Gentle Humor

I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Month: November 2012

Shedding Some Light on Christmas

In the spirit of the holiday season, tonight I’m going to risk my life on a rickety ladder pulling giant red bins off the top shelves in the garage to get to the Christmas lights. They’re stacked so high I have to rope myself off like a mountain climber lest I fall to my death on the concrete floor. Here in Oregon it has been dry for 2 days, and according to the weatherman, we’ve got one day left before the rain comes back and pours until July – I have to use this window of opportunity to get those outside lights done!

If I survive getting all ten monstrous bins down without breaking something (on me – who cares about the bins), I’ll dig through them all until I find the one with the lights that mostly don’t work. I’ve purchased replacement strings every year for the last ten years, but by New Year’s Day, only forty percent of the lights will still be twinkling. They will either go out individually or malfunction in thirds – 1/3 of the string will be lit and 2/3’s won’t.

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My Crazy Little Dog

I have to tell you what my little dog does with the goodies she wants to save until later. Normal dogs take the treat outside and dig a hole in the dirt, drop the treat in, and push dirt over the treat to cover.

NOTE: This process involves dirt from start to finish.

My dog, a black, nine-pound Yorkie Poo, had never been outside, according to the breeder. She’d been in the house with her mom and siblings until we got her at twelve weeks.

Our dog Shelley the day we got her

My kids (on each end) and their friends the day we got Shelley

We started giving her treats like pieces of cheese when she was a little older, and we’d later find the un-eaten parts under clothes in the kids’ rooms. It took awhile, but finally we observed her dropping the cheese beside a sweater on the floor of my daughter’s room. She nudged the cheese under it, and then scuffed her nose against the carpet in all directions around the cheese as if she were pushing dirt over it to bury it.

In my opinion, this is instinctual behavior without the filter of common sense.

I told the kids to let her “bury” her stuff in peace because she needed to feel like a real dog and we should respect that. When one of them found the treat later, they’d yell, “Mo-om, I found Shelley’s gross old cheese under my skirt!” I’d dispose of it, and the dog never seemed to miss it.

Once Shelley got full size, we tried to teach her to bury a bone outside. We found a nice, loose spot in a flowerbed and started digging with our hands, but she wasn’t tracking. So I squatted over her and moved her paws in a digging motion. The light went on and she started to get the hang of it. Finally, she had a hole deep enough to cover a good portion of the bone, We encouraged her to pick the bone up, “Pick up the bone, Shelley, pick it up!” which she eventually did, but we had to pull it back out of her mouth to drop it into the hole. We pushed a little dirt over the bone, and she immediately joined us, using her little black snout to move dirt over it exactly the way she scuffed the carpet around the cheese in the house.

“SHE’S GOT IT!” we exclaimed.

The next time we gave her a bone in the backyard, she picked it up and trotted around to the front of the house and laid it on top of a Euonymus shrub. We watched through the window as she enthusiastically moved her nose forward and backward without actually coving the bone with anything. When she was done, she trotted around to the back of the house again so she could go back in the door she’d gone out – no doubt a sneaky maneuver to cover her tracks – content with the safety of that bone for the future, even though it was lying out in the open for any varmint to steal.

Gradually she ceased bothering to  hide the treats she buried in the house. We now find cheese blatantly lying in corners nowhere near sweaters. In fact, this morning there was a yellow cube of cheese in my bathroom. She went over to it and started moving her head, scuffing her nose on the rough tile – right in front of me. I said to her, “Honey, you’re not really burying anything. Just let it go.” But she kept brushing her nose against the tile, circling from every angle until she’d pushed enough invisible dirt over it to suit her.

This crazy little pooch, with her nose rubbed raw by carpet and rough tile, probably thinks that instinct stinks.

A Dog’s Best Friend

I went to Tennessee to visit relatives a few weeks ago, and at my cousin Nancy’s house in Memphis, we sat in her family room to catch up. I stretched my legs out on the ottoman and threw a throw over them, and within seconds Nancy’s two dogs were hovering at my feet begging with their big brown eyes to get on my lap. I invited Sweet Tater up – she’s the one looking at the camera. She’s named Sweet Tater because she’s so fat she looks like a sweet potato with four toothpicks stuck in the bottom.

The other dog, who’s still a puppy, couldn’t stand that he wasn’t part of the party, so he jumped up too. They took a couple of minutes to position themselves just so, and then both pretended to go to sleep.

My cousin's 2 dogs curled up in my lap

My cousin took this photo of her two dogs curled up in my lap – she obviously didn’t care if I was in the picture – it was all about the dogs

I am a great friend of almost all dogs. I like to think it’s because they sense that I am a warm and kind person, but most likely it’s because I know exactly how they like to be scratched.

The dogs I’ve met love to have their ears scratched – but not the ear itself – the part under the ear. No, not in the ear. I guess you’d call it the side of their head under the ear. Massage that area and they will groan their pleasure like a starving Italian man eating pasta.

They also like to be scratched between their front legs and will lie feet up on jagged rocks for hours as long as you continue to scratch them. You have to move your hand around, though. You can’t absent-mindedly scratch a hole in their chests. I’ve seen people do this – not a real hole, but just rhythmically moving the fingers while they’re preoccupied with something else. The dog won’t want them to quit, but will inch itself forward or back to present a new area that’s not rubbed raw.

The other place a dog likes to be scratched is right above the tail. They’ll contort themselves, hunching up and twisting toward the side of the tail you’re scratching while cocking their heads sideways. They look miserable all corkskrewed like that, but they’ll stay there until you get bored so it must feel pretty good.

