Monthly Archives: July 2006

Hate = heat

In 1941, Joseph Millard wrote a story titled "The Gods Hate Kansas," a plot summary of which you may read here. I don’t know about meteors, but I just spent the last week in Kansas, during which the gods bombarded the state with August temperatures — 104, 105, 108 — yeah, like that. We ate a lot of ice cream and took a lot of naps, my sister and I. Her husband played a lot of cards at the American Legion hall, and her son, poor boy, worked every day (the rest of us were on vacation).

Ricky went with me. That dog is a good traveler — just sleeps until he hears the word "walk." He was also well-behaved in the house, despite the fact that my nephew fed him from the table (forbidden in my house), and he was appropriately cute and silly (the dog. And sometimes the nephew, too). My BIL doesn’t believe in indoor pets, so I was hoping that Ricky wouldn’t do anything to violate the man’s sufferance.*

Other evidence that the gods meddle in Kansas is also available. Remember my ignoble but not unexpected, multiple Scrabble defeats at xmas? Well, on Friday, July 21, 2006, the stars aligned or something and I. Won. Twice. This is big stuff in my family. I even accomplished two things for the first time: I used all seven letters and I broke 300. Of course, the next day the universe returned to normal and I lost, lost, lost. My sis not only used all seven letters several times, but once she managed to cover TWO triple word scores with the same word. The bitch (that’s 12 points, right there). **

*Ricky did, while playing with the hose, spray water all over my BIL, but the man can’t bring himself to consider a mere dog capable of doing such a thing on purpose. I, on the other hand, gave the dog a treat immediately.

**According to Pholph’s Scrabble Score Generator.

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Insidious Midwesternization

I would have laughed, scoffed even, if a year or so ago someone had told me, "you will spend the evening of Saturday, July 15, 2006, sitting in a hot tub in nw Iowa, eating Dove ice cream miniatures* and watching fireflies. When the wind shifts to bring you a whiff of pig manure, you will sniff, decide it’s not so stinky, and reach for another beer."

*which are FABULOUS

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Final Goodbye, Amelia

Well, today I learned all about the shock part of culture shock, while sending Amelia Kitty (pictured at right) to her final rest.

After Amelia was put to sleep in April, the vet’s office kept the body while I decided what to do with it. At first, I thought I’d bury her in a friend’s garden, but then I bought the house and decided to inter her somewhere in my new backyard. Yesterday, my friends Mark and Kathy came over and Mark dug a good-sized hole. They left the shovel for me to fill the hole in after I picked up Amelia from the vet’s office this a.m.

Okay, here’s the shock part. When I last lost a cat, the fearsome Herkimer, in Reno, the body came to us in a lidded box with reinforced sides — a product obviously meant to be a pet coffin and most likely sold to veterinarian offices as such. So I’ve been thinking, hey, I’m a big girl, independent and strong, I can face picking up Amelia in her lidded cardboard coffin and burying her.

Ah, but the vet office in Reno was in the poshest neighborhood in town and was an expensive, cancer-specializing facility. The veterinarian I use here, while professional and caring, is a small office in a small town. That difference didn’t occur to me until I was handed an ordinary cardboard box, the kind of thing you’d bring home from work to pack some paperback books in, perhaps, heavy with frozen, unwrapped Amelia Kitty. I could see her dull orange fur between the lose top flaps and smell frozen, yet slightly off, meat.

I had to stop on the drive home so I could cry. When I got home, I cried a bit more.

Then I took out a favorite t-shirt, getting a bit old and thin but still worth wearing for the silk-screened design. I wrapped Amelia in it and put her in the hole and filled it in. Kathy and I had chosen a heavy, flat white stone, big as a paver, from the front garden to place as a marker and dog-digging discouragement — I put that on top and heaped some more dirt around it.

And so that was my morning. Amelia was a little orange terror with moments of sweetness — the most memorable of which were her snuggling under the covers to sleep with me. I miss her all over again, which she deserves.

But when, inevitably, another of my little furry or feathery friends has to be put to sleep, I’m going to provide my own box.

