Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Creative Photography Contest no 7

Last summer, my Chicklet and I took a trip through New York State and on our last day, as we were driving home we passed an old cemetery near the town of Peru.

We decided to stop and take a look. It wasn't anything fancy or even particularly big and ornate but I thought maybe it would be good for these old souls to have someone think of them for a bit.. As you can see from the sign, it dates back to the early 1800's.

As we walked among the old gravestones of Blockhouse cemetery, reading the names and imagining their stories, we came upon a couple of headstones that captured my imagination. The Wrangham family markers.

Thomas Wrangham was the first-born male child of Peru, NY. His first wife was Fanny.

I pictured Thomas and Fanny in my mind. He was tall and dark, with kind eyes and a mustache. Fanny was fair, with rosy cheeks that were round like small crabapples. In my mind's eye, her hair was curly.

An engraving that caught my eye was the dedication for William Wrangham who died in 1835 at the ripe old age of 100. He was buried with his wife Jennie, who was born a year before him and died... the same year as William. If that doesn't speak to the romantic in you... *sigh*

Sadly, this couple who made it past the century mark together, buried a son, George in 1807. No parent should have to bury a child.

We found this on one of the headstones... the dried up exoskeleton of a bug (I have no idea what kind of bug, sorry) ***EDITED: Charles kindly informed me, the bug is a Cicada! Thanks Charles!*** But I found it ironic that this creature would leave it's "shell" along with that of William and Jennie and the many other Wranghams interred here.

So here we go!

The first picture has very few touch-ups, I just cleaned up the colour some:

And since we were in a cemetery, I then wondered what it would have been like at night... While looking at things through night vision goggles:

In night vision, it looks like the shadow became a ghost... *insert creepy music here* Skeered yet?

Hope you enjoy! Don't forget to go visit other participants HERE in the Creative Photography Contest no 7 and please say hi to Roger, he's a cool dude.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ruby Tuesday - carrying on the little things...

I've decided that I like photograph themed blog thingies!

On Tuesdays, The Teach hosts a fun photo concept... you can post any picture of your own, as long as it has some red to it. So here goes... my foray into the fabulous world of Ruby Tuesday!

When I was little, in the first years of grade school, I went through a period of time where I'd go home for lunch by bus. I would sit cross-legged at the coffee table in the living room (it's still pretty much in the same spot today) and Mom would bring me a hot bowl of soup and a sammich (usually a grilled-cheese sammich - YUM!). I'd enjoy my feast while watching cartoons - like The Flintstones!... Life was good!

As I got older, I ate lunch at school more and more. Mom had started working again and I liked the packed lunch thing. It was cool... I nver knew what surprise would be in there.

One thing about Mom was, there was often, (but not always because then it wouldn't be "special" anymore) a little note from her written on my napkin (Mom made sure I never had an excuse to wipe my face or hands on my clothing - wise woman).

I remembered that this morning as I packed Chicklet's lunch for Summer Day Camp.


You know, there's nothing like sticking red wax that smells like cheese on your nose to make you feel like a kid again.

While I'm remembering stuff...

I've always loved this song... takes me back. Reminds me that I have a lovely Valpolicella waiting for me. YUM!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

dirty... dirty... dirty

Remember when I told you about my encounter with anal gland juice?
I know, I'd rather forget about it as well... (Sharkdog is doing well BTW)

BUT! (no pun intended - well maybe just a little...)

I mentioned some of the world's most disgusting jobs (according to moi) and told you about avian vomitologists (or, owl vomit collectors?).

I now know how kids gets started in this career path!

If Chicklet sees this I'm in deep doodoo.


Have I ever mentionned I have a crush on Mike Rowe the host of "Dirty Jobs"? Cause I do *sigh*.

He's not afraid to experience the jobs we take for granted. Blue collar, hard work, stinky but essential jobs that make our lives easier (well, not all of them - seriously, avian vomitologist?!).

AND... He's funny!(all traits he shares with my Honey). Did I mention they both have killer blue eyes? Cause they do.

He said my name? Wait... he said my name? He said ANNDI!! Oh my.. THUD!

And for the chicks who dig dirty men...

YUP! He's my number two... after my Honey.

