Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Let's Be Careful Out There Tonight

Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug
Make you wanna holler hi-dee-ho!
Burns your tummy, don'tcha know
Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug

Grape wine in a mason jar
Homemade and brought to school
By a friend of mine after class
Me and him and this other fool
Decide that we'll drink up what's left
Chug-a-lug, so we helped ourself
First time for everything
Mmmm, my ears still ring

Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug
Make you wanna holler hi-dee-ho!
Burns your tummy, don'tcha know
Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug

4-H and FFA
On a field trip to the farm
Me 'n a friend sneak off behind
This big 'ol barn
Where we uncovered a covered up moonshine still
An' we thought we'd drink our fill
And I swallered it with a smile
Brrrrrrr....I run ten miles

Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug
Make you wanna holler hi-de-ho!
Burns your tummy, don'tcha know
Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug

Jukebox and sawdust floor
Summ'n like I ain't never seen
Heck, I'm just goin' on fifteen
But with the help of my finaglin' uncle
I get snuck in
For my first taste a sin
I said, let me have a big ol' sip...
Brrrrr....I done a double back flip

Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug
Make you wanna holler hi-dee-ho!
Burns your tummy, don't ya know
Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug
-Roger Miller

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Life Is Pain...

Get Used To It.
-Geena Davis as Samantha Caine in The Long Kiss Goodnight.

Some days I think, "She sure has got that right."

This has been one hectic week and I can not believe we've only made it to Tuesday.

Last Saturday I learned that a local woman had been killed in a car crash the day before. She was on her way home when she went through a stop sign where two highways cross and hit a truck or was hit by a truck carrying three oil company workers killing one of them.

Yesterday I worked alone in the library, which was the first time it had been open since 1:00 PM Christmas Eve, and spent a very busy day checking books in and out.

Last night Kate kept getting up and down and either pacing around the house or wanting to be be let outside. I was worried that this behavior was caused by her having a problem peeing or wanting to throw-up so three times during the night I followed her outside. All she did was wander around the yard and then scratch at the front door wanting to be let inside again.

This morning Kate seemed to be in pain and was running a fever so I took her to the vet in the afternoon. I was sure she had another urinary infection so I took a urine sample with me. The sample contained cancer cells. We have been told that without treatment Kate could live another four to six months although I am not that optimistic since she also has kidney problems and is showing signs of doggie dementia.

We are reacting better than I expected to this news and have decide to do what we can to make her remaining days, weeks, and maybe months, as stress and pain free as possible. We have decide that once her kidneys stop functioning or she gets to the point where she has no idea where she is or who we are, we will put her to sleep. Right now the dementia is more frightening than any of her other health problems.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Think Of All The Fun We'll Miss

Eartha Kitt always knew when to make an exit. The sultry singer of that great contemporary Christmas classic, Santa Baby, died yesterday at age eighty-one. I actually read the news of her death while listening to her singing Santa Baby on one of my Christmas CD's. Ms Kitt was know as a "sex kitten" throughout her career and in one bit of inspired casting played Catwoman on the campy Batman television series in the mid sixties. Ms Kitt was always an outspoken woman. To the detriment of her career she voiced her opinion that that the Vietnam War was a mistake, long before the majority of people thought the same thing. Later in life she was a spokesperson for UNICEF and advocate for homeless children. A classy lady. She will be missed.

Her New York Times obituary is here.

Three of her greatest songs below, click on the big button to listen to them.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

After a very busy day of light house cleaning, last minute shopping, tree building (we have a fake one), tree lighting, and tree decorating, I am ready to take a long winter's nap of my own. When I finish this post I am going upstairs to enjoy a cup of eggnog with my husband as we sit on the couch listening to Christmas songs and admiring the Christmas tree lights. So, as Santa already said, a "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Tiny Tots...Will Find It Hard To Sleep Tonight

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

They Know That Santa's On His Way

And they're scared out of their wits. From the looks of this Santa they have a right to be.

From the Scared of Santa photo collection.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Hanukkah

Artwork by Deborah Kotovsky

Put on your yarmulke, here comes Hanukkah
It's so much fun-ukkah to celebrate Hanukkah,

Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.

When you feel like the only kid in town without a Christmas tree,
Here's a list of people who are Jewish, just like you and me:

David Lee Roth lights the menorah,
So do Kirk Douglas, James Caan, and the late Dinah Shore-ah.

Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli,
Bowzer from Sha-Na-Na, and Arthur Fonzerrelli.

