Sunday, May 31, 2020

More Than Words


 George Bernard Shaw once said, "England and America are two countries divided by a common language." I can tell you that is truly an understatement. Even after twenty years together, my British husband can surprise me with a word or phrase that I have not a clue what he is talking about. On the other hand, I can do the same to him. The difference is that he really has not come to the American side of the English language that much. Then, there is me. Every once in a while I shock myself when I say it just the way that he would. About the only thing that I have taught him and that he uses is the phrase, "Well, bless your heart." He has learned that it is all in the intonations of how you say it as to what it means. I believe that this is more of a Southern phrase and it is not always meant in a positive way. An example would be, if you said it to someone who just served a meal and you told others, "Well, bless her heart," meaning that she tried but it was not edible.

Below you will find some of the differences that have come to light throughout the time that we have been together.

Steve still asks me where do we want to go for our holiday? (vacation) The first time he asked me, I thought that we were going to go away for Christmas!
When we get in our pool he will ask me if I am wearing a new swimming costume. I will let him know that it is the same swimming SUIT that I had last year. If our granddaughters are over, he will ask if I have the lilo blown up? Once he pointed to her floaty, I knew what he meant.

Let's talk for a minute about going on a holiday or out to eat. First, we must get some petrol, he will tell me. I refresh his memory that we call it gas here. He smiles and says that he is glad that we don't own an estate car. I ask you this:  

 Were you aware that a station wagon/SUV was called an estate car? I was thinking a limousine. Something that would cost a fortune to fill up with GAS. As we are getting ready to pay, I ask him if he will pass my purse over. He passes my wallet. That was fine, in that is where my money is but he calls the bag that the wallet was in 'a wallet.'

Going out to eat is interesting because I have learned what a serviette is. He was missing a napkin when we were seated once and he meant a napkin. However, he asked the waitress for a serviette. Her blank and clueless face was priceless. I translated. Also did a translation to help when he requested  tomato sauce. He wanted it to go on his burger. And he said that he had crisps on his plate. He asked for them. I did not, so the regular fries came with my burger. He said to the waitress and to me that I got chips. We were all confused on that one. She did bring him out some FRIES. I don't think she could get too upset because he does have a very proper British accent. Although, when she set them down she did kindly say to him that these were his fries. 

She had a look of surprise until I shared with her that he meant ketchup. 

Truly would give the burger a different flavor. Easy enough to straighten out what he needed. I would love to have heard the conversation that our waitress had with the other servers. On the positive side she now has a new vocabulary word and what it means if someone orders tomato sauce. We did confuse her a bit when she asked if there was anything else that we needed and I said,"Yes, please the check, and he said, "And the bill." So which is it? Sort of like the same thing when he asks where are the loos. Not everyone knows that he is asking where are the restrooms. He still questions me on that one about why they are called that because one does not go in to rest. 

While we are on the subject, sort of, about food, let's talk about going to the grocery store. First you must find a place to park in the car park. He still calls it that instead of a parking lot. That's ok. I have even let it slip out a few times pointing out to him as we drove by a very busy store. You knew it was because I said, "Just look at that car park!" It flew out of my mouth before I knew it. 

Some items that we pick up at the grocery are:

barbie sauce  (BBQ sauce)
mince meat  (hamburger meat)
kitchen towels (paper towels-not linen kitchen towels)
lollies   (popsicles for granddaughters)
courgettes  (zucchini)

washing liquid (dish soap)
beetroots (beets)
satsumas (clementines)
I have always called aluminum foil Reynolds Wrap. He asked if we needed some AL - U - MIN - YUN. I must admit that one took me a bit to grasp what he meant.

Before we went over to get in the long line (queue), we passed the vitamins. He mentioned that he would like to pick up a multi- VIT - A - MIN. It must be said like I spelled it with a hard accent on each syllable. It sounds nothing like the word vitamin.

