Sunday, October 31, 2010


Gentle Readers,

If you wore your Reformation red to church this morning, then you must be a Lutheran.

And I think all us Lutherans should dress as Martin Luther for trick-or-treating and we can nail 95 feces  theses on 95 neighbors' doors. One per neighbor. I hope you don't have to travel too far to find 95 neighbors, but I suppose you could give extras to your favorite neighbors and cut down on the total number of neighbors required.

With all the dogs I have I don't think I'll have any trouble finding theses in my back yard.

I remember one Reformation when my Favorite Young Woman was the acolyte at church. A teacher from a private school, not the school F.Y.W. attended, gave the sermon. It was on the history of Reformation and it lasted at least an hour and felt like four.

If you're a Lutheran or if you listen to A Prairie Home Companion on NPR, then you know Lutherans don't go for hour-long sermons. We like our sermons quick and snappy. Get to the point, Pastor Inqvist.

F.Y.W. was sitting next to our young assistant pastor, who kept nudging her and teasing, Isn't this the most interesting sermon you've ever heard? Don't you just love this sermon?

She managed not to break out laughing. Shame on that naughty pastor, trying to corrupt an innocent young girl. You woulda thought he was a Catholic priest.

Oh, no, excuse me, they go for corrupting innocent young boys.

Lutherans, in general, have a pretty darn good sense of humor considering we eat mournful oatmeal and always expect the worst.

So, if you don't have a Martin Luther costume for tonight, borrow an acolyte's robe from your church and glue on a little beard and you're pretty much set.

Happy Halloween, you Reformationers!

Infinities of love,


Saturday, October 30, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I decided to discuss movies again today because I don't know when your monsters are going out and if they're old enough to go out alone or if you can con some friend into taking all the kids, you might get a movie night.

When I was growing up during Medieval times, our city declared a trick-or-treat night. This night was not necessarily Halloween. It was usually on a weekend, preferably Saturday night. Then the kids had a nice sugar buzz for church the following morning.

Where I live now, the kids seem to trick-or-treat on the actual Halloween, which is fine. It just take me a while to become accustomed to a custom.

First, the decidedly unfrabjieu movie (by the way, frabjieu is the French spelling of frabjous and sometimes I go with the French because I'm pretentious and proud of it). The movie winning this award is Phoebe In Wonderland. Sorry little Elle Fanning, it's nothing against you, I'm sure you're a lovely child and I'm very glad you're not as bug-eyed as your older sister, I just don't care for this movie.

Felicity Huffman has the most awful black hair in this movie. I don't know if she dyed it or if it's a wig, but it looks simply unfrabjieu. When her daughter Phoebe is picked on in school, at first Mom (weird black-haired Felicity) fights for her daughter's right to stand up for herself. She complains that children should not be labeled and medicated. But then it all kind of falls apart when Phoebe is labeled and, I suppose, medicated.

Patricia Clarkson, who is so lovely in every movie she's in (love The Station Agent and Lars and The Real Girl), plays the theater teacher who brings out the best in Phoebe and other children, but she disappears when she's fired.

I wanted a happier ending. I wanted the parents to fight to get the good teacher back. I wanted Mom to stand up for Phoebe and demand that the kids who pick on her daughter get in trouble instead of Phoebe being punished.

Decidedly unfrabjieu.

Now frabjieu: Greenfingers, starring Clive Owen and Helen Mirren and based on the true story of an open prison in England where everyone must have a job. Gardening becomes one of the tasks when a prisoner shows a talent for it.

The gradual transformation of this self-isolating prisoner who seems doomed to be a prisoner forever in his own mind to a man who sees he can have a future in life is very nice and uplifting without being sickeningly sweet. Helen Mirren is lovely as always, and Clive Owen is very good as the prisoner, who appropriately does not show a great deal of emotion.

Happy Movie Watching Ghouls!

Infinities of love,


Friday, October 29, 2010


Gentle Readers,

Recently I mentioned a couple of movies that I was watching and I now want to give them the Super-Sized Lola Seal of Approval.

First, 84 Charing Cross Road. I got this from Netflix and then realized Ah hell's bells, I've seen this before. I thought it had been good though, so I watched it and it was better than good. It was lovely and delightful. Anne Bancroft was so good in this story based on fact by Henelen Hanff.

Helene Hanff used to order books from a shop at 84, Charing Cross Road. She had a long-term epistolary friendship with the employees of the shop, especially the gentleman who found the books she wanted.

The movie is simply excellent. Here's a little example:

Helene Hanff: [typing] WHAT KIND OF A BLACK PROTESTANT BIBLE IS THIS! Kindly inform the Church of England they have loused up the most beautiful prose even written. Who ever taught Dr. Tindall the Vulgate Latin. They'll burn for it, mark my words. It's nothing to me, I'm Jewish myself, but I have a Catholic sister-in-law, a Methodist sister-in-law, a whole raft of Presbyterian cousins, through my late Uncle Abraham who was converted, and an aunt who's a Christian Science healer. And I'd like to think none of them would countenance an Anglican Latin Bible if they knew it existed. As it happens, they don't know Latin existed. 

