Is Fido the “New Black”

IMG_20160106_073831Okay, okay,  let me make myself perfectly clear- I  DO like dogs.  Not the ferocious I wanttoeatyouforbreakfast kind of dogs, but rather the panting, wide eyed, cannot wait for you to return home,  what can I do for you, Master kind of dog.

In fact, I have been the proud owner of several pooches in my 60plus years, as well as the adopted owner of two such canines- Lucky and Harry ( Some of you may remember my Award winning…seriously folks….Blog about daughter Js beloved Lucky who came to visit and never left). It was the Most Read of all my blogs in 2013! And was selected for publication in an online magazine. Certainly, a testament to America’s love affair with fido. ( and possibly my writing skills).

this girl never gets tired of tooting her own horn, does she?

So, why I am proposing that Rover is now the New Black? It all started when I was on an impromptu trip to MYrtle Beach during the frozen tundra winter of 2015. Searching for some sunshine and warmth, I boarded a Greyhound to MB in mid January for what I hoped was a respite from the el nino induced winter weather plaguing the East coast. MB, apparently, is the place where hundreds of Canadian “snowbirds” flock to each year from January to March..an alternative to Florida shores..in search of the Sun.

I thought this woman was Black. What she doing in Myrtle Beach with some Canadians..Hmph!

It was on one of my early morning strolls down the sparsely populated MB beach ( the temperature was a balmy 60 degrees) that I encountered not one, but several men of a certain age taking a similar outing accompanied by a little puffball at their heels, or in their arms, or in one instance strapped to his chest in a dog carrier.

Each of these older gentlemen seemed in some state of other world bliss as they walked fido stopping to offer encouragement, bag poop, or feed a perfect sized treat to their small companion. After day 3 of observing this ritual on the beach, in the mall, down deserted side streets, it occurred to me that something was missing! Where was the gentleman’s spouse, girlfriend, better half, or even sidepiece?

Being the inquisitive, never miss an opportunity to talk to a stranger kind of person, I posed this query to one of these happy go lucky dog walkers. The answer? Wait for it…Wait for it. There was none! She (or he) had been replaced by Fido.

I told you something was wrong with this girl..how can a dog replace a girlfriend…she done had too much Sun down there in MB!

As a person who likes to shore up her observations with evidence, I began to pay closer attention to men (and women) in my age group who were partner-less, but ..aha..had a relationship with a canine.

I will proffer the ‘One Who Remains Unnamed’ as my final piece of evidence. ( Many of you remember him from my Vegas adventure which was the catalyst for my first Blog). His ongoing relationship for the past 10 years with a Pomeranian named Marley exemplifies the point I am trying to make.

Not only has this  6 pound ball of black fur become the source of his constant attention, recipient of specially prepared meals, purveyor of expensive treats..when did dogs start eating duck jerky.. a place at the foot or side of his bed,  or constant admonitions by said dog owner to me:  Hon, I got to go home and see my dog…that movie/dinner/flat tire..whatever.. Will have to wait!

Huh? Reader, do you get my point? And no,  I am not jealous of a dog. I just believe all God’s creatures have a place in this life. That humans were made for each other’s companionship, misery or whatever.

So have we taken this dog thing too far?  Is having a relationship with another human too taxing, too much work, a relic of the past?

I believe a dog Can be man’s best friend..but best girlfriend??

Oh well, time to go watch some Reality TV. Until the next time.

 

 

HOT JAM

Some like it hot.

Boy, there so many ways I could go with that opening. But lets keep it PG for now. I’m referring to my penchant for hot, spicy foods.

No doubt, I inherited the gene from my dad’s side of the family. I still marvel at his 10+year old jar of peppers and vinegar aging in the kitchen cabinet, which he sprinkles liberally on just about everything he eats.

Must explain why he is approaching 94 in remarkably good health. And still drives, watches TV/ reads without glasses,takes the stairs,  refuses a cane even though he has arthritis in his knees, and has mastered email, searching, Skype and how to delete the history ( just in case snooping relatives are using his prized pc). But I digress.

The subject of this post is not my IwasaBuffalosoldier father, but rather hot foods and more specifically, hot peppers.

Many of you know, thanks to Dr.Oz and other health promoters, that capsicum is widely believed to be a “cure for much-of-what-ails- you.”

