Wild Life Of A Little Monster

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

Weather Prediction

Weather folks on the news Wednesday night said anywhere from eight to 21 inches of snow likely will hit the Kansas City area on Thursday. I think it has something to do with the snow storm that as I write this is now over the Oklahoma panhandle, running southwest through Texas and into New Mexico. If it moves just northeasternly enough, we're toast.

RIP Disposables

George sharing his slobberKodak likely prefers the "one-time-use camera" description. MMcB once proclaimed that she knows no one else who can make a disposable camera last as long as I can. I am just always extra careful with the shots I take. Don't want to waste my 27 exposures on shots of cleavage and people making crazy faces like she does.

Although there probably is a time and a place for those one-time jobbies, those days are now gone for this cowboy. I'm venturing into the fascinating world of digital! (I know, I know. You are saying I'm at least 10 or more years behind.) Just select and delete if I don't like the shot.
George and Stanley challenging the purple spider to a stare downAnyway. Today's lunch errand included the one-hour developer at Walgreens and a Chinese buffet. It was my last disposable. It contained photos snapped at Homecoming and from George and Stanley's last stay. Of course I had to share just a few pics.

I have to note that this past weekend I was at MMcB's and noticed one of the purple spider legs out in the yard. It's safe to assume the rest of the spider remains have either been devoured, buried, trashed or some combination of the above.
Macy at OSU's Homecoming 2006
Chap loves being a Cowboy

The kids here are Macy and Chap at OSU's October 21 Homecoming game. It was cold that night. My Pokes lost to A&M in overtime. (It is looking more and more like we're headed to the Independence Bowl.) Chap LOVES his cowboy hat. If he had it his way, he would wear it nonstop.

All future pics posted will be the new-and-improved ones. Compliments of MMcB. I'm sure you join me in thanking her!

When You're Turning Blue

Graphic from www.dogstarr.com
The information below was shared in my company's daily newsletter shared with employees. Interesting stuff. It's not indicated, but I bet the procedure could be performed on a feline if the emergency situation ever occurred. Please comment if you know for certain.
The Heimlich Maneuver can also be used on pets that are choking on food or other objects.

When a dog has something blocking its airway, he will usually attempt to get it out either by using his paws or trying to vomit. He might also whine as in pain and or salivate excessively. Other signs that indicate choking include difficulty breathing, pawing at the mouth, and blue lips and mouth.

The Maneuver is administered in a similar manner as with children, taking care to place hands below the rib cage and pushing up on the abdomen with gentle thrusts. Do not press on the rib cage. Never put your fingers into a choking animal's mouth. You may push the object further into the throat or be bitten.

Toys with removable parts, rawhide chews, and chicken bones are just some of the objects which pose a choking hazard. Take the same safety precautions with pets as you would with a small child.

Catching Up

My Cowboys weren't able to pull it off, falling to those pesky OU Sooners over the Thanksgiving weekend. Final score: 27-21. The guys in orange had a chance, but over the last 20 years it seems we've had many chances. Maybe next year.

We end the season with a 6-6 record. It's improvement over last season's four wins, with a potential bowl bid. I've never felt even-steven teams should go to bowls, but oh well. I won't argue! Predictions are that OSU may get a bid to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. The likely opponent is Alabama.

Until then, I need to catch up with some posts.

Hope you had a splendid Thanksgiving!!! I sure thought of many of you cool cats (that is a noun that from this Cowboy collectively refers to humans, felines, canines and all readers) and hoped you were throwing down your fair sure of turkey or your meal of choice. There is much for many of us to give thanks. Thank you!

Thanksgiving Weekend At Crown Center

The Artist and M say cheese!O proclaims the purple chair is her new favorite colorO says, draw with me...here's your half, Uncle Cowboy

The Artist, The Wife, O and M stop to see me each Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, three years ago when Eponine and I moved in on Nov. 15, the following week this gang was a very first overnight guests. It's always an honor.

We always make it a point to scurry all over Crown Center while they are here. There's no real place in Kansas City over Thanksgiving weekend that screams Christmas. From Santa's arrival and the lighting of the Mayor's Christmas tree, it's very festive. Plus, of course, shopping, dining, decorations galore, ice skating and lots of other things. It's fun just riding the Westin's elevator. If you're lucky enough, you'll catch a north side 'vator. That way you'll see all the city lights.

