Thursday, January 28, 2016

Just checking in...

With me, I suppose, it's feast or famine.  When there's nothing really going on, and all is running smoothly, I tend to feel more creative - feel more like sharing - and will therefore post more often.  When there's stuff going on and I'm being pulled in too many directions and I quite literally just don't have another minuscule part of me to share with anyone else, I tend to feel less creative and more like sticking my head in the sand and shutting out the world.

But then, you knew that about me already, didn't you?

Suffice it to say, there's stuff going on and I'm not feeling particularly inclined toward sharing.  I'll get there - and I'm sure the story will come out of me eventually, once I know what the ending is going to be.  But I'm still here.  Sort of.

And since you asked, yes, I could use (and would appreciate) some prayers, or good thoughts, or positive vibes or whatever you feel like sending up.

That's it...for now.

TTFN
JMS

Monday, January 11, 2016

Animals are family, too, by golly!


NOTE: This is a rant.  Don't say I didn't warn you. 

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge animal lover.  They are fur babies; four-legged family members with feelings, just like you and me.

I’ve recently become more actively involved in our local animal shelter - with both the dogs and the cats - and with that involvement has come several new friendships - in person and on Facebook.  These friends keep me up-to-date on the happenings of the critters who need full-time families and I do my small part to pass things along.  I may never know if one of my forwarded posts has gotten one of these critters a home, but I can hope it helps.

Also, I am seeing a lot more posts about animal abuse; including some really graphic, horrific things done by animal abusers to the animals in their “care.”  It’s impossible for me to unsee such atrocities. It's impossible for me to not say anything.

I’m getting off-track, I think.  Let me start small...

There’s a beautiful, humongous chocolate Labrador Retriever who “lives” up the street from me.  I’ve nicknamed him “Big Brown” because I don’t know his real name.  He seems to live full-time in the backyard, which is fenced.  A fenced yard is good because he isn’t chained up and he isn’t out carousing.  He has a dog house under the back porch which provides both shade and shelter from rain or other weather.  Though I cannot see it, I’m certain he has food and water.  Outwardly, he seems strong and basically healthy.  All these are signs that someone, potentially, cares for this dog.

For me, all I see is a dog who never gets to go inside.

Now, Hubby has said a couple of times, “Honey, you aren’t up there all the time.  You don’t know how it is at that house.  Maybe he does get to go inside occasionally.”  And really, Hubby is right.  I’m not there, and cannot know.

But all I see is a dog who never gets to go inside.

I’d wager that if I walked up the street tonight (in freezing temperatures thanks to it being practically mid-January) I’d see him outside, wearing his usual paths in the landscape of his small backyard world.

At first, this huge dog with a deep, scary, stay-the-heck-away-from-my-yard bark with fur standing on end down his spine seems intimidating.  Yes, one instinctively wants to stay the heck away from his yard and cross the street when passing by.  But not me.  Nope.

When I was more actively walking around my block in warmer weather, I finally - after about a week - decided to call his bluff.  I stopped at his fence as he barked furiously at me, looked directly into his dark brown eyes, and said, “Oh really?  You think you’re scary, huh?”  And he immediately shut up and started wagging from nose to tail.  I came closer to his fence, slowly, and held out the back of my hand so he could sniff it.  More wagging.  It immediately became clear that he was - literally - all bark and no bite.  We were instant friends.

Now, whenever I walk by and he comes barreling over to the fence to start his usual barking nonsense, he cuts off mid-“Arf” when he realizes it’s me.  Then he puts his big front paws on the top of the fence (easily, I might add), shoves his head over and demands love.  Pet me, pet me now, you must hug me, I love you I love youIloveyou!  We do this for a few minutes, nose-to-nose, at which time I need to move on, so he follows me to the end of his fenced-in world and I go on my way.  It’s become routine.  We have bonded.  Big Brown is my buddy.

But all I see is a dog who never gets to go inside.

I wish I could steal him and let him sleep in the warm, safe, indoors, on a padded bed.  And give him a bath ('cause he really needs one).  And buy him dog toys and watch him play and let him give me and my children sloppy doggie kisses.

I suppose the message here - loquacious though it may be - is: If you have to chain your dog outside permanently, you shouldn’t have one.  Period.  If your pooch is never allowed inside, you shouldn’t have one.  If your dog needs a heated water bowl because his only access to unfrozen water is outside in freezing temperatures, you probably shouldn’t have a dog.

Granted, I am highly opinionated, and I’m sure folks think they have very good reasons for keeping their dogs the way they do.  But dogs are family and, in this person’s humble opinion, they should be allowed to partake of the pleasures of being inside with their humans.

One more thing.  If you treat your dogs the same way you treat your family - you shouldn’t have a family, either.  But maybe that’s just me. 

TTFN
JMS

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Change is good, right?


