Friday, July 2, 2010

My Favorite 4th. of July

I met Bobby Jeffrey, my ex-husband.

I went to the Star Trek movie "The Search for Spock". I went by myself because I knew I would want to sit through it twice and none of my friends would do that. After the first movie I heard a loud crash behind me. Some guy sit in a seat and it broke sending him crashing to the floor.

A few minutes later I felt a tap on my shoulder. A man's voice said, "Haven't I seen you someplace before?" I thought to myself, "surely he could have thought of something more original than that to say." I turned around and to my surprise I HAD seen him before.

I said "hey, you're the guy from the bridge!"

He said, "So, that's where I've seen you, I knew that I had." We started talking.

Here is a brief history of the "guy from the bridge". He was a flagman who gave out roses and wore funny hats. One day I had to walk across the bridge and he asked me "if I wasn't afraid I would get raped or something." I coldly informed him that I could take care of myself. Later that week I was in another part of town and some guy went by me in a van whooping and hollering and hanging out of the passenger side window. It was him. We ran into each other somewhere else as well. I just seemed like fate kept putting us together.

After the movie ended he asked me if he could take me to dinner. He used the classic line, "I'll buy you a steak or anything you want." I told him steak was fine but I would rather have a hotdog. He replied that he was not a cheapskate. Again I told him I would just as soon have a hotdog and we ended up at my favorite hotdog place "Mecca Drive-in".

Then he took me home and he asked if he could see me again. I said "yes" and after a polite kiss I went inside.

The next day at 2pm (the appointed time) he wasn't there. At 5 after 2, I left and went to a friends house. About 15 minutes later my mom called and in a singsong voice said to me, "Bobby's he'ere." (you know the voice- the one for a boyfriend she entirely approved of)

I told her I would be right there. He was late because he had been getting us a roast chicken and a bottle of wine to take on our picnic.

We saw each other everyday after that. That weekend we went to "King's Island". When we got home my mom kicked me out for going away for the weekend with a man I wasn't married to. I called him and he came and picked me up. 3 months later we were married. 15 years later we were divorced.

Now it is 12 years later and we are speaking.

My Least Favorite 4th. of July

I was on the waterfront in West Palm Beach. The first of the night's grand fireworks display went off and as I was watching the next one go up something fell into my eye. It hurt and I kept trying to blink it out to no avail. I was in misery for the whole display and the rest of the night.

Hoping that sleep would help I went to bed, but when I woke up the next morning the pain was just as bad and water would not flush my eye out. I went to work and went to get a friend. I told her I needed someone who was a mother to help me, otherwise I was going to end up in the emergency room. (everyone knows mother know ALL the best home remedies even though we were the same age)

She went and got a whole bottle of Visine and flushed my eye out with it. It immediately felt better. She said she flushed out glitter and soot. At least she got it out for me and I didn't have any permanent damage to my eye!

Best Fireworks Ever!

Back in the eighties we were at the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta. This is when it was a HUGE affair with about 50,000 people in attendance and bands like the Beach Boys were playing. We came in town a few hours early so we could park right on the river and have great seats - which we did.

That night we were sitting there when they slowly positioned the barge on the river for the fireworks. They started right on time but about 5 minutes into the display one of the fireworks they shot up didn't explode and fell right back down into the middle of the barge. THEN IT EXPLODED! ABOUT 30 MINUTES WORTH OF FIREWORKS WENT OFF ON THAT BARGE AT ONCE. THE DECK HANDS HAD TO DIVE OFF OF THE BARGE INTO THE RIVER AND THE LITTLE BOATS AROUND IT HAD TO RESCUE THEM. THE EXPLOSIONS LASTED BETWEEN 5 AND 10 MINUTES. IT WAS VERY IMPRESSIVE.

THAT WAS THE BEST FIREWORKS DISPLAY EVER. (although hopefully it will never be repeated)

On Thong Bikinis

When I lived in West Palm they were having a big debate about making thong bikinis illegal. This was when the hotdog girls were selling hotdogs on the corner wearing nothing but thongs and pasties. (they may still be doing it, I have been gone for years now!)

