Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Did You See That?

Often when I am sitting quietly either on the computer or watching television and out of the corner of my eye a little shadow rushes from one place to another. Instantly I think it is a mouse.

Now occasionally a mouse finds its way into the house but I am fortunate that I do not have mice most of the time. What I actually saw was just a little trick of my eyes.

What can be a little more disturbing is to see a larger shadow and look up expecting to see a person standing next to me. It can be startling to think there is someone there when I am alone. What has happened is perhaps the sunlight being blocked by something or a car's headlights shining through the curtains for a brief moment.

We often "see" things that are not really there or things that are not what we originally perceive them to be.

I live in an area where we are blessed with a lot of wildlife. Snakes, ground squirrels, turkeys, raccoons, and deer can be seen at any time. Even the dogs and cats run loose and can be a problem for drivers.

A driver must keep a wary eye for any of these animals (and many others that decide to run across the road) to keep from hitting them with the car. And as I know from personal experience they might just decide to hit the side of the car too.

I watch carefully for deer. They are the biggest hazard here. They do not stop and look both ways before crossing a road. They just leap up from nowhere and bound out across the highway.

Off in the distance I might see an animal. I slow just a bit to prepare in case I need to stop. Is it a dog or a deer? I watch carefully. Soon I am close enough to make out just what it is. It is a mailbox! I guess the good news is that I did not hit it no matter what it is.

Or I will be driving along the highway when suddenly I pass a man standing beside the road. I wonder if he needs assistance. I look in the mirror to discover that he is actually a sign or a small tree beside the road.

Sometimes I wonder if I am losing my mind or if I am simply goofy. What sane person would see all these things? And in broad daylight too.

Yesterday I had to drive into town to pick up a few things. My son went with me since he had a few things he wanted to get too.

On the way home as I rounded a curve I looked up and was shocked to see two white elephants standing at the side of the road beyond the next curve.

As I drove closer I began to laugh and told my son that I had seen two white elephants. Of course he thought I was nuts.

What I was looking at were two cement mixing trucks parked by the side of the road. There is a new house going up there and they were waiting their turn to spill their loads.

I asked my son to please put me into a nice home.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Common Courtesy

If I owned a business the first rule would be to smile when dealing with customers. A smile is such a small gesture and it does so much good.

I was once in a fast food place and waited on by a gum chewing young woman who made it very clear that I was interfering with her idly-standing-around time. She wore that practiced look of boredom that I see all too often.

Of course I never returned to that particular place. I do not make threats, I just do it. I know that one customer will not bother them even a little. On the other hand I prefer to be an appreciated customer and try to only patronize the establishments who make it clear that they want my business.

My children grew up in the city so rude people in  stores and restaurants were the norm for them. My daughter was visiting her grandmother here and went to the grocery store with my son to help out Grandma. When the bag boy offered to help her to the car my daughter was insulted. She is perfectly capable of lifting groceries by herself, thank you very much. (City kids!)

When my son moved here to take care of his father he was more than a little worried about being more or less on his own in a strange place. One of the first things he noticed was how friendly people are.

I had been telling my children all their lives about the friendly people I grew up around. We were taught to smile and look people in the eyes. When walking on the street you issue a friendly greeting. If someone is speaking you look at them and pay attention. It is courtesy, plain and simple courtesy.

I lived in the big city when I had my babies. I did not drive then so if I wanted to go downtown I took the bus. I would walk three blocks to the bus stop carrying one baby all the way and the other little one part of the way. I also had a diaper bag filled with whatever I might need during our outing.

When the bus would arrive I would clamber on board carrying two babies and a diaper bag. It was a clumsy endeavor at best.

Usually the bus was full so it was hard to find a seat. Both babies and the diaper bag would be on my lap so we filled a seat but only one seat. Do you think anyone would get up to offer a seat? Nope. I often stood trying to hold onto a pole while at the same time holding my babies and diaper bag and trying to keep my balance through all the starts and stops before we reached our destination.

After all these years I am still bitter about that. I know sitting is an easier way to travel but seeing a woman with two babies trying to stand on a bus... it seems that someone would stand and offer a seat.

That goes for older people too. Often as we age our balance is not as good and our bones are more brittle. An act of kindness takes so little effort and could prevent a mishap. Get up a give a seat to someone who needs it more than you do!

How about people who stand around talking loudly about personal business? At the tops of their lungs they complain about loved ones. You cannot help hearing. They are loud and oblivious to their noise.

