Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Well I can’t say it is working well.
We call it woo-wooing and she will do that at the boys on her own, if they are not pleasing her. Not saying Hi for instance when they walk in, or if they’ve been absent for a long time.
Now someone else whose name shall go unmentioned, taught Su to bark. This was funny for a long time as she had such problems doing it and usually only managed a very small noise. However now there are Corn Dogs!!! and she can bark really loud. Hence the effort to do the woo-woo thing..
James is in town and nearly every morning he gets Su a corndog. She loves loves loved corndogs. We make Su "work" for her food, sometimes telling her what we want, sometimes letting her offer behaviors. I decided a wooo instead of a bark would be a pleasant thing. Uh huh. Well first problem was getting Su to understand what was expected. She tried everything. Sneezes, bows, high fives, lie down, lie down all the way (flat on side), sit, bark, and all again... finally very perturbed Su yawned and made a soft sound at the end of it. It was almost a woo as so she got a treat.
That's when it got funny. Poor Su knew she'd done something that got her a bit of corndog but naturally enough she was not sure what. She tried all her tricks, then tried yawning. Nope. Yawned again with a slight yodel behind it, Yes! I got out the clicker - something I should have done to begin with - and we kept trying. Su still is not quite clear on what sound to make and continues to try yawns but she is doing better. This morning when James came in she really got going, sneeze/snorting at him and finally woo-wooing for her corn dog.
Wish I had pics of her working this out. It was too funny. Also so interesting to watch as she tried yawns and noises to see what worked to get the corn dog. At the moment she’s giving us a real grrowly rwoo.. which works for me. It makes us laugh. That's what I love about clicker training. It gets the dog to thinking, not just waiting for the next order. And it is a lot of fun for the people involved as well.
added later.. a video of Su trying to figure out what James wants. You can't hear her she makes her noise so softly but he can.. so she gets a treat:
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
photography is fun but definitely not my strong point. Son gave me a nice camera that is not used to create the shots it could create by a long shot. Nope. I just point and shoot. Told him what I need is a camera that is fast for pet photos but not the huge megapixels so sought after as I'm only going to put it on the web, so make it cheap! Oh well. What I have is the cheapest I'm going to get, as I did not pay for it!
He sees the most interesting things while I on the same walk, see nothing to snap a photo of.. oh me such is life. Check out his blogs for pics..
So I'm thinking, how is it I can enjoy something so much but have absolutely no talent for it? Rather like taking art lessons when you really can't paint, or music lessons when you have no "ear" for it.. it is not all a lost cause. You learn to see the world around you in a new way which increases your own pleasure, even if your photos still aren't worth much. :)
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Or that is the idea anyway. So, a long flight with two layovers, screaming children kicking the back of the seat, no sleep the night before and no nap on the plane, I get home to a soggy bedroom carpet. Oh the joys of home ownership!
Granted, my son had done his best and we' had talked about it on the phone. The plan to get new floor covering for living room/hall etc will just have to expand to include the bedroom. Rats. Nothing like getting up in the night to use the bathroom and stepping on cold wet carpet! LOL. Used the shopvac and pulled it back but still there was enough dampness to get my attention. The dog didn't much like it either. She'd been sleeping on the sofa but with me home she had to sleep on the floor by my bed. Poor Su. True love is giving up the comfy sofa to be near mom on a slightly wet carpet.
I left home in mid May, so it has been a while not counting the short weekend back at the end of May. It is good to be home though I do worry about mom there in SC. We had a nice visit. Did not do a lot but stay at the house, eat, sleep, watch tv. I understand that works well for mom but must confess I found it rather slow.
One weekend we went up to the mountains. I had planned on a short vacation with an old college friend. We wanted to do the raft and rail thing in the NC mountains (Nantahala river, Bryson City, Nantahala Outdoor Center providing raft and guides) and figured mom might like part of that as well. Big sis and her husband came along, so they and mom simply did the train ride. I went with my friend and two more on the train one way with them then the four of us came back down via raft. What fun! It's an easy river, suited for families and people like us just out to have a good time. We started planning our next vacation together that afternoon as we enjoyed our time together so much.
