Wild Life Of A Little Monster

Others are scared of me because of all the fun I have. Considered a vigilante by my Eponine.

It's All Greek To Me

My Eponine once clearly told me she did not want her blog to be political. That said, please know this post is not intended to be political but a reflection of my history.

My grandparents never learned English. They only spoke Spanish. As a kid, I was thrilled when I heard them say English words like taco, enchilada or margarita. I also was amazed that their little dog, Freddie, understood Spanish commands and English. I remember lying on the floor and getting on an eye-to-eye level with him, totally quizzing him to see if he really could understand English. I would get all excited and tell my mom that he could understand English.

I also remember showing off and singing my school songs. Like "My Country Tis Of Thee" and the U.S. National Anthem. My grandparents did sing along with me. In Spanish. This was in the early '70s.

My grandparents were born in the U.S., had U.S. passports and paid U.S. taxes. They never had "good" jobs, but they always worked. They also proudly waved a U.S. flag. I'm not certain when or who immigrated. Which ancestors. But at some point it did likely occur. I also don't know if it was done legally. Our family tree doesn't have too many roots. Just limbs.

My mom has an accent. In junior high and high school I had friends that would mimic her. In a loving way. They weren't being rude. However, she has endured name calling and stereotypes. But, she has always worked, raised kids, attended and participated in church, paid taxes, and always has voted. She's never learned to drive though, and has never had a state-issued ID.

Now, at almost 80, she may no longer be able to vote because of a lack of an ID. The name on her birth certificate of course is not the same as her married name. Can't seem to find the marriage license, but we are working to find the divorce decree from the early 1970s to show that she was in fact married and that her name really is her name. She's only had it for the last five or so decades.

I'm not for folks "illegally" entering the U.S. Now, learning the English language requirement I find a little hyocritical. I know way too many Americans who, um, can barely speak English. Sometimes it's almost impossible to understand some of these folks. There are times I'm not even certain I understand our president when he is speaking in "English." I think to myself, "What did he say?"

Occasionally I feel guilty being such an Oklahoma State fan while living in Missouri. I think that someone might say, "if you love it so much, why don't you live there?" I do love my home state, but fully have no desire to live there. My heritage is mine, though, and OSU stuff is proudly donned in front, around, and inside my Missouri home. It's on my car too. And, although I've lived here for almost 17 years, I still haven't learned to speak correctly. I don't say Masoura. It's Missouri to me. Hope they'll let me stay.

These are interesting times we are living in. Every generation likely has said that. It'll be fascinating to see how history will record these times. One thing for sure, I'm glad the cat blogging community can include a Cowboy, who still loves and misses his Eponine.

May Sweeps

The teasers during the commercial breaks regarding the upcoming investigative, exclusive, undercover, only on (name the station) and on and on only can mean one thing, the next ratings period is just around the corner. Please post the most bizarre "news" story that airs on your local station. Usually the feeling is we should be fully paranoid and never leave our homes. Just stay home watching the news. Just what they want.

The actual birth date was a week earlier, but this past Saturday was the celebration for MegMacB. All had a wonderful, rocking good time.

Blown Away

Tornado sirens were sounded last night in Oklahoma City. A few people in my group were attending from D.C. and other places east, making their first trips to Oklahoma. They certainly were welcomed by their first tornado experience. It also sure made me feel at home. Although I grew up somewhat accustomed to possible threatening weather, it is still unsettling when the sirens first start to blare.

About 1 a.m. Tuesday morning the hotel alarm sounded. At first I thought it was weather related, but then heard a recorded message indicating "a fire has been detected in the building..." Wasn't certain if I should quickly evacuate in my OSU boxers or put on something else. Also debated on if I should grab the laptop and other items. I stood at the closet door studying my clothes trying to decide the most suitable fire escape attire and then heard the alarm stop.

The State FFA Convention was taking place in OKC. The hotel was full of high schoolers clad in blue coats. Evidently one of those students decided to hang a blue coat from the fire sprinkler thingie. Reportedly, there was water coming out of the room and on most of that floor. That caused the alarm to sound.