"I'm Still a Guy" - This song by Brad Paisley (current crush number 3) pops in my head when I think of these men... and really, that's what's sexy to me. Unplucked, unfeminized guys... growl and purrrrrrrrrrrr!

I want rugged, rough, a man who'll get his hands dirty. He wears boots to work (cause I have to). He works hard, sweats, and gets things done. He'll even grunt some.

A guy. Like my guy.

"Uh oh. I've got mud in my shorts. At least ... I hope it's mud."
- Mike Rowe

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I *hic* can't...

I have the hiccups... It's driving *hic* me batty.

I've been looking for a cure to the hiccups as I've tried *hic* one trick I know that usually works for *hic* me but it failed - it NEVER fails! *sigh* *hic*

You fill a glass with water, you in*hic*sert a butter knife in the glass, handle in the water so the dull (but your mother always told you not to lick it) part sticks out of *hic*the water. Start drinking the water with the *hic* knife against your forehead (flat side against your forehead)....

It didn't work. *hic*

I'm still hiccupping and now I'm *hic* feeling the strain in my diaphragm.

I was going to try pickle juice *hic* but then I remembered that's the cure for a hangover... *hic* wait a minute!


If it doesn't stop my hiccups I *hic* won't notice! But what if I get the drunk hiccups over the *hic* regular ones? Would they cancel each other out? Am *hic* I willing to try and find out? What do *hic* you think?

Oh.. if you have a cure, please let me know. And *hic* leave me a couple of aspirin, would ya? Thanks! *hic*

Piglet: Pooh, you saved me. And you got rid of my hiccups!
Winnie the Pooh: Oh, so that's what was wrong. Why didn't you say so?
Piglet: I couldn't. I had the hiccups.
Winnie the Pooh: When was that?
Piglet: When I wasn't saying so.
Winnie the Pooh: Oh.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Creative photography - Small treasure

Creative Photography Contest #6

My friend Roger has started something I wasn't sure I had the cahones to participate in, a Creative photography contest. You can get links to the other participants HERE.

I've always loved taking pictures and just over 10 years ago, my favourite subject made her way into this world.

This picture was taken several years ago in our old yard. We had set up a blanket on the lawn and Chicklet spent a portion of her day investigating the flora and fauna. I won't tell you what she's holding in those precious little hands of hers, but I can tell you ever since I can remember she's held my heart.

I made Chicklet the focal point (she's come to expect this, ya know) and softened things around her a bit. I played with the colour contrast a smidge ... and, well.. just look at it. If it bores me to gives you the step by step of how I got the picture to look this way, I expect it would bore all y'all to tears. I'm not telling you how I made Chicklet either. That's a secret! shhhhhhh! teehee!

Here's my entry, Roger...

Small Treasure

"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man."
~Rabindranath Tagore

"There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million."
~Walt Streightiff

Saturday, July 19, 2008

bring him home

My heartfelt condolences are extended to the family, friends and comrades of Cpl James Hayward Arnal, an infanteer serving with the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group, who was killed by an improvised roadside bomb in Afghanistan on his second tour of duty shortly before midnight on Friday.
"Platoon mates from his previous rotation and his current fire team partner describe him as professional, dependable and utterly fearless under enemy fire." said Brigadier-General Denis Thompson at Kandahar airfield. Cpl Arnal is the 14th Canadian soldier killed in the Afghan mission this year.

This song is dedicated to the families of our fallen heroes... I thank you for your sacrifice... I mourn with you and share your sorrow.

