Monday, December 31, 2007

Another Year In the Books

A Brief year in review:

Figured it would be fitting to look back at 2007 on this Eve of 2008...

Came down with pneumonia in Jan. and spent a few days in hospital. Great way to start out the year.

Finished around 10 poodles for clients..maybe a few more. I'd have to really sit down to count them up.

Drove approx. 5ooo miles. Flew to Maryland and back.

Made more money than previous years.

Still no new show vehicle.

Able to afford staying in motels, even nicer ones than the ratty ones.

Met some very cool people along the way.

All in all...a good year. I look forward to being a bit more organized in 2008, with better tools for making life easier. (like my new Garmin Nuvi 350) I hope to find my motor home this year.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Lee's Christmas Party

Last night was Lee's big Christmas Party! The food was Excellent, as always. Tenderloin, twice-baked potatos, cucumber sandwiches, cheese tray, condiment tray, rolls, bernaise sauce, chocolate cream pies, brownies, various red wines, mead, and a champagne punch.

I think everyone had a great time..and it finally was over about 2 a.m.! Now, I start the clean-up! lol

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Past Stories

We start shopping for Christmas way before we used fact, I remember hearing from Mamoo about the Christmas Eve's spent shopping for the family gifts. They put their tree up on Christmas Eve, also. The neighborhood would get together and walk around caroling after trees were decorated, and then they went shopping downtown! Quite a difference from today's customs.

And then there was my "Chicken Pox Christmas"...I was about 10 yrs. old, and fell to the fever a week before Dec. 25. Not a stellar holiday in my memory. I spent Christmas Day covered in pink calamine lotion.

One of my own personal fav memories was a collection of years when the girls and I always went to Christmas Mass at the local Episcopal church at midnight...on the way back I'd point out Rudolph's red nose in the sky, telling them we'd better hurry and get home so they could get to bed for Santa to come! lol The "red nose" was a light at the top of a radio/tv tower off in the distance. Served it's purpose all year long keeping low-lying planes from hitting it, and then the all-important 'job" of being Rudolph on Christmas Eve...

EVERY Christmas, I'd ask Santa for a horse! EVERY year I didn't get one!!! By the time I was 8 or 9 yrs. old, I'd decided Santa just wasn't listening! One year, he brought a ping pong table..and I was not impressed at all. Staring at it on Christmas morning, thinking it should have been a horse, I overheard my Uncle Gordon telling my Dad that the table sure was hard to get through the door the night before....well, I knew then and there WHY I never got a horse for Christmas!!!! I also quit asking in following years, knowing my parents were dead set against my having a horse...I remember the year that Martha, a friend of mine, was given a Shetland pony for Christmas. A few days after Christmas I visited her to see her new pony and HATED her! Actually, it was a mean devil, and they got rid of it a few months later.

The BEST Christmas present I ever received was from my grandmother (mamoo)...a beautiful diamond and sapphire ring. I wore it until it was lost sometime in my 30's...loved that ring.

From about age 5 until I was around 9, I was the an "angel" in the First Methodist Church's annual Christmas pageant, produced and directed by my grandmother (mamoo, again)...I really wanted to be the head angel, but that honor went to my Aunt Beverly. It was fun from year to year anyway, and one year I was dressed in this beautiful red dress with a tulle skirt and red velvet sash, with a red velvet bodice dotted with little rhinestones..very sparkly...and sang "Deck The Halls" as a solo. I was about 8 yrs. I still have photos of some of those productions.

Our annual Christmas Eve dinner and tree at Mamoo's every year was a highlight of the season..a formal sit-down dinner at her huge dining table, with great turkey and dressing, cooked by the old Southern black, Gussie. Oh, how she could cook! The entire family would dress up for the occasion, and arrive at her house around 5:30 p.m. Dinner would be served by 6....and her living room was closed off until after dinner, because she kept the tree and the tons of presents under it under wraps. It was SO hard to stay out of that room until after dinner! Then, after dessert, she would announce, "now, let's all go into the living room for carols and the tree"! Finally, we could go in there, with the fireplace burning, and somehow this huge room was magical on that night. We have to suffer through endless carols, while she played the grand piano for us, and a few years I was MADE to sing Silent Night from the balcony overlooking the living room. I hated doing that. At last, she'd say, "son, will you be our Santa?"...and the next hour was spent ripping through wrapping and boxes. At the end, we'd all have out little pile of gifts from her to carry out to our cars to get home "before the real Santa came". It was sad when she stopped her annual dinner, as she was just too old to do it anymore. A great tradition was ended.

I have wonderful memories of Christmas past....when I was a girl....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Kansas Snow Storm

A HUGE snow storm walloped out area on Friday!!! I'd estimate we got around 10" at my house with Much deeper drifts (in the 2-3 foot range). Of course I don't have any real snowboots, so walking in the stuff is an exercise in futility. I went out yesterday to sweep the snow off of my van and sunk way down into a drift getting to it! BRRRR Snow all up my pant legs and into my shoes. It will take most of the week to melt off. Yuck.

When I was a girl, I used to beg the weatherman for snow down in Texas where I lived, especially around Christmas. A *white* Christmas was my hope every year. (never happened) Now, I wish for the opposite..NO snow! lol

If I had a 4-wheel drive vehicle, I might not mind it as much. But, I don't, and get stuck up here on my hill every time it snows. If I had one of those nifty snowblowers, I wouldn't mind it as much.

This is the ONLY time of year I'd rather be back in Texas.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Football Tragedy

I'm a huge football fan. I watch as many games as I have time for, both college and pro games. You'd have to be a slug living under a rock not to be aware of the death of the Redskins Sean Taylor last week, after a home invasion during the night at his home in Miami. Four young men have been arrested and charged with his murder. Two of the young men knew Sean and figured his house would be an easy target, since he'd be up in Maryland playing a game that day. They figured wrong, since he was home with an injury. I don't now why one of them kicked in his bedroom door and fired two shots into the room before fleeing, but one of the shots hit Sean in the upper leg, hitting his femoral artery. He lost massive amounts of blood and died the next day after 7 hours of surgery to try and save his life. His girlfriend and 18 mos. old daughter were also in the bedroom, sleeping when all this occured, and were unhurt.

