July 31, 2007

That Old Black Magic

Photograph by Gordon and Cathy Illg/Animals Animals—Earth Scenes
Tonight it happened again.
Our dog, Emmy, has been skunked so many times she can pass herself off as an honorary skunk. Five times in four years.

We first became aware of this phenomenon when we were at the family farm on one cold Thanksgiving night, right before we were to leave for a holiday party. We were outside in the dark rubbing her fur down with cans of tomato juice. Since then, we've moved onto bigger and better things, namely industrialized strength skunk shampoo.

An hour ago, my husband came running through the living room, “Where are the dogs!" He said he could smell the skunk odor through the air conditioner in the kitchen. (After having a dog sprayed five times, he has developed quite the nose for that particular smell. It has become his enemy.)

He ran outside and I heard this loud, “No, no!” I knew what was coming because I had heard this "No, no" many times before. He walked through the door covered with dirt and said that Emmy had shook her fur (and consequently her odorous perfume) right as he took hold of her collar and then added that he was now covered in skunk dust.

Poor Stephane, he is in the bedroom once again, changing into his worn out shirt and old shorts at 10:30 P.M. on a Tuesday night to go outside and hose down our dog with skunk shampoo.

He deserves an honorary award.

The Amazing Skunk Cleaner Upper

Somehow, I don't think this is the best time to mention the award.

Emmy is now considered the largest skunk in the world.

July 19, 2007

Accountability - Is It Just A Word?

Michael Vick, a famous NFL quarterback, is in the hot seat for pit bull fighting.
The article http://news.aol.com/sports/story/_a/vick-case-sheds-light-on-dogfighting/20070719101509990001 said law enforcement officials found a dog fighting ring along with many pit bulls and indications that dogs were hung, shot, and electrocuted if they did not win.

According to this article on AOL, by Kevin Johnson, “After a meeting involving NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the Falcons, the league will let Vick keep playing, the Associated Press reported. The AP reported that a person with knowledge of the meeting, who requested anonymity so the case would not be influenced, said the NFL would stick to that position for the foreseeable future, despite its new personal-conduct policy.”

Please post how you feel regarding the NFL and other affiliates that are still supporting Michael Vick by allowing him to play. Michael Vick’s money making capabilities have overshadowed that using animals in any form of fighting is unethical and illegal and all those who participate, regardless if they are star athlete players, should be held accountable.

If you look at the comments at the bottom of the AOL article, you will see that as of this date, there are over 11,000 reader comments in regard to this case. This is just a small amount of the overall opinions on this matter. Most are asking that everyone email Roger Goodell and state they do not approve of the NFL allowing Vick to play until proven guilty. (I mean really people, it was at his house! How could he not know it was going on.) There is an opinion section at the bottom right corner of the web page where people are writing their negative comments. http://www.foxnews.com/sports/football/indes.html

The only way Michael Vick will be held accountable with the NFL is if people hold him and any of his supporters accountable. There are 11,000 angry comments on AOL. If everyone emails their opinion on the Fox website then perhaps it will matter. Address it to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Take the time right now because there are dogs out there that will never be given any time - to live a good life.

July 16, 2007

Botulism in Its Finest Form

Today, I forwent my motherly duties and went to judge the Foods Competition at the 4H fairgrounds. 4H is a state wide organization where children enter projects such as foods, sewing, crafts, home decorating, demonstrations, and other areas where they are judged in their own county and have the chance to go on to the state fair for state champion in their division.

I was in 4H for 10 years. I loved it and I was quite happy when they asked me to judge one of the competitions. This afternoon, I was the judge for International Foods which included international cookies and quick breads. I had to taste around 15 cookies, but it was much better than the judge on my left who had to taste around 15 yeast and quick breads. How would you like to eat 15 bread products? And last year she said she had to taste well over 15 "bran" muffins! She said she was seriously sick for two days. By the time we were done, neither of us wanted to taste anything for quite awhile.

We also had the participant sitting in front of us while we judged. We had to ask the child questions and then score the product in front of them.