Ms. Hanff then breaks the fourth wall and remarks sweetly to the camera about sending some food to the folks at the shop, who continue to suffer from post World War II rationing.

And then we have the previously remarked upon British mini-series Lost in Austen, which comes complete on one disc from Netflix but would be well-worth purchasing because you will want to watch it over and over and over. 

I don't know how the writers managed to take Amanda Price from present-day London and not make Jane Austen's style seem ridiculous when Amanda joins the Bennett family of Pride and Prejudice, one of my favorite books, but somehow this little series is a rousing success. It's hilarious and sweet and has such a happy ending. Who could ask for anything more?

Here's a little taste of Lost in Austen:

Mr. Bingley: Darcy regards all forms of sudden locomotion as emblematic of ill-breeding. Hunting, tennis, rising precipitately from a chair...
Mr. Darcy: When Miss Price and I dance, sir, there shall be nothing sudden.
Amanda Price: I can't dance this sort of dance.
Mr. Darcy: Nor I. Together we shall make a shambles. But we shall do it with such authority that everyone will stare at us to learn the step. 

And a little more:

Amanda Price: I try not to judge people I've never met
Mr. Darcy: You are a philosopher, Miss Price. I would I could be like you.
Amanda Price: Certainly you would benefit an occupation of some kind. You have no function, Mr. Darcy. No purpose.
Mr. Darcy: Of course not. What a disgusting idea. That is the raison d'etre of society. We must be seen to be unoccupied. 

I'd like to go on and on, but I should give you the chance to watch and listen for yourself.

Happy Movie Viewing Gentle Readers! Send the monsters out turning tricks if they don't get their treats and put a good movie in the player. Then after they're in bed, steal your favorite candies from the Halloweenie goodies.

Infinities of love,


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Here’s the story
Of a dog named Franklin
Who was living with some very lovely folks
But Franklin was too much for these older people
And he felt all alone.

Then on Sunday Franklin’s daddy met a doggie mommy
And Mommy knew that it was much more than a hunch
That Franklin should join her doggie family
And that’s the way we all became The Franklin Bunch!

The Franklin Bunch
The Franklin Bunch
That’s the way we became The Franklin Bunch!

And now together again for the first time on any blog, we present the stars of 
The Doggie Show

Our Cast

Lola as 


Scout as 


Harper Lee as


And Introducing


Back Story: Someone breaks into a woman's home. She has seen two stray dogs hanging out in a field, so she takes them home. She keeps one to be her watch dog and gives the other, a border collie mix, to her parents. They name him Franklin Jr. But Franklin Jr., who is only two years old, proves too much for this older couple to handle. Franklin Jr.'s dad announces at church that he's looking for a home for the dog. Mama raises her hand and says, "I"ve always wanted a border collie." And here's where our story begins.

Pilot Episode: Mama and her Favorite Young Man arrive at the home of Franklin Jr.'s parents. They go to the back yard to meet Franklin, who is so frightened that he flies over the fence. His dad has to go after him and bring him home, where Mama approaches him slowly and cautiously. Soon she and Franklin are acquainted, and he agrees to go home with her. F.Y.M., who serves as the show's Dog Wrangler, gets a nervous Franklin into the car, drives him to Mama's house, and carries him to the back yard. Franklin takes off faster than a speeding bullet to find a place where he can leap the tall fence in a single bound, but returns quickly when he discovers that Mama's entire fence is seven feet tall. Franklin is afraid to go up the steps to the deck, so Mama lets Scout and Harper outside. They encourage Franklin to join them on the deck and then in the house.

That evening, Franklin and Harper become fast friends as they run in and out of the house together. Soon, a Bromance develops between them.

Scout, who is a little jealous but accepting of the new guy in town, lets loose with an occasional growl (Scout secretly believes he is a grizzly bear cub).

Franklin is afraid of Mama. He starts every time she moves. Mama knows that Franklin had a hard life as a stray, so she speaks to him in a soft voice and moves slowly. She tells him how much she admires his rather large paws.

Before long, Franklin begins to relax. By the end of the evening, he has reciprocated by licking Mama's toes. Franklin goes to bed in his own comfortable crate on a soft bed with a bowl of kibble and a bowl of water. His new life has begun.

Good night, Franklin. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sorry, Gentle Readers, no purposeful post today. My favorite young man had a car accident last night. He will be o.k. in a few days, but he's a pitiful sight right now. I hope to return tomorrow with some photos and the story of Franklin Jr.


Monday, October 25, 2010


Gentle Readers,

When the movie Revolutionary Road came out, I thought it was excellent. I didn't even realize it was based on a novel.

Well, now I've read Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates so I am qualified to tell you that it is much better than the movie, and remember I said the movie was excellent. I'm not sure what adjective I can use that's superior to excellent, so let's say the novel is superior in its use of detail, realistic dialog, and characterization. And because it's from 1961 it makes me think that Mad Men is spot-on accurate.

Now, down to some details without revealing the wrenching conclusion.

Frank and April Wheeler are a relatively young married couple with two relatively young children. They have an extra-marital affair -- with each other. April encourages Frank to toss aside their boring domesticity and suddenly they're having late-night talks that go on for hours, the sex is fabulous, they change the way they think and act and look at life, and they become two different people who are passionately in love and filled with new ideas.

