Ordinary Idioms

So my mind wwalkaboutmindent walkabout recently. Actually, for this ordinary lady, the mind taking a trip is not an uncommon occurrence. I will start down one path (at work or home) and the train of my thoughts will branch off again and again until the original topic is lost.  Tangential thinking I call it. Wandering far afield might be a better explanation.  What can I say, I like where a tangent can take me. Sometimes the trip is fun or vastly amusing. My recent walkabout mind trip was while listening to a guy talking while standing in a checkout line. The guy two customers ahead of me was talking, and talking, and talking. He talked to anyone and everyone. This guy’s speech was filled with idioms. Fairly positive that not one sentence he spoke was a direct statement.

So I am considering all the idioms this man was using when questions started popping into my head. Has anyone ever noticed how often we use animals in idiomatic speech? Where did they come from? Do most of them even make sense? How many have I used? That last question started a list in my head.

  • Blind as a batcatgottongue
  • Busy as a beaver
  • Drunk as a skunk
  • Gentle as a lambsickasadog
  • Poor as a church mouse
  • Scared as a rabbit
  • Stubborn as a mule
  • Black sheep of the family
  • Bull in a china shop
  • Cat got your tongue
  • Cry wolf
  • Let sleeping dogs lie
  • A dog’s lifebullinchinashop
  • Hold your horses
  • Sick as a dog
  • Raining cats and dogs

(The above is not the complete list in my head by any means, just what I could remember when I sat down to write.)

Blind as a bat – point of fact, bats are not blind. That is correct, bats can see, just not perfectly in complete darkness (who can). Bats compensate for the complete darkness with a really great echo location system. So this idiom makes no sense, yet I have used it.

Drunk as a skunk – cannot remember the last time I have seen a skunk belly up to the bar. I did a bit of research on this without definitive results. Some speculate that the term comes from “stinking drunk”. So stinking becomes skunk, because the poor maligned skunk sprays a foul spray when scared or annoyed. Again, illogical, yet I have used it.

Poor as a church mouse – do any mice have riches? Why is a church mouse so much worse off than a field mouse? At least the church churchmousemouse has a roof over his head.  I would think that makes him better off. Yep, I have used this one as well.

Bull in a china shop – Mythbusters busted this one! Amazingly enough the bulls were very delicate footed in the mocked up china shop.  They nimbly avoided the shelves even when multiple bulls were pushed through the shop.

Raining cats and dogs- do not get me started on this one? Was there a tornado? Hurricane? I could not find an origin for this idiom, though some believe its origin is in that after large storms dead animals are washed up in the streets, ect. Reallyrainingcatsanddogs this idiom is sort of gory if you really think about it. Yep, use this one too, but thinking on it might need to remove this one.

The examples can keep going and going. The point this ordinary lady is getting at is why do we need to use animals in our expressions? Ramblings of a mind on walkabout.

Ordinary Dogs Life

This ordinary lady currently plays butler for two dogs. Dogs provide a boundless source of companionship. They can have a positive impact on your health and your mood by helping reduce blood pressure and anxiety.  Let’s face it, dogs are cute, cuddly, great listeners. They love you even when you are in a pissy mood.  The health benefits are so clear that dogs are even used in hospitals, long term care facilities, shelters, and retirement homes. Our dogs are family.  Sort of like the loud, demanding, spoiled child at the family reunion.

So our family has two dogs. We have the old man, and the young pup.  Truthfully, I had no real desire for a second dog at first. When we noticed to the old guy slowing down we thought that maybe a companion would help perk him up. So the journey began in finding a second dog who could blend with our established family.  This process was not as easy. Mostly because our old man is well, a bit difficult. Haha, difficult she says. I cannot think of a word that really describes the mean ass.

A friend of ours volunteers with a rescue organization call Operation Paws for Homes (OPH). OPH operates out of Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and South Central PA. OK Warning, shameless plug next. OPH rescues dogs of all breeds and ages from high-kill shelters reducing the numbers being euthanized. They do not have shelters or physical locations, foster families care for all rescued dogs. 100% donor funded, the goal is to find forever homes for all dogs abandoned in shelters.  We had a fantastic experience with the process of adopting our second dog. Sincerely recommend that folks looking for a dog in the area look these folks up!

snoopy-1So let me tell you about our old man first, Snoopy, is a Jack Russell Terrier who weighs in at or about 20 pounds.  My husband and sons brought Snoopy home from visiting family several states away. They called and asked if they could have him; I said NO. So, they brought him home anyway. This was about 14 years ago now. At the time Snoopy was about 10 or 11 months old. Yep that makes him 15 now. We are pretty sure he is going to outlive us all, mean ass little bastard that he is! Old age is not being kind to Snoopy’s temperament. Currently, he has two moods, asleep and pissed off. Lately, he is managing to be pissed off in his sleep. My sister-in-law had evidently kidnapped Snoopy in the dead of night from a family member who was abusing him. She needed him out of state to hide her crime and my boys were suckers for a sob story, so the dog was ours.  I have been actively trying to give Snoopy back for a couple of years now. Seriously, he is mean!