The majority of my cookies that I had to score were pretty good. In fact, I was worried it would be hard to pick a winner. Everyone was receiving a blue ribbon which is the highest ribbon. After four hours, when I thought we were done for the day, in comes “the one”, which Lord help me, I should have stayed clear away from. It didn’t necessarily look bad, but the taste, oh man, the taste.

It was a Polish kolacky cookie which most people have tried before since it’s a popular cookie. So I cut a bite size piece off one of the cookies and tasted it in front of her. Once it was in my mouth, I could clearly tell something was definitely not right. It was so awful I could hardly keep it in my mouth; all the while I’m sitting there smiling while this young girl who worked hard on these cookies is watching me. So I did what any moral person would do – I shared the cookies with my fellow judges.

I mean, what if it really wasn’t that horrible? Clearly I needed a second opinion. Maybe it was my imagination that I was eating something as nasty as curdled milk. The second judge (who didn’t have to judge my group, but I so graciously offered her a sample) tasted a piece and after seeing the look on her face, I knew I was right.

So usually, I’m supposed to tell the child their ribbon color before they get up, but this time, I told her she could leave and that I would fill out her evaluation later. I just didn’t know what to say it was so awful.

Once the girl was gone, I thought; why not share in the tasting? So I had the judge on the left of me taste it. She started chewing, let out an “Oh” groan and gave me a nasty look. She opened her mouth with the cookie chewed up inside and kept saying, “Oh, oh,” chewed a few more bites and said, “I think I need to spit this out.” I told her I would get her a paper towel but she looked around, realizing that we were in this big auditorium and someone such as the girl might be watching her so she continued to chew it up and said that it was the worst cookie she had ever tasted.

The conclusion – the judge on the right side of me thought the problem was spoiled cream cheese and the cookies could have been left all day in the girl’s car and the judge to the left of me thought the girl maybe didn’t wash her hands and they were not baked enough to kill the bacteria. But all three of us agreed we might end up with food poisoning. I felt really ill afterwards for several hours but luckily, I have had no real signs since then. And the sick feeling could have been from the fact that I had to taste 15 cookies.

It is now later in the evening and I can honestly say that I’m never eating another Polish kolacky cookie without looking it thoroughly over. And somehow, since I dream of things that bother me, I know I will end up dreaming of some giant raspberry filled kolacky in the sky with cream cheese that has gone bad.

Overall, I had fun and met some interesting people. I would do it again anytime.

July 13, 2007

Flowers Flowers Everywhere

Today, I went to visit a client for work to set up services. Their front yard abounded in flowers - that is plastic flowers. I must say, when I go to The Dollar Store and see their unique variety of plastic flowers, my first inclination is not to landscape my yard with them. In fact, my first thought is, didn't putting plastic flowers ANYWHERE in or around your house go out in the 90's?

But, whatever floats a person's boat I say.

My mother did this before, or I should say, she had my dad do it. Planting plastic flowers that is. All I could say is, "No mother, just no. You're really not fooling anyone."
I mean, do people who do this really think other people can't tell the difference?
"Oh, your garden looks so beautiful. It's amazing, all the flowers are in bloom at the same time. But heh, weren't they also in bloom when we visited you at Christmas?"
"I just use an industrial strength fertilizer. They come out looking the same everytime."

So I go to my client's house, divert my eyes from the plenitude of plastic petals and safely make it into the house.
And then I go in and I see -
the green shag carpet.
Perhaps this topic, in all of its elegance, is best saved, for yet
another post.

July 1, 2007

A Short Story

Babies love water.
Babies throw things in the water.
Babies throw EVERYTHING in the water.
These are just a few.

Olivia received a Water Wheel for her birthday.

She figured the doll baby needed a bath. So first it went in.

She then figured the baby had to have a stroller in the water. (She couldn't quite lift it up to get it in.)

And then went in the remote control which she kindly brought back to me, dripping with water. (She must have thought the baby wanted to watch T.V.)

Everything in our house will soon be in the water.

May they all rest in peace.