Yesterday, the Redskins played at their home field and the entire day was an emotional drain on everyone involved, with moving tributes to Sean throughout the day. Afterwards, the entire Redskin organization flew to Miami for his funeral to be held tomorrow. 24

Sean Taylor was a 24 yr. old football player who had his entire life ahead of him. He never guessed that some of the people he knew would target his home for a robbery and end up killing him. It is a a sad fact of life that sometimes one has to be careful of those around us, as it is those very people that can make us a target. I'm sure every sports figure is being extra cautious now as a result of Sean's death.

It makes me sad. When my own home was broken into a few years ago, it was two of my young neighbors that did it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Want my Christmas "Made in USA"

Lately I've become aware of just how many of our consumer goods are "made in China" and subject to serious implications for our health. As a result of the latest round of recalls for finding lead in toys, I have decided to start checking the labels of anything I purchase and only buying those items that are made anywhere else BUT China.

When I mentioned this to a check-out lady the other day at a store, she commented that I wasn't the only one she had heard that sentiment from. So, I'm not alone in this thinking. Will it make any difference? Maybe...if enough of us revolt against goods not made here, but in a cheap out-sourced factory whereby a higher profit margin is more important than consumer safety.

Even some of the high priced designer labels are having their famous goods made by the Chinese. There is an excellent article about this online at the New York Times website.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Who *IS* Jack and other Halloween trivia

Ever wonder why we carve up pumpkins for Halloween?? Here is one answer I found from the Yahoo Q and A pages:

"Pumpkin carving, like Halloween, came from the Celts. The carved pumpkin with a light inside was supposed to ward off evil spirits. The celts however, not having pumpkins, had to use their smaller, less tasty (and much harder to carve) cousin, the turnip.
Carved pumpkins/turnips are sometimes called Jack o' Lanterns from the ancient Irish legend. Jack was a smart, lazy, gambling, selfish lad who, when he died, was not even accepted into Hell. Instead, the devil gave him a pumpkin/turnip with a burning coal inside to light his way as he wandered round the earth."

Apparently, the whole Halloween thing originated from an old Celtic tradition, where children dressed up as fairies and went door to door begging for treats (and performing tricks if they did not receive any). As an old Pagan tradition, the Catholic Church borrowed it for a Feast of it's own, making it the eve before All Saint's Day. It migrated to our shores with Irish immigrants, was hijacked by Americans and turned into another excuse for retailers to make moola.

It used to be a night reserved mostly for kids, but over the past couple of decades as become a major adult event...with just as many costumes and party stuff aimed at the older crowd as it is towards children.

I think it is interesting that many Christians today believe it to be a "demonic" cultural event, given that it had some religious roots in Europe. A recent survey reports that 55% of conservatives will allow their kids to "trick or treat" compared with 76% of liberals.
Ok, it *did*have a connection to "spirits and witches" being particularly effective on this day in old Celtic lore, but it also has a Christian tradition attached to it, also...

from Wikipedia:
"It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions,[2] until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13 to November 1. In the ninth century, the Church measured the day as starting at sunset, in accordance with the Florentine calendar. Although All Saints' Day is now considered to occur one day after Halloween, the two holidays were, at that time, celebrated on the same day. Liturgically, the Church traditionally celebrated that day as the Vigil of All Saints"

As a child, growing up, it only meant having to come up with a suitable costume and getting great candy! Heck, there was even one house on my block that gave out quarters!!!! (his was visited many times, over and over! lol) My own costume choices back then were "gypsy", "ghost", "witch" and Dad's white dress shirt over jeans. (not sure what that was supposed to be, but I thought it was cool!) Unfortunately, I was a klutz in the dark and usually managed to bung my knees up tripping on my costume over some neighbors low wall or something and I'd go flying, along with my candy bag!!! I really loved Halloween night back then. Our neighborhood was FULL of kids, we all knew each other, and all the neighbors, and went in groups to each house all around our long block.
Later, as a pre-teen, my Aunt Beverly and I would dress up as witches, decorate her house and put on an elaborate evening for all the little trick or treaters! Great fun! We had to end it when it got out of control with truckloads of kids from across town arriving in droves...we just could not keep up with the demand for candy and the sheer numbers of little ghosts and goblins at the door! That was WAY before the commercial "haunted houses", so I guess we were ahead of our time.

(sources: Yahoo, Wikipedia)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Irritating Security "letters"

Why do some people use those irritating security "letters" that one has to type into a form before their comment will be posted to someone's blog??? I hate those things.

I don't use any security moderation for my comments, and no one posts anything on my blog that is terrible.

Maybe, because no one reads my stuff? lol

Deer Me...It's that time of year again

From mid-October through November is the deer rutting season, which also means that the Bambi's are on the move more than usual. Since I've hit two of them in the past few years, it is a particularly stressful time for me to be out traveling the highways. I read in today's paper that last year there were over 9,000 vehicle/deer accidents in Kansas. It says that is a 4% increase over the previous year. Isn't that just wonderful? NOT! I'm already seeing them on the side of the road when I am driving home in early evening from the dog shows. Coming up through the southern counties of Kansas on my way home from Oklahoma, I try very hard NOT to drive at night. The past two weekends I've driven home through that part of my trip about around dusk, arriving home a bit after dark. I am white knuckled during that 2 hour part of my trip from Woodward, Ok to home.
My only other alternative, which I sometimes take, is to delay coming home until the next day after the shows, which means extra added expense for me to find a motel in which to wait out the darkness and drive more safely in the daylight.

Is there an answer to this menace? More hunters being able to take more deer each season? I dunno...I just know that they are over-populated in rural counties near me, and probably other parts of the country, as well. If you don't think they are dangerous, consider that there were 3 fatalities in Kansas last year due to deer/auto accidents on the road. Another 229 people were injured.

We need a foolproof gadget that we can install on our cars that will keep them from running towards us. Deer whistles are minimal in my opinion. We need something more that technology can provide. Can't someone invent such a device??? They'd make a ton of moola if they did!

