Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014!


Windows Hate



My first computer had an operating system called Windows 3.1. It was okay, if not a little confusing at first. Then Microsoft came out with Windows 95 (in 1995 coincidently) and it was an improvement. It was what you would call intuitive. Since that time Microsoft has kept coming out with tweaks and adjustments to that basic operating system, renaming it, but still keeping the familiar form. 

My big present this Christmas was a new computer from Mark. I appreciate it, it comes with a lot more power, more memory, and more storage than what I had. What I don't like, in fact what I hate about it, is the new operating system that it comes with, Windows 8. At first glance there is nothing at all familiar. The opening screen is a bunch of giant colored blocks with flashy graphics. I was lost. Where were my programs, where were my documents supposed to go. The longer I poked around the more my head felt like it would explode. In fact if it weren't for the fact that my old computer was still operating and connected to the internet, I wouldn't have been able to figure out my ass from an asterisk. I had to Google everything, from how to find and open an 'app' (previously called programs) to how do I close the damn thing after I'm done. Missing from Windows 8 is the program group called Works that included a word processor that I have used since 2007 to write so many brilliant posts. Also missing, the Windows Movie Maker program that I used for making all my hilarious Alicia videos. Worst offense of all for Windows 8, no solitaire! I clicked on the giant green square marked 'games', and no Solitaire, no Freecell, no Spider Solitaire, no Hearts game. It's a travesty, none of the classic Windows card games come with Windows 8. I mean that is some crazy shit, it pretty much makes the damn thing useless.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Just New Years and then Done!



Well it's over, Christmas is over and I am not sorry to see it go. Two months of insipid commercials on the television. One month of insanity on the roads and in the stores. Finally, Mark and I can drive someplace and I don't have to listen to Mark wail like a howler monkey at the other drivers. On the gift giving front, I managed to make it without going too far into debt. The pressure of having to buy somebody something has been lifted from my mind. I know I sound like a Scrooge, but if you know that Mark and I both have birthdays within two days of Christmas you would understand the increased pressure I feel to come up with extra gifts. And speaking of gifts, Bette just left her Christmas gift for me under the Christmas tree. A warm puddle of pee. I know, it's the thought that counts.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Dogs, Christmas, and a New Operating System

I previously posted this video on my facefook page, but not everybody is my friend so I'm re-posting it here. Also, if I suddenly fall off the face of the Earth, it is Mark's fault. He bought me a new computer for Christmas and I intend to start migrating my files over to that computer today. The new computer has Windows 8 on it, and I hear that there is a steep learning curve when using that OS. For twenty five years I was a "computer" person, and now my biggest fear is that technology is passing me by. My cassette tapes are obsolete, my cds are very close to obsolete, my vhs tapes might as well go into the garbage can, and now I hear DVDs and Blu Ray are close to biting the dust. Anyway, enjoy the video. It might be up there for quite a while.

video

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bar Rules

There are rules when you walk into a bar. Different rules for different bars, but they all have rules, and you should be aware of those before you go blasting into a place with your own agenda. I knew something was amiss when I looked up from my drink and saw a man, shirtless, with man boobs, little pink nipples, and a smattering of gray hairs on his chest walk past me. He was heavily cruising the place. It was readily apparent that this was a tourist from the frigid north by his pasty skin, the Pillsbury Doughboy has more melatonin than he did. My bar of choice is mixed, meaning it has men and women that frequent it. Not only that, it is owned by a lesbian. I'm sure she's quite worldly but still, I don't think she wants to see middle aged men walking around her bar shirtless. As the guy strutted around the bar you could hear groans of disgust, with not all of them coming from the women. Finally one of the bartenders laid down the law. It was Debbie who yelled to the guy, "Hey you! If I can't walk around with my shirt off neither can you. Put the damn shirt on!"

Monday, December 23, 2013

Spoon Fed

Klink, clank, clank, klink...
    "What's all the noise in there." Mark screams from the bedroom.
    "Just trying to find a decent spoon to eat my cereal with. Why the hell are there so many spoons in here anyway?"
I go through this every morning, the great spoon hunt. It's not like there are no spoons in the drawer, in fact it is jammed full of spoons. The problem is only two of them are suitable for eating with. We must have fifty of them in the drawer and forty eight of them have ragged, tongue and lip shredding edges on them

