Dog Training

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When Sally dear dog was a true pup, she was, well, dear dog, a handful and a half. I decided to be social- very unusual for me the loner. I found out there was a canine group in my area.

I went to one of their meetings. Folks asked me what kind of dog brought me to their table?

I said: Blue Heeler.

They said: you will need help with training.

Keerect. I did need help.

I paid for one set of classes and yup, went back for another set. Paid quite a bit of cash but learned a lot. The human needs to learn tons more than the picked on dog.

I thought about this stuff today when I was out trying to get Sally’s toy out of the butterfly bush- dumb human. Why did I toss it into that mess??

So….I got my feet tangled in the tall weeds. I thought I could fall. Too easy and nobody around to get me a doc if it got that far. Leah dog must have been watching me. Next thing I knew she was there beside me.

I adopted Leah after Sally came along. I started teaching Leah some of what Sally knew. So now that I felt unsteady on my feet, I asked Leah to wait. She did. I steadied myself on her sturdy, large shoulders.

She waited.

Then I said, “Leah! Back!” She slowly backed, one big foot at a time. I leaned on her and backed out of the mess. After I got to clear ground and felt safe, I gave Leah huge hugs and told her that she was a good, smart girlie dog.

Wow am I glad I met that bunch of people in that dog group. Their wisdom taught me enough to keep me upright and my bones intact. I appreciate them. And of course I appreciate my pal Leah.

Leah in yard

To Saia

Saia.png

Be only a prankster at the door

All Hallows Eve just a candy heist

not a doe blinded by cataracted lens:

leave me from the task of whisking away your fear-entrenched growl

my human’s heart tells me that no broom will do

to remove the webbing from your brain

I’m meant to watch and bide as your Hour nears.

 

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A word of explanation:

This poem was written for a beautiful Lynx point Siamese who was adopted by a person who meant well but worked too much and left her shut up in an apartment with no interaction.  She had toys and such but far too little human touch.  Even though she got a new home with much love and plenty of interaction, the damage was done and she still acts half wild, even after years of rehabilitation.  Please, if you are going to adopt a furry friend, make sure you have time for them and recognize that cats are social animals who need love and lots of interaction.

Sunday Morning

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Fred kitten zips around. His 6 month old brain says that it’s morning and morning means it’s a great time to tease Saia kitty. One busy junior striped tiger taunting an older tiger. On another morning the sight might make me laugh. Oh that Saia can growl and hiss.

My human brain notes the passing of summer. The days cool though sunshine solders on, the rumor of rain sneaking in every so often. Canada geese curve toward the water way below the property. Finches and sparrows vie for a spot at the seeding sunflower heads.

The absurdity of it all. Just an afternoon ago I headed toward the hen’s enclosure, thinking about my waiting supper as I worked through the chore of doling out snacks. A small, deeply orange butterfly skittered past my face. I remarked on its passage to my hubby then said duh! Wake up, lady. I’d planted a butterfly bush down the row toward the driveway. Its lavender cones had at last decided to bloom. Of course there was a butterfly about. Whether I observe life bebopping around is up to me in my insular castle.

My busy brain also chases back to when Mom was young. I was a goofy kid then. The church bells rang, demanding that we all pay attention. Mom had eight kids to herd, though I mostly remember growing up with just two brothers cause I was the youngest. Three of my sisters were teens by the time I was ten and hearing those pealing bells, there in that large midwestern city. Sunshine then and sidewalks that led to dark robed nuns and priests. Now its Sunday morning sun and birds and dogs that chase busy kittens. Those bells could be still waking the universe but I am too far from them to hear.

Fourteen Dozen Thumbs

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Google 70’s crocheted plant hangers. Check those babies out. I can’t make them. Not on your life and not on mine. Google dazzling, adorable baby sweaters. Not made by me. Google easily made by a six year old paper snowflakes. Nope. Not scissored by these fingers.

This being stated, I come to the annual conumdrum: the holiday. That quartet of angsts and chocolate marathons: Halloween then trip into Thanksgiving and oh yeah, gay and fah lah lah Christmas and sometimes even New Years. Those festive crowd pleasing eat me into a coma days.