Paul Newman's half Jewish; Goldie Hawn's half too,
Put them together--what a fine looking Jew!

You don't need deck the halls or jingle bell rock
Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock--both Jewish!

Put on your yarmulke, here comes Hanukkah,
The owner of the Seattle Super Sonic-ukkah celebrates Hanukkah.

O.j. Simpson-- not a Jew!
But guess who is...Hall Of Famer Rod Carew--(he converted!).

We got Ann Landers and her sister Dear Abby,
Harrison Ford's a quarter Jewish--not too shabby!

Some people think that Ebeneezer Scrooge is,
Well, he's not, but guess who is--all three Stooges.

So many Jews are in show biz--
Tom Cruise isn't, but I think his agent is.

Tell your friend Veronica, it's time to celebrate Hanukkah.
I hope I get a harmonica, on this lovely, lovely Hanukkah.

So drink your gin-and-tonic-ukkah, but don't smoke marijuan-ukkah
If you really, really wan-nukkah, have a happy, happy, happy, happy

Happy Hanukkah

A video of Adam Sandler singing his song on Saturday Night Live here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas, Christmas Time Is Here

I can understand people simply fleeing the mountainous effort Christmas has become... but there are always a few saving graces and finally they make up for all the bother and distress.
-May Sarton

This year the children at a local preschool were asked what they wanted for Christmas along with the following two questions, "What is a cranberry?" and "Where does Santa take a vacation?" Their answers were in the local paper. Some of those answers are below.

Jacye said a cranberry was something to eat and Santa takes his vacation up in the clouds. For Christmas he would like Bob the Builder, a Christmas book and a Jack In The Box.

Molly said a cranberry was like a blueberry and that Santa takes his vacation in the North Pole. She wants ponies and Barbies for Christmas.

Jesslyn said a cranberry is something to eat and Santa takes his vacation at her house. She would like a Barbie computer for Christmas.

Sidney said a cranberry is pink and Santa takes his vacation at the North Pole. For Christmas she would like a real baby.

Jordan said cranberries come from a garden and Santa takes his vacation at the North Pole. For Christmas he would like a motorcycle, a gator and "my own Play Dough."

Gracie said a cranberry is like a blueberry and Santa takes his vacation at Walmart. She wishes for her mom and dad to have a happy Christmas.

Hadleigh said a cranberry is like a grape and Santa vacations at her Grandma's house. She wishes for a bunch of snow at Christmas.

Eli said a cranberry is a fruit and it is sour. Santa takes his vacation at his house. For Christmas he wishes for a Rockstar Guitar and aqua dots.

Amanda said a cranberry is a berry and Santa takes his vacation at Disney World. For Christmas she would like a make-up table, "Yep, definitely a make-up table- did you get that?- A make-up table."

Kaden said a cranberry is candy and Santa surely vacations at the beach. For Christmas Kaden also wishes to be vacationing at the beach.

Jordyn said a cranberry is a type of berry. She said Santa vacations in tree mountains and she wishes for Mommy to be happy.

Shannon said a cranberry is an apple and Santa vacations when it is winter time. Shannon wishes for good food.

Caleb said a cranberry is an apple and Santa vacations at home. He wishes everyone a Merry Christmas.

Bailey said a cranberry is not something she has ever seen! She thinks that Santa vacations at a pond and wishes for kisses from Buck, her horse.

Cutter said a cranberry is like a cheesy cracker. On his vacation Santa, he thinks, goes to Disneyland. For Christmas he wants race tracks and monster trucks.

Ellee said a cranberry is pink and orange and that Santa takes his vacation in his shop. For Christmas she wants dollies.

And finally,

Brayden said. "I'll bet a cranberry is like a strawberry." He thinks Santa takes his vacations at houses. He wants a gumball machine, piano, drums and a guitar for Christmas.

Wouldn't it be nice if they all got what they wished for this year?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Empire On The Platte

From The Morning News:

"Photographer Matthew Porter goes big on concept, but fine on details. His pictures are arresting for their feelings of stillness—at a car chase’s peak moment, or while the Hindenburg floats over the American West—as well as the crisp colors and punctilious construction. It’s a studied spontaneity, a way to make portraits of frozen energy, of time put on pause."

Go here to see more of his work and to read an interview with him about it.

