Sunday, December 30, 2007

Camel - what??

I got this from my mom...
One of my colleagues came back from Africa last week, and he showed us this photo that he took while he was there. Honest, this is not an altered photo, but the real thing. Our question was... how did the camel get IN the car?!?

(Side note: That's the same car that we had in Peru. Though, we didn't have a camel. Seems like a camel could be a useful thing to have around. You know, if you get tired of walking and want a ride. Or if you need the tv lifted the camel could balance it on his head. Or you could ride on one hump and the tv could ride on the other. All useful things. I'm rambling now; I apologize.)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Beware of thieves

A few weeks ago, when we were visiting our parents in Orlando, the three of us (Paul, my sister, and myself) were up late watching M*A*S*H. My parents had already gone to bed. I suddenly got a great idea: "Hey guys! Let's put up the Christmas tree as a surprise for Mom and Dad!" We then very quietly took the Christmas tree from the porch and set it up in the stand and put lights on it. We decided not to put the ornaments on it, but we got everything else ready. I even remembered to quietly get some water from the Delta faucets and pour it into the tree stand. It was fun yet challenging to do that in the darkness! It was also hard because we had put the Christmas tree in the living room, which is right next to my parents' bedroom. At one point, we heard my parents talking so we abandoned the project for a short while. We didn't want them to come out and catch us red-handed!

Our sneakiness paid off. No one emerged from the bedroom, and we were successful at getting the tree up and looking pretty. The next morning we eagerly asked our parents if they had heard us the night before. They laughed, because in actuality they had been awake but they hadn't heard us at all! We all thought that was quite humorous.

"You better be careful," I said. "You never know when someone might break into your house and set up a Christmas tree while you're in bed."

A few days ago, Joanna sent me a link that made me think of that story. It was a newspaper article about an unusual case: Bloomington thieves leave puppy behind. The article read:

A Bloomington couple says that thieves who stole items from their cars left something in return -- a small brown puppy tied up in their yard.

Nancy Lee says her husband Jeff discovered the theft when he woke up about 4 a.m. Wednesday.

He also found the female puppy tied to a cable that the Lees had in their yard. Whoever left the dog made a loop around the end of the cable and put it around the puppy's neck. The dog didn't have tags or a collar.

The Lees turned the dog over to Bloomington Animal Care and Control. The Lees say the puppy is nice, but they are unable to keep it.

It made me laugh. I guess you never know who might break into your house/yard and leave something behind. :-)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Zoey update

I got a card in the mail from Zoey's new owners. We had gotten a plush squeaky toy for Zoey and mailed it to them a week or so ago. Accompanying the card was this picture (I cropped it to protect the family she belongs to now):

Isn't she cute?? I am loving the little pink bow in her ear. I wonder how she liked that!

The card read:
Zoey is doing GREAT!! She is such a precious dog. We are so blessed to have her in our family. She loves running around all over the yard; she has so much fun playing with the kids. Thank you so much for the toy (Zoey loves it). We are going to stock her up with more toys; she has chewed up all of her other ones. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Joanna asked me if this was my "happy ending". I suppose so; while I would love to still be a part of Zoey's life and see her as she grows up and gets older, I need to be okay with the family not reaching out to me. And really, I am so happy to hear that she's doing well, though I didn't have any doubts! So yes, a "happy ending" in our chapter on Zoey.

TOO precious!

I don't mean to repeat all the videos I see on Cute Overload, but I couldn't help myself with this one. It's just TOOO precious - I watched it several times in a row! Enjoy, you cat lovers:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Missing puppies

I was browsing the videos on CNN's site this evening, and I saw a video that made me smile. It is about a puppy named Jack who was lost, and is now found. They videotaped the owners when they announced that they had found the puppy. I love the expressions captured on camera! The owners were so excited, and that puppy was just licking them.

I'm very happy for them. I wish my story had turned out just as happy. I must say, it did cross my mind that I wished the local news had picked up the story when Jera left...

