A Morning Gift, Or Not All Of The Creatures Up Before Dawn Are To Be Avoided

Wandering through the heart of Wilton Manors means walking through an area that other people consider their playground.

It’s my neighborhood, you don’t live here, you’re borrowing it.

I’m up at stupid O’Clock.  That varies between 4:45AM and if I really am sleeping in, as late as 7AM.  One of us will get me up typically before 6 but it is almost like I set the alarm for 4:45.

Two solid hours before sunrise.

That means that some of the creatures of the night are not yet gone.  No, Wilton Manors isn’t that edgy or dangerous, it’s that people have a habit of lingering after the bar closes. If there’s a problem here, it is almost always due to an outsider coming in.

Typical for a resort.

So I watch as we walk.  Being up that early means I am out before the beginning of rush hour walking Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM).  It benefits him as he’s still quite fearful and afraid of things like traffic, the 50 Bus, and the beater of a minivan that the newspaper delivery folks tend to use to drop off the morning dailies.

At 5:15AM there is very light traffic, and that’s just enough to keep the dog alert without being wrenched out of his mind due to a stream of cars.

This one particular morning was an odd one.  There were leftovers in the bar parking lot having a party.  Salsa music floated out of a car and I caught random snippets of a conversation in Spanish, but not enough that I could completely understand.

Walking further south on Wilton Drive, the Fort Lauderdale police cars were servicing their normal Donut Emergency speeding north with the lights flashing.  They turned into the Courtyard Cafe and went for their breakfast.  Why they need to speed like that I have no idea but I do plan to have a talk with the chief of police next time I see him about this.  It’s a two or three time a week occurence.

I was awakened from my own reverie by a flash and a friendly wave.  One of the patrolmen on our own Wilton Manors PD were waving a hello and a quick burst from their lights.  Nice folks on duty here.

We have a long daily walk to start the day.  I’m out more than an hour most mornings.  A two mile walk with a dog can be a half hour or it can be two hours.  It all depends on how much there is to sniff and whether the walk itself slid late and I’m running into local friends to chat with.

Yeah, I can run at the mouth.

But right in the middle of Wilton Drive, in a traffic lane, there was a woman in a silver VW Jetta.  She was waving at me.

Now, being used to the creatures of the night, I am wary.

She got out of the car.  It was stopped in the traffic lane.  I was amused and relieved when she got out of the car in a black lace baby doll shirt and some rather short shorts.  There was no way she could have been hiding anything in all that lace.

I heard her story:

“Excuse me, but I want to give you something!”

That’s new.  I’m watching traffic approach from the north.

“You see I have some things.  I had a dog that I had to give up because my landlord won’t allow dogs.  I have a little Yorkie and I have to rehome him for a while.”

I’m thinking that I’m about to be given a dog by a random woman dressed in a baby doll shirt.  “But ma’am…”

She continues:

“So I have all these treats and I want to pass them onto someone who has a dog while I figure out what to do about my Yorkie.”  She opens the back door in a swift moment and starts looking through her packages.  I notice that her shorts were quite short indeed, but nothing out of the ordinary in Florida in August.

She pulls out a bag of treats and a small container of dog food.  Rack immediately stops being afraid and realizes that this could be good for him.  “I have some goodies.  Don’t worry, they’re all still sealed!  Can I pet your dog?”

“Sure if he will let you, he’s very fearful…”

Rack let her pet him but not too much. A truck sped by and he flattened out on the pavement.

“Aww, he really is afraid.  Enjoy these!  I really wanted someone who had a dog who treated them right to get them and you two looked like you were having fun on the walk!  Take care, bye!”

“Thanks, that was truly nice of you!  Thanks again, we will enjoy it!”

Needless to say I was bemused.  The package of dog treats and the small container of food were perfectly sealed, so Rack will get some treats.

It isn’t every day that you get stopped by a stranger in a major city to be given treats for your dog!

A New Monk Arrives At A Monastery

At this particular monastery their job is to copy old religious texts and manuscripts, day in and day out, so the new monk gets to work.

Eventually however, he notices that they are making copies of copies.

He goes to the head monk and explains how this could cause problems with translation.

Over the years, the copies would get worse and worse, sort of like a bad game of telephone.

The head monk agrees and decides to send the new monk down to the archives to double check everything.

So the head monk takes him down there and leaves for a while.

After a few hours the head monk goes down to check on the new monk’s progress, and the new monk is banging his head against the wall crying, “We missed the ‘r’, we missed the ‘r’!”.

The head monk asks him what he means, and the new monk replies, “The word is ‘celebrate’!”

