Monday, January 30, 2012

Make Sure It's Got Lots of Glitter, Okay?

Last night some dude gave me a giant, man-sized crow puppet and taught me how to work it so that the world wouldn't explode.  But then I didn't do it right so the only option left was to turn into Buffy the Vampire Slayer and let someone throw a knife at my back.  I died, but it was okay, because I came out a happy ghost and had averted the apocalypse.

Lesson 1:  Birds can't be trusted.  Neither can professional puppeteers.

Lesson 2:  While you were all unconscious, I saved the world, so you should probably make me an award.  With glitter.

Alternate Lesson 2:  I need to stop eating cheese fries before bed.

(True:  Large dogs' dreams last longer, but small dogs dream more frequently.)

Kellan dreams of playing fetch with some nice new people.

Friday, January 27, 2012

You Found Me, and That's Weird

One of the things I like about Blogger is the "Stats" tab.  It allows you to keep up with how many hits you have and what search terms people are using to find you.

Basically, what I've discovered is that my readers are very odd, and probably disappointed.

To the person who found my by searching for "horizontal zombie arm:"  I don't understand why your zombie arm can only be held horizontally, but I'm sorry that the only zombie arm I've provided you was vertical and actually non-cancerous, not zombified.  But I can see where you'd get confused about that.

To the person who seached for "does towles 'an afair to remember' have a happy ending:'"  If you need a grammar and spelling tutor, you've come to the right place, but I'm afraid I've never seen that movie.  Or is it a book?  Either way, it was clearly poorly written.

To the person looking for "labyrinth eyebrows:"  I seriously hope you are working on growing your eyebrows into a hedge maze, like in all those trashy romance novels and also Harry Potter.

To the person needing ideas "for the spring summer dog:"  Maybe a sparkly new collar?  Or a kiddie pool?  You've got me stumped on this one.

To the person wanting to find that perfect "zombie spider horror movie:"  You are not welcome here.

Also, someone is clearly very, very interested in dental implants.  It comes up on my stats page several times a week.  Awesome.

(True:  You, my dear readers, are baffling and wonderful.)

Kellan knows I was going somewhere with this, but he's keeping mum. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Toys and Treats for Your Tripod

Oh, hi!  It's been a while since I've pontificated at you, huh? 

When I got Prada, she had no interest in toys of any kind.  Some dogs just don't.  However, because I wanted her to have an occupation other than getting my attention, and because I enjoy a game of tug myself, I taught her.  It took a while.  It's only in the last couple months that I can show her a new toy and she'll be excited about it, rather than me coaxing her into playing with it.

Of course, we've never had any trouble with her being excited about treats.

My biggest concern for treats is whether or not they are good for her.  It's important she doesn't get tubby and put more stress on her joints.  The people where I train her are huge fans of Stella and Chewy's brand treats.  They are made of freeze-dried meats or sometimes vegetables, and can be given to your dog as-is or re-hydrated for a different texture.  They're pretty expensive, though, so I haven't purchased any.  (Prada did snag a free sample of them at an event, though, and she gives them three paws up.)  I have been getting an off-brand I've found at TJMaxx a couple of different times.  Prada like the chicken and liver a ton.  She's still a bit iffy on the sweet potato, but that's really good for dogs, too.  The freeze-dried treats also crumble easily, so you can give just a little at a time, or sprinkle one over her dinner for a special surprise. 

In general, I try to stay away from treats that have lots of carbohydrates as the first ingredients (flour, wheat gluten, corn anything, etc.) or anything that has lots of ingredients I can't pronounce.  I look at it this way:  if I had kids, I would rather they snack on grapes than candy.  Grapes are better for them and less likely to give them a tummy ache, but a piece of candy every once in a while isn't going to do any harm, either.

For longer-lasting chews, I try to find things Prada won't have to chase around.  Nothing rolly.  Ring- or knot-shaped chews work well, though Prada's favorite is the Quado, made by N-Bone.  It's unique shape is perfect for being held secure by a single paw.  Best of all, because Prada doesn't have to work so hard to hold it still, she doesn't have to chew just from one side.  That's much better for her teeth.  (They make her breath smell nice, too.)

