Monthly Archives: October 2006

Last of the Firsts

 
Today is the one year anniversary of the day that Luci joined our family.  Wow, that zipped by fast.  So over the weekend, we experienced the last of the "first year" milestones – her first Trick or Treat and her first "Fall Back" from daylight savings time. 
 
The Trick or Treat event went a lot better than I imagined.  I wasn’t sure how she was going to react to all the strange children in costumes walking up to the front door to get candy.  Luckily, she followed Blacky’s example and waited patiently at the door and watched all the children come to the house to get candy.  There was only one instance when she tried to sneak past me and get out the door to visit with the children.  We didn’t have a lot of kids for trick or treat and she would bark at me when there was a lull in the action.  Almost like she wanted me to get more kids to come to the door to visit her. 
 
Luci’s made wonderful progress in the sleep through the night phase.  I take her and Blacky out to go potty before our 10:30 bedtime and they both sleep until the alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning.  The only noise Luci makes is her snoring (which is pretty loud) or when she tries to get more comfortable on her little doggy bed and rattles the closet door.  (Her bed is in the corner in front of Hubby’s closet and she likes to snuggle into the corner as far as she can go . . . which means she beats up against the closet door.)  I was sure that the time change was going to throw everything off schedule and she was going to get me (and Blacky) up at some horribly early hour on Sunday morning thinking that it was time to eat breakfast and go outside to play.  Maybe all the excitement of the Trick or Treaters had something to do with it, but she slept until 8:30 on Sunday morning.  Whoo Hoo!  I was so impressed . . . she’s never let me sleep in that long.  Then I realized that I hadn’t set the clocks back and it was really 7:30.  Which is the normal time that she gets me up on Sunday morning.  Oh, well . . . 
 
Hubby had to bowl yesterday so the doggies and I spent the day playing in the back yard and watching football on TV.  The time change totally threw me off schedule and I didn’t get a chance to take her for our nightly walk.  She had a lot of excess energy, so we played fetch and tag in the back yard for about an hour and that seemed to wear her out.  When we finally went inside for the night, I sat on the floor to watch TV and she snuggled on my lap.  It was nice to sit there quietly with my baby girl dog on my lap and the big boy dog right next to me.  But it baffled me that they were all settled in for the night at 9:30.  I said to Hubby that I didn’t think that we had that busy of a day for them to be so tired so early, but then Hubby reminded me of the time change and that, to the doggies, it was really 10:30 and past their bedtime.  
 
So for the first time in about a year, I got to watch a whole TV show without having to let Luci in or out the back door every 10 minutes . . . and I had my sleeping baby in my lap.  What a great way to end the weekend. 
 
Thanks, Hubby, for talking me into adopting a puppy last year.  I can’t imagine my life without her. 

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Thursday Thirteen – Random Thoughts about Halloween

I tried to post this yesterday, but MSN wouldn’t let me for some reason . . . . so here it is a day late . . . 
 
As a side note . . . did anybody else know that today is the 40th anniversary of the first showing of "It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" TV special.  Wow, 40 years and I’ve probably watched every single one.  Man, I’m just way too old.   
  1. My most favorite part of trick-or-treat is watching the little kids in their costumes.
  2. Just once I’d like to have nice weather so the little kids don’t have to wear their coats over their costumes.  And Hubby and I don’t freeze sitting on the porch handing out candy. 
  3. I wonder how Luci is going to react to the trick-or-treaters on Saturday night.
  4. It should be against the law for anyone in high school to go out trick or treating. 
  5. I have to set a spending limit for the candy that I buy for the trick-or-treaters so Hubby won’t buy one of everything in the candy aisle.
  6. I have to wait until a few days before trick-or-treat to buy the Halloween candy so Hubby won’t eat it all.   
  7. Yes, I buy the candy that Hubby likes because anything that’s not given to the trick-or-treaters belongs to him. 
  8. Between Hubby’s acid reflux problems and my crowns, it’s getting harder and harder to find candy that we both like and we can actually eat.  Getting old is not fun. 
  9. I’ll be glad when the scary movie marathons are over.  That’s my least favorite part of Halloween. 
  10. Hubby LOVES scary movies. 
  11. Luci loves watching scary movies with Hubby . . . . she licks the screen during the really scary parts. 
  12. This is the first time in years that we haven’t had a black cat in the house at Halloween. 
  13. I wanted to buy costumes for the dogs for Halloween.  Luci was going to get devil horns and Blacky was going to get a halo.  Hubby failed to see the humor in this and vetoed my idea. 