There were a few other interested videos on CNN's site, too. I won't link to them because it's hard to find the direct URL to the videos. But there was a story about a person who suddenly died, and it was discovered that they were having a secret breeding operation of rat terriers and chihuahuas. The puppies were neglected and in poor physical condition; it made me sad. :-( There was also a video of a man who had blue skin! It wasn't a fluke thing or an illness; he apparently caused it over 14 years by drinking silver or something like that. I thought that was a strange story - but I'm glad that my fears of my skin spontaneously turning blue are allayed. I was thinking it was because of cancer or mesothelioma treatment. But no, it's just in his drinking water. To each his own I guess!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pit bull love

Today I happened on a blog post about the controversy surrounding pit bulls. The author posed an interesting question:
Is it nature or nurture? That’s the question for pit bulls these days. Are they genetically inclined to be vicious, or has a bad human warped a few of the breed, giving them all a bad reputation?
The author went on to talk about pit bulls rescued from dog fighters (in particular, Michael Vick) - some of them have been deemed adoptable.
Would you adopt one of these dogs? How would you feel about your neighbor adopting one of the dogs?
I don't have any easy answers. I've never really interacted much with a pit bull; I generally avoid them probably due to their reputation. I would be very wary of a neighbor having a pit bull because I live in an apartment. But if I lived in a house? And my neighbor had one? I would be okay with that, I think, if my neighbor was a responsible dog owner. I doubt I'd ever get one myself, but that's because the dog part of my heart belongs to beagles. :-)

I perused the comments on the post and read a few aloud to Paul. Some really lined up with how I feel about pit bulls. I'll try to explain it here.

I do think that irresponsible pet owners are a lot of the cause of the bad rap that the breed gets. It seems that pit bulls can be really nice family dogs. However, I don't think they should be taken lightly.

My analogy was this...

It's like a semi-truck driver. Semis are really big vehicles. They ride alongside other much smaller vehicles and even pedestrians on the side of the street. When their drivers are being responsible and following the traffic laws, all the vehicles and pedestrians can coexist in peace. However, you take the irresponsible semi driver. The one who's been on the road for 15 hours straight. Or the one who's been drinking, or just not paying attention. He (or she) makes a mistake, and the semi hits someone/something. When a semi crashes, the accident is really bad. There could be multiple vehicles involved and fatalities. See, it's not the semi itself that's bad - it's that when it DOES crash, it can be much more serious than when a smaller car crashes. You don't always walk away from semi crashes - you might need some plasma cutting just to make sense of the twisted metal. A car can crash, too, and cause fatalities. Sometimes a car can hit a semi and cause further damage. But you have to realize that semis are a more serious vehicle on the road. Therefore, their drivers need to shoulder the extra responsibility and realize the seriousness if they lose control of their vehicle. The drivers need to be even more careful and alert when on the road.

To carry the analogy further, I shudder when I pass semis on the highway. Almost two years ago a semi was the cause of a really tragic accident that took the lives of five people from my alma mater. This doesn't mean all semis are bad, or that all drivers are irresponsible. I certainly don't think semis should be banned from the road. I just hope that we continue to realize that they are serious vehicles, and train their drivers to realize that as well.

In the same way, a pit bull is like a semi. When a pit bull attacks, it's much more dangerous than, say, a Yorkie. This isn't to say that every pit bull WILL attack. I just think the owners need to realize that their dogs can cause more serious damage, so they try even harder to be responsible and raise their dogs in a good, loving situation.

I hope that makes sense. It's certainly not an easy situation; judging from the 89 comments to date on that post, I can see that people feel passionately about this subject!

Monday, December 10, 2007

A poem

As watchman-cat, I've done my job,
The house is safe once more.
That shiny stuff that stormed the tree
Is dead now on the floor.
--Larry Hollister

(Hat-tip to my sister.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Sam the seagull

I got this in an email forward:

A seagull in Scotland has developed the habit of stealing chips from a neighborhood shop. The seagull waits until the shopkeeper isn’t looking, and then walks into the store and grabs a snack-size bag of cheese Doritos. Once outside, the bag gets ripped open and shared by other birds. The seagull’s shoplifting started early this month when he first swooped into the store in Aberdeen, Scotland, and helped himself to a bag of chips. Since then, he’s become a regular. He always takes the same type of chips. Customers have begun paying for the seagull’s stolen bags of chips because they think it’s so funny.

That bird better watch out before a Phase I environmental group tries to replace his chips with something more seagull-appropriate. :-)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Vanity, thy name is CAT

"Vanity. Thy name is CAT.
'Am I too thin or way too fat?
What about my fur? Oh, no! What's that?
Do I detect an unsightly mat?
Better go ask for a brush-and-pat...'"
- Anonymous

I first put this poem on my other blog about a year ago. It still makes me laugh. Ebony in particular is obsessed with her bathroom vanities. When I am washing my face or putting in my contacts in the mornings, she loves to jump up next to the sink and rub against me, purring. I always laugh and tell her she's a pretty little girl already, and she doesn't need anything else to add to that. That's what my mom always told me when I was little and I wanted to wear makeup like my Mommy.