In which I pose a serious question in a roundabout way


My family has two puppies under our care. One, we adopted because we have a seven-year-old boy living in the house and he’s been begging for a dog since he was three. The other adopted us because we fed him at a time when he was down on his luck and we obviously know how to take care of puppies.

Their names are Diesel and Ren, but I call them “Lil’ pup” and “Big pup.”

Big pup. He likes to guard smaller creatures. He doesn't guard food and seems to not understand toys at all. He's quiet unless he has something important to say. And he doesn't jump up on people even when they're waving meat at him.

Big pup. He likes to guard smaller creatures. He doesn’t guard food and seems to not understand toys at all. He’s quiet unless he has something important to say. And he doesn’t jump up on people even when they’re waving meat at him. Has the makings of a super-sweet working dog.

They get along well. Ren is six or seven months old, based on his size and dental development. Either a German Shepherd, or a GSD mixed with one other related breed, we’re pretty sure. And we’ve done our best to make sure no one’s looking for him. It seems that no one is.

Lil' Pup. She's a monster, and a connoisseur of fine paper. That's Mr. Chicken she's gnawing on there. She loves Mr. Chicken, but they are not friends.

Lil’ Pup. She’s a monster, and a connoisseur of fine paper. That’s Mr. Chicken she’s gnawing on there. She loves Mr. Chicken, but they are not friends. Diesel is a bit of a terror.

If I ever figure out a way to migrate my consciousness to some surrealistic fantasy world and become a not-so-evil overlord, I’m bringing these two with me. They will be my gargoyles. If you happen to wander into my fantasy domain unbidden, Big Pup will pose you a riddle. If you are unable to come up with a satisfactory answer in a reasonable amount of time, Lil’ Pup will eat you alive, starting with your face.

So, on to the serious question. These doggies love, love, love some paper. It makes interesting sounds and tastes enough like food to satisfy. And it is so. Very. Shreddable. Cardboard, wrapping paper, tissues, toilet paper. Just doesn’t matter. Ren mostly sniffs around and forages for little bits of paper, but Diesel seems to be on a holy quest to sample every type of paper that ever existed. We have to watch her around the books. This is totally normal behavior for a three-month-old puppy and we correct it often enough that it’s not a long-term concern.

I have a computer desk with a floor-level shelf, and until we got puppies, I was accustomed to storing documents on that shelf. It’s very convenient. They are out of sight and I know where they are if I need to refer to them. One of the documents stored on that shelf is my Master’s Thesis, shrink-wrapped and nestled snugly in a Kinko’s box.

Those of you who are familiar with the academic meat grinder will get this. A master’s thesis is a thing you sweat over, and if you’re a flighty person, maybe you go to therapy to get it done. Then once it’s done, unless you’re a genius or were at least smart enough to use the master’s training to do exploratory work that you can build on, what you really want to do is disavow it and pretend someone else wrote it.

So, anyway. Lil’ pup has worried and worried at the Kinko’s box for weeks now. The entire lid is gone. She really truly wants to get into that box and rip the plastic and sample some 25-lb linen paper seasoned with 9-year-old ink.

Given that I’ve never taken that document out of its box even once since I published it, it’s probably the least favorite piece of writing I’ve ever finished, and it’s archived in an academic library for posterity in any case . . .

. . . Should I go ahead and let her have her way with it?

They like to help the boy study his spelling words. That is great fun for EVERYONE.

They like to help the boy study his spelling words. That is great fun for EVERYONE.

Weekend Coffee Share: Scooter Punks and Other Madness

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about a term I coined several years ago now:

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

“scooter punk,” (n.) — A skater punk who isn’t old enough to ride a board yet.

I coined it for my grandson when he got his first scooter at the age of three, and I don’t consider the word “punk” pejorative here. Here are some ways you can tell if you have a scooter punk on your hands.

