Cleveland Chronicles

photo of flowers

photo of flowers

Welcome to an overdue Cleveland Chronicles post.

“I’m here, take a break, give me something to do.”

I’ve taken a handful of classes about web design, HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  Audrey Shaffer recently stepped back from her role as web/newsletter/chatroom moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom.  She mentioned shutting the site down.  Of course, my hand shot up!  I could finally put my developing skills to work.

The Chatroom has been around for twenty years and Audrey has kept it going for twelve of those years.  Audrey has been there for me as I learn the ropes.  She is still a chatroom moderator.

While working on the new site for hours at a time, Cleveland would come up behind me and give my left arm a little nudge, as if to say, “I’m here, take a break and give me something to do.”  Without his input I would have stayed at the keyboard until I became a solid ball of stress.

Cleveland Sunning Himself

Shirt

Cleveland and I are working on a command called ‘shirt.’ It involves opening a drawer, getting a shirt, closing the drawer and bringing the shirt to me.  I’m sure he did this countless times in advanced training but my house is different, distractions are different and the drawers I am using are completely different

Cleveland is an enthusiastic learner.  Early on he brought me the entire caddy of drawers.  Now, he has most of it down but still occasionally brings the actual drawer to me.  The drawers are plastic storage type drawers and the caddy is on wheels. .

Castor and Leda who is now Jimmy

One of the tortoises still chases him around the room. We make it difficult by playing fetch.  Castor cannot keep up so he gets exercise.  These sessions don’t go on for long.  I switch out Castor for Leda who is now Jimmy because she mysteriously turned into a male.  Jimmy does not seem at all interested in Cleveland.

___

I’m going to go ahead and post this installment of Cleveland Chronicles and I will make an effort to not let so much time pass between posts.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

 

 

Welcome Back To Writerly Wednesday

Welcome to Writerly Wednesday

Cup of Pens ClipArtIt has been awhile since my last Writerly Wednesday post. Welcome back. If you haven’t been here before, I post Writerly things here. I sometimes spotlight people in the Writing Arena, Authors, Editors, Publishers, Agents and people with mad marketing skills. I have guest guidelines here on the site if you are interested.

What I really want to share is news about The Writer’s Chatroom.

The Writer’s Chatroom has been open to guests since the olden days of the internet and it has gone through at least two major incarnations. Now it is going through another change.

Our head moderator, Audrey Shaffer has been running the place for twelve years and felt it was time to close up shop or pass the torch.

I’ve been hanging out in the chatroom for about eight years and it has become a habit. We have a mix of visitors and regulars pulling up virtual chairs every Wednesday and Sunday evening. I couldn’t envision my weeks without this chatroom so I volunteered to take up the torch and run with it.

The Chatroom is moving to my subdomain. I am keeping much of the content from the main site but bringing the core of the chatroom up to modern standards and expectations. The look and feel will be different but I am one of the few people in the world who things change is good. Change is growth. Change is good for our minds.

I want to invite you over to the new digs.

The Wednesday and Sunday Chats still happen at the regular site. This will eventually resolve at the new site. Join us at http://writerschatroom.com/Enter on Wednesdays at 6PM MDT and Sundays at 5PM MDT.

Audrey Shaffer is not completely disappearing, she is still running a lot of the background magic. We are thankful for the things she used to do and the things she continues doing.

Cleveland Chronicles

Memorial Day

Welcome back to Cleveland Chronicles.

I skipped a week.  According to my files, I started to post but who knows what lurks in the mind of Sally?

We survived a vet check, the vet seemed a little bit lost but impressed with the paperwork from Canine Companions and asked a few times when I had his teeth done.  I replied at least twice that I brush them every day.

Big guy weighed in at 77 even.  Considering the pull harness and leash I suspect he is still at the weight he was when we left campus.

Memorial Day Last weekend we went to the cemetery.  I married into a family who have been here for generations.  It was a long walk through Sunset Hills.

We are adding distance to the inhaler command, working on perfecting the task of going under my wheelchair to get the things I drop.

