Saturday, December 07, 2013

All I Want for Christmas... two of me. You'd think I have all this stuff nailed, but I know what'll happen. The time I have off will woooooooooooosh by and then I'll be scrambling.

Today after work (YAY - my LAST Saturday of the semester!!), I'm baking some cookies. Hubby says he's going to defrost the small freezer so I have some space. Then, Kid #2 and I have to start on the Bake-a-Thon. It's really a trimmed list, but you know there'll be extras. There always are. 

My guitar teacher, Jeff, has gallantly offered to "throw himself on the cookie platter" -- I usually bring him a big plate of cookies, and like everyone, he says he's cutting down, but "as a favor to you, I'll eat the cookies!" Gotta appreciate the guy's spirit of sacrifice!

It'll all get done. I just have to keep repeating that to myself. And try not to add anything else to the list.

Ok, I may have to add the Cream Cheese Mints from a recipe I found on Facebook, but that's it. Honestly. 

Nelson Mandela...

It was with not a lot of surprise, honestly, that I read about Nelson Mandela's death. The man got tuberculosis in prison. I'm somewhat surprised he lived to his mid-90s. Since he was 71 when he was released from prison, think about it -- It was hardly the Ritz. 

I appreciate the Chicago Tribune's take on him. The fact that the man did great things in his life didn't mean he was a saint. He was a human. And we need to realize this about all of our idols. They're human. Check out the article and video. Sorry, the video can't be muted, apparently. The honest truth is that sometimes he was grumpy, aloof and standoffish. The honest truth is, to present that face of "saintliness" to the world, he exercised enormous self-control. He had to. 

Remember him for what he did that was good. But honor him for being a man. A complex, very real human being. Who happened to do extraordinary things, but a man nonetheless.

Are you TOTALLY kidding me???...

So Scott Walker -- yeah, THE Scott Walker who eviscerated Wisconsin, writes a self-serving OpEd in the Trib. "Look north for a solution to Illinois' fiscal woes." 

Yeah, because it works so well up there? I gagged. He's tried for a number of months to lure businesses up into Cheesehead Territory, and I almost couldn't stomach reading his article. Here it is for your enjoyment (?) -- however, in spite of his almost sugar-coma-inducing attempt to sweet-talk Illinois into the Wisconsin Solution, I'm thinking we're not looking like we're going to eliminate every union in the state. Which is ultimately what Walker would like to do. And probably scrap the minimum wage while he's at it.

Of course, if Bruce Rauner gets elected, he'll hop on that bandwagon so quickly that our heads will spin. Dude... Don't go bragging about your $17 Timex when you own NINE homes - each valued at over $1 million. Crikey, that's more than Mitt Romney!! Here's the scoop, if you're interested. 

Illinois doesn't need another millionaire business guy in Springfield. What this state actually needs is a whole cabinet full of Peter Fitzgeralds...and you saw how well that worked out. I miss the only honest guy in Illinois politics (at least since I've been alive, that is!).


(front) Layla  (back) Pinkie

In the Thursday edition of the Trib, the lead story (after the pension crap) was about pit bull dogs. Statistically, the most hated and feared dogs, unfortunately. And they're being turned in to shelters -- and euthanized - at a higher rate than any other breed.

I am NOT IN FAVOR OF any kind of "breed specific" legislation because having owned dogs that were once on the insurance company's list of "Top 10 Dangerous Dogs" -- I can attest to the fact that 99.9% of the problem lies at the OTHER end of the leash. 

Here, for your "awesome puppy shots" enjoyment are two pictures of Pinkie and Layla. Pinkie (in the black collar) is a Dogo - dog of the Argentines. They thought she was a pit bull, but she isn't. Layla (in the red collar) is a pit bull. Pinkie is deaf. She knows thirty (THIRTY, thank you) signs; probably more. She likes to ignore you... And she gives a GREAT stink-eye when she's having her picture taken. 

Layla was a "foster failure." She allows Pinkie to rough-house with her. But this is their favored position...On their couch. Yes, their couch.

These are not my dogs. Their owners (or servants...depends on who you ask) live a block over from us. Both are rescues. Pinkie was going to be put down because she's deaf. And Layla -- she was heartworm-positive and was facing the same fate. 

Did you know that "pit bull" isn't really a breed? It's a generic term for dogs including American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and the various mixes thereof. 

Foot-in-face nap position
Pit bull dogs were known as Nanny Dogs. Look at this website for beautiful images of loving dogs protecting their children. If you're old enough to remember the early TV show "Little Rascals" -- take a REALLY good look at Petey. Yep. A pit bull. 

