Apr 242013
Guess what chicken butt?

Guess what chicken butt?

In the adult world, we are expected to act with a certain amount of decorum.

You don’t make fun of people on the playground. Instead, you are encouraged to see that these are eccentric office mates who’ve just had a tough life and only need our compassion.

You don’t pull little Susie’s hair and then run away, all because you like her a lot and can’t admit it. Instead, it’s casual conversation in the lunchroom – with someone from a different department – leading up to a coffee date.

And you don’t have belching contests in the hallway after gulping two cans of Pepsi. Instead, it’s all about vitamin water and hallway discussions on the merits of healthy beverages.

Next time the office whiner interrupts your day with her 29th account of why she thinks the company is screwing her over because they won’t allow her to burn candles in her office, just say “I know you are, but what am I.”  Say it several times in a row.  See what happens.

When the office know-it-all starts telling you yet again that you aren’t doing your job right and offers numerous helpful hints on ways to improve, sing the alphabet.  Mess up on J and start over.  Then try to sing it backwards.  See what happens.

If the resident doom-and-gloom office colleague stops by to rattle off the latest reason why their life sucks and your life sucks and the world sucks, show them the huge scab on your shin.  Concentrate on it.  Pick at it.  Become engrossed in it.  See what happens.

When the boss calls you in to discuss your progress on the Stevens account, watch for key phrases. If he says “what’s the deal”, you say “banana peel”.  If he says “what’s up”,  you say “buttercup”.  Guess what; chicken butt.  I’m the boss; apple sauce.

See what happens.

Apr 172013

Every year, my small Colorado town holds a super fun dog event called Barker Days at the local pool and ball field.  This is a clever take-off of the town’s signature community event called Parker Days. Yes, because the town is called Parker.

The first year we attended, we had only one dog – Hunter, the Chocolate Labrador Observer.  He lives by a firm policy of never retrieving anything.  He’s considering breaking from societal retriever expectations and starting a new Labrador group called Club Observers.

Hunter the Labrador Observer, fearless water dog

Hunter the Labrador Observer, fearless water dog

Anyway, when we escorted Hunter to Barker Days that first year, he took one look at the pool and ran pellmell, flinging himself into the deep end, which, for the record, is only five feet deep.

Immediately, he sank down.  Barely emerging for breath and with eyes as wide as Frisbees, he sank again.  We had to rescue him.  We reminded him that he was bred to brave ice-cold deeper-than-5-feet ocean waters to help fisherman in Labrador.  He was unimpressed.

He did recover enough from his near-drowning to run around the perimeter of the pool and pee on various bushes and chaise lounge chairs.

Soon he discovered the ball field next door. He spent much of his time there running amok, racing through a big silver tube several times, visiting dog vendor booths, and in true Labrador Observer fashion, barely noticing the 132 Frisbees and tennis balls available for his amusement.  Rule #1 at Club Observers:  never pay attention to objects humans will expect you to chase and retrieve.

A year later we had acquired a second dog, Lacey the Beagle, and she accompanied Hunter to Barker Days.  Hunter remembered his scary pool experience and gave it  a wide berth, instead running around the perimeter and peeing on various bushes and chaise lounge chairs.

Eventually, his doggy daddy was able to coax him into the kiddie pool that was six inches deep and he learned water could be his friend, at least in small amounts.

Meanwhile back at the Beagle ranch, Lacey proved to be completely uninterested in the pools and very interested in the flora, fauna, and food, glorious food.  Food?  Um, yes.  Any dropped and hidden morsel left by some swimmer child, no matter how long ago, is fair game in the Beagle nose world.

Lacey’s nose works much like a metal detector. She can find anything that is even the slightest bit edible, anywhere, anytime.  I’m pretty sure she is no danger of starving should she find herself in any type of wilderness situation including urban, suburban, rural, mountain, or desert.

This year’s Barker Days had more dog-related vendors than ever before.  Both dogs began the event on the pool side, but Hunter quickly made his way to the ball field side full of non-retrievable objects, and vendors, glorious vendors.

