Saturday, June 18, 2011

Great Danes


1)  Big dogs not prone to biting
2)  Big hearts wanting to please their owners
3)  Big protectors just by sheer size alone
4)  Pretty laid back personalities
5)  Pretty goofy personalities when they get going
6)  Primarily a puppy until they are two
7)  Fairly clean dogs without a lot of hair care required
8)  Comedic timing


1)  Big poops
2)  In the middle of the street while neighbors are watching (see item #8 above)

Yep.  Bentley had been let out the back door to do his nightly "chores"... came back inside, whined at front door.  I thought about it, I'm trying to get into the best shape possible for my VERY BIG DAY in three weeks so another little walk would not kill me.  It was 11:15 PM.

We were about 1/4 mile away and he stopped. 

He sniffed.

He hunched.

Did I mention GREAT danes have GREAT BIG POOPS?!??!?!

So, we started back for home because I did not have poop bags with me.  A few neighbors were out.  Said hello to me.  I'm the new girl in neighborhood and only one with a dane... and dane sized poop.

I think it was their way of saying, "Somebody's watching you!"

Bentley walked in the front door, greeted G-man with his "rawr rawr rawr rawr rawr rawr rooooo...." while I snatched some bags.

Finding great dane poop in the middle of the night is not as easy as it sounds...

But rest easy, fair neighbors, find it we did.  Bentley was so proud.

"Look Mom!!  Lookie what I can do!  Rawr rawr rawr rawr rawr rawr roo...."

Friday, June 17, 2011


Dear Dad,

This weekend we will celebrate Father's Day in as grand a fashion as you can handle.  Your health, while still not stabilized, controls everything that we do together now.  So, before we start down the highway to the local resort town on the river, and eat great food, I want to take you down my best memories of the greatest father ever.

My earliest memory of you is the day you brought Duchess home.  I'd been dragging that red bodied, yellow eared mess of a flop toy around for 3 years, I think you told me once.  I'd drag it to Steve's basketball games, and downstairs to see your mom who lived with us.  It slept with me at night and when at school, it topped the whilrling on wheels toy chest.  Mom, Steve, Mike and you went away for the day before I got up, leaving me behind.  I was crushed... until you came home with a 1 lb dachshund puppy named Duchess.  If you and Mom were king and queen, Steve, Mike and I the princes and princess, then our beloved new pup was the Duchess.  Did you always know my DNA was part canine?  For Duchess and I soon became inseparable unless you were home, in which case your lap was the preferred location.

I remember all those years of you waking up before 7 or 8 to watch cartoon on tv with me.  You'd have been out with Mom the night before but you were always up with me to see if the gang on "Land of the Lost" would finally make it out of inner Earth and the sleestaks would leave them alone; or we'd watch Scooby Doo (my first great dane love, btw).  You'd watch for a few hours, then attend to the house.  Remember that day you were using a blow torch to get the paint off our house in Duluth and almost fell off the ladder?  Or the time you were using some other piece of equipment and got severe CO poisoning?  We walked for blocks to get air back into you.  We'd walk up and down 30th and Hawthorne trying to get you to breathe right and finally, you did.  I also remember how after cartoons and house chores, you'd find time to use your arthritic hands to play catch with me, bare handed and I wailed the ball toward you unaware of how painful that must have been for you to catch.

I remember all the road trips we took together.  You'd haul me all over the states to meet customers, eat dinner in fancy restaurants (the ketchup on fine steak in Chicago should probably be a secret, eh???).  You'd leave me with money to shop with at the mall nearby where I'd walk, unaware that in today's society, we could not do that with our children.  Remember that time my kidney had failed and you had to give me some really nasty tasting bug crap to clean me out before I had those really ucky tests?  As I cried, you said never again... and you were right.

As I grew up, Duchess died, you got me Gretchen.  As I grew up, I saw less and less of you because Mother Motorola and that d-bag forced you to leave 5 days a week.  BUT come Friday, you were mine.  I remember all the times you'd play Monopoly or Scrabble or Sorry or Life with me; or take me to band concerts,or buy me new reeds, or take me to Bismarck so that I could escape the country living you'd had to move to for work.  I remember how you'd try to find a way for me to leave Mandan as I was hated there, and I hated it too... teenage days be damned anyway.  I remember you taking me back to Minnesota to see different aspects of civilization again - concerts, malls, awesome food!

