Saying Goodbye to Addie

Before I resume my usual sarcastic, snarky ways, I want to take a minute and say a sincere and heartfelt goodbye to the best dog ever.
Addie was a Border Collie. I adopted her through the Border Collie Rescue of the Ozarks in 2005 after I failed Fostering 101. I’d had other foster dogs prior to, and after Addie, including one very young puppy, but I never had one to whom I felt such an attachment. Addie was different.
I remember going the park to meet her then-owner who was surrendering her to the Rescue after having adopted her just six months before. The lady claimed she had separation anxiety and was tearing up her furniture, and that she wasn’t good with the grandchildren. I can’t say one way or the other on the grandchildren issue. I suspect they were brats at whom I would have probably snapped as well.  (I may not always be the most child-tolerant individual…) The separation anxiety/tearing things up thing? Yeah, that was not the dog who lived with me. I took Molli, my other Border Collie, with me to the park that day to be sure the two dogs weren’t going to form an instant hatred and try to eat each other. There didn’t appear to be any issues, though. In fact, Addie wouldn’t even look at me, or at Molli. She wasn’t interested in either of us in the least. When her former person left, and I loaded Molli into her crate in the back of my vehicle, I walked Addie around to the passenger side of my SUV. She immediately hopped up into the seat and settled in. She still didn’t want to look at me or interact, but at least she was willing to get in the car with me.
I said her name several times on the way home that evening, but she wouldn’t look at me. I remember being concerned that perhaps her name had been shouted at her in such an unpleasant tone that she had formed a negative association with it. I thought we might have to change her name.  After I got her to my house, however, she began to loosen up. By the end of the first night, she would look at me when I said her name, and she would approach me to eat treats out of my hand. She didn’t wag her tale, though, and her eyes just looked so sad.
I was going through a bad time in my own life. It was the product of my own making, but that didn’t negate the fact that I was sad myself. I would come home from work sit in my living room, and Addie would come up to me and put her chin on my knee and just look up at me with those soulful brown eyes while I petted her. She was so unbelievably sweet. I love my Molli-dog, but two dogs could not be more different personality-wise. Molli is a high-strung, independent, nutcase. (I blame it on some inbreeding in her pedigree.) Addie, however, was a total sweetheart, and right then, I needed a sweetheart. She was a cuddly, teddy bear of a dog. She was a little on the needy side, but I was kind of needy then myself.  
There was a couple up in Missouri who saw Addie’s picture on the BCRO website and called about her.  They kept saying they “used to have a Sheltie,” and she “reminded them of their Sheltie,” and was she “like a Sheltie.”  The answer was, “No, she’s not like a Sheltie. She’s like a Border Collie.”  They were still waffling back and forth about her, when one Saturday the head of the Rescue called me to see how Addie was doing. I told her, “She’s fine, but Sherryl? I really want to keep her.” Mine was the fourth home Addie had been in in less than a year. Every time she was somewhere where someone was supposed to love her and take care of her, they shuffled her off to someone else. I related a little too closely to that at that time in my life, and the idea of shuffling that sweet puppy off to someone else just broke my heart. I literally cried just thinking about it. I was afraid she’d think she’d done something wrong. Luckily, Sherryl’s response was, “If you want to keep her, she’s yours.”  
I went directly to the pet store and bought a new collar and name tag for her. When I got home with her new hardware, I removed her old collar, and as I unbuckled the new one and held it out to put it around her neck, she stretched her head up and toward me. It was as if she knew she was getting a new collar, and a new life, and she couldn’t wait to put it on.  
She was still pretty reserved for a while after I brought her home. My best friend came up to visit one weekend and when I tried to introduce Addie to her, she sat on the opposite side of me and turned her head away. The gesture was totally, “If I don’t look at you, you don’t exist.” (By contrast, when I  introduced Molli — as a puppy — to the same friend, she got behind me and barked like a big dog. Not nearly as impressive as if she’d gotten in front of me, but pretty funny.) I knew the day Addie finally felt comfortable, though. With two Border Collies, there were always dog toys somewhere in my house. One day, I caught Addie with a stuffed pig in her mouth, just wollering it back and forth. It was the first time I saw her show interest in or play with any sort of toy. I was so happy, because to me, that meant she knew she was home.
She was a funny sort. When she wasn’t comfortable with her surroundings, she would get behind me and put her front paws up on my waist and try to hide. When she was happy, she would wag her tail so hard she looked as if she was wagging her entire body. The sight always cracked me up. She and Molli never really played together. Every once in a while they would snark at each other, but for the most part, Molli went and did her Molli thing, and Addie would velcro herself to my side.
She lived with me for a little over 8 years, and she passed away on Monday. I’ve cried every day since, and I expect that will continue for a while. In fact, I’m crying my eyes out as I type this. If this were a movie, I swear this would be where the montage of clips from life with Addie would begin to roll. I want to write some of those memories down while they are coming to me because they are things I don’t want to forget.
– I loaded her up and took her with me every single time I left town for several years because I couldn’t stand to leave her. I was afraid she would think I was abandoning her. She went to Jonesboro and Pine Bluff with me more times than I can count, and she always rode in the front seat wearing a harness that attached to the seat belt. (I tried putting her in a crate in the back of the the Tahoe exactly one time. No dice.) Any time she saw me with the harness in hand, she would come immediately to sit at my feet so I could slip it over her head and fasten it on her. (I eventually got where I could board her, or have a friend dog-sit, but it took a long time.)
– Addie didn’t like storms. At all. My dogs are crate trained, and a few years ago, I still had one all-wire crate. Molli hated it, so hers was different, but Addie seemed to like it. One day, though, I came home from work after a pretty vicious thunderstorm to discover she had completely destroyed her wire crate. It took some serious work on my part to unbend the pieces she had mangled so I could even get the door open and get her out of the crate. That was the end of wire crates in my house. (That was also the point at which I began taking Addie to doggy daycare on days I knew a storm was on the way.) 
– When I was home, Addie had free run of the house, and if it stormed, Addie always sought refuge in my bathroom, in the small space between toilet and the wall. I don’t know how she knew to get in a “small interior space” as they always say on radio and television, but she did.
– I’ve always fed my dogs in their crates. When I would give Addie her food bowl, she would pick up pieces of food with her mouth and put them on the floor of the crate. She kind of made a snuffling noise as she did it. Once she removed what she apparently deemed to be “enough” food, she would pick up the bowl by its rim and dump the remainder of the food onto the bottom of her crate. From there, she would shove the food around her crate with her nose until it was just where she wanted it. Only then would she actually eat her food. I watched her do that for the last time on Sunday. I loved watching her do it because it always made me smile.
– Dogs are not allowed on the furniture at my house — unless that dog was Addie. Somehow, she could always get me to bend the rules and let her sit on the couch with me.  
– I’ve sat with my arms around her, crying into her fur more times than I can count, and she always made me feel better.  
– When it snowed, she would go outside snap at the air to capture snowflakes, or shove her snout through the snow on the ground, plow-style, scooping it into her mouth.  
– When she wanted to be petted and wasn’t being, she would nose my hand. If I wasn’t immediately responsive, she would hit me with her paw until the petting commenced. If the petting stopped before she was ready, she would again begin swatting me with her paw. It was too funny not to laugh. and of course I usually complied.  
Addie was my “heart dog”. She was meant to be mine. As my mother said, “I know you rescued her, and she was attached to you and vice versa.” As I told several people, “Addie was the sweet one, and she loved me. Molli just tolerates me because I’m have opposable thumbs.” I loved that dog, and I will miss her terribly.  
In the spirit of 30 days of Thanksgiving and all that, I will say this: I am thankful that I was the one who was sent to pick up Addie from her former owner, and I’m thankful that I was able to take her in and be her person. I’m thankful for the joy she brought me. I only hope I improved her life as much as she improved mine.  
R.I.P., sweet puppy.  I love you.

