What Susie Wrote on My Blog

Susie said: I avoid these intimate interactions, second-guess everything I do, and am thin skinned and extremely private. I like live groups (once upon a time, before Internet, all groups were live, remember?) so that I can socialize without giving of myself. It all stays nice and superficial--er, easy--that way. And if I reveal too much, I disappear. Forever.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Dad gave me the keys to his blog -- Monday, March 13, 2006

My Dad gave me the keys to his blog. How ever can I fill his shoes?

Dad is personable, interesting, and creative (as in whacky), . He talks with his commenters and creates a sense of community. He also has a thick skin so that if he says anything too revealing or goofy, oh well, he'll let it slide right off his back (this straight from his mouth).

On the contrary, I avoid these intimate interactions, second-guess everything I do, and am thin skinned and extremely private. I like live groups (once upon a time, before Internet, all groups were live, remember?) so that I can socialize without giving of myself. It all stays nice and superficial--er, easy--that way. And if I reveal too much, I disappear. Forever.

Unlike my dad, I'm gadgetly challenged. My husband is going to teach me how to post digital pictures so that I can at least continue Dad's appearance of adventure. He only makes his stupid little doggie treks sound exciting. Nobody--but NOBODY--has as exciting doggie adventures as I do. I go places where parents and husbands (and probably the law) forbid, but my policy is don't ask--don't tell, so I'll never really know whether or not I'm law abiding or renegade.

One advantage I have over Dad, though: I have a lot, and I mean a LOT, of dirt on my siblings. (Translation: Siblings, be very afraid . And an added freebie: If I were you, siblings, I'd BEG).

Dad told me to "make it respectable." So I ask you, Dad: You obviously think me unrespectable to tell me to be respectable. Can a zebra be a pig? Can somebody unrespectable be respectable? And you trusted me to guestwrite? What were you thinking?

Oh well....

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

I Got Stuck in Junior High -- Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I wanted to post my doggy adventure yesterday, but I'm missing the cord that unloads digital pictures into the computer. It's at hubby's office (30 minutes away and lots of freeway driving) and it will come home probably when I get fed up enough to go get it myself.

So meanwhile I'll take up another topic. And since Dad says no mudslinging, it'll be a safe one like Junior High.

I Got Stuck in Junior High

Can you point to a time in your life that was so traumatic you never progressed beyond it? that was so painful you got mired in a deep emotional rut you couldn't break free from? That time for me was Junior High.

I never saw it coming. I was top dog in elementary, partly for my deep compassion toward others. I was truly destined to be the next Mother Theresa were it not for those horrid girls in Junior High.

Our sweet little elementary school was nestled in community-minded Deer Park, Texas, where parents kept close watch on their children and shielded them from sordidness.

But in sixth grade we were bused to Pasadena, where the children were more worldly. They had been having boy-girl parties since third grade, where they necked and french-kissed.

And they thought we were retarded, since our elemantary had provided special education for retarded and handicapped children and theirs hadn't. So they didn't readily accept us into their cliques. One by one, we would have to prove ourselves cool and intellegent.

And then the throat cutting began.

We had to vie for attention, then jockey for position into the cliques. Once knee-length, our skirts and dresses shrunk to minis. Once bare-faced and innocent, we sported sultry raccoon eyes ringed in black liner,heavy with mascara, and slathered layers of rouge and base about.

We dumped former close friends for fear that the popular girls wouldn't like us if we associated with anyone they snubbed. I dumped my friends and they dumped me. My best friend since first grade, whom I had stayed with many, many weekends, never spoke to me or looked at me again.

Three years into Junior High, in eighth grade, I finally got noticed by the popular girls. One of them, my drama class partner, discovered that I was cool and spread the word to her clique. She invited me often to her house for sleepovers. Former friends who had dumped me took notice and began warming up to me--me, their ticket to popularity.

Invited to my first popular party, I stood in the doorway and peered into the dark hallway of the still darker house where the party was. Older, sophisticated guys who did not attend our school were holding beer cans, laughing among our girls.

