Saturday, February 26, 2005

Pet Peeves

I try to be a responsible dog owner. I don’t leave my dogs outside all day roaming the neighborhood and barking their fool heads off. We try to enforce a no barking policy after 10:00 pm and before 7:00 am. The older two dogs understand this and the puppy is slowly coming along. The two times Crunch had a late night bark fest was right before he dispatched an unlucky critter in our back yard. John is working out the fact that he shouldn’t bark at the numerous deer (aka tall rats) that roam our subdivision at night. There are a few barkers around us, but it is not really a problem. When I walk my dogs I really try to pick up after them. Either I whip out a plastic bag or I come back later to clean up. My dogs have over an acre to roam on our fenced property. When the few times they have escape (usually my fault) I quickly round up the escapee.

So I get extremely aggravated when I find enormous piles of poo by my mailbox. My dogs not go there and there is no way they could physically produce these piles. The other morning I spied the interlopers, two standard poodles. One had the audacity to enter our yard. Fortunately only one of our dogs was outside and he quickly chased the beast out. I do not want to clean up after other people’s dogs. I think this is a universal opinion. So why do people blithely send their dogs out to go on their neighbors’ lawns? It’s rude, inconsiderate and unhealthy. It results in ill will towards all dogs and their owners. Increasingly stupid and intrusive laws are the result of the behavior of a few inconsiderate louts.

I do have a good story about retaliation against one such lout.

My dogs are show dogs and they are used to a fair amount of travel. As a result they have learned to potty quickly under certain circumstances. However I haven’t really fully trained them to “go” on command. There is someone I know in passing how has trained her dogs to that extent. She has numerous dogs; I think six, of a very large breed. Her dogs are well mannered and well cared for. She would always conscientiously clean up after her dogs. At one point she noticed that on a daily basis someone’s dog was leaving a pile on her front lawn. Her own dogs were never allowed out front so she knew it could not be her dogs. One morning she saw the dog in action. The dog was on a leash and the owner was completely unconcerned about the dog’s actions. This was too much! My friend gathered up leashes and dogs (at least four) and tailed this person to their home. Once she was sure that this was indeed the house, she marched up onto the lawn and gave the command. All her dogs promptly complied. With a flourish she wheeled her dogs about and marched home. Since then there has been no more problems from that particular dog walker.

Bottom line, fence your yard or leash your dogs and pick up after them!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Today's Forecast is...

On Tuesday the local weather forecasters were predicting in their voices of doom a major snow event.

On Wednesday the schools sent home notes with the following information:

*There could be a 2 hour delay even if there is only a little precipitation.
*We should watch the news; the 2 hour delay could change to a closing.
*If the weather arrives later in the day the schools could close early.
*Make plans tonight so your child will know where he/she might have to go.

It is a bit over done in my opinion. It is no change in my winter weather operating procedure. Of course I grew up in VT where we never had snow days and the schools closed once for a blizzard (really, I’m not kidding). Jake and Nate were excited with visions of 5 or more inches of snow in their heads when they went to bed. During the 11:00 pm news I noticed the voices of doom were gone. Instead it looks like the excitement will be to the north and to the west.

On Thursday the day dawned damp, grey and raining. Jake and Nate were disappointed. During the last snow event they got to make the enormous snowballs and snowmen in our back yard. This is a picture of what Nate did all by himself.

Nate Posted by Hello
Oh, we got a brief flurry of snow and sleet as the school bus arrived at its normal hour, but it soon turned back to RAIN FOR THE REST OF THE DAY. I spoke with hubby during the day and I told him I thought it was just going to rain. I had to go to the dump and it almost always rains when I go to the dump.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Glenn Reynolds has a nice picture of a pro-American wirehair dachshund and a link to an interesting article about some pro-American Europeans.

Thursday Three, Cars!

It’s time for the Thursday Three courtesy of the Axis of Weevil!
This week it is all about cars.

1.) What is the strangest car you have ever owned? I have not owned any particularly strange cars. My first was a ’75 VW Super Beetle, light blue.

Me and my Super Beetle Posted by Hello

Great car, I took it to college and I had for three years and turned the odometer over 100k before it rusted out. The most people I ever got in it were six. I was driving, my husband then boyfriend was up front and four of his rugby teammates stuffed in the back. I remember one guy was huge and another being crammed in the kangaroo pouch behind the rear seat.

