Thursday, March 31, 2011

So busy and important.

Sorry about no post yesterday, dudes. I'm sure you were all distraught. I've been busy as hell trying to get ready to go out of town for the weekend, and every time I come home I discover that Pancakes has done something like destroy Rooster's harness or spread my yarn all over the living room. Frustrating.

In lieu of an actual post, here's what I have to do before my train leaves in the morning:

  • Finish the laundry so that I can
  • Pack my duffel bag (I learned on my last trip that those great little suitcases with wheels weigh a fucking ton and suck to haul up and down subway stairs) with:
    • 5 pairs of socks (it's important to me to always have clean socks available)
    • 4 sets of unmentionables (if I phrase it like this, it sounds like coordinated expensive underwear/bra combos, instead of mismatched Hanes undies and bras I got on sale at J.C.Penney)
    • 1 pair of jammies
    • 1 pair of jeans
    • 3 t-shirts
    • 2 sweaters
    • 2 pairs of shoes acceptable for walking around the city
    • 1 stuffed cow
    • Toiletries, which when you're me is code for deodorant and contact solution
  • Pack my "carry-on" (the bag that I'll keep with me) with:
    • Yarn, needles, and knitting pattern
    • Mindless magazine
    • A book (I'm trying to decide between Bill Bryson and David Sedaris. Help!)
    • Since I'll be on the train for lunchtime:
      • A pb&j on whole wheat bread
      • Sour cream and onion chips (a traveling indulgence) (I know this is weird: I'm a really picky eater but I love the taste of pb&j with grape jelly mixed with the taste of sour cream and onion chips. It's okay if you think that's gross.)
      • Trail mix (dried cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, and chocolate chips)
      • An orange, peeled and sectioned, in a baggie
      • A big bottle of water 
      • A bottle of Coke and two homemade chocolate chip cookies, so you don't think I'm all healthy or anything
    • Fully charged iPod with headphones
    • Sunglasses
    • Gum
  • Set up three posts for this joint to keep my hordes of readers at bay
  • Pick at my chipping nail polish for a while
  • Have dinner over at my parents' house for my dad's birthday
  • Get as close to 8 hours of sleep as possible
  • Shave my legs, because I'm sharing a bed with the friend I'm visiting and I'd rather not have her think she's sharing a bed with a cactus (I'm a snuggler. What can I say?)
  • Watch my neighbor's car get towed with great interest
So you can see, I'm a busy lady with lots of claims on my time. I'm going to go get stuff crossed off this here list, starting with picking at my nails and watching my neighbor's car get towed. See, I'm even multitasking!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On Man vs. Wild

From the website where I found that picture: "Who can indulge himself  in danger and eat variety raw meat for sake of enjoyment or pleasure?  Bear Grylls has dare to do so. Here are some of his incredible weirdest eating."
You guys ever watch this show? Now that we have the Netflix, Andy and I watch this crap all the damn time. It's amazing. I know that it's staged and that Bear Grylls, the star/host/whatever, does all sorts of crazy shit that is the opposite of what one should do, and I definitely feel like puking during almost every episode, but I still am secretly happy any time Andy suggests we watch it.

Basically, if you're unfamiliar, this dude, whose name is Bear for some reason, parachutes into dangerous areas. In theory, he shows you how to survive so you can make it out or be rescued, but every episode he's all, "Usually, you would want to stay out of the frigid white-water rapids and try to find another way around, but I'm going to show you what would happen if you tried to make a raft out of some twigs and then floated downstream."

Apparently Grylls is also on his own for finding food, because he eats things that no human should eat, like part of a zebra he found, or a live scorpion. It works out okay to watch the show in the evening, because there is no way I can snack while I'm watching it if I don't want to hurl. I actually thought I really was going to barf during one episode when he bit the head off a snake, pulled the spine and guts out, and then ate the rest of it. Sick.

Ever watch this show? Tell me I'm not alone!

Monday, March 28, 2011

On rememberances

Oatmeal-Chocolate-Chip Cookies via
We don't know most of our neighbors. We've lived here for over three years, and I don't know the name of a single person who lives in the house across the street and over one. It's kind of sad how insular the suburbs can be.

But we do know the neighbors to the south of our house pretty well. They're some of those genuinely great neighbors that we feel lucky to have. When we moved in, there were four of them (mom, dad, college-aged son, middle-school-aged son), but, sadly, the mom died of cancer two years ago this week.

This lady, whose story is not mine to tell so I'm not going to tell you her name, was a dynamo. She was funny and clever and generous and an incredible cook. Her sons certainly know how to have a good time but she raised them to be polite, respectable, nice dudes (remind me to tell you about her older son at our Halloween party sometime).

Every once in a while, a few times a year, I'll bake something and send it over to the boys. I know that their mom used to bake like whoa, but that it's unlikely they make themselves many cookies, so it's a little something I like to do to remind them we're thinking of them. The last time I brought something over (it was a batch of pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies that were still warm), the younger son, who's now fifteen, dragged his friend over here to hug me and say thank you.

So today I'm making them a batch of oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies. I know this week has got to suck, and cookies aren't going to do much, but at least they'll have something delicious to eat while they're thinking of their mom.

