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Thursday, April 2, 2015

"No Thanks, I prefer Alpo!"

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Canine Thesaurus

Mark Berryman wrote about a device being developed by the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NCID).  Developer Eric Calderon claims to be able to record your dog’s thoughts and translate them into words. Fluctuations in dog brain electrical signals are picked up by a microcomputer.  So far they have detected patterns for “I‘m hungry, I’m tired, I want to pee.” 

 Now I would be the last to burst somebody’s NCID icicle, but I think they may be suffering from a little brain frostbite.  Dogs have been communicating that information for hundreds of years and without wearing a doggie head set.  If they are chewing on your hand, your shoes, pawing at the refrigerator door, they are hungry.  If they are stretched out in front of the fireplace, draped across the door steps, eyes closed, they are tired or dead. Not too hard to tell which it is.  Suspicious puddles, wet spots on the carpet, or crossed legs with severe whimpering are a dead give-away that there is a doggie bladder in distress.  That is also an indication that you have a toddler or senior citizen in the house.

 Now I am not saying Roy Roger’s dog Bullet or RinTinTin  wouldn’t have something worthwhile to say if they have been on the trail of the bad guys.   And maybe it would be useful to the CIA if super spy lap-dogs could relay sensitive information, but they would need some really smart dogs. 

I have just ordinary yard dogs.  I’m not sure they even have brains. The other day I was sitting on the porch watching them in the yard.  Even without this cutting edge technology, I knew what they were thinking.

 Gypsy:  Does my tail make my butt look big?

Rover:  Just a minute, I’ll check.

Gypsy:  Whoa, your nose is cold.

Rover:  Sorry.

Gypsy:  Does my butt smell like other dog butts?

Rover: I’ll have to compare and get back to you.

Gypsy:  Forget it, I’ll check mine myself.  Nope, don’t smell a thing.

Rover: How about mine?

Gypsy:  You might want to do a little grass wiping.

Rover:  Check.  Doing it now.

 Maybe the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery should focus their efforts on reading the brain patterns of our politicians; that's assuming, of course, they have brains.   The microcomputer could put their thoughts into categories:   What I am supposed to think, what I really think, what I was told to think and I have no thoughts.

 In the meantime, “Gypsy, Rover, keep your noses out of other doggies' business and I don’t care what you say, no Alpo.  It’s leftovers or go catch a rabbit.”



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Shih Tzu + Maltese = ???

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for new breed

I have had this talk with Miss Tia Mia before.  I told her that if she didn’t want to sit at the Wal-Mart parking lot with me again peddling illegitimate pups, she had better behave herself.  I thought she understood.  I did not count on male perseverance, the strong sense of procreation, and the tiny body hidden beneath a mound of fluffy hair that enabled this determined male Maltese to slink between the slates of a very sturdy picket fence.

When I discovered their indiscretion, I noted the date on the calendar.  We are pro puppy, after all. She gained the usual puppy pregnancy weight but this time was different.  She would just lay around and only cut those shaggy eyes up when I walked by.  Guilt, I’m sure.

 Sixty-one days came and went.  No puppies.  No digging in the closet for a maternity ward.  No eating binges or lack of eating.  Just a lot of whimpering, heavy breathing, and a strong need to be held by Dr. Hubby.  I was worried.  At 66 days she was way overdue so it was off to the vet for x-rays. The vet asked how many days and I told her 66. 

“66 days from the last encounter?”

“Uh, no from the first encounter.”

“Oh, you have to count approximately 62 days from the last encounter.”

“Oh,” and I glared at Miss Tia as if I could possibly make her feel more miserable.

 “Yes, there are five puppies in there and yes they could arrive within the next three days and yes that will be $130 please.”

And yes she had the first one two hours after we arrived home, not in the nicely prepared birthing box I had for her, but on the bottom book shelf on top of Hubby’s t-shirts.  By morning all five puppies had arrived. Now how to market them.

My niece said to advertise them as “Designer Pups”.  Ok, Designer Pups, but they needed a cute name like those Peek-a-Poos to reflect their heritage, a Shih Tzu mama and a Maltese daddy.  Would that make them Shih- Tese? Tzu-Malts? Tzu-Tese?  Shih-Malt-Tzu-ese?  Mal- Shihs?   None of those sounded very “designer-ey”.  This was not looking good for the Wal-Mart Parking Lot Puppy Sale.