When it rusted out I traded with my brother for his silver VW Rabbit. I guess it was the strangest due to the modifications. He put in a sunroof, a fake switch on the dash, a semi-functional equalizer for the stereo and a bogus Wolfsberg edition badge.

Next was a Nissan Sentra (new!), red with four doors. It’s greatest claim to fame was its trunk. It was huge. I joked that you could put a dead body in it. I drove it for seven years for over 100k miles. We sold it at the birth of our first child. We were moving and we needed something that could hold dogs and kids. It was in great shape and the new owners were able to sell it two years later.

Enter the Ford Windstar. Nice solid car. We got seven years and 120k miles out of it before it need a new head gasket and radiator. We decided since the trany was on borrowed time we should spring for a new car. Now we have a Ford Freestar.

2.) What is the worst car you ever owned? All have been pretty good. I have been able to get over a 100k miles out of them. My mom had a series of stinkers. She had two 4 wheel drive Subaru station wagons. Absolutely no fun to drive. She agreed, but she wanted the 4 wheel drive, because we were in VT and they were the only car she could get. One had the license plate UXB as in the show Danger UXB. Enough said.

3.) How many wrecks have you been in? Let’s see. I was in one when my Mom was driving. It was the early 70’s and we were in her green VW Beetle. A cop on a blind curve crossed over and totaled the car. My brother and I were riding in the back and were fine until the cop looked in the car. We both promptly burst into tears. The police actually admitted it was their fault. Next one was when I was driving my Mom’s car. I was pulling into a parking space when the gentleman in the space next to mine backed up without looking, right into my Mom’s car. I clearly remember my brother turning to me and saying “Mom’s gonna kill you.” However it was the guy’s fault. Fast forward to December 1988. I was driving my Rabbit home after just getting a brake job. I stopped for a red light in front of the fire station. The guy behind me did not. This totaled the car. Four months later at a stop light in my brand new Nissan I was hit by a car whose brakes failed. In 2000 I rear-ended another guy when I misjudged the distance. When the cop asked me what happened I said it was all my fault. He was so stunned by my honesty that I did not get a ticket. My car was fine and he had some rear bumper damage.

4.) SPECIAL BONUS QUESTION! Recall for us your most memorable drive-in experience. Well once I went to a drive-in on the way back from Canada with my not yet husband, but the most memorable was way before that. Our local drive-in in White River Junction, VT had a family of very obese skunks. I remember sitting outside on a quilt with my friend watching the skunk go under our car. I gleefully went to the open window and told my brother that there was a skunk under the car. It was great fun watching him blanche. Generally the skunks never needed to spray. People would panic and toss their food at the skunks.

There you go, way too much information about me and my life with cars.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Quiet Time

For the past two months Max and Rebecca have no longer been taking naps. They used to take a 1-3 hour nap every afternoon. We would tell their older brothers that it is "quiet time." Now it is nada, zip, zero, nothing.

I really miss those naps. I’m not one of those super moms that can do all sorts of amazing things while her children sleep. Instead I nap too. If I’m really motivated I start a load of dishes. There is nothing nicer than to stretch out in the mid-afternoon and get a little shut eye. I’d tuck the twins in their cribs, give a sleepy wave and stagger off to bed.

I have a tendency to stay up late at night. Puttering about the house and enjoying the relative quiet. Unfortunately most days I have to get up around 6:30 am in order to get the older two up and out for the bus. So I really need to nap.

Now I have to content myself with being half asleep on the couch while Max and Rebecca buzz about. They could still use a nap. Both of them are quite ragged by the end of the day and are very easily frustrated.

Yesterday I sprawled on the couch after we picked up all of the train tracks and trains from the living room floor. I set a timer and vegged out. In my drowsy state I noticed it was quite, maybe too quiet. I got up to investigate and found the downstairs still neat and tidy. How odd I thought to myself. Next I went to their room. There I found them, fast asleep in their new beds.

I hope this means that naps are back.

Nah, that is too much to hope for. At least they like their beds.

Monday, February 21, 2005

American Dream Revisited

Here is a picture of Oscar and his wife Pam on the big day.

Oscar and Pam Posted by Hello

Larry took this afterwards. I think Oscar looks very happy and Pam is very proud.

Jake's Take on Terrorism

Jake is my oldest child

Jake Posted by Hello
He is eight years old and is in third grade. At lunch today he told me how he defined a terrorist to one of his friends. During recess Jake used the word terrorist. His friend did not know what it meant. Jake informed him that “...a terrorist is somebody who just thinks everyone else should die and they like to have their picture taken.”