Every vendor has treats available to seduce dogs and, by association, owners to visit so they can peddle their fine doggy wares.  Hunter doesn’t care about fine doggy wares.  He cares about dog treats.  He became known as the mooch.  Whenever we couldn’t find Hunter, we simply took a turn through the vendor area, and there he was.  Mooching.

But not retrieving.

Lacey also discovered the numerous treats available from the vendors, but if she couldn’t finagle a treat directly, she simply employed her Beagle nose detector and found stuff to eat anyway.

Daddy carrying Lacey to the pool

Daddy carrying Lacey to the pool

Finally, her doggy daddy picked her up and carried her to the kiddie pool to show here the wonders of water.  She seemed to like it fine, even wagging at him, but then she carefully stepped her way out of the water and sniffed her way back to the vendors, first thoroughly exploring the flora and fauna for aged food bits.

Ah, Barker Days.

We’ll be back.

Apr 102013

Apparently, the clean-and-organized-get-it-done-right-now gene present in most of my family members was not passed on to me either by birth or through osmosis. You can tell by the two feet of dust on most surfaces in my house, the numerous stacks of reading material, and that jacket still hanging on the back of the chair since January.

One of the cleanest, most organized and uncluttered amongst my family members is my dear 94 year old grandmother.  She lives on her own in a cute townhome that I daresay has never been cluttered nor suffered dust more than a day since it was built and she moved in.

Letting something go is not her nature, and I am guessing that in 94 years, she has rarely suffered procrastination. I’m not sure she knows what that is.

And then there’s me.

Perhaps I should make a list of what I would rather be doing instead of cleaning:

This is possibly a cleaning tool.

This is possibly a cleaning tool.

  1. Grappling with a hangnail
  2. Doing my taxes
  3. Watching a documentary on how toilets were invented
  4. Pulling weeds
  5. Looking for trouble
  6. Looking for my husband’s keys the 120th day in a row
  7. Listening to the neighbor kid’s trumpet lessons for hours
  8. Bathing my uncooperative dogs
  9. Falling down
  10. Going to the dentist (okay…no)

I have discovered, however, that when I am in the throes of writer’s procrastination, cleaning and organizing suddenly becomes of paramount importance. If the throes are bad enough, my whole craft room/office gets a much-needed once over. Every now and then, other parts of the house benefit too.

I just don’t think I can justify that to my grandma. It may be a good thing that she lives a distance from me and cannot simply just pop over to my house.  If that were the case, well…she would discover that this apple fell far, far from the tree. This apple was scooped up mid-flight by a tornado and whisked to a place far, far away, where it gets really dusty on a regular basis and there’s nobody qualified to take care of it.

Hey, look. My desk is more organized than it’s been in awhile.  Apparently it got cleaned, Melody style.

I’m lucky I got this much written.

Copyright © 2010 Melody Jones

Apr 032013

I love my little beagle Lacey.  She is the cutest thing on the planet, if I say so myself.  She is lovable and loyal and lively and probably some other L words.  She is fun and fantastic, sometimes frantic and some other, uh…..F words.

But I am not a dog person.

Hold me on this chair, mommy, while I relax completely down

Hold me on this chair, mommy, while I relax completely, becoming a weight roughly 5 times my scale weight

She doesn’t seem to realize this and carries on in great dog fashion with lots of sniffing and panting and shedding.  And eating and pooping and some very unladylike farting (aha, the other F word).  She follows me around, and helps with the laundry, and lies next to me even now as I’m typing. She appears to be attached to me.

She doesn’t realize I am a cat person. Cats are lower maintenance than dogs. That old joke that dogs come when called, but cats take a message and get back to you later holds true.  She doesn’t realize that cats come see you for a minute, get some lovin’, and then go away.  I like that in a cat.

Lacey my beloved beagle is firmly convinced that her mommy was, is, and will always be a die-hard dog lover.  She is so convinced that she routinely feels entirely comfortable crawling under the covers on my side of the bed bringing with her any amount of dirt, sand, and mud.  She is so sure mommy is a dog lover that she races me every night to see who can get to the bed and under the covers faster.  Mommy sometimes loses.  Lacey thinks it’s the funniest thing.  She proves this by suddenly becoming as limp as my hair on a humid day when I try to move her so I can actually lie where I’m supposed to.