Six weeks flew by.  I put an ad in our local e-trade newspaper.  I simply said Shih Tzu/Maltese puppies, shots and wormed, six weeks old, $200  A week later and we had sold two and given one to my oldest daughter.  By now the nine-year-old and the thirteen-year-old had named the two remaining “designer pups”…Tatter Tot and Two-Spot-the-Runt, not exactly the kind of names that would generate big bucks. 

Then the oldest daughter got a promotion at work which meant traveling so her puppy came back to our house.  I should have named her Boomerang but she only stayed a day. She was sold the next day to a nice family.

Spring Break and Tatter Tot and Two-Spot-the-Runt went to the RV park with us.  It was my lot to walk the two puppies around the RV park while Dr. Hubby walked Miss Tia in the opposite direction.  I’m sure he was thinking somebody in one of those half-million dollar motor homes would like a Designer Puppy to go along with the other dogs they had. One lady did stop me and ask the price of Tatter Tot.  Without twitching an eyelash, I said “$1600.”  Ok, I had become attached to the little thing.  And the price doubled when asked about Two-Spot-the-Runt.  Well he’s little and fluffy and would have gotten lost in a big old motor coach.

“Have any luck while you were walking the pups,” asked Dr. Hubby.”

“Some, but I think the price put them off.”

I have since received at least fifteen calls from people wanting a Shih Tzu/Maltese puppy. I told them I did not have any more for sale and that is the truth.

I  have two very special unique puppies valued at $3,200… me.

And Miss Tia has an appointment with the vet next month. 

The Maltese will be so disappointed.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Chair Yoga, or The Modern Day Rack

by Jody Worsham
All right reserved for a massaging, vibrating, heated recliner
Our Senior Center offers free excersize classes.  Free classes and the indisputable fact that I am, indeed a senior citizen, led me to my first ever Chair Yoga Class.

Now before you start visualization folding chairs in the Crouching Dog position or wing backed chairs in the Cobra position, I shall explain.

At the Senior Center there are various levels of yoga.  There is Chair Yoga, Floor Yoga, and Flat-on-Your-Back-Can't-Get-Up Yoga.  I had experienced the Flat-on-Your-Back-Can't-Get-Up Yoga sometime in the past decade so I decided to begin with Chair Yoga.  At least I would be closer to the floor if I fell out of my Tree Pose.

The first time I went to class, I asked the receptionist at the door for the yoga class.  Perhaps it was my accent, or my weight, because she said "The yogurt machine is right down the hall."  When I explained I wanted the Chair Yoga class, she said "Good!" and pointed to the right.

I was hoping I would not be the oldest living person there.  I was not.

The instructor had us spread out a yoga mat on the floor and place our chair on one end of the mat, then sit.  Ok, this I can do.  I was sitting in my chair, swinging my feet back and forth waiting for her to begin the relaxation music when I realized everyone else's feet were touching the floor.  While I was taller than the other ladies from the knees up, I was definitely on the short side from the knees down.

The music started. The instructor was facing us.  She told us to reach our left hand straight above our head, then slowly bend to the right as far as we could and hold it while breathing. I reached my right hand above my head, (I was copying her, mirror image and all) then I bent to the left as far as I could (about 12 inches) which put me face to face with the octogenarian who continued leaning until she had the palm of her hand flat on the floor.  I may not be the oldest, but I'm definitely the stiffest.

This modern torture version of the medieval rack continued.  We did stretches, pardon me, “poses” for another 29 agonizing minutes. No pose was done more than twice, but every muscle in my body argued vehemently that this was a lie. My hamstrings pinged like a guitar string.  My deltoids screamed.  Muscles that heretofore had no names let their presence be known. New words raced through my brain that even sailors did not use.

After class as I sat in my chair, breathing hard, with flushed face, and giving thanks for the short distance to the floor which I was sure I would soon be seeing up close, my chair mate quipped "Not much of a work out today.  Maybe the Floor Yoga class next will be more of a challenge."

I remember thinking "If I grab the legs of my chair and give a little jump, maybe I can work my chair over to the door frame where I can pull myself into The Standing-in-Severe-Pain pose. Then, in an hour or two, maybe I could make my way out to the car."

As I was sitting there, a 90 year old man came in with his walker and sat down next to me.

"Want me to put that away for you?" I hopefully asked.


With the aid of several wrought iron trellises normally used for climbing ivy, I “walked” myself to the exit.

