Monday, April 26, 2010

My Dog Died

The dog of the infamous list of Things my Dog Ate has died.

Because of the nature of this blog, I wasn't sure I should even write about it. It took a while to make the decision -- he died over a month ago.

Ozzie was a very smart dog who was not aware he was a dog. He knew the other dogs were merely dogs, but he was above it all. You could see his brain trying to figure out how to get the pizza off the counter, how to open the dog-proof trash can, or sneak somewhere he shouldn't go.

He was only 6 years old, so his death was a surprise. Both of the other dogs, our yellow lab and my mom's old blind poodle, are much older. We had expected that Ozzie would be around another 8 years, long after the old dogs were gone.

So, though I feel bad he is gone, he did go suddenly and it appeared to be without pain. And I'm confident it was not anything he ate.

If I can find a photo, I'll post it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

At the age of 20...

We had nearly lost touch with a long-time friend of ours. Recently we had been running into him more often at the local pub where we hang out. It's been great seeing him so often!

The other night we were talking about how long we had known him -- nearly 20 years! It was shocking to us how old we are now. (We are all turning 50 this year.)

"When I was only 10, I could not imagine ever being 20. That was so old!" he said. "Then at 20, I couldn't imagine being 40. Then that seemed old." He continued. "When I was 40, well, 50 seemed old." He paused, took a big drink from his beer, looked me straight in the eye and with a little smile said, "Now, I'm here -- this is it -- I'm just old."

I know where you are coming from -- and most of the time I am right there with you -- but lately, I am not feeling so old!

PS: I hope we keep hanging out for another 20 years!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Quotes from Friday Night

We had a small crowd of people with us last night when we went out. Needless to say the conversations were scattered. Because of this, I kept hearing just random lines out of context and couldn't help but laugh:
  • And he said "I can't talk right now. A pitt bull has my cat in his mouth."
  • Donny and Marie taught me how to roller skate.
  • I met a really nice watermelon farmer.
  • If you were in prison, would you try to defend yourself or would you be someone's bitch?
  • If your 19-year-old son was dating a 39-year-old woman...
I think I'll just grab another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Walking through my neighborhood today, I saw a Datsun 280Z parked in someone's driveway. It was in pretty good condition, too!

One of my favorite memories of this particular car involves my first visit to the city of Cincinnati. My oldest brother had moved to Cinci and my younger sister and I went down to visit him.

Though I do not remember how we got there, I do remember that we drove around the city in my brother's 280Z the entire weekend. Could it have been rust colored?

What you might not recall is that this car is a two-seater. Even though I am older than my sister, she is a good 5 inches taller than I am. Needless to say, I was the one who spent the entire weekend viewing the city laying down in the back of the car.

That weekend was also my first introduction to Skyline Chili -- a food I love though can eat only in moderation now that I am in my LATE 40s. I think that trip we were eating it about 3 in the morning. (Doesn't it always taste better really early in the morning?)

I also remember that the back windows had a slight curve to them making the view going up and down all of those hills just a little weird. It also caused the occasional case of motion sickness the other two were not particularly sympathetic to. At least I never hurled.

I'm having a hard time remembering what year it was. I don't even remember what else we did. But I'm absolutely positive I will never forget that Datsun 280Z, Cinci and Skyline chili. And a fun nearly adult weekend with two of my sibs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


From across the room I could read the sign -- 1989 in big red numbers. It didn't register right away -- you see signs like that in bars all of the time. Because it was in my line of sight, I kept looking at it over my lunch partner's left shoulder.

Then it dawned on me -- in order to legally drink in Ohio, you must have been born no later than 1989. Geez! 1989!

That was my last year in my 20s and I was freaking out about turning 30 that next year.

That was the year that the San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in the Superbowl, Mike Tyson and Robin Givens divorced, Iran's Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offered a $1M-$3M bounty on Salman Rushdie because of his novel "Satanic Verses", a 6-week study of the Arctic atmosphere showed no ozone "hole", "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" premiered, Pete Rose was suspended from baseball for life and hurricane Hugo hit. My daughter turned 2 that year.

Since I have a daughter who is older than 21, I should not really be shocked by things like this. Shoot, she has already been legal for more than a year!

But there is something about seeing it screaming at you in big red numbers that can be seen from across the room.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Here's a Sign

The last few times I have seen characters on TV shows who have my name, they have all been over 40. Tonight, she is the ex-wife who was dumped because she was too old!

BTW: Neither of my kids (22 and 16) have ever gone to school with a girl who has my name. Every women I have ever met in the last few years who has the same name has been no more than 5 years younger than me.

(At least my name isn't Pearl! That would make me over 70.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Weed is in the Eye of the Beholder

When I was young, I loved dandelions! There was a field near the grade school that would be solid yellow with dandelions in the early spring. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen!

