Tag Archives: Dog

If My Christmas Tree Could Talk

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

Merry Christmas! I’m the tree chosen by the Phillipses. I’m decorated and lookin’ good, if I do say so myself.

Though, I wasn’t always so full of holiday cheer. You wouldn’t be, either, if you’d hung around Lowe’s while everyone critiqued your figure and bald spots.

Image by Mary Berg from Pixabay.

Still, we trees looked forward to seeing children — despite sibling arguments. Those mostly ended with the famous parental line, “We’re getting this tree because I said so.” Plus, hot chocolate bribes, which parents wanted anyway to medicate away seasonal frustrations.

While I missed kids when these seniors decorated me, I’d heard horror stories about toddlers scaling tree trunks. However, older people own nosy cats and dogs that would over-hydrate me. Or would these seemingly normal Midwesterners allow a pet boa constrictor to wind around my branches?

Image by rvee from Pixabay.

Like I said, I’d heard stories. But saw no animals, not even goldfish.

I like life by their picture window. None of my fellow fauna outside are bedecked with colorful lights and ornaments of every size, shape and hue like me. I love being a Christmas tree — even if the lady piles too much tinsel in the wrong places. She doesn’t like looking fat around the bottom. Why should I?

Image by Jeff Jacobs from Pixabay.
Toddlers look so cute at Christmas, but danger lurks under that little Santa hat.

My owners bring coffee, tea and Bibles. Together, we worship our Creator, who gave Himself at Christmas. They pray for their family — 17 strong, who’ll arrive soon.

I can’t wait to see the grandkids’ shining eyes.

Their parents will breathe in my fragrance and memories. A miniature needlepoint mailbox holds a note in their great-grandmother’s handwriting. The figure wearing a serape was brought back from Spain. A one-of-a-kind collection of ornaments made of plastic lids, crayon-scribbled Nativity scenes and spray-painted macaroni reminds these grown-ups they can be children today.

If they spoke conifer, they could ask me what’s inside those packages. We Christmas trees eavesdrop, you know. We also could tattle on who’s shaking gifts, but why spoil the fun?

I’m looking good. Don’t you agree?

It’s a great gig. I work only a few weeks of the year. Afterward, I’ll stay in the garden, covered with food for hungry critters.

A short life. But if I live and give more joy in a few weeks than some people do in a lifetime — who’s complaining?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: If your tree could talk, what would it say?

How to Get a Backache

Image by Pfüderi from Pixabay.

Achieving a backache often depends on the subject’s age.

Sadly, if you’re under 20, nothing induces a backache — unless Mom demands you clean your room.

However, creative 20- to 30-year-olds can realize backache goals. Try triple Axels on your skateboard. Carry your unmotivated friend piggyback up a mountain. Impress your lady by lifting her sofa above your head.

If all else fails to achieve back pain, your dad’s demand that you get a job will.

Thirty- and 40-somethings often succeed because they have jobs. Plus, they carry wailing three-year-olds into Little Overachiever Preschool. Every. Single. Day. They also drag 50-pound bags of manure to butterfly gardens for their grade-schoolers’ science projects. Pushing their cars from snowdrifts crisscrosses vertebrae. Nothing, however, works better than taking a terrified Lab to the Happy Doggy Clinic for shots. Paying for damages to furniture, building and staff will add a bonus headache for your Tylenol® pleasure.

Image by Mark Thornton from Pixabay.

More options materialize after a 50th birthday. You haul backbreaking bags of money to your student’s college. Your spouse finds that fitting into skinny jeans takes her to the ER. A game of pickup basketball lightens your mood, but not only will you hurt your back, you may lose a kidney or two. The pain will intensify when you sleep on the sofa because you played basketball instead of cleaning the garage.

At age 65, demonstrate to young whippersnappers what it was like in the good old days. When real men shoveled snow without wussy snowblowers. When real women scrubbed floors on their knees instead of using wussy Swiffers. Show everyone at the block party how real ice cream was made by cranking for six hours. All good-old-days activities are good for a week-long backache.

Image by J. Laso from Pixabay.

Soon, though, you’ll reach the ultimate in back pain with no effort whatsoever. Whereas, weeding flower beds to outdo another retiree once put you in a body cast, now, reading a seed catalog accomplishes the job. The past effects of pickup basketball occur when you pick up a basketball a kid tossed into your yard. Or when you pick up cards at a euchre party.

At age 20, nothing gave you backaches. Now everything gives you backaches.

Image by Kevin 120415 from Pixabay.

So, luxuriate on your heating pad. Lie back in your hot tub.

And don’t let anyone make you clean your room.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your “favorite” way to achieve a backache?

Bicycle and Marriage Built for Two

“It won’t be a stylish marriage; I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.”

According to writer Harry Dacre, his heroine, Daisy Bell, and her sweetheart seemed destined for marital bliss.