What do you do to remember lost loved ones? What would you suggest I bake for my neighbors next time I'm feeling bakerly?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In a good mood

It is a gorgeous day, all sunshine and fat fluffy clouds! It's still cold, but that's fine, because all I have to do for the next two hours is curl up on the couch and take a nap.

Andy and I made amazing brunch this morning - I made pancakes-the-food, which is pretty typical around here, and Andy made an omelet with big chunks of red onion and corned beef. So, so good. So now I'm full and drowsy and finishing my orange-grapefruit juice, with Pancakes-the-dog curled up next to me, and we both keep yawning.

Later, we're going to a surprise party, then tomorrow we're doing brunch with Andy's folks, then we're going to another birthday party, and on the way to that one we're finally picking up the smashed car.

What are you up to this lovely weekend?

Friday, March 25, 2011

On being picky

My grandma - the passive-aggressive one - once called me a "fussbudget" for not eating a casserole made with Cream of Chicken soup, even though I was a vegetarian and had been for several years. In fact, I was using the "vegetarian" thing as a handy excuse to not eat the casserole, which looked pretty gross.

I have always been a picky eater. I didn't realize that I was for most of my life, because the Kid is about a dozen times pickier than I am. For a period of about two years, she only ever ordered chicken fingers when we went to restaurants. After I started dating Andy, I realized just how picky I really am.

Andy will eat anything. I mean it. The only food he absolutely refuses to eat is beets. I actually like beets, but I've promised Andy that I won't sneak them into his food or anything, because he deserves to have one thing he won't eat, when I have, like, a million.

Here is a very partial list of foods I dislike:
- Bell peppers (they make me ill. My mom and sister can't eat them, either. It's called a non-allergic food hypersensitivity. But mostly, I just hate how they smell enough that it turns my stomach, and I get really nauseated if I eat something that contains even a little bit.)
- Sausage
- Most processed food, including:
  - All Hostess snack cakes that I've tried (which is kind of a lot)
  - All Little Debbie snack cakes except Swiss Rolls, which I love
  - Rice-a-Roni
  - Doritos (all flavors)
  - All Sun Chips except Harvest Cheddar
  - Almost all donuts (I like cream-filled, not custard, and chocolate glazed; that's it.)
  - Most snack-type food, including, without limitation, most prepackaged cookies and cheese-type things
  - Canned pie filling
- Olives
- Any rice-pilaf-type thing
- Any food with artificial fruit flavoring, including Popsicles, Kool-Aid, fruit roll-ups, and lollipops (lone exception: strawberry pop-tarts. Don't know why.)
- Gravy (disgusting slimy meat goo. And no, I won't like your grandmother's recipe. All gravy is gross.)
- Artificial sweeteners including aspartame and saccharine (they taste metallic to me)
- Most soda

The one thing I really, really like, despite its totally artificial and gross-if-you-think-about-it nature is regular Coke. I know it's bad for me, and bad for my teeth, and that high-fructose corn syrup is satan's work, but I can't stop drinking this shit. 

Are you a picky eater? Have you ever tried to quit drinking soda? I'm thinking about cutting it out, and I could use some tips!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Christmas in March

Yo, dudes, sorry about no post yesterday. I know y'all are broken-hearted, but I was out being awesome with my husband. We got all fancied up and went out to dinner at a classy steak joint, then went to see The Lion King - I got Andy tickets for Christmas! Have you seen it? It was great. Some notes from the evening:

1. Just because the restaurant is fancy, don't assume that other people are. Yes, we were dressed nicely. No, the woman nearest us in a grey hoodie and Uggs was not. Also not classy: one of her table-mates downed three Jack and Cokes before their appetizer arrived. Cool. The best part was that they were definitely there on some sort of business thing. I betcha the company was covering their meal.
2. I may be eating meat again after a ten-year hiatus, but I'm still not comfortable eating meat that looks like a muscle. Andy's medium-rare steak, while I'm sure it was delicious, looked kind of gross to me. And I didn't even stop eating meat because of that whole "it's a living animal with feelings" thing.
3. Not everyone knows what linguine is. The largest of the work group near us had his companions walk him through the entire menu, describing what "rigatoni" and "fettuccine" and "capillary" meant. Just kidding about the capillaries.

The Play.
1. Just because we are classy, don't assume other playgoers are. There was a guy there, no joke, wearing a t-shirt with the sleeves ripped off. I'd say almost 70% of the audience was in jeans. Is there no event people dress up for anymore??
2. Just because a child has seen the movie version of the Lion King, it doesn't mean he's old enough to see the play. The four-year-old behind us spent THE ENTIRE PLAY asking his dad questions. He was cute and otherwise well-behaved, but I paid plenty for those tickets and understood the storyline without the guy's help, you know? I mean, the show didn't end until almost 11. Wouldn't a matinee be more appropriate for the under-ten crowd?
3. Garth Fagan is amazing. He did all the choreography, and his dance company is based in my city! I rode with him in an elevator once, years ago. I told Andy about that yesterday. I remember that Mr. Fagan complimented me on something, but I can't remember what. My guesses were my shoes or whatever book I was holding. Andy paused, and then was like, "You know, it's more likely that your hair was blue, and he complimented you on that. You know that, right?" He's probably right.
4. The guy who played Adult Simba also played Marius in Les Mis on Broadway. He was amazing. I am absolutely biased, because Les Mis is my favorite.

