14 April 2014

Ebie Comin’, Yo!

current state of mind: impressed

All my friends stay up past midnight
Looking for the thing to fill the void
I don't go out much like I used to
Something about the strangers and the noise
~ “Sleeping with a Friend” by Neon Trees

As a follow up to Ebie’s adventures, I want to share what happened after I returned home. After letting her out of her crate, I opened the back door and encouraged her to go outside. She walked onto the deck and sat down, checking out the yard. I stood there, watching her for a few moments, then closed the door. Upon hearing the door close, Elizabeth looked back at the door, then walked into the yard. I quietly opened the door again and walked out onto the deck. Using my ninja skills, I crouched down behind the hot tub so Elizabeth couldn’t see me. She stopped walking toward the fenceline and looked around. She did NOT notice my hiding spot. With purpose, Ebie completely changed directions and trotted over to a different part of the fence. She paused again, and looked around. Then, to my surprise, she used her nose to nudge one slat of the fence. Sure enough, it shifted to the right, revealing a gap just large enough for Ebie to fit through.

I shouted her name and she jumped back. The fence slat swung back in place. See the pictures below.

After bringing Elizabeth back inside, I grabbed a hammer and a couple of nails, then did some sloppy handywork. She was very surprised the next time she attempted to break out of the yard.

I won this battle. Though, I seriously doubt the war is over. 

11 April 2014

How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?

current state of mind: chagrined

My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter
~ “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles

A few years ago, I attempted to enroll myself and Elizabeth in ‘Bark Busters’. It is a lifetime dog/owner training program which promises to unconditionally support you until your dog is well-behaved. The one caveat is that the owner/person must put forth the effort to create consistency for the dog. “Why is this important” you must be asking yourself. It was explained to me that a dog WANTS to behave. A dog WANTS to know the rules. A dog WANTS to please the master or mistress. I did some soul searching during those first few weeks of in-home lessons. I realized one very important fact – my dog does not know she is a dog. Queen Elizabeth T---, similar to her namesake, believes that she is divinely entitled to anything she wants, when she wants it; even if she has to be sneaky. Knowing that we were doomed to failure, I quit the program and resigned myself to having a naughty dog.

