Monday, September 29, 2008

The Boy: A post-bath interview

Typist: So, you had a big night, did you?

Boy (file photo at right): Um, yeah. I liked the walk part better than the bath part.

Typist: Any idea why you get so smelly and oily?

Boy: Um... well, it is my way. It's what I do.

Typist: Thought about maybe not rolling in stuff in the yard?

Boy: Hey! I don't roll in stuff!

Typist: Really?

Boy: Um, not that much stuff, anyway.

Typist: We're supposed to have company this Friday night. They haven't seen you in years. Think you can stay clean until then?

Boy: Um...

Typist: Because we will give you another bath if you need one.

Boy: Umm... I love you?

Typist: Nice try. I love you, too. Now, try stay clean! Or at least a little less dirty.

Boy: Hey! Look! A toy!

Surprise Farm Report

So, back in June we had proto-cantaloupes. And then we had bacterial wilt. First, it took out the cucumbers, then it made its way over into the neighboring bed and ruined the melon patch. (And before that, a squirrel took part in some under-ripe chomping action, too, which didn't help matters.)

Lately we'd been noticing some growth in the melon patch, but we didn't really want to look at it too hard, lest it get our hopes up again. Cantaloupe seeds remained the only thing we'd planted that hadn't yielded anything edible.

Then, this evening... we noticed that something had gone from greenish to whitish. And The Alpha bent over it to have a closer look and said, "They say when it's ripe, it'll just gently pull right off the stem."

Like that.

Because it did.

Here it is:

(Sorry I didn't include anything to show the scale, but think in terms of a really big grapefruit, and you're almost there.)

We'll probably wait until Wednesday or so, but it certainly seems ready to eat.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's a Johnny Appleseed Friday Five

Over at RevGalBlogPals, SingingOwl writes:
Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!
September 26, 1774 was his birthday. Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.
As Johnny travelled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his service to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations. So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!
1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.) Probably New Mexican Apple Pie, which we discovered on a road trip out west a few years ago. They share their recipe on their website, and we've made it a couple of times, but it's much better if you go to Pie Town to have it.
2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about? My mom was more the tree-planter. We had peaches and apples in the yard thanks to her.

3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not? Oh, yes, it does. While the last dozen years of the same drive north-ish to see family has gotten tiresome, I absolutely love seeing new terrain. We took a 2,000-mile road trip through Texas and New Mexico a few years back, and loved it.

4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours? Umm.... nobody's coming to mind.
5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he travelled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do? Lots of songs come to mind. I have a whole compilation of up-tempo Road Trip songs that I keep in the car. (Great for the open road; not to be used in city traffic.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Forgetting to check on the okra... a Bad Thing.

We now have a case of Okra Madness.

(Dinner fork and The Boy included in the frame to illustrate scale.)

Okra Madness includes Teh Itching from forearms to fingertips.

LOTS of Teh Itching.

Have already washed hands twice. Need to go to work soon, and not be itching when I do.

Ladies who are coming over tonight: Forget ordering pizza. We are having okra.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hospice Dog


Just, wow.

Izzy the dog has a gift.

And is one, too.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The Scene: Living room romp of Angus and weekend guest-dog Jolene, the 80-pound black lab. Muffled growling, copious saliva, much posturing.

They are still playing, right?

The Alpha: Yeah. There's no blood.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall Equinox Friday Five

Over at RevGalBlogPals, Songbird writes: It's that time of year, at least north of the equator. The windows are still open, but the darned furnace comes on early in the morning. [Note from DogBlogger: you're making some Southerners jealous here!] My husband went out for a walk after an early supper and came home in full darkness.

And yes, where we live, leaves are beginning to turn.

As this vivid season begins, tell us five favorite things about fall:

1) A fragrance: That mixture of freshly-mown grass and dried leaves in the air, which is cooler than it has been in months. Preferably on a Friday night, when it evokes the best kind of memories of high school football season.

2) A color: Red. Whenever we take a drive into the mountains in autumn (less often in recent years), I always look for the red trees amid the oranges and yellows.

3) An item of clothing: The faded green, blue, and tan leather jacket I've had since college and have no intention of replacing any time soon.

4) An activity: How 'bout a couple? a) Doing stuff outdoors without sweating; and b) having homemade chili and/or vegetable steak soup.

5) A special day: My birthday is in the autumn!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Overheard less than 3 weeks ago...

The Scene: Swanky high-dollar restaurant which we have no business entering, save that a friend of a friend's large gift certificate won at a charity auction was about to expire

From the conversation at the next table: "I don't see what the big deal is. The economy's just fine!"

Physical restraint was nearly required to keep The Alpha from getting up from his calamari, grabbing and shaking a complete stranger and hollering, "Sure, if you're RICH!"

Our table's point has now been proven, we believe.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guest blogger: The Boy

Hey! It's me! The Boy!



Have you heard about Buddy?