At the receptionist’s desk, I paused.  The Suggestion Box tempted me. If they are going to call it Chair Yoga, shouldn’t the chair for beginners have wheels? I was about to put the suggestion in the box when a coupon for BenGay caught my eye.

Pain relief trumps suggestions any day.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"They call me Katherine that do talk of me"...or Some Name Like That

By Jody Worsham, aka Jo, aka Worsham, aka Mrs., aka Mable, aka MayBelle

All rights reserved and with apologies to Willie Shakespeare and Southern Moms everywhere

For over 65 years I have been known as Jody, the nickname I was given in the first grade, the name on my book “Kin We’re Not Related To”, the name on this blog, and the name I am known by to all of my friends and professional colleagues.

Name problems seem to have started when I married.  My husband had six brothers and sisters which, over the years,  netted four “Mrs. Worshams”.  During holidays when all the daughter-in-laws were home, you could not call their home and ask for “Mrs. Worsham”.  If you did, four different women might come to the phone or no one, each thinking the call was for the other one. Mostly “Mrs.” referred to the elder mother/mother-in-law.  It did not get much better with the Raymonds either.  There was Raymond the father-in-law, Raymond the son-in-law, Raymond the nephew, and Raymond my husband. Hence you always had to call a Raymond by both his first name and his middle name in order to get the correct Raymond’s attention, well except for Raymond the father-in-law.  I don’t think he had a middle name but since he was the first Raymond and the only one without a middle name, everyone knew the Raymond you were referring to if you just asked for Raymond.

Then for almost 40 years, I was Worsham to my students. They used Worsham in the same way athletes used "coach." It was faster for my students to get a response with “Worsham, fire” or “Worsham, light falling” or “Worsham, principal coming!” (I was a very creative and unconventional theatre arts teacher who made principals very nervous) then to call me “Mrs.” Worsham and wait for me to process that “Mrs.” was referring to me. But then my husband was also a teacher and his students referred to him as “Worsham” as well.  His brother, too, was a teacher and his students called him “Worsham”.  Over the years, any educational convention would find students and former students having to qualify which “Worsham” they were referencing.

Jody and Worsham served me for 50 years except for the choir teacher, who called me by my official name, Jo, and my mother, who insists on calling me by both my first name and the middle name she put on my birth certificate.  When I needed a passport, official birth name only was required.  Doctors began using computers and social security numbers for identification and part of my prescriptions are under Jody and part are under Jo.  I am afraid to buy Sudafed at the pharmacy for fear it will look like two people trying to buy the decongestant at the same time using the same social security number and a driver’s license that that did not have Jody on it

The name problems have followed me into decade number 7.  My nine-year-old and my thirteen-year-old go to a small rural school where all the students say “yes, mam” and “no, mam”.   Those that don't are probably transfers.  As a substitute teacher it is refreshing to hear "yes, mam" and "no, mam".   I did notice that when I would work in the concession stand for Little Dribblers, I was always referred to as “Mrs. Worsham” even though all the other mothers and dads with nine-year-olds had first names.  In Parent Teacher Organization meetings again everyone had a first name except me.  Finally I said to the other parents in the PTO (by way of Facebook of course):

 “Ok, why is it that everybody has a first name like Susan or Kathryn, or Holly, and mine is “Mrs.?”  I move that I be called Jody or Jo or Worsham.  Or I’ll even take a new first name like Betty or Tammy.  I’ll take a double name Mable Rae or Ethel Mae.  I may be twice your age…ok three times your age but with a nine-year-old, I forget how old I am.  You have my permission to forget it to.”

Of course one of the parents is a former student of mine.  She had trouble calling me Worsham even as a teenager but she promised to try “Jo .”  I could tell at the slight hesitation before “Jo” that she expected her Mama to pop her on the head any minute for being disrespectful to a teacher and the elderly.

I guess I will just have to answer to anything.  At my age people will just say “SORRY, MRS. WORSHAM.  I WAS HOLLERING FOR MINNIE LOU.”

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weather You Like It or Not

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for map and darts

We have watched the Weather Channel since the time it was only weather and music…on a loop, long before there were actual programs on the channel.  I think we were fascinated by the number of times their forecasts would be accurate and the number of times they missed completely.  Of course with Texas, you really can’t fault their forecasts.  It depends on the exact moment you tuned in to the station.  There is an old saying that if you don’t like Texas weather, wait five minutes and it will change.

