Our Hamsters Ourselves

Hello Dear Readers! Every once in a while it’s good to remember our fine furry friends, the hamsters.  Here’s a story about one such little guy.

Our Hamsters, Ourselves

I’ll never forget our first hamster. He (or possibly she) was a cute little ball of white fur or maybe it was brown. I guess when I say I’ll never forget our first hamster, what I mean is I’ll never forget what happened to our first hamster, Snickers.

We knew Snickers was special the moment we saw him in the huge glass hamster case at the pet shop. I reached in to pick him up and he reared on his hind legs and tried to swat my finger away with powerful albeit tiny paws. This hamster had spunk. Plus he was only $5.99.

Snickers, the hamster

SOLD!

We took him to the cash register and the clerk suggested a few accessories we would need in order to properly care for a hamster. The total came to $213.17.

Holy Habitat!

Our hamster would need this habitat, she assured us, if he was ever going to thrive.

We bought this story hook, line and sinker, not to mention water bottle, bedding and food (ten-pound bag). We headed home with Snickers safely enclosed in a cardboard carrying case with handle ($3.99), and his habitat securely tied to the luggage rack of the car (twine $.99).

Official Twine of the National Hamstermen's Association

Official Twine of the National Hamstermen’s Association

After several hours of intense concentration (and some dazzling duct-tape wizardry), we plopped Snickers into his newly assembled habitat where he quickly began chewing his way out.

Occasionally, we would take Snickers out of his habitat and try to pet him while he ran full throttle over our hands, up our arms and down our legs.  Oh what fun we had with the little guy or gal!

Partay!!

Snickers Partay! Wooo-hoooo!

But little did we know then what tragic circumstances lay ahead for our beloved Snickers – a tragic circumstance by the name of Lucy, our dog.

We thought Lucy was a pretty nice dog until the day we discovered that underneath her sweetness-and-light exterior lurked the primitive brain of a hunter/killer.

Lucy, the manifestation of pure evil.

Her prey? Let’s just say Lucy enjoyed munching a Snickers now and then and I’m not referring to candy bars.

. . . gulp! . . .

I still blame myself for Snickers’ death, which is why I am relating this story in the hope that others will learn the lesson for which our precious Snickers gave his (or her) life.

And that lesson is this: Never leave a child who is holding a hamster alone in the same room with a dog who likes to eat them (hamsters, not children).

Or better yet, don’t leave the room at all, ever!   In this case, I was gone only seconds when I heard a terrible commotion followed by the bloodcurdling scream of a child and the rodent-like heart-wrenching squeak of . . . a rodent.

It seems the worst had happened. Left to the supervision of a child, Lucy and Snickers had gotten into a deadly altercation. I ran back to the room to find the child dazed and in shock, Lucy cowering in shame and Snickers resting in peace.

“Bury my heart at wounded knee, fellas!”

It took us awhile to recover from the incident. We had to read When Bad Things Happen to Good Hamsters twice before we had the heart to make another trip to the pet shop to pick out Snickers #2.

Update:

Ironically, Lucy has just returned home from the animal hospital after a close brush with death because of an acute case of pancreatitis.

The vet said Lucy would have to stick to a strict diet of chicken and rice. Anything else could kill her.

We can only hope Snickers #2 has the good sense to stay out of her way — for both their sakes.

Snickers #2. He tries harder.

Until next time . . . I love you

Precious Pet Stories

Precious Pet Stories

Oh Snitz!

Our beloved and precious Snitz was a vivacious goldfish with volumes of get up and go and a heart as big as all get out. Her high-spirited antics and fuzzy little carbonated smile would keep us all aglow through many a hard time.

That is why when our cat, Fritz, knocked over Snitz’s water and played with Snitz until she was just a limp little reminder of better days, we rushed right out and bought another goldfish.

And even though we have another vivacious goldfish with volumes of get up and go and a heart as big as all get out, we did learn a good lesson.

You really can’t tell one goldfish from another.

Snitz was one (or possibly 450,000) in a million!

A Skunk by Any Other Name

I named my pet skunk Trouble because I could smell him a mile away.

