $100 per foot to some dealers.)

This evening when I walked the FLB* (sweet baby Harley) I opened my mailbox and started to pull out the one envelope that was in there.  Suddenly I realized SOMETHING WAS RIDING ON THE ENVELOPE.  I know there are people out there who will not believe this, but I did not scream like a wounded hyena and leap around the mailbox!  I calmly flicked the envelope so that the small frog - yes it was only a frog - hopped off the envelope and out of the hole in the back of my mailbox.

I hope the FLB* (my precious darling terrier Harley) can hold it until morning; I'm twitching and jerking too much to take him out again tonight. Can we say RELAPSE!?!

*FLB=freakin' little bastard

Monday, October 12, 2009


LuAnn had to drive home last Friday.  I miss her; she is such a calm and peaceful presence.  Before she returned to the rigors of completing her Masters Degree and teaching kindergarten (For once, I'm not being sarcastic - teaching is a difficult profession these days!) she and I were able to enjoy a sunset cruise on the Schooner Freedom last Thursday evening.  I know nothing about boats or ships (unlike my cousin Melanie who has performed exhaustive research on sailing vessels for her book) but here from the Freedom's web site is a description of the schooner:  "Freedom is an authentic replica of a 19th century blockade runner. She is a 72', double masted, gaff-rigged, topsail schooner."  Pretty impressive.  LuAnn and I and about 20 other guests boarded the schooner at 5:30pm.  We received a short but entertaining safety lecture from crew member John (originally from West Palm Beach) which made me glad that LuAnn and I were sitting on the life jacket storage.  The two crew members - Kim and the aforementioned John - then pressed a couple of men into service (hm..this is sounding more and more like my cousin Melanie's book) and had them pull up the main sails.  Then Captain John (not to be confused with crew member John) pointed at LuAnn and said "You're next."  She hopped up and, when he gave the order, she pulled up yet another sail.  All this was happening as we slipped away from the dock.  LuAnn looked like she was having a great time while pulling (hauling?) up the sail - see the top picture and decide for yourselves.  At this point we had most of the sails up and the Captain was still using the motor; once all the sails were raised and we were through the drawbridge connecting the city to Anastasia Island, he shut off the motor and there was only the sound of the sails rippling in the wind.  It was glorious.

While LuAnn and I and the rest of the unpaid crew sat back and enjoyed the sea breeze and views of the city, Captain John hurled commands at Kim and John and had them scrambling from one side of the ship to another.  The boom would swing and either Kim or John would push it as far as it would go as we'd start turning (tacking?).  Kim and John spent a lot of time scrambling from one rigging to another, but they laughed a lot and looked like they were enjoying themselves. In between their tasks they asked questions about where we were from, answered questions about the schooner and what they were doing, and told stories about other trips.  LuAnn and I were sitting near the front (bow) of the ship; from time to time we could hear Captain Mike explaining in detail exactly why he was giving such-and-such instruction to his crew.  An elderly man in a floppy hat leaned forward the entire trip and drank in every word.

We sailed out of the inlet (and saw Tracey's house where we had partied the Tuesday before) and out into the Atlantic.  The breeze stiffened and the sea roughed up a bit, but it was still "smooth sailing" on the Schooner Freedom.  We eventually turned about and Captain John let us mostly drift in with the tide as the sun set below the horizon.  Dolphins chased their next meal off the port side, then suddenly appeared on the starboard side.  (pretty good, eh, melly?  port! starboard! for a landlubber!)  I wasn't able to capture the dolphins in a picture, but I was able to get a good enough look to bring a grin to my face.

Captain John snapped our picture just before the sun set.  (2nd picture) 

All in all it was a delicious couple of hours - relaxing, fun, and refreshing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Simple Pleasures


A brisk sea breeze after another unseasonably hot muggy day in the 90's....
Watching a little girl chase sandpipers...she runs as fast as she can as her arms pump back and forth with the effort....the birds run faster then fly away from the 3-year-old tornado....she laughs and looks to makes sure her grandmother is close by....