Anyway I told my friend Carolyn that we could settle the debate in 5 minutes. "Let's go out and put on a thong and walk down the block! Thongs will be illegal before we get to the end of the Block!

Of course we didn't do it and they are still legal

GONE TO THE DOGS - The Bitter End

Wayne was partying like a rockstar and I was doing all the work. I didn't have the experience to do the work though and the kennel stopped running. The more it didn't run the more depressed he became and the less he would show up. When he did show up he did nothing but complain and we smoked a lot of dope. The work was getting done because I was doing it (kennel maintenance) but I didn't have the skill yet to get any run out of the dogs.

Then Wayne's girlfriend left him and Sal sold the kennel. I still feel to this day that Sal didn't actually sell the kennel, I think he had someone fronting for him because he gambled too much and owed thousands of dollars around the track. The couple who bought the kennel were out of Alabama and I had met them many times because they were Sal's friends. They were good sturdy people but one of the first things they did was to tell me I had to take a pay cut or they would let me go.

There went the good old days of me being the highest paid help in he compound. I was putting in an astronomical amount of hours (70 or 80 weekly) which is why I they pay salaries instead of hourly wages in the dog business. I stayed because it was my first kennel and I couldn't bear to leave my babies. I had yet to discover the art of kennel hopping - an art which I perfected later on.

The Alderson's kept Wayne at first. They were more hands on than Sal though and they quickly saw why the dogs weren't running. He wasn't doing the work. So they fired him. The new trainer brought his own help with him and I was promptly fired and I immediately was hired into another kennel.

Wayne got another job in a bottom kennel. "You can't make a pig fly," as they say in the dog business especially when you have the kind of attitude Wayne had. One day I watched him picking up dogs and I thought to myself, "that is the most depressed person I ever saw." He went up to the kennel to do turnout.

ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE! There were police cars and ambulances and nobody was allowed in or out of the compound. Of course word spread fast...Wayne was dead. He hung himself in the kennel. He died with his dogs

GONE TO THE DOGS - A Problem I Couldn't Handle

For the first month Wayne and I worked together I did get my time off. After the dogs started running he started to miss work. At first I was picking up a little extra then I was doing extra turnouts and then I was only getting one turnout a week off and sometimes not even that. Basically it was no different from working with Sal except that the dogs were winning. In the meantime he was missing days at a time except for weigh in's which he was required by law to do and I couldn't do for him.

Then there was a dog fight. One of the dogs had her ear cut which wasn't severe but when a dog's ear gets cut it bleeds like crazy. He was there when it happened and I watched him doctor it. That afternoon when we came in for turnout she had gotten the bandage off and Wayne redid it. This time he wrapped the bandage around her whole head instead of just her ear so that she couldn't get it off.

That night when I went in to turnout the dog was wheezing. I looked for Wayne at the track but I couldn't find him. I did my work for the evening and went home thinking that he would stop by the kennel after the races like he sometimes did. The next morning I could see that he had not been there.

I did my morning work. I talked to his friends who assurred me that Wayne intended to be there, so I went home again thinking Wayne would be there. He was not. That afternoon there was a note for me at the guardshack to take the racers down and somebody else would be weighing them in. I did this and I let his friends know that Wayne needed to come to the kennel because one of the dogs had a problem that I couldn't fix. I had redone the bandage and she didn't wheeze when it was off but as soon as I put it on she started having problems again.

Still Wayne was a no show. I wished Jeff were still around but he had taken a job at another track. I talked to a trainer I trusted that night and at first he wouldn't help me. He didn't want to interfere in Wayne's kennel. I finally got him to tell me to cut a slit in the bandage at the base of her neck and that would help her breathe. I did this and she seemed to get better.

The next morning still no Wayne and the dog was in as bad a shape as ever. I was becoming furious by this point. I went to one of his friends and I told him I needed help. At first he refused. He refused until I told him that if he didn't come help the dog I was going to the track vet and telling her about it and the fact that Wayne had not been to the kennel in 3 days. Reluctantly he accompanied me to the kennel.