At first I thought it would be cool to name him Maltese in memory of my pet falcon. But then I thought there really wasn’t much similarity between my pet falcon and my pet skunk except they both came running when I called “here kitty, kitty.”

I’ll never forget the day I found Trouble in the park. There was something in his air and manner of walking . . . I knew he had to be mine. I quickly snatched him up and ran down the path and into the street where I was hit by a bus.

Not the exact bus that hit me but one god awful like it.

Trouble flew out of my arms and landed 5,280 feet away and that’s when I noticed that even though all my arms and legs were broken, I could still smell Trouble. So I guess my choice of names was right on!

Oh Danny Boy

I know it has been said that a hamster by any other name would be a rodent and there was a time when I would have agreed with that. That is until Danny saved my life. I was hiking in the Rockies at the time. Of course, I took Danny along because he was a hunting hamster with papers.

I had just sat down to catch my breath when I saw a coiled rattler only inches from Danny and me.

Then, in the blink of an eye, it was just the rattler and me. It seems a hawk had swooped down and got poor Danny. As I watched him dangle from the hawk’s powerful talons, I stood up to give Danny a farewell salute.

Just then the rattler bit me. And that’s when Danny . . . wait a minute . . . well, never mind about the part where I said Danny saved my life.

Thanks for nothin’ Danny.

Until next time . . . I love you

Say, Speaking of Licking Honey Off Pencils . . .

Hello Dear Readers.  Here’s what I did yesterday:

1)

I got up out of bed (I would have sprung up out of bed but that particular spring is on the fritz.)   Stumbled to the three C’s — Coffee, Computer, and Ceyboard.  Stared out the window for a while but didn’t see any UFO’s.    Wrote a post.

2)

Took my little dog/toupee, Cha, for a walk around the neighborhood while keeping a lookout for UFO’s.  Still didn’t see any.

my dog chauncey Linda Vernon Humor

Toupee in Training

3)

Went to the Spaghetti Factory for lunch with the family. After that we went to park across the street.  Didn’t see any UFO’s there either. (I think they’re deliberately avoiding me.)

4)

Went to a couple of thrift stores.  And that’s when I spotted the  UFO!    (Not really — just trying to drum up a little excitement.  Note to self:  get new drum.)

5)

But while I was there I did come across this “Cool and Collected” magazine:

CA home + design Magazine humorous commentary Linda Vernon Humor

It’s so cool and collected it doesn’t feel the need to tell you what it’s about.

Let’s see if we can glean what “ca HOME +DESIGN” is about by the hints on the cover shall we? 

Let’s see . . .  maybe it’s about a man who enjoys wearing a 1945 Movie Theater Usher’s uniform while relaxing in his trendy, cement home that also doubles as a  trendy nuclear fallout shelter and/or bank vault.

And it also looks like maybe 1945 Theater Usher Man put too much honey on his toast this morning and got honey all over his fingers and then reached into his pencil box and got honey all over his pencils too –getting everything hopelessly suck together and — at that exact moment– the photographers showed up to photograph 1945 Theater Usher Man’s trendy cement home.

Naturally he had no choice but to throw the whole sticky mess on the coffee table hoping to pass them off as “art”  which the photographers obviously fell for hook, line and sinker!

ca art design magazine humorous commentary

Oh that 1945 Theater Usher Man is such a stinker! A trendy, artistic stinker, but a stinker all the same.

And by the look on 1945 Theater Usher Man’s face, you can just tell he is eagerly anticipating licking the honey off those pencils the second the photographers leave.

ca home design magazine humorous commentary

“Mmmmmmm . . . honey . . . .”

1945 Theater Usher Man is also hiding his hands behind his back either because 1) he doesn’t want anyone to notice their covered with  honey or because 2) he’s hiding the fact that he’s honey-glued himself to the wall.

ca design home magazine humorous commentary Linda Vernon Humor

“La la la la la la la . . . no, I’m not stuck to the wall, why?”

Oh that 1945 Theater Usher Man may be a stinker, but he’s nobody’s fool!

Well I’m sure there a many more fun pages to discuss in this magazine, Dear Readers, but I have to go find my camera now. . . I think I just saw a UFO outside the window. Either that or I need to wash them.  Either way I bid you adieu.

