Monday, May 29, 2006

He once was lost…

…but now he's FOUND! Josh is safely back at home, thank Heaven.

Guess who's dog-sitting AND housetraining a new puppy? Yes, that's right…Bethany and Kristy. We went over to Karen's 3 times on Saturday, and then yesterday, I went over there at 8:30 to feed Josh breakfast and let him out. (It was *supposed* to be "let him IN," but when we went over there on Saturday night at 11:00 p.m., it was raining so we had to leave him inside--REALLY raining, not just sprinkling, with shockingly bright lightning bolts. Oh, yeah…and I had just had my car washed a few hours earlier, thinking "It never rains in Abilene.")

So, anyway, Josh was so happy to see me and get sugar and get to "go"; he'd been holding it since 11:30 the night before. What worried me was that he would come to me on the deck step to get some affection, and then he'd run into the grass and tinkle. After he did that a couple of times (with decreasing amounts of pee each time), I was afraid he had another bladder infection. (He was recently on antibiotics for either a bladder or kidney infection--can't remember which--but it affected his bathroom habits.)

So, since it wasn't hot yet, I just decided to leave him out so he could pee to his heart's delight and then let Bethany come back before noon (when it really starts to heat up & shade disappears) to put him in. But the plan was all ashes when Bethany called and said that Josh WASN'T IN THE BACKYARD!!!

We were frantic. We went through the neighborhood calling his name, up and down every street in Lytle South SEVERAL times. We called animal control, but they were closed. We called the police non-emergency number and the policeman called the animal control guy's on-call number, but then the policeman called me back to say that they hadn't picked up any dog like Josh. He said our best bets were door-to-door queries and flyers.

So Bethany and I made 40 flyers and put them up all over the neighborhood.

13 year-old Golden Retriever with white muzzle named JOSHUA.
Please call Please call 660-**** or 660-**** or 660-****! Bless you for trying to help us find our old friend…

As Mom drove slowly up and down each block, Bethany would hop in & out, stapling flyers to each and every pole; by the time the Staple Gun Queen had plastered the community, we only had six left to take with us door to door. Now it was Bethany's turn to drive, and Mom's turn to hop in and out. One lady HAD seen him in her front yard, but the rest of the people were washouts. (One man told me that he knew Josh, but hadn't seen him because he was too busy "babysitting the tv" since the Indianapolis 500 was on, followed by the Coke Something-or-Other race.) Some people wouldn't even come to the door, even though I could hear them inside! (My theory on that is that they saw the flyer in my hand and thought it said "LOST?" instead of "LOST!")

Sunburned, hot, and exhausted, we finally gave up around 5:00. (I'd already called the Tech Team at church and told them that I couldn't make it to the 3:30 training.) We hid Karen's lawn mower in the garage and propped open her fence door...just in case Josh decided to give up The Great Escape and come home.

Two hours later--and SEVEN hours after this whole ordeal began--we got the call. A man said that Josh was at the corner of Cornell & Purdue and that he seemed hurt. We were on our way!! Bethany beat me there and was shocked that the man actually took the $20 reward (we both agreed that we would have turned it down). We tried in vain to lift Josh into the back of my Tribute so Bethany just walked him the rest of the way home. We gave him lots of water and lots of love and agreed that Karen and Houston could go get all 34 flyers out of the neighborhood when they got home on Monday.

However, after our phones kept ringing with questions and congratulations, we decided that we'd better take them down asap. Bethany had a brainstorm--Joe was coming over later to see May Bee, but after that, they could remove all the signs and "decorate" Karen's house with them when she went over to let Josh out for the night. Mike and I fortified our two favorite vandals with chocolate milkshakes and they were off on their mission like Ninjas of the Night.

I'll bet Bethany's happy she spent Memorial Day weekend in Abilene…Szechuan with Pokey, movies with friends, the guy she struck dumb at Hasting's (I swear to you--he took one look at her and lost the ability to speak), vandalizing her aunt's house, backrubs & Green Jeans & watching Shaun of the Dead & Amelie with Mom, the Josh Adventure, taking the puppy out at 2:30 a.m., and Buffalo Wild Wings with Karen.

Life is so wonderful…thank you, God, for my beautiful daughters, happy dogs, a library full of books, and for more blessings than I can begin to count!!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe...

Want to see May Bee, the new puppy?

I have until Monday to give my answer on whether we're keeping her or not...which is why the school secretary suggested the name "Maybe."

The more I think about it, though, the more I adore the name "May Bee," and here are a FEW of the reasons why:

*I loved the tv show Arrested Development (even though I only saw it a handful of times) and it had a 14 year-old character named Maeby F√ľnke who was very cool.

*She came to live with us in May.

*I just read a book about a beagle named Bea that I've been telling everyone to read. (It was a true story about a beagle, a runaway lab animal, who was rescued by the author, Kristin von Kreisler...who never dreamed that Bea would rescue her right back. See for more info and a cool audio link.)