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Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark of Night . . .

 
No, this entry isn’t about a mail carrier.  It’s about Luci.  The phrase that describes a mailman could easily describe my little baby girl dog.  Nothing stops her from playing outside, wanting to go for her nightly walk, or just laying on the deck watching the world go by.  
 
She doesn’t mind the rain.  She’ll go outside if it’s drizzling or if it’s a torrential downpour.  The only thing she doesn’t like is when it rains so hard that it gets in her eyes.  That’s the only time she’ll willingly come in from a rainstorm. 
 
This summer she would spend an entire afternoon sunning herself on the deck if I would let her.  It could be 90 degrees and she’d be out there laying on the wood deck soaking up the sun.  The deck would be so hot that I couldn’t walk on it without shoes, but she’d be out there like it didn’t bother her a bit.  That’s usually when I’d get the pool out for her. 
 
She’ll slop around in the back yard when it’s full of puddles and come in all covered in mud.  The back yard has a slight hill in it and the dogs have made a path down the hill from the deck to the far corner of the yard.  When it rains really hard, the water runs down the hill in the path.  Hubby and I call it The Creek.  Luci loves to play in The Creek. 
 
If there is a thunderstorm, she’ll stay outside and watch but only if there is lightning involved.  For some strange reason, she likes to watch the bright flashes of light.  If it’s just thunder, though, she doesn’t like the noise as much and will come in the house to wait it out. 
 
She doesn’t particularly like taking a walk through the neighborhood after dark, but she’ll happily play in the backyard after dark.  Last night she was running up and down the length of the yard just as fast as she could – at 9:30 at night.  We have two big lights in the back yard, so it’s not totally dark, but still.  It’s 9:30 at night.  I’m inside and watching TV and she’s running like a .  This was after we had gone for a walk and had played fetch for 30 minutes.  Blacky and I just watched her run.  I wondered where she got all the energy.  She’s fine out there by herself as long as she doesn’t hear any strange noises.  If she hears a strange noise, she’ll run to the backdoor and scratch at the door for me to let her in.  If I don’t open the door fast enough for her, she’ll bark for me like she’s being chased by an axe murderer.  
 
 
She liked the snow last winter, but we didn’t get a whole lot of it last year so I’m not sure she remembers it.  She was only 3 or 4 months old then and we only had one or two big snowfalls.  Most of the snow that we got melted quickly and turned the yard into a swamp.  So it’s going to be an adventure this winter to see how she reacts to snow and ice.  But if it’s like everything else, she’ll have the time of her life. 
 
She’s certainly living up to the reputation of a lab’s love of the outdoors.  Because of her, I’m learning to see the beauty in all the different types of weather.  How can you not appreciate a thunderstorm when you’re watching your dog joyfully playing in the rain? 

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Memory Walk

 
Yesterday I got a chance to say good-bye to a piece of my childhood.  The elementary school I went to is being torn down after the first of the year.  The school hosted a "Memory Walk" event yesterday for one last look at the building and to share memories. 
 
The school is being replaced with a new, modern, state-of-the-art building that will open to students after the Christmas break.  The current school was built in 1963 and has been a part of the neighborhood I grew up in for my entire life.  We played on the playground equipment during summer vacations.  We went sledding down the hill behind the school during snow days.  Every summer, about a week or so before school was scheduled to start, we would walk up the hill to the school to check out the list to see which teacher we got and who else would be in our classroom.  We walked to school every day.  I remember wearing a pair of pants under my dress when we walked to school during the winter so my legs wouldn’t freeze. 
 
It’s going to seem strange to go out to visit the folks and not drive past the school on the hill.  The new school is being built up the road from the old school.  Just outside the neighborhood.  A good number of the kids will have to start taking the bus to school. 
 
