Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stuff Around The House #10: More Art

This is an interesting, and I suppose unfinished and unamed painting we bought in a thrift store in Hickory, North Carolina a couple of years ago. I think we paid $2 or $3.00 for it, and we tried for a long time to sell it in a shop for a bit more than what we paid. Apparently no one saw what I saw in it, cause it got very little interest. So now it has a happy home in our upstairs bathroom, close to another picture of a bunch of cows that I also found interesting.

I like original thrift store art. I like to stand and stare at it and wonder what whoever painted it was thinking.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Love The Kitty Cats, by Pickles the Dog

This little poem is from a poster Patti Anne saw a long time ago. Patti Anne told Pickles the Dog, our half maniacal Blue Tick/Labrador Retriever Mix about it while we were on our way to the post office today, and Pickles made up her own little poem based on it. It goes like this:

I Love The Kitty Cats
by Pickles the Dog
I love the kitty cats,
They's such a special treat,
I like to nibble on they haids
And chew they tiny feets.
First a caveat. Pickles is a North Carolina dog, straight out of the mountains or somewhere close, she has no formal education and speaks English the best she knows how. She speaks English the way the other dogs she grew up with speak it. So give her a break on the pronunciation and grammar, she does the best she can.
Now, having said that, besides sharing the house with the slightly maniacal Pickles the Dog, Defender of the House, Chewer of Bones and Killer of Rats, we also share the place with Snowchief the Cat. Snowchief the Cat is 16 years or or so, and still going strong. I've had him since he was small enough to put in my shirt pocket, so he has a LOT of seniority on Pickles the slightly maniacal dog. The cat has free reign all over the house, the dog does not. We've set up cat sized escape routes, just to the cat can get away from the dog, if it so chooses. Even though Pickles insists on "playing" with the cat, the cat it turns out can handle himself pretty well. Pickles isn't mean, just maniacal. But still, when Pickles repeated her poem to us, we had a little sit down, to make sure she didn't repeat it to the cat. Who wouldnt have cared anyway.
Snowchief, by the way, is a gray and black striped tabbie. He has no white on him to speak of. He was named after a winner of the Kentucky Derby awhile back. He's a good cat, even if he is a bit of a Nazi when it comes to mice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More English: Might Could

This next is a phrase I use a lot. I don't even think about it. When you're north of the Ohio River, you know when you say things like "I reckon" and "you all", people notice. South of the Ohio, everybody says it so no one thinks anything of it. I'm very familiar with that. But once, up in Maryland, I got caught with a "might could" while talking about a programming problem. The person I was talking with took note, then asked me to repeat myself. I had never even given the phrase a second thought. To me it was common as rain.

Might could can mean anthing from "I'm not really sure" to "I'm absolutely positive". You have to know the personality of the person saying it, and the situation it which it is used.

"I might could do that" - again, the speaker may not be sure, or could be absolutely positive. It just depends.

"I might could git that for you, if you ask me real nice".

Might could. A nice phrase, especially if ambiguity is needed.

A note on my previous post. Sorry about gloating about how warm it was. It's now turning cold again, so that put me back in my place. I actually have no control over the weather. I might as well gloat about the sun coming up in the east.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The way it's supposed to be.

Much, if not most of the country, indeed North America, is having some very rough weather. Ice, snow, wind, messy, dangerous weather.

Today I walked around without a jacket.

Today I set on the porch and enjoyed the breeze.

This is the way it's supposed to be. I think it was around 70 F., (about 21 C.) here in Valdese, North Carolina today. Felt good.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another English lesson - my favorite word.

My favorite word in the English language has got to be "fixingto" (pronounced FIXintuh).

It means what you think it means: ready to, about to, going to, or anything else along those lines.

Here it is in a sentence: "I'm fixingto go to town".

For a little extra emphasis when you need to show you're really serious, you can add the prefix "a", and a personal pronoun.

Here's an example: "I'm a-fixingto eat me a hamburger".

It's a versatile little word. You should use it whenever you get a chance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Inner Dog

discover your dog breed @ quiz meme

I best not let Pickles know......

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Stuff Around The House #9: Mixed Media Artwork by Patti Anne

This is a little bit of art created by our very own Patti Anne awhile back. It's mixed media (there's paint & paper involved) on canvas and it is hanging in a corner of a little room, which, by any definition, is an office. I don't think it has a title, but it is based on a picture taken at the Inner Harbor, in Baltimore, Maryland. There was some construction going on, and I was standing there watching 3 other people watch one other person dig a hole. There was nothing very deep or meaninful going on. Except the hole was getting deep. One can only speculate about it's meaning.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A little song Patti Anne made up

Patti Anne made up this song on the way back from the Post Office this after noon:
I am Pickles Anne,
The best dog in the land.
I don't wear any underpants -
What'd'ja expect?
I'm a dog.