You know he’s got a point.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Behold the Power of Chocolate

Rebecca loves chocolate. It was one of her first words (that and donut). She enjoys chocolate in all its forms. And I have discovered that it can be a powerful motivator.

For quite some time Rebecca has had issues with her bowels. Oh, she is perfectly fine and healthy. She just believes that girls, namely her, don’t poop. This philosophy resulted in misery for us all. She changed from a smiley, happy child to a tearful, screaming creature. She drinks plenty of water. Her dairy intake is not excessive. It is not her diet in general. She naturally loves vegetables; broccoli is one of her favorites.

There is a bar/restaurant that Meryl and I occasionally go to. Max always gets a grilled cheese sandwich and Rebecca gets a side of broccoli. The staff is very accommodating and spilt Max’s fries between his and Rebecca’s plates back in the kitchen. But for Rebecca it really is all about the broccoli. The first time we ordered it we were stunned when it came out. It was a huge stalk, bright green and perfectly steamed. Meryl and I thought, mistakenly, that Rebecca would eat some and Meryl would get the rest. No dice. Rebecca in the end ate most of it, only grudgingly allowing Meryl a few small bites.

But I digress.

When it is time for her to poop she tenses up and refuses to go. We tried various over the counter remedies to no avail. I even consulted with her pediatrician who prescribed a laxative. It helped some, but it was not a solution. The. Girl. Just. Would. Not. Go.

One day in desperation, as she stood there tense and crying, I blurted out “If you go poop I’ll give you some chocolate.”

This got her attention. The tears paused as she repeated the magic word “Chocolate?!”

Later in the day her attitude seemed to change. After more tears, a flushed and very smelly child walked up to me and said “Chocolate?”

After a quick change I granted her wish. For the next few days I would remind her in the morning and it worked. I got my smiley, happy little girl back.

I no longer remind her daily, but if she gets that look and refuses to let herself go I gently remind her of her reward. Yes, I feel conflicted. I am bribing my child to poop. But it is worth it. Sometimes she forgets to ask for her reward. At most she gets two Hershey's kisses a day.

The older boys are understanding. They remember the misery. So they, generally, do not hound me for candy. Max is a little harder. We worked out that if he goes in the potty then he can have a chocolate. This seems to satisfy him. He is not as obsessed with chocolate as his twin and is content in knowing he can earn a chocolate too.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Maybe it's not so horrible after all

I did a little experiment yesterday with Rebecca’s bed. I made it up with the horrible blanket. Once I was done I carefully replaced all her toys and books on top of her bed. All day she was in and out of her room with nary a comment. At the end of the day with brushed teeth and jammies on she scrambled onto her bed.

Then it happened. While sitting on her bed she looked down.

“Hey, no like!” she pouted while pointing to the blanket. She then folded her arms and scowled at me.

I told her to hold on and continued readying Max for bed. She then started playing with her treasure box.

When I was done with Max I could see she was no longer concerned about the blanket. So kissed them both good night, turned off the overhead light and closed the door after I left the room.

In the morning the not so horrible blanket was still on the bed. Success!

The quilt, however, remains on the chair.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Thursday Three

These are my answers to the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three post-Valentine’s edition.
I only elected to do three of the nine proffered. You can see the rest over at Possumblog.

1.) A card, a fancy home cooked meal and a homemade cake with chocolate icing and raspberry butter cream filling.

2.) The one I remember most clearly started off badly. I made reservations at a fancy restaurant for Larry and I. When we arrived (on time!) they claimed we had cancelled our reservation. I was furious! They tried to mollify me with an inferior table in the casual dining section, but I refused it. Instead I demanded the phone book and used a pay phone to call up our favorite Chinese restaurant. Turned out they could seat us right away. We ended up having a lovely meal for far less money.

3.) A weekend at a B&B or The Jefferson with my hubby and without children.

American Dream

Last night I was up late baking muffins for my husband to take to work.

Yesterday was a very important day for one of my husband’s co-workers.

Oscar is a great guy. He is fun to be around and is willing to play endless (to me) games of soccer with the kids. His wife Pam is witty with a wicked sense of humor. They are a fun couple to have over. The biggest plus is that they are not overwhelmed by our lively brood.