But the problem is that they are still Frank and April and they still have to face real life. Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall and can't be put back together again.

Worst of all, Frank is Frank. As Yates writes, "his self-absorption was so complete" that eventually he doesn't hesitate to destroy his wife.

Oh Frank Wheeler. Frank the Wheeler Dealer. I know you. You can't keep your pants zipped up. You're a liar. You're vicious, just plain vicious.

Now that I've made these people and their situation sound terrible, please allow me to remind you that this novel is superior, excellent, outstanding, well-worth reading.

I'd never heard of Yates before, and I believe I shall seek him out in the future.

Infinities of love,


Sunday, October 24, 2010


Gentle Readers,

We have a new family member. His name is Franklin Jr.

That's all I have to say about that.

We'll see how it goes.

Infinities of love,


P.S. Baby gifts are always welcome, especially cash.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Gentle Readers,

Recently I was walking across a parking lot, headed for my car, no one in sight except a middle-aged man.

I was wearing black jeans, black tank top, and a loose silky blouse that helped cover my fat and ugliness at least a bit.

Suddenly said approaching gentleman passed by me, glanced at me, and said, Ba-da-boom, Ba-da-bing.

I was quite surprised. I looked around again to see if anyone else was there.

Not a soul.

I think he was actually giving my a compliment in his own little perverted way.

It's been a damn long time since I received such a comment. I used to get whistles, shouts about how good I looked, approaches from young men who wanted to know my name and would I want to go hither and thither. One time I was even in a mall where I worked in a jewelry kiosk, I think I was 17, and two middle-aged businessmen walked past me and one said, Now that's a good-looking young lady.

But that was long ago, and I feel quite pleased to have been noticed again as long as it doesn't go beyond a little glance and comment. Someone looked past the fat and the ugly.

Thanks, Stranger Friend. Kinda hope I never run into you again.

Infinities of love,


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


YOU! Yes, I mean You, Gentle Reader, and You, and You, and You,

Quit pretending you don't read me. You hide in the closet with your laptop, snickering or shedding a few tears as you read my posts, but you don't sign up to be a follower.

And I know you are out there reading me. I know it because my dashboard has a stats page, so I happen to know I have readers all over the world. I have readers in frickin' Latvia, and I don't even know where Latvia is (please forgive me Latvians; I did not learn geography in school).

It's time to come out of the closet and be a follower.

Directly opposite the current post, which for the next 24 hours or so will be this one, on the right side of the page is a link that says FOLLOW. Click on it and sign up to follow, I'm begging you.

If I get a gaggle of you, Gentle Readers, perhaps someone will actually put an ad on my message center and I could supplement my meager fixed income with it. Take pity on a poor old broken-backed dumped first wife and be a follower.

I shall lead without hesitation and with infinities of love. I welcome ridiculous and nonsensical comments on my posts. Furthermore, if you are a poster yourself, then please let me know and I shall follow you in return.

Thank you for tolerating this tirade, Gentle Readers. Plus, we welcome one fellow who has just come out of the closet: Mr. G. So, thank you Mr. G.

Infinities of love,



Gentle Readers,

The last few days have been difficult, to be sure. I have felt low in spirits, a lowness no doubt exacerbated by my drunkenness and debauchery.

However, I'm feeling a bit better because I've started to watch a British mini-series called Lost In Austen, and we're talkin' Jane Austen, not Austin, Texas, which is a lovely place though. Oh, the hours I could spend at the LBJ Library and Museum. I'm really quite fond of presidential libraries - except Hoobert Heever's. His is pretty darn boring.

Anyway, this mini-series is a hoot so far. I'm about 45 minutes in to it, so I'm sure I'll let you know more about it. I suspect it will end up receiving the Lola Seal of Approval.

Here's a little taste of Lost in Austen:

Mr. Bingley: [after Amanda sings 'Downtown'] Brava, Miss Price! And whenever life is gettin' me down, I shall be sure to go 'downtown'. Eh, Darcy?
Mr. Darcy: With alacrity.

Mr. Wickham: Miss Price, I fear that your life with Mr. Collins may be short of gaeity. If you find yourself nonplussed by the anticipated pleasures of married life, call upon me and I shall redress the deficit.
Amanda Price: Full marks for trying, George, but I wouldn't have my deficit redressed by you if you were the last man on earth.

Mr. Bingley: Damn you! Damn you and damn everyone who won't put a light in his window and stay up all night damning you!

But, Gentle Readers, if you have made the nearly fatal error of never reading Pride and Prejudice, then the moment has arrived. Do not wait another second. It is delicious and delightful and that's why it can inspire Lost in Austen and the lovely, lovely A&E classic mini-series with the lovely, lovely Colin Firth.

I think Jane Austen one of the most, if not the most, clever writers ever.

Infinities of love,


Monday, October 18, 2010


I'll just say it: Robin is gone, but she didn't die, at least not yet as far as I know.

Saturday evening somehow she and Scout the black Lab mix got into a dispute over biscuits even though everybody had a biscuit. I don't know how it started or who started it. Harper had wisely run out to the deck with his biscuit to chomp away.

