Archive for March, 2014

An Appeal to Dog Owners

Fritz on the rug

It was a rather traumatic week in our household. Tuesday we were up at my Mother’s house in Superior, Wisconsin. That afternoon I took our Miniature Schnauzer, Fritz, out for a walk. It was a bit brisk, but a nice enough day nonetheless. All of a sudden a roughly hundred pound Husky began barking and growling in between houses as we passed. Fritz was silent. I saw a woman trying to restrain her, but the dog was going crazy, standing on her hind legs fighting to get away. And then she did.

Fritz Tanning

If you’ve ever seen the Coen brothers’ movie The Big Lebowski, you’re familiar with The Dude, Jeff Bridges’ character. We often refer to Fritz as “The Dude”. He’s very laid back on our walks, never barking at other dogs no matter how much of a ruckus they’re making. So when this enraged dog sprung over the snow bank at us, The Dude stopped and prepared for the usual game of you-sniff-me-then-I’ll-sniff-you. But that wasn’t what she had in mind.

Fritz and Cookie

Nana, which I quickly found out was the dog’s name, went off, grabbing Fritz by the neck and throwing him down. The woman kept yelling at me, “Pull her off, she’s gonna kill him!” But I wasn’t about to stick my limbs in front of the wild dog who looked like she knew what she was doing. It seemed to go on forever until I was able to yank the leash and pull him away. Nana ran off down the street.

  Cookie Snuggling Fritz

I picked up Fritz and checked him over. Other than the bleeding front leg he seemed okay. We headed toward Mom’s house. Our walk, so rudely interrupted, had turned into a nightmare.

Fritz Close Up

Fritz has always been a loving and social dog to people and other animals. To watch this brutal attack was a horrific experience that I hope to never see again. So I have a request not just to Nana’s owners, but to all dog owners: Don’t buy more dog than you can handle. If you don’t have the space for a dog or the upper body strength required to hold the leash, it’s probably not the breed for you. And for everyone’s sake, train and socialize your dogs. The Dude abides.

Fritz Boating

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That Internet Thing Just Might Catch On

Facebook Bad Grammar

There comes a point in everyone’s life where they’d like to put the past behind them and forget about all those crazy things they did in the past.  But can that happen in an internet-obsessed world?  Oh sure, you may be able to forget it, possibly even get your friends and relatives to let it go and stop reminding you of “That one time”, but remember, it’s online forever.

I learned back in Mr. Tucker’s seventh grade math class that you should never put anything in writing that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see.  There are some politicians that should have had Mr. Tucker.  Or take for example Kelly Blazek, the woman in charge of a Cleveland Job Bank and the “Communicator of the Year” in her city.  When a young woman who was moving to Cleveland reached out to her on the professional site LinkedIn, she sent back a scathing denial that has gone viral.  Sounds more like a bad communicator, yikes.

Browser History

And don’t even get me started on Facebook.  My biggest FB pet peeve has to be the cryptic post for attention.  Girls, if you want attention, do something good.  Don’t brag about it, the word will get out.  When I read, “Why can’t I just be _________” as a status, I cringe.  Don’t go fishing for compliments, you may not get any.  And don’t think just because you took down that incriminating post/picture that it’s gone forever; nothing is permanently deleted…nothing. 

I have, however, come up with five things that can help you navigate social media:

  • People cannot read tone of voice.  If it can be misconstrued, it probably will be!
  • Do not confuse social networks—some are social, some are professional.
  • Be knowledgeable but don’t abuse any power you may have in your posts.
  • Keep your private life private.  Or don’t be surprised when things go viral.
  • Your posts ARE your online personality.  Funny…Mean…Creeper…etc.

 Facebook Creeper

You don’t need to be afraid of the internet.  After all, it’s not going away.  In fact, I laughed when I saw that my friend will list her personal cell number on social media, but you need to private message her for her email.  Yes, that is what we’ve come to.  And a final thought on social media, there’s a meme about being glad to be over forty because we did all of our foolish stuff before the internet.  I have two words for you…Throwback Thursday. 

Mental Spring Cleaning

 

Crossroads

Since we’ve moved to a new town, I find myself frequently at crossroads.  The latest is a stumbling block on a book I’m writing.  It’s about a friend of mine and her life and times with a famous husband.  You would think the words would fly onto the page, so many stories of their great and exciting life.  But instead I stare.  The blank pages taunt me.  Pencils are sharpened for notes, except no notes need to be written down.  I am stumped.

Plot Options

But then this week I had the opportunity to have lunch with that friend and the rest of our manuscript club.  It was a late Christmas party—Christmas in March, the necessity of rescheduling due to Minnesota winters.  It was so great to see the group and talk.  I gave my friend the first few pages of the book to look over.  I was a little nervous whether or not she’d like the direction things were taking.  She did.  In fact, she called me later that night to chat further.

Eagle

Then I got an email from another member.  She was so supportive and encouraging.  It was exactly what I needed.  After reading the email, I strapped on my sneaks and hit the pavement.  Running outside is always a great way to shake out the cobwebs in my brain and poke my muse into action.  It was a little brisk into the wind at first, but then I hit my stride.  I felt like I could run forever.

Now, I realize this may sound corny, but when I saw a big eagle fly overhead it was as if a switch had been turned on.  The words, this story, it had been in me all the time.  Over the winter, moving to a new city, I had suppressed my muse.  More likely gagged her with duct tape.  I had convinced myself that I was having trouble writing because I wasn’t in my old spot, hadn’t found a new niche in which I could write.  But that was not true.  I just needed to shake out the dust and (literally) hit the ground running.

 BWCA Web

5 Tips for Future Hockey Parents

Hockey Sticks

It’s “Spring Forward” weekend for us Daylight Savings folks.  Normally that brings images of grass and flowers sprouting in the long-awaited warmth.  Sigh.  But here in The State of Hockey, it’s Minnesota high school hockey tournament week.  Ah, hockey.  Where moms watch (yell) in the stands and dads watch (yell) around the glass.  It’s really a great system.

Hockey Van

In case you’re not or have never been a hockey parent, and you may be in the future, here are my top five tips for you:

  • Hockey practice is never cancelled.  Seriously, never.  Don’t call the coach.  Don’t call the manager.  Just wake up your kid and get to the ice.  Trust me.
  • Always (and I mean always) keep multiple blankets, hats, scarves, and mittens in your vehicle.  Oh, your team will be inside?  Silly, they play on ice.  It is freezing.  Bring the extra gear to the stands.  People will think you’ve got it all together and you will be very popular.
  • You will always need to have at least one vehicle that seats a small army.  Even if you personally only own one child, you will acquire others.  And their smelly bags.  Believe me, in a confined space, you want those as far away from you as possible.  Yes, I know your child is clean.  But he will smell…and his gear will smell even worse.
  • Never leave home without your cowbell or some sort of manufactured clapping device.  Laryngitis is not sexy.  And you will yell…regardless of your previous demeanor, you will be magically transformed into a hockey mom.
  • Learn the lyrics to The Gear Daddies “Zamboni” song.  It will give you immense pleasure to roust your children out of bed for those 5:00 A.M. practices when you can sing a little as you move from room to room.

 Hockey Mom

So as I leave you to retake my seat in front of the televised, non-stop action, remember to spring forward this weekend and always be a good sport.  And here’s a little joke that I swear my mother-in-law could’ve written:

Four women bragged about their children over coffee.  The first says, “My son is a priest.  When he walks into a room, everyone calls him father.”
The next woman tries to top her, “Really?  My son married the princess of a small European country and when he walks into the room, people call him your highness!”
The third woman chirps, “Well, my son is a cardinal of the church.  Whenever he walks into a room, people call him your eminence!”
The fourth woman is just sitting there sipping her coffee silently as the other three look at her. Finally she smiles and says, “Oh.  My son is a very large and handsome hockey player.  Whenever he walks into a room, women say, “OH MY GOD…!”