Until next time . . . I love you

Buddy, The Main Dog and Lucy the Back Up Dog

The Main Dog and the Back up Dog

I remember once Dave Barry pointing out that most families have a main dog and a back up dog.  When my kids were growing up, we had just such a situation, their names were Buddy and Lucy.

Buddy

There was our main dog, Buddy, a Cocker Spaniel who we bought one afternoon after stopping by the pet shop “just to look.”    Buddy had been hard to sell because he was way too big to properly represent his breed in any kind of aesthetic way.  I think Buddy might have had the same condition as Clifford except Buddy wasn’t red.

drawing of a dog that might be a cocker spaniel or a poodle

Our Main Dog, Buddy (actual size much bigger)

Lucy

And then there was our back up dog, Lucy, whose parents were purported to be Cairn Terriers.  Lucy, however, grew up to resemble a miniature coffee table with bugged out eyes more than she resembled a Cairn Terrier. Lucy’s parents were ahem . . . how to put this . . . brother and sister.  We always referred to Lucy as our little Egyptian.

Lucy

Dog with carrying coffee cup, magazine and wearing Egyptian hat

Lucy walked like an Egyptian coffee table

If you were holding Lucy when you opened the front door to find, say, a Jehovah’s Witness or roofing salesmen, Lucy would wait until you were talking and then she’d stick her tongue inside your mouth and then back out again in one smooth, rapid-fire motionleaving you to wonder if you should acknowledge what just happened to the total stranger or if you should simply ignore it and hope it was quicker than a Jehovah’s Witness’s or Roof Salesman’s naked eye could detect.

Jehovah's witness shocked expression

“No I didn’t just see anything.”

Back to Buddy

Now Buddy was horribly sneaky, and horribly horrible at hiding his guilt.  Sometimes we would come home to find Buddy with this expression:

drawing of guilty looking cocker spaniel

Uh . . . there was a little accident while you were gone . . . heh heh . . .

which meant that while we were away, Buddy had binged on his favorite, decadent guilty pleasure, the garbage.

One day, we came home to find Buddy with “the look” lying next to an empty package of hot dogs which had previously been thawing on the kitchen counter.

It seems in our absence, Buddy had somehow managed to climb up on a stool   jump onto the counter,  grab the package of hot dogs then fall off the counter shattering his elbow all in one unsmooth, uncoordinated move. The hot dog package was empty however, — so, knowing Buddy, I’m sure shattering his elbow was well worth it.

We rushed Buddy to the vet and Buddy came home with his leg in a cast up to his armpit   The vet gave us strict instructions not to let him run for at least six full weeks.

Of course an hour later, in the joy of the homecoming — my daughter, Nikki, who was two — threw the tennis ball for him and Buddy raced across the back yard as fast as he could  to retrieved it for her (bless his heart!).  His leg finally healed but he always had a limp.

cocker spaniel with a cast retreiving a ball for

“Here’s your ball kid, ow!”

Buddy also had a strange quirk, when it came to my friend Laura. 

Whenever Laura came over, Buddy, who was normally house trained, would poop on the rug right in front of us.  One day, Buddy even went so far as to climb up on the dining room chair put his front two paws on the top of it and tip it over into the family room as we sat visiting then, of course, topped off his performance by pooping.

Another time, when Laura was over, Buddy somehow got into the refrigerator vegetable drawer and  pulled out a carrot that had a long green stem on it.  He brought it into the family room, where Laura and I were visiting and then, with carrot in mouth, topped of his performance by pooping.

Anyway, I think it’s fair to say that Buddy, the main dog, and Lucy, the back up dog, lived their entire lives as though they were auditioning to become the world’s weirdest circus dogs.  And oh how we loved them for it!

Until next time . . .I love you

“Quick! Get Clark and Hold Him Over the Toilet!”

When I was growing up, we always had lots of kitties living with us.  There was Taffy May and Buzzel and Merv — but the kitty that stands out the most in my mind is Clark.

Clark was the kitty my mother got my brothers and I to help ease the pain of the divorce.  We moved to a new town after that and took Clark with us.