I spent fifty one years without a garbage disposal. My mom didn't have one in her sink, and when I escaped from the nest I never had a home with a garbage disposal either. That is until twelve years ago when Mark talked me into having one installed along with a dishwasher. The first two years we had that thing I was terrified of it. My worst fear was that I would drop something down there and as soon as I was wrist deep into the machine, trying to retrieve the thing I had dropped in there, Mark would walk over and flip the switch on the wall 'by accident'. I still don't feel all that comfortable sticking my hand down there. It has been useful a couple of times as a means to dispose of some of those giant, two inch long cockroaches we have down here. They often are in the sink when I turn on the lights, and apparently the gaping hole at the bottom of the sink looks like a good escape route for them. So getting back on the subject of those spoons, there is another sound in the kitchen that I can recognize from the other side of the house.
Klackity, klackity, klackity, klackity.....
It's the sound of Mark dropping another spoon down the garbage disposal.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Alanland Diaries

Last night I took Mark to see a one man show called The Santaland Diaries. As I have with every new purchase this week, with every dining out experience, and with every drink I pay for, I tried to pass it off as Mark's birthday present.
     "Happy birthday Mark. Enjoy the show."
     "You better be kidding."
The trouble is, I was not. Now I have to scramble around to find the perfect birthday present for Mark. As of now I am thinking towards one of those cash cards. Or, I could just stick a fifty dollar bill in a card, kind of like grandma used to do, only with no zero behind it... and a one instead of a five. Anyway, Mark enjoyed the show which is based upon a book by David Sedaris. Unfortunately this show did not star David Sedaris. The guy who did it was okay, he made me laugh, but I love David Sedaris. Anyway, here is a sample of the book as spoken by David Sedaris.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Week Before Christmas

It was a week before Christmas and all through the place
not a creature was stirring except for the one licking my face.
The dogs were all nestled all snug in my bed
with barely enough room for my feet and my head.

When suddenly outside there were such loud crashes
that I ran out there wearing my little white britches.
Next to the pool there were cats fighting coons.
making the dogs go crazy, and run around in the room.

The excitement caused Betté to go into a panic.
As she ran through the house, Betté was manic.
Her bladder not able to take all the pressure,
she squatted and peed right next to the dresser.

Unable to deal, Mark let out a scream
as Bette's hot urine came out in a stream.
She does this quite often, she has a weak bladder,
which makes this story come out a bit sadder.

She pees on the floor, and by the back door,
sometimes in the hall, while fetching a ball.
On tile, on carpet, on clothing and towels
Betté even will stop and empty her bowels.

So I chased off the coons, and cleaned up the mess.
I made it a point to not get depressed.
I got me some vodka, poured it over some ice.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all, try to be nice.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Crabby

You would think that after the last two evening's dinners I would have lost some weight. No, not because I was fed some low calorie, low fat, small portioned dinners. It's because I had to work for my food. I had to work hard. On Monday night Mark made crab legs for dinner, and last night our friend Russell took us out for lobster. So for two nights in a row I was cracking, splitting, peeling, and sucking the meat out of crustaceans. There was juice flying everywhere, and bits of shell slicing into my fingers. Hard work, it was hard work and a mess. I hate to work that hard for my dinner, that's why I never order peel and eat shrimp. My friend Dennis once took me to a breakfast restaurant in Albuquerque that had toasters on the table. Once again, I don't want to work for my meal. I expect buttered toast delivered to me by a waitress when I go out for breakfast. So last night I left that seafood restaurant feeling bloated. You would have thought that with all that work it took to get to that meat, it would have been a zero sum dinner. Apparently not. apparently eating two pounds of crab legs, and two whole lobsters will bloat you no matter how hard you have to work for it. Oh, and that baked potato didn't help either.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Soft Serve

Monday, dog walking day at Abandoned Pet Rescue. My knees hurt, my bad eyesight has given me a permanent headache, and I just don't feel like walking a bunch of orphan dogs through a poop strewn field next to the train tracks. Unfortunately for the dogs, they have no choice in the matter. If I don't show up to walk them, they might not get walked. So I suck it up and do my duty. Speaking of duty, for some reason every single dog I walked yesterday had diarrhea. It is quite disgusting standing there with a poop bag on my hand, ready for the cleanup, and watching a dog squirt yesterday's dinner into the grass. What I do in this case, is bend over the puddle of poo and make a quick sweep grabbing bits of grass and a little dirt. It looks like I've done my job, and I don't have to actually touch the mess. It isn't just cleaning up after the dogs that had me down yesterday. I also had my problems getting them ready for the walk. One in particular took me five minutes to get a harness on. Every time I got one leg through the damn thing she'd jump up at me. She had crazy eyes that seemed to be pleading with me to get her out of there, and I don't mean just for a quick walk and a poop. When I was on my fifth dog, things changed. She was a stray that had been taken in just the day before. This dog was a lover. At one point I stopped and sat down in the grass (Making sure it wasn't a spot I had walked another dog over earlier). She pressed up against me, gave me a quick kiss, and then lay down across my lap. I had fallen in love again. Again I wanted to take another dog home with me. I quickly put that idea out of my head and we continued our walk. Yes, she did stop on the way back to the shelter to take a dump. Yes, it was a sloppy mess. It didn't matter, I was fine with it and cleaned it all up.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Turnips

What, me worry?
I have always considered myself to be pretty savvy and difficult to fool. I always read about older people who get bamboozled out of their life savings by some huckster who comes to the door, and I think that would never happen to me.