Have you seen Lion King? Do you dress up for evenings like that? Are we the only classy mofos left??

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On begging the question

I work for a publishing company. We have a staff of fully trained editors, the kind of people who laugh at jokes about punctuation. We also have a sales staff, people without a background in Latinate roots and so on, people who can't be convinced that it's a good idea for the editors to glance at the things we'll be sending to thousands of our clients. This leads to frustration.

So when we have an editors' meeting, I look forward to passing a meeting without gritting my teeth at whatever horrible things are going on, grammar-wise.

Today, however, we had an editors' meeting, and my teeth were gritted anyway. One of the editors said that something "begs the question" of why we hadn't done such-and-such. Thing is, "begs the question" does not mean "raises the question." Never has, and never will, no matter how many times people use it wrong.

"Begging the question" is a very specific logical fallacy. It's similar to circular reasoning. When one begs the question, one uses one's premise as proof for itself: "Paranormal phenomena exist because I have had experiences that can only be described as paranormal." 

I know that we can't all know every single thing there is to know about the English language. I just hate when my coworkers don't know the things I do. And I know an awful lot of things.

What grammar goofs drive you nuts? Have you ever misused "begs the question"? If so, do you promise to stop now that you know better?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Two updates and a video

I don't have much today, so here are two brief updates:

1. Pancakes is doing pretty well, and is now obeying commands something like 8% of the time. She obeys "off" every single time, which is great, but she only sits maybe 2% of the times she's told to, so it's a work in progress. We did learn that she's much calmer when she's had a nice long walk. Too bad it's gross out today. Which brings me to update number two:

2. The weather in my city is doing pretty much the same thing the weather does every single March. To hear my coworkers discuss it, you'd think that sunshine and rain and snow and higher temperatures and lower temperatures were all brand-new things. And if we have a thunderstorm, seriously, one of my coworkers gets so excited she doesn't get any work done for an hour. Ugh.

And now, because it's precious and I have nothing more to talk about, here's a video. I think I maybe found it via not martha?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm so good at weekends!

I do just love weekends. I'm sitting in the living room, watching for birds at the bird feeder and looking at the teeny tips of my tulips pushing through in the front garden. Note that I'm only watching for birds, not actually watching them, because I just remembered to fill the feeder yesterday and none of the birds have noticed it yet.

In a little bit I'm headed off to Baby Shower #1, where I plan to eat awesome baby shower food and cupcakes, and also to pick up ideas for throwing the Kid's shower next month. Then when I get home I'm going to make hamantaschen, since Purim started yesterday (I'm not Jewish, I just eat like one). Then tonight, we're going out with my brother and sister-in-law to dinner at a local brewery/restaurant for some amazing food and then some planning for that shower.

Tomorrow, we're brunching with friends, then hanging out reading the paper and generally being awesome and suburban. Hooray!

What about you, ducklings? Any awesome plans?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Babies and baby showers forever.

I have a baby shower to go to tomorrow. I decided not to finish the blanket that I hate, and I'm just going to give the yarn away or something, because really, there's no point in forcing myself to finish it. So we went to one of those baby stores - this one is called "Buy Buy Baby," no joke - to pick something up. Know what's a fun experience? Dragging your husband into a baby store with no idea what you're about to buy, no registry, and no idea if the coming baby is a boy or a girl.

Seriously, does absolutely everyone find out the sex of their baby these days? Because it's really effing hard to find gender-neutral shit.

I also have the following women in my life to shop or knit for: my sister, having a girl, due at the beginning of June; my husband's cousin's wife, having a girl, due at the end of June; my coworker, who I don't know very well, having a boy, due in mid-August.

I think I have reached that stage in my life where I will have someone gestating near me at all times.

I'm okay with this, I think. But then, I'm ovulating, so ask me again in a week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On work-related worrying

I might have mentioned that I worry about work-related stuff. Any time I have a meeting with my boss, I assume it's because I'm going to be "talked to," which in the business world means "chewed out" or "put on warning" or whatever.

Part of this - actually, nine-tenths of this - is because at my last job, my first "big kid" job, my boss straight-out lied to me about how she was reporting my progress (told me it was all fine, but told the big bosses there were problems), then without warning put me on probation, watched me to the point of me almost filing a report on her harassing me, and essentially told me I could quit or get fired. Please note that all of this was despite frequent positive reports from the people I worked for (my clients, if you will), and the best results in the area two years in a row, by a whole lot. Said boss would tell you that it wasn't personal, but there were a lot of people doing a lot worse than I was who weren't on probation, and I had made it clear (foolishly, when asked) that I disagreed with some of the policies we followed.

So now, I don't trust anything any boss says, even when the boss seems like a decent boss, because I've been fooled once, right? My annual review was pretty great, and I'm not having weekly dressings-down or anything, but I still just don't ever feel like I'm not about to land on the chopping block. It sucks.