The school seemed so small to me.  Since my sisters and brother still live in the neighborhood that we grew up in, I’ve been back to the school several times for various things.  School concerts, festivals, Community Involvement Group parties.  But this was different.  This was the last time that I was going to be able to walk the halls and peek into the different rooms.  This time I really looked at the building and the rooms. 
 
My little sister and I walked through the halls and reminisced about which teacher was in which room and what rooms we spent our school years in.  I was shocked at how small the school seemed.  I swear some of those rooms had the same desks that were there when I was a student.  The chairs seemed so little.  The rooms seemed so small.  I even made a point to go into one of the girls restrooms . . . and it was EXACTLY like I remembered it!!  The gym seemed smaller, too.  But that turned out to be a good thing because I could make a basket from the three point line – something that I was not able to do during all those years of gym class. 
 
I was also sad to say the event was poorly planned and poorly organized.  There were probably three or four of the current teachers there.  There were only a few of the older teachers there.  My first grade teacher was there and SHE REMEMBERED ME!  It’s been over 35 years since I was in the first grade and she remembered me?!  Wow that really surprised me – I thought I was going to have to explain when I was in her class.  Her face lit up the minute I mentioned my name.  She looked basically the same . . . just smaller and older than I remembered.  There were a few photo albums and old yearbooks, but nothing from before 1984.  Nothing from the years that I went there.  No class photos.  No mementos.
 
But maybe the important mementos were the ones we carried around with us as we walked the halls . . .

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Only 18 More Days . . . .

 
I only have to put up with this election nonsense for 18 more days.  After that, the political ads will go away.  I’ll stop getting daily junk mail from all the candidates.  No more daily calls from telemarketers asking who I’m going to vote for.  I can (hopefully) stop reading about the latest decades old scandal of this or that candidate.  I’m a registered voter and I’ve voted in just about every election since I became eligible to vote back in (gulp) 1981.  I don’t normally mind the political ads, but this year they are really getting on my nerves.  Well, heck, the ads started showing up in July.  Who expects to see a political ad in July?  It probably wouldn’t be so bad if the ads actually told you what the candidates position is for a particular issue.  You can’t really tell.  Here’s what I’ve learned about the candidates from the ads currently on TV . . . .    
 
We have a candidate for governor that is more interested in telling me about whether or not his opponent is a registered voter than he is about what his plans are to fix the many problems we have here in the State of Ohio.  
 
We have a candidate for the State Attorney General’s office who used to be the attorney general but had to leave the office four years ago because of a term limit restriction.  She didn’t want to leave politics so she became the State Auditor for one term, and now wants her old job as Attorney General back. 
 
We have a State Senator that is more interested in making sure that we know his opponent failed to pay his taxes over a decade ago than making sure the voters understand why he voted to allow Ohio employers move jobs to foreign countries. 
 
We have a candidate for the State House of Representatives telling the voters that our current State Representative’s family business opened a new factory in South Carolina rather in the city where I live.  Uh, the current State Representative isn’t part of that particular family business.  He just happens to have the same last name. 
 
I know that some of this stuff is getting national coverage, and I’m kind of embarrassed for my home state.  Ohio has all kinds of problems and these ads are just playing on all our fears.  The candidates aren’t offering solutions, they’re just feeding the voter’s fears.  "If you thought things were bad now, elect this person and things will get worse!"  If that’s how they run a campaign, how are they going to run the state/country? 
 
I guess I’ll find out in 18 more days . . . . .


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Thursday Thirteen – Missing Goldie

 
One year ago today, my beloved yellow lab Goldie passed away.  She was 14 years old when she passed away and had been a part of our family for 12 years.  Other than some arthritis and occasional bouts with gastritis, she wasn’t ever really sick so it was a complete shock to me when I took her to the vet for an upset tummy and discovered that she was in full liver and kidney failure.  Unfortunately, she didn’t display any symptoms until the problem was in the advanced stage and there wasn’t anything we could do to help her.  Letting her go broke my heart but I know it was the best thing to do for her.  So instead of spending the day of thinking of the sadness of her death, I’m going to list the thirteen happiest memories I have of her. 
 
