Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #67

13 Pets That I've Had

1. Snoopy - Yep, a beagle. He was so fat that his belly hit the ground. Even though I was very young when he died, I remember him fondly as a tolerant dog who would let me dress him.

2. Daisy - She was a dachshund (aka wiener dog). She was brown and very nice. I don't remember too much about her since we only had her for about two or three years when I was little. When we moved from the farm to the suburbs, I guess she could not adjust. My parents had some explaining to do as to why Daisy was gone.

3. Denver - Another dachshund. We adopted Denver when he was an adult, but he was only with us for about a month. When Daisy went into heat, he gallantly defended her from other dogs, giving his life. His efforts paid off, because Daisy had a very cute litter of 5 pups that looked just like him, except for one that looked like her mother.

4. Tiny Tim - He was a pure bred toy poodle born on St. Patrick's Day. A great little dog, he was a good friend to me for several years. I remember that he would go to the park with me (we let him roam the neighborhood) and go down the slide with me. He liked to snuggle whenever my Mother took naps and would sleep with me at night. I remember that during his first Christmas, he not only chewed on the ornament, tree, and stockings, but he also tore through all the presents under the tree.

5. Tiny Tim Too - Another poodle that my older sister purchased after she moved out. But for some reason, she couldn't take care of him and my parents took him in. I remember that he was stupid. We didn't get attached and ended up giving him to a loving family with a large farm. From then on, he was in their family photos.

6. Melody - After having to move to a different city right before my senior year of high school, I managed to talk my parents into buying me a Shi Tzu puppy. She was a blast! I named her Melody because she reminded me of a piano keyboard--black and white. We would let her ride in the car with us just about everywhere we could--she learned that she could get treats from fast food windows. She understood many words and you could just about have a conversation with her. She would take my Father on walks and even though his Alzheimer's had him confused, she would lead him home.

7. Salvador - My first cat. When I had an apartment that would allow cats, I wanted one right away. I found Salvador (named after Salvador Dali, the artist) on the street as a tiny, skinny black cat. He was a terror as a kitten, but once he settled down, he was great. He grew to be quite large. I had him for many years.

8. Scarlet - Another black cat. Salvador's vet gave her to me and said that they were the same age and would get along great. Wrong. Seems that Scarlet was an adult ferile cat. Somehow we managed to domesticate her, but she never liked Salvador. I'll always remember her as the cat that liked to sit on top of the TV and drool.

9. Vincent - Another cat project that my husband took on. He was named Vincent because he had part of an ear missing, along with most of his nose. He also had broken his tail in several places, which fused together so that he couldn't move it normally. He must have been nearly blind and deaf, and was incontinent. Lovely! He couldn't walk backwards and would get stuck under furniture or in a corner.

10. Goofy - A Beta fish that I got my son for his second birthday. Five years later, he's still around! I swear he greets me whenever he sees me! Sometimes he would seem to be dead, but when I tap on the bowl, he wakes up.

11. Nearly Tailless Nick - He was a kitten that wandered into Creekistan when we were still living in the construction trailer. At first I had to lure him into a cage with food, but eventually we had him tame enough to come into the trailer when it was cold outside. He didn't have a tail, but he had plenty of attitude! He ran off after nearly a year, the day before he was scheduled to get fixed.

12. Bandit - Our current beast-in-residence. Bandit was rescued as a 1-week-old puppy after his mother was hit by a car. He was hand raised and we adopted him. He's the largest dog I've ever had, and quite the character. I think it's necessary to have a dog like Bandit out here in Creekistan, and he does a great job.