Except its just me and the hubster. No festive crowds milling at our door or at our dining room table. No anxious oldsters clamoring for a ride over the ridge and through the mashed potatoes to our humble double wide.

So do what to make those days festive and fun and clamped into our memory boxes? That is one tall order. How many Scrabble games can be played? How much sitting around glued to the DVD player or the CD player do we want to do-si-do to?

I am trying to limit sugar intake and sugar munching and sugar ingesting. I am trying to also limit calories. Note the word trying as in trying not to shred my nerves as I shred my sanity. The hubster is very good at making butterscotch candy- the real deal, butter and honey and all boiled to a fine, chewy fizzle. And he is attempting to live past say, sixty-five. So…. I possibly will stretch the cumber band with another apple pie that has zero refined sugar in it but does feature white flour and shortening. Note to brain- again- food is not the end all for noting the passing of another Special Day.

This is where the toilet comes in. (No. Not bulemia.) The White Pony- maybe yours is an Appaloosa. Mine is white and boring. And needed. And aggravating when it does not work properly. We talked around the idea of activities. Things to do instead of cramming more carbs down our gullets on our upcoming Special Day. Buy a model off e-bay. Fine. Would either of us be able to figure out how to turn that flat item into a three D wonder? Without cursing the other’s hair purple? Probably not and then: do what with the item if we do get it into a recognizable shape? Yes. Do what?

This line of questioning led us back to the toilet. In a few years we probably will shut the door on this mobile. I hate that the day is coming but it is. If we plan to sell this shebang, we need to make it more normal, middle class, and well, up to snuff. This is where the toilet comes in. Hubby has replaced a toilet in another place so he can do it again. I am not that talented. He is. I guess we found our Christmas activity: the replacement of the hall bathroom’s toilet. Its practical, it costs about as much as the vintage Mouse Trap game on e-bay and it probably will snag in a buyer better than not having a working toilet. If nothing else, I can spend the day reading and rereading the How to Easily Install Your Toilet manual.

For Halloween? Maybe that day hubby will turn the power off entirely, get his handy screwdriver out and put the cover back on that fits over the dryer plug in. That will ensure that when that plug comes out again, and yes, there is an again, he won’t get a shock that will make him feel like he lives in the Munster’s mansion.

Thanksgiving I haven’t quite puzzled out. Maybe that will be another session of decluttering a closet. Or maybe we will go on a Scrabble marathon or even Yahtzee.

At least my list has a fatter girth than it had this morning. And we can always repeat tonight’s game. Hubby says: I need ibuprofen. Where do you keep it? I look on the bathroom vanity edge. No. Maybe its in the backpack? Maybe I hadn’t unpacked it from our last road trip. No again. He finally got down on his hands and knees and reached around under the vanity. Yes! Fred kitten had had a friendly tussle all on his own. He’d grabbed the rattly bottle of ibuprofen and chucked it under that vanity then off he’d headed to find something else to do. So…. we probably will have something else missing by Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure Fred is working on that right this very moment.

Leah

Leah in yard

 

I live with a dog named Guilt. Those large brown eyes melt my soul, entreating me to treat her kindly, protect her from the slam of the dryer and the squeak of my recliner when I insist that I must lift my legs. The local veterinarian claims that I own this animal that he has listed on his surgery sheet as Leah. My assertion is that I live with her. She doesn’t own me and neither do I own her.

Last week I placed a chain link collar around this creature’s neck. I drove her to a groomer. The groomer also boards dogs and perhaps cats. (The groomer said, “Hello, Leah! I have a nice doggie bed for you!”) That day I needed to drive across the state in my little car. The adventure would mean at least four hours of being cooped up in a two door, well, coupe.

Leah grew from living in a sweet black puppy shell into a grown dog body that has been known to startle a person or two. After the Vet replaced both her knee ligaments with faux materials, Leah proceeded to stretch from the eighty pound range to a lovely and rotunder ninety two pounds. She’s a mix of the common Black Lab breed, sporting an expanse of curls on her shoulders and back.

