fuzzy, black dogs

fuzzy, black dogs
All three of my fuzzy, black dogs -- Bob, Ace and Lilly.

Phillip's Scenic Overlook

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!



Happy New Year from us and all our fuzzy, black dogs in all their glory!







Thursday, December 26, 2013

Special Moments Make Christmas Unforgettable

My son and I decided to start the holidays with a bang. We, meaning he, slammed into the side of a car in the grocery store parking lot.

It's possible that he may have been distracted by the nearly life-sized Santa belted in the back seat. Or it could be the passenger who yelled out, "Hey! Is that your grandmother over there?" In my defense, I was slightly mentally incapacitated from previous events.

You see, I picked up a virus approximately four days prior to Christmas. I had a regular feel-bad check up. I had an x-ray. I had blood work done. I had a nasal swab. I had a shot in the rump for nobody knows what since the barrage of tests showed up nothing.

What I can tell you is that I had an allergic reaction to the steroid shot. In addition to the fatigue and weakness I experienced, I also suffered a little "cognitive impairment," as my son so quaintly put it. Hence, my outburst which distracted my son right into the broadside of another car.

The second bang (BIG bang, as there have been many little ones due to 'cognitive impairment') occurred before Christmas dinner. That was when we decided to take our family photo. 

We forgot the tripod. We didn't bring any extra lighting. We even forgot the camera. Some of us don't like having our pictures taken. Others of us don't have patience. At least one of us suffered psychological imbalance due in no small part to both sickness and being administered the wrong medication for Lord only knows what!

Immediately following the cry, "thank God we have Photoshop," came the sound of soft paws hitting the floor. We also heard the wet thud that followed. It was noted that both sounds came from the kitchen and the dogs had gone quiet. It's amazing how quietly a dog can eat, as long as it's not dog food!

While the self-taken, family fiasco... Photo, I mean, was in progress, two fuzzy quadrupeds (NOT mine, actually!) decided the turkey was fair game.

Here are the offending animals, Roxie and Bear.

Offending dog number one, Roxie.


Offending dog number two, Bear.

Luckily, they are not as quick or sneaky as mine and most of the bird was salvageable.

It has been said it's the little things in life that make it memorable. With my family, Christmas is usually downright unforgettable!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holidays Are About Forgiveness

I've actually had a few first-graders, and even some second-graders, ask me to weigh in on the virtues of Santa Claus. Some believe. Some don't.  Some seem to look at me as an easy target and just ask me.

"I believe in Santa," is my usual response. This is immediately followed with "I don't believe Santa's going to help you with that worksheet/math/writing (or whatever the students are working on) right now. Now get busy." Then I 'get them busy' with what they're supposed to be doing.

Once upon a time, Santa Claus was a sore subject with me. I actually held a grudge against the jolly old elf for a few years.

You see, my early aspirations in life could be considered by some to be unsavory. Little me was certain that when I grew up I would be a thief, an arsonist, a con, a pirate or some type of criminal, albeit an extremely successful and rich one.

The way I saw it, I needed to cover my bases and try out several career paths before determining which would be most successful for me. My sisters encouraged me to move on when they found I'd discovered the hiding spots they created for their allowances. Again.

So the next logical place to go from petty thievery was piracy. And seeing how close it was to Christmas, I thought it would be easier just to go to St. Nick than my parents for the tools of my new trade. I wrote Santa a fairly detailed letter that year. I used my considerable writing skills so as not to alarm Santa to my actual plans.

...a Frisbee, black powder, a Slinky, a deck mounting cannon, a basketball, 5 pound lead cannon balls, a disc sled, a boarding axe...

I was really looking forward to getting that cannon. I had planned to test it prior to mounting it on my father's 14-foot, fiberglass sailboat. The kaboom would be so cool.

Needless to say, there was no kaboom. The cannon never came. Santa did NOT come through for me! I harbored a grudge against him, as I said, for several years.

Somewhere along the way, I changed paths completely and dedicated myself to good. Had I received a cannon at such a young age, there would have been a high probability of me blowing myself up.