I never went in. I can't remember how I got away from there--just that I could'nt stomach the evil I felt. And the popular girls now knew I wasn't cool and dumped me.

Upon seeing their ticket to populartiy had devalued, my former friends dumped me again . And I never trusted a girl again, never had another close girlfriend, never even tried to kindle a close friendship with a girl.

Until my sophomere year of High School.

But that's another post.

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

You CAN Beat City Hall (part 1) -- Thursday, March 16, 2006

Maybe it's best to write in the mornings, when life seems fresh and hopeful, rather than at night, when the day's failures loom big.Mornings will produce funny posts, and nights soap operas.

So here's my morning post:

You CAN Beat City Hall
(part 1)

I'd gotten a ticket in Louisiana--70 mph in a 55 zone--in an ittybitty city of 250 called Village of _______. I'd been driving 60 mph behind a cement truck in a two-lane highway. Now 60 was good, comfortable. I liked 60, but I couldn't see beyond the truck. And I like a clear view of the road to spot danger ahead. So I passed the truck at 70 and got ticketed by I'm sure the city's only police officer, who waits at this 15-second stretch of city highway to catch offenders and refurbish city coffers.

$199.00?! That's more than three days of work for me! (I substitue teach and pretend to be responsible with children.)

Am I going to work three days and pay this stupid ticket? No way! I'm going to go to jail like my (unnamed relative) does and gets rid of hundreds of dollars worth of warrants for unpaid traffic fines. He gets caught, goes in for a few hours, and wipes out $800 + . How hard can that be?

I convince my husband that a 250-person city jail can't be that bad, and he either must be hard up for money or is gonna teach me oooooone gooooooood lesson (or both), but he doesn't fight me. So I call Village of ______ to announce my plan.

The city secretary sounds 78 years old. She is momentarily speechless at my request to go to jail. They don't have a jail, she says. Maybe I'll have to go to the county jail instead. Anyway, come talk to the judge.

" The county jail?" the (experienced unnamed relative) asks. "Oh MAN, I don't think you want to go there." Now I'm scared. No matter. I'm cheaper than I am scared, and $200 is $200!

Fifty bucks in gas and three hours of driving lands me at night court, held every second Tuesday of each month at 5:45 pm. I'm dressed in my best suit, shoes, and scarf to show that I'm no ordinary jailbird and to perhaps get some sympathy and kidglove treatment by the jailers.

I have special food packed--a cooler of frozen, fresh-squeezed juice that hopefully a nice jail in a small little county will allow.

But just as I reach City Hall, my (unnamed relative) calls to tell me his lawyer's reaction: "Louisiana? She'll be lucky to get out of there alive." I waver a little; but then I think of the $200 I'll save, and I'm strengthened.

Well, blarny! This was supposed to be an unfinished draft. I must have pressed the wrong button. (My husband would say here, "You're supposed to apologize. You never apologize." Well, I'm sorry, ya'll.)

Go here for part II.

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

You CAN Beat City Hall (part 2) -- Saturday, March 18, 2006


(Susie leaps out of bed and rushes at the computer, by-passing the kitchen and her morning fresh-squeezed juice.)


I started things that I must finish. That's why I don't start things--so I don't have to finish them. And now I have to finish them because I made the committment to Dad. And because people who don't finish things probably sink into some level of mental illness. I think I'm beginning to.

So, mood for writing or no, here's my post:

You CAN Beat City Hall (part 2)

An older-model, half-beat-up pickup sits in the parking lot. Out climbs a slim, robust, forty-ish man. He sports a tasteful, well-tailored suit and a full head of hair with a trendy cut. He greets me with a thick southern drawl. Cosmopolotan or hick, he could hail equally from these boonies or a big city. He smiles nervously at me, but his eyes spark fire.

A 78-ish woman unlocks the small hall and seats us. The man is quiet until she leaves.

