Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lazy Sunday

Follow this link to Angry Chicken who posted a link to a hysterical SNL skit. I missed this one until now, so had to share.

Live Free or Die

What do you do when your puppy gets big enough to knock down his puppy gate? And he's not even 16 weeks old yet?

I came home last night to find the house trashed. I actually got scared at first because I realized he was out but couldn't find him in the house...I got worried he'd swallowed something dangerous and that was why he wasn't coming to me. Then I found him in our walk-in closet. I couldn't tell if he had gotten trapped in there (the door was shut, though not latched) or just fallen asleep. Anyway, he was fine, and once the damage was assessed, it turned out that his short puppy attention span had saved us. He didn't gnaw on anything long enough to cause total destruction. "Chew, chew, okay, what's next!?!?"

Note the reverse side of the reversible Halloween bandanna

And on the bright side, he was shockingly mellow last night. Exhausted by his reign of terror, I suppose. I actually got through a whole phone call with Sanders with the puppy on the floor next to me. I don't think that's happened since the first day we got him! We'll be looking into the occasional doggy day care splurge once he's 16 weeks and old enough to go. Just to give ourselves a break in the evening once in a while. Usually he sleeps all day while we're gone so his batteries are fully charged just as ours are petering out.

I wasn't even angry about him getting out. Really, that's our fault. But I did get a bit miffed when I realized we've hit puppy adolescence. I thought it was pretty gracious and understanding of me not to be upset about his anarchy, but he took total advantage. When I called him to his crate for dinner, he looked at me, turned around, and started drinking water from his bowl. Fine, I thought, he just wants a drink before he eats. I called him again. He looked at me, then laid down on the floor. I walked over, picked him up and set him on his four feet, stepped back, and called him again. He walked away. I could have killed him. Luckily he's still small enough to pick up so he still ended up in his crate with his dinner. He didn't eat anything. Probably had a stomach full of kitty litter and fireplace soot. His favorite snacks.

On a totally unrelated note, anyone else not have their Halloween candy or pumpkins yet? Running a little late this year...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Larger Than Life

Celebrated Halloween last night. Was working on the costume right up until the cab showed up. I was pretty happy with it in the end. I ended up calling myself Frost. There were a group of us superheroes, one villain, and DH, who went as a "cereal killer." It was fun.
We went to a release party then were at Club Congress, a bar downtown. Earlier in the night, my friend had mentioned that Kate Walsh was in town and at Club Congress that afternoon for some kind of Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Then when we were standing in line to get in that same bar, I just saw her walk by. I've never seen a celebrity in real life before. I really don't tend to get starstruck at all, but that was new for me, so it was cool. I was the only one who spotted her though, so I just kept saying progressively louder, "That's Addison. That's Addison! That's Addison!!" until my friends heard me. Then one of them took off at a run after her (she was in the parking lot across the street at that point) and I followed. I don't think we were obnoxious at all. Just said we really enjoyed her show, nice to meet you, have a nice night. That's part of her job anyway.

It was strange. I kept thinking I expected her to be bigger. Not heavier. She was quite thin, as one would expect. But bigger. Which is a dumb thing to say because she's 5'10", same as me, pretty tall. I'm guessing on some level I just had this metaphorical concept that because she's a celebrity she should be big. Important? I don't know.

Interestingly (probably to my Colgate peeps only), the increasing excitement of my "That's Addison" alert was nearly an exact replica of Ouiser's DH about 8 or 9 years ago when my DH's coat caught on fire from a candle at a party in college. Ouiser's DH was the only one who noticed and kept saying "D____'s coat's on fire. D____'s coat's on fire! D____'s coat's on fire!!" with increasing panic until somebody heard him. Guess we should learn to speak up the first time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Runaway Juror

After three escapes from jury duty in the past ten years, all due to my following the higher calling of pursuing an overeducated brain, today my number was finally up. I had my first jury duty experience and narrowly escaped a four-day trial, managing to get out after just four hours instead. I was called to a criminal case, something about firearms possession by someone on probation, and watched juror after juror be excused for various reasons. Pretty much, when the judge asks if the members of the jury have had any experience in their lives that in any way relate to the case (i.e., to guns), that's going to register as positive for an awful lot of Americans. It seemed like just about everybody had either been on a previous jury for a crime involving guns, or they had a brother who was also arrested for illegal possession, or their house had been shot up, or they were against guns in general, etc.