Once we got home, I asked if he could pull all the way in the garage. He asked me if I meant the GAR - AGE. We work it out. He also asked if maybe later we could go back out because he thought he saw a new place called the Pie Shop. He was so excited. I was so confused. He is not a real sweet eater, especially pies (one exception is apple pie). We went back later that afternoon and he went up and down the counters looking and finally asked where the savory meat pies were. I could not translate that one until he told me like the ones in the pubs of England such as Steak and Kidney Pie or pasties. Plus, I can assure you that they would not have Faggots and Peas, which is on almost every pub's menu. Let's just say that faggots are spicy meatballs made out of beef and pork organs. The peas are mushy and also usually served with mashed potatoes. The only thing here that  could somewhat compare to the savory meat pies
 would be a Shepherd's Pie or Chicken Pot Pie. With that said, we do not go in a Pie Shop for those. He was sadly disappointed that the choices were chocolate, key lime, lemon, banana, peach, apple and a handful of other pies. He didn't even buy an apple pie to take home. I remember the horrified look on the waitress behind the counter thinking they would have meat pies in her shop.

Cooking at home is entertaining because I cook on the stove while he uses the cooker. (Yes, they are one in the same.)

 Two easy sandwiches that we make (with some minor adjustments) are Welsh rarebit and a Bacon Butty. The Welsh rarebit is really a grilled cheese. I like mine just that way. The British way that he grew up with is to put Worcestershire sauce on the cheese. I suppose it is what you grew up with. The Bacon Butty was new to me. Usually I made BLT's. For breakfast he asked me one day if I fancied a Bacon Butty. When he explained it was toast that was buttered with bacon inside for a sandwich. I must admit that was good. I still like the idea of adding lettuce and tomato. Or even an egg for a breakfast sandwich. It is a little give and take. Some days all I want is a tomato and mayo sandwich. is what I grew up with.

Some other words that mean the same but are separate items would be:

  • waistcoat      vest
  • jumper         sweater

  • vest             wifebeater

There are times I ask my darlin' husband about his opinion about a style. I asked what he thought about me getting bangs. He had a horrified look on his face. I turned my magazine picture of a woman with bangs and showed him what I meant. He sighed a sigh of relief and said, "Oh, you mean fringe!"  He explained later what he thought I meant when I used the word bangs. I will not even mention it here. 

When I put the date on my blogs, he politely questions me about why I put the month before the day and then the year. Then, I remembered that I thought for a long time that his birthday was June 12th. Because he writes it out 6.12.1951. It wasn't until it came out in the beginning of our relationship that I realized that he was a December baby just like me. In fact, he asked me if I needed a rubber to erase my mistake. Yes, you guessed it. The Brits call an eraser a rubber.

Well, at this time, I have mentioned from A to Z most of our vocabulary differences. I don't throw fits over these differences (or wobblers as he would say).
Instead I embrace them.  Oh, wait a moment, I should have said all of the differences from A to Zed.
I learned that when he took me to the showroom to trade in my great big Tahoe for a Zed-3. I had not a clue what he meant. Until I saw we were pulling into a BMW showroom and he took me to a little two seater convertible that I had always called a Z-3.

 I believe that is when it dawned on me just exactly why our relationship is more than words. (Or as he would say, " Bob's your uncle.")

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Properly Training Your Humans

How To Properly Train Your Humans

If you wish to understand your humans better then you need to pay attention to all of their communication. This can be verbal and non-verbal. It can be with other humans or to us, their "pets."

First, let me introduce the two of us, Maggie Mae (the one writing this blog for Lola) and Davis who are patiently working with our own two humans, lovingly nicknamed by their granddaughters as Lola and Smiley. 

Together they have four wonderful children and four beautiful granddaughters. They felt like their jobs prevented them from ever owning one furbaby, much less two. But once, Lola retired and was home working on her writing, things changed. While Smiley was off at work, she really started to look around and talk to others, as well as Smiley at night over dinner about maybe getting a dog. It was a big step. They both are dog lovers and had dogs before, just not the two of them together.

After some research things just fell in to place. It was like magic. They had a name, just not the goldendoodle that they wanted so much. The two of them did shopping on respectable breeders, as well as looking for re-homing and local animal shelters for dogs that had that 'goldendoodle' look. Both of them are most definitely hands on parents so it was not going to be pick one out on line and have the pup flown to them or drive to go and pick him or her up. Their philosophy, as I heard them talk about it many times, is that the dog will find you. 

