How NOT to Walk a Dog

Something happened this morning that I’m still fuming about!

I was walking my darling doggin, minding our own business, when a man approached from the opposite direction walking two terriers.

Now I’ve seen these “matching bookends” before, but my Sheltie and I haven’t had up-close-and-personal contact with them (and in all fairness, the guy walking them wasn’t the owner; I’m guessing he’s a son or in-law).

Anyway, my doggin (being his friendly self) approached to say “hi.” The boy dog seemed agreeable, but the girl dog suddenly started growling and trying to attack my doggin!

Before I could blink, that vixen wrapped her leash around my legs and jumped on my doggin’s back, where she was trying to grab a mouthful of his skin (good thing his coat’s so profuse!)

Was I furious!

I could tell my poor doggin was frantic to escape — so was I. The boy terrier looked on in curiosity as I worked to untangle the leashes; the girl dog snarled, and the guy said something lame like, “That’s not nice, Ruby.”

Not nice?? What did he think she was — a debutante, for crying out loud?

When I walk my dog, I use a retractable leash but it’s locked so he walks close by my side. That’s the proper way to walk — it prevents him from jumping on other walkers or lunging after squirrels.

This idiot had a retractable leash, too, but it was WIDE OPEN! Those dogs were walking him, not the other way around.

When my doggin and I finally made our getaway, I checked him over — no blood, thank heaven. However, I have a nice cut on my shin where “Ruby’s” leash dug into it, and I’m not happy about it. Not one bit!

You can be sure we’ll steer a wide berth around “Ruby” when we see her coming in the future. Guess that’s why my wise friend always says, “They don’t call girl-dogs bitches for nothing!”


One of my favorite things about this time of year is bunnies.

If I didn’t have a dog — a herding dog — I’d raise bunnies, lots of bunnies.

I love the way their little noses twitch and how oh-so-still they sit when they sense danger nearby. Maybe they think they’re invisible if they don’t move, but they haven’t got my dog fooled!

I’m thinking in particular about three special bunnies I’ve come into close contact with:

1) A tiny, jet-black bunny I picked up and cuddled in a petting zoo once. His little heart hammered like it would jump right out of his chest, but I just wanted to take him home!

2) A HUGE white bunny owned by one of my son’s friends. This one was the size of a small dog and would even let you pet him!

3) A “teenaged” bunny, much like the one in this picture.

bunny eating grass

In case you can’t find him, he’s sitting beside the sidewalk eating grass. I couldn’t get any closer, for fear he’d hop away.

Anyway, a bunny much like the photo-bunny managed to get tangled up in some fishing nets my dad had off our back porch one rainy Sunday afternoon several years ago.

Daddy said the bunny would work himself free and cautioned me he might be “sick,” but I didn’t listen. I ran to get a pair of scissors.

“Are you going to help, or do I have to do this by myself?” I demanded.

Daddy picked up the “prisoner,” who watched us warily. The poor thing seemed to know we were trying to help, for he stopped struggling against the netting and froze. I looked at his bleeding leg and felt tears come to my eyes.

Working fast, I snipped his little feet free. We set him down, and off he scampered!

It was a good feeling.

Since then, I’ve often wondered whether the bunny we saved ever returns to our yard, whether he (or she) had baby bunnies, and whether he remembers our setting him free.

I like to think he probably does!

Curious about tattoos

I’ve got a question that’s been bothering me for some time — what’s with the proliferation of tattoos??

Now I realize this will probably brand me an “old fogey” or worse, but I’m serious. Why do so many people today get tattoos?

They’re young, old, or in-between; they’re black, white, or Hispanic; they’re in little towns or big cities. They tattoo their arms, legs, backs, chests, and every possible place, visible or not.

There are butterflies, crosses, tribal insignia, hearts and flowers, somebody’s name, and fancy designs.

And it seems as if one isn’t enough. One leads to two, two leads to four, you get the idea.

I’m not standing in judgment here. Really. I’m merely curious. What’s the attraction?

Not so long ago, tattoos were frowned upon in the working world. Job applicants kept their tattoos covered until they were safely hired; and if their new position required them to interact with the public, they were told to keep them covered.

Tattoos used to be the decoration of sailors, bikers, hard rock band members, and such. Increasingly, I’m seeing more and more “regular people” sporting inky designs, and nobody seems to think a thing about it.

When did all this change?

The most recent statistic I could find was a 2006 study by the American Academy of Dermatology. In it, researchers found that almost one in four Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed! In addition, 36% of Americans aged 18 to 29 are tattooed.

