Control and cute doggie pictures…

I have typed and erased about eight sentences in the past 10 minutes. My thoughts are jumbled and my fingers are just poised while I try to think of how to use words. I have nothing except this…dogs are pretty fantastic. Chester is funny, smart, and worries about us. He loves us and lets us be silly dog owners. He listens to us and I know he is happy. Chester loves to go for walks, hence the name of the blog. Look at this face…this is the face I get to see when I pick up the harness.

Have you ever seen such a sweet face? How can I see that and not smile? He makes me want to do things for him. We have taken advantage of the less common nice days here in northern Ohio and walk somewhere each day. He loves to go down the busiest road (Bacon Road I kid you not) and I try to oblige when it’s a Sunday morning and traffic is light. Along Bacon Road, there are these large rocks in a line. These rocks, to Chester, look like Stonehenge. Who put them there? Must be aliens. Chester has to pee on each and every one. It’s a dog’s delight. I try to control his habit of wildly kicking bits of the lawn behind him after each one. No luck, it’s in a dog’s DNA.

For me, control is in my index cards. I send about 40 Christmas cards with end of year letters. Yes, no eye rolls, Christmas letters, I know. My system for addresses and sent/receive years is index cards. I have everyone’s name on an index card and update them each year. If someone moves I stick the new address in the card box and they get a new card. My husband doesn’t understand why I do this. He is a technological whiz and asked me why I didn’t put them on a spreadsheet? I basically said I just don’t want to.

 I thought about this question though. Why not? I don’t know, it just feels wrong. A spreadsheet is not out of my comfort zone at all. Nor are labels. I just don’t want to. I’m like Chester digging in when he doesn’t want to move on when there is a good smell on one of the rocks. I want some things in my world to stay the same. I want control. I want to physically pick up that index card and “feel” the person on it. Not in some creepy way, come on now…! I don’t know how to explain it, but it wouldn’t be the same. My life is not in control in any way shape or form except for those darn index cards. The rest is blowing in the wind. Do you have things like that? Things people shake their heads at but you hang on to? I think we all do.

Chester hangs onto his toys. His toys consist of a mangled assortment of ex-bunnies with their heads or body parts torn off. Of course the stuffing is non-existent.  When I dumped his bucket of toys out to try to weed them out, he lay on them and wouldn’t let me take them. I did eventually snag some when he was otherwise occupied but he didn’t even care about the toys until I dumped them out and took a couple. He actually put his head on his paws on top of the toys and fell asleep.  I guess that’s his control.

It’s OK to need to control some things. You can’t control people, or dogs actually. You most certainly can’t control cats. You can’t control any virus or illness in general, even if you live healthy. You can’t control when other people are asses. You can’t control the weather. I could go on and on. But it’s OK to find something that is yours.

Finally I attempted to take a nice Christmas picture of Chester the Reindeer. This was literally the best I got. I guess I can make him do something but any thought of control is misguided. Have a good week!

Anesthesia and white deer…

I know I missed a week in the attempted blogging schedule. I have a good reason. I had a procedure. Now I’m not going to go into it, because I can picture my nephew saying “Jeez, Aunt Martha, I really didn’t want to read this.” But let’s just say it was a multi-day ordeal that came out fine.

I only mention this procedure because I learned something new about anesthesia. In the past, I would pop up after anesthesia and say, “Wow, best sleep I ever had!” This time, I was out of it, and I do mean OUT. As in twilight-loopy for about 4-5 hours. I lay on the couch and listened to the absurd Wednesday afternoon NFL game on my phone. But at some point I drifted off, and that’s when the fun began.

I saw a little red, and it was red as in barn red, not bright red, zombie-type skull on a stick figure body. I was on some kind of platform, and the zombie thing was snapping its little jaws at my legs or the legs of the platform. It looked a little like Gollum but red. I was trying to avoid it when some girl’s arm waved a beautifully manicured finger across it and flowers showered over the zombie, blowing it into pieces. Then the skull kept snapping without a body.