Cold Beer & College Football

Today’s thankfulness shout-out goes to the individual who expressed gratitude for “Cold Beer, College Football”, and the specific team for which he roots.  Seriously?  

Call me cynical (because I am).  Call me snarky (because that’s true, too).  But somehow I really don’t think that’s the sort of thing the for which the Pilgrims sat down and expressed gratitude on the first Thanksgiving.  Life?  Yes.  Health?  Yes.  Food?  Friends?  Family?  Yes, yes, and yes.  A place to live and freedom from religious persecution?  I’d bet on it.  But cold beer and college football?  Not so much.

Now, you may argue that that’s only because the Pilgrims didn’t have cold beer and college football, and if they had, they would most certainly have been grateful.  You might well be correct.  To me, however, this is just one of many examples of the complete stretches folks make when it’s time to come up with something for their 30 days of Thanksgiving.  (Yes, I left out the hashtag.  I hate those darn things.)  Of course, it is also a lack of smarts on the part of the poster.  He could have gotten a good three days out that one thankfulness post.  I’m just sayin’.  

The Remedy

In looking for a good “I’m thankful” status to judge for today’s post, I ran across an individual whose status was after my own heart. The post was, “I’m thankful for the ‘unfollow’ button so I can hide all of your ‘I’m thankful’ posts from my newsfeed.”

I can certainly get on board with that. I have a number of so-called Facebook Friends whose status updates so greatly annoyed me that I had to employ the feature which prevents their posts from appearing on my newsfeed. I haven’t deleted them from my friends list, but I don’t want to see their daily drivel. I respect one’s right to express one’s thoughts, but that does not mean I wish to be a witness to every thought one has.