Hot peppers,particularly, are touted as a good source of Vitamins A,B, C, and high in potassium, magnesium, and iron.

A number of studies show a correlation between a person’s intake of foods containing capsicum and the decreased risk of certain cancers and diabetes.

Hmph.. I knew this child had a paralegal background, but now she  done gon and got some medical learning!

At any rate, as part of my quest to eat healthy, I have long satisfied my need for hot, spicy foods by cooking with a variety of peppers; selecting the starred** items on the Chinese, Mediterranean, Carribbean, and Indian restaurant menus, and, of course, growing peppers in my beloved jardin.

This summer’s bounty was unrivaled after I found some varieties of peppers beyond my usual habanero, jalapeño, and Serrano staples on a trip to No VA. I returned with a box of healthy seedlings that included: Tabasco, super hot chili, and a habanero guaranteed to light your fire.

I planted these among my perennials because the soil was richer in that area and it received the most sunlight (a few went in pots). Within 2 months, the Tabasco and Hottest Habanero had turned into 2 foot bushes and by August, were producing bucketfuls of these hot gems.

I decided to freeze some of the brightly colored heat bringers so I could use them in the winter and also experiment with some pepper recipes, namely hot jam and Tabasco sauce.( My foray into jam making thanks to my co-foodie JB aka flyboy was documented in my previous year’s blog).

A pic is worth a thousand words. The habaneros became  Pineapple mango hot jelly spread, and the tabascos that took the form of a science project (fermenting them for 30 days in a jar with salt/water in a dark cabinet) resulted in a hot sauce so hot I am almost afraid to eat it!

A few hardy friends and family received these treats for Christmas gifts. Most of them are used to getting my to-die-for banana bread and/or lemon blueberry bread as gifts, but this year I thought I would stimulate their palate and help ward off the Big “C” and”D” so pervasive among our community.

Dad even remarked on my last visit that… Its good on bread and chicken and everything ! When are you making some more?

Bon appetite, Readers

 

 

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Clothed in My Right Mind

(Reader, This post is from my original Blog started in 2013. It was a poem looking back at that year and ironically not much has changed. I share it with you as a  way to end this year since Father Time once again approaches.  Feel free to comment/share. Thanks for Reading..115 See you in 2016!)

Mourned with the nation

once again

As halls of learning

Became graveyard for

Innocents.

A reminder of my own

Brush with violence

In the classroom.

Endured silently as close friends

Battled the big C

Praying for their strength

And God’s mercy.

Where is the cure for

This unspeakable disease.

Battled my own

Insidious malady

That like some thief

In the night

Robs me of sleep

And my Memory.

Marveled as my Readership

Climbed to new Heights

Propelled by the Musings

of a Canine with an attitude.

Witnessed two couples

Become Betrothed

Renewing my blistered faith

In Happily Ever After.

Watched painfully as another

Sizzled and burned

The vows of Matrimony

Sacrificed on the

Altar of Deceit.

Relished the fervor

Of an Unexpected Romance.

That awakened a spark

And just as quickly

Flitted and Died.

Marveled as hordes of folks

Worshipped at the throne

Of Scandal.

While the real scandal

A President without support

Played out up the road.

Bid adieu to a Pillar

Of the community

And of the family.

Her battle courageously fought

At peace now finally at Home.

Labored in my Jardin

Harvesting food for my Soul

Feeding family and neighbors

And daily stopping to smell

The Rose.

Celebrated parents, brother

Sister, and two girls.

Not always in harmony

But always in Love.

Confided in good girl friends.

Sharing both highs and lows.

Thankful for the voice

At the end of the phone.

Celebrated life in the faces of

I, J, K and D

Becoming Men of the Family.

Hoping that the New Year

Already frigid and cold

Offers a Chance

To once again

Pursue the Dream.

technophobia:a 21st century disorder

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Look familiar? These are the ravages of a 21st century disorder!

Hi, I’m Linda. I am a Baby Boomer.  I am not afraid of Technology.

In fact, I was the first on my block (back in the 80s) to have a MAC desktop courtesy of my employer. And despite my title as a teacher of English, I ran the computer lab and became the unofficial fixer of all problems MAC and otherwise.

Through the years, I graduated from MAC and became a PC user (Higher education folks looked down on us MAC users). I even became a proud member of Blackboard club and successfully taught freshman English to someone. ( Never sure who the students were since they could easily sit in their basement, blowing smoke and pretending to be on my roster).