But suddenly they will turn and growl, "What are you looking at?"

If you must be so crass as to make such a commotion you should know that no one can help staring at you. So the answer to your question will always be, " I am looking at you."

So you are standing in line, waiting your turn for whatever service you seek. In comes someone who has not been there while you have been waiting. That person walks up and steps into the line in front of someone near the head of the line. The person they step in front of does not know how to object because the interloper is so brazen.

Naturally everyone in the line is upset as the person who took cuts sashays merrily out the door as you are still waiting.

Rudeness is never acceptable. It is so much easier to be kind. A smile costs nothing and makes everyone who receives it feel better. And a smile uses fewer face muscles than a frown so it is better for you inside and out.

Try each day to give an unsolicited smile. Then do something kind for no reason other than it is kind. There will be three happier people in the world. The person you gave the smile to, the person you were kind to, and you because you will feel better about yourself.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More Creativity

My father could do almost anything. He liked to joke that he was a "Jack of all trades and Master of none" as the old saying goes. I like to think he was master of many.

Daddy had many jobs during my life. He drove a truck, worked on farms, moved houses, worked in a munitions factory... well you get the idea. He was versatile.

Of course he was the main repairman for our cars. Who could afford a mechanic? And of course back then you could often repair the engine with a pair of pliers and a bit of wire. So repair them he did.

He could also do plumbing and electrical work. He tried being in that business for himself but it did not make him enough money for us to live on. If he could have been able to take a loss while building his business we would probably been more than comfortable.

Daddy could make anything. His favorite thing to work with was wood.  He built sheds, toys, cabinets, whatever needed building.

It stands to reason that when the opportunity arose he would build a house for us. The best part of it was that not only could we help, we were expected to help. We built the house as a family.

We had the ground leveled and a truck come out to pour cement for the foundation. Daddy smoothed and leveled it. Then we all took turns helping him with the blocks and mortar to make the walls for the basement.

Next he put in the base for the floor and the framework for the walls. The roof came after that and he finished it first by sealing it and laying shingles.

We put drywall up for the walls inside. We all got to choose the color for the paint in our rooms. Bedrooms were shared so the choice was by committee. We painted the walls ourselves. We helped with the painting in rooms that the whole family would use.

Mom and Daddy laid the hardwood floors all through the house.. After they were sanded and thoroughly waxed they were gorgeous.

Daddy installed the furnace, all the wiring, and all the plumbing. He did not have a license for all that so he had to pay inspectors who had licenses to look over what he had done and approve it. I still love that house and drive by it often.

He always had a workshop at home. When his grandchildren came along he made a little workshop for them right next to his. It was supplied with tools, scraps of wood, and nails and screws. They could go there any time and create little masterpieces of construction to their hearts' content. It is a fond memory for all of them.

Every year my parents planted a garden. Daddy did the digging and helped with the planting but it was mostly Mom's. But Daddy had his favorite sections that he cared for.

He made a terraced bed for strawberries. He built a square wooden frame and filled it with soil. On top of that he built a smaller square frame and filled that with soil. He repeated that until the top tier was there. It was about 2 square feet. They could harvest a lot more strawberries that way.

He also planted grapes. Everywhere we lived Daddy planted grape vines. I think he secretly hoped to have enough grapes to make a little homemade wine. But I do not recall any of them actually bearing fruit.

He liked fruit trees too. He planted fruit trees and they were successful in providing us with fruit. Mom was able to make pear butter and apple butter. We had canned peaches and pickled crab apples. Yum.

He also tried his hand at raising roses. He hoped to get a new type that he would name the Rhonda Rose after his first granddaughter. My niece died when she was 8 years old and Daddy was devastated.

Daddy was artistically creative as well. He loved to draw. He did not have a wide range of subjects but what he drew was quite good. His favorite thing to draw was winter trees. I loved them.

He took a couple of pieces of scrap wood at work and began to play around with epoxy. Whenever he had free time he went back to them. He made a ship with sails on each piece of wood.

After the epoxy set he stained his creations. It added an antique look to them.

At home he made beautiful frames for them. Once they were framed they went up on the wall.He received a lot of compliments and most people did not know that he began by doodling on a couple of scraps of wood.

I still have those pictures. My brother had to help repair the frames but otherwise they are just like Daddy left them.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Family Tree

Not too long ago I told you about my son sending off for analysis of his family DNA history. And I said that the results also included a family tree chart for us to enter the names and information of family members.