Yes, I could utilize the various features Facebook provides to remove the “I’m thankful” posts from my feed, but where would the fun be in that? What would I have to judge? Having said that, I must confess I really appreciate the sentiment expressed by today’s status-of-the-day. Also, sometimes it’s nice to know I’m not alone in my annoyance.

A Month of Thankfulness

So, it’s November again.  The month of Thanksgiving.  The month of pumpkin pies and turkey and dressing, and family dinners.  The month when folks utilize their social media statuses (stati?) to share things for which they are thankful.

In all my years of social media usage, I have yet to succumb to this trend.  In fact, it is a trend I find annoying as hell.  Of course, I am cynical, sarcastic, smart-mouth, and I tend to be a little on the judge-y side.  (Hence the name of this blog.  Duh!)  With that said, I’ll get this out of the way right here: I am thankful for all the things for which I should be thankful.  I am thankful for my health, my friends, my parents, my awesome nephew, my job, my crazy border collies, my sweetie, “my” favorite “daughter”, the fact I have enough to eat and a roof over my head.  That I don’t feel compelled to post a status expressing my gratitude doesn’t mean I don’t feel it, or that I don’t know how truly fortunate I am.  

Now that I’ve done that, here is the real reason for this post.  I was thinking that it has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything.  It’s not that I haven’t been snapping pictures of people far and wide.  I have been.  I just haven’t sat down and devoted my attention to blogging.  It’s not that I haven’t been writing; I have been.  Some of you know what I’m writing.  Some of you don’t, but if you stay tuned, hopefully I’ll have something to report on that front soon.  In considering what to blog about, I thought I’d take advantage of some of the ridiculous “I am thankful for” posts and my truly sarcastic, snarky nature.  Yes, my idea is to post daily in November, utilizing the lamest or most annoying gratitude statuses I can find.  I’m not going to name names, and if necessary I will change the identifying information to protect the irritating.  

It seemed only appropriate to begin with a legitimate acknowledgment of things I’m grateful for, and now I’ve done that — and I’d just like to point out it didn’t take thirty (30) separate posts to do it.  Now it’s off to comb social media for the ridiculousness that I know (based on previous years) is out there.  Here we go!

Does this dress make my…. Oh, nevermind!

We all know that other people seldom cease to amaze, entertain, and/or baffle me.  Today, I am baffled.  I am so baffled, in fact, that I am about to ask a question to which I (obviously) already know the answer.  That question is, “Do people just not think???”

When they roll out of bed in the morning — I’ll let you decide how literally/figuratively I mean “roll” — and throw on their clothes, do they just not think about how things look?  Do they not care whether their tops match their bottoms?  Do they not consider whether what they are wearing is appropriate for the venue in which they will be spending their day?  Do women no longer stop to ponder the age old question “Does this dress make my butt look big?”  

It is the final question that I plan to address in this blog, and I submit to you that the answer to this question is a resounding NO!!!

To support that belief, I offer the following exhibit:

THAT, for those of you who may be battling a glare on your phone/ipad/computer screen, is a muumuu with a gigantic gecko across the, um, posterior.  Right, because it’s always a great idea to emphasize what for many women is a “problem area” by splaying a larger-than-life lizard across it.  Hellooooo?  She has a nastly little lizard hand all grabby-style across her left cheek.  How did anyone decide this was a good idea?  How low must one’s grade have been in design school if this is the kind of garbage they are cranking out?  Does this come with other animals on it?  For instance, are there similar muumuus depicting coyotes howling at the moon, or kitty cats, or, heck, I don’t know, koala bears?  (If there are, I am pretty sure I don’t want to see them.)  And what demented buyer decided they simply had to have a shipment or two of those to fill the racks at their store?  

Look, muumuus are not exactly known for flattering one’s figure anyway.  (Nor, if we are being brutally honest, are they generally worn by those with especially attractive figures in the first place.)  Why, when designing something that is relatively tent-like in shape, would one do things to make the wearer appear even, um, larger?  And, if a muumuu were to exist that would flatter one’s figure, THIS? Is not that muumuu.  In fact, the hands down, no holds barred answer to the question “Does this dress make my butt look big?”, is an undeniable YES!!!  

Well, it’s either that, or her butt is making that gecko look big.  You decide which. 

(Side note: When I sent this picture to my mother, I made a point of specifying to her that this is a “muumuu”, and not a “patio dress”.  Years ago, she and I were selling oodles of stuff on eBay.  How we came to have a couple of muumuus, I honestly have no idea.  I do, however, specifically recall that she would not allow me to call them “muumuus” in the item description on eBay and instead insisted that I describe them as “patio dresses”.  I also recall sitting at her kitchen table “mooing” and laughing till I cried over the great muumuu/patio dress debate.  By the way?  You’d be amazed how quickly those things got snapped up on eBay.)