I have dozens of excuses as to why this is acceptable. Let me share a few:
  • Elizabeth aka Ebie was a rescue dog. She had escaped from a puppy mill with a severe case of heartworm. The shelter was going to put her down unless someone would adopt he, which we did. I have guilt that the first 3 years of her life was spent in a puppy mill (and then spent undergoing treatment for heartworm). I am still making it up to her.
  •  Ebie is a very kind dog. She is amazing with children. She never snaps or growls. I don’t have to worry about her hurting anyone.
  • She obeys several basic commands: sit, car, crate, bed, outside, come (unless food is present)
  • She almost died from an intestinal issue several years ago. Guilt – again.
  •  She is a great cuddler. She keeps my feet warm at night while I sleep and makes sure that no bad guys break in. 
Knowing all of this should help you understand why Elizabeth is the naughtiest dog in the world. She is a spoiled brat with an owner who enables her at every turn. Don’t blame her. Blame me. I am the problem. As of late, however, the antics have rapidly accelerated in frequency AND creativity. I want to share a few of her ‘adventures’ from the past 10 days. I would like to be able to tell you that I am exaggerating in the telling of these stories. Alas, I cannot. I want to make this point crystal clear . . . I have a very naughty dog. 
Day 1: I walk into the kitchen and see a broken bowl on the floor. As I am cleaning it up, I see the ceramic butter container on its side, under the dishwasher, completely licked clean. WTF!?! Sighing, I picked it up and placed it in the dishwasher, selected the “Disinfect and Sanitize” cycle and left for work.
Day 2: At bedtime, I hear a crash coming from the kitchen. Lo and behold, Elizabeth was ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER. She was clearly looking for the butter container again. Instead, she had knocked my large ceramic Scentsy container onto the floor. It was irreparably shattered.  I yelled her name and she was noticeably startled. Panic took over and she was unable to get down from the counter. I gently lifted her into my arms, scolded her, and placed her in her crate until I could clean up the mess.
Day 3: She found something disgusting to roll around in. The smell was horrific. I dragged her into the bathroom so I could give her a shower/bath. After three good scrubbings, she smelled better. I dried her with a towel and before I could catch her, she jumped into my basket of freshly laundered clothes and proceeded to roll around, leaving Eau de Wet Dog in her wake.
Day 4: If she did anything on this day, she covered it up well.  Well, except for . . . knocking over the cat food container and managing to pry the lid off. Good-bye, cat food. ALL OF IT! Gracie was not pleased – as she was stuck eating dog food for two days. 
Day 5: I decided to bake a two layer tie-dye cake. After frosting the cake, I left the icing on the counter with the lid on it. I admit this was my error. Imagine my surprise when I later locate the can of frosting under the couch. I found the lid in front of the bookcase. The frosting spatula was located hours later in her crate, buried under her blanket. I rearranged the furniture; creating more distance between the back of the couch and the counter top. Problem solved. 
Day 6: Neighbor calls to inform me that a little black dog was in the yard, playing with the neighborhood kids. All of the kids knew where the dog lived because “she comes and plays lots of days”. This is the first I have heard of it – but great. I walked over and picked her up. I repair the fence slat that she had pushed aside. I use several nails. When I get home from running errands, she is in the front yard lying in the sun. 
Day 7: I was awakened in the middle of the night by a craving for a piece of cake. I went to the kitchen and was greeted by the realization that I was not the only victim of a “cake craving”. My cake was gone. All that remained on the counter was the cake plate, a mauled piece of saran wrap, and the toaster. Elizabeth was sound asleep on the couch, icing in her fur. In the morning, I let her out, only to find her in the front yard when I leave for work. I put her in her crate all-day. After work, I find the gap  in the gate where she squeezed through and close it. 
Day 8: When I let her out before bed, she is a ninja. It took her exactly  57 seconds to locate another breach in the fence line. I hear her outside the open window on the wrong side of the fence. Papa goes out this time and assures me that it has been repaired. 
Day 9: She spent her day in the crate. Every visit outside in the evening was without incident. While I was talking on the phone, she sat in the dirty clothes basket and watched me with interest. When I told her it was bedtime, she jumped up on the bed, circled three times, curled into a little ball, and went right to sleep. In summary, she was a perfect little dog on Day 9. In hindsight, I believe she was preparing for Day 10.   
Day 10: I get a phone call from Papa at 9:32am CT. He was taking out the trash because it is trash day. As he is rolling the can to the curb he looks at the neighbor’s driveway, which is strewed with trash. In the middle of that trash was the heroine of these stories. She was sniffing around, looking for something worth rolling in or eating. Papa called her name. She was startled and whipped around to see who was summoning. Seeing it was Papa, Elizabeth started innocently trotting down the sidewalk toward him. The innocence act was ALMOST convincing – except for the trash bag wrapped around her neck, waving behind her like a cape. In between laughs, I asked if he brought her inside and put her in her crate. He explained that he found the two holes she had created along the fence line and filled them so that she couldn't escape again. 
 Fast forward two hours. My mobile phone rings with an unfamiliar number. It is a neighbor down the street, alerting me to the fact that there was a little black dog in his yard. His girlfriend would keep her company until I could pick her up. He went on to add, I think she’s the same dog that my dad found playing in the yard last weekend. I thanked him profusely and jumped in the car to go get her. When I pulled up to the house, she came trotting over as if I were picking her up from a scheduled play date. The neighbors assured me she was “such a sweet and affectionate dog” and that it was “no trouble” playing with her until I arrived.  

PERSONAL NOTE: Safe travels back to the Emerald Isle.

21 January 2014

Creating Value

current state of mind: fickle

All of these people want us to fail
I won't let that happen no
Just you believe me
I'll hide you discreetly
Discreetly from this cold world
~ “Me and You” by Jake Bugg

I am a genius. My Stanford-Binet test results were last evaluated at 147 points. The actual classification is “very gifted or highly advanced”; apparently, the word “genius” is passé. I freely acknowledge that a score of 147 is only three points from the next lower classification of “gifted or very advanced”. Still, you only need a 132 to qualify for Mensa®. To be clear, I am not a member of Mensa®; nor have I applied for membership. I much prefer knowing I am most likely the smartest person in the room. Joining Mensa® greatly reduces the odds of that belief being true. Moving on.

I dedicated years of my life imagining the great contemporary novel I wanted to write. Eventually, I even started writing it. The plot was riddled with action, drama, and suspense. The first and last chapters were symbolic of life’s duality; illustrating how hope can persevere in the aftermath of ultimate depravity. Derailing my dream of completing the novel was my inability to write anything worth reading between the first and last chapters. My ability to weave the story matched my ability to weave a straw hat. I blamed my muse; or lack thereof, for the convoluted story line and weak character development. I blamed myself for not living up to my potential. After years of frustration, I abandoned the novel to the obscure existence only a 1 terabyte hard drive can provide.

Where do I go from here?

