Friday, November 30, 2007

Golden

In the light of morning on his 7th day of being Our Dog, Ranger makes himself at home. I like this photo because it gives a sense of that calm before the storm.

He loves to lay on the table, a gift from a dear friend, because it allows him to see through the glass in the door and watch us busy with our inside lives.

He had grown so much already and - look at those delicate paws - he has so much more growing to do. His head just gets darker and darker and his once pristine belly is getting a dark mohawk of fur. How I love that crazed beasty...

It's been a couple of rough days, as night shift always is, what with work and home...the creature demands so much attention and time. I had no idea, being a cat person. He simply has to go out-out-out. I wonder if his long legs ache to stretch out. Thankfully, Trooper can run and takes him out often for that exhausting trek.

Amusingly, he's like a furry toddler. He will throw a tantrum when he's over-tired. Racing around, snapping, snatching up shoes while looking you right in the eye...I have learned to look for it and not be irked. We spend rather a lot of time together so we're learning...

And it's nice, those 5am walks where you can feel the stillness of the world and see the stars with sleepy eyes. We've a golden, sweet life, really. I need to remember that when my frustrations grow.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Briefly...

**These comments do not represent the views of my husband, his employer or those aliens that we keep catching on NASA film.**

Buy some Columbian coffee today. Tomorrow. And next week. Support the guy giving Chavez the finger.

""...Uribe had invited Chavez in August to help broker a deal with the FARC guerrillas, who are sympathetic to the Venezuelan leader's socialist ideals.

The rebels are holding 46 high-profile hostages, including three American defense contractors and French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt. It is offering to release the prisoners in exchange for the freeing of all imprisoned rebels.""

Friday, November 23, 2007

Recap of the Carnage

Appropriately, I can hear Ranger chowing down on his pig ear in the other room, laying on his bed and taking it easy - finally. He is like a small horse and he gallops through the house. Thus far, the cats have made rather brave appearances and Ranger took one good swipe to the nose which taught him that cats may look nice and softy but they pack a whallop.

The sound he is making is not far off from those of yesterday when we hosted my sister, my father and Trooper's cohort and his wife. She brought the most fantastic corn pudding - amazing stuff. My sister kindly brought chips for snacking and the paper goods - no dishes to wash as there were a generous plenty from the meal itself. I made my life simple with the use of the Williams-Sonoma Turkey Base for the gravy. It worked WONDERFULLY. Their Turkey Herbs were also very nice. Glad we made the trek to the mall for that!

We're casual types so it was a haphazard buffet line sort of affair. I'd prepared much of it the night before in order to avoid the "I need three ovens all at different temperatures!" situation. Pies, done. Sweet tater souffle, done. Scalloped taters, done. No, not alot of vegetables made an appearance, to be honest. It is a holiday meal intended for horrid starch filled bellies.

I was surprised to see the line at the Honey Baked Hams shop - it was my first time getting the ham so I had no idea. I thought I was being smart for pre-ordering and such. Well, they were so proficient that the long line hardly took 20 minutes to get through. My heirloom turkey - just beautiful! - was a bit expensive but so tasty!! I tried the old "start it on its breast" cookery but I suspect the delicate beasty would have done better on its back. My dressing/stuffing (yes, I offer both) was very close to mom's but...not quite right. I should have paid more attention...

My father was kind enough to get a Goode's BBQ pecan pie for us - those things are FANTASTIC. He said they had a gauntlet for pie acquisition in the parking lot. And a birthday cake for Dad. Yay! Another year this side of the sod! He was hilarious! A natural entertainer, he went to town. Of course, he indulged which is why we had Trooper drive to Houston and back with him - I wanted Dad to be able to enjoy his birthday without the worry of his driving back.

Anyway, we ate like kings, and then we all had to leave - our friends for their respective jobs (Troopers and Nurses tend to the same holiday sacrifices) and hied ourselves with Dad to Houston to meet our friends from up north. Ah...and I'd nearly forgotten...
As we were leaving, we happened to take another circular route out of the subdivision. It was fortuitous - Trooper immediately saw the little girl, walking in the street and then back on the sidewalk as we drove near. Then the mass of tears flowing could be seen and he halted the car and leapt out. Seems the little thing had gotten lost. She had no idea of her address, had nothing like the proper clothes for the weather on, and was half frozen. She knew she was 4 years old. We called the local officers who arrived quickly and they took charge of her. We understand her father was located and she was delivered to him but not much more than that. Still, I suppose he has something to be thankful for. It was a sad accent on the day...
We dropped Dad off and then headed out with our friends to a local IHOP for a lot of coffee and a wee bit of breakfast. Talked long and long and made plans to visit them in the post-Xmas timeframe. We do so love their small town...just across the water from Martha's Vineyard, it is insanely quaint. And we are able to squat in his parents' house across the street. LOL They spend the winter in FLA so we just have to schedule our visits accordingly and have free reign. It's hilarious. What I like best is they are friends that you can visit once a year and feel as though no time has passed. You don't have to call all the time or even email each other. It's just a comfortable "you know we love you" feeling that - well, I don't really know how to express it. It is a sense of timelessness.
So that was it. Now, Ranger is sleeping off his early morning romp with me (Trooper had to sleep in a little before shift) and his frenetic play time. Soon, it'll be time to walk again and maybe some play in the backyard. I can't wait to have him well enough in hand to visit the dog parks. Right now, he's trying to feel me out for dominance. I've had to pin his head down twice when he has gotten too rough. It gets the point across immediately and he turns the attitude around completely. We'll have that dance a few times, I know, before he stops trying. I don't mind. He's worth the trouble.
I hope your own holiday was just as enjoyable and without familial drama...as I took that pre-meal calming shower, I had a chat with mommer - how much I missed her and could have used her for the stuffing affirmation...the tulips I bought in her honor are blooming magnificently. Sure wish she could have been here...
As for the post-holiday shopping? You won't catch me anywhere near it. LOL MAYBE the PetSmart later for a 2nd bed and more pig ears...but that's it. I leave the battle to the rest of you. Now, I think a nice nap is in order.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Welcome Home, Ranger