Oscar came to the US from Turkey. He came to Texas and earned his PhD, met Pam (a true Texan blonde) and married her. He then moved to Virginia where he works for the commonwealth. It’s a good job that actually utilizes his degree. He and his wife have bought a house and live well.

But for him his American dream was not complete. About two months ago he passed his US citizenship exam. My husband called home from work to tell me he would be a bit late coming home. He wanted to take Oscar out for a beer in celebration. My response was no! He should come here for dinner! So Oscar and Pam came to our home to have veal picata, asparagus and a lovely apple tart. Of course the younger members of this household would have no truck with this grownup fare so they got dino-nuggets and ice cream. We even cleaned up the dining room, brought out our wedding china and the family silverware. Max and Rebecca were overwhelmed at first with all the fancy trappings, but they soon warmed up to the idea when Oscar and Pam arrived.

Yesterday Oscar officially became a US citizen. I wish I could have been there, but at least my husband was.

I was born an American and I am proud to be one. But Oscar chose to be an American. I am honored to know someone like Oscar. He left his native country to come here and become a citizen of the United State of America.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Gone to the dogs

Last night we watched the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. The older boys, Jake and Nate, were excited and wanted to see the dachshunds on TV. We let them stay up to watch, then trundled them off to bed.

They were interested in the dachshunds because we have three, Rally, Crunch and John. All three are standard (the big ones) smooth (shorthaired) dachshunds.

Rally is the oldest and will be 13 in April.

Rally and Crunch Posted by Hello

She is a black and tan with the sleekest fur, though the tan is all fading to grey now. She is the smartest of the trio and regularly manipulates Crunch, a much bigger dog, to get what she wants.

Crunch is a retired show dog that is a finished champion. Here is a win photo from his prime.

Crunch at the National in 1999 Posted by Hello

He is also a Field Champion and has an Earthdog title. This means he looks like a proper dachshund and can perform like one too. Both my husband and I handled him to all his titles. He is six months younger than Rally and is red with a white face now.

John is Crunch’s son and his first birthday will be in May. I have already shown him in the ring
and the field.

John at his first show Posted by Hello

He shows great promise in both.

I’ll probably never be a big time breeder of dachshunds, but I do enjoy having them underfoot and showing them in the ring and in the field.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

It's hard to be three

My two youngest children are boy girl twins, Max and Rebecca.
They are three years old and it is very hard.

Aren't we cute Posted by Hello

For example, this past weekend we removed the cribs from their room and put in their new beds. There was much happiness and excitement. We had been looking at beds and talking about this momentous occasion for the past two weeks. They were primed and ready. I put some sheets on their beds from our large collection, helicopters and trucks for Max’s bed and the moon and the stars for Rebecca. All was fine. They curled up on top of their sheets and went right to sleep. Hubby and I were amazed.

The next day I took Max and Rebecca shopping for their own sheets, blankets and quilts. The sheets were quick, Dora for Rebecca and Spiderman for Max. The blankets and quilts were a bit more problematic. After a great deal of dithering we settled on a navy blue blanket for Max. “Just like (big brother) Jake!” he said with a smile. His quilt is a patchwork of red white and blue. Max was so pleased that he insisted on carrying the quilt itself. Mind you the folded quilt was almost as big as Max. Rebecca picked out a beige blanket that looks lovely with the red and tan quilt she had selected.

Back home I washed the new blankets and quilts. When it was time to make the beds that was when the drama and trauma began. “Nooooooooooo! Do not put on my bed!” wailed Max. He frantically tugged at the now offending quilt and blanket. He howled for a good half hour until we settled on folding the horrible things back to the foot of his bed. Rebecca was worse. She was inarticulate with rage. All I remember are high pitched shrieks of “No, No, No!” She was much more effective in her removal of the offending bedding. With a great flourish she hurled the quilt to the floor. The blanket was harder to remove and was wadded up on her bed. After an hour we settled on the quilt staying on the chair and the blanket on the footboard. At the end of Rebecca’s performance Max quietly walked up to me politely asked me “Make my bed up like Jake.”

Monday, February 14, 2005


Welcome to my little corner. Here you will learn about my family (large), my dogs (short) and the ensuing silliness which is always at full volume.

I live in Virginia with my husband Larry, our four children, three dogs, two enormous goldfish and one snail. Our home is very full and very loud, hence the name. I stay at home with this crowd and try to maintain a little bit of order. Oh, and I like to bake. The picture of me is at my brother's wedding where I made the cake. It was stressful, but fun.

Hope you come back for more.