    "Ma'am, I'm from the Office of Home Owners Who Don't Know Squat About the House They Live In, and I am here to inspect your foundation."
    "Oh sure come right on in."
    "Ma'am, you have a crack in your sub-piling that holds up the area directly under your bedroom. I'll have to make sure the floors in your bedroom aren't about to buckle and send you plummeting into your sub-standard basement."
    "Oh, by all means."
    "And Ma'am, could you point out exactly where all your cash and jewelry is located?"

No, not me. I'm not some clown who just fell off the turnip truck.

Last week we went to the Eastside Neighbors Association holiday party. Mark and I sat at a table with one of my neighbors, sipping wine and whining about the cost of insurance here in Florida. Mrs. Neighbor was shocked to find out that my house isn't paid off.
    "But haven't you lived in that house for quite a while Alan?"
    "Twenty years."
    "And you haven't refinanced it? If you refinanced, then took that money and paid off the mortgage, and then took the money you saved by refinancing and paid off the refinancing, you would save so much money that... "
I had no idea what the hell she was talking about. It sounded like those old voodoo economics, but I figured I would check it out anyway. So when I got home from the party I went on the internet and found a home refinancing calculator. I plugged in all the appropriate numbers and information, then I hit the calculate button. I found that even with a lower rate of interest I wouldn't be saving any money worth mentioning. What I didn't know is that this bank's website would take all my information and turn it over to a bunch of 'mortgage' companies. Since the moment I hit enter on that website my email inbox has been flooded with bullshit offers. Not just for refinancing my house, but for everything from boner pills, to remodeling. That isn't the worst part of it. Every day since then I have been receiving phone calls from mortgage companies and banks, with most of those calls coming during the dinner hour. I don't know how many different ways there are to scream obscenities into the phone, but I've come up with a lot of them. My only fear is that if I was stupid enough to give some random website enough information to cause this, what will happen as I get older? Is my brain atrophying at an accelerated rate? Or could it just have been the wine from the holiday party?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mark's Birthday Present

I took Mark to see Book of Mormon last night for his birthday (It's ten days from now). The show was vulgar, blasphemous, sarcastic, and I loved it.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hoover

I'm glad that Chandler has reached full maturity and no longer eats everything he sees. For instance, the little lizards that run rampant around here, Chandler has discovered over the years that they taste awful and will make you puke. He still catches them. He will carry them around in his mouth like a trophy until they stop squirming, and then he drops them. Not so Bette. She is a furry little vacuum, sucking up every morsel, every leaf, every everything that is on the ground in front of her. Last night she kept sitting on her rump while we were on our evening walk. She would sit, and then turn and try to lick her poop chute. So I shined the flashlight on her rear and discovered that she had a half a turd protruding from her rectum. I put one of the poop bags on my hand and gave the offending turd a tug. It popped out readily, but attached to it was what appeared to be a rubber band that stretched out at least a foot before snapping clear of her little bunghole. This came after the big scare she gave us last Sunday night. All appeared normal Sunday until her late night walkies. That was when she started showing signs of drunkenness, jitteriness, and other odd behavior. My first suspicion was that she had got a hold of some liquor, but there was no evidence of that. I do remember dropping an Excedrin on the floor a few days earlier that disappeared somewhere. I gave up searching for it, but it was possible that Bette had found it. And then there are Mark's meds. He has many, and he often fails to put the cap back on the bottles. What ever it was she ate, by the time we took her to the vet in the morning it was already wearing off. Still, we left her there to get some fluids to flush her system, and some blood work to make sure everything was good with her. Two hundred and thirty dollars it cost to find out that she is perfectly healthy, and that whatever she ate had been flushed. I'm just glad Mark didn't put any tinsel on the Christmas tree this year. I'm sure I'd be pulling a lot of that out of her butt hole.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What Would You Do?

Let me get the worst part about this story over with right now. The dog is dead. It was picked up by animal control and put to death almost immediately because of it's age and the fact that her owners were homeless, drunken, assholes.