Then he pounces. "What are you here for?"
"70 in a 55."
"And how much is your ticket?"
"Well, mine is for 'No Seat Belt.' I always wear one. Only this time, I was going just four streets over to a friend's house after stopping at a convcenience store. And in my hurry, I didn't put it on. And they want 75 bucks for that?!"
"Now that's extortion. All other cities surrounding here charge 25 bucks for 'No Seat Belt!'" With that, he whips out a home-made poster drawn with blue magic marker mapping all the nearby cities, along with their fees of $25.

I'm startled. A lot of planning went into this. But he looks overeager to me. And overeagerness never sits well with authorities. My strategy when dealing with authority is to to appear calm, quiet, and forceful. This demeanor of inner strength scares people, like big growling dogs get scared when you chase them with newspapers and yell. I'm afraid for this man.

It turns out that he was once a stockbroker. He gave up his career to be a chef--graduated in the first chef class of his college. He had cheffed in different areas of the South but settled in Lake Charles, Louisiana, a city 30 minutes away.

"So what do you think?" he steers the conversation back to his case, fitful. I pause. I'm usually an optimistic fighter, but this is government. And he's broken their rules. And he must pay.

"You can't beat City Hall," I say slowly, as sympathetically as I can.
"Well, I think I can. I'm going to threaten to write a letter to the Houston Chronicle exposing this city. I will, too. I'll write letters to every newspaper around here if they make me pay this."

I feel sorry for his desperation, but I understand his rage. Maybe if he were driving a pricier car, I think.

The courtoom fills up with various people and the policeman. The chef and I are the only litigants. It seems other offenders drive through here from out-of-state to gamble in Kinder, and they merely mail in their payments.

I'm relieved that the chef's name comes before mine alphabetically. His case will be heard first, and I can stall. But no. A woman calls roll and then gazes fixedly at me. In her eyes, I catch a flash of humor and curiosity: she's been tipped off. But I also glimpse blood. Uh oh, I'm going to be her sport.
"Mrs. Chan, you were apprehended for going 70 in a 55 speed limit. "What do you want to do?"

I'm stunned. I get a ticket in Houston nearly once every year. They ask how you will plead and then recite you your options. What does she mean, what do I want to do? And who is this hard woman, anyway? Where is the kind, elderly man in robes I had expected and was hoping to elicit sympathy from?

"I prefer to go to jail."

The woman doesn't twitch a muscle. Her eyes stare fixed, her mouth hard. "That's not an option," she says. "You can pay your fine in one sum or in monthly payments. What do you want to do? " The same flint face, the same hard mouth.

"I prefer to go to jail."
"We don't have a jail, so that's not an option."
"Then I would like to go to the county jail."
"That's not an option. We are not set up for that. We are a mayor's court. We have no judge's jurisdiction."
"What are my options, then?"
"You can pay your fine in one sum or in monthly payments. It's your choice.

I didn't see much choice in that.

"What do you want to do?"
"Can't I do community service? or take Defensive Driving? or receive deferred ajudication?"
"No ma'm. This is a mayor's court (suddenly it hit me that she's the mayor) and we don't have that ability. So what do you want to do? The ball is in your court."

What do you want to do. It's your choice. The ball is in your court. These phrases ring empty with no choice but to pay.

"I prefer to go to jail."
Steely face. "That is not an option."

I'm losing my calm coolness. "You mean if I go to jail, the fine won't be rescinded?"

"No ma'm. We'll report your violation to the State of Texas, and they'll revoke your liscence until you pay the fine."

Like a cornered wild animal, I attack. "I'm going to call my lawyer," I say, grabbing my cell phone. I don't have a lawyer, but I figure that'll scare them into backing down. On the other hand, they may just decide that I'm rich and can well afford the fine and offer me no mercy. "My son's lawyer, I mean."

Walking proud and straight, I leave the room with a flourish. At the hall's end, away from court, I drop my shoulders and panic. Who can I call? I find a corner to huddle in, and I dial my (unnamed relative) who has had extensive run-ins with the law. Maybe he's still at his lawyer's.