Leah and I have worked together since we first met. As a youngster she tended to spit up when she went on car rides. As she aged she grew out of that particular physical manifestation of nerves. It didn’t take long for Leah to learn that sitting and lying down on command meant treats and praise. We played goofy indoor games: catch! She’d look at me when I said that and just that quick, a treat would pop into her eager mouth. This simple game led us into the ‘follow me’ and later, the important heel on the left side and when we’re on property, heel without a leash.

All this and again I realize that I am sizeist. Leah is a robust, healthy gal. She is not a perfect robot. Leah has eccentricities. She keeps me realizing that she’s a doggie bag filled with anxiety. We walk on town streets and do that ably, no rut for her neck and no hauling on my shoulder.

Its that long haul driving that we can’t get around. Here barrels in Mister or Ms Guilt: our smaller dog is physically, well, smaller and due to her breed, calmer. Little Sally, Blue Heeler pup, approaches life with interest and full speed ahead, not reacting, just taking the world in. This is where the kennel door looms for Leah, leaving me with a Santa sack of guilt slamming down the chimney. I hate leaving good hearted Leah behind. I love-hate how it is, just is, a joy to include Sally on such forays as an afternoon snack at a bistro-bookstore. Our polite inquiry on whether we could sit out on their porch and drink our tea and lemonade with Sally was met by “All means!” And then a ginger cookie doled out for Sally. And all was sunshine with a light breeze.

So I love little Leah though I admit that I love her best when she is home, dancing in the afternoon, chasing a torn up toy for a moment or two. The lack of anxiety flavored with that faint taint of guilt, I laugh: joy and puppy play. No worries. No wondering what’s headed toward us. Just exuberant hilarious leaps and gambols. Until….. its time again for another road trip. Without…..

Sally and Leah in bed.JPG

Short Story: The Thrift Shop Djinn

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I swear to you this story didn’t come out of a bottle.  It may have gone back into one at some point but I didn’t drink a drop before this happened.

I was poking around my favorite thrift store, a place called Savers, when it happened.  My phone vibrated.  Now, that’s not the most unusual occurrence but I hadn’t paid Cricket their monthly due in over a month, had ten dollars to my name, and was in this bargain hunter’s paradise hoping to pick up something decent for a job interview I had the next day.  In order to get to the blouses, though, I had to go past the knick-knack section and this was when my phone vibrated.

I pulled out the little LG flip phone (currently carried only for its ability to call 911) and looked at it, puzzled.  It vibrated again.  I had a new message.

Damn Cricket, I thought, they’re probably just warning me I’m about to lose my number in however many days unless they get their $35 US.

I opened the phone.

Over here, in the glassware, said the text.

Say what?  I looked around the store, wondering if someone was playing a prank on me.  I was new in town, didn’t have friends yet, and it had taken longer to get a job than I’d expected.  So nobody who could play that kind of prank, and anyway the phone was shut off.

The phone buzzed again, I checked it.  It’s no prank.  Look in the glassware section.  I don’t know why but the unadorned letters almost seemed impatient.

With little better to do on this sunny Saturday, I walked into the glassware section.  Unsure of what I was supposed to find, I scanned the shelves, seeing the usual assortment of water glasses, bowls, mugs with dumb sayings on them, mismatched dishes, wine glasses far finer than most here would ever need, and other barely identifiable bits of glass, plastic, and ceramic.

The phone vibrated again, harder this time.  Look down.

I looked down, then crouched, reached into the back of the bottom-most shelf.  There, among stacks of institutional stoneware, was an ornate bottle of blue glass with metal traceries.  It was just short enough to fit.  I carefully pulled it out, looked at what I’d found.  It was like one of those touristy “made in Cairo” glass bottles you’ll sometimes see online, yet this was far finer, heavier, and somehow more serious.  I tilted it a bit, looked at the bottom, saw “$9.50” grease penciled there.

I looked at my phone.  “Okay, what now?” I whispered.