Rockin’ the Retro

We all know someone whose style is a little less than fashion forward. Whether it is that coworker who just never read the memo advising that “mom jeans” are no longer in style, or that high school classmate whose every Facebook photo looks exactly like the one in their senior picture all the way down to the last over spritzed piece of bangs, at least until one looks close enough to see the wrinkles that the last 20+ years have bestowed upon him/her — Good skin care products, people! They make a difference! — we all have that certain someone we’d like to drag kicking and screaming into a somewhat more fresh look. 

While we are in the vicinity of the subject, I’m seizing the opportunity to say this: I’ve seen enough “Throwback Thursday” photos on Facebook lately to make me want to avoid social media on that offending day of the week. Seriously, folks? Those looks, those clothes, that hair, those photos, were horrendous 20 years ago. They have not improved with age! What do you say you spare us the flashbacks of acid washed jeans, Cosby sweaters, BonnieBell lip gloss and AquaNet hairspray. In the right combinations, that nonsense might be enough to being on a bout of PTSD! 

With all of that in mind, I give you…. This guy: 

He is rocking it. He is owning it. He is committed to it. (And possibly, he needs to be committed for all of that.) Everything about him, from his Joe Dirt mullet to his gold 1990-something Camaro screams “retro”. While the car was pretty cool back in the day, I think we can all see how utterly ridiculous the rest of his look is, and honestly, how ridiculous it was, even back then. 

Surely this guy has friends or family. Actually, he opened the passenger door for a female prior to my snapping this photo. One would think someone might help him escape the time warp and update his look. Bless his heart. 

Back with a Vengence

Today my first heavy court week of 2013, and it was with high hopes for new Judgment fodder that I entered my first courthouse (of five) for the week. I have to say, I have not yet been disappointed.

I mean, seriously? Who wears a LACE top to court? In what universe is that acceptable court attire? Not to mention the fact it was 25* outside this morning. Seriously? I nearly froze between my car and the courthouse this morning, and i can assure you, I was wearing a court-appropriate suit, not ill-fitting lace club attire. The only thing I can say in her favor is this: thank goodness for the black tank top she wore under her pink lace. Sheesh. And I don’t mean to be harsh — yeah, right — but she is only a bag of Oreos away from being indistinguishable from her sister (seen standing beside her), at which point that lace is going to be an even worse idea! (Bless her heart.)

The Twelve Days of Judgment Challenge

A few weeks ago, my friend Tracey over at The Ambiguous Fairy Tale asked me to be a guest-blogger for her blog.  Today, in the first-ever post by a guest-blogger on Judged by Jenn, she is returning the favor — and issuing a challenge.  (I can’t wait to tackle this one!)  Clearly, Tracey and I are cut from the same cloth, for she knows my holiday mantra: ’tis the season to judge — and she has provided me with much motivation to do so, as you will see below.  Further evidence?  She recently wrote a wickedly funny post about those blasted Elf on a Shelf things that, I swear, perfectly echoed my thoughts on the little &@$%@#&$.  (What’s in the Box?)

Go on, check out Tracey’s challenge to me, and when you’re finished, go check out her blog, The Ambiguous Fairy Tale.  After all, everyone loves a Fairy Tale.

The Twelve Days of Judgment Challenge

There are 2 things I know well about my friend Jenn:

1. She knows a sartorial faux pas when she sees one.
2. She is the best damn surreptitious photographer I’ve ever known.

So I thought it would be entertaining to put Jenn’s skills to the test….a scavenger hunt of judgment, if you will.

Here’s how this is going to work:

Jenn has 12 days to snap surreptitous photos of the fashion fiascos listed below. You, Jenn’s readers, may help. If you come across any of the following, drop Jenn an email including the photo. Here is the catch:   if Jenn can’t come up with proof of each item on the list within the twelve days, she has to meet me for lunch wearing any combination of the ensembles of my choosing. If she does meet the challenge, lunch is on me.   Fair enough?

Here we go:

1. Pajamas bottoms and a cartoon t-shirt, in public (you get a bonus point if the pants have cartoon characters, too.)

2. Any combination of too much camo (We live in AR. How hard can this be?)

3. Leggings in need of a tunic top. (Nuff said)

4. Size-inappropriate pants.

5. Underwear issues (think whale tail, pants of the ground, panty lines)

6. Oops! I forgot my bra today! (This is a no brainer. Have you BEEN to Walmart?)

7. Too. Much. Sparkle. (It’s the holidays; this should be EASY)

8. Tacky Christmas sweater (Had to)

9. Crocs and socks. (Again, thank goodness for Walmart, the god of endless blog fodder)

10. Eyeshadow….LOTS of eyeshadow.

11. Summer clothes, winter weather.

12. Clothes and/or jewelry that light up. (Because nothing says Happy Holidays like flashing earrings. Sorry, Mom)

Game on, Jenn.  Game on.