Archive for August, 2008

It’s A Dog’s Life

Madison here. Sorry I haven’t been able to blog yet, but I’ve been very busy. In addition to my job of keeping the sofa warm when nobody is looking, I’ve been helping around in the office.

When you call and are put on hold, that’s me. I hold the phone. Literally. The soft breathing in the background is not Mom or Debbie, it’s me. While they’re using their hands to find things, I make it all possible.

They used to use the hold button that comes with the phone, but I am very much more reliable. Every once in a while I do goof up. It happens. I’m sure you’ve heard of dropped calls. But hey, I do my best.

 I also type up orders, but I let Debbie fill them as the sticky stuff on the flaps of the priority envelopes is hard for those of us with fur. I take messages and paper notes back and forth from one office to the other. I am a Four-Legged-Fax.

I am present at all meetings. For standing meetings I lean against Mom or Debbie. For those that occur sitting down, my place is under the table. I no longer attend board meetings because they are, as the name implies, boring.

I also get stuck doing all the chores nobody else wants to do, like cleaning the computer monitors. It’s a dog’s life.

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August 31, 2008 at 8:13 am 14 comments

Adopt A Dog

My friend JoAnne is a dog magnet. They adore her.  And the feeling is mutual. In addition to her work as a Puppy Raiser and Puppy Counselor for Leader Dogs for the Blind, JoAnne has her own “pack.” It includes dogs that were rejected by Leader Dog, and dogs that somehow just find her.

She has two right now that she’d liket to find homes for. The first is Rags. He’s a chow and sheltie mix, about 3 years old and weighs about 35 pounds. He loves to ride in cars. Rags is a happy dog, constantly on the move. You wouldn’t notice he’s almost totally blind. JoAnne thinks he’d be the perfect dog for a trucker. He’s housebroken and walks on a leash.






Blaze is also looking for a new home with a lot of love. She’s a chow and German shephard mix, about 8 or 9 years old who is very docile. She likes to sleep on the couch. Blaze has been neglected, but is starting to open up. She needs someone to love.

If you live near Flint, Michigan and are interested in adopting either of these dogs, JoAnne wants to meet you. Please email her: .

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August 30, 2008 at 9:12 am 1 comment

Every Year, Around This Time…

Every year at around this time, a certain flower blooms at the corner of our garage. As we drive in or out, the huge blossoms always take us by surprise. It’s a combination of their beauty, their size, their fragility, and the realization that the summer is almost over.

I don’t know what internal structure supports their mammoth size, but it must get worn out by the end of the day. By dusk the petals are withered and drooping. The next morning those blooms, or maybe different ones, are open again drinking in the sunshine and defying physics. Buds are in line behind them for a show that will last several weeks. And then they’ll be gone.

This plant always begins to bloom when Steve is ready to go back to school, about the time I’ve forgotten that he’s only home in the summer. While he goes in to get his room ready practically from the time he leaves it in June, I tend to forget that vacations, lunches out, running errands together, and watching TV past 9:30 p.m. aren’t the norm. Just about the time I get used to having him home, he’s back to his classroom full-time. You’d think after 31 years of marriage I would be more in tune to the pattern and I wouldn’t be so surprised, but I’m not. You’d think I’d hate this time less, but I don’t.

When the flowers come I find myself asking: Did I make the most of it? Did I cherish our time together? Did I wring out every drop? I always want more time.

This year, and for every year that follows, the beautiful plate-sized flowers with their translucent petals will have another meaning too. Mom fell five times since spring. No broken bones, but with each trauma the Alzheimer’s took a little bit more. She’s forgotten how to move her feet to walk and what balance feels like. Even if her brain could remember, her muscles have lost their strength. The words she speaks are adrift in a sea of strange syllables. Her understanding of the things around her grows dimmer. Some days she won’t sing. Hospice has begun. She seems as fragile as the paper-thin petals on the blooms by the garage.


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August 26, 2008 at 9:49 pm 32 comments

Sidewalk Sale

What's wrong with this sign?

What's wrong with this sign?

I love stuff like this.  Notice the location of the sidewalk sale: INSIDE.

Doesn’t having it outside in front of your store make it a sidewalk sale? If it’s inside it’s just a “sale,” right?

I could understand if it was raining, but it was a nice sunny day, each of the two days I happened to see this sign. They’ve got the sign up again this week too.

And I’m not going to complain that “IN SiDE” is all one word. I’m not going to complain about anything. I am nothing but amused.

August 19, 2008 at 8:18 am 3 comments

A Sink Is A Sink…right? Maybe Not.

Normal Sink

Looks good from this angle.

Looks like a pretty normal sink, right? No surprises here. (The rest of the room in which I stayed on a recent teaching trip was just fine.)

It was only after I began brushing my teeth that I noticed something hadn’t been well thought out at all. I leaned over to spit and, well, there was no way I could possibly…

Very dumb choice for a handle.

…hit the drain without getting the handle first! What were they thinking?

And, of course if you enjoy strange little musings like this from me and other readers of my web site, check out the “What Were They Thinking?!” page at

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August 17, 2008 at 8:15 am 3 comments

Duct Tape On Airplanes: A Big No-No

On a recent trip, I flew a small regional airline that I don’t often fly. I was reminded again why that is.  Hello out there….! Having duct tape and  a “DO NOT USE” sign anywhere NEAR the emergency exit on an airplane is more than a little disconcerting to those of us who might think your sign refers to our way out in an emergency. The “mending job” was on BOTH emergency exits by the way. It was only after very close examination that I saw that the duct tape was holding the window shade in the UP position, but at first glance doesn’t it look like the sign and tape refer to the window exit?! Shame on you for using duct tape to mend anything that flies. Fix the shades for crying out loud! 

And apologies to the nice man sitting in the row 5. In order to take the pictures I had to slide my arm between the seats in the row in front of me and into your space to take the picture. You were sleeping at the time. Thank you for not waking up.

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August 15, 2008 at 8:17 am 8 comments


I’m verving. Or perhaps I’m a “Vervette.” No fooling. is a site for baby boomers to get more out of life by guiding them to great content on the Internet.  Yours truly has been profiled under the “Fantastic Fifties” section.

Take a  look.

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August 13, 2008 at 8:07 am 5 comments

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