The beginning of the year marked a small change in my life.  This change is certainly nothing major or earth-shattering, probably nothing to truly write home about, but still, it’s a change.  Now, I’m not one of those folks who resists change at all costs.  In fact, I tend to embrace change as often as possible; I like the fresh perspective change can bring.  This doesn’t mean I really like change - I don’t particularly - but it does mean I’m somewhat flexible, which I suppose is a good thing.

At the beginning of December, Boss-Man and I discussed my schedule.  He suggested a new one, and I, at the time, half-heartedly agreed to it.  At first I was hesitant.  I mean, I really liked my schedule the way it was.  I got to work early and didn’t have to stay too terribly late.  I felt productive and I liked the quiet-time the early mornings afforded me, as well as the time to catch up on things and figure out my plan of attack for the day.

But, when I really thought about it, Boss-Man’s schedule change suggestion wasn’t really all that awful.  Come in 30 minutes later in the morning and stay 30 minutes later at night.  Big deal, right?  A few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, a little bit less stress, plus the added bonus of being able to drop Boy-Child off at school personally and spend just ten extra minutes with him each day.  So, what started as a little bit of a bummer, turned into something pretty good. 

We haven’t had too much time to put this new schedule (any portion of it) into practice, and I know it will take me a little time to get used to it, but I’m trying to think positive.  And really, just because someone moved my cheese (a very worthy read, by the way) does not mean my world is coming to an end.  See?  I can totally be flexible. 

I'm sure you're very proud.

TTFN
JMS

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Dwarfs, Coffee and Chocolate


So, you know the Seven Dwarfs, right?  Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful and Doc…?  Well, a very good friend and I have decided that there must be others; long lost dwarf cousins, if you will.

Some days I wake up and am at least two of the seven original dwarfs.  Typically Sleepy and Grumpy, or maybe Dopey and Grumpy.  Other mornings, adding allergies, I am also Sneezy.  I’m rarely Bashful; I’m only Doc when I’m tending to boo-boos; Happy is a relative term on which I have had the occasional occasion to be.

Anyway, it stands to reason that Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful and Doc were not the only dwarfs in the world.  Maybe the only ones in that region, though.  It further stands to reason that as humans we all have innumerable feelings, thoughts and yes, even personalities.  (I’m not talking about split personalities or other such disorders.  Just that sometimes we put on one face for our families, another face for our co-workers, and yet another for our friends or our church folks or our school mates.  We are rarely just...ourselves; the societal pressure is too high.  That, however, is another post for another time.)  So why couldn’t we, therefore, relate ourselves to the dwarfs?  

More than that, the original seven could not possibly cover everything we could be, so my friend and I invented the dwarf cousins: Drippy, Gassy, Ouchy, Messy, Pissy, Sweetness and Light, along with Bitchy, Twitchy, Crabby, Crampy, Prissy, Missy and Wino.  (You may, or may not, need to use your imagination.)  We think this pretty much covers all the bases.

So, in my case, this terribly tangential analogy boils down to this:  If I’m Grumpy, give me coffee; it usually helps.  Either that, or just leave me alone for a while and let me recharge.  If I’m Sleepy, give me coffee.  Or, at the very least, point me toward a bed and force me to take a nap.  Naps are good.  Why don't we have daily nap times anymore?  If I’m Sneezy, give me coffee as the warm liquid always makes me feel better; maybe also an allergy pill...but then Sleepy will be along shortly.  If I’m Dopey, coffee will give me focus.   

Essentially, if you notice that I’m any of the original Dwarfs, just ply me with coffee and I’ll come around pretty soon.  That, or chocolate.  Chocolate is always good, too.  If I'm one of the cousins, well...I'm not sure there's a cure for any of them.

TTFN
JMS

Monday, January 04, 2016

Acts of Awesome 2016


Happy New Year!

One of my first Acts of Awesome 2016 was to drop my cell phone in the toilet.  Yuck!  I was lucky the toilet had not only been flushed (it’s a risk, with two small kiddos in the house, that it might not have been) but was also clean.  I managed to grab my phone out of the watery abyss lickety-split, and thankfully it was encased in its meager covering which provided it some protection.  The speaker is wonky now, but if that’s the only thing wrong with it, I’ll take it.   

Haven’t tried to make a call with it yet (I dislike actually talking on the phone, in case you didn’t know) but it seems to be okay.  The touch-screen functions, it charges like it should…  I am taking this almost-unfortunate incident to be a sign of things to come.  Things may look bad, but they really won’t be.  Although I could also say that since I dislike this little phone it may have been a blessing for drowning to be the cause of its demise.  Who needs a cell phone anyway?  Either way, it has been rescued to live another day.

Of course, I will keep telling myself things are wonderful.  I will not let my negativity or sarcasm shine through.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I might be able to keep the negativity in check (for the most part) but trying to keep the sarcasm at bay will, at the very least make me twitch, and at the very worst most likely kill me.  So sarcasm, being part of my ultimate charm, will stay right where it should be.

Anyway, I guess that’s it for now.  Happy 2016!

TTFN
JMS