I've heard a lot of people talk up Kongs, and I've always liked those.  My last dog, Hans, thought they were the greatest thing since peanut butter.  Prada, on the other hand, is not a fan.  She wants to roll it to make the treats or kibble fall out, but the placement of the hole isn't conducive to that.  I've replaced the Kong with a rubber ball that has a hole in it.

As for plush toys, as long as it has something small enough for her to get her itty bitty mouth around, she's happy.  And the ones that have legs or such that will whip around when she shakes it are the best, obviously.

I'm not saying any of these are going to work for everybody, but talking about it can help you come up with new ideas.  Every dog is different.  But if you keep trying new things, you're bound to find something that is really the cat's meow.  (Sorry.  I couldn't help myself.)

What does your dog love/hate?

(I'm not paid to talk about particular products--I'm not nearly that important.)

Kellan is not a tripod.  He doesn't have limited mobility, either.  But he used to be completely paralyzed, so you know he's a special boy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Home Decorating is a Lie.

I like the idea of decorating my place and living in a space that is beautiful and functional.

This space is a myth.

Browsing, a site I very much enjoy and admire, with its gorgeous photos and hope-inspring tips, I have stumbled across some photos that make me realize that perhaps, there is a solution, and a beautiful living environment can be mine.

Found here.
Look at how pretty that is, and everything you need to leave the house is right there for you.  Now I just need to pick a color, buy a new outdoor wardrobe in that monochromatic theme, and never wear anything else.  Also, the cat will totally pee in that plant, and the dirty Chicago snow is going to smear all over those pretty tiles without a serious heavy duty rug there.  The bench?  It's going to be heaped with junk mail and whatever I happen to have gotten sick of holding as I walk past.  And be prepared for the fact that there is going to be at the very least ten pairs of shoes laying haphazardly on the floor, waiting to trip the unsuspecting.

Oh, what about this kitchen? 

Found here.

This might work.  After all, I too, have a lot of shelves.  However, I'm going to need dishes that actually match, and for those dishes to actually make it to their homes before before being used again.  That will probably be a shock for them, having never left the dish drainer before.  Also, I don't know if boxes of mac and cheese and Hamburger Helper and cans of condenced cream of chicken soup are going to look as elegant in those jars.  Although those top shelves do look like an amazing places to store things I want to forget I own until I need to move again and then have to deduct what it is that might be living under the three inches of dust up there.
No, really.  Does anyone really live this way, with their homes looking like department store tableaus?  Because frankly, if I'm not going to be seriously depressed, I need to believe in homes like this the same way I believe in the tooth fairy--if I'm not getting paid to keep it up, it's just not worth it.

(True:  I once bought a book on organizing your home, the friend I was with laughed at me.)

Coco doesn't mind clutter, as long as there is space on your lap.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Healthcare for the Country Girl

Do you need to go to the doctor?  A handy checklist.*

Are you bleeding? 
Are you bleeding a lot?
No?  Don't waste my time.
Yes, quite a lot?
Is this bleeding putting you in mortal danger?
No?  Quit whining and put some duct tape on it.
Yes?  You may drive yourself to the doctor.

Do you think you may have broken a bone?
No?  Whenever you're finally done with what you're doing, take an aspirin.
Yes?  If it is broken, would the doctor be able to put a cast on it?
No?  It's your finger/toe?  Put some tape on it.  You'll be fine.
No?  It's your tailbone?  Sit on a floaty-ring.  You'll be fine.
Yes?  Can you see the bone?
No?  You're probably fine.  Walk it off.
Yes?  You may drive yourself to the doctor.

