Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Girl Scout Cookies of DOOM!

Yesterday I got my Girl Scout cookies.  (Don't tell The Squeeze; I don't want to share.)  On the box, there are photos of girls doing wholesome, morale- and character-building activities, and that seriously freaks me out.  Dude.  I'm trying to have some nice, healthy, bingejunkeating here.  Don't go pushing your wholesomeness in my face.  I just want to eat my cookies and guilt in peace.  You know what would help?  Maybe a picture of something as sneaky as I feel, like a ferret or something.  Or a spy.  Or a ninja!

Dear GSA:  Please put photos of ninjas on your cookie boxes.  Ninjas are strong and can stand up for what they believe in by kicking ass.  Also, they help overcome preconcieved stereotypes of what it is to be female, what with having to wear lots of makeup and be totally skinny and also really tiny skirts.  Ninjas wear masks.  You can't even tell what gender a ninja is when they are attacking you, though that might be because either they are invisible or because you are already unconscious, but still. 

Sincerely:  Dana the Biped
 P.S. A ferret-ninja would be okay, too.  Or a duck.  Everybody likes ducks.

Bud would totally let you have all the Thin Mints.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Words of Wisdom

My Nana was one cool lady.  An Air Force wife, she lived all over the world, working as a volunteer nurse and substitute mom for those men who needed a warm meal and a place to feel at home on Sunday afternoons.  She navigated her life as if she were in a tank, plowing over any obstacles in her path.  Even when the Alzheimer's got really bad, and her stories became more and more outrageous, she was always the hero of those stories.  I loved her to pieces.

One of the best things about Nana is that she always gave it to you straight.  Oh, didn't you like what she had to say?  Then you shouldn't have asked, dummy.  So a couple of years ago, when I was agonizing over whether or not to move to Chicago, I asked her for some advice.  She gave me words to live by, Nana-style:

"Suck it up.  You're a Gardner."

Damn skippy I am.

What's your last name?  Because Bud would like to borrow it for a while.  Just for ten, fifteen years or so.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Do You Think Craigslist Has Anyone Looking for a Professional Mourner? 'Cause I Could Totally Do That.

You guys, I am in the midst of a great personal tragedy.  Of the shoe variety.  Remember that time I bought those killer shoes at that awesome thrift store?  Well, I was there again last night, and they had three pairs of barely-worn Manolo Blahniks.  For cereal.  Well, not for cereal, but for dirt cheap.  I wanted them.  I wanted them all, and I wanted them bad.

They were half a size too big.

I tried to make them work, I really did.  There can't really be that much difference between a 37 and a 36.5*, right?  Well, yes, there can be, and with high heels, there isn't always room for heel pads or cotton in the toes.

I paced the aisle for about half an hour in a full-fledged anxiety attack, I wanted them so badly.  I called my mom, but she seems to think that I'm an adult and therefore capable of making my own decisions.  (I'm not entirely certain I agree.)

I went home shoeless, because my stupid brain decided to be reasonable.  Jerk. 

You know how actors are supposed to think of something really, really sad to make themselves cry?  Or how, in Italy, a family will hire people to weep and wail at a funeral?  I now have the material to do that.

*What, doesn't everyone memorize their European shoe size on the off-chance of coming across a pair of Manolos in a thrift store?

(True:  Tom Cruise went to India and his PR people hired professional fans to scream when he got off the plain.  So he's got the material, too.)

Talk of shoes makes Bud nervous.  Whatever happened to your shoes, it's not his fault.  Geez, you haven't even met him yet!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Sources!

Confession:  I spend a lot of time online.  Really.  A lot.  When I'm not watching funny cat videos or obsessing over Pinterest, I do stumble across a number of interesting articles regarding dog behavior and care.  In the interest of cleaning up my Favorites Bar...

Hopefully you'll find the information as interesting and helpful as I did!

Bud is well-socialized and potty-trained, and he looks forward to continuing his education, too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Am Not Dead. Yet.