For fun these days we play at hiding the toy.  Of course, I hide it as he watches and he seems to love getting it from increasingly awkward places.  My son also gets in on the game.

Curious Things

Cleveland will not cross even the suggestion of a doorway without some sort of go ahead from me.  He does not leave the room I am in.  I like it because I never have to look far to find him.  It just seems like a curious behavior to me, a built-in perk.

Another curious behavior involves what I call, “I have a toy but I’m not playing with you.”

He will take his toy and begin circling us holding the toy in his mouth, tail wagging.  When we reach in or encourage him to ‘give’ he continues his circle, eventually laying down on his bed.

Dog with Stuffed ToysWalmart has little stuffed bones with squeakers inside.  Cleveland goes through about two a week. At $1.97 DH bought 4 new ones.  I keep an eye on them and as soon as I see the stuffing, out it goes.

This weekend he is going to Pet’s Mart for his first grooming session.

Until Next Time – Don’t Touch Anything Sharp.

All Cleveland Chronicles

Havan in the Kennel

 

 

Cleveland in the Kennel

Cleveland Chronicles

dog getting inhaler

dog getting inhalerWelcome to this week’s Cleveland Chronicles.

This week we went to Lowe’s.  We had a lot of opportunities to practice commands in a strange, new place.

We began by opening and closing drawers on floor model bathroom vanities.  Then we opened and closed doors on yet another floor model vanity.

Dog and Wheelchair
Pulling

He does a terrific job at pulling me in my wheelchair and there were a lot of wide aisles we used to practice.

When we found the plywood stacks I thought it was a perfect time to try an ‘up.’ (Up puts his front paws on the stack.) Cleveland puts his whole self into pleasing his human and in his eagerness he did a perfect ‘jump.’ (A jump sounds like the word up.  A jump involves leaping to the top of the stack with all four paws ending up on top.) A few more tries and some well placed blocking he was doing perfect ups.

It snowed this week and his Montana was showing. He didn’t even blink when we went out to the yard that morning.

This week he can position himself behind my wheelchair, then he goes under to retrieve a dropped item. He does this very well.

Now, we are working on a whole new command where he will retrieve my inhaler from the tv cabinet.  He is a quick study so I imagine this will be an easy task.

Dog on a pink throw rug
Eye Roll

I am a professional learner and I’ve been finishing up a study of CSS Coding.  I saw your eyes glaze over. Last night I was telling him about the usefulness of Child Combinators and he didn’t even pretend to be interested.  I got a dog’s equivalent of an eye roll.

I hope you are enjoying these Cleveland Chronicles and the photos. Don’t touch anything sharp.

Cleveland Chronicles

Cleveland and the Grooming Tools

Welcome to this week’s Cleveland Chronicles.

During Team Training I could not remember his name. I’d have a command ready and I’d just look into his big brown eyes and think what is your name? Sometimes, I could see his tag, other times I searched my mental filing cabinets for names starting with a CL. There are a lot of options for a CL name combination. The good news is that after just over three weeks I can call him Cleveland on the spot!
Cleveland and the Grooming Tools

Last Friday, I used a Dremel tool to shorten his nails. The guy was taking a nap while I was taking a power tool to his feet. You can’t get much calmer than that.
graduation photo

Cleveland outweighs me by at least twenty pounds, an intimidating size under normal circumstances. He hasn’t bumped me over once. He is as slow and steady as I am.

The most amazing thing I learned during the week was that Cleveland can count to four. I have no idea how his humans taught such an amazing command. I took a short video clip and I am sharing it here.


This week he has retrieved items, tugged and pulled my wheelchair and has worked his way deeper into my soul.

If you are interested in becoming an Amazing Puppy Raiser for Canine Companions for Independence visit the site at CCI.org.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II

Monday marked the two year anniversary of Havan’s crossing.  It also marked the first Monday as Team Sally and Cleveland II.

