Monday, February 23, 2009

I've got a cold again. That's the second one since early January. What the heck is that all about? I almost never get colds. Or used to never get colds. Yesterday, I noticed that everywhere I went, folks were sneezing. What a crappy winter its been with the thermometer flipping back and forth between really cold and warm. No wonder everyone gets viruses. And the trees and plants seems as confused as we humans. They shiver and wither from arctic temps one day and blossom the next, spewing nasty pollen into the air. Achoo!

On the home front, things are not so good. I've got some worries. Daughter Laura, expecting a baby in four or five weeks has been hospitalized twice since Friday: first with diabetes complications and second with either a rotovirus or food poisoning. She is still there and they can't get her potassium levels stable.

I have to quit reading the morning newspaper with my coffee, too. Here's a few examples of story banners from today: Not All Aboard (on Commuter Rail), Schools See Spike In Free Meals, Deadly Blast Jolts Cairo, Recovery Outlook Even Gloomier Than Expected. Apparently the recession is going to get worse and worse, there are more poor kids needing meals than ever, the Muslim extremists are at it again bombing and creating bedlam and senseless murder somewhere, and commuter rail is off the tracks again. Checking in with the TV news isn't much better. More people are moving out of our state than in due to our crappy economy, lack of job opportunities, real estate debacle, and rising crime rate.

Florida isn't a dream anymore. Unless you count bad dreams. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. The stock market isn't recovering. Foreclosures are accelerating and banks aren't lending even to those with good credit. More jobs are lost every day. Tourism is feeling the pinch. For a brief while between November and late January we felt hope that change would come...maybe even soon, but now most folks are losing their optimism. Happy times aren't here again and may not be for a long time. We're not in the money. Hey Bary, can ya spare us a trillion dollars?

These are getting to be really scary times.

I wish I'd paid more attention to my parents when they talked about growing up in the great Depression of the 1030s. I do remember being told that prior to October of 1929 my mother's father was a drama critic on a newspaper and ran an advertising agency in Central Pennsylvania. After the stock market crash my grandfather lost job, business, bank savings, and house. He got a job through a friend on the Pittsburgh newspaper but when he arrived in Pittsburgh he found out that the man who hired him had jumped off a roof and the job was no longer on offer. My grandmother...with two college degrees... got hired on as a maid in a Pittsburgh hospital and my grandfather was glad to find work selling plumbing supplies. They survived but it took a decade to get securely on solid ground again. All four grandparents growled when Franklin Roosevelt's name came up in any conversation and swore that the only thing that got us out of the Depression was WWII.

I shudder to imagine another world war as an economic antidote. It would certainly be a Jews and Christians versus Islam war with really catastrophic consequences. Try not to think about that. At the beginning of WWII nobody had the capacity to blow up the whole planet.

So, I've got to stop reading the paper in the mornings. I suppose the sun will come out tomorrow like the little red haired girl sang...but...what about the day after? Oh well, at least we'll always have chocolate...won't we?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Park is Off Limits For Mutley Crew, Doggnit!

Here are some pictures of me and the Mutley Crew enjoying a fun Sunday afternoon at our nearby 'dog park', Fleet Peeples. Sadly, we will no longer be able to visit our dog "Disneyworld" of forest trails, meadow, and lake or to meet n greet other canine pals on sunny Sundays because the powers that be in our city have decided to enforce a citywide leash law ordinance on week ends and holidays from ten am to four pm, so that people may rent the picnic areas and enjoy the lake with out contact with dogs. The city of Winter Park charges a rental for these facilities and I guess they think they can make some bucks in this poor economic time, but the revenues will be minimal and I suspect the real reason is that we have some dog haters with connections to city council. The city did a study to see if Lake Baldwin was being contaminated by dog waste and determined that it wasn't, although there is one woman known to be publicaly concerned about the issue. (Never mind that wild animals and human children pee in the lake, lady. There's lotsa gators in there with big teeth and bad attitudes. I wouldn't swim in it anyway, but you go right ahead.)

Several members of my dog agility group informed me that there always was a leashes ordinance in the park just like the rest of the city but that it "was never enforced." I never knew about the dog park ordinance: never saw signage to that effect either. The only dogs I ever saw leashed in the park always behaved in an a borderline aggressive way...they always appeared nervous, growled, and snarled when approached by my dogs and I quickly called my poochies away and gave them a wide berth. There were never more than a handful and I always wondered why their owners would bring them if they were not well socialized.

Leashing dogs, especially tightly, prevents them from showing the correct doggy body language to tell other canines that they aren't a threat, especially when most owners jerk them back or tense up when approached by other 'strange' dogs. This happens all the time on our street walks. Never happens in the dog park when the dogs are free to run up to each other and act like dogs are meant to. I am concerned that even if we take our dogs to the park during the few permitted off leash hours (which don't work with Danny and my schedules) they will encounter lots of poorly socialized pooches still on lead and when snarled at and lunged at with bared teeth they will try to defend themselves. Leashing in the dog park will cause fear aggression problems and fights will break out. So, I will no longer risk my dogs there.