Now it's time for me to get back to jail ministry, the Christian Women's Job Corps, and a bit of geocaching! And perhaps a bit of sub work to pay for the extras. Like carpet.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Well, I have avoided posting due to being in such a depressed state of mind. Oh I thought about it but had nothing positive to say! Things happen that cause sadness, that can't be undone, that one must simply come to terms with in time. I fight the battle of beating myself up - blame, guilt, feelings of worthlessness. Age old battle but occasionally things occur that ramp it up to a level I can barely deal with so.... back to Zoloft.
Coming home often brings me down but this time another incident was added to the mix. So here I am, just hanging in there, knowing that while there will always be a sadness that it will lessen with that great healer time.
Summer here in the countryside of South Carolina passes slowly. Mom shows signs of age and that makes me sad as well.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Well here I am again in South Carolina. Flew in to Charleston's airport and have been staying in Sommerville this weekend past. Today will be on my way upcountry to visit my mother for a while. My head is beginning to spin! One coast to another is not my usual thing, LOL, but it sure was fun. Such a difference in weather too. Love that southern CA coolness, yet now I am in the coastal SC region I must admit that heat feels pretty fine too. My friend here thinks I am nuts. Give me a few days and perhaps I will agree with her.
Monday, June 01, 2009
We made it! Drove over 800 miles yesterday so got in today around noon. My daughter's new landlord was here to meet us and do the walk-thru. She is such a nice person! Actually it is a couple but he was working. My daughter has met both already. I was pleased to meet at least one of them. She brought some household items so we would have all we need while waiting for the mover's to arrive with said daughter's possessions, and also some food stuffs! So thoughtful! The condo is lovely. I think this will be a great place to live.
Now, California. Well, the last time I came here by car I was a young child so there's no memories of it at all. The last time I visited was by plane so only saw the coastal area, San Francisco and Long Beach. I must say, coming in from the east it is not too impressive, unless you are impressed by really huge sand dunes, and small mountains that consist of boulders. Then farm fields and what looked like scrubby arid lands a bit worse than some of West Texas. Finally we reached Vista and met the traffic. Oh my. I just do not know if I could ever do this! Or at least, not willingly for long! Zoom zoom indeed. Thankgoodness I did not have to drive.
The kid's at work, the cat is in hiding, and I'm holding down the fort. Drinking coffee and talking to folks back home and others that is, enjoying the pleasant weather and not being in a car.
Check out these sand dunes. People were riding bikes out there. Probably fourwheelers too but we only saw bikes.
and rocks! Oh my goodness, rocks.. mountains made of ROCKS!
Then it got uglier before we finally reached the city of our destination, as I said. No pics of that, I was nearly asleep. And no pics of this lovely apartment as it is not mine. So that's all for now!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
We made it quite a ways today, further than we thought when we started out this morning in San Angelo. It was still fairly early (not quite six) when we went through Tucson. So here we are at Gila Bend, Arizona. Long stretches of desert and hills in the background. Rather pretty in its own way.
We've made good use of google's number to call for businesses like hotels. Am so glad my son told me about that! We just call up and ask for the hotel of our choice in whatever city and get connected. Much nicer to know where you are going to stay and if they take cats than to wait til you drive up to figure it out.
The gps is getting a workout finding caches, but it doesn't do bad at finding gas stations either. Which is a lot of help when the distances can be so long between towns along I-8.
The cat we are taking to California is a quiet rider. In fact I have to keep feeling under the seat to assure myself she is still with us. Once in a while we can hear her purr!
Here's a couple of photos we grabbed along the way while driving..
New Mexico. .. much prettier seeing the real thing than in this picture..
