Saturday, July 29, 2006


A couple of pics from the breeder! The two girls...

...and the 9 boys!The puppies are about about 10 days old now.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Wild Wild West

Today is DH's and my 3rd wedding anniversary. Three years ago, DH's Big Brother and family gave us some gift certificates through Select Registry, a company that allows you to use certificates at hundreds of B&Bs, inns, resorts, etc. around the country. We finally cashed ours in last weekend, to celebrate our anniversary, at the Tanque Verde Ranch, here in Tucson.
We had a great time. DH said he was worried that taking a mini-vacation without leaving town would be kind of anti-climatic, but he admitted he was wrong. I told them it was our anniversary when we made the reservations, but we only paid for the cheapest room available (student loans, you know). The guy on the phone said they'd put us in the best room available upon check-in. I was a little hopeful, given that July in Tucson is not exactly peak season. But I was not expecting the best room in the place, which is what we got. It was a six-person suite, bigger than our whole apartment, that goes for more than three times what we paid. So we were big fans right off the bat.

Breakfast and lunch were buffets with a huge dessert selection at lunch (we're also big fans of food). All meals were included with fruit and pastries available to snack on between meals (even we didn't need that). Alcohol was the only thing not included, but that was okay. It wasn't that kind of weekend.

All activities were also included, horseback riding being the big draw, naturally, at a ranch. There was also mountain biking, hiking, a nature center, tennis, swimming, art lessons, workout room, etc. We pretty much just did the horse riding, with a little swimming thrown in.

Now, when I was little, maybe eight, nine, ten (my mom would know), I used to go to horse camp for a week in the summers. One year my horse took off, full tilt, with me on it. I was terrified and immediately and completely forgot everything I knew about controlling a horse. I got more and more scared as the distance grew on the train between me and my group. Finally, one of the counselors was able to catch up with us and tried to shout at me what to do. I was pretty much frozen. Eventually she was able to grab the reins from her seat on her horse and stop mine for me.

I harbored a moderately intense fear of horses after that. Well, not the horses themselves, but riding them. Sometime in adolescence I rode a very gentle (but tall) horse of a dear family friend, just around her backyard, with her leading it by the reins from the ground. So, not riding so much as passively sitting on the horse. It was all I could do not to scream. I think I hid it very well though. I'm pretty sure my mother was there and probably had no idea I was scared.

So, when we went on our honeymoon to Jamaica three years ago, we were at an all-inclusive resort that offered horseback riding as an excursion. DH loves horseback riding (When we first moved to Tucson, he tried to talk me into buying one of the many properties here with stables. I nipped that in the bud.), so, of course, he was dying to go. He's much more adventurous and adrenaline-seeking than me (Much more is an understatement. We are at opposite ends of the adrenaline spectrum.), but I didn't want to deprive him, he had no one else to go with, so I decided to take a baby step toward conquering my fear. It was a good choice. These horses were so slow it was hard to keep them moving. I didn't even have to steer; they knew the path like the top of their hooves. It was a success.
So I was okay with trying the horse thing again last weekend. We got up early one morning for a nice, easy walk ride. Exact same experience as in Jamaica, only much hotter. And I learned better control of my horse, mostly able to keep it from eating foliage when it was supposed to be walking. Then we signed up for an intermediate lesson. Also a success. I managed to trot my horse without fear, though with a sore rear end. Then we learned loping, which is one step down from a full run, and I even did that. It was fun! Much smoother than the trot. I was able to get him (Boomerang was his name) up to a lope one out of two tries.
Here's where things went downhill. DH and some of the other guys in the class were becoming quite proficient with the loping and decided to take the "lope test" later that day. Basically, you get three chances around the ring to prove that you can lope safely. This allows you to go on the more advanced trail rides. At first I thought I wasn't ready to try that yet, I shouldn't push it, just leave things on a good, positive note and be proud of all the progress I'd made in conquering my fears. But DH thought I looked so confident and proficient (and the instructor had used the word "excellent" with me) and I started to confuse my careful, in-control, Type A nature with DH's adrenaline-loving, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, reckless nature and was fool enough to think I could do it, too.

I failed. Miserably. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. I stayed on the horse. He didn't take off on me. It was more like he couldn't understand me. And the instructor was yelling at me (not mean, but I don't do well under that kind of pressure) and I was trying really hard to do all the things I learned and not panic, but I was so frustrated and confused and embarrassed about why it wasn't working. And I pretty much fell apart. Well, not visibly until I got off the horse. I knew enough to keep it under control so the horse wouldn't get freaked out.

So I did not get to end on a high note. I may have emotionally regressed to the easy walk rides again. But even if I never get the nerve to lope a horse again in my life, at least I did it once. And we loved the resort as a whole. I would definitely go there again. It's worth the money (even without the gift certificates). I would even try a different ranch resort someday. Just give me the easy horses who are more interested in eating the foliage.