Here's a small photo essay of our visit. The Wife is not included because she wasn't feeling this time around.
Crown Center atrium decorations, the old department store SantaA Crown Center Christmas tree

A Native Son

My favorite was "Gosford Park." It was typical Altman. I thought it was very good. I had hoped he'd win the Oscar that year. "Cookie's Fortune" (starring Glenn Close) was fascinating, but I think I was the only person that went to see it. I also liked "The Player." "Prêt-à-Porter" was fun. I only saw "M*A*S*H" as a movie special on tv. Was too young to appreciate it or to have any idea about movie direction.

According to The New York Times, Robert Bernard Altman was born Feb. 20, 1925, in Kansas City, Mo., to Helen and B.C. Altman. The elder Altman was a prosperous insurance salesman for the Kansas City Life Insurance Company. Mr. Altman’s grandfather, the developer Frank G. Altman, built the Altman Building, a five-story retail mecca in downtown Kansas City. The building reportedly was razed in 1974.

He attended school in Kansas City and then went to a military school in a nearby, small Missouri town. He later joined the Air Force and was a bomber pilot. The Times reports that Mr. Altman invented "what he called “Identi-code,” a method for tattooing numbers on household pets to help identify them if they were lost or stolen; he even talked Harry S. Truman into having one of his dogs tattooed."

Mr. Altman attended the University of Missouri in Columbia before taking a job with a Kansas City film company making mostly industrial, corporate films. Although hanging out in Kansas City, his sights were on Hollywood. In 1948 he got his first screen credit for helping write a movie titled "Bodyguard." I promise, it did not star anyone named Whitney or Kevin.

In the 1950s he married (his second marriage; he eventually married a third time) a lady and had two sons. One of their sons wrote lyrics to the “MASH” theme song. If you're my around my age, you likely can hum that theme song right now.

In the mid-1960s, he directed episodes of television series such as "Bonanza" and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese are two of four men that are tied with Mr. Altman with five Oscar nominations for Best Direction and have never won.

I saw Robert Altman in the mid-1990s when he was in Kansas City filming the movie "Kansas City." It was an OK movie, but one that bombed. It starred Harry Belafonte, Miranda Richardson, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Dermot Mulroney. It was fun following the film crew about town.

A friend who had moved away to LA came back to town as part of the film's costume crew. During the filming the friend stayed in my home to save bucks. I got to go to one filming where I even got up close enough that I snapped a pic of Mr. Altman sitting in his director's chair. I was in awe. He truly was one in a million.

Blowing In The Wind

Follow the yellow brick road!Took Monday off from work. It actually was more of a "work from home" day since I still participated in an almost two-hour conference call and got some other work-related tasks completed. It was nice to get it all accomplished in OSU boxers shirts and a t-shirt while lying in bed.

These three days were scheduled as vacation days about two months ago. So much for that. I'll be in the office Tuesday and will be attending a dinner event. The jury is still out regarding Wednesday.

I did also get the wall paper pulled off in the dining room and worked on some holiday-related preparation. That was nice.

While home, I heard a leaf blower working its magic. Glanced outside and caught my lovely neighbor on the south side working hard to blow all my Bradford Pear leaves out of his yard through the fence and back into my yard. MMcB describes him as a "giver." So true. It is important to note, I've spent about five hours collectively over the last two weekends raking and bagging leaves.

Was out recently and saw these leaves on a sidewalk outlining my path. It reminded me of Dorothy's walk. Nature's way of creating a yellow brick road. Couldn't resist snapping a photo to share with you.

Time To Speak Up

Just curious who you are. Especially you dear visitors from India, South America, Iran, Australia and a few other locations. Even you folks across the U.S. That fancy Clustr map has me wondering who is checking out "Wild Life Of A Little Monster. I look at some of those dots and truly am scratching my noggin' wondering who might be out there reading these rambling thoughts. Please take a moment to say "howdy, pardner!"

New Arrival

RyanJLBR sent an update the other day about her new arrival. A little guy named Ryan. He was born prematurely at 36 1/2 weeks. The "early" arrival led to a rough start to life, with several days in the NICU with respiratory distress syndrome and a severe pneumonia.

The good news is that Ryan came home over the weekend. The pic here is of his first day in an open crib without any oxygen support! Needless to say, JLBR, Husband and big brother are thrilled and full of thanks.