  1. I loved to listen to her snore.
  2. She came to live with us when she was 2 ½ years old, so I missed the puppy stage with her.  But I got a full dose of the rebellious teenager stage. 
  3. Hubby and I gave her dog bones every night after we ate our supper.  If she hadn’t gotten her "cookies" by 7:30 p.m., she would remind me what time it was.  I have no idea how she knew what time it was, but she did.  And she taught that trick to Blacky. 
  4. I have a scar on my right elbow from when I tripped over her once during a walk.  Yes, I tripped over a 70 lb. dog.  I am a complete klutz. 
  5. She was my shadow and followed me everywhere.  If I went somewhere and she couldn’t go, she’d sit at the front door and wait for me. 
  6. She loved to play in the leaves.  Every fall she would walk through a leaf pile with her nose to the ground and flip her head up to fling the leaves into the air.
  7. She loved to play in the snow and would make doggie snow angels.
  8. She didn’t like being out in the rain, getting a bath, or playing in the pool.
  9. She would hear me crack a hard boiled egg and come running to my side to make sure that she got a piece.
  10. During the winter, she would lay on my feet while I was watching TV.
  11. During the summer, she would sleep on the bathroom floor because it was the coolest spot in the house. 
  12. Since Blacky was only 4 weeks old when he came to live with us, she took the job of being his "Mommy" and fussed over him as if he were her own puppy.  She was the one that got me up for the 2 a.m. feedings/potty trips. 
  13. She was great with the grandkids and never objected when they pulled on her fur, petted her too hard, or took her toys.  If she would accidentally knock one of them down when they were playing, she would come to check on them to make sure they weren’t hurt. 
 And that’s all I have to say about that . . .

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Math Phobia

 
I have always had a problem with math.  I don’t like it.  I don’t understand it.  I can understand the concepts and can recite them back to you all day long, but I have difficulty putting the concepts in practice and getting the numbers do what they are supposed to do.  When they started teaching us basic algebra in the 8th grade, I knew then that I was in way over my head.  I chose the secretarial path because accounting was easier for me than algebra, geometry, or calculus.   
 
From what I’ve been told, the problem started in the second grade when I had a bad experience with a math teacher that didn’t know how to explain the lessons in a way that I would understand.  I just recently learned from my mom that the teacher would call me to the board to solve a problem and then holler at me and smack the blackboard when I got the answer wrong.  I honestly don’t remember that happening, but I do remember having to take summer school because my math skills were so bad that I was in danger of repeating the second grade.  My mom agreed to the summer school session on the condition that I didn’t have the same math teacher that I had during the regular school year. 
 
I did well in the summer school class and went on to the third grade.  I’ve always had problems with math and I always thought it was some shortcoming on my part.  But when I went to college, I took an Accounting 101 and did so well in the class that the professor asked if I’d be interested in being a tutor.  I gave my best "Thank you, but no" speech but what I really wanted to say was "Me, a math tutor?  You must be joking?!" The really funny part is that the professor had a serious Indian accent and it was really difficult to understand what he was saying most of the time.  But he presented the concepts in a way that was easy for me to understand.  After that experience, I realized that maybe I’m not dumb after all . . . I just need more time to process the information in order to learn how to make the concepts work on paper.  I proved my theory a few years ago when I had a chance to work with a retired CFO to learn the accounting software that I use here at the office.  He was very patient and took as much time as I needed to explain the accounting concepts and procedures that I would be using on a daily basis.  For once in my life I was excited about learning math stuff. 
 
For most of my working life, I’ve managed to avoid jobs that required a lot of accounting skills.  The job that I have now is what I call my "dream job" . . . and it involves a lot of bookkeeping and accounting.  Yea, I’m good at the accounting stuff, and I’m pretty comfortable in my ability to handle the accounting stuff now.  But I’m still scared silly that I’m going to mess something up.  Especially when it involves filing tax returns and preparing financial reports.  
 
So does anybody else find it strange that a math phobic person like myself can happily spend the afternoon preparing a budget proposal? 

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