Tucson had really gussied up their overpasses and bridges.. missed all but this one shot:
and the last cache of the day gave up this picture:
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Back home in Texas for a quick stopover. Dropping off two cats and picking up one to take to California. Nice to have a day to just relax and visit out of this long road journey. John baked us cherry tarts and then cooked a great supper of mahi-mahi tonight. I did a few things here, got to visit with one friend and never did call mom! Oops. Well she's getting daily emails. Tomorrow morning we head west, and hope our first stop will be in Tucson. The next night should see us in California!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
We made a fast trip (not speedwise but no stopping to sightsee) back to Ohio. Good weather all the way and lovely scenery. I particularly liked the farms in one valley along a river. Large barns and silos, wide green fields with mountains behind them. Picture book sights almost in many cases. We made one stop for a cache with a nice overlook. While we did not find the cache we did get a picture!
*which somehow disappeared so had to be edited and the big blank spot taken out!
Friday, May 22, 2009
No thoughts, just hanging out. Watching Golden Girls with Mom. Visiting sis, brother, aunt. Listening to the crazy cur dog here bark like mad, thinking how every dog has some issue or other. Generally, the owner only puts up with what the owner can put up with so for them, it's good. However others have different things they don't like and do, so sometimes for them, it's not so good. Life is like that!
Same with people. Everyone's busy with their busies and happy for it. While others think that person should not be doing that or should be doing this - but that whatever they do is just fine. Or if they admit it isn't it's a matter of well it's my stuff and I'm good with that. But you need to change, LOL.
Aren't we a mess though?
Sunday, May 17, 2009
There were bikers and hikers on the road with us (bicycle, but also motorcycles of course) and we marvelled at their being out there in such weather. I suppose if you truly love a sport a bit of rain, coolness and gray days make no difference. We stopped too see a small waterfall.
While like everyone else we had always thought of making a drive like this in the fall to see the 'colors' I must admit it was worth it even in the gray spring. Maybe one day we can make a return trip in the fall some day. Here is one shot, that shows so well why these mountains are called the Smokies.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Back in Ohio... first stage of a long trip. Yesterday had a long day at the airports. Storms caused flight delays everywhere. My flight out was delayed, the next one missed, the next two full, but space remained on one going to a nearby location. Stacey drove there to get me. Arrival went from 7 pm to just past midnight! Slept good last night anyway, LOL. Leave here tomorrow, sightseeing our way to SC to some degree or other depending on weather.
Here's Pris. She will miss us while we are gone. But has Mello for company. (Another cat).. then they will get to enjoy a long car drive later in the month.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The last month the mind has not wandered much. Rather tired, busy and contemplating another long trip away from home, indeed the days have been enough to keep me from much mental wondering. Which is a wonder in itself.
There is one thing that does stand out though through all this – my reluctance to leave home. When others have said such I thought what a stay at home! Go nowhere? How dull! Yet the older I get, the more I align myself with them. Is it age alone, a lack of energy, being ever so comfortable in my own place? Will I actually reach a stage of saying No, thanks for the thought but I’ll just stay at home? That’s a bit scary. Is that a common thing I wonder?
We have a lot planned. A flight to Ohio, trip to SC and a visit there with stops along the way, back to Ohio then off to California. Maybe thinking about it makes me tired ahead of time. However I do want to go and know that once gone – once on the plane flying above Texas – all reluctance will fade away leaving nothing but anticipation for the time to come.
Friday, April 24, 2009
People will sometimes ask me WHY I geocache. There are so many reasons! It boils down to some of us will love it, some will always wonder why in the world would you want to do to do such a thing as that?
Some of my reasons:
It’s a social activity if you want it to be. I rarely go alone. My friend and I enjoy not just caching but stopping for a meal at some bbq place in a small town perhaps, or Starbucks.
It’s a good clean family activity. Well, if you don’t get in the mud anyway.
I wouldn’t walk a mile for exercise alone very often but I will walk a mile for a cache. Or more. Or less. Getting to the waterfall below in the Big Bend was not easy but oh so worth it!
I enjoy nature. We see quite a bit of fauna on our excursions. Snakes are always fun and then there were the camels and the kangaroos. Imagine that. Longhorns I expect to see but I am still bemused by camels and kangaroos in a field in west Texas.