It took quite a bit of work to separate Robin and Scout. I sprayed them with water and smacked them with a pan and screamed and finally they stopped. I was quite shocked by their behavior. Robin seemed to have gotten the worst of it but had an "I don't care - bring it on" attitude.

Everything seemed fine and then about an hour later I was working at the computer and Robin suddenly took umbrage at Scout's presence and attacked the hell out of him. She chased him under the desk and held onto his ear and wouldn't let go. I received quite a scratch and bruise on my hand during the battle.

I called my son and he offered to come over and get Robin. I panted, No, I'll put Scout in the bedroom for a while and everyone, including me, will calm down and we'll be fine.

So they were in separate rooms for quite some time and then they went out before bed and everything was fine. Then we went in the bedroom to go to bed and Robin attacked Scout next to the bed and cornered him against a wardrobe while she bit the hell out of him.

Distracting her and grabbing her and doing anything with her was extremely difficult, but eventually I got her out of the room. I called my son and said, I'm sorry. You have to come and get her.

We sat together in the living room, blood from her mouth dripping onto the area rug, and waited the few minutes until he arrived.

He took her with him and I don't think she can come back here. Perhaps she'll have to be euthanized, which would have happened eventually anyway because of the cancer.

It was very shocking and upsetting and I'm still upset and also concerned for Scout, who was limping last night and not acting like himself. This morning he seemed fine and danced for his breakfast and I think we're back to normal.

I just wish I knew what went wrong with this good, sweet girl whose only flaw was escaping under the house from time to time. Oh, and sleeping in the middle of my bed, if you consider that a flaw.

I loved her, and she disappeared as quickly as she appeared.

And like Forrest, Forrest Gump, That's all I have to say about Vietnam.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Gentle Readers,

Do you ever order a movie from Netflix and sit down to watch it and realize within the first five, or even two minutes that you've seen it before?

I have done this twice in the past month, and I am quite annoyed with myself.

The first time it worked out fine though. I got this movie called The Family Man, starring Nicolas Cage, and then realized I had seen it on TV last Christmas.

I didn't think much of it on television, but uncut as a movie, I quite liked it. The uncut version includes Tea Leoni dancing around naked in the shower, but you just see her through the door, which is not clear glass. However, I think a naked dancing Tea is a thing to be admired.

But now I have 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. This movie is fairly old and I realized when I read the description on the little envelope the movie comes in, Ah yes, I saw this years ago before there was a Netflix.

I recall that this movie was quite good, so I'll probably enjoy it again; but I annoy myself with my inability to remember all the movies I've seen. Instead of watching somewhat enjoyable movies again I should move onward ever onward and always watch something new.

Well, back to 84 Charing Cross Road, which appears to be based on a book (I did not know that, so I have learned something new. Plus, I now watch movies with the subtitles because I got sick of not being able to understand what the characters say. I am a victim of old age so DVDs from Netflix are definitely an improvement over the old tapes or actually, gasp!, watching on TV).


Friday, October 15, 2010


People of India,

You are really lovely. I see two doctors, both of whom are from India. They are very good. Many Indians speaks better English than the people of the United States.

But too many customer service jobs are being outsourced to India, and whether you get to speak to someone whose English is comprehensible is a hit or miss proposition.

Not long ago, I had occasion to call my satellite television provider about a little problem - let's give them a name for the heck of it and call them directv. I spoke with a woman who seemed quite nice and friendly, but I understood very little of what she said. She offered me a $5 rebate for three months because I had been a "directv" customer for a year and was continuing my service.

But when I hung up, I said to my Favorite Young Man, I understood about 10% of what she said. For all I know I have signed up for all their premium services (I'm a basic kinda customer; let's keep the price down).

Today I received my "directv statement" and guess what? I had been charged for a month's service of Starz, plus a partial month's service. The rebate was for $5 off on three months of Starz. It's entirely possible that the customer service rep used the name Starz when I spoke with her, but I certainly never heard it or understood it.

And Starz is too expensive for me. I can't have another $12.99 added to my bill. I don't need that much television anyway.

So today I called directv (I'm tired of playing with the quotation marks; it's not funny anymore) and I spoke with another woman I barely understood. First, I needed to change my name on the account. That took forever and involved putting me on hold numerous times.

I had to spell my last name, which consists of all of five letters, at least 10 times.

Finally, we got down to the serious business: the extra charges on the bill.

She had to put me on hold so I could be transferred to someone else. I waited and waited and finally got someone who said she would remove the Starz package and credit me with $7.99.

No, no, no, I said.

But, she said, it's notated here that you were educated that you were getting the Starz package.

No, no, no, I said. Take off all the charges.

But, she said, it's notated here that you were educated that you were getting the Starz package.

No, I wasn't, I replied. Let me talk to your supervisor please.

I'll have to put you on hold, she said.

Of course, I said.

She actually came back on the line after only a few more minutes and said her supervisor had told her she could remove all the charges.


But I had been on the phone for about 45 minutes. Now I'm so tired and I have a headache.

The next time I sign up for a service, among my questions will be the following, and if no one can answer them, then forget it:

1. Where are you customer service representatives? Are they native speakers of English?
2. What is the average wait time to reach a customer service rep and the average time to have a problem resolved?