I remember moving away and back to Minnesota for school.  Mom had tears in her eyes leaving me at school but you gave me a big hug and said, "Go get 'em!!!" with a broad smile so proud and so wide, that I knew you had faith in me.  When Austin was born and subsequently died, you were there first.  After Garret was born, you taught him how to crawl and how to walk and how to like Spamburgers. 

Now it is us who help take care of you and are deeply concerned for you.  It is us that are reminded of what a great man you are and have always been.

Last week when you said it was so hard to have your three caregivers exhausted from what is going on with your failing body, I heard you laugh loudly and long when I said, "Quite frankly, if it makes it easier for you to relieve the stress of how much this affects us, just remember, I don't give two shits about your health!"

And you laughed.  And then you laughed some more.  And then you said, "Ahhh, PJ, only you could do that for me."

Well, Dad, it's because I was raised by the only man who could have stood by my side through thick and thin, hard times and not so, who is the only man that I know has always, no matter what, loved me, and always made me laugh... loudly, and long.

So, on this Father's Day, all I can say is:

"Thank you."

And Dad?

I love you.

Forever, and ever, and ever...


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Erm. About That ...

personal training I signed up for.  The one where I asked to have my butt kicked because toned and tanned is far more sexy to me, than pasty white and saggy (I'm 46 almost 47, it happens!!)

Met my new trainer last night.  Had jumped on alpine trail of treadmill for 25 mins before he was supposed to show up, huffed and puffed up "hills", washed my machine down, and then waited.  And waited.

Front desk said he was going to be late.  I said I was not sure how good that was for a first time meeting.  The kind front desk young woman politely stated, the company gave me the best (/flex!!) and to give him a chance.  While I waited she said he's a firefighter and is often called upon.

He showed up.  Carrying a gallon of water and backwards facing cap.

"Great," I thought inside, "just great."

Sitting on the bench, discussing what I was looking for, he said, "Oh man, have I got dirt on you now!!"  Broadly smiling, poking fun at me, he said, "You're going to hate me.  I don't care.  You're going to tell me to eff off.  I don't care about that either.  You're going to swear each time I ask you to push for a bit further and then collapse and hardly walk.  I don't care about that either.  BUT in a few weeks when you hold those chicken wings up you call arms and they no longer flap in the wind, you're gonna love me; when you climb to Base Camp 1 with Peter Hillary in September, you're gonna love me."

Yep, he was worth waiting for... now to find some boxing gloves (he's a former UFC fighter in peak condition) and to find a way to say buh bye to Propel... the only water I can drink in large quantities.

(Edit here:

He saved a man's life back in February at the club.  My trainer is an EMT and firefighter.  Guy had been exercising, and fell over after walking a few feet away.  Had my trainer not been there, the man would have died.

This is ALL good news for me.  At least I know if I pass out, fall over, he can kick my butt AND save my life at the same time!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another Forum - Prompted A Storm Review

It still hurts... not second by second, but when I reread the posts from a year ago, I still mourn his loss.

I know I'm not supposed to, he was "just a dog" and yet to me, and to my son, he was more than "just a dog."  Storm was ... and then words fail me.

Storm was my soul. 

I poured everything I had into him - my last bits of money, my time, my energy, my love.  I'm FURever grateful for the vets that helped me heal him up (and would still love to sue the idiot who made terrible decisions last October - should not carry DVM on the end of her name, worse was the battle ax at front desk... /rant off).

Bentley is with us now... the heartmender.  And while he does not claim my soul, he definitely has my heart.  He "talks" to me each morning... rawr rawr rawr rawr rawr rawr roooo... then bumps me silly with his butt... nuzzling me for attention and loving.  He sneaks on my bed like Storm used to do, he sits on my lap like... he prances a bit too and one time, I caught my son smiling broadly for he saw "it" too... the way Storm... and then our eyes water, for Bentley is a love, a heartmender, but...