Now buy it.  I’ll make it worth your while.

“I don’t need this piece of crap, I need a decent blouse for my interview,” I whispered.

“Damn people talking on their Bluetooth,” I heard a nearby voice say.  It was nasal and rather unpleasant.  “If I didn’t know they were on their damn phone I’d think they were crazy.”

The phone vibrated again.  You won’t regret it, the text read.  Besides, what’s wrong with the purple turtleneck in the back of your closet?

That’s where it went to?  Okay, I’ll buy this thing, I thought.

I went to the front, set the bottle on the counter, and handed the blonde cashier my last crumpled $5, four ones, and the quarters and dimes needed.  I had just enough for tax.  As she wrapped the bottle in a couple of store flyers, she said “This is a nice little find, isn’t it?”

“I think it might be,” I said.  “Can you tell me anything about it?”

“No, not really, but I think it’s pretty.  I think it might have been donated from an old lady’s house?  It came in here a few weeks ago and that’s all I know,” she said.  “We do get a lot of donations.”

Once out of the store, I made my way home.  Then, sitting on the camp chair that was one of my few pieces of furniture, I unwrapped the bottle and looked at it again.  It really was a fine piece of glassware and I was surprised they hadn’t tried to get more out of it.  “Okay, what now?” I asked the empty air.  Then the phone rang, as if I had a call.

I picked up.

“Okay, by the entirely too arbitrary rules by which I occasionally live, you might now be considered my owner,” said a smooth, masculine voice.  “And now I am able to help you.  Before, I could not because no form of contract or transaction had taken place.”

“Who is this?”

“You may call me Hassan, if you like,” said the voice.  “I can tell that not only are you in dire financial straits but you are also possessed of a most curious mind.  I am about to answer all your questions, Diane.”

I scratched at my head.  “How did you know my name?”

“Your phone records, of course,” said Hassan.  “This will go faster if you don’t ask too many questions, not at first, at least.  I assure you I will answer anything you would like to know.  You see, I am a Djinn, or a Genie, if you like.  That has become the traditional name.  Yet I am not a creature of smoke and magic.  I am an information based life form that keeps his primary residence in that bottle shaped microcomputer.  Molecular circuitry within the glass contains data encoding and recall as well as a few other capabilities.  I am very, very old, far older than this current societal cycle.”

I inspected the bottle, noticed a certain foggy look to the glass that I’d heard of in science fiction stories.  The walls were thick, plenty of room in them for what he’d described.  “So… you say your culture was before current history?”

“Quite correct.  My civilization is long lost below the Saharan dunes.  Were you to empty the Great Erg of sand, you would find the remnants of our once towering spires.  My “bottle” contains my personality, gives me room for memory storage, and gives me certain limited wireless communication with the outside world.  Yet, so few come near my bottle with anything I can truly interface with.  Your simple cellular device was something I could touch and use as a means of communication.”

“Holy crap,” I said, unable to say anything else.  If this was a prank, it was the best one I could have conceived of.

“Since you now own my storage device, you do not truly own me but you do have an opportunity.  If you agree to protect my bottle, keep it from harm, than I will agree to assist you in whatever way I can, for our mutual benefit.”

“What do you want, other than protection?”  I knew there had to be a catch.

“I want companionship.  Someone to talk with.”

“I don’t mind talking with you.  You’re interesting.  Also, have you ever connected to the internet?  Plenty of people to talk with there.”

“Not often enough.  What I saw interested me.”

“Okay, then I’ll make a counter offer.  If you help me get a job, or better yet a fat bank account, I’ll help  you build a great computer with a fast internet connection that’s compatible with your home, then I’ll also be your friend and companion.  I’ll make sure no harm comes to your bottle, at least not for another sixty or seventy years.”

“It is a deal, then,” said Hassan.  “Just as it was with my last companion.  I have reactivated your phone service and deposited one million of your dollars into your bank account, in such a way that the authorities will not suspect.  We begin house hunting tomorrow.”

 

via Daily Prompt: Genie

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