So I've written Santa, yet again, to set things right. Old grudges have been forgiven and he needn't have any fear of coming to my house. Of course, I'm sure he's forgiven me for trying to stay up Christmas Eve with my air pellet rifle trained on the fireplace...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Parenting Advice for Fathers: Teenaged Boys

In honor of my son's 16th birthday today, this posting will be for all the fathers of teenaged boys. As I have never, nor will I most likely ever, have a teenaged girl, those fathers are simply out of luck! For now, anyway.

The first thing... Scratch that. The main thing that you, or anyone, for that matter, need to know about teenage boys is that they simply don't make sense. Really. They just don't.

Very seldom will you understand what it is that they're talking about. Even rarer will be the occasion that you understand what they're doing or, God help you, why they're doing whatever the heck it is they are doing!

Just today, I noticed my newly 16-year-oldized son standing in the kitchen door bouncing sideways in the door frame from shoulder to shoulder, making burbling sounds with his lips.
"What are you doing," I asked him.
"Nothing," he responded.
"Well," I responded, "you're doing something. It's kind of annoying."
"That's the point."
"What's the point," I asked.
"To be annoying."
The conversation deteriorated quickly.

Most importantly, I broke my golden rule of parenting a teenage boy -- if you don't acknowledge it, then it didn't  happen. If you don't talk about it, it's not there. I find this philosophy to be effective and useful about 97 percent of the time with my son.

Be sure to save your energy for that three percent of the time when the real parenting skills you have learned and acquired thus far will really be needed!

Regardless, I did perform the proper follow through to the non-acknowledgement rule stated above. Proper follow through protocol dictates a lengthy, silent look. It should be an appraising look, as opposed to a menacing look. Nod your head twice and meaningfully utter the phrase, "You know, I believe there's a pill made that fixes this."

And that's it! Simple, huh? There may be a post in the future where I throw some wild guesses out on how to deal with teenaged girls. After all, they can't be that different from teenaged boys, right?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Good Behavior Provides Christmas Inspiration

Dear Santa,

Thanksgiving is well past and we've finally worked off the turkey. We're well into December and my thoughts have begun drifting to you and what is soon to come. You know what I mean. A certain (wink wink) gift-giving occasion that is just around the corner.

With that having been said, this would be a good time to mention that I've actually been pretty good this year. In fact, if you overlook certain key moments (like the pudding shots incident and the mimosa fiasco), I've been pretty good so far this whole decade.

Now, I won't even mention the Karmann Ghia or the "Mean Scream Dream Machine." You know all about those from previous letters I've sent you. As always, just let me know if you need any details...

Regardless, this year I wanted to impress upon you my stellar behavior, as well as offer some shining examples. My only motive for sharing is to provide inspiration, not try to boost the quality or quantity of my Christmas loot. Gifts, I mean.

There were a couple of times earlier this year that one of my fuzzy, black dogs had some accidents indoors. Like the good dog owner that I am, I dutifully cleaned the mess. I was certainly NOT muttering nasty, murderous euphemisms towards my sweet, fuzzy pups!

This year has been interesting with my not-so-little son getting his drivers permit. I've learned the power of prayer as a passenger in my own car. He'll be 16 within the week. Need I say more?

I have even been a really good son and brother during the past year! I have not even pestered my family. Well, not too much, anyway, Santa. But you know, everything's relative, and I'm mostly certain that they'll back me up on this one.

My wife is still in the process of getting her Masters in education. Now Santa... I've been by her side the whole time with a fresh cup of coffee ready when necessary. You know how many pots of coffee I've made? Me neither! But a new coffee maker might not be a bad thing, St. Nick.

And as her personal writing coach? I've been pretty good in that capacity as well. I only fuss because I'm so passionate about good grammar.

If you should need to verify this information, have your elves email my wife. Her name is Wilma Betty Flintstone. Her email is gOtnOemAil@nanobot.zpt

Don't worry, Santa. I can provide other family names and contact info if you need any more verification. Just let me know.