Unfortunately, the only way we could have Clark in our new place was if we agreed to have him de-clawed.

For some reason, in 1965, landlords thought that one little kitty could destroy an entire property.

Thinking back,  it was a horrible thing to do to our beloved Clark, and I hope it is a practice that has long since been  abandoned.  For you see, Clark was never quite right in the head after that.

Clark had a chip on his shoulder and he liked to take it out on  bare legs. God help you if you walked by him in shorts, he would attack by jumping on your legs and sliding slowly down them like he was a fireman.

Clark also had a weak stomach.  Every couple of days or so, he would meow in a certain way just before loosing his lunch.  When we finally caught on to this idiosyncrasy of his and when we heard “the call” my mother would always yell for one of us to get Clark and hold him over the toilet.

This became a pretty regular routine.  One day my brothers got the genius  idea to impersonate Clark’s up-chuck distress call.

This proved to be great fun especially when our friends were over.  If things started getting dull or the conversation would lull, somebody would impersonate Clark’s up-chuck distress call and without missing a beat my mother would yell from the other room,  “Quick somebody get Clark and hold him over the toilet!”

At this point in time, we also had very old furniture and our couch had holes in it.  My mother was always sewing them up to prevent someone from falling through.

One day my mother couldn’t find her reading glasses and surmised that they must have fallen off while she was sewing up the couch.

So here we all were – a room full of teenagers — watching TV.  In walks my mother with a pair of scissors and asks one of the boys to scoot over a little, he complies whereupon my mother cuts a hole in the couch, reaches in, pulls out her reading glasses, puts them on and leaves the room without saying a word.

Five minutes later someone gave the, by now, infamous up-chuck distress call to which my wonderful mother responded in true Pavlovian fashion by yelling from the other room,

“Quick, somebody get Clark and hold him over the toilet! “

Ah! Those were the days!

Until next time . . . I love you

The Taffy May Incident

My Beloved Puffy Tuft of Fluff

My Dog Cha

My dog Chauncey (Cha for short) is a good dog.  Oh she’s no Lassie, but  everywhere I go she goes.  Everywhere I sit she sits.  Everything I eat she eats.

Sometimes when I’m eating steak, she’ll  sit on the back of the couch and rest her head on my shoulder pretending she’s one of my heads — hoping I’ll forget which mouth to put the food into. She actually thinks I won’t notice.  Silly dog!  It never works . . . OK, it hardly ever works.

Cha pretending to be one of my heads.

My dog, Cha, isn’t Lassie, but she is nine pounds of fur, eat and bark.  She’s crabby to just about everyone.  Especially sweet little children who try to pet her.  She’s been known to bark a pit bull into submission — as far as she thinks anyway. And she can eat virtually anything in three bites or less.

A psychic would quickly realize that Cha has an odor where her aura ought to be. It boggles the mind to think about how many  calories it must take for her to generate that kind of a cloud.

"Hey, is that Chauncey's aura I'm smelling?"

If you haven’t guessed already,Dear Reader, this is my constructive way of saying that Cha stinks in spades.  Not her breath so much.  I’d have to say she’s more of a full-body odor wafter who radiates from a soul level – in that her whole being stinks, not just one part.

You can shampoo Cha till the cows come home (they never do by the way)  and when she’s all washed and all dried and all puffy like a tuft of fluff – well, that’s the best time to put your nose close in – but you have to be careful–  the first three-quarters of the whiff is going to be fine and dandy –but the last one-quarter of the whiff is going to be pure PU.

"Are we home yet?"
"No."
"Well when are we gonna get there?"
"Never."

Now, even though Cha has never done anything Lassie-ish – like calling attention to a house being on fire or calling attention to a blind person being on fire — she did once keep barking until I filled her food bowl.

And did I mention that when I walk she walks, when I sit she sits, when I stay she stays?  I did?  Well, did I also mention my dog, Cha, could double as a toupee?

Toupee of Cha

And that alone makes her better than Lassie . . . in my humble opinion.

Until next time . . . I love you

My Retired Race Horse Sedentariat

From time to time I complain on this blog about the horrible tragedy of my childhood regarding my never having been successful at talking my parents into buying me a horse.