On the 16th we landed in Santa Rosa.  We began Team Training the next day on the Canine Companions for Independence North West Training Center.  I was one of five awesome people chosen for what is referred to as a ‘side’ placement.  We were there for a Successor Service Dog.  Between us we had retired 11 companions.  For four of us, this was our third dog.

Graduating Class - April 2017
Graduating Class – April 2017 (Graduates, Dogs and Family Members)

April 21st  we Graduated as Teams and met our Puppy Raisers.

Cleveland, received most of his training in a Prison Program right here in Montana.  He spent three months before advanced training in California with The Bradshaw Family where he was further socialized before going into advanced training.

I will be forever grateful for the Prison Program and his second family.  There are breeders, caretakers, trainers, volunteers, veterinarians, office personnel and donors to be thankful to as well.

To everyone involved, you did one heck of a great job and we intend to honor you by working hard at independence. 

After a ridiculous flight home on Saturday we arrived in the graveyard hours of Sunday morning and began our lives together.

I’ve been posting photos for nearly two weeks on Facebook.  I’ll be blogging about our adventures.  I’ll keep posting even the most mundane things.  You’ll see.

On Monday, Cleveland II was a new breath of life beside me and I think Havan is very pleased.  I can almost hear her tail thumping.

Introducing Cleveland II a Canine Companion for Independence

Image of Cleveland II
Cleveland II

Cleveland II is a two year old yellow lab who weighs in at 78 pounds.

If you’d like more information about Service Dogs and the Canine Companions for Independence program visit http://cci.org

Sally & Cleveland II CCI NW ’17
Havan CCI NW ’07 – ’15
Lincoln III CCI NW ’98 – ’07

 

 

And the Survey Says – Part 1 of 3

clipart of the word surveyI’ve been moderating over at The Writer’s Chatroom for around seven years.  Wow, have I been there that long?  I recently composed a series of Surveys and posted the links to them on Facebook and Twitter.  And The Survey Says..

Thank you all for participating.  If you haven’t gone over to answer the questions, the surveys are still open.  I’ll add the links at the end of this post.

First Survey Observations.

The first survey was short. It was a general getting to know you type of thing. I will attempt to tell you the results without resorting to statistics whenever possible.

And the Survey Says – Part 1 of 3

Q1 What do you write?

The choices were Fiction, Non-fiction, Blogs and of course I do not Write.

About two thirds of people claimed to be fiction writers followed by non-fiction not even a close second. I was surprised to see that only one in four writers had a blog.

Q2 Have you Visited The Writer’s Chatroom?

An equal number of people indicated that they were regulars at the chatroom, they simply don’t do chats and they keep forgetting the time of our chats.

Just over a third of the writers indicated that they come to chat when they can but life gets in the way.

Q3 What is your gender?

Three quarters of the writers were female.

Q4 What is your age?

On this one I discovered very few writers aged 44 or below. It could be those writers don’t know they are writers, they might be raising the first wave of their family or heavily employed. They certainly don’t seem to participate in surveys if they are lurking out there.

The bulk of writers are between 45 and 65.

If we wanted to attract more young writers and more men we probably need to find out where they hang out online and get their attention there.

In a walnut shell —

The average respondent is a woman between 45 and 65 who writes fiction and non-fiction and either has a full plate on Sundays and Wednesdays or simply forgets we are here.

I want to thank everyone who participated in the survey. You all rock.

Survey 1

Survey 1

Survey 3

Social Justice – being jealous guardians of our democracy

Photo of Frederick Douglass

I thought I’d post a little bit about Organizing for Social Change.

I am posting excerpts from Frederick Douglass, President Obama and The Midwest Academy.

We do not need to feel helpless.  There are things we can do at the local, State and Federal Levels to Preserve and Protect and be anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy.

Photo of Frederick DouglassFrom Frederick Douglass

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” – Frederick Douglass

The following is a portion of President Obama’s Farewell Address

It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy. Embrace the joyous task we have been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours because, for all our outward differences, we in fact all share the same proud type, the most important office in a democracy, citizen.