Speed Racer

Noticed a bumper sticker the other day proclaiming that the car would be "without a pilot in case of rapture." I saw the stickered car as it weaved in and out of traffic along 350-highway and then zoomed past me. The lady in the SUV was going about 25 miles over the speed limit with her kids in tow. Just an observance.

By the way, I darted about Kansas City's northland today trying to find the perfectly right, huge, blow-up, lawn decoration Christmas display. Checked out all the usual suspects and even almost went to Wal-Mart, something that hasn't been done by this dude in years. I avoided that temptation. Ended up saying no to all the enticing decorations, including the inflatable nativity scene. It was nine-feet tall from the bottom of the manger to the top of the star. Got a little crystal-looking shiny snowman instead. It's about 36 inches.

The Black Cat

Check out this article I found in the Northland Neighborhood News in The Kansas City Star. The town mentioned, Liberty, is just north of Kansas City 18 miles or so. A neat town that is growing and becoming more of a "suburb," but it still has its original town square that has the courthouse, antique shops and a deli owned by a friend of mine and her sister. I've asked around and was told that Bogie made the rounds of the Liberty Square for more than 13 years.

Memorial for Bogie Friday
A memorial service will be held for Bogie the cat at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Clay County Administration Building on the Liberty Square.

Friends of the black cat, who was a frequent visitor to businesses and offices in Downtown Liberty for more than a decade, are encouraged to attend and share their memories of his life.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Liberty Animal Shelter. For information, call Lainey Koepke at (816) 726-0855.

A Charlie Pic

Snoring Charlie
Charlie's Grandma tells me he appears depressed. I'm sure it is because he misses me and his stay at the blue house. What do you think? We sure had a great visit.

He may have enjoyed his stay, but I'm sure I kept him up way too late and got up too early. He likely slept all day while I was at work.

A co-worker stopped by last Wednesday so that we could travel to St. Joseph, Missouri together. While I was wrapping up items in my home, the co-worker went outside and kicked the ball for Charlie a few times. On Monday, Nov. 13, she reported that over the weekend she purchased a red ball just like Charlie's for her two dogs.

I wonder if he's even aware of his power to influence.

Homecoming Update

Still trying to catch up with some recent happenings. Hope you don't mind.

Trekked to Stillwater, Oklahoma for the Oct. 21 Homecoming football game. My journey from Kansas City is consistently about 5 hours. I arrived just before kickoff. It was the first time in probably 10 years that I did not arrive early enough to enjoy the Friday night Homecoming activities and Saturday morning's parade. They'll do it again next year, I'm sure.

It was super cold at the game. However, fans were pumped up as the Cowboys took on the Texas A&M Aggies. By the way, that Aggie marching band is impressive, but there's something a little eerie too. I'll just stick with our orange-clad Cowboy marching band.

In the end, and after several text messages to the Schramwich to provide game updates, my team lost in overtime by 1 point. People look at me twice when I say this, but I prefer losing by 1 or winning by 2 over a blowout victory or an embarrassing trouncing. Exciting games are always, um, exciting!

Spent the night at the glamorous Motel 6 (gotta love the college town hotels) before getting up Sunday morning and traveling south to Oklahoma City and Norman. Enjoyed lunch with the VMc, RMc, Macy, Chap and family. Then later met LMc and gang on the University of Oklahoma campus. From Dallas, she brought to Homecoming a high school neighbor girl. LMc decided to be an equal opportunist with a quick OU tour. It was less painful since we were all wearing orange.

The afternoon was filled with Macy's soccer game, playing with the Chap, and visiting JMc and GMc. The latter just built a great barn house. Essentially, it is a cabin home adjacent to a horse barn they own. GMc has competition cutting horses.

Took off that evening for Tulsa where I got to stay the next two days for work-related meetings. Also saw Mom and the Niece while there. More on that later.

Boring post, I know. Sorry.

Streaking And Sportscasting

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Cal Ripken, Jr., some ladyA week ago, I was lucky enough to attend a fund-raising event benefiting the American Red Cross Chapter in Kansas City. The event actually is an annual speaker series. This year, Cal Ripken, Jr. was the keynote speaker, interviewed by National Public Radio's sports curmudgeon Frank Deford. Posting a few pics. Obviously, I'm loving this digital camera.