Does your head hurt?
Yes?  Did you fall from a great height or did something heavy fall on your head?
Yes?  Can you remember who the president is?
No?  You may lie down until someone finds you and drives you to the doctor.
Yes?  Do you have a very strong opinion about the president?
Yes?  You're fine.  Take one of those good pills left over from when you had your wisdom teeth out four years ago.
No?  You may lie down until someone finds you and drives you to the doctor.
Is the person nearest you screaming something about squishy pink stuff spilling out of your noggin?
Yes?  You're screwed.  You may as well not bother with the doctor.

Do you have a cold?
Is this a joke?  Use some Vicks and quitcherbitchin'.

*I am not a certified healthcare professional.  If you die, it's not my fault.

(True:  I love Vicks.  I once wrote an ode to express my love for Vicks.)

Coco is writing you a prescription for snuggles and rawhides.

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Job Here is Done

The Squeeze and I have been dating for a while now, going on four years, I guess.  And that's just this time!  Over the years, I've told him repeatedly that I don't cook, I don't like to cook, I can't cook.

Confession:  I can cook just fine.  I just didn't want him--or anyone--expecting me to cook all the time.  Or ever, really.  Sometimes (usually) I'm cool with having a bowl of cereal and letting anyone else fend for themselves.

But, now that I'm living so far from my parents that I can't visit them regularly just for comfort food, I've been cooking a bit more regularly.  I've cooked like, three times in the last two weeks, and he hasn't tried a single bite. 

First, it was bean soup, and I thought, okay, maybe he doesn't like bean soup.  Then it was home-made mini pizzas, which I was sure would be a hit.  They were pretty darn tasty.  Nope.  But then, they did have whole-wheat crusts, so maybe that scared him away.  Spaghetti.  Everybody likes spaghetti, right?  I even cooked meat for it.  (I'm not a vegetarian, meat is just expensive and takes a whole 'nother step to prepare and one more dish to wash.)  So the spaghetti was, you know, manly.

It was also a no-go.

Want to know what I think?  Well, you're here, so I'm going to take that as a yes.

I think I did my job too well.  I have convinced him that I don't cook, I don't like to cook, I can't cook.

The Squeeze is absolutely terrified of eating anything I've had a hand in preparing.  And he really doesn't even have any reason, if you overlook the fact that that's what I've told him a whole bunch of times, and that one time I made pancakes and he puked for hours.

That could have just been a bug, you know.

(True:  My specialties are Kraft Mac'n'Cheese and frozen pizza.  I should totally have a contract with Food Network.  (That's a thing, right?  Food Network?))

Coco isn't a picky eater.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Land of the Living

Here I am...  A day late, and a dollar short.  (I'm sure I owe somebody a dollar, anyway.)  I thought briefly about posting yesterday even though I was home sick, but by the time I cast a line out and reeled my head in from across the street, I had fallen back asleep.

Anyway, here's a story for you, and it's even true.

This weekend, I had a work function, the kind that involves beer and schmoozing with customers.  My boss played on of those bar games where you punch the punching game for points.  He got enough points, and the machine spat out a prize in a plastic sphere.  Shrugging, he gave it to me.  Being the curious sort, I opened it right away.


Honestly, where is my robot?  You know, the one that will wave it's arms and cry, "Danger, Dana the Biped, Danger."

I opened the prize and promptly regretted my existence.  I'm not certain whose existence my boss regretted, mine or his own.  Probably both.

In that innocuous plastic sphere, which I had opened in front of God, my coworkers, and a good number of our customers, was not the plastic soldier with a plastic parachute or something expected like that.  Oh, no.  I lucked out enough to get the frilly underpants.

(True:  I recently saw a video of one of the guys I work with at karaoke singing with no shirt on, with lots of women rubbing up against him.  Knowing this guy as I do, the part that upset me was the fact that his hair is so much better than mine.  Also, my life is pretty strange.)

Dear Dora, I'm really sorry that this is the week you were stuck with me.

(Update:  I just decided I didn't blog yesterday because SOPA sucks.  Unless you speak Spanish, and are talking about soup.  Soup is cool.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Family Portrait

My parents have a Deutch Drahthaar.  That's a real thing.  A dog, in fact.  Close cousin to the German Wirehair, but more everything.  Bigger, smarter, more athletic...  It's like having a ninety pound two-year-old in the house.  Drew is a working dog, and up until recently, he's been unemployed.