Citizen. So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when you own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life.

If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing.

If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.

Show up, dive in, stay at it. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. Presuming a reservoir in goodness, that can be a risk. And there will be times when the process will disappoint you. But for those of us fortunate enough to have been part of this one and to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire. And more often than not, your faith in America and in Americans will be confirmed. Mine sure has been.” – President Barack Obama

What is Social Change?  How do we even begin to Organize, lace up our shoes and go out into the community? 

Cover Art Organizing for Social ChangeORGANIZING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Midwest Academy Manual for Activists

The Organizing for Social Change 4th Edition is a paperback text and is an excellent resource for getting your feet wet.  Yes, We Can.

Now in its fourth edition, here is the comprehensive manual for grassroots organizers working for social, racial, environmental and economic justice at the local, state and national levels. Since 1973 the Midwest Academy has trained more than 30,000 activists in progressive organizations, unions, and faith-based groups. This Midwest Academy Manual for Activists is central to its training programs and seminars, and it provides an invaluable reference source for organizers throughout their careers. Also included are anecdotes about a wide variety of real organizations working on issues concerning labor, the environment, health care, racism, immigration, peace, religion, energy, public campaign financing and more. Whatever the progressive cause, this is the manual that can help guide organizers and ensure that they continue to reach their goals with efficiency and dignity. USE IT AND ORGANIZE!

This book is available through Amazon and I suspect if you request it your public library can scare up a copy for you.  It is easy to understand and a very good read.  

Social Justice – being jealous guardians of our democracy

Thanks for visiting with me and always remember-

Don’t touch anything sharp!

 

Legwarmer Weather in SouthWest Montana

Legwarmer Season
Legwarmer Season

 

It is Legwarmer Weather here in SouthWest Montana.  Nature has new artwork displayed between the panes of glass on my front window.  It is 5 degrees and the snow is tiny and drifting lazily down like dandelion seeds floating on the wind on a warm spring day.

I have been working on my tablecloth.  I spent last night weaving in tails.  91 of 660 motifs are done.

Yes, I have my WIP open and once in awhile  I click on the window and revise a few words.

Mostly, I am working on coding a page for this website from scratch.  I’m using micro-syntax to make my book page as SEO and text reader friendly as possible.  My only real worry is breaking the Internet.

I’ve brought Writerly Wednesday back but I don’t plan on making it a weekly feature this time out.  Submission Guidelines are available on this site.

It is Legwarmer Weather here in SouthWest Montana.

Until next time, don’t touch anything sharp!

Image of Crochet Project

Procrastinating, Dilly-dallying, Puttering

raven Hello again and Welcome to Fiction Friday.

All new years start off with good intentions.

I am writing this Fiction Friday post because I am putting off revising a scene from my WIP.

I have committed FaceBook-ary, Tweeted, researched the nature of Ravens and watched The Blacklist.  Now, I’m here..

I know Procrastination is a serious problem.  Look at all of the words related to the topic.  The person who gathered this list probably should have been cleaning up after the family cat.

The scene I am working on, should be working on, is an interesting one so I am not at all sure why I don’t slip on a pair of Nikes and just Do It..

My protagonist, Judy Hawks is doing a welfare check for her home-bound friend, Carl Eps.  She arrives at the elderly social worker’s house and finds her dead.  Just dead.  The front door is open, the refrigerator is humming and Mrs. Finley is sitting in a task chair at her desk, stock still, her hair a halo of white and unexpectedly soft as Judy leans in to touch her cheek.

While I am not revising this scene I thought I’d give you a list of Procrastination’s closest known associates, partners in crime or at least accomplices of some sort.

Why don’t you all join me as I participate in Procrastinating, Dilly-dallying and Puttering.

Words Related to Procrastination

dalliance
dawdling
dabbling
delay
delaying
dilly-dallying
frittering
frivoling
idling
loafing
loitering
playing
poking
procrastinating
puttering
toying
trifling

Don’t touch anything sharp.