In the meantime, get out there and bag your limit...and save a life of some motorist, save zillions in insurance claims (both health and auto), and control a population that is more of a threat to most of us than we realize. Besides, venison is wonderful when prepared correctly. Venison sausage is the very BEST!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Message Board

I have realized that over the past few weeks, that my blog, and my daughter's blogs have become sort of "message boards" for each other, in that we post what is going on in our lives, therefore, keeping up with each other sans telephone calls, emails that need to be answered, etc.!lolol
So, in that light..

I'm leaving today for Enid, Ok for show, girls...home on Sunday night. I'm carrying 9 poodles. Two of them have the shits. More than you wanted to know?? hahaha I figure if Lynn can tell us she is going to go change a "poopy diaper", I can discuss my dogs' bowel movements!!

Lee received his "Black Knight" costume yesterday in this large box. He tried it all on, and I laughed my arse off!!!! It comes complete with the arm that falls off and this huge sword...he was quite pleased with it!

ok, gotta go get dogs ready to leave or else I won't get outta here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Right Stuff

With horror stories of puppy mill rescues and arrests of whomever runs these places whereby adult dogs and puppies are kept in horrid conditions...little food, not enough water or shelter, etc. it has caused me to feel the need to rant about those "hobby" breeders, who consider themselves "above the puppy mill" and on par with the serious show breeder/exhibitor. Mainly, I'm referring to new so-called breeders, that purchase dogs from others, either as puppies or adults, and begin a "breeding program" with absolutely NO idea what they are doing. They usually take excellent care of their dogs, limit their numbers, but breed every bitch they own as much as they can.

These people think that because they've attended a few dog shows, and maybe even been lucky enough to obtain a championship on one or two of their dogs, that they have the "right stuff" it takes to actually contribute through their litters, to their breed, or preserve what is already there and not go backwards, as far as whatever backwards might mean.

Nothing could be further from the reality of the dog world. It takes YEARS of being involved with mentors in your breed, studying the health issues and pedigrees, type and structure before one can call themselves a serious "breeder". The dogs produced by a guardian of the breed are consistent and exude breed type, temperament and health. Anything else is just "fluff", produced by helter-skelter happenstance and luck.

Those that don't put in the time and effort to be mentored, end up leaving the breed in worse shape than they found it, and if we are lucky, they leave it BEFORE any real damage is done.

The hallmarks of the non-serious "show breeder" are evident by putting great emphasis on selling puppies as pets and occasionally as a show prospect. There is a lack of commitment to seeing that each puppy produced gets into a GOOD home. Some of these types of breeders are only in it for the money, all the while fooling themselves that they are in it for the "right" reasons.
They produce as many litters as they can, without appearing to do so as to not attract too much criticism from the fancy, only select bitches that can produce as high a number of puppies in each litter (more money from puppy sales, ya know), and rarely if ever keep a dog as a pet for life...not having any real emotional attachment to any of the dogs they own and breed. They also breed to the latest "big winner" or dogs from a successful breeding program, hoping to capitalize on this success, without regard to whether or not the match-ups are actually going to be good ones or not. Some of them are really hung up on having the highest number of "champions" in their pedigrees, as this really sounds and looks good when selling those pups!

In my book, there is very little difference between the puppy miller and these fool's gold breeders. They aren't the "real deal". They may have beautiful websites that say all the correct things, but underneath all that is the heart of a sales person..ready to make the next sale to the puppy buyer.

To do it right, it takes study, commitment, sweat, tears, heartache, loss and passion. It takes LOVING the dogs, putting them first before all else. If a person does not have any of these, than they should get out of it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lee and Halloween

When Lee was a baby toddler, I thought it would be so cute to dress him up in one of those "little pumpkin" costumes, you know..the ones that you stuff with tissue paper to plump out with this cute little "leaf hat". Well, he HATED it!!!!!!!!! I took him to a neighbor's Halloween party with his new costume and he sulked the entire time. I had "ruined" him with that darling little pumpkin outfit! For his entire youth, he never would put on another costume. Oh, he would like to go out and get the candy all right, just not attired in some clever outfit.

Then, a few years ago, I was shocked when he started scrounging around on Halloween for some "character" to portray. He would make up a "costume" from whatever he could find around the house. Then a year or so later, he went to second-hand shops to gather his costume stuff. NOW....and this is what slays me....he ORDERED this years costume online and spent HOURS searching for one!!!!!!!!!

He announced a couple of nights ago that he was getting the Black Knight costume from the Monty Python show!!!!! I about peed in my pants!!!!!! What a transformation from this little kid that HATED to "pretend" at Halloween to an all out "costume lover".

He's going to a party in his new costume. I'll have to be sure and get a pic of him...and post it.

The picture above is of Lee one Halloween a few years ago, when he was "Clyde" to his friend "Bonnie". The next pic is of him as a party recently.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lee's Birthday

No, I'm not talking about Gen. Robt. E. Lee, but my son, Lee Lydick Griffith! We had a small dinner party for him last night at home, with King Ranch Chicken, one of his favs. When asked how old he was going to be today, he replied "23"! lol How funny that someone not even out of his "20's" yet, feels the need to reduce his actual age. Of course, that is fine with me, as it makes ME younger!

This birthday finds him in good shape, with a new job which he likes and makes more moola.

I want to get him a new mattress to replace his 75 yr. old one! Yes, that is right..his mattress is at least 75 yrs. old!!! It belonged to his grandfather when he was a kid. I think it's time it was retired.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Charlton Heston

Funny, I was thinking about Charlton Heston this past weekend. Not sure why he popped into my mind, but I made a mental note to see if there was any updates on his condition lately. Just so happens when I was in the grocery store today, there was an article on him saying something about his "last days". I thought, OH MY...IS HE DEAD??? Well, after scanning the net, I can't find any news of his death, BUT he is dying, I am certain. He's had Alzeimer's for about 5 years now, or at least since he announced he had symptoms of this disease. The tabloid said he was to the vegetative state now. This isn't official, but is probably true.

He has been one of our finest actors, ever. Who else could have played Moses??? or Ben Hur??? or El Cid????? or countless other larger-than-life characters???