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Pathfinder Rickeye Strikes Again…

So Ricky runs around my backyard on a tie-out.* He has about 40 feet of cord and can roam pretty much the whole yard. The other day, I go out and find him sitting just outside my neighbors’ fence, watching the birds in her yard. Then I notice that in my little garden patch, across the yard but well within the reach of Ricky’s cord, a rabbit is in the act of polishing off my last surviving tomato plant. Damn fluffy-tailed garden munchers!

Good thing the dog is cute.

*don’t worry, this way he also gets a long walk twice a day — If my yard were fenced, I’d probably get lazy about walkies.

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Pathfinder Rickeye

So now I have a dog, a loyal companion, a protector, a creature who obviously prides himself on his powers of nose.

And, as so often happens when we trust males, it is all a lie.

Last night, round about midnight, I jerked awake to the sound of shattering glass. Astrid kitty had pushed a tall drinking glass off the end table and onto the living room floor.* I jumped up, discovered the source of the noise, and swept up the glass. Did Ricky bound out of the bedroom to route the possible intruder and defend me? He didn’t even wake up.

Today, as we walked in the park, Ricky was avidly following a rabbit or squirrel scent trail — probably hours old. While doing so, he nosed right over and then stepped on a large garter snake. And Ricky continued on his rabbity quest, not even noticing the snake. Such a hunter, he is.

So here’s a pic of the great warrior himself. Tummy

*her favorite thing to do when she feels she is not receiving the proper amount of worship.

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I’m the Peanutbutter M&M Queen….

So yesterday I attended the annual Storm Lake Star Spangled Spectacular (we’re heavy on alliteration here in the cornbelt). The parade started at 10:30 and went on for over an hour. In that hour plus, maybe 8 floats went by.* One troupe of horseback riders. One high school band. One gaggle of middle-aged men in Shriner fezzes, driving funnycars. Seven or eight groups of people representing different nationalities, some in traditional dress, which was neat. And the entire rest of the parade was tractors, car dealers, politicians (often also car dealers), and agricultural queens. Oh, and riding lawnmowers moving in synchronized patterns, like square dancers.

The agricultural queens included the Buena Vista County Pork Queen and her court of Pork Princesses,** the Schaller Popcorn Queen, the Buena Vista Fair Queen and Little Miss, and, I believe, a 4-H Queen; I lost count among the all the tractors and politicians.
I’m sure agricultural queens have a long and rich history (seriously) and I don’t want to make too much fun of the traditions of my new hometown. But Pork Princess? Makes me picture Carrie Fisher in white overalls with a breaded chop over each ear.

The parade was ultimately satisfying, however, in a hometown kind of way. EVERYBODY either came to watch the parade or to march in it, and the route went along the lake front. Afterwards, we strolled through the connected lake parks, eating pork burgers and popcorn and funnel cakes.*** The sun was shining, the humidity was low, people were friendly, and a good time was had by me.

*The Iowa Agricultural Authority or some such organization had a float that was a wooden platform with their name painted on the side. That’s it — no plants, no animals, no people, no tissue paper roses. Nothing remotely agricultural, living (or dead), on the platform. I wonder if I’m the only viewer who found that ominous?

**The Pork ladies threw candy to the crowd, like everyone else. Shouldn’t they have been tossing pork rinds, or maybe bacon strips?

***If they need a funnel cake queen**** next year, I’m their gal.

****At my age, I’m really more of a funnel cake dowager. Which is okay, ’cause dowagers get to be eccentric, then crabby, and then we go take a nap.

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Radio Silence

Here I am, without much to say. No agonies to vent, no frustrations to joke about. It’s tough to blog when you’re content.* House is good, pets are good, and I have another week or so of goof off time before I have to start thinking about school. Oh, I will be going to Storm Lake’s STAR SPANGLED SPECTACULAR tomorrow, so I will report on its spectacularity or lack thereof. Given that Peabody, KS, where sis Linda lives along with about 250 other folk, boasts a 4th of July EXTRAVAGANZA, I’m not holding my breath. Heck, maybe I’ll buy some sparklers, throw my own party, and call it a HOLIDAY HYPERBOLE.

*Well, I do have to clean the house. But I don’t think one is allowed to complain about housecleaning in the same summer one bought the house.

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