Turned out that a FaceBook friend that Lola went to school with thought that a friend of hers had a Mom close by that was a breeder. So she got the name and number and she made that call. Turned out that there were two litters of pups waiting to find their forever home. Lola and Smiley were cautious, wanting to do the right thing, as they took this very seriously. Lola talked to Kim, the breeder, got directions to her home and went to see the puppies. She had converted their garage into the home for all the puppies and their Mommas. She even had a place where she could be out there with them and it was heated. 

Lola and Smiley could see that she loved them with all her heart. Turns out she has been a groomer, a trainer, showed dogs in Dog Shows and was into breeding dogs. She had two black standard poodles and an English Golden Retriever who had puppies a few weeks apart. They were all black puppies. We sat on her kitchen floor as she brought a couple out at a time. One little fellow kept trying to climb up on Smiley. Even when his sisters kept pushing him away. They all were about the same size and all were cute as could be but according to our two humans, Davis melted their hearts and that is who they chose. Deal done.

Look at just how happy he seems. He is still that way, even though now, he has me, Maggie Mae to play, snuggle, protect, share, get into shenanigans with as well as to put up with my pestering him. What else are sisters for?

Lola kept in touch with Kim and noticed that about two years later on her Goldendoodles by Kims Design page that she had two more litters of pups. Some were apricot blonde, one chocolate and a few black. Everyone kept telling Lola and Smiley that two are better than one. Hmmmm.. I certainly don't disagree with that philosophy. We do have two smart humans so they decided that they would drive back out to Kim's and take Davis with them. 

Kim now has a proper building for her pups and their Mommas. There was even a doggie door so the pups were learning to go outside in the fenced area for their duties. Kim patiently took one pup out at a time and we all watched to see the furbabies' reactions. Davis acted like he could have cared less. So did all of the pups, that is until I came out.

Both of us kissed and snuggled and our tails were wagging like crazy. Yes, we picked each other out. Davis even put up with me pulling on his tail. Once we got home

all that Davis wanted to do was to protect me. He guarded me in my crate. Little did he know that even though to this day, he outweighs me by 20 pounds I am the most vocal in every way that you could imagine. Davis rarely uses his vocal skills. He relies on his body language, which at 61 pounds, I suppose he can do that. All you need is patience and you too can have obedient humans. They really want to please you and make you happy. 

First of all, humans want to be sure that we go to the bathroom outside. Our silly humans bought these jingle bells that hang on a ribbon for Davis to use when he was a puppy. The nickname for them is "Tinkle Bells." He fell for this trick hook, line and sinker. I learned to use them just like he did on my first day. The second or third day, I decided to use my own way. Bark! I just went to the back door and gave one bark. They learned what that meant almost immediately. I just wanted my own way to express myself. If at first they ignored me, I let out little woof-woofs or used my paws to pound on the glass at the backdoor. It did not take long to train them.

If either Davis' or my water bowl goes empty, I watched Davis just go to his and then to mine and just mope around, like, "Woe is me!" I found out if I put my two front paws in the steel empty dish and played it like Ringo Starr plays the drums, they come running with water to put in our dishes. My nickname seems to be Ringo and they laugh when they call me that, so I suppose they like him, whoever he is.

Lola and Smiley had to feed us from different bowls for a while. Mine was puppy food, while he had big boy food. His was better and I would sneak it now and then. He seemed to like mine and he would do the same if our humans did not watch closely. We learned another trick too. When they were cooking, stay nearby. They usually drop something, or we give them the pitiful eye look and they will put some cheese or some other treat down for us. Works like a charm every time. 

Another trick that have taught our humans is that they are allowed only so much reading time without paying attention to us. If Smiley has the newspaper held up with both hands, Davis jumps up and smacks the paper with his giant paw. Since I am the smaller one, I simply curl up in their laps and put my head across their books. This is for their own good. It has been scientifically proven that petting your furbabies reduces stress significantly.

Our humans seem to love taking pictures of us. We need to be sure that we are in charge of what they snap to share with others. Sometimes I want to appear like a little doodle angel with my sidekick, Davis. For example, Lola wanted to get a picture of the two of us sitting perfectly in front of the Christmas tree, possibly for a Christmas card. On other occasions, I just want to be the Wild Child.
Somehow SantaPaws still came to see us and left goodies.