This vision begs many questions. Who was the girl? Did she have a body? Or was it just an arm? If so, where did the arm get the manicure and how did it drive there? The little zombie wasn’t particularly scary—but were there more? Would it regenerate or just bounce around on its little head snapping until it found its way into some teacher’s desk with the snapping teeth?

Unknowable. I will probably have to wait 5 more years to find out. But it’s something to look forward to…sort of.

In the last two weeks, our neighborhood put away its political divisiveness and came together. It appears to be our neighborhood’s goal to use up all the electricity and signal spaceships by seeing who can put up the most Christmas lights. We were out of the contest from day one, we just put some around the windows and ledge/porch area. But this effort has inspired me to greatness. I believe we could rise in the neighborhood estimation if we had a white deer that lifts its head up and down. The other Grammy, in an attempt to lower my expectations (since I have wanted to have one for years and my husband is reluctant to say the least} said they aren’t worth it. She said that they had one and the head or the body lights would go out randomly. She said the whole thing didn’t all light at once for long.

WHOA! HOW COOL IS THAT!!??? If the body didn’t work, the head would look like a discombobulated reindeer head bobbing up and down. If the head didn’t work, it’d be the headless horse, man. The neighbor would probably try to shoot or eat it, and wouldn’t that be funny when they found out it isn’t real?! Now I want one more than ever. I suspect one will find its way into our Christmas closet at the end of the year when the ones that don’t work get returned and are on markdown. That’s my plan.

Chester has been a lucky doggie lately. He decided he likes turkey which is good because we had a 16 pound turkey to eat, and without him it would have been tough. He is a worry-wort though. His latest fixation is on the delivery vehicles that drive down our otherwise quiet cul-de-sac multiple times a day. He lies on the couch and focuses on the door, ready to run to the window and bark at the slightest whiff of a UPS truck. Below is a picture of him at the ready. He has had a couple days where he missed some though, I think he is wearing himself out. The second picture is his attitude about having to guard the house.

I am unashamedly full-on Christmas. We have most of our gifts (I would say all but that would make you feel bad) and I’m putting up the Christmas village today. Watching football and putting up a Christmas village—it doesn’t get any better. I bought new people for my village. They are Mr. Mayor and Mrs. Mayor. They probably have names but the other people haven’t all met them yet so right now it’s Mr. and Mrs. Mayor.  Have a good week!

Chester stands sits lies at attention
Make it stop…

Roots, syncronicity and Frank Zappa…

Since the weather was beautiful Saturday we took Chester back to Pete’s Pond. Friday had been a turmoil of sadness; not only 9/11 and coronavirus, but I have people in California that I’m worried about and something happened at work that was tragic. Actually a couple things. It felt like the week had been building up, with the world throwing things at us and finally on Friday it came to a head. So Saturday, I had to get out.

I wrote of Pete’s Pond before. The pond has sort of dried, but it was no less beautiful. Chester was such a good boy! He was not reactive at all around the other dogs on the trail. We saw plenty of squirrels and chipmunks and some beautiful dragonflies. I included a picture of one. One of the things I noticed was how a gorge of sorts was cut out alongside the path in the woods. We could see the roots of the trees (hee hee I first typed foots, that would be really cool). No, it was roots, hanging down on the side. Luckily that tree had enough roots deep into the soil to remain standing. We were surrounded by many more that did not have the strength.

Friday was a day of sorrow. I thought of people enduring events that just rock them to the core. I picture the tree standing with half it’s ground missing. But it had deep roots. It may stay there for another 20 years like that, with a wound to its foundation but still providing a perch for birds and a place for squirrels. I know people like that. Some wounds don’t heal but the person finds a way to go on. Maybe they firm up the roots that remain. If someone were to build up the side, it may help. Or, sadly It may not make it, falling like so many of the other trees. I have pretty strong roots. I have a pretty big capacity to absorb sadness and keep going. I hope you are able to weather the events that chip at your foundation and stay standing. If not, reach out to someone, shore up your root system. If so, reach out and shore up someone else’s. Or both.