A Guy In France Is Sent By His Wife to Buy A Dozen Snails at the Market

His wife warns him “I don’t want you to stop at the bar on your way home! I want you to go to the market, buy the snails and then come straight home just after. You always find an excuse to get drunk, not this time if you know what’s good for you!”

The guy agrees, takes his basket and goes to the market.

On his way home, he passes in front of the bar. What the hell, he thinks, if I just take one drink the wife will never know.

A dozen drinks later he realizes the night has fallen. Shit, he thinks, the wife is going to be so pissed! He takes his basket and start running toward his home.

Because of the dark, and probably also because of the alcohol, he misses a step just in front of his door and all the snails fly out of his basket.

Shit shit shit! He thinks.

He goes flat on the floor so he can pick back up all the snails sprayed in front of him. The door opens and his wife is looking down on him. She doesn’t look pleased.

“Come on you guys, he says, we’re almost there! Just one more meter.”

It’s OK to Troll Your Dog, or How to Adjust Training When it is a Little Off

It’s OK to Troll Your Dog, or How to Adjust Training When it is a Little Off

We all live with little recorders, we who have dogs.  I suspect cats are the same way but my allergies have not gone away to the point where I could consider staying in a house with one let alone letting one into my life.

Over the 40,000 years, give or take a few, that we have lived with what descended from Wolves, we have co-evolved.

They learned that if they keep these weird bipeds around, they will get food for them, provide shelter and security, and perhaps even help make their lives easier.

Being intelligent and social animals, what eventually became Dog learned.  They learned how to live with human’s quirks and figured out how to read us.  There are many stories of how dogs know what you’re doing before you even do.

Trust In Dog, this is my story.

You see, I’ve learned how to troll my dog.

Anyone who has a herding dog understands that you have to give them opportunity to exercise.  Both mind and body being worked leads to a happy dog.  In my own case, my own happiest times were when I was working out for Inline Skating.  My schedule was five days of weightlifting plus 100 miles of skating per week in peak season.  My dogs couldn’t keep up with that so I also had to walk them three times a day.

While you’re out, your dog is watching what is going on.  Taking it all in.  Being a recorder of what is going on and how you react to it.

Life is a bit more settled here, I’m not quite so active, and I have a fairly rigid schedule.  I’m up early, sometimes as early as 4:30 in the morning.  I walk Rack, my McNab SuperDog (TM), out into the heart of Wilton Manors and pass by City Hall about the same time daily.  I know when the shift change is happening for the police, and when the Fort Lauderdale Police are speeding down Wilton Drive every morning to get their donuts at the Courtyard Cafe.

 

Seriously. Donuts.  Literally.

When I get home, there are more “scheduled activities”.  Rack gets fed.  I get my coffee.

Rack watches.  I go through my own machinations waiting for sunrise.  I simply didn’t realize that I was training him for that.

Between 7 and 7:30 in the morning, my drip feed irrigation gets turned on by computer.  The orchids get watered, hibiscus cuttings are being rooted, and my flower pots are getting a thorough drink.  Somewhere around half way through, I tend to go outside.  Drip Feed Irrigation works with small sprinklers and small sprinkler heads and they all get clogged up fast.  I have to go out to clear them all.

To go outside, I take the wireless keyboard off my lap, set it on the table, pick myself up and… DOG.

I put two and two together.  The next day I would test my theory.

It was right about sunrise that morning.  I was sitting in my low Poang chair and moved my feet close to my body against the tile floor.

*SCRAPE*

I heard trotting to the back door.  Rack thought it was his time.

I simply sat there.  Was looking at a news article on the BBC news that moment.  Rack got bored at the back door and went back to the corner.

 

*SCRAPE*  my soles said to the floor.

 

Rack ran to the back door again.  “Got bored, did you?”  as he trotted back to the corner.

*SCRAPE*  again.

This time, as Rack trotted past, he looked over at me.  I was having aspersions cast at me.  Yes, my dog was giving me Shade.  I had attitude being given.  My left lip curled in a half smile.

I waited until he sat down, gave him a couple minutes.

*SCRAPE*.  This time, not so fast.  He walked over and I felt his whiskers brush against my left arm.

“What’s a matter boy?  What do you want?”

On the word “want” he was over at the back door.  “You’re early!”

He went back to the corner.  I gave him a couple minutes.

In time, I moved my hand.  The keyboard creaked a little.  Plastic on plastic.  Rack ran to the back door.

“You’re early!” I said in a sing song voice.

I did take it easy on him and followed through.  I did take a mental note, keyboard works too.  I always put that on the table when I get up out of my little chair.