Somehow still got up at 6:20 and at meetings by 8. Exhausted tonight, though.

I Yippee Yi OK

In Oklahoma for meetings. Much is being discussed and determined. Head back to Kansas City, Missouri on Tuesday. Was excited that work actually brought me to my home state instead of some other part of our great country.

Staying in downtown Oklahoma City. Only a few blocks from the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Just last week a memorial took place to recall that tragic attack already 12 years ago.

Like many American downtowns, OKC is experiencing a boom. Read recently that OKC is one of the top resurging downtowns. I bet if a person was to decide to get married when young and then decide never to fall in love and marry again as long as they live, they likely (hypothetically) would get married in downtown OKC and then likely would have a reception in a downtown hotel. Probably even across the street from where I am staying now. You never know!

At a dinner tonight at a home that once was a home for Oklahoma governors and now is the home of a lady with political ambitions, I sat next to a very nice lady from Little Rock, Arkansas. It didn't take long before she was telling me about her two-year-old cat. I was very proud that I could share the story of my little monster while staying "with it." I also learned her dad's mom is likely the sibling to Sexy Lady's grandpa. Crazy, small world we live in.

Oh, and I don't think Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote it like the natives sing it.

Every Night As I Dream

Going on vacation never hurts anyone. Sometimes it can be as simple as just staying in a local hotel, going away to visit a family member or friend, or a weekend getaway to a camp site or national park. Elaborate and expensive vacations can be fun too. But while on vacation I always start worrying about how hard I am going to have to work in order to pay for it all.

Recently discovered that the folks of Cunard announced in February 2006 the unleashing of new amenities for pampered pets as well as for the humans that love these pets.

A few of the perks on the Queen Mary 2 include fresh-baked biscuits at turn-down; a choice of beds and blankets; and even a QM2-logoed coat. Here I thought that robe at that hotel in D.C. was plush. I can just picture my Eppy lounging in the sun on the deck in a QM2-coat!

Traveling dogs and cats receive a complimentary gift pack featuring the QM2-logoed coat, Frisbee, name tag, food dish and scoop; a complimentary portrait with the pet's beans; a crossing certificate and personalized cruise card. Still want more perks? They also offer extra comfortable pet beds in two sizes, healthy gourmet cookies for dogs and cats baked fresh daily, fleece blankets, an assortment of dog and cat toys, cat posts and scratchers, and a selection of premium pet foods from top brands.

Sounds like a jolly-good time!

It Is Better

Also in the April 18 issue of The Star is a letter to the editor from Nancy and Justin Lamar. The couple lives in Olathe, a suburb on the Kansas side of the metro area.

In the letter that The Star titled "A little love saved dog," Justin details how he and his wife four years ago met a little dog they named Ruby. His wife rescued the dog from Animal Haven. Ruby weighed three pounds when they brought her home and nursed her to health. He writes that they "saw her feisty and affectionate personality emerge ... Ruby has enjoyed her life with us. She is the sweetest, cutest and bossiest little dog!"

Sadly, he also writes that now Ruby is failing in health and that her age is catching up to her. He thanks God she came into their lives.

On Easter Sunday I did take a moment to visit my Eponine's grave. It warmed my heart to see many other people there visiting cherished friends and remembering good times.


This same week in 1996, according to The Kansas City Star, gasoline prices in this area reached a five-year high by averaging $1.17 for a gallon of unleaded.

Monday night every station I passed on my 23-mile commute was at $2.59. This morning they each were at $2.73.

That 100-mile-per-galloon scooter is looking more and more attractive!

Raucousness And Revelry

MegMacB & The BoyzWith The Boyz again visiting, I recalled I never posted a few pics from their first overnight to Cowboy's. From the pics, I think you'll note good times were had.

