Saturday, February 25, 2012

Listen Like A Dog

I am not a very good listener. I consider myself an interruptive listener. Of course, I have an excuse for this – I am old. If I don’t share what is on my mind immediately, I forget what I was going to say, and sometimes what I was going to say was really good or I think it was really good. I make an attempt to do all those things one is suppose to do to be a good listener: 1. Quiet Your Mind – I try so hard to clear my mind of stressful thoughts and think of only what the speaker is saying. BUT my mind is going 100 miles a minute and I am thinking about what I am going to do next. 2. Look at the Speaker – I am very good at this WITHOUT listening. There are times when I have been a participant in professional development in which the subject is something I have heard at least twenty times. I am an expert at making eye contact, shaking my head, and smiling, but it doesn’t mean I am listening. 3. Focus – Really? Isn’t that the same as quieting your mind and looking at the speaker? See, I am not even a good listener when I am doing the “talking”!

I have a new favorite book. I know, I know, I say every book is my favorite. Every time I read a book to a class I begin by saying, “This is my favorite book, no, really it is, I’m not kidding!” I say it so much that now all I have to say is, “This,” and the class will finish with, “Is my favorite book, no, really it is, I’m not kidding!” I want the reader to know that this new favorite book has worked its way right next to my all time favorite, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. This new fave has ridden on a wave of books written from a dog’s point of view: A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann M. Martin, A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron AND here it comes, wait for it . . . . . Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog by Garth Stein.

Racing in the Rain is a special adaptation for young readers of Garth Stein’s original title, The Art of Racing in the Rain. I came across this book at our book fair. I have a tendency to sit and read and buy all the chapter books at the book fair. I was working the book fair late one night and I picked up the book for something to do. While I was reading this book I wanted to read it to someone out loud. The next day I even went to a fifth grade class and asked the teacher, if I could read the first chapter to her class. Racing in the Rain is the story of a Dog, Enzo, whom belongs to a racecar driver and his family. Enzo believes that when he dies he will come back as a man. Like Edward, I learned so much from Enzo, the dog! Throughout the book, I have placed sticky notes to signify places of learning about life. One of my stickies is placed where Enzo explains how important it is to listen like a dog:
Here is why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never change the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly. It’s like having a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the wheel and turns you down a side street. Learn to listen, I beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal their stories.
Thanks, Enzo, I have made a commitment to listen like a dog.

I highly suggest the reader read all three books written from a dog’s point of view. I also, strongly suggest the reader purchase a box of tissues and a pad of stickies along with the books. Put on a comfy pair of jammies, get into just the right position in bed, place the books on one side and the tissues and stickies on the other and learn. The reader will look at one’s dog in a whole different light.

Paco’s Perspective
I love the part when Denny’s friend puts Enzo’s toy dog in the washing machine. I know exactly how Enzo feels. Janet is always washing my guys.

The Flip Side
How does a dog write when it can’t hold a pencil?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chew on This, Clinton Kelly, Please

I have a friend, Peggy, who always wanted to be best friends with everyone. We would be watching T.V. and someone she admired would appear on the screen and she would say, “You know she and I are soul mates. If she knew me, she would definitely be my best friend. We would talk and laugh and partake in our guilty pleasures until all hours of the night.” I was always concerned that someday, by accident, we would come upon one of her famous crushes and she would explain to him or her how they should be best friends. I always thought Peggy was just a little crazy (that is why I love her) until I started watching The Chew and I laid my eyes on Clinton Kelly.

Clinton Kelly is that guy from the show, What Not To Wear. The readers might be asking themselves, “Clinton Kelly, What Not To Wear? Are you crazy, Cathy? Who wants to hang out with a guy that would tell one what they are wearing should have been left back in the eighties with Cher?” I DO! I know, I know, he would be appalled with my easy clothes. But I do have a valid excuse, Clinton Kelly.

While I was sick at home I started watching The Chew. It stars Clinton Kelly and some other folks. Everyday these folks get together and talk and laugh and EAT! The other folks on the show are good, well, except for maybe that sweet, innocent, never touched bacon, young thang. Some days I just want to force feed that sweet thang butter. And then there is Clinton Kelly. OMG, I am  . . . . . . I don’t know what I am. I am not in love with Clinton Kelly but I want to be his best friend. I want to talk and laugh and partake in our guilty pleasures.

The other evening I was watching The Chew, Guilty Pleasures. Cathy, I thought you said it was a daytime show. It is! Yep, I Tvoed it. I am obsessed! I would just like Clinton Kelly to “Chew” on how much we are alike:

Clinton Kelly’s number one guilty pleasure is ironing, of course. I love to iron. I am no longer able to iron because the more crippled I get the weaker I get and I can no longer lift the iron, oh, but when I could. I think I loved ironing so much because it was something I could do all by myself. I don’t know if any of my readers have ironed from a wheelchair but it does get tricky. I burnt my knees quite often with the edge of the iron. My favorite thing to do alone in my townhouse was to watch Lois and Clark and iron. Clinton Kelly, I can no longer iron, but I would love to watch you iron.

Clinton Kelly’s number two guilty pleasure is eating home fries. Okay, I am not a huge fan of home fries, but I am a fan of food. Everything is better with bacon. I bet I could put bacon and cheese on those home fries.

Clinton Kelly’s number three guilty pleasure is watching Judge Judy. No, really, Judge Judy. Who wouldathunkit? I Tvoe Judge Judy along with The Chew.

I can see us now. Me, watching Clinton Kelly iron. Collar, yoke, cuff, sleeve, cuff, sleeve, side, back, side. He coming over to me every once in a while and bending down so I could pop a home fry in his mouth. We wouldn’t want to get grease on his well-ironed shirts but if we did he has a secret for getting it out. While all this ironing and fry popping is going on we will be happily watching and kevetching about Judge Judy. We will even spout some of our favorite Judge Judyisms.

“Clinton Kelly, may I put some cheese on these fries?” I ask knowingly.

“NO, because I am the boss, Applesauce!” Clinton replies.

“Those home fries would taste so much better with bacon and cheese. You know I am telling the truth because I am the Truth Machine,” I cajole.

“This is not Let’s Make a Deal and I am not Monty Hall. When it comes to fries you have to follow the K.I.S.S principle, “ he says with anticipation.

Together we shout, “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”

Clinton Kelly, would you be my best friend? I know, you are gay and I am not, but I don't want to marry you I just want to be your best friend. I know, you will probably pick on my easy clothes wardrobe, but what are friends for? Don’t worry, Clinton Kelly, I am not a stalker. You won’t see me outside your window looking up at you lovingly. I am crippled and I don’t travel well. I just wanted you to “Chew” on this, Clinton Kelly, we are soul mates, you just don’t know it, yet.

Paco’s Perspective

Doesn’t Clinton Kelly have a cute dog, Mary, that goes with him everywhere? Just like us! Clinton Kelly, we are all destined to be together. Has anyone told Clinton Kelly about Filp?

The Flip Side

What is a Clinton Kelly? Is that a kind of lizard? If so, I am in!