*Plus, she's a girl...a little Queen Bee! (Oh, and Bethany has always laughed at how the Bee Girl from the Blind Melon video is my Mini-Me.)

* Because of Mayberry's "Aunt Bee" on the Andy Griffith Show. I even bought her cookbook back in the '90s!

*"Misha" and "May Bee" just sound cool together.

*Oh, and she's a Texan, so she NEEDS two names...Ruby Fay, Betty Sue, etc.!

Yeah...I think we're keeping her...maybe...

Update #1: Mike says I have to post that Misha will ALWAYS be Queen Bee around here! ;-)

Update #2: May Bee has had 4 accidents in the house...and only 3 of them were liquid, if you know what I mean. (One of them--the liquid kind, thank goodness--happened ON a houseguest last night! Marty was showing us online video of himself running with the bulls in Pamplona, but when the Windows Media Player came on, it was WAY too sounded like the bulls and people were barreling through our computer room! We ALL jumped and I scrambled for the speaker control...and May Bee piddled on Renee's white capri pants.)

Update #3: We have a huge half-acre lot; our backyard is flat and sun-baked and enormous...and yet, somehow, May Bee found the only mutilated bird wing contained in this giant space. She gnawed on it until I pried it from her clamped puppy teeth. Ick. Ick. They don't make an anti-bacterial soap strong enough to get the feeling of bird blood and gristle and puppy spit off your hands...

Update #4: Make it 5 accidents in the house. I just finished mopping the kitchen. Thankfully, Sunday Baroque was on so it was almost enjoyable. Oh, and May Bee tried to nurse this morning, but Misha was having NONE of that. ;-)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Okay, Flickr is plumb addictive. I've been playing on it off and on all day as I obsessively-compulsively check my Inbox to see if either one of my daughters has sent me a Mother's Day message yet. (Not yet.) My Flickr URL isn't ready to reveal since only two photo sets are uploaded. Keep checking back...

Hey, have you ever heard of the "corpse flower" plant? The Titan Arum, or amorphophallus titanum, comes from Sumatra, can be up to 12 feet tall, and its odiferous bloom (which smells like a decaying body) draws carrion-eating insects to the plant, thereby helping to pollinate it. (Head to: and choose the "Listen" link to hear more.)

Well, IMHO, Misha and I may be on the brink of a new botanical discovery. The last three or four times we have run through the area of Red Bud Park I generously call "The Grove" (about 8 mesquite trees and their patchy shade), I have been *overwhelmed* by the smell of URINE. The first time this happened, I thought someone had let their Great Dane (or pony) pee all over this thirty-foot stretch of track. The second time it happened, I thought maybe it was kids who come hang out at the park at night. Today, however, when the Wonder Lab and I walked/jogged our three miles, it dawned on me that there might be some new kind of undiscovered "Pampers Plant" that grows at the base of mesquite trees.

Just think--if WE discover it, we get to name it! I'm mulling over a few names, just in case...urinius titanus, numerus unum americana, Texas Tinkle Weed, and a few others are rattling around in my noggin. We'll keep you posted...

Thank you, God, for mothers! Happy Mother's Day to all the happy moms out there!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Uh, oh. It's Puzzle Day!

Did you ever hear the comedian Brian Regan describe the morning a kid wakes up remembering that his Science project is due that day...and how his head POPS off his pillow? It's hilarious...and it happened to me today.

At 6:00 a.m. (an hour later than I usually sleep), my head came up OFF my pillow as I recalled that the Ohio judge who usually types up and distributes the NPR puzzle had asked me to sub for him today...but that he hadn't sent me a template like he *ALWAYS* does. I've filled in for him quite a few times over the last few years, and he's ALWAYS sent me a template! (I once told him that it was appreciated, but not necessary so I guess he took me at my word this week.) A search of every email Inbox I own proved fruitless so after feeding the dog and me some breakfast, I got right down to work finding a blank tape, setting up the tape recorder, finding the template Richard sent me back in March (the last time I subbed), searching my hard drive for my login and password to Topica Lists, creating my own template with new pertinent information, etc., and pretty soon I was transcribing Liane Hansen & Will Shortz as fast as my fingers could type.

So, anyway, here's what went out to NPR puzzle fans around the world this morning.

Synopsis of
NPR Weekend Edition puzzle
with Liane Hansen and Will Shortz

The Current Challenge (given 20060430): from
From Merl Reagle: Take the word formaldehyde. Rearrange its 12 letters to spell two shorter words that are uncapitalized and very common. Each one has just one syllable. Not counting a slight variation, we think the answer is unique. What words are they?

The answer Will and Merl expected were the words RHYMED and then either LOAFED or FOALED. Liane, who was back this week (hooray!) after a three-week hiatus, reported over 1,400 entries.

The on-air player was Derek Tier (phonetic), a retired research engineer from Grantham, New Hampshire who has been sending in entries since 1998. From where he lives, Derek can listen to NPR stations in five different states; he is a member of several stations, including WGBH in memory of Julia Child and Robert J. Lurtsema ( ).