I guess that is the reason they don’t name storms in our state, too many kinds.  Dust storms would take you through the alphabet in a week.  Thunderstorms, will that’s a daily occurrence in the spring.  Tornadoes, water sprouts, dust devils, “northers”…well I don’t think even the Cabbage Patch manufacturers could come up with enough names for all those.  Instead, we just seem to classify weather by names with our own lingo to describe the weather.

There’s the “blue tail norther.”  Now that is a cold wind blowing in from Canada cold enough to freeze your pipes and cover the tanks (stock ponds) with ice.   “Nothing between us and the North Pole except a barbed wire fence. “  Now that is different from just a “norther” blowing in.  A “norther” can drop the temperature twenty degrees in five minutes. 

  A “scorcher” is a summer day when the temperature is above 103 degrees.  “Big bank building up” is a row of dark clouds on the horizon building up to a thunderstorm or possible a “blue tail norther”.  A “downpour” is more than two inches of rain in an hour.  Of course you can have a downpour at our house and across the street they only get a sprinkle.  “Bottoms gonna fall out” means a heavy thunderstorm is going to produce a downpour soon.   We also have our share of hurricanes but we mostly just use the Weather Channels name since those are pretty widespread.

The one thing we don’t have a lot of, except in the Panhandle area, is snow. Let an inch of snow fall in any other area of Texas, and Jim Cantores could broadcast non-stop for a week.  First of all, at the first sign of a snow flake or sleet, all school administrators hop on a school bus at 4a.m. to check the bridges and roads.  They must decide if it is school as usual, late start, or If  they deem it is too slick for safety, they declare it a “Bad Weather Day” and alert the radio and TV stations, activate the automated parent calling program and school is cancelled. 

At that point all the children that have been waiting for the school cancelation news, gear up in their Carhart deer hunting clothes, ski clothes, or don seven layers of sweatshirts, thermal-underwear, and hats.  Without proper snow gear, Wal-Mart sacks are duck taped around tennis shoes and Zip-lock bags cover gloves.  Dish pans, cardboard boxes, and trash can lids are pressed into service as sleds.  Some kids are lucky enough to find left over inflatable rafts from the summer in the garage and those also become sleds.  Everyone races to the nearest drive-way, ditch, or anything with the slightest slope.  They have to hurry before the snow melts or is scraped away by careening cardboard sleds.  Mini snowballs are made and midget Snowmen are quickly made. Everyone sends their pictures into the TV stations. Whatever clean snow can be found is piled into a bowls for snow ice cream.

If there is more than an inch of snow lasting more than a day, the highway department will start sanding the bridges and iced roads but that only slows down the number of wrecks

Now I know my Northern friends think we are insane for cancelling school, shutting down the city , and declaring a State Holiday all because of a little snow; but it so seldom snows here, no one knows how to drive on it.

.  I took lots of pictures and made snow ice cream so the eight-year-old and twelve-year-old would have some kind of reference when the Weather Channel talks about Snow Storm Zelda or they study snow in science class.

In my little town, we usually get a heavy snow (for us) about every ten years. We had a good snow last year so it probably won’t snow again until 2024. By then I should have my guest room cleaned and set up for Jim and his crew.  

If it snow 3 inches, we’ll be in the news!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I, Eye, Aye

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for DIY Surgery

I recently joined the 21st century with the purchase of a smart phone but I did not understand why they called it an I phone if it is a smart phone.   Wouldn’t it be called an S-Phone ?  Maybe the I stands for intelligent.  When I told my mother about my I-phone, she could not understand why I wanted a phone that you had to hold up to your eye.  That got me to thinking about homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently and have differently meanings) and my son’s doctor.   I shall explain.

My middle aged son has a prosthetic eye so when he gets an eye infection, I take it quite seriously.   When I saw the swollen tissue around his eye socket, I went into “Mama Over-Drive.”  I called our local VA clinic only to discover they were “in between” ophthalmologists.  No surprise there.  She advised me to take him to the Houston VA three hours away in heavy traffic.  “Nope, we will go to Shreveport. It’s closer, smaller, less traffic, and I know my way around.”  Civilian Mama’s can say that.