There's really no point in going to a leash park anyway. Leashed dogs can't play with other dogs. They can't run the forest trails and they can't swim in the lake or chase and retrieve balls and frisbees. I might just as well continue our daily thirty minutes walks around the city (on lead) twice daily. When we encounter threats in the form of alpha postures, lunging, and bared teeth barking, I can keep them safely on my side of the road. Or cross the road. Weirdly, the worst offenders are usually Bichon Frises which are either really fear aggressive or just plain suicidal. Mini pins are not fear aggressive or suicidal and my dogs know the difference. Sometimes size doesn't matter! But that's anopther blog subject for another day.

But, I am really sorry that the Mutley Crew will lose the joy of the freedom to run and play and jump into the lake at Fleet Peeples. It meant a lot to them and created much joy in Danny and me as well as watched them be the dogs they were always meant to be. Winter Park doesn't want us anymore. Too bad. I guess the travel guides and dog magazines will have to cross Fleet Peeples Park off the list of top dog parks in the USA.

By the way, it is my understanding that it was the dog people who raised money to make the park as nice as it is. Used to be a more rundown place and a spot for sexual predators. With less dogs, the bad guys may come back. Bad guys don't like dogs who can smell and sense their evil vibes and dogs tend to like little kids. So watch your kids there folks. You're on you're own. And without a few hundred dogs in the lake gamboling near the shore the gators may come back closer to your swimming kids. And you. Thank our commissioners for that. And remember to vote in two weeks in the upcoming mayoral race.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


By Nancy Wayman Deutsch

Is it February, or is it March?

In Florida, it's hard to tell.

Neither Spring nor Winter

a time between Jingle Bells and colored eggs

mind scape of scarlet hearts and roses

morphing into shamrocks and green beer.

Mother nature misbehaving, yet again

such an indecisive coy, calendar girl

changing her agenda from one day to the next

here and there, her azaleas blushing in pink profusion

while brittle branched oaks shiver in the wind.

My lawn is clothed in cocoa and verdant green

Old Sol playing peek a boo with steely clouds

scowling gray at patch worked earth below.

Have the robins come and gone unnoticed

before drifting yellow pollen blankets all in sight?

Cocooned with book and candle,

I wait to be an April fool

longing for steamy sultry days and golden sunsets

my bare toes digging into damp beachy sand

the raucous calling of gulls filling azure sky above.

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Ah Baby love, my baby love, been missing ya, oh oh miss kissin' ya... yeah baby whisper sweet nothings in my ear, oh don't turn away baby please cause I'll be least until we get to pre school." That Gavin, he's already a player and he's not even a year old yet. Still, when ya got it ya got it, right? So here's to baby love.

The rest of you, happy VD tomorrow. That's Valentines Day, boys and girls ladies and gents. Don't forget to buy something sweet for your sweetie and if you don't have a sweetie give yourself a hug and buy something for yourself. There's always next year. Love really does make the world go round and next year may be your year. And anyway my darlings, we'll always have chocolate.

Here on the home front, I've been buys doing...well...things...nothing exciting to report. Just real life stuff. Stuff like estate planning, and garage cleaning out, and writing workshop and haircuts and all the other normal tasks of daily life. Glad I am though to have my cold finally gone wherever colds go.

We enjoyed another Scottish evening last week end and the Mt Dora Art Festival and some beautiful sunny weather in the seventies and eighties again. Just the way February weather in Florida ought to be. This week end we look forward to a Valentines dinner at a favorite Turkish restaurant followed by a Shakespearean play. Sunday is my daughter Laura's baby shower. I had great fun over shopping for that event this past week as you might imagine! You can probably expect some shower photos to appear on my Flickr this week end.

Recently, I've had some positive comments on my book which gladdens my heart almost as much as if Cupid had nailed me with all the arrows in his little quiver. Granted there isn't generally a stampede by folks to buy poetry books. I'll never retire on my poetry earnings. I've heard lots of people say, "Oh, I never read poetry." But those dear brave souls who have bought and read Between The Lines thus far have offered much positive feedback. Comments like, "If this is what poetry is like, I'm going to read more!" Some like the funny poems, some the more sentimental ones but the main thing is that they like my poetry. So, maybe you should try it too. It might make a nice Valentines gift. Okay, self promotion over. At loeast it wasnt one of my rants!

Live long and prosper. Ta.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Marmot Day, y'all

Happy Groundhog Day. So, ole Phil saw his shadow. Six more weeks of winter. Who'dha thunk it? And just when I was hoping to miss the rain and cold too. Oh well, at least the Steelers won the Superbowl. Steelers rock!!! Makes me want to grab a yellow and black dish towel and wave it madly in the air. Won't drink Arn City Beer tho. Don't like beer. I'll lift a Klondike Bar in salute tho.

BY Nancy Wayman Deutsch (from Between The Lines, pub 2008 iUniverse)

Consider groundhog, woodchuck, marmot
rarely the farmer's favorite varmit
yet famed throughout the Keystone state
for weather change prognosticate.

The groundhog's dressed in frosted fur
it's hard to tell if he's a her
Like rodents, please do not forget
with aggressive manner, not a pet.

Some call the critter whistlepig
as ground squirrel though, he isn't big
an herbivore, he dines on grubs,
grasses, snails and sometimes bugs.

The groundhog smiles a toothy grin
as he digs a den and burrows in
like bears, this marmot hibernates
when shadow's seen and spring comes late.