The 12 Days of Christmas….for Dogs.
Germane this time of year.
Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:
The Online Dog Show for Every Dog!
More info here.
Whether you're a dog owner or a dog lover, Dog Show USA is the site for you!
* See exclusive coverage and video from the 2005 National Dog Show Presented by Purina.
* Watch video, browse photos and rate all the pups in our gallery.
* Make your purebred or mixed breed a star in our nationwide contest.
* Play K-9 Countdown, our one-of-a-kind video trivia game.
* Read our Dog Blog - written by a wise Wolfhound and precocious Whippet.
* Chat with other dog lovers on our Message Boards.
Thousands have entered our virtual dog show, but only one will be top dog. The one crowned "Best in Show" will win a trip for themselves and two human companions to Philadelphia to the 2006 National Dog Show Presented by Purina. All finalists will receive a year's supply of Purina Pro Plan Dog Food.
Be sure to visit DogShowUSA.com today and spread the word to all your dog-loving pals to get in on the action too!
My Own Handsome Reindeer
More Pampered Pets HERE
The Reconstruction of Christmas
"Are you tired of the Christmas rush? Do the holidays go by in a blur of activities that increasingly have no meaning? Would you like to help us reconstruct Christmas?"
Lisa read the index card with half amusement and half agreement. The card was hand?written, stuck haphazardly to the grocery's community bulletin board with a tack. A feminine handwriting urged anyone wanting more information to call. Lisa quickly tore off a tab with the contact phone number. She figured she'd never call but just in case ...
"Absolutely. I've received calls from nine other people. You would bring the total to ten. Come join us tomorrow night."
Lisa noted the directions, muttered a quick thanks and rang off. She sat on her couch, quietly fingering the paper with the notes and debated the silliness versus the seriousness of it all.
Verna Lemmon had assured Lisa that the reconstructing Christmas group was quite serious.
"Every year more people answer my little ad," Verna had told Lisa. "For the past five years I've had a hand in making Christmas more meaningful for many folks. Please join us."
Lisa smiled ruefully. The past few weeks had been a whirlwind of shopping, partying, wrapping and visiting. Her Christmas activities kept her plenty busy but still she couldn't shake the feeling of emptiness, as if it were all a play with Lisa as the major character.
"You need a man is all," Jill, a co?worker, offered as explanation to Lisa's lament. "Christmas takes on a whole new dimension when shared with someone you love."
Lisa thought Jill was probably right. For each of the past two Christmas' she'd broken up with a boyfriend in early autumn. She considered that maybe she needed to improve her timing.
"You can believe I'll stay away from any more construction workers," Lisa laughed along with Jill. Her more recent boyfriend was a heavy equipment operator; the one before a cabinet?maker.
"Such muscles!" Jill said, playfully.
"Yeah. They can help you move all the furniture in your house but can't handle the burden of a bouquet of flowers. Sensitivity isn't the strong suit of the brawny."
Jill and Lisa giggled though Lisa knew her words were true. She'd spent the last two years envying her female co?workers who yelped with glee as red roses or beautiful bouquets were delivered for birthdays, anniversaries, sometimes just for love. Lanny, the heavy equipment operator, gave her a tire for her birthday, a tire for HIS car! Mark, the cabinet maker, let both her birthday and Valentine's day pass with nary a mention.
It wasn't that Lisa thought their occupations were to blame. She'd often shrug and attribute it to coincidence. Just in case, however, Lisa vowed to avoid any man whose craft involved use of sharp tools or big moving machines.
"Come in," Verna said, opening the door and pointing to the gathering. Lisa nervously peeked at the group, shrugging off her coat and wishing she hadn't done this.
Verna was a warm and funny hostess. She explained the reason she started her reconstructing Christmas group: "to foster a new attitude towards the holidays", and what she got out of it: "I've met many delightful people, even had a few marriages come out of my little meetings."
Lisa scanned the room quickly in response to the marriage assertion. All of the other participants were women, most elderly. There was one man, introduced as Melvin Williams. He was Lisa's age and wasn't wearing a wedding band. Lisa quickly put him out of her mind when he mentioned that he was a carpenter.
Verna polled the small group, asking what, if anything, they were trying to do to make their own Christmas' special and more meaningful.
"I'm building my mother a cabinet," Melvin said, rubbing his big hands together self-consciously. "It's a bit hard because she likes all those fancy scrolls and details ...." Melvin faded off, turning his huge hands palm outward as physical explanation for the difficulty of the task.
"I've been crocheting an afghan for my grandmother for the past three months. I'm afraid I started it a bit late. She gets such a chill in the winters and she so loves a lap blanket,"Lisa said at her turn.
The elderly women in the group clucked and shook their heads. They understood such as chills not to mention most knew a bit about crocheting.
Over three meetings the group discussed their Christmas plans, bemoaned the rat race of it all, and drew a weird solace in their mutual disdain of the holiday and all of its trappings.