All of this is in the forefront of my mind today, because my boss has been on vacation for the last week, so I haven't had to review any small talk we've made for hints, or worry about her walking by when I'm taking my (totally legit!) break and reading a book, or whatever.

Except today, she came in unannounced for a little bit. I passed her when she was at her desk, and had a minor freak out, because the last time she took a week's vacation, she came in just to fire someone.

I didn't get fired, though, and she didn't even see me, so I'm just going to go ahead and have some whiskey and chill the fuck out.

Anyone else out there a weirdo sissy worrier like me? Reassure me, please!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On that fucking douchebag Charlie Sheen

I really want the media to stop covering this bullshit. Charlie Sheen is the highest paid actor in television, and he has been arrested for beating a woman, pled no contest, and paid a fucking fine. And now everyone is talking about how he's WINNING and has TIGER BLOOD and I know all this despite avoiding information on him, is how much they're pushing it.

Domestic violence is an issue close to my heart, so read this article from the NYT and please, please stop buying magazines and watching news specials about him. And for the love of God, stop watching his terrible show that's really just bragging about his life choices, but without the part where two of his ex-wives have restraining orders against him and he seems to think that violence is an acceptable part of a relationship.

What do you think about the constant coverage of this train wreck? What about how they gloss over his repeated domestic violence charges?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On tattoos

Heraldic crest with labels via
So I'm starting to work in earnest on planning my next tattoo. I'm designing my own heraldic device, often incorrectly referred to as a coat of arms. Heraldic symbols are pretty fascinating, and I have a lot of work to do before I'll be satisfied with the design. Technically, as I don't belong to an arms-bearing family, I have no right to a crest, at least according to the British government, but as I'm an American and as I don't give a shit, I'm going to go ahead with the idea.

Did you know that there's really no such thing as a "family" crest or coat of arms? Sorry to break it to you, but each design was specific to a particular person - they were originally used as a means to immediately identify someone, so it would be kind of dumb to have a dad and all three of his sons on a battlefield with the same design. A typical way to work it was for a coat of arms to stay mostly the same for the first son, but have a minor change, like color, to differentiate. A child might have the coat of his father and his mother smashed together into a new design. There were all sorts of ways to personalize a crest. But if you've got a keychain with the ancient Whatever Family Crest, you really lay no more claim to it than any stranger.

I've been checking books out of the library like crazy on the subject of heraldry and arms. It's so interesting! Some of the choices, like which helmet you have over the shield, is very meaningful and each choice signifies something different. Some of the choices, like what kind of mantling you have behind and around the whole shebang, means nothing in particular and you can pick whatever you feel like. There are all sorts of websites that will tell you what your choice of charge or color signifies, but that's all certified bullshit because there is no accepted meaning for the very vast majority of that stuff, so even if there was you could be like, "No, mine means this," and no one could contradict you. It's crazy.

So I'm trying to decide what to do with the final product. I know where I want it, and I know that I want to commission the tattoo artist to make me a few copies of the design, in color, so I can get myself some stationery and/or a blazer bearing the design, but I don't know what I want to do about the internets.

Tattoos are just such a personal thing, and it would kill me if someone happened upon a picture of my tattoo and was like, "Bingo! I'm getting that!" I mean, once you put a picture out there, on Facebook or a blog or wherever, it's a battle to maintain control, right? And I know that I'll be thrilled with the final result, but I don't know that I want other people to have the option of stealing my awesome.

What say you, Internets? Do you have pictures of your art or tattoos or whatever online? Any bad experiences? Any AWESOME experiences?

Monday, March 14, 2011

On the needles

Duck feet pattern via
When we were kids, we used to play a game we called "duck feet," wherein we'd take the yellow dishwashing gloves that were kept under the sink and stick our feet in them and clomp around the house quacking. I did not realize until recently that no one else I've ever met has played this game, and people seem to think I'm a little weird. I am pretty sure my mom just let us so she could have five minutes to get some shit done, or whatever.

In an effort to keep my sister's kid from having the same weird kind of childhood, I'm knitting the child some proper duck feet.

But that's not for a little while yet. A good friend who lives around the corner is due with her second kid in mid-April, so I've just started a blanket for that one. Problem is, I freaking hate the yarn and it's so fuzzy it's obscuring the pattern (which I used in a blanket both for the parents and for the big brother, so I'm hoping to stick with it). Ugh.

I also have a simple striped blanket for the Kid's baby started, but not finished. And last week I bought five balls of a cotton-silk blend yarn in a dusty pink that will become a little sundress. I'm excited about this.

Except that the baby shower for the friend due in April, I've just discovered, is this Saturday. Oops. And the kid's shower is a month from tomorrow. Perhaps I've bitten off more than I can knit, if you'll excuse the mixed metaphor.

What are you all working on? Any knitters out there?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bonus post: party and puppy!

A bonus post, in two parts.