Oh my goodness what a joy and what a job this has turned into! I come from a family of seven children. My husband was from a family of nine children. We have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Our brothers and sisters have offspring. Both of my parents came from families of 11 children with spouses and offspring. My husband's parents' families were not quite that large but there were several siblings each.

Then there are the great-grandparents. I knew one great-grandfather. But there were 7 others I did not have the fortune of knowing. And their parents and their parents and so on.

I always thought no one in my family had come to this country until much after the Civil War. With some investigation it turns out that I have ancestors who were here before the Revolutionary War. Amazing!

I have had to enlist some help with this. My sister-in-law is helping me with my husband's family. There are aunts and uncles that I never met or only saw a few times. There are nieces and nephews whose birthdays I do not know and they have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Whew!

Just to remind you my husband's parents had, at the time of my father-in-law's death, 105 direct descendants and at least three more on the way. And that is not counting the children who are members of the family but not biological members.

My immediate family was not quite that prolific but the extended family... I have no idea how many of us there are. I have only scratched the surface. I am working on enlisting more help.

I am happy for the opportunity to leave a record for my children and their children and on down the line. I want all of them to know who they come from. It is important to have that base.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grandpa's Geometry

My grandpa was a farmer by the time I came along.  In his younger days he was a cowboy. A real life cowboy.

He was not a gunslinger like you see on TV or in the movies. He was a man who spent days and days out with the herd of cattle.

The cowboys kept the herd fairly contained as they grazed. They protected them from predators like wolves. They lived with the cattle out on the range.

The cowboys slept out there. They cooked their meals there and ate there. Grandpa played several instruments but as far as I know he only had a guitar and maybe a harmonica with him. That was entertainment for them until they went to sleep.

Grandpa was my mother's father. He was a quiet man. He worked hard as all farmers do. His first son died in infancy. He had no more sons for many years but he had several daughters to care for. The eldest of my 4 uncles was only 12 years older than me so it was a lot of years that Grandpa worked his farm alone.

By the time I was old enough to remember Grandpa had a couple of tractors ( a very old Allis-Chalmers and a slightly newer John Deere) with all of the assorted implements to pull behind them for plowing, planting, and harvesting crops. All were fun for us to climb on when they weren't being used.

Of course there were cows, pigs, occasionally sheep, and all sorts of fowl. Most of what a family would need to live was grown on the farm. Very little was bought in town.

Grandpa's pets were the horses. Of course they were not luxuries. His children rode them into town to school for instance. But Grandpa loved his horses.

He trained them all himself. No bronco busting for him. They were lovingly trained to accept a saddle and finally a rider. Most were horses you would feel comfortable letting your children ride.

He did get the occasional horse with a little bit of temperament. Those were reserved for seasoned riders.

Like most farmers Grandpa and his sons kept the equipment in working order. It as a rare thing to have to call someone to help repair the motor on a tractor for instance.

They cut their own wood using the wheel on the side of the tractor to give them power for the saw. Grandpa had a huge wheel in the tool shed that he used to sharpen axes and knives. It had a seat and was pedal operated. He could sharpen a lot of tools in short order. And the wheel was another fun toy for us.

Grandpa had little education. He could read and write. One of his few wishes in life was that all his children would graduate high school. When he died not only had his children graduated but he had a couple of grandchildren who had also graduated and a few more of us very close.

My mother used to watch in amazement when Grandpa was measuring things. Without a measuring tool like a yardstick or tape measure he could come within a couple of inches of large objects.

For instance the height of a tree was an important fact to know if you were going to cut it down. It might make a difference on the direction you wanted it to fall.

One of my uncles was about 6 feet tall. Grandpa would have my uncle stand near the tree. Then Grandpa would use his thumb to measure my uncle. Then he would measure the number of times his thumb (the height of my uncle) would go up the tree. Then he knew how tall the tree was.

Years later Mom asked Grandpa where he learned geometry. He had no idea what geometry was. He was just using common sense.

For anyone who has forgotten, in geometry you are taught to use comparisons to find sizes. An object of known size is compared to an object of unknown size. Using a simple mathematical equation you can learn the size of the unknown object. Grandpa just used common sense.

Friday, September 11, 2015

How Do You Eat Apples?

What smells better than something baking or cooking? The good smells permeate the house and make everybody hungry. The smells often make a person feel good. They might invoke memories of a happy occasion of something from childhood. One of the things I like to smell cooking is apples.