What an awful disease.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me...Another Non-Birthday

Ok, so today is my birthday, and I've been trying to analyze why I call it "another non-birthday", along with nearly all past birthdays. Well, for one thing, I'm usually on the road working/showing in Texas on this day. This year is an exception, as my usual shows for this weekend have been moved from this time of year to Spring. Hence, I'm home instead of on the road. Being on the road doesn't make for a real "birthday" somehow. But, it may go deeper than that.

When my father was alive, I always knew my phone would ring early in the morning with his cheery "Happy Birthday, Missy"! Now he's gone.
When both my parents were alive, they always took me out to dinner with all the family. Most of the time, it was a nice thing to look forward to, but as they got older it somehow wasn't fun, but a chore to endure. I"m not sure why, but I was relieved when dinner was over and we all left the restaurant.

Then there was the "asp" incident when I was 9 yrs. old. Following the usual skating party with my classmates (I was a so-so skater), the family returned to my house for gift opening. Now that was fun! Tons of presents to open!!!! This particular year, we had the event on our screened-in porch. The wrapped gifts were piled on top of an old twin bed on the porch. I plopped down on the bed, anxious and excited to open up the goods, when I felt this intense burning pain on the underneath part of my upper thigh and screamed as I jumped up in agony. I heard someone say "it's an asp" that got her. The pain was numbing my mind by this point. It kept intensifying which made me scream more. I got over it, of course, and eventually got back to opening gifts...a couple of hours later. But, it was ruined for me. I hated that porch from that time onward, and was wary of being out there. Maybe I'm scarred for birthdays, too?

Whatever the reason, my birthday has really not been a date I've really ever paid much attention to. I mark it mentally as another year older and that's about it.

On this birthday, I'll celebrate by eating lunch with my son, Lee. We eat together a lot when I'm home, so that in itself isn't momentous. But, I am grateful that I at least have his company as all the rest of my family reside elsewhere. His birthday is one week later than mine, so these days we are there for each other to mark the occasion of our birth.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Aunt Betty

My mother's sister, my Aunt Betty...I was thinking about her today. She died several years ago, before my mother by a few years. She was the youngest of 3 children in my grandparent's family. Without a doubt, she was my favorite aunt, being one with poodles and all. She used to raise Mini's in her younger days. My first poodle, Jet, was one of her puppies she gave me (my mom in later years always insisted that Jet was *her* dog, but we both knew the truth).

When I was very young, Aunt Betty lived "somewhere north", meaning Wichita Falls, Tx..which was north of where I lived in Ft. Worth. I never saw her home there, but my two sisters did. I was horribly envious of pictures and stories I heard about their going to visit her and riding her horses. Eventually, she moved to a lovely lakefront home that became our holiday destination for family gathering and good food, coupled with swimming off the dock and tanning, always tanning. During those years, and they were good ones, she was so easy to be around, although a bit bossy . But, she was never bossy to me. She had a son, Frank, that sometimes was there and sometimes not...and he always seemed to be causing her worry. I later figured it out..he drank beer a lot, and I think she was afraid he'd take the boat out too drunk, etc. Frank did a nose dive into his breakfast cereal one day when he was about 42, and just keeled over with a heart attack.
Aunt Betty took it well. She was sitting with him when he died.

Her poodles were wonderful...I remember all of them. It was she who took me to my first dog show. It was she who encouraged me to love dogs and learn more about them. We always had that bond in common.

Hers was a mysterious marriage to Edgar. I can't ever recall their actually living together. Sometimes he was at the lakehouse, but more often he wasn't. He was the son of a former mayor of Ft. Worth, but he certainly wasn't an asset to that family. As time went by and I became an adult, it was revealed that he had another woman, and even represented her as his wife to those in Wichita Falls. Aunt Betty never did divorce him...but when Edgar died there were TWO wives at the funeral in mourning...I bet that was a weird sight. Hard to imagine this man led the life he did, having a mother that wrote a book entitled "All The Women of the Bible".

Aunt Betty raised all but two of her grandchildren...and there were quite a few. I have no clue where they are now. One ended up in prison and may still be there for all I know. The mothers of these children basically abandoned them...Frank's wives (lost count at 4 of them), of course.

And then there was Bobby, her other son. Mentally injured as a toddler by falling under a truck on the road, he was her constant worry. He lived with Aunt Betty until she died. I think he is in Florida now...with cousins. He's an older man now...still very child-like.
Nothing amazed me more as I was growing up, how she cared for him and all those grandchildren, while still having a career as a landscaper for a large nursery. She was so active in the Garden Club, the Woman's Club, and many other 'clubs'.

She was a drill sargent, funny in her own way, conservative beyond belief, very strict but at the same time, so giving. The last time I saw her, she was in poor health, and I knew it would be the last visit. I cried when walking away from her front door that day. She didn't know I had silently said my 'goodbyes'.
She died about 6 mos. later in a nursing home, out of her mind with dementia. I called her on the phone before she died, and I'm quite sure she knew who I was for just a second, but then lapsed into her fantasy world. I softly hung the phone up that day, knowing it was the last time I'd hear her voice.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Movie Review of The Prestige

Having just been introduced to Christian Bale, via seeing 3:10 to Yuma yesterday, I went in search of another of his films today at the rental store. I'd done a bit of digging on the internet movie data base site I favor (IMDb) before renting "The Prestige", just so I'd be sure and view a good example of his work. However, I did NOT see any spoilers beforehand, so my viewing of this film was completely unsullied by advance knowledge of the plot twists and turns. I won't reveal them here, either. What I do want to discuss are the actor's roles and their portrayals. The plot is up to you, if you have either already seen it, or plan to see it in the future, to decipher and untwist.

Christian Bale, as the turn-of-the-century English magician and Hugh Jackman as his rival, are the two main characters. Supporting them are Scarlett Johannson. as the eye candy assistant on stage for Jackman's character and Michail Caine as his "manager/trick inventor. All did fine jobs with this intricate story and their characters.