Part 1. Party update.
The local branch of the Emerald Society rents a party room at a hotel right where the annual St. Patrick's Day parade ends. For $15, you get all the beer you want - Guinness, Smithwicks (my choice), or Coors or some other cheap shit if you're an idiot - plus water, soda, pizza, live music, and occasional raffles. And since you're partying with cops and firefighters, everything is totally safe and you can leave your coat on a chair and go get another beer! And if you're single, it wouldn't be a bad place to meet good-looking men in uniform who know how to have a good time.

Last year, I won a raffle under an assumed name. It was towards the end of the party, when I was, like, nine beers deep, and it was a raffle for a gift certificate for a tattoo shop. They called the name Chris Baldwin, and no one said anything. So they called the name again, and I started whooping and hollering and ran up to claim "my" prize. The girl in charge of handing stuff to winners gave me a truly dirty look and demanded to know my name. "Chris Baldwin!" I hollered. She stared, clearly disbelieving. "Christine Baldwin," I added, returning her filthy look. No one asked for identification of any kind. I got the certificate, and spent the next two hours introducing myself as Chris Baldwin. Interestingly, I haven't used the certificate yet, because the shop had just opened and I was a little hesitant to get a tattoo without seeing a portfolio. Now that a year has passed, I guess it's about time, huh?

So yesterday's party was good too. I didn't win any raffles by lying, and I drank a lot less than I did last year, but we still had an awesome time dancing like idiots and drinking and yelling and stuff. The pipe-and-drum corps from the parade go through the party rooms and perform for beers and cheering, which is amazing. Have you ever stood directly next to an enthusiastic drummer? It's loud. One of the friends we were with had to work yesterday evening, so we left when she did (they had run out of Smithwicks, so why stay?) and headed home in time to watch Cops and go to bed early. Now that's exciting living.

Part 2. Dog update.

Pancakes is settling in nicely. So far, we know the following things:
  • She was fed people food.
  • She slept in a people bed.
  • She was raised by a lady or an effeminate man.
  • She was not well trained.
To elaborate:
She will not be fed people food at our house, and she's adjusting pretty well to that idea. She's stopped trying to climb us to get to whatever food we're holding, and only begs for a second before giving up and sitting quietly. To reinforce the whole hierarchy thing, we eat before we feed the dogs, and she seems to get that.

She also won't be sleeping in our bed, which is still a bit of a challenge for her. The first night, she woke us up twice whining, and when Andy opened the crate door to let the dogs out in the morning, she was across the room and curled up under my arm on the bed in under a second, no joke. She has learned the command "off," which in our house means, "Whatever your paws are on, remove them at once," so if she's jumping on someone, she has to get down, and if she's on the couch and shouldn't be, she gets off, and if she's on the bed, she suddenly forgets what "off" means. It's a work in progress, is what I'm saying.

She's a little bit afraid of Andy. Again, already loads better, but so far she's made it pretty clear that she's my dog, not his. She follows me around, hopping on her back legs half of the time to see whatever I'm doing, and would much rather be near me than Andy. When Andy is downstairs eating breakfast and getting ready for work, she sits outside the bathroom door waiting for me to be done with my shower. We're working on creating more comfort between them by having Andy feed her and let her outside, which is going pretty well so far.

Being poorly trained is actually not a huge surprise. For some reason, many people don't bother to train their small dogs, possibly because it's so easy just to scoop them up and make them do whatever you tell them. But really, this is a disservice to both the owner and the dog, so we're working on commands already. Pancakes is clearly a smart dog, so she needs to have some of her loads of energy channeled into training. Like I said, she's already learning "off" pretty well, and she's doing okay with "come." "Come" is actually an incredibly important one for us to teach her, and for her to know she absolutely must come to me when I tell her to, because she's about half Jack Russell terrier, and they are notorious for darting out any open door and running off. We live on a busy enough street that it's not safe for her to get out and take off, so she will not be outside without her harness and leash until we know that she will immediately do as she's told. She does seem to think that "come" is some sort of game, because she'll come close and then dart away as soon as I praise her. So, lots more work to be done there!

She rolled in shit the other night, which was absolutely disgusting. I know that's a thing that dogs do, but Rooster never has, so it was a surprise. So we got to learn that while Pancakes doesn't love them, she behaves okay in the bath. And we learned that my stomach is not as strong as we might hope, because I came pretty close to puking.

She and Rooster are still working out who's going to be top dog. It's funny to see, because Rooster is always such a sissy! But now he butts in front of her to be petted and fed first and to sit closer to me or Andy, and she's been letting him. We'll be keeping an eye out to see if this becomes status quo, or if she stages a COUP!

What are your St. Patrick's Day traditions? Any questions about Pancakes that I didn't answer?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

When it's time to party, we will party hard.

You guys, today's my city's St. Patrick's Day parade and all the attendant festivities. We are dropping the dogs with my parents, then partying. All day. We know of a really good party with $15 all-you-can-drink good beer - Smithwick's and Guiness!

If I'm alive, I promise a post tomorrow to make up for my especially shitty blogging for the last few days, with a review of both Pancakes' first few days and a review of the party scene.

Wish me luck!

Friday, March 11, 2011

What's that? Blogging?

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday, dudes. I worked ten hours, then went home and picked up some dogs, then went to my folks' for dinner and all. Today's post is going to kind of suck, too, because I'm being romped on by a puppy right now.