Porter's own website is here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Working Dog

Duke after a hard afternoon of hunting. His front feet are covered in vet wrap and then duct tape. This is done to protect them from corn stubble. For some reason only his front paws get scraped up by corn stubble and not his back ones.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Don't Look Back

Something may be gaining on you.
- Satchel Paige (1906-1982)

On day about two weeks ago when my husband came home from hunting he told me that he thought Duke had been hit with a belt before we got him. He and Duke had been hunting a large field which turned out to have at least nine pheasants in it. Duke had run around in a frenzy because he could not decide which scent to follow and so he ended up trying to follow them all. Duke was so crazed he would not come when my husband called him and my husband finally had to grab hold of his collar as he ran by. Once he was caught Duke still did not want to quit hunting so my husband took his belt off to use as a leash. When Duke saw the belt he became even more frantic in his struggle to get away. My husband had to spend a few minutes calming him down before Duke would allow him to lead him back to the truck.

After my husband told me this I remembered I had the same experience when we were in Pagosa. I had to use my belt as a leash to keep Duke away from an animal carcass that we had found while out walking. Duke had struggled as I looped the belt through his collar and then had reacted like a fish on the line when I tried to lead him away. At the time I just thought I had spooked him when I accidentally dropped the end of the belt too close to his head. Now I realized it was because he thought I was going to hit him.

Someone had hit Duke with a belt and the thought of that made me furious and at the same time sick. What kind of a bastard would hit a defenseless dog with a belt? I called Duke to me. When he came I crouched down and put my arms around him. I felt like crying and I laid the side of my head on his shoulder. At first I thought I was trying to comfort Duke but then I realized I was actually using him like a child would a teddy bear to comfort myself. Then another question popped into my head, what kind of a bastard would hit a defenseless child with a belt? Well, my father for one.

Sometimes Satchel Paige's advice to not look back just doesn't work for me and what is back there catches up to me when I least expect it. This time the thought of someone beating Duke brought up the anger and fear I felt whenever my father beat me or my siblings. Thirteen or fourteen years ago my reaction to this long ago trauma was even more visceral.

It was summertime and I was at my sister's apartment. I was sitting on the couch talking to her when her then husband, who was a police officer, came home from work. He went into the bedroom to change his clothes and, since it was a very warm day, he left the bedroom door open. I had my back to the bedroom door when the whooshing, slap, slap, sound of a belt being quickly pulled though belt loops shattered my sense of well being.

I was so tuned to that sound as a child, my ears seemed to magnify it that day. SLAP-SLAP-SLAP-SLAP-SLAP. An adrenaline rush of fear shot though my body causing it to jerk and my heart to race. I could not believe it, a sound I had not heard or thought about in over thirty years made my body react the same way it did when I was a child. If that wasn't a Post Traumatic Stress symptom, well, then fish can breath air.

I know my reaction to Duke being beaten is also a PTS symptom and I can only do what I did that day at my sister's house; acknowledge it, let it go, and be prepared for it to happen again.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lost In Translation

"This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."
-Muntazer al-Zaidi, Iraqi reporter, while hurling his shoes at President Bush.

Bush on the shoe thrower, "I don't know what his beef is, but whatever it is, I'm sure someone will hear it."

What we have done to Iraq will haunt us for a long time.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


One night as Dick lay fast asleep,
Into his drowsy eyes
A great still light began to creep
From out the silent skies.
It was the lovely moon's, for when
He raised his dreamy head,
Her surge of silver filled the pane
And streamed across his bed.
So, for a while, each gazed at each--
Dick and the solemn moon--
Till, climbing slowly on her way,
She vanished, and was gone.

by Walter de la Mare

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Garfield? Garfield, Who?

I have never been a fan of the comic strip Garfield but I am a fan of this strip. The genius of some people astounds me.

You can also find an article about the creator of Garfield Without Garfield and info about the strip here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cue The Music From "The Birds"

There were at least 200 Starlings in my yard about 17 minutes ago. They were on the ground picking at the dirt, sitting on the fence, in my ornamental pear trees, at the bird feeder, and in the birdbath. By the time I got my camera they had spooked and flown up into the larger trees growing in my neighbors yards. I managed to take this photo of about 50 of them in one of the trees before they all flew off.

I've never see anything like it before.

Monday, December 08, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Nine songs for your listening pleasure. Heard about this site over at Texas Trifles and decided to give it a try.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Weather Outside Is Kind Of Frightful

But the fire is so delightful. I don't really have a fireplace but I do have a copy of Radiant Fireplace in my DVD player. (Note: the quality of the DVD is much better than that on the website.) Not as good as a real fire but almost with the sound of crackling wood and the glow and flicker of flames. Besides, when it is snowing outside how can I not have a fire on the TV to help get me into a "Christmas is coming" mood?