Bale's character, Borden, was an obsessed young magician, willing to do just about anything to get ahead in his career. Ditto for Jackman's character, Rupert Angiers. It is difficult to really get into a discussion on their roles without giving away too much of the plot twists, here. There are more twists and turns in this film than a bag of pretzels!
It kept me scratching my head, trying to listen carefully to the dialog, plus visually keep up with events. It didn't help any that the plot line was non-linear (fancy term for "it jumped around chronologically).
We know from the beginning that Borden is in prison, for murdering Angiers. That much is told to us/shown to us from reel #1. But, by film's end, we have no idea who really died for sure or who was really in prison for murder! Apparently from what I've read on other sites, the movie departed quite a bit from the novel's plot line. So, going to the book won't be much help with the film. Scenes jump back and forth from the past to the present, making me crazy, but I stuck with it, mainly due my being determined to figure it out.

Beautifully filmed and costumed, I might add. There are even scenes that take place in Colorado Springs, way back before it became the huge city it is now...a lovely place, nestled up against the front range of the American Rockies. This was where Angiers travelled to secure the trick of all tricks, a Transporter machine from a Russian scientist named Tesla (played by David Bowie, who turns in a fine performance as well). One might ask why a Russian scientist would be in Colorado, which would seem to be a weird place for such a man. He explains to Angiers over lunch that he was exiled to a "retirement", thus he chose this place. Since I happen to love that city myself, it wasn't hard for me to understand his choice, even way back then...a great place to retire.

But, most of the film took place in old theaters in London, where an audience would gather to be amazed by various magicians, much as we go to the movies today.

This is a dark film, not any happiness nor comic relief to be found. Pure drama, which is what I love in films. Nearly all of the characters are tortured by something..either obsessions, or jealousies, or both. The only character that didn't seem to be really troubled was Caine's, as he was content with his role as the man behind the magician.

It is true that towards the end of the film, that things get a bit weird and venture into the not-so-possible. This is essential for the plot, but it does not lie to us, but we know we have to leave the grounded world for the fantasy one, to keep on with it. Still, tho, it's a decent flick, and it did demonstrate that Christian Bales can play a very different role that the one in "Yuma".

The Train Was Late: Should have been 3:20 to Yuma

What *IS* it about bad boys that we love???? Well, That's exactly the appeal of Russell Crowe in his latest offering, director Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma. Crowe plays heartless, handsome -in- black Ben Wade, perpetrator of many stage coach robberies, murders and seductions of bar maids with his smooth pick-up lines delivered using a velvet voice. He had me in his spell after the first 5 min. of film! He is no common outlaw, being familiar with the Bible and quoting from it often and making frequent quick sketches of the world around him.

Glenn Ford, from the original filmed in 1957, playing the same part, was NEVER as cool and smart as Crowe's Ben Wade.

Now, I'm probably one of the few people on earth that hasn't seen Christian Bale in a film before. His role as down-on-his-luck rancher, family man Dan is the opposite of Wade's. This poor excuse for a role model to his sons, is about as depressing a character as one can get. He sucks the life out of every space he occupies, oozing darkness and defeat. His older son, William, thinks he is a wimp...and he's right on. His wife looks down upon him as a failure. A serious drought as caused his land to dry up, thus making it hard to make any money to make his loan payments to the cold-hearted lien holders. They send out thugs to burn his barn as a warning early on in the film, that his house will be next if he doesn't come up with the next installment.

The two of them meet as Dan accepts in desparation the task of accompanying Wade to Yuma, Arizona in order to put him on a prison bound train, thus clearing the territory of a dangerous outlaw. His pay for this very risky job is $200. Risky as there are Wade's gang of vicious animals hot on their heels, pissed off Indians along the way, and revenge-seeking railroad men, quite happy to torture Wade when he rides into their camp for all his murdering mischief making with their trains and stage coaches carrying payday money for the railroad crews.

It's worth mentioning a supporting character here, one of Wade's top animals, Charlie Prince, played chillingly amoral by Ben Foster. His loyalty and devotion to Wade is almost sexual, but I really don't think he was gay, just one of those extreme brown nosers, intent on keeping Wade happy, thus insuring Wade didn't get ticked off at him and shoot him dead for some indiscretion. That said, his portrayal with his piercing eyes and focus on Wade did make for a great performance.

After a dash through the badlands towards Yuma over a 2 day ride, Wade and Dan end up in a hotel room in Yuma, waiting for the train to arrive. The dialog exchanges in that room are soft and revealing of both men's characters, as different in backgrounds as could be, yet a weird bond has formed between them. Not exactly friendship, but most likely some level of respect. It turns out that Wade has killed those that he felt deserved it, not just for the love of killing. He steals from the railroads mainly because they used slave Chinese labor. Dan, on the other hand, is a casper mild toast due to his stint in the Civil War Union Army, having had his leg shot off, hence his wooden stump, making him less of a man in that unforgiving culture of the West. But, Dan is determined to change all that by seeing this task through of making sure Wade gets on that train. If he does not accomplish this, he fails in finally being the man his family is needing/wanting. Wade probably envies Dan for having this family in the first place. Down deep inside he feels some admiration for this man.

It isn't a perfect film, with plenty of holes in the plot that makes no sense. But, if you can let yourself become immersed in the characters and not look too hard for reality of situations, then these storyline issues won't bother you. There is a twist ending, that some find objectionable and full of complete character reversal on Wade's part. After reflection, it isn't that bothersome to me at all. I can't really discuss it here in detail, as some that read this review might not have seen the film yet...and I don't want to spoil it.

This could be Oscar material for several of the actors, and other areas of recognition for the filmmakers.

One other interesting note...there is a bit of dialog delivered by Wade where he talks about his visits to Dodge City, KS! lol Of course, this is where I live I found this humorous, and there were quite a few giggles and laughs in the audience during this scene from fellow residents of Dodge.

Long live the Western.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

This Week Has Been Diastrous

It started out OK on Monday, but has steadily gone downhill from there. I found out I was going to have to put a bitch on a plane from an airport 3 hours from my house on Thurs. As I was already running short on time to prepare for the shows this weekend, I knew this extra added side-trip was going to cost me somewhere. Next, came the tests results. I've been waiting for about 2 weeks for these to come back on a bitch that aborted her puppies 3 weeks ago. Now dogs don't just abort for no reason, so I crossed my fingers that it wasn't anything serious or career ending. The first results came back last week and all were negative. So far, so good. Then the bomb dropped on me this afternoon...the last two tests came back in the 'terrible dept.' Positive for CHV (canine herpes virus) and Pasturella. Of course, I had to call off two breedings I was to do, plus call the breeder in Calif. and tell her NOT to breed the bitch I sent out there. That was a fun phone call to make. My phone never quit ringing once the bad news was told to all parties. I found myself saying over and over "I just don't know the answers to your your vet, maybe he/she will know. By late afternoon, I was suffering an anxiety attack. Hadn't experienced one of those in years.