No answer.

Meanwhile, a commotion begins in the courtroom. A woman's strained, high-pitched voice blusters, "We don't have to charge what the other cities charge. Fees are not mandated by the State of Louisiana, and we can set our own fees. It makes no difference what rates other cities set."

Ol' hard-mouthed Steely Face is cracking.


Go here for Part III

Back to Part I

(Gosh, I can only write so much. Sorry.)

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

You CAN Beat City Hall (part 3) -- Monday, March 20, 2006

You CAN Beat City Hall (part 3)

Now I'm really panicked. I pace, unable to think. I need somebody smart, somebody strong. I collapse into my corner and dial my husband.

"They're not going to let me go to jail."
"Well ask for Defensive Driving then."
"They say they're not set up for that."
"What's all that noise?"
"A guy's in there trying to argue his case. They're mean!"
"Well what will they offer you?"
"Nothing. I'm telling you, they're mean. They want blood."
"Well try."
"They're not gonna budge! It's just a little rinky-dink town, and this is how they make their money."

Footsteps approach. I straighten and turn to face them, re-assuming an aura of calm and control.

It's the chef. With a smug grin, he gloats, "I did it! I got off!" and waves his poster in victory as he saunters past me and out the door.

I'm shocked, flabbergasted. Whaaaaaaat??? And I missed it? How did--??? My stomach knots. I feel the last hope for my $200 ebbing away. What else is there left for me now but certain public humiliation?

"Sugar! Sugar! What's going on?"
"The guy just got off!"
"How'd he do it?"
"I don't know. I missed it. Darn!"
"Ask them to reduce your fine. Tell them you drove a long way and spent a lot of money in gas."
"Ok-a-a-a-a-a-y," I whimper. "But I don't know...."
"Just ask."

As I span the hallway to the court, I do a quick gearshift. I decide to drop the calm forcefulness and adopt a softer demeanor: It's time to suck up.

When I return to my seat, Ol' Steely Face looks somehow kinder and more humane--concilliatory, even.

"Mrs. Chan, have you decided what you want to do?"

"Your Honor, in Houston [emphasis here that these small hick towns should really be more progressive and swing with the big boys] we who violate infrequently [emphasis here on my upstanding community status and good citizenship] are offerd alternatives to fines, such as Defensive Driving or deferred ajudication, so that our records are not blemished and our insurance rates are not raised."

"We take care of that, too. After you pay your fine, we wipe your record clean, and we don't report your violation."

"But Your Honor, if I had known that I had no choice but to pay this ticket, I would not have spent the time and gas to come--I would have merely mailed in my money. But I called your secretary [here I turn to the 78-ish woman, who perks up and widens her eyes, sabotaged], and she told me to come talk to the judge. And now I've spent three hours and $50 in gas to come and talk to you."

"But I told her we didn't have a jail!" the city secretary wails.

"Yes," I address her, "but then you said if I were to go to jail, I could only go to the county jail, and to come talk to the judge. And I wouldn't have gone to all this expense to come here had you informed me that the option of jail was not available to me. Your Honor, I think my ticket should be reduced to compensate me for my gas spent."

"'Well, I see here that your ticket has been incorrectly set at $199. It should be only $192. How about if we reduce it by $64 to make it $128? Is that fair and agreeable with you?"

Is it! But wait! I have one last, degrading recourse: to beg.

"Your Honor, my husband has had numerous hospital stays culminating ultimately in open-heart surgery. Our medical bills are extensive [I want to say staggering , but that might be overkill] ."

"So we will allow you to pay in two monthly installments of $64 each. Is that fair and agreeable with you?"

Now, if I could think under duress, I would push for more. I would point out that the total drive to attend court would amount to six hours, an entire workday for a substitue teacher. But just about now I'm breaking down. The strain of play-acting the intelligent-upstanding-self-assured-woman-turned-groveler has worn me out. And too, the mayor's bad-cop/good-cop turnaround has thrown me off-kilter. I just want to get out of here before I crack up totally and start blubbering.