I don't think these are unfair questions. And I'm also tired of being told to go to Web sites to resolve my problem, where I almost always see a list of FAQs, none of which have anything to do with my needs, and if I use Live Chat I'm back to talking to someone in writing who has a minimal understanding of English and seldom solves my problem (in fact, I think the only time a Live Chat person answered my question was on Macy' and the person seemed to have an excellent understanding of English), or I can send an email that will almost always be ignored, or if I receive a reply, the answer seldom makes sense.

See why I'm so tired?

And it's not notated. It's noted.

Just love tonight,


Thursday, October 14, 2010


She was a single parent for a long time so she knows how to be careful with a dollar, yet she's unflinchingly generous.

She has firm beliefs, yet she listens to other opinions.

She is conservative, yet she's liberal.

She speaks her mind, yet she does not lecture.

She loves kitties, yet she's sweet to dogs.

She is serious, yet she makes me laugh so hard I nearly fall out of my chair and lose the ability to speak.

She plays instruments as if she is an angel, yet she is an earth-bound creature.

She is strict, yet she is patient.

She is tough, yet she can be hurt.

She makes learning fun, yet the fun never gets in the way of the learning.

She suffers pain of her own, yet she always cheers me up.

She is extremely busy, yet she always has time.

She is a godly woman, yet she is not a prude.

She is a person of rare devotion, both to God and her friends.

She is a person of rare tolerance.

She has no other gods before our God.

She loves her children.

She honors her parents.

She would not kill or injure, in deed or with words.

If she utters a falsehood, it is to save someone else's feelings, not to protect herself.

Why has God given me this amazing person as my friend of more than 25 years? What did I ever do to deserve this? Nothing, of course, just as I have done nothing to deserve the death of Jesus on the cross for me.

She is a little older than I am - O.K. she is several years older than I am, and I fear He will take her before me.

But I know that in His goodness, that if He takes her first, He will take a bit of me and send me with her because He knows, in all His glory and enlightenment and omnipotence, that I cannot be left alone on Earth without her. She is my partner in crime, yet she is my partner in all that is good and holy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Gentle Readers,

Yesterday the nice lady next door, who quite often helps me with escaped dogs, rang the doorbell and I asked Do I have a dog out? She said No, two, the black one and the white one. (Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony. Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why is this song so dumb?)

So Robin found another escape route, but I was pretty surprised that Scout had followed. He's such a mama's baby.

But just then Scout came running up behind me, so obviously he had changed his mind and come back through the escape route and through the open back door, big smile on his face.

And then Robin came running up to the front door with her big dopey grin on her face.

So the nice lady next door and I went out back to see where they had gotten out because I have worked so hard to prevent escapes.

And there it was: A little tiny space between the house and the deck. Robin had knocked over the cinder block that was in front of it after pushing a garbage can out of her way. Nice lady next door was quite amazed that Robin had gotten through this tiny space. I said, She's the incredible shrinking dog. When Robin wants out, Robin gets out.

Nice lady next door went home and I looked at the little space and thought, Mama's back just hurts too much after all the hoopla last week with fixing another escape route and having Harper take off and get an hour away. I cannot carry a bag of quikrete back here to fix this. So I put the cinder block back in place and wedged a smaller one in next to it and put a metal tub that was in the yard (I think the people who used to live here were into gardening and they used it as a planter) in front of the cinder blocks and put the garbage can in the metal tub.

Now I knew that Robin could move all of this quite easily if she chose to do so, but I hoped that she would make enough noise with the rattly lightweight metal tub while removing it that I would know what she was doing and could give her a stern talking to.

So after a little while I heard a rattly noise near the back door. There was Robin standing in the metal tub.

I descended the steps from the deck and hauled her out and smacked her on the butt and shouted NO.

I swear to God she looked up at me with tears in her eyes.

And I knew what I was.

I was a piece of shit who would hit a helpless dog when just pulling her away and talking to her would have sufficed.

And I wasn't a great big stinking piece of Thoreau shit just waiting for some smart-assed rich kid to step in me. No, not me. I was a little tiny miserable piece of shit that had been ground into the mud by someone's scruffy boot and a cigarette had probably been put out on me besides.

Robin was pretty quiet the rest of the day and she stuck close to me. I gave her lots of pats and kisses and told her what a good girl she was when she stayed away from the escape route.

She's already tried to check out the area this morning - twice. The first time I was on the phone and I pointed at her and she backed away immediately. The second time I said NO and she moved away immediately.

At the moment, she's resting on the floor, next to my desk, oh so quiet. I know she's not really asleep because she's not snoring.

As soon as my back feels better, I'll fix this escape route and we'll be o.k. for a while until Robin find another spot.

Robin, it looks like it's you and me to the end baby.

Infinities of love,


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Gentle Readers,

We've had a couple of visitors recently who left behind comments, which is one heck of a lot better than leaving some things behind that I can think of.

Raine and MulledVine have been here, so Hello and Welcome and please come back.

I imagine they visited because of LegalMist's Friday Feature on moi, and perhaps we've had some other guests as well who slipped in and out without commenting.

Now that you have me on the subject of leaving things behind, I must tell you about taking Thoreau the Treeing Walker Coonhound with me when I picked up my Favorite Young Woman from school.

