Monday, July 30, 2012


When my daughter, Patty, was about 2 1/2 or 3 we had a 10 gallon fish tank.  In that tank were several beautiful fan tailed guppies.  They were small, delicate and easy to raise with two children around.

Everything was fine, that is until we got out turtle.  He was the cutest little paddle foot about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Patty name him "Flumpy" because his shell was bumpy all over the top (bumpy).  When we first introduced him to the tank he would chase the guppies.  After a while we found out why he chased them...HE WANTED A BITE OF THEIR TAIL (and probably had designs on the entire guppy).  He was a very well fed turtle but, apparently he desired the real thing.   

This is not the kind of turtle he was, but he looked
something like this.
It didn't take me long to decide that he wasn't going to eat those expensive guppies.  The whole idea of watching that part of nature take place in our den grossed me out.   However, Patty hastened his departure when, one day, I heard a scream coming from the den.  Patty, (who had been told MANY times to keep her fingers out of the fish tank) didn't listen (What? didn't listen!).  When I rounded the corner I found her there standing by the aquarium screaming bloody murder (and incidentally there was a small, determined turtle dangling from her pointy finger).  

He had quite a grip and it took a toothpick to pry him off her finger.  I found a home for Flumpy that very day (No, it was not down the toilet!).

kt 6/2012

Monday, July 23, 2012


He started his life of crime as a young boy.
You can see the look of regret in his eyes.
My dog, Toby, is a thief.  The minute I let him in the house he takes off like a shot to see what he can find before I catch up with him.
That's the wrapped sport and napkin in his mouth!
One particular day, I went to KFC to get some chicken. Toby went with me, as usual, as I am trying to get his acclimated to riding in the car.  Like most dogs he loves to hang his head out the window (in this part of the country we call dogs that do that hedge or tree trimmers).  Anyway, the back windows were down so he could do his thing.

Toby was hanging out the back (driver's side) window, sniffing the delightful smell coming from KFCThe kid handed me the sack with the meal inside, however he forgot to give the napkin wrapped spork.  He said, "Oh, sorry, here's your spork," and with that he handed it out the window.  In a blink of an eye, Toby reached out and grabbed the darned thing right out of the kid's hand.  The kid cracked up and then yelled over his shoulder, "Hey guys, come see this dog.  He just stole this lady's spork!"  Everyone clustered around the window as they watched Toby prance around the back seat with his prize.  I declined a new spork and drove off laughing to myself.  Toby kept his prize until I got home and cornered him in the back seat.

The thing is, I always go around and do what Walmart calls (over the intercom) ZONE RECOVERY before I let Toby in.  Checking everywhere for things that can be grabbed forces me to be a neater housekeeper, but I must be lousy because he ALWAYS finds something.  My reading glasses are his number one target.  Next are pens and my hairbrush.
Spoons are also a favorite.
He first charges into the kitchen and quickly checks the floors, counters, and table.  Heaven help me if I left one of the chairs pulled out at the table because he will hop up onto the chair and grab something (anything) and then he takes off.  He thinks it is a game (eyes bright with tail and butt wagging), no matter how punitive I get, this is a game he continues to want to play.

Finally, he has started to respond to a YELLED (with a threatening voice) D R O P   I T !  He will hang his head and then slowly walk toward me, then drop the pilfered item.  However, sometimes, just before he gets to me, his head will pop up, his eyes will get THAT look of devilishness, his hind quarters will start to wag and off he goes for a loop or two around the front room, behind and up onto every chair.   He will then zip right past me and make a tour of the rest of the house.  I have taken to shutting the doors to every room that has a door.
                                   But he will glom onto anything he can grab.
                            Here he is with a duster.

"Awh, Mannnn, do I have to give this bottle back?"