"Your Honor, that's very fair. Thank you."

On the drive home, I do a lot of thinking. I conclude that the chef won his case through positive thinking and thorough preparation. I vow never again to discourage others in their fight to win or to excel or to succeed; and to become more positive, enthusiastic, and thorough myself because


Go back to Part I

Go Back to Part II

All of Susie's writing

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

A Day in the Life of a Blogger -- Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Some random thoughts while I recoup from marathon writing sessions (This is like a light day between rigorous workouts):

A Day in the Life of a Blogger

"What did you do tonight, Sugar?"

"What did you do this afternoon?"

"What did you do this morning?"


Uh, Sugar....."

Today I understand why we love dogs so much. They forgive.

My husband had me put the dog (why must I always be the bad guy?) downstairs, in the office. We live on top.

My son was gone, and his dog wanted perpetual company. We wanted perpetual sleep.

This morning, the dog forgave me.

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

Grapefruit Sale Week (part 1) -- A smorgasboard today -- Thursday, March 23, 2006

A smorgasboard today.

People must tire of clicking on this site and finding nothing new. So from now on, whenever I'm busy preparing long, meaty stories, in the meantime I'll throw out some snacks. Here are three that should have been served and eaten already. And however much now I hate to ruin dinner by serving snacks first, they're piling up and getting stale in the refrigerator.

1. The dog's okay. We're crazy. Bam Bam had to sleep downstairs in the offices again last night (I have nothing to do with this, so direct all hate mail to my husband [I dare you]). Bam Bam was about to be exiled permanently to the garage, but I managed to get his sentence adjudicated. If he pees or poops or gnaws the furniture or rips the carpet or ______ oooooooonce more (you get the picture), he'll serve time. The judge/husband wants to make an example out of this one, he does.

2. Yesterday I came to understand that enthusiasm breeds energy. If you lose enthusiasm in any area of your life, you no longer have the energy to produce in that area. So find out what you must do to keep things fresh. Maybe you need a break to revitalize creative juices (remember: God mandated rest when he created the Sabbath), or maybe a variation in your workout or routine.

3. Today I came to understand that all we earthlings are damaged. And we heal our damage by helping others. This works on the outside as well as inside. For instance, if somebody has damaged his reputation (outside), doing charity work can win him back respect (President Carter). If somebody has been damaged by another's thoughtlessness or outright cruelty (inside), helping ease another's hurts will heal his own. (Visit a nursing home. Ask at the nurses' desk who would appreciate a visit. They'll suggest somebody coherent and affable, and your visit will be very pleasant. You may just find a cherished friend, as I have.)

And now for dinner: the as-yet unedited and uncut story. [Translation: it will read differently tomorrow.)

"Ooooh, what happent to you hant? " a Hispanic lady asks as we're picking avocados together late one night at Fiesta, a grocery store two blocks away from my home. I've lived in an Hispanic neighborhood for eight years, and I'm still often bemused at the people and culture.

My hand looks pretty bad. The back had turned dark red, then swelled, blistered, and turned brown. Next it began to peel, showing flaming pink skin underneath. I tell everybody who asks that I burned it.

"With what?" nosy people will continue.

With tile cleaning and bleaching chemicals. That could be, because I was cleaning my tile without gloves. But by the weird way my hand swelled, I rather suspect that I had gotten into some allergic brush on my long doggie hikes through fields and bayous. And I briefly suspected ebola, but I didn't want to panic my hypochandriac husband and son, so I never mentioned it. Anyway, a burn is safer to parade out in public than a contagious rash or disease.

"Ooooh, eet looks teddible! Haf you seen a doctor?" the nos
y lady continues.
No!? For just a burn?
"Well, you shood poot someting on eet, like aloe vedda. You haf, no?"