The Fallen
Corporal James Hayward Arnal
Private Colin William Wilmot
Corporal Brendan Anthony Downey
Captain Jonathan (Jon) Sutherland Snyder
Captain Richard Steven Leary
Corporal Michael Starker
Private Terry John Street
Sergeant Jason Boyes
Bombardier Jérémie Ouellet
Trooper Michael Y. Hayakaze
Corporal Étienne Gonthier
Trooper Richard Renaud
Warrant Officer Hani Massouh
Corporal Éric Labbé
Gunner Jonathan Dion
Private Michel Jr. Lévesque
Corporal Nicolas R. Beauchamp
Corporal Nathan Hornburg
Major Raymond Mark Ruckpaul
Master Corporal Christian Duchesne
Master Warrant Officer Mario Mercier
Private Simon Longtin
Captain Jefferson Clifford Francis
Corporal Jordan Anderson
Captain Matthew Johnathan Dawe
Master Corporal Colin Stuart Francis Bason
Corporal Cole D. Bartsch
Private Lane William Thomas Watkins
Sergeant Christos Karigiannis
Corporal Stephen Frederick Bouzane
Private Joel Wiebe
Trooper Darryl Caswell
Master Corporal Darrell Jason Priede
Corporal Matthew McCully
Master Corporal Anthony Klumpenhouwer
Master Corporal Allan Stewart
Trooper Patrick James Pentland
Sergeant Donald Lucas
Corporal Brent Donald Poland
Corporal Christopher Paul Stannix
Corporal Aaron Edward Williams
Private David Robert Greenslade
Private Kevin Vincent Kennedy
Corporal Kevin Megeney
Chief Warrant Officer Robert Girouard, CD
Corporal Albert Storm, CD
Sergeant Darcy Scott Tedford, CD
Private Blake Neil Williamson
Trooper Mark Andrew Wilson
Sergeant Craig Paul Gillam, CD
Corporal Robert Thomas James Mitchell
Private Josh Klukie
Corporal Glen Arnold, CD
Private David Byers
Corporal Shane Keating
Corporal Keith Morley, CD
Private Mark Anthony Graham
Private William Jonathan James Cushley
Warrant Officer Frank Robert Mellish, CD
Warrant Officer Richard Francis Nolan, CD
Sergeant Shane Stachnik
Corporal David Braun
Corporal Andrew James Eykelenboom
Master Corporal Jeffrey Scott Walsh
Master Corporal Raymond Arndt
Private Kevin Dallaire
Sergeant Vaughan Ingram
Corporal Bryce Jeffrey Keller
Corporal Christopher Jonathan Reid, CD
Corporal Francisco Gomez, CD
Corporal Jason Patrick Warren
Corporal Anthony Joseph Boneca
Captain Nichola Kathleen Sarah Goddard, MSM
Corporal Matthew David James Dinning
Bombardier Myles Stanley John Mansell
Corporal Randy Payne
Lieutenant William Turner
Private Robert Costall
Master Corporal Timothy Wilson
Corporal Paul Davis
Mr. Glyn Berry (Director, Foreign Affairs Canada)
Private Braun Scott Woodfield
Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy
Corporal Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger
Sergeant Robert Alan Short
Corporal Ainsworth Dyer
Private Richard Green
Sergeant Marc D. Léger
Private Nathan Smith

Your sacrifice will be remembered. Your dedication to your country will be honoured.

May you rest in Peace.

Lest we forget.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

For shits and giggles...

I received this e-mail from my very funny friend Jo from Toronto and it just started my day off right.

So I'm going to share it with you (cause I'm a giver).

If you don't laugh out loud after you read this you are in a coma! This is even funnier when you realize it's real!

Next time you have a bad day at work think of this guy.

Rob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana.

He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs.

Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to radio station 103.2 on FM dial in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, who was sponsoring a worst job experience contest.

Needless to say, she won.

Hi Sue,

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother.

Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all.

Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job.

As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool.
So what we do to keep warm is this:

We have a diesel powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature.

It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints.

What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi.

Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse.
Within a few seconds my butt started to burn.

I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened.

The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now, since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it. However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate.

When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my butt. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically.

Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression.
When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet.

As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber.

The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't poop for two days because my butt was swollen shut.

So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt.

Now repeat to yourself, 'I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.'

Now whenever you have a bad day, ask yourself, is this a jellyfish bad day?

May you NEVER have a jellyfish bad day!!!!!

Somebody needs to tell that guy he was using the wrong butt jelly.

"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul."
~Yiddish Proverb

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I... can't...

Due to a huge case of "I can't stay awake"...

I'll bring you the details of my little dilemna in the next post ...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

mr fix it

When I guested on my Hoochiemama Turnbaby's awesome BTR show a few weekends back, we took the concept of forgiveness and turned it every which way we could. At some point, the topics of atonement and making amends also came up.