There they are - a boy and his dog. LOL Well, a Trooper and his dog, anyway. It was hard to get the shot since they were both just so excited to be together again.

This dog is so smart - amazingly so. He has already learned about 5 different commands (in German). He kennels without concern or fear and hardly makes a sound at bedtime.

He is also very clear about when he needs to go out - just the shortest whimpery sound. Tonight was the real test as we had to take my father back to Houston and meet out of town friends there for a few hours. He kenneled all that time and didn't make a mess! We were just CERTAIN he'd have to relieve himself before we could get home.

As for the cats...they have learned when he is kenneled they have the run of the house again. Maximus is actually staying in the same room with the dog but on-high - just in case, I suppose. Jonesy has been in the same room but in hiding, taking it slow but thus far the bravest and first to venture out. Poor wee Doodlebug is taking the longest to reveal herself. Still, for hardly 24 hours? They are all doing so well that I have great hopes.

Ranger is a fantastic beasty. I just wish I could run - he needs that. Trooper says in time - doesn't want to have him taking a bad twist on the leash and tumbling them over each other. A bit more training at heeling - "Foose" - and they can be running buddies.

Tomorrow...the holiday rundown. What a day...this chef is tuckered...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Addition To The Family

It's been a rough few weeks - and I've had that deathly crud for over 5 days - so I've been preoccupied. But over the last weekend we tried to celebrate my birthday just a bit. I offered up a visit to a pet supply shop that is so darling...there, a German Shepherd Rescue group had several dogs available for a meet and greet.


If you could have seen Trooper's face....



So, that evening he hit the net and looked at one shelter after another. And that's when he saw Ranger. The very next day we went to see the fellow and he fell in love with him. The photo doesn't do him justice at all.

Ranger is at least a Belgian Malinois with perhaps a bit of something else tucked in there. Hard to know for certain, of course. And he's young enough to learn to leave the cats alone - I hope. I worry most about that but he seems quite smart so we're hoping we can work it out.

I haven't seen Trooper so happy. He has wanted a dog for a very long time and was kindly deferring it due to the cats. But if you'd seen the shelter...sigh...not a single run, no play, just a concrete cell...even if I'd had any qualms I could not have fielded them after seeing that place. One knows a county does what it can with what it is given but...surely someone could donate some fencing to allow them a bit more room...

Alright - so there's that. And now the general house cleaning to remove all dog temptations and the holiday dinner hostessing. Ranger is going to be spoiled rotten, I'm afraid...let's hope the application is approved and we can fetch him soon. When we left the shelter, Ranger was trying to come with us and I saw Trooper swipe away a tear - "He wants to come with us now..."

Sigh...what a softy.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day, 2007


"The object of war is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his". - Gen. George S. Patton


There are a lot of reasons this day means a great deal to me but - there is no need for balloons and ribbons - just quiet acceptance that there are those who did what had to be done.

I love this photo of Trooper's grandpa - V-Day timeframe near the Danube. He did what had to be done with a sort of "fine, next?" alacrity that the country boys had. They'd been hungry and poor. This wasn't so bad, in the grand scheme of things.

I am so sorry I did not know him when he was in fine form. But you could see it in his eyes - that young man with the devilish smile.

And the flowers...

Bless you, Grandpa - for going, for coming home, and for raising the boy into the man I love.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mr. Fix-it

That is what I shall call my massage therapist from now on. I've had a very painful and gimpy shoulder for months - it comes and goes but is always in the background, a stabbing pain near the socket of my shoulder. Well, today Mr. Tom fixed it. Perhaps only for a time but I care not at all. I can use my arm without wincing.

