Sunday, March 30, 2008


Bingo was first published in 2001 in an anthology titled Faithful Guardians, which was edited by a wonderful lady, who has since left us, Phyllis Hobe.It is a true story.

Bingo was my brother's mixed German Shepard dog. Generally speaking, he was sort of a pain in the neck. He was a barker. He barked at everything -- neighbors, cars, cats, the wind or anything else that caught his attention. No one knew what to do about him. None of the remedies we tried stopped him from barking. He had been an abused puppy when my brother rescued him, so having him put down for barking just didn't seem right.

He wasn't a very good watchdog. He was like the little boy who cried wolf, or perhaps the little wolf that barked boy. At any rate, we soon learned that his barking was not a cause for concern and no one paid any attention it. Neither did I as I sat at the kitchen table reading a book one hot summer day in 1969. Bingo started to bark; I tried hard to block it out -- until I heard the back door open. As I looked up, two middle-aged men entered the laundry room, which lead into the kitchen.

"OK, stop right there." I said in the most commanding voice I could muster.

They laughed and told me not to be alarmed. According to them, they were acquaintances of my father and had come by to pick up the old shed laying disassembled in the back yard. My father hadn't said anything about this to me and neither man had a receipt. Being a teenager who enthusiastically embraced the feminist movement, I quickly lost sight of the dangerous potential of my situation. Instead of being fearful because I was alone with these two strangers in the house, I became very annoyed and indignant at their condescending attitude toward me. I told them to come back when my father was home. They insisted that they needed to take the shed, which was "rightfully" theirs since they had paid for it. Referring to me as a "little girl" and telling me not to get "all hysterical," they continued to attempt to bully me into allowing them to take the shed.

My growing anger revealed itself as I glared at the two and they found that very amusing. There was no way I was going to just let them walk away with the shed. However, I wanted them and their silly grins gone. I told them they could have the shed if one of them gave me his license so that I could copy his name and address. The mouthier one of the two handed over his license, laughing at me in the process. I copied the information.

As they were leaving the kitchen, the mouthier one turned to me and said, "You gonna do something about that stupid dog of yours out there? He's in the way."

He was correct about Bingo being in the way. He was tied to his doghouse, which was only a few feet from the shed. I didn't want him to get hurt. I knew he wouldn't harm them. He was all bark and no bite. I held his collar as the men approached the shed. It wasn't an easy task. Bingo continued to bark, growl, and lunge at the men. It took all my strength to hold onto him.

Suddenly, the men began to jump around and scream, as they slapped at themselves and the air. When they had picked up the last part of the shed, they had disturbed a nest of wasps. Wasps were everywhere. Before I could act on my fast growing sense of panic, I felt Bingo's body press against the side of my leg. He had stopped barking, growling, and lunging. He stood quietly, keeping his body firmly pressed against my leg. I reacted instinctively and followed his lead. Neither of us moved a muscle. The wasps were everywhere, buzzing around us. The men continued jumping, slapping at the wasps, and screaming. After a few minutes, the wasps disappeared.

Each of the men had been stung several times. As they were leaving one of them said to me, "How come you and your stupid dog didn't get stung?"

I smiled for the first time since the arrival of the two men and said, "I guess my stupid dog is the smartest one here!" He looked at me as if I had two heads. He didn't get it. I don't think he even understood that I was being sarcastic when I referred to Bingo as "my stupid dog." It didn't matter because I knew Bingo had saved the day. His keen instincts saved him from the wasps, and his big heart saved me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Look What I Found!!

Hooray!! Yesterday, I saw a patch of the ground, the bare-naked ground for the first time in months. Better than that, there was a patch of green. Moss never looked so good to me. I heard more birds during this past week. Crows cawing and the low whistle-like call of of evening grosbeaks fill the air. Mourning doves visit the feeder along with the regulars - chickadees, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, hair woodpeckers, and titmice. I think I even heard a dark-eyed junco and caught a glimpse of a chipping sparrow. Dave heard a phoebe.

We still have quite a bit of snow, but the melting continues revealing more patches of beautiful earth. Tonight's forcast is for more snow, which will end as freezing rain and then plain rain. I'm not worried. I think we have turned the corner. A few nights ago, when I took my nightly peek at the sky before going to bed, the scent of spring greeted my nostrils. I breathed in deeply and slept very well with visions of spring flowers dancing in my head. :-)

Web Weaver Graphics

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Please, No More Snow! LOL

I can say that all I want, but it looks like the snow is determined to break its own record set in the 1800's. We only have a few inches more to go to reach that goal. The latest weather forcast predicts more snow, ice and rain. Thankfully, a lot of what we had so far has finally melted. I can't wait to see the ground again.

