Something in the air

20 August, 2014
Rat Fink

In the hours before I take off for the official first day of school, I am inundated with news that smacks suspiciously of an earlier time. Chaos in the streets, racial unrest, senseless violence, looting, hatred.

After reading the umpteenth article about the violence in Missouri, and the jagged separation between the two factions, I thought to myself, This country has got to get it together. Ah, a segue…

As cliché as it sounds, if we want to fix this thing for the future, we really do need to start right where we are. I resolve this day to be an example of tolerance and peace to my students, and everyone else, for that matter. To bend a little with my opinions. To not be so rigid in my thoughts. To never bathe in schadenfreude. To listen without simply thinking about what I’m going to say next.

Fiends, the revolution’s here. I think we need to strive to make it a positive alternative.

Happy day to you all — I’m off to the schoolhouse to meet 230 of my closest friends. :-)

Toute a l’école!

18 August, 2014
Rat Fink

Evvvverybody back to school, yay! Well, not everyone, but definitely me and all the rest of the teachers and staff for the next two days. Funny how some schools have been in session for two weeks already, and others don’t start until after Labor Day. I like individual districts being in control like that. (Now if only we could do it with regard to curriculum and assessments…but that’s a rant for another day.)

It’s been a weird summer. Longer because of more time at home, due to a super-short Odyssey this time around, but shorter because there was a lot to accomplish, and as usual, I didn’t get 75% of it done. We had a serious discussion about the fence/no fence issue, which was brought into sharper focus last night after our neighbor’s 90-lb. Golden Retriever mix broke loose and attacked Remy and Pax in our back yard. (Our wonderful neighbor, Nancy, was horrified and confused; in the nine years we’ve lived here, that’s never happened.) No one was hurt, but it got us thinking about keeping two dogs safe and contained in a busy neighborhood, where the yards are pretty close together.

It’s the three-four grand that people want to charge us to install sixty feet of fence and two gates that’s the problem, you see. The Thriller wants to do it himself, but I am going to put down my little feet and veto that, for many reasons.

But hey, enough about me — have a good Monday out there, fiends.


15 August, 2014
Rat Fink

…yeah, you knew it was coming. :-D

Those of you who are my Facebook friends saw the picture of our new pup yesterday, but for those who aren’t, let’s give it up for Pax, who just upped the ante for the canine team at our house.



We’ve had a longstanding love for Australian Shepherds, the rock stars of the herding breeds. We adore their intelligence, energy, beauty and loyalty. While Rousseau was an Australian Shepherd/Springer Spaniel  hybrid (here is a completely cool black & white variation of his breed), he favored the Aussie look.

Some interesting facts, if you’re in the mood:

1. Australian Shepherds do not come from Australia. They were likely brought to Australian sheep farms from either Spain or Germany. How exactly they were bred into their current form is unknown.

2. Aussies come in 16 color variants. Here’s a basic chart.

3. They are particularly prone to hip dysplasia and deafness.

4. The Aussie’s closest relative is the Scottish Collie

Six-year-old Pax’s owner passed away, and since no family could/would take him, he was remanded to the local shelter. We don’t know how long he languished there (long enough for them to shear off all his matted fur), but he had recently been taken into foster care by a woman who owned two other Aussies. She told us that he appeared depressed, and showed no interest in eating, no matter what she did to coax him. He was not thriving.

Enter the Thriller, who sent me an Aussie rescue link on 11 August, saying “Looky here…” Three days later, we brought Pax home.

He's about 7-8 lbs. underweight. His hipbones stick out like doorknobs, and his spine reminds me of a razorback hog.

He’s about 7-10 lbs. underweight. His hipbones stick out like doorknobs, and you can easily count the vertebrae in his spine.

The good news is that he’s taken to his new diet (Blue Buffalo with a spoonful of pumpkin puree, twice a day) like a duck to water. He’s eating like a pig. I’m noticing he takes extra care with his hip joints when lying down or getting up; this could be arthritic behavior, or it could be that he’s just skin and bone back there, and lying down hurts after a while. I hope it’s the latter. We have yet to get him in to see the vet for the full Monty check-up.

Last night, we had some moderate-to-slightly-serious “play” fights between Pax and Remy. This morning, we’ve had three play sessions between them, and so far, no flip-outs or ceremonial Dominance Dancing.

I luv u, u luv me

i luv u, u luv me

I’ve done one training session with Pax, and he’s another little smarty. He already knew how to sit and lie down, but “stay” was a new concept altogether. When we would go to take Remy out, Pax would have his nose right at the screen door, ready to bolt. He learned the “stay” command in no time. I think we’re on the way to being a family here.

Again, thanks for your concern over the past few days, and all your messages of encouragement. It means the world!


14 August, 2014
Rat Fink

I’m experiencing your standard-issue vast array of thoughts and emotions this morning.

Truth be told, I’m still off-center about the death of Robin Williams. And the madness in Ferguson has me very upset. I’m a bit apprehensive about whether Remy will like the new prospective brother we’re going to meet this morning. Just when I decide to not subject myself to anymore insulting, ignorant, hurtful statements about teachers in general, I open Twitter. Oy.


I get to see the Js tonight at a concert their father’s playing on, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting together with the A’s at some point over the weekend. This afternoon, Kay and I are going to see Hundred Foot Journey and maybe enjoy some victuals afterwards. Sunday, we help Bob and Kay staff their open house, giving tours and answering questions. Yay, I feel important; like the Thistlefink Docent. :-)

So, as is always the case, there’s a sunny side to every situation. The quest for daily balance and serenity amidst the oncoming insanity continues.

I’ll check in later with a critter update.

Rat Fink, Rat Fink…

11 August, 2014
Rat Fink

…what a donkey.

Why do I get so upset about seemingly ridiculous things? I couldn’t tell you. But it made me shake my head and smile this morning, as I went through some blog post history, cleaning up broken links (a job I hate, and often neglect). It’s a miracle I maintain my teeming throng of 100-some (worldwide) daily readers. :-D

From the “Rant” and “Boot to the Head” categories, here are five silly reminders of why I really need to keep my day job:

And the comments are fun, too.

Ah, I feel a retelling of the David Soul story coming on. Now there’s a laff riot, Jimmy. But first, the shower, the road and the school house.

Happy Monkday, fiends!