Both of us love to watch TV when our humans settle down at night and turn something on. I love shows that have dogs in them.
Davis, not so much. He prefers TV shows that have balls in them. Well, none of that lately. He always loves playing with balls. He will take them to Lola or Smiley and they throw it and he catches them in midair and returns it to them. Me? No way! My thoughts on that game is, "Hey, you threw it. You go get it." I prefer chewing on bone marrows, bully sticks, Oinksies and squeaky toys. Those bone marrows make a lot of noise when I drop them on the hardwood floor and the squeaks that I can make from the Kong balls? WOW! Plus, they usually give one to each of us. But the fun is taking Davis' stick or marrow away from him and hiding mine under me. This is why he usually walks around with his bully stick hanging out of his mouth. Lola and Smiley have nicknamed him Sir Churchill. They say he looks like Churchill with his cigar. 

If we act a bit too rambunctious one of the best things that our humans do for us is take us to Walnut Grove Animal Clinic. We go to see Dr. Taylor for everything, starting from the our first puppy shots.The friendly staff already knew Davis so I was quickly known right along with him. I watched him go to Doggie Day Care without me for a few times. I had to wait until I had all of my shots. Then the day arrived. WOW! So many dogs. In all sizes and shapes! It was rather scary. But the Day Care Crew took good care of me, as did Davis. Now, I know my way around and no big dog intimidates me. Davis always has my back. (even though I really don't need it - he is such a proper gentleman) When our humans drive up, Chris, Jessica, Cheney or David call our names and we race to our humans. Sometimes they tell on us, such as when I have a new boyfriend or Davis has a new girlfriend. I think our humans enjoy the quiet ride home because we are crashed out in the back seat. Then, let's not forget Amber, who grooms us and keeps us looking spiffy. This last time she put little bows on my ears and a bandana for Davis. 

We know when it is Doggie Day Care Day. Some talking box that they call Alexa wakes up our humans earlier than they usually get up, both get dressed quickly, Lola gets her purse and shoes and we stare at the leashes while Smiley tries to take us out for our business before getting in the car. We LOVE LOVE LOVE WGAC! They are the best!

With a little extra work, you too can have well trained humans. We all have that duty to help them. We are not spoiled. We just happen to be great at training humans.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Contingency Plans

Really in my thoughts, I was originally not going to write anything else that dealt with the pandemic. Eventually, I will. It seems that I am not quite ready to stop sharing my thoughts just yet. I listen to a fairly balanced enough news about the pandemic, from what I consider good sources and then switch it off. There is only so much a person can take. It actually all starts to run together, especially when one group states facts that are totally opposite of another group. Then people in some groups, even though what they said is on live TV when they said it, want to tell the public that is not what they said. 

My feelings are that we all need a contingency plan for ourselves during this pandemic. It is my thoughts that we are going to be in this predicament for some time. By no means am I an expert, however, I feel that I do have enough common sense to listen to those who are the certified experts. The majority of them all agree on this. Then there are those people who can only state their gut instincts that tell them the exact opposite. I am not prepared to listen to such nonsense. 

These experts are furiously working on plans to help get us back to some type of normal life. Knowing that the old norm has long gone by the way side. From this point on there will be a phasing in of the new norm and none of us know what that will look like. While this is happening, in order to help with my emotional side of my well-being, I have come up with some plans to help me.

This summer will be like no other summer in my opinion. I know that some beaches have opened up and have seen pictures on the news of these beaches crowded, as if nothing is going on in the world. Going to those beaches is not on my bucket list. I am so grateful that we have a screened porch, a beautiful front and back garden, along with a swimming pool. We have had stay-cations before. Lots of good reading, exercising in the pool or simply floating lazily along, grilling out and just enjoying each other's company. Those who live alone have been sharing ways that they are coping with friends and neighbors having driveway parties...keeping social distance but seeing each other; perhaps having a Happy Hour together. It is time to get creative. We can do this instead of having panic attacks. I know how that feels.