A beautiful underscores the darkening clouds...

The sound of the surf....endless...eternal....reassuring....never changing....

Back home there is a shower with much giggling and "I do it!"....shampoo and suds....

Cereal and milk....fruit....toast.....

Dancing to the Backyardigans CD....those soft little arms pumping again...."Dance with me, Grenah!"..."do your arms like this, Grenah!"

Bedtime will come and we should both sleep well.....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where you from, you sandhill crane?

These are sandhill cranes.  According to the St. Augustine Record they were spotted in Palatka (a small city on the St. Johns River about 45 minutes southwest of St. Augustine) over the weekend.  There are two subspecies of sandhill cranes found in  Florida:  the Florida sandhill crane which resides here, and the greater sandhill crane which lives in the Great Lakes Region but spends the winters here.  So which subspecies are the ones spotted near Palatka?  "According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the two are indistinguishable as both have gray plumage and a bald red crown." I read this article earlier today while I was having my morning break.  Something bothered me then and I didn't realize what it was until I reread the article this evening.

If they are indistinguishable then why are they two different subspecies?  Looks to me like they are only different because of where they call home.  If that's the case I can help the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission differentiate between the Florida sandhill cranes and the greater sandhill cranes from the Great Lakes region.

The Florida sandhill cranes live in Florida and pay taxes in Florida; however, when asked where they are from they often say New York or New Jersey or Chicago because they lived in those cities 10-20 years ago.   The Florida sandhill cranes are laid back and don't rattle easily.  Tropical storm warning?  Yawn.  Hurricane warning?  Quick trip to Home Depot.  Voting in a Presidential Election?  PANIC - hanging chads!  The Florida sandhill cranes read Carl Hiassen, Dave Barry, Tim Dorsey, Eliot Kleinberg, and Edna Buchanan, and laugh at and with other Floridians about their weird behavior.  Florida sandhill cranes often sport bumper stickers that say WE DON'T CARE HOW YOU DID IT UP NORTH

The greater sandhill cranes drive south to Florida every January.  They clog the highways with RVs, trailers, and campers, all with bikes hanging on the back and bumper stickers that say ASK ME ABOUT MY GRANDCHILDREN or I'M SPENDING MY CHILDREN'S INHERITANCE.    Once these cranes settle into their Florida destinations of choice, they crowd the grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls.  They often drive in the right hand lane for miles with their right turn signal on, slowing at every street to see if, no, that's not it, no, that's not it, etc.  The greater sandhill cranes show up at exercise classes, churches, and book clubs, and, just as we are getting to know them, they are gone again.

So to which subspecies do the birds in the picture belong? They are Florida sandhill cranes.  Check the date.  It's October!  The greater sandhill cranes are still in the Great Lakes region enjoying the fall colors and anticipating their white Christmases.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Cure

A walk on the beach can cure just about anything.  Crabbiness, resentment, fatigue, and boredom are no match for the feeling of sand between your toes, or warm surf washing over your feet.  The experience is only improved by having a companion of either the human or canine persuasion along for the walk.

This evening LuAnn popped her laptop shut and announced she needed a break.  I had recently awakened from a nap and was sitting in a stupor in front of my own laptop.  LuAnn asked if I wanted to walk on the beach with her - ABSOLUTELY!  I hooked Harley to his leash, grabbed a couple of poop bags and the key, and off we went.  It was hot and sticky outside but once we passed the tall sand dunes we could feel the cool sea breeze.