This past Wednesday morning they proceeded to do some major digging. They mostly dug around in fresh dirt I had put out to fill holes and in other places during my recent yard/lawn effort. I determined the only option I had was to take a bowl of water out on the deck in order to dip each foot. They seemed to not know what to think as I sloshed each paw around a few times before drying it off and then finally letting them dash into the house.
Ready to come inside
Random games of tag are obvious when they are in the yard. It's a blast to watch. I want to point out that I have pin oak trees, which keep their leaves through the winter and shed them in the spring. Thus, all the leaves. As a matter of fact, these are the leaves that Daphne and I raked up just a week or so again and led to the poison yucks outbreak.

This visit has been marked by unseasonably warm weather in Kansas City. Both Thursday and Friday it was near 90 or above. The Boyz don't seem bothered by the higher temperatures, but I still worry about them. We've been sitting outside on the deck for dinner. They also eat more if I stay with them.
George and Stanley
George and StanleyGeorge and StanleyToday I discovered that George loves water from the hose. He jumps and does all he can to "catch" the flow of the water. It is hysterical. Stan prefers to run from the water. George also likes to completely cover himself when sleeping. I swear, he holds his little blanket up, backs into it and then pulls it over his head. Now, I do worry a little because his little knee evidently is bothering him. I see him limping. I hope he's OK.

Overall, they are two really good guys. I'd even go as far to say they are gentlemen. They don't argue when I ask them to go into their little kennels, they are very loving and appreciative, and they are good companions. It's clearly evident why Meg loves them so much. They might be beggers and treat whores, but nonetheless good guys.

The Artist, Wife, O & M showed up today on their way to Moberly, Missouri to visit the Wife's family for Easter. The girls (O is 5, M is 2-and-a-half) fell in love with The Boyz. I even heard O say she wished she could be a Boston Terrier. At first she said she liked George best, but later said Stan was her favorite because he's cuter. Being her fave likely is a pretty stiff competition.

Stan's a licker. O & M's little girl faces are just exactly at the right level for maximum licking. The girls laugh and try to escape the ravage, 20-foot long Stan tongue. O & M also think it's fun being treat presenters. But they can't seem to get the "sit" command out quick enough before being tackled.

Saturday night MegMacB arrives home from New York City. We'll be helping her celebrate her actual birthday. By the way, here's to hoping you've got your taxes done. Officially, filings are due Monday.

Living Will

I don't think Eponine or I have ever posted a forwarded e-mail joke, but for whatever reason this one cracked me up enough that I couldn't resist throwing it up here. Hope you enjoy.
Last night, my wife and I were sitting in the living room and I said to her, "I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

She got up, unplugged the TV and then threw my beer into the trash."

Old One

Do you have Cold Stone ice cream places where you live? They've got some pretty good stuff. My favorite is cinnamon malts or a coffee ice cream malt. Mmm Mmm!

Funny thing, passed a Cold Stone once and the C and the ST of the sign of this particular store was not lit. It made for a very interesting sign.

Speaking of celebrating another turn of the calendar, on Saturday MegMacB celebrates turning 29. She's taking off for a weekend in New York City. Good times are guaranteed. Her excursion also means "The Boyz" are back! That's right, George and Stanley are staying with Uncle Cowboy the next few days. Thank goodness I had help Monday cleaning up limbs, leaves and other potentially poisonous items in the back yard. Wouldn't want them running through stuff and then coming in to infect me.

Sexy Lady forwarded an e-mail with an announcement that Cold Stone just launched a new Birthday Club. A Birthday Club member receives a free ice cream creation on their birthday. Yes, it requires registration and most likely direct marketing, but we're talking about free Cold Stone! Go to www.coldstonecreamery.com/birthday.

Keep In Touch

Called my sister in Santa Fe the weekend of the Final Four NCAA basketball games. She's not a big follower of college basketball, so I wanted to bring to her attention Coach Larranaga of George Mason University. His last name is not too common and is the same as my sister's.

While talking with sis, I mentioned I was Phoenix bound. She then reminded me that we have a cousin in Phoenix. A cousin I haven't seen or talked to in more than 20 years. The last time I clearly remember seeing him I was maybe in 8th or 9th grade and he was headed to college. He lived in El Paso and was headed to Minnesota for undergrad and eventually med school. He divided his trip with a stopover with my family in northeastern Oklahoma.

