Thursday, September 02, 2010

A Isn't for Alligator....yet

So, well, I said I was going to write about the alligator. And I will. Sometime. But right now I have other things to talk about.

Like, Alyeska. Alyeska is a mountain resort in Alaska that was established in the early 1960's in Girdwood, Alaska, about 35 miles southeast of Anchorage. The mountain itself is called Alyeska, which is actually an Aleut word meaning 'mainland', 'great country' or 'great land'. It is also the archaic name for Alaska.

And, it is the name of our new puppy, a 6-week-old blonde husky/shepherd/plus mix.

Isn't she adorable?

She is tiny now, and she will probably only grow to be a medium-sized dog. She is playful but very quiet as puppies go. Kacey discovered the online ad for her. When I called up about her, it turned out she was the last of 7 to go, and she was located in a housing area where the streets we drove on bore familiar names. We turned right on Tennessee, left on Nashville, and found her home at Cookville. Now, I'm always one for choosing animals based on 'signs', and these were very good ones indeed.

She spent the ride from there to the school to pick up Mack burrowing for shade in Michael's arms. She's been very brave about meeting her new alpha/mama, Anneke. And we think the two of them will get along fine. Right now they do pretty well, although Anneke can't follow this little critter closely enough. And, when they are outside, Anneke still has to go first.

Here's Anneke. She's a shepherd/collie/and maybe husky mix. And she 'talks' like a collie.

I was informed that Alyeska is my puppy. My husband told me that he felt a little left out of the whole process, so, even though he thought she was neat and he wasn't disappointed, for now Ally was going to be my dog. Well, that lasted for about a half an hour. He was the one taking her around the backyard and talking to her and rubbing her belly. Right now he's taking pictures for me to upload. (there will be more posted at facebook for anyone who is also my friend there)

Now, Michael is staying with us for a bit while he pulls his life together, earning some money, getting more experience in his chosen fields, buying a car. Oddly enough, while he has no desire to stay in Fayetteville -- it's not his hometown, after all, which is Nashville -- he is at least finding some solutions here. We're all agreed that he is basically sticking around long enough to take the best way out of here, but it is working better than he might have thought.

However, Alex was Michael's dog, and Alex is no longer here. So it's not too surprising that Michael spent a good amount of time today getting Alyeska and Anneke acquainted, and running Alyeska around the yard. Astute readers will notice from the pictures of Alex that Alyeska currently resembles him (as we say) only a lot. That may change as the husky markings come in darker, but for now the resemblance is soothing. And having something to care for and care about is important to Michael.

That's the story of our new family member. We'll update periodically. -- most current update: Alyeska is zonked out on our bedroom floor and Anneke is checking on her. Oh, and the cats don't much care, so long as they're fed.

Tag, You're It!


I was thinking about tags the other day as I was working at home.
Tags are very useful things.

HTML is what is called a ‘markup language’ used to create web pages on the Internet. It uses keywords inside angle brackets to describe web pages. These bracketed words normally come in pairs referred to as tags. The first is called the start or opening tag, and the second is called the end or closing tag. Between them is the code and text used to format the web pageƅfs appearance and content. There are tags to make print bold and tags to make italics. There are tags to place pictures on pages and tags to put in links. Tags are essential to building web pages, and therefore anything you see on the Internet, from profound literature to cluttering trash.

Lobster trap tags are plastic tags used in Maine to identify lobster traps the way hospital bracelets (another type of tag) identify patients. The information on these tags includes the fisherman’s license number and the zone in which the person works. They’re color-coded and marked with the year. Each fisherman pays for his or her tags (20¢ apiece in 2002, the date of the book I was reading), and they are limited in how many they can buy, a way of controlling how many traps they can set legally so that areas are not over-fished (over-lobstered?).

At St. Paul’s-in-the-Pines Episcopal Church, parishioners wear nametags on certain Sundays so that visitors will know who people are. This is, of course, one of the most common uses of tags, to identify something or someone.

Then there are dog tags _ for both humans and dogs. One identifies who and what one is, the other identifies to whom the other belongs. (Some people would claim dog tags for humans also identify to whom the wearer belongs.)

There are auto registration tags to identify registered cars. There are hunting tags, to identify registered hunters. There are tags in advertising, sometimes referred to as taglines, that are meant to help our brain register a product in memory, so that we will buy it when next we shop. “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.”

Price tags are used to show what something is worth – at least in terms of how much a person is expected to pay for it. Sometimes the original price is slashed and a new one written in, indicating the bargain you’re getting. That can be a reflection of an item losing its value, but sometimes it’s merely about what shopping traffic will bear.

Tagged as a verb can mean to be given a name or a nickname, like Shorty or Tank. Being tagged means being chosen for something, whether it is to belong to a group or to fulfill a task. Being tagged can also mean being caught and marked, so that one can be kept track of and studied, or so one can be ‘It’.

So, in life, we are tagged. Tagged with a name, tagged to belong, tagged to participate. These tags change as we journey. We lose some and acquire others as we age and travel and develop. And each tag we acquire has its own purpose.

It’s a good idea to examine a tag when it’s applied to us. What is its purpose? Is it to identify who we are, who we belong to, or what we are worth?

Take a look. What are your tags?