Thursday, April 30, 2009
(Tara in our front yard near our driveway in the early 1970's.)
I remember when we went to get Tara. I think we got her from a family in Smithton. The people’s house was at the bottom of an embankment. On the side yard of the house they had a fenced in area with a doghouse in the middle. There wasn’t any grass left in the fenced area and there were holes dug underneath the doghouse and everywhere else. I remember seeing what to me seem to be a countless number of puppies running throughout that puppy pen. In reality there was only the one litter of 8 or 10 puppies in the pen. But to a 4 year-old they seemed to be everywhere. And they were so cute. Even to this day – thirty plus years later, that scene of the puppies running throughout that pen sticks in my head. Somehow, someway we ended up picking Tara out of that rolly polly bunch of frolicking puppies. I don’t know if we took her home that day or not. I do remember the first day we got her home. Being the youngest in the family I got to take her for her first walk around our front yard. Of course Tara wanted to go one way and I wanted to go another way. So my first walk of Tara didn’t last too long. I don’t remember how we worked with her to get her house broken. I am guessing we probably kept her in the basement for the first couple of weeks. (I vaguely remember her sleeping in the basement nearly the laundry machines. I think for the first couple of nights we put a warm water bottle in the pen/box with her.)
(Tara and I hanging out on the kitchen floor.)
In those days we had a desk in our kitchen. We made Tara’s home a large TV box under the desk. A front “door” was carved into the side of the box so Tara would have some way to get in and out of the box. We put some old blankets and newspaper in the box for Tara to lie on. She loved it. Before and after breakfast, I would crawl into the box with Tara. I would play in the box with her for a long time. I remember crawling half way out of the box and telling my mom “She thinks I am her brother”. This was the beginning of a long friendship with my first dog. As Tara grew to be a full-grown dog, she turned into a wonderful, beautiful dog. Since she was an Irish Setter, she had these long tail and leg “feathers”. By feathers I mean long hair that extended down from her body. Additionally, Tara was born before the “white spot” was bred out of the breed. The “white spot” was a white area of hair right on the front of an Irish Setter’s chest. (I personally liked the white spot and thought it made the Irish Setter a more distinguished looking dog.) Anyway, Tara had a nice white spot right in the middle of her chest. She was a gorgeous looking dog. As she was growing up and a young adult, Tara occasionally made a few breaks for freedom. I remember at least one or two times in which she ran off and was gone for a day or a number of days. One time I remember she took off and then we got a call a couple of days later. I remember going with my Dad and maybe my sister to pick her up. She was running in a field hear a gas station below Hurst high school. We went to pick up in the car and she came running up to the car and jumped in the back seat. Tara was a great warm pup with which to sleep. Now back in those days my parents didn’t let Tara sleep on any of the beds in the house. But that didn’t stop me from curling up on the floor with her. In the evenings, particularly in the winter I would curl up with Tara on the floor. Sometimes I would even fall asleep for the evening lying on the floor next to her with my arm sprawled over her cuddling her like a stuffed animal. There was only one piece of furniture in the entire house that Tara could lay on. It was an old couch in our “game room”. This became Tara’s de-facto piece of property. The game room had a fireplace and TV in it, so the entire family spent a lot of time in that room. But you couldn’t expect to sit in the middle of that one couch. That place was Tara’s. She would crawl up on that couch and curl up a tight as a ball. She would spend the entire evening on that couch while the entire family spent the evening watching TV, playing games, etc. We sometimes made life difficult for Tara. We would leave her out at night to go to the bathroom etc. Given that our yard was not fenced in or anything she could go where she wanted. Every once in blue moon, we would forget that we left her out before we went to bed, and Tara would spend the entire night outside the house. We would find her sitting at the kitchen door scratching the door in the morning. Needless to say she did not like when this happened. Then there were the skunk episodes. Living where we did in the country there were skunks just about everywhere. Of course Tara was ever curious about other animals and she didn’t realize that skunks could make her smell really, really bad. As a result, there were numerous occasions when Tara would come in at night smelling of that nasty skunk smell. That led