"So here's your final assignment," Verna told the group at the fourth meeting. "We will have our own Christmas party at our next and final meeting. Of course we will have gifts." With this Verna passed around a basket, urging everyone to take a slip of paper. "Whoever's name is on your piece of paper is who you will be giving a gift. One big stipulation," Verna said loudly, "the gifts must be less than $5.00. Remember this is a group bent on reconstructing Christmas. You've known each other long enough to know each other well enough to choose a thoughtful but un-costly present. But don't reveal the identity of your name until the party!"
"It really is a pretty afghan," Melvin told Lisa. Lisa bought along her project at the urging of the group. She was packing everything away when Melvin spoke directly to her for the first time since she met him. Lisa tried to be polite, but the last thing she wanted was for this Melvin person to demonstrate any interest in her. Though he was ruggedly handsome with a pair of shocking blue eyes that shone brightly from his tanned face, Melvin was a construction worker and Lisa wasn't going there again anytime soon.
Two days later a completely crocheted square of her afghan arrived in the mail. Lisa turned the square over and over, admiring the detailed crocheted stitches.
Probably Mrs. Beasly, Lisa guessed. She got my name in the gift draw and is helping me get this thing done.
Which was exactly the point of the group and Lisa smiled at the originality of the gift. And she certainly needed the help. With only a week until Christmas, Lisa despaired that she'd ever get the thing done.
The next day, another crocheted square arrived. For each of the two days after this, a crocheted square came in the mail. Lisa was delighted and began to hope she really might get the afghan complete in time to see her grandmother's Christmas surprise.
Though she thought the reconstructing Christmas idea a bit silly at first, Lisa was so glad she took the chance. She'd met many wonderful people and was now learning more than she ever thought she could; some of the real depth that Christmas can have.
"Okay, now time for our gifts," Verna said, clapping her hands and commanding all to stop their chatting and munching. Lisa couldn't remember the last time she had such a good time. There were no loud bands or garish decorations. Instead, Verna had decorated her basement with a small tree, covered a folding table with a Christmas tablecloth, and invited everyone to set their potluck contribution on the buffet. The group laughed and sang Christmas carols and enjoyed homemade dishes unsullied by additives. Lisa even spent some time chatting with Melvin, such was the holiday spirit with which she'd been infused.
"I've received the afghan squares and I can't tell you how wonderful they were," Lisa said to Mrs. Beasly. Before Mrs. Beasly could answer, Verna handed Lisa a gaily wrapped gift.
Lisa accepted in surprise. She wasn't expecting a gift that night, understanding that her gifts were delivered early to help her with the time limit.
"Hope the afghan squares helped ..... Merry Christmas", a pretty card taped to the bottom of the box read. It was signed by Melvin Williams.
Lisa looked up at a beaming Melvin, his shocking blue eyes twinkling with the delight of the surprise.
"I'm not going to tell you I did it all by myself. When I was a small boy I spent many afternoons on the front porch with my grandmother. She taught me how to crochet and when I heard about your dilemma, well, I had a grandma too. I had to get Mrs. Beasley to give me a copy of the pattern as well as the colors. Good thing you shared this with her."
Lisa's jaw hung open, allowing no formation of appropriate thanks. She had given Mrs. Beasley a copy of the pattern and wrote down the dye lot numbers of the yarn. It was why Lisa thought Mrs. Beasley was her crocheting elf at the start.
"My mom helped me buy the yarn and she gave me a refresher course. I started crocheting on the job and boy did the guys give me a ribbing. Soon they all started helping out. Some of them wound the yarn, some snipped the ends. One guy could even do a decent single crochet and he did a couple of rows. I told them I was doing this for a lovely damsel in distress and they sure understood this."
Somehow Lisa got her jaw realigned. She studied the piercing blue eyes and wondered just how does one toss all preconceived notions right out the window.
For who better to help reconstruct Christmas than a construction worker?
More Smashing Fiction HERE
A French Joke
Gotta love it.
An American is having breakfast in Paris one morning (coffee, croissants, bread, butter and jam) when a Frenchman, chewing bubblegum, sits down next to him. The American ignores the Frenchman who, nevertheless, starts a conversation.
Frenchman: "You American folk eat the whole bread??"
American (in a bad mood): "Of course."
Frenchman: (after blowing a huge bubble) "We don't. In France, we only eat what's inside. The crusts we collect in a container, recycle it, transform them into croissants and sell them to the States." The Frenchman has a smirk on his face.
The American listens in silence.
The Frenchman persists: "Do you eat jelly with the bread??"
American: "Of course."
Frenchman: (cracking his bubblegum between his teeth and chuckling).
"We don't. In France, we eat fresh fruit for breakfast, then we put all the peels, seeds, and leftovers in containers, recycle them, transform them into jam, and sell the jam to the States."
After a moment of silence, the American then asks: "Do you have sex in France?"
Frenchman: "Why of course we do," he says with a big smirk.
American: "And what do you do with the condoms once you've used them?"
Frenchman: "We throw them away, of course."
American: "We don't. In America, we put them in a container, recycle them, melt them down into bubblegum, and sell them to France."
More Fish Giggles HERE