Pancakes is settling in nicely, mostly. She has a fuckton of energy, which means it's hard to get her to concentrate on anything long enough to start reinforcing good behavior. She does know the command "off" already, which is awesome because she likes to jump. A lot.

I'm off to start trying to teach her to sit. And when that inevitably fails, I'm off to look up obedience class information.

Any awesome tricks for high-energy dogs? Rooster was so lazy compared to this girl!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


We got the girl dog. Her name is Pancakes. My computer isn't letting me load a picture, but she's cute.

So far, we know that she was given people food (she is quite the little beggar, but we hope to break her of it soon!) and that she is interested in getting Rooster to play.

We got her a crate and a bed and a toy fox. We still have to get her a collar and leash (the small family-run store didn't have any the right size for her teeny neck) and then we will all live happily ever after.

Off to watch her tear-ass around the living room!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

On parenting

Know what I love? Babies. Those things are neat. I get babies. I know how they work. I have a secret for putting them to sleep. I find them precious and adorable and all those awesome things. I am one of those women whose voice goes up an octave whenever I speak to an infant, and science reassures me that it's normal and even helps development.

Know what I don't love so much? Eight-year-olds. Can we talk candidly for a second about those guys? Have you ever met an eight-year-old who wasn't kind of a pain? I have seen home videos, and can therefore attest that I was an incredibly obnoxious child. I recall pretty clearly that my siblings were pains as well. All the eight-year-olds I've ever know have been kind of obnoxious at best, and downright douchey at worst. And eight is the very beginning of that terrible ugly-duckling stage, where their teeth get all weird and overgrown, and they outgrow their clothes every ten minutes and insist on wearing the same battered sneakers for a year, and then just when you think it can't be any more annoying, BAM. That once-precious baby is now a teenager. Joke's on you.

Andy and I are starting to talk about a timeline for procreating. I like the idea of producing an heir, because I have a lot of neat stuff that needs to go to someone, so I'm down with that. I also like doing it, so it's a pretty neat deal. And I'm the one who initiated the whole conversation, so it's with some surprise that I note that my brain is going, "Man, babies are awesome! Let's get us one!" but also, "Man, I hope those endorphins you hear about are enough to keep me from punching an eight-year-old who insists on telling the same not-funny knock-knock joke nine times in a row then laughing hysterically, because I feel like that might be justifiable."

Is this normal? I feel like now that we have committed to trying to make this a thing within the next year, I'm starting to think of all the things that suck about parenting. Grubby little hands all up in my stuff. Juice spilled all over the joint. Gaudy plastic toys advertising characters I don't recognize. Pages ripped out of books I've had since I was a kid. Snot. Barf. Sass. Ugh, what if we have a baby and then it grows up to be a fifth-grade bully? What if we have one of those kids you see on Maury where the mom (where are the dads?) is all like, "Maury, I tried everything. She is too WILD." What then?

I think this is that whole afraid-of-change-thing that's totally normal and human and stuff, right? Because babies are great.

Any parents reading this thing? Are these normal fears, or am I going to be the most neurotic parent ever?

Monday, March 7, 2011


Generic office worker with creepy article about long hours contributing to dementia via
 You know that scene in Office Space where Peter says that every day is the worst day of his life? My job is a little like that this week, but substitute "most boring" for "worst." The Corolla is being fixed for the next eight years, approximately, so Andy and I are carpooling. Andy has much more rigid work hours than I do, so this means that he drops me off around 7:15 or so and picks me up around 5:30 or 5:45.

My usual hours are from 8 to 4.

This has caused massive brain sluggishness and significantly increased levels of boredom.

It's not that my job is awful. It's just that reading legal documents for ten hours tends to turn my brain to a puddle of mush. And it means that all I want after work is a beer, except that I'm not drinking beer during the week, and to curl up on the couch and watch Bones, except that I get home at the same time as Andy and he (pretends he) hates that show, so I only watch it with him when a new episode is airing. So instead, we'll find another truly bad movie to watch on my sister's dime (so far, Worst Movie I've Ever Seen goes to Crank 2, with Hellboy a reasonably close second) and drink a glass of water or some bullshit.

Oh, and I forgot that all of this was happening this week and scheduled a meter read for this afternoon between 4 and 7. You know those gas and electric companies are really reasonable about stuff like that and make it super easy to change your appointment, right? J/K, they're going to charge me $25 if I don't have it read before my next billing cycle begins. Cool.

The really awesomely great part about putting up with this for a while - and I'm being sincere for once - is that I can leave early on Friday, whenever I've hit my 40 hours for the week. So you had better believe I will be baking something outrageously delicious and also watching like nine episodes of Bones, even though scientific research shows that I get creeped out and jumpy after four.

(No news on the dog situation yet. We're working under the assumption that we'll end up with the girl dog on Wednesday, seeing as how I haven't heard from the lady at the pound yet. Further bulletins as events warrant.)