When dealing with government agencies, you go directly to where the power is and that would be a secretary or receptionist.  If you can find a person that is both, you are gold.  I called the Eye Clinic and hit pay dirt with James, receptionist and secretary.  I explained the situation and that we were already in the system.  He told me that if I asked for a referral from home, it could take two to three weeks so go directly to the Emergency Room.   “A nurse will look at him and say ‘Hummm’ and refer him to a P.A. who will look at him and say ‘Hummm’ and refer him to a doctor who will look at him and say ‘Hummm, send him to the eye clinic’  and I will get you in to see an eye specialist.”

The next morning we left at 6a.m.  My plan was to arrive in time to get a parking space within a mile of the emergency room, after the early morning heart attacks had been treated, and before the 8a.m. shift changes to avoid being lost in the switch over.  We lucked out in that we did get a parking spot a few yards from the ER entrance and before the shift change.

 I had removed my son’s fake eye and had it in a zip lock bag with water.  I contemplated having him carry that in his hand with his eye socket uncovered achieving a sort of a zombie look in hopes we would gross everybody out and get faster service but it was before breakfast and the only person getting queasy was me.

Just as predicted at 9a.m. the nurse said “Hummm.”  At 10 a.m. the P.A. said “Hummm” and at 11 a.m. the doctor said “Hummm.  Send him over to the eye clinic.”

At 11 a.m. James got us registered and an appointment with the eye specialist.  Now I have learned over the years to be prepared for long waits.  I had my I-Pad and I-Phone fully charged.  I had my tote bag with water, diet Coke, Snickers, two skeins of yarn, crochet needle, scissors, a couple of “Kin We’re Not Related To” books to sell or read, the eyeball, and a list of all medications.

At 3 p.m. I had eaten the Snickers, drank the diet Coke, and crocheted three sweaters, an afghan, four scarves and a hat.  I had advanced eight levels on Candy Crush and texted everybody I knew on my now dead I-phone and I-pad.

Finally we got in to see the doctor who asked:

“Why did you take the eye out?”

“It was hurting him.”

“You took it out because it was hurting him?”




“You took it out yesterday, yourself, the eye?”

“That’s what I said.”

Finally my son said “A doctor took it out after a car crash fifteen years ago.”

The relief on the doctor’s face caused the color to return. 

 Fake eye, real eye.  Same word, same spelling, different meaning.

When the doctor could breathe again, he wrote a prescription and asked that we return the following week to re-evaluate the situation and to see if a new prosthetic eye is needed.

 I resisted the urge to say “AYE,  AYE Captain.  I will return with my son and the EYE as requested.” 

Ok, cut me some slack. I didn’t say it….out loud.  Both my brain and my butt were numb. I had been seated in a car or waiting room for 11 ½ hours.   Ayiii-ya-ya Ayiii







Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Where Have All the Turkeys Gone?

By Jody Worsham, yes co-author “Kin We’re Not Related To” in case you forgot

All rights reserved for handicapped ramps

From early November to late December the supermarkets abound with turkeys:  fresh, frozen, buttered, injected, smoked, fried, Cajun, Mrs. Smiths.  The turkey hotlines are staffed 24/7 to answer all of your turkey needs.  Magazines feature perfectly bronzed turkeys complete with drumstick booties deliciously displayed on platters with cranberry garnishes.  Google hits are in the millions for recipes for leftover turkey. 

And now it is January.  Where have all the turkeys gone?  They no longer fill the endcaps at the supermarkets.  So what has happened to the big birds?

Have the unsold birds been sent to the North Pole for low cost storage until next November?  Has the market been so over saturated that the mere mention of a turkey sandwich sends would-be-eaters racing for Taco Bell?  Has the turkey hotlines finally answered all turkey questions and has switched to automated calls only? Has the Google million hits counter now centered on diets and New Year’s resolutions?

But my next question is even more disturbing.  With the whole birds gone from the stores, where are those turkey legs coming from?  Do we have a lot of paraplegic turkeys wheeling around on skateboards?   And if all there is in the market place from January to late October is turkey legs and ground turkey, are the remaining whole turkeys in hiding?  Is there an underground turkey railroad moving the birds from carnivorous states to California, a known vegetarian state?  And is our ground turkey coming from those birds that did not make it to a vegan state?   

But most importantly, if all we have are paraplegic turkeys and “free” birds, where are next year’s whole turkeys coming from?  I can only hope there is a cashe of artificially inseminated turkey eggs somewhere waiting to be hatched. Otherwise Black Friday will become Black Thursday with no turkeys. 

Pulling a fish bone is just not the same as pulling a wishbone.