Buddy is what we call a dog hero around here. He helps. Good dogs can help. I'm a good dog, and I can help eat things, and help go check the mail, but I don't think I could help like Buddy can help.

Buddy is very smart. He knows how to dial 911.

They tell me I'm smart, but I'm not smart that way. I'm smart when I need to figure out where The Alpha is hiding my dumbbell. Or my treat. Or how to get into the patio when they think they've blocked my door. Or how to tell them I haven't been fed (which they sometimes call "lying" if I just ate).

So, woofs to Smart Buddy! Hooray!


This weekend I learned of a wonderful development in the life of a close friend. We hadn't talked for months, but ours is one of those college friendships that easily picks up right where we left off. In these last couple of months, she has found what seems to be the love of her life.

She was my maid of honor twelve years ago, and has not yet been married herself. Highly successful, brilliant, and pretty, she's good at reaching lofty goals, but this one area has been lacking. I think those days are over.

After talking with her yesterday afternoon, getting the full story of the last two months straight from the source, I found the grin she left on my face wouldn't go away for hours. And it's back this morning.

Nothing's official yet, but I have been advised to look forward to the summer of 2009.

What a gift.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Snowy visit in September

I dreamt of my girl last night.

It was a little surreal... but then, it was a dream, after all.

The Boy and his friend Frodo were playing in the back yard, in an inch or two of snow. We were inside watching from the living room. I looked over to the corner of the room, and at the other end of that wall of windows, there stood Cub.

She was standing in the snow, but in our living room, which seemed to be perfectly normal, given the situation. She watched the boy dogs play in the yard, and she watched us watching her, too.

I still miss her, but I'm glad she came for a visit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A first

Senior year in college, my voice teacher focused on teaching me more practical things than Italian arias (thank the Lord). He told me, "Some day you're going to be asked to sing for a wedding, and some day you're going to be asked to sing for a funeral. Let's get you ready."

The first wedding was for The Alpha's little sister, back in 2000. The first funeral was today.

It was a graveside service for the mother and grandmother of dear friends; someone I'd never met, but who was obviously a wonderful woman of faith who loved her family. I can see that love in her descendants.

"Amazing Grace" was one of her favorite songs. I sang three verses, a cappella. Her family thanked me, but I too, was grateful to be able to help in this way.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wonder, awe, praise, and paw print

In Bible study tonight, one exercise involved drawing an image of praise -- either something that inspires your worship of God or that you somehow connect with realizing the wonder and awe of God. Most of us drew nature-type things... I had fun with sun, moon, stars, flowers, Denali.

One fellow student, though, drew a paw print. God was the center of the print, and other paw pads were awe, wonder, and praise. She said that dogs are so good at being full of joy, and showing us unconditional love, that they inspire praise in her.

And I told her the name of my blog.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is it Halloween yet?

(This post is dedicated to SpookyRach. Because we know she'll love it.)

Those of you who know The Alpha know that his favorite time of year is Halloween.

Some of you have been to our Stately Manor and heard the tale of the dead Baptist preacher haunting The Alpha's closet.

Usually Dead Preacher just stinks up the place with his cologne (I mean, come on, it's been at least 9 years since cologne was used in that location! The Alpha doesn't play like that. He smells like soap). But recently, we noticed our buddy Dead Preacher got a little more active.

You see, it's getting close enough to Halloween now that The Alpha has begun considering ideas for haunting our front yard. Usually we're doing something at church on the big night so we don't decorate much at home. But this year, with the move to the new building in the mix, the church is taking a year off from such festivities. Which means home-haunting is on.

So The Alpha went digging around in his closet (Dead Preacher's closet) last week looking for his creepy sound effects CDs. He couldn't find his favorite one. When he asked me about it, I pulled one out of the rack on the computer desk. "That's not the really scary one. I can't find the best one." But he took that CD, stored it in his closet with the other Halloweeny CDs that he'd located, and continued to look for the missing CD.

Days passed.

One evening The Alpha walks into the living room.

"Where did you find this?" he asks me, holding up the heretofore missing CD.

"I didn't," says I. "Where'd you find it?"

"On the shelf of the closet, right next to the other ones."


It's a likely scenario to think that Dead Preacher wouldn't have been that fond of Halloween while he was on this side of things. So I could get why he might abscond with "Haunted House Horrors" to protect us from de debil and whatnot (seriously, go listen to it). But now, being dead and all, shouldn't he be much more aware of the big picture? Maybe that's why he returned it?

Can ghosts still learn? Broaden their theological horizons? Change their minds?

Or is The Alpha just not very good at finding stuff in his closet?

We may never know the truth. (But the truth is out there.)

Monday, September 1, 2008


It appears that Hurricane Gustav, while it packed a punch, was certainly no Katrina or Rita. Thank God for that. Of course there's still damage, and recovery work will be needed. But for now, I'm breathing a tentative sigh of relief for friends and family of friends, though the extent of the damage remains to be seen.