Well, Dear Reader, I am happy to report that this tragedy was finally remedied when I got my first horse at age 50.  Better late than never I always say.

Meet Joey!  My retired racehorse whom I often refer to as Sedentariat:

Ok, this isn’t Joey, it’s my son-in-law, Matt, but I saw it while I was looking for a picture of Joey and just had to post it!  Shhh . . . don’t tell him.

Anyway, here’s the real Joey:

Joey, aka Sedentariat

So yesterday,I went out to the stables where Joey lives to spend a relaxing afternoon with my beloved steed.

First, I pulled Joey away from eating alfalfa, took him out of his stall and tied him up at the tie rail.  Now since it’s been raining, his stall had three deep puddles which I had to bail the water out of using a dustpan (the only thing I could find).

Then since all the open spaces were occupied with other horses and riders, I had to turn him out in a round pen at the top of a big steep hill.

So I trudged up the hill, put Joey in the pen, trudged back down the hill, bailed more water out of his stall, shoveled out a trench outside his stall so the water in the stall would drain better, trudged back up to the top of the hill, got Joey, trudged back down the hill, washed and treated his legs (he has a weird skin condition on his legs that I’m always slathering the latest “cure” on) –then dissolved his antibiotics in some water (for the leg condition), hid the liquified antibiotics in his alfalfa (when he wasn’t looking), bailed more water out of his stall, schlepped in a big bail of shavings, covered his stall floor with shavings, walked him around and let him eat grass while the “slather” on his legs dried, put his blanket on him and, finally – a mere three hours later, returned him to a nice clean, fresh, dry stall where he resumed eating alfalfa.

And there you have it, Dear Readers, my childhood dream come true!

Until next time . . . I love you

The Taffy May Incident

Hello Dear Readers.  Is it Lazy Friday Rerun Blog Day already?  OK!  Who am I to argue with the calendar!  (except I do think a week should have 8 days and 3 of them should be a three-day weekend -  but apparently my calendar wouldn’t give me the time of day.)  Here’s today’s rerun:

Taffy May I Hardly Knew Ye

When I was a little girl, the pot of gold at the end of my rainbow was a horse.

I had no preference as to style, make or model.  If it had four legs and knew how to gallop, I’d take it!  We lived in a small town smack dab in the middle of an ocean of wheat, so there were lots of girls who had horses and rode them everywhere.  It would rip my heart out to see a gaggle of girls atop their sterling steeds clip clopping all over town.

“Clip clop clip clop clip clop clip . . . etc.”

I really only voiced the question of my getting a horse to my parents a couple of times, knowing full well that the answer would be no, and, as a matter of pride,  I’d ultimately have to run away from home or –at the very least — stage a runaway as in the following true scenario:

“Look at this Janey,” my father remarked to my mother, “I found Linda’s yellow shorty pajamas in this little 45-record case in the bushes just outside her window when I was mowing the lawn.”

Oh I was going to run away alright . . . eventually.

Ok, fine . . . if I wasn’t going to get a horse, at least I could try for a kitten.  This is how I went about it: 

Step 1:  Convince my parents that I was head over heals in love with cats.  To accomplish this,  I colored umpteen pictures of kittens and scotch taped them to my circa 1959 pink wall.

Step 2:  Wasn’t even needed because Step 1 worked like a charm.  Next thing I knew I was picking out my very own gray, long-haired kitten from a batch of five.

In my excitement, I failed to notice that this particular kitten had issues.  It suffered from the world’s lowest kitty IQ.   Maybe that’s why the name I chose, Taffy May, seemed to fit her so well.

Taffy May was the perfect cat for a little girl to bond with.  Being nearly brain-dead, she allowed me to pick her up and carry her around without protest. 

She slept with me all night under the covers which I thought was because she loved me so –  but more likely she just couldn’t figure a way out.

Taffy May had one batch of kittens – if three can be considered a batch.  But being the little dummy that she was, she managed to lie on all three of them during the night and  in the morning the only one left breathing was my beloved, Taffy May.

Perhaps it was Karma (I know there was a car involved) the day Taffy May shuffled off this mortal world.