Earth caches (a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth) can take you to interesting sites. Also virtuals (example, a historical site) where there is no physical cache, just a location to visit and information to discover. I’ve been places I might have missed otherwise a few times. In the Bahamas while others visited stores close to the waterfront, the lure of a cache led me to the Queen’s Staircase. It’s on a tour true but I’d have missed it if I had not been going for a cache because no one else in my group was interested. So I hiked there alone!
Wherever you are, there are caches near by for you to find!
Thursday, April 09, 2009
I wasn’t here when it was time to say goodbye. A part of me will always regret that. Lolli was a rescue from the country living days, a sweet cat who in her mind belonged solely to my daughter. My son said she was not eating much to speak of and getting so thin. So it seemed time to say goodbye.
My preference is for them to die quietly in their sleep. I guess that is what we all hope for whether for ourselves or our beloved animals. Some can't stand the thought of 'putting down' a pet. Yet I hope that they too realize once in a while, it is the best choice for the animal. Consider quality of life, are they in pain? Is there any hope for recovery? I hate euthanasia. I want that beloved pet to be around as long as possible. Yet I also believe that sometimes the last good gift we can give to our animals is an easy, peaceful end.
Lolli was so frail at the last, wobbly on her feet. Then John said Mom, she's barely touching her food. So I made the choice from which there is no turning back. I can only hope it was the right one. I did so want to give her one last good summer in the sun. In any case, she did not lose many days we suspect. Goodbye Lollers – you were a good cat.
and other writings (Rainbow Bridge)
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
or is it? Failure of one sort or another happens to all of us. We try, fail, try again.. or make excuses! Failure in life itself, failure to achieve your goals and dreams because of ___ (fill in the blank) seems on the surface to be acceptable. At least, I know a few people who have good reasons for not ‘getting there’, wherever ‘there’ is for them. Their divorce, their children (having to care for them), their boss, their looks, the list goes on. I never felt this was quite sufficient an excuse but never had a handle on how to respond either. Once in a conversation with someone good at excuses for why not but many dreams, growing tired of listening to the dreams that would never happen, I said, Less talk! More action! And I walked away wondering, Why do some of us stop at talk? What issues are we not dealing with or what nice psychological reason is there for some of us to end up stalled out?
Now I can’t say a lot, not being a ‘getting there’ kind of person myself. However I never wanted to that much, being happy as a SAHM and not needing to work. Yet I admit at this point that I have excuses for not working that would all fall aside if I really needed to work. So what is the reason we just quit? We read about people who overcame odds that seemed insurmountable or at least very daunting. They did it and we tend to give them some marvelous characteristic uncommon in most men to say, Yeah, they are remarkable people. Meaning, I’m not don’t expect this of me.
Then my son handed me a book. (Some of you knew this was coming right? My children could count on it being a book.) The idea was that someone else needed it, and from the title I did not see much point in my reading it. Then I opened it and read the first chapter.
Oh my. This guy nails it. 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make And How You Can Avoid Them, by W. Steven Brown. Doesn’t really sound like a title for a book just anyone would want to read does it? It did not take many pages though for me to realize this could be a good one for any of us.
We’ve all heard the phrase, the buck stops here. Brown says there is a way to predict failure: People will fail in direct proportion to their willingness to accept socially acceptable excuses for failure. Ouch. There’s another term I’ve heard a lot lately: accountability. So we can have our excuses, uh I mean reasons, and accept failure as something beyond our ability to change, or we can be accountable and accept responsibility. I used to tell my children this very thing. We could blame it on someone (something) else, which meant it was out of our hands, we don’t have the power to do anything to fix this, change this, etc. Or take personal responsibility and then have the power to change things because it is ours. Ownership gives us power to have an effect. To change it, to overcome it, to do whatever is needed for a better outcome.
This is so basic I think yet, something many of us tend to do. It isn’t my fault, I can’t help it – if only ___ then ___ (fill in the blanks, if only I’d had better chances and an education, I’d have a better lifestyle.) Well that might be true, but the question really is, so what are you going to do about it?