Most people immediately think of apple pie. I love it myself. But there are so many other ways to use apples. I would like to share a few with you. Perhaps you will share a few of your favorites with me.

Here is one of my favorite snacks. It makes an interesting thing to serve with tea or drinks. It is also something the children can easily make and they love it.

Cut an apple into four or eight pieces depending on the size of the apple. Cut the seeds from each section. Fill the space left with peanut butter. You can use smooth or chunky. Or you can use cheese. Children like those spray cans with cheese spread. Arrange attractively on a serving tray.

I like apple dumplings. The way I make them is to take pie crust dough and roll it out. Instead of the round crusts for a pie I cut them into 6 inch squares. Into the center of each square place a large amount of apple pie filling (homemade is always the best). Pull opposite corners of the crust together and pinch them tightly. Then pinch the sides so the juice will not run out while cooking. A few fork marks will allow steam to escape.

I sprinkle the top with a bit of cinnamon and sugar with a touch of nutmeg. Place them in a long cake pan or on a cookie sheet and bake just as you would bake a pie.

My favorite way to eat apple dumplings is to put one in a bowl and pour milk over it. The hot dumpling and cold milk make a fun feeling in my mouth. Some people like ice cream on top of the dumpling while others like cheese. You can even eat them plain.

Cut into bite sized pieces apples are a tasty addition to any salad. They add a nice crunch to fruit salads and a sweeter flavor to garden salads. Here is my favorite fruit salad.

I mix apple pieces with bits of grapes, oranges, pears, bananas, or whatever fruit I happen to have. Then I mix a chunk of cream cheese with Cool Whip or whatever topping of that type is on sale. When it is evenly mixed I add nutmeg (you could use mint instead) for flavor and pour it over the fruits. Gently combine. This is so good it can even be used as a desert.

Apple sauce is good by itself. It is a good fruit for babies. It mixes well as a side dish with meat.And it is easy to make.

Peel, core, and quarter 3 or 4 pounds of cooking apples. Add 4 strips of lemon peel, 3 inches of cinnamon stick, 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar, about 1/4 cup of white sugar (depending on your taste), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 cup of water. Cover the pot and bring to a boil then lower to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. After removing the cinnamon stick and lemon peel mash with a potato masher. If you want to make it even finer for a baby food you can mash it through a sieve. Serve it hot or cold. It can be frozen.

Really the only limit to using apples is your imagination. If you gave my mother apples the first thing she would make is apple butter. It is so good on a warm slice of homemade bread. You can line the bottom of your cake pan with apples coated lightly with cinnamon and sugar before your pour in the cake batter. Apple upside down cake. If you want to mix a few small pieces of apple in with the cake batter I am sure no one will complain.

If you take bread dough and mix apples with cinnamon and sugar and deep fry chunks of it you have apple fritters. Place a few apple slices in the pan when you are cooking meat and it will add just a touch of flavor and juice. You can even mash an apple and add it to meatloaf. The list of deserts is too long to show here but I believe you get the idea. If you are the really ambitious type you can make jelly and can apples for later use.

Raw apples are probably the best nutritionally and they taste so good. But they add so much to almost any type of dish.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Updating My Computer

I do not know what operating system you use on your computer. Truthfully I do not know that much about operating systems or much else about computers for that matter. All I want is to be able to do what I wish to do and do it as easily as possible.

In order for my computer to work well I do have to maintain it. Again I do not know very much. But I have a son who knows a lot about computers and it is one of his great joys in life to keep up with news about computers and changes being made in the technological world.

Because my son enjoys it so much he keeps my computer up-to-date and in the best working order possible. If I have a problem all I have to do is call him and he is right here to help me fix it. Usually that involves me moving away from the computer and letting him do his thing. I am good at helping like that.

We use the Windows operating system. When I moved back to this part of the country my son and I each got a laptop computer. My old computer was just that...old. My son still has his regular computer but I only use the laptop now.

Recently all Windows 8 users were notified that Windows was upgrading to what they claim will be the final system, Windows 10. They say that from now on any improvements will simply be updates to Windows 10.

The upgrade was free to all Windows 8 users. What a deal! So we signed up to be placed on the list for the upgrade.

We received notification that Windows would be providing small upgrades to prepare our computers for the new system when it was ready.

My son was excited. I was ready but I am suspicious of change. It probably has something to do with my age.