See, Drahthaars are hunting dogs, and that's what my dad wanted to do with Drew.  However, Drew has seasonal alopecia.  The leaves fall off trees, all the hair falls off Drew's sides.  He'd scrape the bejeezus out of himself if he went hunting.  Fortunately, my dad is a problem solver.

Last weekend, Dad showcased the new job he'd gotten for Drew:

Clockwise from the top:  The Brother-in-Law, Drew, Dad, My Sister the Lawyer, Me, Prada
That's a repurposed Radio Flyer, y'all.  And Drew is pulling me.  Actually, this is when we first started out.  About ten seconds after this picture was taken, Dad handed me the reins, and Drew took off running.  Just imagine it:  bouncing along in a Radio Flyer after a dog, going about fifteen miles an hour.  That's way faster than I can bike.

This is when everybody finally caught up with us, a half mile down the road.
 Drew isn't tired here.  He's just distracted by some birds.  In case you think this is all Drew is capable of:

See that sweater Drew is wearing?  I totally made that.

The neighbors think my family is crazy.  Clearly, though, my family is just crazy-cool.

(True:  That first picture is taken on the main street of my hometown.  I did mention I'm from the boonies, right?)

Dora approves of creative solutions.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Prepare to be Amazed

Let me start this post with a pre-emptive apology.  I was going to have this really clever post with entertaining photos about my weekend in Wisconsin, but The Squeeze forgot those photos are on his phone.  So, instead, I've come up with some poems you won't want to share with your children.

Hickory dickory dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck two,
The mouse went poo,
And I said, "Eww,
I'm leaving the cleanup all for you."

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain,
So I ran the spider over with my truck.

There was a crooked man, who walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked house,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.
And so he wrote a country song, and sang it all about.
And morons loved it everywhere, and cheered it with a shout.
He bought some fancy clothes, you can see in U.S. Weekly,
But his ex-girlfriends say, he's really bad in bed.

Jack and Jill went up a hill,
To fetch a pail of water.
Which was a lot more work than it needed to be, since everyone knows the water table doesn't suddenly rise just because you've climbed a stupid hill, so really they had that whole "crown" tragedy coming.

This is the McMansion the Jack built.
This is the bank that foreclosed on the McMansion that Jack built.
This is the box behind the dumpster next to the bank that foreclosed on the McMansion that Jack built.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Ate omelets.

Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her.
Because she wanted a damn apple pie for once, asshole.

This photo is extra-large to make up for the fact that I didn't have any others to post.

Dora would like to point out that she has no say in what I post, and she's not nearly as messed up in the head as I am.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: All Work and No Play... Not Here!

All right, folks, we've got a couple things to take care of today, so no advice from me.  Sorry.  I know how desperately you've been looking forward to that this last week.  No, no, don't cry:  It'll be all right, I promise.

First and foremost, the very long-awaited Ugly Sweater Contest Winner!  Drumroll, please....

Tarzan!  Ain't he a cutie?  His mom, Jenny, sent me this photo, explaining that this Santa outfit is the one her son wore for his first Christmas--that was five or six years ago.  To top it off, she sent me a picture of her son in the same outfit this Christmas, but sadly I accidentally deleted it.  Jenny, I'll be contacting you about your shiny $10 gift card.

Prada was very sad she couldn't compete, because she's been working hard on her glamour pose:

Oh, wait, you can't actually see her sweater there.

Glamour-puss.  Er, dog.

Anyway, congratulations again to Tarzan and Jenny!

And, you guys!  I have the most exciting news!  Remember Rusty?  He's been adopted!  I'm hoping to hear from my contact at the rescue he was at; I'll update you when I can.

Go, Rusty!