On top of all that, my William had been mauled by a couple of my other poodles, almost killed the poor old man. I canceled my shows for the weekend so I could stay home and care for him, hoping he would make it. He was nearly dead when I picked him up off of the shock. Only his strong will and my pleading with him not to die on me saved him. His neck was raw meat, bleeding and laid open. He managed to make it through the night and now 3 days later, he is up on his feet, eating and drinking, and even barking a little. He'll make it. But, the stress of that plus the tests results has just about done me in.

I don't know what will happen to my breeding program. I'm taking two more in on Monday for testing to see if they have contracted either infection. I'll know more when those tests come back.

It's been a difficult week.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


If there is a God, PLEASE don't allow Hillary to be our next Pres.!!!!! ( I had to say "if there is a God to cover all the bases..that is how much I REALLY don't want her to get elected).

Why, you might ask, do I have such negative feelings about her? First off, I have not liked her since she popped onto the radar when Bill got elected. I almost didn't blame him for all his philandering, being married to HER. She is shrill, annoying, and tries WAY to hard to appear to be in control of herself. I have this sense that underneath she is a seething bitch, and absolute hell to pay if you get on her bad side (remember Travelgate?). I also sense that would not be hard to become (on her bad side). I have known other women like her in my in particular, named Lynn F. back in Ft. Worth. I hated this woman...she was the type of person that was ALWAYS right about everything. Opinionated and shrill...pushy and arrogant...and would go out of her way to make sure you'd pay dearly if you crossed her. Hillary reminds me of Lynn F.

Politically ( and I suspect it would carry over to a personal level if I knew her or met her), this woman would make an equal mess of things as our current Pres. , but only in a different way. Whereas Bill didn't have the stomach for the tough decisions (he could have had Bin Laden but just didn't have it in him to go get him), Hillary would have the moxie, just not the instinct. She reads the people incorrectly, or just doesn't give a damn, or both. Bill understood how to pander to the people, she doesn't.

Hillary is a chameleon, or tries to be....adapting her voice and approach to whatever group of people she is addressing. To me that is scary. You get a different Hillary on the surface, when underneath I know she is out to prove she is right at any cost. Poor Vince Foster found that out.

She is fairly harmless as Senator of New York, but as our Pres. it would be a disaster, so we would have TWO administrations that are disasters in a row. Our country and people deserve much better than that. We just can't handle another Pres. that believes he/she is right ALL the time, to make such awful mistakes in judgment.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Religion and such

I don't usually get into religious subjects on this should be about poodles and things. But, I've been reading some of the blog links posted on my daughter's blog, and since they are atheist folks, I realized that most of their posts made me uncomfortable and I needed to analyze the "why" of these feelings.

Now, I am not a religious nut, so that isn't the "why"....and I'm not an atheist, either. I'm somewhere in-between. I don't believe in the God of the Bible, as such...or any other God of any other formal religion. God is a man-made entity. However, there *is* something in the Universe that creates or directs the order of all things in existence. It is probably an incredible force of physics, understandable only in a future mathematical equation, if that.

If people want to refer to that "force" as a "God", more power to them.

So, back to the "why"....I can't really stand religious fundamentalists, and don't like it when they try to do their missionary work in my direction. But, at the same time, I really don't like it when atheists make fun of them or belittle them for what they believe.
I don't care what either group believes, as long as they leave each to his own.

I also find it very interesting that the atheist I know keep trying to delve into Christianity so if they have this need to constantly understand Christians. Why? Do they need to do this in order to have all their arguments lined up when confronted by them? Whenever I am approached by some zealous Christian, I simply tell them I don't have time to visit with them. I have a reasonable understanding of the history of the Christian religion, but don't feel the necessity to point out to them that their belief began as a "political" effort to control the masses.

So...the "why"...I guess it just boils down to the concept that most religious and non-religious groups are human, and as such, want each to think as they do. This makes me crazy, as I don't care if anyone else thinks as I do. I just wish each philosophical system would tolerate the other.

I think I'll go study up on Quantum Theory!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I spent a day/night at my daughter's (Lynn) new home in the mountains of Southern Colorado about 2 weeks ago. A more remote paradise one cannot imagine. I drove what seemed like a long time up this gravel road that made it's way up the mountain to get to her new place. It's a little rock house, built decades ago, with all the charm one would expect of such a dwelling. She lives there with her husband, Tim, and two children. Tim works at a nearby ranch, and I guess you'd describe him as a "wildlife specialist". One of his job descriptions is to be a guide for hunters that come to the ranch, in search of elk, mainly.

There are many wonderful pics of this place on my other daughter's blog, Under A Leaf With Ginny. She was up there at the same time I was, visiting for a couple of weeks. During her stay she went on long hikes, encountering various hidden beasts, and took some incredible pics of the area.

When you are in a place such as this, the worries and politics of the world seem a million miles away. It's a simple life. When I drove out of there to rejoin my hectic world of showing dogs, I realized why so many people love to live in more remote areas. It is a relief and respite from the usual stresses we face everyday...traffic jams, waiting in line for nearly everything, not enough time for the basics in life, and most of all...forgetting to tell our family how much we love them.

I'll go back soon, this time closer to Winter. I'll get to see it dressed in it's Fall finery and perhaps even wrapped up in a blanket of white!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Who reads this stuff?

I have to admit, I mostly write on this blog for my own cathartic reasons. I don't think anyone reads what I post, but if they do, that's ok. After all, it's a public forum. I was thinking that all the people that keep blogs, they do so because they have thoughts or events or opinions they want to share with others. Not me. I do it to clear my head. Putting it down somehow helps to bring and end to the day. Since I'm not at home very much, it's hard to keep this up all the time. One thing I've noticed. My life is not very glamorous! Even tho I travel all the time, it's all work. Dog shows are hard work for me. Not much glamour involved. I work my rear off for a few minutes in the ring. Strange, huh?