The morning arrived that my son came out of his room all excited because the computer in his room had been upgraded to Windows 10. He spent many long minutes (hours?) extolling the virtues of the new system. He could hardly wait for the birth of the new system on his laptop and mine.

His laptop was ready a couple of weeks later. Installation did not go as smoothly as his older computer's had been. But he played with it a little bit and was up and running in no time.

A week or so later it was my turn. I clicked the go ahead buttons and waited to get this brand new system. It failed.

I was aggravated because I had just spent several hours trying to get the stupid thing. That meant I had no access to my computer but I needed to be aware of what was happening because I might need to click on a button.

My son suggested waiting a couple of days until the updates loaded (again) and then try (again). So I did. Being an optimistic person I waited a few days and tried (again). It failed (again).

My son went to work checking to see what might be causing the problem. He discovered some errors in my computer that needed to be repaired. So we did that.

Then we tried the upgrade (again). It failed (again). My son said he would check online to see if anyone else had any problems installing the upgrade. So I waited a few days.

He came up with several things to try. We tried them. Each time the upgrade failed (again).

Now I am used to this sort of thing happening to me. It is a common occurrence. For some reason I am one of those people the gods of technology do not smile upon. I was content to continue using what I had. I was used to it. There was no rush to me. My son was another matter.

By now a month had passed and I still had no luck with the installation. My son thought perhaps a fresh install of the old Windows system would help. So that is what we did. He removed all my music and pictures and stored them on his computer so I would not lose them. Then the installation began (again).

Eureka! The installation finally worked.  I now have Windows 10.

To be honest I see little difference. But I do not know much about that sort of thing.

I still have my email program. I still have all my news programs. I had to re-install my jigsaw puzzle game and my solitaire game.

There are a few differences in the way things look but even those are not anything major. There are a few things that are found in a different spot but that will be a minor inconvenience until I get used to it.

So I have Windows 10. Except for the interruptions I endured to get it I have been operating as usual. And I guess I will continue to do so.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Let's Build Something

My husband had little education. Because of that he thought he was stupid (his word not mine). Like many people he equated education with intelligence. But he was an extremely intelligent person.

Because he could read very little my husband compensated by watching. He amazed me and a lot of other people with what he could do simply using his observation skills.

We operated a junk yard. We took junk cars and salvaged the good parts from them and scrapped out the bodies. In order to do this we needed a way to get the cars to us.

Tow trucks are terribly expensive. The boom on the back is the major cost. That is the part that sticks up above the bed of the truck and holds the cable that along with hooks attaches the car so it can be towed to wherever it needs to be.

We did not have that kind of money. So my husband studied tow trucks up close. He looked at how the boom was assembled. He looked at how it was attached to the bed of the truck. He learned what specifications were needed in the truck itself.

He made a few trades and ended up with a truck that was what he needed. Then he gathered materials and built the boom himself. With a little help to lift it he got the boom up on the truck and fastened it securely. He had his tow truck.

It was impressive. So much so that several other people asked him to help build the same thing for them. In that area of the city we often saw tow trucks that had been built by my husband.

Then cars with front wheel drive became more common. You could not tow them in the same way or the transmissions would be ruined. And if you hooked the newer cars to tow them from the rear often the front would scrape the ground causing damage.

Someone came up with the idea of lifting the car onto a flatbed and carrying it instead of towing it. The bed of the truck used hydraulics to tilt back so that the car could be pulled aboard using cables. Towing companies began to use that type of truck instead of the traditional tow truck.

A friend of my husband had a dump truck that lifted itself to empty using hydraulics. I can still picture my husband squatted beside the truck as the operator lifted the box up and let it back down. My husband was studying the hydraulic system.

He then proceeded to take scrap metal and built himself a hydraulic system. One that worked! I cannot fathom how a person can do something like that.

Of course my husband was always looking for ways to spend less money. Even though we lived in a big city where natural gas is readily available for cooking and heating he decided that we should use wood.

Now I have also used wood in my life so the idea is not foreign to me. At the same time I do enjoy modern conveniences when they are available. But I was willing to give the wood a try.

My husband did not want a nice wood burning stove. That would have been an expense. Instead he used old oil drums, or whatever they held before he cleaned them out.

He would cut a door in the drum large enough to load more wood into it. A hole to fasten the chimney pipes along with a damper to adjust the flow of air in the pipes was at the top.. Attached to the chimney this was actually a pretty good stove for heating.

He reinforced the bottom of the barrel to keep it from giving way from the heat of the lit wood. And he welded legs on it so it was up away from the floor.