We went outside and he watered the big palm.

The next day was the same.  The Scraping of my feet against the floor was less of a trigger though.  I started out with the keyboard instead and he was back at me.  This time it was nose under my arm and two brown eyes boring holes into my soul.

“Rack, I’m not ready yet”  Forgetting that “Ready” is a trigger for him as well.  I caved early and took him out.

What I was up to was trying to reeducate my dog.  Certain breeds of Dog like the McNab and other top ten intelligent breeds really should be looked at as a “Peer”.  A sentient being with a different kind of and different level of intelligence, but intelligence none the less.

Rack is an extremely intelligent dog.  He learned that scraping of the shoes on the floor or the creaking of the keyboard means Out.  He learned by my telling him he’s being early that he wasn’t going to get that ice cube I use to cool down my coffee.

He also learned that the second mug of coffee was when he gets ice cubes.  You don’t want to give a dog as many ice cubes as they will eat since they will wear down their teeth or even break one.  I’m only giving him one a day.  If he gets one off the floor, that’s a different story.

So this particular morning, I see a smiling black and white face looking at me from around the corner.

“Rack, you’re early!”  I had my pretzel roll in the toaster, eggs in the microwave, the water hadn’t even been boiled for the coffee.  That sent him back but I knew he was listening.  I had to blunt this particular sharp edged dog.  Begging for food and treats is not something he is known to do but he does understand that I am a soft touch, especially for his prized unsalted hard pretzels.

The microwave beeped.  “Rack, you’re early” as he looked in at me again.  Hard to resist that smiling face but I had to.  Time to get schooled!

The Tea Kettle whistled, and got poured into the iced tea glass, coffee mug, and the herbal iced tea in the decanter for later.  “Rack, really you are early!”  sent him back to the corner.

I decided I would see how close he was listening.  My egg,cheese, and onion on a pretzel roll sandwich was partly consumed as Rack decided to check things out again.  I didn’t particularly expect that but I never feed him in the kitchen.  He was still waiting on that ice cube.

 

When I finished breakfast up I realized he wasn’t coming back out.  I was washing dishes, clearing and drying the counter, and then opened the freezer.  Very carefully, quietly, I reached into the ice bin.  He didn’t hear it. I was able to get five cubes for the coffee and go on my way.

He never got his cube that morning.

So moral of the day is that if you think you are being watched… you are!

In other words, you aren’t paranoid if they’re actually watching you!

Two long time friends bump into each other after a long time of not seeing each other

They start talking.

Friend#1: Oh hey, I haven’t seen you since your wedding, how are the kids?

friend#2: Oh they’re fine, how have things been with you?

friend#1: Everything is great, what say you we go out to eat?

friend#2 All right, I know a place around the corner, real fancy place, they serve great steaks and wine.

They arrive at the restaurant.  They sit down and they order the most expensive meals they can find, along with some expensive wine.

friend#1: Man am I full, WAITER! we are ready for the receipt

Waiter: Very well, it’ll be $3,500

The 2 friends argue over who will pay.

Friend#1: I got the bill, it’ll be my pleasure for not seeing you in so long.

Friend#2: No it’s fine, you’re my guest, I’ll be happy to pay.

Seeing as how they we’re never going to agree, the first friend calls out to the waiter “Waiter, bring me 2 buckets of water please.”

The waiter comes back with the buckets.

Friend#1: OK, this is what is going to happen, we will each stick our heads into the buckets, and whoever comes up for air first, has to pay.

They both drowned.

A Couple, Both aged 78, Went to a Sex Therapist’s Office

The doctor asked, “What can I do for you?”

The man said, “Will you watch us have sex?”

The doctor looked puzzled, but agreed.

When the couple finished, the doctor said, “There’s nothing wrong with the way you have sex,” and charged them $50.

This happened several weeks in a row. The couple would make an appointment, have sex with no problems, pay the doctor, then leave.

Finally, the doctor asked, “Just exactly what are you trying to find out?”

“We’re not trying to find out anything,” the husband replied. “She’s married and we can’t go to her house. I’m married and we can’t go to my house. The Holiday Inn charges $90. The Hilton charges $108. We do it here for $50…and I get $43 back from Medicare.

Intermediate Spanish on Aisle Five

Intermediate Spanish on Aisle Five

I took up Spanish on my own.

Mind you, living in South Florida, there are some obvious benefits that would not happen if you lived in some less diverse area.

I had five years of French in Junior High School and Senior High School. It has been long enough that most of that is long gone, save the pronunciation of certain Spanish words. I use that Back of The Throat R that the French do, and my Spanish “Ere” are no where near a trill like you would hear on the streets of Ciudad de Mexíco or Buenos Aires.