Unless, of course, I am dead and this is a a dead-dream or maybe the afterlife, in which case, this is not the Kool-Aid I thought I was drinking.

Busy.  I've have been it.  Even now, I am semi-covertly blogging at work.  (Shhh, don't tell!)

Over the weekend, my friend Jes visited from Iowegialand, or maybe Nebraska.  Is there a difference?  Anyway, Jes is awesome.  I have been so busy that "cleaning" my apartment for her arrival consisted of me throwing a sheet over the four foot tall mountain of laundry and shoving the dirty dishes in the oven.  Our conversation on the way from the airport went like this.

Me:  Don't look in the oven.
Jes:  Okay.
Me:  Or the refrigerator.
Jes:  Okay.
Me:  And close your eyes when you go into the bathroom.
Jes:  All right.
Me:  And just ignore all of the boxes with crap spilling out.  I never really finished moving in.
Jes:  No problem.
Me:  I mean, I know that was two years ago, but I'm usually at The Squeezes' place anyway.
Jes:  Okay.
Me:  I have nothing for you to eat or drink.
Jes:  That's what take-out is for.
Me:  I'm sorry!  I'm the worst host ever!
Jes:  Yeah, but I love you anyway.

I love her right back.

(True:  We saw dead people and then we met a famous person.  The famous person was still alive, though.)

Bud doesn't care what your place looks like, either.  He's cool like that.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: Dealing with Others' Reactions

When people see Prada, they have a limited number of reactions:  either they feel bad for her ("Oh, that poor dog!"), or they don't notice the amputation at all and feel obliged to point out to me, the negligent dog owner, that my dog is limping.  Let me tell you, it gets frustrating pretty fast.

Prada is, frankly, undersocialized.  We're working on it, but the world is still a pretty scary place to her.  When I take her out, I make sure I have my "this is a grand, fun adventure" face on and do everything I can to ensure each outing is a success.  I'm absolutely that crazy person having a conversation with my dog as we're walking in public.  It's hard to keep that posititvity up when people are pushing their pity (and sometimes disapproval) on you.  They aren't trying to be rude, exactly--but curiosity and concern are hard to overcome.  One of the major reasons we go out is specifically to encounter new people, and their reactions to her mean they aren't treating her like they would any other dog.  If someone does want to approach her, they treat her like she's very fragile.  Dogs sense our feelings--when someone is uncertain about how to approach this "disabled" (I hate that word) dog that looks and moves so differently, it makes Prada anxious, too.

To some extent, this is unavoidable, and I guess it's good practice for Prada to get accustomed to the way people are always going to treat her.  Still, I do my best to help the other person see my dog, not the space where her leg would be.  I frequently borrow the tagline from tripawds.com:  "It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four!" 

Bud recently had his leg set in hopes that will help his injured leg heal properly.  He's a great little lab mix who loves kids, other dogs, and even cats, so you know he's a pretty easy-going guy.  All he needs is now is that special someone to hold the other end of his tug rope.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Do You Think Anne Hathaway Would Do It?

Valentine's Day in the Biped/Squeeze household went something like this:

Me:  I know it's the buttcrack of dawn, and I'm sorry to wake you up, but I have a favor to ask.
The Squeeze:  Happy Valentine's Day, baby.
Me:  Aw, thanks!  Happy Valentine's Day to you, too. 
The Squeeze:  What did you need?
Me:  I think the dog is sick.  Can you get a stool sample?

Ah, l'amour.  We are a romantic movie in the making.

(True:  Prada's fine.  I'm pretty sure she just ate a stick.)

No chocolates for Bella, please.  Just cuddles, and maybe something sparkly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a Lot Like Life in the Mob, Except Nobody Dies.