I was more excited about Frank than I was about Cal. Both of them were fantastic. I was honored with the presence of Sexy Lady as my guest. She was impressed that Cal is tall and pointed out that he has big feet and big hands. Her next statement was along the line of, "If you blog that I said that I'll kill you."

It would have been 10 straight days that the Charlie monster would have been curled up by my side this evening. He's back at his Riss Lake home, though, no doubt playing with that crazy red ball. I'm told, MMcB, Grandma and Weez had an incredible trip.
Frank Deford
Frank Deford
A book by Frank Deford. I received a signed copy.

Yes, Jesus Loves Me

"It was just a cat."

Can that ever really sum it all up? Those are strange words to hear when used to refer to a creature that is loved and that loved.

Although more than a month late, I discovered that Ullrick passed away. His human provides a wonderful memorial, shares some random thoughts, expresses some heartache, admits how much Ullrick is missed, details some of the next steps in the journey, and decribes how much Ullrick was not just a cat. He is sorely missed.

I Voted Today

Did you? No matter how crazy all the campaigning can get, I hope you don't ever give up confidence in our ability to express our voice, to make a difference, and to cast our vote.

At 12:52 a.m. with 84 percent of the precincts reporting, Claire McCaskill, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, is leading Jim Talent, the Republican incumbent, by about 25,000 votes. As predicted by all pollsters, this vote is coming down to the wire. The most interesting fact is that after the combined campaign spending topped reportedly $40 million, this election remained so up in the air. However, it appears Ms. McCaskill is claiming victory and Mr. Talent is ready to concede.

It's almost a shocking win. I'm still in a little disbelief. And, as predicted, the outcome of this election may determine the control of the U.S. Senate.

Trick Or Treat!

Painting by The Artist with some Halloween decor here and there.
The Light FixtureJust a quick post to recap Halloween night. I dashed out of the office early, for me at least, arriving home by 5:20 p.m. Luminaries and other Halloween garb were outside to greet all visitors, with plenty inside to keep me entertained. The evening had a chill in the air. I wondered if it would hamper the number of children stopping by.

In between glances at "Dances with the Stars," the doorbell kept dinging and treats kept getting handed out. Some great costumes. Some, I'm certain I saw last year worn by the same children.

I sometimes wonder how many of those kids are actually from my neighborhood. But, I also like knowing that my neighborhood might actually have a reputation of being a friendly and welcoming place. There certainly were lots of cars lining the street.

Lots of treats awaited those stopping by. When the lights finally went out at the blue house I call home, the tally I kept indicated there were 139 trick-or-treaters. Plus, there were 11 dogs. Several in costume. Treats were ready for those critters too. That also was the night Charlie arrived for his 10-day stay at his vacation home.

What I like best is being able to welcome strangers. Children. Many of these same children don't even glance my direction or get a wave from me during our day-to-day routines. It's also fun that the children get to pretend for a night. Funny costumes, scary, pretty, silly, innocent or stand-by favorites. Many children are extra polite. Saying "Thank you," "Happy Halloween" or "Have a good night." Parents often wait at the end of the driveway and wave and sometimes holler a thank you. At least that's how it is in my neck of the woods.

Mom reports she had a great birthday celebration and enjoyed all her Halloween visitors and birthday greetings through out the day. My sister from North Carolina flew in to see her.

Now it's time to store all the Halloween garb, rake the leaves, prepare for Thanksgiving, and test the lights on the Christmas tree. 'Tis the season!

Had 11 dogs visiting. They got Scooby snacks and other yummies.
Watching over the evening's activities.

Chick Magnet

Charlie hanging out at Uncle Cowboy'sCharlie the Wonder Dog is hanging out in my home. He's the banished brother of George and Stanley. He now calls the luxuries of Riss Lake home as he lives with Grandma. You might recognize him from his Hallmark Father's Day card where he claims to have seen you naked.

While Charlie visits me, The Boyz have their own man servant staying in their home down in Waldo. You see, MegMacB, her mom and Weez are off to Europe. They're visiting Amsterdam and all things Dutch. I bet you'll notice a dot on my new Clustr map from that area. No doubt someone looking to see if I'm posting any pics of Char. Loving the Clustr map, by the way. Got the idea from Meg's site. I look forward to seeing your dot!