Snoopy has so many odd quirks I have no idea where to begin. One of the first quirks we noticed is that he barked at his food. Put food in his bowl and the barking begins. He will bark a few times, grab a mouthful, toss the mouthful on the floor, bark at it again, and then eat it.  Twice a day for 14 years now, this is what we have put up with. I think the family favorite quirk is his sneezing every time he tries to growl for a sustained period.  The growl starts up and sure enough a few seconds later a sneezing fit commences. Really tough to be taken seriously when you have a sneezing fit. Snoopy loves to be under covers. He is very dedicated to getting his way in his cover preference so even in 100 degree weather I have a blanket at my feet to toss over his grumpy butt. As I write this blog, he is sitting under a blanket at my feet growling anytime I move, or if he hears a noise, or if he breaths. Sigh. snoopy2

While not a huge fan of being outdoors, Snoopy will stay out if his human butlers are out. When he was younger he would burrow into the flower beds in what the kids called his jungle explorer mode. Amusing to call his name and have his pop his head up above the blooms. Snoopy was cheerfully high energy when he was younger and even now in his old age has a few high energy moments. Only now his high energy moments are dedicated to growling or snarling at anything and everything especially CK.

babyckIntroducing or second dog, rescued through OPH, Clark Kent (who we call CK). CK is a Labrador retriever mix who weighs in now at or about 85 pounds. CK was born in the foster home where his mom was a pregnant rescue. He was one of 8 puppies, and the runt of the litter. CK weighed in at six pounds when we brought him home with us.  This was half the size of his siblings. He was so adorable we could not resist. During the dog search process, CK was one of the only dogs that Snoopy seemed indifferent to or at least not hostile towards.  We actually wanted a slightly older dog. That is not how our dog hunt worked out.

Please note: eight week old pups are as much work as eight week old humans. Thankfully, our youngest was home for the summer to shoulder some of the work. House breaking went very quickly, mostly I think because CK had a vendetta against the pads.  Leaving him alone with a pad for even 30 minutes meant that pad was so much confetti. Then he would cheerfully pee beside the shreds. So just like a potty training toddler, we put CK in the grass every hour. He quickly got the hint. For the first four months, this meant we were carrying him on the stairs to the grass as he was legs were too short for stair climbing. Nighttime potty trips meant two flights of stairs. Yes, just like an infant, CK was up at least twice a night at first. So many nighttime trips up and down the stairs carrying a wriggling pup. Thank you youngest son for teaching CK to use stairs as soon as he was tall enough!

CK grew, and grew into the 85 pounds of pure Zen. I love watching him when the butterflies or bees are out I force. I have watched him sit in the grass concentrating so hard on some flying object that flies over his head. He falls over onto his back to keep watching. CK loves to lay on the sofa beside me and hold my hand in his mouth. He will suck on my thumb for a bit. Then he will snuggle his head under my arm pillow with his paw tossed over my arm. Snoring commences. He loves to put his nose against my nose and blow puffs of air at me – the doggy version of blowing kisses.  CK has a thing for elbows, he nibbles them, both of them before he is done. He also likes to try and nibble on ears.

CK’s favorite pastime, bar none, is to play Frisbee. He carries at least two Frisbees withckfeisbee him everywhere. He pottys with them. He sleeps with them. If at any time one of his human butlers stands up (or looks like they are going to stand up), CK snatches up the Frisbees and waits. Trust me, I have not gone to the bathroom in over a year without first tossing a Frisbee. Rain, sleet, snow, hail, blistering sun, the Frisbee is thrown at least 20 times a day. The Frisbee toss is hysterically funny. CK will work to catch the first one, then wait for the second one. He does not put the first Frisbee down. Oh no, he keeps it in his mouth while he knocks the second Frisbee out of the air with his head, body, or feet. Then he carefully drops the first Frisbee on top of the second. Stacking them neatly to pick both up and carry them around.

House play for CK includes a doggy version of peek-a-boo and pillow fights. CK plays both of these games with my husband. Both are very amusing to watch too! Peek-a-boo is a blanket tossed over CK’s head with my husband then tapping either side of CK’s head. When tapped, CK tries to nip the hand that tapped him through the blanket until he manages to toss the blanket off. Another version is my husband’s hand under the blanket with CK trying to pounce on the moving hand.  The pillow fighting is interesting. Husband smacks CK with the pillow, while CK pounces around trying to snatch the pillow. Usually, his furiously wagging tail knocks into things and over balances CK who will tumble off the Sofa. Only to pounce right back on the sofa to encourage another smack with the pillow.

Snoopy is not amused by any of this play. He hates the Frisbee. In the house play he snarls and growls to get on my husband’s lap to stop the nonsense.  Any toy CK has (except the Frisbee) Snoopy snatches away. Half the time Snoopy snarls if CK even walks into the same room.  Bad attitude runs into Zen master.  Zen master simply takes another route to his goal or waits until one of the human butlers has a hand on the mean ass to keep him under control. CK even waits until Snoopy is done eating before he eats his own meals. Whoever heard of a Lab waiting for anything to eat? Our silly 85 pound dog lets himself be bullied by a 20 pound dog. Yet the whole time Snoopy is snarling and snapping at him CK’s tail is wagging with joy. They are both nuts! But, they bring hours of amusement and tons of love.