to baths in tomato juice and other foul smelling concoctions. In the end these baths really didn’t do too much to kill the smell. So poor old Tara was left to spend several days out in her pen alone until the smell died down. As Tara and I both got older and my brothers and sisters went off to high school and college, we became constant companions. I would take walks almost every day throughout the woods behind our house. Tara was always with me. We would walk for miles and play throughout the woods. Tara died when I was eighteen. Unfortunately I don’t remember the exact date. All I know was that it was in July of 1984. Like the stupid idiot I was at the time, I was away from home working (and messing around a lot) at Boy Scout camp. I didn’t even get to see my old friend one more time before she died. Nor did I make it home to see her before she was buried. I was really stupid back then. To this day however, when I go back to Norvelt I always go and visit her grave in my parents yard. She was and always will be my puppy and my friend. I hope everyone has had a great Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday and the start the weekend - yippee! Not sure what kind of adventure we will have this weekend, but I am sure we will have a lot of fun doing something. As always - thanks and peace to all! - J.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
First off – I don’t know how severe this situation could turn out to be, but to me it seems a little bit excessive. This is especially true since there really hasn’t been anything new to report other than the fact that the number of cases is increasing. Personally I think there is a sense of panic that is starting to grip various parts of the nation and I think it is being fueled by wall-to-wall coverage of the problem. I won’t deny that if this strain turns more virulent we could all be in a lot of trouble. But what is the point of the wall-to-wall, minute-by-minute coverage other than to scare the crap out of people.
(By the way when I was trying to find pictures of pigs I found a website called thepigsite.com. Talk about funny!)
I have always kind of had a doomsday mentality in me. Given the way that we have exploited the planet I have always felt that some kind of mass castrophy was going to happen. They have happened so many times in the past. We are less than 100 from the last big one – the flu pandemic of 1918/1919. My dad was actually alive during that one! Granted he was only 3 or 4 years old, but within our memory set we have seen these kinds of mass tragedies occur. Though we are much more technologically advanced are we immune to these kinds of things – nope. I just think it is a matter of time until some kind of really nasty virus gets going and takes it’s best shot at man kind. I guess one positive thing that might come out of all of this is we might be able to get inexpensive airfares for summer vacation. I am seriously thinking about starting to look for airfares for our summer trip to Europe – we are still deciding whether we are going to France or Iceland. Anyway – I think the news coverage on this whole issue has been way overdone! I didn’t post anything last night as I had a very busy day and evening. I was very tired and just didn’t have the mindset to sit down and write. Our last two days have been busy and there has been much accomplished! One Tuesday the workmen from Dean’s Sprinklers showed up and began the installation of the sprinkler system. It was pretty amazing to watch them work as they brought in this large machine to essentially burrow underneath the ground and put the pipe in place. I will say those guys had to work really hard as our yard is pretty rocky and parts are steep. They finished their work around 4:00PM today. When they were done they gave me a run through of the system and now I know where all the zones are and how to re-program the master control so it will run when I want it to and for how long. I am very much looking forward to having a very lush and green lawn this summer. It will look very nice with the other landscaping plans I have for the summer! Zack has been doing OK at school recently. I am really trying to work with him on maturing and doing so much better at things. This is where he has really suffered from Patty’s death – it is like he lost 3 years out of his emotional development and now he needs to try and catch up to all the other 10 year olds. On another note – for those of you who don’t routinely read the Caringbridge site I posted an update there yesterday. My update for that site was about the fact that I will be forming a team to walk in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Light the Night walk in October. I will probably also write an entry about that on this blog also. We hope everyone had a good day! Thanks and peace to all. – J.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
(All those little black spots on the photo are the bees trying to sting the hell out of Shane.)