So now when someone tells me their dreams and their why nots, will I have the courage and tact to ask gracefully – so you know the problems and what you wish for, what are you going to DO about it? And sometimes, I will need to ask myself that very question.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Usually this would be a problem, that cry would mean come help corral cats! (see the Fela up a tree post.) These days though I’ve given up. My son started letting them ‘do their own thing’ while I was out of town. No complaints from me. The cats are happy and stay in the yard. I am working on a total solution – cat pen/garage set up – so they can be out and we do not have to worry about them.
Meanwhile Fela enjoys the grass and hopes a bird will come close.
LBK, the rotten baby, even goes out to roll on the pavement and get all nice and dirty.
Amazingly even Angel, the rescue from the city park nearby, is overcoming her fears to venture outside on the rare occasion. She runs back inside fast though if anyone goes out to take a picture of her! No evidence no evidence! I can hear her cry.. I’m an inside cat only now! (yeah right)
I really advise not letting your cats run free. There are too many dangers outdoors for them, and I’ve lost enough to know better. With luck the handyman will get the cats fixed up with a safe alternative soon.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
My dog Su has taught me so much over the years. Su was just a little puppy wandering along a country road when I found her. I've picked up a lot of dogs and cats, and this one was to be no exception. It did not take long though to realize she was an exception in her own right. Su came with attitude. So much attitude the vet thought it would be wisest to euthanize her. I don't know enough about dogs to say what the problem was (and to a degree still is) for certain sure but this was a puppy who wanted things her way or no way. And she had the teeth to back it up. All was fine until you made any effort to restrain her or in any other way physically direct her path. Those puppy teeth were sharp! I think she sank them to the hilt in more than one person. Looking back it is amazing when you consider the rabies issue in Texas that we got away with keeping her anyway. She was a puppy. She was cute. I could not believe it was hopeless or 'too much work'.
Today, a long/short eight years later, I look at Su lying quietly on the den floor and think about how well behaved she is in the house, how sweet she is and okay, yeah, she's still not a dog to push around but she's a good dog and I tell her so every day. It's also been a whole lotta work. Yet it was worth it not just for the results (a good dog) but for all that I learned.
Some people are good at teaching, at training, whether it is an animal or a child. Naturals we might say. Some have studied and learned how to do a good job. But some? We expect so much, want it now, make demands, complain about non-compliance, but rarely seek new 'tools' to use that would help both sides have an easier time along with a better outcome. But no one had ever threatened to bite me before so there you go - I didn't learn until I had to or else!
So this is my plug for clicker training - a gentle positive way to modify an animals behavior and shape it to get the end results you desire. Yes, if you followed those links (and my personal favorite clicker site here, Shirley Chong's) you will see this "clicker training" is a way to relate to your dog resulting from concepts that can be used with people as well. I use a form of this in schools where I substitute - it is called tag teach. It grieves me to sub a class where some young child says, "I'll never earn a sticker", because he is a 'behavior' problem and has had only negative feedback. Sit down. Be quiet. Do your work. Pull your tag/write your name/lose recess. Whatever method is used in the class. Certainly there must be consequences for some actions. Yet too often that becomes our main focus. My focus is going to be rewarding the actions I desire - even if there is only the slightest move towards doing that thing, whatever it might be. In time you gain the behavior you want, whether from a dog, a lion, or a child.
There's not room here to tell all of Su's story, the issues we had and how I handled them (and we still train!). This is just to encourage you to search the 'net for these subjects and use them yourself.
like the Palo Duro Canyon. Here are two of my three, enjoying a bike ride to the "Lighthouse" a year or so ago. Someone told me once it is one of Texas's best kept secrets. I don't know about that but it certainly is a great place to visit if you like the outdoors. Plenty of walking and biking trails, at different levels of terrain, cabins and camping sites, horseback riding and even a few geocaches! There's nothing quite like waking up in the morning to see the sun come over the canyon rim, while cooking breakfast on the grill.
And then a pic of the youngest, as we take a break climbing
Check this one out for a great vacation at a good price. If you don't
like camping, there is a nearby town with plenty of hotels.