Tucson 2006; Jamaica 2003. Speaking of foliage, that seems to be about the only thing that has changed here! I'm pretty sure those are even the same pair of jeans...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Brain Officially Dead

To anyone wondering where I've been: I'm still here, and I'm hoping to accomplish an elaborate post tomorrow, sharing our anniversary weekend at a local resort ranch. Posts are fewer and further between now that I seemed to have been hijacked into what looks suspiciously like a four 10s schedule at work. This is fine, good even, except that it came pretty quickly after I had settled into the nice 16-20 hrs/wk gig I had had going. And I'm still so new in my profession that I feel like I'm at 100% cognitive capacity every single minute I'm at work. When that's 600 minutes a day, it's proving to be overwhelming. In all honesty, the last few hours today I started to question whether I should even be working. Ethically. I know I was making at least some mistakes for that reason alone. Anyway, I know I'll adjust and it will get better. I'm not worried. And I know I'll get no sympathy whatsoever from my MD friends. I'm not worried about that either. :)

Nevertheless, it makes things a bit harder for now. On the bright side, now that I'm out of school, it's great to know that a day off is actually a day off. As opposed to a day where I don't have class, but I still spend 14 hours straight doing schoolwork.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Full House

The puppies are here: 9 boys and 2 girls. Oy. I don't envy Lexie, the dam, right now. No pics yet.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Stay Tuned...

Our puppy's mama is in labor! The litter is being born as I type. Updates to follow as available.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


The prodigal sewing machine has returned and it comes bearing a new pattern selector gear. I picked it up Tuesday afternoon and have already pumped out two rompers for Jonah. *Spoiler alert for Jonah's 'rents: there's a pic at the end of this post.* I hope to get a couple more done this weekend. That kid is going to have a whole new wardrobe via his only auntie come Christmas. That's okay, he's a good excuse for me to practice my sewing skills. Someday, I'll make clothes for my own babies and Jonah will have a chance to say, "You know, back when I was young, your mom was throwing some thread and a needle at a pile of fabric and calling it a romper. Meanwhile, your sitting here in your designer duds and I'm stuck in this potato sack she likes to call clothing. Hmph." And my babies will say, "..." (because they're imaginary babies; they can't talk yet).

Well, the lease is signed and the deposit in, so the rental house is official. We'll have those keys on August 1 and we have our current apartment until August 15, so we have 15 days to make the transition. I'll post pics when we get in there.

The puppies still aren't born yet! Or, if they are, the breeder hasn't posted it on her website yet. Which would be understandable if she has a houseful of new puppies. I feel like such a traitor, sitting here writing about a move and a new puppy with Puck ferociously cuddling and head-butting in my lap. Oh, they are so going to hate us for a while. Their peace will hold out a couple more weeks, though. And I have a stack full of puppy books to get through! I'm actually really looking forward to training this puppy; I think it will be fun for both of us. The not so fun part will be training DH to train the puppy. DH is not so fond of rules and structure and, although I think he knows how important these things are for a dog, I'm not sure he's completely willing yet to follow through on them. But he's so busy with work and school, I think I'll be doing 90% of the training anyway. DH can just show up for playtime, which is the best part anyway! He did say he'd go to as many puppy-kindergarten classes as possible, so that will be a help.

Here's the latest catnip pic. The sprouts keep growing taller, but their stalks aren't getting any thicker, so they're just kind of folding over on themselves because the stalks are getting to be too weak to support the leaves. I didn't remember catnip looking quite like this. The stuff I remember growing in my mom's garden had very thick stalks. Maybe it's just still too young at this point to look anything like it will. The cats seem to recognize it though. I thought I was safe leaving it on the kitchen counter at night because they're pretty well-trained not to jump up there. Turns out they're just well-trained not to do it while we're looking. The plants are now fairly nomadic. Never a night in the same place. My bathroom counter seems to be a haven as I think the cats decided long ago that this was a boring place, not worth visiting. Plus, it can be wet. So they steer clear. For now. One whiff of the catnip and I'm sure it'll become the happening hang-out spot. I can't wait until the plants are big enough to be planted in the ground at our new place and to withstand the affections of the kitties.