One of the many things I love about the beach is I never know what I'll see that day.  Today we saw a wedding being set up with five rows of white chairs wrapped in pale green tulle, an arbor, and a 3-piece string ensemble warming up.  We set off to the south and had walked only a few minutes before Harley took offense to another dog walking toward us, so, in keeping with Victoria Blackwell's (It's Me or the Dog) training, I turned us around and headed in the opposite direction.  (That deprived Harley the fun of going nutso on the end of his leash.)  As we walked we saw sandpipers, a bird that looked like a large sandpiper, a man and woman each carrying a black bucket and picking up shells, a trio of young people taking pictures of each other with the sunset in the background, a dead fish which LuAnn guessed might be a mackerel, a small school of minnows swimming in the shallows, and a few couples reclining on blankets and being affectionate with each other. 

When we returned to our "spot" the wedding was just starting.  We had to wait because the "aisle" was our path between the sand dunes.  First the mothers were escorted between the dunes. The bridesmaids followed, dressed in darling purple cocktail dresses (and barefoot). The string ensemble switched from Pachelbel's Canon in D to the traditional Wedding march and the bride appeared, dressed in a long white gown and veil, and escorted by (I assume) her father.  It was lovely.

While we were waiting we were joined by a family of 3 (dad, mom & daughter); the dad snapped photos of everything while we were waiting. (And next in our family vacation pictures you see a wedding of perfect strangers...?)   A couple of women in bathing suits carrying beach chairs stopped beside us, then a man pulling an ocean kayak on a 3-wheeled contraption came to a halt and watched.  A guy on a motorized bike zipped by just as the bride was arriving at the arbor, so their videographer may have to edit that out.  Of course, that's part of a beach wedding; the beach is public property and the public is ....well...unedited.

The best part?  Whatever grumpiness, resentment, and fatigue I was feeling earlier was totally gone.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday Night

More than one month has passed since I disconnected my cable connections and quit watching TV.  Tonight three women are sitting in a beach cottage and each one of us is working on a laptop.  You could look at this and say we've substituted one piece of technology for another; however, that would not be accurate.  My friend LuAnn is working on her Master's Degree and has been working all day on her assignments.  My daughter Melissa was reading for her Disciple Bible study class, and is now catching up with friends on Facebook.  I'm writing my blog.

There is no TV in the background.  And the only time a TV has been turned on has been during my grandson's Noah's baths.  This beach cottage has a room with a whirlpool tub adjacent to the living room.  In addition to the whirlpool tub there is a TV mounted on the wall with a DVD player.  Noah (who is 2) is having the time of his life taking bubble baths in that whirlpool tub while Finding Nemo plays on the DVD player.  Tonight the bubbles were 2-3 feet above his head and he looked like a weird version of Santa Clause when he peeked over the top of the tub.

It's so quiet in here that it was surprising to step outside for a few minutes and hear the Kink's You Really Got Me blasting from two doors' down.  The weekend partyers had tiki torches around their 2nd story deck and sounded like they were having a great time.  It was nice to step back inside and feel the air conditioning and hear the tap tap of laptop keys.

Today was a whirlwind because we had my granddaughter Kinsey's birthday party at 3:00, and shopping to complete before then.  LuAnn stayed behind to work on her assignments while Melissa and Noah and I tooled around in my convertible, and YES, it was a top down day.  This was Noah's first time cruising with Grenah in the Cabrio with the top down and he really enjoyed it.  There was a lot of woo-hoo-ing as we enjoyed the beautiful day.

We finished our shopping and had a delicious lunch at Flavors just west of downtown.  Then home to complete our wrapping then off to the party.  The party's theme was Tinkerbell and not only were the balloons and decorations all Tinkerbell, but Kinsey herself was dressed as the Tink.  She was so cute my head almost exploded.  We had cake & ice cream & presents & it was a grand time.  When Melissa and Noah and I arrived back at the beach cottage we found LuAnn ready for a break.  We caught her up on the party news while Noah ate some supper, then we all laughed while he took his bubble bath with Nemo.  He was asleep 5 minutes after his head hit the pillow.

I give  myself about 15 more minutes and I'll join him in Dreamland...

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I do believe in karma.
I do believe in karma.
I do believe in karma.