Wild Life Of A Little Monster

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

Two Weeks Before

I'm the sixth of seven kids. When Mom would put on the kitchen wall a new calendar each year, it included all our birthdays. Mine was always so far away. It didn't matter that my day was just celebrated as the prior year ended. On a new calendar, it was 12 months away. That wasn't fair.

My friend Toby's birthday is Oct. 30. We met when he was 16 at our Oklahoma State 4-H Conference. Two weeks later, we spent 10 days together with other 4-H'ers in Washington, D.C. He became my brother. College, life, issues, women came between us. We lost contact as we finished school. He passed away in 1991.

Few things in life are certain. There are no guarantees. During times of the year like now, one thing guaranteed is there will be negative, mean-spirited, scary and confusing political television ads.

Toby and I both loved OSU and we both enjoyed football. I wish he could have had the opportunity to see our Cowboys beat OU just one time. Or maybe a win over Nebraska. Die-hard OSU Cowboys fans know that our football team historically is "fairly competitive." Winning the "big ones," though, is not likely. In the late '80s, we had back-to-back years with 10-2 records. We weren't able to beat OU and Nebraska. Got close a few times.

Oct. 28, 2006, my Cowboys beat Nebraksa. After falling behind 16-0, it looked like a typical OSU performance. We had a 20-point outburst in the second quarter, but we were still behind by six at halftime. We didn't score again until the fourth quarter, which produced 21 points for us. Final score 41-29. Go Pokes!

We beat the Cornhuskers in 1961 and then went winless until 2002. My entire life to date I had not seen us beat Nebraska until 2002. To win again now is really exciting.

Happy birthday to Amy, celebrating on Oct. 31. My mother celebrates her birthday on that day too! I'm all ready to celebrate in their honor. I think millions of children across the country also are ready. Buckets of candy and toys are waiting by my door, including a bukcet of dog treats just in case a pooch wags on by too.

Six weeks from Oct. 30 is my birthday. Then, two weeks after my birthday is Christmas. Put it all together and it means that the day before Halloween is eight weeks until Christmas. Just a silly thing I figured out when staring at a kitchen calendar years ago.

May The Circle

Remembering My Little Monster Eponine's gravemarker arrived. I saw it for the first time Oct. 28. It's perfect. I'm still amazed that I can be buried right there with her someday. The nieces and nephews likely will love taking their grandkids by the pet memorial gardens to leave Memorial Day flowers on their Uncle Cowboy's grave. Eponine's too!

Move That Bus!

Flowers and a GnomeHave been trying to stay motivated to get things done about the home. At times, I am certain a complete demolition is necessary. Starting over from scratch might be a good thing. Other times, progress clearly is evident and it feels like my castle. Trying to do it on my own also is a challenge. Sure wish some of those "Makeover" designer and crew folks would stop by on their next KC trip to offer some tips.

The pic above is a planter box MMcB gave me a few years ago. It's been fun trying to keep flowers blooming and preventing squirrels from digging. It's nothing like Edsel's backyard or the lawns and gardens I see on other blogs, but it is an effort. Please disregard the bald lawn spots just on the top end of the pic.

Formerly, the planter box had a lovely Travelocity gnome next to it. BET, now BETC, gave me that gnome as a birthday gift. Over the summer, I saw a spider on the porch and quickly grabbed the gnome as my tool to smash the spider to smithereens. The gnome broke right off from his base (seen on the right side of pic). The spider escaped.

Park bench from George and StanleyMMcB's Boyz, George and Stanley, gave me the bench pictured here. It was a thank you for taking care of them recently. Those two are so appreciative. And I love the bench.

I have to admit, it took forever long for me to assemble. I had it in the downstairs room and quite literally produced enough sweat to water the plants for a year. I don't know how those Makeover folks get all that they get done within seven days. It takes me three to four months just to accomplish the simplest of home projects.

As a matter of fact, I am proud to report that I got the light fixture in the dining room and in the entry way replaced. Yanked down the old ones and got up the new ones. All on my own. I only got shocked once. (Note: Always switch off the fuse first.)

Started this task in April. Hey! Don't criticize. I did stain the deck, mow the law a million times, and finish a heckuva lot of other things in the meantime. Eventually, I'll get the rest of the dining room painted.

With the light fixture, I couldn't decide for the longest time which light fixture I wanted. Bought two. Finally decided which one to keep, returned the other and was able to purchase the entry way light fixture. They both look sweet!

It is not really hung diagonally, by the way. At an angle it fit better into the frame of the cell phone camera. I should take a current pic. It now has Halloween ghosts and skeletons hanging from it.

Wish you could see these mums now. They are blooming so big. The pot almost is overwhelmed by the flowers. I love it. Plus, the mums appear to be very orange. That makes them extra fantastic.

MMcB was the bearer of the mums. Her expression of gratitude for inviting her Boyz over to stay while she was away a few weeks ago. It is me who is the lucky one.

Got the vampires, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins, ghosts, Frankensteins and witches all out now. Still hoping to find time to put out the luminaries. Fall is such a great time of year in Kansas City. I have a good time turning on the porch light and having the best treats on the block. Halloween also is my mother's birthday.