Not content to nose alone, she calls the Hispanic grocer over for a look too.

"Loooook! Look at her hant!"

I, of course, dutifully hold my hand up for him to inspect, not wanting to embarrass the nosy lady, and at the same time wanting to downplay the scene by proving See? It's not so bad afterall. I'm not so nasty and unhygenic as you must think.

At first he stares at it blanky. Then he looks flustered, wondering what reaction we want from him, wondering what am I doing here, anyway? And what does any of this have to do with me?

"I no speakuh English veddy goot, "she addresses me, "but I tell you de best I can: Prrray to Jesus. Jesus loves you. He will helpuh you hant."

While glad for the encouragement, and warmed to hear of Jesus' care, I want to get away fast before she calls over more people and I become a freak show.


Run-ins like these, while embarrassing, are often amusing and harmless, providing great fodder for Can you believe...! tales to entertain friends and family with. But some days, one must do everything he can to avoid these friendly/nosy people lest they sabotage his mission, as during

Grapefruit Sale Week (part 1)

Grapefruit Sale Week
is a special event at our house. All year long, we eagerly await it because we drink so much juice--over a gallon a day, fresh-squeezed. And we prefer sweet Ruby Red grapefruit juice. So every season, when they go on sale, we buy thousands. And Sellers Brothers was having a sale.

Now the job falls to me to gather these grapefruits. No one will help me because no one can stomach the embarrassment: the whispers, the raised eyebrows, the nosy questions, and worst of all, the run-ins with the store managers when they see our carts overflowing with grapefruits. And not to mention the time spent hand-picking every one. They have to be thin-skinned, plump, and firm, and young enough to sit and ripen for some weeks without rotting.

Now, granted, I'm embarrassed and frustrated by these things, too. But amassing the grapefruits has to be done. And when something has to be done, one must set his feelings aside and just do it. He must tuck his chin and barrel through. No whimpering.

Warning: This attitude, while practical and productive, does not always sit well with husbands. For instance, when mine had quadruple-bypass surgery last December, he called me a heartless drill sergeant, a Hitler. And he whined that recovering at home with me was like being in boot camp.
Awkward place to stop, I know. But more later when the Muses return.

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

Today I realized that life is not about fun, but about satisfaction -- Saturday, March 25, 2006

Today I spent a lot of time trying to post pictures of my doggie adventures. I couldn't upload them.

And too, the muses haven't returned yet. I'm waiting on them to finish my last story. So tonight it's snacks again.

Today I realized that life is not about fun, but about satisfaction. Fun is a diversion. It refreshes us for a time. But prolonged fun becomes empty. Satisfaction, on the other hand, fulfills us.

Solomon seems to back me on this in Ecclesiastes 2:1,2: " I said to myself, 'Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.' But behold, this also was emptiness. I said of laughter, 'It is mad,' and of pleasure, 'What use is it?' "

I'd been having a lot of fun and adventure lately (nobody plays harder than I), but I was growing empty. I'd neglected the thing I feel I'm meant to do because other things were easier, more exciting. But they didn't satisfy me deep inside.

Satisfaction comes from doing the thing God created us for. It's not a pro/con comparison where we weigh the benefits against the detriments, like There are six reasons to have a dog and four not to, so the dog wins. And it's not about us, like Let's see now, what can I do today that I enjoy . No, it's like No matter the cost, no matter the trouble, I must do this lest my lifeblood be drained from me and I shrivel and die.

The apostle Paul went through this. He says: "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast about; for it is something I must do. Yes, woe to me if I don't preach the gospel (I Corinthians 9:16)."

Then he goes on to show that the work God calls us to is not always something fun or something we feel like doing:
"For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if unwillingly, I am entrusted with a commission (9:17)."

But like it or not, you know what that thing is inside of you, calling you. It's the thing that won't go away (The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable [Romans 11:29]). It keeps coming back to you after you've tried all kinds of other things (There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless, the Lord's counsel--that will stand [Proverbs 19:21]). And so you gotta do this thing, or else you'll never find satisfaction: when the party's over and the laughter quits, you'll still go to bed empty.