I can remember my friends and I hanging out there and even rolling in the field. We would check to see who likes butter and make necklace chains. The only downside was the liquid from the flowers turning black on our hands and clothes. (It was hard to wash off.)

After they went to seed, we would wish on the white puff heads of the flowers. For some reason, we thought if we found one that didn't have any seeds missing yet, we were more likely to have our wish come true. (I didn't end up marrying Michael from my third-grade class, so it probably did not make a difference.)

My dad had a different view of those beautiful yellow flowers. He hated them, using chemicals and a special digging tool to kill as many as possible. He even got irritated when neighbors were not as diligent about getting rid of the pests.

I didn't understand why something prettier than the grass could cause him so much irritation.

On a related note, when I was in high school my dad told the story of a co-worker who had a wild flower growing in his flower bed that he thought was beautiful. He was mulching it, watering it, using fertilizer and wanted my dad to stop by to see if he could identify it. When dad got there, he recognized the flower immediately -- it was a common thistle. Another weed.

As the first few dandelions are popping up in my yard, I still think they are beautiful. The bright yellow color still makes me happy! But, because my neighbors do not feel the same way, I kill them -- just like my dad did.

Now I wonder -- way back when people were deciding which plants were food, which were flowers, which were weeds, etc., who made the decision? People eat dandelions. Others even make wine from them.

So, who decided that a dandelion is not worthy, yet a rose, collard greens and grapes are? Who determined that the simple beautiful yellow flower is just a weed?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I Read Obituaries

About a year ago, I had read the entire daily newspaper -- except the obituaries. Before that, I never read the obits because, well, my friends are young and if any relatives die I'll get a phone call. Because I was bored and did not really want to do what I had to do next (probably cleaning), I killed time by reading the obits.

That day I discovered an acquaintance of ours from our dart league days had died. His name was Gary, and though we weren't close, we always had a good time throwing darts with Gary and looked forward to seeing him at tournaments. The shocking thing to me -- Gary was younger than us! In fact, he was more than 10 years younger than us.

A few months later I was thinking about Gary and decided to scan the obits again. This time a member of my walking club had died. Becky was older than I am and had been sick for quite a while, so it was not shocking. Still, I always liked Becky and will miss her.

Since then, I've discovered the deaths of other people I know: members of my church, parents and spouses of friends and acquaintances... all in the newspaper.

Part of me is glad I was able to contact relatives and offer condolences. But then part of me is sad. How did my friends and I get old enough that I need to read the obituaries to check on them!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Laptop Computer vs IBM Selectric

The other night, one of our college kids came home for dinner. It was great hearing about her days: new friends, how her classes are going, studying at the local coffee shop...

"I used to do that," I said. "I would study at the Hardee's across the street from my dorm." The thought of me at sitting at the hamburger place brought out the humor in everyone. "So, did you take your typewriter with you?" she asked in a mocking tone.

At that moment, it hit me again how LONG it has been since I went to college and how things have changed!

You see, I had an IBM Selectric typewriter and it was the nicest typewriter in our dorm. It was a professional office-type machine with several font balls including italics and it erased! It was huge, took up my entire desk, weighed a ton and was the envy of all around. Those of you my age are probably sitting there with your mouths hanging open thinking, "Wow! That was a great typewriter!" These were the same typewriters used in our journalism writing classes.

Just before my freshman year, my dad's office was downsizing. (Yes, they did that in the late 70s and early 80s, too.) They had fewer secretaries (yes "secretaries," not "assistants") and the company was selling some of the office equipment. My dad bought the typewriter for me. What a great dad!

It's a totally different writing process when you have to re-type your paper over and over again because you changed your mind. And your typing skills get pretty precise when you can't just go back to the first paragraph and fix all of your misspelled words. And -- this was something I was VERY proud of -- I could spell! There was no spell check -- just me, my brain and a dictionary.

We took notes in class by hand and we actually studied our notes! If you needed a reference, you walked to the library to look in a book.

So, as I sit here on my deck in the beautiful sunshine typing this blog posting on my laptop computer, rewriting the first paragraph over and over again on a whim, getting ready to send it out to the world via the Internet, I think about how far we have come. The Selectric typewriter is gone, but then again, so is that Hardee's.

One of my best college memories is of my news reporting class. One of Professor Lambert's favorite sayings was, "Journalism informs minds, public relations twists minds."

Finals for this class was "speed week." We would be required to type a certain number of news stories in just 2 hours from the information the professor provided. We would type the first story, proof our sheet of paper and make editing corrections on it, hand in the paper, and would then be handed our next story "assignment," just like working in a real news room. Points were taken off for misspellings, etc., but if you spelled someone's name wrong it was an automatic F.

Sometimes I still think, those were the days!