So, you may have heard my car died.  Well and truly.  My weekend was spent getting a new one, which went like this:

Saturday:  Get up at 4 a.m., take the train to Milwaukee.  Get picked up by parents, driven an hour and a half to the town where my credit union is.  Convince them to lend me money.  Informed the credit union closes at noon.  Crazy car shopping ensues.  Miss the twelve o'clock deadline.  Become convinced that life is ruined forever.  Find a car.  Praise god that car dealership is owned by someone my family has known for a long time, and he will let me drive the car home with just the down payment and the promise that the credit union thing will be figured out.  Discuss mutual cousins with the dealer.  Go to next town over.  Have tea and pie with Grandma.  Send camera-phone pic of new car to The Squeeze.  The Squeeze receives a picture of a spider.  Send camera-phone pic of new car to The Squeeze.  The Squeeze receives a picture of Prada.  Give up.  Decide phone is retarded or about to rebel Terminator-style.  Go to parents' house.  Realize I need insurance.  Mom calls insurance guy who lets us come over to his house to write my policy.  Interupt his dinner.  Realize insurance guy also taught my hunter's safety course in middle school.  Get insurance, two memo pads, a letter opener, a pen, a calendar with a guide to the best fishing days, and a reaffirmation of the second ammendment.  Feel awesome.  Go back to parents' house. 

Sunday:  Crash.  (Sleep-wise, not the car.)

So, here are some pics of my new car:

As you can see, the hatchback-style gives me a lot more room than in my old coupe, and the steering wheel is set low enough for short people to see over without sitting on the yellow pages.

The power locks and power windows are a nice upgrade, too.

(True:  "I know a guy.")

Bella oughtta know a guy, too.

Friday, February 10, 2012


In college, I spent a term in the UK, and when it was over, my family flew out to visit me.  We rented a minivan (which is a whole 'nother story in and of itself) and drove all over the country/countries.  (Let's see:  England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, UK, Great Britain...  I think that covers them all.)

When we were in Edinburgh, we went for dinner to a very classy, high-end pub, and this made me happy since I'd been trying really hard to show off how I was newly well-travelled and posh.  Thus far, I hadn't done too well, being clumsy and falling all over things and also forgetting my new posh self and skipping all over the place like I was six.

Anyway, classy pub.  Old, glossy wood, expensive lighting, well-dressed and well-spoken patrons.  Nice place.  Then I had to pee.  Off to the ladies I go. 

You know those machines in ladies rooms where they usually sell tampons?  Or lipgloss and condoms if it's a gas station?  This bathroom had one of those except instead of selling the normal stuff, it was selling inflatable sheep.

You guys, I had brought my mother to an establishment that sold INFLATABLE SHEEP.

(True:   My mom is awesome and thought it was hilarious.)

Bella totally would have been chill about it (but she probably would have enjoyed hopping down the streets of Bath with me, too).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: You're Welcome. And Thank You.

Happy Thursday!  (Not for me, my car broke down, and that's just a bit of a bummer.)  Have some happy!  (I'm going to need it.)

Check out this link.  Go ahead.  I bet you ten dollars you'll be grinning in five seconds flat.  (Not really, all my money is going to the mechanic.)

Well, guys, the Winter Warm Up bedding drive for the Animal Welfare League is still going strong, and will continue through Valentine's Day.  I'm sending four beds to add to their collection, thanks to Jo, lazysubculturalgirl, My Sister the Lawyer, and blatherbybubbe, all of whom are my very favorite.

I've had a couple of people mention they would like to help, but live too far away from Chicago and the drive's drop-off points.  If you are interested in sending a donation (bedding or money, they aren't too picky that way), you can send it to:

Be Fido's Friend
c/o Mutt Hutt Inc
1216 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642

(P.S.  You guys are awesome.  I was going to post photos of the beds y'all are donating to show you how awesome you are, but the beds are in my car, and my car is dead, so there you go.)

This is Bella.  Isn't she just the prettiest little thing?  She just wanted me to tell you that she'd make you smile even more than that link of happy dogs did.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Naked Children Are Not Mine.

I don't have children.  I babysit for twin four-year-olds once a week, and while they're pretty awesome, I'm glad that when I go home, they don't come with me, you know? 