F.Y.W. attended a private high school - a very ritzy prep school with only a few students in each class and fancy schmancy stuff going on all the time. When they put on a play, they had the most gorgeous costumes - oy. And the grounds. Oy Oy Oy The perfectly cut green grass stretched on forever. It was in the middle of nowhere with mountains visible in the distance. Cell phones didn't even work there. Such a place you wouldn't even believe exists and my little F.Y.W. went to school there.

Her first three years she was a day student because we just barely lived within driving distance
so she couldn't have a scholarship to board. Quite often when I went to pick her up, I took one of the dogs with me, which pleased her immensely. Sometimes we had to wait a while for her so whichever dog and I would frolic on the gorgeous grounds, trimmed with scissors by dozens of yard elves who crept out at night to work.

However, I soon discovered that if I took Thoreau with me, then we always left something behind. I don't know what it was about that place that made Thoreau go, but he went; and I always imagined some snot-assed rich kid stepping right in the middle of it. It kind of pleased me because some of the snot-assed rich kids were not so nice and they needed a little something to bring them down to earth. "OMG I have shit all over my Jimmy Choos."

It was especially gratifying because when Thoreau shit, it looked like he was leaving great big brown barrels that he had just built. He was a big dog, and he could shit with the best of them. Oh my goodness how I loved that dog. I didn't mind scooping the yard after he decorated it, but when he pooped at the fancy school, I told my daughter that we had made a donation that day.

They were always asking the parents and alumni for money for this fund or that or their million jillion dollar capital campaign fund, and Thoreau made our donations for us.

Now don't get me wrong. It really was quite a good school, and I'm glad my F.Y.W. had the opportunity to go to school there and have better than average teachers and kick the rich kids' asses (valedictorian and lots of other awards). But everyone must have a little shit in their lives, and Thoreau and I were happy he could provide it.

Oy Oy Oy

Infinities of love,


Monday, October 11, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I describe myself as less than lukewarm about the first movie because less than lukewarm is actually cool, and I don't think Bride Wars is at all cool.

I suppose if you want something pretty mindless to watch, it will do, but if you're going to really watch it and think you like it, then at least keep in mind what I have to say about it.

The two main characters, whose names I forget (played by Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson), are BFF who go insane when they find out that the most important day of their lives, their wedding days, have accidentally been scheduled on the same day.

I have news for you: If your wedding day is the most important day of your life, then what do you have to look forward to for the next 40 or 50 years? Will it be all downhill from there?

Yeah, probably.

And I really hate it than when your plans don't work out, what's your names, you fall into catty female stereotypes instead of finding a way to solve the problem. Problems are made to be solved.

I also don't like it when Anne Hathaway's character starts to stand up for herself, and her supposedly loving fiancee tells her she's not a bitch, but she's in the neighborhood. Remember, girls, go after what you want and the world will call you a bitch.

It's o.k. for a man to be aggressive, but damn, girl, you best keep your mouth shut and take what's comin' to you or you are a capital B itch.

Now, the movie I liked - no loved - is Young @ Heart.

It's a lovely documentary about a group of seniors who sing covers of songs by The Clash, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, you name it, they do it.

Sometimes their renditions are hilarious; sometimes their renditions are poignant.

I loved it and so frabjous is the best word to describe Young @ Heart.

Infinities of love,

Lola, the naughtiest girl in North Dakota

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I give thanks every day, but Sundays offer even more opportunities for giving thanks with a group of brethren and sistren at church (I think I just made up a new word; I love doing that).

Today I give extra thanks to and for LegalMist, who so kindly made WOMEN: WE SHALL OVERCOME her Friday feature, and I didn't even have to pay her to do it.

I feel like a doggie getting an extra biscuit every time she publishes a post. She's so amusing and interesting. Her children sound absolutely hilarious. So, thanks again LegalMist.

And again, I give thanks because Harper is home. He and I have a new agreement, based on an agreement that my favorite young woman had with Faulkner.

When Favorite Young Woman came to visit, Faulkner waited patiently by her side when she ate toast, yeah toast. The last corner of the toast always went to Faulkner. They had an agreement that it would be so.

My new agreement with Harper is that he receives the last bite of my dinner. Will it end his wanderlust? I doubt it.

But he's here's now, and Harper, I'm making teriyaki chicken and rice for dinner.

Infinities of love,

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Gentle Readers,

Here's why it has been Hell Week in Cougartown.

As you may recall, my beloved collie died on July 27th, the day after his 13th birthday -- an event from which I may never recover because I've never communicated with a dog the way I could with Faulkner, who was admired for his beauty everywhere he went. I am an attention whore, and I loved the attention I received because I was in the company of my man Faulkner.

So one collie gone, one collie remains. Harper Lee does not possess the brilliance of a Faulkner, but he is a sweet and beautiful dog with big brown eyes who takes treats from my fingers without touching them.

However, Harper is an escape artist. He was a stray who got picked up and what's his name (that husband guy) and I adopted him about seven years ago after Thoreau the Treeing Walker Coonhound died.

