24 February 2010

Merit Bages

As kids, we loved to get trophies/awards/recognition. Best player, championship team, top bowler, etc. My son's room has a handful of various achievements from a soccer trophy to scouting awards to medals for scholastic achievement. Some are the generic awards you get for just being there while others are for some major accomplishment. In Boy Scouts, each Scout is encouraged to advance in rank by earning merit badges. Currently, there are 121 Merit Badges a Scout can earn, some take a few hours or a weekend to achieve while others take several months to complete. To achieve the rank of Eagle Scout, you must earn at least 21 Merit Badges but many kids earn twice that number.

Sometimes, I think that, as adults, we need some recongnition for the things we do, even the mundane. While cruising the net the other night looking for gift ideas for my brother's 60 birthday, I stumbled across a site where you can get patches for various "accomplishments". Since my brother has been heavily into scouting for years, I am already pondering a few to get him.

Old geezer

Of course, with two mutts under my roof, there are one or two I might qualify for...

Poop Patrol

21 February 2010

Frozen or on the rocks?

Where does the time go?

Just last month, we were celebrating Christmas and New Years!
Three weeks ago was Ground Hog's Day.
Last weekend was Valentines day.
And just last week was Mardis Gras & Ash Wednesday.

And now, on Monday (22 February) is National Margarita Day!

I must be living under a rock. Was completely unaware of this important holiday. There's still time to go out and get party decorations. Need to get in some extra salt and limes!

Thank god for the internet! Otherwise I would have missed this important occasion.

Any excuse to celebrate!

19 February 2010

Warning signs

A friend sent this to me yesterday and some of these struck close to home (for me).
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door:

  • Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

  • The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

  • I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

  • For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine/feline attendance is not required.

  • The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough.

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:


  1. They live here. You don't.

  2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it 'fur'-niture.)

  3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

  4. To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don't speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

  1. eat less

  2. don't ask for money all the time

  3. are easier to train

  4. normally come when called

  5. never ask to drive the car

  6. don't smoke or drink

  7. don't want to wear your clothes

  8. don't have to buy the latest fashions

  9. don't need a gazillion dollars for college and

  10. if they get pregnant, you can sell their children ...


Have a great weekend!

18 February 2010

Dog & Pony Show

The boss is on the road for a few days and I had a fantasy that I would be able to spend this week getting caught up. HAH! Seems like I spend 1/2 my day in meetings trying to explain why I am behind. Between project reviews, supplier audits, fixing problem parts, retesting our new software, attending management (touchy-feely) training, dealing with the accountants, and coordinating the company charity golf tournament, it has kept me hopping. Sometimes I feel like I am rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

It's times like these that it is essential to keep one's sense of humor.
Our management training this week (4 more hours of my life I'll never get back) was on how to manage teams. The likes to have us participate in various role-playing exercises or list our ideas on what makes a successful team. I have been to enough of these sessions to know that, to keep your sanity, you should keep it light. Our team had to list what were some of the key aspects of a successful team in the past. Everybody had really insightful comments: Communication, Clear Goals, Recognition, Empowerment, Defined Roles, Respect of your team members, yada, yada, yada.

My contribution? Really cool team shirts.

16 February 2010

Failure (again)

Who am I to deny the obvious?

I know that some of ya'll saw this coming, so I figured we might as well make it official.

Sorry guys, but put us down as another foster failure.

I honestly did not intend to set out to get a second full time dog. Was not looking for another mouth to feed, another furry hairball to chase down, another butt to pick up after. As hard as we tried not to fall in love with her, Claire wore us down. Claire's been a absolute sweetheart. She is still has a very calm/sedate disposition but is starting to come out of her shell. Grayson still thinks he rules the roost over here, but Claire is keeping him in line. They are starting to play together like a pair of puppies. She has a gentle personality and will greet everyone by sitting at their feet allowing them to pet her. Always quick with a lick and a persistent nudger, she will bump your arm if you try to ignore her for too long (like when typing on the computer). Claire and Grayson have adapted to walking together without any problems and they even tend to pace each other. The only challenge is when Claire is getting any attention, Grayson feels the need to horn in on the action. Hard to type on the keyboard with both hands petting a dog.