Three families on our block were made homeless Monday because of a fire in their building. That wasn't their fault, and I feel badly for them. Three days earlier two other families were made homeless because they didn't pay their rent and were evicted from the building directly across the street from me. The first family evicted was a gay guy and his boyfriend, along with his dog. This guy at least took his dog with him to where ever it was he went off to. What he didn't do, was take his cats with him. This has happened before in that building. That's how I inherited the late Fat Kitty. This time I've inherited a beautiful orange and white cat that I've been feeding out on the porch for the last week. I don't know what happened to his other cats, but I suspect animal control grabbed them when they grabbed the other tenant's dog.

Ah, the other tenants. I've written about them before. Once when she, standing out on the street in her night gown, warned me of alien ships landing down the street. I've been told that they blew through a fifty thousand dollar windfall in only a few months, and ended up getting evicted for not paying rent. What they blew the money on is anybody's guess. My guess is alcohol, drugs, and more alcohol. In the days before the looming eviction I kept asking them if they had plans, and what about Lady Bird, their dog.
    "Oh she's coming with us. We'll be okay." I was told.
Well they were evicted last week and I assumed that the dog was "okay". It was not.

Chandler likes to poop along the fence next to the church parking lot. Last Thursday night when he stopped to drop his load, I noticed the drunks from across the street had parked their old car in the church lot. It was very uncomfortable and awkward. Me with Chandler pooping and them a couple of feet away, drunk out of their minds, arguing about something. Do I say hello, or should I just pretend I don't see my former neighbors homeless and drunk at ten in the evening?
    "Hi there Chandler. Look Alan brought Chandler to visit." Mrs. Drunk Lady slurred.
    "Uh, hi guys. How's it going?" I asked, ignoring the obvious.
    "Shut the fuck up..  you... you, I told you..." Her husband sputtered at her.
It was one of those nights where Chandler did his extra long, dance around in a circle poops.
    "You got Lady Bird with you?" I asked.
    "Oh yeah, don't worry about her.. she's fine...." her voice trailing off.
The next morning I walked Chandler and they were still there with beer cans scattered about next to the old station wagon. This time I ignored them. He was asleep in the front seat, and she was stumbling around outside the car. By Chandler's afternoon walk all four doors of the car were open, the woman seemed to have a scrape on her face, and the husband was the one stumbling around outside the car. Again, very awkward for me.
    "C'mon Chandler, hurry up and poop." I hissed.
On the third day they moved the car to a different spot but still in the church parking lot. I was glad to see that. I figured Chandler could poop and maybe we could get out of there before they saw us. As Chandler squatted the husband wandered over our way.
    "I don't know what happened to the dog." he mumbled, and then turned to walk back to the car. I could see shit stains running down his pant leg as he walked away.
    "She's gone, that's all." Mrs. Drunk called out in a raspy voice, not even looking my way.
I felt bad, I felt bad about their dog, and I felt bad that they were homeless. Like I said, it made me very uncomfortable, they had been my neighbors. So this time I decided to do something about this situation. When I got home with Chandler and Bette, I picked up the phone and I called the police. They were not in the church parking lot the next time I walked by with my dogs. Finally I was comfortable again walking past the church. Was I wrong?
   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Smoke

Mark says that I'm an old biddy like Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched. That's because I know almost all my neighbors, and I like to stop and swap scuttlebutt and scandals. Anyway, so much has happened around here the last few days that I am going to tell you about it in two parts starting with yesterday. Oh, and none of these stories are very lighthearted.

It was around eight fifteen in the morning and I was on the phone to my veterinarian's office. Bette had got into something bad the night before and she was walking around the house like a drunk, all wobbly and falling down (more about that later). So I'm talking to the lady at the vet's office when the room starts filling with smoke.
    "You can bring her in at nine thirty." The lady said.
    "Oh my god, the house is on fire!"
    "I see. So is nine thirty alright with you?"
    "Hack, hack...  yes fine... gotta go. House on fire!"
I ran to the front door just as Mark came coughing out of the bedroom. In a panic we both ran out the door into thick smoke that was laying across the back yard like a fog. We could hear the fire engines screaming down our street as smoke came billowing over the roof of the house, so we went around to the front to see where the fire was. Now Mark says that I disappeared into the smoke and abandoned him without checking to see if he was okay. True that he has breathing problems and this dense smoke was not in his best interest, but I assumed that as a grown man he would know enough to get the hell out of the smoke.
    "All I saw was you fading off into the smoke. I could have been passed out over here and you wouldn't even know it." Mark cried.

