Saturday, July 15, 2006


I love roadtrips!
So far this summer I have been to Tom's River New Jersey [to attend an uncle's wake-- but it still counts],
State College Pennsylvania [to attend a conference; and my computer art was in an art show],
Chebeague Island Maine [July 4th getaway],
several day trips through Vermont [with a friend who also loves road trips].

When I was a kid, my mother and step-father took us to Lavalette New Jersey every summer for two weeks.
And we also roadtripped out to Montreal for Expo '67 [when my half-sister wasn't even a year old!]

My dad's road trips were more expansive.
He took me to Lake George New York, every place where George Washington slept in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Washington DC, to see my cousins in Greenville South Carolina, Manhattan in New York City, Lancaster Pennsylvania, and various little lakes, zoos, and other areas of interest.
My mother didn't care for airplanes but my dad did.
We also had various plane trips to places like: Montreal back in '68, Bermuda [pink sand!], Aruba and Curacao.

When my maternal grandparents acquired their dairy farm in their retirement and pre-driving,
I used to road-trip there on the Continential Trailways bus.
My mother would pack me a sack of lunch and snacks.
I'd pack my clothes up.
And off I would go for two weeks.

Later, though I drove,
I went to Valdosta Georgia on a bus to see a good friend
who had just had a baby.
My dad wanted to send me on the airplane
but I decided that I would rather take the bus.

That was when I was young before
the days when I learned about swollen ankles.

Where've you been on a road trip?


Friday, July 07, 2006


In the entirely too recent past, I had the occasion to spend some time with a certain four-legged family member which-- fortunately for both of us-- does not share my customary domicile. The daemon dawg is a mottled terrier who has perfected terrorist acts to the utmost. Said dawg did succeed in biting me once, for which I immediately beat her. She did not bite me ever again. She bit husband once and since he did not respond with flogging, she lived to bite him again. In the recent past, I witnessed her constant yapping AND growling at her human companion.

The daemon dawg is not my personal nickname for the beastie. Rather, those who are her human neighbors came up with the moniker. It does indeed fit. At the risk of raising the ire of a certain organization which believes that wolves at wildlife tourism attractions should have dog houses, I shall state unequivocally that the daemon dog needs the yanking of both vocal cords and fangs.

I myself am keeper of dogs, cats, fish, and frogs. Lover of canines that I am, I do not tolerate such behavior from any of my charges. If an animal becomes unmanageable for any reason, that animal needs to be corrected and trained with vigor. Neither vigor nor love is capable of fixing those genetic flaws which do display themselves from time to time in the canine population. I had loved such a dog once.

Herbie was part catahoula and part aussie shepard. He was highly intelligent, nailed obedience lessons with a quickness, and loved me. He had a fatal flaw. He was a fear biter. Once I realized the nature of his malady, Herbie had to go. I arranged for Herbie to be put to death after he bit a terrified four year old in the back of his knees, drawing blood. Herbie saw the four year old as a flash. Because he did not expect the four year old to be "there," he attacked. After it was over, Herbie returned to his usual self as if nothing happened.

The local animal shelter told me that the law of the land provided that Herbie could bite two more times drawing blood before I would be forced to put him down. I waited the necessary ten days of obligatory confinement and then Herbie was relieved permanently of his fear.

I mourned Herbie. The mourning was mixed with a curious relief-- relief that I was able to give Herbie the gift of death. Fear-biting is not something that could be trained out of a dog. Nor is it the result of environment. It just is. Herbie had it. I did the best I could for him. I did go on to give other dogs a good home and a good life.

In peace,