For the on-air puzzle, Will brought familiar phrases and titles, all of which take the form: "BLANK on the BLANK." Will gives the end of the phrase, and the player must come up with the start. For example, if Will said CAKE, the answer would be ICING to make the phrase ICING on the CAKE. (As a hint, Will says the answer will always be a noun.)

CLUES (answers are near the end of this message):
1. cob
2. wall
3. range
4. floss
5. wrist
6. Nile
7. bounty
8. spot
9. Mount
10. roof
11. hearth
12. Rhine
13. wild side
14. River Kwai
15. Orient Express
16. half-shell
(two-word answers for the next two clues)
17. block
18. prairie

The Current Challenge (given 20060507):
From listener Mike Rice of Los Angeles: Take two words that go together to make a familiar phrase in the form "BLANK AND BLANK." Both words are plurals (like "bells and whistles"). Move the first letter of the second word to the start of the first word, and you'll get two new words that name forms of transportation. What are they?

Answers must be received by 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday.
One one entry per person. NPR will no longer receive entries by
email. Entries must now be made at the web page:

No word yet on whether regular mail POSTCARD entries will be accepted.
NPR's address is:
Weekend Edition Sunday Puzzle
National Public Radio
635 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Guest editor’s notes from Kristy Fowler Coker:

Thanks to Richard for letting me type up this week’s synopsis as he enjoys a family gathering in beautiful San Francisco! I'll try to keep my jealousy to a minimum and just focus on sending out a quality synopsis.

Liane also was in San Francisco recently and, while there, visited station KQED. She was also at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, which she likened to a "prom" for journalists and politicians. She admitted that she was "dressed to the nines," and joked that "for someone in radio, that's really hard."

Serendipitous links, suggested by today’s on-air puzzle:

If Neal Conan and Liane Hansen were at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, they must have heard the now-infamous speech by comedian Stephen Colbert...who insists that he didn't bomb, but that the audience simply maintained a "very respectful silence." You can see sixteen minutes of the performance here: .

You can read many of George Eliot's novels online, including her 1860 _The Mill on the Floss_, at:

TWO of today's on-air puzzle answers were books by Agatha Christie. Many speculate that Christie once faked her own kidnapping in hopes that her husband would be charged. (He had just asked her for a divorce, admitting that he was in love with a younger woman.) Her second husband, an archaeologist, was apparently a much better match; Christie once claimed, "An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her." :-)

Have a great week, NPR puzzle fans!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Editor's notes:

Puzzles, and contents of Weekend Edition/Sunday puzzle segment
are copyrighted 2006, by Will Shortz and NPR. Reprinted here with

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

If you'd like to subscribe to these synopses (and receive them
free each week), send a blank email from your email account to:
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If you want to remove your address from the list, send a blank
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To change the email address of your subscription, remove the old
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or, for more information about the Topica mailing service, visit:

NPR posts the weekly challenge (and the previous answer) on its
World Wide Web page. Go to , and "select" Weekend
Edition Sunday from the drop-down combo box to the right of the
big npr in the top left corner. You can also pick up a recording
of Weekend Edition Sunday program in the Real Audio format, after
1:00 p.m. Eastern time each Sunday. In the alternative, for the
text of the weekly listener challenge and a photo of Will and
Liane, you can go directly to:
Podcasts are available at:
How do I subscribe to this podcast?
Copy the URL [above this paragraph] into your preferred
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National Puzzlers League:
From: elaine , The 2005 meeting will be in
the Los Angeles area.

The NPR puzzle Web page also has links to books edited by Will
Shortz, a Will Shortz bio, and these links:
World Scrabble Championship
American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
It references a Merl Reagle article on constructing crossword
puzzles. It is available at:
World Puzzle Championship:
Register for the USA team at:
More of Yoshiyuki Kotani's puzzles are available from
More of Ed Pegg Jr.'s puzzles are available at:
Kristy Fowler Coker recommends:
You can join Kathie Schneider's email list for accessible word
and logic puzzles. To subscribe, send a blank email to:
Frank Morgan's Math Chat is at:

Richard R. Renner (r3)
New Philadelphia, Ohio

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *


1. corn
2. fly (or writing)
3. home
4. Mill
5. slap
6. Death
7. Mutiny
8. Johnny
9. Sermon
10. Fiddler
11. Cricket
12. Watch
13. walk
14. Bridge
15. Murder
16. oysters (or clams)
(two-word answers for the next two clues)
17. new kid (or New Kids)
18. Little House

Liane thanked Derek for not making her whistle the theme to _Bridge on the River Kwai_.

End of NPR Puzzle Synopsis.


Whew. Done. After all that stress, the Wonder Lab and I hit the park for a three-mile walk/run. Tonight, the kids and I have church and then dinner...and then I can come home and crash with a good book. (Doesn't that sound like a wonderful Sunday?) :-)