No, our house wasn't on fire. It was a house on the other side of the street, and it was quite dramatic with firemen breaking windows and paramedics pushing stretchers down the street. Luckily, nobody was seriously injured. Unluckily, now three families are homeless with all of their belongings ruined.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Merry Christmas Mark

There was no pleasant Christmas music, no flurry of colorful wrapping paper being greedily ripped from a package. Only me in my office, doing all I could do to not take Mark's Christmas present and smash it on the floor. It wasn't Christmas morning, but I wanted Mark to have his present right away. After all, I was paying for the damn thing, he might as well use it. I had charged his new iphone overnight and it was ready to be activated. In addition to the iphone, I was also going to activate the grandpa phone I had got for myself. Three hours. It took three hours from the time I opened the iphone box to the time I was able to make a phone call on it. This is why I hate to upgrade to new technology. Yes, I know the iphone is not new, but it is new for me and Mark. Up until Saturday we had been living in the past with non-smart, or ignorant cell phones. During the three hours it took to activate Mark's phone, I talked to two nice ladies in India, I chatted on-line with another lady (I'd guess also in India just by the fake sounding name), and I used every curse word my dad had taught me along with some new ones I have discovered over the years. It was all worth it. For the first time ever, I have given Mark an expensive Christmas present that he not only wanted, but that he was very happy to have, and he is using it. Over on the sun porch where Bette pees is the sewing machine from a couple of years ago. I don't think he has even put thread in the thing. On the counter in the kitchen is the five hundred dollar blender, which he has used about a dozen times. So to actually see Mark using his new Christmas present does make me feel good. He can now join the crowd at the bar with their heads bowed, and the soft glow of an iphone lighting up their faces. Oh, and that grandpa phone I got for myself, it took fifteen minutes from box to activation.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Call Me!

Mark's Christmas present arrived today. It's an iphone 5s. It's okay that I'm writing about it here, Mark is the one who told me to get it, and if it isn't under the tree on Christmas morning I'd never hear the end of it. The phones Mark and I have now are about four years old. For a cell phone that is ancient. It became apparent that we needed new phones the evening Mark dropped his in a bar toilet. It has had piss poor reception ever since. I never have liked the phone I've been using for the last four years. It has a touch screen that when I touch it, because of my fat fingers, the wrong thing always happens. I've called Puerto Rico by accident at least three times. It's also hard to see the screen with my bad eyesight. When the phone rings, by the time I put on my glasses and figure out which way to slide the 'unlock' thingy and answer it, most of my calls go to voice mail. I have hated my cell phone since the day I got it, so when I ordered a new one for Mark I also ordered one for me.

No, not the iphone 5s, not any iphone nor smart phone. I went back in time and got myself one of those old timey cell phones with the big buttons for dialing and a simple screen that tells me what number is being dialed, or who is calling me. Nothing else. It doesn't have apps, it doesn't talk to me, I can't take a photo with it, and I cannot play Candy Crush. I can only call and be called. It feels so good to be back in the twentieth century again, when times were simpler, and technology hadn't yet turned young people into texting zombies, when people actually talked to each other in bars.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Greetings From Alicia and Alexis




 Here is the video Kim requested, also the reason we switched to an artificial Xmas tree.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

It's Criminal

I was watching the local news yesterday and the lead story was about some asshole who painted KKK on a number of buildings and school buses, including a Jewish women's center. The graffiti included the symbol for anarchy, and a bull's eye on each location. Yes, it's a pain in the ass for the people who have to clean that up. Yes, it's scary for the people who it was targeting. Yes, the moron who did this should be found, arrested, and made to pay both financially and punitively. Here is the only problem I have with what the police spokesperson was saying. She said it was being considered a "hate" crime, and the person who did, if caught, would be charged with the extra crime of hate. I have never understood this. Hate is an emotion. How can you make an emotion illegal? I don't see it as any different than making love or desire a crime. The crime here was vandalism. Now if it is vandalism to intimidate certain people, say so. Make that the crime, not hate. A lot of people have killed their husbands, wives, and lovers out of hate. Does that make it a worse crime? Is the person more dead because hate instigated it? Unfortunately Americans are a simple minded people in many ways. Look how easy it was for the W. Bush administration to talk us into war. We are burdened with horrible politicians because of our simple mindedness. We can't handle nuance, we vote for good looks, good speeches, and for what seems cool to us. Making laws that call one thing a hate crime and another vandalism is simply politicians pandering to the gut instinct. It's as stupid as calling stalking somebody you are obsessed with, a 'love' crime.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