So they eventually called me in from the reserves, but I wiggled out of it immediately. One of the questions they ask you is essentially whether your absence from work is going to cause some kind of major catastrophe. I explained that if I was absent, there are other people who could be called to fill in for me, but as per diem employees they were in no way obligated to do so. Therefore, it is potentially possible that patients needing swallow evaluations would not be seen and end up either not eating until they are evaluated, which could be days, or eating when/what they shouldn't be, placing them at risk for aspiration pneumonia. This is a stretch because I know that what would really happen is that my type A coworkers would work 12-hour days if they had to in order to make sure all patients were seen. But technically they're only required to work eight-hour days, so that was no guarantee either. It was all about spin. I was careful not to tell the judge that this was what would happen, but that it might, which was true. So he let me go.

After a lot of initial resentment leading up to my fulfillment of my civic responsibility (as they reminded us over and over was what they were choosing to call this purgatory), it ended up being pretty interesting. I still maintain that they should pay for our parking and minimum wage on an hourly basis (instead you get mileage and $12/day if assigned to a trial). And I about had a heart attack talking to the judge in front of the whole courtroom. Part performance anxiety, part anxiety over trying to prevent myself from being a classic SLP and over-explaining the bit about my job, part that random impulse anxiety people get that they're going to do the worst possible thing (like people who stand looking at the view from atop some tall building obsessed with the thought that they might suddenly lose their head completely and jump--my fear was that I'd lose my head completely and purger myself).

But the judge was really nice and did a great job of explaining everything. If I were a salaried employee and not per diem, meaning my income would not be affected by the trial, I might have actually been interested in staying on the jury. I'm sure my chance will come again someday.

In other news, after our puppy class today we stuck around for the Petsmart "Howl-o-ween" party, which was nice. Chewy was exhausted by the end. Their were treats for humans and pets alike. Mostly dogs in attendance, although there were three ferrets and two cats. I don't know what kind of cats those were to tolerate a roomful of canines. They must have been sedated. Chewy was sporting the brand new reversible Halloween bandanna I made him. He was by far underdressed compared to the other pooches, but (a) I'm not into elaborate costumes on my dog, (b) he's 14 weeks old. He would have ripped any costume to shreds. I felt the bandanna was more our speed. He looked very handsome and now I have something to do with my novelty fabrics. I bought so many long ago when I first started sewing and couldn't help myself. I had that stashing impulse (hence the blog moniker). But then you realize there's really nothing you can do with farm animal fabric when you don't have kids. Hey, the dog won't care! He's relatively tolerant and an ardent supporter of agriculture.

I don't usually include photos of myself here, but I wanted to show this for size reference. Can you guys tell how huge he's getting in this picture? And a lot more growing coming up! He was up to 15 lbs last week at the vet.

Anyway, there was a pet parade around the store with trick-or-treating for things like a frisbee, a bandanna, dog biscuits, etc. Then the trainers taught them all to spin. Chewy spun from a reclined position on the floor as he was wiped out by this point (we'd been there two hours, counting class time). Then they were planning to take pictures and give awards for best costumes. We weren't going to win, so poor sports that we are, we went home.