And, finally, here are the aforementioned rompers:

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cross Your Fingers

It was a productive weekend. Some waiting is over.
  • My Amazon books came and I am happily planning future practice quilts so I can hone my skills and eventually make one for our bed. However, I just don't get this whole scrapbooking thing. I ordered a book that I thought would help, but I just can't "get" it at a creative level. That book may be returned.
  • We have an application in for a rental house! It's somewhere between 1500-1600 sq. ft. It has 3 bedrooms and a den, so DH can have his own computer room and I can have my own craft studio! Sooooo excited about that. There's a fenced in yard for the dog. It's about 10 minutes closer to where I work and about 15 minutes closer for DH. It's only drawback is that is has blue carpeting, which I often don't care for anyway, but the carpeting has brown spots in it, as part of the design. I'm sure it's meant to hide dirt, but it just looks like mud splatter everywhere. But, whatever. We figure we can easily live with that for a year or so. And we kept within our ideal price range, which was great, because it was starting to look like we would have to exceed it.
  • We put a deposit on a puppy! We also had to fill out an application for the puppy, so please keep your fingers crossed for us regarding both these applications. The puppy's not even born yet. The litter is due any day now. It's a breeder in Oklahoma. A couple with a Master's and PhD who live on a farm with 7 kids. The wife stays home and runs the breeding business. The puppies' colors should be creams, apricots, and reds. We told them we didn't care about the sex, but gave them lots of information about the personality we were looking for in a puppy (i.e., calm, laid-back, calm, not too aggressive, calm, not to shy/insecure, calm, neither the alpha nor the omega, calm, and calm. Oh, and calm.). I'll post a picture when they're born. Still not sure if we're going to drive to OK to pick it up, or have it shipped here. Breeders ship all the time and seem to have success with it, but I'm a little worried about shipping to Tucson in September due to the heat. I'll talk to some breeders and maybe our vet to determine the best plan.
  • Still waiting for the sewing machine. Sigh.

Meanwhile, the catnip is growing, the oat grass is recovering, I've made a chicken & garlic stew for dinner tonight (DH's choice as an experiment from the new cookbook), and the house is relatively clean. So, I'm off to copy edit.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Que Pasa?

I was supposed to go see a potential house today after work at about 6:00. I got done at 3:00. Instead of driving the half hour home to turn around and come back, I decided to kill time. I went to buy a fourth pair of scrubs, now that I'm working four days per week. I drove around to familiarize myself with the northwest side of town, now that we may be living there. I explored the Foothills Mall, to which I'd, for some reason, not yet been. Probably because it's one of those outlet malls without any exciting stores; just your standard Levi's, Big Dogs, etc.

But there was a Linens n' Things there, too. I've been looking everywhere for a set of sheets with pink in them with no success (no success with any I like anyway). I want to make a quilt for our bed (after a couple more practice smaller ones) and am dreaming of pinks & browns, but that means convincing DH that pink on the bed won't bother him. So we agreed on a trial set of pink sheets. Today I actually found two sets that I liked, as well as a brown set (clearance, no less!), so I snatched them all up and paid for them before the pink sheet gnomes could come and spirit them out of my arms.

And as I was checking out, I had a little incident. My skills as an SLP got me mistaken for a bilinguist. Some woman, obviously Spanish-speaking, at the cashier next to mine kept asking for "roz." And the cashier kept saying, "Rose? Rose? I don't know what you're talking about." And I asked, helpfully, I thought, "Ross?" (as in Ross Dress for Less, akin to TJ Maxx and probably many others, varying regionally). At which both salesladies and many customers looked at me and smiled as though I were the cleverest person in the store. Unfortunately, the Spanish-speaking woman thought I was clever enough to speak Spanish, which I'm not (yet), but should be, and started saying a lot of Spanish words really fast and everyone was looking at me expectantly... And all I could utter was a meek "No hablo Espanol." And only the English-speakers seemed to grasp that concept. She kept right on spewing rapid-fire Spanish at me. So then I'm wildly flinging my arms around in the air trying to communicate in gesture how she could get to Ross because I'm, in fact, not clever enough to tell her in Spanish. Nothing makes me feel stupider, living in Tucson, than my inability to speak Spanish. That was going to be one of my goals for the summer, but I'm too fully aware of the mass of the undertaking, and other things seemed more fun, in the end. Ultimately, I'll have to do it. Maybe when I'm not so new at the speech path thing and my brain isn't so exhausted every day I'll have more mental energy to devote to that.

Anyway, back to the shopping. I met with more success at the Levi's outlet. A pair of jeans that fit! In a dark rinse! Jeans, or pants of any kind, never fit me, so this was a huge breakthrough.

Then I discovered the Carter's outlet. Good Lord, I think I spend every day fighting off temptation after temptation to buy my nephew more clothes and books. I go through stores picking stuff up, making a little pile, carefully calculating costs, months-old, and sizes in my head, only to finally come to my senses, abandon the pile somewhere for the poor saleslady to find, and skidaddle before the baby-gift-buying demon overtakes me again.

By the time I left the outlet mall to head over to this house for rent, I realized I'd left my phone in the car. Doing so is a sure guarantee that I will have missed at least 17 calls in under 3 minutes. Not quite, this time, but I did miss 5. All from DH, who was frantically trying to warn me that this lady had cancelled. Apparently, her dog died 4 days ago and she's "too distraught to do anything." Normally, I'd be nothing but sympathetic, but DH called her at 4:30 to confirm and that's when she told him she wouldn't be there. Hello? Were you ever going to call us? Or were you just going to let us drive the half hour from where we work to be stood up? So I'm 90% annoyed and only 10% sympathetic.