This is going to be a short post since I am still fighting that virus I caught while in Denver last week. Yesterday I thought I was doing better, which I was, but that turned out to be the calm before the storm. Yesterday afternoon it came roaring back and put me down for the rest of the day. This morning I woke up with my head and ears stuffed with cotton and I feel woozy when I walk around.

Oh, and did I mention it is snowing? I'm going hunker down on the couch in front of the fire and enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Beware Of The Man Of One Book.


I came home with a virus that I picked up from my niece while I was in Denver last week and spent all day Sunday reading. I had started The Secret Of The Hardy Boys before I left and found it slow going. When the Northwest Kansas Library System van came last week I picked up a few more books including Forever Young: My Friendship With John F. Kennedy Jr. and But Darling, I'm Your Auntie Mame!.

On Sunday I took all three books with me down to the basement and lay down on the futon and started reading. I began with the Hardy Boys book but just could not get into it. It is about the life of the man who ghostwrote the first Hardy Boys books and was at times very dry. Leslie McFarlane's life was not that interesting to me. I put it down and picked up the Kennedy book. The Kennedy book was an easy read even though I did not believe everything the author wrote. It is a "and then we did this" kind of book and has had no real insight into the kind of man Kennedy had been. I finished it in a couple of hours.

Then I started the Auntie Mame book and quickly became very disappointed by it. It is supposedly a history of the play, musical and the two movies made from Patrick Dennis' novel but only provides basic information about the various productions. It is more of an overview than an in depth report on each project. It is also repetitive with the same bits of information repeated many times. It is as if the author had written each chapter without reading the chapters before it first. It got so bad I started skipping pages.

Now I only had the Hardy Boys book left. I picked it up and started reading again. It was almost torture. Then I realized I could read this book the same way I had the Auntie Mame book. The parts of the book I found interesting were the sections about the Stratemeyer Syndicate (creators of the Hardy Boys series along with Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and the Nancy Drew series) and the writing of the books so I skipped over anything about McFarlane's life and concentrated on the passages about the syndicate and the books. Sped up my reading immensely and proved an enjoyable read.

These books show that I was not thinking about P. J. O'Rouke's quote about reading when I picked them. He once said, "Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."

Of course if you do this you will miss out on all the good bad books out there. You know, the fun stuff.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

In past years giving thanks at Thanksgiving time has never been that heartfelt for me . I could always think of things to be thankful for but at the same time I felt the holiday was kind of superficial as were my expression of thanks.

This year was different. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving the news reported this story about a farm in Colorado opening their fields to anyone who wanted to pick the potatoes, leeks and carrots left over from this year's harvest. The owners expected no more the 5,00 people but over 40,000 showed up.

The day before Thanksgiving news that a terrorist attack in India had killed and wounded many. By the time this incident ended on Friday up to 150 people were dead in the city of Mumbai and over twice that number injured.

On Thanksgiving day a family of seven were killed when the driver of the SUV they were traveling in lost control, careened off an overpass on Interstate 25, slammed into a concrete embankment, and exploded into flames.

Then, the day after Thanksgiving, news that a Wal-Mart employee at a Long Island Wal-Mart store was trampled to dead by a mob of shoppers.

Two of these events opened my eyes to a couple of things that I have taken for granted in the past; my family's safety and the fact that that we all have enough food to eat. This year I am deeply grateful for both.

Now, It may not seem so but I usually think about a post for awhile before I blog it. This morning as I mulled over what I was going to write I read the comics in the Denver Post. One of the strips I read is Sally Forth and in today's episode Sally and her husband are in their car with their GPS unit stuck in "Existential Mode." The GPS is saying the following:

"You are lost, you have rejected any and all philosophies and faiths and so are adrift and alienated in a world you alone define but cannot comprehend."

Reading that made me thankful that I was not one of the people in that Wal-Mart crowd nor so spiritually bankrupt that I would gladly die in order to kill defenseless people. My soul is neither so empty that I think material things can fill the void nor so full of hatred that the only way I can express myself is by killing. For this I am also grateful.

Right now the words to Marvin Gaye's song What's Going On? are playing in my head:

Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today...
Oh, what's going on?
What's going on?

What is going on people? In the world, in our society, in our heads, in our hearts, and in our souls. Somebody please tell me, what's going on?