Dora will be sponsoring us this week.  This photo was taken shortly before her amputation, but don't worry--she's still the prettiest girl in the room!  (Though Prada might argue that.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dear Little Children: I am Sorry for Your Future in Therapy.

I don't know if you've heard, but there's a recession out there.  And I have a bachelor's degree in English Lit.  My paying-for-stuff options have therefore been limited.  Unlike my friend Jake, who found a job in the industry but had to go halfway across the world to do it, I chose to stay state-side.

So I have three jobs.

Job Number Three is babysitting for the cutest four-year-old twins ever.  I head over to their house on Saturday afternoons and pop in a movie while their parents nap, so it's pretty low-key.

This is what I have learned:  Walt Disney is a babysitter's worst nightmare.

Cars 2:  Little Girl:  This movie scares me!
              Internal Me:  Me too.  It's about a truck with mental retardation and buck teeth.  It doesn't get scarier than that.

Bambi:  Little Girl:  Where did Bambi's mom go?
              Me:  The hunters got her, remember?
              Little Girl:  Why?
              Me:  Uh...  They didn't know she had a family?
              Little Girl:  But what happened to her?
              Me:  Uh....
              Little Boy:  They exploded her!

Cinderella:  Little Boy:  This movie is dumb!
                     Internal Me:  Because of the gender stereotypes being perpetuated?  Because of the way the stepsisters noxious personalities and lack of intelligence are represented by ugly exteriors, perpetuating the stereotype that ugly people are stupid, bad people?
                     Little Boy:  Because the mice wear clothes!

Sleeping Beauty:  Internal Me:  Now, kids, if anyone tries to kiss you while you're unconscious, it doesn't mean they are a prince.  It means they're a pervert.
                               Little Girl:  He's so handsome!

The Duck Tails movie, however, is awesome in every way.

(True:  I have a friend my age who is pretty much a Disney princess comes to life.  She's tiny; she's beautiful; she sings; and her dreams regularly feature bunnies.  I haven't had the heart to tell her I grew up on a rabbit farm, where the dinner table regularly featured bunnies.)

Midnight is a couch potato, and she just wanted to say that she'd be happy to watch any movie with you.  It doesn't need to be a princess movie.  She's got the princess part covered all by herself.

Monday, January 9, 2012

An Affair to Remember

My cousin got married this weekend.  She and her new husband kind of geeky, so they're good peoples.  Even cooler, their exit processional was the theme music from Indiana Jones.  Even coolest, they had three cakes.  One was a very pretty traditional tiered cake, but I didn't take a picture of it because I was distracted by these beauties:

Featuring Han Solo frozen in carbonite chocolate.

Featuring an exceptionally dapper R2D2 and his bride, R2DTwoette.  (Try saying that without chuckling.  I dare you.)
The best part?  My cousin, the bride, made Han Solo frozen in carbonite chocolate and Mr. and Mrs. R2D2.  How cool is that?  Pure chocolate yummmm.  I got a Han Solo--possibly the bestest wedding favor ever.

My family is awesome.

(True:  I was chatting with the bride as she licked the frosting off the lightsabers and action figures on the chocolate-frosted cake.  She suddenly stopped mid-sentence, looking alarmed.  "I just licked Hans Solo's butt."  Edit:  It's Luke Skywalker's.  That might be worse.)

Wink wink indeed, Midnight.

Friday, January 6, 2012

When Physics (and Other Subjects) Attack

Class, let me introduce you to my good friend, Mike the Deer-Puncher.  His stories are going to enlighten us and provide examples clarifying today's lessons.  Ready?  Okay.

Open your math books to page 487.  Problem one reads, "If Dana the Biped and Mike the Deer-Puncher both plan on taking the London Underground with their choir director from Gloucester Road to Chiswick Park on the Green Line, how much later than Dana will Mike arrive?"


It's answer B, about ten minutes later.  Because Mike will have to take the next train after he has shoved Dana onto the train just as the doors close, and been left behind, waving sadly as the choir director pulls out his hair.