The reason I do not have many pictures of Toby is because he is in constant motion.  My camera's shutter doesn't move fast enough to capture anything but a blur.
Here is a snatch and run that was taken when
I was sanding the floor of my bathroom.  Yes, that is
sandpaper he took off with.
Toby is super smart and has learned a lot of tricks.  When asked to bring his Moo-Cow he selects the correct one from the pile and brings it to me (he also does this with Duck, Blanket, Bone and Froggie).
He sits, lays down, gets up and speaks on command.  He shakes hands and bows when asked.  However, the commands "Stay" and "Leave It," are known to him and followed ONLY WHEN HE WANTS TO!

I teven taught him to shut doors.  Now, he shuts every door that is open.  I thought that was really cool.  However, that thought went right out of my mind one night, as I heard the LOCKED front door slam behind me when I went out to turn off the water.  I seriously think he knew what he was doing and was secretly celebrating with a winners lap around inside the house.  In addition to this, he has shut himself in the bathroom, twice.

kt 4/12


#240 - 

Monday, July 16, 2012


Mom came home with a white Toy Poodle somewhere in the late 50s.  Her name was Coquette and she was both smart and spoiled.  She usually slept with me and her favorite position was draped over the top of my head like a horseshoe, of sorts.  This didn't bother me until one morning I woke up laying on my side  staring at her... ...well, you know!

Mom trained Coquette to do her "business" on a newspaper on the back porch.  This was quite efficient and the dog always used her paper.  Anyway,  one day we were returning from a trip to the mountains around L.A.   Coquette loved to ride in the back window of the car which is where she had perched herself on our trip back.  Suddenly, the car swerved and Dad started cracking up.  He had just checked his rear view mirror and saw poor Coquette trying to hit a small 3 x 5 piece of paper that happened to be laying there.  To our amazement she hit her mark and parked her "poo" dead center.  Of course we had to roll down our windows, pull over, and deposit the droppings on the side of the road (but not before we got to watch several cars pass us filled with people laughing their heads off).

I really liked the idea of paper training so, many years later when I got a dog for the kids I paper trained him (key word).  His name was Jasper (an adorable Beagleand he took to paper training at an early age.  I was real pleased with myself as I never had to get up to put him outside.  He just did his business on newspapers on the service porch. However, months later I was in the kitchen and I looked up to see him hike his leg and pee on the wall.  To be honest about it he did pee on the paper, as it did run down the wall and onto the paper.  I couldn't believe that I was so stupid.  It took me a while to convenience him to abandon his back porch training and due his "business" outside.

kt 3/22/12

Monday, July 9, 2012


Written on 5/13/12:

I have been in Connecticut for a week taking care of my grandkids while my daughter and son-in-law have fun in the sun in COSTA RICA!  Pat's company awarded him (and his wife BUT NOT HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW) a trip for being #1 in sales.  They got an all expenses paid trip to a luxuriously appointed retreat and I got an all expenses paid trip top CT.  Not complaining just saying'

The week has gone smoothly and I have enjoyed getting to the number 1 person for my grandchildren to to go when help is needed.  They are in all kinds of activities and I don't see how my daughter gets it all straight.  She is sooooooo organized and had it all printed out for me with names and addresses plus anything else I might need (plus cash to blow...yeah!).  My first act as grandmother was to go out to dinner and a movie (on a school night).  While the parents were ensconced in a hotel last Sunday night ready for an early Monday morning departure, the kids and I went out on the town.

We ate at Friendly's and if you don't have one where you live then you have missed a great place to take kids to eat.  The desert is to die for!  After dinner we went to see THE AVENGERS!  I didn't think I would like it but I did.  Guess I am still a kid at heart because I thought it was funny and exciting dispute the ridiculous premiss.

But, it is the ridiculous thing that happened to me several days later that really cracked me up.  I had to run back to the theater to pick up the hoodie that my grandson left in his seat (no surprise there...the only surprise is that I hadn't left something also).  On the way home I noticed I was almost out of gas so I stopped in the Shell station is the town just before my daughter's place.