Life goes on with the death of a loved one.  Life moves effortlessly on for those around us...

Today, I stopped, reread my posts on Storm and it "feels" like he's right there with me again.

Damn "allergies" anyway :P

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2nd (or 3rd or 4th) Languages

Three decades ago I embarked on a German journey learning the language, culture, and history eventually getting close to fluency.  Then I found it boring and containing FAR too many letters... seriously:

kugelschreiber = pen

Having lived in North Dakota for a period of four awful years (sorry to those who live there and knew me - you know how poorly I fit in) at which time the cold war raged onward with nuclear missiles being trucked and installed all over our flat state.  With Leonid Brezhnev in power in the USSR (Union of Socialist Soviet Republics), my current affairs teacher made us learn what we could about the country things like: if a 500 megaton nuke dropped on Minot, how long we'd have to get to cover in Mandan, or how long the missiles were, or how they were launched and it all culminated in watching an extraordinarily eerie movie, "Fail Safe" ... starring Walter Mathau, Henry Fonda, Dom DeLuise, among others.

My fascination with all things Soviet started there helped, of course, by my own great grandparents who immigrated here from Moscow.

I learned Russian finding it easier than German once the obvious alphabet hurdle was overcome.  I took classes on Soviet history, arts, geography, culture, politics and became immersed in anything and everything Soviet.  Then the wall fell and the Soviet Union became Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, the "Azer, Tajik" and other bajans.

FYI, before 1989 VERY little was known about the internal books, writings, etc of USSR.  It was during Gorby's leadership that information became freely available to the rest of the world.  Anything we had in class was learned from dissident writings or immigrates who felt obligated to tell their truth.

So, today, I started learning about ASL.  As mentioned in an earlier post, I work with two individuals who are hearing impaired - always smiling and waving hello to me, I finally asked, in rudimentary sign language, if they would help me.

I now know:

Thank you.

You're welcome.


Three phrases, three small steps toward a 3rd language for my applications.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

You Know Who You Are

And thank you.

At lunch yesterday, a former colleague of mine asked why I no longer wanted to be a vice president, or why I no longer wanted to do the "grand" things I did before; and then after listening the whole story of my former life, how I survived the last 3.5 years without heavy medication or tempting Newton's Laws of gravity by jumping off a bridge.

I told her that I still believe most people are solid, still get the greater good, still understand and still have a heart.

Today, my belief was reaffirmed.  The individual has no idea how much the action meant; similar to the lady at my credit union just simply saying, "Go get your truck" ...

Step by step my life is being rebuilt thanks to a few souls who reaffirm the humanity in humans.

Thank you!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Safe For Work "'Gasm"

I have no idea how I found these but I think I had a tingly...

Now imagine what he could do with a great dane!!


Proton Therapy

Stumbling and bumbling through the internet I ran across an article on proton treatment for cancer. Instead of a rad onc using x-ray in which the beam destroys the cancerous cells as well as healthy ones, the use of protons allows for better targeting of the disease and less loss of healthy tissue.

There are only NINE proton centers in the US, 20+ internationally, and less than a handful being built. Others are under consideration.

Fascinating therapy to be sure but what I found amusing, and path-choice confirming, was the idiotic remark by a CEO:

"... the advent of protons signaled a worrisome turn in the industry..."

Yes, I'm sure. Damn humans anyway putting forth the effort to "advent protons"

Hee hee... (I'm sure it's a typo and the writer of the article, is clearly clueless about general chemistry, physics, and/or any other type of science.)

You can read the article here:

Proton Therapy

I bet the next great "discovery" will be neutrinos.  Lolololol.....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

From this:

To this:

To finally, this:

My life has evolved almost full circle and along the way stops (houses), I've learned a few things:

Easier to take care of things up front, than have the burden of overcoming years of ineptness and carelessness

Easier to meet new neighbors by having a BBQ than hope they'll stop on over with pie

And last:

it's not the size of the house, or the size of the paycheck, or the number of fancy vehicles one owns,
it is the size of the heart that counts.