This was taken early last week. That little spot of black near the street is my mailbox.

Here is a closer view of the mailbox and the street. The banks were getting high.

This is the path leading from the house to the driveway. The snow on the path itself was a good six inches of an ice pack dusted with snow. The sides just kept growing taller and taller.

I have to admit that as weary as I am of all this snow, it sure is pretty glistening in the sun!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Online, Offline, Online...

I’m back – again. The last several weeks either my computer has been ill or my ISP has been on the fritz. Finally, the computer was sent out for checkup. I would solve one problem long enough to go online for a day or two before another would crop up.

It got started weeks ago when my computer seemed to be under attack. It ended up with a worm and a Trojan which is deemed so hazardous that the anti-virus software companies strongly recommended that victims who have done any online financial transactions change their bank account numbers. That is a pain in the neck!

A program named Spy Sweeper found the bad virus (Trojan – ace x) and Windows Defender found the netsky worm. Unfortunately, my antivirus software, McAfee, allowed two changes to my registry a minute before the problems started and allowed my real-time protection to be disabled without asking permission for either. Needless to say, I was not happy when I saw this in the log.

When I cleared up those problems, I still had another problem. There were shortcuts to downloads for anti-spyware and anti-virus programs on my desktop that I didn’t put there. I also had what looked like Windows dialog boxes popping up warning me that my computer is not secure and that my computer is at risk. Since I didn’t download the shortcuts, I didn’t click on them. Putting my cursor over them showed they led to websites named “virus web protect” and “protect trusted antivirus”. A quick search revealed these were spyware sites. On top of that, Internet Explorer kept trying to load various pages.

McAfee was no help with these problems. After much searching, I finally came across the Tech Guy website. This is a forum where members can ask for help with computer problems. Google brought me to the question that listed all the problems I was having with my computer. Best of all, the solution was there as well! I researched the tech guy and the programs he said to use. He was on the level. I followed the solution. Although there were many steps, his instructions were very clear and easy to follow. I did so and the shortcuts and pop ups disappeared. Internet Explorer no longer attempted to load web pages. I was back online – for a couple of days.

Suddenly, I couldn’t get any deeper than the home page of any website. I couldn’t access my web based email. Back to the drawing board. I checked all cables, connections and plugs. I ran all the antivirus, antispyware programs. I searched the Internet for an answer. Nothing! Suddenly, a few days later the problem disappeared. It was then that I found out that my ISP had a problem that caused this. Of course there was no warning or acknowledgement on their front page.

After all this, my husband and I decided to have the computer checked out by an expert. It meant yet more offline time, but it was worth it. He reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled the operating system. He also loaded a much better antivirus program and helped us secure the computer. The antivirus program he installed is Avast, which is a program I had used in the past. For years, I had used Norton. I wasn’t happy with their lack of support. When the program continued to download updates that knocked out my Outlook Express, I started looking around for another antivirus. Many people had high praise for Avast. With all the great reviews and the great price – free for personal use – I had to try it. I was very happy with it. When we went from DSL to Cable Internet, the ISP (Comcast) provided McAfee. Unfortunately, I decided to try it. I wish I had stayed with the Avast. Now I am back to Avast and happily so!

I decided to write about my computer trials of late in hopes that it might help someone else.

I highly recommend the following websites and programs:

Look here for answers to computer problems, registration is free:
Tech Guy

Free antivirus program home edition (has support forums, too):

Free antispyware/adware program (has support forums, too):

So that's my computer tale of woe complete with a happy ending! LOL

Hasslefree Clip Art

Sunday, March 2, 2008

What Kind of Shoe Are You?

Storyteller posted this fun blogthing on her blog Small Reflections. My results didn't surprise me because I kick my shoes off every chance I get! LOL What about you?

You Are Bare Feet

You are a true free spirit, and you can't be tied down.

Even wearing shoes can be a little too constraining for you at times!

You are very comfortable in your own skin.

You are one of the most real people around. You don't have anything to hide.

Open and accepting, you are willing to discuss or entertain almost any topic.

You are a very tolerant person. You are accepting and not judgmental.

You should live: Somewhere warm

You should work: At your own business, where you can set the rules