Some expert google searching led me right to a phone number for Cousin Charlie. Although we didn't get to see each other face-to-face, we did have a nice long phone conversation and got caught up on many happenings. He just celebrated his 46th birthday, is a doctor, has three kids and one on the way with a new wife, and seems generally happy. After his mother's death several years back, he says he has a new and different relationship with his father. He also reported his 14-year-old regularly states "you're ruining my life, Dad." I bet he's doing a super job rearing her.

I am glad he and I took the opportunity to get to know each other. I think we discovered that we have more in common than our abuelita and moms that are sisters. Of course, we made promises to not be a stranger.

Are you familiar with the "Six Degrees of Separation" theory? After visiting with my cousin I pondered this theory and wondered if "blogging" connects us even more. Is my cousin a physician to your niece? Is my sister in Santa Fe teaching your pre-K child? Is my sister in North Carolina your best friend? Are you a letter carrier taking my Easter Card to my mother? You never know!

Another reminder! If you have or even if you haven't, you must visit Caturday for wonderful pictures of Ramona and Harper. You truly are missing out if you don't go to see them.

Warm, Hot, Hotter, Even Hotter

Just completed my first trip to Phoenix. At least my first trip that included leaving the airport. It was for work. I would have liked to have made a weekend of it, but knew I needed to get back home. The at-home tasks are piling up. Partly because of procrastination.

At first I wasn't certain why anyone would want to live here. It is so barren and hot, and when I asked anyone what there was to do there the first and only response always was "golf." While driving back to the airport and sitting in what I've learned is common, long traffic stalls on 10, 101 or any other area highway, I decided I want to go back. There's much to experience that is not just about playing golf in the sun. I look forward to another trip.

Took the picture above on the camera phone from the car of the "Camelback Mountain." I'd return just to hike this creature. It's so dry there, I'm sure there's no poison stuff to be found anywhere.

By the way, not healing much at all. New rash outbreaks appearing daily. I was so loaded on Benadryl and other stuff on Saturday I could barely stay awake. Plus, while in Phoenix I couldn't sleep. The nonswitch to DST I think left my system totally off kilter.

Also want to mention that in the gift shop of the Scottsdale Plaza I picked up two great Cowboy metal figures. A larger, slim, very fun guy that holds a votive. I am going to give this to JMc for her April 15th birthday. And then a smaller one for a tealight. I'm going to put him in my home office.

More later ...

An Inspiration

Although I still get much anxiety each time I think I'm getting close to being picked and having a new monster move in, Zuleme over at Caturday is tackling her fears head on. I am so proud of her. Take a moment to visit her site. You'll see her very first picture of Harper. She didn't stop with him either. She also welcomed Ramona!

Having never met her, how is that I know that I know her? The Zuleme I know is caring, passionate, loving, incredible, driven, motivated, sometimes sad, often happy, and a very wonderful soul. I am proud to know her.

Fergus loved her. She loved Fergus. Their love has brought Ramona and Harper to Zuleme. It's very exciting. An inspiration!

Signs Of Spring

You name it, I'm allergic to it. At least that's true when it comes to poison stuff, grasses, pollens, trees. Luckily, when I got the allergy test done years ago I did not show up allergic to cats.

Beyond the fence in my backyard is a wooded area. Just from raking
leaves and trimming trees along the fence line I am now breaking out. Poison rash bumps galore. Here's a picture of a bump on my index Poison rash bumpfinger. I've sprayed to kill all and know what poison ivy looks like. But the neighbor dude says there's poison sumac and oak. I'll never be normal again, I'm sure. Just itching and scratching like mad.

Oh, by the way, I just got a new camera phone.

Little Man's Celebration

Little Man at an OSU v. Texas Tech, February 2005VMc and Ronda celebrated Little Man's birthday on April 4. He's like in the tenth percentile on growth charts and has been walking since about month seven. He looks like a little man taking on all the world has to offer.

Cowboys were celebrating much just before he was born. Our team had just beat the No. 3 and No. 1 seeds in the East Regional and was headed to San Antonio for the Final Four.