That's all the makeovers for now. More to come.

Happy Days

When without power for days on end or when snowed in for several days, do you know what likely is the result? Everyone starts thinking that they gotta get'em some ...... babies! (If I recall correctly, that's kind of from a Toby Keith song from several years ago.)

Seriously, just a shout out to the folks in Hawaii dealing with the recent earthquake and the folks in and around Buffalo, New York who were inundated with two feet of snow. I hope all are safe and fine. I look forward to reading your blogs and learning about all your happy days and new babies.

Bright Shines Your Name

Pistol Pete waves to the fight song after a touchdown against KUAfter the trip to Houston and watching my Cowboys allow the bad guys to run up 30-plus points against us, I left that game wondering if the Pokes could even come close to winning one game against Big 12 Conference foes. I was fearful as I imagined what Texas and OU would do to us.

Made the 30-mile or so trek across the state line to Lawrence, Kansas yesterday. My OSU Cowboys took on those red and blue KU Jayhawks. According to the odds makers, we were the underdogs. After the loss the week prior to K-State (we allowed 10 points against us like in the last four minutes of the game to lose), I was halfway dreading the game.

It was a fantastic fall day. Temperature near 60 degrees, sun beaming, a few clouds, leaves changing. Plus, the KU campus is picturesque. The stadium is weirdly quiet, though. OSU brought its entire marching band. My seat was just next to them, which got me even more into the moment. I was clapping along with each song they played. When in school, I could never quite understand the antics of the band. As an alum almost 20-years out, it was entertaining and for sure kept the fans cheering on the team.

Singing the OSU Alma Mater after the win over KUThe scoreboard read 14-0 at halftime in KU's favor. I seriously thought just for a moment about calling it quits and heading out to explore Lawrence. I didn't though. KU got a 3-point field goal to increase their lead to 17. Then, the momentum shifted.

A 54-yard touchdown pass led the comeback by the team clad in orange. The successful recovery of an onside kick got the OSU crowd roaring. The day ended with five touchdown passes by our quarterback and the team compiling more than 600 yards. That is amazing. The final score, 42-32, with the good guys ahead! The team always, when home or away, joins the fans in singing the OSU Alma Mater following each win. We allowed 365 yards, though, which means UT likely will still pile up 60 points on us. But, oh well. A win over the nearby school always is good.

The focus must be on one game at a time. You never lose sight of future opponents, but you can only focus on one. Prepare for that week's contest. I like the rule of allowing a team to celebrate a win for 24 hours, then it's time to put it behind you and get ready for the next. On the flip side, can't dwell on a loss either. I actually think that in the past OSU football has allowed "emotional losses" to linger on and hamper us in the weeks that followed. Much of this game mindset likely is applicable in "the real world" too.

Eponine enjoyed college football. She always found my displays of Pistol Petes fascinating. I also think she liked orange. Plus, she was fond of when I was captive in front of the television for a 3-plus-hour period when an OSU game was on. I'm not at all known for being able to sit still for very long.

My Little Monster's memorialMy Little Monster preferred football over basketball. She'd cuddle as we watched a football game. Basketball's quicker pace, I think, lends itself to more hoopin' and hollerin'. Generally, she'd watch me and the basketball game from afar. She'd scamper away when I yelled and clapped. She loved her some Cowboy(s), though!

Several weeks back I finally ordered her gravemarker. I fully understand and relate now to stories I've heard of putting off this task as long as possible. There's a finality about it. Actually, it's more of "an acceptance." I was calm through most of the process. The folks at Rolling Acres said it would be eight weeks. They promised to call once it was installed. I think it will be sooner.

Homecoming is this weekend. It is my favorite time of each year.

Going Once, Going Twice, Sold!

I was the winning bidder. Couldn't believe I did it. I heard the auctioneer calling the numbers, trying to get someone to go to the next dollar increment level. His tone was getting closer and closer to announcing that the lady sitting at a nearby table was the winner. Suddenly I shouted, "I'll do it!" My bidder number was waving in the air.

I was a guest at "The Butterfly Gala." The event was a benefit for Spofford Home, a residential treatment facility for children. A few years back I was a volunteer for Spofford and even served on the gala board for a year or two. Celebrating its 90th birthday, Spofford was founded as an orphanage, but now works with children who have been removed from their home for a variety of reasons.

This place does great work for children. It's sad the reasons the children are there. It breaks my heart thinking about it. However, I'm glad to know there are places like Spofford that exist for children. I'm sure there is a similar home in your community.

I will be going to dinner with Charles Gusewelle. He is an author, regular columnist (interpret: blogger in his own way) for The Kansas City Star and sometimes host on our local PBS station. His stories are fascinating.

In January 2007, I (along with a guest of my choice) will meet him, be treated to dinner, and we each will receive an autographed copy of his new book "A Little Christmas Music: Stories of the Season." Maybe it was the glass or two of wine, (The other folks at the table were Mormon, making me the only boozer. Thus, I had a duty to make sure the bottle for the table didn't entirely go to waste.) but for whatever reason I really wanted to be the winning bidder. I can't wait for the dinner!