Here you can view the skeleton side of his fancy new duds. You'll have to wait until next week for the flip side. I know, the suspense.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Chilled to the Bone

Ouch. Eleven days since my last post. Sorry, dear readers. That's a new low for me. Busy with the usual: work, pup, etc.DH has been working sixty- to eighty-hour weeks, plus school, for about a month now. This past weekend was the first weekend we've had in a long time together and we spent pretty much two days straight hanging out together, which was fabulous. Friday night we, Chewy included, went to a friend's house for take-out Italian and Lucky Number Slevin, which was weird. I fell asleep at the end, but was liking it up until then. It was late, I was confused. I need to try to watch it again. DH loved it.On Saturday we tried to go to Oktoberfest on Mt. Lemmon, but they wouldn't let Chewy in so we just walked around a bit. I remember why I moved out of the northeast. It was 48 degrees up there (high 80s down in Tucson)! I always know it will be cold when we go up there, and I always pack warm clothes, but I still always manage to underestimate the bracing nature of that cold once your blood has thinned out over a long Tucson summer. We about froze to death. Notice in the pics I'm rocking the skirt and jeans look. I don't do that look. I like it occasionally when I see it, but it's just not my personal thing. My plan had been to change into jeans once we got up there, but I couldn't bear to take a single article of clothing off, I was so cold. So the skirt stayed on.Because we could only stand the cold for about an hour and a half, we then headed back to Tucson to the Tucson Meet Yourself festival, which was fun, but stressful with a puppy. It was too crowded and dirty to easily manage Chewy there. He was underfoot, trying to eat all kinds of garbage. It was easier mostly to just carry him. He hasn't had all his shots yet so we probably shouldn't have had him there anyway, but I want him to get comfortable with that kind of chaos.We went to the vet today for his third round of shots and it was good timing because he started limping about 20 minutes before we had to leave for the appointment. I'm still not sure what he did, but he somehow hurt a toe on his front left foot. He never made a peep, but was really favoring that paw. We felt all up and down with no reaction from him, but finally the vet located the toe in question. Then of course he needed xrays, but it wasn't broken. Nevertheless, I kept him home from puppy class tonight to rest it. We can make it up tomorrow.It's feeling as much like fall as it will get around here for a while. Low 80s. Everyone's in long pants and sweaters. I bought a ton of those crazy, lumpy mini-gourds they sell this time of year. I love those things, how each one is so different. I have plans to hit the pumpkin patch this weekend. I'm trying to put a costume together. Some friends want to dress as superheroes, but I don't have a name yet. I'm going with a blue color scheme, so my power should probably be something to do with ice or wind. Any ideas?
And I joined the gym that opened about half a mile from our house. Unfortunately, no classes. It's just equipment. But it's better than nothing and I've been ridiculously lazy. DH wants to start riding his new bike for exercise, but he gets home so late he'll have to go in the morning. So the current plan is that he will try to work out in the morning while I take care of Chewy and I'll go at night, while he dog-sits. This is doomed to fail as he is the night person and I the morning person (well, I can do either one, but lately I've been a morning person, and am definitely a morning person when it comes to exercise), but we have to give it a shot. Wish us luck.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Don't Stop 'Til You See the Whites of Their Eyes

So it doesn't take long to get on the bad side of a homeowners' association, does it? DH and I are sooooo not HA kind of people and hope that when we buy a house we can find one we love in a non-HA neighborhood, but from what I understand that is increasingly hard to do in many areas. The front yard of all the houses in our neighborhood are xeriscaped, but weeds abound and it's been impossible to keep up with them. So, we got a nasty letter from the HA that we must bend to their will by the end of the weekend and rid our front yard of all life forms. It's back-breaking work. I don't know how my mother does it in her own huge, beautiful, much more elaborately-landscaped yard.

Contrarily, the backyard is suddenly sprouting mushrooms everywhere. Unfortunately, Chewy seems to always notice before me. Do you know what happens to mushrooms when you try to pry them out of a dog's mouth? They disintegrate into mushroom powder. It's impossible stuff. I don't think they're poisonous. They look like the generic white mushroom kind. Spoken like someone truly ignorant of mushroom species. I should take a picture to show you guys, but that means finding one before Chewy does. But why are mushrooms sprouting up in my supposedly desert backyard anyway? Methinks the irrigation system must be over-hydrating some areas.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm already losing faith in my Petsmart dog trainer. We went to our second puppy class on Tuesday and I expressed to her my concerns with the "watch" command we were supposed to teach the dogs over the previous week. Am I the only one whose heard of the concept that animals don't like direct eye contact? That it's a form of aggression and an animal who wants to avoid a conflict will look away if stared in the eyes by another animal? I swear I've read this in all my dog training books. That's why you're not supposed to make eye contact if you meet an aggressive dog who you think might be about to attack you. The girl teaching my class wanted the dogs to hold this command for 30 seconds. Now, beside the fact that my 11-week-old puppy doesn't really have the attention span for that, it also goes against his instinct to look his pack leader in the eye (sorry, Dad, so far you're wrong. I seem to be the pack leader. Mainly, I think, because DH has been working twelve- to sixteen-hour days since early September.).