Since I'm so easily distracted by play and unrestraint (I cut loose too much), I took an idea from Deuteronomy 6:8: "And you shall bind them [God's commandments] as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."

So I'm placing a poster that reads SATISFACTION aback my workspace. It'll remind me where my fulfillment lies and woo me away from futile pursuits. It'll spur me on and keep me singleminded, reminding me that nothing else satisfies.

So you want joy? Satisfaction? Attend to that call in your heart.

Gotta go buy some posterboard now. Bye!___________________________________

Here are some things from Ecclesiastes that Solomon said about work:

"I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as as they live; also that it is God's gift to man that every one should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil ( 3:12, 13)."

"I saw that there was nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his lot. (3:22)."

And a favorite of mine. Work takes our mind off our troubles:" As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and power to eat of it, to recieve his heritage [some versions say to accept his lot] and and rejoice in his labor--this is the gift of God. For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart. (5:19,20)."

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bam Bam's Wonderful Adventure -- 3/27/2006 [not posted]

Bam Bam's
Wonderful Adventure I

Hi! Welcome to my world. My name is Bam Bam, and I wanna invite you on one of my doggie treks. Your knees up to it? It's four miles!

We start on my street.
Can you make it a block to the end? Good! Aww, your'e not such a codger after all.
Through the woods. Maybe we can find some pathkill.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

All work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy -- Monday, March 27, 2006

In my last post I talked about getting on task with our life callings . Here's how my first day at it went. It's not particularly interesting, but maybe somebody will get inspired to get to work.

All work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy.

Dad used to quote me this when he thought I was overdoing the piano practice. It's true. It's only my first day of intense practice and already I'm dull. Oh well. It's a sacrifice.

Got in mucho hours today. Here's how:

1. I use a wind-up timer to keep me on track. Also I can gauge how much time I've put in. And I can visibly gauge how much longer I must endure. If long, then I think of ways to keep it fresh, such as changing the song, working on a more challenging part, or imagining an audience.

2. I set the timer for 1 hour. Break for 15 minutes.

3. I repeat till I drop (4 sets).

4. Afternoon break

5. Return for 2 more sets.

6. total: 6 hours practice

To keep on track, I've posted signs:

  • 1. In all labor there is profit (Proverbs 14:23).
  • 2. With God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
  • 3. Redeeming the time, for the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).
  • 5. The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the lazy will be put to forced labor (Proverbs 12:24).
I look to these for strength when I start sinking, thinking

  • What a stupid idea this is (SATISFACTION: only applying myself to my life's work will bring it)
  • I'll never amount to anything (With God all things are possible)
  • I'm tired. I don't know why I'm working so hard, anyway. I have plenty of time. (Reedeming the time, for the days are evil: A calamity (evil) might hit taking up my tomorrow or even next hour. The car could break down, an emergency might arise, a hurricane or a tornado might hit)
  • I can't see that I'm making any progress. What's the use? (In ALL labor there is profit)
  • I picked a stupid thing to give my life to. Where could all this work possibly lead? (The hand of the diligent shall bear rule, but the lazy will be put to forced labor).

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Worst Dog Story -- Sunday, April 09, 2006

Well blarney! I started writing about grapefruit sale week, when suddenly my window reverted back to blogger dashboard, and my story got lost. Somehow, though, my pre-story introduction got published (??). That's frustrating. I was talking about having the jitters from a six day (now seven) pineapple juice cleansing fast. And then I delved into my story, which, as I said, got lost.

Well, at least the Muses have returned. So while I'm cooking up my (maybe long) story, I'll throw in a short: _____________________________
We all have one, but can you top this?

My Worst Dog Story

My husband and I were sick of the dog, a five month-old beagle. The night before, Bam Bam kept opening our bedroom door (it won't shut completely) and bothering us. If we brace the door shut to keep him out, he'll whine and paw the door until he barrels through. The door swings shut by itself, so he can't get back outside once inside. He'll be stuck inside our room for the night tearing up things and jumping on us and keeping us awake.