My husband and I? Not always.

Whatever a stylish marriage is, I don’t think ours qualifies. I don’t look sweet, either, red face sweating as Hubby and I climb hills on our tandem bike.

We’ve come a long way since our first tandem ride 19 years ago, when we bought the bike as both celebration and consolation for our empty nest.

Hubby explained this “togetherness” hobby would work for us. “It’s the perfect solution for riders of — er — unequal athletic levels.”

Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay.

Let Hubby do most of the work? Sounded like a plan to me.

After 30 years, we didn’t expect our first ride would send us back to Marriage 101. That we would nearly take out our neighbor’s trash cans. Starting and stopping required the precision of our operating like bicycle gears. Hubby hadn’t realized navigating turns would be like driving a semi. Dragging an extra person up a hill would resemble hauling an oversize load.

I, taking the back seat, hadn’t realized I’d see nothing in front but Hubby’s back. Nor did I understand that without exception, I had to communicate my intention to procure my water bottle. Once, my shift in balance sent us careening toward a pickup.

Image by Simon Gatdula from Pixabay.

Hubby and I still disagree on how to deal with 4,371 dogs that guard roads throughout our county.

Canines always lunge for riders on the back seat. Ergo, my approach: “Pedal for your — I mean, my — life!”

Hubby’s: “We’ll never outrace them. Yell at the dogs to alert the owner.”

What if the owner commutes to Chicago?

Image by S Hermann and F. Richter from Pixabay.

Despite our differences, we enjoy aspects of the Indiana countryside many people miss — rustling cornfields, forested hills and flower-covered meadows. Cows and horses can’t make heads nor tails of this odd, two-headed creature passing their fields.

Image by Alexas Fotos from Pixabay.

Daisy and her man probably discovered that riding a tandem and achieving wedded bliss are work! Both are acquired tastes — especially puffing up those hills.

Though on that first ride, we hit speed bumps, Hubby and I have kept both tandem and marriage moving. They’re our favorite pastimes.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever ridden a tandem bicycle?

Looking Back on Resolutions 2021

Image by USA-Reiseblogger from Pixabay.

Are you one of those scary people who keep New Year’s resolutions?

Then skip this and return to Planet Jenny Craig, from whence you came.

If, however, you’ve given up all hope of achieving such goals, let me be the first to encourage you. A decade ago, I discovered a unique approach that revolutionized New Year’s Day.

I learned to make only resolutions I will keep.

Please note the effortless beauty of the following examples:

  • I promise I will not mow our lawn in January.
  • I will give up earmuffs for the Fourth of July.

Check out my actual 2021 resolutions, whose success rates left those of Jenny Craig aliens panting in interplanetary dust, including:

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay.
  • I will refrain from topping my waffles with pickles.
  • I will, however, break world s’more records, as our children gave us a patio firepit for Christmas. This mother wants to make her children happy, so no sacrifice is too great.
  • My next resolution should prove doable for 95 percent of the world’s population: I will blame COVID-19 for everything. Conventional therapy points fingers at spouses, parents, kids and in-laws. Instead, blame COVID. This is cheaper and less complicated, as no virus yet has been named in a lawsuit or divorce.
  • Speaking of COVID, I also resolve to wear a mask in public. Even if most are designed to fit your average antelope.
  • I’ll still greet all checkout personnel and other shoppers with a smile.
  • If the pandemic endures, I’ll continue my role of Invisible Pickup Customer. Despite reservations, confirming emails, receipts, pickup signs and angels blowing trumpets where I park, I will continue to elude pickup personnel at each and every store.
  • Out of deep concern for the local economy, I will order takeout. Three times a day.
  • In 2021, I will talk to my microwave more than to humans. Which probably is good, because mostly I yell at it to shut up.
  • I resolve not to camp in Dead Women Crossing, Oklahoma.
  • I will continue to brighten the days of IT personnel and car mechanics with the astute diagnostic phrase, “It doesn’t work.”
  • I will regard all device updates as tools of the devil and Russia.
  • I will not lift my car to clean its underside.
  • I resolve to write in cursive, though my grandchildren believe I am using hieroglyphics. Not surprising, as I helped build the pyramids.
Image by TheDigitalArtist from Pixabay.
  • Finally, I will stumble through playing and singing one praise song daily, thankful that my childhood dog — who howled epithets when I sang — no longer critiques me. Fortunately, Jesus and Hubby like it.

See? A simple, innovative approach. Profound. And free. (You only pay for shipping.)

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you ready to take the resolution leap in 2022?

Why I Am a Plant Person

Before pet owners condemn me to deep doo-doo, please believe that I hold the utmost respect for animal lovers. They invest enormous amounts of time, money and love in their animal buds. One friend even shares hot fudge sundaes with her German shepherd.

I’d share with my husband. On his birthday. But with a dog?

Sorry. I don’t get it.