(I would post the snake picture but some people don't like those. However, we never saw but two snakes in all the times we were there so don't worry about it.)
Friday, April 03, 2009
deleted widget but google it if you run across this post and are interested. it's out there, hosted on a different blog each week. or check out http://blogcarnival.com to see all the carnivals.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
It was such a pretty day. The rose bush is putting out new leaves. John and I walked Su down to the quickstop for a newspaper after supper. We both wish the weather was like this all year round. It occurs to me it is the perfect day for lying in the hammock, thinking of nothing. In fact, I think I will....
It's spring fever.... You don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
Mark Twain - American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. (1835-1910)
Now if I'd had things in focus you could see a pic of Su-dog lapping up Folger's Black Silk coffee laced with Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate and a bit of Demerara Cane Sugar....
Which leads us to photos that look more like this:
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I'm thinking it would be good to learn more about websites and the making of them. The web is loaded with information, waiting to be used.
The house still has a slight odor of the bread cooked earlier. The leftover cabbage went well with it. I make no-knead bread which is so simple to make that it takes half the fun out of it. On the other hand, I make bread much more often.
To rest my mind I read a bit in an anthology of short stories by Orson Scott Card.
oh this is funny. Apparently I went off to do something else, saving this as a draft. And never came back.. well that's okay. It was day's end and time to chill out (is that term still used?)
But here's a pic to go with.. doesn't this just look like an end of day picture?
Friday, March 27, 2009
Sometimes it is so hard to take such sites seriously. At least for some of those I know. Surely there are more people out there living in 20 grand or so a year?
Then there is one person I know who has cried to me a few times about how little money she has to live on etc.. while I happen to know it is not far short of four grand a month. And she thinks that is doing without? Take home. House paid for.
I know, I know. Being broke is relative my husband always said. It is just hard to realize and accept I am apparently living at poverty level. So where are the articles on frugal living for me?
Hey, I can write one! How to save $140 in six months. Isn't that exciting?
Okay, so this is a bit of a downer. I just had to get it out of my system. I am poor! But life is good. Even if it is a bit hard sometimes to do things like - oh.. buy new carpet! Or a new (to me) car when this old one (13 yrs, 240,000+ miles) finally breaks down. But life is good. And most if not all of the small pleasures in life are free. I'm rich!
“There is no greater sin than desire, No greater curse than discontent, No greater misfortune than wanting something for oneself. Therefore he who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.” - Lao Tzu
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
March comes to an end.. goes out like a lamb they say? Maybe as there are a few more days. Yesterday it rained and even hailed a tiny bit. Otherwise the days here in West Texas (yes, I finally got home mid-March) are beautiful. Temps in the mid-70's most of the time so we have neither heat nor air on, rather doors and windows open. Cats and the dog come and go as they please to their delight.
I have been busy since coming home with the Christian Women's Job Corps and a few other things. Helping them out a little bit and working on a web site for them with the (major) aid of my son John.
Su is happy I am here and ready to play! Or go for long walks down by the river.
Friday, March 13, 2009
And on to Ohio.. for a while. Enjoying the visit with my daughter, caching, running around town to see the sights or shop. We went tea crazy and now have enough to keep us in hot tea for a long time. I like this area with the picturesque main streets in the townships we have visited, the streams and trees, nice walking/biking trails scattered around long said streams.
And I dare say the cats have enjoyed an extra person to snuggle up to on chilly nights.
Friday, March 06, 2009
Mom is doing great! Handling being alone just fine.
Pictures? There were a few pics but probably not anything worth printing. No big snow. No good shots of the cardinals. No sight of the beaver at the pond. No trips!! And after all that talk of Florida in the winter or a cruise. However we had a nice month and now I am heading back to dog and cat hairs in West Texas after a few more days in Ohio.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Okay, so not a lot of snow but it is the first snow of this winter for me! I walked back to the pond early this morning and got this photo. The beavers were not out but I could see their trails in the snow. It is warm enough that I doubt we will get any accumulation. Still, there is enough that the cardinals at the feeder are nicely contrasted and pretty to watch.