Like every single person in my graduating class, I decided I would never have children when I was in freshman biology and we watched The Miracle of Life.  Have you seen it?  It's terrifying.  You watch video footage of a pregnancy from swimming conception to the gory horror of birth.  The c-section in Twilight has nothing on this film for sheer awful birth scenes.  I still shudder to think of it.  (FYI, miracles don't involve uncontrolled bowel movements.)

When I was sixteen, I got my first summer job.  As a camp counsellor.  With children.  It was a bad idea on my part to apply; it was a worse idea on the camp's to hire me.  My interests at that point of my life lay in eating E.L.Fudge cookies and watching Angel, and that was pretty much it.  Twelve squirmy little girls did not make the list.

It was an all-girls camp, and one of the traditions was skinny-dipping.  My co-counsellor and I had no intention of letting our girls do this, so we kept promising that we would go some night that it was warm enough.  In northern Wisconsin, no night is warm enough.  You could see your breath at night, and the ice had melted off the lake only weeks before. 

One day straight up noon, I was leaving camp for my afternoon off.  I was in another counsellor's car, and just as we pulled past my cabin, a line of naked children streaked past.  Apparently, my girls had taken it upon themselves to go skinny-dipping when it was warm enough.

"Keep driving," I said.  "It's my afternoon off, and those are not my naked children."

(True:  A councilor is one who is on a council.  A counselor is one who who will need therapy counselling after working at a summer camp.)

Mya likes kids, and has endless supplies of patience for their hijinks and enthusiasm for their games.  Now if only she could get that surgery!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Well, That Was a Disappointment.

I don't know about you folks, but where I'm from, the Super Bowl is a holiday.  A real one, not like Sweetest Day or Presidents Day.  There's pomp.  There's circumstance.  There's booze.  Criteria met.  We take our celebrations seriously.  Yesterday, the Super Bowl powers that be let me down.

The football itself was pretty great.  That two point conversion there at the end?  Who called that?  And then, the dog pile of muscular men in lycra trampling all over each other in the endzone for the game-making (or not) last play?  Pretty fun stuff.

But the Giants' Super Bowl hats looked really, really dumb.  And that's only the beginning of my disappointments.

First, the commercials.  Aren't Super Bowl commercials supposed to be stupendous?  Or at least entertaining?  Babies tried to sell me stuff, a woman in lingerie tried to sell me flowers and a car, and Danica Patrick was naked.  So, you know, the usual.  (The dog commercials were cute.  I'm sure you're shocked by that.  I've decided I need to teach Prada how to fetch beer.)

And then there was the half-time show.  I had a difficult time paying attention, I'll admit.  I kept thinking, Do those thigh-high boots Madonna is wearing have orthopedic insoles? And, Oooh, that move looked like it hurt.  I'm pretty sure one of her guests flipped everybody off, but I'm not certain if that was Nicky Minaj or LMFAO.  I mean, all of them had crazy-person hair and too-tight clothes; it's hard to tell which is which.

(True:  Aaron Rodgers looks great in a suit.)

Mya doesn't mind football, but she could really use a person to watch it with.

Friday, February 3, 2012

ZZZZzzzz.... (Part One)

Ah, precious sleep.  The one luxury that poor people and rich can enjoy alike.

I take sleep very seriously.  I can honestly call myself an expert sleeper.  I'm passionate about this hobby, and practice napping as often as possible.

However, when I wake up, I'm up and moving about ten minutes before any sign of soul or humanity is present.  All id, no superego.  From 7 till 7:10 a.m., I can be an absolute monster.  Worst part is, most of the time I don't even remember what awful thing I said or did during those ten minutes.  I am very lucky my parents never held what happened in my sleep-addled state against me.  Except in a haha-making-fun-of-you-for-the-next-decade kind of way.

For example, the time My Sister the Lawyer decided, many year ago, it would be a good idea to wake me up by jumping on me?  I really don't recall all the creative and loud obsenities I supposedly used, and I definitely don't remember throttling her.