13. Gracie - Our current bed-heating cat. We didn't expect to get her, she chose us from the pet store. She was only a year old, but she already had a sweet temperament. She tolerates the kids and even secretly loves them, and is very friendly to everyone. But she's also a great mouser/squirreler/batter. Perfect for our family and for Creekistan.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #66

13 of my Favorite Modern Deities/Religions

1. J. R. "Bob" Dobbs - Church of the Subgenious. The Church of the SubGenius is known for a standing offer that stems from the ordainment fee of $30: "Eternal Salvation or TRIPLE Your Money Back!" The organization claims that if an ordained SubGenius minister dies and finds himself standing at the gates of "Normal" or "Boring" Hell, he will be personally greeted by Church founder J. R. "Bob" Dobbs Himself and receive a refund check for $90.00, along with a booklet titled, "How to Enjoy Hell for Five Cents an Eternity," which costs $89.95.

2. Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) - The religion was founded in 2005 by Oregon State University physics graduate Bobby Henderson to protest against the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to require the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to biological evolution.

3. Invisible Pink Unicorn - Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them.

4. Jedi - 0.7% of citizens in the UK listed it as their religion. Yoda would be proud!

5. Russell's teapot - Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) stated that, for the sake of argument, between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit. Then, if, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

6. Discordianism - is a modern, chaos-centered religion. Discordianism recognizes chaos, discord, and dissent as valid and desirable qualities.

7. Frisbeetarianism says that when you die, your soul goes up on a roof and you can't get it down. A lesser known aspect is the holy event known as "The Ascension", wherein someone comes along with a ladder and collects all the souls.

8. The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism, is the Christian denomination attended by most residents of Springfield on "The Simpsons." Presbylutherans split from the Catholic Church during the "Schism of Lourdes" to defend their "god-given right to come to church with wet hair," a right the Presbylutheran church later abolished.

9. The Great Pumpkin - The Great Pumpkin appears to exist only in the imagination of Linus, friend of Snoopy and Charlie Brown. Every Halloween, Linus awaits the appearance of The Great Pumpkin, which never appears. Poor Linus, he believes so strongly that we want the Great Pumpkin to appear!

10. Scientology was created by author L. Ron Hubbard in 1952 as an outgrowth of his self-help system, Dianetics. I'm too afraid to go further because I don't want any Scientologist Suits to come to Creekistan and do a "Stress Test" on me. Unless that Scientologist is Tom Cruise.

11. Zeus - He's making a comeback! [Read this! ]

12. Elvis - Church of Jesus Christ Elvis. "For unto you is born this day in the city of Memphis a Presley, which is Elvis the King."

13. Festivus - What is religion without holidays? How about a holiday without a religion? Festivus was popularized in a 1997 "Seinfeld" episode. It's called "Festivus for the rest of us," and is the holiday celebrated by the Costanza clan on December 23rd. Mr. Costanza, played by Jerry Stiller, erects a plain aluminium pole and practices the airing of grievances.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dodging A Small Bullet

The doctor came into the room, introduced herself, and immediately said "Everything looks fine." I didn't realize how tense I was until that moment had passed. I had been secretly scared for about a month, ever since I started having pain in my right breast and found a small lump. It seems that it was a cyst brought on by hormones and I should expect them from time to time.

It was my very first mammogram, and I'm glad it's over and done with. Having my boobs squashed in the x-ray machine was not a fun experience. Neither is thinking that a part of your body is just sitting there, waiting to get cancer. But with statistics like 1 in 8 women getting breast cancer, the risk is too great to ignore. So instead of just wondering, I went ahead and got the mammogram. If it turned out to be cancer, we would have caught it early on. If it wasn't, well, then I'd have a great "baseline" image of my breasts.

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I was all too aware of the cause. The pink ribbons were a constant reminder that if I was to find out I had breast cancer, there is lots of information and help out there for me. Just about every magazine in the waiting room had articles on breast cancer and every catalog had pink ribbon items that you can buy with some of the profits going to support the cause. The waiting room itself was decorated like a giant pink ribbon monster came in and vomited all over the place. Pink, pink, pink, staring me in the face with it's cute, feminine color, when I knew it actually represented a deadly disease that kills thousands of women (and hundreds of men) each year.