First, he licked my husband's feet that dangled over the recliner he's slept in ever since his open-heart surgery. We'd moved it into the bedroom for privacy since we have guests, and there I cream his feet every night. But Bam Bam kept licking the cream off as fast as I'd put it on.

"Oh--get that dog out of here," my husband fussed.
"If you knew how I can't stand animals licking me, especially my feet! Put him downstairs in his cage."
"We don't have to get rid of him. We can just hit him and make him quit."
"Sugar, I don't like to see animals get hit all the time. It's not right." Lately I had taken to swatting him a lot.
"He'll stop. You'll see."

I put my husband's socks on quickly, and that ended the licking. Next, I sat on the floor beside the recliner and lowered my head onto my husband's chest. But Bam Bam wanted attention, too, and squeezed between the recliner and me.

"Is that the dog moving the recliner?! Ohhhhh, if you knew how I don't like this shaking while I'm falling asleep! Sugar, I want to sleep! Put him out!"
"He won't do it anymore." I pushed him away. He squeezed in again. And I swatted him and again pushed him away.

Next Bam Bam started playing with various objects in the bedroom. He began digging in the mulch of the potted ficus tree.

"Sugar, what is he doing? Is he tearing something up? Sugar--!"
"Okay, I'll put him downstairs. But he'll cry, and then we won't be able to sleep."
"All right, but keep the door open so he can go in and out."
"But you don't like the door open. You like your privacy."

The recliner sits facing the doorway, and the living room lights would shine in his face, making it hard for him to sleep. And our guests would see him sleeping (and maybe snoring) when they came in at 4:00 a.m. from working the night shift.

"We can put him in the living room and just hit him when he tries to come in here. He has to be trained."
"Sugar, it'll be okay. Just leave the door open." Wow, what a trooper--and he doesn't even like animals in the house.

Bam Bam started finding other things in the bedroom to chew on and tear up (the garbage, the bedposts), and so I took off his collar with all its tags so that its constant jangling wouldn't alert my husband to more mischief and upset him so much that he couldn't sleep.

And so the saga continued and repeated itself throughout the next day, until we grew thoroughly sick of our charge.

Now nobody had specifically asked us to look after Bam Bam. We just happened to be home a lot, and they (his owners--my son and his friend, who are staying with us) just happened to be gone a lot, so we just happened to get stuck with him a lot.

The next night, my husband sat on the couch working, with his office paperwork at one side of him and his company laptop computer on his lap. I sat on the love seat with papers at my side also and another company laptop on my lap. First Bam Bam jumped onto the couch, landed on my husband's papers, and then jumped onto my husband's stomach and computer.

"Bam Bam--NO!" My husband pushed him from the couch. So Bam Bam repeated his caper on me.
"Get off!" I screamed and shoved him to the floor, too.

I decided to curl up on the love seat and catch a wink. I set my papers and laptop on the sofa table and lay down on my side. Bam Bam jumped onto the love seat and buried my nose in his furry ribcage.

"Noooooooo!" I sputtered as I tried to dig my hands from beneath me to throw the dog off me. Meanwhile, he moved further in the direction of my feet, vying for better footing, and planted his bottom squarely and firmly on my face.

My husband called to him, trying to get him off me. Instead, Bam Bam, with his hiney still smothering my face, began to wag his tail, scraping his rear end back and forth across my face.

Finally freeing my hands, gagging, I hurled him from the couch. And wanting only to vent my frustration and rage on this disgusting creature that had so disrupted my life, instead my husband and I contorted in raucous laughter.

So I ask you again: Have you ever had a more disgusting experience than having your face wiped with a dog's hiney?

My only hope is that maybe some one from the SPCA will read this and come and forcibly remove the dog from my home.

posted by Susie Hovendick Chan