I took both Claire & Grayson out to a Meet & Greet at a local animal supply store (Animal Tails) on Saturday as one final outing before she starts heartworm treatment. She turned out to be a natural at the M&G. Took her about 15 minutes to figure out the system and, after that, she would sit & wait for the next group of unsuspecting people to come up and lavish her with all sorts of loving/attention. For a sweet loving dog, she sure knows how to work it.

She will be going in this morning to start her HW treatment. It looks like she'll be under house arrest for the next two months, but she at least she now has a forever home.

When did I become a softie?

12 February 2010

Friday, at last

The end of another three-ring circus week. It's been one of those weeks where retirement is looking better and better. I used to have a First Sergeant in my Armor company that, after a week like this, he would just look at me, shake his head and mutter, "One More Day to Retirement". One of the good things about coming home to two kooky dogs is, no matter how bad or long your day has been, they are always enthusiastic to see you.

One of the few pictures I took at the motivational seminar on Monday. Sitting about 25 feet from the speakers. One of my co-workers noted it was interesting to get up close to several big names that could have been (or might be) elected to higher office one day.

I always try to keep a sense of humor (it keeps me sane). So I am trying out a new feature: Joke of the week (I ain't got enough good ones to make a joke of the day). Some may be old, a few may be corny, many may be plagiarized. I got this one yesterday:

Yesterday I was at my local Wal-Mart buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet, Biscuit, the Wonder Dog and was in the checkout line when woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

What did she think I had, an elephant? So since I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with my story.)

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no, I stepped off a curb to sniff an Irish Setter's ass and a car hit us both.

I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard. Wal-Mart won't let me shop there anymore.

Better watch what you ask retired people. They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.

09 February 2010

Get Motivated

I "signed up" for an all day motivational seminar yesterday taught in the downtown convention center. It was put on by this group that does this all over the states. They bring in a lot of big name speakers and hold an all day seminar on how to get motivated and how to motivate others. It has been hyped for weeks and pushed to businesses to have them sign up and bring employees. Our company management decided it was a good deal and offered it up to all directors/managers/supervisors/engineers as an optional seminar to attend. I was pretty busy and hadn't really planned to attend until, on Saturday morning, we all got a message from the CEO on how great this training was going to be and how he would like to encourage everyone to attend, if they are able. 15 minutes after the message when out, a wave of acceptances came in.

Now, if you have never attended one of these, you are in for a treat. This is an ALL DAY affair. And I mean all day. There are a number of famous people speaking on motivational topics intermixed with other speakers who wind up pushing their business software or stock program that will enable you to maximize your profits (for a measly price of $99). We had great seats up under the stage so we were only 25 yards from each speaker, but they were padded folding chairs and, after about 6+ hours in them, my butt was not as "motivated". We got to hear from speakers like Sarah Palin, Colin Powell, Lou Holtz, and Rudy Guliani. It was interesting to see and hear these people in real life, without all of the polish and spin that you typically see on the boob toob. Sarah was a very interesting speaker, but not as polished as most of the rest of the group (who do this for a living). Colin I thought was the best speaker - funny and direct. Lou Holtz has a terrible lisp, but he was a funny guy. Rudy was a card, but not to every one's liking. They had Zig Zigler, but, honestly it was painful to watch him. Apparently, he had a fall two years ago and had some serious head injury so he has short term memory loss. His daughter was up on stage with him as his handler, but he seemed lost at times and kept repeating points of his speech. I have heard Zig one time before a long time ago and I felt sorry for him. The other speakers were peddling some program or software to make money and I had little patience for that kind of sales pitch. It was funny and interesting, but not worth 8 hours of my life. The arena was in the Toyota Center which normally houses our basketball team. When they broke for lunch, they would not let anyone leave the building, so we were all stuck with massive lines and overprice food for lunch. I didn't want to wait an hour in line for lunch, so I had a trail bar I brought with me and was able to score a diet coke from a vendor. The entire gig was interesting but not my cup of tea. Someone noted that, based on the speakers and highly inspirational (translation: spiritual) theme, the venue was definitely tilted to the right. No one got political, but it was decidedly geared to one side of the spectrum. Some people (like my brother) would have chewed his arm off trying to escape that place. I guess I should be grateful the company ponied up the bill for this gig, but I think that the CEO was expecting more or something else. Not sure they will do that again.

Happy Anniversary (plus one)

I was off Monday in an all day motivational seminar (whoo-hoo! I'm motivated! More on that later this week.) and forgot to post this yesterday. My bad. Must be the old age creeping up on me.

Anyhoo, yesterday, February 8th, was the 100th (as in 10 decades) anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

Founded on the ideas and principles of Lord Robert Baden-Powell in England and brought to these shores in 1910 due, in part, to an act of kindness by one unknown scout doing his daily good turn, the BSA has grown from a small group into an international organization whose goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.

Oh, sure it's really cool to camp out in the woods, play with fire, swim in the lakes and rivers, learn how to build stuff, but scouting builds character.

For the small crowd of people who infrequenlty visit my humble musings, ya'll might pick up, on occasion, that I support the BSA organization. Have done it for years and continue to do so now. I strongly believe in the purpose and mission of the BSA.

Happy Birthday/Anniversary to all Scouts & Scouters!

06 February 2010

In the dog house

Literally. Both of them. And just when I was just starting think we might keep ya.
Been a long week. Seemed like two weeks crammed into one. I am back testing the system like we did about 5 months ago. Seems that we are going to bring our Europe site on line in May and need to repeat all of our tests again. And I still have my normal chores to do.

Looking forward to a nice weekend off.

Woke up late (for me) this morning (0600). Took dogs for walk, fixed coffee, had some oatmeal, sat down to catch up on the antics of my favorite bloggers. At some point, I heard the distinctive sound of falling water coming from the foyer. Ever since the new girl has arrived, there has been 2 "accidents" in the house that I attributed to her (she was in heat, she was new to the program), so I have been a bit forgiving. However, this morning, when I heard that "sound", I knew Claire was in the chair in our bedroom, so that left only one guilty culprit. Sprinted to the front hall to catch the perp in the act and, to put it mildly, I was not happy. Grayson knew he messed up big time and has been hanging his head (& tail) in shame all day. Now, before you picturing me wailing the tar out of the dog, let me clarify something. I may speak harshly and express my intense displeasure and use more than a few colorful adjectives, I have never, ever struck any dog. No frickin way. Takes a pretty small/pitiful person to beat on a dog or cat. I am no patron saint for animals, but I have zero tolerance for people who abuse animals. That said, I was highly unhappy with Mr Grayson when he had his accident. Not sure if he is feeling insecure with the new house guest or had drank too much aqua after our walk, but I am trying to nip this new habit in the bud. I spent an hour with the throw rug in the shower trying to rinse it out. It is sitting in my garage now drying out.

I went out to get some new supplies and a new tandem collar for the dogs and came back later to unload the truck. Now Grayson I can trust not to run off, but as I was unloading the truck, Claire rounded the truck and took off down the street for a guy and his son playing catch. I took off after her. Of course Grayson, not wanting to be left out of the fun, took off after her and, once I had caught Claire, he kept on going down the block to the next neighbor & her dog. Here I am with no leashes and two free range dogs loose on the world. I was more worried about them getting run over than anything else. Finally collared both and drug them back to the house with lots of chastisement and scolding. Both dogs looked like they were going to be hit (not by me), but was able to muscle them into the house. Needless to say, daddy was not happy with the both of them. Grayson has run off to the bedroom to hide with mommy and Claire has put on her most pitiful (I'm sorry) look. I have rebuked her and told her that was not acceptable behavior. Goldens Retrievers are consummate social dogs and always look for love and attention and the worst kind of punishment you can do for a Golden is to ignore them. I made her feel guilty for a while before finally scratching her head. Grayson is still feeling guilty, but he is starting to get over it. I need to work on training both and, until I can trust them in an open setting, I will keep a tighter reign on them.

BTW - the parental unit celebrated her 87th birthday in, of all places, Hawaii on Thursday. Mom & dad are down on Kauai with my brother, his wife and nephew and wife. I arranged for a local company to ship her a genuine Hawaiian shirt to her on a layover from their cruise before they headed off to Kauai. I only hope I am as active as my parents are when I am that old.

Happy Birthday, Mom.
Remember, you made me what I am today
(so it's all your fault!)