Switching gears, I may have mentioned my clean out the house mission one or two or fifty times. My two youngest children who have lived in Brooklyn for over 5 years now came back for Labor Day weekend. I think it was mostly to go to our grandson’s birthday party (and it was a wonderful party), but what could be more enjoyable after driving 10 hours than to go through CDs and old clothing? I have planted the CDs are in four separate areas:

  1. Box number one is the CDs that are in their correct cases. About half are mine and half my son’s.
  2. Box number two is the CD cases that have no CDs.
  3. On the spindles are the CDs with no cases, and
  4. On the floor in a pile are the CDs that my son and I and the Riverside High School Bands and Choirs were the artists on. They are mostly his, with different rock or other bands. I was not in a band but wrote a couple musicals so my contribution was less. He has been in about seven bands total, and we have CDs for all. Plus, the high school band and choir CDs.

Surprisingly, he graciously agreed to look at them and tell me what he wanted to keep. He was going through them when I showed him a pile of about 8 Frank Zappa CDs. They were fairly old, with titles like, “Shut up ‘N Play Yer Guitar”, “Burnt Weenie Sandwich,” and of course, “Uncle Meat.” I was a bit flummoxed…I didn’t know he liked Frank Zappa and it was kind of before his time. I asked and he said he bought someone’s CD/record collection and the person was a big Frank Zappa fan. I said oh, then can I give them away or take them to Record Den? He said sure.

While walking Chester a couple nights ago I stopped to talk with our side-fence neighbors. Chester absolutely loves the neighbors, and especially their little girl doggie. So we stopped to chat and while the girl doggie gave Chester the evil eye I mentioned going through CDs. I told them about Frank Zappa and that I was going to sell them to Record Den. The wife said, and I kid you not, that her uncle played with Frank Zappa. Keep in mind I didn’t even know there was a Frank Zappa anything in my house! But yes, her uncle was on a couple of the CDs. So, I happily gave her all of them.  Of course, today I found one more that I had missed.

This is why I don’t want to just pitch the empty CD cases, what if I find a CD and I threw out the case??? How can I throw out the cases?? (You have just peeked into the mindset of a hoarder…) I will probably put all the cases in the newly cleaned out closet. Then after a couple months go through them again and after this recurs about 20 times, then throw them out. I suspect some CDs minus cases are with the Christmas stuff. And the CDs on the spindles, well if I don’t listen to them in a couple months they will go too unless I find another box of CD cases.  But I digress…

The Frank Zappa incident reminded me of my younger years when we listened to “Dark Side of the Moon” and watched “The Wizard of Oz.” If you haven’t done so, do it. It’s an example of synchronicity plus it’s a very good album and a very good movie so it’s a win-win. According to the internet dictionary, the definition of synchronicity is, “synchronism. Coincidence of events that appear meaningfully related but do not seem to be causally connected, taken by Jungian psychoanalytic theory to be evidence of a connection between the mind and material objects.”

Breaking this down, do I have a mental connection to the Frank Zappa CDs? Or maybe to Frank Zappa? Or maybe our neighbor was thinking about it and I was just the conduit.  What made me stop and visit with the neighbors, especially when I looked like six miles of bad road at the time? What on God’s green earth made me mention Frank Zappa? AM I SEVEN STEPS FROM FRANK ZAPPA??? Whoa. As my husband says, some things are unknowable. But the CDs are in the right place now.

Below are three pictures. The first is the tree with roots, and the third is a happy Chester. The second is what I call a dragonfly but could very well be a damselfly. I will rely on my sister to tell me which it is. It’s pretty either way! Have a good week! Shut up ‘N nurture yer roots! 😊

Happy Chester the dog

Why I want to be Harley Quinn and other random thoughts…

I want to be Harley Quinn. I know she’s got more mental health issues than I could shake a stick at but she shakes a baseball bat so whatever. I have some mental health issues too, probably more than one would think. In my outer self I can keep them at bay but my inner self wants to be Harley Quinn. Here’s why, along with some random thoughts I had while walking Chester.

Harley wears her hair in pigtails. I love pigtails. Since the shutdown I decided to let my hair grow as long as it wants to, and turn grey. Part of it is turning grey, part is not. It looks like hell. It’s also hot as hell in August. I can’t handle hair on my neck in August. Usually a ponytail is OK but when it’s really hot nothing beats the pigtails. And, like Harley, my hair is multiple colors. I’m rocking it.