Yes, God made sure Noah took animals aboard the Ark, though it soon would rain cats and dogs. However, plants would have required feeding only once every two weeks. The family wouldn’t have shoveled nearly as many, um, by-products.

But the Lord counted on plants to take care of themselves — a big reason I’m a plant person.

My dear, departed fern was named Carolyn.

I’ve never paper-trained a plant. They don’t nudge me at 5 a.m. to go outside. They don’t bark or jump on guests. Plants don’t lick.

I haven’t lost a single new shoe to a plant’s fangs. Nor does my fern, unlike my daughter’s dog, shred the family’s underwear. If a plant outgrows its space, I can trim it. A plant will even hold still. (Just try this with a Lab.) I don’t scour neighborhoods for runaway plants or pay hefty shelter fees to bail them out. No vet appointments inflate my budget.

Unlike horses, they cannot kick me in the head.

Plants never eye me with the “Oh, is that you, peasant?” stare favored by most felines.

My black-eyed Susans and tiger lilies engage in leaf-to-leaf combat for dominance, but they never yowl under my window during the wee hours.

Plants even diminish carbon dioxide and add oxygen to the air. Animals? The reverse.

Admittedly, plants are not perfect. While they don’t bite, some boast nasty thorns. My child preferred to teethe on poisonous ones.

Plants shed, but their shedding is localized. I don’t find a thousand leaves stuck to my Sunday morning attire.

Plants also can be fussy as your Aunt Prilla Lou. They readily lay on wilt-guilt when I subject them to too much sun, not enough sun, too much moisture, not enough. Despite my friend’s assertion that “you can’t kill herbs,” I am a serial basil killer.

That’s the biggest reason I am a plant person. I grieve the herbs I kill and the poinsettias that shrivel, but I rarely shed tears for them. I never conduct plant funerals, as I did for our children’s hamsters, ceremonies so numerous the neighbors suspected a cult.

Hats off to folks who not only risk tears, but share sundaes with animal buds.

Still, unless my daffodils ask outright for a taste, I’ll handle hot fudge by myself.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a plant or animal person? Both?

Ahhhh … Ewww! or Aaa-chooo!

Image by Peter H from Pixabay.

Say the word “lilac,” and ghosts of perfumes past waft through me. Bushes pour their lush scent through an open window into my teenaged soul. My toddlers take turns carefully sniffing purple blossoms along a neighbor’s fence. My husband plants a lilac for me on Mother’s Day.

Say the word “lilac” to my allergy-ridden friend, and she thinks “dynamite.” She once considered sneaking into her churchyard at night and blowing up bushes that every spring swelled her nose to clown size.

The beauty of a scent is definitely in the nose of the beholder. For one conscientious church custodian, ammonia spelled righteous spring cleaning that should characterize God’s house. However, my office faced a restroom door. Ammonia’s powerful fumes wiped out this choir director’s brain cells — critical because she owned so few.

Cultural factors play major roles in olfactory opinions, too. Many Frenchmen eat Époisses cheese. Southeast Asians consider the hedgehog-shaped fruit durian delicious. But because of their, er, distinctive smells, laws in both areas forbid taking these foods on public transportation.

And you thought your Uncle Archie’s garlic breath reeked.

Thankfully, many scents imprint positive impressions. Hubby’s marriage-long aftershave. Vanilla tippled into birthday cake batter. Autumn’s smoky, smoldering leaves. Plump baby necks. A new book with crisp, untouched pages. (Kindles will never replace that.) An old book with its mellow air of wisdom. (They will never replace that, either.)

A tiny tinge of flavor in warm spring air proclaims, “ice cream.” My husband says I can sniff out any ice cream within 50 miles. (Ice cream trucks, take note: add extra guards.)

Perhaps your nose, like mine, shifts perspective per experience. The smell of June roses may recall an evil prom date who handed you a corsage one night and, the next, dumped you for Bambi LaBody. Contrariwise, the return of a familiar bison ambiance to your college-age son’s bedroom fills your heart with joy.

Image by Kirsi Kataniemi from Pixabay.

Given the power of smells, shouldn’t we be grateful our Creator did not design us like dogs? Their noses are 10,000 to 100,000 times as sensitive as those of humans. I am doubly glad I am not an elephant — and not only because that nose might mess with family portraits. According to a Baltimore, Maryland, zoo, this pachyderm’s trunk can outsmell any canine nose, anytime!

In heaven, someday, perhaps mine will surpass them. My allergic-to-lilacs friend, Uncle Archie, and I, sans furry nose or undulating trunk, will together inhale the beautiful fragrance of Christ. No more “ewwws!” or “aaa-chooos!” Only “ahhhhs.” Our holy noses’ sensitivity will make those animal buddies’ olfactory talents compare to stuffy-sinus flu.

Even better, every smelly memory will be a perfect one.

Image by RitaE from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What are your favorite smells?