Mr. Gusewelle was in France over the summer and produced some outstanding columns while meeting, experiencing, observing and enjoying those folks. His books include "The Rufus Chronicle" and my favorite "Another Cat At The Door."

Yours For Only $3,950

There's a new kid on the block. An allergy-free kid. That's right, it's a cat that does not make 'beans sneeze, wheeze or itch. Not that any little monster has done that to me. I am a cowboy, you know. And for only $3,950 (plus shipping, handling and other processing fees) one of these kids can be headed to your home!

I'm talking about the Allerca GD hypoallergenic cat. At $3,950, this cat reportedly is less than some of the more exotic breeds. ALLERCA offers payment options.

The ALLERCA cat is not a test-tube baby, I think. If I understand what I read on Allerca's website, the company utilizes "naturally occurring genetic divergences already present in cats." Doing so does no harm to the cats in any way, the company reports. By focusing on these genetic divergences, a little monster can occur that is perfect for cat-allergy sufferers.

For the moola, you get a 12-week old little monster, all shots, alteration, microchip identifier, allergy testing in your home, vet check, nail caps, one year guarantee. There's an additional $995 due eight weeks prior to delivery in order for the little monster to travel to your home by a specialized private jet courier instead of a commercial airline.

Because the interest is tremendous, the wait is two to three years. And what you get is what you get. No color or gender picking options. However, if you can't wait that long, for an additional $1,950, you can get an Allerca kitty faster!

I can just imagine some of you getting wild ideas about this time. I'm going to check your sites. You better not be seeing green and start posting yourself as being allergy free and adoptable for $3,950!

Blue Ribbon Effort

O shows off her 4-H ProjectIt's been reported to Uncle Cowboy that O is taking a liking to designing stuff. On a recent Disney World visit, while waiting in line for rides and other events, The Wife says O "burned through" The Artist's sketchbook making all kinds of fashion designs. She was drawing like mad. A first-grade genius!

The Wife says O recently journeyed with her dad, The Artist, to the fabric store. There, she picked out her material and buttons for a special creation. The final product was to be entered in the County Fair 4-H competition.

The Artist assisted O by cutting out the pattern. (By sight, of course. He is The Artist.) He then put the material out for O to sew. She sewed on the line that The Artist drew. O used her great-grandmother's sewing machine, given to the family this past July.

O sewed everything, and Grandma JMc helped to guide her on the button holes. The Wife says it was "pretty impressive to watch O feed the material and run the pedal all at the same time." I bet it was since O is not overly blessed in the stature department.

O actually is a "Cloverbud" member since she is too young to officially be in 4-H. Cloverbuds only receive participation ribbons for each fair entry. However, her workmanship was impressive enough that the judges decided to award an additional blue ribbon. Needless to say, I'm told everyone was very proud.

Dead Girl Or Live Boy

The rules of D.C. long ago were established. These rules were told to me back in the mid-80s when I was an intern. I'm sure the rules were explained two hundred years ago and explained as recently as yesterday. All other political missteps can be overcome, unless you specifically break the D.C. rules.

Never be caught with a dead girl or a live boy.

Simple and sweet. There's nothing complicated about the D.C. rules. There's truly nothing else that can ruin a political career. Well, except maybe breaking into offices and then trying to cover-up the matter and block the investigation.

Anyway. Teddy actually was never "caught" with a dead girl. Bill was never caught with a dead or live girl. Barney admitted his preference is boys. These are just a few examples. (All Democrats, I know. But this is not a political post.) Throughout all U.S. history there are many, many other situations that could be cited. There likely were rumors about George and Martha. It goes on and on, and the spectrum ranges widely and wildly.

Technology likely causes the rules to fluctuate a little as to what "caught" means. The telephone, film, Polaroids, smaller cameras, disposable cameras, digital cameras, recording devices, wire taps, DNA, Internet, camera phones, e-mails, instant messages.

I wish there were more important rules that could make a difference in D.C. That's not how it goes, though.

I Like Tomato

Woofie sports brasYou may like to say potato. You might like to say potahto. Whatever the case, it's still a sports bra.

OK. It's actually a Puppia harness. Close enough to a sports bra for woofies. It's also an item that is fantastic when going for a walk with one of these beasts. When the dog is tugging away, walking at bionic speed, the human involved does not at all feel like the canine is about to choke itself to death. There just seems to be less tugging and more walking.

I bought the Daphne dog a cheaper version at a pet store that I wandered into once along 39th Street here in Kansas City. Daphne likes to suddenly back up and yank herself out of her collar with a little reverse twist. Then off she runs. Free and solo. With the harness, there's no escaping going on.

Not being a woofie expert, not certain where to purchase the Puppia ones. Found several ebay listings on a quick google search. Also found the item on ipetconnection.com. Being the world traveler and all that she is, I think MMcB told me she found the sports bras for The Boyz in New York.