Helen Keller owned one. Laura Ingalls Wilder did as well. And contemporary celebrities are also responsible owners, such as Jon Stewart, Jessica Biel and Jessica Alba. 

These dogs are just as loyal as my Elkhounds are. A lot less hairy, and just as protective. Easily trained and smart as can be. They got a bad rap as fighting dogs. And no love from the press. All because of BAD OWNERS.

Story time: I was going out with my parents and their friends. Stanley owned a pit bull. We met at Stanley's house and I met the dog. Barney, I think his name was. I sat down, and Barney came right up to me, in my face. I am not afraid of dogs, but it was interesting to note my own "Okay, let's see how this goes" reaction. Barney proceeded to give me a better face-washing than my Siberian Husky.

Anyone who's been owned by a Husky knows that they swipe you up and down and across faster than you can say, "STOP licking me!!" Barney licked me all over my face and then sat down next to (nearly on top of) me as if to say, "Well, she's mine now!!" 

Then, as we prepared to go out, Stanley's wife proceeds to put Barney up on the couch, gets a napkin and puts two dog biscuits on it. Stanley has his paws either side of the bones, and she said, "Wait till we're gone." He stared HOLES into those biscuits but didn't touch them. I know - I peeked back in the window after we shut the door, and he waited till we were out of sight, then ate them one by one - not gobbling them, but savoring them. 

That's the pit bull breed in a nutshell. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not familiar with the breed. 

Oh, and the Top 10 Dangerous Dogs? Siberian Huskies were on that list for DECADES. The dog who'd let you INTO my house, show you where the fancy silverware is, ask if you wanted a sandwich and would help you haul it out... Watchdogs they're not. But because of irresponsible owners, they also got a bad rap. 

It's a crap-shoot any time you rescue a dog. Any dog. I'd love to bring Tippi & Quinn to play with Layla and Pinkie. But surprisingly, it's TIPPI who has the problem. She had a bad experience with a pit bull dog at one time in her journey to our house - we think it might have been with her first owner. We've worked with her on it, but she's just not trustworthy with those dogs. SHE is the aggressor; from my end of the leash, it almost feels like she has to protect herself and me from a threat. That threat wouldn't happen with Pinkie and Layla, but that's one area in which I know I really can't trust her. As much as I'd like to think I've helped Tippi, I can't shake that from her, and I've just had to deal with it. 

My point is - I couldn't have predicted that till I saw it and knew what I was looking at. But it was still worth rescuing her. I'd do it over again in a heartbeat. She's a love-bug. And so are Pinkie and Layla. I am so proud of their family for taking them in and making them a home.

So if you have room in your home and heart, consider rescuing - especially the pit bull breeds. You will find a remarkable companion, if you have the time and patience to open yourself to the opportunity. I know that Kid #2 is torn: he loves the northern breeds, and is equally smitten with the bully breeds. He'll do well with either of them. 


A few more rows on the sock. I'm at about 5 - 6" on the foot. I usually go to 8" before I start the toe. Not sure how I'll do it; I'd like to do something more round, but we'll see. 

I also have a picture of the Charity Afghan - it's just on the big camera. So I'll pull it off for the next time I post. Hubby did a great job getting it photographed. 

Random Picture...

Yes, we have puppy-cute-overload above, but I still have to find something in my stash of pictures for you! I guess it's time for equal space... Here's Larry, my grand-cat. 

You've all read about Larry. She was a rescue. And about the name -- yeah, I know... Anyhow, Kid #1 took her (him...) in because he knew someone who said, "I gotta get rid of my cat." I don't know what excuse he was given, but the person also said "I'm gonna just dump it if I can't find a home." A pox on that person. Fleas in his tender parts. 

So Kid #1 took the cat. I asked if he knew the gender and he assured me that Larry was a boy. Till he said, "Larry looks fat." And then he said, "Larry had 5 kittens. On my pillow." 

Larry is a mix and she looks to be part ragdoll - at least according to my friend Peggy - She Who Knows Cats. Apparently, when you hold Larry, she oozes and gets all "rag-doll" as if she has no bones. She is very well-mannered - at least with Kid #1. She tolerates the Girlfriend, and has been known to shred the vet tech, because she knows Nothing Good Can Come of a Visit to the Vet... Anyway, Peggy says that Larry is most likely a mix of American Shorthair with Ragdoll. 

I am not a cat person. But I think Larry is beautiful. 

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