Does that boggle your mind like it does mine?

I mean, tattooing involves needles (pain) and an electronic machine that sounds like a dental drill. Where’s the fun in that?

And it’s not cheap. Even a small tattoo under one inch in size can set you back $50 to $100.

In the olden days, Old Testament law forbade the Israelite people from tattooing themselves (Leviticus 19:28). But the New Testament of the Bible doesn’t address tattooing so the only guideline we can use is to honestly ask ourselves whether it’s pleasing to God. Our bodies, after all, belong to Him, having been purchased at great price (the death of His only Son on the Cross).

I’m “un-inked” and fully intend to remain so. That’s my choice. I don’t like needles, and I’m just changeable enough to realize I’d never want anything permanently marked on me that I couldn’t easily get off.

But that doesn’t stop my curiosity! I still want to know, Why do people get tattoos? Any thoughts?

What a bunch of weenies!

Okay, I promised another move-in story, so here goes.

Arriving in South Bend, I wanted to get checked in to a hotel before moving My Favorite Domer into his dorm for Summer Term.

He, of course, insisted he move in first.

Since he only had a small window of time to move in, I acquiesced.

It wasn’t as bad as last year. We probably packed better, the weather cooperated, and we had less stuff.

How much junk does a kid need for Summer Term, anyway?

It’s almost like packing for camp.

So we got him settled, then off we went to find me a room for the night.

That’s when the fun started.

We checked a couple of places — all full.

Finally, in frustration, I asked one of the desk clerks what was going on that had hotel occupancy off the charts.

He sheepishly admitted they’d had a wicked storm the night before, and most of the hotel guests were actually residents who didn’t want to be inconvenienced because their power was out but knew the hotels had generators.


You could have knocked me over with a feather!

After all, I lived on the Gulf Coast for several years, and every season (or so it seemed!), we had a hurricane blow through and knock out power for a week at a time!

In 90+ degree weather, day AND night!

No hot food. No hair dryer. No air conditioner. Not even a stinkin’ fan!

But we suffered through it. Brave little warriors, wearing our sweat-drenched T-shirts and sharing our tales of woe with anybody who’d listen.

Yet here these “weenies” were, spending a couple of hundred bucks to stay overnight  in a hotel — with FREE TV, air conditioning, and a pool!

Topping it off, the next morning I noticed the temperature had dropped to a cool 62 degrees.

I’m tellin’ ya, some people have more money than sense!

Of light vs. dark

Isn’t it odd how we never stop learning about ourselves?

I just returned from dropping My Favorite Domer off at Notre Dame for Summer Term (more on this tomorrow). Anyway, it’s the first time I got a hotel room away from the main lights of the city.

So it was dark. Really dark. The kind of dark that leads your imagination to play all sorts of tricks on you.

Like when you hear funny noises and imagine creepy critters scurrying about. Or when you see looming shadows and know you’re next.

I thought about leaving a lamp on, but no way can I sleep with that much light.

At home, nights aren’t that dark because there’s plenty of light from streetlamps and our neighbors.

Not in the hotel, though.

So I decided to leave the TV on. I turned the volume way down and aimed the screen away from the bed.

But the station kept switching scenes and the resulting flashes were anything but restful.

I jumped up and changed to a steadier channel.

Still no luck.

Frustrated, I jumped up again and turned it off.

Now hunkering beneath the covers in my dark room, I started to itch.

Probably just the Lysol I sprayed onto the pillow, I thought.

Or maybe it was bugs.

I jumped up again.


I swear I was more tired after “sleeping” eight hours than I would have been if I’d just stayed up all night!

So next time, I’m going to pack a nightlight and my own sleeping bag.

Can’t be too careful now, can we?!

Oh, the joys of getting your car serviced!

Am I just being fussy, or do others hate taking their cars in for service, too?

It doesn’t much matter whether your wait-time is long or short — it’s far from fun.

Here are my pet peeves (how many agree?):

  • Boring choice of reading material. Haven’t the-powers-that-be ever heard that women take their cars in for service, too? How many women do you know who enjoy reading magazines about electronics, mechanics, building trades, etc.?
  • The ever-present blaring TV. Everybody’s afraid to change the channel that’s on when they arrive, or to turn it down; and what’s with the pompous guy who commandeers the remote and acts like he’s in his own den?
  • Cramped quarters. No, I don’t like sitting side-by-side with a perfect stranger!
  • Stuffy air. The place is invariably too hot or too cold, and you can’t find a good fan to save your life.
  • The smells. Yep, I’m talking about what looks like week-old popcorn and day-old coffee. Do they really expect us to make our own food and drinks? If I wanted to wait on people, I’d get a job where at least I’d get paid to do it!