Pickles had her nose out the window and did not seem impressed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What I'm reading

Believe it or not, I had 3 books going, with a detour for a national geographic magazine. I just finished one, so now I guess I only have two. That's a lot for me, I'm usually a one book at a time kind of guy.
The book I just finished is called World War: Striking the Balance, by Harry Turtledove. I'm on a kind of Harry Turtledove mission I guess. He writes science fiction and alternate histories and some fiction. He's written two large series, with a total of 19 books. That's right 19. So I've gone thru the first series, 11 books based on the premise that the Lee won the battle of Antietam in 1862, and the Confederate States went on to win the civil war, and the USA was split into 2 countries. I'm counting "How Few Remain" as the first book of the series, tho technically I'm not sure it is. Anyway it creates a totally new history of the United States and the World from the 1880's thru WWII.
The series I'm in now is more science fiction, but with a good dose of history thrown in also. In this series of 8 books, WWII is raging, when suddenly the planet is attacked by aliens, reptilian based life forms. WWII ends in a hurry as humans try to meet this threat. It's interesting, these aliens are centuries ahead of humans in certain technologies (space travel for example), but only a few years or decades ahead in others (weapons, computers). The aliens had sent a probe to the planet 800 years earlier, and expected to be facing humans riding horses and fighting with swords. They were extremely surprised to find a manufacturing society, a world war going on, airplanes, and society on the verge of atomic weapons, and could not understand how a society could have developed so quickly. These 'lizards' moved and developed technologies much more slowly and accurately than humans - which was their Achilles heel, so to speak. It was hard for them to adapt, or accept that they even needed to adapt. It reminds me of an old Ray Bradbury short story I read once, where Reptile Kings set on their throne and thought of things for centuries.
So anyway, there's 8 books in this series, and I've read 4 of them. If you like books like this you can enjoy them without knowing a lick of history, but if you have a background in history (as does yours truly), I think you get a bit more out of them.
I'm also reading "The Ugly American", which was written back in the 1950s. This is a book based on a semi-reality of sorts about American diplomats and such in South East Asia in the 1950s. I find parts of it fascinating, and parts of it very preachy. I think the book was a big deal back when it was written.
I've also stuck my nose into "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", with has to be the thickest book I have. I've actually read it before, cover to cover, so I may not read the whole thing again, just the parts I'm more interested in.
So, that's it.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Present From Pickles The Dog

Well you never know what's going through that ol' dog's mind.

A couple of days ago Patti Anne took Pickles out, and let her run. We have a big enough area where we can let her run loose for a while and the dog seems to enjoy it. She usually stays close, and if by chance another dog catches her attention, she comes back pretty quickly. We can usually get her back with half a medium sized milk bone. We frequently call her over within our grasp, give her her treat then let her go again, just so she knows she's not going to get leashed up every time she comes over to us.

If you have no treats, the next best thing is to not pay attention to her. Pore ol' dog, she cant last long, usually within a minute or so she's running over to say hi.

Sometimes she runs to the top of a bank close to our house and sits there watching to see what we'll do next. She likes us to run around and pretend like we're trying to catch her. The fact that sometimes we are trying to catch her, just adds to her fun.

But a couple of days ago was a first for Pickles, and has got a title added to her name. This time, Patti Anne let her loose, and the dog took off. She ran straight for a neighbors house, underneath their deck, then there is confusion about where she went next. She reappeared between some neighbors houses running at break neck speed to our front door. When she got there, she dropped a dead rat on our welcome mat.

Not a mouse, but a full size, and from the looks of things was alive a few minutes earlier, rat. I have a picture, but decided to spare the world. It's not really that gross, but who wants to look at a dead rat?

So what was she thinking? Was she imitating a cat? Was she trying to thank us for her food and warm place to sleep? She has never done this before. Now I know what she'll do if she ever catches a squirrel, and I have new respect for Snowchief the cat.

So anyway, Queen Pickles Anne had earned herself a new title. She is now Queen Pickles Anne, Defender of the House, Chewer of Bones, Killer of Rats.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Joys of Monday

It's not every Monday that I get a tooth pulled. In fact many, many Mondays have gone by since I last had to have dental work of that calibre. This extraction was not a surprise, not any kind of emergency, it was scheduled, and I guess falls under general preventive maintenance or something. A while back a crown came off and took part of the tooth with it, the dentist decided the tooth had to come out. There was no rush, but eventually (in years) it would cause problems. So last July, at my last semi-annual checkup, cleaning and lecture from the dental hygienist, we scheduled it for Dec 1.

The procedure itself was not very painful, for which I am thankful. Novocaine, or whatever they use now to shoot into your gums to deaden pain, seems to work very well on me. Patti Anne has a harder time with it, and it doesnt seem to work very well on my father at all. I don't know how anyone could stand the pain of having a tooth extracted without something like Novocaine, but it was done that way for centuries, so I guess people managed.

Though the procedure wasn't painful, it also turned out not to be routine. You can just tell when things aren't going well, and I was thinking, the dentist doesnt have anyone else to fall back on. He's the only dentist there, so there is no one around with more experience, no one for him to grab and say hey look at this. If he decides he can't do this, I don't think he can just stop in mid-extraction and tell me to make an appointment with a dental surgeon or some other specialist - I'm not sure how that works, but I don't think that is the way things go. But he managed. It involved drilling and a little tiny back-hoe operated by little tiny construction workers, and eventually the tooth relinquished its position in my mouth.

Though I could tell things weren't going smoothly, I still felt no pain. It wasn't what you'd call comfortable, but nothing that would make me levitate either. The pain came after things wore off. But it's not that terrible as long as I'm careful, and I've got some pills I havent really had to take yet, and I probably wont. And today I re-entered the world of solid food, though I still have to be careful.

So, that's what I've been up to. Next month I have an appointment for my next semi-annual check-up, cleaning, and lecture from the dental hygienist.