How do you handle a week that will be a total grind? Help!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Busy day of doing nothing

Today is the best kind of Saturday.
  • We got up at a reasonable hour. 
  • We met up with some friends at the Public Market (Number One in the country!) for some amazing breakfast and discovered that there's a new French pastry place that has the best pain au chocolate I've had since I was actually in France. 
  • We took a little drive to drop off the smashed car to begin being fixed. 
  • We hung out some more with awesome friends and made a complicated-but-delicious meringue/almond/chocolate buttercream cake thing. It was amazing but maybe not 100% worth four hours' worth of work.
  • We watched some Russell Brand stand-up (verdict: okay) while I made some delicious chai concentrate.
  • We're heading to a birthday event in about twenty minutes, then we might duck out early (we really only know the birthday boy and his cousin) to see The Adjustment Bureau.
How's your weekend so far? Lovely, I hope!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Because no one told me to shut up about this: A long-ish post about the pound

I think the pound attracts crazy people.

Yesterday when I got there, the clerk at the desk was clearly irritated and clearly had told the woman in front of her the same information a whole lot of times already. There was a Hispanic woman there to surrender a pit bull puppy, maybe 8 months old. Apparently it was her son's dog, but the son moved out and couldn't take the dog to the apartment because it's a pit bull, and the mom told us all that she hadn't signed up to raise no dog. More than once, she told the dog to sit about a dozen times in English, then about seven times in Spanish, then pushed down on its butt until it sort-of sat, then proudly told us all that the dog was bilingual. I was like, Bitch, that dog just ignored you in two languages. She seemed to think the discussion with the clerk was some sort of performance art, and kept mugging for those of us waiting in line.

So the woman wanted to surrender the puppy, but didn't want it to end up being put to sleep if no one adopted it. She wanted the pound to just give it back if no one took him. The clerk explained, wearily, that she had already explained that surrendering the dog means surrendering all rights to the dog. She added that she had already explained the evaluation process and that she couldn't guarantee that the puppy would be a candidate for adoption (it's based on health, temperament, and something else but I forget what) and that IF it were adoptable this woman could be placed on the list to adopt it, but couldn't have them just call her and let her know if no one adopted him. Through all of these patient explanations, the woman continued talking over the clerk and repeating that it was her son's dog, and she didn't want him to be put to sleep, and so on. I got the feeling that this interaction had been going on for a while.

So FINALLY the clerk convinces the woman that if anything is going to happen, it needs to happen now because there are other people waiting. So the woman surrenders the dog - his name is Two-Tone, she had told us about nine times, but she calls him "Toot" - and insists on walking him back to the door to the animal-holding area.

So then the next people in line, also Hispanic, tell her they'll adopt the dog. My Spanish is elementary at best, but I'm certain the woman had said something to the man about being there for a cat, not a dog. The clerk was like, are you shitting me? The clerk has to call to the people in back to bring the dog back out, and the woman just hands the dog over to them. I'm pretty sure that wasn't strictly following the pound's policies about surrender and stuff, but I'm also pretty sure the clerk was mentally weighing the options of following protocol vs. getting this dog and woman out the door, without a reason for the woman to call every day for the next two weeks.

So then we wait while a man asks about becoming a volunteer and starts filling out his application. He interrupts the clerk accepting a surrender of a stray cat so he can ask what the question about "have you ever been convicted of a crime" is asking. The clerk just sort of stares at him for a second, so he continues: "Like, do they mean just convictions? What if you have something, like, pending, or if there was an arrest but no charges were pressed? Or if the charges were dropped?" There's another pause, and the clerk tells him that Animal Services is a department of the City Police Department, so they will do a full background check, so why doesn't he just write down anything he knows they'd find out in a background check.

During all of this, there are constant phone calls, which the clerk takes while still trying to deal with the people at the counter, and volunteers walking in and out with dogs, and prospective adopters wandering through, and constant barking, and stuff. It's a madhouse in there. No wonder the employees all seem so frazzled.

Have you ever adopted from a pound? Have you ever worked or volunteered in one? Are my observations about a higher-than-average level of the crazy correct?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Are you sick of dog posts yet?

This whole dog situation is taking over my life. As a non-dog-lover in general, this is quite disconcerting. I am starting to feel more sympathetic to those people who show you pictures of their pets like they're kids or something. A little. Not much, really, but it's better than the eye-rolling that I did before, right? [For the record, we do not consider ourselves the dog's "mommy and daddy". When we produce a human child, we will be that human child's mommy and daddy. We're the dog's owners. When I tell Rooster to go get something from Andy, I use Andy's name. I cringe when people at the pound refer to me as his mommy. I'm totally okay with my stance on this, and I know haters gonna hate. You can call yourself whatever you want when it comes to your pet, as long as you don't try to apply your standards to me and don't expect me to apply mine to you. Rant over.] [Almost: can we please ban the phrase "fur kids" from ever, ever being uttered again?]

We'll find out this afternoon if Button is ours*, but I don't know if we'd get to take him home even if he is ours, because he's getting neutered today, so they might keep him overnight.

Dog-related texts I've sent today:

1. Important question: If we get the girl dog, can we name her Pancakes?
2. Did I send you a picture of Button after they shaved half of him?
3. He looks like a deranged lion.
4. I forgot to grab the extra leash, so it looks like if he's ours I'll be putting him in the shopping cart at PetSmart like a baby until I get one.
5. Please tell them she's part robot killer, to explain the crazy eyes.
6. We still need a crate and bed and food dish for whichever one we get.