And So It Begins

There I was, laying back in my giant recliner chair, the drone of Sunday Night Football lulling me to sleep, when I was suddenly awakened by a loud squeak behind me.
    "When are you going to clean the living room so I can start my Christmas decorating?"
    "Um sure, first thing tomorrow."
    "I want it now!" the squeak continued.
The funny thing is that no matter how much you try, if I am not ready to do something, it won't get done. The last time I gave in to Mark's cajoling, I put his new medicine chest up crooked. It is still hanging there in his bathroom, two years later, as crooked as a politician. If you want me to do something right, you have to let me do it in my own time. My own time runs much slower than most time, but things do get done eventually. So Monday afternoon I was laying back in my giant recliner chair, the drone of an old TMC movie lulling me to sleep, when I suddenly bolted upright in the chair. Crap, I'd promised Mark I'd clean the living room. Mark was out shopping, something he does a lot of in the months before Christmas. I knew he'd be home soon so I put it in gear. It's amazing how much you can make it look like you've been doing a lot in a short time. I moved three chairs out of the living room, took one minute. I moved the little table by the front door, took thirty seconds. I dragged the vacuum out of the closet, grabbed the broom and dust mop and propped them up in the living room, and then I sprayed a lot of Lemon Pledge around the room, all in a few minutes. Just in time too, because Mark came storming into the house as I was preparing to sit back down.
    "Go out and get my packages out of the car." He announced as he looked around the living room, pleased with what he saw.

Next time I'll tell you all how I can make it look like I've been working my ass off in the yard simply by rearranging a few lawn chairs, and spraying a bit of water on my face and under my arms.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mark is Evil and Mean


So last Thursday, Thanksgiving, Mark and I went to our friend's lovely home for dinner. I have to say, other than some gas issues after dinner and some rustic dinner table conversation thanks to the fact that there were only men there, dinner was fantastic. Cocktails and a parade of appetizers started off the evening. So many appetizers that by the time our hosts announced dinner was ready, I was almost full. The opening soup helped me overcome my desire to stop eating. It was a puree of green beans and cheese, it was delicious. Here's the best part about Thanksgiving dinner, Mark didn't cook it. I didn't have to clean up. I was even invited to lay down on the living room floor and nap after dinner as the tryptophan did it's job. I didn't actually do that. Instead I had another vodka cocktail before saying goodnight, pleased that I had avoided the annual ritual of cleaning up after Mark.

Early Friday I became aware of some activity in the kitchen, so I stuck my head around the corner and peeked in there.
    "What's going on?"
    "I'm making dinner." Mark said with his arm buried halfway up a turkey's butt. "I'm cooking the stuffing inside it, just the way you like it."
    "But we just had turkey yesterday and I'm still recovering. I was so tired I fell asleep on the toilet this morning. How do you expect me to eat another full Thanksgiving dinner?"
    "I know, but I miss going through the motions of a holiday meal."
So on Friday evening we had a full Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, string beans, candied yams, cranberry sauce, wine, and a mess in the kitchen. Exactly what I thought I had avoided, tons of dirty dishes, dirty pots and pans, and bits of food and grease everywhere. I am absolutely positive Mark did it because I had been so ecstatic about us not having the big meal at our house this year. Well, it's not all bad. Saturday we had leftovers for dinner. On Sunday we had turkey pot pie. Today there is turkey soup on the stove, and in the fridge there is still a pile of turkey stuffing made just the way I like it.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy BirthThanksHanukkahgiving Day

Thanksgiving is also my second sister's (out of seven) birthday. It's also Hanukkah, but I'm not Jewish so I don't know what that means. Those Menorah candles would look great on second sister's birthday cake though. Here's a couple of photos of Thanksgiving 1963. Same table, same time, taken from two directions to get everybody in. Thanksgiving 1963, our family had just moved into our new house that month, President Kennedy had been assassinated just a few days before, and puberty was hitting me like a Mike Tyson punch.

Grandpa, Sister #4, Mom, Sister #2, Sister #3, Grandma.

Dad, Brother #1, Brother #3, Me (looking sharp in my t-shirt), Brother #2, Mom's sister/my Aunt.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Schnauzer Model SPL-TXC122A Paper Shredder

Mark has been collecting Broadway window posters lately. He's got quite a few and plans on selling the ones he doesn't want on Ebay. I was impressed with the value of some of them. For instance, he has a poster for the show Sunset Boulevard that he paid under twenty dollars for. Its estimated worth is two hundred dollars. This got me to thinking. I had a poster in my antique trunk that I acquired in San Francisco back in 1978. It was from the radio station KSAN, and it was a give away at the time. I Googled it, and it turns out that yes, it is worth something. So I pulled it out of the trunk and set it down in my office, carefully laying pillows over it to protect it. My plan was to open an Ebay account and sell it (along with a bunch of Mark's crap without him knowing it). Yesterday I was sitting at my computer, not paying much attention to my surroundings, when I realized something was going on behind me. Paper rustling, and ripping, along with the muted snarls of a dog. I spun around in my chair just in time to see Bette tear a large chunk from my KSAN poster. Along side the large pieces were many small bits, and on the poster itself, puppy teeth marks everywhere. What is left of my poster is not worth lining the bottom of a kitty litter box. Oh, and that piece of red paper next to it is what is left of a Netflix envelope and DVD. I'm still not sure how I'm going to return that.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Bondage & Discipline

How to Harness a Dog
By Alan.
Alan takes no responsibility for lost dogs, strangled dogs, dog bites, temper tantrums, or the accuracy of any of this information.