But My Sister the Lawyer sure remembers.

(True:  The Squeeze doesn't even bother trying to talk to me first thing in the morning.  He's smart like that.)

Mya needs a hand.  Really.  There's only 5.6 degrees of separation between people now, what with Facebook, and Twitter and everything, so every person that posts a link to her increases her chances of getting the surgery she needs exponentially.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm Going to Regret This.

Oh, hi.  Guess what?  I'm on a lot of cold medicine right now.  My head might explode in gush of snot anyway, which should make the guy who comes in to clean the office happy; wiping snot off my computer screen and keyboard.

Dear Guy Who Comes in the Clean the Office:
I'm sorry about the snot-mess.  You're going to deserve a raise for this.
Love, Dana the Biped.

I miss college.  In college, I could go to the nurse anytime I wanted.  We called her Codeine Carrol, because no matter what ailed you, codeine was her answer.  It was awesome.

Anyway, today I planned to write about my face.  There is something wrong with it.  Not just today because it's all puffy and my nose is chapped and my right eye has a tick because the sinus pressure is setting off some muscle contractions in my eyelid.  I mean, there's something wrong with my face all the time.

My face is a total drama queen.  Everything I feel, it shows, but times twenty-four thousand.  A few examples:

This last summer, I was hanging out with The Squeeze.  We'd just been out for lunch, and instead of mints, we got Dum-Dum suckers.  I got cherry, which is definitely the best Dum-Dum flavor.  Root beer is gross, so The Squeeze got that one.  Anyway, we were walking home, and I dropped my Dum-Dum.

How I felt:  Aw, bummer.
How I looked:

The Squeeze bought me a whole bag of Dum-Dums.

Or, how about the time I won tickets to a special screening of Grimm before it aired on TV?

How I felt:  Neato!
How I looked:

And that time I was watching Doctor Who, and Rose had just gotten herself stuck in a different dimension and now he was travelling with Donna, and Rose was in the crowd behind Donna, but then she disappeared?

How I felt:  "What?"
How I looked:

Lord only knows what I would look like if something really, really excited happened to me, like if I won the lottery or something.  Probably like this:

Except I'd be better-dressed.

(True:  My office is really casual.  When I was hired and asked about the dress code, the HR guy said as long as I was wearing clothes, I was good.  But I have to dress a lot more professionally than everyone else, or people think I'm twelve.)

Mya looks really laid back, but she would be super-excited to find a new home.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Hops in the Right Direction: A Call to Arms

I usually try to hop in the right direction on Thursdays, but this post just couldn't wait another day.

There hasn't been much snow in Chicago for, well, pretty much all winter.  Prada is totally bummed out.  Her favorite winter activity is putting her nose down in the fresh snow and then running around the yard, snowplow-style.  Her second-favorite activity is napping in her warm bed (if my lap is unavailable).

Sadly, not all dogs have a warm bed to call their own.  The Animal Welfare League is the largest shelter in Chicago, and the only one that has a base in the economically depressed south side, with services including low-cost clinic care and no-cost monthly pet food distribution.  The ALW is also out of bedding for their animals.  A drive is being held to collect new and used pet bedding, as well as items that can be upcycled into bedding like sweatshirts and remnant fleece.

You all know what a softy I am for dogs, but this one really gets me.  The shelter where I adopted Prada had cement floors--the kind of slippery floor that is very scary to her.  A kind volunteer found a rug to put in Prada's run, so she had a safe harbor.  Every dog deserves one of those.  So, the first three people to comment today will have brand new beds donated in their name (or their pet's name or whatever).

This is Mya.  She is a people-lover, and she loves to use that long tongue to give kisses.  She also is in desperate need of a foster home.  She needs knee surgery, and the money has been donated, but it can't happen until she has a place to recuperate.  Every day she waits, it's another day in pain.  She's in Frankfort, Indiana.  Spread the word.  Facebook Mya's story.  Let's help her find a foster home--it's only a very little miracle she needs, after all.