I was on my way home from school without a care in the world.  When I rounded the corner, there stood our across-the-street neighbor, Mr. Huey, holding a lifeless Taffy May up by the tail.

I don’t know how many times Taffy May had been run over, but judging from the fact that she was literally as flat as a pancake, it would be safe to assume more than once. 

I screamed and ran into the house where I was inconsolable well into the night.  I never got another cat of my very own, out of respect for Taffy May, who will always have a place in my heart . . . about two feet wide and one and one-half inches deep.

Until next time . . . I love you

Signs You’ve Been Spending Too Much Time With Your Dog

How to Tell if You Are Spending Too Much Time with Your Dog

You find yourself rolling over three times before eating a cookie.

The only place you really feel comfortable anymore is in somebody’s lap.

You watch the Discovery Channel for the bones

You refuse to eat any vegetable that doesn’t squeak.

 If you sit; you stay.

 You cruise the park for squirrels more often than you would care to admit.

 You’ve given up knitting for gnawing.

 You often howl inappropriately.

You hate yourself for sucking up to the butcher, but you can’t stop.

 You take a perverse pleasure in the movie The Postman Always Rings Twice.

 You’re a closet cat chaser.

 Your garbage is starting to smell rather appealing.

 Your new website is called: Tennis Balls! Tennis Balls!  Tennis Balls!  Tennis Balls! Tennis Balls! Tennis Balls! Tennis Balls.com

Until next time . . . I love you

Clip Clopping Down Memory Lane

In Third Grade, Nothing Worth Mentioning Had Been Invented Yet

Today I had to google how to get the number “6″ from appearing when pushing the letter “o” key on my Zagg/mate keypad for my Ipad.

Now this got me to thinking.  If my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Buoy, would have read the above sentence to us back in 1962, I would have thought she was speaking to us in another language. (If I would have been listening, that is.)

Turns Out Mrs. Buoy Was Not Full of Hooey

I guess I thought of Mrs. Buoy (whom I loved like a grandmother) because she was definitely a person ahead of her time. I’ll never forget her saying that most of us would  be working in careers some day that hadn’t even been invented yet.  And she was right!  Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing I can remember about third grade. Aside from the fact that I loved Mrs. Buoy.

That’s because third-grade was the year I became a Horseback Riding Junky.

My Spiral into Addiction

It all began innocently enough with an overnight stay at Ann Payne’s house where I experienced my first ride on a horse named Sweetie.  One time around the pasture and I was hooked. From that moment forward, I HAD to have a horse of my own, even if I had to beg borrow or steal. (In the end I chose the latter, but more on that in a minute.)

Anyway, after that my life was reduced to a series of horse-related activities including drawing horses, dreaming of horses, staring at horses and being jealous of kids who had horses.

This is a perfect example of the horses I drew in third grade. I say perfect example because, as you can see,  I don’t draw any better now than I did in third grade.

Festering Pestering

I began my quest to get a horse by suggesting to my parents that perhaps they should buy me one.  When that fell on deaf ears, I stepped it up to logical reasoning, followed by persistent pleading; until finally I was reduced to relentless begging.

Then, a Possible Breakthrough!

One evening, I thought I had my mother convinced.  I was begging for a horse, as usual, when she finally said, “Why don’t you go to bed, and we’ll talk about it tomorrow!

TALK ABOUT IT TOMORROW!! I couldn’t believe my ears!   Suddenly, I had gone from no chance at all to a legitimate snowball’s chance in hell. I was elated, and I went to bed that night dreaming of a 35-year-old nag named, Prince, who was for sale for fifty bucks.

A Bitter Setback

Sadly, the next day, when I found out that I merely was “over hoping,”  I packed my yellow shortie pajamas into a 45-record record case and threw it out the window in a short-lived plan to runaway from home. (I forgot about it until the following summer when my Dad found it in the bushes beneath my window while he was mowing the lawn.)

A Happy – Even Though It Took Long Enough! – Ending

Nevertheless, I am happy to report that my dream of horse ownership finally did come true! I finally got my horse!  Oh sure, it took from third grade until I was 50. But better late than never I always say.

Joey a.k.a. Sedintariat

And a beautiful treasure he is too!

Until next time . . . I love you