In order to clean out the ashes we had to let the fire go out so we could scoop them out. Anyone who burns wood knows that needs to be done regularly. That was a problem in the winter because it can get pretty cold waiting for the fire to die and then waiting for the new fire to heat the place.

And the heat is not even. Close to the stove it was nice and warm or even too hot. Away from the stove or in another room it was cold.

These stoves will work better than nothing. But I prefer even heat from a central furnace.

After we were divorced my husband did some trading for a really nice wood furnace. It is made of cast iron and has a nice grate to lay the wood on. You can clean it even as it is in use just by scooping out the ashes that fall down below the grate.

The nice feature about this wood furnace is that it is outside. My husband with the help of a couple of our grandchildren set the furnace on a cement slab. He set up a conduit for the heat to pipe into his house. And the chimney is at the top of the furnace so that the smoke all dissipates outside.

Then he built a cement block enclosure around the furnace. It is totally enclosed except for the door in front for tending to the fire. It is truly unique and keeps the entire house warm.

I have never known anyone as good at making something from nothing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Dog's Pig

My son's dog is the funniest animal I have ever seen. And I have seen a few strange animals.

My son wanted a dog. We have always tried to get pets that were not wanted by someone else so that we could give them a good home. It has worked well for us and I highly recommend a "used" pet to everyone.

My son went to the veterinarian in the next town to see if they knew of any dogs who needed a home. He prefers a female and prefers a medium sized dog or maybe a little larger. He wants to keep her inside therefore she cannot be too big.

The vet had one listing on the board of a female dog of mixed ancestry who needed a new owner. My son spoke to the woman who owned her and we drove right over to the town they lived in to see if it was a good match.

The woman was very nice. She had young children. They were moving soon and could not take the dog with them.

She told us the history of the dog. As a puppy she was found abandoned in an empty house. She had no food and no water. It was not mentioned whether she had been physically abused but I suspect that was the case.

She was perfect for what my son wanted. She came with a house put in  the yard and one of those big wire dog cages. She had been kept outdoors for the most part but she was occasionally taken inside to play with the children. She loves children. And she had access to the garage at all times.

So we took her home to live with my son. She is not trusting of men but she likes women and children. She was unsure about this man who had taken her home with him.

I was not yet living with my son. He would call me periodically and tell me what a challenge he was having trying to get the dog to trust him. It took a long time but she is now devoted to him. Her bed is on the floor in my son's room.

One night he called me laughing. He felt bad for her because the only toy she had was an old ball that was all torn up. So the next time he went to the store he picked up a ball that squeaked. She was running from one end of the house to the other, back and forth, with the ball in her mouth. Her whimpering of joy was almost a scream. She was so happy to have that ball. I could hear her over the phone.

One of the next toys he bought her was a plastic pig. It also has a squeaker and sounds a bit like a real pig. She ran through the house loudly whimpering with the pig too.

The pig became her favorite toy. She took it to bed with her and kept it in her bed while she slept. Other toys came and went from the bed but the pig always stayed.

Once in a while she would bring the pig out to the living room but it went right back into the bedroom when she went to bed for the night. Her pig was her absolute favorite of all her toys. Often she still whimpered but not as loudly when she had her pig with her.

I began to notice that during the day the pig would be at the door to my son's room looking out into the rest of the house. The dog placed it there when she got up for the day. But at night the pig was back in bed where it belonged.

One night my son was working on his computer in his room and the dog was getting ready to lay down and go to sleep.

Suddenly as the dog laid down (on the pig) the pig let out a loud noise. It scared the dog and she jumped up and ran to my son for protection. The unexpected sound had scared her half to death.

When she finally calmed down she went to her bed, took the pig out, and angrily set it over by the door. Then she settled down for a good night's sleep.

The next day she took the pig into the living room and placed it in the pile of toys that are hers. My son was laughing as he told me how the pig had scared her.  And she was still mad at it!

She still took toys to bed with her. Which toys went were up to her whim each night. But she purposely ignored her pig.

This happened between two and three months ago. She finally dug around in her pile of toys a few nights ago and dug out her pig. She set it in front of the other toys. Then she proceeded to ignore it.

It took two more nights before she finally forgave her pig. She picked it up and went through the house whining. When she went to bed that night she took the pig with her and it is once again occupying a special spot in her bed.

I do hope the pig is more careful about where it is in the dog's bed. I would hate to see it exiled again.