So, allow me to drop a plug for the man and the very nice studio - if you are ever in Austin and need to get that edge removed, please see Tom @ Austin BodyWorks. He is a slight thing and you would not think he had the strength to manage someone like the Trooper (who had to see him to get through academy's physical torment). But that man has muscles like the Hulk hiding beneath that easy exterior.

Like magic...he senses those sticking points, can feel the blockages in the fibers, and addresses them with no nonsense. Worth EVERY CENT. If you've a hitch in your giddyup, I hope you'll consider a visit.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Green

So Trooper has a fresh recruit, now...he seems a nice enough sort though about as green as they come. Like he says - in re: the old joke about the bulls - the kid wants to run down the hill and fuck one of them instead of walking down and fucking all of them.

It's a heavy burden, I'd think, to take someone without decades of skills and try in a few short months make them capable of staying alive on their own. He says the kid is like a robot - he may not be great at paperwork but you show him one time how to do something and he has it pegged. Unfortunately, ours is a very tough paperwork location - a lot of it and a boss who demands it be done right the first time.

How can you distill that knowledge into a handful of days and instill it in someone who hasn't known...well, things that a soldier knows, intimately? It takes a great deal of patience, thought, and a desire to never attend their funeral.

We were laughing with another couple over Halloween farewells - he's now SWAT and was once another acronym. Sharp, that one, and quiet. She laughed and said that he was always testing her, play fighting...as does my own. Pressure points and house clearing and backing with cover. Games but games that have meaning. Because you do not know...

With another couple the other night, Trooper was declaring that his recruit had no idea how easy they had it - the constant mantra amongst the force. With pure deadpan, his friend says, "Hard? Hard?! We couldn't even use acronyms! One guy ordered tea with lunch and got smacked!" Still, it is true that they appear to have been more than kind with the last bunch. I figure they needed warm bodies for the border and anything was better than nothing.

Still, this one is his. And the fellow will know his shit or he will not be cleared. That's it. Because there is no way in hell we want his photo on the wall at Academy. Not if what he does now can prevent it. He may be green and pliable now. We'll see what April brings.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Beauty

There is one composer that I hold in the highest esteem. One whose works just thrust into your soul and shiver you throughout...Ralph Vaughan-Williams.

A London Symphony is what ought to be played at my funeral but this - Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is sheer romance, faultless love, desperate desire, unending devotion...it is God.

Bless anyone capable of making such sounds in the world. And bless that man for putting them all in a row...I needed that beauty just now...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Just a note..

Can I just ask that the universe bitch slap each and every driver of silver, grey, and black vehicles that decline to turn on their lights in the dim light of dawn and/or with fog/rain?

While we're at it - a cosmic wedgie to anyone who doesn't use that lovely improved shoulder to allow faster traffic to pass. That means you, gravel trucks AKA Bane of My Existence.

I'd like to thank all the parents who thought that sending your kids out without even a haphazard attempt at a costume to accost the neighborhood was a reasonable option. I taunted them. Openly. In front of their friends.

A thank you to ye olde video channel for the trip in the wayback machine to Who's Next. And Quadrophenia. Like I didn't feel old enough already. I miss Keith...crazy fucker...still best drummer born - thank goodness we still have Neil Peart.

With that, goodnight.



P.S. Gratuitous drumming - hardcore sexy

Friday, November 02, 2007

Night Shift

Once upon a time when we all lived in the forest...

So goes a favorite book that twists and turns people until their images - what they project - become truly what they are. And on this night, when facades fall with whispery soft tones...I remember...

I used to gather myths, used to know every hero and misstep on their path to fame - and infamy. For me, those ancient tales held kernels of truths and finding another tome made clear all that I knew. Heh...all that I knew...you see, that amuses me because I know very little, indeed, that is of use in the everyday world. Rather than an education, I gathered about me ghosts of the long-dead and their stories. I placed a veneer over the world that made it...palatable.

Arthurian tradition? Badon, I knew. Rhiannon? She bore men against her will as punishment - the torture cleaned up, I am certain, by those romantic Frenchmen. Cretien...Gwynn? Enchanted...held up one night. Poor Hypatia - brought down bloody because she knew two plus two and where the moon would rise. Yes, all these things I could relate but ask me not where that Civil War blood fell. Nor a thing about the proper place for a comma. And a percentage is still limited to slices of a pie.

Sometimes those echoes of a past far gone were deafening and modern marvels were put to good use to back them down. And sometimes ancient tortures, if the mood struck. If the moon was right. Years and years lost to that drowning out - the drowning. Even now, it is rare for those things to rise and press against the surface, to break through and come known again. Forgotten for so very long...

But once a year I give it ear. Anything can be staved off, you see. Anything. As long as you can give it time...later, later. So, the last remaining Waterford goblet and a toast to things...forgotten. Misplaced. Negated. Refused.

Olly Olly Oxen Free!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Día de los Muertos

Though they may be dead, we do not forget them...a lot of memories today...bless and keep them all, Lady and Lord.

(Try to ignore the political nonsense in the background and enjoy the music.)