Opinions varied as to whether the two are linked. We discussed how in some cultures, asking for forgiveness is a part in the process. Not necessarily as a condition for forgiveness, but as a step in the process.

I've been faced with a situation.

Let me ask you this...

Aside from whether or not you've forgiven, if someone has wronged you by doing something stupid and, well, illegal... would you give them the opportunity to redeem themselves?

Would you be willing to be a part of that person's "rehabilitation" process?

I'll let you all know the details tomorrow, but I just figured it would be interesting if I asked for your thoughts.

I like lively and constructive comment sections... so here's your chance!

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."
~John Powell

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tuna fish... tuna dog?

First, I want to thank all who left good wishes for Sharkdog aka Chelsea the Queen Beagle aka my bestest little girl puppy in the whole world (you have to say that last one in a high pitched babytalk sing song tone to get the full effect).

There are some professions I don’t envy… like Alaska King Crab fisherman, road kill cleanup specialist, septic tank technician and avian vomitologist (owl vomit collector – yes, this is an actual job). Veterinarian is one of them. At least regular doctors have nurses they can assign to the task of giving a patient an enema.

In between two encounters with the monkeys I work with, I took a few minutes and called the vet’s office on Friday to make an appointment for Sharkdog. I told the vet tech (they have some gems working there I can tell you) about Miss Chelsea’s sore tail end and that she had yelped when I patted her and she gave us an appointment for Saturday early afternoon.

About fifteen minutes before the appointed time, I corralled Sharkdog into the car and chauffeured her to the vet’s. She hates that drive. She looked like the stick-up Garfield plush toys we used to have stuck to our car windows back in the 80s.

The vet techs were happy to see her (she suckers every one in) and came over to say hello. Sharkdog gave them a hello sniff and then tried to escape from Alcatraz um.. the vet’s waiting room. I held firm to the leash thus foiling her desperate lunges... err... best laid plans. She also gave me the “you’re not leaving me here again look” and I gave her a smooch on the head and told her everything would be ok (she understands me, you know... she doesn’t believe me, but she understands me).

The vet (he’s new but took care of Tobey aka Dumdum once and we think we like him) came and said hello and lead us to the “torture chamber”... I mean, the examination room.

Turns out the anal gland condition some of you mentioned?... yeah. As much as I adore my dog I am NOT EVER going to deal with this myself should it occur again. The vet had me put Chelsea on the exam table and we went through her symptoms.

This is not Chelsea (obviously), but you get the idea:

I told him sometimes she does the “boot scoot” and he went straight for the anal gland impaction hypothesis.

He positioned his hand at her ...um ... poop shoot and “massaged the glands”. Out squirted some yellow anal gland juice (which apparently is the normal colour) so no infection. YAY!

But then... the smell hit my nostrils and I gagged.

For a while that afternoon she was known as Tunabutt. I was attempting to explain this smell to my Honey (who had never dealt with this despite having had many dogs in his life) over the phone last night and the best description I could come up with was: picture a can of tuna in oil dating back to WWII soldier rations days that has been punctured open and left out in the baking sun of the Sahara desert for a few decades and you have a fraction of the smell that came from my dainty baby girl dog’s nether regions.


Let me just say, anal gland juice could be used as a weapon of mass ... um... torture. Wanna smoke a terrorist out from the caves of Afghanistan? Pop an anal gland juice bomb in there and watch them run out vomiting, green as clover and St Paddy’s Day beer.
Seriously, unless Osama Bin Laden has had his nose surgically sealed and can keep his mouth closed while breathing through his eyeballs, this smell could send him running towards the allied forces if he thought they could make the smell stop.

Yeah... that bad!

The vet also checked out her ears and poor baby has bacterial otitis in both ears. So I have ear cleaning drops and antibiotics and we go back in a week for a follow-up.
She still isn’t fully back to her tail swinging days and I’m keeping an eye out for that. The vet manipulated the tail (stop smirking) and didn’t find anything... so we’ll see.
Sharkdog is now resting in a corner under a chair in an attempt to keep Dumdum the hell away from her behind – yup, things are back to normal. She isn’t falling for the “But baby, I just wanna express your anal glands” trick.