Harley enters new situations boldly with gusto. I don’t. I get very nervous about meeting people and invariably say something incredibly dumb or freeze. Even when I was little I was a shy kid. The first day of kindergarten was torture. I cried the whole half of a day we were there, even during the nap time. Yes, we had half day kindergarten AND nap time. The teacher had a magic wand, and each day someone would be chosen as the magic prince or princess. That lucky sprite was to gently tap each child to wake them. It was marvelous to walk among the children, most of whom were not sleeping and really wanted to get up, knowing that if you were the sprite you had the power to make the ones who were mean to you stay asleep longer. But I digress…

Harley is the life of the party. She’s popular, smart and beautiful. I was a little bit smart but that’s about it. I wasn’t fat but I was a little overweight. In about 5th grade I grew taller, and my dresses became a little short. I remember standing in line when two girls pointed at me and said “oooh, sexy” then exploded with giggles. I wanted to disappear and put on a robe. I never wore that dress again. A year later, some girls were talking in class. The teacher asked them what they were talking about and they said a birthday party they were going to. It was going to have horseback riding. To this day I don’t know why but the teacher turned to me in front of the class and asked me if I was going. I said no. She asked why and I said I wasn’t invited. My face turned red but I didn’t cry. That’s probably the only way I really am like Harley.

The guys love Harley and want her until she hits them with her baseball bat. As a young teen I was a comic book fan, especially Archie, and Betty and Veronica. Betty and Veronica were always competing for Archie’s attention. I remember being so excited to get a new comic book and find out what cool girls were doing to get a boy. My first date was fixed up by my mom and a teacher friend’s’ son. I had won tickets to Ice Capades on the radio call in and had nobody to go with. I think his name was Paul. I wore velvet bell bottoms. He was nice enough but halfway through he went down the rows to visit someone he knew. We spoke about 50 words the whole time and watched the Ice Capades. Our moms were in cahoots but we didn’t go out again. So, I decided to make myself a 15 year old version of sexy. I poured Sun In and lemon juice on my hair, baby oil on my skin and lay out in the sun with my sister for hours. She turned brown, I was a peeling lobster.  I just knew that blonde hair was the way to get a boy.  On me though, the blonde had this orange tint. Not what I planned.

Harley isn’t afraid of violence or hurting people. I am afraid of violence. If i wasn’t, I would have cracked those smirking girls’ heads together. But they wouldn’t have smirked at Harley. And if Harley wasn’t invited to a party, there would be no party. I would probably feel sorry for the stupid teacher or have empathy, my typical response. I can rationalize anything. Check this out…she probably grew up without friends and turned into this prunefaced simpering bully because she had a little power as a teacher and could make the popular girls talk to her when in her day they ignored her just like they ignored me. I’m pretty good at that, right? Truth is, I don’t really want to hurt anyone. I just want them to not hurt me.

Yes, I want to be Harley Quinn. But alas I am too old. Plus she isn’t real, but that’s a minor issue. Isn’t there something in us all though that wants to explode sometimes and just not care? Don’t we all want a bad ass moment or two? I think that’s why I like her; not because I really want to be her in real life, but I’m kind of tired of caring. Doesn’t that sound awful? Don’t worry, my inner Harley is staying in my imagination. Meanwhile…some random thoughts…

CVS was all out of hand soap except for this Yardley lavender kind. OMG it is phenominal. I love it! It’s smooth, silky, and smells divine. Try it!

Chester and I walked a long way this morning. We were able to watch the moon fade and the sun come up. The clouds were lit from the sides like waves. I always wish i had my phone/camera but I never do. It reminded me of a poem I memorized when I was obsessed with the book “The Outsiders” and still remember to this day. It’s called “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost. It goes like this:

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

but only so an hour.

then leaf subsides to leaf.

So, Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Have a beautiful week and here is a pic of Chester just because. He’s been a sort of bad boy because he went after Milo the cat. Milo pushed through the screen in the bedroom and escaped onto the roof. Chester is in the doghouse. But we still love him. He looks like he is sorry. Below that is a cruise in search of barn quilts and covered bridges we went on with our Model A group. We did not win the contest but had alot of (safe and social distancing) fun!

Model A line

Pete’s Pond and a time to change…

It has been a couple weeks since the Enzo debacle and Chester has been a particularly good dog. We went to a new park, called “Pete’s Pond”. Why Pete’s pond you ask? (I know you asked, I heard you). Well, let me tell you…there was a former landowner named Pete. There is a 19-acre pond in the middle of it. Got it? OK then, moving on. It was a Friday morning walk just before it rained. This really does have to be one of the best kept secrets near us. It was just beautiful. The May apples were in bloom along with wildflowers and cattails. The path is not paved but is well kept and easy to walk. The highlight reel would note the abundance of chipmunks. They were everywhere, just like at our house lately. Usually Chester would be going crazy, but he didn’t even see them. He had his nose to the ground the whole time. I was more excited than he was about the munks. I did not chase them through the mud and woods though. Below are some pictures of this new park. 30 plus years in Lake County and we never knew about it! Go figure.

I know this is a hard time in the world. I started to say “our” world then retyped it. It’s not “ours” any more than it belonged to people 100 years ago. We don’t own the world, if we did we would be able to control or eradicate COVID. We can’t and never will. A vaccine is our way of saying we are adapting to this new variable. We must be flexible, and fight for survival. We (as in humans) have to adapt because if we don’t, more will die. But it seems to take so long, doesn’t it? And do you feel like we are just way too slowly starting to learn more about it and how to change the statistics? We still have too many people dying but isn’t it true that we know so much more than we did? Yet we can’t seem to get where we need to be. Every action seems to be an agonizing decision because we don’t know if we will be safe or not. Should I go to the restaurant? Should I let Chester go to doggie day care? It wears us down.

I thought I was dealing with COVID pretty well when we learned of the death of George Floyd, and the subsequent riots. So far I have been unable to say much because I have nothing but sadness. I, usually one who will wait and see evidence, have nothing to wait for. It is what it is, and what it is, frankly sucks. There have been too many for too long killed unjustly. Each time it happens, I think maybe this is the time, the uncontroversial time that everyone will realize what is happening and change will happen. Even now I hope that finally, with this video evidence, there will be unanimity in the condemnation of racism and brutality. I’m not sure though. I thought that about firearms when Sandy Hook happened. I was wrong. I may be wrong again. I hope not, God I hope not.

Here’s the thing…there are events we cannot control and have to adapt to, like COVID. They take a long time to sort out, but we adapt and will learn new habits to keep us safe. We must figure out a way to adapt our country to prevent events like this event, the death of Mr. Floyd. We must learn new habits to keep people safe.  Right now are protests, (and I mean protests, not looting which is just stealing stuff). But deeper change has to come later. There just must be a collective effort to solve this. We don’t want to go back to the way we were, ignorant. Just like we are making changes because of COVID. We must develop a vaccine against racism and injustice. We must be able to change it like the flu vaccine when a new strain comes, because racism, like a germ, sneaks its way into situations and people.

I think we, or depending on our age, our children, will succeed. I think there will come a time when there are so many different skin colors that the old, race based ways of identifying ourselves will have no meaning. What is white? What is black? Think of it like a business—bigger businesses take longer to change. I remember working in a smaller company and my boss said the big business mentality and bureaucracy would drive her crazy because nothing gets done quickly. Well America is one giant business. From our start it has taken a long time to get things done. There often comes a boiling point, the final straw as it were.  I think or hope that we are at that point. We should have been at it long ago.

Anyway, I appreciate you sharing your time with me. If you get a chance and are in the area, check out Pete’s Pond. If not, go outside. We are at a point of change and it will be good. Welcome the change and let’s rise to a greater, healthier, kinder country. We are at the low point, but we have the opportunity to create a better way. To everything there is a season.

Don’t give up.

Pete's Pond
overlooking the famous pond
tired and happy!