When I die, I wonder what my family and friends will say about me?? "she was crazy to drive all over the country showing dogs" , or "she loved what she did and was good at it"...who knows.

More Heat

We are in the dab smack middle of a huge heat wave. Temps are soaring into the 100+ numbers now through next week. Needless to say, I hate this turn of weather events. This is why I hate August so much. It's that high pressure dome that sets up over the middle of the country that is so stubborn to move out. The upper jet stream is running laterally across the northern tier states, not letting any cool air down out of Canada. I guess we'll suffer along with this until that jet starts to change and become more vertical, allowing low pressure systems to move in and boot this high dome out of here. Probably sometime in Sept. The a/c in the house just can't keep up with this sort of heat. I can tell the difference in the house when it is just a few degrees warmer outside.

I'll be going to Colorado next week. At least it slides down into the 50's at night up there.

Monday, August 6, 2007

One of Mine??

Last night, while driving back home from taking Lee to the rodeo grounds, I turned the corner up to my street and saw several kids walking a white poodle along the way. My first thought was "is it one of mine???" So, knowing I didn't sell one to this family, I stopped to ask questions about this little guy. They were more than happy to tell me all about how they got him. He was given to them this past Friday by another neighbor who had bought him from the local pet shop a few months ago . They were tired of paying for his grooming and upkeep, so they gave him to this other family.

This is EXACTLY why I hate pet shops that sell puppies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The people that buy from these shops RARELY keep what they buy. Why??? Because it is usally an "impulse" buy. These aren't the puppy buyers that have researched breeds or breeders and know what they are getting into. So, after the "cute" puppy stage is over, they get rid of the dog.

Dog ownership is a HUGE responsibility. To care for a dog properly, you must have the money, space and commitment to care for it. The initial investment is just the tip of the iceberg in financial outlay over the life of the dog. Pet shops don't screen for the health background of the puppies' parents. Only the show/hobby breeders do this.

Also, these kids were telling me their mom had paid $1000 for a chihuahua puppy from this pet shop....only to let it roam outside and of course, it was hit by a car and killed. This makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would anyone pay that much money for a precious little dog, and let it run around and be in danger? (of course, these same people let their kids run around and play in the street constantly).

Thank goodness, the poodle being walked last night wasn't one of mine. At least they had him on a leash (only because they just got him and he won't stay or come when called). He was a cute little boy...and they are bringing him up to my house today for me to groom him. I'm such a sucker.

Sunday, August 5, 2007


August, one of the most disliked months of the entire year (other than Feb.) It's the heat. I am well-known for my complete disdain for being hot. In fact, one of the reasons I left Texas was due to the extreme heat for so many months there. Now, don't get me wrong, it can get hot in Kansas, too. But, it's a different kind of hot...less humidity and more wind. Plus, it cools down more at night due to the altitude and lack of humidity. AND, it doesn't get as hot early in the summer and last as long into the Fall as Texas. Mostly, it can heat up right around July 4 and the really hot days are gone by the end of Aug. So, that's about 5-6 weeks of hot summer, compared to several months in Texas.

Recently, when I was in Texas, it dawned on me why I don't recall being so sensitive to the heat when I was younger. I LIVED in the swimming pool at the country club or at my parent's house!!!!! I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner than just recently, but it was something about a certain smell in the air that day that reminded me of the old days at the pool. As I got older and didn't have time to be a pool bum, the heat got to me. I asked Lee if he remembered those days. He said he did. I'm sure my girls would remember it, too. They spent a lot of time with me in the water, also.

So, that's it. I'll never live in Texas again. Just can't take the heat.

Mattress Toppers and Me

A good night's sleep. There are sooo many people I know who complain about not sleeping at night. (sometimes I'm one of them). A comfortable bed, as far as I'm concerned, it one of the KEY elements to sleeping at night. Since I was suffering from pressure points along my body that ached when I got into bed, I decided a few years ago to purchase one of those "mattress toppers". It did help. Then along came those "memory foam" toppers. It wasn't long before I became aware of how great those were. About 3 weeks ago, I bought one. The increased comfort for me is simply amazing. I don't know if I can ever sleep without one again. It's portable, so I can take the topper with me on the road, to put on those awful motel beds. It's a pain to load and unload it, put it on the bed, etc...but well worth the effort for a night's sleep without pain.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Home repairs

About all I've done since I returned home from the Texas circuit of shows is make arrangements to get broken stuff fixed around the house. Getting someone in such a small town as Dodge City is very hard to find, that is willing to do the small jobs. I did manage after several days to get the flooring fixed right inside the front door. It had basically caved in due to water damage! This older man Lee knows replaced the sub-flooring, and I bought a remnant of linoleum to put down until I can arrange to have the entire floor replaced with laminate.

Next, I dealt with the roofing people...and after many phone calls, one did come out to give me an estimate. I went ahead and told them to do the work, but instead of 1/2 of a roof, he said the entire thing needed replacing, which involved the insurance co. again. It remains to be seen if I'll end up getting the whole thing done or not. I hate dealing with this sort of stuff. But, it is leaking badly when it rains, so something HAS to be done soon!

On my list for further repair is the front door, the washing machine (leaks), and the back bathroom sub-flooring (sinking in under the toilet..more water damage). I wish Lee could do this sort of work, but alas, that isn't happening. I told him if we didn't get that bathroom floor fixed soon, he'd be standing there peeing and suddenly the floor will give way and he'll fall several feet to the ground! He said he looked forward to that event...sheesh!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Medallion and Me

During the annual Dodge City Days each August, the local newspaper sponsors the Medallion Hunt, hiding a commemorative Medallion somewhere in town (publishing clues each day in the paper) and the finder wins $500. Now, I've lived in this town for almost 8 years and NEVER have gone out to find this medallion. That all changed yesterday. Lee called me mid-afternoon and said he just "knew" where it was and would I go look? So, I found myself poking through some very snaky, tall grass on the south side of town, following clues he was giving me over the cell phone. Sheesh! What's more, there was another person looking in the same area, too! I had two separate feelings about that...what if he found it before I did?? and at least one other fool other than I was out there poking around in tall grass!!!!