Let me digress a moment to tell you about her neck of the woods.  One can not drive from point A to point B without traversing ever direction of a compass, negotiating hairpin turns, climbing steep hills, or
zipping down into valleys.  It is a nightmare during the night and an interesting drive during the day (avoiding turkeys, geese, and other cars on a narrow two lane road).  Needless to say the roads around here are not conducive to gas efficiency.  So on with the story... ... ...
This is what her car looks like (well except for the fact that
hers is much older and definitely not sooooo shiny).
I was in desperate need of gas however the button with which I needed to pop the gas tank lid was no where to be found.  The attendant came out of the office and tried to help.  He couldn't find it either so he called his boss away from a car he was servicing and they both poured over the inside of the car.

As for myself, I was visualizing the kids getting off the school bus without my smiling face to greet them and protect them the one half block from the corner to their home.  I was envisioning not being able to get Shay off to soccer practice or Logan to his baseball game.  I was envisioning just how much it was going to cost me to rent a car or how much it was going to cost if I had them pry the panel open... ... ...and on and on and on.

In a bit of a snit over my dilemma and potential negative outcomes I walked back to where the gas tank was hidden by the offending door and smacked it.  Then pop...the darned thing just sprang open.  I mean, my daughter's car is a fairly new Cadillac and who would have thought that it didn't one of those little openers.

I felt like such a fool, but I was in good company with two supposedly knowledgeable guys also fooled.

kt 5/2012



Monday, July 2, 2012

#236 - TRUE LOVE

They're cute,
(but you should smell their 'poo!')

At one time Pot Bellied Pigs were tremendously popular, but I never expected to get to know one up close and personal.

This story took place one sunny, spring, morning in the year 2000.  I was on my way to work (I was a teacher) with my friend Carol when we spotted a small pig trotting down the center of the road, in town!   We couldn't believe our eyes and, since we both were animal lovers, I pulled past the pig and stopped.  Amazingly enough, she came directly to me snorting and squealing.  Not knowing what else to do I popped the hatch and lifted her into the back of my small car.  She screamed holy murder when I picked her up but quickly settled down into squeaks and grunts as I headed on to school.

Now, my students knew to expect the unexpected from me, however, when I showed them the pig in the back of my car the news spread throughout the school like wild fire.  The principal told me to get rid of her fast.  I knew if I turned her over to the animal control officer the owner would have to pay a whopping fine.  So, one of my students volunteered his back yard as a temporary holding pen.  

I rushed to his address, parked out back, and hefted this fat pork chop out of the car and through the back gate.  When I began to leave she ran at me and started biting my ankles.  So, much for thanking me from keeping her from being pork pate'. (I probably spelled that wrong)

Doing a galloping goose step I managed to flee the yard, jump into my car, and race back to school in a few short minutes.   The day settled into a normal routine except for the thousands of questions I was fielding from teachers and students alike.  I put a FOUND PIG add in newspaper and hoped for a call in a day or two, but in the meantime worried about putting her back into my car for the long trip home after school.

Have you ever seen a greased pig contest.  Well, I found out that they are hard to get hold of even if they aren't greased.  My friend stood at the gate cracking up as I chased this little ankle biter all over my student's back yard.  Finally, I tossed a blanket over her and tackled the darned thing.  I am sure that the squealing could be heard for blocks, but I got her into the car and headed home (60 minutes away).

Once home I constructed a make shift pig pen, called around for advice about feeding and congratulated myself for being such a nice person.  Three days later, I received a phone call from a relieved lady who was almost in tears over finding "ARIEL."  She drove over to my house that day and the reunion was monumental.

Ariel started squealing the minute her owner drove up.  I opened the makeshift pen and the little pig ran like a jack rabbit, straight for her owner.  Now, the lady started squealing also and yelling,  "Ariel, Ariel, sweet, Ariel."  The woman had her arms stretched out, and they both rushed toward each other (you know, like two star crossed lovers meeting up in a field).  Any way, the lady dropped to her knees just as she got to Ariel and the darned pig rushed into her arms like a long lost child.  The grunting and cooing (from both sides) was unbelievable.

Apparently, Ariel was a bit of an escape artist and the animal control officer had threatened to remove the pig from her owners care.  So, Ariel was whisked off to a farm a short distance from where the owner lived and we all lived happily ever after.
kt 4/22/12