As soon as we opened the kennel door, we could hear the dog wheezing. He looked at me with alarm in his eyes and he was a veteran trainer. I knew for him to express worry was a big deal. We took the dog out of her crate and he gently doctored her and the wheezing stopped. He wrapped the bandage around her head but it was much looser than what either Wayne or I had done. Apparently I had been slowly strangling the poor dog.

Wayne showed up that night, apologizing profusely for leaving me. He had also thanked Bill for taking care of the dog when I couldn't. He was mad that I threatened to go to the vet. He trusted the trainer I had forced to help me and believed him when he told him just how bad the situation was.

I even got a whole weekend off, partly for good work and partly for not going to track officials. He also quit not showing up for work although I didn't get anymore time off after that until he left the kennel.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Pick for the Winner of America's Got Talent"> name="allowFullScreen" value="true">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385">

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last Year When They Shut Down Yahoo 360, I Was Getting 5000 Hits A Day From Iranians Trying To Get Word Out About the Elections.

These people realize that they are fighting a battle for freedom within their own country that they have to fight for themselves. What they are asking for is publicity so that the world knows what their government has done. The protests started with an election that most of the reporting precincts had over 3 times as many votes as registered voters in the precinct. The result making the election overwhelmingly in Amoudinajab's favor.

They are still trying to get out word today.

What really surprised me was the number of women in the protests. I had many more pictures but I had to delete them because you could see the protesters faces and the Iranian government was actually killing the protesters of the people they saw on the internet. On the third day of the protest Twitter became an important part of people sending out messages about where the protests would be held. By the 7th. day the Iranian government had caught on and had started to send out false tweets of their own. By this time people in the know knew which tweets they could trust and which were fake but one by one people had to withdraw their protests in fear of their lives.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I missed an important anniversary

I missed an important anniversary this month. That's a good thing too. This was the 4 year anniversary of my gift of life when I found out my heart was screwed up. I actually noted it a couple of days late but decided that I was just going to silently let it pass because I've been doing so well. If things go like they said I have a year left to go. I hope to prove them wrong though.

The doing well part is over for now. I have been pushing myself a little further and further these past couple of months. I hit a wall last Friday. What caused me to hit the wall was the betrayal of someone I considered a friend. I found out I was wrong Friday. He wasn't happy to just let things go, he had to crush me emotionally into the ground. When I begged him to leave me alone he just went on and on. He even followed me home so I couldn't get away. His tirade lasted 2 hours. In the old days I would have just told him where to go and walked off, but I don't have that luxury any longer.

I don't process stress normally because of my heart and the result of all that venom was a supreme migraine headache. I wasn't able to get to the doctor because it was the weekend and then he couldn't see me until today to give me the medication that I needed. It was 4 days of pure misery and torture. I couldn't watch tv because of the noise and I sat in darkness because the light was so painful to me.

He now blames what was said on being drunk but I don't really care what the reason was. I know I was a good friend who didn't deserve the treatment that I received. He seems genuinely sorry but that doesn't matter either. I'm not an idiot. Once someone does you that way they will continue to do so. I have no problem moving on. I've kicked better men than him to the curb for a whole lot less. He knew all about my health situation (actually better than anyone I know) so there is no excuse for his actions.

Anyway I have the medicine I need. I have to build my body up again. I've done it before and I'll do it again. Why not? I have nothing better to do.

GONE TO THE DOGS - One at a Time

Wayne came in the next morning and helped to do beds, sprint dogs and of course we went to Shoney's for breakfast. As we were getting to know each other other trainers kept stopping by our table. I was fascinated that they all seemed to know each other despite the fact that they all came from different areas of the country.

We went back to the compound after breakfast and Wayne said, "This is where your training begins. I don't care what anybody has told you before, you do things my way. You got a problem with that?"


"Good. First we are going to change second turnout to after we feed. It is crazy to turnout and then feed. If you turnout first then the dogs don't get to clean out. Feed first then they don't have to wait until afternoon turnout at two o'clock."