Alright, we'll move on.  Physics, page 193:  "If Mike the Deer-Puncher depressurizes a can of Glade room spray with a pitchfork instead of an ax, how long will he smell like a Hawaiian Breeze?"

If you answered, "I can't remember, the fumes messed with my head," give yourself a point.  Bonus points if you can tell me how many years Mike continued shedding shrapnel in the shower.

Moving on to English, and continuing our study of literary devices.  Can anyone explain to me what cosmic irony is?  It's the idea that the fates are toying with us mere humans, and it can stem from a large and surprising discrepancy between reality and our human ideals. 

For example, Mike the Deer-Puncher is in school to become a veteranarian, which is quite expensive.  The only way he's found to pay for that education?  Working in a butcher shop.

That's all for today, class; we'll have Mike visit us again soon.  You are dismissed.

(True:  All of the stories above, though I can't remember the exact scent of the Glade.  It might have been Country Garden.)

Isn't it ironic?  Don'cha think?
Midnight has learned that an object in motion stays in motion--until it trips over big puppy feet and faceplants.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Fifty

That's his name, don't wear it out.  They've got four legs (and a kickstand) between them, Fifty and his mom do, but that doesn't stop either one of these Chicagoland heroes from championing dogs, especially homeless dogs and bully breeds, in need.

Have some happy.

If you need a midweek pick-me-up, check this fella out.  He's got his own blog, and he's on Facebook, too.

This is the "ready, set" part.  Just wait till the "go!"

Midnight is a lap lab, and she's very graceful--except when she runs so fast, she outruns herself and trips over those big puppy feet!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Another Trip to the ER, Still No George Clooney

Once upon a time, I had a bad job.  Really, really bad.  It had me so stessed out that in the wee hours one night, my body rebelled.  A severe muscle spasm caused me to lose control of the muscles in my neck.

It hurt, to put it mildly, and I couldn't lift or turn my head.  As it turns out, you need to lift your head in order to get out of bed.  And if the pain jolts you out of sleep and you can't move, your first sleepy thought might be along the lines of, "I'm paralized!"  Then you realize you're not, and you wake up The Squeeze.

The Squeeze sleeps heavily.  It takes him a while to come to full consciousness.  So when I woke him up and explained the situation, his reaction was to tell me to go back to sleep.  And he went back to sleep.  I didn't, but I couldn't very well drive myself to the emergency room now, could I?

In the morning, the muscles that had gone lax were now clenched.  I still couldn't lift my head, but by grabbing my hair and pulling, I was able to sit up.  The Squeeze had a very important engagement, so it was decided my roommate would go with me to the ER.  Exit Squeeze stage left.

Now it's just my roommate and me.  My sleepy roommate remembers her car is in the shop; we'll have to take mine.  My car has a manual transmission.  The roommate cannot drive it. 

I drive myself to the ER, unable to turn my head at all.  The roommate does the looking for me, and we pray I won't get pulled over or kill us in a cataclysmic crash.

A week later, I quit that job.

Trapper probably would have handled it all a lot more gracefully than me, given he's the resilient sort.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Defensive Karaoke Part Three: Ew.

Short post today, because my To-Do pile is so large it's literally (not figuratively) spilling off my desk.

New Year's Eve:  I worked the karaoke.  It was a pretty normal night, if somewhat busier than normal.  The Squeeze and some friends were there, which is always fun, expecially since it means people are less likely to try to lick my ear.

I've mentioned before that my station is near the ladies' room.  It's a one-seater and locks from the inside.  For the first time, I actually had to grab a guy by the scruff of his neck and haul him away from following his lady-friend in.  Instead, they proceeded to make out and...  Well.  Clothes pretty much stayed on, thank goodness.  They started at nine p.m.  I left at quarter to four in the morning, and they were still going.  Ew.

Chapstick, anyone?

(True:  I don't really get this whole kissing someone on New Year's Eve thing.  I mean, fine if you're out with someone, but if you don't have a date, it just seems like a good way to get cooties.)

Trapper is cootie-free and looking for love.