After about an hour of this nonsense, I told Lee it wasn't in the area, and went home. Later that evening, it was announced that some 12 yr. old kid had found the stupid medallion on the other side of town earlier in the day!!!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Showing poodles in Texas

I just returned from a very long trek through most of the major Texas cities, showing the poodles at various locations. It was a good trip, as most of the dogs I am showing did their share of winning. For part of the trip, my granddaughter, Sam, went along to help out. I hit the Dallas shows, held at the old Market Hall, on Stemmons Freeway. Then on to the San Antonio shows in downtown, right on the Riverwalk. (I finally rode one of those river boats for the tour, but was unimpressed with the whole thing). Next, was Houston at the huge Reliant arena. Love that showsite, but hate how big it is and how much walking it requires just to go to the bathroom. To wrap up my stay in Texas, was the rather lowly Longview shows. I say lowly, due to the somewhat pitiful showsite. You see, I grade shows mostly on the ease and comfort of each showsite. If the site is well-done, and the parking situation is reasonable, I'll give it pretty high marks. If I have to walk too far to park, or the site is too crowded in the grooming areas, than I might not ever go back.

I guess of all the Texas sites, I'd give the Dallas shows the highest would be Houston, then Longview and lastly, San Antonio. Surprised I'd make SA last on my list? Well, it costs an obscene fortune to park downtown and still have to walk blocks to the showsite. Also, the hotels/motels are horribly expensive anywhere close to the downtown area. I stayed in a Motel 6, which was about 8 blocks from the was the cheapest downtown, yet was a pretty seedy place. Transients were always around all hours of the day/night. Sort of scary, huh?

So, now I'm back home...and grateful for my own bed. I have two wonderful weeks at home before heading back out to the show wars.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Rebecca (one of my favorite movies)

One of the interesting things about this movie is the title "Rebecca", referring to a character that you never see on the screen the entire movie, but she is ALWAYS there, commanding your attention. This is based upon the Daphne DuMaurier novel by the same name. It's an ooooold movie, made back in the '40 s in black and white (even better to carry out the theme of mystery, in my opinion. I can't imagine it in color).

So, to outline the plot...we meet Maxim DeWinter, a very wealthy and handsome middle-aged man, spending time on the Riviera, presumably to forget the recent death of Mrs. DeWinter (Rebecca), whom we are led to believe throughout most of the movie that he worshipped and adored. Enter the plain-Jane, soon-to-become the "second" Mrs. DeWinter, an employee/slave of another very wealthy and not-so-handsome elderly lady who orders her around to "go do this and that" for her. She is summarily "rescued" from her dismal existence and after a whirlwind courtship, is married and whisked away to Manderly, big country estate of the DeWinter's in England.

We suffer along with this pitiful replacement for the first Mrs. DeWinter, as she tries again and again (unsucessfully) to become the woman Maxim could truly love...beautiful, sophisticated, and capable of being the wife of such a man and forget all about Mrs. DeW #1. There is the cold and evil house manager, "Danny", who manages to manipulate Mrs. DeW #2 into making mistake upon mistake, until she is nearly driven to jump out of an upper bedroom window (belonging to the #1 Mrs. DeW, naturally) thinking Maxim will never love her so she might as well not exist.

Before she can jump, however, there is a loud cannon shot from out of the fog, signaling the discovery of a sailboat that has washed ashore on a nearby beach. You guessed it...Maxim delivers the somber news that it was #1's sailboat and was the craft she was in the night she died. So, was it a boating accident?? hmmm....seems as the cocks were open, which leads the entire group to either think suicide or MURDER!!!

An official inquiry ensues(as only the English can do)....Danny is beside herself with worry as her beloved Rebecca would not possibly have committed suicide. She was too full of life, too beautiful, too...well, just too. And the scene between Maxim and #2, where he reveals his hatred for Rebecca and how much he really loves #2 is the stuff romance junkies thrive upon!

I won't discuss here how the movie ends...except to say it is a VERY satisfying ending. I've watched this movie probably about 30 times in my lifetime. And I NEVER get tired of each visit to Manderly. Nor do I ever tire of seeing Lawrence Olivier onscreen. What an actor and what a gorgeous man. Not all movie rental stores have it...but if you can find it, rent it or better yet, BUY it...moviemaking at its best, when characters and story were the focus without all the special effects and car chases to keep one interested and involved.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

High Winds May Complicate Matters

Our forecast for tomorrow calls for high winds up around the 50-60 mph range. Yuk! This really makes it hard to get around and get things done to leave:-( I have to take two Toy Poodles in tomorrow to get them microchipped at the vets. I can just see me now...fighting to get them in the van with the wind blowing ninety to nothin. Just opening the van door will be a trick, without it blowing back and breaking the hinge. Well, this is Kansas for ya.

Frantic Preparations

Only 4 more days until I leave for the Poodle National Specialty! Flying there makes things more difficult in many ways. I have to decide what I can take that will keep me under the 100 lb. limit for luggage. Plus, getting all the paperwork printed out on a printer that has no power cord (thanks, poodles, for using it as a chew toy). I've been to two places and called 3 others in town trying to find a replacement cord, with no luck. It might just be easier and cheaper to buy a new printer! I'm sure all this trouble will be worth it when I'm there and going into the ring with a beautiful Toy poodle!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Catching up

I haven't had a blog in a while, so started a new one! lol Of course, I'm not at home a lot to post, but maybe I can from other people's computers while I'm on the road.
I leave this next weekend for the grandest of all Poodle Shows, the Poodle Club of American National Specialty!!!! I haven't been in years. Am I looking forward to it? Well, yes and no. It will be stressful, yet wonderful at the same time. I am showing 3 poodles (Toy's) for clients. The show is located in Salisbury, MD at the Equestrian Center. My mouth is already watering for those famous crab cakes:-) I'll try to post while I'm up there during the show. But, if I cannot, I'll give a report when I get home.