Charlie poses for the cameraCharlie is a great. He likes sleeping under the blanket, is very skittish and jumpy, hyper and active, a tad bit gassy, and has a huge - no HUGE -obsession with a red ball. He begs and begs for you to play with him by tossing, kicking, tugging that ball. When outside, he plays like a soccer goalie. He attacks and tackles the ball each time you kick it and retrieves for the next round. He's a good little guy and a real lover.

The red ballI've taken my first video with the new digital camera. It's titled "Dog with Red Ball." Once I figure out how to post it, you'll be notified of its debut.

Yesterday we ran errands. He has his own fancy car seat. Something only a grandma would provide. It was a beautiful fall day in Kansas City. We tooled around to Chipotle, Office Max and other locations with the windows cracked open. At one stop light on Vivion, we had a car load of younger, maybe high school, girls holler "You've got a cute dog, Mister!" That's the most attention I've gotten from babes in years. It was Charlie getting noticed, but he's willing to share the love.

Seems Charlie is an equal opportunist and attracts the masses. At another intersection, he peeked out at some dude blaring some sort of heavy, current-day music. Rap or something. I'm old and don't know for sure what it was. Loud. He had the windows open of his black Impala or some other "cool-dude" mobile. He hollered, "You gotta cool dog!" A thumbs up was my reply.

With all this dog sitting, as part of our United Way auction at work I donated a three-day, two-night doggie spa weekend at my home. Employees donate all kinds of goods and services for the auction. Some items receive very competitive bidding. My donation generated 60 bucks! Overall, the auction topped $5,000.

The "Wonder Dog" is getting impatient. I'll end for now.
Charlie taking a nap as Cowboy works on the laptop

Halloween Celebrating

Halloween party favorsWas an "Accidental Tourist" at a recent Halloween party. Floral print shirt, a floral lei, sunglasses, straw hat, flip flops (not thongs) and the Polaroid camera around my neck. It was a lame costume, if I'm being honest. Hey, at least I was participatory. It probably would have been funnier if I had put a cast on my leg.

The chase of the pumpkins!!!The party was Oct. 28 at the home of a former co-worker. It was a festive and fun occasion. While headed to the party that night through the Brookside/Waldo area of Kansas City, I bet I passed at least 10 parties and all kinds of costumed adults roaming the neighborhoods.

Party favors for all attending were these little pumpkins and a ghost here and there. The party hosts made them. The mantel was covered with them. Each unique, with a variety of materials utilized to help make each pumpkin's expressions.

With the new digital camera, got the pic to the left of these two running for the lives from the larger pumpkin. I felt their expressions were right from a horror flick. At any moment, they're likely about to trip and fall as the evil creature slowly approaches.

For the most part, it was the typical party. Lots of food, desserts, drinks, chips, "Rocky Horror Picture Show" playing on the TV, seeing folks you haven't seen in months or years, catching up, gossipping some, making fun of others. The party goers were spared cupcakes with eyeballs or anything like that.
Got my "cards" read while at the party. (Please note, the pic above is of someone else's reading, not mine.) I'm not even remotely superstitious, but do believe that if we pay attention, there likely are "signs" along the way. It's probably all coincidental. You never know!

The card reading really was just for entertainment purposes. I was told by a witch-looking character and a dude that appeared to me a Native American Indian of some sort to shuffle the cards in order to provide them with my energy. They also told me to think about and focus on what I was hoping the cards would tell me. I kept silently repeating, "Give me a message from Eponine. Give me a message from Eponine."

No go, though. I was told I need to nurture myself more, that I'm a communicator, that I have charisma, that I need to further soul search to determine what direction I want to take my life, that I should consider law school ... yawn. I waited to hear the next person's reading just to make sure they didn't get the same message.

Overall, it was a fun party. Afterward, a large group of us went out to a crazy local establishment. A very entertaining night!

The Digital Age

I'm a he-man, tough guy. I know you long ago realized that. I might get teary-eyed when I talk about My Little Monster, but beyond that, there's no tougher stud dude around beyond me. My tough-guy persona is something that with little effort I am able to maintain.

That said, I hesitate to tell you what MegMacB and The Boyz recently gave me. I don't want anyone thinking I'm deserving and a nice guy.

I am now the proud owner of a digital camera! A fantastic, compact Sony camera. It even films short movies. I can just imagine flickr, youtube and all kinds of other things in my future. Until then, you likely can anticipate a flood of pics here.