  1. Choose an appropriate harness from the hundreds of styles offered. The harness manufacturers have purposely made them difficult and hope that you pick the wrong one and have to buy at least five more before you find the one that works for your dog.
  2. Approach your dog with the harness spread open with the leg loops for the dog's front legs ready. Figuring out which of the many loops are for the dog's legs is part of the fun. It usually takes two or three tries before you do figure this out.
  3. Set the leg loops on the ground and set your dog's front legs in the leg loops, pulling the harness up the dog's legs quickly. Now do it again because the dog has gone into it's excited going for walkies dance and pulled away from you. On the third try you should be able to accomplish this feat. If after three tries you still can't get the harness up the front legs of your dog, return to the pet store and buy another model.
  4. Connect the rest of the harness around the dog's belly. Usually a plastic clip enables you to easily do this if you have not put the harness on backwards. Two out of three times you will have put the harness on backwards. Don't get discouraged... yet.
  5. Cinch the harness up so that it is not too loose. This is done with little buckle like things with loops of harness running through them. You either pull the loop all the way through to make the harness tighter, or you push it through the other way. I have no idea which way to do it. If you go at it for an hour or so, you should eventually come close to getting it right.
  6. You are now ready to walk your dog in a civilized manner, without choking the poor thing. Hopefully you got everything right. However, you might want to consider also using the old fashioned collar and a second leash, just to be sure.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunday With Shy-Ann

Me and Shy-Ann
Sunday morning I got up early, walked my dogs, then I took a shower and headed over to Abandoned Pet Rescue. It was the Cause 4 Paws pet walk and parade in Victoria Park, and I was taking one of the APR dogs over there for a morning of fun. Cause 4 Paws is an event put on by the Victoria Park neighborhood association to benefit Abandoned Pet Rescue, so it is the one thing everybody who volunteers turns out for.  Again this year it was a beautiful sunny and warm day. Perhaps it was a bit too warm, because by the end of the pet walk through the neighborhood, and the pet parade through the park, I was shvitzn. I was tired, sweat was soaking my under titties and under arms, and I wanted to go home. So I called Mark and told him to come get me and Shy-Ann, the dog I had brought with me. Luckily, I dropped off the dog and got home just in time to watch the Chicago Bears football game, which was my plan all along. I know I shouldn't whine about how darn hot it is here on a late November Sunday, especially when all my northern friends are whining about how darn cold it is where they are. But it makes me happy, so I do.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Street Smarts

He came steadily down the middle of the busy street even though there is a sidewalk. He was leaning slightly forward and walking as if he were falling, catching himself with each step. His hair was a mix of gray and dirty brown, he had bags under his eyes, and on the back of his short, shorts he wore a fanny pack. This happened yesterday while I was volunteering at Abandoned Pet Rescue. I took the dog I was walking and crossed quickly over to the railroad tracks, giving the stumble bum more than enough room and making sure that no eye contact was made. I didn't make it to sixty three years old without learning a few things, and one of those things I learned was to carefully avoid crazy people.


When I first moved into the big city, I continued to live as if I were living on that quiet suburban street thirty five miles out. I remember one of the first nights living in Chicago and I couldn't sleep. Somebody's car alarm was wailing up the block. So at two in the morning I put on my pants and shoes, and went out to find the offender. I found the car, but I soon realized that there was nothing I could do about it, so I went back to the apartment and called the police. The lady at the other end of the phone took my information and in a monotone voice and very few words suggested that I was an idiot. I learned to live with the city noise. To this day I keep a box fan running in my bedroom all night. It does a good job of drowning most noises out including screams. Over the years I have learned not to give money to the beggars on Michigan Avenue. As I advised Mark, "They are like cats. Once they see that you're an easy mark they'll keep bugging you." It only took him a few times walking up and down Michigan Avenue to realize that he was spending more on the beggars than he was on his precious shopping. I've also learned to avoid walking past a large group of young men when there is nobody else on the street. I've learned that when a pretty lady dressed like a hooker starts a conversation, she is a hooker. There are a lot of lessons I have learned in the forty three years since I moved out of the town I grew up in. The best lesson of all though, is that I don't need a gun. I don't need a conceal and carry permit so that I can stuff a gun down my pants. That is because on the two occasions that I have had a gun pulled on me, there is no way I could have out Quick Draw McGrawed the person with the gun. The first occasion of having a gun stuck against my head I was driving a taxi, and on the second occasion I was clerking overnight at a Seven Eleven store. So that is another lesson I learned in the big city. Don't take a shitty job.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bad Bitch