With me being such a list maker, I have been taking notes of things to do that would make this a great summer. It means making a total shift of plans, yet a powerful shift to help my emotional state. I hope that it will make a kind of statement on my heart and in my soul that far outlasts the end of this summer.

It begins with coming up with a word or phrase that will define my summer and that was actually fairly easy for me.
I wish to develop some new skills and build on ones that I just never seemed to get around to doing. If I sit and mope around saying that it just wouldn't be summer without a trip to the beach, what good would that do?
It is not going to happen in my 2020 Summer. So I need to replay what my beach vacation could be. First of all, it would last all summer but in my backyard in my pool. I can get out on sunny Summer days, read, hop in the water when I get too warm, and have my beach play list which may include ocean waves in the background playing that gentle, relaxing sound. Alexa even has the true beach sounds with waves and the sounds of sea gulls in the distance.

Ordering beach read books and loving just sitting out under the umbrella reading and having my frozen
drink with the umbrella in it.

I also know that I want to continue to expand my cooking abilities and my painting talent. YES! I said talent. I can look at my paintings with pride. I created them. It is a work in progress and I learn as I go and experiment. Take the risk. Now is the time. I have even been thinking about a future art sale. 

Some other creative ideas such as picking up my guitar again to play. I have no long fingernails due to no manicure so now is a perfect time. Also, I understand that there is a man who is teaching piano lessons on FaceBook live to adults. We have the piano. Instead of saying, "Why?" I say, "Why not?"
I have managed to do a bit of decluttering here and there. Reorganizing some cabinets, closets and drawers and it felt wonderful. My Rosetta Stone is calling me also. My 3 years of Spanish from high school days and college have long gone. Well, not completely. It is basically some of the grammar. I am actually pretty good at reading Spanish. Speaking it or understanding someone speaking it to me is where I need help. Plus, ya'll have to understand that my Spanish teachers were southern, just like me. So their Spanish speaking was slow. Much slower than someone who speaks Spanish as their first language.

The one thing I believe that we all can agree on is that there are more changes ahead. When Autumn does arrive, I want to be able to look back on this Summer and know that I did not miss a beat. No regrets for what could have been and I let it slip through my hands without trying. Go ahead and take some risks in trying new skills.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Compassionate Gratitudes

Genuine compassion comes in many forms. You can't always fix someone's problems. What is even more helpful in my mind is to just be there for them to talk to. Once someone is ready to move on there is a way to help them think of one good thing happening in their lives right now. Many times it is the smallest thing of all that turns out to be the most important. It is crucial to practice acceptance and acknowledgement of why you or your friend feel the way you do. It is normal behavior. When it takes a wrong turn, is when someone can't get over it. A good question to ask yourself or another, "Is it helpful for you to feel this way?" If the answer if yes then you may not be ready just yet to move on. In time, hopefully not too long, we come to the realization that we are ready. 

Through Whole Hearted School Counseling I found a wonderful way to express gratitudes that I am always writing about. It is a list of prompts. Some people seem to write better if they are given something specific, so I thought that I would share these this week in my blog. I am going out on a limb and put specifically what my gratitudes are on this prompt page. There really is no wrong answer. It is all about YOU!

A strength of mine for which I am grateful is my optimism.

Something that money can't buy that I am grateful for is my family.

Something that comforts me that I am grateful for is Davis and Maggie Mae.

Something that is funny for which I am grateful for is watching some of the amazingly creative YouTube videos to help bring me up a notch from the news of the pandemic, such as SGN with John Krazanski.

Something in nature that I am grateful for is our beautiful flowering garden.

A memory that I am grateful for is for my Mamaw showing me how to cook. 

Something that changes that I am grateful for are the four seasons.

A challenge  that I am grateful for is to be a published author.
Something interesting that I am grateful for is the possibility of unicorns among us.

Something beautiful that I am grateful for is the chance to see a rainbow.

There were so many things that I could have substituted. We just need to be attune to them and in trying to do this in "normal" times can be difficult, much less what we are going through now in 2020. I found a quote that was inspiring to me by Deepak Chopra: "In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you."  For me, this is telling myself that I am not willing to give up my joy to FEAR. Experience some creative activities to make you happy. Happy people aren't always creative, however being creative can make you happy.