I actually think it’s an honor that dogs are attracted to me, and that I know how to make them happy. A dog is easy to please and so forgiving when your don’t get things just so. I wish it were that way with people.

Voting Against Premature Christmas Music

I just finished voting, and what a relief – not that I’m done with making important candidate and constitutional decisions that will affect policies for years to come, but that I live in Oregon and we have mail-in ballots.

Unlike most of you reading this, I don’t have to wait in a long line, produce some kind of photo ID, or even go out in the rain. I can sit in my nice comfy home and mail in my ballot or jump in my car and drop it off at drive-up boxes all over Portland. Think what you want about rainy Oregon, our voting process tips the happiness scale a whole bunch in this state’s favor.

You might say, “But can’t people cheat easier if they don’t have to show up at the polls?” And I’d have to answer that I guess there are plenty of ways for people to cheat while voting, no matter how they do it. Creative connivers will always dream up schemes to circumvent decency and get what they want. But do you seriously think those states requiring photo IDs will not end up getting people with forged or illegal ID’s? Cheating will occur there as well.

All in all, though, I believe the ability to vote is a very lucky thing. Even if we vote for the wrong person, even if some of the people cheat, even if people are too lazy or disillusioned to vote, at least we all have the choice.

One thing we don’t have any choice about, though, is having to listen to Christmas music in stores on election day. It’s criminal!!! Does a home improvement store really need to blast out Christmas music as early as Election Day, which is November 2nd for all my foreign readers? Are we really going to forget that we have to buy holiday lights and tree stands and decorations? We haven’t even dragged the decorations out of the attic yet, so how do we know if we need new strings of lights? Well, we WILL, of course, because those strings of lights only last a season before a section of them goes out. But still, I’m capable of knowing I need to buy this stuff without holiday music blaring while I’m still shopping for grass fertilizer. I hate being put out of the Christmas mood two months ahead of time.

I think I’m going to gather signatures for a petition to outlaw Christmas music in all public and private buildings until the day after Thanksgiving. I bet every shopper in Oregon will sign it. I’d love to have that in Oregon’s constitution because, honestly, there really ought to be a law against it.

Whatcha Thinkin’?

Do you ever wonder what people think of you? I do. I’m always saying to them, “You must think I’m a complete idiot.”

I really don’t have a clue what a person is thinking, though. When I would first start dating someone, and there was a lull in the conversation, I’d ask, “Whatcha thinkin’?” He was most likely thinking, “How much of this talking am I going to have to endure before she’ll let me in her pants?” But he’d always pause and say something like, “I was just thinking how much I like hearing your voice.”

I’m no better at reading women’s thoughts. I’ll be at the mall with a girlfriend and we’ll bump into someone we know.

My friend will say to her, “Hey Marcie, you look great. I love that new hairdo. And have you lost weight? It’s so good to see you – we have to get together.”

After Marcie walks away my friend will say, “Oh my gosh did you SEE that hair? What was she thinking? It looked like canaries styled it – how do you GET hair to be that uneven? Do you think she cut it herself? And those pants. She’s put on a good ten pounds since I saw her last. Oh my gosh! That woman just drives me crazy, did you hear how she went on and on about how smart her daughter is. It’s all she ever talks about. She just drives me nuts.”

I’m listening to all this and thinking, “You just treated her like she was some movie star you were delighted to see, and now you act like she’s a bragging, disheveled fat slob.”

Because I’m pondering this and quiet for a second my friend says, “What are you thinking?”

“I was just thinking about what you say about me when I walk away.”

Laughing, she says, “Oh, I only say nice things about you.”

“Really?” suspecting she’s not telling the whole truth.

“Of course, you’re a nice person. Why else are we at the mall together?”

“Because you have no other friends.” We both laugh as if this is the silliest thing in the world, because she has tons of friends.

And I still don’t know what she, or anyone else, thinks of me. Maybe it’s better that way. Maybe I’ll just make up in my mind what people think, since there’s no way of knowing for absolute sure.

“That Suzanne is so funny! She writes these humor blogs and hits the nail on the head every time. I mean, I just LOVE her. What a delightful human being she is.”

I like it! This is what I’m going to think from now on. At least that’s what I think I’m going to think. I’d better stop thinking about it before I start wondering if everyone thinks I’m a complete idiot…

The End of Men

I was looking through Sunday’s paper – yes I still get the paper, mainly because I’m addicted to doing the Jumble Puzzle. Plus they have artsy items of interest.

For instance, there was a review of a book, The End of Men, by Hanna Rosin. I haven’t read the book, and only part of the review, so this makes me the laziest blogger on the planet, but I was drawn in by the catchy title.

It looks like the book is about men being unnecessary – or, as the review said, they’re the new “ball and chain.” I know they’ve driven us crazy all these years, what with doing things ass backwards, half-assed, or with their heads stuck up their asses*, but have women really come this far that we feel men are holding us back or weighing us down?

As the Three Stooges would say with a New Jersey accent, “Certainly.”

Just kidding. I suspect women could afford to be more picky now that we no longer need a man to give us a home or children. And since we work out at the gym, we don’t really need them to open jars for us anymore.

I do think, however, that men are pretty interesting creatures to have around. They probably need us more than we need them, but I believe we are better off with them than not, and I personally would not like to see an end of men in our future.

*This does not imply that I believe they are all jack asses.

Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen