A Dog’s Portal To The World

Back before I descended into Home Improvement Hell, there was a door on the laundry room.

It was a smallish door, rather appropriate for the mid-century design of this house.

The door had a problem.  It had a giant hole in the middle of it that was covered with Jalousie Windows.

In otherwords, you could have broken into my house by simply knocking out a slat of glass, lifting it up and removing the rest.  They were all held in with clips and those clips were not very sturdy.

But hey, they were security glass because they were FROSTED!

Yeah, that will stop an intruder, won’t it?

Now, my girl Lettie moved in the house with me.  When one of the panes broke, I wanted to give her a gift.   I wanted to get clear replacements.  Two to be exact.

I removed the glass from the third and fourth slat from the bottom and replaced them with clear panes.  Then I replaced the broken slat and put in one of the frosted ones.

It was perfect.  At dog’s nose height I had a spot where Lettie could go and watch the world.  She did, and so did Rack when he came here.

But we had to replace that door because it no longer was “Up To Code”.  We’d have the entire house inspected once the windows were installed and the inspector would point to that door and make disapproving sounds.

It got replaced with a security glass door.  Frosted glass that looks like those old Milk Glass vases your mom would have, but it is 5/16ths inch thick and was rated for “Large Missile Impact”, whatever that means.

It also meant that Rack could no longer look out.  The front door was solid steel and due to be replaced.

We got a twin to it.  Only this time, the twin would be clear.

We are adjusting.

We’re getting a proper shade for it but for now there is this ludicrous shade there made out of paper.  It looks like that stuff you used to get meats wrapped in at the Butcher Shop, and is fan folded so you have to expect that some Japanese Geisha would be using it to cool herself off in the heat.

But the benefit is now Rack has a view to the world.

I on the other hand have to get used to being in a fishbowl or on display.

I tend to keep that paper geisha shade clipped, per design, about knee high.  There is a wrinkle outside of the shade.  You see, if you can see out, others can see back in the glass.

Last night when preparing for the Dog Walk, Rack was out on the front porch.  I had finished my last minute puttering and was searching for a couple of Dog Bags.  They’re Brown for a reason.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see some glowing spots and hear yapping and yipping.  Rack was excited because he knew he’d get his last walk of the day.  I just didn’t expect to see two glowing spots, one green, the other yellow, and very little else in the evening gloom.

I’ll get used to it.  Just remember, when you’re walking across the living room with one light on, make sure you have clothes on when you drop the laundry off in the washer.  Otherwise you’ll be giving a show.

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Little Mary

Little Mary was not the best student in Sunday School. Usually she slept through the class.

One day the teacher called on her while she was napping, ”Tell me, Mary, who created the universe?”

When Mary didn’t stir, little Johnny, an altruistic boy seated in the chair behind her, took a pin and jabbed her in the rear. ”God Almighty !” shouted Mary and the teacher said, ”Very good” and Mary fell back to sleep.

A while later the teacher asked Mary, ”Who is our Lord and Savior?” But Mary didn’t even stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to the rescue and stuck her again. ”Jesus Christ!” shouted Mary and the teacher said, ”Very good,” and Mary fell back to sleep.

Then the teacher asked Mary a third question, ”What did Eve say to Adam after she had her twenty-third child?” And again, Johnny jabbed her with the pin.

This time Mary jumped up and shouted, ”If you stick that damn thing in me one more time, I’ll break it in half!” The Teacher fainted.

Three Mice Are Sitting At A Bar

Three mice are sitting at a bar in a pretty rough neighborhood late at night trying to impress each other about how tough they are.

The first mouse pounds a shot of scotch, slams the glass onto the bar, turns to the second mouse and says, “When I see a mousetrap, I lie on my back and set it off with my foot. When the bar comes down, I catch it in my teeth, bench press it twenty times to work up an appetite, and then make off with the cheese.”

The second mouse orders up two shots of sour mash, pounds them both, slams each glass onto the bar, turns to the first mouse, and replies, “Yeah, well when I see rat poison, I collect as much as I can, take it home, grind it up to a powder, and add it to my coffee each morning so I can get a good buzz going for the rest of the day.”

The first mouse and the second mouse then turn to the third mouse.

The third mouse lets out a long sigh and says to the first two, “I don’t have time for this. I’ve got a date with the cat.”

Rocky Road Fudge Recipe For The Microwave

No excuses.

You can make this recipe.

Yes, even YOU.  You know who you are.

After having way too much construction in the house over the week, I had had enough. 

We had windows replaced, all 23 of them.
Then the A/C went out and got replaced.  I’m in South Florida.  You need A/C.
Then the window guy came back for a “Pick List” I am still waiting for him to finish.

Cooking calms me.  I tried doing what passes for work.  I tried hitting some entertaining websites.  I tried installing software on my server. 

After all that, the chocolate chips I bought at the Restaurant Wholesale store were too close to the crock pot when I made Barbecue Pork.  The closest side melted into a solid mass.  I needed to do something with that solid block of fused chocolate chips.

I needed to make a treat.

Let me tell you, this is some of the BEST fudge I have come across, and I have had some of the best that the New Jersey Shore has to offer.  I mean Ocean City, NJ has some great fudge, but it is also 1000 miles away as the crow flies.

Oh, and the trick with this fudge is it is no cooking needed.  Just a good microwave.

Four ingredients:

  • 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (14 Ounces)
  • 12 Ounces of Your Favorite Semi Sweet Chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups of nut pieces.  I recommend Pecans.  I love Pecans in my recipes!
  • 3 Cups Mini Marshmallows. 
  • Optional – A little vanilla extract, or any other flavors you like!

Process:

  • Get a large microwave safe bowl to do this in.
  • Add 12 ounces of Your Favorite Chocolate.  It can be any flavor you like.  I used Semi Sweet Chocolate.
  • Add one can (14 ounces) of Sweetened Condensed Milk.
  • Place bowl in Microwave and Microwave on High for 60 seconds while watching to make sure it doesn’t boil.
  • Stir the chocolate and milk mixture.  This is the basis for your chocolate fudge.  If you just want chocolate fudge, do not add anything more.
  • If the chocolate has not melted repeat microwaving on high for 30 seconds and stirring until the chocolate has completely melted and is silky smooth.
  • Fold in the Pecan pieces and mix until evenly distributed.
  • Fold in the Mini Marshmallows.  They should not melt.
  • Chill until set in a lined or greased container.  I used an 8 inch square (500 MM) Pyrex container and lined with plastic wrap that I lightly oiled.

Now, the bad news.  This stuff is rich.  But it’s also chocolate.  I estimate the entire dish to be 4800 calories.  That means it serves 16 at 300 calories each piece.

But… CHOCOLATE!!!1!!  ROCKY!!! ROAD!!! FUDGE!!!11!!!

Holy Jumpin’ Hannah, is this stuff GOOD!

Wilton Manors Sunrise

The locals will know exactly where this is.

NE 7th Avenue, NE 20th Street.  Right at the entry to M.E. De Palma Park.

It seems that I pass by there rather a lot.  I also have a reason to take quite a few pictures there.

In this case, the park was still in darkness, but the sunrise was what was so beautiful.

Actually it reminded me of the beginning of Teletubbies.  The radiant baby face rising over the grassy knoll that becomes the smiling sun over the Teletubby Land.

Ok, maybe that comparison wasn’t quite as far fetched as it sounds.  Wilton Manors as Teletubby Land.  I can see it on some level.

It was one of those rare mornings that I was sleeping in and not getting up at stupid o’clock.  Luckily that had me up at the right time to see the sun come up and smile over our happy and quirky little island.

A Dog Crate Fit For A Man

When we got Rack, our McNab SuperDog (TM), we needed a place for him to call his own.

Some say that “Crate Training” a dog is wrong.  All sorts of negative words would follow.  The reality is that it is more like a Room For The Dog than a punishment.  They are “Den Animals”.  Dogs actually like to find corners and semi-enclosed places to go so they can sleep, relax, and even hide.

It isn’t always an indication of fear, it’s more like a place to go where they can be “off duty”.  The duty of being a dog in a human’s pack can be a lot of work.

We had a crate for Lettie but shortly after she joined us, she decided it was for lesser creatures and she preferred to sleep in the room with me, next to where I was on the floor, at the side of the bed.  The crate was kept for emergencies and we eventually took it to the thrift after she passed on.

When we got Rack, we needed new.  Knowing that a McNab Dog is a “medium sized” dog, we knew that we’d want a large crate.  Give the dog plenty of room to grow.  The debate of wire or plastic happened, and we felt that a plastic crate would be quieter.  It would be safer since there are fewer places for paws to get stuck.

It joined us in the car on the way to get him and has been a fixture in our cramped little house ever since.  The trip back he spent in the crate in the back of the car and has always found his way back.

But we had joked about how this night stand sized table could fit a person.

Since I am tall, I just rejected the idea that a Full Grown Man Could Fit In That Dog Crate.

We debated that for a couple years until one day…

I want to move the crate.
We don’t have any room, it’s huge.
We’ve got plenty of room!
No room until construction is finished.

We’ve replaced all the windows in the house (except the one) and then the Air Conditioning failed.  Both projects are waiting completion and need inspection by the city or the county or which ever bureaucratic body is in charge of that sort of oddball nonsense in our quirky little island.  At least we will know that it was done “To Code” when that happens, whatever that means.

We can always put the thing in the Florida Room!
Sure, but we need to clear that out.  It’s huge.

Here is where it got silly folks.  I was being told…

It’s big, but not Huge!
It’s huge.  That’s where you “Hide The Bodies”.  Not me, mind you, but a small child could go in there.
It’s not that small, I could climb in there.

I laughed as I saw Kevin wedge his shoulders inside the door of the crate.   I have to do some serious twisting around to get into the thing to clean it, preferring to lift the top off and clean it from above.

Tall guy’s priviledge.

It got weirder.  I watched Kevin haul his torso into that grey plastic box.

See!  I fit!

His nose was sticking through one of the air holes before he turned around and pulled his feet into Rack’s crate.  Rack came over and sniffed around the commotion.  He sat down next to the crate, gave Kevin’s nose a sniff and a lick, then looked at me to say “What’s Next?”.

If you don’t come out of that crate, I’m going to close the door and lock you in.

Empty threat, the door is easy enough to open from either side as long as you have Opposable Thumbs.

Go ahead, close the door!

I did.  Snapped the latch closed.  At this point we were both laughing so hard that Rack began to back away and head off to do Dog Things, whatever they are.

Kevin leaned forward and unlatched the crate – from the inside, and climbed out.

Apparently I was wrong.  You can put a full grown, 5’11” man inside of a dog crate and he can get himself out.

Just not me.  I’m 6’4″ and won’t fit.

And I’m not trying!

Spider In The Sun

When you are walking along and see a spider that is about as large as your palm, you look.

Ok, you can stop looking at your hand now.  From tip of the leg to tip, it was that big, not the body.

What really caught my eye though wasn’t that this creature was so large, but the web.   It looked like spun sugar glistening in the afternoon sunlight.

Spun sugar is one of those things that is fascinating to watch a chef make.  They create a form out of dowels or an upturned bowl.  They then make a sugar syrup that is super saturated and that would harden when at room temperature.  Then they get a quantity of the stuff and pour it slowly out and allow it to harden in mid air over the two dowels.

This video is worth watching just for the chef’s glorious accent.


The end result is they get something resembling cloth or this spider’s web.

The web itself was spun between two sets of trees about 12 feet apart.  Getting right in the right spot meant your eyes were treated to a shimmering display.

I walked over to the spider web, stopping someone who wanted to disturb the creature, and positioned myself.  As I am standing with camera in the air, arms angled in position, I hear: “Oooh A Banana Spider!”

Impossible to miss this one.  I think it was larger than one of those clown cars in the circus or at least larger than one of the toy cars I had when I was a kid.

The gnats weren’t out yet, nor were the mosquitoes, but this spider was positioned to catch them for its evening meal.