I wish I knew the answer. I wish I had the path all mapped out by a trusty GPS. I don’t. I am reminded of the scene in “Alice in Wonderland” where Alice finds herself face-to-face with the Cheshire Cat: 
“Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I see multiple paths from which I can traverse; but, I have become so risk averse that I would rather sit here with a talking cat than choose. Life isn’t like a “choose your own adventure” book. There are no guarantees that one can start over after making a poor choice. In fact, most of life’s lessons have clearly demonstrated that “not being able to start over” is the only guarantee.

PERSONAL NOTE: I miss you more today than I did yesterday.

CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Thank you for the lucky jersey – even if you didn’t intend for it to be so lucky.   

14 January 2014

A Blank Canvas

current state of mind: amused

And the days go by; bleeding in my mind
And all I think about is remembering how I tried
And the hours pass and everything I can’t slow down
And all I want to say; it never comes out right
~ “Somewhere in Between” by Graham Colton

I want to send a loud shout out to my boyfriend, Peyton Manning. Not only did he win on Sunday – but he made it public that I was his inspiration and motivation. For those who missed the game, you can hear in the highlights how many times he said “Omaha” before play action. There should be no question in anyone’s mind whom he was referencing.

The season premiere of “Archer” was this yesterday. It was “figuratively killing me” from beginning to end. If you didn’t see it, here is your one and only warning: #SpoilerAlert

I laughed aloud at the following lines/scenes. 
  • When poor Brett took a bullet to the head, and Archer said, “Well, at least he died doing what he loved. . . getting shot.” 
  • I loved how the FBI leader explained that his tactical team was supposed to announce themselves as FBI “after the flashbangs but before other Fat Mike gets shot.”
  • The scene in FBI interrogation where the FBI guy said to Archer, “If I were you. . .”and Archer interrupted with “You’d get laid more.” Ha ha – that’s good stuff.

The rest of this season looks like it will be amazing. The ISIS crew will be running a cartel. . . I mean, how hard can it be?

Thank you, FX, for “Archer: Vice”. We’ll add it to your “whatever. . . crime tab.”

08 January 2014

Blue is a Nice Color

current state of mind: inspired

In my mind are pictures of the past
Telling me a story meant to last
Still holding onto
Days out on the beach out in the sun
Nights when I was still your only one
~ “Into the Night of Blue” by Ace of Base

My muse with the Irish lilt rang me and demanded to know why I haven’t been writing. It is a fair question and I have a good answer. When I attempted to tell him, he stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Lass, don’t tell me with your Midwestern accent. Write it with your Irish heart.” In full disclosure, the conversation didn’t precisely go as I described it. Still, the real conversation was quite lengthy and rather convoluted. My version is better in a time crunch.

I haven’t been writing here because I have been writing elsewhere. I have been brainstorming titles, characters, plot lines, etc.. This is no small feat; not even for someone who loves writing as much as I do. I have been so wrapped up in the trees that I have lost the forest. I have a black notebook filled with photographs and ideas – but nothing is connected. It seems that every time I have an epiphany, I am driving. It’s not as if I can pull over and start writing. I have tried to remember these bursts of creativity; but, by the time I get home, all I can remember are some of the lyrics to a recent One Direction song. This wouldn’t be as disappointing if I would recognize the song the next time I heard it – but, as with all One Direction songs, each time is like the first time and I get focused on remembering the song so I recognize it the next time.  If you don’t know about my “issue” with One Direction songs, please read this little gem from December 2012. http://www.geniusinwonderland.com/2012/12/sparkling-little-gems-just-pour-out-of.html

Thus far, in 2014, I have been tweeting every day with @historyinaflash. This is a positive start to focusing on writing with consistency. 2014 is going to be a monumental year. The twins turn 16. ‘Little Dragonfly’ will remind us all why the ‘terrible twos’ can be so much fun.  “Gretzky” and “the Dancer” got married and are expecting their first baby in May. ‘Ali-Son’ is also hoping to add a new member to her family. It’ll be like becoming a new Auntie twice in the same month. I intend on reducing the clutter in my life . . . Yes, I realize I say this every year – but, this is the year. The thought of starting 2015 with so much stuff makes me cringe in horror.

So, there you have it. Now you know why I haven’t been entertaining you with my musings and brain dumps. I give you my word that as long as I have access to the interwebs, I will provide a minimum of 52 posts in 2014. I will even do what I can to make sure that they are spaced out in a relatively even manner.

Girl Genius Out!

Eidetic Vision

Main Entry: ei·det·ic Pronunciation: I-'det-ik Function: adjective : marked by or involving extraordinarily accurate and vivid recall especially of visual images - an eidetic memory Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, © 2002 Merriam-Webster, Inc.