It's easy to see why he was a stray. The dog has wanderlust. Given any opportunity, he takes off. He weighs 80 pounds but he can turn himself into the Incredible Shrinking Dog and wiggle out of the tiniest spots. He can dig a little hole under the fence that you would think wasn't even big enough for a chihuahua to get through, roll over on his back, and slide out as if he's been greased with Crisco.

Normally when he gets out, I follow him around the neighborhood with biscuits and a lead, followed by a group of kind and caring neighbors, and eventually he stops to check out somebody's cat and we all scream SWARM SWARM and the lead is on his collar and the collar is on him and we walk wearily home after thanking the neighbors and he gets a big drink and falls asleep.

But on Monday, I made a big mistake - huge (I have to go shopping now, Pretty Woman). I needed to fix a spot under the house where Robin the cancer-stricken foster bulldog had been escaping (yes, Robin is still alive and kicking and shows absolutely no sign of buying the farm).

I had the gate open because I, with my hilariously funny broken back, had to carry bricks and a 50-pound bag of quikrete into the backyard to make the repair and I couldn't open and close the gate with all that crap to carry. So, yes, the gate was open, but all the dogs were shut in the house.

Fatal error. The door wasn't locked.

Either Robin or Scout the black Lab mix stood up and turned the handle on the door and everybody came trooping out.

Scout stopped on the deck. I suggested that he go back inside, and being an intelligent little guy who enjoys his meals and sleeping in bed with Mom, he turned around and trooped right back into the house.

Robin and Harper departed, via the open gate. I grabbed a couple of leads and a box of biscuits and set off after them, desperately calling their names. Usually this would bring half the neighborhood out, but can you believe nobody was home? Not a soul. Not even Dennis who had a motorcycle accident and can barely walk with a crutch and spends most days sitting on his porch watching the neighborhood go by while he recovers.

Robin ran up to me after about 5 minutes, looking pleased that I wanted her. Big goofy grin on her face as I took her home and locked her in the house with Scout.

Then I hopped in the car to search for Harper. Eventually I saw him in a yard a considerable distance from my home. I got out and called him and tossed biscuits in his direction. He took off running as if he gets beaten at home instead of being served excellent kibble in a silver bowl, having a beautiful backyard where he talks trash with the rottie who lives behind us, and sleeps in bed with his back pressed against mine.

I followed on foot, leaving the car just sitting in the street, and to my horror, he left the neighborhood. He ran across an extremely busy street. I followed, dodging cars with their screaming horns. I followed him as he ran and ran and I finally lost sight of him. I returned to the car to drive around in the hood on the other side of the busy street.

No Harper.

Suddenly I realized I was almost to the door of the writer of If Martha Can Do It I Can Do It (she's not blogging a lot lately; she's very busy, but I assure you she's a wonderful writer). I pulled into her driveway and stumbled to the door, sobbing that Harper was gone and I absolutely could not take losing him. She was all business. She grabbed the telephone and started making calls to animal control to watch for him, and she even called his vet's office in the state where we used to live because his rabies tag was on his collar and it had that vet's number on it. She gave them my new phone number and explained that he was missing. She gave me a glass of water and a chance to calm down.

I went back out her door, tearless and determined to search in a logical fashion. I decided to go to animal control and got directions from my friend google. I arrived at animal control, which had a sign that said animal control with the name of my county. There was a building with kennels visible. There was a sign that said office. But there were no barking dogs, no one in the parking lot, nothing but a sign on the door that said we've moved to *****. But that was the address I had googled. That was the address where I was supposed to be. Animal control was as lost as Harper.

I came home and searched some more.

When he didn't come home at 5 p.m., I knew he was lost because 5 p.m. is supper time and he knows when it is 5 p.m. and he is not one to miss a meal.

I slept on the couch, which means I dozed and awoke every 10 minutes, because I hoped that somehow he would find his way back to me and bark at the door.

He didn't.

I got up first thing in the morning and started the search again. If Martha Can Do It I Can Do It knew how to get to the real animal control building where she checked for him and filled out a missing pet report. She was there at 8 a.m. with her 18-month old daughter. If that's not a good person, then who is?

About noon I went to Office Depot with a picture of Harper and asked them to make HARPER IS LOST flyers, offering a reward. They said it would take about 90 minutes. I went to have lunch and then asked I.M.C.D.I.I.C.D.I. if I could stop by. On my way to her house, my phone rang. I thought it would be Office Depot calling to say my flyers were ready.

But it wasn't Office Depot.

It was a young man who said Harper had been hanging out in his sister's yard all day and they had called animal control, in their county, to pick him. But the young man had copied down all the info from Harper's rabies tag and had made calls to Illinois, where the vet's office told him my name and phone number and he called me and told me Harper was on his way to animal control.

I was so excited I got lost on the way to my young friend's house, and it's only about five minutes away. I gave her the good news and she called the other county's animal control and learned they closed at 4 (it was 3:45) and that the officer wouldn't arrive with Harper until after they closed. She told them his name, my name, everything there was to know including that I haven't had sex in years (oops that just slipped out; she didn't actually say that and probably did not know it until now though she might have suspected) and, finally, that I would be there to pick him up when they opened at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

And I was. It was an hour away from home, and I sure wish Harper could tell me how he got there.