After the year or so of using Duolingo, watching Spanish Language TV, and listening to Spanish Language radio, I’m firmly ensconced in the Intermediate Spanish realm.

That is to say I speak good Plaza Sésamo. Get too complex and I am happy to look itup.

I’m lucky though. The friends I have that are not Bilingual are willing to help by giving me things to listen to and to read.

I’m also highly “Project Driven” as would be expected from a Project Manager.

We have a lot of little projects to finish here at the little house on the quirky little island known as Wilton Manors, Florida.

Quite a few projects actually. Way too many.

Recently we took on wiring the yard with low voltage lights.

Being who we are, those low voltage lights have to be LED lights. Have to be as in It Is Under Pain Of Death That We Are Green And Use LED Lights.

Truly. Over the top.

But the nice thing is that they use practically no power to do what the security lights that are there do with old fashioned Incandescent bulbs.

The existing bulbs are 110 Volt, 40 Watt. Two of them. On full, that is 80 watts. The equivalent is running at 1/10th the voltage and 1/4th of the wattage – a total of 1/40th of the current to make the same light.

If my math is correct.

But first, we have to get the things. That means a trip to The Big Box Home Improvement Store of your choice.

We did hit both. Bought the gear we thought we needed.
The transformer was already here. That was found online. Light bulbs and fixtures were at the big box stores along with the wire we needed.

One of the things I’m doing to learn Spanish is watch some kid’s shows. Ones for a pre-teen audience. Why? Because the sentence structure is just about where my own Spanish is at. Never mind that the songs that they put in these shows with all those flashing lights and images are guaranteed to be an ear-worm to be stuck in your head to come out at inappropriate moments.

So here I am, all 6 Foot 4 of me, walking down the aisles of the big box store quoting lines from a song that an elementary school kid would recite.

Vamos Herramientas! Lets Go Tools!

I spot the hand tool aisle. We could use some parts to the electric drill…

I’m told I have lost my mind…

Brinco Salto, Si Vamonos!

No Hay Que Tardar!
De Prisa!
A Trabajar!

Y a Reparar!

Leap Hop, Yes we go!

There is no delay!

Hurry!
To work!
And to repair!

And I am trotting through the big store with this song on a loop inside my head as I go past the paint, ceiling fans, sprinkler parts and find the low voltage lighting.

And I realize that I’m stuck in a silly song that doesn’t quite sound right in my native English.

Then again I have never seen that TV show, Handy Manny, in English. There are some shows that I have never seen in English, only in Spanish.

Who can resist a story where a sarcastic blue hammer is telling a baby blue whale to go back into the sea?

We grab more treasures to be buried in the yard.

Some black wire for low voltage use only.

Another two lamps that promise to light my palm tree.

A “straight hoe” that brings some childish giggles at the name.

Everything gets into the cart as I stand there like a toddler reading the words off the box out loud. After all everyone would want to hear a child say their new words, why not a full grown adult with a new toy of a new language?

“Contenido del paquete! That means Package Contents!”
I hear a quiet groan, then, “Great, can you grab this?”

“Sí! Voy a ayudar! Yes, I am going to help!”

“Here, have the instructions. They’re in Spanish too!”

So I’m now being distracted with a parts explosion and installation instructions on how to install a post lamp in the yard. Pretty simple actually.

But it gives me a new world of words to learn.

Cable de la lampara – Fixture Wire

Advertencia – Warning

Precaución – Caution

As strange as it sounds, reading the words off of the wall helps a lot, and those boring installation instructions that we gloss over turn out to be a trove of new Palabras – Words.

I find myself reading the Spanish on the shelves first for the challenge promising myself I won’t read the English.

We go through checkout and get home. As we’re relaxing and cooling down for the afternoon, I pick up another piece of reading and dig down deep. It’s the instructions for how to assemble, mount, and install a ceiling fan!

How exciting, huh?

Take the learning where you can. If you don’t have anyone nearby who can help you with your new language, don’t be afraid to look in unorthodox places. After all, Radio Martí broadcasts news from the US Government all in Spanish, and while propaganda is never balanced, it can help you learn, especially when you have a live link here.

Ahora, donde está mis instrucciónes?

Now, Where are my instructions?

 

Oh!  And that blue whale?  Of course the 10 hand tools and the people of the little beach town made a thing out of available fabric and sticks and were able to save the baby whale by walking it down the beach to the sea.  Because that is how things end in a happy little kid’s show in Spanish.