But not me. Not right now. And from now on, I'm going to do those silly self breast exams in the shower and I'm going to keep the little pink ribbon pin they gave me at the clinic as a reminder. A reminder of my own scare, my new awareness, and of all the women out there that actually experienced the things that my brain imagined would happen to me and my family if my right boob was trying to kill me.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Dead Deer Storage

"When you drove in here, did you notice a sign out in front that said, "Dead [deer] storage"?"
"Naw man, I didn't."
"You know why you didn't see that sign?"
"'Cause storin' dead [deer] ain't my [lovin'] business!"

Someone better tell that to my dog, because I'm not going to put up with it any longer. This morning, while trying to investigate an extremely foul smell wafting into our open windows, I found the mostly-decomposed head of a young male deer. And then I found our wonderful dog practically smiling at me while he chewed on a deer leg--complete with fur.

This isn't the first time it's happened. Last year at hunting season, he would bring home parts of deer that had been discarded by hunters after they field-dressed the deer. It wasn't unusual to see him chewing on a leg or a jaw bone. (The irony of seeing something chewing on a jaw was not lost on me.) In the Spring he found a fawn and quickly disposed of that (yuck!) And he's been known to kill and eat rabbits and moles. Small things are fine because they don't last very long. But a dead deer requires a few trips to bring out of the forest and eat. During hunting season, it's a lot colder and things don't rot as quickly. But it's still reaching 80 degrees and dead things don't keep very good at that temperature.

I lost the battle to my husband and it became my job to dispose of the "problem." So I donned rubber gloves, grabbed a trash bag, several small grocery bags, and Lysol, and, holding my breath, went outside. Luckily the offending item--the head--was still intact and wasn't difficult to get into the bag. And luckily the dog didn't try to take it away from me. So after a quick search of the driveway for other pieces, I was able to breathe again and throw the dead deer part away. I don't know if Lysol is meant to work outside, but I figured it couldn't hurt.

Any tips to help me train my dog that bringing dead things to the front porch is not permitted would be appreciated. Hunting season is coming up, and I don't want to get into the business of deed dear storage.

In Loving Memory: Mister C's Steakhouse

Mr. C's Steakhouse

It was always special for me to go to Mr. C's Steakhouse. The food used to be fantastic. They served traditional Italian pasta dishes and, obviously, steak. I remember enjoying the bar-b-que ribs when I was a kid. But it wasn't just the food that made Mr. C's special. For one thing, he had colored lights all over the place--all shapes and sizes of Christmas lights and even lights shaped like grapes on vines--that gave the place an "It's always Christmas here!" feel. There were beautiful murals on the walls depecticing scenes from Italy. I could sit and stare at the murals and feel a part of the painting and could even imagine what the people were doing and thinking.

Sometimes wandering musicians added to the atmosphere--accordion and violin--that would play requests for each table. I would spend days trying to think of what song I would request next time I ate at Mr. C's. It usually ended up being "Turkey in the Straw."

And Mr. C himself would go table to table asking everyone how they were. I remember that one time, when we were there for lunch and it wasn't very busy, that Mr. C sat down with us for a while. He was always very friendly and gave special treatment to visitors from out of town. I think the last time I ate there, my son was less then a year old. I told Mr. C that even though I don't live in Omaha any more, I try to to to his steakhouse every time I visit.

Now, after over 50 years of being an icon of Omaha's great steak and Italian tradition, Mr. C's Steakhouse has closed. My mother called last night to give me the news, and it felt like someone had died. This great restaurant has become another victim of the "Olive Garden" chain restaurant plague that's overtaking the mom-and-pop restaurants in our hometowns. I don't understand the mentality to always eat at the same restaurant no matter what city you're in. Why can't people take a chance and try some local establishments? When I go on a trip, I almost always try to avoid the chains. But the pull of Cheesecake Factory is pretty strong.

They had an auction on Saturday where people would be able to purchase a piece of the restaurant--Christmas lights, statues, to even a stuffed parrot. I wish I could have been in town to purchase something. I'm going to keep an eye out on eBay, just in case.

Mr. C's and his family still have other restaurants in Omaha, and you can bet that I'll be eating at one next time I'm in town.