"Two? We've been turning out at four."

"Well, now it's two. Like I said things are different now. When we come back for weigh-in we will kick out the racers and pissers again. It's more work but it will pay off in the long run. By the way, I give bonuses."

That brought a big smile to my face. Then he said, "I want you to mix feed today so I know what they've been getting. Tomorrow we do it my way." I proceeded to mix feed while he weighed racers. He surprised me by weighing the next days racers too. When I asked him why he said, "if you don't weigh them the day before you don't know you have a problem. You don't have time to fix it if you wait until the day they are in. I don't want to do something drastic to get them across the scale."

After feeding he went over the racers. I learned more from watching him check the first dog than I had learned in my whole time in the dog business. He also told me the secret to his "deadly juice." The "deadly juice" was his personal recipe for liniment. I was to later learn that many trainers would try to trick that recipe out of me. I never gave it to another soul - not even my husband.

Wayne had been working about a week when Kay was in. He checked her over to make sure she wasn't hurt but then he took her off the bench and said, "little D piece , tonight you grade off." She was on her last line in D which meant that if she didn't run 4th. or better the track wouldn't let her race anymore.

Basically it was a death sentence and I panicked when I heard him say it," No! You can't do that!" I yelled. "She can run. She hasn't been running because she's afraid of Sal."

He turned to look at me and he could see the distress in my eyes. "What do you mean?"

"I mean Sal was mean to her. If he would lose money on a dog he would come in the kennel and take it out on her. Terri and I have been running interference for her but she cringes everytime he comes in the kennel. You can't let her just grade off. If she's treated right, I know she can run. You have to save her." I also let him know that I would have reported Sal but I didn't have proof and Terri was helping to keep Sal away.

Wayne got a determined look in his eye and put Kay back on the stand. "C'mon baby, you get the special treatment today." He rubbed her down until she actually fell over on the stand, then he put a blanket on her to help drive in the liniment and put her to bed.

That night Kay won. I went to pick her up with a huge smile on my face and Wayne was there waiting for me. I thanked him with tears in my eyes and he told me not to worrry that she was going to be fine from here on out. And she was. She was never a great racer. She farted around in C and D but she made money for dog food and that was more than alot of dogs do. When she finally did grade off she was the first dog I ever found a home for. Trainers were laughing at me for doing it and they all told me I would regret it.

They were wrong. One by one I started to find homes for the greyhounds. I couldn't complain when one was marched off to the vet, but I was finding homes for more and more dogs and I saved the ones I could and refused to let it bother me when I couldn't. Then the old timers started coming to me. They would say, "I have a dog I want you to find a home for. If you tell anybody I will deny that I gave you the dog and they will be your responsibility. Do you understand?"

"Perfectly," I would tell them and take the dog and go on my merry way. They added up pretty quick. "One at a time." That was my new motto.

GONE TO THE DOGS - Super Trainer Introduces Himself

Wayne Simpkins was the first super trainer that I ever worked for. Word got around the compound fast that he was coming and I was intrigued by the fact that all the "old timers" were in awe of him. Their reaction to the mention of his name was one of fear and glee all rolled into one. Fear because they fully expected the kennel to take off the second he hit the compound and glee because the man could party with the best of them. Apparently I had a rockstar coming to be my boss.

A good trainer is treated like a rockstar at the track. People swarm to buy them drinks and dinner and they hang on to every word hoping for a good tip. Women throw themselves at them. They are treated like celebrities. Some of them even have fan clubs. I learned early on to not get involved with a trainer on a personal basis. They have a habit of hiring young girls and passing them from kennel to kennel when they tire of them and most of the girls are too dumb to see what's happening to them.

I was doing afternoon turnout when up struts Wayne Simpkins. He was a ruggedly handsome man with blonde hair curling around his ears, dreamy brown eyes and a deep, gruff sounding voice. He really did have a nice smile. He looked me up and down as he introduced himself, "I hear I got the best help in the compound."