Cats can be left alone for a weekend. While they may turn their back on you for a solid 24 hours when you return just to show you they can, it does make impromptu and promptu (promptu?) weekend trips much easier.

Dogs are under the firm belief that all trips in the car must include them and therefore, they are going on all weekend trips.  Aren’t they?

My Lacey will not play with my husband unless I am present in the room.  She will run all the way upstairs, stuffed animal gripped tightly in mouth, to get me and refuses to go back downstairs to play until I see fit to join her and her daddy.

Cats don’t care where you are in the house unless a large, smelly can of tuna is involved.  I like that about cats.

Lacey gets so excited at the prospect of dinner that she does what I call the Dorothy Maneuver – jumps up, twists her little sausage body to the side and clicks her back heels together repeatedly. I have to laugh every time which I’m sure just encourages her even more, my laughter inadvertently training her to do it at every meal.

Kiss me, mommy, wuv you

Kiss me, mommy, wuv you

Lacey loves me.  I love Lacey.  I’m not a dog person.

Here she is now, nosing the side of my leg as I sit at the computer. Apparently, a treat is in order. Or a walk. Or a nap. Just NOT more computer time….please, mommy, please, mommy. Uh oh, she’s pulling out her best persuasive technique…laying her head on my knee and gazing up at me with her doleful brown eyes. Isn’t she sweet? I love my Lacey.

But I’m not a dog person.

Mar 272013

Years ago prior to the advent of cell phones, remote control multi-CD players and magical satellite radio bringing the musical stylings of live rock concerts from London, drivers had to find something else to do during tedious traffic light stops.

We spent significant time tuning in local radio stations, often having to settle for an AM channel featuring the musical stylings of Jimmy Bob from down the way.

A pile of cassette tapes. with the tape rolled in

A pile of cassette tapes. with the tape rolled in and everything

Other traffic light distractions included attempting to reach the passenger side door located six feet away to manually roll down the window before the light turned green while trying to keep your foot on the brake, winding cassette tape back into the cassette casing because your tape player at it for breakfast again, and the time-honored tradition of surreptitiously picking one’s nose.

This brings me to my own long-held traffic light tradition of examining my face in minute detail in the visor mirror, thereby smartly utilizing red light time and all that natural light flooding in the window like a spotlight. I developed my face-gazing technique back in my cassette-and-manual-window days because I was deprived of my entertaining cell phone, even though I didn’t know it yet.

This is how I discovered that under-eye wrinkles grow at an incremental rate once noticed and that my eyes really are a gorgeous, fabulous heart-melting blue (eat your heart out). I became intimately acquainted with the fact that the forehead furrow so lovingly established during my eyebrow-raising childhood deepened at a terribly young age, to such a degree that I could plant corn in there if I wanted to.

And then I noticed facial hair one day. Yes, chin whiskers. Long chin whiskers with the astounding ability to grow overnight. I know this because YESTERDAY when I was visor-mirror gazing, they were not there. Absolutely not there. I would’ve known. I’m a champion visor-mirror gazer with years of experience under my belt.

(Chin whiskers WILL happen to you, ladies in your 20′s and 30′s).

Which brings me to my whole point. Perhaps next time I feel the urge to examine my new crop of terribly attractive facial hair in minute detail while waiting at a traffic light, I should first examine the world directly outside of my vehicle. A few things must quickly be ascertained:  is the natural light flooding through my window spotlight bright, and are there any cars full of jackass teenage boys idling right next to the driver’s side door.

If these two conditions are presenet, do NOT – repeat do NOT – commence to examine your facial hair in minute detail while gazing, transfixed, into the visor mirror.

Unless you like jackass teenage boys pointing, guffawing, rolling down their (new-fangled electric) windows, shouting, and taking pictures with their cell phones.

Of you.

And your chin hairs.