Recently, I even enrolled in an online course and literally taught myself. Glad I didn’t have to pay for that travesty, but  it is one of the perks of living to be a ‘senior’. I digress.

Beyond the computer, I have owned a number of smart phones, tablets, and my most recent toys- Bluetooth keyboard and headphones.  My point Reader, is that I am not a novice when it comes to technology.  And as further evidence, you’re reading a Blog which I singlehandedly setup on this site. With only 2 consults to the ‘help’ button.

My technology concerns however, are not my own but rather global ones. Because, you see, I fear that we have gotten ourselves in somewhat of a pickle with this whole computer driven society.

For example, I was one of those ( former) hard working government workers who received notification that my security information had been hacked and all my personal information (including my SS#) was floating around in cyberspace.  The government’s response to this travesty was to provide all hackees with free identity theft services for a few years.

After spending several hours online providing the id theft fixit people with more of my personal info, it occurred to me what happens if they get hacked…what then?  And in fact, after I was awarded with a user name and a strong verified password by said id theft fixit company, I attempted to  log onto my account  only to find that my user name and/or password was not correct. Denied access to my own protection site..hmm..is that  like the pot calling the kettle black?

After several torturous hours of waiting on the phone for a customer service rep from the id fixit company, I was told someone would have to call me back as they were overwhelmed with other government employees seeking “the answer.”

Two whole days later, Jenny did call me back. But alas, I was cruising down the road and couldn’t talk to her. She hurriedly stated that it would be some time before I would get another crack at a rep so I pulled over to a parking lot and engaged in what turned out to be a fruitless foray into notgettingwhatyouaskedfor.

And despite her assurances, that everything was now fixed, when I returned home and attempted to log onto my id protection site, I was still denied access.

Despite all of this, Reader, like many of you,  I unfortunately drank the kool aid and continue to participate in using plastic for money, paying Peter and Paul online, shopping at the 24 hour Amazonia, and downloading movies/music  when the spirit moves me. I just pray the Hackers are gentle.

Blogging Again…

Well readers, it has been a minute since I last sat in front of this blinking cursor. Let’s just say like my grandma used to say, God required me to ‘sit down’ for a minute.

The genesis for this came in the form of a rear end accident that occurred almost 2 years ago while I was parked at the local post office…yes, I believe in snail mail…even have all my hate mail/bills directed to a PO box that I check periodically.

I had just left said establishment and was sitting in my car perusing the latest edicts from AARP…10 Best Places to Retire (if you have money, of course) when a loud boom followed by a forceful slamming of my venerable ’99 vehicle assaulted my body.

The perpetrator of this action was a delivery van backing into my unmoving vehicle (I did say I was parked didn’t I?) at a rather high speed for said parking lot. I saw the lady parked next to me running from her car with a look of fear on her face and because of the times we live in assumed it was some type of attack being rained down on said  PO…maybe a worker gone postal even…outside of the building.

Or perhaps, it was some type of random assault in which I was the starring victim. But imagination aside, it turned out to be an errant driver-in-a-hurry  whose actions turned me into an “accident victim” resulting in long hours lying on heating pads, mildly addicting pain meds and muscle relaxants, endless visits to physical agony (oops) therapy sessions and even a deja vue experience standing in a courtroom pleading my case to an understanding judge.

The legal wrangling alone is worth a Blog, but I was warned by my legal mouthpiece to refrain from discussing my case while it was pending.  And it is now just a mere 2 years later that this ‘case’ has been resolved and I am able to find my voice again.

did she just say that she hasn’t written a blog in almost 2 years because she had a court case pending? girl please…

Well, reader, I wish I could say I was “richer and wiser” because of the experience.  What I can say is that my 60 something year old neck/ back will never be the same again and I think I have PTSD for the Post Office.  So much in fact that I just signed up online to pay my yearly PO box fee. Now, if I could figure out how to get them to mail me the contents of my always bulging box. Hmm, that might be a way to save snail mail.

Well, it’s approaching daylight….no, my insomnia has not disappeared…and I will bid adieu to you.

I hope that you will allow me to visit your inbox sometimes when my creative juices are flowing.  As always, I look forward to your comments. What is a writer without a reader.

But guys, be kind, like Ericka Badu said…I’m an artist and sensitive about my sh*t!

Happy Holidays!