Now what makes the wait particularly irritating are the other customers. You know who I’m talking about:

  • The chatterbox. This is the guy or gal who can’t shut up! They chat with other customers and the salespeople; they haul out their cell phones and give the rest of us a glimpse into their lives that we’d rather not see.
  • Hospital Holly. The person who should have stayed home, in bed. Instead, they drag themselves to the dealership, sigh and moan about their ailments, use half a box of Kleenex, and make sure the rest of us get what they’ve got.
  • Daddy-with-the-kids. Does he really expect any woman waiting for her car to help him babysit? He drags in 3 or 4 toddlers — one at least with a full diaper — then parks himself behind a magazine while the kids run wild through the showroom, leave gooey fingerprints everywhere, cry and scream uncontrollably, or spill juice on the carpet.
  • Miss Thrift. Hear that ripping sound? This one helps herself to coupons from the magazines. Who said those things were free?
  • Office Ollie. He busts out his laptop and proceeds to conduct high-powered business, spreading out dozens of file folders and papers over several surrounding seats. On second thought, he’s probably just trying to avoid having strangers sit next to him!
  • Slick Mick the pickup guy. He thinks any female would be delighted at his attentions and does his darnedest to snag a date for the weekend.

I’m positive there are others. Which ones creep you out?

How to pass a rainy day

It rained and stormed much of yesterday.

Yuck — boring.

So, I decided to pass some time doing one of my favorite hobbies — beading jewelry.

There’s something wonderfully relaxing about rolling different shaped beads between your fingers. About matching (or contrasting) different textures and colors. About fashioning glass and stones and metals into earrings, bracelets, or necklaces.

And it’s fabulous having unique pieces to wear! When I get tired of something, I just break it apart and re-create it into something else. Or make something new to go with a new outfit. Or “copy” a cool design I saw in a magazine, giving it my own special touch.

I’m surprised at how many compliments I’ve gotten on my handmade creations, too. People tell me I should open up a little business, maybe on the Interwebs, and sell my stuff.

I don’t know. That sounds like a lot of work.

I’d have to line everything up, take individual pictures (of hundreds of items!), edit those pictures, design a Website (complete with shopping cart for orders), monitor the incoming orders, package the orders, ship the orders, handle any customer complaints — gosh, I get bleary-eyed just thinking about it!

I think I’ll stick with Web design and writing.

But for those interested in what I came up with, here’s a photo:

This is a Y necklace with a silver lobster-claw fastener. It measures 22 inches around the neck, with a four-inch “tail.” I used a combination of green Russian jade, tiger’s eye, pink zebra jasper, and fire-polished crystals, interspersed with mostly silver spacer beads.

What’ll they think of next?

Sometimes e-mails can be so annoying!

There are those “chain letter” messages, which promise something dire will happen if you don’t forward them to 25 friends. Then there are those sugary-sweet missives, complete with “awww” pictures, that you’ve got to pass on. And don’t get me started on e-cards or spam about cheap meds, hot chicks, or free I-pods.

But e-mail has its good points, too. Take today, when I received a forwarded message from a friend telling me of the new “bottle bombs” kids are planting.

Never heard of a “bottle bomb”?

Me, neither.

Turns out, it’s a pretty scary thing, and I can’t imagine having so much time on my hands to stir up mischief.

Nor can I imagine anybody thinking this would be funny.

Apparently, the perpetrators take an empty 20 oz. soda bottle and add Drano and tin foil, then leave it on somebody’s lawn, in somebody’s mailbox, etc. The gases combine in a chemical reaction, exploding the bottle (and leaving the finder with blindness, loss of fingers, and 2nd and 3rd degree chemical burns).

Not so funny, is it?

Nor are the penalties if one is caught:

  • Possession without causing damage, 15-year felony
  • Possession causing damage, 20-year felony
  • Possession causing physical injury, 25-year felony
  • Possession causing serious injury, up to life in prison
  • Possession causing death, mandatory life without possibility of parole

I know kids will be kids. I know kids decry many towns because there’s nothing to do.

But when I was a kid, moping around complaining just earned me unnecessary work — like moving a pile of bricks from one side of the yard to another, or washing windows, or pulling weeds. . . .

Ah, the good ole days!