It was really amazing to watch him work. He suits up in his beekeepers suit and he just goes right to it. The bees were totally and completely swarming around him yet he didn’t even seem to notice. He has some amazing stories to tell that is for sure! This morning when he showed up his left eye was all red and swollen. He said he had been stung on his eye ball yesterday! That just sounds so absolutely horrible. For the most part he says that he is used to the stings and they don’t bother him that much. The guy who did the work is named Shane Rodgers and if any one who reads this blog and lives in the Denver area ever needs bees removed, he is the guy to do it! He runs his own company called Through the Fog LLC. Shane estimated that the hive had been in place for about a year and that there were 30,000+ bees in it. Besides the 30,000+ bees he also took out about 15 pounds or so honeycomb. It is amazing what the bees build and produce! The rest of our day has been nondescript. Zack had school and I had work. During school today Zack went on a field trip today to the Colorado History Museum. From what he said he had a good time and learned a lot. This evening we haven’t done much. I a couple of good conversations with friends over the phone and that is about it. So all-in-all it was a good evening. We hope everyone has a great weekend. Thanks and peace to all! – J.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
(Lex on his throne in the living room.)
(Bay on the big leather chair.) On another note - something I have noted about my writing recently is that I really need to edit and re-edit each one of my blog entries. Today I went back and read through many of my blog entries that I have written throughout the last several weeks. I was mortified with what I read! I had so many missing words and incorrect words it was ridiculous. For example – I should have used “an” but instead I had and. It wasn’t that I didn’t know to us “an” it was that I was just typing so stinking fast that I screwed up. I hate when I do that! Please feel free to call me on all of my screw ups as I would love to go back and correct them. I am not asking you guys to be my editors, but just asking you to make fun of me enough that I will improve my own editing. Please be merciless in the e-mails that you send me because I need to write and edit better. The day was relatively low-key. Nothing particularly special went on during the day. Zack had school and I had work. After school Zack went to WCCK. He appeared to have a good time and he at least came home with all of his homework done. I did have one fun activity today in the fact that I spent a bunch of time IM’ing with a buddy of mine in Costa Rica – Ruben. Ruben is one of the most intellectual people I know. He always is reading at least one very intense book if not two. He has a collection of great quotes that he throws out. Including this one from today… “If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.” - Bertrand Russell. We had a great conversation and I ended up laughing my ass off. Ruben has that effect on me – he is just a great friend and a good guy. He is coming to the US (New York City) in September and hopefully I will be able to get back to the east coast to hang out with him for a couple of days. If not, I am considering doing Thanksgiving in Costa Rica this year. I am sure Zack would love that! Anyway … we hope everyone had a great day! Thanks and peace to all! 6:45AM Wednesday morning: Just thought I would add some additional commentary about the dogs. My alarms (yes - that is right plural - I need 2 alarms to get my ass out of bed) go off at 6:30AM. Once those alarms go off, the doggies know that I owe them food. It was very funny this morning as Lex decided it would be appropriate to stand on the floor right next to the bed and then jump and put his front paws on my face. Nice way to get the day started - dog paws in your face! I am used to doggie abuse in the early morning as both Lex and Bay think it is their god-given right to come up along side me and continuously nudge me with their muzzles. Though I am complaining about it here on this blog, I won't want to start my mornings any other way! Have a great Wednesday! - J
Monday, April 20, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
EAT! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous). And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night! It turned out very good and I enjoyed it. You should give it a try as it is pretty neat how quickly you can make a cake! Here are some of the latest pictures from my backyard. Thankfully my big trees are standing tough through out the snow. The little trees are getting the crap beaten out of them, but I think they will stand throughout the weather. In a little bit I will go out and try and shake as much snow off of these trees as possible.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
(The light from the fire definitely made it hard to take the pictures.)
I am keeping this way short tonight because it is really, really late. I am having my carpets cleaned tomorrow morning so I have to be up really early to get everything moved out of the way before the cleaners come. On top of that fact I have a conference call that I have to be up for at 6;30AM. So... I REALLY NEED to go to bed