I tried to very politely and privately ask her what she thought about this. She looked at me like I was crazy, then made a point to do the command with my dog and prove me wrong. Not meanly, but she was definitely trying to show me just how wrong I was. I didn't want to get into it with her so I didn't bother pointing out that the only reason she was able to get him to hold the "watch" was because she was bent over towards him (another no-no according to my books) and letting him jump up on her while "watching." He's not allowed to jump up on people. Whatever. The girl is still an undergrad, so I don't know what I was expecting. We go more for the socialization anyway.

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Can't Go Home Again

No pics today. DH is still in Austin with the camera. I got home late last night after a huge, ridiculous fiasco. Standing in baggage claim, I realized that my cell phone, cash, and keys were all missing. Searched through everything three times. Called DH from a pay phone with my credit card. Of course, got his voicemail. Twice. Decided to call a cab, even though I knew it would probably cost $50 to get home (I was right). The woman who answered the phone said yes, they take Visa, just go stand out on the curb. A cab arrived shortly, told me they did not take Visa, only cash, and the first tear flowed. But luckily he got on the phone with his dispatcher and said they would take my money after all (big surprise).

So he drove me all the way home, while I prayed that the housesitter would still be there, and feigned interest in his inflamed gall bladder story and tales of the filth at Kino Hospital. She wasn't there. I tried every window, crawled under DH's car from three different angles because I remembered at one time he kept a key on a magnet in there. He kindly lent me his cell phone, which I used to call DH, who answered but hadn't yet heard my messages. His main concerns were how much money I lost and where I thought my cell phone was. My main concern was how the bloody hell I was going to get in the house that night and to work the next day. He agreed to call the cavalry, which consisted of two friends who might rescue me and the friend who referred the housesitter (her phone number was missing, too). The cavalry was to be sent to Starbucks to fetch me. The cabbie dropped me off there where I read for about an hour before I begged to use their phone to call DH again. G was on her way to pick me up. He gave me the number of our leasing office to call the emergency guy to let me in. He was downright rude and said he wouldn't come. He told me to call a locksmith. I didn't.

Finally, G arrived, my rescue squad of one. We decided to drive back the house and see if the housesitter had left the keys under the doormat. She had. And I found a spare key to DH's car in a drawer, so I got to work, minus air conditioning. DH will pick up my car from the airport when he returns on Tuesday. My cell phone turned out to be at the hotel in Austin. The money wasn't enough to worry about. No idea what could have happened to the keys though.

Austin was great. The wedding was beautiful. Outside the art museum, on the water. I got to see just enough of my dear friend Z, the groom, to realize how much I miss him. Some of us went out downtown afterward, where J, who lived in Austin for a few years, brought us to the perfect laidback pub. The next day we met up with the fam at an arts fair just down the block from our hotel. I was not ready to leave.

Chewy has visibly grown in the days since I left. He's also starting to recognize words like "No!" and "Ow!" I found every single one of his toys piled in his crate (which was open, in the bathroom in which he was locked) when I came home from work today, so I guess he's nesting and giving it a homey feel. He's also taking to a preference for sprawling across my lap while playing with a toy, which is sweet for now, though I question the comfort of this when he weighs 65 pounds. And he's newly fond of running pell mell around the backyard, with or without a toy. Headlong at nothing. This has allowed me time to finish rereading Animal Dreams and start rereading Life of Pi.

Still no sewing. If I blog, there's no time to sew, and so far I seem to be putting this ahead.