I smiled back, " You do. I hear my dogs are goin' to fly now that you're here."

He smiled again and said, "that's the goal, you know, you are really very pretty" He looked the dogs over in the turnout pen taking everything in with just a glance, "You seem to have everything under control. What time's weigh in?"

"six o'clock," and I added, "I'm married."

"Ah, I see," he said as he straightened just a hair. "Well I've got to go make myself legal. I'll see you at weigh-in," he started to walk away. Then he turned and said, "I hear you been a little overworked. As soon as I get settled in we will see about getting you some time off."

I smiled back as I said, "that WOULD be nice. I haven't had a day off in 3 months."

"I know," he said, "that's what I hear and we are going to put a stop to that."

Monday, June 28, 2010

"It was a great ride, Senator Byrd."

The first time I remember hearing about Senator Robert C. Byrd was in my 9th. grade American History Class. Mrs. Triolo was explaning the political process. She told us she would never tell anyone who to vote for but she explained what would happen if Senator Byrd was elected one more time (this was in 1975).

She said he would have enough senority if elected to become Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She also pointed out that he would be able to be the Senate Majority Leader but that he would turn down that post for the job with the Appropriations Committee. The reason for this was so that he could funnel money to West Virginia. And funnel money he did. He became known as the "Prince of Pork" a name which didn't bother him in the slightest because he knew he was helping West Virginia.

Because of Senator Byrd West Virginia was moved into not only the 20th. century but also the 21st. century. Because of him West Virginia is not the state of my youth which was the butt of so many jokes. If you listen to the pundits they will tell you that the money he sent to us was wasted but I can tell you that it was not. I know for a fact that Corridor G in Southern West Virginia (my hometown) opened up not only West Virginia but Eastern Kentucky as well. This road connected small rural towns in WV to major WV cities which not only helped the small towns and the people in them but the cities as well. A drive that took 31/2 hours when I was a kid now takes 45 minutes.

He is also responsible for numerous education programs at Marshall University as well as WVU. The bridges, roads and buildings he helped fund not only provided jobs but improved the lives of those who lived near them. The far reaching implications of the education programs will be felt for generations. He also got the money to rebuild the Green Bank Telescope. One of the largest telescopes in the world which helps scientists all over the world to study astronomy. There was already a telescope there but it collapsed in the 80's due to age and disrepair.

Thank You Senator Byrd for all you did for us. You will be missed.



Jackie Macadoo

Jackie Macadoo was a greyhound.

Jackie Macadoo left a huge scar on my right forearm!

Here's how it happenned...

I had taken over a new kennel. The first thing you do in a new kennel is bench all your dogs so you can find out if anything is wrong with them and to get to know them. General grooming is also important - routine things like cleaning ears, cutting nails, just whatever the dog needs done in general.

I got Jackie out of her crate. She was a sweet tempered little dog, really pretty, white with big, red spots. The first thing I noticed was that she had the longest nails of any greyhound I had ever seen and I had cut the nails of thousands of dogs by this time in my career. I got the nail clippers and bent over to pick up her paw and SWZSHH, ZIPSH,SLISCH,WHIP!!!! WITH LIGHTNING SPEED I WAS ATTACKED BY ZORRO HIMSELF!!!

I jumped back. Jackie raced back to her crate and I looked down at my arm. I had a 10 inch gash all down the center of my forearm that was bleeding profusely. I grabbed a towel to stop the bleeding and put Jackie back in her bed. I could see she was terrified and I didn't know what had hit me. I cleaned the wound and started ampicillin because I knew I probably needed stitches but I wanted to avoid that at all costs (I hate needles) To this day I have a scar down my forearm that some people have asked me if I had needle tracks it is so bad. Now that adds insult to injury when I hear that question.

Anyway I waited until the next day and I had my helper hold Jackie Macadoo in the air while I cut her nails. By holding her up she wasn't able to get any leverage to do any further damage to me or my help. It was necessary to cut her nails because nails that are that long can cause a dog to get a broken toe or worse on the track.

You know what they say, "still waters run deep."