  1. When they see older kids riding boards, even before they can talk, their eyes light up. They point and jabber and get toddler-angry if you don’t stop and let them watch.
  2. Give them a scooter and they do tricks like bunny hops, riding backwards, sitting on the handlebars, and riding off the edges of sidewalks just for the fun of it.
  3. They often attempt feats with their scooters and bikes that are either too difficult, or just plain impossible, and wipe out in the most spectacular way imaginable, then get up laughing and bleeding at the same time and try it again.
  4. If you’re busy, or worn down from keeping up with the little person to the point that you slip up and allow them to ride their scooter without shoes or a helmet — no matter how flat and unobstructed their riding area is — you are almost guaranteed a trip to the ER.

So basically, if you view your job as keeping the young’un safe and doing what you can to help them live up to their potential and make it to adulthood, you’re in for a few nerve-wracking years once your scooter punk gets his or her wheels. And it only gets worse from there. Because eventually they get coordinated enough to graduate to a board.

Photo by Gene'O, 2015.

Photo by Gene’O, 2015.

And I’d tell you this is the second post I’ve written today. Since I haven’t been up that long, and it isn’t even noon, I am hoping to finish several more that have just been sitting as drafts for the last couple of weeks. I’ve finally got my Facebook set up not to suck away large amounts of time and run kind of like the blogs do — I post on my timeline on a schedule, and answer the threads and notifications when I have time.

The secret is an app called Buffer, which you can find here. I am using the free version right now, and have gotten several extra queue slots by referring new users through that link I just shared with you. Last time I loaded it all the way to full, I was able to schedule afternoon tweets three days in advance, and Facebook shares four days in advance.

I’m definitely getting the paid version soon. I wouldn’t have made it through April — at least not while maintaining the steady Internet presence I have — without this awesome app. Have a great week! The A to Z Challenge is almost done.  It’s been fun, but exhausting, and I haven’t done as much visiting as I’d hoped to do, but I have done plenty and it’s definitely been worth all the planning and effort.

Happy Saturday, and don’t forget to add your coffee share post to the linkup at Part Time Monster (who is calling for guest posts, btw), and share it to #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

Weekend Coffee Share: A to Z Eve Edition

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you my grandson got his standardized test results back this week, and he did super-good in math. Better, in fact, than I ever did with math in school. He’s also moved up two reading levels in the last few weeks. I am so proud 🙂

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

And I I’d tell you it’s been a busy week at work, and an equally busy week in the blogosphere. I’ve spent most of my time this week in the WordPress dashboard finalizing Sourcerer’s posts for the Blogging A to Z in April Challenge. I’ve done well.

We’ve got 16 of our A to Z posts finalized – we only lack two posts to be completely scheduled for the first two weeks. I have also managed to load a Sunday morning Weekend Music feature for every week in April and get started on the Tuesday and Wednesday photo features. That hasn’t left a lot of time to do anything else except answer my own threads.

Speaking of answering my own threads . . .

Thanks to everyone who commented on my coffee post last week. I wasn’t able to get back to that thread in good time, so I finally just posted a final comment there and liked everything. I appreciate the support, truly, and I will not often allow a thread that good to slip through the cracks unanswered.

I’d tell you I did my first ever blogger interview this week. was kind enough to interview me and feature Sourcerer on the sidebar for the week. That was a lot of fun, and I appreciate the opportunity. (Give Chouett a look!)

And, just to be sure there’s no post-April lull in my blogging life, I’ve signed up for the Beach Party Blogathon in June. It’s sponsored by the awesome film blogs Speakeasy and Silver Screenings. I’ve been following their blogathons and wanting to join in for awhile. I’ll be writing about Captain Blood for this event, and my post will run at Sourcerer.

Featured Image -- 3218I’d tell you, too, that 1000 Voices Speaking for Compassion is going monthly. The next linkup day is April 20. The topic is “Nurturing.”

I’ve not had much time to keep up with the group this week, but I am still checking in as I have time and trying to help them build a Twitter following. I’m still planning to keep hosting the linkups, whether I am able to write a post for 1000 Speak or not; the linkup post on April 20 will likely be the only post other than these coffee posts I publish here next month.

And that’s about all I’d have to say, because April is almost here, and I still have a lot to get squared away before Wednesday. Now I’m away to have coffee with an online friend I’ve known for a year, and have never met offline until today, then spending a big part of the afternoon out with the grandson, so I won’t be around much today.

Happy weekend, and keep blogging!