I wish I could say nice things about the people at that animal control, but I can't. They didn't care that Harper had a rabies tag. They didn't care that my friend had called to tell them that I would be there to pick him up. They acted as if they didn't know what I was talking about when I arrived, but the truth slipped out as they spoke privately. They knew he was wearing the tag. They knew my friend had called. But they treated me like crap and made me wait 45 minutes to look in the kennels for him (I'll write nice things about other animal control places some other time).

When I finally had my Harper in my arms, he glanced at me as if to say, "Oh, it's you. I knew you'd come." I noticed immediately that his tag with his name and address was gone, so it's a really good thing the rabies tag didn't come off too.

So I have a huge thank you for the guy who found him. You rock, kid. You kick major ass. You want my first born male child? You can have him. Oh, please, take him.

Anyway, I called Harper's savior to thank him and I said I never would have found him out there and animal control didn't care. He said, I know. That's why I wasn't going to quit calling until I found you.

I gave Harper biscuits on the long drive and thought about stopping at Micky D's to get him a burger but was afraid I'd upset his stomach. But we didn't come straight home. We went to the vet's office and got a new name and address tag and got Harper a microchip. He's a high tech dog now.

And he's home. He was exhausted, but not injured in any way. He slept on the couch all afternoon and on the deck during the evening and we went to bed for snuggling at 9:00.

Now, I realize this has been a very long story. Sometimes my posts are short, and sometimes they are long, and this one has been extra long, so I'll give you my conclusion and then it's time to feed the dogs.

Conclusion: First, I asked all my friends to pray for Harper's safe return, and they did. I received so many supportive emails and calls. Second, that wonderful young man made sure that Harper came back to me. If this isn't proof that prayer has power and that there are still good, kind people in the world, then I don't know what you need in order to believe.

Infinities of love,


Wednesday, October 6, 2010


And itchy. Gentle Readers, I am so tired and itchy. This has been the week from Hell (I'll explain more on another day), and my skin likes to reflect my feelings.

I am itchy on my toes
Itchy up my legs
Itchy down my back
And all over my hairy . . .

Finish it yourself. I'm too tired.

Just love today, not infinities,


Saturday, October 2, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I have a long-standing fear of bugs.

In fact, my fear goes back as far as I can remember, and I remember a lot (this is a warning to some people). As a small child, I had nightmares that bugs were crawling on me.

They stopped when I was a teenager, but when I was an adult, they started again, and after a nightmare about red ants crawling on me, I realized why I had the bugmares. It was because I was so itchy that it made me dream that something was crawling on me.

You see, I've had eczema since I was a baby, it subsided during my teenage years, and then returned - as it often does - when I reached my form of adulthood.

Although I've been plenty itchy this summer because of mosquito bites and the rashes that crop up on my always-fragile skin, I didn't have a summer bugmare until about two weeks ago when I woke up believing that bedbugs were crawling all over me.

After all, every time I turn on the news I hear about another posh place in New York City that had to be closed while they get rid of the bedbugs. Horror stories about bedbugs in hotels abound. Exterminators have scary advertisements that scream BEDBUGS ARE BACK.

Well, it just so happens I have been to a lot of those fancy-schmancy places in New York that now have bed bugs and I have been there within the past 10 to 15 years. I have also stayed in a number of hotels, and at one time or another, I employed an exterminator in houses I used to own.

I have every reason in the world to fear bedbugs.

Anyway, I did my bedbug research (I've already provided two links for you as you may have noticed, should you care to join me in my bedbugmares), and I've been watching for signs of bedbugs. Do I have even more bites that usual? No. Do I find little smears of blood on my sheets? No.

So I don't think I have bedbugs, yet, but if I get them, you will be the first to know.

After the exterminator.

Infinities of love,


Friday, October 1, 2010


Gentle Readers,

I have made my way through two more of Joyce Carol Oates' tomes (I think tome is the appropriate word here because it sounds weighty to me and she tends to write pretty long books so they're a bit heavy and unwieldy when I rest them on my chest while reading in bed, which I love to do), and I pronounce both books worthy.

First, I read The Gravedigger's Daughter, which I found difficult to put down.

Then I read My Sister, My Love, which I found even more difficult to put down.

It's based on the Jonbenet Ramsey case in some of its twists and turns, and that's all I will tell you about it. Just read it, and absolutely no skipping ahead. Allow it to unfold as it should and I think you'll be quite surprised by the conclusion and don't go getting Mummy confused with Patsy Ramsey. Just because the book is based on the Ramsey family that doesn't mean you should take everything it says as fact. I know you won't do that, Gentle Readers, but I feel I must post a warning in case someone drops by the message center and thinks Oh this book is about Jonbenet Ramsey. I quite often see people confuse reality with fantasy. In fact, for 30 years I lived with someone who did that and it was no fricking fun.

Anyway, stylistically, I think My Sister, My Love is Oates' best novel to date. That woman has written 35 novels, that I know of, and I can't get past the first six chapters of mine.

Maybe I should serialize my novel on my message center and if I had the world (hahahahahaha) looking forward to the next post, it would pressure me to write so I wouldn't disappoint you, World.

Ah, I can see it now. I shall be famous for blogging an entire novel.


Infinities of love,