This is probably more dog-related texts than I've sent since we got Rooster three years ago.

*Update: The first person on the list was there. On time. But when she heard that I wanted Button, she wavered. She apparently is the person who found him, wandering in a snowstorm, and got attached, so she signed up for him despite living in an apartment and not being sure if she's ready for another dog (she had to put her very old dog down last year). SO she got my name and number and will let us know if she thinks Button should come live with us. By Wednesday. It's a good thing I'm so good at being patient and stuff, right?

Honest, if you're sick of dog posts, just tell me. One comment confirming that this shit is boring to people who aren't me will mean I'll just let y'all know whenever we end up with one, and leave out the rest. Really.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On March

Can we all agree that March is kind of a crappy month, at least in the Northeast?

March can't decide if it's winter or spring, so it gives us the worst of both. Today the windchill here is 15°. In the next two weeks the temperature will vacillate between just-above and just-below freezing, with plenty of precipitation. That means lots of ice. And slush. And drizzly, sleety rain.


Instead of thinking of that, let's use March to start getting ready for spring to arrive in earnest! It's too cold to do much gardening beyond the planning stages up here until mid-April at the very earliest, but the planning is the only part I'm good at, really. I am sort of absent-minded, so watering is not something that I do regularly. But I can plot out a bad-ass, bountiful container garden!

We aren't planning any tropical vacations any time soon, but that doesn't mean it's not a great idea to be on the lookout for some great new springtime wardrobe additions. Jill's spring break packing list is a great place to start! (How perfect is that teal bathing suit?)

And to help get us all into the springtime spirit, how about a little springtime spirits? (WORST PUN EVER. SORRY.) I don't drink vodka (overindulged a little too heartily in my younger days) but if we replaced the vanilla vodka in this with a dark rum, it would be my new favorite, I think.

How do you deal with the March doldrums? Do you kill every plant you come into contact with, like I do?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On dreams.

Picasso's The Dream via
I've always had vivid dreams. The earliest dream I remember - and I remember every minute of it - is from when I was seven. I had just learned about DRUGS, in the way that little kids do: drugs are bad and will ruin your life! In my dream, our babysitter, who was in fact a very nice teenage girl that my parents knew from church, was on DRUGS and beat my neighbor kid to death with a garden hose. I have no idea where I got the idea that that was even a thing. I'm certain I'd never seen a movie or anything wherein a person was beaten to death with a garden hose. Obviously, scared out of my mind, I spent the night in my parents' bed, and I can recall the precise feeling of dread I felt when my mom opened the curtains in the morning and I expected to see Michael's body laid out on the lawn. I feel that I should add that the very vast majority of my dreams aren't nearly this awful. Most of them are just weird.

When I was in high school and had mono, my fever-fueled dreams were even more bizarre than normal. I had one where I somehow owned all of Europe, and because it was mine I could rearrange it as I see fit. I used this power (mostly) for good, by splitting up the fighty countries and such. The weirdest part was that the countries were all laid out on a board, like one of those wooden puzzles toddlers play with, but that I could move the pieces around however I wanted and they still always fit. All the puzzle pieces were an interesting shade of purple. It made discerning the borders kind of difficult, though.

Over the summer I was starting to think in earnest about my next tattoo. I have most of the components figured out, but I have a gap where there's still one missing piece. In a dream, I was thinking about the tattoo, and I suddenly realized that the missing item was a Meyer lemon! Of course! It all fit! It was such a relief to have the whole thing figured out. The thing is, I'm not even sure I've ever seen a Meyer lemon in real life, or if I'd recognize one if I was looking right at it. They hold no significance to me whatsoever, and I'm certainly not including one in my tattoo.

Two nights ago, I dreamed that Charlie Sheen and I were working together to teach reformed prostitutes to crochet and embroider (but not knit, which I actually know how to do) so they could support themselves. Apparently this was some distance in the future, because Charlie, who has been making some interesting choices lately, seemed sober, cheerful, and well rested. He really seemed to have gotten his shit together. He was in charge of the crocheting, and I was busy teaching the hookers how to do really fancy crewelwork, which I've never done a single stitch of and would probably suck at. The former prostitutes were really nice, and seemed to really be happy to have a new way to make money. Of course, once I woke up, I remembered that it's almost impossible to support oneself these days with handiwork, and that hooking is actually a pretty good rate of pay for the hours worked, and that Charlie Sheen is a degenerate woman-beating drug addict whose show I refuse to watch on principle.

I think it's interesting to look at dream dictionaries to see what the various elements supposedly represent. Lemons, for example, according to the first link, suggest something being inferior. Except that I was super-excited in the dream to hit upon the idea. (There was no entry for Meyer lemon or Charlie Sheen, for some reason.) My point here is, dream dictionaries are bullshit, but funny sometimes, like fortune cookies.

Do you remember your dreams? Do you assign meaning to the things you dream about? Anyone want to psychoanalyze me based on the four dreams described here?