I think, or I thought that I was doing a pretty good job with Bette. She's been getting better at walking on the leash. Her toilet habits have improved. She almost always hits the puppy pads, all four that I put down every day. Lately however, she has been challenging other dogs when we go out for our walks. This gets Chandler all riled up and I usually end up having to drag them both away from the offending pups. It doesn't matter how large the dog, Bette wants a piece of them. Then last night she snapped at Mark. This isn't the first time this has happened. I told Mark that he can't surprise a sleeping dog. Gently wake her up, stroke her a couple of times, and then move her or pick her up. I actually think Bette is trying out for alpha dog here in our house. She has even been bossing Chandler around lately.

Yesterday Bette went to the beauty parlor. She got a nice new hairdo, a bath, and she came out smelling like a rose. What surprised me was when the groomer, Bianca, came out and scolded me.
    "You know she bites don't you?"
    "Well yes, she's been snapping at Mark and nipping at me lately. I just thought that was a puppy thing."
    "See these scratches up and down both my arms?" The nice lady asked me. "That's from her. So miss Bette and I had a conversation."
True, I had noticed how obedient Bette was acting around her. Especially when she quietly backed a few inches away from Bianca and sat facing her.
    "How'd you do that?" I asked.
It turns out that not only is Bianca a groomer, she trains dogs. I just figured Bette was so small, why bother going through all the training I put Chandler through? The fact is small dogs need more training. They are just little bitches that will take advantage of you if you don't train them early. So right then and there Bianca gave me a quick lesson on teaching Bette who is the actual alpha dog in the house, and how to get her to stop biting. It was amazing to see it work almost immediately. So now I have Chandler trained, Bette is well on her way to being trained, and one day I hope to have Mark trained.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Lives Left

I sat down three hours ago sincerely intent upon writing my new children's book called Don't Play With the Dog Poo. But first I thought I'd check my Facefook page. Big mistake. Besides having to reply with the wittiest of comments to every new post on there, I clicked on the Candy Crush Saga link. Unfortunately I have Candy Crush hypoglycemia and crave just a little bit every day. I don't know if it's the music or the sounds, I can't stop playing that game. When I run out of lives on the Candy Crush I switch to Pet Rescue Saga. When that runs out it's Bubble Witch Saga with a little Staries filler. By that time my lives on Candy Crush have been restored, and the madness starts all over again. I finally dragged myself away from the games and decided to write this little post to help kick the Saga game monkey off my back. I can now get back to writing that children's book. First order of business, change the title and the subject.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Cheap Seats

One thing I missed when I moved to Florida was Chicago Bears Football. For the first six years I lived here I would catch Bears games in bars with satellite or when they were on national television. Then in 1995 they came out with Directv, so I immediately signed on. For seventeen years I had every Bears game on my big screen television, and every year for seventeen years they kept goosing up the price. So at the end of last season I gave Directv an ultimatum, cheaper satellite service with free NFL or I quit. Sunday was my tenth game without Directv and the NFL Ticket. Each game this year I have had to scramble around the internet trying to find a way to watch the game. Up until this past Sunday I was content to watch replays a couple of days later. This Sunday however, I discovered a web site in another country, on another continent that streamed games live.
WWW.webepirates.arg/stolengame/nfl/bears
I was ecstatic. I was very happy that I would be able to finally watch a live Bears game on a Sunday afternoon as god intended it to be. At the appropriate time I clicked on the link and there it was, Soldier Field in all it's glory. I sat back and prepared to watch the game. Sure it was in a tiny box the size of a You Tube video, and when I hit the full screen button it was blurry and somewhat pixilated, but it was a live Bears game. That is until about ten minutes into the first quarter when tornadoes, rain, hail, and god's wrath for my previous post stopped the game for two hours. Over five hours in total I sat in front of the computer watching football, rain on an empty field, and then more football. My eyes hurt, and I had a headache from squinting at the tiny little picture. I do miss watching all the games on the fifty inch giant television but it's the principle of the thing. Pay Directv hundreds of dollars a month, or scrounge around the internet looking for the Bears game. I think I found another site for this coming Sunday.
 WWW.nflgonnasueyou.com/payuporelse/bears