If anyone knows how to contact the R&D branch of the armed forces let me know. I think they need to look into anal gland juice as a weapon... seriously.

Oh... and just so that "internetpetvet" knows: Sharkdog has no problems eating fibre. Or anything else she believes is edible... like MY CHRISTMAS CHOCOLATES! Thus leading to the sparklepoop incident... that dog always has butt issues.

"My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet."
~Edith Wharton

Friday, July 11, 2008

it's Friday... so

...why aren't I doing the Happy Friday dance?

I'm worried about Sharkdog. Her tail doesn't lift well when she needs to take care of business (which both dogs have now taken to doing in the house with great regularity and I'm not a happy camper) and when I gave her a morning snuggle she yelped out as I touched her tail.

I just hope it's not serious.

I'm a bit too worried to be silly at the moment. But I thought I'd leave you with an honest to goodness sign posted outside a farm near Honey's...

I'll let you know how the vet visit turns out.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

She better remember me...

if she ever makes it to the big time stuff...

A small "Hi Mom" for the cameras would be nice.

I think a white hair just popped out of my head.

Monday, July 7, 2008

surfer girl

One of my co-workers is an avid windsurfer and an organization he's a member of was having a discovery clinic this Sunday for kids. My daughter is a Pisces, so any sport that involves the water, she's there!

It was one of those absolutely beautiful and perfect summer days. Lovely breezes, sun, blue skies (almost as lovely as the blue skies of Alabama) and warm water. Chicklet and I got ready to head on over for the lessons that started at 10:30 and what we thought would be a morning event turned into a whole day affair.

First, she learned how to manoeuvre the board and sail on dry land.

And after being outfitted for a lifejacket she headed on down to the beach and waited to be assigned a board and an instructor. She passed time by looking for shells and rocks, ever the naturalist. As long as she doesn't bring home any odd creatures... That, I expect, will happen soon enough when she's a teenager. *sigh*

She hoisted up the sail and awaited further instructions from her most excellent teacher, Stéphane. This man's been windsurfing since he was kneehigh to a grasshopper and has the patience of Jobe.

In less than an hour she was gliding around on the calm waters and she never fell... not even once. I've been informed that she fully intends to do this again... and again... and again.

She loved it so much after lunch we went back and she had another go at it. Afterwards, she and I rented one of the two-seat Kayaks (you can see some in the video) and explored the waters for an hour. It was a wonderful day! And we've vowed to go again.

Yes.. I'm aware I'm going to have to beat them off with a stick... and in Canadian fashion, it'll be a HOCKEY stick.


My baby's growing up.

At least I got to stick my toes in the sand... *waves at Songbird*

"I am not afraid of storms: For I am learning how to sail my ship."
-Eleanoor Roosevelt

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Was this a good idea?

Bless her little heart (how southern is that expression?!)! My most excellent friend and fellow HoochieMama Turnbaby (she's delicious, she truly is) has fallen on her head graciously invited me to be her Special Guest on her Blogtalk Radio show "Turnbaby Talks" tomorrow evening (Sunday the 6th of July at 8PM EST) to "expound profound" on the topic of "Forgiveness". We'd love for you to join us in a vat of jello profound discussion, the call in number is 646-716-8102. Don't be shy, we don't bite (much).

Hopefully we'll take the "peaceful easiness" of friendship and treat a very deep and serious topic in a playful and open manner. She's a lawyer, and I'm a "professional arguer/smartass"... how could this possibly go wrong? *wink*

So on this July 4th weekend, we'll primp and do our best to put our best foot forward and venture into a deep topic with your help.

At least we'll have lovely pedicured toes and sweet-ass shoes on should we stick the "proverbial foot in the proverbial mouth"!

Join us, call in, listen in, come to the chat room... Oh, and bring a cocktail and an open mind!

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin

Friday, July 4, 2008

Let the celebrations begin!

Sending my wishes for a Happy and Safe Independance Day to my family and friends in the United States.

Have a piece of birthday cake!

May the soldiers on leave (Honey flew with 25 Marines yesterday) enjoy their freedom and hopefully spend some time with the ones they love (smooch Sugarbaby!).

Enjoy time with your families and friends!

Have fun babies!

"Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."
~Abraham Lincoln