It was probably an omen. The place was really far away. We live central and ~30 minutes from where we work in the NW. This woman was another 30 minutes west of there. The draw was that there was an acre of fenced in backyard. An acre! What dog needs a park when his backyard is an acre?! But there was also the little problem of the six feral cats she was feeding twice a day. That would have become an issue. So she's off our list. DH will go see two places tomorrow and we'll see a third on Saturday together. Wish us luck.

I know there's at least one Republican reading this blog, so this is fair warning that you may want to scroll past this paragraph, Republican. :) But I feel the need to mention what I see as a poor, poor decision made by my hometown state of New York today regarding gay marriage. I can't say I was as surprised as the gay activists seem to be regarding the state's decision to ban gay marriage, but it's the state's reasoning I get worked up about. One of the main arguments was apparently the questionable wisdom of allowing gays to raise children. What, are we afraid that the straight kids are going to be confused into "gay-ness" by the deviant natures of their adoptive parents? Really, we think they're better off in the foster care system? Really?The moral fabric of society is unraveling as I write this. Oh, already did. And it ain't the fault of the gays. But that's a whole other gigantic tank of worms. Are we worried about the decline in reproductive rates when this whole gay thing spreads to the hearts and mind

I'm off to watch another gripping episode of "So You Think You Can Dance?" Anyone else as in love with Ivan as I am? Oh...I'm the only one over the age of 14 watching? Never mind.

Here's a current plant picture. I've been shutting the cats out of the bedroom during the day to let the plants sit in the windowsill. One of us messed up this morning and accidentally shut Lita in the room. Entrapment, I know. You can see a little of the minor carnage here, in some snapped grass blades. The catnip was slightly mauled as well, though I don't think it's visible in the crime scene photos. I'm not sure if it was the smell of the catnip or the dirt that lured her in to a life of crime. This one has a strange thing for digging. Always has. Comes from being born in the mean streets of Norwich, NY. Unfit mother, absent father. You know the story.

You can't be any geek off the street. Gotta be handy with the steel, if you know what I mean. Earn your keep!

(please excuse the background-of-questionable-taste; focus on the kitty!)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


I hate waiting. I should have worked these past two days because I've driven myself crazy.

  • 1. waiting for my sewing machine to be repaired

  • 2. waiting for the quilting and scrapbooking books I ordered from Amazon to arrive

  • 3. waiting for various house rental people to get back to us

  • 4. waiting for various puppy people to get back to us

  • That's right, we've decided to move our long-term plan up a year and get the dog now. This means moving to a bigger place, so we're looking at houses to rent. So the dog will have a yard, our living space won't be splitting at the seams, and we can live closer to work (we work about 5-10 minutes from one another, but about 35 minutes from where we currently live). I'm very excited about this, but I'm also a member of the "now" generation, so I have very little patience.

    In the meantime, here's a wreath I've finally finished (I started it when we were still in Philly, so at least 2-3 years ago).

    And the catnip sprouted a couple days ago, so here's where it was on the 2nd. (I didn't take a picture today, but the plant life is abundant in one catnip pot and the grass is starting to look like grass. Sparse grass, but grass nonetheless.)

    Sunday, July 02, 2006


    The oat grass has sprouted! The challenge I hadn't yet tackled was how to move the pots into an area with decent sunlight without leaving them susceptible to curious paws and noses. My less-than-ideal solution was to put them in the bedroom windowsill with the door shut by day, back to the kitchen counter (where the kitties don't dare set paw) by night. I'm not sure how well this works when the catnip sprouts; it may be too odiferous for them to resist, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it (when did I start using the royal "we"?).

    Worked four days this week. It's getting much better now that they've given me a modicum of independence and now that I've reaccepted the student role and stopped fighting it. I also got yet another copy editing job, so I feel like I'm raking in the dough for someone working part-time. Ooh, and I got a surprise couple of days off for this long weekend; I thought I was going to have to work through the holiday.

    Sewing machine update: I called Friday afternoon to get the status report and they claim (and I have no reason not to believe them) that the company sent the wrong part! Wah! They had already reordered it, but it could be as long as another two weeks. I'm trying not to think about it and satisfy myself with scrapbooking. I've gotten another four pages done, but it's a poor substitute for the pleasing whir of my machine. Sigh. The wee wonderfuls pattern continues to taunt me from the coffee table (I should put it in a drawer before it taunts me a second time). Meanwhile, other recipients have torn through the kitty and are well on their way to having a bear-rabbit-kitty army.