Although OSU has had its share of success, we still sometimes feel like "George Mason" at the party. Welcomed, but not really supposed to be there. But with only three losses, we were kind of favored. The semi-final loss in the last second to Georgia Tech left us shocked.

It was a fun ride! And two days later, Little Man arrived. Being born on 04-04-04 when the Cowboys went to the Final Four is a story we will tell for a long time. This picture is at 10 months, February 2005, at one of his first OSU basketball games in Stillwater.

It was about 3:30 a.m. on April 4, 2005 when the step monster called to say my father passed away. It wasn't a shock. He had been ill and in the hospital. Still, I ended up spending the next few hours lying there, staring at the ceiling, thinking, pondering, getting older. By 8 a.m. I was on the road to Tulsa to go to the funeral home. That night, I was in Norman celebrating Little Man's first birthday. Experiencing death and celebrating life all in one day.

Dad had long told me and clearly instructed us that his wishes were to have no visitation, no funeral, no flowers, no attention, no obit, no memorials, no expenses. It almost made sense. When the time came, it was awkward, a little selfish on his part, but still his wishes. It also made it so that there wasn't much to do.

Can't go wrong with orange flowers!I thought it would be simple going back to work and "moving on." But getting back to the day-to-day routine so quickly actually made things tougher. The hug and comfort I needed came in an arrangement of orange flowers from MegMacB delivered to work and a security guard asking if I was going to be OK. If you look closely in the pic, in the bottom right corner is the reflection of Eponine's white water bowl.

Dad and I weren't necessarily "close," but we got along and admired each other. I still miss him. Nothing at all like I miss my Eppy, strangely enough, but I miss him nonetheless.

Life goes on and now the Little Man is two!

Crime And Punishment

Pleased to announce that the Kansas legislature passed a bill making "egregious acts of animal cruelty" a felony. The bill has been sent to Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius for her signature.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, Kansas was in a class of nine states that has not provided police and prosecutors with an option to use felony level penalties for the most egregious acts of intentional animal cruelty. Those other states are Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah.

Be clear that I live in Missouri, not Kansas. Our metro area is on both sides of the state line (there's actually two, a Kansas City in Missouri and a Kansas City in Kansas, but the "city" generally is Missouri). In 1990 I worked in a Kansas City suburb in Kansas, which is where my Eponine was when she picked me. Thus, she was probably a Kansan by birth. This legislation likely would have been an important issue to her. She was a political cat. Much more conservative than me, though.

The bill is nicknamed "Scruffy's Law" and had gone nowhere for years. But the recent very sad loss of Magnum renewed interest in the legislation.

There was debate on the matter, with approval not guaranteed. Check out dogsinthenews.com for a story earlier this month and a picture of the "good guy" championing the matter. Maybe a pic of Gov. Sebelius will be added soon.

Naps, Tasks And Treats

Spent the last few days with Daphne. She arrived Thursday and left Sunday. I'm thinking I could seriously make dog sitting a job. Or even cat watching. Wouldn't that be sweet?

It still amazes me how Daphne loves to sleep under the blankets. My Eppy barely could stand to be covered even temporarily. This Daphne burrows her way under the blanket and then curls up to sleep. It is very sweet. When the alarm sounds, she peeks out to see if I'm getting up or hitting the snooze button. After doing the latter a few times, she gives up and launches from the bed for a gallup to the back door. When it's time to take care of business, it's time! No question about it.

Saturday she helped me rake, prune trees, talk to the very young Kurdish neighbor kids (who haven't learned English) as well as the older, retired neighbor on the other side (who claims to know English), plant items, and pull weeds. I actually think she got tired of being outside. She did spend some time barking at passing dogs and jumping through piles of leaves.

Today she made a mad dash out the garage door, across the street and into other yards. After a bare-footed mad dash after her, I cornered her in one yard and then a very stern "stay" was obeyed believe it or not. Once returning home, I discovered she likes the Pounce treats. Can you believe those Pounce treats are still OK after almost four months?

Haven't finished painting the dining room. I'll be sure to post a picture. Hope it's not too disastrous.